They key show this coming Friday comes from Osaka, where we get a Japanese title fight, and several under-card bouts featuring notable fighters.
The main event will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-17-2, 11) make his first defense, as he takes on Takayuki Okumoto (20-8-3, 10), a man fighting in his first world title challenge. Kudaka, a 4-time world title challenger, won the Japanese title this past April, when he out pointed Go Onaga for the vacant title. At 33 years old Kudaka will know that he can't really afford another set back, but will feel like he can pick up a straight forward defense. So far Okumoto is 0-2 in title fights, including a Japanese title fight last year against Ryuichi Funai, but he's a capable fighter who has gone 4-1-1 in his last 6 and will be riding some momentum here. We favour the champion, but suspect he will have to work hard for the victory.
The chief support bout will see 2017 Welterweight Rookie of the Year runner up Rikuto Adachi (9-1, 6) face off with limited Indonesian fighter Maxi Nahak (7-15-3, 3). Adachi lost to Hironori Shigeta in the Rookie final, but has bounced back with a 6th round KO of a Thai foe which he's looking to build on here. As for Nahak, he's 0-4 in Japan and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, suggesting that Adachi should be able to pick up a win here with out too many problems here
Also on this card will be former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (23-3, 22),
who will be fighting for the second time since ending his retirement earlier this year, and former Japanese and OPBF Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (31-10-3, 10), who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Takeshi Inoue. We've been informed that Nonaka will be facing a Thai whilst Nakamura will be up against Marbon Bodiongan (14-7-2, 11).
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a show in Tokyo, though this card is lacking in the name value that the Osakan card has.
The main event will see Masanori Rikiishi (2-1, 1) look to bounce back from his recent loss to Kosuke Saka as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Egy Rozten (5-18-2, 3). Despite the loss to Saka it seems clear that Rikiishi's team have big hopes for him and despite this being a straight forward bout, at least on paper, the fact he is main eventing shows the belief that the Green gym have in him. Rozten comes into this on the back of 6 straight stoppages, and has gone 0-6-1 in his last 7 bouts, showing just how much of an easy opponent he should be for Rikiishi.
In the chief support bout fans will be able to see Japanese ranked Featherweight Yosuke Kawano (12-7-2, 6) take on Masajiro Honda (6-9, 4). The 29 year old Kawano has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, but is better than that form suggests with his draw coming to Takenori Ohashi, who went on to claim the Japanese Featherweight title last year, and ran the likes of Dai Iwai and Ryuto Araya very close. Honda has been stopped in his last 5 bouts, and is without a win since November 2014. It's clear that Kawano has been matched softly here and should pick up a pretty simple win.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Takahiro Araki (11-7, 4), who will be facing off with Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-9, 4). Araki is nothing great, going 3-3 in his last 6, but should have more than enough to deal with Takabayashi, who has gone 1-6 in his last 7 bouts.
Staying in Asia there will also be a double title show in Jakarta.
One of the bouts will see the very experienced James Mokoginta (37-18-3, 23) take on hard hitting Filipino Jon Jon Estrada (11-4-1, 10), in what will be Mokoginta's first defense of the WBA Asia Featherweight title. Although Mokiginta has 58 career bouts he's only 27 years old and has the potential to be in some good fights. It is worth noting however that Estrada is a genuine banger, and has stopped usually durable fighters like Pablito Canada and Brian Lobetania in recent years. Given the power of Estrada we can
The other title bout will see the limited Ruben Manakane (24-17-1, 13) face off with the unbeaten Muhammad Ashiq (4-0, 3) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Manakane is limited but is currently riding a 5 fight winning streaking, having claimed several titles during that run. Ashiq is a bit of an unknown, only debuting last September, but looks like he could be a prospect worth following and a win here would put him on the map, at least domestically.
