Regular readers of this site will know that we are huge fans of Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (6-0, 3) [拳 四朗]. We also know that some of our cheerleading on the youngster has rubbed off on some readers who will likely be happy to know that the youngster will be back in the ring on April 14th.
The 24 year old national champion will be making the first defense of his title when he returns ans will be facing off against former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (17-4-1, 10) [角谷 淳志], in what appears to be one of this year's stand out “Champion Carnival” bouts.
The contest, set to be held at the Korakuen Hall, will see the young champion return to the “holy ground” of Japanese boxing for the first time since he won the Japanese title last December. It will also be his first fight in the venue since he claimed the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title there, last October when he defeated Rolly Sumalpong.
For the youngster this is another step in the right direction following wins last year over the likes of Katsunori Nagamine, Sumalpong and the then reigning Japanese champion Kenichi Horikawa. It however another serious test for the touted youngster who has shown some issues in his last couple of bouts.
The challenger, the 30 year old Kakutani, will be getting just his second Japanese title fight despite having been a professional for more than 8 years. His only previous shot at domestic honours came back in July 2012, when he took on the then Japanese Super Flyweight champion Teiru Kinoshita, and only lost a split decision to the future world title challenger.
Although Kakutani has only fought in one Japanese title fight he has fought some other notable bouts. They have included an exciting 172 second loss to Warlito Parrenas, back in June 2011, and a WBC Light Flyweight title bout against Adrian Hernandez back in August 2013, surprisingly dropping Hernandez in the opening round before being stopped himself. Since that loss he has gone 4-0 (4), albeit against limited opponents, and worked with Naoya Inoue, prior to Inoue's own bout with Hernandez.
Although Ken Shiro is the more touted, and the younger, fighter he comes in to this one with a significant size disadvantage, giving away around 3” to Kakutani, and a notable lack of experience compared to his foe. If he can over-come those then he will prove he is every bit as good as we've been lead to believe.
For those who haven't seen the two in action before we've included both below.
(Image courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/kenshiroboxing)
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