The final day of 2016 is one of the most notable on the boxing calendar as Japanese TV promoters, and TV channels put on a number of shows. This year we get three shows, each with multi-ple title bouts and notable prospects.
The most notable of the three shows takes place in Kyoto and will be aired on TBS as part of their huge end of year celebrations.
The headline bout here will see the WBA regular and interim titles at Flyweight being unified. The bout sees regular champion Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) battle with unbeaten interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) from Thailand. The bout is an interesting match up with Stamp's team showing confidence in their man, who seemed to believe he was travelling to Japan to stop the champion. The experience Ioka will be looking to show that experience is key here and will likely be looking to prove he's the best Flyweight on the planet in 2017, after getting this mandatory defense out of the way.
A second world title fight on this card will see IBF Super Bantamweight chamion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) defending his title for the first time. The heavy handed Dominican will be up against once beaten Japanese challenger Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7), who is looking to add a world title to his collection which already includes a Japanese and OPBF title. Guzman, who won the title in Japan with a stoppage win over Shingo Wake, has looked relaxed but some have felt that he is over-looking Oguni who has started to find his own power in recent bouts.
Sadly an IBF Bantamweight title bout between Lee Haskins (34-3, 14) and Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) was cancelled in the weeks leading up to the bout, as Haskins suffered an injury that forced him out. Omori's team, who are promoting the show, managed to find their man a solid late replacement in the former of multi-time world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (32-8-2, 20). The bout isn't a bad one given the short notice but it should be noted that Fuentes is best known for his run at Flyweight and will be dwarfed by Omori who is around 5” taller than the Filipino.
Another bout pitting a Japanese fighter against a Thai will see the unbeaten, and world ranked, Sho Ishida (22-0, 11) up against the hapless Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10). The Thai has been stopped 8 times in his 10 defeats and will be unlikely to test Ishida who has made it clear that he's wanting world title fights in 2017. A bout like this won't prepare him for world class opposition but serves the task of keeping him busy and ticking him over whilst looking for a big fight.
Another Ioka gym hopeful on this under card is the unbeaten, and exciting, Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (11-0, 8). Hashizume won the Rookie of the Year in 2014 and although we had hoped to see him in notable fights since he actually this year facing unknown Thai Chatpetch Saithonggym (0-0). Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for the Osaka man who hasn't progressed like some had hoped.
Another notable multi-title show will come from Tokyo and be promoted by Watanabe promotions, who continue their association with TV Tokyo.
The headline bout of this is the “revenge or repeat” bout between Panama's tricky Jezreel Corrales (20-1-1, 8) and Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20). Earlier this year Corrales blitzed Uchiyama in 2 rounds to give “KO Dynamite” his first professional defeat and to claim the WBA Super Featherweight “super” title and shocked the boxing world. Now the champion will be looking to repeat the feat as he returns to a Japanese ring whilst Uchiyama will be looking to prove the result was an anomaly. At 37 years old however the view is that Uchiyama is several years removed from his prime and will likely be over-whelmed by the speed and movement of Corrales once again.
The second of the world title bouts on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) defending his belt against unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13). On paper this looks like a good defense for Taguchi but in fairness Canizales hasn't yet fought anyone of any name recognition and it's hard to know how good he really is. He could be the next gem of a talent from Venezuela or he could be a crude domestic fighter, as the footage suggests, either way we'll see questions answered about him, even if we don't learn anythign new about Taguchi.
Arguably the most interesting bout of the whole day is an OPBF / WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title unification bout as the once beaten Masayuki Ito (19-1-1, 9), the current OPBF champion, takes on the teak tough and criminally under-rated Takuya Watanabe (30-6-1, 16), the current WBO Asia Pacific title holder. This bout is one for the hardcore but is something we expect to actually leave the fans the happiest with. Both men are incredibly talented, have under-rated power and skills and the winner really does deserve some other major bouts in 2017. We think Ito is the more proven but Watanabe is always a handful and appears to be getting better with every fight.
