The first OPBF title fight of 2017 takes place up at Heavyweight and sees Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (15-1, 8) takes on big punching Australian Willie Nasio (10-1, 9), himself a national champion in Australia. The two men are trading blows for a title vacated by current WBO world champion Joseph Parker and are looking to take a step towards a potential world title.
Fujimoto made history in 2013 when he became the first Japanese Heavyweight champion in more than 50 years. As the champion he defended the belt 3 times, defeating Kotatsu Takehara in two of those defenses and Nobuhiro Ishida in the other, and has won a trio of non-title bouts since a 2015 win against Ishida.
Although a bit of a novelty, with Fujimoto being a very rare Japanese Heavyweight, he has had plenty of attention for his actual ability. Originally that ability saw him make a name for himself in Kick boxing before he turned his attention to professional boxing at the end of 2011. Since then he has amassed a solid looking record and scored notable wins against the likes of Ishida and Clarence Tillman, though was stopped in 5 rounds back in late 2012 when he faced the big punching Solomon Haumono for the OPBF title.
At his best Fujimoto is a solid “smaller” Heavyweight. He is 225-230lbs in the ring but at 6'0” he is a very short Heavyweight and isn't the biggest. In the ring he's got respectable power on the domestic scene, but is more dependent on his speed and skills. He's light on his feet and has made a success out of his boxing, rather than punching. He does however questionable punch resistance, less than impressive stamina and he's certainly not got much in terms of “world class” potential, especially given he's now 30. Dreams of becoming Japan's first Heavyweight world champion are unlikely to come true, but he could become the first Japanese fighter to challenger for a Heavyweight world title, if he wins here.
The big punching Nasio has yet to fight outside of Australia but has impressed domestically with notable wins against Clarence Tillman and Hunter Sam. Despite impressive power he has been stopped in the past, losing to Tai Tuivasa inside a round in part of a small 1-night Heavyweight tournament.
Stood at 6'2” and weighing around 250lbs Nasio is a much bigger Heavyweight than Fujimoto, though footage suggests he's slow, a little clumsy and very upright. He hits hard but the footage suggests that he can be out boxed and with an opening round defeat to his name there will be questions about his chin. The biggest question for him coming in to this bout is however about his ability to fight on the road, and that will be something he will have to prove if he's to come out on top here.
On paper this match up will be a case of Fujimoto's movement and speed against Nasio's size and power. If Nasio lands his clubbing shots he could break down the Japanese fighter, especially in the later rounds, though we can't help but think that Fujimoto will move, frustrate and counter the visitor on route to a wide decision, though one won with a few wobbles.
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.