Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Title action returns to the Korakuen Hall on February 9th as we get a title double header, as part of a Diamond Glove card.
The main event of the card sees OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (15-3-1, 8) defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Ryuto Araya (11-4-1, 3). The champion will be seeking his third defense here and is looking to build on recent wins over the likes of Vinvin Rufino, Akira Shono and Randy Braga. Although the OPBF champion Takenaka is relatively unknown outside of Japan, though may well be looking to break out this year and move towards a potential bout of international note. Whilst Takenaka is heading places the same can't really be said of Araya, who has won his last 3 but is 6-4 in his last 10, including stoppage losses to Daisuke Watanabe and Takuya Yamaguchi. This is a big opportunity for Araya but a huge step up in class and likely another loss for the struggling 29 year old.
A potentially thrilling co-feature will see the all action Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13) face off with the heavy handed Kazuki Matsuyama (13-7-1, 7) for the vacant Japanese Light Welterweight title, a title that was vacated by Hiroki Okada last year. The under-rated Aso has lost in two title fights at this level, losing twice to former champion Okada, but does deserve to remain in the title mix and is one of the better Japanese fighters at 140lbs. For Matsuyama this will be his first title fight and gives him a great chance to claim a title, though recent stoppage losses to Shuhei Tsuchiya and Daishi Nagata don't bode well against a fighter like Aso who will come out swinging here.
A good looking under-card bout sees the under-rated Yusuke Suzuki (6-3, 4) take on Ken Kodama (8-2-1, 3). Suzuki might not have a great record but his losses have come to good fighters in the shape of Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco and he was a talented amateur who could well bounce back from this less than stellar start. As for Kodama he probably isn't quite as good as his record suggests and a win here would be the best of his career so far.
An interesting supporting bout will see veteran Norihito Tanaka (14-5, 7) end a 5 year break from the ring, as he takes on Yuto Takahashi (6-2, 4). Although inactive Tanaka was once a good fighter, and has shared the ring with the likes of Kenichi Horikawa, Ryoichi Taguchi and Akira Yaegashi. As for Takahashi he has bounced back from back-to-back losses to Tsubasa Koura and Naoyuki Tsukada and could prove to be too young and too fresh for Tanaka.
On the under-card we'll teenage hopeful Izuki Tomioka (1-0) take on Korean visitor Joon Woo Park (4-6, 2). Tomioka looked impressive in his debut, back in December against fellow debutant Tatsuki Shinozuka, and will be looking to impress against here. Park has lost 3 of his last 4 but hasn't been stopped since his debut, more than 8 years ago, and should prove to be sturdy if nothing else.
Action returns to the Korakuen this coming Thursday with a show from Kyoei.
In the main event fans will see former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (30-6-2, 20) take on Filipino visitor Carlo Demecillo (6-2, 1) in a 10 rounder. Amagasa, best known for his 2014 bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux, will be returning to the ring for the first time since he lost a decision in England to Josh Warrington, in a bout that was much more competitive than the score-cards suggested. Although coming in on a loss Amagasa will be strongly favoured as he faces the PBF Bantamweight champion, who should look dwarfed by the freakishly big Amagasa.
In a notable under-card bout former world title challenger Tomomi Takano (8-2, 5) will face off against Wondergirl Sithsaithong (0-2). This will be Takano's first “bout” since her loss to Daniela Romina Bermudez in a WBO female Super Flyweight title bout. This should be a straight forward win for Takano but she'll need to do more than just win here if she's to get her career back in track, especially given her public fall out with her promoter earlier this year.
Although the rest of the card isn't particularly strong there are two interesting domestic clashes on the card. One of those will see Tomoya Yamada (13-7-1, 4) take on Takaki Sakurai (7-6-1, 3) in a Lightweight bout. Coming in to this Yamada is top 10 ranked by the JBC and will be risking his ranking. The other will see JBC ranked Light Welterweight Kazuki Matsuyama (13-7, 7) take on the heavy handed Kentaro Endo (6-7, 5). On paper this looks like a mismatch but Matsuyama has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 and Endo is better than his record suggests.
Japanese fight fans get a real treat this coming Tuesday with a brilliantly matched Dangan show, that has two solid looking main bouts and another good looking support bout.
In the main event of the show fans will see the always fun to watch Shuhei Tsuchiya (18-4, 15) battle against Kazuki Matsuyama (12-5, 6) in what looks like a thrilling match up between two Japanese ranked fighters. Coming into this one Tsuchiya is ranked at 135lbs whilst Matsuyama is ranked at 140lbs, however the bout will be fought around 136.7lbs, a point between the two divisions. Of the two men Tsuchiya is the more well known, and is a very fan friendly fighter, despite numerous limitations. Matsuyama on the other hand is less well known, though does come into the bout on the back of a 6 fight winning streak and will have a lot of confidence coming into this.
In a supporting bout we'll see another two Japanese ranked fighters facing off. This time it will be Valentine Hosokawa (19-4-3, 9), a former OPBF and Japanese title challenger, up against Cristiano Aoqui (10-3-2, 6). These two are both highly ranked by the JBC and the winner may be heading towards a title shot next year. Hosokawa has lost 2 of his last 5, though they have come against Shinya Iwabuchi and Min Wook Kim, but he is currently on a 3 fight winning run. Aoqui is also on a 3 fight winning streak, though is 3-1-1 in his last 5, whilst competing at a lower level than Hosokawa. This could be a really good bout, and it will certainly be a very important one for the domestic Japanese scene.
Another ranked fighter in action is the JBC and OPBF ranked Hirotsugu Yamamoto (18-11-2, 3) who goes up against the heavy handed Toshiya Yokogawa (7-9-1, 6). Yamamoto has shown frailties in the past, and has suffered 6 stoppage losses, so whilst he will be the favourite coming into this he will need to be aware of Yokogawa's power, which has been his key weapon so far in his career.