What some fans may not realise however is that the same "Ring of Diamonds" show also features another title bout, a Japanese Featherweight title bout between former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (24-2-1, 18) and the unbeaten Yuki Ogata (19-0-1, 3). A bout that may not have the allure of the world title contests but should still have fans licking their lips in excitement.
Going in to the bout Hosono must be the favourite. The hard hitting fighter from the Ohashi stable is a former OPBF and Japanese champion whose 3 career set backs have come in world title bouts to world class fighters, with his only losses coming to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Celestino Caballero.
When you get in the ring with Hosono you realise that firstly he's tough. Anyone who goes 12 rounds with Poonsawat and Caballero is tough. And then you realise just how hard he hits. His record may "only" show 18KO's in 27 fights but he's not known as the "Bazooka" for no reason, what he hits he hurts and very few will win a shoot out with him. In a way he's a bit like Takashi Miura in that his mid 60% KO ratio doesn't really show his true power which is genuinely vicious to both head and body.
Although powerful Hosono does have his flaws. He's often found flat footed with less than stellar movement, his hand speed isn't the best and he can be a slow starter, who gives away the opening round. It was those flaws, as well as the extreme reach difference, that allowed Caballero to complete dominate him in a WBA Featherweight title fight, at the time though Caballero was still a very good fighter.
In Ogata we have the opposite. A light hitting stylist who won't have the power to make Hosono think twice about walking in, but have the movement to unsettle his heavy handed foe. The movement of Oagata is his key to victory and he will have to move near enough none stop whilst pumping out the jab over and over just to have any chance at recording the victory.
The big problem for Ogata is that we really have no idea how good he actually if. He's got a #2 JBC ranking but that's almost come because of other issues. His 20 fights to date have been at a much lesser level to those of Hosono and in all honesty the #2 ranking is one based on situation as opposed to victories or ability. For example the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, Yasutaka Ishimoto, Yukinori Oguni, Hozumi Hasegawa, Ryol Li Lee, and Akifumi Shimoda would all be easily favoured over Ogata who hasn't proven himself anywhere near their level.
With Ogata being the man stepping up, massively, for this fight he'll likely feel that the pressure is on him to prove he deserved the shot. Unfortunately for him we think the step up is far too much and although we think he'll have a good start, possibly winning the first 2 or 3 rounds, before Hosono starts to find his range and timing with his destructive right hand which rock Ogata. We don't expect Ogata to be stopped with a single shot we do think a follow up attack after a powerful right hand will force the referee to save Ogata from a really nasty hammering.
Whilst we think this is all but a formality for Hosono we don't actually think he'll keep the title for long. It seems obvious that he has aspirations on a world title and we'd expect him to drop the Japanese title chase that dream, possibly giving Ogata a second chance to win the belt in the next year or so.
(Poster courtesy of http://www.ohashi-gym.com)