After a small break in Japanese action we see things return this coming Friday with an interesting show in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see two former world title challengers face off in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. The match up will see Japanese teenager Riku Kano (11-2-1, 6) battle against Filipino Jerry Tomogdan (22-8-4, 10). For the 19 year old Kano the bout will be his second since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama last August whilst Tomogdan will be looking to get his career back on track following following a 4-3-2 in his last 9 bouts. On paper Kano will be favoured, but this is certainly no foregone conclusion.
The chief support bout will also be a Japan Vs Philippines bout as the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Futa Akizuki (8-0, 7) takes a step up in class and takes on Vincent Bautista (5-6-4, 1). On paper this looks like a real mismatch but the 19 year old Akizuki hasn't yet faced a foe with much of a pulse and this is his stiffest test on paper. Although his record isn't great Bautista has been matched hard and has gone in with Petch Sor Chitpattana, Palangpol CP Freshmart and Masataka Taniguchi showing his level of competition. This really could be a great test for the unbeaten man.
In another supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Rikito Hattori (7-1, 2) take on Takayuki Teraji (7-12-1, 4) in what should be another bout that will be better than the records of the two men suggest. Teraji is very beatable but always puts up a good effort and could well be a potential banana skin for Hattori.
We also have Asian action in Russia with two Filipinos fighting in interesting bouts.
One of those bouts will see Russian based Tajik Shavkat Rakhimov (9-0, 7) battle with Filipino Jimmy Paypa (19-3-1, 7) in a 10 round contest. Rakhimov has picked up wins over other Filipinos, stopping both Jerry Castroverde and Rogelio Jun Doliguez, and should be favoured again here, especially given that Paypa was stopped inside a round by Shingo Wake in his most notable bout to date. Although Rakhimov should be favoured it's worth noting that Paypa has won his last 3, including wins over Bernabe Concepcion and Jerry Nardo.
The other bout with a Filipino will see the unbeaten Evgeny Chuprakov (17-0, 9) take on experienced Filipino Eden Sonsona (36-6-2, 13) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. The talented Sonsona hasn't lost in over 5 years, going 10-0-2 during that run, and has the experience against very good opponents to be a real banana skin for Chuprakov. Saying that however the Russian will be favoured given he is the naturally bigger fighter and has home advantage. Despite being the away fighter Sonsona won't be turning up to lose, and will instead be looking to replicate his huge 2015 upset over Adrian Estrella.
The biggest card of the weekend comes form Cebu and is a stacked ALA card.
The main event of the card will see former world title challengers Milan Melindo (34-2, 12) and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (31-4-1, 16) face off to crown a new IBF “interim” Light Flyweight champion, and decide the mandatory challenger for current world champion Akira Yaegashi. Melindo, fighting in his third world title fight, should be favoured here but Fahlan has put in his best performances as the under-dog, and the Thai is of course best known for upsetting Ryo Miyazaki. The bout should be a really intriguing one given the match up, and the fact that the winner moves into a world title bout this is an incredibly significant bout.
In a support bout will see the world ranked Jason Pagara (39-2, 24) battle former world champion Jose Alfaro (28-10-1-2, 24) in an interesting 10 rounder. Alfaro is a long way removed from his short reign as the WBA Lightweight world champion, but still has power and could still hurt Pagara who has shown himself to be a genuine world class fight. Sadly for Alfaro his only chance is a puncher's chance.
Staying with the Pagara family another bout will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (26-1, 18), who was last seen being stopped by Cesar Juaez, take on the tough but limited Raymond Commey (16-3, 9), who we saw lose to Qiu Xiao Jun not too long ago. The bout is a big question of Pagara's mental state, and whilst he should be favoured there is some worries that he will be damaged goods given the way he couldn't see Juarez and was stopped himself as Juarez rode the storm and came back strongly. Commey appears to be very durable and could be a real nightmare down the stretch for Pagara.
A really interesting looking all Filipino under-card bout will see former OPBF title challenger Jimmy Paypa (18-3-1, 6) battle the under-rated Jerry Nardo (21-9, 11) in what could potentially help decide a future OPBF title challenger. On paper Paypa should be favoured, especially given that Nardo has gone 2-5 in his last 7, but Nardo can spring upsets at domestic level and this bout could be a banana skin for Paypa.
