Teraji vs. Olascuaga ESPN Preview & Prediction

04/07/2023 - No comments

This Saturday, April 8, the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, WBC and WBA world champion Kenshiro “The Amazing Boy” Teraji will put his belts on the line against undefeated American challenger Anthony Olascuaga, who is making his debut in the 108-pound class. The fight was originally planned as a unification bout with WBO champion Jonathan Gonzalez, but the Puerto Rican star had to pull out due to illness. Teraji vs. Olascuaga will headline a five-fight card that will also feature the pro boxing debut of Tenshin Nasukawa, the former kickboxing sensation who has conquered multiple titles in different weight classes.

Teraji (20-1, 12 KOs) is one of the most dominant fighters in the lower weight divisions. The 31-year-old Japanese star has been a world champion since 2017, when he dethroned Ganigan Lopez for the WBC crown. He defended his title eight times, including a rematch with Lopez and a knockout win over former champion Milan Melindo. His only defeat came in 2021, when he was stopped by Masamichi Yabuki in a shocking upset. However, Teraji bounced back in style by avenging his loss to Yabuki in three rounds and then unifying the WBC and WBA titles with a stunning seventh-round knockout of Hiroto Kyoguchi, who was widely regarded as the best light flyweight in the world.

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Olascuaga (5-0, 3 KOs) is a rising star from Los Angeles who has made a name for himself in a short time. The 24-year-old turned pro in 2020 and won a regional flyweight title in his third fight. He moved up to 112 pounds and scored three impressive victories in 2022, beating Gilberto Pedroza by unanimous decision, knocking out the unbeaten Gustavo Perez Alvarez in six rounds, and blasting Marco Sustaita in one round. Olascuaga is confident that he can shock the world by defeating Teraji and becoming a world champion in his sixth pro fight.

The co-main event of the night will feature another intriguing matchup between Takuma Inoue (17-1, 4 KOs) and Liborio Solis (35-6-1, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBA bantamweight world title. Inoue is the younger brother of Naoya Inoue, the pound-for-pound superstar who holds the WBA and IBF titles at 118 pounds. Takuma has also proven himself as a top contender in the division, winning four straight fights since losing to Nordine Oubaali for the WBC title in 2019. Solis is a veteran from Venezuela who has held world titles at junior bantamweight and has challenged four times for a bantamweight crown, coming close to upsetting Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jamie McDonnell.

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The card will also showcase the boxing debut of Tenshin Nasukawa (0-0), who is widely considered as one of the best kickboxers of all time. The 23-year-old Japanese phenom has won multiple championships in different organizations and weight classes, including RISE, RIZIN, ISKA, and K-1. He has also ventured into mixed martial arts and faced Floyd Mayweather Jr. in an exhibition bout. Nasukawa will face Yuki Yonaha (0-0), a former kickboxer who is also making his boxing debut. The fight will be contested at junior featherweight and scheduled for six rounds.

The ESPN+ stream will start at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will also include two more bouts: Kiko Martinez (44-11-2, 31 KOs) vs. Reiya Abe (24-3-1, 10 KOs) in an IBF featherweight world title eliminator and Ryota Murata (17-2, 14 KOs) vs. Steven Butler (29-3-1, 25 KOs) in a middleweight clash.

Prediction: Teraji win via TKO in the middle rounds