The key show this coming Thursday comes from Korakuen Hall and whilst it's not a huge show it is with a former world title challenger, a national title fight and a couple of prospects.
The main event of this card will see former world title challenger Keita Obara (20-4-1, 18) take on Indonesian foe Yosmar Kefi (9-10, 8), in what should be little more than a confidence builder for Obara. Given that Obara has lost 2 of his last 3, including a loss last time out to Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, he does need an easy win and it's hard to imagine anything but an easy one here. Kefi is 0-4 in Japan, having been stopped 4 times in the Land of the Rising Sun, and we suspect there will be another stoppage loss for him here.
The main support bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) make his first defense, as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) in a rematch between the two men. Tanaka won the belt earlier this year, when he stopped Shin Ono, and will be looking to avenge a previous loss to Haruguchi. Whilst Haruguchi did win their first bout it was a controversial decision and he'll need to perform a lot better here, given he's fighting in Tokyo this time around, and not Kagoshima, where he has picked up most of his wins. A full preview of this bout can be read here Tanaka to make first defense, battles Haruguchi
In an interesting support bout we'll see once beaten men collide, with talented Japanese youngster Yoshimitsu Kimura (11-1, 6) taking on Filipino counterpart Jules Victoriano (9-1, 6). Both of these men are in their early 20's, both have suffered a solitary loss and both scored a solid win last time out, with Kimura stopping Allan Vallespin and Victoriano stopped Landy Cris Leon. This is a really interesting supporting bout and could end up being the bout of the show.
One other supporting bout on this card will see Ryu Horikawa (0-0) make his professional debut, as he battles Jun Ishimoto (5-6-1, 3). Whilst we've not been given Horikawa's full amateur record he did impress last year on the national scene and their is expectation on him to have a big future. Ishimoto is no world beater, but a good opponent for a debutant. Ishimoto has never been stopped, isn't much of a puncher and should give enough resistance to see what Horikawa is made of.
As well as the action in Tokyo, we're also interested in a card in California, as Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (18-10, 6) takes on the unbeaten Seniesa Estrada (16-0, 6) in a bout for the WBC silver female Light Flyweight title. The experienced Abaniel is a "win some lose some" fighter who has faced a relative who's who of female boxing, with bouts against the likes of Tenkai Tsunami, Cai Zong Ju, Ayaka Miyao, and Kumiko Seeser Ikehara. Sadly she is far too small for Light Flyweight, and it's a shame her career hasn't been spent fighting at Atomweight. The 26 year old Estrada is less well known than Abaniel, but is unbaten, powerful and very promising. Coming in to this Estrada has won her last 4 by stoppage, and we whouldn't be surprised to see that run continue here against the talented, but under-powered Abaniel.
This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
The biggest fight featuring an Asian this weekend comes from the UK with Japan's Sho Ishida (24-0, 13) looking to make history and become the first Japanese fighter to claim a world title in Europe. The Ioka gym fighter will be up against WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai (22-0, 14) and is regarded by many as a no-hoper against an Englishman who has long been touted as one of the best in the division. For Ishida this will be his first bout outside of Japan and his first against a European opponent, though he does enter as the mandatory challenger and a former Japanese champion. As for Yafai this will be his second defense and sees him facing a Japanese opponent for a second successive bout, following a decision win last time against Suguru Muranaka. Although regarded as a mismatch by the bookies we do suspect this could be a lot more competitive than fans are thinking.
Macao S.A.R., China
Boing returns to Macao this weekend with a rescheduled female world title fight headlining the card.
That female title bout will see China's Zong Ju Cai (9-1,1) make her first defense of the IBF Female Minimumweight title, as she battles experienced Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (18-8, 6). Originally this bout was supposed to take place back in July, before the card was cancelled, and now looks to see the two finally get it on. Of the two Cai is more naturally talented, and is a speedy outside fighter who moves really well and has lovely speed. Abaniel on the other hand is the far more experienced fighter and is a woman who will likely know she can't afford another loss if she wishes to remain relevant on the world stage.
An interesting supporting bout will see Yangcheng Jin (6-2-2, 2) look to bounce back from a loss to Jayar Inson as he takes on Thai veteran Saddam Kietyongyuth (26-3, 21). This is a big test for Jin,who has never faced someone like Saddam before, whilst the Thai will be looking to avoid a 4th loss in 7 bouts.
Seoul, South Korea
Korean fans get a rare show, in what could end up being an entertaining low key card. Though one that has had major alterations made to it after one competitor was injured in sparring, forcing several bouts to be rescheduled for November.
On paper the most notable bout will see Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Indonesian Jackson Koel Lapie (4-8, 2). Lee has gotten a fair bit of publicity in Korea after his battle for refugee status and will be looking to continue his winnings ways here as he takes on an opponent who has lost his last 4, and is probably best known for being Koki Inoue's debut opponent.
In an all debutant female bout we'll get the chance to see Se Eun Park (0-0) take on Eun Bit Hwang (0-0), in what is the show's most well matched bout on paper. It's always good to see more women take up the sport,and in the last few years it's really been the women who have kept Korean boxing alive, so the more the better in our eyes.
Staying in Asia there will also be a low key card in the Philippines.
In a 10 rounder we'll see the promising Carl Jammes Martin (5-0, 4) take a step up in class to face off with the under-rated Vincent Bautista (5-9-4,1). The unbeaten man should be favoured here, and the 18 year old has genuine looked like one to watch, but this will be his first 10 rounder and comes against the very stubborn Bautista. Although Bautista's record is nothing to write home about he has proven his toughness against some very good fighters and should prove to have some genuine fighting spirit as he takes on Martin.
On the same card we'll see unbeaten's collide as Ariel Bolante (3-0, 3) faces off with Bienvenido Ligas (4-0, 2). Both of these men are taking a step up in what will be their first fight against someone really coming to win, and the bout should show what both fighters are about. It's hard to predict a win, given the quality of opponents so far, but the bout should be very interesting.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will be able to see once beaten local punched Kyron Dryden (9-1, 7) battle against unebaten Indian fighter Shiva (6-0, 2), with Shiva seeking his first win outside of his homeland. The unbeaten man is taking a huge step up here but will be full of confidence given his unbeaten record. As for Dryden he has won his last 7 bout and has fought at a higher level than Shiva, so will clearly be favoured here.
This coming Tuesday attention turns to China where we get a small but notable card, headlined by a female world title fight, but also featuring a number of interesting under-card contests.
The main event of the card will see IBF female Minimumweight champion Zong Ju Cai (9-1, 1) make her first defense of the title as she goes up against Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (17-8, 6). The Chinese local out boxed Etsuko Tada for the title earlier this year and now looks like she's hungry to make a name for herself and capitalise on the win. The fast and skilled Chinese won't be in an easy one here however as Abaniel is a determined and skilled fighter herself, who has lost in a number of world title bouts already, but will be hungry to not only win but also avenge a 2015 loss to Cai.
Arguably the best of the under-card bouts sees the unbeaten Xiang Xiang Sun (12-0, 9) risking his record against big punching Filipino foe Anthony Marcial (22-3-1, 21). The talented Sun has began to create some buzz internationally and has stopped 8 out of his last 9 and if he wins again here there is a good reason to believe an OPBF title fight could be just around the corner, in what would be a potential break out fight. For Marcial the bout ends a 14 month break from action and gives him a change to prove if his power is legitimate or not. Although a puncher it should be noted that Marcial has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, suggesting he's a glass cannon.
Another unbeaten Chinese fighter looking to score a big win is Flyweight Wen Feng Ge (5-0, 2), who takes on former world title contender Kwanpichit OneSongchaigym (39-2-2, 24), who is best known for his two bouts with Zou Shiming. On paper this is a huge step up for the 30 year old Chinese fighter, who has never fought anyone with the experience of Kwanpichit. Although experienced it should be noted that Kwanpichit is the much smaller man, moving up from Flyweight to Bantamweight for this bout.
Another under-card bout on this card will see the once beaten Fei Hu Wang (3-1, 1) take on the unbeaten Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0) in a 10 round rematch of their bout in January. In their first meeting a then debuting Russian took a decision over the Chinese teenager in Macau, and will be looking to score a stoppage this time, whilst Wang will be hoping to avenge his only defeat.
This coming Saturday is a mouth watering weekend for hardcore fight fans who are in for treat if they can find some of the bouts on TV.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
The most meaningful bout featuring an Asian comes from Mexico where we see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (27-6, 17) defending his belt against Filipino slugger Jonathan Taconing (22-2-1, 18). For Lopez this is a baptism of fire for his first defense whilst Taconing finally gets his second shot at a world title. Potentially this is a FOTY contender and really could be something very special.
The bout in Mexico isn't the only only of note featuring an Asian and may actually have a serious contender for the fight of the weekend status featuring another two Asian's.
That other potential fire cracker will see OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) face off against fast rising Japanese star Daigo Higa (9-0, 9) in one of the bouts that we have been hoping to see all year. A couple of years ago Diale was in a FOTY contender with Higa's stablemate Koki Eto, losing in a crazy 8th round, and Higa will be looking for similar success here as he looks to continue his rise through the ranks. For Diale it's a chance to get some revenge of Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym and continue his reign, and work his way towards another potential world title fight.
On the under card of this Japanese card fight fans will see Junki Sasaki (15-3, 6) battle against Reiko Sugiyama (7-5-3, 5) in one of the very few supporting bouts of note.
