The most notable card this coming Sunday comes from Kobe where we get a world title fight, a Japanese title fight, a once beaten hopeful and an unbeaten prospect.
The world title bout will see the once beaten Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) challenge huge punching IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30), in what looks like a really tough test for the Japanese hopeful. Konishi is a former Japanese Minimumweight champion who is best known for losing a competitive bout to Carlos Canizales last year, in a really good but now forgotten bout, and this will be his second shot at a world title. Alvarado on the other hand is looking to make his first defense of a title he won last year, when he battered Randy Petalcorin into submission. Alvarado is one of the true danger men at 108lbs and we suspect he will be too powerful for Konishi, though few can question Konishi's heart and desire, which could make this very, very fan friendly. A full preview of this bout can be read here Konishi challenges heavy handed champion Alvarado!
The second title fight on this card will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (39-15-1, 13) make his first defense, as he goes up against Masashi Tada (13-5-3, 8). Horikawa is a true veteran of the Japanese scene, and is enjoying his second reign at the age of 39. Although an old man Horikawa has great energy and desire and is riding an excellent 7 fight winning run into this bout, having gone unbeaten since a 2017 loss to Tetsuya Hisada. As for Tada this will be his second Japanese title fight, following a loss in 2014 to Go Odaira in a bout for the Japanese Minimumweight title. The loss to Odaira saw Tada take a lengthy break from the ring before returning in 2017 and going 0-1-2 in his first 3 bouts, though he has now scored back to back wins to get this shot at Horikawa. At 29 Tada has youth on his side, but this is a massive step up for him. Our preview of this bout is available here Veteran Horikawa battles Tada!
Also on this card are Ryo Suwa (10-1, 1) and Tetsuro Ohashi (6-0-1, 1), neither of whom have had their opponents named at the time of writing. Suwa has scored 3 straight wins since losing in 2017 to Ikuro Sadatsune, and is a very talented fighter, even if he lacks power. Ohashi, also a feather fisted fighter, impressed last year when he won the Rookie of the Year and we're really excited to see where the 20 year old Super Flyweight can go following that success.
A second Japanese card comes from Shizuoka, where we get the next Suruga Boys card. Although a much smaller card than the Kobe one, it is an interesting one with several good looking match ups, and the next appearance of a very promising young prospect.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (14-6-1, 9) take on the heavy handed but limited Daiki Ichikawa (11-5, 9). Coming in to this Sugita has gone 4-4, alternating wins and losses in his last 8, and using that record he should be on track to pick up a win here. Ichikawa has lost 3 of his last 5 and whilst he's not the most skilled fight he does have heavy hands, and if he lands cleanly on the crafty Sugita he could pick up a shock stoppage.
The chief support bout will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweights clashing, with Yuta Horiike (15-6-3, 3) taking on Gakuya Furuhashi (24-8-1, 13). Of the two men it's Furuhashi who is better known, thanks to 2 domestic title fights, but the 31 year old from Kanagawa has had a very tough career and is stepping up after 6 relatively straight forward wins. At 34 Horiike is the older man, and whilst he hasn't got the in-ring miles that Furuhashi has he isn't as technically good as his foe. The loser of this really will have no where to go.
Arguably the best bout on this card is actually a huge step up for a touted prospect. That prospect is Tsubasa Murachi (3-0, 3), who leaps up in class to take on Filipino Raymond Tabugon (21-9-1, 11) in a mouth watering clash. Although little known outside of Japan Murachi is a fantastic talent who had real questions to answer last time out, against Chinese fighter Sheng Peng, and we're expecting him to need to answer more questions here. Tabugon is a 28 year old who has lost 2 of his last 3, but has mixed with a who's who, including Luis Nery, Juan Francisco Estrada, Andrew Moloney and has previously scored upsets in the past, including wins over Lito Dante and Jake Bornea. This could be a very, very tough test for Murachi.
After a few big days of fights this coming Sunday feels more like a day to unwind, with only two small Japanese cards scheduled for the day.
The bigger of the two events takes place in Chiba and is an 8 round bout card promoted by Flash Akabane.
In an 8 round bout, which is strangely in the middle of the card, fans will see the unbeaten Fire Ikkyu (6-0-1, 4) take on one time Japanese title challenger Masashi Tada (11-5-3, 7). At 30 years old Ikkyu really needs to kick on if he's looking to have a shot at holding gold in his professional career. Ikkyu is unbeaten but really needs a big performance and will know that a potential Japanese ranking is in his grasp if he can defeat Tada. As for Tada, who lost in a Japanese Minimumweight title bout back in 2014 to Go Odaira, this is a chance to put a 4-fight win-less streak behind him. Tada has yet to return to winning ways since the loss to Odaira, and was notably stopped inside a round last year by Masamichi Yabuki. This isn't a huge bout on paper, but is a notable bout for both men.
