This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day in Japan with a solid card from Green Tsuda along with two different Rookie of the Year shows. Whilst we're not getting any sort of "massive" bout we are getting the chance to see some talented prospects in action and a lot of rookies!
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card of the day is a Green Tsuda card and Masaya Motishi really is giving his prospects a chance to grow, with two very notable prospects on this card.
One of those prospects is 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4), who impressed in his Rookie triumph and then proved himself with two solid performances in 2020. The talented 24 year old southpaw is progressing well as a fighter, and doing so without too much fuss and noise. Here we'll see him up against a fellow southpaw, as he clashes with 31 year old Yushi Fujita (9-8-4, 2), who is a credible opponent. We suspect Maeda will be too good, too sharp, and too young for Fujita, but this is a genuine test for the unbeaten youngster.
The other notable prospect on this show is former Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8), who really does look like a very special young fighter. The talented and slippery Shimomachi will be looking to kick off his 2021 as he takes on Thunder Teruya (7-8-1, 4), in what is again a very legitimate test. The talented Shimomachi won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017, and since then has gone from strength to strength and scored notable wins against Kenta Nomura and Hiroki Hanabusa and will be strongly favoured here. Teruya looks very limited given his record, but he's no push over and he gave the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura a decent test last year. Teruya is decent, despite his record, but we suspect he will be made to look very limited by the excellent Shimomachi.
One other bout worthy of some attention on this show is a match up between Ryosuke Nasu (12-6-3, 2) and Sonin Nihei (9-5-2, 1), who are both ranked in the top 20 at Super Flyweight by the Japan Boxing Commission. The 25 year old Nasu is looking to bounce back from a loss to fast rising novice Ayato Hiromoto, and he really can ill afford another loss here given he is 4-4 in his last 8, after a 5-1-2 start to his professional career. Whilst Nihei is struggling, his struggle pale compared to Nasu's, with Nasu going 1-4 in his last 5 and he has seen his record completely fall apart after losing just 1 of his first 11 bouts. Despite that he has fought at a decent level and Nasu has shown a fair bit of ability. We don't expect this to be a huge exciting fight, but it should be a very competitive one.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Staying at the same venue as the Green Tsuda card there will be a second event at the EDION Arena Osaka, with this one taking place after the Green Tsuda show. This one is very different and will be the first set of bouts in this year's West Japan Rookie of the Year.
This show has 9 bouts scheduled for it, between Minimumweight and Light Welterweight, with 11 of the 18 fighters being debutants. In fact every bout on the show has a debutant on it and two of the bouts being all debutant affairs.
One of the most interesting looking bouts on this card will see Ren Nishimura (2-2) take on 19 year old Shui Kawato (0-0). Nishimura impressed us last year in the Rookie of the Year, and gave eventual All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Sora Fukunaga a real test in November 2020. He will go into this bout as the favourite. Kawato on the other hand will be a hungry 19 year old desperate to take a victory to begin his career, and we suspect this could be a fantastic bout.
Of all the fighters on this card with previous bouts to their name, only one is unbeaten and that's 22 year old Minimumweight Daiki Fujimoto (2-0-1) who looks to return to the ring after 2 years odd inactivity. He will be up against 24 year old debutant Yuki Yamamoto (0-0) and although we're not expecting an instant classic here, Fujimoto did prove he was a decent fighter before his absence from the ring and it'll be interesting to see what he's like here after such a long lay off.
Sun Rise Park Gym, Saga, Saga, Japan
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a very small Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Saga. This card is so small it features just 3 bouts, and is sadly a sign of what boxing is like in Western Japan.
Despite only being a small card it is worth noting that two of the bouts on this show will be Welterweight bouts, with the two winners set to battle on June 20th in the Western Japan final.
One of those bouts will see 29 year old Ryoji Matsumoto (0-1) battle 23 year old Rintaro Shiojiri (0-1). Matsumoto made his debut all the way back in 2016, losing to Sho Yasuda in a bout around the Lightweight limit, and has been away from the ring for well over 4 years. Shiojiri on the other hand debuted in 2019 and hasn't fought since losing on debut to Hiroya Nojima. With both men looking for their first win, and a place in the Western Japan Rookie of the Year final we expect to see an entertaining bout here. But if we're being honest neither man has much of a future, and it would be a massive surprise if they managed to become the West Japan representative at the All Japan final.
