This coming Sunday there will be two small shows in Japan.
One of those shows, arguably the most significant, takes place in Hyogo and sees a recent Japanese title contender in action.
The recent Japanese title contender is Ryoki Hirai (10-5-1, 4) who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Shin Ono. In the opposite corner to Hirai will be Yuto Takahashi (8-4, 4), who looks to bounce back from a loss of his own to Tatsuya Fukuhara. The 27 year old Hirai had been riding a 5 fight winning run before coming up short to Ono and did show that he had the talent to go all the way, but lacked the experience. We're expecting to see Hirai use the loss to Ono to build on and shine here. As for Takahashi he's 4-4 in his last 8 and it would be a big surprise to see him pick up a win here.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (12-2, 7) take on Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-4-1, 3). Coming in to this Kanda is riding a 6 fight winning run, including notable wins over Ukyo Yoshigai and Mitsuyoshi Fujita. The 30 year old Takahashi is unbeaten in his last 3, including a win over Shunsuke Nakamura and Yudai Ueno, but this would take a career best performance for him to pick up a win here
The other Japanese card takes place in Osaka, and is even less significant than the Hyogo one.
The main event will see OPBF Atomweight champion Masae Akitaya (12-6-2, 4) take on Filipino foe Floryvic Montero (3-5, 1) in a non-title bout. The bout should be little more than a stay contest for Akitaya, who has won her last 3 and will likely be hunting one more world title bout before retiring. Montero really is no test for a fighter with Akitaya's skills and experience.
In a well matched support bout Yu Yan (6-5-3, 4) will take on Kenta Nomura (4-2, 1) in a 6 round Super Bantamweight bout. Yan has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, going back more than 4 years whilst Nomura has lost his last 2. Neither of these fighters are going anywhere fast but should make for an interesting match up together
Another potentially interesting bout will see former OPBF Lightweight title challenger Kazuya Murata (12-6, 5) takes on Yusuke Yamanouchi (9-4-1, 5). Coming into this Murata has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 and hasn't fought in almost 2 years. Yamanouchi is no world beater but he mnay well have too much for Murata here, given he has been active, and at 36 will not be wanting to suffer another defeat.
This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day for fight fans following the Asian boxing scene. There is 3 cards in Japan and a number of Asian fighters in action in Russia.
The most notable of the Japanese cards comes from Kobe where fans will get a Japanese title fight at Minimumweight, with both of the fighters involved looking to claim the vacant title.
That title bout will see the under-rated Ryoki Hirai (10-4-1, 4) battle against former multi-time world title challenger Shin Ono (21-9-3, 5) for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. These two are ranked #1 and #2 by the JBC and are fighting for the title that Reiya Konishi vacated earlier this year, so that he could move up in class to fight for the WBA title. Hirai's record is a bit of a mess, but that's because he started his career 3-3-1, before rebuilding and going 7-1. In recent bouts Hirai has beaten the likes of Takumi Sakae and Ryoya Ikema and has really deserved a shot at the title and a chance to shine. As for Ono he has really struggled in recent years, going 4-4-1 in his last 9, though has mixed at a high level with losses to Katsunari Takayama, Kenichi Horikawa, Knockout CP Freshmart and Reiya Konishi. The bout really pits Hirai's youth and hunger against Ono's experience and should be very interesting.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (11-2, 6) take on the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-10-1, 9). Although Kanda should be favoured he has has been stopped before and Miyazaki will have the belief that he has the power to stop Kanda, just like Yuki Nagano did in 2015.
Staying in Hyogo, though going from Kobe to Kawanishi, fight fans will be able to see the next Morioka card, featuring several noteworthy fighters in what will likely be some horrific mismatches.
The main event of the card will see former OPBF title challenger Hinata Maruta (6-1, 5) battle against Indonesian visitor Arega Yunian (6-9, 1), in what looks like a really disappointing match up for the talent Maruta. Despite losing to Hidenori Otake last November Maruta is an exceptional talent and a bout like this will do little to help build that talent, and it feels like he would have been much better off taking on a domestic level fighter than someone like Yunian. The Indonesian has already suffered 6 stoppage losses, all of which have come when he's fought on the road and include stoppages to Ryo Matsumoto and Takashi Igarashi in Japan
As well as Maruta fans will also be able to see former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (25-7-1, 22) and former Japanese Youth title challenger Naoto Iwai (4-2, 2) both in action, as they each face Thai opponents. Parrenas will be seeking his second win since a 2015 loss to Naoya Inoue, in a bout for the WBO Super Flyweight title, whilst Iwai will be looking to put a poor 2017 behind and begin to rebuild his career.
