Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday as we, finally, crown a new Japanese Bantamweight champion.
That title bout will see former Japanese Flyweight champion, and former Super Flyweight world title challenger, Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8) battle against Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) to fill the Bantamweight vacancy. The title has been vacant since Ryo Akaho vacated due to health reasons in January. A proposed bout between Muranaka and Yosuke Suzuki fell through earlier this year, extending the length without a national champion at 118lbs. Of the two fighters it's Muranaka who is the more well known and the more distinguished, given he had a pretty notable reign at the domestic level before his world title fight against Kal Yafai. Despite that he may actually go into this as the under-dog, given that Saito is a natural Bantamweight, who has even mixed at Super Bantamweight, and is much, much better than his record suggests. Of his 9 losses 7 have been very close decisions, with only Mugicha Nakagawa and Ryo Akaho holding clear wins over him. On paper this is mismatch, but in reality it's a very close to call bout and is excellently matched.
Sadly other than the main event the rest of this card is very weak, with 8 bouts, all of which are 4 rounders, acting in support of the very exciting headline bout.
Umtata, South Africa
In South Africa fan swill be able to see Simphiwe Khonco (18-5, 7) battle against Filipino foe Toto Landero (10-2-2, 2) for the IBO Minimumweight title. The South African will be defending the title for the third time and will looking to get a shot at a big 4 title in the near future. Although Khonce doesn't have the most amazing of records he is a talented fighter who gave Hekkie Budler fits in 2015 and has gone unbeaten since then, scoring a notable win over Nkosinathi Joyi. Landero challenged Knockout CP Freshmart earlier this year, and gave the unbeaten Thai some real issues before losing a decision. Other than that result Landero also holds a win over Vic Saludar and could well have the skills and desire to rip the IBO title from Khonco. This could be an excellent match up and one with a lot of leather being thrown by both men.
In Tokyo this coming Wednesday Japanese fight fans get the chance to see two former national champions in action, bot of whom will be expected to pick up straight forward wins after recent defeats.
One of those former champions is the exciting, and teak tough, Suguru Muranaka (25-3-1, 8), who returns to the ring for the first time since his loss to WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The former Japanese Super Flyweight champion gained some genuine respect with his performance against Yafai, in what was Muranaka's first bout outside of the Korakuen Hall, and will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on domestic foe Ken Achiwa (11-12-5, 4). Interestingly however this may not be as easy as it looks and it will be a second meeting between the two, with Muranaka having taken a close decision over Achiwa in their first bout back in 2013.
The other former champion is Kenta Nakagawa (14-3-1, 10), who lost the Japanese Super Flyweight title earlier this year to Ryuichi Funai. This will be Nakagawa's second bout since that loss and we'll see him up against Indonesian journeyman Ical Tobida (13-23-1, 8). The talented Nakagawa was simply not good enough to defeat Funai, but should be far, far to good for Tobida, who has been stopped 13 times already and will likely not hear the final bell here.
In the Philippines fight fans get a small Elorde promoted card. The show generally doesn't have much to get excited about, but we do have to admit that we do like the look of one of the men in the main event and one of the supporting bouts.
The main event will see the very talented, and heavy handed, Giovanni Escaner (15-3, 10) take on Japan's Kyota Otsuka (6-2-2, 4). Of the two men it's Escaner who has been the more impressive and he has had 4 straight wins coming in to this, including stoppages over over Japanese veterans Junichi Ebisuoka and the then touted Naoto Uebayashi. Although Escaner has been beaten 3 times they have all come to decent fighters, such as Marco Demecillo, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Jason Canoy. Otsuka has won just 1 of his last 5 and is likely to come up short again here, but won't be looking to roll over and could give Escaner a really good test.
The supporting bout of interest will see 21 year old Robin Langres (7-2, 3) take on 19 year old Jerry Mae Villagracia (6-2, 2) in what looks like a bit og a 50-50 match up. Both men come in to this on the back a 2 losses in their last 4 and both were beaten last time out. Both of these fighters are limited, but this should be competitive as a result of their limitations and we wouldn't be surprised by a very fun low key bout.
