We return for an "Revisiting" this week, and this time around we look at Hiroshi Kawashima protege Ryusei Kawaura (7-0, 4) who we covered on the February 18th 2019 version of "Introducing..."
When we looked at Kawaura last year he was 5-0 (4), and had come in to 2019 on the back of good wins over Marjun Pantilgan and Yuki Yoshimura back in 2018. He hadn't blown the world away but there was growing excitement over him, and his potential to follow in Kawashima's footsteps was seen as really exciting. He was being dubbed "Kawashima II" , and like his mentor was becoming a smart fighter with very good defensive IQ.
His first bout of 2019 saw fighting around 3 months after we looked at him, and he easily out pointed the experienced Renoel Pael over 8 rounds in May. In fact not only did Kawaura out point Pael but he dropped him in a near shut out of the Filipino. Pael had no answer for the speed, movement and boxing brain of the Japanese hopeful, though did manage to ask some questions of Kawaura. There was a a few moments in round 3 where Pael seemed to land clean, and later on in the bout Pael brought some pressure. That pressure was good for Kawaura's development and certainly did no harm for the talented youngster, who had to use his brain to make Pael miss.
The win over Pael shot Kawaura up the WBO Asia Pacific rankings. He entered that bout with a #14 ranking and by his next fight he was #6.
The next bout, his most recent to date, saw Kawaura take on Joy Joy Formentera 6 months after Kawaura had beaten Pael. It was a real shame that Kawaura was out of the ring for half a year, and for a fourth straight year he fought in November.
Despite the lay off Kawaura managed to clearly beat Formentera over 8 rounds. This was a real tactical all southpaw bout, and saw Kawaura go up against a talented and high skilled fighter. The Japanese fighter always looked in charge, based on his ring craft and IQ, but was against someone who asked boxing questions, and actually left Kawaura bloodied from the nose. This was the perfect type of test for the talented fighter who needed someone to challenge him as a boxer, rather than try to attack him as a fighter.
Kawaura was the clear winner against Formentera but for a second fight in a row he had to prove what he could do, against a fighter with a similar, but less polished, style to his own.
At the moment it's unclear when Kawaura will kick off his 2020, but if he only fights twice again this year it would be a travesty for his career unless he manages to secure a title fight of some kinda, then at least he would have a launchpad to be busier in 2021. He's still young at the age of 25, but he turns 26 at the end of March and will really need to kick on soon. He was 22 when he made his debut, and can no longer go on with this 2 fight a year schedule if he's to come close to reaching the level that his mentor did.
One thing we expected was that Kawaura would have had a televised or streamed bout in 2019. That still hasn't happened but really needs to happen in 2020. We understand Kawashima and Kawaura wanting to control their own destiny but for him to be hidden away from fans who aren't in the venue for his bouts is a major issue in building his profile and name. Fingers crossed that will change this year, and he will have a televised bout before the end of 2020!
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