This coming Monday Japanese fight fans get a genuinely exceptional card, headlined by an OPBF Featherweight title fight, between unbeaten fighters, and stacked with several other notable bouts, including 2 genuinely brilliant support bouts.
The main event of this card will 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (7-0, 7) take on Takuya Uehara (16-0, 10). The bout will be Shimizu's 4th defense of the OPBF Featherweight title and if he wins he's expected to be moved aggressively into a world title fight in the new year. Despite being a stand out amateur Shimizu has looked like a flawed professional, but with his unbeaten record and perfect T/KO run it's hard to double the results, even if the performances haven't been the best. The 23 year old Uehara is a former WBC Youth champion but this is a massive step up in class, and is likely to be his first bout against a genuine puncher. This could be a good test for Shimizu, but one he'll be expected to pass. A full preview of this bout can be found here - Olympic hero Shimizu takes on Uehara in next OPBF title defense!
The co-feature looks even better than the main event, and is a really well balanced match up that should give us a combination between explosive heavy handed blows and skills. The match up pits the very heavy handed Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-3-2, 16) against the incredibly highly skilled Hinata Maruta (7-1-1, 6), in a bout that will likely lead the winner to a regional title fight in 2019. Tameda is the more raw fighter, but also the hard hitting and the one with real explosive power. Maruta is the more skilled man, but has failed to deliver on the promise he has in recent bouts, and some are perhaps not doubting the Morioka man. This really could be something very, very special. A preview of this can be read here - Preview - Maruta and Tameda to fight on December 3rd!
Another interesting all prospect match up is a mouth watering 8 rounder between Taku Kuwahara (2-0, 2) and Takamori Kiyama (2-0, 2), which may well go down as the best match up between a couple of 2-0 fighters ever. As an amateur Kuwahara was a 2-time national champion and the Ohashi gym view him as a potential major player in their gym, this is however a massive step up in class from the Indonesian fighters he has faced in his first two bouts, neither of which have lasted a round. Kiyama, from the Atsumi gym, was also an amateur standout, and he's has looked fantastic since turning professional as well. This is really a risky bout for both fighters but they should both be admired, for willing to risk their "0" against a fellow prospect this early on.
Former Japanese Supe Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (21-6-1, 12) looks to record his 4th straight win, as he takes on the limited Takahiro Araki (12-7, 4). Okada is a faded force to the man who had pushed Takashi Miura hard in 2010 and had gone on to win the Japanese title the following year, running up 3 defenses before losing to Daiki Kaneko. He is however capable against the lower level domestic fighters and will see this as a good chance to score his 22nd professional win. The 31 year old Araki however is no push over and will see this an opportunity to get a win against a former national champion.
The once touted Sho Nakazawa (11-2, 5) looks to continue rebuilding his career after a 2017 loss to Ryo Hino. The former amateur standout will be looking for a second straight win as he takes on Filipino journeyman Jhon Gemino (17-11-1, 7). On paper this looks like a mismatch but Nakazawa really has failed to shine as a professional and Gemino is the sort of fighter who can be a very tricky out. We suspect Nakazawa gets the win, but Gemino won't have travelled to just roll over.
Another prospect on this card is the highly touted Kazuki Nakajima (5-0, 4), who takes a notable step up in class to fight the experienced Yoshihiro Utsumi (15-8-3, 10). So far Nakajima has only been tested one, with Taiga Higashi giving him issues last December, and has otherwise had things all his own way. Utsumi on the hand has collected losses, but has faced tough competition with losses to Yasutaka Ishimoto, Ye Joon Kim and Hiroaki Teshigawara. It's worth noting that coming into this bout Utsumi scored a huge upset win over Hibiki Jogo and is riding a 3 fight stoppage run into this contest.
This coming Monday attention turns to Osaka where we get two different shows.
One of the two shows takes place at the EDION Arena Osaka, where Hiroki Ioka puts on a small card, featuring a couple of low key but relatively notable contests.
The main event is scheduled for 10 rounds and will see Rikuto Adachi (10-1, 7) take on Filipino Jonel Dapidran (10-2, 6) in a brilliant clash of 20 year olds. The Japanese fighter suffered his only defeat in the 2017 Rookie of the Year final at Welterweight, losing a close decision to Hironori Shigeta, but has since bounced back with a pair of stoppage wins over visitors. Dapidran is a solid fighter, but has lost 2 of his last 5 and a win here would be his best so far. We genuinely are expecting this to be the bout of the day.
In the chief support bout on this card fans will see Koya Sato (11-4-1, 2) battle against Tatsuya Terada (6-3-2, 1). Sato is the more experienced fighter, and is currently riding a 4 fight winning run. Terada on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 bouts. This should be competitive, but Sato's experience should be the difference maker.
The other show is an Apollo promotions card from the Yodogawa Ward Center. As with the Hiroki Ioka card this isn't a big show and only really has 3 bouts of any note.
The headline bout on this show will see the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (15-0, 9) face off against Noriyoshi Taki (6-7-1, 1). The talented Uehara has impressed in recent bouts, with notable wins against the likes of Markquil Salvana and Takuya Yamamoto. The 25 year old Taki is a southpaw, which Uehara does need experience against, but he has been stopped in 3 of his last 5 and we would be surprised by him lasting the distance with Uehara. On paper this is a step down for Uehara, but a chance to get some ring time against a southpaw.
In the leading support bout fans will see former Uehara foe Shota Yukawa (8-5-3, 3) take on Indonesian foe Ramly Pasaribu (6-13, 1). Coming in to this Yukawa has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6 and needs a confidence building performance. Pasaribu should serve as that confidence building win for Yukawa, with the visitor having been stopped in 11 of his 13 losses.
On paper the most even bout is another Japan Vs Indonesia bout, and will see touted prospect Takamori Kiyama (1-0, 1) face off with Ken Neparasi (1-0, 1). On paper this is an even looking bout but Kiyama is very highly touted and is expected to go a long way. Neparasi may turn out to be a surprising talent but we would be very shocked to see him really test the Japanese prospect, despite their similar professional records.