Courtesy of Boxrec.com
What once seemed an impossibility for Japanese boxers, could amazingly happen twice inside just a few weeks.
When Koki Eto defeated Kompayak Porpramook in a thriller on August 1st Eto became the first Japanese born fighter to win a world title fight in Thailand.
On September 3rd, just weeks later, Nobuo Nashiro (19-5-1, 13) looks to repeat the trick as he travels to Bangkok to take on Thai veteran Denkaosan Kaovichit (61-3-1, 26) for the WBA "interim" Super Flyweight title.
Although both men have very different looking records they are both former world champions and have both only ever lost in bouts for world titles, a rather staggering fact.
The Thai, a former WBA Flyweight champion, is by far the more experienced fighter. He not only has 65 bouts under his belt, but he has been a professional since 1996 and fought in a staggering 536 professional rounds. Like many Thai's however many of those bouts have come against weak opponents as he's traded on quantity of opponents as opposed to quality.
On his debut Kaovichit claimed the PABA Flyweight title and after defending it for almost 6 years he fight in his first world title bout. Unfortunately for Kaovichit he had to travel to the USA to face then then WBA Flyweight champion Eric Morel. Despite putting up a good challenge Kaovichit was stopped in the penultimate round by the Puerto Rican after being dropped earlier in the round.
Kaovichit would have to wait 5 more years for his second title bout. This time he'd be controversially denied a victory as he fought to a draw with Takefumi Sakata, against for the WBA Flyweight title. Although many had Kaovichit winning he was deducted a point with just seconds left that saw him held to a split decision draw.
It was 3rd time lucky just a year later as he faced Sakata in a rematch and stopped the Japanese fighter in 2 rounds for the title. After a couple of close defenses Kaovichit would lose the title to Daiki Kameda and suffering his second defeat.
Since the loss to Kameda, Kaovichit has faced limited opponents with the only one of note being Luis Concepcion, a man who genuinely destroyed Kaovhicit in a WBA interim title bout. Kaovichit was dropped 3 times in just 90 seconds before the referee waved off the contest.
Nashiro is significantly younger in every which way than the Thai. He's 5 years younger in terms or "real age", with just 25 professional contests he's had less than half of the bouts of Kaovichit and with just 190 rounds to his name there is more than 340 rounds of difference.
Despite the relative "inexperience" of Nashiro he's a certified world level fighter. He was rushed to a world title world title fight and amazingly won the WBA Super Flyweight title in just his 8th contest defeating the experienced Martin Castillo for the title.
Unfortunately Nashiro's reign didn't last long and he would lose the title in a notable upset to Alexander Munoz less than a year after winning it. Despite the loss to Munoz it wasn't long until he reclaimed the title winning the vacant belt in a narrow victory over Kohei Kono.
Sadly Nashiro's second reign was no better than his first and he would lose the belt in his 3rd defense being beaten by Hugo Fidel Cazares of Mexico. Since the loss to Cazares, Nashiro has lost 3 more world title fights being out pointed by Tomas Rojas, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai and Tepparith Kokietgym. Unfortunately those 3 losses have been only notable bouts following the Cazares bout.
At Flyweight Kaovichit was a strong willed fighter, as most Thai's are. He wasn't the cutest in the ring or the biggest banger but he had enough power to hurt opponents if he caught them clean and had the tenacity to grind down opponents. Unfortunately as well as lacking KO power he also lacked the world class durability that could well have helped to make him a star. Offensively he was reckless, especially with his right hand but you seemed to always be in for some excitement when he was in the ring.
Unfortunately Kaovichit, as we found out against Concepcion, is starting to pay for his long career with diminished punch resistance. Concepcion is, admittedly, one of the hardest hitters in the lower divisions but every punch seemed to send Kaovichit in to panic mode, perhaps signalling that he's a done fighter in, and around the world title scene.
Nashiro is one of boxing's enigma's. At his best he's a nightmare for anyone. Hard working, impossible to discourage and he hits hard enough to make any fighter think twice. He can be out boxed and out worked but he will never be out toughed, in fact it'll be a long time before anyone can out tough him.
