Balbir Singh Juneja Stadium, Chattisgarh, India
This coming Wednesday there is some very notable action in India, where several of the biggest names in Indian boxing will be in action.
The biggest of the bouts on this show is set to be the comeback of former amateur standout Vijender Singh (12-1, 8), who will be fighting for the first time since losing to Artysh Lopsan back in March 2021. In the opposite corner to the 36 year old Singh will be the unbeaten Eliasu Sulley (8-0, 8), from Ghana, who fights for the first time since December 2020, and only the second time since 2017. At his best Singh was a fringe top 15 type of fighter, who had plenty to off, but at 36 this feels like something of a farewell bout, to end his career on a win. Sulley's record looks good on paper, but his 8 wins have come against opponents with a combined 7 wins and 73 losses, which suggests he's incredibly limited.
The unbeaten Karthik Kumar (8-0, 3) will be seeking his first win of the year as he takes on fellow Indian Ashish Sharma (2-1). Kumar has been unbeaten since debuting in 2019, and has stepped up well, with his last bout being a good win over Hero Tito, which showed there was some genuine talent with Kumar. As for Sharma, he has won his last two, after losing on debut, but his competition has been really limited so far and this is a big step up for him.
A third bout of note will see 21 year old hopeful Faizan Anwar (12-0, 5) battle against the out of form Sachin Nautiyal (6-2, 5), who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3. Anwar is one of the better Indian prospects, but amazingly this will actually be his Indian debut, with all of his bouts taking place outside of his homeland, with most taking place in Dubai. As for Nautiyal his wins so far have come against novices, all in India, whilst his two losses have come away from home. It's hard to imagine Anwar being really tested here, but Nautiyal is danger and has stopped 5 opponents in the first 2 rounds.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
This coming Sunday is a big day in Japan with 3 different shows, the most notable of which is a title double header in Osaka, promoted by former Japanese star Koki Kameda.
The main event here will see a 4th Japanese Heavyweight champion being crowned as the highly touted Brandon Mitsuro Tajima (1-0, 1) faces Korean fighter Sung Min Lee (7-2-1, 2) for the vacant title. Tajima made his long awaited debut earlier this year, but it was little more than a cameo as he dismantled Sang Ho Kim in 56 seconds. He will be hoping for a chance to show more of his ability here, though unfortunately Lee isn't the most testing of opponents, and in fact Lee is coming in to this on the back of an upset loss to Ja Sung Jo. Lee has proven to be tough and have heart, but this is a huge ask for him against a man many in Japan are very, very excited about. Our preview of this clash can be read here Tajima and Lee battle to become 4th Japanese Heavyweight champion
The other title bout on this show will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) defending his title against aggressive and hard hitting Filipino warrior Tomjune Mangubat (15-3-1, 12). For Rikiishi the bout will serve as his first defense of the title, which he won last time out with a very impressive win against Takuya Watanaba, and he will feel he has the tools and boxing IQ to neutralise Mangubat. As for the Filipino he'll be determined to make the most of this opportunity, especially given a loss last time out to unbeaten hopeful Charly Suarez. If Mangubat can get success with his pressure this will be a very tough bout Rikiishi, but that's a big if. Our preview of this contest can be read here OPBF champion Rikiishi defends against Filipino warrior Mangubat!
Outside of the two title bouts the big talking point of the show will be the professional boxing debut of 2008 Olympic gold medal winning Judoka Satoshi Ishii (0-0), who turns his hand to professional boxing at the age of 35. The former Judo star will be looking to secure a win in boxing as he takes on 30 year old novice Shuho Takayama (1-0, 1), in a 4 round Heavyweight bout. Interestingly Ishii has had success not just in Judo, where he was a genuine star, but also MMA and Kick boxing, and he is a well experienced combat sports practitioner, but we do wonder if it's too late for the Croatian based Japanese born fighter to make any sort of impact in professional boxing.
In a must win bout we'll see two former world title challengers face off as Hiroshige Osawa (37-5-4, 21) takes on Jeo Santisima (21-4, 18). Aged 37 Osawa is coming to the end of his career, and he's only fought once since the start of 2020, scoring a technical decision over Yoshiyuki Takabayashi last September. At his best Osawa was a solid regional level fighter, but given his age and inactivity it's hard to imagine him being even a shadow of the fighter he once was. As for Santisima he fought for a world title in 2020, and is 2-1 since losing in that title fight. Early in his career he looked explosive and powerful but when he's stepped he has looked limited and despite only being 26 it does feel like he's found his ceiling and is on the slide. We suspect Santisima is getting to Osawa at the the right point here, but this is certainly a hard one to call and Osawa might have one great performance left in the tank.
