This coming Tuesday is a pretty interesting day for fight fans in Asia, which a big show in Tokyo and a notable card in China. In total, across the two cards, there will be 6 title fights! And other notable fighters will also be in action.
For us the most notable card for the day is from the Korakuen Hall, where we'll be getting a Japanese title fight, an OPBF title fighter and several interesting fighters on the under-card.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (19-2, 7) defending his title against tough Filipino challenger Jheritz Chavez (8-2-2, 6), in what will be Naito's first defense. The Japanese fighter won the title this past January, when he stopped Jeffrey Arienza in 9 rounds, and he looked great in that performance. Despite having fought much of his career at 130lbs Naito looks to have filled out his frame well into a Light Welterweight and could well have a really good run at his new weight. As for Chavez he has proven his toughness, having gone the 10 round scheduled in his two losses to Vage Sarukhanyan and Hiroki Okada. Despite being tough he has looked slow in both of his losses and that will likely be the case again here, with Naito likely to be too quick for the challenger. Chavez has the power to hurt Naito, but we suspect Naito will fight on his toes and look to keep distance between the two men and score at range.
The second title on this fight will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) face off with Ryosuke Maruki (15-4-1, 10) for the vacant Japanese Light Middleweight title, which was vacated by Takeshi Inoue earlier this year. Shindo claimed the Japanese Welterweight title in his second shot at the title, beating Yasuhiro Okawa, but only held the title for 3 months before being stopped by Toshio Arikawa. Since then he has gone 2-0 (2) but not looked that impressive. As for Maruki this will be his second shot at the title, having come up short in a very competitive contest against Yuki Nonaka in 2016. Since then he has gone 3-0 (3) and looked very destructive. The bout really is a must win for both men, who can't really afford another loss at title level, and should be very exciting.
On the under-card fans will see the hard hitting Ryosuke Takami (11-2, 10) take on Filipino foe Junny Salogaol (13-13-4, 12) in a bout that should be very explosive. Takami, given his record, will be the big favourite but the visitor has certainly got a punchers shot, and is tough enough to give Takami some real questions here. Although Salogaol was stopped by Hiroaki Teshigawara last year he does tend to go the distance in his losses and suspect Takami will be tested here.
Interestingly another bout on this card will see the under-rated Ken Achiwa (11-13-5, 4) take on Japanese based Filipino Rey Orais (19-17-2, 5). Although his record is less than flattering Achiwa is actually a really decent domestic level fighter, who has scored draws against the likes of Tatsuya Takahashi and Joe Tanooka, and ran Suguru Muranaka very close last December. The bigger talking point however is that of Orais, who will be having his first fight in a decade. The Filipino is now a trainer at the Flame Yamagami gym and despite not fighting since March 2008, when he was stopped by Denkaosan Kaovichit, he is still only 33. Given that Orais is working as a trainer we suspect he will look in surprisingly good shape for this and could prove to be a very interesting match up.
Xi An, China
In China fans get a quadruple header of regional title fights.
One of the most interesting of those bouts pits unbeaten fighters against each other, as China's Baolin Kang (4-0) takes on Indonesian puncher Ari Agustian (5-0, 5) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Featherweight title. The 20 year old Kang made his debut back in October 2016 and despite never scoring a stoppage has looked pretty solid, whilst fighting mostly as a Lightweight. Agustian on the other hand has never fought outside of his homeland, though did score a notable domestic level win over Boido Simanjuntak back in November. The Indonesian fighter looks like a crude but very aggressive and hard hitting fighter. Although he has clearly been selected too lose he is a very under-dog here.
Another pretty interesting looking bout will see unbeaten Chinese fighter ZongLi He (3-0, 1) take on Filipino Diarh Gabutan (20-6-3, 11) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title. The Chinese 23 year old really hasn't shown too much through his career so far, defeating 3 domestic novices, but this is a monstrous step up in class against a well schooled and experienced Filipino visitor. Gabutan, who has got a poor record on the road with 1 win from 4 bouts outside of the Philippines, is better than his record suggests and we think he'll be too good, too experienced and simply know too much for Chinese youngster.
Another Chinese local who could find themselves up against it is 19 year old Li Ping Shi (2-2, 1), who battles against Korean Hyun Hee Kil (4-1, 1) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Female Flyweight title. The Chinese fighter won her first couple of fights, against limited Thai fighters, but has gone on to lose her most recent bouts, including one to Korean veteran Hee Jung Yuh and has no real form coming into this bout. Kil on the other hand lost her debut, but has won her last 4 and will feel like she's in great form her, despite having faced very limited opposition. Shi has a good chance here, but will be the slight under-dog.