Whilst Nashiro is prototype hard man in the ring he does have several notable issues. He's flat footed, his hands aren't the quickest and he can be made to look one dimensional by a pure boxer type. He won't give anyone an easy night but he also lacks the concussive power to make his own nights easy at the world level.
Whilst Japanese fighters have always had poor fortunes in Thailand it's hard to see Nashiro losing to this version of Kaovishit. In their prime it would have been a great fight but right now a naturally bigger, stronger, younger, fresher Nashiro just seems too likely to wear down Kaovichit. The way to beat Nashiro is by using your legs and movement to stay away from him, and at 36 it's hard to imagine Kaovichit's legs having the spring and energy in them to keep him safe for 12 rounds.
Early this year the Kameda family scored a boxing first as Tomoki joined brothers Daiki and Koki in having held a world title. This saw the Kameda brother's become the first trio to have held world titles.
Unfortunately whilst Koki and Tomoki both currently hold world titles poor Diaki (28-3, 18) is title-less despite having previously held the WBA Flyweight. On September 3rd however Daiki gets to join his brother and create history again as the first trio to hold titles simultaneously. In fact not only that but he also gets a chance to be Japan's third IBF champion, following Satoshi Shingaki and Katsunari Takayama.
To achieve both of those feats however the 24 year old "middle child" of the family will need to over-come the talented Mexican Rodrigo Guerrero (19-4-1, 12) in a battle for the vacant IBF Super Flyweight title, a title Guerrero has previously held.
Daiki is a controversial figure in Japanese boxing, arguably more so than older brother Koki. Although Koki has had several favourable decisions go his way Daiki's arguably more infamous due to his foul filled loss to Daisuke Naito, a bout in which Daiki was deducted 3 points and given a 12 months suspension.
Although the tag of "dirty fighter" has stuck with Daiki since the loss to Naito he has done a fair bit to change his image and has grown up from an 18 year old immature young man into a skilled and decent fighter. He's certainly not a special talent though he is very good and has scored notable victories over Denkaosan Kaovichit, Takefumi Sakata and Silvio Olteanu.
Evidence of how good Daiki is can be seen in his losses as much as his wins. All 3 losses have been in world title fights with the first coming to Naito, the second to Denkaosan Kaovichit and the third to Tepparith Kokietgym. These loss have seen Daiki recording a 3-3 record in world title bouts.
Unfortunately one of Daiki's biggest problems, like older brother Koki, is that he's not a big puncher and many of his fights, especially at world level, have gone to decision with an awful lot of them being close. He tends to get the win in the close ones but certainly doesn't do a lot of favours to win over the international fan base. Domestically however he has endeared himself to fans with post fight singing which has helped him gain a cult following despite his controversial status in the sport.
Guerrero, himself just 25, is a well regarded fighter who has impressed in a number of fights, even ones where he has been the loser. He first burst on to the consciousness of the hardcore fans in 2008 when he defeated the experienced Juan Alberto Rosas, the following year he would add a victory over Luis Maldonado before losing in his first world title bout against Vic Darchinyan.
Although Guerrero, then aged 22, was widely out pointed by Darchinyan he had put up a brave effort en route to the loss. He was unfortunate in his next loss suffering a split decision defeat at the hands of the very good Raul Martinez. A rematch with Martinez however saw Guerrero claiming the IBF Super Featherweight title thanks to 6th round technical decision.
Surprisingly having world so hard to win his world title Guerrero oddly let it slip from his grasp in his first defense losing to Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr just months after having claimed the title.
Since losing the title to Sanchez, Guerrero has scored 3 victories including a very impressive victory in Canada stopping Sebastien Gauthier. Interestingly however Sanchez's inability to make the 115lb weight has seen him stripped and the title made vacant, hence this bout being arranged.
Of the two men Guerrero has been the most impressive in his career. He's shown an ability to travel and still be dangerous, he's shown no fear against naturally bigger opponents and he's also demonstrated and ability to really hurt fighters with his power, tenacity and work rate. Sure he's had off nights such as his narrow victory over Federico Catubay but at his best he's an excellent fighter.
