For the second successive day Japanese boxing fans have title action at the Korakuen Hall. Following the Ohashi promoted "46th Phoenix Battle", which included Ryuji Hara defending his Japanese Minimumweight title, we get "Hopeful Fight vol. 14" courtesy of Nitta Gym.
The show begins with an all debutant contest at a contracted weight of 64KG as Ryo Nakano (0-0) takes on, who we believe to be, Ryo Iwadate (0-0). This is will be the only bout on the card with any debutants involved.
The all debutant contest is one of 3 contests scheduled for 4 rounds with the second of those bouts seeing Hayato Kai (1-0-1) putting his unbeaten record on the line against Takashi Hisano (1-3). The final of the short bouts sees the win-less Isami Kimoto (0-2) fighting fellow win-less fighter Watanabe Motoharu (0-1).
The first of 3 bouts scheduled for 8 rounds sees the #8 ranked Japanese Featherweight Daisuke Furuhashi (14-5, 5) battling fellow Japanese fighter Masami Morisaki (8-9-1, 4). Interestingly Morisaki has won just 1 of his last 6 contests and really won't be favoured here against Furuhashi who will have thoughts of a Japanese title fight on his mind.
In the second of the 8 rounders the highly ranked Hikaru Nishida (8-6-1, 2), who is currently ranked #6 at Middleweight in Japan and #9 at Light Middleweight by the OPBF, takes on the somewhat fragile Go Nakahori (17-11-1, 8). With Nakahori having been stopped 10 times in his 11 losses it's not going to be much of a surprise if he's stopped again, even by the relatively light hitting Nishida.
The final 8 round bout, and the card's penultimate contest, is the show's sole title contest as Kimika Miyoshi (8-6-1, 3), the defending OPBF female Bantamweight champion, defends against her great rival Riyo Togo (10-5-1, 9). Togo, who has beaten Miyoshi in 2 of 4 previous contests, will be looking to avenge a split decision loss from February this year. Interestingly both women enter this contest on the back of lop sided decision losses in Mexico, though should put n a very competitive contest against each other.
In the show's final contest recent world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (21-4-2, 13) takes on the limited but tough Hyobu Nakagama (16-11-3, 11), a man who has been stopped just once in 30 contests. Alhough Kuroda was clearly beaten by Juan Carlos Reveco back in January his is still highly ranted with the IBF ranking him at #14 in the world at Flyweight and will be looking to re-establish himself as a world title challenger. His world ranking however will be on the line as he takes on the #5 ranked Japanese fighter, and a man who has shared a ring with Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Oleydong Sithsamerchai. This could well prove to be more interesting in the ring than it looks on paper.
It's not too often that we get to see Asian's competiting in 3 seperate would title bouts but that's exactly what this Saturday brings with 3 world title bouts spread across 3 countries. As well as the world title bouts there are also some other notable bouts taking place around the world.
The first fight involving an Asian is expected in Australia as Filipino Allan Tanada (11-2-3, 5) takes on fellow Filipino Michael Correa (3-5-3, 1). Although Correa is based in Australia and will be the "home" fighter here it's hard to see him defeating the very talented Tanada.
We expect the next show to take place will be in the Philippines as we get to the only major card held in Asia.
The main attraction here is the first defense of the WBO Minimumweight title by the unbeaten Merlito Sabillo (22-0, 11) who takes on Jorle Estrada (17-6, 6). This will be Sabillo's second successive bout against against a Colombian following his 8th round stoppage of Luis De la Rosa in March. We've previewed this bout in full here.
The card starts off with the two very promising youngsters. Firstly the debut of Vic Saludar (0-0) the former amateur standout and brother of the highly touted Froilan Saludar. Saludar will begin his professional campaign by taking on Juanito Hundante (1-1). Don't be surprised if Saludar makes a very impressive deubt.
The second of the promising yougster's is Albert Pagara (16-0, 11) who faces Thailand's hard hitter Phupha Por Nobnom (10-8-1, 9). This will be the second meeting between these two fighters with the first seeing Pagara easily despatching the Thai last year. This seems more about keeping Pagara busy than anything else.
The undercard also features the former world title challenger AJ Banal (28-2-1, 20) returns to the ring for the first time since last October, when he was stopped by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The 24 year old Banal will be facing the naturally bigger Mexican Abraham Gomez (18-7-1, 9) in a bout that could spell the end of Banal's career if he doesn't come out with a victory.
