This coming Sunday is a busy day for fight fans, specifically those in Osaka who get 3 shows.
The most notable of those shows comes from the EDION Arena where the Boxingraise cameras will in attendance to stream live content, featuring some of the brightest young prospects in Japan.
The most notable of those prospects is Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (7-0, 4), who faces the much more experienced Toshimasa Ouchi (20-8-3, 6) in a bout for both the Japanese and the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight titles. Ouch is a man looking to secure his biggest win to date and will go into the bout knowing that pressure is on Ken Shiro, however the veteran may not get another title fight if he loses here. For Ken Shiro this is a brilliant chance to put himself into the window for a world title fight in December.
Whilst the attention is on the main event it's not the only really good bout on this card with another exciting match up seeing the very promising Hiroto Kyoguchi (2-0, 2) going up against Kenichi Miyazaki (10-2-1, 3) in a mouth watering clash. Miyazaki does come in to this on the back of a loss but isn't a push over whilst Kyoguchi is leaping up in class. A really good match up and a really good test for the unbeaten 22 year old.
In another bout of note we'll see 22 year old Light Flyweight hopeful Masataka Taniguchi (3-0, 3) look to extend his great start as he takes on a Thai opponent. Taniguchi is fighting for the 4th time in a little over 4 months, though that's scarcely an issue given he has wiped out his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. We're unsure who the Thai will be for this bout, but there is little to suggest that he should be favoured over Taniguchi.
There will also be another show at the EDION Osaka and this one was originally set to features some notable bouts, though sadly has seen some adjustments.
Originally the main event was supposed to see Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4) battle, in what would have been a huge step up in class, against Hideo Sakamoto (16-2-3, 5) with the key supporting bout being set as a contest between Seizo Kono (16-8-1, 11) and Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-7-1, 5). Sadly however Tanaka has been forced out of the bout leading to a contest between Sakamoto and Kono. It's an alright bout, especially given the short notice, but the reality is that it's not the main event that had had us excited for several weeks.
As a result of the shake up at the top of the card the new main event will see Takayuki Okumoto (16-7-12, 6) face off against the once beaten Sonin Nihei (8-1-2, 1) in what is a really nice match up and a good step up for Nihei who's only loss came to Kenya Yamashita almost 2 years ago.
Another notable bout here will see young female fighter Fuka Komura (0-0) make her debut, as she takes on Kaori Nagai (0-1). Although a debutant, and one without a host of amateur titles, Komura has received a lot of press and there is serious talk about her being fast tracked to a title following a very impressive pro-test bout earlier this year.
A third show in Osaka comes form the L-Theatre.
The main event here sees OPBF and Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryota Kajiki (28-9, 19) take on Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Taiki Minamoto (11-5, 10). Kajiki is looking to move towards a second title bout, following a 2012 loss to the then Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko and is currently riding a 6 fight winning streak, dating back more than 2 years, with notable wins over Shota Yamaguchi and Kota Fukuoka. As for Minamoto he's looking for a second win following last year's loss to Yukinori Oguni, in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout.
In the chief support bout for this show fans will see former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-14-1, 7) end his retirement to take on Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-5-4, 7). For Horikawa the bout will be his first since losing the Japanese title, back in December, to Ken Shiro. Interestingly Kanazawa is returning following a less this year to Toshimasa Ouchi, with Ken Shiro and Ouchi facing off across the city in the first show mentioned in this article!
The only other show in Japan, and the only one taking place outside of Osaka is a small one in Aichi, which is being used to as a Rookie of the Year qualifying show.
The best bout on this card is a 5 rounder between Jinya Ito (4-0-1) and the hard hitting Yuto Nakamura (4-2, 4). The card is a huge step down from the Osaka shows but should provide some thrills in well matched novice type bouts.
As well as all the action in Japan there will also be a show in China where Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (13-0, 13) headlines. The Chinese puncher will be risking his perfect KO record against Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (30-6, 27), who has been in with a who's who of the Cruiserweight division. It's hard to back against Junlong here, but the hope is that a big bout is only around the corner.
The action keeps coming through April and on April 11th Chinese fans get some action, with one of their Heavyweight hopefuls getting a genuine test.
