This coming Sunday sees Japanese attention turn to Osaka with the Sumiyoshi Ward Center playing host to two different shows, one after the other. The first is a Morioka card whilst the second is a Mutoh card.
To us the most interesting bout from the first show will see fast rising Japanese teenager Hinata Maruta (2-0, 1) go for his first professional title, as he faces unbeaten Filipino Wilbert Berondo (10-0, 4) for the WBC Youth Bantamweight title. The bout is, on paper, a huge step up for Berondo but the pressure will be on Maruta, who is tipped by many to be one of the next stars of Japanese boxing. Unfortunately very little is known about Berondo with even our Filipino friends admitting they know very little about him and the footage available shows a raw slugger.
Another interesting bout on this card will see Japanese based Korean fighter Teiru Atsumi (10-1, 4) battle Filipino visitor Dennis Tubieron (19-7-2, 8). Tubieron has been picking up losses recently, including a loss earlier this year to Ryosuke Iwasa. Atsumi is relatively unknown but impressed last time out when he stopped the touted Sho Nakazawa and some are suggesting he is one of the top two Korean prospects still in Asia, along with Ye Joon Kim. If he can add Tubieron to his record Atsumi really will be riding a high into the end of the year, and may well see his team try secure him a title fight in the near future.
On the second card we have another title bout, but one that perhaps doesn't quite have the same excitement as the Maruta/Berondo bout.
This time it's the case of OPBF Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-10-4, 9) facing off against multi-time title challenger Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-1, 13). For Hosokawa this will be his first defense, following his career defining victory late last year against Dennis Laurente to claim the Oriental title. For Hosokawa a good performance here may help open the door to a world title fight, with the Japanese fighter very highly ranked by the IBF, however Saito enters this bout knowing this will be his last chance at winning a world title.
In a supporting bout fans will see former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (12-4-2, 2) battle against Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-1, 5) in what is a really good, well matched contest. The bout sees two well matched men facing off in a bout that neither can really afford to lose. For Mukai the bout is his second since losing to Shohei Omori in a Japanese title fight whilst Kawabata looks to extend a 4 fight unbeaten run.
In a small step up the unbeaten Masahiro Sakamoto (7-0, 4) will be up against Il Che (7-11-5, 1). Che has lost his last 3, and only, has a single win in his last 8 but has proven to be a good test for prospects and gave Genki Hania Hanai a good run out back in March, we suspect the same will be the case here.
One fight we're not expecting to go the distance will see Japanese Middleweight puncher Koki Tyson (10-2-1, 10) face Korean Joon Yong Lee (5-4-3, 3). This will be Lee's second bout in Japan, following a loss in May to Ryosuke Maruki and although he went the distance, in a competitive bout with Maruki, we don't see him being able to take Tyson's power here.
Finally Japanese action for the month kicks off with an interesting card at the Korakuen Hall, a card that will be televised on NTV G+.
In the main event of this card fans will see former world title challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (20-2, 12) take on Dennis Tubieron (19-6-2, 8) in an all Southpaw bout at Featherweight. Notably this sees both men looking to begin 2016 with a win after both suffered losses in the UK in 2015, with Iwasa being stopped by Lee Haskins and Tubiueron losing to be Josh Warrington and Mitchell Smith. It's hard to back Tubieron here but he'll come to win and it should make for an interesting match up.
Another former world title challenger in action here Motoki Sasaki (39-10-1, 24) who fights for the first time in almost 3 years. Sasaki, who lost world title challengers to Humberto Soto and Vyacheslav Senchenko, will be up against the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-7-1, 8) in what could be a fun to watch bout, though we suspect Sasaki isn't the fighter he once was.
The best matched bout on the card will see Kenji Ono (9-1, 4) battle against Jun Takigawa (7-1-1, 4) in a bout that could lift the winner towards a Japanese title fight later in the year. This is really well matched and could go either way, a fantastic bit of match making.
The main event isn't the only Japan vs Philippines bout on the card with another being a match up between once beaten local Masaru Sueyoshi (10-1, 6) and visitor Marbon Bodiongan (12-3-2, 10) in what could be a really exciting match up. Both men will be looking to take home the win and neither will back down from a fight here in what could be the most exciting bout on the card.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
In Camarines Sur Filipino fans get a show that seems rather fill of mismatches.
In the main event fans will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (24-2-1, 19) take on Thailand's Kosol Sor Vorapin (17-19-1, 11) in what should be little more than a blow than a stay busy but for Sabaupan, who is hunting a 5th straight stoppage win. The Thai has lost his last 7 by stoppage and it seems almost certain that he will be stopped again here
As well as the mismatch of a main event the supporting bouts also look like mismatches, though we are interested to see how 17 year old hopeful Michael Mendoza (3-0) copes with Manny Mamacquiao (1-7-1) in a 6 rounder. A similar match up will see Jerry Mae Villagracia (3-0, 2), also 17, take on Alberto Pentecostes (1-8-1).
Another Filiupino show looks to be more well matched, though lacks the star power that Sabaupan has.
One of the two bouts of note here will see Lester Abutan (8-4-3, 4) take on Powell Balaba (8-16-1, 5) in a bout in the Minimumweight division. This looks likely to be a win for Abutan, though the 24 year old will know that he needs to do more than just “win” here.
The other main bout is much more interestingly matched and will see Marlon Arcilla (8-3, 1) face off against Eric Panza (8-6-1, 2) in what should be a good test for the 21 year old Arcilla.
