Over the last few years female boxing has really taken off, thanks in part to the fighters who came out of the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Although a lot of the highlights of female boxing has been the new wave of fighters there are still a number of veterans in the sport putting on memorable battles and wars, whose professional careers pre-date the acceptance of boxing into the Olympics. One of those is 38 year old Japanese warrior Kimika Miyoshi (16-13-2, 6), who is looking to end 2022 as the Japanese female Featherweight champion. To do that she will need to get past nemesis Yoshie Wakasa (7-3, 2), in what will be the rubber match of their trilogy, which began in 2020.
The two women, who know each other pretty well by now, first fought in November 2020 with Wakasa dethroning Miyoshi. The two would rematch in February this year, with Miyoshi getting revenge and reclaiming the title. Both the bouts were competitive, well fought but both had a clear winner. Coming into this bout it's clear that both fighters know what to expect, and both fighters will be desperate to give their all and come out on top here, in what could well be the final bout of their rivalry.
Of the two women Miyoshi is the much more established. She's a 31 fight veteran who has challenged for world titles, won OPBF titles in 3 weight classes and is multi-time Japanese national champion. Aged 38 she is coming to the end of her career, however there is no doubting her experience, drive and will to win. Sadly she's very much a crude fighter, who lacks polish, but she really does have drive and knows her way around the ring. She isn't tidy, by any stretch, but she can defend herself well and has the work rate needed to make life very tough for opponents at the domestic level, with her jab being a particularly effective weapon.
As for Wakasa, her 9 fight career has been very stop start. She made her debut in 2014, and has fought around once a year. Sadly though that has included her not fighting at all in 2017 and not at all in 2021. She failed to build on her win over Miyoshi, in 2020, and didn't look the same fighter in the rematch, which came 15 months after their first bout. The win over Miyoshi is, by far the most notable on her record, but in the rematch she was made to look crude, open, slow and unable to control the range and tempo of the bout. Sadly for her the only other win on her record of any note came way back in 2018, when she beat Tomoko Okuda, and since then Wakasa has gone 1-3.
Given the nature of their first two bouts it's hard to know who will win here, though we suspect that it will be a repeat for Miyoshi, who seemed to figure out Wakasa who had no answer for the jab of Miyoshi. Miyoshi might not be a world beater but she can throw a jab, and we see her throwing it a lot here, following it up with right hands and simply out working Wakasa, like she did back in February.
Prediction - Miyoshi UD6
This coming Thursday we'll see Japanese Female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (16-13-1, 6) defending her title against once beaten challenger Akane Fujiwara (5-1, 2). The bout isn't the most interesting or the best match up on paper, but it is one that should provide some great action for fans at Korakuen Hall.
The 38 year old champion is a true veteran of the sport, and a true warrior who has made the most of her relatively limited natural skill set. Miyoshi made her debut in 2008 and lost her first 2 bouts, and was actually 2-3-1 after 6 bouts, but has built well from that poor start. In fact she's rebuilt so well that she has managed to be a multi-time world title challenger , a 3-weight OPBF champion and a 2-time Japanese Featherweight champion. An incredible achievement for someone who has barely won more than half of her career bouts.
Inside the ring Miyoshi is a relatively limited fighter, but not an awful one. She has a busy jab, and a style that involves a lot of footwork, she's busy, active and a bit of a hustler in the ring. She's not the smoothest, or the quickest, or the most powerful, but she's able to out hustle, out work and simply out fight opponents. She's used her long career to develop her skills and has learned a lot over time. She knows the key to victory is often having the final word in an exchange, and if her opponents can't hurt her she can stand and take risks to fight fire with fire. She'll never win a world title, but even at the age of 38 she's busy enough and capable enough to be a success on the domestic stage. She's also exciting enough to get more opportunities and to have fans tuning in, enjoying her battles.
Aged 34 the challenger will be getting her most notable bout to date. Fujiwara made her debut in 2017, losing a split decision to Chisa Tanaka, but has bounced back well since then with 5 straight wins, albeit all against fellow novices. Sadly though she has been inactive since October 2019, and has struggled in a number of her wins. To date she has never been beyond 4 rounds, and it's hard to know whether her style will have success over the 6 or 8 schedule.
