Last Monday we saw Japanese youngster Riku Kano (17-4-1, 8) over-come Ryoki Hirai (13-7-1, 4) with a close decision win to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. The bout was a remarkably dull, unexciting and unmemorable one that really failed to catch light. In fact if anything it really did under-whelm on a card that had, on the whole, over-delivered.
Despite being a poor bout there was a lot to take away from it, for both guys, who both had some obvious issues shown up here, and potentially even had their futures sealed, as harsh as that sounds.
1-These styles did not make for a fun fight
We'll start with an obvious one and that is that the styles of these two did not gel, at all. The first few rounds were low tempo action as both men trying to draw mistakes and counter. With both men fighting as counter punchers the bout never really got going until the middle rounds. We know match making is tricky task but this was just an awful bit of match making from a stylistic point of view, and it didn't help that the two men were fighting out of opposite stances, which made both guys more patient. Interestingly Kano made life harder for himself being as timid as he was as he seemed the much quicker fighter, and Hirai's lack of power meant he had little real threat to offer.
2-Hirai should have done more
We mentioned Knao made life hard for himself, and he really did. He was too timid, too cautious and not doing enough to separate himself from Hirai. He did, however, take home the win, so his tactics at least worked in the eyes of the judges. Hirai however didn't do enough early on. He let Kano get comfortable, take center ring and look like the aggressor. Funnily for Hirai he did drop Kano, he learned he had the power to hurt Kano and better yet he had seen other fighters bully and outhustle Kano in the past. Why he thought cautious cautious, single shot boxing was his best gameplan is a mystery.
3-TV Osaka's graphical over-lay is busy and still misses something
TV Osaka streamed this card and, on the whole, we thought the stream was fantastic, it was high quality and smooth. There was however a a lot of graphical overlays, with the channel identify in the top left, the match up in the top right and the round number in the bottom right, along with the show name. For some reason however they didn't actually show a round clock! If you're going to put all the other stuff there at least have a damn 3 minute counter folks!
4-This was kinda fun...when it finally warmed up
The bout took a long time to warm up, but when it did, it did become quite exciting with both men firing off leather on the inside, and getting much more physical with each other. It wasn't a fire fight, but it was much, much better in the second round as both guys began to work up close. The only problem there was that we did see accidental headclashes and holding, but it as so much better than the earlier rounds, where they did little. Sadly for Hirai the judges really didn't like his work in the second half of the fight, as still didn't do enough, but this part of the fight was certainly much better than the first half and saw both men letting their hands go more. If the bout had been fought more like that this it would, potentially, have been a decent bout.
5-Neither of these men are a threat at world level
It's a sad fact but none of the top guys in the division will have seen this and been left with any fear at all. The likes of Hiroto Kyoguchi, Carlos Canizales, Elwin Soto, Felix Alvarado and Kenshiro Teraji will not be shaking in their boots here. In fact we'd go as far as to suggest that fighters like Masamichi Yabuki and Kenichi Horikawa are looking at Kano and that WBO Asia Pacific title as something they could go off and chase in 2021. Kano might be the new WBO Asia Pacific champion but he needs to be really selective in who he defends against, as many of the more notable regional fighters at 108lbs will be licking their lips whilst looking at him. He's skilled, but very flawed, and still looks a long, long, long way from being ready for a second world title fight.
This past Monday we saw Japanese youngster Riku Kano (17-4-1, 8) claim his latest victory and add the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title to his collection of belts, which also included a WBA Asia and OPBF title. His performance wasn't the best or the strongest but he did enough in the eyes of the judges to take a split decision over Ryoki Hirai in a very close bout in Hyogo, and it's clear that Kano and his team will want to build on that win.
Given how close the bout with Hirai was it seems unrealistic to imagine Kano fighting for a world title next time out, however there's no reason that we don't look at some interesting possible bouts for the 23 year old's first defense, which will likely take place in 2021.
We can't see him or promoter Taisei Marumoto pushing Kano into a world title bout, and with that in mind we'll look at 5 regional or domestic level bouts that could make sense for Kano as he looks to build his experience and maturity, in our latest Five for.
Note - For the sake of this we are assuming that international opponents, who would need a 2 week quarantine in Japan, are going to be unavailable. As a result all 5 opponents will be Japanese.
