Something we've wanted to do for a while, but never got round to it, was look at some cases of boxers who share the same name. It's not a big thing, or the most exciting thing ever, but it's an oddity that has been on our radar for a few years now and something we've wanted to cover. Today, we're going to do just that and look at 10 names that were used by multiple fighters, with two of them being used by 3 fighters. Some of these fighters had careers that were similar, whilst others were cases where one fighter has certainly made the name synonymous with themselves.
10- Sho Nakazawa
One of the first names we had in mind for this article was Sho Nakazawa, a name shared by a once touted Super Bantamweight come Super Featherweight and a former Japanese Flyweight contender.
Of the two it's the modern day one, who was born in 1992 and began his career in 2013, who is the more notable, but that was more as an amateur, where he won a number of domestic trophies. As we write this he is 12-4 (6) and fighting out of the Ohashi gym, though did begin his career as Osaka Teiken. His career has failed to hit the heights expected of him, sadly, though is still an active fighter and is still a genuine talent, despite not becoming the fighter many had hoped.
The other Sho Nakazawa went was born in 1984 before debuting in 2004. He fought through to 2014 whilst running up a professional record of 17-11-2 (1). During his career he fought some notable names, including Ryoichi Taguchi, twice, and Kenichi Horikawa but was more regarded as a durable fighter than someone capable of going places with his career. Notably in his 30 bout career he was stopped just once, by Shota Kawaguchi in 2013.
We stick with Japan again for this name as we look at Daisuke Watanabe, a name shared by two Japanese fighters, born 10 years apart. As with Sho Nakazawa one of the men with this name is still an active fighter, and in fact has a direct link to Nakazawa, but more about that in a minute.
The first of the Daisuke Watanabe's was born in 1981 and made his professional debut in 2004. He only fought for a few years before leaving the sport in 2008 with a 3-4 (2) record. His record doesn't have anything of note on it, though his final bout took place on a card that featured Hozumi Hasegawa, Takashi Uchiyama and Edwin Valero. Very much an obscure fighter
The second Daisuke Watanabe is a currently active fighter who was born in 1991 and began his career in 2014. His career is ongoing and we still suspect some notable achievements from him. Among his bouts so far he has faced Sho Nakazawa, the second one, early in his career and is currently scheduled to compete final of the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament. fighter. He's aggressive, heavy handed and has been matched hard, leaving him with a 10-4-2 (6) record as we write this. Aged 29 we see him still having a notable future in the sport.
A really interesting name to consider is Kenji Ono, which was a name shared by two different fighters. One is a rather recent fighter whilst the other is a less well known but, is somone one who etched his name into the boxing history books way back in 1986. Neither men had a stellar career, but both are very notable fighters.
The original Kenji Ono was born in 1959 and fought as a professional from 1981 to 1988, running up a 17-11-4 (6) record. During his career he fought some genuinely notable fighters including Samuth Sithnaruepol and Hiroki Ioka. As well as those opponents he also holds two notable distinctions. Firstly he was the first ever Japanese Minimumweight champion, beating Missile Kudo for the title in 1986, and he also lost in the first ever OPBF Minimumweight title bout.
The second Kenji Ono was born in 1988 and fought from 2011 to 2019, and may well continue his career going forward, though it does seem somewhat unlikely given recent results. His most notable achievement was winning the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year, beating Seita Ogido in the final and in 2016 he was involved in a sensational bout with Jun Takigawa, which saw both men hitting the canvas. Sadly in recent years his form has suffered and he has gone 0-2-2 in his last 4, including a stoppage loss to Seigo Yuri Akui.
Maybe the strangest case of two fighters with the same name comes from China, where we currently have two Xiang Li's, making things incredibly complicated. Not only are they both active fighters but both are still very early in their career's and it's hard to say who is the more accomplished, or even the most promising.
One of the Xiang Li's is a 22 year old Light Flyweight, who is currently 8-2-2 (3) and is a southpaw. So far in his career he's had some really interesting results, including a very controversial draw with Ryu Horikawa, a win in Hong Kong against Raymond Poon and he's hard fights in Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Although no world beater he has picked up a number of minor titles.
The other Xiang Li is an unbeaten Super Featherweight who was born in 1995 and currently sports a 6-0 (5) record. On paper he looks the more notable but in reality he hasn't hasn't looked as skilled as the younger, smaller man. What he does have is power and that power has seen him stop his last 5 opponents. He's one to watch, as he's fun and heavy handed, but he's further away from a world title fight than the other Xiang Li.
