On September 24th Odaira will be making the second defence of his title as he defends his belt against the little known Hiroya Yamamoto (8-1, 3). The bout is almost certain to go the distance, especially when you consider that between them they have 4 KO wins from 25 combined fights with just a sole stoppage loss, though who will win, and how?
Odaira, as mentioned, is fast. He has been compared to his promoter Susumu Hanagata, a former WBA Flyweight champion and one of just 2 men to beat the great Masao Oba, and in many ways his style is based around that of Hanagata who also lacked power but had serious speed. Amongst his notable wins are decisions over former world title challenger Takashi Kunishige and Japanese challenger Yuma Iwahashi, neither was a dominant win though he was the deserving winner in both bouts. Saying that however his most impressive performance was his title winning effort against Masashi Tada in January this year, that was dominant.
Due to his lack of power Odaira isn't going to force an opponent to back off though he has got solid movement and energy. He will move and punch, make an opponent miss then punch again. Though he will never prevent a fighter from going to him.
In Yamamoto we have a man stepping up to title level for the first time, though at 22 we would expect him to be back at this level in a few years time. Unfortunately for Yamamoto his record is somewhat revealing. He won the 2012 All-Japan Rookie of the Year though since then he has done little of note and in all honesty the 2012 Rookie of the Year in the Minimumweight division was poor. In all he has gone 2-1 (1) since winning the Rookie of the Year with a stoppage loss to Hayato Yamaguchi, himself a former Japanese title challenger, and a narrow win over Kazuhiro Nakamura.
Ranked #7 by the JBC Yamamoto is going to be a clear under-dog and he's well behind a number of domestic rivals, in fact there is a massive difference between Yamamoto and #1 challenger Kosei Tanaka, who we believe will be heading straight to the OPBF title as opposed to facing the winner of this bout. The #7 ranking makes it sound like Yamamoto has a chance but we don't see it
With Odaira proven ability, notable wins and speedy trickery it's hard to see what Yamamoto brings to the table to beat Odaira. The challenger does have, on paper, a power edge though we don't see that mattering here, instead we can only see a clear and dominant win for Odaira via a wide decision as he makes the most of his speed, skills, and experience to take a clear win.
(Image courtesy of http://www.hanagata-gym.com)