The main focus this coming Friday is in Osaka, at EDION Arena, where we see the debut of a very touted youngster and the next bout in the career of a second generation hopeful who is quickly proving he is more than just his father's son.
The second generation fighter is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (11-0, 8), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. The unbeaten Tatsuyoshi has shown real improvement in recent bouts and was expecting to take another step forward here, but due to issues securing a suitable opponent he will instead be up against Takuya Fujioka (9-9-1, 1). With heavy hands, improving skills and developing his experience Tatsuyoshi is likely to find himself in the domestic title picture in 2020 or 2021, and a win here is seen as a given. Fujioka poses little threat to Tatsuyoshi, but is seen as a tough and durable foe, and has only been stopped once in his 19 bouts, with that stoppage coming to the excellent Kazuki Nakajima. With that in mind we expect Tatsuyoshi to get some good rounds here.
The other bout of note on this show is the debut of former amateur stand out Yusuke Mine (0-0),who looks to make a mark as he takes on Filipino visitor Jesel Guardario (8-3-1, 4). The talented Mine is regarded as a top talent and is turning professional at the age old 23, rather than try to make his way to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Osakan is regarded as the brightest hope at the Mutoh gym since Nobuo Nashiro and will be desperate to leave a great impression. As for the visitor he will be returning to Japan after a loss last year to Ryo Suwa, and will be seeking his first win outside of his homeland.
As well as the card in Osaka there will also be a low key one in Tokyo. This card is a lot less interesting, but should still have some thrills and spills.
The main event of the card will see Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-6-2, 2) take on JBC ranked Minimumweight Hizuki Saso (10-6-1, 3) in an 8 round bout. On paper this looks like a mismatch but it's actually the third time the two men have met, following a draw and a win for Ichikawa. Given how close their previous bouts have been this should be another hotly contested bout. It's worth noting that Saso has gone 4-1 in his last 5, including good wins against Jeffrey Galero and Desierto Nagaike, but was stopped last time out by talented youngster Rikito Shiba
The chief support bout will see OPBF ranked fighter Daishi Nagata (12-2-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Yong Hwan Jun (5-4-1, 2). Despite losing in 2 of his last 6 Nagata has shown he belongs in the title mix, and a rematch with Rikki Naito is likely going to be his target for later in the year. The Korean visitor won the national Welterweight title back in February, and comes into this bout with some momentum, but a win here would clearly be the biggest of his career so far.
In the US we'll see talented Filipino hopeful Mike Plania (20-1, 11) take on the limited Matias Agustin Arriagada (6-5, 3), of Argentina. The 22 year old is looking to extend a 5 fight winning streak, a streak that has been build since his loss to Juan Carlos Payano in 2018, and a win here could see more doors open Stateside for him. As for Arriagada he is there to play the foil for Plania, and he's lost his last 4, though did go the distance with the much touted Otha Jones III last time out. This should be an easy win for Plania, who has a very bright future.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
This coming Tuesday in the Philippines fans will get a notable, but low key, show in General Santos City.
The card has several notable fighters on it, including the once beaten Mike Plania (19-1, 10), who looks to secure a 5th straight win since his 2018 loss to Juan Carlos Payano. The talented 22 year old Plania will be up against Vicente Casido (6-2-1, 2), who has lost his last 2. On paper this should be little more than a straight forward win for Plania, though we are hoping he's stretched a little bit, as we really do think he's someone who will need challenges sooner rather than later, if he's to reach his full potential.
A second bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten Jade Bornea (13-0, 9), a former amateur standout, take on domestic foe Salatiel Amit (11-6-2, 8). The unbeaten Bornea is a fantastic 23 year old prospect with notable amateur wins over Kosei Tanaka, KJ Cataraja, Jack Bateson and Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Although yet to really shine as a professional his talent can't really be questioned. Amit on this other hand is a solid domestic opponent who pushed Bornea close back in 2015 and has proven to be a decent Filipino level fighter. Sadly it's a shame that Bornea hasn't yet progressed to major regional title fights.
Once beaten Filipino fighter Mike Plania (17-1, 10) will kick off his 2019 as he takes on American foe Juan Antonio Lopez (12-4, 4). The talented Filipino has bounced back well from his sole loss, a competitive decision defeat to Juan Carlos Payano on his US debut, and has reeled off 3 straight stoppages since then. He will be looking to keep that form going here, but is up against a man who has never been stopped. Lopez has lost 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good competition, losing to Oscar Cantu, Stephon Young and Rico Ramos.
On paper this is a really good bout, but we do wonder what notice Lopez got for this bout as Plania was originally scheduled to face Ramiro Robles (15-8-2, 9).
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The most notable show this coming Sunday is in the Philippines as we get a title double, with a supporting cast of Uzbek hopefuls.
One of those title bouts will see the once beaten Mike Plania (15-1, 8) take on domestic journeyman Angelito Merin (9-8-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Plania will be fighting for the second time since losing to Juan Carlos Payano back in March, and will be looking to build on an opening round blow out win against Jugn Rey Lauza. As for Merin things haven't been so smooth with the 28 year old going 2-6-1 in his last 9 bouts. Although Merin has, on the whole, faced better competition we have been impressed by Plania and strongly fancy him here.
