We have one of those “local days” this Friday where Asian fans will certainly be happier than their European and American counterparts due to several interesting contests that will light up both Thailand and Japan.
The obvious starting point for a look at Friday's action is in Thailand where we get the first world title fight of the weekend. The contest, which sees Koki Eto (14-2-1, 10) returning to Thailand to make the first defense of his WBA interim Flyweight, appears to be one which should have real interest in both Thailand and Japan. Eto, who defeated Kompayak Porpramook for the title earlier this year will be facing Kompayak's stable-mate Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (32-2, 19), AKA Yodmongkol CP Freshmart.
Although we're unsure what other bouts will be shown by Thai channel 7 we've got to admit we're really looking forward to this one which should be a real barn burner as long as it lasts. For the sake of to we hope he can put on a performance similar to the one he had against Porpramook, though with Yodmongkol being on a long winning run he'll be confident of scoring the upset here.
Over in Japan we have two shows. Of those the one that interests us the most is “Dangan 88” a show that really deserves some sort of television coverage though doesn't seem to have it.
This show, headlined by Tadashi Yuba (44-8-2, 33) rematching Yoshihisa Tonimura (16-8-4, 4) in Japanese Light Middleweight title bout, is one where a Tonimura will be seeking revenge for a razor thin loss whilst Yuba will be further seeking to enhance his legacy. Although unknown outside of Japan, Yuba is a domestic legend and the first ever 5-weight Japanese national champion. We'd be shocked if this was anything but hard fought, competitive and incredibly close through out.
Whilst Yuba/Tonimura II is the main event it is far from the only interesting contest in an excellent eight fight card.
The show begins with a 4 rounder as the debuting Shuta Igarashi (0-0) fights the win-less Kenji Suzuki (0-4). Following this opening contest we have a second successive 8 rounder as Shogo Endo (0-1) battles who we believe will be Makoto Kawasaki (3-1-1, 1).
Oddly straight after the two opening 4 rounders we immediately move in to the 8 round distance for a Minimumweight contest between Kazuhiro Nakamura (8-4, 3) and the once beaten youngster Hiroya Yamamoto (7-1, 3). This will be Yamamoto's first contest since being upset by Hayato Yamaguchi back in August and there will be serious interest to see how Yamamoto bounced back from his first loss.
The second 8 rounder on the show will see Dai Iwai (12-3-1, 5) taking on the highly ranked Michiya Sato (10-4-4, 6). Ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF Sato is risking a lot here against the capable Iwai who will be looking at this as his chance to move into a title fight of some sort.
Following the first two 8 rounders we suddenly drop back to the 4 round distance as singer-come-boxer Yuki Clay (0-0), of Kimaguren fame, makes his professional boxing debut. The singer will be facing fellow debutant Kubota Akinori (0-0) in what appears to be an intriguing contest, even if it is little more than a gimmick fight, much like Andrew Flintoff's was in the UK a while back.
After the 4 round interlude we get back to serious action as Yuki Ozawa (10-2, 2) battles the more experienced Koji Aoki (14-7-2, 5) in a potentially enjoyable bout that screams “distance fight” to us, despite the fact Aoki has been stopped in 5 of his 7 losses.
The penultimate contest on Dangan 88, and the chief support contest for the title fight, sees Noriyuki Ueno (15-11-5, 5) defending his OPBF and Japanese rankings as he battles Yosuke Kawano (7-2-1, 3). Despite Ueno's record he is a genuine threat at domestic title level, in fact when you consider Ueno started his career 2-6-1 and has since fought in 3 Japanese title fights and 1 OPBF title fight there is little doubt that there is talent there.
The second Japanese show, courtesy of Shinsei, is scheduled to just have six contests though like the Dangan show it's a very promising looking card overall.
Despite being promising over-all the show starts with a weak 4 rounder as the win-less pairing of Daiki Haraguchi (0-6) and Daisuke Takeichi (0-1) face off. Thankfully this is the shows one bad fight fight.
