This coming Tuesday is another big day for Japanese boxing. The Watanabe Gym will be putting on a card with 5 notable match ups, including a former world champion looking to make his mark on a new division, a pair of former amateur standouts and a unified regional and national champion.
The former world champion in action on this show is former IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (10-0, 7), who moves up to the Light Flyweight division to begin his pursuit of a second world title. The talented youngster will be facing off against fellow unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (18-0-2, 8) in what looks like a really good test for Kyoguchi at the new weight. The Japanese fighter raced through the ranks at 105lbs and has his eyes on a potential world title bout in the not so distant future. Monabesa will know that an upset win here opens the doors for huge fights, but this is a monster step up for the Indonesian fighter, who is the very clear under-dog. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Hiroto Kyoguchi kicks off Light Flyweight campaign against Tibo Monabesa!
The chief supporting bout will feature former amateur stand out Ginjiro Shigeoka (0-0) take on Sanchai Yotboon (4-0, 4) in a scheduled 6 rounder. The Japanese debutant posted a sensational 56-1 (17) record in the amateur ranks and is tipped as being something very special as he comes into the professional ranks. The Thai visitor has a good looking record, but is expected to be little more than fodder for the Japanese youngster.
The only title bout on the show with see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (19-1, 11) defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles against Suthat Kalalek (12-9, 11), aka Kajornsak Sithsaithong. This is a really poor defense by the Japanese fighter, who has got far better regional foes out there to face. If Kyotaro is serious about getting a world title fight he really needs to start facing better fighters than this. The visitor has fought at OPBF level before, though that at Super Middleweight where he was stopped in 10 rounds by Yuzo Kiyota, and he really shouldn't be getting a Heavyweight fight at this level. A preview of this bout can be read here -Kyotaro defends unified Heavyweight crowns against Thai foe!
Also on this card will be former amateur standout Shu Utsuki (2-0, 1), who moves into 8 round bouts, and former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (10-3-2, 4), who will be facing off with a Thai foe in his first bout since losing the OPBF title to Jayr Raquinel.
The main card card for us this coming Saturday comes from Aichi, where we'll see a 2-weight world champion along with several prospects.
The former world champion is Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6), who has won world titles at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. Tanaka's pursuit for a Flyweight title kicks off with a bout against unbeaten Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (10-0-1, 7), who had a huge 2017 with stoppages against Ma Yi Ming and Iwan Zoda. A win for Tanaka is likely to set up a world title fight at Flyweight later this year. Saying that however Baldonado will know a win here will give his career a massive boost in the arm and move him onto a world title fight of his own.
In a major supporting bout fans will see unbeaten prospect Kento Hatanaka (4-0, 4) take on former Japanese Minimumweight title challenger Kenta Matsui (8-7, 1). The hard hitting Hatanaka has looked fantastic so far, but this is a huge step up in class following fights against very limited opposition. Matsui may not have a great record but he's a massive step up in class for Hatanaka, and is an upset minded fighter, as seen with his wins against Rikito Hattori and Genki Hanai. This is a big step up, but a win for Hatanakawould have him instantly in the domestic title mix.
Also on this card will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14), who will be battling against Jinya Ito (6-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Tanaka has scored a couple of low key wins since losing a decision to Ryo Akaho just over a year ago. Ito has lost 3 of his last 5 and is very unlikely to pose much of a threat to Tanaka who will be looking to earn a third Japanese title fight in the near future.
As well as the the card in Aichi Japanese fans will also get a card in Shizuoka.
The main event of the card will see OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight Takashi Igarashi (12-3, 5) battle against Yutaka Motoyoshi (7-11, 5),in an 8 rounder. On paper this isn't that mouth watering, but Igarashi isn't as much of a foregone winner as his record suggests, and with two stoppages against his name he is certainly not the toughest man out there. Motoyoshi has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, but he has mixed at a decent level and could well have the power to give Igarashi problems if he can connect .
Another man at risk if gets caught is Omrri Bolivar (5-1, 3), who will be up against bit punching Filipino visitor Junny Salogaol (13-12-4, 12). Last time out Bolivar was stopped in 5 rounds by Jelbirt Gomera and will be looking to get his career back on track here. Salogaol looks like an easy win for the South American on paper, but Salogaol is tough and dangerous and will be looking to score one of the best wins of his career. This could be a very tough contest if Bolivar isn't careful.
