In Tokyo we get the first Japanese title fight of the month alongside a couple of other noteworthy bouts.
The title bout in question will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion, and current world ranked fighter, Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2) defending his national crown against Hayato Yamaguchi (12-5-1, 2), who is making his second Japanese title challenger. For Kimura this is a must win bout if he hopes to get a world title fight later in the year however he won't have been able to prepare for Yamaguchi as he would have liked as the challenger only signed for the fight a few weeks ago after Shin Ono suffered an injury that forced him out of the bout. Of course saying that Yamaguchi will not have had a full training camp himself for this bout.
On the same card we will see the return to the ring of Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-8, 7) who will be fighting for the first time since his narrow loss to Yukinori Oguni last December in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight. The popular Ishimoto should be able to end a 2-fight skid as he takes on the limited Yoshihiro Utsumi (12-5-3, 7) in what looks to be a confidence building bout for the 33 year old Ishimoto.
In another bout of note fans will get the chance to see the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (16-1-1, 6) battle against the hard hitting Kazuya Soma (7-6-2, 6). Coming into this bout Nakazawa is on a 13 fight winning streak and we suspect that'll continue here, though Soma can hit hard enough to trouble fighters at this level.
A third noteworthy bout on this show will feature 2014 All Japan Flyweight Rookie of the Year Kenji Ono (7-1, 3) who battles against Taichi Yokote (6-2, 3), who has been inactive since a close decision loss in November 2013. This looks like a really good match up on paper and the sort of 50-50 fight that we love seeing, even if Yokote has been out of the ring for more than a year.
In Osaka there are two shows in the same venue, the “L Osaka”.
The first of those shows will be the Taiho promoted card which features only a single notable fighter, in a mismatch no less. Though it does have two relatively interesting looking support bouts.
The main event will see the Japanese and OPBF ranked Ryota Kajiki (24-9, 15) battle the horribly over-matched Tokiya Nishioka (9-4-2, 5). Whilst Kajiki has gone 4-3 in his last 7 they did include a loss to Daiki Kaneko in a Japanese title bout and he is much better than fighters like Nishioka who was stopped in 2 rounds last time out. A horrible mismatch.
A much better looking bout sees Ippo Nishiwaki (7-3-1, 4) fight against Hirokazu Okajima (8-4-2, 4) in an even looking an match up between two flawed but capable fighters who will each be hoping that a win will move them towards bigger and better things. It's not a headline style bout but it's a very solid match up in it's own right.
A second notable support bout will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (11-3-4, 5) attempt to score his first in 3 fights as he fights Junya Nishikawa (7-5-2, 2), Kanazawa isn't as good as his record suggests, despite a notable win over Atsushi Aburada, though he should be good enough to see off Nishikawa.
The other Osaka show is promoted by Osaka Teiken and unfortunately looks just as bad in regards to it's main event, though the two support bouts are both solid and meaningful domestic bouts.
The main event will see OPBF and Japanese ranked Flyweight Myung Ho Lee (17-4-1, 5) battle against Thai visitor Dawut Manopkanchang (0-2), who has been stopped in two previous visits to Japan. Aged 20 Dawut is still a young fighter but there is no need to have him in the ring with someone like Lee, even though he may see out there bell here given Lee's relative lack of power.
A solid looking support bout will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryuto Kyoguchi (13-0-1, 9) battle against Kosuke Saka (9-3, 6). We expect Kyoguchi to come out on top however this no walk in the park and Saka has been in with good competition losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Hiroshige Osawa. For Kyoguchi it's a tough assignment but one he'll need to pass if he's to be taken seriously as a Japanese contender, for Saka it's a chance to move himself towards a possible title fight.
The other notable support bout will see former All-Japanese Rookie of the Year Bunta Mitaka (6-2-2) take on Shingo Kawamura (9-2, 4) in a real must win for both. Mitaka has lost his last 2 bouts, including a 3rd round TKO loss to the excellent Shohei Omori, and has seen his 2013 Rookie of the Year crown becoming little more than history. On the other hand Kawamura was stopped last time out by the excellent Kongthara KKP and will know that he needs a win to remain relevant. A brilliant match up.
We see Korean outfit AK Promotions continuing their activity in Thailand as they take Jaesung Lee (18-4-2, 9) over to Chonburi to battle against Joaquim Mahe (10-2, 6) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Featherweight title. Lee was run close last time by Angelito Merin, who fought under the name Rivera AK Gym, and may well find himself being run close again here by his French opponent, who gave Tepparith Kokietgym a very competitive contest earlier this year.
In Mexico fans are going to be treat to a potentially explosive clash between hard hitting Filipino Jonathan Taconing (20-2-1, 17) and Mexico's very own Raul Garcia (36-3-1, 22). Taconing, the OPBF Light Flyweight champion, is a thunderous puncher who has stopped his last 7 opponents since being controversially beaten by the then WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook back in 2012. As for Garcia he's a former IBF champion who has a number of notable wins on his record, including his world title win over Florante Condes. This is potentially the fight of the weekend and has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)