Way back on January 28th we saw a thrilling female world title bout between Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) and Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6), which resulted in a split decision draw, leaving the WBO female Minimumweight title vacant. The bout wasn't the biggest or the most amazing, but it was compelling and thoroughly engaging through out. And given the inconclusive result there was, clearly, some desire from both fighters to go again.
Originally it seemed seem we weren't going to see them re-run it, with Miyao signing for a bout in Vietnam. Sadly that bout fell through to the on-going global situation leaving the door open for Miyao and Tada to face off again, which they will on December 3rd at Korakuen Hall. Like their first bout, more than 10 months ago, this will also be for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title.
In their first bout it was Miyao who seemed to sharper fighter early on. She moved well, landing eye catching single shots and got in and out well. She impressed with her speed, her timing and her movement, and certainly didn't look like a fighter who was 36 years old. In the middle rounds her single shots become bursts and combinations and she was certainly the one with the higher work rate. Sadly for her however she was also the one with the out the physicality and power really needed to make a dent, and Tada's shots all looked nastier, particularly early on when neither fighter was really throwing much in terms of combinations. Tada was being out landed through the bout, but the quality and sting on Tada's shots certainly looked more impactful than anything Miyao was landing.
In the final rounds Tada looked old, worn and like a woman who was edging towards retirement and at the time we did say a rematch would be interesting.
Given their first bout we can't help but feel Miyao should be seen as the favourite. She seemed to do enough, at least for us, to deserve a win in their first bout. A somewhat slow start may have cost her, but when she went through the gears and began to step it up she seemed like the much fresher, younger and hungrier fighter.
The new 37 year old Miyao has been a professional since 2004, and began making her name as pupil of Hideyuki Ohashi, who really did help her build her career, and lead her to winning the WBA Atomweight title. Following a lot of success at the Ohashi Gym she then joined the Watanabe Gym and has had mixed success with them, whilst continuing to prove she is a world class fighter. In 2016 she suffered a nasty injury against Nao Ikeyama, that seemed likely to end her career. Since then however she has rebuilt, avenged that loss, suffered a narrow defeat to Monserrat Alarcon and fought to a draw with Tada.
Miyao has always been a super quick, sharp, boxer-mover. She rarely sits on shots but does land a lot and uses the ring well. Even in her mid-30's she's continued to be a bundle of energy.
Tada on the other hand is heading towards her 40th birthday, which comes next May, and she was a former amateur standout before turning professional in 2008. She was one of the trend setters for female boxing in the 00's, hunting unification bouts in 2009 and 2010. She was aggressive, exciting, and fun to watch. She was technically solid, physically imposing and a real handful. Sadly though as she's aged she has lost some tenacity and hunger. In 2013 and 2014 she suffered losses to Anabel Ortiz, then she struggled to get notable bouts, with opponents not fancying bouts with her. She bounced back well in the end but then lost to Cai Zong Ju in 2017 and looked like a faded force during that bout. Then she rebuilt again with wins against Naoko Shibata and Kayoko Ebata.
In the ring Tada can be out-worked, she can be out sped, and she can be out-boxed. At range she is limited, slow and struggles to cut range now a days. On the inside however she's strong, tough, and a physical force, pushing opponents, tying them up, and battling hard up close.
In their primes we would give Tada the advantage, but with both fighters on the slide and the nature of their first bout, we have to feel that Miyao has more left in the tank, and will use what she learned in their first bout to take the win here.
We see Miyao again boxing at range early on, but getting combinations off as early as round 2, taking the initiative, and trying to wear down Tada as the bout goes on. We don't see her breaking down the older woman in a way to force a stoppage, but we do see Miyao out working Tada to the point where the judges won't see this as being particularly close.
Prediction - UD10 Miyao
On November 13th Japanese fight fans at Korakuen Hall, along with those willing to pay an excessive price to watch on Twitcasting, will get the chance to see Japanese Female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (15-12-1, 6) take on Yoshie Wakasa (6-2, 2). For Miyoshi the bout will serve as her second defense of the title, which she won in September 2018. Wakasa on the other hand will be hoping it's third time lucky, following two previous losses in title shots.
The champion is the much, much more well known fighter. The 36 year old veteran has been a professional since 2008 and has had a rather remarkable, if somewhat over-looked career. She he won OPBF female titles at Bantamweight, Featherweight and Super Featherweight, and is now enjoying a reign as the Japanese national champion. As well as he title successes she has fought numerous times at world level, and shared the ring with the likes of Yazmin Rivas, Hyun Mi Choi and Shannon O'Connell.
Although no world beater Miyoshi is a handful. She's tough, rugged, has a good work rate, surprising power, and a lot of experience. There is a question as to when father time will catch up with, but we have seen top female fighters having success well into their 40's so we wouldn't assume her age would be a major issue, and instead suspect she still has several years left in her body.
In Wakasa we have an interesting challenger, but someone who has failed to get over the winning line in recent bouts. She began her career in 2014 and won her first 6 bouts, before coming up short against Miyo Yoshida in a Japanese Female Bantamweight title fight in 2019. That loss was then followed by a loss to OPBF Female Featherweight champion Wakako Fujiwara in September 2019. With those two losses we are now more than 2 years removed from her last win, and it's hard to know where her confidence is at.
At 32 years old Wakasa is the younger fighter, but she's no spring chicken, and she's certainly not a fighter who has done much in recent bouts to scream that she's a champion. Despite that she shouldn't be written off. Like Miyoshi the challenger is a rugged, tough type. She's clumsy, she's slow, but she comes to fight and knows how to make things ugly.
Given how both fighters are ones who like to fight up close, both neglect their jabs both like to fight we expect this to be a really rough fight, and probably a very ugly one. But we expect both fighters to be pretty well matched over all, and for the fight to be a pretty entertaining at times. A fun mess, if you will.
Sadly for the challenger we have got to predict a win for Miyoshi. Her experience, and higher level of competition will prove vital here. Both are similar in many ways, but the huge gulf in experience will, we suspect, play a big difference maker.
Prediction - UD6 Miyoshi
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.