The main card this coming Sunday is the first Japanese card of 2020, and it's an exciting one as we see the Knock Out Dynamite finals, as well as the return to the ring of a former Japanese national champion and a likely show case for a former world title challenger.
For those who aren't aware of the Knock Out Dynamite format the fighters will be given a financial bonus for a stoppage win. The bonuses are bigger the earlier a fighter gets a stoppage, so round 1 pays better than round 5.
The most interesting match up will see hard hitting Japanese based Dominican fighter Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24) take on former Mongolian amateur standout Tuguldur Byambatsogt (1-0) in the 65KG Knock Out Dynamite tournament final. On paper this looks like a massive mismatch, with Baez having so much more experience than the Mongolian, however we were really impressed by Byambatsogt on debut and certainly wouldn't rule him out here.
At 60KG's, in another Knock Out Dynamite tournament final, Japanese veteran Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) will take on Filipino slugger Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9). Takahata is a former Japanese title challenger who, at the age of 40, will know that time is running down on his career, Esquierdo on the other hand took the full bonus in his semi-final bout. We expect this to be a very exciting match up.
In a rather notable Lightweight bout former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) returns to the ring for the first time in over 2 and a half years! The popular and hard hitting Tsuchiya was last seen in a ring in June 2017, retiring soon after his win over Shota Suito. In the opposite corner to Tsuichya will be China's once beaten Yangyang Li (8-1-2). On paper this looks interesting but it should be noted that this is a huge step up in class for Li, in what will be his first bout outside of China.
In what looks likely to be a total mismatch former world title challenger Shohei Omori (20-3, 15) will take on Filipino Danny Tampipi (9-10-2, 5), who is a replacement for Chinese fighter Leshan Li who was stopped in December in Kazakhstan. The last time we saw Omori he was being stopped by Hiroaki Teshigawara in an OPBF title and this is a big step down for the "Demon Left", who should rebuild some self belief with a blow out.
Sadly a match up between the unbeaten pairing of Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) and Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) has been cancelled. They were set to clash in the 56KG Knockout Dynamite final, before the bout was called off.
China will play host to a small yet card headlined by an OPBF Silver title fight, which could end up being a very explosive one.
The bout in question will see Korean In Duck Seo (12-2-2, 7) take on Chinese local Youli Dong (15-2-1, 9) for the OPBF Silver Welterweight title. The Korean fighter had a mixed 2019, scoring a sensational KO in Australia against Tysinn Best before losing later in the year against Khusniddin Pulatov. Interestingly Dong also had an up and down 2019, losing to Mikka Shonena in Tanzania before bouncing back with a win in December against Larry Siwu. Given both men can bang this could be very fun, low level action.
The chief support bout here will see Tajik born Chinese fighter Avzalbek Kuranbaev (5-1-1, 3) take on Indonesian foe Rivo Kundimang (9-1-2, 5) in a rather solid looking 6 rounder.
On the subject of China there will also be a low level show in Changsha, featuring rookies. Not too worthy of note here, but there are 6 bouts pencilled in for this card, featuring 10 debutants in total.
Another card will be held in Indonesia, where the Metro TV Studio will play host to a small card featuring a mix of veterans and novices.
The most notable bout on the card will see former world title contender Noldi Manakane (33-30-3, 18) take on the once promising Patrick Liukhoto (10-2-1, 7) in a second bout between the two men. The 36 year old Manakane, who has now had 66 bouts, has failed to win any of his last 6 bouts, and has lost 5 in a row. Interestingly the last time Manakane avoided a loss was when he fought to a draw with Liukhoto. The 26 year old Liukhoto was 9-0 when he faced Manakane in November 2018 but is now 1-2-1 in his last 4 and his early promise appears to be well and truly done.
Another veteran here is journeyman Jason Butar Butar (31-27-1, 19), who faces off with novice Carlos Obisuru (3-4-1, 1). Butar Butar is no world beater and he should have far too much in the tank for Obisuru, who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5, but if Obisuru loses here it's almost impossible to think of him having much of a career going forward.
Arguably the most interesting of the match ups here is an all debutant bout as Dedy Imprax (0-0) and Zainul Hasan Jr (0-0) face off in a 6 rounder. Given this is an all debutant bout it at least looks even on paper, whilst much of the card looks like it's heavily stacked in favour of the more experienced fighter involved.
Following a busy Saturday we get a pretty interesting Sunday, with 3 title fighters and a number of interesting match ups.
