Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall once again this coming Saturday for a stacked Dangan card, with 4 very good bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) take on Mexican youngster Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-2-1, 7) in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator, with the winner moving towards a world tittle fight against Jerwin Ancajas. Funai has been on a good run since losing in a Japanese title fight to Sho Ishida way back in 2016. He claimed the Japanese title last year and the WBO Asia Pacific belt earlier this year, and he's actually 6-0 (5) since the loss to Ishida. When it comes to assessing Olivo's career things aren't that impressive, with his most notable result being a narrow loss to Milan Melindo back in 2015. Aged 22 Olivo is a fighter who is developing but he was beaten just 2 fights back by Jose Briegel Quirino, in what looks to have been a home town decision. Olivo is probably better than his record indicates, but this is still a big step up in class for the Mexican. We've a full preview of this bout here Funai and Olivo battle in world title eliminator!
The chief supporting bout will match once beaten fighters, as Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) takes on recent OPBF title challenger Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1). The talented Masaki was tipped for big things, but his rise through the ranks was slowed this past January, when he was out pointed by Hironori Mishiro. Masaki has bounced back since his loss, with a decision win over Korean Hyun Je Shin, but this is a big step back up since that loss. On the other hand the 21 year old Tomioka surprised the Japanese scene this year when he pushed OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani very close in July, losing an 11th round TKO in a very competitive bout. Tomioka's biggest issue is his lack of power, but we wouldn't be surprised by him relying on his skills and picking up a career best win here.
Another mouth watering support bout will see Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) face off with the unbeaten Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title. The more experienced man is 22 years old and debuted back in August 2014. He suffered a few early career set backs, losing 3 of his first 6, but has since gone 7-1 with a very notable win last time out against Ryuji Ikeda. On the hand Oda is a 20 year old with insane upside, as he showed when taking the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at the age of 18. Oda hasn't been the busiest since his Rookie win, but has impressed, with 3 solid wins this year including a stoppage against Masashi Wakita in August. Oda is the more naturally gifted man, but this is likely to be his stiffest test to date. A preview of this bout is here Oda and Toshikawa battle for Lightweight youth crown!
A fourth major bout on this card will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese youth Minimumweight title fight. The 19 year old Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, really impressed last year before taking the Rookie crown in December against Retsu Akabane. Since that Rookie win Inoue has scored his only stoppage win, taking out Daisuke Sudo in 5 rounds this past May. As for the 21 year old Ishizawa he made his debut in June 2017 and has impressed ever since, scoring a huge win over Tatsuro Nakashima back in April. It should be noted that Ishizawa was supposed to fight for this title earlier in the year, against Daiki Tomita, but the bout was cancelled when Ishizawa suffered an injury, which he has now recovered from. Our in depth preview of this bout is here Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
As well as the stacked show in Japan there's also a notable card in the Philippines, headlined by former world title challengers facing off, and featuring several prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle against Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years, with Jerusalem giving Wanehng Menayothin arguably the toughest bout of his career, in 2017, and Landero recently losing to Knockout CP Freshmart. The loser will have some serious rebuilding to do, but given that both men are still young that won't be a huge issue with the right mind set. The winner however will have taken a huge step towards getting a second shot at a world title. Our preview of this bout is here Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash!
In one of the supporting bouts fans will see unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Domingo. Another of the supporting bouts will see will see the unbeaten Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) taking on fellow unbeaten Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what should be a compelling bout, though we do feel that Bacolod's power and extra experience will be the difference.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
The Funai bout isn't the only world title eliminator taking place as the UK plays host to a Lightweight world title eliminator between Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) and popular Englishman Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13), who will be hoping to take a step towards a WBA title shot. Yordan has been one of the few Indonesian fighters in recent years to make a mark internationally and his win earlier this year against Pavel Malikov was one of the best bouts of 2018. He is however up against here, with Crolla being a former WBA world champion and one of the best contenders in the division, with great stamina and under-rated skills. With a big reward for the winner we're expecting this to be a very exciting and action packed contest, with a lot of leather being thrown. We've previewed that bout here Yordan and Crolla set for a thriller...
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we're set for a bit of a mismatch, with the all action Joel Brunker (33-3, 19) battling Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-27-6, 14). The 32 year old Brunker isn't going to reach the heights many had hopes for, but Rengkung shouldn't pose any sort of a threat at all, and will instead be expected to pick up his 28th career defeat.
In Russia we'll see former Uzbek amateur stand out Makhmud Gaipov (0-0) make his professional debut. Sadly at the time of writing no opponent has been named for Gaipov, but we're expecting him to be moved quickly and in 2019 we'll expect to see him fighting in 6 or even 8 rounders.
