This coming Saturday sees a new month begin, and it kicks off in stylee with a strong card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of card will see the Japanese Bantamweight title finally have a champion crowned, after having been vacated in January by Ryo Akaho and having seen several bouts to crown a new champion fall through. The void at the top of domestic scene will be filled by either Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) or Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8) who will both see this as a massive opportunity to claim a national title. Saito was supposed to face Suguru Muranaka for the title earlier in the year before Muranaka pulled out due to making weight. Kikuchi on the other will be getting his first title bout since losing to Shingo Wake in an OPBF title fight way back in 2013. The winner of this will likely enter 2019 with a target on their back, but will have claimed the biggest win of their career.
The leading support bout will see former Japanese and OPBF champion Charles Bellamy (27-3-2, 18) taking on Yuto Shimizu (12-3-2, 5) in a bout between Japanese ranked fighters. The hard hitting Bellamy has struggled for activity in recent years but is devastating at this level and will know, at the age of 36, that he really only has more run left in his body. A win over Shimizu will not assure Bellamy of a title shot, but will move him much closer to one. As for Shimizu this will only be his third fight since the start of 2016, and his first of note since losing to Yuki Nonaka more than 2 years ago. At 30 years old Shimizu has got youth on his side but would need a career best performance to pick up a win here.
In another notable supporting bout we'll see the very talented Reiya Abe (17-2, 8) battle against Masashi Noguchi (12-10-1, 6). Originally the plan had been for Abe to fight in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator but with no suitable opponents being able and free he's fighting a bit of a stay busy bout whilst awaiting for a title fight, likely in 2019. Abe is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak, which saw him avenge one of his defeats and over-come the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satoshi Hosono. Noguchi is a former Japanese title challenger, but comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight losses. Noguchi has no momentum coming into this and has been hand selected to keep Abe busy, but won't be expected to offer much competition.
Arguably the biggest single name on this card is recent world title contender Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17), who will be looking to tick over with a stay busy fight of his own. The teak tough Kondo will be up against domestic journeyman Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-11-1, 9) in what should be Kondo's second victory since losing in 2017 to Sergey Lipinets in an IBF title fight. Miyazaki has been stopped in 8 of his 11 losses and we suspect to see another loss here for the 34 year old. Miyazaki has got power, but given the toughness of Kondo we don't think that will matter too much in this bout.
On paper one of the more even match ups will see the in form Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) take on Shingo Kusano (11-6-1, 4), who is one of the two men to hold a win over the aforementioned Reiya Abe. Takahashi has rebuilt well since suffering an August 2017 defeat, and was last seen scoring an upset win in Thailand against Mike Tawatchai for a regional IBF title. Kusano on the other hand has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and is without a win since February 2016, when he defeated a Thai novice. It's hard to see past a Takahashi victory here, but he should get some good rounds in against a usually durable foe.
One other fighter of note on this show is Hayate Kaji (10-0, 8), who will be taking on a Thai foe. The talented Kaji has looked fantastic at times, but a disappointing performance last December against Jun Blazo has left some serious questions for him to answer. If Kaji can commit himself to the sport his potential is huge, but her really does just need to make sure he can focus on his training and what he needs to do in the ring. We're not expecting him to be tested here, but we are hoping to see an impressive performance from the Japanese youngster.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see veteran Sirimongkol Singwancha (95-4, 60) continue his journey to being a centurion as he take on Muhammad Nsubuga (0-6-1) in a bout for the vacant Thai Light Heavyweight title. The 41 year old Sirimongkol, who had world title reigns at Bantamweight and Super Featherweight more than a decade ago, is long past his prime but clear still has hunger and that shows by the fact he'll be fighting at 175lb for the first time in his career. Ugandan born Thai based Nsuubuga has been stopped in 6 of his 7 bouts and we suspect he'll be stopped again here as Sirimongkol marks his 100th professional bout!
This coming Sunday is a relatively busy day in Asia, with a pair of shows in bot Philippines and Japan.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most interesting card, for us at least, is in Metro Manila where Elorde will be putting on a card.
