The end the month of April we get a small card in Gifu.
The main event of the card will see recent Japanese title challenger Genki Hanai (7-1, 5) look to get his career back on track as he faces the light hitting Kenta Matsui (7-6, 1). The talented Hanai, a former amateur stand out, has failed to shine since turning professional and was stopped last time out by Tatsuya Fukuhara. A loss to Fukuhara is nothing to be ashamed by, especially given that Fukuhara has gone on to win the WBO title and was a real revelation in 2016, but Hanai needs a big performance here to show there is still potential with him.
In an interesting looking Featherweight bout we'll see Shota Okuda (7-4, 2) take on Takashi Igarashi (9-3, 3) in what should a very competitive 8 rounder. Coming in to this bout Okuda has lost his last 2 but will feel that he's good enough to over-come the 21 year old Igarashi, who has won his last 2 but failed to really shine.
Another under-card bout will see the once beaten Ruito Saeki (4-1) take on the more experienced Takaaki Kanai (7-6, 3). For Saeki this will be his first bout since suffering a 5 round defeat to Bunta Okumoto in the West Japan Rookie of the Year final last year. As for Kanai he enteres this bout on the back of 3 straight losses.
The Foodpal Kumamoto gets another taste of title action this coming Thursday as a local star attempts to extend his title reign and end 2016 as a national champion.
That champion is the under-rated Tatsuya Fukuhara (17-4-6, 6) who seeks his 3rd defense of the Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on the unbeaten, and highly touted, Genki Hanai (7-0, 5). Fukuhara has really turned his career around in recent years after being 12-4-3 (3) in the wake of losses to Yu Kimura and Takuma Inoue in 2013. Since then he has gone 5-0-3 and scored notable results with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, Hiroya Yamamoto, Takumi Sakae and Shin Ono, this is however his toughest defense on paper with Hanai being a real prospect. For Hanai the bout is a monstrous step up but one he and his team have chased for a while and one that he will feel confident of winning.
In the key under-card bout we'll see see OPBF and JBC ranked Ryusei Yoshida (28-8, 15) take on Thai visitor Apisak Puttawong (1-2, 1), who returns Japan where he lost earlier this year. Although limited Apisak hasn't yet been stopped and should provide rounds for Yoshida, who will be hoping to build towards a title fight of some kind in 2017.
The only Asian show this coming Monday is a small card from Gifu.
The main event of the card sees local prospect Genki Hanai (6-0, 4) take on Thai visitor Poomsak Saknarong (0-0-1) in what looks to be a title-prelude for Hanai. The talented, and exciting, Japanese youngster had been out of the ring since March, and has clearly had a frustrating year, but will know that a win here will secure him a Japanese title fight in 2017 as part of the Champion Carnival. For Poomsak will be returning to the boxing ring for the first time in 2 years, at least if his boxrec record is complete, with his last bout being a 95 second technical draw with Keisuke Nakayama.
The chief support bout will be an 8 rounder between Reiko Sugiyama (7-6-3, 5) and Shohei Fujimoto (9-6-3, 8). The bout isn't a great one but should be a competitive on on paper, with both hitting hard, being defensively flawed and not the most durable of fighters, with both having suffered stoppage losses in the past.
Japanese fans have two shows this coming Sunday, one in Gifu and one in Kanagawa.
The headline bout in Gifu sees local prospect Genki Hanai (5-0, 4) battle against Il Che (7-10-5, 1). This is a good test for Hanai, who is ranked by the JBC and OPBF, and should act as a warm up bout ahead of a title fighter later in the year for the youngster, who is highly regarded following a successful career in the amateur ranks. Che is better than his record suggests, but shouldn't derail Hanai's rise through the ranks.
In the supporting bout on this show fans will see former OPBF title challenger Futoshi Usami (12-2-1, 9) battle against Japanese based Peruvian Juan Castillo Inami (9-3, 4). Inami's record lacks big name wins but he has faced some notable fighters, such as Akinori Kanai and Koichi Aso, and is likely to put up a great bout with Usami, who was last seen being out pointed by Masayoshi Nakatani in OPBF Lightweight title fight.
