This coming Friday fight fans in Japan will get two different shows in major areas, on in Osaka and one in Tokyo, there's also two shows in the Philippines and one in Dubai!
Of the two cards it's the Osaka one which will get most of the attention, featuring a major name in Japanese boxing along with a couple of bouts featuring interesting hopefuls.
The major name is that of Juiki Tatsuyoshi (10-0, 7), the son of former world champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who despite not being anywhere near to the fighter his father was, is still a noteworthy prospect. Tatsuyoshi will be up against Daichi Matsuura (6-3-2, 2), who doesn't look likely to be much of a test for Tatsuyoshi, even if Tatsuyoshi is a long way from being a world beater himself.
The chief support bout on this card will see the heavy handed Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (9-1, 8) take on Japanese based Korean fighter Tae Il Atusmi (15-2, 7) in a very interesting contest that could prove to be the highlight of the show. The 23 year old Tsutsumimoto enters this bout on the back of 5 stoppage wins, but this is a step up for him. Atsumi on the other hand will be looking to score his third straight win following a 2017 loss to Shingo Kawamura. This should be a very exciting and competitive contest between two guys who can hit hard.
Also on this show is former Rookie of the Year finalist Hibiki Jogo (8-2, 4), who looks to rebuild from a 2018 loss to Yoshihiro Utsumi. From what we under-stand the talented Jogo will be up against experienced Filipino foe Marzon Cabilla (17-17-1, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for the local hopeful.
In Tokyo we'll see the next Golden Child card. This is a smaller card, but should be a pretty entertaining one, with several good looking bouts.
The main event of the card will the always fun to watch Shusaku Fujinaka (16-10-2, 11) take on Toshiro Tarumi (11-3-3, 6) in a Welterweight bout between Japanese ranked fighters. Coming in to this Fujinaka has lost 4 of his last 5, but they have included defeats in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, to Keita Obara, and a Japanese title bout, to Ryota Yada. Tarumi on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC, and has won his last 6 to be on the verge of his first title bout.
The chief support bout is a fantastic match up, which will see young Japanese Middleweight prospect Riku Kunimoto (3-0, 1) take on the heavy handed, but flawed, Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) in a really intriguing contest. Kunimoto is taking a massive step up in class, but a win here will help him race towards a Japanese national title fight. On the other hand a loss for Fukumoto, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, could be the end of his dreams. A must win for Fukumoto, but one that comes against a former national amateur standout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kunimoto steps up to take on Fukumoto
Also on this card is a rare Japanese Heavyweight clash, as Yamato Fujinaka (7-5, 3) and Ryu Ueda (7-1-1, 4) face off for the second time. These two fought in November 2015, with Ueda taking the win by decision, and since then neither has really done too much of note.
As well as the Japanese cards, there is also a show in Cebu, featuring some pretty interesting local hopefuls.
One of the main bouts on this show will be a WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title bout, as the unbeaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-0-1, 9) takes on Arnel Baconaje (10-3, 8). This genuinely looks like it could be something really, really fun. We're not a fan of just how many regional minor titles there are out there, but if they are responsible for bouts like this, we can't complain too much!
A second title fight will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (9-0-1, 5) take on the under-rated Robert Onggocan (11-4, 7) , for a low key title on the domestic, or rather local, scene. The reality is that they could have used this bout as a major regional title eliminator, it's a fantastic match up, and should be some really special for the fans in attendance. It's a bout that clearly doesn't need a very low level title to be on the line, and the fight clearly overshadows the belt that they will be fighting for.
A second Filipino show will take place in Bukidnon.
The main event of this show will see Jerry Tomogdan (26-10-4, 14) battle against Dexter Alimento (13-5, 9) in what should be a pretty interesting match up between two under-rated Filipino's. Both have suffered recent losses and both need a win to remain relevant, but this not an easy one for either guy.
Also on this card is Robert Paradero (17-0, 11), who will be fighting for the first time in a year following visa issues with arranged bouts outside of his homeland. He will be expecting to pick up an easy win as he takes on 19 year old Jonathan Almacen (5-2-2, 1).
