The main show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo, where we get the East Japan Rookie of the Year Finals, with 12 bouts scheduled for the show. The winners here will move on to December's All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where they will face the West Japan representatives. We won't go through all 12 bouts, but we have got 4 bouts that do really interest us.
At Lightweight we'll see Shinnosuke Saito (5-3, 2) take on the unbeaten Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6). Saito has has twice been beaten in previous Rookie of the Year events, losing to Zirolian Riku in 2017 and George Tachibana in 2018, and will be hoping it's third time lucky. Sasaki on the other hand only made his debut in August 2018, and the 18 year old has been really active and really impressive. His competition hasn't been great though he looked fantastic in his East Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final in September, when he stopped Tetsuya Kondo. It's hard to see Sasaki losing, but this should be his best test so far.
At Featherweight we'll see the unbeaten Daiki Imanari (5-0, 3) take on Kyonosuke Kameda (4-1-1, 3). The unbeaten Imanari made his debut in October 2018 and has notched 4 wins this year as he's marched his way to. Aged 22 and fighting out of the southpaw stance Imanari has been impressive and booked his place in the final with an opening round TKO win against Azumah Tanaka. The once beaten Kameda, the cousin of the Kameda fighting brothers, is a huge Featherweight, at 6'0" and although he's not unbeaten he has improved drastically since being stopped on his debut at the very start of January 2018. This could be a really interesting bout and it's worth noting that both men can really punch.
On paper the Super Flyweight bout between Satoshi Iriinafuku (5-4, 4) and Seiya Meguro (4-0, 3) might not look great but this could be the hidden gem for the show. The 26 year old Iriinafuku is on a roll this year, scoring 3 successive stoppages and appears to have build his confidence with those wins, including surprise win over Rui Ikari in his semi final in September. Meguro on the other hand is a talented 19 year old who has been very dangerous in the early stages. Expect leather to fly in the opening couple of rounds of their scheduled 5 rounder.
The final bout that really interests us is the Minimumweight bout, which will pit unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Katsuki Mori (4-0, 1) against the very exciting Shu Nawai (3-1, 2), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two actually fought in October 2018, when Mori out pointed the debuting Nawai, and it's fair to say that the aggressive Nawai will want to avenge that loss against the slippery and sharp Mori. This should be very interesting with their styles meshing well and the history of their previous bout.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Rookie of the Year show in Japan there will also be a card in Vietnam.
The main event of this card is a really interesting one, with Korean teenager Jong Seon Kang (9-0-2, 6) facing off against Filipino youngster Tomjune Mangubat (11-1-1, 9) in a contest for the WBO Oriental Youth Featherweight title. Kang impressed earlier this year, when he stopped Qixiu Zhang in China, and this will be his second bout in Vietnam, following a draw back in August. Mangubat on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 and there is very little of quality on his record and this appears to be a genuine step up for him. This could be a very interesting match up.
Another potentially interesting fight will see Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (19-5, 11) take on the limited but fun to watch Kongfah Nakornluang (32-1, 20) from Thailand. Coming in to this Nazarov has won 6 in a row, including a huge win in August over Ivan Soriano, and is a long way removed from the man who lost 3 times in just over 3 months. Kongfah on the other hand has 10 wins in a row since his sole loss, Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, but those wins have come against total novices, and his last bout was way back in March 2018.
Also set for this show is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (11-0, 8), who takes on Filipino visitor Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5). The talented Tran has had a really frustrating career, with bouts being cancelled and plans being changed, and sadly this will be his first bout in over 16 months! A huge change to the first half of 2018, where he fought 4 times in just 6 months. Remandiman has rebuilt really well since a 2-4-1 start to his career, and has won 8 in a row, including a recent win over Renz Rosia. The visitor has momentum coming into this, but will be regarded as the clear under-dog.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall for the second time in the space of just 3 days for what is set to be another very interesting card. This one doesn't have as many good match ups as the June 8th show but it does have 3 bouts that are worthy of some real attention.
