This Friday promises to be a day to remember in the boxing world, though not necessarily for the right reasons.
We'll start our look at the key fights by looking at Japan, more precisely the show at the Abeno Ward Center in Osaka.
This Osaka show, which features 9 bouts is headlined by the return of former OPBF champion Hiroshige Osawa (23-3-4, 12). Osawa who had his JBC license taken from him a year ago after fighting in a controversial bout in South Korea has now been re-instated and will be facing the limited Tetsuya Nishinaga (11-7-1). The bout does look like a clear mismatch but it's focus should be the fact that it's Osawa's return rather the fact it's uncompetitive looking.
On the same Osaka show there is one other notable bout as the Japanese ranked Yutaka Oishi (10-3, 6) takes on Hiroshi Ohashi (7-6, 3) in an 8 round bout. Oishi, ranked #9 at 154lbs in Japan, will be favoured big time here with Ohashi ending a 32 month break from the ring and having lost his last fight by 1st round TKO to Carlos Linares though we have seen unexpectedly struggle in the past.
As well as the Osaka show there is also an interesting card in Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall.
This show is headlined by the always fun to watch Shuhei Tsuchiya (14-2, 12), pictured, who will be taking on the somewhat easy looking Kazutaka Takakuwa (9-7, 2). This is Tsuchiya's first bout since suffering back-to-back stoppage losses to Shoji Kawase and Masayoshi Nakatani and so easy assignment here is no real shock, he will however not be forgiven for a third successive set back.
The co-feature here sees the OPBF and Japanese ranked fighter Nobuyuki Shindo (14-2, 5) put his Welterweight rankings on the line as he takes on Daisuke Sakamoto (7-7-1, 3). Unfortunately for those expecting this to be competitive it's worth noting that Sakamoto was stopped in his most recent bout, he's been inactive for over a year and has lost 5 of his last 7. This really does look like a mismatch.
Unfortunately two of the original 9 bouts on this show have been cancelled, including a contest between Takehiro Shimokawara (19-8-2, 6) and Thai visitor Yodmongkol Singmanasak (12-12-1, 7), There will however be 7 fights in total if you're at the Korakuen on Friday and want to see a card dubbed " The Greatest Boxing Vol 17".
Boxrec current list a single scheduled bout to take place in Yemen. This fight is set to see Yemeni KO machine Ali Raymi (20-0, 20) taking on Thailand's unbeaten Samson Dutch Boy Gym (43-0, 36). On paper this is an amazing match up with the fighter's combined record coming to 63-0 (56) though with Raymi being 40 and Samson ending an 11 year break from the ring the bout isn't actually all that.
We'll admit we have out doubts about this bout being fought "as listed" and suspect that Raymi will be fighting a different opponent to Samson, though if the fight does go ahead we're sure to see several forums sniggering at the result, whatever it is.