Distrito Federal, Mexico
Arguably the biggest bout in Asia this weekend will come from Mexico as WBC female Bantamweight champion Mariana Juarez (49-9-4, 18) rematches Japanese challenger Terumi Nuki (10-3, 7). These two fought in 2017, with Juarez taking a clear win, and since then Nuki has gone 1-1, losing a wide decision to Debora Anahi Dionicius. This is likely to be Nuki's final shot at a world title for a while if she comes up short, so we're expecting a very fiery effort here from the challenger. At the age of 38 Juarrez is an old fighter, especially given she's had 62 bouts and fought in 455 rounds. Despite her age she is on a 6 fight unbeaten run and will not be handing over her title over without someone ripping it from her hands.
The biggest Asian show comes from the City Sogo Gym in Osaka, as we get a Japanese title fight, a hotly tipped female fighter and a mouth watering domestic clash.
The main event will see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (16-4, 3) make his first defense as he takes on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-5, 4). The hard hitting Yada claimed the title back in April, when he stopped fellow puncher Toshio Arikawa in 8 rounds, in what was a brutal and hard hitting bout. The win over Arikawa was the 4th straight victory for Yada who has bounced back very well from his 2016 loss to Jayar Inson. The challenger will be in his first title fight, though unfortunate for Okumoto he was stopped last time out by Vladimir Baez and hasn't notched up a win since April 2017. The challenger really would need a career defining performance here to even test Yada.
The chief support bout actually looks likely to be the bout of the show as the once beaten former amateur stand out Kazuki Tanaka (9-1, 6) takes on the inform and very hard hitting Keita Kurihara (11-5, 10). Coming in to this bout Tanaka has a #3 ranking with the JBC and is looking to build on good wins over Hikaru Marguame and Seizo Kono. On the other hand Kurihara, who is ranked by the OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific, is looking to build on devastating wins over Ryan Lumacad and Tetsuya Watanabe. We're expecting this to a brutal clash and could go either way.
Once beaten Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Toshiki Shimomachi (8-1-1, 5) will be in action against Filipino fighter Renan Portes (10-6, 6). Shimomachi has rebuilt well following a 2-1-1 start to his career and claimed the Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year crown last year. Despite his ranking this is a slight step up in class the Japanese fighter. As for Portes he has been picking up loses on the road for the last 2 years, including a stoppage loss to Hayate Kaji last year and Mike Tawatchai earlier this year.
Also on this card will be former female stand out Kasumi Saeki (1-0) who steps up to 8 round bouts as she takes on a Thai visitor in what is likely to be her final bout before a title shot.
A second show in Osaka will be held at the Sumyoshi Ward Center and will be a relatively low key card with only 4 bouts worthy of any mention.
The main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Masahiro Sakamoto (12-1, 8) fighting in a non-title bout against South Korean Super Flyweight champion Ki Chang Go (6-2, 2). On paper this doesn't look the best of match ups, but with Sakamoto moving up in weight for this contest he could be pushed hard by the Korean visitor, who has won his last 6 after a 0-2 start to his professional career.
In the chief support bout fans will see OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight Shachihoko Dragons Keita (8-5-4, 1) face off with Yosuke Taniguchi (6-5-1, 1), in what should be a very safe bout for Keita, who has gone 3-0-3 in his last 6 bouts. Although we wouldn't fancy Keita to claim an OPBF title he should manage to pick up a win here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Kota Fujimoto (8-2-1, 2), who risks his JBC and OPBF rankings against Tatsuya Terada (6-3-1, 1). Coming in to this Fujimoto is riding a 3 fight unbeaten run, including a draw with the touted Masayoshi Hashizume from last December. As for Terada he was beaten last time out and his wins have, for the most part, come against very limited opponents.
Also on this card is the debuting Riku Kunimoto (0-0), who makes his debut against a Korean opponent. Kunimoto is tipped to have a big future but it will be interesting to see how he kicks off his career, and how he looks as a professional fighter.
As well as the action in Osaka there is also an interesting card set to take place in Laguna, featuring an OPBF champion defending his title, and a couple of unbeaten prospects.
The OPBF champion is the inform Light Flyweight contender Edward Heno (12-0-5, 5), who defends his title against the fringe world class Jesse Espinas (19-2, 11) in what looks like an amazing match up. This will be Heno's second defense, following a excellent win over Merlito Sabillo this past February, and another win here will push him well up the world rankings towards a world title fight. Espinas comes into this bout riding an 8 fight winning run, with notable wins over Joey Canoy, Paipharob Kokietgym and Elias Joaquino. This is set to be a very special bout and should see the winner announce themselves as a leading contender in one of the deepest divisions in the sport.
On the under-card fans will see Enrique Magsalin (4-0-2, 1) risk his unbeaten record against the once beaten Adrian Lerasan (6-1, 1) whilst Prince Andrew Laurio (9-0-1, 6) will take on Jopher Marayan (7-11-2, 3). We expect to see the unbeaten men continue to keep their “0” in tact, but Magasalin looks like he has a genuine test on his hands.
