The month of April is already under way and this Saturday we are getting a treat with a stacked day of action, featuring prospects, debutants, world title contenders and, best of all, a huge world title bout in Uzbekistan! In fact we are getting the greatest professional boxing event in Uzbekistan's history!
Humo Arena, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
We'll start with the Uzbek card, which is really something special and something super stacked! In fact it's up there with the most notable cards of the year so far.
The main event will see unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6) defending his WBA "super" and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Japanese challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17), in a mandatory defense. Akhmadaliev won the titles last year, when he beat Danny Roman, and has had to wait over a year to return to the ring as a champion. He will be the strong favourite, and the clear fan favourite for what is a massive home coming fight. Iwasa on the other hand is looking to reach the pinnacle of the sport for a second time, having previously held the IBF title. The hard hitting Japanese fighter can blow very hot and cold, but looked fantastic last time out, dominating Marlon Tapales. Sadly that was in December 2019. Despite the lengthy lay offs for both men this is a mouth watering bout and it deserves a lot of attention. Potentially the best bout of the entire month! Our in depth preview of this match up can be read here Akhmadlaiev and Iwasa clash at last!
In one of the main supporting bouts we'll see the highly regarded Israil Madrimov (6-0, 5) take on the hard hitting Emmany Kalombo (14-0, 14), in a mouth watering match up. Madrimov has looked like a future world champion in the making since his 2018 debut, though looked underwhelming last time out, against the tough and awkward Eric Walker. He'll be wanting to shine here and make a statement in his first bout since that one. Congolese born South African based Kalombo on the hand will be going in to this bout knowing that he has a huge chance to announce himself to the world. It's a huge opportunity for Kalomobo, but he will be the big under-dog. Given unbeaten records and the combined 95% KO ratio we don't expect this one to go the distance. Instead we expect a short but explosive contender. Don't blink.
Another established Uzbek on this card is Shakhram Giyasov (10-0, 8), who takes on experienced Mexican fighter Patricio Lopez Moreno (28-4, 20). On paper this looks like it should be a straight forward win for Giyasov, a 2016 Olympic silver medal winner, but Moreno is a credible competitor and we suspect he'll give Giyasov a number of questions to answer here. Giyasov should have the tools to pick up a win, but we don't think he'll have an easy time.
One man who will be looking to establish himself in the professional ranks on this show is 2016Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (2-0, 2), who has failed to set the world alight since turning professional, but clearly has the talent to do so. He'll be up against Tanzania's Muhsin Kizota (11-2, 5) in what should be a real showcase for the unbeaten Uzbek. Kizota is tough, durable and will be hungry, but Dusmatov is a special talent, and he should be far, far too good for the Tanzanian fighter.
We won't go through the entire under-card, but it will feature touted Heavyweight prospect Bakhodir Jalolov (7-0, 7), the explosive Elnur Abduraimov (7-0, 6), the talented Sanjar Tursunov (2-0, 1) and debuting former amateur standouts Ikboljon Kholdarov (0-0) and Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (0-0). We suspect at least 2 of these 5 will go on to win world titles one day in the future, though all 5 have that level of potential.
Round 10 Boxing Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A second show worthy of major attention comes from Dubai, where we get several bouts featuring Asian fighters. This card is headlined by WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring defending his title against Carl Frampton, but it's Asian action we're interested in.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on the show is 4-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23), who returns to the ring for the first time since beating Kazuto Ioka for the WBO Super Flyweight title at the very end of 2018! The talented Filipino really has had a couple of years to forget, sitting on the sidelines and watch the Super Flyweight division set on dire whilst injuries and issues with ALA Promotions cost him a potential super fight. In the opposite corner to "Ahas" will be Colombian veteran Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16), who shouldn't be a real test for Nietes, but could ask some questions of the 38 year old Pinoy. If Nietes is as good as he was, he should win with ease, but we do wonder the the long lay off done to him.