One other really notable bout on this card will see former world champion Ryo Miyazaki (26-2-3, 16), compete in the third bout of his on going comeback. On paper this is a big step up for Miyazaki as he takes on Azael Villar (18-1-3, 14), from Panama. Miyazaki, at his best, was a brilliant warrior, who had under-rated power, real toughness and great work rate, but at 33 he is old for a smaller weight fighter and it's hard to know how much he has left in the tank, even if he is something of a "young" 33. Villar on the other hand is 28 and has world rankings from 3 of the world title bouts, but this is a step up fir Villar, who has been beating low level fighters so far through his career. Given the styles of the two men, this should be a very, very fun and fan friendly bout.
One other under-card bout of note will see 2020 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Fukunaga (10-0, 5) clash with 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11), in what should be a thrilling bout. Although Yamashita is flawed he is always worth watching with an ultra aggressive style, and we suspect he could ask questions of Fukunaga, who is looking to record arguably his most notable win to date. This should genuinely be a very, very exciting match up, albeit one without a major name involved in it.
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
A second notable show takes place in Hyogo, and will be headlined by a former world champion taking on a former multi-time world title challenger, whilst the supporting card features two solid Japan Vs Philippines bouts.
The main event is a really dangerous one for former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (17-3, 6), who only returned to the sport earlier this year following a brain injury several years ago in his loss to Vic Saludar. The talented Yamanaka was expected to ease his way back into the sport, taking on a few easier opponents before stepping up in class. He however has taken a different approach and will take on hard hitting former 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (29-4-1, 22), of the Philippines. Given Yamanaka's previous injury this is a very, very risky bout against a flawed but aggressive and hard hitting fighter and there is a real feeling of danger here for Yamanaka. If he wins however the rewards are a potential world title fight in 2023, marking what would be one of the most impressive comebacks in the sport in recent years.
A very notable 8 rounder on this card will see the unbeaten Kazuki Anaguchi (2-0, 2) step up in class to face his first international opponent, as he battles Filipino Ranelio Quizo (10-2, 3). Since making his debut, just over a year ago, Anaguchi has looked like the sort of fighter who will be fast tracked, and despite only having 6 professional rounds to his name he looks a potential title holder, at least on the regional or domestic level. As for Quizo he comes into this bout on 3 straight wins, including a 7th round TKO win over Philip Luis Cuerdo last time out, a bout that was longer than Anaguchi's entire career. Quizo has the tools to ask questions of Anaguchi, but we do feel the local fighter will take this opportunity to shine.
A third bout of note on this card will see bombs being thrown as visiting Filipino Jun Blazo (16-6-3, 12) takes on charismatic Japanese switch hitter Takahiro Tai (3-1, 3). The heavy handed Blazo has been a professional since 2014 and has proven to be a very dangerous fighter, even on his travels, famously dropping Koki Eto in 2016. Sadly for Blazo he enters this bout 0-5 in bouts in Japan, but he will perhaps feel this is a chance to score his first win on Japanese soil. As for Tai he's aggressive but flawed and whilst he certainly not a polished fighter, he is very entertaining, takes risks and tries to behead opponents. Expect this one to be a brutal and explosive war.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
As well as the notable shows in Osaka and Hyogo we are also have the Central Japan Rookie of the Year finals. Sadly Central is over an over-looked region of Japan and with the show coming on the same day as two other notable cards it's even easier to over-look this card.
One of the more notable bouts on this card will be at Super Bantamweight, as the once beaten Junya Kawai (3-1, 1) takes on the unbeaten Ken Shioda (4-0, 2). Aged 31, Kawai has won his last two bouts and bounced back well from a 2021 loss to Shunsuke Bunno, however there are question marks regarding his long term future in the sport, given he's now 31 and actually debuted all the way back in 2015. As for Shioda he debuted in May 2021 and has been active, with 4 wins in around 15 months, and he will feel his activity and age, given he's only 28, will play a role here in what should be a great fight.
