This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo will get an interesting card with a world title eliminator headlining the show, and two undercard bout featuring Japanese ranked fighters.
The main event will be a Light Middleweight bout featuring former unified Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion Takeshi Inoue (12-0-1, 7) battling against former Japanese OPBF champion Yuki Nonaka (31-9-3,10), with the winner of this getting a #2 ranking with the IBF and taking a huge step towards getting a world title. The 28 year old Inoue, no relation to the likes of Naoya Inoue, has been incredible impressive turning professional in 2014 and has really began to shine in the last 18 months or so, with 2017 being a sensational year for the Tokyo fight. Last year Inoue defeated Akinori Watanabe, Koshinmaru Saito, Riku Nagahama and Ratchasi Sithsaithong and really put himself on the map. At 40 years old this really will be Nonaka's last chance, and unfortunately his only bout in the last 12 months was a clear 10 round loss to Dennis Hogan, which doesn't bode well for him here. Nonaka is a very skilled fighter, but with ring rust and age catching up to him this will be a big ask for the Osakan veteran.
The chief support bout will see Naoyuki Tsukada (8-3-5, 3) risk his Japanese ranking as he takes on Satoru Todaka (7-2-4, 3) in a Light Flyweight bout. On paper this is a really competitive looking bout, and it features two men with very similar records, but records which have come in very different ways. Tsukada began his career with 3 wins before falling to 3-3-1 after 7 bouts. Now Tsuakada is riding a 9 fight unbeaten run, including a win over Yuto Takahashi and a draw with Kenji Ono. Todaka on the other hand lost on his debut before running up a 9 fight unbeaten that ended last year against Hikaru Ota. This should be really competitive, and both men will see this as a chance to take a huge step towards getting a Japanese title fight.
Another supporting bout will see Japanese ranked fighters Yuta Matsuo (13-3-1, 7) and Ryoji Fukunaga (10-2, 10) face off in what looks like a really interesting match up. Last year Matsuo challenged Masayuki Kuroda for the Japanese interim Flyweight title and put up a good effort, though has since moved up to Super Flyweight where it seems he may well have more success. As for Fukunaga he's a very dangerous fighter, he's not beaten anyone of real note, even on the domestic level, but he's a heavy handed fighter who has scored his 10 wins in just 28 rounds. Fukunaga will have his power tested here but if it's as good as it looks on paper Matsuo will be in for real problems here.
There's quite a lot of title action this coming Friday with title fights in both Japan and the Philippines. Of those two shoes it's the Japanese card that looks the much better show.
The most significant bout on the card sees Japanese Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue (11-0-1, 6) challenge OPBF champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (9-3, 7), in a bout which will see the winner also claim the WBO Asia Pacific title. On paper it looks like a bout where Inoue should be favoured, and in all honesty if he wins he could be regarded as the Japanese break out fighter of the year, but Ratchasi is no mug. Coming into this Ratchasi has scored 3 wins in a row against Japanese fighters, including a 12th round TKO of Yutaka Oishi and an 11th round TKO of Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine, who subsequently retired. Whilst Inoue has had a great year a win for Ratchasi would see him going 3-0 in Japan and have a very legitimate claim to being the best 154lb fighter in Asia.
Although the bout above is the biggest bout of the card it's technically not the main event. Instead that will be a Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (27-7-3, 15) and the limited but entertaining Mako Matsuyama (8-12-2, 3). The bout will be Kuroda's first defense of the title he won earlier this year, when he beat Takuya Kogawa, to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. Matsuyama is best known for his 2014 FOTY contender against Rex Tso, though has some how gotten this title shot having won just once in his last 7 bouts. Kuroda should easily retain his title here if we're being honest, but this should be a fun fight all the same.
