Sadly however the OPBF belt really isn't valued very highly in the higher weights and the Super Middleweight title has essentially been ignored year after year. For much of the last decade only one man has shown a real desire to hold it and hold it he has, for around 7 years through multiple reigns.
That man is hard hitting Japanese fighter Yuzo Kiyota (27-4-1, 25).
Kiyota is best known not for his reign as the OPBF champion but instead his 2013 world title challenge of Robert Stieglitz. That bout saw Kiyota suffer his most recent loss but get the chance to fight at the top of the sport in what was a very notable match up, as it always is when we see Japanese fighters competing at the higher weights.
Although not the most skilled Kiyota is a relatively solid fighter. He's not quite a fringe world guy but he's heavy handed enough for fighters to avoid rather than chase for the title. He's limited skill wise but has serious power, he improving after every fight and looks to be a much better fighter than he once was. Early on he was a wild and free swinging fighter, looking for the early victories though he has managed to develop his skills and is now more defensively sound than he once was.
On July 7th we see Kiyota defending his regional title again. It will be his second defense of his current reign, that began in December 2013, and his 7th defense in total across 2 reigns as the champion. Sadly however his opponent leaves a lot to be desired in what appears to be a horrible mismatch.
The champion will be putting his belt on the line against little known Thai Kajornsak Sithsaithong (7-5, 7). We know some Asian fighters have misleading records, especially Thai's, but Kajornsak's record does seem to reflect his ability pretty fairly, and that's not a good thing for the Thai.
Kajornsak comes into this bout with back-to-back losses, both suffered in China. Incidentally he is 0-4 outside of his native Thailand and is also 0-4 against fighters with a single win to their name, in fact his wins to date have come over opponents with a combined 0-1 record. To say he's not deserving of a title fight is really just stating the obvious.
Whilst his record and competition have been poor what's even more of an issue is his ability. Whilst we've only managed to come across footage from one of his fights, his 2014 bout with Back Kistkriengkrai, that footage sums up why his record is so poor. Back, a terrible fighter himself, seemed to out box Kajornsak in the opening round of their before mentally crumbling after being hit back and tiring himself out and being stopped whilst looking like a total novice. The finish not only showed how bad Back was but also how misleading Kajornsak's “KO rate” is.
From the footage of the two men there is only one outcome, Kiyota wins this by stoppage. There is nothing that Kajornsak appears to have in his locker that should trouble the champion who should feel disappointed if this goes beyond 8 rounds.
Hopefully when, not if, Kiyota wins he will then focus on getting a fight with a decent Australian, rather than more appalling challengers like Kajornsak and Abhay Chand before him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
For those who haven't seen these two in action we've included footage of each man below.
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