In November we counted down a number of honourable mentions for our 20 for 20. Now it's time to look at the 20 fighters who have managed to make it into the list properly, and they come from all over Asia and all over the weight classes. Some of these you may already be aware of, some are perhaps less well known, but either way these 20 men are going to be well worth following in the new year as they look to push forward in their career and move towards major success.
For these fighters we will look at the the reason why you should follow them, our expectations for them in the coming year and the issues they may face going forward. The one rule with all of these fighters is that they can't have fought for a world title at the time of writing.
Some of these are world ranked, and some of these may well be set for world title fights in the near future, but so far they have not had that top level bout.
Without any further ado, lets take a look at the man we have ranked #18 in our list of Ones to watch in 2020, as we continue our count down.
Ryusei Kawaura (7-0, 4)
We love seeing fighters moved quickly, and it's fair to say that Japanese Super Flyweight hopeful Ryusei Kawaura has been moved quickly, or rather more accurately he's been moved effectively. He debuted more than 3 years ago, and took his first 3 wins against very limited Thai foes, but since then he has stepped up and been very impressive with solid wins over Marjun Pantilgan, Renoel Pael and Joy Joy Formentera. Those wins have put Kawaura in the mix for titles, and it seems clear that he will be fighting for his first title belt in 2020. It's just a shame he's been so inactive.
The youngster isn't just talent, and trust us he is incredibly talented, but he's also guided by a man who knows what it takes to get to the top, with former world champion Hiroshi Kawashima being his promoter. With such a smart boxer guiding it's clear that Kawaura is learning so much between fights that even with a relatively slowly schedule he is developing rapidly.
It's known that Kawashima will push Kawaura for a belt in 2020 and that, we suspect, will be when he begins to make a mark with a wider fan base.
What do we expect?
With Kawaura and Kawashima revealing that they are pursuing titles in 2020 the least we expect from the youngster is for him to pick up either the Japanese, OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title. He already has wins that have shown he can compete at title level, though the question is really whether he has the experience or can do the longer distances. Given his relaxed and natural he is in the ring however we don't imagine 10, or 12, rounds will be any sort of an issue for him.
Whilst we do imagine Kawaura will be fighting for his first titles in 2020 we don't see him advancing beyond Oriental level next year. That will have to wait, though given he only fights twice a year that shouldn't be any sort of a surprise. What we would like to see is for him to be a bit busier, fighting 3 times in a year would be nice as would getting to see Kawaura on TV, and we are hoping that he will feature on a G+ card at some point in the new year, giving him a chance to show what he can do to a larger audience.
Although Kawaura is managed by a former world champion the former champion in questions doesn't have a strong a strong relationship with any TV channel, nor does he have big financial backing. Kawashima has shown he's happy to build shows around Kawaura, but without financial and TV backing Kawaura will struggle to reach his potential.
We suspect that TV will get behind him in 2020, but there is a risk that they don't and instead of building his name rapidly in 2020 he meanders just a touch, even with a title around his waist. It would be a shame but is certainly a possibility, and he may end up fighting some future bouts on Boxing Raise, rather than TV.
Although he's been matched well, we do, obviously, have concerns about his level of activity, and 7 fights in 3 years is hugely disappointing, especially for someone with his ability and boxing brain. We hope that changes, and if it doesn't he may not fight enough to make the most of his skills.
In terms of talent we have no concerns regarding Kawaura, and instead all the issues are to do with the way his career goes, not what he does in the ring.
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