The champion won the title last time out, narrowly defeating the heavy handed Richard Claveras, and prior to that win he hadn't really been too well known. In fact his only other win of note was a decision over Naoki Mochizuki and his most notable other bout was a lop-sided decision loss to Hiroyuki Kudaka back in 2015. Despite being so unknown prior to his win over Claveras it does need to be said that Nakayama is an improving fighter, and at 29 years old is probably just starting to see everything click into place.
Coming into this bout Nakayama has won his last 4, he's in good form and seems to have realised he's a Flyweight, not a Super Flyweight. He can box, move and if dragged into a brawl at this level he can hold his own on the inside.
Whilst Nakayama has only just started to get on the radar of fight fans the same can't be said for Alvarez, who has fought several notable foes. Early in his career he was touted as a potential star of the future, and wins against Renren Tesorio and Jerry Tomgodan did help him with some early notoriety. In 2014 he twice fought in Mexico, beating former “world” title challenger Julian Rivera and then putting in a very good showing against Juan Francisco Estrada. The Estrada bout should have launched Alvarez into true contender status, but he would be out of the ring for over a year, wasting his chance to build on the win.
Since losing to Estrada we've seen Alvarez score an amazing win over Jonathan Gonzalez in Puerto Rico, suffer a surprising stoppage loss to Miguel Cartagena, inside a round. Since then he has scored two simple decisions in the Philippines and rebuilt some of his confidence.
In the ring Alvarez is a really talented boxer, out boxing Estrada at times, but he can be dragged into wars, as he was against Gonzalez and Cartagena, and can be dropped, as he has been in a number of bouts. If he gets into a war here there is a good chance he'll come up short, and that's despite the fact Nakayama isn't much of a puncher.
We're expecting the two men to show a bit of everything here. They will look to fight on the outside, and the bout will start slowly, but as it goes on, and as they get used to the other man's power, it will gradually build into a war. The second half of the fight will be thrilling, with rounds that are all action. Though we do favour Nakayama to come out on top, being cheered by his local fans which will just get him over the line for his first defense.