Gateaux Kingdom Sapporo, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
This coming Sunday attention turns to Hokkaido for a rare boxing card in the region. The card is certainly not a big one, but it is one worth being aware of with two bouts of some note on it.
One of the bouts will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Featherweight Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) take on once beaten Nigerian fighter Ridwan Oyekola (8-1-1, 5), in a scheduled 8 rounder. For Watanabe the bout is a chance to prepare for a Japanese title fight in 2023, and at the age of 31 he can ill afford another set back, in what will be his 20th professional bout. Notably he will be fighting in his home town of Sapporo for the first time since 2017 and will be desperate to show local fans what he can do. As for Oyekola this bout is a major step up for him, though he will know a win really kick starts his career.
In another bout of note 30 year old novice Seeser Minagawa (2-0) will be facing off with Tomoyuki Yokota (6-6, 2) in an 8 rounder at 154lbs. At the moment the 154lb Japanese domestic scene is weak and Minagawa will know a win here will see him banging on the door of a title fight, despite only having had 2 professional bouts so far. As for Yokota, the 36 year old has rarely fought in recent years and will be hoping his bout in July will have helped him shake some ring rust.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the action in Japan we are also set to get a card in South Korea, with Bo Mi Re Shin (12-1-3, 6) looking to defend her WBC International Featherweight title against rising Japanese hopeful Aka Ringo (3-0, 2). This bout was put together at short notice after a planned world title bout for Ringo, against Hyun Mi Choi, was cancelled, and she'll be determined to take her frustrations out on Shin. Saying that however Shin is the naturally bigger and the more experienced fighter and will feel she has the tools to deal with the Japanese novice.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
In Osaka we'll see a Shinsei promoted show, featuring all female bouts, something that they have done numerous times over the last few years. This one is particularly notable as it's set to be a triple header, with three title fights in total, two Japanese title fights and a regional title fight.
The regional title fight will see veteran fighter Yuko Henzan (8-11-4, 2) take on professional novice Aka Ringo (2-0, 1), who battle for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Female Bantamweight title. The 27 year old Ringo only made her debut in April 2021 and her rise to title fights has been incredibly rapid, with a win over Henzan likely putting her on the verge of a world title fight. As for Henzan, she comes into this bout on the back of 4 straight losses, but gets a big chance to quieten a promising prospect and claim her second professional title, adding the WBO title to the OPBF title she won back in 2018 and vacated soon afterwards. Our preview of this one can be read here Ringo and Henzan face off for WBO regional throne
Staying at Bantamweight we'll also see the Japanese female Bantamweight champion Kanako Taniyama (4-1-1, 1) making her first defense, as she takes on Miki Mitsuda (5-7, 4), in a rematch between two women who clashed in a very close bout in 2020. The talented Taniyama won the title last June, in her 3rd shot at the belt, with a technical decision over Yuko Henzan, but sadly her career taken off in the way her and her team would have expected. In fact she's sadly not looked quite settled as a professional, despite being a very good kick boxer. As for Mitsuda this will be her first shot at a Bantamweight title, though she is a former Japanese female Featherweight champion and will likely feel her size and strength could be a difference maker here, especially given how close she pushed Taniyama in their first bout. Our in depth preview for this fight can be read here Taniyama seeks first defense as she takes on hard hitting Mitsuda
The second national title fight will see Kaoru Iga (5-2-1) and Natsuki Tarui (4-8-2) battle for the vacant Japanese Atomweight title. For Iga this will be her second title fight, following a loss in an OPBF female Light Flyweight title fight in 2021, and the 29 year old enters as the #1 ranked contender for the vacant title. She may have come up short in her previous title bout, but that will certainly be a loss that will give her confidence coming into this bout, especially given the fact this is her natural weight. As for Tarui the 30 year old will be getting her second shot at this very title, and despite losing her last two bouts, she has been competitive in a number of her losses. Tarui will go in as the under-dog but is a very, very live under-dog in this one. Our preview for this bout can be read here Iga and Tarui battle for vacant Japanese title