Of the many bouts this weekend one we didn't think we'd be talking about, going into the weekend, was the 6 round contest between Shigetoshi Kotari (2-0, 1) and Motosuke Kimura (3-5-2, 1). It was, however, one of the more interesting bouts, though not for the reason we expected.
Going in we expected this to be an easy win for Kotari, who was a highly regarded amateur, is part of a solid boxing gym, the MT Gym, and is regarded as a really promising, exciting and notable prospect. Instead we saw this one serving as a real test for Kotari who was surprisingly taken to a decision.
1-Kimura is sneaky
Firstly we want to heap praise on the surprisingly sneaky Motosuke Kimura, who really is a sneaky fighter. In the first round he landed a a brilliant counter left hand and put Kotari on the canvas. This was brilliant, sneaky, smart and something we wouldn't have expected from a fighter with a more losses than wins. Afterwards he kept trying to draw a mistake from Kotari, but could quite replicate the success that earned him a knockdown. He did land a huge counter in round 4, but did so whilst off balance in an exchange and didn't get the bang on it that he needed.
2-Records are for DJ's
We've said this in the past and we will say it again. Records do not tell the full story of a fighter. Even recent results don't tell us everything about a fighter. Kimura had lost 3 in a row coming into this, and was 1-4 in his previous 5. On paper he should have been no problem at all, right? Well what that didn't show by it's self is the fact he had come within a round of beating both Hikari Mineta and Naito Oikawa. His record would have gone from 3-4-2 entering this bout to 5-2-2 with judges only swinging one round in 2 of those losses. In fact if we did the same with his draws, giving him 1 round more in both, he could well have been 7-2 entering this one, and things would look very different on paper.
3-Kotari has a lot of work to do
We like to think that if a fighter is good enough, then they are good enough, and they don't need to waste time. That however doesn't mean all prospects should be rushed like they are something special. In the case of Shigetoshi Kotari it's clear he's a very talented boxer, his jab is lovely, he uses range well and pressure behind his footwork well. He does, however, have a lot of work to do and more bouts against lower level domestic talent will serve him very well. Not many fighters will employ the tactics Kimura did, not many will load up the left hand like he did, and wait for a mistake, but that tactic still showed Kotari has a lot of work to do. Thankfully we suspect he knows it, and we'll see him in with more domestic type fighters to help him develop. There's no point in fighting guys like Lasben Sinaba, the man Kotari debuted against, and taking a blitz win.
4-This was a learning experience for Kotari
We mentioned Kotari's debut bout against Lasben Sinaba and how that was a blitz win, in fact Kotari took out Sinaba in 2 rounds, and in reality he learned little there. That's fine for a debut. Here however he got an education, he was forced to think, to learn to adapt, to show patience, to grit out some tough moments. For a man in his second bout to get a lesson like this will serve him very well and although we were under whelmed by Kotari there is clear a lot of positives to take from the bout, and he and his team will build on those positives.
5-Kimura should stick to being a southpaw
Early in the fight Kimura had real success fighting as a southpaw, frustrating Kotari with the battle of the lead hands and scored a knockdown with a straight left hand. Later in the bout however he began to experiment and in round 5 Kimura made the strange decision to switch from southpaw to orthodox and tried to throw a huge, leaping left hook. We're not sue if he's ever had success switching in the past, but here it didn't work, as he pretty much threw himself, head first, into Kotari. He fought long portions of rounds 5 and 6 in the rightie stance and sadly he looked much, much less effective orthodox
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).