Today saw an announcement from Japan that Shawn Oda (5-0, 5) [小田 翔夢], the 2016 All Japan Lightweight Rookie of the Year, will be returning to the ring on April 2nd for his first fight of 2017.
The talented youngster made a statement last year as he scored 5 stoppage wins to claim the West Japan Rookie of the Year and the All Japan Rookie of the Year crowns, and took several smaller honours on the way. Despite only making his debut in May he impressed stopping the likes of Tsuyoshi Matsuda, Miguel Ocampo and Ryuki Ishii in an incredible year.
Not only did Oda impress, but he did so whilst only being a teenager and was one of the brightest shining prospects during the whole 2016 Rookie of the Year tournament, possibly even being the most promising of all the fighters involved, and is another shining hope from Okinawa, like fellow destroyer Daigo Higa.
The 18 year old will be facing Thai foe Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (2-8, 1), who has gone 1-7 in Japan, suffering losses to the likes of Go Onaka, Tatsuya Ikemizu and Shuya Masaki among others, in a 6 rounder. It's not a great opponent for Oda but it is good to see him stepping upto the 6 round distance, and hopefully stiff competition will come later in the year.
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