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As well as the bouts in the power houses of Asian boxing there will also be Asian action in Dubai, as MTK Global take their show on the road and show case a number of prospects.
One of those Asian fighters is Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (2-0, 1), who will be battling against Teimuraz- Abuladze (9-6, 7) of Georgia. Another in action is Sultan Zaurbek (5-0, 3), who takes on Chinese foe Chenghong Tao (7-5-1, 5).
The biggest hopeful on the card however is 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Shakhobidin Zoirov (0-0), who will be making his professional debut against Indonesian foe Anthony Holt (5-4-1, 3), who was stopped inside a round last June by the then debuting Jin Minamide. This should be little more than a cameo for Zoirov.
Another central Asian fighter in action this Friday is Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-1-1, 5), who looks to score his second win following a 2018 loss to Marquis Taylor. The Uzbek will be up against unbeaten puncher Keith Hunter (9-0, 7) in what looks like a fantastic bout, at least on paper.
Action is back at the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a notable Kadoebi show featuring a number of notable fighters.
The main event of the card will see the retiring Daisuke Sakamoto (14-9-3, 8) take on the once touted Koki Koshikawa (6-1, 4). The 36 year old Sakamoto is a former Japanese “interim” Welterweight champion, who came up short when taking on the then regular champion Toshio Arikawa last November. Since the loss to Arikawa we've not seen Sakamoto in action and he has publicly that this will be his final bout. Koshikawa was once tipped for big things, and after some early promise his career has stagnated, and he has never really bounced back from a loss to Koshinmaru Saito in 2015. This is a big opportunity for Koshikawa, but an emotional moment for Sakamoto.
Heavy handed Japanese Middleweight contender Shoma Fukumoto (12-2, 10) will be looking to continue rebuilding his confidence as he takes on unbeaten Australian Mark Lucas (9-0, 3). The hard punching Fukumoto was stopped inside a round last December by Kazuto Takesako in a Japanese title eliminator and since then has only fought once, beating a very over-matched Indonesian foe. This should be a step up in class for Fukumoto, a tough one on paper given that Lucas is unbeaten, will be hungry and actually holds a win over Arnel Tinampay, who stopped Fukumoto back in 2013. Saying that however Lucas has been inactive for a year, and that may show in his performance here.
Popular Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (12-7-2, 8) will be looking to build on his quick blow out win over Duang Hongin as he takes on Filipino visitor Joffrey Garcia (6-8-4, 5). The talented and exciting to watch Aoqui had a nightmare 13 months, from July 2016 to August 2017, suffering 3 defeats but has since bounced back with a win and will be looking for a second one here. As for Garcia he has been stopped in both of his bouts outside of the Philippines, and we suspect that form will continue against Aoqui.
Another man of note on this card is the very promising Kazuki Saito (5-0, 5), who is tipped to be a star following a very strong amateur career. The unbeaten 25 year old will be facing off with Thai foe Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-3, 18), a recent OPBF Super Featherweight title challenger. The touted Saito hasn't had things all his own way, having been dropped earlier in his career, but does look like a real talent and will be looking to shine against the experienced Thai. As for Pharanpetch he has lost in all 3 of his fights outside of Thailand, and it would take a career best performnce to avoid another loss on the road.
This coming Saturday is a pretty stacked day of action with a pair of world title fights, a regional title fight, a pair of Japanese title eliminators and a non-title bout featuring a controversial world champion.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The first of the world title fights will see WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (11-0, 9) defending the title he was recently handed, following Badou Jack's decision to avoid Bivol who has seen his “interim” title being upgraded. The talented Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter will be up against Trent Broadhurst (20-1, 12) in what looks likely to be little more than a showcase defense. The destructive Bivol looks like one of the best young fighters in the sport, with text books skills, an impressive engine, a fantastic in-ring mentality and very heavy hands. On paper Broadhurst looks like a good opponent, and has won his last 13 bouts, but is unlikely to be able to live with the work rate and power of Bivol, who will be expected to stop the challenger with few problems.
