May 2015 will be one of the most significant in boxing history. We all know that professional boxing will get the attention of the world on May 2nd however that's not the only date of note this coming month.
To begin the month we get 4 notable bouts as the month kicks off in style. The first of those will see former 2-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (20-5, 10) begin his career as a Super Flyweight following back to back losses in late 2014. The popular Yaegashi has been matched with an easy opponent though it's still going to be a joy to see him in action.
On the same card as Yaegashi's bout we will see Japanese Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata (6-0, 4) battle against WBO world ranked foe Douglas Damiao Ataide (13-1-1, 6). This is a step up for Murata and a win here will move him towards a possible WBO world title fight though it also promises to be his toughest bout so far.
Also on this card is a WBC Super Featherweight world title fight which will see the hard hitting Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) defending his title against former Featherweight title holder Billy Dib (39-3-0-1, 23). This is a high profile opportunity for Miura who has yet to become the star despite having a very fun to watch style.
The remaining bout of note takes place in the US where Japan's Takahiro Ao (27-3-1, 12) looks to claim the WBO Lightweight title and over-come the tough Raymundo Beltran (29-7-1, 17). This bout will give Ao an opportunity to become a 3-weight world champion though it's not an easy contest for the popular Japanese fighter.
It goes with out saying that the biggest bout of the month takes place in a little venue in the US on May 2nd as Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38) battles against the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0, 26) in a bout to unify the WBO, WBC and WBA “super” titles at Welterweight. This bout is set to break all sorts of records and is, with out a doubt, the most significant bout in recent memory. The winner of this long anticipated fight will be viewed as the fighter of their generation and it's fair to say the fans of the loser will be left wondering “what if” had the bout taken place several years ago when both were still in their pomp.
The action returns on May 6th world title triple header. The most exciting match up here will see WBA Super Featherweight “super” champion Takashi Uchiyama (22-0-1, 18) defending his title against unbeaten Thai Jomthong Chuwatana (9-0, 4) in what looks to be an amazing contest. This is not going to be easy for either man and a win for Uchiyama will hopefully lead to a unification whilst a win for Jomthong would instantly make him a boxing star.
In a Light Flyweight title bout Ryoichi Taguchi (21-2-1, 8) will be defending his WBA title against Thai veteran Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-3-1, 26). This will be Taguchi's first defense following his victory against Alberto Rossel in December and whilst it looks like a good bout on paper it really isn't very good with Sithmorseng having come up short against almost every notable foe that he's faced.
The third world title fight will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (6-1-2, 3) defending her belt against Kayoko Ebata (8-5, 4). This will be Ebata's 4th shot at a world title having come up in 3 previous title fights whilst Ikehara will be defending her title for the second time following a disappointing technical draw with Jessebelle Pagaduan in February.
One of the busiest days of the year comes on May 9th when we get a host of notable bouts taking place around the world.
The most notable bout takes place in the US where Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) will battle against Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12) in a WBA Bantamweight title bout. Originally this bout was announced a WBA/WBO unification contest but the WBO refused to sanction the bout and as a result Tomoki vacated the belt so that the bout could go on. It's a really good bout and one that we are genuinely excited about.
One of the most notable bouts takes place in Kobe as former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15) battles against the unbeaten and heavy handed Horacia Garcia (29-0, 21). This will be Hasegawa's comeback bout following his loss to the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez last year, sadly however he's up against a very, very good opponent.
Also in Japan we get a female world title fight as Yuko Kuroki (12-4-1, 6) defends her WBC female Minimumweight title against former world title challenger Masae Akitaya (9-5-2, 3). This isn't a great bout but it will likely give a lot of action for the fans at the Aqua Bunka Hall and will see Kuroki being forced to answer serious questions about her talent.
A notable bout in the UK will see the heavy handed Rey Megrino (21-20-3, 18) attempt to upset the very highly regarded Khalid Yafai (14-0, 9). Yafai is talented but this is a step up for the youngster and although it looks like a mismatch Megrino does have that power which can be a problem for anyone in the lower weight classes. [Note-This bout now appears to be in doubt]
A third successive Saturday of note comes on May 16th when we get two stateside bouts of note.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten Kazakh destroyed Gennady Golovkin (32-0, 29) defending his collection of titles against the once beaten boxer-mover Willie Monroe Jr (19-1, 6). This will be Golovkin's 7th bout in the US as he looks to continue to continue his destructive run through the contenders of the Middleweight division. For Monroe this is a huge opportunity but one we certainly can't see him winning.
