Gimhae, South Korea
The most notable show of the day comes from Korea, where the we get top Korean female fighter making a defense of one of her titles.
The aforementioned female fighter is Hee Jung Yuh (20-3, 10), who will be defending her WBF Intercontinental Female Super Flyweight title against Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-14, 1). Yuh is an interesting and skilled fighter, though she is well below elite level, and her only loss in the last 10 years has come to Naoko Fujioka. Despite only losing once in 10 years her competition, Fujioka aside, has been appalling. Saowaluk has lost her last 5, including 3 by stoppage. She's very much a fight who will travel to pick up a loss, and that seems to be the case again here as she returns to Korea for the fourth time in her career, still seeking her first win in the country.
There will also be a bout featuring Seung Ho Lee (4-0, 4). Lee will battle for the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title as he takes on Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-1, 4), who was last seen losing inside a round to Rivo Kundimang in Indonesia in November. We'll get a chance to compare Lee to Kundimang, but that's about the only thing this bout will actually do.
As well as the title action in Korea there will also be a small, yet noteworthy, card in Osaka featuring two bouts of interest.
In a bout that genuinely excites us we'll see the inform Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on the once touted Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3). Coming in to this Kenji has won his last 5 by stoppage, including big wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. That winning run has taken him from 5-3 to 10-3 and he's quickly climbing up the rankings towards a potential title fight. Iwai was tipped highly as a prospect from Hyogo but the youngster suffered back to back defeats in 2017 and he's yet to really recover from those set backs. He's notched a couple of wins over Thai's since suffering his defeats but this is a clear step up, and it feels like Morioka will be looking to see if he sinks or swims against someone as good as Kenji.
The other bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (7-2, 4) take on Tricky Kumagai (9-8, 6). The 25 year old Jogo was stopped in 4 rounds in the Rookie of the Year final and was also stopped last time out, by Yoshihiro Utsumi, suggesting that perhaps he's lacking in durability. Kumagai has also been stopped, in fact 4 of his 8 losses have been inside the distance, and he is 2-6 in his last 8, meaning he can ill afford another loss here. This isn't a massive fight for the Japanese domestic scene, but is massive for both fighters, who will have a long road to climb if they come up short here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small card, expected to be headlined by the unbeaten Marlon Paniamogan (8-0-1, 5) taking on Jimmy Borbon (7-6-4, 4). This is a less than great match up, but the card looks like it will feature a bunch of more recognisable names.
Listed for the show are Wilbert Berondo (12-3-2, 5), Juan Miguel Elorde (26-1, 14), Arvin Magramo (8-1-1, 5) and Delmar Pellio (5-0, 3). Sadly none of those fighters have had their opponents named at the time of writing.
Kazakh fans get the chance to end the year on a high with a number of their fighters in action on a special card promoted by the Astana Arlans and Qazaq Promotions. The show will be free to attend, but sadly the level of bouts is a bit of a mystery.
Whilst full details on this card haven't been announced we do know that is it will feature Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6), Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5), Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2), Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6) and Ruslan Myrsataev (5-0, 5), all of whom likely to be up against limited opponents in what we suspect will be little more than show case bouts.
Action returns to Japan this coming Sunday with two shows. One in Osaka, where we get the chance to see a few domestically ranked fighters in action, and one in Aichi where we get Rookie of the Year action.
Although Rookie of the Year is great we'll begin by looking at the Osakan card, which has the more notable fighters in action.
The main event of thus card will see the in form Dynamic Kenji (9-3, 6), previously known as Kenji Kihisa, taking on the more experienced Kenta Sugimoto (12-11-2, 1). Although Kenji's record might not be incredible on paper but he is currently in the form of his career with recent stoppage wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. Those wins have taken Kenji into the WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and JBC rankings and he won't be wanting to give those up. Sugimoto on the other hand is tough but limited domestic level fighter who, on his day, can be a nightmare. Sugimoto's best performance was in a losing battle to Tetsuya Hisada, show he;t tough and can be banana skin, but wit a 2-4-1 record in his last 7 we don't expect him to really push Kenji too close here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is JBC ranked fighter Ken Osato (13-2-1, 4), who takes on Retsu Kosaka (9-3, 3) in what looks like a competitive match up on paper and is a rematch of a very competitive 2016 bout. This will be Osato's first bout since his loss to Masaru Sueyoshi in a Japanese Super Featherweight title earlier this year and he'll be looking to bounce back with a win here. Kosaka showed some early promise, going 7-0 (2), but has since gone 2-3 with one of those losses being a razor thin one to Osato back in 2016. Given how close their first bout was this should be a very interesting match up.
A third bout of some interest here will see Tae Soo Kim (6-4, 1) take on Katsunori Imai (6-9-3, 1) in what looks like it could be a pretty competitive bout on paper. We suspect Kim will come out on top but he will certainly be forced to work for it against the normally tough Imai, who's only stoppage loss has come to Takuya Watanabe.
As for the Rookie of the Year card, which will be the Central Japan Rookie of the Year final, there will be 8 bouts, taking place from Light Flyweight to Welterweight.
The Welterweight bout pits real novices against each other, as Atsushi Matsui (1-0, 1) battles against Daisuke Hironaka (1-0, 1). Just to explain how inexperienced these two are they have less than 4 complete rounds of shared experience, with Matsui having just 21 seconds of ring time. We know the Welterweight division, particularly on the local level inside of Japan, is thin but this is really odd, though should be very entertaining.
At the other end of the weight spectrum is a Light Flyweight bout between 19 year old Mammoth Kazunori (5-1, 5) and 23 year old Alex Ota (2-2), who meet for the second time. These two fought last November, with Kazunori stopping Ota in 3 rounds, and since then both men have fought once, scoring a win each. The power edge certainly lies with Kazunori, who has scored 5 wins inside 3 rounds, and 3 inside the opening round, but Ota will have the drive of avenging his loss in what should be a very interesting match up.