This coming Sunday our attention turns to Hyogo for a title triple header from the Sanda hotel. The show, put on by Taisei, isn't a huge one, but does have some pretty interesting match ups on it, and a lot of young talent.
The main event will see former world title challenge Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) take on Indonesian visitor Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a bout for the WBC Youth Minimumweight title. The once very highly regarded Kano has struggled in recent bouts, losing last year to Shin Ono and has also been beaten in recent years to Jerry Tomogdan and Katsunari Takayama. The Indonesian visitor is no world beater, but he has shared the ring with Wanheng Menayothin and Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, so it is well experienced. This should be a straight forward win for Kano, but Marganti is expected to take Kano plenty of rounds. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Kano and Marganti battle for WBC Youth crown!
A second title fight on this card will see JBC Youth Featherweight champion Hikaru Matsuoka (15-4-3, 2) make his first defense, and take on the under-rated Kyohei Tonomoto (8-2, 4) in a pretty tough match up. Coming in to this Matsuoka has won his last 3, including a technical decision for the title last December, but has been stopped in 3 of his 4 losses and his chin is thought to be rather shaky. Tonomoto isn't a big puncher but is a very capable fighter who reached the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year, losing to Reiya Abe, and he is clearly a very live challenger. We're expecting a very hotly contested bout here. A preview of this clash can be read here Matsuoka and Tonomoto battle for Featherweight crown!
Another Japanese youth title fight will see Flyweight champion Arata Matsuoka (7-6, 4) defend his title against Jukiya Washio (7-2-1, 2), with Matsuoka making his first defense. The 24 year old champion has turned around a really poor start to his professional career, winning 5 of his last 6, but those wins have typically come against limited opposition. The 21 year old challenger has won 5 of his last 7, but this will be his first 8 round bout and his first contest for a title. The preview of this bout can be read here Youth Flyweight king Matsuoka takes on Washio
The Taisei gym put on a notable card this coming Sunday with two youth title fights, as well as a contest featuring a former world title contender. It's not a huge card by any stretch but is a notable one.
The more interesting of the two Japanese Youth title fights will see the talented but light punching pair of Hikaru Matsuoka (14-4-3, 2) and Noboru Osato (10-6-4, 2) battle for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. On paper this looks pretty competitive, and although almost certain to go the distance we should see some real skills on show. Both fighters are talented boxer, and we're not expecting a tear up, but we should see a lot of skill in the ring, with both fighters being smart and understanding their role in the ring. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Matsuoka and Osato battle for Youth Featherweight title!
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see Arata Matsuoka (6-6, 4) face off with Hikaru Ota (9-8, 5) for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title, which has been vacated by the excellent Junto Nakatani. The bout isn't an amazing looking one, but given both fighters are flawed it should at least be evenly contest, and if bot Matsuoka's win they would be the first twins to pick up Japanese Youth titles together. This is one of those bouts where we expect to be better than it looks on paper, and could end up being pretty explosive if we're being honest. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Matsuoka and Ota battle for vacant Youth Flyweight title
Also on this card is former world title challenger Riku Kano (13-4-1, 7), who looks to be in a confidence building fight against Takayuki Teraji (9-16-1, 4). There was a time when Kano was seen as one of the brightest young prospects in Japan, but losses to Katsunari Takayama, Jerry Tomogdan and Shin Ono in his last 6 bouts have taken the gloss off his potential. Teraji usually puts up a good fight at domestic level, but has come up short against every notable fight he's faced, such as Sho Kimura and Reiya Konishi and will be expect to lost a decision here.
As well as the Taisei card there will also be a show in Aichi, thanks to Green promotions
Overall this is a really weak card, but we do like the look of the main event, which will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (3-1, 2) taking on Genki Maeda (6-3-1, 2). This is a fantastic match up between two Japanese fighters both looking to score a solid domestic win to end a year which has been disappointing. Rikiishi's disappointment came when he was stopped by Kosuke Saka whilst Maeda was stopped in a Japanese title fight by Shuichiro Yoshino, and the fight between these two should be hotly contested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a bout of note in South Africa, as Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) challenges IBO Minimumweight champion Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7). The Filipino doesn't have an amazing record, but does hold very notable wins over both Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, showing he can compete against world class fighters, though has been stopped twice and perhaps has question marks about his chin. Khonco, who also has a misleading record due to losing 4 of his first 10 bouts, is riding a 4 fight winning run since a 2015 loss to Hekkie Budler. Those wins have included victories over Nkosinathi Joyi and Toto Landero. We suspect home advantage will play a key factor in this bout, but it should still be very competitive.
