If we're being totally hones the month of October felt really, really, really long. That sounds like a complaint, but it really isn't it was just so packed with great action, interesting fights and we seemed to get something worth talking about every few days. We had numerous great fights, we had a lot of free content, we had massive shows in the West and we had so much action that we, as fans, were left swimming in in joy at some of the stuff we were getting. October was a great month for boxing and today we look at the highlights for Asian fights with the latest in our Monthly awards.
Fighter of the Month
We begin this with an obvious award and that is the Fighter of the month. That honour easily belonged to Naoya Inoue, with the pound-for-pound claimant showing what he could do in his Las Vegas debut. The talented Inoue, who fought in one of the very last bouts of the month, was in with the very credible, and decent Jason Moloney. He was coming in after suffering a nasty injury last time out to his eye, and after almost a year away from the ring. He was coming in to the bout with pressure, and plenty doubting him, and also with history against him, having seen the last two Japanese champions in Las Vegas losing their world titles. Despite that he put on a fantastic performance, stopping in 7 rounds, and breaking the durable, brave and tough Aussie. Following the win Inoue made it clear he wanted to unify his WBA "Super", IBF and Ring Magazine titles with the other belts in the division and doesn't want to relax on his laurels. It was fantastic, once again, for the Monster.
Fight of the Month
Toshiki Kawamitsu Vs Kenshi Noda
The month of October really had some tremendous bouts, and we could reel off maybe a short list of 20 bouts from October featuring an Asian fighter worthy of your time. None, however, were as good as the war between Toshiki Kawamitsu and Kenshi Noda. These two youngster put on a show. From the opening round this was a technical, high speed, phone booth war. They were both sharp and accurate, they wanted to hurt the other man, and also show their skillset. As the bout went on both men were hurt, the action continued to be intense and there was no let up until one of the men began to lag. It's not the longest bout from the month, but it was, for us, the most enjoyable bout in Asia.
Sadly it was quickly overshadowed globally by the front runner for the global Fight of the Year with Jose Zepeda and Ivan Baranchyk giving us something other-wordly in the US.
KO of the Month
Janibek Alimkhanuly Vs Gonzalo Gaston Coria
We had a lot of really good KO's this past month, and they came from all over the place. We really were treated to some brutal finishes and the short list for this award was a fairly lengthy one. In the end however the stand out came from unbeaten Kazakh Janibek Alimkhanuly, who absolutely destroyed Argentina's Gonzalo Gaston Coria in the second round of their bout. This was brutal and nasty. Alimkhanuly dumped Coria on the canvas with a huge left hand, bloodied his face in the process and left Coria with no chance of getting up. It maybe wasn't the most eye pleasing, but it was the most brutal. A sensational finish by a very, very talented Kazakh hopeful
Prospect of the Month
When it comes to prospect of the month it's hard to judge who deserves the honour. Is it the fighter who looks the best, or is it the fighter who scored the most impressive result? This month we went with the second of those options with Thai novice Nonthasith Petchnamthong really impressing us in just his second professional bout. The talented Thai not only won his second professional bout, but did it against a former world champion, as he out pointed Kompayak Porpramook. Whilst it is fair to say that Kompayak is best his best, and fighting above his best weight, this was still a really impressive performance from the Thai novice against an awkward and aggressive fighter. Whether Nonthasith goes on to be a star or not is unclear, but we were certainly impressed by his performance here, and we're looking forward to seeing a lot more of him in the future.
Upset of the Month
Viktor Kotochigov vs Maxi Hughes
Although some categories has a lot of bouts to choose from we didn't really get too many upsets this month. The most notable of the ones we did get saw Kazakh fighter Viktor Kotochigov lose his record in a betting upset to the under-rated Maxi Hughes. The result was a surprise in it's self, with Hughes taking a decision, but it was the manner of this contest that was most startling. The light punching Hughes dropped Kotochigov early in the bout and had him reeling in round 4. The Englishman bossed it through large portions of the bout and was well deserving of the victory here.
Round of the Month
Toshiki Kawamitsu Vs Kenshi Noda (Rd2)
We close this by going back to the brilliant bout between Toshiki Kawamitsu and Kenshi Noda, for the round of the Month. Whilst their bout was tremendous, and genuinely we would advise anyone who missed it to watch the entire thing, round 2 was the one that stood out as the most must watch round. This was top tier action between two young novices who both dug deep, let their hands go and gave us one of the best 3 minutes of the year. The was something really special, and we implore you all to give the bout a watch and enjoy this round, and the others in the bout. Tremendous stuff from both youngsters.
