Next Thursday we see another notable card from the Korakuen Hall, and this one really is a rather exciting one with a number of notable names features.
The main event of the card will see the criminally under-rated Masayuki Ito (20-1-1, 8) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title against big punching Filipino title challenger Lorenzo Villanueva (32-2-0-1, 28). For Ito the bout will be his first defense, since he claimed the title at the very end of 2016, and he should be looking to extend a current 4 winning run which which includes really good wins over Shingo Eto and Takuya Watanabe. For the Filipino the bout is his first outside of the Philippines since his thrilling 2012 loss to Daud Yordan in Singapore. The challenger will have the big edge in power, but he's up against a very talented boxer, and will need to show more than just brute force to over-come Ito.
In a major supporting bout we'll see former world title challenger Keita Obara (16-2-1, 15) take on Indonesian Larry Siwu (24-7, 20) in a Welterweight bout. For Obara the contest will be his first since losing in a world title bout to Eduard Troyanovsky last September. The talented Obara is taking off the shackles of making Light Welterweight and it seems likely that he will be continuing his career at 147lbs going forward. Although Siwu is a decent fighter he really shouldn't have anything to really test Obara, who will be looking to shake some ring rust and make a statement.
Arguably the most intriguing match up on the card will see former Japanese and OPBF Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (30-7-2, 9) take on touted former amateur standout Shuichiro Yoshino (3-0, 2) in what looks like a must win for the veteran and a potential coming out party for the novice. Although now a faded force Kato, who is more than 2 years removed from a win of note, is tough, skilled and a nightmare for fighters who look to have a war. If Yoshino can avoid a war and rely on his amateur skills then he could announce himself as a serious play on the Japanese scene at 135lbs, but this is a huge step up for the 25 year old.
Another former champion on this card is former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (26-7, 14), who vacated his title around the start of the year. The world ranked Masuda will be up against Filipino visitor Romel Oliveros (8-3-1, 3), who is fighting in Japan for the third time. The talented Masuda is hunting a world title bout later in the year and this is clearly a stay busy bout for him, but one that should help him get some rounds under his belt. Oliveros has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, being stopped in 2 rounds by Daigo Higa and in 5 rounds by Jonas Sultan, and it's hard to see him lasting the distance here against Masuda.
Yoshino isn't the only touted novice on this card as former amateur star Motoki Osanai (1-0) returns to the ring for his second professional outing, and takes on fellow unbeaten Takeshi Kaneko (4-0-1). The talented Osanai turned professional last year, along with Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but has failed to shine like those two and will be looking to make up for lost time here. As for Kaneko he is unbeaten, but his 0 has certainly come under challenger during his career and it'd take a career best performance to keep that 0 here.
Fans in Indonesia has an interesting, but small, card headlined by one of our favourites defending his title.
That main event will see fast rising Flyweight prospect Iwan Zoda (11-1, 10) return to the ring to defend his IBF Youth title for the first time. The heavy handed, and really exciting Indonesian, will be up against Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (7-1-1, 5), who proved his toughness earlier this year with a very competitive outing against Richard Claveras. Zoda has stopped everyone he has faced and will be looking to continue that record here, but this is his toughest test this year.
Note- Since this was first published Zoda's bout has been cancelled unfortunately.
In Japan we'll have a different show, that looks less than great but does feature some notable names.
The biggest name on the card is former OPBF and JBC Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (29-7-2, 9), who battle Filipino visitor Leonardo Doronio (15-13-3, 10). On paper this looks a mismatch however Kato is win-less in 2 years and has struggled to assert himself in his last 3 bouts. Doronio has struggled himself, winning just one of his last 6, but has scored notable wins over the likes of Taiwo Ali, Burning Ishii, Jeffrey Arienza and current OPBF champion Al Rivera. Although limited Doronio is a fighter capable of scoring major under-dogs and Kato will have to be aware of that here.
In supporting bouts we'll see several notable fighters. One of the better under-card bouts will see Yuta Nakagawa (18-4-1, 9) face off against Keigo Soma (8-11-2, 4) in what looks like a mismatch but could be very competitive. Another will see former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (14-7-2, 9) battle against the once beaten Naoki Mochizuki (10-1, 6) in a real must win for Sakashita, who has struggled since Suguru Muranaka stopped him in in October 2014.
This coming week look likely to be an interesting one for boxing, after a relatively quiet week, and it kicks off tomorrow, in Japan with a card headlined by a very good looking bout.
