This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day in Japan, with 5 shows set to take place across the country, including 2 in Osaka.
The biggest show is one of those Osaka shows, and will be held by Green Tsuda, with 2 Japanese title bouts.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) defending his title against Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) in a mandatory defense. This will be Yada's third defense of the title, and will be the first time he faces a puncher since dethroning Toshio Arikawa in April 2018. Nagano has earned his shot with wins over Riku Nagahama and Yuki Beppu, but this is easily his toughest test to date. We're expecting a very, very entertaining contest here. An indepth preview of this bout is available here Yada and Nagano battle for Japanese crown!
The other title bout will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) make his second defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8). Okumoto won the title last August, dethroning Hiroyuki Kudaka, and this is a solid looking defense for the 27 year old champion. Matsuo earned this shot with a win over Rey Orais last year, and although that was a pretty straight forward win it is worth noting that the challenger is a live under-dog and he gave Masayuki Kuroda a real test in 2017. This could be a very close and competitive contest. A preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto hunts next defense, takes on mandatory Matsuo
Another bout on this card will see the once touted Kazuki Tanaka (9-2, 6) take on Thai foe Songrit Ontha (2-2). This is clearly a confidence building bout for Tanaka, following a stoppage loss last year to Keita Kurihara, and we would expect him to take a very straight forward, and quick, win here. Ontha has been stopped in the 4th round in both of his losses, and we expect something similar here too.
A second show in Osaka, which takes places after the Green Tsuda card, will be an Ioka promoted show featuring several notable fighters.
The co-feature of this show sees former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-2, 10) take on Japanese based Filipino journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-14-1, 4). It's hard to imagine Estremos beating the unbeaten Japanese fighter, though he did hold Hiroyuki Kudaka to a draw in December and is better than his record suggests. We're expecting a clear win for Hashizume, but one he has to work for.
In a really good looking clash we'll see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (27-1, 15) takes on the under-rated Ikuro Sadatsune (9-3-3, 3) in a Bantamweight clash. On paper this looks like a huge mismatch, but Sadatsune is an upset minded youngster, who is always worth watching and is the naturally bigger, younger man. A loss for Ishida will end his hopes of getting a second world title fight, and he will know that he can't afford a loss. This is a huge change for Sadatsune to make a name for himself, but he will obviously be the under-dog.
The most notable show outside of Osaka takes place in Hyogo, and features a couple of Japanese ranked fighters each looking to move towards their first national title fights.
The chief support bout will see ranked fighters clash as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (14-2, 8) and Fumisuke Kimura (8-4, 5) clash in an 8 round bout at a contracted 64.5KG's. This, on paper, looks like a straight forward win for Kanda, but Kimura has shown the potential to spring upsets, especially when fighters over-look him. We suspect that Kanda will be too good and too strong, but he will have to respect Kimura to avoid a shock defeat here.
The other bout will see OPBF and JBC ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (10-6-1, 4) take on the limited Takayuki Teraji (9-17-1, 4), who isn't a world beater but is a fighter who can be relied on to give solid rounds to national level fighters. Hirai is an under-rated guy, but has sadly lost his last 2 and lost the momentum he had once built , and he should win here, but can't over-look Teraji. Teraji has lost his last 3, but was very competitive in losses to Seita Ogido and Takeru Kamikubo and is a potential banana skin here.
In Ishikawa we get a card from Casimi gym, who put on a 7 fight card headlined by a Japanese female title fight.
The Japanese title bout will see Asami Jinnari (6-3-1, 3) take on Miki Mitsuda (4-5, 3) in a battle for the Japanese female Featherweight title. The match up isn't the most interesting, especially given that Jinnari has already failed in 2 attempts to win the title, but given how we're seeing these female national titles act as something of a building block, we can't complain too much about title bouts like this. Jinnari is certainly a solid contender on the domestic front and Mitsuda is better than her record suggests. It's worth noting however that Jinnari did stop Mitsuda back in August and it's hard to see Mitsuda avenging that loss here.
A pretty good looking support bout on this card will see Omrri Bolivar (7-1, 3) take on under-rated Filipino Ernie Sanchez (19-13-1, 10). Bolivar is an OPBF ranked fighter who is now based in Japan, though is originally from Venezuela. This looks like his toughest bout to date by far, with Sanchez being a fantastic journeyman. Sanchez has been in with a real who's who, and although he has suffered 13 losses, 5 by stoppage, he is a very good journeyman who gave Evgeny Chuprakov a scare last year and stopped Hurricane Futa in 2017. This could be a very entertaining and hotly contested match up.
The least notable of the cards takes place in Yamaguchi, where we get a number of 4 round bouts at a low level. There's set to be 12 bouts on this card, but none of the bouts here are particularly notable.
This coming Sunday is a hectic day with 4 Japanese shows, a Filipino show, a Korean show and a Vietnamese show. Not only is there lots of shows but those shows feature notable names and we get a host of title bouts, in what is a genuinely crazy day.
The biggest action for the day is from Osaka, where we get 8 bouts of note, spread over 2 shows at the EDION Arena Osaka. The first of those shows is a Green Tsuda triple title show.
The main event of this triple title show will see hard hitting Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) defending his belt against the limited but exciting Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 11). For the champion this will be a second defense of the title, and he will be looking to really make a statement in the new year, with a number of interesting challengers now vying for a shot at his belt. For Fujinaka this one more chance to win a belt, but the reality is that he's a clear under-dog. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fujinaka challenges Japanese champion Yada!
