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
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
In recent months we've seen female boxing rise in profile, with Olympics like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams, Claressa Shields and Marlen Esparza all making waves in the West. It's certainly a good time if you want to become interested in female boxing, and it seems like we're at the start of a new era in term of the professionalism of women's boxing. Despite that none of the top former amateur stars managed to make a debut quite like Hyun Mi Choi (13-0-1, 4), who claimed a world title on her debut back in 2008. This coming week Choi looks to continue her second world title reign and defend the WBA female Super Featherweight title. In the opposite corner to Choi will be Japanese challenger Kimika Miyoshi (13-9-1, 5).
As mentioned Choi won a world title on debut, though that's only a small part of her battle which has seen her escape the North Korean regime, win a world title as a teenager, become a 2-weight world champion and evidence that refugees aren't a bad thing, even when they are escaping your biggest national threat. The talented Choi claimed the WBA female Featherweight title on debut in 2008 and then moved on to become the WBA female Super Featherweight champion when she out grew the smaller weight class.
Although not a major international star Choi has recorded numerous notable wins. They include victories over Tenku Tsubasa, Claudi Andrea Lopez, Sandy Tsagouris, Shannon O'Connell, Fujin Raika and Chika Mizutani. She not only has an impressive record but also solid skills, with an out-side fighter mentality, and the frame to fight to that mind set. She's got under-rated speed, nice combinations and hits hard enough to keep very solid fighters honest, whilst also having proven world class stamina. Also at the age of 26 she's still maturing and still improving, and is likely several years from really reaching her prime.
Aged 33 Miyoshi has been around the block, and although she debuted only 5 months before Choi she has had a much rougher and tougher career. She has suffered a number of losses, including stoppages to Riyo Togo and Tomoko Kawanishi, but after a 3-5-1 start she has found her groove going 10-4 in her last 14 bouts. Those 10 wins include notable victories over Tenku Tsubasa, Riyo Togo, Chika Mizutani, and Kai Johnson. They have seen her become a 3-weight OPBF female champion and dip her toes at world level, with losses to Yazmin Rivas and Shannon O'Connell.
In the ring Miyoshi is the type of fighter who comes to fight. She's not the most skilled, or the most naturally gifted in terms of size, strength or speed, but she is a fighter with a pressure style, a lot of aggression and a real will to win. She can be out boxed, she can be hurt and she can be stopped, but she'll never just turn up and lie down. As a result she'll be coming in to this bout with the attitude of forcing her fight on to Choi and could be a real handful, though a win here would be the biggest and best of her career by some margin.
With Miyoshi being a pressure fighter and Choi being a boxer it's fair to say that Miyoshi will be backing up Choi, a lot, but the Korean is used to that and will look to use her more technically sound boxing skills to good use. What we expect to see is for Miyoshi to come forward, and Choi to out box her on the back foot with her more rounded and natural skills. There will be moments when Miyoshi gets inside and roughs up the champion, but they will be few and far between with Choi taking a clear decision after 10 rounds
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.