This coming Friday is a small but notable day in Asia, with a potentially very exciting, but easy to over-look show in Tokyo and an Uzbek hopeful getting a chance to show what they can do.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The card in Tokyo is small one but a pretty notable one.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo (32-9-2, 18) take on Japanese Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (15-8-2, 11) in what should be a really exciting and action packed bout. The tough and aggressive Kondo is certainly a rough around the edges fighter but is rugged, comes to fight, and can be a nightmare for much better fighters, as we saw against Sergey Lipinets. As for Aoqui he's not the best fighter out there, but he's explosive, exciting and hard hitting. Aoqui is, like Kondo, quite rough around the edges, but his style should gel with Kondo's to give us something brilliant to watch. This will be Kondo's pressure and toughness against Aoqui's explosive aggression.
In the chief support bout the once beaten Takuya Uehara (16-1,10) will be looking to bounce back from a 2018 loss to Satoshi Shimizu. Uehara has sadly been out of the ring for well over 2 years but will be looking to prove a point here and get his career back on track. In the opposite corner to Uehars will be Ryusei Ishii (8-6-1, 5), who has been very out of sortes in recent bouts and is 2-4-1 in his last 7.
Reed Arena, College Station, Texas, USA
As well as the action in Japan we're also expecting to see some action in the US of interest as once beaten Uzbek fighter Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (16-1, 13) makes his US debut. Although not a well known fighter Najmitdinov is a very dangerous fighter, and is well over-due a chance to show what he can do on a big stage. The now 31 year old is not among the top amateurs from Uzbekistan, but he is someone who should be more well known and was legitimately robbed in 2017 when he faced Viktor Postol in Ukraine. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for this bout hasn't been confirmed, though hopefully it will be someone capable of asking him questions, as he can ill afford to waste more time with mismatches.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo will get the next Diamond Glove show and it's an interesting one, with a Japanese title fight in the main event and two solid prospects in supporting bouts. It's not a massive card, and features just 4 bouts in total, but it is one worthy of attention.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) make his first defense, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18). The talented Nagata won the title in July when he scored a major upset victory over Koki Inoue, stopping Inoue who then retire from boxing. That was the highlight of a career that had promise a lot but had seen Nagata suffer from some misfortune, including a draw with Takeshi Inoue and a razor thin loss to Rikki Naito. At 30 years old we are hoping to see Nagata kick on, and have a solid reign with this title, and potentially a rematch Naito. Kondo on the other hand is a 35 year old who has shown his age recently. Losses to Downua Ruawaiking and Andy Hiraoka in 2019 have left his career hanging by a thread, and another loss here likely sends him into retirement in 2021. Although we do strongly favour a Nagata here it needs to be said that Kondo is tough, a veteran, knows how to handle himself in the ring and can make for exciting match ups due to his style and toughness. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Nagata seeks first defense as he goes up against tough guy Kondo
In the chief support bout we'll see fast rising prospect Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2) return for his third bout of the year as he takes on Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4) at Korakuen Hall. Kimura, who debuted in an empty Korakuen Hall a few months ago, has looked really impressive, and looks like a man capable of being fast tracked to titles next year. In many ways we had hoped he was going up against a better fighter than Teruya here, but in reality this should be regarded as a showcase for fans who haven't yet seen him. He's a real natural with amazing balance, footwork, timing and every punch in the book. Despite being the very, very, clear under-dog Teruya comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight wins and 5 wins in his last 6. He has got some momentum going for him and is the naturally bigger fighter, but he is going to be in with a sensational fighter.
