On November 16th we'll see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (32-9-2, 19) return to the ring for his next defense, as he takes on the unheralded Akihiro Toya (8-4, 1). On paper this is a mismatch, but the pressure is on the 34 year old champion to continue his reign and make a successful 5th defense as he hunts a world title fight in 2019. For Toya on the other hand the bout is an unexpected at a belt, and a great chance to him to instantly gain notoriety after a career that has faltered, despite Rookie of the Year success in 2016.
The champion is rightfully the favourite. He is a world class fighter, with top 4 world rankings from the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO, and is in great forum with 11 straight wins following a 2015 loss at Flyweight to Kenta Sugimoto. At the age of 34 however he will know that he cannot afford any sort of slip up, and he will also know that father time is against him, after all a 34 year old Light Flyweight who has been a professional since 2003 is ancient in boxing terms. Despite the age he is an experienced fighter with a very misleading record and has really aged like a fine win, with recent wins against the likes of Kenichi Horikawa, Atsushi Kakutani and Koki Ono.
In the ring Hisada is a fighter with a great engine, he comes forward with a lot of activity, really lets his hands go and is surprisingly heavy handed. Despite only scoring 19 stoppages in 43 career bouts he has stopped 8 of his last 11 and has certainly developed more belief in his boxing, his power and his strength.
At just 23 years old Toya is a relative boxing baby compared to the champion. Despite his youth he hasn't had an easy career and actually lost 2 of his first 3 bouts, before finding his groove and reeling off 6 straight wins. Those wins saw him claim the All Japanese Rookie of the Year at Light Flyweight but he has since gone 2-2, with a notable loss last time out to Takumi Sakae.
The challenger is a long way from a puncher, having only scored 1 stoppage so far, but he is a quick with smart upper body movement, sharp footwork and good hand speed. Sadly whilst he's quicker he lacks the ability to get respect from his opponents, and lacks in terms of both power and physicality, with fighters not likely to back off from him. Rather worryingly for Toya is the fact he can often be seen with his hands down, and against a fighter like Hisada that is going to be a major problem, as is the fact that Hisada will be able to walk him down and go to work up close.
This is a huge chance for Toya, but we can't help feeling like he has nothing to offer against Hisada who will be too energetic, too sharp, too heavy handed, too good and too busy for the challenger. Toya might have moments, particularly early on, but he'll be very lucky to last the distance with the champion.
If Hisada wins, as expected, we wouldn't be surprised to see him dropping the title to fight for a world title in the new year.
This coming Monday Japanese fight fans in Osaka will get the chance to see national Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (31-9-2, 19) make his 4th defense, as he takes on Koki Ono (12-4, 5). For Ono the bout is a huge opportunity to fight for his first title, a chance that looked like it had vanished when he lost in a Japanese title eliminator last year to Koji Itagaki, whilst Hisada will see the bout as a chance to continue his good form, and keep pressure on the world champions to give him a shot at a world title.
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.
The depth at Light Flyweight is really impressive right now, with so many world class fighters plying their trade at 108lbs. The depth is so extreme that a number of very good fighters get totally over-looked, one of whom is Japanese national champion Tetsuya Hisada (30-9-2, 19) who is having a great few years and really proving at the age of 33 that he deserves to be in the mix for a world title fight. To keep his dreams of getting that shot a reality however he will have to extend his domestic reign and on April 14th he'll be defending his title in a mandatory title fight against Koji Itagaki (18-11-3, 7).
The champion won the belt last year, defeating fellow veteran Kenichi Horikawa for the title which had been vacated by Ken Shiro. He went on to defend the title twice last year, beating former world title challenger Atsushi and youngster Takeru Kamikubo. In all 3 of his title victories Hisada has shown an amazing engine, getting better as the fights get one, consistent power and a real desire to prove himself. That desire has also seen him totally turn his career around, and just 3 years ago he was 21-9-2 and floundering as a professional.
The reason for a lot of Hisada's problems, before his current 9 fight winning run, was the fact he kept fighting at different weights. He regularly fought at Flyweight and even fought a few times at Super Flyweight. At those higher weights he has really struggled but at Light Flyweight his record is genuinely impressive at 8-2 (7), with those losses coming to Ryoichi Taguchi and Kenichi Horikawa, with the loss to Horikawa being avenged. Above Light Flyweight he is 22-7-2 (12). Even if the winning %'s aren't starkly different, 80% and 71%, the difference in his power at the lower weight is telling.