The most notable show this coming Sunday, Easter Sunday, comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
The main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Masahiro Sakamoto (11-1, 7) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on highly experienced Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (60-9-2, 24). The Japanese fighter won the title last December, when he stopped Kwanthai Sithmorseng, and he'll be looking to score a second successive win over a Thai veteran here. For Pigmy another loss might well spell the end of his career, especially given he's already 36 years old and has been a professional for closing in on 19 years! A win for Sakamoto will take him a step closer to getting a rematch with Sho Kimura, the only man to beat him so far.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (15-5-3, 5) looks for a stay busy win as he takes on Thai visitor Kathawut Saikaew Boxing Camp (0-1). Mukai has score back to back wins since his 2017 stoppage loss to Rex Tso in Hong Kong, and although bigger fights are around the corner we can't grumble too much about him staying busy given the competition he has faced through his career so far.
Arguably the most even looking match up on the show is a contest between Yuki Strong Kobayashi (12-7, 6) and Taichi Sugimoto (6-4, 2). We're not expecting anything too special here, but it does see Kobayashi risking his OPBF Bantamweight ranking.
Another show in Osaka, this time at the EDION Arena Osaka, will be promoted by Green Tsuda and looks a very interesting card with several bouts of note.
The main event is the most notable contest on the show and will see once beaten hopeful Kazuki Tanaka (8-1, 6) battle recent OPBF title challenger Seizo Kono (19-9-1, 12). The talented Tanaka was expected to be fast tracked into becoming a star however a 3rd round TKO loss last year to Ryohei Takahashi really did set him back, despite a bounce back win over Hikaru Marugame. Last time out Kono battled against Mark John Yap, and despite a solid effort he was stopped in 10 rounds. Given that both men need a win this should be a very hotly contested bout.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (19-8-3, 9) will take on Indonesian Frengky Rohi (5-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Okumoto has gone 3-2-1 (3), with set backs to Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, Eranio Semillano and, most recently, Ryuichi Funai in a Japanese title fight. The Indonesian visitor when 5-0-1 to begin his career, but has lost his last 3 bouts, and will struggle to over-come Okumoto here, in what looks like a very tough bout on Japanese soil.
A great match up between 24 year old fighters will see Ryo Sagawa (3-1, 2) take on the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Sawai (5-2-1, 5). Sagawa caught out eye on debut and looked very impressive, though was stopped in his second bout by Retsu Kosaka in a Japanese Youth title fight. Since that loss he has bounced back with two credible wins and will be looking for another one here. As for Sawai he's a very dangerous puncher at this level, and despite being flawed he can bang, with his power taking him to the 2016 Rookie of the Year final, where he lost to Yoshimitsu Kimura. This is a very interesting bout, and the winner could well go a very long way, despite already having a loss on their record.
Another bout pitting men with one loss against each other will see 2017 Super Bantamweight Rookie of the year Toshiki Shimomachi (7-1-1, 4) take on former amateur stand out Kiyohei Endo (1-1, 1). Shimomachi started his career 2-1-1 but is now riding a 5 fight winning run and has broken into the Japanese rankings. Endo, a former amateur stand out, suffered a surprise loss on debut but looks a class fighter and a win here would move him to the fringes of a Japanese ranking. A very interesting bout and one that both will be wanting to win, and win impressively.
There will also be a low key card in Aichi, as Yakushiji put on a show.
The main event of this card will see teenager Musashi Mori (5-0, 4) take on a Thai foe. The 18 year old Mori won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight and enters this bout ranked by the JBC. A win for the teenager won't push him up the ranking, but will kick off a year which should push him towards a title fight, if not see him in the mix for a Japanese youth title before the end of 2018.
A pretty interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rookie of the Year runner up Katsuki Matsuura (5-1, 1) take on Toma Kondo (6-2, 1). These two men are both 21 years old, both have very similar looking records and whilst neither is much of a puncher they should make for a very exciting contest against each other. This could be a very interesting bout between two men each looking to bounce back from a loss. Very good match making here.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows in the country, with 2 of those taking place in Osaka.
The most significant of those is a multi-title show from Muto promotions, with the card being headlined by OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-2-2, 11), who faces off with veteran Yasuyuki Akiyama (11-7-1, 8). The bout will see Tyson defending his OPBF title and also look to add the WBO Asia Pacific title, which is currently vacant but on the line for this bout. It's hard to see past a win for Tyson, given he holds almost every advantage, but the bout is likely to be the final one of Akiyama's career, and he will almost certainly give everything he has here.
A second OPBF title fight will see Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (27-12, 13) seek his second defense, as he puts his title on the line against Japanese foe Seizo Kono (19-8-1, 12). The Japanese based Filipino champion will be making his second defense of the title, following his dramatic win over Kentaro Masuda, and knows that if he can continue on his current winning streak there is a chance he will be able to move towards a world title fight. For Kono the bout perhaps comes at the perfect time, with the Japanese man having won his last 4, and seemingly ended his blotchy form, which saw him going 2-5. Despite being on a bit of a run this is still a big ask for Kono.
In a rematch we'll see former multi-time world title challengers collide, as Hirofumi Mukai (14-5-3, 4) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-9-1, 19) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, just as they did in November 2016. In their first meeting Mukai stopped the Thai in 3 rounds, but since then he has gone 1-1, beating a novice Thai and being stopped in a war with Rex Tso. As for Inthanon, he's fought once since losing to Mukai, also a win over a novice Thai. It's fair to say that Mukai will be favoured, given how easily he won the first contest between the two, but it'll be interesting to see what the Tso bout took out of him.
