This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.
For a second day running we get title action at the Korakuen Hall, with a relatively strong domestic undercard, featuring former world, Japanese and Japanese Youth title challengers.
The title bout headlining this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (15-2-1, 10) defending his title against mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (16-3-1, 8). For the champion the bout will service as his second defense, following his title win last February against Yasutaka Ishimoto, and is expected to be easier than his 10 round war last time out. Kosaka has gotten this shot by being the top ranked contender at the start of the year, following Ishimoto's retirement, but his best wins don't suggest he's ready for someone as hard hitting or as aggressive as Kuga. Whilst Kosaka does have wins against Morihisa Iju, Dado Cabintoy and Satoshi Niwa this is likely to be too much a step up for the challenger, at this point in his career.
The chief support bout will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) make his ring return, after 11 months away from the ring. The talented and popular Omori needed serious facial surgery following his second loss to Marlon Tapales last year and will be moving up in weight for his return. Unlike many fighters Omori isn't having an easy bout, instead he will be facing off with Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4), an accomplished domestic level fighter who fought to a draw with Shingo Wake back in 2011 and Ryo Hino this past January. This is a tough test for Omori to return to, and for Hiroto the bout is a very good opportunity to make a name for himself. Interestingly the winner of this bout may find themselves in the mix to face the winner of the main event, in what would be another very interesting match up, and a bout that could see the winners move towards a world title shot.
Another supporting bout will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (9-3-1, 5), who gave the aforementioned Kuga fits last July, battle against Yutaka Kamioka (10-5-2, 6). We've been really impressed by the 30 year old Tamura, who is a brutish puncher and much better than his record suggests, and could be a handful at domestic level for the next few years, despite some technical limitations. Kamioka has lost 2 of his last 3, both by decision, and this is a big step up in class for him. Kamioka has scored some decent domestic wins, beating Gaku Aikawa and Naoya Okamoto, but we suspect he will look out of his depth here.
Arguably the most interesting under-card match on this card will see the under-rated 22 year old Ryota Ishida (9-2, 6) battle against the unbeaten Daichi Kawabuchi (4-0-2, 3). Coming into this bout Ishida will be full of confidence following a career best win over Yuki Ozawa last time out, and running Takuya Mizuno razor close in a Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title last August. The unbeaten Kawabuchi has drawn 2 of his last 3, though he does seem to be a dangerous puncher with 3 early stoppages and is the naturally bigger man. This could be very interesting.
The biggest show of the weekend, and one of the biggest Japanese shows of the year so far, takes place in Osaka on Sunday
The main event of the card will see WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) look to extend his reign as the champion as he takes on highly experienced Thai foe Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 38), who has won his last 61 fights! On paper this looks good, but it's a bout that really is based on smoke and mirrors with Noknoi's record being very padded so far. Interestingly this will be Ioka's 5th defense of the Flyweight title and if he wins he will become just the second Japanese man to win 14world title bouts!
The card feature a really good supporting bout as WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) defends his belt against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13). These two men fought in 2015, with Tapales dominating the then unbeaten Omori, and since then the Filipino had gone on to win the WBO title, taking a thrilling victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu. Although he was dominated, suffering a 2 round loss to Tapales, it does seem like Omori has looked at their first bout and admitted he was over-confident, making this rematch very interesting.
The most interesting of the under-card bouts will see Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) battle against the once touted Filipino Neil John Tabanao (13-3, 9). This really could be a very fun bout, with both men having good styles that should gel well for an exciting contest.
The under-card is also packed with a number of notable names, such as Sho Ishida (23-0, 12), Takahiro Yamamoto (18-5, 15), Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) Hayate Ikuta (7-0, 3) and Tatsuya Ikemizu (14-2, 6) all of whom will be facing Thai imports.
As well as the card in Osaka there will be a second notable show in Japan, with Aichi hosting a show featuring a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, and an interesting looking non-title bout.
That aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory title challenger Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12). Although this bout won't excite those outside of Japan too much, especially given the action in Osaka, we've got a genuine feeling that this will be a genuine barn burner. Hayashi is a busy, hard working yet basic fighter whilst Saka is a gutsy warrior with nasty power, and we're expecting those styles to gel perfectly for a war.
