Whilst most of our Treasure Trove from 2019 concerns great fights, dramatic action and back and forth wars sometimes our treasure is less about the fight and more about the fighters. We have little slices of treasure that don't feature the great back and forth bouts that we all love, but do help put a fighter on the map, and gives him, or her, a chance to really make the world sit up and take note. Here we look at one of those bouts that sees a youngster make a statement, and show that was the treasure, and not the actual bout. Thankfully when you are as good as this youngster is, it's hard not to see him as a new shining emerald of Asian Boxing.
Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) vs Clyde Azarcon (15-2-1, 5)
Aged 18 when he made his professional debut in 2018 Ginjiro Shigeoka was hotly tipped by those in Japan to be a star. He went 56-1 as an amateur, had looked fantastic on his debut and quickly stepped up to beat Joel Lino in just his third fight. After just 10 months and 2 days as professional the youngster took his next step up in class, as he took part in his first title bout, a contest for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. He was attempting to set the new record for the least amount of time that a Japanese fighter had needed to go from debut to winning an international title. Thing is no one really doubted him. In fact those in Japan seemed to see this as a forgone conclusion for their new superstar in the making.
Filipino fighter Clyde Azarcon wasn't well known but was well regarded in the region. He was 24, had height advantages over Shigeoka, and in 18 pro fights had never been stopped. Not only had he never been stopped but he had only been beaten once in his previous 16 bouts, and that was by the very talented Rene Mark Cuarto, in what was a very competitive 12 round decision bout. He was no world beater but he was certainly a capable fighter and typically he'd be too good for a normal 3-0 fighter. That however didn't account for the fact that Shigeoka was no typical 3-0 fighter.
What looked like a big test for Shigeoka turned out to be a less of a test and more of a coronation, and a quick one at that. This one lasted less than 2 minutes, but within that time we saw someone show that he was an item of Japanese boxing treasure, and someone who will go a very, very long way, very quickly. The youngster pressed intelligently, avoided almost everything that came his way and damn near gutted the poor Filipino with a gruesome straight left.
It's fair to say that we all entered 2019 expecting huge things from the Heavyweight division. We were expecting Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder to have their rematch, and we were expecting to see Anthony Joshua continue his rise to superstardom. It was hoped that we would end 2019 with a clear route to a 4-title unification bout, and would have a line of contenders for those belts.
Instead of getting what we had all hoped for, we instead got Deontay Wilder rematch Luis Ortiz and take out Dominic Breazeale, Tyson Fury fought two men who did little to improve his stature in the sport, before going off to Saudi Arabia for a WWE event, and Anthony Joshua lose to Andy Ruiz. We also saw various issues rear their head for leading contenders, with Joseph Parker suffering an injury, Jarrell Miller failing drug tests, Dillian Whyte having drug testing issues hanging over his head, and Kubrat Pulev famously kissing Jenny Sushe and getting his license suspended.
Essentially the year that had promised a lot for the Heavyweights ended up being one that had few highlights and a lot of disappointment.
Thankfully we will get some interesting Heavyweight bouts before the year is over, including a bout this coming week between an unbeaten Chinese fighter and a once beaten Russian.
The One to Watch?
Zhilei Zhang (20-0, 16) Vs Andriy Rudenko (32-4, 20)
November 30th (Saturday)
Unbeaten fringe Heavyweight contenders facing off with neither man really able to afford a loss. The match up looks interesting on paper and will either end Zhang's hopes of becoming the first Chinese Heavyweight to fight for a world title or put him right in the mix for a title fight. Stylistically it might not be a pretty fight but it is a significant one.
Unbeaten Chinese fight Zhang is a 36 year old who really is in the "now or never" stage of his career. He was tipped highly at the start of his career following an Olympic silver medal in 2008, but was 31 by the time he made his pro debut in 2014. Zhang's rise through the ranks has been awkward at times, and he's been out of the ring for 14 months, however he's is a big punching southpaw, with under-rated hand speed. As long as ring rust hasn't taken over he could put on a great performance here.
Rudenko on the other hand is a 36 year old Ukrainian fighter who had a reported who has proven to be teak tough, but has taken this bout on short notice, after Sergey Kuzmin was pulled due to injury. He's rugged and tough and despite being limited he comes to fight, and will still be coming forward after 12 rounds. We should see him testing Zhang's toughness and stamina.