New York, USA
The other title fight will see unbeaten Kazakh born Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10) take on Japan's Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Terence Crawford. Of the two men it's Lipinets who has been the more impressive, with 4 stoppages in a row including wins over Leonardo Zappavigna and Levan Ghvamichava. The Kazakh, much like the previously mentioned Bivol, is an exciting and heavy handed fighter with an aggressive mentality. As for Kondo he's a tough fighter, as most Japanese fighters are, with a good engine and good form, having won his last 8 including stoppages over Patomsuk Pathompothong, Jeffrey Arienza and Yuya Okazaki.. Given the toughness of Kondo and the aggression of Lipinets it's hard not to get excited about this bout, despite the fact that Lipinets will be the very clear betting favourite.
Whilst the biggest fighters aren't in Japan we are really excited about a Japanese card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9) defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles against Randall Rayment (8-3, 3). The Japanese boxer-mover became the first Japanese fighter to unify the Japanese, WBO AP. And OPBF titles and will be determined to continue that reign as he slowly moves towards a potential world title fight, though has seen such a contest with Joseph Parker recently falling through. Rayment is a real unknown but he has won his last 6 and is coming in with a bit of momentum, though has never gone beyond 6 rounds and is stepping up massively.
In a Japanese Super Bantamweight Japanese title eliminator we'll see Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) battle former champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9), with the #1and #2 facing off for a shot at the title in 2018. The 28 year old Nakagawa has gone 11-0-1 (6) since a 2012 loss to Breilor Teran back in 2012 and whilst his competition hasn't been great he does hold notable wins over Yosuke Fujihara, Monico Laurente and Yuta Saito. Ishimoto on the other hand is a real fan favourite who has engaged in some thrilling contests at the top of the domestic scene with the likes of Yukinori Oguni, Gakuya Fukuhara, Yusaku Kuga, Shingo Wake and Yota Sato, among others. Aged 36 Ishimoto has seen better days, but is certainly coming in to this one as a hungry and determined fighter wanting another title run.
An even better title eliminator takes place at Middleweight, as the once beaten Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) takes on the thrilling Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6). Fukumoto burst on to the pro scene in 2012, blowing out Dondon Lapuz in 130 seconds, but would lose his third bout to the dangerous Arnel Tinampay. Since then he has reeled off 9 straight wins to right the ship and now looks like a much improved fighter who came undone against Tinampay. As for Takesako he was a genuine amateur star before making his professional debut in 2015. As a professional he has been destructive with all 6 of his wins coming in a combined 12 rounds and he looks like the type of fighter who will enter the ring with every intent of continuing that stoppage run here.
In one of two notable under-card bouts we'll see the exciting Akinori Watanabe (34-6, 29) take on Filipino journeyman Dennis Padua (11-12-2, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for Watanabe, who is looking for a second straight win after losing two in a row. The other under-card bout of note will see former amateur stand out Kazuki Saito (3-0, 3) battle against heavy handed Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (8-1, 7). The talented Saito has the skills to go a long way, but does have question marks over him, especially given that he was dropped by Jimmy Borbon last time out. Lagumbay is stepping up massively, but is clearly a puncher and will be looking to stop Saito and propel himself towards an OPBF title fight.
Baja California, Mexico
One other bout of note sees unbeaten, and controversial, WBC Bantamweight champion Luis Nery (24-0, 18) fight in a non-title bout against Filipino Arthur Villanueva (31-2, 17). The Mexican, who failed a drugs test for his bout against Shinsuke Yamanaka but appears to have seen the WBC turn a blind eye to his failed drug's test and haven't yet stripped him. The Filipino has lost in his two most notable bouts, and we can't help but feel he'll come up short again here, potentially suffering his first stoppage loss in the process.
This coming Monday we see the next Kadoebi Houseki show, and although not the deepest is a notable card with an OPBF title fight headlining the card and several under-card bouts worthy of some note.
