The Kyoto based "Woz" boxing gym certainly isn't one of the sports biggest name gyms though they have a genuine star in the making in the form of talented youngster Shohei Omori (13-0, 8).
On April 13th Omori will face his biggest test so far as he battles against Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (21-6, 11). The bout will be Omori's first title bout and his first bout scheduled for 10 rounds. It is however being seen as the next step in the career of one of Japanese boxing's most promising prospects.
Although the bout is a big step up for Omori it's one he and his team seem to feel he's ready for. Part of that is due to his form, which has been excellent since his professional debut back in April 2011, whilst another part of that has been his preparation which is said to have been excellent.
Much of the preparation has involved Omori sparring with a couple of Filipino fighters who have taken Omori more than 100 rounds between them, with the Japanese fighter focusing heavily on improving his defence, punch variation and his left uppercut. Those will of course be massive tools against the short and aggressive Masuda.
As well as working on the technical aspects Omori has also been doing 10 round spars to get used to the distance of the fight and learning to pace himself. That is likely to be a key against Masudsa, who has proven his ability to go 10 rounds in recent bouts, including his enthralling war with Tatsuya Takahashi. That bout was Masuda's 3rd contest to go beyond 8 rounds whilst Masuda has only completed 8 rounds once.
Although the match up is unlikely to register much internationally the winner of the bout is likely to moved towards a world title shot in the next 12 months. At the moment Omori holds a #13 WBC world ranking whilst Masuda is ranked #14 by the WBC and #11 by the IBF, meaning that the winner should really take a notable jump up the WBC rankings when they are published in May.
Japanese Bantamweight champion Masuda takes on Omori in potential thriller! (Preview)
(Image courtesy of http://ameblo.jp/woz-oomori)
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