Tsuchiya made his debut in 2009 but really burst on to the Japanese scene the following year, when he claimed the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown. On route to that title he beta a number of unbeaten opponents, including Masanobu Nakazawa in the East Japan final and Yuki Miyoshi in the All Japan final. Not only did Tsuchiya claim the Rookie of the year title but he did so with a perfect record, and was 8-0 (8) following the win over Miyoshi. Tsuchiya's power saw him advancing his record to 12-0 (12) before finally being taken the distance by Indonesian Heri Andriyanto.
Sadly for Tsuchiya the win over Andriyanto was the start of some career issues for the heavy handed Japanese fighter, who would suffer a number of losses as his record fell to 16-4 (14). Whilst those 4 losses were genuine set backs, they all came to decent fighters in the form of Shoji Kawase, Masayoshi Nakatani, Leonardo Zappavigna and Ricky Sismundo. Those losses could have been the start of the end for Tsuchiya but instead they were the start of Tsuchiya's rebuilding process, which has since seen him go 6-0 and defeat Kazuki Matsuyama and Masashi Noguchi, with the win over Noguchi netting Tsuchiya the Japanese title.
In the ring Tsuchiya is an aggressive fighter who relies on his power. He's not a world class puncher, but he is heavy handed and on the domestic level not many will take his power. Whilst he is a big puncher he does has defensive flaws, which Nakatani really took advantage of, and he also has question marks over his own durability, with 3of his 4 losses being by stoppage. Although his limitations are known, and it's very unlikely that he will compete above domestic level, he a very solid Japanese level fighter and could potentially be a long term champion at this level.
The 29 year old Nishitani has also been a professional since 2009, though hasn't had the success of Tsuchiya and didn't manage to make a name for himself in the Rookie of the Year competition. Despite that he got off to a good career start, winning his first 7 bouts and there was some hope put on his shoulders. Sadly that winning run came to an end in 2011, losing to Tetsuya Nishinaga and then Yuhei Suzuki in 2012. An unbeaten 8 fight run, which saw Nishitani go 7-0-1, followed before Nishitani lost to Yusuke Tsukada in 2015. The loss to Tsukada wasn't a huge setback as Nishitani got a Japanese title fight just 6 months later, and gave a very good effort as he came up short against Kota Tokunaga.
Although Nishitani has suffered 4 defeats they have all been by decision, and they have all been pretty competitive in all honesty. Whilst he is beatable he is certainly not limited and can put up a good fight the top of the domestic level. He has respectable power, good work rate and decent skills. Nothing out standing, but certainly nothing terrible and he can certainly make life difficult for a fighter like Tsuchiya.
Notably Nishitani has fought just 2 rounds since his loss to Tokunaga, and is coming in to this bout as one of the least active fighters to be involved in the 2017 Champion Carnival bouts. He might enter this bout refreshed and hungry or rusty and with his inactivity showing through the bout.
Given his status at champion, as well as higher level experience and activity it's hard not to favour the champion, but we don't think it'll be easy for him. We do think Tsuchiya will be too good, but we think Nishitani will make it competitive through out with the bout really being an entertaining one for the fans in attendance, and those tuning in on G+.