Another prospect on this card is the once beaten Tsubasa Murachi (5-1, 3), who is in a very good looking bout here against Isao Aoyama (12-7-1, 3), in a bout which sees both men entering as Japanese ranked fighters. Of the two men the 23 year old Murachi is the one regarded as the bigger hope and the brighter talent, despite a brutal 2019 TKO loss to Froilan Saludar in a regional title fight. Since his sole loss he has bounced back with a single win, over Ryotaro Kawabata, and looked very good in that bout. The 31 year old Aoyama has had mixed success, going 4-4 in his last 8, but has shown enough to suggest that he should be able to ask questions of Murachi. He'll be a clear under-dog, but will certainly be there to win and will feel he has the experience to deal with Murachi.
The other bout on this card will be a female bout between Nanako Suzuki (4-2, 1) and Megumi Hosoda (3-1), in what should be an entertaining 6 round female war between two JBC ranked fighters.
The big show this coming Friday comes from Japan, where the Korakuen Hall plays host to an interest, but low key, card which will be put online through the A Sign boxing youtube channel.
The main event is a a really interesting match up between hard hitting Japanese fighter Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) and world ranked Thai foe Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (24-10, 16). Kurihara is 11-1 since his unremarkable 3-4 start to the pros, and claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title last year, a belt that he has defended once. Although this isn't a title defense for Kurihgara it is a significant bout. Sukkasem is no world beater but can be a handful and is world ranked by the IBF, so have a real reason to bit down on his gum shield and go for this, knowing that a win will take him one step closer to a world title shot. We expect this one to be a very, very interesting match up.
After back to back losses Akihiro Kondo (31-9-1, 18) will be hoping to rebuild his confidence as he goes up against Tatsuya Yanagi (16-5-2, 6). This year has been a bad one for Kondo, who was stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in February before being out pointed by Andy Hiraoka in July. Yanagi on the other hand is on a 6 fight unbeaten run, going 5-0-1 (2), including an excellent recent win over Koichi Aso. This is really a must win for the 34 year old Kondo, and another loss here is likely to send him into retirement.
The potential hidden gem on this card will see recent Japanese Light Welterweight title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-6-3, 9) going up against aggressive youngster Aso Ishiwaki (7-2-1, 5). Although Ikeda has fought at a higher level than Ishiwaki he hasn't shined in recent contests, going 3-4-2 in his last 9 bouts. On the other hand Ishiwaki looks like a really promising youngster, who appears to be the crown in Nobuhiro Ishida's stable of fighters. Ishiwaki is tough, heavy handed, aggressive and we see him as being a force for the future, and a win here would be huge for his career.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
As well as the card in Tokyo, there is also a show in the Philippines. The details for this are lacking at the time of writing, but the main event is a genuinely mouth watering match up between a former world title challenger and another notable Filipino fighter.
That main event will see recent WBA Minimumweight title challenger ArAr Andales (10-1, 2) look to rebuild from his recent loss to Knockout CP Freshmart as he takes on the tough, but out of form, Joel Lino (10-3-1, 3) in a bout for the GAB Minimumweight title. The now 20 year old Andales began his career 10-0 before losing a technical decision to Knokcout CP Freshmart this past August, in a bout that was very hotly contest. We suspect he'll be the big favourite here. On the other hand the 24 year old Lino has lost his last 3, with losses to Masataka Taniguchi in 2019 and defeats to Ginjiro Shigeoka and Toto Landero this year. Those 3 losses have seen Lino fall from 10-0-1 but he will feel like this is his chance to get back to winning ways. This is certainly a very interesting all-Filipino bout.
The big show of the day this coming Friday is Osaka where Teiken put in a title triple header, featuring two world title bouts.
The main event of this card is the rematch between American Rob Brant (25-1, 17) and Japanese star Ryota Murata (14-2, 11), with Brant looking to make his second defense of the WBA Regular Middleweight title, a title he took from Murata last year. This is a really tough bout for Murata, who will know another loss to Brant likely ends his career, whilst a win could open up a huge opportunity for a bout in a Japanese dome at the end of the year. For Murata this is a must win, whilst for Brant it's a bout he is expected to win, especially given how easily he beat Murata the first time around. A full preview of this bout is available here Brant and Murata go again, but will the outcome be any different?
