Since turning his hand to professional boxing in 2021 former K-1 World Grand Prix Super Bantamweight Champion Yoshiki Takei (4-0, 4) has been a man ear marked as a stud in the ring. Some one put on the fast track and someone with huge expectations resting on his shoulders. This coming Friday we get the chance to see if he can live up to those expectations as he takes a major step up, and challenged the highly skilled Filipino Pete Apolinar (16-2, 10), in a bout for Apolinar's OPBF Super Bantamweight champion. A win for Takei would cement his place as the next anointed star of the Ohashi Gym, and potentially the gym's second biggest name, behind Naoya Inoue, whilst a win for Apolinar would top off a brilliant break out year for the unheralded Pinoy.
The 26 year old Japanese southpaw had been a legitimate star in K-1 before deciding to turn to professional boxing. In K-1, a kick boxing organisation, Takei had shown educated and heavy hands, those skills as a puncher have converted over to boxing perfectly well and he has quickly shown that he’s a devastating puncher, with brutal power, and solid technical boxing skills. He made his debut in March 2021 and needed just a round to off his first 3 opponents, including the then unbeaten pairing of Azusa Takeda and Kazuhiro Imamura, before stepping up this past April and taking out Shingo Kawamura in 2 rounds. What those bouts proved was that Takei was a natural puncher. He wasn’t setting a high tempo with a guns out, ultra-aggressive style, but instead was boxing and using his heavy shots to detach opponents from their senses. He was doing so responsibly, intelligently, and in truly devastating fashion.
Whilst we can’t doubt Takei as an intelligent fighter, or a hard hitting one, he does have a lot of questions to answer. The most notable of those is regarding his stamina. In his entire combat sport career, consisting of 25 professional kick boxing bouts along with his 4 professional boxing contests and numerous Muay Thai bouts, he has never had to fight for more than 9 minutes. He is an established talent as a fighter, but we really are interested in seeing what happens if a fighter can take his power and take him 6 rounds, or deeper. Does his power carry? Does he have a gas tank for 12 rounds? Does he question himself when his power isn’t having an impact on someone after 4 rounds? These questions are ones he will have to answer if he’s going to make it to the top in professional boxing, and ones we expect to see Apolinar asking him.
Despite entering as the challenger Apolinar is very much the under-dog here, and this is shown in a on Boxmob.jp where only 14% of correspondents have picked Apolinar* to win. Notably however he is much, much more proven as a professional boxer than Takei. The 27 year old Filipino has been a professional boxer since 2014, racked 109 rounds over 18 fights and has shared the ring with a number of notable fighters, including Jeo Santisima, Jetro Pabustan, Jong Seon Kang and Jhunriel Ramonal. And notably he’s had some success against those fighters, with his biggest win being his 10th round TKO win over Ramonal for the OPBF title back in April.
In the ring Apolinar is a crafty fighter. He fights with a shoulder roll defense, is accurate and sharp with his counters. He's not the most aggressive, or the biggest puncher, but he's patient, he waits for mistakes and he strikes when opponents leave themselves open. He's very quick with his hands, very accurate and a fighter who is clearly an intelligent young man. His jab is an excellent weapon, as is his right hand too the body, and his uppercuts. Despite being a good defensive fighter he can drop his hands at times, and become somewhat dependent on his reactions as opposed to his technical skills, but due to his speed this is rarely a real issue for him. One are where he is lacking is power, and despite stopping Ramonal last time out, in what looked like a very impressive win at the time, it's worth noting that Ramonal was blitzed in 2 rounds in his only fight since losing to Apolinar. That lack of power might be an issue if this becomes a fighter fight.
There is no doubting that Apolinar is the more rounded boxer, and the more skilled pure boxer. But the power Takei has is brutal and he has been taking opponents out in impressive fashion. Although his stamina hasn't been tested he has been working with Akira Yaegashi, who will have pushed him hard in training, and we think worries about his stamina are some what unnecessary given that training. More interesting will be what happens if Apolinar can frustrate and counter Takei, and making things tough. Sadly for Apolinaro however, we don't imagine that happening. Despite some good moments from the Filipino, we see him taking a hard left hook from a patient Takei, who will give few openings to Apolinar. That left hook, potentially in round 3 or 4, will stagger the Filipino and a follow up will force a stoppage.
Prediction - TKO4 Takei
*Poll data take on August 19th.
