The biggest bout for us this Saturday is from the US as Filipino maestro Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) takes on fellow unbeaten Carlos Licona (13-0, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF Minimumweight. The bout, on the same as Deontay Wilder's contest against Tyson Fury, will be for the title Hiroto Kyoguchi gave up, as he moved up to Light Flyweight, and promises to Barriga a notable platform to showcase his skills, which have been compared to those of Floyd Mayweather Jr, Licona is a bit of a mystery to some, but should prove a good opponent for Barriga. Sadly with neither being much of a puncher this has the potential to be a less than thrilling fight to watch, but in terms of skills on show, both are very talented, and this really could be a special one for purists. A preview of this world title fight can be read here Barriga looks to announce himself on world stage, faces Licona for IBF title
As well as the bout in the US there is also a lot of action in Japan, with 7 title bouts spread across 3 different shows.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) make his second defense, as he goes up against fellow veteran Takashi Inagaki (20-17-2, 9). The all action Hosokawa won the title late last year and made his first defense in the Champion Carnival earlier this year, stopping Vladimir Baez in May. At the age of 37 Hosokawa is likely fighting father time, but has looked very impressive recently, and a win here will set up a defense against Koki Inoue. Inagaki, fighting in his 40th professional bout, will be getting a third title shot, but will be the clear under-dog against Hosokawa. We expect this will be fun, but it's hard to see Inagaki over-coming the high octane champion. A preview of this Japanese title fight can be read here Hosokawa takes on Inagaki on December 1st!
A potentially exciting supporting bout will see ranked Light Welterweights facing off. In one corner will be Hosokawa's stablemate Yusuke Konno (13-4, 7), the #2 ranked Japanese contender, whilst the other cone will play host to recent Japanese title challenger Vladimir Baez (24-4-2, 22), the same man who was stopped by Hosokawa. Konno will know that he could get a title fight next year, but needs to over-come Baez. Baez on the other hand is ranked by the OPBF and the WBO Asia Pacific as well as the JBC. The winner here will go into the new year with their eyes on title glory, but the loser will have some serious rebuilding to do.
Another supporting nout will see former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (19-2-1, 7) return to the ring for the first since losing the world title to Ryosuke Iwasa In September 2017. The talented Oguni will be easing himself back into action here as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Arega Yunian (6-11, 1) in what should be little more than a tune up for bigger and better things in 2019.
As well as the action in Tokyo there is a busy day in Osaka, with a couple of shows there, featuring a combined 6 title bouts! One of those shows is a female card with 4 title bouts on it.
The most significant of the title contests on the female show will see Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) defending her WBO female Minimumweight title against former WBA and IBF champion Etsuko Tada (17-3-2, 5), in what looks like a brilliant must win bout between two veterans. This will be Ebata's second defense of the title she won in May 2017, when she finally won a world title in her fifth shot. Sadly for Ebata she is now 42 and her desire to have a long reign, after all the time she spent chasing a belt, does seem unlikely. At 37 Tada is no spring chicken, but the former 2-time champion does have the edge in youth, experience and winning mentality. We're expecting both to show their age, but that will likely lead to more exchanges and more intense action, which we won't complain about. This world title bout was previewed here Ebata looks to defend WBO crown against Tada
In the chief support bout fans will see former amateur standout Kasumi Saeki (2-0, 1) fight in her first title bout, as she takes on Thai visitor Wassana Kamdee (3-4, 2) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. Saeki is seen as one of the top Japanese female prospects and will be expected to do a number the Thai, who has been stopped in all 4 defeats, though her performance may decide whether her team fasts tracks her to a world title fight in early 2019 or not.
In an OPBF female Featherweight title bout we'll see Wakako Fujiwara (6-2-2, 2) take on the woman she took the title from, Kimika Miyoshi (13-11-1, 5). Fujiwara's win over Miyoshi for the belt, back in July, saw her extend her unbeaten run to 6 fights, and add the Oriental title to her reign as the Japanese national champion. Sadly for Miyoshi the loss to Fujiwara is her third in a row, and she's now without a win since June 2016. Fujiwara's first win over Miyoshi was an upset, but we suspect this will be a repeat, given the form of both fighters coming into the fight.