Another bout worthy of some attention is a clash between young Minimumweights, as 19 year old Rento Miyazawa (2-1, 1) faces 18 year old Seiya Imai (2-0) in a rematch of a bout we had last November. The older man debuted in July 2021 and won his debut before losing his second bout, to the then debuting Imai. Coming in this Miyazawa will be looking to avenge that loss, whilst Imai will bee looking to repeat his win over his fellow youngster.
Sumiyoshi Ward Center, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
This coming Thursdays attention turns to the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka, for a small yet notable show, with a recent title contender in action and an unbeaten hopeful.
The most notable man on the card is Akio Furutani (9-5, 3) who lost a competitive decision to Masayoshi Hashizume in a bout for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles in February. The talented Furutani, who is much better than his record suggests, will be taking on Hiroki Yajima (9-11-3, 4), who has lost his last 4 but competed at a good level with bouts against the likes of Ayato Hiromoto and Hayate Kaji. The bouts appears lined up as a confidence win of Furutani, in front of his home fans in Osaka, and he should be strongly favoured here, but Yajima is tough and doesn't get stopped often, so will put up some resistance here and make Furutani work for his win.
The other bout sees unbeaten hopeful Riku Yamashita (6-0-1, 3) look to build on his success in Rookie of the Year last year, where he reached the final before needing to pull out, as he takes on Daichi Hirai (5-2, 1). The 22 year old Yamashita does look like a genuine talent, and has won his last 4, following a draw in 2019 with Takahiro Yui, however he has been out of the ring since November and did have to pull out of his All Japan Rookie of the Year final, and will be moving up in weight for this bout. As for Hirai, who's a speedy switch hitter, who reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, and lost to Shori Umezu in February. Notably Hirai is the natural Bantamweight here, and will be desperate to get back to winning ways after the loss to Umezu. This should be a really well fought and highly contested 6 rounder.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday we get the next show under the Diamond Glove banner, and it's an excellent card, with two title bouts, a mouth watering bout between two heavy handed fighters with single losses, and a former Rookie of the Year taking on a once touted former amateur stand out.
The first of the 4 notable bouts will see the unbeaten, and JBC ranked, Akira Hoshuyama (7-0 4) take on Tomoki Kawasaki (2-2). Hoshuyama showed what he could do when he won the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year, and he looks like a genuine talent, who could well win a Japanese title down the line, though does have areas to work on and we suspect this bout will see him being asked a lot of questions. Kawasaki on the other hand was a very solid amateur, going 35-12 (8), and has been matched incredibly hard since turning professional, losing to the talented pairing of Jukiya Iimura and Josuke Nagata. Despite having two losses in his first 4 bouts we wouldn't write off the 22 year old here, and he has the skills to go a long, long way over the coming years.
Another excellent non title bout will see Homura Fujita (8-1, 6) clash with Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5), in what could be the show stealer. Fujita came runner up in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing in a 4 round shoot out with Kodai Honda, and has gone 3-0 (1) since then with a very notable win over Izuki Tomioka last time out. As for Yuba the second generation fighter is looking to score his second win since his dramatic 2021 loss to Jin Sasaki. Both of these men are young, both can punch, have some skills, and can make for something a little bit special. Given their styles we expect this to be a fire fight, and a bout that could end with just a single clean shot, from either man.
The first of two title fights will see Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) make her first defense of the Japanese female Minimumweight title, as she takes on Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1). On paper this looks like an easy first defense for Suzuki, and in all honest it would be a surprise to see Ichimura really ask any questions of her. Suzuki might not be a world champion in the making, but she looks like the sort of fighter who could be a staple in and around the top of the division domestically. Ichimura on the other hand looks very limited and it's hard to imagine her giving Suzuki anything close to a test. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Suzuki defends against Ichimura
In the main event we'll see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) look to kick off his third reign as a champion, as he defends the title against the once beaten Hayate Kaji (15-1, 9), in an excellent match up. Nakagawa won the title for the third time earlier this year, when he out boxed veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka, and showed there was still life left in his legs, despite the fact he's in his mid 30's. As for Kaji he is looking to put the disappointment of a very controversial 2021 loss to Ryoji Fukunaga behind him. Nakagawa is a very solid technical fighter, who has proven his toughness and his will to win, but given his age there are questions about how much longer he can continue to compete at the top of the domestic scene. As for Kaji he looks like he could be the emerging Japanese hopeful at 115lbs and will come in to this bout as a man with a point to prove, following his loss to Fukunaga last year. This could be a very compelling technical chess match. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kaji gets second shot at title as he takes on Japanese champion Nakagawa
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Asia with a trio of notable cards in Asia.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
For us the most interesting of those cards is the Green Tsuda gym, that features a really nice mix of youngsters and notable names, along with the retirement ceremony of former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-8, 17).
