This coming Saturday fans in Osaka will get the chance to see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (4-0, 1) faces limited Korean challenger Hye Soo Park (6-8-3, 1). On paper this is a mismatch for the fast rising Chimoto, who will be looking to secure herself a world title fight in the near future, however the bout is also a chance for her to get some valuable rounds under her belt before a potential shot at world honours next year.
Aged 28 Chimoto is proving to be one of the top young talents in female boxing, though that's hard a surprise given she was a very, very well regarded amateur. In the unpaid ranks she came runner up in the 2015 All Japan Championships, came 3rd the following year and was part of the 2011 World Jr Youth National team for Japan. That amateur background has given her a great footing for her professional career, which began in 2018. Sadly for Chimoto her career, like that of many others, was slowed drastically by Covid19, and she ended up sitting on the sidelines for almost 2 years. On her return to the ring in summer 2021 she shocked Yuko Kuroki, out-pointing Kuroki over 8 rounds to claim the OPBF Minimumweight title, which she defended back in May, with a win over Kaori Nagai.
In the ring Chimoto is a talented outside fighter, who likes to create distance, keep some range between herself and her opponents then have raiding 2-handed attacks. She lacks power, and isn't the most accurate, but she's calm, relaxed, composed and makes opponents miss, a lot. She is certainly a talented fighter, but does lack the physical side to her game that we think is something her team will look to develop. Although quick and relatively sharp, she also has solid balance, and always looks like he feet are well set for anything. Sadly she is lacking polishing, but that's expected for someone who has had so few fights and such little activity since turning professional.
Park on the other hand is a 34 year old who really struggled when she turned professional. She debuted in 2009 and lost her first 4 bouts, and 6 of her first 7. Since then she has done well to turn things around, relatively speaking, but her 4-2-3 run since that early start hasn't exactly set the world alive. She has drawn with limited novices, such as Jinyan Gao and Min Jung Kim, and her wins have come against some very, very weak opposition. Her losses on the other hand have mostly come to novices, though she did face opposition last time she fought in Japan, losing a decision to Tamao Ozawa in 2019.
Sadly footage of Park isn't too widely available, though from what is out there she is a very negative fighter, who creates space not so much to box at range but more to stay safe and not risk getting his clean. Her offense is incredibly limited, with her really lacking any crispness in her shots at all. She's crude, her balance is poor and she doesn't look confident in the ring. She actually looks somewhat scared at times and this is a big problem when a fighter feasts on F grade opposition, as when they step up to face a C or B level fighter they don't really know what to do.
Sadly for Park we really don't see her having anything to test Chimoto with. Chimoto is a talent, but she needs rounds, and she needs time in the ring and we expect her to get that here. Her style isn't the best, but experience could help her work on that and that's what expect this bout to do. Get her some rounds, get her some ring time, and get her an easy defense against a limit, but stubborn and awkward opponent, who will struggle to take a round from Chimoto.
Prediction - UD8 Chimoto
This coming Tuesday we'll see Japanese Female Minimumweight champion Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) make her first defense, as she takes on Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1) at Korakuen Hall. For the champion the bout will see her defending the title she won last December, when she narrowly beat Sayo Segawa, with a 6 round split decision, whilst the challenger will get her first shot at a title, and will going into the bout as a huge under-dog after going 1-6 in her last 7.
The diminutive Suzuki made her debut in May 2017 and after winning her debut she was out of the ring for around 9 months before losing on her return. She would suffer her second loss in early 2019, falling to 3-2. Since then however she has began to string together results, with wins over Aoi Watanabe, Megumi Hosoda and Sayo Segawa. Sadly for her she has shown a complete lack of power, with her only stoppage coming in her third bout back in July 2018 against Ka Yan Wong in Hong Kong. Thankfully for her, she makes up for that with accuracy and timing, tools that have allowed her to defeat naturally more polished, and heavier handed fighters.
Suzuki is light on her feet, has a good work rate and despite not being heavy handed, at all, she is accurate with punches that are straighter and more crisp than many of her opponents. We wouldn't say she was "compact" with her punches, but she does look more polished than other fighters in and around the Japanese title scene at the weight. That crispness leads to her landing cleanly pretty consistently, often through the wide shots of her opponents. She also has pretty decent movement, and often stands in front of opponents, making them miss and returning fire.