One of the hottest young talents in Japanese boxing will be looking to secure his 5th straight stoppage win. That is the wonderfully aggressive Hiroto Kyoguchi (4-0, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor Junuel Lacar (7-3-3, 5). The bout should be a test for Kyoguchi but the reality is that he has made supposed tests, like Kenichi Miyazaki and Michael Camelion, look poor courtesy of his speed and power. A win here could see Kyoguchi begin to fight for titles in 2017.
Another fast rising prospect on this card is the really exciting Masataka Taniguchi (5-0, 4), who is looking to build on his recent win over Dexter Alimento as he takes on Vicent Bautista (5-5-3, 1) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the much fancied Taniguchi. It's thought that 2017 will see Taniguchi battle for titles and this could be his final bout before he gets to wear his first strap.
For those interested in final 3 bouts mentioned here they will be features on tape delay as part of the Boxingraise service.
A third show, in fact the first of the three, takes place in Gifu where Hatanaka will be promoting a card. The main event of this will have a legal stream broadcast world wide for fans interested.
The main event of this card will see former WBO Minimumweight champions collide as Kosei Tanaka (7-0, 4) takes on Moises Fuentes (24-2-1, 13) for the vacant WBO Light Flyweight. For Tanaka this is a huge chance to match Naoya Inoue's Japanese record of becoming a 2-weight world champion in 8 bouts however it's a tough bout against a very talented Mexican who many feel should should have scored a win a win over Donnie Nietes in his first bout with the talented Filipino. On paper this is probably the most interesting of the bouts from the day, at least at world title level.
At Japanese title level we'll see Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17), making his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title, taking on former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-5-2, 14). For Hayashi, who won the title back in September, a win here would legitimise his reign and prove him to be a worthy champion. For Shimoda this is a second shot at this title following a narrow loss to Satoshi Hosono last year.
In a supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (18-1-3, 12) face off with Takuya Taniguchi (6-9-2, 1). For Tanaka this is a chance to record a third straight win following his March loss to Kentaro Masuda for the Japanese title. The little known Taniguchi will be looking to score his biggest win, though he has gone just 1-3 in his last 4 bouts dating back more than a year.
Another supporting bout will see Kento Hatanaka (1-0, 1), the son of former former world champion Kiyohi Hatanaka, battle against Yukihiro Asahara (2-4, 1). The 18 year old Hatanaka will be seeking to score his second win in the space of just 5 weeks! On his debut Hatanaka score a quick blow out over an over-matched foe and will be looking to do the same again here.
Whilst big cards, with multiple noteworthy bouts, aren't rare in Japan it's rare to get a full card of notable and notable bouts. There is however one such card on December 30th when Ohashi put on a genuine super show with two world title bouts, two Olympic medal winners, several prospects and just one of those rare cards where everything looks to have significance...and that's despite the fact one of the key announced bouts for the show was actually cancelled due to an injury!
The main event of the card will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (11-0, 9) taking on former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (32-9-1, 13). This will be Inoue's most notable bout in 2 years, since he beat Omar Andres Narvaez to claim the title, and will see him hunting his 4th defense and most notable so far. For Kono this is a chance to prove he's still a world class Super Flyweight and potentially a chance to become a 3-time world champion.
In the chief main event of the show we see IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (24-5, 12) defending his title against Thailand's Samartlek Kokietgym (35-5, 12), who is best known for being stopped by the aforementioned Naoya Inoue in 2014. Yaegashi will be seeking his second defense of the title and will know that a win will lead him to about with interim champion Milan Melindo in 2017. A win for the challenger would be a shock and it would genuinely shake up the 108lbs division.
The chief support bout behind the double main event will see 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata (11-0, 8) fight against the once beaten Bruno Sandoval (19-1-1, 15). For Murata this bout is the next step forward as his team continue to pursue a 2017 fight with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, of the UK. Whilst Sandoval is a live opponent he hasn't really proven his worth and could well be an easy target for Murata, who has shown real improvement in recent bouts and with his heavy hands there is genuine potential.
