- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Bantamweight Randy Caballero, one of the top young fighters in boxing, will head to Japan to face Kohei Oba in a world title elimination bout on April 4 in Kobe.
"I am confident in his ability and know he is ready for this level," said Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz, who helped make the deal for the fight and will accompany Caballero to Japan.
The 23-year-old Caballero (20-0, 12 KOs), of Coachella, Calif., has fought almost all of his bouts in Indio, Calif., but is going on the road for the right to become the mandatory challenger for the title held by Stuart Hall of England. Hall has a defense scheduled against Martin Ward on March 29 in Newcastle, England.
Oba (35-2-1, 14 KOs), 29, is the reigning Japanese national champion.
"I like the fight for Randy. No matter where it is I think Randy wins the fight," co-manager Cameron Dunkin said. "He and his dad (trainer and co-manager Marcos Caballero) and I spoke about it and we felt it was OK to go to Japan. Of course, we would have liked for the fight to be here (in the United States) but Robert Diaz said there was no way we could do it here financially. The Japanese came up with more money.
"Oba is strong and tough. He's a wild swinging guy, but I think Caballero is too clever and too good of a boxer. Randy is a terrific talent. This guy will charge in and wing shots and try to rough Randy up, but Randy is a really good boxer and slick and smart. He'll catch you and he's been backing guys up and ripping them with body shots. He's ready for this."
Although Caballero's reputation has been as a boxer, he has scored four consecutive knockouts and five stoppages in his last six fights.