This coming Sunday is an ultra-busy day in Japan, but a day that has quantity but little in terms of quality. One bout stands out as being strong, but the others are, on the whole, low level Rookie bouts and mismatches.
The bout that stands out takes place on the first of two shows at the Aioi Hall in Kariya and will see the talented Masanori Rikiishi (6-1, 4) take on the world ranked Freddy Fonseca (27-3-1, 18). Rikiishi is one of Japan's more interesting hopefuls, who was rushed into a bout with former national champion Kosuke Saka maybe a touch too early, but has rebounded with 4 strong wins to build momentum coming into this bout. Fonseca on the other hand is just a few months removed from a bout with Jojo Diaz for the WBA "gold" Super Featherweight title. Fonseca, a southpaw from Nicaragua, is a real challenge for someone who has as little experience as Rikiishi but a win for the local would be huge at this point in his career. A full preview of this bout can be read here Rikiishi takes step up to face experienced Fonseca!
The second of the Aioi Hall cards is headlined by the unbeaten Musashi Mori (9-0, 5), who appears to be on the card in a stay busy capacity as he takes on Suntorn Panhom (5-4, 4). Mori is one of Japanese many fast rising youngster, and already has a couple of wins over Richard Pumicpic, though both were razor thin decisions. Suntorn is there to be taken out and we suspect Mori ticks over with an early win here.
Everything else on this card is Rookie of the Year action, over 4 rounds. These Rookie of the Year bouts include a Light Welterweight bout between Yasutaka Fujita (3-0, 3) and Ryota Uno (4-1, 2), in what looks like the pick of the bouts. Another notable Rookie bout is at Welterweight, between Hiroya Nojima (2-0, 1) and Rintaro Shiojiri (0-0), with Shiojari potentially being crowned the local region's Rookie of the Year in his debut bout.
The low level action with only a semi-notable main event continues in Hiroshima, where Hironori Miyake (9-8-2, 1) and Yoshihiro Utsumi (15-9-3, 10) clash at Bantamweight. The 31 year old Miyake has won 1 of his last 5, but is often competitive in his losses and really has been held back by a lack of fire power. Utsumi on the other hand might be a recognisable name to some as he has been in with a string of notable opponents including Yasutaka Ishimoto, Ye Joon Kim and Kazuki Nakajima, though has lost almost every time he has stepped up in class. Whilst this isn't a great bout it should be pretty competitive.
We are back to Rookie of the Year action in Osaka with the West Japan Rookie of the Year finals.
On paper one of the most interesting looking match ups will see Jinki Maeda (2-0, 2) and Konosuke Kirihigashi (2-0, 2) throw down in the Featherweight final. Both are young, unbeaten, hard hitting youngsters and will be looking to win here, and move one step closer to competing in the All Japan final in December. Given the two men have a combined 8 rounds under their belt it's hard to say how good either is, but we're expecting a shoot out here.
Another final between unbeaten fighters will take place at Minimumweight with 23 year old Sho Hatsuda (1-0) facing off against 19 year old Hyogo Kimura (4-0, 1). We're not expecting a shoot out here, but a good showing of boxing skills, speed and movement, very different to the Featherweight bout.