The main event is by far and away the most interesting bout on the show and will see OPBF Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (16-1, 8) looks to make his first defense of the title, as he takes on Australian challenger Herman Ene Purcell (12-5, 6), with the WBO Asia Pacific title also on the line. The champion won the title earlier this year, when he out sped and out boxed the heavy handed Willie Nasio, in an impressively calculated performance and will be looking for something similar here. Although Samoan born Purcell hasn't got a great record on paper he's a fit fighter who is unbeaten out side of Australia and will see this as a huge opportunity to claim a major international title and a potential world ranking.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see former OPBF, PABA and Japanese champion Akinori Watanabe (33-6, 28) battle against Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (7-12-2, 3). On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch, and in fairness it probably will be, but Watanabe has lost his last 2 bouts and is almost 2 years removed from his last win. In fact Watanabe has had just 15 rounds in the last 24 months! As for Nahak he has won his last 3 including a huge upset last year in Korea against Eun Chang Lee.
Also on the under-card will be heavy handed Middleweight hopeful Shoma Fukumoto (10-1, 8) and Super Bantamweight Yuta Nakagawa (19-4-1, 10), who are both ranked #1 in their respective divisions by the JBC. Both Fukumoto and Nakagawa will be up against unknown Thai's in what we expect will be little more than stay busy fights for the locals, who will be looking to get domestic title fights in the near future.
The year has well and truly kicked off and this coming Saturday we'll see the first Japanese televised show of the year, as G+ televises the next Dynamic Glove show.
The first OPBF title bout of the near year takes place on January 14th and sees action all the way up at Heavyweight as Japan's Kyotaro Fujimoto (15-1, 8) takes on big punching Australian Willie Nasio (10-1, 9) for the currently vacant title. For local fans this will be the second time they get the chance to see Kyotaro fight for an international title, having come up short in a bout against Solomon Haumono for this very same title. Against Haumono we saw a then 5-0 Fujimoto stopped in 5 rounds with the big punching “Solo” walking his man down, since then however Kyotaro has gone 10-0 (5) and staked his place in history as the first Japanese Heavyweight champion in more than 50 years. Nasio, himself the Australian champion, comes into this bout on a run of 5 T/KO wins and is unbeaten since an opening round loss to Tai Tuivasa in a "Last Man Standing" tournament bout back in 2014. The winner of this could, potentially, find themselves in the mix for a major bout by the end of the year and this fight really does mean a lot to both men coming into the fight.
A really good looking supporting bout will see experienced puncher Akinori Watanabe (33-5, 28) take on the unbeaten, and fast rising, Takeshi Inoue (8-0-1, 4). Watanabe is a former OPBF, PABA and JBC champion but is now 31 and hasn't fought since November 2015, when he was stopped in a Strongest Korakuen bout by Toshio Arikawa. Although a proven quality Watanabe has always been a glass cannon and can be stopped. Inoue, no relation to the Ohashi promoted clan, is talented and is looking to move into the title mix in 2017, this is however a huge step up in class and a genuine test for the 27 year old Tokyo fighter.
Another supporting bout sees Japanese ranked Middleweights face off as the heavy handed Shoma Fukumoto (9-1, 7) takes on Kazuyuki Fukuyama (10-7, 3) for the second time. These two fought in January 2015, when Fukumoto took a razor thin majority decision over Fukuyama, and will be looking to make things much more decisive here. Fukuyama has gone 1-1 since that loss, whilst Fukumoto has gone 3-0, but he will be well matched and will be fired up in the search of revenge.
Da Lian, China
For a second day running we get Chinese action from Da Lian.
The headline bout here isn't a hugely attractive one as Tao Ji (11-6-2, 2) faces off with Wulan Tuolehazi (2-3). Ji has won just one of his last 4 bouts, but that one win saw him claim the WBA China National Bantamweight title, a title that we suspect he may be defending here. Although Tuolehazi was beaten last time he will see this as a huge chance to build his career, and he won't be there to make up the numbers.