This past week has been a weird one, making our awards a rather frustrating one to do. There was two notable Japanese cards, but only one has been shown so far, there was a card in Pakistan and one in Thailand. Given that we can only talk about the bouts we saw, we haven't been able to include the Teiken show from Friday. Even with that in mind we still had plenty to talk about!
Fighter of the week
Usman Wazeer (4-0, 2)
We're going left field here, but it's not without a good reason. We saw good performance by a number of fighters, such as Mark Magsayo and Hironobu Matsunaga, but 20 year old Pakistani fighter Usman Wazeeer did something different. His performance wasn't the best, his opponent, Boido Simanjuntak was under-sized, over-matched and no competition. However Wazeer put Pakistan on the map with his win over his veteran Indonesian opponent. His win wasn't the biggest in terms of general standing in boxing, but his win gave a country without a boxing star someone to really get behind. With over 200,000,000 people in the country Pakistan is among the most populated countries in the world, and having a figure head for boxing there to build upon is huge!
Performance of the Week
Kiyohei Endo (3-4, 3)
We're going left field again here, and we're going with a man who lost, but sometimes a losing effort says much, much more than a winning effort, and that was certainly the case with Kiyohei Endo. The once touted former amateur standout has not been a success as a professional. He's looked the part at times, but it's always come undone for him and with 3 losses in his first 6, including a shock loss on his debut, he wasn't expected to do much at all this weekend. In fact 59% of those who predicted the result on Boxmob expected Endo to be stopped. Instead Endo gave former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi all he could handle, and we dare say the judges got this one wrong. A great performance, despite a loss, but a man no one gave a chance to. Well done Mr Endo, hopefully another notable bout will come your way soon!
Fight of the Week
Toshiki Kawamitsu Vs Kenshi Noda
We had something truly amazing in the US with Jose Zepeda Vs Ivan Baranchyk, and taht's the front runner, by some margin, for Fight of the Year. Asian fans were however able to see their own thriller a few hours earlier with a brilliant clash between unbeaten hopefuls Toshiki Kawamitsu and Kenshi Noda. This lacked the knockdowns of the big fight in America, but was another all action contest, with the two men landing some huge shots through out. This was exciting, action packed, well fought, competitive and just an all round brilliant back and forth bout. If you've seen the Zepeda Vs Baranchyk bout 20 times and want to give something else a watch, give this one a go.
Round of the Week
Toshiki Kawamitsu Vs Kenshi Noda (Rd2)
Originally we were going to go with Round 3 from this sensational all-Japanese bout, but on reflection the third round was full of bizarre shenanigans from the referee, resulting in some moments that killed the action. By the end of round 3 Noda looked exhausted and had lost his way a bit. In round 2 however the fight had brilliant give and take action through the whole round, in what will go down as one of the best rounds in Japanese boxing this year. This was a wonderful mix of outside work, before the men worked their way inside and traded in a phone booth. Just pure boxing joy as a fan. Round 3 may have been more dramatic, but for us round 2 gets the nod on consistency of action
Prospect of the Week
Toshiki Kawamitsu (5-0, 2)
Well this was a foregone conclusion wasn't it? The youngster not only gave us the Asian fight of the week and the Asian round of the week but also scored his biggest win to date, and showed a lot that we hadn't previously seen from him. He showed real grit and toughness, and showed power and physical strength that we hadn't seen from him before. There really wasn't anyone even close to being competition for Kawamitsu this past week.
It's fair to say that September, for the most part, was a disappointing month, with some notable gaps between noteworthy bouts. Sure the month finished with a bang, but there were certainly a few weeks where little happened and we were sat twiddling out thumbs waiting for the next notable fight. In October however that won't be happening, with great after great show, and notable name after notable name. Potentially the longest gap we'll see between notable fights will be 7 days. With that in mind we've had to break October into 3 parts for this series.
