This coming Saturday is a really interesting day, without being a massive one. We get the kick off of a special Japanese tournament, a Japanese Youth title bout a regional title bout in Thailand and more in what is a busy, yet low key, day.
The main show is the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament show which takes place at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Reason Promotions along with Floyd Mayweather's Japanese TMT arm, and former Japanese world champion Takashi Uchiyama.
For those who haven't followed the news the Knock Out Dynamite tournament is actually 3 tournaments, each with 4 men involved, and will take place at 65KG's, 60KG's and 56KG's, as opposed to the more standard boxing weight classes. Their are cash prizes available for the winners with bonuses for any knockouts.
One of the 65KG weight class will see semi-finals take place between Mongolian fighter Byambatsogt Tuguldur (0-0) and Japanese veteran Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11), in what looks like a mismatch on paper. It's hard to say much about the Mongolian, though Tuguldur could be a a genuine dark horse, given the reputation Mongolian fighters have for being tough, hard hitting and very exciting.
The winner of that semi-final will take on the winner of the other semi-final, which will pit Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) against Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9). As with the other semi-final isn't doesn't look the most competitive of bouts, but Baez has struggled recently, with 2 losses in his last 3, and it's possible that Miyazaki could be getting him when his confidence is low. The reality, however, is that Baez will be too good and too powerful for Miyazaki here.
The 60KG tournament will see another seemingly debuting Mongolian in action with Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-0) set to take on veteran Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) in one of the semi-final bouts. Aged 40 Takahata is coming to the end of his career, but is only 2 years removed from a Japanese title fight with Masaru Sueyoshi and is certainly not a fighter who is still solid despite his age. From what we could find the Mongolian has fought in MMA, but we've struggled to find any sign of a previous boxing career.
The winner in the Takahata Vs Bat-Ireedui fight will face the winner of a bout between Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) and Filipino Marvin Esquierdo (14-2-1-1, 8). This looks like one of the better semi final bouts on paper, and one where the visitor has a good chance of picking up the upset. Ito has scored just 1 win in his last 6, going 1-4-1, and that dates back over 4 years. He is however coming back after almost 18 months out, we expect to see him being reinvigorated by the break. The 24 year old Esquierdo is relatively unknown but has momentum, activity and youth on his side.
The 56KG division is really the most interesting, at least if we get the final we're expecting. In one semi-final we'll see the very talented promising Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) taking on the experienced Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9). The 24 year old Yamauchi is a real talent and whilst this is a genuine step up in class he has shown what he can do against Filipino fighters like Alvin Medura and Claudevan Sese. For he's the hidden gem of this tournament. Wakamtsu on the other hand is a 35 year old veteran who has been around the Japanese scene for a decade, with very mixed success. Wakamatsu is better than his record suggests, but we'd be shocked to see him over-come Yamauchi.
This division has a second unbeaten man in it, with former Rookie of the Year winner Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6) taking on the more experienced Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9). When he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2017 Sasaki showed so much promise, and whilst that promise hasn't yet been realised it's clear he can go a long way, and we fancy him to get past Iju and set up a final with Yamauchi. Despite being the under-dog Iju is a very live fighter here and even with 3 losses in his last 4 he is a potential banana skin if Sasaki tries to look past him
A second Japanese show is set to take place in Hyogo, and whilst this is a less significant show than the other, it does have the bout of the day on it, with a mouth watering Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout.
That title fight sees unbeaten men clash as former Rookie of the Year winner Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) takes on former amateur standout Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2). The title is vacant, but this is a great bout to fill that vacancy and pits a skill fighter against an aggressive fighter. Ohashi has barely lost a round during his 8 fight career, and whilst he does lack power there is a lot of skill and IQ behind what he does. Takayama hasn't yet face a Japanese opponent, but looks like he could go through most of the Japanese scene quickly, so don't be surprised it Watanabe strap a jet to him if he comes through this with his unbeaten record intact. Our full preview of this bout is available to read here Ohashi and Takayama battle for Japanese Youth title!
As well as the title bout we'll also see Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) fight in what looks like a stay busy bout against Masajiro Honda (6-11, 4). The talented Kawashima won the Rookie of the Year in 2014, and has shown real promise, though has twice lost close decisions on the road, losing narrowly to Cristian Mijares and Juan Miguel Elorde. We see this as being little more than a work out for Kawashima who really does deserve so much more in terms of competition than Honda, who has been stopped in each of his last 6 bouts.