Another major under-card bout will see the once beaten Ryo Matsumoto (17-1, 15) face off with his sole conqueror Victor Uriel Lopez (10-5-1, 4). This rematch was announced earlier in the year but cancelled as Matsumoto required surgery for a serious medical issue, the same issue that reared it's head in the first bout with Lopez. Now, supposedly healed, Matsumoto is looking for revenge whilst Lopez is looking to prove that Matsumoto's medical woes weren't the only reason for the result in the first bout.
In a relatively interesting bout we'll see former world title challenger Ryuji Hara (20-2, 12) battle with Hiroya Yamamoto (10-4, 4). Hara is looking to get his career back ion the right track after a 2-2 record in is last 4, and should be too good for Yamamoto however the under-dog is a 2-time Japanese title challenger, having come up short to Go Odaira and Takuya Fukuhara, and is certainly a live under-dog here.
Naoya isn't the only fighter from the Inoue clan on this card, as his cousin Koki Inoue (5-0, 4) takes on his biggest test to date, Futoshi Usami (14-2-1, 11). Inoue is touted as another world champion in the making but this is a credible test for the Kanagawa man, especially given that Usami fought for the OPBF Lightweight title in 2014, and went the 12 round distance with the world ranked Masayoshi Nakatani.
Another unbeaten prospect on this card is 20 year old hopeful Andy Hiraoka (7-0, 4), who fights for the second time as an Ohashi fighter. The talented youngster will be up against Indonesian journeyman Naty Yongraksa (0-0), in what should be a straight forward win for the local star. The visitor is 1-5-1 in his last 7 and it's hard to see what he has to really Hiraoka.
The second Olympian on the show is 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (1-0, 1), who takes a huge step up in class to take on Filipino Carlo Demecillo (6-3, 1). Whilst this is a big step up for Shimzu from his debut it should be noted that Demecillo struggled to win a round recently when he took in Hisashi Amagasa, back in October. Demecillo should give Shimizu some resistance, but the bout should be a win for the Japanese local
With so much title action to end the year there is a lot of attention on the December 30th and 31th cards. Before then there is also a small but notable card on December 29th with a Japanese title bout headling the card.
In the main event we'll see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (30-8-3, 9) face off with veteran Yosuke Kirima (26-3-2, 16), in what will be Nonaka's 6th defense of the title. The talented champion was relatively fortunate last time out, when he struggled past Ryosuke Maruki. For Kirima this will be a third shot at the title and a win could see him move into the world rankings.
In the chief support bout we see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (19-4-1, 11) battle against Thai KO artist Jakaphan Tor Buamas (5-1, 5). The Thai has racked up 5 quick wins in his homeland but lost last time out, in Japan, to Masayoshi Hashizume back in July and we would suspect Carrillo will also be too good and too strong for the visitor.
Another bout that sees a Japanese fighter take on a Thai will see the unbeaten Hayate Ikuta (6-0, 2) face off with the win-less Jakarachlek Sor Wankaew (0-6). It's hard to see anything but a win for Ikuta, especially given that the the Thai has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 and is 0-4 in Japan, but this could give us a chance to compare Ikuta to some of his fellow Japanese hopefuls.
After a short quiet period in Japan over Christmas we see action return this coming Wednesday in Osaka.
In the main event of the card we'll see former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (17-5-1, 10) face off against fellow veteran Atsushi Aburada (11-10, 6) in what looks like a must win bout for both men. Kakutani will be fighting for the first time since suffering an opening round stoppage loss to Ken Shiro back in April, in a Japanese title fight, whilst Aburada has lost 3 of his last 4 and cannot afford another loss if he's to be in a notable fight next year.
