The most notable show this coming Sunday, Easter Sunday, comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
The main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Masahiro Sakamoto (11-1, 7) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on highly experienced Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (60-9-2, 24). The Japanese fighter won the title last December, when he stopped Kwanthai Sithmorseng, and he'll be looking to score a second successive win over a Thai veteran here. For Pigmy another loss might well spell the end of his career, especially given he's already 36 years old and has been a professional for closing in on 19 years! A win for Sakamoto will take him a step closer to getting a rematch with Sho Kimura, the only man to beat him so far.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (15-5-3, 5) looks for a stay busy win as he takes on Thai visitor Kathawut Saikaew Boxing Camp (0-1). Mukai has score back to back wins since his 2017 stoppage loss to Rex Tso in Hong Kong, and although bigger fights are around the corner we can't grumble too much about him staying busy given the competition he has faced through his career so far.
Arguably the most even looking match up on the show is a contest between Yuki Strong Kobayashi (12-7, 6) and Taichi Sugimoto (6-4, 2). We're not expecting anything too special here, but it does see Kobayashi risking his OPBF Bantamweight ranking.
Another show in Osaka, this time at the EDION Arena Osaka, will be promoted by Green Tsuda and looks a very interesting card with several bouts of note.
The main event is the most notable contest on the show and will see once beaten hopeful Kazuki Tanaka (8-1, 6) battle recent OPBF title challenger Seizo Kono (19-9-1, 12). The talented Tanaka was expected to be fast tracked into becoming a star however a 3rd round TKO loss last year to Ryohei Takahashi really did set him back, despite a bounce back win over Hikaru Marugame. Last time out Kono battled against Mark John Yap, and despite a solid effort he was stopped in 10 rounds. Given that both men need a win this should be a very hotly contested bout.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (19-8-3, 9) will take on Indonesian Frengky Rohi (5-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Okumoto has gone 3-2-1 (3), with set backs to Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, Eranio Semillano and, most recently, Ryuichi Funai in a Japanese title fight. The Indonesian visitor when 5-0-1 to begin his career, but has lost his last 3 bouts, and will struggle to over-come Okumoto here, in what looks like a very tough bout on Japanese soil.
A great match up between 24 year old fighters will see Ryo Sagawa (3-1, 2) take on the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Sawai (5-2-1, 5). Sagawa caught out eye on debut and looked very impressive, though was stopped in his second bout by Retsu Kosaka in a Japanese Youth title fight. Since that loss he has bounced back with two credible wins and will be looking for another one here. As for Sawai he's a very dangerous puncher at this level, and despite being flawed he can bang, with his power taking him to the 2016 Rookie of the Year final, where he lost to Yoshimitsu Kimura. This is a very interesting bout, and the winner could well go a very long way, despite already having a loss on their record.
Another bout pitting men with one loss against each other will see 2017 Super Bantamweight Rookie of the year Toshiki Shimomachi (7-1-1, 4) take on former amateur stand out Kiyohei Endo (1-1, 1). Shimomachi started his career 2-1-1 but is now riding a 5 fight winning run and has broken into the Japanese rankings. Endo, a former amateur stand out, suffered a surprise loss on debut but looks a class fighter and a win here would move him to the fringes of a Japanese ranking. A very interesting bout and one that both will be wanting to win, and win impressively.
There will also be a low key card in Aichi, as Yakushiji put on a show.
The main event of this card will see teenager Musashi Mori (5-0, 4) take on a Thai foe. The 18 year old Mori won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight and enters this bout ranked by the JBC. A win for the teenager won't push him up the ranking, but will kick off a year which should push him towards a title fight, if not see him in the mix for a Japanese youth title before the end of 2018.
A pretty interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rookie of the Year runner up Katsuki Matsuura (5-1, 1) take on Toma Kondo (6-2, 1). These two men are both 21 years old, both have very similar looking records and whilst neither is much of a puncher they should make for a very exciting contest against each other. This could be a very interesting bout between two men each looking to bounce back from a loss. Very good match making here.
So there we go, Christmas has been and whilst we wish you all had a great one boxing does continue and continues in style with December 27th being the first really notable day post Christmas.
Attention turns back to Kyoto for one of a multitude of Japanese sjhows.