A second Japan Vs Thailand bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title will see the once beaten Masahiro Sakamoto (10-1, 6) take on veteran former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Aged 26 Sakamoto is just coming into his prime and the Flyweight will be looking to claim the biggest win of his career here. His only loss came in a bout for this very same title last year, when he suffered a very close loss to current WBO world champion Sho Kimura, and he will know that a win against Kwanthai could push him into the world title mix. As for Kwanthai, he's a long way removed from the man who claimed the WBA Minimumweight title in 2010. He has gone 19-4 since that win, but suffered 2 stoppages and only beaten very limited opposition. This should be a win for Sakamoto, but the question is really “how impressive does he look here?”
A second show in Osaka will be promoted by Green Tsuda and although not a big card does have one of the day's most interesting contests on it, as well as the continued push of a man who has been matched hard through his career.
That hard matched man is Takayuki Okumoto (18-8-3, 8), who's record doesn't suggest anything special but he did recently challenge Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai, and ran Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking close in 2016. The Japanese fighter will be up against a Thai foe here, and should, easily, pick up the win in the card's main event.
Arguably the most interesting match up of the day is a supporting contest between two once tipped amateur stars, both in need of a big win after recent set backs. In one corner will be Kazuki Tanaka (7-1, 5), a Green Tsuda man who was tipped as a star but was stopped last time out by Ryohei Takahashi. Like Tanaka we saw Hikaru Marugame (6-2-1, 4) turn professional with high expectations, having competed on the international stage in the amateurs, but with 2 losses and a draw in his last 4 bouts those expectations are quickly dying. A loss here for either man would likely spell the end of any hope of them becoming a notable name, and the bout really is a must win for both.
A third card from Japan this coming Sunday is from Aichi, and is certainly one with an international feel, given the three most notable bouts all feature a visitor.
The main event sees former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (14-4-1, 9) take on Indonesia's Filipus Rangga (10-17, 1). The Japanese fighter looked like one to watch when he lost to Yuki Nonaka, with some suggesting just a tiny bit of seasoning was needed, and since then he has picked up two stoppage wins and looks like a genuine domestic contender, with a second title fight perhaps only a few bouts away. Rangga began his career 5-1 but since then has gone 5-16 and really is a very limited fighter on the domestic scene, and has fought at much higher weights. Not only is Rangga smaller, older, and less talented but he is also making his international debut. In all honesty Maruki should be disappointed if this goes beyond 6 rounds.
In an interesting support bout fans will see the pretty solid Shogo Yamaguchi (10-3-2, 5) take on domestically ranked Indonesian Lightweight Sam Puadi (7-8, 5). Yamaguchi has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, though has faced the likes of Akihiro Kondo and Andy Hiraoka during that run, and really needs a win to kick start his once fledgling career. The visitor is 0-2 outside of Indonesia, including a loss earlier this year in Japan to Yuki Harada, though it's fair to say that the visitor will feel he has half a chance here against a very out of form Yamaguchi.
Also on this card will be a Heavyweight bout, as top ranked Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (13-11-3, 7) takes on Korean visitor Hoo Won Lee (4-3). The 39 year old Takehara is a 2 time Japanese title challenger and although he came up short in both bouts, to Kyotaro Fujimoto, he is a game fighter. Interestingly Takehara will be fighting for the first time since May 2016, when Japanese rules actually forbid him from fighting, and will surely be wanting to prove age is just a number. The 24 year old Korean visitor has age on his side, but the former Korean Heavyweight champion is stepping up in a big way here, and was stopped in a round back in June. If Takehara is half the fighter he was he should win, if he loses however it's got to be the end for him.
Seoul, South Korea
Fans in Korea will get their own title bout, as the unbeaten In Duck Seo (8-0-1, 5) takes on the limited Joong Kyung Lee (3-2) in a bout for the KBF Light Middleweight title. Seo is unbeaten, but could only a manage a draw last time out, in a very good match up against Dong Hee Kim down at 140lbs. As for Lee, who will be having his 6th bout of the year, this bout follows an 8 round loss to Moon Sung Choi and he will certainly be coming into this one looking to score a big domestic win.
We get the next of the A-Sign shows this coming Friday and it's another really solid card, littered with really solid Japanese domestic match ups. It won't get a lot of headlines but it will provide some really good action for the fans in attendance.
The main event will see Akihiro Kondo (28-6-1, 15) take on Yuya Okazaki (12-9-2, 4) in what should be an entertaining bout, but a one-sided one. Of the two men Kondo is the one who will be strongly favoured, and in fact he's on the verge of a potential world title fight and is essentially risking that shot here. Okazaki is a former OPBF title challenger and is generally a tough guy, but shouldn't really be able to hold his own here against a resurgent Kondo who has won his last 7.
Arguably the best on the card will see touted youngster Kazuki Tanaka (7-0, 5) take on the twice beaten Ryohei Takahashi (10-2-1, 2). Touted as a star from his debut Tanaka has looked great at times, but less than great at others and does appear to be falling short of expectation so far. Although he has two losses to his name Takahashi is better than his record suggests, having lost on debut back in 2012 and also losing to the talented Andrew Moloney in Australia. Takahashi comes into this following a brilliant win over Wataru Takeda last October.
