It's fair to say that boxing has been very slow and quiet so far this year. As we write this there have been no fights in Japan so far and there have been very few notable bouts confirmed and instead all we've really had is rumour and speculation. Thankfully however that ended today and we now have some bouts to make notes of and look forward to.
Two of those bouts will come on March 7th in a Kadoebihoseki promoted card at the Korakuen Hall.
One of those bouts will see Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (21-1, 7) attempt to defend his title for the 5th time. Takayama, who won the title in December 2012, will be up against #1 ranked contender Nobuyuki Shindo (16-2, 6).
For Takayama this is a chance to continue putting pressure on the OPBF to let him fight for their title and also a chance to record his 10th straight win. Without trying to sound harsh however Takayama is one of the weaker Japanese national champions. For the 28 year old Shindo, a lanky southpaw, this will be his first title bout however it's not the first time he'll have fought someone of note, in fact he's fought Takayama before, losing a 5 round split decision to Takayama back in 2008. Interestingly the challenger will enter this bout on a 4 fight winning including 3 stoppages suggesting he is "growing into" his man strength.
The other bout will see Takayama's stablemate Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) defending the Light Welterweight title for the second time. Okada will be defending against #1 ranked contender, and former title challenger, Hayato Hokazono (18-4-1, 11). Coming in to this bout Hokazono has won back-to-back fights though did suffer a pair of stoppage losses to Keita Obara and has been stopped 3 times in 23 bouts suggesting his chin isn't the best. Interestingly the challenger is now more than 4 years removed from his most notable win, a decision against Kazuyoshi Kumano.
The unbeaten Okada, who won his belt last March, has seen his last 2 bouts both go the distance, after stopping his first 7 foes, he is however heavy handed and may be able to inflict the 4th stoppage defeat onto Hokazono.
(Image of Okada courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
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