In California fight fans will be able to see unbeaten American Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5) take on Filipino foe Recky Dulay (10-3-0-1, 7) in a bout for the NABF Super Featherweight title. Gamez started his career slowly but has stepped up this year, beating Shoki Sakai in April to notch his best win to date. Dulay is coming into his prime has lost 2 of his 3 bouts in the US, including a stoppage to Gervonta Davies. We would be surprised by a win for Dulay, but he has surprised us in the past.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Hyogo where we get a world title double header, supported by two notable fighters taking on limited Thai foes in mismatches.
The main event of the card is one of the two titles bouts, and will see WBO Minmumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (15-2, 4) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on under-rated Mexican Moises Calleros (28-7-1, 16). The 22 year old Yamanaka won the title last year, when he over-came Tatsuya Fukuhara in a thrilling war, and took the title from Fukuhara, who had himself beaten Calleros for the title last year. Given that both men had thrilling bouts with Fukuhara we're expecting something a bit special here. Neither of these two is a big puncher, but both are grinders with high work rate and that should make for a really entertaining bout with a lot of 2-way back and forth action.
The other world title fight sees hard hitting Venezuelan Carlos Canizales (19-0-1, 16) battle against Reiya Konishi (15-0, 5) in a contest for the vacant WBA Light Flyweight title, or rather the “regular” version of the title. On paper this looks like a real barn burner. Canizales is best known for giving Ryoichi Taguchi absolute hell in 2016, fighting to a draw with the Watanabe gym fighter, and will know that a win here takes him very close to a rematch with Taguchi. For Konishi the bout sees him abandoning the Minimumweight division and getting his first shot at a world title, with his body likely out growing the 105lb limit. Konishi will also know that he can earn a shot at Taguchi with a win here, and that would be a very notable all-Japanese contest, between fighters from Kanto and Kansai, likely leading to huge TV numbers. As for the two men involved in this bout both are aggressive fighters who throw a lot of leather and as a result this has the potential to be an all out war.
The main bouts will be supported by the ring return of Masao Nakamura (22-3, 21), who will be fighting for the first time in almost 2 years. The heavy handed Nakamura announced his retirement in 2016, just as he was being linked to a fight with Jezreel Corrales, stating that his body wasn't physically up to being a boxer any more. A long break has however reignited the fire within Nakamura, who kicks off his comeback with a contest against Thai novice Phaendin Saithonggym (0-1). It's unlikely we'll see Nakamura struggle here, with the bout made to shake some ring rust, and it does sound like Nakamura has now got his eyes on working his way towards winning titles.
The other notable fighter in a non-title fight on this card is 38 year old Kenichi Horikawa (34-15-1, 8), who fights in his 51st professional bout. The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion announced his retirement in following his loss to Ken Shiro in late 2015, but has bounced back and fought 4 times last year as he continues to be a busy fighter, and could well end up fighting a similar number of times this year, whilst trying to reclaim a national title. His opponent is a yet to be named Thai, and is unlikely to provide any sort of a test for the veteran.
The ridiculousness of Japanese boxing is on full show this coming Sunday with a staggering 5 shows, 3 of which are in Osaka alone, with two of those actually sharing a venue!
The busy venue is the EDION Arena which is doubling up this Sunday. The first of the two shows is set to begin at 12:30 local time and is a relatively low profile Kazama promoted card.
The main event of the Kazama show sees Japanese 154lb champion Yuki Nonaka (28-8-3, 9) defending his title against the under-rated Yuto Shimizu (11-2-2, 4) in a mandatory defense. On paper it's easy to favour the champion, who is very experienced at title level and is a genuine joy to watch. Shimizu however is the much younger man and is on an 8-0 run with wins against the likes of Hikaru Nishida, the current JBC/OPBF Middleweight champion, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. This could be a very good bout.
In a notable under-card bout fans will see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (18-4-1, 11) face off against Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) in what looks like a mismatch, but could prove to be a good test for Carrillo, who is now managed by Hiroki Ioka. Whilst Mabao's record is “sketchy” at best he does come in to this one on a 3-fight unbeaten run, including a victory over Michael Enriquez and will be pretty confident coming into this bout.
The second show at the EDION Arena in Osaka is a much more notable card with several bouts of interest, even if they are likely to be pretty uncompetitive.