In Baku fans get the chance to see local star Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) attempt to claim a “world title” as he battles Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22) for the WBF crown at 154lbs. Given that Lusambya, a Ugandan puncher, has been inactive for 2 years it's easy to favour Mammadov, however Lusambya has got genuine power and could upset the local fans if he connects cleanly on the Baku man.
In the US fans will see the unbeaten Dimash Niyazov (8-0-3, 4), originally from Kazakhstan, face off against a yet to be named opponent.
On the same card fans will also get the debut of Serdar Hudayberdiyev (0-0), who is also facing a yet to be named foe.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will be able to see British-Yemeni fighter Muheeb Fazeldin (7-0-1, 3) battle Klaas Mboyane (18-10-2, 9) for the Commonwealth Bantamweight title. Fazeldin has won his last 5 bouts but this is a notable step up and could be too much too soon for the 23 year old Southpaw.
The only Asian show today comes from the Korakuen Hall where Ichiriki put on the next of their “Fighting Bee” shows.
The main event here looks to be a mismatch as the popular, and currently world ranked, Akihiro Kondo (22-6-1, 11) takes on Thai visitor Vachara Soonkilabangmod (0-2) in an 8 round bout at just under 138lbs. It's hard to see Kondo losing here but his recent form as been win one-lose one and if that form continues we will see a huge upset here. Saying that however Vachara was stopped last time out in 2 rounds by Takuya Uehara and it's hard to imagine him going the rounds with Kondo.
In the chief support bout we actually get an intriguing bout at 123lbs between former Japanese title challenger Takafumi Nakajima (23-7-1, 10) and Filipino fighter Dennis Tubieron (19-5-2, 8), who returns to Asia after back-to-back losses in the UK. Whilst Tubieron is known for his losses in Europe they did take place at a higher weight than this bout which is a really competitive and well matched one, rather than one that sees a Super Bantamweight being dragged up to Super Featherweight.
Both the main bouts will be 8 rounders, as will another supporting bout that will see Masashi Noguchi (8-5-1, 4) battle against Kazuya Soma (7-8-2, 6). This is interestingly a goof match up with Soma being limited but heavy handed whilst Noguchi has been stopped in 4 of his 5 losses. It could well be an upset if Soma lands clean.
It's a day of travelling Filipino fighters this Saturday with Pinoy's fighting almost every where.
The most notable bout of the day for Asian boxing fans comes from Mexico where the heavy handed Richard Claveras (12-0-1, 12) attempts to claim the biggest upset of the year so far and over-come WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (24-1-1, 16). Guevara will be defending his for the first time since he claimed it last December, stopping Akira Yaegashi in Japan, and looks like he has the ability to hold it for a very long time. The unknown Claveras has looked good on the Filipino domestic scene but is leaping up massively in class for this bout and may well find himself in a bout he simply wasn't ready for. Although Claveras is, rightfully, the big under-dog it's fair to say that he will take some inspiration from last weekends win in Mexico by his compatriot Jonathan Taconing, who looked brilliant when he stopped Raul Garcia,also in Mexico.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the UK we see world ranked Featherweight Dennis Tubieron (19-3-2, 8) battle against the unbeaten, and very popular, Josh Warrington (20-0, 4) in a bout for he WBC International Featherweight title. The winner here will be boosted up the rankings and whilst they won't become the mandatory for current champion Gary Russell Jr, they will put themselves in a good position to challenge for a world in the next year or two.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia there are two bouts of note, each featuring Australian based Asian fighters fighters.
In a relatively predictable bout the “professional loser” Aswin Cabuy (14-51-4, 7), of Indonesia, battles novice professional Paul Cupitt (1-0). A decade ago Cabuy was 9-2-1 (3) as a professional, since then he has gone 5-49-3 (4) and become little more than a fighter brought in to lose to prospects, something that we'll likely see here. Unfortunately Cabuy is now 0-13-1 in his last 14 and he's no longer serving much of a purpose with stoppage losses now starting to pile up alongside his decision loses.
In a much more interesting bout fans will see the rampant Jack Asis (32-18-5, 17), an Aussie based Filipino, battle against the unbeaten Kye MacKenzie (14-0, 12) for the IBO Super Featherweight title. Since 2011 Asis has really turned his career around and gone 11-0-1 (7) with a number of solid wins, he'll be hoping to claim his biggest win to date against MacKenzie. MacKenzie has won his last 10 by stoppage and looks like he could be the next star of Australian boxing however this is a small step up for the aggressive “Mr Frenzy”.
In Texas it's the turn of another Filipino fighter, as former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-5-3, 5), who will make his US debut, takes on the unbeaten, and very exciting, Jessie Magdaleno (20-0, 15). Apolinario comes into this bout 1-3-2 though has faced some amazing competition, including a bout with Koki Kameda for the WBA Bantamweight title, a pair of draws with former world title holder Roberto Vasquez and losses to both Hernan Marquez and Drian Francisco. On paper Magdaleno should win comfortably though a stoppage over Apolinario would be impressive and hasn't happened since 2009, when Apolinario was stopped by Marvin Tampus.
New Mexico, USA
Hard hitting American based Filipino veteran Ranee Ganoy (36-11-2, 32) continues his eventful career as he competes in his second US bout and battles against Josh Torres (13-3-2-1, 6). The Filipino is known as the “KO Kid” and will be hoping that that power helps him here against 25 year old “Pitbull” who has never been stopped. The winner of this bout will claim the WBC United States (USNBC) silver Light Welterweight title and claim local bragging, with both men now fighting out of Albuquerque.
(Image courtesy of http://suljosblog.com)