Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday the Korakuen Hall plays host to the next show in the Diamond Glove series of events televised, on tape delay, by Fuji TV. Although not a massive card it does have a Japanese title bout, along with some very interesting supporting bouts, with some of the stars of the latest Rookie of the Year looking to shine.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) look to make his second defense of the title, which he took from Koki Inoue in 2020, as he takes on the unbeaten Masahiro Suzuki (5-0, 3). The tough and rugged Nagata will come in to this as a huge favourite and will try to use his physicality and pressure to break down the smaller, less experienced Suzuki, however that might not be as easy to do as Nagata might think. Suzuki, although inexperienced as a professional was a very good amateur and has impressed since kicking off his professional career with an excellent win against Antonio Siesmundo. This will be pressure against movement, and those bouts do tend to make for some very good stylistic clashes. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Nagata defends against unbeaten Suzuki!
In a really, really good looking chief support bout we'll see the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (3-0, 3) take on the once beaten Hikaru Fukunaga (8-1, 5) in a very solid 6 rounder. Kimura has looked fantastic since making his professional debut, late last year, and clearly has his eyes on getting title fights later this year. To do that he needs to keep winning and can't afford a slip up here against Fukunaga. As for Fukunaga he reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but sadly tested posted for Covid19 before the bout and was unable to compete in his scheduled bout. With that disappointment we expect to see Fukunaga come in to this bout full of hunger and desire, and he could be a real test for Kimura in this mouth watering contest.
Another excellent match up on the under-card will see All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Ryota Karimata (6-0, 3) take on Hayato Aoki (4-0, 3) in a brilliant match up. The 25 year old Karimata is one of the potential stars from the belated Rookie of the Year tournament, and he looked solid through the tournament, despite some struggles in the final against Hyogo Kimura. He's aggressive, heavy handed, and a fun to watch fighter who lets his hands go. Aoki on the other hand is a 36 old who knows he can't afford any more set backs if he's ever going to secure a title fight. Expect to see a hot tempo set early on and bombs to be thrown by both men in this one.
Another notable standout from the latest Rookie of the Year tournament was Akira Hoshuyama (5-0, 2), who won a Flyweight. He will be looking to build on his Rookie success with a bout against former amateur standout Shisui Kawabata (2-2, 2), who has struggled since moving over to the professional ranks. Hoshuyama's Rookie of the Year final, against Yasuhiro Kanzaki, was one of the more controversial, and exciting, finals and he'll be looking to put to bed some question marks that hang over his head from that bout. Kawabata on the other hand desperately needs a win after back to back losses to Rikito Shiba and Yuki Nakajima. Kawabata might have two losses in 4, but he can fight, and if he clicks here he could end rebuilding rapidly, and becoming the fighter many expected him to become when he made his debut in early 2018.
The remaining bout on this carer will see the crude but fun to watch Shota Ogasawara (6-3, 3) take on Rookie of the Year runner up Naito Oikawa (3-1, 1) in a 6 rounder. This isn't a great bout, but it should be regarded as a must win for both men, following some disappointing performances in recent contests.
For a third day in a row we get world title action this Sunday as South Africa plays host to an interesting match at world level. As well as the action in South Africa we also get Rookie of the Year action in Japan and a card in India in what a very nice Sunday for fight fans, coming off back to back busy days!
Olive Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The would title bout in question will see IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26) looking to make his 4th defense as he takes on unbeaten Filipino youngster Jayson Mama (15-0, 8). The bout isn't just a normal defense for the well travelled Mthalane but will be his first professional bout in his home area of KWa-Zulu-Natal, and is set to be an emotional night for the veteran. Aged 38 it's hard to know how much longer Mthalane can go on, though he has rarely come close to losing since his 2008 defeat to Nonito Donaire. At 23 years old Mama is the much, much younger fighter, though their is perhaps some concern he is getting this fight too soon, and wins against the likes of Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Kwanthai Sithmoreseng haven't done enough to prepare him for someone as talented, experienced and battle hardened as Mthalane. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Mama takes on South African great Mthalane for IBF title
*At the time of publishing there is RUMOURS that Mthalane Vs Mama has been cancelled - we are currently awaiting an official confirmation from the promoter of either man. Please keep an eye out for updates regarding this world title bout.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the high profile action in South Africa we also get the annual East Japan Rookie of the Year final over in the Japanese capital. Originally there was 12 bouts scheduled for this show, but the Light Flyweight bout has been cancelled, leaving us with just 11.
Before we get on to the bouts, it should be noted that any match up on this show where both fighters have at least 4 wins, will be fought over 5 rounds, and not 4 as listed on Boxrec at the time of writing.
The stand out bout on the show will be a clash between teenage sensation Kosuke Tomioka (4-0, 3) and Shunpei Kubo (5-1-1, 3), who meet at Super Flyweight. Since the tournament began Tomioka, a stylish and exciting youngster, has been tipped as the favourite and has barely lost a minute on route to the final. Kubo on the other hand wasn't given too much of a chance, but has impressed during the tournament and will go in there knowing that a win would really build his career. Potentially a very interesting bout, with Tomioka's counter punching and speed going up against Kubo's aggression and work rate.
Staying with the little guys we expect explosive action with a match up between Shugo Namura (4-0, 4) and Akira Hoshuyama (3-0, 2), who clash in a very good looking Flyweight bout. The heavy handed Namura, managed by former world title challenger Hiroyuki Sakamoto, has stopped all 4 of his opponents in the first 2 rounds and looks to be a really destructive and fun fighter. Hoshuyama has himself looked hard hitting, but also looked a solid boxer last time out and should make for a brilliant dance partner for Namaura. This could be a very violent and thrilling action bout.
At Lightweight we'll see American born Japanese based Dominique Kenshin (5-1, 2) take on unbeaten puncher Tsubasa Narai (5-0, 4). Kenshin caught our eye last year, but ended 2019 with an opening round loss to Hiro Ichimichi which took some shine off him. Since then however he has picked up 2 wins and does look a strong and powerful fighter. Narai on the other hand has been on a tear with 4 stoppages in 5 bout and will feel confident of repeating which Ichimichi did to Kenshin last year.
Marine Centre Club, Mumbai, India
We also get low level action in India, where most of the bouts will be 4 rounders. The one exception is the clash between the unbeaten pairing of Mohammed Zekria Zamani (4-0, 2) and Sagar Chaudhary (2-0, 1) at Welterweight. The 22 year old Zamani is an Afghan fighter who debuted in 2019, in India, and has also fought in Thailand, albeit against novices. Chaudhary on the other hand is a native Indian and in his last bout won a 4 rounder by incredibly wide margins, including 10 points on one card.