Over the last few years Teiken's dominance of the Japanese scene has really under threat and as we right this they currently have no world champions at the gym and only a pair of domestic champions. It wasn't that long ago that fighters like Shinsuke Yamanaka, Roman Gonzalez, Jorge Linares, Takashi Miura, and Carlos Cuadras all holding, or in the mix for, world titles. Now their hopes at the top level essentially lie with Ryota Murata, who will know a loss in July ends his career, the beyond their best trio of Gonzalez, Linares and Cuadras, who are all still in the mix, but not the fighters they once were, and Kenichi Ogawa.
Worryingly all of the names so far mentioned are 30 or above, and most of them are seen as being on the slide.
It would be easy to suggest the Teiken gym is now longer a leading gym in Japan. The likes of the Watanabe Gym and the Ohashi Gym seem to have over-taken it in recent years, and the gym hasn't replaced their faded stars. That however would be partially wrong. The gym isn't done as a top gym, what has happened however is that their transitional stage to the next generation of top fighters, has been delayed some what.
What we mean by that is that instead of having ready made replacements for their faded stars the gym really missed out on a generation of talent. They failed to secure the youngsters who were part of the current generation of stars. The likes of Naoya Inoue and Kenshiro and Hiroto Kyoguchi and Kosei Tanaka took other options, and didn't ink deals with the Teiken gym. Sometimes the reason was obvious, such as location or gym owner, and other times it wasn't, but what is clear is that the top Japanese fighters of today saw other avenues, and went their own way.
That left Teiken needing to chase the next wave of fighters, and that's exactly what they've done, signing 3 top Japanese amateurs in the last 18 or so months, and developing some lesser talents as well. They have essentially had to play catch up with the rival gyms since Yamanaka retired, and they have done so in a manner that could end up having them back on top of the Japanese scene in the coming years.
Before we look at their top prospects it's worth looking at both of their current national champions. They are Super Featherweight Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) and Welterweight Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12). Interestingly neither of these were amateur standouts, Sueyoshi managed to go 21-8 in the amateurs before competing in the 2012 Rookie of the Year, losing to Masayuki Ito. Nagano on the other hand won the 2015 Rookie of the Year. Both have developed from Rookies to national champions, and that leads us to one of the top Teiken prospects, one who doesn't have a strong amateur backing but has excited fans.
Super Flyweight hopeful Hayate Kaji (12-0, 9), like Sueyoshi and Nagano, came through the Rookie of the Year. In fact Kaji won the Super Flyweight competition on the same day that Nagano won the Welterweight competition, in 2015, winning the final in just his 4th professional bout. Sadly since that Rookie triumph Kaji hasn't shone like many suspected, and despite maintaining his unbeaten record the 21 year old has shown signs of ill discipline, and disappointing performances, especially his 2017 clash with Jun Blazo. Those poor performances, added to blow outs against some horribly over-matched competition, has seen Kaji essentially put on the back burner, with his team clearly focused on getting him experience before getting him a title fight. That's a risky approach for the youngster, who needs to be tested, but he is a big hope for the gym, with an exciting style and vicious power, and time well and truly on his side.
Whilst Kaji is clearly a prospect to keep an eye on the more interesting thing about the Teiken gym is a trio of former amateur standouts, who are just beginning their professional careers but all 3 are marked, already, for something huge.
They are Mikito Nakano (2-0, 2), Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1) and Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) who only 5 pro fights between but can already be regarded as 3 of the brightest hopes in Japanese boxing, and at the time of writing all 3 are 23 years old.
The oldest of the 3, by a few months, is Nakano a southpaw competing in the Featherweight division. He ran up a tremendous 68-9 (48) record in the amateur ranks before turning professional last year and debuting in October. Despite being a fantastic talent his first two bouts were little more than show cases against Thai novices however we now know that his third bout, scheduled for July 6th, will come against Filipino Arvin Yurong (12-2, 3).
Yurong is a really test for Nakano, and he showed a lot of desire and hunger in his January loss to Xiang Li. If Yurong can show that same hunger here he could give Nakano real issues and ask very serious questions of the Teiken man. If Nakano slices through him we can already mark Nakano as someone who should be mixing for titles by the end of 2020.