The other bout of note on this card will see the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (10-1-1, 10) battle against Noboru Osato (7-4-4, 1). Although Mizuno is unproven, and is stepping up a bit in class here, he has shown real promise and his power certainly looks genuine. Osato will go in to this bout as the under-dog but has never been stopped, and could well use his experience and toughness to teach Mizuno some new lessons.
There will be a third Japanese show in Hyogo, where fans get some lesser action, but still manage to get a card worthy of some note.
In the main event of this show we'll see WBO ranked Minimumweight hopeful Ryoki Hirai (8-4-1, 3) battle against the heavy handed Ryoya Ikema (11-3, 10). The little known Hirai really is ranked thanks to a technical decision win over the low-on-confidence Takumi Sakae from last December, other than that however his record has little to note. The huge punching Ikema was beaten last time out by Koki Ono, but is an interesting prospect and will be looking to score a career best win here.
The other bout of note on this card will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (8-2, 5) battle against the very promising Ukyo Yoshigai (5-0, 4). It's hard to call this one, but a win for Yoshigai would put him in great position ahead of his bout in the Japanese Youth Tournament later in the year. Kanda was stopped just a few fights ago but will be looking to build on back-to-back blow out wins in what could be a really fun bout.
In Uganda fight fan will see Azeri born Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Amos Mwamakula (15-6-2, 7) in a contest for the UBO Welterweight title. The bout is a low key affair but will see the winner score their best win to date.
The final day of 2016 is one of the most notable on the boxing calendar as Japanese TV promoters, and TV channels put on a number of shows. This year we get three shows, each with multi-ple title bouts and notable prospects.
The most notable of the three shows takes place in Kyoto and will be aired on TBS as part of their huge end of year celebrations.
The headline bout here will see the WBA regular and interim titles at Flyweight being unified. The bout sees regular champion Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) battle with unbeaten interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) from Thailand. The bout is an interesting match up with Stamp's team showing confidence in their man, who seemed to believe he was travelling to Japan to stop the champion. The experience Ioka will be looking to show that experience is key here and will likely be looking to prove he's the best Flyweight on the planet in 2017, after getting this mandatory defense out of the way.
A second world title fight on this card will see IBF Super Bantamweight chamion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) defending his title for the first time. The heavy handed Dominican will be up against once beaten Japanese challenger Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7), who is looking to add a world title to his collection which already includes a Japanese and OPBF title. Guzman, who won the title in Japan with a stoppage win over Shingo Wake, has looked relaxed but some have felt that he is over-looking Oguni who has started to find his own power in recent bouts.
Sadly an IBF Bantamweight title bout between Lee Haskins (34-3, 14) and Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) was cancelled in the weeks leading up to the bout, as Haskins suffered an injury that forced him out. Omori's team, who are promoting the show, managed to find their man a solid late replacement in the former of multi-time world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (32-8-2, 20). The bout isn't a bad one given the short notice but it should be noted that Fuentes is best known for his run at Flyweight and will be dwarfed by Omori who is around 5” taller than the Filipino.
Another bout pitting a Japanese fighter against a Thai will see the unbeaten, and world ranked, Sho Ishida (22-0, 11) up against the hapless Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10). The Thai has been stopped 8 times in his 10 defeats and will be unlikely to test Ishida who has made it clear that he's wanting world title fights in 2017. A bout like this won't prepare him for world class opposition but serves the task of keeping him busy and ticking him over whilst looking for a big fight.
Another Ioka gym hopeful on this under card is the unbeaten, and exciting, Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (11-0, 8). Hashizume won the Rookie of the Year in 2014 and although we had hoped to see him in notable fights since he actually this year facing unknown Thai Chatpetch Saithonggym (0-0). Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for the Osaka man who hasn't progressed like some had hoped.
Another notable multi-title show will come from Tokyo and be promoted by Watanabe promotions, who continue their association with TV Tokyo.
