Some days are big global boxing days, we saw one this past weekend with Froch/Groves fight falling on the same day as Hernandez/Alekseev and “The Clash In Cotai”, others however a big local boxing days. Days where the only notable action takes place in a small area of the world and is unlikely to break away from that area.
We have one of those “local days” this Friday where Asian fans will certainly be happier than their European and American counterparts due to several interesting contests that will light up both Thailand and Japan.
The obvious starting point for a look at Friday's action is in Thailand where we get the first world title fight of the weekend. The contest, which sees Koki Eto (14-2-1, 10) returning to Thailand to make the first defense of his WBA interim Flyweight, appears to be one which should have real interest in both Thailand and Japan. Eto, who defeated Kompayak Porpramook for the title earlier this year will be facing Kompayak's stable-mate Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (32-2, 19), AKA Yodmongkol CP Freshmart.
Although we're unsure what other bouts will be shown by Thai channel 7 we've got to admit we're really looking forward to this one which should be a real barn burner as long as it lasts. For the sake of to we hope he can put on a performance similar to the one he had against Porpramook, though with Yodmongkol being on a long winning run he'll be confident of scoring the upset here.
Over in Japan we have two shows. Of those the one that interests us the most is “Dangan 88” a show that really deserves some sort of television coverage though doesn't seem to have it.
This show, headlined by Tadashi Yuba (44-8-2, 33) rematching Yoshihisa Tonimura (16-8-4, 4) in Japanese Light Middleweight title bout, is one where a Tonimura will be seeking revenge for a razor thin loss whilst Yuba will be further seeking to enhance his legacy. Although unknown outside of Japan, Yuba is a domestic legend and the first ever 5-weight Japanese national champion. We'd be shocked if this was anything but hard fought, competitive and incredibly close through out.
Whilst Yuba/Tonimura II is the main event it is far from the only interesting contest in an excellent eight fight card.
The show begins with a 4 rounder as the debuting Shuta Igarashi (0-0) fights the win-less Kenji Suzuki (0-4). Following this opening contest we have a second successive 8 rounder as Shogo Endo (0-1) battles who we believe will be Makoto Kawasaki (3-1-1, 1).
Oddly straight after the two opening 4 rounders we immediately move in to the 8 round distance for a Minimumweight contest between Kazuhiro Nakamura (8-4, 3) and the once beaten youngster Hiroya Yamamoto (7-1, 3). This will be Yamamoto's first contest since being upset by Hayato Yamaguchi back in August and there will be serious interest to see how Yamamoto bounced back from his first loss.
The second 8 rounder on the show will see Dai Iwai (12-3-1, 5) taking on the highly ranked Michiya Sato (10-4-4, 6). Ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF Sato is risking a lot here against the capable Iwai who will be looking at this as his chance to move into a title fight of some sort.
Following the first two 8 rounders we suddenly drop back to the 4 round distance as singer-come-boxer Yuki Clay (0-0), of Kimaguren fame, makes his professional boxing debut. The singer will be facing fellow debutant Kubota Akinori (0-0) in what appears to be an intriguing contest, even if it is little more than a gimmick fight, much like Andrew Flintoff's was in the UK a while back.
After the 4 round interlude we get back to serious action as Yuki Ozawa (10-2, 2) battles the more experienced Koji Aoki (14-7-2, 5) in a potentially enjoyable bout that screams “distance fight” to us, despite the fact Aoki has been stopped in 5 of his 7 losses.
The penultimate contest on Dangan 88, and the chief support contest for the title fight, sees Noriyuki Ueno (15-11-5, 5) defending his OPBF and Japanese rankings as he battles Yosuke Kawano (7-2-1, 3). Despite Ueno's record he is a genuine threat at domestic title level, in fact when you consider Ueno started his career 2-6-1 and has since fought in 3 Japanese title fights and 1 OPBF title fight there is little doubt that there is talent there.
The second Japanese show, courtesy of Shinsei, is scheduled to just have six contests though like the Dangan show it's a very promising looking card overall.
Despite being promising over-all the show starts with a weak 4 rounder as the win-less pairing of Daiki Haraguchi (0-6) and Daisuke Takeichi (0-1) face off. Thankfully this is the shows one bad fight fight.
The second contest on the show sees Shinsei making a very brave move as they put their unbeaten youngster Shun Kubo (2-0, 2) up against Filipino Monico Laurente (23-9, 5). Although Laurente has picked up a couple of losses in recent bouts and is much smaller than Kubo, he could prove to be very tricky still and make Kubo look bad. Kubo's natural size advantage should see him through to the victory but the experience difference between the two men could make it very interesting.
