The action for April kicks off with a show from the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, which features some Rookie action and some interesting hopefuls.
The main event of this card will see Takayuki Sakai (8-1-2, 6) take on Tomoki Takada (6-4-2, 3) over 8 rounds. For Sakai, the bout will see him hunting a 6th straight win and building on a very good victory over Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, aka Amphol Suriyo. Since losing in August 2016 Sakai has gone 6-0-1 and a solid, if unspectacular run coming into this bout. Takada ont he other hand has won his last 2, but has suffered 3 stoppage losses and doesn't appear to be the most durable fighter out there.
In the main supporting bout Ryuki Ishii (9-3, 5) will look to continue his good form, as he takes on Filipino puncher Reymond Yanong (9-4-1, 8). Last time out Ishii beat Zirolian Riku, and has won 3 in a row since losing to Kazuma Sanpei back in October 2017. Yanong has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, but certainly has the power to trouble Ishii here.
The 2018 Rookie of the Year runner up Haruki Ishikawa (6-1, 5) will be looking to kick off his 2019 as he takes on Alvin Medura (8-3, 7), in what will be his first bout since losing to Yusei Fujikawa in December last year. This has the ingredients of being a very, very explosive and fun encounter!
In a Rookie of the Year bout Kyonosuke Kameda (2-1, 1) will take on Takuya Inamori (1-3). Kameda, part of the clan that has already given us 3 world champions, will be seeking a third straight win since being stopped on debut at the start of 2018, Inamori on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from his third career defeat, earlier this year.
This coming Monday action returns to the Korakun Hall for the next Flash Akabane card.
The main event sums up how low key the card is, as Akihiro Yamanaka (7-6-2, 3) takes on Ryo Narizuka (8-8-1) in what doesn't look amazing, but at least should be competitive and give the fans a solid an entertaining 8 round contest. Both men need clearly need a win, with Yamanaka's last victory coming in September 2017 whilst Narizuka has only a single win since the start of 2015. Despite the poor run it is worth noting that Narizuka has fought two men who went on to win world titles, losing to both Sho Kimura and Ryuya Yamanaka.
Another well matched bout will see Joji Tsuchiya (7-5-2, 5) face off with Yasuki Katagiri (7-2-2, 1). Tsuchiya hits decently at the lower level of the domestic scene, but has been stopped in 4 of his 5 losses and hasn't fought in over a year. Katagiri has little in terms of power, but has gone unbeaten in his last 5 bouts, and will bring momentum into this contest. Interestingly these two fought to a draw in April 2016 over 6 rounds.
The best bout on paper will see the hard hitting Zirolian Riku (8-2, 8), who came runner up in the 2017 Rookie of the Year, take on Ryuki Ishii (8-3, 5), who was himself a Rookie of the Year finalist in 2016. This is actually a mouth watering contest between two fighters who can punch and both will be hungry heading into what could be a huge new year for the winner. We're really excited about this contest.
After a few big days of fights this coming Sunday feels more like a day to unwind, with only two small Japanese cards scheduled for the day.
The bigger of the two events takes place in Chiba and is an 8 round bout card promoted by Flash Akabane.
In an 8 round bout, which is strangely in the middle of the card, fans will see the unbeaten Fire Ikkyu (6-0-1, 4) take on one time Japanese title challenger Masashi Tada (11-5-3, 7). At 30 years old Ikkyu really needs to kick on if he's looking to have a shot at holding gold in his professional career. Ikkyu is unbeaten but really needs a big performance and will know that a potential Japanese ranking is in his grasp if he can defeat Tada. As for Tada, who lost in a Japanese Minimumweight title bout back in 2014 to Go Odaira, this is a chance to put a 4-fight win-less streak behind him. Tada has yet to return to winning ways since the loss to Odaira, and was notably stopped inside a round last year by Masamichi Yabuki. This isn't a huge bout on paper, but is a notable bout for both men.
A second notable bout on this card is a well matched contest between Atsushi Suzuki (5-3-2, 2) and Ryuki Ishii (7-3, 4). The 28 year old Suzuki has been a professional since early 2015 and has had very mixed for through his career. He's riding a 2 fight winning run into this, but had lost 3 of his 4 bouts prior to his recent wins. Ishii on the other hand is a 20 year old who had had better form over-all but had suffered losses to his most notable foes, including Shawn Oda and Kazuma Sanpei. This is a tough match up to call, but we dare suggest that Ishii is the fighter with the more upside.
The second card is the West Japan Rookie of the Year Final in Osaka. As with many of the Rookie of the Year cards this is an interesting card, with 10 bouts on it, but doesn't feature any notable names. In fact the most notable name involved is promoter Nobuhiro Ishida, who has 3 of his fighters in the final.
One of those Ishida promoted fighters is Middleweight hopeful Takeshi Dohi (1-0, 1), who battles against Hammer Gorilla (1-1) in a 4 round bout. Dohui made his debut in April, and it was a 101 second cameo as he quickly saw off Takenori Tsuchimoto and made an immediate impact on the professional ranks. The 30 year old Gorilla actually lost on his debut, in July 2017, but took a split decision this past April to advance to this final.
In another bout featuring an Ishida promoted fighter fans will see Lightweight hopeful Ryuhei Uchimura (3-0, 1) will face off with Aso Ishiwaki (3-1, 2). The unbeaten Uchimura, is a 24 year old who has scraped two split decision wins in his first 3 bouts and is perhaps lucky to have an unbeaten record. Ishiwaki on the other hand is a 19 year old Ishida promoted hopeful, who lost inside a round on his debut but has improved markedly since then and is looking to continue his rise here. This could be a very exciting contest, with the winner knowing they will take a huge step towards the All Japan Rookie of the Year final.
This coming Wednesday sees action in both Japan and China as Asian fight fans get a couple of low key cards.
The more notable of the two shows is at the Korakuen Hall, where we get a Japanese Youth title fight and an interest chief support bout, on what is likely to be an entertaining but over-looked show.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Kazuma Sanpei (13-4, 4) defending his title against the heavy handed Ryuki Ishii (6-2, 4). We saw Sanpei win the title back in August, when he narrowly defeated Ryusei Ishii, and that was only his second win in 4 bouts as his career has really struggled, despite the fact he was the 2013 Rookie of the Year and was touted for big things. Ishii has been stopped twice, once on debut and once in the 2016 Rookie of the Year final against the brilliant Shawn Oda. This is a really interesting bout, between two flawed but well matched fighters.
A second bout of note takes places at 154lbs and sees recent Japanese title challenger Riku Nagahama (7-1-1, 3) take on Filipino veteran Mark Sales (22-42-4, 8). This should be little more than a confidence builder for Nagahama, who came off second best in August when he challenger Takeshi Inoue and was stopped in 8 by the talented Inoue.
The other show takes place in Shenzhen and is another low key card, featuring a pair of title fights.
One of those bouts will see Kun Wang (9-3, 3) take on Qi Xiu Zhang (6-2-1, 1) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title. Wang is the better known of the two, and although he was blasted out early in his career he has shown solid toughness in going 8 rounds with Xiangxiang Sun earlier this year. As for Zhang he's now on a 6 fight unbeaten run and will feel full of confidence here.
The other bout will see the faltering Zhimin Wang (8-2, 3) take on Aketelieke Jieensi (6-2-3, 2) for the WBO China Zone Lightweight title. Wang turned professional with a lot expected of him, but 2 losses in his last 3 have left him in need of a strong run and he will know that he really needs a win here if he's to keep his career alive. As for Jieensi he's unbeaten in 5, but has struggled and looks to have been very fortunate during that run, with a loss expected here.