In 2015 the Super Featherweight division has been one of the most consistent giving us a number of FOTY contenders, including both of the Roman Martinez Vs Orlando Salido bouts, the Masao Nakamura Vs Daiki Kaneko bout and the more recent Takashi Miura Vs Francisco Vargas fight. We're expecting that great run of bouts continues on December 14th when fight fans get two notable title bouts on the same show.
On paper the more significant of those bouts is an OPBF title fight that sees defending champion Masayuki Ito (17-1-1, 8) making the first defense of his title as he takes on Shingo Eto (17-3-1, 9) in what looks like a genuinely brilliant match up between two fighters looking to establish themselves as a future world title challenger.
Ito, as mentioned, will be defending the title for the first time. He won the belt earlier this year when he really impressed on route to stopping Dai Iwai in 10 rounds, ending what was a very 1-sided bout. That bout was Ito's first since he suffered his sole loss, a controversial and close on to Rikki Naito back in February and he showed no ill effects of having lost his unbeaten record.
In the ring Ito is a very skilled boxer-mover, who, in recent fights, has started to show more spite with his punches. That spite has seen him score 5 of his 8 stoppages in his last 7 bouts. Those wins have included the victory over Iwai, a stoppage over Jeffrey Arienza, a stoppage over Ryan Semrona and a decision win against Masao Nakamura, in a bout that really helped establish Ito as one to keep an eye on.
Although Ito is talent he's had to come through “the hard way”. He debuted way back in May 2009 and wasn't really given any attention until December 2012, when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, at Featherweight. Since then however he has strong together some good wins, won a WBC Youth title and, more recently, the OPBF title. He has also shown remarkable improvements and developed into a man that we suspect will go on to fight for world honours, some where down the line.
Eto, the youngest of the 3 fighting Eto brothers, is a man who had attention from early in his career, with the expectation that the Eto's would be the next Kameda's. Sadly for Shingo however his career didn't get off to a hot start and after 7 professional bouts he was 5-1-1 (5), including an opening round KO loss to Kentaro Maimuangkorn Promotion. Despite the less than stellar start Eto has rebuilt well going 12-2 (4) since.
Whilst Eto's isn't yet making a mark on the world stage he has scored a couple of notable wins, beating Spice Matsushita, Ryan Sermona and Tomoyo Yamada. Sadly however he was thwarted in his only title bout to date, losing a Japanese title bout to Rikki Naito in a bout that was much closer than the cards suggested.
At his best Eto is a solid all rounder. His stoppage loss early in his career can be pretty much ignored as he's not been stopped since and in fact he's a solid unit with good stamina, and can seemingly come on stronger in the later parts of fights. He does however lack that top domestic level win, something that he perhaps needs before thinking that he's going to go to the top.
Coming in to this one we're expecting a technically sound but yet highly entertaining and exciting bout. Sadly for Eto however we don't think he quite has the skills to cope with Ito who we suspect will be too sharp and too smart over the distance. A stoppage for Ito would be a shock, but e don't imagine him struggling too much to score the all important W.
Boxing is one of the most individualistic sports going. No matter who you are it you versus an opponent. You can't ask a team mate for help, you can't rely on someone else to bail you out when you make a mistake and you certainly can't hope someone will cover for you on a bad day on the field.
Although boxing is a solo sport it's also a sport that has been a sport dominated by families such as the Mayweather's, the Kameda's, the Marquez's and the Klitschko's. Two other families worth noting are the Naito's and the Eto's.
The boxing name has been linked to the Naito family since the late 1960's when Cassius Naito began his climb through the ranks and later became a Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion. Earlier this year Cassius son Rikki Naito (10-0, 5) followed in his father's footsteps and became a Japanese champion at Super Featherweight. In the eyes of many Rikki Naito has the potential to not only surpass his father but to also be one of the outstanding Japanese fighters for the next decade as long as he continues to improve as he has done recently
As for the Eto name it's shared by 3 brothers. There is Taiki Eto-a Japanese domestic contender at 115lbs, Koki Eto-the current OPBF Flyweight champion, and Shingo Eto (14-2-1, 9)-a Super Featherweight hopeful on the verge of his biggest bout to date. Of the three Eto's it's Koki who is best known thanks to his numerous all-action wars though some do feel that it's Shingo with the most potential and the most complete all round skill set.
On October 13th we will see the families collide as Rikki Naito makes the second defense of his national title and against battles Shingo Eto, the only Eto brother yet to fight in a title bout.
As a fighter Shingo Eto didn't look great early on. He scored a draw with Ribo Takahata and was blasted out inside a round just a fight later by Kentaro Maimuangkorn Promotion. Since then however he has found his form and gone 9-1 with a win over Ryan Sermona being particularly notable. He's looked good recently, shown nice punch selection and solid respectable skills. It's not that he's a world beater but he's certainly very competent and is still improving fight after fight.
Unlike Koki and Taiki, who are twins, Shingo does seem to exhibit some under-standing of defense. We wouldn't describe him as a defensive master but he does seem to know that taking a lot of shots won't prolong his career. He also knows the value of a good body shot. These are both traits his brother's seem to neglect much to their own detriment.
Whilst Shingo looks the more complete of the Eto's we dare say that Naito looks the most complete of the emerging Japanese guys at 130lbs. He may not have the power of Masao Nakamura, he may not have the speed of Masayuki Ito and he may not have the physical strength of Daiki Kaneko but he does look like he's the most rounded with very little to complain about considering the fact he's still only a novice professional and he's still improving drastically.
Although a long way from a world title fight Naito has started to show world class ability. His title victory over Hiroyasu Matsuzaki was a coming of age performance whilst his first defense, a dominant win over Kyohei Tamakoshi, was a performance that suggested Naito might be something a little bit special. He showed off very intelligent movement and handspeed and although he didn't get the stoppage he was in total control of the bout.
Going into this fight it's a good one on paper and one we are a little bit excited about. Sadly though we can only see a win for Naito who really just seems to have a bit too much of everything for Eto, who looks good but not good enough to over come Naito. Eto will attempt to stick to his boxing early on but finds that he lacks the speed to match Naito, he'll then try to make the bout a fight and find out that Naito packs a real punch himself. Sadly for Eto it'll be a case of nothing he does can really trouble Naito who we think will take either a clear decision or a late stoppage to retain his title.
If we're right this will be another big win for the Naito family and another serious set back for the Eto's.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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.