The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
This Monday sees a pretty decent card coming from the Korakuen Hall, thanks to Dangan who will be putting on a Japanese title fight, a Japanese title eliminator and the return of a former national and OPBF champion.
The returning champion is the always to watch Takuya Kogawa (28-5, 13), who was last seen earlier this year losing his title in a rematch to Masayuki Kuroda. That bout seemed to show that Kogawa was on the slide, but he has had such a hard career, and his bouts against the likes of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Suguru Muranaka, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep, Hiroyuki Kudaka and the aforementioned Kuroda were all very entertaining and pretty damaging to the Tokyo man. Given the big bouts Kogawa has been in we can't begrudge him an easy one, and it does look like he has a very easy one here, as he takes on Naoto Fujimoto (9-7-1, 4), who is 2-4 in his last 6, and shouldn't pose any threat to Kogawa, unless the wars have really caught up with the former champion.
The chief support bout of the card will be a Japanese title eliminator, as the experienced pairing of Go Onaga (28-3-3, 19) and Hiroyuki Kudaka (25-17-1, 11) face off, in what really has the potential to be the Japanese fight of the year. Onaga is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and at 37 knows it really is now or never. He's seemingly obsessed with winning some sort of title before he ends his career and with the end coming fast he really needs a win here to remain relevant. Kudaka on the other hand is one of the rare fighters you watch just because of how entertaining he is. Kudaka is a 4-time world title challenger, and he has racked up a lot of losses, but rarely has he been in bouts that weren't thoroughly entertaining and well worth the price of admission. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but with youth on side we wouldn't be surprised if Kudaka managed to win a genuinely brilliant and action packed bout, and earn a shot at the Japanese title in 2018.
Talking about a title fight the main event of the card is a Japanese Super Flyweight title fight, and the winner is likely to face the winner of the Onaga Vs Kudaka bout. This contest will see defending champion Ryuichi Funai (28-7, 19) take on Shota Kawaguchi (21-8-1, 9). For the champion this will be his second defense, and he will likely be hoping to move towards a world title fight in 2018. For Kawaguchi this is a second title fight, following a loss in an OPBF title fight to Rene Dacquel earlier this year. Kawaguchi is a good challenger at this level, but is likely to look a level below Funai, who is a very capable fighter, with the potential to mix at a much higher level than just domestic title level.
We get the next Dangan card this coming Tuesday and although the card isn't a particularly stacked one, it's hard not to be very excited about the main event, which has the potentially to be a FOTY style war, and with an OPBF title bout as a co-feature bout it's hard not to give the show some real attention.
The aforementioned potential FOTY will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (28-4, 13) battle with interim champion Masayuki Kuroda (26-7-3, 15) in an exciting looking bout, which will also serve as a rematch. The two men fought last year, with Kogawa easily beating Kuroda, but since then the champion has suffered an ear injury and gone through a number of hard rounds. The injury opened to the door for Kuroda to claim the interim title and now we'll see the two men face off in what has the potential to be an all out war. Both men are limited, flawed but exciting and that combination tends to make for thrilling fights,as we're expecting here.
The co-feature is also at Flyweight as Filipino Richard Claveras (17-2-2, 14) takes on Japan's Keisuke Nakayama (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the OPBF Flyweight crown. The title, vacated by Daigo Higa, has often been a stepping stone to world class and winning it would be the biggest achievement for either man. Claveras is best known for losing in a world title fight to Pedro Guevara, being stopped in a round, but has improved since then and will be favoured. Nakayama on the other hand is one of the more obscure Japanese Flyweights, and is taking a huge step up for this fight, with his most notable result so far being a very wide loss to Hiroyuki Hisataka.
In another supporting bout we'll see 21 year old Japanese fighter Taiju Shiratori (7-2, 4) take on Filipino veteran Prell Tupaz (10-31-5, 2) in an 8 rounder. Tupaz appears to have been selected to make Shiratori look good, but the youngster has been stopped twice already and it seems clear that he'll be in need of some real seasoning, which seems to be the aim here against a true veteran like Tupaz.