One bout where the Chinese local will be favoured is a contest between the hard hitting Yiran Li (4-0, 4) and the out of form Filipino Joe Tejones (10-5, 6), for the WBC Youth World Featherweight title. The Chinese puncher, who will be defending the title for the first time, has looked very dangerous at the lower levels and will be looking to step up here. The Filipino has been going on a win-loss, win-loss run over the last few years, with a notable stoppage loss to Hinata Maruta. Tejones is a decent fighter at this type of level, but we suspect the Chinese fighter will shine here and take his best win to date.
Title action continues in Tokyo for a second day running, with a trio of title bouts at the Korakuen Hall, including an OPBF title defense, a Japanese youth title defense and a bout for a vacant Japanese youth title, as well as a Japanese title eliminator. It's fair to say fans are in store for a packed card!
The most notable of the title bouts will see the fast rising Tsubasa Koura (11-0, 8) defending his OPBF Mnimumweight title against former amateur stand out Masataka Taniguchi (8-1, 6). The champion will be making his first defense of the title, a title that he won this past July, and he will be looking to continue his impressive stoppage run, which currently stands at 5 stoppages including wins over Jeffrey Galero and Jaysever Abcede. As for Taniguchi this will be his second title bout, having come up short in a bout against Reiya Konishi for the Japanese title.
At Lightweight we'll see Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (4-0, 1) defending his title for the first time, and facing off with with 21 year old puncher Taiju Shiratori (8-2, 5). The talented Tomioka won the title in August, defeating Yuichito Kasyua, and has had a stellar 2017 with with with wins over Joon Woo Park and Shun Shimazaki. As for Shiratori he's stopped his last 3 foes but this is a step up in class for him and going to be a test of how he can cope with a very skilled fighter.
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see the highly regarded Andy Hiraoka (10-0, 7) taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (7-2, 5) for the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title. These two both fought in the Semi-Final of the Japanese Youth tournament on August 23rd with Hiraoka blowing out Ukyo Yoshigai in 3 rounds whilst Kobayashi struggled to over-come Hayato Ono, avenging one of his two losses. Of the two it's Hiraoka who has impressed more, but at 6'0” Kobayashi will be one of the very few fighters taller than Hiraoka and could pose some questions based on size alone.
Despite there being 3 title bouts on this show the main event is technically a Japanese title eliminator at Light Middleweight as former national Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) takes on veteran Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11). Shindo's reign at 147lbs was a short lived one, lasting just over 3 months, and he has fought only once since, getting off the canvas to defeat Sansouke Sasaki. The 37 year old Suwa had been a professional for more than 14 year and although he has challenged for both the OPBF and JBC titles he hasn't had a career defining win, but will know that a title fight in 2018 could given him one last chance.
One other bout of note here will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-3-1, 5) take on experienced Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-2-3, 15). Tamura recently challenged Yusaku Kuga, and gave Kuga all sorts of hell showing his power, aggression and energy. The Filipino is best known for his 2016 bout Qiu Xiao Jun, in which he was stopped in 3 rounds. It's hard to see Udtohan win here, but this should be a very entertaining contest.
New York, USA
There will also be some central Asian fighters in action in the US.
One of those fighters is hard hitting Uzbek Welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (9-0, 9), who will be making his US debut and risking his perfect record against Marquis Hawthorne (5-7, 1). The Uzbek has taken out his first 9 foes in a combined 15 rounds and looks like a genuine monster, though with this being his first fight Stateside it really does look like he's being matched softly on paper. Hawthorne has shown little power during his career so far, but has only been stopped once and should be able to test Ergashev's power.
Also on the card is unbeaten American based Kazakh Dimash Niyazov (12-0-3, 5), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced.
To end the month of June Kadoebi put on a pretty interesting looking card, with a number of notable names featuring on the card and a significant main event.
That main event will see two top Japanese domestic Welterweights clash as Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8) takes on Makoto Kawasaki (9-4-1, 2) for the interim Japanese title. Originally Sakamoto was supposed to face Japanese champion Toshio Arikawa earlier this year, but an injury to Arikawa forced that bout to be cancelled and instead Sakamoto got this bout, with the winner to face Arikawa when he returns to the ring.
The under-card here features a trio of former Japanese champions. The most notable of those is former 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (15-0, 11), who faces once beaten Filipino Jheritz Chavez (7-1-2, 5). Okada, once tipped as a genuine one to watch at 140lbs, hasn't impressed in recent bouts, however there is a feeling that he has mentally turned off, and gone stale against opponents he has been strongly favoured to beat. A win here would see him open the door to potential OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights. For Chavez the bout is his second outside of the Philippines, following a decision loss in Russia last year, since that loss he has scored two solid stoppages at domestic level and he comes into this one as a real threat.
