Next Thursday we see another notable card from the Korakuen Hall, and this one really is a rather exciting one with a number of notable names features.
The main event of the card will see the criminally under-rated Masayuki Ito (20-1-1, 8) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title against big punching Filipino title challenger Lorenzo Villanueva (32-2-0-1, 28). For Ito the bout will be his first defense, since he claimed the title at the very end of 2016, and he should be looking to extend a current 4 winning run which which includes really good wins over Shingo Eto and Takuya Watanabe. For the Filipino the bout is his first outside of the Philippines since his thrilling 2012 loss to Daud Yordan in Singapore. The challenger will have the big edge in power, but he's up against a very talented boxer, and will need to show more than just brute force to over-come Ito.
In a major supporting bout we'll see former world title challenger Keita Obara (16-2-1, 15) take on Indonesian Larry Siwu (24-7, 20) in a Welterweight bout. For Obara the contest will be his first since losing in a world title bout to Eduard Troyanovsky last September. The talented Obara is taking off the shackles of making Light Welterweight and it seems likely that he will be continuing his career at 147lbs going forward. Although Siwu is a decent fighter he really shouldn't have anything to really test Obara, who will be looking to shake some ring rust and make a statement.
Arguably the most intriguing match up on the card will see former Japanese and OPBF Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (30-7-2, 9) take on touted former amateur standout Shuichiro Yoshino (3-0, 2) in what looks like a must win for the veteran and a potential coming out party for the novice. Although now a faded force Kato, who is more than 2 years removed from a win of note, is tough, skilled and a nightmare for fighters who look to have a war. If Yoshino can avoid a war and rely on his amateur skills then he could announce himself as a serious play on the Japanese scene at 135lbs, but this is a huge step up for the 25 year old.
Another former champion on this card is former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (26-7, 14), who vacated his title around the start of the year. The world ranked Masuda will be up against Filipino visitor Romel Oliveros (8-3-1, 3), who is fighting in Japan for the third time. The talented Masuda is hunting a world title bout later in the year and this is clearly a stay busy bout for him, but one that should help him get some rounds under his belt. Oliveros has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, being stopped in 2 rounds by Daigo Higa and in 5 rounds by Jonas Sultan, and it's hard to see him lasting the distance here against Masuda.
Yoshino isn't the only touted novice on this card as former amateur star Motoki Osanai (1-0) returns to the ring for his second professional outing, and takes on fellow unbeaten Takeshi Kaneko (4-0-1). The talented Osanai turned professional last year, along with Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but has failed to shine like those two and will be looking to make up for lost time here. As for Kaneko he is unbeaten, but his 0 has certainly come under challenger during his career and it'd take a career best performance to keep that 0 here.
We've had a real lull in action recently but these next few days sees that lull ending in style with fights across the Orient.
The most well matched show of the day is in Tokyo as we get the next Dangan card. The show isn't the most meaningful or significant but it certainly does have some good looking and interesting contests on it.
One of those bouts is the main event which pits ranked fighters against each other in a potentially significant cross roads bout on the Japanese domestic scene. The bout will pit the experienced Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-2, 12), who is ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF, against the heavy handed Kenta Nakagawa (9-2, 7). Although in experienced Nakagawa made his debut in 2004 and appears to be looking to make up for lost time with this bout. Shiraishi however may have too much know how for his hard hitting foe.
Another showdown between ranked fighters comes in the chief support bout as Lightweight contenders face off in what could be something a little bit special. In one corner here we will have Kazuhiro Nishitani (14-2-1, 7) whilst in the other corner we have the the inform Yusuke Tsukada (7-4, 3). These two are ranked #8 and #9 by the JBC and although their rankings are very similar it's hard to see what Tsukada really brings to the table here, despite solid back-to-back wins coming in to this bout.
Another bout to feature a ranked fighter comes at Welterweight where Moon Hyun Yun (15-4-2, 2) takes on Shiro Saito (7-4-2, 2). Yun is looking for a second title fight and may well see a win here as his door to rematch with Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama, he does however enter 1-2-1 in his last 4. For Saito this is a great opportunity but it would require a career best performance for him to to claim a win.
