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)
Over the last few years Japan has gained a reputation for ending the boxing year in style, with major shows in the final few days of the year. Typically those bouts get announced through November, as promoters officially announce the bouts and put their shows together along with major domestic television companies.
As we enter November we thought it would be fun to look at some of those rumours for the month, and some of the confirmed bouts, as well as those that have been mentioned as possible, and those on the verge of being officially announced.
We'll start by looking at what we know, with the confirmed notable bouts from the month.
December 1st is set to be a crazy day with several major shows.
In Tokyo we'll get a card televised by G+ which will be headlined by Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) defending his Japanese Light Welterweight title against Takashi Inagaki (20-17-2, 9). The card will also feature a brilliant match up between Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) and Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) as well as the ring return of former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (19-2-1, 7)
On the same day in Osaka we get two Shinsei Gym cards, featuring a combined 6 title bouts. The shows will be Real Spirits vol 60 and Real Spirits vol 61, with the first card featuring 4 female title bouts, including a WBO female Minimumweight title bout between Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) and Etsuko Tada (17-3-2, 5) and an OPBF Atomweight title bout between Eri Matsuda (1-0) and Minayo Kei (6-3, 1).
The second card will see former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (16-1, 6) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title against Richard Rosales (13-7-2, 7) and a potentially thrilling contest between Masao Nakamura (24-3, 23) and Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12) for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title.
December 3rd will give us a single big show, headlined by OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (7-0, 7) and Takuya Uehara (16-0, 10), with a brilliant supporting bout between Hinata Maruta (7-1-1, 6) and Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-3-2, 16), which is one of the bouts we're most looking forward to!
On December 9th things get a bit crazy again. We will get a Japanese Welterweight title fight, as Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) defends his belt against Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 10), and a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, with Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) making his first defense against Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10). These bouts have been officially announced and confirmed.
The same day we're set to see to see Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) taking on Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17) and Sho Ishida (26-1, 15) taking on Warlito Parrenas (26-8-1, 23). These bouts haven't been formally announced, though teams from both have confirmed they are taking place, and will be at the EDION Arena Osaka. It's unclear if they will share the same card as the other bouts or if the EDION will host another double dose of boxing with two shows. There is also some speculation that if this is a second show there will be one more big bout to add to the card.
On December 13th we'll see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (8-0, 6) defending his belt against Kazumasa Kobayashi (10-7-1, 6) at the Korakuen Hall and a week later we'll see Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-1, 8) and Akinori Watanabe (37-7, 31) fight to unify the Japanese Light Middleweight title.
The only other show of real significant that has been confirmed is the Japanese Rookie of the Year final on December 23rd. Nothing after Christmas, but before the start of 2019, has really been announced. But we have had a lot of rumours, speculation for December!
One bout that is supposed to be, finally, made is the long awaited IBF Light Middleweight world title eliminator between Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7) and Julian Williams (25-1-1-1, 15), a bout that has seemingly been delayed, rescheduled and redelayed several times already this year. Fingers crossed this is actually made before the year is over, as it seems both fighters have wasted a lot of this year waiting for this bout to take place. Interestingly this could be the only bout to actually take place outside of Japan.
Another IBF eliminator which is rumoured to take place in December is a Super Bantamweight title eliminator between Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3, 16) and Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17). This bout is supposedly set to take place in Tokyo, though no date has been made public. If this is confirmed then we are in for a treat as these two, together, should be an amazing contest, with both being heavy handed and flawed. Fingers crossed we get this one announced shortly!
Staying on the subject of IBF title fights there has been speculation in Japan that Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) may get an unexpected shot at Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (36-2, 24). This rumour has come about after a scheduled eliminator with Kuroda and Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking fell through after the Thai suffered an injury. Kuroda's seemed to suggest this would be a long shot, but they are chasing the bout and it could, potentially, be on.
The first of the rumoured big cards to end the year is expected to be on December 30th and is expected to be the Fuji TV card. The strongest rumour for this show is a WBO Super Featherweight title defense for Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12), with the named linked to him being Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10). This bout is expected to be confirmed in the coming days, or at the very least Ito's part of it is, with Chuprakov perhaps not being the opponent. The same date is also pencilled in as a potential date for Kenshiro (14-0, 8) to make his next defense of the WBC Light Flyweight title, though no opponent has been linked to him.
The December 30th Fuji card has also been set as the potential date for a WBC Bantamweight title bout between Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-0, 33) and Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3). This bout depends on another bout not taking place, as per an order at the WBC convention in early October, so we should see this bout being either confirmed or not very quickly. There is also a rumour that Takuma's stable mate at the Ohashi gym, Akira Yaegashi (27-6, 15) may also be involved on the same show.
If the rumours for December 30th are a bit of an exciting mess things get even crazier for New Year's Eve. For weeks we've been hearing that WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) would be defending his title against Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6). This was rumoured to be part of a triple header, which has changed a few times but new seems most likely to feature a rematch between Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) and Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10), with Taguchi looking to reclaim the WBA Light Flyweight title from the South African. Along with that rematch is rumoured WBO Light Flyweight title bout between Angel Acosta (19-1, 19) and Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8). If this triple header is done, then TBS would be expected to show at least 2 bouts live on their Kyoguken show.
Things get more complicated when we consider the other rumours, which include a potential WBO Flyweight world title defense by Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7). His could be squeezed on TBS as an early bout, or could be used to stack the show to a quadruple header or could end up being only CBC live, with TBS showing it on tape delay. It's really unclear how he fits in, but he will almost certainly be wanting to fight on a year ending show, after missing out on the chance last year due to injury.
Last, but certainly not least, is the rumoured WBO Super Flyweight title bout between Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) and Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23), a bout so big that TBS have seemingly given Ioka the option to take the date and broadcast if he wants it. This was rumoured strongly in September, and Japanese sources were suggesting that it could take place in the Philippines with TBS still airing it live, however the rumours did quieten quickly. It should be noted that Ioka's not been one for leaking news in the past, this could be well in the works. Given how silent things have gone however we may well see this bout being delayed into 2019, potentially as part of the next Superfly card.
(Bottom image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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).