Last weekend we had the chance to see 40 year old Japanese veteran Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) turn back the clock and win the OPBF Light Flyweight title with an excellent and controlled display against the much younger Daiki Tomita. The win proved that Horikawa, even at his advanced age, still had the tools to compete with some of the best in and around the regional title scene and saw him take a huge step towards a much bigger bout.
With that win in mind we put on out match making caps, for the latest in out "Five For" series, where we look at 5 potential match ups for for the fighter in mind, this week Horikawa.
1-Masamichi Yabuki (11-3, 11)
The obvious match up in mind for Horikawa would be a show down with newly crowned Japanese national champion Masamichi Yabuki, who won the Japanese title just a day after Horikawa claimed the OPBF belt. After his win Yabuki stated that Horikawa was the man he wanted to face and on paper this is probably the bout that makes the most sense, and is the one to determining the leading Japanese contender for a world title bout. Stylistically it's be interesting to see Horikawa's pressure and experience up against Yabuki's power and movement, and this is certainly a bout we want before the year is over!
2-Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7)
I we can't have Yabuki opposite to Horikawa then maybe the next best choice from Japan would be 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi. On paper this bout the appeal of having a unified title champion, but is potentially a better bout from a style point of view. Both men like letting their hands go, both are strong and tough guys and we would expect some really thrilling exchanges between these two. Konishi would typically be the favourite, but he's not been in the ring since May 2019, when he lost to Felix Alvarado, and we're not sure what he'd be like after such a lengthy lay off. There's not better time for Horikawa than now to get this one sorted.
3-Toto Landero (11-4-2, 2)
A left of center choice here, but one we like would be a match up between Horikawa and Filipino contender Toto Landero. As first defense of the OPBF title this would make for an interesting match up, and one that is certainly not a foregone conclusion. Horikawa, at home in Japan, would be favoured, but Landero is no push over, despite losing 3 of his last 4. The Filipino has mixed at world level, and showed what he could do in being competitive with Knockout CP Freshmart, Simipiwe Konkco and Melvin Jerusalem. Given his style of aggressive technical fighting Landero would make for a fan friendly contender, and would likely be willing to fight up close more than some opponents. For Horikawa the aim will be cover his lack of speed, and with Landero willing to fight, rather than box, that weakness of the veteran is unlikely to be an issue here.
4-Siridech Deebook (21-6-1, 13)
The first of two possible opponents from Thailand is Siridech Deebook, also known as Pongsaklek Sithdabnij. The 27 year old Deebook is certainly no world beater, in fact he suffered 2 losses in 2018 and should have had another in 2019 when he escaped with a very controversial win against Romshane Sarguilla. He is however the perfect foil for Horikawa. Although he's only in his 20's Deebook is damaged good, but also stylistically the type of fighter Horikawa should be licking his lips to face. The Thai comes to fight, doesn't do well on the back foot and would engage in a war with Horikawa. That'd be a war that would see the Thai likely being broken down in the second half and eventually stopped in a thriller. If we can't have a high stakes bout, for example the one with Yabuki, this could be as fan friendly as we can get!
5-Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12)
Whilst maybe not the logical choice a bout between Horikawa and 20 year Thai prodigy Thanongsak Simsri could be perfect if none of the other 4 bouts listed can be sorted. The Thai youngster is fighting in Japan regularly anyway, due to a deal with Green Tsuda, and his team has spoke about fighting for regional honours sooner rather than later. It would be a big step up from his recent competition but given how most of this year has been a wash for him we could see his team look to make up for lost time. For Horikawa this would be high risk, low reward, but as a fan this would be one of the rising punchers in against a rugged veteran. Simsri is less dangerous than Yabuki, but is certainly heavy handed and should be a very interesting match up for Horikawa if, he gets the call.
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).