In another 8 round we'll see a bout between experienced but flawed fighters as Ryuichi Funai (23-6, 16) takes on Japanese based Filipino Ryan Bito (22-14-3, 8). Funai is in great form with 6 wins, 5 inside the distance, since his last loss, to Rolly Lunas in an OPBF Bantamweight title clash and is on the verge of a shot at either the OPBF or the Japanese title. As for Bito the experienced Pinoy is looking to score just his second win since the start of 2012. It's fair to say Funai is the big favourite but we're hoping to see a good performance from Bito who really is indeed of a good one considering his recent form.
The final bout of note will see the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Featherweight, Yuichiro Kasuya (6-0, 1) fight for the first time this year as he takes on the limited, and fellow light hitting, Takashi Sakamoto (6-4, 1) in what appears to be a good step in the right direction for Kasuya who does look very promising. Aged just 18 we suspect we'll see a lot of Kasuya over the coming years.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get the chance to see a Sonshine card which features several notable names all in action, including one of the most interesting Filipino prospects.
The top of the card features 4 bouts all scheduled for 10 rounds. Sadly these all appear to be a mismatches including a bout between fringe contender Edrin Dapudong (30-6, 18) and domestic journeyman Richard Garcia (25-21-1, 7). This should be an easy win for “The Sting” who is better than his record indicates, and has sadly suffered a number of very close losses in recent times.
Another mismatch at the top of the card will see the heavy handed Lorenzo Villanueva (28-1-0-1, 24) battle against the tough but limited Rey Laspinas (19-11-5, 11). Villanueva, who did look amazingly exciting early in his career, comes into this bout looking for his 7th straight win since losing a 2012 FOTY contender to Daud Yordan in Singapore. Laspinas has proven his toughness, with just 3 stoppage losses, but all 3 stoppages have come in his last 8 bouts and this is likely to be another stoppage loss.
Former world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-4, 20) will be fighting for the first time since his disappointing performance against Juan Francisco Estrada. Asenjo has been matched very easily here as he takes on Allan Doronilla (9-14-1, 3) in what should prove to be little more thean a confidence rebuilding win for the hard hitting “Little Assassin”.
The remaining 10 rounder will see Rolando Magbanua (25-2, 17) take on Jimmy Aducal (8-5-2, 6). Coming in to this bout Aducala has been stopped in back-to-back fights and is 2-4 in his last 6. Magbanua on the other hand has won his last 6 and is in good form whilst also, clearly, the big favourite for this one.
As for the interesting prospect, that's the unbeaten Roskie Cristobal (10-0, 8). The 5'10” fighter, dubbed “The Gentle Giant” will be seeking his 11th straight win when he takes on the tough JR Mendoza (10-18, 4). Mendoza is a potential banana skin for domestic foes but shouldn't cause Cristobal to slip up, the interest here is whether or not Cristobal will be able to give Mendoza his 4th stoppage loss.
New York, USA
In the US fans will get the chance to see rising Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (5-0, 5) continue his career as he takes on the limited Jason Thompson (5-10-4, 4), who is winless in the last 72 months. The heavy handed Kazakh, 28, has now been a pro for more than 3 years and it seems like it's now time that he was moved up in terns of his match making, sadly however it doesn't seem like his handlers are willing to really back him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Although Asian action today comes from the Philippines with a single interesting looking show from Davao del Sur.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
The show that been put together to show off three of the biggest punching Filipino fighters all of whom will be expected to score wins and move on to bigger and better fights later in the year.
One of the men in action will be IBO Light Flyweight champion Rey Loreto (18-13, 10) who will be fighting for the first time since he iced Nkosinathi Joyi way back in February. Loereto, who has beaten former world champions in his last two bouts, will be fighting the tough but limited Heri Amol (34-19-4, 14) in what should be a good fight to shake the ring rust for Loreto more than anything else. For Amol this will be his 7th bout of the year, and his second since being dominated by Japanese debutant Ken Shiro and we suspect this will be his 6th straight loss.
