This coming Saturday is a hectic day for Asian fight fans with a lot of action all crammed into a single day, and taking place all over the place. It might not be Christmas yet, but this weekend is set to feature a lot of gifts for us fight fans.
On paper the most significant bout of the weekend, at least in terms of Asian boxing, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) take on Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8), in Mexico. This bout has been arranged in a haste after a previously scheduled bout for Ancajas fell though, and although it looks good on paper we don't see this being anything other than a straight forward win for Ancajas. The Filipino has been frustrating at times, but he is a world class fighter and Gonzalez on the other hand has been easily beaten by the two world level guys he's faced. We're expecting a stoppage from Ancajas here, even if Gonzalez does end up being an awkward assignment. A full preview of this can be read here IBF king Ancajas faces Chilean challenger
New York, USA
Another bout with meaning at world level will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) take on former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. The interim title has been created due to injuries suffered by Danny Roman, and despite interim titles not being great for boxing this bout is a brilliant one, and we're looking forward to this. Both fighters are world class, both can bang and they should be well matched, with styles that we're expecting will gel well. This should be very exciting, and we'd be shocked if we get through 12 rounds here.
In Japan we have a lot of action, with the most notable of the Japanese action coming from Tokyo, where we'll get a title double header, featuring two Super Featherweight title bouts. For fans wanting to watch this the show will be broadcast live on G+.
The most notable of the title fights will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) defending his title against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18). This year has been a huge one for Noynay, who has already travelled to Japan and stopped Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu, and a win here against Ogawa will put him well and truly in the world title mix. For Ogawa a win here would put him on the verge of a second world title fight. We expect bombs to be thrown, we wouldn't be surprised if both men were badly hurt at some point, and this is an ideal headliner for a televised card. Our preview of this fantastic match up can be read here Noynay looks to extend "Japanese Killer" run as he takes on Ogawa
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) defending his title against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16). For Sueyoshi this bout will be his 5th defense, and if he wins we wouldn't be massively surprised to see him vacating the title in the new year to pursue regional, if not world, honours. For Saka this is a chance to put a very mixed 24 months, in which he has gone 3-2 (2), behind him and would end the year on the high following a loss to Noynay back in April. Saka has the power to hurt Sueyoshi, but Sueyoshi has the skills to outfox and out think Saka, in what is a compelling match up. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sueyoshi takes on Saka in next Japanese title defense
Also on this card will be Teiken trio Hikari Mineta (7-1, 4), Daiki Funayama (10-3-1, 3) and Koki Mioya (6-1-2, 1) who will all be taking on limited Thai opposition in what look like stay busy fights to close out the year.
A second Japanese show takes place in Kanagawa, and although much lower profile it features another title bout.
That title bout will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defending her belt against unbeaten novice Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), in what will be Mioyoshi's first defense of her second reign. Miyoshi claimed the belt in September, when she took a split decision win over Miki Mitsuda, ending a 4 fight losing in a bit of an upset. Although Mitsuda was no world beater we hadn't seen Miyoshi win a fight in over 3 years! Midorikawa is taking a huge step up, and although she's unbeaten she is very untested ahead of this bout, her first title bout. It'll be a huge ask for Midorikawa, but Miyoshi is certainly not unbeatable. An in depth of preview of this bout can be read here Veteran Miyoshi takes on Midorikawa in Featherweight title bout
Despite the title bout on this show the main event is technically a rematch between Yui Oikawa (7-5, 4) and Seiryu Toshikawa (11-5, 7). Coming in Oikawa has been stopped in his last 2, and desperately needs a win. He'll be driven on not only by the need of a win, but by a chance of getting to avenge a 2016 loss to Toshikawa, who beat him with a 4 round split decision. On paper Toshikawa might not look great but he's much better than his record suggests and he'll be looking to score his second win since suffering a razor thin loss in a Japanese Youth title fight to Shawn Oda in 2018.
A third Japanese show takes place in Hyogo, where fans get a card with several noteworthy names on it.
In the main event we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (12-6-1, 4) take on the limited Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-7-2, 2). We've long seen Hirai as a fighter with a lot of potential, but someone who has faltered in many of his toughest bouts. Here we expect him to shine, as he looks to build to a title fight of some kind in 2020. With just 1 win in the last 4 years it's hard to imagine Ichikawa giving Hirai much of a test, but he could give Hirai some rounds.
World ranked fighter Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) looks to continue his slow build towards a meaningful fight as he takes on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-15, 7). The 32 year old Nishitani has won his last 5 by stoppage, including a notable upset win against Shuhei Tsuchiya for the Japanese Lightweight title in 2017. Sadly he has failed to make anything of his career after that win and vacated the title rather than defend it, which has done his career no favours as he continues to meander in the middle of cards in meaningless bouts like this one. Laurente isn't an awful opponent, but is certainly not a step forward for Nishitani who really has lost all the momentum of his win over Laurente.
Another bout of some note on this card will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-1-1, 2) take on Chikato Sumida (8-3, 1). This will see Tokuyama defending his JBC and OPBF rankings and score a 5th straight win. Sumida isn't terrible, but we don't see him posing much of a test for Tokuyama here.
Yet another show with an Asian fighter in action is being held in Quebec, where fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (10-0, 9) takes on rugged Argentinian Jose Antonio Villalobos (12-5-2, 7). Akhmedov missed quite a bit of this year, whilst he recovered from injury and got married, but has still been busier than most and has began answering more and more questions, proving his stamina, his ability to box and move and that he can box on the back foot. There are still areas for him to work on, but for a 21 year old kid his incredibly impressive and a win here is seen as a formality before a potentially huge 2020. Villalobos will be there to try and ask questions of Akhmedov but we really don't see this as anything but an easy win for the talented Kazakh.
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
On a show that features more morally objectionable content that we can remember for a boxing card, including 4 fighters who have failed drug tests and the show taking place in a country with a terrible history human rights, we'll see Azeri fighter Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1) take on Tom Little (10-7, 3).
We're back at Korakuen Hall this coming Tuesday for what looks like a pretty good card from the Kaneko Boxing gym.
The main event of the card is a potentially match up as the hard hitting pairing of Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4, 10) and Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) battle for the now vacant OPBF Middleweight title. The two men, who have both previously held this title, are flawed punchers and both will know this is a huge chance to reclaim a big regional title. Of the two Hosokawa is the more crude, but aggressive, fighter whilst Tyson is the more skilled boxer-puncher. Given the styles of the two men this could be a very, very exciting bout and is something that could end at any moment. This has the ingredients to be an instant classic. A full preview of this bout is available here Hosokawa and Tyson battle for OPBF title in potential shootout!
In the chief support bout we'll see the hard hitting and very skilled Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5) take on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-14, 7). The talented Saito is a wonder to watch, but has shown real issues with his chin, having been down several times already in his career and stopped in his only loss. Laurente isn't likely to pose a threat to Saito's chin, but will be there to win and will have the experience to ask questions of Saito.
Another supporting match up will see the Japanese ranked Sonin Nihei (9-3-2, 1) take on Takahiro Fujii (10-6-1, 3) in what should be a pretty good support bout. Nihei returned in December, after almost 2 years out, and shocked Tatsuya Ikemizu with a decision win and he'll be looking to build on that here. Fujii on the other hand is a win some-lose some fighter on the domestic scene, and should ask questions of Nihei, though we suspect that Fujii will come up short in a competitive bout.
One more notable fighter on this card is 2018 Rookie of the Year winner George Tachibana (7-3, 2), who takes on Akira Morita (7-7, 2) in what will be Tachibana's first bout since winning the Rookie of the Year crown. This isn't likely to be a tough test for Tachibana but it is good to see him back in the ring following his Rookie triumph.
Attention turns to the Philippines this coming Wednesday where fans will get a small card with a few notable domestic level fighters involved.
