With the sport still on what is essentially a giant pause and with no fights taking place it's not a sign that we should be ignoring the sport. Instead we should be looking at what's to come when the sport does resume. With that in mind we'll be continuing our "Introducing..." series by looking at fighters we'll hopefully see in the ring later in the year.
With that in mind let us introduce to you a very special fighter, who made a big mark on the amateur scene and looks to make an equally big mark on the professional ranks, when the sport returns to Japan. Today we want to introduce Toshihiro Suzuki (0-0), who many in Japan feel could be a future star, when he finally gets to kick off his career.
In February Kadoebi announced Suzuki would be kicking off his career with them. The 23 year old was joined at the gym soon afterwards by his brother Masahiro Suzuki, who transferred from the World of Sport boxing gym to Kadoebi. For those who haven't seen Masahiro he's already an established professional with a Japanese ranking and a 4-0 (2) record. We've been impressed by Masahiro, though it's suggested that Toshihiro is the better of the two brothers, which really does excite us in regards to his potential.
As an amateur Toshihiro Suzuki really did make a mark, in a big way. We were originally informed that he had gone 64-26 as an amateur, but his Kadoebi now have him listed as an even more impressive 82-22. Whilst we all know that amateur records aren't always the most accurate the legitimacy of any his amateur achievements can't be debated.
On the international youth scene Suzuki shone. He claimed a bronze at the 2014 AIBA Youth World Championships and a Silver at the Youth Olympics, also in 2014. Also in 2014 he won the Japanese Interschool Athletic Meet. Whilst those achievements came at the Youth level, and were years ago, they showed his potential and made it clear he had a bright future.
Sadly Suzuki failed to replicate that success in the senior international ranks but was still a notable fighter on the domestic amateur scene, coming second in the 2017 Japanese National Championships and continuing to compete in the unpaid ranks with mixed success.Sadly he failed to make a mark on the seniors, but still showed a lot of potential, whilst developing a pro-ready style.
From watching some of Suzuki's amateur bouts, and there is a lot of footage of him as an amateur out there, he appears to have a very pro-ready style. He's not a fighter who looks to fight in a point scoring fashion, but instead presses the action, looks to bring pressure and unload powerful shots to head and body. He has a real natural fluidity to his shots, and his combinations flow wonderfully when he lets them go. He looks like the type of fighter who is ready for the pros.
As for his weight Suzuki fought between 64KG's and 69KG's, around 140lbs to 152lbs, and is expected to be fighting at a similar sort of weight when he gets around to making his professional debut. Likely at around Welterweight or Light Middleweight.
One rather odd thing to note, before we finish this, is that it appears that Suzuki has yet to take his pro-test. That's backed up by Kadoebi not listing him as a currently licenced fighter and instead having him in their "Professional Aspirations" section, along with fellow amateur stand out Jun Ikegawa. Hopefully that will change when boxing does resume back in Japan, hopefully in the summer.
We've had another relatively quiet week of action, barring one US show, but it's a week that has also seen a lot of fighters taking part in press conference to announce that they would be turning professional this year, and a cancelled show. So lets take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the week ending February 23rd 2020!
1 - Top amateurs turn pro
Over the last week we saw no less than 5 Japanese amateur standouts turn professional. Whilst not all of them will reach the top we are really excited to see the development of Keisuke Matsumoto, Ryutaro Nakagaki and Toshihiro Suzuki, who were all genuinely exceptional talents in the unpaid ranks. Of that trio we expect to see them all fight for, if not win, world titles, and wouldn't be surprised at all to see them being just the first wave of amateur stars turning professional before the Olympics. It's an exciting time in Japanese boxing, that's for sure!
2 - Mark Breland doing the right thing
We often have coaches who are too brave for their fighters, but Mark Breland was the bravest of them all, making the right decision in stopping Deontay Wilder from taking further punishment on Saturday. By the time of the stoppage Wilder was a bloody, beaten mess and he looked completely hapless. He had been unable to back up Tyson Fury, and was being tagged repeatedly. Whilst Wilder might want to complain the reality is that his trainer did the right thing and saved him for another day. Wilder's future might not look great in the sport, but at least he has a future. Had that bout gone on a round or two longer there's a chance Wilder wouldn't have much of a future at all as a fighter. Well done Mark Breland for doing the right thing.
3 - Tyson Fury backing up his words
Staying in the wider world it was fantastic to see Tyson Fury back up his words. We assumed he was taking the piss when he spoke about going out with the intention of knocking out Deontay Wilder, but for him then to go out and batter the then reigning WBC Heavyweight champion was just fantastic. We wouldn't go as far as to say it was the greatest performance by a British fighter, as some have suggested, but it was one of the rare times that we've seen a long term champion undressed and embarrassed. This was a showcase from the best Heavyweight in the world, and hopefully we won't see Fury facing any more weak opponents, as he did in the build up to this fight.
1 - A lack of action
Whilst not every week will be busy we were really surprised by little action took place this past week. It wasn't helped that there was an interesting looking Filipino event cancelled due to coronavirus and a card in Korea cancelled for the same reason. Thankfully we do have action coming up, and it does appear this was a one off quiet week.
2 - Muto gym tax evasion news
In a weird story from Osaka it appears the Muto Gym, and chairman Takashi Edagawa could be in some hot water over some issues with tax, and more exactly evasion of tax. It's unclear how serious the issue is, but it doesn't sound great with the gym accused of faking real estate purchases among other things. Even if the gym is innocent, or has corrected the issue, there will be a cloud over their head going forward, and it doesn't sound like the first time the gym have been accused of something like this.
Whilst we have stated we were impressed by Mark Breland, who made the right decision in stopping Deontay Wilder from taking too much unnecessary punishment. Sadly post fight comments from Wilder's other trainer, Jay Deas, were just ugly. They were full of excuses, blaming the attire Wilder wore into the ring, and criticised Breland. We understand the idea of doing what's in your bosses interest, but here Wilder needed a unified team to help him after his loss and to look after him in the ring. Deas seemed to want to blame Breland for the loss, rather than accepting their man was beaten, and was able to come again thanks to pulling the plug on the bout before took potentially life changing punishment.
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