Notably this is the only case we can think of where two current Asian fighters share the same name.
6-Ji Hoon Kim
The first of a three-fer in this article is Ji Hoon Kim. We know some will recognise the name, after all there was a former world title challenger by the name who was a popular TV level fighter, but they may not be aware that there was other Ji Hoon Kim's out there.
The more notable of the 3 is the Lightweight known as "Volcano", who was born in 1987 and fought as a professional between 2004 and 2013. This Kim is one of the last notable Korean fighters and was a very much a TV friendly warrior who managed to make a name in the US, before fighting for a world title and then retiring due to an issue with his eyes. When he retired his record was 25-9 (19)
A second Ji Hoon Kim was a lower weight fighter who typically fought at Super Flyweight. This Ji Hoon Kim went 3-4 (1) and fought entirely in South Korea between 2011 and 2013 he was born in 1992 and whilst his career over-lapped with the more famous Ji Hoon Kim his career never really took off, with the fighter ending his career after 3 straight losses.
The third Ji Hoon Kim is even less notable than the other two, going 0-2 in his very brief career in 2013. He fought between Super Bantamweight and Featherweight and really, if we're being honest, did nothing of note in the sport. Strangely his career final bout was the final one of all 3 of these Kim's, who all fought in 2013.
As we write this Keisuke Matsumoto is only days away from his professional debut as he looks to follow in the footsteps of his father, Koji Matsumoto. Well that's one of the two Koji Matsumoto's who are known to have fought in Japan.
The most famous of the due, by far, is the former southpaw form Yokohama who was a 3-time world title challenger and a multi-time Japanese Featherweight champion. This Koji Matsumoto, Keisuke's father, was born in 1969 and fought as a professional from 1989 to 1998. During that time he went 26-6-1 (15) and shared the ring with the likes of Freddie Norwood, Yong Soo Choi and Young Kyun Park.
The second Koji Matsumoto was a Super Bantamweight who fought from 2005 to 2006 and was from Saitama. This Koji Matsumoto went 2-2 (1) with his final professional bout coming against a then 21 year old Takuya Kogawa. Compared to the other Koji Matsumoto this is a mismatch.
We're going to cheat a little bit here though we'll explain why. There has not been a notable boxer born with the birth name "Ric Magramo", there is however two men who fought under that name, and both are pretty notable fighters from a very interesting fighting family. In fact they may well be the case where both men are more notable, than any other 2-fighter pairing.
The "original" Ric Magramo was born Endrikito Magramo, though is better known as Ric Magramo. His date of birth isn't clear but he debuted in 1961 and fought through to 1970 whilst running up a solid 35-17-5 (15) record. During his career he fought the likes of Bernabe Villacampo, Walter McGowan, Tsuyoshi Nakamura, Hiroyuki Ebihara, Kiyoshi Tanabe, Erbito Salavarria and Berkrerk Chartvanchai. He actually took a few from those guys as well, won a Filipino title and fought for the OPBF Flyweight title 3 times.
The other Ric Magramo was born Renato Magramo in 1961, and had a career that spanned from 1982 to 1998. He ran up a record of 34-22-5 (9), which sounds poor but included bouts, like the other Ric Magramo, against a who's who of who. His opponents included Gerry Penalosa, Chana Porpaoin, Chatchai Sasakul, Joma Gamboa, Sompoch Harnvichachai, Paul Weir and Jacob Matlala. He even got a world title fight, when he fought Weir.
Like a few others in this list there is a huge gulf in how well known the two Hiroshi Kobayashi's are. One is regarded as one of Japan's greatest fighters, a former world champion and one of the great Japanese fighters from the past. The other is, sadly, a domestic journeyman who fought a number of top fighters but fail to score a win of note.
The original Hiroshi Kobayashi was a great Super Featherweight was born in 1944, made his debut at the age of 17 and was a professional from 1962 to 1971. He won his first 18 bouts before suffering 4 straight losses. In the years that followed however he rebuilt brilliantly and won the Japanese Featherweight title before dethroning Yoshiaki Numata for the WBA and WBC Super Featherweight titles. He would defend the WBC title once and the WBA title 6 times before losing his final 3 bouts in 1971, with the final loss coming to Roberto Duran. He retired with a 61-10-4 (10) record.
The other Hiroshi Kobayashi was born in 1969, whilst the first was still a world champion, and would make his debut in 1989, at the age of 19. He would go 12-15-2 (3) in a 29 fight career that ended in 2000. Although his numbers don't stack up he was a well trusted domestic level fighter who shared the ring with Hyung Chul Lee, Rolando Pascua, Rolando Bohol, Yuri Arbachakov, Hideki Todaka and Celes Kobayashi, among others. Very much a journeyman, but a good, domestic one.
2-Ki Soo Kim
We're back in South Korea here for another case of a fighter with a name being much, much better known than the other, with the name Ki Soo Kim. Unfortunately this is probably one of the most unfair in this list, with one being a national hero and the other being an unfortunate fighter with the same name.
The original Ki Soo Kim was born in 1939 and would go on to be a successful amateur and even more successful professional winning the Light Middleweight world titles in 1966. He was the first Korean to win world titles and fought as a professional from 1961 to 1969, running up a 33-2-2 (17) record and paving the way for the Korean fighters to follow him in the years ahead. As well as the Light Middleweight world title he also held the OPBF Middleweight title and would often switch between the two division's. Among his big wins were decisions against Nino Benvenuti, who had beaten him in the Olympics and Freddie Little.
The other Ki Soo Kim went 3-2 (1) and fought between 1982 and 1983. His achievements in the ring amounted to nothing, and he really didn't do much of note at all. The one thing noteworthy about his career, other than his name, is that he fought a then 18 year old Myung Woo Yuh, the future Light Flyweight great. Sadly it's unclear when Kim was born, though we suspect it was around the time that his name sake was a top fighter
The final name on this list again comes from Japanese boxing, and that is Takashi Miura. We suspect everyone reading this will know of one Takashi Miura but amazingly there has been three of them, two of whom fought at the same time, in the same division. Those two also share an opponent, and amazingly neither of them were the original Takashi Miura!
Let us explain.
The first Takashi Miura was a Super Bantamweight who fought in the late 1990's. His career record is possibly incomplete, though boxrec have him going 1-4 between 1997 and 1999. His most notable opponent was probably Jun Toriumi and he is very much a forgotten man.
The second Takashi Miura was a Super Featherweight who born in 1980 and made his professional debut in 2002. This Takashi Miura was an orthodox fighter had some solid success, including a win over Kinji Amano. After going 7-1-1 (4) his career capitulated and he would end with an 8-6-1 (5) record, including losses to future Japanese national champions Yosukezan Onodera and Yoshimitsu Yashiro. His career came to an end in 2007 after a 4th straight loss.
The third Takashi Miura was also a Super Featherweight, who debuted in 2003 and fought all the way up to 2017. He was born in 1984 and would become the most notable of the Takashi Miura's winning the Japanese and WBC titles, and became a fan favourite among the hardcore fans. Interestingly he twice fought Yoshimitsu Yashiro, ending Yashiro's national title reign, and would go on to fight a real who's who. He first made a mark internationally in 2011, when he fought Takashi Uchiyama, and would later face Gamaliel Diaz, Sergio Thompson, Billy Dib, Francisco Vargas, Mickey Roman and Miguel Berchelt.
*Please note some records may be incomplete, all records used as boxrec records as per August 2020.
Between 2003 and 2017 we had the pleasure of watching the thrilling career of Takashi Miura (31-4-2, 24). The Japanese Super Featherweight was one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, with dynamite in his left hand, an ultra aggressive in ring style and a steely toughness. He wasn't the most skilled, or the quickest, but he was the sort of fighter who always gave us incredible action and was one of those fighters who was must watch.
Whilst Miura will likely go down as a fighter better known for his exciting performances than his wins, he was a fighter who promised explosive action. That was regardless of whether he won, or lost. Losses in high profile bouts to Takashi Uchiyama, Francisco Vargas and Miguel Berchelt will forever hang over his career from an historical point of view, but here we are to celebrate the positives, and look at the 5 most significant wins for... Takashi Miura.