In a really good looking match up the unbeaten Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17) will be up against Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6). Sadly Turarov has wasted a lot of his potential, and despite still being unbeaten it seems that injuries, inactivity and a bit of an aimless career will never reach the heights that many predicted. Turarov is now 30 and he's at the point where he needs to be focused on the sport. McKenna is no world beater, but he's a very solid fighter all the same, and he the tenacity and hunger to be a a real threat to Turarov's unbeaten record. This could end up being a real gut check for "Da Kazakh Kid".
Another Kazakh on this card in an interesting looking match up is Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, 1), who defends his WBC International 154lb title against unbeaten Venezuelan Heber Rondon (20-0, 13). The talented Kulakhmet impressed in the amateurs, looked like a sensation in his professional debut, then looked like a power but limited fighter in his second professional bout. We're expecting a much better performance here from him than we got last time. As for Rondon his record is unbeaten but under-whelming and he lacks wins of any real value. In fact this will be his toughest bout so far. Worrying for a 34 year old with a 20-0 record.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Back over in Asian we get the latest show in the WP Boxing series of shows thanks to Workpoint and NKL. This card is certainly not a big one, but it's a notable one, with two bouts worthy of attention.
One of the two bouts is a flat out mismatch, as WBC ranked Bantamweight Nawaphon Por Chokchai (50-1-1, 40) takes part in a stay busy bout against Sophon Klachun (5-5-1, 1). The bout really is match up designed to keep Nawaphon active after a frustrating start to the year, which included planned world title fight falling through. We don't like matches like this, especially given this is the fourth successive "stay busy" bout for Suriyan, but it's much better than his sitting twiddling his thumbs doing nothing.
The other bout is a much better match up, as the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee (8-0, 2) defends his WBC regional title against veteran Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-7, 19). This bout "should" be an easy one for the talented Apichet, but it's hard to know with him. At times he has looked really, really good, but recently he has shown some real limitations and is lucky to still be unbeaten. Kaewfah was once a solid fighter but has now lost his last 3 and seems to be on the back end of his career. The veteran might have some tricks up his sleeve, but it would be a big surprise to see him pick up a victory here.
On a second show in Thailand we'll see an interesting looking match up between former world title contender Petch CP Freshmart (59-1, 44), aka Tasana Salapat, and fellow Thai Kongfah Nakornluang (33-3, 21), aka Chaiwat Buatkrathok. The bout will see Petch defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title, and looking to begin his slow climb towards another major fight. On paper this looks like a good bout. Interestingly this bout was meant to take place way back in December, on Christmas day in fact, but was cancelled at short notice and pushed back more than 3 months.
Balai Sarbini Convention Hall, Jakarta, Indonesia
We're set to get low quality action in Indonesia, though it's a show that may unearth some gems, with 3 unbeaten prospects on the card in scheduled 10 rounders. Their opponents are very limited but it's still interesting to see novices in such long bouts this early in their careers.
Before we look at those prospects we want to quickly tough on a match up between James Mokoginta (40-18-3, 26) and Isack Junior (26-15-3, 9) which is an interesting one. Mokoginta, a 51 fight veteran, is only 30 years old and seems to have been around for a life time, having debuted way back in 2004. Coming in to this he has all the momentum, riding a 10 fight unbeaten run. Junior on the other hand started his career 22-1-2 (8) and seemed to be on his way to some sort of success. Since then he has gone 4-14-1 and appears to pad records for fighters. We're expecting another defeat for Junior here.
As for the prospects one of those is Christo Gara (2-0, 1), who seems to have debuted in 2019 and put in two solid performances. He'll be up against the very limited Jack Madison (2-19) in a bout that should easily move Gara to 3-0. Another man who should pick up a very easy win is Doni Syafyendro (1-0) who takes on 46 year old Harri Hutagalung (1-16), who scored his only win way back in 2010, in his debut, and has had 16 losses in a row since then, with 12 of those losses coming by stoppage.
