The big headline bout this coming weekend sees us focus on Glasgow, Scotland, as the WBSS moves towards the final bouts. The bout of interest for us is the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight semi-final bout between WBA "regular" champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12). The bout is a clash between unbeaten world class fighters, who are both looking to move one step closer to proving they are the best Bantamweight on the planet. For Inoue this will be his first bout in Europe, and he will be looking to become the first Japanese fighter to win a world title bout in the continent, whilst Rodriguez returns to the country that he won the IBF title in, when he beat Paul Butler. Coming in both are in great form, though it should be noted that Rodriguez went 24 rounds last year, Inoue has only gone 20 rounds combined in his last 6 fights. If Rodriguez can survive the early going Inoue's lack of activity could be a problem here, as could history. A full review of this bout can be read here Inoue and Rodriguez go one on one in semi final!
Before the action in the UK there will be some action in Asia, including a notable show at Korakuen Hall in Toyko.
The main event of this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) make his first defense, as he takes on former champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 11), in what will be a second bout between these two. Thee two men fought in 2017, with Kuga taking a narrow decision win over Tamura to retain the title, since then however Kuga has been stopped by Shingo Wake and Tamura has bounced back from losing to Kuga to win the title. Given their first bout was a brilliant and violent fight we're expecting something really special here. A full preview of this bout is available here Tamura and Kuga to meet again, potential war set?
In a major supporting bout we'll see Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-2, 6) and Koichi Aso (23-8-1, 15) clash at Lightweight, in a bout that should be very fan friendly. Coming in to this Yanagi is unbeaten in 5 bouts, including a draw in a Japanese title eliminator last year with Accel Sumiyoshi, but this is likely to be a really tough bout for him. Aso, a veteran and former Japanese Light Welterweight champion, will be dropping down in weight but always brings intense pressure and will be looking to break down Yanagi. This could be an all out war if Yanagi can't keep Aso at range.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see ranked fighters clash, as Naoya Okamoto (13-7-1, 6) and Yosuke Fujihara (17-6, 4) face off in a bout that could well set up a future title fight with the winner of the main event. Okamoto narrowly missed out on a title fight, when he lost a technical decision in October in a Japanese title eliminator, and will be hungry here to shine. Fujihara on the other hand is someone who has challenged for a title before but has lost 3 of his last 4 and really needs a good performance here.
Another bout featuring domestic ranked fighters will see Kenta Nakagawa (16-3-1, 11) take on Ryosuke Nasu (10-4-3, 2). Nakagawa is a former Japanese Super Flyweight champion, holding the title in 2016-2017, and has won 3 in a row since losing the belt to Ryuichi Funai. Nasu on the other hand is a former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion who will know that a win here will prove to be a huge step towards a potential senior title fight later in the year.
Another name worthy of noting on this card is Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5), though our understanding is a planned bout has been cancelled and he will instead compete in a spar rather than an actual fight.
Bang Phun, Thailand
At the Workpoint Studio we'll former world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai (44-1-1, 34) take on former champion Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14-5, 32), in what looks almost certain to be a fun fight. Nawaphon, at 27, is the much younger man and needs a big win, and a win over Jaro would be among his very best. Jaro, who is known in Thailand due to his shock win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam back in 2012. At the age of 37 it's hard to know what Jaro really has left, though he was stopped in 2017 by Jonas Sultan, a none puncher, and surely has to be coming very close to the end of his career.
In Russia we'll see a couple of hard hitting Uzbek fighters in action.
One of those fighters is Ravshanbek Umurzakov (7-0, 7), who takes on Anthony Moloisane (11-3-1, 7) in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The talented Umurzakov has shown a lot of promise but isn't being moved up through the levels yet, sadly, and that shows again here, with South African fighter Moloisane, who isn't bad, but also isn't a clear step up for the Uzbek who should be taking on much better opponents now.
A second Uzbek on this show will see Elnur Abduraimov (4-0, 4) in action, as he hunts his 5th straight stoppage. He's stepped up in his last two bouts, but it's clear he needs a real test in the near future, so fingers crossed that happens sooner rather than later. He's too good to be wasting his time against limited opposition and would be served much better by take on someone to extend him some rounds and help prepare him for bigger and better bouts. At the time of writing the opponent for this bout hasn't been named, suggesting a limited and late notice opponent for the Uzbek.
Also on this card is unbeaten Kazakh youngster Stanislav Kalitskiy (7-0, 3), who will be stepping into his first 8 round bout. Sadly there is not currently an opponent confirmed for Kalitskiy, and as with Abduraimov it seems like he will be matched softly with a late notice foe.
