Our attention turns to Tokyo this coming Friday as Ohashi gym put on a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, in what is being sold as a double main event card.
One of the main event bouts will see Satoshi Shimizu (6-0, 6) defending the OPBF Featherweight title against Shingo Kawamura (16-3-1, 8). The heavy handed champion will be making his third defense of the title that he won last October, when he stopped Sa Myung Noh. The Olympic bronze medal winner has looked destructive but clumsy so far though is unlikely to be made to pay for his clumsiness here. The 28 year old challenger will be having his second title shot, following a loss to Mike Tawatchai in an IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title fight. Kawamura comes into this on the back of a 6 fight winning streak, including a win over Tae Il Atsumi, but this is certainly a big step up from that level of competition.
The co-main event will see former 3 weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (26-6, 14) take on former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (16-5-3, 6) in an interesting must win bout for both men. Yaegashi is hunting a Super Flyweight world title and although that is a huge task for the popular warrior he does seem to believe in himself and will know that a win over Mukai will open doors. As for Mukai the bout will see him looking to continue a 3 fight stoppage run, but this is his first step up in class since a 2017 loss to Rex Tso. The loser of this will have to seriously consider their future, whilst the winner will move towards one more notable bout.
The best of the under-card bouts will see the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (17-3-2, 15) take on Japanese based Korean Tae Il Atsumi (14-2, 7) in what should be a genuinely fantastic match up. The destructive Tameda, has stopped his last 4 opponents, and is unbeaten since a 2016 loss to Reiya Abe. He'll be looking to continue that form and move towards a potential Japanese or OPBF title fight in the future. As for Atsumi this bout will see him looking to rebuild from his aforementioned loss to Kawamura, who beat him just 2 fights ago. At his best Atsumi is a talented and hard hitting fighter, who holds notable wins over Sho Nakazawa, Dennis Tubieron, Burning Ishii and Neil John Tabanao. This should be a very exciting bout for the fans in the venue, even if it's unlikely to be televised.
Interestingly former Atsumi victim Sho Nakazawa (10-2, 4) is also on this card, as he fights in a straight forward match up against Ahmad Lahizab (3-5-1, 1) of Indonesia. It's hard to see anything but a win for Nakazawa, though he hasn't actually scored a win since April 2017 and has fallen a long way short of the promise he had shown as an amateur.
On the subject of people who showed promise as an amateur the fans will also see former amateur stand out Kazuki Nakajima (4-0, 3) take on the tough but light hitting Takuya Fujioka (8-8-1, 1). The talented Nakajima is tipped for big things thought he will need to get past the under-rated Fujioka here if he's to reach the heights expected of him. It's worth noting that Fujioka is a real potential banana skin and scored a big upset win in February when he defeated Futa Akizuki.
There's more Japanese action in the US as popular tough brawler Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-4-2, 24) takes on American foe Greg Vendetti (19-2-1, 12) in California. For Kamegai this will be his first bout in almost a year, with the iron chinned warrior not having fought since his August 2017 loss to Miguel Cotto in a world title fight. Part of the long break for Kamegai was due to a shoulder injury earlier this year, but with that now healed he's looking to get back to winning ways. As for Vendetti he's looking for his 4th win of 2018, but this is a big step up for "The Villain's who has won his last 15 bouts against limited opposition.
This coming Friday is a big day for Asian boxing, as we get a couple of world title fight a couple of prospects and a hotly tipped debutant.
The main bout of the card will see Englishman Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13) defending his WBA Bantamweight title against 2-weight world champion Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13), who looks to become a 3-weight champion in just 16 bouts. The defending champion will boast significant size advantage over Inoue, but has been struggling to make 118lbs over the last few years and Inoue's trademark body attack may well take advantage of that issue. As for McDonnell he is unbeaten in over a decade and holds several notable wins, including a couple against Tomoki Kameda, one against Julio Ceja and one against Liborio Solis. The challenger is one of the biggest names in Japanese boxing and will know that another win here will help increase his profile around the boxing world, and move him towards becoming a global star.