The main event of this card sees the excellent Giemel Magramo (20-1, 16) take on the once beaten Michael Bravo (13-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant WBO Oriental Flyweight title, and a chance to take a huge step towards getting a potential world title fight. Magramo is the better known fighter and has scored a two of notable wins since losing a very close decision to Muhammad Waseem in late 2016. Magramo world class potential in that loss and could thrust himself into the world title picture with a win here. For Bravo the bout is a huge step up in class, though he is riding an 8 fight winning run coming in to this and has won both PBF and MinProBA titles in his last 2 bouts, showing he is in really good form and very confident.
Another bout on this card will see the unbeaten Casey Morton (6-0-3, 1) battle Thai foe Nongmuay Kokietgym (13-3-3) in a female bout. The unbeaten Morton, who is based in the US, will be having her third successive fight in Asia and this is a step up for her. The Thai is a multi-time former world title challenger and is a very credible foe, despite her total lack of punching power.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino show, courtesy of Pacquiao Promotions will take place in Davao del Sur.
The main event here will be a Filipino Welterweight title fight, as Jayar Inson (15-1, 10) takes on Romeo Jakosalem (18-16-1, 10). The bout sees two former regional title holders facing off in what should be a bit of a slugfest. Of the two fighter Inson is the younger and more promising fighter, with the 27 year old Southpaw being a brutal puncher, as we saw in his demolition job against Ryota Yada for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Despite only being 29 years old Jakosalem has had a very hard career and already looks a bit shot, as shown by the fact he has been stopped 10 times in total, including 3 of those in his last 3 bouts. Inson will be strongly favoured here and should be able to stop Jakosalem and move towards bigger and better fights.
The rest of this card is pretty weak in all honesty, but will feature a host of promising fighters in mismatches. Those fighters include Joel Lino (8-0-1, 2), Rene Mark Cuarto (14-1, 8), Vincent Astrolabio (10-1, 7) and Jerry Francisco (2-0), who should all be adding to their win column against some horribly over-matched opposition.
The most notable the two Japanese cards will take place in Aichi and will feature a Japanese youth title fight along with a bout between two OPBF ranked fighters.
The youth title fight will see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (13-1-1, 11) defending his title against Daiki Maniwa (6-1-1, 4), in what will be Mizuno's second defense of the belt. The champion won the title last August and defended it in December, taking split decision in both of those bouts. Although a powerful puncher it does seem like Mizuno's power isn't carrying up to level and he could well be dragged into another tough bout by Maniwa. The challenger is a bit of an unknown, though he has won his last 6, with his win last November against Yo Konomura being a career best.
In a battle between OPBF ranked fighters we'll see Super Bantamweight contender Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1) take on Bantamweight veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8). Aged 19 Saeki is a promising youngster who's only loss was in the West Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2016, and since then he has bounced back with 3 wins to work his way into the OPBF rankings. The 32 year old Kikuchi is a former OPBF title challenger, have challenger Shingo Wake for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title back in June 2013. Since losing to Wake Kikuchi has gone 7-2 (2), though was stopped last time out by Yusuke Suzuki in a Japanese Bantamweight title eliminator, and may well be feeling the after effects of his third stoppage loss.
In Fukuoka fans will see Japanese ranked Bantamweight Hideo Sakamoto (17-4-4, 5) look to get his career back on track as he takes on Takaaki Kanai (8-7, 4). Back in early 2015 Sakamoto looked well on his way to getting a Japanese title fight, thanks to wins over Hiroki Shiino and Ryoichi Tamura, sadly though he has gone 1-3-2 since then and is clearly faltering with his career, and needs a win to give his career one more shot in the arm. Kanai shouldn't put up much of a test for Sakamoto, given he has fought at a far lower level and struggled a lot in recent bouts, but the pressure is on Sakamoto to perform, and make sure he does more than just get the win.
Belfast, United Kingdom
In regards to Asian fighters the biggest single fight is a Bantamweight unification contest, as Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18) takes on Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9) in Belfast. Coming in to that bout the heavy handed Zhakiyanov will be looking to defend the WBA title, however the Kazakh will be up against a real boxing talent in the form of the excellent Burnett. For both men this will not only be a unification world title bout, but also their first defense, making this a very tricky assignment for two men who only won their title's earlier this year. The Kazakh upset Rau'shee Warren for his title earlier this year, out hustling the American in a very competitive bout, whilst Burnett completely schooled fellow Brit Lee Haskins, despite one judge some how confusing the two fighters. This should be a really good bout,and could well crown the heir apparent for the Bantamweight division.
