This coming Wednesday is a big one for Japanese boxing with 2 world title fights and two other title bouts all taking place on Ioka show in Osaka.
The most interesting bout on the card is an IBF Super Bantamweight title bout which sees Japan's tricky Shingo Wake (20-4-2, 12) face off against Dominican power puncher Jonathan Guzman (21-0-0-1, 21) fighting for the vacant title. The bout sees both men taking part in their first world title fight and both men know that a win will open the door to them getting more high profile bouts in the near future. For Wake the bout is his first against a genuine puncher whilst Guzman will be facing his first world class Super Bantamweight and the bout really should be something very telling.
In the co-main event WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (19-1, 11) will be facing off against Nicaraguan fighter Keyvin Lara (18-1-1, 6). For Ioka the bout will be his third defense and it seems likely that he could be up against Juan Francisco Estrada later in the year if he wins here. For Lara the bout is a huge step up in class and a huge opportunity, however it seems likely to be one that has come far too soon for him again a man who appears to be really growing into the Flyweight division.
In a supporting title bout Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (29-8-3, 9) will be defending his title against hungry lion Ryosuke Maruki (12-3-1, 7). Maruki will be in his first bout at this level, though is a former WBC Youth champion, and will need a career best performance to really trouble the veteran champion. As for Nonaka the 38 year old will be seeking a 5th defense of his title and will be hoping to extend his 11 fight unbeaten record.
Another supporting title bout on this show will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (17-4, 14) take on Filipino puncher Rex Wao (11-2, 9) in what could be a thrilling, but short, bout. For Yamamoto this will be his second defense and is one that he will be expected to win however Wao is a serious puncher and knows that a win here will help kick start his career after 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, with the most recent loss coming well about above the Bantamweight limit.
In regards to non-title bouts on this card we are interested to see Masayoshi Hashizume (10-0, 7) return to the ring as he faces fellow unbeaten Sangthong Tor Buamas (5-0, 5) in what could be an interesting assignment for the 2014 Rookie of the Year. Hashizume has impressed us in the past and does look fun and will hopefully move on to bigger things. For Sangthong this could be a coming out fight or it could see him exposed for his paper record.
In China we'll see an interesting show with a pair of tile fights involving Asian fighters.
One of those bouts will see China's Wei Qian Xian (8-4-1, 1) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title against Filipino puncher Rex Wao (11-1, 9), who is fighting for the second time since being stopped by Silvester Lopez last December. On paper it looks a clear mismatch in favour of the visitor but Xian is better than his record suggests and he could very easily upset the Filipino if Wao is still feeling the mental effects of his loss.
The other title bout will see the very promising Michael Dasmarinas (21-2, 13) defending his WBC Youth Super Flyweight title against Thai fighter Wisanlek Sithsaithong (14-8, 9). We have become big fans of Dasmarinas in recent times and can't see anything but a clear win for the very talented Filipino southpaw.
In Japan fans in the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see the Rookie of the East finals. The show will feature 9 bouts after several contests were aborted, originally however the show was set to feature 12 bouts from Minimumweight to Middleweight.
Dec 28th- Nonaka and Ota start off the New Year run but Nakamura and Labao have the potential to steal the show
Although December 30th and 31st are by far the most exciting days left this year for boxing fans we do have a very interesting “starter” a few days early as Muto Promotions put on a genuinely interesting card around the Japanese domestic scene. The show won't have international fans too excited but there is a potential FOTY on it and 3 genuinely interesting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (26-8-2, 9) defending his belt against former champion Charlie Ota (24-2-1, 16). Nonaka won the title earlier this year with an excellent victory over the heavy handed Kengo Nagashima, it was a bout Nonaka made look easy despite Nagashima being a dangerous puncher. Whilst Nagashima was a dangerous puncher it's fair to say Ota is a much more rounded and dangerous fighter and we suspect Ota will be a nightmare for Nonaka here in what is potentially a very good bout between a boxer and a brawler.
Although the main event looks really good we've got to admit that the co-feature has the potential to be even better as the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (18-2, 18) takes on tough Filipino Rey Labao (26-6, 17) in a contest that has all the ingredients to be something special. Nakamura comes into the bout following a loss to the unheralded Masayuki Ito and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here. Labao, himself a loser last time out Roman Andreev, will also be wanting to to get back with a win. Not only do both men need a win here but both also love to punch and have real belief in their power. Of the two we suspect Nakamura is the bigger puncher however Labao has never been stopped and there is every chance he can Nakamura's power. There is however no proof that Nakamura can take the best Labao has to offer. This one may be a thriller or it may be over very quickly.
A third notable contest on this card will see Kojiro Takada (13-7-3, 9) battle against former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (15-4-4, 7). Takada is a streaky fighter and as he lost last time out we suspect he'll loser again here, though the bout was close and he has got the ability to spring genuine upsets, as he did against Ratchasak KKP and Jerope Mercado. Kikuchi will be seeking his second straight win after suffering back-to-back losses, including a stoppage defeat to Shingo Wake in an OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight. Although the loser won't be heading to retirement the winner will certain take a big boost here whilst the loser will, obviously, be hit by a big set back that could be hard to come back from.
One more bout we'd like to quickly mention will see Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-3, 4) battle against the criminally under-rated Satoshi Niwa (15-18-3, 2). Kobayashi was recently the pro-test partner for the highly regarded Hinata Maruta and the reports suggest Maruta man handled him at times, it'll be interesting to see what he's like here. Niwa on the other hand sports the most misleading record in Japanese boxing and last time out he pushed the then unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu very close in a hard fought 8 rounder. This will be competitive if nothing else.
As well as the 4 bouts we've spoken about this card will feature a further 3 bouts
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines. Although this can't isn't as big it does look like a really interesting one with 3 genuinely notable bouts on it.
The most interesting of the bouts it at Bantamweight where the unbeaten Rex Wao (10-0, 8) attempts to defend his WBC International title against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (22-9-2, 16). Wao is very highly touted and some in the Philippines seem to view him as one of the country's most promising fighters however this is a step up for the 24 year old. Lopez might only be 27 but he already appears to be on the slide, big time, and will know a loss here could be the end of his dreams of ever becoming a force on the world scene. Really good match up and a very important one.
At Featherweight fans will see an interesting clash between Dennis Tubieron (19-3-1, 8) and Carlo Magali (18-7-2, 9). The two men will be fighting for the WBC International title at Featherweight and the winner may well find them put into the verges of the WBC's top 15.
In a Lightweight clash Japan's heavy handed, and under-rated, Tosho Makoto Aoki (18-12-2, 15) will battle against Indonesia's Rengga Rengga (7-1, 1) for the IBF Asia title. Aoki comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight stoppage victories and a growing reputation as a dangerous puncher whilst Rengga was last seen being stopped in just 119 seconds by Masatoshi Kotani. We suspect this will be a mismatch with Aoki taking out the Indonesian early on.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The big action this week continues with a PABA title bout as well as a string of other contests.
The "Asian bout of the day", despite it being in Australia, will see world ranked Filipino Czar Amonsot (26-3-3, 16) defending his PABA Light Welterweight title against Thailand's Decha Kokietgym (34-11-3, 18). Czar, best known for his loss to Michael Katsidis, has really forged an excellent little run in Australia in the past few years with a 7 fight unbeaten run. Although a long way from ever being a world champion Amonsot is strong, tough and fights hard when he needs to. As for the Thai challenger this will be his 3rd bout in Australia and he'll be hoping it's third time lucky. We'll be honest we don't see anything but a successful defence for Amonsot, though the fight should be fun as long as it lasts.
The title bout isn't the only Asian fight on this card as Thailand's Thongthai Rajanondh (16-18, 4) battles against the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (4-0, 3) in a bout for the Victoria State Super Bantamweight title. Although from Thailand Thongthai has been fighting out of Australia for the last few years, albeit with no success at all. From his 9 fights in Australia so far Thongthai has won none and we'd not be surprised with that 9 becoming 10 after this fight.
For a third successive day Japan fans get action at the Korakuen Hall, albeit at a lower level than the past couple of days. In fact it's a huge step down from the Japanese title fight on Monday and the OPBF bout on Wednesday with the main event instead being a very straight forward 8 round mismatch.
The aforementioned mismatch will see the limited but hard hitting Tatsuya Takahashi (16-5-3, 11) taking on the win-less Thai body donor Pramod Sor Vorapin (0-4) who has been stopped in all 4 of his recorded bouts. Whilst Pramod's record on Boxrec.com might not be full we still can't see him giving Takahashi much of a test.
In the co-feature of this show Dai Iwai (14-3-1, 5) will taking on domestic journeyman Keita Ito (8-17-2, 4) in a completely meaningless bout. Iwai comes in to the bout on a 5 fight winning streak, all against fighters with more wins than losses, which has helped him to earn Japanese and OPBF rankings. Ito on the other hand has lost his last 5 and won just 1 of his last 11 making him little more than fodder for Iwai who doesn't need these record padding wins at this point in his career.
With 10 bouts in total there is every chance one of the under-card bouts will deliver something memorable but we've got to admit the two main bouts from the card aren't particularly appealing to us.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be more action with a triple header taking place in Metro Manilla.
The most interesting of the 3 bouts will be a meeting of unbeaten fighters as the hard hitting Rex Wao (9-0, 7) takes on the much lighter hitting Virden Rivera (7-0-1, 2) in what looks to be a show stealing contest at Bantamweight. From what we understand this isn't just a great bout on paper but is also a notable bout in terms of what's at stake with the WBC International Bantamweight title up for grabs for the winner.
In the co-feature for the show Rey Perez (19-4, 4) will be battling against Carlo Magali (17-7-2, 9) in a battle for the ABF Featherweight title. Perez has to be favoured here with his higher level of experience, having shared the ring with Hugo Fidel Cazares and Nobuo Nashiro, though Magali will know that a win could resurect his career, despite losing 3 of his last 6.
The first of the 3 title bouts will see Ernie Sanchez (14-5, 5) taking on Randy Megrino (15-17-2, 8) in a contest for the WBC Yourh Super Featherweight title. On paper Sanchez goes in as the clear favourite but this is a bout that could easily see an upset with Megrino being much better than his record suggests.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
After the insane activity of the boxing world on May 3rd the action then drops off remarkably, as if the circus was in town for just a day and on Sunday we end up with little in terms of notable fights. Despite the lack of big fights we do still get some domestic cards in the Philippines.
The most notable bout will see Japanese visitor Takaya Kakutani (7-3, 6) battle against Jeffrey Arienza (10-2-1, 5) for the WBC Youth Lightweight title. For Kakutani this will be his second successive bout in the Philippines but he'll know this is going to be a tougher assignment than his previous bout there.
One of the other interesting bouts will see the unbeaten power punching Rex Wao (8-0, 7) take on the tough Jovill Marayan (8-16-3, 3) in what should be another win for the very promising Wao, who we've been told is one of the fastest rising prospects in the Philippines.
A second Filipino show will take place in Camiguin and appears to be a show case for a some prospects.
Amongst those in action is the once beaten Jeson Umbal (5-1, 5) who is set to fight in his first bout since being stopped by Alvin Makiling last October. We were told that his opponent was going to be domestic journeyman Jilo Merlin (13-19-2, 2) but it looks like Merlin is out of the bout for some reason.
Another big puncher on this show is the once beaten Jenny Boy Buca (6-1, 6) who faces a stiff test in the form of Nelson Llanos (22-31-3, 9). Llanos isn't a great fighter but is experience, tricky and could well give Buca more problems than he has faced in his first 7 professional contests.
A third prospect of note on this card is Charles Canedo (6-0, 3) who is stepping up to the 10 round distance very early in his career. No opponent has been named for Canedo though we're hoping for a better performance than his last one which saw him struggle past a real novice in the form of Michael Kaibigan.
It's not rare in boxing to have action all over the place but one show gets all the headlines. That's the case this weekend as we get one massive blockbuster of a show that has been stealing the headlines for weeks and been by far the most anticipated show of the year so far. Whilst that, admittedly, isn't saying much considering how slow the year has been, this is still a huge and really notable show and there is no real shame in ignoring most other shows to pay attention to just the one.
The show in question is the massive "Ring of Gold" show in Macau's amazing Venetian Resort. The resort, which is one of the biggest buildings on the planet looks good with out boxing though this Saturday it will look even better with 3-Olympic champions, 3 title bouts, 2 former world champions, one world title and 9 different countries being represented! This is what global boxing is all about!
The card kicks off with a Super Flyweight contest scheduled for 8 rounds. This bout sees Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) fighting against Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11) in what we expect to be a relatively straight forward victory for Ancajas. Although he has lost one and drawn one Ancajas is a real talent and the draw, a technical draw, came very early in his career whilst his loss was a narrow one to the very under-rated Mark Anthony Geraldo. He's a very solid and improving fighter who will title aspirations.
Following the cards opener we expect to see Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) fighting against Indonesia's Yakobus Heluka (7-5, 3) in a 6 round bout at Super Featherweight. We do like Dela Torre a lot, though wonder what the point of this bout is and whether Heluka is even fit to fight having recently been stopped in Japan. By "recently" we mean less than 4 weeks ago and we don't think Heluka could possibly have recovered in that time.
We're expecting at least one of those two to end early and if it does we could see the "swing bout" moved up to being the show's third bout. The swing contest is between Macao's very own Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) and Indonesian Rocky Alap Alap (5-10). Although neither has a stoppage to their name we wouldn't be shocked if Ng did stop Alap Alap inside the scheduled 4 rounds. In fact we'd be more shocked if Alap Alap was dwarfed in the ring by a much bigger fighter.
The reason we're expect the swing bout to be so early is because the next scheduled bout is Ryota Murata's (2-0, 2) contest which has got a set aside time slot to appease Fuji TV. The bout, which will start at around 7PM local time, sees Murata fighting against former world title challenger Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23) in what looks like a good step up for Murata. Unfortunately the bout isn't likely to be as testing as it looks as Nascimento is 40 years old and several years past his best though it's still a positive step up from the Japanese Olympic champion.
After Murata's bout we get the show's first title bout as Hong Kong's insanely popular Rex Tso (11-0, 7) battles Japan's Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3). On the line here is Tso's WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title and the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title as well as Tso's recent WBO world ranking. At lost at stake forTso but the expectation is that he will easily cope with Matsuyama.
Following the first title fight we're then scheduled to go to the second title bout which see's former world champions colliding in the best looking contest on the show. This bout sees former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) fighting Filipino power puncher Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14), himself a former WBO Super Flyweight champion. The winner of this bout will likely be moved to within a fight or two of a world title bout, though will immediately claim the WBO International Featherweight title and a big boost to any possible WBO rankings that they have.
The Shimoda/Sonsona bout is followed by the second Olympic champion on the show as Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) faces unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). On paper this is an interesting bout between unbeaten fighters but in reality it's hard to see anything but an impressive victory for the talented and much more experienced Russian who was a former standout amateur and multi-medal winning fighter in the unpaid ranks.
Mekhontsev's contest merely gives us a break between title fights before his fellow Russian Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18) attempts to claim his biggest victory as a professional. Shafikov, fighting in his first world title fight will be hoping to dethrone talented and rangy Mexican Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) of the IBF Lightweight in what promises to be an incredibly interesting and tough contest. Interesting since this bout was first listed on the sports books the odds have closed remarkably and there are many smelling a possible upset here.
The main event, scheduled to take place at 10PM local time, is to be local star Zou Shiming (3-0) fighting Thai teenager Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). On paper this looks like a huge leap of faith from Shiming's side but when you consider Japanese youngster Ryuji Hara stopped Yokthong in 2 rounds it's fair to assume that Shiming's team have just been very cynical with their match making. Oddly one of our writers has gone against the tide and confidently predicted Yokthong to win, be the rest of us aren't buying it.
As we said when we started this, the Macau card is the big, but it's not the only one with one also taking place in the very pleasantly named Peoples Park in Baguio City. The card, expected to feature 6 contests has just one of note and that's the bout featuring Rex Wao (7-0, 6) who will be attempting to extend his unbeaten record as he fights Gerry Pateno (4-5-2, 2). Wao has stopped his last 5 and some in the Philippines are very excited by him. Hopefully another win here, in style, will see him given more notable opportunities in the near future.
Outside of Asia we're also expecting to see Tajikistan's Azamat Umarzade (0-1) in action. Umarzade, who has been inactive since losing on debut back in 2010 is being matched with Joey Ruelas (6-0-1, 3) in what is one of the most pointless matches we can ever remember mentioning on this site.