This coming weekend is a huge one in Japan in 6 world title fights taking place over the two days. As well as those world title fights we will also get an OPBF Light Flyweight title fight, as unbeaten Filipino Edward Heno (10-0-4, 4) takes on Okinawan Seita Ogido (11-2-2, 3) for the currently vacant title, which was vacated recently by Ken Shiro ahead of his world title bout. The bout might be massively over-shadowed by the world title bouts, it does actually look like a really solid match up it's self.
Of the two men the more proven is Heno, a PBF champion at 108lbs with notable stoppage wins over Roque Lauro and Cris Ganoza, and he has gone 10-0-1 after 3 successive draws to begin his career.
Although relatively unknown outside of his homeland Heno has proven his ability at home and looks like a genuine prospect, with power, toughness and an ability to go 10 rounds, having gone 8 or more 5 times in 14 fights. He has fought as high as Super Flyweight and is certainly a strong and tough fighter, even if there is still a lot of questions for him to answer, with some expecting him to be able to answer those questions with ease. In fact some in the Philippines do see him as one of their hidden gems, as his 9th round KO of the previously unbeaten Cris Ganoza showed.
Aged 24 Ogido is a fighter looking to score a break out win and establish himself as one to watch. He lacks power, but is a gritty and determined fighter who has stepped up well following a loss in the 2014 Rookie of the Year final to Kenji Ono. He was last seen fighting to a fortunate draw against Jonathan Refugio, in a WBC Youth title fight and before that scored a very good win over Jeffrey Galero.
Sadly for Ogido he's in arguably the most stacked division in Japan. He's well behind the likes of Kosei Tanaka, Ryoichi Taguchi, Kosei Tanaka and Akira Yaegashi, and there are plenty of others who would be favoured to beat him as well, such as Ryo Miyazaki and Tetsuya Hisada. Sadly his lack of power will likely hold him back from ever reaching the pinnacle of the sport, but he has the potential to leave a real mark at Oriental scene, in the future.
Although Ogido is talented we're feeling that Heno will come out on top. He will out work and out muscle the Japanese fighter on route to a clear but competitive decision, which will perhaps be closer on the cards than the reality in the ring suggests.
Back on December 14th we saw Japan's Kyotaro Fujimoto (16-1, 8) create a little slice of Japanese boxing history, as he became the first ever Japanese born fighter to claim the OPBF Heavyweight title, essentially unifying it with the Japanese title which he has held since July 2013. He claimed that title with a clear decision against the big punching Willie Nasio, who struggled to tie down the brightly haired Japanese mover.
This coming Monday Fujimoto looks to establish another little bit of history, as he looks to become the first Japanese fighter to defend the OPBF Heavyweight title, as he takes on Samoan born Australian based Herman Ene Purcell (12-5, 6). The bout doesn't look amazing on paper, but for a first defense it's certainly not a horrible match up for Fujimoto to attempt to establish his title reign and begin his climb from Oriental champion to a world title contender.
Unlike most Heavyweights the Japanese fighter doesn't really fight like a Heavyweight. There is little physicality to his work, and instead he fights as a boxer-mover. It's unusual in the division to see someone move as much as Fujimoto does, but he uses the movement well, looking to pick his spots, land counters and strike when an opponent makes a mistake. It seems like his style has come from from his K1 back ground but has been rounded off in recent bouts.
Although a mover Kyotaro has got good stamina and continue moving through the 12 rounds, and he does have under-rated power, having dropped Nasio during their fight. Notably the movement disguises some of Kyotaro's weakest points, his poor punch resistance and his lack of physical strength. He might be speedy but when a fighter gets him in the clinch he really struggles to hold his own, and they will neutralise his speed by doing something like that.
On paper Purcell looks limited, with 5 losses in 17 bouts. It's worth noting however that he started his career 2-3 and was 5-4 before having a 7-1 run and getting his career back on track. Those wins haven't come against top level fighters but have helped Purcell get some career moment going and has seen him score wins on the road, in China.
In the ring Purcell originally looked like a wild, crude and crazy brawler. He has however tidied up his boxing. He's certainly not a natural boxer, but he does look like a natural fighter and is looking to swing for the finish from the first moments to the last. Despite still being wild he has shown decent stamina over the 6 round distance, though will be fighting in his first 12 rounder and could well pay the price for a lack of experience over the longer course. Notably his power has seen him stop 6 of his foes in the opening round, it does however lead to questions about whether his power really is only effective for 3 minutes or not.
Given Purcell's free swinging style he will likely struggle to pin down Fujimoto, but if he connects early the Japanese fighter could be in trouble. Sadly though it does seem like Purcell's window of opportunity is going to be the first round or two. After that, he'll slow and Fujimoto will have a field day with his counters. The champions movement and speed will allow him to tire out the challenger and the drop the hammer in the later rounds, taking a mid-to-late stoppage over the challenger.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.