On the same card as Nakano's bout with Yurong we'll see Lee have his second bout. Like Nakano Lee is a southpaw, and had a stellar amateur career, running up a reported 102-10 amateur record. He fights at 140lbs, a division which Japan hasn't had much international success at in recent years, and looks like a real natural. On his debut he hardly broke sweat, beating a Thai novice inside a round, but looked like every punch he threw was crisp, natural and sharp. He's someone with a lot of potential, strong amateur background, and a rather rare backstory, with North Korean blood in his veins. As an amateur he competed for North Korea in international competitions and clear has the ability to make a mark well above domestic level.
At the moment Lee's opponent for his July 6th bout hasn't been announced, though the bout will be scheduled for 6 rounds and we'd expected a limited opponent, before a stiffer test at the end of the year.
Nakano and Lee are both fighting on the same card leaving Iwata as the odd one out, however he will actually be in the ring on July 12th, as part of the under-card for Ryota Murata rematch with Rob Brant. Iwata made his professional debut in the US last year, after running up a 59-12 (16) amateur record, and then made his Japanese debut earlier this year against Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama. Unlike the other two he does spend plenty of time in the west and clearly is happy to fight on international soil early in his career, despite the fact he's a Light Flyweight and the best competition there is in Asia right now. On paper the's the least experienced in terms of amateur bouts, but his win over Kameyama is the best that the trio have and he seems the ost likley to be fast tracked.
We've not yet been told who Iwata will be debuting against but we're expecting it to be an international opponent, hopefully some one who will ask Iwata something new, and allow the speedy youngster to show more of what he can do.
Whilst the Teiken gym hasn't got any world champions, it appears they have 3, or 4 if we include Kaji, top prospects and the foundation is there for the next wave of Teiken success. It might be a few years away, and we may see Watanabe and Ohashi move further ahead in that time, but Teiken is not dead, it's merely transitioning to the next generation of fighters, and they are very exciting.
One more thing to add is the fact Teiken will be scouting the 2020 Olympics and will be expecting to pick up several of the top prospects from those games, so the next wave of Teiken fighters won't just be Kaji, Nakano, Lee and Iwata, but also some of the fighters who may well medal at Tokyo games. The gym has the money, the connections and the know how to secure big signatures, and we're really excited to see where those Olympians end up at the end of next year, along with those top amateurs who fail to qualify for the games. They are likely to have promoters, including Teiken, trying to get their signatures, and strengthen the stables for the future.
Teiken isn't dead, it's just a sleeping giant.
(All Images courtesy of Teiken.com)
The month of May promised a lot for Japanese fighters, with a staggering 8 world title fights featuring Japanese fighters during the first month of the new Reiwa period of Japanese history. Sadly what could have been a huge month for Japanese fighters was a nightmare, with their fighters going 1-7 for the month at the top level. Whilst history was made in Europe, Japanese fighters suffered losses on Japanese, Chinese and American soil, and some defeats were horribly one sided.
The first of the Japanese fighters to fall short was Ryuichi Funai (31-8, 22) who was stopped in the 7th round by Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) on May 4th, in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout. Ancajas was a big under-dog, but his performance saw him being totally out classed, and used as a punch bag by Ancajas, who had one of his best performances. Whilst Fuani showed his toughness his lack of defense, speed and movement really cost him hard here and allowed Ancajas one of his best performances so far.
Just over a week later, on May 13th, we saw Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) put up a brave effort as he lost to Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25), in an IBF Flyweight title bout. To credit Kuroda he was always seen as the under-dog and was really competitive in the first half, though ended the bout as the clear loser, suffering awful facial swelling in the process. Kuroda's effort deserves so many plaudits, but at the end of the day Mthalane was too good, too sharp and too skilled.
The third man to lose again put up a brave effort, with Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7) coming up short in an IBF Light Flyweight title fight with Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30) on May 19th. Again the Japanese challenger put up a great effort, and was competitive at times, but was unable to match the champion overall, and was rocked hard late on as Alvarado came close to dropping the Shinsei man. All credit to Konishi for his effort, but he was clearly second best here to the excellent champion
The weekend of May 25th and 26th was a nightmare for Japanese fighters, a real nightmare, with a 0-3 run over the weekend. The first of those to lose was Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13), who lost the WBO Super Featherweight title to Jamel Herring (20-2, 10), in what was regarded as a 50-50 bout. Herring really boxed to a fantastic gameplan to out point Ito, who failed to ever get a read on the southpaw stance of Herring.