In a supporting bout we'll see Thai fighter Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai (17-8, 9) battle with once beaten Puerto Rican Waldemar Pagan (7-1, 6), in what looks like a very tough ask for the Thai. Interestingly Pagan has been in Asia for a while, having been a sparring partner back in December for Kosei Tanaka, ahead of Tanaka's recent bout with Moises Fuentes.
Just 10 days after the first live Boxingraise show we get the second live card to be streamed on the service, and in fairness it looks like an intriguing one with two title bouts, several notable names on the under-card and an interesting debutant.
One of those title bouts will see unbeaten Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (12-0, 10) defending his title for the third time this year, and the 5th time overall, as he takes on Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (11-4-2, 7) in what looks likely to be a really interesting match up. Okada is a wonderfully promising and heavy handed counter-puncher who has really impressed in recent bouts with his spiteful shots. Aoqui on the other hand is an aggressively minded fighter who comes to fight and will put Okada under pressure from the off. Don't be surprised if this exciting before a sudden finish.
The other title bout sees Australian fighter Jack Brubaker (10-1-1, 5) defending the OPBF Welterweight title against interim champion Suyon Takayama (24-1, 8). On paper this one is a really intriguing fight. Brubaker won the title last year and has defended it once, though his competition so far has been someone limited and there's little to suggest he's going to become a great fighter, however wins over Xing Xin Yang and Paddy Murphy have both come following numerous knock downs and he seems to be hitting harder than his record suggests. As for Takayama the long term Japanese national champion has been chasing the OPBF title for a while and will see this as his big chance at claim the belt and moving towards a potential world title fight.
In a Middleweight bout the heavy handed Shoma Fukumoto (8-1, 6) will be up against Naoki Wada (10-9-2, 2) in what looks like like a stay busy for Fukumoto, who was once being tipped as a potential Japanese Middleweight title contender. Fukumoto has notched up 6 straight wins since being shocked by Arnel Tinampay back in August 2013 but hasn't looked great in recent bouts. Wada should test Fukumoto but shouldn't push him too close.
One other fighter of note here is debutant Kazuki Saito (0-0), who takes on Kamol Jatuten (0-2). Saito begins his career in a 6 rounder as a B license fighter and there is some genuine excitement about the 23 year old from Tokyo. The Thai, also known as Lekker Bangkok 2007, was last seen in the ring in January when he was in Japan and stopped in the second round by Yuki Beppu.
Action finally returns to this coming weekend as we get the first Japanese show of 2016.
In the main event we'll see a Japanese title unification bout at 140lbs. The bout sees unbeaten champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) faces interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) in a bout to unify the title that was split, last year, when Okada was injured. This is, on paper, Okada;s toughest bout so far, especially when you consider his long lay off due to the injury, but will be confident of inflicting a second loss on Nakazawa, who was previously stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya.
An interesting support bout comes at Middleweight where the promising Shoma Fukumoto (7-1, 6) battles recent OPBF and JBC title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-5-1, 8). This is Akiyama's first bout since being beaten last year by Akio Shibata whilst Fukumoto will be fighting for the first time since joining the Kadoebi gym. Fukumoto, due to the gym transfer, will be be fighting for the first time in 7 months though will be favoured over the 36 year old Akiyama, who looked awful against Shibata.
Another good looking support bout sees recent Japanese Flyweight challenger Yusuke Sakashita (13-6-2, 8) face Masashi Odaira (6-4-2, 2). On paper it's hard to doubt Sakashita's the favourite, but with 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, including a 1-punch KO loss to Suguru Muranaka, he really needs to shine here.
A third notable under-card bout will see another recent title challenger in action as Yuki Ogata (21-2-1, 3) battles Keisuke Arima (8-11-1, 1). It's hard to see this being anything but a decision win for Ogata but it could be much more competitive than the records suggest.
In the US fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (17-0, 13), who faces a yet to be named opponent. The talented young Filipino scored 4 wins in the US last year and will be expected to grab a 5th successive victory, though sadly it's hard to get too excited given his level of competition.
