The Victoriva series of shows is different to pretty much anything else we get in professional boxing, as the shows don't just embrace female fighter, but sell completely on it. They are, for all intents and purposes, female boxing show cases, with some of the biggest female names in Japanese boxing taking part.
This coming Thursday we get the next show in the series and it's a title triple header, with two world title bouts, an Japanese female title bout and a real focus on the Atomweight division, a division only recognised in female boxing.
The main event of the card will see Saemi Hanagata (16-5-4, 7) and Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) fight in their third bout, with Hanagata looking to make her first defense of the IBF Atomweight. In their first two bouts these two actually fought to draws, showing how well matched they were, not however Ikeyama is heading towards her 50th birthday whilst Hanagata, for the first time in her career, is fighting as a world champion and looking to keep the title she tried so hard to win. We expect this to be a hotly contested bout, though feel that Ikeyama's age may finally have caught up with here. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hanagata and Ikeyama set to meet for third time, following two draws!
In the co-feature we'll see the WBA Atomweight title being unified as regular champion Monserrat Alarcon (12-4-2) takes on interim champion Ayaka Miyao (23-7-1, 6). These two were meant to fight in 2018, though Alarcon was injured in the lead up to the fight, leading to Miyao fighting Hanagata for the interim belt. Sadly Miyao has been inactive through the whole of 2019, and this is a tough return to the ring after so long out. We're expecting this to be a really fun, eye catching fight, and the styles should gel well, though we do feel the local fighter has the edge. Our preview of this contest is available to read here Miyao and Alarcon fight to unify WBA Atomweight crown!
The third title bout will see the fast rising Eri Matsuda (3-0) defending her Japanese Atomweight title, as she takes on Mont Blanc Miki (4-2-1, 1). Matsuda, who has already unified JBC and OPBF titles, is one of the most natural boxers on the female scene, and has a very text book style, basing things off her jab and movement. She should be far too good for Miki, who has been stopped twice already. We assume that the plan is for Matsuda to move to world level if she looks impressive here. Our preview of this national title fight can be read here Matsuda seeks first Japanese title defense!
One other bout of note here will see Nanae Suzuki (8-3-1, 1), who lost to Matsuda in March, battle against Minayo Kei (6-4, 1), who actually lost to Matsuda last year. The winner of this may well find themselves picking up the pieces after Matsuda steps up to world class, making this a genuinely significant match up in terms of the divisional development.
Whilst we understand most fans aren't too interested in female boxing, or the lower weights, we love these themed cards and this one certainly appears to be setting up longer narratives in terms of the Atomweight division. The bouts are all meaningful and potentially help set up future bouts, which is something the sport needs to try and do more often to try and get fans coming back and remaining interested in a longer vision.
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
In the last few year's we've seen female boxing grow in the west, thanks to former amateur fighters like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. It's worth noting however that over the last few years Japan have had some all-female cards. The next one of those takes place this coming Thursday, and is the most stacked all-female card in Japanese history, with an incredible 6 title bouts, ranging from Japanese to world title bouts.
The main event is one of the two world title bouts, and will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) make her first defense, as she takes on Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). The Japanese fighter won the belt last May, in her 6th world title fight, and will be fully aware that a loss here will likely end her career, given that she's 42 years old. The Korean challenger is 32 and was once a very highly regarded fighter, but she comes into this bout after having not fought in over 2 years. At her best Park was a real talent, but with ring rust she may well not be the fighter she once was, or look like a fighter who has an active 16 fight unbeaten run.
The other world title fight promises to be something a bit special as the highly aggressive Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) battles Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten Minowa has spoke about winning world titles in a number of weight classes nut this will be her first world title fight and it's a genuinely tough one for the 30 year old former amateur standout. To date Minowa has mowed mowed through her first 5 foes in a combined 18 rounds and looked a truly spiteful force, but she is taking a huge step up in class here. Tsunami is a former WBA female Super Flyweight champion, holding that title for more than 3 years, and has fought a who's who of female boxing, often giving top fighters very tough fights. This could be something very exciting.
