The Light Flyweight division is a division that is developing quickly at prospect level with a lot of exciting, young, new talent in the division. Some of those fighters are perhaps a little early in their career but are expected to be fast tracked, as we often see in the division. Here we look at some of those prospects, following on from our look at the champions in the division, The state of the Division - Light Flyweight - The Champions, and the leading contenders,
Christian Araneta (16-0, 14)
The Light Flyweight division may be stacked with punchers, but there are more coming through. One of whom is Filipino 23 year old Christian Araneta, who is rising through the ranks an living up to his nickname of "The Bomb". The youngster has stopped 13 of his last 14 opponents, and scored notable wins over domestic foes such as Jesse Espinas, Jerry Tomogdan, Philip Luis Cuerdo. He can be out boxed, and has been at times already, but is certainly a puncher who knows he can rely on his power, when he needs it.
Jesse Espinas (19-3, 11)
Another Filipino prospect, on the verge of being a contender, is the aforementioned Jesse Espinas. Espinas was last seen losing to OPBF champion Edward Heno, in a bout that showed Espinas still has a lot to learn, but the 26 year old has got a lot of promise and should be regarded as one to following in the division. Sadly though he is relatively low down the picking order in the Filipino domestic scene, which could end up being a blessing in disguise giving him extra time to develop from prospect to contender, whilst the others get shots before him.
Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2)
Japanese 23 year old Taku Kuwahara was a fantastic amateur who only debuted in May of this year but has already shown touches of genius and could well end up being the next Ohashi star to break out. He's intelligent in the ring, has fantastic timing and speed and very solid power. His first 2 bouts were opening round blow outs, but he proved he do more than blow opponents away last time out, taking an 8 round decision over another highly touted Japanese hopeful. Kuwahara is perhaps the dark sheep among the prospects, as he looks likely to be fast tracked into contendership very quickly, but for now, at least, he's just a very exciting prospect.
Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4)
American teenager Jesse Rodriguez is only 18 years old but is already one of the most promising prospects at 108lbs, and not just because he's a rare American hopeful at the weight. He was a stand out amateur, who claimed a silver medal at the 2015 World Junior Championships and has been touted as a potential star of the little men. The unbeaten southpaw debuted early last year and is developing well, with great skills, an exciting style and impressive patience for such a youngster. Although not a massive puncher he is accurate and picks his shots well, and looks like he could develop power when he gets his man strength
Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1)
American based Japanese fighter Shokichi Iwata is a bit of a prospective wildcard in the division thanks to his link ups in the West. It's still very early in his career, but he was a stand out amateur before deciding to turn professional and is now looking to go a route of his own in America. Notably he appears to be learning English, something that could really help him increase his fan base in the West, and he looked really exciting on his debut. Maybe not as technically developed as countryman Kuwahara he's still a fantastic addition to the division and could be someone who has a real impact in the West
Takamori Kiyama (2-1, 2)
One final Japanese prospect worthy of note is Takamori Kiyama, who battle Taku Kuwahara earlier this year and lost a decision to the Ohashi man. Kiyama is a very promising southpaw, who lost to a sensationally prospect, but shouldn't be written off for his early career loss. At 22 years old Kiyama has the potential to go a very long way, he's proven he's tough, skilled, his hard and is willing to be tested, having faced 3 successive unbeaten fighters. The fact he's already gone 8 rounds bodes well for the southpaw who has a lot to be excited about.
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.