One of the great things about Japanese boxing is the fact that talented youngsters get in the ring against each other, rather than get protected in the hope of a bout marinating down the line. This type of match making is particularly in both the Japanese Youth title bouts, which regularly match top youngsters against each other, and the B class tournaments which usually match touted novice professionals against each other.
This coming Monday the Korakuen Hall place host to both, B Class tournament and Japanese Youth title tournament bouts, essentially Japanese Youth title eliminators, in what is set to be an excellent, but perhaps over-looked, show.
One of the Japanese Youth title eliminators will see Haruki Ishikawa (7-1, 5) and Atsushi Takada (6-1-3, 3) battle in a really interesting match up. The 19 year old Ishikawa lost in a very close bout against Yusei Fujikawa, in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but has bounced back with a good win over Alvin Medura back in April and certainly has a lot of promise. Takada on the other hand was beaten in a Japanese youth title fight in April and will be looking to secure a second shot at the title in the near future. On paper this is finely balanced and should be a very compelling contest.
The other Japanese title eliminator on this card will actually find themselves up against the winner of the Ishikawa Vs Takada fight, in a bout for the vacant title. This match up., on paper, looks like a mismatch with former Rookie of the Year winner Fumiya Fuse (8-0, 1) taking on 18 year old novice Toshiya Ishii (1-0, 1). This doesn't look great until you realise that Ishii was a very capable amateur, coming runner up in the 2018 Inter-High school tournament and being earmarked for professional success straight away. Fuse is a very talented boxer but this is, in many ways, his toughest test so far, whilst Ishii is will be hoping to have not bitten off more than he chew. A brilliant match up, and one where the winner will really earn something from victory.
In a B class tournament bout, at Light Flyweight, we see novice professionals clash in what could be a really interesting contest. The match up in question is a 6 round bout between Yuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) and Ryu Horikawa (1-0, 1). On paper this might not look anything special to those who don't follow the Japanese scene but for those with a hardcore interest this is something special between two talented former amateur standouts. Nakajima went 52-21 in the unpaid ranks, and has looked fantastic in his first 2 bouts, as a professional whilst Horikawa went 37-8 was matched hard on debut and had to show his mettle. Despite only 3 pro bouts between them this should be a very, very good fight
Action returns to Korakuen Hall this coming Wednesday as we get the next stacked card from Kadoebi. The show features a former world champion, a former world title challenger and a very highly regarded prospect in what is genuinely a stacked card at this level.
The main event will see former IBF Super Bantamweight world champion Yukinori Oguni (20-2-1, 8) take on IBF world ranked ranked Bantamweight Sukpraserd Ponpitak (22-9, 14), aka Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. On paper Oguni should be strongly favoured, given he's the naturally bigger man and the fighter with the higher level of achievement, but this is only his second bout since losing the world title to Ryosuke Iwasa back in 2017, and is a huge step up in class from his win over Arega Yunian. The Thai is no world beater, but does seem more consistent than he was earlier in his career, and has had a couple of very close losses on his travels in the last few years, including a narrow loss in Japan to Kazuki Tanaka and another close one in China to Qiu Xiao Jun. This will likely be a lot more competitive than the records suggests.
In a main supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Flyweight and OPBF Super Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5-1, 13). Kogawa, himself a former world title challenger looks like he is in soft here, as he takes on Hideyuki Watanabe (8-11-3, 6) in what should be an easy win for the veteran. Whilst Kogawa does have a habit of making things tricky for himself there shouldn't be any worries here. Watanabe has lost his last 5 and has just 1 win in his last 8, though does typically go rounds. We could see Kogawa shaking some ring rust here, but would be hugely surprised if he was tested.
Another former Japanese champion on this show is Takenori Ohashi (16-5-2, 10), who fights for the second time since losing the Japanese Featherweight title to Taiki Minamoto. The hard hitting Ohashi will not be getting a gimme, but should still manage to pick up a win as he battles Shun Wakabayashi (9-3, 2). It's worth noting that whilst Wakabayashi doesn't have an amazing record he has strung together 5 straight wins, with 2 of them coming on the road in China, and the most recent being a stoppage win over Xian Qian Wei, so he will have momentum and confidence coming into this one.
In other supporting bouts we'll see Ryoji Fukunaga (10-4, 10), Yuichiro Kasuya (11-2-1, 3) and the promising Yuki Nakajima (1-0, 1) all looking to pick up their next wins. All 3 will be expected to win, though all are taking steps up in class from their most recent bouts. Of the 3 men it's Kasuya who has the hardest on paper, taking on Toru Kiyota (9-2, 7) though we're mostly interested in seeing how Yuki Nakajima looks against Filipino Paolo Sy (6-3-1, 3).
To kick off the month of October we get the next show in the “Slugfest” series of cards from Kadoebi. The card's the most exciting but is headlined by a former national champion and features 3 notable prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-5-2, 10) taking on teenage hopeful Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1). The heavy handed Ohashi was totally manhandled earlier this year when Taiki Minamoto ripped the title from him in April in impressive fashion, stopping Ohashi in 7 rounds and ending his 4 month reign as champion. This will be Ohashi's first bout since that loss. The 19 year old Saeki competed in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and has has shown good skills, but a lack of power is likely to be a major problem, especially here, with Ohashi unlikely to show him respect.
Another fighter looking to return to winning ways is Kazuki Saito (5-1, 5), a talented former amateur stand out who was upset last time out by Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, who really showed how flawed Saito is defensively. The hard hitting Saito is being matched softly here, as he takes on Filipino Rey Ramos (8-9-2, 3), who has been beat in 5 of his last 7 with 3 career stoppage losses. This is clearly a confidence booster for Saito, and we can't begrudge him one those given the stoppage loss.
Another of the under-card bouts features super prospect Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) in what looks to be a stay busy fight. The sensationally talented Yamauchi, who has really impressed us through 2018, will be up against Indonesian foe Rio Nainggolan (4-8, 3). Coming in to this Yamauchi has spent 2018 stopping both Lester Abutan and Yota Hori, to move into the OPBF and JBC rankings at Flyweight. As for the visitor he has fought just once this year, losing to Carlo Cesar Penalosa in 3 rounds. The Indonesian has had no luck at all on the road with losses to the likes of Petch Sor Chitpattana, Juiki Tatsuyoshi, Petch Kokietgym and Penalosa, and we would be massively surprised if Nainggolan managed to last more than 5 rounds with the Japanese wunderkind.
Another notable prospect in action here is the debuting Yuki Nakajima (0-0), the brother of Kazuki Nakajima. The 23 year old is tipped for huge success and will look to shine as he begins his professional career against Thai visitor Somphon Banyaem (3-1, 3), who's only bout of note was a 4th round KO loss to Takamori Kiyama in May, with Kiyama making his debut in that bout. We suspect Nakajima will stop the Thai, and will look to do so quicker than Kiyama, but this is an interesting debut given that it allows for a direct comparison between two young up and comers.