On another Japanese card fans get the chance to see an OPBF female title fight as Chika Mizutani (14-5, 7) battles Kimika Miyoshi (11-8-1, 5). This will see Mizutani defending the OPBF title for the first time, following her winning the belt way back in 2010. Aged 34 the champion has seen better years though has been competing at the world level in recent years, suffering back-to-back losses in world title bouts. For Miyoshi this is a chance to become a 2-weight OPBF champion after having had a short reign as the OPBF female Bantamweight title.
In the co-feature bout fans will see former Japanese title challenger Gakuya Furuhashi (17-6-1, 7) battle against the “better than his record” Daisuke Watanabe (2-2, 2). Furuhashi is highly ranked and will be hoping to get another title fight in the near future, however he is without a win in over a year. For Watanabe this is a chance to get back into the mix, following back to back losses, including a competitive one last time out to the highly touted Sho Nakazawa.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day in Asian boxing.
New York, USA
The main action of the day comes from the US with a card in New York getting particular interest thanks to two bouts, each of which promises to be exciting and will highlight a man who some regard as the top fighter on the planet.
For many the stand out bout is the Middleweight unification bout between WBA “super”/IBO/WBC “interim” champion Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30) and IBF title holder David Lemieux (34-2, 31). This bout promises to be an incredibly exciting one with fans sat on the edge of their seats due to the power of the two fighters, though everything suggests that it will be Golovkin's tougher resolve and more varied skill set that gets him the win.
The other bout of note will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (36-4-0-2, 22) take on unbeaten WBC Flyweight king Roman Gonzalez (43-0, 37) in what looks to be an equally interesting match up. We know that many, including ourselves, regard Gonzalez as the best fighter on the planet, pound-for-pound, though this should serve as a test of that tag and a real proof of his credentials as well as continuing to break him out to the American market, who have sadly only began to cotton on to the excitement of the lower weights.
In California we'll see Filipino promotional outfit ALA put on their first show in the US with the next of their “Pinoy Pride” cards.
In the main event we'll see long reigning world champion Donnie Nietes (36-1-4, 21) defendign his WBO Light Flyweight belt against unknown Mexican challenger Juan Alejo (21-3, 13), who we struggled to find any footage of. On paper this looks like an easy win for the champion, who is certainly a known quantity, however Alejo will be full of confidence and is riding an excellent 21 fight winning streak, albeit against some questionable opposition.
Whilst Nietes is the elder statesman of the card the show will also feature a couple of fighters from the new wave of Filipino boxing. One of those is the brilliant Mark Magsayo (11-0, 9) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Yardley Suarez (13-0, 8), a relatively unknown Mexican foe.
The other member of the new wave of Filipino boxing in action here is Albert Pagara (24-0, 17) who will be putting his unbeaten record and work rankings on the line against Nicaraguan William Gonzalez (27-5, 23). Pagara,if he wins as expected, will likely be looking towards a world title fight in 2016, and in fairness to him there's a good chance he could claim a major title in the next 12 months.
A fourth bout of note here will see the older of the Pagara brothers in action as Jason Pagara (36-2, 22), who will be up against Nicaragua's Santos Benavides (25-7-2, 19) in what looks like a genuine matched bout that could well steal the show, despite being the least interesting bout in terms of the future. This really could be a low level war, though for Pagara it's a must win with the Filipino being very highly ranked by the WBO in the Light Welterweight division.
There is a small show in Ishikawa.
The main event here will see Filipino born Japanese based fighter Mark Gil Melligen (21-5-1, 12) battle against Japan's very own Yudai Tamagawa (7-6-1, 2) in what should be an easy win for Melligen, who lost last time out to Vinvin Rufino in an OPBF title bout.
An interestingly matched support bout will see Yukiya Hanabusa (8-2-2, 2) take on Yudai Arai (6-3-3, 3). This bout isn't an amazing one but should be a very good 8 round contest between two well matched fighters.