This coming Thursday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a triple header of title fights, and whilst none are massive, all three look like they will be solid bouts, where both men have some to gain and something to lose.
One of the main bouts will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (16-2-2, 9) defends his belt for the second time, battling against former 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (26-2-1, 9). For the hard hitting, and really exciting, Teshigawara this will be his second defense following a win in a brilliant bout against Jason Canoy back in February. The champion will know that a win here moves him a step closer to a world title fight, but a loss will be a massive hit to his career, and be a major set back. As for Kinoshita, who has lost in world title fights to Zolani Tete and Jerwin Ancajas, this is a must win. A loss for Kinoshita now would essentially kill any dreams of getting another shot at a world title, and would be his third loss against a notable fighter in less than 4 years, which is sadly a 4 year period without a single win of note. We don't imagine Kinoshita will pose much of a threat to Teshigawara but could have the skills to ask some questions of the champion.
Another WBO Asia Pacific title fight will be at Super Flyweight, as former Japanese national champion Ryuichi Funai (29-7, 20) takes on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-7-1, 23) for the currently vacant title. On paper this is probably the best of the three title bouts and features two talented fighters each looking to work their way towards a potential world title bout. Coming in to this Funai is world ranked by all 4 title awarding bodies and he'll be interested in getting a world title fight later this year. Parrenas is best known for losing to the then WBO champion Naoya Inoue in 2015, and since then he has beaten 2-low key Thai foes whilst becoming a trainer at the Morioka gym. Given that Parrenas is a big puncher he has a real shot here, but he will be the under-dog against the more active, and more rounded, Funai.
The third title bout will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (7-0, 5) make his second defense, and take on the hard matched challenger Genki Maeda (6-2-1, 2). The talented Yoshino has been fast tracked through the Japanese ranks and claimed the national title last year, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita in the 7th round of their bout. The champion made his first defense this past February, blowing out Masaki Saito in 156 seconds, and has looked like a sensational prospect since making his debut in 2015. Whilst the champion is a former amateur standout and expected to go on to be a huge success the same can't be said for Maeda. Despite the fact he has been matched incredibly hard. So far Maeda has shared the ring with Yoshimichi Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Fujita and Shogo Yamaguchi, in just 9 bouts. Maeda is a pretty good fighter, but is going up against a really good fighter here, and we can't help but think this bout will be a case of levels, and Yoshino is several levels above Maeda.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable bout in California, as Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-2-2, 17) takes on the once touted Robert Manzanarez (36-1, 29) in a bout for the NABO Lightweight title. This will be Gesta's first bout since losing in January to Jorge Linares, in what was Gesta's second loss in a world title fight. Despite losing to Linares the Filipino did acquit himself much better than he did in his other loss, a terrible performance against Miguel Vazquez. Manzanarez has rebuilt excellently since his sole loss, back in 2012, with 15 straight wins, but this is a big step up in class for him, and it could be too much too soon for the 23 year old American.
This Monday sees a pretty decent card coming from the Korakuen Hall, thanks to Dangan who will be putting on a Japanese title fight, a Japanese title eliminator and the return of a former national and OPBF champion.
The returning champion is the always to watch Takuya Kogawa (28-5, 13), who was last seen earlier this year losing his title in a rematch to Masayuki Kuroda. That bout seemed to show that Kogawa was on the slide, but he has had such a hard career, and his bouts against the likes of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Suguru Muranaka, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep, Hiroyuki Kudaka and the aforementioned Kuroda were all very entertaining and pretty damaging to the Tokyo man. Given the big bouts Kogawa has been in we can't begrudge him an easy one, and it does look like he has a very easy one here, as he takes on Naoto Fujimoto (9-7-1, 4), who is 2-4 in his last 6, and shouldn't pose any threat to Kogawa, unless the wars have really caught up with the former champion.
The chief support bout of the card will be a Japanese title eliminator, as the experienced pairing of Go Onaga (28-3-3, 19) and Hiroyuki Kudaka (25-17-1, 11) face off, in what really has the potential to be the Japanese fight of the year. Onaga is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and at 37 knows it really is now or never. He's seemingly obsessed with winning some sort of title before he ends his career and with the end coming fast he really needs a win here to remain relevant. Kudaka on the other hand is one of the rare fighters you watch just because of how entertaining he is. Kudaka is a 4-time world title challenger, and he has racked up a lot of losses, but rarely has he been in bouts that weren't thoroughly entertaining and well worth the price of admission. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but with youth on side we wouldn't be surprised if Kudaka managed to win a genuinely brilliant and action packed bout, and earn a shot at the Japanese title in 2018.