The third prospect, and the most interesting, is Indonesian Heavyweight hopeful Alam Syaputra (1-0, 1). Yes, you did read that, an Indonesian Heavyweight. In fact he's a natural Heavyweight and he's a genuine big lad, who looked impressive and imposing in his 2019 debut against Michael Wattimena. He'll be expecting his second professional win when he takes on David Koswara (12-16-2, 4), who, is a Heavyweight now, but began his career at Welterweight. This should be a bit of a farce, but it'll be interesting to see Syaputra back in action and he's someone who want to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Pyramide, Kazan, Russia
Over in Russia we're expecting to see Kazakh female fighter Firuza Sharipova (12-1, 6) take on Sofya Ochigava (4-0, 1), in the second bout between the two women. Sharipova, once one of the most noteworthy fighters in Kazakhstan, has seen the media cool down on her significantly over the last 24 months but a win here would see the press talking about her a lot, again. As for Ochigava a win here would see her repeat her 2016 win over Sharipova, in what was the professional debut for both women.
Also pencilled in for this card is 21 year old Uzbek hopeful Ravshan Makhamadjonov (11-0, 7). The talented Makhamadjonov really needs a step up in class this year, having now been a professional for around 4 years, but unfortunately he's had no opponent confirmed at the time or writing, suggesting he'll be up against a short notice opponent, and probably a limited one at that.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get another low key show from Korakuen Hall, thanks to Ray Sports Promotions. The card is a very, very low profile one, but it's an interesting one with one of the best "new" names we've seen in Japanese boxing in recent years.
The brilliant name on the show is the amazing Scorpion Kintaro (0-0), which seems very Mortal Kombat inspired. The debuting Kintaro will be up against fellow debutant Keigo Nagata (0-0) in a 4 round bout. Aged 24 year old Kintaro doesn't appear to have had much of an amateur carer, but we're already big fans of him given his brilliant name. Aged 35 we don't imagine Nagata has a long term future in the sport, but we do love all debutant bouts and this should be a genuinely fun bout.
In the main event we'll see Hideaki Takagi (5-7-2) take on Hiromichi Komatsu (4-6-2, 4) in a 6 rounder at Featherweight. Aged 36 Takagi's career is certainly coming to the end, but he'll be hoping to build on a 2020 win over Kazumasa Morohashi. Amazingly that was his first win in over 4 years, during which time he has 6 straight losses. Komatsu on the other hand is younger, aged 28, but is coming in on the back of a loss, in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year, and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here. Obviously neither of these men are expected to go far with their careers, but often match ups between fighters with more losses than wins tend to provide a lot of exciting action.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
April is set to be a very busy month for Asian fight fans, and it all kicks off at Korakuen Hall on April 1st thanks to a show from former world champion Hideki Todaka, who is co-promoting the show with Nitta gym. It's not a big show by any stretch, but there is an interesting main event and under-card bout featuring a friend of the site!
The main event will see former title challenger Ryo Hino (13-2-2, 8) return to the ring for the first time in well over a year as he takes on Ryukyu Oho (7-4, 4). The 30 year old Hino was last seen in the ring in December 2019, when he came up short Ryo Sagawa in a bout for the Japanese Feather, and was sadly out of the ring last year as Covid19 decimated Japanese boxing. Although not the best fighter out there he is a very capable boxer and comes into this bout with rankings from both the OPBF and the JBC. Oho on the other hand is a man struggling for form, going 2-3 in his last 5, but the 25 year old will know that a win here will put him in the mix for a domestic title fight.
The main support bout will see Caliente Koyasu (3-2, 1) in action, in a 4 rounder, as he takes on Tomohiro Igarashi (2-1, 1). The 31 year old Koyasu is a charismatic and easy to like fighter who started his career with back to back wins but has struggled recently, losing 2 of his last 3. Igarashi began his career in 2019 and competed in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year, where he ran into Tsubasa Narai. Coming in to this both men will be desperate for a win and they should make for a compelling 4 rounder.
One other bout worthy of note here is an all debutant bout between Ryota Shibuya (0-0) and Asato Sato (0-0). Whilst all debutant bouts are rarely big news they do tend to provide good action and we suspect this bout will be a very fun one between two youngsters. Shibuya is 19 years old and will be looking to end his teenage years with a win whilst Sato is slightly older at 23, regardless both are young fighters and both will be looking to begin their careers with a "W".
Kobe Municipal Chuo Gymnasium, Kobe, Japan
We get lucky this coming Sunday as Boxing Real are set to stream a solid card from Japan for free. It's certainly not a massive show, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a solid one all the same with a former world champion, some solid domestic fighters and an enigmatic prospect all on the show.
The main event will see former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (14-2, 9) taking on youngster Ruito Saeki (7-4-1, 1). The 30 year old Kubo has struggled to build any career momentum since his 2017 title loss to Danny Roman, and it seems his confidence is shot and he needs a few wins to rebuild that. Last year he picked up a relatively easy win over Takashi Igarashi and he's stepping up from that bout here. Saeki is no world beater, not even close, but he's tough and will come to win. Sadly Saeki has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 and a win for him would be a big upset, but we suspect he will come to test Kubo, who has shown some real fragility in recent years.
In a supporting bout Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuki Yonaha (8-3-1, 5) will take on Kenta Sakata (7-7-2). The talented Yonaha will be looking to build on a 2020 win over the once touted Motoki Osanai and will be expected to pick up a straight forward win here against the light punching Sakata, who is a natural Flyweight and has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6.
Arguably the best of the supporting card will see the enigmatic, switch hitting, stylist Takahiro Tai (1-0, 1) take on Koichi Wakita (7-2-3, 2), who is risking his JBC Bantamweight ranking. Tai was a joy to watch in his debut, last December, and although very much a work in progress has one of the most flamboyant styles of any Japanese fighter, with a cocky in ring personality, taunting, switch hitting and a style more akin to Emanuel Augustus than a Japanese fighter. Wakita on the other hand is a 31 year old veteran who is certainly no push over, but has a lack of power and often sees his bouts being super close decisions. We expect this to be a test for Tai, but a test he should pass.
Gyeongnam, South Korea
As well as the Japanese show there is also supposed to be a Korean card, under the KBA banner, taking place in Gyeongnam. Sadly details of this card haven't been forth coming, despite the KBA announcing the main event draws for the show way back in January. There is a very, very real chance this show has fallen though, or could end up being cancelled at late notice.
Sadly no bouts have been confirmed for this show at the time of writing, though the main event was announced as featuring Hee Jung Yuh (23-3, 12) defending her WBC International female Super Flyweight title for the first time, albeit against a yet to be announced opponent. The 41 year old Korean veteran is riding an 8 fight winning streak, since her 2015 loss to Naoko Fujioka, but those wins have come at a very, very low level. Sadly we can't say anything about her opponent, given no foe has been named, but it's fair to say that if the show goes ahead it won't be anyone too testing.
The chief support bout is supposed see see Young Gil Bae (30-7-2, 23), the husband of Hee Jung Yuh, fighting for the WBF Asia-Pacific Flyweight title. Sadly Bae, like Yuh, has no opponent listed for this event. For Bae this will be his first bout in more than 2 years and he comes into the contest on the back of successive wins. Although not a big name fans may recognise his names for his losses in Thailand, to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Wanheng Menayothin. Given his inactivity and the lack of opponent we wouldn't expect anyone even slightly testing here for Bae.
There is a very, very real chance this show has fallen though, or could end up being cancelled at late notice, so don't get your hopes up on this one folks!
This coming Saturday is a hectic day for fans of Asian fighters, with a host of shows through out Asia, some of which will show case some of the brightest prospects in Thailand and the Philippines. As well as the action in Asia there is also set to be some interesting action in Russia, which could end up stealing the day!
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
The best of the Asian action, at least on paper, comes from Thailand where we get two bright prospects taking on veterans in what should be very good tests for the youngsters.
One of the youngsters on this card is 17 year old sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5), who will be looking to record his second defense of the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, as he clashes with former multi-time world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-7, 41). The talented Phoobadin has been impressing for a while, and really shone last year, particularly in his title defence against Atchariya Wirojanasunobol, but there is a lot of work for him to do before thinking about world titles. The highly experienced Chonlatarn, best known for losing in world title bouts against Vasyl Lomachenkoand Chris John, is going to be a game opponent here, but we suspect the 36 year old will be under-sized and under-powered against the very promising teenage hopeful.