Bang Phun, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan there is also some interesting action in Thailand, as the Work Point Studio plays host to another card.
The headline bout here will see Chainoi Worawut (7-0-1, 7) take on Filipino foe Alvin Medura (9-4, 7), with the unbeaten local for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. The local, also known as Thattana Luangphon, is a very promising 22 year old who is rising through the ranks and looks likely to be one of the nations big stars of the future. Medura isn't a terrible fight, but shouldn't be much of a test for the Thai, who appears to be getting matched progressively harder. This should be a test for the unbeaten puncher, but a test he passes without too many issues.
In a supporting bout on this card teenage Super Flyweights clash, with Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) facing off in a 6 rounder, we believe as part of a Work Point Super Flyweight tournament.
In Cebu we get a small Filipino card, featuring two men men who are each looking to take a step towards a bigger fight.
One of those men is Clyde Azarcon (15-3-1, 5), who will be looking to bounce back from his first round loss to Ginjiro Shigeoka earlier this year. The loss to Shigeoka was from a brutal body shot and we fully understand why Azarcon has been matched softly here, as he takes on Garry Rojo (9-13-1, 5) in what should be a straight forward win.
The other is the under-rated Carlo Demecillo (13-5-1, 6), who is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run since a loss to Ruben Manakane in Indonesia. Although he's yet to get a big win he did come close to get a career best victory last Novemeber, when he drew with Arthur Villanueva, and it's clear he can take the next step up. Here he's up against Jonathan Francisco (10-12-1, 4) and this should be little more than a simple win for the talented Demecillo.
Staying in Asia there will also be a card in Vietnam, thanks to Victory 8.
The main event will be a WBA East Asia title bout between local novice professional Dinh Hoang Truong (1-0, 1) and South Korean visitor Gyu Hyun Lee (2-4-1). It's hard to get too excited about this bout, though we are looking forward to seeing Filipino hopeful Charly Suarez (3-0, 3), who goes up against a local opponent.
Christchurch, New Zealand
One other bout featuring a fighter from Asia takes place in New Zealand where once beaten local Bowyn Morgan (20-1, 10) takes on Filipino visitor Nelson Tinampay (14-7-1, 6) for the WBU Welterweight title. Whilst Morgan is no world beater, and his competition hasn't been amazing so far, he has notched some notable wins over the likes of Gunnar Jackson and Jack Asis. On the other hand Tinampay is very limited and was stopped 44 year old Yong Soo Choi in 2017, and has been stopped 3 times since then. This should be an early win for the local.
Paranaque City, Philippines
This coming Monday fans in the Philippines get a small card in Paranque City. Sadly, at the time of writing, details of the card are scarce with the show supposedly featuring 4 bouts.
The main event of this card will see Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) make his 4th defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title, taking on Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) of Japan. Elorde, the grandson of the legendary Flash Elorde, is currently ranked #2 by the WBO and could find himself getting a world title fight sooner, rather than late, if he's successful here. Kawashima is a pretty good test for Elorde and in fact the Japanese fighter could be more than just a good challenger, he could be a real banana skin here for Elorde. Elorde is talented, but he hasn't beaten anyone as good as Kawashima, who gave a really good outing in Mexico against Cristian Mijares last time he fought outside of Japan. A fuller preview of this bout is available here Elorde and Kawashima battle for region title!
A second title bout on this show will see Casey Morton (7-1-3, 1) battle against Chie Higano (8-7-1, 2) in a contest for the WBO Asia Pacific female Flyweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but Morton was shown up last time out, losing in China to the unheralded Jutamas Jitpong, and Higano could be capable of making things very tough for Morton.
Also on this card will be Juan Martin Elorde (23-2-1, 10), in a 6 round bout, against Indonesian Rengga Rengga (8-2, 2), in what should be little more than a confidence building return for Elorde, who hasn't fought since being stopped by Isa Chaniev in December 2017.
The biggest show in Asia takes place in Hyogo and will feature two notable bouts.
