Kato, ranked #10 by the WBC and WBO, is a fringe world level fighter. He's not a name known in the west but he does hold a notable 1-1 record against Nihito Arakawa and is a man who has been impressing on the Japanese domestic scene.
Not only has Kato been one of the rising domestic forces but he's a man who has been on a solid winning run. His last loss came via a shock stoppage to Mitsuya Omura back in April 2010 and since then he has won 9 straight. Those 9 fights have included 5 successful defenses of the Japanese title and of course him winning both the Japanese and OPBF titles.
Those victories, on the whole, have come by decision with Kato needing to show his boxing skills to over come the likes of Rey Labao, Akihiro Kondo and Takashi Inagaki. He has scored the odd stoppage, including a 91 second TKO over the very limited Kota Koike, but they have been rare and haven't come against any sort of quality.
Aged 29 Kato will have his eyes on a world title fight at some point. That however is dependent on him keeping his world ranking and also the OPBF title title that he claimed last year with a decision over Motoki Sasaki.
Although Kato has already defended the OPBF title once, defeating Rey Labao, he's now set to defend against one of the most promising fighters in Japan, Masayoshi Nakatani (6-0, 5).
What Nakatani has done as a professional is look exceptionally promising and highly dangerous. His most impressive performance to date was a stoppage over the very dangerous Shuhei Tsuchiya. It was that fight more than any other that really showed what Nakatani was about and in fact some described him as showing glimpses of Tommy Hearns about him.
Aged 24 and stood at 5'11" Nakatani is a Lightweight giant. He has long arms which he has used to great effect, he has genuine power and with the Ioka training you know he is well skilled.
Of the two fighters it's clear that Kato is the more experienced man. He has an impressive 31 fights behind him with 206 professional rounds. These have included numerous bouts that have gone the scheduled 12 rounds. Nakatani has just 6 bouts and a mere 21 rounds under him with the longest fight of his career going just 6 rounds.
Despite the experience edge we think the most telling edge will be in power and size. Kato isn't a big puncher at all. He's only managed 2 stoppages in his last 12 bouts dating back to 2009. Nakatani though is a monstrous puncher and we have seen Kato stopped once before, by Mitsuya Omura. We're expecting a repeat of that and will be calling the apparent upset.
The other bouts on the card will include Kenji Kubo (3-2, 1) and Yusuke Sakashita (10-4-2, 6).
The card, put on by Kadoebihoseki, will be held at the Korakuen Hall and will be expected to feature some really great action.
Although far from a super card we expect the show to be very interesting, most notably because of the main event which bares a lot of importance on the domestic scene and the world scene.