A bout that caught our eye will see Venezuelan novice Omrri Bolivar (2-0, 1) take on Chinese fighter Xinghua Wang (11-12-1). Bolivar was last seen in China, beating Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth and now fighting in Japan it seems he could be one of the more interesting imports to the the east, where hopefully he will begin to base himself in the coming months.
Whilst the remaining 4 bouts on this card are less than exciting they do feature some international fighters with a Thai and a Korea both on the under-card.
A card in Gifu is scheduled or 6 bouts though, unfortunately, only features one really interesting bout.
That interesting match up will see the touted Genki Hanai (4-0, 3) face off against Junya Nishikawa (7-6-2, 2). This bout is supposed to be a Japanese title prelude for Hanai who is expected to fight for either a Japanese or OPBF title early next year.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino tough guy Vergel Nebran (14-9-1, 9) take on the very exciting Jessie Magdaleno (21-0, 15), in what is a huge ask for Nebran. This is unlikely to end well for the 25 year old Filipino though he may be able to ask some questions of the unbeaten Magdaleno, who has looked like a champion in the making so far.
April 26th-Genki Hanai faces third string Indonesian whilst Sugita looks to move towards a title bout
This coming Sunday sees two Japanese shows though neither looks great despite one or two names of note being in action.
Although neither of the Japanese cards are particularly great we are big fans of one man who is in action in Gifu, unfortunately however a change of opponent has left us feeling less than inspired by the bout. It is however the bout that interests us the most so we'll started with the Gifu card.
That aforementioned bout will see the talented and exciting Genki Hanai (3-0, 2) taking on late replacement Bonis Purba (3-3-1, 3). Originally Hanai was scheduled to face Boy Tanto (9-16, 1), though he was replaced by Demsi Manufoe (9-4, 6) who has been replaced himself by Purba. All 3 of those opponents are a massive step backwards for Hanai, who beat Crison Omayao last time out, though hopefully he'll be back in action again by the fall in a much more meaningful contest.
An evenly matched support bout will see the heavy handed Shohei Fujimoto (9-4-3, 8) battle against the much lighter hitting Shota Suito (9-4-1, 1) in what looks like a compelling bout on paper. Fujimoto has lost 2 of his last 3 though did look very good for much of the 2013 Rookie of the Year competition and has got talent and power. Suito on the other hand first made his name in 2012, when he reached the Central Japan Rookie of the Year final. This really could be the contest of the day for Japanese fans.
The sole 6 rounder here will see Shota Okuda (5-2, 2) take on Masami Moriizumi (5-5-1, 4) in another good looking bout but one at a low level.
The other Japanese show is in Nara and again the card leaves us feeling under-whelmed to say the least.
The main event here sees the OPBF and Japanese ranked Satoru Sugita (9-2-1, 6) battling against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-5, 3). On paper Sugita is the most well regarded fighter in action in Japan through the day and he is a good fighter with a very notable recent win over Ryota Kajiki. Sadly however Takabayashi is a terrible opponent and has been stopped in his last two bouts, including a stoppage loss in South Korea to Ye Joon Kim. As a result of those losses for Takabayashi we're struggling to get excited about this contest.
A supporting 8 rounder will see Kazuyasu Okamoto (9-4, 3) take on the limited Satoshi Momota (9-10, 4). Okamoto has lost 3 of his last 4 and is certainly in desperate need for a win of any kind. He should get that win here against Momota, who has only scored 2 wins in the last 6 years. Sadly as the second most significant bout on the card this is really disappointing.
In 6 round action fans will get the chance to see Fumiya Imafuji (4-0-2, 1) battle against Takuya Yamamoto (4-3, 2) in what looks to be an interesting match up, evem if it's not hugely significant. The 25 year old Imafuji has got some potential but has yet to come close to really fulfilling it. Yamamoto looks to be the more limited but could well see this as a chance to get his career under-way. It's not a mouth watering clash but is an interesting looking under-card contest, especially considering how poor the main bouts are.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
After a huge weekend of fighters we see the action continuing with fights on a busy Monday that show cases two highly touted Japanese prospect with both expected to go far and reach heady heights in the next few years.
