For us the biggest show this Saturday is in China where we get a China Vs Japan card featuring a number of bouts between fighters from those two countries. Not only is there the China Vs Japan theme, but also the return to the ring of a popular Japanese former world champion.
The former world champion is Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10), who despite being Japanese is hugely popular in China following his title win over Zou Shiming in 2017. Kimura was dethroned of the WBO Flyweight title in September, by Kosei Tanaka, but will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he takes on Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (60-10-2, 24) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Flyweight. Pigmy was once a solid fighter, and is a 2-time world title challenger, but is not a natural Flyweight, he's 37 and has been stopped 7 times in his career, with Kimura likely to make that 8.
One of the many China Vs Japan bouts will see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) take on Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) in a bout for some minor WBA Light Welterweight title. Originally the title was listed as the WBA "International" title, though their is now speculation that it will be for the WBA "Asia" title. Nasiyiwula is a talented fighter, but often comes across as a man with a bad attitude, and a real arrogance. He has impressed in the past, but didn't look good last time out, when he fought Ernesto Espana. Konno on the other hand has a poor looking record, but comes into this bout on the back of 3 good domestic wins, including an excellent victory over Vladimir Baez in December and will be full of confidence.
Another China Vs Japan bout, with a title on the line, will see world ranked Chinese fighter Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5) battle against highly regarded Japanese prospect Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) in a bout for the WBA International Flyweight title. Tuolehazi has impressed in recent years, turning around a 0-2 start to professional boxing to have a 10-3-1 record including a big win over Jayr Raquinel last year. Yamauchi has impressed us since his professional debut, and already has a couple of solid wins on his record, but this is a big step up for him. We suspect Yamauchi has the tools needed to over-come Tuolehazi, but he will need to answer serious questions here, and prove himself more than he has at any other point in his career. A full preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi and Tuolehazi battle in mouth watering Flyweight clash
The China Vs Japan rivalry may be set to give us a very special bout as Fangyong Zhang (11-4-1, 3) and Ryuto Maekawa (11-1-1, 7) clash in a potential war. Neither of these are world beaters, but both are happy to let their hands go and be involved in a fight. Maekawa is best known for his insane bout with Rex Tso whilst Zhang is less well known he is certainly not a bad fighter to watch and should make for the perfect partner with Maekawa for a brilliant fight.
As well as the big card in China there will also be a big one in the US, in fact the US card in Pennsylvania is the biggest of the day in terms of general boxing. The card isn't just big in a wider boxing sense but also features several Asian fighters.
The most significant bout, in regards to Asian interest, will see the unbeaten Uzbek fighter Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) take on Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) in an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator. The talented Abdukakhorov will be making his US debut and begin a 3 fight deal with Top Rank with this fight, and will know that a win will open up major doors, though he is up against a serious puncher in Obara. For Obara, who has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, this is a must win but he has failed to win his biggest bouts and at the age of 32 he is likely on the slide. Our preview of this bout is available here Abdukakhorov and Obara battle for mandatory position
Once beaten American based Kazakh Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2) will take on Puerto Rican puncher Jose Lopez (11-1, 9) in an 8 round bout. The 28 year old Ualikhanov was beaten on debut, in 2016, when he was controversially DQ'd and since then has reeled off 4 wins, to rebuild his reputation. Lopez on the other hand was stopped last time out by journeyman Carlos Winson Velasquez and is may not find this bout to be the confidence builder he needs.
New South Wales, Australia
There will also be a show in Australia, featuring a couple of Filipino fighters.
The main event of this card will see WBSS participant Jason Moloney (17-1, 14) return to the ring for the first time since losing to IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. The talented, once beaten, Australian will be up against Filipino visitor Cris Paulino (19-3, 8) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. Given that all 3 of Paulino's losses have come by stoppage it's hard to imagine him lasting with the hard hitting Moloney, who will likely get to Paulino sooner or later.
Another Filipino on this card is Rey Juntilla (23-8-5, 14), who takes on Billel Dib (22-3, 10). The 29 year old Juntilla has lacked activity in recent years, with only 1 bout in the last 2 years, and although he has a good looking record he has lost against almost every noteworthy name he's faced. Dib is no world beater, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but he should pick up an easy win here.
In a bit of an oddity we'll see German based Moroccan Bilal Messoudi (6-4-1, 2) take on Chinese fighter Shayilanbieke Kadeerbieke (2-3-2, 1). Although Messoudi has lost 4 bouts he has mixed with decent fighters and is better than the numbers suggest. As for Kadeerbieke this will be his first bout outside of China, and we'll be honest and admit that is strange he's set to fight in Germany.
