April 2015 will be a huge month for Japanese boxing fans with a host of major bouts across every level of the sport. It all begins however today with the first Japanese shows of the month and it's a day that kicks things off in the perfect way. It features everything from a former world title challenger to a top class prospect, from a world ranked fringe-contender to a female title fight, oh and we have Rookie of the Year qualifying bouts! It really is the beginning of a potentially brilliant month for boxing fans.
The most notable action to begin the month comes from Osaka where we see a bit of everything in a brilliant domestic show that features everything a show at this level really should have.
The show begins with a couple of 4 rounders before moving onto an 8 round contest featuring a name fighter in need of a win against a once beaten fighter who will know that a win could really kick start his career. The name fighter in question is multi-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (22-13-1, 10) who has lost his last 3 bouts, including a world title bout against Omar Andres Narvaez and a Japanese FOTY contender against Takuya Kogawa, and knows he needs a win. Hisataka will be expecting to get that win when he goes in against Keisuke Nakayama (6-1-1, 3), though Nakayama may well be fired up knowing that this is an amazing opportunity for him to make a name for himself against a man who is certainly coming to the end of his career.
A second 8 rounder will feature touted teenager prospect Takeru Kamikubo (8-0, 5) who begins his 2015 with a bout against former Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Atsushi Aburada (9-7, 5). Last year we saw Kamikubo fighting 8 times in a little over 10 months though those bouts did come against low level opposition, this however is a big step up and a win over Aburada would see Kamikubo climb into the Japanese rankings. The 24 year old Aburada has lost 3 of his last 5 though has mixed with solid opposition, such as Yu Kimura and Yuma Iwahashi, and holds a very notable win over Toshimasa Ouchi. This is the sort of match up that will tell us a lot about both men.
The only 10 round bout on the card will see former OPBF Featherweight champion Hiroshige Osawa (26-3-4, 15) battle against Indonesian visitor Arief Blader (20-16-1, 7). Osawa comes into this bout ranked #14 in the world by the WBA and on a run of 4 stoppage wins, including a politically controversial 9th round KO against Jason Butar Butar in the Philippines, he'll be expecting to continue that run against Blader. The 29 year old visitor has lost 6 of his last 8, including his last 3, and tends to get stopped when he faces international level opposition, though notable he did go the 8 round distance with the world ranked Mike Tawatchai in 2013.
Surprisingly the main event here is a female fight which will see the unbeaten Terumi Nuki (6-0, 3) battle against Tamao Ozawa (7-2, 2) for the vacant OPBF female Flyweight title. Nuki, like stablemate Kamikubo, caught out attention last year when she over-came Kai Johnson in a very good win. As for Ozawa she has also shared the ring with Johnson, going 1-1 with the under-rated fighter, though has notably been blown away twice, once by Johnson and once by the elongated Tomoko Kawanishi. This could be a very good bout, or it could see Ozawa blown away early doors for the third time.
Also on the same day fans will get the chance to see the second day of qualifying bouts for the 2015 East Japan Rookie of the Year. This show will feature 12 bouts between Light Flyweight and Welterweight. Originally there was 13 bouts announced for the show but a Super Bantamweight bout was cancelled.
(Image courtesy of http://nakazatoboxing.com)
To end March we actually kick off the biggest annual professional boxing tournament as the 2015 Rookie of the Year begins in Tokyo. The tournament will kick off with a Rookie of the East qualifying show at the Korakuen Hall featuring 13 bouts in total from Minimumweight to Welterweight.
Rather than going through the names of the 26 fighters involved in this show we thought it was just a better idea to make our readers aware of the show. None of the fighters will be “recognisable” names and instead the card will feature solely novices looking to move towards the crown of All Japan Rookie of the Year in December. It's a long journey but the fighters know what winning the tournament can do for their career.
Although South Korean boxing has been quiet it does seem like something exciting is bubbling up under the surface. We're not 100% sure what but something is certainly happening at the moment.
What we do know is that Ye Joon Kim (10-1-2, 5)* is one of the more exciting Korean fighters and this week we see him kick off 2014 as he battles Filipino visitor Virgil Puton (14-5, 7) in a contest for the currently vacant IBF Asia Super Bantamweight title. We're big fans of the unique Kim who looks to be one of the most interesting fighters left plying his trade in Korea and he'll know he needs a win here if he's to remain the face of the Korean Boxing Federation.
