It’s an all Japanese battle in the co-main event of the final boxing card of 2023 on New Year’s Eve.
Whilst the WBA super flyweight title will be on the line in the main event, it’s all about local pride as Yoshimitsu Kimura takes on Kosuke Saka for the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super featherweight title.
The pair have previously fought for the belt, so will that come into our Kimura vs Saka prediction?
After Noaye Inoue’s title fight in midweek, it’s set to be another big night for boxing in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Kimura vs Saka Prediction
It’s always interesting when two fighters who have fought before step back inside the ring for a second time.
Will the result of their first outing just over two years ago have any bearing on our Yoshimitsu Kimura vs Kosuka Saka prediction?
December 31st has become a traditional night of boxing in Japan, with Kazuto Ioka having made it a huge night.
The WBA super flyweight champion will once again be looking to impress in front of his home fans.
And Kimura and Saka will also be hoping to make an impression and make a name for themselves in Tokyo.
Yoshimitsu Kimura Preview
It’s not quite a homecoming for Kimura, having been born in Kagawa, but he will be the home fighter on Sunday.
The 27-year-old fights out of Tokyo and resides in the Japanese capital, where the fight will take place.
But that’s not the only reason that he’s the bookmakers’ favorite when it comes to the Kimura vs Saka prediction.
He is the less experienced fighter, having only been involved in 19 professional fights in his career to date.
However, back in December 2021, Kimura was victorious over Saka in their first meeting in the ring.
That was also for the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super featherweight title, as it will be this weekend, with Kimura finishing the fight in the third round with a TKO stoppage.
He has 15 wins during his career so far and 10 of those have come inside the distance, including his most recent win, against Jestine Tesoro, back in August.
That once again seems like his most likely route to victory, with his last seven wins coming before the judges’ scorecards and he hasn’t gone the distance since 2017.
However, it’s not been all victories in that time with his three career losses and one draw coming in that time.
Of his three losses, only one has been a stoppage but that did come at the beginning of the year, when Masanori Rikiishi stopped him in the fifth.
That suggests that he is stoppable, but only if Saka can find the precision and power to end it early.
Kosuke Saka Preview
The main thing to look at in our Yoshimitsu Kimura vs Kosuke Saka prediction is probably their previous meeting.
Certainly Saka will be hoping that his rival is too busy reminiscing about his previous victory that he can spring a surprise.
The 31-year-old from Osaka certainly holds a big experience advantage over his opponent this weekend, having been in the ring on 29 occasions during his professional career.
Of those fights, the orthodox fighter has had his arm raised on 22 occasions, winning 19 inside the distance.
With an 86% of TKO/KO victories, it definitely seems like his best chance of winning will be to land a big shot or two.
The problem for him might be that he’s not had too much time to learn about himself in the ring since his initial loss to Kimura.
In the two years since their first meeting, Saka has only been in the ring on two occasions and one of those he lost.
That came in his most recent fight as he took on Yuna Hara for the Japanese super featherweight title earlier this year.
Saka was stopped in the fourth round, making it his second stoppage in his past three fights and the fifth time he’s been stopped in seven previous losses in his career.
Yoshimitsu Kimura vs Kosuke Saka Prediction: Kimura To Win Again
- Yoshimitsu Kimura to win by TKO/KO -250
- Yoshimitus Kimura to win in round six +700
- Fight to go over 5.5 rounds – Yes +115
We don’t give the underdog much chance in our Kimura vs Saka prediction, and expect it to be repeat and not revenge.
Whilst there is no doubt that Saka has the power to end the fight early, it’s more a question of his defense.
Having been beaten two out of his most recent three fights relatively early on, we expect it to happen again.
He may take Kimura a bit further this time though so we’re going around the halfway mark before the referee is waving it off.
At +325 on the Moneyline, Saka is a huge underdog, with Kimura coming in as a -450 favorite ahead of New Year’s Eve.
We expect Kimura to be going into 2024 with local bragging rights over his rival and no need for the third in the instalment between the pair.