Earlier today we were informed of the line up for "Fighting Bee Vol 10", a show announced for December 15th at the Korakuen Hall and we need to admit we were surprised in a lot of ways by the card which looks genuinely spectacular for a Japanese domestic card. Although 7 bouts have been announced so far, 4 really caught out eye for one reason or another.
The main event will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (19-4-1, 8) battle against Tomoya Yamada (11-5, 3), if, and only if, Kondo wins his bout this coming Monday against Kaewkla Chaiyonggym (0-1). For Konda the turn around will be less than a month though it should help him keep sharp ahead of what could be a very big 2015 for the 29 year old tough guy. Yamada makes for a relatively interesting "stay busy" foe but shouldn't pose much of a threat to Kondo who we suspect will be happy to stay active and not be given a chance to pile on any extra weight ahead of the new year.
In the co-feature bout fans will see recent Japanese Featherweight title challenger Gosuke Seki (15-1-2, 3) fight against Yuta Nagai (28-10-4, 19). For Seki this will be his first bout since being stopped in 6 rounds by Satoshi Hosono back in Jun and will see him attempting to put that defeat behind him. As for Nagai, a former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger, he'll be hoping to avoid his 7th loss in 12 bouts. We suspect this bout is more about checking to see if Seki still has the desire to go on following the Hosono bout and although he should win the fight is more about the performance than just the result.
Another very compelling bout will see former Japanese amateur star Naoto Uebayashi (6-0-1, 4) risk his unbeaten record against former world title challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-8-1, 23). Blanquet is best known for his loss to Akira Yaegashi in August 2013 and although he has lost back-to-back bouts since then to Roman Gonzalez and Jose Salgado he should still be seen as a huge step up for Uebayashi. The Japanese fighter has been moved relatively quickly since his shock draw to the then unheralded Yusaku Kuga and we suspect a win here will be followed by either a title fight or a big step towards one in 2015. On paper Blanquet should be too small but this bout is certainly a huge test for the unbeaten Japanese fighter.
Uebayashi's most promising stable mate at the gym owned by Shinji Takehara & Takanori Hatakeyama is Hikaru Marugame (2-0, 1) who is scheduled to fight against the tough Ryoji Okahata (9-9-5, 1) on the same card. We're big fans of Marugame and are very glad to see him stepping up to 8 rounders this early in his career. He's possibly more talented than Uebayashi but hasn't had the fanfare of his gym mate and has instead had to impress in the ring. Okahata isn't a great opponent but is better than his record suggests and has ran talented fighters like Yu Kawaguchi and Jason Egara very close in losses so Marugame has got a bout that allows him to be compared to other notable domestic rivals despite his inexperience as a professional.
Whilst we wouldn't go as far as to suggest this is one of the best Japanese shows of the year it's certainly another welcome addition to the already packed December scheduled.
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