The remaining title bout is another OPBF title bout, which will see novice professional Eri Matsuda (1-0) look to set a Japanese record by claiming an OPBF title in just her 2nd professional bout. The talented Matsuda will be up against Minayo Kei (6-3, 1) in a bout for the vacant OPBF female Atomweight title, and if Matsuda wins there's a chance she could set a Japanese record for fewest fights taken to win a world title. Matsuda was a good amateur and it's clear that she believes she can be a very good professional, but this is a genuine test.
The second show in Osaka will also be a Shinsei promoted card from the EDION Arena Osaka, this time however the fous will be men, with two WBO Asia Pacific male title bouts on the show.
One of those bouts will see WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight champion Reiya Konishi (16-1, 6) defending his title against Filipino challenger Richard Rosales (13-7-2, 7). For Konishi this will be his first defense, following a victory over Orlie Silvestre for the belt earlier in the year, and he's said to be expecting a world title fight next year, if he wins here. Rosales will play the part of a game challenger, be we suspect he will be ground down by Konishi, and his high intensity work rate and body shots. Despite strongly favouring the champion to retain we do expect this to be a very fan friendly bout. We've previewed this bout here Konishi looks to end year with defense against Rosales
The other title bout will see Masao Nakamura (24-3, 23) and Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12) battle for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight. Both of these men have held the OPBF version of this title, and both are talented fighters in their own right. Of the two Nakamura is the more pure fighter, and he's a damned good boxer-puncher, but also the more vulnerable. The much shorter Magali is the more defensively sound and has regularly found ways to get inside bigger fighters and breaking them down. This has the potential to be a genuine thriller, with both men capable of hurting the other. A full preview of this bout can be read here Nakamura and Magali to battle for regional crown!
Originally the card was also announced as having former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-1, 9) facing off with Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (33-25-2, 18), but this bout was cancelled back in November due to an injury suffered by Kubo. As a result Manakane will face off with 19 year old prospect Ryo Suwa (9-1, 1), who will be looking to score his third win of the year.
This coming Wednesday Japanese fans get a treat as there's a world title double header in Osaka and small but notable show in Tokyo.
The Osakan card, which will be televised in part on TBS, is a really interesting show with 3 worth taking note of.
The most significant is an all Japanese bout for the IBF Super Bantamweight title as defending champion Yukinori Oguni (19-1-1, 7) takes on mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (23-2, 15). For Oguni this will be his first defense and see him fighting for the first time since his career defeingin victory over Jonathan Guzman at the end of 2016. Well school and building in confidence the champion has really shone recently and looks to be a fighter who still has areas that he's developing. The challenger will be having his second world title fight and seems hungry ti impress after failing in a previous challenge of the IBF Bantamweight title. Blessed with heavy hands Iwasa will believe he has the power to over-come the smooth skills of Oguni in what is set to be a corker.
In the other title bout we'll see WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (9-0, 5) seek his second defense of the title as he takes on Thai challenger Palangpol CP Freshmart (14-1, 8), in his first world title bout. The Japanese champion came through a tough mandatory earlier this year, against Angel Acosta, and is looking to end the year in a unification bout with Ryoichi Taguchi, though needs to get through this assignment first. The Thai under-dog is a former Muay Thai champion but as a boxer has looked rough around the edges and this is a huge step up for him going his opponents in Western boxing so far.
In the leading support bout we'll see former world title challengers collide as Shingo Wake (21-5-2, 13) takes on Thai veteran Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (50-2, 31) in a world title eliminator. Wake is best known internationally for losing to the previously mentioned Jonathan Guzman in a gutsy performance and this will be his second bout since that loss. Tghe Thai veteran on the other hand is best known for losing to the then WBA Bantamweight champion Koki Kameda by razor thin decision. This could be, potentially, the best fight on the card and is one that will likely go over-looked given the two headline contests.
Further down the card will be bouts featuring talented prospect Masayoshi Hashizume (13-0, 10) and former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (19-5, 16).