A third title bout will see former world champions collide, with Naoko Shibata (17-4-1, 6) and Etsuko Tada (16-3-2, 5) facing off for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. These two fought back in September 2012, with Tada defeating Shibata to retain the WBA female Minimumweight title. Since then both women have held IBF titles, with Tada holding one at 105lbs and Shibata at 108lbs. Since there first bout Tada has gone 5-3 whilst Shibata has gone 8-3-1 but both have been fighting at the top level and know that a win here will help them remain relevant, whilst a loss could end their career as a world class fighter.
The only bout of note from the under-card sees the big punching Kazuto Nakane (8-2, 8) take on former Kuroda opponent Yuta Matsuo (12-3-1, 6), in what could be an entertaining lower tier scrap. Nakane has fought at a lower level, but has show natural power and is the bigger man, whilst Maysuo is more tested man, having shared the ring with Kuroda, Ardin Diale and Ryuto Oho. This is arguably the most well matched bout on the card, despite no title being on the line.
There is also a show in the Philippines full of title bouts, though if we're being honest it's not the most attractive of shows, despite 4 “title bouts”.
The most interesting looking title bout will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (9-1, 3) take on Salatiel Amit (10-3-2, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title. Neither man is very well known, even in Filipino boxing circles, but Penalosa is notable not just for his famous surname but also the fact he's one of the few to stop tough journeyman Vincent Bautista. As for Amit he's best known for losing to notable opponents, suffering losses to Jade Bornea, Jonathan Taconing and Froilan Saludar, though should prove to be a very solid opponent for Penalosa here.
In an interim OPBF Featherweight title fight we'll see Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (5-0, 3) take on Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-4, 6), in a bout that makes very little sense. The OPBF champion, Satoshi Shimizu, won the full title in October and he's not injured, Bolivar isn't from the OPBF region and Gomera has lost his last 3. For the OPBF to sanction this bout is a mystery and really beggars belief. The one positive is that Bolivar will find himself involved in more notable bouts going forward, after he beats Gomera, and we'd quite like a Bolivar Vs Shimizu bout in 2018.
One actual "full" OPBF title bout will see Yuko Henzan (5-6-3, 2) take on Kongsang Palum (2-3, 1) in a bout for the OPBF female Bantamweight title. It's fair to say that this isn't a very attractive bout given the limited records of both fighters, but given that both fighters are limited the bout at least be relatively competitive. Coming in Henzan has won her last 3, and is unbeaten in her last 4, but has faced limited foes in that run. As for Palum she has never scored a win over a fighter with a positive record.
In another female title bout we'll see former world title challenger Erika Hanawa (7-1, 2) take on Thai foe Sornsawan Sarakarngym (2-4, 1) for the OPBF interim Female Minimumweight title. Last time out we saw Hanawa lose to Japanese veteran Kayoko Ebata, in a bout that showed up Hanawa's limitations at that point, but it's hard to see anything but a win for her here. The Thai has been stopped in 3of her losses, including the aforementioned Ebata, and we wouldn't be shocked to see her being stopped again here.
In Australia we'll see a notable Filipino and a novice Indonesian.
The Filipino in action is the world class Randy Petalcorin (27-2-1, 20), who returns to Australia for his first bout in the country since his controversial loss to Omari Kimweri in 2016. The talented Filipino will be up against faltering Indonesian Oscar Raknafa (13-15, 5), who was once world ranked but has gone 2-12 in his last 14 bouts and is now essentially a record padder on the Asian scene.
In the other bout on the card we'll see Daniel Huculak (1-0, 1) take on Indonesian novice Mujiyono (0-1). It's hard to say much about these two, but Huculak won his debut with an opening round stoppage and it's clear that he will be favoured here.
Attention turns to Tokyo again this coming Thursday, ending a few days of quietness for the sport in the Land of the Rising sun.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Keita Obara (17-2-1, 15) take on Thai visitor Saddam Kietyongyuth (26-2, 21) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. For Obara this will be his first title bout since losing in a world title fight to Eduard Troyanovsky last September. It will also confirm that he is now a full time Welterweight, finally letting his body ditch the crippling limits of Light Welterweight. For Saddam this looks like a really tough contest, with the Thai scoring 3 low key wins in the last 6 years. Losses to Alisher Rahimov and Cole Smith don't bode well for Saddam and we suspect Obara will break him down in the middle rounds.