The second notable hopeful on this show will be Tanes Ongjunta (7-1, 4), who takes on Kompayak TC Muay Thai (61-11, 41), also known as Suriyan Satorn or Kompayak Porpramook. The talented Ongjunta was upset early last year, when he came undone against an inspired Adrian Lerasan, but since then he has reeled off 3 low key wins and is now taking a big step up, as he tried to give his career a kick start. The 38 year old Kompayak has lost 6of his last 8, but has, typically, been in the ring looking to score wins. We suspect Kompayak will be in there giving his all against Ongjunta, but will come up short, and potentially suffer a late stoppage against the talented Ongjunta.
As well as the action in the Philippines there will also be prospects in action over in the Philippines.
One of the exciting prospects on this card is the once beaten Peter Apolinar (13-1, 8), who looks to record a 9th successive win, as he takes on Juanito Paredes (8-6-1, 3). There talented 25 year old Apolinar has shown some real potential, but has faced far too many limited opponents to develop his skills properly and he really does need some step ups when the world returns to normality. Sadly Paredes looks like another limited foe for Apolinar, and another man he should easily defeat.
Another mismatch featuring a bright hopeful will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6) take on Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4). The unbeaten 25 year old Vicelles has won his last 9 in a row including solid wins over the likes of Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas but sadly this looks like a massive step backwards for him. Garde has lost his last 4, and 6 of his last 7 and it's unlikely he will pose anything of a test for Vicelles.
The exciting and hard hitting Tomjune Mangubat (12-2-1, 10) will be in action against the very limited Ryan Maano (5-10-2, 1). Although certainly not a big name Mangubat can be involved in some really great action fights, as we saw in his 2019 thriller against Jong Seon Kang. Sadly this looks very much like a tick over for the exciting 23 year old. Maano has scored 2 wins his last 11 and it's hard to imagine him picking up another one here.
The unbeaten Regie Suganob (5-0, 1) has slowly been developing his reputation in the sport and he looks to continue building as he takes on Paolo Sy (6-5-1, 3) here. The talented Suganob isn't being rushed, but this is a good step forward and will be the first time he's competed in an 8 rounder, which should force him to answer some new questions. Although Sy's record is under-whelming he did should some real toughness in his 2019 loss to Shokichi Iwata and we suspect he will serve as a bit of a test for Suganob here.
Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-4-1, 18) will fight for the first time since his 2019 loss to WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali. The talented Villanueva will be matched somewhat softly here, as he goes up against domestic foe Bryan Tamayo (6-1-2, 2). It's hard to see anything but a win for the skilled and experienced Villanueva, but there are question marks about the long lay off and his hunger after losing in several world title bouts. On the other hand this is a gigantic step up in class for Tamayo, who has never faced someone with more than 10 wins. Hard to see past a Villanueva win, though we do wonder about his long term future in the sport.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1), who returns to the ring after more than 2 years out of the ring. The talented Barriga was last out there losing a split decision to Carlos Licona in December 2018 in a bout for the IBF Minimumweight title, sadly he lost that bout by split decision and then took a lengthy break from the ring. His return looks to be a super easy one as he takes on Junuel Lacar (8-6-3, 6) in a 6 round Light Flyweight bout. As with several others on this show the focus seems to be on shaking some ring rust from the A-side and giving them some rounds whilst having plans for bigger things later in the year.
We stay in Asia for a show in Indonesia, which is a much lower quality show but does feature a decent main event.
That main event will see the once touted Patrick Liukhoto (11-2-2, 7) take on veteran Tommy Seran (28-18, 16). Liukhoto won his first 9 bouts in a row before going through a rough patch, where he went 0-2-1, and lost all the moment he was building. Since then he has gone 2-0-1 and is pretty much in "must win" territory. Seran on the other hand is a true stalwart but a man who has been consistently picking up losses in recent years, losing his last 6 and going 5-17 in the last 8 years. This should be a chance for Liukhoto to kick start his struggling career.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
We also get a number of Central Asian fighters in action in Russia on an RCC card in Ekaterinburg, in what is genuinely a solid and exciting card.
