This coming Monday Japanese fight fans get a genuinely exceptional card, headlined by an OPBF Featherweight title fight, between unbeaten fighters, and stacked with several other notable bouts, including 2 genuinely brilliant support bouts.
The main event of this card will 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (7-0, 7) take on Takuya Uehara (16-0, 10). The bout will be Shimizu's 4th defense of the OPBF Featherweight title and if he wins he's expected to be moved aggressively into a world title fight in the new year. Despite being a stand out amateur Shimizu has looked like a flawed professional, but with his unbeaten record and perfect T/KO run it's hard to double the results, even if the performances haven't been the best. The 23 year old Uehara is a former WBC Youth champion but this is a massive step up in class, and is likely to be his first bout against a genuine puncher. This could be a good test for Shimizu, but one he'll be expected to pass. A full preview of this bout can be found here - Olympic hero Shimizu takes on Uehara in next OPBF title defense!
The co-feature looks even better than the main event, and is a really well balanced match up that should give us a combination between explosive heavy handed blows and skills. The match up pits the very heavy handed Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-3-2, 16) against the incredibly highly skilled Hinata Maruta (7-1-1, 6), in a bout that will likely lead the winner to a regional title fight in 2019. Tameda is the more raw fighter, but also the hard hitting and the one with real explosive power. Maruta is the more skilled man, but has failed to deliver on the promise he has in recent bouts, and some are perhaps not doubting the Morioka man. This really could be something very, very special. A preview of this can be read here - Preview - Maruta and Tameda to fight on December 3rd!
Another interesting all prospect match up is a mouth watering 8 rounder between Taku Kuwahara (2-0, 2) and Takamori Kiyama (2-0, 2), which may well go down as the best match up between a couple of 2-0 fighters ever. As an amateur Kuwahara was a 2-time national champion and the Ohashi gym view him as a potential major player in their gym, this is however a massive step up in class from the Indonesian fighters he has faced in his first two bouts, neither of which have lasted a round. Kiyama, from the Atsumi gym, was also an amateur standout, and he's has looked fantastic since turning professional as well. This is really a risky bout for both fighters but they should both be admired, for willing to risk their "0" against a fellow prospect this early on.
Former Japanese Supe Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (21-6-1, 12) looks to record his 4th straight win, as he takes on the limited Takahiro Araki (12-7, 4). Okada is a faded force to the man who had pushed Takashi Miura hard in 2010 and had gone on to win the Japanese title the following year, running up 3 defenses before losing to Daiki Kaneko. He is however capable against the lower level domestic fighters and will see this as a good chance to score his 22nd professional win. The 31 year old Araki however is no push over and will see this an opportunity to get a win against a former national champion.
The once touted Sho Nakazawa (11-2, 5) looks to continue rebuilding his career after a 2017 loss to Ryo Hino. The former amateur standout will be looking for a second straight win as he takes on Filipino journeyman Jhon Gemino (17-11-1, 7). On paper this looks like a mismatch but Nakazawa really has failed to shine as a professional and Gemino is the sort of fighter who can be a very tricky out. We suspect Nakazawa gets the win, but Gemino won't have travelled to just roll over.
Another prospect on this card is the highly touted Kazuki Nakajima (5-0, 4), who takes a notable step up in class to fight the experienced Yoshihiro Utsumi (15-8-3, 10). So far Nakajima has only been tested one, with Taiga Higashi giving him issues last December, and has otherwise had things all his own way. Utsumi on the hand has collected losses, but has faced tough competition with losses to Yasutaka Ishimoto, Ye Joon Kim and Hiroaki Teshigawara. It's worth noting that coming into this bout Utsumi scored a huge upset win over Hibiki Jogo and is riding a 3 fight stoppage run into this contest.
The main show for us this coming Saturday is a televised card from the Korakuen Hall, which will be covered live by G+.
The main event of the card will see talented Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (21-1-1, 10) take on Filipino foe Glenn Enterina (11-2-1, 8) in what is expected to be one of Ito's final bouts before a potential world title clash. The talented Japanese fighter, who unified the WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles at the end of 2016 is regarded as top 15 fighter by 3 of the alphabet organisations and will be seeking a title fight sooner rather than later. In his way will be the big punching Enterina, who will be seeking his first win outside of the Philippines, but will be regarded as a huge under-dog against the highly schooled Japanese hopeful.
