This coming Wednesday is not only the 1st of May but it is also a day with a stacked card as we begin a busy, and potentially brilliant month of Asian boxing. And if we're being honest we begin the month with a genuinely brilliant card courtesy of Dangan, who put on not only a brilliant title bout, but 3 other bouts worthy of note. This is a good a domestic card, on paper, that we've seen in 2019.
The main event is a Japanese Featherweight title bout, which will pit national champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9), The hard hitting champion really impressed us in his title win, dominating Takenori Ohashi in April 2018, but looked very beatable in his first defense, scoring a late stoppage in a nip and tuck bout against Tatsuya Otsubo. Abe on the other hand has been in impressive through the last few years with 11 straight wins, including victories over Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay and Satoshi Hosono. This will be a fantastic match up between a boxer-puncher and a brilliant slick boxer and we're really, really looking forward to this. It could be very special. Our full preview of this bout can be read heere Minamoto and Abe clash in mouth watering Featherweight title bout!
In the chief support bout we'll see Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) look to build on his December win over Tsuyoshi Tameda as he takes on Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4). For Hiroto this will be his first bout since fighting to a draw with Ryo Hino in January 2018, during which time he has been kicked out of the Kadoebi Gym for failing to make weight for a bout with Shohei Omori. Hiroto certainly has a point to prove, fighting under the Dangan banner for the first time, but will be the clear under-dog against Maruta, who is a super talent despite the two marks on his record. Our full preview of this bout is available here Maruta and Hiroto clash at Korakuen Hall!
Another brilliant bout on this show will see the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8) take on skilled youngster Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4), in a bout rearranged from March. The bout had to be delayed due to Oho suffering an injury but he now seems to be healthy in what is regarded as being a Japanese title eliminator. This promises high quality boxing, exciting exchanges and real action. A potential classic, and a bout that may have been helped in it's delay, by being added to such a stacked card, getting more eyeballs on the fighters.
One other bout worthy of note will see former amateur standout out Motoki Osanai (3-2, 1) look to record his third straight win, as he takes on Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5). Osanai turned professional with big expectations but hasn't yet found his groove in the pro ranks and has been fighting between Super Flyweight and Super Bantamweight. If he can find his place he has the ability to really put this poor start behind him. On paper Fujimoto looks like a bit of a nothing opponent, but the reality is that he's a nightmare to fight and we're expecting him to make this bout ultra-competitive and there could just be a round or 2 separating the men at the end of the scheduled 8.
The Hiranaka Boxing school, headed by Akinobu Hiranaka, are putting on a stacked event this coming Thursday with 2 different shows at the City Gym in Tomigusuku. The first card is a Rookie show, as part of the Rookie of the Year, whilst the second is a much more serious shows with more notable fighters involved.
The first card is set to begin at mid-day with 6 bouts set for it, including a number of Rookie of the Year bouts.
Among the Rookie of the Year bouts is a contest between Hikaru Fukunaga (1-0, 1) and the debuting Shinya Saito (0-0), who will be fighting at Featherweight. Fukunaga made his debut over a year ago, but has spent a lot of time out of the ring, as for Saito this will be his debut, and is a chance to progress through the Rookie of the Year.
Another interesting Rookie of the Yeah bout will see the hard hitting Ryuku Nagamine (3-0, 3) take on Takanobu Fujinami (1-2-1). Nagamine scored 3 stoppage wins last year, including two at this venue in Tomigusuku, whilst Fujinami went 1-1-1 last year he could well have gone 3-0 and this shouldn't be the mismatch it looks on paper. It's also worth noting that Fujinami's debut came against the very under-rated Taiga Higashi.
The second show is set to begin at 4PM local time and feature 7 bouts, involving fighters with much more notable names.
The main event of the card is a mouth watering showdown between Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4) and Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8), in what really could be something very special. Oho has had an up and down career, but has won the Rookie of the Year, in 2013, and the Japanese Youth title, in 2018, and is coming into this bout on the back of 3 straight wins. Yabuki has gone 2-2 in his last 4, but has stopped a former world title challenger and made his international debut during that run, and will be full of confidence here.
It's not only the main event that is tasty, and another will see talented youngster Shuma Nakazato (7-1-2, 6) face off with Filipino fighter Lorence Rosas (9-3-2, 3). This looks a fantastic and well matched bout, and should be a tough but winnable test for Nakazato, who is much better than his recent form of 2-1-2 suggests. Rosas is no world beater but should make for an interesting assignment for the 22 year old Nakazato, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro.
