It's hard to believe that the last bout for a top world title was 4 months ago. That saw the WBA Minimumweight Super champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] successfully retaining his title as he out pointed Japanese challenger Norihito Tanaka (19-8, 10) [田中教仁] in Thailand. Since then the world has changed massively and it's hard to even remember what March was like.
Today news broke from Thailand that Knockout will now likely be defending his WBA title again in September, though few other details have been made clear.
It's unclear, given he's the super champion and their is no regular champion, whether Knockout will need to defend in a mandatory, for example against #1 ranked Jose Argumedo (23-4-1, 14), or WBA "Gold" champion Leyman Benavides (17-6-1, 3), or will be able to select a voluntary defense, whilst the world comes to terms with the new normal and the WBA get around to crowning a "regular" champion.
There has been talk in Japan of the returning Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] wanting to face Knockout in Osaka later in the year. Whilst it's unclear if that will be possible, given Takayama has himself not fought as a professional in years, though is currently ranked by the WBA at Light Flyweight.
*Note we are aware of Joshua Franco's win over Andrew Moloney, but that was for the WBA's second title with Roman Gonzalez being their super champion. Blame the WBA for their mess.
Last month we reported that world ranked Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (6-1, 5) [山内涼太] would be back in action on August 19th at the next Kadoebi show, though at the time it was unclear who he would be facing. The only thing we knew about Yamauchi's bout was that it would be a step towards a world title bout.
Today it was revealed that Yamauchi would be facing off with fellow Japanese fighter Satoru Todaka (9-3-4, 3) [戸髙達], in what will be a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title, which has been vacated by Yusuke Sakashita (19-8-3, 14) [阪下優友].
For Yamuchi this will be his third bout since losing a very competitive bout with Wulan Tuolehazi in China last year. Since then he has taken a close decision over Alphoe Dagayloan and stopped MJ Bo to get his career back on track and a win here would take him to within touching distance of a world title fight.
As for Todaka he was beaten last year in a Japanese Light Flyweight title bout by Kenichi Horikawa. Since then he has scored a win over Takuya Kihashi and got his career back on track, but this is a huge step up from that bout.
Interestingly the winner of this could, potentially, be in the running to face Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] or Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20), following their WBO Flyweight world title bout set for August 21st. We don't see either man being suitable to challenge for a title later this year, but a win for Yamauchi could well open the door to that potential world title shot in the future.
One of the biggest boxing casualties in boxing from the current on going situation was the triple title Bantamweight unification bout between WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). The bout, originally scheduled for April 25th, was postponed indefinitely due to the on going global situation.
Whilst this did lead to some teasing from Casimero and his team about Inoue being scared of the "Monster Killer", it did slowly become quite apparent that the postponement has had to become increasingly frustrating for both camps.
What had been an April date then got pencilled in for Summer, with August and September both being mentioned as possibilities. Now, with the situation getting progressively worse in the US, it seems like those months may also be unavailable for a fight of this magnitude. The bout would not only see teams of both men coming from one side of the globe to another, but also likely need fans and gamblers to be in the US to make the event cost effective.
At the moment it's hard to imagine an event in the US having fans in attendance before October or November, at the earliest, and even those numbers could be a fraction of a capacity crowd.
With that said it's interesting to note that Hideyuki Ohashi, who runs the Ohashi gym that Inoue fights out of, has stated that he hopes the bout could take place this year and pointed out that Japan was a real possibility for the bout, adding that they could get a venue that could accommodate over 10,000.
Although it's not a given that the bout would in Inoue's homeland it seems like the "Monster's" team are looking as possibilities to hold the bout this year, and are still very keen on facing Casimero before the end of 2020 even if the bout can't be in the US, as first hoped.
Earlier this week A-Sign Boxing announced that they would be running an online Salon for the next 2 months as they look to promote their fighters and their August 31st show, running the Salon facility for 2 months.
The idea of the service seems to be as premium service to allow fans additional virtual access to the fighters with things like exclusive discussions videos and sparring as well as news from both Japan and international boxing scenes. It will also involve some major players from Japan including Ichitaro Ishii-the Chairman of Yokohama Hikari Gym, Issei Nakaya-the Chairman of the Hachioji Nakaya, the brilliant writer Daisuke Sugiura and legendary photographer Naoki Fukuda.
Whilst we do like the idea in principle it should be noted that the service is a premium service and will be part of a crowd funding campaign to help support the fighters involved on the August 31st show.
The service costs ¥2,980 (approx £22/ $28), and will see those who make a payment getting an email with how to join the private groups.
Although the idea really is a good on the price point does seem incredibly steep given the cost of the Boxing Raise service, which is ¥980 (approx £7.30/$9). If this is a one off then it might be a success, but longer term it does feel like their pricing will need to come more in line with what Raise is offering if it's to be a long term success.
In saying that however the August 31st show is still set to be streamed for free on YouTube so it does feel like this package is aimed at the hardcore of the hardcore of Japanese fans and those wanting to help the fighters directly, rather being focused on just watching the fights.
The last few weeks have been awfully weird ones for those following the career of WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) [วันเฮง มีนะโยธิน]. He originally announced his retirement over social media, before essentially cancelling that retirement a day later.
Along with his unretirement came a number of statements from those involved in his career, talking about how he was carrying minor injuries but was going to continue his boxing career, and was going to fight on.
Soon after that he had a medical examination that revealed a sinus problem, with his left nasal cavity, and blurriness in his right eye. Those issues lead to him being given medication for a week and yesterday he returned to the doctors where it was found that the symptoms were the same as they were previously.
It's now been revealed that Wanheng has had his medication altered and will see the doctor again in a week's time. The hope is that the new medication will help the fighter recover from the issues that have been plaguing him in recent weeks.
Interestingly the new medication has, reportedly, got a chance of showing up in a drugs test as a banned substance and has other negative side effects.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!