One thing we love about Japanese boxing is the willingness of youngsters to step in the ring with decent competition straight off the bat, and it's even better when they do that in 6 rounders in bouts that we can watch. With that in mind we want to discuss one such fighter this week as we talk about 20 year old Kotoji Irita (0-0), who will be making his debut on May 23rd, as part of a huge festival of fights from Dangan.
Irita is not a name we expect many to be familiar with, even those that follow amateur boxing, but he is someone who is has a lot to like about him already, including a decent domestic amateur career, and some freakish dimensions for someone fighting at Super Flyweight. And he is certainly someone worth having an eye on as he heads towards his first professional bout.
The young Irita was born in the first half of 2001 in Yatsuhiro City, Kumamoto, and like many fighters from Kumamoto has head over to Tokyo to become a professional fighter, much like the Shigeoka brothers who are from the same Prefecture. Unlike the Shigeoka's however he hasn't signed with Watanabe Gym but instead the Dangan Aoki Gym, which isn't as powerful as Watanabe at the highest levels in the sport, but do put on a lot of shows and will allow him to be very busy, if that's what he wants to do.
Prior to signing professional Irita managed to have a pretty solid career on the Japanese amateur scene, going 36-11 in the unpaid ranks and fighting in a number of notable amateur tournaments, such as inter high school tournaments and national selection tournaments. He wasn't an absolute standout on the amateur scene, but like many fighters who develop on the tough Japanese High school scene it was clear he was talented and had a style that was potentially more well suited to being a success in the professional ranks than the amateur ranks.
In his amateur performances Irita proved to be quick, sharp, light on his feet and a genuine physical freak, fighting in the men's Flyweight division (52KG's) despite standing at 5'9". To put that into some form of comparison, he's very similar in stature to Zolani Tete, who also fights at a similar weight and is also 5'9". Just like Tete he's also a southpaw, making an already awkward fighter even tougher to fight.
Although Irita has been impressive there is a lot of work to do, though that's to be expected of a 20 year old kid with less than 40 amateur bouts. The fact he is as good as he's looked in some of the amateur bouts has impressed us, and got him on our radar ahead of his May 23rd debut.
In regards to Irita's he's not facing a chump. Instead he'll be up against 4-1 (3) youngster Kosuke Tomioka, who impressed in his early bouts before being stopped in the East Japan Rookie of the Year final at Super Flyweight last year. He has proven himself as a teenage worth following, and credit to Tomioka for taking on Irita following his last bout, though we suspect this will be more about Irita than Tomioka, and we see the debutant as being too tall, too rangy and to too mature for Tomioka.
*Note - Irita's debut was postponed indefinitely due to the on going State of Emergency that put boxing on pause in Tokyo.
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