Interesting Inoue and McDonnell may not only be fighting for the WBA Bantamweight title but also, potentially, a place in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series at Bantamweight.
The other title bout on this card will see WBC Light Flyweight Ken Shiro (12-0, 6) defending his belt against Ganigan Lopez (34-7, 19), the man he beat for the title last year. Since winning the belt Ken Shiro has made two defenses and gone from being a fighter only the hardcore fans know about to being a man who has featured on Japanese main stream TV and has really built his profile magnificently. Lopez will be looking to avenge his 2017 loss to the Japanese fighter, but at the age of 36 it could be that Lopez's career is naturally coming to an end, and this bout will bee the one that makes him realise he's not the fighter he once was.
The leading support bout will see Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (10-0, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Waldo Sabu (12-11, 2). This bout really should be little more than a show case bout for the talented Inoue, who should be getting a world title fight this year, but on the other hand it's good to see him tick over. Despite only being 22 it does feel like Inoue, who debuted in December 2013, should be up against better opposition and has been ready for a world title fight for a while, so hopefully this will be his final tune up bout. As for Sabu Sabu is yet to win a bout outside of Indonesia, having suffered notable losses to Shingo Wake in Japan as well as Nop Kratingdaenggym, Norasing Kokietgym and Petchbarngborn Kokietgym in Thailand.
The hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (16-3-2, 14) looks for his 4th straight win, following a 2016 loss to Reiya Abe, as he takes on Indonesian veteran Rivo Rengkung (36-24-6, 14). Although still a bit unknown outside of Japan Tameda is one of the countries more unheralded prospects. The hard hitting Tameda suffered a couple of losses in 2016, to Simpiwe Vetyeka and Reiya Abe, but has bounced back well with 3 stoppage wins, including one for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title, and is now being stepped up slight take on the Indonesian visitor here. Rengkung is a pretty limited fighter but should be able to take Tameda a few rounds here, before being stopped..
Also on this card will be touted debutant Taku Kuwabara (0-0), who makes his debut against Indonesian foe Mochamad Sholimin (3-6, 3). The Japanese fighter was a notable on the Japanese scene and looks likely to be yet another top fighter at the Ohashi Gym. He will clearly be looking to make a statement here, but may struggle to really wow the fans in Tokyo as he takes on a man who took Daiki Tomita 8 rounds last August. We suspect Kuwabara will win without many problems, but if he can stop Sholimin that will be a solid statement from the debutant.
This coming Wednesday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a stacked card from Ohashi, with a world title fight headlining the card and a number of notable fighters on the under-card as the Ohashi gym put on a really solid show.
The main event will see the highly touted Ryo Matsumoto (21-1, 19) challenge WBA Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (23-2-1, 9) in a bout that looks amazing on paper. The Japanese 24 year old has long been tipped as a future world champion and one of the future faces of Japanese boxing thanks to his strong amateur background, skills, speed and power. He has however been troubled by medical issues, which lead to his shock 2016 loss to Victor Uriel Lopez. Roman on the other hand broke Japanese hearts last year, when he battered Shun Kubo into a 9th round TKO. The American will be looking to repeat the feat here and move towards bigger bouts. Going into the bout with Kubo few would have thought Roman was a puncher, but the way he broke down and stopped the Shinsei man did impress and show that there was more on his shots than his record suggests.
Another youngster on this card is the very talented Andy Hiraoka (11-0, 8), who risks his unbeaten record against Fumisuke Kimura (6-2, 4). At just 21 years old Hiraoka is seen as the future of the Ohashi gym and although he has some questions to answer he does look a class fighter. The youngster will be in there with a tough and heavy handed foe who can be out boxed, but is a very solid test and should provide a stern test for Hiraoka.
A third youngster from the Ohashi gym in action here will be Tsuyoshi Tameda (15-3-2, 13), who faces off with a Thai foe in what is likely to be a bit if a straight forward win for the heavy handed 24 year old. This will be Tameda's second bout under the Ohashi banner and it's clear they view him as a key fighter for the future, and will be looking to guide him towards title fights by the end of the year.
It's not all about youngster on this show, and in a battle between more established fighters fans will see 29 year old Quaye Peter (10-9-2, 6) take on the heavy handed Yuichi Ideta (13-10-1, 7). Coming into this the inconsistent Peter is 4-4 in his last 8, though is better than the numbers suggest. As for Ideta recent results are rather damning, with a 0-7-1 record in his last 8, though he was a promising fighter earlier on in his career and will be looking at this bout as a chance to re-establish himself as someone who matters. It's worth noting that Ideta has been out of the ring for 4 years, and it's now 7 years since his last win, which came against Suyon Takayama.
An interesting clash of young and old will see 24 year old puncher Kazuaki Miyamoto (5-1, 4) take on 35 year old former Japanese champion Seiichi Okada (20-6-1, 11). The youngster will be stepping up massively for this bout and will know he's the under-dog, despite being the younger man, and his own loss to Shuzo Inada last year does leave a lot of questions regarding his durability. Okada, another of the fighters from the Ohashi gym, has struggled since losing the domestic title to Daiki Kaneko back in 2012, though has won his last two bouts and will be hoping to move towards another title fight before his career is over.
To begin October we turn our attention to the Korakuen Hall,where Ohashi gym put on a solid looking card.
The main event is a genuinely brilliant match up as 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (3-0, 3) takes a massive step up, to challenge OPBF Featherweight champion Sa Myung Noh (11-3, 4, who will be looking to defend the title he won back in June when he upset Ryo Takenaka. To date Shimizu has fought just 9 rounds as a professional and has looked destructive, but flawed, with a lot of power and exciting style. As for Noh he's looking to build on a career defining win and will be hoping that another win in Japan could help him more towards a potential world title fight, and it is worth noting he enters this bout with a WBC world ranking which will improve if he retains his title here.
The main event is a great bout but it may actually be the second best fight on the card as former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (33-3-1, 22) takes on talented youngster Reiya Abe (14-2, 7). On paper we suspect many will favour Hosono, given his experience and the fact that his set backs have come against world class opposition, however Abe is no joke and he has rocked up 6 straight wins,including notable victories against Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Shingo Kusano and Tsuyoshi Tameda. This really could be a very special bout between fighters at different points in their career.
On the under-card fight fans will see Tsuyoshi Tameda (14-3-2, 12), making his Ohashi debut, and Ryuji Hara (22-2,13) who both take on Thai foes in what should be showcases contests before bigger bouts later in the year, with Hara expected to get a second world title fight in the very near future.
The most interesting show of the day, at least for us, is in the Korakuen Hall where we see the first set of Japanese Youth Tournament finals, with 4 finals, all of which are really interesting match ups, and bouts that should be really hotly contested.
The stand out bout is a rematch between Joe Tanooka (14-3-4, 1) and Kenya Yamashita (10-3, 7), who meet at Super Flyweight. Tanooka came runner up at the 2013 Rookie of the year whilst Yamashita won the Rookie of the Year the following year. In 2015 Tanooka scored a decision win over Yamashita, to give the heavy handed Yamashita his first loss, and since then both men have faltered yet remained popular. Tanooka has gone 5-1-1 since beating Yamashita, but shown a real lack of power with only a single stoppage. Yamashita is like an all action warrior and has gone 3-2 (3) since losing to Tanooka, with both losses being by stoppage. This will be a boxer vs bralwer, with history and the potential to be something really thrilling.