Another good looking all-Filipino domestic bout will see Jeo Santisima (11-2, 10) face recent OPBF challenger Rex Wao (11-3, 9) in what look like a potentially explosive bout between very well matched fighters, at least on paper.
One of the most promising Filipino fighters is Kevin Jake Cataraja (4-0, 3) who looks for win #5 as he takes on the more experienced John Kenan Villaflor (6-1-2, 2) on a minor step up, and will hopefully be Cataraja's final bout before being stepped up. Another unbeaten hopeful in action here is the big punching Melvin Jerusalem (10-0, 7), who takes on Bonjun Loperez (10-5-1, 5) in a bit of a stay busy bout for the unbeaten youngster.
A second Filipino card of the day comes from Batangas.
In the headline bout on this card we'll see a rematched between the experienced Roberto Gonzales (27-2, 17) and Ryan Sermona (19-8, 12), who fight for the GAB Lightweight title. On paper it looks like a straight forward first defense for Gonzalez, who has won his last and 7 bouts, however he was stopped by Sermona when the two men first fought back in May 2012 and Sermona will be confident of scoring a second win over Gonzalez.
In an interesting match up we'll see the experienced Al Sabaupan (25-2-1, 20) battle Jheritz Chavez (5-1-2, 3) in a real cross roads. Sabaupan had once been tipped as a world title contender but losses in 2012 and 2013 ended those hopes. Sabaupan has won his last 5 but hasn't shown his early promise in recent years and has only fought twice in he last 25 months. Chavez was beaten last time out but is unbeaten at home and could prove to be a total handful for Sabuapan.
Another bout on the show will see Glenn Porras (29-4, 17) battle against the very limited Jayar Estremos (10-12, 4). Porras was beaten just 2 fights back, though that was back in December 2012 and he has did return to winning ways last time out. Estremos is a very limited fighter and it would be a huge surprise for him to test Porras, even with Porras' recent lack of activity.
Icheon City, South Korea
In South Korea fans will see former world champion Eun Hye Lee (8-1, 3) battle against Thailand's Nongnun Mor Krungthepthonburi (5-3-1) in a bout for the WIBA Flyweight title. Lee was unlucky to not become a 2-weight world champion this year, losing a controversial bout to Nana Yoshikawa. The Thai will be the huge under-dog and we can't see how she wins here.
In Mexico we'll see Japanese born, Mexican based, Shoki Sakai (21-6-1, 13) face off with Jose Lopez (26-6-2, 15) in a really well matched bout. Sakai has suffered back-to-back setbacks, albeit controversial ones, and will be looking to score his second win of the year. Whilst Sakai has been unfortunate this year Lopez had been in a bad run of form, going 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts over the last 14 months.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small but notable show with two title bouts, one of which features a former world title challenger and another features an unbeaten prospect.
The former world title challenger is Bernabe Concepcion (34-6-2, 20) who faces former OPBF title challenger Jimmy Paypa (17-3-1, 6) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. Last year we saw Paypa being stopped in a round by Shingo Wake and this will be his second bout since that loss. As for Concepcion he is unbeaten since a 7th round TKO loss to Mikey Garcia, however he has only gone 4-0-1 in the 4 years since that loss.
The other title fight will see Roberto Gonzales (26-2, 16) battle the unbeaten Arjan Canillas (13-0-2, 10) for the GAB Lightweight title in what looks like a really well matched bout. On paper Gonzalez will be favoured however the unbeaten Canillas is genuinely promising and has been scoring notable wins recently, including a victory last year against Rey Labao. If the 22 year old Canillas scores a win here then he really could be on his way to an OPBF title fight in the near future.
Staying with Filipinos it's worth noting that the criminally under-rated Adones Aguelo (24-13-2, 16) will be in action in the US against former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (22-1, 19). Marriaga came to the attention of the wider boxing public last year when he gave Nicholas Walters a very tough bout and if he puts up another performance like that here there is a good chance he'll over-come Aguelo, however the Filipino can never be written off and is very much an upset minded fighter who will travel to win.
Merseyside, United Kingdom
In the UK fight fans will be able to see Indian fighter Vijender Singh (3-0, 3) continue his professional career as he takes on Alexander Horvath (5-1-1, 1). Singh does appear to have some promise but at 30 years old it's now time he began to face stiffer tests than Horvath, who was stopped inside a round last November.
