One of the more overlooked prospects in Japan is Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4) who recorded his 6th win on December 27th at the EDION Arena Osaka, as he stopped Kaito Okubo (5-2, 2). With Maeda being one of the prospects that deserves more attention we’ve decided to take a look back on this bout and share our take aways from it.
With Maeda expected to climb up the Japanese rankings in 2021, and potentially even move into a title fight in 2022 or 2023 his career is going to be a good one to follow. On paper this was a really, really good test against a fighter who had won his last 2 bouts, and was looking to really give his career a boost. It was an overlooked bout, but one worthy of a watch for those who use the Boxing Raise service.
1-Okubo is a physical freak...but doesn’t use his size all that well
The first thing that really caught our eye here wasn’t the action in the ring but the size of Okubo. The 23 year old from Neyagawa was fighting at Featherweight here and yet stood just shy of 6’. Maeda is a good sized Featherweight, at 5’8”, but was made to look small by Okubo. Not only is Okubo tall but he’s wiry, with long limbs. Oddly though he really didn’t use his long leavers to great effect. He should have been pumping out the jab but was out jabbed by the short man and all too often looked super apprehensive. For a man with his size and frame he has the potential to be a nightmare opponent, and will almost always be bigger than his opponents at 126lbs, and even going up to 140lbs not many will have his dimensions. We do maybe wonder if his future lies a weight class or two higher than he fought here, especially given that he’s a growing and maturing young man.
2-Maeda figured out Okubo within a round
One of the things that has impressed us with Maeda is his boxing brain, countering punching, footwork and control of distance. These were all on show here, and within a round he had figured out Okubo and what Okubo had to offer. He had a really good read on Okubo’s reach, his speed, and his shot placement. With that in mind he was then much more willing to take risks. He was caught once or twice in round two, but there was little on the shots from Okubo, certainly not enough to trouble the rising youngster. This resulted in him landing several decent left hands before the eventual KO.
3-The KO was nasty!
The bout was ended by a single left hand part way through round 2, with Maeda landing a brutal counter shot. This was a nasty KO blow, and credit to Okubo’s corner for quickly aiding their man, rather than allowing him to try beating the count. If you have a Boxing Raise subscription we suspect you’ll be going back to watch this finish a fair few times as it was a beauty. Interestingly it was the second successive time Maeda has scored a 2nd KO and his 4th T/KO in the first 2 rounds. Despite the early stoppages we wouldn’t describe him as a heavy puncher, but he is a very, very clean puncher, and when he lands he lands right on the point.
4-This fight was a very quiet until the KO
Although both men looked to fight at range, behind their straight punches the styles really didn’t gel at all. Okubo was inactivity, had shots falling short, and only really connected with a couple of worthwhile shots during the 5 minutes that the fight lasted. Maeda did land a few more, and did land the huge KO blow, but in reality this was a very un-Japanese fight. It was rather dull and we suspect Green Tsuda will be looking to put Maeda in with more aggressive fighters in 2021.
There are a lot of interesting Japanese Featherweights out there, and Maeda taking on someone like Ryugo Ushijima would be much, much more interesting. If they want to get him rounds, a bout with Hyuma Fujioka may also be worth considering, especially if he's intending to move into 8 round bouts sooner rather than later.
5-Jun Kawakami had an easy day at the office
The third man in the ring here was Jun Kawakami, who actually did 3 bouts on the same show totalling 11 rounds. This was the second of his bouts and was a very, very easy bout where he was rarely, if ever needed. We would have liked to have seen him encourage the fighters to give a little more effort, though in fairness they were trying they just didn’t gel, but other than that his performance was flawless in a bout that really didn’t see him being needed other than to break a single clinch in round 2, counting to 5 and spotting Okubo’s team waving the towel. A very easy bout for him.
