Hong Kong S.A.R., China
For once it's Hong Kong that gets our attention for a notable show, one of the first notable ones there since Rex Tso decided that he would be aiming not for a world title but for Olympic success in 2020. That card isn't hugely stacked, but has the biggest current hopes from Hong Kong, Macau and Nepal as well as a mouth watering clash between unbeaten fighters from Japan and China.
The Hong Kong hopeful is the once beaten Raymond Poon KaiChing (7-1, 4), who looks to inherit the hopes that one hung on the shoulders of Rex Tso. Although not as talented or as exciting as Tso the 23 year old KaiChing is talented and will be looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title, and claim the WBO Youth title. The man in the opposite corner to the local favourite will be China's Xiang Li (6-2-1, 2), who has lost 2 of his last 4 but will come into this bout as a live under-dog, an a man with a point to prove.
Macao's big hope on this card is the very talented and exciting 22 year old Lap Cheong Cheong (5-0, 4), who is a Flyweight with a lot of upside. Cheong Cheong has impressed when we've managed to see him and he's stopped his last 4, in fact he's now got 3 straight pening round wins. In the opposite corner to the Macau prospect is Indonesian visitor Muhammad Wahid (4-1, 1). This looks like it will be Cheong Cheong's toughest bout to date, and Wahid showed he was a pretty decent lower level fighter last time out, when he gave Bin Zhou a pretty competitive bout in China.
Hong Kong based Nepalese fighter Nibesh Ghale (4-1, 3) seeks his 5th straight win, when he takes on Shogo Yamamoto (4-3, 1). The once beaten Ghale lost on debut, to Kuok Kun Ng back in 2013, and since then has reeled off some wins at a low level. Interestingly Yamamoto saw his own 4 fight winning run come to an end last November, when Yamamoto was stopped in 5 rounds by George Tachibana. This could be a lot more interesting than the records of the fighters suggest.
The best match up on the card will see unbeaten Japanese hopeful Ren Sasaki (8-0, 5), who won the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Featherweight, take on China's Ge An Ma (6-0-0-1, 1). The Japanese fighter, 24, has impressed and has won not only the Rookie of the Year but also a B class tournament, doing that in 2018. The Chinese fighter on the other hand comes into this bout on the back of a career best win over Diarh Gabutan. This looks like a fantastic match up on paper and something we're really looking forward to.
As well as the card in Hong Kong there will also be a Rookie card in Okayama. This card is scheduled to feature 8 bouts, all 4 rounders, and we're not expecting anything too notable to happen. On paper the show is a pretty forgettable one, though we wouldn't be surprised by some fun action across the card, albeit at a very low level.
This coming Tuesday our attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall where Dangan put on the finals of their recent B-class tournament, featuring several very promising fighters, and also featuring several other bouts of note.
The main event of the show will be the B Class Tournament Bantamweight final, which will see former amateur stand out Seiya Tsutsumi (2-0, 2) take on the charismatic Junpei Inamoto (2-0, 1) in a mouth watering clash. Tsutsumi went 84-17 (40) in the amateurs ranks and although he has only faced two limited Thai's so far Watanabe have huge expectations for him. Inamoto went 37-7 (9) as an amateur and has been matched harder since turning professional, but he was tested big time in his last bout. This has the potential to be a very special bout.
In the B Class Tournament Flyweight tournament final we see another former amateur stand out, as Rikito Shiba (1-0), who went 38-13 in the unpaid ranks, battles Yasuhiro Tanaka (5-3-2). On paper this is less exciting than the Bantamweight bout, but really big things are expected of Shiba and a win here for the 22 year old will put him on the fast track to a domestic or regional title. Tanaka isn't a former standout but instead he's a fighter who made his professional debut way back in 2009. Sadly for Tanaka his career has been rather stop-start but this is a great chance to make up for lost time and defeat a former amateur stand out.
The Featherweight final of the B Class Tournament will see the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (7-0, 5) take on Kanehiro Nakagawa (5-5, 3). This is the only B Class final with no real amateur pedigree behidn it, but Sasaki was the Rookie of the Year at Featherweight last year and comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight stoppage wins. Nakagawa ended a 3-fight losing streak back in June, when he over-came namesake Tasuku Nakagawa, but has battled tested with bouts against the likes of Yoshimitsu Kimura. This could be a very interesting match up.
One of the more interesting non-tournament bouts on this card will see Wataru Ikegami (5-3-1, 2) take on novice Tsubasa Murachi (1-0, 1). The 28 year old Ikegami has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3, but has been matched pretty hard with bouts against the likes of Fumiya Fuse and Tokuken Yoshimoto. Murachi on the other hand has fought just 92 seconds a professional before heading into this 6 round bout, which looks to be a huge step up in class.