1-Tsuyoshi Sato (10-2-1, 5)
A potentially thrilling bout would see the speedy and boxing IQ of Kano pit against the aggression and pressure of Kadoebi Gym's Tsuyoshi Sato, in what would make for a much more interesting bout that the Kano Vs Hirai bout. On paper Sato doesn't look like a powerful fighter, but he brings intense pressure, throws a lot of leather and would be the type of mental test Kano needs, especially given we have seen him crumble under pressure in the past. This could take place in either Kansai or Kanto and would be a brilliant match of styles between two youngsters desperate to make a mark on the sport in 2021. For Kano it would be a dangerous first defense whilst Sato would be looking to bounce back from an opening loss in July to the big hitting Masamichi Yabuki.
2-Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1)
It'll be rare that we get to suggest that Kano will be the older, more experienced head in a bout but a bout between Kano and 20 year old Ryu Horikawa would be one of those rare occasions. It would also be a bout of real intrigue between two talented, speedy, skilled fights. Kano would be the favourite, given his experience and the level he has fought at, but Horikawa would be a very, very live under-dog and has the amateur background to allow him to be fast tracked into a bout like this. Horikawa has impressed since turning professional, and has looked great since his June 2019 debut, and this would be a rather logical step up in class. Kano would likely secure home advantage, in Hyogo, and that might be enough him over the line but Horikawa would be there to win, and has already proven he has the willingness to face tough opposition.
3-Rikito Shiba (4-1, 2)
Tsuyoshi Sato isn't the only man to have been stopped by Masamichi Yabuki in recent times, another is 25 year old Rikito Shiba, who lost to Yabuki in a Japanese eliminator in 2019. The talented Shiba had looked fantastic until running into the big punching Yabuki and would now make for an interesting opponent for Kano. Shiba, much like Sato, isn't a huge puncher, but is a talented fighter capable of boxing and punching. He would likely not make for as fun a bout as Sato, bout would arguably make for a more interesting test, as he seems to be more rounded than Sato. Having been out of the ring since December 2019 it's clear he'll be hungry to fight as soon as possible and would likely be available for a bout in early 2021. Like many on this list Shiba is less experienced as a professional than Kano, but has good amateur pedigree and would be a more than capable challenger for the regional champion.
4-Takumi Sakae (22-3-1, 16)
Once tipped as one to watch Takumi Sakae has failed to live up to the potential he showed early in his career and now the 27 year old is somewhat a forgotten man. Despite that the fighter from Fukuoka will be looking at any chance to get back on track and we wouldn't be surprised at all if he was to get a shot at Kano in 2021. Sakae won Rookie of the Year way back in 2013 and was once 13-0 (8) but since then has struggled and gone 9-3-1 (8), with his wins typically coming against limited opposition, and his losses coming every time he takes a step up. For Kano a bout against Sakae would be one he'd be favoured to win, and would strengthen his claim for a bigger bout, but for Sakae the bout would certainly be one he'd see as a winnable. Although certainly not a massive bout it would be a very interesting one, between two men who were both hyped early on but have, so far, fallen short of expectations.
5-Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7)
A big outside shot, though by far and away the most interesting possibility, would be for Kano to clash with destructive pressure fighter Kai Ishizawa in what would be a serious test for both men. Ishizawa is a natural Minimumweight, though we have seen him dip his toes at Light Flyweight, and he'd be rearing to get a title fight, in an attempt to add to his short lived reign as the Japanese Youth Champion. For Kano the bout would mark a seriously tricky test against the sort of fighter we suspect he'll be looking to avoid, a strong power puncher. It's fair to say that we don't see Kano in a rush to share the ring with Ishizawa, but as a fan viewing Kano's bouts this would be a very interesting one and one that we would be genuinely looking forward to, not something we can typically say about Kano fights, which sadly don't tend to be particularly exciting bouts. This would be a chance for Kano to prove he can withstand pressure and would be a chance for Ishizawa to take a huge step forward in his career.
From September 26th to November 23rd there are set to be a number of Japanese shows made available, for free, on YouTube. Whilst we'll be tuning in to all of them we know some fans need a reason more than just "free boxing" to put their time aside, so with that in mind let us try to tempt you into watching the free action we'll be getting!