Unfortunately for Guerrero however there is a vast world of difference between fighting in Canada and the US to fighting in Japan. Although both Canada and the US away "away" venues for Guerrero they pale in "awayness" to Japan which could well play on Guerrero.
If both men turn up at the top of their game we expect this could be very special with Guerrero just doing enough to take a decision in Japan, if he's less than 100% then Daiki could well do enough to take the decision and his place in history, though it certainly will not be easy for the "Karaoke Kameda".
Many fans of the lighter divisions will know that we currently love the Flyweight division, arguably the most entertaining division fight after fight after fight. It's a division that in recent years has provided some fantastic buts, most recently Koki Eto's victory over Kompayak Porpramook.
Despite our love of the Flyweight division we've not got the same adulation for it's little brother the Light Flyweight division, despite the fact if features Kazuto Ioka and Teiken fighter Roman Gonzalez.
One of the reason's we dislike the division, at least on the world level, is that it's actually quite a weak division. You have Gonzalez and Ioka then you struggle to define who is the #3 fighter in the division. Is it Johnriel Casimero? Is it former Casimero victim Pedro Guevara? Is it Adrian Hernandez? It's hard to say.
What we can say however is that Hernandez (27-2-1, 16) will be strongly favoured to retain his WBC title later this month when he takes on Japanese challenger Atsushi Kakutani (13-3-1, 6) a fighter who in all honesty shouldn't be considered as even qualified to fight for a world title.
We don't like saying someone shouldn't be qualified for something but it's hard to see what Kakutani has done to be deserving of a world title fight. He has lost his two highest profile bouts to date including an opening round defeat to Wars Katsumata/Warlito Parrenas just over 2 years ago and suffered a loss to Teiru Kinoshita in his only previous title bout. Yes Kakutani hasn't even been crowned the Japanese champion.
Although the 28 year old Japanese fighter was unlucky against Kinoshita, losing a debated split decision, he didn't look particularly good in the fight before or the fight after the Kinoshita bout, drawing with Takashi Omae and narrowly defeating Rey Loreto.
In Kakutani's most recent bout he defeated limited Thai Kaokarat Kaolernlekgym, though the victory really proved little due to how poor the Thai was.
The only real advantage we can see for Kakutani is that he's a natural Flyweight so he may be very much the stronger, bigger man in the ring, though then again he may also be drained in the ring.
"El Confesor" Hernandez has the strongest claim to be the third best fighter in the division. Aged 27 Hernandez has scored victories over a mini who's who including Rodel Mayol, Gilberto Keb Baas, twice, and Kompayak Porpramook. He's shown that whilst he can be beaten, and stopped, he's actually a credible fighter who can box or bang and at his best he's takes quite some beating, Porpramook who's first fight with Hernandez was special indeed.
This is set to be Hernandez's third defense of the title this year and whilst that sounds impressive it's to be noted that none of the challengers have been great. Defenses against and Dirceu Cabarca and Yader Cardoza are certainly nothing to write home about.
Unfortunately for Kakutani his punch resistance is a real worry for us, especially seeing how Katsumata/Parrenas dropped him 3 times inside a round. Sure Katsumata/Parrenas is a huge puncher and Hernandez isn't, but Hernandez is a world class boxer with a solid punch on him, a punch we expect will send Kakutani to the canvas several times before the referee stops the contest.
Courtesy of http://www.boxer-hisataka.com/
There is an old British proverb that states "if at first you don't succeed" you should "try, try, try again". In the case of Japanese fighter Hiroyuki Hisataka (22-10-1, 10), a man dubbed "The Sexy Soldier", that's exactly what he's doing later this months.
The 28 year old Japanese fighter may not be a well known name but he's a 3-time world title challenger having lost in title bouts to Takefumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit and Hugo Fidel Cazares.
He'll be going in to his fourth world title fight later this month as he takes on WBO Super Flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez (39-1-2, 20), a talented Argentinian veteran who's sole loss is to Nonito Donaire.