The main event will see Japan's Shohei Kawashima (16-2-2, 3) take on Filipino Ronnie Campos (8-3-3, 5). The Japanese fighter has impressed over-all, and pushed Cristian Mijares surprisingly close in 2016. Sadly for Kawashima he did suffer a KO loss last year to Gaku Aikawa and this is his first step up in class since that loss. The 21 year old visitor will bee fighting in Japan for the second time, having lost in 2017 to Junki Sasaki, and will feel like he could pick up a win against Kawashima, who may be low on confidence here.
Also on this card is unbeaten prospect Yuki Yamauchi (1-0, 1), who was originally announced to have a 10 round bout, but has since had the bout rescheduled to a 6 rounders, take on Alvin Medura (8-2, 7). The Japanese novice is tipped to be a massive star in the future and this is a really good test for him against a limited, but dangerous, Filipino puncher. Medura is no world beater, but at this level he is very dangerous if he lands, and he's a hungry fighter, but was out boxed a year ago by Ryuto Owan, who showed that he can be out boxed.
This show will also feature the retirement ceremony of Japan's Ryuya Yamanaka, who has had to hang up the gloves on medical grounds. It's a shame to see Yamanaka hang up his gloves at just 23 years old. Despite his early retirement we do expect the fans to send him into a retirement with a serious send out.
Cebu also plays host to a small card, which really hasn't got much attention or much worth talking about, if we're being honest.
The main event will see local loser Wilbert Rota (0-4) take on unbeaten Taiwanese fighter Ming Hung Lee (6-0, 4), in what should be a mismatch in favour of the 29 year old Lee.
A slightly more interesting bout on the same card will see Cris Ganoza (15-2, 8) take on Ernesto Alera (5-5-1). The 24 year old Ganoza is a talented fighter who has only suffered losses to Edward Heno and John Michael Zulueta, two very talented unbeaten youngsters. The light punching Alera has won just 1 of his last 5 bouts and isn't expected to be much of a test for Ganoza, despite the fact Ganoza was beaten last time out.
Busan, South Korea
There is also set to be a small novice show in Korea, headlined by Suk Joon Hwang (3-1-2) and Urmat Amankulov (2-0, 1). The 23 year old Hwang lost after 103 seconds on his debut but has since gone on a 5 fight unbeaten run. The unbeaten Amankulov is a Korean based Kyrgyzstan born fighter who debuted in July and has already racked up a couple of wins. Although not a mouth watering match up on paper this could be very fun for the fans in Busan.
Other notable prospects will be in action in Canada, with a duo of Central Asian prospects taking on interesting tests in Quebec.
One of those prospects is Kazakh Lightweight Ablaikhan Khussainov (8-0, 5), who takes a notable step up up in class, as he takes on the experienced Jesus Laguna (22-12-3, 19) in an 8 round bout. The 27 year old Kazakh is a talent but has been moved very slowly since making his debut in December 2015 and this step up is well over-due. The 30 year old Laguna has been around the block but has failed to win any of his more notable bouts. On paper this is a step up, but a manageable one for the Kazakh.
Originally the talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (3-0, 3) was pencilled in to face off against Norberto Gonzalez (23-11, 13) on this card. Gonzalez has however been removed from the card, and Akhmedov will instead face off with Jesus Javier Mendoza (7-5-1, 6), in what looks like a big downgrade. The unbeaten Akhmedov, from Kazakhstan, has looked excellent since making his debut in April and will be looking to leave an impression here as well.
Sadly it seems like the previously reported match up between Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6) and Adrian Luna Flores (20-5-1, 13) has been cancelled in the days leading up to the fight. On paper this was an excellent match up for Sabirov and a great test against a fighter who has been a long term sparring partner for Ryota Murata, so it's a shame to see the bout falling through.
In Belgium fans will see Kyrgyzstan born Super Featherweight hopeful Faroukh Kourbanov (15-1, 3) take on Frenchman Sylvain Chapelle (17-25-2). The talented Kourbanov, who is bow based in Belgium, is a former EBU European Union champion who suffered his first loss this past May against Italian veteran Devis Boschiero, in a close bout on the road, and he'll be looking to bounce back. The 32 year old Chapelle is very limited but typically fights at Lightweight or Light Welterweight and is very tough and well travelled. Chapelle has never been stopped and has fought the likes of Scott Cardle, Yvan Mendy, Romain Jacob and Emiliano Marsili. This should be a clear win for Kourbanov, but he will be expecting to be taken the distance.