In the chief support bout we'll see the exciting Kosuke Saka (14-3, 11) attempt to end a break year. So far in 2016 has stopped Burning Ishii and Takafumi Nakajima and will be looking to add Thai Denyaso Sithkhrumak (1-3), who has lost in his 3 previous visits to Japan, to his victim list for the year. Although not a huge name we do love watching Saka and wouldn't be surprised to see him in the title mix by the end of 2017 and the 24 year old really does look like an exciting prospect.
For a second day running Chinese fan Kunming get a low profile card, with the show following a similar show on Christmas.
In the main event of the card we'll see China's Xing Xin Yang (11-5-3, 8) face off with experienced Filipino Joel Dela Cruz (20-24-3, 8). The bout isn't the most attractive 10 rounder we'll see over the coming days but is an interesting bout with both men likely believing they have the ability to score a win. It's easy to favour the local favourite but this is certainly not a foregone conclusion.
In another 10 rounder we'll see “Chinese Assassin” Xian Qian Wei (10-6-1, 1) take on novice Arshak Vardanyan (0-1), who debuted recently against Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. Wei holds some notable wins, including a victories over Hero Tito and Rex Wao and should win here given his experience and ability
So Christmas day is upon us and in the world of boxing fight fans still don't get a rest as Chinese fans get a low profile card from Kunming.
The main event of the card will see novice Kazakh Nursultan Zhanabayev (1-0) take on the under-rated Filipino Arnel Tinampay (22-20-1, 8). The The 24 year old Zhanabayev debuted back in October and impressed on route to victory over Xing Xin Yang, a split decision that seemed a very clear win for the then debuting Kazakh. Although he impressed he is in with a fighter here who is very tough and very under-rated. Tinampay has racked up losses but has also scored notable wins through his career, beating the likes of Koshinmaru Saito and Yosuke Kirima, and could be a very tough second outing for Zhanabayev.
In a supporting bout Peng Sheng (3-2, 2) will face the unbeaten Feng Fei Long (2-0, 1) in a 6 rounder. The bout isn't a huge one but sees Long fighting for the 3rd time in the space of 4 months and it's clear that a win here could open doors domestically.
The final Japanese show before Christmas is a wonderful card set to be shown on A-sign and features several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Middleweight champions colliding as Tomohiro Ebisu (16-4, 16) faces Makoto Fuchigami (23-11, 14) in a bout for the “interim” Japanese Middleweight title. The bout, caused by the accidental injury to regular champion Hikaru Nishida, is a must win for both men. Ebisu held the Japanese title in 2013, but lost it in his first defense and has failed to score a win of note since then. Although a big puncher Ebisu has been stopped 4 times and is viewed as a glass cannon. Fuchigami is technically a better boxer but has lost 5 of his last 9 and has shown the damage of his long career with his punch resistance fading. The winner of this is guaranteed at least another big bout down the road, but it's hard to see what will be next for the loser.
The most notable of the under-card bouts will see the highly experienced Motoki Sasaki (41-10-1, 25) battle against Yuki Kimura (6-8-1, 5) in a stay busy bout. The talented Sasaki has made it clear that he's now looking for a title bout, despite being in his 40's, a win here could help open doors for such an opportunity in 2017.
In another supporting bout we'll see former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (28-2-2, 18) battle against a limited Thai foe. Akaho will be looking to secure his third straight win since his 2nd round TKO loss to Pungluang Sor Singyu, back in August 2015, and will be looking for a much better performance than he had last time, when he squeaked past Hiroaki Teshigawara.
In a 6 rounder we'll see Ryusei Ishii (6-2, 4) take on debutant Kazu Tanaka (0-0). As with all B class debutants we're interested in seeing how Tanaka gets on here with the RK Kamata gym fighter seemingly having enough promise for his team to throw him in with a capable fighter like Ishii. As for Ishii he'll be looking for a second successive win in what will be his first 6 rounder.
This coming Friday Japanese fans get two different shows, one of which is a major domestic event, whilst the other is just a low profile card.
