Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The most notable show this coming Sunday is in the Philippines as we get a title double, with a supporting cast of Uzbek hopefuls.
One of those title bouts will see the once beaten Mike Plania (15-1, 8) take on domestic journeyman Angelito Merin (9-8-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Plania will be fighting for the second time since losing to Juan Carlos Payano back in March, and will be looking to build on an opening round blow out win against Jugn Rey Lauza. As for Merin things haven't been so smooth with the 28 year old going 2-6-1 in his last 9 bouts. Although Merin has, on the whole, faced better competition we have been impressed by Plania and strongly fancy him here.
The other title bout will see the unbeaten Dave Apolinario (7-0, 5) take on fellow Filipino Michael Camelion (10-9-1, 8) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Flyweight title. The 19 year old Apolinario looks like a real prospect and and has both a solid amateur background as well as power, speed and youth, with Sanman seemingly having a pure talent on their hands with him. Aged 23 Camelion is starting to look like damaged goods with 5 stoppage losses, including defeats to Hiroto Kyoguchi, Vince Parras and Jayson Mama. Given Apolinario's power we don't see this one going long.
The Uzbek fighters, who are all taking on limited Filipino fighters, are Jasur Akhmadjonov (6-0-1, 4), Bekzod Tursunboev (1-0, 1) and Ulugbek Sobirov (7-0, 5). Coming in to this Akhmadjonov will be hoping to put a draw with Rodel Wenceslao behind him, teenager Sobirov will be looking to impress Filipino fans once again whilst Tursunboev will be wanting to build on an opening round KO against Roy Mukhlis.
As well as the card in the Philippines there will also be a card in Fukuoka.
In the main event Yuki Ozawa (12-6, 3) will battle Katsuhiko Kanno (10-11-7, 4) in an 8 round contest. Ozawa has lost 6 of his last 8, but has mixed with decent company, including Ryo Takenaka, and is better than his record and recent form suggests. Kanno has also struggled in recent bouts, and was blown out inside a round earlier this year by Tae Il Atsumi. Kanno is usually durable, but we don't think he'll put up too much of a test for Oazawa.
The card also has a really interesting looking support bout, as Tetsuwan Takashi (3-1-2) faces Fumiaki Sueyoshi (5-1, 4) in a 6 rounder. The 24 year old Takashi lost on debut, back in 2014, but has since gone 3-0-2 and this will be his first bout over the 6 round distance. The heavy handed Sueyoshi started his career with 4 straight wins before suffering a stoppage loss in September. Since that loss Sueyoshi has moved through the weights and looked rejuvenated when he stopped Bejita Ishikawa back in March. This could be very interesting.
In the only title bout of the day fight fans in Hyogo will see youngsters collide with the 21 year old Tenta Kiyose (13-2-1, 6) taking on 20 year old Filipino Joe Tejones (9-4, 5) for the WBC youth Super Bantamweight title. Of the two men it's Tejones who is probably the more well known internationally, following bout with the likes of Hinata Maruta and Singsayan CP Freshmart, for the WBC Youth Bantamweight and Super Flyweight titles respectively. As for Kiyose he's yet to fight for a title, but did fight in the 2015 Rookie of the Year final and has since gone 6-0 (5) and will be looking to use his natural size advantage.
A second show in Hyogo promises a lot more, without featuring any title action. Instead of title action it's a show mostly focused on youngsters looking to continue their budding careers.
The most notable of the youngsters is former world title challenger Riku Kano (11-3-1, 6), who faces domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (14-7, 6). Coming in to this one the once touted Kano knows he needs a win, having lost 2 of his last 3 including a stoppage loss to Jerry Tomogdan. Talented, speedy and young Kano did attempt to set a Japanese record last year as the youngster Japanese world champion, though came up short against Katsunari Takayama. As for Haruguchi he's in great form with 6 straight wins, including victories over Norihito Tanaka and Jun Takigawa. Although not well known Haruguchi will not be there to lose, and this could be a very competitive contest.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Hiroshige Osawa (31-4-4, 19), who will be expected to blitz Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (9-5-1, 2) in what looks like a mismatch. The talented Osawa was several levels below WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez when they fought around year ago, but Deztroyer should be several levels below Osawa.
Another youngster on this card is Kano's 19 year old stable mate Futa Akizuki (10-0, 8), who fights for the 6th time in Japan. The talented and heavy handed Akizuki will be facing off with Kenji Kihisa (6-3, 3) in a good looking 8 round bout. Akizuki has impressed, with a near shut out against Vincent Bautista and a 7th round stopped of the usually durable Shun Ishibashi. Kihisi is yet to win a bout of note, but he has never been stopped and should prove to be a durable foe for Akizuki and a test of Akizuki's power, especially at this lower tier of domestic level.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card is the “debut” of 17 year old Kazusa Arai (2-0, 2), who has fought twice in Thailand but will finally be fighting on Japanese soil for the first time. The teenager will be up against 18 year old Tetsuro Ohashi (2-0, 1). Ohashi has racked up 4 rounds so far in his career, compared to Arai's 3, but hasn't shown the power of the younger man who will be looking to make a mark here and announce himself to a domestic audience, who may well not know of his activity in Thailand.
In Fukuoka fan will see the heavy handed Ryota Ishida (8-2, 6) take on local resident Yuki Ozawa (12-5, 3) in what looks like a really decent match up on paper. Ishida was last seen losing a decision to the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno in August, with that loss ending a 3 fight stoppage run for Ishida. Ozawa on the other hand has notched up back-to-back wins following a 5 fight losing run, which included losses to Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. And he looks to be getting his career back on track.
The end the weekend attention turns to Hiroshima where Japanese fight fans get an easy to over-look card from Hiroshima.
In the main event of this show we see veterans colliding for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. The match up sees former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (31-14-1, 7) taking on 33 year old Koji Itagaki (17-10-2, 7). It's fair to say that Horikawa is the more proven fighter, having been in with a variety of well known fighters, such as Akira Yaegashi to Florante Condes, Edgar Sosa, Yu Kimura Shin Ono and Ken Shiro, and has typically held his own with them. Although he has 14 losses to his name Horikawa has proven to be a very solid fighter during a very hard career. Itagaki on the other hand has been in good form, winning 5 of his last 6 bouts, with notable victories over Benezer Alolod, Michael Enriquez and Michael Landero. Although neither man will be in the running for a world title fight, this should be a very good match up and a real war between two men really fighting for their pride.
Whilst the main event is something we're excited about we also really like some of the supporting bouts. One of those bouts we like will see the heavy handed teenager Ryoya Ikema (11-2, 10) take on domestic foe Koki Ono (11-3, 5). Ikema debuted back in 2013, as a 15 year old, and although he was 4-2 at one point he has been impressing recently with a 7-0 (6) run, including an 8 round decision win over Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai. Ono is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak and will feel confident here of upsetting the teenage hopeful, but he has been stopped before and it's clear that Ikema has got power.
Another supporting bout will see the once beaten Retsu Kosaka (7-1, 2) battle against the out of form Yuki Ozawa (10-5, 2). Last time out Kosaka suffered a competitive loss to fellow youngster Ken Osato and will be looking to get back to winning ways here. Ozawa will be looking to end a 5 fight slide here, and looking to make the most of a ring return following a sizeable break from the ring. On paper 5 losses looks terrible for the once 10-0 Ozawa but he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. If Ozawa is in form he could prove to be an excellent test for Kosaka and he is much better than the raw numbers suggest.