To end the month of September Japanese fans get a title double header at the Korakuen Hall. One of those is a Japanese Welterweight title bout that really is uninspiring to say the least, the other is a Super Bantamweight title bout that has actually caught our eye in anticipation of a potentially intriguing fight.
The champion, defending his title for the second time, is Yukinori Oguni (14-1-1, 4), a former OPBF champion who suffered his sole loss to the excellent Shingo Wake. His challenger is the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (10-4, 9), who may lack in skills but is a danger at the domestic level. It's a puncher vs a boxer contest and could well provide a bout that either sees skills blunting brute force or brute force over-coming the more skilled man.
In the ring Oguni is a boxer. He's a quick fight who likes to use his sharp jab, his quick movement and establish a comfortable range whilst he prevents an opponent from getting into rhythm. Early on he had great success by doing that and won his first 10 bouts. It was during that run that he won the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, upsetting Roli Gasca, and defended it 3 times. Back then it seemed like he was on his way to the top.
Unfortunately for Oguni his winning run came to an end against Wake who did everything better than Oguni, and hit harder, eventually breaking down Oguni in 10 rounds with Oguni's corner team then stopping their man. Since then he has bounced back with 4 wins and a draw, though did look less than outstanding in his last couple of bouts, a razor thin win over Yasutaka Ishimoto and a draw with Gakuya Furuhashi.
Although Oguni hasn't looked great recently he's also not looked terrible, and he has been facing solid competition. We know Ishimoto and Furuhashi aren't world class, but both are very good fighters who will mix in, and around, the top of the domestic level for the foreseeable future.
Whilst Oguni has had notable success we're about to see Minamoto step up to title level for the first time. Whilst this will be his first title fight he's certainly not facing his first notable opponent, in fact over the last 3 years he has faced the likes of Akihiko Katagri, Masayuki Ito, Eita Kikuchi, Seizo Kono and Yukinori Hisanaga. He has lost to Katagiri, Ito and Hisanaga but he did score botable stoppages over Kikuchi and Kono over the last 2 years.
Minamoto isn't the most skilled but with 9 T/KO's in his 10 wins it's clear he can punch and it's obvious that he will try to use that power to unsettle Oguni. It will be a case of whether or not he gets the chance to land on the slippery champion. If he does then this will be interesting.
Although we do give Minamoto a chance, given his power, we suspect that Oguni will be too good, too quick and too skilled for the challenger, who will never give up looking for that KO punch but will never quite land it.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)
The Super Bantamweight division is a hugely frustrating one in recent years. The bouts the fans want aren't being made and the bout we're getting are typically mismatches with little to really offer in terms of competitive action. In 2014 we failed to see any of the champions face each other, we also failed to see fighters like Genesis Servania, Kid Galahad, Shingo Wake, Hugo Ruiz, Rey Vargas or Albert Pagara get a shot at the the champions.
Even at the Japanese domestic level the division frustrated us in 2014. The most notable part of that frustration came when Hidenori Otake injured a rib prior to a scheduled title defence. Soon afterwards Otake vacated title and, subsequently, got himself a world title shot at WBA “regular” champion Scott Quigg. Whilst the injury “benefited” Otake in some ways it did leave one man out in the cold, Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5, 7).
It was Furuhashi who was supposed to be get the shot at Otake prior to Otake's injury but unfortunately he was forced to wait for a shot.
Whilst Furuhashi was waiting the JBC did put up the vacant title for a fight last December. The understanding was that Furuhashi would get the first shot at the winner.
The fight in December saw Yukinori Oguni (14-1, 4) claim the title with a very, very close decision over Yasutaka Ishimoto in a very good match up. As a result of that win Oguni knew he would be fighting Furuhashi in what looks likely to be another very good fight involving Oguni.
Of the two men involved it's Oguni who is the most well known. Not only is he the defending champion here but he is also a former OPBF champion, who lost that title to Wake in his only loss to date. In the ring Oguni is a very talented boxer mover who has lovely fast hands, nice movement and a lot of ability. He does however lack power and still seems to have the strength of a boy and not a man. To his credit however he does hold notable wins over the likes of Roli Gasca-twice, Hiromasa Ohashi, Masaaki Serie and Ishimoto and they all been due to his skills as opposed to his power.
What Oguni does so well is use his speed, both with his feet and his hands. His combinations are sharp, even if they lack power, his movement is intelligent and it takes a very good fighter to beat him.
As for Furuhashi, who really has waited for his shot, this will be his first title fight and the challenger really has had some mixed fortunes. In 2008 he was the All-Japan Bantamweight Rookie of the year but followed that up by losing his first bout in 2009, dropping a split decision to Masayoshi Tachiki. Losses to Ryuichi Funai and Coach Hiroto aren't too damning however they've been joined by losses to Yuji Ota and Hajime Nagai, both of which are disappointing defeats.
Whilst Furuhashi does have a number of losses he also has a couple of stand out wins. The first of those was an opening round blow out over Nobuhisa Coronita Doi in 2011 whilst more recently a 7th round TKO against Toru Suzuki. The win over Suzuki has been followed by a trio of lesser level wins, including one over a Thai debut as he's continued to prepare for his shot at a title bout.
Whilst getting footage of Oguni is no problem it has been difficult to get “real” footage of Furuhasi with the most notable film of him coming from a public sparring session with Akihiko Katagiri last year. Of course sparring isn't a real fight but it did show that Furuhashi had nice speed, a sharp jab and could find holes against a talented and naturally bigger fighter. The spar also showed that he was a talented boxer-puncher with a lot of skill.
Given what we know about the two men we expect that this will be a very interesting bout and could be hard to score. With neither man having a big punch it will almost certainly go the distance and will inevitably go down to the judges. From the footage Oguni is the better boxer and the fast fighter. Furuhashi however does look like the type of fighter who will begin to time Oguni and land counter right hands frequently. The question is whether he will land enough enough the notably taller Oguni who think will have a significant reach advantage. If Furuhashi can't time him then Oguni should be able to do enough to take a comfortable win, if Furuhashi can however slip the leads of the champion and fire back then this could be one that goes down to the wire.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
A little more than 3 years ago the hardcore boxing fans were becoming very excited about a young, and then unbeaten Japanese fighter known as Yukinori Oguni (13-1, 4). At the time Oguni was 7-0 (2), he had claimed the OPBF Super Bantamweight title and upset the highly regarded Roli Gasca in what was a real break out win. At that point we were hoping to see Oguni grow and grow and eventually become a force on the world boxing scene.
Sadly for Oguni he would go on to defend that title just 3 times before running into an inspired Shingo Wake who took his opportunity and dominated Oguni en route to stopping the defending champion in 10 rounds and supplanting himself on the fringes of a world title fight.
Prior to losing the title Oguni had managed to defend his belt against two notable Japanese foes. One of those was Hiromasa Ohashi, who was beaten via a 9th round technical decision, whilst the other was a clear decision over Masaaki Serie.
Whilst Oguni was making a name for himself on the Asian scene we were also seeing Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-7, 7) rising through the Japanese national scene. Though he did, unfortunately, came up short in his first title bout, losing a hard fought decision to Masaaki Serie.
Interestingly just a month after Oguni lost the OPBF title fans saw Ishimoto score his break out win as he traveled to Macau and defeated Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in a performance that left us all wondering whether Ishimoto could reach the top tier in the sport. Sadly however he fell short when he was destroyed by Chris Avalos in an IBF world title eliminator, also held in Macau.
The two men meet this coming weekend as they battle for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, a belt recently vacated by Hidenori Otake prior to Otake's world title bout against Scott Quigg. The men are both hungry and both will know that a win here could help them on their way back toward a big international fight.
Whilst both have lost to the most notable opponents that they have faced both are talented guys and both are similar in many ways. Neither has real power though they both have nice hand speed and jabs and both have been stopped in their most recent losses. Saying that however both also have some clear differences.
Ishimoto is more willing to fight on the inside, as shown in recent wins over Zun Rindam of Indonesia and Charly Valenzuela of Mexico, both of whom were stopped by Ishimoto who proved he was more than just a tricky and light hitting fighter with solid timing. On the other hand Oguni is a pure outside fighter who uses his length and speed to great use on the outside, he never really sits on his shots but he does fight to his advantages which are size and speed.
With neither being a puncher we have to suspect this will go the distance though the question as to who will win is a tough one to answer. We can see Oguni boxing on the move to a wide decision as Ishimoto chases shadows and gets tagged by the Oguni jab. We can also see Ishimoto imposing his strength, cutting the ring down and grinding down Oguni with body shots late in the bout. The outcome is one we're unsure on though we are looking forward to finding out who will get the win here and who will become the new Japanese Super Bantamweight champion.
(Image courtesy of http://8nakaya.co.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.