Also on this card is an interesting rematch as former world title challenger Tomomi Takano (9-2, 6) takes on Kai Johnson (5-10-3, 2), who actually inflicted Takano's first loss. The taller, younger, rangier Tankano will be looking for revenge but was worn down by the hungrier Johnson when the two clashed in June 2014. Johnson has lost 5 in a row since beating Takano, but will fancy her chances again here.
In the Philippines fans will see Boy Dondee Pumar (10-7-3, 4) battle for the PBF Super Bantamweight title.
This coming Sunday is set to be a very busy day in Japanese boxing circles
The most interesting card of the day comes from the EDION Arena Osaka where Green Tsuda put on what looks like a really interesting show.
The main event of the card will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Takayuki Okumoto (18-7-2, 8) battle against Filipino visitor Eranio Semillano (13-7-2, 4), with the Filipino himself holding a top 10 OPBF ranking. Both fighters will be entering this bout with the knowledge that a good performance could move them to an OPBF title fight, and both will also know that their opponent can be beaten, and can be stopped. Interestingly this is an southpaw bout with both men being 25 years old, but it's the visitor who will be the taller man.
In the chief support bout we'll see the hotly tipped Kazuki Tanaka (6-0, 5) take on world ranked Thai Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (16-6, 11). Although inexperienced Tanaka is tipped for the top and is a former stand out amateur who has long been viewed as a future world champion in the making. On paper this could be a step up, given that Sukkasem has a #15 ranking with the IBF, but the Thai has lost every time he's faced a notable fighter, and was stopped in 5 rounds last year by Japanese champion Yusaku Kuga, with that likely being the marker that Tanaka will be looking to beat.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see exciting local Ryuto Kyoguchi (14-1-1, 10) takes on former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (27-12-2, 9). For Kyoguchi this is a real gut check with the youngster, the older brother of Hiroto Kyoguchi, having only had 1 round of in ring action in almost 2 years. At his best Kyoguchi is a real talent, but this is a genuinely tough test. Lopez, who fought for the WBC Super Flyweight title in Japan back in 2012, has picked up a lot of losses recently but is still a test at this level and did drop Sho Nakazawa back in 2015. Sylvester has power and could well be a banana skin if Kyoguchi over-looks him.
Also on this card will be former OPBF champion Yu Kawaguchi (25-8, 12) and rising female star Fuka Komura (2-0, 1), who will both be up against low key Thai foes.
Staying at the EDION Arena in Osaka there will also be a Dangan card. Originally it was set to be headlined by Ken Shiro defending the Japanese Light Flyweight title against Tetsuya Hisada but Ken Shiro chose to vacate the title, with a rumoured WBC title fight set to be announced, forcing that bout to be cancelled. Despite that the show will still go ahead and Hisada will get a shot at the Japanese title on April 21st.
As a result of Ken Shiro vacating the Japanese title we now see the main event as a bout between defending OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (18-6-1, 6) and Japanese challenger Shota Kawaguchi (20-7-1, 8). The bout is a pretty good one on paper, but one where Dacquel will be favoured and one that feels like a disappointing main event given that Ken Shiro was supposed to be headlining.
In supporting bouts we'll see former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (18-5-1, 11) and unbeaten teenager Daiki Tomita (8-0, 2), both of whom will be battling against limited Thai visitors.
We also get a small card in Okinawa. The card really doesn't have much of note on it, but does feature one man who we suspect will be one to watch over the coming decade or so.
The fighter is Lightweight puncher, and 2016 Rookie of the Year, Shawn Oda (5-0, 5). The teenager really impressed last year, debuting in May and winning the Rookie of the Year in December, and will be looking to kick off 2017 with a bout against Thai visitor Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (2-8, 1). Tienchai is a regular in Japan, fighting his 10th bout in the country, and although he's there to be beaten by Oda we suspect the local will still be looking to give the fans a show before stopping the Thai.
There will also be a low key card in Shizuoka.
In the main event of this card we get a really good match up as former Japanese title challenger Cristiano Aoqui (11-5-2, 7) takes on the under-rated Noriaki Sato (4-1-1) in a bout at Welterweight. Aoqui's best success has been at 140lbs, where he fought the then Japanese champion Hiroki Okada last year, but it looks like he's moving up to continue his career. Sato on the other hand was forced up in weight after failing to make weight for last year's Strongest Korakuen, when he was unable to make 140lbs to face Koichi Aso. The bout should be an exciting one and a real crowd pleaser.
In a supporting bout on this card the 21 year old Daiki Ichikawa (8-2, 6) will be risking his OPBF ranking against Takaki Sakurai (7-7-1, 3). Coming in Ichikawa is ranked in the top 15 by the OPBF at Lightweight and may well feel like he is just a few fights away from getting a title shot, something he is ill prepared for at the moment. As for Sakurai he's lost his last 5, but could still be a problem for the heavy handed Ishikawa, if the youngster is over-looking Sakurai.
Daejeon, South Korea
There is also set to be a very low profile card in South Korea. This card doesn't have anyone of any note on it , with the main event being a 6 rounder between Hyun Min Yang (4-1, 4) and Heuk San Lee (1-0-1).
This coming Sunday is a hectic day in Japanese boxing with a number of cards.
The biggest card comes from Osaka, and will be featured on Boxingraise on a delayed basis.