Another international bout will see Tatsuro Nakashima (8-1-1, 6) battle Indonesian foe Hengky Elleuw (5-7, 5). This should be little more than an easy win for Nakashima, especially when you consider that Elleuw has been stopped in all 7 of his defeats.
One other man on this show is Seita Ogido (12-4-3, 3), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced. He has only won 1 of his last 5 bouts and despite once being a touted hopeful he is now a fighter needing a win to keep alive any hope of having a meaningful career.
Also in action will be popular Filipino fighter Mercito Gesta (32-2-2, 17) who will be facing off with Mexican foe Juan Antonio Rodriguez (29-7, 25) in a 10 round bout. This will be Gesta's second contest since he lost to Jorge Linares in January 2018 and he will be looking to build on a June 2018 win over Robert Manzanarez. Rodriguez hasn't fought since June 2017, when he was beaten by Pedro Campa, and has lost 2 of his last 3 and 3 of his last 6, including defeats Javier Fortuna and Jezzrel Corralas
This coming Sunday isn't a big day in Asian boxing but there is a pretty notable KBF card in Korea with a double feature.
One of the two major bouts will see Japanese puncher Masamichi Yabuki (7-3, 7) battle #1 ranked Korean contender Min Chul Bae (5-1-1, 4). This bout is being sold as an OPBF ranking match, suggesting the winner will take a huge step towards an OPBF title fight. We've been impressed by Yabuki, despite losses to Daniel Matellon and Seigo Yuri Akui in 2018, and he is a really talented boxer-puncher. We've not seen much of Bae but the 29 year old has won last 2 bouts by stoppage and will fancy himself to see off Yabuki, in what could be a firefight.
The other notable bout on this card will see KBF Middleweight champion Sung Jae Jo (7-0, 6) defending his title against Gyung Mo Yuh (3-5-3), in what appears to be little more than a mismatch in favour of the hard hitting and unbeaten champion. Despite being unbeaten the 23 year old champion hasn't really been tested yet, with only a single opponent lasted more than 4 rounds with him. The challenger is a natural welterweight, who has avoided defeat in his last 3 bouts, but has done little to suggest he's going to be a real test here.
The Deagu card isn't the only Korean card for the day, as there's also one in Seoul. This one is a card full of novices with no fighters of any name value. The most experienced fighter on the show is Soo Lee (2-4-2, 2), who will be up against the debuting Doo Ri Song (0-0) in a 4 round bout at 154lbs.
Surigao del Norte, Philippines
As well as the Korean cards there will also be a show in the Philippines, which will feature China's Mingcun Chen (5-0, 5) making his international debut, and battling Apisak Puttawong (1-7, 1). The unbeaten 20 year old has yet to be taken more than 2 rounds, and was last seen claiming a minor title. It's really hard to see how Apisak will offer any kind of a test for the youngster, especially given that Apisak a blown up Featherweight and already been stopped 4 times.
We get some notable action this coming Sunday with a world title fight, in Ukraine featuring an Azeri-Ukrainian and a Thai, as well as a Japanese Rookie card with a very notable main event.
The world title bout will see the unbeaten Artem Dalakian (16-0, 11) making his first defense of the WBA Flyweight title, as he takes on former interim WBA champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (50-3, 35). The Ukrainian based Azeri born champion won the title back in February, when he defeated veteran Brian Viloria for the title which Kazuo Ioka had vacated in late 2017. In that title win Dalakian impressed, though it did look like Viloria was well past his best and was a shadow of the fighter he had once been. Yodmongkol is best known for his wins over Koki Eto and Takuya Kogawa along with his loss to Juan Carlos Reveco. Since losing to Reveco the Thai has been ultra active, going 16-0 (15), but has been matched incredibly lightly and will need a career best performance here against the impressive Dalakian.
In Aichi fans will get a Rookie of the Year card for Central Japan. In total there will be 7 Rookie bouts with arguably the best of the bunch being a Featherweightbout between Masaki Sasaki (3-1-1, 1), who fights for the first time since March 2017, and the hard hitting Terutaka Shimada (1-0, 1).
Despite this being a Rookie card much of the attention will actually be at the main event, where the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (6-2, 6) will take on former world title challenger Gilberto Pedroza (18-4-2, 8). Yabuchi has stopped all 6 of his victims in the first 2 rounds, in fact he he has scored 5 opening round stoppages in his 8 bouts. Despite those wins Yabuki has suffered notable domestic defeats to Junto Nakatani and Seigo Yuri Akui and a win here would be a career best. As for Pedroza he is coming in to this bout on the back of December's 4th round TKO loss to Ken Shiro in a bout for the WBC Light Flyweight title. A win for Pedroza would help him get his career back on track however a loss will set the Panamanian back a long way, and destroy his hopes of getting another world title fight any time soon.
