This coming Monday attention returns to the Korakuen Hall for a title double header courtesy of the Kawasaki Nitta gym.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) take on the under-rated Akinori Hoshino (13-7-2, 9). For Kuroda this bout will be his third defense of the title, which he won in June 2017 with a split decision win over Takuya Kogawa. Last time out the champion narrowly over-came Katsunori Nagamine in a thrilling 10 round war and he's currently in the form of his career as he chases a second world title bout, following on from a 2013 shot at the WBA Flyweight title. Hoshino fought in a title eliminator last year, fighting to a frustrating and sloppy draw with Nagamine, That draw ended a 3 fight winning run from Hoshino, who had upset both Kenya Yamashita and Shun Kosaka in recent contests. Hoshino is likely to be a stylistic nightmare for Kuroda, but we do suspect that the experience edge he has will help him score the victory.
The chief support bout will also be a title fight, with OPBF female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (13-10-1, 5) defending her belt against Wakako Fujiwara (5-2-2, 2). The champion has held this title since June 2016 but this will be her first defense. Since winning the belt Miyoshi has fought twice, but lost both of those contests to Shannon O'Connell and Hyun Mi Choi. Although Miyoshi has lost at the higher level she is very good at Oriental level and has won titles at 3 weights. The 37 year old Fujiwara is the Japanese Female Featherweight champion, having won the title this past March, but this is a huge step up in class for her, and one we suspect she'll come up short in.
In one of the leading supporting bouts fans will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryo Hino (11-1-2, 6) take on Toshizane Kinoda (6-4, 2). On paper it's hard to see how the talented Hino comes up short here. Hino has impressed against the likes of Sho Nakazawa, who he out boxed last September, and Coach Hiroto, who he drew with in January. Hino, from what we've seen of him, is a technically solid fighter who uses his jab brilliantly. Kinoda is pretty limited, and has lost 3 of his last 4 bouts, but has never been stopped so will be expected to go the 8 round scheduled with Hino, albeit come up clearly short.
Another good looking bout on this card is a very evenly matched contest between Kosuke Arioka (7-3, 6) and Yui Oikawa (7-3, 4), who battle in an intriguing 8 rounder. The heavy handed Arioka won the 2017 Japanese Rookie of the Year at Lightweight, stopping Rikki Naito's younger brother Mirai Naito along the way. Although Arioka has nasty power he has been stopped in 2 of his 3 losses and can certainly be hurt. On the other hand Oikawa doesn't have a reputation as a puncher but has stopped his last 3 so seems to be developing belief in his power, and he's yet to be stopped, suggesting he could be a nightmare for Arioka.
Belfast, United Kingdom
In regards to Asian fighters the biggest single fight is a Bantamweight unification contest, as Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18) takes on Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9) in Belfast. Coming in to that bout the heavy handed Zhakiyanov will be looking to defend the WBA title, however the Kazakh will be up against a real boxing talent in the form of the excellent Burnett. For both men this will not only be a unification world title bout, but also their first defense, making this a very tricky assignment for two men who only won their title's earlier this year. The Kazakh upset Rau'shee Warren for his title earlier this year, out hustling the American in a very competitive bout, whilst Burnett completely schooled fellow Brit Lee Haskins, despite one judge some how confusing the two fighters. This should be a really good bout,and could well crown the heir apparent for the Bantamweight division.
Whilst the biggest single fight, from an Asian perspective, takes place in Northern Ireland it's hard not to feel like a card from Tokyo is actually the more interesting show. Not only does it have a Japanese title fight, but it also has 4 Japanese title eliminators, and really does promise a fantastic value show.
The main event sees fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) battle against veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) for the Japanese Lightweight title, with both men competing for their first national titles. The unbeaten Yoshino has been touted since his debut, and really has looked like a champion in the making thanks to wins over Chaiyong Sithsaithong, Yoshitaka Kato and Kenta Onjo, and a win here is likely to see him begin a notable reign as a national champion, with not many domestic fighters looking up to the task of beating him. As for Matsushita the bout really is a must win, and he does come into the contest on the back of a huge win over a then unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya. Sadly for Matsushita form has been an issue and his recent wins have all been razor thin decisions, which won't bode well against the talented Yoshino.
At Featherweight we see an elimination bout as Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) and Taiki Minamoto (13-5, 11) battle for the right to challenger for the national title next year. Of the two men Iwai is the more experienced and the more technically gifted fighter, but Minamoto certainly has the edge in power, and acquitted himself well in a 2015 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni. Coming into this Iwai will be the favourite, we suspect hat the bout will be incredibly competitive.
In a potential thriller at Welterweight we'll see the tough and hard working Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 4) take on the big punching Ryota Yada (14-4,12), in possibly the best bout of the card. Yun is coming in to this after a Japanese FOTY contender against Shusaku Fujinaka and he's unbeaten in 6, including a draw with former champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The heavy handed Yada has blown out his last 2 opponents, but has a lot of question marks lingering over him following last years stoppage loss to Jayar Inson, who moved up in weight and bullied him. We're expecting this one to be a little bit special, and can't see anything but an action bout.
Another potential action bout will be at Bantamweight and see veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) take on the exciting Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5). The 31 year old Kikuchi lost 2 of his first 11, before rebuilding his career and has subsequently only been beaten by Shingo Wake, in an OPBF title fight, and the aforementioned Minamoto, with both of those losses coming at Super Bantamweight. On paper Suuki's record is less than great, but to date his losses have all come to very good fighters, with the first coming to Yusaku Kuga back in 2013, the second to Ryoichi Tamura in 2015 and the third coming to Jeffrey Francisco in the Philippines last year. All 3 of those losses were close and were losses which will aid the development of the 28 year southpaw.