A second Japanese title fight on this card will see domestic Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) making his first defense, taking on unbeaten contender Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10). The champion won the belt earlier this year, over-coming Hiroyuki Kudaka, but looks likely to be little more than a transitional champion before a top domestic fighter takes it off him. Hashizume on the other hand was once a hotly tipped prospect, but poor match making from the Ioka gym has seen his development stall and stutter, and it's hard to know how prepared he is for a fight like this. Ore preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto defends Japanese title against unbeaten Hashizume
The third title bout on this show is a Japanese Super Flyweight Youth title bout, pitting the skilful Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) against the heavy handed Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) to crown a new champion. We're expecting a really interesting contest here, with Nakamura trying to land his power and Nasu trying to out box the bigger punching Nakamura. It's a hard bout to call, and should be a very good one for the fans at the venue. Our in depth look at this bout is available to read hereNasu and Nakamura battle for Japanese Youth title!
Another potentially great bout on this card will see the once beaten Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-1, 5) look to record his 8th straight win, as he takes a huge step up and faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (7-4, 4). Coming in to this momentum is clearly with Shimomachi, who won the Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year last year, but this is certainly a tougher test than it looks on paper. Watanabe, although "only 7-4" has been in with the likes of Reiya Abe, Sho Nakazawa and Gakuya Furuhashi, and held his own in some tough domestic bouts. This is a serious match up and a really good fight for both men, who will know that a win massively boosts their career.
After the Green Tsuda card we then get an Ioka promoted show from the EDION arena. This card only features a single title bout, but does have a great supporting card to go along with the main event.
The title match up will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (17-0, 11) defending his belt against tough and hard hitting challenger Hurricane Futa (25-7-1, 15), who should put up a very interesting challenge. Nakatani will be strongly favoured, as he looks to secure his 11th defense of the title, but his career has failed to live up to early expectations and there is a real worry that he will go off the boil, if he hasn't already, and he looked less than his best last time out. Futa is a dangerous fighter, despite technical limitations he can really bang, and he's tough, with his record littered with upset wins, including KO wins over Vage Sarukhanyan and Will Tomlinson. An in depth look at this bout from regular contributor George Delis can be read here OPBF king Nakatani battles hard hitting Futa!
One of the supporting bouts will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) take on former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17). This looks almost certainly like a bout that will have explosive action. Omori is the more technically skilled of the two men, and has solid power to go with his technical skills, but Yamamoto can certainly bang and is a very dangerous fighter, even if he lacks that bit of class Omori has. Both fighters have been stopped and should feel they have the power to stop the other here. A preview of this bout can be read here Omori and Yamamoto clash in "survival" bout!
Another supporting bout will see former world title challengers battle, as former WBA Super Flyweigt title challenger Sho Ishida (26-1, 15) takes on former WBO title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-8-1, 23). At 27 years old the 5'8" Ishida has the potential to go all the way, and 2-0 (2) since his loss to Kal Yafai, in what as a close but very forgettable contest. That loss seems to have made Ishida aware that he does need to improve and we have seen a more spiteful attitude from him in the ring. Parrenas on the other hand is 35 and has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, losing to Naoya Inoue and Ryuichi Funai and this seems like a bout he must win if he intends to keep his career alive. Our preview of this clash can be read here Ishida and Parrenas clash in must win bout!
In one other bout of note we'll see Tatsuya Ikemizu (19-2, 8) hunt a 7th straight win, since being stopped by Jonas Sultan in 2016, as he takes on Sonin Nihei (8-2-3, 1). Both of these men were once tipped for success, though both have fallen very short of expectations so far. Given that both are young, both are 25, there is a chance that they could come good. It's worth noting that Nihei hasn't fought since being stopped by Keita Kurihara in December 2016, in what was a second straight stoppage loss for Nihei.
On a lesser level to the Osaka cards is a show from Okinawa, where 2017 Light Welterweight Rookie of the Year Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6) takes on Filipino Nelson Tinampay (13-7-1, 6). This will be Smith's first bout since losing a Japanese title eliminator to Koki Inoue and should be a solid test for the Japanese-American puncher. Tinampay has been stopped in 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good talent across the region and will give us something to compare Smith's result against.
In a supporting bout we'll see the talented Tatsuro Nakashima (7-1-1, 5), who came runner up in the East Japan Rookie of the Year last year, looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Japanese fighter will be up against Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (4-1, 4), who was last seen in the ring in September, being demolished by the debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka. We don't expect anything but a win for Nakashima, but we're interested in this bout to learn more about how good Shigeoka's performance was.
This card will also feature Former OPBF female Bantamweight champion Yuko Henzan (6-7-4, 2), who is scheduled to face off against a Thai opponent.
The least notable of the Japanese cards comes from Hyogo, where the Japanese ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (13-2, 7) takes on the hard hitting Takuya Matsuzaka (8-7, 7) in what should be a good test before Kanda begins a march towards titles in 2019. Kanda is riding a 7 fight winning streak into this bout whilst Matsusaka has managed to win just 3 of his last 7. Although heavy handed Matsusaka has been stopped in 6 of his 7 losses, and we'd not be surprised to see him being taken out again here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Japanese action there will also be a card in Vietnam, in association with a Japanese promoter, with a Japanese fighter headlining the card.
That Japanese fighter in the main event is the exciting Gakuya Furuhashi (23-8-1, 12), who faces off with limited Thai Yutthichai Wannawong (9-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title. The bout is supposed to be a special attraction as the OPBF look to build up boxing in Vietnam, and it seems clear the OPBF do have big plans for the coming years in these non-boxing countries, so fingers crossed this main event interests the fans.