Firstly the shows are free. There is no catch there. If these are a success they may become a more regular thing, and may show promoters that there is a market for these, and a reason to put them on. Secondly they give everyone a chance to dip their toes into Japanese boxing during a time when life is certainly not great for many of us, and it could a bit extra escapism from what is going on outside of where we all live.
And there's also some interesting fighters and bouts coming up on those shows.
On paper this is probably the show we are the least interested in, especially given the other action taking place on the same day, however this shouldn't be ignored outright. Firstly the fact that BOXING REAL are behind the stream is something to sit up and make a note of, as they have provided amazing streams in the past and are very much a growing channel at the forefront of these free streams.
Anyone who has ever watched an Atomweight fight will know the women are small, but never stop throwing and we suspect that will be the case again here when Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) defends her WBO Atomweight title against Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1). It may not be the most dramatic bout of all time, but it will certainly by a high tempo battle and given that women's rounds are still 2 minutes long this will really fly by. We're expecting non-stop punching, in a thrilling, if some what low level affair.
Former world champion Shun Kubo (13-2, 9) isn't a huge name in the sport but as a former world champion it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, he still has to offer the sport. He shouldn't struggle too much with Takashi Igarashi (13-4, 5), but there is a chance that Kubo's heart isn't in the sport after stoppage losses to Danny Roman and Can Xu in recent bouts.
One time world title contender Kohei Oba (36-3-1, 14), who was once dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya", will end a multi-year break from the ring to take on former Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3). Not a great bout, but you've got to admit that having the nickname of "Mayweather of Nagoya" is at least a little bit interesting and we're curios as to what he has left in the tank.
Whilst the September 26th show isn't the best we do really want you to get behind the September 27th show if possible. This is from a small local promoter in Shizuoka who are almost certainly losing money to put this show on, but wanted to continue to have boxing in the region during these tough times. Originally they had wanted to run a boxing festival, as they have the last few years, but the on going situation prevented that but they are going to showcase local fighters regardless. With that in mind it'd be great to get behind the Suruga gym for this one.
If the feeling of supporting a small promoter isn't good enough there are 3 interesting bouts on this show.
The first of those is the return of Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3), who was knocked out hard by Froilan Saludar last year. Murachi was hoping to be fast tracked and risked it all against Saludar, who's experience and power proved too much. Rather than having an easy comeback he's taking on under-rated domestic foe Ryotaro Kawabata (12-3-2, 6) in a well matched 8 rounder. This looks competitive on paper and will let us see what Murachi's loss to Saludar has done to the 23 year old.
Although a faded force Koichi Aso (23-9-1, 15) has been a consistently exciting fighter to watch. Win or lose Aso is rarely in a dull fight and his aggressive, pressure style makes him on of Japan's most fan friendly fighters. He's up against a man flying high, as he takes on Shogo Yamaguchi (12-5-3, 7), who scored a a career best win over Shuhei Tsuchiya last time out, having been knocked down before pulling out the victory. This has the potential to be a real humdinger of a bout!
There are a lot of exciting prospects making their name in Japan, this is not a secret. One of the very best from those is Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1), who made his debut earlier this year with a KO of the Year contender, which you can see below. He is the big hope of Shizuoka, a former amateur standout and a man who we suspect will be fighting for titles in 2021. One thing we'd love to see from fans is for them to get on the Kimura express early, and if you missed his debut there's no need to miss his second bout, as he takes on Takafumi Iwaya (4-3) on this show. There's a good chance this ends in Brutal fashion just as Kimua's debut did
From where we're sat the October 13th card on A-Sign Boxing is the show that needs the least amount of "selling" done for it. Before we even mention the fighters we need to just say this is promoted by arguably the most forward thinking promoter in world boxing. Ichitaro Ishii is thinking out of the box regularly, employing social media brilliantly, adapting things like behind the scenes and special documentaries into promoting events and giving fans more access to knowing fighters than any other promoter in the sport. What he's doing on a relatively small budget brilliant for the sport.
As for the bouts the main event is a truly fantastic match up between world ranked Featherweight Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) and the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6). Abe is one of the most talented boxers in Japan, but also a frustrating one, with a style is focused around countering, a lot. As a result Abe needs a suitable dance partner to look good against, and we suspect Sasaki will be such an opponent. If you like boxing skills, counter punching, ring craft, a cerebral approach to boxing and in ring genius, this is a bout you'll enjoy. A lot.
Of course not everyone likes the cerebral stuff and some people just want to see action! You need not worry as Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) is in the house and taking on the rugged Masashi Tada (13-7-3, 8). Ishizawa is a super heavy handed, aggressive youngster who's somewhat rough around the edges, but scary strong, a serious puncher and one of the most exciting youngsters in the sport. When he gets in the ring it's always worth tuning in for. Tada isn't the best fighter, but he's tough and it'll be great to see if he can blunt the buzz saw that is Kai Ishizawa.
Although the other two bouts mentioned for this show have the ingredients to be show cases of different styles the bout we suspect will be the best of the bunch is the clash between Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) and Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6). On paper these two are made for each other, and in the ring we'll likely see that play out. Chiba is a real solid boxer-puncher, who had his chin cracked by Brian Lobetania. We know Chiba can punch, and can be taken out. Ishikawa on the other hand gave us one of the best fights of 2019 last time out, as he took on Toshiya Ishii, and in that fight showed a willingness to wage war on Ishii.
For something of a taster for the Chiba Vs Ishikawa bout, enjoy round 2 of Ishikawa's last bout:
We don't think we need to really tell people why they should tune in to see Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) take on unbeaten Thai Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12), but if you're not already on board for this one we'll try to entice you to tune in on Kyoguchi's own YouTube channel.
Kyoguchi is regarded by many who follow the lowest divisions as one of the very best at 108lbs. Don't take our word for that though but instead that of experts. He's the Ring Magazine champion, the WBA "Super" champion, and is ranked #2 by BoxRec, TBRB and ESPN. He's a fun, exciting fighter and is quickly becoming a YouTube star in his own right, with his own channel being the outlet for this bout.
Simsri is obviously not regarded as highly as Kyoguchi, but he is a hotly tipped Thai fighter who has been dubbed "Srisaket II" by the Thai press and is regarded as one of the brightest hopes in Thailand. He's actually fought in Osaka a few times and despite being in Kyoguchi's homeland we don't see that being an issue for the hard hitting Thai. He'll be there to win and should make for a thrilling bout here.
On paper the best card, from what we know of right now, is the final card which takes on November 23rd and features a former multi-time world champion and 3 world title challengers and a man we have already mentioned for one of his previous bouts. This is being shown by Osaka TV and should, in theory, have the best production values, and the stronger overall name name appeal.
The main event here will see youngster Riku Kano (16-4-1, 8) one of the former world title challengers, battle against Ryoki Hirai (13-6-1, 4) in a brilliantly well matched bout do the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. At one point Kano was seen as the super prospect, and fought for a world title when he was just 18! Sadly things haven't gone his way since then, but it's still way too early to write him off. Hirai on the other hand had a terrible start to his career but is very much in the mix for regional and domestic titles. We expect this to be a compelling, and hotly fought 12 rounder for the belt.
Another of the world title challengers on this show is Sho Ishida (28-2, 15), who is best known for his competitive bout with Kal Yafai in the UK. Once tipped as a potential face of Osakan boxing Ishida's career is beginning to struggle and he's likely hoping that a move to Bantamweight will help save give new life to his once promising boxing career. In the other corner is the unbeaten Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2), the main who faced off with Haruki Ishikawa in that round we shared a little bit earlier. Given Ishii's fun aggressive boxing style and Ishida's need to win to remain relevant this really can't disappoint.
Once again we have saved the best until last with former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) taking on multi-time title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) in a 6 rounder that could end up being something very, very special. This will be Takayama's first bout since announcing his return to professional boxing earlier this year, afater failing to qualify for the Tokyo games, and there are real questions over what he has left in the tank. On the other hand Reiya Konishi is no push over and has twice fought for world titles, showing his heart and toughness in those bouts. Both of these men like letting their hands go, both get involved in trench warfare far too often and together they have the potential to give us the best damn 6 rounder of 2020!
For those note familiar with Takayama we have have left one final treat below, his incredible war with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, from 2014.
Over the next 12 months we're expecting to see a lot of changes in the world of professional boxing. As a result we have put together a list of 30 Asian fighters to keep an eye out for 2016. These range from champions to novices but all are expected to make a mark on the sport over the next 12 months.
