This coming Monday fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get a pretty low key card, but one that does feature a few bouts of some note, with 3 JBC ranked fighters and a promising unbeaten hopeful.
The main event will see two ranked fighters facing off, with Light Welterweights Takashi Inagaki (20-16-2, 9) and Yusuke Konno (12-4, 6) fighting in what amounts to a Japanese title eliminator. Both men are ranked in the top 10 by the JBC and with both men being in their 30's they will know that they can't really afford any more set backs if they are to get a shot at the national title. Coming into this Inagaki has had some mixed results, losing 3 of his last 6, but has often faced off against bigger men with many of his bouts being at Welterweight. As for Konno he did fight for the Japanese title last year, and put up a great effort before being stopped in the 10th round by Koichi Aso. This isn't an amazing match up on paper, but with a lot at steak we're expecting a very hotly contested fight.
Another of the notable bouts will see the promising Fire Ikkyu (6-0, 4) risk his unbeaten record against the returning Yuji Okinori (8-4-1, 1), who hasn't fought since April 2017. Although unbeaten Ikkyu has been pushed to the wire twice and will know that another another close bout will hard his chances of moving into the Japanese rankings in the near future. As for Okinori he's actually the most proven opponent Ikkyu will have faced, despite having lost his last 2 bouts. Again this bout is likely to be better than it looks on paper.
The third Japanese ranked fighter in action here is Takaaki Kanai (9-7, 4) who takes on Hiroshi Niiza (7-4, 5). Coming in to this Kanai has a Bantamweight ranking with the JBC but will actually be competing at Super Bantamweight for this bout, as he looks to build on his career best win against Hideo Sakamoto back in March. A win here won't magically jump him to a number one contender, but a loss will set Kanai back massively. As for Niiza the 36 year old has gone 3-3 in his last 6, but has lost to the only notable fighters he has faced in those 6 bouts, and it's fair to say his career is coming to an end, win or lose here.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fans will get the chance to see a national title fight, as Thai based Japanese fighter Soh Ohba (3-0-1, 3) takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Nikhom Hongthong (2-0-1, 1) for the Thai Super Featherweight title. The 37 year old Ohba is the nephew of former Japanese legend Masao Ohba and despite being Japanese has fought his entire career in Thailand, having debuted back in November 2016. The actual Thai born Hongthong, who fights as Pone Sithmanopchai, is 40 years old and will likely know this will be his only title fight, if he loses.
Interesting Ohba and Hongthong have got a bit of history here, with the two having fought to a draw last year. That was in Ohba's second bout and in Hongthong's debut, and was over 4 rounds whilst this bout will be over 8 rounds, giving them more of a chance to have a clear winner.
As well as the Thai card there will also be Rookie of the Year card in Hyogo. The winners of the bouts on this card will take a huge step towards becoming the All Japan Rookie of the Year, and will reach the regional final.
In Thailand fans will be able to see Japanese puncher Yuya Nakamura (7-1, 5) continue his rather unorthodox career as he continues to build his record in Bangkok. The once beaten Japanese fighter will be up against Yutthichai Wannawong (8-6, 6) in a bout for a regional title. The Japanese fighter lost on his debut in China, back in 2012, and since then has fought twice in the Philippines, once more in China before building his reputation in Thailand, where he is 4-0 (1). The actual Thai born fighter won't be expected to slow down Nakamura's run, and with 5 stoppages losses against his name already, he's not even expected to last long.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
Another title fight will take place in the Philippines, as the unbeaten John Michael Zulueta (7-0-2, 3) battles against the once beaten Cris Ganoza (15-1, 8) in a bout for the Asian Boxing Federation Minimumweight title. Coming into this bout Zulueta is riding a 7 fight winning run, following back to back draws to begin his career, and has picked up the a low level title already in his short career, though he is stepping up in class massively here. Ganoza's only defeat came to Edward Heno, of which there is no shame at all, and since then he has scored 3 straight wins and will have rebuilt his confidence coming in to this bout. This could be a very competitive and close bout.
A second Filipino show will take place in Benguet where fans will get the chance to see a number of notable domestic fighters in action.
One of those notable fighters is experienced 28 year old Ryan Rey Ponteras (21-13-1, 10), who will be up against the limited Silem Serang (11-17-1, 1). Although Ponteras doesn't have an amazing looking record, he is pretty good and has had a number of very questionable defeats. Serang on the other hand is a professional loser of sorts and has been stopped 11 times and rarely heard the final bell when fighting outside of Indonesia, with only a single win outside of his homeland.