In a second international bout on this cards fans will get the chance to see Sa Ya Lee** (6-2, 3) fight in an 8 rounder against Jonel Alibio (18-18-5, 10). in what appears to be a stay busy contest for the under-rated Lee, himself the KBF Lightweight champion.
The most notable of two Japanese shows comes from Aichi where fans will get a Youth world title fight as well as a competitive, but low tier, under-card.
The main event on the show will see WBC Youth Light Middleweight champion Petchsuriya Singwancha (13-9, 7) return to Japan for his 6th bout in the country and his second against Ryosuke Maruki (8-3-1, 6). These two met last July with Petchsuriya defending his title with a majority decision. Since their first bout the champion has fought 3 times, including a painful stoppage loss to the monstrously hard hitting Koki Tyson Maebara. Maruki on the other hand has fought just once since their first bout, stopping Anwar Solihin in 3 rounds, though will feel confident of claiming the title at the second chance of asking.
The most notable under-card bout here is an 8 rounder between Kazuki Fukakura (7-8-2, 3) and Ginzo Hanaki (6-11-1, 4). It's not a high level match up but it's certainly a solid bout between two guys who will really go for a win in the hopes of changing their fortunes.
In terms of 6 rounders fans will get the chance to see a couple of 2014 West Japan Rookie of the Year runner ups in action. One of those will be Super Bantamweight Takashi Igarashi (5-1, 1), who battles the presumably over-matched Reiko Sugiyama (4-4-3, 2), whilst the other is Minimumweight Jun Takigawa (5-1, 3), who takes on the light hitting Tatsuya Sakamoto (4-6, 1). Both of these should be straight forward wins for the prospects but it's also a bit of a mystery as to how fighters do after their first loss.
Sadly one bout that was scheduled for this card that has been cancelled now was set to feature the unbeaten Shogo Yamaguchi (6-0-1, 3) battle against Yuji Iwata (6-5-2, 2). That looked to be the best of the under-card bouts on paper prior to it's cancellation.
The other Japanese card comes from Hyogo and sadly looks less than exciting.
The main event will see Ryuji Miyazaki (13-7-3, 4) battle against Riichi Kawase (6-6-2, 1) in a less than thrilling looking contest. On paper Miyazaki should win against his light hitting foe with out too many problems.
In the co-feature we have an equally forgettable match up as non-punchers collide with Yushi Fujita (6-6-4, 1) battling against Kohei Maruoka (7-8-1, 1). In some ways this is a much better match up than the main event, given the two guys have similar records, though it's still nothing to write home about.
(Image courtesy of http://www.koreaboxing.or.kr)
*Boxrec don't count Kim's win over Susu Sithjadaeng from last year
**Boxrec don't count Lee's win over Sung Ta Kim from last year
This coming Saturday is one of the biggest and best of the year so far for Asian fans with a host of major fights taking place, many of which involve Filipino's
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show of the day is in the Philippines where we get several very interesting looking bouts involving some very big names in Asian boxing and some really high level talent.
In the sole world title bout on this show fans will see Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) defending his WBO Light Flyweight title again Mexican puncher Gilberto Parra (19-2, 17). Parra, on paper, looks like a really good challenger though in reality it's fair to say this is a tune up bout for Nietes who is set to fight Francisco Rodriguez Jr later in the year, barring a major shock here. The Nietes Vs Rodriguez bout will be sensational, this bout however is made to make Nietes look brilliant. Parra is made to order, crude, open and the sort of fighter than Nietes should really shine again.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21) return to the ring for his first bout since his stoppage loss last year to Nicholas Walters in a Featherweight title bout. Donaire looked to small for Featherweight and will be dropping back down to Super Bantamweight here as he battles Brazilian visitor William Prado (22-4-1, 15) in a bout for the NABF Super Bantamweight title. We suspect we'll see a bit of the Donaire of old here as he fights in the Philippines for the first time since stopping Raul Martinez in April 2009!
In one of two major support bouts fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Super Bantamweight contender Albert Pagara (22-0, 15). “Prince” Pagara will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against the dangerous looking Rodolfo Hernandez (26-5-1, 24). On paper this looks like a dangerous bout for Pagara though Hernandez's competition so far has been incredibly limited and and in all honesty Pagara should make light work of him, if the Filipino is half the fighter that he appears to be.
