After a busy Friday of Asian action it's great that we have an even busier Saturday. Whilst much of the Friday action was focused in Asia it's fair to say that Saturday's is much more global with action involving Asian's happening on at least 3 different continents.
In Japan we have a staggering 13 bout card with 12 of the contests being part of the Rookie of the West military tournament.
The first of these 13 contests sees unbeaten Minimumweight Takumi Sakae (5-0, 3) fighting against Kenta Shimizu (6-3-1, 3). Interestingly both of these men enter with 3 stoppages victories in their last 4 contests. This bout will be immediately followed by a Light Flyweight bout. Unfortunately we've struggled to track down the people involved in the Light Flyweigth contest.
At Flyweight Daisuke Uchiyama (2-3-1) will fight Yukiya Hanabusa (4-1-1), this will be followed by a Super Flyweight contest between Kenta Sugimoto (6-4-1) and Tomohiro Nagakari (3-1). We'll admit that we favour Hanabusa and Sugimoto in these two contests, though upsets in either fight wouldn't be a major shock.
In the Bantamweight division the unbeaten Masamichi Yoshida (5-0, 4) takes on fellow unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (6-0, 2) in what is, on paper, one of the the genuine stand out contests. Following the Bantamweight contest we move up to the Super Bantamweight division where another unbeaten fighter, Bunta Mitaka (4-0-2), takes on Yosuke Higuchi (4-4, 2) (we believe).
We believe that at Featherweight Shinichi Taniguchi (3-2, 1) will be fighting the once beaten Shingo Kawamura (6-1, 2) whilst at Super Featherweight the hard hitting Shohei Fujimoto (7-2-3, 7) will be in action against an opponent that we can't currently identify.
At Lightweight Ryuji Ikeda (4-1-1, 1) will be fighting Japanese based Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (7-2-1, 4) in what appears to be a genuinely excellent match up. The Lightweight contest will be followed by a Light Welterweight contest between the unbeaten Mitsuyoshi Fujita (2-0) and the hard hitting Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (6-1, 5).
In the Welterweight division Shota Aikawa (4-2-1, 1) will be fighting the unbeaten Dai Taoka (6-0, 3) in an interesting contest before we get a Middleweight contest, unfortunately we can't recognise either of the Middleweight fighters.
The Japanese show finishes with a Lightweight between a Japanese fighter and a Thai opponent. Unfortunately we've struggled again to identify either man.
As well as the bumper Japanese card there is also some great internation action featuring Asian fighters.
In the US, as part of an excellent Top Rank card dubbed the "Triple Header", Filipino Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20) finally rematches Armenian puncher Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28). This bout, which comes some 6 years after Donaire stopped Darchinyan in the Ring Magazine 2007 Upset of the year, may not have a title on the line but promises to be something very special, especially when you consider that both men have a point to prove. Donaire wants to prove that his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux was just a bad night at the office whilst Darchinyan wants to prove his loss to Donaire was a fluke. We'll admit this is, for us, the highlight of the night.
Donaire isn't the only Asian in action in the US with Urmat Ryskeldiev (6-3, 5) of Kyrgyzstan fighting the unbeaten Patrick Day (5-0, 2) and former Japanese Light Middleweight champion Charlie Ota (23-1-1, 16) facing Mike Ruiz (17-7, 9). For Ota, who is originally from the US, this will just be his second contest stateside.
As well as the US action the international theme continues in the Ukraine as Uzbekistan's Ravshan Djabbarov (11-4-1, 5) fights Russian Umar Salamov (7-0, 6) in a contest for the vacant IBO Youth Light Heavyweight title.
There are "busy days" in boxing and then there are "BUSY DAYS" in boxing and this Sunday is one of the busier ones with over 20 bouts taking place in Japan across 3 shows.
The first of those shows, as listed on the JBC website, is promoted by Himeji Kinoshita and features 9 bouts, so we'll start with that one.
This show opens up with a bout between the debuting Ikeda Shinya (0-0) and "professional loser" Tetsuya Kawabata (1-7, 1). Shinya is one of two debutants on the card with the shows second bout pitting the show's second debutant, Yuta Tabuchi (0-0), in a tougher assignment against Wataru Sako (2-1).
Following the two bouts with debutants we then get a female bout as the unbeaten teenager Tomoko Hayashi (1-0, 1) takes on Misaki Hirooka (1-2). This is the only female bout of the day as far as we are aware and action swiftly returns to the men as Yasuyuki Otagaki (1-1) battles Kento Kobayashi (0-2) and Tenmei Serizawa (1-1, 1) fights Yu Konomura (0-0-1) in two of the less interesting undercard bouts.