The other Welterweight bout here will see 33 year old Taiki Henzan (1-1, 1) battle 29 year old Tomotaka Noda (2-3), in what is a rematch of a clash these two had last September. When these two men first fought Henzan stopped Noda in 2 rounds, and he'll be looking for a repeat result here. Noda on the other hand will be looking to avenge the loss, and get back to winning ways. Interestingly he had won back to back bouts before that loss.
Amazingly all 4 of the Welterweights on this show lost their last bout, a rather peculiar stat.
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
This biggest bout for us this coming Saturday takes place in Uncasville and is a bout that was originally set for late 2019 and has been delayed, rescheduled and pushed back several times. In fact it's been pushed back so many times that one of the men has changed promoters since it was first announced!
The match up in question is an IBF Super Flyweight title bout between long reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22), from the Philippines, and mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, 16), from Mexico. Coming in to this bout Ancajas has 8 defenses of the title, which he won all the way back in 2016 when he upset McJoe Arroyo, and has the longest reign in the title's history. The talented Filipino has, however, had an underwhelming reign and has failed to meet any of the top Super Flyweights of his era, and actually turned down a potential unification bout with the then WBO champion Naoya Inoue. It's hoped the future will bring him bigger and better bouts than he's been having for such a long reigning champion. Rodriguez on the other hand is a bit of an unknown whose best wins have come against Felipe Orucuta and Julian Yedras. They are decent wins on paper, but Yedras is very undersized at Super Flyweight leaving just the Orucuta win as a genuinely good win on his record.
Despite that Rodriguez comes across as a confident, hungry, young fighter and that desire could end up making life very tough for the talented, yet frustrating, Ancajas.
Our full preview of this bout can be read here Ancajas and Rodriguez face off... at last!
Also on this show will be unbeaten Filipino Featherweight contender Mark Magsayo (21-0, 14), who takes on 34 year old American foe Pablo Cruz (21-3, 6). On paper this one looks pretty well matched, though it should be noted that Cruz hasn't scored any wins of real note, and has instead been padding his record against C and D level fighters. Sadly it appears to be another, in a line, of bouts that look good on paper for Magsayo though see him continue to tread water, something it seems he has been doing for far, far too long already. He's a contender, he now needs to be fighting at that level!
USC Soviet Wings, Moscow, Russia
Over in Russia fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Uzbekistani prospect Mirzakamol Nematov (4-0, 2) fight for the third time this year! In the opposite corner to Nematov will be the limited Pavel Mamontov (12-12-2, 1), a Russian based Kazakh born veteran.
Aged 23 year Nematov is very much a youngster and a genuine professional novice, who only debuted in September 2020 but has already scored 4 wins, including an opening round blow out of Marat Khuzeev in February. Unlike many Uzbek prospects he's not getting much attention and he could well find himself developing his skills without the hype and scrutiny that is around many Uzbek hopefuls. As for Mamontov he's a 38 year old who has gone 1-11 in his last 12 bouts, and has been stopped in his last 4. This should be an easy win for Nematov, and hopefully bigger tests will come, but there's no need to rush him at this moment in time.
Balai Sarbini Convention Hall, Jakarta, Indonesia
At the moment, as we write this, there is a show planned to take place in Indonesia. However the show is in real doubt, with the local authorities not yet giving permission for the event, and the promoter failing to fill in the paper in an acceptable manner. With that in mind do not be surprised if this show falls through.
If it goes ahead then fans in Indonesia are in for a treat as Tibo Monabesa (20-1-2, 8) clashes with Toto Landero (11-4-2, 2) in a WBC International Light Flyweight title fight. The talented Monabesa has notched two wins since his 2018 loss to Hiroto Kyoguchi and seemed to be getting his career back on track before the Covid19 Pandemic put boxing on ice in Indonesia. Landero on the other hand is a former world title challenger, who gave Knockout CP Freshmart a good test in 2018. Sadly he is 1-2 since that loss and he's not been able to generate much momentum in recent years. Saying that however Landero is not an easy out, for anyone, and he holds a very big win over Vic Saludar. If he's up for this, and if the bout takes place, Landero is a very live under-dog.
A second notable bout on this show will see unbeaten puncher Hebi Marapu (15-0, 11) take on Hero Tito (27-15-2, 11). Marapu was one of the Indonesia fighters that caught out eye years ago. He showed potential, power, an exciting style and like he had the tools to mix it on the regional scene. He could, and should, have out grown the Indonesian domestic scene. Sadly however he is now 32, and his career has really failed to kick on. Tito on the other hand is a true veteran of the Indonesian scene. He's nothing special, not by any stretch, but he's a veteran and he has been around the professional scene for more than 17 years now! Tito is limited but tough and should ask questions of Marapu, but it's still a shame that Marapu never moved above this level, and is still trudging along, wasting his potential.
