This coming Sunday there will be two small shows in Japan.
One of those shows, arguably the most significant, takes place in Hyogo and sees a recent Japanese title contender in action.
The recent Japanese title contender is Ryoki Hirai (10-5-1, 4) who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Shin Ono. In the opposite corner to Hirai will be Yuto Takahashi (8-4, 4), who looks to bounce back from a loss of his own to Tatsuya Fukuhara. The 27 year old Hirai had been riding a 5 fight winning run before coming up short to Ono and did show that he had the talent to go all the way, but lacked the experience. We're expecting to see Hirai use the loss to Ono to build on and shine here. As for Takahashi he's 4-4 in his last 8 and it would be a big surprise to see him pick up a win here.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (12-2, 7) take on Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-4-1, 3). Coming in to this Kanda is riding a 6 fight winning run, including notable wins over Ukyo Yoshigai and Mitsuyoshi Fujita. The 30 year old Takahashi is unbeaten in his last 3, including a win over Shunsuke Nakamura and Yudai Ueno, but this would take a career best performance for him to pick up a win here
The other Japanese card takes place in Osaka, and is even less significant than the Hyogo one.
The main event will see OPBF Atomweight champion Masae Akitaya (12-6-2, 4) take on Filipino foe Floryvic Montero (3-5, 1) in a non-title bout. The bout should be little more than a stay contest for Akitaya, who has won her last 3 and will likely be hunting one more world title bout before retiring. Montero really is no test for a fighter with Akitaya's skills and experience.
In a well matched support bout Yu Yan (6-5-3, 4) will take on Kenta Nomura (4-2, 1) in a 6 round Super Bantamweight bout. Yan has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, going back more than 4 years whilst Nomura has lost his last 2. Neither of these fighters are going anywhere fast but should make for an interesting match up together
Another potentially interesting bout will see former OPBF Lightweight title challenger Kazuya Murata (12-6, 5) takes on Yusuke Yamanouchi (9-4-1, 5). Coming into this Murata has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 and hasn't fought in almost 2 years. Yamanouchi is no world beater but he mnay well have too much for Murata here, given he has been active, and at 36 will not be wanting to suffer another defeat.
This coming Saturday is far from a busy day in Asian rings, but we get some action in Japan and in Malaysia.
The Japanese action is from Osaka where we get a title bout, along with under-card bouts featuring a Japanese and an OPBF ranked fighter.
The main event will see OPBF Atomweight champion Masae Akitaya (11-6-2, 4) making her first defence of the title as she takes on fellow Japanese fighter Akari Arase (5-3, 1), in what really looks like a bit of a mismatch. Aged 39 Akitaya is a veteran of the sport but is a multi-time world title challenger and is a genuine talent, despite what her record suggests. Arase, aged 35 herself, on the other hand is a limited fighter who lost last time out, and lacks a win of any note. It's hard to see past Akitaya here but Arase could be the naturally bigger fighter and try to make advantage of that.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Yuta Maruoka (12-4, 6) take on a Thai foe in a bout at 140lbs. The bout is about keeping Maruoka busy before he gets a more significant bout down the line.
In another supporting bout the OPBF ranked Bantamweight contender Tetsu Araki (8-1-1, 1) facing off with fellow non-puncher Hiroshi Konoura (8-6, 1) in an 8 rounder, that probably will go the distance.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The other show, from Malaysia, isn't a particularly notable one either, though does feature two men of interest.
The most notable of those is Uzbek prospect Azizbek Abdugofurov (6-0, 4), who looks for his 4th win of the year as he takes on Tanzania's Ibrahim Tamba (20-8-1, 14). The Uzbek has impressed through his short career though likely knows he needs some more seasoning before stepping up to and will be hoping to rack up some rounds here. In saying that however we are expecting a stoppage win for Abdugofurov.
The other bout of interest will see in-form Filipino Jeson Umbal (14-5, 9) seek an 8th straight win, as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Arief Blader (23-23-2, 8). Umbal is now 18 months since his last loss and is rising though the ranks thanks to a number of solid wins and he should win this one with out any problems, though he did struggle last time out with the limited Fadhili Majiha.
After a few quiet days, without much in terms of action, we suddenly get a burst of activity with a host of title bouts and name fighters in action.
The most notable in Asia comes from Saitama where we get two world title bouts, along with a champion in a stay busy non-title bout and a really promising prospect.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will see IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (15-3-1, 5) face off against old foe Maria Salinas (11-4-3, 4) in a mouth watering rematch. These two fought to a split decision draw last November, with Shibata recording her 4th defense of the title, but Salinas will be coming in looking for revenge. Salinas hasn't fought since the first meeting whilst Shibata scored a stay busy win earlier in the year, despite that Salinas will have stayed sharp in the gym and will be very hungry here.
