Less than a week after the controversial Kameda card on Wednesday world title action returns to Japan for a genuinely excellent card held at the massive Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. The card, a joint venture between Teiken and Misako with Ohashi also having something to do with it looks like potentially being one of the best cards of the year.
The main event is likely to be a FOTY candidate as WBC Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (18-3, 9) defends his belt for the second time. Yaegashi will be fighting former WBC Light Flyweight champion Edgar Sosa (49-7, 29) who is the mandatory challenger and likely to be one of the toughest fights in Yaegashi's career. For us this fight not only has FOTY (Fight of the Year) possibilities but could also help Sosa, if he wins, become the 2013 Fighter of the Year. Genuine major bout and one that should get every boxing fan excited.
Although the Yaegashi/Sosa bout is the headlined contest it's fair to say that the biggest draw on the card will be Olympic champion Ryota Murata (1-0, 1) who returns to the ring for his second professional bout. The Japanese fighter will be facing once beaten American Dave Peterson (13-1, 8) in an 8 rounder as the chief support contest. We're expecting Murata to be given a better test here than he had against Akio Shibata on his debut though we've got to admit we don't know that much about Peterson.
Amazingly Murata's bout comes after two OPBF title fights. The first of these will see the hard hitting Hiroki Shiino (10-2, 9) attempting to defend his Bantamweight title against the highly talented Ryosuke Iwasa (15-1, 9). Iwasa, who's only loss has come to Shinsuke Yamanaka, will know all about Shiino's power though he will also know that Shiino himself can be hurt. With that in mind we expect a cautious fight from Iwasa and an aggressive one from Shiino. The only thing w don't expect is for this to go the scheduled 12 rounds.
The second of the OPBF title fights will see Japanese super-prospect Naoya Inoue (4-0, 3) attempting to claim the vacant Light Flyweight as he fights Filipino visitor Jerson Mancio (18-3-3, 9). Inoue is expected to beat Mancio who came up short in his 2 previous visits to Japan, losing to Ryo Miyazaki and Junichi Ebisuoka, but we do think this will be a challenge for the Japanese wonder-kid.
Talking about Japanese wonder-kids Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (0-0) will be making his debut on this card as he takes on Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-3-3, 3). Fukuhara, ranked by the JBC in the Minimumweight division should be a good test for Takuma Inoue, though the younger of the two Inoue brothers is expected by many to be every bit as good as Naoya and should come through this test with a victory.
As well as the 5 major bouts mentioned about we're also aware the show will feature 2 “preliminary” contests. Unfortunately we're not 100% certain who will be in those bouts.
This card, at least parts of it, will be shown in Mexico by Azteca on December 7th and will be shown in Japan by Fuji TV on December 6th.
As well as the Japanese card there is a second world title fight involving an Asian, albeit in Australia. This contest, put on by Dragon Fire Promotions, will see Indonesian great Chris John (48-0-3, 22) defending his WBA Featherweight “super” title against South Africa's very talented Simpiwe Vetyeka (25-2, 15). This bout promises to be a very tough one for John who's reign as champion is serious threat from a man who has already beaten a top Indonesian this year a stoppage of Daud Cino Yordan.
Talking about Daud Cino Yordan (31-3-0-1, 23) he himself will be on the show as he attempts to defend his IBO Lightweight title. Yordan will be looking to make the first defense of his title as he takes on South Africa's Sipho Taliwe (24-3-1, 14). Taliwe isn't nearly as good as Vetyeka though he is naturally bigger and could give Yordan a really hard contest here. Yordan will be favoured though if you ask us this is another very competitive contest between a South African and an Indonesian.
The card features a third title as Filipino Ryan Sermona (15-4, 8) fights Matt Garlett (11-1, 6) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. Sermona was beaten in his last “International” title fight, being stopped by Viorel Simion, but Garlett is at a much lower talent level than Simion and this could prove to be very interesting.
The rest of the Asian interest on this card will see Indonesia's Rasmanudin (17-4-2, 9) fighting Filipino Roberto Lerio (16-17-1, 6) in what looks like a 1-sided contest.
This card, or at least parts of it, will be streamed live on RCTI (Official and legal stream here RCTI).
Over in Russia we expect a small card. The bouts listed here here Konstantin Piternov (14-4, 5) against Sergey Beloshapkin (10-8-1, 3) in an under-card contest before the unbeaten Igor Ivanov (7-0, 2) fights Alexey Tukhtarov (3-1-2, 3) in a contest for the Russian Lightweight title.