We hope to have part of this up in the coming days, and it will feature more notable names, though we feel the 5 men listed here are all fighters who will become bigger in 2016, despite being relatively unknown by those other than the hardcore fans.
Whilst Christmas is fast approaching the action doesn't really end for Asian fight fans with Japanese and Filipino fighters being in a number of notable before the year is out. Here we look at those big upcoming bouts.
Shun Kubo Vs Lloyd Jardeliza
The first of the “post Christmas” bouts comes just a day after the festivities and sees one of Japan's most promising prospects, Shun Kubo (8-0, 6), battle against a Filipino puncher, Lloyd Jardeliza (7-2-3, 6), for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. The bout looks to be, on paper, a late Christmas present, and one that could well be a cracker. Kubo is seen as the next fighter of note from the Shinsei Gym, the gym that has managed Hozumi Hasegawa, and Kubo is supposed to the fighter who follows in Hasegawa's footsteps. Jardeliza has lost 2 of his last 4 but is regarded as a serious puncher and could well follow in the footsteps of Marlon Tapalese, who recently upset Shohei Omori in Japan. This could be a shoot out, an exposure or a break out win.
Kenichi Horikawa Vs Ken Shiro
Just a day after the Kubo/Jardeliza fight we get two Japanese title fights. In our eyes the more interesting of the two comes down at 108lbs where veteran Kenichi Horikawa (30-13-1, 7) defends his title, for the first time, against the fast rising Ken Shiro (5-0, 3). The men have a good friendship but have a local rivalry, with both being Kyoto fighters, and are likely to have that rivalry over-rule their friendship in what could be a real coming out party for the talented Ken Shiro, or a statement win for Horikawa, who looked better than ever last time out when he stopped Shin Ono.
Yuki Nonaka Vs Koshinmaru Saito
The other Japanese title fight on December 27th sees Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (27-8-3, 9) defending his title against Koshinmaru Saito (22-7-1, 12). Nonaka, now in his second reign as champion, will be hoping to secure his third successive defense of the title whilst also making his ring return for the first time since his controversial draw against Takayuki Hosokawa back in April. Saito is an experienced title level fighter though has gone 0-4 in title bouts so far, and isn't really being given much of a chance to end that run.
Riku Kano Vs Pigmy Kokiegym
Whilst the two title bouts on December 27th are worthy or attention there is another bout which perhaps deserves to be more than just a foot note. That bout will see teenage hopeful Riku Kano (7-1-1, 4) go up against former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (58-8-2, 23). For Kano, 18, this is a monstrous step up in class however it's one his team will believe he's capable of making, especially considering they are talking about Kano challenging the record for the youngest Japanese world champion. Notably Pigmy is just 4 months removed from his upset loss to Jaysever Abcede.
Naoya Inoue Vs Warlito Parrenas
Whilst December 26th and 27th are notable days it's fair to say that December 29th over-shadows the earlier action. That is mostly due to the ring return of wunderkind Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7) who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title against Filipino slugger Warlito Parrenas (24-6-1, 21). On paper this shouwl be a win for Inoue, especially if he's as good as we believe, however Parrenas is a huge puncher and Inoue's inactivity and injuries could well take their toll and he might not be the fighter he once was, or become he fighter we all wish he would become.
Akira Yaegashi Vs Javier Mendoza
The Inoue/Parrenas bout isn't the only world title fight on December 29th as Inoue's stablemate and close friend Akira Yaegashi (22-5, 12) attempts to become a 3-weight world champion. The popular Yaegashi will be up against aggressive Mexican fighter Javier Mendoza (24-2-1, 19), who will be defending his IBF Light Flyweight title. Yaegashi, a former champion at 105lbs and 112lbs, lost twice last year and will likely know that a loss here will be the end of his career at the top level. He has however got the experience and skills to give Mendoza a tough one, if his body can hold up at 108lbs.
Takuma Inoue Vs Rene Dacquel
Takuma Inoue (5-0, 1), Naoya's younger brother, is also on the card defending a title as he risks his OPBF Super Flyweight title against talented, yet under-rated, Filipino Rene Dacquel (15-5-1, 5). This will be the first defense by Inoue of a title he won earlier this year, when he out pointed Mark Anthony Geraldo, and an impressive showing could see his team push him towards a world title fight in 2016. For Dacquel, a former GAB champion, this is a chnce to really make a name for himself, and add another belt to his collection, as well as improving his 1-1-1 record in Japan. This really could be a tough ask for Inoue.
