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.