Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday Korakuen Hall plays host to an excellent looking Japanese card, headlined by a brilliant looking headliner, and also featuring a female regional title bout and a very solid, and potentially very explosive, Super Featherweight bout.
The brilliant main event of the show will see former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) look to continue his rise through the ranks as he takes on former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12). On paper this looks like Mishiro just taking the typical step up in class that we see from prospects, but the unbeaten man already has notable wins over the likes of Takuya Watanabe and Masayuki Ito to his name and instead it seems more like him and his team are wanting to keep him ticking over at a high domestic level until a big opportunity comes his way. Nishitani is no world beater, but he's a tough, rugged guy with under-rated boxing skills and the mentality to push the skilled, but light punching, Mishiro. This will almost certainly be a high level technical bout, but one where Mishiro's speed and polish should be the difference maker.
In the main supporting bout former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) tried to get his career back on track, after going more than 3 years without a win. The hard hitting Minamoto will not be in easy here however, as he takes on the determined and over-looked Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5), who is a tough southpaw and can spring the upsets when he's in the mood. At his best Minamoto is a very solid boxer-puncher, with naturally heavy hands, but without a win in his last 3 bouts we do wonder what his confidence is like coming in to this one. Kusano on the other hand was last seen losing in the final of the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament, in August 2020, having Jae Woo Lee in the semi-final. This could be a very interesting match up.
In the solitary title bout on this card OPBF Female Light Flyweight champion Chaoz Minowa (6-3, 5) will make her first defense of the title, as she battles the once beaten Yumemi Ikemoto (7-1). Minowa won the title in December 2016, and has had a really lengthy reign, without defending the title. In fact whilst she hasn't defended the title Minowa has fought 6 times, going 3-3 whilst getting 3 world title fights. This is a chance for her to show what she can do. As for Ikemoto, she's a former Japanese female Flyweight champion who is riding a 4 fight winning, and knows a win her could open up some doors for her future, much like the OPBF title has done for Minowa. Our full in depth preview of this bout can be read here Minowa defends OPBF title against Ikemoto!
Art Center, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The most notable of three Japanese shows this coming Sunday is in Hyogo, where we get a card from Senrima Kobe Promotions.
The main event of the card will see two Japanese ranked Super Flyweights battling against each other as Hiroki Tokuyama (10-3-1, 2) clashes with Ryosuke Nasu (12-7-3, 2), and going in the two men will know that a win will push them to within a fight or two of a Japanese title fight. It will also be an interesting bout with a bit of history given these two men fought in August 2020, with Nasu winning a clear decision. Of the two men Nasu is the more more proven, and he holds a win over Tokuyama, but he has lost his 2 bouts and was surprisingly stopped by Sonin Nihei in April. Tokuyama on the other hand has bounce back from his loss to Nasu with a win over Shunji Nagata and will be looking to build on that win. We don't expect this bee the best bout of the weekend, but it should be a compelling bout between two men each looking to move their career forward.
In another interesting match up the 30 year old Hiroyuki Takahara (9-3, 6) will be looking to over-come Ryuya Nihei (5-2-1, 1) in what could be a very hard to call 6 rounder. Takahara has the experience and has got real momentum coming in to this, having won his last 5 bouts, dating back almost 4 years, including a notable win over Tom Mizokoshi last year. Nihei on the other hand is the younger man, at 23, but also the one struggling for form, with just a single win in his last 4 bouts and losses in his last 2.
A third bout of interest here will see professional novices Josuke Nagata (1-0) and Tomoki Kawasaki (1-1) clash in a 6 rounder. Nagata made his debut in June, beating Koji Tsurumi in an impressive performance and it was clear that he's certainly one to watch going forward, and someone with a decent amateur background. Though of course he's a novice who will need time to develop. Kawasaki on the other hand was a good amateur himself who lost to Jukiya Iimura on debut, in June, before bouncing back with a win in September. Whilst neither of these men have much professional experience, but are young, hungry fighters, who were good amateurs, are clearly skilled fighters and aren't scared of facing good competition from the off as they look to develop and progress quickly at the start of their careers.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
A second Japanese show will be in Aichi, where we see a couple of interesting looking 6 rounders.
