To kick off a new week Ohashi Gym give us a very promising looking card with severa notable names including 2 exciting prospects and a former world title challenger. The "46th Phoenix Battle", will be held at the Korakuen Hall and promises a lot.
The show opens up with the debuting Jackie Okuda (0-0) battling the winless Katsuaki Kinoshita (0-3). The opening contest is one of two bouts with a debutant in action with the show's second bout featuring two men beginning their professional career with Takehiro Yamamoto (0-0) fighting Ryo Hino (0-0).
It's with bout 3 that we have our first notable contest as Seiichi Okada (16-4, 9), the #11 ranked Japanese Super Featherweight, faces Indonesian Juniston Simbolon (7-10-1, 3), who is ranked #7 at Lightweight in Indonesia. We favour Okada going in to this contest though he has been stopped in his last 3 contests and looks like a fighter who's punch resistance is going fast.
The second major bout on the show sees Go Onaga (20-2-2, 14), ranked
#13 by the IBF at Super Flyweight, taking on the tough Takuya Miyamori (15-5-1, 2). Although Miyamori does enter this bout on 2 successive losses he did go the distance in both of them losing decisions to Konosuke Tomiyama and Ryo Matsumoto.
Talking about Ryo Matsumoto (8-0, 7), the #9 ranked Super Featherweight in Japan, he is in action himself as he goes up against Indonesian novice Arega Yunian (2-2). To us this bout looks a bit "pointless" but it should keep Matsumoto busy and hopefully helps him get some rounds under his belt. We're hoping that Yunian lasts longer than the last Indonesian that Matsumoto fought, John Bajawa, who lasted just 123 seconds.
In the show's chief support bout two-time world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (23-2-1, 17) will return to the ring for the first time since his technical draw with Chris John. Hosono, like Matsumoto, appears to be in little more than a stay busy fight as he takes on Yuta Matsuda (9-8-2, 4). Matsuda may technically be bigger than Hosono but it'll be unlikely that "Bazooka" doesn't take out his over-matched opponent within the first few rounds.
The main event sees the unbeaten Ryuji Hara (15-0, 10) defending his Japanese Minimumweight title for the third time. Hara will be facing the #7 ranked Japanese title challenger Takashi Kunishige (25-9-2, 2). Although aged 37 Kunishige is a very serious test for Hara and unexpectedly pushed Denver Cuello close back in April. Hara hasn't looked in his last 2 contests and will likely be in for another tough one here.
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.