On April 2nd fight fans in Paranaque City get a potentially very interesting all-Filipino bout as Jhunriel Ramonal (17-9-6, 10) and Pete Apolinar (15-2, 9) battle for the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title. For both men this is a major bout, and a huge chance for them to put their names in the mix for notable regional bouts at 122lbs, whilst the losing will have a long climb back to becoming relevant.
Of the two fighters involved the more notable is Ramonal. The 32 year old veteran is someone who has been around the block a time or two, and despite having a messy record he has scored a number of notable wins, whilst proving he can never be written off. As a professional Ramonal began his career in 2007 and had mixed results through his early years as a professional, going 12-4-1 (6) through his first 17 bouts. By the end of 2014 he was 14-8-4 (7), having gong 2-4-3 in his previous 9 bouts, and it seemed his career was pretty much over. In fact it was more than 3 years before we saw him back in a boxing ring, and on his return he continued to struggle, with draws in his first two bouts back. Surprisingly however in 2019 he had something of a career resurgence, and scored brutal KO wins over Shingo Wake and Yusaku Kuga, showing that he was a tough, heavy handed, fighter and someone not to be over-looked. Sadly though his rise hit a brick wall when the pandemic started, and he lost his moment, without a fight in well over a year. When he returned, in July 2021, he was then upset himself by Landy Cris Leon, in what was a genuine shocker.
In the ring Ramonal isn't quick, sharp, or even the most skilled. What he is however is determined, heavy handed, tough, and a true rugged fighter. He trudges forward, takes a lot of punishment as a result, but has dynamite in his hands. He's not got quick hands, or quick feet, and he hasn't got the best defense, but what he hits he hurts. At regional and domestic level he really is the type of fighter who has a punchers chance against anyone. Above regional level his flaws are an issue, and sadly for him accumulated damage is also a problem, with Ramonal having been cut numerous times during his career, and has lost due to those cuts on several occasions. Against fighters who hold their feet he is devastating, as we saw against Kuga, but if a fighter moves, keeps things at range and boxes safe he can be made to look foolish, slow and awkward, and game plans to beat him will revolve around showing him respect and taking advantage of his lack of speed.
Aged 26 Pete Apolinar is from a newer generation of Filipino fighters, and made his debut in 2014, around the same time as Ramonal's career seemed to be ending. He began his career on the low level Filipino domestic scene, and ran up 5 straight wins before being stopped in a round by Jeo Santisima in 2015. Following that loss Apolinaro rebuilt, winning 10 bouts in a row including wins against the likes of Lloyd Jardeliza, Jetro Pabustan, and Jess Rhey Waminal, who he beat for the OPBF Silver title last year. Sadly for him his winning run came to an end last year when he was stopped by rising Korean hopeful Jong Seon Kang in a WBO Oriental Featherweight title. For this bout he will be moving down in weight, dropping 4lbs to go from Featherweight to Super Bantamweight.
In the ring Apolinar is a pretty tidy fighter, with a nice sharp jab, good movement in the pocket and some slippery tricks in his arsenal. He has good short punches, under-rated defense, and his does slip and roll shots well. Sadly though at Featherweight, where he fought Kang, he issue was with the physicality of the Korea, who kept coming, despite taking taking some low in round 4. Apolinar had success in the bout, but was simply worn down and worn out by Kang, who is known for his energy and work rate. As the bout went on Apolinar's work rate went, and he stood in range way too much against a bigger, stronger man. As he slowed be became more of a target, and was backed on to the ropes too easily, before being wiped out in round 8. Thing he'll have to avoid here against someone like Ramonal.
In terms of skills Apolinar is the much, much better boxer. He has some really advanced skills in his locker, and he really is a very skilled young man. Sadly though skills aren't always the be all and end all. Sometimes heart, desire, power, and determination is key, as we've seen in recent wins for Jordan Gill and Leigh Wood in the UK. We suspect Apolinar's boxing skills will see him take an early lead, but the power of Ramonal will land, sooner or later. When that happens Apolinar will be in trouble, and will begin to be broken down, much like we saw against Kang.
Prediction - TKO6 Ramonal
On November 11th we get one of the most interesting OPBF title bouts of 2021 as former WBC Bantamweight title challenger Takuma Inoue (14-1, 3) takes on former IBF Super Bantamweight world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19), in a must win bout for both men, if they are are to be in the mix for a world title in the next year or two. Not only is it a must win bout for both men, and not only does it have the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title up for grabs, but it's also a truly intriguing match up between two men who are both known for their technical skills, and they could provide something of a compelling chess match here.
