December 19th isn't set to be a huge day for Asian fight fans, but it will be an interesting day as we get the next Dangan card.
In the main event we'll see the heavy handed Shuhei Tsuchiya (21-4, 17) battle the in form Masashi Noguchi (12-5-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title. This will be the first time either man will have fought for a Japanese title, with Nihito Arakawa recently vacating the title, but we're expecting a very fun bout between two men who can be hurt and stopped.
The main support bout will see exciting veteran Rikiya Fukuhara (31-9-1, 23) take on Filipino visitor Alvin Bais (15-7-1, 4). The bout isn't the most exciting contest on the card, not even the most exciting bout between a Japanese and a Filipino, but it will be the final bout of Fukuhara's career with the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion announcing that win or lose his career was ending here.
A really good under-card bout will see the experienced Yosuke Fujihara (16-4, 4) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (4-2, 3). Although this looks like an easy win for the more experienced Fujihara on paper Watanabe is one of the more under-rated fighters coming through the Japanese ranks and we're expecting to see the novice come out on top here, and potentially fighting for titles by the end of next year.
A brilliant Japan Vs Philippines bout will see unbeaten local Tsubasa Koura (8-0, 5) battle against former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (14-2, 7). Koura, the 2015 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, has impressed with a pair of stoppages earlier this year and looks to be one of the more notable Minimumweight prospects coming through the ranks at the moment, but this is a huge step up in class. Galero on the other hand is looking to rebuild following a loss to Seita Ogida earlier this year. Although he lost last time out we must admit we thought we saw a lot of promise in Galero when he took on WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin and this could be a chance for him to get his career back on track.
In another good looking bout we'll see the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year Bantamweight runner up Tenta Kiyose (10-2-1, 3) battle against former Japanese title challenger Ryuta Otsuka (16-9-2, 6). Kiyosa has impressed in the past, and is riding a 3 fight winning run coming into this bout but is stepping up massively against Otsuka. As for Otsuka he has lost 4 of his last 7, but they have included losses to two Japanese champions, Teiru Kinoshita and Sho Ishida, along with a defeat to former world champion Malcolm Tunacao. This really could be a very good bout.
For fans interested in this card it will be streamed live on boxingraise.com.
The Ohashi gym have become one of the most notable in Japan over the last few years with Chairman Hideyuki Ohashi becoming one of the key figures in boxing. Not only has the Ohashi gym become notable at the world level thanks to the success of fighters like Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi but they are also one of the most significant domestically, with solid domestic shows on a regular basis. Their next show is this coming Monday and features a Japanese title fight as well as several other note worthy fighters.
The main bout of the card see veteran fighters colliding in a bout for a Japanese title fight. The bout question will see Japanese Featherweight kingpin Satoshi Hosono (30-2-1, 20) defending his title against nemesis Rikiya Fukuhara (31-8-1, 23), in what is the third meeting between the two men. To date the Hosono is winning the series 2-0 and the former 3-time world title challenger will know that he will need to impress here if he's to get a much desired 4th world title shot. For Fukuhara the bout is a chance to finally get one over on Hosono, and possibly put himself in the mix for a world title title. Whilst Fukuhara is 37 he's young 37 and still has impressive speed and vicious power, whilst Hosono has shown signs of slowing decently, despite being a relatively young fighter at “just” 32.
In one of the notable under-card bouts we'll see former Japanese Super Featherweight Seiichi Okada (18-6, 11) battle against Spice Matsushita (15-8, 2). Okada, an Ohashi gym fighter, was once 16-1 (9) and the Japanese champion, sadly however his career has faltered in recent years with a 2-5 run, with 3 stoppage losses, and he's now really fighting for his career. Given that Matsushita is a light puncher it's hard to see him stopping Okada but he is certainly a live under-dog and will be looking to secure his 5th straight win whilst taking a clear step towards a potential title fight of his own.
Another notable under-card bout here will the promising Kenichi Miyazaki (10-1-1, 3) take on recent Japanese title challenger Hiroya Yamamoto (9-4, 3). This is a great match up with both men knowing that a win could help them secure a Japanese Minimumweight title fight in the near future. Given that both men are young we're expecting to see a high tempo contest here, with both going all out for the win in what could be the bout of the show.
Of course the Inoue name is now a key one in boxing with Naoya and Takuma Inoue being two of the best youngsters in the sport. This card will also feature their cousin, Koki Inoue (1-0, 1) who will be in a 6 round bout against a Thai foe, who will be expected to be stopped early on by the very promising Inoue.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in Russia whilst has some Asian interest. A main part of that interest is unbeaten Uzbek Uktamjon Rahmonov (5-0-1, 1), who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Manuk Dilanyan (3-2-1, 2). Rahmonov should be the favourite but he was held to a draw last time out and was lucky to claim a win in his fight before that one.