Another Asian card will take place in Taiwan, though this is a very low level card, headlined by an 8 round bout between Chia Ching Hung (4-1-1, 4) and Anurak Madua (6-3, 4). Hung is a local to Taiwan, but hasn't fought in over a year, and is 1-1-1 in his last 3. Madua on the other hand was stopped in 77 seconds last time out, when he fought in Osaka against Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto.
The rest of this card is mostly novices bouts with debutants.
In Tokyo this coming Wednesday Japanese fight fans get the chance to see two former national champions in action, bot of whom will be expected to pick up straight forward wins after recent defeats.
One of those former champions is the exciting, and teak tough, Suguru Muranaka (25-3-1, 8), who returns to the ring for the first time since his loss to WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The former Japanese Super Flyweight champion gained some genuine respect with his performance against Yafai, in what was Muranaka's first bout outside of the Korakuen Hall, and will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on domestic foe Ken Achiwa (11-12-5, 4). Interestingly however this may not be as easy as it looks and it will be a second meeting between the two, with Muranaka having taken a close decision over Achiwa in their first bout back in 2013.
The other former champion is Kenta Nakagawa (14-3-1, 10), who lost the Japanese Super Flyweight title earlier this year to Ryuichi Funai. This will be Nakagawa's second bout since that loss and we'll see him up against Indonesian journeyman Ical Tobida (13-23-1, 8). The talented Nakagawa was simply not good enough to defeat Funai, but should be far, far to good for Tobida, who has been stopped 13 times already and will likely not hear the final bell here.
In the Philippines fight fans get a small Elorde promoted card. The show generally doesn't have much to get excited about, but we do have to admit that we do like the look of one of the men in the main event and one of the supporting bouts.
The main event will see the very talented, and heavy handed, Giovanni Escaner (15-3, 10) take on Japan's Kyota Otsuka (6-2-2, 4). Of the two men it's Escaner who has been the more impressive and he has had 4 straight wins coming in to this, including stoppages over over Japanese veterans Junichi Ebisuoka and the then touted Naoto Uebayashi. Although Escaner has been beaten 3 times they have all come to decent fighters, such as Marco Demecillo, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Jason Canoy. Otsuka has won just 1 of his last 5 and is likely to come up short again here, but won't be looking to roll over and could give Escaner a really good test.
The supporting bout of interest will see 21 year old Robin Langres (7-2, 3) take on 19 year old Jerry Mae Villagracia (6-2, 2) in what looks like a bit og a 50-50 match up. Both men come in to this on the back a 2 losses in their last 4 and both were beaten last time out. Both of these fighters are limited, but this should be competitive as a result of their limitations and we wouldn't be surprised by a very fun low key bout.
This coming Thursday sees action return to the Korakuen Hall after a short break away from the Japanese holy land of boxing. The card isn't the biggest, or the best, but it does feature a number of notable fighters.
One of those notable names will be former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (13-3-1, 9), who returns to action for the first time since losing the title to Ryuichi Funai earlier this year. The former champion is being matched rather softly here as he takes on Petchkaorat Kaolamlekgym (0-2), who has been stropped in both of his previous visitors to Japan. Although Nakagawa was stopped last time out it would be a massive surprise to to see anything but a stoppage for the Japanese local.
In the chief support bout we'll see veteran Takashi Inagaki (19-15-2, 9) take on Japanese ranked Yuya Okazaki (12-10-2, 4). Coming in to the bout Inagaki has has mixed success, including a draw with Daisuke Sakamoto, but it's hard to imagine him having much luck against Okazaki, who is a level below the best Japanese fighters at 140, but should be well above the likes of Inagaki.
There isn't much action on Wednesday but there will be title action at the Korakuen Hall.
The headline bout of the card will be a potentially brilliant Japanese Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (13-2-1, 9) makes his first defense of the belt and takes on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (26-7, 18). Nakagawa won the title last year, when he scored a well earned win over Hayato Kimura in a really good 10 round war, and will be looking to keep a hold of it move towards bigger and better bouts in the future. As for Funai this will be a third shot at a title, and given the fits he gave Sho Ishida last year it's impossible to write him off. Both fighters will be well up for this and it could end up being a bit of a closet classic.
The under-card is lacking in names, and perhaps the most notable of the support bouts sees veteran Takashi Inagaki (18-14-2, 8) battling against Toshiro Tarumi (5-3-3, 3). The experienced Inagaki has been a professional for more than 13 years, but is long removed from his prime, when he fought for Japanese, and appears to be fighting for his love of the sport. Tarumi, at just 23, is a bit of an up-and-down fighter and is 2-3 in his last 5. That does however include a notable win over Quaye Peter and he can be a handful at lower domestic level.
