Attention continues to be given to Japan this coming Friday as we get yet more title action in the Land of the Rising Sun, with two world title bouts.
The more interesting, and much better matched, of the bouts sees WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (25-0-2, 17) facing off against Anselmo Moreno (36-4-1, 12). The two men are fighting in a rematch after Yamanaka narrowly retained his title last September with a razor thin decision. Some are suggesting that Yamanaka will be better prepared for the slippery Panamanian challenger whilst others feel like Yamanaka has slipped, a lot, from his prime and is there for the taking. The one clear thing here is that opinions differ on the outcome and the styles of the fighters differ in the ring. This should be worth tuning in to.
The other title bout will see WBC Super Bantamweight champion Hugo Ruiz (36-3, 32) making his first defense of the title as he takes on former Bantamweight legend Hozumi Hasegawa (35-5, 15). Hasegawa is looking to become a 3-weight world champion, following reigns at 118lbs and 126lbs, but he's very much a faded fighter whilst the big punching Ruiz is a very dangerous man in his pomp. This could be very painful for the multi-time Japanese MVP.
Sadly other than the title bouts the card has little of interest, with almost nothing of note on the under-card.
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 Tada was originally scheduled to be facing Victoria Argueta but Argueta is out and has been replaced by Lopez, who really shouldn't test a fighter as talented as Tada.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.
The busy action continues on May 9th with a host of notable fighters in action with some very interesting match ups.
The most significant bout involving an Asian comes from Texas, where unbeaten Bantamweight Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) attempts to claim the WBA “regular” title and over-come Britain's hard working Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12). This bout was originally announced as a WBO-WBA unification bout but Kameda was forced to vacate by the WBO who refused to recognise the bout as a unification due to the WBA having multiple champions. Whilst the WBO's move has removed some lure of the bout we're still expecting the action inside the ring to be fantastic and we really can't wait for this.
On a different US show fans will have the chance to see Chinese Heavyweight giant Taishan Dong (3-0, 2) continue his development as he takes on American foe Karinn Davis (2-4, 2). Whilst Dong is heavily hyped in the US he is being matched softly and that's shown again here with Davis being a 40 year old who fought much of his career at Cruiserweight before making his Heavyweight debut earlier this year. Notably Dong will have a 1' height advantage here completely dwarfing Davis when the two get in to the ring.
Whilst the attention grabbing bouts, for many, are stateside we do still get plenty of notable action in Japan with the most notable of two shows coming from Kobe.
The Kobe show is a genuinely intriguing one which is headlined by the come-back of the popular Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15). Hasegawa, fighting for the first time since he was stopped by Kiko Martinez last year, will be taking on dangerous Mexican Horacio Garcia (29-0, 21) in what looks to be a really tough return to action. This is a really difficult bout for Hasegawa though he knows that if he scores a win he could well be back in the title mix by the end of the year. The stakes however are high and another stoppage loss could well be the end of his fantastic career.
As well as the interesting main event there was also some notable fighters on the under-card. The most notable of those fighters is the fast rising Shun Kubo (6-0, 4) who is world ranked at Super Bantamweight, by the WBC, and should really have an easy time in his upcoming bout with Masajiro Honda (6-5, 4). We like Kubo a lot and hope that we see him in a more notable bout next time out.
A genuinely notable bout on this card will see Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (28-6-3, 14) take on Takahiro Shigee (12-1-1, 10). This is Baat's first bout since he upset Kenta Onjo in March and if he wins again here he'll be on the verges of a title fight. For Shigee this will be his first bout of note since he was stopped in 8 rounds by Rodrigo Guerrero last July. Incidentally both men have been stopped by Guerrero.
Another really interesting match up on this card will see Tetsuya Hisada (21-9-2, 11) take on Shun Kosaka (9-1) in what should be a very competitive 8 round bout between decent but flawed fighters. Neither of these two are great but that should lead to a competitive match up and at the end of the day that's what we enjoy more than quick blow outs in mismatches.
A second Japanese card comes from Osaka where fans will get a female world title bout along with a number of relatively miss-able under-card bouts.
The main event will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (12-4-1, 6) defending her title against multi-time title challenger Masae Akitaya (9-5-2, 3). For Kuoki this will be the second defense of the title she won last May, with a decision over Mari Ando, and on paper it's a step down. However Akitaya is certainly not a push over and will come into this bout feeling like this could be her last chance. Don't be surprised if this one ends up being fantastic despite neither fighter being being near the elite.
As for the under-card there isn't really anything of note happening on it, despite 8 scheduled bouts supporting the main event.
There will also be title action in Korea where we're expecting a couple of low level title bouts,
The most “interesting” of those bouts is a WBA Asia Middleweight title bout between Eun Chang Lee (8-4, 4) and Thailand's John Ford (6-6-1, 5). Lee may be remembered by some for his Macau Bout with Brazilian Middleweight Esquiva Falcao and although he clearly lost that bout he did show his toughness and strength. Ford on the other hand was last seen being stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya at Light Welterweight. Given the size difference between the two we have to assume this is going to be a horrible mismatch.
The other title bout is set to be for some PABA title, though we're unsure which actual belt it will be with the suspicion it'll be a female title bout at Super Featherweight.
As well as the two title bouts this show will feature 3 under-card bouts.
