Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
To kick off the month of September attention turns to Tokyo, and the Ota-City General Gymnasium for a very notable card, albeit a very short card with just 4 bouts on it. And a card that will no be open to the public, as it will held behind closed doors due to a high level of Covid19 cases in Japan, however the under-card will be streamed by Shisei gym and the main event will be shown on TBS.
The card in question will feature two all debutant bouts to open up the card before a brilliant looking all-Japanese chief support bout, as the skilled, but often frustrating, Yuichiro Kasuya (14-3-2, 4) battles the dangerous, but flawed, Aso Ishiwaki (8-4-1, 6). Of the two men Kasuya is the much more technically skilled and the more well schooled boxer, but he's often been negative in the ring, and lacks fight changing power, something that has often been a problem in his recent bouts, especially given he's moved up from Super Featherweight to Light Welterweight. Ishiwaki on the other hand is a rough around the edges fighter with nasty power, a huge will to win, and a physically imposing style, which he will look to use here against the naturally smaller man. This should be a very, very interesting support bout.
Whilst the chief support bout is an interesting one it pales in comparison to the main event, which will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) defending his title against Francisco Rodriguez Jr (34-4-1, 24), in a rare bout between two men who unified titles 3 weight classes below the one where they are facing off themselves. Ioka has looked rejuvenated since his return to the sport, following a short lived retirement, and comes in to this on the back of an excellent win over Kosei Tanaka back in December. Sadly though Ioka also has the cloud hanging over his head of a drug testing issue that saw the JBC really getting embarrassed for the way they handled things, and it's something that could well be on his mind coming into this bout. As for Rodriguez this bout is a huge opportunity for him to prove that he's still one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, something he showed in 2014 when beat faced Katsunari Takayama. Sadly Rodriguez hasn't been as successful as Ioka since leaving the Minimumweight division and this will be his first real world level test since joining the division, though he is on a very nice winning run of 15 straight bouts dating back more than 5 years. Our full, in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ioka faces third straight mandatory as he battles Rodriguez!