Earlier today the Osaka based Ioka Gym held a press conference to announce the next title fight involving one of their fighters. Unfortunately for some fans it didn't involve one of the biggest names in the Ioka gym, nor did involve a world title fight, it did however involve one of their most promising young prospects.
That man is OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (9-0, 5) who will seek the 3rd defence of his title as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Accel Sumiyoshi (4-3-1, 1). The announcement didn't just name the opponent but also the venue, which will be the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka City, and the date, April 5th.
Nakatani won the title in January '14 when he narrowly defeated Yoshitaka Kato and since winning the belt he has recorded a couple of defenses as he's over came Japanese based Filipino Ricky Sismundo, last May, and Japanese domestic foe Futoshi Usami, last October. In both of those bouts Nakatani looked like a maturing fighter and we suspect that he's feeling like a fighter who has developed significantly with the experience of having gone 12 rounds in his last 3 contests.
On paper Sumiyoshi looks like a poor opponent but he's not as bad as his record would suggest. In fact Sumiyoshi's record is marred due to the level of opposition he has been facing which has seen him fighting just 1 fighter with a losing record, and several title contenders. It's true he's not a top contender, in fact he only just squeezes into the OPBF top 15, but he is better than the numbers on his record suggests.
Coming into this bout Nakatani has promised to hunt a knockout and to then move onto world level opposition and it seems clear he has big plans for the year, with this being just the first step.
(Image courtesy of the Ioka blog)
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