Arguably the best bout on this card will see the touted Sho Nakazawa (10-1, 4) take on Ryo Hino (10-1-1, 6) in a very even looking match up on paper. Nakazawa was once seen as a top prospect in Japan but a loss last year to Teiru Atsumi put the breaks on that and two subsequent wins have scarcely excited the fans who seem to know that he is talented, but isn't quite as exciting as they had first hoped. As for Hino he's a bit of an unknown, though he did give Reiya Abe a tough bout a couple of years ago and has stopped his last 4. This could be skills against power, and should be the best bout on the card.
Another competitive looking contest will see the Japanese ranked Yuta Horiike (12-5-3, 3) take on Kyosuke Sawada (7-2-1, 4) in what should be a good supporting contest, just like the bout between Yosuke Fujihara (16-5, 4) and Keita Nakano (14-11-6, 4), which is likely to be much better than it looks on paper. Both of these bouts will be over 8 rounds and could be very interesting contests for fans watching at the venue and on TV.
In Osaka we'll see the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (12-0, 7) look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on a Thai visitor in an 8 rounder. Uehara, the WBC Youth Featherweight champion, will not be risking his belt here but shouldn't have any problems beating the Thai, who we have been informed is naturally smaller and is typically fighting as a Super Bantamweight.
Ansan, South Korea
There will also be a show in Ansan, South Korea, with this show being part of the rising Boxing M series of shows. The theme of the show is that it's the last 8 of a Korean Lightweight tournament, however those bouts are joined by an interesting 6 rounder between Jae Woo Lee (4-2, 4) and Young Hwan Jun (3-3-1, 1), who we believe will be fighting for the right to challenge for a Korean title.
The biggest show this week, at least for Asian fans, takes place on Sunday and features a title triple header as Shinsei gym give us fight fans a real treat.
The main event of the card will see WBA “regular” Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (26-5-1-1, 15) take on unbeaten Japanese challenger Shun Kubo (11-0, 8), with Kubo getting his first world title bout. Coming in to this Cermeno is enjoying an Indian summer in regards to his career and and reeled off 4 wins last year, including 2 against Qiu Xiao Jun and one against Nop Kratingdaenggym, to claim and defend the title. Although good last year the champion is 37 and has had a long career. Aged 26 Shinsei gym view Kubo as the next Hozumi Hasegawa and know that a win here would see Hyogo based gym have their next star. For Kubo the bout is a huge step up in class, but he and his team wouldn't have taken this bout if they weren't confident of coming out on top in what should be a bout that answers a lot of questions about both men.
In a supporting bout we'll see OPBF title action as OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (13-0, 8) takes on once beaten Thai challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas (23-1, 16). For the champion this will be his 7th defense of the title, a title that he won more than 3 years ago, and it's arguably one of the more interesting defenses on paper. As for the Thai this is a must win bout given that he was dominated by Czar Amonsot last year, before being stopped in round 7. If Nakatani, as we suspect, wins here there will be serious talk of him getting a world title fight, and it could well be that he gets such a shot later this year, or early next year. For the Thai a win would be a shock, and it would take a career defining performance for him to walk away as the Oriental champion.
In another title bout from this card we see unbeaten youngsters clash in a bout for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. The bout will see Reiya Konishi (12-0, 5) battle with Watanabe's exciting Masataka Taniguchi (6-0, 4). Aged 23 Konishi has been a professional since 2013 and made his first real mark in 2014, when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown. Despite being the Rookie of the Year in 2014 he's not really progressed and hasn't really moved forward in his career in 2015 or 2016. Taniguchi is also 23 but has been a professional for just over a year, debuting last April, and has already impressed with a very notable win last October against Dexter Alimento being a stand out win. Although flawed, and inexperienced, Taniguchi has been seen as a fighter on the fast track and a win here would put him on to the fringes of a world title fight.
Also on this card will be the once beaten Sho Nakazawa (9-1, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor John Ray Logatiman (5-4-2, 1).
A second card in Osaka will be put on by Muto gym, and unfortunately whilst it does boast some notable names, the card looks to be a very one sided one. In fact it looks to be little more than a bunch of mismatches.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (25-12, 11) fight in a stay busy contest against a Thai foe. In a leading support bout former OPBF, Japanese and IBF Asia Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-11-5, 9) will fight in his retirement, also against a Thai foe, and Masahiro Sakamoto (8-1, 4) is also set to take on a Thai visitor. Sadly none of the Thai's are known quantities suggesting very limited visitors.
In an all-Japan bout we'll see Kazuyasu Okamoto (13-4, 3) battle with Ryo Okayama (8-3-1, 5), who returns to a Japanese ring for the first time since 2014.
There will be a third show in Osaka, though with much less attention than the other two.