What to expect?
We don't expect anything pretty here. We really don't see this being a particularly fun fight, with Rudenko being tough but not the sharpest and the ring rust of Zhang likely to slow him down. If this is a slow gruelling fight this could get very, very messy in the later stages. We do however expect it to be competitive, hard fought bout.
Rudenko will look to see out any early storm from Zhang, and try to break him down late. Zhang on the other hand will look to use his size, reach and hand speed to fight at range. Who ever manages to dictate the tempo will and distance will come out on top here, but we expect to see a lot of mess, where where Rudenko's proven 12 round gas tank might be the key, despite the fact he has taken this bout on very late notice.
The bad news?
Other than expecting this to be ultra-ugly, there's not much else that we'd consider "bad" here. The bout will however not have a fan filled atmosphere, with the bout taking place in a small casino in Monaco, where atmosphere has been notoriously bad. It's a small issue, but still an issue.
Seeing prospects blitz everyone they go in front of is a double edged sword. On one hand it allows the prospect to build up a fearsome reputation and a highlight reel of impressive looking finishes. On the other hand it leaves us with a lot of questions about the prospect, their heart, their will to win and their boxing IQ. As a result we love to see prospects getting tested, being forced to answer questions and digging deep. On August 24th we saw that happen in a big way with real hidden gem.
Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) vs Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12)
The unbeaten Kento Hatanaka, dubbed the "Prince" had looked like a rising star though his first 9 bouts. He had pretty much blown away everyone he'd faced and only Thai hopeful Songsaeng Phoyaem had survived beyond the end of round 5 with the youngster from Nagoya. Hatanaka, like stable mate Kosei Tanaka, looked like he was going to be a major player over the coming years and no one was going to be surprised if he managed to match up with his father, Kiyoshi Hatanaka, in becoming a world champion. On paper he was supposed to 10-0 (10) here. Those watching who had no idea about his opponent were expecting a blow out, though even they would have accepted that this was a step up in class for the youngster.
Filipino fighter Jaysever Abcede was a real unknown for fans outside of Asia, but those followed the Asian scene knew enough about him to know he was a lot better than his record suggested. Through his 27 fights he had lost 8 but had only been stopped twice, by Tsubasa Koura and Lito Dante, and the 24 year old had certainly been finding his feet in bouts coming in to this. He had notched up 4 straight wins, including up sets against Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui, and had really found his groove as a Flyweight, out-growing the Minimumweight and Light Flyweight divisions that he had suffered most of his losses at.
What we ended up seeing, for the first time, was a fighter who could stand up to Hatanaka's power and tenacity, and fire back. Abcede had the experience, the toughness and the skills to test Hatanaka, and for the first time in his career we saw the youngster put in a sink or swim scenario. He had think about what he was doing, he had to grit out the storm, and despite scoring a knockdown, he had to realise fighters weren't always going to be overwhelmed by his pressure and aggression.
As a result of Abcede's determination we ended up getting a very special bout, a real gem of contest that tested a prospect in a way that we rarely see. This was great and this the sort of bout that every prospect needs to go through.
This coming week isn't the best for fights, but there are plenty of interesting contests out there. For this week's one to watch we look over to China where we see an unbeaten local take on a criminally under-rated Filipino visitor in Haikou.
The One to Watch?
ZongLi He (6-0, 1) vs Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-5-1, 5)
November 22nd (Friday)
We really enjoy watching Alphoe Dagayloan and we also love seeing unbeaten prospects, like ZhingLi He, being tested. Here we see Dagayloan being the test for an unbeaten prospect, looking to rise through the ranks with the next logical step forward in his career. Prospect against fringe contender.
Chinese 25 year old ZongLi He is a promising but light punching Super Flyweight who began his career in 2017 and was fighting in 10 rounders just over a year later. In just his 4th professional bout he beat Diarh Gabutan for a minor regional title and since then has claimed a couple more minor titles with wins over Vincent Astrolabio and Hamson Lamandau. Although talented he is a very light puncher and hasn't yet learned to sit on his shots.