In the ring Fujiwara is an aggressive fighter. She's somewhat crude, wild and wide with her shots, in what is an energy intensive style, but she's also very fun to watch letting her hands go and committing to her offensive work. Sadly her lack of polish leaves her open to counter shot, and she does eat shots clean. Her work rate is really good to watch and she clearly has the tools to develop into a good fighter. Sadly though, given her age and inexperience, we don't think she has the time needed to polish her skills off and have real success.
Coming in to this bout we do expect Fujiwara to have success in the early rounds, but as the rounds go on her defensive flaws and wild offensive work will come back to bite her as Miyoshi begins to land her own busy jab and out land the challenger.
The styles of these two should gel well, we should get some really exciting, low level, action, and the fans are in for a treat here. But we suspect Miyoshi should manage to make it look easy on the scorecards.
Prediction - UD6 Miyoshi
This coming Monday Japanese fight fans at Korakuen hall will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Yoshie Wakasa (7-2, 2) make her first defense, as she takes on veteran Kimika Miyoshi (15-13-1, 6), the woman she beat for the title in 2020. This is an "immediate rematch", in the loosest sense of the word, but still a very important one for both fighters. For the winner a potential world title could be on the line, whilst the loser could end up retiring with really nowhere to go.
The 33 year old Wakasa began her career in good form, winning her first 6 bouts, before back to back losses in 2019, losing to Miyo Yoshida and Wakako Fujiwara, seemed to slow her progress down. Despite those losses she bounced back more than a year later to dethrone Miyoshi in a career best win to claim the title.
Although no world beater Wakasa is a good solid fighter, who lacks power but has a good work rate, a solid jab and and fights to win. She fights like someone who believes in her own toughness and although she's technically limited she's a good honest professional who gets in the ring to fight and brings plenty of pressure along the way.
Aged 38 Miyoshi is a true veteran who has been a professional since 2008. She began her career with losses in her first 2 bouts but has rebuilt brilliantly over the years to win OPBF titles in 3 weight classes and even get a world title fight in 2017, losing a wide decision to Hyun Mi Choi. Given her record it's easy to think she's a terrible fight, but in all honesty she has proven to be much better than her record suggests.
In the ring Miyoshi has had success through sheer hard work and grit. She is technically very, very limited, and has never really shown much polish, but she brings pressure, she constantly marches forward, and she always looks to make things rough, tough and hard for opponents. She has a pretty tight guard, but it's very much used as little more than just something to come behind rather than rather than something to help set up counters. It's very static and basic.
In her prime Miyoshi would have been the favourite against Wakasa, but at 38 and with father time getting to her she's a long way from her prime. And much like their first bout we suspect the slightly more polished boxing, energy and work rate of Wakasa will be the difference maker. It'll be a fun enough bout but not the most competitive or the most high level.
Prediction - UD6 Wakasa
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
Whilst we have 2 title fights in Tokyo this coming Saturday it's worth noting there will actually be a third title fight take place in Japan, with the lesser of those coming in Kanagawa as Japanese veteran Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defends her Japanese female Featherweight title. In the opposite corner to the 35 year old champion is little known challenger Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), also 35, in what will be her first title bout of any kind.
Miyoshi is a legitimate veteran, with more than 11 years professional experience behind her. That long career has been filled with ups and downs, from losing her first 2 pro bouts to winning her OPBF title back in 2013, fighting in world titles bouts and becoming a rare 3 weight OPBF champion. She's not had a smooth career, but she has had an under-rated, and successful, one with bouts across the bout and getting chances to test herself with some of the best out there.
Although an inconsistent fighter through her 27 fight career Miyoshi has proven to be tough, exciting and aggressive. Sadly though Miyoshi is slow, cumbersome, technically limited and has neither impressive hand speed or foot speed. She's a trier, we'll give her that, but she's incredibly slow, often following opponents around the ring and struggling to get her shots off before her opponent gets away. When she managed to get her work off on the inside she looks good, but it often takes a willing opponent for her to get the action up close.