Korakuen Hall, Japan (G+ - Tape Delay)
Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-1-1, 18) Vs Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-4-1, 12)
The main event of the first notable show of the month will see former Japanese national champions facing off in a very interesting match up. In one corner will be former Japanese Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa, best known for his bout with Tevin Farmer, whilst the other corner will play host to Kazuhiro Nishitani, a former Japanese Lightweight champion. Coming into this both of these fighters have got world rankings, and both will know a loss will end their dreams of getting a big fight. On paper this could end up being a very, very good bout, with the styles of the two men expected to gel well. A great way to kick off the month.
Hayate Kaji (14-0, 9) Vs Hiroki Yajima (9-8-3, 4)
Unbeaten Japanese hopeful Hayate Kaji once looked like a star in the making and seemed destined for huge things. In recent performances however he has struggled to shine, and there's been a feeling that his career has started to stall with poor performance and a lack of professionalism. Sadly for Kaji the hope of taking on an opponent that could push his career forward isn't being realised here as he faces lower level domestic foe Hiroki Yajima. Coming into this Yajima has lost 3 of his last 4, and is 2-3-2 in his last 7. Despite his form Yajima has never been stopped and will likely make this tricky and awkward for Kaji.
Shokichi Iwata (4-0, 3) Vs Ryo Narizuka (9-9-1)
The hotly tipped Shokichi Iwata looks to stay busy as he steps into 8 round territory for the first time. Regarded as a future world champion Iwata is being moved smartly and this is a decent domestic level test for him as he takes on Ryo Narizuka. Whilst Narizuka isn't anything special he is generally quite durable and should give Iwata some rounds here, allowing the youngster to shake some ring rust. Given that Iwata has been out of the ring since November a fight like this is ideal, before potentially heading for a title fight in 2021, when the Japanese boxing scene is more "normal" than it is at the moment.
Korakuen Hall, Japan (G+ - Live)
Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) Vs Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5)
In the first Japanese title bout of the month we'll see JBC Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga defending his title against mandatory challenger Yuto Shimizu, in what could be a real thriller. Matsunaga is a thrilling little warrior who sets a high work rate, comes forward and looks to break opponents down with an aggressive and exciting style. Shimizu on the other hand is a tough, tricky, opponent who is big, strong, rangy and should be able to blunt some of Matsunaga's aggression. This might end up messy at times, but should be a compelling match up between the aggression of the champion the crafty skills of the challenger.
Kenshi Noda (2-0, 2) Vs Toshiki Kawamitsu (4-0, 1)
A low key one to watch will see the touted Kenshi Noda take on fellow unbeaten Toshiki Kawamitsu in a brilliant looking 6 rounder. Noda, a fooirmer amateur standout, is a Teiken hopeful who debuted last year and blitzed his first 2 opponents in under 3 and a half minutes, combined. He is tipped very highly and is regarded as one of the best prospects at Teiken, but this is very much his first bout against someone trying to beat him. Although he's been less impressive in terms of results Kawamitsu is the more proven professional and has faced stiffer competition whilst also getting more rounds under his belt. This is a hard one to call, and pits Noda's amateur experience and power against Kawamitsu's professional seasoning. A very interesting bout.
Shigetoshi Kotari (1-0, 1) Vs Motosuke Kimura (3-4-2, 1)
Talented hopeful Shigetoshi Kotari is regarded as one of the brightest hopes at the MT Gym, the same gym as Junto Nakatani, and here we see him in his second professional bout. On debut Kotari looked sharp, powerful and promising, but was up against a very limited opponent. On paper Motosuke Kimura isn't a big step up in class, but Kimura is better than his record suggests, and gave Hikari Mineta a good test last year. With that Mineta bout in mind we suspect he will take Kotari rounds here, but ultimately the gulf in class will prove too much.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41) Vs Jomar Fajardo (17-17-2, 9)
In Thailand we'll see former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai return fight in a stay busy bout against limited Filipino Jomar Fajardo. Srisaket, who fought back in July, is expected to get a world title shot in 2021 and is looking to keep the rust off here in a bout that even the broadcaster describe as a tune up. Fajardo was once a capable fighter at Light Flyweight but will be expected to be blasted out here by Srisaket.
