On February 26th we'll see Vic Saludar defending his WBO Minimumweight title against Masataka Taniguchi. That main event is a brilliant match up, but it's not the only interesting bout on the card, with the talented southpaw Fumiya Fuse (7-0, 1) taking on Naoto Mizutani (5-5-1, 2) in a solid match up and a good step forward for Fuse.
Aged 20 Fuse is one of the many talented youngsters making a mark at the Watanabe Gym. He turned professional at the age of 18, debuting back in January 2017, and would go on to win the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight. In 2018 Fuse would give his reputation a boost, beating Indonesian Yohanis Tatul in May before travelling over to Korea and schooling Dong Young Lee in Daejeon. That win over Lee really showed what an exceptional young fighter Fuse was.
For those who haven't seen Fuse in action before he is a quintessential boxer, with a sharp jab, great ring control, smart footwork and accurate punching. He's got lovely timing, smart defense and a fantastic ability to judge distance. It's his ability to find the right shot that really impresses, given he's such a youngster and such a novice. He can often see shots that much, much more experienced fighters wouldn't see, and he looks like the sort of fighter who knows how to open up an opponent with both his offense and his defense. Sadly however he really does lack power and he doesn't appear to be able to hurt fighters, which is a shame as that is the only thing missing. We've got our fingers crossed in the hope that as he physically matures he will develop his power and manage to add a bit of bang on to his punches.
At 29 years old Mizutani has had a career that had faltered a fair bit, with as many defeats as wins. Despite suffering a number of losses it should be noted that he has typically faced stiff competition, with his defeats coming to the likes of Kenshin Oshima, Ryota Ishida and Ryo Akaho, among others. As for his wins, the most notable was a 2018 win over 2017 All Japan Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year Mirai Imagawa. Like Fuse he's a southpaw, and in fact he will only be the second southpaw Fuse will have faced, and his first since debut opponent Shinnosuke Hasegawa more than 2 years ago.
Watching footage of Mizutani, thanks to the excellent Boxing Raise service, we see a really basic fighter. Mizutani will come forward behind a rather slapping looking jab, often over reaching and leaving himself open to counters. His left seems to have more snap to it than his jab, but he seems to telegraph the shot quite a bit and looked like he is there to be countered when he throws it. Again Fuse he may not been punished by power shots, but he will be tagged by clean shots for those mistakes.
Given the flaws with Mizutani it's hard to see him offering too much, technically, to test Fuse, though what he will do is test Fuse's ability against a fellow southpaw and his stamina over 8 rounds. Fuse's a fantastic little boxer, and we'd be very surprised by anything other than a clear win for the youngster, though this will be a good way to see how he looks, and a good step towards a potential Youth title fight later in the year.
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.