Japanese Bantamweight champion Shohei Omori (14-0, 9) may well be one of the best kept secrets in the Bantamweight division, despite holding the Japanese national title, and being world ranked by all 4 major title bodies. On September 18th the talented boxer-puncher, from the WOZ gym, will be looking to record the first defense of his title as he takes on former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (11-3-2, 1).
As part of Omori's preparations for the Mukai fight he has began sparring with talented Filipino Michael Dasmarinas (21-2, 13) of the Philippines.
Dasmarinas, best known in Japan for upsetting Hayato Kimura last year, is another of boxing's well kept secrets and should be able to sharpen up the skills of Omori whilst also acting as a virtual Mukai.
Dasmarinas, like Mukai, is a southpaw who stands at 5'7" and whilst a talented boxer does enjoy using his legs. It's fair to say that Dasmarinas hits hard than Mukai but should be able to replicate the challengers style pretty well in sparring sessions.
Whilst we know international fans may not be aware of Omori this bout could prove to be a very significant one for the fast rising 22 year old. Ranked #3 by the WBO some in Japan have mentioned that this bout may act not only as a Japanese title defense but also as a world title prelude, with a potential WBO world title fight coming next time out. For that to happen however, he will need to shine again Mukai and probably need to genuinely impress the local fans and the people running local TV channel MBS, who will be showing his bout with Mukai on tape delay.
(Image courtesy of the Woz boxing blog)
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