Arguably the best of the prospects in action is the much touted Light Flyweight Genki Hanai (2-0, 2) who appears to be one of the most prospects in the world. Hanai is the sort of fighter who gets in the ring, closes the distance and going on the offensive with brutal shots on the inside, as seen in his bout Against Thailand's Farung Porsuwangym. We suspect to see Hanai record his third stoppage in as many fighter here as he takes on Filipino visitor Crison Omayao (16-8-2, 4) who enters on the back of a 6 fight winless streak, including a 4th round KO defeat to Naoya Inoue a little more than 2 years ago, and an opening round defeat to Kosei Tanaka back in July. We love Omayao's bravery but his management need to consider his health as he can't keep taking beatings to Japanese prospects like this and end up with much of a future. Omayao does enter the bout ranked #9 at Minimumweight by the OPBF but it's a mystery he still has any sort of a ranking considering his current run which is unlikely to change until his management start to look after their fighter.
Aside from the main event on this Gifu show there is little of real value despite the show having several competitive looking 6 rounders on it.
The other standout prospect in action is in Osaka as Sho Nakazawa (4-0, 4) puts his unbeaten record on the line against OPBF ranked Filipino Super Bantamweight Jhunriel Ramonal (14-7-4, 7). This is a huge step up for Nakazawa though we don't think we've seen his true potential so far and if he can impress against Ramonal, as we suspect, he'll be moved towards a title fight in 2015. For those who haven't seen Nakazawa in action we have a couple of his fights, including his bout with Thailand's Charit Aomtanom.
Thankfully this show isn't just a show with just one notable bout, in fact this card features a trio of notable bouts. The second of that trio will be a potentially explosive encounter between the unbeaten Ryuto Kyoguchi (12-0-1, 9) and the heavy handed Shohei Fujimoto (9-3-3, 8). On paper we have to favour Kyoguchi, who's only "black mark" has come against the criminally under-rated Adones Aguelo, Fujimoto on the other hand has been stopped in all 3 of his losses.
In the main event fans will get a chance to see a battle between ranked contenders as Myung Ho Lee (16-4-1, 5), a former OPBF Flyweigth title challenger, battles against Takashi Omae (12-3-5, 1). Going in to this bout Lee enters as the #7 ranked Japanese Flyweight and the #10 ranked OPBF Flyweight whilst Omae is the #9 ranked Japanese Light Flyweight contender however Lee comes into this bout with a record of 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts, including decisions losses to both Rocky Fuentes, in an OPBF title fight, and Edgar Sosa, in Mexico. Omae on the other hands is on an excellent unbeaten run of 8 bouts undefeated dating back more than 3 years.
Another show in Osaka seems just as interesting as the other one, in fact it this one actually has 4 bouts of note on it.
The main event here will see the heavy handed and exciting Koki Tyson Maebara (6-1-1, 6) battle against Thai visitor Petchsuriya Singwancha (12-8, 6) in a very interesting looking Middleweight bout. On paper this bout does look like a mismatch however the Thai has been in great form with 7 straight wins and actually enters as the WBC Youth Light Middleweight champion, though admittedly his title isn't on the line here.
In a Light Welterweight bout the heavy handed Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (8-2, 7) battles against the tough Shohei Kanemoto (9-8-1, 3) in what will be a second meeting between the two men. Back in April Kanemoto shocked Petagine with a majority decision win and it's fair to say the heavy handed Petagine will be seeking revenge here.
In a compelling Super Flyweight bout Cyborg Nawatedani (7-2-2, 3) will be battling against Shunji Nagata (10-11-2, 3) in a battle between ranked Japanese fighters. Nawatedani enters as the #10 ranked Flyweight whilst Nagata is ranked #13 and this bout really should help the winner move up the rankings. The 25 year old Nawatedani enters the bout unbeaten in 7 contests whilst Nagata has won his last 3. Although Nawatedani enters, rightfully, as the favourite it needs to be noted that Nagata has mixed with better company such as Myung Ho Lee and Tetsuya Hisada.
