It's been a while since we've had some action worthy of breaking down into one of our Take Away articles, but last week we had several bouts of note. One of those was the latest win for unbeaten Japanese prospect Katsuki Mori (7-0, 1), who over-came Yuki Uchida (7-8, 1) in a 6 round bout at Korakuen Hall. The bout wasn't shown live, but was televised over the weekend on Fuji TV, giving us a chance to watch the contest, albeit on delay.
1-Mori Carries himself like a star
Watching Katsuki Mori in action leaves us feeling like we are watching a star in the making. He oozes charisma, know that he needs to come forward and take risks, and knows how to put on a show, which we saw in round 6. He's a lovely aggressive stylist who controls range very well, has a tight guard and really does have very quick hands. Not only has he got the skills and mentality to be a star but, at just 20, he already appears to be connecting with the Japanese fans, and it's clear that they too are buying into the Mori journey. His baby faced good looks will help appeal to female fans and it's hard to not see him becoming one of the more notable stars of the lower weights.
2-Mori's shorts were familiar
This is probably a coincidence more than anything but the shorts Mori wore, with the red design and gold trim, were very, very similar to the shorts Naoya Inoue wore against Yuki Sano. Whilst Mori and Inoue are obviously very, very different fighters the similarities in their shorts, and overall look, was starling. What this even more notable was that for both men it was the first time they were shown on Fuji TV. For Inoue the bout with Sano was shown live, and part of a major broadcast, whilst Mori had never had a bout shown in full on terrestrial TV, with G+ carrying some of his previous bouts. Maybe, just maybe, they view him as being the next special talent from the Ohashi gym and want to evoke these connections as soon as they can.
3-Uchida was the perfect foil
Although Yuki Uchida had a pretty poor looking record the selection of him as the opponent for Mori was perfect. Uchida was known as a flawed, slower fighter who's tough and will come to fight. That allowed Mori chances to counter, chances to box, and a chance to prove he can fight 6 rounds at a good pace. Don't get us wrong, Uchida didn't have much of a chance, but he always seemed to feel like he felt he had one, and he wasn't just accepting a loss. He came to win, he gave an honest effort, and he asked questions of Mori. This is what we want to see from fighters with losing records, not the survival mentality but someone giving it a go. These sorts of efforts actually help the prospects develop quickly, and do more than a string of meaningless wins, like we see in some countries.
4-Japanese referees continue to keep things simple
Whilst this wasn't a hard bout for an official, and one where he was rarely needed. However if you concentrate on Michiaki Someya, the referee for the bout, he was doing a lot of little things that were very notable. He was always maintaining a good distance from the action a good view of the two men, he, for the most part, remained out of camera shot and let the action go on the inside when he had to. Once again we can't help but be impressed by how well Japanese referees are letting the action flow.
5-Mori is still a work in progress
We are massive Katsuki Mori fans, and we do see him as a star in the making. He is however still "in the making" and is certainly a long, long way from being the complete product. He's high skilled, has star appeal but, fast hands and a good boxing brain. What he's missing is experience, man strength and power. Experience is guaranteed to come with time and as long as Ohashi keep him busy we'll see him building on that part of his game. The power and man strength issue is the thing that is still holding him back. He repeatedly caught Uchida clean and yet struggled to really hurt him. Against Uchida that wasn't too much of a problem, but as he steps up in class he will need to have some stopping power. It may never come, which would limit how far he can go, but we suspect it will, and as he matures we do see him having enough pop to get the attention of his opponents.
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).