Another man in action will be former IBO Super Flyweight champion Edrin Dapudong (29-6, 17) who should make light work of Thailand's limited Wisanlek Sithsaithong (11-5, 6). For Dapudong this is a stay busy fight before a probable rematch with South African Lwandile Sityatha, who beat Dapudong earlier this year. Although Wisanlek comes into this bout with an 11 fight winning streak his opponents have been dire, to say the least, and he cannot been seen as a real threat to the Filipino fighter known as "The Sting".
The third bout of note will see the return to the ring of the usually fun to watch Denver Cuello (33-5-6, 21) who has been inactive since losing a WBC world title fight against Xiong Zhao Zhong. Cuello will be taking on Thai novice Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (3-1, 2) in what looks like a pointless contest though it's really a test for Cuello's body after having had serious issues with one of his arms in his last 3 contests, including the Zhong fight and his narrow win over Takashi Kunishige. If Zhong is the fighter he once was then we feel he has the ability to become a world champion, however if his injury continues to be a problem then there is no saying he could even beat a journeyman, unfortunately.
On the under card we know of two other bouts which both feature an interesting fighter.
The most notable of those fighters is former world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (25-3, 20) who will be battling against fellow Filipino Richard Rosales (8-2-2, 3). Asenjo comes in to this bout on the back of a 5 fight winning streak following a 3rd round loss to Raul Garcia back in 2011. As for Rosales he has won his last 2 bouts but shouldn't be much of a challenge for the talented Asenjo.
Another interesting fighter on the under-card is the unbeaten and heavy handed Lightweight prospect Roskie Cristobal (8-0, 7) who will be fighting against the much smaller Rolly Llino (5-12-1, 2). Cristobal is a very heavy handed fighter with real promise and sadly he's being matched in bouts that aren't helping him at all, such as this one against a man who is several divisions smaller. A real waste of time for such a promising prospect.
From what we understand there rest of the undercard is very stacked with fighters like Lorenzo Villanueva (26-1-0-1, 23) and Rolando Magbanua (23-2, 15) both being in action as Sonshine Sports show how interested they are in the sport.
(Image, and video below, courtesy of Sonshine Sports)
Having had some very good days so far this week it's fair to say that we aren't going to be let down on Saturday with yet more interesting looking fights spread across the globe.
The most interesting of those bouts takes place in Nebraska as the very highly regarded Russian Matt Korobov (23-0, 14) takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Jose Uzcategui (22-0, 18) in what could potentially be the fight of the night. The two, who are 45-0 (32) between them, will be fighting for the WBO Inter-Continental title and, in all likeliness, the winner will become the WBO mandatory challenger for reigning champion Peter Quillin.
On the same card fans will also get to see the very promising Konstantin Ponomarev (23-0, 11), also from Russia, who will be fighting against Hector Munoz (23-13-1, 15). Munoz is probably best known to some as the man Yoshihiro Kamegai made his US debut against way back in October 2011, on that occasion Kamegai stopped Munoz in 6 rounds in what is still his only win on US soil. Ponomarez won't be expected to by quite as impressive against Munoz but will be expected to score a win here and live up to his nickname of "Talant".
Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
Staying on the Russian theme for a moment longer fans in the Dominican Republic will get the chance to see the very promising Fedor Chudinov (10-0, 8) in action. Fedor is the younger brother of current WBA interim Middleweight champion Dmitry Chudinov and will be seeking his 11th straight win as he takes on Emiliano Cayetano (22-7, 13). On paper this is a step up for Chudinov but we view him as a better fighter than his brother and expect him to easily see off his more experienced foe.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Whilst the three Russian's fighting will likely grab the attention of many fans there is also a lot of action in the Philippines with 3 separate shows. For us the most interesting of those is in Davao del Sur where Aljoe O Jaro will be putting on a show that, just a few weeks ago, seemed on the verge of falling apart.
The main event isn't great as former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (36-13-5, 26) battles against Ichal Tobida (10-11, 8) in a bout that looks, for all intents and purposes, like a mismatch. Jaro, best known for his shock win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, has lost 3 of his last 5 including a major upset loss to Gerpaul Valero. With those recent results Tobida may find himself having a chance, albeit only a slim one.
