This coming Saturday is a really exciting day in Asian boxing thanks to a brilliant card in Tokyo. The support bouts across the Asian scene aren't the best, but we do have good main events in Ibaragi and New South Wales, Australia, as well.
As mentioned the best card of the day is in Tokyo, and is Dangan card with 4 bouts worthy of attention.
On paper the most significant bout is a Japanese Super Featherweight eliminator. This bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) battle perennial regional contender Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21). On paper Minamoto is the one to back here, he's the more polished boxer and the bigger puncher, with higher level of wins. However Watanabe is no puch over, and he's as rugged as they come, with under-rated skills and will be the naturally bigger guys. We're expecting this to come down to Minamoto's power and skills against Watanabe's toughness and will to win. We are thinking this could be something special between two men who should have styles that gel really well here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
In a God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final we'll see a very exciting match up between the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) and the always entertaining Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). On paper it's hard to see what Yamashita has in his locker to over-come Tsutsumi, but he's never been one to just take a loss with putting up a fight. We really expect this to be an all out war between men who are very similar in their styles and mentality and this could be the hidden gem of the month.
Another potential gem for the month comes in the other God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final, as unbeaten fighter Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) and Kuzuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) face off for a place in the final. Both men have been very exciting and shown real power and aggression since their debuts. Both men are in their mid 20's and whilst the loser will see the bout as a notable set back they will likely be able to pursue a rematch down the line. This is a fantastic match up and another that we are expecting to be a war.
Also on this card is the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be fighting for the first time since being upset by Lito Dante earlier this year. Given how badly Koura lost to Dante, suffering a beating and being stopped in round 12, we can't complain too much about him facing a very limited foe, and that's what he's doing against Indonesian foe Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2). This is little more than a confidence rebuilder for Koura, and that's very understandable.
In Ibaragi we get another Japanese card. This one is much lower profile than the Tokyo show, but does appear to have an excellent main event.
That main event will see the flawed but entertaining Tatsuya Takahashi (30-9-6, 21) take on Filipino foe Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4), in a really good looking 50/50 style bout. The Japanese local is a rather unpolished fighter, but he has great energy and toughness and it always worth watching for his aggression and pressure. On the other other hand Mannaquil is typically a tricky, skilled boxer-mover who has picked up good results on the road, though was stopped last time out by Yuki Strong Kobayashi. This will be a very interesting test and it's a hard one to call either way
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines. This is a much lower level card, with a main event between John Magagmoc (6-2-1) and Gary Tamayo (3-1, 2). Given the quality of action in Japan this is a very poor bout, but it is a clash between teenagers and we do like those, and do expecting an interesting out, even if it's not at the highest of levels.
New South Wales, Australia
Surprisingly it appears we could be in for a shoot out down under as the unbeaten pairing of Luke Boyd (7-0, 7) and Jon Jon Jet (10-0, 8) face off for the interim WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. Boyd, a 32 year old Australian, has been crushing low level opponents in double quick time, with only 1 of his 7 bouts going beyond the second round, with his most notable opponent being Inthanon Sithchamuang. At 25 years old Jet is one of the more promising Indonesian fighters, but his competition has been awful and it's hard to get a read on how good Jet may, or may not, be. This should be explosive, though is hard to know how good either man is given their competition to date.
In the US we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (13-0, 6) take on American veteran Walter Wright (17-8, 8). The 31 year old Ashkeyev has been a professional for close to 4 years and really needs to get a move on before he gets too old to make a mark. Whilst 2019 has been a better year for him he really does need to step it up again next year, in a big way. Given that Wright is a late replace, for a late replacement, this is unlikely to be a test for the Kazakh but Wright has only been stopped once, and that was way back on his debut in 2003.
The most notable action this coming Sunday comes from Kanagawa where Dangan and the Cassius Gym put on an interesting card, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the E&J Cassius Gym.
