One Japanese fighter who has been on the road and proven his worth against fighters all around the world is Katsunari Takayama (25-6-0-1, 10). Katsunari, a true road warrior has been on a 4 year journey around the world fighting in South Africa, the Philippines and Mexico as he persued the IBF Minimumweight title around the planet.
Last time out Takayama finally got his hands on the red and gold IBF title as he defeated Mario Rodriguez via decision in a war in Sinaloa. It was further proof of the type of fighter Katsunari is, entertaining, gutsy and a warrior. In defeating Rodriguez, Takayama became just Japan's second ever IBF champion behind Satoshi Shingaki and became of very few Japanese fighters to have claimed a world title whilst fighting away fro m home.
Fighting in Japan for the first time since 2009, and fighting in his ome town of Osaka for the first time since 2008 Takayama will be defending his title for the first time on December 3rd as he takes on Filipino challenger Vergilio Silvano (17-2-1, 10).
Silvano is a name that few fans outside of Asia will have heard of though he is ranked by both the WBO, #3 at Light Flyweight, and the IBF, #6 at Minimumweight. Those world rankings, whilst never truly accurate, do suggest that Silvano is a real threat to Takayama.
Footage of the Filipino is somewhat difficult to come by, especially when it comes to recent footage of him. From what footage we have seen however he is a southpaw who is a little bit taller than Takayama. He of course lacks the big fight experience of the Japanese fighter though has got experience in going 12 rounds as he did last time out against Jetly Purisima.
Silvano started his career 2-2-1 though has since gone on a 15 fight winning streak. These 15 wins have seen him going 4-0 (2) in title fights and have included him winning the WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title and the Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Light Flyweight title.
For Takayama his record in title fights is less impressive though he has been both an IBF and WBC Minimumweight champion and a WBA interim champion. It's this level of experience that should seperate the men.
We imagine Silvano will start well but the relentless assault of Takayama will start to take it's toll in the middle rounds as Silvano is slowly ground down. The Filipino will, by the later rounds be struggling as Takayama takes a clear but hard fought victory over a man certain to come again and grow from defeat.
Interestingly this bout appears to have it's own poster courtesy of Katsunari's promoterwith the fight being dubbed "Lightning K is Back".