The 27 year old Alphoe Dagayloan, from the Philippines has a very odd looking record but there is a lot to like about him. He's a young veteran, having debuted way back in 2010, and was a bizarre 4-2-4-1 (1) after 11 bouts. Since then he has gone 10-2-1 (4), and has won 8 of his last 9, with his only defeat coming at the hands of the fantastic Ryota Yamauchi in a brilliant fight in August. Although no world beater he's a fighter who will likely find himself in the title mix in the coming years, and has legitimately proven himself on the regional scene.
What to expect?
He is a very safety minded fighter, who uses a lot of movement, speed and footwork. He is offensively frustrating, with low output, but when he lets his hands go he lands good counters and looks very sharp with with his shots. There's never much on his punches, but he does look like he has a nice variety of shots in his locker, even if he doesn't always use what he's got at his disposal.
Dagayloan on the other hand brings pressure. He's not a polished fighter, but he is an aggressive one, and a real nightmare for fighter who lack power, and can't get his respect. That was shown in a big way when he walked through Madiyar Zhanuzak, and could be shown again here if He can't get his respect, and there's a good chance he can't.
We expect Dagayloan to pressure, push and force the fight, with He forced to fight at a higher pace than usual. The local is the naturally bigger man, but Dagayloan is the stronger man, and we suspect that power and strength will be the difference. Expect He to box, but to be ground down in the middle and later rounds.
The bad news?
In recent months it has become harder and harder to find replays of Chinese fights, so if you miss this one live, you may end up missing out, at least in the short term. This should be a fun one, but certainly may not be as widely available as Chinese fights form the past
On November 19th we see the start of a tournament in Japan being held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Hajime No Ippo. The tournament had the potential to be a stinker, but in reality it looks like it could be a really, really tournament and the 7 men involved are certainly not slouches, with the likes of Richard Pumicpic and Tsuyoshi Tameda both being involved. The tournament will be made available on the Boxing Raise service and our One to Watch for this week will be one of the 3 quarter-final from the tournament. And what a potentially brilliant bout this is, so brilliant in fact that we're bringing you an early One to Watch to make sure you get the chance to catch it!
The One to Watch?
Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) Vs Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6)
November 19th (Tuesday)
We love seeing a lot of the things about this bout. We love tournament boxing, and wish we'd get a lot more of it, we love Japanese prospects being tested early and we love when fighters take risks. Neither Takeshima or Watanabe needed to be involved here, both are risking their rankings, with Takeshima having an OPBF ranking and Watanabe having a JBC ranking, but they both know the reward of winning the tournament is worth the risk and both want to prove what they can do.
Koshin Takeshima is a former amateur standout with an 82-19 amateur record, he was a regular in the final stages of national amateur competitions and is a very accomplished fighter who has been moved quickly in the professional ranks. Aged 24 he's a few years away from his physical prime but has shown pretty much everything he can, with a good boxing brain, the ability to do 8 rounds, a defensive awareness, good speed and solid power. There is obviously a lot for him to work on, still, but there's a lot that has been impressive about him at this early stage.
Aged 28 Daisuke Watanabe is a fully grown fighter who should be hitting his stride physically. His record is spotty to say the least, but that's been, in part, due to stiff competition including Sho Nakazawa, Reiya Abe and Toshiki Shimomachi. Despite the blotchy form he is now unbeaten in his last 4 including a notable win over former Japanese title challenger Dai Iwai. He's shown some flaws with his durability, but is a very talented fighter and his wins over the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Yosuke Fujihara and Dai Iwai have shown he can compete against Japanese title level contenders.
What to expect?
Unlike many bouts we talk in this weekly piece we don't expect this to be a war. Instead we're expecting a very high level boxing bout, with both men showing off their skills, and looking to keep the bout a high tempo chess match. They are both very good boxers, though we do feel like Takeshima has the edge in technique and toughness, though of course there are serious questions still over his head about how he reacts when he get caught. Watanabe might be beatable but he's got enough power in his hands to cause issues and if he can land his right hand he could have too much pepper on his shots for Takeshima.
This should be high level boxing, with a sense of danger from both, and a desire to shine in a tournament that really will help the winner put themselves on the boxing map. We wouldn't be surprised both men hurt, and both need to bit down down on their gum shields.
The bad news?
