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Jonathan González Motivated for Victory in Japan Against Shokichi Iwata

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  • Jonathan González Motivated for Victory in Japan Against Shokichi Iwata

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    By J.J. Alvarez

    Puerto Rican boxer Jonathan González is aware that fighting in enemy territory always has innumerable risks, including that of the public’s influence which can be evident in the scorecards of impressionable judges. However, even though he was unsuccessful in his previous trip to Japan, he remains confident that this time he will return to Puerto Rico with his 108-pound world title belt.

    González (26-3-1, 14 KOs) will face local Japanese fighter Shokichi Iwata (9-0-0, 6 KOs) on November 1st in Saitama, Japan. González will be defending his WBO light flyweight title for the second time.

    On August 24, 2019, in his previous fight in Japan, González lost by technical knockout in the seventh round to Kosei Tanaka (17-1-0, 10 KOs) who was defending his WBO flyweight belt. Almost two years later in California, on October 16, 2021, González claimed the 108-pound belt in his victory by split decision over Mexican Elwin Soto (19-3-0, 13 KOs). In his most recent fight, González unanimously defeated Filipino southpaw Mark Anthony Barriga (11-2-0, 2 KOs) in the town of Kissimmee, Florida.

    “We feel great going into this match with Iwata. Our training camp has been 100% here in Puerto Rico and we are confident of a victory,” said González. “I feel no pressure going overseas to defend my title, it just motivates me more to bring the title back home with me.”

    Tutu Zabala Jr., González’s promoter and president of All Star Boxing commented, “Bomba Gonzalez is in the best moment of his career. He is disciplined, very mature and has learned how to take care of his body in and out of the ring which has been a key to his success. Iwata is a great prospect but Bomba is very motivated for this defense and we feel he has what it takes to defeat the young challenger.”

    Iwata, 26 years old and born in Tokyo, Japan, is currently ranked second at 108 pounds by both the WBO and WBA. Iwata's professional debut occurred in December 2018, at the StubHub Center, in California, where he defeated the now-retired Joel Bermúdez by fourth-round knockout.

    Interestingly, Iwata was unable to compete in his country until the following year after receiving his license from the Japanese Boxing Commission on January 31st. Three months later, he defeated Daiki Kameyama by unanimous decision. Kameyama had been recognized as “Rookie of the Year” in 2018.

    Iwata is confident of victory in his upcoming match against González, “I believe my punching power, physical strength and explosiveness are my advantages. I am a way better fighter with offensive prowess than him. “I assume he will use a lot of footwork, but even if he unexpectedly comes forward, I am prepared to handle him in either situation. I can adapt to whatever style he brings as I have a wide array of backup plans. My fight will be distributed worldwide. This will be an opportunity to develop a new fan base.”
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