801 Event Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
This coming Friday is a very quiet day in Asian boxing, and there really isn't too much to talk about. There is however a bout featuring a once touted 36 year old Uzbek, who competes in Utah on Friday night.
That Uzbek fighter is Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-4, 13), who began his career with 17 straight wins between 2008 and 2014. Sadly in recent years his career has completely fallen apart and he has lost 4 in a row , leaving him without a win in 7 years! He'll be looking to end that skid here as he takes on novice professional Eduardo Ayala (6-1-1, 2). On paper Ayala looks like he might be going in the right direct and catching Hudaynazarov at just the right time, however it needs to be noted that Ayala has yet to score a win against an opponent with a victory to their name, and was stopped just 2 fights ago by a professional loser.
It's interesting to note that neither of these guys are going for with there careers, but both will come into this feeling they could pick up a much needed victory and give their career something of a boost, albeit a small one.
Club Punchbowl, Punchbowl, New South Wales, Australia
Prior to the action in the US we'll also see the ring return of 37 year old veteran Jack Asis (38-23-5, 19) who battles Billel Dib (24-3, 11) in a scheduled 10 rounds. Asis is an Australian based Filipino fighter who has been a real servant of boxing over the years, but had certainly seen better days and has lost his last 3 bouts, in fact we need to go back to 2017 for his last win. Dib on the other hand is 31 and has won his last 3, giving him the momentum needed to pick up another victory here. We suspect Asis will give a genuine effort, but his body can no longer do what it once could.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Let's be honest April started like a month on fire with a lot of action in the first few days of the month, and it's been nice to have a few days to catch our breath. But we're back on April 8th with the next show from Korakuen Hall and it's one that we're really excited about. It features a Japanese title bout, the Japanese debut of a highly regarded prospect and the next bout in the career of a very exciting puncher!
The exciting puncher in question is Yasutaka Fujita (6-1, 6), who came runner up in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year. Since his Rookie run he has fought just 19 seconds, blowing Kensuke Nakamura out last September. Here he will be up against the decent Shun Akaiwa (5-2-1, 3) in a scheduled 6 rounder. Akaiwa started 2020 with a career best win, stopping Kenta Endo, but ended the year having been blitzed in 45 seconds by the destructive Jin Sasaki. We suspect Fujita will try to replicate Sasaki, and this could mean we get a very, very explosive match up. If you're in the venue for this one don't blink!
The prospect making his Japanese debut is Go Hosaka (4-0, 3), who fought his first 4 bouts in the Philippines under the guidance of the now defunct ALA Promotions. Since ALA folded, in 2020, he has signed with Misako in Japan and will be looking to show what he can do as he takes on Kanta Fukui (7-3-1, 5). So far in his career Hosaka has looked like a fantastic prospect, with lovely technical skills, sharp punching and good movement, though he hasn't really had to answer too many questions in his 4 fights so far. Fukui has proven to be a decent fighter on his day, had success in the 2018 Rookie of the Year, pushed Shuma Nakazato close and held Yoji Saito to a draw. He is however 2-2-1 in his last 5 and lacks the technical tools that Hosaka has. For a first fight in Japan this is a genuine test for Hosaka, but one he should pass, albeit one he'll have to work for.
The main event will see Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (23-4-1, 21) make his first defense, following his title win in February 2020, as he takes on the tough Shoki Sakai (25-11-2, 12). The 34 year old champion had sadly been out of the ring for well over a year now and his hopes of securing another big international fight, like his 2016 world title bout with Eduard Troyanovsky, appear to be over. As for Sakai he only made his Japanese debut last August and this will be his third fight on Japanese soil. Aged 30 Sakai is the younger man, but certainly has more miles on the clock and is very much a fighter who has taken significant punishment during his career. The styles here should gel well, with Sakai being a pressure fighter, marching forward and Obara being a rangy boxer, and we expect some genuinely exciting action here. The winner of this likely gets a defense towards the end of the year but for the loser, it's really hard to see where to go, and we suspect retirement may loom if either man gets stopped. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Obara faces Sakai in first Japanese title defense!
For a second successive day we get notable action featuring Asian fighters, including a world title fight, a Japanese female title fight and a card from Korea.