Of the two men the more well known is Takuma Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya Inoue and a man many expected to see great things from. Whilst he is very clearly in Naoya's shadow there is no denying that Takuma is a talented fighter and one who has accomplished plenty during his short career. He has already won OPBF titles at Super Flyweight and Bantamweight and will be looking to become a 3-weight OPBf champion here, he has also held a WBC "interim" world title and holds plenty of noteworthy wins against the likes of Tatsuya Fukuhara, Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, Froilan Saludar and Keita Kurihara. He was also a lot more competitive with Nordine Oubaali than Alejandro Rochin's scorecard suggested, in what is Inoue's only loss as a professional.
Unlike his older brother Takuma doesn't have the brutal "Monster" power than Naoya does. Instead he needs to rely more on boxing skills, a boxing brain and movement. Sticking to great game plans to neutralise good opponents, winning rounds and taking victories, typically on the scorecards. Despite that it is worth noting that he hits harder than his record suggests, and he certainly trouble Nordine Oubaali late in their bout. He has also proven his stamina, his heart, determination and his ability to box on the back foot for 12 rounds, something that certainly isn't easy to do.
Aged 34 Shingo Wake is very much a man in last chance saloon, however in fairness to him he has easily exceeded the expectations many would have had for him had they followed his career from the start. The talented southpaw really struggled early in his career. He was once 3-2-1 (2) and was 12-4-2 (5) before winning his first title, the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, incidentally the same title he is trying to capture again here. Amazingly however he has rebuilt from a slow start and is 24-4-1 in his last 29 bouts, a stark change to his first 6 bouts. He has proven himself to be a very skilled boxer, a sharp shooting southpaw, with light feet, a good jab, under-rated skills and stunning bravery, as we saw in his brutal loss to Jonathan Guzman in 2016. He can box, he can punch, he can counter, and being a southpaw he's almost always a nightmare for fighters.
Although not as well known as Inoue it's fair to say that Wake is just as accomplished. Like Inoue he has come up short at world level, losing to Jonathan Guzman in an IBF world title fight, he has also won lower level titles including the OPBF and Japanese Super Bantamweight titles, and he has notched notable wins of his own. They include victories over among his most notable wins are victories over Yukinori Oguni, Jhunriel Ramonal, Jae Sung Lee, Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym and Yusaku Kuga. During those wins he has proven he can do a bit of everything, but is at his best at range as a sharp shooter, drawing errors and pouncing on them with stiff, fast, straight left hand counters.
Coming in to this one, the bout really is an interesting one, and one that could be a tricky one to predict as both are very well schooled fighters. Of the two Inoue is certainly the better pure boxer, the quicker man, and the younger man. Wake on the other hand is the natural Super Bantamweight, the southpaw and the much heavier handed fighter. On paper we suspect Inoue will be the favourite, though this is, for us, a 50-50 bout. Wake's power and natural size is a major thing to consider and unlike most Inoue opponents, Wake has the skills to land, and to land clean. He has the ability and timing to draw a mistake from Inoue and counter, and make his success pay.
We will however be favouring Inoue, in a very, very hotly contested bout. We wouldn't be surprised at all to see Inoue dropped, hurt, and needing to tough out some real scares on route to a razor thing decision. His speed, youth and movement being the difference maker. We see this being incredibly close, and perhaps even a split decision, in a very well fought, high level, chess match.
Prediction - SD12 Inoue
On October 8th attention returns to Korakuen Hall for the next bout featuring the under-rated Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14), who looks to extend his reign as the OPBF Super Bantamweight champion as he takes on Shingo Kawamura (16-5-4, 8).
For Teshigawara the bout serves as his 4th defense of the title, which he has held since October 2018, and should move him one step closer to a potential world title bout.
For those those who haven't seen Teshigawara he's a talented, awkward boxer-puncher who is very much knocking on the door of a world title shot. He's ranked in the top 10 by both the WBC and the IBF, and has won his last 9 in a row, with 8 of those wins coming by T/KO. Of course it's not the numbers that matter but the opposition and he holds stoppage wins over the world ranked Keita Kurihara, and world title challengers Jetro Pabustan, Teiru Kinoshita and Shohei Omori.
