We kick off a new week of boxing with a show in Japan as Tokashiki Boxing Gym take over the Korakuen Hall for a 9 fight show dubbed “Super Fighting Spirit Vol.9”. The show, which primarily consists of 4 round contests features several notable names an two interesting looking contests.
The event begins with the unbeaten Takuya Yamaguchi (0-0-1) fighting the debuting Hiroshi Kato (0-0). Kato is one of 4 debutants on the card, though the other 3 are on much, much later on the card.
In the second contest of the show Byodoin Tokuoka (1-0, 1), who has been inactive since February 2012, returns to the ring to take on Takahiro Tonouchi (0-1) in a 4 round bout at Flyweight. This is followed by a catch weight bout, again featuring novices, as Tomohiro Yoshiwara (1-0) fights Muneyuki Kishii (2-1, 1) who brings a two-fight winning streak to the ring.
In the final of four straight 4-rounders Shinichi Hiraga (0-1) fights Masahiro Kobayashi (2-1, 1) in what is the last of 4 very uninteresting looking contests.
Following the four bouts scheduled for 4 rounder we get a two bouts scheduled for 6 rounds. Sadly we've struggled to get the names of either of the men in the first 6 rounder but the second will see the very highly regarded Hikaru Marugame (1-0, 1) fighting Filipino Roman Canto (8-2-2, 3). Marugame, a former amateur stand-out, will be expected to defeat Canto though may be forced to to work much harder than he did in his debut back in July.
Marugame's fight Canto will be followed by a second contest between a highly regarded former Japanese amateur and a Filipino as Naoto Uebayashi (3-0-1, 2) fights Marjohn Yap (19-9, 10) in the card's sole 8 rounder. This is Uebayashi's first fight since scoring a draw with Yusaku Kuga and could prove to be too much too soon for a man many are tipping to be a future world champion.
Oddly the card closes out with two bouts featuring debutants. The first of these will see Satoshi Ito (0-0) taking on Arao Mitsuru (0-0) in an all-debutant clash before Masanori Shimomura (0-0) debuts against Katsunori Yano (0-2) in what appears to be a highly anticipated debut.
After an oddly quiet week in the boxing world the action really kicks off on Friday with action around the world and across pretty much every level.
In Thailand the action kicks off with Terdsak Kokietgym (49-4-1, 32) defending the PABA Super Featherweight interim title against Filipino Rodynie Rafol (10-4-2, 4). On paper this is a bit of a mismatch but Rafol did almost upset Bualuang OnesongchaiGym in April in his last fight in Thailand so he may shock us and give Terdsak a tough one.
There is also the return to the ring of Thai world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (19-3-1, 18) though we're very unsure on his opponent. As far as we are aware this will be a none title fight for the WBC Super Flyweight champion who is expected to defend his title before the end of the year.
Whilst the PABA action may be in Thailand that doesn't mean Japanese fans aren't in for a day to remember as well with two stacked cards of their own.
For us the most interesting of the two Japanese cards takes place at the Central Gym in Kobe. The main attraction here sees Kohei Oba (33-2-1, 12) defending his Japanese Bantamweight title against Satoshi Niwa (15-15-3, 2). The bout is a clear mismatch on paper but with so many of the top Japanese fighters at 118lbs currently mixing in and around world level Oba is actually struggling to find domestic opponents. Saying that Niwa is the #1 ranked challenger in Japan and does enter the bout on a 5 fight winning streak.
Staying at Bantamweight the once beaten Ryotaro Kawabata (8-1, 3) takes on the durable Marjohn Yap (18-9, 10). Yap returns to Japan after giving Ryosuke Iwasa a solid contest back in March so this bout is likely to be a case of directly comparing Kawabata to Iwasa, a man many feel is ready for a world title bout.
At Super Featherweight Yuta Matsuda (9-7-2, 4) faces Tokiya Nishioka (5-3-2, 2). Matsuda looks to build on his victory over Seiichi Okada from earlier this year. The other bout on the card sees Yuma Iwahashi (9-5-1, 1) taking on Atsushi Aburada (7-4, 4) in what looks like a competitive lower level match up.
The other Japanese card takes place at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
At the "Hall" the title attraction sees Naoko Shibata (9-3-0, 3) defending her OPBF female Light Flyweight title for the 3rd time. Shibata will be taking on Mika Oda (5-6-1, 1) for the second time following a decision victory over her in November 2011.
As well as Shibata/Oda II there is a promising bout at Middleweight between Kazuhiko Hidaka (31-6, 22) and Hikaru Nishida (7-6-1, 2). Hidaka, ranked #6 at Light Middleweight by the JBC will be moving up a division to take on the #8 ranked Japanese Middleweight. Hidaka has to be the favourite though he has been stopped and moving up in weight may work against him here.
The rest of the card is made up of lower level bouts with Kazutaka Takakuwa (8-6, 2) facing Osamu Hashimoto (8-4, 1) in an 8 round contest. The remaining contest are all scheduled for 6 rounds as Ryuji Yokoyama (8-1, 3) takes on Takushige Sato (4-3-1, 1); Ryo Nakamura (6-2, 2) faces the hard hitting Taro Mochizuki (4-5, 4) and Ryu Kenshiro (4-5-1, 2) fights Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi (1-3).
In terms of international action the highlight is in the US as Filipino power puncher Drian Francisco (24-1-1, 19) looks to make his mark stateside. Francisco takes on the once highly touted Chris Avalos (21-2, 16) in the main event of the up coming "Friday Night Fights" and a victory could well see him becoming a regular on US TV due to his style and power.