This coming Saturday is a pretty stacked day of action with a pair of world title fights, a regional title fight, a pair of Japanese title eliminators and a non-title bout featuring a controversial world champion.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The first of the world title fights will see WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (11-0, 9) defending the title he was recently handed, following Badou Jack's decision to avoid Bivol who has seen his “interim” title being upgraded. The talented Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter will be up against Trent Broadhurst (20-1, 12) in what looks likely to be little more than a showcase defense. The destructive Bivol looks like one of the best young fighters in the sport, with text books skills, an impressive engine, a fantastic in-ring mentality and very heavy hands. On paper Broadhurst looks like a good opponent, and has won his last 13 bouts, but is unlikely to be able to live with the work rate and power of Bivol, who will be expected to stop the challenger with few problems.
New York, USA
The other title fight will see unbeaten Kazakh born Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10) take on Japan's Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Terence Crawford. Of the two men it's Lipinets who has been the more impressive, with 4 stoppages in a row including wins over Leonardo Zappavigna and Levan Ghvamichava. The Kazakh, much like the previously mentioned Bivol, is an exciting and heavy handed fighter with an aggressive mentality. As for Kondo he's a tough fighter, as most Japanese fighters are, with a good engine and good form, having won his last 8 including stoppages over Patomsuk Pathompothong, Jeffrey Arienza and Yuya Okazaki.. Given the toughness of Kondo and the aggression of Lipinets it's hard not to get excited about this bout, despite the fact that Lipinets will be the very clear betting favourite.
Whilst the biggest fighters aren't in Japan we are really excited about a Japanese card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9) defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles against Randall Rayment (8-3, 3). The Japanese boxer-mover became the first Japanese fighter to unify the Japanese, WBO AP. And OPBF titles and will be determined to continue that reign as he slowly moves towards a potential world title fight, though has seen such a contest with Joseph Parker recently falling through. Rayment is a real unknown but he has won his last 6 and is coming in with a bit of momentum, though has never gone beyond 6 rounds and is stepping up massively.
In a Japanese Super Bantamweight Japanese title eliminator we'll see Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) battle former champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9), with the #1and #2 facing off for a shot at the title in 2018. The 28 year old Nakagawa has gone 11-0-1 (6) since a 2012 loss to Breilor Teran back in 2012 and whilst his competition hasn't been great he does hold notable wins over Yosuke Fujihara, Monico Laurente and Yuta Saito. Ishimoto on the other hand is a real fan favourite who has engaged in some thrilling contests at the top of the domestic scene with the likes of Yukinori Oguni, Gakuya Fukuhara, Yusaku Kuga, Shingo Wake and Yota Sato, among others. Aged 36 Ishimoto has seen better days, but is certainly coming in to this one as a hungry and determined fighter wanting another title run.
An even better title eliminator takes place at Middleweight, as the once beaten Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) takes on the thrilling Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6). Fukumoto burst on to the pro scene in 2012, blowing out Dondon Lapuz in 130 seconds, but would lose his third bout to the dangerous Arnel Tinampay. Since then he has reeled off 9 straight wins to right the ship and now looks like a much improved fighter who came undone against Tinampay. As for Takesako he was a genuine amateur star before making his professional debut in 2015. As a professional he has been destructive with all 6 of his wins coming in a combined 12 rounds and he looks like the type of fighter who will enter the ring with every intent of continuing that stoppage run here.
In one of two notable under-card bouts we'll see the exciting Akinori Watanabe (34-6, 29) take on Filipino journeyman Dennis Padua (11-12-2, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for Watanabe, who is looking for a second straight win after losing two in a row. The other under-card bout of note will see former amateur stand out Kazuki Saito (3-0, 3) battle against heavy handed Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (8-1, 7). The talented Saito has the skills to go a long way, but does have question marks over him, especially given that he was dropped by Jimmy Borbon last time out. Lagumbay is stepping up massively, but is clearly a puncher and will be looking to stop Saito and propel himself towards an OPBF title fight.
Baja California, Mexico
One other bout of note sees unbeaten, and controversial, WBC Bantamweight champion Luis Nery (24-0, 18) fight in a non-title bout against Filipino Arthur Villanueva (31-2, 17). The Mexican, who failed a drugs test for his bout against Shinsuke Yamanaka but appears to have seen the WBC turn a blind eye to his failed drug's test and haven't yet stripped him. The Filipino has lost in his two most notable bouts, and we can't help but feel he'll come up short again here, potentially suffering his first stoppage loss in the process.
On Tuesday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get an interesting show, with a number of notable domestic fighters in action, a trio of which will be facing Filipino foes.
The main event of the card will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Super Featherweight Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9), who takes on Filipino visitor Nelson Tinampay (12-4-1, 5). Ranked #2 by the JBC and #5 by the OPBF Sueyoshi is on the verge of a title fight, one way or another, he clearly can't afford a loss, especially not given he's now on an 11 fight winning run. Tinampay started his career with some success, but having lost 3 of his last 5 bouts it's fair to say his limitations have been shown, especially with a loss to Korean veteran Yong Soo Choi earlier this year.