The big action this coming Friday comes from Tokyo, with Boxingraise showing it live online. The card features a couple of title fights along with two very good looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Akinori Watanabe (36-7, 30) battle against Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) for the interim Japanese Light Middleweight title. For Watanabe this is a chance to claim another belt to his collection, adding to reigns as the Japanese, OPBF and PABA champion at Welterweight. Maruki on the other hand gets a third shot as national honours, having come up short against Yuki Nonaka and Nobuyuki Shindo. We're expecting this to be explosive, with both fighters having very heavy hands, and very exciting with the winner then being lined up to face Shindo, either at the end of this year or in early 2019.
The other title fight will see Japanese Mminimumweight champion Shin Ono (22-9-3, 5) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on youngster Riku Kano (13-3-1, 7). The Watanabe veteran won the title earlier this year when he defeated Ryoki Hirai and will be hoping to use the title to land another world title fight, after having come up short in bouts against Katsunari Takayama and Wanheng Menayothin. The 20 year old Kano has promised a lot, but losses to Takayama and Jerry Tomogdan have slowed his career and a poor performance here could see him written off, despite his youth.
One of the really good supporting bouts will see the in form Kyosuke Sawada (11-2-1, 6), who has won his last 7, taking on former Japanese title challenger Yosuke Fujihara (17-5, 4). Although Sawada struggled early in his career losing his first 2 bouts, he has has really turned things around and scored a career best win in May against Kinshiro Usui. As for Fujihara he's been out of the ring for almost a year but is a capable fighter and should be a good test for Sawada, albeit one that Sawada should pass as he continues his pursuit of a title fight.
Another supporting bout will see the hard hitting Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) take on the much lighter hitting Joe Tanooka (15-4-4, 1). Last time out Oshima was held to an unexpected draw by Nobuaki Kanazawa and he'll be looking to bounce back from that set back. As for Tanooka, who is one of the more pure boxers in Japan, he'll be looking to build on a good domestic win against Kenichi Watanabe. A really interesting match up against two polar opposites.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable card in Shenzhen, China, where were several local fighters will be taking on interesting tests.
On paper the best of the bouts will see unbeaten Chinese prospect Wenfeng Ge (10-0, 6) look to build on his 2017 win over Amnat Ruenroeng as he takes on once beaten Filipino Ivan Soriano (18-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO International Flyweight title. Whilst Ge is unbeaten, and coming in to this on the back of a huge win, it's worth noting that Soriano hasn't lost in over 8 years and will feel confident of picking up a win here. Coming in to this both men are and both will know that a win here will shoot them up the rankings towards a potential world title shot, and a potential show down with either Sho Kimura or Kosei Tanaka.
A second title fight will see the once beaten Ahatelike Muerzhabieke (7-1-1, 4) battle against Thailand's Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (18-5, 14) for the WBO China National Super Middleweight title. The Thai once promises a lot, and began his career with 17 straight wins but has proven to be a huge disappointment since then, losing 5 of his last 6 by stoppage. Aged 19 this is a big step up in class for Muerzhabieke but he's won his last 5 and appears to be on a good run to build his confidence coming in to this bout.
In a battle of novices fans will see Bo Wang (1-0, 1) take on Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0). Wang needed just a round to win his debut in June 2016, but hasn't fought in an officially sanctioned professional bout since that contest, more than 2 years ago. Interestingly Podkolzin made his debut in January 2017, in a 10 rounder, but apparently hasn't fought since. This is an interesting match up, about as interesting as you can get between two men with 1-0 records.
Yesan, South Korea
The most notable card this coming Sunday is from Yesan in South Korea. Originally the card was set a quadruple title show, though unfortunately an injury to Korean prospect Yoon Sung Kim saw his OPBF title challenge against Carlo Magali being cancelled in the build up to the show. That has however left 3 KBF title fights headlining the card.