Talking about a title fight the main event of the card is a Japanese Super Flyweight title fight, and the winner is likely to face the winner of the Onaga Vs Kudaka bout. This contest will see defending champion Ryuichi Funai (28-7, 19) take on Shota Kawaguchi (21-8-1, 9). For the champion this will be his second defense, and he will likely be hoping to move towards a world title fight in 2018. For Kawaguchi this is a second title fight, following a loss in an OPBF title fight to Rene Dacquel earlier this year. Kawaguchi is a good challenger at this level, but is likely to look a level below Funai, who is a very capable fighter, with the potential to mix at a much higher level than just domestic title level.
The key show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo where we get a triple title show courtesy of Watanabe gym.
The main event of this card is an IBF Minimumweight title fight as reigning world champion Jose Argumedo (20-3-1,12) defends his title against heavy handed Japanese fighter Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6). For Kyoguchi the bout could see him become the new face of the Watanabe gym, and the fastest fighter, in terms of time, to win a world title from Japan, around 15 months after his debut. For Argumedo the bout will be his 4th defense, and see him return to Japan, where he won the title at the end of 2015, when he beat Katusnari Takayama. On paper this is a really mouth watering match up, as a big and tough champion takes on a destructive ball of power punching energy, and we expect to see serious questions asked about both men. If Kyoguchi is ready for Argumedo, he's potentially ready to shake up the who division, but it's possible that Watanabe rushed just a touch too quick.
The other world title bout will see Watanabe's only current male world champion defending his title. That's Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-2, 11) who makes a mandatory defense of his WBA Light Flyweight title against Colombian foe Robert Barrera (18-1, 12), in what could be a testing bout for the frustrating Taguchi. At his best Taguchi is a brilliant fighter, who can box at range and make the most of his physical attributes, which include a very long reach. Problem is that he's frustratingly struggled with less fighters and seems to find it hard to get up for some opponents, and struggles against supposedly easier foes. Barrera, as a mandatory, should pose a good test, but it's hard to say for sure. If the Colombian is determined and fired up he could, potentially, scupper a strongly rumoured unification bout between Taguchi and WBO champion Kosei Tanaka. It's fair to say that Taguchi should be hungry to prove a point, but whether we see that in the ring is hard to predict.
A third title bout will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (27-7, 19) defending his title, for the first time. In the opposite corner to the champion will be first time challenger Takayuki Okumoto (18-7-3, 8), and it's fair to say that the champion will be the favoured fighter here. Funai won the title at the Champion Carnival, stopping good friend Kenta Nakagawa, and will be hoping to extend his reign in a voluntary defense. Okumoto was once seen as a prodigy but has become a streaky fighter and will need to record a career best win to dethrone the champion.
A name to make a note of in action on this card is touted former amateur star Hironori Mishiro (2-0, 1),who is tipped as another to follow in the footsteps of Kyoguchi and be moved quickly through the ranks following a very strong amateur grounding. He's looked good since turning professional but still needs to continue his development. He'll be up against a Thai foe, but sadly we've not been given the foes name.
Someone else up against an unknown Thai is former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13), who returns to the ring for the first time since his stoppage loss to Naoya Inoue. The bout is designed to help Kono shake off some ring rust ahead off a more meaningful bout with Rex Tso later in the year.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there is a card primarily focused on prospects.
On of those prospects is the once beaten Ben Mananquil (13-1-2, 3), who we have been impressed by since his controversial draw against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym back in 2013. Although Mananquil has got a loss, it was a razor thin one in China and we'd suggest he's one to follow going forward. With that said we clearly expect him to defeat the heavy handed but limited Kim Lindog (5-4-1, 4).
Another of the top prospects if former amateur stand out Jade Bornea (7-0, 4), who takes on the experienced, but very limited, Nicardo Calamba (7-24-4, 4). As an amateur Bornea won numerous trophies and scored a number of big wins, and huge things are expected of him. For this bout he should have way too much for Calamba, who has really struggled to pick up wins in recent years.
As well as the prospects we'll also see a veteran in action, as the highly experienced Eden Sonsona (36-7-2, 13) takes on JP Macadumpis (11-9-1, 5), and returns to the ring following a loss in Russia to unbeaten prospect Evgeny Chuprakov. On paper this should be an easy win for the 28 year old Sonsona, but there may be questions about how he looks given his stoppage loss last time out.
Also on this card will be two novice prospects looking to secure their second professional wins. One of those is Dave Apolinario (1-0, 1), who takes on the win-less Elizer Ambon (0-1), who was recently signed to a professional contract and looked on debut. The other is his stable mate Mark Antonio (1-0, 1), who signed with and debuted at the same time as Apolinario. Antonio will be up against the debuting Jeffrey Diale (0-0), and will also be looking for his second victory.