As for Ichimura she turned professional in 2015, and did so with a loss to Eiko Jonai. She then went on the run of her career, to move to 2-1-1, but has struggled since then becoming something of a Japanese domestic level journey woman. Despite struggling to get wins, she has often put up game efforts, and there has been a number of bouts that she could have won, despite coming up short on the scorecards. She has very much proven herself as being willing to fight through the Kansai region of Japan, though notably she will be the away fighter here, travelling from Osaka to Tokyo for the bout. Sadly for her travelling to Suzuki's backyard will be one of many problems for her here.
In the ring Ichimura is someone who has nice quick feet but sadly that's really the only thing notable about here. She struggles to do a lot of the basics and is wide, clumsy, awkward and makes things messy. At range she's awful, with no real crispness to her jab, which is rare for her to even throw, and up close her bouts become a mess of holding, wrestling, and trying to simply out muscle her opponent, rather than out work or outbox them. To her credit she never stops trying, but her limitations are very, very evident, and she really doesn't manage to do much to cover up those issues.
Whilst Suzuki will not be winning a world title, her skills and clean punching should be the difference her. She should find herself picking her moments, landing clean shots are winning rounds, to secure her first defence against a very, very poor challenger.
Prediction - UD6 Suzuki
On May 15th we'll see a clash for the OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) defends her title against Kaori Nagai (6-3-3, 2). For Chimoto this is a chance for her to continue her rapid ascent through the rankings and make a move towards a world title fight later in the year, whilst Nagai gets a chance to add an OPBF title to her collection, which already includes the Japanese Atomweight title.
Of the two fighters the 27 year old Chimoto is the more accomplished, and the more highly regarded. She was an excellent amateur, representing Japan at the World Youth Championships and placing in the All Japan Championships several times. She has also shined as a professional winning the Japanese female Minimumweight title in her second bout, and the OPBF title in her third bout, beating former world champion Yuko Kuroki for that OPBF title.
In the ring Chimoto is a technically well schooled fight who's patient early on, light on her fighter, and applied intelligent and meaningful pressure. She's not in the ring to let her hands go every second of every round, but when she does let them go she's throwing with the intent of landing meaningful shots. Unlike some female fighters she also has a very solid guard, and good defensive skills, as well as intelligent defensive footwork, getting out of range just as well as she gets into it. Notably Chimoto is also physical strong, which works well with her style, and has under-rated upper body movement, when she uses it. Whyen she needs to up the tempo she can, but it often seems like she's fighting within herself, keeping something back and in the tank until she needs to call on it. Watching her it's clear she's an excellent talent, but someone who likely needs some seasoning, and some more ring time, before moving up another level.
Aged 32 Nagai is someone who has turned her career around after a very shaky start. She lost her first 2 bouts and was 1-2-3 after 6 contests, but has since gone 5-1, winning and defending the Japanese Atomweight title along the way. Notably her one loss since her second professional bout came last time out, to former world champion Ayaka Miyao, who showed that there was levels to the sport, despite a good effort from Nagai. On paper Nagai doesn't hold any wins of major note, but she has twice beaten Momoko Kanda as well as taking the unbeaten record of Ryo Sawai. She hasn't made a major mark on the sport, but she has really improved since her early days as a professional and could end up mixing in world level in a few years time, given the rate of her progress.
In the ring Nagai looks pretty basic, there's nothing that really stands out about her in terms of power, speed or work rate, and she does, unfortunately for her, look very upright with her chin in the air. Despite her flaws however she is getting results, and that comes down to her will to win, her ability to land sweeping shots, particularly with her right hand. She's lucky to have not fought a big puncher so far, but there's not many of them in the lowest weights of women's boxing, and her drive and willingness to grit her teeth through tough moments has earned her some good results so far. Sadly though against polished fighters we do expect her to come up short, as she did against Miyao.
Here we expect to see Nagai simply being out boxed, out fought, out thought, and out punched by a more polished, sharper, younger, faster and all round better fighter. Nagai, given her tenacity, will have moments against Chimoto, likely moments in every round, but won't have enough of them to impress the judges, with Chimoto landing the cleaner, better shots.
Prediction - UD8 Chimoto
One thing we hate to see are fights put together at late notice, especially if they are re-matched of bouts that took place relatively recently and were one sided. Sadly this coming Friday we get one such bout, as 37 year old Sana Hazuki (8-5-1, 2) challenges IBF Minmumweight champion Yokasta Valle (23-2, 9), for the second time, in Costa Rica.