In the ring Teshigawara is tough, heavy handed and can box or fight. When he needs to dig in and fight he can, and we've seen him do it more than once, but at his best he's a tricky, awkward boxer-puncher who sets an unusual rhythm, draws leads, counters them well and fights with a rather unique style. His hands are often down and he relies on herky jerky movement, applies pressure with his movement and is patient enough to wait for a mistake when he needs to. Although not a 1-punch KO artists he's heavy handed, every shot he lands has a good dose of pepper. Although he's not an elite level fighter he's the sort of fighter who will give anyone problems, and could, if he gets the right opportunity, win a world title.
Notably this will be Teshigawara's first bout since leaving the Koichi Wajima gym and joining the Misako Gym. Although a gym move like this can be an issue for some we suspect this will not be a problem at all for Teshigawara, who has long worked alongside Misako, who are expected to help open doors for the talented "Crush Boy".
As for Kawamura this is essentially him in the last chance saloon, after going win-less in his last 5 bouts. Those 5 bouts include 3 successive draws and losses to Satoshi Shimizu and Ryo Sagawa. He's dropping down in weight for this bout, and really does need a win. A good performance won't be enough to keep him relevant.
As a fighter Kawamura is an aggressive fighter but quite a limited one without much bang and without too much speed. He's not terrible, by any stretch, but he is very basic and at Featherweight fighters like Satoshi Shimizu and Ryo Sagawa have been able to walk through his shots and and manage to break him down. He's always been happy to let his hands go, but has never been a hard man to find, and to tag.
Although it's easy to write off Kawamura he has scored several wins of note. These include victories over Kyohei Tonomoto, Shingo Kusano, Kota Fukuoka and Tae Il Atsumi. They are however lower level fighters than Teshigawara, who we suspect will be too hard hitting, too smart, too strong and too good for Kawamura.
We expect to see Kawamura taking the fight to Teshigawara, and be made to pay as Teshigawara lands solid counters, and breaks down the challenger. Kawamura's toughness will see him survive a few rounds, but eventually he'll be broken down, and suffer his 5th stoppage loss.
Prediction - TKO6 Teshigawara
One of the fighters who has really impressed in recent years is OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (20-2-2, 13) who has won his 8 in a row since losing a very close split decision to Ryo Akaho more than 3 years ago. On December 12th he looks to add another win as he takes on the talented Shohei Kawashima (18-3-2, 4). For Teshigawara the bout will serve as his third defense, as he looks to move one step closer to a world title fight, whilst Kawashima looks to claim his first title, after coming up short in a couple of previous title bouts.
Teshigawara wasn't really on the radar until October 2016 when he battled 2-time world title challenger Akaho and gave him a real run for his money, losing a close split decision. At that point Teshigawara had fallen to 12-2-1 (6) and despite how good his performance was few would have expected his current run, a run that has seen him Keita Kurihara, Jason Canoy, Teiru Kinoshita and Shohei Omori. He has moved from Bantamweight, where he won the WBO Asia Pacific title, to Super Bantamweight where he has claimed the OPBF title. He has looked destructively heavy handed, technically solid, with an impressive ability to take a shot, and fights with a lot of usual movement, putting fighters on the back foot and unable to time him.
Although Teshigawara is certainly not unbeatable, and we wouldn't fancy his chance against any of the top 10 in the world, he's an awkward nights work for most. He takes a shot so well that no on will blow through him, and offers enough power in his shots to make them pay if they over-look him and see him an easy out. The way he uses feints is also really smart, and despite being an aggressive fighter he's also a very cerebral one, who seems to have learned a lot from mentor Koichi Wajima, another man who was rather unpredictable at times.
The 27 year old Kawashima has been a professional since 2012 and made his first big mark in 2014, when he won the Rookie of the Year. He was unbeaten in his first 16 fights before travelling to Mexico and losing a razor thin decision to Cristian Mijares in October 2016, during an interesting run of wins for Mijares. Sadly since then Kawashima has struggled to get much momentum in his career. He suffered an upset loss in 2017, when he was surprisingly stopped in 6 rounds by Gaku Aikawa, who took him out with a single straight right hand on the button. Another loss, earlier this year, to Juan Miguel Elorde was another set back, though like the Mijares the bout was a close one on the road.
Had Kawashima been managed differently he would likely have been a fixture on the regional title scene. He's incredible skilled, a pure boxer with a good jab, nice movement and good shot selection. Where he really fails is his power, and he really struggles to get respect of opponents, despite how skilled he is. The loss to Aikawa wasn't a sign of a weak chin, far from it, but he was caught by a bomb. Still that doesn't fill us with confidence that he can handle a shot, and he hasn't faced any top punchers, though Teshigawara is certainly a banger.