The main event on this show will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Hiroya Nojima (7-1, 3) take on Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2). The once beaten Nojima has reeled off 4 straight wins since a 2019 loss to Hoare Yasui, and won the the All Japan Rookie of the Year this past February. On paper this is a step up for him, but he comes into it with momentum and on the back of a blow out win over Shoma Okada in July. As for Nishikawa he is 1-3-1 in his last 5, and really needs a win now. Nishikawa has no momentum coming in to this, but will fight like a man who needs a victory, and could be a banana skin for the promising Nojima.
The second bout of note on this card, and the planned chief support bout, will see 30 year old veteran Takahiro Murai (15-9-2, 5) take on unbeaten 22 year old Atsuki Nakamura (5-0-1, 3). On paper this is a hard one to call, especially given that that neither man has been all that active in recent years. Murai did fight this past July, but that was his only bout since in over 3 years, and it's hard to know what he has left to offer, especially given he's 1-3 in his last 4 dating back more than 5 years. Nakamura on the other hand hasn't fought since December 2019, and we do wonder whether ring rust will be a problem for him here.
Chres Gym, Kochi, Kochi, Japan
A third Japanese show will take place in Kochi, and will be headlined by an 8 rounder between Sora Fukunaga (9-0, 4) and Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2). The unbeaten Fukunaga won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight back in February, but has sadly not fought since beating Yuki Yazan in that final. Notably this will be his first 8 rounder and in fact his first bout scheduled for more than 5 rounds. As for Kimoto he's yet to achieve anything of note, though his record is very, very misleading and all 5 of his losses have been razor thin, including a notable one against Tom Mizokoshi in 2019. We suspect Fukunaga will take home his 10th win here, but he will have to work for it.
Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad, India
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in India. This show isn't a big one, but the main event is certainly worth being aware of.
That main event will see unbeaten Indian hopeful Karthik Sathish Kumar (7-0, 3) look to win the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Lightweight title as he takes on Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (29-15-2, 11), who will be having his 47th bout. Kumar will be favoured, after all he's at home, he's unbeaten and he's the younger man, though this is a massive leap up in class for him, and his competition so far has been novices and very limited fighters. Tito on the other hand is no world beater, but he can notch the odd upset, as we saw in April when he beat countryman Hebi Marapu. If Tito is hungry he could well pick up his 30th professional win here, and score 3 wins in a row for the first time since 2013!
November 27th-Ogawa gets world title shot, Maruta seeks first defense! Abe and Watanabe face off!
Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA
The most notable bout with an Asian fighter involved this Saturday is in New York as Japan's Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) battles talented South African Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9) for the IBF Super Flyweight title. This bout really is an incredibly interesting one between two world class fighters each looking to prove themselves on the world stage. Ogawa is talented, but rough around the edges, heavy handed and dangerous with a real will to win, and willingness to take a shot to land one when he needs to. Fuzile on the other hand is a slick, skilled, technically sharp boxer-mover who has the tools to frustrate anyone in the division. It will genuinely be interesting to see if Ogawa can land his heavy right hand, or whether the slippery southpaw moves of Fuzile will be too much for him. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogawa faces Fuzile for IBF title!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in the US we'll also get a title bout in Japan, as a talented Japanese fighter looks to make his first defense of a national title. Not only that but we'll also see the mandatory challenger for the winner being decided as well, with the show hosting a Japanese title eliminator.
