The key show this coming Thursday comes from Korakuen Hall and whilst it's not a huge show it is with a former world title challenger, a national title fight and a couple of prospects.
The main event of this card will see former world title challenger Keita Obara (20-4-1, 18) take on Indonesian foe Yosmar Kefi (9-10, 8), in what should be little more than a confidence builder for Obara. Given that Obara has lost 2 of his last 3, including a loss last time out to Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, he does need an easy win and it's hard to imagine anything but an easy one here. Kefi is 0-4 in Japan, having been stopped 4 times in the Land of the Rising Sun, and we suspect there will be another stoppage loss for him here.
The main support bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) make his first defense, as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) in a rematch between the two men. Tanaka won the belt earlier this year, when he stopped Shin Ono, and will be looking to avenge a previous loss to Haruguchi. Whilst Haruguchi did win their first bout it was a controversial decision and he'll need to perform a lot better here, given he's fighting in Tokyo this time around, and not Kagoshima, where he has picked up most of his wins. A full preview of this bout can be read here Tanaka to make first defense, battles Haruguchi
In an interesting support bout we'll see once beaten men collide, with talented Japanese youngster Yoshimitsu Kimura (11-1, 6) taking on Filipino counterpart Jules Victoriano (9-1, 6). Both of these men are in their early 20's, both have suffered a solitary loss and both scored a solid win last time out, with Kimura stopping Allan Vallespin and Victoriano stopped Landy Cris Leon. This is a really interesting supporting bout and could end up being the bout of the show.
One other supporting bout on this card will see Ryu Horikawa (0-0) make his professional debut, as he battles Jun Ishimoto (5-6-1, 3). Whilst we've not been given Horikawa's full amateur record he did impress last year on the national scene and their is expectation on him to have a big future. Ishimoto is no world beater, but a good opponent for a debutant. Ishimoto has never been stopped, isn't much of a puncher and should give enough resistance to see what Horikawa is made of.
As well as the action in Tokyo, we're also interested in a card in California, as Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (18-10, 6) takes on the unbeaten Seniesa Estrada (16-0, 6) in a bout for the WBC silver female Light Flyweight title. The experienced Abaniel is a "win some lose some" fighter who has faced a relative who's who of female boxing, with bouts against the likes of Tenkai Tsunami, Cai Zong Ju, Ayaka Miyao, and Kumiko Seeser Ikehara. Sadly she is far too small for Light Flyweight, and it's a shame her career hasn't been spent fighting at Atomweight. The 26 year old Estrada is less well known than Abaniel, but is unbaten, powerful and very promising. Coming in to this Estrada has won her last 4 by stoppage, and we whouldn't be surprised to see that run continue here against the talented, but under-powered Abaniel.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show this Sunday comes from the Philippines and features some very notable fighters, including an interim world champion, a former world champion and three touted prospects.
On paper the main event will see WBA “interim” Bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo (19-0, 16) battling against the horribly limited Julias Kisarawe (29-6-1, 15) of Tazania. The talented Gaballo claimed the interim title earlier this year, when he upset the unbeaten Stephon Young in the US, and showed that he was world class. Sadly Gaballo was one of the many talented Bantamweights who missed out on the World Boxing Super Series but as long as he stays active between now and the end of the tournament he will be in with a great chance of facing the eventual winner. Sadly this really is just a stay busy for Gaballo, and Kisarawe was stopped back in 5 rounds in July by Prince Patel, showing just how limited he is.
The former champion on the card is former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first since he scored an 11th round KO against Shohei Omori in April 2017, a bout that saw him being stripped of the title for failing to make weight. Given his long break from the ring few we can't complain much about Tapalese being matched softly, and he has been. On paper Goodluck Mrema (22-3, 12) looks to be a decent opponent but the man from Tanzania has been matched very softly and has lost in his two bouts outside of homeland, including a stoppage loss in June in Scotland to the then 3-0 Lee McGregor. Tapales should have no problems dealing with the visitor here.
One of the prospects on this card Dave Penalosa (13-0, 9), the nephew of promoter Gerry Penalosa, who looks to be taking a step up in class, at least on paper. The unbeaten southpaw will be up against Twalib Tuwa (21-5-2, 14), another import from Tanzania. Tuwa is 0-3 on the road, including a loss to to Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym. When you consider Kwanpichit is a Flyweight and Penalosa is a Featherweight we really should be questioning why Tuwa's team are throwing him in here.
