The biggest bout this coming Thursday is a world title eliminator at 115lbs, with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for Filipino fighter Donnie Nietes. The match up will see Filipino Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20), who actually fought to a draw with Nietes last year, taking on Puerto Rican foe Jose Martinez (20-0-2, 13), in what looks like a really good match up on paper. Palicte is a huge Super Flyweight, with nasty power and underrated skills, though seemed to lack the ring craft at times against Nietes last year. Martinez on the other hand has 2 draws with recent world title challenger Alejandro Santiago Barrios, who himself fought to a draw with Jerwin Ancajas in 2018. Despite being unbeaten we've yet to be impressed by Martinez and this looks like his toughest bout to date. Palicte may not be an elite level fighter, but this does seem to be a bout that he should be favoured in. We've previewed this bout here Palicte and Martinez battle for world title shot!
In Tokyo fans will get the latest Dangan card, Dangan 221. The show is a low profile one, headlined by a 6 round Flyweight contest between Naoki Inaba (5-5, 2) and Takuya Kihashi (5-6-1, 2), in what is a less than fantastic match up on paper.
Although buried in the middle of the card the show will also feature the once touted Yuichiro Kasuya (10-2-1, 2), who fights for the first time in over a year, as he takes on Thai foe Adisai Chantan (6-4, 2). Kasuya is a 22 year old who looked like a prodigious talent early on, winning the Rookie of the year at the age of 18 way back in 2014. Sadly his career has failed to take off and he'll be hoping a recent move to the Kadoebi Gym will help revitalise his career. Whilst Kasuya is 1-2-1 in his last 4 he is not expected to be tested too much in 2019 as he rebuilds his confidence.
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to see a number of notable fighters in action, though in fairness it's not like those notable fighters are really likely to bes tested given the level of competition theyt are facing.
The most notable of the bouts on the card will see the limited but teak tough Tatsuya Takahashi (27-7-5, 20) take on countryman Keita Nakano (14-12-6, 4). The bout has the potential to be a very fun contest, but Takahashi has an unwelcome ability to make his life harder than it needs to be and this bout will likely be another case of him getting into a bit of an unnecessary war. Nakano's lack of power won't help him in that war, but he could be surprisingly competitive here in what could be a very fun match up at the fringes of the Japanese title scene.
Another notable fighter on this show is the heavy handed Yuki Beppu (16-0-1, 16), who will be looking to keep his unbeaten record alive as he takes on a Thai opponent in the show's final bout. Little is known about the Thai but Beppu has feasted on a series of limited opponents since claiming the Japanese Rookie of the Year back in 2014, with the one exception being the drawn fight against Charles Bellamy. It's unfortunately time that Beppu started facing more notable opponents and really began to do more than run up KO's against over-matched foes.
A third fighter of note on this card is 2014 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Yuichiro Kasuya (9-2-1, 1). Like Beppu we'll see him in with a Thai foe, though this is more understandable given that Kasuya is almost 2 years removed from his last win, and has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, albeit in very competitive bouts. The 21 year old does look like a fighter who needs to build belief in his power and an easy blow out against an over-matched Thai foe may be the perfect way to build that confidence.
New York, USA
In the US fight fans wil get the chance to see two exciting American based fighters from central Asia.
One of those fighters is Uzbek destroyer Shohjahon Ergashev (10-0, 10), who takes a huge step up in class to face fellow unbeaten fighter Sonny Fredrickson (18-0, 12). The hard hitting Uzbek went 4-0 (4) in 2017 fighting just 5 combined rounds, and has only gone beyond 2 rounds once, showing just what power he has early on. If he can take out Fredrickson then he'll be on his way to making a real statement in 2018. The 23 year old Fredrickson was a former amateur standout and will be looking to extend a 3 fight stoppage run, as he takes on his second successive unbeaten foe.
The other fighter of note on this card for us is Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (13-0, 11), who looks to put a less than great 2017 behind him as he takes on Maurice Chalmers (14-13-1, 8). The bout looks like a mismatch on paper, but with Eyubov fighting just 7 rounds last year we can understand why he's being given a relatively easy one here, against a man who is almost 2 years removed from his last bout.
The most interesting show of the day, at least for us, is in the Korakuen Hall where we see the first set of Japanese Youth Tournament finals, with 4 finals, all of which are really interesting match ups, and bouts that should be really hotly contested.
