This coming Saturday is set to be a huge day for Asian boxing, with a number of fighters taking place across a number of shows. This includes a big bout in Mexico, a pair of shows in China and a pretty notable card in the Philippines.
Nuevo León, Mexico
One of the Mexican fights takes place in Nuevo León and will see former IBF and WBO Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (27-4-1, 19) battle against former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) in a contest for the for Rodriguez's WBC Latino Silver Super Flyweight title. The Mexican is best remembered for his incredible 2014 bout with Katsunari Takayama but since then has gone 9-2-1 and moved up from Minimumweight to Super Flyweight, which doesn't appear to have suited him quite as well as the smaller divisions. Tobe was once one of the most touted prospects in Japan, and although he has failed to reach the expectations many had for him, this is a great chance to make a mark and put himself in the mix for a world title fight.
Of the actual shows in Asia the most notable is an ALA promoted card in Leyte.
The main event of the card will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (15-2, 13) take on Thai foe Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-5, 10) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The heavy handed Santisima has won his last 13 in a row, with 12 stoppage, and we expect to see him continue that run here. Despite that this isn't a foregone conclusion and Yodsingdaeng is a credible foe, with his only loss since 2015 coming in a decision to Juan Martin Elorde. This should be a good test for Santisima.
In the co-feature we'll see the touted Albert Pagara (29-1, 20) battle against Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-3-2, 14), with this bout being for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. Pagara has been rebuilding well since his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez, but on paper this bout is a step from his last 3 contests, all of which were pretty straight forward wins for the Filipino. Odoi, from Ghana, began his career by losing his first 2 bouts, and was 1-1-2 after 4 contests, but has rebuilt well with 19 wins from his following 21 bouts. Despite being a step up for Pagara from recent opponents we're not expecting the Filipino to come up short here, but he will be forced to work for his win.
In main supporting bouts we have two former world title challengers in action. One of those is Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7), who takes on fellow Filipino Philip Luis Cuerdo (10-4-1, 4) in what looks like an interesting match up. Jerusalem impressed in a narrow loss to Wanheng Menayothin, for the WBC Minimumweight title, but a loss to Joey Canoy last year does leave us wondering if he has the fire to prove himself. Cuerdo should be able to test Jerusalem here, but he been stopped in 2 of his last 3, and it would be a shock to see him pick up a victory over the former world title challenger.
The other former world title challenger on this card is Arthur Villanueva (31-3, 17), who has twice come up short when fighting for a world title. The technically well schooled Villanueva who has lost to McJoe Arroyo, Zolani Tete and Luis Nery, will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he take on domestic foe Renren Tesorio (16-12-3, 4).
Albert Pagara's older brother Jason Pagara (40-3-1, 25) is also on this card, and will be battling against Geisler Ap (12-10-1, 9). The 29 year old Pagara once promised so much but has disappointed in recent contests, including a draw with James Onyango and a loss last time out to Hiroki Okada. Despite those set backs it's hard to imagine Ap having much to test the Filipino.
The card is also set to see the debut of former Japanese stand out Go Hosaka (0-0), who will battle Holly Quinones (3-9-1, 1) in a “special attraction” bout. The 21 year old Hosaka signed with ALA not too long back and is tipped for big things. Despite this being his debut it's hard to imagine Hosaka losing to a fighter like Quinones, who has been stopped in 7 of his 9 losses.
On one Chinese show fight fans will see IBF female Minimumweight Zongju Cai (10-1, 1) battle against Mexico's Ana Victoria Polo (7-2, 1) for the IBO Female Minimumweight title. The Chinese fighter is looking to become a double champion, though from what is being reported won't be risking her IBF title here. Despite not risking her own title Cai will be strongly fancied here, and she is a genuine talent who is quickly become the face of female boxing in China. Aged 36 Polo is a fighter who has fought just once in the last 18 months and is unlikely to have the speed or skills match the local favourite.
The other title bout in China will see former world title contender Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) battle against the once beaten Petch Kokietgym (32-1, 5) in a contest for the OPBF “silver” Super Bantamweight title. The Chinese fighter hasn't fought since December 2016, when he suffered his second loss to Nehomar Cermeno, but will be favoured here against the very limited Petch. On paper the Thai looks a good fighter but his competition has been horrific so far and it's hard to image he has anything to test Jun with, even if Jun is rusty. Interestingly the winner of this will move towards a potential show down with Hidenori Otake.