A second OPBF affiliated title will be on the line as Nguyen Anh Tuan Dao (1-1, 1) faces an opponent, sadly we don't have their name, for the newly created OPBF Vietnamese National Light Welterweight title. The idea seems to be to spread these national titles across a number of countries, in what could be a very interesting experiment from the OPBF, who seem to realise that their market needs to grow outside of their strong hold markets.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see 3 bouts of note, even if they aren't hugely interesting match ups.
The most promising of those fighters is Joe Noynay (15-2-1, 5), who looks to secure a 4th straight win as he takes on Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4), who has lost his last 3. The talented 23 year old Noynay is unbeaten since losing in February 2017 to Reiya Abe, and looks to be a genuine prospect. Bolcio on the other hand looks like a fighter who has given up trying to win and is 4-13-2 in his last 19 bouts, with 8 of those 13 losses coming by stoppage.
Another fighter who appears to be in easy is Ryan Sermona (20-9-1, 13), who takes on Junar Adante (7-10-1, 4). Sermona has mixed with good fighters, including a 2014 loss to Masayuki Ito and a 2017 loss to Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a decent fighter on the domestic Filipino scene. Adante on the other hand has been stopped in his last 4 bouts, and 8 of his last 9, suggesting Sermona shouldn't have any problems at all here.
The other bout of note on this card will see 23 year old Glenn Medura (9-4-1, 5) battle against Dado Cabintoy (15-8-2, 8), in a bout that looks competitive on paper, but isn't a hugely interesting bout. Medua is 1-3 in his last 4, with only a single win in the last 2 years, whilst Cabintoy is 0-4 coming into this bout and is more than 40 months removed from his last win!
Seoul, South Korea
The main event here is really the only bout worth talking about, and will be an 8 round Super Featherweight clash, as Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) takes on Hwan Young Jo (5-6, 1). It's hard to see past a win for Lee, but he was stopped last time out, being taken out in 3 rounds by Jun Zhao back in September. Jo on the other hand has gone 1-3 in his last 4, and at 30 years old really looks like a fighter who won't be getting any better.
They key show this coming Friday comes from Osaka, where we get a Japanese title fight, and several under-card bouts featuring notable fighters.
The main event will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-17-2, 11) make his first defense, as he takes on Takayuki Okumoto (20-8-3, 10), a man fighting in his first world title challenge. Kudaka, a 4-time world title challenger, won the Japanese title this past April, when he out pointed Go Onaga for the vacant title. At 33 years old Kudaka will know that he can't really afford another set back, but will feel like he can pick up a straight forward defense. So far Okumoto is 0-2 in title fights, including a Japanese title fight last year against Ryuichi Funai, but he's a capable fighter who has gone 4-1-1 in his last 6 and will be riding some momentum here. We favour the champion, but suspect he will have to work hard for the victory.
The chief support bout will see 2017 Welterweight Rookie of the Year runner up Rikuto Adachi (9-1, 6) face off with limited Indonesian fighter Maxi Nahak (7-15-3, 3). Adachi lost to Hironori Shigeta in the Rookie final, but has bounced back with a 6th round KO of a Thai foe which he's looking to build on here. As for Nahak, he's 0-4 in Japan and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, suggesting that Adachi should be able to pick up a win here with out too many problems here
Also on this card will be former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (23-3, 22),
who will be fighting for the second time since ending his retirement earlier this year, and former Japanese and OPBF Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (31-10-3, 10), who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Takeshi Inoue. We've been informed that Nonaka will be facing a Thai whilst Nakamura will be up against Marbon Bodiongan (14-7-2, 11).
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a show in Tokyo, though this card is lacking in the name value that the Osakan card has.
The main event will see Masanori Rikiishi (2-1, 1) look to bounce back from his recent loss to Kosuke Saka as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Egy Rozten (5-18-2, 3). Despite the loss to Saka it seems clear that Rikiishi's team have big hopes for him and despite this being a straight forward bout, at least on paper, the fact he is main eventing shows the belief that the Green gym have in him. Rozten comes into this on the back of 6 straight stoppages, and has gone 0-6-1 in his last 7 bouts, showing just how much of an easy opponent he should be for Rikiishi.
In the chief support bout fans will be able to see Japanese ranked Featherweight Yosuke Kawano (12-7-2, 6) take on Masajiro Honda (6-9, 4). The 29 year old Kawano has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, but is better than that form suggests with his draw coming to Takenori Ohashi, who went on to claim the Japanese Featherweight title last year, and ran the likes of Dai Iwai and Ryuto Araya very close. Honda has been stopped in his last 5 bouts, and is without a win since November 2014. It's clear that Kawano has been matched softly here and should pick up a pretty simple win.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Takahiro Araki (11-7, 4), who will be facing off with Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-9, 4). Araki is nothing great, going 3-3 in his last 6, but should have more than enough to deal with Takabayashi, who has gone 1-6 in his last 7 bouts.
Staying in Asia there will also be a double title show in Jakarta.
One of the bouts will see the very experienced James Mokoginta (37-18-3, 23) take on hard hitting Filipino Jon Jon Estrada (11-4-1, 10), in what will be Mokoginta's first defense of the WBA Asia Featherweight title. Although Mokiginta has 58 career bouts he's only 27 years old and has the potential to be in some good fights. It is worth noting however that Estrada is a genuine banger, and has stopped usually durable fighters like Pablito Canada and Brian Lobetania in recent years. Given the power of Estrada we can
The other title bout will see the limited Ruben Manakane (24-17-1, 13) face off with the unbeaten Muhammad Ashiq (4-0, 3) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Manakane is limited but is currently riding a 5 fight winning streaking, having claimed several titles during that run. Ashiq is a bit of an unknown, only debuting last September, but looks like he could be a prospect worth following and a win here would put him on the map, at least domestically.
