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).
What a great day today looks like being. We not only have Asian fighters competing around the globe but we also have a chance to crown an Asian world champion and the continuation a modern day Asian great.
In Hyogo, Japan we see the return to the ring of Hozumi Hasegawa (31-4, 13) who is fighting for just the 3rd time since being stopped by Jhonny Gonzalez back in April 2011. Hasegawa has, on paper anyway, a very easy nights work as he takes on Thai Veerapol Sor Chantasith (3-3). With Chantasith having not fought at all in 3 years it's almost certain that Hasegawa is looking to just shake off some rust.
Also in Japan though in Tokyo is action for Kuninobu Shimamura (14-2, 9) who will face Yusuke Kikuchi (11-4, 4) in what should be a pretty even match up. This card also features Rokuhei Suzuki (7-4-2, 3) who fights Takenori Ohashi (9-3, 6) in what should again be an excellently matched bout.
In Thailand we have a chance to see Kompayak Porpramook (49-4, 34) attempt to claim the "interim" WBA Flyweight title as he faces Jean Piero Perez (20-5-1, 14). This bout has been fully previewed here.
In the Philippines the "Southville 3 Multi-purpose Gymnasium" hosts arguably the biggest card of the day. The main event of the card sees unbeaten youngster Cris Paulino (10-0, 3) attempt to claim the Filipino (GAB) Flyweight title from Ardin Diale (19-7-3, 6). This is a bout we're looking forward to and have heard really things about Paulino who some view as one of the more over-looked Filipino youngsters.
The same Filipino card sees Jaymart Toyco (11-3, 7) looking for his 7th straight victory as he takes on Jovel Romasasa (10-9, 4) over 10 rounds, in fact the card features 3 bouts scheduled for 10. The other 2 longer bouts see Dan Nazareno Jr (17-10, 13) taking on Alejandro Anas (4-11-1, 2) and Virgil Puton (8-3, 3) fighting Rex Olisa (9-18-1, 7).
With 4 bouts schedules for 8 it's the Donaire name that stands out as Richard Donaire (5-7-1, 2), the cousin of Nonito Donaire, faces Pit Anacaya (8-19-2, 1). The other 8 round bouts feature the promising Robert Udtuhan (18-1-2, 12) who fights Edison Berwela (11-25-6, 2), Mike Espanosa (10-6, 6) who is pitted against Jeson Berwela (4-13, 2) and Angelito Merin (5-2-2, 1) who's matched with Jonathan Ligas (4-4-1).
Over the 6 round distance Richard Claveras (2-0-2, 2) will be looking to maintain his unbeaten record as he goes up against Richie Bagaan (1-1-1). The card's only 4 rounder sees the unbeaten Joel Taduran (1-0) taking on debutant Jean Luis Araneta (0-0).
In international action Chinese born Kazakh Kanat Islam (10-0, 9) looks for his biggest win in the pro ranks as he faces the experienced Colombian Emilio Julio Julio (26-10-2, 19). The 2008 Olympic bronze medal winner, has been incredibly active and this will be his 11th fight in just 7 months yet with his amateur pedigree and genuine power. We're excited about this guys potential and think he's really one to keep an eye out for.
There is also international action for Filipino Ronald Pontillas (15-5-3, 7) who travels all the way to Ghana to face Emmanuel Tagoe (20-1, 8) for the
vacant WBA International Super Featherweight title and the WBO Africa Super Featherweight title. We've got to admit, we have no idea how Pontillas qualifies for the WBO Africa title but good luck to "Unpredictable" .