The month of November has been a strange one in many ways, with some really awesome fights, some disappointments, and some real up and down moments through out boxing. The brilliant WBSS final was certainly one of the highlights of the year but bouts falling through was an issue at times.
Thankfully we do have something that is consistent with boxing, and that is that Boxing Raise will show some absolutely amazing fights. This month that was once again true, with some absolutely tremendous action being made available on the Japanese service, that once again made a great case as being the best value service for any boxing fan.
As with our previous "Best of Boxing Raise" article all the fights featured here can be accessed by subscribers by logging into Boxing Raise and adding the "movie/####" to "https://boxingraise.com/".
Youngsters go to war - Ryugo Ushijima (3-0-2, 2) vs Taison Mukaiyama (4-2, 3) [movie/7017/]
Earlier in 2019 we had our attention grabbed by Ryugo Ushijima, thanks to a thrilling contest with Shota Ogasawara. On Boxing Raise this month Ushijima faces off with Taison Mukaiyama and this was some that possibly exceeded the Ogasawara bout, with the two men really smashing lumps out of each other, in a bout that had an opening round knockdown, and a lot wild action. This wasn't as polished as some of the other bouts from through the month but was genuinely great fun to watch.
Bantamweight Shootout - Kazuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) vs Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) [movie/7019/]
The God's Left Bantamweight tournament is a genuinely brilliant idea, and although it hasn't managed to quite deliver as hoped it's still given us some great action. That was certainly seen in the semi-final bout between Kazuki Nakajima and Jin Minamide. This wasn't a drawn out war, we do have one of those coming up, but was a thrilling shoot out. It took a few moments for the fighters to light the touch paper, but as soon as that happened you knew the end was night, but weren't sure who would land a bomb first. Genuinely brilliant and hugely entertaining, little battle here!
Extreme Eliminatorion - Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) vs Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [movie/7020/]
Whils the WBSS Bantamweight final was, easily, the best bout of the month we did see some other thrillers during the month. One of best of the rest was an 8 round war in a Japanese Super Featherweight title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto and Takuya Watanabe. This looked great on paper yet massively over-delivered and gave us one of the best fighters we've seen in Japan this year. It pit Watanabe's toughness and strong yet basic boxing against Minamoto's explosive boxing, and delivered what was an absolute barn burner, and a real must watch for any fan who had 40 minutes of time to enjoy themselves. This was amazing and got better and better as the fight went on and both men began to show the damage of war.
OH DAMN! - Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) vs Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5) [movie/7045/]
We've already mentioned a shoot out and a war, but when Tsuyoshi Tameda took on Jae Woo Lee in the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament we ended up with something of a hybrid. This was was an up close war, fought as if both men wanted to have a shoot out. Both fighters unloaded bombs from the early going, setting their feet and firing off huge power shots, and trying to take each other out. If you like fights fought on the inside, with machimso being the driving force you'll love this. Absolutely amazing fight, and one that will have you engrossed from the first moment to the last.
Knockdowns traded in thriller! - Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4) vs Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) [movie/7047/]
On paper the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament looked interesting with out being amazing. That thanking was instantly blown out of the water by he Tameda Vs Lee fight and just moments later we were given another fight as Shingo Kusano and Qiang Ma traded knockdowns in a brilliant war. This wasn't quite as intense as the Tameda Vs Lee bout but was another thriller, with bombs galore, both men being hurt and despite the lower intensity it was a more dramatic bout. Despite the records of the two fighters these two delivered something very special.
Whilst we certainly have less great action on Boxing Raise in November than in October, what we did get was some of the months very best fights from anywhere in world boxing. This month we were lucky to get such quality, even if the quantity was lacking!
(Image courtesy of Boxing Raise and Boxmob.jp)
One of the many things we're wanting to try in 2019 is a weekly news review, looking at the most interesting news stories from the last 7 days. For the same of this news won't include things like weigh ins and results, but instead things like announcements of fights, comebacks, deaths and other more general news from the week that's been.
We won't go into any of the stories in depth, leaving a link to the relevant story, but will quickly give our take on the news.
So without further ado, let us bring the 1st Asian Boxing Weekly News Review!
Srisaket to DAZN not yet a done deal! Still set to return in February
After strong speculation that WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] had inked a deal with DAZN it was revealed he hadn't....yet! He is in deep negotiations with the streaming service but hasn't inked anything yet, with a decision expected to be made shortly. What was also confirmed is that he would be fighting in a tune up bout on February 8th, in Thailand, before facing mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada in the Spring. At the moment the opponent for Srisaket's opponent hasn't been announced, but will be before the end of the month, suggesting it's a limited foe, potentially an experienced regional journeyman.
