By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Masataka Taniguchi (11-2): WBO #2 / WBC #18
Taniguchi defeated Joel Lino (10-1), back in November, for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title. He will challenge Vic Saludar (18-3) on February 26 for the WBO title.
-Tsubasa Koura (14-0): WBC #3 / WBA #8 / WBO #9 / IBF #11
Koura has been the OPBF champion since 2017 and has marked 3 successful title defenses. He is expected to face Simphiwe Khonco (19-5) in a WBC World title eliminator.
-Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6): WBO #3 / WBC #6
The former World champion will get another shot at Chayaphon Moonsri (52-0) and the WBC title, on March 1st, in Thailand. (Ed's note - This bout is now set to be rescheduled for March 29th)
-Shin Ono (23-10): WBO #5 / WBC #29
Ono lost his Japanese title to Norihito Tanaka (18-7) on January 12.
-Tetsuya Hisada (33-9): WBA #1 / WBO #2 / WBC #2 / IBF #9
After recording a 5th successful Japanese title defense in November, before vacating the belt, Hisada is now rumored to fight Carlos Canizales (21-0) for the WBA (Regular) World championship.
-Reiya Konishi (17-1): IBF #4 / WBA #4 / WBO #4 / WBC #6
The WBO Asia Pacific champion will clash with Felix Alvarado (34-2) for the IBF World title, either in March or in April.
Kenichi Horikawa (35-18): WBC #7
Horikawa ended 2018 with a 4-0 record. The former Japanese & WBO Asia Pacific champion’s next opponent will be Satoru Todaka (9-2), whom he will meet on February 14, for the vacant Japanese title.
-Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3): WBO #4
The former IBF & WBA Light Flyweight World champion is moving up a weight class to challenge Kosei Tanaka (12-0), for the WBO strap, on March 16.
-Junto Nakatani (18-0): WBC #4 / WBO #10 / IBF #13 / WBA #14
The unstoppable Japanese prospect has fought 4 times in 2018 and has won all of his bouts, 2 of them via KO. He finally won his first championship, when he stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4), on February 2nd, for the vacant Japanese crown.
-Masayuki Kuroda (30-7): WBO #3 / IBF #4
Kuroda has recently vacated his Japanese title as his has set his sights on the World championship. He is rumored to meet Moruti Mthalane (37-2) for the IBF title in 2019.
-Sho Kimura (17-2): WBO #6
The former WBO World champion lost his title to Kosei Tanaka (12-0) this past September, in a FOTY candidate. No word yet as to what’s next for him at the moment.
-Ryuichi Funai (31-7): IBF #1 / WBO #4 / WBC #11
Funai stopped Victor Olivo (15-3) in an IBF world title eliminator, this past November, to become the number 1 contender for Jerwin Ancajas’s (30-1) title.
-Sho Ishida (27-1): IBF #4 / WBO #6 / WBA #7 / WBC #12
Since losing to the WBA world champion Khalid Yafai (25-0) in 2017, Ishida has won all of his 2018 bouts, against Ratchanon Sawangsoda (12-3), Richard Claveras (18-6), as well as former world title contender Warlito Parrenas (26-9).
-Kazuto Ioka (23-2): WBC #3 / WBO #5
Ioka debuted at the Super Flyweight division this past September, defeating McWilliams Arroyo (17-4) to become the WBC Silver champion. In December, he fought Donnie Nietes (42-1), for the vacant WBO World title, losing a very close decision.
-Koki Eto (24-4): WBC #6 / WBO #7 / WBA #8 / IBF #12
The former interim WBA Flyweight World champion has been on a 7 fight winning streak, since losing to Carlos Cuadras (37-3) in 2015.
-Daigo Higa (15-1): WBA #6
The former WBC Flyweight World champion is expected to make his return to the ring in 2019.
-Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3): IBF #3
Iwasa will square off against Cesar Juarez (23-6) in an IBF world title eliminator, on February 16. If he wins, he will be one step closer to regaining his championship.
-Shingo Wake (26-5): IBF #4 / WBC #4
The former Japanese & OPBF champion has been on a 6 fight winning streak since losing to Jonathan Guzman (23-1) in 2016.
-Yukinori Oguni (20-2): WBA #4
After losing his World title in 2017, Oguni has picked only one victory in 2018.
-Satoshi Shimizu (8-0): IBF #3
The 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist has made 3 successful title defenses of the OPBF crown in 2018, against Kyung Min Kwon (6-5), Shingo Kawamura (16-5) and Takuya Uehara (16-1).
-Hiroshige Osawa (34-5): WBA #8 / IBF #13
The former OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion finds himself once again in the world rankings, since losing to WBO World champion Oscar Valdez (24-0) in 2016.
-Reiya Abe (19-2): IBF #4 / WBC #12
Abe is the number 1 contender for Taiki Minamoto’s (16-5) Japanese title. These 2 men will collide at the 2019 Champion Carnival, on May 1st.
-Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1): WBO #4
Sueyoshi will defend his Japanese championship, for a fourth time, against Ken Osato (15-2), on May 4th.
-Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0): IBF #4 / WBC #8 / WBO #9
Nakatani marked his 11th successful OPBF title defense in December, when he stopped the former WBC International champion Hurricane Futa (25-8) in round 6. He is rumored to face former EBU European & WBA Intercontinental champion Edis Tatli (31-2) in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Nihito Arakawa (31-6): WBO #6
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion is looking for his second world title opportunity in 2019.
-Hiroki Okada (19-0): WBO #2 / WBA #3 / IBF #5 / WBC #9
Okada’s toughest challenge to date will take place on February 10, as the undefeated Japanese superstar takes on the former WBO Lightweight World champion Raymundo Beltran (35-8), in a WBC world title eliminator.
-Akihiro Kondo (31-7): IBF #4
The former WBO Asia Pacific champion will be involved in an IBF world title eliminator, against the IBF Pan Pacific champion Apinun Khongsong (14-0), on February 18.
-Keita Obara (20-3): IBF #6 / WBO #13
The 2 time WBO Asia Pacific champion will face the undefeated former WBC Silver champion Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0), on March 30, in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Takeshi Inoue (13-1): WBO #3
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion unsuccessfully challenged Jaime Munguia (32-0) for the WBO World title, on January 26.
-Ryota Murata (14-2): WBC #4 / IBF #6 / WBA #7
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist lost his WBA (Regular) World title to Rob Brant (24-1) this past October, and once again finds himself in the position of the title chaser.
-Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1): WBO #7 / WBA #11 / WBC #27
The former K-1 champion has unified the Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles.
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