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.
This week is a huge one for those following the "Rookie of the Year" competition in Japan. Thursday sees the first of two semi-final shows for "East Rookie of the Year" with Friday having the second of the semi-finals (with the winners meeting later in the year).
The opening bout, as with pretty much all of the "Rookie" shows, is at Minimumweight as we get a battle of unbeatens with Naoyuki Tsukada (3-0-1, 2) fighting Kenichi Miyazaki (4-0-1, 1) in a really promising match up. Although unlikely to be explosive this looks like an excellent match up and something the "Rookie" tournament should be applauded for giving us.
In the Light Flyweight division Tomoyuki Kaneko (5-1, 2) appears to have an easy route to the final taking on Yuta Sakai (2-4) who has never beaten a fighter with a winning record. Thankfully we get back to competitive looking action at Flyweight as Kenta Yamada (5-2) fights Yuji Okinori (5-0, 1) in what, like the opener, looks to be an excellent match up.
At Super Flyweight we expect to see Takahiro Kinoshita (3-2-1, 2) fighting the unbeaten Jo Tanooka (5-0-3) before the Bantamweight clash between Yuki Arai (3-1, 1) and Kazuki Yokoyama (4-1, 3). Interestingly Tanooka is the sole man to defeat Arai and a rematch between the two, somewhere down the line, would certainly be worthy of merit if both manage to claim the "Rookie" title at their respective weights.
Super Bantamweight action sees Ryuta Nakajima (5-1-1, 4) fighting Naoto Fujimoto (4-2-1, 2) before Featherweights collide in a bout between Yudai Tamagawa (5-3, 2) and Shinya Nemoto (3-3, 1). Incidentally the bout between Tamagawa and Nemoto is a rematch of a bout from last year that saw Tamagawa stopping Nemoto in the second round.
Up at Super Featherweight Takahiro Araki (3-1, 2) fights the unbeaten 18 year old Kazuma Sanpei (6-0, 2) before Lightweight action sees Yuzo Mitani (5-1, 2) fighting the hard hitting Reo Komiyama (5-1-2, 5).
The penultimate bout on the show sees Light Welterweights in action as Motoyoshi Honma (1-1-1) battles Shingo Yabu (2-2-1) in what looks to be the weakest bout on the show before we get the finale at Middleweight in a fight between Wataru Seino (2-1, 2) and Kenyu Ojima (5-1, 3).
Note-There was a Welterweight bout originally scheduled for the show, though this has since been cancelled.
As well as the Japanese show we also expect a Russian show in Ekaterinburg though at the moment details are scarce with only Ruslan Sirazhev (0-1) and Alexey Tukhtarov (3-1-1, 3) being listed as fighting on it.