In the Tokyo show, from the Korakuen Hall we're guaranteed some excitement, but the show is a much lesser one than the Osakan one.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Koki Eto (20-4-1, 15) taking on a Thai foe as the all-action Eto looks to rebuild following his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras. Given the growing popularity of the Super Flyweight division Eto has the chance to be in some firecrackers over the coming years against Rex Tso, Jamie Conlan and Kohei Kono and hopefully we'll get the chance to see him in those types of bouts, rather than more contests against limited visitors.
Sadly other than Eto's bout there is little to get excited about here and a lot of the attention should be on the card from Osaka.
The final day of 2016 is one of the most notable on the boxing calendar as Japanese TV promoters, and TV channels put on a number of shows. This year we get three shows, each with multi-ple title bouts and notable prospects.
The most notable of the three shows takes place in Kyoto and will be aired on TBS as part of their huge end of year celebrations.
The headline bout here will see the WBA regular and interim titles at Flyweight being unified. The bout sees regular champion Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) battle with unbeaten interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) from Thailand. The bout is an interesting match up with Stamp's team showing confidence in their man, who seemed to believe he was travelling to Japan to stop the champion. The experience Ioka will be looking to show that experience is key here and will likely be looking to prove he's the best Flyweight on the planet in 2017, after getting this mandatory defense out of the way.
A second world title fight on this card will see IBF Super Bantamweight chamion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) defending his title for the first time. The heavy handed Dominican will be up against once beaten Japanese challenger Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7), who is looking to add a world title to his collection which already includes a Japanese and OPBF title. Guzman, who won the title in Japan with a stoppage win over Shingo Wake, has looked relaxed but some have felt that he is over-looking Oguni who has started to find his own power in recent bouts.
Sadly an IBF Bantamweight title bout between Lee Haskins (34-3, 14) and Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) was cancelled in the weeks leading up to the bout, as Haskins suffered an injury that forced him out. Omori's team, who are promoting the show, managed to find their man a solid late replacement in the former of multi-time world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (32-8-2, 20). The bout isn't a bad one given the short notice but it should be noted that Fuentes is best known for his run at Flyweight and will be dwarfed by Omori who is around 5” taller than the Filipino.
Another bout pitting a Japanese fighter against a Thai will see the unbeaten, and world ranked, Sho Ishida (22-0, 11) up against the hapless Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10). The Thai has been stopped 8 times in his 10 defeats and will be unlikely to test Ishida who has made it clear that he's wanting world title fights in 2017. A bout like this won't prepare him for world class opposition but serves the task of keeping him busy and ticking him over whilst looking for a big fight.
Another Ioka gym hopeful on this under card is the unbeaten, and exciting, Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (11-0, 8). Hashizume won the Rookie of the Year in 2014 and although we had hoped to see him in notable fights since he actually this year facing unknown Thai Chatpetch Saithonggym (0-0). Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for the Osaka man who hasn't progressed like some had hoped.
Another notable multi-title show will come from Tokyo and be promoted by Watanabe promotions, who continue their association with TV Tokyo.
The headline bout of this is the “revenge or repeat” bout between Panama's tricky Jezreel Corrales (20-1-1, 8) and Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20). Earlier this year Corrales blitzed Uchiyama in 2 rounds to give “KO Dynamite” his first professional defeat and to claim the WBA Super Featherweight “super” title and shocked the boxing world. Now the champion will be looking to repeat the feat as he returns to a Japanese ring whilst Uchiyama will be looking to prove the result was an anomaly. At 37 years old however the view is that Uchiyama is several years removed from his prime and will likely be over-whelmed by the speed and movement of Corrales once again.
The second of the world title bouts on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) defending his belt against unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13). On paper this looks like a good defense for Taguchi but in fairness Canizales hasn't yet fought anyone of any name recognition and it's hard to know how good he really is. He could be the next gem of a talent from Venezuela or he could be a crude domestic fighter, as the footage suggests, either way we'll see questions answered about him, even if we don't learn anythign new about Taguchi.
Arguably the most interesting bout of the whole day is an OPBF / WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title unification bout as the once beaten Masayuki Ito (19-1-1, 9), the current OPBF champion, takes on the teak tough and criminally under-rated Takuya Watanabe (30-6-1, 16), the current WBO Asia Pacific title holder. This bout is one for the hardcore but is something we expect to actually leave the fans the happiest with. Both men are incredibly talented, have under-rated power and skills and the winner really does deserve some other major bouts in 2017. We think Ito is the more proven but Watanabe is always a handful and appears to be getting better with every fight.
