The champion won the title last year, after more than 13 years in the sport, as he took a decision victory over Kenichi Horikawa. The win over Horikawa saw Hisada over-come a man who had previously beaten him twice and score a career defining win at the age of 32. That career defining win has has since been followed by successful title defenses against Atsushi Kakutani, Takeru Kamikubo and Koji Itagaki as he's climbed up the world rankings and moved to within touching distance of a world title shot.
In the ring Hisada is an aggressive fighter who has a high output, under-rated power and impressive stamina. He desire to win is genuinely impressive and although he's not the most skilled fighter at 108lbs he is a hard man to beat. In fact his current winning run of 10 fights is impressive and he has developed a lot from the fight who was once 20-8 (10) and had been beaten in 4 of his previous 6 bouts. Talking about his losses is it worth quickly looking at those, with 2 having come to Horikawa and others coming to Hiroyuki Kudaka and Ryoichi Taguchi, and 4 of the other 5 have been by split decision. He's proven through his career that he's a very hard man to beat.
The challenger is a 27 year old who made his rebut in 2009, as an 18 year old. Despite making his debut more than 9 years ago his career has been a slow burner. He took more than a year out of the ring between his first 2 fights and failed to really have any career momentum until 2015, when he went 3-0, marking it as the busiest year of his career so far. That was then followed by a frustrating 2016, in which he fought just once, and a 2017 that saw him go 1-1, losing by split decision to Itagaki in an eliminator. Whilst Ono did lose to Iagaki he does hold notable wins over Aiki Koto, Yamato Uchinono and Ryoya Ikema, decent domestic fighter but unspectacular ones.
In the ring Ono isn't much of a puncher, with just 5 stoppage wins from 16 bouts, but he does have a solid out put and does enjoy unloading to the body, which he does in volume. That should make for a stylistically fun encounter with Hisada, who is also happy to let his shots fly. Given that he his only 27 Ono should have the edge in youthful energy but does lack in terms of experience, and that is something that could prove to be an issue here.
We're expecting these two to enjoy an all out war in the centre of the ring. Unfortunately for Ono we feel that that sort of fight will favour Hisada, who we think will wear down and stop Ono in the later rounds. The fight will be action packed, but with Hisada having the edge in experience and power we think that'll be the difference here, and will be what leads him to victory.