This coming Saturday fight fans through Asia will have action to look towards. There are several shows in Asia, as well as Asian fighters fighting around the globe.
The most notable card of the day, in Asia at least, takes place in Osaka and features not only a regional title fight but a guy who looks set for a world title fight later in the year and two evem looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese-Filipino Joe Noynay (16-2-1, 5) battle former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (18-4, 15), in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title, which was vacated by Masao Nakamura. Noynay is a really talented boxer, and one of the most under-rated fighters in the Philippines. Although not well known he did give Reiya Abe one of his toughest tests to date. Saka on the other hand is a crude but very heavy handed fighter, who lost the title in bizarre circumstances to Takenori Ohashi in 2017, when he misheard the clack for the bell, and since then he has bounced back with a couple of early wins. This could be a very, very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout can be read here Saka and Noynay clash for regional crown
In the chief support bout we'll see world ranked Light Flyweight Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) fight in a stay busy contest, as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Stevanus Nana Bau (9-10-2, 2) in what should be little more than a tick over fight for Hisada. Over the past few months Hisada has been linked to every Light Flyweigth world champion, but has been unable to secure a shot at one, which explains this tick over bout.
As for the supporting bouts we'll see Shota Asami (7-5, 4) take on Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3), in what should be a very compelling match up between two talented, and under-rated youngsters, and we'll also see Hirokazu Okajima (9-6-2, 5) take on Shota Yukawa (10-5-3, 4) in a battle of Japanese ranked fighters.
Goyang, South Korea
As well as the show in Japan there is also one in Goyang in Korea. This card is set to be a Korea Vs Japan card, though if we're being honest the card as a whole is poor, with very low quality match ups.
The main event will see the unbeaten Min Jang (7-0-2, 2) take on Hyeon Joon Lee (6-2-1, 4) in a bout for the BoxingM Korean Super Flyweight title. This is a pretty even looking bout, and could be a fairly compelling match up. The unbeaten Jang has won his last 4, since a draw with In Soo Jang back in 2018. Lee on the other hand is looking to claim his first title and score his second win since a loss in Japan to Shota Asami.
The most notable of the Korea Vs Japan bouts appears to be contests between Kyung Min Hwang (3-0, 2) and Teru Nobita (4-1-1, 2) and Ha Nok Shim (4-0, 2) battling against Tom Mizokoshi (3-1-1, 2). We're expecting Korea to win overall, and it's a shame that the card doesn't really have any notable names on it, like past Korea Vs Japan shows, with their being a couple of great shows last year, with several interesting match ups.
Bang Phun, Thailand
A third Asian show will take place in Bangphun, thanks to WorkPoint.
In one bout we'll see the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight title being fought for as the unbeaten pairing of Thattana Luangphon (3-0-1, 3) and Muhammad Ashiq (6-0-1, 5) battle. The title, which has been vacant since Tenta Kiyose gave it up, makes for an interesting reward for the winner of this one. The unbeaten Thai is 21 and is a staple of the WP Boxing shows, having fought all of his bouts in their studio. Ashiq on the other hand is a well travelled Singaporean, with bouts in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Neither man is a world beater, from what we've seen, but this should still be an interesting bout.
In another interesting, though very odd, bout we'll see former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-6, 35) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Carlo Magali (23-11-3, 12) in a 6 round bout. Coming in both men have gone without a win in a while. Pungluang has lost his last 3, and is without a win since February 2016, whilst Magali has lost his last 2, and is 4-4 since Pungluang's last win. A real strange one.
Outside of Asia we have some intriguing match ups, the best of which takes place in Ukraine and sees Japanese tough guy Nihito Arakawa (32-6-2, 18) take on unbeaten Ukrainian Denys Berinchyk (10-0, 7) in a bout for a WBO minor title. This bout is likely to be wonderfully violent, though we do wonder what Arakawa has left in his body at this time, given he's now 37. A few years ago this would have FOTY candidate written all over it, though we now thing that wear and tear will be a major issue for Arakawa against someone as strong and powerful as Berinchyk. A full preview of this bout is available here Arakawa and Berinchyk seek major win in Kyiv!
New York, USA
Over in the US we're expecting to see Indian former amateur standout Vikas Krishan (1-0, 1) take on Noah Kidd (3-1-1, 2), in what should be an easy win for the "Indian Tank".
