As we've gone through the month of February we've slowly seen action pick up. As we come to the end of the month we're seeing action pick up again with an OPBF title fight in Japan, a collision of prospects and the third professional bout in the career of a Chinese Heavyweight hopeful.
One of the shows is in Japan where we get a genuinely important card with a couple of really notable bouts at different levels.
The most significant of the bouts is in the Super Bantamweight division as the world class Shingo Wake (17-4-2, 10) defends his OPBF title for the 5th time in a little under 2 years. Wake, who is chasing a world title fight later this year, will find himself up against Filipino challenger Jimmy Paypa (16-2-1, 6). This fight was apparently close to being made for December last year and it could well be that we end up with both fighters coming in “over-boiled” for this, or we could see a destruction by a man looking to make a statement. If Wake does come out and scores an impressive win the talk is that he will be getting a shot at WBA "Super" and WBO Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Wake isn't the only fighter from the Koguchi gym to be on this card as rising teenager Kenya Yamashita (7-0, 4) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Jo Tanooka (9-2-3). The unbeaten Yamashita was the Flyweight Rookie of the Year in 2014 and he is being tipped to go a very long way in his career however Tanooka is a great test and will be looking for a win himself after coming up short last time out against Hiroki Saito.
Another notable bout on this card will see former OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Toyoto Shiraishi (24-8-2, 11) battle against Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi (8-7-1, 4). For Shiraishi this is a must win bout following a run of just 1 win in 4 bouts however Yamaguchi shouldn't provide much in terms of competition
Talking about fighters who need a win Kota Sato (9-6-2, 4) has to be desperate to get a “W” after going 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts. Sato will be up against Toshikuni Wake (8-14-3, 2). Wake is nothing other than a journeyman and shouldn't be able to beat Kota though we suspect a loss for Kota will be the end here.
One other bout on this card, a really interesting one in fact, will see Kazuma Sanpei (11-1, 4) battle against Masaru Sueyoshi (8-1, 5). Sanpei comes in to this bout on the back of his first career defeat, an 88 second blow out loss to Japanese based Filipino Johnreil Maligro, whilst Sueyoshi brings a 5 fight winning streak into this bout including a very notable decision over Yuta Nagai. Brilliant and brave match up for both guys.
In Russia fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Roman Zhailauov (13-0, 8) battle against the tough but limited Vyacheslav Yakovenko (7-19-1, 3). This will be Zhailauov's first bout of the year though we'll be honest it does seem like his team have slowed his progress over the past few bouts.
In the US American fans will get the chance to see Chinese giant Taishan Dong (2-0, 2) who hopes to extend his winning run as he battles against Roy McCrary (3-2, 3). The imposing Dong has to be a big favourite here against the 41 year old McCrary though we're more interested in the performance of Dong here rather than just getting the win. So far Dong has shown some ability but there are a lot of questions regarding his potential and so far none of his opponents have really been able to ask any questions of him with Tommy Washington Jr being a laughably bad opponent last time out.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)