This coming Wednesday is not only the 1st of May but it is also a day with a stacked card as we begin a busy, and potentially brilliant month of Asian boxing. And if we're being honest we begin the month with a genuinely brilliant card courtesy of Dangan, who put on not only a brilliant title bout, but 3 other bouts worthy of note. This is a good a domestic card, on paper, that we've seen in 2019.
The main event is a Japanese Featherweight title bout, which will pit national champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9), The hard hitting champion really impressed us in his title win, dominating Takenori Ohashi in April 2018, but looked very beatable in his first defense, scoring a late stoppage in a nip and tuck bout against Tatsuya Otsubo. Abe on the other hand has been in impressive through the last few years with 11 straight wins, including victories over Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay and Satoshi Hosono. This will be a fantastic match up between a boxer-puncher and a brilliant slick boxer and we're really, really looking forward to this. It could be very special. Our full preview of this bout can be read heere Minamoto and Abe clash in mouth watering Featherweight title bout!
In the chief support bout we'll see Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) look to build on his December win over Tsuyoshi Tameda as he takes on Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4). For Hiroto this will be his first bout since fighting to a draw with Ryo Hino in January 2018, during which time he has been kicked out of the Kadoebi Gym for failing to make weight for a bout with Shohei Omori. Hiroto certainly has a point to prove, fighting under the Dangan banner for the first time, but will be the clear under-dog against Maruta, who is a super talent despite the two marks on his record. Our full preview of this bout is available here Maruta and Hiroto clash at Korakuen Hall!
Another brilliant bout on this show will see the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8) take on skilled youngster Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4), in a bout rearranged from March. The bout had to be delayed due to Oho suffering an injury but he now seems to be healthy in what is regarded as being a Japanese title eliminator. This promises high quality boxing, exciting exchanges and real action. A potential classic, and a bout that may have been helped in it's delay, by being added to such a stacked card, getting more eyeballs on the fighters.
One other bout worthy of note will see former amateur standout out Motoki Osanai (3-2, 1) look to record his third straight win, as he takes on Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5). Osanai turned professional with big expectations but hasn't yet found his groove in the pro ranks and has been fighting between Super Flyweight and Super Bantamweight. If he can find his place he has the ability to really put this poor start behind him. On paper Fujimoto looks like a bit of a nothing opponent, but the reality is that he's a nightmare to fight and we're expecting him to make this bout ultra-competitive and there could just be a round or 2 separating the men at the end of the scheduled 8.
This coming Thursday attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall as we get a show with two title bouts, and several other interesting match ups.
One of those title bouts will see Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9) attempt to score his second victory over Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17), and make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. These two fought earlier this year, with Lagumbay upsetting the former world title challenger courtesy of a 2nd round KO. The bout not only saw an upset, but did so in a spectacular way, with a double knockdown that saw Lagumbay manage to beat the count whilst Obara was counted out. For Obara another loss will likely spell the end of his dreams to get a second world title fight, as for Lagumbay a loss wouldn't be the end, but a win would certainly enhance his options going forward.
A preview for the rematch between Lagumbay and Obara can be read here.
The other title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (15-5, 12) make his first defense, as he faces voluntary challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (12-8-1, 4). The champion impressed in his title winning performance earlier this year, when he stopped Takenori Ohashi but will now need to continue the momentum with his first defense. At his best Minamoto looks fantastic, and we're hoping the title boosts his performances going forward. For Otsubo this is a second shot at the Japanese title, following a 2015 loss to Satoshi Hosono. Since the loss to Hosono we've not really see Otsubo impress, despite going 4-1 (1) he has really been lucky in 3 of those wins, and could well have been 1-5 in his last 6 contests. Interestingly the winner of this will likely face Raiye Abe in early 2019.
On paper the best of the under-card fights will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (10-3-1, 6) take on upset minded Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-8, 5). The exciting Tamura gave Yusaku Kuga absolute hell last year, and proved to be one of the few fighters who could not only take Kuga's power but could also force the champion onto the back foot. Autida is 0-2 in Japan but has managed to be a nightmare for fighters like Ratchasak KKP and Petch Sor Chitpattana and could give Tamura some real questions.
Other bouts on this card will include Japanese ranked Middleweight Shuji Kato (8-1-1, 5) take on Naritsugu Nishihara (5-2-1, 1) and former Japanese title challenger Masaki Saito (14-13-6, 5) take on Takashi Sakamoto (7-10, 2). These should both see the more experienced men come out on top, but neither should be a mismatch.
