By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On the undercard of the upcoming Obara x Lagumbay “Revenge Fight”, Taiki Minamoto defends his Japanese Featherweight championship against Tatsuya Otsubo.
Taiki Minamoto (15-5/12 KOs) began his pro-career in 2011, just 2 weeks after turning 20. Unlike most fighters who face opponents with losing records, in order to gain experience in their early years, Minamoto’s road was different, a path that led to a few losses, including one to future world champion Masayuki Ito. However, these encounters only made him more determined to come back stronger and defeat well-versed boxers like Eita Kikuchi (14-3*) and Seizo Kono (14-5*), even earning an opportunity at the Japanese Super Bantamweight champion and future IBF world title holder Yukinori Oguni (14-1*), a match that went the distance. Since then, Minamoto is on a 5 fight winning streak, with wins over the likes of Ryota Kajiki (28-9*) and Dai Iwai (21-4*) as well as Takenori Ohashi (15-4*), who he TKOed in order to become the Japanese Featherweight champion for the first time.
Tatsuya Otsubo (12-8/4 KOs) will be Minamoto’s inaugural title defense. Otsubo, despite struggling through out his 11-year career, has won all of his last 4 bouts, since resurfacing from his hiatus in 2015, including victories over Ryuto Araya (twice) and Indonesian champion Musa Andy Letding. It’s worth mentioning that Otsubo holds a win over Akihiko Katagiri, the man who knocked Minamoto out on his 9th pro fight.
On paper, Minamoto is the favourite to leave Korakuen Hall with the strap, as he’s currently ranked the #1 featherweight in Japan and has bested better fighters than his opponent. On the other hand, Otsubo seems to have turned a new page of his career and has vastly improved over the course of these last 2 years, so it wouldn’t be unthinkable if he can pull off the upset once again, this time with the gold on the line.
*Fighter’s record before the fight.
The final Japanese title fight for August comes on August 20th as the domestic Featherweight title goes up for grabs between a heavy handed champion and a fairly obscure challenger.
The defending champion is the heavy handed, former world title challenger, Satoshi Hosono (27-2-1, 20). The Ohashi gym product is a genuinely fearsome puncher with a grit to him and although he's not the quickest or the most flashy he is a man who nobody wants to stand and trade with. In fact doing such would show bravery bordering on the ridiculous.
Aged 31 the champion is probably coming to the end of his prime though he has actually had an excellent career which has seen him become a 2-time Japanese champions, an OPBF champion and a 3-time world title challenger. Unfortunately however he's best know for coming up short with losses to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Celestino Caballero as well as a technical draw with Chris John.
Known as the “Bazooka” Hosono tends to live up to to his nickname and has an impressive 67% T/KO rate. His recent form has actually improved that rate with 3 of his last 4 bouts ending with a TKO win and 5 of his last 7 also ending early. He'll be looking to prove his name right again here as he looks to record his third straight defense of the title.
In the opposite corner is little known challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (8-6-1, 3). On paper Otsubo looks like a monstrous under-dog, especially given his record. The truth however is that his record isn't as poor as it looks. He actually started his career with a real struggle and was once 1-5-1 (1). Since then he has really turned his career around and has recently strung together 6 successive wins, including a very notable upset win over domestic contender Akihiko Katagiri.
At 25 years old it's little wonder that Otsubo is going from strength to strength with his career.. He's no longer the inexperienced teenager who picker up loss after loss. Instead he's a man who is full of confidence, a developing self belief and some real form.
Sadly when it comes to getting a read on the challenger the challenger things are rather difficult with very little footage being available. What we have seen of him suggests he's a gutsy, in the pocket warrior. Not the most skilled but tough and committed to out fighting his foes with a swarming attack.
To beat Hosono you tend to need to avoid a war. Sadly from the footage that's available of Otsubo it's looking very unlikely that he'll be able to do that when the two men step in the ring together. Instead it looks like Otsubo will play in to the hands of Hosono who may well feel he could get himself another world title fight at some point in 2016.
(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.