The nominal main event of the card will see the unbeaten OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (11-0, 6) defending his title against the limited, but very heavy handed, Tosho Makoto Aoki (20-13-2, 17). On paper this is a mismatch, there is no way of denying it, however Aoki has got a puncher's chance and will know that with his power his only chance is to take the fight to Nakatani. If the champion can take the power of the challenger then this will be a drama-less win for Nakatani, however Aoki's power may be enough to unsettle Nakatani's, or at least ask questions of the champion.
A second title bout on this card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (21-0, 11) take on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-6, 16). This will be Ishida's 5th defense of the title and if he's successful his team will almost certainly do what they can to get him a world title fight later in the year. For Funai the bout will be his second shot at a title, and he'll be hoping for a better outcome than his last title fight, a 9th round TKO loss to Rolly Lunas. Notably the challenger is 7-0 (6) since that loss and will be riding a high coming into this one.
A third bout of note here sees Kei Takenaka (10-0, 3) battle against Daoruang Saknarong (0-0) in a world title “prelude”. If Takenaka gets through this, she should, she will be matched with IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata in late Summer.
Another bout on this card, and one which will infact split the title contests, will see OPBF ranked Flyweight contender Shun Kosaka (11-2, 2) face off against Kenta Yamada (8-5-1, 1). This is a relatively rare, at least for Japan, 10 round non-title bout and should help prepare Kosaka for a potential title fight in the coming years.
The third Osaka card comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center and is a Muto promoted card that features some of the best matchmaking for the day, yet another title fight, and some potentially action.
The main event is a rematch as the heavy handed Koki Tyson (9-2-1, 9), previously known as Koki Tyson Maebara, battles Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-11, 8) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Tyson made light work of the Thai in 2014, stopping him in 4 rounds, though was last seen suffering a 7th round TKO loss to Akio Shibata, in a bout that saw him being outboxed before being stopped. Since the first bout Petchsuriya has gone 2-1 though was notably beaten last time out by Kerry Hope, with the bout being given to Hope after the fight was reviewed by the WBC judges.
The best bout on the card is another rematch as former multi-time title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-14-1, 10) faces off against under-rated Filipino Mark John Yap (23-12, 10). These two men met last year with Yap winning an 8 round decision, this rematch however will be over 10 rounds and could well see the winner getting a Japanese or OPBF title fight later in the year. Although the records may not show it, this really could be something very special.
The main event isn't the only probably blow out, with the chief support bout being a contest between the explosive Masao Nakamura (21-3, 20) and the tough but limited San Saknarong (3-5, 1). The last time we saw the Thai he was stopped in 6 by Hidenori Otake, and it's hard to see him living with Nakamura, who will see a win a chance to move towards a well deserved title shot, potentially with Kenichi Ogawa in what would be a very fun shoot out.
In a 4th bout of note Japanese ranked fighters collide as Masahiro Sakamoto (6-0, 4) faces off against Atsushi Aburada (10-9, 6) in a bout that could potentially decide a future Japanese title challenger. On paper Sakamoto is the favourite but Aburada is the more proven fighter and this could be a very tough bout for both, who know there is a lot to lose coming in to this one.
One of the small Japanese shows comes from Kobe where fans will see a former world title contender and a former OPBF title challenger in action.
The former world title contender is Teiru Kinoshita (23-1-1, 6) who will be looking to continue to rebuild his career following his loss to the excellent Zolani Tete in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout back in 2014. The Japanese fighter should be very heavily favoured here as he takes on little known Korean fighter Min Wook Lee (2-3), who is best known for losing to the then debuting Muhammad Waseem late last year.
The former OPBF title challenger is Kazuya Murata (11-5, 5) who faces Tatsuya Yoneo (8-5, 1) in what will be Murata's first bout following a 5th round loss to Masayoshi Nakatani last August. Murata should win here, but it could be interesting to see if the loss to Nakatani did take something out of him.
