After a rather quiet June we see action really pick up in July, and to begin with we get a stacked Ohashi card with a wonderful mix of notable names, novice prospects interesting match ups.
The main event will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on the limited but fun to watch Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-3, 9). Inoue, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue, won the title earlier this year, when he out pointed veteran Valentine Hosokawa and has suggested that he's wanting to put on a fun fight for fans here. Ikeda can punch, but is defensively open and we suspect he has been selected as an opponent to make Inoue look good. A full preview of this bout can be read here Inoue takes on Ikeda in Japanese title defense
An excellent supporting bout will see the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (19-4-2, 17) take on Japanese based Korean Tae Il Atsumi (16-2, 8). Whilst the main event looks like it will be an easy one to pick the winner in this bout is the opposite, with a real 50-50 feel to the bout. Atsumi is a tough, aggressive and skilled with a lot of potential whilst Tameda is an explosive puncher, but one who hasn't looked was stopped last December, by Hinata Maruta, and didn't look his most destructive in his March win over Renerio Arizala.
The once touted Sho Nakazawa (12-3, 6) has a must must win bout as he takes on Jinya Ito (7-5-1, 2). Nakazawa was a solid Japanese amateur but with 3 losses in his last 7 bouts, including one to Tae Il Atsumi, and he looks like his potential won't be realised due to real question marks about his durability. Ito should pose no real threat, and has lost 5 of his last 8, but Nakazawa needs to do more than "just win", he needs to look good.
Touted prospect Katsuya Yasuda (3-0, 2) takes on his biggest test as he faces off with Japanese based Filipino foe Jerry Castroverde (10-6, 5). The talented Yasuda has a lot of potential, but has had issues with inactivity and at 27 years old now he needs to kick on and try to make the most of his potential, likely why Ohashi has matched him with Castroverde. The 22 year old Castroverde is a good young test for anyone at this level, and although he has lost 4 of his last 5 he should ask questions of Yasuda
Another touted prospect on this card is Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3), who looks to continue his winning run as he takes on domestic foe Kyomu Hamagami (4-2-2, 4). The 24 year old Kuwaha really impressed us last December, when he beat Takamori Kiyama over 8 rounds, but since then his competition hasn't been the best and we're really hoping to see him stepping up again before the year is over. He's a real talent who should be pushed hard and fast. The 22 year old Hamagami is limited, but the guy can punch, and could, potentially, give Kuwahara his first chin check, though we do suspect the unbeaten man to be too sharp to really be tested by the hard hitting but technically limited younger fighter.
Interestingly one of the worst looking bouts on paper may end up being one of the most interesting. The bout in questions sees Ohashi puncher Kentaro Endo (7-9-1, 6) take on the in form Fumisuke Kimura (9-4, 6). Endo is very limited, but really can punch and will be looking to take Kimura out. Kimura on the other hand comes into this bout following big domestic wins over Hayato Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda, which have pushed him to the verge of a Japanese title fight. This could be very exciting and very explosive.
After June this card is an ideal way to kick off a packed July!
Arguably the most notable show this coming Friday is from Tokyo, where we see a relatively low level Japanese domestic card.
The main event of the card will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-2, 9) facing off with domestic journeyman Joji Tsuchiya (8-5-2, 5) in what should be a straight forward win for Ikeda. Ikeda has lost 2 of his last 4, but he is better than that would suggest, and one of those losses was on the road to Darragh Foley. Tsuchiya is in better form, going 4-1 in his last 5, but this is a big step up from the competition that those wins have come against.
Japanese ranked Flyweight Wolf Nakano (5-7-4 1) looks to build on a good win over Mako Matsuyama as he takes on Shogo Sumitomo (6-13-1, 5). This isn't a great bout, in terms of how significant it is, but should be competitive and entertaining with both men going to be in there for the win.
Former kick boxer turned boxer Kanako Taniyama (1-0, 1) will step up in class as she battles Thai visitor Phannaluk Kongsang (5-7-1, 2). Taniyama had been a top kick boxer before a knee injury left her career in tatters and forced her into boxing. She looked promising, but flawed, on her debut last year but we're expecting to see a more rounded performance here. Phannaluk is no patsy here, and was in action in November, when she won the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female Bantamweight title, so should provide a test for the Japanese novice.
La Union, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan we also get a low key one in the Philippines.
The main event of this card will see Michael Mendoza (8-1-2, 3) battle against Vincent Bautista (5-12-4, 1), in a bout for the PBF Flyweight title. Mendoza will be strongly favoured here, given his record but he could be tested by Bautista who is typically a tough nut to crack. Although Bautista has gone 0-7-1 in his last 8, we wouldn't be surprised by him making this a competitive contest.