To kick off the month of October we get the next show in the “Slugfest” series of cards from Kadoebi. The card's the most exciting but is headlined by a former national champion and features 3 notable prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-5-2, 10) taking on teenage hopeful Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1). The heavy handed Ohashi was totally manhandled earlier this year when Taiki Minamoto ripped the title from him in April in impressive fashion, stopping Ohashi in 7 rounds and ending his 4 month reign as champion. This will be Ohashi's first bout since that loss. The 19 year old Saeki competed in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and has has shown good skills, but a lack of power is likely to be a major problem, especially here, with Ohashi unlikely to show him respect.
Another fighter looking to return to winning ways is Kazuki Saito (5-1, 5), a talented former amateur stand out who was upset last time out by Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, who really showed how flawed Saito is defensively. The hard hitting Saito is being matched softly here, as he takes on Filipino Rey Ramos (8-9-2, 3), who has been beat in 5 of his last 7 with 3 career stoppage losses. This is clearly a confidence booster for Saito, and we can't begrudge him one those given the stoppage loss.
Another of the under-card bouts features super prospect Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) in what looks to be a stay busy fight. The sensationally talented Yamauchi, who has really impressed us through 2018, will be up against Indonesian foe Rio Nainggolan (4-8, 3). Coming in to this Yamauchi has spent 2018 stopping both Lester Abutan and Yota Hori, to move into the OPBF and JBC rankings at Flyweight. As for the visitor he has fought just once this year, losing to Carlo Cesar Penalosa in 3 rounds. The Indonesian has had no luck at all on the road with losses to the likes of Petch Sor Chitpattana, Juiki Tatsuyoshi, Petch Kokietgym and Penalosa, and we would be massively surprised if Nainggolan managed to last more than 5 rounds with the Japanese wunderkind.
Another notable prospect in action here is the debuting Yuki Nakajima (0-0), the brother of Kazuki Nakajima. The 23 year old is tipped for huge success and will look to shine as he begins his professional career against Thai visitor Somphon Banyaem (3-1, 3), who's only bout of note was a 4th round KO loss to Takamori Kiyama in May, with Kiyama making his debut in that bout. We suspect Nakajima will stop the Thai, and will look to do so quicker than Kiyama, but this is an interesting debut given that it allows for a direct comparison between two young up and comers.
A new week kicks off with an interesting Kadoebi card on Monday, with a host of notable fights, including two title fights a world ranked contender and a fast rising prospect.
The main event of the card with see Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10) defending his two regional titles as he battles Australian Aaron Russell (11-4, 4). The bout seems to be more of a case of keeping Kyotaro busy rather than really testing him, with Russell being an under-sized and under-powered opponent who has fought mostly at Cruiserweight. With 4 stoppage losses against his name Russell seems like an opponent there to make Kyotaro look good, and that's exactly what we expect to see here.
A much more interesting title fights comes at 140lbs, as Japanese national champion Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) defends his title against Japanese based Dominican puncher Vladimir Baez (24-3-2, 22) in what looks like a bout that could be something special. Hosokawa might not be well known outside of Japan but he has been involved in some thriller during his career and has proven to be tough, have a great engine and loves to fight. Baez is a huge puncher at this weight and is a marauding fighter, who will come forward and look to bomb out his opponent. We're not expecting a technical masterpiece here, but we are expecting some great action.
The aforementioned prospect is Flyweight hopeful Ryota Yamauchi (2-0, 2), who made his debut last June before shining in December by stopping Lester Abutan. Yamauchi will be looking to continue his rise as he takes on domestic contender Yota Hori (13-6-2, 8) in what is another still test for the 23 year old hopeful. A win for Yamauchi is likely to see him begin the push towards title fights and we wouldn't be surprised to see him in a title fight in the next 12 months, if he wins here. Of course a win for Yamauchi is no foregone conclusion and Hori is no push over, with wins over Musashi Suzuki, Kenta Okamura and a draw with Koki Eto showing he's a live underdog in this bout.
Another unbeaten man on this card is the world ranked Hiroki Okada (17-0, 12), who is looking to get a world title fight in the near future. Okada will be up against visiting Filipino fighter Ciso Morales (19-6-1, 12). On paper this looks like it could be a test for Okada, but reality is that Morales was stopped in a round on his last visit to Japan, by Shuya Masaki, and has been stopped in 5 of his 6 defeats. Not only that but he has made his career fighting well before the Light Welterweight limit, that Okada competes at. There's a risk of Okada over-looking the Filipino here but the reality is that Okada should come out on top with no real worries.
On the final Tuesday before Christmas Japanese fight fans get a really good looking Kadoebi promoted card from the Korakuen Hall, with several bouts of genuine significance.