In the chief support bout we'll see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-9, 8) taking on Filipino Arnel Baconaje (8-2, 6). For the local favourite, a real exciting action fighter, the bout sees him return to the ring after a shockingly 1-sided loss to Yasuka Kuga earlier this year, in a bout that saw Kuga stop Ishimoto in 2 rounds to claim the Japanese national title. Early in his career Baconaje looked promising, starting 6-0 (6) but since then he has faltered, and not shown the power that he has early in his career. It's clear this bout has been made to help boost Ishimoto's confidence following the loss to Kuga, but there is still a little risk here, given how hard and damaging his career has been.
A third Japan Vs Philippines bout on this card will see the really exciting Hayate Kaji (7-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record as he faces off with Renan Portes (9-4, 5). Although an unknown in the west Kaji has quickly become one of our favourite prospects, with serious power, incredible skills and a really exciting, yet controlled, style that looks likely to take him incredibly far. As for Portes,this wil be his first bout since October last year, and only his second in Japan, following a loss to Yuta Horrike. If Kaji is as good as he has looked so far, he should stop Cortes, but this could be a genuine test for the 19 year old Teiken prospect.
A fourth bout of note is a good looking all-Japan bout, and will see Kenji Ono (11-2, 6), best known for his 2016 war with Jun Takigawa, battle against Naoyuki Tsukada (8-3-3, 3). Last time out Ono was blasted inside a round by Seigo Yuri Akui and he had a really tough 2016, so will be hoping to have an easier return here, however this is no gimme for the Teiken man. Tsukada was 3-3-1 (2) after his first 7 bouts, but has now gone unbeaten in 7 in a nice run which has got his career rolling and a win over Ono would be huge for Tsukada at this point. Although it's the least notable bout we're mentioning here it's clearly the best match up and promises more than any other the other contests on the show.
In recent weeks we've seen action pick up with a series of great bouts taking place last weekend. We expect to see that trend continue this weekend with a notable show in Japan.
The main event of the card is the first of the 2017 Champion Carnival bouts and sees Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-8, 8) defending his title against big punching Watanabe gym fighter Yusaku Kuga (13-2-1, 9), who is looking to avenge one of his defeats. These two fought back at the end of 2015 with Ishimoto just doing enough to take a decision over the younger and bigger punching Kuga, and claim the Japanese title. Kuga has since impressed and earned this rematch by stopping Jonathan Baat in 4 rounds. Ishimoto has impressed recently, and stopped Gakuya Furuhashi last time out, but at 35 one wonders how long he has left in the sport.
In the chief support bout we'll see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (11-0, 11) fight in a non-title fight with one beaten Filipino Diomel Diocos (10-1-3, 3), who was a late replacement for journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-12, 4). Although Higa will be strongly favoured against Diocos the bout should be a good warm up for Higa ahead of a potential world title fight later this year. Whilst Higa will be expected to steam roll Diocos this should still tell us a lot about both fighters, and their potential.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Teiken promoted Super Featherweight Masaru Sueyoshi (13-1, 8) take on the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Allan Vallespin (9-0, 8). Sueyoshi comes into this bout having won his last 10 bouts, with notable wins against Yuta Nagai, Shingo Eto and Kazuma Sanpei, but will be up against an unbeaten banger here. For Vallespin, the GAB champion at 130lbs, this will be his first taste of international action and potentially a chance to make a statement. Although it seems like he's a puncher this will be the first real test of Vallespin's power and a real acid test for the 22 year old Pinoy puncher.
In a possible shoot out we'll see 20 year old Yamato Hata (3-0, 3) battle against Takuya Hashimoto (5-5, 5). To date neither of these men has heard the final bell, with Hata having never been past round 3 and Hashimoto only going into the 4th round once. Hata will be favoured, given he's unbeaten, but he's up against a fellow puncher and this could be genuinely explosive.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see Filipino fighter Joey Canoy (12-2-1, 6) fighting for the IBO Light Flyweight title. The 23 year old Filipino will be in deep as he takes on former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (30-2, 9),who is looking to rebuild his career at 108lbs. The South African lost his Minimumweight crown last March to Byron Rojas and has since moved up in weight, scoring a big domestic win over Siyabonga Siyo, and will now be looking to become a 2-time IBO Light Flyweight champion, reclaiming a title he held from 2010-2011.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Japan's Hajime Nagai (14-7-2, 4) take on former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (20-4-1, 13). The bout is a massive step up in class for Nagai, but wins over Gakuya Furuhashi and Naoya Okamoto show he has got some ability. For Rodriguez the bout will be his first against a Japanese fighter since his incredible 2014 bout against Katsunari Takayama.
London, United Kingdom
In the UK we see Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (32-10-4, 15) battle against fast rising Welshman Andrew Selby (7-0, 5). The bout is a huge step up for Selby, in regards to his professional competition, but his amateur credentials speak for themselves and he will be heavily favoured here. Diale, who has been in with a who's who of boxing, is only 7 months removed from his 4th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa, but has fought twice since that loss and appears to have avoided lasting damage from that loss.
The most significant card for us this Saturday comes from Tokyo and will be aired on G+ in Japan.
