Earlier today it was announced that Japanese puncher Shuhei Tsuchiya (15-2, 13) would have having his next fight in Australia as he battles Australia's former world title challenger Leonardo Zappavigna (30-2, 20) on April 3rd.
Tscuhiya, once dubbed "The Japanese Valero", began his career with an amazingly impressive 12 fight T/KO streak which saw him winning the Japanese Rookie of the Year in 2010.
Unfortunately for Tsuchiya he hasn't managed to kick on with his career and has gone from 14-0 (12) to 15-2 (12) having suffered back-to-back losses to Shoji Kawase and Masayoshi Nakatani. Thankfully for the Japanese fighter he did win his most recent bout, stopping Kazutaka Takakuwa in 2 rounds.
In Zappavigna we have an exciting, albeit limited fighter. His key trait, like Tscuhiya, is his power and which he he used to stop Korea's Ji-Hoon Kim in just 74 seconds a few years ago. in what is clearly the best win on his record.
As with Tsuchiya we've seen Zappavigna lose to his best opponents. He was dominated in a decision loss to Miguel Vazquez in an IBF Lightweight title fight and he was stopped by Panama's big hitting Ameth Diaz just a fight later. Since then however Zappavigna has run up 5 straight victories, including a controversial one against Rivan Cesaire last time out.
Whilst the promise of a shoot out between Tsuchiya and Zappavigna should be exciting by it's self the fight is actually rather important. Zappavigna goes into the fight with a #7 IBF rating and if Tsuchiya stops him the Japanese fighter would likely earn a world ranking. There is the small matter of the IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title which is apparently up for grabs for the winner.
With a lot to gain for Tsuchiya there is no wonder he took this bout even if he is the under-dog and does have to travel
(Picture courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
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