The most notable of the Central Asian hopefuls is unbeaten Tajik contender Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (16-0, 9), who looks to score his 17th win as he takes on fellow unbeaten Lunga Sitemela (13-0, 7). The bout will see Yaqubov looking to make his 4th defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title, which he won back in 2018, and a win here should move him another step towards a world title fight, potentially later this year or early next year. Sitemela is a South African hopeful who will be making his international debut, and fighting outside of his homeland for the first time. On paper Sitemela looks like a good test, but his competition so far has been under-whelming and this should be regarded as a massive step up in class for him.
In another good looking match up Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-1-1, 2) will take on Gaibatulla Gadzhialiev (7-2-1, 3). The Kyrgyzstan born, Russian based, Turgumbekov will be looking to bounce back from a 10th round TKO loss to Albert Batyrgaziev, which he suffered last August, but isn't being matched softly here and is instead in with a live opponent. Gadzhialiev begane his career in the US, way back in 2016, but has been fighting in Russia in recent years. Sadly for him he is 1-2-1 in his last 4, but the losses have all been close and there is a good argument he should have taken a win in his draw. This could end up being the hidden gem of the weekend, and should be a very hotly contested match up.
In a female match up Russian based Kazakh born Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (10-0, 3) will be up against Estrella Valverde (18-6-2-1, 3) for the WBC "interim" female Bantamweight title, a title that has no real right to exist given the WBC female Bantamweght title was defended just a few months ago. The unbeaten Zrazhevskaya has been matched softly, to say the least, and this is a big step up for her on paper, though it's one her team will be confident that she can make without too many issues. Valverde has lost in her 4 bouts outside of Mexico and we suspect she'll lose again here, but she is, by far, the most notable opponent for Zrazhevskaya so far.
Four Ambassadors Hotel, Miami, Florida, USA
This coming Friday is set to be a quiet day for Asian boxing though there is set to be an appearance by Filipino fighter Mark Bernaldez (21-4, 15), who looks to build on a 2020 win over Julian Evaristo Aristule. The 26 year old "Machete" will be expected to pick up a win here as he takes on the very limited Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez (12-12-2, 6), from Mexico, in a scheduled 8 rounder.
Bernaldez has been a professional since 2011 and began his career 15-0, though has gone 6-4 since then, including a stoppage loss to Tsuyoshi Tameda and decision losses to Andy Vences and Albert Bell. He's not the best out there, but he does have power, and he does try to win, even if we have seen him being over-matched in recent years.
Despite being limited Suarez is tough and does tend to go rounds, even if he does come up short. Interestingly Suarez is 0-8-1 in his last 9 bouts, though he has shared the ring with the likes of Hector Tanajara, Denis Shafikov, Antonio Lozada Torres, Adam Lopez, Robson Conceicao and Jayson Velez.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we'll get live televised action from Japan, as Teiken put on a show case of young talent live on G+ under the Dynamic Glove banner. The card isn't a major one, in fact if we're being honest it's a rather small one, but it's an interesting one with 4 intriguing match ups on it.
The main event of the card will see former amateur standout Gonte Lee (2-0-1, 1) take on the always fun to watch Aso Ishiwaki (8-3-1, 6). The talented Lee turned professional with high expectations but has been unable to deliver on those expectations so far, though that is partly due to being unfortunate and being out of the ring for the entire of 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic. He's a real talent, but things do need to kick on for him and it's Teiken know that he needs to be matched hard. As for Ishiwaki he's a fun, talented fighter with an aggressive style, though he was, notably, battered at the end of last year, when Jin Sasaki smashed him in 3 rounds for the Japanese Youth title, and he'll be looking to bounce back from that loss. This could be a very, very good match up, as the skills of Lee go up against the pressure of Ishiwaki.
In the chief support bout we'll see veteran Tatsuya Takahashi (32-9-6, 21) take on Ryotaro Kawabata (12-4-2, 6), in a rescheduled that was first pencilled for January. With 47 bouts to name Takahashi is one of the most experienced fighters in Japan, but he's never been a very polished fighter and he can be out boxed, with opponents taking advantage of his various limitations and flaws. Despite his flaws he comes to fight and tends to give anyone a good test due to his tenacity and fighting spirit. As for Kawabata he is limited himself, as we saw last September against Tsubasa Murachi, but a more polished boxer than Takahashi. Sadly for Kawabata he has scored just a single win in the last 5 years.