A much better looking bout will see Edrin Dapudong (33-6-1, 20) end an 18 month break from the ring to take on Jomar Fajardo (14-11-2, 7) in what should be an excellent match up. In his pomp Dapudong was a was an IBO champion and a fringe contender, with notable wins against the likes of Gideon Buthelezi and Bert Batawang, though it's unclear what he has left given his length break from the ring. Fajardo is best known for his two fights against Francisco Rodriguez Jr, though since then he has taken a lot of punishment, and it's hard to know what he has left to offer.
Another notable fighter on this card is former OPBF Flyweight title challenger Cris Paulino (17-3, 7), who will be expected to take a very easy win over the light punching Junjie Lauza (6-21-2, 1).
Attention turns to Singapore this coming Friday, as Golden Gloves Asia put on a pretty notable card, featuring some promising local talent.
The headline bout from the card will see the unbeaten Muhamad Ridhwan (10-0, 7) continue his rise through the ranks as he takes on Indonesian veteran Rivo Rengkung (36-25-6, 14). On paper this is a step backwards for Ridhwan, given he beat Jeson Umbal back in April, but he's keep busy ahead of a scheduled September bout against Mike Tawatchai. The 34 year old Rengkung, fighting in his 68th bout, has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and will be expected to come up short again here, though may find a way to survive to the final bell.
Another unbeaten local who seems to be taking a step back as he stays busy is Hamzah Farouk (5-0, 3), who takes on Ramly Pasaribu (6-12, 1). Given that Farouk has beaten a couple of better fighters this year this bout does seem disappointing, but the 29 year old is staying busy with this being his third bout of the year and we suspect his team will look to move him up a level before the end of 2018. As for Pasaribu he has won his last 2 bouts, but has been stopped in all 6 of his bouts outside of Indonesia.
Another local worthy of note is Abdelelah Karroum (2-0, 2), who steps up in class to face Benny Tamaela (4-8, 1). The local has blown out his first 2 opponents inside a round and will be hoping to continue his destructive run here. On paper this is a step up, however Tamaela has been stopped in 6 of his 8 losses, and is unlikely to survive Karroum's power for the scheduled 6 rounds.
Compostela Valley, Philippines
Also on Friday will be a small Filipino card.
In one of the notable bouts fans will see Aries Buenavidez (10-2, 6) put his 6 fight winning run on the line as he goes up against Arnold Garde (8-6-3, 3). The in form Buenavidez has stopped 5 of his last 6 and has been stepping up in class recently, going from novices to notable domestic veterans, but this does look like another step up for the 22 year old. As for Garde he is a decent test on the domestic level, but he has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, suffering stoppage losses to Jonathan Taconing and Rey Loreto in his last 2 bouts. Garde could be a good test for Buenvidez, but if the last two bouts have taken their toll on him he may well become the next stoppage victim for the twice beaten prospect.
Another prospect expecting to pick up a win is the unbeaten Joel Lino (9-0-1, 3), who faces off against domestic journeyman Bonjun Loperez (10-9-1, 5). The 23 year old Lino has recently shown a belief in his power, stopping his last 2 foes, and this could well be a third stoppage win in a row given that Loperez has been stopped in 6 of his 9 losses. Loperez has got some power of his own, but it's unlikely he'll pose too muchg of a threat for the unbeaten youngster.
Also on this card will be Ronnie Baldonado (10-1-1, 7), who looks to bounce back from his March loss to Kosei Tanaka, as he takes on Ramel Antaran (3-9-1). This really should be a mismatch in favour of Baldonado, though we can't complain too much at the 22 year old having an easy fight given the damage he had taken at the hands of Tanaka, who stopped him after 9 relative one-sided rounds. Antaran was stopped himself last time out, inside a round by Orlie Silvestre,and we are expecting him to be stopped again here by the talented Baldonado.
This coming Sunday fans in Fukuoka will get a relative low key card, featuring a once touted Japanese fighter in the main event.
That main event will see the Takumi Sakae (18-2-1, 13), who was once tipped for really big things, taking on Akihiro Toya (8-3, 1) in a bout between two Japanese ranked fighters each looking to score a big win and move towards a potential title fight. Sakae would win his first 13 bouts, including the 2013 Rookie of the Year, but has since gone 5-2-1 and has struggled to score a win of any real note since his Rookie win. Notably Toya struggled early in his career, winning just 1 of his first 3, before going 7-1 and has avenged his only recent loss. Toya has momentum coming into this one, whilst Sakae has the more notable accomplishments.