With December 2020 now firmly behind us and our feet both into 2021 we thought there was no better time to look back at what Boxing Raise brought us in December, in what was a genuinely excellent month for the service. The month brought us some amazing KO’s, brilliant bouts, thrilling wars and some of the best entertainment the service has provided in the entirety of 2020
As with our previous "Best of Boxing Raise" article all the fights featured here can be accessed by subscribers by logging into Boxing Raise and adding the "movie/####" to "https://boxingraise.com/".
Brutal KO in women’s world title bout - Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6) Vs Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) II [movie/9127/]
Really early in the month we saw WBO female Minimumweight title bout between former world champion Etsuko Tada and Ayaka Miyao. The bout was a rematch of a draw from earlier in the year and delivered everything we needed for a great contest, with good back and forth action and one of the best KO’s in female boxing in recent memory. This was a brutal finish in a bout between two legitimate world class fighters
Japanese title bout! - Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) vs Hizuki Saso (12-6-2, 4) [/movie/9128/]
On the same show as the Tada Vs Miyao rematch was a Japanese title bout between Masataka Taniguchi and Hizuko Sasao, who look to fill the vacancy left by Norihito Tanaka back at the start of the year. This wasn’t the most competitive or best of bouts, but it was great to see a new champion being crowned almost a year after the belt was vacated. Even though it’s not the best of bouts it is still worthy of a watch.
Women’s world title action in Osaka - Miyo Yoshida (14-1) vs Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1) [/movie/9160/]
The second female world title bout to be made available on the service was the WBO female Super Flyweight bout between Miyo Yoshida and Tomoko Okuda. This didn’t end in the brutal fashion of the Tada Vs Miyao bout but was certainly among the most meaningful and significant contests on Raise during December. Well worthy of anyone’s time during the next few days, where there is a lack of fighters in general.
War for Triple Crown! - Ryoji Fukunaga (12-4, 12) vs Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12) [movie/9185/]
The best bout on Boxing Raise during December, by some margin, was the tremendous triple title unification bout between Ryoji Fukunaga and Kenta Nakagawa, who fought to unify the OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Super Flyweight titles. This one of the very best bouts of 2020, not just December on Boxing Raise, and saw both men being hurt, both digging deep, both landing some monstrous shots and both fighting incredibly hard. If you like brutal wars and punishing battles this is one you must watch!
Hard hitting champion takes on rugged veteran - Masamichi Yabuki (11-3, 11) vs Toshimasa Ouchi (22-9-3, 8) [movie/9266/]
The final Japanese title fight of 2020 came on December 26th when Japanese Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki made his first defense, taking on veteran Masamichi Yabuki. On paper this was a test to see what Yabuki could bring if his power didn’t do the job, especially given the number of early blowouts he’s had, and it was a bout that saw the champion needing to answer a number of questions.
Sharp finish between Japanese youngsters - Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) vs Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2) [/movie/9292/]
On one of the final Japanese shows of 2020 we saw youngsters Jinki Maeda and Kaito Okubo clash in what looked like a really compelling match up. This was a tactical battle from the off, with both men looking to control the range until a sudden, and brutal finish in round 2. The bout wasn’t the most exciting but it showcased some stuff from two youngsters, and a finish that really did look incredibly brutal. A gorgeous finish worth watching the bout for.
A legend returns! - Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7) vs Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [/movie/9290/]
After more than 4 years away from professional boxing we saw former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama return to the ring and take on 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi. The bout was one that had been scheduled for November and then got added to a December show after Konishi got a false positive Covid19 test. Despite the delay this one lived up to all the expectations and was a high tempo war throughout. A real gem of a post-Christmas fight between two high tempo fighters each letting shots fly.
Veteran takes on former champion - Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) vs Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) [/movie/9284/]
The final bout to be shown on Boxing Raise in 2020 was supposed to be a mismatch as former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada took on the completely out of form Yuichi Ideta. This was supposed to be a mismatch for the hard hitting Yada though no one told Ideta he was supposed to lose again and the veteran took the fight to Yada making this a thrilling battle of will Vs skill. It’s not the prettiest fight you’ll see but it is a solid one and a real enjoyable watch as Ideta tries to roll back the clock to the days when he was once regarded as a genuine prospect and hopefu.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).