Unlike the WBA the JBC only use interim titles where necessary. Last year saw one such occasion as Japanese 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) suffered a serious injury in training and instead of leaving the title scene on ice the JBC put together an interim title bout between Masanobu Nakazawa and Masayoshi Kotake, with Kotake having been lined up to fight Okada before the champion's injury. Sadly for Kotake he came up short against Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) who will be hoping to turn his interim reign into a true reign as champion.
Coming in to this it will Nakazawa who is full of confidence. The 33 year old Teiken fighter has won his last 15 bouts and is unbeaten in more than 5 years, with his sole defeat being in his 5th professional bout to Shuhei Tsuchiya. Not only is he on a good run but he'll also feel that the win over Kotake, last September, has helped make him as a fighter and proven that he belongs in title bouts.
In the ring Nakazawa is a tall boxer who has shown respectable power, good skills, nice movement and he seems to know how to use his 5'11” frame to great effect. He does however have question marks about his chin, due to his defeat being a 2nd round KO loss, and about how he fares against good opponents, with the win over Kotake being easily his most notable victory.
At 26 years old Okada is seen as one of the more promising Japanese fighters in and around the Welterweight division. He began his career with 7 straight stoppage wins before going the distance against Kotake in a bout that saw Okada win the Japanese title. Since then he has defended the belt twice taking a hard fought decision over Koichi Aso, aka Shamgar Koichi, and a 3rd round TKO over Hayato Hokazono. That win over Hokazono was an impressive performance but came back in March 2015 and he has been out of the ring since, and has only had 23 rounds of boxing in the last 24 months.
At his best Okada is really exciting, aggressive and heavy handed fighter. He takes risks and makes a fight a fight. At his best we really don't see him losing to a fighter like Nakazawa, however questions regarding his inactivity and mental state following the hand injury will be hanging over his head here, will he through the power shots or will he be afraid of re-injuring his hand, which was damaged on the head of stablemate Yoshitaka Kato.
If Okada is the fighter he looked like being against Hokazono we see him taking out Nakazawa in the middle rounds. If however he lacks that little bit of sharpness and has a bit of weariness about his hand then Nakazawa could find himself extending his current winning run to 16 bouts.