In the main event of the show card we'll see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (28-8, 7) battle against Gakuya Furuhashi (18-7-1, 8) in a really exciting rematch between two well matched fighters. These two fought last year, with Ishimoto winning a very competitive decision, and we favour him again here though it's a bout that should be genuinely compelling from the opening round to the final bell, and the two men will almost certainly gel well again here, as they did in their first bout.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-5-2, 13) battle against Filipino journeyman Gadwin Tubigon (14-11-2, 9). Shimoda was last seen in December, losing in a very close Japanese Featherweight title fight against Satoshi Hosono, however he has remained in the domestic title mix and will be expecting a title fight next time out, if he over-comes Tubigon. Interestingly Tubigon has won his last 4, by stoppage, and will be riding a streak of confidence coming in to this even if he is the huge under-dog.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a defeat is the once touted Sho Nakazawa (8-1, 4), who will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Teiru Atsumi. That loss was a genuine upset and a real set back for Nakazawa who will be looking to bounce back as he takes on Filipino fighter Cris Leon (10-13-4, 4). Leon is a journeyman and despite scoring a couple of wins recently he shouldn't be able to last with Nakazawa, especially given that Leon has 10 stoppage losses against him already.
A big name on the under-card is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (5-0, 3), the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who will be up against Monkey Shuhei (5-8-1, 2). This will be Tatsuyoshi's second 6 rounder and should be a far better test than his first one, which saw him defeat a really poor Thai foe. Shuhei comes into this on the back of 5 losses, and just a single win in his last 8, but should be game against the 20 year old Osakan.
Arguably the most intriguing of the under-card bouts sees Teiken prospect Kenshin Oshima (1-0, 1), who has only 68 seconds of professional experience, taking on teenager Yuki Iriguchi (5-1-1, 3). Oshima made an impressive debut back in June and will be looking to build on that however Iriguchi impressed last year, going 4-0 (3) for the year. Despite a good 2015 Iriguchi has gone 0-1-1 this year and will be hoping to end that skid.
Another under-card bout will see the once beaten Masaya Tamayama (7-1, 4) take on the experienced Shohei Kanemoto (10-11-1, 3). It's hard to see anything but a win for Tamayama however he will be fighting in his first 8 rounder and could be moving on to big things in the near future.
Although the Japanese card is a really interesting show the bout of the day actually looks likely to be in Mexico as WBC Female Flyweight champion Jessica Chavez (27-4-3, 4) battles 3-weight world champion Naoko Fujioka (15-1, 6). The bouts sees Fujioka attempt to become the first Japanese fighter to become a 4-weight world champion but to claim that honour she will have to defeat a fellow female fighting great. This really is a mouth watering bout, and although we know plenty don't care about female boxing they should make an exception for this bout.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in Asia there will also be a notable show in Metro Manila with two title bouts.
One of hose title bouts will see Cris Alfante (11-6-1, 4) battle against Roilo Golez (16-15-1, 7) in a bout for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Flyweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch in favour of Alfante however the bout should be better than it looks. Despite having a moderately decent record on paper Alfante has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6 and is seriously struggling. Interestingly Golez is 2-4 in his last 6 and should put up a solid bout here, despite the disparity in records.
The other title bout here will see Danilo Gabisay (6-6, 4) take on Joe Noynay (10-1-1, 3) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title. Noynay began his career 10-0 but has suffered successive set backs this year and knows that he'll need a win here to put things back on track. On paper Gabisay should be an easy mark for Noynay and with 1 win in his last 5 it does likely that he is the “patsy” for Noynay to get back to winning ways.
A genuinely intriguing bout on this card will see Roldan Aldea (9-3-1, 3) battle former OPBF title challenger Benjie Suganob (10-5-1, 5) in a really even looking contest. Aldea has lost his last 2 bouts, though both were on the road, and will be hoping to avoid a third successive loss whilst Suganob has gone 2-3 in his last 5 but has certainly not shamed himself and could see this as a great chance to get notable win and move himself towards another top fight.
A second Filipino show will be held in Ifugao. This card lacks any sort of quality and the main event will see unbeaten 17 year old Carl Jammes Martin (2-0, 2) face the limited Manny Mamacquiao (1-8-1) in what should be a straight forward win for Martin.
In Russian fight fans will see Kyrgyzstan born Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (1-0, 1) take on a yet to be named foe
The biggest show of the day takes place in Japan with Teiken putting on a double feature, with a pair of Japanese title fights.
One of those title bouts will see the heavy handed Kenichi Ogawa (17-1, 14) defending the Japanese Super Featherweight title against Satoru Sugita (11-2-1, 7). This will be Ogawa's first defense of the title that he won late last year with a technical decision against Rikki Naito and a win here could well help Ogawa move towards a world title fight later in the year.
The other title fight will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (27-8, 7) making the first defense of his title against Yosuke Fujihara (16-3, 4). The under-rated Ishimoto will be strongly favoured here but his career has been a hard one and at 34 he could well be coming to the end of his days as a top domestic level fighter.
Another of the notable shows takes place in Indonesia where fans will get the chance to see some of the most notable Indonesian fighters.
