In boxing we sometimes have match ups that scream "exciting" and the upcoming Japanese Light Welterweight title fight between unbeaten champion Hiroki Okada (8-0, 7) and top ranked challenger Shamgar Koichi (18-5-1, 11) is certainly one such fight.
The champion, defending his title for the first time, is a heavy handed but crude fighter. There is a lot of work to do if Okada is ever going to get beyond the domestic level but whether he wins or loses he's going to be a lot of fun to follow as he attempts to behead his opponents.
Watching Okada early in his career he looked very flawed. He would often miss his opponents by a notable margin before eventually landing on them and staggering them or forcing the referee to step in mid-flurry, as was the case when he beat Jaypee Ignacio. He has managed to develop some skills to add to his power but at the moment his is still mainly a slugger though one who has gone 18 rounds in his last 2 fights.
As well as slugging and throwing wild shots Okada is a come forward fighter first and foremost. It may be harsh to say this but we don't think he was ever really taught how to box on the back foot or how to fight as a counter puncher.
Whilst Okada is an aggressive fighter so to is Koichi who always seems to be applying pressure, always tries to get on the inside and always tries to make the action exciting. Sometimes it works in his favour, as in his thrilling bout with Tomohiko Sakai back in 2012. Sometimes however it doesn't work and Koichi gets clipped then taken apart, as seen in his fight with Shinya Iwabuchi.
Koichi's pressure isn't the most controlled or intelligent but it is persistent and he comes comes at you from the first round to the last in the hope of beating you up or being stopped himself. Like Okada his flaws are clear and although he has a decent KO rate he lacks the power to really make the most of his in your face style. It's possibly however the "relative" lack of power that makes Koichi so much fun to watch, especially in the exchanges which can pretty relentless back-and-forth action.
When you get a crude but heavy handed guy and a pressure fighter in the ring together you tend to get excitement and fireworks and we're oing to be expecting both of those when the men get it on. As for a winner we need to go with the puncher. Koichi has been stopped in 3 of his 5 losses and with Okada's heavy hands we expect him to be stopped again though not before we get some really good action from both men.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
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.