The title bout on this show will see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) look to build on his excellent title win against Ryo Sagawa as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9). For Maruta this is a great chance to continue moving forward, and a win here moves him closer and closer to a world title shot, potentially against recently crowned Kiko Martinez. The excellent Maruta has long been regarded as one of the brightest hopes in Japanese boxing, and over the last few years he has been showing his potential with some stellar domestic wins, though we'd really like to see him make a move up to Oriental, if not world, level in 2022. As for Hino this is a second shot at the title, and although a solid domestic level fighter a win here would be, by far, the biggest of his career. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
In the main supporting bout on this show we'll see Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) and Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) clash in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator. These two men have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe back in 2018. Since their first bout Watanabe has gone unbeaten, going 6-0-2 (4) and has some momentum coming in to this bout thanks to his victory in the Hajime No Ippo Featherweight tournament, last year, and a good win over Yosuke Kawano earlier this year. The highly skilled Abe has gone 4-1-1 (1) since beating Watanabe, but has struggled at times, and and we dare say he's needed a fire lighting under his backside aty times, hopefully that fire will be lit here knowing he will get a third Japanese shot, if he wins.
Dawrpui Multipurpose Hall, Aizawl, India
As well as the title action in the US and Japan we also have a minor title bout in India, where Nutlai Lalbiakkima (2-0, 2) will be defending his IBA International Minimumweight title against Thai challenger Gerttipong Kumsahwat (6-9, 5). The talented Lalbiakkima is looking like a man on the fast track and we suspect he will be mixing against good competition in 2 or 3 years. Although not well known at the moment Lalbiakkima does have the potential to be the face of Indian boxing in the future. Gerttipong on the other hand is best known for losing to the then debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka back in 2018, and since then he has gone 3-7, likely to be 3-8 with this bout.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
There is also Asian action in Thailand, with a show being broadcast under the "The Fighter" banner, thanks to TL Promotions. Sadly whilst it does feature two very notable Thai hopefuls, neither man is in with someone expected to test them, also, notably, this show was originally scheduled to take place in late October before being delayed.
One of the promising Thai fighters on this show is the once beaten Tanes Ongjunta (8-1, 4), who looks notch a 5th straight win, as he takes on the limited Lerdchai Chaiyawed (6-5, 2). Ongjunta, looking to defend his WBA Asia Flyweight title, should be too good, too skilled, and too smart for his foe, though to credit where it's due, Chaiyawed does tend to offer plenty of resistance, even in his losses, and won't be there to just make up the numbers. We expect Chaiyawed to come to win, but simply not be good enough.
The other notable bout on this card will see the once beaten Arnon Yupang (7-1, 3) take on Filipino novice Fritz Biagtan (1-0, 1). Yupang was once a Thai amateur standout who has a lot of potential, and was last seen beating Amnat Ruenroeng for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title. He won't be defending that title here, but will be expecting to pick up a win. As for Biagtan, he made his debut in 2018, but has sadly been out of the ring for well over 40 months and is the naturally smaller man. Sadly we do not expect this one to be a particularly competitive match up.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The most notable show for us this coming Friday comes from Korakuen Hall as Yokohama Hikari put on a really interesting card, with an excellent main event, and several solid under-card bouts, which will go under the radar of many Western fans.
The main event will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (19-1, 12) take on the hard hitting Ryota Yada (20-7, 17) in a potential war. The 34 year old Matsunaga has been on a great run in recent years, not just winning and defending the Japanese title but also scoring a recent in Mexico on a rare international excursion. Given his aggressive style Matsunaga is a great fighter to watch, he always come forward and he looks to pressure opponents into mistakes. Yada on the other hand is looking to rebuild his career as a massive 2020 loss to Yuichi Ideta, and he'll know another loss here essentially ends his his hopes of winning a major title before his career comes to an end. Yada is aggressive, heavy handed and exciting, but flawed and he would need a career best performance here to take home a victory.
Recent Japanese youth title challenger Yuni Takada (8-8-2, 3) will be in a notable support bout as he takes on Yoshiki Yamashita (8-3). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given that Takada has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5 bouts, but he has fought at a decent level, with competitive losses against Kai Ishizawa and Norihito Tanaka, and he'll see this as a chance to get his first win since July 2019. Yamshita on the other hand is 4-1 in his last 5, including a really good win over Hizuki Saso back in June, and he'll be looking to continue building momentum and head towards title fights of his own.