One of those bouts will be for the South Korean Light Welterweight title, and will see Dong Hee Kim (8-2-2, 3) face off with Gyu Beom Jeon (5-3-1, 1). Kim will be making his second defense of the title, but will be coming in to this bout on the back of a 4th round TKO loss to Koki Inoue at the end of 2017 and could be relatively low on confidence given he has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3. Jeon on the other hand will be stepping up big time here, fighting in his first title bout, and stepping beyond 6 rounders for the first time. The champion should be favoured but this won't be a foregone conclusion.
In a Korean Light Middleweight title fight Joong Kyung Lee (3-2-1) will take on Se Ho Joo (6-7, 2), in a bout for the vacant title. Lee has failed to win his last 2 bouts, including fighting to a draw for this title last December. Joo on the other hand has lost 5 of his last 6 and really shouldn't be fighting for a title. This looks like the KBF want to crown a champion, with out having any suitable contenders. A very weird one.
The third title bout will be for the Korean Welterweight title and will see the once beaten Dong Woo Kim (4-1, 2) take on Gyung Mo Yuh (1-5-3). Looking at this on paper the bout is a mismatch with Kim clearly the favourite. Coming in to this one Yuh has gone 0-1-3 in his last 4 and is without a win in over 4 years. Another bizarre bout for the KBF to put a title on the line for.
In Japan fans will get a low key Taisei promoted show.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (12-3-1, 6) battle against a Thai foe. Little is known about the Thai but it's unlikely to be someone testing as Kano really needs a confidence building win. He has last 2 of his last 4, and despite scoring a win last time out, he only just managed to get past Naoya Haruguchi. Kano needs to rebuild his confidence and needs to do it quickly if he's ever going to come close to living up to his early promise.
Another man in need of a win is Futa Akizuki (10-2, 8), who went from being one of Japan's brightest prospects to suffering back to back losses. He is now in dire need of a win which may explain why he's taking on a limit Thai foe here, much like Kano. Akizuki is a real talent, but with losses in his last 2 bouts he may become another of Japan's wasted talents, which would be a huge shame for the 20 year old.
A pretty interesting bout on this card will see the once beaten Hibiki Jogo (7-1, 4) battle against Yoshihiro Utsumi (14-8-3, 9). Jogo reached the 2016 Rookie of the year final, losing to Masato Niijima in the final, and has bounced back with 3 wins, including a good one against Yuki Hirashima. The 34 year old Utsumi has struggled in recent bouts, going 4-4-2 in his last 10 going back 5 years, and despite winning his last 2 bouts he should be regarded as the under-dog here.
Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
We also get a card in the Philippines, albeit a very low key one which will be headlined by the unbeaten Jerald Daniega (12-0, 9), as he battled against domestic journeyman Alvin Makiling (11-14-4, 3). The talented Daniega was frustratingly inactive last year, fighting just once in 2017, but will be looking to kick his 2018 off here and could be set for a break out year if he can stay fit and busy. The 30 year old Makiling is limited, but is tough and should give Daniega a few really good rounds, unless his 2017 loss to Rosekie Cristobal has ruined his durability.
In the only title bout of the day fight fans in Hyogo will see youngsters collide with the 21 year old Tenta Kiyose (13-2-1, 6) taking on 20 year old Filipino Joe Tejones (9-4, 5) for the WBC youth Super Bantamweight title. Of the two men it's Tejones who is probably the more well known internationally, following bout with the likes of Hinata Maruta and Singsayan CP Freshmart, for the WBC Youth Bantamweight and Super Flyweight titles respectively. As for Kiyose he's yet to fight for a title, but did fight in the 2015 Rookie of the Year final and has since gone 6-0 (5) and will be looking to use his natural size advantage.
A second show in Hyogo promises a lot more, without featuring any title action. Instead of title action it's a show mostly focused on youngsters looking to continue their budding careers.