This coming Sunday is a pretty quiet day in Asian boxing, but there ate two shows of some note in Japan, with one of those being headlines by an OPBF title bout.
The more notable of the two shows comes from the Big Wave in Wakayama, thanks to Wakayama Kuratoki Promotions.
The main event here will see OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (9-0-1, 6) defending his title against Shun Kosaka (15-3, 4). The champion, from the Philippines, claimed the title back in March when he stopped Reisuke Nakayama in 9 rounds. In his title win the Filipino puncher looked like a a really exciting hopeful, and at just 21 he is still years away from hitting his physical peak. Despite his lack of years Raquinel showed no fear of going to Japan to win the title and won't be scared of defending it in Japan either. Kosaka has proven to be a credible fighter on the Japanese scene, only losing to good fighters like Tetsuya Hisada, Kenya Yamashita and Akinori Hoshino, but he's not yet scored a win at this type of level and it would take a career best performance to defeat Raquinel and claim the OPBF title here.
In a supporting bout Hyuma Fujioka (9-6-1, 1) will go up against the talented Shohei Kawashima (15-2-2, 3). Coming in to this Fujioka had lost 3 of his last 5, losing decisions to Yuta Horiike and Naoya Okamoto as well as a suffering a stoppage loss to Gaku Aikawa. He's clearly out of form but will know that a win here will give his career a huge boost. As for Kawashima the pressure is on his shoulders to perform here, despite the fact he has lost 2 of his last 3 including a stoppage loss to the aforementioned Gaku Aikawa last year. Kawashima had looked a talented fighter earlier in his career, and had even given Cristian Mijares a real test in 2016, and will be hoping to show those skills here as he attempts to get his career back on track.
The second show is a much lesser card from Hiroshima
On paper the best bout from this card will see Taiyo Inoue (7-3-2, 5) take on Isao Aoyama (10-6-1, 2) in what should be a very competitive bout. Neither of these men are near title level, but rather than fighting in mismatches, either unwinnable ones or ones against novice visitors, they will almost certainly make for a good match up here against each other. It's not quite 50-50, but it's not far off and should be a compelling contest.
A supporting bout on this card will see Hironori Miyake (8-6-1, 1) look to bounce back from a February loss to Kuosuke Sawada as he takes on Wolf Nakano (4-6-4, 1). As for Nakano he is pretty limited and has lost 4 of his last 6, but should be able to test Miyake over the scheduled 8 round decision.
So Christmas is this coming Monday, Turkey, alcohol, presents, fun and family. On Sunday however we have fights in Japan as the sport delivers once more before the big day.
The more notable of two shows comes from Kadoma City in Osaka and will feature a number of notable fighters.
One of those notable fighters is second generation hopeful Juiki Tatsuyoshi (6-0, 4), who will be facing off with a Thai visitor in the main event of the card. The bout with Tatsuyoshi is his first to be scheduled over the 8 round distance, and will actually be aired on G+, who appear happy to push him as a star in the making, thanks to his still hugely popular father Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. This will be Tatsuyoshi's first bout of the year, though comes after a number of injuries and the birth of his first child, so expect a lot of substories being told by the TV crew, but the key is for the unbeaten Osakan to win, and move into 2018 with his unbeaten record intact.
In the co-feature we'll see former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (32-4-4, 19) look to take a huge step towards a second world title fight, as he takes on world ranked Nicaraguan Alexander Mejia (8-0, 4). Internationally Osawa is best known for his 1-sided loss to Oscar Valdez but has bounced back since then with two wins, including a wide decision win over the then unbeaten Julio Cortez. Coming into this Meija has never fought outside of Nicaragua and comes into the bout with split decision wins over Lesther Lara and Ramiro Blanco as well as his unbeaten record.
One other bout of note on this card will see Shohei Kawashima (15-1-2, 3) face off with Gaku Aikawa (8-5-1, 2) in what looks likely to be a pretty interesting match up. The once beaten Kawashima has only fought once since his narrow defeat to Cristian Mijares in October 2016 and is a very talented fighter, who may well suffer from inactivity here, after 9 months out of the ring. Although his record doesn't show it Aikawa is a very decent lower tier domestic fighter and could well take advantage of Kawashima's inactivity here.