One of the hottest young talents in Japanese boxing will be looking to secure his 5th straight stoppage win. That is the wonderfully aggressive Hiroto Kyoguchi (4-0, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor Junuel Lacar (7-3-3, 5). The bout should be a test for Kyoguchi but the reality is that he has made supposed tests, like Kenichi Miyazaki and Michael Camelion, look poor courtesy of his speed and power. A win here could see Kyoguchi begin to fight for titles in 2017.
Another fast rising prospect on this card is the really exciting Masataka Taniguchi (5-0, 4), who is looking to build on his recent win over Dexter Alimento as he takes on Vicent Bautista (5-5-3, 1) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the much fancied Taniguchi. It's thought that 2017 will see Taniguchi battle for titles and this could be his final bout before he gets to wear his first strap.
For those interested in final 3 bouts mentioned here they will be features on tape delay as part of the Boxingraise service.
A third show, in fact the first of the three, takes place in Gifu where Hatanaka will be promoting a card. The main event of this will have a legal stream broadcast world wide for fans interested.
The main event of this card will see former WBO Minimumweight champions collide as Kosei Tanaka (7-0, 4) takes on Moises Fuentes (24-2-1, 13) for the vacant WBO Light Flyweight. For Tanaka this is a huge chance to match Naoya Inoue's Japanese record of becoming a 2-weight world champion in 8 bouts however it's a tough bout against a very talented Mexican who many feel should should have scored a win a win over Donnie Nietes in his first bout with the talented Filipino. On paper this is probably the most interesting of the bouts from the day, at least at world title level.
At Japanese title level we'll see Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17), making his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title, taking on former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-5-2, 14). For Hayashi, who won the title back in September, a win here would legitimise his reign and prove him to be a worthy champion. For Shimoda this is a second shot at this title following a narrow loss to Satoshi Hosono last year.
In a supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (18-1-3, 12) face off with Takuya Taniguchi (6-9-2, 1). For Tanaka this is a chance to record a third straight win following his March loss to Kentaro Masuda for the Japanese title. The little known Taniguchi will be looking to score his biggest win, though he has gone just 1-3 in his last 4 bouts dating back more than a year.
Another supporting bout will see Kento Hatanaka (1-0, 1), the son of former former world champion Kiyohi Hatanaka, battle against Yukihiro Asahara (2-4, 1). The 18 year old Hatanaka will be seeking to score his second win in the space of just 5 weeks! On his debut Hatanaka score a quick blow out over an over-matched foe and will be looking to do the same again here.
In the most significant bout of the day fight fans will see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (42-0, 17) defending his title against mandatory challenger Saul Juarez (23-4-1, 12) in what looks like a wonderfully competitive match up. The champion is one of the most under-rated fighters on the planet, with many slating him for his competition so far, but yet is one of the fighters who passes the eye test every time we see him. The talented Thai will be up against a genuinely talented Mexican who can fight, like most Mexican's, but can also box brilliantly and should prove to be the toughest test for Menayothin so far.
As well as the action in Thailand there will also be a show in Japan with the proceeds of the show going towards the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake.
In the main event of the show fans will see Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (14-1, 7) face off against Australian Adam Lovelock (11-5, 2) in what is supposed to be an easy win go Kyotaro before he begins to look for an OPBF title fight, possibly for the end of 2016. Lovelock may not have the worse of records but he has been inactive recently and we don't expect him to prove much of a test for the Japanese fighter.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Motoki Sasaki (40-10-1, 25) will be up against Yuya Okazaki (11-8-2, 4). For Sasaki the bout sees him fighting for the time this year after he ended his first retirement, that last for close to 3 years, and the 40 year old veteran will know that a win here could put him in the mix for a potential Japanese title fight. For Okazaki, who challenged for the OPBF title last year against Keita Obara, the bout is a great chance to end a run of successive set backs.
In another of the supporting bouts fans will see former Japanese and OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (17-1-1, 6) battle against JP Macadumpis (11-6-1, 5) in what looks like a stay busy for the talented Oguni. It's thought that after this bout Oguni will begin the chase for a world title bout, and his team may try to lure Jonathan Guzman back over to Japan later in the year.
