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.
Sometimes it can be tricky to get a read on a young fighter who hasn't signed with a major promoter and is fighting in relatively obscure shows, however every so often one such fighters turns out to be a diamond in the rough. We're hoping that this week's introducing may be about one such fighter, Toshiki Kawamitsu (3-0). The unbeaten 24 year old is a really obscure prospect, even by typical Japanese standards, but he looks like he certainly has something about him.
The youngster, originally from Okinawa, hasn't got one of those mega strong amateur pedigrees we usually see with Japanese prospects we get excited about but Kawamitsu certainly has a stronger amateur background than many would suspect. He was ranked #9 in Japan in 2013 at Light Flyweight. Not great by it's self but the men above him included Shokichi Iwata (the champion), Takuma Inoue (#1), current multi-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (#2), the very highly regarded Seiya Tsutsumi (#3) and current amateur star Tomoya Tsuboi (#7). The depth in that division in 2013 was just insane.
Notably he was coming through the amateur ranks from the same geographical area as Daigo Higa, with both being promising fighters in Okinawa, from what we could find both went to the same high school and were in the same year. Notably both had to go through similar struggles and both managed to have success despite those struggles.
Unlike Higa, who turned professional in 2014 at the age of 18, Kawamitsu didn't rush to the professional ranks, instead he turned professional in November 2018, when he was 23. He also didn't show the ferocious power that made Higa such a must watch coming through the ranks. What he did show early on however was a gritty determination, a fun style, with a combination of technical ability and exciting battling.
In his debut, last November, Kawamitsu defeated Junichi Itoga in a bloody bout, which ended 20 seconds early with a technical decision. Accidental headclashes had left Itoga's face streaming with blood and he was way behind when the bout was stopped, with Kawamitsu seeming to find a new gear during the round anyway.
Sadly none of Kawamitsu's following fights have been made available, though his debut is available on Boxing Raise, however shut out wins over Yasushi Handa and Kosuke Fukuda have seem him build his record to 3-0.
With no footage of his last two bouts being available we're looking forward to November 9th when Kawamitsu will fight on the Dangan card featuring the semi-finals of the God's Left Tournament. This should be a great chance to see what Kawamitsu has learned in the last year, and how his aggressive style holds up against Yuni Takada in an 8 round bout. We suspect he'll be too good for Takada, but how he looks here, in his first step up, will be really important going forward.
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