The main event of the card sees the WBO Asia Pacific titles continue to rise in Japan as Ryota Yada (12-3, 10) takes on unbeaten Filipino Jayar Inson (12-0, 8) for the Welterweight crown. The bout isn't a huge one by any stretch, but it is a very attractive one with two talented, hungry fighters each looking for a major international title and a potential WBO world ranking. Although interesting on paper Inson is moving up from Lightweight and is likely to look very small compared to Yada.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (17-7-2, 7) will be defending his Japanese Super Flyweight ranking as he faces off against the limited Takanori Hayashida (7-10-3). Ranked #3 by the JBC Okumoto will be looking for a title fight in 2017 and will know that any sort of a set back will ruin those dreams. On paper this looks like a mismatch, and will likely be very one sided, but Hayashida has won his last 2 bouts following an 8 fight win-less streak and will be eager to keep his current winning form going.
One of the most attractive match ups on the card will see Takahiro Murai (14-6-2, 5) face the talented but fragile Takeru Kamikubo (11-2, 8) in a really interesting match up. Murai is Japanese ranked at Flyweight and is clearly looking to get a title fight in the near future, with his recent competition being solid on the domestic level. Kamikubo did show real promise at one point but back to back stoppage losses in 2015 derailed his career and he is very much needing to rebuild here.
Also on the card are several notable prospects. One of those Naotoshi Nakatani (9-0, 6), who risks his unbeaten record against Masashi Wakita (6-4-2, 2), another is Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4), who has yet to have his opponent for the show to be named, and also school girl boxer Fuka Komura (1-0), who faces Mizuki Matsuoka (0-1)
A second show comes from Aichi.
The main event of this card will see former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (19-4-4, 8) take on Kazuki Fukakura (9-11-2, 3) in what appears to be a total mismatch. Kikuchi is best known for his 2013 loss to Shingo Wake, and whilst he did lose his following bout he has gone on a 5 fight winning run and looks to have rebuilt some confidence whilst moving into a top 10 JBC ranking at Bantamweight. Fukakura has gone 2-5 in his last 7, dating back more than 2 years, and is unlikely to win here, but does have the ability to be competitive at this type of level.
In the most interesting of the supporting bouts we'll see Takashi Igarashi (8-3, 3) battle the Yoshiki Kawamura (5-6-2, 3). The bout isn't a competitive bout, and it'd be a genuine shock to see Igarashi lose, but it should be better than it looks on paper and the 20 year old Igarashi should be tested a bit here.
A third show is in Yamaguchi.
The main event here will see OPBF and JBC ranked Lightweight Accel Sumiyoshi (7-4-2, 2) battle against Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Yusuke Nakagawa (10-5-1, 6) in what should be a really intriguing match up. Despite neither guy having a great record on paper the two should be well matched and are both much better than the raw numbers suggest. Sumiyoshi is the naturally bigger guy, and should be favoured, but it is a very competitive match up.
Another really interesting match from this show will see the under-rated Burning Ishii (7-3-1, 2) battled Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (11-1, 5). Ishii is the promoter's fighter and has mixed with good company, but was stopped last time out by Kosuke Saka and has now been stopped twice whilst also showing little real power. Atsumi is arguably the most promising Korean fighter in the sport and has scored 3 stoppages since relocating to Japan, including a huge win over Sho Nakazawa and a notable stoppage against Dennis Tubieron. Hard not to favour Atsumi here, but it's another intriguing match up.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Outside of Japan there will also be action in the Philippines.
In the main event here we see former WBA “interim” Light Flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin (24-2-1, 18) take on Arnold Garde (7-3-2, 3) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Light Flyweight title. This will be Petalcorin's second bout since his controversial loss to Omari Kimweri and should be a straight forward win against Garde, who has been stopped 3 times at domestic level, including an opening round stoppage to the then debuting Zoren Collado,
In a notable supporting bout we'll see Eden Sonsona (34-6-2, 12) return to the ring for the first time since his huge May 2015 upset win over Adrian Estrella. Sadly for Sonsona he was unable to build on the win over Estrella and now, 19 months later will be taking on Eusebio Baluarte (19-17, 12) in what looks like a massive step backwards. Although a step backwards it's nice to see Sonsona back in the ring.
One of a number of interesting prospects in action here is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (17-0, 8), who looks to extend his winning run as he takes on the limited Joas Apericio (12-17-1, 9). We do like Moralde, and he does have a lot of talent, but Apericio really won't do anything to test the youngster and there's a reason that he's gone 0-7-1 in his last 8. A horrible mismatch in favour of the very talented unbeaten Moralde.
Another Filipino that we like is Ben Mananquil (11-1-2, 3), who came close to stopping Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym back in 2013. The once beaten Filipino has been away from the ring for 15 months but should return with a win this weekend as he takes on the limited Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-8-3, 3) in an 8 rounder.
There will also be action in Thailand where we'll see a national Super Flyweight title fight as Chatchai Or Benjamas (6-8, 5) faces Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-15, 6) for the vacant title. The bout doesn't pit two major names but does look like it could be a competitive and even match up, even if it is at a very low level.
This coming Sunday is a busy day for fight fans, specifically those in Osaka who get 3 shows.
The most notable of those shows comes from the EDION Arena where the Boxingraise cameras will in attendance to stream live content, featuring some of the brightest young prospects in Japan.