The most notable of the youngsters is former world title challenger Riku Kano (11-3-1, 6), who faces domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (14-7, 6). Coming in to this one the once touted Kano knows he needs a win, having lost 2 of his last 3 including a stoppage loss to Jerry Tomogdan. Talented, speedy and young Kano did attempt to set a Japanese record last year as the youngster Japanese world champion, though came up short against Katsunari Takayama. As for Haruguchi he's in great form with 6 straight wins, including victories over Norihito Tanaka and Jun Takigawa. Although not well known Haruguchi will not be there to lose, and this could be a very competitive contest.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Hiroshige Osawa (31-4-4, 19), who will be expected to blitz Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (9-5-1, 2) in what looks like a mismatch. The talented Osawa was several levels below WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez when they fought around year ago, but Deztroyer should be several levels below Osawa.
Another youngster on this card is Kano's 19 year old stable mate Futa Akizuki (10-0, 8), who fights for the 6th time in Japan. The talented and heavy handed Akizuki will be facing off with Kenji Kihisa (6-3, 3) in a good looking 8 round bout. Akizuki has impressed, with a near shut out against Vincent Bautista and a 7th round stopped of the usually durable Shun Ishibashi. Kihisi is yet to win a bout of note, but he has never been stopped and should prove to be a durable foe for Akizuki and a test of Akizuki's power, especially at this lower tier of domestic level.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card is the “debut” of 17 year old Kazusa Arai (2-0, 2), who has fought twice in Thailand but will finally be fighting on Japanese soil for the first time. The teenager will be up against 18 year old Tetsuro Ohashi (2-0, 1). Ohashi has racked up 4 rounds so far in his career, compared to Arai's 3, but hasn't shown the power of the younger man who will be looking to make a mark here and announce himself to a domestic audience, who may well not know of his activity in Thailand.
In Fukuoka fan will see the heavy handed Ryota Ishida (8-2, 6) take on local resident Yuki Ozawa (12-5, 3) in what looks like a really decent match up on paper. Ishida was last seen losing a decision to the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno in August, with that loss ending a 3 fight stoppage run for Ishida. Ozawa on the other hand has notched up back-to-back wins following a 5 fight losing run, which included losses to Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. And he looks to be getting his career back on track.
After a small break in Japanese action we see things return this coming Friday with an interesting show in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see two former world title challengers face off in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. The match up will see Japanese teenager Riku Kano (11-2-1, 6) battle against Filipino Jerry Tomogdan (22-8-4, 10). For the 19 year old Kano the bout will be his second since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama last August whilst Tomogdan will be looking to get his career back on track following following a 4-3-2 in his last 9 bouts. On paper Kano will be favoured, but this is certainly no foregone conclusion.
The chief support bout will also be a Japan Vs Philippines bout as the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Futa Akizuki (8-0, 7) takes a step up in class and takes on Vincent Bautista (5-6-4, 1). On paper this looks like a real mismatch but the 19 year old Akizuki hasn't yet faced a foe with much of a pulse and this is his stiffest test on paper. Although his record isn't great Bautista has been matched hard and has gone in with Petch Sor Chitpattana, Palangpol CP Freshmart and Masataka Taniguchi showing his level of competition. This really could be a great test for the unbeaten man.
In another supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Rikito Hattori (7-1, 2) take on Takayuki Teraji (7-12-1, 4) in what should be another bout that will be better than the records of the two men suggest. Teraji is very beatable but always puts up a good effort and could well be a potential banana skin for Hattori.
We also have Asian action in Russia with two Filipinos fighting in interesting bouts.
One of those bouts will see Russian based Tajik Shavkat Rakhimov (9-0, 7) battle with Filipino Jimmy Paypa (19-3-1, 7) in a 10 round contest. Rakhimov has picked up wins over other Filipinos, stopping both Jerry Castroverde and Rogelio Jun Doliguez, and should be favoured again here, especially given that Paypa was stopped inside a round by Shingo Wake in his most notable bout to date. Although Rakhimov should be favoured it's worth noting that Paypa has won his last 3, including wins over Bernabe Concepcion and Jerry Nardo.
The other bout with a Filipino will see the unbeaten Evgeny Chuprakov (17-0, 9) take on experienced Filipino Eden Sonsona (36-6-2, 13) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. The talented Sonsona hasn't lost in over 5 years, going 10-0-2 during that run, and has the experience against very good opponents to be a real banana skin for Chuprakov. Saying that however the Russian will be favoured given he is the naturally bigger fighter and has home advantage. Despite being the away fighter Sonsona won't be turning up to lose, and will instead be looking to replicate his huge 2015 upset over Adrian Estrella.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows taking places in the country.
