On we had a genuine treat as Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2-1, 7) and Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) faced off in an excellent bout shown live on Boxing Raise. The bout had high expectations, with both 24 year old being highly regarded by those in Japan, and the delivered a compelling 8 round story, with momentum shifts both ways and really engaging action. We had pure boxing from both, we had both men dropped and hurt, and real determination, desire and hunger from both. The bout was a perfect example of what happens when you make 50-50 bouts, and unsurprisingly it was a close contest throughout and both men deserved to take something from it. In the end it was a draw that felt like a draw. This wasn't the judges getting it wrong, it was what the men deserved.
Having watched the bout live and then gone back and re-watched we've decided to share our take aways from the bout.
1-Nakazato seemed to be the better boxer
Although the bout was close there was very clear success for the two men in very different ways. When it came to pure boxing it seemed like Nakazato was the better man. His body shots, and composure seemed to be more notable than Kimura's and Kimura seemed to be afraid of what Nakazato has in his arsenal. This allowed Nakazato to ease himself into the bout more and he seemed to look more comfortable during the quieter moments. It wasn't a massive thing, but it was certainly something that made a difference early on, and saw him establish himself before Kimura.
2-Kimura seemed the better fighter
Whilst Nakazato was the better boxer, it seemed like Kimura was the better fighter, and this was particularly notable later in the bout, when he picked up the pace and began to grind Nakazato. It seemed by then he had to put his foot on the gas, big time, and try to change the momentum of the fight. This shouldn't have been a big surprise, given he had so much success against Hironori Mishiro when he turned that into a war, but it makes you think that maybe he left it too late. Admittedly after being dropped, hard, in the first half of the bout we can understand him being apprehensive of being caught again, but in a rematch we do wonder if we see him step it up earlier on.
3-This was high level entertainment
Although the bout was only over 8 rounders, and was between men who had never won titles, this was still really high level stuff, from both men. The boxing early on with cerebral from both, both men looking to draw mistakes, counter, and fight behind their jabs. They weren't negative, and they were rarely stood far apart, but it was still super high level boxing. As the bout went on the shackles came off and we then went into a fight, but again this was high level and smart stuff, with intelligent pressure, good shot selection and good countering from both men. When you add in the two knockdowns and the competitive nature of the bout we really did have a bit of everything and we couldn't have asked for much more entertainment than we got here. If fans haven't seen it yet we really do recommend a month of Boxing Raise to enjoy this one.
4-Both men have bright futures
Neither man is unbeaten, in fact both men have multiple set backs on their records, be it losses or draws, but don't let that paint the picture that these are talented fighters. Both men are just 24 years old and both men have shown what they can do, not just in this bout but in other bouts for both men as well. Both have very bright futures ahead of them and we wouldn't be surprised to see both men picking up titles in the next couple of years. Both will be looking for a rematch with Hironori Mishiro, the current OPBF champion, and both would likely fancy their chances with Kosuke Saka, the Japanese champion, and Joe Noynay, the WBO Asia Pacific champion. Don't look at their records and write these two off, they are genuinely talented fighters, with the ability to go a long way. Neither are likely to win world titles, but both will manage to have very solid careers and are young enough to take this draw and learn from it.
5-The officials all got it right!
It's rare for us to legitimately feel all the officials got it right but here they did. That included Michiaki Someya, who didn't wave the bout off when Kimura went down hard at the end of round 4, he didn't interject himself very often, and instead he allowed the bout to breath. He gave the men their space and they went to work. The three judges also got it right. All three had the score 75-75 and it's hard to argue with that. It's rare that we get to say all the officials got it right but they did. Fingers crossed this begins to happen more often .
Bonus Take Away - 50/50 match ups are needed more
We don't get many true 50/50 bouts in boxing this was as close to 50/50 as we can get. The records match up really well, the styles, experience and ages all matched up really well. The mentality of the two men matched up and amazingly the bout was seen as almost a perfect 50/50 on boxmob. The Japanese site had 52 people predict the result and 26 picked a Kimura win, 25 picked a Nakazato win and 1 person picked a draw. We could have expected those results. The promoter gave us a 50/50 match up and it proved utterly compelling. More of this please boxing, more this! Also we suspect if they fought again, the poll would similarly even. A fantastic match up and one that delivered.
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).