In South Africa we'll see the really promising Filipino youngster Dexter Alimento (12-1, 8) take on South African local DeeJay Kriel (11-1-1, 6) in a bout for the currently vacant WBC International Minimumweight title. Alimento came to our attention last year, when he stopped Chanachai CP Freshmart, and despite a very close loss to Masataka Taniguchi we still have huge hopes for him. Kriel is unbeaten since a points loss on his debut in 2014 but as wit many African fighters his record is a hard one to read, with no fights against opponents that we can say much about. This is a hard one to get a read on, but could tell us a lot about both mem
There isn't much action on Wednesday but there will be title action at the Korakuen Hall.
The headline bout of the card will be a potentially brilliant Japanese Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (13-2-1, 9) makes his first defense of the belt and takes on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (26-7, 18). Nakagawa won the title last year, when he scored a well earned win over Hayato Kimura in a really good 10 round war, and will be looking to keep a hold of it move towards bigger and better bouts in the future. As for Funai this will be a third shot at a title, and given the fits he gave Sho Ishida last year it's impossible to write him off. Both fighters will be well up for this and it could end up being a bit of a closet classic.
The under-card is lacking in names, and perhaps the most notable of the support bouts sees veteran Takashi Inagaki (18-14-2, 8) battling against Toshiro Tarumi (5-3-3, 3). The experienced Inagaki has been a professional for more than 13 years, but is long removed from his prime, when he fought for Japanese, and appears to be fighting for his love of the sport. Tarumi, at just 23, is a bit of an up-and-down fighter and is 2-3 in his last 5. That does however include a notable win over Quaye Peter and he can be a handful at lower domestic level.
This coming Saturday is a busy day though it's exciting an important day with a really notable domestic card in Japan and notable bots in Mexico and Canada.
That Japanese card is a small one, but a very significant one as it's the Strongest Korakuen show and will establish 4 fighters who will fight for Japanese titles in the first half of 2017.
The highest weight to see action is the 140lb Light Welterweight division where we will see the exciting Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13), who has come up short in previous Japanese title bouts, face off with talented novice foe Noriaki Sato (4-1-1). Aso has the advantages in power and experience but Sato is certainly no push over and he comes in the back of wins over Valentine Hosokawa and Kazuya Ito. This really could be an an excellent match up with very contrasting styles.
At Super Featherweight we'll see recent title challenger Satoru Sugita (11-3-1, 7) face off with the experienced Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-13-5, 2). Sugita was beaten last time out, when he he came up short against Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, though will clearly be looking to move into a second title fight. On paper this looks like an easy win for Sugita but Tojo is a much better fighter than his record suggests and he is a real potential banana skin for someone like Sugita.
The best of the bouts takes place at 122lbs where the highly experienced Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (32-7-5, 14) takes on 25 year old puncher Yusaku Kuga (12-2-1, 8). Baat is tested at a high level and is a potential banana skin for every one below world class, and he's had solid showings against the likes of Liborio Solis and Rey Megrino recently. Kuga on the other hand came up narrowly short in his most notable bout, against Japanese champion Yasutaka Ishimoto, and will be looking for a rematch with Ishimoto if he wins here. This is a really mouth watering contest and potentially thriller between two men who are at different stages of their career and should put on something a bit special.
The lowest weight covered here is Light Flyweight where Tetsuya Hisada (26-9-2, 16) will face Hayato Yamaguchi (14-6-1, 2) in a really interesting fight. Aged 31 Hisada cannot afford a loss but is 8-5-2 in his last 15 bouts and has been inconsistent against his more notable opponents, he is skilled, and has developed some real sting on his shots, but is fundamentally flawed. Yamaguchi has come up short against his most notable opponents but has got the ability to give Hisada fits, unfortunately he too is inconsistent. This could be a great bout, or it could be a case that the fighter who turns up wins without needing to impress.
Also on this card is a stay busy bout for Ryuichi Funai (25-7, 17), as he faces Jomyuth Looktabthai (1-0) in what should prepare him for a bout with Kenta Nakagawa in 2017 when he competes in the Champion Carnival.
In Quebec we get 3 bouts of interest.
The most interest of those 3 bouts sees experienced Filipino Ricky Sismundo (30-9-3, 13) take on the once touted Canadian based Ghislain Maduma (18-2, 11). It was only a few years ago that Maduma was looking like a future world title challenger in the making but 2 losses in his last 4 have left him fighting for his career and he can't afford another loss. Although Sismundo has a less than stellar record he has been a surprising fighter with upsets against the likes of Shuhei Tsuchiya, Akihiro Kondo and Yoshitaka Kato and deserved wins recently over Jose Felix Jr and Dierry Jean. This looks like a mismatch on paper but certainly won't be when the men get in the ring.
