Bokang Masunyane vs. Hiroba Minowa: Previewing This Critical Clash Between Strawweight Contenders

Bokang Masunyane defeats Ryuto Sawada at ONE MARK OF GREATNESS

Bokang Masunyane and Hiroba Minowa are ready to throw down in a high-stakes strawweight MMA battle this Friday, April 21. 

This exciting showdown at ONE Fight Night 9 on Prime Video features two of the division’s top-ranked contenders in a key matchup that’s sure to deliver intense action from the opening bell.

Both Masunyane and Minowa have World Title aspirations, but to get there, they’ll have to get their hand raised at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Here’s what you need to know about their pivotal encounter in Bangkok, Thailand.

What’s At Stake?

Masunyane currently holds the #2 spot in ONE’s strawweight MMA rankings, while Minowa is next on the list at #3. 

Only reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Jarred Brooks and the recently dethroned Joshua Pacio stand ahead of them, which means an emphatic victory could put them next in line for a shot at gold. 

Of course, Pacio’s five World Title victories could entitle him to an immediate rematch, but having just parted ways with his longtime gym, Team Lakay, he might want to take some more time to readjust before he goes for the belt again. 

This would open up a spot for a different challenger – and that challenger could emerge on Friday.

Their Recent History

Masunyane and Minowa were both in peak form until they came up against Brooks for the first time.

Minowa rode a six-fight winning streak into his bout with “The Monkey God” in January 2022, but that ended when the Japanese phenom lost a decision after three tough rounds.

Meanwhile, Masunyane owned a perfect 8-0 slate until Brooks snatched his zero with a first-round submission last April. 

Neither man has fought since their scheduled battle fell through in July, so getting back to business and on the winning track is paramount. 

Minowa has bounced back from defeat before, whereas this is new territory for the South African. On Friday, we’ll find out if that first loss has deflated Masunyane or made him even hungrier to reach his goals.

How They Match Up 

Both men are primarily grapplers – but with very different ways of employing their ground games. 

Masunyane is explosive, utilizing his power to throw his rivals around when he gets the chance and then stick to them like glue when they try to escape.

Minowa is more calculated, having less athleticism than his foe, but he uses great trips to get things to the canvas and expert control once getting there.

The battle for top position will be crucial, as that’s where the pair do their best work with high-volume ground-and-pound, although the Japanese athlete has more of a penchant for submissions. 

On the feet, it’s a similar story. Minowa arguably has the crisper, sharper strikes, while Masunyane offers more concussive force and dynamism. 

Given the strengths of their respective skill sets, it’s going to be a hard-fought contest no matter the range.

Chances Of A Finish

In the striking exchanges, Masunyane has the kind of one-shot knockout power that can end the match in an instant. However, it’s not something he’s done much in ONE except for his stunning finish of Rene Catalan

Minowa is the more prolific finisher, with 11 of his 13 victories coming inside the distance, but all of his wins from strikes have come on the ground. 

With eight submission victories on his resume, the Japanese star is most potent in the grappling exchanges – and that’s where Masunyane came unstuck in his lone defeat to Brooks.

Still, with that being the only stoppage defeat among them, it’s clear they’re both durable athletes,  so there’s every chance this could be a rip-roaring showdown that goes all the way. 

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