Finally, it seems, Japanese action is picking up with the second title bout with in a week and a second card of note to begin the year.
The second Japanese title fight of the year comes just days after the first, which saw Hiroki Okada retain the Japanese 140lb title, this time we see a bout for a vacant title and, on paper, it's a mismatch. The bout in question sees former title challenger Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3-1, 6) battle against the experienced Yasuhiro Okawa (14-11-3, 5), who is set for his first title bout. On paper this is a huge mismatch but Okawa is better than his record suggests and has improved drastically from his 7-9-3 (2) start to professional life. Saying that however it's hard to see Shindo losing given how impressive he was in a Japanese title bout last year.
In the main support bout we see a former world champion in action as former WBC Flyweight kingpin Sonny Boy Jaro (42-13-5, 30) takes on Japanese ranked fight Yusuke Suzuki (6-2, 4), in what looks to be a very tough ask for Suzuki. Interestingly Jaro was once 0-3 in Japan though after a pair of wins in the “Land of the Rising Sun” last year he could level his record in the country with a win over Suzuki. For the 27 year old Japanese fighter this is an opportunity to score a big win, but he will be the huge under-dog.
Another supporting bout here will see former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-11, 12) take on Hideo Mikan (7-10-1, 2) in a must win bout for both men. Fuchigami, best known for being stuffed by Gennady Golovkin, has lost 4 of his last 5, with the last 2 both being stoppages. He needs a top performances here against Mikan, who has lost his last 3. Given that both will view this as a real opportunity we could end up with a very fun fight here.
One final under-card bout of note will see former Rookie of the year Hisao Narita (9-3, 4) take on Japanese based Colombian Elfelos Vega (5-2, 3). Both fighters were beaten last time out and know that a win here will give them something to build on, but it's fair to say that Narita will come into the bout as the favourite.