This past week has been an insanely news heavy week, with more news stories that we'd usually get for this review. Some were huge stories, others were much smaller, but the variation of them was massive. So lets have a look at them!
Inoue Vs Rodriguez confirmed for May 18th in Glasgow!
After weeks of frustrating stalling from the WBSS we now, finally, know for sure that the WBSS Bantamweight Semi Final between "WBA" regular Bantamweight Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12) will take place on May 18th in Glasgow Scotland. The bout is a first in lots of ways, and given the size of the bout we do wonder if it would have made more sense to have allowed the fighter's promoters to sort a deal rather than the WBSS putting it on a show they had already set up. We know it'sa cost saving measure, but it's still odd to have stars from Japan and Puerto Rico fighting in Scotland. Still the bout is now only 3 months away and we're looking forward to it!
Shumenov Vs Goulamiriam purse bids see Don King winning!
The purse bid for the WBA Cruiserweight title bout between Beibut Shumenov (18-2, 12) [Бейбут Амирханович Шуменов] and Arsen Goulamirian (24-0, 16) finally took place, and was won by veteran promoter Don King,with a bid of $821,000 which will be split 55%-45% in favour of Shumenov. The bid was well over the amount offered by Goulamiriam's promoter, and King has given 3 possible dates and venues. They are April 15th in Monaco, the second possibility is just over 2 weeks later, April 30th Kazakhstan whilst the other possibility is May 13th in New York, with the Monaco option being doubted by Goulamiriam's team.
Juiki Tatsuyoshi's next bout set for April 5th!
Popular second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (10-0, 7) [辰吉寿以輝] announced that he would be back in action on April 5th at the EDION Arena, against Daichi Matsuura (6-3-2, 2) [松浦 大地]. This isn't an amazing match up but is a step up for Tatsuyoshi, who is slowly developing into a pretty solid prospect. Notably this announcement also saw announcements of a bout between Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (9-1, 8) [堤本京介] and Tae Il Atusmi (15-2, 7) [テイル渥美] in what could be a very exciting match up.
Can Xu signs with Golden Boy Promotions!
WBA "regular" Featherweight champion Can Xu (16-2, 2) [徐灿] has officially signed a deal with Gold Boy Promotions, to continue the relationship that began when he won the title with a shock win over Jesus M Rojas. The full details of the agreement are unclear, but it is great that Xu will get more opportunities to shine in the US and hopefully he can build on the win over Rojas to become a big star, and someone that Chinese boxing can build around. Although it seems unlikely he will fight regularly in China there is no stopping his success from driving a generation of fighters, like Gennady Golovkin has done with Kazakhstan,
Sultan Zaurbek confirms that he will fight in February and March
Unbeaten Kazakh Sultan Zaurbek (3-0, 2) [Заурбек Султан] confirmed that he would be fighting in both February and March, in what is clearly going to be a very busy year for the youngster. He's incredibly talented and it seems like he is wanting to take a grip over his career, something that many fighters early on won't do. His opponents for the two bouts aren't expected to be anything amazing, with his February opponent named as Lyuben Todorov, but his drive to be active is similar to that of fellow Kazakh Sadriddin Akhmedov, who fought 7 times in just over 9 months showing that a fighter can create a buzz very quickly.
Main under-card bouts for Tanaka Vs Taguchi revealed!
The under-card bouts for the WBO Flyweight title bout between Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] and Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一] were announced this week, and whilst they weren't amazing they did feature a number of interesting names. Among those confirmed for the card are Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人], Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中裕士], Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) [水野拓哉] and Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋宏心]. The bouts aren't the toughest but there is a very nice selection of talent for fans who can make their way to Gifu for the show.
Takahashi and Suzuki have opponents named for March 2nd!
Talking about under-cards, we've now seen the under-card for the March 2nd card at the Korakuen Hall being completed, with Takuma Takahashi (2-0, 2) [高橋拓磨] and Masahiro Suzuki (1-0, 1) [鈴木雅弘] having their opponents for the show named. Suzuki will be up against Kelvin Tenorio (4-4, 2) whilst Takahashi will be up against Jonel Dapidran (10-3, 6).
