Boxing sees another trilogy reach it's conclusion later this month as Japanese Featherweight Satoshi Hosono (30-2-1, 20) [細野 悟] faces Rikiya Fukuhara (31-8-1, 23) [福原 力也] in a mandatory defense of the title.
These two men first faced off back in 2012 when the two men clashed in a non-title affair. That bout saw Hosono over-come Fukuhara with a 7th round TKO, before going on to face Chris John in a WBA world title fight. The two men also clashed last year, with Hosono taking a well deserved decision win over Fukuhara.
Since their second bout Hosono has fought 3 times, with the 2 most recent bouts being very competitive and tough contests for the champion who has fought 30 rounds since beating Fukuhara for the second time, with 10 of those coming against Takuya Watanabe and 10 against Akifumi Shimoda. Fukuhara on the other hand has gone just 4 rounds, quickly seeing off Yusuke Nakagawa last September.
For those who don't follow the Japanese scene there is a chance you've still seen, or heard, of Hosono. He's a 3-time world title challenger who has suffered all 3 of his setbacks at the world level. They have included losses to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Celestino Caballero and a technical draw against Chris John. Aside from those 3 bouts, the first of which came more than 6 years ago, he has been fighting against Japanese and Oriental scene where he has been one of the standouts at the weight.
In the ring Hosono is a pressure fighter. He's a bit of a slow starter but has a great engine, knows how to come on strong in the second half of fights and combines very solid power with a genuine toughness. Unfortunately he is a bit limited, his footwork is somewhat slow and in recent years we've seen fighters being able to really push him close with some suspicions being that Hosono is very much on the slide.
Whilst Hosono is fairly predictable pressure fighter Fukuhara is a boxer-puncher, who uses speed and movement to get his shots off, fights on the move and has the power to make any opponent at domestic level respect him. At his best he was an exciting fighter who combined excitement with flaws and wins over the likes of Yuji Gomez, Shoji Kimura and Toshimitsu Sakai are somewhat negated by losses to Kazunori Takayama, Allan Tanada and Seiichi Okada.
Aged 37 the challenger has seen better days but will be coming in to this one known that one more loss, especially to Hosono will likely be the end of his dreams to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. Sadly for the challenger we see this bout going much the same way as their last bout, with Fukuhara having his moments, particularly early on, but coming up short against the naturally bigger, and younger, Hosono. If we're right we suspect Fukuhara will retire in the wake of the bout.
Although Hosono has looked like a fighter coming to the end of his career recently he was very busy last year with 4 tough bouts in 9 months. The recent break will likely have helped him recover a bit and his desire to get one more world title fight.
Japanese fight fans have it really lucky this year with so many great bouts to end the year. The most under-rated of those fights however is domestic title clash that sees former 3-time world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (29-2-1, 20) defends his Featherweight title against former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-4-2, 13). The bout, which is regarded by their promoters as an unofficial world title eliminator, is regarded as an under-card bout on a show that is genuinely stacked.
For the 32 year old Hosono this will be the 5th defense of the title that he won in April 2014, when he defeated Yuki Ogata with a 10th round TKO. Whilst his reign has seen him go unbeaten since winning the title he has, arguable, under-performed whilst claiming wins over Gosuke Seki, Rikiya Fukuhara, Tatsuya Otsubo and Takuya Watanabe, with the Watanabe fight being a particularly competitive bout.
Although he is the current Japanese champion Hosono is probably best known internationally for his title shots. They have seen him come up against 3 very talented fighters with the first being a narrow loss to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, almost 6 years ago, the second was a very wide loss to Celestino Caballero, who had the sort of style that Hosono was never going to look against, whilst the third saw Hosono fight to a technical draw against Chris John, in what would be John's final successful defense.
In the ring Hosono is the sort of guy who has the traits to make exciting fights. He also has the traits to be out boxed. He's very strong, physically very tough, heavy handed, hence his nickname “Bazooka”, and is an out and out pressure fighter who looks to make the most of his toughness and power. Sadly for him his footwork is slow, he's very deliberate and can be made to look very limited by opponents with some speed and movement. It's also fair to say that Hosono has slowed his output in recent years and is a notoriously slow starter which can often see him losing the first 3 rounds without mounting much offense. The longer bouts go the better he becomes, but giving away early rounds can be a genuine issue.
