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Stieglitz is the Highest Rated Super Middleweight Ward Has Not Already Beaten
This is a world title fight in name only. The WBO super middleweight belt hasn't been truly relevant since Joe Calzaghe held it almost six years ago.
And I can't even remember the last time I came across a title challenger less qualified than Kiyota. The last time he even fought an opponent with double digits in wins was in October of 2010, when Jameson Bostic of New Zealand stopped him in the first round.
Since that setback, Kiyota has won four straight, against opponents with a combined record of 21-9-2. Only three of Kiyota's 23 victories have been against opponents with double-digit wins.
The only fighter Kiyota has ever beaten who had more than 20 wins was Zulfikar Joy Ali of Figi, a career junior middleweight who he stopped in seven in April, 2008. Ali was 26-6-6 at the time, but in the middle of a 5-8 run that concluded his career.
In his very next fight after losing to Kiyota, Ali dropped a split decision to 1-1 Faimasasa Tavui of Somoa, a fighter who is currently 7-13-1.
How does a resume like this end up earning a title shot? Boxing politics.
This article about the fight from The Japan Times notes that the Japanese Boxing Commission joined the WBO this past April. Kiyota will be the first Japanese fighter to challenge for a WBO belt.
I suppose it's a nice story for Japanese boxing, but for a fighter of Stieglitz's age and resume, this fight is nothing but a potentially dangerous waste of time. A win here does nothing but beg the question of why he is fighting somebody like this in the first place.