The main event here will see Yuta Uetani (19-5-1, 9) facing off with a no-name Thai foe. Although Uetani's bout is the main event there will also be a domestic match up between Ken Osato (10-1-1, 3) and Keita Ito (8-20-2, 4), in what looks like a clear mismatch.
The only non-Osakan show on Saturday comes from Fukuoka and is again a low key show.
The main event here will be a really well matched 6 rounder as Yuki Hirashima (5-1-1, 1) battles against Shinji Uramoto (5-1, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Sadly the rest of the card is merely full of novices.
The most significant card for us this Saturday comes from Tokyo and will be aired on G+ in Japan.
In the main event of the show card we'll see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (28-8, 7) battle against Gakuya Furuhashi (18-7-1, 8) in a really exciting rematch between two well matched fighters. These two fought last year, with Ishimoto winning a very competitive decision, and we favour him again here though it's a bout that should be genuinely compelling from the opening round to the final bell, and the two men will almost certainly gel well again here, as they did in their first bout.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-5-2, 13) battle against Filipino journeyman Gadwin Tubigon (14-11-2, 9). Shimoda was last seen in December, losing in a very close Japanese Featherweight title fight against Satoshi Hosono, however he has remained in the domestic title mix and will be expecting a title fight next time out, if he over-comes Tubigon. Interestingly Tubigon has won his last 4, by stoppage, and will be riding a streak of confidence coming in to this even if he is the huge under-dog.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a defeat is the once touted Sho Nakazawa (8-1, 4), who will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Teiru Atsumi. That loss was a genuine upset and a real set back for Nakazawa who will be looking to bounce back as he takes on Filipino fighter Cris Leon (10-13-4, 4). Leon is a journeyman and despite scoring a couple of wins recently he shouldn't be able to last with Nakazawa, especially given that Leon has 10 stoppage losses against him already.
A big name on the under-card is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (5-0, 3), the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who will be up against Monkey Shuhei (5-8-1, 2). This will be Tatsuyoshi's second 6 rounder and should be a far better test than his first one, which saw him defeat a really poor Thai foe. Shuhei comes into this on the back of 5 losses, and just a single win in his last 8, but should be game against the 20 year old Osakan.
Arguably the most intriguing of the under-card bouts sees Teiken prospect Kenshin Oshima (1-0, 1), who has only 68 seconds of professional experience, taking on teenager Yuki Iriguchi (5-1-1, 3). Oshima made an impressive debut back in June and will be looking to build on that however Iriguchi impressed last year, going 4-0 (3) for the year. Despite a good 2015 Iriguchi has gone 0-1-1 this year and will be hoping to end that skid.
Another under-card bout will see the once beaten Masaya Tamayama (7-1, 4) take on the experienced Shohei Kanemoto (10-11-1, 3). It's hard to see anything but a win for Tamayama however he will be fighting in his first 8 rounder and could be moving on to big things in the near future.
Although the Japanese card is a really interesting show the bout of the day actually looks likely to be in Mexico as WBC Female Flyweight champion Jessica Chavez (27-4-3, 4) battles 3-weight world champion Naoko Fujioka (15-1, 6). The bouts sees Fujioka attempt to become the first Japanese fighter to become a 4-weight world champion but to claim that honour she will have to defeat a fellow female fighting great. This really is a mouth watering bout, and although we know plenty don't care about female boxing they should make an exception for this bout.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in Asia there will also be a notable show in Metro Manila with two title bouts.
One of hose title bouts will see Cris Alfante (11-6-1, 4) battle against Roilo Golez (16-15-1, 7) in a bout for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Flyweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch in favour of Alfante however the bout should be better than it looks. Despite having a moderately decent record on paper Alfante has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6 and is seriously struggling. Interestingly Golez is 2-4 in his last 6 and should put up a solid bout here, despite the disparity in records.
The other title bout here will see Danilo Gabisay (6-6, 4) take on Joe Noynay (10-1-1, 3) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title. Noynay began his career 10-0 but has suffered successive set backs this year and knows that he'll need a win here to put things back on track. On paper Gabisay should be an easy mark for Noynay and with 1 win in his last 5 it does likely that he is the “patsy” for Noynay to get back to winning ways.
A genuinely intriguing bout on this card will see Roldan Aldea (9-3-1, 3) battle former OPBF title challenger Benjie Suganob (10-5-1, 5) in a really even looking contest. Aldea has lost his last 2 bouts, though both were on the road, and will be hoping to avoid a third successive loss whilst Suganob has gone 2-3 in his last 5 but has certainly not shamed himself and could see this as a great chance to get notable win and move himself towards another top fight.