The other world title bout on the card will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) defending his title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-33-1, 11). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 6th defense and a chance to take a huge step towards a potential unification bout with Hiroto Kyoguchi at the end of the year, a bout both men have spoken about. Although Kenshiro is in great form we expect Taconing to ask questions of the champion we've never seen Kenshiro answer, and Taconing poses a real threat as a hard hitting and teak tough southpaw. Taconing can be out boxed, but he is a very dangerous threat to Kenshiro. Our preview of this show down is here Kenshiro takes on hard hitting Filipino challenger Taconing!
The third title bout on this card will see Filipino visitor Joe Noynay (17-2-1, 6) look to record his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title, as he takes on 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8). The bout sees Noynay return to Japan following his impressive title win over Kosuke Saka whilst Shimizu moves up in weight and tests the water at Super Featherweight. A full in depth preview of this bout can be read here Noynay takes on hard hitting Shimizu in regional title defense!
Also on this card is touted prospect Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) who looks to extend his perfect start as he battles 23 year old Filipino Paolo Sy (6-3-1, 3). Iwata was a fabulous amateur, scoring wins against the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue among others, and has shown a lot of promise already, but this looks like his stiffest test so far. Sy is no world beater in the making but should ask some questions of Iwata.
As well as the show in Osaka there is also a good one in Tokyo as we get a female world title fight and an interesting cross roads fight.
The female world title fight sees the great Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) defending her WBA female Flyweight title against veteran Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15), who is looking to become a 3 weight champion her self. Fujioka is among the few true female legends of boxing, having won world titles from Minimumweight to Bantamweight, but she's now at an advanced age and we wonder how long she can keep putting on top performances. On the other hand Tsunami has had an incredibly hard career, and that will catch up with her sooner or later. Our preview of this female clash can be read here Fujioka and Tsunami meet in clash for WBA crown!
In a really good looking support bout we'll see veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) take on youngster Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9). The tough Kondo, a former world title challenger, was last seen being stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in an IBF world title eliminator and he will be desperate to put that loss behind him and pick up a win here. For Hiraoka this is a great opportunity to get himself a major win and move towards a major title fight, as he looks to add to the Japanese Youth title he won in 2017. Our preview for this bout can be read here Kondo looks to bounce back whilst Hiraoka looks for big win
Also on this card is Seiryu Toshikawa (10-5, 6), who is criminally under-rated. Despite not having a great record Toshikawa is a very talented 23 year old who is looking to bounce back from a split decision loss to Shawn Oda in late 2018. His opponent will be Filipino puncher Junny Salogaol (14-16-5, 13), a late replacement though a man who was training for a now cancelled fight in Japan in late June.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
From Japan to Saudi Arabia as we see boxing join the WWE in an the attempt of becoming part of the sporting propaganda of the Saudi government. Whilst this card isn't one we'll be focusing a lot on, especially given the action in Japan, it is still a show which will get a lot of attention, especially in the West.
The main event will see Amir Khan (33-5, 20) take on Billy Dib (45-5-0-2, 26) in a match that was put together on about 3 weeks notice. Originally Khan was going to Indian face Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) in a bout being sold on the Indian vs Pakistan rivalry, and was originally set to be for the WBC Pearl title. Goyat suffered an injury in a car accident weeks before the fight and Dib, a former Featherweight world champion, moved up the card to fill the position left by Goyat. Originally Dib was to face Indonesian fighter Carlos Lopez, so he has clearly landed a much better pay day here. Sadly the WBC Pearl title will no longer be on the line, and the bout will instead be for the WBC International Welterweight crown.
A more interesting bout on this card, at least terms of competitiveness, will see unbeaten and exciting Filipino Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11) take on South African foe Lerato Dlamini (12-1, 6) for the WBC Silver Featherweight title. This is a big step up for Penalosa who hasn't really scored a win of note. On the other hand the South African holds a really notable win over Simpiwe Vetyeka from 2017 and will feel that that bout will have prepared him for a bout like this against Penalosa.
