This coming Thursday world title action returns to the Korakuen Hall as the Hall hosts an IBF Super Bantamweight title fight and also potential showcases for two notable Japanese fighters.
The IBF Super Bantamweight title fight will see defending champion Ryosuke Iwasa (25-2, 16) battling against unbeaten mandatory challenger TJ Doheny (19-0, 14), an Australian based Irish born fighter. For Iwasa this will be his second defense, following a lacklustre defense against Ernesto Saulong back in March. Coming in to this Iwasa is unbeaten since losing in an IBF Bantamweight title bout to Lee Haskins back in June 2015, and has reeled off 6 straight wins since that loss. The unbeaten Doheny has been on an impressive run of results and has earned this shot thanks to a victory over Mike Tawatchai in an eliminator last year. Given the power of Doheny this could be a very tough second defense for “Eagle Eye”.
One of two notable under-card fights will see former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Koki Eto (22-4-1, 17) fight in a stay busy contest against Delfin de Asis (9-5, 6). The talk from Japan is that Eto is trying to secure a big bout, but is ticking over until that big bout can be made, which could potentially be a world title fight at 115lbs. Interestingly this is a 10 round bout, though we would be surprised to see it go the scheduled distance.
The other bout of note on this card sees heavy handed youngster Shawn Oda (8-0, 7) take on Masashi Wakita (8-7-2, 3). The 19 year old Oda was taken the distance for the first time last time out, when Roldan Aldea lasted 6 rounds with the teen. We suspect he'll be looking to get back to hid destructive best here. Wakita is no push over, and is a very tall fighter at Lightweight, but has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and has won just 2 of his last 6 contests.
This coming Thursday sees attention turn to Tokyo as we get a world title double header, thanks to Teiken.
The headline bout from the card is a WBC Bantamweight title rematch, as controversial champion Luis Nery (25-0, 19) takes on former champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19). These two fought last year with Nery stopping Yamanaka, and ending the long reign of “God's Left's” which had began in 2011. Following his win it was revealed that Nery had failed a drugs test, though the WBC seemed to believe his excuse of eating a huge amount of tainted beef. This time around Nery has had his diet tracked by the WBC, and it seems like they have tried to punish him, without really punishing him. The Mexican's win over Yamanaka last year put him at the top of the Bantamweight division, though the failed drug test has left a huge cloud over his win and he will have to repeat the exercise here if he's going to get the respect that he will feel he deserves. For Yamanaka this rematch is a chance to avenge his sole loss, reclaim his title and prove that he is the better fighter, with the drugs that Nery tested for. Sadly for the Japanese southpaw he is now 35 and even before the first bout with Nery he was showing signs of being on the slide, having been down several times in his bouts leading up to the Nery contest and looking like a fighter who may well have been caught at the right time by Nery. This is a huge bout for both men, but win or lose we don't Yamanaka sticking around long after this one.
The second world title fight on this show will see IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (24-2, 26) make his first defense, as he takes on little known Filipino challenger Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8). The hard hitting Japanese fighter impressed in his title winning effort last year, when he stopped Yukinori Oguni, and showed that he has got the skills to go with his early promise. There are still flaws, but against Oguni he looked like a fighter who had found his way, and nothing like the fighter who looked lost and confused against Lee Haskins. Whilst Iwasa has been on the title scene for a while, since his loss to Yamanaka for the Japanese Bantamweight title back in 2011, it's fair to say that much less is known about Saulong, who has spent much of his career on the Filipino domestic scene. His most notable bouts have been losses to Rey Megrino and Lwandile Sityatha, though he does hold some decent wins over Alie Laurel, twice, and Jestoni Autida, sadly those wins aside there is little to suggest that Saulong belongs at world level. The Filipino might be better than he's shown, but it's very hard to see him holding his own with someone as heavy handed and dangerous as Iwasa.
Another rematch will see Takahiro Ao (27-3-1-1, 12) take on Gamaliel Diaz (40-18-3, 19) in a battle of veterans. These two first fought way back in October 2012,when Diaz defeated Ao for the WBC Super Featherweight title, though since then neither had had much success. Diaz has gone 2-9-1, and was stopped in his first defense by Takashi Miura, whilst Ao has gone 4-0-0-1, with his most recent bout being a painful No Contest against Raymundo Beltran. Ao will be favoured here, but it's hard to imagine either man will have much of a career after this bout.