Whilst Kawashima is a talent we see him being broken down and beaten up by Teshigawara here. Kawashima's movement and counter-punching may cause Teshigawara some problems, but the lack of power on Kawashima's shots is unlike to stop the champion in his tracks and instead we see Teshigawara walking him down in the middle rounds. Anyone who can box with Mijares is good, but we feel Kawashima lacks the tools to cope with physicality of Teshigawara.
Prediction - TKO7 Teshigawara
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On August 8th, at the legendary Korakuen Hall, 2 of the most exciting Japanese boxers today will engage in a highly entertaining battle, as top ranked Super Bantamweight contender Hiroaki Teshigawara defends his OPBF championship against Shohei Omori.
Hiroaki Teshigawara (19-2 / 12 KOs) began boxing professionally at the age of 21, and for the next few years he would test himself against local competition, gaining some much needed experience.
His first real big match took place in October of 2016, when he met 2 time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (34-2). A former National, OPBF & WBO International champion, Akaho was clearly the favorite here, with Teshigawara coming in with only 12 wins under his belt, 1 decision loss and 2 draws. Surprisingly enough, this turned out to be an extremely competitive match. Teshigawara went toe to toe with the much more experienced Akaho, giving him a lot of trouble in almost every round. His power and aggressiveness stunned the veteran, throwing him out of his game and even out of the ring at one point. In the end, Akaho narrowly won a split decision, which only made the younger fighter look like a true warrior.
Teshigawara kicked off 2017 with a bang, making short work of Junny Salogaol (14-17) in April and then in June picking up another victory against Keita Kurihara (14-5) after a rather exciting brawl. The Japanese fighter would go on to challenge Jetro Pabustan (29-6) before the year was over, for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight championship. Teshigawara overwhelmed the former world title contender with his wild offense, eventually scoring a knockdown in round 9 and finishing the job in the 10th.
After marking his inaugural title defense over Jason Canoy (27-10) in February of 2018, he made his second one against 2 time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (26-3) 4 months later. Pretty much like the Pabustan fight, Teshigawara had his way with his opponent. The “Golden Yasha” kept landing one punch after the other, having him on the run from the opening bell. He finally dropped Kinoshita in the 3rd and again in the 5th, to get the TKO win. Teshigawara would then move up to Super Bantamweight, claiming the vacant OPBF crown after stopping Glenn Suminguit (21-4) and defended it once against Yuki Iriguchi (10-3). He now will lock horns yet again with another tough opponent this coming August.
Shohei Omori (20-2 / 15 KOs) took up the sport at an early age, since his father was also a boxer, and even competed at the 65th National Boxing Tournament during his high school years, reaching second place. He made his pro debut in 2011, amassing 11 consecutive victories, before facing former WBC Silver champion and world title contender Christian Esquivel (30-19). Omori controlled the fight from the beginning and eventually dropped the Mexican fighter with a perfectly timed uppercut in the 4th round, before scoring 2 more knockdowns to earn the stoppage.
In 2015, he fought for the Japanese Bantamweight title, taking on the reigning champion Kentaro Masuda (27-9). Omori quickly established himself as the dominant boxer, putting the champion down twice in the 1st. Masuda found himself defending against the challenger’s nonstop offense, offering almost no resistance. The beating continued for two rounds, until the referee decided to step in and stop the fight.
Omori successfully defended his crown 5 months later, against 2 time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (16-6), to continue climbing the rankings. However, that momentum came to an abrupt ending when he suffered his first loss at the hands of Marlon Tapales (33-2) in a WBO final eliminator. The following year, he picked up 3 back to back wins, all finishes, over Indonesian journeyman Espinos Sabu (16-14), Edgar Jimenez (23-15) and 2 time world title contender Rocky Fuentes (36-9), whom he slept with a vicious uppercut, putting himself back on track.