West Midlands, United Kingdom
This coming Saturday is a pretty notable day for Asian fight fans, with the most notable bout coming in the UK as Englishman Khalid Yafai (21-0, 14) defends his WBA Super Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Suguru Muranaka (25-2-1, 8). The unbeaten champion won the title last year, when he outpointed Luis Concepcion, and will be making his first defense here. The champion will be strongly favoured here but Muranaka is unbeaten in over a decade and has beaten notable fighters like Takuya Kogawa, Masayuki Kuroda and Hiroyuki Hisataka. This could be a very exciting bout, despite the general view of it being a mismatch in favour of Yafai.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
In Hong Kong we'll see DEF Boxing put on a show, featuring a number of talented fighters from across Asia, including a number of genuinely notable fighters.
The main will see OPBF female Super Bantamweight champion Ayumi Goto (6-0, 4) battle against Thai foe Sumanthar Baenkham (1-2), in what looks set to be a total mismatch. Goto won't be defending her title here but her appeal as a championship level draw has helped her get a major spot on this card, and seemingly help begin a working relationship between DEF boxing and Goto's promoter Watanabe.
Another Watanabe gym fighter on this card will be Mako Matsuyama (8-11-2, 3), who famously had a 2014 FOTY contender with DEF's star Rex Tso. The limited but fun to watch Matsuyama will be up against Filipino foe Crison Omayao (21-13-4, 7). On paper this has the potential to be something very, very fun. Neither guy is great but both are exciting and together they should make for a very fan friendly contest here.
Another notable name on this card is the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (31-7-1, 16), who is a former WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion. The tough Watanabe, best known for his bloody war with Jaesung Lee, will be fighting in Hong Kong for the second time and will be strongly favoured to beat Thai puncher Tabthong Tor Buamas (15-6, 12), in a bout scheduled for 8 rounds. Another bout where a Japanese fighter will be favoured against a Thai will feature the once beaten Sho Kimura (13-1-2, 6), who faces off with Suphakit Khampha (6-3, 3) in another bout scheduled for 8 rounds.
Australian Capital Territory, Australia
In Australia fight fans will see Felipe Ferreira (5-2, 2) take on Australian based Indonesian trial horse Aswin Cabuy (19-60-4, 7) in a bout for the New South Wales State Super Middleweight title. The 42 year old Cabuy is unlikely to pick up the win here but rarely does he just lie down and he could give Ferreira a good test here.
There isn't much action this coming Monday but there is a card from Flash Akabane.
The headline bout here sees former Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka (24-2-1, 8) face off with former 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-15-1, 10) in what is almost certain to be a great bout to watch. At his best Muranaka is an offensively minded punching machine with great stamina, fantastic work rate and under-rated power. Although an elite level fighter Muranaka could give many top Super Flyweights real nightmares. Hisataka on the other other hand has the look of a faded fighter, despite both men being the same age, and has lost 5 of his last 8. Although fighting against very good competition Hisataka has been beatable through his career and will likely come up short again here, though will put up a great effort as he always does.
Whilst we are excited about the main event the supporting bouts are a bit weak with possibly the best being a shoot out between Joji Tsuchiya (4-4-2, 4) and Hiroki Okubo (6-5, 4), who are both limited but heavy handed and should put on an entertaining scrap together.
The most notable show this Friday comes from the Korakuen where Flash Akabane are putting on a notable show.
In the main event fans will see former Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka (23-2-1, 8) fight for the second time since he had multi-weight issues. The Japanese fighter, who is currently world ranked, will be up against under-rated Filipino fighter Renoel Pael (19-3-1 9) in what is likely to be a very good get for Muranaka, but one he should pass. Although we favour Muranaka here we can't see this being anything but a fun fight for fight fans and one that will have to see Muranaka stepping up his game significantly from his last bout.
The only other bout of real note on this card will see Kenta Nakagawa (11-2-1, 8) take on Thai visitor Ken Menayothin (0-1). Nakagawa has gone 9-0-1 in his last 10 and is heading towards a ranking, following good results against the likes of Toyoto Shiraishi, Jo Tanooka and Shuji Hamada. This bout will be Menayothin's second in Japan, follow a stoppage loss at the end of last year to the very promising Masayoshi Hashizume, and we don't see him winning here against Nakagawa.
Despite not being in action this card will also feature Yuzo Kiyota, who will be in a retirement ceremony ending his long career in the ring.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be shows in China and Thailand.
