Boxing might be the sweet science but, if we're all being honest, it's also a fight. Due to it being a fight we of course love the true fighters, the ones who come to the ring with the intention of stopping their opponents and are willing to do all they can to finish a fight early. In this feature we're going to take a look at 10 of the most fun to watch Asian fighters. Some fighters you will be familiar with whilst others you may not be too aware of, one thing is for certain however, these men mean business every time they step in the ring.
-Wanheng Menayothing-Intelligent pressure fighter, even though he lacks lights out power he is great fun to watch
-Akira Yaegashi-A real warrior who is coming to the end of his career though will always go out on his shield and give fans good value.
-Takuya Kogawa-A warrior through and through. Though he lacks power he does enjoy a tear up and is scarcely in a dull fight
-Suguru Muranaka-Another warrior who enjoys a tear up and is more than happy to let his hands go despite not being a note puncher.
-Knockout CP Freshmart-With a name like “Knockout” you already know he's looking for the stoppage every time.
-Rex Tso-Like many featured above this man from Hong Kong is flawed but that's what makes him so much fun with every fight being a war
-Kyoo Hwan Hwang-Korean teenage has got ability though often lets his "Korean instinct" kick in and turns every fight so far into a slugfest
It's been a while since Japanese boxing fans have had free to air action though over the next few weeks fans will get a number of free to air shows across 4 of the terrestrial channels with each showing at least 1 big name in action.
The first of the shows comes a week today as the unbeaten Shinsuke Yamanaka (22-0-2, 16) defends his WBC Bantamweight title against unbeaten Argentinian Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-0, 15) on April 16th. This will be Yamanaka's 8th defense of the title and will see him attempting to continue his reign of terror in the packed Bantamweight division. For fans wanting to watch this one it will be on NTV at 19:56 Tokyo time with the broadcast set to finish at 20:54.
For those wanting to watch the undercard bouts for that card they are unfortunately not on a free to air channel.
Less than a week later we see action on TBS who will be televising two world title bouts. One of those will see IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) defending his belt against Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15) whilst the the other bout will see the mega-popular Kazuto Ioka (16-1, 10) attempt to become a 3-weight world champion as he battles Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) in a bout for the WBA Flyweight title. The beginning of this broadcast is stated to begin just before 20:00 local time on April 22nd.
From what we understand Sho Ishida (18-0, 10) may have highlights shown if the two main bouts both end early.
To begin May the televised action continues to roll and Fuji TV will begin the month by televising a couple of interesting looking bouts. The first of those will be Takashi Miura's (28-2-2, 21) WBC Super Featherweight world title defense against former IBF Featherweight champion Bily Dib (39-3, 23) whilst the other will be a bout between Ryota Murata (6-0, 4) and Douglas Damiao Ataide (13-1-1, 6). This show will give Miura a chance to really establish himself with fans whilst also allowing Murata to face a world ranked foe in what should make for an enjoyable card.
The hope here is that if both bouts are over early then highlights may be shown from Akira Yaegashi's (20-5, 10) bout, which will see the exciting 32 year old fighting for the first time as a fully blown Super Flyweight.
The last of the free to air shows during the little burst of action comes on May 6th when TV Tokyo get in on the action and televise a couple of interesting bouts between Japanese champions and Thai challengers. The first of those bouts will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (24-2-1, 8) defending his title against Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-3-1, 26) in what will be Taguchi's first defense of the title he won this past December. The other bout is a much more mouth watering contest between unbeaten WBA Super Featherweight “super” champion Takashi Uchiyama (22-0-1, 18) and Thai challenger Jomthong Chuwatana (9-0, 4). Uchiyama will be seeking the 10th defense of the title, as he slowly moves towards the Japanese record of 13 world title defenses, whilst Jomthong look to claim a world title in boxing to go along with his numerous titles from Muay Thai.
At the moment there hasn't been a time announce for either the Fuji TV or the TV Tokyo show however we suspect details will emerge closer to the date.
