The Japanese Middleweight scene might not be the most interesting but there are a number of fighters worth making a note of.
Of course the most interesting is Olympic champion Ryota Murata, who is already world ranked and tipped to reach the very highest level in the sport. Then there is unified Japanese and OPBF champion Akio Shibata.
Below those two men is the heavy handed Koki Tyson Maebara (8-1-1, 8) who recorded his most impressive win to date earlier today when he stopped former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-4, 5) in 7 rounds.
The 22 year old Maebara, a southpaw from Osaka, made Sasaki feel his power early on and gradually ground down the 27 year old former champion, who had only previously been stopped once, by the monstrously hard hitting Tomohiro Ebisu back in February 2013.
Whilst it's clearly the most impressive win so far for Maebara it does need noting that this was Sasaki's first bout since June 2013 and it's the former champion's 3rd successive loss.
After the fight Maebara stated that he was going to chase a fight with Shibata, a stablemate of Sasaki's, and that he was hoping to become a world champion on day. It seems unlikely he'll be fighting for a world title any time soon though his hopes of fighting Shibata do seem like something we will see either this year or early next year, if both men continue their winning ways.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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