A second Filipino show will be held in Ifugao. This card lacks any sort of quality and the main event will see unbeaten 17 year old Carl Jammes Martin (2-0, 2) face the limited Manny Mamacquiao (1-8-1) in what should be a straight forward win for Martin.
In Russian fight fans will see Kyrgyzstan born Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (1-0, 1) take on a yet to be named foe
The main Japanese card of the day is in Osaka where Osaka Teiken put on a card that has a number of notable fighters in action.
The main event of the card will see the JBC and OPBF ranked Sho Nakazawa (8-0, 4) faced Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (6-1, 2), who will be fighting in Japan for the second time. The highly touted Nakazawa should be heavily favoured here with his team then likely to move him towards a title fight in the summer. At the moment Nakazawa is one of the most promising Japanese fighters but would be viewed as the under-dog in either an OPBF or JBC title bout. For Atsumi there is little to lose and a lot to gain from a good performance here.
The co-feature here will see unbeaten teenager Juiki Tatsuyoshi (3-0, 2) battle against Kazuki Sanpei (3-3, 1). Tatsuyoshi, the son of the great Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, looked less than stellar last time out but on paper he is stepping down slightly in class here against a man who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3.
A third bout of note on this card, and in all honesty the most well matched, will see Tatsuya Ikemizu (13-1, 9) battle the under-rated Jonas Sultan (9-3, 5), of the Philippines. On paper Ikemizu would be the favourite however this is one of the toughest opponents he has faced and Sultan really is much better than his record suggests,in fact he gave the world ranked Go Onaga all he could handle last year. Ikemizu is the naturally bigger fighter but he's in with a very live opponent with Sultan and this could be a banana skin for the touted Japanese youngster.
A second Japanese show comes from Aichi, where fans only really get one bout of note.
That one bout will see the Japanese ranked Satoshi Ozawa (11-6-1, 2) battle against Kazuki Fukakura (9-9-2, 3) in what looks like a easy match up for Ozawa. Ranked by the JBC at Bantamweight Ozawa will be coming in to this one following back-to-back wins over Yoshihiko Matsuo however prior to those wins he was stopped twice and does have question marks over his toughness. Ozawa should win, but he is beatable.
All the other bouts on this card are 4 rounders.
Gwangmyeong, South Korea
We also get several Korean cards with the most “significant” being the KBA sanctioned show from Gwangmyeong.
The headline bout here sees Korean defector Hyun Mi Choi (11-0-1, 4) defending her WBA female Super Featherweight title against Colombian veteran Diana Ayala (19-11-4, 13). Ayala is in her 10th world title bout, an impressive achievement, however for Choi, who won the WBA female Featherweight on her debut, this will be her 12th. The champion should be favoured, but Ayala has power and could well be the first fighter in a long time to really take the fight to the Pyongyang born Seoul based fighter.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the KBA card we actually have two KBF shows, both in Seoul.
One of those cards is a Rookie of the Year card, with 6 bouts on it, whilst the other is an genuinely intriguing card with a couple of title bouts and an international under-card bout.
The most notable of the bouts will see Ye Joon Kim (13-1-2, 7) face off against Thailand's Patomsith Pathompothong (15-4, 5) in a bout for an IBF regional title at 126lbs. Kim is viewed by many as the most promising Korean currently plying his trade at home, and the 23 year old is regarded as the face of the KBF. This is however a tricky bout for the young Korean who is facing a man who is limited but tough and could well be a banana skin for the Korean, who will be moving up a weight for this bout.
On the under-card we'll get a KBF Featherweight title bout as defending champion Sa Myung Noh (9-2, 2) defends his belt against Min Suk Choi (3-2-1, 2). This will be Noh's first defense of the title that he won last year and he should be favoured here, though very little is known about Choi, other than the details provided by the KBF.
Also on the under-card is a bout between Je Ni Ma (7-1-3, 6) and the very experienced Indonesian Michael Speed Sigarlaki (16-18-2, 14). Ma, born Evgeny Samarin, is a Korean-Russian who lost his debut but has since gone 10 fights unbeaten and should be favoured against Sigarlaki. The Indonesian has been around the block, and faced the better fighters, but has always come up short against the good fighters he's faced and we're expecting to see that happen again here.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day with a number of shows that are worthy of noting.
On paper the best show of the day is an Osaka Teiken show at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card features 3 bouts of note despite none of the bouts being title affairs.
