This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.
This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day for fight fans following the Asian boxing scene. There is 3 cards in Japan and a number of Asian fighters in action in Russia.
The most notable of the Japanese cards comes from Kobe where fans will get a Japanese title fight at Minimumweight, with both of the fighters involved looking to claim the vacant title.
That title bout will see the under-rated Ryoki Hirai (10-4-1, 4) battle against former multi-time world title challenger Shin Ono (21-9-3, 5) for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. These two are ranked #1 and #2 by the JBC and are fighting for the title that Reiya Konishi vacated earlier this year, so that he could move up in class to fight for the WBA title. Hirai's record is a bit of a mess, but that's because he started his career 3-3-1, before rebuilding and going 7-1. In recent bouts Hirai has beaten the likes of Takumi Sakae and Ryoya Ikema and has really deserved a shot at the title and a chance to shine. As for Ono he has really struggled in recent years, going 4-4-1 in his last 9, though has mixed at a high level with losses to Katsunari Takayama, Kenichi Horikawa, Knockout CP Freshmart and Reiya Konishi. The bout really pits Hirai's youth and hunger against Ono's experience and should be very interesting.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (11-2, 6) take on the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-10-1, 9). Although Kanda should be favoured he has has been stopped before and Miyazaki will have the belief that he has the power to stop Kanda, just like Yuki Nagano did in 2015.
Staying in Hyogo, though going from Kobe to Kawanishi, fight fans will be able to see the next Morioka card, featuring several noteworthy fighters in what will likely be some horrific mismatches.
The main event of the card will see former OPBF title challenger Hinata Maruta (6-1, 5) battle against Indonesian visitor Arega Yunian (6-9, 1), in what looks like a really disappointing match up for the talent Maruta. Despite losing to Hidenori Otake last November Maruta is an exceptional talent and a bout like this will do little to help build that talent, and it feels like he would have been much better off taking on a domestic level fighter than someone like Yunian. The Indonesian has already suffered 6 stoppage losses, all of which have come when he's fought on the road and include stoppages to Ryo Matsumoto and Takashi Igarashi in Japan
As well as Maruta fans will also be able to see former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (25-7-1, 22) and former Japanese Youth title challenger Naoto Iwai (4-2, 2) both in action, as they each face Thai opponents. Parrenas will be seeking his second win since a 2015 loss to Naoya Inoue, in a bout for the WBO Super Flyweight title, whilst Iwai will be looking to put a poor 2017 behind and begin to rebuild his career.
As well as the action in Hyogo there will also be a low key card in Fukuoka. This card is a pretty weak one in all honesty, but will be headlined by former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7), who will look to bounce back following back-to-back defeats to Ryuya Yamanaka and Wanheng Menayothin. The former champion, will be up against domestic foe Yuto Takahashi (8-3, 4) in what looks to be a big step down in class. Despite stepping down in levels Fukuhara does deserve an easy one given his run from winning the Japanese title in 2015 to today has seen him facing 3 unbeaten men, two current world champions and two other fringe world class fighters. Takahashi hasn't shown he can compete at the top of the domestic level and although this is a big chance for him to make a mark, it's very hard to see how he can over-come the under-rated Fukuhara.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a lot of Asian interest in a Russian card, with several notable fighters in action.
The main event of the card looks set to be a special kind of bout, as Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (37-3-0-1, 25) takes on unbeaten Russian Pavel Malikov (13-0, 5) in a really good looking 12 round bout. Yordan seems to have been around around forever but at 30 years old he still has some time on his side to get a second world title fight, following a set back against Chris John back in 2011, and a win against Malikov might be what he needs to get a crack at a world champion. As for Malikov he has been in some great bouts recently, and his last two have been razor thing wins over Daiki Kaneko, in an under-rated 2017 war, and Deiner Berrio. Malikov is certainly beatable, but whether Yordan will be the man to beat him is yet to be seen. It's worth nothing that both of these men hold world rankings and the bout is essentially a world title eliminator.
