New Year's Eve just got better!
Yesterday we reported that WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] would be defending his title against former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] on December 31st at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.
At the time it seemed unlikely for the bout to be broadcast in Japan, especially given that a 6PM time slot had been set for show's main event between WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] and mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].
That however changed today when TBS confirmed that Kobayashi Vs Higa would indeed be aired prior to the main event, with a 5PM time slot. At least in the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo and Kanagawa.
Notably it appears that the two bouts are going to be treat like two different broadcasts, and if the first bout ends early there will no scope for TBS to bring the main event forward.
Of course there is still no international broadcast being confirmed for those in the US or UK, but there there is said to be talk about both countries trying to secure rights for the event.
Note - for those in the UK Japan is 9 hours ahead, meaning Koobayashi Vs Higa will be at 8AM and Ioka Vs Tanaka will be at 9AM.
(Image - TBS)
This coming weekend we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (14-0, 13) [Жан Кособуцкий] look to continue his unbeaten record as he takes on 43 year old American foe Steve Vukosa (12-1, 4). The bout isn't the most exciting, but it does keep the talented Kazakh busy ahead of potentially bigger fights next year.
The fight, which will take place in Duesseldorf, will be Kossobutskiy's third of the year and will see him looking to defend his IBO Inter-Continental title and also claim the currently vacant WBA International title, moving him closer to a potential world title fight.
For fans wanting to watch this one it has now been confirmed that Kazakh TV channel Khabar TV will show the contest, live, from 23:55 local time, in Nurs-Sultan.
On paper this should be a straight forward win for the talented Kazakh fighter, but it's great to see him being active and there is, potentially, a chance he fits in one more bout before the year is over, after all his last bout was just over 2 months ago against Kamil Sokolowski.
For those unfamiliar with Kossobutskiy he was featured in this weeks "Introducing..." article - Introducing... Zhan Kossobutskiy which is worth a read for those who want to get to know something about the promise Heavyweight hopeful.
Back in September it was announced that WOWOW would be the live Japanese broadcaster for the Bantamweight showdown between WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18).
This was no real surprise, with WOWOW typically picking up international fights featuring big name Japanese fighters, though it did leave it unclear as to when the bout would be shown live on terrestrial TV in Japan. It was assumed that Fuji TV would be airing the bout, but no one was 100% sure when, and how much of a delay they would have to have on their broadcast.
Today we saw Fuji TV finally announcing that they would be airing the bout on same day tape delay, with their broadcast being set for 8PM on November 1st, local time. With a 1 hour time slot set aside, though the potential is there to extend if necessary.
Essentially this gives the broadcast a Sunday night, prime time slot, for a tape delay broadcast.
This means that just that the delay broadcast won't just be the same day, but will be within 12 hours of the fight! With that in mind people should be able to avoid spoilers and watch the fight on free to air TV in Tokyo "as live".
This is genuinely brilliant news for fans in Japan without WOWOW, and they will not need to wait long to see the "Monster" in action across the country.
In many countries where PPV and subscription TV are king, the sport does sacrifice it's potential fan base in turn for more "money now", but in Japan it seems the key for certain stars is the long term, and the deal allowing Fuji TV to get a same-day prime time slot for Inoue is huge news for those without a costly premium TV set up.
In mid-October boxing fans around the world will get the chance to see the huge Lightweight clash between Vasyl Lomachenko (14-1, 10) and Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12). The bout will crown a clear divisional #1 and see the winner walk away with the WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine titles as well as the WBC "Franchise" champion, whatever the hell that actually means.
Amazingly the bout has got genuine global attention and will have a legitimate global audience with TV channels across Asia picking up the bout.
Among those are Japanese fans, who will get the bout live on WOWOW Live. For Isakura users this is a channel featured in the monthly packages.
The bout will also be shown in Kazakhstan, on Khabar TV, with the Kazakh's also having a modified poster, which can be seen above.
Earlier today it was reported that Thai fans will also get the bout, with PPTV36 said to be showing the bout in Thailand.
Given that Bob Arum has previously said no UK TV channel will be carrying the bout, it does seem rather shameful that the bout will be available, on TV, around the globe.
Thankfully UK fans are expected to be catered for via FITE TV, but in a country where BT Sports, Sky Sports and Boxnation have all championed boxing, it does seem odd that not one of them have managed to secure the rights for this sensational bout.
Whilst most Japan TV channels have been quiet since boxing returned to the country following it's hiatus Fuji TV have been regularly broadcasting tape delay coverage of shows, under both the Diamond Glove banner and the Phoenix Battle banner.
Over the last day or so the channel has confirmed that they will be showing tomorrow's Phoenix Battle show from Korakuen Hall, broadcasting all 3 noteworthy bouts, as well as talking about the recent retirement of former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東] and the upcoming bout featuring WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥].
The broadcast will be on Saturday night/Sunday morning, with the broadcast running from 26:45 Saturday night local time, though to 27:50.
For those who don't understand the Japanese TV times this means 2:45 on Sunday morning to 3:50 Sunday morning.
The bouts set to be aired here are the 6 rounder between Katsuki Mori (6-0, 1) [森且貴] and Yuki Uchida (7-7, 1) [内田 勇気]; the 8 rounder between Katsuya Yasuda (6-0, 4) [保田 克也] and Omrri Bolivar (8-3, 3) and the 8 round bout between Kazuki Nakajima (8-0-1, 7) [中嶋一輝] and Kenta Nomura (7-3, 3) [野村健太].
Whilst the show might not be huge a huge one, it is a great chance to see some of the more under-rated prospects in Japan and it's great to see Fuji giving Mori a platform to shine as he really does look like a future star in the making.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!