This coming Thursday there will be interest for fight fans from across Asia, with shows in Japan and the Philippines and two central Asian fighters in action in New York.
The show in Japan is from the Korakuen Hall where Kaneko Boxing will be showing casing some of their most notable fighters.
The main event will see a bout between two Japanese ranked Middleweights, with the two fighters essentially fighting to become the leading contender to face Kazuto Takesako. The bout will see Hisao Narita (12-6, 6) face off with Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (9-3, 8) in what looks likely to be a very hotly contested bout. Of the two men it's Hosokawa who is ranked higher by the JBC, and is also ranked by the OPBF. Coming in to this he has stopped his last 3 opponents, and has looked like a genuine puncher whilst rising through the domestic scene. Despite having 3 losses against his name Hosokawa has gone 7-1 (7) since a faltering 2-2 (1) start to his professional career. On the other hand Narita was stopped last time out by Sanosuke Sasaki and will be looking to bounce back from that and score what would be a career best victory.
The main support bout will also feature two ranked fighters, as Welterweights Shusaku Fujinaka (16-8-2, 11) and Toshiro Tarumi (9-3-3, 5) clash in a very interesting match up. Fujinaka is best known for his 2015 loss to Randall Bailey, and since then he has gone 4-2, losing to Moon Hyun Yun in a thriller and being stopped by Keita Obara last December, despite those set backs he has proven to be a credible fighter on the domestic stage and will be wanting to get a shot at the national title. Tarumi on the other hand has had mixed success on the domestic level, but notable wins over Quaye Peter, Takashi Inagaki and Noriaki Sato show he can perform at this level, when it all clicks. If both men are on form this could be a very special bout, though obviously depends on both fighters, neither of whom have proven to be incredibly consistent so far.
Also on this card will be Takahiro Fujii (10-6-1, 3), though his opponent is yet to be announced, in an 8 rounder.
In the Philippines fans will get a title double header.
The main event will see the touted Carl Jammes Martin (8-0, 7) take on George Lumoly (10-4-1, 8) For the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. The hard hitting 19 year old Jammes has stopped his last 4 foes and picked up a few minor titles, and will expect to do the same again here, as he takes on a foe with 4 stoppages losses already. We've not managed to get too much information on Lumoly but given he has 8 stoppages it's fair to say that Martin won't want to take too many risks, but will be confident of stopping the visitor.
In a bout for the LuzProBA Flyweight title John Magagmoc (3-0-1) will battle against Enrique Magsalin (3-0-2, 1). The 17 year old Magagmoc made his debut last August and has been very easily matches so far, so this is a huge step up for him. At 23 years old Magsalin is the older man, and the more physially mature, but has also been matched lightly and will also be taking on his most notable opponent. This is an interesting one, and will answer questions about both men, but neither really look like they are ready for a title fight.
New York, USA
In New York it will be an Uzbek looking to shine with 24 year old Super Featherweight hopeful Elnur Abduraimov (0-0) making his debut. He won a Bronze medal at the 2015 AIBA World Champion and is expected to be fast tracked. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been named.
This coming Tuesday we'll see a small card at the Korakuen Hall, and the reality is that the card lacks in names but does have some interesting contests on it.
One of the interesting bouts will be a 6 rounder between Katsuhiro Hoshi (7-2-1, 5) and Yoshiki Abe (5-6-4, 1). Aged 20 Hoshi has shown some real promise, and has gone 6-0-1 in his last 7 bouts, including a win against Takeshi Kaneko last time out. Despite that promise this will be a tough contest as Abe is no push over at this level.
Another match up of interest on this card will see Shinnosuke Hasegawa (4-2-1, 3) taking on Takuya Yamaguchi (3-9-2, 2). Although Yamaguchi is limited we've become very big fans of him due to his charisma, heart and style and he's certainly someone who makes us smile when he fights. Sadly it's hard to imagine him providing much of a test for Hasegawa, who has stopped his last 3 foes and will likely pick up another stoppage here.
The main event of the card will be the most evenly matched contest, and will see former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-6, 5) take on Hisao Narita (12-5, 6). Sasaki won the Japanese title in October 2012, when he stopped Tadashi Yuba, but would lose it in his first defense, as he was stopped by Tomohiro Ebisu. Sadly for Sasaki he has now lost his last 5 and looks to be a shot fighter. Narita on the other hand is 3-3 in his last 6, having now won 3 in a row, and will know that a win here will put him in the mix for a potential title fight down the line.
Finally, it seems, Japanese action is picking up with the second title bout with in a week and a second card of note to begin the year.
The second Japanese title fight of the year comes just days after the first, which saw Hiroki Okada retain the Japanese 140lb title, this time we see a bout for a vacant title and, on paper, it's a mismatch. The bout in question sees former title challenger Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3-1, 6) battle against the experienced Yasuhiro Okawa (14-11-3, 5), who is set for his first title bout. On paper this is a huge mismatch but Okawa is better than his record suggests and has improved drastically from his 7-9-3 (2) start to professional life. Saying that however it's hard to see Shindo losing given how impressive he was in a Japanese title bout last year.
In the main support bout we see a former world champion in action as former WBC Flyweight kingpin Sonny Boy Jaro (42-13-5, 30) takes on Japanese ranked fight Yusuke Suzuki (6-2, 4), in what looks to be a very tough ask for Suzuki. Interestingly Jaro was once 0-3 in Japan though after a pair of wins in the “Land of the Rising Sun” last year he could level his record in the country with a win over Suzuki. For the 27 year old Japanese fighter this is an opportunity to score a big win, but he will be the huge under-dog.
Another supporting bout here will see former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-11, 12) take on Hideo Mikan (7-10-1, 2) in a must win bout for both men. Fuchigami, best known for being stuffed by Gennady Golovkin, has lost 4 of his last 5, with the last 2 both being stoppages. He needs a top performances here against Mikan, who has lost his last 3. Given that both will view this as a real opportunity we could end up with a very fun fight here.
One final under-card bout of note will see former Rookie of the year Hisao Narita (9-3, 4) take on Japanese based Colombian Elfelos Vega (5-2, 3). Both fighters were beaten last time out and know that a win here will give them something to build on, but it's fair to say that Narita will come into the bout as the favourite.
This coming Thursday in Japan sees an interesting but low level domestic card at the Korakuen Hall. The show features a promising prospect, a heavy handed former title holder and one other intriguing domestic contest.
The main bout of the show will see former OPBF/PABA/JBC title holder Akinori Watanabe (32-4, 27) takes on the limited Kittisak Sithsaithong (0-2), from Thailand. This shouldn't be any more than a stay busy fight for Watanabe, who also has a bout set for November 2nd with Toshio Arikawa, though he'll be making sure not to take any sort of silly risks in the ring. It's hard to see anything but a stoppage from Watanabe but he'll be hoping to shake off some ring rust before the Arikawa bout.
Another bout on this card is a really intriguing Light Middleweight bout which will see the unbeaten, and hotly tipped, Takeshi Inoue (3-0-1, 2) battle against Hisao Narita (9-2, 4). Coming in to this bout both fighters are JBC ranked and the winner will almost certainly move in to the discussion for a title fight in 2016. Of the two men we have been the more impressed with Inoue but this is a step up for him.
The third notable bout will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Kazunori Takayama (21-8-4, 4) battling against domestic foe Ryuto Araya (7-3-1, 1). This is an 8 round bout that will see Takayama seek a third successive victory since he was stopped by the heavy handed Satoshi Hosono in a Japanese title fight.
As well as the 3 bouts that have been mentioned the card will feature a further 4 bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmopb.jp)
March 7th-Amnat Vs Zou in a showdown, with notable action from Ik Yang, Rex Tso, Hiroki Okada, Suyon Takayama and more!
The start of the year has been tediously slow at times however March is certainly seeing in ring action liven up, in a big way. The first real date to mark down on your calendar is March 7th which sees action across Asia with several big names a host of notable fights ranging from a world title bout to world title eliminators to national title bouts.
The biggest of the days show's comes from Macau where fans are treat to another of Bob Arum's foray's into the gambling capital of Asia. In many ways this is the most important of all the Macau shows and is, potentially, the biggest banana skin on the road to making the experiment a major long term success.
The tricky part of this card is the main event which will see Chinese megastar Zou Shiming (6-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5) in a brilliant match up. These two men are both unbeaten, both under-rated and were major amateur rivals. They are also men looking to claim a major scalp. For Shiming this a test that really could see him becoming a national hero or boxing's biggest villain, for Ruenroeng it's a chance to level the score with Shiming, who holds a 2-1 record over him from the amateur ranks. For Bob Arum this is a real test of his nerve. Shiming is talented and fast but this is a major step up for the double Olympic champion.
