This coming Wednesday fight fans in Kumamoto get the chance to see two of their local boxing children return home, having made Tokyo their boxing home for the last few years. One of those two fighters is Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka, and the other is his older brother Yudai Shigeoka (4-0, 2), who will be making his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, as he takes on Cris Ganoza (19-3, 9).
Whilst less well known than his younger brother it's hard to deny that the 25 year old Yudai Shigeoka isn't an incredible talent, as we've seen since his professional debut in last 2019. Like his brother, Yudai was a stand out amateur, who proved himself in the unpaid ranks before following Ginjiro to the professional ranks. On his debut he looked calm, relaxed and composed whilst stopping Thai visitor Manop Audomphanawari, since then he has scored 3 genuinely notable wins, beating OPBF champion Lito Dante in just his second professional bout, then stopping Ryu Horikawa for the Japanese Ryu Horikawa and most recently Tsubasa Koura for the WBO Asia Pacific title. In just 4 bouts he has proven a lot, and quickly put himself in the mix for potential world title fights, and yet still has plenty of areas to improve on, with improvement likely to come with more ring time and experience.
In his most recent bout, his win over Koura, we saw that Shigeoka had a lot in his locker. He was, as we'd seen in the past, a talented, sharp, boxer puncher, but also someone who is defensively smart, incredibly quick, well schooled and good at finding holes in defenses. He isn't the most text book fighter out there, but he is a well schooled southpaw, who can box really well behind a jab and apply intelligent pressure. We also saw him being able to dig down and fight with Koura, digging deep when he needed to and taking the fight to Koura when he needed to. Notably he also show cased a good chin on the occasions that Koura caught him clean and the ability to counter. We do feel, at times, he was rushed by Koura, and didn't always look comfortable when that happened, but given he was stepping up massively in that bout and being pushed 12 rounds he did incredibly well and saw out the storms whilst also looking to get his own work off. Had that same fight come just a year or two later, with Shigeoka have 3 or 4 fights more, we suspect he would have won it quite easily, but still managed to see off a very, very good fighter, very early in his career.
As for Cris Ganoza, the Filipino is a 27 year old who made his debut in 2014 and has spent his entire career, so far, fighting in the Philippines. Despite never fighting outside of his homeland it should be noted he has shared the ring with some notable talent, including Edward Heno, who gave him his first loss back in 2017 unbeaten hopeful John Michael Zulueta, and former world title challenger ArAr Andales. Sadly he has lost to those 3 notable foes, and without trying to be too harsh he does lack in terms of notable wins, with the most notable coming against Donny Mabao back in 2018.
In the ring Ganoza looks like someone who could become a decent fighter, with the right training and mindset, but sadly as of his recent bouts, he looks very much like a work in progress and a very limited fighter, who makes a lot of mistakes. He has nice natural speed, but technically he's open, he's raw and he's worryingly reckless. He looks very much like a novice, who makes some very silly mistakes, and is seemingly trying to learn on the job. That's not to say he doesn't have nice handspeed and doesn't come to fight, more than he's very much a work in progress, and a bout at this level, against someone as skilled and polished as Shigeoka will not end well for him.
We know that Ganoza is fairly tough, but unfortunately he's also very open and we can't help but feel that his technical flaws and huge gaping defensive holes will be taken advantage of by Shigeoka, who will almost certainly see the gaps and punish Ganoza. The real question isn't who will win, but just how long can Ganoza survive against Shigeoka. We don't think it'll be all that long. We see the body shots taking the fight from Ganoza and breaking the Filipino down somewhere around the middle of the bout.
Prediction - TKO7 Shigeoka
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.