One final bout of note will see tough Filipino journeyman Marjohn Yap (19-11, 10) battle against Yuta Uetani (15-5-1, 7) in what looks set to be a “tough guy fight” between two very, very hard men. Between them they have suffered just 2 stoppage defeats and we suspect they won't be stopping each other here, in potentially the fight of the day.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Although this weekend's "big fight allure" was all about Saturday it's unfair to suggest that Sunday isn't actually the busier day with a staggering 5 shows across Japan. Unlikely last weekend however isn't a super show to rival "Ring of Diamonds" instead we merely get domestic shows with the highest profile of those featuring a Japanese title fight.
As with last week we have 2 shows at the IMP Hall in Osaka. The first of those is an 8 fight card promoted by Dapeng. The main event on this first show will see the JBC and OPBF ranked Ryota Kajiki (22-8, 14) battle against fellow Japanese fighter Satoru Sugita (7-2-1, 5) in what should be a good test for Kajiki who we do favour.
Also on the first IMP Hall card we expect to see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight So Takenaka (19-7-2, 8) who is scheduled to face a Thai opponent, though no name has yet been released to us.
The second IMP Hall card, the one we've used the poster from, features the bout of the day as Yu Kawaguchi (20-5, 9) battles Kentaro Masuda (18-6, 10) for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title. This is a pretty even match up in our eyes and we're struggling to favour either man with out team actually split on the winner. The only thing we do expect is that this will be competitive.
Also on the second IMP Hall card is another bout that caught our eye. This bout sees Takayuki Okumoto (10-6-2, 5) face off against the unbeaten Yuki Yonaha (3-0, 3). On paper it would be to favour Yonaha but so far he is untested with his opponents having a combined record of 0-10. Hard to back Yonaha having seen his opponents but he may well be the real deal.
Although the Kawaguchi/Masuda bout is the biggest bout of the day it's not the only title bout as Akihiro Matsumoto (12-4-1, 6) fights against against South Korea's Ye-Joon Kim (7-1-2, 2) for the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight title. This is an interesting fight for both men and whilst we do favour Matsumoto we also need to admit that Kim could be a potential banana skin opponent.
On the same card in Ishikawa, promoted by Kashimi Promotions, we get a pair of bouts involving notable Filipino's. The first of these bouts will see Marlon Tapales (24-2, 9) fight against Japan's very own Hayato Kimura (21-5, 15) in an interesting contest that sees Tapales putting his OPBF ranking on the line. The second will see Mark Gil Melligen (17-4-1, 8) fight against unbeaten Thai Bualuang OnesongchaiGym (12-0, 4) in what could be a really tough contest between two men who know what a win on this show would really mean.
In Hiroshima we get a a long 10 bout show with only 2 bouts really worth noting. The first of those "notable bouts" will see the experienced Daigo Nakahiro (23-4-2, 9) fight against win-less Thai Phetsaifar Lukmaelamperigym (0-2) in an 8 round affair.
Thankfully after the mismatch with Nakahiro we do get a genuinely interesting looking contest between Koji Itagaki (12-8-2, 5) and the Japanese ranked Takashi Omae (11-3-5, 1). This Light Flyweight contest, also scheduled for 8 rounds, should be a lot more competitive than the other "notable" bout on the show.
The final show we're interested in, though far from the least interesting, is in the Gifu Hall as Gifu Yokozeki put on a 6 fight show.
The main event here will see the OPBF ranked Light contender Futoshi Usami (11-1-1, 8) attempt to bounce back from his sole defeat. Usami will be fighting against the tough Akira Shono (7-5-2, 4), who is limited and can be beaten but has never been stopped. Usami should be naturally bigger and stronger though we'd not be surprised if this turned out to be a tough 8 round battle for Usami.
Although the Usami bout is down as the main event the more interesting bout is the debut of former amateur stand out Genki Hanai (0-0) who will be fighting in a 6 round battle with a Thai opponent. The 23 year old Hanai is regarded as one of the "next" great prospects from Japan and we've been told to keep a very close eye on and his exploits in the Light Flyweight or even Flyweight division. It maybe too early to know for sure but many are tipping him as a future world title challenger.
(Poster courtesy of http://green-tsuda.com)