The most notable of those shows is in Hyogo, whee we see a former world title challenger and several other bouts of note.
That former world title challenger is teenager Riku Kano (10-2-1, 5), who is fighting for the first time since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama earlier this year. The teenager was supposed to fight in a second bout with Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym but Pigmy was replaced, several weeks out, by Thoedkiad Weerachon (0-5) giving us a very disappointing headline bout.
In a supporting bout we'll see Hikaru Matsuoka (12-3-3, 1) hunting for a 5th straight win as he takes on the inform Tenmei Serizawa (8-3, 4), who has turned around his career after a 3-3 start. On paper this looks like it should be a win for Matsuoka but his lack of power is an issue and has struggled with fighters he would have been favoured against before.
Interestingly one of the men to beat Matsuoka will be on the card as well, that's Seizo Kono (17-8-1, 11), who stopped Matsuoka in a round last year. Kono will be up against the limited Ryota Kihara (8-9-4, 6) and will be looking to build on an upset win over Hideo Sakamoto this past August. Kihara has won his last two bouts but this is a big step back up in class for him.
Also on this card will be teenage puncher Futa Akizuki (7-0, 6) who will be looking to score his second win on home soil after starting his career in Thailand.
The day also features 2-shows at the L-Theatre in Osaka with one of those show's being much more interesting the the other.
The more interesting of those shows is first of those shows, promoted by Taiho.
The main event here will see Japanese based Mexican Kenbun Torres (11-2, 9), the son of former world champion German Torres, battle against Filipino foe Engelbert Moralde (9-3, 6). Torres, who debuted way back in 2003, ended a 9 year sabbatical from the ring earlier this year and will be looking to score a career best win as he takes on Moralde. The Filipino has come up short when he has faced anyone of any note but could potentially pick up a win here in a very competitive looking match up.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Ken Osato (9-1-1, 3) battle against Toshiya Yokogawa (7-10-1, 6). On paper this isn't a great bout and Osato has proven he's a genuine prospect with solid results against the likes of Kento Matsushita and Retsu Kosaka. Despite that Yokogawa will come to fight and Osato will have to work for his win and it won't be handed to him here.
One bout that probably will be a mismatch will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Yuta Uetani (18-5-1, 9) take on Takuya Yamamoto (7-5, 4). Uetani isn't a top tier domestic fighter, but he's not far off and holds a number of notable wins including, a stoppage against Mark John Yap, with really only title level fighters beating him, including Shinsuke Yamanaka. Yamamoto on the other hand has done little of note and shouldn't really be a test for Uetani.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-6-4, 7) battle against the under-rated Shunji Nagata (10-15-2, 3). On paper this looks like another mismatch but it's genuinely a more interesting fight than it first appears. Kanazawa has the much better record but has gone 2-4-1 in his last 7, whilst mixing with good company on the hole. The first of those 4 defeats however came in 2014 to to Nagata who will be hoping for a repeat here. Kanazawa will obvious but hunting revenge and given their history this could be a very good and competitive bout.
The other show at the L-Theatre will be headlined by an intriguing lower level bout between Shachihoko Dragons Keita (6-5-1, 1) and Yu Konomura (7-4-1, 1). Neither guy has much of a punch and neither will go on to win titles, unless something changes massively, however they should make for a competitive and close bout which is better than a total mismatch. A lot of pride will be on the line here and it should be good.
In Australia fans will see local novice Tino Tanuvasa (2-0, 2) take on Australian based Indonesian veteran Aswin Cabuy (19-58-4, 7), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
We've had a bit of a break from major fighters recently but thankfully that break ends this weekend when we get a major show in Hyogo, a major that will sadly only be featured on TV in Osaka and not Tokyo.
A lot of the attention, rightfully, will be on the brilliant main event which pits 18 year old sensation Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5) up against veteran Katsunari Takayama (30-8-0-1, 12) in a wonderful match up for the vacant WBO Minimumweight title. Takayama, a multi-time champion, will be looking to show there is still life in the old dog here and will be looking to become a world champion one more time. For Kano the bout is about history and if he wins he will be come the youngster ever Japanese world champion. This bout really could be something very special.