So there we go, Christmas has been and whilst we wish you all had a great one boxing does continue and continues in style with December 27th being the first really notable day post Christmas.
Attention turns back to Kyoto for one of a multitude of Japanese sjhows.
The main match up here is possibly the fight of the day and sees a youngster look to establish himself a genuine star in the making. That youngster is Ken Shiro (5-0, 2) who will be taking a huge step up in class to face Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-13-1, 7). The bout is Ken Shiro's first bout against the best in Japan but he has looked brilliant so far into his career whilst Horikawa will be defending his title for the first time since his emphatic win over Shin Ono back in September. This really could be something very special.
The only supporting bout worth noting here will see Atsushi Aburada (10-8, 6) battle against Takahiro Murai (11-6-2, 4) in what looks like a really good match up. Aburada has gone 3-3 in his last 6, but those losses have included a defeat in a Japanese title fight and a loss to the solid Tetsuya Hisada. Murai has never been stepped and will see this as a great opportunity to claim a Japanese ranking, though will know that Aburada is a tough test. A really good bit of match making has gone in to this one.
The first of two Osaka shows is the more notable with a title fight and a bout featuring a former world title challenger.
In the main event of this one fans will get the chance to see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-3, 9) defending his title against multi-time challenger Koshinmaru Saito (22-7-1, 12). On paper this is genuinely a great bout, though one that Nonaka should win given his more intelligent boxing. Given that both fighters are well in to their 30's this is a must win to keep their careers alive and we expect a very good bout, even if it's not likely to lead either man to a bigger and better fight down the line.
The only supporting bout worth mentioning here will see former 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-13-1, 10) battle against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (22-12, 10). Whilst both men have got double figure losses both are talented fighters and both tend to be in entertaining bouts suggesting that this really could be the bout of the day. Both have lost to their best opponents but they are about the same level and could potentially put on a barn burner
The second of the Osaka shows comes after the first, in the same venue and it put on by Hiroki Ioka Promotions
The main event here will see world ranked Featherweight contender Hiroshige Osawa (28-3-4, 17) in a 10 round bout. Osawa, a former OPBF champion, will be hoping to record his 7th straight stoppage win and continue an unbeaten run that began back in 2009. Talented but yet frustrating Osawa seems to be a man who has wasted the last few years, with suspension and mismatches, but hopefully we'll see him kick on in 2016.
The co-feature bout will see former world title challenger Pablo Carrillo (17-4-1, 10) take on Thai visitor Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-4, 1). Carrillo, who fought Kazuto Ioka in 2014, is now based in Japan and will be making his debut as a Japanese based fighter with the hope of moving towards a world title shot in the future. This however is just stay busy for the Colombia, who has fought just once this year.
A final bout from this card worth noting sees the Japanese ranked Kosuke Saka (11-3, 8) in action. This bout was put together on late notice after Saka had a bout with Andres Gutierrez fall through earlier in the year.
Another Japanese card comes from Hyogo where Taisei hope to show case some of their most notable fighters.
The most notable of those Taisei gym fighters is Riku Kano (7-1-1, 4) who takes on former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (58-8-2, 23). Pigmy is currently world ranked and it's cleat that Kano's team are looking at this bout as a chance to get their man into the world rankings as quickly as possible, with their task being to get him a world title fight before the year is out. The match up is however a risky one and Pigmy cannot be written off, despite a recent defeat to Jaysever Abcede.
Another notable bout featuring a Taisei fighter will see Hiroki Taniguchi (6-7-1, 2) battle against the Japanese ranked Toshimasa Ouchi (18-8-3, 5) . This is a really harsh match up for Taniguchi, who has won just 1 of his last 6, but it's the sort of match up that sums up the Taisei gym, where they don't protect their fighters just for the sake of it. Ouchi will be the big favourite here, but has lost 2 of his last 4 and will likely be seeing this as a confidence builder.
Tokyo also gets some action with a small show courtesy of Hanagata.
The main event of this card sees Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuta Saito (8-7-2, 6) battle against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-6, 3) in a strangely well matched bout. Although ranked by the JBC Saito has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6, though did beat Keita Nakana in that win and has generally been competitive despite piling up the losses. Takabayashi however is 3-3 in his last 6, though has been fighting at a higher weight and could well bee too physical for Saito. This isn't a top tier bout, but it is an intriguing one.