In another title bout on the same show Yunoka Furukawa (7-1-2, 5) will be battling Satomi Nishimura (9-2, 1) for the currently vacant WBA Atomweight title. Coming in to this one Furukawa is on a 6 fight winning streak following a peculiar 1-1-2 start to her professional career. The best of those 6 wins was a 4th round TKO over Aiko Yamagishi. Nishimura is 3-2 in her last 5 but has mixed with very good fighters like Asemi Hanagata and Ayaka Miyao, who she challenged for this very same title back in October 2010.
Having mentioned the WBA Atomweight title it's worth noting that former champion Momo Koseki (21-2-1, 7) will be in action on the same show. Koseki gave up the title to focus on keeping her WBC title, and will be in a stay busy bout on this card against a Thai opponent.
A really good prospect on this card will be the former amateur stand out Kazuto Takesako (3-0, 3) who takes on Hiroshi Ohashi (7-9, 3) in an 8 rounder. The touted Takesako will be expected to beat Ohashi, who hasn't scored a win in over 6 years, but will perhaps need to do more than just win to be impressive. Notably Ohashi was stopped in 6 rounds by Koki Tyson in 2014 and that will likely be the target to beat for the unbeaten 25 year old.
Staying in Japan there will also be a show in Osaka, featuring an impressive 12 bouts in total.
The main event will see world ranked Atomweight Masae Akitaya (10-6-2, 3) face off against Thai visitor Sornsawan Sarakarngym (0-2) in what looks like a stay busy bout for the OPBF Atomweight champion, and mutli-time world title challenger.
Sadly whilst the card does have 12 bouts it's hard to find some that are actually worth noting, with the only 8 rounder being a bout between Kazuma Fukuyama (6-6-3, 1) and Shohei Kanemoto (9-11-1, 3). This should be an interesting 8 round but certainly nothing brilliant.
The action isn't just in Japan with several Asian's fighting in Australia.
One of those is the tough Hurricane Futa (20-6-1, 11) who will be up against Will Tomlinson (25-2-1, 13) in what looks likely to be an action packed bout for the WBA “Interim” Oceania Lightweight title. Although both men are flawed both come to fight and it should be one of those all action wars between guys who enjoy having a tear up.
Another Japan Vs Australia bout will see Japanese visitor Kimika Miyoshi (13-8-1, 5) battle against Shannon O'Connell (12-4-1, 7) for the WBC Silver female Super Bantamweight title. O'Connell will be looking to make the first defense of her title but is 1-1-1 coming in to this bout whilst Miyoshi is in the form of her career and has won two OPBF titles this year, to become a 3-weight OPBF champion. This could be another really good match up.
On the same card Thailand's Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-4, 12) will be up against the unbeaten Qamil Balla (8-0-1, 3), in a bout that we suspect Balla will be the favourite for.
In Tokyo fans get the first ever “Ladies Dangan” card, a card put on by “reason”, who promote the Dangan cards, and features only female fighters. The concept is an interesting one and we're hoping it's a success.
Whilst the concept is a good one, that match ups are also good with some genuinely well matched contests taking place on a card that features some notable names. One of those well matched bouts will see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mika Oda (6-7-1, 1) defending her title against Saemi Hanagata (11-6-2, 5). Incidentally Oda won this title in her last bout, which was way back in September 2014. Whilst Oda won the last meeting between these two she has been inactive whilst Hanagata has fought thrice winning two of those bouts and controversially losing the other, which was a world title bout.
The other title bout on this show sees OPBF female Atomweight champion Momoko Kanda (9-8-2, 3) defending her belt against Masae Akitaya (9-6-2, 3), in what looks like an excellent match up. Both fighters have their limitations but both have experienced fighting at world level and both have acquitted themselves well and we wouldn't be surprised if this scrap ended up being a high paced and highly entertaining contest between two fighters both looking to prove themselves.
Another high profile bout on this card sees former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) battle against the once beaten Emika Himuro (5-1-1, 1). Although her record may not suggest it Tsunami is a world class fighter who is tough, game and has a great work rate, sadly however her battles have taken a bit of a toll on her and she looked rather poor last time out against Carolina Rodriguez. Despite that she should have more than enough to over-come the 35 year old Himuro.