This coming Sunday fight fans in Japan get 3 different shows across the country. On paper the most notable of those is from Okinawa, where fans will get three title fights and several notable fighters from recent Rookie of the Year competitions.
The main event of the card will see hard hitting Ryoya Ikema (12-4, 11) take on fellow puncher Mongkol Kamsommat (6-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title. The 20 year old Ikema had a 2017 to forget, with losses to Koki Ono and Ryoki Hirai, but will feel confident of claiming his first title here as he takes on an opponent who has been stopped in both of his losses. The Thai however will fancy his chances to make a name for himself and will be coming in to this on the back of 4 straight wins.
A second title fight on this card will see Yuko Henzan (5-6-4, 2) battle Phannaluk Kongsang (3-4-1, 2) for the OPBF female Bantamweight title, in a less than great looking bout which will actually be a rematch from a bout back in November. When these two first fought, in the Philippines, they fought to an 8 round draw, and given how competitive that bout was we're expecting another close one here, but it's unlikely to be a high quality match up.
A really mouth watering bout will see Tatsuro Nakashima (7-0-1, 5) face off with Kai Ishizawa (3-0, 3) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. Nakashima got all the way to the 2017 Rookie of the Year West final, where he fought to a draw with Yuga Inoue, and certainly looks like a talented youngster with power and ambition. As for Ishizawa he was a pretty solid amateur, going 28-14, and turning professional with a B class license. Since turning professional last June Ishizawa has looked sensational, and the 21 year old will be looking to continue to demonstrate his brutal power, which has seen him stop his first 3 foes in a combined 5 rounds. This could be a very explosive and exciting match up.
Other fighters of note on this card are 2016 Light Welterweight Rookie of year winner Ukyo Yoshigai (5-2, 4) and 2017 winner Marcus Smith (4-0-1, 4), though both men are up against relatively weak opponents and not each other, in what would have been a genuinely notable bout.
In Okyama we'll be able to see two really interesting match ups on the Japanese domestic scene, despite neither fight being a hugely significant one, for now.
The more interesting of those two bouts will see talented 22 year old Seigo Yuri Akui (11-1-1, 7) return to the ring since his first loss, to Junto Nakatani, and battle against the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (6-1, 6). The promising Akui was looking like a star in the making before running into the naturally bigger Nakatani last August and simply being out power by his foe. As for Yabuki he's a big puncher who lost in the 2016 Rookie of the year final, with that loss also coming to Junto Nakatani. It's clear both men will be looking for a statement win here, and a chance to work their way towards a rematch with Nakatani. This could be very exciting with both men having hands, and both looking to push themselves to a bigger and better fight.
The other bout of note on this card will see Kota Fujimoto (7-2-1, 2) battle against Shunji Nagata (11-16-2, 3). Coming in to this Fujimoto is ranked by the OPBF, and will be favoured here, but Nagata could be a banana skin, and certainly not be there to roll over though will be giving away significant size to Fujimoto.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will get a relatively notable card featuring several fighters with some form of ranking, and 3 bouts worthy of some note.
The main event will see OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Kenji Kihisa (8-3, 5) take on WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Shota Kawaguchi (21-9-1, 9). Coming in to this Kihisa is on a 3 fight stoppage run, including a career best win over Futa Akizuki which pushed him into the OPBF rankings. If we remove the run from Kihisa he doesn't have much else on his record, but the 27 year old does look like he is hitting his stride now. Kawaguchi is a former WBO Asia Pacific “Interim” champion, but has gone 4-5 in his last 9, including a stoppage last time out to Ryuichu Funai in a Japanese title fight. Kawaguchi needs a win to remain relevant whilst a victory for Kihisa will put him into the title mix, a really key bout at this regional level.
In a supporting bout fans will see OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Tatsuya Ikemizu (17-2, 7) take on Naoto Fujimoto (9-8-1, 4). The 25 year old Ikemizu has rebuilt well from losses to Mark John Yap and Jonas Sultan, scoring 4 straight wins, but this bout is a step up from the 4 Thai's he has faced over the last 18 months. Although a step up for Ikemizu from recent bouts, it's hard to imagine Fujimoto providing any sort of real test for the 2013 Rookie of the Year winner.