On paper Itagaki has the record of a journeyman, losing in 11 of 32 bouts. He has however been matched incredibly hard on the domestic and regional scene facing the likes of Yu Kimura, Suguru Muranaka, Palangpol CP Freshmart, Warlito Parrenas, Tatsuya Fukuhara, Rey Loreto and Kenichi Horikawa among others. Given that level of competition there is little surprise to see him having losses pile up, though unfortunately he has also come up short against weaker opponents, and at 34 it's unlikely he'll manage to turn things around and score a career best victory.
In the ring Itagaki is a tough battler. He's not much of a puncher, he's not quick and he's not a defensive master. He is however a gutsy fighter. He will take the fight to Hisada and refuse to give anything but his all. Sadly for him that won't be enough here and despite his determination and effort we can't see past a late stoppage for Hisada, who will make Itagaki look his 34 years.
It is worth noting Itagaki comes into this on the back of one of his best wins, a decision over Koki Ono, but he won't have enough to over-come Hisada here.
Earlier this year we saw Japanese veteran Tetsuya Hisada (29-9-2, 18) score a career defining win, as he took a decision over Kenichi Horikawa, and claimed the Japanese Light Flyweight title. The win for Hisada saw him score a 7th straight win, avenge a couple of his losses and claim his first professional title, more than 13 years after his debut. It was the crowning effort of a long and hard career that had had plenty of ups and downs, but nothing of this magnitude. Hisada would record his first defense just over 3 months later, stopping Atsushi Kakutani in 8 rounds. He's now set to return to the ring for his second defense, as he takes on Japanese youngster Takeru Kamikubo (13-2, 8), who once looked like one to watch before seeing his career stumble.
In the ring Hisada really is a grizzled veteran. He's a almost a 14 year professional and at 33 he's certainly no spring chicken. He is however a fighter who has developed into a better fighter as he's aged and he's currently on an 8 fight winning streak, following a 21-9-2 start to his career. There has certainly been stumbles early in his career, but he has been fighting at a good level, sharing the ring with the likes of Kakutani, Horikawa, Hiroyuki Kudaka, Junichi Ebisuoka and current world champion Ryoichi Taguchi.
Not only has Hisada gone 8-0 but he's done so with 7 stoppages, showing an improvement in how he goes about business, and his willingness to turn the screw later in bouts, making the most of his high work rate and his consistent offense. He has also been getting more fights a his natural Light Flyweight, as opposed to Flyweight where he has suffered most of his losses.
In 2014 Kamikubo made his debut, and by the end of the year he had raced out to an impressive 8-0 (5), fitting in 8 bouts in just over 10 months of super activity. Sadly in 2015 the youngster would suffer back to back stoppage losses as he came up short against Atsushi Aburada and Toshimasa Ouchi, ending his rise and hype in just his second year as a professional. Thankfully Kamikubo he has started to rebuild his career and has won his last 5, all against Japanese domestic opponents including Takahiro Murai and Masashi Odaira.
Early in his career Kamikubo looked like a great prospect. He was boxing at range and had a style similar to other Ioka gym fighters, like Sho Shida and Masayoshi Nakatani, since that early start however fighters have been more willing to take a shot from him to come forward, and have given the youngster issues. Those issues have been worsened by the fact the youngster appears to be relatively fragile, even at domestic level, and going in there with someone like Hisada will really expose any cracks that Kamikubo may have.
With Hisada having stopped so many opponents recently and Kamikubo being questionable in terms of his durability, we can't see anything but a stoppage for Hisada. We are however expecting some fun action before the champion stops the challenger, likely in the middle rounds.
The Light Flyweight scene is one of the most interesting, with Asia and Latin America have a number of really great fighters in the division right now. Sadly with the top fighters being so good it can leave those at regional or domestic level looking a long way behind the leading pack, and that is clearly the case with the Japanese domestic scene. Despite that the Japanese level is giving us some good fights at the weight and this coming Thursday we get the next Japanese Light Flyweight title fight, pitting two grizzled veterans against each other.
The match up will see 32 year old champion Tetsuya Hisada (28-9-2, 17) attempt to make his first defense of the title as he takes on fellow 32 year old Atsushi Kakutani (19-5-1, 12), who is getting his third shot at a Japanese title.
Of the two fighters it's the challenger who is the better known. He's a tall and wiry fighter who debuted back in 2008 and fought between Minimumweight and Super Flyweight, as he's looked for opportunities. That has seen him sharing the ring with a bit of a who's who, and he's suffered losses to Warlito Parrenas, Teiru Kinoshita, Adrian Hernandez and Ken Shiro whilst scoring a very notable win against Rey Loreto.
At his best Kakutani is a solid boxer-puncher, but unfortunately his lack of durability is a real issue and he has been stopped in 4 of his 5 losses, and was taken out in a round by both Parrenas and Ken Shiro.
