They key show this coming Friday comes from Osaka, where we get a Japanese title fight, and several under-card bouts featuring notable fighters.
The main event will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-17-2, 11) make his first defense, as he takes on Takayuki Okumoto (20-8-3, 10), a man fighting in his first world title challenge. Kudaka, a 4-time world title challenger, won the Japanese title this past April, when he out pointed Go Onaga for the vacant title. At 33 years old Kudaka will know that he can't really afford another set back, but will feel like he can pick up a straight forward defense. So far Okumoto is 0-2 in title fights, including a Japanese title fight last year against Ryuichi Funai, but he's a capable fighter who has gone 4-1-1 in his last 6 and will be riding some momentum here. We favour the champion, but suspect he will have to work hard for the victory.
The chief support bout will see 2017 Welterweight Rookie of the Year runner up Rikuto Adachi (9-1, 6) face off with limited Indonesian fighter Maxi Nahak (7-15-3, 3). Adachi lost to Hironori Shigeta in the Rookie final, but has bounced back with a 6th round KO of a Thai foe which he's looking to build on here. As for Nahak, he's 0-4 in Japan and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, suggesting that Adachi should be able to pick up a win here with out too many problems here
Also on this card will be former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (23-3, 22),
who will be fighting for the second time since ending his retirement earlier this year, and former Japanese and OPBF Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (31-10-3, 10), who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Takeshi Inoue. We've been informed that Nonaka will be facing a Thai whilst Nakamura will be up against Marbon Bodiongan (14-7-2, 11).
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a show in Tokyo, though this card is lacking in the name value that the Osakan card has.
The main event will see Masanori Rikiishi (2-1, 1) look to bounce back from his recent loss to Kosuke Saka as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Egy Rozten (5-18-2, 3). Despite the loss to Saka it seems clear that Rikiishi's team have big hopes for him and despite this being a straight forward bout, at least on paper, the fact he is main eventing shows the belief that the Green gym have in him. Rozten comes into this on the back of 6 straight stoppages, and has gone 0-6-1 in his last 7 bouts, showing just how much of an easy opponent he should be for Rikiishi.
In the chief support bout fans will be able to see Japanese ranked Featherweight Yosuke Kawano (12-7-2, 6) take on Masajiro Honda (6-9, 4). The 29 year old Kawano has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, but is better than that form suggests with his draw coming to Takenori Ohashi, who went on to claim the Japanese Featherweight title last year, and ran the likes of Dai Iwai and Ryuto Araya very close. Honda has been stopped in his last 5 bouts, and is without a win since November 2014. It's clear that Kawano has been matched softly here and should pick up a pretty simple win.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Takahiro Araki (11-7, 4), who will be facing off with Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-9, 4). Araki is nothing great, going 3-3 in his last 6, but should have more than enough to deal with Takabayashi, who has gone 1-6 in his last 7 bouts.
Staying in Asia there will also be a double title show in Jakarta.
One of the bouts will see the very experienced James Mokoginta (37-18-3, 23) take on hard hitting Filipino Jon Jon Estrada (11-4-1, 10), in what will be Mokoginta's first defense of the WBA Asia Featherweight title. Although Mokiginta has 58 career bouts he's only 27 years old and has the potential to be in some good fights. It is worth noting however that Estrada is a genuine banger, and has stopped usually durable fighters like Pablito Canada and Brian Lobetania in recent years. Given the power of Estrada we can
The other title bout will see the limited Ruben Manakane (24-17-1, 13) face off with the unbeaten Muhammad Ashiq (4-0, 3) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Manakane is limited but is currently riding a 5 fight winning streaking, having claimed several titles during that run. Ashiq is a bit of an unknown, only debuting last September, but looks like he could be a prospect worth following and a win here would put him on the map, at least domestically.
In California fight fans will be able to see unbeaten American Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5) take on Filipino foe Recky Dulay (10-3-0-1, 7) in a bout for the NABF Super Featherweight title. Gamez started his career slowly but has stepped up this year, beating Shoki Sakai in April to notch his best win to date. Dulay is coming into his prime has lost 2 of his 3 bouts in the US, including a stoppage to Gervonta Davies. We would be surprised by a win for Dulay, but he has surprised us in the past.