Others on this card include Uzbek hopeful Shakhobidin Zoirov (2-0, 2), who has been very impressive in his professional career so far.
All the way over in Florida we'll get the chance to see a couple of unbeaten Kazakh fighters attempt to continue their run onwards and upwards.
The more notable of the two is Heavyweight hopeful Ivan Dychko (8-0, 8), who takes on Nate Heaven (9-2, 7). The talented, yet awful badly promoted Dychko, was originally pencilled in to fight Raphael Zumbano (39-16-1, 31) though Zumbano was later replaced by Heaven, who should pose of a test. Sadly for Dychko, a former amateur star, his competition has been awful and his activity has been less than great, and he's falling a long way behind some of his amateur contemporaries, such as Filip Hrgovic, Tony Yoka and Joe Joyce. If he stops Heaven, as expected, it's then a must for Dychko to step up in class.
The other Kazakh on this card is Mussa Tursyngaliyev (9-0, 6), who is pencilled in for a major step up in class as he takes on former world title challenger Ricardo Nunez (29-9, 23). On paper this looks a really tough match up for the unbeaten Tursyngaliyev however it should be noted that Nunez had his best wins down at Flyweight and Super Flyweight, and Tursyngaliyev is at Featherweight. Natural size difference will likely be the key between these two here.
Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as we get an IBF world title eliminator at 140lbs as well as a must win bout for a former Japanese title challenger.
The main event is the aforementioned world title eliminator, which will see teak tough Japanese veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) battle against unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (14-0, 11), with the winner getting a shot at the IBF Light Welterweight title. The Japanese fighter came to the attention of international fans in 2017, when he battled Sergey Lipinets in a surprisingly competitive contest, and since then has scored a couple low profile stoppages whilst staying busy. Downua on the other hand is a touted Thai hopeful who hasn't fought major names, but has impressed and was really sharp in December, when he stopped Sonny Katiandagho in 3 rounds to defend the IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title. The Thai is a heavy handed fighter, with good speed and timing, but this is a big step up for him. We're looking forward to this one, a lot, even if neither man would be regarded as a serious test for any of the current world champions. Our preview of this bout is available here Kondo and Downua battle in IBF eliminator!
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Lightweight title challenger Masashi Noguchi (12-11-1, 6) fighting in a must win contest. Noguchi has lost his last 6, including a stoppage losses to Shuhei Tsuchiya, Satoshi Hosono and Reiya Abe, and another loss likely ends his career. In the opposite corner to Noguchi will be Tasuku Nakagawa (7-4-1, 3), who has lost 3 of his last 4 and needs a win of his own. This is a real must win for both men.
This coming Saturday sees a new month begin, and it kicks off in stylee with a strong card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of card will see the Japanese Bantamweight title finally have a champion crowned, after having been vacated in January by Ryo Akaho and having seen several bouts to crown a new champion fall through. The void at the top of domestic scene will be filled by either Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) or Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8) who will both see this as a massive opportunity to claim a national title. Saito was supposed to face Suguru Muranaka for the title earlier in the year before Muranaka pulled out due to making weight. Kikuchi on the other will be getting his first title bout since losing to Shingo Wake in an OPBF title fight way back in 2013. The winner of this will likely enter 2019 with a target on their back, but will have claimed the biggest win of their career.
The leading support bout will see former Japanese and OPBF champion Charles Bellamy (27-3-2, 18) taking on Yuto Shimizu (12-3-2, 5) in a bout between Japanese ranked fighters. The hard hitting Bellamy has struggled for activity in recent years but is devastating at this level and will know, at the age of 36, that he really only has more run left in his body. A win over Shimizu will not assure Bellamy of a title shot, but will move him much closer to one. As for Shimizu this will only be his third fight since the start of 2016, and his first of note since losing to Yuki Nonaka more than 2 years ago. At 30 years old Shimizu has got youth on his side but would need a career best performance to pick up a win here.
