This coming Friday is a really notable one, with a lot of exciting action, even with the biggest bout of the weekend, for us, being cancelled.
New York, USA
The bout that was cancelled, would have seen the unified Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10) defending his WBA "super" and IBF titles against fast rising Uzbek amateur standout Murodjon Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5). Sadly this was called off due to an injury to Roman, however the plan seems to be to reschedule the bout for when Roman is 100%.
Despite the main bout being called off the card will still feature 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (7-0, 3), who has promised a lot but is yet to truly shine as a professional. The unbeaten Kazakh will be up against unbeaten American Reshard Hicks (12-0-1, 6). On paper this looks a good test for the Kazakh but in reality he shouldn't struggle with Hicks, if he's as good as many hoped he'd be.
Due to the world title fight being called off in the US, the best card appears to be in Japan where we see a former world champion, a Japanese title fight, a Japanese youth title fight and a Japanese title eliminator.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) fight for the first time since losing his belt to Jamel Herring. The talented Ito will be up against Indonesian foe Ruben Manakane (25-18-1, 14), who despite only being 26 will be fighting in his 45th pro bout. This is expected to be an easy win for Ito, who is flirting with the Lightweight division, but it's clear there is a lot to work on given before he returns to facing world class opposition, at least based on his performance against Herring. Despite this being a pretty obvious mismatch Manakane does enter as the Indonesian champion and is 7-1 in his last 8.
Despite the main event being a mismatch the supporting card is solid with the best of the bouts being a Japanese Featherweight title bout, with Reiya Abe (19-1-2, 9) and Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) battling for the title that Taiki Minamoto vacated earlier in the year. This has the hall marks of a very, very special bout with both fighters being very highly skilled but having different styles and mentalities. Abe is the more pure counter puncher, a sharp shooting, back foot fighter, whilst Sagawa is a more offensively minded boxer-puncher. These style really should gel and the two fighters will both be looking for their most significant win to date. This could be one of the most thrilling bouts of the month. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Abe and Sagawa battle to crown new Japanese Featherweight champion!
In what looks likely to be an exciting brawl we'll see Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) and Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) battle in a JBC Super Bantamweight eliminator. The experienced Furuhashi is trying to secure a third Japanese title fight but will be the under-dog here against Tamura, who held the title earlier this year. Furuhashi is a solid national contender but he has been in tough bouts through his career and it's hard to know what he has left in the tank. On the other hand Tamura's last 2 bouts have been really hard wars, with his last bout being a brutal war with Yusaku Kuga, and they may well have added a lot of miles to his clock. A preview of this bout can be read here Tamura and Furuhashi to battle in eliminator!
A second title fight will see fast rising youngsters Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) and Shisui Kawabata (2-0, 2) battle for the JBC Youth Light Flyweight title. Both of these youngsters are tipped for big things, and in fact Shiba is pencilled in for a Japanese title eliminator later in the year, so to see them clash at this point is rather surprising, despite the Youth title. So far Shiba has looked the better fighter, and he really does look the goods, however Kawabata has sparred with Naoya Inoue among others and is very highly regarded. This could be another thriller. Our preview of this contest is here Shiba and Kawabata face off for Japanese youth title!
The rest of the card is full of small but still interesting bouts. These include a battle between Japanese ranked fighters, as Kanehiro Nakagawa (7-6, 4) looks to build on a career best win against Seiichi Okada as he takes on Ryuto Araya (13-7-1, 4). Other smaller bouts on this card include Satoru Goto (4-4-2) taking on the unbeaten Ryugo Ushijima (3-0-1, 2) and the debuting Taison Morishita (0-0) battling Kojiro Nishikawa (5-1, 2) in a tough 6 round debut.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Another notable fighter pencilled in for the day is former world title challenger Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6), who will be in action in Dubai. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
We are set for a mouth watering title triple header on July 27th. Originally the card was a quadruple header, though one of the bouts was cancelled, but more about that in a few moments.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) seek his third defense, as he goes up against former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (18-5-1, 11). The talented and highly skilled Mishiro has been moved quickly since his 2017 debut, and already has wins against the likes of Shuya Masaki, Carlo Magali and Takuya Watanabe. Another win here would move him close to a potential world title fight. On the other hand Takenaka, 34, is now in last chance saloon , following a loss in March to Heorhii Lashko and it's hard to see how he can bounce back from another defeat. Our preview of this bout can be read here Mishiro takes on Takenaka in latest OPBF title defense
A second title fight will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) defending his title against mandatory challenger Yusuke Suzuki (10-3, 7), in what should be an excellent match up between two skilled and heavy handed fighters. For Saito the bout will be his second defense, and despite his poor looking record he has looked sensational in his last 2 bouts with heavy handed, intense pressure and a lot of aggression. Suzuki has long been due a title fight, but due to injuries and issues with opponents his opportunity has been pushed back, and back until now. Suzuki has shown more variety to his boxing than Saito, though he's been pretty inactive recently, due to his injuries. This is likely to be the show stealer, based on the styles of the two men involved. Our preview of this bout is here Saito and Suzuki battle for Japanese crown
The third title bout will see super prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) facing Filipino foe Clyde Azarcon (15-2-1, 5) in a bout for the in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. For the extremely highly touted Shigeoka this will be his first title fight, and a win here would see him match the Japanese male record for fewest fights to win a title, of any kind. Shigeoka was a very high touted amateur before turning professional last year and has raced to this shot. The Filipino on the other hand will be fighting out of the Philippines for the first time, but will be competing in his third title bout, after claiming the PBF title last year and fighting to a close loss in a WBO Oriental title fight. This has the potential to be the coronation of a future star, or a case of another fighter coming up short when being pushed too far too fast. Our preview of this sensational match up is available here Shigeoka goes for regional title against Azarcon!
Sadly a scheduled bout between Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) and Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2), which would have been for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title, had to be cancelled earlier in the month. The bout was called off after Sato suffered an injury in training, but the hope does seem like the two sides will try to rearrange the contest for later in the year.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the Japanese action there will also be some more Filipino interest in the day as young Filipino Joseph Ambo (9-1-1, 6) takes on once beaten South African Yanga Sigqibo (12-1-1, 3) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title. Ambo sufffered his only loss so far when he fought outside of the Philippines last year, losing a decision to the capable Sukkasem Kietyongyuth in Hua Hin, Thailand. Sigqibo on the other hand is on a good run and has recently scored good wins over Rene Dacquel and Keyvin Lara, and will clearly be expected to pick up another win here.
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo get the chance to see a pretty significant Diamond Glove card, with a Japanese fight, a notable fighter in a supporting bout and two Japanese Youth title eliminators.
The main event will see unbeaten Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) look for his fourth defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-3, 3). Yoshino has looked fantastic since winning the title in 2017, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita, and has stopped his last 3 challengers. Sumiyoshi on the other hand is getting his second shot at gold, after having challenged for he OPBF title way back in 2015. Since losing to Masayoshi Nakatani Sumiyoshi has gone 7-0-2 and put his career back on track with a solid unbeaten run, this is however a huge step up from those last 9 bouts. A full preview of this bout can be read here Yoshino defends against mandatory Sumiyoshi!
In a supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) looks to bounce back from an October loss to Rikki Naito, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Tsukada (9-7, 3). Nagata is a fun guy to watch, and whilst he's no world beater he is likely to find himself in another title fight sooner rather than later. Tsukada on the other hand has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 and we wouldn't be surprised with him being stopped again here.
The really exciting part of the under-card are the two Japanese Youth title eliminators. The more exciting of the two comes at Light Flyweight, where Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) will take on the unbeaten Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) in what could be a really amazing fight, and a proper test for the unbeaten Shiba. The other eliminator will see the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (7-1, 7) take on Kenta Nomura (5-2, 2) in a Super Bantamweight eliminator.
The eliminators here will see the winner of the Super Bantamweight bout take on Toshiki Shimomachi later in the year for the vacant title, whilst the Light Flyweight winner will take on either Tsuyoshi Sato or Tetsuya Tomioka, who will have fought on April 6th after this was written.
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.