The most important of the bouts is the main event of the show, which will see the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (16-0, 11) take on the highly experienced Jason Pagara (40-2-1, 25) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. The Japanese local knows that a win here will almost certainly be followed by a world title eliminator next year, with Okada having been ordered to face Ivan Baranchyk in an IBF eliminator however Pagaea is no push over. Interestingly Pagara, who is the WBO #8 ranked fighter at 147lbs, comes into this bout on the back of a FOTY contender against James Onyango, a bout that showed Pagara's faults and heart as he narrowly came away with a draw. This could be a very entertaining fight, and is a very significant one for both men involved.
The chief support bout will see touted former amateur star Ryota Yamauchi (1-0, 1) take a huge step up in class to face off with Lester Abutan (12-6-3, 6). The talented and touted Yamauchi impressed on debut and will now be tasked with facing someone who really is a very tough opponent for a second bout and is ranked in the top 15 by the OPBF. For Abutan the bout sees him returning to Japan for his second bout in the country, with the first being a loss in an OPBF title fight to Ken Shiro. It should be noted that Abutan hasn't just faced off with Ken Shiro but also fought to a split with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and is a really still test for Yamauchi
A third bout pitting Japan against the Philippines will see Yuta Nakagawa (21-5-1, 12) take on Markquil Salvana (13-4, 7). We last saw Nakagawa involved in a thrilling contest with Yasutaka Ishimoto, in a Japanese title eliminator, with Nakagawa losing the split decision in that bout. That loss to Ishimoto saw Nakagawa ending a 12 fight unbeaten run, and he'll be looking to get back to winning ways here. Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has gone 4-4 (4) in his last 8 bouts, including losses in Japan to Takuya Uehara and Shota Hayashi, and has interestingly never won outside of his homeland.
In an all Japanese bout fans will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Yusuke Konno (11-4, 5) take on Welterweight puncher Kazuya Maruki (20-5, 13). The 32 year old Konno was last in the ring back in June, when he lost in a thriller against Koichi Aso for the Japanese Light Welterweight title. That bout showed that Konno really could fight, and he'll be looking to put in a similar performance here. The naturally bigger, and younger, Maruki has gone 3-3 in his last 6, including 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, but will likely feel his edge in youth and natural size advantage will be enough. It's hard to not excited about this bout given that both are flawed, aggressive and exciting fighters.
One other fighter of note on this card is Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Wataru Takeda (11-1-1, 5), who will be facing off with a Thai opponent. Takeda has won his last 2 by stoppage following a close loss to Ryohei Takahashi in October 2016 and it does seem like his team have got big plans for 2016, with this bout serving as just a stay busy fight before Christmas.
To end the month of June Kadoebi put on a pretty interesting looking card, with a number of notable names featuring on the card and a significant main event.
That main event will see two top Japanese domestic Welterweights clash as Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8) takes on Makoto Kawasaki (9-4-1, 2) for the interim Japanese title. Originally Sakamoto was supposed to face Japanese champion Toshio Arikawa earlier this year, but an injury to Arikawa forced that bout to be cancelled and instead Sakamoto got this bout, with the winner to face Arikawa when he returns to the ring.
The under-card here features a trio of former Japanese champions. The most notable of those is former 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (15-0, 11), who faces once beaten Filipino Jheritz Chavez (7-1-2, 5). Okada, once tipped as a genuine one to watch at 140lbs, hasn't impressed in recent bouts, however there is a feeling that he has mentally turned off, and gone stale against opponents he has been strongly favoured to beat. A win here would see him open the door to potential OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights. For Chavez the bout is his second outside of the Philippines, following a decision loss in Russia last year, since that loss he has scored two solid stoppages at domestic level and he comes into this one as a real threat.
Another of the former champions in action is former Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-5, 18), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since losing his title to Kazuhiro Nishitani in March. In the opposite corner to the heavy handed Tushciya will be feather fisted Shota Suito (11-6-1, 1),who is a very light puncher but a durable fighter who has gone the rounds with a number of notable domestic foes including Masaru Sueyoshi.
A third former domestic champion in action is former Welterweight king Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7), who lost the title last year to the aforementioned Arikawa. The lanky Shindo will be up against the out of form Ryota Itoyama (10-8-1, 5), who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5 and is more than 4 years removed from his last win! This should be a straight forward win for Shindo, but his confidence won't be great and he does need an easy one.
Also on this card is the professional debut of the touted Ryota Yamauchi (0-0). As an amateur he went 38-15 (14) and is tipped as a genuine prospect from the Kadoebi gym. Yamauchi will be up against a Thai foe here in what should be a mismatch