In the co-feature we'll see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue (10-0-1, 5) making the first defense of his title, as he takes on fellow unbeaten Riku Nagahama (7-0-1, 3) in a really mouth watering clash. Coming in to this Inoue is riding a 9 fight winning run, including notable wins over Chan Ho Lee, Akinori Watanabe and Koshinmaru Saito, who he beat for the title earlier this year. The champion is an exciting fighter who can box, or brawl, and is looking to make a statement by taking on such a tough challenger in his first defense. As for Nagahama, the #1 ranked contender, he comes in on a 7 fight winning run, including victories over Brandon Lockhart and Hideo Mikan, with his last 3 by stoppage. Given the recent performances by both men this should be a really fan friendly contest.
The most notable of the under-card bouts will see the fast rising Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) take on Thai visitor Katika Saithonggym (0-1), in what is a stay busy fight for the Japanese fighter. Yoshino will know that he's supposed to win here with not issues, but can't over-look the Thai as he has got a Japanese title eliminator bout with Spicy Matsushita lined up for October. If Yoshino suffers a cut here he will be kicking himself, so expect to see the talented youngster show some caution, but see off the visitor relatively early.
In another supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Yoshimitsu Kimura (7-0, 3), who claimed the Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight last year, take on Kanehiro Nakagawa (4-4, 3) in what looks like a decent for the unbeaten 20 year old. Nakagawa is a very beatable fighter, but he does have plenty of sting on his shots and should give the unbeaten man a chin check, at the very least.
This coming Tuesday sees action return to the Korakuen Hall for what is a genuinely intriguing title double header, featuring two really nice looking bouts.
Technically the main event of the card is a Japanese Light Middleweight title fight, as Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-2, 13) takes on Takeshi Inoue (9-0-1, 4) for the currently vacant title. Originally Saito was supposed to fight Yuki Nonaka for the title, but Nonaka vacated and as a result this bout was made, which in fairness is a much more even looking bout. Saito is a genuine veteran of the sport, aged 38 and with almost 17 years of experience under his belt. Despite being a veteran Saito has never win “a big one” and will likely know that this will be his final title shot. For the exciting Inoue this is a big step up, but could well see him becoming a champion less than 3 years after his debut.
Talking about being fast tracked the other title bout will see Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) make the first defense of his OPBF Minimumweight title, as he takes on Jonathan Refugio (16-5-5,4). The ultra-fast rising Kyoguchi has been a professional for just over a year but has had a meteoric rise since debuting in April 2016 and has already claimed his first title, with others expected to follow before the end of 2017. Although Refugio is 23 years old he's already a bit of a veteran and has shared the ring with a string of notable names and should serve as a very legitimate first challenger for Kyoguchi.
On the under-card we'll see Noriyuki Ueno (18-14-5, 5) battle against a Thai visitor and veteran Ribo Takahata (12-7-1, 4) battle against recent Japanese Lightweight title challenger Yusuke Tsukada (8-6, 3), in what should be a very interesting card.
The year has well and truly kicked off and this coming Saturday we'll see the first Japanese televised show of the year, as G+ televises the next Dynamic Glove show.
The first OPBF title bout of the near year takes place on January 14th and sees action all the way up at Heavyweight as Japan's Kyotaro Fujimoto (15-1, 8) takes on big punching Australian Willie Nasio (10-1, 9) for the currently vacant title. For local fans this will be the second time they get the chance to see Kyotaro fight for an international title, having come up short in a bout against Solomon Haumono for this very same title. Against Haumono we saw a then 5-0 Fujimoto stopped in 5 rounds with the big punching “Solo” walking his man down, since then however Kyotaro has gone 10-0 (5) and staked his place in history as the first Japanese Heavyweight champion in more than 50 years. Nasio, himself the Australian champion, comes into this bout on a run of 5 T/KO wins and is unbeaten since an opening round loss to Tai Tuivasa in a "Last Man Standing" tournament bout back in 2014. The winner of this could, potentially, find themselves in the mix for a major bout by the end of the year and this fight really does mean a lot to both men coming into the fight.
