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 Ohashi gym have become one of the most notable in Japan over the last few years with Chairman Hideyuki Ohashi becoming one of the key figures in boxing. Not only has the Ohashi gym become notable at the world level thanks to the success of fighters like Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi but they are also one of the most significant domestically, with solid domestic shows on a regular basis. Their next show is this coming Monday and features a Japanese title fight as well as several other note worthy fighters.
The main bout of the card see veteran fighters colliding in a bout for a Japanese title fight. The bout question will see Japanese Featherweight kingpin Satoshi Hosono (30-2-1, 20) defending his title against nemesis Rikiya Fukuhara (31-8-1, 23), in what is the third meeting between the two men. To date the Hosono is winning the series 2-0 and the former 3-time world title challenger will know that he will need to impress here if he's to get a much desired 4th world title shot. For Fukuhara the bout is a chance to finally get one over on Hosono, and possibly put himself in the mix for a world title title. Whilst Fukuhara is 37 he's young 37 and still has impressive speed and vicious power, whilst Hosono has shown signs of slowing decently, despite being a relatively young fighter at “just” 32.
In one of the notable under-card bouts we'll see former Japanese Super Featherweight Seiichi Okada (18-6, 11) battle against Spice Matsushita (15-8, 2). Okada, an Ohashi gym fighter, was once 16-1 (9) and the Japanese champion, sadly however his career has faltered in recent years with a 2-5 run, with 3 stoppage losses, and he's now really fighting for his career. Given that Matsushita is a light puncher it's hard to see him stopping Okada but he is certainly a live under-dog and will be looking to secure his 5th straight win whilst taking a clear step towards a potential title fight of his own.
Another notable under-card bout here will the promising Kenichi Miyazaki (10-1-1, 3) take on recent Japanese title challenger Hiroya Yamamoto (9-4, 3). This is a great match up with both men knowing that a win could help them secure a Japanese Minimumweight title fight in the near future. Given that both men are young we're expecting to see a high tempo contest here, with both going all out for the win in what could be the bout of the show.
Of course the Inoue name is now a key one in boxing with Naoya and Takuma Inoue being two of the best youngsters in the sport. This card will also feature their cousin, Koki Inoue (1-0, 1) who will be in a 6 round bout against a Thai foe, who will be expected to be stopped early on by the very promising Inoue.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in Russia whilst has some Asian interest. A main part of that interest is unbeaten Uzbek Uktamjon Rahmonov (5-0-1, 1), who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Manuk Dilanyan (3-2-1, 2). Rahmonov should be the favourite but he was held to a draw last time out and was lucky to claim a win in his fight before that one.
The Japanese action really start off the new month in exciting fashion and on July 6th we see one of the most interesting bouts of the month as a young fighter is forced to sink or swim against another highly regarded young fighter.
That bout between youngsters sees Japanese teenage Takuma Inoue (4-0, 1) fighting against experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-5-3, 14) for the vacant OPBF Super Flyweight title. The bouts is Inoue's first first title contest as he looks to replicate his irrepressible older brother, Naoya Inoue, and it Takuma wins the title plan is to get him a title fighter later in the year. As for Geraldo, the sharp punching Pinoy will know that a win here gets him straight back into the mix for a world title shot, and possibly even a bout with Takuma's brother.
On the undercard we get a couple more Ohashi gym fighters .
One of those is world ranked Super Flyweight Go Onaga (24-2-2, 17) who will be up against the limited Masafumi Otake (14-13-1, 7). This really is little more than a stay busy fight for Onaga who is said to be eyeing a possible world title fight later in the year. Otake has lost his last 3 and we expect that run to continue here against the in form Onaga.
The other is Minimumweight hopeful Kenichi Miyazaki (8-1-1, 2) who battles Kazuhiro Nakamura (9-5, 3). On paper this is actually a really good match up with Nakamura certainly havign fought at a higher level than Miyazaki so far however the once beaten 22 year old will be favoured against his 32 year old foe.
(Image courtesy of http://www.ohashi-gym.com)