Japanese Prospect Yoshiki Takei Swiftly Marching Towards a Title
Japanese boxing has been very prosperous over the past decade. Multi-divisional champions Naoya Inoue and Kazuto Ioka are notable fighters in recognition of this. The latest fighter hoping to be the next world champion from that boxing-rich nation is bantamweight Yoshiki Takei.
Takei’s roots are in kickboxing, where he established himself as one of the best in the world. A K-1 Kickboxing champion for several years, he transitioned to boxing, where he made his professional debut in March 2021. Trained by the highly respected Akira Yaegashi and promoted by Hideyuki Ohashi, they have very high hopes for the 27-year-old resident of Yokohama, Japan.
ON THE FAST TRAJECTORY
Takei (7-0, 7 KOs) was fighting ten-rounders by his fourth pro fight. In August 2022, he won his first regional title, stopping Pete Opilinar to capture the Asian and Oriental Pacific junior featherweight title. Next was an eleventh-round stoppage over then-IBF seventh-ranked 122-pounder Bruno Tarimo in December 2022.
His last outing was a third-round knockout over Ronnie Baldonado on July 25 on the undercard of the Stephen Fulton versus Naoya Inoue. After only seven fights, Takei is ranked ninth by the WBC, tenth by the IBF and WBA, and fifteenth by the WBO in the junior featherweight division.
This reporter witnessed Takei’s fights against Tarimo and Baldonado. One of the first things you notice is the punching power. He has the kind of quick-twitch, explosive ability reminiscent of Inoue and Ginjiro Shigeoka.
But there are layers to Takei’s game, and he’s not a one-dimensional fighter. Due to his kickboxing background, he has a maturity in the ring. The southpaw has an excellent right jab, a solid defense, and does a good job of varying his combinations to the head and body.
Despite the world ranking at 122, he’s moving down to 118 pounds with aspirations of winning a world title at bantamweight within twelve to eighteen months. Next up for Takei is an eight-round battle against Mexican veteran Mario Diaz Maldanado on December 26 in Tokyo, Japan.