The other show comes from Osaka city, and features some notable fighters, but far less than the other card.
The main event here sees the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (13-0, 8) take on Takuya Yamamoto (8-7, 4) in what looks like a mismatch on paper. The unbeaten 22 year old Southpaw has shown traits of being one to watch, but has been matched lightly, with his best win being a decision over Filipino Markquil Salvana. Uehara is young, and for that we can let him off for the poor competition, but it's starting to feel like he's ready for a step up. Yamamoto is a limited fighter but is much better than his record indicates, and he has given Shingo Kawamura and Yuta Uetani tough bouts in recent times, though was dominated by Satoshi Shimizu back in May, who stopped him inside 2 minutes.
In the chief support bout fans will see the touted Kazuaki Miyamoto (4-1, 3) take on a Thai foe, in what should be a straight forward win for Miyamoto. Miyamoto was stopped earlier this year, by Shuzo Inada, but should be able to record his second win since that loss.
Action returns to Kobe this coming Sunday as Shinsei Gym put on their next show.
The main event of the card sees the once beaten Shohei Kawashima (14-1-2, 3) return to the ring for the first time since he suffered a very close loss to Cristian Mijares in Mexico. The loss to Mijares may have been a loss for Kawashima but it certainly showed that Kawashima had the skills to go a long way in the sport. It seems Shinsei are happy to give him an easy win here as he takes on domestic foe Junnosuke Nagayasu (13-11-3, 3). The experienced Nagayasu has got experience on his side but has only scored two wins in the last 6 years and lacks the skills to really compete with Kawashima.
In a supporting bout fight fans will see former OPBF champion Ryuya Yamanaka (13-2, 3) take on Thai visitor Khanongmek Sithkrukong (0-1), in what will likely act as a world title prelude for Yamanaka. The 21 year old Shinsei prospect won the Oriental title last year but vacated it earlier this year to begin focussing on a world title bout, and it seems likely that a blow out here will help him secure that shot at world honours. Interestingly Khanongmek was stopped inside a round in his only previously bout, being blown out in 67 seconds by Reiya Konishi last August.
Another notable supporting bout will see Ryo Kosaka (13-3-1, 7) take on Morihisa Iju (10-1, 8) in what should be the best bout on the show. Kosaka started his career 3-2-1 but has since gone 10-1 and scored notable wins over Satoshi Niwa and Dado Cabintoy. Although not a world beater Kosaka is 23 and showing signs of genuine promise. Aged 27 Iju has a good looking record but hasn't scored a win of note since a 2014 blow out against Masaru Urata and has a lot of questions to answer, with the potential to answer a lot of them here.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines, featuring two title bouts.
One of those bouts will be a WBF Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title fight as 23 year old old Ronie Tanallon (10-3-1, 2) battles Arnold Garde (7-4-2, 3). Coming in to this Tanallon has impressed, but has lost 2 of his last 4 to unbeaten foes and will know he can't afford another loss here. As for Garde he has suffered 3 stoppage losses, though surprisingly went 10 rounds with Randy Petalcorin back in December.
The other title fight on this card sees Markquil Salvana (11-3, 5) look to bounce back from successive losses as he takes on domestic journeyman JP Macadumpis (11-8-1, 5), who has been stopped in 4 of his last 6. Salvana has mixed with good fighters, but has lost to the Moloney twins and Takuya Uehara, It's worth noting that Macadumpis has also mixed with good fighters, including Yukinori Oguni, but has also lost to some limited opponents like Rex Granada and it's hard to see him winning here.
This card will also feature the ring return of Jake Bornea (11-2, 5), who will be fighting for the girst time since he was stopped by Andre Selby. The 21 year old Borena will be up against Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-10-3, 3) in what should be a straight forward win for Bornea
The attention for this weekend is pretty scattered with no one country really stealing the focus. Saying that however the most intriguing card is probably in Kazakhstan.