The smallest of the Japanese shows comes from Fukuoka where fans get a very small card with novices. All the bouts here are 4 rounders with the most notable being a Lightweight contender between Tsuyoshi Matsuda (4-0, 2) and teenager Seiya Matsunaga (2-1, 1), which shows the level of this card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines.
The most notable bout here features former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-11-2, 18), who faces the limited and light hitting Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in what should be a walk in the park for Lopez. Sadly however Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years going 6-8-1 in his last 15 bouts.
In a notable under-card contest 21 year old puncher Allan Vallespin (5-0, 5) will risk his perfect record against Jomar Borbon (4-23-2, 2). Vallespin has looked devastating so far and will be looking to continue that run against the experienced Borbon.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
In wonderful Brazil fight fans will be able to see India's Neeraj Goyat (7-2-2, 2) battle against Brazilian local Guilherme Castagnazzi Ribeiro (3-1, 3). Ribeiro has won his last 3 bouts in a combined 4 rounds, but this is a step up in class for the local and Goyat, although the naturally smaller man, comes into this one on a 7-0 run.
The best of 5 Japanese shows this Sunday is from Osaka where we get arguably the toughest debut in recent years as well as an OPBF title fight and a bout that looks to be a tune up bout for a title fight in 2016.
That debut bout is the long awaited debut of teenager Hinata Maruta (0-0). The very highly touted youngster goes up against the world ranked Jason Canoy (24-5-2, 18), who is heavy handed and has never been stopped. Maruta is dubbed “The #1 Hope” and has received a lot of attention in Japan but there is a good chance that he has bit off more than he can chew here against Canoy, who is best known for stopping Drian Francisco in just 132 seconds. This is a baptism of fire but if Maruta wins then he'll have immediately made a statement of the highest order.
Whilst the Maruta/Canoy bout is the most exciting it's not actually the main event. That's an OPBF Light Middleweight title fight between the tough Dennis Laurente (49-6-5, 30), the defending champion, and former Japanese champion Takayuki Hosokawa (27-10-4, 9). This is a really intriguing bout even though the champion is 38 and best known for suffering a shut out loss to John Jackson on a PBC show. Laurente will be hoping to record the first defense of his title whilst Hosokoawa will likely be looking to close his career on a high, with rumours swirling that he'll retire win or lose here, due to issues with his eye.
The tune up bout sees former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (20-3, 19) battle against Thailand's Daorung Sithsoei (0-6), who's record is believed to be very incomplete. Nakamura has made it known that he wants a Japanese title fight and could well be looking at the winner of the upcoming Rikkie Naito/Kenichi Ogawa fight as his target for 2016. Coming into this one Nakamura is looking to build on his sensational win against Daiki Kaneko, in what is still a front runner for the Japanese FOTY.
Also on this card will be Korean hopeful Tae Il Kim (5-0, 1). Kim, who will be fighting under the name Teiru Atsumi, will be making his Japanese debut against Songkramchai Ektinakorn (0-1) and be fighting for the first time in 21 months, despite the lay off he is expected to shine in what is hoped to be a very promising career.
The second most notable show in Japan comes from Kumamoto where we get a weak card with a notable main event.
That main event is a Japanese Minimumweight title fight between Tatsuya Fukuhara (15-4-5, 6) and Hiroya Yamamoto (9-3, 3). The two men are fighting for a title that was recently vacated by Go Odaira and although neither are big names both men have faced solid fighters, with Fukuhara having mixed with Takuma Inoue and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr whilst Yamamoto has faced Odaira and Xiong Zhao Zhong. It's fair to say neither man is expected to move on to being a true world champion but we suspect the winner will compete in a world title fight somewhere down the line.
The first of two shows at the Shinjuku FACE is a small card put on reason and will be headlined by a couple of 8 round bouts.
One of those 8 rounders will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Featherweight hopeful Ryuto Araya (8-3-1, 1) battle Takuya Yamaguchi (9-9, 7). Although not the best fighter Araya is ranked due to his most recent bout, a win over Kazunori Takayama, and he has shown issues in other bouts, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Daisuke Watanabe. Yamaguchi on the other hand is fighting for the second after a long lay off, which began when he went 1-4 including a loss to Shingo Wake. On paper this is a mismatch though we suspect it could actually be very competitive.