The main event will see Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) make his next defense of the OPBF Minimumweight title, taking on tough Filipino challenger Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7). The champion will be the very clear favourite here, and will be expected to make his 4th defense and build on wins over the likes of Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, but Dante is a trickier test than he's been given credit for, and he has scored upsets in the past, and proven himself as a very tough opponent. A Koura win will be expected, but if he stops Dante then we will be massively impressed. Our full preview of this contest can be read here Koura takes on teak tough Filipino challenge!
Koura isn't the only notable E&J Cassius gym fighter on this card, as stable Mirai Naito (6-1, 2) features in the main support bout. The once beaten son of Cassius Naito will be up against a Thai foe, though we've not managed to work out who the Thai will be at the time of writing.
Another fighter of name value on this show is the exciting and hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-4-2, 16). Tameda will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Hinata Maruta in 2018, and will be expected to get a confidence building win as he takes on Renerio Arizala (13-8-3, 5). On paper this looks potentially a battle for Tameda, but in realise Arizala has gone 0-6-2 in his last 8 and is likely to be splattered by the heavy hands of Tameda.
Also on this card is the debuting Shisui Kawabata (0-0), who will be in a 6 rounder against Thai visitor Natchaphon Wichaita (0-1). Kawabata is the latest in the long line of fighters looking to be fast tracked at the Watanabe gym.
For fans wanting to watch this show, it will be live on Boxing Raise.
As well as the card in Kanagawa there is also a show in Aichi, which will feature several Rookie of the Year bouts.
One of the best rookie bouts on this card will see Kenta Sugawara (1-0, 1) take on Satoshi Nagaya (1-0, 1) in a Super Flyweight bout. One of the great things about Rookie of the Year bouts is that fighters can't avoid decent tests or pad their record, and bouts like this show us what both men are made of.
Despite this card having a number of Rookie bouts the main event is actually an 8 round bout, which will see Shin Tomita (10-5-2) risk his JBC Flyweight ranking against Katsuya Murakami (6-1-1, 2). Coming into this Tomita is riding a 4 fight winning run, including a win over Fire Ikkyu last time out, but has yet to score a stoppage win in his 17 career bouts. Murakami has won his last 2 bouts, but has been out of the ring for well over a year and would be scoring a career best win if he beat Tomita here
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
Fight fans in Japan really do get to see the title action action flow through this month, and for a fourth day in a row those fans are set to get title action, as well as an under-card with some pretty notable names on it.
The first of three notable under-card bouts will see the hard hitting Tetsuya Tomioka (5-2, 5) battle against Ryuto Oho (10-4-1, 2) in a bout to crown the first ever Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion. The hard hitting Tomioka was involved in a thriller almost a year ago with Katsunori Nagamine, and proved he was one to keep an eye on there, but has been stopped twice in 7 and may well find himself burning out quickly given he has a very exciting and aggressive style. With 15 fights under his belt Oho is more experienced than Tomioka, but has lost 2 of his last 3, including an opening round defeat to Seigo Yuri Akui. This should be a really entertaining mid-card bout, and could well be a bit of a show stealer.
A second under-card bout of note will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-5-1, 8) takes on Momoko Kanda (10-9-2, 4), in what will be Kuroki's first bout since losing the WBC title to the now retired Momo Koseki. At her best Kuroki is a genuine talent, in fact she defended the WBC title 5 times between her May 2014 coronation and her December 2017 loss to Koseki. Though against Koseki she was second best, by quite some margin. As for Kanda she has challenged for world and OPBF honours herself, but looks some way from being class. Kanda will be there to win, but Kuroki shouldn't struggle to get back to winning ways here.
The chief support bout, and probably the biggest mismatch on the card sadly, will see former world title challenger Shingo Wake (23-5-2, 15) take on Filipino visitor Roman Canto (12-10-3, 7). Wake is expected to be moved into a Japanese title fight with Yusaku Kuga later in the year and this bout looks little more than a stay busy contest, just to keep the ring rust off before that fight takes place. Canto is a naturally bigger man, having fought a fair bit at Super Featherweight, but really shouldn't be much of a test for the talented Wake.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (12-0, 8) making the second defense of his title, as he takes on Norihito Tanaka (16-6, 9) and looks to take a huge step towards getting a world title fight. The exciting champion saw his 5 fight stoppage run come to an end last time out, as he struggled to over-come Masataka Taniguchi in a thrilling and hotly contested bout, but will be looking to impose his power again here. For the 33 year old Tanaka, this will be a second shot at a title, following a 2011 loss to Akira Yaegashi and although he will be the under-dog he is experienced and tough, and has never been stopped. On paper this could be a tough test for Koura, but one we expect him to pass.
Title action continues in Tokyo for a second day running, with a trio of title bouts at the Korakuen Hall, including an OPBF title defense, a Japanese youth title defense and a bout for a vacant Japanese youth title, as well as a Japanese title eliminator. It's fair to say fans are in store for a packed card!
The most notable of the title bouts will see the fast rising Tsubasa Koura (11-0, 8) defending his OPBF Mnimumweight title against former amateur stand out Masataka Taniguchi (8-1, 6). The champion will be making his first defense of the title, a title that he won this past July, and he will be looking to continue his impressive stoppage run, which currently stands at 5 stoppages including wins over Jeffrey Galero and Jaysever Abcede. As for Taniguchi this will be his second title bout, having come up short in a bout against Reiya Konishi for the Japanese title.
At Lightweight we'll see Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (4-0, 1) defending his title for the first time, and facing off with with 21 year old puncher Taiju Shiratori (8-2, 5). The talented Tomioka won the title in August, defeating Yuichito Kasyua, and has had a stellar 2017 with with with wins over Joon Woo Park and Shun Shimazaki. As for Shiratori he's stopped his last 3 foes but this is a step up in class for him and going to be a test of how he can cope with a very skilled fighter.
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see the highly regarded Andy Hiraoka (10-0, 7) taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (7-2, 5) for the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title. These two both fought in the Semi-Final of the Japanese Youth tournament on August 23rd with Hiraoka blowing out Ukyo Yoshigai in 3 rounds whilst Kobayashi struggled to over-come Hayato Ono, avenging one of his two losses. Of the two it's Hiraoka who has impressed more, but at 6'0” Kobayashi will be one of the very few fighters taller than Hiraoka and could pose some questions based on size alone.
Despite there being 3 title bouts on this show the main event is technically a Japanese title eliminator at Light Middleweight as former national Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) takes on veteran Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11). Shindo's reign at 147lbs was a short lived one, lasting just over 3 months, and he has fought only once since, getting off the canvas to defeat Sansouke Sasaki. The 37 year old Suwa had been a professional for more than 14 year and although he has challenged for both the OPBF and JBC titles he hasn't had a career defining win, but will know that a title fight in 2018 could given him one last chance.
One other bout of note here will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-3-1, 5) take on experienced Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-2-3, 15). Tamura recently challenged Yusaku Kuga, and gave Kuga all sorts of hell showing his power, aggression and energy. The Filipino is best known for his 2016 bout Qiu Xiao Jun, in which he was stopped in 3 rounds. It's hard to see Udtohan win here, but this should be a very entertaining contest.
New York, USA
There will also be some central Asian fighters in action in the US.
One of those fighters is hard hitting Uzbek Welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (9-0, 9), who will be making his US debut and risking his perfect record against Marquis Hawthorne (5-7, 1). The Uzbek has taken out his first 9 foes in a combined 15 rounds and looks like a genuine monster, though with this being his first fight Stateside it really does look like he's being matched softly on paper. Hawthorne has shown little power during his career so far, but has only been stopped once and should be able to test Ergashev's power.
