The most notable of two card for Japanese fight fans this Sunday comes from Kyoto, courtesy of Shinsei Gym, and featured a trio of title bouts.
The most significant of those title contests will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) make his first defense of the title as he takes on American challenger Daniel Roman (22-2-1, 8). Kubo won the title earlier this year, defeating Nehomar Cermeno, and will continue to look at proving himself as the new star at the Shinsei gym, following on from the success of the legendary Hozumi Hasegawa. For Roman the bout is his first in Asia and his first for a world title. The challenger has looked good moving through the ranks, but this is a big step up against a world class fighter. The bout, for those interested, will be televised live in the Kansai region of Japan and should see good numbers, given that Kubo's title win was hugely popular with the regional audience.
In an OPBF title fight we'll see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (14-0, 8) take on Ryan Sermona (20-8-1, 13). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 8th defense of the title and will almost certainly be eyeing bigger and better things in the near future. It's hard to see what Sermona brings to the table to really test the the tall and rangy champion, but hopefully we'll see him have some success in the biggest fight of his career. It's worth noting that Nakatani has held this title for well over 3 years but his last few performances haven't shown the progression many would have liked to have seen.
In the third of those title bouts we'll see Reiya Konishi (13-0, 5) defending his Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on former world title challenger Shin Ono (20-8-3, 4). This will be Konishi's first defense of the title that he won April, when he defeated Masataka Taniguchi. The talented champion will see this as a huge opportunity to move towards a title bout, and know he really needs to shine. For Ono this will be a third shot at a Japanese title, and potentially his last as the 34 year is really pushing on in terms of his career. Interestingly Ono won't just be fighting for the title but also for his stable as he looks to avenge Taniguchi's loss to Ono.
A second Japanese show will be held in Aichi and whilst it doesn't feature any title fights it does feature a trio of notable names.
In one of the headline bouts we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-6-1, 17) return to the ring following his first stoppage loss. The exciting Hayashi lost the Japanese title back in April, being stopped by the big punching Kosuke Saka, and will be looking to bounce back as he faces Filipino Markquil Salvana (13-3, 7). The once touted Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has yet to win on the road, where he is 0-3, and that's unlikely to change here against the aggressive and rough Hayashi.
Former 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (20-2-3, 14) will also be looking to rebuild his career against a Filipino. The talented Tanaka has lost 2 of his last 6, including a loss in March to Ryo Akaho, but he should fancy his chances against Bryan Capangpangan (12-3-1, 9), who looks a good opponent on paper but lacks a win of any note. The Filipino was blown out just a few fights ago by Jack Tepora and there's a good chance we'll see something similar here.
In the main event of this card we'll see the fast rising Kento Hatanaka (3-0, 3) take on a Thai foe as the youngster continues to move towards his first title fight. Hatanaka, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, made his debut last November and is already headlining shows thanks to his fun style and good looks, and there is real hope that he could prove to be the next star from the Hatanaka gym, run by his father.
The main show for us this coming Saturday is a televised card from the Korakuen Hall, which will be covered live by G+.
The main event of the card will see talented Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (21-1-1, 10) take on Filipino foe Glenn Enterina (11-2-1, 8) in what is expected to be one of Ito's final bouts before a potential world title clash. The talented Japanese fighter, who unified the WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles at the end of 2016 is regarded as top 15 fighter by 3 of the alphabet organisations and will be seeking a title fight sooner rather than later. In his way will be the big punching Enterina, who will be seeking his first win outside of the Philippines, but will be regarded as a huge under-dog against the highly schooled Japanese hopeful.
Arguably the best bout on this card will see the touted Sho Nakazawa (10-1, 4) take on Ryo Hino (10-1-1, 6) in a very even looking match up on paper. Nakazawa was once seen as a top prospect in Japan but a loss last year to Teiru Atsumi put the breaks on that and two subsequent wins have scarcely excited the fans who seem to know that he is talented, but isn't quite as exciting as they had first hoped. As for Hino he's a bit of an unknown, though he did give Reiya Abe a tough bout a couple of years ago and has stopped his last 4. This could be skills against power, and should be the best bout on the card.