Another of the former champions in action is former Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-5, 18), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since losing his title to Kazuhiro Nishitani in March. In the opposite corner to the heavy handed Tushciya will be feather fisted Shota Suito (11-6-1, 1),who is a very light puncher but a durable fighter who has gone the rounds with a number of notable domestic foes including Masaru Sueyoshi.
A third former domestic champion in action is former Welterweight king Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7), who lost the title last year to the aforementioned Arikawa. The lanky Shindo will be up against the out of form Ryota Itoyama (10-8-1, 5), who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5 and is more than 4 years removed from his last win! This should be a straight forward win for Shindo, but his confidence won't be great and he does need an easy one.
Also on this card is the professional debut of the touted Ryota Yamauchi (0-0). As an amateur he went 38-15 (14) and is tipped as a genuine prospect from the Kadoebi gym. Yamauchi will be up against a Thai foe here in what should be a mismatch
Whilst not all the Dangan cards are particularly great we do, sometimes, get some littered with brilliant match ups or intriguing names. This the case this coming Tuesday when we get 5 bouts of real note, and amazingly not one of them is for a title, and only two of them feature an unbeaten fighter. Saying that however two of the fighters involved are former Japanese national champions and 6 of the 8 are currently ranked by the JBC or OPBF!
The main event pits those two former champions against each other as former Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (17-4-1, 6) takes on former Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-5, 5). The bout, set at 154lbs, could be viewed as a bit of a must for both men. Sasaki has lost his last 4, 3 by stoppage, and hasn't won a bout since upsetting Tadashi Yuba back in October 2012, meaning it's already 4 years since his last win. Shindo is 1-2-1 in his last 4, and was stopped in 10 rounds last time out as he lost the Japanese Welterweight crown to Toshio Arikawa, and took a bit of beating at times in that fight. The loser here will struggle to rebuild whilst the winner will likely find themselves in the mix for a title fight in the coming year or so.
In the main supporting bout we'll see Ryoichi Tamura (7-2-1, 4) take on Renji Ichimura (7-3, 6) in a really intriguing match up. Both men are better than their records suggest and both are guys in their 20's looking to go places. Aged 29 Tamura is the older man and comes into this on a 4 fight winning streak with notable victories over Yusuke Suzuki and Yuki Matsudo. Ichimura, the younger man at 23, is the bigger puncher with wins over Jin Miura, Takaaki Kansi snd Ryusei Ishii, however he has also been stopped, with that stoppage coming just 8 months ago.
In another supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Daishi Nagata (7-0-1, 4) battle against Quaye Peter (9-7-2, 5). Nagata has won his last 7 bouts, since a draw on debut against Takeshi Inoue, adnd is moving in on a title fight thanks to wins against the likes of Jeffrey Arienza and Kazuki Matsuyama. Despite showing a lot of of promise Nagata is still a flawed fighter and will be looking at this as a chance to get experience over the 8 round distance. For the inconsistent Peter, who is 2-2 in his last 4, the bout really is a must win and another loss really will leave his career in a bit of a hole.
Possibly the most interesting of the under-card bouts will see the highly skilled but feather fisted Jo Tanooka (13-3-3, 1) face the much more experienced Ken Achiwa (11-11-4, 4), in a bout that pits two Japanese ranked Super Flyweights against each other. Tanooka scored his first stoppage earlier this year, and has won 4 of his last 5, and is chasing a Japanese title fight, and a chance to avenge a 2015 defeat to Kenta Nakagawa. Although Achiwa has struggled in the past he has gone 3-0-2 in recent bouts, with one of those draws coming against Tatsuya Takahashi last year.
Also on this card is exciting prospect Hiroto Kyoguchi (3-0, 3) who puts his stoppage run on the line against Filipino visitor Michael Camelion (8-3-1, 6). Kyoguchi has impressed so far, and looked brilliant last time out when he stopped Kenichi Miyazaki, but this is step up in class and Camelion can certainly punch, and he's been in their with the likes of Omari Kimweri and the huge punching Melvin Jerusalem, so could serve a real test for the Japanese prospect.
In Russia we'll see Nikolay Buzolin (5-2-1, 1) take on unbeaten Tajikistan born fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (4-0, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight title. It's not a great bout if we're being honest but it should be an interesting test for both fighters.
The action in Japan this week was highlighted on Wednesday, but on Thursday we get more title action.
