Less than a week after the controversial Kameda card on Wednesday world title action returns to Japan for a genuinely excellent card held at the massive Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. The card, a joint venture between Teiken and Misako with Ohashi also having something to do with it looks like potentially being one of the best cards of the year.
The main event is likely to be a FOTY candidate as WBC Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (18-3, 9) defends his belt for the second time. Yaegashi will be fighting former WBC Light Flyweight champion Edgar Sosa (49-7, 29) who is the mandatory challenger and likely to be one of the toughest fights in Yaegashi's career. For us this fight not only has FOTY (Fight of the Year) possibilities but could also help Sosa, if he wins, become the 2013 Fighter of the Year. Genuine major bout and one that should get every boxing fan excited.
Although the Yaegashi/Sosa bout is the headlined contest it's fair to say that the biggest draw on the card will be Olympic champion Ryota Murata (1-0, 1) who returns to the ring for his second professional bout. The Japanese fighter will be facing once beaten American Dave Peterson (13-1, 8) in an 8 rounder as the chief support contest. We're expecting Murata to be given a better test here than he had against Akio Shibata on his debut though we've got to admit we don't know that much about Peterson.
Amazingly Murata's bout comes after two OPBF title fights. The first of these will see the hard hitting Hiroki Shiino (10-2, 9) attempting to defend his Bantamweight title against the highly talented Ryosuke Iwasa (15-1, 9). Iwasa, who's only loss has come to Shinsuke Yamanaka, will know all about Shiino's power though he will also know that Shiino himself can be hurt. With that in mind we expect a cautious fight from Iwasa and an aggressive one from Shiino. The only thing w don't expect is for this to go the scheduled 12 rounds.
The second of the OPBF title fights will see Japanese super-prospect Naoya Inoue (4-0, 3) attempting to claim the vacant Light Flyweight as he fights Filipino visitor Jerson Mancio (18-3-3, 9). Inoue is expected to beat Mancio who came up short in his 2 previous visits to Japan, losing to Ryo Miyazaki and Junichi Ebisuoka, but we do think this will be a challenge for the Japanese wonder-kid.
Talking about Japanese wonder-kids Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (0-0) will be making his debut on this card as he takes on Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-3-3, 3). Fukuhara, ranked by the JBC in the Minimumweight division should be a good test for Takuma Inoue, though the younger of the two Inoue brothers is expected by many to be every bit as good as Naoya and should come through this test with a victory.
As well as the 5 major bouts mentioned about we're also aware the show will feature 2 “preliminary” contests. Unfortunately we're not 100% certain who will be in those bouts.
This card, at least parts of it, will be shown in Mexico by Azteca on December 7th and will be shown in Japan by Fuji TV on December 6th.
As well as the Japanese card there is a second world title fight involving an Asian, albeit in Australia. This contest, put on by Dragon Fire Promotions, will see Indonesian great Chris John (48-0-3, 22) defending his WBA Featherweight “super” title against South Africa's very talented Simpiwe Vetyeka (25-2, 15). This bout promises to be a very tough one for John who's reign as champion is serious threat from a man who has already beaten a top Indonesian this year a stoppage of Daud Cino Yordan.
Talking about Daud Cino Yordan (31-3-0-1, 23) he himself will be on the show as he attempts to defend his IBO Lightweight title. Yordan will be looking to make the first defense of his title as he takes on South Africa's Sipho Taliwe (24-3-1, 14). Taliwe isn't nearly as good as Vetyeka though he is naturally bigger and could give Yordan a really hard contest here. Yordan will be favoured though if you ask us this is another very competitive contest between a South African and an Indonesian.
The card features a third title as Filipino Ryan Sermona (15-4, 8) fights Matt Garlett (11-1, 6) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. Sermona was beaten in his last “International” title fight, being stopped by Viorel Simion, but Garlett is at a much lower talent level than Simion and this could prove to be very interesting.
The rest of the Asian interest on this card will see Indonesia's Rasmanudin (17-4-2, 9) fighting Filipino Roberto Lerio (16-17-1, 6) in what looks like a 1-sided contest.
This card, or at least parts of it, will be streamed live on RCTI (Official and legal stream here RCTI).
Over in Russia we expect a small card. The bouts listed here here Konstantin Piternov (14-4, 5) against Sergey Beloshapkin (10-8-1, 3) in an under-card contest before the unbeaten Igor Ivanov (7-0, 2) fights Alexey Tukhtarov (3-1-2, 3) in a contest for the Russian Lightweight title.
Staying on the theme of Russian's, we're also expecting to see action from Rustam Nugaev (25-6-1, 15) who will battle Ira Terry (26-11, 16). With 4 stoppages already this year Nugaev will like be in a destructive mode again here and Terry has already been stopped 7 times. Don't be shocked if this one doesn't go the scheduled 10 rounds.
As well those bouts we are also expecting a fight in Thailand. The Thai show, which will be shown on Thai Channel 7, is one of which we're totally unsure about in regards to who will be fighting, sadly, though we do assume it will feature a PABA title of some sort.
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).
With only a single card today the interest in Asian boxing will be clearly pointing at the Ohashi promoted show being held at the ever popular Korakuen Hall, Tokyo in what promises to be a show case card for a number of highly regarded prospects.
The least interesting bout on paper sees the highly regarded Yohei Tobe (4-1-1, 2) attempt to get his career back on track with what appears to be an easy match up against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamad (1-6). With Tobe winless in over a year (going 0-1-1 in his last 2 bouts) he needs a confidence building win and this should do the job.
Although on paper the Super Flyweight clash between Yuta Saito (7-3-1, 6) and Shuji Hamada (10-5-3, 2) looks unlikely to be anything special, those who have followed Saito over the last year will know what a class fighter he's developing in to. The 25 year old Saito started his career 2-3 but is now on a 5-0-1 streak including a KO of the year contender over Masashi Sato from last year. If Saito, ranked #12 by the JBC, can continue his excellent run he may well get a shot at the national title sooner rather than later.
Teenage KO artist Ryo Matsumoto (6-0, 6) looks to continue his streak as he faces veteran Yoshinori Koto (6-7-2, 1). With Koto having been stopped 5 times in his 7 defeats including his last 4 losses. Going in to this bout Koto is 2-4-2 in his last 8 (dating back over 4 years) and it'd be hard to imagine him upsetting Matsumoto.
In the main event of the card we see arguably the hottest prospect in world boxing Naoya Inoue (2-0, 2) fighting in his most notable bout to date as he faces JBC #1 ranked Light Flyweight Yuki Sano (17-2-4, 12) in a major test. Inoue is tipped by many inside Japan as a future world champion and the 20 year old has serious pressure on his shoulders. Although he has cruised past both of his opponents so far Sano is a whole different proposition.
Aged 31 Sano is a fighter who knows a loss here could spell the end of his career. He's spent more than a year out from the ring and has only a solitary victory in the last 2 years (going 1-1-1 in that time) though with only a solitary loss against his name in the last 5 years Sano will feel that he's the favourite here and that he could burst the hype of Inoue.
Whilst Inoue has been impressive the youngster has just 5 rounds of professional experience under his belt, a number dwarfed by the 117 rounds of Sano who knows what it's like to go 6, 8 or even 10 rounds and with this bout being scheduled for 10 this may be the decider. It's fair to say that this is by far the most intriguing bout of the day.