Another competitive looking contest will see the Japanese ranked Yuta Horiike (12-5-3, 3) take on Kyosuke Sawada (7-2-1, 4) in what should be a good supporting contest, just like the bout between Yosuke Fujihara (16-5, 4) and Keita Nakano (14-11-6, 4), which is likely to be much better than it looks on paper. Both of these bouts will be over 8 rounds and could be very interesting contests for fans watching at the venue and on TV.
In Osaka we'll see the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (12-0, 7) look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on a Thai visitor in an 8 rounder. Uehara, the WBC Youth Featherweight champion, will not be risking his belt here but shouldn't have any problems beating the Thai, who we have been informed is naturally smaller and is typically fighting as a Super Bantamweight.
Ansan, South Korea
There will also be a show in Ansan, South Korea, with this show being part of the rising Boxing M series of shows. The theme of the show is that it's the last 8 of a Korean Lightweight tournament, however those bouts are joined by an interesting 6 rounder between Jae Woo Lee (4-2, 4) and Young Hwan Jun (3-3-1, 1), who we believe will be fighting for the right to challenge for a Korean title.
At the Korakuen Hall we see a small, yet notable card featuring a former Japanese champion and a former world champion.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (16-2, 5) take on a Thai foe. The talented Naito will be fighting for the second time since suffering his second loss to Kenichi Ogawa and should be expected to pick up a confidence building win before having a more meaningful bout towards the end of the year, potentially with that being another title fight for the once touted youngster.
The former world champion on this card is former IBF Female Light Flyweight queen Naoko Shibata (16-4-1, 5), who returns 6 months after losing her title, to take on Thai novice Shisa Manopgym (0-2). The bout should be an easy win for the 36 year old Japanese veteran but it's still going to be good to see her back in the ring, for what will be her first fight in Tokyo in almost 2 years.
In a supporting bout we'll also see Hideyuki Watanabe (8-9-3, 6) battle Ryuto Oho (9-4-1, 2) in a must win for both men. Watanabe has lost his last 3, why Oho has lost his last two, and neither man can really afford another set back here if they are ever going to make much of a mark on the Japanese domestic scene going forward.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see local prospect Kye MacKenzie (16-1, 14) take on Filipino visitor Jonel Alibio (21-18-5, 12). MacKenzie has only been beaten once, by the under-rated Jack Asis, and has bounced back well with two wins since then. Alibio will be the under-dog here, and is certainly no world beater, but he has won his last 5, with 4 stoppages, and picked up wins on the round in Japan, Korea and Australia during that run. He's a very live under-dog here.
In Ghana we'll see Indonesian journeyman Hero Tito (23-12-2, 8) take on Albert Mensah (29-6-1, 13) in what should be a mismatch in favour of Mensah. It's fair to say Tito has been around for a while, debuting more than 13 years ago, but his career has rarely seen him shine. Mensah might not be a world beater, but he should be far too good for the visitor.
This coming Wednesday in Japan fight fans have an interesting Ohashi card to look forward to. We'll be honest and not pretend that it's full of 50-50 bouts, but it keeps the gym's fighters busy, whilst a number them begin to move towards bigger and better bouts.
The main event of the card is the best looking contest on paper and sees Takuma Inoue (8-0, 2) return to the ring following almost a year out, to take on 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (25-16-1, 11) in a solid test for the youngster. Inoue was supposed to fight for a world title at the end of 2016, but an injury forced that bout to be cancelled and now he's in need of a warm up bout before looking at bigger and better things. For Kudaka, previously known as Hiroyuki Hisataka, the bout is a chance to score a career defining win after some recent struggles in the ring, including losing 7 of his last 11. Kudaka's record isn't great but he's a tough out for most and should ask questions of rInoue.
