We get another potentially brilliant match on this coming Monday as former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Keita Obara (10-1, 9), one of the most fearsome punchets in Asia, battles Filipino Jay Solmiano (17-2-1, 13), a former OPBF Lightweight title challenger, for the vacant OPBF Light Welterweight title.
Of the two men it's fair to say that Obara has to be the favourite. He's not only fighting at home in Japan but he's also the naturally bigger man having fought his whole professional career at 140lbs or above and he's also the bigger puncher. Although he has lost that was back in August 2010, on his more than ambitious debut against the experienced Kazuyoshi Kumano, and since then he has been on a tear defeating opponents in double quick speed. Of his 10 victims so far they have survived a total of 50 rounds and none of them have really come close to beating him.
With vicious power Obara isn't someone you want to get hit cleanly by. He can sometimes be a slow starter though he knows he only needs to tag an opponent once to lay them out and he does tend to land the big, powerful, hurtful shot that either finishes and opponent or opens them up for the finish.
In Solmiano we have a fighter with a misleading record. Looking at it you see two losses though one of those came in Japan via split decision to Nihito Arakawa, a bout many felt Solmiano deserved to win, the other loss came inside a round to Rey Labao in a bout that Solmiano destroyed himself trying to make weight for. Since moving up from Lightweight, where he suffered both of those losses, Solmiano has gone 6-0 (6) and taken just 16 rounds to beat those 6 opponents. Although his record might not show it directly Solmiano is a big puncher himself.
Unfortunately for the 27 year old Solmiano he hasn't scored any win of real note and he has has lost both of his bouts with "name" fighters. Of course that doesn't mean he's bad but he's not proven himself to be at Obara's level. It's also worth noting that he wasn't the original opponent and instead he's a replacement for fellow Filipino Adones Cabalquinto. Sure he's been given plenty of time to prepare for the contest but Obara did get a few weeks preparation time. On the flip side of that point Obara was preparing for a different opponent.
As to the actual fight we're a very slow fight fought at a deliberate pace from both men early on. They both know they possess power and can almost certainly hurt the other man though can be badly hurt themselves. It'd be foolish for either man to get tagged in the opening round or two and be stopped. Instead they will ease themselves into the bout, maybe an occasional early exchange but only an occasional one. By round 4 or 5 however the pace will begin to quicken and this will leave us to eciting round or two before one man, we believe Obara, lands a bomb at some point. We're envisioning Obara tagging Solmiano hard and a follow up attack sends him down. We imagine the Filipino probably will get up but will be saved soon afterwards.
With both men capable of landing bombs it's not out of the question that Solmiano is the one who connects bit and that's why this one gets our pulses racing a little bit. Don't be surprised if this one starts pretty forgettably but ends up being something a little special before the end.
Interesting this title was vacated a while back by Korean Min Wook Kim. We'll be honest we would love to have seen a fight between Kim and the winner, it'd a very special fight between heavy handed fighters and it would be one of those fights where you couldn't take your eye off the action just in case one of them were to land a bomb. Hopefully the winner will get the chance to defend again Kim though it's looking very unlikely with the Korean having almost vanished off the face of the planet in recent months.
(Poster courtesy of boxmob.jp)