This coming Saturday is a hectic day for fight fans with bouts all over the place, ranging from low level nothing bouts all the way up to world title bouts. One of the bouts, somewhere in the middle of all the contests, is a Japanese Lightweight title bout between defending champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) and little known challenger Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3). For Arakawa the bout will be his first defense, of his his second reign, whilst Tsukada will be fighting in his first title bout.
The exciting and teak tough Arakawa came to the attention of international fans back back in 2013 when he engaged in a memorable FOTY style bout with Omar Figueroa Jr. On that occasional Arakawa impressed less with his skills and more with his determination and toughness, walking through hell to try and break down the then destructive American. Following that loss Arakawa went 1-3 and it seemed like his career was over.
In the last 2 years we have seen a resurgent Arakawa transfer to the Watanabe gym and claim the Japanese Lightweight title, with a notable win over the then champion Kota Tokunaga.
As we all know Arakawa is as tough as they come. The loss to Figueroa would have finished off most other fighters but Arakawa, at the age of 34, appears to be having an Indian summer. He is also a man with the desire to not only win the title, for the second time, but now to retain it and move towards exciting fights in 2017, potentially with slugger Shuhei Tsuchiya.
Whilst Arakawa is known, to some degree, by pretty much every fight fan the same cannot be said of Tsukada who is really unknown outside of the hardcore Japanese fans. Those hardcore fans however will remember him from multiple Dangan shows at the Korakuen Hall in recent years.
Having been a professional for close to 6 years Tsukada has had mixed results. He was 3-3 after bouts, having suffered two stoppage losses. In those early bouts Tsukada looked uncoordinated, and under-trained. He was defensively very open and offensively his work was wild, open and crude. Whilst he has tempered his wildness in recent years he is unable to take a good shot and has now suffered 5 stoppage losses, including a defeat last year to Ribo Takahata. That loss ended a 3 fight winning run, including a good decision win over Kazuhiro Nishitani in June 2015.
Unfortunately for Tsukada his inability to take a shot is likely to be a major issue here. Arakawa isn't a big puncher but he is a steady puncher who will land a lot on Tsukada and force a stoppage, likely with the referee needing to save the challenger in the middle rounds. Hopefully, with a win, Arakawa will move on to the anticipated bout with Tsuchiya in early 2017.
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.