That Heavyweight hopeful is KO artist Zhang Junlong (12-0, 12)* who faces tough Brazilian test George Arias (56-15, 42). On paper it's a mismatch, and Junlong should be favoured, but the bout has more to it than that. Arias is limited but has not been stopped since a 5th round TKO defeat to Juan Carlos Gomez, and has taken numerous contenders the distance since then. If Junlong can stop him it would be a genuine testament to his power. The winner of this bout may well end up with a WBA ranking as the bout is being fought for the WBA Oceania Heavyweight title
On the under-card China's once beaten Kun Wang (4-1, 1) will face the experienced Rodel Wenceslao (10-11-1, 3). Wang had a great 2015, scoring wins over Romeo Jakosalem and Cristian Abila, and will be hoping that a win over Wenceslao will push him towards bigger and better fights before the year is over. As for those who recognise Wencelsao's name, he was a stay busy opponent for Keita Obara back in 2014.
As well as the two Chinese hopefuls this card will also feature a trio of Indian's fighters.
This coming Saturday is a very busy day in Asian boxing circles with a lot of fighters in action, particularly in China.
The most notable the shows comes from Shanghai where fight fans will get the chance to see a number of big names in action.
The main event sees former world title challenger Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) fight for the first time since he lost to Amnat Ruenroeng last March. The Chinese fighter looks to be in tough against 21 year old Brazilian puncher Natan Santana Coutinho (12-0, 10) but the reality is that Coutinho is unlikely to pose many threats to the Chinese fighter, and as we know Brazilians have regularly had padded puncher's records with little in terms of real skill.
Shiming, a 2-time Olympic champion, isn't the only Olympic Gold medal winner on this card as Japan's Ryota Murata (8-0, 5) battles against Argentinian Gaston Alejandro Vega (24-10-1-1, 10). This should be a straight forward win for Murata but the Japanese Middleweight will need a good performance if he's to move closer to a world title fight later in the year. Unfortunately Murata failed to shine last year on his US debut, against Gunnar Jackson, and cannot afford another less than impressive performance here.
Other bouts on this card include a Super Middleweight bout between Zulpikar Maimaitiali (5-0-1, 3), one of the most exciting prospects in China, and Australian visitor Steve Moxon (5-2, 4) and a bout featuring former WBA "interim" Light Flyweight title challenger Ma Yi Ming (12-6, 7), who is fighting for the first time since he was blitzed by Randy Petalcorin.
Sadly however a bout at 140lbs between former world title challenger IK Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) and unbeaten Thai Chalermpol Singwancha (16-0, 12) has been cancelled following an injury in training suffered by Yang.
A second show in Shanghai, also promoted by Bob Arum, will see novices in action as part of the Fists of Fury cards, which are hoping to help develop more home grown talents.
One potential star in action is 21 year old puncher Alimu Wushouer (5-0, 5) who will be fighting against Jin Sheng Zhang (1-0-2). Wushouer, from Xinjiang, blew out 5 opponents last year in a combined 7 rounds and will be hoping to notch up another quick win as he faces an unbeaten 17 year old.
Another puncher putting his unbeaten record on the line is Abulimiti Tuersunniyazi (3-0, 3) who puts his perfect record on the line against Yangcheng Jin (0-1-2). This should be a 4th straight win for Tuersunniyazi who could be a real hidden gem.
Staying in China fight fans will get the chance to see Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (11-0, 11) battle against Argentinian visitor Juan Pedro Guglielmetti (7-4, 5). Junlong may be the best of the Chinese Heavyweights, and wins over Jason Gavern and Shawn Cox, are pretty notable. Sadly though fighting solely in China and missing out on the Top Rank cards will be doing Junglong more harm than good and it's unlikely he'll get to have a genuinely big fight.
On the same card the once beaten Wang Kun (3-1, 1) will face experienced Filipino Cristian Abila (13-18-4, 4). Abila, who has been a professional for more than 6 years, has been racking up losses recently but can turn in solid performances, as he did last year against Nino Magboo, and is a threat to the rising Kun, who looks to build on a big win over Romeo Jakosalem last year.
A Korean show, sanctioned by the KBF, will feature a number of bouts, sadly though the specific details of the card are scarce with only confirmed bout being a 6 rounder featuring Mongolian youngster Joldasbyek Tagtyanal (0-0), a 20 year old from Ulaanbaatar. From what we under-stand he will be facing a local Korean fighter but sadly the specific details really are lacking here.
