We've known for a while that 2017 will end with two big Japanese cards, one on December 30th and the other on December 31st, though details of the under-card for those shows haven't been very widely announced. Thankfully though we have now began to see details emerge for both shows, and both feature some notable names.
We've known for a while that the first show, on December 30th, will be headlined by WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥], who faces French challenger Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). We've also long known that that card is also going to feature Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真], who faces former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15). What we didn't know until the last 24 hours was that Koki Inoue (9-0, 8) [浩樹井上] would also feature, meaning all 3 of the Inoue clan will be in action on the show.
Koki will be up against Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (8-1-2, 3), who has never been stopped, and has gone 10 fights unbeaten following a decision loss. Not only is Kim in good form, but he also managed tofight to a draw with the talent In Duck Seo for the Korean Light Welterweight title.
Other Ohashi gym fighters now confirmed for the card are former amateur standouts Kazuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) [中嶋一輝] and Katsuya Yasuda (1-0, 1) [保田克也]. Nakajima will be up against domestic foe Taiga Higashi (4-1, 1) [東大河] whilst Yasuda will be facing off with a Korean visitor.
On the 31st we get a world title triple header, with the stand out bout being the Light Flyweight title unification bout between WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] and IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-2, 13). We now know that along with the three world title bouts the card will also include former world title challenger Shingo Wake (22-5-2, 14) [和氣 慎吾] and recent OPBF title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (8-2, 6) [谷口 将隆]. Both of these men will be facing Thai foes, in what we suspect will be easy wins, but it's clear the plan for bother fighters is to have something big in 2018, and just want to keep ticking over befoe the year comes to an end.
In a very interesting announcement it appears that we will get a long awaited rematch of the Ring Magazine 2007 Upset of the year as Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20) faces Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28) for a second time.
Back in '07 when the men first met Darchinyan was seen as the star of the lower weights whilst Donaire was almost unknown. The victory for the Filipino helped launch him into becoming a star though now his career is seemingly the one at risk with his recent loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux really fresh in the mind, a loss here to Darchinyan would see his stock plummet further.
The bout, penciled in for a HBO broadcast is expected to take place on November 16th in Texas, USA.
Of course Donaire will start as the favourite though this is a bout that Darchinyan has wanted since he was stopped in their first bout and if Donaire isn't switched on he may come undone against a hard hitting, determined and very hungry fighter seeking revenge for his most embarrassing loss to date.
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