Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as we get an IBF world title eliminator at 140lbs as well as a must win bout for a former Japanese title challenger.
The main event is the aforementioned world title eliminator, which will see teak tough Japanese veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) battle against unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (14-0, 11), with the winner getting a shot at the IBF Light Welterweight title. The Japanese fighter came to the attention of international fans in 2017, when he battled Sergey Lipinets in a surprisingly competitive contest, and since then has scored a couple low profile stoppages whilst staying busy. Downua on the other hand is a touted Thai hopeful who hasn't fought major names, but has impressed and was really sharp in December, when he stopped Sonny Katiandagho in 3 rounds to defend the IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title. The Thai is a heavy handed fighter, with good speed and timing, but this is a big step up for him. We're looking forward to this one, a lot, even if neither man would be regarded as a serious test for any of the current world champions. Our preview of this bout is available here Kondo and Downua battle in IBF eliminator!
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Lightweight title challenger Masashi Noguchi (12-11-1, 6) fighting in a must win contest. Noguchi has lost his last 6, including a stoppage losses to Shuhei Tsuchiya, Satoshi Hosono and Reiya Abe, and another loss likely ends his career. In the opposite corner to Noguchi will be Tasuku Nakagawa (7-4-1, 3), who has lost 3 of his last 4 and needs a win of his own. This is a real must win for both men.
There isn't much action on February 22nd but what there is, at least in regards to the Asian scene, will be aired on Channel 32 in Thailand and will be a Kiatkreerin show featuring two IBF regional title bouts.
The most interesting of those bouts will see the unbeaten Downua Ruawaiking (5-0, 3) take on Japanese ranked Yuta Maruoka (12-3, 6) in what looks like a clear step up for the unbeaten Thai. Although Maruoka is no world beater he's proven to be a solid fighter on the Japanese scene, and is coming in to this bout on the back of 3 straight wins.
Also on the card will be an IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title fight which will see Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (15-6, 10) battle an Indonesian foe. Sadly at the time of writing we haven't been given the name of the Indonesian fighter.