Although the new month has had a slow start it does appear that things are going to get going on the month's first Saturday, and what a day it looks to be with a genuinely mouth watering domestic Japanese card.
The Japanese card comes from the Korakuen Hall and features a bit of everything.
The main event is a Japanese Light Welterweight interim title fight between the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (17-1-1, 7) and former challenger Masayoshi Kotake (9-9-2, 5). Originally Kotake was supposed to fight reigning champion Hiroki Okada though a serious injury to Okada's right thumb saw him need to cancel the bout which has lead to this fight. On paper it's hard to see anything but a win for Nakazawa though the truth is that his record is very padded and this is a huge step up against the much more proven, though limited, Kotake.
A really mouth watering match up will see former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Shinya Iwabuchi (25-5, 21) battle against former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-10-1, 8). Iwabuchi is rarely in a bad fight and the heavy handed southpaw is known to want another OPBF title fight, having fallen short twice in the past. Jakosalem isn't the fighter he once was, but is still a dangerous foe if given full preparation time, which he has been here, and as a result we're expecting a very special war here.
Another former champion in action is the always entertaining Rikiya Fukuhara (30-8-1, 22) who will look for win #31 as he takes on Yusuke Nakagawa (8-3-1, 4). Although not the best fighter on the planet Fukuhara is a real handful for many and he's only been beaten by one man in the last 4 years, the world ranked Satoshi Hosono. It's hard to see Nakagawa giving Fukuhara too many problems here though we'd be shocked if the bout wasn't entertaining all the same.
One man who will be hoping to move from contender to champion in the near future is Ryuta Otsuka (14-8-2, 4) who will be risking his JBC ranking against Takaaki Ishikawa (11-6, 6). Otsuka is ranked at Super Flyweight though will be testing the waters at Bantamweight here. Ishikawa, who has lost 2 of his last 3, may see this as a huge opportunity to get himself a domestic ranking and as a result we'd not be shocked for this one to be very exciting.
Another really meaningful bout will see Japanese ranked fighters facing off against each other as Hiroya Yamamoto (8-3, 3) takes on Takumi Suda (12-10-2, 3). Both of these men are seen as possible title challengers for the Japanese title in the near future and we'd not be shocked at this bout being incredibly competitive. We've got to admit neither guy has been incredible in recent times though both have mixed with good company. Yamamoto's last two losses have come to Xiong Zhao Zhong and Go Odaira whilst Suda has suffered losses to the likes of Akira Yaegashi, Warlito Parrenas and Shin Ono and both are better than their records indicate.
A second Japanese show comes form Osaka and really pales in significance to the Tokyo card.
The most interesting of two notable bouts will see Akira Shono (8-7-2, 4) face a Thai foe in an 8 round bout. We've not got the name of the Thai though we do know that Shono is ranked by both the OPBF and the JBC, so those rankings could be at risk.
The other bout of note will see Takuya Uehara (6-0, 3) facing another Thai foe. It's hard to predict where Uehara is going in his career but this will be his first 8 round bout and there should be some excitement around him even if his opponent is an unknown Thai
As well as the two bouts we've mentioned there will be 7 other bouts on this card.
Yangju, South Korea
In South Korea the KBC put on their next rookie card. On the whole this show is less than inspiring and features mainly 4 rounders.
The one bout which isn't for just 4 rounds will see unbeaten teenager Gun Woo Gang (1-0-1, 1) face the more experienced Dong Suk Han (1-6) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds at Welterweight.
Staying with Korean fighter's we actually get a Korean novice in action in the US as Tae Woong Jung (3-2-2, 3) battles against the unbeaten Antonio Nieves (12-0-1, 6) in an 8 rounder. This is a considerable step up for Jung, who hasn't fought out of Korea before. Sadly for Jung he is 0-2-2 in his last 4 and won't be expected to end that win-less run here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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)
This week comes to an end in brilliant fashion with numerous notable fighters in action across the areas covered by the PABA and OPBF.
The most significant action of the day comes from Russia where we have several interesting bouts that range from a world class match up to a solid break through contest for a promising fighter just beginning to make a name for himself.
The promising fighter is the unbeaten 28 year old Light Heavyweight Sergey Ekimov (11-0, 5) who will be attempting to defend his CISBB Light Heavyweight title against the experienced Czech based Cuban Miguel Velozo (17-2-2, 5), who was very unfortunate in his last bout. This is a great test for Ekimov, easily his toughest so far, though one he should find a way to win if he's as good as some suggest.
