Earlier today it was announced that OPBF Featherweight champion Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16) would be making the first defense of his title on August 10th on a Dangan show in Tokyo. In the opposite corner to the Filipino title holder will be talented Japanese challenger Ryo Takenaka (12-3-1, 6).
Rufino won the title earlier this year when he beat countryman Mark Gil Melligen, via 8th round technical decision, to win the then vacant belt. Prior to the belt becoming vacant it was held by Hisashi Amagasa who managed to notch up defenses over both Rufino and Takenaka.
Rufino is a true veteran who has been there, seen it, taken the pictures and gone back for seconds. His record may not look the most attractive but he really is much better than the numbers suggest. He has been unfortunate on the road in the past, notably a close loss to Naoki Matsuda in 2010 and a pair of defeats to Sipho Taliwe, but he seems to be a fighter who now knows any fight could be his last and that he needs to fight to his best if he's to retire with some money in his pocket.
As for Takenaka he came within 2 minutes of beating Hisashi Amagasa last year, suffering a late stopped to the incredibly tall Amagasa. Had he won that bout he'd have claimed the OPBF title, and we probably wouldn't have seen Amagasa's break out bout against Guillermo Rigondeaux. A tidy boxer with solid skills Takenaka will feel that this is a great opportunity for him, and if he wins, he'll perhaps feel that he could move on to a world title fight over the next year or two.
Whilst neither fighter is a fringe world level fighter this really is still a must win for both men who, at 33 in the case of Rufino and 30 in the case of Takenaka, don't have time to waste rebuilding from another set back.
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