One of the great things about Japanese boxing is the fact that talented youngsters get in the ring against each other, rather than get protected in the hope of a bout marinating down the line. This type of match making is particularly in both the Japanese Youth title bouts, which regularly match top youngsters against each other, and the B class tournaments which usually match touted novice professionals against each other.
This coming Monday the Korakuen Hall place host to both, B Class tournament and Japanese Youth title tournament bouts, essentially Japanese Youth title eliminators, in what is set to be an excellent, but perhaps over-looked, show.
One of the Japanese Youth title eliminators will see Haruki Ishikawa (7-1, 5) and Atsushi Takada (6-1-3, 3) battle in a really interesting match up. The 19 year old Ishikawa lost in a very close bout against Yusei Fujikawa, in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but has bounced back with a good win over Alvin Medura back in April and certainly has a lot of promise. Takada on the other hand was beaten in a Japanese youth title fight in April and will be looking to secure a second shot at the title in the near future. On paper this is finely balanced and should be a very compelling contest.
The other Japanese title eliminator on this card will actually find themselves up against the winner of the Ishikawa Vs Takada fight, in a bout for the vacant title. This match up., on paper, looks like a mismatch with former Rookie of the Year winner Fumiya Fuse (8-0, 1) taking on 18 year old novice Toshiya Ishii (1-0, 1). This doesn't look great until you realise that Ishii was a very capable amateur, coming runner up in the 2018 Inter-High school tournament and being earmarked for professional success straight away. Fuse is a very talented boxer but this is, in many ways, his toughest test so far, whilst Ishii is will be hoping to have not bitten off more than he chew. A brilliant match up, and one where the winner will really earn something from victory.
In a B class tournament bout, at Light Flyweight, we see novice professionals clash in what could be a really interesting contest. The match up in question is a 6 round bout between Yuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) and Ryu Horikawa (1-0, 1). On paper this might not look anything special to those who don't follow the Japanese scene but for those with a hardcore interest this is something special between two talented former amateur standouts. Nakajima went 52-21 in the unpaid ranks, and has looked fantastic in his first 2 bouts, as a professional whilst Horikawa went 37-8 was matched hard on debut and had to show his mettle. Despite only 3 pro bouts between them this should be a very, very good fight
There's plenty of action set to take place this coming Sunday, even if the quality of that action isn't the best.
For us the most notable card of the day takes place in Okayama, and will be available on demand on Boxing Raise.
The main event of the card will see the talented pairing of Seigo Yuri Akui (12-2-1, 8) and Yoshiki Minato (8-1, 3) meet in a brilliantly matched bout. We like Akui a lot, he's fun to watch, hard hitting and aggressive, but has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, and is certainly not an unbeatable fighter despite having real sting on his punches. Akui has already had success, winning the 2015 Rookie of the Year, and picked up solid wins over Kenji Ono, Ryuto Oho and Masamichi Yabuki, but he really cannot afford another loss at this point. Minato is less well known, but is riding a 4 fight winning run, which lead him to winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year. This could end up being the bout of the day.
Another potential contender for the bout of the day will see Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Tetsu Araki (13-1-1, 2) make his first defense, and take on the unbeaten Atsushi Takada (6-0-3, 3), in what we're expecting will be a technical war. Neither of these guys is a huge puncher, but both are talented, skilled youngsters each looking to make their name. We're expecting a very, very good fight here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Araki and Takada battle for Youth Crown!
A second Japanese show comes from Gifu, where we'll see a rising hopeful take on a recent OPBF title challenger, looking to get his career back on track. Coming in both men need a win.
The match up will see 20 year old Ruito Saeki (7-2, 1) take on Shingo Kawamura (16-5-1, 8). Saeki was last seen in October, losing to former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi. That losses ended a 4 fight winning run for Saeki, who's other loss came in the 2016 West Japan Rookie of the Year final. Kawamura on the other hand has been stopped in his last 2 bouts, coming up short to Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF title fight and Reiya Abe. For Kawamura this really is a must win, with a third straight loss likely ending his hopes of getting another major any time soon. For Saeki this is a great chance to get his career back on track a hiccup last time out. A very interesting bout.
Seoul, South Korea
Staying in Asia we also get a title double header from Korea, though if we're being totally honest neither looks to be an amazing match up despite national titles being on the line.
One of the title bouts will see Doo Hyup Kim (10-6-2, 5) make his second defense of the KBM Korean Light Middleweight title, as he takes on unbeaten foe Tae Yun Baek (3-0-1, 1). The 38 year old Kim won the title last year, when he over-came Boo Hyun Baek, but was lucky in his first defense, when he retained with a defense against Kun Woo Kang. Baek , the 27 year old challenger, has never been scheduled for more than 6 rounds, so this is a massive step up in class, but he will go in with the confidence of an unbeaten fighter.
The other title clash will be for the vacant KBM Korean Super Bantamweight title and will pit the unbeaten Han Bin Suh (3-0-2, 2) against Dae Young Lee (2-9-2). The unbeaten fighter is a 19 year old hopeful, who has drawn his last 2, and never featured in a bout longer than 6 rounds. Lee, who has won just 2 of 13 fights, is 40 years old and is 1-6-2 in his last 9. It's hard to say anything positive about this bout.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
It's sad to say that ALA have had a quiet year, the once dominant force in Filipino boxing has all but vanished this year with nothing major having happened, and not on the visible horizon. Their one highlight for the coming weeks will see former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (15-4, 9) travel to South Africa to take on Athenkosi Dumezweni (11-2, 8) in a bout for the WBC silver Super Flyweight title. Sultan is a real talent, one of many talented fighters under the ALA banner, but he's not very exiting and his last 3 bouts, including a loss to Jerwin Ancajas, haven't left great lasting memories. It's alays been hard to pick up a win in South Africa and given Sultan's recent performances he may not do enough to impress the local judges here. Dumezweni doesn't appear to be the next hidden gem of South African boxing, but he can hit and will be strongly supported here.