We again see action in Osaka, and once again it's a relatively small card getting out attention, though it is a small card with 4 ranked fighters on it and a pretty even looking main event.
The main event will see former OPBF Bantamweight title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-7, 5) facing off with former Japanese title challenger Satoshi Ozawa (13-7-1, 2), in a bout that both men really must win to remain even semi-relevant on the domestic scene. Kobayashi has lost 4 of his last 6, including an opening round blow out loss last time out to Rey Megrino in Hong Kong, but was once regarded as a promising fighter. On the other hand Ozawa has been stopped in 3 of his last 7, and has struggled with close decision wins in many of his recent victories. Interestingly this will be the second meeting between the two men, who fought back in September 2013, with Ozawa claiming a split decision, and both will have a serious point to prove.
The chief support bout will see OPBF ranked Light Flyweight Rikito Hattori (8-1, 3) battle against unbeaten Japanese ranked Minimumweight Daiki Tomita (9-0, 3) in a bout being fought at a contracted weight above the Light Flyweight limit. Hattori has won his last 3, following a setback last year to Kenta Matsui, but has been facing relatively limited opponents in those bouts.
In a really well matched contest we'll see OPBF and JBC ranked Super Featherweight Shachihoko Dragons Keita (7-5-2, 1) take on Yu Konomura (7-5-2, 1), in a second meeting between the two men who fought last year. On paper this doesn't look amazing, but given their first bout this should be really good and really well contested.
The remaining ranked fighter is OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Futa Akizuki (9-0, 7), who takes on his biggest test to date as he faces Shun Ishibashi (10-21-1, 4). The 19 year old Akizuki debuted in Japan less than a year ago and has already racked up 3 wins in his homeland including an impressively one-sided win over Vincent Bautista. The 29 year old Ishibashi looks like a journeyman on paper but he's a solid stepping stone at domestic level and should serve as a really good test for Akizuki here, but a test that the youngster should be able to pass.
This key show this weekend for Asian fight fans comes from the Korakuen Hall where we get two title bouts.
In the main event we'll see Japanese youngster Ken Shiro (8-0, 4) make his first defense of the OPBF Light Flyweight title as he takes on Filipino foe Lester Abutan (11-5-3, 5), and attempts to take another step towards a world title fight. The Japanese youngster, who has claimed the WBC Youth, Japanese and WBC Youth titles already in his career, will know that a loss will be a major set back in his climb towards a shot at a world title, but that a win will put further pressure on the divisional champions to face him. For Abutan the bout will be his Japanese debut, though he has performed well in his two bouts away from the Philippines and could be a genuine banana skin for Ken Shiro, if he's on form here.
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (25-7, 13) face first time challenger Satoshi Ozawa (13-6-1, 2). On paper this is a big step up for Ozawa however the 29 year old challenger is on a 4 fight winning streak, including 2 solid wins over Yoshihikp Matsuo, and has been making a mark at Super Bantamweight over the last 18 month or so. For Masuda the bout will be his second defense of his second reign and could open the doors to a potential rematch with Tatsuya Takahashi next year, if he wins here and Takahashi wins in January, which we would love to see!
A really fan friendly bout will see the once beaten Katsunori Nagamine (12-1, 8) face off with the limited but gutsy Mako Matsuyama (8-10-2, 3). Nagamine was in one of the most intensely fun fights of the year, his win over Kenya Yamashita back in February. Whilst Nagamine is certainly a fun and aggressive fighter it's fair to say that Matsuyama's 2014 bout with Rex Tso, an insane war in Macau, was a better bout and with these two getting it on we're expecting to see something very special.
Another under-card bout will see Jin Miura (8-1, 1) battle against Naoaki Kumagai (7-5, 4). The light hitting Miura does look like the favourite here but has struggled in a number of his wins and could well be given a really good test here by Kumagai, who is a very under-rated fighter. Although he has lost his last 3 Kumagai has mixed in good company and could be a banana skin for Miura.
As part of the under-card we'll also see the debut of Ryo Sagawa (0-0), who takes on Korean foe Ho Ya Kim (4-4, 2). Sagawa was a former amateur standout and is tipped for big things, kicking off his career in a 6 rounder here. Kim will be fighting in Japan for the second time, following a loss to Ryuya Kaji earlier this year, and may come into this with the belief of scoring a win on Japanese soil, though will have to put in a career best performance against Sagawa to even be competitive.
In California we'll see fast rising Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar (6-0, 6) take on veteran fighter German Meraz (55-39-1, 32) in what looks like a step up for Nyambayar. Merez, a real veteran with more than 90 fights under his belt, is a proven tough guy who has only lost by stoppage 7 times in his long career. Nyambayar has never been extended beyond 4 rounds and this is, potentially, set to be his toughest and longest bout to date. If the Mongolian can blow away Meraz in quick fashion it could time to put him in with the divisional wolves, rather than continue to slowly develop the Mongolian monster.
The only card this Saturday in Asia appears to be a small one from Aichi headline by two rematches.
In the main event of the card fight tans will see the limited Kazuki Fukakura (9-10-2, 3) face off with Japanese ranked Bantamweight Satoshi Ozawa (12-6-1, 2). Ozawa comes in to this on a 3 fight winning run, with two of those wins coming against Yoshihiko Matsuo, and will be looking for a second straight victory over Fukakura. As for Fukakura he's looking for revenge following a very competitive technical decision loss in March.
In the co-feature bout we get the chance to see the return to the ring of the exciting Jun Takigawa (7-2-1, 4), who'll be fighting for the first time since his memorable war with Kenji Ono. The exciting Takigawa will be facing former foe Naoya Haruguchi (9-7, 3) for the second time. These two met in September 2014, with Takigawa winning a decision, and he'll be hoping to do the same here.
As well as the two bouts mentioned this card will feature a further 6 bouts,