The most notable bout on the card is an all Japan contest between rising youngster Toshiki Shimomachi (14-1-2, 10) and the hard hitting Takuya Mizuno (17-3-1, 14). The talented Shimomachi is best known for winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017, and since then has gone on to win the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title and slowly move towards a bout for a senior title. He comes into this on the back of 5 stoppage wins, including ones against Hiroki Hanabusa and Jerry Castroverde. Mizuno on the other hand is a noted puncher, but has struggled recently, losing his last 2 bouts and is without a win in the last 3 years. If Mizuno has ambition he should give Shimomachi a genuinely test here, but it's hard to know what hunger he has after being out of the ring for almost 2 year.
Shimomachi's stable mate Jinki Maeda (9-0, 4), also a former All Japan Rookie of the Year winner, will be looking to continue his winning run as he takes on hard hitting Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal (17-10-6, 10), in a really tough step up bout. The talented Maeda is a very nice boxer-puncher, who has gone under the radar with fans outside of Japan, and he'll know that he needs to step up to make a buzz on the regional scene. On paper Ramonal shouldn't be a test, but records don't fight and Ramonal has proven to be a nasty puncher and a really dangerous fighter, with notable KO's against the likes of Yusaku Kuga and Shingo Wake. If Maeda isn't careful here he could well find himself on the receiving end of a shock KO.
At Welterweight we'll see the always entertaining Aso Ishiwaki (9-5-1, 7) take on hard hitting Thai visitor Achariya Boonmoh (12-0, 11). Although not the best fighter out there Ishiwaki is a very fan friendly warrior, with an aggressive style and a real will to win. He will however need to show some real resolve here as the 21 year old Boonmoh is a nasty puncher, who has stopped his last 11 foes, in a combined 31 rounds. Notably the Thai is stepping up, massively here and hasn't faced anyone of any real note, but will feel confidence given how he has been destroying opponents so far.
Another Thai puncher on this card is Sitthisak Simsri (12-0, 12), the younger brother of Thanongsak Simsri, who will be risking his WBA ranking against the once beaten Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-1, 3). The 20 year old Simsri has never faced anyone of any note so far, but has been taking out his limited opposition in quick fashion, with his bouts lasting less than 3 rounds on average. As for Kawamitsu, he has been inactive since being stopped in 2 rounds last year by Ginjiro Shigeoka, and it's hard to know what his hunger will be like, and what his confidence will be like against someone as hard hitting as Simsri.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
The more notable of two Filipino cards comes from Metro Manila where we see a number of notable fighters in action.
The most notable bout on the card sees unbeaten hopeful Charly Suarez (11-0, 7) take on veteran Mark John Yap (30-16, 15), with Suarez looking to defend his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten Suarez was touted for big things when he turned professional, but now aged 33 he really is running out of time if he's to land a major international fight. As for Yap he was once a very good Bantamweight, and a legitimate top level regional fighter. Now a days however it's hard to know what to expected from him and he is 1-4 in his last 5 dating back 4 years. He has lost his last 3 and we don't think moving to Super Featherweight will be a good move for him here.
In a really solid match up we'll see Al Toyogon (12-6-1, 8) take on Allan Villanueva (11-2, 8), in what is a pretty even looking match up. Toyogon has lost 4 of his last 6, but they include defeats to the likes of Ryo Sagawa, Shuya Masaki and Jorge Linares, and he has notched wins in his last 2 bouts. As for Villanueva he has lost his last 2, but they have come to very solid domestic opponents. The winner of this will claim the WBF Asia Pacific Lightweight title, a very low quality title, but something that both men will be fighting hard for, given their opportunities for bigger titles will be limited.
Another WBF title fight, this time for their International Minimumweight title, will see the criminally under-rated Lito Dante (18-11-4, 10) take on Clyde Azarcon (17-4-1, 6). On paper Azarcon should be the favourite here, but the 27 year old has a very padded record, and has been stopped in the opening round of 2 of his last 4 bouts. As for Dante his record is underwhelming in terms of numbers, but he has some very solid wins including a TKO over future world title challenger Tsubasa Koura. Over 10 rounds Dante is a total nightmare, and it's hard to imagine him losing here to Azarcon.
Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines
A second Filipino card will be held in Sibonga, where we see two notable bouts.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will see once beaten fighters collide, as April Jay Abne (9-1, 5) takes on Christian Bacolod (14-1, 10). For Abne the bout will see him look to score his third win since a shock December 2021 loss to Garen Diagan, and he will feel he has the tools to deal with Bacolod. As for Bacolod he has won two in a row since a hotly contest 2019 loss to Thanongsak Simsri, though they have come at a very low level and this is a notable step back up in class for him. This has a genuine 50-50 feel and is the type of bout we really want to see more of in the Philippines.
The other notable bout on this card will see Bryan James Wild (8-0, 6) look to continue his winning run, as he takes on limited veteran Mateo Handig (15-21, 9). Wild struggled past Jason Dogelio back in May and with that in mind it's little wonder he's facing someone who has no ambition or drive to win, such as Handig here. At his best Handig was a solid Minimumweight fighter, and he holds a controversial win over Katsunari Takayama, however since then he has gone 2-16-1 and moved through the weights with a complete lack of success
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The main show for us this coming Saturday is the latest in the long line of Dynamic glove cards from Korakuen Hall, and it's a real show case for the future of Japanese boxing thanks to Teiken. The card is headlined by a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, and is then packed with talented novices all looking to take big strides forward with their careers.
The main event will see 26 year old Japanese warrior Ryota Toyoshima (15-2-1, 9) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title against Filipino challenger Adam Diu Abdulhamid (17-10, 9). For the talented Toyoshima, who is enjoying the best run of his career, this will be his second defense of the title, and a chance for him to not just tighten his grip on the regional scene but also take a step towards a potential world title fight. This bout is very much one that he should look great in, but he can't over-looked Abdulhamid. The Filipino is an aggressive fighter, who will be in the ring looking to force the action and drag Toyoshima into a war, which could give us a genuinely excellent battle. The skills are with the champion, but the challenger does have heart and desire and could well play his part in a bit of an action packed war. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Asian Pacific champion Toyoshima battles Abdulhamid!
From the prospects on the card, the hardest matched is former amateur standout Gonte Lee (3-0-1, 1), who takes on Korean visitor Moo Hyun Kim (9-2, 5). Lee was tipped for huge things when he turned professional, but the pandemic has slowed his rise and he'll know that if he's going to deliver on the promise he showed as an amateur he's going to have to shine here. As for Kim he returns to Japan for his third bout in the country, where he currently holds a 2-0 record, but Lee is, by far, the most talented fighter and polished fighter he will have faced.
Another former amateur standing out looking to pick up a win against a foreign import is the wonderfully gifted Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) , who takes on Thai visitor Suphaphon Hanvichachay (3-0, 2), in what we are expecting will be an explosive, and short bout. Both men can punch, and only one of their 5 combined bouts has gone beyond 3 rounds. Don't blink when these two are in there together.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Junya Shimada (1-0, 1) battle Rechel Calo (3-0, 1). Shimada made his debut last year, and eked out a narrow win over Shigetoshi Kotari, and will be hoping to put in a more commanding effort here. As for Calo this is his first bout away from home and a huge step up, given Shimada's amateur exploits.
Other under-card bouts will include Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2), looking to bounce back from his loss, taking on Thailand's Kitidech Hirunsuk (9-2, 5), former Rookie of the year winner, Hiromasa Urakawa (7-1, 4) battling Thailand's Perapan Judkan (8-1, 7), in what could be a very explosive bout, and the debut of Hiroki Ogawa (0-0), who takes on unbeaten Thai novice Phongthep Bunchari (1-0, 1).
Spaceplus Bangkok RCA, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan, featuring notable hopefuls and prospects, we get the chance to see some top Thai hopefuls taking on some dangerous Filipino fighters in WBA Asia title fights.