As well as the action in Hyogo there will also be a low key card in Fukuoka. This card is a pretty weak one in all honesty, but will be headlined by former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7), who will look to bounce back following back-to-back defeats to Ryuya Yamanaka and Wanheng Menayothin. The former champion, will be up against domestic foe Yuto Takahashi (8-3, 4) in what looks to be a big step down in class. Despite stepping down in levels Fukuhara does deserve an easy one given his run from winning the Japanese title in 2015 to today has seen him facing 3 unbeaten men, two current world champions and two other fringe world class fighters. Takahashi hasn't shown he can compete at the top of the domestic level and although this is a big chance for him to make a mark, it's very hard to see how he can over-come the under-rated Fukuhara.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a lot of Asian interest in a Russian card, with several notable fighters in action.
The main event of the card looks set to be a special kind of bout, as Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (37-3-0-1, 25) takes on unbeaten Russian Pavel Malikov (13-0, 5) in a really good looking 12 round bout. Yordan seems to have been around around forever but at 30 years old he still has some time on his side to get a second world title fight, following a set back against Chris John back in 2011, and a win against Malikov might be what he needs to get a crack at a world champion. As for Malikov he has been in some great bouts recently, and his last two have been razor thing wins over Daiki Kaneko, in an under-rated 2017 war, and Deiner Berrio. Malikov is certainly beatable, but whether Yordan will be the man to beat him is yet to be seen. It's worth nothing that both of these men hold world rankings and the bout is essentially a world title eliminator.
In a great support bout we'll see unbeaten men collide, with Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (10-0, 5) battling Leonardo Padilla (16-0, 12) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Featherweight Title. Uulu is a Kyrgyzstan born Russian based fighter who has struggled at times but appears to be improving and has got the talent to go a long way, if he can correct some defensive flaws. Those defensive flaws could be a major problem here however as Padilla, like many fighters from Venezuela, can bang with 8 stoppages in his last 10. We'll be honest and admit we're unsure how the Venezuelan qualifies for a WBA Asia title but that can't take away from what looks like a really exciting match up.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Uzbek hopeful Ravshanbek Umurzakov (2-0, 2) take on Georgian Merab Turkadze (5-0, 2). The Uzbek looks to be a natural prospect and was a solid amateur before making his debut at the end of last year. So far Umurzakov has fought only 2 rounds, taking both of his opponents out with brutal left hands to the body in the opening round. It's always hard to know what you get with a Georgian fighter but given that Umurzakov is scheduled to fight again in May it seems like his team are confident of another quick win here.
One other bout of note will see Russian novice Mekhdi Abdurashedov (1-0) take on the once touted Iwan Zoda (14-3-1, 13) of Indonesia. At one point Zoda looked like a star in the making, and his 2015 win over Petchchorhae Kokietgym was a sensational performance. Sadly though he has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and really is fighting an up hill battle to remain relevant. It's unclear how good Abdurashedov is, but this is a big step up for the Russian and hopefully Zoda will show of the skills that got many of us excited when he was younger
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day with a lot of action as we continue to race towards Christmas!
In many ways the most significant bout to include an Asian this coming Saturday comes from Mexico where former world champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-2, 4) resurfaces, to take on the limited Delia Lopez (10-6-2, 5) for the WBC Female interim Flyweight title. For Yoshikawa a loss is likely to be the end of her career, and it would be a huge disappointment given her amateur background. Lopez however is a less than great opponent and should pose little threat for the Japanese fighter.
Staying on the theme of Japanese fighters there is also a low key card in Hyogo, thanks to Senrima Kobe.
The main event of the card will see 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-2-1, 8) take on a Thai foe in what is expected to be little more than a confidence builder for Kinoshita. The Japanese fighter was last seen in action this past July when he was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in Australia, and it's clear that he's not going to win a world title. Despite that it's good to see him back in the ring, and hopefully he'll be moved towards an OPBF title fight in 2018.
Another notable Japanese fighter on this card is Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4), who sadly will also be facing a less than testing Thai foe. The talented Hirai has a misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest, as shown by recent wins over Takumi Sake and Ryoya Ikema. Although this bout is a step backwards for Hirai it should be noted that he was injured earlier in the year and this looks like an easy run out to test how he's recovered.