Also in a supporting bout we'll see second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba (1-0, 1) battle against Filipino visitor Bener Santig (5-1-1, 1). Yuba, the son of Tadashi Yuba, looked fun in his debut but is facing a much bigger test here and Santig won't have travelled to pick up a loss. Whilst the Filipino will be the under-dog he has experience in his favour and is a hungry fighter himself.
The wonderful Boxingraise give us their next live show this coming Tuesday with a really good looking, and deep, card from the Korakuen Hall. The show doesn't look like an outstanding one on paper, but fans who know the fighters involved will know that the card will deliver some real highlights.
The main event of the card sees Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (27-4, 13) defending his title against Yudai Arai (8-3-3. 4), in what will be Kogawa's second main event on the Boxingraise service. The veteran champion will be looking for his 4th defense of the belt and it's possible that a win here could see him getting a long awaited third world title fight in 2017. For Arai the opportunity is a rather unearned one but one that he was never going to turn down and we hope that he puts up a credible effort in what will almost certainly be a fun fight, as all Kogawa contests are.
The chief support bout will see #1 ranked Japanese Flyweight Yuta Matsuo (11-2-1, 6) take on Ryuto Oho (9-2-1, 2) in an intriguing 8 rounder, that will likely serve to build up a a potential Matsuo Vs Kogawa bout in 2017, as part of the Champion Carnival if both fighters win. Oho is unranked coming into this bout but is a real potential banana skin and has shown his ability against the likes of Jo Tanooka, Shuji Hamada and Katsunori Nagamine, and was a 2013 Rookie of the Year. Matsuo cannot over look his foe here.
In another supporting bout the highly experienced Masaki Saito (13-11-5, 4) faces the unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya (9-0, 1) in a bout between two men with Japanese rankings. Saito is really experienced and holds notable results against the likes of Seiichi Okada, Tsuyoshi Tojo and can be a handful on his day. Kasuya on the other hand is rising prospect but this could be, potentially, his toughest bout to date, as he looks to build on a win over Kazuma Sanpei.
Talking about Kazuma Sanpei (12-3, 4) he will himself be in action as he goes up against the JBC and OPBF ranked Masaru Sueyoshi (12-1, 7) in possibly the best looking bout on the card. Sanpei has lost 3 of his last 6, including a 7th round TKO to Sueyoshi and a split decision to the aforementioned Kasuya, but he is certainly better than those results would suggests. Seuyoshi on the other hand looks like a man heading for titles and comes into this on a career best win over Shingo Eto. Good bout that sees Sanpei seek revenge and Sueyoshi look continue his solid run of 9 wins.
A final out of note sees former OPBF title contender Dai Iwai (18-4-1, 7) battle Takehiro Shinohara (7-4-2, 7). Iwai is looking for his second win since last year's stoppage loss to Masayuki Ito and although he'll be the favourite he is facing a real puncher in Shinohara, who stopped Daisuke Watanabe last year, but has sadly been inactive for more than a year coming in to this.
In Japan this Friday marks a major day for Dangan who kick off their recently announced BoxingRaise website with the first live show on the subscription service. Although it's not a major show it is a show headlined by a Japanese title fight and featuring a couple of notable under-card bouts.
The aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (26-4, 13) defending his belt against 37 year old challenger Masafumi Otake (15-14-3, 7), who gets his first title bout after having been a profession for almost 15 years. The bout looks like a mismatch, and it likely to be a relatively straight forward win for Kogawa, however Kogawa is rarely in a dull fight and we're not expecting anything but a fight contest here, with both men well aware of the bouts relative importance.
In the most interesting of the under-card bouts fans will see the talented but light punching Jo Tanooka (13-3-3) go up against the limited but heavy handed Shogo Sumitomo (6-8-1, 5). In terms of pure skills Tanooka in a different league to Sumitomo however Sumitomo has the clear edge in power and will be looking to land one of his bombs on the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up.