Whilst the biggest single fight, from an Asian perspective, takes place in Northern Ireland it's hard not to feel like a card from Tokyo is actually the more interesting show. Not only does it have a Japanese title fight, but it also has 4 Japanese title eliminators, and really does promise a fantastic value show.
The main event sees fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) battle against veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) for the Japanese Lightweight title, with both men competing for their first national titles. The unbeaten Yoshino has been touted since his debut, and really has looked like a champion in the making thanks to wins over Chaiyong Sithsaithong, Yoshitaka Kato and Kenta Onjo, and a win here is likely to see him begin a notable reign as a national champion, with not many domestic fighters looking up to the task of beating him. As for Matsushita the bout really is a must win, and he does come into the contest on the back of a huge win over a then unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya. Sadly for Matsushita form has been an issue and his recent wins have all been razor thin decisions, which won't bode well against the talented Yoshino.
At Featherweight we see an elimination bout as Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) and Taiki Minamoto (13-5, 11) battle for the right to challenger for the national title next year. Of the two men Iwai is the more experienced and the more technically gifted fighter, but Minamoto certainly has the edge in power, and acquitted himself well in a 2015 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni. Coming into this Iwai will be the favourite, we suspect hat the bout will be incredibly competitive.
In a potential thriller at Welterweight we'll see the tough and hard working Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 4) take on the big punching Ryota Yada (14-4,12), in possibly the best bout of the card. Yun is coming in to this after a Japanese FOTY contender against Shusaku Fujinaka and he's unbeaten in 6, including a draw with former champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The heavy handed Yada has blown out his last 2 opponents, but has a lot of question marks lingering over him following last years stoppage loss to Jayar Inson, who moved up in weight and bullied him. We're expecting this one to be a little bit special, and can't see anything but an action bout.
Another potential action bout will be at Bantamweight and see veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) take on the exciting Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5). The 31 year old Kikuchi lost 2 of his first 11, before rebuilding his career and has subsequently only been beaten by Shingo Wake, in an OPBF title fight, and the aforementioned Minamoto, with both of those losses coming at Super Bantamweight. On paper Suuki's record is less than great, but to date his losses have all come to very good fighters, with the first coming to Yusaku Kuga back in 2013, the second to Ryoichi Tamura in 2015 and the third coming to Jeffrey Francisco in the Philippines last year. All 3 of those losses were close and were losses which will aid the development of the 28 year southpaw.
Another eliminator will take place Flyweight, and sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) battle against the in-form and very under-rated Akinori Hoshino (14-7-1, 9). The heavy handed Nagamine began his career 10-0 before being beaten by the excellent Ken Shiro in 2015. Since that loss Nagamine has bounced back with 4 stoppages, including thrilling wins over Kenya Yamashita, Mako Matsuyama and Tetsuya Tomioka, which have all been all out wars. Around a year agoHoshino was 11-7-1 (8) and it looked like his career was going no where. Since then however he has moved down in weight and reeled off 3 big wins, including a stoppage of Kenya Yamashita and a decision over Shun Kosaka. We're expecting another good one here, though it's hard to see a win for Hoshino.
Gümligen bei Bern, Switzerland
There's yet more notable action featuring a Japanese fighter as Aniya Seki (31-3-2, 5) takes on Hungarian Kleopatra Tolnai (13-12-1, 4) in Seki's adopted homeland of Switzerland. The bout will see Seki defending her WBC Silver female Bantamweight title, for the second time, and in all fairness this be a simple defense against an opponent who has won just 1 of her last 5.
In Japan this coming Sunday we'll see two rather low key cards.
On paper the more significant of them will come from Wakayama where we get two Japanese ranked fighters in action.
In the main event of the show Seizo Kono (18-8-1, 11) will take on Takuya Taniguchi (6-10-2, 1), with Kono looking to move towards a potential title fight. Although Kono has got a number of losses on his record he has mixed at a good level, battling the likes of Rey Vargas and Yu Kawaguchi. The reality here is that this should be an easy win for Kono, but he has slipped up against limited foes in the past
The other ranked fighter on this card is former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (20-4-4, 8), who will be battling against Takuya Fujioka (7-6-1, 1). Coming in to this bout Kikuchi has won his last 6, albeit against limited foes, and moved up the Japanese rankings as he's began a genuine run towards a Japanese title fight. Fujioka is better than his record suggests, but shouldn't be much of a test for Kikuchi, who is heavier handed, more experienced and generally more talented.
