Although boxing through much of January has been limited we do seem to be heading towards some great cards in early February. One such show is "Dangan 93" which features 2 title fights
The main event at "Dangan 93" is, for us, a bit of a mismatch as Shingo Wake defends his OPBF Super Bantamweight title against Jovylito Aligarbes. For that bout we really can't see Wake losing.
Thankfully the shows other title fight is actually a lot more interesting as the unbeaten Rikki Naito (8-0, 4) takes on the highly experienced Hiroyasu Matsuzaki (22-6-2, 11) in a battle for the vacant Japanese Super Featherweight title.
The title, which was vacated by Daiki Kaneko last year, prior to Kaneko's WBA world title bout with Takashi Uchiyama, isn't going to decide the best Japanese fighter at 130lbs but will almost certainly be seen as a stepping stone to a possibly lucrative world title fight somewhere down the line.
Of the two men it's clear that Matsuzaki is the more experienced. The 31 year old has had 30 career fights since beginning his professional career way back in 2003. Although he's far from a star he is a genuinely accomplished, domestic level fighter who has twice fought for the Japanese title, coming short both times.
Whilst Matsuzaki's record may not suggest he's a great fighter, he's been unfortunate to be in a division that has been amazing in Japan over the past few years. This has been shown by the fact that the experienced fighter has picked up losses to domestic foes including Yusuke Kobori, who went on to win a world title, and Daiki Kaneko, who looks certain to win a world title somewhere down the line. Had he been in another generation, or been able to fight at Featherweight he'd have almost certainly have won a national title.
Talented and with good speed Matsuzaki's main problems have been his relative lack of power and the fact he's also not the toughest. That's not to suggest a gust of wind knocks him over but he can be stopped, as he has been 3 times in his 6 losses.
Aged just 22 Rikki Naito is a novice, though he's a man who has always had boxing around his life. His father, Cassius Naito, was a former Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion back in the 1970's and although Cassius was well retired before Ricky was born it's obvious there is a bit of his dad in him.
Rikki's career has been followed intensely by some in Japan with interview and reports in of many of his early fights. This has allowed chronicles of his career and seen him develop from a somewhat unfocused youngster who was dropped in his second professional contest to a man now competing for the Japanese national title just over 2 years later.
Unfortunately for Rikki, who is talented with natural speed, he has a lot of pressure on him to follow in his father's footsteps. He's expect to be a champion one day. Having watched him a few times however it's hard to believe that he's ready for a title fight. In all honestly his struggles with Keiichi Izumi in the "Strongest Korakuen" leaves us thinking that this fight has come a year, if not 2, too early for the young prodigy. It'd have been really nice if Rikki had been given another year to work on his punching which is often not crisp as he'll perhaps need here.
We know that Rikki, with the unbeaten record, will be favoured but we're expecting to see experience being the key factor here with Matsuzaki just knowing too much for his young rival who we imagine will come again in a years time with a bit more experience and know how under his belt.
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.