The stand out bout is a rematch between Joe Tanooka (14-3-4, 1) and Kenya Yamashita (10-3, 7), who meet at Super Flyweight. Tanooka came runner up at the 2013 Rookie of the year whilst Yamashita won the Rookie of the Year the following year. In 2015 Tanooka scored a decision win over Yamashita, to give the heavy handed Yamashita his first loss, and since then both men have faltered yet remained popular. Tanooka has gone 5-1-1 since beating Yamashita, but shown a real lack of power with only a single stoppage. Yamashita is like an all action warrior and has gone 3-2 (3) since losing to Tanooka, with both losses being by stoppage. This will be a boxer vs bralwer, with history and the potential to be something really thrilling.
Another potential thriller comes at Featherweight as the talented, but out of form, Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-3-2, 11) takes on Retsu Kosaka (8-2, 3). We've seen Tameda losing his last two, suffering a decision loss to Simpiwe Vetyeka and suffering a stoppage to Reiya Abe, but has been given time to rest, heal and reignite his fire, with this being his final bout for the Yonekura gym, before joining the Ohashi Gym. As for Kosaka he has lost 2 of his last 3, but shone last time out beating the touted Ryo Sagawa in 2 rounds. This looks like a win on paper for Tameda, but it's not going to be easy against the hungry Kosaka.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will be the Lightweight bout, as the really exciting and promising Izuki Tomioka (3-0, 1) takes on the Japanese Yuichiro Kasuya (9-1-1, 1). We were really impressed by Tomioka last time out, as he stopped Shun Shimazaki in 5 rounds, and the 20 year old from Saitama looks like a real one to watch. Kasuya, who won the Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight in 2014, has faltered in his last two, drawing with Masaki Saito and losing to Spicy Matsushita. With those recent set backs against Kasuya we suspect he'll try to up his game, but Tomioka will be too good for him.
At Super Featherweight we'll see the struggling Kazuma Sanpei (12-4, 4) battle the inconsistent Ryusei Ishii (7-3, 4) in what looks like the black sheep of the match ups. Sanpei has gone 1-4 in his last 5, with 3 stoppage losses during that run, and his 11-0 (4) start to professional boxing is a distance memory, with only a single win in the last 3 years. Ishii has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though did earn his place in this bout with a dominant win over Sho Nagata in May. Ishii has some momentum here, Sanpei has none, leading us to favour Ishii for the win.
Fight fans in Las Vegas will see American based Uzbek hopeful Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (7-0-1, 3) fight in an 8 rounder, as he looks for a 4th straight victory. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, so we suspect it will be a less than taxing foe foe the unbeaten prospect.
In Pakistan we'll see a bizarre all-debutant 10 rounder, as Ali Dad (0-0) takes on Asmatullah (0-0). It's really odd to see a debutant in a 10 rounder, to see two of them in a 10 rounder is even weirder and it's hard to see what the plan behind this bout was, though hopefully it helps in the development of Pakistani boxing going forward, and is interesting to see how they are growing the sport there.
To end the month of March Japanese fans get a low key show at the Korakuen Hall.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will see the unbeaten Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Yuichiro Kasuya (9-0-1, 1) risking his unbeaten record against Japanese ranked Lightweight Spice Matsushita (16-9-1, 2), in a bout that will see Matsushita move down to 130lbs. The 20 year old Kasuya first made a name for himself in 2014, when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown, and notched a really good win last year over Kazuma Sanpei. Last time out however he was held to a really unexpected draw against Masaki Saito. Although Matsushita has picked up losses through his career, including on last time out to Can Xu, he is still a solid fighter and could be a real banana skin for the unbeaten youngster.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (25-6-5, 18) take on Thai visitor Rungpetch Saithonggym (0-2). Although he drew earlier this year with Yuta Saito it's fair to say that Takahashi is best known for his 2014 loss to Kentaro Masuda. Since then he has gone 7-0-2 (5) and tried to work his way into another title fight. A win here won't get him a shot out right, but will keep him in the mix and see him continue his unbeaten run. As for the Thai he suffered 2 losses in Japan last year, and we suspect he'll suffer a third successive loss in the country here.
Western Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see local unbeaten fighter Mzuvukile Magwaca (17-0-2, 10) battle with tough Filipino Jason Canoy (26-6-2, 19) in a bout for the WBF Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Magwaca has won his last 4 bouts, following a 2013 draw with Makazole Tete, including a stoppage over Filipino Michael Enriquez. This is a step for the local fighter and Canoy is certainly no push over, as shown in his wins over Drian Francisco and Jestoni Autida, but he is perhaps best known for his 2015 loss to a then debuting Hinata Maruta. Although he lost to Maruta he did prove he was ridiculously tough and we know he has nasty power of his own. This could be a very good match up
The wonderful Boxingraise give us their next live show this coming Tuesday with a really good looking, and deep, card from the Korakuen Hall. The show doesn't look like an outstanding one on paper, but fans who know the fighters involved will know that the card will deliver some real highlights.