In the co-main event the unbeaten Adones Cabalquinto (15-0, 8) will be defending his GAB Light Welterweight title against the limited Giovani Rota (7-6, 4). When you consider Cabalquinto was lined up to fight Keita Obara earlier this year in an OPBF this bout does look like a waste of time though hopefully it will be the final bout at this level for Cabalquinto before he does move beyond domestic level and throw his name out there to fight Obara, Min Wook Kim or Shinya Iwabuchi. We'd be shocked if Rota makes it to the second half of this fight.
Whilst the two main events look like forgone conclusions in relatively uninteresting bouts we've got to admit we're exciting about the contest between Lorenzo Villanueva (25-1-0-1, 22) and Hendrik Barongsay (26-16-3, 15). We expect the obvious winner here and will be hoping that Villanueva gets the win though he's always been a favourite of ours since we saw his fight with Daud Cino Yordan in 2012. That bout was one of the most insanely entertaining bouts in recent years and we'd recommend you all watch the video of the fight here. Barongsay has only been stopped 5 times in his 45 fight career and the most recent of those was way back in 2009 so there is every chance he could give Villanueva some resistance here.
One other man pencilled in for this show is Roksie Cristobal (7-0, 7), the freakishly tall Lightweight prospect that some in the Philippines have become very excited about. Although he's still young we do want to see Cristobal step up a little bit in coming fights, sadly he's down to face a "TBA" at the time of writing.
As well as those bouts mentioned we expect to see several other bouts, albeit at a lower level.
Lanao del Norte, Philippines
Although we do like the the previously mentioned Filipino show we need to admit that the best single Filipino fight is in Lanao del Norte as Marlon Tapales (25-2, 9) attempts to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title for the first time. Tapales ,a very talented young fighter, will be battling against Tanzania's 20 year old Fadhili Majiha (15-3-4, 7) in a bout that looks very interesting on paper. Tapales will start as the clear favourite but Majiha is 1-0 in Asia having beaten Heri Amol in Amol's native Indonesia. Interestingly Majiha's only stoppage loss came when he was a 16 year old to Vusi Malinga suggesting he may well be a very tough cookie to Tapales to crack.
Also on this card will be the debut of Brian Capampangan (0-0) who kicks off his career with a 6 rounder against Michael Acevido (2-5-1, 1). We'll admit we don't know much about Capampangan but the fact he's beginning his career with a 6 rounder intrigues us.
As with the other show there will be other bouts on this show.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manilla we get another very interesting looking headline bout as Renan Trongco (14-4, 8) defends his WBC International Flyweight title against fellow Filipino Weljan Ugbaniel (12-2-1, 3). Ranked #11 by the WBC at Flyweight Trongco has a lot to lose but we do favour him as he has more proven experience and has been in there with both Sammy Gutierrez and Hekkie Budler, saying that however Ugbaniel will see this as his big chance and we expect to see him fighting better than he has before.
Sadly the chief support bout is a total mismatch as former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (21-7-2, 15) takes on Arjet Caballes (6-30-5, 3). In a normal situation we'd describe this as a disgusting mismatch but in fairness to Lopez there is serious question marks about how much he has left after suffering 3 losses, including 2 stoppages, in his last 4 bouts. Evenif Lopez has something left he genuinely does need a confidence builder and that's exactly what this bout should be for him.
On paper the most competitive bout on this show will see Junjie Lauza (4-10-1, 1) facing against Zoren Pama (5-10-3, 2) which is a bit of a shame. We'd expect this bout to be very competitive. Sadly the same cannot be said about the bout between Dennis Tubieron (17-3-1, 8) and Rey Ramos (6-5-2, 3) or the Cris Paulino (13-1, 3) bout, which will see him facing Lowell Saguisa (7-15, 3) both of which are very bad mismatches we're afraid.
Again there are more than just the bouts we've mentioned.
(Image, courtesy of boxrec.com, is of Adones Cabalquinto)