Yoshimitsu Yashiro II (July 4th 2009)
In his first title fight Miura fought Yusuke Kobori in 2007, for the Japanese Super Featherweight title. He lost to Kobori but remained in the mix and go his second title fight in January 2009, when he fought to a draw with Yoshimitsu Yashiro. Those two men would then have a rematch around 6 months later, and this time Miura would take the victory, and title, making it third time lucky. He would defeat Yashiro with a 7th round TKO to claim the title, with the win helping to establish Miura on the Japanese scene. The bout wasn't the best, or the most memorable, but Miura wearing down the champion in round 6 and then closing the show in round 7 was a major win for him and proved he could get over the line at title level. It was his first title win, and it was aired live on G+.
Gamaliel Diaz (April 8th 2013)
Having needed 3 bites at the cherry to win a Japanese title Miura obviously didn't want to repeat that at world level. Sadly for him he would lose his first world title fight, suffering a stoppage loss to the then WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama. Thankfully for Miura that loss opened new doors for him, and ended up securing him a transfer Yokohama Hikari to Teiekn. Teiken helped him polish his style a touch and then landed him a world title bout with WBC champion Gamaliel Diaz. Miura would take his chance and break down Diaz with some very heavy leather, dropping Diaz a number of times before stopping the Mexican to claim the title. This bout wasn't just a big win for Miura, getting him the WBC world title, but also for Teiken, with Miura getting back the title that Takahiro Ao lost to Diaz. It would also begin his reputation as a Mexi-killer.
Sergio Thompson (August 17th 2013)
Talking about Miura being a Mexi-killer another bout that built that reputation, and his reputation as a must watch fighter, was his first defense. This bout saw him travel to Mexico, making his international debut, and defeating mandatory challenger Sergio Thompson with a decision. The bout was a real war and a total thriller to watch, with two men who both believed in their power and toughness. Both men would be dropped, both would be hurt and both give their all in what was one of the best fights of 2013. For hardcore fans who hadn't seen Miura in Japan this was a great introduction to "Bomber Left" and really helped establish him as a world class fighter. It was also, again, revenge for Teiekn as Thompson had previously stopped Jorge Linares. For those who haven't seen this one, it is spectacular!
Billy Dib (May 1st 2015)
Whilst Miura tended to come up short against his most well known names he does hold a solid win over Australian fighter Bill Dib. Dib, a former world champion at 126lbs, was never regarded as an elite level name, but a solid champion and a decent fighter with some international recognition. His bout with Miura was shown live in Australia but on delay in Japan, despite the TV snub Miura left a lasting impression as he detonated a brutal left hand on Dib and knocked him out. Although Dib was never a top tier Super Featherweight he was a noteworthy name, a former world champion a weight lower and the finishing shot from Miura was brutal. How Dib got to his feet was a mystery but he was out on them. This was a great knockout, against a recognisable name, that helped increase Miura's profile.
Miguel Roman (January 28th 2017)
After losing in his US debut in 2015, to Francisco Vargas, the demand to see Miura back in the US was high and when he was matched with Miguel Roman in 2017 we all knew to expect something special. Miura and Roman was pretty much made for each other, and they ended up delivering a 2017 Fight of the Year contender, just 28 days into the year! This was something else, with both men fighting an insane pace from the opening bell, before Miura began to finally break down Roman, dropping the Mexican in rounds 10, 11 and 12 to force a finish. The bout wasn't just a Fight of the Year contender, but also Miura's only win on US soil, his final professional win, and it set up a world title fight with Miguel Berchelt. This was just absolutely amazing and deserves to be rewatched over, and over!
So 2018 is here and now, every fight from 2017 is done. What a perfect time to look at our 2017 Award winners, which as always are based around Asian fighters and the Asian fight scene.
Fighter of the Year
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai has long been one of our favourites with his wins over Yota Sato in 2013 and over Jose Salgado in 2015 proving that he belonged toward to be considered a genuinely top level Super Flyweight. He was however not expected to be any sort of a match up for Roman Gonzalez, the WBC champion and the man who was widely regarded as the #1 fighter pound for pound. Srisaket however went over to the US in March and dropped Gonzalez on route to winning a disputed decision. He then went back over to the US a few months later and shut the doubters up by stopping Gonzalez in a rematch.
However you want to paint it it was a year that took Srisaket from the eye of the hardcore fans to being one of the most notable little men in the sport, and the way he did it was a way that every fight fight fan should have been excited by.
Not only did he beat Gonzalez twice, but he did so as the under dog both times and will be rewarded with another Stateside bout as he is now scheduled to take on Juan Francisco Estrada in February.