The other major support bout will see Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (25-1-2, 17) kick off his ALA contract as he battles Prosper Ankrah (24-4, 15) in a contest for the WBO International Bantamweight title. Akaho is on the verge of a world title shot and will know that he is risking his opportunity here, however he knows that if he impresses the crowd and the promoter he may get a world title shot next time out. Ankrah is well travelled though has lost every time he has fought at this type of level and we expect that will continue here.
Lower down we'll see the popular AJ Banal (32-2-1, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Junior Bajawa (14-5, 7). Bajawa has lost his last 4 in a row, including 3 straight stoppage losses, and that run should continue here
Another Filipino show will be held in Baguio City where several regional titles will be on the line.
In the main event fans will get the chance to see the heavy handed Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian journeyman Eddy Comaro (32-23-5, 13). This will be Aoki's first defence of the best that he won last May, when he stopped Jonel Alibio, and will see him trying to extend his run to 7 straight wins. Comaro on the other hand is seeking a 4th straight win.
In an all-Filipino bout fans will see the once beaten Robert Udtohan (22-1-2, 14) battle against the limited Mike Espanosa (12-9-1, 7) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Udtohan should be the favourite though a win here would go down as one of his best wins so far.
In an interesting match up between unbeaten fighters fans will see Philippines based Indian fighter Prabhjot Singh (1-0, 1) battle against F Faturochman (2-0, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. Whilst both of these fighters are novices we can't help be be interested in this scheduled 10 round affair which will put the winner on the map in some ways, even if they are a long way from being genuinely relevant.
Another interesting match up will see Jheritz Chavez (3-0-2, 2) stepping up massively to battle Randy Megrino (15-17-3, 8) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Chavez has been matched hard since he made his debut but this is a huge step up in class. Megrino, who doesn't a particularly attractive record, does have an occasional notable results and he could well be too much for Chavez at this point in is career.
[Note Boxrec list this card for March 29th, other sources state it's the 28th]
In Mexico we see another Filipino involved in a title bout as former WBO Minimumweight world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) takes on an extremely tough assignment against unified, WBA “Super” and WBO, Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22). For Asenjo this is an opportunity to make a name for himself however Estrada is a fantastic fighter who gave Roman Gonzalez one of his toughest ever bouts. Estrada didn't look great last time out, against Joebert Alvarez, but we suspect he'll shine here against the limited but heavy handed Asenjo.
New York, USA
We get lower profile stuff in the US as Kazakh prospect Dimash Niyazov (6-0-3, 4) put his unbeaten record on the line against the very limited, but tough, Micah Branch (2-13-1). Branch rarely picks up wins but has never been stopped and has been in with various unbeaten prospects such as Evgeny Chuprakov. Sadly for Branch he is the smaller man here and Niyazov, whilst not a world champion in the making, should be too big and too strong for the American fighter.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)
March 27th-Petch defends youth title, Oleydong, Konfah and Chanachai look to extend winning runs, Pontillas hopes to resurrect career
For Thai fans the day begins in a fun way with Channel 7 televising a show with several notable names.
The main event will see the unbeaten Petch Sor Chitpattana (29-0, 19) defending his WBC Youth Silver Bantamweight title against a Filipino opponent. Sadly we don't have the visitors name though looking at Petch's previous opponents we're not expecting a real challenge for the Thai who is slowly climbing towards a world title bout based on his record, not his competition.
A much more interesting bout will see former WBC Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (55-1-1, 21) battle against the well traveled Rasmanudin (19-8-3, 10), of Indonesia. The Indonesian “Lost Boy” has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6 though has generally been fighting as a Super Bantamweight and may be able to have a size advantage over the very experienced Oleydong.
Also in action will be the exciting teenager Kongfah CP Freshmart (12-0, 7)*, who looks to continue his rise through the ranks as he takes on a domestic foe, and the highly aggressive Chanachai Cp Freshmart (2-0, 1), who will also be taking on a Thai foe. Sadly we've not been given the names of the opponents for Kongfah or Chanachai
In Ghana we see Filipino veteran Ronald Pontillas (17-7-3, 8) attempt to resurrect his career as he goes up against the tough George Ashie (25-4-1, 18) in an interesting 10 round contest. Pontillas, known as “Unpredictable” has lost 3 of his last 5, including a 5th round KO loss last time out to Daud Cino Yordan. As for Ashie he has won his last 2 bouts and is proven to be tough having gone 12 competitive rounds with Kevin Mitchell, however he does lack a notable win.
