This coming Friday our attention turns to Osaka for a small but notable card thanks to Hiroki Ioka.
The main event of the show is a brilliant Japanese Youth Welterweight title fight, pitting unbeaten champion Kudura Kaneko (9-0, 6) against Ioka protege Rikuto Adachi (12-1, 9), in what could end up being the best Japanese Welterweight bout of the year. Kaneko comes into this bout seeking his 10th straight win, and looking to build on an excellent win last year over former national champion Toshio Arikawa. Adachi on the other hand will be looking for his 5th straight stoppage win, and will be looking to score his biggest win to date. On paper this is mouth watering, and there is a very real chance that the winner fights in either a senior title fight this year, or gets a Japanese title eliminator at the end of the year. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kaneko and Adachi clash in battle of young Welters!
Former female world title challenger Terumi Nuki (10-4, 7) looks to bounce back from her 2018 loss to Mariana Juarez. She will be up against a Thai opponent in what should be a straight forward win for the local.
Sadly a bout that was supposed to feature 2017 all-Japan Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-2, 5) hasn't actually materialise, leaving the entire card with just 4 bouts on it.
Western Australia, Australia
As well as the Japanese card there is also a bout of interest in Australia. The bout in question will see Australia's very own Wes Capper (19-2-1, 12) return to the ring after a little over a year out, to take on Filipino journeyman Arnel Tinampay (25-23-1, 11). On paper this is a mismatch, but one thing bout Tinampay is that he plays the under-dog. The Filipino is a heavy handed tough guy who is a lot better than his record suggests, and could well upset Capper here in a very intriguing contests, despite the obvious difference in the records of the two men.
The first post-Christmas show in Japan this year will held at the EDION Arena Osaka and will be a small card promoted by the Hiroki Ioka Boxing gym.
The main event sees rising hopeful Rikuto Adachi (11-1, 8), who is currently ranked by the OPBF, taking on Thai visitor Phongsathon Sompol (9-4, 5). The talented Adachi, who impressed last time out by stopping Jonel Dapidran in 3 rounds, will be strongly favoured here. The visitor is 0-2 when he fights outside of Thailand and we are expecting to see him suffer another stoppage loss on the road here, especially given how good Adachi is.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese based Korean Tae Il Atsumi (14-2, 7) take on Filipino Jerry Castroverde (10-4, 5), who will be fighting for the first time since joining the gym run by Nobuhiro Ishida. This will be Atsumi's second bout since losing a close decision to Shingo Kawamura, and he'll be looking to shine as he tries to end the year on a high. As for Castroverde the bout is his first of the year, and follows a 21 month break from the ring.
Originally Yuki Nonaka (32-10-3, 10) was planned for this card, he is however not going to compete here due to his recently announced bout against Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-3, 10) on February 24th.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In the Philippines we'll get two smaller shows. One of those will be headlined by Jobert Alvarez (18-2-2, 7), as he takes on Michael Bravo (13-2, 6). This looks good on paper, with both having winning records, and both coming in to this bout in the hope of a win. Alvarez was once touted as a special fighter, but in recent times has failed to deliver on that early promise. Bravo on the other hand never got the same hype, and was stopped last time out by Giemel Magramo. We suspect Alvarez will win, but he is a live under-dog.
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second Filipino card will see former world title challenger Toto Landero (10-4-2, 2) take on Oliver Gregorio (10-8-3, 5). We think Landero is a very good fighter, with the potential to win a world title in the future, and should win here. However Landero has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 6 and may be lacking confidence. Gregorio on the other hand has gone 1-5-2 in his last 8 bouts.
Another bout on this card will see Vergil Puton (17-11-1, 8) take on Landy Cris Leon (11-18-4, 5) in what should be a straight forward win for the under-rated Puton, who has proven himself as an excellent gate keeper. Leon should be the smaller man, the lesser skilled man and the clear under-dog.
This coming Monday attention turns to Osaka where we get two different shows.
One of the two shows takes place at the EDION Arena Osaka, where Hiroki Ioka puts on a small card, featuring a couple of low key but relatively notable contests.
The main event is scheduled for 10 rounds and will see Rikuto Adachi (10-1, 7) take on Filipino Jonel Dapidran (10-2, 6) in a brilliant clash of 20 year olds. The Japanese fighter suffered his only defeat in the 2017 Rookie of the Year final at Welterweight, losing a close decision to Hironori Shigeta, but has since bounced back with a pair of stoppage wins over visitors. Dapidran is a solid fighter, but has lost 2 of his last 5 and a win here would be his best so far. We genuinely are expecting this to be the bout of the day.
In the chief support bout on this card fans will see Koya Sato (11-4-1, 2) battle against Tatsuya Terada (6-3-2, 1). Sato is the more experienced fighter, and is currently riding a 4 fight winning run. Terada on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 bouts. This should be competitive, but Sato's experience should be the difference maker.
The other show is an Apollo promotions card from the Yodogawa Ward Center. As with the Hiroki Ioka card this isn't a big show and only really has 3 bouts of any note.
