So we're into a new year and we've already had some good, some bad and some ugly! Yes the year waits for no man!
1-Da Won Gang - Korean teen to get excited about
Korean teenager Da Won Gang went pretty under the radar in 2019, despite winning the Battle Royal at 140lbs. It seems hard to imagine him still being under the radar at the end of 2020 though, and in fact it seems very likely that he will end up winning the KBM titles before the end of the year. A really exciting one to watch.
2-Ginjiro Shigeoka - The Rising Shines Again
On the final of 2019 Ginjiro Shigeoka took a huge step up to face Rey Loreto, and stopped the Filipino veteran in 5 rounds. Whilst the stoppage, by the referee, wasn't amazing there was little to take negatively from Shigeoka, who looked sharp, tough, exciting and heavy handed. There is obviously still work to do, but the youngster already looks like a nailed on future world champion, and given his lazy of physical stature it's likely he'll be at 105lbs for a long time.
3-Jhunriel Ramonal - New Japanese Killer on the Prowl
The Philippines may well have the spiritual success to Jess Maca at last, Jhunriel Ramonal completed a 2019 that saw him earn the Japanese Killer tag. Maca, for those unaware, was a thorn in the side of Japanese boxers in the late 90's and early 00's and after the year Ramonal had he's now set to take that same tag. In 2019 Ramonal travelled to Japan and upset Shingo Wake before returning and scoring another upset over Yusaku Kuga. The reality is that Ramonal is beatable, but no one can take liberties with him, and he'll almost certainly be back in the Land of the Rising Sun in 2020, with Japanese fighters looking for revenge and Ramonal looking to build on his current moment.
1-Korean Promoters streams on a phone?
The first Asian show of 2020 was streamed on Youtube on January 5th, and it appears that it was streams on a phone left on top of a corner. Whilst a stream, even one this bad, is better than nothing, it's still a shame that they couldn't have a better quality stream. The card it's self was exciting enough, but the blurry image didn't do it any favours. It was also strange that it seemed the fights were fought in a ring set up in a corner in a gym. Very weird set up overall.
2-No set TV date for Shigeoka Vs Loreto..if it will ever be televised
Japanese boxing on TV is awkward at times. The G+ shows, which air the full card live, and the Boxing Raise cards, which are either live or on demand, are great. Sadly though shows on Fuji TV and TBS are less great as a viewer. For the most part the channels only air world title bouts live, and then put other broadcasts together with tape delay footage. In theory they should, at some point, show Ginjiro Shigeoka's win over Rey Loreto on tape delay but as of the time of writing there is no set date for that. The leads to another bad. Both TBS and Fuji have alternate channels, available through satellite, which tend to show rather random stuff at the best of times. Why the channels don't put undercards on those is a genuine mystery. Come on Japanese TV channels, sort it out! Give us the undercards dammit!
Thankfully we've not really had any ugly so far this year. Though we haven't really had much of anything so far. Action does pick up in the middle of the month, so expect some questionable decisions, poor stoppages and bizarre boxing politics to kick in in a week or two, but for now nothing is ugly as such!
In saying that however it does leave a bad taste seeing the January 30th show in Florida being sold primarily on the back of Jake Paul Vs Ali Eson Gib...this appears to be the way of modern day boxing folks!
So the new year is here! And although we've not got a lot happening in January, we do have more than we expected, with title bouts, eliminators, tournament finals and a little of everything!
Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Yoo Seung Jun (6-1) vs Seung Hee Lee (4-6, 1)
One of two KBM eliminators at 154lbs will see the once beaten Yoo Seung Jun take on Seung Hee Lee. Our understanding is that the winner here will fight for the vacant title later in the year against the winner of the other eliminator.
Sung Min Yuh (3-0) Vs Se Yul Yang (3-4-2, 1)
Talking about that other eliminator, that will see Sung Min Yuh take in Se Yul Yang. Notable if Yuh and Jun win their bouts it would be a rematch of the "Battle Royale" final from last November, and would have an interesting sub-plot of revenge or repeat, as well as being for the KBM title.
Da Won Gang (3-0, 1) Vs Jin Soo Kim (6-7-1, 3)
Another KBM eliminator will be at 140lbs where the touted Da Won Gang takes on Jin Soo Kim. The talented Gang is regarded by those in Korea as one of the countries best talents in recent years, and like Sung Min Yuh he won the "Battle Royale" last year. A win here sets him for a big 2020.
New Jersey, USA
Jaron Ennis (24-0, 22) vs Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-1-1-1, 12)
The limited but heavy handed Bakhtiyar Eyubov, from Kazakhstan, is up against it here as he takes on touted American Jaron "Boots" Ennis in what looks likely to be a show case for the talented local hopeful.
Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24) vs Tuguldur Byambatsogt (1-0)
In a Knock Out Dynamite Final we'll see Japanese based Dominican slugger Vladimir Baez battle against Mongolian professional novice Tuguldur Byambatsogt. On paper a mismatch, but in reality this could be a big break out for Byambatsogt, who impressed us in his semi-final bout.
Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) vs Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9)
Another final at the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament will see Japanese veteran Ribo Takahata take on Filipino foe Marvin Esquierdo. Notably Esquierdo fought in the first ever Knock Out Dynamite Tournament bout, and netted the highest bonus with an opening round win, will he look for the same here?
Shohjahon Ergashev (17-0, 15) vs Adrian Estrella (29-4, 24)
Touted Uzbek puncher Shohjahon Ergashev looks to kick in the new year as he takes on once touted Mexican Adrian Estrella. Neither of these are the most polished of fighters, but both are heavy handed and we expect this one to be short, but very explosive!
Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) vs Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11)
OPBF Middleweight champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa defends his belt against hard hitting Japanese national champion Kazuto Takesako. This is not expected to hear the final bell, with both men being heavy handed fighters, and will be one of the highlights of the month!
Takeshi Inoue (15-1-1, 9) vs Cheng Su (14-2-1, 8)
Former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue will be looking to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title against Chinese challenger Cheng Su. Inoue, who is enjoying his second reign as the WBO Asia Pacific champion, will be looking to get a second world title shot in the near future, but needs to get past Su to keep that dream alive.
Kenia Enriquez (22-1, 9) vs Chaoz Minowa (6-2, 5)
Talking about world title fights WBC "interim" female Light Flyweight champion Kenia Enriquez will be defending her title at home in Mexico against Japanese challenger Chaoz Minowa. For Minowa this is a third crack at world level, and a loss here will likely end her hopes of ever becoming a world champion.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces