According to multiple sources a deal is in place for Japan's Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19) [大沢 宏晋] to challenge WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18) on November 5th, as part of the Manny Pacquiao Vs Jessie Vargas under-card.
Coming in to the bout Osawa is the #1 ranked contender with WBO, a ranking that is strongly based on him holding WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title rather than a string of strong wins, whilst Valdez will be seeking the first defense a title that he won back in back in July, when he stopped Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda in 2 rounds.
The Osakan 31 year old debuted back in 2004 and despite starting 1-0-2 his career did begin to take off around 2011, when he dropped down to Featherweight. It was at 126lbs that he claimed the OPBF Featherweight title and the "interim" WBO Asia Pacific title, a title that later got him suspended for a year by the JBC.
Since serving a year long suspension Osawa has gone 7-0 (7), and claimed the full version of the WBO Asia Pacific title. Though that 7-fight run may not have come against great opponents it does feature strong domestic wins over Kosuke Saka and Shota Yamaguchi. That 7 fight run also acts as part of a 16 fight unbeaten run dating back more than 7 years, with 15 wins and a draw.
Although best known for his boxing Osawa is perhaps better respected for his out of the ring work, which has seen him working with disabled children, giving a portion of his purses to charities and becoming known as the "Caregiver Boxer", a title that he seems to be incredibly proud of.
Whilst Osawa is unknown outside of Asia the same cannot be said of Mexican puncher Valdez who first made a name for himself in the amateur ranks, competing at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Following the London games he turned professional and left destruction in his wake with stoppage wins in his first 11 bouts, mostly fought at Super Featherweight. He claimed a notable scalp last year, when he stopped Chris Avalos, and has since added wins over Ernie Sanchez, Evgeny Gradovich and Rueda.
In the ring Valdez has the true look of a superstar with an fun style, frightening power and an exciting in ring mentality. He can look slightly crude at times, but that has been smoothed out in recent bouts and he is beginning to look like a potential pound-for-pound star and one of the next big Mexican stars.
Coming in to the bout Valdez will be a massive betting favourite. He's genuinely looking like a massive star and has skills, power, speed and seemingly has all the intangibles of a long term champion. He will however have to prove that not only did he want to win the title, but that he can also defend the belt, with many great looking fighters falling apart after claiming their first belt. A win for him would set up some potential money spinners, and a likely move up to 130lbs will come in the future, opening up even more doors for the really exciting Sonora resident.
Interestingly this bout looks set to be a fourth world title fight on the show, and may well see Top Rank going for a notable under-card for once, something they aren't known for doing in recent years.
(Image courtesy of Osawa's facebook)
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