A more notable bout comes at Cruiserweight where one-time world title challenger Rakhim Chakhkiev (19-1, 14) battles against former world champion Giacobbe Fragomeni (32-4-2, 13). Fragomeni is solid world level fighter and we suspect he could give Chakhkiev a really hard test here though an impressive win for the Russian may earn him a world title shot next year and with fellow Russian fighters Denis Lebedev and Grigory Drozd holding world titles that could give us an all-Russian world title bout.
The main event on this show will see former Heavyweight title holder Alexander Povetkin (27-1, 19) battle against the very under-rated Carlos Takam (30-1-1, 12) in a fight for the WBC Silver Heavyweight title. The winner here will be put near to the front of the queue for a WBC world title bout next year. They will be behind mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder though will view Wilder, and current champion Bermane Stiverne, as beatable opponents if they face either man next year. This is a tough one for Povetkin but it is winnable, especially in Russia where the officials will likely help him if needed.
As well as the show in Russia we also have an interesting card in Japan courtesy of Watanabe Gym.
The main event on this Russian show will see Hayato Kimura (21-7, 15) looking to bounce back from his loss last time out to Michael Dasmarinas as he takes on the limited and thoroughly unimpressive Kanae Onogi (6-6-1, 3). Kimura's record looks impressive but he's far from being an impressive fighter and has lost his last 3, in fact he has lost 3 of his last 5 and 5 of his last 10 suggesting that he's really nothing special, though he should be good enough here.
In the co-feature we'll get the chance to see the always fun to watch, and heavy handed, Rikiya Fukuhara (29-7-1, 21) who will be taking on the limited Thiendaeng Manoprungroj (1-4, 1). This should be an easy contest for Fukuhara who we suspect may be fighting to shake off some rust before a Japanese title fight next year against Satoshi Hosono in what promise to be an explosive encounter. Of course Fukuhara was supposed to be fighting Hosono earlier this year though had to pull out due to an injury, hopefully the injury will have full recovered by now and he'll be back to his best.
A third 8 round bout on this show will see former OPBF title challenger Ryuichi Funai (21-6, 14) battle against domestic journeyman Toshikuni Wake (8-13-3, 2) in what should be a straight forward win for Funai, even if we don't believe he's a great fighter himself. Wake has won 4 of his last 12 bouts and will likely suffer a stoppage here looking at who has beaten him in the past.
As well as the 3 bouts we've mentioned there will be another 6 contests on the show.
In Thailand we get to see former world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (46-3, 31) attempting to claim the WBO International Bantamweight title. Pungluang, fighting for the first time since he was stopped by Tomoki Kameda in July, will be fighting against Filipino Bryan Macamay (9-2-2, 5) in what should be a real mismatch in favour of the talented Thai.
On the under-card here we're expecting to see Anuntachai Sor Por Lor Krungthep (6-7, 4) battle against China's You-Jie Zeng (5-6, 5) in what could be a very explosive encounter.
In Australia we see another Asian in action as Indonesia's Ricky Manufoe (23-21-2, 10) battles against the debuting Andrew Maloney (0-0), a former amateur stand out who won a Commonwealth games gold medal. Despite having 46 bouts under his belt Manufoe really isn't likely to give Maloney any sort of a test given how good the Australian is.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
The next major Japanese card takes place on December 18th at the Korakuen Hall as reason have their final card of the year, "Dangan 90".
The show, a 9 fight car, is headlined by a very solid looking domestic fight as Masaaki Serie (24-5, 10) fights against Rikiya Fukuhara (27-7-1, 20). The bout, being fought at a catchweight, sees two men who are highly ranked in their divisions colliding in one of those rare 8 rounders that has hardcore Japanese fans salivating.
Whilst it's highly unlikely either Fukuhara or Serie will ever become a world champion, there is no doubt that we are looking forward to the bout that will headline the show. We tend to favour Serie who is naturally the tougher man but Fukuhara is certainly the puncher and also the marginally bigger man.
In the chief support bouts, also scheduled for 8 rounds, we will see two bouts. The better of these sees the Japanese ranked Kengo Nagashima (12-10-2, 11) taking on fellow puncher Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-4-1, 8). This should be nothing short of an explosive encounter between two fighters who like to land power shots. The other support bout will see Tomoyuki Omura (7-3, 3) looking for his biggest win as he takes on Yasuhiro Okawa (10-11-1, 3).
Outside of Japan the one bout of note for us is sees Kazakhstan's Dimash Niyazov (4-0-1, 3) taking on the limited Raphael Luna (4-6-2, 1). This appears to be a mismatch on paper though we've real doubts over Niyazov's potential and don't really expect him to go very far.