Earlier this month British promoter Eddie Hearn, the head of Matchroom, revealed that unbeaten Englishman Josh Warrington (22-0, 6) would be facing off against Japan’s Hisashi Amagasa (30-5-2, 20).
Warrington is known through out British boxing circles, and in his home city of Leeds the youngster is extremely popular with a loud and vociferous fan base who are hoping to follow their man to the top.
He’s been showcased on Sky a number of times, and holds wins that Western fans will be familiar with, including a stoppage against Rendall Munroe and other wins against the likes of Maritn Lindsay and Joel Brunker.
Although relatively unknown prior to 2014 Warrington has become a bit of a star at home.
When it comes to Amagasa however he is much less well known, in fact many hardcore fans in the West will have only seen him fight once. He didn’t really make a mark on the international boxing scene until the very end of 2014 when he fought Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux, and twice dropped the Cuban before being stopped on his stool.
That fight saw Amagasa drop to 122lbs and give Rigondeaux some real worries before his heavily swollen face forced an end to his world title shot.
Other than that one bout it’s fair to assume many fight fans have asked: “Who is Hisashi Amagasa?”
Firstly the basics. Amagasa is a 30 year old fighter originally from Gunma, though now based in Tokyo. The fighter has been a professional since 2004 and has fought 37 times as a professional, whilst affiliated with the Yamagami boxing gym, and working in association with promoter Kyoei, the most successful promoter in Japanese boxing history.
In the ring Amagasa is an imposing Featherweight, stood at over 5’10”, taller than some top Cruiserweights, with very long arms and legs. Although freakishly tall for the weight Amagasa makes the weight easily and is known in Japan as the “Sōshin no asashin”, which translates as the “Slimming Assassin”.
Although a very tall fighter Amagasa isn’t purely an outside fighter. He can jabs and movement but he’s also shown a willingness to be a bit of a fighter on the inside.
Technically he can be made to look very crude but is dangerous with a solid work rate and genuine power. That power has resulted in some great knockouts, including his uppercutt finish against Koji Nagata back in 2009.
Going through his record there aren’t many names Western fans will recognise, however fans from Asia, and particular Japan, will spot more than just a handful of victories of note.
The most notable win on his record is his 2013 win over Ryol Li Lee, a former WBA Super Bantamweight champion. Lee is best known for his shock win over Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym 2010, and is a very credible win for Amagasa, who actually avenged a loss from 2010 with the victory.
As well as the win over Lee Amagasa also has victories over Takuya Watanabe, best known for having a bloodbath in Korea against Jaesung Lee, Vinvin Rufino, a Filipino who later became the Oriental champion, and Ryo Takenaka, the current Oriental champion.
(Highlights of Rigondeaux vs Amagasa via ATB | PRODUCTION):
During his 37 fight career Amagasa has been involved in 11 title fights, going 9-2 (4) in them whilst claiming the Japanese and Oriental Featherweight titles.
Not a perfect record but his losses in those fights have come to Lee and Rigondeaux, two fighters who have been world champions. Aside from those two losses Amagasa’s only other defeats came very early in his career, in fact he was 7-3-2 (6) after 12 bouts and has subsequently gone 23-2 (14).
Whilst fans will be aware of Amagasa’s loss to Rigondeaux he has since fought twice. The first of those bouts saw him over-come Thailand’s Patomsith Pathompothong, with a 10 round decision, whilst the second saw him defeat Filipino Nathan Bolcio with a 7th round TKO.
Although he won both of those bouts he didn’t look great in either, and in fact finished the bout against the Thai with some grotesque swelling around his right eye, which was caused from a headclash.
Although highly respected for his toughness Amagasa’s career is now at a “now or never” point, especially with the fact his right eye seems to swell up worryingly quickly. His mentality is one of wanting to put on a show, and that will have aged him further.
Against Warrington we will be seeing Amagasa fight outside of his homeland for the first time. Typically Japanese boxers haven’t fared well on the road but he’ll be confident of going to Leeds and getting a result.
For him this bout will essentially be a world title eliminator, and he has openly spoken about fighting for a world title at his natural Featherweight, a win over Warrington would likely open the door for that opportunity with a potential return to the UK to face Lee Selby, the current IBF Featherweight champion.
That appears to be his target and a win over Warrington will see him and his team do all they can to secure a bout Selby later this year.
Who is Hisashi Amagasa? A fighter who is looking to be remembered for more than just his gutsy loss to Rigondeaux. A fighter looking to become a world champion.
(Image source and credit Nikkansports)
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