As fate would have it, Omori challenged the former champion Tapales for the vacant WBO World Bantamweight title in 2017. Unlike their first encounter, which was a one sided beatdown, this turned out quite differently. The bout started with both fighters going back and forth, with no one really gaining any advantage over the other. Business was about to pick up though, as Omori hurt the Filipino in the 5th with a series of body shots, much to the delight of the Japanese audience. Tapales woke up in the 6th, fighting more aggressively. In the beginning of round 7, Omori rocked him again, and while it looked like the match was almost over, Tapales fired back, gaining some much needed ground. Both warriors went on to have an exciting FOTYC, trading blows within the next rounds, with no man backing down. In the end, Tapales managed to score a knocked down during the last minute of the 10th, dazing Omori, and then again in the 11th, causing the referee to put an end to this contest. Even in defeat, Omori looked strong, putting on a valiant effort, earning the respect of his opponent as well as of the fans. It’s worth mentioning that Tapales entered the fight overweight by 900g.
After 15 months of inactivity, he finally returned to action, this time as a Super Bantamweight, scoring 2 early TKOs over Brian Lobetania (13-7) and Takahiro Yamamoto (21-6), looking as good as ever, with no signs of ring rust. Omori will look to continue his winning streak next week and possibly add another title to his collection.
The clash between Teshigawara and Omori has the potential of being the best pure Japanese boxing bout of 2019. Their styles are pretty similar. Teshigawara is a volume fighter. He likes to swing for the fences and possesses incredible hand speed.
He’s also quite aggressive, maybe even to a fault. The same can be said about Omori. An explosive competitor, who prefers to get things done as fast as possible. It’s no surprise that most of his matches have ended in less than 5 rounds. Omori throws fast and strong combinations, attacking both the head and the body, always looking for that knockout. A win here will bring Teshigawara closer to a world championship opportunity, while for Omori it’s a chance to put his name back in the top 10. It’s not easy to pick the victor here. Teshigawara might have the edge, given he has been undefeated since losing to Akaho in 2017, but you cannot disregard Omori’s toughness and willingness to prove himself worthy for another crack at the big one. All in all, this is a 50-50 situation with only one thing certain: No way this goes the distance.
On February 14th we'll get the chance to see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) battle against Yuki Iriguchi (10-2-1, 4), in what will be Teshigawara's first defense of the title that he won in October 2018. The bout could, potentially, push Teshigawara into a world title shot, following the likes of Ryohei Takahashi who lost recently to TJ Doheny, or could put Iriguchi on the boxing map. Incidentally Iriguchi does actually hold a win over the aforementioned Takahashi.
Over the last 2 years we've seen Teshigawara become one of the must watch Japanese fighters at 122lbs. In late 2016 he gave Ryo Akaho a really close bout, putting himself on the map, and since then he has gone 6-0 (5), claiming the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title and the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. On paper that's pretty impressive, but when you consider that his wins have come against the likes of Keita Kurihara, Jason Canoy and Teiru Kinoshita you see it's more than just record padding from Teshigawara. In fact he has been facing top domestic and regional talent and showing that he's an excellent, exciting and aggressive fighter.
In the ring Teshigawara is more a brawler than a boxer. There are boxing fundamentals there but he does seem to enjoy a war, believing in his power and toughness to break opponents down. That has been working, against power puncher, speedy fighters and tough fighters, though it didn't against Canoy who managed to survive Teshigawara's power to give us a brilliant 12 round war. He's tough, strong and powerful, a real nightmare for most at this level, though he will need to develop his boxing skills if he's to beat top 10 competition.
At 21 years old Iriguchi is a relative boxing baby, and is 7 years younger than the champion, though debuted just weeks after his 17th birthday. He would win his first 6 bouts before suffering back to back setbacks with a loss to Hibiki Jogo and a draw against Noboru Osato. Since then he has proven to be a thorn in the side of more highly regarded domestic opponents. He would be the touted Kenshin Oshima in 2016, add Takahashi's scalp in 2017 and defeat Takafumi Nakajima in 2018. His only loss, other than the one to Jogo, was a razor thin split decision to the big hitting Takuya Mizuno in late 2017 in what was a Japanese Youth title fight in Mizuno's backyard.
Iriguchi is much less of a puncher than Teshigawara and is much more a boxer, with a volume punching style. He's got a solid right hand, a good work rate and applies good pressure. Sadly though he is defensively very open, not the quickest fighter out there and he looks pretty 1-handed, often launching right hands without setting things up with a jab.
Watching what is available of Iriguchi shows him to be almost the sort of fighter that a fan would want to see Teshigawara to face off with. He's aggressive, flawed and comes forward. Against Teshigawara that should make for a very exciting, back and forth brawl. Sadly for Iriguchi however it seems like the significant edge in power will be the difference and Teshigawara will eventually break down the challenger, likely in the later rounds of an all out thriller!
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.