The main bout sees arguably the most promising Indonesian in action as teenager Iwan Zoda (8-1, 7) battled the unbeaten Szilveszter Kanalas (8-0, 6) for the IBF Youth Flyweight title. Zoda came to attention of international fans as he avenged his sole loss, stopping Petchchorhae Kokietgym and will be looking to continue to build on that success here. Kanalas is also looking to build on his success, and last time out he won the World Boxing Federation World Super Flyweight title.
A second title bout on this card will see Agus Kustiawan (14-4, 6) battle against former OPBF title challenger Lloyd Jardeliza (7-3-3, 6) for the WBF Asia Pacific Featherweight title. Last time out Jardeliza was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Japan's Shun Kubo whilst Kustiawan has lost 2 of his last 3.
Another bout on this card will see the unbeaten Ilham Loeisa (4-0, 4) battle against Run Tangkilisan (0-5), in what should be a mismatch in favour of the unbeaten man.
Interestingly this show will also feature exhibitions featuring Daud Cino Yordan and Ellyas Pical, though not against each other.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines we get yet more title action, with a trio of regional title bouts, and an under-card that features several promising Filipino fighters.
One of those title bouts will see former world title challenger Vic Saludar (11-2, 9) battle against Lito Dante (11-5-3, 6) for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. This is Saludar's first bout since he lost to Kosei Tanaka, at the end of 2015, and whilst he will be strongly favoured against Dante there may be some question marks regarding his mental state coming in to this bout.
Another all Filipino title bout will see the once beaten Jake Bornea (10-1, 5) battle against Renerio Arizala (13-3-1, 5) for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Arizala, who started his career 11-0-1 (4) has struggled recently picking up 3 losses in his last 5 bouts though has faced some notable foes, including Toshiyuki Igarashi, and is likely to pick up another loss here against the touted Bornea.
The remaining title bout will have an international feel with Japan's Hiroshige Osawa (29-3-4, 18) battling Indonesia's Yon Armed (12-5-1, 6) for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. It's hard to see this being anything other than a mismatch in favour of the Japanese fighter, who is a former OPBF champion.
Also on this card will be Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14), Robert Paradero (10-0, 7), Jade Bornea (4-0, 2) and Renz Magarce (8-0, 6), though they are all being matched relatively safely in what look to be very clear mismatches.
Ansan, South Korea
We get yet more title action in Korea with a KBC show that features a pair of Korean title fights.
One of those title bouts is a Korean Welterweight title bout which will see the unbeaten Joo Young Kim (3-0-2, 2) battle against Ma Roo Jung (2-3-1). This is a step up for Kim and although Jung isn't very proven he has fought at a higher level, with bouts against Jung Hoon Yang and Je Ni Ma.
The other title bout will cone at Lightweight and sees the unbeaten 19 year old Gun Woo Gang (3-0-1, 1) battle against Il Kwon Kim (5-3, 2). Gang fought to a draw on his debut and has since racked up 3 wins, though was dropped in one of those. As for Kim this will be his second Korean title fight, after having previously fought for the Korean Featherweight title.
As well the two title bouts, this card has long under-card as well.
The final Japanese card before Christmas comes on December 21st as we get the final Dangan card of the year.
The main event of the card is a really intriguing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title as promising youngster Yusaku Kuga (11-1-1, 7) battles against the experienced Yasutaka Ishimoto (26-8, 7). The title is vacant going in to this one, after having recently been given up by Yukinori Oguni, but that shouldn't take the shine off what will be a thrilling contest between a young puncher and a speed veteran, both looking to claim the biggest win of their career, and a Japanese title. Don't be surprised if this is a pre-Christmas cracker!
In an excellent under-card bout fans will get the chance to see Jo Tanoka (12-2-3) battle against the heavy handed Kenta Nakagawa (9-2-1, 7). Coming in to this one both are JBC ranked and both know that a win will leap them towards a Japanese Super Flyweight title fight in 2016. This skill Vs power and whilst Tanoka hasn't yet stopped anyone he is a young man growing into his body and has proven himself as a very capable boxer. This really is a brilliant match up.
Another bout that sees Japanese ranked fighters face off will see Ribo Takahata (11-6-1, 3) take on Yusuke Tsukada (8-4, 3). The match up isn't as exciting as the other two bouts we've made a note of, but it is a very significant bout that will see the winner move towards a title fight in 2016. Coming into this one Tsukada is on a 3 fight winning streak including a victory over recent title challenger Kazuhiro Nishitani. Tsukada has lost 2 of his last 3, but does hold a notable win over the then unbeaten Johnreil Maligro, and has faced very good competition including current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa.
To end the week we get a genuinely busy day with action all across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we get a WBO Bantamweight title fight between hard hitting Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) and Thai veteran Punluang Sor Singyu (50-3, 34), who is hoping to become a 2-time world champion. On paper it's hard to bet against Akaho, who is big, strong and hits like a mule, however no Japanese fighter has ever won a world title bout in Thailand and it could well be a case of history repeating it's self here.
Also on this show will be two other title bouts. One of those will see Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (55-2, 36) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he battles Indonesian visitor Boido Simanjuntak (18-28-1, 7) in what is a clear mismatch. The visitor enters this bout 0-14 on his trips to Thailand whilst Chonlatarn is unbeaten in his homeland and has only lost to world class ighters.
