This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day in Japan, with 5 shows set to take place across the country, including 2 in Osaka.
The biggest show is one of those Osaka shows, and will be held by Green Tsuda, with 2 Japanese title bouts.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) defending his title against Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) in a mandatory defense. This will be Yada's third defense of the title, and will be the first time he faces a puncher since dethroning Toshio Arikawa in April 2018. Nagano has earned his shot with wins over Riku Nagahama and Yuki Beppu, but this is easily his toughest test to date. We're expecting a very, very entertaining contest here. An indepth preview of this bout is available here Yada and Nagano battle for Japanese crown!
The other title bout will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) make his second defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8). Okumoto won the title last August, dethroning Hiroyuki Kudaka, and this is a solid looking defense for the 27 year old champion. Matsuo earned this shot with a win over Rey Orais last year, and although that was a pretty straight forward win it is worth noting that the challenger is a live under-dog and he gave Masayuki Kuroda a real test in 2017. This could be a very close and competitive contest. A preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto hunts next defense, takes on mandatory Matsuo
Another bout on this card will see the once touted Kazuki Tanaka (9-2, 6) take on Thai foe Songrit Ontha (2-2). This is clearly a confidence building bout for Tanaka, following a stoppage loss last year to Keita Kurihara, and we would expect him to take a very straight forward, and quick, win here. Ontha has been stopped in the 4th round in both of his losses, and we expect something similar here too.
A second show in Osaka, which takes places after the Green Tsuda card, will be an Ioka promoted show featuring several notable fighters.
The co-feature of this show sees former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-2, 10) take on Japanese based Filipino journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-14-1, 4). It's hard to imagine Estremos beating the unbeaten Japanese fighter, though he did hold Hiroyuki Kudaka to a draw in December and is better than his record suggests. We're expecting a clear win for Hashizume, but one he has to work for.
In a really good looking clash we'll see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (27-1, 15) takes on the under-rated Ikuro Sadatsune (9-3-3, 3) in a Bantamweight clash. On paper this looks like a huge mismatch, but Sadatsune is an upset minded youngster, who is always worth watching and is the naturally bigger, younger man. A loss for Ishida will end his hopes of getting a second world title fight, and he will know that he can't afford a loss. This is a huge change for Sadatsune to make a name for himself, but he will obviously be the under-dog.
The most notable show outside of Osaka takes place in Hyogo, and features a couple of Japanese ranked fighters each looking to move towards their first national title fights.
The chief support bout will see ranked fighters clash as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (14-2, 8) and Fumisuke Kimura (8-4, 5) clash in an 8 round bout at a contracted 64.5KG's. This, on paper, looks like a straight forward win for Kanda, but Kimura has shown the potential to spring upsets, especially when fighters over-look him. We suspect that Kanda will be too good and too strong, but he will have to respect Kimura to avoid a shock defeat here.
The other bout will see OPBF and JBC ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (10-6-1, 4) take on the limited Takayuki Teraji (9-17-1, 4), who isn't a world beater but is a fighter who can be relied on to give solid rounds to national level fighters. Hirai is an under-rated guy, but has sadly lost his last 2 and lost the momentum he had once built , and he should win here, but can't over-look Teraji. Teraji has lost his last 3, but was very competitive in losses to Seita Ogido and Takeru Kamikubo and is a potential banana skin here.
In Ishikawa we get a card from Casimi gym, who put on a 7 fight card headlined by a Japanese female title fight.
The Japanese title bout will see Asami Jinnari (6-3-1, 3) take on Miki Mitsuda (4-5, 3) in a battle for the Japanese female Featherweight title. The match up isn't the most interesting, especially given that Jinnari has already failed in 2 attempts to win the title, but given how we're seeing these female national titles act as something of a building block, we can't complain too much about title bouts like this. Jinnari is certainly a solid contender on the domestic front and Mitsuda is better than her record suggests. It's worth noting however that Jinnari did stop Mitsuda back in August and it's hard to see Mitsuda avenging that loss here.