The main match up here is possibly the fight of the day and sees a youngster look to establish himself a genuine star in the making. That youngster is Ken Shiro (5-0, 2) who will be taking a huge step up in class to face Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-13-1, 7). The bout is Ken Shiro's first bout against the best in Japan but he has looked brilliant so far into his career whilst Horikawa will be defending his title for the first time since his emphatic win over Shin Ono back in September. This really could be something very special.
The only supporting bout worth noting here will see Atsushi Aburada (10-8, 6) battle against Takahiro Murai (11-6-2, 4) in what looks like a really good match up. Aburada has gone 3-3 in his last 6, but those losses have included a defeat in a Japanese title fight and a loss to the solid Tetsuya Hisada. Murai has never been stepped and will see this as a great opportunity to claim a Japanese ranking, though will know that Aburada is a tough test. A really good bit of match making has gone in to this one.
The first of two Osaka shows is the more notable with a title fight and a bout featuring a former world title challenger.
In the main event of this one fans will get the chance to see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-3, 9) defending his title against multi-time challenger Koshinmaru Saito (22-7-1, 12). On paper this is genuinely a great bout, though one that Nonaka should win given his more intelligent boxing. Given that both fighters are well in to their 30's this is a must win to keep their careers alive and we expect a very good bout, even if it's not likely to lead either man to a bigger and better fight down the line.
The only supporting bout worth mentioning here will see former 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-13-1, 10) battle against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (22-12, 10). Whilst both men have got double figure losses both are talented fighters and both tend to be in entertaining bouts suggesting that this really could be the bout of the day. Both have lost to their best opponents but they are about the same level and could potentially put on a barn burner
The second of the Osaka shows comes after the first, in the same venue and it put on by Hiroki Ioka Promotions
The main event here will see world ranked Featherweight contender Hiroshige Osawa (28-3-4, 17) in a 10 round bout. Osawa, a former OPBF champion, will be hoping to record his 7th straight stoppage win and continue an unbeaten run that began back in 2009. Talented but yet frustrating Osawa seems to be a man who has wasted the last few years, with suspension and mismatches, but hopefully we'll see him kick on in 2016.
The co-feature bout will see former world title challenger Pablo Carrillo (17-4-1, 10) take on Thai visitor Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-4, 1). Carrillo, who fought Kazuto Ioka in 2014, is now based in Japan and will be making his debut as a Japanese based fighter with the hope of moving towards a world title shot in the future. This however is just stay busy for the Colombia, who has fought just once this year.
A final bout from this card worth noting sees the Japanese ranked Kosuke Saka (11-3, 8) in action. This bout was put together on late notice after Saka had a bout with Andres Gutierrez fall through earlier in the year.
Another Japanese card comes from Hyogo where Taisei hope to show case some of their most notable fighters.
The most notable of those Taisei gym fighters is Riku Kano (7-1-1, 4) who takes on former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (58-8-2, 23). Pigmy is currently world ranked and it's cleat that Kano's team are looking at this bout as a chance to get their man into the world rankings as quickly as possible, with their task being to get him a world title fight before the year is out. The match up is however a risky one and Pigmy cannot be written off, despite a recent defeat to Jaysever Abcede.
Another notable bout featuring a Taisei fighter will see Hiroki Taniguchi (6-7-1, 2) battle against the Japanese ranked Toshimasa Ouchi (18-8-3, 5) . This is a really harsh match up for Taniguchi, who has won just 1 of his last 6, but it's the sort of match up that sums up the Taisei gym, where they don't protect their fighters just for the sake of it. Ouchi will be the big favourite here, but has lost 2 of his last 4 and will likely be seeing this as a confidence builder.
Tokyo also gets some action with a small show courtesy of Hanagata.
The main event of this card sees Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuta Saito (8-7-2, 6) battle against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-6, 3) in a strangely well matched bout. Although ranked by the JBC Saito has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6, though did beat Keita Nakana in that win and has generally been competitive despite piling up the losses. Takabayashi however is 3-3 in his last 6, though has been fighting at a higher weight and could well bee too physical for Saito. This isn't a top tier bout, but it is an intriguing one.
A second bout of note here is a female bout that sees former world title challenger Saemi Hanagata (10-6-2, 4) battle against Chie Higano (4-3, 1). In all honesty this looks like a stay busy fight for Hanagata who will likely be hoping to have another world title fight in 2016. Higano should prove no threat for Hanagata but could go the distance.