Of course whilst these channels are free to air in Japan that doesn't mean they will be the only ways to watch the bouts. For example we're aware that the Takayama Vs Fahlan bout will be aired in Thailand, on Mono 29, and the Ioka Vs Reveco bout will be televised in Argentina, on TYC Sports. At the moment however it does seem like some bouts are set to miss out on international coverage and that none of the bouts are set to be televised in the US or UK. Thankfully the free channels from Japan are available via certain methods on line.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kazutoioka.com)
As well as the trio mentioned above the division also includes several other interesting fighters, such as-
"The Wonderfully Named"
The best name in the division, by a long way, is Knockout CP Freshmart (9-0, 5) who is the current WBA interim champion and a 24 year old who is tipped to become something a bit special by those in the know in Thailand. We've yet to be convinced but her certainly the perfect name for a boxing star and his style is certainly not a bad one to watch. He's expected back in the ring in early March to defend his title against Indonesian veteran Muahmmad Rachman (65-11-5, 35)
"The Notable Non-Asian"
The most notable non-Asian fighter in the division is, without a doubt, WBA and IBO champion Hekkie Budler (27-1, 9). Budler, a highly skilled South African fighter, is said to be a target for both Takayama and Knockout and has already scored wins over Asian fighters Pigmy Kokietgym (KO8) and Xiong Zhao Zhong (UD12). Our next chance to see Budler is this coming weekend when he battles against Mexican Jesus Silvestre (20-5, 22) in a very good looking WBA Mandatory title fight.
Today our American friends are celebrating thanksgiving and we've decided to join them in their celebrations by thanking the boxing world for a number of things that we've had the fortune of having this year.
1-The rise of Kosei Tanaka
Japanese youngster Kosei Tanaka has been a sensation this year fighting 3 times against progressively better opponents, and better yet he has looked better every time he has stepped in to the ring. In March he went 8 rounds en route to defeating Ronelle Ferreras by wide decision, in July he showed off his power as he stopped Crison Omayao inside a round in a really eye opening result. The best however came at the end of October when he stopped Ryuji Hara in 10 rounds to claim the OPBF title and set up a sensational 2015 for the youngster.
Thank you Kosei for a fantastic year and for pushing yourself from the off!
2-Katsunari Takayama (vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr)
We love Katsunari Takayama, his mentality in regards to the sport is brilliant and he really should be a boxing fans fighter. He's one of the few fighters who appears to always want to fight the best, he seems to be willing to travel for tough bouts and win or lose he's willing to put on a show. We saw him do just that earlier this year when he tried to unify the IBF and WBO Minimumweight titles. For that Takayama had to travel to Mexico to take on Francisco Rodriguez Jr and although the Japanese fighter came up short he showed the heart, fire and spirit that continues to make up look forward to everyone of his bouts.
Thank you Katsunari for never disappointing us!
The Filipino promotional power house may not have been the best promoter this year but they've managed to lead the Filipino boxing scene once again. That, of course, has been built around their recognisable fighters such as Donnie Nietes but has also helped develop the likes of Albert Pagara, who looks sensational, Genesis Servania, who looks likely to become a world champion in 2015 and Mark Magsayo. The continued efforts of ALA have really helped keep the Philippines relevant and show there is more to Filipino boxing than just Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao.
Thank you ALA for investing in and developing Filipino talent
Mr Ohashi, for those who aren't aware, is the man in charge of Ohashi boxing. That puts him in charge of some of the best talent in Japan, such as Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, and has helped create some of the best bouts and shows this year. They have included the bouts between Kosei Tanaka and Ryuji Hara for the OPBF Minimumweight title, Naoya Inoue and Adrian Hernandez for the WBC Light Flyweight title and Akira Yaegashi and Roman Gonzalez for the WBC Flyweight title. In terms of promotional power Ohashi is the second most powerful promoter in Japan, behind Teiken, though his match ups have seen him becoming a favourite of the fans both domestically and internationally and it seems the match making philosophy is set to continue into 2015 with several big bouts made to end this year.
Thank you Mr Ohashi for proving promoters can care for the fans of the sport
You lovely people who come on to this site, help support us and help us develop what is quickly growing into much more than a hobby. When this site was started we never expected it to take off like it has done in the last year. Thankfully via the support of you guys who come and visit the site, share articles, send us e-mails and tweets and the such, you have helped this site to outgrow what we expected it would be. Hopefully you guys will still be checking out the site next year and hopefully we'll continue to grow as we have done this year. Fingers crossed that we will continue to break the news from the east, introduce new fighters to you guys and help you follow the happenings of the sport in a part of the world that all too often over-looked by western media.
Thank you everyone who visits, it really is appreciated!
(Images courtesy of Kosei Tanaka's blog and ALA Boxing)
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features