In the main event of the card fans will see lanky Japanese Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (17-3-1, 6) make the first defense of his title, as he goes up against the destructively heavy handed Toshio Arikawa (12-4, 10), in a mandatory defense. Shindo won the belt in January, when he beat Yasuhiro Okawa, in what was his third title bout whilst Arikawa has got his shot at the title following a shock 6th round TKO win over Akinori Watanabe.
In a notable under-card bout the once beaten Ryosuke Takami (8-1, 7) will face Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (10-4-2, 6) in what we suspect will be a very good encounter. The 22 year old Takami has won his last 4 all by stoppage and ia very dangerous fighter whilst Aoqui is better than his record suggests.
Another notable under-card bout will see Motoki Osanai (0-0) make his debut in a 6 rounder. This youngster from the Watanabe gym will be facing a Thai opponent and the pressure will be on the 23 year old to live up to the expectation that Watanabe have on him.
Finally, it seems, Japanese action is picking up with the second title bout with in a week and a second card of note to begin the year.
The second Japanese title fight of the year comes just days after the first, which saw Hiroki Okada retain the Japanese 140lb title, this time we see a bout for a vacant title and, on paper, it's a mismatch. The bout in question sees former title challenger Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3-1, 6) battle against the experienced Yasuhiro Okawa (14-11-3, 5), who is set for his first title bout. On paper this is a huge mismatch but Okawa is better than his record suggests and has improved drastically from his 7-9-3 (2) start to professional life. Saying that however it's hard to see Shindo losing given how impressive he was in a Japanese title bout last year.
In the main support bout we see a former world champion in action as former WBC Flyweight kingpin Sonny Boy Jaro (42-13-5, 30) takes on Japanese ranked fight Yusuke Suzuki (6-2, 4), in what looks to be a very tough ask for Suzuki. Interestingly Jaro was once 0-3 in Japan though after a pair of wins in the “Land of the Rising Sun” last year he could level his record in the country with a win over Suzuki. For the 27 year old Japanese fighter this is an opportunity to score a big win, but he will be the huge under-dog.
Another supporting bout here will see former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-11, 12) take on Hideo Mikan (7-10-1, 2) in a must win bout for both men. Fuchigami, best known for being stuffed by Gennady Golovkin, has lost 4 of his last 5, with the last 2 both being stoppages. He needs a top performances here against Mikan, who has lost his last 3. Given that both will view this as a real opportunity we could end up with a very fun fight here.
One final under-card bout of note will see former Rookie of the year Hisao Narita (9-3, 4) take on Japanese based Colombian Elfelos Vega (5-2, 3). Both fighters were beaten last time out and know that a win here will give them something to build on, but it's fair to say that Narita will come into the bout as the favourite.
The “Dangan” shows tend to provide a lot of action, albeit at a lower level than some of the major shows. That's likely to be seen again this coming Wednesday in a pretty well matched card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of the card sees Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (12-1, 6) battle against Mexican puncher David Torres Garcia (10-1, 9). We know Kyotaro isn't a world class Heavyweight but we don't know much about his opponent, other than his record. What we do known suggests that this could be an interesting, and explosive encounter and we're genuinely looking forward to it.
In the co-feature bout fans will see Japanese ranked Super Flyweight contender Yuta Nakagawa (15-4-1, 9) take on Yutaka Kamioka (9-3-2, 5) in what looks to be a good, but not sensational, test for the ranked fighter. A win for Nakagawa here could lead to a title fight in 2016 for the Kadoebi fighter.
Another of the major bouts on this card sees Japanese and OPBF fighters face off as recently Japanese Welterweight title challenger Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3, 6) takes on Moon Hyun Yun (16-4, 3). Neither of these guys are punchers, and neither has been stopped, but both can fight and we're expecting a very tough and action packed bout between two skilled and aggressive fighters. This may well be the show stealer given that both men have a lot to fight for.
March 7th-Amnat Vs Zou in a showdown, with notable action from Ik Yang, Rex Tso, Hiroki Okada, Suyon Takayama and more!
The start of the year has been tediously slow at times however March is certainly seeing in ring action liven up, in a big way. The first real date to mark down on your calendar is March 7th which sees action across Asia with several big names a host of notable fights ranging from a world title bout to world title eliminators to national title bouts.
The biggest of the days show's comes from Macau where fans are treat to another of Bob Arum's foray's into the gambling capital of Asia. In many ways this is the most important of all the Macau shows and is, potentially, the biggest banana skin on the road to making the experiment a major long term success.