Seoul, South Korea
The day also features a KBF show in the Korean capital
The main event here sees former WBO world champion Su Yun Hong (12-1-1, 6) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Li Liu (6-0-1, 3)*. The bout is a WIBF Light Flyweight title defense for Hong, who claimed the title last year and will be hoping to record the third defense of the belt. Although talented Hong's run of recent opposition has been poor and we hope in 2016 she will step it up, significantly.
The most interesting of the match ups sees former OPBF Super Bantamweight challenger Jimmy Paypa (16-3-1, 6) battle against Jason Egera (21-15, 10). For Paypa this is his first bout since he was stopped, way back in February, by Shingo Wake. He'll be looking for a win though does appear set to move up in weight to Featherweight for this match up. Whilst Paypa was beaten last time out it does need to be said that Egera has lost his last 7 with 4 of those coming by stoppage.
The other 10 rounder will see 19 year old hopeful Elmo Traya (9-1, 7) battle against the out of form Gabriel Royo (10-13-2, 8). Traya comes in to this on an 8 fight winning run whilst Royo is 1-6 in his last 7 bouts, dating back just over 2 years.
*Record reported by the KBF
The final really notable card this month, as far as Japanese fans should be concerned, takes place on August 28th as we see an OPBF title bout, a world ranked contender and a couple of unbeaten JBC ranked prospects.
The main event is the aforementioned OPBF title bout which will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani (10-0, 5) defending his belt for the 4th time as he takes on clear under-dog Kazuya Murata (11-4, 5). Coming in to the bout Nakatani will be hoping to make a statement and end a run of 4 successive decision wins, including victories over Yoshitaka Kato and Ricky Sismundo, though he did look disappointing last time out against Accel Sumiyoshi. For Murata this is his first title bout and one that he's expected to be stopped in, it is however a huge opportunity for him to make a name for himself.
The world ranked contender is unbeaten Super Bantamweight prospect Shun Kubo (7-0, 5), who came to the attention of the WBC last year when he out-pointed Luis May. Sadly for Kubo, who had a solid 2014 over-all, the momentum on his career has slowed significantly and that's shown by the fact he'll be facing Jakarachlek Sor Wankaew (0-4) in his bout on this show. It should be noted however that Kubo is in the running for a potential OPBF title fight and may well attempt to pick up the title after Shingo Wake vacates.
One of the ranked prospects on this card is Bantamweight hopeful Shohei Kawashima (10-0-2, 2), who will be hoping to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the experienced Tatsuya Miyamoto (11-13-1, 7). This bout should be a good, but passable, test for the unbeaten 23 year old.
The other unbeaten ranked contender is Reiya Konishi (8-0, 4), who actually won the All Japan Rookie of the Year last year. Konishi, who was recently included in the WBO world rankings, will be up against Naoya Haruguchi (7-5, 2) in what appears to be a suitable test for he 22 year old, who is fighting in just his second 8 round bout.
As well as the 4 bouts which have been mentioned, this card will feature 3 others.
Staying in Asia we also know there will be a show in Thailand, televised on Channel 7.
One of he headline bouts will see Pigmy Kokietgym (57-7-2, 23) face off against Jaysever Abcede (9-3, 5) on a bout for the for vacant WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. It appears that this bout will serve as a warm up for Pigmy who is said to be in talks for a world title fight with Kosei Tanaka, which could be announced in the next week or two, if he sees off Abcede here.
The other attraction will see Paipharob Kokietgym (29-0, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Fanther Ndahiuw (3-2-1). This bout will see Paipharob defending his defending WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title as he continues to pursue a WBO world title fight.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South Wales fans will see a battle of veterans as 43 year old Thai Plaisakda Singwancha (38-21, 32) battles 38 year old Australian based-Keyan born Kariz Kariuki (25-11-2, 19). Given the age of the two men we're not expecting anything great but both can punch and both have shown durability issues so it'd not be a huge shock to see this one end inside the schedule.
In South Africa fans will get the chance to see Filipino youngster Rene Dacquel (14-5-1, 5) take on local fighter Thembelani Nxoshe (13-5-1, 3) in a bout for the IBO International Super Flyweight title. This could well be one of the fights of the week given that both are aggressive fighters who lack major power. This really could be a joy for fans in attendance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This coming Friday isn't packed with action but there are some notable names in action.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a relatively good looking show with several notable fighters in action.