In a supporting bout Ryan Torres (8-2-1, 7) will battle against Jerry Mae Villagracia (6-7, 2). Torres was beaten last time out, and is almost 2 years removed from his last win, but will still be the favourite, especially given that Villagracia has been stopped in his last 6, and 7 of his last 8. If we're being honest this looks little more than a confidence builder for Torres.
In Thailand fans will be able to see once beaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (22-1, 8) , aka Anurak Thisa, fighting for the WBA Asia Featherweight title against JR Magboo (17-2-2, 8). The Thai is currently riding a 5 fight winning run following his 2016 loss to the then WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno in China. Magboo on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, though is a solid Filipino domestic level fighter.
The big show this coming Sunday comes from Osaka and will be the West Japan Rookie of the Year final, which will decide the West Japan representative at the All Japan Rookie of the Year in December. Rather than going through all the bouts we've just picked 3 of the most interesting ones.
One of the most even match ups is the Super Featherweight bout between Kanta Fukui (5-1, 4) and Takuya Ota (5-1-1, 4). The two men have very similar looking records and both are in their mid 20's. Strange they do differ massively in when they debuted. Ota made his debut way back in 2012, when he would actually go 2-1-1, before returning late last year and eventually earning his spot in this Rookie final. Fukui on the other hand debuted last year and despite losing his second bout is coming into this final on a run of 4 straight wins.
Another good looking match up will see 24 year old Yuna Hara (6-1-1, 2) face off with unbeaten teenager Hiroki Hanabusa (4-0-1, 2) in a Super Bantamweight bout. Hara made his debut back in 2015 and seemed to have early success, including a draw in 2016 with Toshiki Shimomachi who went on to win the 2017 Rookie of the Year. He's reached this final by beating a couple of unbeaten foes, and will be hoping to make it 3 in a row. Hanabusa on the other hand debuted last year, going 2-0 in 2017, and has gone 2-0-1 this year. It's worth noting that for such a novice Hanabusa has faced two fighters with significantly more experience, and has shown that is better than his novice status would suggest. This could be a very interesting bout with skills being the key.
Another bout where skills will be key sees unbeaten Super Flyweight's collide, with Tetsuro Ohashi (4-0-1, 1) taking on Shunichi Okazaki (4-0-1, 1). The 19 year old Ohashi fought to a draw in his semi-final, and is perhaps a touch lucky to be in this final, but is a talented young fighter and the draw shows how competitive these rookie bouts can be. Okazaki is the slightly older man, at 21, and is also somewhat fortunate to be in the final following a narrow win in his semi-final bout. These two youngsters will know that a win here will open big doors for the future, but they know that this will not be an easy bout to win.
As well as the Rookie card there is also a show from Hiroshima, featuring a few notable names on the Japanese domestic scene.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Ryuji Ikeda (13-5-2, 9) taking on veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-12-1, 7). Despite only being 23 Ikeda is already a very experienced fighter and has fought a few times outside of Japan. Although he's only won 2 of his last 6 Ikeda is a promising domestic fight who could win titles down the line. Ideta on the other hand is a 34 year old veteran who debuted back in 2005, and has faced a relative who's who, including Koji Numata, Akinori Watanabe, Suyon Takayama, Keita Obara, Nobuyuki Shindo and Koshinmaru Saito. Sadly for Ideta he has lost his last 8, and is 1-12-1 in his last 14 bouts. We'd be shocked it Ideta can pick up his first win in over 7 years here.
In a supporting bout we'll see international action as Taiyo Inoue (7-4-2, 5) takes on Filipino Roland Jay Biendima (12-2-1, 6) in a good looking match up. The Japanese fighter is better than his record suggests but this is a tough test. The visitor is a 22 year old who lost 2 of his first 4 bouts, both to fighters who are now considered very good prospects, but he's yet to score a big win. This is a great chance for both men to get a career best win, and we like those sorts of bouts.
One other bout from this card worthy of a mention is a female bout between 18 year old Japanese hopeful Eruka Hiromoto (3-0) takes on unbeaten Filipino visitor Charimae Salvador (4-0, 1). On paper this is two female novices facing off, but given that neither will want to give up their unbeaten records this could be very competitive. It is worth noting that Salvador, despite being 4-0 has only fought two opponents, rematching both of her opponents so far whilst Hiromoto has faced 3 different opponents from her 3 career bouts.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the two shows in Japan, there will also be a notable show in the Philippines, where the WBC will be holding their third Women's convention.
