The name "Tadashi Yuba" might not be a big name in the Western world but among hardcore fans of the Japanese scene Tadashi was a Japanese domestic legend. He was, and still is, the only 5-weight Japanese National champion, and he enjoyed success from Lightweight to Middleweight. His career was synonymous with his multi-weight success, his hard swinging style and his huge popularity at Korakuen Hall, where he fought 32 times between 1999 and 2014.
The Yuba name lives on in boxing with Tadashi's son Kaiki Yuba (6-0-2, 4) currently making a name for himself as an an exciting and promising young prospect, tipped to go far in the sport over the coming years. On January 28th Yuba looks to claim his first professional title, as he fights for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title, in what is actually his second shot at the belt having been denied by a technical draw against Izuki Tomioka in 2018. With that in mind, now seems the perfect time to feature Yuba in our "Introducing..." series.
As an amateur Yuba's record isn't too widely reported, though it is known that he reached the final of the 2016 Japanese High School final, losing to Issei Aramoto and a year earlier he was in another notable domestic High School tournament. Unlike many however he didn't stick around in the amateurs for long, making his pro debut at the age of 18, whilst still a student.
Yuba's debut, in February 2017, saw him fighting out of the gym his father had set up after his retirement and score a 3rd round TKO win over Thai visitor Jakkraphong Arsapha. Despite it being Yuba's debut there was quite a lot of attention on the youngster due to his father and he looked solid, aggressive hard hitting and exciting as he easily over-came his Thai foe. Incidentally this win came on a really notable show that feature Hiroto Kyoguchi winning his first title, the OPBF Minimumweight title, Reiya Abe beating Joe Noynay and Masayuki Kuroda beating Yuta Matsuo for the Japanese interim Flyweight title.
By the end of 2017 Yuba had moved to 3-0 (2), taking an opening round win over Bener Santig and a 6 round decision over the rugged Pablito Canada. Those wins lead Yuba to getting his first shot at the Japanese Youth title in February 2018, just a year after his professional debut. Sadly that bout ended in an inconclusive manner, after Yuba was badly cut over his right eye from a headclash. Notably just 1 fight later Tomioka challenged OPBF champion Masayoshi Nakatani, yes the guy that gave Teofimo Lopez fits, and Tomioka was really competitive with Nakatani before being stopped in the 11th round.
Following his first draw Yuba signed with the well established Watanabe Gym, who he has been fighting for ever since. His first fight under Watanabe saw him defeat Chinese fighter Po Sang So with a clear 6 round decision, on a Japan Vs China show. Sadly for Yuba another bout against a Chinese fighter, this time He Lu in April 2019, resulted in Yuba suffering his second technical draw, this time due to a bad cut above his left eye from a clash of heads.
Yuba, despite having success was a touch wild and reckless. He wasn't to blame for the headclashes, though his southpaw stance did added to his reckless aggression did lead to an increased risk of accidental headclashes. There was several cases of heads coming together against Tomioka whilst against Lu, in an all southpaw bout, it was the clumsiness of Lu that lead to a single nasty clash that ended the bout.
Thankfully for Yuba he had rebuild well from the Lu bout, stopping Korean Jin Su Kim, in July 2019, and then blowing out Mikado Konishi inside a round in October, on the under-card of Hiroto Kyoguchi's bout with Tetsuya Hisada.
Although a decent amateur Yuba very much fights like slightly more polished version of his father. Like Tadashi the young Kaiki is a rangy, long and tall fighter, who has solid power. He can box though often seems happier to force a fight of things, and come in behind heavy hooks, rather than really relying on his solid jab, solid but under-utilised. He looks like the sort of fighter that Watanabe gym could really polish into a fine young fighter, but it will take effort, and the gym will need to tame his aggressive tendencies to get the most from him.
Despite that sounding harsh, his father had real success being a gunslinger, and if Kaiki has half the success his father had he'll be regarded as a successful fighter. He has the natural skills to go further than his father, but will need to hone those skills to get the most from his career.
We expect Yuba to win the Youth title at the end of this month, when he faces Kanta Takenaka, and use that as a stepping stone towards bigger things, and despite his flaws and openess, it would be a massive surprise if Yuba doesn't advance from the Japanese Youth title scene to the Japanese title scene in the coming years.