Just a day later we saw back to back losses for Shun Kubo (13-2, 9) and Sho Kimura (18-3-2, 11).
Kubo put in a fan friendly performance, though was stopped by Chinese fighter Can Xu (17-2, 3) in a WBA "regular" Featherweight title fight. Kubo came to win, and gave a good account of himself, but was worn down by Xu, who made his first defense.
Kimura on the other hand was lacklustre, and very disappointed in himself, as he lost to WBA "regular" Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (22-0-1, 17). Kimura, who dropped down in weight, looked like he had lost 25% of his usual hunger, desire and energy and was rarely a threat to Canizales.
The final set back came on May 31st when former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6, 7) lost a technical decision to WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18). This rematch was expected to be hotly contested, but Fukuhara was just doing enough to lose competitive rounds to Wanheng, who extended his unbeaten record.
The only shining light for Japanese boxing at the world level this past month was the sensational Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16), who created history in Glasgow by stopping Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1,12) in 2 rounds to add the IBF Bantamweight title to his WBA regular belt. This bout, on May 18th, saw a Japanese fighter win a world title bout on European soil for the first time, after 20 losses, and proved to be their only success at world level this past May.
Whilst many of those who lost were clear under-dogs, such as Funai, Mthalane and Kubo, others weren't. Kimura was the betting favourite and Ito was a 50-50 shot. To see such a band month is a real worry and one that will linger in the mind of Japanese fans for the foreseeable future, as all the countries other top fighters, several of which have big fights in June and July.
Whilst the month promised a lot, it was a disaster for Japanese fighters, and hopefully not a sign that the Reiwa era will be a bad one for the Land of the Rising Sun.
On May 18th we'll see Japanese star Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) attempt to progress to the WBSS Final, as he takes on Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12). The bout, for the IBF, WBA "regular" and the Ring Magazine Bantamweight title is really highly anticipated though is strangely regarded as a mismatch with the bookies.
At the time of writing the book makers in the UK have Inoue priced at 1/7 to win with Rodriguez priced as high as 25/4.
This isn't going to be one of our looks into the odds however, and is instead a bit of a history piece, suggesting that those odds really are remarkable, and that a win for Inoue would actually be an historic milestone for Japanese boxing. In fact it would end a 51 year barren run for Japanese fighters travelling to Europe in world title fights. It would be a first in a number of ways and could be a real turning point in the way Japanese fighters figure in Europe.
It's long been accepted that Japanese fighters don't do well on their travels. They have had notoriously bad form in nearby Thailand, as well as the US and Mexico. What is often over looked however is that they are 0-20 in world title fights in Europe. A figure that is incredible given the talent Japan has given us. Worryingly it's not just been lesser challengers who have come up short when they have travelled continent but some really good fighters as well. And their misfortune runs across Europe, from Russia to the UK.
So lets roll back the clock. The first loss by a Japanese fighter in a world title fight in Europe came way back in 1968, when Mitsunori Seki fought Howard Winstone for the WBC Featherweight title. Both men had been leading contenders, essentially unable to over-come the legendary Vincente Saldivar, who beat Winstone 3 times and beat Seki twice. When Saldivar retired the two fought for the title he vacated with Winstone stopping Seki in the 9th round, retiring the Japanese fighter.
The difference between then and now is huge. Back then there was only 2 titles, the WBC and WBA titles. Despite both fighters being top contenders they were both in their mid 20's, with Seki being the younger man at 26 and Winstone being 28. Despite that Winstone was figthing for the 65th time whilst Seki was in his 73rd bout. We don't often see careers like that any more. Interestingly neither man would fight beyond the year, with Seki retiring after this loss and Winstone retiring following his title loss 6 months later.
It would take 6 years before another Japanese fighter travelled over for a shot at glory, with that being Lion Furuyama in 1974. The Japanese fighter had a win some-lose some record but would come close to upsetting Perico Fernandez in a bout for the then vacant WBC Light Welterweight title. The bout took place on neutral soil, in Italy, and was decided by Ronald Dakin's card of 148-147 to Fernandez. Yes the bout was decided by a single round of the scoring referee's card. This is as close as a Japanese fighter has come to clinching a world title in Europe.
