n September 9th the boxing world focuses on the Super Flyweight division, as we get arguably the biggest day in the division's history, as 5 of the top fighters at the weight are all showcased on the same show in the US. The show, dubbed “Superfly” will feature WBO champion Naoya Inoue, WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, former 4-weight world champion Roman Gonalez, former WBC champion Carlos Cuadras and former Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. It's a night that will put the division on the global boxing map, and could potentially make Inoue into the global star that his talent deserves.
Before that super show there will be a number of other notable Super Flyweight bouts, with the next of those taking place on July 19th as OPBF champion Rene Dacquel (19-6-1, 6) looks to extend his reign as champion. In the opposite corner will be Japanese contender Hayato Kimura (26-9, 17), who looks to score the biggest win of his career and upset a man who is enjoying a good run at the moment.
Filipino fighter Dacquel has been a professional since 2011 and has had mixed success, though seems to be maturing into a very capable Oriental level fighter, despite having struggled early in his career. Over his last 9 fights he has gone 7-2 scoring notable wins over Melvin Gumban, Lucky Tor Buamas, Go Onaga and Shota Kawaguchi, and only losing to fringe world class guys like Jonas Sultan and Takuma Inoue.
In the ring Dacquel is a talented and hungry fighter who is slowly, but surely, climbing up the rankings. He's no world beater, and no one would suggest he was, but he's a genuinely talented fighter on his way up, and in fairness he still has plenty of time to develop into a real contender given that he is only 26 and still has maturing and developing to do. If he continues to develop in the way he has done in recent years, and continues to rack up solid wins, he will be getting big opportunities in the near future.
Kimura has been a professional since 2005, having made his debut on his 16th birthday back in South Korea. Many of his early bouts took place outside of Japan, and at one point he looked like a genuine super prospect having gone 13-0 (8) whilst still a teenager. Sadly though he has never really built on that start and over the last 8 years he has struggled to get much going in his career. As a result he has lost to the likes of Brix Ray, AJ Banal, Martin Mubiru, Oleydong CP Freshmart, Marlon Tapales, Michael Dasmarinas, Sho Ishida and Kenta Nakagawa, with the losses to Ishida and Nakagawa coming in Japanese title fights.
Despite falling short against his best opponents it does seem like Kimura has the potential to score a decent win at title level. Unfortunately for him it would take a career best performance for him to match the skills of Dacquel. He has an edge in speed here, and is certainly an experienced fighter with, but is unlikely to have the movement, skills or power to ever really put Dacquel under the pressure he'd need to to take the title away.
We're expecting to see this be another successful defense for Dacquel, but a very hard fought and competitive one with the Filipino taking the fight on the score cards.
The Super Flyweight scene is arguably the hottest in the sport today with both great fighters and great match ups. Unlike many divisions the best seem happy to fight each each other and fighters like Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada seem more focused on their legacies than on picking up easy win after easy win. Whilst the guys flying the flag for the division at the top are now becoming names known around the world the lower level guys are also not avoiding each other and when Sho Ishida vacated the Japanese title several fighters made it clear they wanted that gold and black title.
As a result of Ishida vacating we'll now the Japanese #1 and #2 face off with Kenta Nakagawa (12-2-1, 9) taking on Hayato Kimura (25-8, 16) for the vacant title. The two men are certainly very different, and have had incredibly different careers, but their hunger for the title is the same and both will come in to this looking to prove they are the better fighter.
The #1 ranked fighter coming in to this is the 31 year old Nakagawa, who made his professional debut in December 2004 but had a very frustrating start to the sport. After winning his debut he would lose to Yasutaka Ishimoto, yes the current Japanese Super Bantamweight champion, he would then fight once more in 2005 before spending more 6 years away from the ring. He returned to the ring with a loss, to fall to 2-2 but has since gone 10-0-1 (9) scoring notable wins over Jo Tanooka and Shuji Hamada as well as having technical draw with Toyoto Shiraishi.
Sadly footage of Nakagawa has been very hard to come by come into this one, however fans who have seen him have described him as a venomous puncher with his straight left and as he's a southpaw he's a nightmare to fight anyway. Although a puncher the fact he has a win over Tanooka suggests he can box as well as bang. Reports suggest that he is an exciting fighter and his win over Hamada was an eye catching KO.
Although very little footage of Nakagawa is out there the same cannot be said of Kimura who has had much of his career documented on film. He began his career in 2005 as a 16 year old fighting in Thailand before making a name for himself in Korea where he claimed the Korean national title in 2007. By the start of 2013 Kimura was 19-5 (14) having fought in Japan 7 times, Thailand 5 times, Korea 9 times and the Philippines, once. It was however from 2013 that he began to fight full time in Japan and he has since gone 6-3 in the land of his birth .