The second contest on the show sees Shinsei making a very brave move as they put their unbeaten youngster Shun Kubo (2-0, 2) up against Filipino Monico Laurente (23-9, 5). Although Laurente has picked up a couple of losses in recent bouts and is much smaller than Kubo, he could prove to be very tricky still and make Kubo look bad. Kubo's natural size advantage should see him through to the victory but the experience difference between the two men could make it very interesting.
If we think Kubo is in hard then Thai visitor Mongkoldam Sithwarunee (1-2, 1) has it even tougher as he takes on the hard hitting Kota Fukuoka (14-3-2, 11). Fukuoka is certainly beatable but he has won his last 7 with 5 of those coming by stoppage, it'd be a surprise if he didn't add another to both of those figures here.
In the fourth contest of the card we get another of those interesting looking bouts with an unbeaten prospect as Shohei Omori (9-0, 5) faces Filipino veteran Albert Alcoy (14-16-7, 4). Although this looks a great test on paper it does seem like Omori is becoming a man and punching harder and this bout seems like a step backwards for him considering how he stopped Kiron Omura in 92 seconds back in July. We'd be pretty shocked if Omori doesn't record another stoppage here.
The penultimate bout on this show will see Ryotaro Kawabata (8-2, 3) in action. Although we're not certain on who he'll be up against we have heard that it's a Korean, likely to be Bum-Young Lee (8-6-2, 3), a former Korean Super Flyweight champion. Lee is a man that some Japanese fans will be familiar with due to his losses to Hirofumi Mukai and Takuya Kogawa and if it him fighting Kawabata it's fair to say that we expect the Korean to suffer his third loss to a Japanese fighter.
Like with Danagn 88 the main event here is another Japanese title fight. This time it's down at Bantamweight where Kohei Oba (34-2-1, 13) will be seeking the second defense of his title as he battles Yuji Hasegawa (8-2, 2). We'd expect that if Oba wins he'll be looking to get himself into a world title fight rather than keeping a hold of the national title any longer.
Unfortunately due to the strength of Japanese boxing at Bantamweight Oba is between a rock and a hard place. He could keep defending the belt, he could challenger the winner of Shiino/Iwasa to an OPBF title bout or he could try to fight one of the three Japanese world champions at the weight. Unfortunately we'd not back him against any of the world champions or the Shiino/Iwasa winner, though he's better than pretty anyone else domestically. In fact domestically Oba against Ryo Akaho is probably the most interesting contest out there for him.
Out side of the Asian countries the action continues with a few interesting contests.
In Queensland, Australia fans will get to see Thailand's Chaiyong Sithsaithong (31-11-3, 22) take on Josh King (15-3, 8) in a battle for the WBO Oriental Lightweight title. On the same show as that Filipino Michael Dan (3-6-1, 1) will be facing Ryan Heck (3-1-1) in a much lower level contest.
Staying in Australia, though down south in Victoria, Filipino Marlon Alta (12-3, 9) will be facing the unbeaten Zac Dunn (10-0, 9) in a battle over the WBC Youth World Super Middleweight title. Alta, who has been out of the ring since he was stopped by Makoto Fuchigami 13 months ago, will know that a win here could explode him back on to the scene, but he'll also know he's being brought in to lose to the Aussie banger.
A third bout in Australia sees Aswin Cabuy (14-44-3, 7) trying to end a 6 fight losing streak as he takes on Leroy Brown (15-5-1, 5) in New South Wales.
Amazingly there is one other Asian involved in a title fight, though rather peculiarly it's in Ecuador as Chinese born Kazakhstani fighter Kanat Islam (14-0, 12) battles Colombia's Emilio Julio Julio (28-11-2, 20) for what we assume will be the WBA Fedelatin Light Middleweight title. Islam is one of those fighters who seems very interesting, though is unfortunately very well hidden from the wider boxing public. Thankfully if he wins here he's expected to be on an American card in December.