The biggest show of the weekend, and one of the biggest Japanese shows of the year so far, takes place in Osaka on Sunday
The main event of the card will see WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) look to extend his reign as the champion as he takes on highly experienced Thai foe Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 38), who has won his last 61 fights! On paper this looks good, but it's a bout that really is based on smoke and mirrors with Noknoi's record being very padded so far. Interestingly this will be Ioka's 5th defense of the Flyweight title and if he wins he will become just the second Japanese man to win 14world title bouts!
The card feature a really good supporting bout as WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) defends his belt against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13). These two men fought in 2015, with Tapales dominating the then unbeaten Omori, and since then the Filipino had gone on to win the WBO title, taking a thrilling victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu. Although he was dominated, suffering a 2 round loss to Tapales, it does seem like Omori has looked at their first bout and admitted he was over-confident, making this rematch very interesting.
The most interesting of the under-card bouts will see Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) battle against the once touted Filipino Neil John Tabanao (13-3, 9). This really could be a very fun bout, with both men having good styles that should gel well for an exciting contest.
The under-card is also packed with a number of notable names, such as Sho Ishida (23-0, 12), Takahiro Yamamoto (18-5, 15), Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) Hayate Ikuta (7-0, 3) and Tatsuya Ikemizu (14-2, 6) all of whom will be facing Thai imports.
As well as the card in Osaka there will be a second notable show in Japan, with Aichi hosting a show featuring a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, and an interesting looking non-title bout.
That aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory title challenger Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12). Although this bout won't excite those outside of Japan too much, especially given the action in Osaka, we've got a genuine feeling that this will be a genuine barn burner. Hayashi is a busy, hard working yet basic fighter whilst Saka is a gutsy warrior with nasty power, and we're expecting those styles to gel perfectly for a war.
The other bout of note on this card will see the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (10-1-1, 10) battle against Noboru Osato (7-4-4, 1). Although Mizuno is unproven, and is stepping up a bit in class here, he has shown real promise and his power certainly looks genuine. Osato will go in to this bout as the under-dog but has never been stopped, and could well use his experience and toughness to teach Mizuno some new lessons.
There will be a third Japanese show in Hyogo, where fans get some lesser action, but still manage to get a card worthy of some note.
In the main event of this show we'll see WBO ranked Minimumweight hopeful Ryoki Hirai (8-4-1, 3) battle against the heavy handed Ryoya Ikema (11-3, 10). The little known Hirai really is ranked thanks to a technical decision win over the low-on-confidence Takumi Sakae from last December, other than that however his record has little to note. The huge punching Ikema was beaten last time out by Koki Ono, but is an interesting prospect and will be looking to score a career best win here.
The other bout of note on this card will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (8-2, 5) battle against the very promising Ukyo Yoshigai (5-0, 4). It's hard to call this one, but a win for Yoshigai would put him in great position ahead of his bout in the Japanese Youth Tournament later in the year. Kanda was stopped just a few fights ago but will be looking to build on back-to-back blow out wins in what could be a really fun bout.
In Uganda fight fan will see Azeri born Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Amos Mwamakula (15-6-2, 7) in a contest for the UBO Welterweight title. The bout is a low key affair but will see the winner score their best win to date.
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Attention turns back to Thailand this week with a card from Khon Kaen which has a genuine fantastic looking Minimumweight title bout, as well as two notable fighters in supporting bouts.
In the main event we see a really mouth watering match up as unbeaten Thai Knockout CP Freshmart (12-0, 6) faces Nicaraguan fighter Byron Rojas (17-2-3, 8) for the WBA Minimumweight title. Coming in to this one Knockout is the interim champion whilst Rojas is the “real champion”, saying that however this will only be Rojas's second world title bout whilst Freshmart will be in his 5th “world” title bout. For Rojas the bout will be a chance to build on his upset win over Hekkie Budler whilst Knockout finally gets his shot at the main WBA title.