One other bout of note on this card will see Noboru Osato (8-6-4, 1) take on Takuya Yamamoto (8-8, 4) in a bout that both men really need to win. Osata has gone 3-3-1 in his last 7, including a close loss to Yuki String Kobayashi last time out, and really needs a win to give his career any sort of momentum. As for Yamamoto he has lost his last 2, including a 109 second blow out loss to Satoshi Shimizu, and has gone 2-5 in his last 7, showing just how much he needs another win.
In Japan we get a small card in Aichi, featuring three pretty good looking bouts.
One of the bouts will be a clash between two Japanese ranked fighters, as see Yota Hori (13-5-2, 8) takes on Shun Kosaka (14-3, 4). Coming into this Hori is a top 10 ranked fighter at Light Flyweight whilst Kosaka holds a similar Flyweight ranking. Neither man is a world beater, but both will be looking to get a Japanese title fight in 2018, and know that a win here will help them move towards a shot at the domestic crown.
The supposed chief support bout of the card will see talented novice Masanori Rikiishi (1-0) take on Ryo Tanimoto (4-1, 3) in what a very tough second bout for Rikiishi. The novice made his debut in July, impressing in a win over Korean visitor Sa Ya Lee, a former Korean Lightweight champion, but this is a genuinely interesting test. Tanimoto was stopped last time out, in an upset against Yuta Teruya, but prior to that has looked destructive and can certainly bang, which could mean a chin checking for Rikiishi here.
The min event will see the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (5-1, 5) take on Masashi Tada (11-4-2, 7). The hard hitting Yabuki has needed just 6 rounds to score his 5 stoppage, and his only loss came in last year's Rookie of the Year to the brilliant Junto Nakatani. Although limited Tada has got far more experience than Yabuki and he has yet to be stopped, having fought for a Japanese title and going 10 rounds, which is actually the total rounds of Yabuki's career. Despite Tada being a good opponent it should be noted he's not scored a win in over 4 rounds.
There is also a very low profile card in the Philippines.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten KJ Natuplag (5-0-1, 4) face off with veteran Danilo Pena (27-28-5, 11) for the PBF Featherweight title. The 21 year old Natuplag will be looking to claim his second title, after having previously claimed the LuzProBA Bantamweight title, and will be strongly favoured here. Pena on the other hand has is looking to stop the rot, and he has gone 0-7-1 in his last 8, going back more than 2 years.
This coming Friday Japanese fans get two different shows, one of which is a major domestic event, whilst the other is just a low profile card.
The key event of the day comes from the Korakuen Hall and is the final of the 2017 Rookie of the Year, with the winners of the bouts being crowned the All-Japanese champion. In total their will be 12 bouts, taking place from Minimumweight to Middleweight and will likely set the scene for several notable prospects going into 2017. We won't go through all 12 bouts, but we have picked some of the most interesting on paper.
At 140lbs we'll see unbeaten punchers collide as 20 year old Hayato Ono (5-0, 5) risks his perfect KO record against 19 year old Ukyo Yoshigai (4-0, 3). The bout is almost certainly going to see both guys letting bombs go from the off. Ono has stopped his 5 opponents in a combined 10 rounds, with 3 opening round victories, Yoshigai has also fought just 10 rounds, though has scored a trio of 2nd round wins. This is going to be explosive!
Another potentially explosive bout between unbeaten fighters will see 18 year old Junto Nakatani (8-0, 7) battle with Masamichi Yabuki (3-0, 3) in a Flyweight contest. Nakatani has scored 5 stoppages this year, in a combined 9 rounds, and looks to be a natural born puncher. Yabuki has amazingly fought less than 6 minutes as a professional and has stopped his first 3 opponents in the opening round. This could be another enthralling and explosive contest.
Whilst not all the bouts promise the same explosive action as the two about the bouts are all significant and not a single fighter involved has a losing record!
The low profile card comes from Hyogo and is promoted by Amagasaki Promotions.
In the main event of this card we'll see the once beaten Yuki Iriguchi (6-1-1, 3) facing off with an unknown Thai foe, in what is expected to be little more than a confidence builder for the Japanese fighter. Iriguchi has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3, with that loss being an opening round blow out to the really exciting Hibiki Jogo. With so little known about the Thai we can't say much, but it's clear that Iriguchi's team are wanting him to end the year with a second successive win.
In the chief support bout we get a competitive looking contest between Tomoya Itosu (6-2, 3) and Shoji Nakamura (4-2-1, 2). Itosu has won his last 3 but those 3 bouts have come over the last 3 years and his career has really lacked activity and consistency, Nakamura has won his last 2, and is unbeaten in more than a year. This could be a genuinely enjoyable bout.