The Orient today has 2 notable cards. In Japan, at the Korakuen Hall there is a very interesting card with several promising youngsters, but before we talk about that we'll have a look at the slightly more exciting show in Davao City in the Philippines.
The main fight in Davao City sees Jether Oliva (18-1-1, 10) fighting Lester John Pronco (9-4, 6) apparently for the vacant Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Light Flyweight title. Oliva is fighting for just the second time since losing to Ulises Solis in IBF Light Flyweight title bout back in August 2011, but he is still widely regarded as a very promising fighter with world title potential and should take care of Pronco.
Up at Lightweight the very promising, and very young, Harmonito Dela Torre (8-0, 5) takes on Bonnie Makiling (4-3, 2) in what will be Dela Torre's first scheduled 10 round bout. Interestingly Makiling did go in to the 10th round in his most recent bout, a stoppage loss to Mark Andrew Acub back in March. This will be a great chance to see how Dela Torre stacks up against Acub.
The cards remaining two bouts are both around the Super Flyweight division with the experienced Fernando Lumacad (28-6-3, 12) taking on Renante Suacasa (5-7, 1) and the unbeaten Daryl Basadre (9-0-1, 6) fighting Ronerex Dalut (8-11-1, 2). The clever money says that Lumacad and Basadre both come out with victories.
Now on the to Korakuen Hall show which features 7 bouts with every man on the card ranked inside the Japanese top 10. (all rankings mentioned below are from the Japanese Boxing Commission)
The most noteworthy fighter on the show is the highly promising Rikki Naito (6-0, 4) (#7 ranked Super Featherweight) who some are talking up as a nailed on future world champion. The 21 year old southpaw takes on the much more experienced Tomohisa Tagawa (10-9-3, 3) who has won his last 3 and is currently ranked #3.
As well as Naito there is another fast rising prospect on the card in the form of Light Flyweight Hiroyuki Otsuka (6-0, 5) who will be looking for his biggest win as he takes on former national title contender Toshimasa Ouchi (15-6-3, 4). This is a huge match up domestically pitching the #3 (Ouchi) ranked fight in Japan against the #7 (Otsuka).
Amazingly the Otsuka/Ouchi bout might only be the second best fight in the division as Tetsuya Hisada (20-7, 10) takes on Kenichi Horikawa (23-12-1, 4). Hisada is ranked #4 in the division whilst Horikawa is ranked #8 though oddly Horikawa does hold a win over Okada from back in November 2011. A lot is riding on this bout and don't be shocked if the winner here faces the winner of the Otsuka/Ouchi bout.
In the Super Flyweight division Masamichi Nozaki (16-3-1, 6), ranked #4 by the JCB takes on the #10 ranked Yoshihito Ishizaki (7-5-1, 4). Although on paper Nozaki looks a clear favourite Ishizaki has faced more recognisable names in Yota Sato and Ryo Akaho and he pushed both of them very close. This could be one of those very tough fights for both men.
It's not just the Naito/Tagawa bout at Super Featherweight but also a bout between Keiichi Izumi (12-5, 4) and Ryota Kajiki (21-7, 14). Izumi is impressively ranked #2 thanks to a run of 3 victories whilst Kajiki,a former Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger, is ranked #4.
The final division that is being fought at is the Super Bantamweight division which features 2 bouts. The most notable of those sees the #2 ranked veteran Mikihito Seto (33-10-2, 17) facing the #9 Koji Aoki (14-6-2, 5). It's hard not to go with Seto here who has only been beaten in national titles bouts in the last 4 years. The other bout pits the #7 ranked Takafumi Nakajima (20-6-1, 8) against the #10 Hirofumi Maenosono (16-4-2, 6). With Nakajima having pushed Hidenori Otake incedibly close in a national title bout last year he will go with a lot of confidence against a man who has lost 2 of his last 3 and is 2 years removed from his most noteworthy victory (which came over Yuta Nagai).
With 3 notable cards today it's fair to say that one certainly steals the show with 2 title bouts and a highly regarded contender all on the same card.
That card is the card, in the Korakuen Hall, sees OPBF Middleweight champion Makoto Fuchigami (20-7, 11) attempt to defend his belt against Japanese Light Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (20-7-1, 9). On paper this is a bout to be genuinely excited about with Fuchigamai, a former world title contender, certainly facing his toughest bout since being badly beaten by WBA Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Shibata may not have a great record but the only man to beat him in the last 5 years is the highly regarded Charlie Ota and this could well be a great clash.
The other title bout sees Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (24-4-1, 7) taking on former world title contender Motoki Sasaki (39-9-1, 24) not only for Kato's belt but also the vacant OPBF title. Sasaki certainly goes in to this bout with an experience edge and a the edge in terms of opponent level (having been in with Humberto Soto and Vyacheslav Senchenko) though at 37 he's a long way from his best. The 28 year old Kato, whilst unknown in the west has only been decisively beaten once and is making the 5th defense of his national title, it'd be a shock to see him beaten here.
The final bout on this card sees the very highly ranked Nihito Arakawa (23-2-1, 15) bouncing back from his 12 round loss to Daniel Estrada. Sadly Arakawa's opponent is Thai novice Pakphum Tor Pornchai (0-1) who will do little more than pad Arakawa's record.
The other two cards are both held in the Philippines are much less likely to get the attention of international fans, though the card in Benguet does have a title bout.
The main event in that card sees the highly regarded power puncher Rex Wao (6-0, 5) attempt to claim the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title as he faces Dandy Toei (9-4-3, 3). This bout really could help Wao make a name for himself, though of course he will need to score the best win of his career so far.
The same card also features Remuel Obidos (7-3-1, 2) against the experienced Arjet Caballes (6-26-5, 3) and bouts for the unbeaten trio of Jonel Espineli (0-0-1), Renato Palay (also 0-0-1) and Stephen Gelawa (4-0-1, 2). Though only Palay and Gelawa's opponents have been named with Gelawa facing Jestoni Pepito (7-10-2, 2) and Palay facing Jomar Tumbaga (0-4-1).
The other card in the Philippines, held in the Mandaue City Plaza Square may not have a title on it though it's arguable a better card overall. The main event sees Melvin Gumban (13-0, 6) facing off against Fernando Ocon (10-4, 2) as Gumban attempts to score his second win of the year.
This card features a further 6 bouts with Pedro Balaba (10-4, 5) fighting Aroel Romasasa (11-4, 5); Juren Labordo (8-0, 4) fighting Roel Garcia (5-9-1, 1); Rey Morales (7-0, 2) facing Renante Suacasa (4-7); Lito Dante (3-3-3, 1) fighting Rez Padrogane (2-1, 1); Brian Lobitania (4-0-1, 3) facing Rocky Alvarez (1-2, 1) and Ivor Lastrilla (4-2-1, 3) fighting against Takaoki Noma (0-2).
Whilst none of these bouts are of massive interest it's fair to sat that Labordo and Morales are genuinely promising young prospects that fans should be keeping an eye on.