Also on the card is unbeaten American based Kazakh Dimash Niyazov (12-0-3, 5), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced.
The rising generation of Japanese fighters was seen last week when Hiroto Kyoguchi became a world champion in just his 8th professional fight. This coming Saturday we again see two young Japanese fighters looking to continue their rise, one is a stablemate of Kyoguchi's at the Watanabe gym whilst the other is another heavy handed Minimumweight, and a potential future foe for Kyoguchi.
The main event will see Kyoguchi's stable mate Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) look to make his first defense of the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on fellow hard hitter Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) in what looks like a potentially brilliant fire fight. Neither of these men are the most skilled, but both can bang and both like to let their hands go. On paper Kuga should be the favourite, with his higher level of experience and move proven credentials, but Tamura can hit and could be a nightmare in a potential slugfest.
The other main bout will see Tsubasa Koura (10-0, 7) face off with Filipino Jaysever Abcede (14-6, 9), with the winner looking to become the new OPBF Minimumweight champion, claiming a title last held by the aforementioned Kyoguchi. Koura's rise has been great and he really shone last year, stopping Jeffrey Galero in an opening performance, but Abcede cannot be over-looked and he holds a massive win himself, stopping Pigmy Kokietgym just a few fights back. The winner here will put themselves in the mix for a world title bout and both will feel confidence that they can claim the victory, and the title.
In a supporting bout we'll see Naoya Okamoto (10-6-1, 5) take on Gaku Aikawa (8-4-1, 2) in a decent low level domestic bout. Neither of these guys are ranked, but they will be facing off in a nice looking 8 rounder, and the winner will certainly give their career a boost in the arm, which could do the world of good going forward.
In Hyogo we get a West Japan Rookie of the Year Card. As with many of these Rookie of the Year cards there are no names of note, but there are some interesting bout.
One of those bouts will see 30 year old Takafumi Minobe (1-0) take on teenager Rikuto Adachi (5-0, 2) in a bout at Welterweight. Given the lack of depth in Japan at 147lbs the winner of the Rookie of the Year can find themselves in the title picture rather quickly, and that could be the case if the winner of this can go all the way to the Rookie crown in December.
The most even bout on the show will see 20 year old Nozomi Yamashoji (2-0, 1) take on 21 year old Temin Kimura (2-0, 1). The two Super Featherweights have identical records, with Kimura being slightly older Yamashoji have a single round more experience. Although the two are similar it does need noting that Yamashoji has been out of the ring for more than a year, and that could show here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fight fans get a low level card littered with notable names.
The most notable of those names is 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (24-3-1, 20 ), who fights in a 10 round bout against journeyman Silem Serang (8-13-1, 1). Originally Taconing was supposed to be defending his WBC International Light Flyweight title but that appears to be off, likely with Serang not being eligible for the title given his recent form, with 5 losses in his last 6.
The card also features some unbeaten prospects. One of those is the heavy handed Abraham Bullagay (9-0-1, 9), who looks to record a 10th win as he takes on veteran Ryan Tampus (11-19, 8) in a bout scheduled for 8. Given that Tampus has been stopped 8 times in 11 bouts it's hard to imagine him coming out on top here. Another unbeaten puncher on this card is Arvin Magramo (5-0, 4), who was originally pencilled in to take on Anecito Padillo (3-2, 2) though it now seems Padillo has removed from boxrec.com so it's unclear who Magramo will be facing.
A third unbeaten prospect in action here is Bryan Ascano (7-0-1, 2), who takes part in a good looking 6 rounder against Jules Victoriano (5-1, 4), in what should be the best bout on the show, and is clearly the most well matched.
The card also featured Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4), who looked to get his career back on track following a 0-2-1 run including a loss to Hinata Maruta. The Filipino youngster will be up against domestic journeyman Ruben Traza (4-12-4, 1) in what should be an easy confidence builder for Berondo.