The most interesting bout on this card will see Japanese ranked fighters collide as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (10-2, 6) battles Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3). Coming in to this Kanda is on a 4 fight winning streak, including a big win over Ukyo Yoshigai, and looks to be slowly but surely working his way to a domestic title fight. Whilst Kanda is in good form the same can't be said or Fujita, who was stopped last time out by Koki Inoue, though prior to that loss he had been on an 8 fight winning run and is a live fighter here in what looks like a genuine 50-50 match up.
For a second day running there will be action in Zhongshan, with several titles on the line.
One of those titles will be the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title, which will see Filipino Joe Noynay (12-2-1, 4) battle against Chinese fighter Yongcai Liu (6-4-3, 3). Noynay was last seen losing in a very competitive contest to Reiya Abe, in what was his second loss in 4 bouts, but he should be favoured here. The local has won hist last two against veterans, but a win here would be a surprise given that he is stepping up quite notably here.
A second bout for a WBC Asian Boxing Council title will be at Super Middleweight and will see once beaten Chinese puncher Ainiwaer Yilixiati (11-1, 9) take on Georgian foe Tornike Gikashvili (15-7-1, 3). For Yilixiati this bout will be his second since losing to OPBF champion Jayde Mitchell back in August, and it's hard to see anything but a win for the aggressive Chinese slugger. The 20 year old visitor has gone 1-5 in his last 6, including 4 stoppage losses, and it's hard to imagine him lasting the distance here.
Another bout at Super Middleweight will see Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (9-1-1, 7) take on Pavel Semjonov (21-7-2, 8), in a non-title bout. The exciting Maimaitiali will be fighting for the second time since his very close loss to Vijender Singh in August and he will be looking to make a statement here. The visitor, from Estonia, may be recognisable to European fight fans, as he has fought a variety of notable fighters, but regularly comes up short in performance that show his toughness. We're expecting to see Maimaitiali win, and if so we can hopefully move towards a bout between him and the aforementioned Yilixiati.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most significant of three shows in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila and features a trio of title bouts, along with a scattering of other notable fighters.
One of those title bouts will see the promising Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8) battle against countryman Renan Portes (10-5, 6) for the IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Saulong has won his last 3, and rebuilt well following his 2015 loss to Lwandile Sityatha. On paper Portes looks the much lesser fighter, and his loss to Hayate Kaji earlier this year does show he can be blasted out, but Portes will know this is a big opportunity and hopefully he looks to take it with both hands.
A second title bout, for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title will see the once beaten Ivan Soriano (16-1-1, 8) take on the upset minded Jaysever Abcede (15-7, 10). Coming in to this Soriano is riding a 12 fight winning run, dating back to 2010, though he has taken a significant break from action during that run and has fought only 4 rounds in the last 4 years. Abcede is best known for a 2015 upset win over Pigmy Kokietgym, though has only gone 5-4 since then and lost to the likes of Tsubasa Koura and Wanheng Menayothin. This could be a really intriguing match up, though it does look like one that Soriano should pick up the win in.
A third title bout, and by far the weakest on the card, will see Danny Tampipi (7-8-2, 4) battle Noel Adelmita (13-11-2, 2) for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. We'll be honest and admit we really are struggling to get excited about this one with both fighters being out of form and neither likely to really shine here.
Other fighters on this card include Mark Anthony Barriga (7-0, 1), Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8), Richard Claveras (18-3-2, 15) and AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23), all of whom are expected to pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes. Barriga and Daniega are two real prospects with genuine potential, whilst Claveras and Banal are both aggressive and exciting and aggressive fighters who should be looking to make statements.
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second Filipino show in Metro Manila will take place, though to much less fan fare than the one above.
The most notable bout on the card is a huge mismatch between Cris Paulino (14-3, 4) and Roy Lagrada (3-18-1, 3). The talented Paulino is the much better fighter here, despite losing successive bout to Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, though has taken 2 years out of the ring and will be looking to ease himself back into action against the over-matched Lagrada.
This show will also feature the once beaten Giemel Magramo (19-1, 15), who looks to secure his third win since a close and competitive loss to Muhammad Waseem back in November 2016. Sadly at the time of writing Magramo's opponent hadn't been announced.
