Although Japanese boxing fans have already had 3 cards this week it's fair to say they all pale in significance compared to the fourth show of the week as we get the final of the "Strongest Korakuen" with 4 genuinely interesting contests, despite the fact we were, originally meant to have 5 bouts.
The show will begin in the Light Flyweight division, one of the most interesting divisions in Japan. The bout at 108lbs will see Toshimasa Ouchi (16-6-3, 4) in action against the more experienced Kenichi Horikawa (24-12-1, 4) in an excellent match up. Not only have both men made their way to the final of the tournament but both are highly ranked in both Japan and the OPBF with Ouchi being #2 Japanese and #8 OPBF whilst Horikawa is #3 Japanese and #11 OPBF. Genuienly fantastic opening bout.
After the brilliant opening bout we get a very interesting second bout as the once highly touted Yohei Tobe (6-1-1, 3) fights Yoshihito Ishizaki (8-5-1, 4). Although Ishizaki's record is less than impressive he has mixed in good company pushing both Yota Sato and Ryo Akaho very close in losing efforts and he may may well spring a surprise here. Saying that however this is the #1 and #5 in Japan meeting, so no result really is a surprise despite the vastly differing records.
In the third bout we get the 2-time title challenger, and former interim Super Bantamweight champion Mikihito Seto (34-10-2, 18) taking on recent title challenger Takafumi Nakajima (21-6-1, 8) a man many feel should be holding the title right now. Both men have come extremely close to being crowned the Japanese Super Bantamweight champion and the winner here will feel confident in claiming the title.
The fourth and final bout on the show takes place at Super Featherweight as the unbeaten Rikki Naito (7-0, 4) fights Keiichi Izumi (13-5, 4). For Izumi, the #2 ranked Japanese and #6 ranked OPBF fighter this is a chance to finally get a title fight, for the fast rising Naito however this is just the next step as he looks forward to bigger and better fights.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, there was supposed to be a fifth contest on this show. This was supposed to be between Sanosuke Sasaki (11-3, 5) and Yoshihisa Tonimura (16-8-4, 4) though it's now off. Instead Tonimura will get a second fight Tadashi Yuba in November, following a controversial victory for Yuba in February.
Outside of the Japanese card there is a card in the Philippines as Jaro Promotion International put on an 11 fight show in Ynares Plaza Gymnasium.
This Jaro card is expected to kick off with 5 bouts scheduled for 4 rounds. These will included 3 all debutant contests as Dino Bulahan (0-0) takes on Lorence Rosas (0-0), Rodney Ramirez (0-0) fights Michael Bravo (0-0) and Joel Tamano (0-0) battles Edward Toreon (0-0). The three all debutant contests are joined by two other 4 round contests as Niero Saldon (0-0) takes on novice Ernie Mino Jr (0-1) and Rolando Sadsad (0-1-1) fights Valeriano Gabriel (1-3). Unfortunately it's hard to get excited about any of these 5 contests.
As well as the 4 round bouts there is a couple of 6 rounders with Regan Delos Santos (2-1, 2) fighting fellow once beaten fight Menard Abila (3-1-1, 1) in one of the contests whilst journeymen collide in the other with Marvin DelaCruz (8-12-2, 5) fighting "career loser" Mabert Paulino (2-15).
In the sole 8 round bout Benjie Suganob (6-1-1, 2) looks for his fifth straight victory as he battled the some what fragile Marco Niones (3-9, 1) who has himself been stopped 7 times. This will be followed by a 10 rounder between Boy Dondee Pumar (9-5-3, 3) and Dino Lelis (10-10-2, 5).
The remaining bouts on the Filipino card are both regional title bouts as Lionel Legada (10-5-1, 5) faces Lionel Mark Duran (10-8-2, 4) in a battle for the vacant WBC Asia Council Continental Flyweight title. This will see LEgada looking for his second victory in five contests whilst Duran will be looking for his second win in seven bouts. The other title bout sees Jomar Fajardo (12-4-1, 5) looking to claim the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title as he fights Robel Villegas (9-7, 3), a man who was stopped last time out.
We get a third Asian card as we have action in Moskovsky, Russia with a 7 bout card.
This Russian card is mostly a card full of novices with only a single bout scheduled for more than 6 rounds.
In 4 round action we have 4 bouts, these include a sole female bout as debutants collide with Viktoriya Aleksandrova (0-0) fighting Nadezhda Khaenok (0-0) this is one of two all debutant bouts with Georgy Abramyan (0-0) fighting the fanastically named Ivan Ivanov (0-0).
The remaining 4 round bouts see Gor Arutyunyan (0-0), another debutant, battling Oleg Korobko (2-1-1) and the unbeaten Alexander Kubich (3-0, 1) fighting the winless Andrey Ishmukhametov (0-1).
