Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall once again this coming Saturday for a stacked Dangan card, with 4 very good bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) take on Mexican youngster Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-2-1, 7) in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator, with the winner moving towards a world tittle fight against Jerwin Ancajas. Funai has been on a good run since losing in a Japanese title fight to Sho Ishida way back in 2016. He claimed the Japanese title last year and the WBO Asia Pacific belt earlier this year, and he's actually 6-0 (5) since the loss to Ishida. When it comes to assessing Olivo's career things aren't that impressive, with his most notable result being a narrow loss to Milan Melindo back in 2015. Aged 22 Olivo is a fighter who is developing but he was beaten just 2 fights back by Jose Briegel Quirino, in what looks to have been a home town decision. Olivo is probably better than his record indicates, but this is still a big step up in class for the Mexican. We've a full preview of this bout here Funai and Olivo battle in world title eliminator!
The chief supporting bout will match once beaten fighters, as Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) takes on recent OPBF title challenger Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1). The talented Masaki was tipped for big things, but his rise through the ranks was slowed this past January, when he was out pointed by Hironori Mishiro. Masaki has bounced back since his loss, with a decision win over Korean Hyun Je Shin, but this is a big step back up since that loss. On the other hand the 21 year old Tomioka surprised the Japanese scene this year when he pushed OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani very close in July, losing an 11th round TKO in a very competitive bout. Tomioka's biggest issue is his lack of power, but we wouldn't be surprised by him relying on his skills and picking up a career best win here.
Another mouth watering support bout will see Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) face off with the unbeaten Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title. The more experienced man is 22 years old and debuted back in August 2014. He suffered a few early career set backs, losing 3 of his first 6, but has since gone 7-1 with a very notable win last time out against Ryuji Ikeda. On the hand Oda is a 20 year old with insane upside, as he showed when taking the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at the age of 18. Oda hasn't been the busiest since his Rookie win, but has impressed, with 3 solid wins this year including a stoppage against Masashi Wakita in August. Oda is the more naturally gifted man, but this is likely to be his stiffest test to date. A preview of this bout is here Oda and Toshikawa battle for Lightweight youth crown!
A fourth major bout on this card will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese youth Minimumweight title fight. The 19 year old Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, really impressed last year before taking the Rookie crown in December against Retsu Akabane. Since that Rookie win Inoue has scored his only stoppage win, taking out Daisuke Sudo in 5 rounds this past May. As for the 21 year old Ishizawa he made his debut in June 2017 and has impressed ever since, scoring a huge win over Tatsuro Nakashima back in April. It should be noted that Ishizawa was supposed to fight for this title earlier in the year, against Daiki Tomita, but the bout was cancelled when Ishizawa suffered an injury, which he has now recovered from. Our in depth preview of this bout is here Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
As well as the stacked show in Japan there's also a notable card in the Philippines, headlined by former world title challengers facing off, and featuring several prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle against Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years, with Jerusalem giving Wanehng Menayothin arguably the toughest bout of his career, in 2017, and Landero recently losing to Knockout CP Freshmart. The loser will have some serious rebuilding to do, but given that both men are still young that won't be a huge issue with the right mind set. The winner however will have taken a huge step towards getting a second shot at a world title. Our preview of this bout is here Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash!
In one of the supporting bouts fans will see unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Domingo. Another of the supporting bouts will see will see the unbeaten Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) taking on fellow unbeaten Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what should be a compelling bout, though we do feel that Bacolod's power and extra experience will be the difference.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
The Funai bout isn't the only world title eliminator taking place as the UK plays host to a Lightweight world title eliminator between Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) and popular Englishman Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13), who will be hoping to take a step towards a WBA title shot. Yordan has been one of the few Indonesian fighters in recent years to make a mark internationally and his win earlier this year against Pavel Malikov was one of the best bouts of 2018. He is however up against here, with Crolla being a former WBA world champion and one of the best contenders in the division, with great stamina and under-rated skills. With a big reward for the winner we're expecting this to be a very exciting and action packed contest, with a lot of leather being thrown. We've previewed that bout here Yordan and Crolla set for a thriller...
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we're set for a bit of a mismatch, with the all action Joel Brunker (33-3, 19) battling Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-27-6, 14). The 32 year old Brunker isn't going to reach the heights many had hopes for, but Rengkung shouldn't pose any sort of a threat at all, and will instead be expected to pick up his 28th career defeat.