This coming Saturday we get a world title in the West and we'll also see two very interesting and notable Japanese cards, both taking place in the Kanto region of Japan.
New York, USA
The world title bout is one of a trio of bouts at Madison Square Garden to feature Asian fighters, in what should be a great chance for a number of fighters to shine.
The world title bout will see Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Light Heavyweight Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10) defending his title against once beaten Cuban Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14). For both men the bout is a major step forward for their career with Bivol facing his most notable opponent to date and Barrera really fighting in a must win, against his second most significant opponent to date,only behind Andre Ward who beat him 2 years ago. The bout pits two top Light Heavyweights against each other, and could well be a very special bout.
This card will also feature a pair of Kazakh hopefuls. One of those is Meiirim Nursultanov (5-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Alejandro Torres (9-3-2, 4). Nulrsultanov has looked really good since his debut in late 2016 and will be looking to launch himself up towards the world rankings by the end of 2018, with Torres being his first bout of the year. As for Torres the Mexican 24 year old has proven to be tough and should serve a good test for the Kazakh, who will be hunting his 5th straight stoppage.
The other Kazakh on this show will be Madiyar Ashkeyev (8-0, 4), who faces live under-dog Jose Antonio Abreu (13-3, 8). The Kazakh isn't as touted as his aforementioned countryman but is a skilled operator who will be looking to make up for lost time after having fought just once in 2017. Abreu, from the Dominican Republic, has lost 3 of his last 4, all in the US, and will likely come up short again here, though has been matched hard in those losses and is certainly no push over.
New York, USA
On a separate US card in New York, fans will see Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (5-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, but it's unlikely to be too much of a step up in class for the unbeaten man.
On paper the Japanese card with the best single bouts take place in Kanagawa on a Kawasaki Nitta promoted card where fans will get two Japanese title fights and another solid support bout.
The main event of the card is a Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) and mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10), who meet in a Champion Carnival bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense of the title, and will be expecting a much tougher bout than his last defense, which saw him dominate the limited but entertaining Mako Matsuyama. Nagamine on the other hand will be getting his first title bout, and, on paper, his toughest bout since his sole loss to Ken Shiro.
The other title bout is likely to be even better and will see teak tough Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (17-8-1, 8) take on the explosive Kazuto Takesako (7-0, 7) in another of the 2018 Champion Carnival bouts. Nishida has held the title for almost 2 years, but has only managed a single defense, due to an out of the ring accident which forced him out of the ring for a while. Despite the lack of defenses he's a tough, aggressive and exciting champion with a solid mentality and style. Takesako is a talented slugger, and should take the fight to Nishida in a potential war. We are expecting this bout to be a potential Japanese fight of the year and something very special.
Also on this card will be the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (20-8-1, 9), who faces Masashi Kamon (7-2-1, 4) in an 8 rounder. Furuhashi has long been one of the fringe contenders on the domestic scene, and is far better than his record suggests, despite 3 losses in his last 6. Kamon on the other hand began his career 1-2 but has gone on a good run, going 6-0-1 in his last 7. Despite being on a good run Kamon is taking a notable step up in class here.
The other Japanese card will be televised on G+ and despite being higher profile in it's coverage it's arguably a lesser card, despite having a number of notable fighters on it.
The main event here will see WBO #1 ranked Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (22-1-1, 11) take on under-rated Filipino Vergil Puton (17-9, 8), in a bout which appears to be a world title prelude for Ito. The talented Japanese fighter, a former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion, will be expected to easily over-come Puton but the visitor is no push over, and has asked genuine questions to the likes of Paul Fleming, Ibraham Balla, Shuya Masaki and Ye Joon Kim. Ito should win, but this will be much tough than a public spar for the Japanese fighter.
In a really good chief support bout fans will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (12-2-1, 8) take on Hajime Nagai (15-9-2, 5), with both men risking JBC rankings. Coming into this Tobe is ranked #7 by the JBC and Nagai is ranked #10. Tobe is riding a 4 fight winning run since losing the Japanese title to Sho Ishida, in a very competitive bout back in 2014, and despite issues with activity he is still a top domestic talent. Nagai on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, bith technical decisions,but does have under-rated skills, as he's shown against the likes of Yuji Shimizu back in 2016. This should be Tobe's to lose, but is a very good test on paper for the Misako gym fighter.