As well as the 4 round contests we have a pair of 6 rounders with the unbeaten Igor Ivanov (6-0, 1) taking on the debuting Sherzod Abdurakhimov (0-0) in a Welterweight contest and novice Murad Dalkhaev (3-0, 2) fighting Ruslan Semenov (3-25-1, 2) in what appears to be the toughest test so far for Dalkhaev.
In the show's main event the unbeaten Arif Magomedov (6-0, 4) will take on the experienced Marat Khuzeev (20-6-1, 8) in a battle for the Russian Middleweight title. Although unbeaten Magomedov is unlikely to go much further than a Russian title however a victory here may help him move up to the next level.
Ourside of Asia we get two very interesting contests. In Germany, the Lebanese born Syrian Manuel Charr (24-1, 14), who is now based in Germany, battles Kazakhstan born Russian Denis Bakhtov (36-8, 24) in a bout with numerous title one the line.
The other international contest is the biggest contest in world boxing this weekend as Ruslan Provodnikov (25-2, 15), the "Siberian Rocky", looks to claim the interim WBO Light Welterweight as he takes on American Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23). This fight promises to be something very special with a FOTY type of bout being widely expected and we'd be very shocked by anything but a war in the ring.
The weekend is of course the busiest time for boxing in both Europe and the US. Unfortunately neither Europe or the US have any genuinely massive fights this weekend and in fact you'd be hard pushed to find a better card than the one at the Korakuen Hall this Saturday.
The show, a Japanese title double header sees 6 bouts in total on the card.
The opening bout, scheduled for 4 rounds sees Suzuki Kenta (0-0) facing Yushan Masaya (0-0) in an all debutant match up in the Welterweight divsion. It appears that the card was supposed to open with a bout between Takahiko Suzuki (1-0, 1) and the debuting Yokoyama Wataru (0-0) though that now looks to have been cancelled and Kenta/Masaya has replaced it in regards to being the shows opener.
The first of 3 bouts scheduled for 8 rounds sees Yuji Hasegawa (7-2, 1) taking on veteran Dosanko Fighter Hayasaka (7-9-2, 1). Unfortunately Hayasaka comes in to the bout on the back of 5 losses and is winless in over 4 years whilst Hasegawa is on a 3 fight winning streak.
The second of the cards 8 round contests sees Yota Hori (9-1-2, 6), a fighter who held Koki Eto to a 6 round draw, taking on Filipono Ardin Diale (20-8-3, 7). Diale, a former world title challenger, looks to be the toughest challenger that Hori has faced so far and is capable of scoring the upset if he's on his game.
The final 8 round contest sees Shuji Hamada (12-5-3, 2), the #12 ranked Japanese Super Flyweight, fighting Masafumi Otake (14-10-3, 7). Hamada has had a good year with 2 straight victories following a trio of setbacks in 2011-2012 and shouldn't struggle too much with Otake despite the fact Otake is unbeaten in 4 bouts.
The first of the two Japanese title fights sees the hard hitting Tomohiro Ebisu (11-2, 11) defending his Japanese Middleweight title. Ebisu will be making the first defense of his title as he takes on former Welterweight and Light Middleweight champion Daisuke Nakagawa (21-3-2, 16), who is currently the #1 ranked contender. Although both of Ebisu's losses have come by stoppage he does hit hard and often comes out on top in a shoot out, as he did last time against the then champion Sanosuke Sasaki.
The final bout on the show sees Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko (18-2-3, 11) defending his belt for the fourth time. Kaneko will be facing #11 ranked Mitsuya Omura (16-7-1, 12). This will be Omura's second attempt to claim a Japanese national title after being stopped in in a Lightweight title tilt by Nihito Arakawa.
Both of the champions will be expected to claim victory here though there is a chance that they could both be upset in what promises to be a great card from start to end.
The day's "secondary" card takes place at the Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque City Gabriel Elorde and the Elorde promotional outfit put on a 6 bout show. Unfortunately none of these bouts hold too much interest.
The main event, scheduled for 10 rounds, sees Cris Alfante (8-1, 2) taking on journeyman Roy Albaera (2-19-4). This is as much of a mismatch as it appears on paper with Albaera having been stopped 14 times in his 25 contests to date.
Unfortunately the shows other bouts look equally as uninteresting with Zoren Pama (3-7-3, 1) taking on Rolando Niones (4-13-2, 2); Rolden Aldea (2-1-1, 1) facing Marco Niones (3-8, 1) and Joathan Ligas (4-5-1) taking on Elbert Guardario (8-21-1, 2) in the shows 3 contests scheduled for 8 rounds.
Arguably the most competitive bout on the show is the sole 6 round contest which sees Vergel Rivera (2-0-1) fighting Raymond Empic (2-1, 1). The remaining contest on the show is a 4 round bout as Arnold Garcia (0-1) takes on debutant Ken Heart Paliprin (0-0)