Thghhe main event will see 33 year old veteran Monico Laurente (30-13, 7) take on Anthony Sabalde (12-8-0-1, 7) in a bout for the vacant PBF Super Featherweight title. Coming in to this Laurente has won 6 of his last 7, with the only loss during that run coming to the once touted Kazuki Tanaka. At 33 we do wonder what Laurente has left in the tank but he is proven at this level. As for Sabalde this is a chance to end a 3 fight losing streak, which included losses to Nihito Arakawa and Lei Wang. Sabalde is limited but durable and should be able to make this pretty interesting.
In a leading support bout Raymond Empic (6-2, 2) will take on Margarito Moya (9-7, 3). The 26 year old Empic is riding a 4 fight winning streak, though has fought only twice in the last 4 years. Moya on the other hand has lost his last 5, by stoppage, and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. It's an interesting match up, but not a mouth watering or exciting looking one.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.
The first really notable day of the month for Japanese fans comes on December 5th, a really busy day with name fighters in action across Asia.
In one of the most intriguing bouts fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (23-7, 10) battle against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-3-2, 7), in what is essentially a must win for Kawaguchi. The 28 year old former champion was stopped last time out against Takahiro Yamamoto, in a genuinely enthralling 7 round brawl, and will know that any except for a stellar performance here would leave his career in tatters. As for Tabuchi he's lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come in the 2014 Rookie of the Year and a 8 round loss to former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka. Hard to see Kawaguchi losing, but if he does he will have to consider his future.
Whilst Kawaguchi is fighting for his career it's fair to say that Kazuki Tanaka (3-0, 3) is merely fighting for recognition. The talented youngster, a former amateur stand out, takes a huge step up in class as he takes on GAB Bantamweight champion Monico Laurente (27-12, 6). Those in the know have suggested that Tanaka, 22, could be another of Japan's huge list of future stars however the youngster has been relatively untested so far. In Laurente we'll see Tanaka face a man with experience, grit, determination and skills, and we'd be very impressed if the youngster can really dominate here in what is a great step up in class.
Whilst Kawaguchi is a former OPBF champion we actually have a former world champion in action too as Shindo Go (15-3, 10), a former WBC female Flyweight champion, faces Suda Saknarong (0-0) in a stay busy bout. We're expect to see Go fight for a major title in 2016 however she's fighting this bout to shake off any ring rust after a frustrating year of inactivity, in fact she's only fought 3 rounds all year.
Technically the main event here will see Japan's Takayuki Okumoto (15-6-2, 6) take on unbeaten Filipino teenager Romel Oliveros (6-0-1, 1). The bout certainly isn't the most exciting on paper but it seems likely that Okumoto could get a Japanese title fight next year if he comes through this one unscathed. The home fighter has won his last 5, since suffering a stoppage loss more than 2 years ago to Rusalee Samor, whilst the visitor will, perhaps tellingly, be facing his first opponent with a winning record.
On a second Japanese card fans will again get a lot of good action, in fact the card is headlined by a 2-time world title challenger.
That aforementioned world title challenger is Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18), who was last seen in the ring being stopped, for the first time, by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The former OPBF champion will be looking to score his second win over Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-3, 12), who he stopped in their first meeting around 4 years ago. Since their first bout Akaho has had both of his world title tilts whilst Shiraishi has come up short in a pair of title fights, most notably a Japanese title fight against Teiru Kinoshita. This is likely to be another win for Akaho, though if it's not he will have to consider his future.
In supporting bouts on this card we have a trio of Japanese ranked fighters. The highest ranked of those is Light Middleweight contender Yuto Shimizu (10-2-2, 3) who has been in great form recently, scoring wins over Toru Chiba, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. Shimizu looks to continue his current 7 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Maxi Nahak (4-10-2, 1), from Indonesia. It's really hard to see anything but a Shimizu win here, and hopefully he'll get a title shot in 2016.