The other will see Japanese ranked Keita Nakano (13-10, 4) put his Bantamweight ranking on the line against Keigo Soma (7-11-1, 4). On paper this looks a more competitive match up than the other bout and could well be the show stealing bout, despite the less than stellar records of the men involved.
The second show at the Shinjuku FACE features just one a single 8 rounder as Minoru Matsuo (6-4, 3) battles Chikashi Hayashizaki (6-5-1, 2) in what looks like a competitive lower level bout.
Whilst the main event is an 8 rounder we're more interested in a 6 rounder which will see veteran Keita Manabe (26-6-1, 22) battle against novice Yuya Shimakura (5-1-1, 2). Manabe, a former Japanese title challenger, will be fighting for the first time in more than 6 years and although on paper he should be favoured he has scored a win since 2007! Shimakura on the other hand has shown potential and the 20 year old could become someone to keep an eye on.
Another minor show comes from Aichi and features a pair of headlining 8 rounders.
The most notable of those sees Japanese ranked 140lb'der Shinichi Tsukahara (10-7-3, 5) battling against Yuta Maruoka (9-3, 4). Coming into this one Tsukahara has won his last two bouts but has been stopped in 4 of his losses and at 31 it's a time where any loss could cost him a potential title shot. Maruoka however should be a safe opponent, and he's winless in almost 4 years.
The other 8 rounder will see Minimumweight hopeful Jun Takigawa (7-1, 4) take on Takeshi Sone (5-3-3, 1). Takigawa should be heavily favoured here and he did have an excellent 2014, which saw him narrowly lose in the All Rookie final to Reiya Konishi. Sone's recent form has seen him go 0-1-2 though he has faced decent competition.
To end a good week we get a brilliant flourish with several notable fighters, including two who are matched in a potential thriller.
Some fights looking mouth watering the second they are announced. Today we one such bout whilst the card features several other contests of note.
That bout in question will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko (21-4-3, 14) take on the big punching Masao Nakamura (19-3, 19). On paper this is as good as it gets for a fight fan. Kaneko is, by far, the more technically capable of the two men though is still pretty basic and relies more on his immense physical strength than his boxing ability. Nakamura on the other-hand is a venomous puncher dubbed the “KO King”. Do not be surprised is this ends up being the fight of the month and absolute barn burner.
The key under-card bout here will see the once beaten Ryohei Takahashi (6-1-1) take on the once touted Kenji Kubo (5-3-1, 2). The fight is a brilliant match up between two young fighters each looking for a big win. On paper the bout is intriguing though it's made even more significant by the fact that Kubo has essentially said that he will walk away from the sport, at least for a while, if he loses here. Considering he began his career with a win over former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane this could be a very disappointing end to his career.
Another bout on this card will see Japanese ranked Shogo Yamaguchi (7-0-1, 4) battle against Keisuke Arima (8-10-1, 1) in an intriguing Bantamweight fight. This could be a good test for the 21 year old Yamaguchi who has won 7 in a row following a draw on debut mire than 2 years back. On paper this should be a mismatch but Arima has never been stopped and has regularly been a domestic gate keeper facing the likes of Yuhei Suzuki, Yuya Sugizaki and Kota Koike. It may look a mismatch on paper but this really could be an excellent test for the youngster.
In Thailand fans will get the chance to see Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (30-0, 23) defending his PABA title against South African challenger Boitshepo Mandawe (14-6, 10). On paper this looks like an easy win for Teerachai however Mandawe has mixed with good company and could well test Teerachai. We don't imagine the Thai will lose but we hope he'll be tested here. Interestingly it's been mentioned that Teerachai may get a shot at the WBA interim title if he comes out on top here.
On a second Thai show dans will get the chance to see former WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook (52-5, 37) battle against Filipino visitor Jopher Marayan (7-6-2, 3) in a bout for a WBA Asia title. This card will be aired on Thai TV 3SD whilst the other show will be on Thai Channel 7.
