This week's one to watch pits a hard hitting Japanese fighter against a veteran Thai in what should be a much, much better bout than the records of the two suggest. The bout is the headline contest from A-Sign boxing show, meaning it will be made available online through the A-Sign boxing channel, it should be well worthy of a watch given the abilities and styles of the two involved.
The One to Watch?
Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) vs Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (24-10, 16)
November 15th (Friday)
Coming in both men are world ranked, with the local having rankings from the WBC and IBF whilst the Thai is ranked #4 by the IBF, the styles should gel and without trying to sound too much like fan boys every Kurihara fight is a "One to Watch" due to his exciting style and heavy hands. The bout isn't an official world title eliminator, and is scheduled for just 8 rounds, but should be a hectic, exciting war.
The 26 year old Keita Kurihara is the current OPBF Bantamweight title, though won't be defending his title here. He's an ultra aggressive, heavy handed fighter who comes to take opponents out every time he steps in to the ring. Technically he can be out boxed, but he does have the great equaliser in his power and aggression and is the sort of fighter few will fancy beating in a war. Interestingly he won his OPBF title with a narrow decision win last December of Yuki Strong Kobayashi, a decision that was won thanks to 4 knockdowns! He's ultra exciting, and that excitement makes up for technical flaws.
Sukkasem Kietyongyuth, also known as Sukpraserd Ponpitak, is a veteran of 34 pro bouts and has been a professional for almost 11 years. The 32 year old claimed the PABA title early in his career, with a win over Mark Gil Melligen, and showed early promise by was 13-6 after his first 19 bouts and seemed to be written off due to 4 successive losses. Since then he proven his value as a regional gate keeper and given good tests to the likes of Qiu Xiao Jun and Yukinori Oguni. He's no world beater, but a very good gate keeper type, and if you beat him you tend to be pretty solid.
What to expect?
As with every Keita Kurihara fight we expect violence, bombs and aggression. The Thai is a pretty big strong guy and will take a decent amount of punishment if he needs to.What Sukkasem does well is box, he uses a good jab and although he's much better on the front foot than the back foot he can use the ring well and box smartly.
The big question is whether or not Sukkasem can get Kurihara's respect. If he can't then it's hard to see anything but a win for the local, who we suspect will break down the Thai with pressure much like Yusaku Kuga did in 2016. If Sukkasem can get the respect of the Japanese puncher there's a good chance he bag rounds behind his jab, movement and his clean straight punching, though he will need to let leather fly.
For Sukkasem to have success he needs to be busy, and he needs to let his hands go. If he can manage that we're in for something special here!
The bad news?
It's not totally clear when this one will be available to watch, with A-Sign's upload scheduled being very inconsistent. We suspect it'll be uploaded with in a day or two, but it's certainly not a given
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Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.