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Abe to challenge Lopez for IBF featherweight title on March 2 in NY

Jan 18, 2024 7:54 am

  Top-ranked International Boxing Federation featherweight Reiya Abe of KG Yamato Boxing Gym in Kanagawa Prefecture held a press conference at the gym on Jan. 17 and said he will challenge champion Luis Alberto Lopez of Mexico for the latter’s title on March 2 (3 Japan time) in New York.

Abe expected to leave for NY on Feb. 24

  The 30-year-old Abe will fight at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in the town of Verona and said, ‘’I am relieved that I can challenge Lopez since rumor had it that he would have a title unification fight. I now get excited.’’

  Abe, known as a ‘’salaried worker-cum-pro boxer,’’ as he works for an automobile maintenance company from eight to five before his training at night, said, ‘’I want to prove that I can win the fight even having a day job.’’

  The left-handed Abe decisioned Kiko Martinez of Spain last April in Tokyo in an elimination bout for the IBF featherweight title and engaged himself in a three-week training camp in the Philippines from last Dec. 16 by getting the support of his company.

  After returning to Japan, Abe has been sparring mainly with Japanese featherweight champion Keisuke Matsumoto of Ohashi Boxing Gym.

Abe (R) shows mitt-hitting with Gym’s head Gota Katabuchi

  ‘’I think my opponent will come out strong. The bottom line is how to avoid his punches by moving side to side while landing my punches. He is a speedy and tricky kind of boxer. But I am determined to sap his strength by doing my kind of boxing,’’ Abe added.

  Lopez, who is making his third defense of the title he won in December 2022, has a record of 29 wins, including 16 knockouts, against two losses. For his part, Abe, a former Japanese and the World Boxing Organization’s Asia-Pacific featherweight champion, has a 25-3-1 win-loss-draw tally with 10 KOs.

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