In an OPBF female Minimumweight title bout fans will see former world title challengers clash, with Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) battling Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3). It was Hanawa that was beaten by the aforementioned Ebata last year for the WBO title at this weight, and since then she has claimed the interim OPBF title. It's worth noting however that Hanagata is a 2-time OPBF champion who has come up just short in 4 world title bouts, and is hungry to get a 5th shot at at world honours.
In a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout fans will see Miyo Yoshida (8-1) make her first defense as she takes on Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2). The champion won the title last October when she narrowly out pointed Tomomi Takano and will be favoured to retain her title, but Johnson is better than her record suggests, and is much better than a typical fighter on a 6 fight losing run.
A Japanese Flyweight title bout will see the inaugural champion being crowned, as Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1). On paper Koseki looks the lesser of the two but she has mixed with good opponents, and has gone 1-1 with the aforementioned Yoshida. Ikemoto on the other hand hasn't faced anyone of any real note and is clearly stepping up a level here.
Another inaugural title will be the JBC female Atomweight class, which will be competed for between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1), who fought to a draw in a bout for this very same title back in December. On paper these two are very evenly matched, and the fact the judges failed to separate them last time out suggests this could be a very competitive contest again.
This coming Tuesday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a title doubler header, with a regional title fight, and a female world title fight.
The main event of the card sees the popular Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title against Filipino foe Marbon Bodiongan (14-5-2, 11). The Japanese fighter, best known for his match up with Omar Figueroa, looks to make his first defense of the title and extend a good 4 fight winning run. Aged 35, and having had a very hard career, Arakawa is likely to age over-night but should have too much for Bodiongan, who has lost 4 of his last 7 including a stoppage last year to Masaru Sueyoshi in Japan.
The world title bout on the card will see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-2, 5) attempt to make her 6th defense of the title as she takes on former foe Saemi Hanagata (13-6-3, 7). Last year the two fought to a split decision draw and a rematch always looked like it would make sense, and be genuinely exciting. At the age of 47 Ikeyama is the oldest ever Japanese world champion and will be looking to extend that record further here, whilst Hanagata will be in her 4th world title challenge, having yet to win one.9
A really nice looking under-card bout here will see Masayuki Ichikawa (6-4-1, 2) take on Hizuki Saso (6-4-1, 2) in a real 50-50 on paper. The two men have identical records, and both have similar form with a a 3 fight win-less run, with the most recent of those bouts being a split decision draw between the two men in January. This really could be a very intriguing and competitive bout.
It's worth noting that Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7) will take part in the show, despite cancelling his bout with former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Instead of fighting Kimura will discuss his upcoming bout with WBO Flyweight world champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2).
The Dangan Ladies series of shows only began last year but have quickly become an outlet for female fighters to show off their abilities, and with Boxingraise showing the card they have opened the door to female fighters getting some genuinely notable attention from fans across Japan.
The main event of the card was originally reported as a WBO female world title bout. Sadly though that bout was soon scrapped and instead the main event will be an OPBF female Super Bantamweight bout as the unbeaten Ayumi Goto (5-0, 4) takes on Filipino Kim Actub (4-6-1, 3) for the vacant title. Goto had originally chased Tomomi Takano, though Takano vacated the title leaving the door open for this bout, which should end up being a relatively one sided.
One of the fighters originally mooted for the world title fight main event was Erika Hanawa (6-0, 1), sadly she will now be facing the limited Norj Guro (7-6-1, 4). The bout is a step back from what Hanawa was originally expecting, but this could serve as a good test bout for her, with Guro having had experience at world level.
Another notable name on this card is former world title challenger Saemi Hanagata (12-6-3, 6), who faces off with a Thai foe in what should be a stay busy for the talented Hanagata, who will likely be seeking a return to a world level later in the year.
The month of June has been relatively busy with low key action so far. That action continues this coming Monday in what looks set to be a brilliant card at the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of the card is one of two world title fights, and sees WBO female Bantamweight queen Naoko Fujioka (14-1,6) defending her title against compatriot Shindo Go (16-3, 11), in what is expected to be Go's final fight before she transitions to becoming a man later in the year. The bout should be a really good one and should be one of the most well matched bouts at the top level of female boxing.