Another noteworthy bout on this card will see former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (19-4-1, 8) take on veteran Hyuma Fujioka (11-10-1, 1). The 31 year old Takahashi is best known for his 2019 loss to TJ Doheny, and since then he has scored 3 wins, but the most recent of those was a controversial one more than a year ago against Kiyohei Endo. Fujioka on the other hand is man with a win some lose record, and can be a banana skin for decent fighters, when he turns up. He's certainly no world beater, but he is better than his record suggests and could be a bit of a nightmare for Takahashi here.
Motospace Dubai Investment Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As well as the action in Japan we also have a card of note in Dubai, where we'll see a talented Pakistani fighter in action, against a former world title challenger, and a bout featuring a promising Indian fighter.
The talented Pakistani fighter on this card is former IBF world title challenger Muhammad Waseem (11-1, 8), who looks to score his first win of 2021 as he takes on Colombian fighter Rober Barrera (23-3-0-1, 13), who is best known for his 2017 bout with Ryoichi Taguchi. Once regarded as the big hope of Pakistani boxing, Waseem is with out a doubt a talented fighter, but like too many talented fighters he has let his talent go to waste, and now aged 34 it's hard imagine him getting another world title fight. In fact it seems almost like he has aged out of contention, and that's not much of a surprise given this will be only his 5th bout since 2018! Barrera, on paper, looks a good opponent, but in reality he has he's been beaten in 3 most notable bouts and is a natural Light Flyweight. We suspect Barrera will put up an effort, but natural size will play a part and he'll come undone here against the bigger, more skilful Waseem.
As well as Waseem's bout there is another interesting one as 20 year old Indian fighter Faizan Anwar (9-0, 4) takes a huge leap up in class and takes on Viktor Plotnikov (33-13-0-1, 15). Anwar has shown some promise, but has also had some luck, and was very fortunate this past August when he took a decision over Ricky Sismundo. At his best Plotnikov was a very solid European level fighter, though sadly those days are well behind him and the 44 year old has now lost 10 in a row, leaving him without a win since 2015.
November 23rd-Action in Osaka!
City Plaza Yayoinokaze Hall, Izumi, Osaka, Japan
This coming Tuesday attention turns to Izumi, in Osaka, for a show from Mitsuki Promotions. It's not a big show by any stretch if the imagination, but it does have two bouts worthy of attention on it.
The first of the two bouts will see the once beaten Taichi Sugimoto (6-1-1, 1) look to bounce back from his first defeat, which came in the All Rookie of the Year final in February. The promising Sugimoto isn't being given a gimme here, as he takes on the under-rated, and rugged, Taiga Higashi (6-5, 2). Higashi is no world beater, but he's tough, he comes to win and he has been proving himself to be a good test for Japanese prospects, such as Kazuki Nakajima, Kantaro Juri and Yusuke Mine. Sugimoto should be good enough to win, but he'll certainly have to work for his victory against Higashi.
The main event of the show will see former OPBF title challenger Kyohei Tonomoto (10-3-1, 4) take on Takaaki Kanai (9-9, 4). This will be Tonomoto's second bout since his 2020 loss to Satoshi Shimizu, in a bout that saw Tonomoto impress despite being stopped in 7 rounds by the hard hitting Shimizu. As for Kanai he has been stopped in his last 2, and is 2-6 in his last 8. It's fair to say Kanai has been selected as a bit of a patsy for Tonomoto who should pick up the win here, relatively easily.
KDDI Ishin Hall, Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi, Japan
This coming Sunday we'll be getting two low key cards in Japan. Of those the more notable is a card in Yamaguchi.
Part of why this card is notable is the appearance of "Dragon Ball Z Boxer" Bejita Ishikawa (3-13-2, 1), who enters the ring dressed in Dragon Ball Z Cosplay. Ishikawa will sadly be a massive under-dog for his bout here as he takes on the once beaten Takaoki Maemura (5-1-1, 2) in the main event of the card. The reality is that this should be an easy comeback win for Maemura, who hasn't fought in well over 2 years, but with a long lay off, it's hard to know what he'll be like here.
