On Wednesday we see a unified champion defending their regional titles on what is a very weak show, with one of the worst fight posters we've seen this year and one of the weakest cards, with just 3 bouts taking place on it.
The main event will OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yasuyuki Akiyama (12-7-1, 9), making his first defense of both titles, as he faces the heavy handed Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (10-3, 9). Last year Akiyama won the belts with a massive upset win over Koki Tyson, stopping Tyson in the 5th round of a scheduled 12. At the age of 38 it's unclear what Akiyama has left in the tank though it is worth noting that he owns a 2017 win over Hosokawa. For Hosokawa this is a chance to avenge his loss to Akiyama and claim a couple of regional titles whilst extending an impressive run of results, which has seen him stopping his last 4 opponents in a combined 18 rounds. We're expecting a very explosive contest here!
The main support bout will see the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (3-0, 2) take on Thai foe Somphot Seesa (2-1, 2) in an 8 round bout. Sugita is a real talent, and had a very strong amateur career before making his debut back in April. Last time out he became the first man to stop Masaaki Serie and he'll be looking to build on that win here. The Thai was stopped last time out, by Ren Sasaki, and is clearly there to keep Sugita busy, rather than to test the prospect.
There was a supporting Heavyweight bout scheduled for the card collide as Ryu Ueda (6-1-1, 3) was supposed to take on Yamato Fujinaka (7-5, 3). This bout has been cancelled leaving the only other bout on this card a Lightweight clash between Tsubasa Matsudo (4-10-4, 1) and Nobuya Kasai (4-7-1, 3), which isn't particularly inspiring.
Genuinely one of the worst Japanese cards we've seen this year!
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows in the country, with 2 of those taking place in Osaka.
The most significant of those is a multi-title show from Muto promotions, with the card being headlined by OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-2-2, 11), who faces off with veteran Yasuyuki Akiyama (11-7-1, 8). The bout will see Tyson defending his OPBF title and also look to add the WBO Asia Pacific title, which is currently vacant but on the line for this bout. It's hard to see past a win for Tyson, given he holds almost every advantage, but the bout is likely to be the final one of Akiyama's career, and he will almost certainly give everything he has here.
A second OPBF title fight will see Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (27-12, 13) seek his second defense, as he puts his title on the line against Japanese foe Seizo Kono (19-8-1, 12). The Japanese based Filipino champion will be making his second defense of the title, following his dramatic win over Kentaro Masuda, and knows that if he can continue on his current winning streak there is a chance he will be able to move towards a world title fight. For Kono the bout perhaps comes at the perfect time, with the Japanese man having won his last 4, and seemingly ended his blotchy form, which saw him going 2-5. Despite being on a bit of a run this is still a big ask for Kono.
In a rematch we'll see former multi-time world title challengers collide, as Hirofumi Mukai (14-5-3, 4) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-9-1, 19) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, just as they did in November 2016. In their first meeting Mukai stopped the Thai in 3 rounds, but since then he has gone 1-1, beating a novice Thai and being stopped in a war with Rex Tso. As for Inthanon, he's fought once since losing to Mukai, also a win over a novice Thai. It's fair to say that Mukai will be favoured, given how easily he won the first contest between the two, but it'll be interesting to see what the Tso bout took out of him.
A second Japan Vs Thailand bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title will see the once beaten Masahiro Sakamoto (10-1, 6) take on veteran former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Aged 26 Sakamoto is just coming into his prime and the Flyweight will be looking to claim the biggest win of his career here. His only loss came in a bout for this very same title last year, when he suffered a very close loss to current WBO world champion Sho Kimura, and he will know that a win against Kwanthai could push him into the world title mix. As for Kwanthai, he's a long way removed from the man who claimed the WBA Minimumweight title in 2010. He has gone 19-4 since that win, but suffered 2 stoppages and only beaten very limited opposition. This should be a win for Sakamoto, but the question is really “how impressive does he look here?”
A second show in Osaka will be promoted by Green Tsuda and although not a big card does have one of the day's most interesting contests on it, as well as the continued push of a man who has been matched hard through his career.
That hard matched man is Takayuki Okumoto (18-8-3, 8), who's record doesn't suggest anything special but he did recently challenge Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai, and ran Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking close in 2016. The Japanese fighter will be up against a Thai foe here, and should, easily, pick up the win in the card's main event.
Arguably the most interesting match up of the day is a supporting contest between two once tipped amateur stars, both in need of a big win after recent set backs. In one corner will be Kazuki Tanaka (7-1, 5), a Green Tsuda man who was tipped as a star but was stopped last time out by Ryohei Takahashi. Like Tanaka we saw Hikaru Marugame (6-2-1, 4) turn professional with high expectations, having competed on the international stage in the amateurs, but with 2 losses and a draw in his last 4 bouts those expectations are quickly dying. A loss here for either man would likely spell the end of any hope of them becoming a notable name, and the bout really is a must win for both.
