The 29 year Super Middleweight from Tokyo will be shot from complete obscurity to the world stage as he attempts to seize the WBO world title from the Russian born German Robert Stieglitz (44-3, 25). If he's successful Kiyota would become not only the first ever Japanese fighter to claim a WBO title but also the first to claim a belt at Super Middleweight.
Kiyota's task is a very difficult one taking on a a 2-time world champion who has recently regained a title that he will not be wanting to let go of. It will not only be Kiyota's first world title bout but it will also be his first bout outside of the world famous Korakuen Hall. But does he have a chance?
For many in Europe Stieglitz is seen as a paper champion, a fighter who is lucky that there is 4 world titles (and more) in his division. Talent wise he is seen as B rate fighter in a division that includes Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler. Despite this "lower" standing Stieglitz is a credible fighter despite his lack of 1-punch power and a world class chin.
At his best Stieglitz is a hard working fighter who will throw a lot and refuse to quit. If he comes out on fire, like he did last time out against Arthur Abraham, he could give any fighter in the division a night mare. He has a solid engine, is technically impressive and has certainly become a lot more confident in his abilities over the past few years. At his worst however he's a bit of a popcorn puncher who can be seriously rattled by power with 2 of his 3 losses coming by stoppage.
It's the durability issues of Stieglitz which may present Kiyota with a chance. Albeit a rather slim one. We're not going to lie, as fun as Kiyota is to watch, he is a major under-dog here.
For Kiyota he'll know perfectly well that he is stepping up to the big boys table. For the past few years his reign as the OPBF Super Middleweight champion has seen him almost acting as a big fish in a little pond. Evidence of this is in the fact that he is 7-0 (7) in OPBF Super Middleweight title bouts, in fact he is unbeaten at 168.
Although Kiyota is unbeaten at Super Middleweight, his most recent loss was a worry. He was taken out in just 128 seconds by Jameson Bostic, though admittedly that was at Light Heavyweight and Kiyota has looked a much improved fighter technically since then.
What Kiyota has going for him is not only a clear power edge but also the fact no one really expects him to do anything. Fans and media alike in Europe have written him off as an "easy" first defense as Stieglitz prepares to finish a trilogy with Arthur Abraham. This puts all the pressure on the champion who could well be looking beyond the Japanese fighter. There is also the fact that Kiyota is an improving fighter, the man who was beaten by Bostic was unrecognisable to the man who defeated Hiromitsu Miura last time out.
By rights Stieglitz has to be favoured. He may be a "B level" world champion but he's proven on the world stage with victories over Arthur Abraham, Khoren Gevor, Enrique Ornelas, Eduard Gutknecht, Karoly Balzsay and Alejandro Berrio. Upsets do happen and if the powerfully built Kiyota can impose himself on the champion with his power he could shock the world, though it would be a major upset.