In the main event fight fans will see former Japanese and OPBF Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (29-7-1, 9) battle against the once beaten, and currently world ranked, Brandon Ogilvie (16-1, 8). Coming in to this one Kato has lost his last two and will know that he cannot afford a third successive loss, however Ogilvie will be confident of winning, especially given the recent performance by fellow Aussie Dwight Ritchie in Japan.
In a supporting bout former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (14-6-2, 9) will be up against Seiya Fujikita (8-3, 1). Fujita has lost his last two bouts, but both were very close decisions, and will know that he's better than his record suggests. Sakashita on the other hand is 2-2 in his last 4, though those wins came against very limited opponents.
One other bout worth noting here will see the unbeaten, and promising Wataru Takeda (8-0-1, 2) face off against Yuki Furuya (6-7, 2). Takeda, who is on an 8 fight winning run, is stepping up to fight in his first 8 rounder and will know that a win here will push him up the domestic rankings. As for Furuya, he is fighting for the first time since November 2014 and is win-less in almost 8 years.
For a second day running Thai fans get a major, international rematch as WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Stamp Kiatniwat (14-0, 6) defends his title against Dominican slugger Gregorio Lebron (13-3, 11). Stamp beat Lebron last year to claim the title before being ordered to give Lebron a rematch due to the close nature of the contest. Coming in to the rematch both men have stated they will be hunting a KO and that could mean that we won't see the judges come in to play here.
On the under-card will be unbeaten Thai hopeful Chalermpol Singwancha (16-0, 12), who was supposed to be in action at the end of January before his original opponent, IK Yang, suffered a training injury.
Often in boxing we complain about the quality of match ups, every so often however we get a match up that really does look like a treat, a genuinely special treat for us fans. One such bout is set to take place today in Jakarta where former world title challenger Daud Yordan (34-3-0-1, 24) battles Yoshitaka Kato (29-6-1, 9). The bout may not resonate with Western fans, who may have forgotten Yordan and may not know who Kato is, but it will be action packed with styles that should really gel in the ring and give us a lot of excitement. This really could be a genuine treat.
For fans interested the bout will be aired on RCTI and will be for Yordan's WBO Africa and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles, with Kato himself having questioned the African title, it will also have significance on the WBO Lightweight world rankings with the winner likely moving towards a title fight as a result of this one.
As for the under-card the show will feature some interesting fights, including an exhibition featuring 55 year old Indonesian legend Ellyas Pical (20-5-1, 11) facing off against his former sparring partner in a 2 round exhibition. The bout, according to the promoter, is to raise interest in Indonesian boxing and allow Pical, the country's first world champion to be a key figure.
The main under-card bout will see the exciting Defry Palulu (12-1, 11) face off against Filipino fighter Rey Juntilla (21-7-4, 14), in what looks like a genuinely good match up and a real test for the local favourite.
The card will also feature a celebrity charity fight, albeit between two Indonesian celebrities, whilst there are a further 6 under card bouts featuring some of the more notable domestic level Indonesian fighters.
This coming Monday we get one of the regional cards of the month with several notable and interesting bouts.
The most notable is the 10 round main event between the fast rising Ken Shiro (4-0, 3) and unbeaten Filipino Rolly Sumalpong (9-0-1, 4). The two men are trading blows in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title and it's fair to say that the winner will go on to bigger fights in 2016, in fact Ken Shiro if he wins is likely to fight for the Japanese title in the first half of next year. It's a great match up on paper and features two young fighters putting unbeaten records on the line, what's not to like?
The co-feature is a very exciting looking 8 round contest featuring former JBC/OPBF Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (29-5-1, 9) and the brave Filipino Ricky Sismundo (29-8-2, 13). This really has the potential to be a highly skilled, inside war between two tough guys who have under-rated power and know that a win could put them into contention for a world title fight in 2016.
Another interesting supporting bout will see former Japanese title holder Koji Umetsu (22-16-3, 10) battle emerging contender Shota Hayashi (25-5-1, 15). Coming in to this one Hayashi has gone 10-0-1 and appears to be in the form of his life, a win here and he may well find himself getting a title shot in 2016. As for Umetsu this bout is a must win one of if he's to remain relevant.
A fourth bout of interest will see former title challengers collide as Koshinmaru Saito (21-7-1, 11) takes on Takehiro Shimokawara (19-10-3, 6). This bout may not be a top bout with a title shot for the winner but the styles of the two men should make for a brilliantly fun to watch 8 round bout.