There will also be a small card in Cebu.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Jayar Aliasot (6-1, 5) take on domestic foe Carlo Demecillo (8-4, 2). Aliasot is stepping up big time here, but will feel his power can do a number on Demecillo, like Satoshi Shimizu's did last December, and that he can get the lighter punching man out of there. As for Demecillo the game plan will be able dragging his man into the later rounds, and out working him, showing the toughness that gave Hisashi Amagasa problems in October 2016.
Also on this card is a very interesting looking match up between 32 year old Clyde Azarcon (10-1, 4) and 21 year old Royder Lloyd Borbon (5-1-1, 5). Coming in to this Azarcon has won his last 9, but the competition during that run tells us very little about how good he is and none of the opponents had records to suggest they were really going to be tests. Borbon on the other hand will come in on the back of 3 stoppages, and will be looking to score his best win to date here. This should tell us a lot about both men.
In Ukraine we see a Filipino fighter go to the Lion's den to face one of the more over-looked Ukrainian fighters of recent times. The Ukrainian in question is the outstanding Denys Berinchyk (7-0, 4), who was a Silver medal winner at the 2011 World Amateur championships and the 2012 Olympics. In the opposite corner to the Ukrainian will be once beaten Filipino Allan Vallespin (11-1, 8), who was stopped in his only bout outside of the Philippines by a thunder bolt from current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi. Vallespin could test Barinchyk but it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
We have another bout involving a Filipino in France, as local prospect Nordine Oubaali (12-0, 9) takes on the highly experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (34-7-3, 15) in a bout for the WBC “Silver” Bantamweight title. The talented Oubaali is a 2-time Olympian who was once tipped for big things, but at 31 years old it does seem like now or never for him. Aged 26 Geraldo has been able to be a busy professional and has shown real touches of brilliance, but has never quite managed to put on a full performance at the higher levels. Coming in to this Geraldo is 3-3, including a loss to Takuma Inoue, and although he could give Oubaali a good test, it would be regarded as a real upset if Geraldo picked up the win.
In Canada we see one of the most exciting prospects from Kazakhstan in action. That man is the heavy handed Batyrzhan Jukembayev (10-0-0-2, 9), who takes a credible step up in class to take on 22 year old American Wilberth Lopez (20-8, 14). The hard hitting Jukembayev does look like a destructive force and is carving out a promising career in Canada but does need to win here to continue that run. Lopez will come in as the opponent but he will be a very live one. He has gone the distance with decent prospects, like Alex Saucedo, Ivan Baranchyk and Juan Ruiz, whilst also proving he can score the odd upset, as he did against Jose Roman. This is not likely to be a walk in the park for the Canadian based Kazakh.
In Japan we see a show in Hyogo which features the first of the upcoming Japanese title eliminator bouts.
That title eliminator will see world ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4) taking on Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1), with the winner to get a guaranteed Japanese title fight next year. Coming into this Matsui is riding an inconsistent run where he has gone 3-4 in his last 7, with losses to Seita Ogido, Riku Kano and Tetsuya Hisada among others, though he has scored wins over Rikito Hattori and Genki Hanai and has shown he has the ability to score upsets. As for Hirai he has won his last 4, with a notable upset against Takumi Sakae, and we've become fans of his during this short run, with the expectation that he will come out on top here, but it'll be a really tough fight between two hungry fighters.
The main supporting bout will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (9-2, 5) take on Tsunehiko Aitoku (4-5-1), in a less than great supporting contest. Kanda has won his last three bouts, including an upset victory over Ukyo Yoshigai last time out. As for Aitoku he has won just one of his last 3 bouts, and been stopped in those two losses. It's hard to imagine anything but a win for Kanda here, in what looks like a mismatch.
In the Philippines we have another show where mismatches are expected, but in at least one of those it's a mismatch that we can't really complain about given the competition one fighter has been in recently.
That “defensible” mismatch sees Ricky Sismundo (31-10-3, 13) take on Boyce Sultan (9-8-1, 5). This will be Sismundo's first bout in the Philippines in over 3 years, during which time he has faced Masayoshi Nakatani, Shuhei Tsuchiya, Akihiro Kondo, Yoshitaka Kato, Jose Felix Jr, Dierry Jean, Ghislain Maduma and Yves Ulysse Jr. This should be a really straight forward win for a fighter as talented Sismundo, and a nice chance for the Filipino fans to see a road warrior return home.