This coming Wednesday Japanese fans get a treat as there's a world title double header in Osaka and small but notable show in Tokyo.
The Osakan card, which will be televised in part on TBS, is a really interesting show with 3 worth taking note of.
The most significant is an all Japanese bout for the IBF Super Bantamweight title as defending champion Yukinori Oguni (19-1-1, 7) takes on mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (23-2, 15). For Oguni this will be his first defense and see him fighting for the first time since his career defeingin victory over Jonathan Guzman at the end of 2016. Well school and building in confidence the champion has really shone recently and looks to be a fighter who still has areas that he's developing. The challenger will be having his second world title fight and seems hungry ti impress after failing in a previous challenge of the IBF Bantamweight title. Blessed with heavy hands Iwasa will believe he has the power to over-come the smooth skills of Oguni in what is set to be a corker.
In the other title bout we'll see WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (9-0, 5) seek his second defense of the title as he takes on Thai challenger Palangpol CP Freshmart (14-1, 8), in his first world title bout. The Japanese champion came through a tough mandatory earlier this year, against Angel Acosta, and is looking to end the year in a unification bout with Ryoichi Taguchi, though needs to get through this assignment first. The Thai under-dog is a former Muay Thai champion but as a boxer has looked rough around the edges and this is a huge step up for him going his opponents in Western boxing so far.
In the leading support bout we'll see former world title challengers collide as Shingo Wake (21-5-2, 13) takes on Thai veteran Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (50-2, 31) in a world title eliminator. Wake is best known internationally for losing to the previously mentioned Jonathan Guzman in a gutsy performance and this will be his second bout since that loss. Tghe Thai veteran on the other hand is best known for losing to the then WBA Bantamweight champion Koki Kameda by razor thin decision. This could be, potentially, the best fight on the card and is one that will likely go over-looked given the two headline contests.
Further down the card will be bouts featuring talented prospect Masayoshi Hashizume (13-0, 10) and former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (19-5, 16).
In the Tokyo show, from the Korakuen Hall we're guaranteed some excitement, but the show is a much lesser one than the Osakan one.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Koki Eto (20-4-1, 15) taking on a Thai foe as the all-action Eto looks to rebuild following his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras. Given the growing popularity of the Super Flyweight division Eto has the chance to be in some firecrackers over the coming years against Rex Tso, Jamie Conlan and Kohei Kono and hopefully we'll get the chance to see him in those types of bouts, rather than more contests against limited visitors.
Sadly other than Eto's bout there is little to get excited about here and a lot of the attention should be on the card from Osaka.
This coming Thursday sees one of the biggest Asian cards of the year so far as we get a qoeld title fight, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and former world title challenger all competing on the same card.
In the main event of this show we will see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) look to record his 12th defense of the title. The heavy handed southpaw, widely regarded as the best Bantamweight on the planet, will be up against the in form Carlos Carlson (22-1, 13), who has won his last 22. Yamanaka has had a tough 18 months, with two bouts against Anselmo Moreno and a bout with Liborio Solis, but has come through those bouts and this is a much easier bout on paper than those were. Carlson is a real unknown, and will be stepping up massively, but seems confident of making his mark on the boxing world and a win here would certainly shake up the sport.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (20-1, 16) take on mandatory challenger Satoru Sugita (12-3-1, 7), in what will be a rematch between the two men who faced off last year. In their first bout Ogawa looked less than great, though had the power to see off Sugita in round 9, covering over the cracks off a less than great performance. Here Ogawa will be looking to shine and knows that another struggle will hard his chances of getting a world title fight. For Sugita revenge will be the aim and he will feel he has the skills to over-come Ogawa here.
On the under-card we'll see 2-weight world champion Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22) battle with Mexican foe Ruben Montoya (14-4-1, 9). This will be Viloria's first bout since his October 2015 loss to Roman Gonzalez and it's likely to be the start of Viloria's final run in the sport, with the 36 year old being relatively ancient for a Flyweight. Montoya has mixed with good competition, including Pedro Guevara and Paul Butler, but two losses to Samuel Gutierrez does leave question marks bout his ability.