A really good looking supporting bout will see experienced puncher Akinori Watanabe (33-5, 28) take on the unbeaten, and fast rising, Takeshi Inoue (8-0-1, 4). Watanabe is a former OPBF, PABA and JBC champion but is now 31 and hasn't fought since November 2015, when he was stopped in a Strongest Korakuen bout by Toshio Arikawa. Although a proven quality Watanabe has always been a glass cannon and can be stopped. Inoue, no relation to the Ohashi promoted clan, is talented and is looking to move into the title mix in 2017, this is however a huge step up in class and a genuine test for the 27 year old Tokyo fighter.
Another supporting bout sees Japanese ranked Middleweights face off as the heavy handed Shoma Fukumoto (9-1, 7) takes on Kazuyuki Fukuyama (10-7, 3) for the second time. These two fought in January 2015, when Fukumoto took a razor thin majority decision over Fukuyama, and will be looking to make things much more decisive here. Fukuyama has gone 1-1 since that loss, whilst Fukumoto has gone 3-0, but he will be well matched and will be fired up in the search of revenge.
Da Lian, China
For a second day running we get Chinese action from Da Lian.
The headline bout here isn't a hugely attractive one as Tao Ji (11-6-2, 2) faces off with Wulan Tuolehazi (2-3). Ji has won just one of his last 4 bouts, but that one win saw him claim the WBA China National Bantamweight title, a title that we suspect he may be defending here. Although Tuolehazi was beaten last time he will see this as a huge chance to build his career, and he won't be there to make up the numbers.
In a supporting bout we'll see Thai fighter Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai (17-8, 9) battle with once beaten Puerto Rican Waldemar Pagan (7-1, 6), in what looks like a very tough ask for the Thai. Interestingly Pagan has been in Asia for a while, having been a sparring partner back in December for Kosei Tanaka, ahead of Tanaka's recent bout with Moises Fuentes.
This coming Friday is a hectic day with 5 title bouts taking place in Japan.
In Kobe we get an OPBF quadruple header, with the card looking, at least on paper, like one of the most notable Oriental cards of the month. The bouts might not be 4 brilliant match up, but they will help establish the OPBF scene as we enter 2017, and at least 2 of the bouts look like they could be very interesting match ups.
The “main event”, well the final of the 4 main events, will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (10-0, 7) defending his title, and unbeaten record, against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (8-4-5, 2). This was the first bout on the card to be known about and although it looks like a mismatch it could, potentially, be a good test for Kubo who will be looking for stiff competition next year. Lim, although having a sketchy record, is a former Korean champion and holds a draw with touted Korean prospect Ye Joon Kim, giving him some legitimacy as a challenger here.
In a bout at Lightweight we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7) defending his title against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6). The bout will be Nakatani's 6th defense and will see him looking to build on wins against the likes of Ricky Sismundo, Accel Sumiyoshi and Tosho Makoto Aoki. For Tanada , who has actually lost 3 of his last 4, the bout sees him attempting to score his biggest win since his 2010 shock upset over Rikiya Fukuhara. Sadly for Tanada he's gone 4-5-3 since his win over Fukuhara almost 6 years ago and it's hard to imagine this being a win for the Filipino.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card sees OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4, 15) defending his title against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (24-12, 10). On paper this might not look like a great bout but the reality is that the contest is brilliantly well matched and puts an exciting and hard hitting champion up against a talented and tough young veteran. For Yamamoto the bout will be his third defense, but is a huge step up from his previous 2, whilst Yap will be looking to extend a 5 fight winning run which has included a notable upset over Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Another intriguing bout will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12) battle with rising prospect Ryuya Yamanaka (12-2, 3) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title. For Sabillo the bout sees him returning to Japan for the first time since his May loss to Riku Kano, which was for the OPBF interim title, and it's fair to say that the Filipino cannot afford another set back after going 2-3-1 in his last 6 bouts. Aged 21 Yamanaka knows that a win will open doors for potential world title bouts, but this bout is by far the toughest of his career and it's clear that he will need a career best performance to defeat the Filipino veteran.