Satoshi Hosono Vs Akifumi Shimoda
One other title bout here sees a former world champion take on a former world title challenger in a bout that could, very easily have, have headlined a lesser show. That bout will see former 3-time world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (29-2-1, 20) defending his Japanese Featherweight title against former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-4-2, 12).. The loser of this really can kiss their dreams of another top level fight good bye, however the winner will be regarded as a genuine world title challenger for 2016. This bout will be over-shadowed but is incredibly significant.
Takashi Uchiyama Vs Oliver Flores
We get a host of title bouts on New Years Eve, in fact there are 5 world title bouts on the day. Of the bouts in action the biggest mismatch is in Tokyo where long term WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1, 19) defends his belt against limited Nicaraguan challenger Oliver Flores (21-1-2, 17). On paper this looks like an interesting match up for the unbeaten 36 year old champion though footage of Flores really doesn't impress and we suspect Uchiyama finishes off the challenger quickly before moving towards a major bout in early 2016.
Ryoichi Taguchi Vs Luis De la Rose
Staying in Tokyo fans get the chance to see Uchiyama's stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi (22-2-1, 9) defending his WBA Light Flyweight title against the horribly limited Luis de la Rosa (24-5-1, 14). The talented champion is looking for his second defense and shouldn't have to look too hard given the Colombian challenger has lost every time he has faced a notable opponent, and is 3-4 in his last 7. Sadly for Taguchi's fans this is a farce and they will know it, especially given the talent that is in the division and hopefully Taguchi will be facing a much better opponent in early 2016.
Kazuto Ioka Vs Juan Carlos Reveco II
Although both the title bouts in Tokyo are poor we have to admit that Osaka has got a great title fight to end the year as Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10) defends the WBA Flyweight title against Juan Carlos Reveco (36-2, 19). Ioka beat Reveco, by majority decision, to win the title earlier this year in a really good bout. This rematch was ordered by the WBA but it really is almost certainly going to be one of the most exciting bout to end the year. Both men have a lot on the line here and both will bring the action in what should be something very special.
Katsunari Takayama Vs Jose Argumedo
Staying in Osaka it's also the venue for an IBF Minimumweight world title bout between defending champion Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12) and little known challenger Jose Argumedo (15-3-1, 9). This will be Takayama's 3rd defense of the year but seems like a significant step backwards following a win last time out against Ryuji Hara. For Argumedo this is his first bout in 13 months and he enters the bout 1-1 in the last 2 years, leading to real questions as to why he's managed to get a world title fight.
Kosei Tanaka Vs Vic Saludar
Takayama isn't the only Minimumweight champion defending his title as WBO champion Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) makes the first defense of his title, in Aichi. The talented 20 year old will be up against Filipino puncher Vic Saludar (11-1, 9) in what looks like a solid first defense on paper. The talented Tanaka has been frustratingly inactive since winning his title in May but is likely to get a chin check here against a man who has serious power and will be looking to continue a 9 fight unbeaten run.
Takahiro Yamamoto Vs Yuki Strong Kobayashi
Going back to the Osaka card, the same show also has two lower level title fights on it, with an OPBF and a JBC title up for grabs. In the OPBF title fight we see Bantamweight kingpin Takahiro Yamamoto (16-4, 13) defending his crown against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (9-4, 5). For Yamamoto this will be his first defense since winning the title, with a TKO victory against Yu Kawaguchi, sadly however it is a bit of a “gimme” against a man we don't see posing any threat to the champion.
Sho Ishida Vs Ryuta Otsuka
As for the Japanese title fight, that comes at Super Flyweight where unbeaten champion Sho Ishida (20-0, 10) defends his belt against Ryuta Otsuka (15-8-2, 5). The talented Ishida will be looking for his 4th title defense whilst Otsuka will be hoping to claim a title in his shot. It's hard to see what Otsuka really offers, given he has lost 3 of his last 5, though it's clear that Ishida still needs a little bit more experience and seasoning before he moves onto the next level.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).