In California fight fans will be able to see unbeaten American Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5) take on Filipino foe Recky Dulay (10-3-0-1, 7) in a bout for the NABF Super Featherweight title. Gamez started his career slowly but has stepped up this year, beating Shoki Sakai in April to notch his best win to date. Dulay is coming into his prime has lost 2 of his 3 bouts in the US, including a stoppage to Gervonta Davies. We would be surprised by a win for Dulay, but he has surprised us in the past.
The most notable show this coming Sunday, Easter Sunday, comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
The main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Masahiro Sakamoto (11-1, 7) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on highly experienced Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (60-9-2, 24). The Japanese fighter won the title last December, when he stopped Kwanthai Sithmorseng, and he'll be looking to score a second successive win over a Thai veteran here. For Pigmy another loss might well spell the end of his career, especially given he's already 36 years old and has been a professional for closing in on 19 years! A win for Sakamoto will take him a step closer to getting a rematch with Sho Kimura, the only man to beat him so far.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (15-5-3, 5) looks for a stay busy win as he takes on Thai visitor Kathawut Saikaew Boxing Camp (0-1). Mukai has score back to back wins since his 2017 stoppage loss to Rex Tso in Hong Kong, and although bigger fights are around the corner we can't grumble too much about him staying busy given the competition he has faced through his career so far.
Arguably the most even looking match up on the show is a contest between Yuki Strong Kobayashi (12-7, 6) and Taichi Sugimoto (6-4, 2). We're not expecting anything too special here, but it does see Kobayashi risking his OPBF Bantamweight ranking.
Another show in Osaka, this time at the EDION Arena Osaka, will be promoted by Green Tsuda and looks a very interesting card with several bouts of note.
The main event is the most notable contest on the show and will see once beaten hopeful Kazuki Tanaka (8-1, 6) battle recent OPBF title challenger Seizo Kono (19-9-1, 12). The talented Tanaka was expected to be fast tracked into becoming a star however a 3rd round TKO loss last year to Ryohei Takahashi really did set him back, despite a bounce back win over Hikaru Marugame. Last time out Kono battled against Mark John Yap, and despite a solid effort he was stopped in 10 rounds. Given that both men need a win this should be a very hotly contested bout.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (19-8-3, 9) will take on Indonesian Frengky Rohi (5-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Okumoto has gone 3-2-1 (3), with set backs to Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, Eranio Semillano and, most recently, Ryuichi Funai in a Japanese title fight. The Indonesian visitor when 5-0-1 to begin his career, but has lost his last 3 bouts, and will struggle to over-come Okumoto here, in what looks like a very tough bout on Japanese soil.
A great match up between 24 year old fighters will see Ryo Sagawa (3-1, 2) take on the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Sawai (5-2-1, 5). Sagawa caught out eye on debut and looked very impressive, though was stopped in his second bout by Retsu Kosaka in a Japanese Youth title fight. Since that loss he has bounced back with two credible wins and will be looking for another one here. As for Sawai he's a very dangerous puncher at this level, and despite being flawed he can bang, with his power taking him to the 2016 Rookie of the Year final, where he lost to Yoshimitsu Kimura. This is a very interesting bout, and the winner could well go a very long way, despite already having a loss on their record.
Another bout pitting men with one loss against each other will see 2017 Super Bantamweight Rookie of the year Toshiki Shimomachi (7-1-1, 4) take on former amateur stand out Kiyohei Endo (1-1, 1). Shimomachi started his career 2-1-1 but is now riding a 5 fight winning run and has broken into the Japanese rankings. Endo, a former amateur stand out, suffered a surprise loss on debut but looks a class fighter and a win here would move him to the fringes of a Japanese ranking. A very interesting bout and one that both will be wanting to win, and win impressively.
There will also be a low key card in Aichi, as Yakushiji put on a show.
The main event of this card will see teenager Musashi Mori (5-0, 4) take on a Thai foe. The 18 year old Mori won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight and enters this bout ranked by the JBC. A win for the teenager won't push him up the ranking, but will kick off a year which should push him towards a title fight, if not see him in the mix for a Japanese youth title before the end of 2018.
A pretty interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rookie of the Year runner up Katsuki Matsuura (5-1, 1) take on Toma Kondo (6-2, 1). These two men are both 21 years old, both have very similar looking records and whilst neither is much of a puncher they should make for a very exciting contest against each other. This could be a very interesting bout between two men each looking to bounce back from a loss. Very good match making here.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows in the country, with 2 of those taking place in Osaka.
The most significant of those is a multi-title show from Muto promotions, with the card being headlined by OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-2-2, 11), who faces off with veteran Yasuyuki Akiyama (11-7-1, 8). The bout will see Tyson defending his OPBF title and also look to add the WBO Asia Pacific title, which is currently vacant but on the line for this bout. It's hard to see past a win for Tyson, given he holds almost every advantage, but the bout is likely to be the final one of Akiyama's career, and he will almost certainly give everything he has here.
A second OPBF title fight will see Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (27-12, 13) seek his second defense, as he puts his title on the line against Japanese foe Seizo Kono (19-8-1, 12). The Japanese based Filipino champion will be making his second defense of the title, following his dramatic win over Kentaro Masuda, and knows that if he can continue on his current winning streak there is a chance he will be able to move towards a world title fight. For Kono the bout perhaps comes at the perfect time, with the Japanese man having won his last 4, and seemingly ended his blotchy form, which saw him going 2-5. Despite being on a bit of a run this is still a big ask for Kono.
