After a little pause in the action it now seems everything has come alive and this weekend ends with a number of interesting bouts, including a major showdown in Yemen and a really good bout in Japan.
For us the best of the Japanese bouts comes from the Fukuoka show which is scheduled to feature a number of interesting bouts with one in particular standing out as being something a little bit special.
The main event on this card will see Aiki Koto (8-1-1, 4) battle against Yamato Uchinono (5-3-5, 3) in an interesting looking 8 rounder, but not the best on the show. Koto brings an 8 bout unbeaten run into the contest, including a streak of 6 successive wins, and will enter as the clear favourite. Uchinono however is a potential banana skin and this could be more interesting than records suggest.
For us the stand out bout isn't the main event but instead the main support bout which will see once beaten Japanese ranked Hideo Sakamoto (15-1-2, 5) battles against the highly capable Ryoichi Tamura (3-1-1, 1). Sakamoto comes into this bout on the back of a huge win last year over Hiroki Shiino and is on a 5 fight winning streak dating back to 2011. On paper Sakamoto is clearly going to be favoured given his experience. Tamura however is no push over and his competition for a novice has been insane, including his 8th round TKO win last time out against Kenji Kubo. This could end up being something very special.
On paper another competitive bout on this card will see Yuki Miyoshi (11-4-3, 9) battle against Koichi Ito (10-3-2, 9) in what looks likely to be an explosive encounter at Lightweight. Both of these guys can whack but neither has the best of chins and this could be over very early and in very exciting fashion.
One other 8 round on this card will see OPBF and Japanese ranked 154lb fighter Yosuke Kirima (19-4-2, 13) in action against tough journeyman Hideo Mikan (7-8-1, 2). Mikan has lost 3 of his last 4 but has only been stopped once in his 16 fight career. As for Kirima he'll be hoping to keep his current winning run alive and avoid a major upset, like the one he suffered against Arnel Tinampay, in another bout he was supposed to win.
The other Japanese card comes from Aichi and looks like the lesser of the two shows with only one bout that really looks even slightly interesting.
The standout bout here is again the chief support bout which will see light hitting Flyweight hopeful Yuji Shimizu (17-8-1, 1) battle against the less experienced Tomohiro Sawada (8-4-2, 4) in a good domestic clash that sees the two men meeting for the second time. In their first meeting way back in April 2011 Shimizu won a close decision and will be favoured to do the same again but this could be very competitive with Sawada looking to avenge one of his losses and Shimizu attempting to extend his current 3 fight winning run.
Although we like the chief support bout we do need to note the main event which will also be a rematch as the heavy handed Daisuke Hayakawa (8-3, 7) battles against tough Filipino journeyman Roque Lauro (12-16-4, 2) for a second time. In their first meeting, last December, Lauro sprung the upset with an 8 round decision and will be hoping to repeat the feat again here in a bout that could see Hayakawa's once promising career being left in tatters.
Another potentially interesting bout comes at Welterweight where Marcos Sogabe (6-9-1, 5) attempts to avenge a 2011 loss to Shinich Tsukahara (8-7-3, 3). We don't expect this bout to a domestic fight of the year contender but we do suspect that both men will give it their all in what could turn out to be a very competitive bout.
In Yemen we appear to have a brilliant and key match up that has been rescheduled several times. This bout will see world ranked puncher Ali Raymi (24-0, 24) battle against fellow unbeaten puncher Hani Ansi (18-0-1, 16) in a bout to decide who really the best in Yemen. Raymi will be risking his world rankings as he attempts to capture the UBO Super Flyweight title whilst Ansi will be looking to record the biggest win of his career, by far.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
With a huge weekend coming up we suspect that a bunch of fans really just can't wait for this week to end however we do have some interesting, and we'll admit we use that term liberally, bouts this Thursday.
Probably the most notable bout of the day comes from the new infamous Yemeni Boxing Gym in Sanaa where unbeaten KO machine Ali Raymi (23-0, 23) puts his unbeaten record on the line in an attempt to claim the UBO Light Flyweight title. Raymi will be fighting fellow Yemeni fighter Prince Maz (9-3, 7) in what will be their 4th contest this year. Raymi claimed the lightly regarded IBI Minimumweight title with a 9th round retirement of Maz in October and it seems both men are stepping up a division for a bout that we believe will be aired on Yemeni national TV. We've got to admit that the rivalry between the two men is becoming farcical.
Surat Thani, Thailand
A more serious show comes from Thailand where we see two unbeaten Thai's in regional title fights whilst a former world title challenger is also featured in action.
The main event here will see novice professional Petchmanee Kokietgym (3-0) battle against fellow unbeaten Ardi Tefa (4-0, 3) in a 12 round contest for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Minimumweight title. Petchmanee will be stepping up to 12 rounds for the first time after scoring solid wins for a novice over the likes of Domi Nenokeba and Wilber Andogan. For Indonesian fighter Tefa this will be his first bout outside of of his homeland and appears to be a big step up for the 28 year old dubbed the "Predator". On paper this looks genuinely interesting though we do suspect the Thai will be too well schooled for visiting opponent.
In the other title fight fans will see the unbeaten Saenganan KKP (9-0, 5) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title against Indonesian southpaw Demsi Manufoe (9-3, 6). This will be the first defense from Saenganan who won the title in August when he defeated Filipino Wilber Andogan in what was a less than stellar bout. We're expecting a win from the Thai here though we're unsold on him overall following his less than impressive performance Domi Nenokeba earlier this year.