Another relatively attractive bout will see Koki Inoue (8-0, 7), Takuma's cousin, step up to take on former Japanese title challenger Cristiano Aoqui (11-6-2, 7) in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator. Inoue enters the bout ranked #3 and Aoqui is #8, with the winner almost certainly looking to get a crack before the end of the year. For Inoue the bout is a slight step up, but it's a logical step as he continues to impress and leave a wake of battered and beaten fighters in his wake. For Aoqui the bout serves as a chance to get back in to the mix after 3 losses in his last 4.
When it comes to fighters who are looking at bigger and better things, it's fair to say that Ryo Matsumoto (20-1, 18) is on the verge of a world title fight. As a result he's having a stay busy contest on this show against Indonesian foe Jason Butar Butar (25-22-1, 16), in what should be another straight forward win for the likeable Matsumoto, who is looking to put health issues well and truly behind him.
Another fighter looking for bigger things is Go Onaga (27-3-3, 18),who also faces an Indonesian journeyman as he takes on John Bajawa (13-14, 7). Onaga is looking to get himself a Japanese title fight in the near future, and the veteran cannot afford another set back. This should be a straight forward win for the Ohashi man, but he is now 37 and 18 months removed from his last victory.
Rounding out the notable fights on this show are two Ohashi novices tipped for big things. One of those is Kazuki Nakajima (1-0, 1), who looks for his second professional win as he takes on Resnu Sundava (2-1, 2) whilst the other is debutant Katsuya Yasuda (0-0), who faces Reno Arizona (1-2). Neither Ohashi man should worry here about winning, but both will want to impress Mr Ohashi, who we suspect wants to fast track both men following their impressive amateur careers.
This coming Sunday isn't a big day, but for fight fans in Kumamoto there is a huge bout with a local star making his first defense of a world title.
That local champion is WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-4-6, 7), who will be defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Ryuya Yamanaka (14-2, 4), in what looks like a very competitive bout on paper. The under-rated Fukuhara claimed the interim title earlier this year, when he took a split decision over Moises Calleros, and was later upgraded to the full champion. Although the champion doesn't have a great record on paper he has really built his career since being 12-4-3, and having suffered a loss to the then debuting Takuma Inoue. As for Yamanaka he has gone on a 7 fight winning run coming into this fight, since a loss to Roque Lauro 3 years ago, and has claimed the OPBF title on his rise to this shot, beating Merlito Sabillo for the the Oriental crown in November.
In a supporting bout we'll see OPBF and JBC ranked fighter Naoya Haruguchi (13-7, 6) take on the heavy handed, but limited Shota Asami (4-3, 4). Coming into this Haruguchi has won his last 5, with 4 stoppages, and appears to be getting his career going after an 8-7 start. As for Asami he's been inconsistent, but is heavy handed and is genuinely dangerous, but shouldn't come out on top here. If Haruguchi wins here he's expected to face Riku Kano in November in a really interesting match up.
The most significant bout, at least from an Asian perspective, this coming Saturday will see Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33) take on Japanese warrior Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24) in a bout for the WBO Light Middleweight title. For Cotto the bout will be a return to the ring after almost 2 years out of the ring, and he will be looking to prove there is still something left in the tank. For Kamegai the bout will be his first world title bout and could put the icing on the cake in regards to his career, which has been an incredibly fun one to following a lot of wars and exciting brawls.
Uthai Thani, Thailand
Another notable name will be in action in Thailand, on a less than exciting card.
The notable fighter is Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5), with the former IBF Flyweight champion taking on the limited Petchthongchai Singmanasak (6-12, 2). This will be Amnat's first professional boxing contest since he lost the world title 15 months ago, and at the age of 37 it's hard to know what he has left, however his foe is very limited and should pose no real threat.
In another mismatch we'll see the promising Atchariya Virotesunobon (7-0, 4) take on Birdy Tor Buamas (0-6-1) in what should be a very straight forward win for Atchariya.
In China fans will see the fast rising Pui Yu Lim (4-0, 4) take on highly experienced Indonesian fighter Alexander Bajawa (41-4-4, 14) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Heavyweight title. Lim is a heavy handed southpaw who looks like a fighter who is on a very fast track through the ranks, and he shouldn't struggle here, but it's hard to know just how good he is. As for Bajawa he's been stopped in his last two and his record is certainly a padded one.
