There's quite a lot of title action this coming Friday with title fights in both Japan and the Philippines. Of those two shoes it's the Japanese card that looks the much better show.
The most significant bout on the card sees Japanese Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue (11-0-1, 6) challenge OPBF champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (9-3, 7), in a bout which will see the winner also claim the WBO Asia Pacific title. On paper it looks like a bout where Inoue should be favoured, and in all honesty if he wins he could be regarded as the Japanese break out fighter of the year, but Ratchasi is no mug. Coming into this Ratchasi has scored 3 wins in a row against Japanese fighters, including a 12th round TKO of Yutaka Oishi and an 11th round TKO of Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine, who subsequently retired. Whilst Inoue has had a great year a win for Ratchasi would see him going 3-0 in Japan and have a very legitimate claim to being the best 154lb fighter in Asia.
Although the bout above is the biggest bout of the card it's technically not the main event. Instead that will be a Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (27-7-3, 15) and the limited but entertaining Mako Matsuyama (8-12-2, 3). The bout will be Kuroda's first defense of the title he won earlier this year, when he beat Takuya Kogawa, to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. Matsuyama is best known for his 2014 FOTY contender against Rex Tso, though has some how gotten this title shot having won just once in his last 7 bouts. Kuroda should easily retain his title here if we're being honest, but this should be a fun fight all the same.
A third title bout will see former world champions collide, with Naoko Shibata (17-4-1, 6) and Etsuko Tada (16-3-2, 5) facing off for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. These two fought back in September 2012, with Tada defeating Shibata to retain the WBA female Minimumweight title. Since then both women have held IBF titles, with Tada holding one at 105lbs and Shibata at 108lbs. Since there first bout Tada has gone 5-3 whilst Shibata has gone 8-3-1 but both have been fighting at the top level and know that a win here will help them remain relevant, whilst a loss could end their career as a world class fighter.
The only bout of note from the under-card sees the big punching Kazuto Nakane (8-2, 8) take on former Kuroda opponent Yuta Matsuo (12-3-1, 6), in what could be an entertaining lower tier scrap. Nakane has fought at a lower level, but has show natural power and is the bigger man, whilst Maysuo is more tested man, having shared the ring with Kuroda, Ardin Diale and Ryuto Oho. This is arguably the most well matched bout on the card, despite no title being on the line.
There is also a show in the Philippines full of title bouts, though if we're being honest it's not the most attractive of shows, despite 4 “title bouts”.
The most interesting looking title bout will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (9-1, 3) take on Salatiel Amit (10-3-2, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title. Neither man is very well known, even in Filipino boxing circles, but Penalosa is notable not just for his famous surname but also the fact he's one of the few to stop tough journeyman Vincent Bautista. As for Amit he's best known for losing to notable opponents, suffering losses to Jade Bornea, Jonathan Taconing and Froilan Saludar, though should prove to be a very solid opponent for Penalosa here.
In an interim OPBF Featherweight title fight we'll see Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (5-0, 3) take on Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-4, 6), in a bout that makes very little sense. The OPBF champion, Satoshi Shimizu, won the full title in October and he's not injured, Bolivar isn't from the OPBF region and Gomera has lost his last 3. For the OPBF to sanction this bout is a mystery and really beggars belief. The one positive is that Bolivar will find himself involved in more notable bouts going forward, after he beats Gomera, and we'd quite like a Bolivar Vs Shimizu bout in 2018.
One actual "full" OPBF title bout will see Yuko Henzan (5-6-3, 2) take on Kongsang Palum (2-3, 1) in a bout for the OPBF female Bantamweight title. It's fair to say that this isn't a very attractive bout given the limited records of both fighters, but given that both fighters are limited the bout at least be relatively competitive. Coming in Henzan has won her last 3, and is unbeaten in her last 4, but has faced limited foes in that run. As for Palum she has never scored a win over a fighter with a positive record.
In another female title bout we'll see former world title challenger Erika Hanawa (7-1, 2) take on Thai foe Sornsawan Sarakarngym (2-4, 1) for the OPBF interim Female Minimumweight title. Last time out we saw Hanawa lose to Japanese veteran Kayoko Ebata, in a bout that showed up Hanawa's limitations at that point, but it's hard to see anything but a win for her here. The Thai has been stopped in 3of her losses, including the aforementioned Ebata, and we wouldn't be shocked to see her being stopped again here.