In Mexico we'll see American-Filipino novice Adam Fiel (6-0, 2) battle against Brayan Santillanes (3-3-2, 1) in what looks to be a mismatch.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Although the month has started in exciting fashion with the shows the past few days, things really move up another gear on Sunday with a lot of interesting match ups, a number of notable names and a lot of action.
The best of the action comes from Osaka, in fact 2 of the 3 Japanese shows come from the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, whilst another is from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
One of those two cards is promoted by Shinsei is seen as a bit of stepping stone card in many ways.
The main event on this card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (9-0, 5) defending title against the horribly over-matched Accel Sumiyoshi (4-3-1, 1) in what appears to be a horrible mismatch. We like Nakatani, a lot, but can't really see the point in this bout for the champion who has already defended the title against better opponents than Sumiyoshi. For the challenger it's an opportunity to claim a title, but it's one we can't see him winning.
Also on this card will be two world class female fighters in the form Shindo Go (14-3, 9) and Etsuko Tada (13-2-2, 3). These two will both be fighting over-matched Thai foes in what look stay busy bouts before they try to get themselves back to world level fights.
The other Body maker Colosseum card is promoted by Green Tsuda and will also feature an OPBF title fight figh, as well as several other interesting bouts.
The main event here will see the heavy handed Takahiro Yamamoto (15-3, 12) trading blows with Yu Kawaguchi (22-6, 10) in an OPBF Bantamweight title bout. On paper this looks really interesting and whilst we don't view either as being genuine “OPBF champion quality” they should make for a sensational fight and the winner will certainly be involved in at least one other big bout, especially when you consider how exciting the division is in Asia.
Talking about how exciting the Bantamweight division is we need to note that a very special Bantamweight prospect will be on this card. That will be Kazuki Tanaka (1-0, 1) who battles the much more experienced Kaname Tabei (10-8-2, 7) in a 6 round bout. Tanaka is said to be one of the best prospects in Japan and although he's not one that many are raving about we have been told that this kid is a very special fighter.
As well as the Bantamweight action this card will also feature two domestically ranked fighters. One of those is Satoshi Niwa (16-18-3, 2) who looks to remain relevant as he battles Ryo Kosaka (8-3-1, 4) in a really interesting match up. Despite his record Niwa is a very capable fighter who has upset a number of good fighters in his career, as for Kosaka he'll know that a win here will get him a ranking.
The other ranked fighter is Super Flyweight Takayuki Okumoto (13-6-2, 6) who battle Yuta Saito (7-5-2, 6) in what looks to be a relatively safe match up, though Saito can punch.
The remaining Japanese card in Osaka is another really interesting one, though it doesn't feature any title action.
The main event here sees Middleweight hopeful Koki Tyson Maebara (7-1-1, 7) battle former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-3, 5) in a big step up bout for the emerging Maebara. The once beaten youngster has looked like an imposing figure in the ring and should manage to beat Sasaki, though Sasaki has only been stopped once in his career, and that took monster puncher Tomohiro Ebisu 6 rounds to do.
In the chief support bout fans will see heavy handed Lightweight contender Masao Nakamura (18-3, 18) battle against Thailand's Patomsak Sithsaithong (2-0) in what looks to be a “light touch” fight for Nakamura. The Japanese fighter has been beaten in his last 2 bouts and needs a win so we won't complain too much about this “gimme”, though if he does get upset that's probably going to be the end for the former OPBF Super Featherweight champion.
A third notable bout will see Cyborg Nawatedani (8-2-2, 3) take on Hiroki Taniguchi (6-5-1, 2) with Nawatedani risking his Japanese Flyweight ranking. This should be an easy win for the ranked fighter, who has won his last 5, but we don't really know how good he's going to end up being.
One more fight worth noting comes at Bantamweight where Hikaru Matsuoka (8-1-3, 1) risks his OPBF ranking against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-4, 4). If Matsuoka gets through this with out any problems the plan is to have him headline a show in June, though if he's over looking Kobayashi it may end up biting him here.
