The big show this coming Sunday comes from Osaka and will be the West Japan Rookie of the Year final, which will decide the West Japan representative at the All Japan Rookie of the Year in December. Rather than going through all the bouts we've just picked 3 of the most interesting ones.
One of the most even match ups is the Super Featherweight bout between Kanta Fukui (5-1, 4) and Takuya Ota (5-1-1, 4). The two men have very similar looking records and both are in their mid 20's. Strange they do differ massively in when they debuted. Ota made his debut way back in 2012, when he would actually go 2-1-1, before returning late last year and eventually earning his spot in this Rookie final. Fukui on the other hand debuted last year and despite losing his second bout is coming into this final on a run of 4 straight wins.
Another good looking match up will see 24 year old Yuna Hara (6-1-1, 2) face off with unbeaten teenager Hiroki Hanabusa (4-0-1, 2) in a Super Bantamweight bout. Hara made his debut back in 2015 and seemed to have early success, including a draw in 2016 with Toshiki Shimomachi who went on to win the 2017 Rookie of the Year. He's reached this final by beating a couple of unbeaten foes, and will be hoping to make it 3 in a row. Hanabusa on the other hand debuted last year, going 2-0 in 2017, and has gone 2-0-1 this year. It's worth noting that for such a novice Hanabusa has faced two fighters with significantly more experience, and has shown that is better than his novice status would suggest. This could be a very interesting bout with skills being the key.
Another bout where skills will be key sees unbeaten Super Flyweight's collide, with Tetsuro Ohashi (4-0-1, 1) taking on Shunichi Okazaki (4-0-1, 1). The 19 year old Ohashi fought to a draw in his semi-final, and is perhaps a touch lucky to be in this final, but is a talented young fighter and the draw shows how competitive these rookie bouts can be. Okazaki is the slightly older man, at 21, and is also somewhat fortunate to be in the final following a narrow win in his semi-final bout. These two youngsters will know that a win here will open big doors for the future, but they know that this will not be an easy bout to win.
As well as the Rookie card there is also a show from Hiroshima, featuring a few notable names on the Japanese domestic scene.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Ryuji Ikeda (13-5-2, 9) taking on veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-12-1, 7). Despite only being 23 Ikeda is already a very experienced fighter and has fought a few times outside of Japan. Although he's only won 2 of his last 6 Ikeda is a promising domestic fight who could win titles down the line. Ideta on the other hand is a 34 year old veteran who debuted back in 2005, and has faced a relative who's who, including Koji Numata, Akinori Watanabe, Suyon Takayama, Keita Obara, Nobuyuki Shindo and Koshinmaru Saito. Sadly for Ideta he has lost his last 8, and is 1-12-1 in his last 14 bouts. We'd be shocked it Ideta can pick up his first win in over 7 years here.
In a supporting bout we'll see international action as Taiyo Inoue (7-4-2, 5) takes on Filipino Roland Jay Biendima (12-2-1, 6) in a good looking match up. The Japanese fighter is better than his record suggests but this is a tough test. The visitor is a 22 year old who lost 2 of his first 4 bouts, both to fighters who are now considered very good prospects, but he's yet to score a big win. This is a great chance for both men to get a career best win, and we like those sorts of bouts.
One other bout from this card worthy of a mention is a female bout between 18 year old Japanese hopeful Eruka Hiromoto (3-0) takes on unbeaten Filipino visitor Charimae Salvador (4-0, 1). On paper this is two female novices facing off, but given that neither will want to give up their unbeaten records this could be very competitive. It is worth noting that Salvador, despite being 4-0 has only fought two opponents, rematching both of her opponents so far whilst Hiromoto has faced 3 different opponents from her 3 career bouts.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the two shows in Japan, there will also be a notable show in the Philippines, where the WBC will be holding their third Women's convention.
The main bout of this show will see unbeaten Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov (11-0, 4) take on once beaten Chinese fighter Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-1, 9) in a very good looking match up. The unbeaten 26 year old will be looking to make his first defense of the WBC "silver" Super Middleweight title, a title he won back in May when he beat Dmitrii Chudinov. The Chinese fighter lost on his debut in 2015, up at Light Heavyweight, but has since reeled off 11 wins at home and dropped down to the more natural Super Middleweight limit. We suspect will take the win, but this is still a very interesting match up.