The 4 title bouts in Kobe won't be the only title action in Japan, in fact we also have a world title bout in the country, featuring the longest reigning active world champion, and the one with the most defenses of their current title.
That world champion is WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (22-2-1, 8) who looks to record her 17th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to Koseki will be the little known Chie Higano (6-4, 2), who will be making her first title challenger. On paper this looks like a mismatch and it's, unfortunately, hard to see anything but a win for Koseki, possibly by stoppage in the early rounds.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (7-0-1, 3) take on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee (5-1, 4). Inoue already has his next bout booked, a contest in January with Akinori Watanabe, has impressed and is being tipped as a potential Japanese title contender, but this is a bout against a live under-dog. Lee is unknown outside of Korea but has impressed on the domestic scene and scored a good win over Young Sub Han this past June. Although Inoue will be favoured this could be a good test for the Japanese fighter before the Watanabe bout.
In another Japan Vs Korean bout we'll see the brilliantly exciting and fast rising Kazuto Takesako (4-0, 4) battling against Kyung-Joon Ahn (6-3-1, 5). Takesako has taken out his first 4 opponents in just 7 combined rounds and will be looking to extend that run here. Ahn on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Shoma Fukumoto, from almost 3 years ago. On paper this looks like a decent test for Takesako but in reality it should be a bit of a mismatch and an early blow out for the Japanese prospect.
There is also a Japanese card in Osaka, in what is a busy day for Japanese fans. This is however this is a much smaller and less interesting card than the other two.
In the main event we'll see Middleweights clash as Ryuji Kanza (7-2, 5) takes on Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (7-5, 6) in what should be a really intriguing contest. Both guys are limited but both can bang and we'd not be shocked to see this one be a bit of a wild slugfest that lacks quality but is fun to watch.
In a supporting bout we'll see Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Adam Alap Alap (0-1), who we've been informed is a top 15 ranked Indonesian Lightweight suggesting his record is incomplete
There's also action in China where we get the next League of Fists show.
The main event here is a brilliant match up between unbeaten men, as Zhi Quan Xie (4-0-3, 1) battles against Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (7-0-1, 1). The bout is a really intriguing one and should tell us a lot about both men, and their potential to go further in the sport.
In the US fans will be able to see hotly touted Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (18-0, 12) fight for the second time on US soil. At the moment his opponent is an unknown but it's unlikely to be too much of a test for Dela Torre.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see two Asian fighters fighting in New South Wales.
One of those is China's Yong Zhang (5-5-1, 1), who faces a yet to be named opponent, whilst the other will be Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-5), who faces the unbeaten Michael Hall (3-0, 3) in what looks like a mismatch against the Korean.
It's been busy in Asia recently and that's the case again on April 22nd when we get cards across Asia, and we get fighters on the road.
In Japan fans get two shows, with the most notable being held at the Korakuen Hall, and although it lacks a “big fight” it does look like a very intriguing card with three bouts of note.
The main event of the card sees the promising Takeshi Inoue (5-0-1, 2) battle against Elfelos Vega (6-2, 4) in a contest that could well decide the next Japanese title challenger at 154lbs. Of the two men Inoue is the one who has impressed more, though this will be his toughest test to date and comes against a man who does have the power to be a real threat to Inoue's unbeaten record.
Interestingly Vega's last loss came to a man on the under-card of this show, Kazuto Takesako (2-0, 2). The very promising Takesako will be up against a Thai foe who isn't expected to pose any threat to the unbeaten novice, though hopefully we will see Takesako let off the leash later in the year as he has the potential to go very far in the sport, though did look somewhat wild against Vega.