In the main event of the card fight fans get to see Kanat Islam (21-0, 18) make his Kazakh debut at long last, as he takes on Ghana's Patrick Allotey (34-2, 28) in a bout for a number of minor titles. Originally this bout was said to be a WBA “interim” world title bout, but will instead have IBO, WBO and WBA minor titles and whilst it's not what either man really wanted, it could open doors for world title bouts down the line. On paper it's a big step up for Islam though Allotey has suffered 2 recent stoppage losses and it seems likely he will again be stopped as Islam is a solid puncher, despite being a technically flawed fighter.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Zhankhozh Turarov (19-0, 13) fight for the 5th time in Kazakhstan, returning for the first time since December 2012. In the opposite corner to Turarov will be the heavy handed Ghanaian Isaac Aryee (24-8, 22). Ayree comes into this bout with a puncher's reputation but is 0-3 outside of Ghana and was stopped in 3 rounds last year by Jimmy Kilrain Kelly, with a similar outcome expected here.
The card features a really notable debutant in the form of 2016 Olympian Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (0-0), who goes in deep against the highly experience Milton Nunez (33-16-1, 29), who has faced a relative who's who. The Kazakh debutant may not have won a medal at 2016 Olympics but did win the 2013 World Amateur Championship and the Asian Championships, in 2013, and is holy tipped to race through the ranks if he decides to turn professional full time, something that is still unclear.
Also on this card will be Aidos Yerbossynuly (4-0, 4), who will be in a 6 rounder.
Seoul, South Korea
The new BoxingM organisation continue to build their brand with their second show in the space of just a few weeks, and for the first time they put on international title fighters.
In the main event we see one of Korea's more interesting fighters, Woo Min Won (8-1, 5), take on a Japanese veteran, Taisho Ozawa (21-8-2, 13), for the WBC EPBC, Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council, Light Welterweight title. Won comes into this bout on a 3 fight winning run including a win for the Korean 140lb title last year and a big upset win over Daiki Koide earlier this year, and should be favoured to keep that run going here. The 36 year old Ozawa hasn't fought in more than 3 years, and was 2-4 in his previous bouts, and although he was once a decent fighter he was on the slide before his long break from the ring.
In the other title bout on this card we'll see the WBC EPBC “interim” Lightweight title on the line, as Il Kwon Kim (6-3, 3) takes on Juk San Lee (6-3, 1), aka Ryo Akahori as he's listed on the poster for the show. Lee isn't the most active of fighters, in fact this is only his second bout in the last 5 years, but a win here could kick start his career. Kim, who has also been plagued with inactivity, won the Korean Lightweight title earlier this year and will see a win here as a chance to move into much more significant and interesting bouts in the near future.
In the main event of a card in Durango fight fans will see former world champion Cristian Mijares (54-8-2, 26) battle unbeaten Japanese fight Shohei Kawashima (14-0-2, 3) in a bout for Mijares' WBC silver Featherweight title. The bout is a huge step up for Kawashima but a great opportunity for him to make a mark on the big stage and build on things like being the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year and his win in Korea earlier this year. At 35 Mijares, once one of the sports most talented boxers, is on the back end of his career, though comes into this bout on a 5 fight winning streak, including a shock win over the then unbeaten Andres Gutierrez. At his best this would be a huge mismatch in favour of Mijares, however he's not the fighter he was and Kawashima does have a chance, albeit a slim one, to claim a career changing win
Also on this card is former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (19-4-1, 12), best known for his incredible contest with Katsunari Takayama, who fights Filipino fighter Crison Omayao (20-12-3, 7), best known for being the debut opponent of Naoya Inoue back in 2012. Omayao has been passed around Japanese prospects the past few years, including Genki Hanai and Kosei Tanaka, and it seems he is here to serve as a tune up opponent for Rodriguez who is said to be chasing Flyweight gold now. This could be a painful night for the “D'Cowboy” given that Rodriguez is a bit of a monster in the ring.
In Mexico we'll see Filipino Richard Pumicpic (18-7-2, 6) take on a really tough ask as he battles Mexican star Cesar Juarez (18-5, 14), who has been a thorn in the side of Filipino boxing in recent years. Juarez first gave Filipino's a headache when he gave Nonito Donaire a nightmare late in their world title bout last December, and destroyed Filipino hearts earlier this year when he beat the hotly tipped Albert Pagara. Pumicpic isn't as well known as the other Filipino's that Jaurez has faced but is likely to find out what the other two found out, the Mexican is a heavy handed, tough nosed nightmare
In Russia we see WBA “interim” Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (7-0, 6) fight in a 10 round non-title fight as he faces fellow puncher Abdallah Paziwapazi (13-3, 12), from Tanzania. The bout is Bivol's first since he claimed his “world” title, easily defeating Felix Valera with a 12 round decision, and should be little more than a stay busy fight for the Kyrgyzstan born sensation. It is worth noting that Paziwapazi is not only a puncher but has never been stopped and that will be the target here for Bivol, who will be fighting for the third time this year
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day for fight fans hoping to follow the Asian fight scene with bouts across the Orient, stretched across 4 countries and 5 cards.