Debuting at the age of 33 in 2017 Midorikawa really didn't have much time to impress and sadly she hasn't really managed to do much at all as a professional. Her competition so far has been novices, and she hasn't looked great, despite remaining unbeaten. She's looked slow, clumsy and very light punching. Unlike some fighters in female boxing, who can turn pro late with a strong amateur background, there doesn't appear to be a natural fighter here, but instead someone that Watanabe Gym are trying to make into a fighter. Had this happened at a younger age Watanabe might have been able to get something out of her, but wee feel it's too little too late.
Watching Midorikawa we see a strong and big looking fighter, she has a cautious style yet has an aggressive mentality, coming forward, but doing so with a lot of jabs and a lot of weight on her back foot. She doesn't appear to have much in the way of power, and struggles to get respect of opponents, which is a genuine issue. That lack of power isn't helped by the fact that Midorikawa doesn't really throw a very good right hand. Her power shot comes from last week, and is so badly telegraphed and slow that it is unlikely to ever stop any one.
Whilst it's clear Miyoshi's career hasn't got long left, we can't help but feel she should have far, far too much for Midorikawa, who has shown little to test the veteran champion. We expect Miyoshi's pressure and work rate to be the difference here and for her to out work the challenger en route to a clear decision.
Prediction - UD6 Miyoshi
This coming Monday we'll see OPBF female Featherweight champion Wakako Fujiwara (8-3-2, 3) return to the ring as she hunts her second defense, and takes on the once beaten Yoshie Wakasa (6-1, 2) at the EDION Arena Osaka. On paper this bout does show the lack of depth in female boxing, but that's not to take away from a bout that should be very entertaining and hotly contested.
The champion is 38 but has proven to be a late bloomer. She was stopped on debut, and was 1-2-1 after 4 bouts, but since then she has gone 7-1-1, with her only loss in that stretch coming to world champion Hyun Mi Choi this past June. Not only has Fujiwara's record turned around but she's go one to avenge one of her losses, stopping Kana Fukuda in 2017 to avenge her debut loss, and has scored two wins over veteran Kimika Miyoshi, a 3 weight OPBF champion. Unfortunately for her she's what we'd describe as a "battler", with a lack of world class power. She can box, but tends to find herself involved in wars on the inside, which are entertaining but she up her lack of boxing IQ. Like many female fighters at this level, skills seem to come second behind work rate, which is fun to watch, but does magnify the difference between the fringe contenders and the truly world class.
Aged 31 Wakasa is no youngster herself, but she is still significantly younger than the champion. She debuted more than 5 years ago and began here career with 6 straight wins, though they were mostly against limited opponents with the best being Asami Jinnari and Tomoko Okuda. last time out she stepped up, massively, to take on Miyo Yoshida and suffered a wide decision loss to Yoshida in a Japanese female Bantamweight title fight. When you consider that she's going up from 118lbs, for that bout, to 126lbs for the bout, that's a big ask for Wakasa, who will be up against her second best opponent so far.
There's a chance that, over the next few years, Wakasa will cement herself as a title level fighter. Here however we see her taking on someone in form. who's, stronger, bigger and more experienced. Fujiwara is unlikely to ever win a world title herself, but we see her taking a very, very comfortable decision over her fellow Japanese fighter here, even if she does end up resorting to using her size to take the win.
Prediction - UD8 Fujiwara
The female boxing scene is a rather weird one right now. We have a lot of really exciting emerging talent around the globe and then we have a big drop off to the domestic type fighters. That's seen quite clearly in the upcoming Japanese Featherweight title fight between Miki Mitsuda (5-5, 4) and Kimika Miyoshi (13-12-1, 5), who are both rather limited fighters. On paper this looks like a 50-50 bout, which is always a good thing, but it certainly doesn't look like a title fight.
Despite it's looks this is going to be a bout for the national title, and that's kinda disrespectful to the belt in some ways.
Despite our complaints however the bout looks like it could be a fun one to watch.
