The most significant bout of the day is set to take place in South Korea in the Korean capital
The bout in question is an OPBF title bout which will see Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (7-2-1, 3) defending his OPBF Light Middleweight title for the first time, and taking on Japanese challenger Akinori Watanabe (37-7-1, 31) in what should be a barn burner. Lee is one of the few bright hopes in Korean boxing, and his title earlier this year was big news for the other wise struggling Korean scene. Watanabe on the other hand is a veteran of the sport, but a big hitting warrior who has been in some incredible fights over the years. This is going to be Lee's youth and sharpness against Watanabe's experience and [power, and it should be a genuine cracker.
The main card In Japan this coming Sunday comes from Hyogo as Senrima Kobe Promotions put on their next card. It's not a big one, with only 6 bouts, but there are some interesting bouts on the card and a very good main event.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Minimumweight, and one of the most notable fighters under the Senrima banner, Ryoki Hirai (11-6-1, 4) take on ranked Light Flyweight Koki Ono (12-5, 5). At his best Hirai is a very good fighter, with wins against Takumi Sakae and Ryoya Ikema, but losses in 2018 to Shin Ono and Yuto Takahashi were certainly major set backs. Ono on the other hand hasn't fought in over a year, with his last outing being a decision loss to Tetsuya Hisada in a Japanese Light Flyweight title fight, and he actually enters this bout following back to back losses. This is a must win if either man is going to get a big fight in the near future.
In a good supporting bout we'll see Jukiya Washio (7-3-1, 2) take on Satoshi Tanaka (6-5, 1) in what looks like a hard one to pick. The 21 year old Washio looks better on paper, but he has lost the last 3 times he has faced a fighter with a winning record, including a loss to Arata Matsuoka in a Japanese Youth title fight. Tanaka on the other hand has won his last 2, including a solid win over Chikato Sumida, and has been very competitive in a number of his defeats.
Another good supporting bout will see the once beaten Hiroki Tokuyama (8-1-1, 2) take on Japanese based Filipino Jayar Estremos (11-15-1, 4). On paper this looks like a total mismatch, however the 27 year old Tokuyama has certainly not proven himself against still competition, with his most notable bout being his loss in the 2017 Rookie of the Year final to Fumiya Fuse. Estremos on the other hand is an upset minded fighter who fought to a draw with Hiroyuki Kudaka last year and has upset the like of Glenn Porras and Rene Patilano.
In one other supporting bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year finalist Tetsuya Mimura (7-1, 1) take on Keigo Nakamura (5-5, 1). For Mimura this will be his second bout since losing to Daiki Kameyama in the Rookie tournament, and he'll be looking to build on his 6th round TKO win over Yuni Takada from back in April. Nakamura comes into this bout in absolutely no form at all, with 4 losses in his last 5, and it's really hard to imagine him picking up a win here.
Kunamoto has never been, and likely never will be, one of the Japanese hotbeds for boxing. In fact it's one of the smallest markets out there and it's always big news when one of their fighters does well.
We preface this show with the above because a key part of this Kunamoto how is the retirement ceremony of former WBO Minimumweight world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara, who announced his retirement in July. To close out his career Fukuhara will take part in a spar on this card, and then officially close the curtain on his career.
Sadly aside from Fukuhara's retirement there is very, very little else to talk about on this card which will contain 10 bouts, all of which are 4 rounders.
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.