In a great support bout we'll see unbeaten men collide, with Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (10-0, 5) battling Leonardo Padilla (16-0, 12) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Featherweight Title. Uulu is a Kyrgyzstan born Russian based fighter who has struggled at times but appears to be improving and has got the talent to go a long way, if he can correct some defensive flaws. Those defensive flaws could be a major problem here however as Padilla, like many fighters from Venezuela, can bang with 8 stoppages in his last 10. We'll be honest and admit we're unsure how the Venezuelan qualifies for a WBA Asia title but that can't take away from what looks like a really exciting match up.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Uzbek hopeful Ravshanbek Umurzakov (2-0, 2) take on Georgian Merab Turkadze (5-0, 2). The Uzbek looks to be a natural prospect and was a solid amateur before making his debut at the end of last year. So far Umurzakov has fought only 2 rounds, taking both of his opponents out with brutal left hands to the body in the opening round. It's always hard to know what you get with a Georgian fighter but given that Umurzakov is scheduled to fight again in May it seems like his team are confident of another quick win here.
One other bout of note will see Russian novice Mekhdi Abdurashedov (1-0) take on the once touted Iwan Zoda (14-3-1, 13) of Indonesia. At one point Zoda looked like a star in the making, and his 2015 win over Petchchorhae Kokietgym was a sensational performance. Sadly though he has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and really is fighting an up hill battle to remain relevant. It's unclear how good Abdurashedov is, but this is a big step up for the Russian and hopefully Zoda will show of the skills that got many of us excited when he was younger
The biggest fight of the day, for the Asian scene at least, comes from Thailand and will see see a world title on the line, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (48-0,17) defends against former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7). The defending champion is getting very close to the magic 50-0, a record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and will be strongly favoured over Fukuhara here, with the Japanese challenger needing to create history to win. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very entertaining clash with two aggressive fighters facing off.
In Bohol we get a genuinely stacked card thanks to ALA who put on their next Pinoy Pride card.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten and highly regarded Mark Magsayo (17-0, 13) defending his WBO International Featherweight title against former Japanese champion Shota Hayashi (30-6-1, 16). The promising Magsayo is looking to move into world class in the near future and will see a bout against Hayashi as a good step forward following two quick blow outs earlier in the year. For Hayashi, who lost his Japanese title to Kosuke Saka back in April, the bout is a tough one for his international debut, but he will know the reward of winning is a world ranking.
The card is stacked with prospects. This includes Virgel Vitor (11-1, 7), Albert Pagara (28-1, 19), Jeo Santisima (14-2, 12) and former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-2, 7). Unfortunately all 4 of the promising fighters appear to be in huge mismatches as they look to stay busy going in to the new year.
Also on the card will be Roli Gasca (23-8-1, 7) and Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20), who like the aforementioned prospects are in easy against opponents they should have no trouble with.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card comes from Davao del Norte thanks to MB Boxing.
The main event of the card will see Filipino fighter Glenn Porras (30-6, 18) take on former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-22-2, 18) of Indonesia. The Filipino has lost 3 of his last 5 but is a talented fighter and should have no problem seeing off the visitor, who used to be a decent fighter, at best, but is now pretty much a regional journeyman who picks up far more losses than wins.
The talented and once touted Rosekie Cristobal (14-2, 10) will be looking to avoid a third loss in 5 bouts as he battles former OPBF Light Welterweight champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-15-1, 10). Jakosalem is almost 6 years removed from his career best win, and has only won 4 times since then. Cristobal has suffered 2 DQ losses in Mexico, and before those there was big hopes for him, so he'll be looking to bounce back and show what he's about here.
A third bout of some note sees the once beaten Michael Bravo (12-1, 5) battle against Lyster Jun Pronco (9-15-1, 6). The once beaten Bravo comes into this bout on a run of 7 straight wins, albeit against very limited opposition, whilst Pronco is win-less in his last 13, with 12 losses and a draw during that run. This bout is for the PBF Light Flyweight title, and we expect to see Bravo crowned the new champion.
Seoul, South Korea
We have an international show in Korea with some low key bouts.