The third bout of note from this card will see Kazuaki Moriya (13-7, 2) battle against Ryuto Oho (8-2-1, 2), in what is essentially the co-feature bout. The records may not be great, and given the power of both men we do suspect this will go the scheduled 8 rounds, but we'd be amazed if it wasn't an action packed and exciting Flyweight encounter.
The other Japanese show comes from Osaka and sadly is lacking in terms of bouts, with the only notable contest being a bout between Tetsuya Hisada (24-9-2, 14) and poor Indonesian import Ardi Tefa (6-6-1, 4), who is unlikely to pose any threat to the JBC ranked Light Flyweight contender. This should be an easy contest for Hisada before a potential Japanese title fight later in the year.
Tefa isn't to be the only Indonesian in action this weekend and in fact Indonesian fans get a show all of their own, and in fact they get two title fights.
On paper the more significant of those two title fights comes in an international bout as former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (28-5-3, 21), who once faced Takashi Uchiyama for the WBA Super Featherweight title, faces former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (13-4-3, 5) for the lightly regarded World Boxing Foundation Asia Pacific Lightweight title. Coming in to this one Mukhlis has gone 2-2-1, in his last 5, including a 1-1-1 series with Hero Tito. Interestingly Tanada is also 2-2-1 in his last 5, though has lost his last 2 bouts.
The other title bout will see veteran Rasmanudin (19-14-3, 10) battle against Hanif Yogya (3-2-1, 2) for the IBC Super Bantamweight title. If we're being honest Rasmanudin has looked horrible show in recent fights, and has gone 3-11-1 in his last 15. On paper Yogya shouldn't pose much of a threat however he has won his last 3 and may simply have more left than his rival.
Metro Manila, Philippines
We get yet more title action in the Philippines with a bout between Warren Mambuanag (9-5-2, 3) and the hard hitting Arnel Baconaje (5-0, 5), who will be trading blows for the Interim GAB Super Featherweight title. The winner of this will be set to face veteran Edgar Gabejan for the full title later in the year, though Gabejan hasn't actually defended the belt in over a year.
Sadly aside from the main event there is little to really note about this show, though there is an interesting 6 rounder between Carlo Caesar Penalosa (3-0, 1) and fellow novice Alvin Defeo (1-0).
Another card in the Philippines, which is actually worse than the one above, is set to take place in Tarlac.
On paper the most notable bout is a 6 round mismatch as former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-12-1, 8) faces the horribly over-matched Edsil Jungco (1-9-5). Jakosalem has lost his last 3, and 8 of his last 12, but should be far too good for Jungco here in what we suspect will be an easy win for “Jako”.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Fans get two really interesting bouts in South Africa as Japanese fighters get their passports out to face a pair of locals.
The most notable of the bouts on offer sees Japan's very promising Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-1-2, 11) take on former world champion Simpiwe Vetyeka (28-3,17). Although relatively unknown outside of Asia Tameda is a genuinely promising fighter who has notable stoppage wins over Takenori Ohashi and Mark Bernaldez, with the Bernaldez win being his best to date. As for Vetyeka he's a man known to Japanese fans for his bout with Hozumi Hasegawa, almost 9 years ago, whilst international fan will recognise his win over Chris John and his loss to Nonito Donaire. On paper it's easy to favour Vetyeka, a former WBA champion, however he is now 35 and has fought just 4 rounds in the last 16 months.
The other bout sees former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (9-2-1, 5) face off against Luzuko Siyo (15-3, 12) in a bout for the WBA Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title. Again the local is the favourite but Tobe is better than his record indicates and does seem to be the naturally bigger man here, with Siyo having fought as low as Minimumweight. This could be a really good bout, even if it does end up being over-shadowed by the other contest on the card.