The two women fought in January 2021, with Valle dominating Hazuki over 10 rounds, and it was clear in their first bout that Valle was levels above Hazuki. She was too quick, too accurate, to sharp, too skilled and too good. In that bout Hazuki was given decent notice, though it certainly wasn't a lot of notice. This time around, some 14 months later, it appears that Hazuki has been given even less notice, and only travelled for the bout this past Monday, giving her no real time to acclimatise to time zone and local conditions. In fact she was only given 2 to 3 weeks notice to take the fight, which is unlikely to be a competitive one.
Valle is one of the best female fighters at 105lbs. She might not be a truly elite level female boxer, akin to Seniesa Estrada, Katie Taylor, Amada Serrano, Naoko Fujioka or Claresa Shields, but she's a very, very capable fighter with experience against top fighters, a willingness to prove herself on the road and the confidence of someone who has won her last 10 bouts.
In the ring Valle is light on her feet, boxes and moves well and although not a big puncher, she hits hard enough to get respect from her opponents. Her real strength is her activity, accuracy and work rate, all of which were on show against Hazuki last year, in a bout that had competitive rounds, but wasn't particularly competitive overall.
Hazuki on the other hand is a clumsy but very game and aggressive fighter, who presses the action trudges forward and looks to make bouts into real fights. Sadly for her she does often over-reach with her shots, leaves herself open to be hit and doesn't have the quickest of feet or hands, allowing others to counter her and create space against her. Sadly against someone as quick and accurate as Valle her flaws are there to be taken advantage of, albeit she does make for fan friendly and exciting bouts.
Much like their first bout we don't see this being close, but it will have competitive rounds. As with their first the speed, movement, accuracy and fluidity of Valle will be too much.
After 10 rounds we expect this to be a clear win for Valle, but the bout will certainly be a fun one with some exciting exchanges. Sadly though the short notice for Hazuki, and very late travel to Costa Rica, will not do her any favours. She will be game, but will not have the tools in her arsenal to beat Valle.
Prediction - UD10 Valle
On December 9th we'll see a new Japanese female Minimumweight champion being crowned as Nanako Suzuki (5-2, 1) and Sayo Segawa (1-1, 1) battle for the currently vacant title, which was given up by former champion Yuma Narita following her first defense last December.
Aged 22 Suzuki is the younger fighter, despite having more professional experience than Segawa. Suzuki debuted at the age of 17, back in 2017, and scored win on debut before suffering her first loss in her second bout, when she was beaten by Eruka Hiromoto. She bounced back with a couple of wins, including one over Ka Yan Won in Hong Hong, but was beaten in a minor surprise in 2019 as she returned to Hong Kong and lost to Renz Dacquel. Since that loss she has notched up back to back wins and built some momentum whilst also winning her first 6 rounder.
In the ring Suzuki is an energetic little fighter, who bounces on her feet a lot and comes forward behind a busy jab. Sadly she is tiny and whilst her jab is busy it's not a damaging one. It also doesn't really set the table for her other shots as her right hand is slow and wide and her other shots often look more like slaps than full blooded punches. She's very much a developing fighter, but she looks like a novice in there with a lot of work to do. Offensively she's not particularly sharp, though she is quick. Sadly though she is very open defensively and so far she's been lucky not to have faced opponents able to really take advantage of all her defensive holes.
Segawa was a former amateur standout before beginning her professional career in 2019. She impressed in her debut, beating a Thai visitor, but was beaten in her second professional bout. Whilst she is an inexperienced professional she was very established in the amateur ranks, coming 3rd in the All Japan Championships and scoring more than 30 wins with almost half coming by stoppage. Sadly though she is diminutive, and is less than 5 foot tall, which will be a problem as she steps through the levels of the sport.
Given her amateur credentials it will be little surprise to learn that Segawa's a polished fighter. She does things properly, her shots are crisp and clean, her movement looks natural and educated, and her footwork is solid, though somewhat rigid. She picks her shots well, she sets a good tempo and she looks like a much more polished version for Suzuki, tidying up a lot of the flaws we mentioned with Suzuki. Sadly she's lacking power, and doesn't seem to put too much on her shots, but she is quick, aggressive and clearly understand what she's doing in the ring.
We suspect Suzuki can go on to win a title in the future. Here however we expect the polish and amateur skills of Segawa to be the difference maker, and her loss last time out will act as the sort of bout to correct her focus, and develop a more intelligent gameplan, rather than holding her feet as she did last time out,
With neither fighter having much in terms of power we can't imagine this one finishing early, we do expect a lot of shots landed by both in an exciting and very fun fight. Just unfortunately for Suzuki we don't think she has the tools to beat the more polished Segawa.