The key event of the day comes from the Korakuen Hall and is the final of the 2017 Rookie of the Year, with the winners of the bouts being crowned the All-Japanese champion. In total their will be 12 bouts, taking place from Minimumweight to Middleweight and will likely set the scene for several notable prospects going into 2017. We won't go through all 12 bouts, but we have picked some of the most interesting on paper.
At 140lbs we'll see unbeaten punchers collide as 20 year old Hayato Ono (5-0, 5) risks his perfect KO record against 19 year old Ukyo Yoshigai (4-0, 3). The bout is almost certainly going to see both guys letting bombs go from the off. Ono has stopped his 5 opponents in a combined 10 rounds, with 3 opening round victories, Yoshigai has also fought just 10 rounds, though has scored a trio of 2nd round wins. This is going to be explosive!
Another potentially explosive bout between unbeaten fighters will see 18 year old Junto Nakatani (8-0, 7) battle with Masamichi Yabuki (3-0, 3) in a Flyweight contest. Nakatani has scored 5 stoppages this year, in a combined 9 rounds, and looks to be a natural born puncher. Yabuki has amazingly fought less than 6 minutes as a professional and has stopped his first 3 opponents in the opening round. This could be another enthralling and explosive contest.
Whilst not all the bouts promise the same explosive action as the two about the bouts are all significant and not a single fighter involved has a losing record!
The low profile card comes from Hyogo and is promoted by Amagasaki Promotions.
In the main event of this card we'll see the once beaten Yuki Iriguchi (6-1-1, 3) facing off with an unknown Thai foe, in what is expected to be little more than a confidence builder for the Japanese fighter. Iriguchi has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3, with that loss being an opening round blow out to the really exciting Hibiki Jogo. With so little known about the Thai we can't say much, but it's clear that Iriguchi's team are wanting him to end the year with a second successive win.
In the chief support bout we get a competitive looking contest between Tomoya Itosu (6-2, 3) and Shoji Nakamura (4-2-1, 2). Itosu has won his last 3 but those 3 bouts have come over the last 3 years and his career has really lacked activity and consistency, Nakamura has won his last 2, and is unbeaten in more than a year. This could be a genuinely enjoyable bout.
December 19th isn't set to be a huge day for Asian fight fans, but it will be an interesting day as we get the next Dangan card.
In the main event we'll see the heavy handed Shuhei Tsuchiya (21-4, 17) battle the in form Masashi Noguchi (12-5-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title. This will be the first time either man will have fought for a Japanese title, with Nihito Arakawa recently vacating the title, but we're expecting a very fun bout between two men who can be hurt and stopped.
The main support bout will see exciting veteran Rikiya Fukuhara (31-9-1, 23) take on Filipino visitor Alvin Bais (15-7-1, 4). The bout isn't the most exciting contest on the card, not even the most exciting bout between a Japanese and a Filipino, but it will be the final bout of Fukuhara's career with the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion announcing that win or lose his career was ending here.
A really good under-card bout will see the experienced Yosuke Fujihara (16-4, 4) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (4-2, 3). Although this looks like an easy win for the more experienced Fujihara on paper Watanabe is one of the more under-rated fighters coming through the Japanese ranks and we're expecting to see the novice come out on top here, and potentially fighting for titles by the end of next year.
A brilliant Japan Vs Philippines bout will see unbeaten local Tsubasa Koura (8-0, 5) battle against former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (14-2, 7). Koura, the 2015 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, has impressed with a pair of stoppages earlier this year and looks to be one of the more notable Minimumweight prospects coming through the ranks at the moment, but this is a huge step up in class. Galero on the other hand is looking to rebuild following a loss to Seita Ogida earlier this year. Although he lost last time out we must admit we thought we saw a lot of promise in Galero when he took on WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin and this could be a chance for him to get his career back on track.