Another support bout will see the often fun to watch Koki Eto (21-4-1, 16) take on Filipino journeyman Marzon Cabilla (16-15-1, 5). Eto is currently riding a 4 fight winning run, albeit against limited competition, since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras. Despite his low level of competition the Japanese fighter is a fringe world class talent, and is well known for his thrilling bouts against the likes of Kompayak Porpramook, Yodmongol Vor Saengthep and Ardin Diale. Cabilla enters this bout in the form of his career, riding a 7 fight winning run, but is stepping back up in class here and is likely to see that run of success come to an end.
One other bout of note will see Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Kenji Ono (11-2-1, 6) take on former Japanese Minimumweight contender Masashi Tada (11-5-2, 7). Ono is best known for his up-and-down war with Jun Takigawa from 2016, and has gone 1-1-1 since that bout, suffering an opening round loss to Seigo Yuri Akui in late 2016. He needs a win if he's to move into a title bout. As for Tada he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, and over 4 years removed from his last win, however at the age of 28 he does still have time to rebuild his career and a win here would see him move into the JBC rankings.
After a few quiet days in Asian boxing we get back into the swing of things on Thursday, as we approach the weekend with a great card from the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event we'll see former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan (29-4-6, 9) make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, as he takes on the always fun towatch Hiroaki Teshigawara (14-2-2, 8). The Filipino won the title earlier this year, when he took a technical decision win over Tatsuya Takahashi, and will be looking for a third straight win. Although coming in on a big win Pabustan is inconsistent and often involved in messy bouts, with a staggering 13 technical decisions in his 39 fight career. For Teshigawara the bout willserve as his first title contest, but he has mixed with good competition fighting to a draw with Hideo Sakamoto and narrowly losing to Ryo Akaho last October. Given the styles of the two men this should be action packed, but given Pabustan's reputation this may get messy and heads may get involved.
In a solid supporting bout we'll see the under-rated Ryuto Araya (11-5-1, 3) looks to bounce back from a loss in an OPBF title fight to Ryo Takenaka. In the opposite corner to Araya will be former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (9-8-1, 3), who will be fighting for just the second time since the end of 2015. Both men will feel they need a win to remain relevant and both will know that a loss will be very hard to bounce back from. We're not expecting a war here, but this should prove to be an compelling contest.
Youngster Kaiki Yuba (2-0, 2) has looked like a real one to watch so far, and he'll be looking to continue his momentum as he takes on the tough Pablito Canada (6-12-3, 1). So far Yuba has fought just 4 rounds, but the second generation fighter is expected to reach huge heights, like his father Tadashi Yuba a 5-weight domestic champion. The Filipino journeyman has been stopped once in his 21 fight career, being stopped by Jon Jon Estrada last year, but has since gone the distance with Jelbirt Gomera, Hirotsugu Yamamoto and Hironori Mishiro. This should be a win for Yuba, but also a good solid test of what he does when a fighter doesn't just fall over.
Another under-card bout on this card will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (11-2-1,7) return for his first fight in over a year. The talented Tobe, who really has had a frustrating career plagued with inactivity and untimely setbacks, will be expecting an easy win here as he takes on Thai visitor Saengthong Tor Buamas (5-2, 5), who has been stopped in his last 2 visits to Japan, and is unlikely to avoid the same fate here.
The only show this Thursday is an interesting one from the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event fight fans will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (18-1-1, 8) defending his title against Filipino foe Ernie Sanchez (15-7-1, 6). The talented, yet criminally under-rated Ito, will be making the second defense of his title and looking to make a successful ring return following a hand injury, that already scuppered and arranged bout with Sanchez. For Sanchez the bout is an undeserved opportunity given he has gone 1-4-1 over the last 3 years but he has mixed with some very good fighters like Oscar Valdez, Sergey Lipinets and Rey Vargas.
In a supporting bout we see the wonderfully fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (11-1, 7) take on the very credible Yuki Yonaha (7-2, 5), who enters the bout with an OPBF rating and the hunger to move forward with his own career. For fans this is the sort of match up that makes Japanese boxing so brilliant, there is no waiting for either Nagamine, who comes in following two tough bouts, or Yanaha to get on with securing themselves a big fight and the winner of this could well move in to the mix for a title bout.
