With only a single card today the interest in Asian boxing will be clearly pointing at the Ohashi promoted show being held at the ever popular Korakuen Hall, Tokyo in what promises to be a show case card for a number of highly regarded prospects.
The least interesting bout on paper sees the highly regarded Yohei Tobe (4-1-1, 2) attempt to get his career back on track with what appears to be an easy match up against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamad (1-6). With Tobe winless in over a year (going 0-1-1 in his last 2 bouts) he needs a confidence building win and this should do the job.
Although on paper the Super Flyweight clash between Yuta Saito (7-3-1, 6) and Shuji Hamada (10-5-3, 2) looks unlikely to be anything special, those who have followed Saito over the last year will know what a class fighter he's developing in to. The 25 year old Saito started his career 2-3 but is now on a 5-0-1 streak including a KO of the year contender over Masashi Sato from last year. If Saito, ranked #12 by the JBC, can continue his excellent run he may well get a shot at the national title sooner rather than later.
Teenage KO artist Ryo Matsumoto (6-0, 6) looks to continue his streak as he faces veteran Yoshinori Koto (6-7-2, 1). With Koto having been stopped 5 times in his 7 defeats including his last 4 losses. Going in to this bout Koto is 2-4-2 in his last 8 (dating back over 4 years) and it'd be hard to imagine him upsetting Matsumoto.
In the main event of the card we see arguably the hottest prospect in world boxing Naoya Inoue (2-0, 2) fighting in his most notable bout to date as he faces JBC #1 ranked Light Flyweight Yuki Sano (17-2-4, 12) in a major test. Inoue is tipped by many inside Japan as a future world champion and the 20 year old has serious pressure on his shoulders. Although he has cruised past both of his opponents so far Sano is a whole different proposition.
Aged 31 Sano is a fighter who knows a loss here could spell the end of his career. He's spent more than a year out from the ring and has only a solitary victory in the last 2 years (going 1-1-1 in that time) though with only a solitary loss against his name in the last 5 years Sano will feel that he's the favourite here and that he could burst the hype of Inoue.
Whilst Inoue has been impressive the youngster has just 5 rounds of professional experience under his belt, a number dwarfed by the 117 rounds of Sano who knows what it's like to go 6, 8 or even 10 rounds and with this bout being scheduled for 10 this may be the decider. It's fair to say that this is by far the most intriguing bout of the day.