The other world title bout will see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (17-3-1, 4) defending her title against the under-rated Saemi Hanagata (12-6-2, 6), in what should be a thrilling contest. At 46 Ikeyama knows a loss could be the end of her career, whilst Hanagata will see this as her best chance to win a world title. The bout isn't on the same level as the main event but is a great match up and could be, stylistically at least, a thriller.
In a supporting bout Takafumi Nakajima (25-7-1, 10) will be facing Jonathan Baat (30-7-5, 14), in what looks like an absolute corker between two genuine veterans. Baat is the more proven fighter however at 35 years old he may be coming to the end, and is win-less in his last 3 bouts, whilst Nakajima has won his last 3 and is looking like a genuinely hungry 31 year old.
Another good looking supporting bout sees the once touted Naoto Uebayashi (9-1-1, 5) battle against Mikihito Seto (34-12-3. 19). Uebayashi was tipped for big then when he turned professional a few years ago, following a very successful career in the amateurs, but problems with durability has seen him struggle to make a good run in the professional ranks. Seto, a genuine veteran at 36, has won just twice in his last 6 bouts but should prove to be a good test for Uebayashi, who really cannot afford another slip up.
One final bout of note will see the exciting Akihiro Kondo (24-6-1, 11) battle against Tanva Malihom (0-1) in a stay busy bout.
In Tokyo fans get the first ever “Ladies Dangan” card, a card put on by “reason”, who promote the Dangan cards, and features only female fighters. The concept is an interesting one and we're hoping it's a success.
Whilst the concept is a good one, that match ups are also good with some genuinely well matched contests taking place on a card that features some notable names. One of those well matched bouts will see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mika Oda (6-7-1, 1) defending her title against Saemi Hanagata (11-6-2, 5). Incidentally Oda won this title in her last bout, which was way back in September 2014. Whilst Oda won the last meeting between these two she has been inactive whilst Hanagata has fought thrice winning two of those bouts and controversially losing the other, which was a world title bout.
The other title bout on this show sees OPBF female Atomweight champion Momoko Kanda (9-8-2, 3) defending her belt against Masae Akitaya (9-6-2, 3), in what looks like an excellent match up. Both fighters have their limitations but both have experienced fighting at world level and both have acquitted themselves well and we wouldn't be surprised if this scrap ended up being a high paced and highly entertaining contest between two fighters both looking to prove themselves.
Another high profile bout on this card sees former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) battle against the once beaten Emika Himuro (5-1-1, 1). Although her record may not suggest it Tsunami is a world class fighter who is tough, game and has a great work rate, sadly however her battles have taken a bit of a toll on her and she looked rather poor last time out against Carolina Rodriguez. Despite that she should have more than enough to over-come the 35 year old Himuro.
Another veteran in action is multi-time title challenger Kayoko Ebata (8-6, 4), who takes on Sornsawan Sarakarngym (0-1). Aged 40 Ebata is a real veteran, having debuted back in 2007, and although not a world champion she has fought in 4 world title bouts, and found herself very competitive in several of them. Sadly she's likely to be ending her career shortly though she has had a career to be proud of.
As well as the Tokyo card there is also a show in Hyogo courtesy of Shinsei gym.
The main event of this card will see JBC ranked Ryo Kosaka (11-3-1, 5) battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-6-2, 2). This looks to be a mismatch, especially given that the 24 year old Mizuno has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, though Mizuno is a southpaw and is tough so may give Kosaka some questions over the 8 round distance.
The chief support bout looks to be a mismatch as former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (18-4-4, 8) battles against limited Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (1-6). Petchmai was stopped in his only previous bout in Japan and we expect to see that happen again here, though Petchmai did win his last bout and may well have some confidence coming in to this one.