The other Japanese card is from Fukuoka, and will be headlined by unbeaten puncher Yuki Beppu (14-0-1, 14), who takes on Taengthong Sithsaithong (0-2). The Thai has fought twice before in Japan, and suffered stoppages both times with this likely to be a third stoppage loss for the Thai in the Land of the Rising Sun.
This coming Sunday is a hectic day in Japanese boxing with a number of cards.
The biggest card comes from Osaka, and will be featured on Boxingraise on a delayed basis.
The main event of the card sees the WBO Asia Pacific titles continue to rise in Japan as Ryota Yada (12-3, 10) takes on unbeaten Filipino Jayar Inson (12-0, 8) for the Welterweight crown. The bout isn't a huge one by any stretch, but it is a very attractive one with two talented, hungry fighters each looking for a major international title and a potential WBO world ranking. Although interesting on paper Inson is moving up from Lightweight and is likely to look very small compared to Yada.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (17-7-2, 7) will be defending his Japanese Super Flyweight ranking as he faces off against the limited Takanori Hayashida (7-10-3). Ranked #3 by the JBC Okumoto will be looking for a title fight in 2017 and will know that any sort of a set back will ruin those dreams. On paper this looks like a mismatch, and will likely be very one sided, but Hayashida has won his last 2 bouts following an 8 fight win-less streak and will be eager to keep his current winning form going.
One of the most attractive match ups on the card will see Takahiro Murai (14-6-2, 5) face the talented but fragile Takeru Kamikubo (11-2, 8) in a really interesting match up. Murai is Japanese ranked at Flyweight and is clearly looking to get a title fight in the near future, with his recent competition being solid on the domestic level. Kamikubo did show real promise at one point but back to back stoppage losses in 2015 derailed his career and he is very much needing to rebuild here.
Also on the card are several notable prospects. One of those Naotoshi Nakatani (9-0, 6), who risks his unbeaten record against Masashi Wakita (6-4-2, 2), another is Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4), who has yet to have his opponent for the show to be named, and also school girl boxer Fuka Komura (1-0), who faces Mizuki Matsuoka (0-1)
A second show comes from Aichi.
The main event of this card will see former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (19-4-4, 8) take on Kazuki Fukakura (9-11-2, 3) in what appears to be a total mismatch. Kikuchi is best known for his 2013 loss to Shingo Wake, and whilst he did lose his following bout he has gone on a 5 fight winning run and looks to have rebuilt some confidence whilst moving into a top 10 JBC ranking at Bantamweight. Fukakura has gone 2-5 in his last 7, dating back more than 2 years, and is unlikely to win here, but does have the ability to be competitive at this type of level.
In the most interesting of the supporting bouts we'll see Takashi Igarashi (8-3, 3) battle the Yoshiki Kawamura (5-6-2, 3). The bout isn't a competitive bout, and it'd be a genuine shock to see Igarashi lose, but it should be better than it looks on paper and the 20 year old Igarashi should be tested a bit here.
A third show is in Yamaguchi.
The main event here will see OPBF and JBC ranked Lightweight Accel Sumiyoshi (7-4-2, 2) battle against Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Yusuke Nakagawa (10-5-1, 6) in what should be a really intriguing match up. Despite neither guy having a great record on paper the two should be well matched and are both much better than the raw numbers suggest. Sumiyoshi is the naturally bigger guy, and should be favoured, but it is a very competitive match up.
Another really interesting match from this show will see the under-rated Burning Ishii (7-3-1, 2) battled Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (11-1, 5). Ishii is the promoter's fighter and has mixed with good company, but was stopped last time out by Kosuke Saka and has now been stopped twice whilst also showing little real power. Atsumi is arguably the most promising Korean fighter in the sport and has scored 3 stoppages since relocating to Japan, including a huge win over Sho Nakazawa and a notable stoppage against Dennis Tubieron. Hard not to favour Atsumi here, but it's another intriguing match up.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Outside of Japan there will also be action in the Philippines.