The main event, a WBC Youth Super Featherweight title fight, will see Argie Toquero (8-3-1, 6) defending his belt against unbeaten puncher Ardie Boyose (15-0-1, 11). On paper this is a really tricky defense for Toquero however the bout is also a step up for Boyose who has been matched softly so far.
Arguably the most interesting bout, on paper, will see Jerry Nardo (20-6, 11) battle against Jason Egera (21-13, 10). This bouts pits two flawed fighters against each other and could end up being a very interesting match up, even if it's not likely to a really highly skilled affair.
The biggest name fighter here is former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (23-2-1, 12) who fights for the first time since his shock loss to Faris Nenggo last November. Sabillo, who has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts, will be expected to pick up a straight forward win here against Powell Balaba (8-13-1, 5) though it really is a must win for Sabillo who has been stopped in his last 2 bouts.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fans will be getting a televised show featuring several notable names.
The most notable is Terdsak Kokietgym (56-5-1, 36) who looks to continue his long career as he battles once beaten Filipino Roldan Aldea (9-1-1, 3). Up for grabs here will be the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title with Terdsak looking to earn himself one more shot at a world title. Unfortunately for the 33 year old Thai he is getting on and it would appear like that his last shot at the top level was his September 2014 FOTY contender with Orlando Salido.
In one of the supporting bouts we'll see the unbeaten Petchmanee Kokietgym (7-0, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Rofiq Aditaya (2-1-1, 2). Aditaya will be fighting in Thailand for the second time, and this one comes less than a month after his defeat to Jirapan Nakorluang, a 3rd round KO.
The second supporting bout of note will see former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (56-7-2, 22) battle against Indonesian foe Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). Tefa comes in to this bout 0-4 outside of his homeland and it's very hard to see him changing that against someone with Pigmy's experience.
In Germany we'll get the chance to see two Asian fighters in action.
One of those is Kazakh Cruiserweight hopeful Isa Akerbayev (15-0-0-1, 11) take on Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (27-4, 24). This should be a straight forward win for Akerbayev, however given the fact Dos Santos can punch we may see the Kazakh take his time and fight cautiously against the 37 year old South American.
The other fighter in action here is Filipino tough guy Rey Labao (27-6, 18) who takes on once German Rico Mueller (18-1-1, 13). This is Labao's third successive bout on the road and although he'll be the under-dog he is very live, as seen last time out when he shocked former OPBF champion Masao Nakamura. The one big problem for Labao here will be the weight with the bout having been made at Welterweight rather than his more natural Lightweight or even Light Welterweight.
Samut Prakan, Thailand
The only Asian action down for this coming Friday is in Thailand. Although there isn't a lot of action it does feature some notable names, including one of Thailand's boxing gems.
That boxing gem is the unbeaten and heavy handed Paipharob Kokietgym (25-0, 20) who will be trying to claim the currently vacant PABA Light Flyweight title. In the opposite corner to Paipharob we will find the limited Indonesian fighter Faris Nenggo (8-5-3, 2) who will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Ryuji Hara back in June. We really don't see anything but a demolition job by Paipharob who looks genuinely world class. We're hoping that Paipharob can step up to the world level soon though as we all know Thai fighters can have very frustrating careers if their backers can't get them top level opponents.
On the under-card we're expecting to see former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (52-7-2, 22) fight against Indonesia's busy journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-24-2, 3) in what will be Tehuayo's 8th bout of the year, unfortunately for him he has only won 1 of the previous 7 bouts. For Pigmy this will be his first bout since being stopped by Hekkie Budler in a WBA world title bout in June.
Another Thai Vs Indonesian bout will see Fonluang KKP (20-1-1, 9) battle against Boido Simanjuntak (18-21-1, 7). This will be a second meeting between the two and just over a year ago Fonluang took a 6 round decision over the Indonesian journeyman who is in terrible form with 4 straight losses.
As we all know not all the big fights involving Asian fighters are in Asia and this weekend sees various Asian fighters fighting around the globe in some of the most significant fights of the weekend.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The only world title fight involving an Asian fighter this weekend sees Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (52-6-2, 22) taking on South Africa's Hekkie Budler (25-1, 8) in a battle for the WBA Minimumweight title. This is a huge ask for Pigmy and although the Thai has lost just once in the last decade he's really stepping up big time. Budler is widely regarded as one of the top 2 fighters in the division and will likely be too talented, too fast and too busy for the Thai who is being given next to no chance to score the upset.
Pigmy isn't the only Asian with a big task on his hands this weekend and in the US Japan's hard hitting Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-1-1, 21) will be facing multi-weight world champion Robert Guerrero (31-2-1-2, 18). This is a major bout for Kamegai who lost last time he was in the States to Johan Perez. We do love watching Kamegai who hits hard, takes a shot well and is exciting to watch but we know he's been brought in to lose to Guerrero who will be wanting to score an impressive victory after spending more than a year on the sidelines.
A bit closer to home is an ALA show in Cebu City.
This show is headlined by the Pagara brothers but features 4 very interesting bouts. The oldest of the Pagara brothers, Jason Pagara (33-2, 20) will be defending his WBO International Light Welterweight title against Mexican puncher Mario Meraz (20-3, 16). We've got to favour Pagara here as Meraz has yet to score a win of note.
Jason's younger brother Albert Pagara (20-0, 14) will be hoping to extend his winning run and claim the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title in his bout on the show. "Prince" Albert will, like his brother, be battling against a Mexican Hugo Partida (21-4-2, 16). Partida is best known for his 9th round TKO loss to Akifumi Shimoda and we'd not be surprised if Pagara managed to stop him as well, probably quicker than Shimoda did back in 2012.
Although the Pagara brothers are the head-liners we're incredibly excited about both of the support bouts. One of these will see hard hitting Filipino AJ Banal (30-2-1, 21) taking on the highly touted Indonesian banger Defry Palulu (10-0, 9) in what will be Palulu's first major test. We've been told that Palulu is the best thing in Indonesian boxing since Chris John and we're hoping that he is as the country really needs another emerging fighter. For Banal however this is a must win bout. With both men having a lot to earn from a win and a lot to lose from a loss we're expecting this to be a great contest.
The other support bout will see the experienced Jimrex Jaca (39-7-3, 22) taking on recent Japanese title contender Masayoshi Kotake (9-8-1, 5) in a very promising Light Welterweight contest. The records of the two men are huge different but Kotake's record really is misleading. Interestingly one of Kotake's losses was a close decision to Shinya Iwabuchi who, earlier this year, stopped Jaca in 7. We've got to favour Jaca but this has the potential to be a genuinely thrilling contest between two men who each need a win.
In Austria we see two female bouts involving Thai fighters who will be hoping to pick up some lesser titles. The most interesting of the two bouts will see the once beaten Nonggift Onesongchaigym (6-1-1, 1) battle against Eva Voraberger (17-3, 9) for the vacant WIBF and WBF female Super Flyweight titles. The 18 year old Nonggift enters this bout on a 7 fight unbeaten run though she is taking a huge step up to fight Austria's very own Voraberger who has been very highly praised by various sources. This is a tough ask for the Thai teen but as we know anything can happen in boxing.
The other bout, which is for the WIBF, WBF and GBU Minimumweight titles will see Nonggift's stable-mate Buangern Onesongchaigym (10-6-1, 1) taking on the unbeaten Oezlem Sahin (17-0-1, 5) in what appears to be a bit of a mismatch. Although she's 37 Sahin is a young and fresh 37 having avoided many hard bouts. Sadly for the 21 year old Thai fighter she's not managed to avoid punishment and she's been stopped in 3 of her last 5 bouts, including a stoppage loss at the hands of the light punching Ayaka Miyao earlier this year.
Staying on the theme female fights we also get female action in Switzerland as the Japanese born Swiss based Aniya Seki (24-2-2, 2) takes on tough Mexican Judith Rodriguez (6-7, 4) in a battle for the WBC Silver female Super Flyweight title. Seki, who has fought her career entirely in Switzerland, will probably be aware that Rodriguez gave Shindo Go a tough fight last December and that she will have to be at the top of her game to beat the very under-rated Mexican fighter.
In the UK fans will get to see the Pakistan born British based Faheem Khan (5-4-2) take on the debuting Jamie Ingleby (0-0). Although Khan has the clear edge in experience he has been stopped in each of his 4 losses and we'd not be that shocked to see him stopped again here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)