This past Tuesday we saw talented Japanese Featherweight Reiya Abe (20-3-1, 9) returning to winning ways after a frustrating 2019. The "Genius" boxer took a round or to two figure out the unbeaten Ren Sasaki and then took a wide decision over the Watanabe Gym fighter. Although the win didn't undo his two failed Japanese title bids last year it did allow him to rebuild his confidence, show what he can do and get 8 good rounds under his belt as he looks to move forward with his career and build some momentum as we head into 2021.
With that win under Abe's belt, we thought he would be the ideal time to cover Abe in our "Five For..." series.
1-Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) II
The obvious choice is a rematch between Abe and Japanese national champion Ryo Sagawa, who beat Abe in 2019 for the Japanese title. The first bout between the two was razor close, scored 96-94, twice, and 96-95 to Sagawa, and we can't help but think the two men will always be competitive with each other. Both are highly skilled boxers, and with both men being world ranked this would, essentially, be a world title eliminator, as well as a Japanese title fight, and of course a rematch. It ticks pretty much every box we want from a rematch, and it would be competitive, interesting and meaningful!
2-Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9)
Another potential title bout for Abe would be a bout with OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu. If we're being honest this is a more interesting match up than the Sagawa rematch due to the styles of the two men involved. Sagawa Vs Abe would be Boxer Vs Boxer, but Abe against Shimizu would be boxer against fearsome puncher. It would be great to see how Abe would cope with the freakish size and power of Shimizu, and how Shimizu would cope with the boxing, movement and high ring IQ of Abe. This would have the potential to be a very tense bout, and with the OPBF title on the line it would have serious meaning as well.
3-Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21)
If Abe can't secure a title bout next, and there's a good chance he can't, then maybe the best idea if for him to take on a former world title challenger. With that in mind maybe Shimizu's Ohashi Gym stablemate Ryo Matsumoto would be a great idea. For Abe this would be a great chance to score a win over a well known fighter, with top level experience, and would also be a chance to make a statement ahead of a potential bout with Shimizu. On the other Matsumoto is a talented fighter himself, looking for a big win, and a win over Abe would certainly be a big win. This would be a fantastic domestic match up, and despite not being a title bout we would certainly see this as being a very interesting clash.
4-Shohei Omori (21-3, 16)
Another potential former world title challenger that Abe could be looking at is Shohei Omori, who has moved up from Bantamweight to Featherweight in recent years. Omori was once tipped as the Japanese successor for Shinsuke Yamanaka at Bantamweight and whilst that has failed to happen the southpaw from Kyoto is still a really good fighter and the only men to have beaten him have been Marlon Tapales, now a former world champion, and the world class Hiroaki Teshigawara, so a win for Abe over Omori would have meaning. It would also see him against a man with a style that should match up with his, and Omori does have the power and speed to test Abe's chin and durability.
5-Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8)
Heading in 2020 we had expected to see Hinata Maruta challenge Ryo Sagawa for the Japanese Featherweight title as part of the Champion Carnival. Of course 2020 has been 2020. Maruta's Japanese title fight hasn't happened yet and although we'd love to see Maruta Vs Sagawa in 2021 there's a chance that Sagawa will have his eyes on bigger and better things, including a potential world title eliminator. If that happens, and if Sagawa vacates the Japanese title we'd absolute love to see Abe and Maruta clash for the vacant title in the new year. This would be a high skilled, high speed boxing chest match between two incredibly skills fighters each looking to prove they have that extra gear to the top. Whilst we would likelu miss out on Maruta Vs Segawa if we got this one, we wouldn't complain, in any combination of the three would be amazing!
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).