The end of year run in begins this coming Tuesday with a show that may well be the best and most packed show this year. It features many of those who are regarded the future of Japanese boxing, 3 world title bouts and a very good OPBF title bout. All in all it's the sort of show every fight fan should have an interest in, even if they can't actually watch it.
The show kicks off with the world ranked Takuma Inoue (3-0, 1) battling against former world title challenger Nestor Daniel Narvaes (20-2-2, 9). For Inoue this is his biggest test so far though is, in some ways, only a small step up from his biggest win so far, a decision victory over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr back in April. Narvaes may be remembered by Japanese fans for giving Toshiyuki Igarashi a very tough test back in 2012 though since then the Argentinian has fought just twice and not looked great in either of those bouts. It is a step for Inoue but one he should pass if he's as good as touted.
In the second bout on the show we see another heavily touted Japanese prospect in action as Ryo Matsumoto (12-0, 10) attempts to claim his first professional title. Matsumoto, a former amateur standout, will be hoping to claim the OPBF Super Flyweight title as he battles against the world ranked Rusalee Samor (25-5-2, 11) of Thailand. Samor will be best known to many fans for his tight loss to Rex Tso in Macau and if he fights like that here we could be in for a great contest. Saying that however we expected Matsumoto to struggle against Denkaosan Kaovichit though took him early doors and he may be able to do the same here against Samor with his devastating body shots.
We go from one title fight to another, and the show's third bout will see former 2-weight world champion Jorge Linares (37-3, 24) attempt to claim the WBC Lightweight title as he takes on the limited, but heavy handed, Javier Prieto (24-7-2, 18). The bout looks like a mismatch and it's hard to see how Linares loses unless he does something stupid, sadly however we have seen Linares do something stupid in the past and he may well get caught here. For Linares this is a great opportunity to win a a 3rd divisional and we really can't see him getting a better chance any time soon.
The next bout will see 2012 Olympic Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (5-0, 4) in action as he battles against American Jessie Nicklow (24-4-3, 8). This is Murata's 4th bout of the year and his first since being take the distance by Adrian Luna Flores in September. Although Murata did go 10 rounds last time out we struggle to see Nicklow coping with the power or pressure of the Japanese fighter for long here and this could be over relatively early if Murata is in the mood to make a statement.
In the chief support bout fans are in for a treat as the always exciting Akira Yaegashi (20-4, 10) battles against Mexico's Pedro Guevara (23-1-1, 15) for the vacant WBC Light Flyweight title. This bout is a great opportunity for Yaegashi to become a 3-weight world champion though Guevara is talented himself and will not be flying around the world to just pick up a paycheck. Potentially this could be the fight of the night, and in fact we'd not be surprised if this was a very late contender for FOTY.
The main event will see Japanese youngster Naoya Inoue (7-0, 6) attempt to become a 2-weight world champion in just his 8th professional contest. Inoue will battle against Argentinian veteran Omar Andres Narvaez (43-1-2, 23) with Narvaez attempting to make the 12th defense of the WBO Super Flyweight title. The fight is intriguing to say the least and could end up being the passing of the torch from the 39 year old Narvaez to the 21 year old Inoue or, alternatively, it could a veteran proving that there is still life left in his legs despite his advanced age. The only thing that is clear about this bout is that it's going to answer a lot of questions about both men involved in it.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
Considering how many busy weekend's we've had recently we need to admit that we relatively under-whelmed this week due to a genuine lack of activity on Saturday.
In the US Teiken promoted Jorge Linares (36-3, 23) will be in a stay busy fight as he takes on Ira Terry (26-11, 16). The fight really is a stay busy contest for Linares who has been inactive since March and the odds are that he will make very light work of Terry who doesn't really belong in the same ring as "El Niño de Oro". It's speculated that if Linares wins this with out many issues he will be back in action in October.
For Russian fans their attention will be focused on Cheboksary where we get a WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title title fight between Vage Sarukhanyan (8-0-0-1, 2) and Igor Ivanov (8-0-1, 2). The bout, between unbeaten fighters, should be highly competitive and we genuinely think that could be an interesting one even if it's unlikely to be the most exciting bout.
It's not often that Asian fighters are only fighting on the road but it appears to be the case this coming Saturday withAsian fighters fighting in both Australia and the US but not actually in Asia.
The most notable bout featuring an Asian is in the US where Japan's very own Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1, 16) fights against Japanese based Venezuelan Jorge Linares (35-3, 23). This will be Arakawa's second bout in the US following his exciting loss to Omar Figueroa and although he's a big under-dog he's a fighter that could well be kryptonite to Linares's questionable durability. This bout may not be a title fight but it is a major bout with the winner set to get a WBC Lightweight world title bout.
The Arakawa/Linares bout is expected to open the "Showtime" pay-per-view headlined by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez's fight with Alfredo Angulo and with out trying to sound "fan boy-ish" we do think that Arakawa/Linares WILL be the stand out contest.
Whilst the US bout may feature a Japanese fighter against a Japanese based fighter an Australian card features fighters from across Asia.
The main event sees Thailand's Non Sithsaithong (11-5, 7) fighting against Lightweight Brett William Smith (17-2-1, 8) in what unfortunately looks like a a mismatch. The 19 year old Non has lost his last 2 and is win-less outside of Thailand, losing twice in Japan.
Non's compatriot Ngaotawan Sithsaithong (10-12-1, 5) is also on the show and looking to end a long losing streak. Ngaotawan, who has lost his last 5 bouts, will be expected to suffer another loss as he battles Australia's very own Jason Cooper (8-2-1, 4) who has won 6 of his last 7 contests.
As well as the two Thai's their is also a bout for Australian based Filipino Roberto Oyan (20-41-5, 7) who takes on Waylon Law (7-5, 2) on a winnable bout for Oyan. Sure Oyan will be the under-dog but he's certainly got half a chance against Law is nothing special.
Even South Korea is represented as Aussie based Korean Hwi Jong Kim (5-10, 1) battles Brent Elliott (10-4-3, 3). Kim has lost 9 of his last 10 bouts and is being brought in to lose to Elliot who himself is looking to bounce back from a loss to Waylon Law.
(Picture courtesy of http://suljosblog.com)