Seoul, South Korea
For many the most notable card will be a show from Seoul which will feature several notable Japanese fighters and be streamed over youtube.
The most notable name on the card is former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (31-2-1, 20) who faces off against Indonesian journeyman Rasmanudin (19-15-3, 10). For Hosono the bout is likely to be a tune up bout before a potential world title eliminator later in the year. Sadly the once promising Rasmanudin appears to be shot to pieces.
Another notable name on this card is the highly touted Koki Inoue (3-0, 3), the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue. The unbeaten and heavy handed Japanese fighter will be stepping up in class for face Korean puncher Hyun Woo Yuh (5-1, 5), in what is a genuinely credible match up for both men. Yuh did lose last time out, losing a narrow decision to Sonny Katiandagho, but will be looking to make a name for himself here.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get the chance to see prospects in action.
One of those prospects is the unbeaten Mike Plania (10-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against the more experienced Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-6-3, 3). Plania is showing serious signs of becoming a prospects of note but at just 19 we are some time from seeing him really being tested. Sadly Ramayan is unlikely to ask anything of Plania here.
Another 19 year old rising through the ranks is puncher Raymart Gaballo (13-0, 11), who will be up against veteran fighter Jilo Merlin (13-26-2, 2) in an 8 rounds. Merlin has been stopped in 14 of his 26 losses and it's hard to see him surviving with the hard hitting Gaballo. One other prospect on this card is the once beaten Romero Duno (9-1, 8) who faces Eusebio Baluarte (19-15, 12) in what should be a very easy assignment for the 20 year old Duno.
In Japan fans get two shows,one of which is in Wakayama and headlined by former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (19-4-4, 8), who faces Kazuki Fukakura (9-10-2, 3) in what looks like a mismatch, Kikuchi, who lost to Shingo Wake back in 2013, has run off 5 straight wins and will be hoping to extend that run here. A win for Fukakura would be his biggest and best to date,
On the same card fans will get the chance to see the promising Shohei Kawashima (13-0-2, 3) look for his 8th win as he takes on Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-7, 3) in what looks like a good test for the unbeaten man. Takabayashi has lost his last 4 but does have the ability to perform better than his record suggests and he may well be able to ask serious questions of the unbeaten man.
The other Japanese show comes from Fukuoka and is headlined by Koki Ono (10-3, 5), who faces Junya Nishikawa (7-7-2, 2). The bout is a well matched one, given that Ono has lost 2 of his last 4, but it's one with a clear favourite. Sadly however the rest of this card is entirely forgettable.
The day also comes with a Chinese card set to be headlined by two 8 rounders.
One of those 8 rounders will see unbeaten teenager Bingbing Cheng (5-0-1) battle against Que Xu (8-1-1, 2) in a Featherweight bout whilst the other 8 rounder will see Tao Weng (3-1-2) face off against Zhong Jie Niu (7-0, 2) at 140lbs, with the winners set to be moved towards notable bouts in the near future.
We don't often see Japanese fighters on the road but today there will be three Japanese fighters fighting outside of their homeland, whilst we get a lot of other action.
Seoul, South Korea
One of those aforementioned Japanese fighters will be the unbeaten Shohei Kawashima (12-0-2, 3) who faced off against Korean Jin Wook Lim (7-3-5, 1) in a 10 round bout to headline a KBF show in Seoul. According to the KBF a regional title will be on the line for this bout, though unclear which title. One think is for sure however, and that is Kawashima will be expecting to get a win here, something that perhaps can't be said of the other Japanese fighters on the road.
Also on this card is a KBF Super Flyweight title fight. That bout will see Yo Han Bae (6-2-1, 1)* battle against Pil Joon Kim (6-3, 3)*. The title is vacant and this is a great chance for the winner to make their first real mark on the Korean national scene.