The most significant of those bouts is an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator between Japanese slickster Shingo Wake (18-4-2, 11) and experienced Thai visitor Mike Tawatchai (35-7-1, 21). Wake comes into this bout on an impressive run of 8 straight wins, with 6 by way of T/KO, and should rightfully be favoured however the Thai is himself unbeaten in 9 and is very highly ranked by the IBF following a reign as the IBF Asia champion. Notably Tawatchai is 1-7 in Japan and will be hoping to score his first win in the country in more than 5 years, a tough ask against someone as good as Wake.
In the chief support bout we'll see the return to the ring of former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (28-5-2, 19), who fought Guillermo Rigondeaux at the end of 2014. Amagasa has been matched with visiting Thai Patomsith Pathompothong (12-3, 5). Patomsith is facing his most notable foe to date though it is possible that Amagasa will still be suffering the effects of his loss to Rigondeaux, which finished with the Japanese fighter looking like a swollen mess.
The only title fight on this show is a bout for the OPBF female Super Bantamweight title and will see the once beaten Tomomi Takano (7-1, 5) take on Thailand's Nongbua Lookpraiaree (9-12-1, 1), who is a replacement for Filipino Carleans Rivas. We suspect that Takano will be the more skilled of the fighters in the ring here but she has shown questionable stamina and Nonbua has only been stopped once in her 12 losses. Interestingly we did manage to find footage of Nongbua fighting South Korea against Hee Jung Yuh and from the footage it does seem like she could test Takano.
Khon Kaen, Thailand
It's not just Japanese fans getting action but also Thai fans who will be getting a show from Khon Kaen which will be televised on Channel 7.
The main event here will see the very good Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (40-6-1, 20) battle against the upset minded Filipino slugger Jomar Fajardo (14-7-2, 7). Whilst Fajardo did impress us in both of his fights against Francisco Rodriguez Jr this does seem much too much for the “Wallopman” who has no right fighting at Bantamweight.
In a supporting bout the unbeaten Kongfah Nakornluang (21-0, 13) will take on Filipino visitor Wilber Andogan (10-19-4, 4). The weight difference between the two men here should again take any real drama from the bout and Andogan's key aim will be to make things fun to watch rather than try to win. Whilst Kongfah is flawed he should be far too good for the Filipino journeyman.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
May 22nd-Mamadjonov Vs Commey appears mouth watering, whilst unbeaten Thai's attempt to extend winning runs
The start of the day's action begins in Thailand with a small card involving two of the Nakornloung prospects.
The more experienced of the two notable prospects is Kongfah Nakornluang (20-0, 12) who will be hoping to continue his winning run and move towards an eventual world title fight. The other fighter is Jirapan Nakornluang (4-0, 3) who will be looking for his 4th win of the year.
Sadly we're unsure about the opponent of either man.
*Note “Nakornloung” is the spelling the promoter uses on their website
In the US we get a really good looking Lightweight bout as Uzbek hopeful Bahodir Mamadjonov (17-1, 11) takes on the huge punching Ghanaian Richard Commey (21-0, 19) in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental Lightweight title. Commey has impressed when we've been able to see him and he's significantly better than most active fighters from Ghana however Mamadjonov is a very good fighter himself, which makes this a genuinely mouth watering clash. On paper the Uzbek is the better “boxer” but Commey the better puncher and this should boost the winner towards a world title bout
The most significant bout of the day takes place in the US where the popular and exciting Yoshihiro Kamegai (25-2-1, 22) battles against former world title challenger Alfonso Gomez (24-6-2, 12). For Kamegai this will be his 6th bout in the US, and his first since signing for Golden Boy Promotions. Currently Kamegai has a record of 2-2-1 (2) when he has travelled Stateside with the last win there coming last December against Oscar Godoy. The 34 year old Gomez is himself best known for coming up short against Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto and we suspect that this is a make or break fight for the popular Mexican, who famously took part in the first season of “The Contender”. In the ring these two should make for a great fight with both men having styles that should gel for a very memorable action fight.
In Australia fans will have the chance to see the world ranked Czar Amonsot (27-3-3, 17) facing off against Thai veteran Decha Kokietgym (34-11-3, 18) in what looks to be a huge mismatch in favour of the Australian based Filipino fighter
Thai fans get two shows, the most notable of which comes from Bangkok where fans get the chance to see unbeaten fringe contender and a former world champion.