This coming Sunday sees a number of shows taking place in Asia, though the reality is that much of the focus is on just one of those shows, as Watanabe gym put on world title double header. Despite that there is notable names on a second Japanese card and title action from Korea.
The obvious starting point for a look into the fights for the day begins with that Watanabe card, which will feature a trio of title bouts, including two at world level.
The most notable of the world title fights sees WBA “super”, IBF and Ring magazine Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-2-2, 12) defending his titles against talented South African challenger Hekkie Budler (31-3, 10). The defending champion has a really strong claim to being the best Light Flyweight on the planet, with notable wins against the likes of Alberto Rossel, Ryo Miyazaki and Milan Melindo, though will know that this will not be an easy assignment against a former WBA Minimumweight champion. At his best Taguchi is a nightmare to fight, he's tough, has great stamina, freakish size and fantastic work rate. Sadly however he is inconsistent and can look like his mind is else where. If Taguchi is anything but his best he could be very easily beaten by the “Hexecutioner”, who had a notable title reign at 105lbs and can be a genuinely awkward fighter with his speed, determinedness and high out put. Whilst Taguchi should be favoured, this is far from a foregone conclusion and should be a very enthralling 12 round war.
Whilst we're expecting the Taguchi Vs Melindo bout to go the distance the same cannot be said of the other title bout, which pits hard hitting IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (9-0, 7) against big hitting Filipino Vince Paras (13-0, 11). This bout looks less likely to be a long drawn out war of attrition and more of a shoot out, with both men believing in their power and aggression. From the footage available it does seem like Kyoguchi has got more weapons in his arsenal, and he has showed them against a higher level of competition. Although Kyoguchi will be favoured Paras can bang and looks like a dangerous fighter, so the champion will not want to take too many risks here. Given how the two men fight this has the potential to be something very special, but also potentially very short.
The third title bout will see WBOA Asia Pacific Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (31-6-1, 18) defending his title against Rimar Metuda (12-3, 7). It's been known that Arakawa is chasing another world title fight, and we suspect Metuda has been hand selected as an opponent to make Arakawa look good against. Metuda is tough and can bang, but with 3 losses in his last 5 he certainly come into this as the under-dog, and as the man taking a huge step up in class.
A second, much over-shadowed, Japanese card comes from Shizuoka
The main event of the card will see the fantastically promising Kento Hatanaka (5-0, 5) take on a Thai visitor over the 8 round distance in a Super Flyweight bout. The 19 year old Japanese youngster, who is already ranked by the JBC, shined last time out when he stopped Kenta Matsui and is expected to continue his rise here as he looks to move towards a title fight of some kind. Sadly little is known about the visiting Thai.
The heavy handed but some what fragile Daiki Ichikawa (10-4, 8) will be up against Indonesian Agus Kustiawan (18-7-2, 8) in the shows chief support bout. On paper this doesn't look amazing but it could prove to be a pretty interesting bout. Ichikawa has lost 2 of his last 3, and needs a win if he's to keep his once promising career alive. The visitor has never won outside of Indonesia, but could see this as a great chance to pick up a win on the road.
In a third bout of some note fans will see Yuta Horiike (13-6-3, 3) take on upset minded Filipino veteran Edison Berwela (16-37-8, 5), who looks to build on his big January win over touted Thai teenager Saenganan Sithsaithong. On paper this looks a bit like a mismatch but Berwela has shown a tendency to score the occasional shock win, beating Saenganan as well as Jetro Pabustan and Robert Udtohan, and could see this as a chance to take another unexpected scalp. Horiike will be favoured but can't make the same mistakes as others when it's come to facing Berwela.
Seoul, South Korea
In Korea fans will get a small but notable Boxing M card, headlined by a title fight and featuring a number of Rookie bouts.
The title bout will see Gi Won Shin (3-1-2) and Shin Yong Kim (3-3-1, 2) face off for the vacant Boxing M Korean Welterweight title. On paper this probably shouldn't be a title fight, given that neither has a solid record and neither has won any of their last 3 bouts, but the contest should be competitive and both will be very hungry to pick up the win.
Among the most interesting of the rookie bouts is a clash between Super Featherweights Dong Kwan Lee (5-1-2, 1) and Ro Joon Suh (5-0, 2), in what could be the bout of the show. Another bout that stands out is a Heavyweight clash between Korean based American Aaron Singleton (3-0, 1) and Sung Min Lee (3-1, 2). A third Rookie bout worthy of some attention will see Mu Soon Kwon (1-0) face off with Korean based Mongolian hopeful Batzorig Batjargal (2-0, 1) in a bout at Welterweight. All 3 of these bouts will be fought over the 6 round schedule.