On the same show we will also see the Teiken promoted Roman Gonzalez (42-0, 36) defending his WBC Flyweight title and making his long over-due HBO debut. The exciting Nicaraguan will be facing off against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (51-8, 30) in what should a very exciting bout and a great introduction for the US who haven't seen much of Gonzalez despite his sensational career.
On May 30th we get a couple of bouts that have us excited. To us the most notable of those is in Aichi as the unbeaten teenager Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) attempts to set the Japanese record for few fewest fight to win a world title when he battles the much more experienced Julian Yedras (24-1, 13) for the vacant WBO Minimumweight title. The bout isn't the best the division could have given us but it is a brilliant chance to see if Tanaka is as good as he looks and a stoppage against Yedras would be very impressive.
In the UK fans will see the Teiken promoted Jorge Linares (38-3, 25) defending his WBC Lightweight title against Britain's popular Kevin Mitchell (39-2, 25). This will be Linares's first defense of the title after winning the belt on December 30th last year, stopping Javier Preito, and will also be his UK debut. This bout really is exciting with men being able to hurt and be hurt and we'd be very surprised to see it go the distance.
Another world title bout takes place in Mexico as the once beaten Milan Melindo (32-1, 12) battles against Javier Mendoza (23-2-1, 19) in a bout for the IBF Light Flyweight title. This is a very tough bout for Melindo, as he takes on a very hard hitting, aggressive and exciting champion, however the Filipino has got the ability to bring back the title if he performs at his very best. [Note-This bout was originally scheduled for May 9th though was rescheduled due to TV]
The final bout of note will come on the final day of the month as former Japanese and OPBF Minimumweight champion Ryuji Hara (18-1, 10) battles against Petchnamchai Sor Sakulwong (1-2, 1). This will be Hara's comeback bout following his sole loss, a 10th round TKO defeat by Kosei Tanaka, and we're expecting to see a very impressive performance by Hara here who will be wanting to make up for lost time and begin fighting for titles sooner rather than later.
This coming month is set to be one of the most significant in the year so far. The notable bouts come thick and fast. For those who want to know what dates to mark down here's a look at the highlights of the month
On April 4th we see the first Japanese title fight of the month as Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2) defends his title against Hayato Yamaguchi (12-5-1, 2), a man making his second challenge for a national title. Originally Kimura was scheduled to fight Shin Ono but Ono was forced out of the bout with an injury and Yamaguchi filled in with about 3 weeks notice.
Just a day later we get a pair of OPBF title bouts, also in Japan. One of these will see the much touted and highly skilled Masayoshi Nakatani (9-0, 5) defending his Lightweight title against big under-dog Accel Sumiyoshi (4-3-1, 1) in what looks to be a huge under-dog. The other title fight comes at Bantamweight where the big punching Takahiro Yamamoto (15-3, 12) battles former Japanese title contender Yu Kawaguchi (22-6, 10) in a vacant title bout. The Bantamweight bout certainly looks a better bout but neither looks like they have the ability to go all the way, like Nakatani does.
Another Japanese title fight comes on April 8th when the exciting and talented Suguru Muranaka (21-2-1, 7) looks to defend his Japanese Flyweight title against Tetsuma Hayashi (25-2-2, 9) in what looks like a sure-fire FOTY contender. If you like action and volume this one is for you.
Just a few days later, on April 13th, we get a wonderful double header with an OPBF and a Japanese title fight. Of the two bouts the OPBF bout is the lesser bout as the fringe-world class Keita Obara (13-1, 12) defends his Light Welterweight title against Yuya Okazaki (11-7-1, 4) in what looks like a total mismatch, especially given Obara's thunderous power. The other bout is a Japanese Bantamweight title fight between defending champion Kentaro Masuda (21-6, 11) and the unbeaten Shohei Omori (13-0, 8). This is one of those rare bouts that has excited us since it was first announced and we're just as excited as we were when we first heard of it. For Omori this is a huge test and a step up whilst Masuda will be hoping to continue his fantastic form and move towards a world title fight soon. A really great match up.
