As we head towards the new year we've had a big look at the current scene and come up with "20 fights we'd like to see in 2020", yeah another series ahead of the new decade!
As is always the case with what we do, these articles will have an Asian flavour, and every bout we mention in the series will have at least 1 fighter from Asia involved. So for those of you expecting us to talk about Deontay Wilder Vs Anthony Joshua, that won't be listed.
What we'll be looking at is well matched contests with either some form of back story, a great stylistic clash or bouts with some form of significant meaning. If they tick all the boxes then that is even better! Each fight will be given it's own article and each of these will come with an introduction to the fighters, and why the bout is being featured in the list.
Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13) Vs Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7)
The Bantamweight division has had a lot of attention in recent years, thanks in part to the depth in quality of both fighters and fights. We've obviously seen Naoya Inoue's fantastic bout with Nonito Donaire earlier this year, and going back a little further Shinsuke Yamanaka's bouts with Anselmo Moreno. In regards to the lower weights the Bantamweight division has been the one with the consistent star power, and some of the most exciting bouts. With that in mind we want to see another Bantamweight war, and a fight between Keita Kurihara and Yusuke Suzuki. These two have styles that should gel to give us nothing other than unadulterated violence.
At 26 years old Kurihara is coming into his physical prime, and is proving to be a brutal, aggressive monster. He's heavy handed, very exciting, strong and although still somewhat crude he's the type of fighter you do not stand and fight toe-to-toe with. Coming into the new year he's on a real role, with 6 straight wins since a 2017 loss to Hiroaki Teshigawa. That winning run has seen him defeat an interesting array of fighters like Ryan Lumacad, Yuki Strong Kobayashi, Warlito Parrenas and Sukkasem Kietyongyuth.
Kurihara can be outboxed, we saw that against Kobayashi, but his power is often too much and Kobayashi was dropped 4 times during their 12 rounder. His aggression is intense and he is edging towards a world title fight in the next year or two,.
At 30 years old Suzuki is the much older man, but like Kurihara he's a fighter who loves a fighter. Suzuki was a solid amateur before turning professional way back in 2012. Sadly his career has been rather stop-start, and he lost the entire of 2018 due to injuries. Thankfully however he had a good 2019, and last time out he won a war with Yuta Saito to become the Japanese Bantamweight champion. In the ring he's tough, rough, exciting and aggressive. He's less of a puncher than Kurihara, but has a higher level of activity, and we have seen him battle through real adversity in the past. In fact his bout with Saito saw his face end up swollen and bloodied, but he refused to back down and just bit down and fought back.
Like Kurihara he can be out boxed, out moved and out thought, but few will beat him in a straight up fight. In many ways he and Kurihara are made for each other, and neither man would look to take a backwards step.
If the bout was made early in 2020 it would be a chance to see the Japanese and OPBF titles being unified, though Suzuki would likely make a mandatory defense first as part of the 2020 Champion Carnival. With that in mind maybe we'll see both men fight once before facing each other in a bout that really would leave fans speechless. This could be a legitimate fight of the year contender, and would see both men take a scary amount of punishment.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The end of July is upon us and we see another surge in action, especially in Japan, with tournaments, titles, prospects and a touted debutant!
On July 23rd we get something a little bit different as Dangan put on the quarter final bouts for their God's Left Bantamweight tournament:
Gaku Aikawa (9-7-1, 3) Vs Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) - Tokyo, Japan
Kazuki Nakajima (6-0, 5) Vs Kenichi Watanabe (8-4-1, 4) - Tokyo, Japan
Jin Minamide (3-0, 3) Vs Tetsu Araki (14-1-1, 2) - Tokyo, Japan
The three matches above are all part of the God's Left tournament and on paper the stand out match up is the Minamide Vs Araki bout, pitting one of the most touted prospects against the man with the most success at title level, with Araki having been a Japanese Youth champion. It's hard to imagine anything but a win for Kazuki Nakajima in his bout with Kenichi Watanabe, with Aikawa Vs Yamashita has the potential to be an all out thriller.
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