Another veteran in action is multi-time title challenger Kayoko Ebata (8-6, 4), who takes on Sornsawan Sarakarngym (0-1). Aged 40 Ebata is a real veteran, having debuted back in 2007, and although not a world champion she has fought in 4 world title bouts, and found herself very competitive in several of them. Sadly she's likely to be ending her career shortly though she has had a career to be proud of.
As well as the Tokyo card there is also a show in Hyogo courtesy of Shinsei gym.
The main event of this card will see JBC ranked Ryo Kosaka (11-3-1, 5) battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-6-2, 2). This looks to be a mismatch, especially given that the 24 year old Mizuno has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, though Mizuno is a southpaw and is tough so may give Kosaka some questions over the 8 round distance.
The chief support bout looks to be a mismatch as former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (18-4-4, 8) battles against limited Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (1-6). Petchmai was stopped in his only previous bout in Japan and we expect to see that happen again here, though Petchmai did win his last bout and may well have some confidence coming in to this one.
A third bout of note will see Seizo Kono (15-8-1, 10) battle Thai novice Yodsing Padjaigym (0-0). Kono has gone 2-5 in hius last 7 but is better than his record suggests and blew away Hikaru Matsuoka last year. This should be a win for Kono but we really know nothing about the Thai who may be one of those fighters with a lot more experience than his record suggests.
The busy action continues on May 9th with a host of notable fighters in action with some very interesting match ups.
The most significant bout involving an Asian comes from Texas, where unbeaten Bantamweight Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) attempts to claim the WBA “regular” title and over-come Britain's hard working Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12). This bout was originally announced as a WBO-WBA unification bout but Kameda was forced to vacate by the WBO who refused to recognise the bout as a unification due to the WBA having multiple champions. Whilst the WBO's move has removed some lure of the bout we're still expecting the action inside the ring to be fantastic and we really can't wait for this.
On a different US show fans will have the chance to see Chinese Heavyweight giant Taishan Dong (3-0, 2) continue his development as he takes on American foe Karinn Davis (2-4, 2). Whilst Dong is heavily hyped in the US he is being matched softly and that's shown again here with Davis being a 40 year old who fought much of his career at Cruiserweight before making his Heavyweight debut earlier this year. Notably Dong will have a 1' height advantage here completely dwarfing Davis when the two get in to the ring.
Whilst the attention grabbing bouts, for many, are stateside we do still get plenty of notable action in Japan with the most notable of two shows coming from Kobe.
The Kobe show is a genuinely intriguing one which is headlined by the come-back of the popular Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15). Hasegawa, fighting for the first time since he was stopped by Kiko Martinez last year, will be taking on dangerous Mexican Horacio Garcia (29-0, 21) in what looks to be a really tough return to action. This is a really difficult bout for Hasegawa though he knows that if he scores a win he could well be back in the title mix by the end of the year. The stakes however are high and another stoppage loss could well be the end of his fantastic career.
As well as the interesting main event there was also some notable fighters on the under-card. The most notable of those fighters is the fast rising Shun Kubo (6-0, 4) who is world ranked at Super Bantamweight, by the WBC, and should really have an easy time in his upcoming bout with Masajiro Honda (6-5, 4). We like Kubo a lot and hope that we see him in a more notable bout next time out.
A genuinely notable bout on this card will see Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (28-6-3, 14) take on Takahiro Shigee (12-1-1, 10). This is Baat's first bout since he upset Kenta Onjo in March and if he wins again here he'll be on the verges of a title fight. For Shigee this will be his first bout of note since he was stopped in 8 rounds by Rodrigo Guerrero last July. Incidentally both men have been stopped by Guerrero.
Another really interesting match up on this card will see Tetsuya Hisada (21-9-2, 11) take on Shun Kosaka (9-1) in what should be a very competitive 8 round bout between decent but flawed fighters. Neither of these two are great but that should lead to a competitive match up and at the end of the day that's what we enjoy more than quick blow outs in mismatches.
A second Japanese card comes from Osaka where fans will get a female world title bout along with a number of relatively miss-able under-card bouts.
The main event will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (12-4-1, 6) defending her title against multi-time title challenger Masae Akitaya (9-5-2, 3). For Kuoki this will be the second defense of the title she won last May, with a decision over Mari Ando, and on paper it's a step down. However Akitaya is certainly not a push over and will come into this bout feeling like this could be her last chance. Don't be surprised if this one ends up being fantastic despite neither fighter being being near the elite.
As for the under-card there isn't really anything of note happening on it, despite 8 scheduled bouts supporting the main event.