One bout worthy of interest sees Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Japan's Kazuhiro Baba (6-5-2, 3). Lee is looking to extend a 3 fight winning run, which has seen him claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title, and despite being 34 is one of the more interesting fighters plying his trade in Korea right now. The visitor had the edge in age, given he's only 25, but he's the naturally smaller man, was recently stopped by Ryota Toyoshima and is fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
A second bout of note here will see Hyun Je Shin (7-6, 1) take on Filipino fighter Daniel Ferreras (13-9-2, 4). Shin is a former Korean Featherweight champion, having won the title last time out however that was more than 3 years ago and he has been inactive since winning the belt. Notably the Korean has fought as low as 112lbs before as well. Ferreras is also ending a break from the ring, which also began back in 2014 when he was stopped by Rey Vargas. Although Ferreras' record is lessthan great he has mixed in good company, with losses to Vargas and Kohei Kono.
New York, USA
There will also be US action with Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (4-0, 3) taking on fellow unbeaten Eric Moon (7-0, 6) in what looks like a great step up in class for the 24 year old Kazakh fighter. A win for Nursultanov will help push him towards bigger and better fights, potentially moving him into fights against “name” opponents in the very near future.
This coming Sunday isn't a big day, but for fight fans in Kumamoto there is a huge bout with a local star making his first defense of a world title.
That local champion is WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-4-6, 7), who will be defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Ryuya Yamanaka (14-2, 4), in what looks like a very competitive bout on paper. The under-rated Fukuhara claimed the interim title earlier this year, when he took a split decision over Moises Calleros, and was later upgraded to the full champion. Although the champion doesn't have a great record on paper he has really built his career since being 12-4-3, and having suffered a loss to the then debuting Takuma Inoue. As for Yamanaka he has gone on a 7 fight winning run coming into this fight, since a loss to Roque Lauro 3 years ago, and has claimed the OPBF title on his rise to this shot, beating Merlito Sabillo for the the Oriental crown in November.
In a supporting bout we'll see OPBF and JBC ranked fighter Naoya Haruguchi (13-7, 6) take on the heavy handed, but limited Shota Asami (4-3, 4). Coming into this Haruguchi has won his last 5, with 4 stoppages, and appears to be getting his career going after an 8-7 start. As for Asami he's been inconsistent, but is heavy handed and is genuinely dangerous, but shouldn't come out on top here. If Haruguchi wins here he's expected to face Riku Kano in November in a really interesting match up.
This coming Sunday we see action all across Asia in one of the busiest days of the year so far.
The main action for the day comes from Kumamoto in Japan, where fight fans get the chance to see a local star attempt to open the doors to some major fights.
That local star is the unheralded Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) who faces Mexican Moises Calleros (25-6-1, 14) in a bout for the WBO Interim Minimumweight title, with the winner set to get a fight at regular champion Katsunari Takayama later in the year. Fukuhara has come a long way since suffering a defeat to the the debuting Takuma Inoue in 2013 and has gone 6-0-3 with wins over Takumi Sake and Genki Hanai to earn this shot, as well as draws with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Shin Ono. Although Fukuhara is one of Japan's hidden gems he will be stepping up here to face a Mexican who is riding high following a win over Mario Rodriguez. Interesting Calleros has fought as high as 120 recently and will be fighting at 105lbs for the first time in over 7 years, so he's likely to be bigger and stronger that Fukuhara. Notably the Mexican has suffered a few poor losses and will be fighting outside of his homeland for the first time.
On the under-card we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Light Welterweight Ryusei Yoshida (29-8, 15) take on limited Thai Lekker Bangkok 2007 (0-3), in what should be an easy win for Yoshida. The Thai visit or has been stopped in all3 of his previous bouts, including loss last June to then debuting Kazuki Saito.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In Cotabato del Sur we'll get a notable Filipino card.
One of those title bouts will see Lolito Sonsona (20-1-4, 9) face off with Renren Tesorio (15-9-3, 4) in a bout for the WBF Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Coming in to this Sonsona is on a 7 fight unbeaten streak, including a notable win over Bobby Concepcion. Whilst Sonsona has been in form the same cannot be said of his foe, with Tesorio having lost his last 3, including a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa.