Whilst Hosono has failed in his attempts to become a world champion the same cannot be said for Shimoda who shocked the world slightly when he took the WBA Super Bantamweight title from Ryol Li Lee back in January 2011. That was an up-and-down affair with Lee being dropped 3 times and Shiomoda himself being dropped once. Sadly however Shimoda's reign lasted just over 5 months before he was the victim of a KO of the Year contender against Rico Ramos, in a bout that Shimoda was winning with ease. That loss was to be Shimoda's third as a professional, but his first stoppage defeat.
Following the loss to Ramos in 2011 Shimoda has gone 7-1-1 (3) with the most notable win coming against Bantamweight contender Alejandro Hernandez, who struggled to win more than a couple of rounds against Shimoda. Whilst the win over Hernandez is a solid one the most notable result from those 9 bouts was actually a staggering KO loss to Marvin Sonsona, who iced Shimoda with a single breath taking uppercutt. That KO by Sonsona, arguably the KO of the year for 2014, was followed by 16 months of inactivity but Shimods has since notched up back-to-back wins over Gosuke Seki and Jerry Nardo.
At his best Shimoda is a fast boxer with accurate shots, good movement and intelligent southpaw straight. In terms of pure boxing ability he is very solid and can really show up many other, more well known fighters. Sadly however he lacks real fire power to make good opponents respect him and, worryingly, lacks the chin to seemingly take a real shot. His KO losses have both been spectacular and it does seem that a move to Featherweight may not be a good move for him.
Stylistically this is a really compelling bout. Hosono's weakness is movement and Shimoda can certainly move Shimoda's weakness is, clearly his chin and Hosono can punch. Over 10 rounds the bout is a question of whether Shimoda can avoid being caught by one of Hosono's bombs. If he can then it's likely the title will change hands with Shimoda fighting a safety first bout to take home a decision. The odds are, however, that Hosono's pressure catches up with the challenger in the second half and he finally lands one on the button to down Shimoda for the 10 count.
On October 22nd Japanese fans have a potential treat as the heavy handed “Bazooka” Satoshi Hosono (28-2-1, 20) defends his Japanese Featherweight title against the teak tough and incredibly gutsy Takuya Watanabe (26-5-1, 12). The bout really pits a banger against a gutsy guy in a fight that could, potentially, be a thriller.
Of the two men it's Hosono who is more well known and he has been on the radar for quite a while. In fact many of Hosono's early fights were on TV and in 2008 he claimed his first title, the OPBF Featherweight title. Since then he has fought in 15 title fights. They have included wins, and defenses of the OPBF and Japanese Featherweight titles, and 3 world title challenges. Although he has yet to win a world title he certainly hasn't shamed himself, losing a close one to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, being widely out pointed by Celestino Caballero and suffering a technical draw with Chris John.
Although known, on the world stage, for those 3 major set backs Hosono is one of those perennial contenders looking for another shot at a world title. From what we understand he needs a good performance before promoter Hideyuki Ohashi will do the leg work to get Hosono another shot, and it's hoped that an impressive win here will convince Ohashi to splash the cash and bring a champion over to Japan for their man.
In the ring Hosono is a fun to watch fighter. He's very aggressive, powerful, tough and strong. Technically he is a bit limited and he is relatively slow but more often than not his pressure takes an effect on his opponents and his power breaks them down.
Whilst we've had plenty of time to become Hosono fans over the last few years the same cannot be said of Watanabe who really came to our attention just last year when he suffered a loss to Jaesung Lee, albeit in a blood bath in Korea. Prior to that bout he had fought in just two title bouts, winning the WBC Youth Lightweight title and coming up short in a Japanese Featherweight title fight with Hisashi Amagasa, losing clearly in that one.