A pretty good looking support bout on this card will see Omrri Bolivar (7-1, 3) take on under-rated Filipino Ernie Sanchez (19-13-1, 10). Bolivar is an OPBF ranked fighter who is now based in Japan, though is originally from Venezuela. This looks like his toughest bout to date by far, with Sanchez being a fantastic journeyman. Sanchez has been in with a real who's who, and although he has suffered 13 losses, 5 by stoppage, he is a very good journeyman who gave Evgeny Chuprakov a scare last year and stopped Hurricane Futa in 2017. This could be a very entertaining and hotly contested match up.
The least notable of the cards takes place in Yamaguchi, where we get a number of 4 round bouts at a low level. There's set to be 12 bouts on this card, but none of the bouts here are particularly notable.
Attention turns to Nevada this coming Saturday for the biggest card of the weekend, and one featuring several Filipino fighters.
The headline bout, and one of the biggest bouts of the month, will see Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) defending the WBA Welterweight title against controversial American Adrien Broner (33-3-1-1, 24). This will be Pacquiao's first defense of the title he took last July, when he beat Lucas Matthysse, and could potentially help set up another big bout later in the year, if he can over-come Broner. For the American, who was once tipped as the future of boxer, this is a must win bout and another loss, especially to a 40 year old Pacquiao, will be hard to bounce back from. This isn't the bout it could have been a few years ago, but should still be a very interesting must win bout. Our preview of this bout is available here Pacquiao and Broner battle for WBA Crown
Another title fight on this show will see WBA "interim" Featherweight champion Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17) defending his title against Mexican challenger Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33). The unbeaten fighter, from the Philippines, took the title last year in Malaysia and has shown to be a brutally heavy handed fighter, who is lacking in terms of speed and crispness, but is very hard hitting and very dangerous. Ruiz on the other hand made name at Bantamweight, where he was a WBA interim champion, and Super Bantamweight, where he held the WBC title, but has been relatively inactive recently and has shown shaky whiskers. We're expecting this to be very explosive and very exciting, with both having very good power. Our preview of this bout is here Tepora looks to make first defense of "interim" crown, takes on hard hitting Ruiz
Interestingly both Jayar Inson (18-1, 12) and Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10) were scheduled to be on this card, though it now appears that neither man will actually feature. Sadly. Libranza was lined up to face former world title challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-4-1-1, 17) though only Libranza is actually listed for the show now and Libranza has been removed.
We also get a really notable card in Tokyo, as G+ televise the first Dynamic Glove card of the new year, a card featuring 3 very attractive bouts.
The main event will see former OPBF and Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) taking on Japanese veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-11-1, 13), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two met way back in May 2012, with Nakajima defeating Wake via unanimous decision. Since their first bout Wake has gone on the have notable success, going 15-1 (12) and has fought for a world title. Nakajima on the other hand has gone 9-6 since beating Wake, losing in title bouts to Hidenori Otake and Mark John Yap. This is clearly a bout to give Wake revenge for his last loss at domestic level, but is still an interesting match up, and one with a bit of history behind it.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) face off with Reiya Abe (18-2, 9), in a strange yet compelling match. Sugita, who is a full time policeman outside of the ring, has impressed since making his debut and is tipped for big things, but obviously stiffer tests than he has been getting following a very impressive amateur career. This is however a massive step up in class for Sugita, who has never faced anyone like the world ranked Abe. For Abe the bout is a risky one, given his next bout has already been arranged and is a Japanese Featherweight title bout in the middle of the year. This bout see Abe losing his title fight, if he loses, but an injury or a cut could force his plans to change. We suspect Abe will have too many tools for Sugita, at this early stage, but this is still an incredibly interesting match up. Our preview of this bout is available here World ranked Abe takes on Policeman Sugita!
The third terrific match up on this card pits ranked youngsters against each other. In one corner will be Japanese ranked Teiken promoted 24 year old Kenshin Oshima (4-1-1, 3) whilst the other corner will host 21 year old southpaw Ikuro Sadatsune (9-2-3, 3), who holds Japanese WBO Asia Pacific rankings. Coming into this bout Oshima is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run, including an ugly but notable win over Joe Tanooka back in August. Sadatsune on the other hand has won his last 3, with notable wins over Ryo Suwa and Tatsuya Takahashi. We're expecting to see Oshima's power and aggression against Sadatsune's skills and movement in a very well matched and intriguing contest.