On the under-card there will be a number of 4 rounders, the most interesting of which will see Ryota Kosaka (2-0-1, 1) take on Ryusuke Ushihara (3-1-1, 1). Despite that being a good looking 4 rounder the really interesting looking support bout is an 8 rounder, slap bang in the middle of the show, and will see Yusuke Yamanouchi (9-3-1, 5) take on Fumisuke Kimura (6-3, 4). Yamanouchi has a misleading record, with his losses coming to 3 very solid domestic level fighters, whilst Kimura has lost to even better fighters, including Ryosuke Maruki and Andy Hiraoka. Given the quality of the fighters who have beaten Yamanouchi and Kimura we're happy to see them face off, and we're expecting that to be a very solid contest for fans who get to the event early on.
Bang Phun, Thailand
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from Thailand, where Workpoint will be televising two notable all-Thai bouts.
The main event will see former WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook (59-5, 40) look to score his second win over Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (15-5-1, 13), and retain the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title. The veteran defeated Pongsaklek with a razor thin split decision back in March, to reclaim the regional title and to notch a win on his return to the ring after 18 months of inactivity. Pongsaklek will clearly be looking to avenge that loss and reclaim his title, and given his youth and relative freshness his team will be confident of their man getting revenge, and scoring his biggest win to date.
A second match will see the once beaten Rakniran Muadransarakam (13-1, 8) battle against former world title challenger Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-8-1, 20). Of the two men it's Petchbarngborn who is better know, though he is best known for losing in 8 rounds to Naoya Inoue back in 2016. Since that loss the experienced Petchbarngborn has scored 5 straight wins, though all 5 have come against very weak opposition. Rakniran on the other hand suffered his sole loss in October 2016, a technical draw against Shota Kawaguchi, and has only scored a single win since then. This is a real toss up, and should be very fun to watch.
As well as the relatively big Thai card there will be a small domestic show in the Philippines, featuring two really well matched bouts.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten 22 year old Denmark Quibido (6-0, 4) take on the once beaten Adrian Lerasan (6-1, 1), himself a 19 year old. The unbeaten fighter has impressed as he's stepped up in class, and his win over Ryan Torres this past March was a coming of age performance for the southpaw hopeful. The once beaten Lerasan can't be written off, his sole defeat was a 5 technical decision against the touted Jerven Mama and he does have the ability to get a win here. The winner will of this bout progress and the loser could also come out with an enhanced reputation.
The other excellent match up is a rematch between the unbeaten pairing of Joseph Ambo (6-0-1, 5) and Bienvenido Ligas (6-0-1, 4), who fought to a technical draw back in march when Ligas suffered a nasty cut from a headclash. Both of these men can punch, both are unbeaten and bother are young, with Ligas being 20 and Ambo being 21. Given the result of their first bout we're expecting both to come out fighting hard here, and not have an opening round feeling out session, and fans could be in for a real treat.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday as we, finally, crown a new Japanese Bantamweight champion.
That title bout will see former Japanese Flyweight champion, and former Super Flyweight world title challenger, Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8) battle against Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) to fill the Bantamweight vacancy. The title has been vacant since Ryo Akaho vacated due to health reasons in January. A proposed bout between Muranaka and Yosuke Suzuki fell through earlier this year, extending the length without a national champion at 118lbs. Of the two fighters it's Muranaka who is the more well known and the more distinguished, given he had a pretty notable reign at the domestic level before his world title fight against Kal Yafai. Despite that he may actually go into this as the under-dog, given that Saito is a natural Bantamweight, who has even mixed at Super Bantamweight, and is much, much better than his record suggests. Of his 9 losses 7 have been very close decisions, with only Mugicha Nakagawa and Ryo Akaho holding clear wins over him. On paper this is mismatch, but in reality it's a very close to call bout and is excellently matched.
Sadly other than the main event the rest of this card is very weak, with 8 bouts, all of which are 4 rounders, acting in support of the very exciting headline bout.