Interestingly both Furuyama and Fernandez would go on to suffer 2 losses to Thai legend Saensak Muangsurin, with Fernandez being the man Muangsurin beat for the title in his third bout, and Furuyama being the man he beat in his second bout.
The third occasion, at least the third one we could find, was 13 years later, taking place in 1987 in the UK and comes from a peculiar time in Japanese boxing history. This bout saw Akio Kameda travel to face Terry Marsh for the IBF Light Welterweight. At the time the JBC didn't recognise the IBF at all, holding that stance until very recently. As a result Japanese fighters who wanted to fight for IBF titles fought under the alternative IBF Japan. A number of fighters did this, including Satoshi Shingaki. Kameda became the first, and only, IBF Japan fighter to travel to the UK to fight for a world title.
Marsh broke down Kameda until the Japanese visitor's team stopped the bout between rounds 6 and 7 in what was the final bout for both men.
Despite the long break between Furuyama and Kameda getting shots there wasn't a long wait for the next one, with Akinobu Hiranaka travelling to Italy to face Argentinian Juan Martin Coggi for the WBA Light Welterweight title. Although Coggi was an Argentinian the Italian had adopted him following his 1987 title win over Patrizio Oliva, and this was his 4th bout in the country.
Hiranaka knew he would need a KO to win and did all he could to get it, dropping Coggi hard in round 3 and having him in all sorts of trouble. Coggi would grit it out though, dropping Hiranaka later in the bout to help secure a wide decision on the cards. Hiranaka would later claim the title, ripping it from Edwin Rosario in 1992, in just 92 seconds.
Bizarrely there wasn't a single Japanese title challenger travelling to Europe in the 1990's, from what we found, but since 2004 there has been 16, more than 1 a year. They've all come up short, but they have had mixed performances with some certainly putting up better effort than others.
In 2004 we saw both Nobuaki Naka and Yoshinori Nishizawa come up short in firsts. Naka was the first to fight in Denmark, losing in a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight to Johnny Bredahl via a wide decision. Just 9 months after Naka's loss Nishizawa travelled to Germany to challenge WBA Super Middleweight champion Markus Beyer, becoming the first Japanese fighter to challenger for a Super Middleweight title and the first to challenge in Germany. Surprisingly Nishizawa, then aged 38, dropped Beyer before losing a wide decision to the German.
The following year Shigeru Nakazato travelled to France, marking the first time a Japanese fighter had challenged in the country, where he was stopped in 6 rounds by the exciting Mahyar Monshipour. Interestingly this card did feature a notable win for Japan, as Toshiaki Nishioka picked up a win against Mustapha Abahraouhi, which was the only win we stumbled on in a none-title fight during our research.
It was a return to France in 2006 when Takefumi Sakata battled Robert Vasquez for the WBA "interim" Flyweight title. This was the lowest we found and was another where the Japanese fighter gave a great account, losing a split decision to Vasquez in the first meeting between the two. Despite the loss Sakata would get a shot at the regular title just 3 months later, beating Lorenzo Parra in a third bout between the two men. In his first defense Sakata avenged his loss to Vasquez, winning a decision in Tokyo over the Panamanian.
Although there was a rise in activity of Japanese challengers in Europe there wasn't one in 2007. Instead we had to wait until 2008 when Norio Kimura challenged Andriy Kotelnik in Ukraine for the WBA Light Welterweight title. Kimura had come into the bout with a lot of momentum, but was no match for the skills and craft of Kotelnik, who took a wide and clear win over Kimura to make his first defense.
In 2009 we were back in Europe twice. The first of those bouts saw hard hitting Middleweight Koji Sato take on WBA Middleweight king Felix Sturm. The dangerous Sato was nullified by Sturms excellent jab and stopped in round 7, suffering the first loss of his career. Sato, who recently revealed that he wanted to competed in the 2020 Olympics, would suffer only 1 other defeat, losing to Makoto Fuchigami in 2011 and we'll speak about him a little bit later.
The second bout was another in Ukraine as Motoki Sasaki challenged the then WBA Welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko. Sasaki's technical limitations were a massive obsctable here against the technically sound, though rather uninspiring, Senchenko. The Ukrainian was cut but a clear winner, with Sasaki being deducted points for a headclash in round 6.
