Through out history boxing has taken place in a variety of venues. They have ranged from local gyms to casinos, from parking lots to prisons and even the occasional restaurant. We've never before heard of a fight taking place a hotel where one of the fighters actually works a day job but on July 18th that's exactly what will be happening as the unbeaten Teiru Kinoshita (19-0-1, 3) steps up to face hard hitting South African Zolani Tete (18-3, 16) in a bout for the vacant IBF Super Flyweight title at the Portopia Hotel. Whilst we doubt it's the first time a staff member has fought at work, we don't think it's ever been for a world title.
For Kinoshita this really is a huge step up. Up to now his biggest fights have been on the Japanese domestic scene where he has claimed the Japanese title and made numerous defences, including victories over former world title challengers Atsushi Kakutani and Junichi Ebisuoka. Unfortunately for Kinoshita those bouts are at a very, very different level to this one and to compare Kakutani and Ebisuoka to Tete would be a major mistake.
One problem with trying to see what Kinoshita is all about is a lack of footage. From what we could find only one bout, his 6th against Thailand's Petchklongphai Sor Thantip, was actually out there for us to watch without too many problems. What that bout suggested was that Kinoshita was a tricky fighter to go up against with a south paw stance, a tall and rangy body and very nice speed. Unfortunately we also saw a fighter with very little power and who was unable to really hurt the Thai, other than a head clash that effectively saw Petchklongphai mentally quitting.
We're not going to say the Kinoshita of today is the same fighter as the one who beat Petchklongphai but with little to go on we do imagine that he's still a tricky fighter with speed and little power. He's a fighter who will likely have developed technically and seems to have good stamina but he did struggle past Kenji Oba, Atsushi Kakutani and Go Onaga and has never been in a 12 round contest before suggesting that this a step up not just in terms of opponent but also length of fight.
In Tete we have a real world level fighter with experience in an around the world level. This has been shown in his bouts with Moruti Mthalane, Juan Alberto Rosas, Roberto Domingo Sosa and most recently Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. Although Tete came up clearly short against Mthalane, losing by 5th round TKO, he was very unlucky to lose to both Rosas and Sosa in bouts that could very easily have gone his way had he not been the away fighter. Thankfully for Tete he didn't let the bout with Sanchez go the distance and instead he finished off the Mexican in the 10th round to secure himself an IBF world title bout.
Whilst Tete has the obvious edge in "quality of experience" he also has the edge in power, clearly, and although he's fighting away from home he is experienced with fights outside of South Africa with 3 previous fights in South America, all of which have seen him perform very well despite only winning one of them. He also, notably, has experience with southpaws and is one himself. His experience against Sanchez is likely to be invaluable here, especially when you consider that Kinoshita's best southpaw opponent so far has been Go Onaga who isn't at world level despite a top 10 IBF ranking.
From what we've seen of the two men Kinoshita is the faster and busier of the two fighters, though of course we've not managed to see a lot of him. Tete is the puncher, he's not likely throw a lot but what he connects with tends to hurt. The big question going in to the fight is "can Kinoshita take the power of Tete?" If he can then we have to favour Kinoshita to out work Tete, especially with his co-workers all cheering him on. If Kinoshita can't handle the power of Tete then this is likely to be a painful experience for Kinoshita who would almost certainly end up being the 17th stoppage victim in 20 fights for Tete.
We'd love to see Kinoshita win, it would be a great way to announce himself on the world stage. Sadly we think Tete's high level experience and power will be the difference between the two men. Fingers crossed for Kinoshita but he's in the toughest test of his career, by far, and will have give a career defining performance to come out on top.
(Image courtesy of http://www.dio-s.com/senrima)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.