The most notable of those prospects is Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (7-0, 4), who faces the much more experienced Toshimasa Ouchi (20-8-3, 6) in a bout for both the Japanese and the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight titles. Ouch is a man looking to secure his biggest win to date and will go into the bout knowing that pressure is on Ken Shiro, however the veteran may not get another title fight if he loses here. For Ken Shiro this is a brilliant chance to put himself into the window for a world title fight in December.
Whilst the attention is on the main event it's not the only really good bout on this card with another exciting match up seeing the very promising Hiroto Kyoguchi (2-0, 2) going up against Kenichi Miyazaki (10-2-1, 3) in a mouth watering clash. Miyazaki does come in to this on the back of a loss but isn't a push over whilst Kyoguchi is leaping up in class. A really good match up and a really good test for the unbeaten 22 year old.
In another bout of note we'll see 22 year old Light Flyweight hopeful Masataka Taniguchi (3-0, 3) look to extend his great start as he takes on a Thai opponent. Taniguchi is fighting for the 4th time in a little over 4 months, though that's scarcely an issue given he has wiped out his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. We're unsure who the Thai will be for this bout, but there is little to suggest that he should be favoured over Taniguchi.
There will also be another show at the EDION Osaka and this one was originally set to features some notable bouts, though sadly has seen some adjustments.
Originally the main event was supposed to see Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4) battle, in what would have been a huge step up in class, against Hideo Sakamoto (16-2-3, 5) with the key supporting bout being set as a contest between Seizo Kono (16-8-1, 11) and Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-7-1, 5). Sadly however Tanaka has been forced out of the bout leading to a contest between Sakamoto and Kono. It's an alright bout, especially given the short notice, but the reality is that it's not the main event that had had us excited for several weeks.
As a result of the shake up at the top of the card the new main event will see Takayuki Okumoto (16-7-12, 6) face off against the once beaten Sonin Nihei (8-1-2, 1) in what is a really nice match up and a good step up for Nihei who's only loss came to Kenya Yamashita almost 2 years ago.
Another notable bout here will see young female fighter Fuka Komura (0-0) make her debut, as she takes on Kaori Nagai (0-1). Although a debutant, and one without a host of amateur titles, Komura has received a lot of press and there is serious talk about her being fast tracked to a title following a very impressive pro-test bout earlier this year.
A third show in Osaka comes form the L-Theatre.
The main event here sees OPBF and Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryota Kajiki (28-9, 19) take on Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Taiki Minamoto (11-5, 10). Kajiki is looking to move towards a second title bout, following a 2012 loss to the then Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko and is currently riding a 6 fight winning streak, dating back more than 2 years, with notable wins over Shota Yamaguchi and Kota Fukuoka. As for Minamoto he's looking for a second win following last year's loss to Yukinori Oguni, in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout.
In the chief support bout for this show fans will see former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-14-1, 7) end his retirement to take on Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-5-4, 7). For Horikawa the bout will be his first since losing the Japanese title, back in December, to Ken Shiro. Interestingly Kanazawa is returning following a less this year to Toshimasa Ouchi, with Ken Shiro and Ouchi facing off across the city in the first show mentioned in this article!
The only other show in Japan, and the only one taking place outside of Osaka is a small one in Aichi, which is being used to as a Rookie of the Year qualifying show.
The best bout on this card is a 5 rounder between Jinya Ito (4-0-1) and the hard hitting Yuto Nakamura (4-2, 4). The card is a huge step down from the Osaka shows but should provide some thrills in well matched novice type bouts.
As well as all the action in Japan there will also be a show in China where Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (13-0, 13) headlines. The Chinese puncher will be risking his perfect KO record against Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (30-6, 27), who has been in with a who's who of the Cruiserweight division. It's hard to back against Junlong here, but the hope is that a big bout is only around the corner.
The most notable from 4 Japanese cards takes place in Osaka where Green Tsuda put on a notable show with several “name” fighters.
The most notable of those fighters is former world champion Denkaosan Kaovichit (63-6-1, 26) who returns to a Japanese ring, for the first time since his stoppage loss to Ryo Matsumoto, to face Kazuki Tanaka (4-0, 3). This should be another step forward for the 23 year old who will be looking to get himself a title fight before the year is over.
The Kaovichit Vs Tanaka bout is one of 4 notable Japan Vs Thailand bouts. Another, at the top of the card, will see Takayuki Okumoto (16-6-2, 6) battle world ranked Thai Eaktawan Mor Krungthepthonburi (17-3, 12). Eaktawan is 0-3 outside of Thailand, having lost to Albert Pagara, Sho Ishida and Froilan Saludar, but has looked like a promising fighter in recent times, winning his last 10 bouts. Okumoto has won his last, following a loss in 2013 to Rusalee Samor, and will see this as an opportunity to climb into the fringes of the world rankings. A really good match up on paper and hopefully one that will deliver in the ring.
Another bout will see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (24-7, 11) battle a Thai, though we haven't been given the name of the Thai, just that he's a Mor Krungthepthonburi fighter. Likewise Masataka Taniguchi (0-0), will be making his debut in a 6 rounder against a Thai foe.
Another card in Japan comes from Chiba with this one featuring several bouts of note.
One of those bouts sees the once touted Kenta Onjo (5-2, 3) fight for his career as he battle Akihiko Katagiri (17-8-2, 8). Early in his career Onjo looked like one to watch but having lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, this is a real must win for him. Katagiri is a win-some-lose-some but has been in good form, with a 5-1-1 (4) record in his last 7 and will be expected to continue that run here.