The tricky part of this card is the main event which will see Chinese megastar Zou Shiming (6-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5) in a brilliant match up. These two men are both unbeaten, both under-rated and were major amateur rivals. They are also men looking to claim a major scalp. For Shiming this a test that really could see him becoming a national hero or boxing's biggest villain, for Ruenroeng it's a chance to level the score with Shiming, who holds a 2-1 record over him from the amateur ranks. For Bob Arum this is a real test of his nerve. Shiming is talented and fast but this is a major step up for the double Olympic champion.
Shiming of course isn't the only Chinese born fighter on this show, nor is he the most exciting. One of the contenders for the tag of “most exciting” is the heavy handed Ik Yang (18-0-0-1, 13) who will be up against Thailand's experienced Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-2-1, 18) in an IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title bout, which will also double as an IBF world title eliminator. Yang has been on a number of Top Rank shows and is known for his power and offensive style though his flawed defense may be a problem here against the talented Patomsuk, who gave world ranked Takayuki Hosokawa a very close bout back in late 2013. This could be very interesting.
Another rival to the tag of China's most exciting fighter is the very flawed but fun Rex Tso (15-0, 9) who battles Filipino Michael Enriquez (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBA International Super Flyweight title. Tso will go into this bout as the favourite and is viewed as being likely to get a fight with WBA world champion Kohei Kono if he comes through here. For Enriquez this is a major opportunity though he has lost both of his previous title fights.
Going further down the card fans will get the chance to see the explosively heavy handed Aston Palicte (16-1, 14), of the Philippines, take on one of his toughest tests as he goes up against Ismael Garnica (13-5-1-1, 5). Garnica is best known for losing a decision British fighter Paul Butler last year, other than that however there is very little of note on his record. Palicte on the other hand is a dynamite puncher who comes into this bout on the back of 5 successive opening round blow outs, including a very notable one against Gerpaul Valero.
Another Filipino in action here will be Raymond Sermona (17-4-5, 8) who will be hoping to record his 3rd successive win as he battles former “world” title challenger Jose Felix Jr (28-1-1, 23). Felix Jr's only loss came last year when he stepped up to fight Bryan Vasquez and was well beaten, despite two horribly close scorecards, and he'll be favoured to make light work of Sermona.
To open the show we're expecting to see some local talent in action. One of those locals will be the unbeaten Zhou Yun Fei (4-0, 1) who battles against Paul Valenzuela (2-1-1, 2) whilst the other will be Macau's Kuok Kun Ng (6-0, 2), who will be facing Thailand's Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-2, 3).
As well as the action in Macau there is also a show, with title action, in Japan where fans will get a couple of domestic title fights courtesy of Kadoebi.
One of those title bouts will see once beaten Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (21-1, 7) defending his belt against former foe Nobuyuki Shindo (16-2, 6) in what looks like to be a very competitive match up. Takayama has the title, the better looking record and a win over Shindo already on his record however he is a weak champion and a lot of bouts have been very close. Shindo has height and reach advantages though the question coming in is whether or not he will be able to make them count.
In the other title fight the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) will be up against former title contender Hayato Hokazono (18-4-1, 11). We like Okada though are unsure how far he can really go, though it is obviously early days in his career. Hokazono is best known for his losses to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara, aside from those losses there is little else to note about his record other than a win over Kazuyoshi Kumano way back in December 2010.
On the under-card there is little of note though a bout between Hisao Narita (8-1, 4) and Yusuke Konno (8-2, 3) does look likely to be very competitive over the scheduled 8 rounds. Another undercard bout that we'll mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Yukinori Hisanaga (16-5-2, 9) battle against Takuma Takahashi (6-4-1, 1).
In South Korea we get 3 bouts between Korean fighters and Japanese visitors as Watanabe send a trio of their stable over to Korea.
The most notable of the Japanese fighters is Sonin Nihei (5-1-1, 1) who came runner up in last years East Japan Rookie of the year. The talented 21 year old, who lost a split decision to Kenya Yamashita, will be taking on the debuting Tae Un Jung (0-0) who we know nothing about.
Another of the bouts will see unbeaten Korean Joo-Young Kwon (2-0) take on Keisuke Kanazawa (2-4, 1). On paper it's hard to go against the Korean though he has only faced debutants so far whilst Kanazawa holds a very surprising win over the much touted Koki Tyson Maebara from back in January 2013.
The remaining bout, and the most looking on paper, will see Shingo Yabu (4-4-2) battle against Chan-Hee Park (4-5-1). Yabu is 0-2-1 in his last 3, including a loss to Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine in the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Park on the other hand has lost his last 4 and hasn't notched a win since 2009, in fact he's not fought since October 2010. Interesting match up in some ways but neither guy is anything great.
(Image courtesy of http://www.sandscotaicentral.com)