Earlier this week it was announced that Shoma Fukumoto (6-1, 5) would be returning to the ring on June 7th against Kazuaki Irisawa (8-6, 5) in a bout being described as a OPBF and Japanese title prelude, or warm up bout.
The once beaten Fukumoto will be entering this bout as a ranked contender by both the OPBF, #3, and the JBC, #6. Whilst those rankings are solid he knows that one of the men above him in both rankings, Ryota Murata, has shown no inclination of trying to win either title, essentially meaning that Fukumoto is #2 and #5 in real terms.
Aged 24 and stood at a little over 6' Fukumoto does show a lot of promise however there are serious questions looming over his head. The first of those regard his chin, following a 6th round loss to the Filipino upset king Arnel Tinampay whilst the second relates to his ability following a real struggle last time out against Kazuyuki Fukuyama.
The 30 year old Irisawa made his name back in 2012 when he won the East Japan Rookie of the year, sadly however he was stopped in 4 rounds in the All Japan final. Since then however his career has failed to really go anywhere. He has won 3 of his last 4 though the wins have come at a low level whilst his loss was a stoppage to Yasuyuki Akiyama. Although not the most impressive fighter he is viewed as a potential step up opponent for Fukumoto.
(Image of Fukumoto courtesy of http://8nakaya.co.jp)
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