In Australia we'll see a notable Filipino and a novice Indonesian.
The Filipino in action is the world class Randy Petalcorin (27-2-1, 20), who returns to Australia for his first bout in the country since his controversial loss to Omari Kimweri in 2016. The talented Filipino will be up against faltering Indonesian Oscar Raknafa (13-15, 5), who was once world ranked but has gone 2-12 in his last 14 bouts and is now essentially a record padder on the Asian scene.
In the other bout on the card we'll see Daniel Huculak (1-0, 1) take on Indonesian novice Mujiyono (0-1). It's hard to say much about these two, but Huculak won his debut with an opening round stoppage and it's clear that he will be favoured here.
Macao S.A.R, Macao
For a second day running fans in Macao will get a notable card at the Cotai Arena.
The main event on this card will be a female world title fight and will see Japan's Etsuko Tada (16-2-2, 5) defending her IBF female Minimumweight title against once beaten Chinese fighter Cai Zong Ju (8-1, 1). The bout will be Tada's first defense of the title she won in December 2015 whilst the Chinese challenger will be fighting in her first world title fight. On paper it's hard to see Tada losing, but she has never won outside of Japan and Ju will have the fans behind her.
In supporting bouts we'll see the unbeaten Wen Feng Ge (4-0, 2) face off with the once beaten Melmark Dignos (6-1), teenage hopeful Fei Hu Wang (3-0, 1) battle with the debuting Aleksei Podkolzin (0-0) and the very exciting Xiang Xiang Sun (9-0,7) battling with Kun Wang (6-2, 1).
As well as the Macao show there will also be a notable show in Tokyo.
In the main event of the card fans will see former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Hayato Kimura (25-9, 16) battle against the under-rated Ryohei Takahashi (10-2-1, 2), who will be looking to record a career boosting win. Kimura has lost 2 of his last 4 fights, but they have come in title bouts against Sho Ishida and Kenta Nakagawa and he will be feeling confident of earning another title fight in the coming year or two. For Takahashi, a Rookie of the Year winner, the bout is a potential chance to score a statement win, however this would be the biggest win of his career and would certainly over-shadow his Rookie crown win from 2014.
As well as the action at the Korakuen Hall there will also be a low profile Filipino show from Cavite. The card is a small one but does have a few fighters of some interest on it.
In a 10 rounder we'll see Recky Dulay (8-2, 5) face off with the highly experienced Philip Parcon (26-22-3, 8). Dulay lost last time out, and has gone 3-2-1 in his last 6, but will be favoured strongly here. Parcon hasn't won in over 2 years, but has faced some stiff competition and had a sizeable break from the ring, which could revitalise him here.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Joseph Ambo (2-0, 2) take on Alberto Pentecostes (1-10-1). Ambo has looked destructive so far, albeit against very limited opponents, and we expected to see more of the same here, especially given that Pentecostes has been stopped in 4 of his 10 losses.
Arguably the biggest name on this card is former world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (8-1-1, 4), who takes on the win-less Beverly Casero (0-1) in a 6 rounder. Pagaduan will be fighting for just just the second time since a February 2015 draw with Kumiko Seeser Ikehara, in a bout for the WBO Female Minimumweight title. Despite the inactivity Pagaduan should be more than good enough to beat Casero here.
This coming Friday isn't a busy on in Asia, and on Saturday fight fans in Japan only get two small cards, however we are expecting their to be a small card in Thailand that we don't actually have information on as of yet.
In Kobe fight fans will get the chance to see several fighters of note.
The highest profile of those in action here is former world champion Etsuko Tada (15-2-2, 4) who will be up against a Thai opponent in what looks likely to be little more than a mismatch. The former champion has lost 2 of her last 5 bouts but is a world class talent and will be eyeing up a potential world title fight in the near future.