A much better looking bout sees the under-rated Ben Mananquil (12-1-2, 3) take on Glenn Porras (29-5, 17) for the WBF International Bantamweight title. Mananquil is one of the hidden jewels of the Filipino boxing scene. His only loss was a controversial one in China it Jing Xiang and he was also controversially denied a win against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym. Porras on the other hand Porras has been relatively inactive with just a 1-1 record in the last 4 years, he was however once a touted fighter and did show a lot of potential early on. This could be a very interesting match up.
In a WBF International Super Featherweight title bout we'll see the in form Eden Sonsona (35-6-2, 12) take on Jovany Rota (9-9, 6). Sonsona is 9-0-2 in his last 11, including a massive win in 2015 over Adrian Estrella, and although he fought only once last year he will be full of confidence coming into this bout. Rota on the other hand is a bit of a domestic journeyman and shouldn't provide much of a test for Sonsona.
Arguably the best of the bouts is an IBF Youth Super Flyweight title bout between the super talented Jade Bornea (6-0, 4) and once beaten puncher Raul Yu (9-1-2, 8). Bornea was an amateur standout, and holds a notable amateur win over Kosei Tanaka, but is stepping up as a professional here and Yu is certainly his biggest test since his pro debut in October 2014. Yu is a series puncher and although he has suffered a loss, a decision loss in February 2015, he is a dangerman who will be looking to make a point here. Coming into this Yu is unbeaten in 6 and will looking to claim his first professional title.
Also on this card will be world class Light Flyweight Randy Petalcorin (25-2-1, 18), who fights in a stay busy fight against compatriot Mark Anthony Florida (9-6, 7) in what should be an easy win for Petalcorin, who will have bigger fish to fry.
On a second card in the Philippines we'll see a less exciting series of fights.
In the main event we'll see the once beaten Pedro Taduran (9-1, 7) take on Jerome Clavite (6-3-2, 2). The 20 year old Taduran, nicknamed “Rattle Snake”, is a good puncher at domestic level but did suffer a loss 10 months ago to Joel Lino. Since that loss he has bounced back with 3 wins an will be looking to keep that run going here. Whilst Taduran is back to winning ways it's hard to really know where Clavite's career is going. He has won just once in his last 5, but has been matched against some very decent domestic competition and should be seen as a step up for Taduran in what could be a very good match up for both men.
In an under-card bout from this show fans will see Rex Tito (5-7-2, 2) battle Marlon Arcilla (8-5, 1) in a bout between limited guys. Tito will be returning to the ring following a break of more than 4 years. Prior to his sabbatical he had gone 0-7-1 in his previous 8, with set backs to the likes of Jerwin Ancajas and Giovnni Escaner. As for Arcilla,he has lost his last 3, though has been matched hard with bouts against Ryosyuke Iwasa and Reymart Gaballo. He should be strongly favoured here but a hungry Tito could make life tricky for the 22 year old Arcilla.
Gimhae City, South Korea
We're also set for some title action in South Korea courtesy of a KBA show.
The main event of the show will see former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-6-1, 21) battle against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamas (7-8, 6) (7-8, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title. The bout will be Bae's first since his 4th round TKO loss last year to Rex Tso, 15 months ago, and see him entering on a 2-2 record in the last 24 months. Although talented at this level Bae's future, at the age of 37, looks to be very limited. On paper Chatchai has been in good form, winning 6 of his last 7, but his competition during that run has been awful with only Kevin Jake Cararaja being of any note, and he stopped Chatchai in 4 rounds last year.
The co-feature will see Hee Jung Yuh (17-3, 8) take on novice Nongkiat Saithonggym (1-1) in about for the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Super Flyweight title. As with the other bout it's hard to see the local losing here with Yuh being a very solid fighter, even if that wasn't evident in her wide decision loss last year to Naoko Fujioka. The Thai, who possibly has an incomplete record, is best known for a 2011 stoppage loss to Yuko Kuroki and we don't imagine she'll see the distance here.
Amazingly there will also be action in China, though the show is relatively weak over-all.
The most notable of the bouts on the show will see the light hitting Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (8-0-1, 1) battle against Thai visitor Petchwanchai Sor Visetkit (14-9, 6). On paper the Thai looks like he has a fighting chance here but he has lst his last 3 bouts, all by stoppage in a combined 7 rounds, and is almost 3 years removed from a win. Although the unbeaten Nihemaituola isn't a puncher it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him win here.
