We get Japanese title action from the Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday as the next Diamond Glove card takes place.
The headline bout looks to be a stay busy defense by Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (8-0, 6), who defends the title against Kazumasa Kobayashi (10-7-1, 6). For the talented Yoshino the bout will serve as his third defense of the title that he won back in October 2017, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita for the then vacant title. Since then he has impressed, but this is really just a chance to stay busy as opposed to really building on his reign. The 35 year old Kobayashi has been a professional for close to 13 years and never done enough to earn a title fight. Coming in to thus Kobayashi is horribly out of form, especially given that he has gone 2-6-1 in his last 9 fights, but he will know this is is one and only chance to grab a title before his career is over. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Yoshino defends Japanese title against veteran Kobayashi!
Whilst the main event is less than great the under-card is a pretty good one, topped by an excellent match up between Ryo Sagawa (5-1, 3) and Shingo Kawamura (16-4-1, 8), in what we suspect will be the show stealing fight. Coming in to this Sagawa is riding an impressive 4 fight winning run including big domestic wins over Junki Sasaki and Ryo Matsumoto, who he stopped in September. Sagawa was a top amateur and despite an early career loss is showing the potential to build on that amateur success. As for Kawamura he last fought in a losing effort against Satoshi Shimizu, though gave Shimizu fits before losing to the OPBF Featherweight champion. Given the styles, skills and hunger of the two men this has the potential to be a tremendous contest, and the winner will certainly see themselves in the title mix in the new year. An in depth break down of this fight can be read here Sagawa and Kawamuro battle in mouth watering showdown!
One of the other supporting bouts will see Kei Iwahara (9-5, 4) face off with the hard hitting Daiki Ichikawa (11-4, 9), in another bout between two fighters with a Japanese ranking. The 28 year old Iwahawa has gone 2-2 in his last 4, but has mixed against decent domestic foes, such as Genki Ishikawa, Yuji Awata and Kazuma Sanpei. On the other hand the hard hitting Ichikawa is a 23 year old who has proven to be a bit of a glass cannon, being stopped in 2 of his 4 losses including a defeat last year in Russia to Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov. If Ichikawa can catch his man he'll be very dangerous, but there's a chance that Iwahara will be too good to be caught by a bomb here.
On paper the weakest of the support bouts will see the talented but light punching Joe Tanooka (15-5-4, 1) battle against Motoki Osanai (2-2, 1), a former amateur standout who has struggled as a professional so far. The 24 year old Tanooka came runner up in the 2013 Rookie of the Year and has been in with a who's who of the Japanese scene, scoring notable wins over Ryuto Oho, Kenya Yamashita and Hajime Nagai. Although a very light puncher Tanooka is popular and often fun to watch and will be risking his Japanese ranking here. Osanai was tipped for big things, but has been matched hard and is yet to really shine. The feeling is if, or when, Osanai finds his groove he could prove to be a real talent, and this could well be his chance to shine as he drops down to Bantamweight.
Another interesting match up on this card will see the limited but heavy handed Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) battling against Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-4-1, 5). The hard hitting Tomioka has been stopped in all 3 losses, but has mixed with top domestic competition losing to Junto Nakatani and Katsunori Nagamine, but can certainly bang and fighters do need to respect his power. Borres, who was last seen getting stopped by Nakatani, has scored just a single win in his last 5, though was unlucky to lose in Korea against Joo Hyun Jung last year. For both this will be a chance to bounce back from a recent stoppage loss, and should make for a good action bout.
It's been a slow start to the Japanese boxing calendar this year, but this coming Saturday we get out first live televised card of 2018. The show, set to be aired by G+, features the first Japanese title fight of 2018 along with a number of other names fighters, including 2 prospects who could really break out over the next 12 months.
The main event will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on the under-rated, and aggressive, Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6). Akaho, a former 2-time world title challenger, won the title last March and recorded his first defense with a stoppage win against Yuta Saito last August. Although a heavy handed fighter, at this level at least, he's a ling way from being the best Japanese fighter at 118lbs and could well see his reign being a short one, given the rising talent in the country. Suzuki started his career with big aspirations but sets backs to Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco slowed his climb. Coming in to this the challenger has won his last 3, and earned the right to fight Akaho thanks to his 7th riund TKO win over Eita Kikuchi in a Japanese title eliminator last October. This should be a hard hitting and violent war.