Seoul, South Korea
Staying in Seoul the KBC will also be sanctioning a card with the most notable action here being a bout between KBF Bantamweight champion Muhammad Waseem (2-0, 2), a Korean based former Pakistani amateur standout, and Indonesian visitor John Bajawa (11-12, 7). From what we've seen of Waseem this seems likely to be little more than a stay busy bout for the very promising unbeaten man, who looks likely to go on to bigger and better things in the near future.
Going back to Japanese fighters on the road, another will be Ryohei Takahashi (8-1-1, 1) who is in Victoria to face Andrew Moloney (5-0, 3) for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. This is a really tough match up for Takahashi, who will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time, though the pressure is on Moloney who some have tipped as a potential star for Australian boxing.
A second WBA Oceania title bout will also take place on this card and will see Indonesia's Junior Bajawa (14-6, 7) battle another of the Maloney brothers, Jason Moloney (5-0, 5), in a bout for the Super Bantamweight title. This is a massive ask for Bajawa who is unlikely to see out more than a few rounds with Moloney, who is a very exciting Australian prospect.
The final of the Japanese fighters on the road is Mari Ando (12-8, 5), who travels to México to face local star Ibeth Zamora Silva (24-5, 9) for the WBC female Light Flyweight title. Ando is attempting to become the second female 3-weight champion from Japan, following Naoko Fujioka, though she is up against one of the best female pound-for-pound fighters on the planet and is going to need to have a career best performance to over-come “La Roca”.
Back in Asia there will be a low profile card in Kunming, where SECA and Top Rank continue to try and build Chinese boxing. The card doesn;'t have any notable fighters on it, though we are interested to see how the unbeaten A Fu Bai (6-0, 3) does, as he faces the win-less Jiang Nan (0-1) in a 6 rounder.
In one of a trio of main events on this card fight fans will see promising Light Middleweight Ryosuke Maruki (10-3-1, 7) battle against South Korean visitor Jung Hoon Yang (9-7, 2). Coming in to this one Maruki will be looking to record a 4th straight win and move towards a potential Japanese title fight in the near future.
In another “Japan Vs Korea” bout we'll see the big punching Yuki Beppu (10-0, 10) take on Jin Soo Kim (6-5, 3) in what should be Beppu's 11th straight stoppage win. Coming in to this one Beppu's form is brilliant, and has seen him claim the Rookie of the Year crown last year, Kim however has lost his last 3 and has won just twice in his last 6 bouts.
Another of the feature bouts will see 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year, at Super Bantamweight, Shohei Kawashima (11-0-2, 3) risk his unbeaten record against Kosuke Mizuno (7-5-2, 2). On paper this should be an easy bout for Kawashima however Mizuno is better than his record suggests and he really could be a great test for the unbeaten youngster.
As well as the 3 noted bouts there will be 4 other contests on this show.
Another Japanese show takes place in Okinawa and features a really good looking main event.
That main event will see the world ranked Go Onaga (25-2-2, 18) take on the criminally under-rated Jonas Sultan (9-2, 5) of the Philippines. We know the 35 year old Onaga will be strongly favoured here however Sultan has the ability to be a genuine banana skin and has never “cleanly” lost a bout so far. Whilst Onaga will be expected to win we'd not be surprised at all by a Sultan win, especially given his form and confidence on the back of a 5 fight winning streak.
Sadly the resat of this card is relatively uninteresting.
In Osaka we get the West Japan Rookie of the Year tournament with 12 bouts to decide the West representative for the All Japan final, which is to take place in December.
Of the 12 bouts the most notable on paper seems to be at Lightweight where 21 year old Tomoaki Matsumura (5-0, 3) battles against 20 year old Daiki Ichikawa (6-0, 4) in a really good looking all-unbeaten fight. The contest certainly won't “create a star” but it really is a fantastic fight and one of those brilliant match ups that the Rookie of the Year helps to generate.
A similarly attractive match up comes at Featherweight where Yuto Nagano (5-0, 2) battles Shuma Nakazato (4-0, 3). Again both fighters are unbeaten and young and looking to make a name for themselves. Interestingly Nakazato is probably the more well known of the two men considering that his father is a well regarded gym chairman, who helps handle the career of Katsunari Takayama.
This show promises a lot of action and we're really hoping that it lives up to the hopes we have for it.