This coming Sunday there will be a couple of Asian cards, one in Japan and one in Korea.
The Japanese card is a pretty interesting one, headlined by a rising hopeful and featuring a fairly solid supper bout.
The main event will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (4-1, 3) take on Kei Iwahara (10-5, 5) in an 8 round bout between two Japanese ranked lightweights. Riikishi suffered his first loss last April, losing to Kosuke Saka after stepping up too much too soon, but bounced back with a couple of stoppages, including one over former Japanese title challenger Genki Maeda in December. Iwahara on the other hand is 3-1 in his last 4, and comes into this with notable wins over the likes of Yuji Awata, Mao Kawanishi and Daiki Ichikawa. This could be something very special.
In the main support bout Japan's Ryosuke Maruki (15-6-1, 10) will take on South Korean Gun Woo Gang (4-2-3, 1). Coming in to this Maruki has lost his last two, being narrowly out pointed by Nobuyuki Shindo and being blasted out by Akonori Watanabe, but typically he has been a solid and dependable fighter on the Japanese scene. Gang on the other hand has won just 1 of his last 5, going 1-2-2 during that stretch. This looks like a rebuilding fight for Maruki, and hopefully he'll be back into bigger fights later this year.
This card will also feature a number of Rookie of the Year fights as we begin the largest annual boxing tournament.
Busan, South Korea
Gun Woo Gang won't be the only Korean in action, with a card in Busan, which will feature several Korean fighters.
One of those Korean's is Bo Mi Re Shin (6-0-3, 3), who takes on Indian foe Rupinder Kaur (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Interim WIBA Super Featherweight title. The 24 year old Shin has a mostly weak looking record, but did notable score a stoppage win over Chika Mizutani in August last year and will be coming into this bout on the back of that big win. Kaur on the other hand will be fighting outside of India for the first time, and will be taking a serious step up in class, and cutting weight, significantly, having last fought above Light Welterweight.
In an interesting Champion V Champion bout we'll see KBF Super Featherweight champion Ki Soo Lee (8-3, 1) battling against IBC Super Featherweight champion Alvius Maufani (6-2-2, 3) in a clash between Korean and Indonesian champions. Lee has the edge in experience and home advantage, but Maufani has won bouts against more experienced foes in the past.
One other bout will see Uzbek puncher Abdurasul Ismoilov (3-0, 3) take on unbeaten local Jong Sun Gang (7-0, 4). This looks like the best match up on the show, with the Uzbek looking to build on a win over veteran Jaime Barcelona. Gang turned professional in late 2017 and has been active, with stoppage wins in his last 3. This looks like it could be very explosive, and very fun.
*Note Boxrec recently corrected Ismoilov's record which was previously 4-1 (4)
We get Japanese title action from the Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday as the next Diamond Glove card takes place.
The headline bout looks to be a stay busy defense by Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (8-0, 6), who defends the title against Kazumasa Kobayashi (10-7-1, 6). For the talented Yoshino the bout will serve as his third defense of the title that he won back in October 2017, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita for the then vacant title. Since then he has impressed, but this is really just a chance to stay busy as opposed to really building on his reign. The 35 year old Kobayashi has been a professional for close to 13 years and never done enough to earn a title fight. Coming in to thus Kobayashi is horribly out of form, especially given that he has gone 2-6-1 in his last 9 fights, but he will know this is is one and only chance to grab a title before his career is over. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Yoshino defends Japanese title against veteran Kobayashi!
Whilst the main event is less than great the under-card is a pretty good one, topped by an excellent match up between Ryo Sagawa (5-1, 3) and Shingo Kawamura (16-4-1, 8), in what we suspect will be the show stealing fight. Coming in to this Sagawa is riding an impressive 4 fight winning run including big domestic wins over Junki Sasaki and Ryo Matsumoto, who he stopped in September. Sagawa was a top amateur and despite an early career loss is showing the potential to build on that amateur success. As for Kawamura he last fought in a losing effort against Satoshi Shimizu, though gave Shimizu fits before losing to the OPBF Featherweight champion. Given the styles, skills and hunger of the two men this has the potential to be a tremendous contest, and the winner will certainly see themselves in the title mix in the new year. An in depth break down of this fight can be read here Sagawa and Kawamuro battle in mouth watering showdown!
One of the other supporting bouts will see Kei Iwahara (9-5, 4) face off with the hard hitting Daiki Ichikawa (11-4, 9), in another bout between two fighters with a Japanese ranking. The 28 year old Iwahawa has gone 2-2 in his last 4, but has mixed against decent domestic foes, such as Genki Ishikawa, Yuji Awata and Kazuma Sanpei. On the other hand the hard hitting Ichikawa is a 23 year old who has proven to be a bit of a glass cannon, being stopped in 2 of his 4 losses including a defeat last year in Russia to Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov. If Ichikawa can catch his man he'll be very dangerous, but there's a chance that Iwahara will be too good to be caught by a bomb here.
On paper the weakest of the support bouts will see the talented but light punching Joe Tanooka (15-5-4, 1) battle against Motoki Osanai (2-2, 1), a former amateur standout who has struggled as a professional so far. The 24 year old Tanooka came runner up in the 2013 Rookie of the Year and has been in with a who's who of the Japanese scene, scoring notable wins over Ryuto Oho, Kenya Yamashita and Hajime Nagai. Although a very light puncher Tanooka is popular and often fun to watch and will be risking his Japanese ranking here. Osanai was tipped for big things, but has been matched hard and is yet to really shine. The feeling is if, or when, Osanai finds his groove he could prove to be a real talent, and this could well be his chance to shine as he drops down to Bantamweight.