In another notable supporting bout we'll see the very talented Reiya Abe (17-2, 8) battle against Masashi Noguchi (12-10-1, 6). Originally the plan had been for Abe to fight in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator but with no suitable opponents being able and free he's fighting a bit of a stay busy bout whilst awaiting for a title fight, likely in 2019. Abe is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak, which saw him avenge one of his defeats and over-come the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satoshi Hosono. Noguchi is a former Japanese title challenger, but comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight losses. Noguchi has no momentum coming into this and has been hand selected to keep Abe busy, but won't be expected to offer much competition.
Arguably the biggest single name on this card is recent world title contender Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17), who will be looking to tick over with a stay busy fight of his own. The teak tough Kondo will be up against domestic journeyman Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-11-1, 9) in what should be Kondo's second victory since losing in 2017 to Sergey Lipinets in an IBF title fight. Miyazaki has been stopped in 8 of his 11 losses and we suspect to see another loss here for the 34 year old. Miyazaki has got power, but given the toughness of Kondo we don't think that will matter too much in this bout.
On paper one of the more even match ups will see the in form Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) take on Shingo Kusano (11-6-1, 4), who is one of the two men to hold a win over the aforementioned Reiya Abe. Takahashi has rebuilt well since suffering an August 2017 defeat, and was last seen scoring an upset win in Thailand against Mike Tawatchai for a regional IBF title. Kusano on the other hand has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and is without a win since February 2016, when he defeated a Thai novice. It's hard to see past a Takahashi victory here, but he should get some good rounds in against a usually durable foe.
One other fighter of note on this show is Hayate Kaji (10-0, 8), who will be taking on a Thai foe. The talented Kaji has looked fantastic at times, but a disappointing performance last December against Jun Blazo has left some serious questions for him to answer. If Kaji can commit himself to the sport his potential is huge, but her really does just need to make sure he can focus on his training and what he needs to do in the ring. We're not expecting him to be tested here, but we are hoping to see an impressive performance from the Japanese youngster.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see veteran Sirimongkol Singwancha (95-4, 60) continue his journey to being a centurion as he take on Muhammad Nsubuga (0-6-1) in a bout for the vacant Thai Light Heavyweight title. The 41 year old Sirimongkol, who had world title reigns at Bantamweight and Super Featherweight more than a decade ago, is long past his prime but clear still has hunger and that shows by the fact he'll be fighting at 175lb for the first time in his career. Ugandan born Thai based Nsuubuga has been stopped in 6 of his 7 bouts and we suspect he'll be stopped again here as Sirimongkol marks his 100th professional bout!
This coming Friday fight fans in Japan get two shows, whilst Korean fans get one, and even Indian fans have something worthy of their attention!
The biggest single show takes place in Hyogo where we get two title fights, a notable debut and a former Japanese champion all in action.
The main event will be a world title fight, and will see talented WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) battle against heavy handed challenger Vic Saludar (17-3, 10). The champion, who won the title last year, will be making his second defense and will be looking to shine again, just like he did in an eye opening domination of Moises Calleros back in March. Although seen as the less notable champion at 105lbs Yamanaka does look a very classy fighter. For Saludar this bout will be his second title shot, and he will be looking to prove that his performance against Kosei Tanaka wasn't a fluke performance, but a sign that he really should be competing at world level. This really is an excellent match up between a brilliant pure boxer, and a brutal puncher.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (15-1, 5) take on Filipino foe Orlie Silvestre (11-3-1, 7) in a out for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Earlier this year Konishi came up short against Carlos Canizales, though really looked like a great little fighter with insane bravery and an incredible desire to win. The Japanese fighter will be the favourite here, but Silvestre has nothing to lose and everything to win. The Filipino fighter comes into this on the back of 5 straight wins and will feel confident of scoring a career best victory here.