In Kazakhstan we have a card with a number of title bouts.
One of those title bouts will see see Firuza Sharipova (6-1, 4) take on the battle hardened Milena Koleva (9-9-1, 3) in a contest for the WIBA Lightweight title. Sharipova suffered a loss on her debut but has gone 6-0 since then, however the level of her competition has been dire. Koleva has been fighting stiff competitive through her career and her last two bouts saw her suffer decision losses to Svetlana Kulakova and Katie Taylor. This could be much more competitive than the records may suggest.
Another title bout on this card will see Russian fighter Apti Ustarkhanov (15-2-3, 5) taking on Georgian Soso Abuladze (11-6-1, 8) for the IBO Inter Continental Super Middleweight title, and in another title bout we'll see Russian Aslambek Idigov (11-0, 4) fighting for the IBO Youth Super Middleweight title.
There will also be a small card in the Philippines.
On of the major bouts here will be a 10 rounder between Jerome Clavite (8-4-2, 4) and the out of form Roque Lauro (13-22-5, 3). Coming in to this Clavite has won 3 of his last 4, and at 21 has shown some promise to make a mark on the domestic scene going forward. That 3-1 run might not be amazing but it's likely to be extend as he takes on a low on confidence Lauro, who has lost his last 6. As his best Lauro was a potential banana skin, fighting to a draw with Edward Heno and scoring wins over the likes of Ryuya Yamanaka, Ronelle Ferreras and Young Gil Bae, but he appears to have slipped significantly as a fighter in recent contests.
In another interesting looking bout on this card we'll see Alphoe Dagayloan (6-2-4-1, 2) take on the once touted Renerio Arizala (13-7-1, 5). Arizala began his career 11-0-1, but has slipped significantly since then going 2-7-1 and finds himself really struggling to get his career back on track, with a 5 fight losing streak coming in to this. Dagayloan is nothing special but coming into this both fighters will believe they can come out on top and pick up a win.
In Australia we'll see former OPBF Middleweight champion Dwight Ritchie (15-1-0-4, 2) look to record his second win since losing the title to Koki Tyson last November. He'll be widely expected to score a win here as he takes on Thai journeyman Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2), who has never been stopped in 39 bouts, but doesn't tend to pick up many victories as he takes the role of a fighter intent on getting his opponents some rounds.
In Azerbaijan we'll be getting a low key card, with one of the most notable fighters on it being Rauf Aghayev (21-6, 9), who is facing off with a yet to be named foe in a 4 rounder. Aghayev has won his last 4, all this year, and is keeping up his high level of activity whilst looking to go 5-0 for the year so far.
Another fighter of some note on this card is 27 year old Light Heavyweight hopeful Malik Mammadzade (11-0, 6), who will be in an 8 rounder. The unbeaten man has shown some promise, and has picked up international experience in Germany and Georgia, but is a long way from attention on the wider scene. IF he keeps racking up the wins, which he has 3 of already this year, he will however work his way towards a title fight of some kind. Sadly Mammadzade hasn't yet had his opponent for the bout announced.
Metro Manila, Philippines
One of just two shows from this coming Saturday comes from the Philippines
The main event of this card will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (8-1, 2) take on the tough, and hard matched, Vincent Bautista (5-8-4, 1) in a bout for the Philippines Boxing Federation Light Flyweight title. The bout looks like a mismatch on paper but Bautista is better than his record suggests and has been in some very tough bouts on foreign soil.
Also on the card fans will see hard matched female fighter Carleans Rivas (5-4-3) take on Floryvic Montero (3-2, 1). Rivas was last seen losing an 8 round decision against Chaoz Minowa in Tokyo, showing her toughness in that bout. Montero is less well known, but has mixed with decent competition herself, and could well be a banana skin here for the more experienced fight.
The only other show for the day comes from Indonesia, where Agus Mamuaya will be promoting a low key show.