WBSS announcements to be made next week!
After weeks of fans asking when the WBSS semi-final bouts would be taking place we finally saw the Sauerlands react, and announce that an announcement would be made next week. It's unclear when in the week the announcement will be made but to have a time frame of "next week" is good enough to get us a little bit excited. The rumours were that early March had been targeted but it now seems like the shows have slipped to April or May, though we're genuinely glad that we'll see things being made public very shortly! We'll file this in the rarely used "Glad there was an announcement about an announcement", folder
Sirimongkol to return to the ring...as a Heavyweight!
The biggest "What the fuck?" story of the week came from Thailand, as multiple sources informed us that former WBC Bantamweight and Super Featherweight champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (96-4, 61) [ศิริมงคล สิงห์วังชา] would be back in the ring in the coming weeks, as a Heavyweight! The enigmatic Thai was a fantastic fighter in his prime, but he is more than a decade removed from his prime and more than 20 years removed from losing the WBC Bantamweight to Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in an amazing fight in 1997! Sirimongkol, now in his 40's, is only 5'6" and will look ridiculous fighting at over 200lbs, but we suspect he's going to be very softly matched.
Mishiro to defend OPBF title against Watanabe!
A pretty good, though possibly missed, announcement came out over the weekend from Dangan, who announced the OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (6-0-1, 2) [三代大訓] will defending his title on March 27th against OPBF "silver" champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) [渡邉卓也]. Whilst neither man is a huge name outside of Asia it's hard to not be excited here. Both are fun to watch, have plenty of skill and throw a lot of punches. Neither is world class, though Mishiro has certainly shown the potential to get their already in his short career, but they should make for a genuinely spectacular fight to headline Dangan 221.
Ryohei Takahashi will continue his career following loss to TJ Doheny!
Former IBF Super Bantamweight challenger Ryohei Takahashi (15-4-1, 6) [高橋竜平] revealed that his career will not end following his loss to world champion TJ Doheny earlier this month. Although it's not a huge surprise to hear that the 28 year old, soon to be 29 year old, would be continuing his career it's still good to hear and he will certainly be a good addition to the Japanese domestic scene. Bouts between Takahashi and the likes of Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Hidenori Otake would be very enjoyable, whilst rematches with Kazuki Tanaka and Yuki Iriguchi would certainly be more than welcome.
Denver Cuello set to return in March!
Former world title challenger Denver Cuello (36-5-6, 24) was once touted as a future star of the smaller divisions. Sadly injuries hampered him, badly, and clearly harmed his chances against Xiong Zhao Zhong in 2013. Since then he has hardly fought, due to in part to his being banged up. This week however Ian Melodillar reported that Cuello would be back in the ring in March, as fights for the first time in years. It's hard to know what Cuello has left but if the 32 year is half the fighter he once was he could make for another interesting addition to the ranks in any of the lower weights. He's likely missed out on getting a world title, but adds some name value and more Filipino interest to the lower weights.
Ivan Dychko eyeing March 1st return!
Also looking at a March return is Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) [Дычко Иван]. Dychko's manager revealed that his charge would be looking to return in March 1st, likely in Florida. The bout will be Dychko's first since July 2018, and frustratingly his activity seems to have been with his promotional team as he's not been injured, and instead has been seeing bouts fall through due to reasons outside of his hands. It's been a very frustrating year for the fighter and his fans. Given his amateur credentials there is no reason for him to have been matched the way he has, and hopefully 2019 will see him being busy and taking on some serious tests, rather than continuing to waste time with mismatches and promotional frustrations.
Iwao Hakamada manga to be released
Former fighter Shigemi Mori along with Hideko Hakamada held a news conference this week to reveal a new Manga being released this year to try and raise the attention of Iwao Hakamada's, Hideko's brother, situation. Mr Hakamada, now 82, served 48 years for a quadruple murder in 1966 and spent much of that time in solitary confinement on death row. Although he was released in 2014, Hakamada is still awaiting a retrial, which could see his sentence being reinstated. The manga is set to be released in 8 page sections on a monthly basis from February 15th and will be translated for an international audience with the plan also being to put it on to youtube, to further international attention.
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).