In a rematch we'll see former multi-time world title challengers collide, as Hirofumi Mukai (14-5-3, 4) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-9-1, 19) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, just as they did in November 2016. In their first meeting Mukai stopped the Thai in 3 rounds, but since then he has gone 1-1, beating a novice Thai and being stopped in a war with Rex Tso. As for Inthanon, he's fought once since losing to Mukai, also a win over a novice Thai. It's fair to say that Mukai will be favoured, given how easily he won the first contest between the two, but it'll be interesting to see what the Tso bout took out of him.
A second Japan Vs Thailand bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title will see the once beaten Masahiro Sakamoto (10-1, 6) take on veteran former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Aged 26 Sakamoto is just coming into his prime and the Flyweight will be looking to claim the biggest win of his career here. His only loss came in a bout for this very same title last year, when he suffered a very close loss to current WBO world champion Sho Kimura, and he will know that a win against Kwanthai could push him into the world title mix. As for Kwanthai, he's a long way removed from the man who claimed the WBA Minimumweight title in 2010. He has gone 19-4 since that win, but suffered 2 stoppages and only beaten very limited opposition. This should be a win for Sakamoto, but the question is really “how impressive does he look here?”
A second show in Osaka will be promoted by Green Tsuda and although not a big card does have one of the day's most interesting contests on it, as well as the continued push of a man who has been matched hard through his career.
That hard matched man is Takayuki Okumoto (18-8-3, 8), who's record doesn't suggest anything special but he did recently challenge Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai, and ran Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking close in 2016. The Japanese fighter will be up against a Thai foe here, and should, easily, pick up the win in the card's main event.
Arguably the most interesting match up of the day is a supporting contest between two once tipped amateur stars, both in need of a big win after recent set backs. In one corner will be Kazuki Tanaka (7-1, 5), a Green Tsuda man who was tipped as a star but was stopped last time out by Ryohei Takahashi. Like Tanaka we saw Hikaru Marugame (6-2-1, 4) turn professional with high expectations, having competed on the international stage in the amateurs, but with 2 losses and a draw in his last 4 bouts those expectations are quickly dying. A loss here for either man would likely spell the end of any hope of them becoming a notable name, and the bout really is a must win for both.
A third card from Japan this coming Sunday is from Aichi, and is certainly one with an international feel, given the three most notable bouts all feature a visitor.
The main event sees former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (14-4-1, 9) take on Indonesia's Filipus Rangga (10-17, 1). The Japanese fighter looked like one to watch when he lost to Yuki Nonaka, with some suggesting just a tiny bit of seasoning was needed, and since then he has picked up two stoppage wins and looks like a genuine domestic contender, with a second title fight perhaps only a few bouts away. Rangga began his career 5-1 but since then has gone 5-16 and really is a very limited fighter on the domestic scene, and has fought at much higher weights. Not only is Rangga smaller, older, and less talented but he is also making his international debut. In all honesty Maruki should be disappointed if this goes beyond 6 rounds.
In an interesting support bout fans will see the pretty solid Shogo Yamaguchi (10-3-2, 5) take on domestically ranked Indonesian Lightweight Sam Puadi (7-8, 5). Yamaguchi has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, though has faced the likes of Akihiro Kondo and Andy Hiraoka during that run, and really needs a win to kick start his once fledgling career. The visitor is 0-2 outside of Indonesia, including a loss earlier this year in Japan to Yuki Harada, though it's fair to say that the visitor will feel he has half a chance here against a very out of form Yamaguchi.
Also on this card will be a Heavyweight bout, as top ranked Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (13-11-3, 7) takes on Korean visitor Hoo Won Lee (4-3). The 39 year old Takehara is a 2 time Japanese title challenger and although he came up short in both bouts, to Kyotaro Fujimoto, he is a game fighter. Interestingly Takehara will be fighting for the first time since May 2016, when Japanese rules actually forbid him from fighting, and will surely be wanting to prove age is just a number. The 24 year old Korean visitor has age on his side, but the former Korean Heavyweight champion is stepping up in a big way here, and was stopped in a round back in June. If Takehara is half the fighter he was he should win, if he loses however it's got to be the end for him.
Seoul, South Korea
Fans in Korea will get their own title bout, as the unbeaten In Duck Seo (8-0-1, 5) takes on the limited Joong Kyung Lee (3-2) in a bout for the KBF Light Middleweight title. Seo is unbeaten, but could only a manage a draw last time out, in a very good match up against Dong Hee Kim down at 140lbs. As for Lee, who will be having his 6th bout of the year, this bout follows an 8 round loss to Moon Sung Choi and he will certainly be coming into this one looking to score a big domestic win.
The key show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo where we get a triple title show courtesy of Watanabe gym.
The main event of this card is an IBF Minimumweight title fight as reigning world champion Jose Argumedo (20-3-1,12) defends his title against heavy handed Japanese fighter Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6). For Kyoguchi the bout could see him become the new face of the Watanabe gym, and the fastest fighter, in terms of time, to win a world title from Japan, around 15 months after his debut. For Argumedo the bout will be his 4th defense, and see him return to Japan, where he won the title at the end of 2015, when he beat Katusnari Takayama. On paper this is a really mouth watering match up, as a big and tough champion takes on a destructive ball of power punching energy, and we expect to see serious questions asked about both men. If Kyoguchi is ready for Argumedo, he's potentially ready to shake up the who division, but it's possible that Watanabe rushed just a touch too quick.
