The main focus this coming Friday is in Osaka, at EDION Arena, where we see the debut of a very touted youngster and the next bout in the career of a second generation hopeful who is quickly proving he is more than just his father's son.
The second generation fighter is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (11-0, 8), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. The unbeaten Tatsuyoshi has shown real improvement in recent bouts and was expecting to take another step forward here, but due to issues securing a suitable opponent he will instead be up against Takuya Fujioka (9-9-1, 1). With heavy hands, improving skills and developing his experience Tatsuyoshi is likely to find himself in the domestic title picture in 2020 or 2021, and a win here is seen as a given. Fujioka poses little threat to Tatsuyoshi, but is seen as a tough and durable foe, and has only been stopped once in his 19 bouts, with that stoppage coming to the excellent Kazuki Nakajima. With that in mind we expect Tatsuyoshi to get some good rounds here.
The other bout of note on this show is the debut of former amateur stand out Yusuke Mine (0-0),who looks to make a mark as he takes on Filipino visitor Jesel Guardario (8-3-1, 4). The talented Mine is regarded as a top talent and is turning professional at the age old 23, rather than try to make his way to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Osakan is regarded as the brightest hope at the Mutoh gym since Nobuo Nashiro and will be desperate to leave a great impression. As for the visitor he will be returning to Japan after a loss last year to Ryo Suwa, and will be seeking his first win outside of his homeland.
As well as the card in Osaka there will also be a low key one in Tokyo. This card is a lot less interesting, but should still have some thrills and spills.
The main event of the card will see Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-6-2, 2) take on JBC ranked Minimumweight Hizuki Saso (10-6-1, 3) in an 8 round bout. On paper this looks like a mismatch but it's actually the third time the two men have met, following a draw and a win for Ichikawa. Given how close their previous bouts have been this should be another hotly contested bout. It's worth noting that Saso has gone 4-1 in his last 5, including good wins against Jeffrey Galero and Desierto Nagaike, but was stopped last time out by talented youngster Rikito Shiba
The chief support bout will see OPBF ranked fighter Daishi Nagata (12-2-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Yong Hwan Jun (5-4-1, 2). Despite losing in 2 of his last 6 Nagata has shown he belongs in the title mix, and a rematch with Rikki Naito is likely going to be his target for later in the year. The Korean visitor won the national Welterweight title back in February, and comes into this bout with some momentum, but a win here would clearly be the biggest of his career so far.
In the US we'll see talented Filipino hopeful Mike Plania (20-1, 11) take on the limited Matias Agustin Arriagada (6-5, 3), of Argentina. The 22 year old is looking to extend a 5 fight winning streak, a streak that has been build since his loss to Juan Carlos Payano in 2018, and a win here could see more doors open Stateside for him. As for Arriagada he is there to play the foil for Plania, and he's lost his last 4, though did go the distance with the much touted Otha Jones III last time out. This should be an easy win for Plania, who has a very bright future.