Ken Shiro- The Japanese youngster fought three times in 2017 beating Ganigan Lopez, Pedro Guevara and Gilberto Pedroza. Wins over Lopez and Guevara were close and competitive bouts but the youngster essentially thrust himself on the world stage with those wins, before the win over Pedroza saw him take a slot on a TV broadcast and massively boost his standing in Japan. A fantastic year and one that leaves him on the verge of becoming a break out star.
Robbery of the Year
Ryota Murata Vs Hassan N'Dam I
A fighter being robbed at home is rare, but that's exactly what fans saw in May when Ryota Murata was some how beaten on the scorecards by Frenchman Hassan N'Dam. The French had been ruled down on one occasion, but it could have been several more, had tried to avoid a fight wand was repeatedly caught by right hands by the heavier handed and more aggressive Murata. Some how the fight was scored in favour of the visitor, a decision that even the French press disagreed with. The decision, which had been forgotten by some now, was so bad some of the judges from the bout were suspended by the WBA, who ordered a rematch almost immediately and had their president, Gilberto Mendoza publicly score the bout 117-110 to Murata.
The story did have a second chapter in October, with Murata avenging the loss and stopping N'Dam to claim the WBA Middleweight title at the second time of asking.
KO of the Year
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Vs Roman Gonzalez II
Scoring a win over Roman Gonzalez was impressive when Srisaket did it the first time, fans, and Gonzalez, felt the Thai had been lucky. In the second bout however there was no doubting the outcome as Srisaket laid Gonzalez out for the count with a truly brutal left hook. The shot rendered Gonzalez out cold and the way the Nicaraguan body went limp as he went down was really a case of the lights being turned out on Gonzalez.
Whilst this may not been the most graphically impressive KO featuring an Asian fighter in 2017 the fact it came against Gonzalez really made it stand out, and helped silence the Thai's doubters in the process.
Kazuto Takesako Vs Shoma Fukumoto- This short but exciting bout was a war from the off and ended in brilliant style as Takesako landed a huge right hand that crumpled Fukumoto to the canvas. A brutal finish to what had been a viciously fought bout.
Masaru Sueyoshi Vs Allan Vallespin- Filipino fighter Allan Vallespin had travelled to Japan with a puncher's reputation and had some out with a lot of aggression against Sueyoshi. That pressure later came back to cost him as Sueyoshi landed a massive counter right hand that splattered Vallespin on to the canvas in an eye catching KO.
Takenori Ohashi Vs Kosuke Saka- Saka was making his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title against the unheralded Ohashi. In round 5, after the clacker, Saka turned away thinking it was the bell and Ohashi went for the kill, finishing off his man in brutal fashion for one of the most bizarre and explosive KO's this year.
Upset of the Year
Sho Kimura Vs Zou Shiming
Going into 2016 Sho Kimura was an unknown. He was a man who had fought in just a single title fight, in which he claimed a regional WBO title. He had only beaten a handful of fighters with winning records and was really looking like a hand picked first challenge for the WBO Flyweight champion. Whilst fans may not have been impressed by Shiming they sure were aware of him, and with Shiming having home advantage it seemed clearly like Shiming would take home a decision and use the bout as a platform to face Kazuto Ioka in a huge bout. Kimura hadn't read he script and instead of being the patsy for Shiming he turned the bout into a platform to win the world title and make a real name for himself.
At the time it was a big upset, though Kimura has since notched another big win and doesn't appear to be the one hit wonder some had assumed.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Vs Roman Gonzalez I
Kenichi Ogawa Vs Tevin Farmer
Yasuyuki Akiyama Vs Koki Tyson
Fight Of The Year
Takashi Miura Vs Miguel Roman
There were good fights in 2017 that it was hard to select a favourite, or a best. There were bouts that were action packed, others that were dramatic, some that were savage, some with pure intensity and others with momentum that swung back and forth and other that were high skilled chess matches. There was really something for everyone. For us the winner, albeit just, was the January clash between Takashi Miura and Miguel Roman in what was a WBC world title eliminator. The contest had two very talented, well matched fighters beating the stuffing out of each other, until Roman was eventually stopped in round 12. Prior to the knockout the two had inflicted unreal punishment on each other. At the time of the knockout Miura was leading by 5 points, 3 points and 1 with Roman having been dropped in rounds 10 and 11.