A third bout of note will see Seizo Kono (15-8-1, 10) battle Thai novice Yodsing Padjaigym (0-0). Kono has gone 2-5 in hius last 7 but is better than his record suggests and blew away Hikaru Matsuoka last year. This should be a win for Kono but we really know nothing about the Thai who may be one of those fighters with a lot more experience than his record suggests.
So there we go, Christmas has been and whilst we wish you all had a great one boxing does continue and continues in style with December 27th being the first really notable day post Christmas.
Attention turns back to Kyoto for one of a multitude of Japanese sjhows.
The main match up here is possibly the fight of the day and sees a youngster look to establish himself a genuine star in the making. That youngster is Ken Shiro (5-0, 2) who will be taking a huge step up in class to face Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-13-1, 7). The bout is Ken Shiro's first bout against the best in Japan but he has looked brilliant so far into his career whilst Horikawa will be defending his title for the first time since his emphatic win over Shin Ono back in September. This really could be something very special.
The only supporting bout worth noting here will see Atsushi Aburada (10-8, 6) battle against Takahiro Murai (11-6-2, 4) in what looks like a really good match up. Aburada has gone 3-3 in his last 6, but those losses have included a defeat in a Japanese title fight and a loss to the solid Tetsuya Hisada. Murai has never been stepped and will see this as a great opportunity to claim a Japanese ranking, though will know that Aburada is a tough test. A really good bit of match making has gone in to this one.
The first of two Osaka shows is the more notable with a title fight and a bout featuring a former world title challenger.
In the main event of this one fans will get the chance to see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-3, 9) defending his title against multi-time challenger Koshinmaru Saito (22-7-1, 12). On paper this is genuinely a great bout, though one that Nonaka should win given his more intelligent boxing. Given that both fighters are well in to their 30's this is a must win to keep their careers alive and we expect a very good bout, even if it's not likely to lead either man to a bigger and better fight down the line.
The only supporting bout worth mentioning here will see former 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-13-1, 10) battle against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (22-12, 10). Whilst both men have got double figure losses both are talented fighters and both tend to be in entertaining bouts suggesting that this really could be the bout of the day. Both have lost to their best opponents but they are about the same level and could potentially put on a barn burner
The second of the Osaka shows comes after the first, in the same venue and it put on by Hiroki Ioka Promotions
The main event here will see world ranked Featherweight contender Hiroshige Osawa (28-3-4, 17) in a 10 round bout. Osawa, a former OPBF champion, will be hoping to record his 7th straight stoppage win and continue an unbeaten run that began back in 2009. Talented but yet frustrating Osawa seems to be a man who has wasted the last few years, with suspension and mismatches, but hopefully we'll see him kick on in 2016.
The co-feature bout will see former world title challenger Pablo Carrillo (17-4-1, 10) take on Thai visitor Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-4, 1). Carrillo, who fought Kazuto Ioka in 2014, is now based in Japan and will be making his debut as a Japanese based fighter with the hope of moving towards a world title shot in the future. This however is just stay busy for the Colombia, who has fought just once this year.
A final bout from this card worth noting sees the Japanese ranked Kosuke Saka (11-3, 8) in action. This bout was put together on late notice after Saka had a bout with Andres Gutierrez fall through earlier in the year.
Another Japanese card comes from Hyogo where Taisei hope to show case some of their most notable fighters.
The most notable of those Taisei gym fighters is Riku Kano (7-1-1, 4) who takes on former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (58-8-2, 23). Pigmy is currently world ranked and it's cleat that Kano's team are looking at this bout as a chance to get their man into the world rankings as quickly as possible, with their task being to get him a world title fight before the year is out. The match up is however a risky one and Pigmy cannot be written off, despite a recent defeat to Jaysever Abcede.
Another notable bout featuring a Taisei fighter will see Hiroki Taniguchi (6-7-1, 2) battle against the Japanese ranked Toshimasa Ouchi (18-8-3, 5) . This is a really harsh match up for Taniguchi, who has won just 1 of his last 6, but it's the sort of match up that sums up the Taisei gym, where they don't protect their fighters just for the sake of it. Ouchi will be the big favourite here, but has lost 2 of his last 4 and will likely be seeing this as a confidence builder.
Tokyo also gets some action with a small show courtesy of Hanagata.
The main event of this card sees Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuta Saito (8-7-2, 6) battle against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-6, 3) in a strangely well matched bout. Although ranked by the JBC Saito has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6, though did beat Keita Nakana in that win and has generally been competitive despite piling up the losses. Takabayashi however is 3-3 in his last 6, though has been fighting at a higher weight and could well bee too physical for Saito. This isn't a top tier bout, but it is an intriguing one.
A second bout of note here is a female bout that sees former world title challenger Saemi Hanagata (10-6-2, 4) battle against Chie Higano (4-3, 1). In all honesty this looks like a stay busy fight for Hanagata who will likely be hoping to have another world title fight in 2016. Higano should prove no threat for Hanagata but could go the distance.
Seoul, South Korea
The day also features a KBF show in the Korean capital
The main event here sees former WBO world champion Su Yun Hong (12-1-1, 6) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Li Liu (6-0-1, 3)*. The bout is a WIBF Light Flyweight title defense for Hong, who claimed the title last year and will be hoping to record the third defense of the belt. Although talented Hong's run of recent opposition has been poor and we hope in 2016 she will step it up, significantly.
The most interesting of the match ups sees former OPBF Super Bantamweight challenger Jimmy Paypa (16-3-1, 6) battle against Jason Egera (21-15, 10). For Paypa this is his first bout since he was stopped, way back in February, by Shingo Wake. He'll be looking for a win though does appear set to move up in weight to Featherweight for this match up. Whilst Paypa was beaten last time out it does need to be said that Egera has lost his last 7 with 4 of those coming by stoppage.
The other 10 rounder will see 19 year old hopeful Elmo Traya (9-1, 7) battle against the out of form Gabriel Royo (10-13-2, 8). Traya comes in to this on an 8 fight winning run whilst Royo is 1-6 in his last 7 bouts, dating back just over 2 years.
*Record reported by the KBF
The most notable action featuring Asian fighters this coming Sunday comes from Texas where we get two former world champions in action as they both look bounce back from losses in world title action.
Of the two men the most notable is former WBO Bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda (31-1, 19) who faces Englishman Jamie McDonnell (26-2-1, 12), in an attempt to avenge his first career defeat and claim the WBA Bantamweight title. These two faced each other earlier this year in a brilliantly compelling bout that saw McDonnell climb off the canvas to take a narrow decision win over the youngster of the 3 Kameda brothers. Kameda, who had a rematch clause, will be looking to become a 2-time world champion but will need to show much more than he did in the first meetign with McDonnell, especially down the stretch.
The other is Tomoki's older brother Daiki Kameda (29-4, 18). Daiki, a former Flyweight and Super Flyweight world champion, willl be facing Mexican slugger Victor Ruiz (19-5, 14) in what looks like a good match up on paper. Kameda hasn't fought since late 2013, when he lost a Super Flyweight unification bout to Liborio Solis, and will likely be rusty here though should over-come Ruiz who has a very padded looking record.
Whilst the Kameda's will be the biggest name Japanese fighters in action they will certainly not be the only Japanese fighters in action with a show in Toyama.
Notably this show will be headlined by two non-Japanese fighters as Venezuelan Juan Jose Landaeta (26-8-1, 20) battles against Panama's Walter Tello (21-8, 8). Landaeta is now based in Japan and will be hoping show some of the form that once lead him to holding the WBA interim Minimumweight title. As for Tello this will be his second bout since he was stopped by Randy Petalcorin in June 2014, and we'd expect him to come up short again here.
In another feature bout on this card fans will see the once beaten Aiko Yamagishi (4-1-1, 2) battle former world title challenger Saemi Hanagata (9-6-2, 4) in a 6 round female bout. Hanagata has come up short in her last two bouts but did run Naoko Shibata very close back in February and we expect her to show her ability here. Notably Yamagishi was stopped last time out and this is a big step up in class for her.
The most attractive of three Filipino shows comes from Benguet where we get two bouts that have really caught our eye.
The most notable of those bouts will see the once beaten Ben Mananquil (10-1-2, 2) battle against former world ranked fighter Mateo Handig (13-9, 7) in an intriguing Super Flyweight bout. We are fans of Mananquil, who at 23 years old is genuine one to keep an eye on. Handig, who holds a major win over Katsunari Takayama has lost his last 4 and will know that another defeat will spell the end of any dreams he has to make a real name for himself.
The other bout will see former world ranked slugger Alie Laurel (13-4, 9) take on Gerry Patenio (4-8-2, 2). Although this is a mismatch we always enjoy watching Laurel in action and he certainly knows a thing or two about upsets, holding wins over Nobuhisa Coronita Doi and Tiger Tor Buamas. We're looking forward to seeing more of Laurel down the line, but this is an easy win following a loss to Ernesto Saulong back in May.
As well as the bouts mentioned there will be a number of bouts featuring Indian fighters.
Another notable show comes from Wastern Samar.
The most interesting bout on this card will see the once beaten Neil John Tabanao (11-1,7) attempt to bounce back from his recent loss to Randy Braga. The talented and young Tabano will be up against the limited Alvin Makiling (10-12-3, 3) in what should be a one-sided bout with the 21 year old Tabano coming out on top.
In an 8 round support bout the unbeaten Rambo Lagos (4-0-2, 2) will be up against the limited JR Salvador (5-23-3). This should again be a win for the unbeaten man though this could be an interesting test for Lagos.
One other bout of note here will see 20 year old Margarito Moya (7-1, 2) in action. Moya was originally reported to be up against Renan Portes (4-2, 1), though it now looks like Moya is out of the bout.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
On another Filipino show fans will get the chance to see promising 21 year old Genesis Libranza (7-0, 5) battle against the very experienced Michael Rodriguez (13-41-1, 3) in a bout set for 10. It's hard to go against the unbeaten man though he does have a lot of questions to be asked before he's stepped up too much.
In the co-feature of this show fans will see the return to the ring of Drian Francisco (27-3-1, 21) who faces Jilo Merlin (13-23-2, 2). This will be Francisco's first bout since he was beaten in a round by Jason Canoy, who was recently announced as the opponent for Hianata Maruta's upcoming debut, and this is as a safe a comeback fight as Francisco could possibly have with Melin having lost his last 8.
For a second day running we get to see notable name fighters at the Korakuen Hall. On Wednesday it was the highly regarded Ryosuke Iwasa whilst on Thursday it's going to be a pair of female world title bouts in what appears to be a great day for fans of female boxing.
The main event will see IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (13-3, 4) defending her belt for the third time as she takes on fellow Japanese fighter Saemi Hanagata (9-5-2, 4). Hanagata, a former OPBF title holder at 105lbs, is stepping up in weight for this bout and it could be that she's better suited to Light Flyweight than Minimumweight, Shibata however has been improving in recent bouts and her win over Ana Arrazola last time out was certainly her best so far.
The co-main event will see WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (16-2-1, 6) attempting to record her 15th world title defence as she takes on the frankly hapless Aisah Alico (5-4, 4). We do like Koseki and think she's a fantastic fighter but bouts like this don't do her any justice and Alico won't be expected to last more a few rounds, at best.
As well as the two title bouts there is also an interesting under-card. One of the bouts featured on that will see Takashi Sakamoto (6-3, 1) fight against Tatsuya Otsubo (6-6-1, 3). Although neither of these look great we have seen Otsubo begin turning his career around and he has won his last 4 bouts as he has begun to enter his physical prime. Sakamoto has the better record but should be viewed as the under-dog here.
Possibly an even better under-card bout however will see Takeshi Inoue (1-0-1) battle against Japanese ranked Kota Oguchi (10-13, 1). Inoue has been tipped by those in the know as "one to watch" and with Oguchi being ranked at 140lbs by the JBC this is a major opportunity for Inoue to score a statement win so early in his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)