Former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (18-4-1, 10) looks to score his first win of 2018 and takes on limited Filipino foe Rey Ramos (8-8-2, 3). Nishitani really failed to build on his March 2017 upset win over Shuhei Tsuchiya, having scored only a single win since then over a limited Thai, but he has talent and shouldn't struggle to over-come Ramos here. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, including 2 by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him having anything to trouble Nishitani with.
One other bout of note will see Yuki Yamauchi (0-0) make his debut, as he takes on Jimboy Rosales (3-2-1, 2). The Japanese debutant was a sensational amateur, with notable results on the high school, national and world university level. Aged 23 big things are expected of Yamauchi and this looks like a pretty interesting opponent for his debut, with Rosales having gone unbeaten in his last 4, following back-to-back losses to begin his career. If Yamauchi is as good as anticipated then he really could make an instant impact here.
A second Japanese show will take place in Tokyo, and was originally set to feature two former world title contenders in action.
The planned main event was a bout set to have Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17) take on domestic foe Quaye Peter (11-9-3, 6). Sadly for the teak tough Kondo, who is best known for his November 2017 loss to Sergey Lipinets, this bout has been cancelled due to Peter suffering an injury a a week or so before the show was set to take place.
A a result of Peter's injury the card will now be headlined by former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20), who returns to the ring following medical problems that forced him to vacate the Japanese Bantamweight title. It was expected that Akaho would be matched incredibly easily but instead he will be up against Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-3-3, 15). At his best Akaho is a tough, aggressive fighter, who has beaten the likes of Yushi Tanaka, Hiroaki Teshigawara, Masaaki Serie and Yohei Tobe. Sadly though it's unclear how much the health issues has taken from the Japanese fighter. As for the visitor he has got a pretty padded record, and has lost recent bouts to Qiu Xiao Jun and Ryoichi Tamura, but is a tougher opponent than expected for Akaho's ring return.
Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul there will be a small card courtesy of former world champion Myung Woo Yuh and his Buffalo Promotion.
The main event will be an interesting match up between 22 year old Ki Soo Lee (6-3) and 30 year old Hwan Young Jo (5-4, 1). The youngster has had mixed for, though showed he was a capable fighter last December when he ran the touted Katsuya Yasuda close in Yokohama and will look for his third win since that loss. On the other hand Jo hasn't really shined, but is certainly not going to be a push over here and should make for a good dance partner for Lee. Only real issue here is that neither man is much of a puncher.
In another bout of note on this card fans will see unbeaten fighters collide with Do Jin Lee (5-0-2) taking on Jong Sun Gang (4-0, 1). Lin is a 17 year old who made his debut at the age of 16 and despite only fighting in 4 rounders so far is worth following as he moves into his first 6 rounder. As for Gang he has been a professional since November last year and has been busy, but will also be taking part in his first 6 rounder.
London, United Kingdom
As for Indian fans they will turn their attention to London, England, as national hero Vijender Singh (10-0, 7) takes on Lee Markham (17-4-1, 7) for the Commonwealth Super Middleweight title. The Indian star is now 32 years old and his team won't keep holding him back for long. A win here could well open big doors for him and takes him much closer to a potential world title shot. On paper Markham looks limited but he is a former English Middleweight champion who has score several notable results on the British scene, including a draw with Frank Buglioni. Singh should be favoured, but Markham is a very live under-dog coming in to this one.
In Tokyo this coming Friday fight fans will see the next Asign Bee show.
The main event of the card is a mouth watering match up between Reiya Abe (16-2, 8) and Daisuke Watanabe (6-3, 3). Coming in to this Abe is ranked the JBC, OPBF and IBF and looks to be well on his way to a title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satosho Hosono. On paper Watanabe looks like an easy opponent for for the red hot Abe but the reality is that Watanabe is a very credible fighter who holds notable wins over the likes of Jun Blazo, Yosuke Fujihara and Gakuya Furuhashi. This is a really well matched bout and should be very contest in the ring.