The other world title bout will see Watanabe's only current male world champion defending his title. That's Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-2, 11) who makes a mandatory defense of his WBA Light Flyweight title against Colombian foe Robert Barrera (18-1, 12), in what could be a testing bout for the frustrating Taguchi. At his best Taguchi is a brilliant fighter, who can box at range and make the most of his physical attributes, which include a very long reach. Problem is that he's frustratingly struggled with less fighters and seems to find it hard to get up for some opponents, and struggles against supposedly easier foes. Barrera, as a mandatory, should pose a good test, but it's hard to say for sure. If the Colombian is determined and fired up he could, potentially, scupper a strongly rumoured unification bout between Taguchi and WBO champion Kosei Tanaka. It's fair to say that Taguchi should be hungry to prove a point, but whether we see that in the ring is hard to predict.
A third title bout will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (27-7, 19) defending his title, for the first time. In the opposite corner to the champion will be first time challenger Takayuki Okumoto (18-7-3, 8), and it's fair to say that the champion will be the favoured fighter here. Funai won the title at the Champion Carnival, stopping good friend Kenta Nakagawa, and will be hoping to extend his reign in a voluntary defense. Okumoto was once seen as a prodigy but has become a streaky fighter and will need to record a career best win to dethrone the champion.
A name to make a note of in action on this card is touted former amateur star Hironori Mishiro (2-0, 1),who is tipped as another to follow in the footsteps of Kyoguchi and be moved quickly through the ranks following a very strong amateur grounding. He's looked good since turning professional but still needs to continue his development. He'll be up against a Thai foe, but sadly we've not been given the foes name.
Someone else up against an unknown Thai is former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13), who returns to the ring for the first time since his stoppage loss to Naoya Inoue. The bout is designed to help Kono shake off some ring rust ahead off a more meaningful bout with Rex Tso later in the year.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there is a card primarily focused on prospects.
On of those prospects is the once beaten Ben Mananquil (13-1-2, 3), who we have been impressed by since his controversial draw against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym back in 2013. Although Mananquil has got a loss, it was a razor thin one in China and we'd suggest he's one to follow going forward. With that said we clearly expect him to defeat the heavy handed but limited Kim Lindog (5-4-1, 4).
Another of the top prospects if former amateur stand out Jade Bornea (7-0, 4), who takes on the experienced, but very limited, Nicardo Calamba (7-24-4, 4). As an amateur Bornea won numerous trophies and scored a number of big wins, and huge things are expected of him. For this bout he should have way too much for Calamba, who has really struggled to pick up wins in recent years.
As well as the prospects we'll also see a veteran in action, as the highly experienced Eden Sonsona (36-7-2, 13) takes on JP Macadumpis (11-9-1, 5), and returns to the ring following a loss in Russia to unbeaten prospect Evgeny Chuprakov. On paper this should be an easy win for the 28 year old Sonsona, but there may be questions about how he looks given his stoppage loss last time out.
Also on this card will be two novice prospects looking to secure their second professional wins. One of those is Dave Apolinario (1-0, 1), who takes on the win-less Elizer Ambon (0-1), who was recently signed to a professional contract and looked on debut. The other is his stable mate Mark Antonio (1-0, 1), who signed with and debuted at the same time as Apolinario. Antonio will be up against the debuting Jeffrey Diale (0-0), and will also be looking for his second victory.
In South Africa we'll see the really promising Filipino youngster Dexter Alimento (12-1, 8) take on South African local DeeJay Kriel (11-1-1, 6) in a bout for the currently vacant WBC International Minimumweight title. Alimento came to our attention last year, when he stopped Chanachai CP Freshmart, and despite a very close loss to Masataka Taniguchi we still have huge hopes for him. Kriel is unbeaten since a points loss on his debut in 2014 but as wit many African fighters his record is a hard one to read, with no fights against opponents that we can say much about. This is a hard one to get a read on, but could tell us a lot about both mem
This coming Sunday is set to be a very busy day in Japanese boxing circles
The most interesting card of the day comes from the EDION Arena Osaka where Green Tsuda put on what looks like a really interesting show.
The main event of the card will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Takayuki Okumoto (18-7-2, 8) battle against Filipino visitor Eranio Semillano (13-7-2, 4), with the Filipino himself holding a top 10 OPBF ranking. Both fighters will be entering this bout with the knowledge that a good performance could move them to an OPBF title fight, and both will also know that their opponent can be beaten, and can be stopped. Interestingly this is an southpaw bout with both men being 25 years old, but it's the visitor who will be the taller man.
In the chief support bout we'll see the hotly tipped Kazuki Tanaka (6-0, 5) take on world ranked Thai Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (16-6, 11). Although inexperienced Tanaka is tipped for the top and is a former stand out amateur who has long been viewed as a future world champion in the making. On paper this could be a step up, given that Sukkasem has a #15 ranking with the IBF, but the Thai has lost every time he's faced a notable fighter, and was stopped in 5 rounds last year by Japanese champion Yusaku Kuga, with that likely being the marker that Tanaka will be looking to beat.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see exciting local Ryuto Kyoguchi (14-1-1, 10) takes on former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (27-12-2, 9). For Kyoguchi this is a real gut check with the youngster, the older brother of Hiroto Kyoguchi, having only had 1 round of in ring action in almost 2 years. At his best Kyoguchi is a real talent, but this is a genuinely tough test. Lopez, who fought for the WBC Super Flyweight title in Japan back in 2012, has picked up a lot of losses recently but is still a test at this level and did drop Sho Nakazawa back in 2015. Sylvester has power and could well be a banana skin if Kyoguchi over-looks him.
Also on this card will be former OPBF champion Yu Kawaguchi (25-8, 12) and rising female star Fuka Komura (2-0, 1), who will both be up against low key Thai foes.
