Action returns to Japan this coming Sunday with two shows. One in Osaka, where we get the chance to see a few domestically ranked fighters in action, and one in Aichi where we get Rookie of the Year action.
Although Rookie of the Year is great we'll begin by looking at the Osakan card, which has the more notable fighters in action.
The main event of thus card will see the in form Dynamic Kenji (9-3, 6), previously known as Kenji Kihisa, taking on the more experienced Kenta Sugimoto (12-11-2, 1). Although Kenji's record might not be incredible on paper but he is currently in the form of his career with recent stoppage wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. Those wins have taken Kenji into the WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and JBC rankings and he won't be wanting to give those up. Sugimoto on the other hand is tough but limited domestic level fighter who, on his day, can be a nightmare. Sugimoto's best performance was in a losing battle to Tetsuya Hisada, show he;t tough and can be banana skin, but wit a 2-4-1 record in his last 7 we don't expect him to really push Kenji too close here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is JBC ranked fighter Ken Osato (13-2-1, 4), who takes on Retsu Kosaka (9-3, 3) in what looks like a competitive match up on paper and is a rematch of a very competitive 2016 bout. This will be Osato's first bout since his loss to Masaru Sueyoshi in a Japanese Super Featherweight title earlier this year and he'll be looking to bounce back with a win here. Kosaka showed some early promise, going 7-0 (2), but has since gone 2-3 with one of those losses being a razor thin one to Osato back in 2016. Given how close their first bout was this should be a very interesting match up.
A third bout of some interest here will see Tae Soo Kim (6-4, 1) take on Katsunori Imai (6-9-3, 1) in what looks like it could be a pretty competitive bout on paper. We suspect Kim will come out on top but he will certainly be forced to work for it against the normally tough Imai, who's only stoppage loss has come to Takuya Watanabe.
As for the Rookie of the Year card, which will be the Central Japan Rookie of the Year final, there will be 8 bouts, taking place from Light Flyweight to Welterweight.
The Welterweight bout pits real novices against each other, as Atsushi Matsui (1-0, 1) battles against Daisuke Hironaka (1-0, 1). Just to explain how inexperienced these two are they have less than 4 complete rounds of shared experience, with Matsui having just 21 seconds of ring time. We know the Welterweight division, particularly on the local level inside of Japan, is thin but this is really odd, though should be very entertaining.
At the other end of the weight spectrum is a Light Flyweight bout between 19 year old Mammoth Kazunori (5-1, 5) and 23 year old Alex Ota (2-2), who meet for the second time. These two fought last November, with Kazunori stopping Ota in 3 rounds, and since then both men have fought once, scoring a win each. The power edge certainly lies with Kazunori, who has scored 5 wins inside 3 rounds, and 3 inside the opening round, but Ota will have the drive of avenging his loss in what should be a very interesting match up.