There was a shock victory for Japanese fighter Sho Kimura recently in China, as he travelled to the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center and stunned Zou Shiming. The Chinese champion had looked impressive in the professional ranks, having been his nation's most successful fighter ever after winning two Olympic Gold medals during his amateur days.
That surprising triumph for Kimura saw the total amount of current Japanese World Champions in the sport move up to an incredible 11. Japan now have nearly as many world champions as America do currently, which is an incredible boxing feat.
In the States, the likes of Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr have taken over from Floyd Mayweather since he previously retired from the sport. But the spotlight will soon be on Mayweather again as he and Conor McGregor collide in a mega-money fight in August.
"Money" Mayweather is the heavy favourite (1/5) for that clash according to bookmaker comparison site Oddschecker, with McGregor coming in at 4/1. The Irishman's hopes may hinge on whether he can stop the fight going the distance.
Once the dust settles on that circus bout, though, boxing fans have plenty of proper fights to look forward to, many of which include top Asian stars. So, here are four of the most exciting and attractive champions fighting out of Japan who could star further this year.
Current WBO super-flyweight champion Naoya Inoue claimed his present strap back in December 2014 and has never looked back since. The 24-year-old is one of the rising stars in the sport and will soon be showcased to an American audience for the first time in his United States debut against Antonio Nieves.
Another strong knockout victory for the fighter known as "the Monster" would see his already glowing reputation soar further for sure.
Inoue is unbeaten in his first 13 pro outings and has stopped 11 of those opponents so far, including his last three consecutive foes. He is surely one to watch in the future, as his popularity and reputation increases during the latter stages of 2017 and beyond.
At 34 years of age, Shinsuke Yamanaka is one of the older and more experienced Japanese stars around currently but the veteran fighter is also one of the best, as he boasts an amazing record. The Japanese southpaw is the current unified bantamweight world champion and is impressively undefeated in 29 pro bouts so far.
Yamanaka has made an admirable 12 successive title defences since being crowned champion. That is one shy of equalling the record currently held by compatriot and retired Japanese legend Yoko Gushiken.
The current crop of Japanese stars is reigning supreme in the lower weight divisions. From minimum-weight up to super-bantamweight, these world champions are proving their worth. Hiroto Kyoguchi is one such world title holder, as he enjoys life as the IBF champ at 105lbs. He earned a unanimous decision win over Jose Argumedo to claim the strap and looks set to continue his run for some time.
Having previously held the minimum-weight title in his career, Kosei Tanaka recently became light-flyweight kingpin too.
He has defended the latter belt once already and will do so again later in September against Thai challenger Rangsan Chayanram. "The Monster of Chukyo" is in the lower divisions so is unlikely to become true global star, but he is already a big name in his native country.