The other title bout will see the once beaten Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (31-1-2, 16) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title as he continues to rebuild following his 2014 loss to Chinese star Zou Shiming.
Whilst the biggest bout of the day is in Thailand the best card is actually in Dubai as ALA return to the oil rich emirate and show case some of their most exciting fighters.
The most exciting of the fighters on this card is the unbeaten Super Bantamweight hopeful Albert Pagara (23-0, 16). The 21 year old “Prince” Albert will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against Mexican challenger Jesus Rios (31-7-1, 25), who is expected to supper his 8th stoppage loss. Given the ability of Pagara we would like to see him step up in a class but that was never likely on this particular card
Albert's older brother Jason Pagara (35-2, 22) will also be in action as he battles Ramiro Alcaraz (15-4-1, 9) in what amounts to a 10 round stay busy contest at a contracted 143lbs. The bout is really little more than a ticking over bout for Pagara who is world ranked by the WBO and could potentially get a world title fight sooner rather than later.
One other notable name on this card is Jimrex Jaca (39-8-4, 22) who battles 24 year old foe Pablo Lugo Montiel (21-5, 17). On paper this looks a lot tastier than than the other two major bouts however Montiel has gone 4-4 in his last 8 and going through his record shows that he hasn't scored a win of any real note so far
There will also action at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo where fans get the chance to see several crossroad bouts.
The most exciting bout on the card will see former Japanese title contenders collide in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator at 122lbs. In one corner is Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5-1, 7), who was recently held to a draw by current champion Yukinori Oguni, whilst in the other corner will be Yasutaka Ishimoto (25-8, 7), who was narrowly beaten by Oguni last year. This bout may not be one that gets international attention but the winner will be regarded as a fringe contender on the world scene and could well end up getting a national title fight next year before a possible step up to a world title fight at some point. This will be a relatively tactical affair but a very good fight all the same.
Another intriguing match up on this card is a rematch of a Japanese Middleweight contest that is a must win for both men. In one corner for this bout is the criminally under-rated Hikaru Nishida (12-7-1, 4) who looks to score his second win over former OPBF and Japanese champion Makoto Fuchigami (21-10, 12), who is best known for his loss in a world title bout to Gennady Golovkin. On paper it's easy to back Fuchigami but in their first meeting Nishida won a unanimous decision and has gone 6-1 in his last 7 whilst Fuchigami has struggled for form with 4 losses in his last 6.
On the under-card there are two novices who are expected to receive notable attention. One of those is the unbeaten Kohei Kashino (2-0, 1), who battles Hizuki Saso (4-1), and the other is Riyako Goshi (3-3), who faces Chie Higano (3-3). Kashino is, from what we understand, a highly qualified young man who is attempting to make his name in boxing whilst Goshi is a model known for risque pictures, and always seems to get more attention than her talent deserves.
We also have two bouts in Australia featuring Asian fighters.
The most notable of those fights is a PABA Light Welterweight title fight that sees the talented Czar Amonsot (28-3-3, 17) battle against Indonesian fighter Rusmin Kie Raha (14-7-2, 3). It's hard to see what Raha has to really test Amonsot but the Filipino has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this bout.
Another Filipino in action on this card is Roberto Lerio (16-21-1, 6) who looks to upset the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (7-0, 5) in a bout for the Australian Super Bantamweight title. Lerio, who is based in Australia, is the clear under-dog but will know that a win here will open up some really good opportunities for him in Mexico.
(Image courtesy of www.onesongchai.com)
This Saturday is an incredibly busy day in the world of boxing with bouts coming thick and fast on a day thats sees notable fighters in action and some wonderful match ups.
In Tokyo we get the first Japanese title fight of the month alongside a couple of other noteworthy bouts.
The title bout in question will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion, and current world ranked fighter, Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2) defending his national crown against Hayato Yamaguchi (12-5-1, 2), who is making his second Japanese title challenger. For Kimura this is a must win bout if he hopes to get a world title fight later in the year however he won't have been able to prepare for Yamaguchi as he would have liked as the challenger only signed for the fight a few weeks ago after Shin Ono suffered an injury that forced him out of the bout. Of course saying that Yamaguchi will not have had a full training camp himself for this bout.
On the same card we will see the return to the ring of Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-8, 7) who will be fighting for the first time since his narrow loss to Yukinori Oguni last December in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight. The popular Ishimoto should be able to end a 2-fight skid as he takes on the limited Yoshihiro Utsumi (12-5-3, 7) in what looks to be a confidence building bout for the 33 year old Ishimoto.
In another bout of note fans will get the chance to see the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (16-1-1, 6) battle against the hard hitting Kazuya Soma (7-6-2, 6). Coming into this bout Nakazawa is on a 13 fight winning streak and we suspect that'll continue here, though Soma can hit hard enough to trouble fighters at this level.
A third noteworthy bout on this show will feature 2014 All Japan Flyweight Rookie of the Year Kenji Ono (7-1, 3) who battles against Taichi Yokote (6-2, 3), who has been inactive since a close decision loss in November 2013. This looks like a really good match up on paper and the sort of 50-50 fight that we love seeing, even if Yokote has been out of the ring for more than a year.