Prediction - UD6 Segawa
This coming Saturday we'll see WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) make her first defense as she takes on mandatory challenger Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (4-0, 1) from Vietnam. The bout might not look like anything special on paper, but it should be a very interesting one, pitting a 40 year old, veteran champion, against a 25 year old, looking to make her mark on the sport and put Vietnam on the boxing map.
Of the two women it's Tada who is the much, much more well known. The veteran has been a professional since 2008 and is one of the most decorated Japanese female boxers in history. During her 26 fight career she has won the WBA, IBF and WBO Minimumweight titles and fought in 18 world title bouts since 2009. It's not just the numbers that are impressive, but also her competition and she holds notable wins over the likes of Cho Rong Son, Ibeth Zamora Silva, Naoko Shibata, Yuko Kuroki, Kayoko Ebata and Ayaka Miayao.
In the ring the champion is an aggressive fighter. Over the years she has developed from a raw fighter, full of energy but lacking in finese, to being more of a pressure-fighter. Sadly her legs have slowed over the years, something that obvious happens in a fighters mid to late 30's, but she applies intelligent pressure, has a good work rate, is incredible tough and has solid power, as Miyao found out. She can be out worked, she can be outsped and out boxed, but few fighters will manage to outlast her over 10 rounds, and she's a genuine nightmare for anyone at 105lbs.
The challenger on the other hand is a bit of an obscure fighter. She debuted as a professional in 2015 and then vanished before returning in 2019 and picking up two low key wins. She then kicked off 2020 with her biggest win to date, beating Kanyarat Yoohanngoh in Camboddia for the WBO Asia Pacific female title. That bout saw the Vietnamese fighter taking a split decision over the Thai, in a 10 rounder, the longest bout of her career. Sadly since that win, in February 2020, Nguyen has been out of the ring, with numerous planned and scheduled bouts falling through due to issues with Covid and covid related travel restrictions.
In the ring Nguyen lighst to fight as a pressure fighter, coming forward behind a tight guard, using good upper body movement and pressing opponents around the ring. She's not the most active with her output, as we saw against Yoohanngoh, but her forward march does look like it could make for some very exciting bouts against the right opponents. Technically her punches aren't particularly crisp, and they don't look like they have a lot of weight on them, yet they seem to have an effect when they land, and we suspect she's a much heavier handed fighter than she looks. Although she likes to pressure she does have very slow feet, and given her lack of output it seems clear she can be out boxed, out worked, and out fought, though it may be easier said than done.
Given the two fighters involved the styles should gel really well. They should meet face to face, and that should allow for a high tempo bout on the inside, something that we strongly favour Tada in. Nguyen can make for good fights, but we feel she's up against a much better version of herself here, and the sort of fighter that she'll not manage to do what she wants against. In fact we suspect Nguyen will be the one looking for plan B and plan C sooner rather than later.
With that comment in mind we do need to bring up the elephant in the room, the promoter. The bout is taking place in South Korea, and a card promoted by Nguyen's team. Nguyen's win over Yoohanngoh did not look on the level, and the two 99-90 scores were atrocious. Tada will need to be aware that she's not going to have the judges on her side, and will really need to win clearly to get the decision. We think she'll look to really hurt and punish Nguyen over the course of the fight and make it clear that the judges can't rob her here, despite maybe trying.
Prediction - SD10 Tada
On January 30th we’ll see the IBF female Minimumweight champion Yokasta Valle (20-2, 9) defending her title against Japanese challenger Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2) in Costa Rica, the first world title fight to feature a Japanese fighter this year. The bout isn’t a huge one, but it is an interesting one, in a division where there are some very good female match ups to be made, and the winner here will find themselves well in the mix for bigger figures. In fact prior to this bout being made there was supposed to be a much, much bigger bout lined up for Valle, but more about that in a few moments. Sadly however this bout has been put together on relatively short notice, and it could end up being a case that neither fighter is quite 100% for this clash. Despite that we do expect an interesting contest.
As mentioned Valle was supposed to be in a much bigger bout. Originally she had planned for a mid-January bout against German fighter Tina Rupprecht, to unify the IBF, WBC, IBO and Ring Magazine titles. That bout was sadly cancelled earlier in January, and the IBF ordered a mandatory between the champion and Hazuki as a result.