In Russia we'll see former Uzbek amateur stand out Makhmud Gaipov (0-0) make his professional debut. Sadly at the time of writing no opponent has been named for Gaipov, but we're expecting him to be moved quickly and in 2019 we'll expect to see him fighting in 6 or even 8 rounders.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa this coming Sunday fight fans will be able to see a very interesting looking IBO Minimumweight title fight. The bout will see South African Simphiwe Khonco (18-5, 7) look to make his third defense of the title, as he goes up against Filipino challenger Toto Landero (10-2-2, 2). The champion is best known for his 2015 loss to Hekkie Budler, in what was a thrilling all South African bout for the IBO and WBA Minimumweight titles. Since that loss Khonco has gone 3-0 with a very notable win over Nkosinathi Joyi. Landero on the other hand is best known in his homeland for a shock win over Vic Saludar and by fans outside of the Philippines for his very competitive bout with Knockout CP Freshmart from this past March. Given how Landero fought against Knockout we're expecting him to be very competitive here in what could be a very and hard to score bout.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday as we, finally, crown a new Japanese Bantamweight champion.
That title bout will see former Japanese Flyweight champion, and former Super Flyweight world title challenger, Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8) battle against Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) to fill the Bantamweight vacancy. The title has been vacant since Ryo Akaho vacated due to health reasons in January. A proposed bout between Muranaka and Yosuke Suzuki fell through earlier this year, extending the length without a national champion at 118lbs. Of the two fighters it's Muranaka who is the more well known and the more distinguished, given he had a pretty notable reign at the domestic level before his world title fight against Kal Yafai. Despite that he may actually go into this as the under-dog, given that Saito is a natural Bantamweight, who has even mixed at Super Bantamweight, and is much, much better than his record suggests. Of his 9 losses 7 have been very close decisions, with only Mugicha Nakagawa and Ryo Akaho holding clear wins over him. On paper this is mismatch, but in reality it's a very close to call bout and is excellently matched.
Sadly other than the main event the rest of this card is very weak, with 8 bouts, all of which are 4 rounders, acting in support of the very exciting headline bout.
Umtata, South Africa
In South Africa fan swill be able to see Simphiwe Khonco (18-5, 7) battle against Filipino foe Toto Landero (10-2-2, 2) for the IBO Minimumweight title. The South African will be defending the title for the third time and will looking to get a shot at a big 4 title in the near future. Although Khonce doesn't have the most amazing of records he is a talented fighter who gave Hekkie Budler fits in 2015 and has gone unbeaten since then, scoring a notable win over Nkosinathi Joyi. Landero challenged Knockout CP Freshmart earlier this year, and gave the unbeaten Thai some real issues before losing a decision. Other than that result Landero also holds a win over Vic Saludar and could well have the skills and desire to rip the IBO title from Khonco. This could be an excellent match up and one with a lot of leather being thrown by both men.
A rare mid-week Thai show will take place this coming Tuesday in Chonburi as WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (16-0, 7) defends his title against Filipino challenger Toto Landero (10-1-2, 2). The unbeaten champion won the WBA in the summer of 2016, when he out pointed Byron Rojas, and has racked up 3 defenses, including a mandatory last July against the hard hitting Rey Loreto. Whilst Knockout is well known by fans of the little men there is little to really go on in regards to 22 year old challenger Landero. The Filipino made his debut in 2013 and went unbeaten in his first 10 bouts before suffering an upset loss to Joey Canoy in 2016. Since then however he has score back-to-back wins, including a decision over Vic Saludar, to earn this shot.
It's worth noting that this bout was originally supposed to take place last year, before the bout got cancelled with an expected showdown between Knockout and Xiong Zhao Zhong planned. That got scrapped and caused this bout to essentially be rescheduled for early 2018.
After a huge weekend in Japan we see action quieten off and the only Asian card this coming Monday is a small show in the Philippines.
The main event of the card is an interesting GAB Light Flyweight title fight as Lester Abutan (11-6-3, 5) takes on the out of form Rene Patilano (16-3-3, 8). Abuton comes into this bout as the reigning champion, having won the belt last June when he defeated Renren Tesorio, and he's certainly better than his record suggests, having run Fahlan Sakkreerin very close last year. Once touted as one to watch Patilano has lost 2 of his last 4, including a 6th round KO loss to Kosei Tanaka. This could be an excellent bout for fans at the Binan Town Plaza.