This coming Sunday will be an emotional but busy day in Japan with 3 shows in the land of the rising sun as well as a single show in the Philippines.
Possibly the most notable, and easily the most emotional, of the Japanese cards comes from Hyogo where we see several fighters of note in action on a Taisei promoted card that is being held in memory of Kaito Hattori, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
The main event of the show will be the Japanese debut of youngster Riku Kano (5-1-1, 3), who battles against late replacement Marihot Hutajulu (1-2). Kano, who has fought in Thailand and the Philippines so far, is tipped to go a long way however he will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders coming in to this bout. The talented youngster has been matched easily here but knows that this is just the beginning of a journey expected to take him a very long way.
In the chief support bout we'll see Rikito Hattori (2-0, 1), the older brother of Kaito, take on an Indonesian foe. This won't be a major bout but it will be a hugely emotional one for Hattori.
In an interestingly matched 8 round bout fans will see Hikaru Matsuoka (8-2-3, 1) battle against Seizo Kono (14-7-1, 9). This will be Matsuoka's first bout since he was stopped by Yuki Strong Kobayashi in April and he'll know that back-to-back losses will push him a long way from a major bout. As for Kono he's can't afford a loss after back-to-back defeats.
A very peculiar looking bout will see Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (20-12, 10) take on former WBA interim Minimumweight champion Juan Jose Landaeta (26-7-1, 20). The 36 year old Landaeta is well known on Japan for his bouts with Yutaka Niida and Koki Kameda though he is likely to be giving away a lot of natural size here against Yap.
We have a lesser show in Kanagawa that has an interesting main event but, over-all, looks to be a much less interesting card that some of the others.
The main event will see Middleweight hopeful Shoma Fukumoto (6-1, 5) attempt to claim his 5th straight win as he faces the more experienced Kazuaki Irisawa (8-6, 5). On paper this is a big step up for Fukumoto though one that he should come out on top of given that Irisawa has already been stopped 5 times, including last time out.
In a support bout Keita Nakano (13-9-3, 4) will be taking on Yuta Saito (7-6-2, 6). Coming in to this bout Nakano is ranked by the JBC and would likely lose that ranking if he was to be beaten here. Notably however Saito has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 bouts and is win-less since the end of 2012.
A second support bout will see Emika Himuro (4-1-1, 1) battle against Kai Johnson (5-7-3, 2). These two fought in November 2013, fighting to a 6 round majority draw, and will be hoping to settle the score here.
Another Japanese card is being promoted by Kanmon Japan.
The main event here will see recent OPBF title challenger Accel Sumiyoshi (4-4-1, 1) take on Leonardo Doronio (14-9-3, 9) in a 10 round bout. This is a rematch from a contest the two men had last year, which resulted in a split decision draw. Since their first bout Sumiyoshi has challenged for the OPBF Lightweight title, losing a wide decision to Masayoshi Nakatani, whilst Doronio has been inactive, perhaps giving the Japanese fighter the slight edge.
Sadly the rest of this show is relatively weak.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get an interesting show with a number unbeaten fighters or notable fringe contenders.
The main event will see the once beaten Daryl Basadre (14-1-1, 10) take on the once touted Kenny Demecillo (8-3-1, 5) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. This s a great opportunity for both with the winner possibly able to claim a fringe WBA ranking. On paper Basadre is the favourite though Demecillo will not be coming in to this bout to roll over.
Of the many prospects in action on this show we tend to think the best is Jack Tepora (13-0, 9), who has been dubbed “The Golden Boy”. Tepora will be up against tough veteran Eric Barcelona (53-23-5, 19). This should be a good test for Tepora but a test that he should pass comfortably whilst getting some good rounds under his belt.
On paper the bout of the show looks to be a contest between Rimar Metuda (6-0, 3) and Jerry Castroverde (5-0, 3). We believe this bout was expected earlier in the year though has been rescheduled. This could be a very good test for both men, or could see one man “exposed”.