One other bout of note on this card will see Asami Jinnari (5-2-1, 2) battle against Wakako Fujiwara (4-2-2, 2) for the Japanese female Featherweight title. These two fought to a draw in December last year and we're expecting another close and competitive match up here.
In Indonesian we'll see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (16-0-2, 8) continue his climb to a world title fight as he takes on former OPBF title challenger Lester Abutan (12-7-3, 6). The unbeaten Monabesa is one of the best hopes for the Indonesian scene but this is a step up and one of the first real tests for the 27 year old southpaw. Abutan was last seen being stopped by Ryota Yamauchi but despite that loss he is still a very capable fighter, and should bring the best out of Monabesa, especially given that a win for Abutan will give his career a boost and he'll be there to win. Interestingly this will be Monabesa's second defense of the World Boxing Council International Silver Light Flyweight title.
A second title fight on this card will see the huighly experienced Samuel Tehuayo (21-43-2, 6) battle against former Hinata Maruta foe Hamson Lamandau (8-2-1, 5), who has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts. The winner of this will become the new Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) International Flyweight champion.
For Asian fans in China there will also be a low key card in Jinan from Top Rank and SECA Ltd. This card is set to only feature novices, but should be a pretty interesting card with every fighter on the card looking to take a step towards bigger and better things.
Seoul, South Korea
It's not only Chinese fans who get a low key novice card but also Korean ones with Boxing M putting on a a small card in Seoul. These match up here, like with the Chinese card, are all low key contests, but the winners will take a step towards something big, as this is part of a big tournament show.
Outside of Asia there will also be some Asian fighters in action in Canada, where they have been building their respective careers so far.
One of those is the promising Batyrzhan Jukembayev (11-0-0-2, 9) of Kazakhstan. The 26 year old will be facing off with Mexican Noe Nunez (18-5-1, 13). The Kazakh looks like a real prospect, and although he does look like he's treading water with this fight, given his other recent fights, it is worth noting that he should look good. For those who recognise Nunez's name he has been stopped in 3 rounds by Britain's Jack Caterall and in 6 rounds by Tony Luis, showing he's not the toughest fighter out there.
The other Asian fight on this card is Ablaikhan Khussainov (7-0, 5), also a a Kazakh, who will battle against Gilberto Meza (8-3-1, 5). Last time out Khussainov had some questions to answer, as Jesus Silveria pushed him hard through a 6 rounder, but the Kazakh will be out to make a statement here. It's worth noting that Meza has never been stopped, and did score a career best win last time out, when he stopped Francisco Javier Hernandez.
For a second day running we get action in Jinan, and for a second day running that action is headlined by a Chinese fighter taking on an Indonesian foe. This time around it will be the big punching Ainiwaer Yilixiati (10-1, 8) defending the Chinese honour as he takes on Skax Max (8-15, 7). The once beaten local lost last time out, after putting in a solid performance against Jayde Mitchell in an OPBF title fight, a fight that was much more competitive than the scorecards suggested. As for the visitor he has gone 2-4 in his last 6, and was stopped last time out in China by the talented Pui Yu Lim, and we expect the same to happen here.
In Indonesia we get a number of title fights on what looks like a pretty interesting card, at least given the typical stand of Indonesian cards.
One of the title bouts will see the once touted Defry Palulu (18-2-1, 12) take on domestic foe Isack Junior (25-7-2, 8) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title, with Palulu making his first defense of the title. The bout should be an interesting but should see Palulu come out on top, and continue to rebuild his career, following an upset loss last year to Jason Butar Butar.
Another title bout on this card will see John Ruba (14-3-1, 7) take on Joffrey Garcia (5-6-4, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. Although the bout looks like a mismatch it will be good to see Ruba pick up a title and begin a run towards bigger and better fights. Although relatively unknown Ruba has impressed on the road, and ran Ryosuke Maruki mega close back in 2015, and has got the ability to go far.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (15-0-2, 7) and the experienced Larry Siwu (25-9, 21), who will both be facing relatively poor opponents as they look to stay busy before potentially bigger fights in the near future.
In a second Indonesian show fight fans will see Budi Wilson (0-6) take on the debuting James Lipus (0-0) in a bout that is hard to get too excited about given the lack of information available on either fighter.