Action continues in Tokyo this week with a 4th show in as many days. This time we have title action on a show that is, is on the whole, a top heavy one. Though one which will be view-able on delay thanks to boxingraise.
In the main event, and the only bout of any real interest, we'll see the exciting Kenta Nakagawa (12-2-1, 9) battle veteran Hayato Kimura (25-8, 16) for the vacant Japanese Super Flyweight title. For Nakagawa the bout serves as his first title bout and sees him looking to build on recent wins over Shuji Hamada and Jo Tanooka, aged 31 this could be Nakagawa's one and only title shot. For Kimura the bout is a second Japanese title fight, though he has previously fought for other titles and was even the Korean Super Flyweight champion.
Whilst the under-card is certainly lacking, in both names and match up quality,the main event will be worth paying attention to the card for, and with boxingraise showing it on delay there's little to be disappointed by, especially given the action through the early part of the week.
The most notable show this Friday comes from the Korakuen where Flash Akabane are putting on a notable show.
In the main event fans will see former Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka (23-2-1, 8) fight for the second time since he had multi-weight issues. The Japanese fighter, who is currently world ranked, will be up against under-rated Filipino fighter Renoel Pael (19-3-1 9) in what is likely to be a very good get for Muranaka, but one he should pass. Although we favour Muranaka here we can't see this being anything but a fun fight for fight fans and one that will have to see Muranaka stepping up his game significantly from his last bout.
The only other bout of real note on this card will see Kenta Nakagawa (11-2-1, 8) take on Thai visitor Ken Menayothin (0-1). Nakagawa has gone 9-0-1 in his last 10 and is heading towards a ranking, following good results against the likes of Toyoto Shiraishi, Jo Tanooka and Shuji Hamada. This bout will be Menayothin's second in Japan, follow a stoppage loss at the end of last year to the very promising Masayoshi Hashizume, and we don't see him winning here against Nakagawa.
Despite not being in action this card will also feature Yuzo Kiyota, who will be in a retirement ceremony ending his long career in the ring.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be shows in China and Thailand.
One of the main bouts of the show will see the promising Zulpikar Maimaitiali (6-0-1, 4) face off against the much more experienced Tanzanian Thomas Mashali (18-4-1-1, 9). Notably Mashali has been stopped in both of his bouts away from home, both in Russia, and we see him being stopped again here against a slightly crude but very exciting Chinese fighter.
The other bout of genuine note on this card will see the big punching Ainiwaer Yilixiati (7-0, 6) face off against Chaoqun Dong (5-1, 2). Coming in to this one Yilixiati is on a 6 fight stoppage run, with the first of the stoppages actually coming against Dong last October. For Dong this is a chance to avenge his sole defeat.
In Thailand the major bout will see world ranked Super Flyweight hopeful Eaktawan Mor Krungthep Thonburi (19-3, 13) battle against Filipino opponent Jayar Diama (7-7-5, 3). This is expected to be another win for Eaktawan, who is a genuinely promising prospect, but Diama is better than his record suggests and was very unfortunate not to beat Ming Ma Yi back in January.
Also in Thailand, though possibly on a different show, the unbeaten Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (34-0, 25) will be defending his PABA Welterweight “Super” title against Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (21-2-2, 19).
The final Japanese card before Christmas comes on December 21st as we get the final Dangan card of the year.
The main event of the card is a really intriguing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title as promising youngster Yusaku Kuga (11-1-1, 7) battles against the experienced Yasutaka Ishimoto (26-8, 7). The title is vacant going in to this one, after having recently been given up by Yukinori Oguni, but that shouldn't take the shine off what will be a thrilling contest between a young puncher and a speed veteran, both looking to claim the biggest win of their career, and a Japanese title. Don't be surprised if this is a pre-Christmas cracker!
In an excellent under-card bout fans will get the chance to see Jo Tanoka (12-2-3) battle against the heavy handed Kenta Nakagawa (9-2-1, 7). Coming in to this one both are JBC ranked and both know that a win will leap them towards a Japanese Super Flyweight title fight in 2016. This skill Vs power and whilst Tanoka hasn't yet stopped anyone he is a young man growing into his body and has proven himself as a very capable boxer. This really is a brilliant match up.
Another bout that sees Japanese ranked fighters face off will see Ribo Takahata (11-6-1, 3) take on Yusuke Tsukada (8-4, 3). The match up isn't as exciting as the other two bouts we've made a note of, but it is a very significant bout that will see the winner move towards a title fight in 2016. Coming into this one Tsukada is on a 3 fight winning streak including a victory over recent title challenger Kazuhiro Nishitani. Tsukada has lost 2 of his last 3, but does hold a notable win over the then unbeaten Johnreil Maligro, and has faced very good competition including current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa.