By Joe Koizumi
Despite the nationwide and worldwide recession, Japan keeps staging world title bouts as regularly as previously, though our promoters complain of unsatisfactory ticket sales. A dual world title promotion will take place today (Saturday) in Osaka, Japan.
WBA super-fly champ Nobuo Nashiro (12-1, 7 KOs), 115, will put his title on the line against compatriot and ex-OPBF ruler Konosuke Tomiyama (18-1, 6 KOs), a taller boxer-puncher from Tokyo, over twelve rounds. Also, WBA female minimumweight champ Cholong Son (10-0, 3 KOs), 104.25, will risk her belt against unbeaten Japanese prospect Etsuko Tada (4-0, 2 KOs), 104.75, over ten two-minute rounds.
The WBA officials for the main event are as follows: referee Mark Nelson (US); judges Freddie Ledesma (US), Takeshi Shimakawa (from Tokyo, Japan) and Takeo Harada (from Osaka).
The semi-final female title go will be officiated by: referee Pinit Prayadasab (Thailand); Mark Nelson, Freddie Ledesma and Chalerm Prayadsab (Thailand). Tsuyoshi Yasukochi (JBC’s executive secretary) will supervise both title bouts.
Also, Japanese middleweight titlist Tetsuya Suzuki (21-7, 14 KOs) will make a mandatory defense against top contender Makoto Fuchigami (10-5, 2 KOs) over ten.
WBA SUPER-FLYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT
Nashiro, the shorter but sturdy champ, will be a prohibitive favorite due to his superior experience against name opposition and his harder punching ability. Nashiro, of Osaka, once dethroned Martin Castillo via tenth round stoppage because of the loser’s bad bleeding from a terribly wide and deep cut in 2006. The shaven-skulled puncher, in his second defense, failed to connect his favorite combinations only to forfeit his throne to Venezuelan ex-champ Alexander Munoz by a unanimous nod in the previous year.
However, Nashiro, 27, kept winning and was given an opportunity to fight busy-punching compatriot Kohei Kono, winning the vacant WBA regular belt by a hairline split duke last September. It is reported Nashiro has technically improved since his second coronation, and baldly says, “I’ll try to knock him out in an early round. The earlier, the better.”
Fast-rising Tomiyama, 25, is a good speedster with fine hand speed and fast footwork. The challenger from Tokyo acquired the OPBF 115-pound belt by eking out a close verdict from Thai national champ Norasingh Kiatprasanchai in an elimination bout in Tokyo last June. Tomiyama, a tall and lanky boxer, displayed his improvement in stopping ex-WBA challenger Kuniyuki Aizawa in the twelfth and final session with his regional belt at stake in September.
Nashiro is favored to win, but seemingly too much favored by our press people. The champ, at the press conference yesterday, looked too much overconfident, smilingly chatting with his manager/promoter Takashi Edagawa at the dignified ceremony.
Tomiyama, an angry young man, responded to the champ’s prediction of a quick KO victory, saying, “The champ looked short and small. I’ll beat him up and finish him in a later round.” We have seen a few examples that the champ’s overconfidence paid off in such title bouts as Pone Kingpetch was iced by Hiroyuki Ebihara in the first round, Rodolfo Gonzalez lost to Guts Ishimatsu in upset, or Veeraphol Nakhornluang-Promotion forfeited his long-reigning belt to Hozumi Hasegawa. Anything may or may not happen in the ring.
WBA MINIMUMWEIGHT TITLE BOUT
Etsuko Tada, whose amateur mark was so excellent as 47-3, is a prefight favorite though she experienced just four pro bouts and makes her ambitious crack at the world throne at her early stage of her career. Tada, 27, is a razor-sharp southpaw whose straight left is always thrown like an arrow. Her combination punching is remarkably quick. Though she is not such a hard-puncher, Tada always won our experts’ praises with her tremendously fast and accurate punching.
Son, also unbeaten, acquired the WBA female 105-pound belt by a split decision over Chinese Luo Yu Jie in Korea in December 2006. But Son, a shorter 22-year-old, fought just twice since then, and kept her throne on as many occasions, defeating Chinese Lin Jin Mei and Filipina Gretchen Abaniel by showing a mediocre performance.
Tada, whose voice is as big as men, loudly said, “Regarless of male or female, boxing is the same. I won’t go for a knockout but will definitely win the belt.” Son said, “Tada looks pretty.” We, at the press conference, were stunned by her comment as we had regarded Tada as a “manly” fighting girl.
The Son-Tada first world title bout will start at 3:15 pm at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, and the Nashiro-Tomiyama main event will follow accordingly. This doubleheader is presented by Mutoh Promotions.