As well as the bout above it's also worth noting that we'll be getting an all debutant bout between Koki Nishimura (0-0) and the wonderfully named Zapp Morimoto (0-0). The bout, like the main event, is certainly not a big bout, but we'll be paying notice due to Zapp Morimoto, who must have one of the best names of any active fighter.
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
As well as the show in Yamaguchi there we will also be getting a small Japanese show in Sakai City, as Shinsei put on a very low key event. This show is scheduled to feature 6 bouts in total, but all of them are 4 rounders, and the show is held in association with Diamante Boxing Gym, who looking to slowly get off the ground.
Sadly with this being such a low key card it's hard to get too excited about anything on the show, with the most notable bout of the event being a a female bout between Yoshikawa Riyuna (1-1-1, 1) and Arika Shimono (0-1). Despite her less than stellar looking record Riyuna is ranked by the JBC at Minimumweight, and a win here will help her move towards a national title fight. Shimono on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a 2020 debut loss to Sumire Yamanaka, the younger sister of former world champion Ryuya Yamanaka.
AB Krishnan Boxing Hall, Chennai, India
Outside of Japan we'll be getting action in India. Sadly from two Indian cards there isn't really a match up worthy of too much time and attention.
The one bout probably worthy of some genuine attention comes form Chennai where we'll see Chandru G (1-0, 1) take on Juber Ali (1-0, 1) in a scheduled 6 round Cruiserweight bout. We won't pretend this will be a high quality bout, but given both men scored opening round blow out wins in their debuts, we're hoping to see a low key shoot out from the opening bell here.
The second Indian show will be taking place in Karnataka.
Like the show in Chennai this is a very low quality card, and will be headlined by Ramandeep Kaur (7-2, 1) taking on the win-less Anita Maurya (0-4), for the second time. These two fought in 2019, with Kaur taking a decision over Maurya, and we expect much the same here. What is notable is Kaur has lost 2 of her last 3, but we can't imagine her losing again here. In fact we would be surprised if Maurya took more than a round from her foe here.
Earlier we mentioned the Japanese show in Yamaguchi and Zapp Morimoto, though we also need to mention another debutant with a great name fighting on Sunday, and that's Ringa Ringa (0-0), an Indian 23 year old Featherweight hopeful. Ring will be up against the win-less Vikas (0-1). Ringa will be hoping to ring Vikas's bell here...
Sambo Hall, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The main Asian card this coming Saturday comes from Hyogo where Shinsei Gym will be putting on a small, but solid, card.
The main event of the show will see Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2) and Aoba Mori (7-2-1, 1) battle for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title. Of the two men Inoue is certainly the more well known, having won the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year, gave Kai Ishizawa fits in their 2018 Youth title bouts, and has some solid domestic level wins. He's a very talented youngster, and he has the potential to mix at the higher domestic levels over the coming years, but is still a fighter who is developing and is a long way from being the finished product. Mori made his debut in 2017 and despite some mixed results has shown plenty of potential. Aged 21 he's also a man who is far from the finished product, but to date he has shown less overall ability than Inoue and this is a clear step up for him here. Yuga Inoue clashes with Aoba Mori for Youth title
In a support bout bout we'll see the out of form Shohei Kawashima (18-5-2, 4) take on the once beaten Takeshi Takehara (6-1, 1). The talented Kawashima started his career by going unbeaten in his first 16 bouts before losing a very competitive decision to former world champion Cristian Mijares. Sadly since losing to Mijares we've seen Kawashima struggle to string together good results, going 4-4 since loss, including KO losses to Hiroaki Teshigawara and Shingo Wake, leaving him in desperate need for a win. Takehara on the other hand is looking to build on a 2020 win over Beverly Tsukada, and continue to rebuild following a 2019 loss to Ryuya Tsugawa. The light punching Takehara will be the under-dog coming in to this one, but he'll know that this is the perfect time to face Kawashima, who's confidence must be shot to bits.
In another under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Seika Fukuda (6-1, 1) take on Yuna Hara (9-2-1, 5) in a very interesting match up over 6 rounds. Fukuda's only loss came in February this year when he was stopped in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final against Tsubasa Narai, and since then he has bounced back with a win but is stepping up here. Hara on the other hand Hara on the other hand is best known for coming close to reaching the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, losing one bout before the final to Hiroki Hanabusa. Since then however he has bounced back, scored 3 straight stoppages, and looks to be developing his confidence and punching power.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
As well as the Japanese show there will also be a pair of Asian fighters in action on a US card in Miami. One is a rising Cruiserweight hopeful, whilst the other is a Filipino who should be in the mix for a world title fight, but has sadly become the forgotten man in and around the Bantamweight division.
The Cruiserweight hopeful is Kazakh puncher Serik Musadilov (10-0, 9), who stopped his first 9 opponents before going the distance this past July with Lamont Capers, in what was an underwhelming performance from the Kazakh. He'll be looking to return to stopping fighters here, as he takes on the limited Dustin Long (6-2-2-1, 4), who is 39 years old, and has been stopped twice, including an opening round loss to Tristan Kalkreuth back in March. Long's record is padded, but he does have a notable win over Marsellos Wilder, the brother of Deontay Wilder. That win aside, there's nothing on Long's record and it's hard to imagine him surviving long against Musadilov.
The other Asian fighter on this card is 24 year Filipino contender Mike Plania (25-1, 12) , who will be up against Ricardo Nunez (29-12, 23), in what is Plania's second bout since his 2020 upset win over Joshua Greer Jr. The talented Plania really deserved a big fight on that back of the Greer win, but his team have sadly dropped the ball with him, as the Filipino took 10 months out of the ring before beating Emmanuel Mogawa in April this year and is now wasting more time taking on Nunez. The 33 year old Nunez was, once, a very, very good fighter and a world class fighter, but that was a decade ago, at Flyweight. In recent years however he has been racking up losses, and is now more than 4 years removed from a win and has lost his last 6 in a row. This really should be little more than a stay buys bout for Plania.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll be getting Heavyweight action as unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (16-0, 15) takes on fellow unbeaten Alexis Garcia (11-0, 7), in a good looking match up. Sadly whilst this one looks good on paper it's hard to have any idea how good Garcia is given his competition, so far, has been dreadful, to say the least. We suspect Kossobutskiy will have no problem picking up the win here, though hopefully Garcia will put up something of a fight before taking the L.
SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA
This Friday isn't a huge day for Asian fighters in general, in fact there isn't too many Asian fighters in action during the day, however there is one Asian fighter in a massive bout, and a bout that could lead him to bigger and better contests down the line, including potentially huge unification bouts.
That Asian fighter in question is Uzbekistani fighter Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) , who will be defending his WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Jose Velasquez (29-6-2, 19), in a bout that was put together at short notice after Ronny Rios contracted Covid19. The talented Akhmadaliev has raced through the division, and in just 9 fights has already picked up wins Danny Roman and Ryosuke Iwasa, to unify and defend his world titles, but did suffer from Covid earlier this year and it's always hard to predict how a fighter will look after testing positive for the virus. At his best he's probably the best fighter at 122lbs, which is a deep division with the likes of Stephon Fulton, Raeese Aleem and Brandon Figueroa also being in the mix for the #1 position. As for Velasquez he's a natural Bantamweight who's best win has come against Melvin Lopez. Despite an underwhelming record, Velasquez has turned his career around, and won his last 21 bouts. Sadly however they have come at a low level, and this is a major step up, as well as a bout he's taken on short noticed and moved up in weight for. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Akhmadaliev returns for second world title defense!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
In terms of action in Asia we get a small card in Tokyo, thanks to the Misako gym. It's not a major card, but it does have one bout of note on it.