In a supporting bout fans will see the unbeaten, and world ranked, Reiya Konishi (10-0, 4) battle against Takayuki Teraji (6-10-1, 3). The 22 year old Konishi will likely be looking to get himself into titles bouts in 2016 and will know that a win here could be the bout that convinces his team to fast track that title bout. As for Teraji, he'll be looking to avoid an 8th loss in 10 bouts and possibly resurrect his faltering career.
Another unbeaten hopeful expected to pick up a win here is Naotoshi Nakatani (8-0, 5), who faces win-less Thai Bank TJ Gym (0-3) in what should be a straight forward victory for the Japanese local, who is fighting over 6 rounds for the first time in his career.
In Tokyo fight fans will get the chance to see an East Japan Rookie of the Year card. In total 10 bouts will take place on this show with fights from a range of divisions, as low as Minimumweight and as high as Lightweight. All the bouts are 4 rounders, and all will feature novices, but they should all be very interesting bouts with men looking to prove themselves.
This coming Friday is a really busy day in Asian boxing with shows in Japan and China as well as notable bouts outside of Asia.
The most notable the Asian shows is a Shinsei promoted card from Hyogo which features a former 2-weight world champion, a female world title bout and several notable prospects.
The former world champion in action is the legendary Hozumi Hasegawa (34-5, 15) who will be dipping his toes at Super Featherweight as he faces the world ranked Mexican fight Carlos Andres Ruiz Machuca (14-1, 5). For Hasegawa this is a step up in weight but potentially could see him make a move towards a world title fight at 130lbs in 2016. For Ruiz it's a monstrous step up in class as he faces his most notable opponent so far.
The co-feature of this show is a female world title bout that sees former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (14-2-2, 4) face of against Mexican Kareli Lopez (8-5-3, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF female Minimumweight title. Tada was originally scheduled to be facing Victoria Argueta but Argueta is out and has been replaced by Lopez, who really shouldn't test a fighter as talented as Tada.
The most notable of the fighters on the under-card is the unbeaten Reiya Konishi (9-0, 4). The unbeaten 22 year old will be up against Shogo Hayashi (7-2, 4) in a really good looking 8 rounder. Konishi came to our attention last year, when he won the Rookie of the Year, and has already won a couple of 8 rounders this year. For the youngster this is a step up but a step up that he will be expected to make without too many problems.
Another notable Minimumweight youngster in against here is Ryuya Yamanaka (10-2, 2), a 20 year old title hopeful. Yamanaka will be up against the light punching Ryo Narizuka (7-6) in what looks like a stay busy fight for Yamanaka before a potential title fight in 2016. Although Yamanaka isn't a prospect with much fanfare he will know that a win would do and he will also know that a loss will cost him his rankings, with the JBC, OPBF and WBO.
A third notable under-card bout will see OPBF fighters face off as Japan's Seizo Kono (15-7-1 10) battles Benjie Suganob (9-4-1, 5). The winner of this one will be in the running for an OPBF title fight in 2016. On paper Kono is the more established fighter however Suganob is the fighter who has been competing at a higher weight and may be able to use that to his advantage in what is a very intriguing match up.
As well as the show in Hyogo Japanese fans also have a card from the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The card, from Flash Akabane, is a less interesting one, though does feature an OPBF title fight and a bout involving one of Teiken's most promising young prospects.
The title bout on this card sees OPBF Super Middleweight champion Yuzo Kiyota (28-4-1, 26) defending his title against limited Indonesian challenger Michael Speed Sigarlaki (16-15-2, 14). On paper this looks like it could be an explosive one, however Sigarlaki will need to be regarded as a major under-dog coming in to this one and we're not expecting the challenger to have much success.
The prospect in action is the really exciting Lightweight hopeful Shuya Masaki (2-0, 1) who takes on Fumio Ujihara (4-2, 3). On paper this is a step up for the unbeaten 21 year old Lightweight prospect however it's step up that he should make if he's anywhere near being as good as touted.
As well as the Japanese action Asian fans will also get a small show from Yunnan, courtesy of Zovi promotions. The card isn't a big one, and it features no notable names, however fans will likely get some enjoyable action from the show.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Whilst the headline action for us are the Japanese cards they aren't the only ones to feature notable names. Another notable name is in Puerto Rico as he looks to continue moving towards a major title bout.
