For a second day running we get title action at the Korakuen Hall, with a relatively strong domestic undercard, featuring former world, Japanese and Japanese Youth title challengers.
The title bout headlining this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (15-2-1, 10) defending his title against mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (16-3-1, 8). For the champion the bout will service as his second defense, following his title win last February against Yasutaka Ishimoto, and is expected to be easier than his 10 round war last time out. Kosaka has gotten this shot by being the top ranked contender at the start of the year, following Ishimoto's retirement, but his best wins don't suggest he's ready for someone as hard hitting or as aggressive as Kuga. Whilst Kosaka does have wins against Morihisa Iju, Dado Cabintoy and Satoshi Niwa this is likely to be too much a step up for the challenger, at this point in his career.
The chief support bout will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) make his ring return, after 11 months away from the ring. The talented and popular Omori needed serious facial surgery following his second loss to Marlon Tapales last year and will be moving up in weight for his return. Unlike many fighters Omori isn't having an easy bout, instead he will be facing off with Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4), an accomplished domestic level fighter who fought to a draw with Shingo Wake back in 2011 and Ryo Hino this past January. This is a tough test for Omori to return to, and for Hiroto the bout is a very good opportunity to make a name for himself. Interestingly the winner of this bout may find themselves in the mix to face the winner of the main event, in what would be another very interesting match up, and a bout that could see the winners move towards a world title shot.
Another supporting bout will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (9-3-1, 5), who gave the aforementioned Kuga fits last July, battle against Yutaka Kamioka (10-5-2, 6). We've been really impressed by the 30 year old Tamura, who is a brutish puncher and much better than his record suggests, and could be a handful at domestic level for the next few years, despite some technical limitations. Kamioka has lost 2 of his last 3, both by decision, and this is a big step up in class for him. Kamioka has scored some decent domestic wins, beating Gaku Aikawa and Naoya Okamoto, but we suspect he will look out of his depth here.
Arguably the most interesting under-card match on this card will see the under-rated 22 year old Ryota Ishida (9-2, 6) battle against the unbeaten Daichi Kawabuchi (4-0-2, 3). Coming into this bout Ishida will be full of confidence following a career best win over Yuki Ozawa last time out, and running Takuya Mizuno razor close in a Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title last August. The unbeaten Kawabuchi has drawn 2 of his last 3, though he does seem to be a dangerous puncher with 3 early stoppages and is the naturally bigger man. This could be very interesting.
This coming Tuesday we see a return to action for the first post-Christmas show in Asia, with the attention switching to Hyogo where Shinsei promotions put on an interesting gift of a card, with a Japanese title bout and a very good looking chief support bout, with some genuine significance.
The main event is a Japanese Minimumweight title bout, as unbeaten champion Reiya Konishi (14-0, 5) makes his second defense of the title, taking on #1 ranked domestic challenger Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1). The champion, who won his title earlier this year against Masataka Taniguchi, looked less than stellar in his first defense, against Shin Ono, and it's fair to say that he needs to shine here if he's to really make the title his own, and move towards a world title fight in early 2018. On paper Matsui looks an under-qualified challenger but he has scored two notable wins in his last 3 bouts and could prove to be a banana skin here for the unbeaten but unspectacular champion.
The leading support bout will see Japanese ranked Lightweight Masashi Wakita (8-5-2, 3) take on Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Naotoshi Nakatani (10-1, 6) in a rematch of a bout from a year ago. In their first bout Nakatani won a competitive decision but since then Wakita has scored back to back wins, and looks to be getting some momentum going. On the other hand Nakatani was upset last time out, suffering a 6th round TKO loss to Accel Sumiyoshi, and hasn't won a bout since his win over Wakita 12 months ago.
In another supporting bout fans will see the talented Ryo Kosaka (15-3-1, 7) take on a Thai foe. Coming in to this Kosaka is riding an 8 fight winning run and should be fighting for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title next year, if he comes through this one without suffering any sort of serious injury.
As well as the action in Japan fans may also be interested to know that Swiss based Japanese fighter Aniya Seki (32-3-2, 5) will be in action, as she battles Hungarian foe Judit Hachbold (4-2). Although Seki is a flawed fighter it's hard to imagine her losing here to the visitor.
This coming Saturday Shinsei gym put on a small but notable card in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Bantamweight contender Ryo Kosaka (14-3-1, 7) risk a potential title fight as he takes on Akira Ono (7-4-1, 6) in what could be a tough test for the fancied Kosaka. Coming in to the bout Kosaka is on a 7 fight winning streak, with a notable win over Morihisa Iju last time out but Ono is better than his record suggests and he could be a genuine banana skin here if Kosaka is looking past him already.
In the chief support bout Shun Kosaka (13-3, 3) will be facing off against Shogo Sumitomo (6-9-1, 5). Coming in to this bout Kosaka will be looking to bounce back form a loss to the under-rated Akinori Hoshino, who took a split decision over him in February. With 3 losses to his name Kosaka may not look like a notable fighter, but those losses have come to good fighters and the 22 year old has got potential. Sumitomo has been stopped 7 times, and we expect to see him struggle to last the distance here.