A second notable bout on this card is a well matched contest between Atsushi Suzuki (5-3-2, 2) and Ryuki Ishii (7-3, 4). The 28 year old Suzuki has been a professional since early 2015 and has had very mixed for through his career. He's riding a 2 fight winning run into this, but had lost 3 of his 4 bouts prior to his recent wins. Ishii on the other hand is a 20 year old who had had better form over-all but had suffered losses to his most notable foes, including Shawn Oda and Kazuma Sanpei. This is a tough match up to call, but we dare suggest that Ishii is the fighter with the more upside.
The second card is the West Japan Rookie of the Year Final in Osaka. As with many of the Rookie of the Year cards this is an interesting card, with 10 bouts on it, but doesn't feature any notable names. In fact the most notable name involved is promoter Nobuhiro Ishida, who has 3 of his fighters in the final.
One of those Ishida promoted fighters is Middleweight hopeful Takeshi Dohi (1-0, 1), who battles against Hammer Gorilla (1-1) in a 4 round bout. Dohui made his debut in April, and it was a 101 second cameo as he quickly saw off Takenori Tsuchimoto and made an immediate impact on the professional ranks. The 30 year old Gorilla actually lost on his debut, in July 2017, but took a split decision this past April to advance to this final.
In another bout featuring an Ishida promoted fighter fans will see Lightweight hopeful Ryuhei Uchimura (3-0, 1) will face off with Aso Ishiwaki (3-1, 2). The unbeaten Uchimura, is a 24 year old who has scraped two split decision wins in his first 3 bouts and is perhaps lucky to have an unbeaten record. Ishiwaki on the other hand is a 19 year old Ishida promoted hopeful, who lost inside a round on his debut but has improved markedly since then and is looking to continue his rise here. This could be a very exciting contest, with the winner knowing they will take a huge step towards the All Japan Rookie of the Year final.
This coming Saturday we get a world title in the West and we'll also see two very interesting and notable Japanese cards, both taking place in the Kanto region of Japan.
New York, USA
The world title bout is one of a trio of bouts at Madison Square Garden to feature Asian fighters, in what should be a great chance for a number of fighters to shine.
The world title bout will see Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Light Heavyweight Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10) defending his title against once beaten Cuban Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14). For both men the bout is a major step forward for their career with Bivol facing his most notable opponent to date and Barrera really fighting in a must win, against his second most significant opponent to date,only behind Andre Ward who beat him 2 years ago. The bout pits two top Light Heavyweights against each other, and could well be a very special bout.
This card will also feature a pair of Kazakh hopefuls. One of those is Meiirim Nursultanov (5-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Alejandro Torres (9-3-2, 4). Nulrsultanov has looked really good since his debut in late 2016 and will be looking to launch himself up towards the world rankings by the end of 2018, with Torres being his first bout of the year. As for Torres the Mexican 24 year old has proven to be tough and should serve a good test for the Kazakh, who will be hunting his 5th straight stoppage.
The other Kazakh on this show will be Madiyar Ashkeyev (8-0, 4), who faces live under-dog Jose Antonio Abreu (13-3, 8). The Kazakh isn't as touted as his aforementioned countryman but is a skilled operator who will be looking to make up for lost time after having fought just once in 2017. Abreu, from the Dominican Republic, has lost 3 of his last 4, all in the US, and will likely come up short again here, though has been matched hard in those losses and is certainly no push over.
New York, USA
On a separate US card in New York, fans will see Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (5-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, but it's unlikely to be too much of a step up in class for the unbeaten man.
On paper the Japanese card with the best single bouts take place in Kanagawa on a Kawasaki Nitta promoted card where fans will get two Japanese title fights and another solid support bout.
The main event of the card is a Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) and mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10), who meet in a Champion Carnival bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense of the title, and will be expecting a much tougher bout than his last defense, which saw him dominate the limited but entertaining Mako Matsuyama. Nagamine on the other hand will be getting his first title bout, and, on paper, his toughest bout since his sole loss to Ken Shiro.
The other title bout is likely to be even better and will see teak tough Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (17-8-1, 8) take on the explosive Kazuto Takesako (7-0, 7) in another of the 2018 Champion Carnival bouts. Nishida has held the title for almost 2 years, but has only managed a single defense, due to an out of the ring accident which forced him out of the ring for a while. Despite the lack of defenses he's a tough, aggressive and exciting champion with a solid mentality and style. Takesako is a talented slugger, and should take the fight to Nishida in a potential war. We are expecting this bout to be a potential Japanese fight of the year and something very special.