The main bout of this show will see unbeaten Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov (11-0, 4) take on once beaten Chinese fighter Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-1, 9) in a very good looking match up. The unbeaten 26 year old will be looking to make his first defense of the WBC "silver" Super Middleweight title, a title he won back in May when he beat Dmitrii Chudinov. The Chinese fighter lost on his debut in 2015, up at Light Heavyweight, but has since reeled off 11 wins at home and dropped down to the more natural Super Middleweight limit. We suspect will take the win, but this is still a very interesting match up.
The rest of the under-card is splattered with bout of various quality, the best of the bunch being a WBC Asian Boxing Council female Bantamweight title fight between Phannaluk Kongsang (4-7-1, 2) and Urvashi Singh (3-0, 3). Phannaluk is a 23 year old Thai who has gone 1-4 in her last 5 bouts, but has mixed with quality fighters like Tamao Oawa and Miyo Yoshida, showing that whilst she's coming up short she is facing good fighters. Singh on the other hand is a little known Indian fighter who only debuted in June, and is pencilled in for another fight in December, in what is a big step up in class. It seems like the Indian is favoured, but this is a slight step up in class for her at this early point in her career.
Ichiriki put on their next show this coming Wednesday at the Korakuen Hall, with a pretty interesting looking card headlined by an OPBF title fight, with several pretty good bouts coming under it.
The main event of the card will see Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (28-12, 14) make his next defense of the OPBF Bantamweight title, as he takes on veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-9-1, 13), in what could be Nakajima's final bout. The talented Yap has had a real surge in the last few years, winning his last 9 bouts, claiming the OPBF title and making 2 notable defenses and is moving towards a world title fight, despite his less than perfect looking record. Nakajima on the other hand has struggled at times in recent years, , despite being 7-3 in his last 10. Those losses are nothing to be ashamed by, losing to Hidenori Otake, Jonathan Baat and Kosuke Saka, but at the age of 33 it's unclear what he really has left.
In a real must win we'll see Masashi Noguchi (12-9-1, 6) battle Tatsuya Yanagi (14-5-1, 5) for the second time. Noguchi fought for the Japanese Lightweight title back in December 2016, when he was stopped in 3 rounds by Shuhei Tsuchiya, and since then he has gone 0-3, with his career clearly on the rocks. Aged 28 Noguchi isn't an old fighter, but with with 4 straight losses, 3 of those by stoppage, there is clearly a feeling that his career might be heading to the end. Yanagi saved his career last year, going 3-0 for the year following a 0-3-1 run prior to his winning run. Among those 3 wins for Yanagi was a decision over Noguchi and another here really could end Noguchi and put Yanagi in the title mix.
A pretty interesting 8 rounder will see Ryuji Ikeda (12-4-2, 8) face off with Kentaro Endo (7-7-1, 6). Ikeda was beaten last time out by Darragh Foley, and he's now 1-2-1 in his last 4, with his only win coming over a very limit Thai in Bangkok last year. As for Endo his record is similarly patchy, though he has been competitive with Daishi Nagata and Kazuki Matsuyama and did look destructive last time out when he stopped Tatsuya Miyazaki. This could be a lot more competitive than the records suggest.
Another very exciting match up will see Tasuku Nakagawa (7-2-1, 3) battle against Filipino banger Jon Jon Estrada (10-4-1, 9). The 24 year old Nakagawa comes into this on the back of a big opening round win against Akihiko Katagiri and will be full of confidence coming into this one. Estrada on the other hand is a real danger man who was stopped last time out by Jeson Umbal but does hold notable stoppages against Brian Lobetania and the teak tough Pablito Canada. The Filipino will not have travelled to pick up a loss here.
There isn't much action this coming Thursday but we have been told by sources in Japan that Saddam Kietyongyuth (25-2, 20) will be battling against Ryuji Ikeda (11-3-2, 7) for an IBF Pan Pacific title. The bout will be Ikeda's first bout outside of Japan and his first since since with Muto gym earlier this year. Whilst Ikeda will be looking to prove a point it should be noted that he hasn't won since November 2015. As for Saddam, who is now part of the Kiatkreerin stable, this bout will see him looking to score a third straight win, but he has only fougth 3 times in the last 4 years and could well be a shot fighter at the age of 34.
Other than the main event we've not been given any other information on the card in general, but it will be aired on Thairath, so is likely to be streamed over their youtube channel.