On the under-card we'll see promising teenager Danrick Sumabong (2-0, 2) take on Jong Sabellina (5-16-1, 1) in what should be a straight forward win for the 18 year old puncher. Sumabong made his debut back in March, fighting in a 6 rounder, and will now be stepping up to 8 rounds for the first time. Coming into this Sabellina has failed to win in his last 11 bouts, and has been stopped in 6 of those, with this likely to be another stoppage against him.
A third show will come from Indonesia, where we'll see a couple of national title fights.
One of those will see the unbeaten Hebi Marapu (9-0, 6) battle with Master Suro (12-9-1, 2) for the Indonesian Lightweight title. Earlier this year Suro went the distance with heavy handed Filipino Jeo Santisima and will look to do the same here, however that will likely be the best he can hopefore against the fast rising Marapu, who does look to be one of the more notable prospects in Indonesia.
The other title bout on this show will feature John Basan (2-0, 1) taking on Jack Madison (2-15) for the Indonesian Super Bantamweight title. Basan made his debut in May, fighting in 8 rounders for his first two bouts, and will moving up to 12 rounders here against Madison. As for Madison he has lost his last 13 bouts, 7 of those by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him being a real test for Basan here.
The biggest show of the weekend, and one of the biggest Japanese shows of the year so far, takes place in Osaka on Sunday
The main event of the card will see WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) look to extend his reign as the champion as he takes on highly experienced Thai foe Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 38), who has won his last 61 fights! On paper this looks good, but it's a bout that really is based on smoke and mirrors with Noknoi's record being very padded so far. Interestingly this will be Ioka's 5th defense of the Flyweight title and if he wins he will become just the second Japanese man to win 14world title bouts!
The card feature a really good supporting bout as WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) defends his belt against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13). These two men fought in 2015, with Tapales dominating the then unbeaten Omori, and since then the Filipino had gone on to win the WBO title, taking a thrilling victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu. Although he was dominated, suffering a 2 round loss to Tapales, it does seem like Omori has looked at their first bout and admitted he was over-confident, making this rematch very interesting.
The most interesting of the under-card bouts will see Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) battle against the once touted Filipino Neil John Tabanao (13-3, 9). This really could be a very fun bout, with both men having good styles that should gel well for an exciting contest.
The under-card is also packed with a number of notable names, such as Sho Ishida (23-0, 12), Takahiro Yamamoto (18-5, 15), Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) Hayate Ikuta (7-0, 3) and Tatsuya Ikemizu (14-2, 6) all of whom will be facing Thai imports.
As well as the card in Osaka there will be a second notable show in Japan, with Aichi hosting a show featuring a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, and an interesting looking non-title bout.
That aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory title challenger Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12). Although this bout won't excite those outside of Japan too much, especially given the action in Osaka, we've got a genuine feeling that this will be a genuine barn burner. Hayashi is a busy, hard working yet basic fighter whilst Saka is a gutsy warrior with nasty power, and we're expecting those styles to gel perfectly for a war.
The other bout of note on this card will see the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (10-1-1, 10) battle against Noboru Osato (7-4-4, 1). Although Mizuno is unproven, and is stepping up a bit in class here, he has shown real promise and his power certainly looks genuine. Osato will go in to this bout as the under-dog but has never been stopped, and could well use his experience and toughness to teach Mizuno some new lessons.
There will be a third Japanese show in Hyogo, where fans get some lesser action, but still manage to get a card worthy of some note.
In the main event of this show we'll see WBO ranked Minimumweight hopeful Ryoki Hirai (8-4-1, 3) battle against the heavy handed Ryoya Ikema (11-3, 10). The little known Hirai really is ranked thanks to a technical decision win over the low-on-confidence Takumi Sakae from last December, other than that however his record has little to note. The huge punching Ikema was beaten last time out by Koki Ono, but is an interesting prospect and will be looking to score a career best win here.
The other bout of note on this card will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (8-2, 5) battle against the very promising Ukyo Yoshigai (5-0, 4). It's hard to call this one, but a win for Yoshigai would put him in great position ahead of his bout in the Japanese Youth Tournament later in the year. Kanda was stopped just a few fights ago but will be looking to build on back-to-back blow out wins in what could be a really fun bout.
In Uganda fight fan will see Azeri born Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Amos Mwamakula (15-6-2, 7) in a contest for the UBO Welterweight title. The bout is a low key affair but will see the winner score their best win to date.