This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day in Japan with 4 different shows across the country, and when we talk about them being across the country we do mean that with hundreds of miles separating some of the shows.
The most notable card, in many ways, is in Kumamoto in the South West of Japan, where Yakushiji Promotions will be putting on a very significant card.
The main event of this show will be a rematch between Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) and Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, when Mori took a technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, and he will be looking to make his first defense of that national title here. Pumicpic, a real under-rated Filipino warrior, will be hungry to avenge his loss. This is set to be a very, very tough bout and will be shown live on local TV channel TKU. Sadly for those outside of Kunamoto this appears to be a bout we won't be getting. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only bout of note and the show features a number of notable prospects. Among those is the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) who steps into his first 8 round bout, and takes on once beaten Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3). Lino's only loss came to Shigeoka's stablemate, and recent world title challenger, Masataka Taniguchi. This is a very serious test for Shigeoka, but also a bit that gives him a chance to gain immediate comparisons to Taniguchi, whilst Lino gets the chance to perform in front of a notable Japanese crowd.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see the aggressive Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) take on the tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), in what could be a really fun war. Tsutsumi has one of the most fan friendly, aggressive and exciting styles out there whilst Ponteras is a criminally under-rated veteran, who has never been stopped and can be a banana skin for better known fighters. Thhis could be a very, very exciting bout.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1, 1), who will be up against Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), the man the aforementioned Shigeoka made his debut against. We suspect Takeda will have the skills to over-come the Thai visitor, but this could be a good test of Takeda's metal.
Another of the more notable Japanese cards comes form Hyogo, in a female orientated card.
The biggest match up here here will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both have suffered 2 recent losses. Kuroki is the younger fighter, and certainly the one with more upside, though at 49 Ikeyama has proven that age really is just a number and she will be looking to extend her career in to her 50's with a win. This should be a very interesting bout, though Kuroki should enter as the clear favourite. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
As well as the Kuroki Vs Ikeyama bout, there will be two title bouts on this show. One of those bouts will see Japan's in form Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) face once beaten Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. Ogata has won her last 3, claiming a WBA Asia and WBO Asia Pacific title in her last 2 bouts, As for Salvador she was beaten last time out, at Atomweight, but will be fighting at her natural weight here. We're expecting Ogata to pick up another win, but this isn't going to be a walk in the park.
The other title bout on this card will be a bizarre KBM and JBC female title bout, the first since a new OPBF rule was brought into play. The bout will pit Japan's Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) up against Korean Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will become a unified 2-nation champion, albeit temporarily, with the winner likely to immediately vacate the other nation's title. The idea to this is to create depth to thinner divisions, but leads to some odd situations like this.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will see a small card with a few notable names involved.
The main event of this card will see OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on a Thai foe, who we believe will be Sophon Klachun (4-2, 1). We don't see this being much of a test for Kenji, who is edging his way towards a title fight, and will look to take the visitor out as he advances his march towards a career defining bout.
In an 8 round supporting bout fans will see Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) battle in a very interesting match up. Neither of these men are big names, but they should make for a very competitive contest, much more saw the than records suggest.
Another 8 round supporting bout on this card will see Daijiro Yuki (8-5-1, 4) battle against Japanese ranked Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4). This will be Okumoto's first bout since losing to Japanese champion Ryota Yada, and he will be looking to end a 2 fight losing run. Yuki on the other hand will be seeking a career best win.
The least notable of the Japanese cards takes place in Tsu and will be headlined by a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, with Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1). This should be a hotly contested bout, though it's hard to doubt Nakamura and his edge in power. A full preview of this bout is available here Nakamura seeks first defense of youth crown, faces Kondo.
A notable supporting bout here will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8), who recently signed with Osaka Teiken, take on the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4). This looks like a huge step up for Sugawara, but a win puts him on the title hunt, whilst Gasca will be fighting for the first time in well over a year.
The biggest fight of the day, for the Asian scene at least, comes from Thailand and will see see a world title on the line, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (48-0,17) defends against former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7). The defending champion is getting very close to the magic 50-0, a record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and will be strongly favoured over Fukuhara here, with the Japanese challenger needing to create history to win. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very entertaining clash with two aggressive fighters facing off.