Ginjiro Shigeoka's next opponent named!
One more fighter having their opponent for an under-card announced was Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], who will be up against Thai youngster Gerttipong Kumsahwat (3-1, 3) on February 26th. This was never expected to be a tough bout for Shigeoka, given he will be fighting against in April, but it is nice to see an opponent being named for the show more than a week in advance.
Regional and Domestic title News
Ogata and Salvador to battle for OPBF title!
The OPBF had a busy week Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) [緒方汐音] would be facing off with Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title on April 14th. This looks like an interesting match up, but it must be said that Ogata has been in great form recently and has to be favoured to claim her third regional title. Interestingly this will be the first OPBF female Light Flyweight title bout in over 2 years!
Second OPBF title added to February 22nd show!
The OPBF also announced that Thai Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (4-2, 2) will battle against Japan's Umi Ishikawa (7-2, 5) [石川海] for the OPBF silver Female Minimumweight title. This is a pretty interesting bout, even though neither is an amazing fighter, and the winner will likely find themselves in the mix for bigger fights later in the year.
Second title bout added to March 13th card
Staying with title news, there was the confirmation that Miyo Yoshida (11-1) [吉田 実代] would be defending her Japanese female Bantamweight title against Yoshie Wakasa (6-0, 2) [若狭与志枝], the #1 ranked contender. This bout has been added to a show that will be headlined by Eri Matsuda (2-0) [松田恵里] and Nanae Suzuki (8-2-1, 1) [鈴木 菜々江] battling to unify the OPBF and JBC Atomweight titles.
Male and Female Asian Championships to be held at the same time!
The ASBC announced this week that the Male and Female Asian Championships will take place at the same time, in Bangkok in April. Amazingly 10 divisions will be covered, for each gender, in what is seemingly a stupid decision, given that the competition was originally being viewed as a gate way to the 2020 Olympics, which won't have 10 male, or 10 female divisions. The decision appears to be a cost cutting one, but also one that is really questionable, and we wouldn't be surprised to see all sorts of issues plaguing what appears to bee an over-stuff competition.
Japanese Amateur Selection competition cancelled
Interestingly the Japanese Amateur selection tournament, for the Asian Championships, has been cancelled, due in part to the weight class situation of the Asian Championships. This selection competition was notable for several reasons, including the fact it would include former world champion Katsunari Takayama [高山 勝成], who was set to make his return to the amateurs at this tournament. The political mess of Amateur boxing appears to be continuing here and it's hard to see a solution any time soon.
Former Indonesian amateur star Willem Papilaya passes
Indonesian fighter Willem Papilaya will not be a name on the mind of many, but this past week he passed away, at the age of 44. The former fighter won a Silver medal at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, and competed in multiple notable competitions. His passing, at such a young age, is genuinely tragic and was huge news in Indonesian boxing circles.
Susumu Hanagata to become president of the East Japan Boxing Association
Nikkan Sports reported that former WBC Flyweight champion Susumu Hanagata[花形進] would be the next President of the East Japan Boxing Association. This story hasn't been reported by many other sources, though it does appear to have been passed and will be announced officially in the weeks to come, with Hanagata expected to take his seat in a few months time. Hanagata is best known for scoring wins over Efren Torres, Masao Oba and Chartchai Chionoi, and does run a gym, so is very well respected in the Japanese boxing scene, despite not being a big name in the West.
Split Decision issue 1 released
The first issue of Manga series "Split Decision", which is being released to raise awareness of Iwao Hakamada, was released on the JPBA website. The Manga hasn't yet been translated into English, but is expected to be put into different languages in the near future. This is a really interesting idea and we hope it's a huge success.
March issue of Boxing Beat goes on sale tomorrow!
Talking about releases this week also saw the release of March's issue Boxing Beat. We won't go into to much detail here, but for fans who are really intrigued by the Japanese scene the magazine is fantastic, though sadly unavailable in languages other than Japanese.