The most interesing of the undercard stuff sees Ryuya Yamanaka (5-1, 2) fighting Junya Nishikawa (6-3-2, 2) in what could be an excellent match up and the unbeaten Daisuke Hasui (5-0, 2) taking on Iwasaki Takeshi Sora (4-5-1) in what should prove to be a good test for Hasui.
In the co-main feature Kota Fukuoka (13-3-2, 10) the #8 ranked OPBF Featherweight competes against a Thai, who's name sadly we haven't been able to trace down, before Yuki Murai (21-17-4, 7) the #8 ranked Japanese Bantamweight takes on Kota Fukuoka (13-3-2, 10) in what looks like the shows stand out bout.
Running at the same time as the above show is a promotion from "True Promotion" which features 10 bouts, 9 of which are part of the "Rookie of the West".
The "Rookie of West" action kicks off in the Minimumweight division as Kenta Shimizu (5-3-1, 2) fights Kenta Yokoe (2-5-1, 1), this will be immediately followed by an intriguing contest between Yukiya Hanabusa (3-1-1) and Junpei Omori (3-2, 3). Whilst the Hanabusa/Omori bout looks good things just get better of the following bouts which see Tatsuya Ikemizu (5-0, 2) clashing with Hikaru Ando (5-3-1, 3) and unbeatens colliding in a fight between Masami Moriizumi (5-0-1, 4) v Bunta Mitaka (3-0-2).
Following the unbeaten clash theres an excellent bout between Shingo Kawamura (5-1, 2), who is on a 5-fight winning streak, and Kosuke Mizuno (5-3-1, 2). Possiby the pick of the match ups sees the hard hitting Len Osato (4-0, 3), all 3 KO's coming in the opening rounds, fighting Shohei Fujimoto (6-2-3, 6) what should be a very explosive contest with both men having very solid digs.
Brazilian born-Japanese based Cristiano Aoqui (6-2-1, 3) looks to enhnace his reputation as he takes on Takafumi Yamada (4-2, 1) before the unbeaten Tatsuo Kurebayashi (4-0, 2) fights the amazingly named Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (5-1, 4) and then, in the final rookie bout Hideo Mikan (5-4-1, 1), who is on an excellent 3 fight winning streak, takes on the unbeaten Dai Taoka (5-0, 3).
In the only "non-Rookie" contest on the show Seizo Kono (13-5-1, 8) fights Yasufumi Asaoka (8-6, 6) in a bout that we don't actually think is as good as several of the "Rookie" bouts.
The final card of the day, courtesy of "Green" is a 6 fight show including a very notable main event.
This show opens with unbeaten fighters colliding as Masaru Urata (2-0, 1) fights Masato Oike (2-0-2) before Masahiro Hayakawa (0-2-1) is in action. Unfortunately we've not been able to work out who Hayakawa is up again though we'd hope it'll be a competitive match up like the opener promises to be.
Sadly the show's third bout seems like the weakest on the card as Naonori Fukaya (0-2) looks for his first win facing fellow win-less fighter Tetsuya Morisada (0-1). This will be followed by Shun Kosaka (3-0) fighting Hiroshi Tanase (2-2).
In the card's penultimate match up Yuichi Kubota (4-7, 3) fights Naoki Minami (5-5). Mimami, returning from more than 2 years out, has suffered 4success lossses and the bout appears to be a chance for Kubota to claim an "easy" victory.
The main even sees a highly promising Heavyweight clash between Korean Cruiserweight champion Jong-Suk Lee (6-3) and Japan's #1 ranked Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (8-8-3, 3) in a rematch of a bout they had last year. With Takehara having a Japanese Heavyweight title lined up for November he'llbe hoping to come through this unscathed, though in all honesty it'd be a shock if he didn't.
With yesterday being an incredibly busy day for fighters from Asia it may have fooled some in to thinking that today would be less busy, surprisingly however Sunday in incredibly busy in Japan with 3 cards, including two very notable ones.
We'll start with the card in Tokyo which is arguably the biggest show, at least in terms of international interest.
The show is expected to kick off with an all-debutant bout between Daisuke Sudo (0-0) and Ichitaka Matsunishi (0-0). Whilst both men are making their debuts it's fair to say they won't be expected to do anything too special against each other and the best we can really hope for is a competitive match up to kick off the show. This will be followd up by a bout between 19 year old Takuya Mori (4-1, 3) and fellow youngster Jun Koseki (6-2, 3) in what looks to be a genuinely interesting bout on paper.
The third scheduled bout on the show is thought to be between the unbeaten Japanese youngster Takahiro Shigee (8-0-1, 7) and Filipino visitor Diarh Gabutan (18-2-3, 9). We've got to say this is a huge step up for Shigee and it wouldn't be a shock at all if Gabutan managed to derail the Japanese fighter's unbeaten run.