In Osaka there are two shows in the same venue, the “L Osaka”.
The first of those shows will be the Taiho promoted card which features only a single notable fighter, in a mismatch no less. Though it does have two relatively interesting looking support bouts.
The main event will see the Japanese and OPBF ranked Ryota Kajiki (24-9, 15) battle the horribly over-matched Tokiya Nishioka (9-4-2, 5). Whilst Kajiki has gone 4-3 in his last 7 they did include a loss to Daiki Kaneko in a Japanese title bout and he is much better than fighters like Nishioka who was stopped in 2 rounds last time out. A horrible mismatch.
A much better looking bout sees Ippo Nishiwaki (7-3-1, 4) fight against Hirokazu Okajima (8-4-2, 4) in an even looking an match up between two flawed but capable fighters who will each be hoping that a win will move them towards bigger and better things. It's not a headline style bout but it's a very solid match up in it's own right.
A second notable support bout will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (11-3-4, 5) attempt to score his first in 3 fights as he fights Junya Nishikawa (7-5-2, 2), Kanazawa isn't as good as his record suggests, despite a notable win over Atsushi Aburada, though he should be good enough to see off Nishikawa.
The other Osaka show is promoted by Osaka Teiken and unfortunately looks just as bad in regards to it's main event, though the two support bouts are both solid and meaningful domestic bouts.
The main event will see OPBF and Japanese ranked Flyweight Myung Ho Lee (17-4-1, 5) battle against Thai visitor Dawut Manopkanchang (0-2), who has been stopped in two previous visits to Japan. Aged 20 Dawut is still a young fighter but there is no need to have him in the ring with someone like Lee, even though he may see out there bell here given Lee's relative lack of power.
A solid looking support bout will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryuto Kyoguchi (13-0-1, 9) battle against Kosuke Saka (9-3, 6). We expect Kyoguchi to come out on top however this no walk in the park and Saka has been in with good competition losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Hiroshige Osawa. For Kyoguchi it's a tough assignment but one he'll need to pass if he's to be taken seriously as a Japanese contender, for Saka it's a chance to move himself towards a possible title fight.
The other notable support bout will see former All-Japanese Rookie of the Year Bunta Mitaka (6-2-2) take on Shingo Kawamura (9-2, 4) in a real must win for both. Mitaka has lost his last 2 bouts, including a 3rd round TKO loss to the excellent Shohei Omori, and has seen his 2013 Rookie of the Year crown becoming little more than history. On the other hand Kawamura was stopped last time out by the excellent Kongthara KKP and will know that he needs a win to remain relevant. A brilliant match up.
We see Korean outfit AK Promotions continuing their activity in Thailand as they take Jaesung Lee (18-4-2, 9) over to Chonburi to battle against Joaquim Mahe (10-2, 6) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Featherweight title. Lee was run close last time by Angelito Merin, who fought under the name Rivera AK Gym, and may well find himself being run close again here by his French opponent, who gave Tepparith Kokietgym a very competitive contest earlier this year.
In Mexico fans are going to be treat to a potentially explosive clash between hard hitting Filipino Jonathan Taconing (20-2-1, 17) and Mexico's very own Raul Garcia (36-3-1, 22). Taconing, the OPBF Light Flyweight champion, is a thunderous puncher who has stopped his last 7 opponents since being controversially beaten by the then WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook back in 2012. As for Garcia he's a former IBF champion who has a number of notable wins on his record, including his world title win over Florante Condes. This is potentially the fight of the weekend and has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The month of December may have taken a few days to get going but when it begins to kick off, it really begins to kick off and today we have a genuinely exciting card with several very good looking bouts.
The first action of the day is in Tokyo where we get one of the best domestic cards of the year. In fact it's almost like an early Christmas present with 3 really interesting match ups.
The main event of the trio is a 10 round non-title bout between the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (25-4-1, 16) and Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (28-5-1, 9). This is the third meeting between the two and will act as a rubber with each man holding a narrow win over the other. The bout has been made slightly above the Lightweight limit though that shouldn't take the shine off what is likely to be a violent, exciting and thrilling tear up between two very well matched fighters. We're really excited about this one and wouldn't be shocked if it ended up being a FOTY contender, it really could be that good.
As well as the non-title bout fans will also have two title bouts to look forward to. The most notable of those is also a rematch as the unified Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (23-8-1, 9) looks to defend his unified for the second time. Shibata will be battling against former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-9, 12), a man best known for being stopped by Gennady Golovkin, and it's fair to say there is more to this bout than just the titles. This will be the second meeting between the two and in the first Shibata took a clear technical decision over Fuchigami who knows that his career will need a win here given that his recent form has been forgettable to say the least with just 2 wins in his last 5 bouts. This bout has titles, bragging rights and possibly even careers on the line, the stakes really couldn't be any higher.
The third bout is the remaining title bout as former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (13-1, 4) battles against Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title. The belt was given up by Hidenori Otake ahead of Otake's world title bout with Scott Quigg and has left us with a potentially brilliant bout between two light hitting but technically proficient fighters. Neither of these guys is likely to ever become a genuine world champion though we suspect the winner could end up progressing to OPBF title fights and may get a world title shot somewhere down the line.