In Bohol we get a genuinely stacked card thanks to ALA who put on their next Pinoy Pride card.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten and highly regarded Mark Magsayo (17-0, 13) defending his WBO International Featherweight title against former Japanese champion Shota Hayashi (30-6-1, 16). The promising Magsayo is looking to move into world class in the near future and will see a bout against Hayashi as a good step forward following two quick blow outs earlier in the year. For Hayashi, who lost his Japanese title to Kosuke Saka back in April, the bout is a tough one for his international debut, but he will know the reward of winning is a world ranking.
The card is stacked with prospects. This includes Virgel Vitor (11-1, 7), Albert Pagara (28-1, 19), Jeo Santisima (14-2, 12) and former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-2, 7). Unfortunately all 4 of the promising fighters appear to be in huge mismatches as they look to stay busy going in to the new year.
Also on the card will be Roli Gasca (23-8-1, 7) and Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20), who like the aforementioned prospects are in easy against opponents they should have no trouble with.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card comes from Davao del Norte thanks to MB Boxing.
The main event of the card will see Filipino fighter Glenn Porras (30-6, 18) take on former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-22-2, 18) of Indonesia. The Filipino has lost 3 of his last 5 but is a talented fighter and should have no problem seeing off the visitor, who used to be a decent fighter, at best, but is now pretty much a regional journeyman who picks up far more losses than wins.
The talented and once touted Rosekie Cristobal (14-2, 10) will be looking to avoid a third loss in 5 bouts as he battles former OPBF Light Welterweight champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-15-1, 10). Jakosalem is almost 6 years removed from his career best win, and has only won 4 times since then. Cristobal has suffered 2 DQ losses in Mexico, and before those there was big hopes for him, so he'll be looking to bounce back and show what he's about here.
A third bout of some note sees the once beaten Michael Bravo (12-1, 5) battle against Lyster Jun Pronco (9-15-1, 6). The once beaten Bravo comes into this bout on a run of 7 straight wins, albeit against very limited opposition, whilst Pronco is win-less in his last 13, with 12 losses and a draw during that run. This bout is for the PBF Light Flyweight title, and we expect to see Bravo crowned the new champion.
Seoul, South Korea
We have an international show in Korea with some low key bouts.
One bout worthy of interest sees Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Japan's Kazuhiro Baba (6-5-2, 3). Lee is looking to extend a 3 fight winning run, which has seen him claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title, and despite being 34 is one of the more interesting fighters plying his trade in Korea right now. The visitor had the edge in age, given he's only 25, but he's the naturally smaller man, was recently stopped by Ryota Toyoshima and is fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
A second bout of note here will see Hyun Je Shin (7-6, 1) take on Filipino fighter Daniel Ferreras (13-9-2, 4). Shin is a former Korean Featherweight champion, having won the title last time out however that was more than 3 years ago and he has been inactive since winning the belt. Notably the Korean has fought as low as 112lbs before as well. Ferreras is also ending a break from the ring, which also began back in 2014 when he was stopped by Rey Vargas. Although Ferreras' record is lessthan great he has mixed in good company, with losses to Vargas and Kohei Kono.
New York, USA
There will also be US action with Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (4-0, 3) taking on fellow unbeaten Eric Moon (7-0, 6) in what looks like a great step up in class for the 24 year old Kazakh fighter. A win for Nursultanov will help push him towards bigger and better fights, potentially moving him into fights against “name” opponents in the very near future.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The best of the three Asian shows this Sunday comes from the Philippines where we'll get some really intriguing action.
On paper the main event here is bout of the day and will see rising youngster Jonas Sultan (12-3, 8) take on former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro (43-13-5, 30), with Sultan looking to defend his IBF Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title for the first time. Sultan has impressed a lot over the last 2 years or so, with a number of solid wins including stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu and Makazole Tete and if he can score a win over Jaro he will potentially find himself on the fringes of the world rankings. Aged 34 Jaro is looking to earn another world title fight, and is on a 9 fight winning streak following a series of setbacks in 2012 and 2013. At his best Jaro is a tough guy to beat, with power, experience and toughness and will be looking to put himself back in the mix with a win over the rising hopeful. A really great match up.
Another really good domestic match up will see the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (18-8, 6) take on former OPBF champion Roli Gasca (23-7-1, 7) in what could be a real thriller, despite what the records suggest. Pumipic was last seen losing an all-action bout against Cesar Juarez last October and has previously given hell to the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Yohei Tobe and Allan Tanada. Gasca on the other hand has beaten Hiromasa Ohashi and twice had competitive bouts with Yukinori Oguni, and earned a draw with Akifumi Shimoda. Neither of these two are likely to be future world champions, but both are solid and should be make for a great bout against each other.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Edward Heno (9-0-4, 3), who looks to claim the Philippines Boxing Federation Light Flyweight title. Heno will be up against fellow unbeaten southpaw Cris Ganoza (12-0, 6) in what looks like another cracking match up on a really good show.
