Once again we have two fights to share this week in our "The One to Watch" series, and this is the second of those, following the Shun Kubo Vs Takashi Igarashi one. The reason we want to share this isn't that we think it'll be a competitive FOTY of the year but because it's on a free online stream and it features one of the best prospects in Japanese boxing fighting for the second time since turning professional earlier this year. For those who do want to watch it, it will be streamed on the Suruga Boys YouTube Channel.
The One to Watch?
Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1) vs Takafumi Iwaya (4-3)
September 27th (Sunday)
We always want fans to get on board with prospects early on, especially Japanese and Uzbek prospects who are being moved quickly. With that in mind we are suggesting a bout to watch featuring one of the hottest young prospects in Japan, Rentaro Kimura. The bout is his second in the space of a few weeks and will be his first at home in Shizuoka. Although there's not going to be a huge crowd there will be a live stream available, giving us all a chance to see Kimura in action.
The 23 year old Rentaro Kimura was a former Japanese amateur standout who is tipped to be a future star. He's the big hope for Shizuoka, and signed with local promoter Suruga Boy in the hope of becoming their first champion. Like some other fighters however he's training at the Misako Gym, where the hope is that their success, and training will help develop Kimura and turn him from a very good amateur to a professional world champion.
On his debut in July Kimura looked brilliant in stopping Yuya Azuma, scoring one of the KO's of the year with a brutal finish and further built on his reputation as one of the best prospects in Japan.
Aged 32 Takafumi Iwaya has been a professional since 2018 and has had mixed success. Notably he lost 3 of his first 4, including one to recent Japanese title challenger Yuri Takemoto, but has won his last 3 and has certainly turned his career around. Sadly however his competition has been poor and this is, by far, the biggest and most notable bout of his career, as he takes on a top level prospect.
Whilst Iwaya hasn't had any fights televised yet he has twice had bouts shown on Boxing Raise. These included his debut, where he looked very raw and showed poor balance, little in terms of punching technique and was very easy to hit. He was game but terrible and very easy to hit. Thankfully he looked far better when he faced Takayuki Takino in 2019, and showed a lot of improvement from his debut, though was still relatively easy to hit. That improvement actually saw him beating Takino as he began to turn his career around.
What to expect?
Although Iwaya has clearly improved from his debut he is still easy to hit, very basic and defensively raw. Against Kimura that is a problem. In fact that is a big, big problem.
We expect Kimura to be aggressive from the off but box somewhat carefully in the first round, maybe even two. After that we expect to see him putting his foot on the gas and slicing through Iwaya in spectacular fashion. When Kimura puts his foot down, this will look like a showcase, and will look horribly one sided. It will, however, serve the purpose it's supposed, making Kimura look like a star.
The bad news?
This is a mismatch. There is no way to dress that up. It's a showcase for Kimura who will be getting bigger and tougher tests in 2021. He wants to win a world title in 2 or 3 years and we expect much stiffer tests very soon, but this is a simple showcase back in Shizuoka before he looks to rise through the domestic rankings and move towards his first title fights in the new year.
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.