Also on the under-card will be Ryosuke Iwasa (22-2, 14) who looks to keep busy with a bout againt Filipino Glenn Madura (8-1-1, 5). Iwasa will get a world title fight later this year, against IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni, but will have to get through this one without suffering any sort of cuts or damage to delay his world title shot. Although Madura doesn't have a great record he has won his last 8 and appears to be in solid form ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The only Asian card of the day comes from the Philippines.
The most significant bout of the card will see former 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (22-3-1, 18) look to bounce back from his recent loss to Ganigan Lopez, as he takes on the heavy handed Salatiel Amit (9-1-2, 7) for the vacant WBC International Light Flyweight title. Taconing is a bull in the ring and it's hard to see him losing here to Amit, however the 24 year old Amit will know that a win will put him in the mix for a world ranking and may well meet fire with fire, potentially leading to a war.
Recent Kosei Tanaka victim Rene Patilano (15-2-2, 7) also returns to the ring following a loss, with the twice beaten Patilano taking on domestic journeyman JC Francisco (6-13-5, 2) in a key supporting bout. Patilano was made to look poor against Tanaka but this bout should be an easy win for the former world ranked Light Flyweight. Francisco is win-less in 10 bouts and is unlikely to change that here.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a loss is Wilbert Berondo (10-1, 4), last seen being stopped by the sensational Hinata Maruta. The once beaten Berondo will be facing off with Robin Dingcong (3-3-2, 1) in what looks like an easy return to the ring for Berondo, who was made to look very poor against Maruta, though it does seem like Maruta will make very good fighters look average in the years to come.
The most significant bout, at least in terms of the world title scene, comes form the US where Japan's Ryosuke Iwasa (22-2, 14) battles the unbeaten Luis Rosa (22-0-0-2, 10) in an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator. The winner of this will be particularly interested in the December 30th bout between Jonathan Guzman and Yukionori Oguni, and may well find themselves facing the winner of that bout next year. It's a major test for both and is a really good match up, worthy of it's eliminator status.
Staying in the US there are several Asian fighters in action on the Nevada card, headlined by Sergey Kovalev's bout with Andre Ward.
One of those bouts will be a battle of unbeaten men as American based Uzbek Botirsher Obidov (6-0-1, 2) risks his record against Russian puncher Bakhram Murtazaliev (6-0, 4). This is a notable step up for both men and should prove to be a great test for both fighters, who have got a lot of questions to answer still.
The other Asian is debuting Kazakh Meirim Nursultanov (0-0), who looks to make his first mark on professional boxing as he takes on the limited Henry Beckford (4-5,1) in a 4 rounder.
There is also notable action in Australia where unbeaten local Luke Jackson (12-0, 5) takes on Filipino visitor Silvester Lopez (27-11-2, 19). Coming into this Lopez is on a bit of a run having won his last 3, but has been inconsistent in the last few years going 8-8-1 in his last 17 bouts. A former world title challenger Lopez was one a threat at 115lbs but is now fighting well above his best weight and should be too small to really test Jackson, but may have the power to hurt the local favourite.
In less significant bouts in Australia we'll see Brent Dames (3-2) battle against Australian based Thai Paitoon Jaikom (5-22, 2) and the unbeaten Kayne Clarke (1-0, 1) take on Arnon Yuchareon (1-15-2, 1) in two less than great match ups.
This coming Tuesday sees an interesting card at the Korakuen Hall with a highly regarded propest in a supporting bout and a former world title challenger in the main event.
In the chief supporting bout fans will get the chance to see touted Japanese prospect Shuya Masaki (4-0, 2) face off with domestic foe Yuya Shimakura (7-1-2, 3). Masaka is highly touted though we will admit we weren't massively impressed last time out, when he faced Vergil Puton, and would like to see a lot more from him here than we did there. Shimakura has gone 2-1-1 in his last 4 but has always fought to his opponents level and will be looking to do that again here. Notably of the two men Shimakura arguably has the best win, a decision last year over Keita Manabe, and should use that experience to really test Masaki.