The run of great fights in Japan really doesn't let up in the middle of the month and on April 16th we see Shinsuke Yamanaka (22-0-2, 16) defending his WBC Bantamweight title against unbeaten challenger Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-0, 15). This will be Yamanaka's 8th defence of the title and it should be easier than his last one, a tough contest with Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, however Santillan does enter this bout as a bit of an unknown and may pose some early problems. On the same show we will get two key debut as well with former amateur standout Shuya Masaki (0-0) and Juiki Tatsuyoshi kicking off their professional careers.
A few days later we'll see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-2, 9) battle against Takayuki Hosokawa (26-10-3, 9) in a bout between two world ranked fighters each wanting to edge towards a world title bout. Both of these fighters are in good form, both are talented and both know that a loss will dent their hopes of a big career payday. A solid match up between two under-rated fighters.
Arguably the show of the month comes on April 22nd where we get a trio of title fights including a really amazing world title match and a brilliant Japanese title fight.
The Japanese title bout will see the unbeaten Sho Ishida (18-0, 10) defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against the limited but exciting Taiki Eto (14-3, 10), who is hoping to win a title at his third attempt. Ishida goes into this bout as the favourite and will be seeking his second before moving towards a world title bout whilst Eto will likely know it's now or never for his career.
In the main event of the show fans will see former 2-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (16-1, 10) attempt to become a 3-weight world champion as he battles the fantastic Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) for the WBA Flyweight title. Reveco, who stopped Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep last time out, will be hoping to repel Ioka who came up short last year in a Flyweight title bout against Amnat Ruenroeng. If we're being completely truthful this is a real sink or swim contest for Ioka who may well find it very hard to rebuild his career if he comes up short against the Argentinian world champion.
The other bout on this card will see IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) defending his world title against Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15). Fahlan returns to Osaka for the first time since he stopped Ryo Miyazaki back in 2013 whilst Takayama hopes to defend the belt and stay busy before a potentially huge bout in summer. This really a lesser world title bout but potentially a very important one for both men with Fahlan having the chance to claim a title that was previously held by his father.
On April 25th we get the chance to see WBA interim Light Flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin (22-1-1, 17) defending his title against little-known Chinese fighter Ma Yi Ming (12-5, 7). Ming will be hoping to become the second Chinese fighter to hold a “world” title whilst Petalcorin will be hoping to record the first defense of his title.
After the burst of fights in the middle of the month things do go quiet for a few days though the month does end with notable days. The first of those is April 29th which will see female fighter Nana Yoshikawa (4-0, 2) battle against WBA female Minimumweight champion Anabel Ortiz (16-3, 3) in a really tough match up for the unbeaten Japanese fighter. Aged 36 it's now or never for Yoshikawa, who turned pro late following a successful amateur career, though this bout may have come a little bit too soon in her development.
A day later we get a Japanese domestic title trio. The most notable of those bouts is a much anticipated rematch between Kyotaro Fujimoto (11-1, 6), the Japanese Heavyweight champion, and former Light Middleweight title holder Nobuhiro Ishida (27-10-2, 11). Ishida narrowly lost their first encounter, exactly a year prior to this bout, but that was his Heavyweight debut, since then he has gone 2-0 (1) and looks like he's adapted to the weight much better. As for Fujimoto he knows anything but a clear win will leave him looking bad. A great match up and one with a lot of expectations.
Another very interesting bout comes at Super Bantamweight where the world ranked Yukinori Oguni (14-1, 4) attempts to defend his title against Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5, 7) in a very tough bout. Oguni is making the first defence of the title he won in December, when he narrowly over-came Yusutaka Ishimoto, whilst Furuhashi is getting a long over-due shot that he was supposed to get last year against Hidenori Otake. This one could be very good when the men set foot in the ring.
At Lightweight we see the vacant title go on the line as Kota Tokunaga (14-2, 9) battles against Yuya Sugizaki (20-9-1, 6). We've got to be honest this is a much lower level match up than the other title bouts but should still be very interesting as both men look for their career defining victory in careers that have lacked a major highlight so far.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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).