Kadoebi will be putting on a pretty stacked card at the Korakuen Hall, headlined by a Japanese title fight and littered with notable names from the Kadoebi stable.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-4-2, 10) make his first defense of the title, as he battles fellow puncher Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) in a Champion Carnival bout. Ohashi won the title last year in bizarre fashion as he stopped Kosuke Saka as Saka misheard the end of round clacker, and this will be his first defense since that win. Prior to the stoppage Ohashi had looked a monster against Saka, but with 3 stoppages against his name it's clear he's not the toughest. Minamoto is himself a bit of a glass cannon, with 2 stoppages against his name, but he did show good skills last October when he defeated Dai Iwai to earn this shot. This could well be a shoot out, and could be something very exciting.
The chief support bout is a mouth watering ,match up between Akinori Watanabe (35-7, 30) and Ratchasi Sithsaithong (10-4, 7). Watanabe has lost 3 of his last 5, including an 8th round TKO loss last time out to Magomed Kurbanov, but is still a really dangerous puncher and will know that a win here will see him back in the OPBF title mix. For Ratchasi this will be his first bout in Japan since losing the OPBF Light Middleweight title to Takeshi Inoue last October, and prior to that he had been on a role with wins against Cobra Suwa, Yutaka Oishi and Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine. We're expecting this to be two men each fighting to remain relevant, and could be very special.
Fast rising Kadoebi prospect Kazuki Saito (4-0, 4) will be continuing his development as he faces off with Marbon Bodiongan (14-6-2, 11). Despite only having 4 bouts to his name Saito is already ranked by the JBC and OPBF and looks to be racing towards a title fight thanks to good wins over Jimmy Borbon and Alvin Lagumbay. This is, on paper, a slight step up in class for Saito as he takes on his most experienced opponent. Bodiongan is 0-3 on his travels, but has has mixed with the likes of Nihito Arakawa and Masaru Sueyoshi, and should give Saito a chance to compare himself to those two men. They both stopped Bodiongan though if Saito can stop him in 4 rounds he would have bettered both men's win over the Filipino visitor.
Last November we saw Shoma Fukumoto (11-2, 9) being stopped in a 90 second war with Kazuto Takesako, who has since gone on to win the Japanese Middleweight title. Fukumoto makes his return on this show as he goes up against Indonesian foe Maxi Nahak (7-14-3, 3), who has been stopped in his 3 previous visits to Japan.
Another man looking to get some momentum into his career is Cristiano Aoqui (11-7-2, 7), who has lost his last 3 bouts, and 4 of his last 5. The Japanese-Brazilian will be expected to pick up an easy win here as he takes on a poor Thai visitor.
The under-card also has a really interesting match up on it as the 21 year old Tsuyoshi Sato (5-1-1, 2). who was the 2017 Light Flyweight Rookie of the Year, takes on the unbeaten Yuma Wada (4-0-1, 1), also 21. Sato had a big year in 2017 going 4-0-1 with an opening round win over Yusei Nagai in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, to put himself in the JBC rankings. He will be risking that rankings here against Wada, who looks a very capable young fighter himself.
As well as the action in Tokyo there will also be a pretty notable Asian show in Cebu.
The main event of this card will see Joe Noynay (13-2-1, 4) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Featherweight title against Mexican Hector Garcia (12-6-2-1, 7).We're really unsure how Garcia qualifies for this title, given that he's not from the Asia Pacific region, but he is battle tested and will be a very tough test for Noynay. The Mexican has never been stopped and gave decent tests to Devin Haney and Juan Carlos Burgos last year. Noynay is a genuine talent, and gave Reiya Abe real problems last year, so should be able to come out on top here, but he should get well tested by the Mexican visitor.
One of the main bouts will see Cris Alfante (13-6-1, 5) hunt a third straight win as he takes on Renoel Pael (21-8-1, 11) in a 10 rounder. Coming in to this one Alfante has got a big of momentum with back to back wins, though he has suffered 2 losses in his last 5 bouts, including a 4th round KO defeat to Daigo Higa. Pael once looked like he could be a diamond in the rough, but with 4 straigth losses his career is floundering now and there is a risk that he has resigned himself to being little more than a regional gatekeeper, which would be a shame given his competitive bouts with Ardin Diale and Suguru Muranaka.
Other undercard bouts on this card will see Cris Paulino (16-3, 6) take on Jason Tinampay (8-8-1, 7), in what could be much better than it looks, and Ronel Sumalpong (4-0, 4) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Justin Darap (2-0, 2).