Staying with Japanese fighters on the road, fans in Australia will be able to see Japanese veteran Yosuke Kirima (22-5-2, 15) take on Australia's very own Michael Zerafa (18-2, 10) for the IBF Pan Pacific Middleweight crown. Although experienced Kirima has been known as a fighter who loses in his most notable contests, losing in two Japanese title fights, and hasn't yet managed to score a “big win”, even domestically. As for Zerafa he too has lost his biggest bouts, though one of those was a bout with former world champion Peter Quuillin, whilst the other was against fast rising Russian Arif Magomedov, both of whom are much better than Kirima if we're being honest.
In Russia we get a low profile match up as Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (1-0, 1), originally from Tajikistan, faces Kazakh Amir Saltayev (1-0) in a bout between unbeaten novices.
For the third time this week Japanese fans get female world title action at the Korakuen Hall.
This time around it's the turn of IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (14-3, 4) who looks to defend her title against former WBC “youth” champion Maria Salinas (11-4-2, 4). The champion, who claimed her title 2 years ago, will be hoping to record her 4th defence and move towards bigger and better fights in the near future whilst the challenger will be looking to claim her biggest scalp to date. Given what we know about the two fighters this one promises a lot of action though we do need to favour the home fighter who is the more proven of the two women.
Whilst the main event is a really good bout we've also got to admit that the one of the support bouts is also brilliant as the very promising Takeshi Inoue (4-0-1, 2) battles the “better than his record suggests” Hideo Mikan (7-9-1, 2). On paper it's a mismatch but in reality this should serve as a great test for the unbeaten 25 year old title hopeful.
In Osaka there is an Harada promoted card that has only one notable bout.
That bout will see Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Tetsuya Hisada (29-3-2, 13) battle against Il Che (7-9-5, 1) in what looks to be a tune up bout for Hisada before a potential title clash in 2016. Hisada comes into this bout with a 3-2-2 record in his last 7 bouts but has stopped his last two opponents and and another stoppage here is certainly not out of the question.
As well as the Japanese action there is also two bouts of note in Bangkok, both being aired on Channel 7.
The more intriguing of the two bouts will see highly regarded Thai Welterweight Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (31-0, 24) defending his PABA title against the criminally under-rated Arnel Tinampay (22-19-1, 8). On paper this is a mismatch of the highest order however Tinampay has been a banana skin for various other fighters and he's not only better than his record suggests but also hits harder than the numbers state and can really take a shot, in fact he's never been stopped. Not only is this a tough assignment for Teerachai but it's also a high pressure one with the Thai risking a potential WBA interim title fight with this contest.
The other bout is a contest for the interim WBA Asia Lightweight title and will see Thai based Nigerian Taiwo Ali (18-3-1, 13) battles against Filipino foe Leonardo Doronio (14-11-3, 9). Althogh not a great fighter Doronio is better than his record suggests and recent wins over Al Rivera, Burning Ishii, Jose Ocampo and Jeffrey Arienza do show that, however Ali is an under-rated fighter himself and this could be a really competitive match up despite the records not looking very even on paper.
This coming Thursday in Japan sees an interesting but low level domestic card at the Korakuen Hall. The show features a promising prospect, a heavy handed former title holder and one other intriguing domestic contest.
The main bout of the show will see former OPBF/PABA/JBC title holder Akinori Watanabe (32-4, 27) takes on the limited Kittisak Sithsaithong (0-2), from Thailand. This shouldn't be any more than a stay busy fight for Watanabe, who also has a bout set for November 2nd with Toshio Arikawa, though he'll be making sure not to take any sort of silly risks in the ring. It's hard to see anything but a stoppage from Watanabe but he'll be hoping to shake off some ring rust before the Arikawa bout.
Another bout on this card is a really intriguing Light Middleweight bout which will see the unbeaten, and hotly tipped, Takeshi Inoue (3-0-1, 2) battle against Hisao Narita (9-2, 4). Coming in to this bout both fighters are JBC ranked and the winner will almost certainly move in to the discussion for a title fight in 2016. Of the two men we have been the more impressed with Inoue but this is a step up for him.
