August 24th is set to be one of the best days for fight fans of the lower weights. We not only have both Kosei Tanaka, John Riel Casimero and Vic Saludar defending their world title but also a number of other notable bouts in the lower weights. One of those other bouts is a show down between the fast rising Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) and world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12). This bout, on the under-card of Tanaka's mandatory title defense against Jonathan Gonzalez, could end up being the most interesting bout of the day and is a clear step up for the destructive Hatanaka.
The 21 year old Hatanaka is seen by some in Japan as the next star of Chubu, following stable mate Kosei Tanaka. He's a second generation fighter, following in the footsteps of father Kiyoshi Hatanaka, a former world champion at Super Bantamweight, and has been guided so far by Hatanaka senior. He made his professional debut in late 2016 and has gradually built a reputation for himself as a hard hitting, exciting and really promising young fighter. He's already his first title, the WBC Youth Flyweight title, and is starting to get real traction thanks to wins over the likes of Kenta Matsui and Songsaeng Phoyaem.
In the ring Hatanaka is aggressive, heavy handed but also educated. He takes calculated risks, and brings his aggression being intelligent pressure. He backs opponents up behind good footwork, he fires off combinations between head and body and is very hard hitting for such a young fighter. Like many of the emerging Japanese youngsters he really uses body shots well and whilst he's still a long, long, way from a world title fight he is moving in the right direction.
On paper Abcede looks like a really poor opponent for a top prospect. With 8 losses from 27 bouts he's no world beater. However Abcede is going through a really good run of form. He's been unbeaten since suffering a decision loss to Ivan Soriano in December 2017, and has scored big wins on the road since then, stopping both Stamp Kiatniwat in Thailand and Seigo Yuri Akui in Japan. Those two wins are far better than anything on Hatanaka's record, and a win over Abcede would be huge for Hatanaka at this point,
Abcede isn't a world beater, but he's a tough, rugged and hungry fighter. His losses, typically, come to good fighters, like Panya Pradabsri, OPBF champion Lito Dante, former OPBF champion Tsubasa Koura and current world champion Wanheng Menayothin. He's not only notched the bit wins over Stamp and Akui but also holds wins over Pigmy Kokietgym and Orlie Silvestre. If we were to put Abcede into a pigeon hole, he's a gatekeeper, a really good regional gatekeeper. He has under-rated power, a lot of heart and brings intelligent pressure behind his southpaw stance. He's not the quickest, the biggest puncher or the best boxer out there, but he has become a very solid fighter who can be a genuine threat to a prospect, and their unbeaten records.
We expect to see Hatanaka entering the bout with clear instructions not to try and blast out Abcede. Instead Hatanaka will be told to box, and if the opening come he's to jump on them. If he takes risks there is a genuine danger that Abcede will punish him for them, likewise if Hatanaka looks to set a super high pace there's a risk of him gassing in the later stages.
If Hatanaka can boxing intelligently, use his brain and find openings he can certainly stop Abcede and continue his perfect KO run. Alternatively he can box safe, get 10 good rounds under his belt and prove his stamina. From the first round to the last Abcede will be dangerous and he will be tough, but Hatanaka should be good enough to take the win, and continue his rise. We expect to see the youngster being tested, hard, but do more than enough to take home the win.
Prediction- TKO9 Hatanaka
The Minimumweight division has long been one of the most over-looked in weight classes in the sport, and we suspect it will remain that way going forward despite the division having some of the most exciting fighters of the last decade, such as Katsunari Takayama and Akira Yaegashi both feature in some simply amazing fights at 105lbs.
This coming Saturday we see a bout to crown a new OPBF champion champion at the weight as Tsubasa Koura (10-0, 7) takes on unheralded Filipino Jaysever Abcede (14-6, 9) for the currently vacant title, which was vacated by current world champion Hiroto Kyoguchi prior to his bout with Jose Argumedo. The bout may not set pulses going around the boxing world, but for fans who have seen the two men in action, this really looks like something that could be very enjoyable, and a potential coming our party for Koura. That however isn't a given, as Abcede has the potential to spring the upset, which he's done in the past, notably against Pigmy Kokietgym.
Of the two fighters it's Koura with the most upside. He's unbeaten, good looking and developing a fan base which has grown since he won the 2015 Rookie of the Year tournament. Since then he had gone 4-0 (4) including a big stoppage win over former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero. That win over Galero is his best to date, and came less than 2 years after Galero had challenged WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin.
Blessed with natural power Koura looks like a puncher on the rise, and couples that with good development out of the ring, at the E&J Cassius Gym. In the ring he's blasting away opponents at a lightning quick speed, taking just 10 rounds to stop his last 4 opponents, but he has shown the stamina to go 5 rounds before and is likely able to go deep in to the bout. The question does remain in regards to “how far?” but so far he's not shown any issues with stamina, and at 22 years old we're not expecting him to have issues in regards to going 10 or 12 rounds.
Filipino road warrior Abcede is also 22 and is a talented southpaw with an upset based mentality. That mentality was seen most notably against Pigmy Kokietgym, who Abecede stopped in 11 rounds back in 2015 in Thailand. That win is Abecede's only win on the road, but he has shared the ring with Petchmanee Kokietgym and Wanheng Menayothin, and didn't look dire against either of those unbeaten men. His record looks marked up, but he did begin 3-3, including a loss to the talented Dexter Alimento, since then there was the losses to Petchmanee and Wanheng as well as a surprise stoppage loss to Lito Dante. They aren't bad losses to have on your record, and really show that he has just been matched hard, rather than carefully developed.
Whilst Abecede has been matched hard he has proven a number of things. He has shown he can fight well on international soil, with his win over Pigmy essentially costing Pigmy a world title fight, he can go the distance, stopping Pigmy in round 11 and going 12 with Petchmanee just 2 months later. Those could be significant coming into this 12 round bout with Koura, and will leave him feeling that if he can see out Koura's early surge he can come on strong and take the Japanese fighter into deep water late on.
This bout really could be a very interesting one. It'll test Koura's power for sure,and potentially check his stamina and heart, and if he goes on to win late he could end up answering a lot of questions fan have of him. However it's not a foregone conclusion and Abecede will not turn up to just roll over. Instead he will look to see out the early power of Koura and take the fight to him late, likely making for a fun fight, especially in the middle and later rounds.
We suspect Koura will win, but he will be forced to really prove himself to come out on top here, in a really good match up.
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.