The headline bout of this is the “revenge or repeat” bout between Panama's tricky Jezreel Corrales (20-1-1, 8) and Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20). Earlier this year Corrales blitzed Uchiyama in 2 rounds to give “KO Dynamite” his first professional defeat and to claim the WBA Super Featherweight “super” title and shocked the boxing world. Now the champion will be looking to repeat the feat as he returns to a Japanese ring whilst Uchiyama will be looking to prove the result was an anomaly. At 37 years old however the view is that Uchiyama is several years removed from his prime and will likely be over-whelmed by the speed and movement of Corrales once again.
The second of the world title bouts on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) defending his belt against unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13). On paper this looks like a good defense for Taguchi but in fairness Canizales hasn't yet fought anyone of any name recognition and it's hard to know how good he really is. He could be the next gem of a talent from Venezuela or he could be a crude domestic fighter, as the footage suggests, either way we'll see questions answered about him, even if we don't learn anythign new about Taguchi.
Arguably the most interesting bout of the whole day is an OPBF / WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title unification bout as the once beaten Masayuki Ito (19-1-1, 9), the current OPBF champion, takes on the teak tough and criminally under-rated Takuya Watanabe (30-6-1, 16), the current WBO Asia Pacific title holder. This bout is one for the hardcore but is something we expect to actually leave the fans the happiest with. Both men are incredibly talented, have under-rated power and skills and the winner really does deserve some other major bouts in 2017. We think Ito is the more proven but Watanabe is always a handful and appears to be getting better with every fight.
One of the hottest young talents in Japanese boxing will be looking to secure his 5th straight stoppage win. That is the wonderfully aggressive Hiroto Kyoguchi (4-0, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor Junuel Lacar (7-3-3, 5). The bout should be a test for Kyoguchi but the reality is that he has made supposed tests, like Kenichi Miyazaki and Michael Camelion, look poor courtesy of his speed and power. A win here could see Kyoguchi begin to fight for titles in 2017.
Another fast rising prospect on this card is the really exciting Masataka Taniguchi (5-0, 4), who is looking to build on his recent win over Dexter Alimento as he takes on Vicent Bautista (5-5-3, 1) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the much fancied Taniguchi. It's thought that 2017 will see Taniguchi battle for titles and this could be his final bout before he gets to wear his first strap.
For those interested in final 3 bouts mentioned here they will be features on tape delay as part of the Boxingraise service.
A third show, in fact the first of the three, takes place in Gifu where Hatanaka will be promoting a card. The main event of this will have a legal stream broadcast world wide for fans interested.
The main event of this card will see former WBO Minimumweight champions collide as Kosei Tanaka (7-0, 4) takes on Moises Fuentes (24-2-1, 13) for the vacant WBO Light Flyweight. For Tanaka this is a huge chance to match Naoya Inoue's Japanese record of becoming a 2-weight world champion in 8 bouts however it's a tough bout against a very talented Mexican who many feel should should have scored a win a win over Donnie Nietes in his first bout with the talented Filipino. On paper this is probably the most interesting of the bouts from the day, at least at world title level.
At Japanese title level we'll see Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17), making his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title, taking on former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-5-2, 14). For Hayashi, who won the title back in September, a win here would legitimise his reign and prove him to be a worthy champion. For Shimoda this is a second shot at this title following a narrow loss to Satoshi Hosono last year.
In a supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (18-1-3, 12) face off with Takuya Taniguchi (6-9-2, 1). For Tanaka this is a chance to record a third straight win following his March loss to Kentaro Masuda for the Japanese title. The little known Taniguchi will be looking to score his biggest win, though he has gone just 1-3 in his last 4 bouts dating back more than a year.
Another supporting bout will see Kento Hatanaka (1-0, 1), the son of former former world champion Kiyohi Hatanaka, battle against Yukihiro Asahara (2-4, 1). The 18 year old Hatanaka will be seeking to score his second win in the space of just 5 weeks! On his debut Hatanaka score a quick blow out over an over-matched foe and will be looking to do the same again here.
Action returns to Kyoto this coming Wednesday with an interesting card being put on by Woz boxing.