In the chief support bout the very highly regarded Arthur Villanueva (22-0, 12) takes on Mexican banger Arturo Badillo (21-4, 19). The 24 year old Villanueva will be hoping to add the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title to his ever growing collection of belts and knows that a victory here could move him to within a fight or two or a world title bout.
In Europe we have two Asian fighters in title fight action.
In Monaco the unbeaten Russian, Khabib Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8) looks to make the first defense of WBA Light Welterweight title as he takes on the experienced Frenchman Souleymane M'baye (40-4-1, 22). Although M'baye is close to home it's hard to imagine him beating Allakhverdiev who looks like one of the most over-looked fighters at 140lbs. We've previewed this fight in full here.
The other European based world title fight sees Japanese Super Middleweight Yuzo Kiyota (23-3-1, 21) attempt to claim the WBO Super Middleweight title from Robert Stieglitz (44-3, 25). A victory for Kiyota has been ruled out by most though if he can upset Stieglitz he would become Japan's first ever champion above Middleweight and their first ever WBO champion. As with the other world titles bouts we've previewed this contest in full here.
In Mexico the hard hitting Riyo Togo (10-4-1, 9) looks to repeat history as she takes on Mariana Juarez (36-7-3, 16) for the second time. When the women first met in April, Togo shocked "Barbie" Juarez by stopping her in 118 seconds to claim the WBC International female Super Flyweight title and this will be the first defense of that title by Togo. It's fair to say that if Togo wins again here she'll be in line for a world title fight.
Togo and Kiyota aren't the only Japanese fighters fighting on the road with former WBC Super Featherweight champion Takahiro Ao (23-3-1, 10) also fighting away from home.
Ao makes his US debut as he takes on the US based Chilean Hardy Paredes (16-11, 10). A loss here for Ao would really dent his hopes of returning to the top of the sport though with Paredes being little more than a journeyman there really shouldn't be an upset against the often over-looked Ao.
With no major action scheduled in Asian today it may seem like a quite day for Asian boxing, the opposite however is true as Asian fighters fight around the globe once again as they attempt to prove that they can be road warriors.
Most notably for Asian fight fans is a card in Mexico which sees 4 scheduled bouts between Mexicans and Japanese fighters.
The most notable bout on that Japanese card sees former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (53-8, 45) taking on Akihiko Katagiri (12-6-1, 4). On paper this looks a very tough ask for Katagiri though with the Japanese fighter having never been stopped and Gonzalez showing signs of slowing down in recent fights the upset cannot be completely ruled out.
In a battle of bangers Akinori Kanai (25-7, 22) faces Dante Jardon (22-3, 18) in a bout that we're not expecting to go the distance. Both guys are hard hitters and aggressive and this should be ridiculously fun for as long as it lasts. With the WBC Continental Americas Super Featherweight title on the line (again we're not sure how these titles work as Kanai isn't from the Continental Americas) there is a notable reward up for grabs.
The biggest mismatch on the card sees Rey Vargas (13-0, 12) taking on Seizo Kono (13-4-1, 8). On paper Kono's record is solid enough but he could well be 1-6 in his last 7 bouts (instead of 4-3) and whilst he may take Vargas the distance we'd be shocked if he could score an upset.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card is in female action as former world title contender Riyo Togo (9-4-1, 8) takes on former WBC female Flyweight champion Mariana Juarez (36-6-3, 16). Juarez will of course be favoured but Togo has the ability, power and size to score the biggest victory of her career.
As well as the action in Mexico Asian's are also in action in the US and in Australia.
In the US the tough nosed Filipino Michael Farenas (34-4-4, 26) takes on Mexican veteran Gerardo Zayas (19-21-2-1, 11). Farenas has proven his toughness against both Takashi Uchiyama and Yuriorkis Gamboa and it'd be a massive shock if he lost to Zayas.
In Australia, Thai based Iranian Amir Hossein Ranjdar (11-18, 5) will be hoping to end a 4 fight losing streak as he faces the unbeaten Dean Mikelj (8-0, 6). Whilst it'd be nice for "Amir Bando" to upset the Mikelj applecart it's hard to imagine it happening.