It's fair to say that 2020 has been a bit of a write off so far boxing. Thankfully for fans of the sport there are good times ahead, and as always in this "Introducing" series we want to talk about someone we're excited to see building their career. Today we're going to look at a Japanese fighter many tipped for Olympic success, but he failed to qualify for the Japanese team, and as a result announced his plans to turn professional earlier this month. That is is the brilliant Kenji Fujita.
Fujita, along with 3 other top Japanese amateurs, signed with Teiken earlier this year, and was announced officially as a Teiken fighter on June 6th. That was great given that back in November Fujita announced he was retiring from amateur boxing, after 10 years of being involved in the sport. He had lost in the All Japan final in 2019 to Hayato Tsutsumi and stated that he was done ending his days in the unpaid ranks with a career record of 153-21 (40).
It was just amazing numbers that Fujita put up but also great achievements. Going all the way back to 2010 he had won at the Japanese Junior Selection Tournament, winning at 54KG's in the same tournament that Naoya Inoue won the 48KG division. We won't go through all his success but he would claim 3 All Japan amateur titles and a bronze at the 2013 Asian Championships in Jordan. It's fair to add that had it not been for Arashi Morisaka and Hayato Tsutsumi there's a real chance he would have claimed a lot more in terms of domestic titles.
Fighting out of the Self Defenses Forces Physicla Education School, Fujita has come from a hot bed of boxing talent, including new professional stable mate Subaru Murata.
Despite having around 175 amateur bouts to his name Fujita is still relatively young. He only turned 26 earlier this year. He has his best years ahead of him, unlike Satoshi Shimizu who was also a former SDF fighter who remained an amateur for far too long. Fujita mixes experience and youthfulness perfectly here.
As a fighter Fujita has a really nice style, fighting out of the southpaw stance. He moves around the ring really easily, he's very light on his feet, going forward and backwards, he's a very accurate puncher, with lightning quick hands. Although very technical he's also able to show an aggressive side when he needs to but does appear to be the type of fighter who prefers action at mid to long range.
We do like how Fujita fighters but it seems likely that Teiken will try to take what they have and just tweak things a bit. We suspect they will try to add an extra bit of offensive zing to Fujita's mind set. We also suspect they will look to work on his inside game, which is the one area where he is deficient, as was seen in a number of his meetings with Morisaka.
We've seen Teiken sign up a lot of talented amateur fighters in recent years, such as Mikito Nakano, Kuntae Lee, Kenshi Noda, Shokichi Iwata and Fujita is another in that mould. The gym, which did seem to fall asleep at the wheel, is now building an excellent stable of former amateur standouts, and Fujita is among the very best.
At the moment Fujita hasn't had a date set for his professional debut or pro-test, but it seems likely that his pro-test will be in late summer with his debut coming in late 2020.
For those wanting to see what Fujita is about we've included one of his many clashes with Arashi Morisaka below.
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