In the main event the very talented, and still very promising, Shohei Omori (16-1, 11) will be taking on world ranked Mexican Edgar Jimenez (22-11-2, 16) in a must win bout for the Japanese southpaw. Omori won last time out but failed in his last step up bout, being stopped in 2 rounds by current world champion Marlon Tapales, and will be looking to avoid a similar fate here. Whilst Jimenez doesn't have an amazing record on paper but he holds wins over Eric Ortiz, Juanito Rubillar, Ivan Morales and recently blew out Jovylito Aligarbes. This could be a tougher assignment for Omori than the records of the fighters may suggest.
In the chief supporting bout fans will see the world ranked, and unbeaten, Reiya Konishi (11-0, 4) battle against an unknown Thai foe, in what looks likely to be to be a straight forward win for Konishi who will likely turn his attention to title bouts in the very near future. Despite only being 23 Konishi is a Rookie of the Year winner, in 2014, and holds several good domestic wins over the likes of Jun Takigawa and Shogo Hayashi.
Also on the under will be two female bouts. One of those will see Tamao Ozawa (10-3, 3) battle against Suda Saknarong (0-1) in what should be a straight forward win for the 31 year old Japanese fighter, whilst the other will see Mari Ando (12-9, 5) face an un-named Thai.
This Saturday is a busy day for Asian fight fans with bouts across Asia and an international bout of note.
The most significant bout in many ways for Asian fight fans is in the UK as former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (30-5-2, 20) travels to Leeds to face off against the unbeaten Josh Warrington (22-0, 4) in a bout for the WBC International Featherweight title. For Amagasa the bout is a huge opportunity to prove himself as a world class contender, and a win could propel him to a much wanted shot at a Featherweight title. For Selby the bout could help him secure his own world title fight. A lot on the line for this one, and potentially it could be a fire cracker.
In Japan the action really doesn't stop this week and this time it's the turn of Woz who have a show in Kyoto.
In the main event Japanese Lightweight champion Kota Tokunaga (17-2, 11) will be defending his title against the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (26-6-1, 16). This will be Tokunaga's third defense of the title and by far the toughest with Arakawa looking to become a 2-time champion. If Tokunaga wins it does really legitimise him as the Japanese champion, and although Arakawa is a faded force we suspect he'll be more than a handful for the champion.
In the chief support bout fans will see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Shohei Omori (15-1, 10) attempt to bounce back from his first loss, a disappointing stoppage defeat by Marlon Tapales, and face off against Indonesia's Espinos Sabu (15-8-2, 8). On paper this looks like a very easy win for Omori however Sabu can be a handful on his day and could well give Omori the type of bout that he needs.
In South Korea the KBF put on the next of their rookie shows, despite it being a rookie card the real interest is in the main event, which sees former world champion Yong Soo Choi (29-4-1, 19) return to the ring, at the age of 43. The former WBA Super Featherweight champion will face Japanese visitor Kazuya Nakano (9-5-1, 7), in what will be Choi's first bout in over 13 years. At his best Choi was a wonderfully exciting fighter, however that was back in the 1990's, and this is now and Choi is really unlikely to resemble the fighter he once was.
The lowest profile Asian card of the day comes from Malaysia where A & A Promotions put on a small, but notable card.
The main event of this show will see the unbeaten Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (5-0, 5), from Uzbekistan, face Mexican Juan Bedolla Orozco (9-2-2, 8) for the lightly regarded WPBF Youth Welterweight crown. This looks like a good test on paper but the reality is that the unbeaten 22 year old should be strongly favoured.
Another bout of note from this card will see Jonathon Yeow Ming (1-0, 1) battle against Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (21-21-2, 10). This is a massive test for the Malaysian based Ming and if he comes through it in impressive fashion he will deserve a lot of plaudits for taking on such a test at this early stage in his career.
December 16th-Omori battles Tapales for world title shot whilst Tokunaga and Nishitani face off for Japanese crown!
For a second day this week Japanese fans get a real treat with another double main event show. Unlike the first one however, this one is in Kyoto, not Tokyo.