In another world title bout we'll see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (11-0, 3) battle Australian Louisa Hawton (6-0, 3) in a contest for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title, a title last held by Eun Hye Lee of South Korea. Originally Hawton was signed to face Lee for the title but Lee has since given up the title and we'll instead see these two fight in what looks like a really interesting match up between two fighters looking to make the most of their first big chance.
A third title bout on this card will see Mika Iwakawa (5-4-1, 1) face off against Nonggig Sithjaanart (0-0) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. It's hard to say anything at all about the Thai however Iwakawa is nothing special, despite winning 2 of her last 3, both at Minimumweight.
Another notable “Japan Vs Thailand” bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) make his Japanese debut, as he faces Saijuea Tosandet (0-3). Akizuki has fought his 6 previous bouts in Thailand, where he has claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Bantamweight title. At just 18 years old he will be looking to make an immediate impact as he gets his first chance to impress Japanese fans and he'll soon be looking to follow stablemate Kano into world level.
In Mexico fight fan will be able to see Filipino Lightweight Rosekie Cristobal (12-0, 9) battle against Marcos Villasana Jr (19-6, 11) for the WBC Latino Lightweight title. There was real hope for Cristobal to become a real prospect but this is a real gut check of the youngster, who is stepping up in class in a big way here.
It's fair to say that Japanese fight fans have been left somewhat short changed during this year's “Golden Week”, and where theirs often 2 or 3 major card there wasn't really any, with the recent Watanabe card coming just before the Golden Week and the next big card, an Ohashi one, coming on the Sunday after the Golden Week. Saying that however the wait until this Sunday is a worthy one with their being several notable shows throughout Japan.
Of those Japanese shows it goes without saying the biggest, and the best, is in Tokyo and is going to be the highly anticipated Ohashi card from the 10,000 seater Ariake Colosseum. The card, which we strongly suspect will have more than 10,000,000 viewers, will see only two bouts televised live but they are both likely to feel a little bit special.
The first of those bouts is expected to be an all out war as IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) defends his title against the aggressive and very fun to watch Martin Tecuapetla (13-6-3, 10). This bout really does promise a lot of excitement, and for fans who like a war this is as sure fire a slugfest as we can think of with both men enjoying a tear up. Yaegashi will be the favourite but we wouldn't be surprised to see him taken to hell and back to retain his title.
Of course whilst Yaegashi's bout promises real 2-way fireworks it's unlikely to be the bout that gets international attention. Instead that attention will be focused on 23 year old sensation Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8), who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). The bout will be Inoue's second defense of his title and is likely to be his final bout in Japan before making a highly anticipated US debut later in the year. Although the bout is anticipated, because of Inoue's incredible appeal and ability, it's a mismatch and is unlikely to be more than a cameo-like appearance from the “Monster”, who has fought just 4 rounds in the last 18 months.
The two world title bouts are of course the bouts getting the most attention but their will also be a third title bout on the show, as youngster Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1) defends the OPBF Super Flyweight title against Indonesian challenger Afrizal Tamboresi (12-4, 6). The bout really should be a mismatch in favour of Takuma, who should make the second defense of his title here, but Tamboresi knows there is nothing to lose and their will be no pressure on him coming into this bout against the much touted Inoue.
The card featured a third fighter from the Inoue clan, with the touted Koki Inoue (2-0, 2) taking on another Indonesian, in Bimo Jaguar (0-0), in what is unlikely to be anything other than an early blow out win for the biggest of the Inoue's. Koki, for those unaware, is the cousin of Naoya and Takuma and, like the brothers, is trained by their father Shingo who may well be the best young trainer in world boxing.
One other notable name on this card is world title contender Ryo Matsumoto (17-0, 15), who risks his rankings and unbeaten record against Victor Uriel Lopez (8-5-1, 3). This seems likely to be Matsumoto's final bout before a world title fight, later in 2016. That talented Matsumoto has been treading water for a while, and this seems to be another stay busy, but he is insanely talented and is viewed as another fighter who is going to be part of a Japanese revolution over the coming years.