In the led support bout recently title challenger Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16) will be up against a Thai foe. Kondo gained some international respect last November when he gave the talented Sergey Lipinets a competitive 12 round bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, this will be his first bout since loss
In another notable bout fans will see the under-rated Ryohei Takahashi (13-3-1, 5) battle Tetsuya Koyama (7-9, 2). The under-rated Takahashi has been matched hard, but looks like someone who will always be able to mix in and around the top of the domestic level. He shouldn't struggle with Koyama, but Koyama is the naturally bigger man and could ask some questions of his man.
Another bout worth noting from this card is a competitive contest between Ryuto Araya (11-6-1, 3) and Tatsuya Otsubo (10-8-1, 3). Both of these men have fought in title bouts, with Otsubo losing a decision to the then Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono in 2015 and Araya losing to then then OPBF Featherweight champion Rtyo Takenaka early last year. It's also worth noting that these two fought last October in a nail biting fight,that Otsubo won with cards of 76-75 in his favour from all 3 judges. This could be the highlight of the card.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia local fans will see hard hitting prospect Brock Jarvis (12-0, 11) take on once beaten Indonesian fighter Hamson Tiger Lamandau (8-1-1, 5). The hard hitting Jarvis has stopped his last 11 foes, including the notable but very shop worn Rasmanudin, and looks like one of the most exciting prospects down under. As for Lamandau he is best known for suffering a 6th round loss to Hinata Maruta last year, and has fought only once since then.
This coming Saturday is a pretty stacked day of action with a pair of world title fights, a regional title fight, a pair of Japanese title eliminators and a non-title bout featuring a controversial world champion.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The first of the world title fights will see WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (11-0, 9) defending the title he was recently handed, following Badou Jack's decision to avoid Bivol who has seen his “interim” title being upgraded. The talented Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter will be up against Trent Broadhurst (20-1, 12) in what looks likely to be little more than a showcase defense. The destructive Bivol looks like one of the best young fighters in the sport, with text books skills, an impressive engine, a fantastic in-ring mentality and very heavy hands. On paper Broadhurst looks like a good opponent, and has won his last 13 bouts, but is unlikely to be able to live with the work rate and power of Bivol, who will be expected to stop the challenger with few problems.
New York, USA
The other title fight will see unbeaten Kazakh born Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10) take on Japan's Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Terence Crawford. Of the two men it's Lipinets who has been the more impressive, with 4 stoppages in a row including wins over Leonardo Zappavigna and Levan Ghvamichava. The Kazakh, much like the previously mentioned Bivol, is an exciting and heavy handed fighter with an aggressive mentality. As for Kondo he's a tough fighter, as most Japanese fighters are, with a good engine and good form, having won his last 8 including stoppages over Patomsuk Pathompothong, Jeffrey Arienza and Yuya Okazaki.. Given the toughness of Kondo and the aggression of Lipinets it's hard not to get excited about this bout, despite the fact that Lipinets will be the very clear betting favourite.
Whilst the biggest fighters aren't in Japan we are really excited about a Japanese card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9) defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles against Randall Rayment (8-3, 3). The Japanese boxer-mover became the first Japanese fighter to unify the Japanese, WBO AP. And OPBF titles and will be determined to continue that reign as he slowly moves towards a potential world title fight, though has seen such a contest with Joseph Parker recently falling through. Rayment is a real unknown but he has won his last 6 and is coming in with a bit of momentum, though has never gone beyond 6 rounds and is stepping up massively.