One of the main bouts of the show will see the promising Zulpikar Maimaitiali (6-0-1, 4) face off against the much more experienced Tanzanian Thomas Mashali (18-4-1-1, 9). Notably Mashali has been stopped in both of his bouts away from home, both in Russia, and we see him being stopped again here against a slightly crude but very exciting Chinese fighter.
The other bout of genuine note on this card will see the big punching Ainiwaer Yilixiati (7-0, 6) face off against Chaoqun Dong (5-1, 2). Coming in to this one Yilixiati is on a 6 fight stoppage run, with the first of the stoppages actually coming against Dong last October. For Dong this is a chance to avenge his sole defeat.
In Thailand the major bout will see world ranked Super Flyweight hopeful Eaktawan Mor Krungthep Thonburi (19-3, 13) battle against Filipino opponent Jayar Diama (7-7-5, 3). This is expected to be another win for Eaktawan, who is a genuinely promising prospect, but Diama is better than his record suggests and was very unfortunate not to beat Ming Ma Yi back in January.
Also in Thailand, though possibly on a different show, the unbeaten Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (34-0, 25) will be defending his PABA Welterweight “Super” title against Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (21-2-2, 19).
On April 12th we see some interesting fighters in action in Tokyo, where we see a former world title challenger and a world class fighter both in action.
That former world title challenger is Yuzo Kiyota (29-4-1, 27), who will be defending his OPBF Super Middleweight against countryman Shintaro Matsumoto (12-4, 9). This will be the third meeting between the two men, showing the lack of willing challengers for Kiyota's title, and should be another straight forward win for the champion who is struggling to really legitimise himself due to the poor quality of challengers. Saying that however Kiyota hasn't looked great in recent bouts and Matsumoto may well see this as his chance to avenge 2 of his 4 losses.
In the co-feature we'll see former Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka (22-2, 7) return to the ring for the first time in over a year. The talented Muranaka, a really exciting fighter, has been in issue with making weight and was given two suspensions due to an inability to make weight last year. Here he'll be fighting above the Super Flyweight limit as he takes on the limited Shun Ishibashi (10-18-1, 4). A win for Muranaka is expected, but given the inactivity and weight issues the key for him will be to shake some rust rather than to really shine.
A third bout of note on this show will see Takenori Ohashi (11-4-2, 7) battle against Yoshitomo Watanabe (8-1, 6). This bout could be very explosive given that both men can punch, and although Ohashi was stopped in a round by Tsuyoshi Tameda last year he'll likely feel that Watanabe isn't as threatening as Tameda was. This really could be a very exciting match up
The first Japanese show of October takes place at the Korakuen Hall and sees the return to the ring of a former champion.
That former champion is former Japanese Flyweight title holder Suguru Muranaka (22-2-1, 7) who fights for the first time since losing his title on the scales about 6 months ago. The exciting Flyweight has been matched lightly here with a match up against limited Southpaw Hideyuki Watanabe (8-7-3, 6). This fight has been made just above 113.5lbs and it's going to be interesting to see if Muranaka's future will be at Flyweight or Super Flyweight.
In the chief support bout fans will get the chance to see Japanese ranked Welterweight Daisuke Sakamoto (10-8-2, 5) battle against Takashi Inagaki (17-13-1, 7) in an 8 rounder. This is, on paper at least, an intriguing bout though Inagaki has lost his last 3 in a row and hasn't won in over 2 years.
A third bout of note here will see 20 year old Hikaru Ota (5-3, 2) face off against Kazuyuki Nakayama (5-4-2, 1) in a 6 round Flyweight bout. Whilst neither fighter is anything special it is a well matched bout and could prove to be one of the most competitive.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned there will be 7 other bouts on this card.
In Thailand fans get a televised show on Channel 7 courtesy of Onesongchai who put several of ther biggest names in action.
The only title bout on the show will see Thewa Onesongchaigym (10-2, 5) attempt to score his 6th straight win and claim the recently vacated WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. The Thai will be up against unbeaten Tanzania fighter Mohammed Kamburuta (9-0, 2) in what looks a good bout on paper. Sadly paper can lie and Kamburuta has shown nothing of note so far in to his career, and in fact this is a massive step up for him in terms of his competition.
