In mid-April 2019 we covered Takuma Takahashi (5-0, 5) in our introducing feature. At the time the promising Japanese Welterweight was 3-0 (3) and looking like the next face of the World Sport Boxing Gym, following the likes of Takeshi Inoue and Kazuto Takesako. As we sit now however it's really hard to envisage Takahashi becoming the star we had hoped for him to be. In fact on his last performance it's hard to imagine him being any sort of a serious threat, even at domestic level.
When we spoke about Takahashi last year he had just scored an excellent 85 second blow out win over Jonel Dapidran. It was his third win in just 5 rounds of in ring action and he looked like he was a destructive puncher, albeit one with a relatively crude and open style. He wasn't pretty to watch, but he was destructive, eye catching and fun.
In August 2019 Takahashi continued his perfect start to the professional ranks as he stopped tough Thai Sitthidet Banti in 6 rounds. Takahashi was in control through out the bout but was, for the first time, forced to answer some questions. The bout saw Takahashi prove he could fight for 6 rounds if he needed to, it proved he could box as well as bang, and that he had some polished skills, even if we only managed to see glimpses of them.
Despite the better performance from Takahashi against Banti the unbeaten fighter left a lot of questions that needed answering. Takahashi was in control, but Banti was doing little more than not falling over. The Thai didn't put together much offense of his own and the rare shots he did throw were slapping, and cuffing, with little conviction on them. It made for a poor match up and Takahashi would have had much tougher sparring sessions.
This past January Takahashi was finally given a test, and boy did it turn out to be a test. On paper it wasn't a big step up as he went in with established Filipino journeyman Leonardo Doronio. At this point Doronio had as many losses as wins and was not expected to ask questions of the rising Japanese fighter. What ended up happening was very different to what was expected.
In the opening round Takahashi was dropped, twice, by Doronio. The first knockdown wasn't too bad but the second seemed like it taken his legs away and Takahashi was very lucky the bell rang when it did. Takahashi showed his heart to get back into the fight but would end up cut in round 3, before he finished off Doronio. The finish it's self wasn't without controversy with Takahashi hitting Doronio when he was down, from two different knockdowns.
Although Takahashi had managed to come out on top of a total dog fight with Doronio he had left us with more questions than answers. He proved he had dog in him, digging deep and stopping the Filipino, but left questions about his chin, his defense and his honesty in the ring. A less forgiving referee would certainly have taken points from him, if not disqualified him all together.
It was good to see Takahashi getting tested but wasn't good that it had come against such a limited opponent. We're now very unsure on how far he can go but it's going to be fun following him over the coming years. He can certainly punch, but with question marks about his chin, his defense, his technical polish and ring IQ we don't suspect that Takahashi will go as far as we once expected. In fact we wouldn't be surprised to see Takahashi fail to win a Japanese title, but we expect him to be in a lot of dramatic fights before he hangs them up.
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