In another supporting bout Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryuto Araya (9-4-1,2) will be facing off against Naoaki Kumagai (7-4, 4) in what looks like a rather even match up. Coming in to this both men have suffered 2 losses in their last 4 bouts, both will believe they can win here and both will genuinely go for it in what could be the most competitive bout on the card.
The action in Japan isn't the only action involving Asian fighters with two in action in the US.
The more notable of those US bouts sees Mongolian sensation Tugstsogt Nyambayar (5-0, 5) facing off against veteran Rafael Vazquez (16-2, 13). On paper this is a genuine step up in class for Nyambayar but should be another win for the former Mongolian amateur star, who is in his first scheduled 10 rounder. Although Vazquez has been beaten twice he has never been stopped and we suspect that will be the goal for “King Tug”.
On the same card fans will see Russian based Kazakh born destroyer Sergey Lipinets (9-0, 7) take on the teak tough Walter Castillo (26-3-1, 19), who we saw last year fight to a very controversial draw with Keita Obara. The bout should be a great test for Lipinets, who got given a real test last time out against Levan Ghamichava, and if he can stop Castillo it would put the division on alert of his potential and power.
In Africa we'll see Filipino Carlo Magali (20-7-3, 10) take on WBA International Lightweight champion Emmanuel Tagoe (25-1, 12). For Tagoe this will be his second defense of the title, that he incidentally won last year when he beat Joebert De los Reyes. The bout will be a seriously tough ask for Magali however the Filipino is known for scoring upsets and has scored back to back wins over David Browne Jr and Mark Gil Melligen in the last year, he also has upset wins over Mark John Yap and Ryuta Miyagi.
For a third day running Japanese fans in Tokyo get some interesting action, and in fact it seems the pick of the bunch comes today with a pair of Japanese title fights, one of which has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
That FOTY contender will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (25-4, 13), one of the most fan-friendly fighters on the planet, battle former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (24-6-3, 14). The bout is expected to be a high action bout with both men being relatively light hitters with good engines and very respectable toughness. Between the two men they have had just a single stoppage loss, suffered by Kuroda against the world ranked Suguru Muranaka, and we're expecting something very exciting here.
The other title bout will see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (23-7, 12) face off against the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (16-0-3, 10), for the vacant Bantamweight crown. For Masuda this is a chance to reclaim the title he lost last year to Shohei Omori, and it's a chance that he will be slightly favoured to make the most of, whilst Tanaka is seriously stepping up in class. Although unbeaten, and the younger man, Tanaka does lack a notable win against a genuine Bantamweight and this really is a huge step up for him.
In a support bout fans will see a couple of Japanese ranked fighters. One of those is Hiroaki Teshigawara (10-1-2, 5), who will be risking his ranking against Kenichi Watanabe (7-2-1, 4), whilst the other will be the limited but dangerous Takuya Yamaguchi (10-9, 8), who risks his ranking against Ryuto Araya (8-4-1, 1).
In Australia fight fans will see popular Australian based Filipino Czar Amonsot (30-3-3, 18) battle in a 10 round bout, against Fijian Farzan Ali Jr (28-6-2, 19), who hasn't fought many notable name,s but was stopped in 2002 by Vic Darchinyan. This should be a straight forward win for Amonsot who is expected to be back in the ring in April.
Staying with Filipino's on the road the unbeaten Jheritz Chavez (5-0-2, 3) will be in Moscow where he's risking his unbeaten record and his WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight title. The 27 year old Chavez will be up against the once beaten Vage Sarukhanyan (12-1-1, 2),who is the interim title holder to Chavez's title. Given this bout is in Russia it's easy to favour the adopted local, originally from Armenia, but Sarukhanyan hans't really proven his quality as of yet and could well be upset by the visitor.
There isn't a lot of fights this coming Thursday however there is an interesting rematch for the Japanese Flyweight title.
The bout in question will see current champion Takuya Kogawa (24-4, 13) face off against former challenger Tetsuma Hayashi (25-3, 9). The two men have fought in a very competitive bout in the past with Kogawa taking the win so it's fair to say Hayashi is out for revenge and is hoping to claim the title at the third time of asking. For Kogawa however this is the first defense of his second reign.