TBS reveal broadcast date and time of Saludar Vs Taniguchi
Finally, we now have the date and time of the television broadcast of the WBO Minimumweight title bout between Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) and Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆]. The bout will be teelvised on a few days tape delay, as part of a Guts Fighting show on TBS. It's a shame the bout isn't being shown live, but at least it's only a few days of delay and not weeks, as we have seen for some bouts.
This past week has been a somewhat quiet one in the realms of Asian Boxing news. It's not been a silent week, by any stretch, but we didn't see any major stories breaking, instead it was a relatively subdued week of lesser quality news, though plenty of that news is worth catching up on if you did miss it.
Tenshin Nasukawa Vs Gervonta Davis at Rizin 15!
According to multiple sources we'll see Japanese combat sport prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa fight against WBA Super Featherweight Super champion Gervonta Davis in April. The bout wasn't announced officially but sources from both sides of the Pacific did mention the bout as being close to a done deal and should be announced in the coming weeks, if not days. We don't see this ending well for Tenshin, who may end up taking more punishment in boxing exhibitions than is good for him, and it's probably time that he decides whether he wants to remain in kick boxing, or convert to boxing and do it properly, rather than getting beaten up in public exhibitions.
A Monster heading to Scotland?
On a frustrating week for WBSS news it now seems like we're set to see Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] make his European debut, and take on IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12) in Scotland, in their WBSS semi-final. It appears that massive scheduling issues will force the bout to be part of the Josh Taylor card on May 18th. This wasn't officially confirmed but both Juan Orengo, the manager of Rodriguez, as well as the Sauerlands, suggested that this would be the case, not long after Hideyuki Ohashi confirmed the possibility of the bout being in the UK. This seems set to be confirmed early this week
Kuroda set to get a shot at Mthalane in May!
Although the specifics weren't announced we do now know that a deal is in place for the IBF Flyweight title bout between Japan's Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] and world champion Moruti Mthalane (37-2, 25). The bout, a mandatory defense for Mthalane, was announced as being done by Kuroda and his team, though they gave no details away of the bout, leaving the specifics set for a future announcement. It sounds like the bout will be in either Kanagawa or Tokyo in May, though Nitta do seem to be keeping their cards close to their chest until the announcement is due.
Katsunari Takayama to begin amateur journey on March 1st!
As for things that were announced, officially, former world champion Katsunari Takayama [高山 勝成] revealed that his amateur journey, which he hopes will result in a medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, will begin on March 1st. The exciting and very likable Takayama will compete in a national selection event, with the winner assured a shot at the Asian Championships, and a potential Olympic berth. We'll be honest and admit we don't imagine Takayama going far in the amateurs, given his age and style, but we do really look forward to seeing him in action again.
Koura to defend OPBF crown in March
The OPBF twitter account is a great soure of news and announcements, and this week they let slip the fact they have sanctioned their Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] to make his next defense against Filipino challenger Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7) on March 31st. On paper this is one that won't excite people, but the reality is that this should be a good test of what Koura can do against a really tough opponent. We don't see it being a competitive bout, but Dante is a battler and won't fold early on to Koura's power. A mismatch, but one likely to have real intrigue.
WBO order Super Flyweight title fight
The WBO held a world title eliminator at Super Flyweight recent, which saw Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21) become the mandatory challenger for WBO world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23). The men have now been ordered to negotiate as the WBO look to keep their title active. The negotiation period for the two men is to end in less than 2 weeks, so we should see these two facing off, for the second time, in the middle of 2019.
Wanheng Vs Fukuhara rematch pushed back
Staying with world level rematches it appears the WBC Minimumweight title bout rematch between unbeaten champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] and former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] has been pushed back by 4 weeks, to March 29th. No reason was given, though Wanheng will fight in an exhibition with WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] in the mean time, with that set to take place on February 22nd. Every fan of the little guys wants to see Wanheng take on Knockout, sadly however it seems the best we're going to be getting any time soon is this exhibition.