After a few years where Japanese fighters stayed at home there was a pair of bouts in 2012, and strangely both were at Middleweight and took place within a matter of days. The first of those was in Russia, where Nobuhiro Ishida challenged Dmitry Pirog for the WBO Middleweight title. Despite putting up a solid effort Ishida would lose a wide decision to the excellent Russian, in what would turn out to be his last fight before injury forced him out of the ring. Just days later Makoto Fuchigami, who ended the career of Koji Sato, would face Gennady Golovkin in Ukraine. Sadly for Fuchigami he was totally out of his depth and was stopped in 3 rounds by the Kazakh great, who retained his WBA title.
An aside, is that Pirog and Golovkin were meant to meet in the US after this bout, but plans were scuppered by Pirog's injury, meaning Golovkin made his US debut against Grzegorz Proksa, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ishida marked an historic first in 2013 when he challenged Golovkin himself, and like Fuchigami he was stopped in 3 rounds. This bout, in Monaco, saw Ishida become the first Japanese fighter to challenge for a world title in Europe twice, and the first to lose twice. He would however remain a popular figure and twice fight for the Japanese Heavyweight title afterwards.
The bout between Ishida and Golovkin wasn't the only time a Japanese fighter world travel in 2013. The other saw Yuzo Kiyota challenge Robert Stieglitz for the WBO Super Middleweight title, Kiyota was a deducted a point early against the German champion and later stopped on cuts. Originally the result was announced as a technical decision win for Stieglitz, himself a very poor champion, though was later reviewed and changed to a TKO win.
At the time of writing Boxrec incorrectly lists, in the wikipedia for the fight, that this was the first time a Japanese fighter had challenged for a world title at 168lbs or higher. That was, however, Yoshinori Nishizawa back in 2004 who did it twice, first against Anthony Mundine in Australia then again against Markus Beyer in Germany.
In recent years the UK has seen Japanese challengers coming over on a pretty regular basis, about 1 a year. The first of those was in 2014 when Hidenori Otake travelled to challenger Scott Quigg, the then WBA Super Bantamweight champion. Otake put up a brave effort, and showed incredible toughness, but struggled to have any great success against the much sharper Quigg. The following year Ryosuke Iwasa travelled to face Lee Haskins for the vacant IBF Bantamweight title. This was regarded as a 50-50 match up, though unfortunately Iwasa was stopped in round 5, following a peach a shot from Haskins.
Iwasa, like Hiranaka, would later go on to win a world title, moving up in weight to take the IBF Super Bantamweight title.
In 2016 Keita Obara travelled to Russia to challenge the then IBF Light Welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky. Obara had moments in this bout, and seemed to wobble Troyanovsky at one point, but was knocked out of the ring in round 2 before later being stopped the same round. At the time of writing this is the last time a Japanese fighter challenged in Europe, but not in the UK.
We saw two Japanese fighters travel to the UK challenge for world titles in 2017, both challenging WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The first of those was Suguru Muranaka, who proved to be incredibly tough and gutsy, but lost a clear decision to Yafai in Birmingham. Following Muranaka was the more skilled Sho Ishida, who asked questions of Yafai but fought far too tamely to take the decision. Despite the wins over the Japanese pairing Yafai did little to enhance his reputation with the wins and has failed to shine since.
With a 20 fight losing streak in world title bouts in Europe Japanese supporters may need to be a little cautious of Inoue ahead of the fight with Rodriguez. It's not a gimme for Inoue, as the betting suggests, and although he's, easily, the best Japanese fighter to have fought in Europe he is going to be well aware that history is not on his side.
Recently I probably pissed off some followers, especially British ones, with my recent retweets towards the #RevokeArticle50Now petition. I was asked by one American whether we were Asian boxing or Asian Boxing Politics, thank's John. What we are is are is about globalism, something that many aren't.
If you're reading this now you're reading an Englishman, writing for an a boxing website where we take regular contributions from from people from Britain, Greece and the Philippines. We get paid thanks to readers all over the globe.
I'm currently using a a German laptop, drinking Polish beer and listening to an Australian-British band. It's rare I go into my personal life, but here we are.
We are, as much as this will piss people off, effected by politics. Since "Brexit" our advertising revenue from the UK has dropped by more than 50% (from £0.99 to £0.49 RPM), as a result we are, financially inclined to revoking Article 50. We aren't political in this opinion, but business orientated. Imagine someone took 17% of your pay for the last 2 years. That's what the whole Brexit thing appears to have done to us.