The main event will see recent world title challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (21-2, 13) face off against Thailand's Patomsith Pathompothong (15-5, 5). For Iwasa the bout will be his third since coming up short last year against Lee Haskins and will see him fighting at 123.5lbs, suggesting that his future really is at Super Bantamweight, and not the 118lbs that fought Haskins at. For Patomsith the bout will see him return to Japan for his second bout in the country, following his loss last year to Hisashi Amagasa. For both this is a potentially key bout, but it's fair to say that Iwasa will be the clear favourite.
Finally Japanese action for the month kicks off with an interesting card at the Korakuen Hall, a card that will be televised on NTV G+.
In the main event of this card fans will see former world title challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (20-2, 12) take on Dennis Tubieron (19-6-2, 8) in an all Southpaw bout at Featherweight. Notably this sees both men looking to begin 2016 with a win after both suffered losses in the UK in 2015, with Iwasa being stopped by Lee Haskins and Tubiueron losing to be Josh Warrington and Mitchell Smith. It's hard to back Tubieron here but he'll come to win and it should make for an interesting match up.
Another former world title challenger in action here Motoki Sasaki (39-10-1, 24) who fights for the first time in almost 3 years. Sasaki, who lost world title challengers to Humberto Soto and Vyacheslav Senchenko, will be up against the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-7-1, 8) in what could be a fun to watch bout, though we suspect Sasaki isn't the fighter he once was.
The best matched bout on the card will see Kenji Ono (9-1, 4) battle against Jun Takigawa (7-1-1, 4) in a bout that could lift the winner towards a Japanese title fight later in the year. This is really well matched and could go either way, a fantastic bit of match making.
The main event isn't the only Japan vs Philippines bout on the card with another being a match up between once beaten local Masaru Sueyoshi (10-1, 6) and visitor Marbon Bodiongan (12-3-2, 10) in what could be a really exciting match up. Both men will be looking to take home the win and neither will back down from a fight here in what could be the most exciting bout on the card.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
In Camarines Sur Filipino fans get a show that seems rather fill of mismatches.
In the main event fans will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (24-2-1, 19) take on Thailand's Kosol Sor Vorapin (17-19-1, 11) in what should be little more than a blow than a stay busy but for Sabaupan, who is hunting a 5th straight stoppage win. The Thai has lost his last 7 by stoppage and it seems almost certain that he will be stopped again here
As well as the mismatch of a main event the supporting bouts also look like mismatches, though we are interested to see how 17 year old hopeful Michael Mendoza (3-0) copes with Manny Mamacquiao (1-7-1) in a 6 rounder. A similar match up will see Jerry Mae Villagracia (3-0, 2), also 17, take on Alberto Pentecostes (1-8-1).
Another Filiupino show looks to be more well matched, though lacks the star power that Sabaupan has.
One of the two bouts of note here will see Lester Abutan (8-4-3, 4) take on Powell Balaba (8-16-1, 5) in a bout in the Minimumweight division. This looks likely to be a win for Abutan, though the 24 year old will know that he needs to do more than just “win” here.
The other main bout is much more interestingly matched and will see Marlon Arcilla (8-3, 1) face off against Eric Panza (8-6-1, 2) in what should be a good test for the 21 year old Arcilla.
In Baku fans get the chance to see local star Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) attempt to claim a “world title” as he battles Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22) for the WBF crown at 154lbs. Given that Lusambya, a Ugandan puncher, has been inactive for 2 years it's easy to favour Mammadov, however Lusambya has got genuine power and could upset the local fans if he connects cleanly on the Baku man.
In the US fans will see the unbeaten Dimash Niyazov (8-0-3, 4), originally from Kazakhstan, face off against a yet to be named opponent.
On the same card fans will also get the debut of Serdar Hudayberdiyev (0-0), who is also facing a yet to be named foe.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will be able to see British-Yemeni fighter Muheeb Fazeldin (7-0-1, 3) battle Klaas Mboyane (18-10-2, 9) for the Commonwealth Bantamweight title. Fazeldin has won his last 5 bouts but this is a notable step up and could be too much too soon for the 23 year old Southpaw.
