The Light Middleweight division in Asia is, sadly, a bit under-whelming despite some notable fighters in the region. Sadly that means that we have had some under-whelming title fights in recent times, and it looks likely that we are in for another less than great title fight later this week, as OPBF champion Yutaka Oishi (14-5, 7) defends his belt against Thai challenger Ratchasi Sithsaithong (7-3, 5). Without trying to sound too annoyed, the match up does little for the Oriental title and does little to move the winner on in their career.
For Oishi the bout will be his first defense of the title, a title that he won last year when he upset Takayuki Hosokawa. The win was a huge one for Oishi, but seemed to be just as much about Hosokawa being a spent force as Oishi being something special. The win saw Oishi work hard, and earn the victory, but really not look like a great fighter coming of age.
At 32 years old Oishi is a veteran, and one whom debuted back in 2008. He suffered a number of early career set backs and had a 7-3 (4) record after 10 fights, with a notable loss in the 2011 All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Since then he has gone 7-2 (3) suffering a notable loss to Zac Dunn and scoring his career defining win over Hosokawa. That win over Hosokawa was Oishi's third straight win and interestingly it was the 7th straight win whilst actually fighting at Light Middleweight for Oishi, who is 7-1 at the weight!
Thai challenger Ratchasi, also known as Niwat Kongkan, is a 31 year old who debuted back in 2011 and has had miced success, losing by stoppage to Hikaru Nishida and Cobra Suwa, before defeating Suwa in a rematch last year. The win over Suwa is the most notable win on his record, but with two stoppages on his record, and a 0-1 record outside of Thailand, it's unclear what he really has to offer.
Footage of the Thai is scarce though from what we under-stand he was a hard working but limited fighter who is unlikely to score a stoppage at this level but could make for a good fun bout with a limited foe, such as Oishi. The styles should gel well, but it's hard to see the bout being fun, or exciting, with the Thai unlikely to over-come the Japanese local.
Although we struggle to defend this bout an as OPBF title fight, it should be a fun fight all the same, pitching two limited and beatable fighters against each other,
Of all the current OPBF champions the most lucky is probably Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-10-5, 9), who probably should have lost his title last time out to Koshinmaru Saito, and was also relatively lucky to even win the title against Dennis Laurente last November. Although a fortunate champion Hosokawa is a fighter looking to move forward with his career and record his second defense of the title as he takes on the limited Yutaka Oishi (13-5, 7) this coming Wednesday.
At his best Hosokawa is a solid boxer, not amazing or world class but solid. He has notable wins over the likes of Randy Suico, Patomsuk Pathompothong, Tadashi Yuba and Dennis Laurente. Those wins have come from his boxing ability alone, and all have been by decision, though unfortunately they have all been struggles and have shown Hosokawa's lack of power and physicla strength. That lack of power was again seen last time out against Saito, and what was more worrying there was that Hosokawa was dropped twice before struggling to earn a draw.
Ranked #3 by the IBF Hosokawa won't just be defending his OPBF title but also defending that world ranking, and a loss here would totally destroy any chance he has of getting a long awaited world title fight. We'll be honest and admit that Hosokawa wouldn't have much of a chance against a top world class guy but he is certainly chasing a title fight before he calls an end to his career.
Whilst Hosokawa is a lucky champion it's fair to say that Oishi is a fortunate challenger, who is just 15 months removed from an upset loss to Toshihiro Kai, albeit at Middleweight. In fact Oishi has lost 2 of his last 4 bouts and has done little to earn a chance to fight for a title, with his best career wins being victories over Hisao Narita and Hiroshi Ohashi. Notably though this isn't his first title fight, with with his first being a 2014 defeat to Zac Dunn in a bout for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Middleweight title.
From the little footage of Oishi there is little there that should worry Hosokawa, and that's despite the fact that Hosokawa himself looks so beatable. One thing he perhaps does have though is power, he's not a huge puncher but if Saito can hurt, and drop, Hosokawa then Oishi does have a punchers chance here.
We might think that Hosokawa is incredibly beatable but we think he'll be too skilled for Oishi who really lacks the skills needed to land his power on Hosokawa. If Oishi can land his power shots he could give Hosokawa another scare, like Saito did.
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.