So this leads us to a few interesting points.
Are we political? Yes. We put the survival of this site first. If someone that can harm us comes up, we will do out best to campaign against it. Again we don't have big money sponsors, we don't ask our readers to pay, and we are often looking to provide free options to our readers. In the entire time this site has been running we have NEVER asked for payments, we have NEVER taken anything we do and made it a pay option, and we NEVER want to.
We do however need to be funded and losing a good chunk of our revenue due to political decisions can sting. And lets not act like we're in our own bubble here. Sports an politics do mix, they always will and they really should. I know I'll annoy people by saying that but it's true.
From Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Antonio Inoki, Imran Khan, Manny Pacquiao, Alexis Arguello and so many others we've seen sports people being involved in politics. These are people who were standard bearers for their countries, they were hero from their sporting accomplishments playing a part in the political process, and helping force changes. They are are the true hero.
For us sport is a platform as much as anything. Yes we are boxing fans, much like we are ACDC and L'arc En Ciel fans, or fans of the James Bond movies, hey don't judge us on that one!, but all those platforms give people a chance to be political.
We're not trying to rub people up the wrong way, we understand that Brexit has some great potential (shame Theresa May has got a deal that is embarrassingly bad), but at the end of the day it has cost us, and we can come out and suggest it's a bad idea for us. We are fans of globalism, we are fans of boxing, we are vocal about spreading Asian boxing across the globe, and we will never give up trying to expand the name and attention the top Asian fighters get in the west.
If you don't agree that's fine, we're about as inclusive as we can be, but if you question us about globalism, maybe query why you're on a site designed to increase the global exposure of fighters from Asian.
This past week hasn't been the busiest in terms of fights, but there has been a fair bit of news scattered through the week, from opponents and bouts being announced, to an agreement being announced for the streaming of a world title fight.
CBC proudly announces the streaming of the bout - Kosei Tanaka Vs Ryoichi Taguchi
Lets start with the best bit of news, confirmation that we will indeed be working with CBC to bring you, our readers, the chance to watch the upcoming WBO Flyweight title bout between Kosei Tanaka and Ryoichi Taguchi. This streaming agreement had been in the works for a while, but the agreement was signed this week, offering international fans the chance to watch the bout for free. The only restriction is that it won't be available in Japan, where the TBS affiliates will career it for free.
Kanat Islam's return "delayed indefinitely"
From some great news to some less than great news, as Kanat Islam's return has now been changed again, this time to "delayed indefinitely". There had been hopes he would be in the ring in March and then April but the dates kept sliding as his recovery from injury has turned out to be less effective than hoped. There is now a real chance that the unbeaten Kazakh will not return to the ring.
The bulk of the news from this week has been announcements of bouts and returns to the ring.
Vijender Singh's US debut set for April 12th!
Unbeaten Indian hopeful Vijender Singh's long awaited return to the ring is now set for April 12th, in what will be his US debut. The Indian hasn't fought in well over a year, though the hope is that he will get back in the ring and reclimb the world rankings, moving towards a potential world title fighter sooner, rather than later.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov to return on May 11th
Another return is that of 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, who revealed on instagram that he will fight again on May 11th. There is no opponent announced, and details are scarce, though it's always good to see someone with the talent of Gaibnazarov in action. He's not been away from the ring for long, having fought earlier this year, but the hope is that he will take on a notable foe.
Former world title challenger Osawa in action on April 7th!
Also announced this week was the next bout of former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa, who will fight in Sakai City on April 7th. His opponent is a weak one, but it does seem like he will have a big bout set later in the year and this fight here is more about shaking ring rust than moving to a second world title fight.
Sadriddin Akhmedov set to fight in March!
Unbeaten Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov had his next fight revealed as taking place later this month. His opponent wasn't revealed at the time of the announcement, but it will be for a regional WBC title and will give the Canadian based fighter his first professional bout in his the land of his birth.
Akira Yaegashi and Koki Koshikawa have next opponents named!
It was also this week that Akira Yaegashi and Koki Koshikawa had their next opponents named. Neither will be facing anyone too testing, though it is good to put a name to their opponents. Yaegashi is clearly in a stay busy fight, ahead of a potentially huge bout later in the year, whilst Koshikawa is primed for a domestic title fight, and both will be ticking over.