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo will get an interesting card with a world title eliminator headlining the show, and two undercard bout featuring Japanese ranked fighters.
The main event will be a Light Middleweight bout featuring former unified Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion Takeshi Inoue (12-0-1, 7) battling against former Japanese OPBF champion Yuki Nonaka (31-9-3,10), with the winner of this getting a #2 ranking with the IBF and taking a huge step towards getting a world title. The 28 year old Inoue, no relation to the likes of Naoya Inoue, has been incredible impressive turning professional in 2014 and has really began to shine in the last 18 months or so, with 2017 being a sensational year for the Tokyo fight. Last year Inoue defeated Akinori Watanabe, Koshinmaru Saito, Riku Nagahama and Ratchasi Sithsaithong and really put himself on the map. At 40 years old this really will be Nonaka's last chance, and unfortunately his only bout in the last 12 months was a clear 10 round loss to Dennis Hogan, which doesn't bode well for him here. Nonaka is a very skilled fighter, but with ring rust and age catching up to him this will be a big ask for the Osakan veteran.
The chief support bout will see Naoyuki Tsukada (8-3-5, 3) risk his Japanese ranking as he takes on Satoru Todaka (7-2-4, 3) in a Light Flyweight bout. On paper this is a really competitive looking bout, and it features two men with very similar records, but records which have come in very different ways. Tsukada began his career with 3 wins before falling to 3-3-1 after 7 bouts. Now Tsuakada is riding a 9 fight unbeaten run, including a win over Yuto Takahashi and a draw with Kenji Ono. Todaka on the other hand lost on his debut before running up a 9 fight unbeaten that ended last year against Hikaru Ota. This should be really competitive, and both men will see this as a chance to take a huge step towards getting a Japanese title fight.
Another supporting bout will see Japanese ranked fighters Yuta Matsuo (13-3-1, 7) and Ryoji Fukunaga (10-2, 10) face off in what looks like a really interesting match up. Last year Matsuo challenged Masayuki Kuroda for the Japanese interim Flyweight title and put up a good effort, though has since moved up to Super Flyweight where it seems he may well have more success. As for Fukunaga he's a very dangerous fighter, he's not beaten anyone of real note, even on the domestic level, but he's a heavy handed fighter who has scored his 10 wins in just 28 rounds. Fukunaga will have his power tested here but if it's as good as it looks on paper Matsuo will be in for real problems here.
This coming Saturday is a relatively quiet day for Asian boxing, but there is two notables bout of interest for us, with the most interesting set to take place in Nicaragua.
This bout will see former world title challengers collide as Thai warrior Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (32-5-1, 17) takes on the aggressive and teak tough Felix Alvarado (29-2, 25) in what looks like a really mouth watering clash between two highly capable fighters. In Asia we've seen Fahlan play the role of under-dog with mixed success. He is best known for scoring a career best win over Ryo Miyazaki in 2013 and ran both Katsunari Takayama and Milan Melindo close in bouts on the road. As for Alvarado he's best known for competitive losses to Kazuto Ioka and Juan Carlos Reveco, and has never lose below world class, with notable wins over a number of Latin-American fighters like Jose Antonio Jimenez and Luis de la Rosa. Although the bout won't get much “English language” attention it does have the potential to be very exciting.
The other bout will be taking place in Australia and will see former OPBF and Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (31-8-3, 10) take on Australian based Irishman Dennis Hogan (25-1-1, 7) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Middleweight title. Coming in to the bout both men are world ranked, with Nonaka holding top 15 rankings with all 4 world title bodies and Hogan having a #4 place with the WBO, and the bout is essentially a world title eliminator for the WBO title, with the winner likely to get a shot in 2018. Hogan, a former WBA “interim” title challenger has won 3 in a row since losing to Jack Culcay in December 2015, and although he lost to Culcay he did actually come out of that bout with a much improved reputation. As for Nonaka he is unbeaten since November 2009, but has been out of the ring for almost a year coming into this contest, and will know that their may be some ring rust that needs shaking if he's to over-come the talented Hogan.