We get the first of December's many Japanese televised cards on December 2nd and it's a genuine interesting card with a number of notable names involved and several potentially thrilling bouts.
The main event of the card will see the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (30-6-1, 18) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title against Filipino veteran Adones Aguelo (28-16-2, 19). On paper this might look a bit of a mismatch, with Arguelo having so many defeats against his name, but the Filipino is a technically solid fighter who has been unlucky in a number of defeats, including a robbery against Will Tomlinson, and he's had very competitive losses to Sergio Thompson and Nery Saguilan. Arakawa will always be remembered for his brave, gutsy and insane bout with Omar Figueroa. His form following that bout struggled but he comes into this bout on a 5 fight winning run, and will be favoured to make his second defense of the regional title.
In a key supporting bout we see punchers collide as Japan's hotly tipped Hayate Kaji (8-0, 7) takes on Filipino banger Jun Blazo (7-3-3, 6). Of the two men it's Kaji who has really impressed us, and the 2015 Rookie of the Year winner looks like the next face of the Teiken gym, with frightening power, speed and skill. This bout should however see him being given a chin check. Blazo, fighting in Japan for the third time, famously dropped Koki Eto last December and will be hoping to make it third time lucky in the Land of the Rising Sun. Blazo can be out boxed, but slugging with him is a mistake an this could be a very tense bout that could end in the blink of an eye.
In another supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Yuto Shimizu (11-3-2, 4) return to the ring for the first since since April 2016, when he lost to Yuki Nonaka. The loss to Nonaka ended an 8 fight winning streak for Shimizu, who will be looking to get his career back on track against Indonesian foe Maxi Yeninar (1-0, 1), of which very little is known.
A third under-card bout worthy of note sees Japanese ranked Featherweight Junki Sasaki (18-3, 7) take on the potential banana skin of Ronnie Campos (7-2-2, 4). Sasaki comes into this bout on a run of 5 straight wins, but they have been against relatively poor competition, with the best of the wins coming against Yuki Ozawa. Campos won't be backed by many here, but he will be looking to leave a mark on the Japanese scene in what will be his first bout outside of the Philippines.
For fans interested in watching this show it will be televised live on G+.
This coming Tuesday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a title doubler header, with a regional title fight, and a female world title fight.
The main event of the card sees the popular Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title against Filipino foe Marbon Bodiongan (14-5-2, 11). The Japanese fighter, best known for his match up with Omar Figueroa, looks to make his first defense of the title and extend a good 4 fight winning run. Aged 35, and having had a very hard career, Arakawa is likely to age over-night but should have too much for Bodiongan, who has lost 4 of his last 7 including a stoppage last year to Masaru Sueyoshi in Japan.
The world title bout on the card will see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-2, 5) attempt to make her 6th defense of the title as she takes on former foe Saemi Hanagata (13-6-3, 7). Last year the two fought to a split decision draw and a rematch always looked like it would make sense, and be genuinely exciting. At the age of 47 Ikeyama is the oldest ever Japanese world champion and will be looking to extend that record further here, whilst Hanagata will be in her 4th world title challenge, having yet to win one.9
A really nice looking under-card bout here will see Masayuki Ichikawa (6-4-1, 2) take on Hizuki Saso (6-4-1, 2) in a real 50-50 on paper. The two men have identical records, and both have similar form with a a 3 fight win-less run, with the most recent of those bouts being a split decision draw between the two men in January. This really could be a very intriguing and competitive bout.
It's worth noting that Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7) will take part in the show, despite cancelling his bout with former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Instead of fighting Kimura will discuss his upcoming bout with WBO Flyweight world champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2).
The final Asian show for the month comes from the Korakuen Hall and features 3 bouts of note, one of which features an always fun to watch Japanese Lightweight, who attempts to become a triple crown winner.
The main event is that aforementioned Lightweight, Nihito Arakawa (28-6-1, 17) who has previously won the Japanese and OPBF Lightweight titles and will now be looking to win the WBO Asia Pacific title as he takes on Filipino Anthony Sabalde (12-5-0-1, 7). Arakawa vacated the Japanese title at the end of last year as he turned his attention to the WBO regional title, which was then held by Daud Yordan. Sabalde isn't anything special and has clearly been matched with Arakawa to make the Japanese fighter look here.