This coming weekend sees boxing take over in Tokyo with 5 world title fights spread over 2 days thanks to Fuji TV who are set to give us one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory. It kicks off on Saturday with a trio of world title fights on a show promoted by Teiken
The most significant of the fights sees French based Middleweight Hassan N'Dam (35-2, 21) battle against Japanese gold medal winner Ryota Murata (12-0, 9) in a bout for the WBA “regular” Middleweight title. For N'dam, who is best known for losing to Peter Quillin and David Lemieux, the bout gives him a third shot to hold a “full” title, after several reigns as an interim champion, and he does seem very confident in build up to the fight. For Murata the bout is a chance to mark his name in history as the first Japanese fighter to claim and Olympic and World titles and become just the second Japanese fighter to claim a Middleweight world title. Of all the bouts this weekend this is probably the most significant and the most interesting.
Talking about interesting it's worth nothing that the card features a mouth watering Flyweight title bout as WBC champion Juan Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25) takes on Japanese destroyer Daigo Higa (12-0, 12). The bout will be a mandatory for the Mexican champion whilst Higa looks to claim a world title at the age of 21, and keep alive his incredible stoppage run. The bout looks set to be something a little bit special with both being very talented and having a nice mix of styles, which should lead to a thrilling war.
The other title fight on this show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (28-6, 17) defending his title against former WBC Youth, Japanese and OPBF champion Ken Shiro (9-0, 5). The champion is a true grizzled veteran and has looked great in recent wins over Yu Kimura and Jonathan Taconing, with the Kimura win coming in Japan, but at 35 he is ancient for a Light Flyweight and is significantly older than Ken Shiro who will have a real advantage in youth. The bout will be Lopez's second defense and will be Ken Shiro's first bout at world level.
Whilst much of the attention for the day will be on Tokyo it won't be the only place with a world title fight, as Aichi also hosts a world title fight. Sadly whilst the Tokyo card will receive a lot of major press across Japan and looks set to be televised in a number of major markets it
looks like this will only be shown on CBC.
The headline bout of this show, and the world title bout, will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (8-0, 5) making his first defense of the title as he takes on monstrous Puerto Rican puncher Angel Acosta (16-0, 16). The bout is a mandatory defense for Tanaka and looks like a great match up on paper as the talented and speedy champion takes on a massive puncher, with both men looking not only to walk away as champion but to also keep their unbeaten records. It's hard not to feel that Tanaka's experience at world level will be the difference here. But it's clear that Acosta has power and we have seen Tanaka down before, against heavy handed Filipino Vic Saludar, and Acosta could build a gameplan on Saludar's success.
Another unbeaten man on this card is Kento Hatanaka (2-0, 2), the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka. The youngster will be taking part in a 6 rounder against an unknown Thai as he looks to continue his perfect start to professional boxing. The 18 year old has needed just 3 rounds to take out two domestic foes so far and will be looking for something similarly impressive here.
Also up against a Thai visitor will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight challenger Yushi Tanaka (19-2-3, 13), who will be in an 8 rounder. Tanaka was last seen losing to Ryo Akaho in March, though put in a credible effort and will be hoping to run off a series of wins to earn a third shot at the Japanese title. This however won't be a notable win and will instead be confidence builder for the Hatanaka man.
There is also set to be action in Indonesia, where three of the hottest young Indonesian fighters will be in action.
One of the bouts will see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (15-0-1, 7) taking on Arnold Garde (8-4-2, 3) in an interesting match up for a minor WBC title at Light Flyweight. The unbeaten man, now regarded as one of the 3 Indonesian fighters to keep an out on, is going to be strongly favoured here, but Garde won't have travelled to make up the numbers and this could be a good test for the unbeaten man.
Another local fighter in action is Defry Palulu (17-2-1, 12), who will be battling the experienced Nathan Bolcio (14-12-3, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. This looks like a mismatch but Bolcio has mixed in good company and could prove to be a stiff test for the popular local.
Another of the standout Indonesian hopefuls in action is 20 year old Iwan Zoda (13-2, 11), who will be up against domestic veteran Ical Tobida (13-23, 8). The bout will see Zoda return to action for the first time since a 7th round TKO loss to Robert Onggocan back in January and he'll clearly be fighting with intent to prove he is back to his best, following a rib injury.
In Korea the KBF will host a low key Rookie event, with very few details not note. We have been informed that the card will feature an 8 rounder, but other than that the details really are scarce.
The first Indonesian show of the year takes place on January 21st and is an interesting on from Jakarta.