The aforementioned world title challenger on this card is the highly experienced Sod Kokietgym (63-3-1, 28) who will be fighting for the first time since his opening round loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux back in July. At the time of writing his opponent has yet to be named.
It's fair to say that September has began very slowly with several days without action. Thankfully the sport returns to our attention on this Wednesday with a small number of fights involving Asian's.
The most notable action of the day takes place in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa as world record holder Ali Raymi (22-0, 22) battles Abdu Rafik (4-0, 1). This will see Raymi looking for his 23rd successive stoppage and although his opening round stoppage run has come to an end, courtesy of Prince Maz, his stoppage run is still a live. If Raymi wins here, and scores his second win in less than a week, we expect him to climb further up the rankings and toward a world title shot though of course whether or not he'll ever get a shot at a belt is still up for debate and some fans would question an organisation which would allow him to fight for a title having beaten no one but domestic rivals.
On the same card the 15 year old Ali Rafik (5-0, 4) will be fighting against debutant Murad Ahmad (0-0). We's suspecting that if Rafik wins here he'll be lined up next for Raymi who seems happy to continue his raid against unbeaten fighters.
As well as the action in Yemen there is also a notable fight in Australia where Filipino born Australian based journeyman Rey Anton Olarte (17-23-9, 4) battles against the exciting Shannon King (7-1, 7) for the Australian Light Middleweight title. Olarte enters this bout 1-1-1 in his last 3 though that includes a draw last time out against the unbeaten Craig Hill and a very narrow defeat to Michael Zerafa, both of those fights could have gone Olarte's way. King is hard hitting and all action but this is a lot more competitive than some may think.
When we talk about boxing from Yemen there is one fighter who has been remarkably inactive this year, Ali Raymi (20-0, 20). The opening round KO machine was one of the busiest fighters last year as he scored a remarkable 16 wins though has unfortunately been inactive since November last year. He returns this coming Thursday to battle against fellow unbeaten fighter Prince Maz (8-0, 6). Maz has racked up 3 wins this year, in fact he scored all 3 of those wins in the space of 8 days, though will still go in as the "under-dog" in this fight against the world ranked Raymi.
A second fight on this card will see the unbeaten Ali Rafik (3-0, 3) fighting against Taha Kawkabani (1-1). Unfortunately for both of these men this bout is likely to get over-looked due to the return of Raymi in the main event. Looking at the results of both men it's hard to see anything but a victory for Rafik, despite the fact he is just 15 years old. For those wondering, that's not a typo.
This Friday promises to be a day to remember in the boxing world, though not necessarily for the right reasons.
We'll start our look at the key fights by looking at Japan, more precisely the show at the Abeno Ward Center in Osaka.
This Osaka show, which features 9 bouts is headlined by the return of former OPBF champion Hiroshige Osawa (23-3-4, 12). Osawa who had his JBC license taken from him a year ago after fighting in a controversial bout in South Korea has now been re-instated and will be facing the limited Tetsuya Nishinaga (11-7-1). The bout does look like a clear mismatch but it's focus should be the fact that it's Osawa's return rather the fact it's uncompetitive looking.
On the same Osaka show there is one other notable bout as the Japanese ranked Yutaka Oishi (10-3, 6) takes on Hiroshi Ohashi (7-6, 3) in an 8 round bout. Oishi, ranked #9 at 154lbs in Japan, will be favoured big time here with Ohashi ending a 32 month break from the ring and having lost his last fight by 1st round TKO to Carlos Linares though we have seen unexpectedly struggle in the past.
As well as the Osaka show there is also an interesting card in Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall.
This show is headlined by the always fun to watch Shuhei Tsuchiya (14-2, 12), pictured, who will be taking on the somewhat easy looking Kazutaka Takakuwa (9-7, 2). This is Tsuchiya's first bout since suffering back-to-back stoppage losses to Shoji Kawase and Masayoshi Nakatani and so easy assignment here is no real shock, he will however not be forgiven for a third successive set back.
The co-feature here sees the OPBF and Japanese ranked fighter Nobuyuki Shindo (14-2, 5) put his Welterweight rankings on the line as he takes on Daisuke Sakamoto (7-7-1, 3). Unfortunately for those expecting this to be competitive it's worth noting that Sakamoto was stopped in his most recent bout, he's been inactive for over a year and has lost 5 of his last 7. This really does look like a mismatch.
Unfortunately two of the original 9 bouts on this show have been cancelled, including a contest between Takehiro Shimokawara (19-8-2, 6) and Thai visitor Yodmongkol Singmanasak (12-12-1, 7), There will however be 7 fights in total if you're at the Korakuen on Friday and want to see a card dubbed " The Greatest Boxing Vol 17".
Boxrec current list a single scheduled bout to take place in Yemen. This fight is set to see Yemeni KO machine Ali Raymi (20-0, 20) taking on Thailand's unbeaten Samson Dutch Boy Gym (43-0, 36). On paper this is an amazing match up with the fighter's combined record coming to 63-0 (56) though with Raymi being 40 and Samson ending an 11 year break from the ring the bout isn't actually all that.
We'll admit we have out doubts about this bout being fought "as listed" and suspect that Raymi will be fighting a different opponent to Samson, though if the fight does go ahead we're sure to see several forums sniggering at the result, whatever it is.