The main event of the card will see Sahlan Coral (16-6, 9) making his second defence of the KTI/IBC Welterweight title, as he takes on the limited Benny Tamaela (3-6, 1). Neither of these guys are well know, though it is possible that Coral's name rings a slight bell as he has faced the likes of Azizbek Abdugofurov and Cameron Hammond, who both beat him. Tamaela has lost his last 4, with 3 of those coming by stoppage, and it's almost impossible to imagine him putting up much of a fight here.
The other bout of interest on the show will see the unbeaten Andika Sabu (12-0, 6) take on the win-less Wono Raya (0-1). This should be a mismatch, and looks like a big step backwards for the 21 year old Sabu, but it keeps him ticking over after more than 6 months of inactivity. Sabu needs to be kept busy, allowed to develop and not left on the shelf, some doing something here is much better than doing nothing. It's hard to say how good Sabu is, but he has the potential to be pretty solid going forward, if his team can get the developmental fights that he needs.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The only show this coming Thursday is a low key one from Metro Manila. Although low key it does have a couple of fights of some note.
The biggest will see the highly talented Michael Dasmarinas (25-2, 16) take on shop worn foe Mateo Handig (13-14, 7). The under-rated Dasmarinas has won his last 7, following a controversial loss in South Africa to Lwandile Sityatha, and he does look like another of the rising Filipino who could go on to world honours down the line, having proven his skills both in bouts and as a high level sparring partner for top Japanese fighters. Handig was once close to an IBF Minimumweight world title fight, after a split decision win over Katsunari Takayama, but has since lost 9 in a row as his career has tumbled into irrelevancy and it'd be a massive upset for him to beat Dasmarinas in this one.
In another notable bout we'll see 23 year old prospect Lorence Rosas (7-1-2, 2) take on the limited Danny Tampipi (7-7-2, 4), in what will be a second meeting between the two men. These two fought last September, with Rosas taking a 6 round shut out over his foe, and we'd expect something similar here for the youngster, though the bout will be fought over a longer distance.
For a second day running we get a show dedicated to the Japanese Youth Tournament, with 3 finals and two semi finals taking place on a show that really looks brilliant on paper in regards to even match ups, even if the card lacks bit name appeal.
On paper the best of the bouts is the Flyweight final, which pits two unbeaten punchers against each other in a real humdinger. In one corner is 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the year Junto Nakatani (12-0, 9), who had to answer real questions last time out against Yuma Kudo in his semi-final bout. In the opposite corner is 2015 Light Flyweight Rookie of the year Seigo Yuri Akui (11-0-1, 7), who enters on the back of 5 stoppage wins including a huge one over Kenji Ono and a solid showing in his semi final against Ryuto Oho. This has the potential to be the best bout of the whole Youth Tournament and is a really tough one to call.
At Super Bantamweight we're expecting a full on shoot out as 21 year old Ryota Ishida (8-1, 6) takes on 22 year old Takuya Mizuno (11-1-1,11). Ishida has stopped his last 3, and hasn't seen the final bell since he was fighting in 4 rounders, more than 2 years ago. Mizuno has stopped his last 4 foes, and has shown power through out fights with stoppages in rounds every round from 1 to 6. This promises to be be a hard hitting bout, and although we favour Mizuno, it could go either way, and should be a real treat.
On paper the worst of the finals is at Bantamweight, where the recently beaten pairing of Wataru Takeda (10-1-1, 4) and Yuto Nakamura (7-3, 6) face off. Takeda was beaten last October, just 2 fights back, by Ryohei Takakhashi after claiming the 2015 Rookie of the year, and although he has shown some signs of being a real prospect there are still a lot of questions left for him to answer. Although beaten 3 times Nakamura has never been outclassed, with all 3 losses being razor thin ones and he will be in there looking to make a statement. This looks like the worst of the finals for the day, but should still deliver a great contest.
