These two men first faced off back in 2012 when the two men clashed in a non-title affair. That bout saw Hosono over-come Fukuhara with a 7th round TKO, before going on to face Chris John in a WBA world title fight. The two men also clashed last year, with Hosono taking a well deserved decision win over Fukuhara.
Since their second bout Hosono has fought 3 times, with the 2 most recent bouts being very competitive and tough contests for the champion who has fought 30 rounds since beating Fukuhara for the second time, with 10 of those coming against Takuya Watanabe and 10 against Akifumi Shimoda. Fukuhara on the other hand has gone just 4 rounds, quickly seeing off Yusuke Nakagawa last September.
For those who don't follow the Japanese scene there is a chance you've still seen, or heard, of Hosono. He's a 3-time world title challenger who has suffered all 3 of his setbacks at the world level. They have included losses to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Celestino Caballero and a technical draw against Chris John. Aside from those 3 bouts, the first of which came more than 6 years ago, he has been fighting against Japanese and Oriental scene where he has been one of the standouts at the weight.
In the ring Hosono is a pressure fighter. He's a bit of a slow starter but has a great engine, knows how to come on strong in the second half of fights and combines very solid power with a genuine toughness. Unfortunately he is a bit limited, his footwork is somewhat slow and in recent years we've seen fighters being able to really push him close with some suspicions being that Hosono is very much on the slide.
Whilst Hosono is fairly predictable pressure fighter Fukuhara is a boxer-puncher, who uses speed and movement to get his shots off, fights on the move and has the power to make any opponent at domestic level respect him. At his best he was an exciting fighter who combined excitement with flaws and wins over the likes of Yuji Gomez, Shoji Kimura and Toshimitsu Sakai are somewhat negated by losses to Kazunori Takayama, Allan Tanada and Seiichi Okada.
Aged 37 the challenger has seen better days but will be coming in to this one known that one more loss, especially to Hosono will likely be the end of his dreams to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. Sadly for the challenger we see this bout going much the same way as their last bout, with Fukuhara having his moments, particularly early on, but coming up short against the naturally bigger, and younger, Hosono. If we're right we suspect Fukuhara will retire in the wake of the bout.
Although Hosono has looked like a fighter coming to the end of his career recently he was very busy last year with 4 tough bouts in 9 months. The recent break will likely have helped him recover a bit and his desire to get one more world title fight.