November 24th-Wanheng defends title against Korean banger, Igarashi, Iwasa and Ota in action in Japan
The attention of the boxing world turns to Thailand today where we see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (39-0, 14) defending his title for the 3rd time. The unbeaten Thai, who will have to face a mandatory challenger in 2016, will be up against Korean slugger Young Kil Bae (26-4-1, 21) who looks to claim Korea's first world title in the better part of a decade. Wanheng appears to be a huge favourite given his record, ability and style however Bae certainly comes in to this bout in good form with 17 straight T/KO wins and will be hoping to extend that run in what will be a career defining bout.
On the same day we also get the chance to see the first of two Teiken shows to close the month. This one features a number of notable names, including a former world champion and two former Japanese and OPBF champions.
That world champion is former WBC Flyweight kingpin Toshiyuki Igarashi (21-2-1, 11) who looks to continue his ascent to a Super Flyweight title shot as he takes on Jonathan Francisco (8-3, 2). The bout is a mismatch in favour of Igarashi though it's clear his team are hoping to get him a title fight in 2016 and want to just keep him ticking over rather than really put him through an actual test.
One of the former OPBF/JBC champions is Ryosuke Iwasa (19-2, 12) who faces Marlon Arcilla (8-2, 1) in what will be Iwasa's first bout since his TKO loss, in an IBF interim title bout, to Lee Haskins in the UK. Iwasa was made to look very basic by Haskins and will likely have had his confidence hit by the loss so this is nothing more than a confidence builder for Iwasa who will likely face tougher foes in 2016 as he looks to climb back up the rankings.
The other former OPBF/JBC champion in action is Charlie Ota (24-3-1, 16) who fights for the first time since a close loss to Yuki Nonaka last December. The popular “Charlie” will be facing unbeaten Filipino Stephen Gelawa (6-0-1, 4) in what looks to be an easy win for Ota, who has lost his last two. This is a drop down in “level” for Ota but given his inactivity we don't begrudge him an easy comeback fight.
Bristol, United Kingdom
There isn't much action for us to talk about this coming Saturday but there is one really notable, and interesting, match up which takes place in England. That bout will see once beaten Japanese Bantamweight hopeful Ryosuke Iwasa (19-1, 12) take on European champion Lee Haskins (31-3, 13) in a bout for the IBF Interim title.
For Iwasa this will be his first bout outside of Tokyo though he's not just seeking his first win on international but also an historic victory. Iwasa is looking to become the first ever Japanese fighter to win a world title in Europe. The goal is a big one for “Eagle Eye” though one he seems confident about. As for Haksins he attempts to claim a world title and crown off his very successful and long career which has only lacked a world crown.
For British fans this fight will be aired on Channel 5, live and free!
Sadly other than the bout in Bristol we don't believe there is any other bouts involving an Asian fight taking place on Saturday.
Although the action has been slow so far this year we do seem to be starting to see things heat up, albeit gradually. That build up was meant to move up a gear on February 18th though unfortunately an injury has curtailed a world title eliminator.
The main bout on this card was supposed to be an IBF Bantamweight eliminator between former Japanese and OPBF Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (18-1, 11) and American fighter Sergio Perales (24-2, 16). Unfortunately and injury to Perales has seen this bout called off an instead Iwasa will be fighting late replacement Ricardo Roa (12-9-2, 4) of the Philippines. It's a disappointing fall back for Iwasa who only got notice of Perales's injury about 2 weeks before the fight though he'll likely know that a title fight is still just around the corner, as long as he beats Roa here.
In one of the top support bouts we will get the chance to see one of Iwasa's most promising stablemates, Koki Koshikawa (3-0, 1). The 24 year old Light Welterweight-come-Welterweight will be fighting in his first 8 rounder and could well progress to title level by the end of this year, if not early next year. From what we under-stand Koshikawa's opponent will be Indonesian visitor Sandi Korga (4-6, 1), who was stopped in his only previous visit to Japan.
Another of the support bouts will see the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (9-4, 8) battle against Yuta Horiike (9-3-3, 2) in what appears to be a great of Minamoto's power and ability against a generally, albeit somewhat limited, opponent. A third support bout will see Isao Aoyama (5-3, 1) return to the ring for the first time in almost 3 years as he battles against Sho Kimura (5-1-1) in a competitive looking 6 rounder at Flyweight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)