Umtata, South Africa
In South Africa fan swill be able to see Simphiwe Khonco (18-5, 7) battle against Filipino foe Toto Landero (10-2-2, 2) for the IBO Minimumweight title. The South African will be defending the title for the third time and will looking to get a shot at a big 4 title in the near future. Although Khonce doesn't have the most amazing of records he is a talented fighter who gave Hekkie Budler fits in 2015 and has gone unbeaten since then, scoring a notable win over Nkosinathi Joyi. Landero challenged Knockout CP Freshmart earlier this year, and gave the unbeaten Thai some real issues before losing a decision. Other than that result Landero also holds a win over Vic Saludar and could well have the skills and desire to rip the IBO title from Khonco. This could be an excellent match up and one with a lot of leather being thrown by both men.
This coming Thursday there will be interest for fight fans from across Asia, with shows in Japan and the Philippines and two central Asian fighters in action in New York.
The show in Japan is from the Korakuen Hall where Kaneko Boxing will be showing casing some of their most notable fighters.
The main event will see a bout between two Japanese ranked Middleweights, with the two fighters essentially fighting to become the leading contender to face Kazuto Takesako. The bout will see Hisao Narita (12-6, 6) face off with Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (9-3, 8) in what looks likely to be a very hotly contested bout. Of the two men it's Hosokawa who is ranked higher by the JBC, and is also ranked by the OPBF. Coming in to this he has stopped his last 3 opponents, and has looked like a genuine puncher whilst rising through the domestic scene. Despite having 3 losses against his name Hosokawa has gone 7-1 (7) since a faltering 2-2 (1) start to his professional career. On the other hand Narita was stopped last time out by Sanosuke Sasaki and will be looking to bounce back from that and score what would be a career best victory.
The main support bout will also feature two ranked fighters, as Welterweights Shusaku Fujinaka (16-8-2, 11) and Toshiro Tarumi (9-3-3, 5) clash in a very interesting match up. Fujinaka is best known for his 2015 loss to Randall Bailey, and since then he has gone 4-2, losing to Moon Hyun Yun in a thriller and being stopped by Keita Obara last December, despite those set backs he has proven to be a credible fighter on the domestic stage and will be wanting to get a shot at the national title. Tarumi on the other hand has had mixed success on the domestic level, but notable wins over Quaye Peter, Takashi Inagaki and Noriaki Sato show he can perform at this level, when it all clicks. If both men are on form this could be a very special bout, though obviously depends on both fighters, neither of whom have proven to be incredibly consistent so far.
Also on this card will be Takahiro Fujii (10-6-1, 3), though his opponent is yet to be announced, in an 8 rounder.
In the Philippines fans will get a title double header.
The main event will see the touted Carl Jammes Martin (8-0, 7) take on George Lumoly (10-4-1, 8) For the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. The hard hitting 19 year old Jammes has stopped his last 4 foes and picked up a few minor titles, and will expect to do the same again here, as he takes on a foe with 4 stoppages losses already. We've not managed to get too much information on Lumoly but given he has 8 stoppages it's fair to say that Martin won't want to take too many risks, but will be confident of stopping the visitor.
In a bout for the LuzProBA Flyweight title John Magagmoc (3-0-1) will battle against Enrique Magsalin (3-0-2, 1). The 17 year old Magagmoc made his debut last August and has been very easily matches so far, so this is a huge step up for him. At 23 years old Magsalin is the older man, and the more physially mature, but has also been matched lightly and will also be taking on his most notable opponent. This is an interesting one, and will answer questions about both men, but neither really look like they are ready for a title fight.
New York, USA
In New York it will be an Uzbek looking to shine with 24 year old Super Featherweight hopeful Elnur Abduraimov (0-0) making his debut. He won a Bronze medal at the 2015 AIBA World Champion and is expected to be fast tracked. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been named.
The main show for us this coming Wednesday will come from the Differ Ariake in Tokyo. The card will feature a number of a very good bouts, mos of which will be Japan Vs China, though is headlined by an OPBF title fight between a Filipino champion and a Japanese prospect, in what ios a really mouth watering match up.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Carlo Magali (23-9-3, 12) face off with Japanese prospect Hironori Mishiro (5-0, 2), in a bout that is genuinely mouth watering. Magali has had a frustrating 2018, with several bouts announced and then falling through, and as a result this will be his return to the ring for the first time since his impressive January win over Masatoshi Kotani. Against Kotani we saw the Filipino show that he was a lot better than his record suggests, and it seems the OPBF title is helping Magali improve as a fighter, building his self belief. As for Mishiro the Japanese fighter was a former amateur stand out who only debuted 15 months ago but already holds notable domestic wins against Shuma Nakazato and Shuya Masaki and will be full of confidence coming into this bout. A win for Magali will perhaps move him on to bouts against top tier regional fighters, such as Masaru Sueyoshi or Reiya Abe, however a win for Mishiro will shoot him up to being one of the leading prospects in Japan. A really good match up, and a tough one to call!