There will also be title action in Korea where we're expecting a couple of low level title bouts,
The most “interesting” of those bouts is a WBA Asia Middleweight title bout between Eun Chang Lee (8-4, 4) and Thailand's John Ford (6-6-1, 5). Lee may be remembered by some for his Macau Bout with Brazilian Middleweight Esquiva Falcao and although he clearly lost that bout he did show his toughness and strength. Ford on the other hand was last seen being stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya at Light Welterweight. Given the size difference between the two we have to assume this is going to be a horrible mismatch.
The other title bout is set to be for some PABA title, though we're unsure which actual belt it will be with the suspicion it'll be a female title bout at Super Featherweight.
As well as the two title bouts this show will feature 3 under-card bouts.
We get the chance to see an interest bout in Bulgaria as Kazakh Bantamweight banger Zhanat Zhakiyanov (24-1, 17) will be battling against the unbeaten Argentinian Hector Rolando Guzman (14-0, 9). This bout will be for the WBA International Bantamweight title and seems to suggest that Zhakiyanov may not be heading the WBC route after all, a smart move considering the champion is the sensational Shinsuke Yamanaka.
Wellington, New Zealand
In New Zealand fans will have the chance to see an “interim” WIBA Super Bantamweight title fight as Thailand's Anrey Onesongchaigym (7-1-1, 3) battles Gentiane Lupi (3-1-1, 1). This bout isn't likely to tell much about either fighter though should leave the loser well away from a notable fight.
Some days are busy with great fights, other with mismatches. Today however we get a day of title fights with 3 world titles and various other regional titles on the line
Baja California, Mexico
The most notable bout of the day is in Mexico where Thai veteran Terdsak Kokietgym (53-4-1, 33) battles Mexican veteran Orlando Salido (41-12-2-1, 28) in a really interesting bout for the interim WBO Featherweight title. The bout might only be for an "interim" belt but the two two men will know that a win here will really boost their profile and their chances of fighting for the proper WBO title next year. It's sadly a bout that Terdsak will not be expected to win, though in the past he has shown his ability to be competitive in high profile bouts, most notably his world title bout with Takahiro Ao. This is a tough ask but looks to be a great bout.
It's not just in Mexico that we get a world title bout and in fact we get a brace of them in Osaka, albeit female world title bouts.
The first of those will see veteran Nao Ikeyama (14-3-1, 4) defending her WBO Atomweight title against former foe Masae Akitaya (9-4-3, 2) in what looks to be a competitive contest between two fighters who have already fought in a competitive bout. For Ikeyama this will be a chance to defend her belt and at 44 years old she'll be all too aware that a loss could send her into retirement. For Akitaya this bout isn't just about the title and realising a dream of being a world champion but also about revenge for the fact she lost the first meeting between the two women back in 2010.
The second world title bout on this show will see Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (5-1-1, 3) battle Filipino visitor Gretchen Abaniel (15-5, 6) for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title that was given up a few weeks ago by Mako Yamada who decided to retire from boxing to focus on other things. We'll be honest, we think Yamada would dominate both of these fighters, likely on the same night, though against each other they should make for interesting contest. Neither is great though neither is awful and at 105lbs we expect to see a more impressive Abaniel than we saw against Ayaka Miyao last November. This could be a really decent fight.
A third contest on this show will be another female contest as Kai Johnson (5-5-3, 2), fresh off the back of her win over Tomomi Takano, takes on Tamao Ozawa (6-2, 2) in a second meeting between the two women who fought this past March. In the first meeting between the two Johnson scored a 2nd round KO over Ozawa and we'd not be hugely shocked to see Johnson score her third successive stoppage victory here.
In Uzbekistan we expect to see yet another title fight as Sherali Mamadjanov (10-1, 5) climbs in to the ring to take on domestic rival Hokim Karimov (3-1, 2) in a bout for the Uzbekistan Middleweight title. The bout is an inaugural title fight and although it's a low profile one it is the main event on a small domestic card in the Uzbek capital city. Knowing that Uzbekistan has a strong amateur line up we hope that shows like this can lure some of the amateurs over to the professional game. Sadly it's not looking likely to happen too much, though we can hope.
In the US we get the chance to see the promising Russian prospect And Konstantin Ponomarev (24-0, 12) battle against Mexican veteran Cosme Rivera (37-18-3-1, 25). This looks to be a good step forward for Ponomarev who will develop a lot from just fighting in the US in bouts like this. Although Rivera isn't the fighter he once was he should still have enough to test the unbeaten Russian.
(Image courtesy of Notifight)