The more notable of two Japanese shows comes from Hyogo where we see a small card featuring a couple of fighters of some note.
The most promising fighter on the show will be rising Bantamweight hopeful Tenta Kiyose (11-2-1, 4), who looks to extend a nice 4 fight unbeaten run as he takes on Taisei Higashi (7-9-1, 5). Kiyose was last seen stopping Ryuta Otsuka in 3 rounds, and has been on a great run since coming up short at the 2015 Rookie of the Year final. Higashi on the other hand has struggled with consistency recently and gone 3-6-1 in his last 10, which doesn't bode well here.,
The other fighter of note is 22 year old Featherweight hopeful Tenmei Serizawa (9-3, 5), who battled against Takuya Yamamoto (7-6, 4). Earlier in his career Serizawa struggled, going 3-3 in his first 6, but has strung together 6 straight wins including a career best 4th round KO win over Hikaru Matsuoka last time which has put him on the map so to speak. On the other hand Yamamoto has struggled recently with a 1-3 run in his last 4, including defeats to Shingo Kawamura and Yuta Uetani. On paper this doesn't look hugely exciting but Yamamoto is better than his record suggests and this could be a very competitive match.
For fans interested in this show it will be part of the Boxingraise subscription sevrice, and will be added on delay.
The other card is a small one form Fukuoka.
In the main event of this card we'll see Yusuke Yamanouchi (8-3-1, 4) battling against a Thai visitor in a 10 rounder. The bout looking to bounce back from an 8 round decision last May to Mitsuyoshi Fujita whilst little is known about the Thai he'll be facing.
The chief supporting bout here is a 6 rounder between Takuya Sugiyama (5-3-1) and Yuta Nakashima (7-10, 2), who fight in a rematch following a very close contest last year. Between them the fighters have a combined 12 wins, with 2 stoppages, and 13 losses, with just 2 of them by stoppage. Although yet to score a stoppage Sugiyama will be favoured to win here with Nakahsima having lost his last 5 in a row, including a loss to Sugiyama last time out, and is without a win in over 6 years!
A new week sees action in Japan and a Filipino in action on the road in South Africa.
In Japan we get a genuinely interesting card with several very notable fighters on it and a number of bouts we suspect could be very good.
One of those bouts we suspect will be a mismatch will see the very promising Hikaru Marugame (2-0, 1) fighting against the much more experienced Ryoji Okahata (9-9-5, 1). We genuinely think Marugame is one of Japanese boxing's best hidden secrets and unfortunately, he's been more hidden this year than we'd hoped with no fights in 2014, and the only footage we have of him is from his debut last year against Makoto Kato. Okahata is a tough enough fighter to take Marugame rounds but we only see one winner here as Marugame looks to move towards a domestic ranking. It's notable that Okahata ran both Yu Kawaguchi and Jason Egera very close in recent bouts and has only been stopped once, by Shingo Wake more than 4 years ago. On paper this is a mismatch though in reality it's a great test for the touted youngster.
Marugame's unbeaten stablemate Naoto Uebayashi (6-0-1, 4) is arguably in the best bout on the show as he puts his unbeaten record on the line against former world title challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-8-1, 23), who will be fighting for the first time since signing up with Japanese promoter Ichiriki boxing. This should be Uebayashi's biggest test since his draw with Yusaku Kuga back in August 2013 however Uebayashi should be able to over-come his Mexican foe here given the fact he is the naturally bigger fighter. Ranked by the JBC and OPBF Uebayashi appears to be on the fast track to a title fight but this could be a really serious test of his credentials.
In the card's chief support bout fans will see recent Japanese title challenger Gosuke Seki (15-1-2, 3) fighting for the first time since suffering a stoppage loss to Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono. Seki has been matched in a very interesting contest with veteran Yuta Nagai (28-10-4, 19) and both men will be looking to get their careers back on track with a win here.
The main event willfeature former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (20-4-1, 9), who is fighting for the second time in less than a month. On November 17th Kondo made light work of Thailand's Kaewkla Chaiyonggym and will be hoping to do the same against domestic foe Tomoya Yamada (11-5, 3) in what looks to be another confidence building bout for the former champion.
East Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (22-5-1, 6) returning to action against the heavy handed Lusanda Komanisi (17-3, 16). Gasca is fighting in South Africa for the second time this year and will be attempting to put his recent loss to Thabo Sonjica behind him. Sadly against a big puncher like Komanisi this could be a really hard bout for the Filipino fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a huge one for us with a host of notable fights, including a possibly historic bout in Mexico for one of our favourite fighters in the sport today.
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
For us the biggest fight, by a long way, is in Nuevo Leon where IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (27-6-0-1, 10) attempts to become the first Japanese fighter to complete a grandslam. For Takayama to claim the grandslam he will need to get past hard hitting Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr (14-2, 10), the current WBO champion. This is much easier said than done and Rodriguez is a hard hitting and tough Minimumweight who is likely to make a serious name for himself in the coming years. This is one of those rare bouts which pits two world class fighters against each other but gets over-looked by the wider boxing public, a huge shame for what has the potential to be one of the best bouts of the year.
Takayama isn't the only man of note involved in a world title fight and in Crimea fans will get to see Russia's unbeaten Dmitry Chudinov (13-0-2, 8) defending his WBA interim Middleweight title against French veteran Mehdi Bouadla (30-5, 11). Bouadla, who is ranked #12 by the WBA, shouldn't be getting this shot considering his recentactivity and the fight also shouldn't be in Crimea given the political issues there between Russia and Ukraine though it is a pleasure to see Chudinov develop from crude slugger into a heavy handed boxer-puncher and we imagine he could become one of the names to follow in the division in the coming years.
On the same card as Chudinov are 2 other bouts of note. For us the key one, is that of the very promising Arif Magomedov (11-0, 8) who battled against the usually durable Patrick Mendy (15-7-1, 1). Mendy fought to an 8 round draw with Chudinov last July but was stopped, inside a round, by Callum Smith 2 months later. We'd imagine Magomedov stops Mendy, though we're unsure when. We'll admit that we think Magomedov's a better talent than Chudinov and at just 22 years old Magomedov is a baby, his potential is phenomenal.
The remaining bout on this card will see Pavel Doroshilov (0-0) make his debut against the very experienced Danny Williams (46-22-0-1, 35). We don't know much about the debutant though one would assume that if he wins here he will quickly become one of the men to keep an eye on in coming years, especially given the lack of talent in the Heavyweight.
Gauteng, South Africa
Another "world" title bout will be fought in South Africa as former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (22-4-1, 6) attempts to claim the IBO Super Bantamweight title. Sadly for Gasca he is up against the monstrously hard hitting Thabo Sonjica (19-2, 14) who has stopped 4 of his last 5 opponents, including Gasca's compatriot Silvester Lopez. This is a tough one for the Filipino but it is winnable if Gasca is on song.
On the same card Russia's Denis Grachev (13-3-1, 8) will be trying to claim the WBC Silver Light Heavyweight title as he battles the unbeaten Ryno Liebenberg (15-0, 11). This is potentially Grachev's 4th loss in 5 fights and this could well be an "all or nothing" fight for the Russian.
New South Wales, Australia
In another title bout Filipino Ryan Sermona (16-5, 9) will be trying to capture the WBC International Super Featherweight title as he takes on the light hitting Corey McConnell (13-1-1, 1). McConnell will be best know by international fans who saw him being stopped by Lee Selby and really shouldn't be that much of a favourite against the capable Sermona.
The undercard here will feature 2 other Filipinos. One of those will be the hard hitting Joebert Delos Reyes (12-4-1, 9), who is looking to build on his win over Valentine Borg by taking on John Min (7-6, 4). For those who remember Delos Reyes stopping Borg that was one of the KO's of the year and if he lands that shot anyone he has a chance of stopping them, sadly however he is limited and lacks a certain kind of toughness himself, at least he did early in his career.
The other Filipino will be Joel Dela Cruz (17-21-3, 7) who will be looking to secure a victory over Wade Ryan (5-2). Sadly for Dela Cruz it's hard to see him coming out on top here given that Ryan is a naturally bigger man and given that Dela Cruz has now gone well over 2 years since last scoring a win.
Staying in Australia Arnon Yuchareon (0-4) will be battling against the debuting Luke Hall (0-0) in a 4 rounder. With both men battling for their first win this could be interesting though we tend to feel that Arnon is being selected to lose to Hall.