Although Hisataka may not have an impressive looking record the 28 year old is genuinely a credible fringe contender. He is ranked in the top 15 by the WBC, IBF and WBO and has scored several noteworthy victories since his debut back in 2002. Those victories include a decision over Hussein Hussein, a stoppage of Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym and most recently a decision over Sonny Boy Jaro.
As well as those victories many of Hisataka's losses have been close and to a high level of competition. Not only have they included Sakata, Kaovichit and Cazares in world title bouts but they've also included Tomonobu Shimizu, Kaiyanghadaogym, and Oleydong Sithsamerchai.
At 38 years old Narvaez, known as "El Hurracan", is an old man, especially in the Super Flyweight. He has impressively been able to maintain his world title at 115lbs though has began to show signs of his age and a long career which almost saw him defeated last time out to the excellent Felipe Orucuta.
At his best Narvaez was genuinely amazing. He was slippery on the defensive, lightning quick with combinations on the offensive and combined the two as he found ways to get inside, usually against bigger fighters, and unload stunning flurries before getting back out.
Of course at 38 Narvaez is no longer a fighter fighting at his best but he's still a skilled, tricky, intelligent fighter who can take care of himself in the ring and still show glimpses of his counter punching excellence.
With the ability of Narvaez and the fact he's fighting at home, this will not be an easy fight for Hisataka however the Japanese fighter has arguable done his best work away from home. His losses to Kaovichit and Oleydong, both in Thailand, were razor thin and if he fights to his best he could really make Narvaez sweat.
If Narvaez has slipped further from his narrow victory over Orucuta we could see the upset here. Hisataka has the youth, size and reach to make life difficult for Narvaez and also knows he'll be able to take the power of Narvaez. In fact if the bout ends up on the inside Hisataka himself can hold his own and may be be able to force Narvez into plan B and maybe even plan C.
Naevaez will rightfully be favoured going in, though a small, cheeky part of us actually does feel like the time is right for Hisataka to score his career defining victory and, at the fourth time of asking, win a world title.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Not all Asian born fighters fight in Asia and one such case is the Afghan born Canadian Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10).
Although Usmanee was born in in the war torn country of Afghanistan in the west of Asia he and his family would move to Canada when he was just a child.
It was in Canada that Usmanee would become a fighter and his talent was obvious as he won 5 national titles.
Usmanee now looks to become the first Afghan born fighter to claim a professional boxing world title* as he takes on talented Dominican Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11) for the IBF Super Featherweight title.
Although this is a big step up for Usmanee he's a fighter than many feel should have an unbeaten record and be viewed as a genuine contender. His run of recent bouts have been against a string of fringe contenders and his most recent contest, albeit a controversial loss, with Rances Barthelemy was a performance that showed Usmanee to be a fighter capable of fighting at the highest level.
So far in his career Usmanee has, aside from the Barthelemy fight, been a bit under-the radar. Despite this he's proven to be a tough, determined fighter, and although not a huge hitter he is technically sound and able to switch from head to body very easily. In fact it's fair to say his body attack is one of his most notable qualities.
The twice beaten Mendez is widely regarded as one of the world's premier Super Featherweights with most independent rankings rating him as the #2 guy in the division with only Takashi Uchiyama ahead of him.
Mendez is a technically gifted fighter who, at his best, looks like a very special boxer. He poses quick hands which have more sting on them than his record would indicate and of course he's very well schooled.
The schooling of Mendez has been a long and arduous task . He was, prior to turning professional in 2006, a stand out amateur with a reported 250 contests under his belt, including bouts at the Olympics, World Amateur Championships and Pan American championships. Although he often came up short, his losses were, on the whole, to tremendous fighters like Guillermo Rigondeaux, Aleksei Tishchenko and Juan Manuel Lopez.
Since turning professional Mendez has blown a bit hot and cold. At his best he'd give Japanese fighter Uchiyama a very hard night, at his worst he struggles over gatekeepers like Martin Honorio.
Although Mendez has got 2 losses on his record both were controversial. The first came via split decision to Jaime Sandoval in a bout where Mendez was certainly not at his best and the second came to Juan Carlos Salgado in Mexico, a man he has since stopped in very impressive fashion.