In Russia fans will get the chance to see several Asian fighters.
One of those is 25 year old Kyrgyzstan prospect Ahmat Uulu Chingiz (1-0, 1) who takes on debutant Evgeny Andrianov (0-0). Hard to say much about Chingiz but we're hoping to see a top fighter emerge from Kyrgyzstan one day.
The other Asian fighter is Russian based Uzbek Lazizbek Uzokov (3-8, 2), who is facing a yet to be named opponent. Uzokov is limited but has strung together back-to-back wins for the first time in his career and will be hoping to notch a third successive victory here.
*Boxrec.com are missing one of Kongfah's fights
The Dangan series returns this Thursday in what originally looked like one of the best Japanese shows of the year so far. Originally it featured not only title action, with a pair of title bouts, but also a brilliant all prospect match up and two bouts between ranked contenders on the domestic scene. It wasn't stacked with world class talent but as far as a domestic show it was very solid on paper. Sadly however we saw one bout change at late notice leaving us with a respectable, but less impressive card.
The changed fight will see Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (24-8-1, 10) fight against Indonesian visitor Michael Speed Sigarlaki (15-13-2, 13) in a non-title bout. Originally however Shibata was supposed to defend his unified crown against Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). Sadly however Akiyama suffered an injury just over a week before the fight resulting in this change.
The first of the still notable bouts on this show will see ranked Super Bantamweight Kenta Toi (4-4, 1) battle against Keita Nakano (12-9-2, 2). On paper this is a mismatch however Toi scored a career defining win last time out, stopping Mikihito Seto, and is looking to build on that huge upset. Nakano will be the favourite coming in here but he is up again a man flying high and who will be full of confidence.
Possibly the standout bout of the show is between prospects as the much touted Ken Shiro (2-0, 1) battles the more experienced Katsunori Nagamine (10-0, 6). Nagamine was the 2012 All Japan Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year however he has been relatively in active since then with just 3 bouts in the last 2 years. Ken Shiro, the son of former OPBF and Japanese champion Hisashi Teraji, is viewed as another “Super prospect” and a win here will likely boost him to getting a title fight of some type later in the year. Notably Ken Shiro will be taking this fight at 112lbs, a weight that sees him fighting for the first time as a fully blown Flyweight.
In a third bout of note we will see OPBF and Japanese ranked Ryuichi Funai (22-6, 15) battle Japanese ranked Ryuta Otsuka (14-7-2, 4). Funai is on a 5 fight willing streak since coming up short against Rolly Lunas in an OPBF title fight back in 2012, that is his only loss in the last 4 years. As for Otsuka he has had mixed fortunes with a record of 3-3-1 in his last 7 however he has been in with Yuki Nasu, Konosuke Tomiyama, Teiru Kinoshita and Malcolm Tunacao during that run of 7 bouts. Neither of these guys will ever be world champions but both are fighting to get a shot as a Japanese or OPBF title in the near future and will put it all on the line to pick up a win here.
The remaining title bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (11-4-3, 1) defending his title again Yutaka Sowano (9-5-1, 6). For Odaira this is a return to the Japanese domestic level after coming up short in a world title fight with Katsunari Takayama on New Year's Eve and although he was stopped by Takayama it's hard to see Sowano really testing him here. As for Sowano this is a big step up in class.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines this week Elorde Promotions will be holding a special event to hand out the Flash Elorde awards. As well as the awards there will be a number of fights.
One of those fights will feature the world ranked Juan Martin Elorde (16-1-1, 7), a grandson of the great Flash Elorde, who looks to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title against limited Japanese visitor Hirotsugu Yamamoto (16-10-2, 2). Sadly this bout does look to be a very one-sided bout in favour of the grandson of the great Flash Elorde though should be a very popular result with the local fans attending the bout.
The Elorde/Yamamoto is one of 4 title bouts in total. Another will feature Juan Martin Elorde's younger brother Juan Miguel Elorde (17-1, 9), who will be hoping to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight. Elorde will be up against Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-2, 12) in what looks a good bout on paper but is likely to be one-sided given that Tabthong has lost the past 2 times he has faced someone of some note.