Another man looking to move to a title fight is the unbeaten 21 year old Tsubasa Koura (7-0, 4), who claimed the Rookie of the Year crown last year. The unbeaten youngster will be taking on his most experienced foe to date, Bimbo Nacionales (14-11-1, 3). The experienced Filipino is nothing special but should be a good test for the hotly tipped Japanese youngster.
Talking about fighters looking for titles there is also a former Japanese national champion on this card, that's former Japanese Super Flyweight, and current WBA International, champion Yohei Tobe (10-2-1, 6), who takes on the limited Masaya Kohama (6-4-1, 3). For Tobe this bout will be his first since his excellent win over Luzuko Siyo and should see him scoring a third successive win. For Kohama it's hard to see him winning but he'll get a chance to face a notable opponent.
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.
This coming week kicks off in great fashion as the Korakuen Hall plays host to a really fantastic card courtesy of reason promotions who, once again, who just how good boxing can be when fighters want to prove themselves and match makers have foresight to put the fans first.
One of two main events will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (13-0, 5) defending his title against the big punching Kenichi Ogawa (16-1, 14). Coming in to this one Naito is, on paper at least, on a great run with wins over the likes of Kento Mastushita, Shingo Eto, Masayuki Ito and Nihito Arakawa. Whilst that is a great run it should be noted that the fights were all close, much closer than the cards suggest, and Naito has had some questions raised about just how far he really can go. Ogawa comes in to this as a man who has beaten everyone he has faced, avenging his sole loss in just 134 seconds. Coming into this the challenger is riding an 8 fight T/KO run and full of confidence in his skills and his power. This really will be speed Vs power and could be a brilliant way to kick off a few weeks of insanely good action in Tokyo.
The other main event sees two former Naito foes going head to head as Masayuki Ito (17-1-1, 8) takes on Shingo Eto (17-3-1, 9) in the first defense of Ito's OPBF Super Featherweight title. Of the two fighters it's Ito who has impressed us the most so far, however this is a tough test for the 24 year old, who won the title stopping Dai Iwai in August. Eto is an under-rated fighter but may have the toughness and stamina to really push Eto all the way.
Interestingly all 4 men in the main bouts here are between 24 and 27 and are part of the new wave of Japanese Super Featherweights. It's hoped a unification will happen in 2016 though with fighters like Masao Nakamura waiting in the wings, it's fair to say there are other options in a very competitive division.
The main events are both great, but so to is the under-card which features several notable bouts, One of those will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (8-2-1, 5) taking on Filipino visitor Ryan Bito (22-15-3, 8). The bout will be Tobe's first since he lost the Japanese title, in August 2014 to Sho Ishida, and he'll be hoping to avoid back-to-back defeats, however 16 months of inactivity will certainly not help him here. Bito will be coming into this one with a lack of former, including 7 losses in his last 8, however he will know what to expect from Tobe, with this being a rematch of their 2012 encounter, which Tobe won via unanimous decision. Tobe will be favoured but Bito will feel he has a point to prove and a great chance to avenge one of his losses.
Another undercard bout of note will see Japanese ranked Shuji Hamada (13-6-4, 2) battle against the once beaten Hiroaki Teshigawara (9-1-2, 4) in a brilliantly matched 8 round supporting match up. Last time out Teshigawara fought to a controversial draw with Hideo Sakamoto and is riding a 5 fight unbeaten run since his sole loss, more than 3 years ago. Hamada is 1-1-1 in his last 3, though those have been to capable fighters with his win coming last time out against Yota Hori, a win that got him his Japanese ranking. This really is a finely matched bout with the winner likely in the running for a Japanese title fight by the end of 2016.
Also on the under-card for this brilliant show is Shuichiro Yoshino (0-0) who makes his debut against Petchjah Sithphasean (0-4) in a 6 rounder. Yoshino was an amateur standout who is tipped to be the next star of the Misako gym. Whilst this bout isn't a tough one, especially not due to typical Misako standards, we are excited to see the 24 year old Welterweight kick off his life in the professional ranks.
