Japanese hopeful Kenta Onjo (4-0, 3) is one of the country's most over-looked prospects though is a man who has looked promising since his debut back in July 2013, when he dismantled Thai novice Tanut Sitmanopchai in just 41 seconds.
Although relatively unknown and unheralded internationally Onjo has been stepping up his level of competition fight after fight and and his last two bouts have been impressive wins over Ryuji Ikeda (then 6-1-1) and Kazuya Soma (then 7-5-2). Those wins have moved him into the lower levels of the Japanese domestic rankings however he stills lacks a win that would make fans sit up and take note.
Onjo will be seeking his first "big" win on March 16th when he returns to the ring for the 5th time as a professional and battles against the highly experienced Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (27-6-3, 13) in what looks to be a major test for Onjo and a chance for Baat to score his 14th win in Japan and to defend his OPBF ranking.
Coming in to the bout the 34 year old Baat is ranked #15 by the OPBF and #10 by the JBC at Super Bantamweight. He will, unfortunately, be giving away notable size to Onjo, who is ranked #11 by the JBC at Lightweight, however he may find Onjo to be slightly drained with the youngster dropping to Super Featherweight for the bout.
On paper this is likely going to be a case of size and youth against experience and we suspect that if Ono can't impose his strength and speed on Baat then he may be asked some serious questions for the first time in his career. If however Onjo blows away Baat, as we're actually expecting, then we'd suspect Onjo will be moved onto the fringes of a title fight and possibly even get a show at a belt at either 130 or 135.
(Image courtesy of http://www.tokashikigym.com)
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