Title bout announcements also came through the week, with several notable bouts being announced, one way or another.
Etsuko to defend WBO title against Thai challenger
The highest profile bout revealed this week was the WBO female Minimumweight title bout, which Thai sources revealed would see Etsuko Tada defending her belt against a 20 year old Thai challenger on April 27th. The bout is expected to be one of a number of world title fights on the card. It should be a straight forward win for the talented champion, but will at least keep her ticking over whilst awaiting a shot at the WBC title.
Elorde Vs Kawashima set for WBO Asia Pacific title!
Filipino fighter Juan Miguel Elorde will defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight against talented Japanese title challenger Shohei Kawashima, on March 25th. This is a pretty interesting bout, and one that Elorde can ill afford to lose, given he has a #2 WBO world ranking, and a loss here would end any dreams he has of getting a world title shot
Saka and Noynay to battle for WBO Asia Pacific title
A second WBO Asia Pacific title fight to be announced this week was a Super Featherweight title bout between Kosuke Saka and Joe Noynay, which will take place on April 20th. This is an interesting fight, and one we are really looking forward to, with our fingers crossed that it will be featured on Boxing Raise.
Saito and Kimura to unify titles on April 18th
On the Japanese level we now know that Yuta Saito and Hayato Kimura will battle on April 18th to unify the Japanese Bantamweight regular and interim titles. Saito was supposed to defend the belt in December before falling ill, leading to Kimura winning the interim belt. This should be a very fan friendly contest, and the winner could find themselves moving into a regional title fight later in 2019.
This past hasn't been a busy one for Asian boxing news, it has had some interesting news stories over the past few days.
Donnie Nietes vacates, Ioka Vs Palicte to be ordered?
It was revealed that Filipino great Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) would be honoured for his career in December, during the next WBO Convention, and that he had vacated the WBO Super Flyweight title, rather than face mandatory challenger and fellow Filipino Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21). Interestingly the next highest ranked available contender with the WBO is Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) [井岡一翔], so that could give us a really good fight to crown a new champion.
Nietes' reason for vacating is that he wants to pursue career defining fights, so the suggestion is that his next contest will be something very big and very exciting.
Srisaket Vs Estrada II set for April 26th!
Nietes' vacating was one of two big Super Flyweight stories this past week, with the other being the news that Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26) have a date and venue for their highly anticipated rematch. We now know that this bout will take place on April 26th at the Forum in Los Angeles.
The two fought a brilliant bout in early 2018
Ancajas Vs Funai heading to the US!
More Super Flyweight news!
Although there's not been a date or venue set for the IBF Super Flyweight mandatory title bout between defending champion Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20) mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22) [船井 龍一], it has all but been confirmed that the bout will be taking place Stateside. Ancajas, who works with Top Rank, were always expected to get the fight in the US for ESPN but this weeks news also revealed that the contest was being pencilled in for April.
MP Promotions March 23rd card full released!
Filipino promotional outfit MP Promotions, run by Manny Pacquiao, revealed the full show details for their March 23rd card and it's a bit of a doozy with two world title eliminators, one at Bantamweight and one at Minimumweight, an interesting match up between Ronnie Baldonado (13-1-1, 9) battle Elias Joaquino (12-3-2, 6) and the international debut of Chinese hopeful Lei Wang (2-0, 1). The card is well worth making a note of, though looks like it will be a tricky one to watch if you're not inside the Philippines.
The world title eliminators for this show will be an IBF Bantamweight world title eliminator, as Michael Dasmarinas (28-2-1, 19) and Kenny Demecillo (14-4-2, 8) and a Samuel Salva (16-0, 10) taking on Rene Mark Cuarto (16-1-1, 9), both of which should be very competitive.
Sharipova turns down rival countries for Olympic place
The weekly Firuza Sharipova (9-1, 4) [фируза шарипова] stories continued to come from her press department, who this week told the Central Asian boxing press that Sharipova had turned down a $1,000,000 offer to compete at the 2020 Olympics for a team from Asia. The way Sharipova stories have come out this year we're expecting to see something believable at some point, until then however we'll enjoy these stories which are significantly more entertaining than her in ring career has been recently. It's a shame that we keep see these stories, because she's a good fighter, but it appears that these stories mean more to her and her team than actually fighting!
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).