The most notable of the main bouts is a WBO Bantamweight world title eliminator between Japanese national champion Shohei Omori (15-0, 10) and Filipino visitor Marlon Tapales (27-2, 10), with the winner to get a shot at the WBO crown in 2016. In recent bouts Omori has attracted the attention of international fans with some starting to see him as the the next great Japanese Bantamweight, following in the recent footsteps of Hozumi Hasegawa and Shinsuke Yamanaka, however this is a huge test for the youngster and one he will need to pass if he's to become the star some have suggested he will be. For Tapales, who's last loss came in a very close fight against David Sanchez almost 3 years ago, this is a huge opportunity and sees him returning to Japan for his 3rd bout in the country. Interestingly he is 2-0 in Japan and will be looking to continue that successful run.
The other main event will see Omori's stable mate Kota Tokunaga (16-2, 11) make the second defense of the Japanese Lightweight title. Tokunaga, who won the title earlier this year by stopping Yuya Sugizaki, will be up against the relatively unknown Kazuhiro Nishitani (15-3-1, 7) who is perhaps lucky to even be getting a title fight. Tokunaga isn't the best champion out there, and was relatively lucky in his last bout, where he scored a final round come-from-behind TKO, though his will to win is one of many positive traits for the fast improving champion. Nishitani will be the under-dog but should be regarded as a very live under-dog.
Chinese fans continue to have a wave of action as Top Rank continue their small foray into Shanghai, where they continue to put on shows at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The show isn't a big one, in fact it's scarcely a footnote on the Asian boxing scene, but it is notable that Top Rank are continuing their commitment to China and seem to still view the area as a potential gold mine, even if Zou Shiming isn't the star that they were hoping for.
Boxing in Kyoto hasn't been particularly big in recent years. It's a shame but the country really hasn't developed a genuine scene of it's own. That however will forgotten this coming Wednesday when Kyoto based fans get a genuinely brilliant show featuring two local champions who are both hoping to retain their titles and continue their development
In the main event we'll see the fast rising Shohei Omori (14-0, 9) defending his Japanese Bantamweight title for the first time. Omori, who destroyed Kentaro Musada earlier this year, will be putting his belt, unbeaten record, and world ranking on the line as he faces former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (11-3-2, 1). On paper this looks like an easy win for Omori, and if he's as good as we suspect, then he'll impress, however Mukai has faced more established fighters than Omori and this could prove to be a tricky first defense for the man dubbed “Yamanaka II”. If Omori does win, as expected, there is serious talk that he could be fighting for a world in the next 12 months.
Another title fight on this card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Kota Tokunaga (15-2, 10) defending his title against fellow puncher Yuhei Suzuki (16-4, 12). For Tokunaga this is a genuinely difficult first defense against a heavy handed fighter. For Suzuki this is his third shot at the title, after coming up short against Yoshitaka Kato, twice. This one could be very explosive and with both men having stoppages again them it could turn in to a shoot out!
In the chief supporting bout Shun Kosaka (9-2) will face win-less Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (0-4) in a 8 round bout. Kosaka, who has lost his last 2, will be hoping to score his first win since November 2014. Although not a great fighter Kosaka did show promise last year and should pick up a win here.
In another supporting bout Japan's Tamao Ozawa (8-2, 2), the OPBF female Super Flyweight champion, will battle Filipino visitor Carleans Rivas (4-2-3). This 6 round bout will be a non-title contest though it does seem possible that Ozawa will be moved into a world title bout if she puts in an impressive performance here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
April is a busy month for Japanese boxing fans this year with bouts at every level, from Rookie of the Year qualifying bouts to world title bouts featuring some real stars of the sport. One of the best shows is this coming Monday at the Korakuen Hall, despite the fact there is no world title on the line.
In total the show will feature 6 bouts. And although the first couple won't grab the attention of many fans they are both expected to be interesting 8 rounders. The first will feature Kyosuke Sawada (2-2, 1) taking on a Thai visitor whilst the second will see Yosuke Kawano (8-4-1, 3) face Hiroyuki Sagehashi (7-7-2, 1). We won't pretend these bouts are worth getting too excited about but they are just you're standard under-card bouts.
The third bout however sees things stepping up as former OPBF Featherweight title challenger Ryo Takenaka (11-3-1, 6) takes on Junki Sasaki (13-2, 5). Takenaka, who gave Hisashi Amagasa all sorts of problems last October, will be fighting for the first time since losing his biggest bout to date. In that bout he showed a lot of ability and befuddled Amagasa for the better part of 12 rounds before being stopped with less than 2 minutes to go. Sasaki on the other hand is relatively unknown southpaw who will come in to this bout knowing that a good win will really move career onwards. We think this is a really well matched bout.