The main event of the card sees Japanese and OPBF ranked prospect Sho Nakazawa (7-0, 4) battling against Daisuke Watanabe (2-1, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given the hype and expectancy that Nakazawa has on his shoulders, however Watanabe has been matched hard and could well bring a hunger and desire that Nakazawa hasn't yet seen. If the “Sho of Naniwa” gets through this one then it's likely that he will be moved into a title bout in 2016, however we don't have this one pegged down as a foregone conclusion.
One bout that is a foregone conclusion will see the once beaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-1, 5) battle against a Thai foe, who is thought to be very inexperienced and was brought in at very late notice. The 22 year old Ikemizu is coming into this one following his first loss, though that loss did come to the talented Mark John Yap, who is a real handful despite his less than flattering record. We can't see this being any more than a confidence builder for the Osaka based Japanese youngster.
Whilst Ikemizu and Nakazawa are worth of some attention it's fair to say that more fans will be interested in a 4 rounder that features the promising Juiki Tatsuyoshi (2-0, 2). Juiki, the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, will be hoping to record a 3rd straight stoppage win as he faces Koichi Wakita (2-1). Although not regarded as a major prospect Tatsuyoshi has looked exciting, aggressive and heavy handed so far, and those traits should see him to a win here.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka fight fans get an historic event as the country puts on it's first ever professional boxing card. The show, which will be the first to be held in Colombia since Sri Lanka was formed more than 60 years ago, is an event being promoted by a Japanese promoter who will be hoping his fighter can become the first champion to successfully defend a world title in the country.
That aforementioned world champion is WBO Atomweight queen Nao Ikeyama (16-3-1, 4) who defends her title, at the age of 46, against Filipino challenger Jujeath Nagaowa (13-15-1, 8). On paper this looks like a straight forward defense for the champion, however she is 18 years old than the challenger and “father” time is currently unbeaten in the ring. Ikeyama is certainly among the better “40+” fighters but we don't expect her to reign for too long and Nagaowa may have got her at the right time here.
Another female bout on this card will see Tamao Ozawa (9-2, 2) take on Thailand's Kledpetch KKP (6-4, 1) in what looks likely to be a simple win for Ozawa, who won an OPBF title just a couple of fights back and is clearly hoping to achieve bigger and better things before her career is over.
In a rare show from Azerbaijan fans get the chance to see a local “star” as Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) battle for the WBF Light Middleweight title. The Baku local appears to be in a tough one on paper as he takes on Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22), from Uganda. This is an interesting match up on paper, and although Lusambya, who is known as “Mr Crush”, has lost his most notable bouts his power does look legitimate and could be very problematic for Mammadov.
Manchester, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will see the return to the ring of Indian star Vijender Singh (2-0, 2) who looks for his third straight stoppage win as he takes on Samet Hyuseinov (7-7, 1). On paper this is, by far, the most testing bout of Singh's career, however that's not saying much and we don't expect Singh to really break a sweat here against a Bulgarian opponent who has won just one of his last 5 bouts.
Talented Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (16-0, 12) will be returning to the ring to continue his career, and fight for the 4th time this year. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named, though it's unlikely to be anyone testing for the Filipino who has fought some very poor opposition in his last 3 contests. We don't like seeing mismatches so we are hoping that in 2016 Penalosa Jr will step his competition up rather than just “staying busy” as he has done recently.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get the chance to see another unbeaten Filipino prospect in action as 22 year old Flyweight hopeful Genesis Libranza (8-0, 5) takes on compatriot Juan Purisima (11-8-1, 4). On paper it's hard to bet against Libranza however Purisima is better than his record suggests and has scored upsets against the likes of Renren Tesorio and Welbeth Loberanis, whilst also sharing the ring with world class fighters, like Roman Gonzalez and Jerwin Ancajas. This is a much better fight the records suggest.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenge Nana Yoshikawa (4-1, 2) take on Denisse De La Cruz (0-1). This is Yoshikawa's first bout since losing to Anable Ortiz in a bout for the WBA female Minimumweight title, back in April. Despite the loss, and the fact this is her first bout outside of Osaka, it's hard to see Yoshikawa losing to Nana.
This coming Monday is a busy day in Asian boxing with a number of notable and important bouts.
The biggest show of the day comes form Osaka where we get numerous bouts of note, each being significant for the fighters involved with neither man, in some cases, being able to afford a loss.
The main event is a 10 round bout which will put highly regarded Japanese prospect Sho Nakazawa (6-0, 4) up against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (24-10-2, 18). For Nakawazawa this is a massive step up in class and a really significant test against a big puncher who is considered to be on the slide. For Lopez however it's a chance to move towards another major fight, possibly and OPBF title fight, later in the year. Both men have a lot to gain with a win and we suspect we'll learn a lot about both fighters and where they are heading with their careers.
