This coming Sunday Japanese fight fans in Osaka will see OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (11-2-2, 10) make his first defence of the title, as he takes on Korean challenger Sung-Jae Ahn (6-3, 1). On paper this is an easy defense for the heavy handed Japanese fighter, tough he did win the title with a relative upset last year when he over-came Dwight Ritchie.
Tyson is one of the few Japanese Middleweights who actually looks like a Middleweight. He's 6'3”, a heavy handed southpaw and a fighter with decent boxing skills. At 24 he is still a boxing baby, but has already achieved a fair bit and looks to be maturing into a decent fighter, though he is still a flawed fighter.
Aged 19 when he made his debut Tyson actually had a draw on debut, before notching two stoppage wins. Then however disaster struck as he suffered an unexpected 3rd round TKO loss to the previously win-less Keisuke Kanazawa. That loss seemed to force Tyson to change and he took a 7 month break from the ring. By the end of 2013 improvements were clear and he won the All-Japan Rookie of the Year Crown. That was followed by a good run in 2014 and 2015 that earned Tyson a show at the then Japanese and OPBF champion Akio Shibata. Sadly against Shibata we saw Tyson up against a talented fighter who broke him down with relative ease, it was too much, too soon for Tyson.
The loss to Shibata could have broken Tyson's confidence but the follow year was a career definer as he claimed the WBC Youth Middleweight title and later the OPBF Middleweight title, out pointing Ritchie in a genuine upset in November.
Blessed with heavy hands Tyson is a real threat at Oriental level just because he hits so damned hard. He is however a fighter who doesn't like to be backed up, and can be out boxed. He also has a questionable chin. If a fighter can use the ring and either back him up, as Joon Yong Lee did last year, then they can out work him, out battle him and really give him fits. Likewise if an opponent uses a lot of movement, a sharp jab and can counter, like Akio Shibata did, then Tyson will struggle to impose himself and will, eventually, break down.
Aged 26 the Korean struggled to really get his career going. He won his first two fights but went on to lose his following three, falling to 2-3. That saw him suffer an understandable loss to Yong Sung Kim but more questionable losses to Woo Sung Yuh and Hyun Joong Kim. Since those 3 losses however Ahn has gone 4-0 (1) and claimed the KBF Middleweight title, whilst finally getting his career on track.
Ahn's career has not only been a bit streaky but also very stop-start, an issue with many Korean fighters due to the slow implosion of the Korean boxing scene. As a result he has two periods of 2 years + with out a fight, and hasn't fought since May 2015. In fact over the last 7 years he has fought just 4 times. If he'd been outside of Korea, and say fighting in Japan or the Philippines, it would be easy to know more about Ahn but the inactivity has been a real problem with knowing how good he is, and how sharp he will be.
Another issue with scouting Ahn is the footage available of him. Whilst there is plenty of footage it's not in the best of quality. The footage that is out there shows Ahn to be a rather crude fighter, he's a bit basic and like many Korean's he's not the most well schooled. He likes to come forward, he likes to apply pressure and he likes to try and force opponents backwards, but he's not incredibly quick on his feet and his out put isn't the highest.
Although using pressure is a way to beat the Tyson that we've seen, Ahn simply lacks the tools to do anything with that pressure and made a difference. He'll struggle to get inside, he'll struggle to land anything whilst up close. With that in mind we've got to back Tyson to retain, likely by stoppage, icing the Korean as he comes forward in the second half of the fight.
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.