Another interesting look bout will see Lloyd Jardeliza (7-5-3, 6), a former OPBF Super Bantamweight title contender, take on Jimmy Aducal (8-6-2, 6) in what could be a bombs away affair. Neither man is going to the top, but both can bang, and both have very similar records, suggesting this a real 50-50.
One other bout of note will see Mark Rey Taday (6-2, 3) take on the once beaten Toto Landero (8-1-2, 2) in another good match up. Again neither guy looks likely to be moved into a world title fight any time soon, if ever, but both can be very good at domestic level and this could be a really fun bout.
The most notable action to involve Asian fighters this Thursday takes place in the US where two fantastic prospects will be in action.
The most promising of the prospects is the fantastic Dmitry Bivol (5-0, 5) who looks to continue his meteoric rise through the Light Heavyweight ranks as he faces Brazilian Cleiton Conceicao (22-8-2, 18). Bivol, from Kyrgyzstan, is possibly the most exciting prospect on the planet and looks to be a man set to fight in world level bouts in the next 12-18. This is likely to just be the next step on his road to the top.
The other prospect is unbeaten Kazakh Bekman Soylybayev (7-0, 3) who moves in to title bouts as he takes on the experienced Moises Delgadillo (15-13-2, 8) for the WBA-NABA USA Super Featherweight title. This should be a straight forward win for Soylybayev, who was a former stand out amateur and WSB champion, though it's actually the manner of his performance that will be important here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the notable action in the US fight fans also get an Asian interest in the Philippines where fans get several title bouts in what looks likely to be a very intriguing card in Metro Manila.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Joe Noynay (10-0, 3), also known as Joe Misako, battle against the criminally under-rated Alie Laurel (14-4, 9) in a bout for the WBC International Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten 20 year old will be the favourite given his unbeaten record but this will be a dangerous bout for him. Noynay is the naturally bigger fighter but Laurel is a very dangerous fighter, as seen in wins over Tiger Tor Buamas and Nobuhisa Coronita Doi.
Another unbeaten fighter looking to claim a title on this show is Kyota Otsuka (5-0-1, 3) who faces Eranio Semillano (11-7-1, 3) for the WBC EPBC Super Flyweight title. On paper this looks like a logical step up for Otsuka but the 21 year old is stepping up massively for his first 12 rounder and this is a potential upset. Semillano is 1-2-1 in his last 4 but shouldn't be over-looked as he has been mixing at a much higher level than Otsuka, and actually fought current WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu in 2014.
The remaining title bout is probably the best match up on the card and sees the unbeaten Toto Landero (7-0-2, 2) battle against the once beaten Rolly Sumalpong (9-1-1, 4) for the WBC EPBC title at Minimumweight. This is the first defense by Sumalpong, who won the title last June, and will be his first bout since losing to fast rising Japanese star Ken Shiro last October. For Landero this is a step up to 10 round action and a great chance for him to score a big win. This really is a fantastic match up and very mouth watering.
Metro Manilla, Philippines
In the Philippines this Friday fans get the chance to see a pair of title bouts as well as action from several other notable fighters.
One of those title bouts will see Vergil Puton (14-6, 7) battle against journeyman Rex Olisa (10-28-1, 8) in a contest for the PBF Featherweight title. Puton is coming into this one on a 3 fight losing streak however he is better than his record suggests and should over-come Olisa here, even if he does have to go the distance.
The other title bout will see the the unpredictable Ronald Pontillas (17-8-3, 8) battle against former world title challenger Balweg Bangoyan (18-10, 7). This bout is for the PBF Lightweight title and sees both men really going in to this one in need of a win. Pontillas, a former OPBF champion, has won just 2 of his last 6 whilst Bangoyan, who once fought Toshiaki Nishioka, has gone 2-6 in his last 8 bouts.
In one of the under-card bouts the promising Ernesto Saulong (18-1-1, 7) will be up against Edison Berwela (13-32-8, 3). This is a mismatch on paper and should be an easy win for Saulong however it is still good to see the 26 year old in the ring. Another promising fighter on this card is Minimumweight hopeful Toto Landero (6-0-2, 2) who faces Ryan Bajala (4-4-1, 2) in a 10 rounder. This should be a win for Landero though we're hoping to see him improve his his power as he matures in the near future.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we'll see Filipino born Rex Regalado (1-6-1), who will be trying to score his second successive win as he takes on the win-less Mitchell Dawson (0-1).