A third card from Japan this coming Sunday is from Aichi, and is certainly one with an international feel, given the three most notable bouts all feature a visitor.
The main event sees former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (14-4-1, 9) take on Indonesia's Filipus Rangga (10-17, 1). The Japanese fighter looked like one to watch when he lost to Yuki Nonaka, with some suggesting just a tiny bit of seasoning was needed, and since then he has picked up two stoppage wins and looks like a genuine domestic contender, with a second title fight perhaps only a few bouts away. Rangga began his career 5-1 but since then has gone 5-16 and really is a very limited fighter on the domestic scene, and has fought at much higher weights. Not only is Rangga smaller, older, and less talented but he is also making his international debut. In all honesty Maruki should be disappointed if this goes beyond 6 rounds.
In an interesting support bout fans will see the pretty solid Shogo Yamaguchi (10-3-2, 5) take on domestically ranked Indonesian Lightweight Sam Puadi (7-8, 5). Yamaguchi has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, though has faced the likes of Akihiro Kondo and Andy Hiraoka during that run, and really needs a win to kick start his once fledgling career. The visitor is 0-2 outside of Indonesia, including a loss earlier this year in Japan to Yuki Harada, though it's fair to say that the visitor will feel he has half a chance here against a very out of form Yamaguchi.
Also on this card will be a Heavyweight bout, as top ranked Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (13-11-3, 7) takes on Korean visitor Hoo Won Lee (4-3). The 39 year old Takehara is a 2 time Japanese title challenger and although he came up short in both bouts, to Kyotaro Fujimoto, he is a game fighter. Interestingly Takehara will be fighting for the first time since May 2016, when Japanese rules actually forbid him from fighting, and will surely be wanting to prove age is just a number. The 24 year old Korean visitor has age on his side, but the former Korean Heavyweight champion is stepping up in a big way here, and was stopped in a round back in June. If Takehara is half the fighter he was he should win, if he loses however it's got to be the end for him.
Seoul, South Korea
Fans in Korea will get their own title bout, as the unbeaten In Duck Seo (8-0-1, 5) takes on the limited Joong Kyung Lee (3-2) in a bout for the KBF Light Middleweight title. Seo is unbeaten, but could only a manage a draw last time out, in a very good match up against Dong Hee Kim down at 140lbs. As for Lee, who will be having his 6th bout of the year, this bout follows an 8 round loss to Moon Sung Choi and he will certainly be coming into this one looking to score a big domestic win.
This coming Friday is an action packed day with a lot of Asian fighters in action.
The most notable action of the day for Asian fight fans comes from Japan where we get an OPBF title fight and two match ups pitting JBC ranked fighters against each other.
The OPBF title fight will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (27-2-3, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which was recently vacated by Shun Kubo. For Otake the bout will be his first for an OPBF title, though he did have a 2 year reign as the Japanese champion before his most notable bout to date, a loss to Scott Quigg in 2014. Since that loss he has won 5 in a row, though looked poor last time out against Alexander Espinoza. Gomera is a real unknown, with his sole loss coming to the talented Mark Anthony Geraldo and his best win being over tough journeyman Eduardo Mancito. Gomera might be getting this bout at the right time, but Otake will certainly be regarded as the favourite.
In a supporting bout we'll see Shusaku Fujinaka (15-6-2, 10) take on Moon Hyun Yun (17-4-3, 4) in a really mouth watering domestic encounter. Of the two men Fujinaka is the more well known, though that's down to his 7th round KO loss to Randall Bailey from back in 2015 than any wins that he has scored. Yun is a former Japanese title challenger and although he lacks power he has an exciting and will be looking to earn another title fight. This could end up being the fight of the show.
Another bout between Japanese ranked fighters comes at Middleweight where the heavy handed Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (6-2, 5) takes on former Japanese title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-7-1, 8). Coming in to this Hosokawa has won his last 4 bouts by stoppage and looks like a man who can carry his power up to at least domestic level. Akiyama has lost his last 3, but has mixed with good company and knows that this is step back down in class from what he has been up against. This could be a very solid fight even if neither man has an out standing record.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia there will also be a low profile card in Metro Manila. The card is a mostly forgettable one, though the main event will see the once beaten Jheritz Chavez (6-1-2, 4) battle against Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) for the GAB Light Welterweight title. Chavez will be the favourite and he has impressed in recent times, beating both Tatsuya Yanagi and Al Sabaupan in his last 3 bouts. Although the under-dog Gadapan is an upset minded fighter and he holds a recent win of his own over Nelson Tinampay, suggesting he won't be there to roll over, though he has been stopped in 6 of his 8 career losses.