Shiming of course isn't the only Chinese born fighter on this show, nor is he the most exciting. One of the contenders for the tag of “most exciting” is the heavy handed Ik Yang (18-0-0-1, 13) who will be up against Thailand's experienced Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-2-1, 18) in an IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title bout, which will also double as an IBF world title eliminator. Yang has been on a number of Top Rank shows and is known for his power and offensive style though his flawed defense may be a problem here against the talented Patomsuk, who gave world ranked Takayuki Hosokawa a very close bout back in late 2013. This could be very interesting.
Another rival to the tag of China's most exciting fighter is the very flawed but fun Rex Tso (15-0, 9) who battles Filipino Michael Enriquez (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBA International Super Flyweight title. Tso will go into this bout as the favourite and is viewed as being likely to get a fight with WBA world champion Kohei Kono if he comes through here. For Enriquez this is a major opportunity though he has lost both of his previous title fights.
Going further down the card fans will get the chance to see the explosively heavy handed Aston Palicte (16-1, 14), of the Philippines, take on one of his toughest tests as he goes up against Ismael Garnica (13-5-1-1, 5). Garnica is best known for losing a decision British fighter Paul Butler last year, other than that however there is very little of note on his record. Palicte on the other hand is a dynamite puncher who comes into this bout on the back of 5 successive opening round blow outs, including a very notable one against Gerpaul Valero.
Another Filipino in action here will be Raymond Sermona (17-4-5, 8) who will be hoping to record his 3rd successive win as he battles former “world” title challenger Jose Felix Jr (28-1-1, 23). Felix Jr's only loss came last year when he stepped up to fight Bryan Vasquez and was well beaten, despite two horribly close scorecards, and he'll be favoured to make light work of Sermona.
To open the show we're expecting to see some local talent in action. One of those locals will be the unbeaten Zhou Yun Fei (4-0, 1) who battles against Paul Valenzuela (2-1-1, 2) whilst the other will be Macau's Kuok Kun Ng (6-0, 2), who will be facing Thailand's Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-2, 3).
As well as the action in Macau there is also a show, with title action, in Japan where fans will get a couple of domestic title fights courtesy of Kadoebi.
One of those title bouts will see once beaten Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (21-1, 7) defending his belt against former foe Nobuyuki Shindo (16-2, 6) in what looks like to be a very competitive match up. Takayama has the title, the better looking record and a win over Shindo already on his record however he is a weak champion and a lot of bouts have been very close. Shindo has height and reach advantages though the question coming in is whether or not he will be able to make them count.
In the other title fight the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) will be up against former title contender Hayato Hokazono (18-4-1, 11). We like Okada though are unsure how far he can really go, though it is obviously early days in his career. Hokazono is best known for his losses to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara, aside from those losses there is little else to note about his record other than a win over Kazuyoshi Kumano way back in December 2010.
On the under-card there is little of note though a bout between Hisao Narita (8-1, 4) and Yusuke Konno (8-2, 3) does look likely to be very competitive over the scheduled 8 rounds. Another undercard bout that we'll mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Yukinori Hisanaga (16-5-2, 9) battle against Takuma Takahashi (6-4-1, 1).
In South Korea we get 3 bouts between Korean fighters and Japanese visitors as Watanabe send a trio of their stable over to Korea.
The most notable of the Japanese fighters is Sonin Nihei (5-1-1, 1) who came runner up in last years East Japan Rookie of the year. The talented 21 year old, who lost a split decision to Kenya Yamashita, will be taking on the debuting Tae Un Jung (0-0) who we know nothing about.
Another of the bouts will see unbeaten Korean Joo-Young Kwon (2-0) take on Keisuke Kanazawa (2-4, 1). On paper it's hard to go against the Korean though he has only faced debutants so far whilst Kanazawa holds a very surprising win over the much touted Koki Tyson Maebara from back in January 2013.
The remaining bout, and the most looking on paper, will see Shingo Yabu (4-4-2) battle against Chan-Hee Park (4-5-1). Yabu is 0-2-1 in his last 3, including a loss to Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine in the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Park on the other hand has lost his last 4 and hasn't notched a win since 2009, in fact he's not fought since October 2010. Interesting match up in some ways but neither guy is anything great.
(Image courtesy of http://www.sandscotaicentral.com)