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
Both of the Japanese cards come from the same venue in Sakai, with the first being a pretty notable one, as it will only feature female fighters, and will be streamed live on the Boxing Real YouTube channel.
Sadly with it being a female only card it's not a particularly deep or stacked card, but is does have a couple of bouts of note on it. The first of those noteworthy bouts will see Sumire Yamanaka (1-0) take on the debuting Natsuki Yamada (0-0). Whilst neither of these fighters are big names, by any stretch, there is plenty of quiet expectation on the shoulders of the 19 year old Yamanaka. She is the younger sister of former world champion Ryuya Yamanaka and some suggest she could follow in her brother's footsteps and become a world champion in the future. We don't know much about Yamada but we do know she's a naturally taller and older fighter than Yamanaka, and should be able to at least ask some questions of the teenager.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Atomweight champion Kaori Nagai (5-2-3, 2) defending her belt for the first time and taking on Natsuki Tarui (4-6-2). The 31 year old champion won the belt last July, when she defeated veteran Momoko Kanda for the second time, and is riding an impressive 8 bout unbeaten run, following back to back losses at the start of her career. She's not the most talented fighter out there, but she's got under rated skills, sets a good tempo and has got the tools to be successful at Japanese and OPBF level. Tarui on the other hand is 29 years old and seems to be coming in to her own after 4 straight losses to begin her career. She's not oozing world class potential, but she's worked hard, earned a shot at the Japanese title, and is a very live challenger. This could end up being a very, very good fight over 6 competitive rounds. Our preview of this one can be read here Nagai takes on Tarui in first Japanese title defense!
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
The second card from the Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center is also set to get a live stream courtesy of the Boxing Real YouTube channel and is a more interesting card, at least on paper, than the all female show.
One of the interesting bouts here will see Aoba Mori (6-2-1) and Keisuke Iwasaki (5-2-1, 1) clash for the second time. These two fought last July, fighting to a 6 round draw, and proved to be incredibly well matched. Given their first bout this is one to look forward if you can make it to the venue. The two men are unlikely to mix it at domestic title level, but they will make for some entertaining bouts at the lower levels of the domestic scene, in fact their first was solid. Since their first bout Mori has been inactive whilst Iwasaki scored a notable win over the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori, giving him a bit of momentum coming in to this one.
Another noteworthy under-card bout on this show will see Daiki Tomita (15-2, 5) take on Shota Asami (8-7, 4). The talented 23 year old Tomita has promised a lot, but lost his two most notable bouts, losing to Tsubasa Koura in 2018 and Kenichi Horikawa last year. He has a lot of potential, but we suspect needs to be given time to mature physically. In Asami we have someone who has struggled for form, in fact Asamai has lost 2 of his last 3 and 5 of his last 9, but he's someone who can dig in and score upsets, as he did last year against Sho Omote. This looks like a mismatch on paper, but Asami is very much a live under-dog, and the naturally bigger guy.
The main event of this show will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) looking to defend her title against fellow Japanese fighter Shione Ogata (11-6-1, 3). Tsunami won this title back in March 2018 and has defended it twice so far, whilst also dipping her toes into the Flyweight division. The 36 year old champion is a stalwart for Japanese boxing and has proven herself as a tough, hard working and criminally under-rated fighter, though sooner or later father time will catch up with her, especially given the tough bouts she's had over the years. Ogata on the other hand is an easy to over-look challenger who lost 5 of her first 6 before going 10-1-1 and winning the WBA Asia, WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles. She is a very, very live challenger and has developed so much in recent years under the guidance of Nobuhiro Ishida. The champion should be the favourite, but Ogata is a genuinely solid contender, despite her record. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogata challenges WBO queen Tsunami
The Won Boxing Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
Over in South Korea we'll be getting a low profile card from the Won Promotion. This show really isn't a big one at all, but the main event is a very evenly matched bout between Dong Ho Geum (5-3-2, 3) and In Soo Jang (5-3-1), who battle for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 27 year old Geum is riding a 3 fight winning streak into this, and is actually 5-1 in his last 6 bouts, after a bizarre 0-2-2 start to his career. Jang on the other hand started his career will, going unbeaten in his first 3 bouts, but since then has gone 3-3, and lost his last 2 bouts. He needs a win, but has no momentum coming in to this and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. We're expecting a really fun fight here but one that, in the grand scheme of things, won't really matter despite the WBC regional title.