Outside of Asia, and in the US, fight fans get the chance to see the American debut of former OPBF Lightweight title challenger Ricky Sismundo (30-8-2, 13). The under-rated Japanese based Filipino is in a tough one as he takes on fringe contender Jose Felix Jr (32-1-1, 25). On paper the bout is a mismatch, with Felix being much hiugher regarded that Sismundo however the Filipino is far better than his record indicates and comes in on a 5 fight unbeaten run, including wins over Yoshitaka Kato, Akihiro Kondo and Shuhei Tsuchiya. This really could be a good one if Sismundo can handle the power of Felix early on.
Staying in North America fans will get the chance to see Filipino Leonardo Doronio (15-11-3, 10) battle against the charismatic Nery Saguilan (36-5-1, 13). The bout, for the WBC Latino Lightweight title, looks like a mismatch but the bout is a huge opportunity for Doronio who holds notable wins against the likes of Taiwo Ali, Al Rivera and Burning Ishii.
Fans in Kazakhstan also get some notable action.
Among the bouts in Almaty is the debut of former amateur stand out Ruslan Myrsatayev (0-0), who faces the win-less Valery Zamiralov (0-3). Myrsatayev made his name back in 2007 when he went to the World Amateur Championships, and continued to make a name for himself at the 2008 Olympics. Sadly, aged 30, this could be a case of waiting too long to go pro however he was impressive in WSB.
There isn't much action on Friday but the day is effectively the calm before the storm with Saturday expected to be a huge day of action.
The most notable action comes from Japan where we see a former world title challenger in action whilst the undercard features several interesting looking bouts.
In the main event fans will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (22-2-3, 9) fight for the first time since he was widely out pointed by Scott Quigg. The Japanese fighter, a former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion, will be up against Thailand's Phissanuthep Chaiyonggym (4-12-1, 3) in what should be a mismatch. Otake is obviously wanting to shake some ring rust going in to this one, considering he's not fought since last November, though it's hard to see where the 33 year old goes next time out.
The chief support bout is an interesting looking Flyweight bout between 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year Ryuto Oho (6-2-1, 2) and Takahiro Fujii (7-3-1, 2), a solid but unspectacular fighter. This is likely to be much better than the main event, though certainly won't get the headline that Otake's bout will.
A third 8 rounder will see Naoya Okamoto (8-4, 4) take on Yutaka Kamioka (8-3-2, 4) in a very well matched bout at a contracted 54.5Kg's. We're not going to try and pretend either of these guys are world class, or even domestic title level fighters, but they should make for a brilliant match up together given that both men are flawed and both know that a win will help boost their career. We suspect Kamioka will come out on top but neither will lie down for the other.
Another bout on this card, a 6 rounder, is a rare Heavyweight clash which will see Yamato Fujinaka (5-3, 1) battle against Thailand's Prakampetch Por Palapol (0-2). Coming in to this bout Fujinaka is on a 4 fight winning streak and should be too good for Prakampetch who was stopped in both of his previous bouts, both back in 2013.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned there will be a further 4 bouts on the under-card.
In China there appears to be a small but notable card.
The main event of the show will see Chinese Heavyweight destroyer Zhang Junlong (10-0, 10)* battle against former world title contender Shawn Cox (18-5, 17) in what looks to be a genuine test for the Chinese fighter. Junlong has been matched lightly for the most part but did stop Jason Gavern last time out and this is his second success bout against a recognisable opponent. If Junlong can take Cox's power then we'll be impressed, though there is every chance that Junlong will see off his visiting opponent before being tagged himself.
In a supporting bout China's Wang Kun (2-1, 1) will be facing Filipino visitor Romeo Jakosalem (16-9-1, 8) in what looks to be a really tough match up for Kun. Another supporting bout will see the unbeaten Lin Chunlei (2-0, 1) take on Jason Redondo (10-3-1, 7) in what looks to be another big ask for the home fighter.
On a Channel 11 card from Thailand fans will see the heavy handed Chalermpol Singwancha (12-0, 10) defending his ABF Welterweight title. Sadly we've not been able to work out who Chalermpol's challenger will be, though we have been informed it will be an Italian fighter.
As well as the Channel 11 show there will also be a Channel 7 card. Unfortunately details regarding this show are scarce though we believe there will be a WBA Asia Bantamweight title on here.
*Junlong's record is disputed with his manager informing us that his boxrec is missing a number of his bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)