Seoul, South Korea
We also get a small show in Korea, headlined by a WIBA Flyweight title fight as Eun Hye Lee (9-1, 4) defends her title against Filipino foe Norj Guro (7-7-1, 4). The talented Lee, who's sole loss was a controversial one in Japan last year, should be far too good for the Filipino, who has lost her last 4 and really poses nothing to test the Korean 34 year old.
Action returns to Kobe this coming Sunday as Shinsei Gym put on their next show.
The main event of the card sees the once beaten Shohei Kawashima (14-1-2, 3) return to the ring for the first time since he suffered a very close loss to Cristian Mijares in Mexico. The loss to Mijares may have been a loss for Kawashima but it certainly showed that Kawashima had the skills to go a long way in the sport. It seems Shinsei are happy to give him an easy win here as he takes on domestic foe Junnosuke Nagayasu (13-11-3, 3). The experienced Nagayasu has got experience on his side but has only scored two wins in the last 6 years and lacks the skills to really compete with Kawashima.
In a supporting bout fight fans will see former OPBF champion Ryuya Yamanaka (13-2, 3) take on Thai visitor Khanongmek Sithkrukong (0-1), in what will likely act as a world title prelude for Yamanaka. The 21 year old Shinsei prospect won the Oriental title last year but vacated it earlier this year to begin focussing on a world title bout, and it seems likely that a blow out here will help him secure that shot at world honours. Interestingly Khanongmek was stopped inside a round in his only previously bout, being blown out in 67 seconds by Reiya Konishi last August.
Another notable supporting bout will see Ryo Kosaka (13-3-1, 7) take on Morihisa Iju (10-1, 8) in what should be the best bout on the show. Kosaka started his career 3-2-1 but has since gone 10-1 and scored notable wins over Satoshi Niwa and Dado Cabintoy. Although not a world beater Kosaka is 23 and showing signs of genuine promise. Aged 27 Iju has a good looking record but hasn't scored a win of note since a 2014 blow out against Masaru Urata and has a lot of questions to answer, with the potential to answer a lot of them here.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines, featuring two title bouts.
One of those bouts will be a WBF Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title fight as 23 year old old Ronie Tanallon (10-3-1, 2) battles Arnold Garde (7-4-2, 3). Coming in to this Tanallon has impressed, but has lost 2 of his last 4 to unbeaten foes and will know he can't afford another loss here. As for Garde he has suffered 3 stoppage losses, though surprisingly went 10 rounds with Randy Petalcorin back in December.
The other title fight on this card sees Markquil Salvana (11-3, 5) look to bounce back from successive losses as he takes on domestic journeyman JP Macadumpis (11-8-1, 5), who has been stopped in 4 of his last 6. Salvana has mixed with good fighters, but has lost to the Moloney twins and Takuya Uehara, It's worth noting that Macadumpis has also mixed with good fighters, including Yukinori Oguni, but has also lost to some limited opponents like Rex Granada and it's hard to see him winning here.
This card will also feature the ring return of Jake Bornea (11-2, 5), who will be fighting for the girst time since he was stopped by Andre Selby. The 21 year old Borena will be up against Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-10-3, 3) in what should be a straight forward win for Bornea
The Olympic break is over and we see action resuming now with regular shows picking up Asia. This Sunday attention turns to Hiroshima where Shinsei put on their next show.
In the main event Japanese ranked Bantamweight Ryo Kosaka (12-3-1, 6) will be up against Corrales Kawashimo (7-7-1, 2). The 23 year old Kosaka is on a 5 fight winning streak, including notable wins over Satoshi Niwa and Dado Cabintoy and will be expecting to extend that streak here against a man who has lost his last 2 and is 3-3 in his last 6.
In a supporting bout the OPBF ranked Shun Kosaka (12-2, 3) will be up against Tatsuya Kaneko (7-12-3, 1). Kosaka was the Flyweight runner up at the 2014 Rookie of the Year and although he was stopped by the experienced Tetsuya Hisada in 2015 there is genuine promise with the youngster, who at 21 is still a long way from his peak. For Kaneko the focus has to be on a good performance with the 29 year old going 3-10-3 in his last 16!
Another really good looking supporting bout will see unbeaten teenager Retsu Kosaka (7-0, 2) battle against once beaten Japanese ranked Ken Osato (8-1-1, 3) in what looks like a genuinely mouth watering match up. The 18 year old Kosaka debuted in April 2015 and has quickly made a name for himself a genuinely promising younger Aged 22 Osato isn't much older than his foe but has fought at a much higher level, and fought to a draw with Kento Matsushita last year. This is the best bout on the card and is a clear step up for Kosaka and a great test for Osato, just the sort of match up we love.