Thewa's title bout has come because his stable mate Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (56-2, 37), the former champion, has vacated the title to begin a run at 130lbs following more than 50 bouts as a Featherweight. The former 2-time world title challenger hasn't had his opponent for this bout announced though we're not expecting anything special.
Qne other notable name in action here is Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (32-1-2, 17) who faces Srisomdech Kwanjaisrikod (0-1) in what should be a very easy win for the experienced fighter.
One other fighter on this card is the unbeaten Rakniran Muadransarakam (6-0, 5) who takes on a opponent who's name we didn't have at the time of writing.
Thailand's win-less Aphichat Koedchatturat (0-3) looks to claim his first win as he takes on the debuting Jesse Travers (0-0). Although win-less Aphicat did run the unbeaten Kolby Johnson close last time out and will be hoping for similar success here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The great Japanese action this month continues on a Wednesday which is highlighted by a potentially sensational Japanese Flyweight title fight. We won't pretend this card is a strong one but the main event looks great and one of the support bouts has the potential to be be very interesting whilst another support bout features a man eyeing up a domestic title fight later in the year..
The aforementioned Flyweight title bout will see defending champion Suguru Muranaka (21-2-1, 7) attempt to record the 3rd defence of the belt as he takes on former challenger Tetsuma Hayashi (25-2-2, 9) in a bout that we suspect will see a lot of leather being thrown. Muranaka, who is world ranked by all 4 bodies, has looked really good in recent bouts stopping both Masayuki Kuroda in a gruelling battle before knocking Yusuke Sakashita in spectacular fashion. Although Muranaka is in great form Hayashi should make for a very tough stylistic match up and exciting bout. We really wouldn't be surprised if this ended up being a Japanese FOTY contender.
An interesting support bout at Featherweight will see Yoshitomo Watanabe (6-1, 5), an OPBF ranked contender, battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-4-2, 2) in what we suspect could be a very good test for for the once beaten Watanabe. Coming into this bout both men are unbeaten in 3 and both know a win moves them close to a title fight.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Cobra Suwa (14-11-2, 7), who is ranked by the JBC. Suwa, a Welterweight contender, will be battling against Thailand's limited Chatchai Sithsaithong (8-4, 6). We can't see anything but a Suwa win here, though it certainly wouldn't be enough for him to get a third title fight, so hopefully a quick win will be followed by a swift return to action later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The month of October might still be young but the notable fights continue through the coming days with a number of title fights and world ranked fighters in action.
The most significant Asian fight of the day comes from Tokyo where we get to see the world ranked Suguru Muranaka (20-2-1, 6) defending his Japanese national title. Muranaka will be battling against the little known Yusuke Sakashita (12-4-2, 7). This will be Muranaka's second defense of the title he won last December with a victory over Takuya Kogawa and, with some luck, a win here will help him move towards a world, or OPBF, title fight. Although not a divisional elite Muranaka is a very hard working and talented fighter who we like and would love to see him testing himself against a higher caliber opponent sooner rather than later.
Sadly the rest of this show is poor. The chief support bout is a Lightweight contest which will see Japanese veteran Takashi Inagaki (17-12-1, 7) battling against domestically ranked foe Yusuke Tsukada (6-4, 3). It's an even match up but not one that excites us in the slightest.
One man we are interested in seeing in action is novice Kensuke Sasaki (1-1, 1) who lost on his debut to Kenta Okumura but is tipped as someone with plenty of talent who could go on to national glory. Hopefully Suzuki will get to show that potential as he takes on Indonesian visitor Jack Madison (2-2).
As well as the Japanese card we also have a trio of shows in the Philippines. For us the most interesting of the three is in Batangas with several interesting fighters in action.
One of the bouts on this card will see the promising Rene Dacquel (11-3-1, 3) battle against the once beaten Menard Abila (5-1-4, 1) with both men attemptin to claim the WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Flyweight title. Dacquel has only won 1 of his last 4 bouts though is talented and his stoppage over Yuki Nasu last year was impressive, we're just unsure about him as a Super Flyweight. As for Abila he's taking a clear step up for this bout though it's hard to say how good, or bad, the 20 year old is.
Another interesting bout on this show will see the world ranked, and always fun to watch, Warlito Parrenas (21-6, 19) defending his WBO Oriental Super Flyweight title against Indonesia's Espinos Sabu (11-1-1, 5). We love watching Parrenas in action due to his aggression and power though we did see Sabu go the distance with Rusalee Samor not too long ago and he may be able to surprise Parrenas in what could be the Asian fight of the day.