The main bout should genuinely be something a bit amazing, sadly however the rest of the show is a bit lacking with no real excitement at all from the under-card. Thankfully given the styles of the fighters involved in the main bout the crowd certainly won't feel disappointed with the show at hand.
(Image courtesy of danganboxing.com)
The most notable Asian card of the day is Dangan134 which is being held at the Korakuen Hall and features 4 bouts of real note, including a Japanese title fight and an intriguing bout between relative novices.
The event of the card is the title bout which will see Takuya Kogawa (23-4, 13) battle against Hiroki Saito (9-4, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Flyweight title. On paper it looks like a mismatch but the truth of the matter is that this is expected to be a very hard fought, exciting and competitive match up, possibly even the fight of the month. Stylistically Kogawa is always involved in fun fights and Saito has proven he's not a fan of taking a backwards step.
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger Shingo Eto (16-3-1, 9) battle against experienced Filipino Edgar Gabejan (27-31-6, 9). Again this looks like a mismatch on paper but Gabejan is much better than his record suggests and holds a very notable win over current OPBF champion Vinvin Rufino. This could turn out to be a very interesting and tough contest.
Another supporting bout will see the under-rated Hideo Sakamoto (16-1-2, 5) attempt to notch his 7th straight win as he takes on Hiroaki Teshigawara (9-1-1, 4), who has won his last 4. On paper this looks like an interesting match up but it's hard to imagine anything but a Sakamoto win as he moves towards a Japanese of OPBF title fight.
Former Sakamoto foe Ryoichi Tamura (3-2-1, 1) is also on this card in a fantastic match up against Yusuke Suzuki (6-1, 4). This bout won't appeal to many outside of the hardcore Japanese domestic fans but it has the potential to be a genuine barn burner between two talented and over-looked fighters who could well both go on to advance to title level over the coming years. This really is a mouth watering bout for those who look beyond the “records” of fighters.
As well as the show in Tokyo there is also one in Osaka. This card is much weaker but does have an interesting main event as recent Japanese title challenger Atsushi Aburada (10-7, 6) takes on Tetsuya Hisada (22-9-2, 12). On paper Hisada has the better record however he has struggled in recent times, with just 2 wins in his last in his last 7, Aburada on the other hand is coming in on an exceptional win win over Takeru Kamikubo.
Pathhum Thani, Thailand
We also get a relatively interesting bout from Thailand as Nawaphon Por Chokchai (28-0, 21) defends his WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight against Filipino foe Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-3-1, 4). Nawaphon hasn't impressed us in the way his record would suggest however he should over-come Ugbaniel, who was stopped last time out by Melvin Gumban.
In Yemen fans will get the chance to see the charismatic Hani Ansi (22-0-1, 20) take on an as yet un-named opponent for the UBO Super Flyweight title. From what we understand this was supposed to be the much anticipated Ansi Vs Ali Raymi bout, though Raymi's untimely passing left Ansi's team struggling to find a replacement foe.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
It's not been the busiest week in Asian boxing this week but it does end on a solid note with a very interesting main even on one of the wonderful "Dangan" shows
The Dangan series of shows are some of the most varied and most exciting in Japanese boxing. Some of them are relatively weak, full of limited fighters looking for their chance to perform to win a small C class tournament competition. Other shows however are fantastic and it's one of those that we have this week as former world title challengers collide in one of the best non-title main events to have been on a Dangan show in a very long time.
The bout in question will see Takuya Kogawa (22-4, 13), the man who by rights should by the WBA interim Flyweight champion, battling against perennial world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (22-12-1, 10). Kogawa first appeared on the world stage when he lost a clear one to Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam though he would rebuild and earlier this year he was unfairly denied the WBA interim title when he took it to Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep in a bout that looked like it had a clear, but not the guy who won the decision. As for Hisataka he has been in with a genuine who's who and lost in 4 world title fights, most recently to Omar Andres Narvaez. Whilst both men are on the fringes of world level it's actually an interesting bout due to the styles of the two men who are both busy fights and with that in mind this could be very exciting to watch.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see Yuki Iwasaki (11-5, 6) battle against Wataru Miyasaka (8-2-1, 2). Although Iwasaki's record gives the impression he's not good he has mixed very good fighters such as Yusaku Kuga and Yukinori Oguni. As for Miyasaka he does have a better record but he isn't as tested as his foe. This could be good though we do think the battle hardened Iwasaki should be favoured.
