July 12th-South Korea
Kyoo Hwan Hwang (1-0, 1) Vs Chan Hee Park (5-5-1)
It's been far too rare in recent years that we could speak positively about Korean boxing but we were genuine engrossed by the recent Korean title fight against the young but talented Kyoo Hwan Hwang and Chan Hee Park. Coming in to the bout those in Korea were talking about Hwan as the potential future of Korean boxing and at times that praise seemed deserved, for much of the fight however the youngster shows a lack of mental maturity and a defense that was questionable, to say the least. It was the flaws of Hwang that really made this a spectacularly fun to watch fight when really it seemed like he could have made life very easy for himself.
Interestingly the entire card that this fight was shown on was streamed legally over youtube for free. Hopefully this is a move that the promoter, AK Promotions, will continue to do with their shows, the next one of which is scheduled October 10th and will feature Randall Bailey, Waseem Muhammad and Roberto Alfonso, all of whom look like they will be adding an international appeal to the card.
Yu Kawaguchi (23-6, 10) Vs Takahiro Yamamoto (15-4, 12) II
Earlier this year fans in Osaka saw Yu Kawaguchi and Takahiro Yamamoto trade blows in an enthralling and incredibly competitive 12 round bout for the OPBF Bantamweight title. Less than 4 months later they went at it again and gave us another thriller. This had knockdowns, back and forth action, blood and desire. I won't pretend the skills on show were the most impressive or complete but the action was breath taking and left a lasting impression as being one of the Japanese fights of the year. The only bad thing about this is that we know the loser may never quite be the fighter he was coming into the one, and in fact the winner may well have left a part of themselves in the ring as well.
Given that this bout was in one of the most exciting divisions in Asia the winner really could be in for some great fights, ranging from world title bouts to really exciting looking defenses against someone such as Shohei Omori or the fun to watch Alue Laurel.
Yasutaka Ishimoto (25-8, 7) v Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5-1, 7)
When fighters have a combined 14 stoppages in 55 fights you tend to expect them to be negative fighters unwilling to stand their ground and let shots off. That was certainly not the case when Yasutaka Ishimoto took on Gakuya Furuhashi in a thoroughly enjoyable Super Bantamweight tear up that saw both men let their hands go whilst also keeping their form. It wasn't a “war” as such but it was a thoroughly enjoyable, aggressive boxing contest between two very well matched fighters who gave the audience a real treat. On paper this bout did look good but in the ring it proved to be so much better than expected.
The winner here is now expecting to fight for the Japanese national title in either late 2015 or very early 2016. That bout could see them trying to over-come former foe Yukinori Oguni and exact some revenge following an ultra-close contest in the last 12 months. For the loser they will certainly come again.
Kongfah CP Freshmart (14-0, 8) Vs Daigo Higa (6-0, 6)
It's all too rare to get two unbeaten, aggressive and promising fighters in the ring together. In mid-July however we got one such fight as Thailand's promising Kongfah CP Freshmart battled Japanese terrier Daigo Higa in a bout that really showed the hunger of the two young fighters. We know boxing rarely gives us this type of fight, but when they do they really do deliver on the action and excitement. For the winner comes the spoils and they claimed the WBC Youth title, a title that has been used by many as a stepping stone to bigger thins. For the loser they will go back to the drawing board, but we wouldn't be shocked to see them rebuild very quickly.
The young fighter who won this one is expected to be back in action before the year is out and will be defending his title, if he manages to score another notable win there is talk that he may be moving towards a world title shot later in 2016. As for the loser the rebuilding process will hopefully be as enjoyable as some of his early career bouts have been
Hikaru Nishida (12-7-1, 4) Vs Makoto Fuchigami (21-10, 12) II
One of the oldest adages in boxing is “styles make fights” and that was seen rather well in the recent rematch between Hikaru Nishida and Makoto Fuchigami. The bout, a Middleweight contest, saw Nishida fighting as a pressure fighter whilst Fuchigami fought as a boxer and together they put on an excellent fight. Both men were forced to take big shots, both managed to have notable success and both decided to trade shots at various times, particularly in the jaw dropping 5th round. Again this wasn't a bout with the highest level of skill but it was a thoroughly engaging contest that really got better as it went on.
For the loser this really could be the end. Their form has been disappointing in recent times and their career seems to have taken it's toll on him, especially in recent bouts. As for the winner it would seem that a possible title fight in 2016 is on the cards, though they certainly wouldn't be favoured against the unified OPBF/JBC champion Akio Shibata, who already beat them in recent bouts.