To kick off a new week in Japanese boxing we have two excellent cards with one taking place at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo whilst the other takes place the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka city.
Unlike most days where we have 2 shows both of these are genuinely great shows and it's hard to say which we prefer the look of so we'll start with the one in "The Hall". A show which is promoted by Reason and is the latest in the Dangan series of shows dubbed "Dangan 84".
In the first of main events of the Korakuen Hall show sees OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (14-4-2, 7) defending his belt for the second time as he takes on Filipino challenger Jhunriel Ramonal (13-5-4, 7). Wake is a fighter who we do think has the potential to become a world title holder and in all honesty he should over come Ramonal here, though the Filipino challenger did push Hiromasa Ohashi in his only previous bout in Japan.
The second main event sees former world champion Ryol Li Lee (20-3-2, 10) defending his OPBF Featherweight title for the first time. Lee will be facing fellow Japanese fighter Hisashi Amagasa (24-4-2, 16), himself a Japanese national champion. This will be the second meeting between these two men with Lee having beaten Amagasa back in 2010, it'd be a bit of a shock if we didn't have a repeat of that here.
As well as the title double header we have 4 other bouts on the show. These begin with Kazuki Sanpei (1-1) battling the 35 year old Takahisa Nagata (2-1), who makes his return to the ring after more than a year out. This bout will be the sole 4 rounder on the show.
The first of a trio of 8 round bouts on the show sees Ryutaro Taira (7-3-1, 3) fighting Mikiya Ishikawa (8-4, 1) in a solid looking match up in the Flyweight division, this will be followed by a contest at Welterweight former Japanese Light Welterweight as Yuji Wauke (16-4-1, 8) fights Yuichi Ideta (13-8-1. 7), a man with 1 win in his last 10 contests.
In the chief undercard bout Ryo Takenaka (8-2-1, 5) fights Filipino visitor Vergel Nebran (11-5-1, 7) in what looks, at least on paper, like a solid contest between two men with genuine potential. Although Nebran has 5 losses on his ledger they have all been close and he should perhaps have the confidence of an unbeaten fighter. Takenaka on the other hand has only lost to solid fighters, including Li who stopped him in the fifth round.
The second card, which takes in Osaka, is promoted by Mushima and is dubbed "You will be the Champion II" due to the potential of several fighters on the show who are tipped to become champions.
Like the Korakuen Hall card this one is a double header with the main fight being one between Japanese KO sensation Masao Nakamura (16-1, 16) and Thai veteran Fahsai Sakkreerin (40-4-1, 22). Whilst Sakkreerin did lose earlier this year to Rances Barthelemy he will be the biggest test for Nakamura since the Japanese fighter was stopped by Ronald Pontillas.
The co-feature here sees Takayuki Hosokawa (23-10-3, 8), a former Japanese title challenger, fighting Thailand's Patomsuk Pathompothong (25-1-1, 16). Although Pathompothong is ranked #5 by the IBF at Light Welterweight he will be going up to Welterweight for this contest.
As well as the two 10 round main events we will also have two bouts over the 8 round distance. The most notable of these contests will see Japanese based Filipino Jerope Mercado (25-4-3, 9) facing Kojiro Takada (11-6-3, 8). This will be Jerope's first bout since losing to Kohei Oba in a Japanese Bantamweight title fight back in March. Saying that however Mercado has lost 3 of his last 4 whilst Takada is on a 3 fight winning run and may feel he has a chance to record a major victory.
The other 8 round contest will see Tetsuya Nishinaga (10-7-1) attempting to end a 2 fight losing run as he takes on Hirokazu Okajima (8-2-2, 4) in what looks like a genuinely intriguing bout. We do favour Okajima here though do admit that it's not going to be easy for either man.
As well as those 4 interesting contests we have 3 other bouts on the card. These start with a contest between Yosuke Taniguchi (1-1) and unbeaten teenager Noboru Osato (1-0-2, 1) before Kaminoko Okamura Kentokid (1-0-1) fights Abo Nakamura (3-5), who looks to end a 4 fight losing streak.
