The big headline bout this coming weekend sees us focus on Glasgow, Scotland, as the WBSS moves towards the final bouts. The bout of interest for us is the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight semi-final bout between WBA "regular" champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12). The bout is a clash between unbeaten world class fighters, who are both looking to move one step closer to proving they are the best Bantamweight on the planet. For Inoue this will be his first bout in Europe, and he will be looking to become the first Japanese fighter to win a world title bout in the continent, whilst Rodriguez returns to the country that he won the IBF title in, when he beat Paul Butler. Coming in both are in great form, though it should be noted that Rodriguez went 24 rounds last year, Inoue has only gone 20 rounds combined in his last 6 fights. If Rodriguez can survive the early going Inoue's lack of activity could be a problem here, as could history. A full review of this bout can be read here Inoue and Rodriguez go one on one in semi final!
Before the action in the UK there will be some action in Asia, including a notable show at Korakuen Hall in Toyko.
The main event of this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) make his first defense, as he takes on former champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 11), in what will be a second bout between these two. Thee two men fought in 2017, with Kuga taking a narrow decision win over Tamura to retain the title, since then however Kuga has been stopped by Shingo Wake and Tamura has bounced back from losing to Kuga to win the title. Given their first bout was a brilliant and violent fight we're expecting something really special here. A full preview of this bout is available here Tamura and Kuga to meet again, potential war set?
In a major supporting bout we'll see Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-2, 6) and Koichi Aso (23-8-1, 15) clash at Lightweight, in a bout that should be very fan friendly. Coming in to this Yanagi is unbeaten in 5 bouts, including a draw in a Japanese title eliminator last year with Accel Sumiyoshi, but this is likely to be a really tough bout for him. Aso, a veteran and former Japanese Light Welterweight champion, will be dropping down in weight but always brings intense pressure and will be looking to break down Yanagi. This could be an all out war if Yanagi can't keep Aso at range.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see ranked fighters clash, as Naoya Okamoto (13-7-1, 6) and Yosuke Fujihara (17-6, 4) face off in a bout that could well set up a future title fight with the winner of the main event. Okamoto narrowly missed out on a title fight, when he lost a technical decision in October in a Japanese title eliminator, and will be hungry here to shine. Fujihara on the other hand is someone who has challenged for a title before but has lost 3 of his last 4 and really needs a good performance here.
Another bout featuring domestic ranked fighters will see Kenta Nakagawa (16-3-1, 11) take on Ryosuke Nasu (10-4-3, 2). Nakagawa is a former Japanese Super Flyweight champion, holding the title in 2016-2017, and has won 3 in a row since losing the belt to Ryuichi Funai. Nasu on the other hand is a former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion who will know that a win here will prove to be a huge step towards a potential senior title fight later in the year.
Another name worthy of noting on this card is Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5), though our understanding is a planned bout has been cancelled and he will instead compete in a spar rather than an actual fight.
Bang Phun, Thailand
At the Workpoint Studio we'll former world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai (44-1-1, 34) take on former champion Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14-5, 32), in what looks almost certain to be a fun fight. Nawaphon, at 27, is the much younger man and needs a big win, and a win over Jaro would be among his very best. Jaro, who is known in Thailand due to his shock win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam back in 2012. At the age of 37 it's hard to know what Jaro really has left, though he was stopped in 2017 by Jonas Sultan, a none puncher, and surely has to be coming very close to the end of his career.
In Russia we'll see a couple of hard hitting Uzbek fighters in action.
One of those fighters is Ravshanbek Umurzakov (7-0, 7), who takes on Anthony Moloisane (11-3-1, 7) in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The talented Umurzakov has shown a lot of promise but isn't being moved up through the levels yet, sadly, and that shows again here, with South African fighter Moloisane, who isn't bad, but also isn't a clear step up for the Uzbek who should be taking on much better opponents now.
A second Uzbek on this show will see Elnur Abduraimov (4-0, 4) in action, as he hunts his 5th straight stoppage. He's stepped up in his last two bouts, but it's clear he needs a real test in the near future, so fingers crossed that happens sooner rather than later. He's too good to be wasting his time against limited opposition and would be served much better by take on someone to extend him some rounds and help prepare him for bigger and better bouts. At the time of writing the opponent for this bout hasn't been named, suggesting a limited and late notice opponent for the Uzbek.
Also on this card is unbeaten Kazakh youngster Stanislav Kalitskiy (7-0, 3), who will be stepping into his first 8 round bout. Sadly there is not currently an opponent confirmed for Kalitskiy, and as with Abduraimov it seems like he will be matched softly with a late notice foe.
