This coming Thursday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a triple header of title fights, and whilst none are massive, all three look like they will be solid bouts, where both men have some to gain and something to lose.
One of the main bouts will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (16-2-2, 9) defends his belt for the second time, battling against former 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (26-2-1, 9). For the hard hitting, and really exciting, Teshigawara this will be his second defense following a win in a brilliant bout against Jason Canoy back in February. The champion will know that a win here moves him a step closer to a world title fight, but a loss will be a massive hit to his career, and be a major set back. As for Kinoshita, who has lost in world title fights to Zolani Tete and Jerwin Ancajas, this is a must win. A loss for Kinoshita now would essentially kill any dreams of getting another shot at a world title, and would be his third loss against a notable fighter in less than 4 years, which is sadly a 4 year period without a single win of note. We don't imagine Kinoshita will pose much of a threat to Teshigawara but could have the skills to ask some questions of the champion.
Another WBO Asia Pacific title fight will be at Super Flyweight, as former Japanese national champion Ryuichi Funai (29-7, 20) takes on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-7-1, 23) for the currently vacant title. On paper this is probably the best of the three title bouts and features two talented fighters each looking to work their way towards a potential world title bout. Coming in to this Funai is world ranked by all 4 title awarding bodies and he'll be interested in getting a world title fight later this year. Parrenas is best known for losing to the then WBO champion Naoya Inoue in 2015, and since then he has beaten 2-low key Thai foes whilst becoming a trainer at the Morioka gym. Given that Parrenas is a big puncher he has a real shot here, but he will be the under-dog against the more active, and more rounded, Funai.
The third title bout will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (7-0, 5) make his second defense, and take on the hard matched challenger Genki Maeda (6-2-1, 2). The talented Yoshino has been fast tracked through the Japanese ranks and claimed the national title last year, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita in the 7th round of their bout. The champion made his first defense this past February, blowing out Masaki Saito in 156 seconds, and has looked like a sensational prospect since making his debut in 2015. Whilst the champion is a former amateur standout and expected to go on to be a huge success the same can't be said for Maeda. Despite the fact he has been matched incredibly hard. So far Maeda has shared the ring with Yoshimichi Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Fujita and Shogo Yamaguchi, in just 9 bouts. Maeda is a pretty good fighter, but is going up against a really good fighter here, and we can't help but think this bout will be a case of levels, and Yoshino is several levels above Maeda.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable bout in California, as Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-2-2, 17) takes on the once touted Robert Manzanarez (36-1, 29) in a bout for the NABO Lightweight title. This will be Gesta's first bout since losing in January to Jorge Linares, in what was Gesta's second loss in a world title fight. Despite losing to Linares the Filipino did acquit himself much better than he did in his other loss, a terrible performance against Miguel Vazquez. Manzanarez has rebuilt excellently since his sole loss, back in 2012, with 15 straight wins, but this is a big step up in class for him, and it could be too much too soon for the 23 year old American.