BANGKOK, Thailand -- Japanese former WBO Flyweight World Champion Sho Kimura (19-3-3, 12 KO's), the fighter known for ending the pro boxing career of Chinese Top Rank star Zou Shiming five years ago, still craves for glory and applauses, wanting so much to get back into the small circle of elite flyweights.
Because of that, the 34-year-old Yokohama warrior needs more than anything else a stunning, decisive win over the tough warrior from the Middle Kingdom Wulan Tuolehazi (15-4-1, 7 KO's) when the two men collide for the vacant WBA International Flyweight Strap on February 25 at the luxurious SpacePlus Night Club, RCA Plaza, in Bangkok, Thailand.
That's why Kimura's training has been so focused and disciplined. Because he knows so well that a setback would mean disaster to his career, especially after his lackluster performance in his most recent battle last May against unheralded compatriot Ryu Horikawa (3-1-2, 1 KO).
Horikawa is the unknown, much less-experienced boxer whom the skilled former world champion should have easily eaten alive. That was not the case.
What unfolded was that Kimura and Horikawa fought to a draw that afternoon at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. That was a rather surprising result for boxing fans in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Therefore, the question: Does Sho Kimura still have enough in his fighting arsenal to counter-attack the bullying aggression of coming-forward pressure fighter Tuolehazi, a protégé of Chinese star promoter, Barcelona 92 Olympian Liu Gang?
Fans outside of Thailand may watch the intriguing war - as well as the whole 9-bout show - live from the free streaming link in the promoter Highland Boxing Promotions' Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Kimura vs Tuolehazi for the WBA Internationa Flyweight Title is a televised production of award-winning Filipino promoter/matchmaker Brico Santig, director of Highland Boxing Promotions, in association with China Promoter Liu Gang, Maxpower, veteran Thailand man of boxing Supanat Chanram and SpacePlus chairman Tony Chen.
Also on the undercard, in an exciting rumble of mastodons, big and lethal Taimoor Khan (6-0, 5 KO's) of Pakistan battles Thai fighter Aekkaphob Auraiwan (2-0, 2 KO's) in a non-title war in the heavyweight division.
In addition, Chinese welterweight Yong Shuai Luan (3-2-1, 1 KO) clashes rough against the hard-swinging, more-experienced Ahmad Samir Dawrani (8-1-1, 5 KO's) of Afghanistan.
What's more, Chinese Yinhuan Su (8-5-2, 1 KO), and tough man of action Suriya Kraimanee (4-2-1, 2 KO's) of Thailand will exchange heavy artillery in a scheduled 10 rounder war for the vacant WBA Asia East Super Flyweight Strap.
In middleweights, unbeaten Pakistan cop/boxer "The Markhor" Shahir Afridi (5-0-1, 2 KO's) will be in a collision course against Thaland's 20-year-old slugger Apisit Sangmuang (11-3-1, 8 KO's) for the ABF (Asian Boxing Federation) 160-pound championship belt.
Interestingly, the friendly Afridi is a policeman in his native Pakistan. He is also a pro fighter, as well as Pakistan's # 1 fan of American lightweight champion Devin Haney.
The author, veteran boxing writer Carlos Costa of Panama will report from ringside in Bangkok. Carlos can be reached at email@example.com and whatsapp +639184538152.