Whilst much of the action in early to mid-January was spaced out the end of January really sees things coming in at us thick and fast with a lot happening in the final week of the month, including some top unbeaten prospects, world, Japanese youth and Japanese female title fights and a tournament final!
Batyrzhan Jukembayev (17-0-0-1, 13) Vs Maximiliano Ricardo Veron (12-3-1, 4)
Talented Canadian based-Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev looks to kick his 2020 off in style when he meets 31 year old Argentinian fighter Maximiliano Ricardo Veron. A win for the Kazakh will move him a step closer to a potential world title fight later in the year, and will see him defending minor WBA and IBF titles.
Yumiko Shimooka (4-7, 1) vs Yumi Narita (3-4-3, 1)
On paper not something to be raving about, but Yumiko Shimooka and Yumi Narita will face off in the hope of crowning a new Japanese Female Minimumweight champion. The title was vacated by former champion Mizuki Chimoto, and whilst neither of these two are stellar fighters they should make for an interesting bout all the same.
Kazuki Nakajima (8-0, 7) vs Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4)
One of the real standout bouts for Asia this month is the God's Left Bantamweight final, pitting unbeaten punchers Kazuki Nakajima and Seiya Tsutsumi against each other. This should be a very explosive bout, that could be a blink and you miss it affair. Both can bang, both have some question marks about their defense, both were solid amateurs and both will be looking to claim the God's Left crown. If you have Boxing Raise this is really the one you need to catch this month!
Ayaka Miyao (23-8-1, 6) Vs Etsuko Tada (19-3-2, 6)
Former female world champion Ayaka Miyao and Etsuko Tada clash for the vacant WBO Female Minimumweight title, which was vacated by Kasumi Saeki. Miyao is coming into the bout looking to become a 2-weight world champion, having previously reigned at Atomweight, whilst Tada is looking to reclaim the WBO title, the she previously vacated. This should be a very fan friendly bout between two women who like to let their hands go, and have styles that should work well together, with Miyao being a speed boxer-mover and Tada being someone who will apply pressure behind her volume.
Kaiki Yuba (6-0-2, 4) vs Kanta Takenaka (7-4-1, 2)
Second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba looks to claim his first title as he takes on Kanta Takenaka for the vacant Japanese Youth Lightweight title. Yuba's father, the legendary Tadashi Yuba, was a 5-weight Japanese national champion and dubbed "Mr Korakuen" due to his success as the Korakuen Hall. There is pressure on the 21 year old Kaiki but he should have too much for the tough but limited Takenaka here.
Kanako Taniyama (2-0-1, 1) vs Tomoko Okuda (5-2-2, 1) II
Another Japanese female title should see a champion being crowned as Kanako Taniyama and Tomoko Okuda battle for the second time, with the stakes being the Japanese female Bantamweight title. These two fought to a draw last year, with Taniyama somewhat unlucky not to pick up the win, and we expect another interesting contest this time around. Taniyama was the aggressive, front foot fighter whilst Okuda relied on keeping things long, making for an interesting dynamic that we expect to be repeated here. Could be a bit of a hidden gem here.
Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10) vs Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6)
The highest profile bout for an Asian fighter in January is an obvious choice, as unbeaten Uzbek Murodjon Akhmadaliev takes on WBA "Super" and IBF Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman, in a truly mouth watering clash. These two were supposed to fight last year, before Roman suffered an injury in training. For Roman a win would continue an excellent run, which has seen him beat Shun Kubo, Ryo Matsumoto and TJ Doheny, and help stamp him as the #1 fighter in the division. For Akhmadaliev a win would be a huge statement from him, and from Uzbek boxing. Stylistically this is very interesting, with the fighters having styles that should gel, and very significant. One to be very excited about.
Jade Bornea (14-0, 10) vs Ernesto Delgadillo (11-0-2, 2)
Unbeaten Filipino fighter Jade Bornea features in his international debut at the end of the month when he takes on American for Ernesto Delgadillo in a bout for the NABF Super Flyweight title. The fight should tell us a lot about what both men have in their lockers and the winner will find themselves in the mix for a world title fight later in the year.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces