The Taisei gym put on a notable card this coming Sunday with two youth title fights, as well as a contest featuring a former world title contender. It's not a huge card by any stretch but is a notable one.
The more interesting of the two Japanese Youth title fights will see the talented but light punching pair of Hikaru Matsuoka (14-4-3, 2) and Noboru Osato (10-6-4, 2) battle for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. On paper this looks pretty competitive, and although almost certain to go the distance we should see some real skills on show. Both fighters are talented boxer, and we're not expecting a tear up, but we should see a lot of skill in the ring, with both fighters being smart and understanding their role in the ring. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Matsuoka and Osato battle for Youth Featherweight title!
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see Arata Matsuoka (6-6, 4) face off with Hikaru Ota (9-8, 5) for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title, which has been vacated by the excellent Junto Nakatani. The bout isn't an amazing looking one, but given both fighters are flawed it should at least be evenly contest, and if bot Matsuoka's win they would be the first twins to pick up Japanese Youth titles together. This is one of those bouts where we expect to be better than it looks on paper, and could end up being pretty explosive if we're being honest. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Matsuoka and Ota battle for vacant Youth Flyweight title
Also on this card is former world title challenger Riku Kano (13-4-1, 7), who looks to be in a confidence building fight against Takayuki Teraji (9-16-1, 4). There was a time when Kano was seen as one of the brightest young prospects in Japan, but losses to Katsunari Takayama, Jerry Tomogdan and Shin Ono in his last 6 bouts have taken the gloss off his potential. Teraji usually puts up a good fight at domestic level, but has come up short against every notable fight he's faced, such as Sho Kimura and Reiya Konishi and will be expect to lost a decision here.
As well as the Taisei card there will also be a show in Aichi, thanks to Green promotions
Overall this is a really weak card, but we do like the look of the main event, which will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (3-1, 2) taking on Genki Maeda (6-3-1, 2). This is a fantastic match up between two Japanese fighters both looking to score a solid domestic win to end a year which has been disappointing. Rikiishi's disappointment came when he was stopped by Kosuke Saka whilst Maeda was stopped in a Japanese title fight by Shuichiro Yoshino, and the fight between these two should be hotly contested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a bout of note in South Africa, as Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) challenges IBO Minimumweight champion Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7). The Filipino doesn't have an amazing record, but does hold very notable wins over both Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, showing he can compete against world class fighters, though has been stopped twice and perhaps has question marks about his chin. Khonco, who also has a misleading record due to losing 4 of his first 10 bouts, is riding a 4 fight winning run since a 2015 loss to Hekkie Budler. Those wins have included victories over Nkosinathi Joyi and Toto Landero. We suspect home advantage will play a key factor in this bout, but it should still be very competitive.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Japan, where there will be 3 separate shows. Although none of them are specifically notable there should be enough action across them to interest fans. That's, in part, due to with a female title fight and several prospects being in action.
One of the shows takes place at the City Civil Hall in Neyagawa and will be promoted by 3 Osakan based promotional outfits.
The main event of the card will see Nobuhiro Ishida promoted Shione Ogata (9-6, 2) take on former world title challenger Erika Hanawa (9-2, 3) for the WBO Asia Pacific female Light Flyweight title. Ogata began her career by losing 5 of her first 6 but has since gone 8-1 and scored a notable win last year against Saemi Hanagata. Hanawa on the other hand has lost 2 of her last 4, including a loss in a world title fight to Kayoko Ebata and a loss to the aforementioned Hanagata. This should be a very entertaining bout and a good headline bout for this level of show.
In a supporting bout Hikaru Matsuoka (13-4-3, 1) will face off with Yu Konomura (8-7-2, 2) in a second bout between the two men. These two fought back in 2016, with Matsuoka taking a split decision over Konomura. Since their first bout Matsuoka has gone 1-1, not fighting at all in 2017, whilst Konomura has seemingly had his confidence destroyed, going 1-3-1 since the loss to Matsuoka.
A second Osaka show will take place at the City Plaza Yayoinokaze Hall in Izumi.
The main event here has an international flavour as local hopeful Toshiya Yokogawa (8-11-2, 7) takes on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (9-3-1, 5) in an 8 round contest. The 33 year old Yokogawa has, like many, a misleading record having faced very stiff domestic competition in recent years, but should prove to have more about him than his record suggests and he shares the ring with Medura. As for the visitor he's 0-2 in Japan, has has been matched tough with contests against Coach Hiroto and Ryosuke Iwasa. This looks like a mismatch but we suspect it will be hotly contested.
Another 8 round bout on this card will see the unbeaten Joe Shiraishi (6-0-1, 2), who was crowned the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Flyweight, take on Indonesian visitor Stevanus Nana Bau (8-8-2, 2). The 21 year old Shiraishi impressed last year, going 4-0, but has failed to capitalise this year and this will be his first bout since his Rookie of the Year final back in December. Bau is unbeaten in his last 3, but his competition in those 3 bouts was poor and he has lost to every notable name he's faced, including Iwan Zoda, Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Paipharob Kokietgym.
A third Japanese show will take place in China and is arguably the best of the bunch.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Kudura Kaneko (7-0, 4) face off with Filipino veteran Joel Dela Cruz (20-26-3, 8). The Afghan born Japanese based Kaneko won his Youth title in May, when he defeated Change Hamashima in their second clash, and looks to advancing his career well, whilst remaining under the radar. The Filipino on the other hand is 32 years old and has been a professional since early 2006. Although Dela Cruz has mixed in good company he has suffered loss on a regular basis, and is unlikely to pose much or a threat to Kaneko.
The main supporting bout here will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kei Iwahara (8-5, 4) take on Mao Kawanishi (6-3, 2). Iwahara has been inconsistent through his career, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but can pull out the upsets as he did last year against Yuji Awata. On the other hand Kawanishi has won his last 2 bouts, but has failed to shine and will be looking at this bout as a potential chance to break into the national rankings.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows taking places in the country.
The most notable of those shows is in Hyogo, whee we see a former world title challenger and several other bouts of note.
That former world title challenger is teenager Riku Kano (10-2-1, 5), who is fighting for the first time since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama earlier this year. The teenager was supposed to fight in a second bout with Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym but Pigmy was replaced, several weeks out, by Thoedkiad Weerachon (0-5) giving us a very disappointing headline bout.
In a supporting bout we'll see Hikaru Matsuoka (12-3-3, 1) hunting for a 5th straight win as he takes on the inform Tenmei Serizawa (8-3, 4), who has turned around his career after a 3-3 start. On paper this looks like it should be a win for Matsuoka but his lack of power is an issue and has struggled with fighters he would have been favoured against before.
Interestingly one of the men to beat Matsuoka will be on the card as well, that's Seizo Kono (17-8-1, 11), who stopped Matsuoka in a round last year. Kono will be up against the limited Ryota Kihara (8-9-4, 6) and will be looking to build on an upset win over Hideo Sakamoto this past August. Kihara has won his last two bouts but this is a big step back up in class for him.
Also on this card will be teenage puncher Futa Akizuki (7-0, 6) who will be looking to score his second win on home soil after starting his career in Thailand.
The day also features 2-shows at the L-Theatre in Osaka with one of those show's being much more interesting the the other.
The more interesting of those shows is first of those shows, promoted by Taiho.
The main event here will see Japanese based Mexican Kenbun Torres (11-2, 9), the son of former world champion German Torres, battle against Filipino foe Engelbert Moralde (9-3, 6). Torres, who debuted way back in 2003, ended a 9 year sabbatical from the ring earlier this year and will be looking to score a career best win as he takes on Moralde. The Filipino has come up short when he has faced anyone of any note but could potentially pick up a win here in a very competitive looking match up.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Ken Osato (9-1-1, 3) battle against Toshiya Yokogawa (7-10-1, 6). On paper this isn't a great bout and Osato has proven he's a genuine prospect with solid results against the likes of Kento Matsushita and Retsu Kosaka. Despite that Yokogawa will come to fight and Osato will have to work for his win and it won't be handed to him here.
One bout that probably will be a mismatch will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Yuta Uetani (18-5-1, 9) take on Takuya Yamamoto (7-5, 4). Uetani isn't a top tier domestic fighter, but he's not far off and holds a number of notable wins including, a stoppage against Mark John Yap, with really only title level fighters beating him, including Shinsuke Yamanaka. Yamamoto on the other hand has done little of note and shouldn't really be a test for Uetani.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-6-4, 7) battle against the under-rated Shunji Nagata (10-15-2, 3). On paper this looks like another mismatch but it's genuinely a more interesting fight than it first appears. Kanazawa has the much better record but has gone 2-4-1 in his last 7, whilst mixing with good company on the hole. The first of those 4 defeats however came in 2014 to to Nagata who will be hoping for a repeat here. Kanazawa will obvious but hunting revenge and given their history this could be a very good and competitive bout.
The other show at the L-Theatre will be headlined by an intriguing lower level bout between Shachihoko Dragons Keita (6-5-1, 1) and Yu Konomura (7-4-1, 1). Neither guy has much of a punch and neither will go on to win titles, unless something changes massively, however they should make for a competitive and close bout which is better than a total mismatch. A lot of pride will be on the line here and it should be good.
In Australia fans will see local novice Tino Tanuvasa (2-0, 2) take on Australian based Indonesian veteran Aswin Cabuy (19-58-4, 7), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.