In the main event here we see former WBA “interim” Light Flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin (24-2-1, 18) take on Arnold Garde (7-3-2, 3) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Light Flyweight title. This will be Petalcorin's second bout since his controversial loss to Omari Kimweri and should be a straight forward win against Garde, who has been stopped 3 times at domestic level, including an opening round stoppage to the then debuting Zoren Collado,
In a notable supporting bout we'll see Eden Sonsona (34-6-2, 12) return to the ring for the first time since his huge May 2015 upset win over Adrian Estrella. Sadly for Sonsona he was unable to build on the win over Estrella and now, 19 months later will be taking on Eusebio Baluarte (19-17, 12) in what looks like a massive step backwards. Although a step backwards it's nice to see Sonsona back in the ring.
One of a number of interesting prospects in action here is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (17-0, 8), who looks to extend his winning run as he takes on the limited Joas Apericio (12-17-1, 9). We do like Moralde, and he does have a lot of talent, but Apericio really won't do anything to test the youngster and there's a reason that he's gone 0-7-1 in his last 8. A horrible mismatch in favour of the very talented unbeaten Moralde.
Another Filipino that we like is Ben Mananquil (11-1-2, 3), who came close to stopping Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym back in 2013. The once beaten Filipino has been away from the ring for 15 months but should return with a win this weekend as he takes on the limited Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-8-3, 3) in an 8 rounder.
There will also be action in Thailand where we'll see a national Super Flyweight title fight as Chatchai Or Benjamas (6-8, 5) faces Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-15, 6) for the vacant title. The bout doesn't pit two major names but does look like it could be a competitive and even match up, even if it is at a very low level.
In Tokyo fans get the first ever “Ladies Dangan” card, a card put on by “reason”, who promote the Dangan cards, and features only female fighters. The concept is an interesting one and we're hoping it's a success.
Whilst the concept is a good one, that match ups are also good with some genuinely well matched contests taking place on a card that features some notable names. One of those well matched bouts will see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mika Oda (6-7-1, 1) defending her title against Saemi Hanagata (11-6-2, 5). Incidentally Oda won this title in her last bout, which was way back in September 2014. Whilst Oda won the last meeting between these two she has been inactive whilst Hanagata has fought thrice winning two of those bouts and controversially losing the other, which was a world title bout.
The other title bout on this show sees OPBF female Atomweight champion Momoko Kanda (9-8-2, 3) defending her belt against Masae Akitaya (9-6-2, 3), in what looks like an excellent match up. Both fighters have their limitations but both have experienced fighting at world level and both have acquitted themselves well and we wouldn't be surprised if this scrap ended up being a high paced and highly entertaining contest between two fighters both looking to prove themselves.
Another high profile bout on this card sees former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) battle against the once beaten Emika Himuro (5-1-1, 1). Although her record may not suggest it Tsunami is a world class fighter who is tough, game and has a great work rate, sadly however her battles have taken a bit of a toll on her and she looked rather poor last time out against Carolina Rodriguez. Despite that she should have more than enough to over-come the 35 year old Himuro.
Another veteran in action is multi-time title challenger Kayoko Ebata (8-6, 4), who takes on Sornsawan Sarakarngym (0-1). Aged 40 Ebata is a real veteran, having debuted back in 2007, and although not a world champion she has fought in 4 world title bouts, and found herself very competitive in several of them. Sadly she's likely to be ending her career shortly though she has had a career to be proud of.
As well as the Tokyo card there is also a show in Hyogo courtesy of Shinsei gym.
The main event of this card will see JBC ranked Ryo Kosaka (11-3-1, 5) battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-6-2, 2). This looks to be a mismatch, especially given that the 24 year old Mizuno has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, though Mizuno is a southpaw and is tough so may give Kosaka some questions over the 8 round distance.
The chief support bout looks to be a mismatch as former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (18-4-4, 8) battles against limited Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (1-6). Petchmai was stopped in his only previous bout in Japan and we expect to see that happen again here, though Petchmai did win his last bout and may well have some confidence coming in to this one.
A third bout of note will see Seizo Kono (15-8-1, 10) battle Thai novice Yodsing Padjaigym (0-0). Kono has gone 2-5 in hius last 7 but is better than his record suggests and blew away Hikaru Matsuoka last year. This should be a win for Kono but we really know nothing about the Thai who may be one of those fighters with a lot more experience than his record suggests.