In the show's fourth bout we expect the only title of the card as Keita Obara (8-1, 7) defends his Japanese Light Welterweight title for the first time as he takes on the more experienced So Takenaka (18-6-2, 8). Although this looks like a fantastic match up on paper it's hard not to side with Obara as the likely winner.
Oddly the title fight, mentioned above, isn't the main event, in fact there are two more notable bouts after it. The first of those sees Jorge Linares (33-3, 21) in action as he returns to a Japanese ring for the first time in almost 3 years. Linares will be looking for his 3rd straight as he takes on Berman Sanchez (26-5-3, 18) in what we believe to be an 8 round bout.
Amazingly Linares, a former 2-weight world champion isn't the main event either instead that honour is left to 2012 Olympic Gold medal winner Ryota Murata (0-0) who makes his professional debut against OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (21-7-1, 9). The bout, scheduled for 6 rounds is to be televised on Fuji TV as Murata gets a chance to fight without the head gear for the first time. A lot is expected of Murata and anything but an impressive victory here would be a huge disappointment.
The card in Tokyo also has 3 "reserve bouts" though it's unlikely that they will be needed. If they are needed we would expect to see all debut match ups between Yoshiwara Tomohiro (0-0) and Kawano Taku (0-0) or Hiroki Ashizawa (0-0) and Yamagishi Taku (0-0). There is one other reserve bout though we're not certain who's actually in it.
Murata's debut isn't the only fight expected to be televised on Fuji TV with the channel also hosting the main event from the card at the Sky Arena in Zama where Naoya Inoue (3-0, 3) faces Ryoichi Taguchi (18-1-1, 8) for the Japanese Light Flyweight title. This is the biggest test of Inoue's career so far though a victory would open the door for a world title fight in just his fifth professional contest.
We are expecting the show in Zama to kick off with Yuya Watanabe (0-0) making his debut against Ryo Irie (0-2) in the first of two bouts scheduled for four rounds. The other four round bout sees the debuting Aoki Rassha (0-0) in action against Asahi Hatsumi (0-1).
The first of the six round bouts on the Zama show sees Yasuyuki Hoshino (5-4-1, 4) facing Irisawa Kazuaki (6-4, 5) in what should be an explosive contest. This will be followed by a bout between Akihiko Katagiri (12-7-1, 4) and Goto Toshimitsu (11-9-1, 4), again we expect this to be a genuinely competitive bout.
In the only bout scheduled for eight rounds Yuta Saito (7-4-1, 6) is expected to battle Yoshinori Koto (6-8-2, 1) before we get a four round between Ryu Koike (0-2) and Kazutaka Hasegawa (0-1) a bout that is likely being held to prevent the main event, the Inoue/Taguchi bout, from taking place too early.
The final card of the day is from the "West Rookie of the Year" tournament and features twelve bouts.
The first bout is at Minimumweight as Kenta Shimizu (4-3-1, 2) takes on Takeshi Sone (3-1-1) in what, at least on paper looks a good fight. Sone of course should be favoured but an upset is not out of the question at all. This Minimumweight bout will be followed by an interesting light Flyweight contest between Tatsuya Sakamoto (3-2, 1) and Tomoya Itosu (2-1, 1) and an intriguing Flyweight contest between Junpei Omori (2-2, 2) and Hisashi Kawanishi (3-4).
In the Super Flyweight division we get an interesting bout as Japanese based Mexican Johnny Abarca (6-0, 1) takes on 10 fight veteran Kenta Sugimoto (5-4-1) in what should a very compelling bout. This is actually one of two bouts scheduled for five rounds with the other being at Bantamweight as the unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (4-0, 2) takes on Monkey Shuhei (4-2-1, 1)..
At Super Bantamweight we get a meeting of unbeatens as Shohei Kawashima (4-0, 1) faces Bunta Mitaka (3-0-1) in one of the genuine stand out bouts on paper. Oddly we also get a good one at Featherweight as Shingo Kawamura (4-1, 1) fights Takuya Hashimoto (3-1).
It's at Super Featherweight that we get what looks to be a msimatch as Ken Osato (3-0, 2) fights the experienced Kenji Suehiro (4-6, 1) who has the worst record on the show. If this is the "mismatch" of the card then the weakest match is problabe the Lightweight contest as Fukumoto Shoji (3-3, 1) fights Takafumi Yamada (3-2, 1).
At Light Welterweight we get Kazuma Fukuyama (2-1-1) against the fantastically name Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (4-1, 3), in the Welterweight division the unbeaten Shota Yamamoto (3-0, 2) looks for his fourth straight win fighting Hideo Mikan (4-4-1, 1). In the final bout, at Middleweight, Koki Tyson Maebara (2-1-1, 2) takes on the winless Katayama Osamu (0-1).