The other title bout will see the unbeaten Dave Apolinario (7-0, 5) take on fellow Filipino Michael Camelion (10-9-1, 8) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Flyweight title. The 19 year old Apolinario looks like a real prospect and and has both a solid amateur background as well as power, speed and youth, with Sanman seemingly having a pure talent on their hands with him. Aged 23 Camelion is starting to look like damaged goods with 5 stoppage losses, including defeats to Hiroto Kyoguchi, Vince Parras and Jayson Mama. Given Apolinario's power we don't see this one going long.
The Uzbek fighters, who are all taking on limited Filipino fighters, are Jasur Akhmadjonov (6-0-1, 4), Bekzod Tursunboev (1-0, 1) and Ulugbek Sobirov (7-0, 5). Coming in to this Akhmadjonov will be hoping to put a draw with Rodel Wenceslao behind him, teenager Sobirov will be looking to impress Filipino fans once again whilst Tursunboev will be wanting to build on an opening round KO against Roy Mukhlis.
As well as the card in the Philippines there will also be a card in Fukuoka.
In the main event Yuki Ozawa (12-6, 3) will battle Katsuhiko Kanno (10-11-7, 4) in an 8 round contest. Ozawa has lost 6 of his last 8, but has mixed with decent company, including Ryo Takenaka, and is better than his record and recent form suggests. Kanno has also struggled in recent bouts, and was blown out inside a round earlier this year by Tae Il Atsumi. Kanno is usually durable, but we don't think he'll put up too much of a test for Oazawa.
The card also has a really interesting looking support bout, as Tetsuwan Takashi (3-1-2) faces Fumiaki Sueyoshi (5-1, 4) in a 6 rounder. The 24 year old Takashi lost on debut, back in 2014, but has since gone 3-0-2 and this will be his first bout over the 6 round distance. The heavy handed Sueyoshi started his career with 4 straight wins before suffering a stoppage loss in September. Since that loss Sueyoshi has moved through the weights and looked rejuvenated when he stopped Bejita Ishikawa back in March. This could be very interesting.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day for fight fans hoping to follow the Asian fight scene with bouts across the Orient, stretched across 4 countries and 5 cards.
Seoul, South Korea
For many the most notable card will be a show from Seoul which will feature several notable Japanese fighters and be streamed over youtube.
The most notable name on the card is former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (31-2-1, 20) who faces off against Indonesian journeyman Rasmanudin (19-15-3, 10). For Hosono the bout is likely to be a tune up bout before a potential world title eliminator later in the year. Sadly the once promising Rasmanudin appears to be shot to pieces.
Another notable name on this card is the highly touted Koki Inoue (3-0, 3), the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue. The unbeaten and heavy handed Japanese fighter will be stepping up in class for face Korean puncher Hyun Woo Yuh (5-1, 5), in what is a genuinely credible match up for both men. Yuh did lose last time out, losing a narrow decision to Sonny Katiandagho, but will be looking to make a name for himself here.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get the chance to see prospects in action.
One of those prospects is the unbeaten Mike Plania (10-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against the more experienced Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-6-3, 3). Plania is showing serious signs of becoming a prospects of note but at just 19 we are some time from seeing him really being tested. Sadly Ramayan is unlikely to ask anything of Plania here.
Another 19 year old rising through the ranks is puncher Raymart Gaballo (13-0, 11), who will be up against veteran fighter Jilo Merlin (13-26-2, 2) in an 8 rounds. Merlin has been stopped in 14 of his 26 losses and it's hard to see him surviving with the hard hitting Gaballo. One other prospect on this card is the once beaten Romero Duno (9-1, 8) who faces Eusebio Baluarte (19-15, 12) in what should be a very easy assignment for the 20 year old Duno.
In Japan fans get two shows,one of which is in Wakayama and headlined by former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (19-4-4, 8), who faces Kazuki Fukakura (9-10-2, 3) in what looks like a mismatch, Kikuchi, who lost to Shingo Wake back in 2013, has run off 5 straight wins and will be hoping to extend that run here. A win for Fukakura would be his biggest and best to date,
On the same card fans will get the chance to see the promising Shohei Kawashima (13-0-2, 3) look for his 8th win as he takes on Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-7, 3) in what looks like a good test for the unbeaten man. Takabayashi has lost his last 4 but does have the ability to perform better than his record suggests and he may well be able to ask serious questions of the unbeaten man.
The other Japanese show comes from Fukuoka and is headlined by Koki Ono (10-3, 5), who faces Junya Nishikawa (7-7-2, 2). The bout is a well matched one, given that Ono has lost 2 of his last 4, but it's one with a clear favourite. Sadly however the rest of this card is entirely forgettable.
The day also comes with a Chinese card set to be headlined by two 8 rounders.
One of those 8 rounders will see unbeaten teenager Bingbing Cheng (5-0-1) battle against Que Xu (8-1-1, 2) in a Featherweight bout whilst the other 8 rounder will see Tao Weng (3-1-2) face off against Zhong Jie Niu (7-0, 2) at 140lbs, with the winners set to be moved towards notable bouts in the near future.