In an interesting step up we'll see Canadian based Kazakh puncher Batyrzhan Jukembayev (5-0-0-2, 5) face the much more experienced Ivan Pereyra (20-7, 14). Jukembayev is a really promising prospect with serious power and looks to be one of the truly exciting punchers making their marks. In Pereyra we have an experienced Mexican but one who has been stopped in 3 of his last 6 bouts, and will likely struggle to see the final bell here, if Jukembayev is as good as he has looked so far.
Another Canadian based Kazakh hopeful on this card is Ablaikhan Khussainov (2-0, 2), who takes a notable step up in class to face Attila Csereklye (6-2, 4). So far Khussainov has been matched incredibly easily and although this is, technically, a step up Csereklye isn't expected to pose much of a threat, with Hungarians being notoriously bad when facing fighters who punch back.
In China we get a show from Yinchuan, for the second day running.
In the main event we'll see the experienced Xing Xin Yang (11-4-3, 8) battling against the once beaten Tong Hui Li (6-1, 4). Coming in to this Yang is 1-1-1 in his last 3, having been stopped by Jack Brubaker last year in that loss, but should be favoured over his countryman. Li is looking for his second win since a loss to Alimu Tuersun back in March but this is a step up in class for him.
In another bout on this card we'll see the once beaten Hu Li Fu (3-1, 2) battle Kazakh hopeful Viktor Kotochigov (2-0, 1). On paper this doesn't look the most interesting but Kotochigov scored a notable win over A Fu Bai last time out and a win here could solidify him as one to watch going forward. Interestingly the Kazakh will be fighting in China for the third time.
Baja California, Mexico
One of the more interesting bouts comes from Mexico as the unbeaten Luis Nery (20-0,14) takes on Filipino former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (31-5-1, 8). On paper this one looks like a step up for Nery but given the weight Nery has to be favoured and Mepranum has been stopped in his last two international bouts, with this likely to be another loss for the “Magnum” and a chance for Nery to further prove himself as a rising contender.
We get a Filipino show in Benguet which is headlined by a title fight, and features an interesting test for an unbeaten fighter on the under-card.
The title bout will see the once beaten Bener Santig (4-1-1, 1) face off against the unbeaten Dexter Eraya (2-0, 1) for the LuzProBA Super Bantamweight title in what looks like an intriguing match up between two men on the rise. Santig is looking to record a third win since his sole defeat, which came last November, whilst former Muay Thai fighter Eraya looks to record his best win as a boxer.
In another interesting bout Danny Tampipi (5-6-2, 3) will be looking to test the unbeaten Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-0-2, 5) in an 8 rounder. Lulu, if he wins here, should be stepped up in 2017 with the “Bomber” in need of a win over a notable foe.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
A second Filipino show is set to be held in Negros Occidental.
The most notable bout here will see the once beaten Raul Yu (8-1-2, 7) face off against Paul Varona (2-6-1), in what looks like a mismatch in favour of the promising and heavy handed Yu.
On the under-card of this show fans will be able to see the unbeaten Kenneth Paul Gentallan (4-0, 2) fight against the once beaten Ricardo Sueno (2-1-3, 1), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Gallan.
In Australia fight fans will get the chance to see two limited Thai's in action.
One of those bouts will see Jamie Hilt (4-1-1) take on Aphichat Koedchatturat (1-8) in what looks like a recording padding bout for local fighter Hilt, who lost last time out whilst the other will see the win-less pairing of Mel Baker (0-1) and Monthida Rattanachai (0-1) face off in a female bout.
The most notable action this coming Wednesday comes from Thailand where we will see a very intriguing world title bout.
That world title bout it the most significant bout of the day and sees WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-3, 35) defending his title against mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales (28-2, 11). The champion, who won the title last year against Ryo Akaho, will be making the second defense of his title and will be favoured given the bout is in Thailand. However Tapales has been an upset minded fighter in the past, as we saw last year when he blitzed the touted Shohei Omori in 2 rounds and when he was very narrowly beaten by David Sanchez in Mexico back in 2013.
As well as the show in Thailand fight fans in Japan will also get a card, albeit a low level one with only one notable name on it.
In the most notable bout on this card recent Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-7, 16) will be fighting in a stay busy bout against a Thai opponent, who's name we don't currently have. This is one of 3 bouts scheduled for 5 rounds on this card and Funai will know that a win could potentially help him get a second shot at the national title.
