The referee for the bout will be the experienced Raul Caiz Jr who last did a world title fight last December when he was the third man in the ring for the bout between Juergen Braehmer and Marcus Oliveira for the WBA Light Heavyweight title. His last bout in Asia came in a WBO Bantamweight title bout between Tomoki Kameda and Paulus Ambunda, fought in the Philippines, and his last bout in Japan was almost a year ago as sh esahred the ring with Koki Kameda and Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym.
With a solid reputation and a lot of Caiz Jr is a good referee and being from the US he's also neutral in regards to the fighters involved.
The judges for the bout will be South Africa's Stanley Christodoulou, Italian born Canadian Pasquale Procopio and Panama's Guillermo Perez Pineda.
The last bout Christodoulou judged was the Gennady Golovkin/Osumanu Adama bout back in February that the judge had 60-52 at the time of the stoppage, a pretty decent score and no no one could possibly have had it closer than 59-53. Although he's usually decent he was the disputing judge in the Nehomar Cermeno/Oscar Escandon bout last year, one we felt Cermeno had won narrowly though Christodoulou had Escandon as a 116-113 winner.
Decent, usually reliable and experienced Christodoulou is a solid judge even if he's not always one of the best.
Procopio's last major bout was the Lamont Peterson/Dierry Jean bout back in January. Unfortunately his bias did show through there with a remarkable close 115-113 card to Peterson in a bout that Peterson seemed to dominate from round 4 onwards. Procopio's card for that bout was alarmingly narrow though. We do believe that Procopio can be influenced by the crowd, as he was in the Steve Molitor/Jason Booth fight back in 2010 when he adjudged the contest a draw, though he does seem an honest judge even if little things can sway him.
Pineda's last fight was in November where he was surplus to requirements in a bout between Hekkie Budler and Hugo Hernan Verchelli. Interestingly the last time he was in Japan he had a Thai, Tepparith Kokietgym, clearly beating Japan's very own Daiki Kameda. Whilst all 3 judges had Tepparith winning Pineda had the bout a near shut out for Tepparith. With this in mind Kono may need to be careful not to let the rounds get too close.
As is usually the case with with WBA affiliated bouts in Asia the supervisor is South Korea's Yangsup Shim.
In all honestly this bout has got good, reputable and well experienced officials. On paper their can be no complaints from either man and it really is no down to the fighters to finish off their preparations and get on to fighting. Their is no point in second guessing the judges here are all good honest professionals and all will score the bout on merit as opposed to reputation. They may not be the best but they certainly aren't questionable judges even if they do have some questionable cards through their judging careers.
(Image courtesy of http://www.watanabegym.com)