Another potential thriller comes at Featherweight as the talented, but out of form, Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-3-2, 11) takes on Retsu Kosaka (8-2, 3). We've seen Tameda losing his last two, suffering a decision loss to Simpiwe Vetyeka and suffering a stoppage to Reiya Abe, but has been given time to rest, heal and reignite his fire, with this being his final bout for the Yonekura gym, before joining the Ohashi Gym. As for Kosaka he has lost 2 of his last 3, but shone last time out beating the touted Ryo Sagawa in 2 rounds. This looks like a win on paper for Tameda, but it's not going to be easy against the hungry Kosaka.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will be the Lightweight bout, as the really exciting and promising Izuki Tomioka (3-0, 1) takes on the Japanese Yuichiro Kasuya (9-1-1, 1). We were really impressed by Tomioka last time out, as he stopped Shun Shimazaki in 5 rounds, and the 20 year old from Saitama looks like a real one to watch. Kasuya, who won the Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight in 2014, has faltered in his last two, drawing with Masaki Saito and losing to Spicy Matsushita. With those recent set backs against Kasuya we suspect he'll try to up his game, but Tomioka will be too good for him.
At Super Featherweight we'll see the struggling Kazuma Sanpei (12-4, 4) battle the inconsistent Ryusei Ishii (7-3, 4) in what looks like the black sheep of the match ups. Sanpei has gone 1-4 in his last 5, with 3 stoppage losses during that run, and his 11-0 (4) start to professional boxing is a distance memory, with only a single win in the last 3 years. Ishii has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though did earn his place in this bout with a dominant win over Sho Nagata in May. Ishii has some momentum here, Sanpei has none, leading us to favour Ishii for the win.
Fight fans in Las Vegas will see American based Uzbek hopeful Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (7-0-1, 3) fight in an 8 rounder, as he looks for a 4th straight victory. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, so we suspect it will be a less than taxing foe foe the unbeaten prospect.
In Pakistan we'll see a bizarre all-debutant 10 rounder, as Ali Dad (0-0) takes on Asmatullah (0-0). It's really odd to see a debutant in a 10 rounder, to see two of them in a 10 rounder is even weirder and it's hard to see what the plan behind this bout was, though hopefully it helps in the development of Pakistani boxing going forward, and is interesting to see how they are growing the sport there.
A new week kicks off with a card that promise a lot for fans at the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event of the bout fight fans will see OPBF Super Middleweight champion Shintaro Matsumoto (13-4, 9) battle against once beaten Australian Jayde Mitchell (9-1, 4) in what will be Matsumoto's first defense. The champion won the title earlier this year, when he upset Yuzo Kiyota for the title in one of the biggest shocks of the year on the OPBF scene, but will do well to retain his title against Mitchell, who looks like a very tidy boxer who is improving with every fight.
Although the main event is a title fight we dare saw the chief support bout is the best fight on the card and will see the exciting, and teak tough, Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-2-2, 11) face Reiya Abe (12-2, 6) in a really mouth watering match up. Tameda has long been one of our favourite's on the Japanese domestic scene with his aggressive style and heavy hands, and last time out he proved he was tough as he took a shellacking from Simpiwe Vetyeka. Although not as high profile Abe has also impressed, winning the 2014 Rookie of the year, avenging his second defeat and defeating both Ryo Hino and Hikaru Marugame in his last 4 bouts. This has the potential to be something really special.
It's been busy in Asia recently and that's the case again on April 22nd when we get cards across Asia, and we get fighters on the road.
In Japan fans get two shows, with the most notable being held at the Korakuen Hall, and although it lacks a “big fight” it does look like a very intriguing card with three bouts of note.
The main event of the card sees the promising Takeshi Inoue (5-0-1, 2) battle against Elfelos Vega (6-2, 4) in a contest that could well decide the next Japanese title challenger at 154lbs. Of the two men Inoue is the one who has impressed more, though this will be his toughest test to date and comes against a man who does have the power to be a real threat to Inoue's unbeaten record.
