This coming Sunday our attention turns to Hyogo for a title triple header from the Sanda hotel. The show, put on by Taisei, isn't a huge one, but does have some pretty interesting match ups on it, and a lot of young talent.
The main event will see former world title challenge Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) take on Indonesian visitor Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a bout for the WBC Youth Minimumweight title. The once very highly regarded Kano has struggled in recent bouts, losing last year to Shin Ono and has also been beaten in recent years to Jerry Tomogdan and Katsunari Takayama. The Indonesian visitor is no world beater, but he has shared the ring with Wanheng Menayothin and Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, so it is well experienced. This should be a straight forward win for Kano, but Marganti is expected to take Kano plenty of rounds. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Kano and Marganti battle for WBC Youth crown!
A second title fight on this card will see JBC Youth Featherweight champion Hikaru Matsuoka (15-4-3, 2) make his first defense, and take on the under-rated Kyohei Tonomoto (8-2, 4) in a pretty tough match up. Coming in to this Matsuoka has won his last 3, including a technical decision for the title last December, but has been stopped in 3 of his 4 losses and his chin is thought to be rather shaky. Tonomoto isn't a big puncher but is a very capable fighter who reached the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year, losing to Reiya Abe, and he is clearly a very live challenger. We're expecting a very hotly contested bout here. A preview of this clash can be read here Matsuoka and Tonomoto battle for Featherweight crown!
Another Japanese youth title fight will see Flyweight champion Arata Matsuoka (7-6, 4) defend his title against Jukiya Washio (7-2-1, 2), with Matsuoka making his first defense. The 24 year old champion has turned around a really poor start to his professional career, winning 5 of his last 6, but those wins have typically come against limited opposition. The 21 year old challenger has won 5 of his last 7, but this will be his first 8 round bout and his first contest for a title. The preview of this bout can be read here Youth Flyweight king Matsuoka takes on Washio
The Taisei gym put on a notable card this coming Sunday with two youth title fights, as well as a contest featuring a former world title contender. It's not a huge card by any stretch but is a notable one.
The more interesting of the two Japanese Youth title fights will see the talented but light punching pair of Hikaru Matsuoka (14-4-3, 2) and Noboru Osato (10-6-4, 2) battle for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. On paper this looks pretty competitive, and although almost certain to go the distance we should see some real skills on show. Both fighters are talented boxer, and we're not expecting a tear up, but we should see a lot of skill in the ring, with both fighters being smart and understanding their role in the ring. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Matsuoka and Osato battle for Youth Featherweight title!
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see Arata Matsuoka (6-6, 4) face off with Hikaru Ota (9-8, 5) for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title, which has been vacated by the excellent Junto Nakatani. The bout isn't an amazing looking one, but given both fighters are flawed it should at least be evenly contest, and if bot Matsuoka's win they would be the first twins to pick up Japanese Youth titles together. This is one of those bouts where we expect to be better than it looks on paper, and could end up being pretty explosive if we're being honest. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Matsuoka and Ota battle for vacant Youth Flyweight title
Also on this card is former world title challenger Riku Kano (13-4-1, 7), who looks to be in a confidence building fight against Takayuki Teraji (9-16-1, 4). There was a time when Kano was seen as one of the brightest young prospects in Japan, but losses to Katsunari Takayama, Jerry Tomogdan and Shin Ono in his last 6 bouts have taken the gloss off his potential. Teraji usually puts up a good fight at domestic level, but has come up short against every notable fight he's faced, such as Sho Kimura and Reiya Konishi and will be expect to lost a decision here.
As well as the Taisei card there will also be a show in Aichi, thanks to Green promotions
Overall this is a really weak card, but we do like the look of the main event, which will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (3-1, 2) taking on Genki Maeda (6-3-1, 2). This is a fantastic match up between two Japanese fighters both looking to score a solid domestic win to end a year which has been disappointing. Rikiishi's disappointment came when he was stopped by Kosuke Saka whilst Maeda was stopped in a Japanese title fight by Shuichiro Yoshino, and the fight between these two should be hotly contested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a bout of note in South Africa, as Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) challenges IBO Minimumweight champion Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7). The Filipino doesn't have an amazing record, but does hold very notable wins over both Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, showing he can compete against world class fighters, though has been stopped twice and perhaps has question marks about his chin. Khonco, who also has a misleading record due to losing 4 of his first 10 bouts, is riding a 4 fight winning run since a 2015 loss to Hekkie Budler. Those wins have included victories over Nkosinathi Joyi and Toto Landero. We suspect home advantage will play a key factor in this bout, but it should still be very competitive.