In a Japanese Super Bantamweight Japanese title eliminator we'll see Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) battle former champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9), with the #1and #2 facing off for a shot at the title in 2018. The 28 year old Nakagawa has gone 11-0-1 (6) since a 2012 loss to Breilor Teran back in 2012 and whilst his competition hasn't been great he does hold notable wins over Yosuke Fujihara, Monico Laurente and Yuta Saito. Ishimoto on the other hand is a real fan favourite who has engaged in some thrilling contests at the top of the domestic scene with the likes of Yukinori Oguni, Gakuya Fukuhara, Yusaku Kuga, Shingo Wake and Yota Sato, among others. Aged 36 Ishimoto has seen better days, but is certainly coming in to this one as a hungry and determined fighter wanting another title run.
An even better title eliminator takes place at Middleweight, as the once beaten Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) takes on the thrilling Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6). Fukumoto burst on to the pro scene in 2012, blowing out Dondon Lapuz in 130 seconds, but would lose his third bout to the dangerous Arnel Tinampay. Since then he has reeled off 9 straight wins to right the ship and now looks like a much improved fighter who came undone against Tinampay. As for Takesako he was a genuine amateur star before making his professional debut in 2015. As a professional he has been destructive with all 6 of his wins coming in a combined 12 rounds and he looks like the type of fighter who will enter the ring with every intent of continuing that stoppage run here.
In one of two notable under-card bouts we'll see the exciting Akinori Watanabe (34-6, 29) take on Filipino journeyman Dennis Padua (11-12-2, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for Watanabe, who is looking for a second straight win after losing two in a row. The other under-card bout of note will see former amateur stand out Kazuki Saito (3-0, 3) battle against heavy handed Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (8-1, 7). The talented Saito has the skills to go a long way, but does have question marks over him, especially given that he was dropped by Jimmy Borbon last time out. Lagumbay is stepping up massively, but is clearly a puncher and will be looking to stop Saito and propel himself towards an OPBF title fight.
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One other bout of note sees unbeaten, and controversial, WBC Bantamweight champion Luis Nery (24-0, 18) fight in a non-title bout against Filipino Arthur Villanueva (31-2, 17). The Mexican, who failed a drugs test for his bout against Shinsuke Yamanaka but appears to have seen the WBC turn a blind eye to his failed drug's test and haven't yet stripped him. The Filipino has lost in his two most notable bouts, and we can't help but feel he'll come up short again here, potentially suffering his first stoppage loss in the process.
We get the next of the A-Sign shows this coming Friday and it's another really solid card, littered with really solid Japanese domestic match ups. It won't get a lot of headlines but it will provide some really good action for the fans in attendance.
The main event will see Akihiro Kondo (28-6-1, 15) take on Yuya Okazaki (12-9-2, 4) in what should be an entertaining bout, but a one-sided one. Of the two men Kondo is the one who will be strongly favoured, and in fact he's on the verge of a potential world title fight and is essentially risking that shot here. Okazaki is a former OPBF title challenger and is generally a tough guy, but shouldn't really be able to hold his own here against a resurgent Kondo who has won his last 7.
Arguably the best on the card will see touted youngster Kazuki Tanaka (7-0, 5) take on the twice beaten Ryohei Takahashi (10-2-1, 2). Touted as a star from his debut Tanaka has looked great at times, but less than great at others and does appear to be falling short of expectation so far. Although he has two losses to his name Takahashi is better than his record suggests, having lost on debut back in 2012 and also losing to the talented Andrew Moloney in Australia. Takahashi comes into this following a brilliant win over Wataru Takeda last October.
Also on this card is an interesting rematch as former world title challenger Tomomi Takano (9-2, 6) takes on Kai Johnson (5-10-3, 2), who actually inflicted Takano's first loss. The taller, younger, rangier Tankano will be looking for revenge but was worn down by the hungrier Johnson when the two clashed in June 2014. Johnson has lost 5 in a row since beating Takano, but will fancy her chances again here.
In the Philippines fans will see Boy Dondee Pumar (10-7-3, 4) battle for the PBF Super Bantamweight title.