In a supporting bout Thailand's touted Palangpol CP Freshmart (11-1, 7) will be in a stay busy bout against Filipino foe Vincent Bautista (4-4-3, 1). Bautista was stopped last time he was in Thailand, losing in 5 rounds to Petch Sor Chitpattana and we expect something similar here with Palangpol almost certainly being too heavy handed for the visitor.
One other notable bout on this card will see the highly experienced Noknoi Sitthiprasert (57-4, 35) battle against Samuel Tehuayo (19-37-2, 4), in what is surprisingly their first contest against each other. Coming in to this one the Indonesian warrior will be the clear under-dog whilst the Thai seeks a 57th straight win!
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where a young and unbeaten fighter takes on a true veteran of the sport.
The youngster involved here is the WBA interim Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (9-0, 5) who attempts to defend his belt against Indonesian veteran Muhammad Rachman (65-11-5, 35). For Rachman this is a chance to become a 3-time “world champion” and become a title holder at the advanced age of 43 whilst for Knockout it's a chance to defend the title he won last October, when he narrowly out pointed Carlos Buitrago.
The biggest name fighter on the undercard will be Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (43-2, 25) who will be defending his PABA Bantamweight title against Filipino challenger Mateo Handig (13-8, 7) in what appears to be a horrible mismatch. Handig was world ranked not too long ago, and does hold a major win over Katsunari Takayama, but is a Minimumweight jumping up to Bantamweight and Panomroonglek will simply be too big and too strong for his challenger.
Another support bout will see Flyweight contender Noknoi Sitthiprasert (52-4, 30) put his 51 fight winning streak on the line against Filipino journeyman Donny Mabao (21-24-1, 4). Noknoi, who is unbeaten since 2005 and brings the longest active winning streak into the ring, sadly however Mabao has lost his last 4, including an OPBF Minimumweight title bout to Ryuji Hara and a WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title bout against Nawaphon Por Chokchai.
Another notable fighter on this card will be former WBA interim Flyweight champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (34-3, 20) who makes his return to the ring for the first time since losing a WBA Flyweight unification bout against Juan Carlos Reveco last year. Yodmongkol has had a trio of hard fights coming into this bout and is now expected to face a very low level opponent.
The final bout we've been made aware of will feature the very exciting Chanachai Cp Freshmart (2-0, 1), who currently holds the WBC Youth Minimumweight title. Chanchai will be battling fellow unbeaten Chatpetch Por Pakdee (2-0) in a non-title bout that comes just weeks after Chanachai defended his belt with a clear decision against Wilber Andogan. Chanachai is fun to watch and we're fans though we know that he's being matched in a way to make him look good stylistically and this should be another bout like that.
Japanese fans have seen March kicking off with a swathe of nationally ranked fighters in action. Now they get the chance to see a trio of champions as the month really moves up a gear and Ohashi gives us their first show of the new year.
Technically the highest level of champion is a world champion and this shows sees a world champion in action. Sadly however it's WBA Atomweight champion Ayaka Miyao (19-5-1, 4) who fights in a non-title bout scheduled for 6 rounds with Momoko Kanda (8-6-2, 2). On paper this a great contest and it should prove to be a hit with the fans however as a female bout we suspect some fans, especially those in the West, will ignore this one.
The second tied of champion is a continental champion and we get one of those in action on this show as the sensational Ryo Matsumoto (13-0, 11) kicks off his year. Matsumoto, who won the OPBF Super Flyweight title at the end of last year, will be taking part in a bout contracted at 54KG's as he takes on Thai visitor Thanuthong Chor Kangwal (0-0). This bout is a complete mismatch on paper though we suspect it's hinting at a possible move to Bantamweight for Matsumoto who has always appeared to be a very big Super Flyweight.
Although neither Miyao or Matsumoto are defending their titles it doesn't mean there won't be title action on this show. The title action comes in the main event as Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (26-2-1, 20) battles against former foe Rikiya Fukuhara (30-7-1, 22) in a second meeting between the two men. The heavy handed Hosono, best known for a trio of failures at world level, stopped Fukuhara back in 2012 and will be hoping to do the same here whilst Fukuhara looks to become a 2-weight Japanese champion, adding the Featherweight title to a previous reign at Super Bantamweight.