In Canada fans will be able to see former world title challenger Michael Farenas (42-5-4, 34) take on Guadalupe Rosales (34-14, 18). Filipino banger Farenas has had a pretty stop-start career in recent times, with a couple of low key bouts in 2015, none in 2016 and one last year. Aged 33 there is still life in Farenas' career, but he will need a big and busy 2018, with this bout being a perfect chance to shake some ring rust. Rosales on the other hand is a relatively low risk opponent for someone like Farenas and despite being tough, shouldn't have the legs to avoid Farenas.
Belfast, United Kingdom
In regards to Asian fighters the biggest single fight is a Bantamweight unification contest, as Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18) takes on Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9) in Belfast. Coming in to that bout the heavy handed Zhakiyanov will be looking to defend the WBA title, however the Kazakh will be up against a real boxing talent in the form of the excellent Burnett. For both men this will not only be a unification world title bout, but also their first defense, making this a very tricky assignment for two men who only won their title's earlier this year. The Kazakh upset Rau'shee Warren for his title earlier this year, out hustling the American in a very competitive bout, whilst Burnett completely schooled fellow Brit Lee Haskins, despite one judge some how confusing the two fighters. This should be a really good bout,and could well crown the heir apparent for the Bantamweight division.
Whilst the biggest single fight, from an Asian perspective, takes place in Northern Ireland it's hard not to feel like a card from Tokyo is actually the more interesting show. Not only does it have a Japanese title fight, but it also has 4 Japanese title eliminators, and really does promise a fantastic value show.
The main event sees fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) battle against veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) for the Japanese Lightweight title, with both men competing for their first national titles. The unbeaten Yoshino has been touted since his debut, and really has looked like a champion in the making thanks to wins over Chaiyong Sithsaithong, Yoshitaka Kato and Kenta Onjo, and a win here is likely to see him begin a notable reign as a national champion, with not many domestic fighters looking up to the task of beating him. As for Matsushita the bout really is a must win, and he does come into the contest on the back of a huge win over a then unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya. Sadly for Matsushita form has been an issue and his recent wins have all been razor thin decisions, which won't bode well against the talented Yoshino.
At Featherweight we see an elimination bout as Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) and Taiki Minamoto (13-5, 11) battle for the right to challenger for the national title next year. Of the two men Iwai is the more experienced and the more technically gifted fighter, but Minamoto certainly has the edge in power, and acquitted himself well in a 2015 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni. Coming into this Iwai will be the favourite, we suspect hat the bout will be incredibly competitive.
In a potential thriller at Welterweight we'll see the tough and hard working Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 4) take on the big punching Ryota Yada (14-4,12), in possibly the best bout of the card. Yun is coming in to this after a Japanese FOTY contender against Shusaku Fujinaka and he's unbeaten in 6, including a draw with former champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The heavy handed Yada has blown out his last 2 opponents, but has a lot of question marks lingering over him following last years stoppage loss to Jayar Inson, who moved up in weight and bullied him. We're expecting this one to be a little bit special, and can't see anything but an action bout.
Another potential action bout will be at Bantamweight and see veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) take on the exciting Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5). The 31 year old Kikuchi lost 2 of his first 11, before rebuilding his career and has subsequently only been beaten by Shingo Wake, in an OPBF title fight, and the aforementioned Minamoto, with both of those losses coming at Super Bantamweight. On paper Suuki's record is less than great, but to date his losses have all come to very good fighters, with the first coming to Yusaku Kuga back in 2013, the second to Ryoichi Tamura in 2015 and the third coming to Jeffrey Francisco in the Philippines last year. All 3 of those losses were close and were losses which will aid the development of the 28 year southpaw.
Another eliminator will take place Flyweight, and sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) battle against the in-form and very under-rated Akinori Hoshino (14-7-1, 9). The heavy handed Nagamine began his career 10-0 before being beaten by the excellent Ken Shiro in 2015. Since that loss Nagamine has bounced back with 4 stoppages, including thrilling wins over Kenya Yamashita, Mako Matsuyama and Tetsuya Tomioka, which have all been all out wars. Around a year agoHoshino was 11-7-1 (8) and it looked like his career was going no where. Since then however he has moved down in weight and reeled off 3 big wins, including a stoppage of Kenya Yamashita and a decision over Shun Kosaka. We're expecting another good one here, though it's hard to see a win for Hoshino.
