By David Finger
Photo of Fujimoto: Ulysses G. Sato
In a bout that promises to be one of the biggest heavyweight fights in Japanese history, WBC #15 ranked Chauncy Welliver (53-6-5, 20 KOs) travels to the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo to fight undefeated Japanese contender Kyotaro Fujimoto (4-0, 3 KOs) in a 10-round non-title fight on September 19th. The fight is already the most talked about heavyweight fight in Japan since Mike Tyson came to Tokyo to fight James Douglas back in 1990. Although Welliver has considerably more experience in the boxing ring than his 26-year old opponent, few see this as a mismatch. Fujimoro has already established himself as one of the most feared and respected MMA fighters in Japan, amassing over 30 fights in the sport. His professional boxing career has also started off in impressive fashion, with knockouts over veterans Clarence Tillman and Afa Tatupu in his last two fights as well as an impressive knockout over fellow prospect Jae-Chan Kim back in March of this year. Still, many wonder if he may be biting off more than he can chew so early in his career.
“Everybody thinks I will lose this fight because Chauncy is a world ranked fighter,” Fujimoto said at a recent press conference, “but everyone doesn’t know how this fight will go. I will win the bout.”
Welliver, who lost in a stunning upset in his last fight to Sherman Williams in China back in June of this year, recognizes that a world title fight this year has all but disappeared. However, his fame and popularity in Asia could be his ticket back into the world title fight picture…but only if he can defeat Fujimoto in dominant fashion.
“I am not coming to Japan to lose,” Welliver told the Japanese press from the United States, “I plan to become world champion and Fujimoto is just one more fighter in my way.”
The fact that the #15 ranked Chauncy Welliver has sixty-four more fights than the #8 ranked OPBF contender is not lost on promoter Ulysses Goro Sato, but many also see this as the ideal way to get his young brawler a world title fight with one of the Klitschko brothers as well as introduce him to the sanctioning organizations and the international boxing community.
“This is the first time in sixty years of Japanese boxing history that a Japanese boxer is fighting a world ranked heavyweight contender,” Sato told Fightnews, “Kyotaro is former K-1 world champion, so we expect an exciting fight. Kyotaro’s aim is to get a WBC world ranking after this fight, and then a fight with WBC world champion Vitali Klitschko.”
However, Fujimoro’s MMA background doesn’t faze the seasoned Welliver.
“He will run like a rabbit,” Welliver said about the upcoming fight, “I have watched his videos and talked to many of his former opponents. We have sparring partners who will move like he does. He cannot trade punch for punch with me.”
The co-main event features one of Japan’s hottest prospects, #8 ranked lightweight Shuhei Tuchiya (13-0, 12 KOs), as he takes on tough Indonesian PABA light welterweight champion Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (12-4, 7 KOs) in a 10 round non-title fight.
The undercard also features another exciting heavyweight fight, featuring the WBC’s #26 ranked contender, Frenchman Johann Duhaupas (27-1, 16 KOs) as he takes on Japan’s Masataka Takehara (7-6-3, 3 KOs) in a scheduled eight rounder. Rounding off the undercard, is Japanese super flyweight Yuki Nasu (22-6, 15 KOs) in a tune up fight. Tickets can be obtained at Korakuen Hall or by calling Kadoebi Promotions at 03-5974-3993 inside of Japan.