Another interesting match up on this card will see the limited but heavy handed Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) battling against Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-4-1, 5). The hard hitting Tomioka has been stopped in all 3 losses, but has mixed with top domestic competition losing to Junto Nakatani and Katsunori Nagamine, but can certainly bang and fighters do need to respect his power. Borres, who was last seen getting stopped by Nakatani, has scored just a single win in his last 5, though was unlucky to lose in Korea against Joo Hyun Jung last year. For both this will be a chance to bounce back from a recent stoppage loss, and should make for a good action bout.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Japan, where there will be 3 separate shows. Although none of them are specifically notable there should be enough action across them to interest fans. That's, in part, due to with a female title fight and several prospects being in action.
One of the shows takes place at the City Civil Hall in Neyagawa and will be promoted by 3 Osakan based promotional outfits.
The main event of the card will see Nobuhiro Ishida promoted Shione Ogata (9-6, 2) take on former world title challenger Erika Hanawa (9-2, 3) for the WBO Asia Pacific female Light Flyweight title. Ogata began her career by losing 5 of her first 6 but has since gone 8-1 and scored a notable win last year against Saemi Hanagata. Hanawa on the other hand has lost 2 of her last 4, including a loss in a world title fight to Kayoko Ebata and a loss to the aforementioned Hanagata. This should be a very entertaining bout and a good headline bout for this level of show.
In a supporting bout Hikaru Matsuoka (13-4-3, 1) will face off with Yu Konomura (8-7-2, 2) in a second bout between the two men. These two fought back in 2016, with Matsuoka taking a split decision over Konomura. Since their first bout Matsuoka has gone 1-1, not fighting at all in 2017, whilst Konomura has seemingly had his confidence destroyed, going 1-3-1 since the loss to Matsuoka.
A second Osaka show will take place at the City Plaza Yayoinokaze Hall in Izumi.
The main event here has an international flavour as local hopeful Toshiya Yokogawa (8-11-2, 7) takes on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (9-3-1, 5) in an 8 round contest. The 33 year old Yokogawa has, like many, a misleading record having faced very stiff domestic competition in recent years, but should prove to have more about him than his record suggests and he shares the ring with Medura. As for the visitor he's 0-2 in Japan, has has been matched tough with contests against Coach Hiroto and Ryosuke Iwasa. This looks like a mismatch but we suspect it will be hotly contested.
Another 8 round bout on this card will see the unbeaten Joe Shiraishi (6-0-1, 2), who was crowned the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Flyweight, take on Indonesian visitor Stevanus Nana Bau (8-8-2, 2). The 21 year old Shiraishi impressed last year, going 4-0, but has failed to capitalise this year and this will be his first bout since his Rookie of the Year final back in December. Bau is unbeaten in his last 3, but his competition in those 3 bouts was poor and he has lost to every notable name he's faced, including Iwan Zoda, Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Paipharob Kokietgym.
A third Japanese show will take place in China and is arguably the best of the bunch.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Kudura Kaneko (7-0, 4) face off with Filipino veteran Joel Dela Cruz (20-26-3, 8). The Afghan born Japanese based Kaneko won his Youth title in May, when he defeated Change Hamashima in their second clash, and looks to advancing his career well, whilst remaining under the radar. The Filipino on the other hand is 32 years old and has been a professional since early 2006. Although Dela Cruz has mixed in good company he has suffered loss on a regular basis, and is unlikely to pose much or a threat to Kaneko.
The main supporting bout here will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kei Iwahara (8-5, 4) take on Mao Kawanishi (6-3, 2). Iwahara has been inconsistent through his career, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but can pull out the upsets as he did last year against Yuji Awata. On the other hand Kawanishi has won his last 2 bouts, but has failed to shine and will be looking at this bout as a potential chance to break into the national rankings.
This coming Tuesday fight fans in Tokyo get a card at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Hideki Todaka, who will be putting on several pretty interesting looking match ups.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked Featherweights facing off with Dai Iwai (21-5-1, 7) taking on Yosuke Kawano (12-6-2, 6), in a bit of a title eliminator. Coming in to this Iwai, a former OPBF title challenger, will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Taiki Minamoto, a loss that cost Iwai a shot at Japanese Featherweight Takenori Ohashi. Iwai will be fully aware that he hasn't looked good in his last two, and will need a good performance here if he's to get a domestic title bout. As for Kawano he has bounced back well from two losses in 2016, and looked really good in stopping Masashi Noguchi last time out. Although no world beater Kawano is is solid and should push Iwai all the way.
Another bout putting Japanese ranked fighters against each other, as Kazuma Sanpei (14-4, 5) takes on Kei Iwahara (8-4, 4), with both men having top 15 rankings at Super Featherweight with the JBC. Coming in to this Sanpei is on a 2 fight winning run, having twice beaten Ryuki Ishii last year, and looks to be turning his career around after a struggle that saw him go 1-4 between October 2014 and October 2016. As for Iwahara he comes into this on a career best win over Yuji Awata, which shoot give him a huge boost of confidence coming in to this bout.
Another fight of note on this card will see veteran Cobra Suwa (19-13-2, 11) take on a Thai foe. Little is known about the visitor but Suwa needs a win, given that he has gone 1-2 in his last 3, including stoppage to Nobuyuki Shindo last November and a decision loss to Ratchasi Sithsaithong in late 2016. Given that we're not expecting the Thai visitor to be particularly good it's hard to imagine Suwa losing, but the local will need to do more than just pick up a win,instead he will have to impress.