The main event from the card is a really intriguing match up that sees unbeaten local Tibo Monabesa (14-0-1, 7) battle against Filipino visitor Rene Patilano (15-2-3, 7) for the WBC International silver Light Flyweight title. For Monabesa the bout is a huge step up, though he has impressed on the domestic scene and has faced some international talent, with a notable win against Kaichon Sor Vorapin. For Patilano the bout will be his second since being stopped in 6 rounds by Kosei Tanaka and he will be hoping to get some career momentum going again after failing to win either of his last 2 bouts.
On the under-card we'll see fights featuring John Ruba (11-3-1, 6) and Defry Palulu (15-1-1, 11), against yet to be named opponents.
This coming Friday sees action in Indonesia where several names of note will be in action.
In the main event fight fans will get the chance to see the promising Hebi Marapu (3-0, 3) take on the much more experienced Arief Blader (20-19-1, 7) in a bout for the interim ATI/IBA Super Featherweight title. The bout is a big step up for Marapu but he has been impressive so far and has needed just 4 rounds to take out his first 3 opponents. For Blader this is a chance to end a 6 fight losing run, though the reality is that a win for the experienced man would be considered a notable upset.
Another unbeaten hopeful on this card is Tibo Monabesa (13-0-1, 6) who looks to extend his unbeaten run as he takes on the battle hardened Samuel Tehuayo (19-37-2, 4), aka Sammy Hagler. Hagler is will known for losing on the road, though did win the last time he fought in Indonesia. Interestingly this is the second bout between the two men, who also fought back in January 2015, and Monabesa will be expecting to pick up his second victory over the veteran.
Also on this card is former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane (29-21-2, 18), who faces off against fellow veteran James Mokoginta (30-17-3, 17). Manakane is several years removed from his most notable bouts and with Mokoginta being a bigger, and younger, fighter it's hard to see how Manakane avoids a 5th straight loss here.
Panama City, Panama
The best bout of the day, by some margin, is in Panama where Thailand's Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (46-6-1, 23) battles Anselmo Moreno (35-4-1, 12) in a WBC Bantamweight world title eliminator. Both of these men have been recent world champions and both are battling for a rematch at Shinsuke Yamanaka. This really is as good as it gets for an eliminator and not only is it a bout between two top fighters, but it's also between fighters with polar opposite styles, with Moreno being a slippery cat and Suriyan being an pressure based lion. This really should something special.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Whilst the action in Panama is world class, there is still plenty of regional and domestic match ups in Asia, with some of the most notable taking place in the Philippines.
In one of the two main event bouts on this card fans will see the highly promising John Vincent Moralde (15-0, 7) battle against Jimmy Aducal (8-5-2, 6). On paper this looks like a mismatch but we consider it a good step for Moralde who is in with a southpaw who holds a notable stoppage win over Lloyd Jardeliza. Saying that Moralde should win without too many problems.
The other headline attraction will see teenage hopeful Mike Plania (9-0, 4) battle against fellow unbeaten Lorence Rosas (5-0-2, 2) in what looks like a fantastic match up between unbeaten hopefuls with a lot to gain, including a regional WBF title.
As well as the two main events this card will feature several prospects, though they seem to be very easily matched.
We also get an interesting card from Indonesian.
In one of two Indonesian title bouts fans will see John Ruba (8-3-1, 4) battle Philipus Rangga (8-12, 1) for the Light Welterweight crown. Interestingly these two men have fought in the past, with Rangga taking a narrow decision over Ruba though since then Ruba has improved and will be seeking revenger here.
In the other national title fight fans will see Light Middleweight title bout as Maxi Nahak (5-11-2, 1) faces Rocky Alap Alap (5-13) in a bout between feather fisted fighters. This one seems like it will certainly go 12 rounds but it's very hard to call a winner. The records of the two men aren't great but it could still be a very intriguing match up.
Although not a title bout we are very interested in a contest between Tibo Monabesa (12-0-1, 5), one of the star prospects of Indonesian, and Thai veteran Kaichon Sor Vorapin (25-14, 9). Kaichon will be fighting for the 40th time and whilst he is the more experienced fighter there is real hope that Monabesa could be a future star of Indonesian boxing, much like Iwan Zoda. There is genuine excitement about the Indonesian prospect, but this is a step up for him and could prove to be a very good test.
In Shanghai we get another “Fist of Fury” card which features some interesting match ups.
One of those interesting match ups will see hard hitting southpaw Alimu Wushouer (6-0, 6) face off against 18 year old Xiao Long Chen (2-2). We have to favour the 21 year old Wushouer but he is certainly not as proven as his record may suggest on paper.