Seoul, South Korea
In South Korea we'll see the first card under the recently announced Annihilation banner, which co-promotes MMA and boxing. The main event of this card will see Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (6-2-1, 2) battling against Australian based veteran Samuel Colomban (25-10-1, 11) for the vacant OPBF Light Middleweight title. The bout will be the first OPBF title fight on Korean soil in quite some time, and seems to suggest that KBF are coming out for 2019 with some new fire in their belly. It should be noted Colomban has seen much, much better days but is still a very live fighter against the inexperienced Korean. Our preview of this bout is available here Lee and Colomban battle for OPBF crown!
One other bout of note will take place in Onratio, where we see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (3-0, 2) kicks off his 2019 with his first 6 round bout. Bhatti will take on Mitch Louis Charles (5-1-2, 2). Bhatti made his debut in March 2018and picked up 3 low key wins during the year. This is a credible step up, at least on paper, for the unbeaten man. We say on paper, because Charles hasn't fought in over 4 years and it's unclear what he'll look like given that lengthy lay off.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as fight fans get a small but interesting card from the Misako Gym.
The main event off the card will see Japanese ranked fighters facing off, with Naoki Mochizuki (14-3, 8) taking on Seiya Fujikita (12-3, 5) in a bout that will push the winner close to a national title fight. The 24 year old Mochizuki has lost 2 of his last 5, but those losses came to notable fighters in the form of Keisuke Nakayama and Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, and he is certainly very capable at this level. Fujikita comes into this bout on the back of 4 stoppage wins, and all 3 of his defeats were razor close, including losses to Yuta Matsuo and Hayato Yamaguchi. We really like the look of this match up.
Another excellent domestic clash will see Ikuro Sadatsune (8-2-3, 2) take on Isao Aoyama (11-6-1, 2). We're fans of Sadatsune, who has been matched hard in recent bouts against the likes of Kai Chiba, Ryo Suwa and Tatsuya Takahashi and see him as a future title challenger, at least domestically. Whilst we're fans of Sadatsune we know the youngster can't over-look Aoyama who has a scratchy record but has been very competitive in 5 of his 6 losses and also held Sho Kimura to a draw. This is a very tough match up to call and should be a very tactical one.
One of the other notable bouts on this card looks to be a mismatch as the popular and experienced Gakuya Furuhashi (22-8-1, 11) faces off with the little known Taichi Ueno (6-2, 3). Furuhashi went through a bad run of results in 2015 and 2016 but is now riding a 4 fight unbeaten run. Sadly that winning run has come against fighters similar to Ueno and it would be nice to see him step up again sooner rather than later.
This coming Monday attention returns to the Korakuen Hall as Yamaguchi Tsuchiura put on a small domestic card.
The main event will see former Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (28-7-5, 20) battle against youngster Ikuro Sadatsune (7-2-3, 2) in a pretty good looking bout. Takahashi really made his name in 2014, when he had a thrilling 10 round war with Kentaro Masuda. Since then he has gone 9-1-2 (7) and chasing a second title fight. As for Sadatsune he's less well known, but has shown his toughness, and not only took Kai Chiba the distance but also scored a very good win over Ryo Suwa last time out. This should be much better than it looks on paper.
Another bout with promise to be better than it looks is the chief support bout between Keisuke Ota (10-11, 3) and Sho Nagata (8-4, 2). The 33 year old Ota has a dire looking record but hasn't been given many easy bouts, battling the likes of Yuchiro Kasuyra, Masashi Noguchi and Tatsuya Yanagi and he is better than the numbers suggest. Nagata however will be the favourite and the 22 year old is a very capable fighter despite losing 3 of his last 6 bouts. Both will be seeking a win and both will see this as a winnable bout, so we're expecting a very competitive contest here.