The limited, but relatively hard hitting, Mitsuda enters as the Japan and will be looking to make her first defense of the title. She won the belt this past April, when she stopped Asami Jinnari in their second bout, following a stoppage loss to Jinnari in 2018. She's turned her career around from a 1-4 start, but has yet to impress and has fought pretty much her whole career against low level domestic opposition. On paper she looks like a fearsome puncher, but in reality her record says more about her opposition than herself, and she's never likely to find herself competing on the world scene. She's crude, open and really just proof of why sometimes having a title says more about eligibility than skills.
At 35 years old Miyoshi is probably on the slide, though as we've seen in recent years female fighters do tend to slip a lot slower than their male counterparts. Sadly for Miyoshi she has lost her last 4, though that has included losses to Shannon O'Connell, Hyun Mi Choi and Wakako Fujiwara. At her best Miyoshi is a fringe world class fighter who has claimed OPBF titles over 3 weight classes, Bantamweight, Super Featherweight and Featherweight and has proven to be a durable fighter. Sadly she's certainly slowing down and is not the fighter who upset the likes of Riyo Togo and Chika Mizutani. Instead she's a fighter who is low on confidence and getting older by the fight.
Coming in to this it seems like the fighter on the 4 fight slide should be the under-dog against the champion, who has stopped her last 2 opponents and avenged her most recent loss. We however are picking the experience, toughness and durability of Miyoshi. We feel Miyoshi will simply wear down and Mitsuda, mentally and physically to take the win. Mitsuda will likely start the better of the two, but Miyoshi will come on strong to take the win.
Prediction - UD6 Miyoshi
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
To kick off the new "Female" section of Asian boxing we couldn't have picked a more interesting female "world" title bout.
In one corner we have Japanese veteran Fujin Raika (25-7-1, 10), pictured below, and in the other other corner is unbeaten Korean Hyun-Mi Choi (7-0-1, 2), pictured opposite. Both are former world champions and both are looking for a chance to stamp some authority on the Super Featherweight division as they battle for the WBA "interim" title,
Of the two fighters it's fair to say that Raika, 37, is the more tested fighter having been a professional for more than a decade. Her career, a legendary one, has seen her sharing the ring with a veritable who's who such as Chevelle Hallback, Jelena Mrdjenovich and Ann Saccurato.
Although she is seen as being on the slide Raika does bring real experience a genuine toughness and a natural size advantage having competed regularly at the Lightweight limit in recent years and also having fought as high as Light Welterweight. These qualities will always make her a tough fighter to deal with and if she gets inside she can let her hands fly.
At just 22 years old Choi is by far the younger, fresher fighter. Of course she is trading that off against her relative lack of experience though she has been a WBA Featherweight champion, in fact this will be her 9th straight contest for a world title though it will also be her first bout at the Super Featherweight limit having been a career Featherweight.
Stood at 5'7" Choi will have a height and reach advantage over Raika though it's incredibly important that shes uses it and stays on her toes. She's a lovely straight puncher when she gets in to a rhythm though it can sometimes take a few rounds for her to get her boxing going and this could see her having some problems.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
This fight really does seem a bit of a boxer v brawler contest.
The brawler, Raika, in this case is the bigger fighter and a bigger puncher though is several years removed from a notable victory. She has proven, against really good fighters, that she's a handful and has shown a willingness to do what it takes home or away to try and win.
The boxer, Choi, on the other hand is a fighter who is developing from a young girl to a fully grown woman. Her move up in weight is as much down to her frame filling out. She may have been fighting at Featherweight but she always looked big at 126lbs.
As with many fights of this stylistic match up the boxer will need to have the power and speed to keep the brawler from just walking in and unloading. Inside Raika will be able to bang away at the long midsection of Choi and will be a real danger woman.
For Choi this is about what does with her feet just as much as her hands. She'll be quicker with her feet and hands though she'll need to have the awareness to avoid walking herself into the corners where Raika will be able to have a field day. Choi hasn't the power to put Raika away, very few have, though she'll need to get her attention early and make sure Raika respects her. If she can't get the respect of Raika this will be very difficult.
Although Choi will find this bout very difficult, her toughest since her split decision victory over Claudia Andrea Lopez, we imagine she'll just have enough down the stretch to take a close and very competitive decision against the Japanese veteran.
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.