It was the Lee fight that showed just how tough and gutsy Watanabe was. In that bout he suffered a nasty cut that bled, and bled and bled, through out much of the fight covering the shorts of Lee in claret, which also left the canvas sodden and was over the referee. It was one of the most recent “blood baths” in boxing and yet never once did it look like Watanabe would quit, instead fighting out to the bitter end.
In the ring Watanabe isn't just gutsy but is a solid fighter. Sadly however his competition, on the whole, has been very poor. That's been seen in 5 of his last 6 bouts which have seen him facing very poor Thais. The one exception during that run saw him face Shun Shimazaki and that was a very competitive bout.
What we know of the two men suggests they are on totally different levels and we suspect this will be shown with Hosono recording an easy, but exciting, defense against a man who will look out of his depth despite being game.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi gym)
The final Japanese title fight for August comes on August 20th as the domestic Featherweight title goes up for grabs between a heavy handed champion and a fairly obscure challenger.
The defending champion is the heavy handed, former world title challenger, Satoshi Hosono (27-2-1, 20). The Ohashi gym product is a genuinely fearsome puncher with a grit to him and although he's not the quickest or the most flashy he is a man who nobody wants to stand and trade with. In fact doing such would show bravery bordering on the ridiculous.
Aged 31 the champion is probably coming to the end of his prime though he has actually had an excellent career which has seen him become a 2-time Japanese champions, an OPBF champion and a 3-time world title challenger. Unfortunately however he's best know for coming up short with losses to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Celestino Caballero as well as a technical draw with Chris John.
Known as the “Bazooka” Hosono tends to live up to to his nickname and has an impressive 67% T/KO rate. His recent form has actually improved that rate with 3 of his last 4 bouts ending with a TKO win and 5 of his last 7 also ending early. He'll be looking to prove his name right again here as he looks to record his third straight defense of the title.
In the opposite corner is little known challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (8-6-1, 3). On paper Otsubo looks like a monstrous under-dog, especially given his record. The truth however is that his record isn't as poor as it looks. He actually started his career with a real struggle and was once 1-5-1 (1). Since then he has really turned his career around and has recently strung together 6 successive wins, including a very notable upset win over domestic contender Akihiko Katagiri.
At 25 years old it's little wonder that Otsubo is going from strength to strength with his career.. He's no longer the inexperienced teenager who picker up loss after loss. Instead he's a man who is full of confidence, a developing self belief and some real form.
Sadly when it comes to getting a read on the challenger the challenger things are rather difficult with very little footage being available. What we have seen of him suggests he's a gutsy, in the pocket warrior. Not the most skilled but tough and committed to out fighting his foes with a swarming attack.
To beat Hosono you tend to need to avoid a war. Sadly from the footage that's available of Otsubo it's looking very unlikely that he'll be able to do that when the two men step in the ring together. Instead it looks like Otsubo will play in to the hands of Hosono who may well feel he could get himself another world title fight at some point in 2016.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the very best things about Japanese boxing is the Champions Carnival which sees the domestic champions defending their titles against the top domestic challengers. This often leads to some brilliant match ups across the division which can help set the tone for the division for the following year. Sometimes we see the winner of the bout move on to a higher level, for example an OPBF or world title fight, whilst other times we see the winner taking the year to establish their position and develop experience before moving on.
One of the brilliant match ups that has been set for 2015 will see former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (26-2-1, 20) defending his Japanese national title against former foe Rikiya Fukuhara (30-7-1, 22), himself a former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion, on March 5th. The men will be meeting for the second time though this time there will be a title, and potential world title fight on the line.
Hosono, who won the first meeting, will obviously be risking his national title though will also be risking world rankings with all 4 title bodies, including a #2 ranking with the WBA and a #9 ranking with the IBF. He will however enter as the clear favourite and will be expected to record the 2nd defence of the Japanese title that he re-won last year, when he stopped Yuki Ogata in the 10th round.