Another Asian card will take place in Taiwan, though this is a very low level card, headlined by an 8 round bout between Chia Ching Hung (4-1-1, 4) and Anurak Madua (6-3, 4). Hung is a local to Taiwan, but hasn't fought in over a year, and is 1-1-1 in his last 3. Madua on the other hand was stopped in 77 seconds last time out, when he fought in Osaka against Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto.
The rest of this card is mostly novices bouts with debutants.
This coming Sunday we'll see two Japanese shows. Neither are particularly deep though both have significant main events.
On paper the slightly more significant card is in Yamaguchi, as we get a Japanese title eliminator and a noteworthy support bout.
The title eliminator is at Lightweight as 33 year old Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) takes on 28 year old Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) in a bout to decide who will go on to challenge for the Japanese title at the Champion Carnival next year. Of the two men Sumiyoshi is the more proven fighter, having challenged for the OPBF title in 2015 and scoring notable wins over the likes of Allan Tanada, Naotoshi Nakatani, Motoki Sasaki and Shogo Yamaguchi. In fact at the moment Sumiyoshi is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run following his loss in his OPBF title fight. Yanagi on the other hasn't fought for a title recognised by the JBC, but did come up short against Jhertiz Chavez in a bout for a minor regional title. Coming in to this Yanagi has won his last 3, but hasn't really shone in those wins. It's also worth noting that this will be the third meeting between these two men, with Sumioyoshi leading the series 1-0-1. A preview of this bout can be read here - Sumiyoshi and Yanagi finish off trilogy in Japanese eliminator!
The other bout of note on this card will see Change Hamashima (10-3-1, 4) take on the JBC ranked Masaharu Kaito (6-2, 2). The 22 year old Hamashima has lost 3 of his last 5, but 2 of those came to the very talented Kudura Kaneko and even in those losses he didn't embarrass himself against a very solid puncher. Interestingly Kaito is 2-2 in his last 4, with one of his losses coming to Kaneko as well, but his last outing was a huge win last October over Ryota Toyoshima. Sadly Kaito has been out of action for a little over a year, and that ring rust could be an issue here against Hamashima.
The other show will take place in Okayama and it's only the main event worthy of any attention at all.
That main event will see the fun to watch Japanese Flyweight Seigo Yuri Akui (12-1-1, 8) take on world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede (17-8, 11). We've been impressed with Akui, who won the Rookie of the Year crown in 2015 and has since gone 6-1 (6) with 5 opening round stoppages including big domestic wins over Kenji Ono and Masamichi Yabuki. Although beatable, as we saw when Junto Nakatani stopped him last year, Akui is very dangerous. The visitor from the Philippines has had a reputation for being limited, but scored a huge knockout win in Thailand over Stamp Kiatniwat in May and claimed a WBA ranking as a result. We're expecting something explosive here!
Ichiriki put on their next show this coming Wednesday at the Korakuen Hall, with a pretty interesting looking card headlined by an OPBF title fight, with several pretty good bouts coming under it.
The main event of the card will see Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (28-12, 14) make his next defense of the OPBF Bantamweight title, as he takes on veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-9-1, 13), in what could be Nakajima's final bout. The talented Yap has had a real surge in the last few years, winning his last 9 bouts, claiming the OPBF title and making 2 notable defenses and is moving towards a world title fight, despite his less than perfect looking record. Nakajima on the other hand has struggled at times in recent years, , despite being 7-3 in his last 10. Those losses are nothing to be ashamed by, losing to Hidenori Otake, Jonathan Baat and Kosuke Saka, but at the age of 33 it's unclear what he really has left.
In a real must win we'll see Masashi Noguchi (12-9-1, 6) battle Tatsuya Yanagi (14-5-1, 5) for the second time. Noguchi fought for the Japanese Lightweight title back in December 2016, when he was stopped in 3 rounds by Shuhei Tsuchiya, and since then he has gone 0-3, with his career clearly on the rocks. Aged 28 Noguchi isn't an old fighter, but with with 4 straight losses, 3 of those by stoppage, there is clearly a feeling that his career might be heading to the end. Yanagi saved his career last year, going 3-0 for the year following a 0-3-1 run prior to his winning run. Among those 3 wins for Yanagi was a decision over Noguchi and another here really could end Noguchi and put Yanagi in the title mix.
A pretty interesting 8 rounder will see Ryuji Ikeda (12-4-2, 8) face off with Kentaro Endo (7-7-1, 6). Ikeda was beaten last time out by Darragh Foley, and he's now 1-2-1 in his last 4, with his only win coming over a very limit Thai in Bangkok last year. As for Endo his record is similarly patchy, though he has been competitive with Daishi Nagata and Kazuki Matsuyama and did look destructive last time out when he stopped Tatsuya Miyazaki. This could be a lot more competitive than the records suggest.