On paper the most attractive match up involving a ranked fighter, other than the main event where Shiraishi enters as a ranked fighter, comes at Super Flyweight where the JBC ranked Yuta Matsuo (8-2-1, 5) takes on southpaw Yota Hori (12-4-2, 7) in a really solid match up. Coming into this Matsuo is 3-2-1 in his last 6, though held his own in a split decision loss to Ardin Diale in one of those defeats.
The other ranked fighter is Hironobu Matsunaga (7-1, 3), who us ranked at 147lbs. Matsunaga will be risking his ranking against Shiro Saito (7-5-2, 2). Matsunaga's most notable bout to date is his loss, which came in last year's Rookie of the Year final against Yuki Beppu, and whilst that was a blow out he's cetainly proven himself since with a very good win over Hisao Narita. Saito on the other hand has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, and was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Moon Hyun Yun in a loss that may play on his mind coming into this one.
In Thailand fans will have a chance to see Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (1-0, 1) who will be up against Indonesian fighter Suparyanto Doglo (7-2-1, 4). Waseem, who won the Korean Super Flyweight title on his debut, will be looking to continue his perfect start to life as a professional and it seems likely that if he wins again here he could be moved into regional title fights in 2016, with the PABA title a very real target for 2016.
We're unsure but we think the same card will feature two televised bout as well as the Waseem bout. One of those, set to be shown on Channel 7, will see Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (33-1-2, 18) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Julias Kisarawe (21-2, 11) in what looks to be a brilliant match up on paper, something we can't say often enough about Thailand. Sadly whilst the bout does “look” good it's likely to be a mismatch with Kisarawe's opposition so far being relatively appalling, in fact it sort of resembles a Thai record with very little experience share between his opponents.
The other bout will see former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (57-2, 38) battle against Nattapol Sithsaithong (0-2) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Chonlatarn, who won't be given a test here.
To end the day our attention will turn to Mexico where Japan's Hurricane Futa (20-5-1, 11) faces off against former multi-weight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (58-10, 49). This is a really tough ask for Futa though we'll be honest and say that Gonzalez did look really bad last time out, losing a decision to Jonathan Oquendo, and this may be the perfect time to face him.
A new week kicks off in style on Monday with two Japanese title fights. We'll admit last week was a bit rubbish in terms of fights but with this week kicking off like this we can only expect a great week from start to end.
The show, which features 7 bouts in total, begins with a trio of low level match ups before we move on to a series of very good fights.
In the first of those top match ups will see the #1 ranked OPBF Bantamweight challenger Monico Laurente (24-10, 5) attempting to defend his ranking against Japan's hard hitting Yuta Nakagawa (12-4-1, 8). Although Laurente has lost 3 of his last 5, including defeats to Shun Kubo and Tomoki Kameda, he is still a worthy fighter to be highly ranked and Nakagawa will under-stand that he's in with a tough and determined foe. Unranked himself Nakagawa has a lot to gain here and not much to lose so we expect him to give a great effort.
Following the Laurente/Nakagawa bout we then get another interesting bout around the Bantamweight division as former OPBF champion Hiroki Shiino (10-3, 9) takes on Filipino journeyman Rodel Tejares (20-28-9, 5). On paper this may not look like much of a fight but Tejares is tough and Shiino is trying to come back from a stoppage loss to Ryosuke Iwasa last December. Shiino has the power to be fun but we do wonder whether he has much of a long term future in the sport.
The first of the two main events will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (9-3-3, 1) defending his belt for the first time as he fights Yuma Iwahashi (11-6-1, 1). We tend to feel that Odaira has everything he needs to see off Iwahashi who has never really impressed us. Odaira looked great in his title win earlier this year as he showed off great movement and fantastic speed and we expect to see the same here.
After the Minimumweight title fight we then move through the weights as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (9-0, 5) makes the first defence of his title. Naito, one of the most promising prospects in Japan right now, will be tackling the experienced Kyohei Tamakoshi (32-8-6, 12) who will likely know that anything but a win could end his career. Tamakoshi will need to find the form that saw him defeating Dante Jardon back in 2011 though we're unsure if he will ever secure another win as meaningful as that one.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp and Dangan Boxing)