Another 5 rounder on this show will see the unbeaten OPBF ranked Erika Hanawa (5-0, 1) battle Thailand's win-less Sirisopha Sirisak (0-4). For Hanawa the bout could we be an OPBF title eliminator, and if she wins she may well move on to an OPBF Atomweight title fight in the coming months. For Sirisak the bout will be her first outside of Thailand and her first in more than 2 years.
One other bout from this card that caught our eye will see 19 year old Yoshimitsu Kimura (4-0, 2) face 25 year old Masaaki Shiraishi (3-0-2, 2) in what looks like a really intriguing 4 rounder.
The ridiculousness of Japanese boxing is on full show this coming Sunday with a staggering 5 shows, 3 of which are in Osaka alone, with two of those actually sharing a venue!
The busy venue is the EDION Arena which is doubling up this Sunday. The first of the two shows is set to begin at 12:30 local time and is a relatively low profile Kazama promoted card.
The main event of the Kazama show sees Japanese 154lb champion Yuki Nonaka (28-8-3, 9) defending his title against the under-rated Yuto Shimizu (11-2-2, 4) in a mandatory defense. On paper it's easy to favour the champion, who is very experienced at title level and is a genuine joy to watch. Shimizu however is the much younger man and is on an 8-0 run with wins against the likes of Hikaru Nishida, the current JBC/OPBF Middleweight champion, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. This could be a very good bout.
In a notable under-card bout fans will see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (18-4-1, 11) face off against Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) in what looks like a mismatch, but could prove to be a good test for Carrillo, who is now managed by Hiroki Ioka. Whilst Mabao's record is “sketchy” at best he does come in to this one on a 3-fight unbeaten run, including a victory over Michael Enriquez and will be pretty confident coming into this bout.
The second show at the EDION Arena in Osaka is a much more notable card with several bouts of interest, even if they are likely to be pretty uncompetitive.
The nominal main event of the card will see the unbeaten OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (11-0, 6) defending his title against the limited, but very heavy handed, Tosho Makoto Aoki (20-13-2, 17). On paper this is a mismatch, there is no way of denying it, however Aoki has got a puncher's chance and will know that with his power his only chance is to take the fight to Nakatani. If the champion can take the power of the challenger then this will be a drama-less win for Nakatani, however Aoki's power may be enough to unsettle Nakatani's, or at least ask questions of the champion.
A second title bout on this card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (21-0, 11) take on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-6, 16). This will be Ishida's 5th defense of the title and if he's successful his team will almost certainly do what they can to get him a world title fight later in the year. For Funai the bout will be his second shot at a title, and he'll be hoping for a better outcome than his last title fight, a 9th round TKO loss to Rolly Lunas. Notably the challenger is 7-0 (6) since that loss and will be riding a high coming into this one.
A third bout of note here sees Kei Takenaka (10-0, 3) battle against Daoruang Saknarong (0-0) in a world title “prelude”. If Takenaka gets through this, she should, she will be matched with IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata in late Summer.
Another bout on this card, and one which will infact split the title contests, will see OPBF ranked Flyweight contender Shun Kosaka (11-2, 2) face off against Kenta Yamada (8-5-1, 1). This is a relatively rare, at least for Japan, 10 round non-title bout and should help prepare Kosaka for a potential title fight in the coming years.
The third Osaka card comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center and is a Muto promoted card that features some of the best matchmaking for the day, yet another title fight, and some potentially action.
The main event is a rematch as the heavy handed Koki Tyson (9-2-1, 9), previously known as Koki Tyson Maebara, battles Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-11, 8) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Tyson made light work of the Thai in 2014, stopping him in 4 rounds, though was last seen suffering a 7th round TKO loss to Akio Shibata, in a bout that saw him being outboxed before being stopped. Since the first bout Petchsuriya has gone 2-1 though was notably beaten last time out by Kerry Hope, with the bout being given to Hope after the fight was reviewed by the WBC judges.
The best bout on the card is another rematch as former multi-time title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-14-1, 10) faces off against under-rated Filipino Mark John Yap (23-12, 10). These two men met last year with Yap winning an 8 round decision, this rematch however will be over 10 rounds and could well see the winner getting a Japanese or OPBF title fight later in the year. Although the records may not show it, this really could be something very special.
The main event isn't the only probably blow out, with the chief support bout being a contest between the explosive Masao Nakamura (21-3, 20) and the tough but limited San Saknarong (3-5, 1). The last time we saw the Thai he was stopped in 6 by Hidenori Otake, and it's hard to see him living with Nakamura, who will see a win a chance to move towards a well deserved title shot, potentially with Kenichi Ogawa in what would be a very fun shoot out.
In a 4th bout of note Japanese ranked fighters collide as Masahiro Sakamoto (6-0, 4) faces off against Atsushi Aburada (10-9, 6) in a bout that could potentially decide a future Japanese title challenger. On paper Sakamoto is the favourite but Aburada is the more proven fighter and this could be a very tough bout for both, who know there is a lot to lose coming in to this one.
