This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day in Japan with 4 different shows across the country, and when we talk about them being across the country we do mean that with hundreds of miles separating some of the shows.
The most notable card, in many ways, is in Kumamoto in the South West of Japan, where Yakushiji Promotions will be putting on a very significant card.
The main event of this show will be a rematch between Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) and Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, when Mori took a technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, and he will be looking to make his first defense of that national title here. Pumicpic, a real under-rated Filipino warrior, will be hungry to avenge his loss. This is set to be a very, very tough bout and will be shown live on local TV channel TKU. Sadly for those outside of Kunamoto this appears to be a bout we won't be getting. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only bout of note and the show features a number of notable prospects. Among those is the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) who steps into his first 8 round bout, and takes on once beaten Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3). Lino's only loss came to Shigeoka's stablemate, and recent world title challenger, Masataka Taniguchi. This is a very serious test for Shigeoka, but also a bit that gives him a chance to gain immediate comparisons to Taniguchi, whilst Lino gets the chance to perform in front of a notable Japanese crowd.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see the aggressive Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) take on the tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), in what could be a really fun war. Tsutsumi has one of the most fan friendly, aggressive and exciting styles out there whilst Ponteras is a criminally under-rated veteran, who has never been stopped and can be a banana skin for better known fighters. Thhis could be a very, very exciting bout.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1, 1), who will be up against Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), the man the aforementioned Shigeoka made his debut against. We suspect Takeda will have the skills to over-come the Thai visitor, but this could be a good test of Takeda's metal.
Another of the more notable Japanese cards comes form Hyogo, in a female orientated card.
The biggest match up here here will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both have suffered 2 recent losses. Kuroki is the younger fighter, and certainly the one with more upside, though at 49 Ikeyama has proven that age really is just a number and she will be looking to extend her career in to her 50's with a win. This should be a very interesting bout, though Kuroki should enter as the clear favourite. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
As well as the Kuroki Vs Ikeyama bout, there will be two title bouts on this show. One of those bouts will see Japan's in form Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) face once beaten Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. Ogata has won her last 3, claiming a WBA Asia and WBO Asia Pacific title in her last 2 bouts, As for Salvador she was beaten last time out, at Atomweight, but will be fighting at her natural weight here. We're expecting Ogata to pick up another win, but this isn't going to be a walk in the park.
The other title bout on this card will be a bizarre KBM and JBC female title bout, the first since a new OPBF rule was brought into play. The bout will pit Japan's Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) up against Korean Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will become a unified 2-nation champion, albeit temporarily, with the winner likely to immediately vacate the other nation's title. The idea to this is to create depth to thinner divisions, but leads to some odd situations like this.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will see a small card with a few notable names involved.
The main event of this card will see OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on a Thai foe, who we believe will be Sophon Klachun (4-2, 1). We don't see this being much of a test for Kenji, who is edging his way towards a title fight, and will look to take the visitor out as he advances his march towards a career defining bout.
In an 8 round supporting bout fans will see Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) battle in a very interesting match up. Neither of these men are big names, but they should make for a very competitive contest, much more saw the than records suggest.
Another 8 round supporting bout on this card will see Daijiro Yuki (8-5-1, 4) battle against Japanese ranked Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4). This will be Okumoto's first bout since losing to Japanese champion Ryota Yada, and he will be looking to end a 2 fight losing run. Yuki on the other hand will be seeking a career best win.
The least notable of the Japanese cards takes place in Tsu and will be headlined by a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, with Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1). This should be a hotly contested bout, though it's hard to doubt Nakamura and his edge in power. A full preview of this bout is available here Nakamura seeks first defense of youth crown, faces Kondo.
A notable supporting bout here will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8), who recently signed with Osaka Teiken, take on the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4). This looks like a huge step up for Sugawara, but a win puts him on the title hunt, whilst Gasca will be fighting for the first time in well over a year.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Japan, where there will be 3 separate shows. Although none of them are specifically notable there should be enough action across them to interest fans. That's, in part, due to with a female title fight and several prospects being in action.
One of the shows takes place at the City Civil Hall in Neyagawa and will be promoted by 3 Osakan based promotional outfits.
The main event of the card will see Nobuhiro Ishida promoted Shione Ogata (9-6, 2) take on former world title challenger Erika Hanawa (9-2, 3) for the WBO Asia Pacific female Light Flyweight title. Ogata began her career by losing 5 of her first 6 but has since gone 8-1 and scored a notable win last year against Saemi Hanagata. Hanawa on the other hand has lost 2 of her last 4, including a loss in a world title fight to Kayoko Ebata and a loss to the aforementioned Hanagata. This should be a very entertaining bout and a good headline bout for this level of show.
In a supporting bout Hikaru Matsuoka (13-4-3, 1) will face off with Yu Konomura (8-7-2, 2) in a second bout between the two men. These two fought back in 2016, with Matsuoka taking a split decision over Konomura. Since their first bout Matsuoka has gone 1-1, not fighting at all in 2017, whilst Konomura has seemingly had his confidence destroyed, going 1-3-1 since the loss to Matsuoka.
A second Osaka show will take place at the City Plaza Yayoinokaze Hall in Izumi.
The main event here has an international flavour as local hopeful Toshiya Yokogawa (8-11-2, 7) takes on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (9-3-1, 5) in an 8 round contest. The 33 year old Yokogawa has, like many, a misleading record having faced very stiff domestic competition in recent years, but should prove to have more about him than his record suggests and he shares the ring with Medura. As for the visitor he's 0-2 in Japan, has has been matched tough with contests against Coach Hiroto and Ryosuke Iwasa. This looks like a mismatch but we suspect it will be hotly contested.
Another 8 round bout on this card will see the unbeaten Joe Shiraishi (6-0-1, 2), who was crowned the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Flyweight, take on Indonesian visitor Stevanus Nana Bau (8-8-2, 2). The 21 year old Shiraishi impressed last year, going 4-0, but has failed to capitalise this year and this will be his first bout since his Rookie of the Year final back in December. Bau is unbeaten in his last 3, but his competition in those 3 bouts was poor and he has lost to every notable name he's faced, including Iwan Zoda, Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Paipharob Kokietgym.
A third Japanese show will take place in China and is arguably the best of the bunch.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Kudura Kaneko (7-0, 4) face off with Filipino veteran Joel Dela Cruz (20-26-3, 8). The Afghan born Japanese based Kaneko won his Youth title in May, when he defeated Change Hamashima in their second clash, and looks to advancing his career well, whilst remaining under the radar. The Filipino on the other hand is 32 years old and has been a professional since early 2006. Although Dela Cruz has mixed in good company he has suffered loss on a regular basis, and is unlikely to pose much or a threat to Kaneko.
The main supporting bout here will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kei Iwahara (8-5, 4) take on Mao Kawanishi (6-3, 2). Iwahara has been inconsistent through his career, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but can pull out the upsets as he did last year against Yuji Awata. On the other hand Kawanishi has won his last 2 bouts, but has failed to shine and will be looking at this bout as a potential chance to break into the national rankings.