For a second day running we get low level Chinese action in Jinan, with the card scheduled to have 8 bouts of 4 rounds on it, with no notable names at all in action.
Puerto Armuelles, Panama
Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (6-0, 4) will fight for the second time in the space of weeks as he takes on Ivan Trejos (7-7-2, 1) in a stay busy fight in Panama. His promoter, Andy Kim, is putting on the show and will be keeping Waseem busy along with a number of other AK fighters, though it does seem like Waseem's rapid rise has sadly faltered this year.
The next few days are set to be interesting ones in Japan, with Dangan holding back-to-back shows. The second of those, on May 16th, is a Youth tournament semi final show, but before then we have a lower key card with a number of notable names on it.
The main event of this card sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (13-1, 9) battle against heavy handed foe Tetsuya Tomioka (5-1, 5). Nagamine is the #1 ranked JBC Flyweight, and will be looking to continue his run towards a Japanese title fight however Tomioka can't be over-looked and his power is legitimate. We've seen Nagamine hurt, and stopped, before and with Tomioka's power there is a chance we will see him hurt again, but Nagamine should be regarded as the definitive favourite here.
In a really good looking supporting bout fans will see the popular but light punching Joe Tanooka (13-3-4, 1) take on veteran Hajime Nagai (14-8-2, 4). Although Tanooka isn't a big name he does have a very credible following due to his personality and the youngster has certainly connected with fans, despite his lack of power. Against Nagai we're expect Tanooka to be be too quick and too busy, but he 33 year old Nagai has been able to score upsets throughout his career. Notably Tanooka is booked to be back in the ring in August, in a Youth tournament final.
We also have two bouts where notable local talents take on Thai foes. One of those locals will be the exciting and heavy handed youngster Tsubasa Koura (9-0, 6), who fights in a stay busy contest against Thongchai Chaiyonggym (0-5) whilst the other will see former world title challenger Shin Ono (19-8-4, 3) take on Chanai Jaikrajang (0-3). It's hard to imagine either Koura or Thognchai losing here but it's good to see both men being active, albeit for different reasons.
December 19th isn't set to be a huge day for Asian fight fans, but it will be an interesting day as we get the next Dangan card.
In the main event we'll see the heavy handed Shuhei Tsuchiya (21-4, 17) battle the in form Masashi Noguchi (12-5-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title. This will be the first time either man will have fought for a Japanese title, with Nihito Arakawa recently vacating the title, but we're expecting a very fun bout between two men who can be hurt and stopped.
The main support bout will see exciting veteran Rikiya Fukuhara (31-9-1, 23) take on Filipino visitor Alvin Bais (15-7-1, 4). The bout isn't the most exciting contest on the card, not even the most exciting bout between a Japanese and a Filipino, but it will be the final bout of Fukuhara's career with the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion announcing that win or lose his career was ending here.
A really good under-card bout will see the experienced Yosuke Fujihara (16-4, 4) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (4-2, 3). Although this looks like an easy win for the more experienced Fujihara on paper Watanabe is one of the more under-rated fighters coming through the Japanese ranks and we're expecting to see the novice come out on top here, and potentially fighting for titles by the end of next year.
A brilliant Japan Vs Philippines bout will see unbeaten local Tsubasa Koura (8-0, 5) battle against former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (14-2, 7). Koura, the 2015 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, has impressed with a pair of stoppages earlier this year and looks to be one of the more notable Minimumweight prospects coming through the ranks at the moment, but this is a huge step up in class. Galero on the other hand is looking to rebuild following a loss to Seita Ogida earlier this year. Although he lost last time out we must admit we thought we saw a lot of promise in Galero when he took on WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin and this could be a chance for him to get his career back on track.