Sadly the bout does suffer from a typical issue with boxing, short term memory of fans. The bout, which was fought on January 28th has been forgotten by some, but is well worth a rewatch for fans who have forgotten has amazing it was.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Vs Roman Gonzalez I, Takuya Kogawa Vs Masayuki Kuroda II, Milan Melindo Vs Hekkie Budler, Ryoichi Taguchi Vs Milan Melindo, Wanheng Menayothin Vs Tatsuya Fukuhara, Tatsuya Fukuhara Vs Moises Calleros, Wanheng Menayothin Vs Melvin Jerusalem, Jason Pagara Vs James Onyango,
Comeback of the Year (Fight)
Mark John Yap Vs Mentaro Masuda
Not often will we see a fighter being dropped 3 times in the opening round, stumble to his corner at the end of the round and yet storm back to win. That however is what OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap did back in July. He was dropped hard early in the round, Masuda went on the hunt and dropped him again as the two wildly traded on the ropes, and then again. By the time the bell went it looked like Yap was living on borrowed time, as he stumbled to his corner. Amazingly however Yap recovered, before stopping Masuda in round 4.
Ratchasai Sithsaihtong Vs Yutaka Oishi-Going into round 12 of their OPBF title fight Oishi, the defending champion, was in a clear lead. On one card he was up but 3, on another 5 and on the other he was leading 109-98. If he could make it to the final bell he'd have made a success defense of the title. Ratchasi however had other plans, and refused to just accept defeat, pulling off some last round heroics, stopping Oishi with less than 90 seconds of the bout left.
Prospect of the Year
Koki Inoue (4-0, 4 for the year)
The Inoue name is going to be a huge one in Japanese boxing for the next decade or so. There is, obviously, Naoya Inoue and Takuma Inoue, but also their Koki Inoue who had a fantastic 2017, even if he was frustrated by a lack of title fights, The destructive Kanagawan started the year with a 5th round TKO win over Mitsuyoshi Fujita, a Japanese ranked fighter. He followed that up with a blow out against Thai visitor Ni Wisoram, a corner retirement win over Cristiano Aoqui and a destruction of KBF champion Dong Hee Kim. His wins have opened up the door for OPBF or Japanese title fights in 2018 and he is certainly on the chase for bigger and better fights, just like his cousins.
Mark Anthony Barriga (5-0, 1 for the year)- Talented Filipino Barriga was busy in 2017, but the talented 24 year old only scored 1 big win from his 5 bouts, a shut out of Samartlek Kokietgym in China.
Ryota Yamauchi (2-0, 2 for the year)- Exciting Japanese Flyweight Yamauchi made his debut in a low key affair in June but shone in December when he battered Lester Abutan in 4 rounds. A real one to watch in 2018.
Junto Nakatani (4-0, 3 for the year)- Flyweight hopeful Nakatani had a second fantastic year, despite going under the radar. In 2016 he was the Flyweight Rookie of the Year and in 2017 he became the first ever Japanese Youth Flyweight champion.
(Images courtesy of the AFP, Japan Times, WBO Boxing and Boxmob.jp)
So once again fans, worldwide, are complaining about the judges and their scoring of a fight. In fact once again we're being told boxing is dying because of the judges, and that it won't keep it's current fans or attract new ones, whilst ignoring the fact that the recent Manny Pacquiao Vs Jeff Horn fight was a really fantastic battle shown on ESPN. The fight may have left a bad taste in the mouths of many, and may have lead to more than a few forum bust ups, but it's fair to say that the sport isn't dying. In fact over the coming weeks, to the end of July, we have some real thrillers to look forward to. And in fact we have number which feature fighters from the Asian boxing scene.
The first two come on May 9th from a show in Russia which features a number of Japanese fighters getting out their passport for a potentially thrilling show in Ekaterinburg. One of those Japanese fighters is former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (26-5-3, 18) who takes on unbeaten Russian Pavel Malikov (11-0, 5). This bout won't set the world on fire in terms of name value, but they fighters have the ability to put on an absolute classic of high skilled, high energy and highly aggressive fighting. Malikov will be the favourite, given his unbeaten record and home advantage, but Kaneko always brings the fight and should make for a real under-the-radar war.