In a Filipino Flyweight title fight fans will get the chance to see champion Ardin Diale (23-9-3, 10) attempt to record his 5th defence of the belt. Diale, who was involved in an absolute war with Koki Eto earlier this year, will be taking on the unbeaten Renerio Arizala (11-0-1, 4). On paper Diale has to be the favourite due to the clear edge in experience and quality of opponents so far, however Arizala knows that this is a huge opportunity and will boost his standing in the sport massively.
The remaining bout of note on this show will see the explosive Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) defending his WBC ABCO Light Flyweight title against former OPBF title challenger Jonathan Refugio (13-4-4, 3). This could be a real test of how genuine Claveras's power really is and if he walks over Refugio quickly we will have to take the unbeaten with some seriousness. For Refugio this will be his first bout since losing a decision to Knockout CP Freshmart in March.
On a second Filipino show, one in Benguet, we will again seen some interesting fighters, though they are less interesting than those involved in Batangas.
The most notable name here is Joneil Dapidran Pacquiao (5-0, 3), the nephew of Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao will be hoping to extend his winning run as he takes on the win-less Jeffrey Garcia (0-1) in what looks to be little more than a squash match to further pad Pacquiao's unbeaten record.
Although Pacquiao is the most notable name on the show he's a long way from being the best on the show. That is probably the world ranked Mateo Handig (13-6, 7) who holds a controversial decision over Katsunari Takayama. Handig will be fighting for the first time in over a year as he takes on novice Julius Bala (3-2, 1) in a 8 round contest. The bout looks like a mismatch though it's likely to be a case of letting Handig shake off some ring rust before taking on more testing foes.
The only title bout on this show will see Argie Toquero (7-3-1, 5) battle against Japanese visitor Takaya Kakutani (7-4, 6) in a bout for the vacant WBC Youth World Super Featherweight title. We'll admit this is a very weak title bout, one of the weakest "Youth" title bouts in a long time. We've got to go with Toguero here, he is the more proven fighter, though neither should be fighting in a title contest like this.
Misamis Oriental, Philippines
The third, and least interesting, of the Filipino shows is in Misamis Oriental.
The headline bout here is a 10 round non-title contest between Jessie Espinas (8-1, 4) and the highly experienced Rodel Tejares (20-30-6, 5). Although Espinas is a promising youngster we don't think this bout should be a main event anywhere, hopefully however Espinas will impress and step up to the plate to put on a great performance and announce himself as a possible contender.
In a 6 round bout we will see unbeaten fighters collide as Jeronil Borres (4-0, 4) takes on Jack Lord Daoay (1-0, 1). This is For Borres this will be his 5th fight since his debut at the start of May and he really looks like an interesting prospect at just 18 years old and having vicious power, sadly though his opponents so far have been poor and inexperienced. Daoay made his debut in Jun and this will be a step up from his debut, though likewise he him self is a step up in class for Borres. Interesting fight.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
In Thailand we get some interesting action with the unbeaten Paipharob Kokietgym (26-0, 20) defending his PABA Light Flyweight title. Sadly we're confused as to who his opponent is as we've been told it could Mateo Handig, who we believe is actually in action in the Philippines. If it is Handig fighting here it's certainly a very good and is likely to be one of the toughest bouts Paipharob will have fought in so far. It's not Handig we suspect it won't be anyone notable and will be a relatively easy win for Paipharob, sadly. As for this defense we're hoping to see a better performance from Paipharob than we saw in his last out outing against Faris Nenggo.
On the same card we're expecting to see Saenganan KKP (8-0, 5) take on Indonesia's Madit Sada (9-17-1, 3). This should be an easy win for the unbeaten Thai though it is a step up for him and it would be his best win to date.
Another unbeaten man on this card is the promising Petchmanee Kokietgym (2-0) who will be fighting against Johan Wahyudi (9-29, 5). Although a relatively unknown fighter Petchmanee has been pretty aggressively matched and if he wins here he'll likely be moved towards a PABA or WBC Asia or IBF Asia title fight in the next few fights. We's admit that Wahyudi isn't a great opponent but this is still an interesting fight for the unbeaten youngster.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)