Staying on the theme of Russian's, we're also expecting to see action from Rustam Nugaev (25-6-1, 15) who will battle Ira Terry (26-11, 16). With 4 stoppages already this year Nugaev will like be in a destructive mode again here and Terry has already been stopped 7 times. Don't be shocked if this one doesn't go the scheduled 10 rounds.
As well those bouts we are also expecting a fight in Thailand. The Thai show, which will be shown on Thai Channel 7, is one of which we're totally unsure about in regards to who will be fighting, sadly, though we do assume it will feature a PABA title of some sort.
A new week kicks off with what could well be one of the best days in Japanese boxing this year. We have two separate cards in Tokyo with one at the Korakuen Hall and one in the Ota City Central Gym and both promise to provide plenty of action for fight fans.
Of the two shows it' obvious that the attention will be on the Ota City Gym card which features 5 fights for certain, including the two world title bouts, so we'll start there.
The first of the two world title fights sees the always fun to watch Akira Yaegashi (17-3, 9) in action as he looks for the first defence of his WBC Flyweight title. Yaegashi will be facing challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-5-1, 23) of Mexico in a bout we tend to see as a bit of a gimme for the talented and fun to watch Japanese action fighter. As is always the case Yaegashi will make sure to put on a show for the fans even if the bout does look like it's one sided.
The other world title fight, and the bout seen as the main even of the show, sees Shinsuke Yamanaka (18-0-2, 13), a man widely regarded as one of the premier Bantamweight on the planet, defending hs WBC Bantamweight title against Puerto Rican Jose Nieves (22-2-3, 11). We have this one down as a more competitive bout than the Flyweight title bout but it's very hard to bet against Yamanaka who really is a class fighter.
The chief support bout sees former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (32-4, 14) in action against experienced Mexican Genaro Camargo (42-15, 34). Hasegawa is still looking to rebuild his career after stoppage losses to Fernando Montiel and Jhonny Gonzalez though in recent fights he has looked gun-shy and it's possible that another loss could see the former Bantamweight great hanging them up. Worryingly for Hasegawa he has been stopped by two of the last three Mexican fighters he has fought.
The opening contest on the show will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Abe (1-0) facing the win less Yuichi Kitagawa (0-1-1) with this being followed by a contest between Masafumi Ando (1-2, 1) and Daiki Mori (0-4).
If time can be made we also expect to see the debut of Takekawa Hisashi (0-0) who is likely to fight Susumu Nakata (1-3-2, 1) if the card has a few early finishes. This bout is marked down as a reserve bout so we've got out fingers crossed.
Of course not all the title action is at the Ota Gym with a Japanese title fight headlining the 6 bout Korakuen Hall show.
In the main event the Japanese Light Middleweight title is up for grabs as the experienced Tadashi Yuba (43-8-2, 31) faces Yosuke Kirima (17-3-2, 12). For Kirima this is his second shot at the Light Middleweight title after losing to current Japanese Middleweight champion Daisuke Nakagawa 18 months ago. For Yuba however this bout has a chance to further enhance his legendary career which has already seen him claiming Japanese national titles in 4 divisions from Lightweight to Middleweight. A victory in this bout would see Yuba becoming the first 5-weight Japanese national champion.
As well as the main event there will be 3 very promising support bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. The first of which sees unbeaten Japanese Middleweight Shoma Fukumoto (2-0, 2) facing experienced Filipino Arnel Tinampay (20-15-1, 6). Tinampay is likely to be under-sized and under-powered here against one of Japan's better kept secrets, but Fukumoto should be given a few rounds against a man who has yet to be stopped in a 36 bout career.
The second of the 8 round contests sees the unbeaten Hiroya Yamamoto (7-0, 3), ranked #7 at Minimumweight, move up from the 6 round distance to take on former Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Hayato Yamaguchi (9-4-1), raked #8 at Light Flyweight. This is by far the toughest test for Yamamoto and should be a genuinely great fight. Well done to Yamamoto's team for putting him in such a risky contest.
Unfortunately the other support bout looks a little bit one sided as Shoji Kawase (30-5-5, 18) takes on Kazumasa Kobayashi (8-2-1, 5). Kawase, a former Japanese and OPBF title challenger has proven to be below title level but is still a very good fighter, as we found out earlier this year when he stopped Shuhei Tsuchiya and he should have more than enough for Kobayashi here.
In the cards only 6 round bout Hiroaki Teshigawara (6-1-1, 3) will face Kyosuke Sawada (0-1). This should be a better match up in the ring than it looks on paper though it's hard to pick against Teshigawara. This bout follows the shows opening bout which we expect will be a meeting of debutants between Ibuki Kitade (0-0) and Fumi Ijima (0-0).