In the chief support bout we'll see Charles Bellamy (26-3-2, 17) return to the ring after more than a year out. The Japanese based American will be up against a Thai foe, who we've been told is a natural 140lb fighter and should look much smaller than Bellamy. The talented New Yorker born fighter hasn't fought since a controversial 2017 draw with Yuki Beppu and will likely be looking to make up for lost time this, with a quick blow out here and a speedy return to action.
One of the notable prospects on this card is Japanese Youth champion Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10), who takes on Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-3-1, 5). The unbeaten 20 year old has been impressive since his 2015 debut, and claimed the 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the Year along with the Japanese Youth title last year. Beronil began his career 7-0-1 but has lost 3 of his last 4, including a very controversial loss to Joo Hyun Jung last February. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man and whilst he's a good fighter at his level, we suspect the power and size of Nakatani will be too much.
Another unbeaten on this show is the very exciting Kai Chiba (7-0, 6), who faces of with Filipino foe Brian Lobetania (12-4-3, 10). Last year we saw Chiba go 4-0 (3) and scoring a very notable win in a thriller with Ryo Matsubara, in what was one of many hidden gems of 2017, here he will be looking to continue his climb towards a title fight, but comes up against a very live Lobetania. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, but is a natural puncher and will be looking to stop Chiba, in what is likely to be a very thrilling action bout.
The once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (11-1, 5) is expected to be in action on the card, though no information at all is available on his opponent. The talented Matsunaga fought 3 rimes in 2016, scoring 3 solid wins, but was inactive in 2017 and will be hoping to rebuild his career this year, potentially moving towards some kind of title fight before the year is over.
There is also set to be a Chinese card, with a number of title bouts.
In the main event of this card we'll see once beaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) take on Indonesian visitor John Ruba (15-3-1, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. The exciting Chinese fighter was beaten last time ouit by Rikki Naito, but was unlucky in what was a very competitive bout. It's hard to know how good he is but he has looked good through his career so far. As for Ruba he's a very promising fighter at this level, and comes into this bout on a 7 fight winning run...but it would take a career best win for Rub to win here.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see Jing Xiang (13-4-2,3) take on very talented Filipino fighter Dexter Alimento (13-2, 9) in a contest for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Light Flyweight title. Coming in to this Xiang is on a 5 fight winning run having claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title in 2016. He has come up short against some decent fighters in the past, such as Macrea Gandionco and Ben Mananquil, but a decision win over Mananquil in their second bout shows his ability.
Also on this card is a 10 rounder between once beaten local hopeful Jian Wang (4-1) and Thai foe Yutthichai Wannawong (6-4, 5) for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Wang has scored back to back wins following a loss in a regional title bout. The Thai visitor lost his first 3 bouts, all in Japan, but has gone 6-1 (4) since then and claimed a Thai title on his way up. On paper this isn't the most interesting of bouts, but the Thai has a little bit of form and could make for an a decent test.
Chuncheon, South Korea
Action returns to Korea this coming Thursday for another BoxingM card, with the organisation actually doing more for boxing in Korea in the last few months than anyone else.
The main event of this upcoming card will see Joo Hyun Jung (7-3-1, 2) face off with once beaten Filipino Jeronil Borres (7-1-1, 5) for the WBC EPBC Flyweight title. Jung, a former Korean title holder at both 112lbs and 118lbs will be looking to score his win over an international oppoent, though he hasn't embarassed himself against the likes of Naoki Matsumoto and Malcolm Tunacao, losing competitive decisions to both men in Japan. For Borres the bout sees him return to the ring following a 2016 loss to Richard Claveras. Although neither man is particularly well known this could be a very fun contest.
In the chief support bout we'll see another title bout as Sang Hoo Kil (5-4-2, 2) battles Hak Sun Choi (5-6-2) for the BoxingM Bantamweight title. Kil has previously won gold, holding a variant of the Korean Featherweight title, but is dropping down in weight for this bout. As for Choi he is 0-3 in title bouts, and is almost 9 years removed from his last win, having gone 0-5-2 in his last 7 bouts. Fair to say Kil will be favoured here.
A third title bout here will see multi-time world title challenger Eun Young Huh (7-4-1) take on Hee Jung Shin (1-1) in a bout for the BoxingM female Minimumweight title. Huh began her career 6-0-1 but has gone 1-4-1 in her last 6 bouts and is clearly struggling for form. Although Shin looks lik the under-dog on paper she did actually defeat Huh last July and will be looking to do the same again here.