We have yet another Russian in action in the US as Vasily Lepikhin (15-0, 8) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Robert Berridge (24-1-1, 20). Berridge has won his last 9 by T/KO and it wouldn't be a huge shock for him to take the "0" from Lepikhin here.
(Image courtesy of nakazatoboxing.com)
Whilst we often get busy days in Asian boxing we tend to find that the action is almost always in either Japan or the Philippines. This Sunday however the action is shared between Japan and China with both holding a number of bouts, albeit at a somewhat middling to low level.
When we said that the day was full of low to mid level bouts we've got to be honest we weren't joking and in fact the most interesting "bout" of the day is a public exhibition that sees Teiru Kinoshita (19-0-1, 3) sharing the ring with OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (16-4-2, 9). This exhibition is being used as a chance to keep Kinoshita sharp ahead of an IBF world title fight with South Africa's Zolani Tete (18-3, 16).
The main competitive contest on this show will instead be a contest between Japanese and OPBF ranked Lightweight Kazuya Murata (8-4, 3) and Hirokazu Okajima (8-3-2, 4). On paper this looks like a really good match up though Murata is certainly in the better form of the men having won his last 3 whilst Okajima has won just 1 if his last 4. It's a good enough match up but it's not a headline bout on what is otherwise a very uninteresting card, other than the exhibition bout which will likely be the highlight of the show.
From where we're sat the most interesting, and potentially the best, fight of the day takes place at the Act City venue in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. The bout in question sees former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (21-4-1, 6) return to Japan for his 5th bout in the country. At the moment Gasca holds a 1-2-1 record in Japan, with the two losses coming to Yukinori Oguni and a draw with Akifumi Shimoda, he'll be hoping to pick up a win as he takes on the significantly less proven Yuta Horiike (9-1-3, 2). Horiike is unbeaten in 8 but has never fought someone of Gasca's ability before.
Other, semi interesting, bouts on this card will see Michiya Sato (10-5-4, 6) fight against Shota Suito (8-3-1, 1) and Yuki Tsuge (12-3, 6) fighting against the once beaten Hideo Sakamoto (13-1-2, 3). Unfortunate neither of these contests, nor the main event, features a puncher so the crowd may well end up seeing a lot of long, drawn out contests
The longest of 4 Japanese cards is being held at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka city and will feature an eye popping 11 bouts including 3 bouts with fighters who have some of the best names in Japanese boxing.
One of those 3 men is the hard hitting Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (8-1, 7) who looks to record his sixth straight stoppage as he takes on the tough Shohei Kanemoto (8-7-1, 3) in the shows headline bout. Another of the notable fighters is the baby faced Cyborg Nawatedani (6-2-2, 3) who battles the much more experienced Sho Nakazawa (17-10-2, 1). The final great name in action is Koki Tyson Maebara (5-1-1, 5) who faces Hiroshi Ohashi (7-7, 3) in a 6 rounder.
Not only doe Petagine, Nawatedani and Maebara have great names but they are all talented and are all putting their Japanese rankings on the pine in their fights here making this arguably the most important show of the day, at least in Asia.
The remaining Japanese show is at the Cover Plaza in Kasuga, Fukuoka. This show, a 7 bout card, is probably the least interesting of the day with the stand out bout being between Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-4-3, 3) and Akiyoshi Kanazawa (11-2-3, 5). If you recognise Fukuhara it's because he was the debut opponent of Takuma Inoue who scored a near shut out over him. It's a pretty evenly matched bout but it is quite difficult to care too much about it.
Although the most interesting part of this card is arguably the scheduled appearance of Japanese boxing legend Yoko Gushiken. We're not sure on what Gushiken's role in the show is but it it's always great to see him around.
As well as the 4 shows in Japan their is also a monster show in Kunming, China. The show, which features a staggering 13 bouts isn't just long with 12 scheduled contests but is also mega interesting with is being a Zovi show with the promoter looking to begin the journey of a new Chinese boxing star.
Rather than try and use recognised fighters for this show the promoter has instead matched 23 debutants and 3 novice fighters. The most experienced man on this show is Yang Xing Xin (6-3-2, 4) who competes in his 12th contest as he takes on the debuting Hu En Tu (0-0) in the show's only 6 round bout.
We're hoping that this is a great success. China is, despite Xiong Zhao Zhong and Zou Shiming, the untapped market of Asian boxing and if a real talent can be found from the mainland it'd be fantastic for the sport in China and could lead to a revolution in not Asian boxing but world boxing.
(image courtesy of Zovi Boxing)