After a bunch of quiet weeks recently we get to share two bouts this week as action begins to pick up and the boxing calendar starts to look more and more like normal. We have fights coming in thick and fast, and we have plenty to be excited about in coming weeks, and months. For this bout in particular we're looking at two youngster, both with a lot of promise, clashing at Korakuen Hall in a bout we're really looking forward to.
The One to Watch?
Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) vs Tulio Kuwabata (3-1-1, 2)
March 24th (Wednesday)
This bout has a lot going for it. Notably we have two youngsters in it, both of who need a win a win after back to back disappointments. As well as their need to pick up wins both are also highly regarded youngsters, who turned professional after notable amateur career, and both know that a win here will be huge for their careers. It is also a very, very interesting match up between two fighters with less than 10 bouts who are both clearly very talented fighters. This is the type of bout we rarely see outside of Japan, and the type of bout which could be something very special.
Of the two men the better known fighter is 25 year old Seiya Tsutsumi, who came to international note last year when he earned a 10 round draw against former world champion Daigo Higa. That result was a second straight draw for Tsutsumi, who had been incredibly unlucky earlier in the year with a draw against Kazuki Nakajima. The talented Tsutusmi is a boxer-puncher, who has shown brutal power, fantastic boxing skills, smart ring craft and the ability to go to war, when he's needed to. Sadly the two draws last year have marked up Tsutsumi's record, though we dare say he comes into this bout with a point to prove.
In the opposite corner to Tsutsumi will be Tulio Kawabata, also known as Tulio Dekanarudo, a 24 year old who turned professional with a lot of hype but has failed to live up to the expectations. The youngster was supposed to be one of the faces of the Mutoh Gym going forward and won his first 3 bouts with absolutely no issues at all, including making his debut in China and taking the unbeaten record of Eric Pulgo. Sadly however he was "exposed" in late 2019, by Filipino fighter Ken Jordan, who stopped him inside a round, and he failed to get back to winning ways in 2020, when he had a technical draw with Yoshihiro Utsumi. Like Tsutsumi he now desperately needs a win to get back on track.
What to expect?
We need to start by saying we really like this fight, despite the fact neither man has a win in their last two bouts. Sadly whilst we like the fact we don't see it as the most competitive bout out there. In fact we see it as a bit of a mismatch, as ones man's strength goes directly up against the other man's key weakness.
That is Tsutsumi's power against the questionable chin of Kuwabata. Tsutsumi might not be a KO artist at the highest level but he's a big puncher, his power get respect from the likes of Daigo Higa and his KO win over Ryan Rey Ponteras was an impressive one. His power also career up to Featherweight against Jiaqi Yu. That power is brutal at this level and Kuwabata's chin has been smashed by a lesser fighter.
Saying that Kuwabata is skilled and if he can settle, dictate the range and tempo we could see some good back and forth in this. It could end up being a pretty high level contest at times, if, and it's a big if, he can survive the early power of Tsutsumi.
Sadly however it seems inevitable that, at some point, Tsutsumi's power and aggression will get to Kuwabata and take him out.
The bad news?
This bout will be tucked away on Boxing Raise, limiting the viewing audience behind a pay wall, but other than that we see no real issue here in regards to watching the contest. However we do suspect some will perhaps write off Kuwabata as a poor fighter afterwards, which is unfair as he isn't. He's just unfortunately not blessed with a cast iron chin, and he is facing a heavy handed guy here.
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.