On June 29th we'll see a new Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion being crowned as Yoshiki Minato (10-5, 5) and Yasuhiro Kanzaki (7-2-1, 2) face off for the vacant title, which was last held by Suzumi Takayama who won the belt in 2019 but vacated it before making his first defense.
Of the two men the more well known is Minato, with the 23 year old having faced a number of notable fighters. He debuted in 2016, but made real noise in 2018, when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year. During his Rookie of the Year triumph he beat Akiuo Furatani, Kenya Okada, Kyomu Hamagami and Ryohei Arakawa. Sadly though since his Rookie success, which had seen him move to 8-1, we have seen him struggling and he is 2-4 in his last 6. He has however been taking on top domestic fighters with his recent losses coming to Seigo Yuri Akui, Joe Shiraishi, Taku Kuwahara and Masayoshi Hashizume. Despite those losses he does hold some notable ones, with the most noteworthy, outside of his Rookie of the Year success, being an early KO win over Kohei Oba.
In the ring Minato is a nice, tidy boxer, with nice hand speed, most notable a lovely jab, good movement, and good timing. Sadly though he is pretty unpolished at times, and there is little real physicality to his work. He often looks like a boy against men and he can't really get the respect of opponents in the way he'd want to. He knows his way around the ring, and can certainly box, but there's a feeling he can't really fight and with stoppage losses to Seigo Yuri Akui and Masayoshi Hashizume there are also question marks about his chin, especially against senior title level fighters.
Aged 21 Kanzaki is the younger of the two fighters, though has risen quickly since making his debut in April 2019. He won his first 3 bouts before a narrow loss to Atsuki Nakamura, following that loss he bounced back well, reaching the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2020, losing a split decision to Akira Hoshuyama, notably both of his losses have been split decisions. Since the loss to Hoshuyama we've seen Kanzaki going 1-0-1, with a win over Yudai Yoneda last time out. Notably he has been 6 rounds twice, and gone into round 5 on two occasions, though this will be his first 8 rounder, and will also be only his second fight at Korakuen Hall.
In the ring Kanzaki is a tall, rangy fighter, who is quick, sharp, uses his height and reach well and wants to create space, often using the ring and his footwork to create range for himself. His jab is his key weapon and although he lacks power, he does seem to get full extension onto his shots a lot and looks composed. He's very much the sort of young man who looks like he will fill out in to a fighter a division or two higher than he's at, at the moment, and when his man strength comes in he will likely be a pretty nasty puncher due to his speed and reach. At the moment though fighters won't be too worried about taking one from him, though they may struggle to land consistently on him.
In many ways this has the hall marks of a very technical, yet high tempo bout, with both men looking to keep busy jab an land consistently, without much in terms of power. We suspect Kanzaki will look to make space, whilst Minato will look to come forward, which should make for some nice exchanges and some really nice moments of back and forth. Sadly for Minato however we suspect that Kanzaki is just a better version of Minato, and a taller, longer version. That will prove to be the difference with Kanzaki doing enough to win a competitive but clear decision.
Prediction - UD8 Kanzaki
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.