In Moscow fans are in for a genuine treat as OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (17-2, 15) takes on Russian Aik Shakhnazaryan (19-2, 10) in a bout for the WBC International title. The heavy handed Rivera impressed last year when he dominated Shinya Iwabuchi for the title, and would go 3-0 (3) for the year scoring not only the win over Iwabuchi but also a solid win over Adones Cabalquinto. Coming in to this the Filipino is on an impressive 7-0 (7) run. The once touted Shakhnazaryan won his first 15 bouts but suffered back-to-back losses in 2015 and has been rebuilding with 4 stoppage wins, but this pormises to be a much tougher bout for the Russian than his last 4.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (33-3-3, 21) continue to carve out a career down under as he battles 21 year old Hungarian Zsigmond Vass (12-4, 2) in a bout for Amonsot's Interim WBA Oceania title at 140lbs. Coming in to this Vass has beaten nobody of note and been stopped in the opening round in his last 2 losses. Although not widely regarded as a top contender Amonsot is world ranked and has gone 15-0-2 (11) since his memorable war with Michael Katsidis.
Also on this card will be Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (24-21-1, 15), who will be expected to pick up another loss here as he takes on the exciting but limited Joel Brunker (30-2, 17). Whilst Brunker is limited Butar Butar is little more than a record padder on the international stage, and that is likely to be seen again here.
Staying in Australia we'll also see Thai novice Chaiyan Sakkoed (0-3) go for his first win as he takes on the debuting Timacoy Williams (0-0). With 3 straight losses we know Chaiyan is limited, and he's already been stopped in two of those defeats, with a third stoppage loss likely to come here.
The next few weeks are busy in boxing with numerous notable bouts coming up. To kick off this coming week Hikari Yokohama put on their next show, which will be streamed on asign for those interested in watching it.
In the main event former Japanese Middleweight champion Tomohiro Ebisu (15-4, 15) goes up against former title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-6-1, 8) in a bout almost certain not to go the distance. Ebisu has never heard the final bell from 19 previous fights, with his frightening power seeing opponents off early but seriously fragile chin allowing anyone a chance against him. Whilst Akiyama has heard the bell a few times his chin isn't likely to survive 8 rounds with Ebisu, but his power may see him over-come the former champion.
In a great supporting bout the veteran Kinshiro Usui (25-4, 10) will be up against once beaten prospect Hikaru Marugame (5-1-1, 3). Marugame was tipped very highly when he turned professional but a draw and a loss in his last 2 leaves his career looking likely to be a burst, especially given the way he was beaten last time out. He'll need to look good here against the 36 year old Usui. As for the veteran he has gone 6-1 in the last 5 years and is unlikely to worry too much about Marugame and his potential.
Interestingly the man who beat Marugame last time out is is also on this card. That is Reiya Abe (11-2, 5) who takes on Shingo Kusano (11-4-1, 4) in a rematch between the two. Abe has won his last 3, following a very close loss loss to Kusano in March 2015. Since the loss Abe has taken two unbeaten records. As for Kusano he has scored back-to-back wins since beating Abe, but this is a significantly tougher bout than his last 2.
One other bout of note on this card will see Japanese ranked Lightweight Masashi Noguchi (10-5-1, 4) face Kazuya Soma (7-9-2, 6) in what should be a good, but manageable, test for Noguchi who is 6-0-1, in his last 7, dating back more than 5 years.
Action finally returns to this coming weekend as we get the first Japanese show of 2016.
In the main event we'll see a Japanese title unification bout at 140lbs. The bout sees unbeaten champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) faces interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) in a bout to unify the title that was split, last year, when Okada was injured. This is, on paper, Okada;s toughest bout so far, especially when you consider his long lay off due to the injury, but will be confident of inflicting a second loss on Nakazawa, who was previously stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya.
An interesting support bout comes at Middleweight where the promising Shoma Fukumoto (7-1, 6) battles recent OPBF and JBC title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-5-1, 8). This is Akiyama's first bout since being beaten last year by Akio Shibata whilst Fukumoto will be fighting for the first time since joining the Kadoebi gym. Fukumoto, due to the gym transfer, will be be fighting for the first time in 7 months though will be favoured over the 36 year old Akiyama, who looked awful against Shibata.