The headline bout on this show will see the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (15-0, 9) face off against Noriyoshi Taki (6-7-1, 1). The talented Uehara has impressed in recent bouts, with notable wins against the likes of Markquil Salvana and Takuya Yamamoto. The 25 year old Taki is a southpaw, which Uehara does need experience against, but he has been stopped in 3 of his last 5 and we would be surprised by him lasting the distance with Uehara. On paper this is a step down for Uehara, but a chance to get some ring time against a southpaw.
In the leading support bout fans will see former Uehara foe Shota Yukawa (8-5-3, 3) take on Indonesian foe Ramly Pasaribu (6-13, 1). Coming in to this Yukawa has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6 and needs a confidence building performance. Pasaribu should serve as that confidence building win for Yukawa, with the visitor having been stopped in 11 of his 13 losses.
On paper the most even bout is another Japan Vs Indonesia bout, and will see touted prospect Takamori Kiyama (1-0, 1) face off with Ken Neparasi (1-0, 1). On paper this is an even looking bout but Kiyama is very highly touted and is expected to go a long way. Neparasi may turn out to be a surprising talent but we would be very shocked to see him really test the Japanese prospect, despite their similar professional records.
They key show this coming Friday comes from Osaka, where we get a Japanese title fight, and several under-card bouts featuring notable fighters.
The main event will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-17-2, 11) make his first defense, as he takes on Takayuki Okumoto (20-8-3, 10), a man fighting in his first world title challenge. Kudaka, a 4-time world title challenger, won the Japanese title this past April, when he out pointed Go Onaga for the vacant title. At 33 years old Kudaka will know that he can't really afford another set back, but will feel like he can pick up a straight forward defense. So far Okumoto is 0-2 in title fights, including a Japanese title fight last year against Ryuichi Funai, but he's a capable fighter who has gone 4-1-1 in his last 6 and will be riding some momentum here. We favour the champion, but suspect he will have to work hard for the victory.
The chief support bout will see 2017 Welterweight Rookie of the Year runner up Rikuto Adachi (9-1, 6) face off with limited Indonesian fighter Maxi Nahak (7-15-3, 3). Adachi lost to Hironori Shigeta in the Rookie final, but has bounced back with a 6th round KO of a Thai foe which he's looking to build on here. As for Nahak, he's 0-4 in Japan and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, suggesting that Adachi should be able to pick up a win here with out too many problems here
Also on this card will be former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (23-3, 22),
who will be fighting for the second time since ending his retirement earlier this year, and former Japanese and OPBF Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (31-10-3, 10), who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Takeshi Inoue. We've been informed that Nonaka will be facing a Thai whilst Nakamura will be up against Marbon Bodiongan (14-7-2, 11).
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a show in Tokyo, though this card is lacking in the name value that the Osakan card has.
The main event will see Masanori Rikiishi (2-1, 1) look to bounce back from his recent loss to Kosuke Saka as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Egy Rozten (5-18-2, 3). Despite the loss to Saka it seems clear that Rikiishi's team have big hopes for him and despite this being a straight forward bout, at least on paper, the fact he is main eventing shows the belief that the Green gym have in him. Rozten comes into this on the back of 6 straight stoppages, and has gone 0-6-1 in his last 7 bouts, showing just how much of an easy opponent he should be for Rikiishi.
In the chief support bout fans will be able to see Japanese ranked Featherweight Yosuke Kawano (12-7-2, 6) take on Masajiro Honda (6-9, 4). The 29 year old Kawano has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, but is better than that form suggests with his draw coming to Takenori Ohashi, who went on to claim the Japanese Featherweight title last year, and ran the likes of Dai Iwai and Ryuto Araya very close. Honda has been stopped in his last 5 bouts, and is without a win since November 2014. It's clear that Kawano has been matched softly here and should pick up a pretty simple win.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Takahiro Araki (11-7, 4), who will be facing off with Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-9, 4). Araki is nothing great, going 3-3 in his last 6, but should have more than enough to deal with Takabayashi, who has gone 1-6 in his last 7 bouts.
Staying in Asia there will also be a double title show in Jakarta.
One of the bouts will see the very experienced James Mokoginta (37-18-3, 23) take on hard hitting Filipino Jon Jon Estrada (11-4-1, 10), in what will be Mokoginta's first defense of the WBA Asia Featherweight title. Although Mokiginta has 58 career bouts he's only 27 years old and has the potential to be in some good fights. It is worth noting however that Estrada is a genuine banger, and has stopped usually durable fighters like Pablito Canada and Brian Lobetania in recent years. Given the power of Estrada we can
The other title bout will see the limited Ruben Manakane (24-17-1, 13) face off with the unbeaten Muhammad Ashiq (4-0, 3) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Manakane is limited but is currently riding a 5 fight winning streaking, having claimed several titles during that run. Ashiq is a bit of an unknown, only debuting last September, but looks like he could be a prospect worth following and a win here would put him on the map, at least domestically.
In California fight fans will be able to see unbeaten American Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5) take on Filipino foe Recky Dulay (10-3-0-1, 7) in a bout for the NABF Super Featherweight title. Gamez started his career slowly but has stepped up this year, beating Shoki Sakai in April to notch his best win to date. Dulay is coming into his prime has lost 2 of his 3 bouts in the US, including a stoppage to Gervonta Davies. We would be surprised by a win for Dulay, but he has surprised us in the past.