Gümligen bei Bern, Switzerland
There's yet more notable action featuring a Japanese fighter as Aniya Seki (31-3-2, 5) takes on Hungarian Kleopatra Tolnai (13-12-1, 4) in Seki's adopted homeland of Switzerland. The bout will see Seki defending her WBC Silver female Bantamweight title, for the second time, and in all fairness this be a simple defense against an opponent who has won just 1 of her last 5.
This coming Sunday is a busy day for fight fans, specifically those in Osaka who get 3 shows.
The most notable of those shows comes from the EDION Arena where the Boxingraise cameras will in attendance to stream live content, featuring some of the brightest young prospects in Japan.
The most notable of those prospects is Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (7-0, 4), who faces the much more experienced Toshimasa Ouchi (20-8-3, 6) in a bout for both the Japanese and the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight titles. Ouch is a man looking to secure his biggest win to date and will go into the bout knowing that pressure is on Ken Shiro, however the veteran may not get another title fight if he loses here. For Ken Shiro this is a brilliant chance to put himself into the window for a world title fight in December.
Whilst the attention is on the main event it's not the only really good bout on this card with another exciting match up seeing the very promising Hiroto Kyoguchi (2-0, 2) going up against Kenichi Miyazaki (10-2-1, 3) in a mouth watering clash. Miyazaki does come in to this on the back of a loss but isn't a push over whilst Kyoguchi is leaping up in class. A really good match up and a really good test for the unbeaten 22 year old.
In another bout of note we'll see 22 year old Light Flyweight hopeful Masataka Taniguchi (3-0, 3) look to extend his great start as he takes on a Thai opponent. Taniguchi is fighting for the 4th time in a little over 4 months, though that's scarcely an issue given he has wiped out his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. We're unsure who the Thai will be for this bout, but there is little to suggest that he should be favoured over Taniguchi.
There will also be another show at the EDION Osaka and this one was originally set to features some notable bouts, though sadly has seen some adjustments.
Originally the main event was supposed to see Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4) battle, in what would have been a huge step up in class, against Hideo Sakamoto (16-2-3, 5) with the key supporting bout being set as a contest between Seizo Kono (16-8-1, 11) and Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-7-1, 5). Sadly however Tanaka has been forced out of the bout leading to a contest between Sakamoto and Kono. It's an alright bout, especially given the short notice, but the reality is that it's not the main event that had had us excited for several weeks.
As a result of the shake up at the top of the card the new main event will see Takayuki Okumoto (16-7-12, 6) face off against the once beaten Sonin Nihei (8-1-2, 1) in what is a really nice match up and a good step up for Nihei who's only loss came to Kenya Yamashita almost 2 years ago.
Another notable bout here will see young female fighter Fuka Komura (0-0) make her debut, as she takes on Kaori Nagai (0-1). Although a debutant, and one without a host of amateur titles, Komura has received a lot of press and there is serious talk about her being fast tracked to a title following a very impressive pro-test bout earlier this year.
A third show in Osaka comes form the L-Theatre.
The main event here sees OPBF and Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryota Kajiki (28-9, 19) take on Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Taiki Minamoto (11-5, 10). Kajiki is looking to move towards a second title bout, following a 2012 loss to the then Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko and is currently riding a 6 fight winning streak, dating back more than 2 years, with notable wins over Shota Yamaguchi and Kota Fukuoka. As for Minamoto he's looking for a second win following last year's loss to Yukinori Oguni, in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout.
In the chief support bout for this show fans will see former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-14-1, 7) end his retirement to take on Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-5-4, 7). For Horikawa the bout will be his first since losing the Japanese title, back in December, to Ken Shiro. Interestingly Kanazawa is returning following a less this year to Toshimasa Ouchi, with Ken Shiro and Ouchi facing off across the city in the first show mentioned in this article!
The only other show in Japan, and the only one taking place outside of Osaka is a small one in Aichi, which is being used to as a Rookie of the Year qualifying show.
The best bout on this card is a 5 rounder between Jinya Ito (4-0-1) and the hard hitting Yuto Nakamura (4-2, 4). The card is a huge step down from the Osaka shows but should provide some thrills in well matched novice type bouts.
As well as all the action in Japan there will also be a show in China where Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (13-0, 13) headlines. The Chinese puncher will be risking his perfect KO record against Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (30-6, 27), who has been in with a who's who of the Cruiserweight division. It's hard to back against Junlong here, but the hope is that a big bout is only around the corner.
For a second day running the only Asian action is in Japan, though this time we do get a number of interesting looking match ups in what looks to be a solid domestic card from Ichiriki Promotions.