In an exciting support bout we'll see former OPBF title contender Dai Iwai (19-4-1, 7) takes on Shota Yamaguchi (14-3, 8). Although neither of these men are going to set the world on fire both are well matched here. Iwai is best known for his 2015 loss to Masayuki Ito and has score two low profile wins since that defeat, this is however a step up for the Misako man. For Yamaguchi,who has suffered stoppages in 2 of his last 4 bouts, this bout us a chance to build some more momentum following a September win over Aozora Nishida. This really could be a very competitive bout where both men will be looking for a win and both will believe they could claim a very good win here.
A third bout of note on this card will see Keita Nakano (13-10-6, 4) battle against Naoya Okamoto (10-5-1, 5) in rematch of a contest from last September. When these two fought last year they ended up having a 3 round technical draw, Nakano's third successive draw. Although not a great fighter Nakano is better than his record suggests and can score upsets, as he's done in the past. Okamoto is unbeaten in his last 3, following an opening round stoppage loss in May 2015, but will know that a loss here will almost certainly end any dreams of fighting for a title in the future.
The most notable bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend sees former-2 weight world champion Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) make his long anticipated move up to Flyweight where he will kick off his campaign with a fighter against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (52-9, 30). The bout isn't a major test, given Viloria's recent performances at world level, but is is a solid introduction to the weight for Nietes, who will be looking to become a 3-weight champion in the near future.
In a supporting bout on the same card former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (29-1, 15) will face Juan Jimenez (22-10, 15) in a rematch. These two men fought earlier this year with Villanueva controversially winning the bout, and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, with a head-butt KO. Coming into this one Jimenez will be seeking revenge whilst Villanueva will be looking to win this one cleanly.
A third notable Filipino in action in the US is the touted prospect Mark Magsayo (14-0, 11), who risks his unbeaten record against Ruben Garcia (17-2-1, 7). The talented Magsayo won the WBO International Featherweight title last time out, beating Chris Avalos in a slugfest, and will be hoping to defend the belt here against Garcia. If he comes out on top then ALA might see fit to step up Magsayo and move him towards a title fight in the next 12 months or so.
The day is a busy on in Japan with 4 shows across the country. The most notable of which is a Dangan card in Tokyo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) face off against Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3) in what will be Arakawa's first defense of the title. The teak tough champion won the belt earlier this year, ending the reign of Kota Tokunaga, and looks like he's making a simple first defense before potentially facing Shuhei Tsuchiya.
It's worth noting that Shuhei Tsuchiya (20-4, 17) will be in one of the main supporting bout on this card as he takes on Filipino visitor Rex Olisa (11-29-1, 8). The bout is expected to be a mismatch with the bout serving almost entirely to help build for a bout between Tsuchiya and Arakawa in 2017.
Another Japanese title bout will be held in Aichi as Shota Hayashi (27-5-1, 17) trades blows with veteran Noriyuki Ueno (18-13-5, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, which was recently vacated by Satoshi Hosono. Coming in Hayashi will clearly be the favourite however Ueno is under-rated, knows this will almost certainly be his only chance and comes in riding a huge high after a massive upset win against Yuki Ogata last time out.
In the chief support bout Yushi Tanaka (17-1-3,11) will be facing a poor Thai opponent in what will be Tanaka's second bout since losing in a Japanese title bout against Kentaro Masuda this past March. It's hard to see Tanaka losing here but he'll be forced to step up his competition in the near future if he wants another crack at silverware.
Fans in Ibaragi get a less interesting card though one headlined by the insanely tough Tatsuya Takahashi (24-6-4, 17), who faces Thai visitor Parkin Phakdeepin (1-7) in a 10 rounder. The bout, for all intents, is a mismatch but we find it impossible not to love Takahashi who has been in numerous thrillers. Although a mismatch Takahashi should make this fun.
Another low profile card comes from Oita where the main event will see Yuta Sasaki (8-8-1, 1) face off against Hyuma Fujioka (7-4-1). The bout is another less than great match up, however this one should at least be competitive with both men looking to prove they are the better fight.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Filipino fans also get some action, the most notable of which features the very talented and under-rated Michael Dasmarinas (24-2, 16) facing off with Michael Escobia (11-12-1, 3). On paper this looks like a real mismatch however Escobia is much better than his record suggests and he has given fighters like Masaaki Serie and Koki Eto really competitive bouts, with the Eto bout coming earlier this year. Dasmarinas should win but this is no gimme.
