Over the last 4 years or so Japanese had two notable Lightweights, one travelling for overseas fights against some of the biggest names in the sport and one staying at home, unifying domestic and regional titles whilst developing a reputation as a dangerous boxer puncher.
Of course the fighter who has been fighting internationally is Masayoshi Nakatani, who has faced the likes of Teofimo Lopez, Felix Verdejo and Vasyl Lomachenko in recent years. The other is the unbeaten Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10), who has unified the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles whilst remaining in the East and making a solid claim as the best Japanese Lightweight. This coming Thursday he'll be back in the ring, looking to defend his Japanese title as he takes on youngster Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7). The focus for Yoshino is to win here and then advance into the types of bouts we've been seeing Nakatani enjoy, whilst Nakazato will be looking to claim his biggest win to date.
For those who haven't seen the two men Yoshino is someone who really should be on your radar. He was moved incredibly quickly through the Japanese domestic scene, winning the Japanese domestic title less than 2 years later his debut, with a TKO win against Spicy Matsushita. Since then he has really come into his own, making 6 defenses of the Japanese title and unifying it with the two regional titles to become a triple crown champion. Along the way he has shown a bit of every thing, with some brutal knockouts, including one against the once touted Harmonito Dela Torre, good boxing skills, as seen last year against Valentine Hosokawa, and desire to win, coming from behind against Izuki Tomioka in early 2020. He has however looked like someone who needs to face bigger, better, more testing opponents and is pretty in need of a major international test.
In the ring Yoshino is a genuine talent. He's dangerous, he's talented, he's gutsy and he's a man with a decent boxing brain, when he needs to use it. He has been genuinely tested on the Japanese scene, with Tomioka, Matsishita and Yoshitaka Kato all asking questions of him, but he has always come out on top thanks to his strong amateur background, very heavy hands, good timing, and the versatility that makes him a real all round. He can boxing, he can brawl, he can come forward and he can box as a counter puncher. Given those tools in his arsenal he is more multi-faceted than Nakatani, though lakes the awkward size and toughness of his countryman.
Aged 24 Shuma Nakazato is an unknown outside of Japan, though is someone who shouldn't be over-looked or ignored. He began his career at Featherweight, as a teenager, but since then he has matured in a solid Super Featherweight. At 130lbs he has given Hironori Mishiro a real test in 2018, before notching up wins over Kanta Fukui and Yuji Awata, as well as fighting to a draw with Yoshimitsu Kimura in a sensational 8 round bout last year. In those bouts we've seen a gutsy, talented, but flawed young fighter showing improvements with every fight, but very much looking like an inexperienced youngster who is still developing as a fighter.
In the ring Nakazato is a solid boxer-puncher, but sadly he's very much an average Super Featherweight moving up in weight here, which will not serve him well. He's quicker than Yoshino, he's younger, but he we don't feel he has fight changing power at 135lbs, or the the experience needed to really test Yoshino. Instead we see Nakazato making a good start, boxing well, having success with his speed and movement early on, but coming undone when Yoshino decides to turn things around, and has a read om his man.
We expect Nakazato to bee very competitive through 4 rounds but and up being stopping the second half of the fight.
Predoction - TKO8 Yoshino
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.