Another of the notable bouts will see the Japanese ranked Yuta Saito (9-7-2, 7) battle against Corrales Kawashimo (7-6-1, 2). Saito's record isn't great but he's a dangerous fighter and is better than his record suggests. Incidentally Kawashimo was stopped last time out by Katagiri, who was in the previously mentioned bout.
A third bout of note, and in fact the main event of the card, will see Atsuki Hayashi (6-2-1, 2) battle against Naoya Nishimura (4-8-1, 3). Local man Hayashi will be fighting for the first time since he lost a competitive bout with Naoto Uebayashi back in May 2013 and there seems to be some genuine hope that his return will be a successful one.
There's low profile show in Fukuoka. The main event on the card will see Yoshihiko Matsuo (18-7-6, 3) battle against the limited Yuta Sasaki (7-7-1, 1). This Super Bantamweight bout, scheduled for 8 rounds, is unlikely to move the winner to a title fight but it could kick start their career after both men have faltered recently. Coming in to this one Sasaki is 1-4-1 in his last 6 whilst Matsuo is 1-2-1 in his last 4.
In a supporting bout Areji Kato (7-1, 2) will be facing a Thai opponent in a 6 rounder.
Another low profile show is set to take place in Okayama. The main event here will see the JBC ranked Light Flyweight Seigo Yuri Akui (6-0-1, 2) take on Hideaki Yamaji (5-10, 2). This looks like a mismatch though Akui, the 2015 Rookie of the Year at Light Flyweight, will be facing his most experienced man so far.
The first really notable day of the month for Japanese fans comes on December 5th, a really busy day with name fighters in action across Asia.
In one of the most intriguing bouts fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (23-7, 10) battle against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-3-2, 7), in what is essentially a must win for Kawaguchi. The 28 year old former champion was stopped last time out against Takahiro Yamamoto, in a genuinely enthralling 7 round brawl, and will know that any except for a stellar performance here would leave his career in tatters. As for Tabuchi he's lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come in the 2014 Rookie of the Year and a 8 round loss to former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka. Hard to see Kawaguchi losing, but if he does he will have to consider his future.
Whilst Kawaguchi is fighting for his career it's fair to say that Kazuki Tanaka (3-0, 3) is merely fighting for recognition. The talented youngster, a former amateur stand out, takes a huge step up in class as he takes on GAB Bantamweight champion Monico Laurente (27-12, 6). Those in the know have suggested that Tanaka, 22, could be another of Japan's huge list of future stars however the youngster has been relatively untested so far. In Laurente we'll see Tanaka face a man with experience, grit, determination and skills, and we'd be very impressed if the youngster can really dominate here in what is a great step up in class.
Whilst Kawaguchi is a former OPBF champion we actually have a former world champion in action too as Shindo Go (15-3, 10), a former WBC female Flyweight champion, faces Suda Saknarong (0-0) in a stay busy bout. We're expect to see Go fight for a major title in 2016 however she's fighting this bout to shake off any ring rust after a frustrating year of inactivity, in fact she's only fought 3 rounds all year.
Technically the main event here will see Japan's Takayuki Okumoto (15-6-2, 6) take on unbeaten Filipino teenager Romel Oliveros (6-0-1, 1). The bout certainly isn't the most exciting on paper but it seems likely that Okumoto could get a Japanese title fight next year if he comes through this one unscathed. The home fighter has won his last 5, since suffering a stoppage loss more than 2 years ago to Rusalee Samor, whilst the visitor will, perhaps tellingly, be facing his first opponent with a winning record.
On a second Japanese card fans will again get a lot of good action, in fact the card is headlined by a 2-time world title challenger.
That aforementioned world title challenger is Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18), who was last seen in the ring being stopped, for the first time, by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The former OPBF champion will be looking to score his second win over Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-3, 12), who he stopped in their first meeting around 4 years ago. Since their first bout Akaho has had both of his world title tilts whilst Shiraishi has come up short in a pair of title fights, most notably a Japanese title fight against Teiru Kinoshita. This is likely to be another win for Akaho, though if it's not he will have to consider his future.
In supporting bouts on this card we have a trio of Japanese ranked fighters. The highest ranked of those is Light Middleweight contender Yuto Shimizu (10-2-2, 3) who has been in great form recently, scoring wins over Toru Chiba, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. Shimizu looks to continue his current 7 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Maxi Nahak (4-10-2, 1), from Indonesia. It's really hard to see anything but a Shimizu win here, and hopefully he'll get a title shot in 2016.
On paper the most attractive match up involving a ranked fighter, other than the main event where Shiraishi enters as a ranked fighter, comes at Super Flyweight where the JBC ranked Yuta Matsuo (8-2-1, 5) takes on southpaw Yota Hori (12-4-2, 7) in a really solid match up. Coming into this Matsuo is 3-2-1 in his last 6, though held his own in a split decision loss to Ardin Diale in one of those defeats.
The other ranked fighter is Hironobu Matsunaga (7-1, 3), who us ranked at 147lbs. Matsunaga will be risking his ranking against Shiro Saito (7-5-2, 2). Matsunaga's most notable bout to date is his loss, which came in last year's Rookie of the Year final against Yuki Beppu, and whilst that was a blow out he's cetainly proven himself since with a very good win over Hisao Narita. Saito on the other hand has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, and was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Moon Hyun Yun in a loss that may play on his mind coming into this one.