The now 28 year old Valle has been a professional since 2014, and has really proven herself as a talented fighter in recent years. That was despite a slow start to her professional career in which she fought a lot of low level bouts early on. Despite the slow start to her professional career she did claim the IBF Atomweight title in December 2016, beating Ana Victoria Polo to become the inaugural champion. Sadly she didn’t actually defend that title, instead looking to face bigger names, and in 2017 that led her to facing Naoko Fujioka in Japan, and suffer her first loss. Just 6 months after losing to Fujioka she travelled to Germany and lost to Tina Rupprecht. Within just a few months Valle had gone from 3-0 to 13-2, but had fought two highly talented fighters and proven her ability.
Since the back to back losses Valle has claimed the IBF female Minimumweight title, beating the hard hitting Jaoana Pastrana in Spain in 2018, and defended it once, stopping Carleans Rivas in 2020.
In the ring Valle is an aggressive fighter, who throws a lot of leather and believes in herself. She’s tough, energetic, and has more than a respectable amount of pop in her punches. She throws a very nice, crisp jab and a clean, straight, right hand. Given her power, work rate, big over hand right and speed and movement she’s not an easy fighter to beat, and she really does know her way around the ring. Unlike some female fighters she’s not all out aggressive and is more of a boxer-fighter than some of the swarmers we see out there in the lower weights.
The Japanese challenger, who also debuted in 2014, is now 36 and is likely on the back end of her career. Despite that she’s not got a great deal of wear and tear and will be getting her first world title in just her 14th professional contest. Despite not having much wear and tear she’s also not proven herself as a viable world title contender, with her most notable win coming over the then 5-0 Eruka Hiromoto in 2019, a win that netted her the OPBF female Minimumweight title. That win aside has little else of note on her record in terms of success. In fact the other notable results on her record are losses to Eri Matsuda and Nanae Suzuki, and a draw to Suzuki.
Despite her less than stellar results it’s hard to fault Hazuki’s work rate. In the ring she’s all effort, all energy and always coming forward letting her hands go. There’s a lack of quality and crispness to her work, but few can fault her tireless engine, with to win and all out fighting mentality. Sadly though she lacks the nuance to make the style work and the power needed to get her opponents respect. A lot of her shots are slapping shots, and there’s a really trudginess to her pressure. She’s a fun fighter to watch, but someone who’s deficient in too many areas to really compete at world level.
Although Hazuki is an all aggression fighter we don’t really see that aggression working too well against Valle, who we suspect will use her feet well, set up the counters and land big, heavy, clean shots. Hazuki will come forward all night, but eventually an accumulation of clean head shots, and the gulf in skills, will prove to be the difference, and we suspect Hazuki will end up taking a lot of leather until the referee steps in.
Prediction - TKO 8 Valle
It's fair to say that whilst 2020 has been an horrific year for most there have been some positives to take from it including some in boxing. We have seen a massive improvement in match making in Thailand, to the point where we are genuinely looking forward to Thai shows when they take place. Another big winner has been female boxing, which has really been able to blossom in the UK during the no-crowd era, where cheaper purses has made female boxing a show saver. Fingers crossed both of those things continue when global normality resumes.
On the subject of female boxing one thing the UK is missing is a female domestic title scene, which we expect they will create in the coming years.
One country that has already got this is Japan and we see the next Japanese female national title fight this coming Sunday in Osaka. That title bout will see Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) defending her Japanese female Minimumweight title against Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1) at the EDION Arena Osaka. For the champion this will be her first defense, since winning the title in January, whilst the challenger will be looking to make the most of her latest opportunity.
The 31 year old Narita won the title this past January in her third title shot, after coming incredibly close in two previous bouts. She fought to a draw for the title in 2018, against Chie Higano, then lost a split decision to Higano in early 2019. In fairness she could have won either of those bouts. That has been pretty much the problem through her entire career, "she could have won that bout". In total she has had had 5 bouts that could have gone her way with the judges, and had that happened she'd be sat with a 9-2 record, and would certainly be seen differently in the eyes of fans.
Sadly for Narita her issues are, like many lower level female fighters. She lacks concussive power, her bouts end up being competitive and being a high tempo slugfest with both able to take the power of the other. The action often seems tit for tat and bouts can get messy very quickly. Sadly for Narita she makes life quite tricky for herself by lacking accuracy and throwing a lot of wide shots and seems to lack straight shots from her arsenal, something she will need if she's going to progress beyond Japanese title level. Thankfully she did put things together last time out, when she beat Yumiko Shimooka for the title, but in fairness Shimooka is a very limited fighter who had lost 5 of her previous 6.
