In December we are going to be sharing our "20 for 20", a list of 20 fighters to keep an eye on for the new year. Ahead of that we will be looking at a number of fighters who just missed out on that list.
These are the fighters who perhaps won't be ready for a world title by the end of next year, but we feel will make a mark in the year, and go on to do big things in the following year or two. Typically they are the prospects who perhaps need a little more time to develop, or who are still a bit too young for the big fights, or maybe just don't seem like they are quite there yet. These are our "Honourable mentions - 20 for 20" fighters and these will be posted daily until the start of December!
Kosuke Tomioka (2-0, 2)
To finish off our honourable mentions for the 20 for 20 articles, which begin properly from tomorrow, we look at a 17 year old who has been tipped as one to watch by those in the know in Japan. He was a youngster who had solid amateur credentials, comes from a boxing family, and has already impressed, despite fighting only 5 rounds as a professional. That is Kosuke Tomioka, who debuted in July and is regarded as one of the best kept secrets in Japanese boxing.
On debut Tomioka left an immediate impact, stopping Shinobu Wakagi in just 42 seconds. By it's self that might not mean much, but given that Wakagi had been the 2018 East Japan Rookie of the year this was an impressive debut from the teenager, who is the youngest of 3 fighting brothers from the Tomioka family.
As an amateur Tomioka won 6 under junior titles, picking up 3 of them in 2016 alone, and looked like an excellent youngster. He decided to turn to professional boxing rather than go to high school, and has quickly impressed with his first 2 bouts both ending with stoppage.
Added to his age, his talent and his amateur pedigree is his style, and he's already proving to be flamboyant, charismatic, sharp and surprisingly strong for someone so young. There is a sense of cocky arrogance about him, but he appears to have the skills to back up his show boating and youthful exuberance.
Expectations for 2020?
Given his age we wouldn't expect Tomioka to be fighting for titles in 2020, not even youth titles, but we do expect to hear a lot about the highly skilled youngster who looks like a natural in the ring. He may end up competing in the 2020 Rookie of the Year, and if he does so then there is a real chance that he would be one of the favourites for the tournament, however we're not sure that's really the route to take him.
Whilst Rookie of he Year would provide Tomioka with some exposure on TV we suspect he'd be better off ignoring the tournament, staying busy on on cards made available via A-Sign and Boxing Raise, and fighting a wider variety of opponents. Putting him in with Thai, Filipino and Indonesian visitors, letting him face opponents with strengths and weaknesses, rather than fellow professional novices, would serve him better. After a few more bouts he'll be a B class fighter and might as well be fighting in 6 rounders, proving his stamina and seeing if his style can work well over a longer distance and can also help him tighten up his defenses.
The advantage, for Tomioka, in avoiding the Rookie of the Year would be that he can mature as both a young man and as a boxer in against more varied opposition and we feel that would be best for the talented teenager.
For those who haven't seen Tomioka we have included his bout against Asato Mori below.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features