As well as the main trio the card will feature 4 under card contests, with the most interesting of those being a bout between the Japanese and OPBF ranked Kazuya Maruki (17-2, 11) and Quaye Peter (5-5-2, 3). This is a stay busy fight for Maruki who is on a 6 fight winning streak following his 8th round TKO loss to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara back in 2012. If Maruki can continue stringing together wins the odds are he will find himself getting a title fight of some sort at some point in 2015 or 2016.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand there's another bout worth looking forward to as the unbeaten Kongthara KKP (5-0, 5) steps up in class and attempts to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title against experienced Indonesian Nouldy Manakane (27-15-1, 17). Kongthara blasted on to our radar back in May when he stopped Shingo Kawamura on his debut and now looks to add the scalp of a former world title challenger to his ledger. It should be a mismatch in favour of Kongthara but this is a good test for the promising Thai.
Nuevo León, Mexico
In Mexico fans in for a treat as WBC female Flyweight champion Shindo Go (14-2, 9) takes on highly regarded Mexican fighter Arely Mucino (20-2-2, 10) in a bout with a lot of promise. The contest has been a drawn out one outside of the ring with several issues getting in the way and we just hope those issues won't destroy what should be one of the best female bouts of the year.
Staying in Mexico fans will also get the chance to see the unbeaten Joebert Alvarez (14-0-1, 6) in the toughest bout of his career as he goes up against unified Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (30-2, 22). Estrada appears to be testing the water at 115lbs here and some have speculated that Estrada is set to vacate his Flyweight titles. We'll admit we'd love to see Estrada fight Roman Gonzalez in a much anticipated rematch however a bout between Estrada and Naoya Inoue would be equally as interesting and could be a bout made between two of the sports really young outstanding youngsters.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Sometimes in boxing we go days, if not weeks, with out any major fights. On other days it seems like everything is crammed into one day. We get one of those crammed days this Saturday with more notable fights than an average month and most interestingly they are spread across the world and come at us from every angle, almost every division and petty much non stop through out the day!
The busy world title action for the day kicks off in Macau with a number of incredible fights as Top Rank put on arguably their best card of the year so far and really do give the clearest intentions that they are going to be committed to growing their Macau brand.
This card kicks off with Macau's very own prospect Kuok Kun Ng (3-0, 1) battling against Muhammad Imam (9-4, 3) in what looks likely to be the toughest bout so far for the 23 year old "Macau Kid". Imam, also known as "Felix the Cat" is 0-3 outside of Indnesia though has never lost to a fighter as inexperienced as Ng and could well give Ng some problems.
The second bout on this card will see Eun-Chang Lee (7-3, 1) attempt to upset former Ryota Murata rival Esquiva Falcao (2-0, 1). Lee is the current South Korean Super Middleweight champion though we don't see him really testing the talent Falcao who twice met Murata in major competitions including 2012 Olympic final. Falcao was twice beaten by Murata but there is the expectation that he will go on to be the next Brazilian star.
In the third bout we're hoping to see the unbeaten Ik Yang (14-0-0-1, 9) fighting against Geisler AP (5-1, 3) though we've been disappointed in the past with Yang not having the bouts he was scheduled to have in Macau. We do like Yang but feel he's a frustrating fighter to follow at times despite being a joy to watch in action.
The 4th bout for the show has been a bit of a headache for all those involved. Originally the unbeaten Hong Kong star Rex Tso (12-0, 8) was set to fight former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani, unfortunately last week Kakutani was injured. The Japanese fighter was replaced by Thailand's Tiger Tor Buamas but over the weekend Tor Bumas was himself replaced by his compatriot Ratchasak Kokietgym (22-2-1, 10). On paper this is actually the toughest of the possible bouts for Tso who we believe could be in line for a WBA Super Flyweight title fight with Kohei Kono later this year if he beats Ratchasak here. With the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title up for grabs however Ratchasak may well turn in be inspired to take his big and unexpected opportunity here.
We move seamlessly from one regional title bout to another with the shows next bout being the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title fight between Japan's Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-6, 7) and the highly touted Chris Avalos (23-2, 17). This will be Ishimoto's second bout in Macau, returning to the scene of his famous victory over former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, though we expect it to be a much different one to his first with Avalos being a seriously hard punching on a good run of results. It's a great fight and with an IBF Super Bantamweight title fight up for grabs for the winner this really could be a career changing win for the victor.
The first of three Featherweight world title fights will see unbeaten Russian Evgeny Gradovich (18-0, 9) defending his IBF title against Alexander Miskirtchian (24-2-1, 9) who will be attempting to become the first man from Belgium to become a world champion. Although Miskirtchian's compatriot Stephane Jamoye fell short in his recent world title bid there does seem to be an air of confidence behind Miskirtchain's bout though we really can't see him upsetting Gradovich who has been on tremendous roll in recent bouts and looks to be very difficult to beat due to his toughness and work rate.