At Light Welterweight we get two semi-final bouts. One of those will see the once beaten Ukyo Yoshigai (5-1, 4) take on Andy Hiraoka (9-0, 6) in a really interesting contest. Yoshigai, who won the 2016 Rookie of the year, was beaten back in April by Giraffe Kirin Kanda, but that loss will have helped his development. Hiraoka on the other hand has looked great in recent bouts, but has only fought 10 rounds since the end of 2014, and it's hard to know how good he really is, even if he does pass the eye test with ease.
The other bout looks like a potential fire fight as Hayato Ono (5-1, 5) battles Takahiko Kobayashi (6-2, 5). Between the two men they have heard the final bell just once, in what was Kobayashi's most recent bout. Ono will see this as a potential chance to set up a rematch with Yoshigai, the only man to have beaten him, whilst Kobayashi will be looking to avenge a 2016 loss to Ono, in which he was stopped in the 5th round. There's history here, two punchers, and two men who have questionable durability. With this one the best advice is don't blink!
The most interesting show of the day, at least for us, is in the Korakuen Hall where we see the first set of Japanese Youth Tournament finals, with 4 finals, all of which are really interesting match ups, and bouts that should be really hotly contested.
The stand out bout is a rematch between Joe Tanooka (14-3-4, 1) and Kenya Yamashita (10-3, 7), who meet at Super Flyweight. Tanooka came runner up at the 2013 Rookie of the year whilst Yamashita won the Rookie of the Year the following year. In 2015 Tanooka scored a decision win over Yamashita, to give the heavy handed Yamashita his first loss, and since then both men have faltered yet remained popular. Tanooka has gone 5-1-1 since beating Yamashita, but shown a real lack of power with only a single stoppage. Yamashita is like an all action warrior and has gone 3-2 (3) since losing to Tanooka, with both losses being by stoppage. This will be a boxer vs bralwer, with history and the potential to be something really thrilling.
Another potential thriller comes at Featherweight as the talented, but out of form, Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-3-2, 11) takes on Retsu Kosaka (8-2, 3). We've seen Tameda losing his last two, suffering a decision loss to Simpiwe Vetyeka and suffering a stoppage to Reiya Abe, but has been given time to rest, heal and reignite his fire, with this being his final bout for the Yonekura gym, before joining the Ohashi Gym. As for Kosaka he has lost 2 of his last 3, but shone last time out beating the touted Ryo Sagawa in 2 rounds. This looks like a win on paper for Tameda, but it's not going to be easy against the hungry Kosaka.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will be the Lightweight bout, as the really exciting and promising Izuki Tomioka (3-0, 1) takes on the Japanese Yuichiro Kasuya (9-1-1, 1). We were really impressed by Tomioka last time out, as he stopped Shun Shimazaki in 5 rounds, and the 20 year old from Saitama looks like a real one to watch. Kasuya, who won the Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight in 2014, has faltered in his last two, drawing with Masaki Saito and losing to Spicy Matsushita. With those recent set backs against Kasuya we suspect he'll try to up his game, but Tomioka will be too good for him.
At Super Featherweight we'll see the struggling Kazuma Sanpei (12-4, 4) battle the inconsistent Ryusei Ishii (7-3, 4) in what looks like the black sheep of the match ups. Sanpei has gone 1-4 in his last 5, with 3 stoppage losses during that run, and his 11-0 (4) start to professional boxing is a distance memory, with only a single win in the last 3 years. Ishii has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though did earn his place in this bout with a dominant win over Sho Nagata in May. Ishii has some momentum here, Sanpei has none, leading us to favour Ishii for the win.
Fight fans in Las Vegas will see American based Uzbek hopeful Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (7-0-1, 3) fight in an 8 rounder, as he looks for a 4th straight victory. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, so we suspect it will be a less than taxing foe foe the unbeaten prospect.
In Pakistan we'll see a bizarre all-debutant 10 rounder, as Ali Dad (0-0) takes on Asmatullah (0-0). It's really odd to see a debutant in a 10 rounder, to see two of them in a 10 rounder is even weirder and it's hard to see what the plan behind this bout was, though hopefully it helps in the development of Pakistani boxing going forward, and is interesting to see how they are growing the sport there.