The biggest name in action is former IBF Light Flyweight world title challenger Jether Oliva (22-3-2, 10). Oliva, who was stopped last time out by Luis Nery, will be up against Jonathan Ricablanca (7-47-2, 1) in what looks to be an easy comeback fight for Oliva.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This year has been slow however we do see life and this Saturday sees a lot of interesting action. We have a brilliant bout in Japan, we have a notable prospect in the Philippines and two brilliant Chinese debutants in the US. What more could we want?
The first major bout in Japan this year comes this Saturday on a card that we have been excited about since it was first announced, and we won't pretend that the main event didn't make our hearts race when when we first learned of it.
We might as well start with that aforementioned main event which will see the unbeaten Jomthong Chuwatana (8-0, 4) defending his OPBF Super Featherweight title against former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (21-3-3, 14). The bout is between two of the division's most talented, strong and naturally powerful fighters and is almost certainly going to be a highly skilled battle of power. Going into the bout it's a hard one to call. Kaneko is the home fighter and has been more active as a boxer recently however Jomgthong hasn't allowed rust to build up despite 1 boxing contest in the last 21 months due to the fact he has been active in Muay Thai, where he has an exceptional record. The winner of this deserves a world title fight and we'd not be massively shocked if the winner here got a shot at any of the current world champions, including Takashi Uchiyama and Takashi Miura. This really is as good a bout as you can get in the Super Featherweight division, barring unification bouts.
As well as the brilliant main event there is also a pair of notable All-Japanese Middleweight bouts on the card. For us the most interesting of those is the bout between the heavy handed Shoma Fukumoto (5-1, 5) and Kazuyuki Fukuyama (9-5, 2). Fukumoto is regarded as a potential national champion though there are questions about his chin. Those questions are unlikely to be asked by Fukuyama however we may see Fukumoto's stamina being given a test here.
The other Middleweight bout will see former Japanese champion Tomohiro Ebisu (12-4, 12) put his “stop or be stopped” reputation on the line as he battles the chinny Tatsuro Kawabata (6-5, 2). It's hard to see Ebisu losing here though he has lost 2 of his last 3 and there are serious worries about his chin and defences.
Another fighter on this card worth making a note of is Naoki Mochizuki (5-1, 4) who will be fighting against the more experienced Takuma Okada (5-9, 2). Mochizuki's sole loss came to the very good Sonin Nihei and it's fair to say the 20 year old puncher is worth keeping tabs on even if he's not going to be on the fast track to the top.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
It's not just Japanese fans who get a show on their doorstep as Filipino fans also get the chance to go and see live fights as SANMAN Promotions put on a small but interesting card.
The main event here will see the much touted Harmonito Dela Torre (14-0, 9) battle against JR Mendoza (10-17, 4) in what looks to be stay busy fight for the talented 20 year old prospect. We'll admit we do like Dela Torre, a lot, but this bout is a big step backwards compared to some of his other recent bouts and it's a bit of a shame he's not being moved forward with his career.
In the co-feature fans will see Ronie Tanallon (4-1-1, 1) up against the highly experienced Jonathan Ricablanca (7-45-2, 1) in what appears to be another mismatch, however this should be a more competitive bout that the main event.
Chinese fans will also have something to look forward to as two former Chinese amateur stand outs will be making their professional boxing debuts.
One of those men will be Wang Zhimin (0-0), who has yet to have his opponent named, whilst the other is Meng Fanlong (0-0) who will be fighting against the win-less Marcellus Yates (0-1) in what appears to be an easy start to his career.
District of Columbia, USA
Also in the US fans will get the chance to see Uzbekistan's limited Middleweight Rahman Mustafa Yusubov (11-19, 9) battle against Demond Nicholson (10-1, 10). Yusubov has lost his last 4 bouts however Nicholson was upset last time out in a contest he was expected to win and it may be that his confidence is now shot. Yusubov will be the clear under-dog though hopefully he will go for the win rather than turn up just to lose.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)