Another very exciting match up will see Tasuku Nakagawa (7-2-1, 3) battle against Filipino banger Jon Jon Estrada (10-4-1, 9). The 24 year old Nakagawa comes into this on the back of a big opening round win against Akihiko Katagiri and will be full of confidence coming into this one. Estrada on the other hand is a real danger man who was stopped last time out by Jeson Umbal but does hold notable stoppages against Brian Lobetania and the teak tough Pablito Canada. The Filipino will not have travelled to pick up a loss here.
The final Japanese show of November is a low interest card from the Korakuen Hall promoted by Katsumata boxing gym, who are celebrating their 55 anniversary as a gym. The card is unlikely to create many headlines, but does feature a title bout and several interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout will see former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (23-12, 12) take on Filipino visitor Carleans Rivas (6-4, 3) in a bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. The talented and tough Tsunami has had very mixed fortune in recent bouts, going 6-9 in her last 15, but is much better than her record suggests and will come in to the ring here on the back of a competitive bout with Arely Mucino in Cancun. Rivas has gone 4-4 in her last 8 and is likely to pick up another loss here, against someone as talented as Tsunami.
In a good looking support bout fans will see Tatsuya Yanagi (13-5-1, 4) take on Joji Tsuchiya (7-4-2, 5) in what looks like an interesting domestic bout. Yanagi was once tipped as a fighter with a very bright future, but has gone 3-5-1 in his last 9, following a 10-0 start. Tsuchiya on the other hand started 1-2-1 but has reeled off 3 straight wins and appears to be in the best fork of his career. This is a real crossroads fight, and could be very competitive.
One other interesting bout on this show will see Ryuta Wakamatsu (10-12-1, 7) take on Yoshihiro Utsumi (13-8-3, 8). The bout isn't anything great on paper but we always like bouts where both men will be fighting to win, and it's clear that this bout will be one where both fighters will be in there with the belief they can win.
In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already
Sometimes shows don't quite work as everyone had hopes. A clear example of that is this coming Monday's show, which was originally announced as having a Japanese Welterweight title fight as the main event, between Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) and Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8). Sadly whilst that bout was an intriguing one, it was forced to be cancelled when Arikawa suffered a broken jaw during training.
As a result of Arikawa's injury the card was shifted around a bit and now the main event will be Ryusei Nakajima (10-1, 3) facing off with Tatsuya Yanagi (11-5-1, 4). The bout is, on paper, a decent contest but the reality is that it's not the level of match up that we had been hoping for. Coming in to this Yanagi has has gone 1-5-1 in his last 7 bouts, following a 10-0 start to his career. As for Nakajima he comes into this bout on an excellent 8-0 run and should be strongly favoured here. It's a good bout on paper but isn't likely to be as good as it looks, especially given the conflicting form of the two fighters.
In an under-card bout we'll see exciting prospect Ryusei Kawaura (1-0, 1) battle against Thai visitor Anucha Pleengam (0-2). The unbeaten youngster is a genuine talent and has got a lot of promise, though unfortunately this doesn't look like the most testing of assignments for the 23 year old Japanese fighter.
The key show for the day is from Tokyo where Ohashi will put on their next card.
In the main event we'll see multi-time world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (32-2-1, 21) face former world champion Jonathan Victor Barros (40-4-1, 22) in an IBF Featherweight world title eliminator. The styles of these two should gel, well with Hosono being a basic pressure fighter fighter and Barros being more of a stick-and-move fighter, and with a potential world title fight up for grabs for the winner neither will be looking to do anything other than give the bout their all. This really could be a bit of a treat for fans in Tokyo.
In a key supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (18-6-1, 11) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (11-4-1, 4) in a must win for the 34 year old veteran. Coming in to this Okada is more than 2 years removed from his last win and has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, including a loss Masaki Saito, who has a less than 50% win record. Yanagi showed early promise, winning his first 10 bouts, but has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6 and won't be looking to roll over for for the beatable former champion.
Other supporting bouts will see the once beaten Yoshimichi Matsumoto (10-1, 8) and the unbeaten Andy Hiraoka (6-0, 3) face off against unnamed Thai visitors. For Matsumoto his bout will be a 10 round test in what is the chief support bout whilst Hiraoka will be making his ring return after more than 2 years away from the ring.
When this show was first announced Ryo Matsumoto (17-1, 15) was set to feature on it. Matsumoto was however pulled from the card a few weeks later and underwent surgery for a medical condition that had plagued him previously, and played a part in him losing unbeaten record last time out.
Unfortunately the Televised portion of this card, which we think will just be the main event, will only be shown on tape delay over the weekend.
Gwangju, South Korea
There is also set to be a KBF show though details of this one are scarce with the bouts all said to be 4 rounders except for a single 6 rounder.