Interestingly Vega's last loss came to a man on the under-card of this show, Kazuto Takesako (2-0, 2). The very promising Takesako will be up against a Thai foe who isn't expected to pose any threat to the unbeaten novice, though hopefully we will see Takesako let off the leash later in the year as he has the potential to go very far in the sport, though did look somewhat wild against Vega.
The third bout of note from this card will see Kazuaki Moriya (13-7, 2) battle against Ryuto Oho (8-2-1, 2), in what is essentially the co-feature bout. The records may not be great, and given the power of both men we do suspect this will go the scheduled 8 rounds, but we'd be amazed if it wasn't an action packed and exciting Flyweight encounter.
The other Japanese show comes from Osaka and sadly is lacking in terms of bouts, with the only notable contest being a bout between Tetsuya Hisada (24-9-2, 14) and poor Indonesian import Ardi Tefa (6-6-1, 4), who is unlikely to pose any threat to the JBC ranked Light Flyweight contender. This should be an easy contest for Hisada before a potential Japanese title fight later in the year.
Tefa isn't to be the only Indonesian in action this weekend and in fact Indonesian fans get a show all of their own, and in fact they get two title fights.
On paper the more significant of those two title fights comes in an international bout as former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (28-5-3, 21), who once faced Takashi Uchiyama for the WBA Super Featherweight title, faces former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (13-4-3, 5) for the lightly regarded World Boxing Foundation Asia Pacific Lightweight title. Coming in to this one Mukhlis has gone 2-2-1, in his last 5, including a 1-1-1 series with Hero Tito. Interestingly Tanada is also 2-2-1 in his last 5, though has lost his last 2 bouts.
The other title bout will see veteran Rasmanudin (19-14-3, 10) battle against Hanif Yogya (3-2-1, 2) for the IBC Super Bantamweight title. If we're being honest Rasmanudin has looked horrible show in recent fights, and has gone 3-11-1 in his last 15. On paper Yogya shouldn't pose much of a threat however he has won his last 3 and may simply have more left than his rival.
Metro Manila, Philippines
We get yet more title action in the Philippines with a bout between Warren Mambuanag (9-5-2, 3) and the hard hitting Arnel Baconaje (5-0, 5), who will be trading blows for the Interim GAB Super Featherweight title. The winner of this will be set to face veteran Edgar Gabejan for the full title later in the year, though Gabejan hasn't actually defended the belt in over a year.
Sadly aside from the main event there is little to really note about this show, though there is an interesting 6 rounder between Carlo Caesar Penalosa (3-0, 1) and fellow novice Alvin Defeo (1-0).
Another card in the Philippines, which is actually worse than the one above, is set to take place in Tarlac.
On paper the most notable bout is a 6 round mismatch as former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-12-1, 8) faces the horribly over-matched Edsil Jungco (1-9-5). Jakosalem has lost his last 3, and 8 of his last 12, but should be far too good for Jungco here in what we suspect will be an easy win for “Jako”.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Fans get two really interesting bouts in South Africa as Japanese fighters get their passports out to face a pair of locals.
The most notable of the bouts on offer sees Japan's very promising Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-1-2, 11) take on former world champion Simpiwe Vetyeka (28-3,17). Although relatively unknown outside of Asia Tameda is a genuinely promising fighter who has notable stoppage wins over Takenori Ohashi and Mark Bernaldez, with the Bernaldez win being his best to date. As for Vetyeka he's a man known to Japanese fans for his bout with Hozumi Hasegawa, almost 9 years ago, whilst international fan will recognise his win over Chris John and his loss to Nonito Donaire. On paper it's easy to favour Vetyeka, a former WBA champion, however he is now 35 and has fought just 4 rounds in the last 16 months.
The other bout sees former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (9-2-1, 5) face off against Luzuko Siyo (15-3, 12) in a bout for the WBA Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title. Again the local is the favourite but Tobe is better than his record indicates and does seem to be the naturally bigger man here, with Siyo having fought as low as Minimumweight. This could be a really good bout, even if it does end up being over-shadowed by the other contest on the card.