Apichet Petchmanee (6-0, 2) vs Musheg Adoian (7-1, 7)
In one of the more interesting bouts we'll see this month in Thailand the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee will take on Thai based Russian fighter Musheg Adoian, in a bout for that will see Apichet defending a minor WBC title. The unbeaten Thai looked great in his first few bouts, but has looked less good in more recent bouts, and we do wonder if he's as good as first thought. In Adoian we have someone who could give Apichet a serious chin checking and let us see what the Thai really is made of. Adoian is no world beater himself but is a live under-dog here.
Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, USA (FS1 - Live)
Mark Magsayo (20-0, 14) Vs Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-2-1, 8)
World class Filipino Mark Magsayo looks to move a step closer to a world title bout, and score win #21, as he takes on Rigoberto Hermosillo. The bout sees Magsayo take on a late replacement, who is a massive down grade, but that hardly matters here as the focus is on the Filipino looking good, getting his face in front of a US TV and getting back in the ring after a lengthy break. Expect bigger and better matches for Magsayo in 2021, with this acting as little more than a show case for the unbeaten Pinoy.
Korakuen Hall, Japan (Fuji TV - Tape Delay)
Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) Vs Shingo Kawamura (16-5-4, 8)
The second title fight to be held in Japan in October will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara defending his title against domestic foe Shingo Kawamura. The talented Teshigawara is hoping to land a world title fight in the coming year or two, and has transferred over to Misako Gym, which should help him secure a shot at the top. As for Kawamura he has come up short in an OPBF title bout at Featherweight and is dropping down in weight here, though we don't imagine he'll have much success against the under-rated Teshigawara.
Taiki Minamoto (16-6-1, 13) Vs Kanehiro Nakagawa (9-6, 5)
Former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto looks to bounce back from a frustrating 2019, in which he drew with Reiya Abe and lost to Takuya Watanabe, as he takes on Kanehiro Nakagawa. The heavy and talented Minamoto is in the hunt for a Japanese title at 130lbs and should be favoured here against the less experienced Nakagawa. Saying that however Nakagawa is no push over and he is riding a 4 fight winning streak, including upsets over Seiichi Okada and Ken Osato. On paper this doesn't look great but in reality we are expecting a very interesting match up between men who should be more evenly matched than their records suggest.
In February we see action suddenly picking up with notable shows taking place all over the place, and we really do have some excellent shows coming up filled with a mix of top fighters, contenders and prospects. One prospect who is in action in the coming days is Kenshi Noda (1-0, 1), who actually makes his TV debut on February 1st as part of a Teiken card being televised on G+. Although not a big name, yet, big things are expected of Noda.
Noda first made his name as an amateur fighter where he ran up a 45-16 record. His full bout by bout record isn't something we have access to, but we do know that he was in the final stages of several notable national competitions. These included the 2012 Japanese Junior Selection Tournament, losing in the final to Yuki Nakajima and the 2013 Japanese Interschool Athletic Meet, where he lost to the brilliant Taku Kuwahara in the semi final.
Sadly for Noda his hopes of becoming a professional fighter took a huge hit as a youngster when he suffered a really serious injury to his left elbow. Noda had surgery for the injury but it didn't heal as expected, and rather than turning professional after he graduated from university he had to spend additional time rehabilitating his injury.
Thankfully the injury healed enough for him to begin his professional journey in 2019, moving to Tokyo and beginning to train at Teiken early in the year. Within just a few months of being at Teiken he had caught back up to speed with his boxing and took part in his pro-test in May, passing the tests despite admitting to being intensely nervous.
Noda made his long awaited professional debut last September, fighting as a Light Flyweight, and stopped Thai foe Somphon Banyaem in just 65 seconds. That was quicker than anyone had ever stopped the Thai, including former amateur foe Yuki Nakajima. Although the bout wasn't available to watch on TV or a streaming service, fans at the event were impressed by Noda, who was said to have been sharp from the opening bell and looked powerful and quick through out.
Noda's opponent for his February bout has been named as Indonesian Thomas Tope Hurek (2-4-1, 1). It's not a great opponent for Noda but does give the 24 year old Japanese fighter a chance to share the ring with someone who lasted 6 rounds with Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart in 2018.
At the age of 24 we expect to see Teiken move Noda quickly this coming year and potentially get him in to the Japanese rankings by the end of 2020.
It feels like January has been an incredibly bitty month for fight fans, with stretches without bouts, and a real lack of consistency through the month. We've had some notable bouts, of course we have, but for the most part it's concentrated on only a few days and hasn't been spread through much of the month. Thankfully that is set to change in February when we have a lot more to look forward to.