In a really mouth watering clash the unbeaten Katsuya Fukui (2-0, 2) will be up against Hiroki Hanabusa (8-1-3, 3). The talented Fukui has looked really exciting and promising, with two quick blow out wins so far, but his competition has been limited and this will be his first bout against a domestic opponent and it'll be interesting to see how he copes with a fellow Japanese fighter who's looking to move his own career forward. The 22 year old Hanabusa is a talented fighter, who impressed in 2018 Rookie of the Year and was unbeaten until last August, when he was stopped in 5 rounds by the fantastic Toshiki Shimomachi. With that loss in mind we suspect Hanabusa will be more determined than ever to pick up a win here. Although not a huge bout this one could be very interesting.
Arguably the most interesting match up on the card is the professional debut of former amateur standout Kenji Fujita (0-0), who we've been waiting to see in the professional ring for almost a year now. The talented Fujita was a genuine amateur standout and he should be looking to make an impression here as he takes on Motosuke Kimura (3-5-2, 1) in a 6 rounder. Kimura has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, but is better than those numbers suggest and he should ask questions of Fujita, though it'd be a massive upset if Kimura won.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday fight fans at Korakuen Hall, and those who subscribe to Boxing Raise, will get the chance to see a pretty low key, but interesting, Japanese card from Korakuen Hall. The show doesn't have a huge bout on it, but does have 4 potentially solid bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) look to build on a frustrating 2020, which saw him fight to two draws, as he takes on the once beaten Tulio Kuwabata (3-1-1, 2). The talented Tsutsumi was incredibly unlucky early in 2020, when he was held to a much debated draw with Kazuki Nakajima and then later went on to hold Daigo Higa to a draw later in the year. As for Kuwabata he turned professional under a lot of hype and expectation but with a loss and a draw in his first 5 bouts he really needs to get things together and get some momentum back into his career. Tsutsumi should be favoured, though Kuwabata can certainly box and this isn't a gimme.
In a main supporting bout we'll see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (31-6-1, 14) take on Shun Kosaka (16-6, 4), in what should be a very fan friendly bout. The 35 year old Kogawa is a stalwart of Japanese boxing and has done so much in his 15 year career, but has looked like a faded fighter in recent years, despite a recent win over Hayato Yamaguchi. Aged 25 Kosaka is much younger than Kogawa, but has lost 3 of his last 4 and damage has been accumulating on him in recent contests. Coming in to this it is worth noting Kosaka has been out of the ring for over a year, and that may be a blessing in disguise, but we're not sure it'll be enough to help him to victory here.
The always fun to watch Yoji Saito (2-1-2, 2) will be looking to second successive wins as he takes on veteran Takahiro Araki (12-9, 4), who needs a win after back to back stoppage losses. The talented and rock handed Saito is one of the most dangerous in Japanese boxing, with brutal power, though he can be out boxed and if Araki can get his respect this could be tough for Saito. However that's a big if, and the likely outcome here is for Saito's pressure and steam roller aggressive to be too much for Araki who may be lucky to see out the first 3 rounds.
In a 4th bout of note we'll see the once touted Yuichiro Kasuya (13-3-2, 4) look to rebuild his career after successive set backs, as he takes on Mirai Naito (8-2, 3). Kasuya was once a really promising youngster, who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at a very young age, but since then things haven't really gone his way and his negative style and lack of stopping power has been a major issue for his career. That was shown last year when he lost a decision to Masanori Rikiishi. Naito, the brother of Rikki Naito, has shown a lot of promise, but a loss last October to Ryo Nakai has left him needing a win and although he's not the natural talent Kasuya is, he'll be hungry to get his career back on track. We suspect this one could be messy, but it's one that both men will feel they need to win.
For fans with Boxing Raise we believe this will be made available on demand, and sadly not streamed live.
This coming is an exciting day if you're a hardcore fan of Japanese boxing, with a free live stream being provided of an event held in Aichi, thanks to Sakana and Seki-chan who will be partnering up with Yakushiji promotions like they did last year. The event, which will just feature novices, will feature low level action, but it should be an entertaining event, as many of these bouts are well matched contests.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The show is set to feature 8 bouts in total with 6 of those being match ups from the Central Japan Rookie of the Year. From those Rookie of the Year bouts the most interesting, on paper, seem to be the all debutant bouts.