Staying at the EDION Arena in Osaka there will also be a Dangan card. Originally it was set to be headlined by Ken Shiro defending the Japanese Light Flyweight title against Tetsuya Hisada but Ken Shiro chose to vacate the title, with a rumoured WBC title fight set to be announced, forcing that bout to be cancelled. Despite that the show will still go ahead and Hisada will get a shot at the Japanese title on April 21st.
As a result of Ken Shiro vacating the Japanese title we now see the main event as a bout between defending OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (18-6-1, 6) and Japanese challenger Shota Kawaguchi (20-7-1, 8). The bout is a pretty good one on paper, but one where Dacquel will be favoured and one that feels like a disappointing main event given that Ken Shiro was supposed to be headlining.
In supporting bouts we'll see former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (18-5-1, 11) and unbeaten teenager Daiki Tomita (8-0, 2), both of whom will be battling against limited Thai visitors.
We also get a small card in Okinawa. The card really doesn't have much of note on it, but does feature one man who we suspect will be one to watch over the coming decade or so.
The fighter is Lightweight puncher, and 2016 Rookie of the Year, Shawn Oda (5-0, 5). The teenager really impressed last year, debuting in May and winning the Rookie of the Year in December, and will be looking to kick off 2017 with a bout against Thai visitor Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (2-8, 1). Tienchai is a regular in Japan, fighting his 10th bout in the country, and although he's there to be beaten by Oda we suspect the local will still be looking to give the fans a show before stopping the Thai.
There will also be a low key card in Shizuoka.
In the main event of this card we get a really good match up as former Japanese title challenger Cristiano Aoqui (11-5-2, 7) takes on the under-rated Noriaki Sato (4-1-1) in a bout at Welterweight. Aoqui's best success has been at 140lbs, where he fought the then Japanese champion Hiroki Okada last year, but it looks like he's moving up to continue his career. Sato on the other hand was forced up in weight after failing to make weight for last year's Strongest Korakuen, when he was unable to make 140lbs to face Koichi Aso. The bout should be an exciting one and a real crowd pleaser.
In a supporting bout on this card the 21 year old Daiki Ichikawa (8-2, 6) will be risking his OPBF ranking against Takaki Sakurai (7-7-1, 3). Coming in Ichikawa is ranked in the top 15 by the OPBF at Lightweight and may well feel like he is just a few fights away from getting a title shot, something he is ill prepared for at the moment. As for Sakurai he's lost his last 5, but could still be a problem for the heavy handed Ishikawa, if the youngster is over-looking Sakurai.
Daejeon, South Korea
There is also set to be a very low profile card in South Korea. This card doesn't have anyone of any note on it , with the main event being a 6 rounder between Hyun Min Yang (4-1, 4) and Heuk San Lee (1-0-1).
This coming Sunday is a hectic day in Japanese boxing with a number of cards.
The biggest card comes from Osaka, and will be featured on Boxingraise on a delayed basis.
The main event of the card sees the WBO Asia Pacific titles continue to rise in Japan as Ryota Yada (12-3, 10) takes on unbeaten Filipino Jayar Inson (12-0, 8) for the Welterweight crown. The bout isn't a huge one by any stretch, but it is a very attractive one with two talented, hungry fighters each looking for a major international title and a potential WBO world ranking. Although interesting on paper Inson is moving up from Lightweight and is likely to look very small compared to Yada.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (17-7-2, 7) will be defending his Japanese Super Flyweight ranking as he faces off against the limited Takanori Hayashida (7-10-3). Ranked #3 by the JBC Okumoto will be looking for a title fight in 2017 and will know that any sort of a set back will ruin those dreams. On paper this looks like a mismatch, and will likely be very one sided, but Hayashida has won his last 2 bouts following an 8 fight win-less streak and will be eager to keep his current winning form going.
One of the most attractive match ups on the card will see Takahiro Murai (14-6-2, 5) face the talented but fragile Takeru Kamikubo (11-2, 8) in a really interesting match up. Murai is Japanese ranked at Flyweight and is clearly looking to get a title fight in the near future, with his recent competition being solid on the domestic level. Kamikubo did show real promise at one point but back to back stoppage losses in 2015 derailed his career and he is very much needing to rebuild here.
Also on the card are several notable prospects. One of those Naotoshi Nakatani (9-0, 6), who risks his unbeaten record against Masashi Wakita (6-4-2, 2), another is Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4), who has yet to have his opponent for the show to be named, and also school girl boxer Fuka Komura (1-0), who faces Mizuki Matsuoka (0-1)
A second show comes from Aichi.
The main event of this card will see former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (19-4-4, 8) take on Kazuki Fukakura (9-11-2, 3) in what appears to be a total mismatch. Kikuchi is best known for his 2013 loss to Shingo Wake, and whilst he did lose his following bout he has gone on a 5 fight winning run and looks to have rebuilt some confidence whilst moving into a top 10 JBC ranking at Bantamweight. Fukakura has gone 2-5 in his last 7, dating back more than 2 years, and is unlikely to win here, but does have the ability to be competitive at this type of level.
In the most interesting of the supporting bouts we'll see Takashi Igarashi (8-3, 3) battle the Yoshiki Kawamura (5-6-2, 3). The bout isn't a competitive bout, and it'd be a genuine shock to see Igarashi lose, but it should be better than it looks on paper and the 20 year old Igarashi should be tested a bit here.
A third show is in Yamaguchi.
The main event here will see OPBF and JBC ranked Lightweight Accel Sumiyoshi (7-4-2, 2) battle against Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Yusuke Nakagawa (10-5-1, 6) in what should be a really intriguing match up. Despite neither guy having a great record on paper the two should be well matched and are both much better than the raw numbers suggest. Sumiyoshi is the naturally bigger guy, and should be favoured, but it is a very competitive match up.
