Earlier today we were informed that OPBF and Japanese Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (24-8-1, 10) would be defending his crowns against the heavy handed Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). The bout, set for March 26th at the Korakuen Hall, doesn't look a great on on paper but it does come following an excellent run of tough bouts for Shibata who has really been fighting the best in Japan over the last 30 months.
Shibata was last seen in the ring this past December when he stopped Makoto Fuchigami in 12 rounds to defend the unified crown for the second time since adding the Japanese title to his Oriental title last March. That Fuchigami bout came after wins against Hikaru Nishida and Daisuke Nakagawa, both of which were great wins for the talented boxer from the Watanabe Gym.
The 35 year old Akiyama does lack a notable win though has shared the ring with both Sanosuke Sasaki, losing a 4 round decision, and Nishida, losing a 6 round split decision. Since the loss to Nishida we have seen Akiyama win 4 straight bouts and climb to the #1 place in the Japanese rankings, some how.
As well as this bout it's been confirmed that Ken Shiro (2-0, 1) would be fighting Katsunori Nagamine (10-0, 6), as we reported late last week. According to our source this bout will be an 8 round bout which has been made at Flyweight, a weight we suspect will suit Nagamine slightly better than Ken Shiro.
(Image courtesy of http://www.watanabegym.com)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!