Over the last few months we've seen more and more Japanese amateur standouts turning professional and beginning their journey in the pro ranks. The next of these standouts to make their debut will be Shigetoshi Kotari (0-0) who kicks off his professional career on October 5th at the Korakuen Hall. He does so after amassing a 72 fight amateur record, and signing with a gym that's building a solid stable of young and emerging fighters.
The 23 year old Kotari will begin his career at Featherweight, having out grown the 56KG amateur division that he had fought at way back in the 2014, at the Japanese High School Selection Tournament. In the aforementioned High School tournament he reached the semi-final before being beaten by the excellent Arashi Morisaka who went on to win the tournament. A couple of years later he had moved up to the 60KG division and had begin to make his mark in the successful Nihon University boxing team. That team also had the likes of Tomoya Tsuboi, Subaru Murata and Kuntae Lee, so to be involved in that teams says a lot about how Kotari was regarded.
As an amateur Kotari went 48-24, an impressive record on the Japanese scene where the High School and University tournaments are incredibly tough, and are producing top professionals year on year recently.
After graduating from university earlier this year he signed up with the MT Gym. That's the same gym that has the likes of Kai Ishizawa, who fights in a Japanese title eliminator in late September, and Junto Nakatani, who headlines the show featuring Kotati's debut. Just a few years ago the gym was regarded as one of the least notable. It was only set up in 2001 and really had no one of note until Nakatani's success put the gym on the map. Since then it has been developing a solid reputation as a gym that can get the best from youngster and is willing to push fighters.
Kotari will be hoping that MT Gym push him in a similar way to Ishizawa, who has got a Japanese title eliminator in just his 7th fight, whilst Nakatani was more of a novice and went the Rookie of the Year route. He has the amateur background to be moved through the ranks and more impressive is how he's preparing for his debut. Recent he spent time sparring with former world champion Masayuki Ito, and surprisingly dwarfed Ito who has made his name at Super Featherweight.
At the time of writing Kotari's debut opponent hasn't been confirmed, but we have been informed it will be an Indonesian opponent in a 6 bout at a contracted 58KG's, just under 128lbs. He's expected to shine here and really take a chance to impress an audience who are there to see Nakatani in his biggest test so far. A win is the very that's expected of Kotari here.
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