On the same card in Russia fans will see the once beaten Dmitry Mikhaylenko (22-1, 10) face off with fast rising Uzbek prospect Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (11-0, 8), with the Uzbek defending his WBC silver Welterweight title. The Russian has been shown cased in the US and holds notable wins over the likes of Sechew Powell, Ronald Cruz, Johan Perez, Karim Mayfield and Breidis Prescott and is a fun fighter able to fight at a high pace. The Uzbek on the other hand is a hard matched boxer-puncher with a really solid record for such a novice. Interestingly Abduqaxorov won the title he's defending by stopping Charles Manyuchi, who won the belt himself by upsetting Mikhaylenko. Expect this to be a fun back and forth, fought at a high pace with real momentum shifts.
July 15th promises to be a day that has something special at the start, and at the end.
The day begins with a really exciting WBA Minimumweight title bout as the unbeaten Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) defends against mandatory challenger Rey Loreto (21-13, 15). On paper we know this looks like a mismatch, and can under-stand fans complaining about the fact a guy with 13 losses is fighting for a world title, but the reality is that Loreto, like many Filipino fighters, was matched hard and picked up early career losses. In recent years however he has gone on a 7-0 (6) run, with wins against former world champions Pornsawak Porpramook and Nkosinathi Joyi. Knockout is regarded as one of the top Minimumweights, and is an improving boxer with solid power and very good skills. The unbeaten champion will be favoured but this is no forgone conclusion and should be a real thriller.
Talking about thriller the days ends with the massively anticipated WBC Super Featherweight title fight between Miguel Berchelt (31-1, 28) and former champion Takashi Miura (31-3-2, 24). It's hard not to get excited about this one, as both men are aggressive, heavy handed, exciting and genuine world class. The younger, fresher, champion will be favoured and really impressed last time when he stopped Francisco Vargas for the title, but he has shown a dodgy chin in the past and was stopped inside a round back in 2014 by the unheralded Luis Eduardo Florez. Miura came to the attention of US fans back in 2015 when he lost a FOTY contender to the aforementioned Vargas, and has since had another war on US soil against Miguel Roman. This could be a very special, very explosive and a real blink and you miss it contest to end the day, and mark the mid-way point of the month.
On July 23rd Japanese fight fans get a world title double header in Tokyo. One of those looks like a real treat, as the Minimumweight division against looks like it's going to shine. That bout sees IBF champion Jose Argumedo (20-3-1, 12) defending his title against human wrecking ball Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6). Interestingly Argumedo won the title in Japan, beating Katsunari Takayama, and will be returning their for his next defense. He's not the best boxer out there but is a big, tough, strong fighter with a style that should gel against the all action Kyoguchi, who had always hunted stoppages and will be stepping up massively. This looks almost certain to be a war, and one that could have fight fans give some real attention to the Minimumweight division, at least for the duration of the contest.
The Super Bantamweight division is one of the best in Japan right now, with the country having two world champions and a host of contenders. On the domestic scene the division is red hot and on July 29th we'll see heavy handed Japanese champion Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) defending his title against the under-rated Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5). Although this is one that will be for the truly hardcore, with the bout being shown on subscription site Boxingraise, it has the potential to be a thrilling and explosive fire fight. Kuga is spiteful puncher, who is relatively unrefined but so heavy handed that every shot he throws is hurtful. As for Tamura he has been matched hard from the off and comes into this on a 5-fight winning run, having stopped his last 4. This has the ingredients of a short lived war with combustible styles colliding in a thoroughly exciting stylistic match up. Both fighters fighters are going to be tagged, and this could be over very quickly, or be an all out thriller.
To end the month we stay with the type of bouts only the hardcore fans would look at with any excitement going in. That's the OPBF Bantamweight title fight between defending champion Mark John Yap (26-12, 12) and former 2-time Japanese national champion Kentaro Masuda (27-7, 15). On paper this doesn't look amazing, with the men having almost 20 losses between them, but records are certainly misleading and shouldn't be used to judge match quality as the styles, mentality and skills of these two are much better than the numbers suggest. What we have here are two rough and tough Bantamweights looking to move towards a world title fight and we're expecting a rough, punishing 12 round war for the Oriental title and for pride. Don't sleep on this one.
Yeah we know people are angry about the result of Pacquiao Vs Horn but don't let that cloud what should be a month of brilliant action, and really we should be excited that the next 4 weeks is set to be nothing short of brilliant and full of treats for us fans, hardcore and casual.
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