Man what a crazy week we've had. We were expecting the WBSS semi finals to be announced, and although that hasn't happened, we have had some notable news across various part of Asian boxing from contract signings to announcements about up coming bouts, to a pretty notable legal case. Unlike last we've we've tried to break our stories in subsections this week, grouping similar stories together.
Srisaket inks deal with DAZN! Details of Feb 8th ring appearance confirmed!
During the week we saw Eddie Hearn announce that he, and Matchroom USA, had inked a deal with WBC and Ring Magazine Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], making the Thai a DAZN exclusive fighter. This is a huge coup for DAZN who will be showing his rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada, with that bout being eyed for an early April date.
Before Srisaket fights his first bout on DAZN however he will be "fighting" in Thailand in an exhibition bout as part of a stacked February 8th card to raise money for a local hospital. The line up for that card was also announced this week, and more details on that show can be read here:
Muhammad Waseem signs with MTK Global, said to be targeting an April ring return
Another notable fighter signing a contract with a new team was Pakistani Flyweight Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6) [محمد وسیم] who has now signed with MTK Global ahead of the next chapter of his career. He is best known for his 2018 bout with Moruti Mthalane, and his work with Korean promoter Andy Kim, but it seems like he is needing a promoter with big pockets, and that is what he has got here with MTK Global. Whilst this doesn't explicitly tie Waseem to a particular channel it does seem like it will land him some big fights in the UK, and we're really looking forward to seeing what he can do with MTK Global now guiding his career.
Ryosuke Iwasa to face Cesar Juarez in February!
Former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] will be returning to the ring on February 16th to take on exciting Mexican Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17). This is a bout that was rumoured late last year, but was announced until this week, when Juarez let the cat out of the bag. It was later confirmed by the Iwasa team. The contest will be an IBF world title eliminator, and will also be Iwasa's US debut. The match up was announced at short notice, less than 4 weeks before taking place, but with both men being aware of the bout it's hard to imagine either man being ill prepared for what could be a sleeper FOTY contender.
Eri Matsuda and Nanae Suzuki to battle in unification bout!
We all want to see Champion Vs Champion bouts, fighters unifying titles and looking to prove who is the best. This week we saw the announcement that OPBF Atomweight champion Eri Matsuda (2-0) [松田恵里] would be facing Japanese female champion Nanae Suzuki (8-2-1, 1) [鈴木 菜々江], in a mouth watering unification bout. Matsuda looks to be one of the hottest prospects in female boxing, but will need to show what she can do against a more experienced and equally hungry opponent. This is likely to push the winner on to a world title fight, and should be seen as a very significant match up, at least for the fighters involved.
Musashi Mori Vs Richard Pumicpic II set for April 14th, Tsutsumi, Shigeoka and Takeda on undercard!
Last year we saw Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] defeat Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6) to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, in what is clearly his best win to date.The first bout was curtailed due to a headclash, but the fact we're getting a rematch in mid April is certainly not a bad thing.
Not only was the rematch announced here but the under-card was also a lovely bonus, with Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也] and Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1) [竹田宙] all announced for the show. Sadly none of them have their opponents announced, but we would be very surprised if at least one of them does face a Japanese ranked opponent. A great main event with a potentially solid under-card.
Yuko Kuroki to face Nao Ikeyama in April!
On the same day as the previously mentioned Mori Vs Pumicpic rematch we'll get a mos win female bout, as WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) [森脇恵子], who is edging towards her 50th birthday, take on former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) [黒木優子]. Female boxing might not be huge but that doesn't stop the sport giving us some huge female bouts, and a contest between Ikeyama, a legend who has competed with the best despite being well beyond the retirement age of most fighters, and Kuroki should be sensational. The loser really has no where to go, but the winner will be on the verge of another world title fight. A high risk, high reward bout between two recent world champions.
Kasumi Saeki to fight for a world title in April!
