The Featherweight division right now is a very interesting one, with a mix of contenders, champions, prospects and others. In Asia the division is also an interesting one with a host of notable names in the mix for world title fights, and the leader among those is OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu (4-0, 4), who appears to be the latest Japanese fighter on the fast track to the top.
Shimizu won the OPBF title back in October, claiming his first professional title following a very successful amateur career. This coming Saturday he'll be looking for his first defense, as he takes on Filipino challenger Eduardo Mancito (15-7-2, 9), and looks to make a statement on route to a potential world title fight.
The 31 year old Japanese fighter had major success in the unpaid ranks before turning professional with Ohashi in 2016, debuting in September. His first 3 bouts were impressive stoppages but it wasn't until October's win over Sa Myung Noh that fans really began to sit up and take notice, with Shimizu battering the the tough but outclassed Korea.
In the ring Shimizu is a bit of an enigma. As an amateur he was a well schooled fighter, and those skills have been seen at times in his short professional career. Despite those skills Shimizu often looks like a weirdly uncoordinated, long and lanky fighter, with arms that look too long for his body and as a result has a very peculiar style where his shots come from really unusual angles. Although watching him doesn't suggest he's a big puncher he really does appear to bang and is a great finisher at this level, as Noh found out. He has power, speed, determination and the ability to adapt, though does have questions left to answer about his stamina, durability and defense, which will hopefully be answered here.
Filipino fighter Mancito looks like an over-matched challenger on paper,but for a first defense, on a relatively short turn around, he's not a terrible foe. He's 25 year old and has only been stopped once in his 24 fight career, with that stoppage coming to the world class Tomas Rojas. He certainly looks durable, and did go 10 rounds against Rey Vargas, but there is question marks as to how much his hard bouts have taken from him.
In the ring Mancito is a decent level of fighter. He was dominated by Rey Vargas but was competitive with the likes of Alberto Guevara, Jelbirt Gomera, Thong Sithluangphophun and Vergil Puton and has shown he comes to fight, even when he is out classed. His aggression will allow him to have some success against most fighters, but we suspect it will be his downfall here.
Mancito will come to fight, but against someone as heavy handed and skilled as Shimizu that aggression will be used against him. Mancito will be giving up significant height and reach and will be picked off, being worn down and stopped, likely in the first half of the fight, by the very talented Shimizu.
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.