With 5 word title bouts taking place on December 31st in Japan we could have expected they would all be mismatches in favour of the local fighters. There is however one clear exception to that rule, in fact the bout in question is seen as a massive mismatch in favour of the visitor who is viewed by many as having the bout in the bag before the fighters have even stepped in the ring. That bout is the IBF Super Bantamweight title bout between explosive champion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) and Japanese challenger Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7), a former Japanese and OPBF champion.
Of the two men it's Guzman who is more well known. He's the champion and he's proven his ability against a series of notable fighters. That's included stoppage wins over the likes of Christian Esquivel, Danny Aquino, Daniel Rosas and most notable Shingo Wake, who he beat in July to win the title in Japan. The only blotch on his other wise perfect record is a no contenst from 2013, in a fight with Luis Hinojosa and since then he has stopped 11 foes in 48 rounds.
Although not the smoothest boxer, or the most rounded of fighters Guzman is a a monster and every shot he lands is damaging. His shots all look concussive and his belief in his power is incredible. Not only does he appear to be a big puncher but, worryingly for opponents, he appears to take a good shot too and has solid stamina allowing him to work at a high rate through out the bout, a surprise for such a banger. Whilst he did dominate Wake there were times he looked like he was flagging, before coming back a round later looking rejuvenated and it's clear that he's going to be a nightmare to fight for anyone in the sport.
Whilst Guzman is a monstrous Super Bantamweight with frightening power and physical strength the same cannot be said of Oguni, who is more of a pure boxer with skills and counter punching, along with speed to burn. Early in his career Oguni looked like a world champion in the making, and one on the fast track to the top. In just his 11th bout he claimed the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, defeating Roli Gasca, and defended it 3 times. Sadly though his rise was ended in 2013 by Wake, who totally dominated him before scoring a 10th round retirement win against Oguni, who looked under-powered. Since that loss Oguni has won the Japanese title and scored notable wins over Yasutaka Ishimoto, Taiki Minamoto and Mike Tawatchai, stopping Tawatchai in 5 rounds earlier this year.
Although Oguni is a pure boxer he has shown an improvement in power recently stopping his last 3 foes, including Tawatchai, and appears to be a fighter who is maturing into a more rounded fighter. He is still a speed based fighter but one who appears to be growing more confident. That confidence could cost him here if he decides to stand his ground and instead he will have to stay on the move, keep Guzman of balance and try to frustrate and tire out the champion.
Although Oguni is a genuinely credible top 10 top of Super Bantamweight this is an incredible tough bout for the challenger and one that we don't see him coming out on top of. We think Oguni has the potential to reach the top, but this bout is one that his lack of fire power will cost him and Guzman will likely stop him in the middle rounds, if not earlier. Oguni has the ability to move for a few rounds but once he feels Guzman's power we suspect he'll look to survive before being broken down.
Right now boxing has a number of genuinely intriguing divisions. The Heavyweight division has started to once again create some positives headlines, the Cruiserweight division is brilliantly matches, the Light Welterweight division has some compelling match ups coming up, the Super Featherweight division keeps delivering brilliant fights, the Light Flyweight division is mouth watering and Flyweight has the potential for so many fantastic bouts. Possibly the most over looked division however is the Super Bantamweight division.
The 122lb weight class has been a frustrating one at times. The way the boxing world has treat Guillermo Rigondeaux has been a big blotch on the division, and the “super fight” between Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton failed to live up to the expectation. The division has also acted as a stop gap for many, with fighters like Leo Santa Cruz, quickly moving up to the more financially rewarding Featherweight division.
Despite the frustration it has delivering some thrilling match ups in recent times and looks like a division bristling with talent, all looking to prove it's self. This coming Wednesday we thankfully get to see some of the more talented fighters facing off, with both men looking to prove a point. One of those is Japan's tricky southpaw sharp shooter Shingo Wake (20-4-2, 12) while the other is big punching Dominican Jonathan Guzman (21-0-0-1, 21). Despite their difference they share the same desires, to be a world champion and to be recognised as a major player on the world scene.
On paper the more impressive of the two men is the big punching visitor. His near perfect record, only marred by a no contest from back 2013 due to a headclash, is imposing to say the least and shows that the “Salomon King” is a genuine destroyer in the ring. That was shown recently when he stopped Daniel Rosas on US, and has been shown through his career with his string of stoppage wins.
Of his 21 wins Guzman has scored 15 in his homeland. Those 15 all came against questionable opposition, as did his win over Emerson Santos Carvalho in Argentina back in late 2012. In recent years however Guzman has been making a name for himself in the US,where he has had his last 5 bouts. Those bouts have seen him beating some familiar fighters, namely Christian Esquivel and Daniel Rosas, though it's fair to say that none of them have been world class, or fringe world class, Super Bantamweights.
In the ring Guzman isn't the quickest of fighters and can actually be walked back, but he's a big Super Bantamweight with genuine power in his right hand. His jab can, at times, be pushed and when he comes forward he does sometimes look a bit clumsy, but when a fighter has the power he has those technical flaws can be over-come by sheer force. One major question that hasn't really been answered is what happens a fighter moves around him, and makes him pay for being crude. Likewise he hasn't really been chin checked by a decent Super Bantamweight with his most notable opponents all being naturally smaller men.
With 4 losses and 2 draws against his name Wake doesn't have an impressive record, however like many Japanese fighters he has over-come a troublesome start to his career to become a genuine contender in the Super Bantamweight division. After 6 fights he was 3-2-1 (2) and after 6 fights he was 10-4-2 (5). Since then however he has gone 10-0 (7) scoring wins over the likes of Jonathan Baat, Yukinori Oguni, Jaesung Lee and Mike Tawatchai. That winning run also saw Wake claim the OPBF title and record 5 defenses of the title, all by stoppage.
Although not a big name in the west Wake has been building a growing fans base since his win over Oguni. That has been helped with having bouts shown on Fuji TV and later TBS who have bother helped to raise Wake's profile. His profile has also been helped by his personality which has helped win over Japanese fans.
In the ring the Japanese fighter is a nightmare to fight. At his best he's a sharp shooter, with intelligent foot work, impressive hand speed, great movement and under-rated power. He may not be the most slippery, or the biggest puncher, but he's certainly a nightmare to tag clean and landing successive shots against him is incredibly difficult. Against a crude fighter Wake has the ability to make them look very silly and is a very rangy fighter which means fighting on the move is made easier by him.
Coming in to this one we have a puncher against a boxer. If the bout is won on skills alone then Wake walks this, however Guzman has that nasty power and that incredible self belief that makes him incredibly dangerous, despite his flaws. If Guzman can make his power count then there is a good chance he can hurt or even stop Wake, however Wake's plan is to take away that strenth by being hit as little as possible, using his speed to land and get out of range before Guzman fires back. If Wake's plan works he wins with ease, getting a wide decision, if not then Guzman will likely break him down with heavy leather.
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.