The more notable the two major bouts will see Tanes Ongjunta (10-1, 5) look to make his third defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title as he takes on the very dangerous Jeny Boy Boca (14-7, 12). The talented Ongjunta has rebuilt well since being stopped in 2020, by Adrian Lerasan in a forgotten but thrilling 8 round war, and has scored 6 wins since then to get his career back on track. On paper Boca doesn't look like a test, but the visitor is dangerous, as he showed last time he was in Thailand, when he stopped Sarawut Thawornkham. Sadly though he has been inactive since a December 2020 loss to Muhammad Waseem
The other bout will see Yuttapong Tongdee (7-0, 4) battle Ryan Rey Ponteras (23-15-3, 12) with the two men trading blows for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Tongdee looks to be among the most talented of the emerging Thai hopefuls, but this is a genuine step up for him and we could see him being given a genuine chin check by Ponteras. As his best Ponteras was a tough, stubborn guy with solid power, and he showed that stubbornness late last year when he gave Seong Yeong Yang a tough test, however he was taken out in a round in 2019 by Seiya Tsutsumi, who has since gone on to win the Japanese Bantamweight crown and shown his potential. This should be a real work out for the unbeaten local fighter.
Staying in Asia, we also get a show in China, with a former world title challenger, who's fighting for only the second time since losing in a world title fight in 2019, and an unbeaten hopeful.
The former world title challenger is Wulan Tuolehazi (14-4-1, 7), who famously challenged Kosei Tanaka for the WBO Flyweight title on the final day of 2019 and was stopped by the KO Dream Boy. Since then Tuolehazi has scored a single win, in early 2020, and will be fighting for the first time in over 2 years here, as he takes on DianXing Zhu (6-1, 5). Zhu is a 25 year old with heavy hands but he is also a naturally smaller man than Tuolehazi, and is unlikely to have the power to get the respect of the veteran.
The other bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten 22 year old LeQuan Wang (6-0, 4) look to continue his winning streak as he takes on Zixiang Wang (4-2, 2), who's only losses have been by razor thin split decisions. The unbeaten Wang began his career in 2019 and has looked heavy handed through out his career, but has faced a string of very limited foes, with 4 wins against debutants and 5 wins against fighters without a win. As for Zixiang Wang he began his career in 2017 and has, overall, faced better opponents, but was beaten just 2 fights ago, and hasn't shown much in terms of power. For both men this is their most notable bout to date, and should provide a genuine chance to see if either man has what it takes to make a mark on the regional scene.
Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Over in the US we'll see hard hitting Uzbekistani hopeful Bektemir Melikuziev (9-1, 7) continue his rebuilding process as he takes on the experienced Sladan Janjanin (32-11, 24), from Bosnia And Herzegovina. The hard hitting Melikuziev will be looking for his third win since his shock 2021 loss to Gabe Rosado, and he shouldn't have any problems here. Janjanin is experience, and does have plenty of wins to his name, but his wins have come at a very, very low level and he has consistently lost when he has faced name fighters, including a 7th round TKO loss to Nathan Heaney last year and a 3rd round TKO loss in 2016 to Steven Butler.
Yñares Sports Arena, Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
This coming Friday attention turns to the Philippines for a really interesting card, mixing notable names and prospects. Amazingly the title has two former world title challengers on it, a long with a former Lineal Flyweight world champion making for one of the more notable Fiilpino shows of recent years.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Edward Heno (14-1-5, 5) take on Renoel Pael (23-11-1, 12), in what looks to be a genuinely interesting test for the talented Heno. The talented Heno was last seen in action back in October 2019, when he suffered a hotly contested loss to the then WBO Light Flyweight champion Elwin Soto, giving Soto a really close run. Sadly though that was almost 3 years ago, and the inactivity saw him fail to build on an excellent performance. Not only has he been inactive but he's also stepping up in weight for this bout, which is listed as a Bantamweight bout, as he takes on the capable Pael. The 31 year old Pael was 19-1-1 back in 2015, and whilst he has fallen off the radar since then, going 4-10, he is a naturally bigger fighter and does put up a fair effort in the ring, having pushed the likes of Suguru Muranaka, Giovanni Escander and Tatsuya Takahashi close. Sadly though he's also been out of the ring since 2019, however he will know a win here will do a lot to kick start his dwindling career.
One of the hottest young fighters on this card is the heavy handed Weljon Mindoro (7-0, 7), who's a 22 year and a rare Filipino Middleweight. The hard hitting Mindoro will be seeking an 8th straight stoppage as he takes on veteran southpaw Jason Egera (24-24-3, 11). To date Mindoro's 7 wins have come in just 13 combined rounds, and he has never been beyond the third 3rd round, leading to question marks about his stamina and his chin. Sadly we don't expect to see any questions about him being answered here given that the 37 year old Egera has been stopped 12 times in his 24 losses, including 3 stoppage losses in his last 4 bouts. If he can make it into round 4 however Egera might have the tools to ask something new of Mindoro.