Talking about the next wave of Japanese fighters their will also be one of the youngest in action in Hyogo. That's 18 year old Riku Kano (9-1-1, 5), who faces former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-2-1, 12) in a bout for the OPBF interim Minimumweight title. Kano has his eyes on setting the Japanese age record, for the youngest world champion from Japan, but knows that he will need to beat Sabillo here. For the Filipino form champion this is a must win and he knows his career will essentially be over as a top contender if he loses the 18 year old Kano.
Sadly we do need to say that although listed on boxrec, Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) will not be making his Japanese debut on this card.
In Osaka fans will get a show at the Mierparque Hall in Osaka City.
Here the main event will see the promising 20 year old Takuya Uehara (8-0, 5), an OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender, battling against Indonesian ranked Ramli Pasaribu (4-7, 1). Uehara is OPBF ranked already though hasn't really proven himself against anyone of actual quality. A win here won't change that, but we suspect that this could his final bout before facing a known opponent, possibly this coming summer.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese ranked Flyweight Shunji Nagata (10-14-2, 3) face off with former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masato Morisaki (10-4-1, 6). For Morisaka this will be his second bout since he was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Sho Ishida back on December 31st 2014 and although the “more proven” fighter he has fought just 2 rounds since that Ishida bout. Nagata might not be a great fighter but he's someone who has been battle tested and should give Morisaka a very good fight.
A third bout of note on this card will see OPBF and JBC ranked 140lb fighter Ryusei Yoshida (27-8, 14) fight in what really should be a stay busy contest against Tatsunori Fukunaga (7-6, 3). If Yoshida wins, as is widely expected, he could potentially be the next Japanese title challenger later in the year, and will almost certainly call out Hiroki Okada.
A fourth Japanese show is set to take place in Aichi, with this one having 4 bouts that caught our eye.
The main event of the card will see veteran Daiki Koide (22-7-2, 9) battle against OPBF ranked Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (2-0-1), who incidentally claimed the KBF 140lb title last time out. On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch but Kim has been fast tracked and has already proven that he can go rounds, with 22 career rounds already, and he may well see Koide as just the next step on his way through the OPBF rankings.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout on this card sees former Keita Obara opponent Kazuya Maruki (19-3, 12) face off with Chan Hee Park (5-6-1) in what looks likely to be another good bout for fans, though with Park lacking power it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Maruki. For those who haven't seen Park before we suggest watching his fight with Kyoo Hwan Hwang from last year as it really was so fun and just a crazy battle.
Maruki's brother, Ryosuke Maruki (11-3-1, 7) will also be up against a Korean visitor, in the form of Joon Yong Lee (5-3-3, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lee is the Korean Middleweight champion and may well be a real handful for Maruki, in what could be a genuinely fun bout for fans at the venue. Notably Lee enters the bout as a highly ranked contender by the OPBF so will be fighting to defend that ranking.
The final bout of note is an all-Japanese bout at Heavyweight. The bout will see the unbeaten Ryu Ueda (5-0, 2) risk his perfect record against veteran fighter Kotatsu Takehara (12-11-3, 6). This is a big step up in class for Ueda however Takehara has won just 2 of his last 4, and was stopped in both of his losses. It's a good test for the 23 year old novice who knows a win could see him move towards a Japanese title fight, and perhaps even a chance to become the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion.
Incheon, South Korea
As well as all the action in Japan there is also a card in Korea, under the KPBF banner.
The main event here is a PABA “interim” title bout that sees Korean Jong-Min Jung (6-7, 2) battle Ghana's Razak Nettey (17-4, 13) at Featherweight. Notably this Nettey is a replacement for Filipino Jason Redondo and unfortunately for the Korean it seems Nettey may not have been an easier option.
This card will also feature two other PABA affiliated title bouts, one at Bantamweight and one at Light Middleweight. From what we understand the Bantamweight bout will see Woo Hyun Kim (5-1, 1) battle Michael Barnor (15-7-2, 11). The Light Middleweight bout will see Youn Bae Kim (4-0, 1), the current PABA interim champion, battle Joo Hun Kim (7-1, 2), the KPBF champion.
*Note several Korean records have been provided by the KPBF.
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