One of those all-debutant bouts will see Yuki Onaka (0-0) take on Kazushi Shimada (0-0) at Super Bantamweight. The 22 year old Onaka is being promoted by former world champion Yasuei Yakushiji, and will be the younger man coming in to this one, but it'll be down to him to take home a victory here. Shimada on the other hand is a 33 year old fighting out of the little known SEIEN Gym. We love seeing all Japanese novice bouts, and it's obvious both men will give their all here in an attempt to record a debut win and move on to the next round of the Rookie of the Year.
A second all-debutant Rookie of the Year bout will see 24 year old Ryuya Yanagawa (0-0) battle against 25 year old Kosei Fujisaki (0-0) at 140lbs. Although the 140lb division doesn't get too much attention in Japan we do tend to see some really exciting fighters emerge at the weight in the Rookie of the Year competition, with knockouts and thrilling wars a regular thing in the division. We expect explosive action in this match up, and it will certainly be a reason to tune in to the show.
A third all debutant bout will be at Bantamweight and will see 22 year old Yuto Oki (0-0) take on 20 year old Shunsuke Okubo (0-0). Given the depth at Bantamweight in Japan this is the division that can see Rookie of the Year winners progress the best, but given these two are both debutants, and this is very early in the competition it's hard to read much into either man's chances.
If you like your action short, fast, raw and exciting this show is one worth tuning into. The quality won't be the highest but the action will be enthralling from the first round of the first fight right through to the final bell of the last bout.
For fans wanting to watch this one live it will be streamed here.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for Asian fighters but there are a number of interesting bouts featuring unbeaten Asian hopefuls, in what could be potential banana skins.
Banana Sports Complex, Binan City, Laguna, Philippines
The first Asian card of the day will take place in the Philippines and on the whole this is a really, really low quality show. The under-card has almost nothing to get excited about. Thankfully though it does have a very good main event.
That main event will see unbeaten 21 year old prospect Criztian Pitt Laurente (5-0, 3), a former amateur standout who many were really excited about when he turned professional in 2019, taking on Ernesto Saulong (22-6-2, 9), a former world title challenger. The talented Laurente was seen as one of the faces of the future for the Philippines when he ended his amateur career, but in his first 5 bouts he faced nobody to really show off what he can do. Saulong should be the perfect acid test for Laurente and a win here for the youngster would be impressive, and a statement. As for Saulong he won't be there to roll over, and in fact it was just over 3 years ago that he took Ryosuke Iwasa 12 rounds. He'll be the smaller man and the under-dog, but he'll be there to win and we expect a genuine effort from him here. If he gives a full effort there is a chance of him upsetting Laurente here.
Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia
As well as the action in the Philippines we also have two interesting bouts in Moscow.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov (13-0, 5) defending his WBC Silver Super Middleweight title, as he takes on fellow unbeaten Pavel Silyagin (6-0, 4). The talented Abdugofurov looked set to move into world title bouts back in 2018, but his career has stalled horribly and he was out of the ring for the entirety of 2020, despite being signed with Frank Warren. Since Abdugofurov's last bout we've seen Silyagin start his career and race out to 6-0 (4), with decent wins against Siarhei Khamitski and Omar Garcia. This could be a genuine banana skin for Abdugofurov, given his inactivity over the past few years.
In another bout between unbeaten fighters former amateur standout Bakhodur Usmonov (1-0), from Tajikistan, will be up against Kazakh Bektas Kassenay (4-0, 1). We saw Usmonov make his debut last year, when he narrowly over-came Vildan Minasov in a brilliant 6 rounder on Christmas eve, and there are a lot of questions for him to answer going forward. Kassenay on the other hand has a nice looking record but his competition so far has had a combined 2-1 record and he's yet to fight in a bout longer than 4 rounds. This could be a cynical bit of match making from Usmonov's team, though we can't blame them as Usmonov's scare on debut.