The fight is only a 6 rounder, the later stages of the tournament are 8 rounders. We would have loved to have seen these to go through an 8 rounder together and hopefully in the future that does happen
When we look back over the year we've had we've genuinely had so many dramatic and exciting hidden gems, gems that have slipped to the bottom of the Treasure Trove and have gone over-looked, for far too long. Here we bring you one of those gems, and it's one that saw China and Japan go to war in a bout that had big punches from both, a moment that drew a "wow" from the commentator, and despite not being the tidiest or prettiest of bouts was thoroughly entertaining, from the first round to the eventual finish. The isn't a fight that will be featured on any FOTY lists, but deserves a place on everyone's watched list, and is the latest piece of treasure we want to share with you!
Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) vs Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7)
Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula, referred to as Baishanbo from here on, began his career with a 13 fight unbeaten run before travelling to Japan and losing a very close 8 round bout to Rikki Naito in 2017. He would bounce back with a win before travelling to the US and giving the big punching Fredrick Lawson a tough bout in 2018. Following his loss to Lawsonwe had seen Baishanbo notch two decisions, aid won a couple of minor titles at 140lbs. He had proven himself to be a tough fighter, with a rough around the edge style, aggressive with a mean mentality. He regularly seemed to be a big of a dislikable fighter, with several incidents whilst weighing in for fights, but was an entertaining guy to enjoy watching and the dislikable edge only made him more fun to watch. He was flawed, as a fighter and as a person, but he was fun and wild.
Aged 30 Yusuke Konno was a fighter who's record suggested limitations, but in reality only told half the story. From his 4 career losses 3 had been incredibly close, and the other as a 10th round TKO loss to Koichi Aso in a Japanese title fight, that he was leading with just 42 seconds to go! In another world Konno could have been unbeaten. Coming in to this he had bounced back from the loss to Aso, in 2017, with wins over Kazuya Muraki, Takashi Inagaki and Vladimir Baez, showing his determination, his heart and his desire. He was wild, like Baishanbo, and he was tough, like Baishanbo, he was also a veteran of the Japanese scene and someone who was much, much, better than his record suggested. Despite being the clear under-dog this was his chance to shine, his chance to pick up a win on the road, and to claim the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title.
This had the ingredients to be sloppy, both were clumsy, and neither was technically sound. But the flaws of both could make for a good fight, if the stars aligned just right we could get something a little bit special. Thankfully for us we did get something a bit special, in fact we got something very special.
In the opening round Konno make it clear he wasn't there to pick up a loss, dropping Baishanbo with a solid combination almost 2 minutes in. From there on the bout turned into a real nail biter, with both landing some huge head shots in some back and forth sequences. For the most part Baishanbo was the quicker man, he shots looked cleaner and crisper, but Konno took them well and returned with his own thudding shots, never wanting to let Baishanbo have the final say in any exchange.
There were lulls in this, but the exciting exchanges, which were frequent, meant that it was never dull and meant that we were always on the edge of our seats. Every time it seemed like the fighters wanted to get a breather one, or the other, or both, would land something and like a chemical reaction more huge shots would fly back and forth.
This wasn't pretty, this wasn't beautiful or flawless, this wasn't a pearl. But this was the perfect diamond in the rough, and if you can see past the lack of beauty you'll see this was a real treasure worth enjoying. A fantastic war of wills.
This week's one to watch pits a hard hitting Japanese fighter against a veteran Thai in what should be a much, much better bout than the records of the two suggest. The bout is the headline contest from A-Sign boxing show, meaning it will be made available online through the A-Sign boxing channel, it should be well worthy of a watch given the abilities and styles of the two involved.
The One to Watch?
Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) vs Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (24-10, 16)
November 15th (Friday)
Coming in both men are world ranked, with the local having rankings from the WBC and IBF whilst the Thai is ranked #4 by the IBF, the styles should gel and without trying to sound too much like fan boys every Kurihara fight is a "One to Watch" due to his exciting style and heavy hands. The bout isn't an official world title eliminator, and is scheduled for just 8 rounds, but should be a hectic, exciting war.
The 26 year old Keita Kurihara is the current OPBF Bantamweight title, though won't be defending his title here. He's an ultra aggressive, heavy handed fighter who comes to take opponents out every time he steps in to the ring. Technically he can be out boxed, but he does have the great equaliser in his power and aggression and is the sort of fighter few will fancy beating in a war. Interestingly he won his OPBF title with a narrow decision win last December of Yuki Strong Kobayashi, a decision that was won thanks to 4 knockdowns! He's ultra exciting, and that excitement makes up for technical flaws.