A second Filipino show is set to take place in Rizal where we get several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) face off against Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. The bout isn't the greatest one but should be a very competitive one and both men will be coming in to this one seeking a title victory. On paper it's easy to favour Suminguit, who has won his last 8, but he will be tested here in what should a relatively competitive bout.
On this card in supporting bouts are the Elorde brothers. Juan Martin Elorde (20-1-1, 8) will face off against Indonesian veteran Boido Simanjuntak (23-40-2, 9) whilst Juan Miguel Elorde (21-1, 11) will face Junior Bajawa (14-9, 7). It's hard to see either of the brothers losing here, though we do hope they will both step up a level in the near future, as neither should be tested by their inferior foes here.
Staying in Asia there is also action in Kazakhstan where we get several bouts of note.
The most interesting bout will see unbeaten puncher Issa Akberbayev (17-0-0-1, 12) face off against fellow puncher Maik Kurzweil (17-6, 17) in a bout we don't imagine will go the distance. Although neither is near “world class” they are fighting for the GBC title and will put it on the line to hold the belt.
In an under-card bout the once beaten Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (17-1, 12) will face the highly experienced Gary Abajyan (33-27-1, 17). This will be Bektemirov's second bout since suffering a split decision loss last year to Alexander Brand. It's hard to see Abajyan holding his own here, but Bektermirov is usually fun to watch.
In another under-card bout the unbeaten Berikbay Nurymbetov (2-0) will be facing the much more experienced Valentyn Kuts (22-5-0-1, 8). Kuts has failed to win any of his last 5 bouts and we suspect that losing run will continue here against a man who is obviously backed by a very confident team.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see the much unfancied Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-12-2, 3) battle against former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (61-10, 51) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It's hard not to favour the much more experienced Gonzalez here in what looks like a mismatch against the visitor.
Back in California, though not on the same show as the three Filipino's, fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (5-0, 3) face off with fellow unbeaten Martez Jackson (3-0-2, 2). The bout looks relatively even on paper but we suspect the Kazakh will be too good and too powerful for the unbeaten American.
Hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (4-0-0-2, 4) will be looking to continue his reign of terror as he battles Leandro Mendes Pinto (19-9-2, 9) in a notable step up. The Kazakh destroyer has looked promising so far and should look good here, but notably Pinto has been around the clock and could teach the youngster a few new tricks. Although Pinto has avoided regular stoppages it's hard to imagine him being big enough or tough enough to last long with Jukembayev
This Saturday is a busy day for Asian fight fans with bouts across Asia and an international bout of note.
The most significant bout in many ways for Asian fight fans is in the UK as former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (30-5-2, 20) travels to Leeds to face off against the unbeaten Josh Warrington (22-0, 4) in a bout for the WBC International Featherweight title. For Amagasa the bout is a huge opportunity to prove himself as a world class contender, and a win could propel him to a much wanted shot at a Featherweight title. For Selby the bout could help him secure his own world title fight. A lot on the line for this one, and potentially it could be a fire cracker.
In Japan the action really doesn't stop this week and this time it's the turn of Woz who have a show in Kyoto.
In the main event Japanese Lightweight champion Kota Tokunaga (17-2, 11) will be defending his title against the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (26-6-1, 16). This will be Tokunaga's third defense of the title and by far the toughest with Arakawa looking to become a 2-time champion. If Tokunaga wins it does really legitimise him as the Japanese champion, and although Arakawa is a faded force we suspect he'll be more than a handful for the champion.
In the chief support bout fans will see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Shohei Omori (15-1, 10) attempt to bounce back from his first loss, a disappointing stoppage defeat by Marlon Tapales, and face off against Indonesia's Espinos Sabu (15-8-2, 8). On paper this looks like a very easy win for Omori however Sabu can be a handful on his day and could well give Omori the type of bout that he needs.