One of the small Japanese shows comes from Kobe where fans will see a former world title contender and a former OPBF title challenger in action.
The former world title contender is Teiru Kinoshita (23-1-1, 6) who will be looking to continue to rebuild his career following his loss to the excellent Zolani Tete in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout back in 2014. The Japanese fighter should be very heavily favoured here as he takes on little known Korean fighter Min Wook Lee (2-3), who is best known for losing to the then debuting Muhammad Waseem late last year.
The former OPBF title challenger is Kazuya Murata (11-5, 5) who faces Tatsuya Yoneo (8-5, 1) in what will be Murata's first bout following a 5th round loss to Masayoshi Nakatani last August. Murata should win here, but it could be interesting to see if the loss to Nakatani did take something out of him.
The smallest of the Japanese shows comes from Fukuoka where fans get a very small card with novices. All the bouts here are 4 rounders with the most notable being a Lightweight contender between Tsuyoshi Matsuda (4-0, 2) and teenager Seiya Matsunaga (2-1, 1), which shows the level of this card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines.
The most notable bout here features former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-11-2, 18), who faces the limited and light hitting Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in what should be a walk in the park for Lopez. Sadly however Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years going 6-8-1 in his last 15 bouts.
In a notable under-card contest 21 year old puncher Allan Vallespin (5-0, 5) will risk his perfect record against Jomar Borbon (4-23-2, 2). Vallespin has looked devastating so far and will be looking to continue that run against the experienced Borbon.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
In wonderful Brazil fight fans will be able to see India's Neeraj Goyat (7-2-2, 2) battle against Brazilian local Guilherme Castagnazzi Ribeiro (3-1, 3). Ribeiro has won his last 3 bouts in a combined 4 rounds, but this is a step up in class for the local and Goyat, although the naturally smaller man, comes into this one on a 7-0 run.
We've had a real lull in action recently but these next few days sees that lull ending in style with fights across the Orient.
The most well matched show of the day is in Tokyo as we get the next Dangan card. The show isn't the most meaningful or significant but it certainly does have some good looking and interesting contests on it.
One of those bouts is the main event which pits ranked fighters against each other in a potentially significant cross roads bout on the Japanese domestic scene. The bout will pit the experienced Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-2, 12), who is ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF, against the heavy handed Kenta Nakagawa (9-2, 7). Although in experienced Nakagawa made his debut in 2004 and appears to be looking to make up for lost time with this bout. Shiraishi however may have too much know how for his hard hitting foe.
Another showdown between ranked fighters comes in the chief support bout as Lightweight contenders face off in what could be something a little bit special. In one corner here we will have Kazuhiro Nishitani (14-2-1, 7) whilst in the other corner we have the the inform Yusuke Tsukada (7-4, 3). These two are ranked #8 and #9 by the JBC and although their rankings are very similar it's hard to see what Tsukada really brings to the table here, despite solid back-to-back wins coming in to this bout.
Another bout to feature a ranked fighter comes at Welterweight where Moon Hyun Yun (15-4-2, 2) takes on Shiro Saito (7-4-2, 2). Yun is looking for a second title fight and may well see a win here as his door to rematch with Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama, he does however enter 1-2-1 in his last 4. For Saito this is a great opportunity but it would require a career best performance for him to to claim a win.
In another 8 round we'll see a bout between experienced but flawed fighters as Ryuichi Funai (23-6, 16) takes on Japanese based Filipino Ryan Bito (22-14-3, 8). Funai is in great form with 6 wins, 5 inside the distance, since his last loss, to Rolly Lunas in an OPBF Bantamweight title clash and is on the verge of a shot at either the OPBF or the Japanese title. As for Bito the experienced Pinoy is looking to score just his second win since the start of 2012. It's fair to say Funai is the big favourite but we're hoping to see a good performance from Bito who really is indeed of a good one considering his recent form.
The final bout of note will see the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Featherweight, Yuichiro Kasuya (6-0, 1) fight for the first time this year as he takes on the limited, and fellow light hitting, Takashi Sakamoto (6-4, 1) in what appears to be a good step in the right direction for Kasuya who does look very promising. Aged just 18 we suspect we'll see a lot of Kasuya over the coming years.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get the chance to see a Sonshine card which features several notable names all in action, including one of the most interesting Filipino prospects.
The top of the card features 4 bouts all scheduled for 10 rounds. Sadly these all appear to be a mismatches including a bout between fringe contender Edrin Dapudong (30-6, 18) and domestic journeyman Richard Garcia (25-21-1, 7). This should be an easy win for “The Sting” who is better than his record indicates, and has sadly suffered a number of very close losses in recent times.