As well as the bouts mentioned the card will feature 3 others on what is one of the best Dangan cards of the year!
(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)
July 23-Arakawa Vs Kondo II and Kato Vs Saito give Japanese fans a Lightweight day to be excited about
When we talk about "double headers" we tend to immediately think that a card must feature a pair of title bouts. This coming Wednesday however we only get a single title fight on a card that looks to be a genuinely sensational domestic double header.
The title fight on the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (27-5-1, 8) taking on the hard hitting Tsukasa Saito (19-2, 14) in a very exciting looking contest. Kato, who has defended the title 6 times already, will be favoured here though with Saito's power he is certainly a live under-dog in a bout that looks almost certain to be exciting.
Following the title bout we then get the other half of the double header as the exciting and teak tough Nihito Arakawa (24-4-1, 16) battles against former rival Akihiro Kondo (19-3-1, 8). The two men met 4 years ago with Arakawa taking a narrow decision over Kondo to claim the Japanese Lightweight title. Since then Arakawa has had a tough career with 10 fights including his 2013 FOTY contender with Omar Figueroa. As for Kondo he has fought just 7 times and has a short lived retirement of around a year. With the two men involved in this bout we're expecting noting but an all out war. Expect this one to be a contender for Japanese fight of the year.
As well as the Lightweight double the card also features some other interesting bouts including a Middleweight contest between former WBA title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (20-9, 11) and Indonesian veteran Jamed Jalarante (23-16-1, 11). Fuchigami, best known for his loss to Gennady Golovkin, has lost 3 of his last 4 though will be expected to pick up an easy win here against Jalarante who has been stopped 11 times in his 40 fights, including a stoppage loss to Nihito Arakawa.
In total there will be 6 bouts on this show though the 3 mentioned above are easily the 3 worth nothing.
New York, USA
As well as the action in Japan there is also a fight of note in the US where the win-less Azamat Umarzoda (0-4-1), originally from Tajikistan, battles former amateur stand out Ivan Golub (1-0). It's hard to see this being anything but a quick blow out for Golub who is an an exceptional boxer despite his "novice" status.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
April 30th-Ishida makes Heavyweight debut against Fujimoto whilst Kato defends Lightweight title against suzuki
T end April we get a show that appears to have gotten more attention outside of Japan than inside of Japan despite being in Tokyo, featuring a Japanese title fight and featuring one of the most interesting domestic bouts we've seen in a long, long time.
"Kamikaze 3", as the show is known, has managed to interest our readers, especially ones from the US. It has managed to have fans showing a real interest in a bout that appeared, just 6 months ago, as unlikely as seeing Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao square off, though it's now upon.
That bout in question is a Japanese Heavyweight bout between former Light Middleweight Nobuhiro Ishida (25-9-2, 10) and Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (8-1, 5). The interest from the US is clear and it's pretty easy to explain, the fans want to see the guy that stopped James Kirkland.
Unfortunately for Ishida the shock upset over Kirkland, a Ring magazine Upset of the Year, has made Ishida more well known in the US than Japan, ironically meaning that whilst he does have fans at home his US popularity seems to be more significant than his domestic popularity. Unfortunately this means the fight won't be televised live, though we hope it will shown on tape delay over the coming days.
Oddly despite being the main event the Ishida/Fujimoto bout is only scheduled for 8 rounds and features no title, though it's a bout with significant interest from ourselves.
Of course whilst the Heavyweight bout is the big attention grabber it's not the only bout on the show, far from it in fact. As well as the Heavyweight we also have a brilliant Japanese Lightweight clash between defending champion Yoshitaka Kato (26-5-1, 7) and the big punching Yuhei Suzuki (14-3, 11). For Suzuki this is a chance to avenge his most recent loss, for Kato it's a chance to get back to winning ways after losing his OPBF title to Masayoshi Nakatani last time out.
There are two other bouts of note on this card. One of those sees the once touted Kenji Kubo (3-2-1, 1) taking on Atsushi Hosogai (6-7) whilst the other will see Japanese ranked Yusuke Sakashita (11-4-2, 7) battle against Hideyuki Watanabe (7-5-2, 5).
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com/)
We know the new year has began but, without trying to sound moody, the boxing really hasn't. Sure we've had a world title fight, a female world title fight and one or two other bouts but it's still not really back to the usual action we expect to see...or is it? This Saturday may well be the official start to the boxing year with major fights in Asia and in Mexico as we finally get to say the year, has kicked off.