The most accomplished fighter on this card is Sonny Boy Jaro (45-15-5, 32), though sadly the former WBC and Lineal Flyweight champion is no spring chicken, and aged 40 he seems to be getting rolled out to allow prospects to get a big name on their records. And that certainly seems to be the case here as he takes on 22 year old RV Deniega (6-0, 3). At his best Jaro was a tough, rugged, heavy handed fighter, who famously stopped Pongsaklek Wonjongkam for the WBC title in 2012. Since that win he has gone 11-5, which isn't terrible, but he is 2-2 in his last 4, and has been out of the ring for more than 3 years. As for Deniega this is a big step up from his last 6 fights, but it seems a calculated risk and a chance to get a win over a very faded former world champion.
Former world title challenger ArAr Andales (13-2-1, 5) will be hoping to get back to winning ways as he takes on the experienced, but limited, Bonjun Loperez (12-16-1, 6). The talented Andales was helped to a draw last time out, against Joey Canoy, and is 3-2-1 in his last 6, so him getting an easy win isn't a bad idea here, but it does feel like this bout should be a bit too easy for him. Loperez has lost his last 5, 4 by stoppage, and it's really hard to know what ambition he has here given that recent form. He did go the 8 round distance with Orlie Silvestre last year, but since then has been blown out and we wouldn't be surprised at all by Andales stopping his man here.
Another hopeful on this card is the unbeaten Jenel Lausa (10-0-1, 6), who will be fighting for the first time since September 2019, when he stopped Carlos Lopez. Given the lengthy lay off it's hard to complain about Lausa taking on a less than testing opponent, but we would have hoped he'd be facing someone with a bit more ambition than Michael Escobia (12-21-1, 3), who who has lost his last 5 bouts, and is a long way removed from his win, which came at Super Bantamweight in 2017. Notably Escobia has been stopped in his last 2, and we suspect he'll be stopped again here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get two Japanese shows in Tokyo, albeit in different venues, with the Shinjuku FACE putting on a third show in as many days and the Korakuen Hall also hosting a card, a more notable card in fact, promoted by Hideki Todaka.
The most notable bout on the card is an 8 round Super Flyweight bout between JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighters, as Mirai Imagawa (12-5, 4) and Ryuto Oho (13-5-2, 5) clash. Of the two men Imagawa enters as the higher ranked man, by both the JBC and the WBO regional body, though he also enters the bout having been out of the ring since July 2021. Imagawa has shown a lot to like, and has won his last 4 include good wins over Kento Yabusaki and Yuji Okinori, however he has only fought once since the start of 2020, and his inactivity is a major issue coming in to this bout.
Another JBC ranked fighter on this card is Shinnosuke Hasegawa (13-4-1, 9), who will be facing off with Daichi Matsuura (7-6-3, 3). The 30 year old Hasegawa was on the very of a Japanese title fight last year, on the back of a 12 fight winning streak, but has unfortunately lost his last 2 bouts, and another loss here will essentially end any hopes of him getting a title fight. In the ring Hasegawa is a decent boxer, with heavy hands, and wins over the likes of Kazuma Sanpei and Shota Suito show he can fight, but a 2nd round TKO loss to Tsubasa Narai does leave some questions about whether he's on the slide or not. As for Matsuura, his career once promises a lot, but those days are well in his past, and he has lost 3 of his last 5 by stoppage. Given that recent form we expect another early loss for Matsuura here.
A third Japanese ranked fighter on the show is Ryohei Arakawa (8-4-1, 4), who takes on Shisui Kawabata (2-4, 2). On paper this is a total mismatch, however Kawabata might well be the best 2-4 fighter in the sport. Arakawa is best known for reaching the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2018, losing in the final to Yoshiki Minato, and despite losing to Aran Dipaen in 2019 he has won his last 2 bouts and built some momentum. Kawabata on the other hand turned professional following a solid amateur career, and has sparred with some of the top domestic talent in Japan. As a professional things haven't clicked for him, but he has been matched hard, and has lost two bouts against Rikito Shiba, with other losses coming to Yuki Nakajima and Akira Hoshuyama. This might look like a mismatch but we genuinely expect this one to be hotly contested.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
For a third day in a row we get East Japan Rookie of the Year action at the Shinjuku FACE.