The main event will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (23-6-1, 11) battle against the unbeaten Shogo Yamaguchi (9-0-1, 4) in what will be a step up for the unbeaten 22 year old. Aged 30 Kondo is best known for having a short reign as the Japanese national champion back in 2009-2010 though retired in 2013 before mounting a comeback in 2014, that has seen him go 4-3, with notable wins against Jimrex Jaca and Patomsuk Pathompothong. As for Yamaguchi he's on a 9 fight winning run following a draw on his debut, however this is a big step up with his best win to date coming against Shota Suito.
Another unbeaten fighter looking to extend his record is the touted Hikaru Marugame (5-0-1, 3) who looks to bounce back from a draw against Jonathan Baat. Marugame will be up against Reiya Abe (10-2, 5), a 2014 Rookie of the Year winner at Featherweight. Whilst Abe has suffered a couple of losses, with one of them coming a year ago to Shingo Kusano, he is still a very good fighter and should be regarded as a very live under-dog against Marugame, who has promises a lot but failed to really deliver on that promise so far.
Marugame's stable mate Naoto Uebayashi (8-1-1, 4) will also be in action, as he faces Naoaki Kumagai (7-3, 4), in another bout which looks to be well matched. Uebayashi was a former top amateur in Japan, and has fought internationally in the unpaid ranks, but has shown a somewhat shaky chin in the professional ranks, a chin that let him down last year against Giovanni Escaner. This will be Uebayashi's second bout since he was beaten by Escaner and he will be the favourite but Kumagai will come to fight and this could be another banana skin for Uebayashi.
In other bouts on this card Japanese ranked Yudai Arai (7-3-3, 3) will be battling Tatsuya Kaneko (7-11-3, 1) in what looks like a good match up whilst recent Japanese title challenger Taiki Minamoto (10-5, 9) takes on Yudai Tamagawa (8-6-1, 2) in what looks to be a must win for Minamoto given that he is 3-3 in his last 6.
To close out the month Japanese fans get a bit of a treat with a couple of national title fights and a couple of good support bouts. The card isn't one of the strongest you'll see but it's certainly not a terrible card to end September.
The main event sees Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (14-1-1, 4) defending his title for the second time, as he takes on the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (10-4, 9). Oguni hasn't looked great in recent bouts, taking a razor think with over Yasutaka Ishimoto and a draw with Gakuya Furuhashi, but should be too skilled for Minamoto. For the challenger his best chance is to land a bomb, and he does have the power to do just that. This is one of thse Boxer Vs Puncher bouts and whilst we side the boxer here, he could well be caught at any point.
The other title bout comes at Welterweight where Japanese champion Suyon Takayama (22-1, 7) looks to extend his long, but uninspiring, reign as champion. Takayama will be putting his title on the line against the limited Ryoji Tanaka (8-4-1, 2), who has lost his last 2 bouts. Although Takayama has been less than great as a champion, at least in terms of how he has won his bouts, his reign has included 5 title defenses and he's certainly not a man who will let title easily slip from his grasp.
In a good supporting bout fans will see former Japanese Featherweight title challengers collide as Yuki Ogata (21-1-1, 3) takes on Noriyuki Ueno (17-13-5, 5). A few years ago this bout could have been a really good match up, sadly however Ueno has lost his last 2 bouts and looks to be on the slide, having suffered a rare stoppage loss last time out.
A well as the card in Japan there will also be a small show in the Philippines.
The main event here is a 10 round bout between teenagers as the unbeaten 18 year old Jerald Deniega (6-0, 4) takes on heavy handed 19 year old Geo Santisima (6-2, 5). Given the records of the two men this could be very explosive and may well be a “blink and you miss it” bout. Whilst the records are good we need to applaud both men for taking this bout at this embryonic stage in their career's and hopefully both will go on to move into bigger and better bouts down the line.
A well matched 8 rounder will see the unbeaten 20 year old Jess Rhey Waminal (6-0-1, 4) battles against 19 year old Carlo Demecillo (4-2, 1). This is another wonderful match up between two young fighters who know that a win really pushes them forward whilst they can bounce back from a loss.
A similarly matched 6 rounder will see 21 year old Junder Gregorio (4-0) take in Peter Apolinar (5-1, 3) in what again looks like a marvelous match up. Gregorio, a non-puncher, will know that Apolinar's only loss, suffered last time out, was a stoppage but will likely feel confident of extending his own perfect record
(Image courtesy of www.boxmob.jp)