The leading support bout is one of the many Japan vs China bouts and will see recent Japanese Flyweight title challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1, 10) battle against Yujie Zeng (11-7-1, 6) in what should be a very exciting bout, as is the norm for a Nagamine bout. Nagamine came close to claiming the Japanese Flyweight title this past March, when he lost a very lose decision to Masayuki Kuroda, and he should come in to this bout with a point to prove. It's also worth notign that Nagamine's only other loss was to WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro, more than 3 years ago. Zeng on the other hand is pretty much an unknown outside of those who follow the Chinese domestic scene. His only real bout of note came last September, when he lost to promising Filipino Genesis Libranza, and aside from that there isn't really much we can take from the Chinese fighter's record, other than that he seems to be fighting from Minimumweight to Super Bantamweight. Given what we know of Nagamine we're expecting a win for the Japanese fighter here.
In another Japanese Vs China bout fans will see the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (7-1-1, 6) battle against Qixiu Zhang (9-4-1, 3). Nakazato is one of the many hidden gems in Japanese boxing and managed to reach the 2015 Rookie of the Year, before needing to take almost 18 months away from the ring. Last year Nakazato suffered a narrow loss to Mishiro but has bounced back since with a blow out win against a Thai foe. The Chinese fighter is pretty unknown, though did impress last time out, when he travelled to Korea and scored an 11th round KO win against Nak Yul Park in May. That win aside there is little of note on Zhang's record and it;s hard to say what eh really has the potential to do, so this should give him a chance to answer some questions about his potential.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in Thailand, headlined by a regional title fight between Japan's Ryohei Takahashi (14-3-1, 6) and Thai veteran Mike Tawatchai (45-11-1, 28). The two men, who are clashing over the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title, are at different stages in their careers and Tawatchai, a genuine veteran with close to 60 fights, seems to be looking past his foe already with another bout set for September. That could well be a mistake as Takahashi is a very capable fighter with good wins over Kazuki Tanaka and Matcha Nakagawa, and defeatuing Tawatchai isn't out of the question here.
We get some notable action this coming Sunday with a world title fight, in Ukraine featuring an Azeri-Ukrainian and a Thai, as well as a Japanese Rookie card with a very notable main event.
The world title bout will see the unbeaten Artem Dalakian (16-0, 11) making his first defense of the WBA Flyweight title, as he takes on former interim WBA champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (50-3, 35). The Ukrainian based Azeri born champion won the title back in February, when he defeated veteran Brian Viloria for the title which Kazuo Ioka had vacated in late 2017. In that title win Dalakian impressed, though it did look like Viloria was well past his best and was a shadow of the fighter he had once been. Yodmongkol is best known for his wins over Koki Eto and Takuya Kogawa along with his loss to Juan Carlos Reveco. Since losing to Reveco the Thai has been ultra active, going 16-0 (15), but has been matched incredibly lightly and will need a career best performance here against the impressive Dalakian.
In Aichi fans will get a Rookie of the Year card for Central Japan. In total there will be 7 Rookie bouts with arguably the best of the bunch being a Featherweightbout between Masaki Sasaki (3-1-1, 1), who fights for the first time since March 2017, and the hard hitting Terutaka Shimada (1-0, 1).
Despite this being a Rookie card much of the attention will actually be at the main event, where the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (6-2, 6) will take on former world title challenger Gilberto Pedroza (18-4-2, 8). Yabuchi has stopped all 6 of his victims in the first 2 rounds, in fact he he has scored 5 opening round stoppages in his 8 bouts. Despite those wins Yabuki has suffered notable domestic defeats to Junto Nakatani and Seigo Yuri Akui and a win here would be a career best. As for Pedroza he is coming in to this bout on the back of December's 4th round TKO loss to Ken Shiro in a bout for the WBC Light Flyweight title. A win for Pedroza would help him get his career back on track however a loss will set the Panamanian back a long way, and destroy his hopes of getting another world title fight any time soon.