Unfortunately a mouth watering match up between Ryuto Maekawa (11-0-1, 7) and Ryuto Oho (9-2-1, 2) has been cancelled following an injury to Maekawa, though we have been informed that the bout will be rescheduled.
On a second Japanese card fight fans will get the chance to see two notable names in action.
One of the notable names is former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (14-1, 5) who faces Argie Toquero (9-4-2, 7). This will be Naito's second bout since losing the Japanese title last year to Kenichi Ogawa and should be a straight forward win for the talented 24 year old, who will be fighting for the first time this year.
The other notable name on this show is former OPBF and Japanese Light Middleweight champion Charles Bellamy (25-3-1, 17), who faces Elfelos Vega (6-3, 4). This will be Bellamy's first bout this year and is likely to help kick start his career after some issues out of the ring. The talented Japanese based American should over-come Vega relatively easily, given that Vega has lost 2 of his last 3.
New South Wales, Australia
Back on the road there is also action in Australia with several Asian fighters.
One of those Asian's is Joebert de los Reyes (15-6-1, 10) who faces off against Darragh Foley (8-2, 6) for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. On paper this doesn't look anything special but the reality is that both men have something to gain here, and de los Reyes is looking to avenge a 2015 defeat to Foley, this really could be an intriguing bout.
Two other Asian fighters clash in a female bout as Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (16-8, 6) faces Thailand's Petcharas Superchamp (6-0, 1) for the GBU and WIBA Minimumweight titles. On paper Abaniel will be favoured given her edger in experience though the Thai will likely feel confident of continuing her unbeaten run.
Some days are busy with great fights, other with mismatches. Today however we get a day of title fights with 3 world titles and various other regional titles on the line
Baja California, Mexico
The most notable bout of the day is in Mexico where Thai veteran Terdsak Kokietgym (53-4-1, 33) battles Mexican veteran Orlando Salido (41-12-2-1, 28) in a really interesting bout for the interim WBO Featherweight title. The bout might only be for an "interim" belt but the two two men will know that a win here will really boost their profile and their chances of fighting for the proper WBO title next year. It's sadly a bout that Terdsak will not be expected to win, though in the past he has shown his ability to be competitive in high profile bouts, most notably his world title bout with Takahiro Ao. This is a tough ask but looks to be a great bout.
It's not just in Mexico that we get a world title bout and in fact we get a brace of them in Osaka, albeit female world title bouts.
The first of those will see veteran Nao Ikeyama (14-3-1, 4) defending her WBO Atomweight title against former foe Masae Akitaya (9-4-3, 2) in what looks to be a competitive contest between two fighters who have already fought in a competitive bout. For Ikeyama this will be a chance to defend her belt and at 44 years old she'll be all too aware that a loss could send her into retirement. For Akitaya this bout isn't just about the title and realising a dream of being a world champion but also about revenge for the fact she lost the first meeting between the two women back in 2010.
The second world title bout on this show will see Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (5-1-1, 3) battle Filipino visitor Gretchen Abaniel (15-5, 6) for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title that was given up a few weeks ago by Mako Yamada who decided to retire from boxing to focus on other things. We'll be honest, we think Yamada would dominate both of these fighters, likely on the same night, though against each other they should make for interesting contest. Neither is great though neither is awful and at 105lbs we expect to see a more impressive Abaniel than we saw against Ayaka Miyao last November. This could be a really decent fight.
A third contest on this show will be another female contest as Kai Johnson (5-5-3, 2), fresh off the back of her win over Tomomi Takano, takes on Tamao Ozawa (6-2, 2) in a second meeting between the two women who fought this past March. In the first meeting between the two Johnson scored a 2nd round KO over Ozawa and we'd not be hugely shocked to see Johnson score her third successive stoppage victory here.
In Uzbekistan we expect to see yet another title fight as Sherali Mamadjanov (10-1, 5) climbs in to the ring to take on domestic rival Hokim Karimov (3-1, 2) in a bout for the Uzbekistan Middleweight title. The bout is an inaugural title fight and although it's a low profile one it is the main event on a small domestic card in the Uzbek capital city. Knowing that Uzbekistan has a strong amateur line up we hope that shows like this can lure some of the amateurs over to the professional game. Sadly it's not looking likely to happen too much, though we can hope.
In the US we get the chance to see the promising Russian prospect And Konstantin Ponomarev (24-0, 12) battle against Mexican veteran Cosme Rivera (37-18-3-1, 25). This looks to be a good step forward for Ponomarev who will develop a lot from just fighting in the US in bouts like this. Although Rivera isn't the fighter he once was he should still have enough to test the unbeaten Russian.
(Image courtesy of Notifight)