Another notable bout will see the tough Myung Ho Lee (18-4-1, 6) battle against the promising Akiyoshi Kanazawa (12-3-4, 6). On paper it's hard to go against the 32 year old Lee, who is ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF, however at just 23 years old Kanazawa has youth on his side and is genuinely a fighter who has flown under the radar whilst improving markedly. It's a tough ask for the youngster but it's also a huge opportunity.
A high profile 4-rounder will see Juiki Tatsuyoshi (1-0, 1), the son of the great Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, battle against the limited Naoki Okamura (1-3). This should be a straight forward win for the 18 year old Tatsuyoshi, though he'll have a lot of pressure on his shoulders, just for being his father's son, and will know that Okamura will be gunning for him here.
The remaining bout of note, and one with direct implications on the Japanese title scene, will see JBC ranked Light Flyweight Kenichi Horikawa (28-13-1, 5) battle Il Che (7-8-5, 1). On paper this is a mismatch and Horikawa knows that. He also knows that if he loses here he will lose a shot at the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title against Shin Ono. Che doesn't have the opportunity up for grabs if he wins but he will be given a notable ranking if he can upset his experienced foe.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned, this card will feature a further 5 bouts,
The “secondary” card in Japan comes from Fukuoka where fans get an 8 bout card. Although there's 8 bouts in total most of them come at a low level with only 2 really standing out for us.
The most notable of those is the main event of the show, which will see Yoshihiko Matsuo (18-5-6, 3) battle against Satoshi Ozawa (9-6-1, 2). On paper this should be an easy win for Matsuo, especially considering the fact Ozawa has been stopped in 3 of his last 5. Matsuo however will be risking his #9 JBC ranking and that may draw the best from Ozawa who knows that a win will kick start his fledgling career.
The other bout of note will see Koki Ono (7-3, 4) battle Aiki Koto (8-2-1, 4) in a really mouth watering match up between fighters looking to to bounce back from losses. Ono's loss actually came last November, via majority decision, to Koto and he'll be looking for revenger here. As for Koto his loss was a stoppage in March, and he'll be looking to return with a win. Very good match up.
Ulsan, South Korea
There isn't much action today but what there is is a really interesting bout from Ulsan on South Korea for the IBF Youth Super Bantamweight title. The bout will see Ye Joon Kim (10-1, 4), one of the very few Korean fighters worth making a note of, take on Japan's Yoshihiro Utsumi (12-6, 7) in a well matched test.
On paper it's perhaps viewed as a straight forward win for Kim, though he was pushed all the way last time out by Vergil Puton in what was a surprisingly tough bout. Utsumi did lose last time out, though was up against Yasutaka Ishimoto, and did run Ishimoto very close.
Another bout on this card will see Sa-Myung Noh (7-2, 1) battle Filipino fighter Jaymart Toyco (15-7, 11) in the co-feature bout.
Sadly with this being a KBF show the rest of the details from the card are scarce to find and are unlikely to ever be put on boxrec.com.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
April 16th-Yamanaka defends against Santillan, Tatsuyoshi debuts, Nakazawa and Ikemizu face tests...and more!
Although the month has been packed so far things really begin to pick up over the next week or saw. Part of that is due to a pair of brilliant shows in Osaka. The first is today whilst another comes 6 days later.
The aforementioned Osaka show is the first really big Teiken show of 2015 and it really does have a bit of everything. The main event features one of the sports premier punchers whilst the undercard features highly touted prospects, and debutants, including the debut of a man likely to get more attention than more experienced fighters.
The show includes several debutants though the most notable is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (0-0) the second son of the great Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. Although he's only a debutant Juiki is expected to get a lot of attention and even TV time, despite the fact he's fighting the very poor Tadao Iwaya (1-2) in a bout that really lacks much interest. For Juiki being his father's son could be a double edged sword. He will get a lot of attention and it could help his career, but he'll also have people comparing him to his father and expecting him to be better than he probably is.
A more interesting debut from out stand point is that of Shuya Masaki (0-0) who went 54-8 in the amateur ranks and is hotly tipped as a man to watch. The 21 year old Masaki will be battling against Panthong Por Panya (0-0) in a 6 rounder. Although both men are debutants it's fair to say Masaki will start as the big favourite and some are tipping him as a world champion in the making.
Another highly touted prospect on this card is Sho Nakazawa (5-0, 4) who looks to continue his perfect start as he battles Mexican fighter Alexander Cazares (9-3, 3). Nakazawa is regarded very highly and his shut out win against Jhunriel Ramonal showed just how much talent he has, though we are hoping to see him tested here a little bit by the tough Cazares.