The rest of the under-card is splattered with bout of various quality, the best of the bunch being a WBC Asian Boxing Council female Bantamweight title fight between Phannaluk Kongsang (4-7-1, 2) and Urvashi Singh (3-0, 3). Phannaluk is a 23 year old Thai who has gone 1-4 in her last 5 bouts, but has mixed with quality fighters like Tamao Oawa and Miyo Yoshida, showing that whilst she's coming up short she is facing good fighters. Singh on the other hand is a little known Indian fighter who only debuted in June, and is pencilled in for another fight in December, in what is a big step up in class. It seems like the Indian is favoured, but this is a slight step up in class for her at this early point in her career.
This coming Sunday is a pretty busy day of action Asia.
For us the most notable of the bouts will be in Osaka and feature a really interesting Japanese Super Featherweight bout, a step up in class for an unbeaten prospect and an interesting under-card bout.
The Super Featherweight bout pits two top 5 Japanese domestic fighters against each other, as the once beaten Ken Osato (12-1-1, 4) takes on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (13-4-1, 8) in a real step up for the 23 year old Osato and a must win for Sugita. The younger man has gone 8-0-1 since suffering an opening round KO loss back in September 2013, when he was still just a teenager. As for Sugita he has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though both of those loses came against the then Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, who will fight for a world title just hours before this bout takes place.
One man who we are glad to see taking a step in the right direction is Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0, 10), who impressed us early in his career but really faltered in terms of building a real name for himself recently, being matched against horribly inept opponents. Here we'll see the Ioka gym prospect take on domestic foe Kota Fujimoto (7-2, 2), and hopefully a win here for Hashizume will launch him towards bigger and better bouts in 2018. Fujimoto has lost 2 of his last 3, but will know that a win here will give his career a huge shot and push him towards potential title fights.
A third bout of note here will see the heavy handed Hibiki Jogo (6-1, 4) battle against the talented Yuki Hirashima (7-1-1, 1). Jogo's loss came last year, at the All Japan Rookie of the year, and since then he has racked up two wins and is really genuine puncher at the lower levels of the Japanese domestic scene. Hirashima suffered a blip last year, going 0-1-1 for the year, bus has racked up 3 wins in 2017 and will know that another here will see him go into 2018 as a man in good domestic form.
A second show in Japan will take place in Aichi and will see Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Takuya Mizuno (12-1-1, 11) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on fellow youngster Yuki Iriguchi (9-1-1, 4). Mizuno won the title last time out, with a split decision win over Ryota Ishida and the 22 year old puncher will be looking to get back to his destructive best here. As for the 20 year old Iriguchi this bout will see him looking to buil on a 4 fight winning run, which includes victories over touted amateur Kenshin Oshima and the then inform Ryohei Takahashi. Although an easy bout to over-look it really is a cracking contest on paper.
There is also set to be a pretty interesting card in China.
One of the best bouts on the card will see Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (18-0, 14) take on Belgian visitor Herve Hubeaux (28-2, 14) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. We'll admit we're unsure how Hubeaux qualifies for the title, but the reality is that he's been taken over to China to lose, and despite the good looking record on paper the 25 year old has shown nothing to worry Zhang. The Chinese fighter should really be seeing this as his chance to record an easy first defense of the title he won back in January. Interestingly coming into this bout Zhang is on a run of 5 opening round KO's.
A second title bout will see the once touted Zhimin Wang (9-2, 3) take on Filipino visitor Anthony Sabalde (12-6, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. The match up isn't as good looking on paper as the Heavyweight title clash, but the reality is that this bout should be much more interesting, and looks like a much more competitive contest. Both Wang and Sabalde are flawed and both will feel they take advantage of their foes weaknesses.
There are two other notable bouts on this card. One of those will see Jianzheng Wang (6-0, 4) take on former OPBF title challenger Kajornsak Sithsaithong (10-6, 10), in what we expect will be a mismatch, and the heavy handed Wuzhati Nuerlang (9-1, 8) taking on Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (17-5, 13), in what promises to be an explosive encounter.
In Pngasinan fight fans are in for a very low key card, with the main event being the only bout worthy of noting. That bout will see Alphoe Dagayloan (7-2-5, 3) take on Mateo Handig (13-15, 7), in what would have been an interesting fight had Handig not lost his last 10. Handig used to be pretty decent, but is only a shadow of the fighter he once was