Following the IBF title bout we then get a fight for the WBA "regular" Featherweight title that will see the hard hitting Jamaican Nicholas Walters (23-0, 19) defending his belt against the always fun to watch Vic Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28). We tend to feel that Darchinyan is a faded fighter and isn't much of a Featherweight whilst Walters is a hard hitting beast and should run through the Armenian though Darchinyan always has the power to change fights himself and this could be a shoot out in the end. This could be the fight of the show though their is the risk it come become a 1-sided beat down like the recent David Lemieux/Fernando Guerrero bout which had promised to be a shoot out but became a very uneven contest very early on.
The main event sees the very popular Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21) battle against WBA "Super" champion Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-2, 16) who famously beat Chris John and Daud Cino Yordan last year. This is a very, very tough bout and although Donaire is a clear betting favourite we think this could well be a third successive notable win for Vetyeka who has the skillset and toughness to make life very hard for the "Filipino Flash". We don't expect this to be a highly entertaining contest but it will be an interesting one with a lot of clever work from both fighters who will each be looking for their own counter shots more often than leading off.
On the undercard of the huge fight in the UK between Carl Froch and George Groves fans will get the chance to see Thailand's Tabtimdaeng Na Rachwat (52-2, 34) battle against former IBF Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (23-2-1, 10) in a bout for the vacant WBA Bantamweight title. We view this as a very tough assignment for the Thai though if he wins he'll have scored a huge profile victory and launched himself in to the upper echelons of the Bantamweight division.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
The final world title bout of the day sees WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (27-3-1, 25) taking on Mexico's Carlos Cuadras (29-0, 24) in a potential FOTY candidate. We'll admit we were excited when we first realised that this bout was on the table last December and now with it just a few days away we really can't contain how excited we are about the bout. This has all the ingredients for a really amazing contest.
On the same card as the Srisaket/Cuadras bout is a female world title bout as Honey Mae Bermoy (6-3, 6), AKA Honey Katsumata, battles WBA female Bantamweight champion Irma Garcia (9-1-1-4, 1) on a non-title contest. We really can't see Bermoy winning this contest, especially not when you consider the way Tenkai Tsunami beat her back in March in an OPBF title fight, though we do give her credit for jumping into a tough bout immediately after losing to a world class foe.
We get another female world title fight in Germany as Korea's Dan-Bi Kim (9-2-1, 2) challenges German star Susi Kentikian (32-2, 16) for the WBA female Flyweight title. This is a hugely difficult assignment for the diminutive 23 year old from Anseong City though we can't see her travelling across the world if she didn't believe she could bring back the title.
We get, yet another, title fight on mainland china as the unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight Zhang Junlong (6-0, 6) battles former Japanese title challenger Kotatsu Takehara (10-9-3, 4) in a bout for the IBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title. This is easily the toughest bout in Junglong's career though a win could put him on the verge of a huge regional bout with someone like OPBF champion Solomon Haumono. Big fight for both men and the loser will feel the loss as a major one.
A third show in the Orient takes place in Japan and even as the third biggest show in the continent it's still a pretty notable one headlined by the return to the ring of recent world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (19-3-3, 12). Kaneko, who was last seen on New Year's Eve losing to Takashi Uchiyama in a very well fought WBA Super Featherweight title bout, will be expected to walk though former OPBF Featherweight challenger Shogo Ishikawa (10-6, 3). We think Kaneko will genuinely destroy Ishikawa in a bout that will be little more than a show case contest for the excellent Super Featherweight contender.
Kaneko isn't the only former world title challenger on this card as former Super Flyweight challenger Ryo Akaho (22-1-2, 15) takes on Thailand's "body donor" Songseanglek Phosuwangym (1-10) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Akaho who we think may be lining up a title bout later this year and doesn't want to risk anything.
A third bout of note on this show will see former Japanese Middleweight champion Tomohiro Ebisu (12-3, 12) battling against Frenchman Kevin Thomas Cojean (13-5-1, 4) in a bout made just above the Super Middleweight limit. For Ebisu this is a genuinely tough assignment against a former French Light Heavyweight title challenger. Cojean, although a tough opponent for Ebisu, probably doesn't hit hard enough to stop the Japan power house puncher.
As well as the 3 bouts of note already mentioned this card is scheduled to feature a further 3 undercard bouts in what is the last Japanese card of the month.
District of Colombia, USA
In one of the lowest profile bouts of the day Sri Lankan Nuwan Jayakody (2-4-1, 2) battles the very limited David Warren Huffman (4-19-1, 1). We know Jayakody is unlikely to go far in this sport but we've got to confess we do like him and hopes that he manages to improve enough to become an "opponent" in a televised bout somewhere down the line. It's great to see a Sri Lankan fighter no matter how poor here is and with that in mind we really do wish him all the best in hopefully inspiring a generation of young Sri Lankan men in to boxing. We doubt we'll see the sport take off in the Cricket mad country but we'll continue to hope that one day we will see a Sri Lankan world champion.
New South Wales, Australia
Down under fans will get to see Australian based Filipino Michael Dan (3-9-1, 3) attempt to upset the unbeaten Ahmed Dib (13-0, 8) in a bout for the Australia - New South Wales State Light Middleweight title. It's incredibly hard to see anything but a win for Dib here though we do hope that Dan, who has lost his last 6, can put up a good effort even if he is clearly beaten.
Yes, it's a busy, busy, day!
(Image courtesy of http://www.venetianmacao.com/)