For those who recognise Hosono's name he has competed at the world level in the past, in fact all 3 of his career set backs have been at the tier of the sport. The first of those came more than 5 years ago when he narrowly lost a brilliant bout with Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym for the WBA Super Bantamweight title, that bout seemed to be very competitive though Poonsawat's brilliant stamina and experience helped him to record the win. In his second world title bout, in late 2011, Hosono was clearly beaten by elongated Panamanian fighter Celestino Caballero, in a fight for the WBA Featherweight title. More recently we saw Hosono fight to a 3rd round technical draw with WBA Featherweight super champion Chris John, in what would be John's final successful defence of the title.
Internationally Fukuhara is a relative nobody. That's not to be harsh to him but very few fans outside of Asia, and particularly Japan, will recognise his name. Despite that he is a former Japanese champion at 122lbs and holds notable wins over Shoji Kimura, Masaaki Serie and Yuji Gomez. Most telling however is the fact he is popular, exciting and comes to fight with the knockout often being his aim. Sadly it's not always worked for him, as seen in numerous losses including an upset loss to then little Allan Tanada of the Philippines.
Dubbed the “Bazooka” Hosono is a very heavy handed and tough fighter. He can, at times, be out boxed especially early in a fight, however he is tough, has solid stamina and is always dangerous. What makes him dangerous isn't just his power but is also his style which is built around pressure with slow but intelligent footwork, a tight defense and the knowledge that he can take a very solid punch if he needs to. When looking for flaws with Hosono we get the usual flaws we see with pressure fighters. He is relatively slow on his feet, his hands aren't the quickest and when he's come up against quick boxers or movers he can be made to look predictable and 1-dimensional as he follows his foe.
When we watch Fukuhara we see a man who can box and move and is a naturally explosive puncher. We won't pretend he's an elusive type of fighter but he can use his feet and box on the back foot, which he did early on against Hosono in their first meeting back 2012. Typically however he's struggled with fighters who have managed to take his power and fight back, as shown in his 5 stoppage losses. Another issue with Fukuhara is his defense which can get very sluggish under pressure and makes him seem like a bully who can't take it when the fight is turned on him.
Knowing what we know about both men we have to go with a repeat of their first bout. That saw Fukuhara winning the first few rounds as he used his feet to get in and out of range. As the fight progresses we'll see Hosono getting his shots off as the fight gradually becomes a slugfest with Fukuhara eventually getting ground down. This time however we'd be shocked to see Fukuhara lasting into round 7, as he did last time. Instead we suspect Hosono breaks him down inside 5 or 6 rounds to retain his title. Sadly at 36 we suspect a loss for Fukuhara will be his swansong in the sport before a retirement
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
If there is one Japanese fighter who has proven to be capable of holding his own with world champions though has yet to win a world title then that man is the huge punching Satoshi Hosono (25-2-1, 19) who has fallen short in 3 world title contests.
Although Hosono has come up short against Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Celestino Caballero and Chris John he is still one of the most feared punchers in the Featherweight division and is a man looking to earn another world title shot sooner rather than later, especially considering that he seemed to be getting on top of John before a clash of heads curtailed that bout.
Whilst Hosono is waiting for a world title opportunity he is staying active and earlier this year he won the Japanese Featherweight title for the second time when he stopped the previously unbeaten slickster Yuki Ogata. Prior to the stoppage in that bout Hosono seemed to be struggling with the movement and hand speed of Ogata though, as he has had through out his career, Hosono had the get out of jail card with his impressive and thunderous
For the second time in as many fights Hosono finds himself up against a speedy, slick and unbeaten fighter as he tales on Gosuke Seki (15-0-2, 3). Just like in the Ogata fight Hosono not only faces a man with speed and movement but also someone who lacks experience at this level ans also lacks any sort of "stay away" power. There are differences between this bout and the Ogata bout however.
Unlike Ogata, who was just over 5'7", Seki won't have a height advantage over Hosono, in fact it's Hosono who will have the height advantage here. That however will likely be neutralised a bit by the fact Seki is a southpaw giving him a slight edge over the experienced champion, despite the fact Hosono knocked out his last southpaw opponent inside a round.