Another eliminator will take place Flyweight, and sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) battle against the in-form and very under-rated Akinori Hoshino (14-7-1, 9). The heavy handed Nagamine began his career 10-0 before being beaten by the excellent Ken Shiro in 2015. Since that loss Nagamine has bounced back with 4 stoppages, including thrilling wins over Kenya Yamashita, Mako Matsuyama and Tetsuya Tomioka, which have all been all out wars. Around a year agoHoshino was 11-7-1 (8) and it looked like his career was going no where. Since then however he has moved down in weight and reeled off 3 big wins, including a stoppage of Kenya Yamashita and a decision over Shun Kosaka. We're expecting another good one here, though it's hard to see a win for Hoshino.
Gümligen bei Bern, Switzerland
There's yet more notable action featuring a Japanese fighter as Aniya Seki (31-3-2, 5) takes on Hungarian Kleopatra Tolnai (13-12-1, 4) in Seki's adopted homeland of Switzerland. The bout will see Seki defending her WBC Silver female Bantamweight title, for the second time, and in all fairness this be a simple defense against an opponent who has won just 1 of her last 5.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge day in the world of Asian boxing, but it is a pretty interesting one, with a number of notable fighters in action.
The most significant of the bouts is set to take place in Australia, where we actually see two Chinese fighters fighting in pretty interesting looking match ups.
The more notable of the two bouts will see OPBF Super Middleweight champion Jayde Mitchell (14-1, 8) defending his title against heavy handed, and unbeaten, Chinese challenger Ainiwaer Yilixiati (10-0, 8), in what looks like a mouth watering bout. The Australian won the title last year, when he easily beat Shintaro Matsumoto, and has strung together 4 straight stoppages since then. Here however the champion goes in against a young and hungry puncher looking to make a name for himself in a what is a huge opportunity.
The other bout featuring a Chinese fighter on this card will see the once beaten local Jake Carr (13-1, 4) take on Adili Abulimiti (8-1-1, 5). Again this looks like a really solidly made match up, and whilst the local will be the favourite the bout is certainly one with a danger to it, and Abulimiti will be looking to make the most of his opportunity to score a notable upset on foreign soil
In Tokyo we get a relatively low key card, but one that should have a fair bit of low key action.
The main event will see Ryusei Nakajima (10-2, 3) look to play the spoiler as he takes on Vladimir Baez (22-3-2, 20), with Baez having a bout lined up for December 8th against Kazuyasu Okamoto to decide the Japanese mandatory challenger for the 2018 Champion Carnival. Nakajima will maybe feel like he's being over-looked here but he would still need a career best performance to over-come the heavy handed Japanese based Dominican.
In a bout that should be more interesting than the records suggest we'll see Akinori Hoshino (13-7-1, 9) take on Isao Aoyama (9-5-1, 2). On paper this looks a pretty poor bout but neither man should be over-looked going forward. Aoyama holds a very notable draw against the recently crowned WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura and reached the 2011 Rookie of the Year final at Flyweight, whilst Hoshino is on a roll with recent upset wins over Kenya Yamashita and Shun Kosaka. This might not look amazing on paper but we're expecting something very exciting.
Also on this card will be once touted prospect Koki Koshikawa (4-1, 2), who returns to the ring following a 2 year break. The last time Koshikawa fought he was widely out pointed by Koshinmaru Saito and he'll be looking to get things back on track here as he takes on a Thai visitor in an 8 rounder.
Talking of Thai's it's worth noting that Thai teenager Saenganan Sithsaithong (16-0, 7) will be ending a 16 month break from the ring as he goes up against Indonesian visitor Waldo Sabu (12-9, 2) in a bout for the WBC ABC Silver Bantamweight title. The Thai was once touted by the Thai press, but his inactivity has clearly slowed his rise and it's going to be interesting to see what he's going to be like on his return to the ring.
In Singapore we'll see more regional WBC title action as Nor Rizan (8-2, 5) and Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (7-7, 4) battle over the WBC ABC Continental Bantamweight title, in what looks a less than amazing bout.
New South Wales, Australia
Going full circle, back to Australia, there will be a bout featuring the debuting Troy O'Meley (0-0) taking on Thai journeyman Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-15-1), in what should be a straight forward win for O'Meley.
We get the first of two Boxingraise shows on February 19th, albeit one that will be aired on delay, as Dangan put on “Pioneer of Fight Vol 2”
The main event of the show is a very interesting match up as the heavy handed Akinori Hoshino (12-7-1, 9) takes on the once touted Shun Kosaka (13-2, 3). Aged 28 Hoshino comes into this following an excellent 7th round TKO win over Kenya Yamanashita, and although his record is patchy he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Tatsuya Takahashi, Ryuichi Funai and Yusuke Suzuki. Although his record isn't great Hoshino is a real threat at domestic level. As for Kosaka he'll be hunting a 5th straight and prove that he's back on his way up following losses in 2014, to Yamashita, and in 2015, to Tetsuya Hisada
In a female bout we'll see the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (4-0, 2) take on the once beaten Miyo Yoshida (5-1). The 28 year old Wakasa will be stepping into 6 rounders for the first time, and this bout follows a tough win last year against Thai visitor Dokmaipaa Kietpompetch. Yoshida made her debut more than 2 years ago and had a busy 2016, in which she went 4-1, and she will be looking to score her best win here. Both fighters are obviously fighting for a solid win and it wouldn't be a shock to see both women fight their heart out here.
In another supporting bout we'll see Junto Nakatani (9-0, 7) battle against Thai visitor Mingkwan Sithjirachai (0-1), who was stopped in a round on debut last year. The 19 year old Nakatani will be fighting for the first time since winning the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at Flyweight and will be looking to make a splash in 2017.