The remaining contest on the Korakuen Hall show will see Satoru Sugita (6-2-1, 4) fighting a Thai. Unfortunately we've not been able to track down the Thai opponent though we will say that Sugita probably needs a win after losing 2 of his last 4 contests.
We love busy weekends and this weekend is no exception with a very long weekend of noteworthy fights. The action kicks off on Friday and goes right through to Tuesday with notable bouts.
At the Korakuen Hall we get a nice looking card thanks to Watanabe Promotions. Although we're sure we've not got the full details, what we have at the moment does look solid event.
The 3 bouts we have details of at the moment are Hajime Nagai (10-5-2, 2) against Masahide Shinabe (6-10-2, 3) in a Bantamweight clash, Rikiya Fukuhara (26-7-1, 19) against Keita Ito (8-15-2, 4) at Featherweight and Sanosuke Sasaki (11-2, 5) facing Takehiro Shimokawara (18-8-2, 6) in a Light Middleweight contest.
Whilst the Bantamweight and Featherweight fights do look forgone conclusions the Light Middleweight bout is very promising despite the fact both men enter on a loss. Sasaki is a former national champion though enters this bout following a stoppage loss to Tomohiro Ebisu and Shimokawara is a very credible fighter despite having never held any title.
Outside of Asia there is a lot of action, literally spread around the round.
The most notable bout of the day takes place in Russia as former amateur standout Rahkim Chakhkiev (16-0, 12) takes on WBC Cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (47-2-1, 33). This will be the first world title fight for Chakhkiev who has been tipped as a future world champion ever since he turned pro back in 2009. A full preview of this bout can be read here.
On the same card as Chakhkiev's world title bout is a Heavyweight clash with Denis Bakhtov (36-8, 24) who despite being a Russian fighter was born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Bakhtov will be facing novice Vladimir Goncharov (2-0, 1) in what should be a compelling bout, especially if Goncharov is as good as people are saying.
In the US and live on ESPN Friday Night Fights, Thai veteran Fahsai Sakkreerin (39-3-1, 21) faces the unbeaten Rances Barthelemy (18-0, 11) in an IBF Super Featherweight title eliminator. Although Barthelemy is "unbeaten" many felt he didn't deserve his most recent victory, a very controversial decision over Arash Usmanee. The winner of this bout will be expected to face Argenis Mendez in a very tough bout later this year for the title.
Also in the US is the highly experienced Filipino Juanito Rubillar (49-19-7, 24) who faces the hard hitting John Amuzu (13-0, 13) of Ghana. Fighting for 76th time in his professional career Rubillar actually has a really good chance at scoring an upset here against a fighter with a very padded and puffed up record.
Staying in North America, though in Canada. There will be action for both the exciting Marc Pagcaliwangan (4-0, 4)-a Canadian Filipino- and Steven Bloyer (10-4-2, 6)-a Lebanaese born Canadian-. Pagcaliwangan will be facing John Brown (0-1) in what is a bit of a disappointment in all honesty whilst Cheikho will face Steven Bloyer (14-8, 1).
A bit closer to home in Australia the busy Filipino Jayson Mac Gura (1-16-2, 1) fights for the 7th time this year. Mac Gura will be facing previous opponent Brendan Saunders (0-0-1), who he managed a draw against earlier this year. On the same card is Yousef Kanani (0-1) who was born in Iran will face Emosi Solitua (0-1) and Indonesian Aswin Cabuy (14-39-3, 7) will face Australian Renold Quinlan (3-0, 2).
We are aware that in Thailand Channel 7 will be televising some live boxing.
We are assuming here but we think that the main bout on Channel 7 will be a defense of the IBF Asia Light Flyweight title by Amnat Ruenroeng (9-0, 3). We're not sure who Ruenroeng is facing but we are sure that the former amateur standout will continue on his steep learning curve so the bout will likely be a good one for the unbeaten man.