We get the first Japanese card of 2019 this coming Saturday, and it's a good one to begin the year with a pair of Japanese title fights.
The main event of the card will see Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) get his long awaited first Japanese title fight as he takes on former title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which was vacant by Shingo Wake towards the end of 2018. The 29 year old Nakagawa narrowly missed out on a mandatory shot in 2018, losing an eliminator by split decision to Yasutaka Ishimoto, and perhaps should have had a shot before then. Interestingly Tamura got a shot in 2018 due to Ishimoto, the man who had cost Nakagawa, retiring. In Tamura's previous title fight he gave Yusaku Kuga hell, and has strung together wins since then. Our preview of this bout can be read here Nakagawa and Tamura battle for Japanese crown!
The other title fight will see veterans colliding, as Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) looks to make his second defense of the Japanese Minimumweight title, and takes on Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9), in a mandatory defense as part of the 2019 Champion Carnival. Ono won the belt in April, beating Ryoki Hirai in Kobe, and made his first defense in August, suffering a nasty cut that now appears to have fully healed. Tanaka had his first title fight way back in 2011, challenging Akira Yaegashi, but took a break soon after losing to Yaegashi and is now essentially taking part in the comeback stage of his career. Neither of these are big punchers, but both are tough, and have a lot of desire, and this should make for a hard 10 round bout, that will take a lot from both men. We've previewed this bout here Ono and Tanaka clash for Japanese title!
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fans will be able to see the hard hitting Natthaphong Wannametee (6-1, 6) fighting for the Thai Super Featherweight title, though his opponent is current unknown.