In South Korea the KBF put on the next of their rookie shows, despite it being a rookie card the real interest is in the main event, which sees former world champion Yong Soo Choi (29-4-1, 19) return to the ring, at the age of 43. The former WBA Super Featherweight champion will face Japanese visitor Kazuya Nakano (9-5-1, 7), in what will be Choi's first bout in over 13 years. At his best Choi was a wonderfully exciting fighter, however that was back in the 1990's, and this is now and Choi is really unlikely to resemble the fighter he once was.
The lowest profile Asian card of the day comes from Malaysia where A & A Promotions put on a small, but notable card.
The main event of this show will see the unbeaten Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (5-0, 5), from Uzbekistan, face Mexican Juan Bedolla Orozco (9-2-2, 8) for the lightly regarded WPBF Youth Welterweight crown. This looks like a good test on paper but the reality is that the unbeaten 22 year old should be strongly favoured.
Another bout of note from this card will see Jonathon Yeow Ming (1-0, 1) battle against Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (21-21-2, 10). This is a massive test for the Malaysian based Ming and if he comes through it in impressive fashion he will deserve a lot of plaudits for taking on such a test at this early stage in his career.
The second day of the month of November is genuinely one of the most interesting with 4 really notable bouts all taking place on same show, a show dubbed the “Strongest Korakuen Million Yen Fight”. The show is a return to the Strongest Korakuen tournament, which helps to decide the mandatory challengers for various Japanese titles. As well as the eliminator status of the bouts their will be additional bonuses, with a ¥1,000,000 up for grabs for the MVP of the event.
At Flyweight we'll see former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (23-6-3, 14) battle against Yusuke Sakashita (13-5-2, 8) for a shot at the domestic Flyweight title next year. Both have been beaten by former champion Suguru Muranaka but should make for an excellent match up together. Both have a lot to prove and both have styles that should make for a lot of action.
At Bantamweight we see former Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda (22-7, 11) battle against the under-rated Hideo Sakamoto (16-1-3, 5). Masuda is the more proven of the two fighters however Sakamoto has long been under-the-radar and could well see this bout as his potential coming out party. Notably Masuda's last bout of note saw him being blown away by Shohei Omori and it's hard to know how much he has left after a long and hard career whilst Sakamoto hasn't had the wars that Masuda has had.
At Lightweight we see the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (25-6-1, 16) battle against recent title challenger Yuya Sugizaki (20-10-1, 6). Of the two men Arakawa is the more well known and the more proven however his recent form has been disappointing with a 2-5 run in his last 7. Saying that however he has been mixing at a higher level to Sugizaki who was last seen being stopped by Kota Tokunaga. A win for Sugizaki would a career best whilst a win for Arakawa is pretty expected here.
The highest weight covered by the Strongest Korakuen show here is Welterweight where punchers collide as Akinori Watanabe (33-4, 28) take on the little known Toshio Arikawa (11-4, 9). Of the two men Watanabe is the more established, having held various titles, but has shown frailties when he's been hit back. Arikawa is scarcely known but with his power he is a danger man and a 3rd round TKO win over Shusaku Fuinaka is clear proof of that. We really don't expect to see this one go the distance and it really could be a very explosive and short lived encounter.
One of the best Japanese shows of the month comes on June 8th in a card that has so many good bouts it's difficult to really know which contest is the most exciting.
The main event is a Lightweight clash between current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (12-0, 5) and former “world” title contender Nihito Arakawa (25-5-1, 16). This is a huge step up in class for Naito and is also a move up in weight for a man that many have tipped as a potential world champion. For Arakawa, who has shown signs of being on the slide, this is a must win after 3 losses in his last 4. On paper it's a brawler against a mover and we expect this could be something very special with both men being forced to answer a lot of questions if they are to come out on top. Brave match making from both and the sort of match up that we love.
The co-main event will see the always fun to watch Koki Eto (16-3-1, 12) defending his OPBF Flyweight title against unheralded challenger Yuki Fukumoto (17-9, 5). On paper it looks like a mismatch though having followed Eto's career in the way we have we know he never makes life easy for himself and he'll almost certainly find a way to get himself in to some sort of trouble before scoring the all important win. We suspect that a win for Eto will be followed by him vacating the title and turning his focus on to winning a world title, though he is unfortunately stuck in one of the sports most stacked divisions.
In a supporting bout we see the promising Koki Koshikawa (4-0, 2) take a huge step up in class as he takes on former Japanese and OPBF title challenger Koshinmaru Saito (20-7-1, 11). Koshikawa, a fighter from the Celes gym, is tipped to go a long way following a solid amateur career on the domestic scene however Saito is very experienced and came very close to winning the Japanese Welterweight title last year. This is a great match up and should answer questions regarding the future of both fighters.