Another good looking support bout sees recent Japanese Flyweight challenger Yusuke Sakashita (13-6-2, 8) face Masashi Odaira (6-4-2, 2). On paper it's hard to doubt Sakashita's the favourite, but with 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, including a 1-punch KO loss to Suguru Muranaka, he really needs to shine here.
A third notable under-card bout will see another recent title challenger in action as Yuki Ogata (21-2-1, 3) battles Keisuke Arima (8-11-1, 1). It's hard to see this being anything but a decision win for Ogata but it could be much more competitive than the records suggest.
In the US fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (17-0, 13), who faces a yet to be named opponent. The talented young Filipino scored 4 wins in the US last year and will be expected to grab a 5th successive victory, though sadly it's hard to get too excited given his level of competition.
The most notable action for Asian fight fans comes from Tokyo where the Korakuen Hall plays host to another Dangan card. The card features a title fight, a bout between two Japanese ranked fighters and an intriguing cross roads fight.
The main event sees Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (25-8-1, 11) defending his belts against the under-rated Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). The bout, originally scheduled for March, was rescheduled after Akiyama suffered an injury and although the challenger will still be the under-dog we suspect he'll be full committed to proving that he is the better man in the ring. Trying to prove that however will be difficult against the very talented Shibata who is on a 4 fight winning streak following his loss to then debuting Ryota Murata.
The all Japanese ranked bout sees Tsuyoshi Tojo (12-13-4, 2) battling against Masaki Saito (12-10-4, 3) in an interesting bout and competitive looking bout. On paper neither man is great though both are fighting at a similar and both will know a win here could open doors towards a title fight. It's also worth noting that these two fought in November, with that bout ending in a 4th round technical draw, a result both will be hoping to avoid here.
The cross roads bout on this card will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (25-8, 10) battle against Filipino visitor Roman Canto (10-6-2, 5). On paper this should be easy for Serie however the 32 year old has lost 3 of his last 4 and looks to be a fighter who is very much “off the boil”. Canto, who isn't a world beater himself, will come in to this bout knowing that a win will boost his career massively.
Fans in the Philippines also have a card, albeit a relatively poor one in Ifugao.
The most notable bout will see Noel Guliman (6-8-2, 3) battle against JC Francisco (6-10-4, 2) in what appears to be a well matched but very low level contest.
On paper the man to keep an eye on is 18 year old hopeful Pedro Taduran (2-0, 2), who looks to extend his perfect record as he takes on the debuting Garry Placios (0-0), though sadly we were hoping to see Taduran takes a slight step up rather than face a debutant here.
In what appears to be a clear mismatch fans will see Australian based Thai Arnon Yuchareon (0-10-1) take on the unbeaten Matt Burgoyne (2-0, 2). It's clear to see that Arnon is supposed to pick up another loss here and it's hard to see him doing anything but that against a young prospect who appears to have solid power
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
November 17th-Former champion Akihiro Kondo expected to score first win in 18 months! Kenta Onjo also in action
A new week kicks off on Monday with a Japanese domestic card that may not inspire many fans around the world but it has caught out eye due to the fact several interesting fighters will be featured on it and we suspect that several fights will be worth talking about after the show.
Sadly the main event isn't likely to be one of those more interesting bouts despite the fact it features the biggest name on the card. That name is Akihiro Kondo (19-4-1, 8) the former Japanese Lightweight champion who is rarely in a poor fight will be expected to pick up an easy win here as he takes on Thailand's Kaewkla Chaiyonggym (0-1) who was stopped in 2 rounds by Burning Ishii back in August. We like Kondo and suspect that this is a stay busy win before chasing a big fight in 2015 and can excuse him for an easy one after his war with Nihito Arakawa last time out.
The chief support bout will see Japanese #3 ranked Middleweight Yasuyuki Akiyama (9-4-1, 7) risking his ranking against Kazuaki Irisawa (8-5, 5) in an intriguing 8 rounder at Middleweight. We wouldn't suggest either man has a chance against Japanese champion Akio Shibata but against each other they should make for a very interesting contest.
Another interesting bout comes at Lightweight where the much touted Kenta Onjo (3-0, 3) pits his #13 Japanese ranking on the line against the more experienced and heavy handed Kazuya Soma (7-5-2, 6). We suspect a win for Onjo will move him towards a national or OPBF title fight in 2015 however this is not a gimme and Soma has the power to hurt Onjo if the young prospect fights foolishly. Unfortunately for those wanting to see the touted Onjo in action footage is scarce with only his debut against Thiland's Tanut Sitmanopchai being currently being available.
As well as the 3 bouts announced there will be a further 6 contests with one of them featuring WBC regional title holder Momoko Kanda (7-6-2, 1).
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)