Shokichi Iwata plans to take Jonathan Gonzalez’s belt, add extra in his subsequent combat

Rising Japanese boxer-puncher Shokichi Iwata will try and unseat WBO junior flyweight titlist Jonathan Gonzalez on the undercard of the Hiroto Kyoguchi-Kenshiro Teraji unification matchup on the Tremendous Area in Saitama, Japan, on Tuesday.

Iwata, who’s rated No. 10 by The Ring at 108 kilos, enters his first world title combat well-versed in what to anticipate from the defending champion.

“[Ever] since I heard that I is perhaps dealing with Gonzalez, I’ve been learning his fights on video with my coach, Takahiro Ao, and dealing on the way to hunt him down,” Iwata (9-0, 6 knockouts) instructed The Ring via Hank Hakoda. “I get the dangle of my profitable methods, and if I can deploy what we’ve ready within the combat, I’ll naturally win the title by knockout.

“Gonzalez had a embellished beginner profession, so I might give him credit score for his gathered boxing methods. He has artful footwork, and subsequently his primary combat plan is to win on factors by circling and ducking to nullify his foe’s aggression. Then again, I consider my punching energy, bodily power and explosiveness are my benefits. I’m a means higher fighter with offensive prowess than him.

Iwata believes Gonzalez received’t be capable of deal with his energy. (Picture by Naoki Fukdua)

“I assume he’ll use a variety of footwork, however even when he unexpectedly comes ahead, I’m ready to deal with him in both scenario. I can adapt to no matter fashion he brings, as I’ve big range of backup plans. My combat will probably be distributed worldwide. This will probably be a chance to develop a brand new fan base.”

Though that is solely Iwata’s tenth skilled contest, it isn’t one thing uncommon for Japanese tremendous abilities. Many have received world titles in or earlier than their tenth combat, together with Naoya Inoue (sixth combat), Kazuto Ioka (seventh), Kosei Tanaka (fifth) and the 2 fighters who will meet in the primary occasion, Teraji (tenth) and Kyoguchi (eighth).

Iwata’s journey initially started when he took up MMA whereas he was in elementary faculty. Nonetheless, when he beat the U15 boxing champion on the Misako Fitness center, he was inspired by the late Hitoshi Misako to modify to boxing.

Iwata intends to take Gonzalez’s WBO belt after which win no less than yet one more in his subsequent combat. (Picture by Naoki Fukuda)

“It was a simple transition into boxing, as I appreciated punching greater than kicking within the first place,” mentioned Iwata. “I then received the second and third U-15 championships. I devoted myself to boxing in highschool and college.

“I received the junior flyweight championship at Inter-Excessive in my senior 12 months [of high school]. I beat closely favored Kosei Tanaka within the semifinals and Takuma Inoue within the closing, each by choice.”

The Ring Rankings Reviewed, 2022: Junior Flyweight

The Tokyo resident, who went 59-12 as an beginner, made his skilled debut in Carson, California, on the undercard of Cecilia Braekhus-Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes in December 2018.

Since then, the 26-year-old has moved rapidly, amassing the Japanese nationwide title and prestigious OPBF championship and feels primed for his world title shot.

“I’m gaining my momentum now, so the timing couldn’t have been higher,” Iwata mentioned confidently. “I do know that Teiken Fitness center’s coverage is to develop fighters rigorously whereas permitting them to realize expertise. I actually thank Mr. Honda for this chance at the most effective timing, neither too early nor too late for me.

Iwata and coach Takahiro Ao. (Picture by Naoki Fukuda)

“I’m so proud and fortunate to have Takahiro Ao, a skilful former two-weight southpaw champ, as my coach. He unsparingly shares his first-hand experiences with me — what southpaws don’t like when preventing orthodox fighters and what southpaws do when preventing orthodox fighters.

“For this showdown, I’ve continuously sparred with Ginjiro Shigeoka, and plenty of different high quality southpaws, together with an beginner elite Ryusei Matsumoto, the previous captain of Nihon College. Gonzalez is a diminutive southpaw determine, and Shigeoka (rated No. 8 at strawweight) is the proper companion I can consider in Japan. Because of them, my preparation has gone so effectively.”

Though Iwata is targeted on Gonzalez, he has aspirations of rapidly unifying the division after which making himself a star.

“Little doubt my subsequent prime precedence will naturally be to face the winner of Kyoguchi vs. Teraji,” he mentioned. “After I develop into a champion on November 1, we’re prone to put it on the desk with the winner. Or, I could name out the South African (Sivenathi Nontshinga) who grew to become an IBF champ first, after which I can combat a higher unification showdown with my compatriot, additionally as a two-belt holder. All of it is dependent upon how I win towards Gonzalez and likewise on the promoter’s plan, however I need to immediately go for a unification combat in my subsequent look.”

Gonzalez, who’s rated No. 2, was a standout beginner, claiming three nationwide titles in addition to gold on the Central American & Caribbean video games and World Youth championships. He turned skilled in 2011 amid excessive expectations in Puerto Rico. After profitable his first 13 fights, he got here unstuck towards hard-charging former titleholder Giovani Segura (KO 4) in 2013.

He would undergo two extra stoppage losses — Jobert Alvarez in 2016 (TKO 6) and Kosei Tanaka in 2019 (TKO 7) — earlier than surprising Elwin Soto in 2021 (SD 12) to win the WBO belt. He has since made one protection.

Our correspondent Hank Hakoda coordinated and translated this function.

Kyoguchi-Teraji, and undercard motion will stream dwell on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET/ 4:30 a.m. PT.


Hiroto Kyoguchi dismisses beginner losses to Teraji, says he’s a distinct fighter now – The Ring (

Kenshiro Teraji able to field or brawl with Kyoguchi for championship – The Ring (

Junto Nakatani goals to depart 115-pound calling card with KO of Francisco Rodriguez – The Ring (


Questions and/or feedback might be despatched to Anson at [email protected].



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