A third 8 round bout will see Mikiya Ishikawa (8-6, 1) battle against Masafumi Otake (14-12-3, 7) in what looks like a competitive support bout though not one that will get the attention of international fans, and in fact even Japanese domestic fans may not care too much about the contest.
Prior to the 8 rounders we will have had 5 bouts in total, included in those 5 contests are 2 "C Class Tournament" finals with each of those fights featuring unbeaten men clashing in a 4 round contest. Unfortunately we don't yet have the names of those taking part in those bouts.
From what we understand Thailand will play host to a WBC Asia Flyweight title fight. We're sadly unsure who will be involved though from what we understand the current champion is the unbeaten Nawaphon Por Chokchai (23-0, 16) who fought just a few weeks ago up at 120lbs.
The only thing we know, for certain, about this show is it will be televised on Thai channel 7.
(Image courtesy of Dangan Boxing)
One of the great things about the Asian boxing scene is that no days seem to be off limits for big fighters. In the US and through much of Europe the big fights only take place on a Saturday night with some "B grade" world title fights being fought on a Friday. In Asia however it seems every day has the potential to be a boxing day. This is made obvious this week as we get three major title fights on a Tuesday!
Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima
The first title fight of the day is also the most important bout of the day and takes place in Thailand. What makes this one the most important is that it's for the WBA "interim" Flyweight title. Sure it may not be the full version of the title but with the bouts we've had for it in recent years it's hard to deny that the fighters view it as just an interim belt. Last year we saw Koki Eto rip this very belt from the hands of Kompayak Porpramook in a thriller, then we saw Eto get beaten up and grind down as he lost it in his first defense.
The man who beat Eto for the title is Thailand's unheralded Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (33-2, 20) who may not be a big name but is a big talent. He'll be hoping to prove that once again as he attempts to defend his belt for the first time and battles former Japanese national champion Takuya Kogawa (22-3, 13) in what is potentially another war for the belt.
Kogawa is skilled and experienced though he is 0-1 in fights in Thailand and in world title fights and Japanese fighters have had notoriously bad luck in world title fights in Thailand.
We honestly think Kogawa winning would be an upset though we can't see him going down with out putting up a real fight in what promises to be a memorable affair.
In regards to rest of the card, we really don't know what to expect. We're expecting it to be televised on Thai TV though just what will be televised is a whole different question.
Whilst we get the interim world title fight in Thailand we also get a Japanese title double header in Japan, under the guise of Dangan 95".
The first of the title fights will see the unbeaten stoppage machine Hiroki Okada (7-0, 7) attempt to claim his first title, the vacant Japanese Light Welterweight title. In Okada's way is the tough, though limited Masayoshi Kotake (9-7-1, 5). Kotake, who is a tricky southpaw, is expected to cause Okada some problems, though we still expect Okada's power and strength to over-come Kotake.
Following the Japanese Light Welterweight title bout we get the second Japanese title bout as the legendary Tadashi Yuba (45-8-2, 32) attempts to make the second defense of his Japanese Light Middleweight title. Unfortunately for Yuba things aren't that easy and he'll have take on Takayuki Hosokawa (24-10-3, 8) who has already run Yuba incredibly close in a fight a few years back.
Although Hosokawa doesn't have the greatest of records he is a decent fighter and is much younger than the champion and has already given him fits. Although it's Yuba's bout to lose there is plenty of risk in the contest.
As well as the two title fights we're expecting 4 other contests, the most notable of which will feature Dai Iwai (13-3-1, 5) fighting in a testing contest with Shogo Ishikawa (10-5, 3). This may not b a great contest on paper but it's a well.