On paper that 6-3 record in Japan sounds pretty poor but he hasn't been matched easily with bouts against the likes of Marlon Tapales, Michael Dasmarinas, Jomar Fajardo, Sho Ishida and Toyoto Shiraishi. Given that level of competition his record is less poor, and given his “pre-Japan” record includes losses to AJ Banal and Oleydong Sithsamerchai it's again to say his record has suffered because he's tried to prove himself.
In the ring Kimura is a fast fighter with lovely hand speed and combinations, however he really lacks power at this level and struggles to get the respect of opponents. He's well schooled and tougher than one would assume, given he's got 3 stoppage losses but can still be hurt, though he now knows how to react to getting hit. His biggest flaw, at times, is actually knowing when to strike though he has proven to be capable late in fights and that could be a key here given that Nakagawa has only gone beyond 4 rounds once.
For Nakagawa the gameplan is obvious. Jump on Ishida, give him a shell shock early and don't let him off the hook, go for the finish and chase it before Ishida can take the bout in to the middle rounds. For Ishida the key is to avoid a tear up early on. If he can see off the early storm then he will grow into the fight whilst Nakagawa fades, and that could open the doors for the Watanabe man.
We think Nakagawa's power will be the difference, but we know that is Kimura can see off the early storm he really could take this in a potentially brilliant match u
The Super Flyweight division really is one of the most criminally under-rated divisions in the sport today, and the leading country for the division is Japan which boasts not only two world champions but also a host of top contenders.
One of those top contenders is Japanese national champion Sho Ishida (19-0, 10) who will be making the third defense of his title on September 27th when he takes on the experienced Hayato Kimura (23-7, 15) in what looks like a really solid contest on paper.
Ishida really is a world level contender. Boxrec.com list him as the #10 ranked fighter in the division and is also ranked by all 4 major world bodies and is in the top 15 of the IWBR*. Not only is highly across the board but he's also a very capable, high skilled and well trained fighter, who has learned his craft in the successful Ioka gym, along side Kazuto Ioka, Ryo Miyazaki, Takahiro Yamamoto and Masayoshi Nakatani.
In the ring Ishida is a wonderful boxer-puncher. His record might not show it but he's a solid punching fighter who really does show the traits of a world champion in the making. He's a fast, fights to his strengths and at 5'8” is very tall for a Super Flyweight. On the outside he has an excellent jab, intelligent movement and a solid right hand, with intelligent shot selection. On the inside he can hold his own when he needs to, though would be well advised to avoid an up close war when he can.
Whilst we have been impressed by Ishida he's certainly a fighter who is still some way from being the finished article. At 23 he lacks his man strength and he also lacks experience with only 90 professional rounds, including just two complete 10 rounders. The second of those 10 rounders was the bout that has left lingering doubts, with Ishida running out of gas late on against Taiki Eto, who pushed him to the brink last time out. It's clear that Ishida needs to work on his stamina or energy management before being moved towards his first 12 rounders.
When it comes to Ishida the talent is there, the experience isn't, yet.
With 30 bouts to his name Kimura, who has also fought as Jin-In Yoo and Big Yoo, cannot be described as an inexperienced fighter. Amazingly he has been a professional for more than 10 years and has fought in Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines as he's gone on to compile a solid, though unspectacular, record.
Kimura's career was filled with early promise. After less than 3 years as a professional he was 13-0 (8) and won both the South Korean and the WBO interim Asia Pacific Super Flyweight titles. He was making a name for himself in Korea and. Sadly though that early promise failed to really be built into on going success and he quickly fell to 16-4 (11), suffering a couple of stoppage defeats along the way.
Since suffering 4 losses in 7 bouts he has since gone 7-3 (4) losing to every notable fighter he has faced during those 10 bouts, including Oleydong Sithsamerchai, Marlon Tapales and Michael Dasmarinas. Losing to those 3 isn't shameful but it does show his level and suggests that he's a very long way from being world class.
Early in his career Kimura fought mostly by using his size, strength and aggression. That tactic worked early on when he was typically fighting low level opposition though hasn't worked as he's stepped up through the levels and faced better and stronger fighters. Not only have those better fighters been able to take his power and aggression but they have also been able to out box him, as shown when Dasmarinas outboxed him, just over a year ago.
Incidentally it seems like it's fair to use that Dasmarinas fight as the key to this bout. In that fight Kimura was unable to close the distance, he was tagged repeatedly at range by Dasmarinas and was given a bit of a boxing lessen by the Filipino. Given how Dasmarinas beat Kimura we expect a similar result from Ishida who has the ability and style to do a very similar job on his experieced foe. Whilst we know that Dasmarinas is a southpaw the style of boxing, moving and picking his spots should still take Ishida to a clear decision win, if not a stoppage in the middle rounds.
On paper Kimura could take some confidence from the way Ishida struggled late on with Eto. The truth however is that Eto is a much better fighter than Kimura and Ishida's early performance in that bout would likely have seen off Kimura.
*All stats accurate at the time of writing and publishing
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.