Before Friday night, Randy Caballero had fought nearly all of his professional bouts on the local Southern California club scene near his home in Coachella.
If the 23-year-old was nervous about fighting far from home, it didn't show against Kohei Oba, whom Caballero knocked out in eight rounds in an IBF bantamweight eliminator at the Central Gym in Kobe, Japan on Friday night. The time of stoppage was 1:58.
Oba (35-3-1, 14 knockouts) had won six straight bouts heading into the Caballero fight since being knocked out in 11 rounds by former title challenger Rolly Lunas but had come up short on three attempts to claim the regional OPBF title.
With the win, Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) is now in line for a crack at IBF bantamweight titleholder Stuart Hall of England. Hall (16-2-2, 7 KOs) last retained his title on March 29 with a two-round technical draw with countryman Martin Ward due to an accidental headbutt.