Sukkasem Kietyongyuth, also known as Sukpraserd Ponpitak, is a veteran of 34 pro bouts and has been a professional for almost 11 years. The 32 year old claimed the PABA title early in his career, with a win over Mark Gil Melligen, and showed early promise by was 13-6 after his first 19 bouts and seemed to be written off due to 4 successive losses. Since then he proven his value as a regional gate keeper and given good tests to the likes of Qiu Xiao Jun and Yukinori Oguni. He's no world beater, but a very good gate keeper type, and if you beat him you tend to be pretty solid.
What to expect?
As with every Keita Kurihara fight we expect violence, bombs and aggression. The Thai is a pretty big strong guy and will take a decent amount of punishment if he needs to.What Sukkasem does well is box, he uses a good jab and although he's much better on the front foot than the back foot he can use the ring well and box smartly.
The big question is whether or not Sukkasem can get Kurihara's respect. If he can't then it's hard to see anything but a win for the local, who we suspect will break down the Thai with pressure much like Yusaku Kuga did in 2016. If Sukkasem can get the respect of the Japanese puncher there's a good chance he bag rounds behind his jab, movement and his clean straight punching, though he will need to let leather fly.
For Sukkasem to have success he needs to be busy, and he needs to let his hands go. If he can manage that we're in for something special here!
The bad news?
It's not totally clear when this one will be available to watch, with A-Sign's upload scheduled being very inconsistent. We suspect it'll be uploaded with in a day or two, but it's certainly not a given
The year has been a long one, and today's Treasure Trove comes from way back at the start of the year, it's a long way buried deep in the trove, but is something that was really fun, rather wild and a little bit crazy. The bout was actually buried on a card and fought after the show's main event, and whilst that's not usually a good sign this was a bout that should have kept fans in their seats. It was the sort of crazy, fun, intense brawling fight that we love watching, even if the fighter's health isn't going to be helped by the battle they are engaging in.
Jian Wang (7-1, 2) vs Seong Yeong Yang (6-2-4, 3)
China's Jian Wang entered as a 22 year old hopeful who was looking for his 6th straight win. The local hopeful had shown promise, but was very much a fighter who was hoping to deliver more than he had already. His lack of power was an issue, and both of his stoppages had come against the same limited Thai opponent, but he had shown enough for those in China to get just a little bit excited about thanks to his work rate and fan friendly style. It was hoped that as he matured he would learn to sit on his shots more and develop his physical strength and power
Yang, also 22 years old, was a Korean youngster fighting outside of his homeland for the first time. He was 2-2-4 after his first 8 bouts, but had managed to reel off 4 wins coming into this and had shown a willingness to have a war. On paper the bout wasn't just his first bout on the road but also a massive step up in class, and a bout where he had to be regarded as the under-dog. He had some momentum, sure, but he had little else, other than his will to win and desire to become the new WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight champion.
What we ended up with was a wild bout that saw both men often neglecting defensive responsibilities and just letting leather fly at the Suzhou Olympic Sport Center. The visitor knew he was up against it and was often the one pressing the fight letting shots fly and was happy to eat a big counter to land shots of his own. Wang was the more defensively sound, and the cleaner puncher, but he was also the one with the less impressive energy tank and was the one fighting on the back foot.
What we got was a pretty fight, but was an action packed one with a lot of intensity, some very fan friendly exchanges and some of the widest and wildest hooks you'll ever see, with Wang throwing some shots so wide that they could have landed on fans in row 3...and even then he some how managed to land them on Yang.
This isn't one for purists, but it is one for those who just love a good old fashioned tear up.
On Monday we posted the first of 2 "One to watch" articles for this week looking at the God's Left Tournament semi-final bout between the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi and the always fun to watch Kenya Yamashita. Now we look at the other semi-final bout, and this one is arguably set to be even better than the Tsutsumi Vs Yamashita bout!
The One to Watch?
Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) vs Kazuki Nakajima (7-0, 6)
November 9th (Saturday)
As a God's Left Tournament semi-final bout the contest will see us find out who the second finalist is, and will set up a brilliant tournament final, it also pits two unbeaten, young and heavy-handed fighters against each other. The styles of the two men should gel excellently and we'll see both men answering questions about their ability, their toughness, their ability to adapt and their overall in ring mentality. Unlike their bouts so far this should be a very, very serious and dangerous test.
The 24 year old Jin Minamide is a southpaw promoted by former world champion Celes Kobayashi. As an a amateur he was a stellar fighter, going 43-22 (15). He turned professional in 2018 and looked sensational with 3 blow outs in his first 3. It wasn't until his 4th bout, his God's Left Tournament quarter-final bout, that we saw him tested, and going the distance in a thrilling war with Tetsu Araki. He's aggressive, heavy-handed, exciting and although a bit raw he's very, very fun to watch.
Interstingly Kazuki Nakajima has a lot of things in common with Jin Minamide. At 26 he's a little bit older than his opponent, but he's also a southpaw, he's also managed by a former world champion, in this case Hideyuki Ohashi, and he was also a very good amateur, going 72-15 (30). Since turning professional in 2017 he has risen through the ranks impressively, and beaten the likes of Yoshihiro Utsumi and Kenichi Watanabe. On paper his best win isn't as good as Minamide's, which came last time out, but there's very little to pick between them.
What to expect?
Both of these guys like fighting. Of the two Minamide is the more rough around the edges puncher, whilst Nakajima is the more technically solid boxer-puncher. Their styles should gel, with both firing off bombs, though we suspect Minamide will be the more aggressive whilst Nakajima will be looking to set his man up, counter,
mover and show that tough more to his boxing. Despite Nakajima having more in his arsenal we do feel like Minamide has the edge in power, and with his pressure and output that could be enough to break down Nakajima.
The bad news?
As with the other semi-final this will only be available on Boxing Raise, so if you've not subscribed you'll miss out on this sensational looking contest!
This week we're doubling up on our "One to Watch" with two different ones too watch, one today and one tomorrow, on our usual Tuesday slot! The reason for the extra one this week is the fact that we have the two God's Left Tournament semi finals and both deserve a deeper look, and both look like incredible bouts!
The one to watch?
Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) vs Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11)
November 9th (Saturday)
The God's Left Tournament is a really good tournament and the semi-finals both look like they are great fights, meaning the final will be brilliant when that comes around too. For this bout we have two guys who love to fight. Both share the same mentality, both come forward, both throw bombs and both come to the ring looking for a knockout. Neither guy likes doing over time so we should get a super explosive bout, for as long as it lasts.
Thge 23 year old Seiya Tsutsumi was a former amateur standout who turned professional with with the Watanabe gym before transferring over to the Kadoebi gym recently. Every since turning pro he has been a wrecking ball, winning a B class tournament early in his career adding a win over Ryan Rey Ponteras this past April, becoming the first fighter to stop the experienced Filipino journeyman. He's aggressive, heavy handed and has under-rated defensive skills.
Kenya Yamashita, also aged 23, is a fighter who made his mark very early on, winning the Rookie of the Year in in 2014, just a year after his professional debut. At the time he was just 18 and being tipped for huge success, Things haven't gone swimmingly for him since then but he has remained a super aggressive and exciting fighter, and win or lose he comes out pressing the fight, throwing bombs and looking for early wins. He lacks the polish of Tsutsumi, but certainly has the style and aggression to meet fire with fire.
What to expect?
Given that both men are going to come forward and meet in center ring it's hard to imagine this one going long, and being anything less than a short, thrilling, bombs away war. Both will meet quickly in the middle of the ring, both will look to trade and both will go hell for leather. Sadly for Yamashita he has things a little bit stacked against him here. Although Yamashita has the edge in professional experience he doesn't have the amateur background of Tsutsumi, nor the defensive skills of Tsutsumi, and he's also naturally smaller than Tsutsumi. That's not to say we expect to see Yamashita fight like a smaller fighter, but he is the smaller man, and that will likely prove to be the difference in an all fire fight.
The bad news?
The bout will only be available for those who subscribed to Boxing Raise, and it's a shame that so many fans will miss out...though again this is a great reason to try Boxing Raise! And this is only 1 of the 2 amazing semi finals on the same show!
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.