Another notable part of this show is that the promoters will begin a ring card girl competition at the event.
The sole Japanese card from outside of Osaka is a small one in Fukuoka that really only has one bout of note on it.
That bout is a rematch between Japanese and OPBF ranked Bantamweight Yoshihiko Matsuo (17-5-6, 3) and Tatsuya Miyamoto (11-12-1, 7) who fought to a draw last July. Their first bout was a very competitive 6 rounder that seemed to show that Matsuo's record was padded. This time around the two men will be trading blows over the 8 round distance and we're expecting those two additional rounds will help us find a winner.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
It's not just in Japan where fans will get action as Filipino fans also get a small but notable card.
The main event here see the unbeaten Jayar Inson (7-0, 4) in a decent looking match up against Elmer Legaria (13-8, 4). We won't say this is a sensational bout but it is a step up in class for the unbeaten “Hitman”. Unfortunate Legaria has becoming a bit of a body donor recent bouts and has lost his last 6 contests, including 5 successive stoppage losses. We could see Inson having questions asked of him or we could see Legaria looking like a horribly shot fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Dec 28th- Nonaka and Ota start off the New Year run but Nakamura and Labao have the potential to steal the show
Although December 30th and 31st are by far the most exciting days left this year for boxing fans we do have a very interesting “starter” a few days early as Muto Promotions put on a genuinely interesting card around the Japanese domestic scene. The show won't have international fans too excited but there is a potential FOTY on it and 3 genuinely interesting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (26-8-2, 9) defending his belt against former champion Charlie Ota (24-2-1, 16). Nonaka won the title earlier this year with an excellent victory over the heavy handed Kengo Nagashima, it was a bout Nonaka made look easy despite Nagashima being a dangerous puncher. Whilst Nagashima was a dangerous puncher it's fair to say Ota is a much more rounded and dangerous fighter and we suspect Ota will be a nightmare for Nonaka here in what is potentially a very good bout between a boxer and a brawler.
Although the main event looks really good we've got to admit that the co-feature has the potential to be even better as the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (18-2, 18) takes on tough Filipino Rey Labao (26-6, 17) in a contest that has all the ingredients to be something special. Nakamura comes into the bout following a loss to the unheralded Masayuki Ito and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here. Labao, himself a loser last time out Roman Andreev, will also be wanting to to get back with a win. Not only do both men need a win here but both also love to punch and have real belief in their power. Of the two we suspect Nakamura is the bigger puncher however Labao has never been stopped and there is every chance he can Nakamura's power. There is however no proof that Nakamura can take the best Labao has to offer. This one may be a thriller or it may be over very quickly.
A third notable contest on this card will see Kojiro Takada (13-7-3, 9) battle against former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (15-4-4, 7). Takada is a streaky fighter and as he lost last time out we suspect he'll loser again here, though the bout was close and he has got the ability to spring genuine upsets, as he did against Ratchasak KKP and Jerope Mercado. Kikuchi will be seeking his second straight win after suffering back-to-back losses, including a stoppage defeat to Shingo Wake in an OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight. Although the loser won't be heading to retirement the winner will certain take a big boost here whilst the loser will, obviously, be hit by a big set back that could be hard to come back from.
One more bout we'd like to quickly mention will see Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-3, 4) battle against the criminally under-rated Satoshi Niwa (15-18-3, 2). Kobayashi was recently the pro-test partner for the highly regarded Hinata Maruta and the reports suggest Maruta man handled him at times, it'll be interesting to see what he's like here. Niwa on the other hand sports the most misleading record in Japanese boxing and last time out he pushed the then unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu very close in a hard fought 8 rounder. This will be competitive if nothing else.
As well as the 4 bouts we've spoken about this card will feature a further 3 bouts
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines. Although this can't isn't as big it does look like a really interesting one with 3 genuinely notable bouts on it.