In Thailand fans will have a chance to see Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (1-0, 1) who will be up against Indonesian fighter Suparyanto Doglo (7-2-1, 4). Waseem, who won the Korean Super Flyweight title on his debut, will be looking to continue his perfect start to life as a professional and it seems likely that if he wins again here he could be moved into regional title fights in 2016, with the PABA title a very real target for 2016.
We're unsure but we think the same card will feature two televised bout as well as the Waseem bout. One of those, set to be shown on Channel 7, will see Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (33-1-2, 18) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Julias Kisarawe (21-2, 11) in what looks to be a brilliant match up on paper, something we can't say often enough about Thailand. Sadly whilst the bout does “look” good it's likely to be a mismatch with Kisarawe's opposition so far being relatively appalling, in fact it sort of resembles a Thai record with very little experience share between his opponents.
The other bout will see former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (57-2, 38) battle against Nattapol Sithsaithong (0-2) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Chonlatarn, who won't be given a test here.
To end the day our attention will turn to Mexico where Japan's Hurricane Futa (20-5-1, 11) faces off against former multi-weight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (58-10, 49). This is a really tough ask for Futa though we'll be honest and say that Gonzalez did look really bad last time out, losing a decision to Jonathan Oquendo, and this may be the perfect time to face him.
This coming Sunday is a busy day for Japanese fight fans who have 3 separate cards, all with something of note on them. As well as the Japanese action we also see a veteran for the Philippines fighting in the US.
The most significant bout of the day will see Yu Kawaguchi (23-6, 10) defending the OPBF Bantamweight title against the heavy handed Takahiro Yamamoto (15-4, 12). These two men met earlier this year, with Kawaguchi winning a split decision against Yamamoto it one of the closest bouts of the year so far. For Yamamoto this is a chance at redemption whilst Kawaguchi is looking to prove he is better than his foe.
On the same card we'll see the very promising Kazuki Tanaka (2-0, 2) battle against win-less Thai visitor Kamraiyok Orwandavee (0-2). This is a clear mismatch but it could be one that tells us something about Tanaka, given that it took Takahiro Yamamoto 3 rounds to stop Kamraiyok last December, a 1uicker win really could back up the idea that Tanaka is a potential champion.
One other bout of note will see Japanese ranked fighter Takayuki Okumoto (14-6-2, 6) risk his ranking against the limited Yasuhiro Sakurai (7-19). This shouldn't be a tough ask for the 23 year old Okumoto but he'll know that another loss at this stage of his career really will but a hit on his hopes to climb through the ranks
Notable this show will also feature an exhibition between Nobuhiro Ishida and Crazy Kim. This exhibition will be part of Ishida's retirement ceremony. The two men fought twice as pros and have become really good friends since those bouts with Ishida having trained with Kim prior to Ishida's retirement earlier this year.
A second show in Osaka looks to be almost as interesting with several notable names in action.
Arguably the most significantly bout on the card features world ranked Light Middleweight Takayuki Hosokawa (26-10-4, 9) who puts his IBF ranking on the line against South Korean fighter Jung Hoon Yang (9-6, 2), who 1-4 on the road. Hang was last seen in Japan in 2014 being stopped in 4 rounds by Yoshihiro Kamegai and it would be little shock to see him suffer a very clear loss to Hosokawa, who is expected to move towards a rematch with Yuki Nonaka either at the end of 2015 or very early in 2016.
Another notable bout will see Japanese Middleweight hopeful Koki Tyson Maebara (8-1-1, 8) battle against Thailand's Kungsuk Sor Sompong (0-1). The bout is a mismatch but the general view is that this could be Maebara's last fight before he gets a title fight of some kind. The talented puncher is thought to be eyeing up the winner of the up coming bout between Akio Shibata and Yasuyuki Akiyama.
Another bout where the favourite is looking towards a future bout will be a contest between Jonathan Baat (29-6-3, 14) and Dado Cabin Toy (15-4-2, 8). It was announced last week that Baat has been lined up as the next opponent for the touted Hikaru Marugame however he'll need a win here or that bout will likely be off. This however shouldn't be a tough ask for the Japanese based Filipino veteran.
A third Japanese show is from Aichi and it's easily the “weakest” with only the main event really capturing our attention.
That headline bout will see Kazuya Maruki (18-3, 12) take on Indonesian visitor Heri Andriyanto (21-18-2, 10) in what looks to be a straight forward win for Maruki. The Indonesian veteran is 0-3 in Japan and 0-10 on his travels and it's unlikely that run will change here against a fighter who is well ranked by the JBC.
Although much of this card is set to be fought at a low level we must admit we have some interest in teenage hopeful Kevin Mendoza (1-0) who will be facing Naoki Masukawa (3-2). Mendoza is an 18 year old Japanese based Peruvian who debuted back in May and this could well be a great test for the southpaw.
We also get some a action in the US as Filipino veteran Dennis Laurente (49-5, 30) takes on the heavy handed John Jackson (19-2, 15) as part of a 4 man WBC Light Middleweight tournament. Laurente is seen as a huge outsider coming into this bout but will know that this is a huge opportunity. Laurente enters as the OPBF champion at 154lbs though his title won't be on the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)