Over the last few months we've not had much boxing to talk about, but thankfully that's all set to change in July with the sport returning to various countries after they have managed to get on top of the on going situation. With that in mind we have some fights to look forward this month!
Korakuen Hall, Japan
Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) Vs Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4)
OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu returns to the ring after a brutal loss to Joe Noynay last August as he defends his title against the unheralded Kyohei Tonomoto. The hard hitting Shimizu has a lot of questions to answer following his loss and will know that a loss here ends any hope he has of fighting for a world title. As for Tonomoto this is a huge opportunity to make a mark at Oriental level.
Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) Vs Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5)
Unbeaten Japanese Light Welterweight (140lbs) champion Koki Inoue will make his next defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata. Originally this bout was scheduled for March, before Inoue was injured, then delayed due to the ongoing situation. For Inoue this could be his last bout at domestic level and he could well be looking to make a mark at a higher level in the very near future. As for Nagata this is his second shot at a title, after losing in an OPBF title bout against Rikki Naito. This could well be a very, very exciting bout.
Kazakhstan (IFL TV, ESPN+)
Dauren Yeleussinov (8-0-1, 7) Vs Arman Rysbek (7-0, 6)
In a very good looking all-Kazakh bout we'll see Dauren Yeleussinov, the brother of Olympic champion Daniyar Yeleussinov, take on Arman Rysbek. This is the sort of bout we're always excited about, two unbeaten, talented punchers facing off with everything to gain. At 34 Yeleussinov needs a big win, and this should be seen as a must win for him. Rysbek on the other hand is a bit younger, at 29, but can still ill afford a loss. Expect this one to be an excellent bout with two men looking to prove a point
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (0-0) Vs Sagadat Rakhmankulov (6-1, 4)
We love seeing top amateurs matched hard in a their debuts and that's what we have here with Tursynbay Kulakhmet, the 2019 amateur champion at Middleweight and World Championship bronze medal winner, taking on the once beaten Sagadat Rakhmankulov. It's expected that Kulakhmet will be fast tracked and with a debut like this the intention is clear, he is being eyed as a super talent and will be raced to the top. As for Rakhmankulov this will actually be his domestic debut, after entirely in the West so far. This is a big test, and hugely interesting debut.
Talgat Shaiken (0-0) Vs Berikbay Nurymbetov (5-0, 1)
Another notable debut is that of Talgat Shaiken, another Kazakh who is tipped for big things. Shaiken is only a youngster, but is a very strong and powerful kid who if being matched tough here for such a youngster, as he takes on Berikbay Nurymbetov. This is a tough debut, but should be a win for the former Youth Olympic silver medal winner.
Korakuen Hall, Japan (Fuji TV)
Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) Vs Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) - Japanese Super Flyweight title fight
In the second Japanese title fight for the month we'll see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa defending his title, in a mandatory, against Yuta Matsuo. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very good bout, with Matsuo known for his pressure and Nakagawa being known for his solid punching. A very nice bout and one that should be a very competitive one.
Rentaro Kimura (0-0) Vs Yuya Azuma (5-3-1, 1)
Yet another debutant of note for the month is Rentaro Kimura, who will take on Yuya Azuma. Those in Japan are raving about Kimura, who has stated that he wants to fight for a world title in his first 10 bouts. His debut comes against the relatively unknown Yuya Azuma, in what should be a rather straight forward debut for the youngster.
Kobe Central Gymnasium, Japan
Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) Vs Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5) - OPBF Light Flyweight title fight
The second OPBF title bout for the month will see veteran Kenichi Horikawa take on Daiki Tomita for the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight title. This bout was supposed to take place in March, though was postponed when boxing was put on an hiatus in Japan. The title, which was vacated by Edward Heno, is often regarded as a stepping stone for world champions, and the title has been held by numerous fighters who have gone on to bigger and better things. For Horikawa a loss will almost certainly be the end of his great career, though a win would see him complete a domestic and regional grandslam. As for Tomita this is his second chance at a title, and a win here would be a huge boost to his fledgling career.
Aioi Hall, Japan
Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) Vs Tsuyoshi Sato (10-1-1, 5) - Japanese Light Flyweight title fight
The final Japanese title fight for the month will take place on July 25th and will see fans attending the event as Masamichi Yabuki and Tsuyoshi Sato battle for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title. The title here became vacant when Yuto Takahashi announced his retirement from the sport following issues with motivation and training. Yabuki will be favoured here, given his brutal power, but Sato has been impressive with his pressure, high out put and under-rated power. For one of the first bouts with fans this should be a genuine highlight for the month, and the styles of the men should gell brilliantly.
Earlier this year we had a spate of Japanese amateurs turning professional at pretty much the same time. At that point the year seemed like it was going to be a great 2020 for Japanese boxing fans who were set to see a host of exciting young talent all let loose on the pros. Sadly we've not yet seen any of those touted amateurs make their professional debuts, due to the on going global situation, but they all have their eyes on big things, and we've already spoke about a number of them in this series.
One of the ones we haven't spoke about yet is Rentaro Kimura (0-0), who signed with the Suruga boys in Shizuoka and is touted incredibly highly, with some suggesting he is the brightest hope that Shizuoka have in creating a world champion any time soon.
As an amateur Kimura really shined. He began boxing in elementary school and began to generate a real buzz in high school. By the time he was at University there was a lot of attention on the youngster and by 2015 he was already looking like someone to keep a serious eye on. In the 2016 National Championships Kimura beat both Mikito Nakano and Jin Minamide on route to winning the tournament in Ehime. The following year he came runner up in the National Championship, losing to Olympian Arashi Morisaka, won the Japanese National Sports Festival and also experienced some international competition at a tournament in Bangkok.
Kimura's international experience grew in 2018, when he participated in a tournament in Indonesia and a tournament in Thailand, as did his domestic success, often placing in the top 4 of tournaments. During his days in the unpaid ranks he ran up an excellent 72-16 (26) amateur record and made it clear he wanted to turn professional. Despite that intention he wasn't rushing to the pros and instead lead his university team to an 11-0 win the final of the university league last year, with Kimura being the captain of the team.
Earlier this year Kimura announced his decision to turn professional, signing with Sugura Boys. The plan was that Kimura would train at and be managed by the Sugura Boys outfit in Shizuoka and spend time shared between his home area and Tokyo, where he would train at the well established Misako gym. The agreement was a clear one, allowing him to keep links to home and train at one of the more notable gyms, with some of the best domestic talent in Japan.
In March Kimura passed his B class license test, taking part in the physical part of that test with Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa, at the Misako Gym. Back then the intention was for him to make his debut in June, though due to the global situation boxing in Japan was put on hiatus until July. The plan now is for Kimura to debut on July 22nd, though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been announced though we would expect Kimura's debut foe to be named in the coming weeks.
As an amateur Kimura's style proved to be that of a very talented southpaw, with a sharp right jab, smart footwork, and the ability to box or fight. He didn't look the biggest puncher but looked very confident and had a style that should be easy to adapt to the professional ranks.
Talking about the professional ranks Kimura recently gave an interview where he stated that he wanted to be moved quickly through the professional ranks and not waste time. He spoke about fighting for a world title as early as his 10th bout. That's an ambitious mentality, but given his amateur pedigree we wouldn't be surprised at all to see him put on the fast track to the top.
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