The most interesting of the bouts it at Bantamweight where the unbeaten Rex Wao (10-0, 8) attempts to defend his WBC International title against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (22-9-2, 16). Wao is very highly touted and some in the Philippines seem to view him as one of the country's most promising fighters however this is a step up for the 24 year old. Lopez might only be 27 but he already appears to be on the slide, big time, and will know a loss here could be the end of his dreams of ever becoming a force on the world scene. Really good match up and a very important one.
At Featherweight fans will see an interesting clash between Dennis Tubieron (19-3-1, 8) and Carlo Magali (18-7-2, 9). The two men will be fighting for the WBC International title at Featherweight and the winner may well find them put into the verges of the WBC's top 15.
In a Lightweight clash Japan's heavy handed, and under-rated, Tosho Makoto Aoki (18-12-2, 15) will battle against Indonesia's Rengga Rengga (7-1, 1) for the IBF Asia title. Aoki comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight stoppage victories and a growing reputation as a dangerous puncher whilst Rengga was last seen being stopped in just 119 seconds by Masatoshi Kotani. We suspect this will be a mismatch with Aoki taking out the Indonesian early on.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Sometimes bouts just look great. They don't need titles attached to them, they don't need big names, they don't need HBO or Showtime to tell us how good they are going to be because we just know they will be good. This Wednesday sees one such bout as former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (18-1, 18) battles the unbeaten Masayuki Ito (14-0-1, 6). The fight, dubbed "The Battle" is a contest that looked great when it was signed and looks even better now we're close to it.
For those who don't know about the fighters Nakamura is another Japanese Super Featherweight with stunning power. His 18 stoppages have included an opening round blow out of Thai veteran Fahsai Sakkreerin and a victory over the previously unbeaten Allan Tanada for the OPBF title. Unfortunately for Nakamura his reign as OPBF champion was short lived and he was stopped just 61 seconds into his first defence by Ronald Pontillas. As for Ito he's a arguably a more skilled fighter though he's less tested and has considerably less power. We'd expect Nakamura to win but he'll likely be given some difficulties before the bout is through.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see Japanese domestic legend, and multi-weight champion, Tadashi Yuba (45-9-2, 32) fighting against experienced but limited Filipino Dondon Lapuz (19-45-7, 7). Yuba is an exciting and hard hitting fighter who won Japanese titles from Lightweight all the way up to Middleweight and although he is limited he does bring a lot of fun to the ring, as shown in his Middleweight title thriller with Carlos Linares. As for Lapuz it's really hard to see him surviving long with Yuba.
Another very interesting bout between a Japanese fighter and a Filipino will be the contest between Hayato Kimura (21-6, 15) and the once beaten Michael Dasmarinas (16-1, 10). Going in to this bout Dasmarinas is riding a 13 fight winning streak though he has been facing very limited opposition. Kimura, also known as "Big Yoo" or Joon-In Yoo, began his career aged 16 and has scored some solid wins, including a good victory over Little Roseman, though has lost to a number of notable names such as AJ Banal and Oleydong Sithsamerchai. We need to favour Kimura here, due to his better level of competition, but Dasmarinas is certainly going to put up a good fight.
One final bout of note is a contest between Yusaku Kuga (8-1-1, 5) and Koji Aoki (16-7-2, 6). Kuga is a very promising 23 year old who holds a very good draw with the emerging Naoto Uebayashi and is ranked #11 in Japan at 122lbs. Aoki is clearly more experienced and has shared the ring with the likes of Hidenori Otake, Masaaki Serie, Mikihito Seto and Takafumi Nakajima though will know that this is very much a must win bout if he is to ever get a domestic title shot. We've simply got to say that this bout is the result of fantastic match making and a credit to both men for signing up to it.
With a further 4 bouts on this card it does look likely to be a great fight card and, if nothing else, fans are likely to see some explosive knockouts.
In Australia fans will get the chance to see South Korea's Joon-Yong Lee (4-1-3, 2) battle against the unbeaten Rocky Jerkic (7-0, 5). It would take a career best performance for Lee to beat Jerkic but it's a bout where Lee has nothing to lose and no expectation on his shoulders.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)