Last year was a strange one for boxing in Thailand, with a massive decrease in the number of shows, but a huge increase in the quality of them, with NKL, TL and Tan Telecom promotions all putting on solid shows through out the year. Sadly however it only saw Thailand hosting 2 world title fights, with one of those coming in early March when Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] successfully defended the WBA Minimumweight "Super" title.
Since that March bout Knockout has been out of the ring, though there are now plans for him to return sooner rather than later.
Although no date has been set in stone, and no opponent has been agreed as of yet, the plan is for the WBA Minimumweight " Super" champion to defend his title again in May, according to numerous reports from Thailand.
The reports all mention that Piyarat Vachirarattanawong, Knockout's promoter, has previously revealed the plan, though nothing is official as of yet due to the ongoing issues with Covid19 and the various problems with travel caused by the on going Pandemic.
Thailand, which is notoriously hostile for visiting fighters at the best of times, has seen many of it's provinces set out mandatory quarantine, and other provinces limiting or discouraging travel. With this in mind it would certainly limit travel options, though there is a chance things will become more flexible by May.
Earlier today Kadoebi Gym announced that their next "Slugfest" show would be taking place on March 24th with some limited details about the event also being announced, though no bouts have been confirmed at this moment in time.
From the limited details announced we know that the main event will feature the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也], who will be back in the ring for his first fight since his draw with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa [比嘉 大吾], last October.
Also confirmed for the show are Yuichiro Kasuya (13-3-2, 4) [粕谷 雄一郎], former multi-time world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (30-5-1, 13) [粉川拓也], the always fun to watch Yoji Saito (2-1-2, 2) [齊藤陽ニ], Taiga Ito (3-2) [伊藤大賀] and Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥], who made his very impressive debut yesterday at Korakuen Hall.
Although details of the show are scarce at the moment Kadoebi have stated that they will announce further details in the near future.
Given the imagine they have posted along with their announcement we suspect the show will be shown on Boxing Raise, potentially as the services live card for the month of March.
For those who missed Tsutsumi's bout with Higa we've included the video of the bout below.
We've known for a while that the Ohashi Gym would be holding an event at Korakuen Hall on March 11th but until today many of the bouts on that card were unknown.
There were 3 bouts that were known. One of those was a clash between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生], which was originally planned for January before needing to be postponed due to Kuwahara being injured. Another was a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout between champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] and Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. The third was a bout between former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Takashi Igarashi (13-5, 5) [五十嵐嵩視], in what is expected to be an easy win for Matsumoto, who is looking to rebuild his confidence.
Other fighters named for the card were the world ranked 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ], the promising Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁] and former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], none of whom had had their opponents named until today.
Now we know that that the 24 year old Hiraoka, who is ranked #12 by the IBF, will take on Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) [木村 文祐] in an 8 round bout. On paper this shouldn't be a test for Hiraoka, but the reality is that it keeps him busy and sees him fight in Japan for the first time since July 2019. It seems likely that when he returns to the US, for another bout on a Top Rank show, he'll take on a more notable opponent.
We also now know that Adachi will battle against Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑武尊] in an 8 rounder for the vacant Japanese Youth Welterweight title, making this show a double Youth title event. Adachi will be favoured here, though it is worth noting that he's fought since December 2019 and this will be his Ohashi Gym. Kobata on the other hand fought last December, losing a decision to Shoki Sakai on December 26th.
As for the debuting Takei, he will be up against Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3) [高井一憲]. On paper this looks to be somewhat underwhelming for Takei, who has looked very good in K-1 and looked very impressive in a recent spar with Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士]. Takai, who's a 34 year old southpaw is 0-5-1 in his last 6 dating back more than 3 years, including 2 stoppage losses.
One other bout on this card will see 18 year old Yushin Uchida (1-1, 1) [内田勇心] battle the debuting Shunsei Sawada (0-0) [澤田春聖] in a 4 rounder.
Earlier today Uzbek sports news website Sports.Uz reported that unbeaten Welterweight hopeful Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] now knows when he will return to the ring.
The talented Uzbek boxer will be in action on March 6th, though other details are scarce to say the least, with the fighter not knowing where he will be fighting or who he will be facing off against.
Kudratillo, who is currently ranked #1 by the IBF and has other world rankings from the WBC and WBO, hasn't fought since October 2019, when he beat Luis Collazo. Since then he has seen his manager buy out his Top Rank Contract, and has signed with Sampson Boxing, the promotional company of Sampson Lewkowicz. With that in mind his March bout will be his first under Lewkowicz.
This past week former multi-time Light Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29) had an adverse result in one of his VADA drug tests, something that was first reported by Dan Rafael for Boxingscene. At the time it was unclear whether Kovalev's scheduled January 30th bout with fast rising Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] could still be salvaged or whether it would have to be cancelled.
Now it's been confirmed that the bout won't be taking place at all, with Golden Boy Promotions, the promoter of the bout, releasing a statement regarding the cancelation of the event yesterday:
"The Kovalev vs. Melikuziev boxing event scheduled for Jan. 30 has been cancelled following a positive test for a banned substance on behalf of Sergey Kovalev through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
Upon learning of Kovalev’s adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) determined that they must cancel the event.
While we are crushed for “The Bully” (Melikuziev), we know that he will nevertheless have a tremendous year in 2021. We look forward to our next scheduled boxing event on Feb. 13.2"
Whilst this is disappointing news for Melikuziev, who misses out on a huge opportunity to face off with a former world champion, it is interesting to note that the statement seems to confirm that the February 13th show will still go ahead, despite the recent positive Covid19 test of Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов], cancelling his bout against IBF Super Featherweight champion Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1, 15).
Fingers crossed we see Melikuziev out in the ring, against a solid opponent, in the very near future, especially given how he has been denied such a big fight with Kovalev's drug testing issue.
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