The action in Japan has been pretty none stop recently, and that continues this Sunday with a Kadoebi show at the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event of the card fans get a rematch as Japanese 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (11-0, 9) battles against the exciting Koichi Aso (20-6-1, 13). Okada narrowly beat Aso when the men first met, back in July 2014, though has since shown genuine improvement with back-to-back 3rd round TKO wins. Aso has bounced back from the loss to Okada with back-to-back stoppage wins of his own, but this is a bigger test than he has faced since the first Okada bout. Potentially this could be a thriller and we'd be genuinely shocked if the bout wasn't action packed.
In the chief support bout we have another intriguing match up as the world ranked Yukinori Oguni (16-1-1, 5) faces off against Thailand's Mike Tawatchai (38-8-1, 21). Both of these men have come up short against Shingo Wake however it's a great match up between two men who will both be viewing this as a chance to move towards a potential rematch with Wake, who could be the IBF champion by the time a rematch could be made. Oguni, a former JBC and OPBF champion, is a very talented boxer-move and should be too slippery for Tawatchai, however the Thai will refuse to to concede defeat and could be a very tricky assignment for Oguni.
In another bout of note former Japanese title challenger Gosuke Seki (16-2-2, 3) will be up against Keisuke Ota (9-9, 2) in a bout that Seki must win if he's to remain relevant on the Japanese domestic scene. Seki has lost 2 of his last 3 and although talented cannot afford an upset loss to Ota. As for Ota he's taking a big step up in class but will see this as his chance to move towards a Japanese ranking.
One final bout of note from this card will see the exciting Shuhei Tsuchiya (19-4, 16) in against against Thai visitor Ekarachan Mor Krungthep Thomburee (0-0) in what should be a straight forward win for the exciting, but flawed, Tsuchiya.
Japanese action continues on Thursday with a show from the Korakuen Hall. The card isn't a huge one but it does feature some notable names, though several of which appear to be involved in mismatches.
The biggest of those mismatches sees former OPBF and Japanese champion Yukinori Oguni (15-1-1, 4) battle against Eakkitti MorKrungthepThomburee (0-0) in what is supposedly a world title prelude for Oguni. We're unsure where Oguni is looking for a world title fight but this is really is little more than a stay busy fight for a man who gave up his Japanese title earlier this year to focus on getting a shot at top title.
Arguably the most interesting match up on paper sees Yuta Nakagawa (16-4-1, 9) up against Dado Cabintoy (15-6-2, 8) in a brilliant well matched bout that looks close to a 50-50 on paper. Whilst the records are similar the two men are on different runs with Nakagawa being on a 6 fight winning streak whilst Cabintoy has lost his last two. This really could be a very good bout, but the form suggests that Nakagawa, a Japanese ranked fighter coming in to this, has to be favoured
The Nakagawa/Cabintoy bout isn't the only well matched contest as Takanori Ohashi (11-4-1, 7) takes on Yosuke Kawano (10-4-1, 4) in a Featherweight bout. Coming in to this one both men have lost 2 of their last 6 and will know that another loss will keep then a long way from a Japanese ranking, a win here however will move them, potentially, towards a top 15 place.
Another of the notable supporting bouts will see Japanese ranked Light Middleweight Daisuke Sakamoto (10-8-3, 5) battle against Thai visitor Khunsukeak Or Bunchuai (0-1). The 34 year old Sakamoto has got a streaky record, though at the moment he's unbeaten in 6 and is looking to get a title fight in 2016. The Thai visitor is a bit of an unknown, though was blown away by Koki Tyson Maebara earlier this year, albeit in a bout at Super Middleweight. Sakamoto knows he needs a win but Khunsukeak may see this as an opportunity to claim a win at a more natural fighting weight than he was last time out.
The wave of Chinese action continues this Thursday as we get a second day of action in Shanghai courtesy of American promoter Top Rank. As with Wednesday's show the action is low tier, to say the least, but it does keep the action ticking over and the attention is hopefully going to continue to grow.