Every so often a special card comes along that fight fans really are unfairly denied the chance to see. This coming Monday has one such as card Japanese fans get one of the best double headers of the year and amazingly there isn't a world title in sight, a strange occurrence now a days with more world titles than there are top contenders.
The headline bout is the more exciting of the two and is, potentially, the fight of the year. That's because we have the monster punching Keita Obara (11-1, 10) defending his OPBF Light Welterweight title against the aggressive and heavy handed Shinya Iwabuchi (23-4, 19). Between them the men have 29 KO's from 39 fights and if you've never seen them in action you've been missing out big time. Obara is the bigger puncher and has devastatingly heavy hands, as shown in wins over the likes of Kengo Nagashima, and it's very possible that he's the hardest puncher, pound-for-pound, in Japan right now. Whilst Obara is a brutal puncher Iwabuchi combines heavy hands with speed, combinations and a real killer instinct, as seen clearly in his win over Shamgar Koichi. Not only is Iwabuchi an aggressively fun to watch fighter but he's also tough as old boost, as shown in his war with Min Wook Kim. We can't emphasise this enough but this fight will be something very special.
Whilst the main event on the card has "FOTY written all over it the chief support bout isn't too bad either as Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (8-1-1, 5) looks for the first defence of his title. Tobe, who holds a stoppage win over former world champion Wandee Singwancha and an 8 round decision over Kohei Kono, will be battling against the unbeaten Sho Ishida (16-0, 9). This bout isn't quite as good as the other one in terms of styles but with both men coming to the contest with world rankings it's possibly more important in the grand scheme of things. Although it is a big step up for Ishida he does have criminally under-rated power and shot selection, including some lovely body shots as shown in his fight with Petchbarngborn Kokietgym last year.
With two amazing bouts on the show it probably goes without saying that it's not a long one and the under-card features just 4 bouts. Surprisingly 2 of them are very solid under-card bouts.
The first will see Yuki Ozawa (10-3, 2) attempting to end a 3 fight losing streak as he takes on Ryo Takenaka (10-2-1, 5). On paper the men are very matched and although Ozawa is on a bad run he has faced some good fighters such as Masaaki Serie and Koji Aoki, the big question for him however is how he will cope with a bout being fought at 131lbs and we think the weight will be the difference and will certainly favour Takenaka.
The second of the interesting under-card contests will see the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (9-3, 8) put his Japanese Bantamweight ranking on the line against the tough and experienced Yukinori Hisanaga (15-5-2, 9). Hisanaga has been inactive for a year though did give Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake a very tough fight last time out. Minamoto is starting to develop into a very good fighter but this is a major test for him and a win if not a given at all despite his edge in power.
(Image courtesy of danganboxing)
The brilliant weekend that we've just had could very well have survived as a stand alone day in the boxing world. Thankfully however the action continues through to Monday when fight fans in Tokyo get the chance to see a title double header with both OPBF and Japanese title action in what appears to be the perfect send off to a long boxing weekend.
The card, Dangan 99, is Asia's only notable card and features 6 bouts.
The action kicks off with an all debutant fight in the Bantamweight division with the men competing in the first round of the C class tournament though it's the two headline bouts that of real interest.
The first of those is a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout as the once beaten Yohei Tobe (7-1-1, 4) battles the big hitting Taiki Eto (12-2, 9) battle for the vacant belt. On paper this is a bout we love the look of and we're genuinely licking our lips in anticipation of what is potentially a humdinger between defensively naive fighters. Unfortunately for Tobe we feel his relative lack of power will be an issue here though expect the bout to be great fun for as long as it lasts.
Following on from the Japanese title fight we then step up a level and move on to a bout for the OPBF Light Welterweight title. Whilst we're really really excited about the Japanese title fight we've got to admit we're even more excited about this bout as the big punching Keita Obara (10-1, 9) goes to war with Filipino banger Jay Solmiano (17-2-1, 3). This bout could finish at any moment and with both having power it really is an exciting and mouth watering match up that should genuinely excite the fans
As well as the two title bouts we'd also advise keeping a close eye on the contest between Shingo Eto (12-2-1, 8) and Filipino Ryan Sermona (16-4, 9) in what should be a thrilling under card bout.
(Image courtesy of http://danganboxing.com)