The main event of the card sees Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (27-4, 13) defending his title against Yudai Arai (8-3-3. 4), in what will be Kogawa's second main event on the Boxingraise service. The veteran champion will be looking for his 4th defense of the belt and it's possible that a win here could see him getting a long awaited third world title fight in 2017. For Arai the opportunity is a rather unearned one but one that he was never going to turn down and we hope that he puts up a credible effort in what will almost certainly be a fun fight, as all Kogawa contests are.
The chief support bout will see #1 ranked Japanese Flyweight Yuta Matsuo (11-2-1, 6) take on Ryuto Oho (9-2-1, 2) in an intriguing 8 rounder, that will likely serve to build up a a potential Matsuo Vs Kogawa bout in 2017, as part of the Champion Carnival if both fighters win. Oho is unranked coming into this bout but is a real potential banana skin and has shown his ability against the likes of Jo Tanooka, Shuji Hamada and Katsunori Nagamine, and was a 2013 Rookie of the Year. Matsuo cannot over look his foe here.
In another supporting bout the highly experienced Masaki Saito (13-11-5, 4) faces the unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya (9-0, 1) in a bout between two men with Japanese rankings. Saito is really experienced and holds notable results against the likes of Seiichi Okada, Tsuyoshi Tojo and can be a handful on his day. Kasuya on the other hand is rising prospect but this could be, potentially, his toughest bout to date, as he looks to build on a win over Kazuma Sanpei.
Talking about Kazuma Sanpei (12-3, 4) he will himself be in action as he goes up against the JBC and OPBF ranked Masaru Sueyoshi (12-1, 7) in possibly the best looking bout on the card. Sanpei has lost 3 of his last 6, including a 7th round TKO to Sueyoshi and a split decision to the aforementioned Kasuya, but he is certainly better than those results would suggests. Seuyoshi on the other hand looks like a man heading for titles and comes into this on a career best win over Shingo Eto. Good bout that sees Sanpei seek revenge and Sueyoshi look continue his solid run of 9 wins.
A final out of note sees former OPBF title contender Dai Iwai (18-4-1, 7) battle Takehiro Shinohara (7-4-2, 7). Iwai is looking for his second win since last year's stoppage loss to Masayuki Ito and although he'll be the favourite he is facing a real puncher in Shinohara, who stopped Daisuke Watanabe last year, but has sadly been inactive for more than a year coming in to this.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall again with the next “Dangan” card, and although it's not one of the best we'll see this year it does feature a really good 8 round bout and an “interim” OPBF title bout.
The title fight will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (23-1, 7) battle Filipino visitor Joel Dela Cruz (19-23-3, 7) in a bout for the “interim” OPBF Welterweight title. The bout looks like a major mismatch on paper, but it does seem that the winner have a more serious bout later in the year with a contest against the winner of a bout between Jack Brubaker and Paddy Murphy, who meet in around 3 weeks for the full OPBF title.
Whilst the main event isn't that attractive we do really like the supporting bout between the unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya (8-0, 1) and Kazuma Sanpei (12-2, 4). The unbeaten 19 year old impressed in 2014 claiming the All Japan Rookie of the Year, at 130lbs, and notched up two wins last year to extend his winning record. Although lacking in power Kasuya has progressed a long way from his debut just over 2 years ago. Sanpei won the Rookie of the Year himself in 2013 though has since gone 3-2 with stoppage losses to Johnreil Maligro and Masaru Sueyoshi, and knows that he needs to build on his most recent win, a narrow decision win over Ribo Takahata. This won't be a war but will be a very competitive contest between two talented youngsters looking to begin 2016 with a notable win.
We don't often talk about Japanese Middleweights but this coming Monday sees them stealing the headlines with an interesting looking OPBF/JBC Middleweight title fight which headlines the next Dangan card.
That Middleweight bout sees current unified OPBF and JBC champion Akio Shibata (26-8-1, 12) defending his titles against the younger and more explosive Koki Tyson Maebara (9-1-1, 9). For Maebara this is a huge step up in class but the confident 22 year believes that he is the next great Middleweight from Japan and is hoping to one day become an international star. Shibata, the veteran of the division, has found an Indian summer of sorts in recent years and despite being 33 is in the form of his career. This really could be a very good contest.
The key support bout here sees the unbeaten, and Japanese ranked, Yuichiro Kasuya (7-0, 1) risk his record against Keisuke Ota (9-8, 2). The promising Kasuya, who turned 19 just days before the fight, will be looking to build on the success that saw him claim the All Japan Rookie of the Year last December. Ranked #15 by the JBC at 130lbs this is a good test for the teenage who will be in his first 8 round bout.
This card features two other 8 rounders as well as 4 low level 4 rounders.