That notable fighter is former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (35-3, 23). The “Filipino Flash” looks to scored his third win since being stopped by Nicholas Walters as he takes on Mexican fighter Cesar Juarez (17-3, 13), in a bout for the WBO International Super Bantamweight title. Coming in to this one Juarez has been on a good run and enters following back to back wins over Cesar Seda and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr, Donaire however is regarded as being better than anyone Juarez has fought. Whilst Donaire is still regarded highly there are question marks about how much he has left and this fight could well see those question marks answered one way or another.
On the same card fans also get the chance to see Mongolian fighter Bayan Jargal (17-7-3, 11) take on the unbeaten William Silva (22-0, 13). This looks to be a very tough ask for Jargal, who has gone 2-7-1-1 in his last 9, though Silva does have a typical “padded Brazilian” record and is very much an unknown quantity.
Although the month has started in exciting fashion with the shows the past few days, things really move up another gear on Sunday with a lot of interesting match ups, a number of notable names and a lot of action.
The best of the action comes from Osaka, in fact 2 of the 3 Japanese shows come from the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, whilst another is from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
One of those two cards is promoted by Shinsei is seen as a bit of stepping stone card in many ways.
The main event on this card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (9-0, 5) defending title against the horribly over-matched Accel Sumiyoshi (4-3-1, 1) in what appears to be a horrible mismatch. We like Nakatani, a lot, but can't really see the point in this bout for the champion who has already defended the title against better opponents than Sumiyoshi. For the challenger it's an opportunity to claim a title, but it's one we can't see him winning.
Also on this card will be two world class female fighters in the form Shindo Go (14-3, 9) and Etsuko Tada (13-2-2, 3). These two will both be fighting over-matched Thai foes in what look stay busy bouts before they try to get themselves back to world level fights.
The other Body maker Colosseum card is promoted by Green Tsuda and will also feature an OPBF title fight figh, as well as several other interesting bouts.
The main event here will see the heavy handed Takahiro Yamamoto (15-3, 12) trading blows with Yu Kawaguchi (22-6, 10) in an OPBF Bantamweight title bout. On paper this looks really interesting and whilst we don't view either as being genuine “OPBF champion quality” they should make for a sensational fight and the winner will certainly be involved in at least one other big bout, especially when you consider how exciting the division is in Asia.
Talking about how exciting the Bantamweight division is we need to note that a very special Bantamweight prospect will be on this card. That will be Kazuki Tanaka (1-0, 1) who battles the much more experienced Kaname Tabei (10-8-2, 7) in a 6 round bout. Tanaka is said to be one of the best prospects in Japan and although he's not one that many are raving about we have been told that this kid is a very special fighter.
As well as the Bantamweight action this card will also feature two domestically ranked fighters. One of those is Satoshi Niwa (16-18-3, 2) who looks to remain relevant as he battles Ryo Kosaka (8-3-1, 4) in a really interesting match up. Despite his record Niwa is a very capable fighter who has upset a number of good fighters in his career, as for Kosaka he'll know that a win here will get him a ranking.
The other ranked fighter is Super Flyweight Takayuki Okumoto (13-6-2, 6) who battle Yuta Saito (7-5-2, 6) in what looks to be a relatively safe match up, though Saito can punch.
The remaining Japanese card in Osaka is another really interesting one, though it doesn't feature any title action.
The main event here sees Middleweight hopeful Koki Tyson Maebara (7-1-1, 7) battle former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-3, 5) in a big step up bout for the emerging Maebara. The once beaten youngster has looked like an imposing figure in the ring and should manage to beat Sasaki, though Sasaki has only been stopped once in his career, and that took monster puncher Tomohiro Ebisu 6 rounds to do.
In the chief support bout fans will see heavy handed Lightweight contender Masao Nakamura (18-3, 18) battle against Thailand's Patomsak Sithsaithong (2-0) in what looks to be a “light touch” fight for Nakamura. The Japanese fighter has been beaten in his last 2 bouts and needs a win so we won't complain too much about this “gimme”, though if he does get upset that's probably going to be the end for the former OPBF Super Featherweight champion.