In Mont Blanc Miki we have a 28 year old challenger who turned professional in 2017. She started her career with a win but was stopped in just her second bout, as tested the water above Light Flyweight. That loss sent her back down the scales she found success, and reeled off 3 more wins before. A move up to Light Flyweight in 2019 didn't bode well, as she was stopped in 2 rounds by Chan Mi Lim in South Korea. Sadly since that loss she has gone 0-1-1, though that did including a loss to Japanese Atomweight champion Eri Matsuda, last year. We had expected Matsuda to really have her way with Miki, though Miki held her own for 4 rounds before being stopped in round 5, in what was probably her best performance to date.
Although there is quite a few fights of Miki out there the one against Matsuda looks to be the most suitable to get a read on what Miki can do. In that bout she proved to be a super hungry fighter, who pressures a lot, can hold her own up close and has surprisingly good footwork. She loads a bit too much for our liking, though she seems much more accurate than Narita and physically stronger. Like Narita she's not the most accurate, but she's a very capable fighter, with a real aggressive attitude in the ring and she will be there pressing forward, looking to land big right hands and left hooks. Notably all 3 of her losses have been by stoppage, and she's not proven to have the best chin, despite her pressure style.
Despite entering as the challenger we actually think Miki will be the favourite here, or at least she should be viewed as the favourite. The advantages Miki has work well in her favour here. She's the physically stronger, more imposing and more accurate fighter of the two. Her work rate might not match that of Narita, but she's much more effective with her work than the champion. Also Miki's biggest flaw, her toughness, isn't likely to be an issue here given Narita doesn't have much in terms of power. Miki will get hit, probably quite a lot, but won't be in trouble from anything Narita throws at her.
Don't get us wrong, Narita is a live under-dog, and she won't want to give up her title, but she's certainly up against it here against a stronger, more powerful fighter than herself. Narita needs a perfect gameplan to win whilst Miki just needs to be herself and out hustle the champion.
Prediction - Miki UD6
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 February 8th Costa Rican fighter Yokasta Valle (19-2, 8) will be making her first defense of the IBF female Minimumweight title, ash she goes up against Filipino challenger Carleans Rivas (8-6-4). This will not only be Valle's first defense but also Rivas' first world title challenge, after having fought numerous times for regional titles.
Although not a global name by any means Valle is a talented fighter, The 27 year from San Jose has shown a willingness to travel and to take on the best. This has seen her lose on the road to the likes of Naoko Fujioka and Tina Rupprecht, running Rupprecht very close in Germany, and actually winning this title in Spain last August. The belt she currently holds is her second, after having previously held the IBF's version of the 102lb title in 2016, and she has proven to be a tough fighter to beat.
In the ring Valle is small, even for a female fighter at 102lbs or 105lbs, but she uses her diminutive size well. She makes herself seem smaller, darts in an out well, and is very aggressive. She's not the most powerful puncher out there but she throws a lot of leather, has a busy lead hand and throws in bunches, often getting flurries off before an opponent can respond. It's her activity and aggression that make her a nightmare to fight and not many fighters will have the work rate to go with her, or the power to make her think twice about letting shots go.
The 31 year old Rivas has really struggled when she has fought above Filipino level, and in fact even at domestic level she has been beaten by the likes of Jessebelle Pagaduan and Lady Love Sampiton. Above domestic level she has lost to the likes of Tamao Ozaw, Chaoz Minowa, Tenkai Tsunami and Yumeni Ikemoto. Sadly for her she hasn't been able to win when she's stepped up and she's also rarely even been competitive at regional level. She is also 0-4 outside of the Philippines.
Whilst she's not totally terrible she isn't particularly good either. She lacks power, throws a nice jab but a very slow and loopy right hand and often puts herself off balance. There's a fighter that could have been competitive at regional level if her team had managed to polish her rather clear visible flaws, but instead those issues are still clearly there and clearly limit her potential to go far in the sport.
Although we don't see Valle as an emerging superstar of female boxing, she is a talent and we expect her to make this first defense look very, very easily. We would be massively surprised by anything but a dominant win by the Costa Rican champion.
Prediction - TKO8 Valle.
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.