To close out the month Japanese fans get a bit of a treat with a couple of national title fights and a couple of good support bouts. The card isn't one of the strongest you'll see but it's certainly not a terrible card to end September.
The main event sees Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (14-1-1, 4) defending his title for the second time, as he takes on the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (10-4, 9). Oguni hasn't looked great in recent bouts, taking a razor think with over Yasutaka Ishimoto and a draw with Gakuya Furuhashi, but should be too skilled for Minamoto. For the challenger his best chance is to land a bomb, and he does have the power to do just that. This is one of thse Boxer Vs Puncher bouts and whilst we side the boxer here, he could well be caught at any point.
The other title bout comes at Welterweight where Japanese champion Suyon Takayama (22-1, 7) looks to extend his long, but uninspiring, reign as champion. Takayama will be putting his title on the line against the limited Ryoji Tanaka (8-4-1, 2), who has lost his last 2 bouts. Although Takayama has been less than great as a champion, at least in terms of how he has won his bouts, his reign has included 5 title defenses and he's certainly not a man who will let title easily slip from his grasp.
In a good supporting bout fans will see former Japanese Featherweight title challengers collide as Yuki Ogata (21-1-1, 3) takes on Noriyuki Ueno (17-13-5, 5). A few years ago this bout could have been a really good match up, sadly however Ueno has lost his last 2 bouts and looks to be on the slide, having suffered a rare stoppage loss last time out.
A well as the card in Japan there will also be a small show in the Philippines.
The main event here is a 10 round bout between teenagers as the unbeaten 18 year old Jerald Deniega (6-0, 4) takes on heavy handed 19 year old Geo Santisima (6-2, 5). Given the records of the two men this could be very explosive and may well be a “blink and you miss it” bout. Whilst the records are good we need to applaud both men for taking this bout at this embryonic stage in their career's and hopefully both will go on to move into bigger and better bouts down the line.
A well matched 8 rounder will see the unbeaten 20 year old Jess Rhey Waminal (6-0-1, 4) battles against 19 year old Carlo Demecillo (4-2, 1). This is another wonderful match up between two young fighters who know that a win really pushes them forward whilst they can bounce back from a loss.
A similarly matched 6 rounder will see 21 year old Junder Gregorio (4-0) take in Peter Apolinar (5-1, 3) in what again looks like a marvelous match up. Gregorio, a non-puncher, will know that Apolinar's only loss, suffered last time out, was a stoppage but will likely feel confident of extending his own perfect record
(Image courtesy of www.boxmob.jp)
It's fair to say April has been a really interest month and it ends in an interesting fashion as well with a trio of Japanese title bouts as well as a compelling contest for a Filipino hopefully. A really good way to end the month and a brilliant way to move towards a potentially mind blowing May.
One of the really exciting shows this month for Japanese fans comes on the final day of April as the fans get a brilliant Japanese title triple header with an under-card that also delivers.
The main event, and for many international fans the real bout of interest, comes at Heavyweight as Japanese champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (11-1, 6) defends his title against the well known Nobuhiro Ishida (27-10-2, 11) in a very interesting rematch. Ishida seems to have the support of many western fans going into this bout who remember his shock win over the then unbeaten James Kirkland. Notably however Fuimoto did win the first meeting between the two men and seems to be taking this bout very seriously after perhaps over-looking Ishida the first time around. It's not often we'll say this about a Japanese bout at Heavyweight but this is a really good match up and one that should really be a bit special.
In another title bout fans will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (14-1, 4) defending his belt for the first time as he takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5, 7). Oguni, who is world ranked coming into this bout, won the title late last year when he narrowly over-came Yasutaka Ishimoto though will have to perform incredibly highly to over-come Furuhashi who has waited almost a year to get a shot at a world title following a bout with Hidenori Otake falling through last year, This could be a thoroughly engaging contest from start to end.
The third title bout will see two men looking to score a break out win, with neither being a name of note so far. This bout will see Kota Tokunaga (14-2, 9) battle against Yuya Sugizaki (20-9-1, 6) for the Japanese Lightweight title and it's fair to say that the champion will have an interesting list of possible challengers later in the year. This isn't a bout that sets out pulses racing but it could prove to be a very good contest between two men who both know that a win could be career changing.