In another bout of some interest Maimaitijiang Nuermaimaiti (3-0-1, 3) will risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Hongfeng Li (4-0, 1) in what looks likely to be a power vs skill match up with genuine intrigue.
The Foodpal Kumamoto gets another taste of title action this coming Thursday as a local star attempts to extend his title reign and end 2016 as a national champion.
That champion is the under-rated Tatsuya Fukuhara (17-4-6, 6) who seeks his 3rd defense of the Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on the unbeaten, and highly touted, Genki Hanai (7-0, 5). Fukuhara has really turned his career around in recent years after being 12-4-3 (3) in the wake of losses to Yu Kimura and Takuma Inoue in 2013. Since then he has gone 5-0-3 and scored notable results with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, Hiroya Yamamoto, Takumi Sakae and Shin Ono, this is however his toughest defense on paper with Hanai being a real prospect. For Hanai the bout is a monstrous step up but one he and his team have chased for a while and one that he will feel confident of winning.
In the key under-card bout we'll see see OPBF and JBC ranked Ryusei Yoshida (28-8, 15) take on Thai visitor Apisak Puttawong (1-2, 1), who returns Japan where he lost earlier this year. Although limited Apisak hasn't yet been stopped and should provide rounds for Yoshida, who will be hoping to build towards a title fight of some kind in 2017.
A new week kicks off on Monday with an interesting day for fans in Kumamoto, who get two shows at the Foodpal. One of those is a regional rookie show whilst the other is headlined by a really intriguing Japanese title fight.
That title bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (17-4-5, 6) making the second defense of his title, as he takes on former world title challenger Shin Ono (19-7-2, 3). The under-rated Fukuhara won the title last November, beating Hiroya Yamamoto, and was last seen out pointing the then unbeaten Takumi Sakae in March. For Ono the bout really is a must win following last year's loss to Kenichi Horikawa and this will only be his second bout since that loss, last September.
In the only supporting bout of note Tomohiro Nagakari (6-2-1, 1) will end a 22 month break from the ring to take on a Thai visitor in a 10 rounder. Strangely this will be Nagakari's first bout bout scheduled for more than 8 rounds, a distance he has only fought over once. A bit of a strange one really.
The other card at the Foodpal is a regional rookie card. It's nothing major but does have some interesting match ups.
In a Welterweight bout, scheduled for 5 rounds, fans will see the limited but heavy handed Shinpei Tominaga (4-4, 4) take on the unbeaten 20 year old Change Hamashima (7-0-1, 2). Tominaga clearly has the edge in power here but with 3 stoppage losses against his name it's clear he hasn't got the strongest chins and Hamashina really should extend his unbeaten record here.
A potential shoot out could take place at 140lbs as 34 year old Shingo Saiki (5-1, 5) faces 19 year old Ukyo Yoshigai (2-0, 2) in a bout that features two who have never won a decision. Saiki has won 4 bouts inside a round and his only loss is a split decision last November whilst Yoshigai has scored a couple of second round stoppages. We expect this one to be fun, exciting and a little bit wild with both going for the stoppage from the off.
In another battle of unbeaten fighter we'll see Japanese based Filipino southpaw Miguel Ocampo (3-0, 1) battle against 17 year old hopeful Sean Oda (2-0, 2). Oda has already beaten 2 unbeaten fighters and despite only making his debut in May he looks like a genuine prospect and a win here could push him into some notable bouts in 2017.
The Champion Carnival continues this Saturday as Japanese fans get a Minimumweight title fight between two world ranked fighters each looking to prove their ability and move towards a world title fight.
That champion carnival bout will see Japanese champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (16-4-5, 6) defending his title, for the first time, against the unbeaten Takumi Sakae (13-0, 8). The champion won the title last year, out pointing a determined Hiroya Yamamoto, though is best known for set backs against Yu Kimura, Takuma Inoue, who was making his debut, and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, who he actually held to a draw. For Sakae this is a big step up in class and although he won the Rookie of the Year in 2013 he hasn't really kicked on since. This is an acid test for both and the winner will almost certainly be thinking about world honours later in the year.