The most notable of the shows takes place in Osaka and will be promoted by Green Tsuda under their "Crash Boxing" banner.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, as Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) defends his title against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12). For Okumoto this will be his 4th defense of the title, and sees him looking to build on recent wins over Yuta Matsuo and and Dynamic Kenji. For Nakagawa the bout gives him a chance to reclaim the title he lost in 2017 to Ryuichi Funai. Since losing the title Nakagawa has scored 4 wins, but all at a much lower level than this bout, and at 34 years old he really cannot afford another set back. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Japanese champion Okumoto takes on former champion Nakagawa in up coming defense
In the chief support bout we'll see bombs away as Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) and former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-5, 16) trade blows for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Yada is less than 8 months removed from losing the Japanese title to Yuki Nagano, incidentally Nagano is the only man to beat Beppu, taking a decision over Beppu last year. Neither man is a world beater, but good fights don't need world beaters, they just need to be well matched and this one is! It's hard to imagine this one going the distance, but with both men being aggressive punchers it's very hard to predict who's going to end up victorious. Our preview of this bout can be read here The Kyushu Tyson takes on the Terminator of Naniwa for WBO Asia Pacific title!
Originally the plan was for this card to be a triple title show, but Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) was unable to secure an opponent to defend his JBC Youth Super Bantamweight title against. Instead of defending his title the talented Japanese youngster will go up against Indonesian teenager Jufry Kakahure (5-2, 5). Whilst it's disappointing to see Shimomachi not defend his title against a decent domestic foe we're glad he's still on the show.
In a really great fight we'll see Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (12-0, 11) take on world ranked Filipino Christian Bacolod (12-0, 9) in a truly fantastic match up. The Thai youngster is training alongside the Green Tsuda gym, and has been compared to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the Thai press. That's huge praise in a way, but also massive amounts of pressure for a 19 year old who only debuted in the summer of 2018. This is a huge step up for him and we will see him answering questions, win or lose. Bacolod on the other hand has slowly been climbing towards a big fight. He enters with a WBO world ranking and has stopped 4 of his last in the first 2 rounds. Despite Bacolod being the more proven fighter he was dropped twice in a recent fight and that will be major encouragement for Simsri.
Another interesting assignment for an unbeaten man will see Rei Nakajima (2-0) take on Thai veteran Patomsuk Pathompothong (39-11-1, 25), aka Komsan Polsan. This is a huge step up in class for Nakajima, but the Nobuhiro Ishida promoted professional novice is very highly regarded and it's clear that a win here will be a massive boost to hid fledgling career.
Staying in Osaka there will be another title fight, as the unbeaten Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title against once beaten puncher Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14), in a mouth watering bout. Mori has impressed though much of his career, and working with Ismael Salas will help him tidy up his defensively flaws, flaws that had shown themselves in his most notable bouts. Although Mori is working on his defense it's clear Salas won't want him to be too negative, and against Mizuno negativity could be a problem. Mizuno is technically pretty poor, and he can be out boxed, but he bangs and Mori shouldn't let him build up any confidence. We suspect the gulf in skills should be the difference, but Mizuno can certainly turn the fight around. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fast rising Mori takes on hard hitting Mizuno in next title defense
Sadly the rest of the card here is non-descript 4 rounders.
A third show will take place in Okinawa, where we see some pretty a couple of interesting, but lower level, bouts.
The main event of this card will see a clash between Japan's Tatsuro Nakashima (10-1-1, 7) Filipino visitor and Ariston Aton (9-1, 5). Nakashima has bounced back well from a 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa with 3 straight wins, and looks to be heading in the ring direction. Similarly Aton has bounced back from his sole loss, with 2 low key wins. This is a low key main event, but a very interesting one between two men looking to continue the rebuilding success.
In a female bout we'll see Yuko Henzan (8-8-4, 2) clash with Gretel de Paz (5-5-2, 2). On paper this is a very competitive looking bout, and whilst the skill level will be low it should still make for an interesting 6 rounder.
Also on this card is the return of Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6), who hasn't fought since losing a Japanese title eliminator in October 2018 to Koki Inoue. Smith was supposed to fight earlier this year but missed weight, and was subsequently suspended. His return sees him being matched softly as he battles Indonesian journeyman Hendy Luis (10-17-3, 5). Although Smith is no world beater he is heavy handed and will be expected to beat Luis, though Luis is a durable foe and has only been stopped 3 times in his 30 fight career. This could be a very good chance to Smith to shake some ring rust.
Outside of Japan there will also be a small show in Qingdao, China. The quality of this show is lacking, however the card will feature an interesting main event between Youli Dong (14-2-1, 9) and Larry Siwu (28-12, 34). We suspect the local fighter will have the youth and skills to deal with Siwu, but the Indonesian visitor should be a good test for the 24 year old local.