For us the key card is a small one in Japan at the Korakuen Hall. The show, promoted by Kadoebi Jewel, will be their first show of 2014 and will feature the first OPBF title fight of the new year as Yoshitaka Kato (26-4-1, 7) defends his belt against the unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani (6-0, 5).
Although the more experience fighter, Kato will know that he's in for a tough one against the big hitting Nakatani, a gym mate of Kazuto Ioka and Ryo Miyazaki. Kato, both the OPBF and Japanese Lightweight champion, will only have his OPBF belt on the line though will know that a loss will really hurt his career whilst on the flip-side of that Nakatani will know that a win will put him on the platform to challenge for world honours like his more established gym mates. Whoever wins will certainly have to show how good they are.
On the same card we expect to see Yukinori Oguni (11-1, 2), the former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion, dipping his toe at Featherweight as he takes on Yuki Fujimoto (7-2-1, 2) in a 10 rounder. This bout, the chief support of the show, will be Oguni's second bout since losing his title to he excellent Shingo Wake back in March 2013.
Further down the card is Kenji Kubo (3-2, 1) who takes on Kota Sato (9-5-1, 4). Kubo, who is highly tipped despite his record, will be expected to easily beat Sato despite the relative lack of experience compared to Sato who has lost 3 of his last 7.
This will also be the card which sees former Japanese Light Middleweight champion Nobuhiro Ishida take part in a public sparring session with Yamato Fujinaka. If Ishida can impress the JBC with this sparring session he's expected to receive a Heavyweight ranking and a possible fight with Kyotaro Fujimoto could be made for the Japanese Heavyweight title in April.
In total we are expecting just 5 bouts on this show, but with the 3 mentioned above we're expecting a very solid all-round card with no real weak link, other than the relatively poor poster.
The Philippines-Metro Manila
Whilst we are really excited by the Japanese card we have to admit we're disappointed by the card that we appear to be getting in the Philippines. Originally we were expecting to see Sonny Boy Jaro (34-13-5, 24), the former WBC and Linear Flyweight champion, fight domestic journeyman Pit Anacaya (8-22-2, 1) and Florante Condes (25-8-1, 21), the former IBF Minimumweight champion, return to action to face Rey Morano (8-38-1, 1). Sadly the GAB haven't allowed either of these fights to take place on the grounds that they are mismatches.
Unfortunately this was a chance for both Condes, pictured above, and Jaro to put some losses behind them and get back to winning ways, though the GAB's decision has seen both fights cancelled and left the matchmaker without enough time to find replacement opponents.
Thankfully one bout that has passed the GAB's inspections sees the of the promising Neil John Tabanao (5-0, 4) in action. The unbeaten prospect takes on his biggest challenge so far as he battles Warren Mambuanag (6-3-2, 3) who should ask Tabanao some previously unasked questions in what looks to be a brilliant matched bout, unlike the 2 that were cancelled.
As well as the bout we've mentioned above we're expecting a total of 12 bouts courtesy of Jaro Promotion International. The show, which looks like a deep one, may not be that competitive but with all the bouts we'd expect at least one or two worth watching especially on the under-card.
As well as the fights in Asia we also have a trio of Filipino's in action in Mexico on a special "Mexico v Filipinas" show courtesy of Promociones del Pueblo.
In terms of name value the lowest profile of the bouts sees Adones Aguelo (20-8-2, 12) taking on Nery Saguilan (26-4-1, 10). Although it's a lower profile bout it's probably the best chance the Philippines has of getting a win on the board with both men being relatively well matched on paper and Aguelo being a slightly bigger puncher and the tougher of the two men.
Sadly we find it very hard to see a way to win for Lionel Mark Duran (11-9-2, 5) to over-come Ramon Garcia Hirales (19-4-1, 12), the former WBO Minimumweight champion. Although Garcia isn't great, and was blasted out in 4 rounds by Roman Gonzalez, he shouldn't have many problems with Duran who is tough but limited.
If life will be hard for Duran we expect it to be doubly hard for Vergel Nebran (11-6-1, 7) who will be trying to score a major upset against former WBC Super Flyweight champion Tomas Rojas (41-14-1-1, 27). Rojas, who has wins over Kohei Kono and Nobuo Nashiro, may have lost to both Suriyan Sor Rungvisai and Shinsuke Yamanaka in recent years but it's highly unlikely he loses to Nebran, and in fact the likely outcome is that Nebran doesn't hear the final bell.