A third notable bout will see Cyborg Nawatedani (8-2-2, 3) take on Hiroki Taniguchi (6-5-1, 2) with Nawatedani risking his Japanese Flyweight ranking. This should be an easy win for the ranked fighter, who has won his last 5, but we don't really know how good he's going to end up being.
One more fight worth noting comes at Bantamweight where Hikaru Matsuoka (8-1-3, 1) risks his OPBF ranking against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-4, 4). If Matsuoka gets through this with out any problems the plan is to have him headline a show in June, though if he's over looking Kobayashi it may end up biting him here.
Another notable part of this show is that the promoters will begin a ring card girl competition at the event.
The sole Japanese card from outside of Osaka is a small one in Fukuoka that really only has one bout of note on it.
That bout is a rematch between Japanese and OPBF ranked Bantamweight Yoshihiko Matsuo (17-5-6, 3) and Tatsuya Miyamoto (11-12-1, 7) who fought to a draw last July. Their first bout was a very competitive 6 rounder that seemed to show that Matsuo's record was padded. This time around the two men will be trading blows over the 8 round distance and we're expecting those two additional rounds will help us find a winner.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
It's not just in Japan where fans will get action as Filipino fans also get a small but notable card.
The main event here see the unbeaten Jayar Inson (7-0, 4) in a decent looking match up against Elmer Legaria (13-8, 4). We won't say this is a sensational bout but it is a step up in class for the unbeaten “Hitman”. Unfortunate Legaria has becoming a bit of a body donor recent bouts and has lost his last 6 contests, including 5 successive stoppage losses. We could see Inson having questions asked of him or we could see Legaria looking like a horribly shot fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This week ends with plenty of action in Asia as Japan has two separate shows whilst the Philippines also get in on the act.
The better of the two Japanese shows is at the Big Wave in Wakayama with plenty of notable female action. In total this card features 7 bouts including 3 contests of relative interest with one of those being a female world title fight
The main event is a WBC female Flyweight title bout between the very talented defending champion Shindo Go (13-2, 8) and Thai opponent Kledpetch Lookmuangkan (6-2, 1). Kledpetch comes in to this bout on the back of an excellent victory over Kanittha Kokietgym though, the Kanittha win aside, she is totally unproven at this level whilst Go is a very talented and proven fighter who we think probably sees off Kledpetch inside the distance.
Go isn't the only proven world class fighter on this show as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (12-1-2, 2) fights a Thai opponent, albeit one we don't know the name of, as she attempts to rebuild following her upset loss to Anabel Ortiz last July.
A third fighter of note on this show is Shingo Kawamura (9-1, 4) who looks to score her 10th successive victory. As with Tada, Kawamura will be facing a Thai opponent though unfortunately we've not got a name for either of the opponent.
The other Japanese show is significantly smaller and the main event here sees Masami Moriizumi (5-3-1, 4) in action. Sadly we're unsure on who Moriizumi will be fighting be we do know that he'll be hoping to end a 3 fight losing streak.
This card, in total, features 7 bouts with 3 of them being scheduled for 6 rounds whilst the other 4 contests are all scheduled for 4 rounds.
As well as the two shows in Japan we also get one in the Philippines.
This show is headlined by a pair of domestic title fights which are both competitive bouts than they look on paper.
One of those title contests will see Rowel Rosia (7-2, 4) battle against the experienced Albert Alcoy (14-18-7, 4) in a bout that will be tougher than it looks. Rosia and Alcoy will be gunning for the Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Flyweight title. Alcoy isn't great but he is better than his record and did nearly win a domestic Super Flyweight title in his most recent bout.
The other title fight will see the unbeaten Renerio Arizala (10-0-1, 4) battling against JC Francisco (6-7-2, 2) for the Philippines Luzon Professional Boxing Association (LuzProBA) Light Flyweight title. Although Arizala is unbeaten this looks likely to be the toughest test of his career so far and he is very much an untested fighter. Francisco has picked up losses through his career though has gone 6-1-2 in his last 9 bouts and is very much a fighter with a misleading record. This could be much, much better than it looks on paper.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)