In another Lightweight bout on thus card Jiao Cai Tan (3-2, 1), also an 18 year old will be up against Xiao Long Yang (4-1-1, 3). Notably Tan stopped Chen, see above, last time out, but has been stopped by Wushouer, again see above. For Yang , who was stopped a year ago by Wushouer on debut, he's coming into this on the back of a draw against Abudureyimu.
There will also be action in India where a small card is being held in Gurgaon.
In a Heavyweight bout the unbeaten Vikas Hooda (2-0, 1) will be up against the debuting Parveen Kumar (0-0). Hooda debuted a year ago but hasn't been busy since then whilst very little is known about Kumar.
Also on this card is the wonderfully named Honey (0-0), who debuts against Rahul Ganguli (1-0) in a 4 rounder at Super Bantamweight
This coming Saturday is a hectic day in Asian boxing with a lot of action across the continent.
Wanju, South Korea
In Wanju Korean fans will get two shows both under the auspices of the KBF. One of those will be a rookie card, of which we're lacking details but do know of it's existence. The other is a card headlined by a female world title bout.
The female world title bout will see WIBA Light Flyweight champion Su Yun Hong (11-1-1, 5) face Thailand's Namwaan Sithpracha (7-1, 4) in what looks a good match up on paper. It does need to be said however that Namwaan hasn't beaten an opponent with a single win and is unlikely to claim a win here.
Also on this card will be Filipino fighters Ernie Sanchez (14-6-1, 5) and Christine Latube (1-6-2) who will be faking Ji-Hoon Cha (1-3) and Chan-Mi Lim (0-1) respectively.
Yangju, South Korea
A third card in Korea, this time a KBC show, will feature a number of novices.
For us the most interesting bout on the card will see Woo Min Kim (1-1-1) battle against Korean based Canadian Andrew (0-1), who was spectacularly knocked out by Jin Soo Kim back in May, in what we still have as a KO of the year contender.
A bout between unbeaten fighters will see Hyun Min Gang (1-0, 1) take on Sung Koo Han (0-0-1) in an interesting looking 4 rounder
Earlier this month we saw one of Indonesia's shining lights, Iwan Zoda, claim a major win. Now we get the chance to see another of the countries few exciting prospect in action as Tibo Monabesa (7-0, 3) faces the experienced Ichal Tobida (12-15, 8). This is a good test for Monabesa, who is already a 2-weight champion champion in Indonesia, and hopefully a win here will see him begin to move beyond domestic level.
Another bout on this card will see Waldo Sabu (6-2, 1) face Thailand's Keanpetch Manoprungroj (4-4, 2) in a 10 round bout. Sabu was last seen, according to boxrec.com, last October beating Rasmanudin in what looked like a good win at the time, though Rasmanudin has since gone 1-4, with 3 stoppage losses and appears to be a totally spent force.
The Manado card is one of two cards from Indonesia with the other taking place in Jakarta.
The most notable bout on this card is a bout between veterans as local veteran Falazona Fidal (25-43-1, 8) takes on well traveled Thai Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth (21-12-1, 14). On paper it's easy to back the Thai, who at least has a winning record, but he has won just 1 of his last 4, against a win-less fighter. Khunkiri has the better record but it is a very padded records and hasn't got many wins of note.
Another bout that caught our eye from this card will see the debuting Mark Scheide (0-0) battle former English Cricketer Adam Hollioake (2-2, 1). Hollioake, who previously played international level cricket for England, will be fighting for the first time outside of his adopted Australia. This will be one of three Heavyweight bouts on this card.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa fans will get the chance to see Kazakhstan's exciting Roman Zhailauov (15-0, 9) take on the interesting challenger of Thompson Mokwana (20-10-1, 12). On paper this looks a good step up bout for the Kazakh though one he should make successfully given that Mokwana has lost his last two and not won a bout since December 2013. Although not the best fighter Mokwana has only been stopped once and may have the toughness to test the Kazakh Kid.
There is also set to be a card in the Philippines, albeit a very low level one.
The most notable bout on the card will the once beaten JR Magboo (16-1-2, 7) attempt to bounce back from his first loss as he takes on the experienced but limited Richard Garcia (25-22-1, 7). This is an easy ask for Magboo who was narrowly beaten by Jhon Gemino last December and Garcia shouldn't pose any threat at all.
One other bout of note will see Vincent Bautista (3-2-3, 1) go up against Oliver Gregorio (9-5-2, 5) in what looks to be a well matched, though low level, bout. Both guys have marks on their record but both should bring it here and provide a great 10 rounds of action.