With so much title action to end the year there is a lot of attention on the December 30th and 31th cards. Before then there is also a small but notable card on December 29th with a Japanese title bout headling the card.
In the main event we'll see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (30-8-3, 9) face off with veteran Yosuke Kirima (26-3-2, 16), in what will be Nonaka's 6th defense of the title. The talented champion was relatively fortunate last time out, when he struggled past Ryosuke Maruki. For Kirima this will be a third shot at the title and a win could see him move into the world rankings.
In the chief support bout we see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (19-4-1, 11) battle against Thai KO artist Jakaphan Tor Buamas (5-1, 5). The Thai has racked up 5 quick wins in his homeland but lost last time out, in Japan, to Masayoshi Hashizume back in July and we would suspect Carrillo will also be too good and too strong for the visitor.
Another bout that sees a Japanese fighter take on a Thai will see the unbeaten Hayate Ikuta (6-0, 2) face off with the win-less Jakarachlek Sor Wankaew (0-6). It's hard to see anything but a win for Ikuta, especially given that the the Thai has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 and is 0-4 in Japan, but this could give us a chance to compare Ikuta to some of his fellow Japanese hopefuls.
This coming Wednesday is a big one for Japanese boxing with 2 world title fights and two other title bouts all taking place on Ioka show in Osaka.
The most interesting bout on the card is an IBF Super Bantamweight title bout which sees Japan's tricky Shingo Wake (20-4-2, 12) face off against Dominican power puncher Jonathan Guzman (21-0-0-1, 21) fighting for the vacant title. The bout sees both men taking part in their first world title fight and both men know that a win will open the door to them getting more high profile bouts in the near future. For Wake the bout is his first against a genuine puncher whilst Guzman will be facing his first world class Super Bantamweight and the bout really should be something very telling.
In the co-main event WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (19-1, 11) will be facing off against Nicaraguan fighter Keyvin Lara (18-1-1, 6). For Ioka the bout will be his third defense and it seems likely that he could be up against Juan Francisco Estrada later in the year if he wins here. For Lara the bout is a huge step up in class and a huge opportunity, however it seems likely to be one that has come far too soon for him again a man who appears to be really growing into the Flyweight division.
In a supporting title bout Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (29-8-3, 9) will be defending his title against hungry lion Ryosuke Maruki (12-3-1, 7). Maruki will be in his first bout at this level, though is a former WBC Youth champion, and will need a career best performance to really trouble the veteran champion. As for Nonaka the 38 year old will be seeking a 5th defense of his title and will be hoping to extend his 11 fight unbeaten record.
Another supporting title bout on this show will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (17-4, 14) take on Filipino puncher Rex Wao (11-2, 9) in what could be a thrilling, but short, bout. For Yamamoto this will be his second defense and is one that he will be expected to win however Wao is a serious puncher and knows that a win here will help kick start his career after 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, with the most recent loss coming well about above the Bantamweight limit.
In regards to non-title bouts on this card we are interested to see Masayoshi Hashizume (10-0, 7) return to the ring as he faces fellow unbeaten Sangthong Tor Buamas (5-0, 5) in what could be an interesting assignment for the 2014 Rookie of the Year. Hashizume has impressed us in the past and does look fun and will hopefully move on to bigger things. For Sangthong this could be a coming out fight or it could see him exposed for his paper record.
The ridiculousness of Japanese boxing is on full show this coming Sunday with a staggering 5 shows, 3 of which are in Osaka alone, with two of those actually sharing a venue!
The busy venue is the EDION Arena which is doubling up this Sunday. The first of the two shows is set to begin at 12:30 local time and is a relatively low profile Kazama promoted card.
The main event of the Kazama show sees Japanese 154lb champion Yuki Nonaka (28-8-3, 9) defending his title against the under-rated Yuto Shimizu (11-2-2, 4) in a mandatory defense. On paper it's easy to favour the champion, who is very experienced at title level and is a genuine joy to watch. Shimizu however is the much younger man and is on an 8-0 run with wins against the likes of Hikaru Nishida, the current JBC/OPBF Middleweight champion, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. This could be a very good bout.
In a notable under-card bout fans will see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (18-4-1, 11) face off against Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) in what looks like a mismatch, but could prove to be a good test for Carrillo, who is now managed by Hiroki Ioka. Whilst Mabao's record is “sketchy” at best he does come in to this one on a 3-fight unbeaten run, including a victory over Michael Enriquez and will be pretty confident coming into this bout.
The second show at the EDION Arena in Osaka is a much more notable card with several bouts of interest, even if they are likely to be pretty uncompetitive.
The nominal main event of the card will see the unbeaten OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (11-0, 6) defending his title against the limited, but very heavy handed, Tosho Makoto Aoki (20-13-2, 17). On paper this is a mismatch, there is no way of denying it, however Aoki has got a puncher's chance and will know that with his power his only chance is to take the fight to Nakatani. If the champion can take the power of the challenger then this will be a drama-less win for Nakatani, however Aoki's power may be enough to unsettle Nakatani's, or at least ask questions of the champion.
A second title bout on this card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (21-0, 11) take on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-6, 16). This will be Ishida's 5th defense of the title and if he's successful his team will almost certainly do what they can to get him a world title fight later in the year. For Funai the bout will be his second shot at a title, and he'll be hoping for a better outcome than his last title fight, a 9th round TKO loss to Rolly Lunas. Notably the challenger is 7-0 (6) since that loss and will be riding a high coming into this one.
A third bout of note here sees Kei Takenaka (10-0, 3) battle against Daoruang Saknarong (0-0) in a world title “prelude”. If Takenaka gets through this, she should, she will be matched with IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata in late Summer.
Another bout on this card, and one which will infact split the title contests, will see OPBF ranked Flyweight contender Shun Kosaka (11-2, 2) face off against Kenta Yamada (8-5-1, 1). This is a relatively rare, at least for Japan, 10 round non-title bout and should help prepare Kosaka for a potential title fight in the coming years.
The third Osaka card comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center and is a Muto promoted card that features some of the best matchmaking for the day, yet another title fight, and some potentially action.
The main event is a rematch as the heavy handed Koki Tyson (9-2-1, 9), previously known as Koki Tyson Maebara, battles Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-11, 8) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Tyson made light work of the Thai in 2014, stopping him in 4 rounds, though was last seen suffering a 7th round TKO loss to Akio Shibata, in a bout that saw him being outboxed before being stopped. Since the first bout Petchsuriya has gone 2-1 though was notably beaten last time out by Kerry Hope, with the bout being given to Hope after the fight was reviewed by the WBC judges.
The best bout on the card is another rematch as former multi-time title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-14-1, 10) faces off against under-rated Filipino Mark John Yap (23-12, 10). These two men met last year with Yap winning an 8 round decision, this rematch however will be over 10 rounds and could well see the winner getting a Japanese or OPBF title fight later in the year. Although the records may not show it, this really could be something very special.
The main event isn't the only probably blow out, with the chief support bout being a contest between the explosive Masao Nakamura (21-3, 20) and the tough but limited San Saknarong (3-5, 1). The last time we saw the Thai he was stopped in 6 by Hidenori Otake, and it's hard to see him living with Nakamura, who will see a win a chance to move towards a well deserved title shot, potentially with Kenichi Ogawa in what would be a very fun shoot out.
In a 4th bout of note Japanese ranked fighters collide as Masahiro Sakamoto (6-0, 4) faces off against Atsushi Aburada (10-9, 6) in a bout that could potentially decide a future Japanese title challenger. On paper Sakamoto is the favourite but Aburada is the more proven fighter and this could be a very tough bout for both, who know there is a lot to lose coming in to this one.
One of the small Japanese shows comes from Kobe where fans will see a former world title contender and a former OPBF title challenger in action.
The former world title contender is Teiru Kinoshita (23-1-1, 6) who will be looking to continue to rebuild his career following his loss to the excellent Zolani Tete in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout back in 2014. The Japanese fighter should be very heavily favoured here as he takes on little known Korean fighter Min Wook Lee (2-3), who is best known for losing to the then debuting Muhammad Waseem late last year.
The former OPBF title challenger is Kazuya Murata (11-5, 5) who faces Tatsuya Yoneo (8-5, 1) in what will be Murata's first bout following a 5th round loss to Masayoshi Nakatani last August. Murata should win here, but it could be interesting to see if the loss to Nakatani did take something out of him.
The smallest of the Japanese shows comes from Fukuoka where fans get a very small card with novices. All the bouts here are 4 rounders with the most notable being a Lightweight contender between Tsuyoshi Matsuda (4-0, 2) and teenager Seiya Matsunaga (2-1, 1), which shows the level of this card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines.
The most notable bout here features former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-11-2, 18), who faces the limited and light hitting Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in what should be a walk in the park for Lopez. Sadly however Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years going 6-8-1 in his last 15 bouts.
In a notable under-card contest 21 year old puncher Allan Vallespin (5-0, 5) will risk his perfect record against Jomar Borbon (4-23-2, 2). Vallespin has looked devastating so far and will be looking to continue that run against the experienced Borbon.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
In wonderful Brazil fight fans will be able to see India's Neeraj Goyat (7-2-2, 2) battle against Brazilian local Guilherme Castagnazzi Ribeiro (3-1, 3). Ribeiro has won his last 3 bouts in a combined 4 rounds, but this is a step up in class for the local and Goyat, although the naturally smaller man, comes into this one on a 7-0 run.
So there we go, Christmas has been and whilst we wish you all had a great one boxing does continue and continues in style with December 27th being the first really notable day post Christmas.
Attention turns back to Kyoto for one of a multitude of Japanese sjhows.
The main match up here is possibly the fight of the day and sees a youngster look to establish himself a genuine star in the making. That youngster is Ken Shiro (5-0, 2) who will be taking a huge step up in class to face Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-13-1, 7). The bout is Ken Shiro's first bout against the best in Japan but he has looked brilliant so far into his career whilst Horikawa will be defending his title for the first time since his emphatic win over Shin Ono back in September. This really could be something very special.
The only supporting bout worth noting here will see Atsushi Aburada (10-8, 6) battle against Takahiro Murai (11-6-2, 4) in what looks like a really good match up. Aburada has gone 3-3 in his last 6, but those losses have included a defeat in a Japanese title fight and a loss to the solid Tetsuya Hisada. Murai has never been stepped and will see this as a great opportunity to claim a Japanese ranking, though will know that Aburada is a tough test. A really good bit of match making has gone in to this one.
The first of two Osaka shows is the more notable with a title fight and a bout featuring a former world title challenger.
In the main event of this one fans will get the chance to see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-3, 9) defending his title against multi-time challenger Koshinmaru Saito (22-7-1, 12). On paper this is genuinely a great bout, though one that Nonaka should win given his more intelligent boxing. Given that both fighters are well in to their 30's this is a must win to keep their careers alive and we expect a very good bout, even if it's not likely to lead either man to a bigger and better fight down the line.
The only supporting bout worth mentioning here will see former 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-13-1, 10) battle against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (22-12, 10). Whilst both men have got double figure losses both are talented fighters and both tend to be in entertaining bouts suggesting that this really could be the bout of the day. Both have lost to their best opponents but they are about the same level and could potentially put on a barn burner
The second of the Osaka shows comes after the first, in the same venue and it put on by Hiroki Ioka Promotions
The main event here will see world ranked Featherweight contender Hiroshige Osawa (28-3-4, 17) in a 10 round bout. Osawa, a former OPBF champion, will be hoping to record his 7th straight stoppage win and continue an unbeaten run that began back in 2009. Talented but yet frustrating Osawa seems to be a man who has wasted the last few years, with suspension and mismatches, but hopefully we'll see him kick on in 2016.
The co-feature bout will see former world title challenger Pablo Carrillo (17-4-1, 10) take on Thai visitor Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-4, 1). Carrillo, who fought Kazuto Ioka in 2014, is now based in Japan and will be making his debut as a Japanese based fighter with the hope of moving towards a world title shot in the future. This however is just stay busy for the Colombia, who has fought just once this year.
A final bout from this card worth noting sees the Japanese ranked Kosuke Saka (11-3, 8) in action. This bout was put together on late notice after Saka had a bout with Andres Gutierrez fall through earlier in the year.
Another Japanese card comes from Hyogo where Taisei hope to show case some of their most notable fighters.
The most notable of those Taisei gym fighters is Riku Kano (7-1-1, 4) who takes on former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (58-8-2, 23). Pigmy is currently world ranked and it's cleat that Kano's team are looking at this bout as a chance to get their man into the world rankings as quickly as possible, with their task being to get him a world title fight before the year is out. The match up is however a risky one and Pigmy cannot be written off, despite a recent defeat to Jaysever Abcede.
Another notable bout featuring a Taisei fighter will see Hiroki Taniguchi (6-7-1, 2) battle against the Japanese ranked Toshimasa Ouchi (18-8-3, 5) . This is a really harsh match up for Taniguchi, who has won just 1 of his last 6, but it's the sort of match up that sums up the Taisei gym, where they don't protect their fighters just for the sake of it. Ouchi will be the big favourite here, but has lost 2 of his last 4 and will likely be seeing this as a confidence builder.
Tokyo also gets some action with a small show courtesy of Hanagata.
The main event of this card sees Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuta Saito (8-7-2, 6) battle against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-6, 3) in a strangely well matched bout. Although ranked by the JBC Saito has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6, though did beat Keita Nakana in that win and has generally been competitive despite piling up the losses. Takabayashi however is 3-3 in his last 6, though has been fighting at a higher weight and could well bee too physical for Saito. This isn't a top tier bout, but it is an intriguing one.
A second bout of note here is a female bout that sees former world title challenger Saemi Hanagata (10-6-2, 4) battle against Chie Higano (4-3, 1). In all honesty this looks like a stay busy fight for Hanagata who will likely be hoping to have another world title fight in 2016. Higano should prove no threat for Hanagata but could go the distance.
Seoul, South Korea
The day also features a KBF show in the Korean capital
The main event here sees former WBO world champion Su Yun Hong (12-1-1, 6) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Li Liu (6-0-1, 3)*. The bout is a WIBF Light Flyweight title defense for Hong, who claimed the title last year and will be hoping to record the third defense of the belt. Although talented Hong's run of recent opposition has been poor and we hope in 2016 she will step it up, significantly.
The most interesting of the match ups sees former OPBF Super Bantamweight challenger Jimmy Paypa (16-3-1, 6) battle against Jason Egera (21-15, 10). For Paypa this is his first bout since he was stopped, way back in February, by Shingo Wake. He'll be looking for a win though does appear set to move up in weight to Featherweight for this match up. Whilst Paypa was beaten last time out it does need to be said that Egera has lost his last 7 with 4 of those coming by stoppage.
The other 10 rounder will see 19 year old hopeful Elmo Traya (9-1, 7) battle against the out of form Gabriel Royo (10-13-2, 8). Traya comes in to this on an 8 fight winning run whilst Royo is 1-6 in his last 7 bouts, dating back just over 2 years.
*Record reported by the KBF
April 19th-Nonaka and Hosokawa face showdown on a card that also sees Mukai and Tomiyama facing off!
Japanese action gets back underway on Sunday with a pair of shows, one of which really is worth making a note of.
The more notable of the two Japanese cards comes from Osaka where fans get several very interesting match ups.
The most notable of the bouts on the show is the main event which will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-2, 9) defending his title against former champion Takayuki Hosokawa (26-10-3, 9). The title, which was given up by Hosokawa last year following a bout of illness, ended up in Nonaka's hands when he easily out pointed Kengo Nagashima, and this will now by the second defense by Nonaka who over-came the dangerous Charlie Ota at the end of last year. For Hosokawa, the current IBF Asian champion at the weight, this is a chance to reclaim the title and to score a second notable win in 3 fights, having out pointed Tadashi Yuba just over a year ago. Notably the winner of this bout is expected to take a huge step up he IBF rankings and may well find themselves in the mix for a world title fight later in the year.
An intriguing chief support bout will see former world title challengers collide as Hirofumi Mukai (10-3-2, 1) battle against Konosuke Tomiyama (24-7-1, 8). Mukai has come up short in two world title fights, suffering a technical draw with the great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in a bout for the WBC Flyweight title and a stoppage defeat to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in a WBC Super Flyweight title bout, whilst Tomiyama gave tough guy Nobuo Nashiro a real scare in 2009. Sadly the loser here is likely to be pushed well down the domestic pecking order whilst the winner may be able to pick up the pieces of their career later in the year.
A third bout that has caught our eye here is a notable step up bout for Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (9-2, 7) who will be fighting against former Japanese and OPBF title challenger Valentine Hosokawa (18-4-3, 9). Petagine will have youth and size advantage over his opponent though was less than convincing in his last 2 bouts, a win and a loss to Shohei Kanemoto. On the other hand Hosokawa has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, including an 11th round TKO to Korean warrior Min Wook Kim back in August 2013.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned there will be 2 others on this show.
The other show of the day takes place in Mie and certainly doesn't have anything too notable to mention.
The main event will be an 8 rounder and see the Japanese ranked Yusuke Nakagawa (7-3-1, 4) battle against journeyman foe Hajima Kawase (5-7-2). It's hard to get too excited about this bout though if Nakagawa wins he may find himself in Japanese Super Featherweight title fight in the near future.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Tetsuya Morisada (4-3, 4) who risks his low ranking at Light Welterweight against Kazuyhso Toguri (4-6). On paper this looks like a poor bout but Morisada has looked destructive recently with a trio of quick wins and will be hoping to continue that run against the tough Toguri.
As well as the 2 bouts that have been mentioned there will be another 8 contests.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Dec 28th- Nonaka and Ota start off the New Year run but Nakamura and Labao have the potential to steal the show
Although December 30th and 31st are by far the most exciting days left this year for boxing fans we do have a very interesting “starter” a few days early as Muto Promotions put on a genuinely interesting card around the Japanese domestic scene. The show won't have international fans too excited but there is a potential FOTY on it and 3 genuinely interesting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (26-8-2, 9) defending his belt against former champion Charlie Ota (24-2-1, 16). Nonaka won the title earlier this year with an excellent victory over the heavy handed Kengo Nagashima, it was a bout Nonaka made look easy despite Nagashima being a dangerous puncher. Whilst Nagashima was a dangerous puncher it's fair to say Ota is a much more rounded and dangerous fighter and we suspect Ota will be a nightmare for Nonaka here in what is potentially a very good bout between a boxer and a brawler.
Although the main event looks really good we've got to admit that the co-feature has the potential to be even better as the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (18-2, 18) takes on tough Filipino Rey Labao (26-6, 17) in a contest that has all the ingredients to be something special. Nakamura comes into the bout following a loss to the unheralded Masayuki Ito and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here. Labao, himself a loser last time out Roman Andreev, will also be wanting to to get back with a win. Not only do both men need a win here but both also love to punch and have real belief in their power. Of the two we suspect Nakamura is the bigger puncher however Labao has never been stopped and there is every chance he can Nakamura's power. There is however no proof that Nakamura can take the best Labao has to offer. This one may be a thriller or it may be over very quickly.
A third notable contest on this card will see Kojiro Takada (13-7-3, 9) battle against former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (15-4-4, 7). Takada is a streaky fighter and as he lost last time out we suspect he'll loser again here, though the bout was close and he has got the ability to spring genuine upsets, as he did against Ratchasak KKP and Jerope Mercado. Kikuchi will be seeking his second straight win after suffering back-to-back losses, including a stoppage defeat to Shingo Wake in an OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight. Although the loser won't be heading to retirement the winner will certain take a big boost here whilst the loser will, obviously, be hit by a big set back that could be hard to come back from.
One more bout we'd like to quickly mention will see Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-3, 4) battle against the criminally under-rated Satoshi Niwa (15-18-3, 2). Kobayashi was recently the pro-test partner for the highly regarded Hinata Maruta and the reports suggest Maruta man handled him at times, it'll be interesting to see what he's like here. Niwa on the other hand sports the most misleading record in Japanese boxing and last time out he pushed the then unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu very close in a hard fought 8 rounder. This will be competitive if nothing else.
As well as the 4 bouts we've spoken about this card will feature a further 3 bouts
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines. Although this can't isn't as big it does look like a really interesting one with 3 genuinely notable bouts on it.
The most interesting of the bouts it at Bantamweight where the unbeaten Rex Wao (10-0, 8) attempts to defend his WBC International title against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (22-9-2, 16). Wao is very highly touted and some in the Philippines seem to view him as one of the country's most promising fighters however this is a step up for the 24 year old. Lopez might only be 27 but he already appears to be on the slide, big time, and will know a loss here could be the end of his dreams of ever becoming a force on the world scene. Really good match up and a very important one.
At Featherweight fans will see an interesting clash between Dennis Tubieron (19-3-1, 8) and Carlo Magali (18-7-2, 9). The two men will be fighting for the WBC International title at Featherweight and the winner may well find them put into the verges of the WBC's top 15.
In a Lightweight clash Japan's heavy handed, and under-rated, Tosho Makoto Aoki (18-12-2, 15) will battle against Indonesia's Rengga Rengga (7-1, 1) for the IBF Asia title. Aoki comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight stoppage victories and a growing reputation as a dangerous puncher whilst Rengga was last seen being stopped in just 119 seconds by Masatoshi Kotani. We suspect this will be a mismatch with Aoki taking out the Indonesian early on.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
There isn't much action to kick off a new week with Japan playing host two two shows, the most interesting of which takes place at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka where we get the only title bout of the day.
The title bout in question will see former Japanese and OPBF Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (25-8-2, 9) attempt to reclaim the Japanese title as he battles the big punching Kengo Nagashima (14-10-2, 13) in a battle for the vacant belt. Although Nonaka is a light puncher he has stopped his last two opponents, including Ryo Okayama, and won his last 6 bouts to climb to the top of the Japanese rankings. Nagashima isn't the best fighter out there but does have power and is tough, as shown in his decision loss to Tadashi Yuba. Unfortunately for Nagashima however he did take the bout at late notice following Takayuki Hosokawa pulling out of the bout due to medical issues.
In the chief support bout the OPBF and Japanese ranked Satoru Sugita (8-2-1, 5) looks to build on his surprise victory over Ryota Kajiki form April. Sugita sill be favoured to defeat Yasuyuki Masuda (8-6, 1) though Masuda does himself own a good recent win over Yuta Nagai and the ability to be a banana skin here for Sugita.
A third bout of not here will see Shachihoko Dragons Keita (4-2, 1) battle against Riichi Kawase (5-6-2) in what will be the shows only 6 rounder.
A second Japanese card will be held in Oita and will be headlined by Burning Ishii (4-2-1, 1) who takes on a Thai opponent who we believe is making his debut. Sadly we don't have the name of the Thai fighter so can't check his record.
The co-feature on this show is again not the most inspiring of contests as Hideaki Yamaji (4-5, 2) battles against Takayuki Teraji (4-7-1, 3). Teraji enters this bout after 4 successive losses whilst Yamaji is unlikely to progress far in his career. It's competitive on paper but not a good "chief support" level bout we're afraid.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)