The only other bout of note on this card will see Japanese ranked Ryusei Yoshida (26-8, 13) face off with Thailand's Maneeden Kiatpratpat (0-0) in a 10 round support bout at 140lbs. Yoshida has gone 3-5 in the last 4 years but will be hoping to get his career back on track with a victory over Maneeden.
For a second day running Chinese fans have action with a show in Shanghai. This time around the main bouts come at 154lbs where we see two battles of unbeaten fighters.
One of those bouts will see Tong Hui Li (5-0, 3) take on Cheng Su (7-0-1, 5) in a contest between two 26 year olds. On paper this is a huge step up for both men but the winner should establish themselves as one of the more notable Chinese fighters.
The other bout will see teenager Alimu Tuersun (5-0-1) face off against 30 year old puncher Qiang Luo (5-0, 4) in what looks likely to be a “skill Vs power” match up. Neither of these two have faced anyone of note so far and this really could be a very intriguing bout.
In the USA fight fans will be able to see Kyrgyzstan born America based Urmat Ryskeldiev (11-3-2, 7) take on Aaron Coley (12-1-1,6). This looks like a really watch matched bout and although Coley will be favoured it is worth noting that Ryskeldiev is an upset minded fighter who always comes to win and could well shock the naturally bigger Coley.
The best of 5 Japanese shows this Sunday is from Osaka where we get arguably the toughest debut in recent years as well as an OPBF title fight and a bout that looks to be a tune up bout for a title fight in 2016.
That debut bout is the long awaited debut of teenager Hinata Maruta (0-0). The very highly touted youngster goes up against the world ranked Jason Canoy (24-5-2, 18), who is heavy handed and has never been stopped. Maruta is dubbed “The #1 Hope” and has received a lot of attention in Japan but there is a good chance that he has bit off more than he can chew here against Canoy, who is best known for stopping Drian Francisco in just 132 seconds. This is a baptism of fire but if Maruta wins then he'll have immediately made a statement of the highest order.
Whilst the Maruta/Canoy bout is the most exciting it's not actually the main event. That's an OPBF Light Middleweight title fight between the tough Dennis Laurente (49-6-5, 30), the defending champion, and former Japanese champion Takayuki Hosokawa (27-10-4, 9). This is a really intriguing bout even though the champion is 38 and best known for suffering a shut out loss to John Jackson on a PBC show. Laurente will be hoping to record the first defense of his title whilst Hosokoawa will likely be looking to close his career on a high, with rumours swirling that he'll retire win or lose here, due to issues with his eye.
The tune up bout sees former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (20-3, 19) battle against Thailand's Daorung Sithsoei (0-6), who's record is believed to be very incomplete. Nakamura has made it known that he wants a Japanese title fight and could well be looking at the winner of the upcoming Rikkie Naito/Kenichi Ogawa fight as his target for 2016. Coming into this one Nakamura is looking to build on his sensational win against Daiki Kaneko, in what is still a front runner for the Japanese FOTY.
Also on this card will be Korean hopeful Tae Il Kim (5-0, 1). Kim, who will be fighting under the name Teiru Atsumi, will be making his Japanese debut against Songkramchai Ektinakorn (0-1) and be fighting for the first time in 21 months, despite the lay off he is expected to shine in what is hoped to be a very promising career.
The second most notable show in Japan comes from Kumamoto where we get a weak card with a notable main event.
That main event is a Japanese Minimumweight title fight between Tatsuya Fukuhara (15-4-5, 6) and Hiroya Yamamoto (9-3, 3). The two men are fighting for a title that was recently vacated by Go Odaira and although neither are big names both men have faced solid fighters, with Fukuhara having mixed with Takuma Inoue and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr whilst Yamamoto has faced Odaira and Xiong Zhao Zhong. It's fair to say neither man is expected to move on to being a true world champion but we suspect the winner will compete in a world title fight somewhere down the line.
The first of two shows at the Shinjuku FACE is a small card put on reason and will be headlined by a couple of 8 round bouts.