The fringe contender is the limited but always entertaining Kongfah Nakornluang (19-0, 11) who will be defending the WBC Youth Silver Super Flyweight for the first time. Kongfah, who won the title in January with a 3rd round TKO against Rendi Stone, will be defending his belt against the unbeaten Ricky Morales (4-0-1), who is apparently unbeaten but his record appears incomplete.
As for the former champion, that is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (32-4-1, 29) who stays busy with a bout against Indonesian journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-34-2, 3), who has amazingly gone 18 fights with out a stoppage loss. The tough Tehuayo is likely to be stopped here but that says more about the destructive power of Srisaket than anything else.
A relatively interesting looking lower tier bout will see Denchai Por Korkua (1-2) battle against the win-less Petch-ek Sithsaithong (0-1). We won't pretend this is a special contest but it could be entertaining all the same.
For those wanting to watch this card it will be televised on Channel 7.
This other Thai show will be on Channel 11 and features a long term unbeaten fighter who has yet to full convince us of his ability.
The aforementioned unbeaten but untested fighter is Kaewfah Tor Buamas (17-0, 11) who battles Indonesia's Boido Simanjuntak (18-27-1, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBA Asia Lightweight title. This should be a straight forward win for Kaewfah however it is a huge step up in class for the Thai who really has got a paper record, to be polite.
In a second bout on this show fans will see the unbeaten Pharanpetch tor Buamas (14-0, 10) in a non-title bout, unfortunately however we've not yet got the name of his opponent.
In Japan fans get a small show with little to really get excited about.
The main event here sees Japanese ranked fighter Tsukasa Saito (19-3, 14), a former Japanese Lightweight title challenger and former WBC Youth champion, battle against regular visitor Fasanghan Or Benjamad (0-7). Fasanghan has lost all 7 recorded bouts by stoppage with 6 losses coming in Japan and we suspect this will be #7 in the country.
In the chief support bout fans will see the once beaten Haruka Itakura (4-1, 1) battle against the limited Katsunori Imai (5-6-1). Itakura was a participant in last year's Rookie of the Year and came up short against the talented Reiya Abe, in what was his most recent contest. Imai however comes into this bout in appalling form having won just 1 of his last 7 bouts. That bad form of Imai's dates back to 2008!
(Image courtesy of http://www.goldenboypromotions.com)
Action returns to Thailand this coming Friday with a Channel 7 televised card featuring fighters from the Nakornluang stable of fighters. The fighters might not be involved in the most interesting of bouts but a number of fighters ion action are proven fighters and another is possibly the most fun to watch Thai currently breaking through.
The exciting fighter previously mentioned is the unbeaten, but scarily limited, Kongfah Nakornluang (18-0, 10). Kongfah is an all action brawler who is unlikely to make an impact at world level but will also be fun to watch win or lose. In his upcoming bout it's hard to see anything but a win for Kongfah who will be hoping to claim the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title as he takes on Indonesia's Rendy Stone (3-3-1, 2). Stone is best known for losing last November to Yushi Tanaka in WBC Youth Bantamweight title fight and we suspect the Indonesian will come up short again here.
Although Kongfah is in title action he's not the biggest name on the show, in fact there's a pair of former world champions both in action.
One of those former world champions is former WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (31-4-1, 28) who will be taking part in a stay busy fight as he prepares for a world title eliminator with Mexican Jose Salgado in either March or April. Sadly at the time of writing Srisaket's opponent has yet to be named suggesting it could be a debutant or a very poor imported foe to just keep power puncher ticking over.
The other former world champion is Srisaket's close friend and also a former WBC Super Flyweight champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (38-6-1, 17) who will be fighting for the second time since he lost to Shinsuke Yamanaka in a WBC Bantamweight title fight. It seems likely that Suriyan will also be in an eliminator later this year but first for him is this stay busy bout. Sadly as with Srisaket his opponent hasn't yet been publicly named.
One final member of the Nakornluang stable of fighters to be in action is the very promising Jirapan Nakornluang (1-0, 1) who impressed us on his debut when he out boxed and broke down Toto Lookmuangbangklang this past December. Although a novice it's clear this young man has a lot of talent and we'd be very surprised if we didn't see him in bigger and better bout in the next year or two. As with Srisaket and Suriyan, Jirapan's opponent hasn't yet been named