Another touted prospect on this card is Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-0, 5) who faces his toughest test so far as he takes on experienced and tough Filipino Marjohn Yap (19-12, 10). Ikemizu is highly regarded and won the 2013 Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight though this is a massive leap up in class against one of the better journeymen doing the roads in Asia.
In the main event we'll see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (22-0-2, 16) attempt to extend his reign as the Bantamweight kingpin as he battles against undefeated Argentinian challenger Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-0, 15). On paper this looks competitive with both men having similar records, however the quality that Yamanaka has beaten is so much better than anyone that Santillan has faced. Yamanaka is the best opponent Santillan has been in with whilst Santillan may just be in the top 10 of Yamanaka's best foes.
A second Japanese show takes place at the Korakuen Hall and takes place at a much lower level.
The main event here will see the heavy handed Akinori Watanabe (31-4, 27) battle against upset minded Filipino fighter Arnel Tinampay (22-16-1, 8). Watanabe is a former OPBF, Japanese and PABA Welterweight champion who comes into this bout on a run of 12-0 (10) and although he will, clearly, be the favourite Tinampay has made a habit out of beating Japanese fighters and holds relatively recent wins over Koshimaru Saito, Shoma Fukumoto and Yosuke Kirima.
One of the chief support bouts is an interesting match up as former Japanese Featherweight champion Koji Umetsu (22-15-3, 10) battles former title challenger Kazunori Takayama (20-8-4, 4). Both of these fighters are in their 30's and both are clearly on the back-side of their career. The loser here may well be looking at the end whilst the winner is possible set to get a title shot.
The other supporting bout will see promising Welterweight hopeful Takeshi Inoue (2-0-1, 1) in action against Thai visitor Kriburee Sithniwat (0-2-1). Inoue has been one of the men on our radar since his debut, a draw with fellow prospect Daishi Nagata, and it seems likely that he will continue his development with a win here before moving onto a more notable opponent later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
After a huge weekend of fighters we see the action continuing with fights on a busy Monday that show cases two highly touted Japanese prospect with both expected to go far and reach heady heights in the next few years.
Arguably the best of the prospects in action is the much touted Light Flyweight Genki Hanai (2-0, 2) who appears to be one of the most prospects in the world. Hanai is the sort of fighter who gets in the ring, closes the distance and going on the offensive with brutal shots on the inside, as seen in his bout Against Thailand's Farung Porsuwangym. We suspect to see Hanai record his third stoppage in as many fighter here as he takes on Filipino visitor Crison Omayao (16-8-2, 4) who enters on the back of a 6 fight winless streak, including a 4th round KO defeat to Naoya Inoue a little more than 2 years ago, and an opening round defeat to Kosei Tanaka back in July. We love Omayao's bravery but his management need to consider his health as he can't keep taking beatings to Japanese prospects like this and end up with much of a future. Omayao does enter the bout ranked #9 at Minimumweight by the OPBF but it's a mystery he still has any sort of a ranking considering his current run which is unlikely to change until his management start to look after their fighter.
Aside from the main event on this Gifu show there is little of real value despite the show having several competitive looking 6 rounders on it.
The other standout prospect in action is in Osaka as Sho Nakazawa (4-0, 4) puts his unbeaten record on the line against OPBF ranked Filipino Super Bantamweight Jhunriel Ramonal (14-7-4, 7). This is a huge step up for Nakazawa though we don't think we've seen his true potential so far and if he can impress against Ramonal, as we suspect, he'll be moved towards a title fight in 2015. For those who haven't seen Nakazawa in action we have a couple of his fights, including his bout with Thailand's Charit Aomtanom.
Thankfully this show isn't just a show with just one notable bout, in fact this card features a trio of notable bouts. The second of that trio will be a potentially explosive encounter between the unbeaten Ryuto Kyoguchi (12-0-1, 9) and the heavy handed Shohei Fujimoto (9-3-3, 8). On paper we have to favour Kyoguchi, who's only "black mark" has come against the criminally under-rated Adones Aguelo, Fujimoto on the other hand has been stopped in all 3 of his losses.
In the main event fans will get a chance to see a battle between ranked contenders as Myung Ho Lee (16-4-1, 5), a former OPBF Flyweigth title challenger, battles against Takashi Omae (12-3-5, 1). Going in to this bout Lee enters as the #7 ranked Japanese Flyweight and the #10 ranked OPBF Flyweight whilst Omae is the #9 ranked Japanese Light Flyweight contender however Lee comes into this bout with a record of 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts, including decisions losses to both Rocky Fuentes, in an OPBF title fight, and Edgar Sosa, in Mexico. Omae on the other hands is on an excellent unbeaten run of 8 bouts undefeated dating back more than 3 years.
Another show in Osaka seems just as interesting as the other one, in fact it this one actually has 4 bouts of note on it.
The main event here will see the heavy handed and exciting Koki Tyson Maebara (6-1-1, 6) battle against Thai visitor Petchsuriya Singwancha (12-8, 6) in a very interesting looking Middleweight bout. On paper this bout does look like a mismatch however the Thai has been in great form with 7 straight wins and actually enters as the WBC Youth Light Middleweight champion, though admittedly his title isn't on the line here.
In a Light Welterweight bout the heavy handed Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (8-2, 7) battles against the tough Shohei Kanemoto (9-8-1, 3) in what will be a second meeting between the two men. Back in April Kanemoto shocked Petagine with a majority decision win and it's fair to say the heavy handed Petagine will be seeking revenge here.
In a compelling Super Flyweight bout Cyborg Nawatedani (7-2-2, 3) will be battling against Shunji Nagata (10-11-2, 3) in a battle between ranked Japanese fighters. Nawatedani enters as the #10 ranked Flyweight whilst Nagata is ranked #13 and this bout really should help the winner move up the rankings. The 25 year old Nawatedani enters the bout unbeaten in 7 contests whilst Nagata has won his last 3. Although Nawatedani enters, rightfully, as the favourite it needs to be noted that Nagata has mixed with better company such as Myung Ho Lee and Tetsuya Hisada.
One final bout of note will see tough Filipino journeyman Marjohn Yap (19-11, 10) battle against Yuta Uetani (15-5-1, 7) in what looks set to be a “tough guy fight” between two very, very hard men. Between them they have suffered just 2 stoppage defeats and we suspect they won't be stopping each other here, in potentially the fight of the day.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
There aren't many fighters from Asia that fans are really excited about. Manny Pacquiao and Gennady Golovkin are the two stand out examples but they aren't the only ones. One of the few others is in action this coming Thursday.
Olympic boxing champions don't come around an awful lot, especially not Japanese ones. In fact the country has only ever had a handful of boxers take an Olympic medal of any kind so it's easy to understand why so many fans are so excited about Ryota Murata (3-0, 3).
Murata has looked sensational in his first 3 bouts, stopping all 3 of his opponents and showing serious signs of improvement fight after fight. He'll be hoping to continue to improvements in his 4th bout as he takes on Mexico's Jesus Angel Nerio (12-3, 6) in what looks to be a better bout than one may first imagine.
Nerio isn't a world class opponent but he's not awful either and his only stoppage loss has come to the world ranked Jose Uzcategui whilst another loss was a decision loss to Marco Antonio Periban. For Murata, in just his 4th bout, to be compared to Periban and Uzcategui would be a huge statement and we're expecting Murata to make sure he gets to make that statement.
Notably this will be the first 10 round bout of Murata's career but he'll be expecting a victory inside the distance.
Of course the card isn't all about Murata, even though he's the main event and we have 2 other interesting bouts on the card. The better of those two bouts is a contest between the unbeaten Shohei Omori (11-0, 6) and former world title contender Christian Esquivel (27-4, 20). Esquivel, best known for his loss to Shinsuke Yamanaka, is a huge step up for Omori who will be given a serious test here, however a win for the Japanese fighter will almost certainly see him make a mark on the world rankings.
The other bout of note wills see former world title holder Malcolm Tunacao (33-3-3, 20) battle against Joo-Hyun Jung (6-2-1, 2), the South Korean Flyweight champion. It's hard to think that this will be anything but a victory for the Filipino veteran but it's going to be good to see him in the ring again after just 1 bout in the last 12 months.
Also on the card will be Sho Nakazawa (3-0, 3), a man hotly tipped for major success, and Tatsuya Ikemizu (9-0, 3). Nakazawa will be fighting Indonesia's Gun Tinular (11-17-1, 6) in what is a huge step up for the much touted Japanese youngster whilst Ikemizu will be fighting the once beaten Oke Haryanto (5-1-1, 2) in what we presume will be an easy victory for the unbeaten Japanese youngster.
For those interested in watching Murata, his bout will be televised, on tape delay, at 23:00 Tokyo time on Fuji TV. We're unsure if the telecast will show any of the other fights though it does seem unlikely.
(Image courtesy of Fuji TV)