In another good looking bout we'll see the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year Bantamweight runner up Tenta Kiyose (10-2-1, 3) battle against former Japanese title challenger Ryuta Otsuka (16-9-2, 6). Kiyosa has impressed in the past, and is riding a 3 fight winning run coming into this bout but is stepping up massively against Otsuka. As for Otsuka he has lost 4 of his last 7, but they have included losses to two Japanese champions, Teiru Kinoshita and Sho Ishida, along with a defeat to former world champion Malcolm Tunacao. This really could be a very good bout.
For fans interested in this card it will be streamed live on boxingraise.com.
This coming Sunday sees 3 shows taking place across Japan.
The most notable of the shows is in Fukuoka where we get female world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (16-4-1, 8) battle against Mari Ando (13-9, 6), in what will be the second bout between the two ladies. Kuroki won the title in May 2014, when she defeated Ando, and has racked up 4 defenses of the title whilst showing genuine signs of improvement. For Ando the bout will be a chance to gain some revenge over Kuroki but a loss will almost be the end of her hard career.
In a really interesting supporting bout we'll see the struggling Hideo Sakamoto (16-3-3, 5) face of with Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-2, 5). Sakamoto made a name for himself in 2014, when he upset Hiroki Shiino, and looked to be beading towards a Japanese title, but a draw with Hiroaki Teshigawara has been followed by losses to Kentaor Masuda and Seizo Kono, leading some to wonder how much he has left. For Kawabata the bout is a chance to score his biggest win following draws against the likes of Hirofumi Mukai and Rene Dacquel. It's hard to know how good Kawabata is, but he did run Mark John Yap very close just a few fights back and clearly has potential.
Another title bout in Japan sees unbeaten youngster Takuya Uehara (10-0, 6) battle Filipino Markquil Salvana (11-2, 5) for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. For Uehara this will be his first title bout, but his team have prepared him pretty well with a string of 8 rounders, though he has only gone that distance once. Salvana has previously fought for a title, losing in a WBA Oceania title fight in 2015, and is struggling for form coming into this bout with 2 stoppages losses in his last 4. On paper this looks good but with Salvana's struggle and the fact he is moving up in weight does mean it's hard to see anything but a win for Uehara.
On the under-card here we'll see the now struggling Tatsuya Ikemizu (13-2, 6) battle against limited Thai Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-6, 1). Ikemizu has lost 2 of his last 3 bouts, albeit to good fighters in the form of Mak John Yap and Jonas Sultan, and is now looking to rebuild his career before being written off. Despite the set backs Ikemizu was the 2013 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year and has shown plenty of promise, though one wonders about his mental state. Jaipetch is expected to offer no resistance and will likely suffer his 5th stoppage loss.
There will also be a show in Hyogo, featuring no title action.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese title challenger Takumi Sakae (14-1-1, 9) face off with Ryoki Hirai (7-4-1, 3) as Sakae looks to end a bad year. Sakae began 2013 as a world ranked hopeful but a loss in a Japanese title fight with Tatsuya Fukuhara and a technical draw against Lito Dante has left him really needing to rebuild and a win over Hirai here would steady the ship leading into 2017. It looks like Hirai is a safe opponent for Sakae, with little to really test the youngster, but their will be questions about Sakae's confidence following the year he has had.
On the under-card wee see the once beaten Tetsu Araki (6-1-1) look to score a third straight win as he takes on Takuya Fujioka (7-5-1, 1) for the second time. This looks like a straight forward win for Araki, who's only loss was a razor thin set back to Tenta Kiyose in September 2015, however Fujioka did run Araki very close when the two men first fought back in July 2015.
Another notable under-card bout here will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (7-2, 4) take on Shota Aikawa (5-6-2, 2) in an interesting looking contest. On paper Kanda will be the favoured fighter but he was stopped inside a round last December and has fought only a single round since that loss . Aikawa has lost his last 2, but will come in here looking to change that here against a possibly rusty Kanda.