The 4th bout on the card will see a bout between ranked fighters as Dai Iwai (16-3-1, 5) battles against Noriyuki Ueno (17-12-5, 5). Ueno is the more well known of the two men having come up short in 4 titles bouts, 3 Japanese and 1 OPBF, and is better than his record indicates. Unfortunately for Ueno he is now 33 and didn't look his best last time out, losing a decision to Kazunori Takayama. Iwai on the other hand is looking to get a shot at either a national title or a regional title after having previously held a WBC Youth belt, back in 2012. At the moment Iwai is on an excellent 7 fight winning streak though it does appear his lack of power may be an issue down the line. On paper this is an excellent match up, despite the fact it probably won't be the most exciting.
On paper the stand out bout, by a long way, is the Japanese Bantamweight title bout between defending champion Kentaro Masuda (21-6, 11) and the unbeaten Shohei Omori (13-0, 8). For Masuda this is the 3rd defence of the title that he won exactly a year ago and since winning the title he has looked fantastic blowing away the charismatic Konosuke Tomoiyama in 3 rounds and then having an enthralling 10 round war with Tatsuya Takahashi. Aged 32 however it's time for Masuda to record a statement win then move towards the next level. Unfortunately for the champion this one won't be an easy win as he goes up against the wonderfully talented Omori who we view as one of the best prospects in Japan. Omori is a wonder-boxer puncher who scored his break out win last year when he stopped Christian Esquivel and the 22 year old southpaw is a viewed as a fighter with the potential to go all the way. Brilliant match up between two men who are on the fringes of world class, despite only fighting for the Japanese title.
The final bout on the card will see the heavy handed Keita Obara (13-1, 12) defending his OPBF Light Welterweight title against the horribly over-matched Yuya Okazaki (14-7-1, 4) in a match up that appears disgustingly one sided. We like Obara and we understand he wants to make the move to Welterweight shortly though in all honesty he should have just made the move instead of defending his title against Okazaki who isn't fit to step in to the ring with him. Sadly Okazaki is one of the worst OPBF title challengers in recent memory and we'd be shocked if he managed to really give Obara any sort of a fight.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa fans get the chance to see promising Kazakh Roman Zhailauov (13-0, 8) risk his unbeaten record against Luyanda Jako (9-9-2, 4). The 18 year old from Astana has recently signed a promotional contract with Golden Gloves in South Africa and this will be his first bout under that contract with the hope of developing him into a Welterweight contender. If Zhailauov wins here then it's expected that he will be put him on a Hekkie Budler undercard in June.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Japanese prospects seem to be emerging quicker than they do in any other country. Two of the most promising will share a show today at the KBS Hall in Kyoto.
The most notable of the prospects is the world ranked Bantamweight Shohei Omori (12-0, 7) who comes in to this bout on the back of his excellent stoppage win over Cristian Esquivel, a former world title contender. The unbeaten Omori, who appears to have "future world champion" written all over him, will be putting his world ranking and unbeaten record on the line against once beaten compatriot Bunta Mitaka (6-1-2). Mitaka is a light puncher who claimed the All Japan Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year last year. Unfortunately for Mitaka he was defeated last time out by Yuki Strong Kobayashi in what was Mitaka's first 8 round, although the 8 round experience will help Mitaka going into this bout Omori is several levels ahead of him.
The second prospect of note is Kenshiro Teraji (1-0). Ken Shiro made his debut earlier this year by out pointing Indonesian veteran Heri Amol in a very 1-sided bout and will be looking to record his second win of the year and move to the 8 round distance this early in his career. Sadly we've not got the name of Teraji's opponent though we do know he's a Thai fighter and will hopefully give the Japanese youngster some sort of a test as we really want to see whether this kid the goods as some in Japan are telling us.
Aside from those two bouts there is veyr little of note taking place on this card and the 7 under-card bouts really aren't worth thinking too much about
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)