Back in March Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (16-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] beat Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-4-1, 18) [小原 佳太] to book himself an IBF world title fight. Despite the win for the Uzbek it now seems like Obara will actually be back in the ring before Abdukakhorov.
Earlier today Obara revealed that he would be returning to the ring on June 13th at the Korakuen Hall, as part of a Diamond Glove card, which will also feature his Misako stable mate Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] defending the Japanese Minimumweight title against Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也].
At the moment Obara's opponent hasn't been announced, though the Obara bout is expected to be the show's main event. Strangely it has been stated that Obara's bout will headline above the Japanese title bout, despite their being no title on the line in his contest.
At the age of 32 Obara cannot afford nay more setbacks if he's to earn himself one more notable bout. The loss to Abdukakhorov was a big one, but he does still have a fan friendly style and can make for fun fights, potentially getting one final shot at the big time if he can run off a few wins. This bout in June is expected to be an easy one, though he can't have many easy ones if he's to try and charge back up the rankings for another world title eliminator.
At the moment there's not been much else announced about the card, though we are expecting at least 1 other notable name to be featured on the show as Misako look to build on a pretty good start to 2019.
Yesterday we saw the announcement of two Japanese title bouts which are now both set to take place in the summer, in fact they are set to take place within in the space of 2 weeks of each other, in June.
The first of those will take place on June 1st and will see Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人] make his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The talented Nakatani will be up against #3 ranked JBC contender Wolf Nakano (6-7-4, 2) [中野玄悠]. On paper this is a mismatch, and should serve as little more than getting the first defense on the board for Nakatani, who is likely to move on to bigger and better things in the near future.
The Nakatani Vs Nakano bout will be on a Dynamic Glove card and we've been informed that the chief support bout will be a rematch between Charles Bellamy (28-3-2, 18) and Yuto Shimizu (12-4-2, 5) [清水優人], who had a great bout earlier this year.
The other title bout will take place on June 13th and will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] make his first defense, as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也], in what looks like a pretty competitive bout on paper. Tanaka won the title in January, stopping Shin Ono and looked better than ever, but Haruguchi is better than his record suggests and should put up a decent effort.
Earlier today at the Kagoshima Arena, Kagoshima fight fans had the latest show in the Kagoshima Soul Boxing. Sadly it lead to mixed success for locally born fighters.
In the main event fans saw Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也] suffer an upset loss to the often-overlooked Filipino Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7).
Dante, applied pressure from early on and really attacked the body of Haruguchi, who tried to box and move in the early going. As the fight went on Haruguchi began to fight back with body shots of his own before starting to wilt late on.
Amazingly one judge gave Haruguchi the bout, scoring it 97-95 in his favour, though they were over ruled by the other two judges who scored the contest 96-94 to Dante. Even those cards to the Filipino visitor seemed like they had been influenced by the home town crowd cheering on Haruguchi, who was second best through much of the fight.
The co-feature was better for locals fans as Kagoshima born Tokyo based fighter Miyo Yoshida (11-1) [吉田 実代] made her first defense of the OPBF female Bantamweight title. The talented Yoshida, who holds both the OPBF and Japanese females titles, scored a clear decision win over Thai challenger Phannaluk Kongsang (4-7-1, 2).
Yoshida, who had only won the title in August, out worked and out fought Phannaluk, though credit to the Thai who showed no quit and always looked to try and fight back against the talented, but light punching, champion.
On August 20th we saw Miyo Yoshida (10-1) [吉田 実代] become a double champion, as she unified the Japanese female Bantamweight title with the OPBF female title. Despite that bout only taking place a few days ago Yoshida's first OPBF defense is already set, and will take place on September 30th in her birth place of Kagoshima.
Although boxrec doesn't list her opponent for the bout, which will take place on Kagoshima Soul Box Vol 8, we've been informed that it will Thai fighter Phannaluk Kongsang (4-6-1, 2).
The Thai is 0-2 in Japan, having lost to Yuko Henzan and Tamao Ozawa, and will clearly be seen as a safe opponent for Yoshida, which may explain why she has had such a quick turn around following her title win. Notably this will be the Thai's third shot at a world title, having twice fought Henzan for the OPBF Bantamweight title fighting to a loss and a draw.
Notably the bout between Yoshida and Phannaluk will only be the card's chief support bout, with the main event being a 10 round non-title contest, between Naoya Haruguchi (15-9, 6) [春口直也] and Filipino Lito Dante (14-10-4, 7). This will be Haruguchi's first bout since he lost a 10 round decision in July against Tatsuya Fukuhara, though he did notably defeat Filipino Jeffrey Galero back in March, in his only bout against a Filipino.
Dante on the other hand will be fighting in Japan for the second time, having previously had a technical draw with Takumi Sakae. Although his record doesn't look amazing he has mixed with very good company, including the likes of Vic Saludar, twice, Simphiwe Khonco, Tibo Monabesa and Jesse Espinas.
One other bout on this card that's worth noting is an all Japanese bout between between Wolf Nakano (4-7-4) [中野玄悠] and Mako Matsuyama (8-13-2, 3) [松山真], in what should be a fun contest between exciting but limited fighters.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!