The one bout of note on this event will see former 2-time Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (19-4-1, 12) take on rising prospect Ayato Hiromoto (4-0, 2). The 36 year old Nakagawa hasn't fought since suffering a brutal TKO loss at the hands of Ryoji Fukunaga back in December 2020. That was a loss that would have needed a lengthy rest period for Nakagawa, but at the age of 36 we're really not sure what he has left in the tank. Hiromoto on the other hand is a 24 year old, taking a big step up in class, but a youngster who will be fully aware that a win here puts him right in the mix for a title shot of his own. Of the two men Nakagawa has the edge in experience and power but Hiromoto hasn't taken much punishment, is younger, and the more polished of the two. Despite the show, overall, being bad, this is a fantastic match up and should be a very, very interesting one for the future of both men.
Sadly a scheduled bout between Takuya Uehara (17-1, 10) and Ryukyu Oho (7-5, 4), which was planned for this show, was cancelled in the week leading up to the event.
Over in Thailand we should be seeing the return of a familiar face, as Indonesian veteran Daud Yordan (40-4-0-1, 28) takes on Rachata Khaophimai (7-0, 4) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Light Welterweight title. The talented Yordan, who has faced a genuine who's who during his career, will be fighting for the first time since he beat Michael Mokoena, around 2 years ago, and will be looking to remain relevant in the sport. Sadly however Yordan is now 34, and is very much coming to the end of his career, we thought was clear 3 years ago when he looked old and slow against Anthony Crolla. Aged 18 Rachata is a new face on the Thai scene, though sadly his competition so far has been dire, and he's yet to beat a guy with a winning record. Given his competition so far, he's not just stepping up in class here, but leaping up, massively. We do feel Yordan's career is winding down, but a loss here for the Indonesian veteran would be a massive shocker a huge upset.
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales, Australia
This coming Wednesday we'll see some potentially thrilling action form Australia, in a card that features two Japanese fighters taking on local Australian hopefuls, in what could be a pair of sleeper classics. One features one of the hottest prospects in Australia taking on a former world title challenger in a minor title defense, whilst the other will see IBO International Light Middleweight champion defending his title against a Japanese challenger.
The main bout of the day will see WBO Global Light Middleweight champion Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15) facing off with WBO Asia Pacific champion Takeshi Inoue (17-1-1, 10) in a bout that has the potential to be something very special. Tszyu has been making a reputation for himself as the hottest thing in Australian boxing, with an aggressive style, incredibly heavy hands and a string of brutal recent wins. In less than 2 years he has scored 5 stoppages, beating the likes of Jack Brubaker, Jeff Horn and Dennis Hogan, and has looked like a genuine star in the making. Inoue on the other hand is best known for his fight with Jaime Munguia in 2019, and since then he has gone 4-0 (3), which looking like a more technical and improved fighter to the one who faced Munguia. Inoue is tough, he comes forward, and he really take a shot, so with that in mind we suspect he'll be in their trying to make life very tough for Tszyu, in what could turn out to be a genuinely brutal bout between a huge puncher and incredibly tough guy.
The second bout will see IBO International 154lb champion Wade Ryan (19-9, 7) look to make his third defense as he takes on Japan's Nath Nwachukwu (7-1-2, 3). Despite having a spotty record Ryan Ryan is no push over, in fact he gave the aforementioned Tszyu one of, if not the, toughest fight of his career in 2017, hasn't been stopped since 2013, and has won his last 3. Although no world beater he's tough, rugged, comes to fight and has the tools to be in some thrilling clashes. He's not the most polished, and he is defensively flawed, but he makes for fun, if somewhat messy, fights. When it comes to Nwachukwu, he is best known for his 2020 clash with Inoue, in which he gave Inoue a genuinely solid test, using his jab well and got Inoue's respect. In the end Inoue won that bout, be he had to work for it, and it was clear that Nath Nwachukwu had the tools to do stuff in the sport, and he's a strong, solid guy himself. Whilst this bout will get over-looked due to the main event, there's a real chance this one actually ends up being just as good as the main event.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The big show this coming Sunday comes from Osaka, where we see the next stage of the Rookie of the Year take place, as the West representatives for the All Japan final are decided. This card has 11 bouts set for it, due to the cancellation of a brilliant looking Featherweight bout between Shotaro Miya (6-0, 4) and Chihiro Iwashita (3-0, 2), and all are expected to be tough, and exciting clashes.
