We've known for a while that former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko (21-4-3, 14) would be returning to the ring on August 21st. What we didn't know was who he'd be up against. Today however it was announced that Kaneko would be up against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (19-3, 19).
On paper the bout may not look like an amazing match up, despite Nakamura's knockout power, but in reality this is as good a domestic bout as you will find, anywhere.
Kaneko first came to the attention of the Japanese fans when he won the Japanese way back in May 2012. After 4 defenses of the domestic title he took a huge step up and challenged WBA world champion Takashi Uchiyama in a bout that saw Kaneko acquit himself very well, despite losing a decision to Uchiyama. The loss to Uchiyama saw Kaneko coming to the attention of the international boxing community with many, including ourselves, tipping him as a future world champion.
Since the loss to Uchiyama we've not seen Kaneko rebuild quite how we'd expected and last time we saw him, in January, he was actually beaten by Jomthong Chuwatana in an OPBF title bout.
As for Nakamura he himself had eyes on an Uchiyama fight last year. Sadly however his career hit the wall with a decision loss Masayuki Ito and then a stoppage loss to Rey Labao.
Although Nakamura has struggled in recent fights he is a successful and heavy handed fighter who claimed his career defining win in 2010 when he stopped Allan Tanada for the OPBF Super Featherweight title. Sadly his reign as the Oriental champion didn't last long as he lost the belt in his first defense, suffering a stoppage loss to Ronald Pontillas.
Both men appear to know they will need a big win to get back into the title mix and obviously a win here would count as a "big win". It wouldn't be huge but it would certainly help the winner move towards an OPBF title fight later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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