We've had a real lull in action recently but these next few days sees that lull ending in style with fights across the Orient.
The most well matched show of the day is in Tokyo as we get the next Dangan card. The show isn't the most meaningful or significant but it certainly does have some good looking and interesting contests on it.
One of those bouts is the main event which pits ranked fighters against each other in a potentially significant cross roads bout on the Japanese domestic scene. The bout will pit the experienced Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-2, 12), who is ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF, against the heavy handed Kenta Nakagawa (9-2, 7). Although in experienced Nakagawa made his debut in 2004 and appears to be looking to make up for lost time with this bout. Shiraishi however may have too much know how for his hard hitting foe.
Another showdown between ranked fighters comes in the chief support bout as Lightweight contenders face off in what could be something a little bit special. In one corner here we will have Kazuhiro Nishitani (14-2-1, 7) whilst in the other corner we have the the inform Yusuke Tsukada (7-4, 3). These two are ranked #8 and #9 by the JBC and although their rankings are very similar it's hard to see what Tsukada really brings to the table here, despite solid back-to-back wins coming in to this bout.
Another bout to feature a ranked fighter comes at Welterweight where Moon Hyun Yun (15-4-2, 2) takes on Shiro Saito (7-4-2, 2). Yun is looking for a second title fight and may well see a win here as his door to rematch with Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama, he does however enter 1-2-1 in his last 4. For Saito this is a great opportunity but it would require a career best performance for him to to claim a win.
In another 8 round we'll see a bout between experienced but flawed fighters as Ryuichi Funai (23-6, 16) takes on Japanese based Filipino Ryan Bito (22-14-3, 8). Funai is in great form with 6 wins, 5 inside the distance, since his last loss, to Rolly Lunas in an OPBF Bantamweight title clash and is on the verge of a shot at either the OPBF or the Japanese title. As for Bito the experienced Pinoy is looking to score just his second win since the start of 2012. It's fair to say Funai is the big favourite but we're hoping to see a good performance from Bito who really is indeed of a good one considering his recent form.
The final bout of note will see the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Featherweight, Yuichiro Kasuya (6-0, 1) fight for the first time this year as he takes on the limited, and fellow light hitting, Takashi Sakamoto (6-4, 1) in what appears to be a good step in the right direction for Kasuya who does look very promising. Aged just 18 we suspect we'll see a lot of Kasuya over the coming years.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get the chance to see a Sonshine card which features several notable names all in action, including one of the most interesting Filipino prospects.
The top of the card features 4 bouts all scheduled for 10 rounds. Sadly these all appear to be a mismatches including a bout between fringe contender Edrin Dapudong (30-6, 18) and domestic journeyman Richard Garcia (25-21-1, 7). This should be an easy win for “The Sting” who is better than his record indicates, and has sadly suffered a number of very close losses in recent times.
Another mismatch at the top of the card will see the heavy handed Lorenzo Villanueva (28-1-0-1, 24) battle against the tough but limited Rey Laspinas (19-11-5, 11). Villanueva, who did look amazingly exciting early in his career, comes into this bout looking for his 7th straight win since losing a 2012 FOTY contender to Daud Yordan in Singapore. Laspinas has proven his toughness, with just 3 stoppage losses, but all 3 stoppages have come in his last 8 bouts and this is likely to be another stoppage loss.
Former world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-4, 20) will be fighting for the first time since his disappointing performance against Juan Francisco Estrada. Asenjo has been matched very easily here as he takes on Allan Doronilla (9-14-1, 3) in what should prove to be little more thean a confidence rebuilding win for the hard hitting “Little Assassin”.
The remaining 10 rounder will see Rolando Magbanua (25-2, 17) take on Jimmy Aducal (8-5-2, 6). Coming in to this bout Aducala has been stopped in back-to-back fights and is 2-4 in his last 6. Magbanua on the other hand has won his last 6 and is in good form whilst also, clearly, the big favourite for this one.
As for the interesting prospect, that's the unbeaten Roskie Cristobal (10-0, 8). The 5'10” fighter, dubbed “The Gentle Giant” will be seeking his 11th straight win when he takes on the tough JR Mendoza (10-18, 4). Mendoza is a potential banana skin for domestic foes but shouldn't cause Cristobal to slip up, the interest here is whether or not Cristobal will be able to give Mendoza his 4th stoppage loss.
New York, USA
In the US fans will get the chance to see rising Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (5-0, 5) continue his career as he takes on the limited Jason Thompson (5-10-4, 4), who is winless in the last 72 months. The heavy handed Kazakh, 28, has now been a pro for more than 3 years and it seems like it's now time that he was moved up in terns of his match making, sadly however it doesn't seem like his handlers are willing to really back him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)