Another mismatch at the top of the card will see the heavy handed Lorenzo Villanueva (28-1-0-1, 24) battle against the tough but limited Rey Laspinas (19-11-5, 11). Villanueva, who did look amazingly exciting early in his career, comes into this bout looking for his 7th straight win since losing a 2012 FOTY contender to Daud Yordan in Singapore. Laspinas has proven his toughness, with just 3 stoppage losses, but all 3 stoppages have come in his last 8 bouts and this is likely to be another stoppage loss.
Former world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-4, 20) will be fighting for the first time since his disappointing performance against Juan Francisco Estrada. Asenjo has been matched very easily here as he takes on Allan Doronilla (9-14-1, 3) in what should prove to be little more thean a confidence rebuilding win for the hard hitting “Little Assassin”.
The remaining 10 rounder will see Rolando Magbanua (25-2, 17) take on Jimmy Aducal (8-5-2, 6). Coming in to this bout Aducala has been stopped in back-to-back fights and is 2-4 in his last 6. Magbanua on the other hand has won his last 6 and is in good form whilst also, clearly, the big favourite for this one.
As for the interesting prospect, that's the unbeaten Roskie Cristobal (10-0, 8). The 5'10” fighter, dubbed “The Gentle Giant” will be seeking his 11th straight win when he takes on the tough JR Mendoza (10-18, 4). Mendoza is a potential banana skin for domestic foes but shouldn't cause Cristobal to slip up, the interest here is whether or not Cristobal will be able to give Mendoza his 4th stoppage loss.
New York, USA
In the US fans will get the chance to see rising Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (5-0, 5) continue his career as he takes on the limited Jason Thompson (5-10-4, 4), who is winless in the last 72 months. The heavy handed Kazakh, 28, has now been a pro for more than 3 years and it seems like it's now time that he was moved up in terns of his match making, sadly however it doesn't seem like his handlers are willing to really back him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Dangan series returns this Thursday in what originally looked like one of the best Japanese shows of the year so far. Originally it featured not only title action, with a pair of title bouts, but also a brilliant all prospect match up and two bouts between ranked contenders on the domestic scene. It wasn't stacked with world class talent but as far as a domestic show it was very solid on paper. Sadly however we saw one bout change at late notice leaving us with a respectable, but less impressive card.
The changed fight will see Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (24-8-1, 10) fight against Indonesian visitor Michael Speed Sigarlaki (15-13-2, 13) in a non-title bout. Originally however Shibata was supposed to defend his unified crown against Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). Sadly however Akiyama suffered an injury just over a week before the fight resulting in this change.
The first of the still notable bouts on this show will see ranked Super Bantamweight Kenta Toi (4-4, 1) battle against Keita Nakano (12-9-2, 2). On paper this is a mismatch however Toi scored a career defining win last time out, stopping Mikihito Seto, and is looking to build on that huge upset. Nakano will be the favourite coming in here but he is up again a man flying high and who will be full of confidence.
Possibly the standout bout of the show is between prospects as the much touted Ken Shiro (2-0, 1) battles the more experienced Katsunori Nagamine (10-0, 6). Nagamine was the 2012 All Japan Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year however he has been relatively in active since then with just 3 bouts in the last 2 years. Ken Shiro, the son of former OPBF and Japanese champion Hisashi Teraji, is viewed as another “Super prospect” and a win here will likely boost him to getting a title fight of some type later in the year. Notably Ken Shiro will be taking this fight at 112lbs, a weight that sees him fighting for the first time as a fully blown Flyweight.
In a third bout of note we will see OPBF and Japanese ranked Ryuichi Funai (22-6, 15) battle Japanese ranked Ryuta Otsuka (14-7-2, 4). Funai is on a 5 fight willing streak since coming up short against Rolly Lunas in an OPBF title fight back in 2012, that is his only loss in the last 4 years. As for Otsuka he has had mixed fortunes with a record of 3-3-1 in his last 7 however he has been in with Yuki Nasu, Konosuke Tomiyama, Teiru Kinoshita and Malcolm Tunacao during that run of 7 bouts. Neither of these guys will ever be world champions but both are fighting to get a shot as a Japanese or OPBF title in the near future and will put it all on the line to pick up a win here.
The remaining title bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (11-4-3, 1) defending his title again Yutaka Sowano (9-5-1, 6). For Odaira this is a return to the Japanese domestic level after coming up short in a world title fight with Katsunari Takayama on New Year's Eve and although he was stopped by Takayama it's hard to see Sowano really testing him here. As for Sowano this is a big step up in class.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)