We get the chance to see an interest bout in Bulgaria as Kazakh Bantamweight banger Zhanat Zhakiyanov (24-1, 17) will be battling against the unbeaten Argentinian Hector Rolando Guzman (14-0, 9). This bout will be for the WBA International Bantamweight title and seems to suggest that Zhakiyanov may not be heading the WBC route after all, a smart move considering the champion is the sensational Shinsuke Yamanaka.
Wellington, New Zealand
In New Zealand fans will have the chance to see an “interim” WIBA Super Bantamweight title fight as Thailand's Anrey Onesongchaigym (7-1-1, 3) battles Gentiane Lupi (3-1-1, 1). This bout isn't likely to tell much about either fighter though should leave the loser well away from a notable fight.
For a second day running Japanese fans get the chance to see a trio of domestically ranked fighter in action. This time around however we feel the over-all show is better with 4 noteworthy bouts on a show that actually only features 6 bouts in total.
The first of the bouts of note sees Bantamweight hopeful Ryotaro Kawabata (10-2-1, 4) battle against Ryuta Wakamatsu (10-11, 7). On paper this does look like a bit of a mismatch however we're really unsure on how good Kawabata is and his best win to date hasn't come at a very notable level. In all honesty Kawabata's most notable bout was his 4th as he was clearly out pointed by the then 2-0 Shohei Omori, and we now know how good Omori is. As for Wakamatsu he has solid enough power to hurt fighters like Kawabata but unfortunately he has 7 stoppage losses against his name and seemingly can't take it as well as he hands it out. On paper a mismatch in reality however this could be a great test for Kawabata.
The second of the notable bouts is the first to feature a ranked contender as Japanese ranked 140lb fighter Shohei Okuda (11-1, 4) attempts to bounce back form a 3rd round TKO loss to Ryusei Yoshida. Up against Okuda here will be the experienced Kosuke Iwashita (14-17-2, 8). Although experienced Iwashita has won just once in his last 8 bouts, and that win came against a very poor Thai import. This should be easy for Okuda though we of course need to see how he bounces back from his first loss.
One the most recognisable fighters on this card is ranked Light Flyweight Tetsuya Hisada (21-8-2, 11) who looks to put back-to-back draws behind him as he battles the light punching Kenta Sugimoto (8-7-1, 1), who incidentally comes into this bout with a 2-fight winning streak. We have to favour Yamada though again this bout could tell us a lot about his psyche given his poor form recently.
In the main event fans will get the chance to see former Japanese Lightweight title challenger Yuhei Suzuki (15-4, 11) battle against Junki Oura (6-5, 2) in what should be a mismatch. Suzuki, who is stilled ranked in the top 10 at Lightweight by the JBC, will be seeking his second win since being stopped by Yoshitaka Kato last April. For Oura this bout will see him trying to secure a 3rd straight win, however a win here would be the best result of his career, by far.
As well as the 4 bouts there will also be a public sparring session between former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kohei Oba, who will be taking part in his retirement ceremony, and former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa, who will be in the ring in public for the first time since he was stopped by Kiko Martinez last year.
Notably this show will also feature music from Korean pop group LPG who look set to do a live performance at the show.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
As we all know top level boxing is rare to see on a week day. This week however is no normal week and rather brilliantly we have two world title fights in Japan and a world ranked fighter in action on a tremendously exciting Wednesday in the world of boxing
Technically the day has two cards but there is only one that will have fans really talking, that's the one in the Castle Hall, Osaka which really is one of the highlight shows of the year so far.
The first of 3 notable bouts on the show feature the world ranked Lightweight Takahiro Ao (25-3-1, 12). Ao, a former world champion at Featherweight and Super Featherweight is hoping to, one day, capture a Lightweight title though will need to over-come Mexican Marco Lopez (23-3, 14) here if that dream is continue. Ao is a talented fighter but blows hot and cold. His talent is obvious and wins over Oscar Larios, Vitali Tajbert, Devis Boschiero and Terdsak Kokietgym prove that but losses to Larios, Gamaliel Diaz and Elio Rojas do leave some questions about whether or not he is truly a world level talent.
After Ao's bout we get the first of the world title fights as the popular and fun to watch Hozumi Hasegawa (33-4, 15) attempts to claim the IBF Super Bantamweight title. Hasegawa, one of Japan's most popular fighters, will be up against it as he takes on the heavy handed and hard nosed Kiko Martinez (30-4, 22) who will be defending his title for the second time. We're expecting, due to the styles of these two men, that this will be a scintillating affair with both men throwing a lot of leather though we simply can't image the contest going the scheduled 12 rounds.
Although Hasegawa is always going to be a popular figure in Japanese boxing a win would make him just the second ever 3-weight world champion from Japan and would further enhance his reputation as a modern day Japanese great.
The show's third major bout then sees the destructive Shinsuke Yamanaka (20-0-2, 15) in action. Yamanaka, one of the worlds hardest hitting fighters, will be seeking the 6th defence of his WBC Bantamweight title as he takes on former European champion Stephane Jamoye (25-4, 15) in what looks like an exciting but potentially one-sided contest. Jamoye is an exciting brawler who has come to Japan with a lot of confidence though it's hard to imagine him really testing "The god of Left"
As well as the show in Japan there is also a small show in the Philippines. The main even on this show will see Rey Ramos (6-4-2, 3) battling against veteran Richard Olisa (23-24-2, 12). This is a well matched bout but we'll be honest it's hard to care about the action in the Philippines considering what we have in Japan.