One of the best bouts on the show is a Super Bantamweight clash between Shodai Morita (4-1, 3) and Misaki Hirano (4-1, 2). Morita is a 20 year old who has won his last two, and bounced back well since a 2019 loss to Kantaro Nakanishi. He's not looked like a star in the making, but does look like an exciting youngster, looking to make up for the loss of time he had in 2020, a year that he saw him being inactive for the full year. Hirano on the other hand is 24 and has notched 3 wins already this year, following a razor thin loss in 2020 to Hikaru Fukunaga. We are expecting this to be a genuinely thrilling action fight between of the more talented and experienced youngsters on this show.
For those looking for something more explosive, the Super Featherweight bout between Ryuichi Sakamoto (3-0, 3) and Seiryu Yamana (1-0, 1) should be perfect. Sakamoto, a 21 year old southpaw, debuted in April with an opening round win, since then he has added two more quick wins and has needed just 5 rounds to scored his 3 combined wins. Yamana on the other hand debuted in September with a brutal win over over Daichi Tanaka. We are expecting both guys to be throwing serious bombs here!
Another potential shoot out will be at 140lbs when Genki Yamashita (3-0-2, 2) takes on Kosei Fujisaki (1-0, 1). The 23 year old Yamashita made his debut in late 2019 and has had some mixed results, with two draws, but is unbeaten and will not want to lose his 0 here. Fujisaki on the other hand is a 26 year old who took an opening round TKO win over Ryuya Yanagawa, and will be looking to blast out another quick win here.
Thakur Colege, Mumbai, India
We're expecting a very, very low level show in India, where where fans will get 8 bouts, all scheduled over 4 rounds. Sadly there isn't too much to delve into here, with no one really standing out, and no one having enough experience to get excited about.
The one bout that we will briefly touch on is an all debutant bout against Shariqe Arif Khan (0-0) and Nazim Ahmed (0-0), who clash in the Featherweight division. We love all debutant bouts as they tend to be entertaining and a little bit wild, and we expect to see a bit of a wild fire fight here as both men desperately fight to get their career off to a running start with a win.
Gimhae, South Korea
As well as the action in Japan and India we also get a show in South Korea. Sadly however this is another one that really doesn't look great,
In the main event the talented and experienced Hee Jung Yuh (23-3, 12) will take on Thai novice Chisakan Ariphipat (7-0-1, 3). , with Yuh looking to defend her WBC International female Super Flyweight title. The 42 year old Yuh is a true veteran of the sport, who is unbeaten since a 2015 loss to Japanese legend Naoko Fujioka. The 24 year old Chisakan is unbeaten, and has been very active this year, scoring 4 wins in 2021, but has been fighting at a very, very low level and is leaping in classes here. Sadly for her we see this as too much of a step up for her to have any real chance.
A second Korean Vs Thai bout on this card will see power punchers collide as Sung Jin Kwak (6-2, 5) and Nattapon Plangpimai (9-1, 7) clash for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Cruiserweight title. The 43 year old Kwak is looking to bounce back from a KO loss to Sang Ho Kim in January, and he is very much a flawed and crude fighter, but one who tends to be fun to watch, especially against very low level fighters. Nattapon on the other hand is 28 years old and has rebuild his career following a debut loss in 2017 to Christian Daghio, but like Kwak he has only competed at a very, very low level. We don't expect a high level fight here, but it should be fun, for as long as it lasts.