Another Penalosa on this card is Carlo Caesar Penalosa (12-1, 5), who will also be taking on an opponent from Tanzania, Jemsi Kibazange (11-2-2, 1). On paper this actually looks the most compelling of the Philippines Vs Tanzania bouts, despite Kibazange being very feather fisted. Kibazange hasn't never been stopped and despite suffering a couple of losses at least looks like he could be a test for Penalosa. Even if we are expecting the contest to be a mismatch.
In Japan there will be two shows at the Kagoshima Arena,
On paper the more notable of those two cards is the second show, which features a couple of notable bouts.
The main event of this card will see Naoya Haruguchi (15-9, 6) take on Filipino visitor Lito Dante (14-10-4, 7). This will be Haruguchi's first bout since a loss to Tatsuya Fukuhara in July and although he's lost 2 of his last 3 he has proven to be a very credible fighter around the Japanese and OPBF title scene, with notable wins against the likes of Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. On paper Dante looks like a limited fighter, but like Haruguchi he is much better than his record suggests and has gone the distance twice with Vic Saludar and also took Simphiwe Khonce the schedule. Dante is tough, talented and will be there to pick up a win on the road. This could be a thrilling and hotly contest contest.
In the chief support bout we'll see OPBF female Bantamweight champion Miyo Yoshida (10-1) make her first defense, just weeks after winning the belt, as she takes on Thai challenger Phannaluk Kongsang (4-6-1, 2). Yoshida won the title on October 20th, to unify the OPBF and Japanese titles, and this will be her first defense of the regional belt as she gets a homecoming contest in Kagoshima, with the plan being for her to move on to world title fights in the near future. Coming in to this the Thai has lost 3 of her last 4, including a previous challenge for this title, and a win would be the biggest of her career, by far. We don't see the upset happening, but we do imagine the Thai will be able to last the distance, given Yoshida's lack of power.
The other card in Kagoshima is a Rookie of the Year card, pitting the Western Japan champions against the Central Japan champions. The winners of these bouts will then find themselves one bout away from an appearance at the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in December. This card will feature 9 bouts in total with contests taking place from Minimumweight to Welterweight. We won't go through the bouts, but we are expecting some very competitive contests.
The key bout featuring an Asian this coming Sunday comes from Victoria in Australia and will see once beaten local prospect Ibrahim Balla (13-1, 7) battle against unbeaten Thai hopeful Norasing Kokietgym (22-0-1, 15). The bout, which will be for Balla's WBA Ocenia Featherweight, looks like a really good one on paper. The local hopeful has bounced back really well since his June 2016 loss to Neil John Tabanao, scoring notable decision wins over Vergil Puton and Silvester Lopez last year, and looks to be someone rising through the rankings at a very good rate. As for Norasing he once looked like one of Thailand's best prospects, but he failed to fight in 2017 and didn't really face anyone of note in 2016. This is a step up for the Thai but a win would be the perfect way to put himself back in the mix for notable fights later in the year. A really good match up.
As well as the card in Victoria there is also a small on in Kagoshima, Japan.
The main event here will see Filipino visitor Jeffrey Galero (16-3, 8) take on Japanese local Naoya Haruguchi (14-8, 6). The Filipino is 0-3 on the road, including a loss in a world title bout to Wanheng Menayothin and a stoppage loss to Tsubasa Koura, though is a genuinely solid fighter at the Oriental level, and will be risking his OPBF ranking here. As for Haruguchi he has a very misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest. The local was last seen suffering a razor thin defeat to Riku Kano and has shared the ring with a number of notable Japanese domestic fighters, including Reiya Konishi. Although far from a Oriental title level clash this should be very competitive and compelling contest.
In a supporting bout fans will see the heavy handed and very promising Shuma Nakazato (6-1-1, 5) battling against Thai teenager Chanchai Khowaka (0-2), who has lost both of his recorded bouts in Japan. Nakazato is a genuine prospect, with power, and despite going 1-1-1 in his last 3 should really blitz his Thai foe here.