A second bout of note here is a female bout that sees former world title challenger Saemi Hanagata (10-6-2, 4) battle against Chie Higano (4-3, 1). In all honesty this looks like a stay busy fight for Hanagata who will likely be hoping to have another world title fight in 2016. Higano should prove no threat for Hanagata but could go the distance.
Seoul, South Korea
The day also features a KBF show in the Korean capital
The main event here sees former WBO world champion Su Yun Hong (12-1-1, 6) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Li Liu (6-0-1, 3)*. The bout is a WIBF Light Flyweight title defense for Hong, who claimed the title last year and will be hoping to record the third defense of the belt. Although talented Hong's run of recent opposition has been poor and we hope in 2016 she will step it up, significantly.
The most interesting of the match ups sees former OPBF Super Bantamweight challenger Jimmy Paypa (16-3-1, 6) battle against Jason Egera (21-15, 10). For Paypa this is his first bout since he was stopped, way back in February, by Shingo Wake. He'll be looking for a win though does appear set to move up in weight to Featherweight for this match up. Whilst Paypa was beaten last time out it does need to be said that Egera has lost his last 7 with 4 of those coming by stoppage.
The other 10 rounder will see 19 year old hopeful Elmo Traya (9-1, 7) battle against the out of form Gabriel Royo (10-13-2, 8). Traya comes in to this on an 8 fight winning run whilst Royo is 1-6 in his last 7 bouts, dating back just over 2 years.
*Record reported by the KBF
As we've gone through the month of February we've slowly seen action pick up. As we come to the end of the month we're seeing action pick up again with an OPBF title fight in Japan, a collision of prospects and the third professional bout in the career of a Chinese Heavyweight hopeful.
One of the shows is in Japan where we get a genuinely important card with a couple of really notable bouts at different levels.
The most significant of the bouts is in the Super Bantamweight division as the world class Shingo Wake (17-4-2, 10) defends his OPBF title for the 5th time in a little under 2 years. Wake, who is chasing a world title fight later this year, will find himself up against Filipino challenger Jimmy Paypa (16-2-1, 6). This fight was apparently close to being made for December last year and it could well be that we end up with both fighters coming in “over-boiled” for this, or we could see a destruction by a man looking to make a statement. If Wake does come out and scores an impressive win the talk is that he will be getting a shot at WBA "Super" and WBO Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Wake isn't the only fighter from the Koguchi gym to be on this card as rising teenager Kenya Yamashita (7-0, 4) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Jo Tanooka (9-2-3). The unbeaten Yamashita was the Flyweight Rookie of the Year in 2014 and he is being tipped to go a very long way in his career however Tanooka is a great test and will be looking for a win himself after coming up short last time out against Hiroki Saito.
Another notable bout on this card will see former OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Toyoto Shiraishi (24-8-2, 11) battle against Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi (8-7-1, 4). For Shiraishi this is a must win bout following a run of just 1 win in 4 bouts however Yamaguchi shouldn't provide much in terms of competition
Talking about fighters who need a win Kota Sato (9-6-2, 4) has to be desperate to get a “W” after going 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts. Sato will be up against Toshikuni Wake (8-14-3, 2). Wake is nothing other than a journeyman and shouldn't be able to beat Kota though we suspect a loss for Kota will be the end here.
One other bout on this card, a really interesting one in fact, will see Kazuma Sanpei (11-1, 4) battle against Masaru Sueyoshi (8-1, 5). Sanpei comes in to this bout on the back of his first career defeat, an 88 second blow out loss to Japanese based Filipino Johnreil Maligro, whilst Sueyoshi brings a 5 fight winning streak into this bout including a very notable decision over Yuta Nagai. Brilliant and brave match up for both guys.
In Russia fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Roman Zhailauov (13-0, 8) battle against the tough but limited Vyacheslav Yakovenko (7-19-1, 3). This will be Zhailauov's first bout of the year though we'll be honest it does seem like his team have slowed his progress over the past few bouts.
In the US American fans will get the chance to see Chinese giant Taishan Dong (2-0, 2) who hopes to extend his winning run as he battles against Roy McCrary (3-2, 3). The imposing Dong has to be a big favourite here against the 41 year old McCrary though we're more interested in the performance of Dong here rather than just getting the win. So far Dong has shown some ability but there are a lot of questions regarding his potential and so far none of his opponents have really been able to ask any questions of him with Tommy Washington Jr being a laughably bad opponent last time out.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)