The third notable bout will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Kazunori Takayama (21-8-4, 4) battling against domestic foe Ryuto Araya (7-3-1, 1). This is an 8 round bout that will see Takayama seek a third successive victory since he was stopped by the heavy handed Satoshi Hosono in a Japanese title fight.
As well as the 3 bouts that have been mentioned the card will feature a further 4 bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmopb.jp)
April 16th-Yamanaka defends against Santillan, Tatsuyoshi debuts, Nakazawa and Ikemizu face tests...and more!
Although the month has been packed so far things really begin to pick up over the next week or saw. Part of that is due to a pair of brilliant shows in Osaka. The first is today whilst another comes 6 days later.
The aforementioned Osaka show is the first really big Teiken show of 2015 and it really does have a bit of everything. The main event features one of the sports premier punchers whilst the undercard features highly touted prospects, and debutants, including the debut of a man likely to get more attention than more experienced fighters.
The show includes several debutants though the most notable is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (0-0) the second son of the great Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. Although he's only a debutant Juiki is expected to get a lot of attention and even TV time, despite the fact he's fighting the very poor Tadao Iwaya (1-2) in a bout that really lacks much interest. For Juiki being his father's son could be a double edged sword. He will get a lot of attention and it could help his career, but he'll also have people comparing him to his father and expecting him to be better than he probably is.
A more interesting debut from out stand point is that of Shuya Masaki (0-0) who went 54-8 in the amateur ranks and is hotly tipped as a man to watch. The 21 year old Masaki will be battling against Panthong Por Panya (0-0) in a 6 rounder. Although both men are debutants it's fair to say Masaki will start as the big favourite and some are tipping him as a world champion in the making.
Another highly touted prospect on this card is Sho Nakazawa (5-0, 4) who looks to continue his perfect start as he battles Mexican fighter Alexander Cazares (9-3, 3). Nakazawa is regarded very highly and his shut out win against Jhunriel Ramonal showed just how much talent he has, though we are hoping to see him tested here a little bit by the tough Cazares.
Another touted prospect on this card is Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-0, 5) who faces his toughest test so far as he takes on experienced and tough Filipino Marjohn Yap (19-12, 10). Ikemizu is highly regarded and won the 2013 Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight though this is a massive leap up in class against one of the better journeymen doing the roads in Asia.
In the main event we'll see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (22-0-2, 16) attempt to extend his reign as the Bantamweight kingpin as he battles against undefeated Argentinian challenger Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-0, 15). On paper this looks competitive with both men having similar records, however the quality that Yamanaka has beaten is so much better than anyone that Santillan has faced. Yamanaka is the best opponent Santillan has been in with whilst Santillan may just be in the top 10 of Yamanaka's best foes.
A second Japanese show takes place at the Korakuen Hall and takes place at a much lower level.
The main event here will see the heavy handed Akinori Watanabe (31-4, 27) battle against upset minded Filipino fighter Arnel Tinampay (22-16-1, 8). Watanabe is a former OPBF, Japanese and PABA Welterweight champion who comes into this bout on a run of 12-0 (10) and although he will, clearly, be the favourite Tinampay has made a habit out of beating Japanese fighters and holds relatively recent wins over Koshimaru Saito, Shoma Fukumoto and Yosuke Kirima.
One of the chief support bouts is an interesting match up as former Japanese Featherweight champion Koji Umetsu (22-15-3, 10) battles former title challenger Kazunori Takayama (20-8-4, 4). Both of these fighters are in their 30's and both are clearly on the back-side of their career. The loser here may well be looking at the end whilst the winner is possible set to get a title shot.
The other supporting bout will see promising Welterweight hopeful Takeshi Inoue (2-0-1, 1) in action against Thai visitor Kriburee Sithniwat (0-2-1). Inoue has been one of the men on our radar since his debut, a draw with fellow prospect Daishi Nagata, and it seems likely that he will continue his development with a win here before moving onto a more notable opponent later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)