On Monday our attention turns to Osaka where we get the next Japanese title fight, sadly however the rest of the card is weak with little to really talk about.
The main event from the card will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (31-9-2, 19) defending his title against Koki Ono (12-4, 5). The world ranked Hisada won the title in April 2017 and has already ran up 3 defenses as he's not only distinguished himself as the leading domestic fighter but also a top contender for a world title fight, which could potentially be a shot at WBC champion Ken Shiro. Aged 33, and turning 34 in October, Hisada knows time is against him but he's staying active against decent Japanese challengers. As for Ono he comes into the bout, his first title bout, on the back of a razor thin loss to Koji Itagaki in a Japanese title eliminator. Prior to that loss Ono had been on a good run, with 5 straight wins including victories over the likes of Aiki Koto and Ryoya Ikema and at 27 years old he is right in his physical prime. For Ono this is a huge opportunity to break into the world rankings, but it would take a career best performance against a man who has gone unbeaten since March 2015.
The only real under-card bout of note will see Yuki Takahashi (8-2, 4) take on Kazuaki Miyamoto (5-2, 4). Takahashi looked promising early in his career, winning his first 5 bouts. He has since had a couple of wobbles, but has shown power, and gone 3-2 (3) in his last 5 bouts. Miyamoto also started his career with some promise, starting off his career in 6 round bouts, and although he has suffered stoppage losses to Shuzo Inada and Seiichi Okada he is still a solid fighter at this level. Given what we know about the two fighters we're expecting a very good fight here with the potential for either man to be stopped.
This coming Sunday is a relatively quiet day, despite a show in Japan and one in the Philippines.
In Japan the action comes from Hiroshima where we see two bouts of some note.
The more notable of those bouts sees two men fighting for the opportunity to challenge for the Japanese Light Flyweight title in 2018. The bout will see the talented Koki Ono (12-3, 5) take on Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) in what looks likely to be a really solid fight, despite the men having very differing records. Coming in to this Ono has won his last 5, though his best wins have been over the likes of Ryoya Ikema and Aiki Koto. On the other hand Itagaki has been suffered losses in 5 of his last 11, though he has been fighting at a much higher level and come up short against the likes of Rey Loreto and Kenichi Horikawa. This could be a very good bout between a rising contender, and a true grizzled veteran.
The other bout of note on this show will see the once touted Takumi Sakae (16-2-1,11) continue his career rebuild as he takes on domestic foe Kenta Yokoe (6-12-2, 2). Sakae was once 13-0 and tipped as one to watch, but a 3-2-1 run has left his career in a bit of a mess and he is desperately seeking to right the ship. A win here would push him in the right direction, though much more will need to be done for him to really resurrect his career and get on with earning a second title fight.
Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines the show is a small one, though the main event has the potential to be a really enticing contest as Jestoni Autida (9-7, 4) takes on Donny Mabao (22-32-3, 4). On paper that might not look even worthy of consideration but both are far better than their records indicate with Autida beating the likes of a then unbeaten Jeffrey Francisco, Xinghua Wang and Ratchasak Kokietgym and Mabao holding wins over Michael Enriquez, Mateo Handig and Florante Condes. We're not expecting a fight of the year contender, but a very competitive bout should be seen between two men seeking a win, and each believing they could get it here.
The end the weekend attention turns to Hiroshima where Japanese fight fans get an easy to over-look card from Hiroshima.
In the main event of this show we see veterans colliding for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. The match up sees former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (31-14-1, 7) taking on 33 year old Koji Itagaki (17-10-2, 7). It's fair to say that Horikawa is the more proven fighter, having been in with a variety of well known fighters, such as Akira Yaegashi to Florante Condes, Edgar Sosa, Yu Kimura Shin Ono and Ken Shiro, and has typically held his own with them. Although he has 14 losses to his name Horikawa has proven to be a very solid fighter during a very hard career. Itagaki on the other hand has been in good form, winning 5 of his last 6 bouts, with notable victories over Benezer Alolod, Michael Enriquez and Michael Landero. Although neither man will be in the running for a world title fight, this should be a very good match up and a real war between two men really fighting for their pride.
Whilst the main event is something we're excited about we also really like some of the supporting bouts. One of those bouts we like will see the heavy handed teenager Ryoya Ikema (11-2, 10) take on domestic foe Koki Ono (11-3, 5). Ikema debuted back in 2013, as a 15 year old, and although he was 4-2 at one point he has been impressing recently with a 7-0 (6) run, including an 8 round decision win over Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai. Ono is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak and will feel confident here of upsetting the teenage hopeful, but he has been stopped before and it's clear that Ikema has got power.
Another supporting bout will see the once beaten Retsu Kosaka (7-1, 2) battle against the out of form Yuki Ozawa (10-5, 2). Last time out Kosaka suffered a competitive loss to fellow youngster Ken Osato and will be looking to get back to winning ways here. Ozawa will be looking to end a 5 fight slide here, and looking to make the most of a ring return following a sizeable break from the ring. On paper 5 losses looks terrible for the once 10-0 Ozawa but he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. If Ozawa is in form he could prove to be an excellent test for Kosaka and he is much better than the raw numbers suggest.