The under-card, which only features a couple of bouts, is also mouth watering.
One of the under-card contests will see former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (12-5-2, 7) battle against Yasuhiro Sakurai (7-18). On paper this is a mismatch however Sakashita is coming into the bout following a 1-punch KO defeat to the then Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka and that could well have shot the confidence and self belief out of Sakashita.
The other bout will see former Japanese Featherweight title challenger Yuki Ogata (20-1-1, 3) battle against Kentaro Yamada (8-5-1, 6). Again on paper this is a mismatch but Ogata only narrowly over-came Yamada when the two men met last September, with Ogata claiming a razor thin split decision. Yamada has to believe he can beat his more experienced foe, and will know that if he does he'll earn himself a Japanese ranking. Another brilliant match up on a genuinely fantastic card.
In the US fans will get the chance to see exciting Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta (28-1-1, 16) in action against Carlos Molina (17-2-1, 7). Several years ago Gesta was one of the most hyped Filipino prospects though a 2012 loss to Miguel Vazquez seemed to show up a lot of his flaws. Since then he has worked hard on his issues improved notably. Those improvements should be on show against Molina, a talented fringe contender who managed to give Adrien Broner an unexpectedly competitive contest last year. This bout will push the winner towards a really good bout later in the year whilst the loser will be left with a lot of rebuilding to do.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
The month of December may have taken a few days to get going but when it begins to kick off, it really begins to kick off and today we have a genuinely exciting card with several very good looking bouts.
The first action of the day is in Tokyo where we get one of the best domestic cards of the year. In fact it's almost like an early Christmas present with 3 really interesting match ups.
The main event of the trio is a 10 round non-title bout between the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (25-4-1, 16) and Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (28-5-1, 9). This is the third meeting between the two and will act as a rubber with each man holding a narrow win over the other. The bout has been made slightly above the Lightweight limit though that shouldn't take the shine off what is likely to be a violent, exciting and thrilling tear up between two very well matched fighters. We're really excited about this one and wouldn't be shocked if it ended up being a FOTY contender, it really could be that good.
As well as the non-title bout fans will also have two title bouts to look forward to. The most notable of those is also a rematch as the unified Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (23-8-1, 9) looks to defend his unified for the second time. Shibata will be battling against former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-9, 12), a man best known for being stopped by Gennady Golovkin, and it's fair to say there is more to this bout than just the titles. This will be the second meeting between the two and in the first Shibata took a clear technical decision over Fuchigami who knows that his career will need a win here given that his recent form has been forgettable to say the least with just 2 wins in his last 5 bouts. This bout has titles, bragging rights and possibly even careers on the line, the stakes really couldn't be any higher.
The third bout is the remaining title bout as former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (13-1, 4) battles against Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title. The belt was given up by Hidenori Otake ahead of Otake's world title bout with Scott Quigg and has left us with a potentially brilliant bout between two light hitting but technically proficient fighters. Neither of these guys is likely to ever become a genuine world champion though we suspect the winner could end up progressing to OPBF title fights and may get a world title shot somewhere down the line.
As well as the main trio the card will feature 4 under card contests, with the most interesting of those being a bout between the Japanese and OPBF ranked Kazuya Maruki (17-2, 11) and Quaye Peter (5-5-2, 3). This is a stay busy fight for Maruki who is on a 6 fight winning streak following his 8th round TKO loss to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara back in 2012. If Maruki can continue stringing together wins the odds are he will find himself getting a title fight of some sort at some point in 2015 or 2016.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand there's another bout worth looking forward to as the unbeaten Kongthara KKP (5-0, 5) steps up in class and attempts to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title against experienced Indonesian Nouldy Manakane (27-15-1, 17). Kongthara blasted on to our radar back in May when he stopped Shingo Kawamura on his debut and now looks to add the scalp of a former world title challenger to his ledger. It should be a mismatch in favour of Kongthara but this is a good test for the promising Thai.
Nuevo León, Mexico
In Mexico fans in for a treat as WBC female Flyweight champion Shindo Go (14-2, 9) takes on highly regarded Mexican fighter Arely Mucino (20-2-2, 10) in a bout with a lot of promise. The contest has been a drawn out one outside of the ring with several issues getting in the way and we just hope those issues won't destroy what should be one of the best female bouts of the year.