Also on this card will be the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (20-8-1, 9), who faces Masashi Kamon (7-2-1, 4) in an 8 rounder. Furuhashi has long been one of the fringe contenders on the domestic scene, and is far better than his record suggests, despite 3 losses in his last 6. Kamon on the other hand began his career 1-2 but has gone on a good run, going 6-0-1 in his last 7. Despite being on a good run Kamon is taking a notable step up in class here.
The other Japanese card will be televised on G+ and despite being higher profile in it's coverage it's arguably a lesser card, despite having a number of notable fighters on it.
The main event here will see WBO #1 ranked Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (22-1-1, 11) take on under-rated Filipino Vergil Puton (17-9, 8), in a bout which appears to be a world title prelude for Ito. The talented Japanese fighter, a former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion, will be expected to easily over-come Puton but the visitor is no push over, and has asked genuine questions to the likes of Paul Fleming, Ibraham Balla, Shuya Masaki and Ye Joon Kim. Ito should win, but this will be much tough than a public spar for the Japanese fighter.
In a really good chief support bout fans will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (12-2-1, 8) take on Hajime Nagai (15-9-2, 5), with both men risking JBC rankings. Coming into this Tobe is ranked #7 by the JBC and Nagai is ranked #10. Tobe is riding a 4 fight winning run since losing the Japanese title to Sho Ishida, in a very competitive bout back in 2014, and despite issues with activity he is still a top domestic talent. Nagai on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, bith technical decisions,but does have under-rated skills, as he's shown against the likes of Yuji Shimizu back in 2016. This should be Tobe's to lose, but is a very good test on paper for the Misako gym fighter.
Another support bout will see the often fun to watch Koki Eto (21-4-1, 16) take on Filipino journeyman Marzon Cabilla (16-15-1, 5). Eto is currently riding a 4 fight winning run, albeit against limited competition, since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras. Despite his low level of competition the Japanese fighter is a fringe world class talent, and is well known for his thrilling bouts against the likes of Kompayak Porpramook, Yodmongol Vor Saengthep and Ardin Diale. Cabilla enters this bout in the form of his career, riding a 7 fight winning run, but is stepping back up in class here and is likely to see that run of success come to an end.
One other bout of note will see Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Kenji Ono (11-2-1, 6) take on former Japanese Minimumweight contender Masashi Tada (11-5-2, 7). Ono is best known for his up-and-down war with Jun Takigawa from 2016, and has gone 1-1-1 since that bout, suffering an opening round loss to Seigo Yuri Akui in late 2016. He needs a win if he's to move into a title bout. As for Tada he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, and over 4 years removed from his last win, however at the age of 28 he does still have time to rebuild his career and a win here would see him move into the JBC rankings.
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.
Although this week hasn't been a great one for fight fans it does end on a high with a great Friday which features 2 major title fights in different countries.
In regards to the biggest fight of the day we actually feel it's in Bangkok as the unbeaten Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (23-0, 17) defends his PABA Welterweight super title against Mexican foe Fernando Castaneda (21-7, 14). We've no idea how this has been sanctioned as a PABA title fight though it should prove to be a decent test for Teerachai who probably needs a better test before moving much further with his career.
Castaneda, a former interim world title challenger, is the best opponent Teerachai has faced though we feel that the Thai should remain undefeated.
This card, which will be televised on Thai Channel 7 is expected to have other bouts, though unfortunately we're not sure on what those bouts will be.
Although the biggest fight is in Thailand we think the best fight is actually in Japan on "Dangan 92" as we get a Japanese title fight and a further 6 contests.
The main event, a bout for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title, will see Go Odaira (8-3-3, 1) tackling Masashi Tada (11-3-1, 7) in what looks like a genuine 50-50 contest. If Odaira can take the power of Tada then we swing towards him, though with Tada having genuine power at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight he certainly has a big enough dig on his to make things very interesting.
Whilst the main event is the stand out contest we've got to admit we're just as excited about the co-feature which sees Kohei Kubo (16-4-1, 11) fighting Hayato Kimura (20-5, 15) in what is potentially a firefight between two hard punching fighter who can both be hurt.
Although boxrec currently lists a bout between Hiroaki Teshigawara (8-1-1, 4) and Yuta Nakagawa (11-4-1, 7), a bout that is also shown n the poster, this contest is actually off, unfortunately. As a result the scheduled 8 bouts have been cut down to just 7.
The Tokyo show may not have the best fight of the day, but certainly has a very inte