One of those 8 rounders will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Featherweight hopeful Ryuto Araya (8-3-1, 1) battle Takuya Yamaguchi (9-9, 7). Although not the best fighter Araya is ranked due to his most recent bout, a win over Kazunori Takayama, and he has shown issues in other bouts, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Daisuke Watanabe. Yamaguchi on the other hand is fighting for the second after a long lay off, which began when he went 1-4 including a loss to Shingo Wake. On paper this is a mismatch though we suspect it could actually be very competitive.
The other will see Japanese ranked Keita Nakano (13-10, 4) put his Bantamweight ranking on the line against Keigo Soma (7-11-1, 4). On paper this looks a more competitive match up than the other bout and could well be the show stealing bout, despite the less than stellar records of the men involved.
The second show at the Shinjuku FACE features just one a single 8 rounder as Minoru Matsuo (6-4, 3) battles Chikashi Hayashizaki (6-5-1, 2) in what looks like a competitive lower level bout.
Whilst the main event is an 8 rounder we're more interested in a 6 rounder which will see veteran Keita Manabe (26-6-1, 22) battle against novice Yuya Shimakura (5-1-1, 2). Manabe, a former Japanese title challenger, will be fighting for the first time in more than 6 years and although on paper he should be favoured he has scored a win since 2007! Shimakura on the other hand has shown potential and the 20 year old could become someone to keep an eye on.
Another minor show comes from Aichi and features a pair of headlining 8 rounders.
The most notable of those sees Japanese ranked 140lb'der Shinichi Tsukahara (10-7-3, 5) battling against Yuta Maruoka (9-3, 4). Coming into this one Tsukahara has won his last two bouts but has been stopped in 4 of his losses and at 31 it's a time where any loss could cost him a potential title shot. Maruoka however should be a safe opponent, and he's winless in almost 4 years.
The other 8 rounder will see Minimumweight hopeful Jun Takigawa (7-1, 4) take on Takeshi Sone (5-3-3, 1). Takigawa should be heavily favoured here and he did have an excellent 2014, which saw him narrowly lose in the All Rookie final to Reiya Konishi. Sone's recent form has seen him go 0-1-2 though he has faced decent competition.
This coming Sunday sees two shows form Japan.
One of those shows comes from Osaka.
The main event here sees former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (23-13-1, 10), who has come up short in 4 world title challenges, battle against domestic rival Keisuke Tabuchi (9-2, 7). On paper this looks like a good match up however it should be a straight forward win for Hisataka, given the level he has competed at, and that's despite the fact that he's lost 4 of his last 6. The key here is the fact that Tabuchi has only competed at a very low level, and Hisataka is a massive step up in class, despite his record.
The only other notable bout on this card will see the Japanese ranked Yutaka Oishi (11-4, 6) take part in a 6 round bout with Toshihiro Kai (4-7-2, 1). Oishi is ranked at Light Middleweight, but given how weak the division is that ranking doesn't mean a lot. Saying that however Oishi has only been beaten once in the last 3 years, and that was by the talented Zac Dunn. Kai is fighting for the first time since losing in the All Japanese Rookie of the Year final, back in December,and is stepping up considerably for this bout.
This show will feature 6 other bouts.
The other show is in Fukuoka and and is headlined by a current world champion, albeit competing in a non-title bout.
In the main event fans will see current WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (13-4-1, 6) take part in a stay busy fight against Thai visitor Kanittha Saknarong (0-3). This is a really poor match up on paper though appears to be a case of getting Kuroki in the ring after several months of inactivity. Whilst the bout is a let down it does come after a very tough series for the 24 year old who perhaps does deserve an “easy” bout, though not one that's this easy. To show how poor Saknarong is, she has twice lost to Riyako Goshi
The other notable bout on this card will see Japanese ranked Minimumweight Tatsuya Fukuhara (14-4-5, 5) battle against Thai visitor Thongchai Chaiyonggym (0-0). This should be a straight forward win for Fukuhara, who was the man Takuma Inoue faced on debut back in December 2013. Whilst Fukuhara has gone 2-2-2 in his last 6 it's really hard to see anything but a win for him here.
As well as the two bouts we've mentioned this card will feature 5 other contests.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)