This coming Thursday fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see OPBF female Flyweight champion Chaoz Minowa (6-3, 5) make her first defense, as she takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (7-1) in an interesting looking 8 rounder.
Sadly whilst this will be Minowa's first defense it's not like her reign has just begun, in fact she won the title way back in 2016, in just her third professional bout. Back then she was regarded as one of the hottest prospects in female boing, and there was talk about her going up and down the weights and winning world titles in a huge number of weights. Sadly however things haven't worked out for her, and now, some 5 years later, this OPBF title is still the only one she has held. Despite that she has been busy and she's gone 3-3 (3) since her OPBF title win, and challenged for world titles on a number of occasions. Sadly she's fallen short at world level, but it does seems like she could have success by dropping back to Oriental level.
The problem for Minowa is that, despite being a good amateur, he style as a professional is rough and raw. She's more focused on her power and aggression rather than her boxing skills. It's made her fun to watch, but it's also come at an expensive of her stamina and her results and there's been times where a more conservative approach in the ring could have yielded better results, such as her bout with Tenkai Tsunami in 2018. She has also been plagued with inactivity and fought has fought just 6 times since winning the title back on December 13th 2016! From those 6 bouts, 4 took place in 2018.
Sadly coming in to this one it's not just Minowa who has lacked activity, but also the challenger. Ikemoto began her professional in 2016 and was 6-1 by the end of 2018, but has only fought once since then, with that being a decision win over limited Filipino fighter Gretel de Paz. To date her most notable result came in 2018, when she beat Yuki Koseki for the Japanese female Flyweight title, but sadly she never defended that title. Rather than building on that win she has been inactive, and comes into this bout after having been out of the ring for well over 2 years, and close to 3 years!
In the ring Ikemoto is an aggressive, fun fighter to watch. She comes forward and applies pressure, has under-rated power and lets her shots go up close. She's not particularly polished, but she is exciting, comes to fight, and puts a lot into her shots. She also gives opponents chances to catch her, and she's quite basic in a lot of things she does. She comes forward in straight lines, she throws wide shots and she can be very open to counter shots. So far she has, on the whole, gotten away with her flaws, but this is a step up in class for her.
Given the styles of the two women it's hard to imagine this being anything other than a fun, brutal action bout. Sadly for Ikemoto her lack of power will be an issue here, and we suspect that Minowa's extra pop will be the difference maker in a very exciting action bout. We expect to see the two women spending a lot of time toe to toe and unloading, making for an eye catching and thrilling contest, with Minowa doing enough to take a close win.
Prediction - UD8 Minowa
Professional records rarely tell us the the whole deal about a fighters experience in the ring. A great example of is that Saensak Muangsurin, who took just 3 fights win win a world or Vasyl Lomachenko who came amazingly close to winning a world title in just his second professional bout.
The reason that some elite fighters don't need numerous professional fights before stepping up in class is usually because they have a lot of experience in something similar to professional boxing. In Muangsurin's case if was Muay Thai whilst in Lomachenko's case it was his amateur amateur boxing career.
With that in mind you need to realise that Yoshikawa Nana (2-0), pictured, is no typical 2-0 fighter. She is, instead, a very accomplished amateur stand out who knows that time is against her and that she can't waste time with "developmental fights" to improve her skills. Instead she has had to fight in "live" fights early in her career and hope that she can rely on her amateur schooling to help her through the problematic patches of a fight.
Nana's record of 2-0 as a pro needs to be considered alongside her amateur record, which is a reported to have consisted of 77 fights including 55 victories and appearances at two world amateur championships. Nana may be a professional novice but she's a boxing veteran. Sadly though her amateur experience has come at a cost and she is now 35 years old with no more time to spend developing her skills. She has had 2 bouts and must now get on the fast track to success, or failure.
For Nana her next bout is a sink or swim contest as she moves up from fighting novices to fighting for the OPBF Light Flyweight title, albeit a title vacated by Naoko Shibata.
Nana, the OPBF #2, goes from fighting opponents no wins between them to taking on former world title challenger Krikanok Islandmuaythai (4-3-1, 2) who is, herself, ranked #3 by the OPBF.
Krikanok may not be that well known but she has mixed in great company, much better than that of Nana. After starting her career 4-0-1 she was unfortunate enough to be sent in to a match up she simply wasn't ready for against WBC Atomweight champion Momo Koseki. Koseki showed the gulf in skills and experience between herself and Krikanok by stopping the Thai in just 5 rounds. Since then Krikanok has lost back to back fights to Masae Akitaya and Kanittha Kokietgym. Admittedly though both of those women are world class, unfortunately though Krikanok that is 3 straight losses on her record.
Although more experienced than Nana with 8 bouts under her belt and the experience of a world title fight already under her belt Kirkanok won't be seen as the favourite. Instead it will be Nana, with her amateur background will be expected to win, a view we share with many out there.
Although Nana has a lack of world class power she does have very advanced skills for such a novice and it's those skills that we imagine will take her to the OPBF title. Hopefully, if she wins, she will continue with aggressive match ups and will manage to move on to a world title fight in the next year or two before she is physically on the slide. She has the skills to be a top fighter but father time is certainly against her.
(Picture courtesy of http://www.ynana.jp/)
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.