A number of fighters have had frustrating 2013's. One of those was WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) who's only fight all year was a mandatory defense against the undeserving Edgar Puerta in November. Prior to that bout Miura had had his name linked to almost everyone in the Super Featherweight division yet no one seemed willing to step up and actually fight him.
Those who were mentioned as possible opponents included fellow champion Takashi Uchiyama, the Mexican pair of Abner Mares and Orlando Salido, British fighter Stephen Smith and Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa. Going into 2015 many of those names are already being linked to the Japanese puncher who will be hoping for a much busier 2015.
The most obvious bout is still the contest with Takashi Uchiyama. The bout would allow Miura a chance to avenge his stoppage defeat to Uchiyama and would make the winner a unified WBC-WBA champion. For both men it's something they have spoke about though, for various reasons, not managed to actually get sorted. It's still the bout fans are wanting and the fighters appear to want but if that can't be made there are other options.
One of the most exciting is a rumoured bout with Gamboa. The rumour for this one is that Miura would be fighting Gamboa in Mexico, possibly in a bull ring. The bout would see Miura returning to Mexico, the country where he beat Sergio Thompson in a 2013 FOTY candidate, for the first time since the Thompson bout and would also see him fighting someone known to American and European fans. It's a bout that would guarantee serious fireworks and has the potential to be over at any time. Although exciting it's not one we suspect either will be a rush to make.
Another option that would take Miura to Mexico would be a bout against unbeaten and heavy handed local Adrian Estrella. The 22 year old Estrella has had his name linked to Miura in recent weeks and his impressive record, which reads 20-0 (18), boats a 90% KO rate. This would be two of the hardest hitters in the division colliding in a bout very unlikely to go the distance. Not only is this interesting on paper but it's even more so when one considers that Estrella has beaten both Dante Jardon, a former Miura foe, and Celestino Caballero in recent bouts.
A third possible contest involving a Mexican is talk of Miura facing the exciting and unbeaten Francisco Vargas who has really shone this year. The bout is unlikely, at least in 2015, though has all the ingredients of a really exciting contest between aggressive and exciting fighters who can both be involved in some thrillers down the line. At the moment Vargas is highly ranked by the WBC and we all know that the WBC will be willing to help Vargas an opportunity however we suspect he knows it'd be too soon for him
Outside of Mexico we've seen the name of Stephen Smith again mentioned as a possible foe for Miura. Smith is the current “silver” champion and has had his name linked to Miura on British TV more than once. The most interesting thing relating to this bout is that Smith's promoter Eddie Hearn has shown a willingness to match his fighters with Japanese foes recently and we've seen Scott Quigg fight Daiki Kaneko whilst Jamie McDonnell is set to fight Tomoki Kameda. Although this certainly a possible contest we're doubtful that this one is likely to come to more than just talk as Miura is, stylistically, all wrong for Smith.
A really interesting option, and one that would certainly end up in Japan, would be a contest between Miura and the winner of the upcoming OPBF title bout between Daiki Kaneko and Jomthong Chuwatana. The winner of that will be a clear top 10 opponent with the WBC, will be happy to fight in Japan and will certainly not be written off as just another challenger. More importantly however the winner of that would stylistically be a fun to watch contest.
Whilst we'll admit we would love to see Miura Vs Uchiyama II the fact there are other options out there really does leave us looking forward to an exciting year for Takashi Miura, a man we want to see a lot of in 2015.
(Image courtesy of Teiken)
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).