On April 2nd we get the next Japanese title, as Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) and Koki Koshikawa (9-3, 6) clash in a bout for the Japanese Light Middleweight title, which was vacated by Hironobu Matsunaga who seems to have his eyes on bigger and better things.
Sadly for both men they are better known for losing in the biggest fights of their career, and to date the men are win-less in title bouts, but have had opportunities in the past. For the 37 year old Kawasaki this will be his 4th bout for a title, and he has to know it's now or never. Aged 31 Koshikawa may get another chance, but his last two bouts have seen him come up short in title bouts, suffering a stoppage loss to Matsunaga in 2019 and a wide decision loss to Yuki Nonaka last year. Although neither really deserves another title opportunity at this point in time, it's fair to say that neither man will get a better chance to win a title than here, with this bout.
Aged 37 Kawasaki is certainly winding down his career. He debuted in 2012, fighting to a draw with Koki Tyson, and was 2-1-1 after 4 bouts, with his first loss coming to Hironobu Matsunaga, who would also give him his second loss. After 12 bouts he was 7-4-1 but not long after that he managed to land his first title bout, a shot at the Japanese interim Welterweight title, which he lost. He later went on to lose a bout for the WBA Asia Welterweight title and the Japanese Welterweight title. Sadly him getting a shot, at this point in time, says a lot about the Japanese domestic scene at 154lbs. He's a natural Welterweight, who has had very mixed results, and is getting this shot due to the lack of interest in the domestic title. However he's experienced and a capable fighter, though nothing special.
In the ring Kawasaki is a hard worker. He's gritty, he's determined and he sets a good work rate whilst making for fun fights. Sadly though he's not quick, he's not sharp, he's not powerful, or particularly skilled and he's more of a battler than a boxer. He has slow feet, slow hand speed, and his punches are incredibly wide. He leaves himself open and whilst his style can make for fun fights he does seem like he's there to be stopped at times, especially at title level. He's been lucky to not face many decent punchers, but when he did face a good domestic puncher in Yuki Nagano he was stopped in 2 rounds.
Koshikawa turned professional in 2014, following a very solid amateur career that had seen him go 46-25 (23), and there was pretty high expectations for him under the guidance of Celes Kobayashi. Sadly for him his time at the Celes Gym was a frustrating one. He won his first 4 bouts before losing a wide decision to veteran Koshinmaru Saito in 2015 and then took a break from the ring, of more than 2 years. On his he was matched softly to begin with, before stopping former Japanese Welterweight champion Daisuke Sakamoto in July 2018. He built on that win with a victory over former OPBF champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong and moved towards a Japanese title fight. Sadly for him his first title fight saw him having moments of success, before the press of Matsunaga broke him down in 4 rounds. He was then out of the ring for close to 2 years, before losing a wide decision to WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka in 2021.
In the ring Koshikawa shows some of his amateur skills. He knows his way around the ring, has a nice jab and looks relaxed and composed. Sadly for him however his hooks are wide and wild, his stamina is questionable, his defense is flawed and he's still very much an amateur fighting in the professional ranks, with a style that style doesn't look like ever really been able to adapt to the professional style. That means when he's under intense pressure he often struggles, and as we saw against Nonaka, he can can be out boxed by accurate and busy fighters who just do the basics really well. He is clear talented, but his talent has never really been developed and as a result he still struggles to show why there was some hype early on.
Coming in to this bout we are looking at two flawed fighters, albeit two very different fighters. Of the two Kawasaki is the one who will look to dictate the tempo early on, and will bring the fight to Koshikawa, who will look to box and move. Sadly for Kawasaki we think a younger, fresher, version of him would have the tools to beat Koshikawa. In 2022 however the 37 year old inactive Kawasaki will struggle to force the tempo for long, and will struggle a lot later on. When that happens we see Koshikawa letting his hands go and forcing a late stoppage on a tired and exhausted Kawasaki.
Prediction - TKO9 Koshikawa
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.