Another supporting bout will see Yusaku Kuga (10-1-1, 6) put his OPBF and Japanese rankings on the like against the more experienced Kojiro Takada (13-8-3, 9). We suspect that the talented Kuga will over-come Takada but this will be a good test for the once beaten fighter who will likely be looking at getting a Japanese title fight in the next 12-18 months, if he wins again here.
One other bout of note will see the heavy handed and really exciting Daigo Higa (5-0, 5) in action against Filipino southpaw Cris Alfante (11-4, 4). Higa has looked like a destructive ball of anger so far but this is a big step up against a man who has mixed with very good fighters. Alfante has experience to make things very tricky for Higa however the home fighter has looked like a sensational prospect and will be hoping to shine again here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The month of December may have taken a few days to get going but when it begins to kick off, it really begins to kick off and today we have a genuinely exciting card with several very good looking bouts.
The first action of the day is in Tokyo where we get one of the best domestic cards of the year. In fact it's almost like an early Christmas present with 3 really interesting match ups.
The main event of the trio is a 10 round non-title bout between the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (25-4-1, 16) and Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (28-5-1, 9). This is the third meeting between the two and will act as a rubber with each man holding a narrow win over the other. The bout has been made slightly above the Lightweight limit though that shouldn't take the shine off what is likely to be a violent, exciting and thrilling tear up between two very well matched fighters. We're really excited about this one and wouldn't be shocked if it ended up being a FOTY contender, it really could be that good.
As well as the non-title bout fans will also have two title bouts to look forward to. The most notable of those is also a rematch as the unified Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (23-8-1, 9) looks to defend his unified for the second time. Shibata will be battling against former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-9, 12), a man best known for being stopped by Gennady Golovkin, and it's fair to say there is more to this bout than just the titles. This will be the second meeting between the two and in the first Shibata took a clear technical decision over Fuchigami who knows that his career will need a win here given that his recent form has been forgettable to say the least with just 2 wins in his last 5 bouts. This bout has titles, bragging rights and possibly even careers on the line, the stakes really couldn't be any higher.
The third bout is the remaining title bout as former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (13-1, 4) battles against Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title. The belt was given up by Hidenori Otake ahead of Otake's world title bout with Scott Quigg and has left us with a potentially brilliant bout between two light hitting but technically proficient fighters. Neither of these guys is likely to ever become a genuine world champion though we suspect the winner could end up progressing to OPBF title fights and may get a world title shot somewhere down the line.
As well as the main trio the card will feature 4 under card contests, with the most interesting of those being a bout between the Japanese and OPBF ranked Kazuya Maruki (17-2, 11) and Quaye Peter (5-5-2, 3). This is a stay busy fight for Maruki who is on a 6 fight winning streak following his 8th round TKO loss to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara back in 2012. If Maruki can continue stringing together wins the odds are he will find himself getting a title fight of some sort at some point in 2015 or 2016.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand there's another bout worth looking forward to as the unbeaten Kongthara KKP (5-0, 5) steps up in class and attempts to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title against experienced Indonesian Nouldy Manakane (27-15-1, 17). Kongthara blasted on to our radar back in May when he stopped Shingo Kawamura on his debut and now looks to add the scalp of a former world title challenger to his ledger. It should be a mismatch in favour of Kongthara but this is a good test for the promising Thai.
Nuevo León, Mexico
In Mexico fans in for a treat as WBC female Flyweight champion Shindo Go (14-2, 9) takes on highly regarded Mexican fighter Arely Mucino (20-2-2, 10) in a bout with a lot of promise. The contest has been a drawn out one outside of the ring with several issues getting in the way and we just hope those issues won't destroy what should be one of the best female bouts of the year.
Staying in Mexico fans will also get the chance to see the unbeaten Joebert Alvarez (14-0-1, 6) in the toughest bout of his career as he goes up against unified Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (30-2, 22). Estrada appears to be testing the water at 115lbs here and some have speculated that Estrada is set to vacate his Flyweight titles. We'll admit we'd love to see Estrada fight Roman Gonzalez in a much anticipated rematch however a bout between Estrada and Naoya Inoue would be equally as interesting and could be a bout made between two of the sports really young outstanding youngsters.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)