On December 9th we'll get the chance to see a mouth watering match up between Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) and Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17), in what promises to be an explosive, exciting, and hard hitting affair. The bout may not have a title on the line or be an eliminator, but we do love the look of the contest, with both having heavy hands, but totally different styles, styles we think will match up for an dynamite contest.
Of the two men Omori is the more well known, the more proven and the younger fighter. The "Demon Left", as he was dubbed a few years ago, was once seen as a possible Japanese successor to Shinsuke Yamanaka at Bantamweight. Sadly stoppage losses in 2015 and 2017 to Marlon Tapales have taken some of the shine off his career, though a move up to Super Bantamweight appears to have given him a new lease of life and allowed his body to properly mature. To begin his career Omori had gone 15-0 (10), he had won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight in 2012 and the Japanese Bantamweight title in 2015, blitzing Kentaro Masuda in 3 rounds. The loss to Tapales was followed by a string of stoppage wins before losing a rematch to Tapales in 2017, a rematch for the WBO Bantamweight title that resulted in Tapales missing weight and Omori suffering serious facial injuries. On his return, earlier this year, Omori dominated the limited but hard hitting Brian Lobetania.
In the ring Omori is a hard hitting, fluid, and fast southpaw. As he showed in the second bout with Tapales he's gutsy and tough, but defensively flawed. At Bantamweight there was some concerns that making weight may have had a negative impact on his chin and his stamina, though if they didn't then he may well find he has issues taking a clean shot on the chin at Super Bantamweight. If, as we suspect, making weight cost Omori in terms of durability and stamina then we expect to see him looking very good at 122lbs.
Although less well known the 27 year old Yamamoto has achieved a decent among in his own career. He competed in the 2009 Rookie of the Year, losing to eventual Rookie of the year Hideo Sakamoto. That loss saw Yamamoto fall to 5-1 and soon afterwards he was 6-3 as he struggled to get his career back on track. It was then that things began to click, and he would go on to string 9 straight wins together en route to earning an OPBF title fight in 2015. In that tight fight he would lose a narrow decision to Yu Kawaguchi, before avenging the defeat and beginning a 15 month region, that ended in 2016 when he was stopped by Mark John Yap. Since losing the belt Yamamoto has gone 3-0 but has been fighting at a very low level, and this is a clear step up from his last 3 opponents.
In the ring Yamamoto is a heavy handed fighter, but a bit of a trudger, a lot of his work looks forced, there's little fluidity to it and he lacks sharpness. He does however hit very hard at domestic level, he can set a good work rate, has a stronger jab and takes a shot well. He applies controlled pressure behind his footwork and jab, but defensively he is open and flawed. Despite not being crisp or fast he is a smarter fighter than we tend to give credit for, and he has shown that he can change the tempo of his boxing, moving through the gears as when he feels he has his man hurt.
We suspect Omori will look to use his speed, his movement and ring craft to avoiding taking too many blows whilst landing smart, clean shots on Yamamoto. When Omori gets his man hurt he has shown a great killer instinct, and we expect to see that on show here, if he can rock Yamamoto. If Yamamoto lands clean he can hurt Omori, who won't be too willing to engage in a back and forth fight. Going in Yamamoto will certainly have a punchers chance, but we expect Omori to do what he's good at, control the range and force a mid round stoppage.
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.