If Mendez looks like the fighter who stopped Salgado in 4 rounds back in March this is going to be a very hard contest for Usmanee. If Mendez blows cold and over-looks Usmanee then the Afghan born fighter could well score the upset and become the first man born in Afghanistan to claim a recognised world title.
With the fight being in Mendez's adoptive state of New York we expect him to have on his game face and put on a show. Unfortunately this doesn't bode well for Usmanee who will have to find an extra gear if he's to hold his own with an "on form" Mendez.
*Hamid Rahimi won lightly regarded the World Boxing Union interim Middleweight title in February 2012. It's fair however to ignore the WBU from being a "genuine world title".
For many the top Super Featherweight on the planet is Takashi Uchiyama, the WBA champion.
For those that follow the Japanese scene it's fair to say that Uchiyama is an exceptional fighter who hits like a mule, takes a shot well and knows how to defend himself. Despite the defense and toughness of Uchiyama he has been down once, at the hands of the monstrously hard hitting Takashi Miura (25-2-2, 19).
Although Uchiyama did get up and defeat Miura, it was fair to say that Uchiyama had never felt a shot like the one Miura had landed on him. In fact it was more a shock that Uchiyama got up from the shot than that he was sent to the canvas in the first place.
Since the loss to Uchiyama, Miura has made a genuine name for himself thanks to a run of 5 victories, including a destructive victory over Gamaliel Diaz for the WBC Super Featherweight title.
Miura makes the first defense of his title as he takes on the exciting and dangerous Mexican Sergio Thompson (27-2, 25) on August 17th, in a fight we'd happily ear-mark as a "must watch" contest.
For those who haven't seen Miura he'll not blow you away in terms of skills. In fact with out trying to sound harsh he's actually very basic. What he does do though is bang, and we mean bang. As mentioned in the opening of this, he dropped Uchiyama which is a genuinely impressive feat and had the same shot landed on any other Super Featherweight they'd have stayed down.
As well as possessing a lethal left hand Miura is teak tough and although he was stopped by Uchiyama that was down to serious swelling around his face more than anything else.
When you combine a tough Japanese fighting spirit with dynamite power you know that you any fight they are in could, potentially, be a fight of the year. When you have Sergio Thompson in the opposite corner then you boost the chances of something special ten fold.
Thompson is a fighter who "burst" on to the world stage back in 2012 when he defeated Jorge Linares, of course a fighter who has been under the Teiken banner in the past. The victory over Linares, via 2nd round TKO, was a result that really shook the boxing world with many, ourselves included, really rating Linares highly.
Prior to the Linares win there was very little to really say about Thompson. He had lost in his most notable bout, a split decision at home, to Alisher Rahimov and really had little else of note on his record.
Since the victory over Linares, Thompson has defeated several C level opponents but hasn't managed to get another notable name in the ring. He has, for all intents and purposes, become a member of the "who needs him?" club. Dangerous, very hard hitting, very offensive and very difficult to beat. He was almost cast aside waiting for an opportunity that at one point never looked like it was going happen.
Thanks to Mexican backers however Thompson has managed to get his well earned shot at a WBC title and lured Miura away from Japan.
With Miura being a fun to watch fighter, with power a flawed but offensive style and genuine toughness he's facing a fighter who is actually a bit like himself. However Thompson does seem to have a bit more to his game than Miura inside the ring, he certainly looks more willing to let his hands go for example and looks like a fighter able to wear people down as well as blast them out.
Stylistically the style match up seems to favour the busier Thompson who appears to hit just as hard as Miura but throws more. Saying that though, Miura is more tested having faced Uchiyama, Diaz and a number of Japanese fighters. Yes, the win over Linares is the biggest win between the two men though the quantity of good wins is with Miura who maybe defending his title for the first time but is fighting in his 3rd would title bout.
Going in to this fight we need to admit we do favour Thompson. Fighting away from Japan for the first time won't do Miura any favour and although he's tough and hard hitting he will probably get out worked here and unfortunately ground down.
It'll be a great fight as long as it lasts, don't get us wrong there, but we tend to think that Miura gets stopped in the middle rounds after hurting Thompson at least once.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.