Nuevo León, Mexico
Pedro Taduran (14-2, 11) Vs Daniel Valladares (22-1, 13)
The most significant bout at the start of February sees IBF Minmumweight champion Pedro Taduran travel off to Mexico to defend his title, for the first time. The exciting champion, who won the belt in September when he stopped Samuel Salva in a short but thrilling bout, will be up against talented Mexican Daniel Valladares in what should be a really good bout. Taduran isn't the most polished, but sets a high work rate and lets power shots go, as if the judges are people he doesn't want to see. Valladares is more polished but will be moving down in weight for this bout. Expect this to be a genuinely brilliant fight!
Tokyo, Japan [G+ - Live]
Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) Vs Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20)
The 2020 Champion Carnival kicks off with a brilliant looking Japanese Welterweight title fight, pitting in form champion Yuki Nagano against mandatory challenger Keita Obara. A win here for Nagano will push him on to the fringes of the world rankings, though he'll be a clear under-dog against the hard hitting Obara. For Obara a win here would see him becoming a 2-weight Japanese national champion and claim his third win since losing in a world title eliminator last March, as he looks to build some career momentum.
Ryusei Ishii (8-5-1, 5) Vs Yamato Hata (9-1, 9)
In a JBC Youth Super Featherweight title fight fight the limited Ryusei Ishii takes on the heavy handed Yamato Hata, with both men looking to move their career forward and claim their biggest win to date. Hata will be the favourite but Ishii has competed at a higher level and is no push over.
Kenshi Noda (1-0, 1) Vs Thomas Tope Hurek (2-4-1, 1)
Former amateur standout Kenshi Noda looks to continue his professional journey as he takes on Indonesian foe Tomas Tope Hurek. This should be little more than a showcase for the talented Noda.
Hiroto Yashiro (1-0, 1) Vs Abdul Rauf (1-2)
Another prospect in action here is Hiroto Yashiro, who is also expected to pick up a very easy win as he takes on Indonesia's Abdul Rauf. Given this is early in his career we can't complain too much about an easy fight for Yashiro, but don't be surprised if this one is over quickly.
Jasurbek Latipov (0-0) Vs TBA
Talented former amateur stand out Jasurbek Latipov makes his professional debut at the start of February. At the moment we've not been informed who Latipov will be facing, but the bout is being described as a chance for the excellent Uzbek to try and catch the eye of promoters, and we suspect he is going to look sensational here. He is certainly one to watch and this debut is one that should be of interest to fans who want to get in on the ground level for someone who will be looking to get fast tracked.
Rustam Tulaganov (2-0, 1) v Norbert Dabrowski (23-8-2, 10)
Touted Uzbek fighter Rustam Tulaganov takes a huge step up in class as he takes on Norbert Dabrowski. The talented Tulaganov was tipped for big things when he debuted in 2017 but hasn't been active enough to get to where he should be now. Thankfully he, and his team, are willing to take risks and a win here will help him make up for lost time.
Pennsylvania, USA [Showtime - Live]
Gary Russell Jr (30-1, 18) Vs Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9) -
In a bout we're really looking forward too we'll see WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr defending his belt against mandatory challenger Tugstogt Nyambayar. This is a mouth watering bout and a great chance to see whether or not the unbeaten Mongolian is for real. The American champion, who has gained a reputation for not liking the sport, and not by anywhere active enough, is talented but incredibly frustrating and has wasted his prime years. Nyambayar on the other hand is getting his shot at the big time, at last, and will know a win here will be huge for his career. In fact a win here for Nyambayar will see him becoming only the second Mongolian world champion. A really important and significant bout.
Kento Hatanaka (10-0, 9) Vs Roland Jay Biendima (15-5-1, 8) -
In Kariya we'll see WBC Youth Flyweight champion Kento Hatanaka make his next defense of the title as he takes on Filipino foe Roland Jay Biendima. On paper this looks like a mismatch but in reality this should be another great test for Hatanaka, who struggled last time out against Jaysever Abcede. Although talented and exciting Hatanaka does need time to mature and develop and this type of bout is perfect for that. Biendima isn't a world beater but should serve as an excellent test for Hatanaka at this point in time.
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