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Koha
Minowa
could soon be in position to challenge for One
Championship
gold.

The 22-year-old Japanese standout will confront the once-beaten
Bokang
Masunyane
in a pivotal One
159
strawweight showcase on July 22 at Singapore Indoor Stadium
in Kallang, Singapore. Minowa has recorded six victories across his
past seven appearances. He last competed at One “Only the Brave,”
where
Ultimate Fighting Championship
veteran Jarred
Brooks
outpointed him to a unanimous decision and slammed the
door on his six-fight winning streak on Jan. 28.

As Minowa approaches his high-stakes showdown with Masunyane, here
are five things you might not know about him:

1. He was not afforded much of a runway.

Minowa made his professional mixed martial arts debut at the age of
16 when he put away Nobuyuki
Fujii
with a first-round guillotine choke under the Shooto banner
on Nov. 8, 2015. He went on to fight 12 times as a teenager,
compiling a stellar 10-2 record before he turned 20.

2. A championship was his springboard.

“Hiroba” laid claim to the vacant Shooto strawweight crown on Jan.
26, 2020, as he submitted Yohei
Komaki
with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their
Korakuen Hall rematch in Tokyo. Minowa agreed to terms with One
Championship soon after and made the jump a little more than nine
months later.

3. No one has cracked his combination.

Minowa has never been finished in his 16-fight career. In addition
to his aforementioned loss to Brooks, he dropped a unanimous
verdict to Yosuke
Saruta
in April 2017 and wound up on the wrong side of a
majority decision against Tomoharu
Umezawa
in May 2018.

4. He has a preferred mode of operation.

Operating out of the STF camp in Fujimi, Japan, Minowa has
delivered eight of his 13 pro victories by submission. All but one
of them have involved the neck. The lone outlier? He disposed of
Komaki with a keylock in their first encounter at Shooto Gig Tokyo
22 on Oct. 16, 2016, forcing the tapout 3:48 into the second round.
Minowa’s resume includes six other wins by rear-naked choke and
another via guillotine.

5. His employer carries him in high regard.

Minowa currently finds himself as the No. 3-ranked strawweight in
One Championship. Positioned behind Brooks and Masunyane, he sits
ahead of Gustavo
Balart
and the aforementioned Saruta. All five men have joined
the line behind reigning champion Joshua
Pacio
.


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