Staying with female boxing, unbeaten prospect Kasumi Saeki (3-0, 2) [佐伯霞] got informed, live at an event she was speaking at, that her team were pencilling her in for a world title fight on April 27th. The details are lacking, but the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight champion, looks set for a huge step up in class as her team look to make her into a star. We're expecting more details to be announced in the coming weeks, but it's clear that w could see Saeki announce herself on the world stage in just a few weeks.
Notable the April 27th date is also being rumoured as the date for Reiya Konishi's bout with IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado.
Suzumi Takayama passes B license test, set for debut on February 26th!
Former amateur standout Suzumi Takayama [高山 涼深] is pencilled in to fight on February 26, he has been for quite some time, but he didn't actually take his B license test until this past week. He has, as expected, passed all the tests and there isn't any issue with him being licensed, and joining the strong stable of hopefuls at the Watanabe Gym.
Shokichi Iwata takes part in B class pro-test
Japanese youngster Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1) [岩田翔吉] may have made his professional debut last year, but he wasn't allowed to fight under a JBC license until this week, when he claimed a B class licensed and linked up with Teiken. It doesn't seem totally clear on what direction Iwata's career is going to take, but he has opened up doors to fight in Japan, as well as the USA.
Golovkin suing former managers
On a really serious issue, former unified Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34) has began court action as he looks to sue former managers Maximilian and Oleg Hermann, who he claims owe him $3.5 million. The legal action has been filed with claims the Hermann's had their contract ended in 2017 but continued to make money off their relationship with Golovkin. It's going to be very interesting to see how this story develops in the coming months.
This past month has been a great one for fights, and we've genuine had an incredible number of fantastic fights. Whilst we can't share all of them, are some that we would like to share in our review of great fights from January. As is the norm for this site, we will only be looking at bouts featuring an Asian fighter.
Note bouts on Boxingraise, DAZN, ESPN+ and PBC won't be included in these features, unless they are made free to view by the relevant outlet. This means that the brilliant contests between Can Xu and Jesus M Rojas, Takeshi Inoue and Jaime Munguia and Ryoichi Tamura vs Mugicha Nakagawa.
Jiang Xiang (15-4-2, 3) Vs Kompayak Porpramook (59-6, 40) - January 5th, Suzhou, China
Talented Chinese Light Flyweight Jing Xiang may not be on the radar of many fight fans, especially those in the west, but his bout against former WBC world champion Kompayak Porpramook was a really exciting bout that should help put him on the map. The bout pitted the skills of Xiang, who is a wonderful sharp punching boxer-mover, against the toughness and pressure of Kompayak in what turned out to be a thoroughly fantastic bout.
Jian Wang (7-1, 2) vs Seong Yeong Yang (6-2-4, 3) - January 5th, Suzhou, China
In the 1980's Korean fighters were among the most must watch fighters on the planet. They weren't, usually, the most skilled but their bouts were often brutal, entertaining, action packed and fought on as much will as skill. Sadly we're not in the 1980's and Korean boxing scene is only a shadow of what it once was. Thankfully in January we saw the Korean spirit shine through with Seong Yeong Yang battling against Jian Wang in a thrilling 10 round war. This is a crude but all action bout that is well worthy of a watch.
Kenshin Oshima (4-1-1, 3) vs Ikuro Sadatsune (9-2-3, 3) - January 19th, Toyko, Japan
Novices have been putting in great fights in Japan recently, and a great example of this was shown in the middle of the month with the hard hitting Kenshin Oshima battling against the under-rated Ikuro Sadatsune. This 8 round bout started as a tactical affair but became a war with both guys landing big shots on each other and the later rounds were thrilling tests of heart, resolve and will to win. Sadly neither of these guys are likely to get much attention outside of Japan, but are both worth following at we go forward.
Alphoe Dagayloan (11-2-5, 5) vs Danrick Sumabong (7-1, 6) - January 26th, Cavite, Philippines
In the Philippines fight fans got a real treat when Alphoe Dagayloan battled against domestic foe Danrick Sumabong. This wasn't a war, by any stretch, but it was a thrilling, action packed, highly competitive fight. There was little to split the two men, in what was arguably the most meaningful bout for both men so far.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).