If we think Kubo is in hard then Thai visitor Mongkoldam Sithwarunee (1-2, 1) has it even tougher as he takes on the hard hitting Kota Fukuoka (14-3-2, 11). Fukuoka is certainly beatable but he has won his last 7 with 5 of those coming by stoppage, it'd be a surprise if he didn't add another to both of those figures here.
In the fourth contest of the card we get another of those interesting looking bouts with an unbeaten prospect as Shohei Omori (9-0, 5) faces Filipino veteran Albert Alcoy (14-16-7, 4). Although this looks a great test on paper it does seem like Omori is becoming a man and punching harder and this bout seems like a step backwards for him considering how he stopped Kiron Omura in 92 seconds back in July. We'd be pretty shocked if Omori doesn't record another stoppage here.
The penultimate bout on this show will see Ryotaro Kawabata (8-2, 3) in action. Although we're not certain on who he'll be up against we have heard that it's a Korean, likely to be Bum-Young Lee (8-6-2, 3), a former Korean Super Flyweight champion. Lee is a man that some Japanese fans will be familiar with due to his losses to Hirofumi Mukai and Takuya Kogawa and if it him fighting Kawabata it's fair to say that we expect the Korean to suffer his third loss to a Japanese fighter.
Like with Danagn 88 the main event here is another Japanese title fight. This time it's down at Bantamweight where Kohei Oba (34-2-1, 13) will be seeking the second defense of his title as he battles Yuji Hasegawa (8-2, 2). We'd expect that if Oba wins he'll be looking to get himself into a world title fight rather than keeping a hold of the national title any longer.
Unfortunately due to the strength of Japanese boxing at Bantamweight Oba is between a rock and a hard place. He could keep defending the belt, he could challenger the winner of Shiino/Iwasa to an OPBF title bout or he could try to fight one of the three Japanese world champions at the weight. Unfortunately we'd not back him against any of the world champions or the Shiino/Iwasa winner, though he's better than pretty anyone else domestically. In fact domestically Oba against Ryo Akaho is probably the most interesting contest out there for him.
Out side of the Asian countries the action continues with a few interesting contests.
In Queensland, Australia fans will get to see Thailand's Chaiyong Sithsaithong (31-11-3, 22) take on Josh King (15-3, 8) in a battle for the WBO Oriental Lightweight title. On the same show as that Filipino Michael Dan (3-6-1, 1) will be facing Ryan Heck (3-1-1) in a much lower level contest.
Staying in Australia, though down south in Victoria, Filipino Marlon Alta (12-3, 9) will be facing the unbeaten Zac Dunn (10-0, 9) in a battle over the WBC Youth World Super Middleweight title. Alta, who has been out of the ring since he was stopped by Makoto Fuchigami 13 months ago, will know that a win here could explode him back on to the scene, but he'll also know he's being brought in to lose to the Aussie banger.
A third bout in Australia sees Aswin Cabuy (14-44-3, 7) trying to end a 6 fight losing streak as he takes on Leroy Brown (15-5-1, 5) in New South Wales.
Amazingly there is one other Asian involved in a title fight, though rather peculiarly it's in Ecuador as Chinese born Kazakhstani fighter Kanat Islam (14-0, 12) battles Colombia's Emilio Julio Julio (28-11-2, 20) for what we assume will be the WBA Fedelatin Light Middleweight title. Islam is one of those fighters who seems very interesting, though is unfortunately very well hidden from the wider boxing public. Thankfully if he wins here he's expected to be on an American card in December.
A new week kicks off with what could well be one of the best days in Japanese boxing this year. We have two separate cards in Tokyo with one at the Korakuen Hall and one in the Ota City Central Gym and both promise to provide plenty of action for fight fans.
Of the two shows it' obvious that the attention will be on the Ota City Gym card which features 5 fights for certain, including the two world title bouts, so we'll start there.
The first of the two world title fights sees the always fun to watch Akira Yaegashi (17-3, 9) in action as he looks for the first defence of his WBC Flyweight title. Yaegashi will be facing challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-5-1, 23) of Mexico in a bout we tend to see as a bit of a gimme for the talented and fun to watch Japanese action fighter. As is always the case Yaegashi will make sure to put on a show for the fans even if the bout does look like it's one sided.
The other world title fight, and the bout seen as the main even of the show, sees Shinsuke Yamanaka (18-0-2, 13), a man widely regarded as one of the premier Bantamweight on the planet, defending hs WBC Bantamweight title against Puerto Rican Jose Nieves (22-2-3, 11). We have this one down as a more competitive bout than the Flyweight title bout but it's very hard to bet against Yamanaka who really is a class fighter.