Impressively this is Hosono's 13th title bout across the various levels. For Seki this is not just his first title bout but his first 10 round bout. Worst of all for Seki he has struggled in numerous 8 rounders with 4 of his 8 rounders being either split or majority decisions. In fact actually going through Seki's record we see a man who has been very fortunate to remain unbeaten with 3 of his first 5 bouts being incredibly close affairs as well as his recent 8 rounders.
These results tell us a lot of what we need to know about Seki. He's a capable fighter but nothing exceptional, he's unlikely to ever be a threat at a higher level and he's unlikely to really pose Hosono the sme issues as Ogata, despite the similarities that those two have.
What we're expecting here is for Hosono to try and leave a quick and lasting impression. The idea of Hosono getting a 4th world title fight later this year is something he seems likely to want and if he can see off Seki quickly he'll that opportunity and offer himself for a fighter with any of the champions for the end of the year. With Ohashi Gym behind him there is every chance they'll help guide him to a title as they try and develop more and more champions at their gym.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
(Video below, courtesy of Ebibox, shows some of Seki's training for this fight)
On April 6th we know every fight fan that visits this site will be excited about the two world title fights taking place at the Ota-City General Gymnasium. Who can blame you, both the fights look great and lets be honest Akira Yaegashi could be fun shadow boxing whilst Naoya Inoue's bout with Adrian Hernandez is just mouth watering.
What some fans may not realise however is that the same "Ring of Diamonds" show also features another title bout, a Japanese Featherweight title bout between former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (24-2-1, 18) and the unbeaten Yuki Ogata (19-0-1, 3). A bout that may not have the allure of the world title contests but should still have fans licking their lips in excitement.
Going in to the bout Hosono must be the favourite. The hard hitting fighter from the Ohashi stable is a former OPBF and Japanese champion whose 3 career set backs have come in world title bouts to world class fighters, with his only losses coming to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Celestino Caballero.
When you get in the ring with Hosono you realise that firstly he's tough. Anyone who goes 12 rounds with Poonsawat and Caballero is tough. And then you realise just how hard he hits. His record may "only" show 18KO's in 27 fights but he's not known as the "Bazooka" for no reason, what he hits he hurts and very few will win a shoot out with him. In a way he's a bit like Takashi Miura in that his mid 60% KO ratio doesn't really show his true power which is genuinely vicious to both head and body.
Although powerful Hosono does have his flaws. He's often found flat footed with less than stellar movement, his hand speed isn't the best and he can be a slow starter, who gives away the opening round. It was those flaws, as well as the extreme reach difference, that allowed Caballero to complete dominate him in a WBA Featherweight title fight, at the time though Caballero was still a very good fighter.
In Ogata we have the opposite. A light hitting stylist who won't have the power to make Hosono think twice about walking in, but have the movement to unsettle his heavy handed foe. The movement of Oagata is his key to victory and he will have to move near enough none stop whilst pumping out the jab over and over just to have any chance at recording the victory.
The big problem for Ogata is that we really have no idea how good he actually if. He's got a #2 JBC ranking but that's almost come because of other issues. His 20 fights to date have been at a much lesser level to those of Hosono and in all honesty the #2 ranking is one based on situation as opposed to victories or ability. For example the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, Yasutaka Ishimoto, Yukinori Oguni, Hozumi Hasegawa, Ryol Li Lee, and Akifumi Shimoda would all be easily favoured over Ogata who hasn't proven himself anywhere near their level.
With Ogata being the man stepping up, massively, for this fight he'll likely feel that the pressure is on him to prove he deserved the shot. Unfortunately for him we think the step up is far too much and although we think he'll have a good start, possibly winning the first 2 or 3 rounds, before Hosono starts to find his range and timing with his destructive right hand which rock Ogata. We don't expect Ogata to be stopped with a single shot we do think a follow up attack after a powerful right hand will force the referee to save Ogata from a really nasty hammering.
Whilst we think this is all but a formality for Hosono we don't actually think he'll keep the title for long. It seems obvious that he has aspirations on a world title and we'd expect him to drop the Japanese title chase that dream, possibly giving Ogata a second chance to win the belt in the next year or so.
(Poster courtesy of http://www.ohashi-gym.com)
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.