The Asian scene at Welterweight is a bit disappointing if we're being honest, and that's obvious when it comes to the upcoming OPBF “interim” title fight between Japan's Suyon Takayama (23-1, 7) and Filipino journeymen Joel Dela Cruz (19-23-3, 7).
Takayama, who vacated the Japanese title around the new year, is a talented and hard working fighter who is gritty, determined and has a great engine. Technique wise he does, perhaps, a lack a little but his will to win is extraordinary and it was that will that helped him win the Japanese title in 2012 and make 6 defenses of the title.
Although a really determined fighter Takayama has a genuine lack of power, with his last 7 bouts going the distance, and in fact 9 of his 11 bouts have gone the complete schedule. His work rate is high but there is no real venom or killer instinct with the work rate. He also appears to be relatively under-sized but so far that hasn't been an issue, and the only “monster” he has fought is Nobuyuki Shindo who he has beaten twice in very competitive bouts.
Technically Takayama isn't the best, he can be hit and often makes simple mistakes. At the level he's been fighting at however they've never really been an issue with his fitness and desire being enough to wins bouts.
Whilst Takayama has a solid and impressive record, the same thing cannot be said of Dela Cruz, who really does have a journeyman's record, and is amazingly 2-11-1 in his last 14 bouts. Whilst some of those losses have come to very credible fighters, like Leonardo Zappavigna and Cameron Hammond other have been to less impressive fighters, like Kurt Bahram and Ozan Craddock.
Aged 30 Dela Cruz has been around the block in an 11 year career that has featured 45 bouts and over 270 rounds. He has "only" been stopped 9 times but has got a lot of miles on the clock and we'd not be shocked to see those contribute to another stoppage here with Takayama simply breaking him down in the later stages of the bout.
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.