One of the bouts worthy of note on this show will be at Lightweight, where we're not expecting to hear the final as Shota Mitani (1-3, 1) and Takara Kawaguchi (2-0, 2) face off. Through 6 combined fights these two men have competed in a combined 12 rounds, and have never seen the final bell. Mitani is the more experience man in terms of fights, but has proven to be a glass cannon, and all 3 of his losses have come in the first round. As for Kawaguchi, who will be the favourite, his wins have come in 2 and 4 rounds, and he will feel confident of picking up a win here to move to 3-0 (3).
Another bout we want to flag will be at Minimumweight, where 26 year old Masaki Shinotsuka (2-3-1, 2) will be taking on unbeaten 20 year old hopeful Kenta Kawakami (2-0). Shinotsuka debuted in 2020 and has had very mixed results since then, but does have experience on his side coming into this one. Kawakami on the other hand debuted late last year and was forced to answer some questions last time out, when he narrowly squeaked past Takato Fukuda back in March.
Kiatkririn Fitness & Martial Art, Bang Phli, Thailand
The most notable bout of the day takes place in Thailand, and features former world title challenger Aran Dipaen (13-3, 12) taking on Filipino fighter Cris Alfante (18-9-1, 10) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Super Flyweight title. The hard hitting Dipaen is best known for his December 2021 bout with Japanese Bantamweight star Naoya Inoue, lasting 8 rounds with the "Monster. Since that loss he has picked up a low key win back in Thailand, but will be stepping up from that win here. As for Alfante the Filipino he showed some promise early in his career, going 10-1, but since then has gone 8-8-1 whilst facing some notable names, such as Florante Condes, Knockout CP Freshmart, Andrew Moloney and more recently KJ Cataraja. Sadly for Alfante he is the smaller man here, and he has been stopped 4 times already, a worry against someone who hits as hard as Dipaen.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we get East Japan Rookie of the Year at the Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, with 6 bouts.
On paper one bout on this card stands out and that's a Welterweight bout between Kenji Sato (3-7, 3) and Yuji Shinohara (1-0, 1). Sato is, by far, the most experienced man on this card, but also has the ugliest looking record of any of the men on the card. Notably he is a glass cannon, and his 10 bouts have averaged 2.4 rounds, with only a single bout going the distance, and that came back in 2017. Given how those bouts have gone we're expecting him to come out swinging here. As for Shinohara he debuted in May with a 4th round win, and we suspect he will feel he has the power to give Sato his 7th stoppage loss.
Another bout we don't expect to see going the distance will be the Light Flyweight clash between Ryoga Hattori (2-0, 2) and Komi Kato (2-1, 2), who have yet to see the final bell between them. In a total of 5 bouts, neither man has been beyond the second round, and 3 of the combined 4 wins have come in the first round. Expect this to be a shoot out from the opening moments.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
This coming week is a busy one for Japanese novices, as we get 3 East Japan Rookie of the Year shows on successive days at the Shinjuku FACE. the first of those is on Tuesday and features a total of 7 bouts.
Sadly the card isn't the most interesting on paper, though we expect some very good action for those who look more towards competitive bouts, rather than big names. On paper one of the most interesting bouts on the show will be at Flyweight as Ryunosuke Takaguma (3-0, 2) takes on Rei Atsuchi (2-1, 1). Aged 23 Takaguma is a tall, rangy fighter, standing at around 5'7", and he will tower over the 22 year old Atsuchi here. Both of these men debuted last year, with Takaguma making his debut in December and fighting twice this year whilst Atsuchi debuted in July and fit 3 bouts into 4 months, but has been inactive since November.
Another Flyweight bout will see Yuta Hasegawa (2-1, 1) take on teenager Kaiyu Takeno (1-0, 1). Hasegawa, 22, debuted in 2020, but has had a stop-start career due to the pandemic, whilst Takeno only debuted this past May, though did so in style scoring an opening round TKO win over Yusuke Takazawa. Whilst this doesn't have mouth watering clash written all over it, it does seem likely to be well matched, competitive and explosive with the two youngsters fighting to progress in the Rookie of the Year.