This coming Thursday sees attention turn to Tokyo as we get a world title double header, thanks to Teiken.
The headline bout from the card is a WBC Bantamweight title rematch, as controversial champion Luis Nery (25-0, 19) takes on former champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19). These two fought last year with Nery stopping Yamanaka, and ending the long reign of “God's Left's” which had began in 2011. Following his win it was revealed that Nery had failed a drugs test, though the WBC seemed to believe his excuse of eating a huge amount of tainted beef. This time around Nery has had his diet tracked by the WBC, and it seems like they have tried to punish him, without really punishing him. The Mexican's win over Yamanaka last year put him at the top of the Bantamweight division, though the failed drug test has left a huge cloud over his win and he will have to repeat the exercise here if he's going to get the respect that he will feel he deserves. For Yamanaka this rematch is a chance to avenge his sole loss, reclaim his title and prove that he is the better fighter, with the drugs that Nery tested for. Sadly for the Japanese southpaw he is now 35 and even before the first bout with Nery he was showing signs of being on the slide, having been down several times in his bouts leading up to the Nery contest and looking like a fighter who may well have been caught at the right time by Nery. This is a huge bout for both men, but win or lose we don't Yamanaka sticking around long after this one.
The second world title fight on this show will see IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (24-2, 26) make his first defense, as he takes on little known Filipino challenger Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8). The hard hitting Japanese fighter impressed in his title winning effort last year, when he stopped Yukinori Oguni, and showed that he has got the skills to go with his early promise. There are still flaws, but against Oguni he looked like a fighter who had found his way, and nothing like the fighter who looked lost and confused against Lee Haskins. Whilst Iwasa has been on the title scene for a while, since his loss to Yamanaka for the Japanese Bantamweight title back in 2011, it's fair to say that much less is known about Saulong, who has spent much of his career on the Filipino domestic scene. His most notable bouts have been losses to Rey Megrino and Lwandile Sityatha, though he does hold some decent wins over Alie Laurel, twice, and Jestoni Autida, sadly those wins aside there is little to suggest that Saulong belongs at world level. The Filipino might be better than he's shown, but it's very hard to see him holding his own with someone as heavy handed and dangerous as Iwasa.
Another rematch will see Takahiro Ao (27-3-1-1, 12) take on Gamaliel Diaz (40-18-3, 19) in a battle of veterans. These two first fought way back in October 2012,when Diaz defeated Ao for the WBC Super Featherweight title, though since then neither had had much success. Diaz has gone 2-9-1, and was stopped in his first defense by Takashi Miura, whilst Ao has gone 4-0-0-1, with his most recent bout being a painful No Contest against Raymundo Beltran. Ao will be favoured here, but it's hard to imagine either man will have much of a career after this bout.