The chief support bout sees former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (32-4, 14) in action against experienced Mexican Genaro Camargo (42-15, 34). Hasegawa is still looking to rebuild his career after stoppage losses to Fernando Montiel and Jhonny Gonzalez though in recent fights he has looked gun-shy and it's possible that another loss could see the former Bantamweight great hanging them up. Worryingly for Hasegawa he has been stopped by two of the last three Mexican fighters he has fought.
The opening contest on the show will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Abe (1-0) facing the win less Yuichi Kitagawa (0-1-1) with this being followed by a contest between Masafumi Ando (1-2, 1) and Daiki Mori (0-4).
If time can be made we also expect to see the debut of Takekawa Hisashi (0-0) who is likely to fight Susumu Nakata (1-3-2, 1) if the card has a few early finishes. This bout is marked down as a reserve bout so we've got out fingers crossed.
Of course not all the title action is at the Ota Gym with a Japanese title fight headlining the 6 bout Korakuen Hall show.
In the main event the Japanese Light Middleweight title is up for grabs as the experienced Tadashi Yuba (43-8-2, 31) faces Yosuke Kirima (17-3-2, 12). For Kirima this is his second shot at the Light Middleweight title after losing to current Japanese Middleweight champion Daisuke Nakagawa 18 months ago. For Yuba however this bout has a chance to further enhance his legendary career which has already seen him claiming Japanese national titles in 4 divisions from Lightweight to Middleweight. A victory in this bout would see Yuba becoming the first 5-weight Japanese national champion.
As well as the main event there will be 3 very promising support bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. The first of which sees unbeaten Japanese Middleweight Shoma Fukumoto (2-0, 2) facing experienced Filipino Arnel Tinampay (20-15-1, 6). Tinampay is likely to be under-sized and under-powered here against one of Japan's better kept secrets, but Fukumoto should be given a few rounds against a man who has yet to be stopped in a 36 bout career.
The second of the 8 round contests sees the unbeaten Hiroya Yamamoto (7-0, 3), ranked #7 at Minimumweight, move up from the 6 round distance to take on former Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Hayato Yamaguchi (9-4-1), raked #8 at Light Flyweight. This is by far the toughest test for Yamamoto and should be a genuinely great fight. Well done to Yamamoto's team for putting him in such a risky contest.
Unfortunately the other support bout looks a little bit one sided as Shoji Kawase (30-5-5, 18) takes on Kazumasa Kobayashi (8-2-1, 5). Kawase, a former Japanese and OPBF title challenger has proven to be below title level but is still a very good fighter, as we found out earlier this year when he stopped Shuhei Tsuchiya and he should have more than enough for Kobayashi here.
In the cards only 6 round bout Hiroaki Teshigawara (6-1-1, 3) will face Kyosuke Sawada (0-1). This should be a better match up in the ring than it looks on paper though it's hard to pick against Teshigawara. This bout follows the shows opening bout which we expect will be a meeting of debutants between Ibuki Kitade (0-0) and Fumi Ijima (0-0).
A new week kicks off with an excellent "B level" show in Korakuen Hall that would actually put a lot of other domestic shows (especially those in the west) to shame. In all honesty with 2 title fights and a former 4-weight Japanese national champion on the card it really does look a bit special.
The cards weakest bout sees Hirotsugu Yamamoto (15-7-2, 2) taking on Dai Iwai (10-3-1, 5). Whilst it's not a great bout it's a very even looking contest on paper and is a the sort of bout that the sport needs more of rather than the all too common "prospect v no hoper" fights that we see in the west.
Former Japanese Lightweight, Light Welterweight, Welterweight and Middleweight champion Tadashi Yuba (42-8-2, 31) looks to continue his legendary career as he faces Kengo Nagashima (12-9-2, 11). Whilst Yuba, now 36, is a fighter coming to the end of the line he has already stamped his place on Japanese boxing history by being the first ever 4-weight national champion and a loss to Nagashima won't really his legacy.
The first of the title bouts is at Bantamweight as Hiroki Shiino (9-2, 8) takes on Filipino Dennis Tubieron (15-1-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Bantamweight title. Not only is the title on the line but also a sense of revenge for Shiino who was stopped in 8 rounds by Tubieron last September.
Going in their first bout together Shiino was the WBC #12 ranked fighter and seemed likely to fast tracked to a world title bout. Tubieron however hadn't read the script however and dropped Shiino 4 times en route to the stoppage, and claimed the WBC International Bantamweight title as a result. Expect this to be a very special bout.
The main fight, at least for us, sees the OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (13-4-2, 6) making the first defense of his belt. Wake, who defeated the highly ranked Yukinori Oguni for the title back in March faces Eita Kikuchi (14-2-4, 6) in an all-Japanese bout.
Wake's victory over Oguni was a genuine shock and helped force Wake into the world rankings (he's currently ranked WBC #11 and WBA #13) though with Kikuchi ranked #5 WBA there is alot on the line here.