As well as the three bouts featuring a champion the card also features some other recognisable fighters. One of those is former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (18-5, 11) who essentially battles for his career after 4 stoppage losses in his last 6 bouts. Okada should be safe here as he takes on the very light hitting Masaki Saito (11-10-4, 3). On paper this another mismatch but Okada is looking very much like a shot fighter whilst Saito has gone 5-2-1 in his last 8 bouts, dating back almost 3 years.
Former Japanese Featherweight title challenger Toru Suzuki (24-4, 8) is also in action as he takes on Tatsuya Yanagi (10-2, 4). This is an intriguing contest with Yanagi trying to bounce back from back-to-back losses, including a wide decision to the excellent Johnriel Maligro, whilst Suzuki tries to rebuild after going 2-3 in his previous 5, including a stoppage loss to Hisashi Amagasa. For both men this is a must win bout.
One notable under-card bout will see Kenichi Miyazaki (7-1-1, 2) attempt to record his 3rd straight win as he takes on Takuro Habu (11-9-2, 3). On paper this looks like a horrible match up however Habu has fought much, much better competition than Miyazaki and has suffered losses to the likes of Amnat Ruenroeng and Yu Kimura. This is one of those bouts which is likely to be much better than the records of the fighters suggest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
It's fair to say that 2015 has been incredibly slow to get going. We have had shows and fights but so far it's been a bit stop-start with the only notable bout for Asian fights in January being the OPBF Super Featherweight title bout between Jomthong Chuwatana and Daiki Kaneko. Thankfully however things are set to change, in a big way, throughout a very exciting looking February.
Technically the month started a few days ago however really begins today with the first world title bout of the month and several youth title fights as things get underway in impressive fashion.
In the main event fans will see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (36-0, 12) defending his belt for the first time as he goes up against the little known Jeffrey Galero (11-0, 5). Last time out we saw Wanheng over-come Oswaldo Novoa to win the title and prove he could step up to fight at world level, this time around the shoe is on the other foot and it's Galero looking to prove he belongs at this level. For Galero it's a huge opportunity however it's hard to see him over-coming the more experienced and proven Menayothin here.
Notably the winner of the Menayothin/Galero bout is expected to be made a seriously big financial offer to travel to Japan and defend the belt against Kosei Tanaka in April. That incentive could well be enough for both men to really go out and make a statement here.
In one of two supporting titles bouts fans will see the much touted Kongputorn CPFreshmart (5-0, 3)* defending his WBC Youth Flyweight title against Chinese visitor Zhang Fang Yon (0-1). We like Kongputorn, a lot, and suspect he'll make a good impression again here as he continues his rise through the boxing ranks. It may seem early to say this but we suspect Kongputorn will be a world champion somewhere down the line.
The other supporting title bout will see Chanachai Cp Freshmart (1-0, 1) defending his WBC Youth Minimumweight title against the much more experienced Wilber Andogan (10-17-4, 4). We'll be honest this looks like an amazing test on paper for Chanchai and it's clear his team have serious belief in him. We expect a win from the Thai however we also expect to see him have a few hairy moments en route to retaining his title.
In a monster mismatch fans will also get the chance to see the talented and highly experienced Noknoi Sitthiprasert (51-4, 30) battle against the win-less Mongkol Patanakan Gym (0-7). Coming into this bout Noknoi has one of, it not the, longest winning run in boxing with 50 successive wins dating back to 2005 and we suspect it'll continue here.
One final bout on this card is expected to feature former world title challenger Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (42-2, 24) who is said to be hunting a world title fight later in the year. The 30 year old southpaw is facing a yet to be announce opponent and will be hunting his 7th straight win since being narrowly beaten in Japan by the then WBA Bantamweight champion Koki Kameda back in April 2013.
*Boxrec refuse to acknowledge Kongputorn's debut win over Veeradej Manoprungroj, which can be seen here