Although “only” 32 and with “only” 25 bouts on his record the reality is that Kakutani is an old fighter. He has had a lot of damaging bouts and really has aged more than most fighters who have his raw “numbers”. He has also struggled to score wins of note, often facing Thai journeymen to stay active, and that's hard helped when he's had to move up through the levels and faced of the more notable names in his career.
With 39 bouts on his record Hisada would “seem” like the older and more worn man but the reality is that his career, whilst is has been hard, hasn't really had the damaging fights, and that's depsite having more than twice as many rounds as Kakutani. His only stoppage defeat was more than 5 years ago, to Hiroyuki Hisataka, and although he has suffered losses they haven't been the break damaging beatings that Kakutani has had, where he has been dropped multiple times. Instead they have been decisions. Those losses have included defeats to the likes of Ryoichi Taguchi and Kenichi Horikawa, as well as a string of lesser names. In recent years however he has found his rhythm and got things going his way, with a 7 fight winning run, punctuated by a decision over Kenichi Horikawa in April to win the title.
Although Hisada has got power, and has stopped 6 of his last 7, he's more of a gutsy fighter, looking for a fight rather than a punch out. His engine is solid, and he can take a shot, two things we suspect could be a key here, along with his confidence and the fact he is riding the crest of momentum.
At their best this really could be a thriller. However we do believe that Kakutani has seen better days and that this version of Kakutani won't be able to last the distance with a hungry and driven Hisada, and that's despite the fact he's going to be coming in to this as a man knowing he's in last chance saloon.
The Light Flyweight division in Japan right now is red hot. Not only does the country boast a trio of world champions, Kosei Tanaka, Ryocihi Taguchi and Akira Yaegashi, but the country also has a number of top contenders, like up coming world title challenger Ken Shiro and former champion Ryo Miyazaki.
Recently Ken Shiro vacated the Japanese title, just weeks before a scheduled defense, as a result he scheduled opponent Tetsuya Hisada (27-9-2, 17) had his proposed shot at the belt changed. Instead of facing Ken Shiro in early April it was decided that he would take on veteran, and former champion, Kenichi Horikawa (32-14-1, 7). The bout will finish off a trilogy between the two veterans and decide the new champion, and should be a genuine treat between two men who are well matched and both have a lot to gain from a win here.
Hisada began the year as the mandatory challenger for the title and when it seemed like that shot would come against Ken Shiro it seemed very hard to believe he would have any chance of winning the title. There appears to be a gulf between the two men, with Ken Shiro being not only the Japanese champion but also the Oriental champion and like a man who was ready to fight for a world title.
Although a talented fighter Hisada's limitations really are domestic level. He's never fought for a title before and has had mixed success at Japanese level. He's currently on a 7-2-1 (7) run, showing real belief in his power, but in the past his power has been questionable and even now he's got a sub 50% KO rate. Saying that however he has often fought above Light Flyweight and his power is more telling than his records suggests. Like wise he's also a tough fighter, with his only loss coming to Hiroyuki Hisataka, a former multi-time world title challenger.
Aged 32 Hisada is getting on in his career and this could be his one and only shot at a title. That could be the drive he needs to put in a career defining performance or it could well be that the shot is too late in to his career for him to make the most of it. After all if he's not managed to impose himself at the top of the division in Japan so far, will he ever be able to?
Whilst Hisada might be a late bloomer it's worth noting that Horikawa didn't actually record his career defining win until he was 35 and he claimed the Japanese title, with a stoppage against Shin Ono. He may not have held the title long, but it was a career defining victory, and his first title success, and he has since added the WBO Asia Pacific title to his career achievements. His career has been a long and remarkable one, with fights against a real who's who of the Asian scene, like the aforementioned Yaegashi as well as Florante Condes, Edgar Sosa, and Yu Kimura.
Horikawa's long career has had it's ups and downs but he's been a great servant and been a persistent figure on the Japanese title scene. He had his first title bout in 2009, against Yaegashi and would have numerous title fights before finally winning his first title. Although he came up short a number of times he was almost always competitive. Although he has 14 losses, he has only been stopped 3 times and has had a number of very close bouts that could have gone his way.
Both fighters like to throw punches, both are veterans and both are under-rated, in terms of skills, power, work rate and toughness. Also worth noting that these two have faced off twice before and both times it was Horikawa coming out on top. Potentially that's another reason for Hisada to be particularly fired up here, looking for not only the title but also revenge for two of his losses.
At their best Horikawa wins this, close but clear, but given he's now 37 and he's fighting for something he's won before, whilst Hisada is trying to claim a title in what may be his only chance we are favouring Hisada to just, narrowly, come out on top here.
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.