Japanese fans have been a bit unlucky so far this year with the most notable action taking place on either tape delay or pay TV. That changes on March 4th as the fans get their first world title fight of the year, in fact they get their first two world title bouts of the year, though one of those is on pay TV.
The higher profile of those bouts sees WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17) defending his title, for the 10th time, against Venezuelan Liborio Solis (23-3-1, 10), a former WBA Super Flyweight champion. This looks likely to be a really bout between Yamanaka's power and Solis's aggressive pressure. The fight is a tough one for the champion but one he will be favoured to win. The winner of this is expected to face the winner of the upcoming eliminator between Anselmo Moreno and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, both men who gave Yamanaka tough bouts in recent years.
The other title fight will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (18-2-1, 3) defending his title, for the first time, against Mexican slugger Ganigan Lopez (26-6, 17). This is a tough first defense for the Japanese fighter, who upset Pedro Guevara last year, but with a pro-Japanese crowd behind him the champion will feel confident of proving himself, and taking a huge step towards an all-Japanese world title unification bout later this year.
In the most notable of the support bouts fans will see the much touted Shuya Masaki (3-0, 2) battle Filipino foe Vergil Puton (15-6, 7). On paper this looks like a huge step up for Masaki however it should be noted that Puton is the naturally smaller man and is likely to look like a man lacking fire-power against the much touted Masaki.
A really well matched under-card bout here will see the unbeaten 18 year old Retsu Kosaka (5-0, 1) take on the once beaten 22 year old Yuto Nagano (5-1, 2). Kosaka debuted last year and quickly ran his record to 5-0 in a great year, though the youngster does have questions over his strength and power. As for Nagano, he was stopped last time out and will not be wanting to suffer a second successive loss, which really could derail his career before he really gets go.
In China Top Rank, along with SECA,will be promoting a low profile card at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
The card isn't a great one, though we would suggest keeping an eye out for two bouts, both at Super Featherweight.
One of those bouts will see the once beaten Leshan Li (6-1-1, 4) battle against the more experienced puncher Cai Yong Liu (4-3-2, 4). The other will see the unbeaten 18 year old Jin Xiang Pan (5-0, 3) face off against Yongle Feng (2-1, 1). We hope the winners of these two bouts face off later in the year, though it does need to be noted that already Li holds a win over Feng, having stopped him earlier this year, whilst Pan holds a win over Liu, having out pointed him late last year.