In an OPBF title bout we will see an all-Filipino clash as Vinvin Rufino (36-16-3, 16) battles Mark Gil Melligen (21-4-1, 12) for the OPBF Featherweight title. On paper this is a brilliant match up and a must win for both. Rufino has got experience at this level, having fought Hisashi Amagasa and Naoki Matsuda in previous OPBF title bouts but came up short in both of those bouts whilst Melligen will be fighting at this level for the first time.
For us however the pick of the bouts is a Filipino Bantamweight title bout which will see Monico Laurente (25-12, 6) defending his title against the once highly touted Marco Demecillo (20-2-1, 15). Laurente will be defending the belt for the 3rd time since winning it on March 25th 2012 though this is a very tough match up against a fighter looking to score a break out win of his own. This will be Demecillo second bout since losing to David Sanchez last December and it really is a must win for the 24 year old challenger.
Also on this card is promising Flyweight Giemel Magramo (12-0, 9) who battles against Jayar Estremos (10-9, 3). This looks like a mismatch but will be one of the first times Magramo has faced a fighter with a winning record so it is a small step up.
Whilst not all shows are major events we do get some relative interesting shows with bouts that look like they could deliver on action and excitement even if the quality isn't the highest. One such show takes place today in Japan.
The main event of the card sees former Japanese title challenger Kotatsu Takehara (10-11-3, 4) battle against Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Nesterenko (9-3, 4) in a genuine must win bout for both men. Kotatsu comes into this bout following back-to-back stoppage losses to Kyotaro Fujimoto and Nobuhiro Ishida whilst Nesterenko has been blown away by Denis Boytsov and Apti Davtaev and is win-less since 2010. This could be something a little bit special with both men really needing a win to have any chance at getting another notable bout.
On paper the most even of the match ups come at Bantamweight where Tonko Nakagawa (12-6-2, 4) battles against Hajime Nagai (11-6-2, 2) in a really competitive looking bout. This is the second meeting between the two men with Nakagawa claiming a split decision win over Nagai in 2012 however Nakagawa has gone 1-1-2 in his last bouts. Notably though Nagai has been relatively inactive with just 2 fights in the last 2 years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In Thailand fans get another televised show courtesy of Channel 3 who are showing a pair of title bouts.
The less notable to the title bouts here will see interim PABA Super Flyweight champion Chatpetch Sithmorseng (9-3-1, 5) attempt to make the 4th defense of his title as he takes on Filipino visitor Macrea Gandionco (10-2-1, 6). On paper this looks an even match up but the Filipino fighter has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and is the naturally smaller man coming into this bout.
The other title bout will see unbeaten teenager Stamp Kiatniwat (12-0, 5) defending his PABA interim Flyweight title against Filipino loser Wilber Andogan (10-18-4, 4). On paper this should be a very safe bout for Stamp, who is tipped very highly by some of those in the know, however he was pushed very close last time out by Espinos Sabu and probably needs an easy bout and some time to continue his development rather than another hard challenge.
Also on this card will be Thai based Nigerian Taiwo Ali (15-3, 10) who takes on a yet to be named foe as he continues his unusual career. Whilst a Nigerian being based in Thai is pretty unusual that's only one part of Ali's unique career which has seen him debut against Medgoen Singsurat and stop his last 6 foes!
In Colombia fans will see the heavy handed and world ranked Kanat Islam (18-0, 15) defending his WBA Fedelatiboutn Light Middleweight title as he battles against the unknown Orlando de Jesus Estrada (11-6-1, 9). The telling thing about this match is that Estrada has been stopped in all 6 of his stoppages whilst holding no wins of note. It's fair to assume that Chinese born Kazakh fighter Islam will extend his perfect record here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we will see an exciting Filipino in action as the heavy handed and criminally under-rated Rey Loreto (19-13, 11) looks to repeat his career defining win defend his IBO Light Flyweight for the first time. Last year we saw Loreto make a name for himself as he stopped former world champion Nkosinathi Joyi (24-3-0-1, 17) in eye catching fashion and he'll be hoping to do the same again when he travels to Joyi's homeland in a much anticipated rematch.
Sadly this bout has been cancelled at short notice several times in the past and we'd not be shocked to see bout get cancelled once again for whatever reason.