The Lightweight division is currently regarded as one of the weakest division's in the sport with some people wondering where the next divisional star is hiding. Whilst we certainly don't know the answer to that we do have to mentioned that OPBF champion Masayoshi Nakatani (10-0, 5) does appear to be a genuine contender in the making. He's looking to continue his rise at the end of August as he seeks the 4th defense of his title and a continuation of his development. In the opposite corner will be the little known Kazuya Murata (11-4, 5), who will be seeking the biggest win of his career, so far.
In the ring the champion is a lanky, rangy boxer-puncher who showed real power early in his career, stopping 5 of his first 6 foes, but has since shown more boxing ability taking 4 straight wins, including his title win over Yoshitaka Kato and all 3 of his title defenses. Whilst that sounds like his power hasn't carried up he has been matched with some solid opposition, including the aforementioned Kato, the experienced Ricky Sismundo and the tough Futoshi Usami.
As a puncher Nakatani looked really exciting. His dominant display in July 2013 against Shuhei Tsuchiya appeared to be the break out win of a true future contender. Since then however he has reverted to being an outside fighter, boxing and moving. Whilst he has become “less” exciting he has shown genuinely good skills and scarcely dropped more than a round in hist last 3 bouts due to his movement, engine and skillset.
At 26 years old Nakatani is still a work in progress though having trained with the likes of Sho Ishida, Ryo Miyazaki and Kazuto Ioka he has developed very quickly and appears to be a fighter who will compete at world level in the next 18-24 months.
As for Murata little is really available in terms of the challenger though the little bit of footage we have managed to track down made him look like a defensively tight and aggressively minded fighter who will come forward with a busy jab. Although he looks aggressively minded the general view from watching him is that not the busiest fighter. Also, unfortunately, he looks very predictable with a pressure fighters mentality but not quite the ability of real pressure fighter.
Whilst footage of Murata is hard to find there is some details that are available. Firstly at 27 he's in his prime physically and at 5'9” he's a relatively taller fighter for the division however he will be dwarfed in the ring by Nakatanai who will try and keep Murata at range. Also with just 5 (T)KO's in 15 fights it's clear he's not a puncher.
What we also know about the challenger is that he's in the form of his live with 6 straight wins, dating back well over 2 years. That's the longest winning streak of his career by some margin, and includes a win over recent Nakatani foe Futoshi Usami. That is, by far, the best win on his record. Unfortunately that was a struggle whilst Nakatani easily dominated Usami who really struggled to claim more than a round or two against the champion.
Having seen what we have of the two men involved in this one we can only see one result, a wide, and easy, decision win for Nakatani who should be too good, too skilled, too fast and too long for the challenger. Murata could cause some issue due to his physical strength but it's hard to see him really questioning the very talented Ioka gym fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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.