Earlier today the EDION Arena Osaka hosted the debut of touted switch hitter Takahiro Tai (1-0, 1) [田井宜広], who turned professional earlier this year under the guidance of his father at the somewhat unknown RST Gym.
Tai had been a solid amateur, with a unique style for Japan, where switch hitters are incredibly rare, and he had spoken incredibly positively about his future in the sport when he took part in his pro-test earlier this year. The expectation on him is high and today he had to impress.
In the opposite corner to Tai was experienced foe Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-7, 2) [濱口稜生], a credibly opponent for a young debutant like Tai.
From the opening seconds Tai's cocky confidence and fan friendly style was on show, with some low hands and a style that seemed very much about entertaining the fans. It did however give Hamaguchi a chance and it seemed like Tai was set to pay for his style, though kept getting away with things thanks to his reactions and instincts. As the round went on Tai continued to play with Hamaguchi, showing off some lovely movement, continuing to drop his hands, and landing big single shots and good counters when Hamaguchi tried to tag him.
Through the first round there was areas to work on. The repeated dropping of his hands, whilst entertaining, was worrying, especially on debut, and his wild and wide hooks, that often missed by a mile, were risky, though he really didn't take much punishment and was clearly loving the attention.
In round 2 we saw more flashy, entertaining, show boating from Tai who continued to lap up the limelight and give fans some entertainment before dropping Hamaguchi with a brilliant straight left hand. Hamaguchi got to his feet, beating the count, Tai was all over him on the resumption of the bout, forcing the referee to wave off the action.
It was clear, straight away, that Tai was super comfortable in there, supremely confident, and wanting to entertain on his debut. The win was important, but the style of the win was his focus and on this performance he put on a show that was memorable, exciting and will have left fans talking about him. Whether he can have success with his style at a higher level is yet to be seen, and we suspect he will need to tighten up, both defensively and offensively, but as an attention grabbing debut this was perfect from the youngster and something he and his father will have been very happy about.
Last week second generation Japanese fighter Takahiro Tai [田井 宜広] took part in his pro-test and passed the B Class test, as he begins the journey to becoming a professional boxing star.
The 22 year old is a member of the RST Boxing Gym, ran by his father, and decided to turn professional earlier this year. In fact from our understanding he's the first professional fighter from the RST Gym.
As an amateur Tai went an impressive 43-14 (15) and reached the last 8 of the 2019 All Japan championships last year whilst also captaining his University boxing team.
Whilst he lacked international success in the amateurs Tai is expected to be a successful professional, and unlike most in Japan he isn't a set lefty or righty and is very much a switch hitter. Something he seems to be seeing as a major advantage for him going forward.
At the moment it's not totally clear when his debut will be but he's expected to fight at either Super Flyweight or Bantamweight going forward.
We're looking forward to seeing him in action and seeing how a pure Japanese switch hitter looks.
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