Another really interesting match from this show will see the under-rated Burning Ishii (7-3-1, 2) battled Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (11-1, 5). Ishii is the promoter's fighter and has mixed with good company, but was stopped last time out by Kosuke Saka and has now been stopped twice whilst also showing little real power. Atsumi is arguably the most promising Korean fighter in the sport and has scored 3 stoppages since relocating to Japan, including a huge win over Sho Nakazawa and a notable stoppage against Dennis Tubieron. Hard not to favour Atsumi here, but it's another intriguing match up.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Outside of Japan there will also be action in the Philippines.
In the main event here we see former WBA “interim” Light Flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin (24-2-1, 18) take on Arnold Garde (7-3-2, 3) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Light Flyweight title. This will be Petalcorin's second bout since his controversial loss to Omari Kimweri and should be a straight forward win against Garde, who has been stopped 3 times at domestic level, including an opening round stoppage to the then debuting Zoren Collado,
In a notable supporting bout we'll see Eden Sonsona (34-6-2, 12) return to the ring for the first time since his huge May 2015 upset win over Adrian Estrella. Sadly for Sonsona he was unable to build on the win over Estrella and now, 19 months later will be taking on Eusebio Baluarte (19-17, 12) in what looks like a massive step backwards. Although a step backwards it's nice to see Sonsona back in the ring.
One of a number of interesting prospects in action here is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (17-0, 8), who looks to extend his winning run as he takes on the limited Joas Apericio (12-17-1, 9). We do like Moralde, and he does have a lot of talent, but Apericio really won't do anything to test the youngster and there's a reason that he's gone 0-7-1 in his last 8. A horrible mismatch in favour of the very talented unbeaten Moralde.
Another Filipino that we like is Ben Mananquil (11-1-2, 3), who came close to stopping Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym back in 2013. The once beaten Filipino has been away from the ring for 15 months but should return with a win this weekend as he takes on the limited Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-8-3, 3) in an 8 rounder.
There will also be action in Thailand where we'll see a national Super Flyweight title fight as Chatchai Or Benjamas (6-8, 5) faces Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-15, 6) for the vacant title. The bout doesn't pit two major names but does look like it could be a competitive and even match up, even if it is at a very low level.
The most notable from 4 Japanese cards takes place in Osaka where Green Tsuda put on a notable show with several “name” fighters.
The most notable of those fighters is former world champion Denkaosan Kaovichit (63-6-1, 26) who returns to a Japanese ring, for the first time since his stoppage loss to Ryo Matsumoto, to face Kazuki Tanaka (4-0, 3). This should be another step forward for the 23 year old who will be looking to get himself a title fight before the year is over.
The Kaovichit Vs Tanaka bout is one of 4 notable Japan Vs Thailand bouts. Another, at the top of the card, will see Takayuki Okumoto (16-6-2, 6) battle world ranked Thai Eaktawan Mor Krungthepthonburi (17-3, 12). Eaktawan is 0-3 outside of Thailand, having lost to Albert Pagara, Sho Ishida and Froilan Saludar, but has looked like a promising fighter in recent times, winning his last 10 bouts. Okumoto has won his last, following a loss in 2013 to Rusalee Samor, and will see this as an opportunity to climb into the fringes of the world rankings. A really good match up on paper and hopefully one that will deliver in the ring.
Another bout will see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (24-7, 11) battle a Thai, though we haven't been given the name of the Thai, just that he's a Mor Krungthepthonburi fighter. Likewise Masataka Taniguchi (0-0), will be making his debut in a 6 rounder against a Thai foe.
Another card in Japan comes from Chiba with this one featuring several bouts of note.
One of those bouts sees the once touted Kenta Onjo (5-2, 3) fight for his career as he battle Akihiko Katagiri (17-8-2, 8). Early in his career Onjo looked like one to watch but having lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, this is a real must win for him. Katagiri is a win-some-lose-some but has been in good form, with a 5-1-1 (4) record in his last 7 and will be expected to continue that run here.
Another of the notable bouts will see the Japanese ranked Yuta Saito (9-7-2, 7) battle against Corrales Kawashimo (7-6-1, 2). Saito's record isn't great but he's a dangerous fighter and is better than his record suggests. Incidentally Kawashimo was stopped last time out by Katagiri, who was in the previously mentioned bout.
A third bout of note, and in fact the main event of the card, will see Atsuki Hayashi (6-2-1, 2) battle against Naoya Nishimura (4-8-1, 3). Local man Hayashi will be fighting for the first time since he lost a competitive bout with Naoto Uebayashi back in May 2013 and there seems to be some genuine hope that his return will be a successful one.
There's low profile show in Fukuoka. The main event on the card will see Yoshihiko Matsuo (18-7-6, 3) battle against the limited Yuta Sasaki (7-7-1, 1). This Super Bantamweight bout, scheduled for 8 rounds, is unlikely to move the winner to a title fight but it could kick start their career after both men have faltered recently. Coming in to this one Sasaki is 1-4-1 in his last 6 whilst Matsuo is 1-2-1 in his last 4.
In a supporting bout Areji Kato (7-1, 2) will be facing a Thai opponent in a 6 rounder.
Another low profile show is set to take place in Okayama. The main event here will see the JBC ranked Light Flyweight Seigo Yuri Akui (6-0-1, 2) take on Hideaki Yamaji (5-10, 2). This looks like a mismatch though Akui, the 2015 Rookie of the Year at Light Flyweight, will be facing his most experienced man so far.