In another good looking bout we'll see the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year Bantamweight runner up Tenta Kiyose (10-2-1, 3) battle against former Japanese title challenger Ryuta Otsuka (16-9-2, 6). Kiyosa has impressed in the past, and is riding a 3 fight winning run coming into this bout but is stepping up massively against Otsuka. As for Otsuka he has lost 4 of his last 7, but they have included losses to two Japanese champions, Teiru Kinoshita and Sho Ishida, along with a defeat to former world champion Malcolm Tunacao. This really could be a very good bout.
For fans interested in this card it will be streamed live on boxingraise.com.
The only show this Thursday is an interesting one from the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event fight fans will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (18-1-1, 8) defending his title against Filipino foe Ernie Sanchez (15-7-1, 6). The talented, yet criminally under-rated Ito, will be making the second defense of his title and looking to make a successful ring return following a hand injury, that already scuppered and arranged bout with Sanchez. For Sanchez the bout is an undeserved opportunity given he has gone 1-4-1 over the last 3 years but he has mixed with some very good fighters like Oscar Valdez, Sergey Lipinets and Rey Vargas.
In a supporting bout we see the wonderfully fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (11-1, 7) take on the very credible Yuki Yonaha (7-2, 5), who enters the bout with an OPBF rating and the hunger to move forward with his own career. For fans this is the sort of match up that makes Japanese boxing so brilliant, there is no waiting for either Nagamine, who comes in following two tough bouts, or Yanaha to get on with securing themselves a big fight and the winner of this could well move in to the mix for a title bout.
Another man looking to move to a title fight is the unbeaten 21 year old Tsubasa Koura (7-0, 4), who claimed the Rookie of the Year crown last year. The unbeaten youngster will be taking on his most experienced foe to date, Bimbo Nacionales (14-11-1, 3). The experienced Filipino is nothing special but should be a good test for the hotly tipped Japanese youngster.
Talking about fighters looking for titles there is also a former Japanese national champion on this card, that's former Japanese Super Flyweight, and current WBA International, champion Yohei Tobe (10-2-1, 6), who takes on the limited Masaya Kohama (6-4-1, 3). For Tobe this bout will be his first since his excellent win over Luzuko Siyo and should see him scoring a third successive win. For Kohama it's hard to see him winning but he'll get a chance to face a notable opponent.
April is a great month for Japanese fight fans with a host of notable shows through the month. One of the most notable come on April 14th where we see a number of bouts with notable fighters.
One of those bouts is a Japanese Light Flyweight title bout between unbeaten champion Ken Shiro (6-0, 3), who looks to make his first defense, and mandatory challenger Atsushi Kakutani (17-4-1, 10). The youngster won the title late last year, when he over-came Kenichi Horikawa in a brilliant bout, and will be looking to notch a win over a world title challenger. For Kakutani however this is a long over-due shot and one that could make or break his career.
Another title bout on this card will see OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (13-3-1, 7) defending his title against Akira Shono (9-7-2, 5). This match up is somewhat hard to get excited about, with Shono seemingly stepping up in a huge way, though it does need to be noted that Takenaka has been in active since August, when he won the title courtesy of a 5th round TKO win over Vinvin Rufino. On paper this is an easy first defence for the champion, but one that he will be hoping he'll be expected to shine.
In a very notable non-title bout fans will see Keita Obara (15-1-1, 14) in a stay busy bout against Petchdam Tor Buamas (0-1). Although a huge mismatch the aim of the bout is for Obara to shake some ring rust as he looks to build towards an IBF Light Welterweight world title fight with unbeaten Russian Eduard Troyanovsky. This will be Obara's first bout since his controversial draw against Walter Castillo and it should be a very easy show case for the heavy handed Japanese fighter.
In another under-card bout fans will see Japanese Rookie of the Year Tsubasa Koura (6-0, 3) kick off his 2016 by facing Thailand's Yai Phuket Topteam (0-0). The 21 year old Koura impressed last year with 5 wins, and won the All Japanese Rookie of the year. He'll be hoping to continue to build on his promising career this year, though should be up against better tests than Yai before the year is over.