Staying in Mexico fans will also get the chance to see the unbeaten Joebert Alvarez (14-0-1, 6) in the toughest bout of his career as he goes up against unified Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (30-2, 22). Estrada appears to be testing the water at 115lbs here and some have speculated that Estrada is set to vacate his Flyweight titles. We'll admit we'd love to see Estrada fight Roman Gonzalez in a much anticipated rematch however a bout between Estrada and Naoya Inoue would be equally as interesting and could be a bout made between two of the sports really young outstanding youngsters.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Some times we get shows that have a bit of everything and that's what we're expecting this coming Monday, a day in which we get two separate cards in Asia.
The most important of the two Asian cards takes place in Tokyo as Kadoebi Jewel put on a very interesting show with several of their most notable fighters taking part on a 7 fight card.
The first of the notable fighters in action will be the hard hitting and thoroughly exciting Shuhei Tsuchiya (15-3, 13). Tsuchiya is a former Rookie of the Year though in recent times his career has started to fall apart and he has suffered notable losses to former domestic contender Shoji Kawase, the then unheralded Masayoshi Nakatani and most recently Leonardo Zappvigna, in what was a great fight. With 3 losses in his last 4 it's no wonder Tsuchiya is having an easy one and he'll be expected to make very light work of Thailand's Fonluang Sor Singyu (6-4, 4).
Following Tsuchiya's bout with Fonluang we're then expecting to see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (12-1, 3) who will be up against Anuntachai Sor Por Lor Krungthep (6-7. 4). Oguni will be fighting for the third time since losing his OPBF belt and will hunting a second successive stoppage. World ranked by the WBC Oguni has a reputation for being highly skilled and despite being dominated by Shingo Wake there is real promise with this young Japanese fight who has the potential to challenge for world honours in the next year or two, as long as he keeps winning bouts.
The first of two title fights on the show will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (8-0, 7) making the first defence of his belt as he takes on the exciting Shamgar Koichi (18-5-1, 11). Okada, who won the title earlier this year with a hard fought decision over Masayoshi Kotake, will know that this is likely to be the toughest bout of his career and although Koichi was blasted out in a round by Shinya Iwabuchi back in 2011 he has strung together 5 wins in his last 6 bouts, including a thrilling war with Tomohiko Sakai. Of the 7 bouts on this card this one looks like the most exciting by a long way.
In the shows second title bout we get a rematch as long reigning Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (20-1, 7) defends his belt against the man he beat for the belt back in December 2012, Koshinmaru Saito (20-5-1, 11). The men fought a very competitive bout back in '12 but since then Takayama has improved whilst Saito has turned 35 and been relatively inactive. We're favouring Takayama though we do tend to feel that the winner of this bout should begin targeting a bout with Yoshihiro Kamegai as that really is the only bout of interest in the division in Japan right now.
We get more title action in the Philippines as Benezer Alolod (14-5-5, 4) attempts to record the first defence of his GAB Light Flyweight title. Alolod will be taking on Jomar Fajardo (14-4-1, 7) in what looks like an even bout on paper though we do need to favour the champion who has mixed with the better opposition by far, including Rey Loreto, Nkosinathi Joyi and Vergilio Silvano.
In the co-feature on this card there is another relatively well matched bout as Desson Cag-ong (14-11, 8) takes on Jonel Alibio (16-18-5, 8) in a 10 round affair at Super Featherweight. This is a hard one to call and should be very competitive with both men giving their all in an attempt to claim a win.
A third bout of note will see the unbeaten Justo Bornilla (4-0-2) battle against the experienced Ronald Postrano (7-19-2, 3). The 18 year old Bornilla will be having his toughest test to date though if he can come through this 8 rounder he maybe be given some more experience building contests.
We also get title action in Thailand as PABA interim Super Bantamweight champion Nop Kratingdaenggym (8-0, 1) defends his title against limited Indonesian Hendrik Barongsay (16-17-3, 15). From what we understand Barongsay has lost every time he has fought outside of Indonesia though he should be tough enough to get Nop some good rounds under his belt.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)