Staying with Japanese fighters on the road, fans in Australia will be able to see Japanese veteran Yosuke Kirima (22-5-2, 15) take on Australia's very own Michael Zerafa (18-2, 10) for the IBF Pan Pacific Middleweight crown. Although experienced Kirima has been known as a fighter who loses in his most notable contests, losing in two Japanese title fights, and hasn't yet managed to score a “big win”, even domestically. As for Zerafa he too has lost his biggest bouts, though one of those was a bout with former world champion Peter Quuillin, whilst the other was against fast rising Russian Arif Magomedov, both of whom are much better than Kirima if we're being honest.
In Russia we get a low profile match up as Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (1-0, 1), originally from Tajikistan, faces Kazakh Amir Saltayev (1-0) in a bout between unbeaten novices.
To end the month Japanese fans in Tokyo get another show. The card isn't a big one but it does end a relatively quiet month for Japanese fight fans.
The main event will see the really exciting Tsuyoshi Tameda (12-1-2, 10) battle against limited Thai visitor Nongbeer Sor Bangkru (1-6). Tameda comes in to this one on the back of a career best victory over Mark Bernaldez and although the bout is a step back for the 22 year old prospect it does keep him ticking over whilst he moves towards a Japanese title fight. For Nongbeer, who is supposedly ranked in Thailand, this is a 4th visit to Japan where he is currently 0-3.
In the co-feature the extremely tough, and criminally under-rated, Takuya Watanabe (27-6-1, 13) will be in a stay busy bout against Katsunori Imai (5-6-3). Although this is a mismatch, and Watanabe's second in a row, we do understand him wanting to stay active and this is his 6th bout in 12 months, including his very competitive Japanese title bout with Satoshi Hosono last October. A win here will keep Watanabe in the running for another Japanese title bout later this year.
One other bout on this card worthy of some attention sees Sho Kimura (9-1-2, 3) battle against Takayuki Teraji (6-9-1, 3). Kimura will be risking an OPBF ranking in this bout, and whilst he will be favoured he doesn't actually have anything on his record to suggest he's anything special. Teraji may have a scrappy record but his competition has been around the same as Kimura's and he is a live under-dog in this one
The Korakuen Hall really is a busy venue this month and on August 5th we get a 4th show there in the space of 5 days! Thankfully it appears to be a much better card than some of the others this month and the main event really is one of the best match ups of the month, as two young, promising punchers face off in a mouth watering encounter.
That main event will see unbeaten Filipino Mark Vincent Bernaldez(15-0, 10) put his record on the line against the once beaten local favourite Tsuyoshi Tameda (11-1-2, 9). Bernaldez has been tipped as a Filipino prospect to keep a real eye on whilst Tameda has himself been tipped as a future champion at domestic level, at the very least, and is currently rising a 4 unbeaten run of 8-0-1 (6). This bout will set the lose back whilst pushing the winner on considerably, however it will not be the end for either guy with both being very young fighters. This is one of those rare match ups that really should excite fans yet will likely get over-looked due to the fact neither man is a big name, yet.
Another another contest here will see Takuya Watanabe (25-5-1, 12) battling against Shun Shimazaki (6-6-1, 1). On paper this is an easy win for Watanabe who will be hoping to get a better bout in the near future. Although not an incredible fighter we've been fans of him ever since his blood bath with Jaesung Lee and wish him all the best after that gutsy and bloody effort on route to his loss to the Korean. Coming in to this one Watanabe will be risking Japanese and OPBF rankings.
One other bout that caught our interest is a Featherweight bout between the well matched pairing of Shingo Kusano (9-4-1, 4) and Kenta Takahashi (10-9-3, 3) who are both 26 year old southpaws. On paper Kusano looks the favourite but Kusano's record is littered with losses to top domestic fighters such as Gosuke Seki, Yuki Ogata and Yusaku Kuga whilst Kusano has been matched easier than his foe. This one could be a lot better than the records suggest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)