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.
This coming Wednesday Japanese fans have a day to look forward to, with a world title fight in Kyoto and an interesting, though much smaller, card in Tokyo. Both shows have very interesting main events but are a bit weak below the top bout.
Kyoto City Gym, Kyoto, Japan
Of the two cards it's the one in Kyoto which will get more attention, with a world title bout, a Japanese Youth title bout and a former world title challenger all in action.
That world title bout will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (18-0, 10) making his 9th defense of the title as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) in a mouth watering all Japanese clash. This will pit the skills, timing and boxing brain of the champion against the power, physicality and size of the challenger, and these sorts of bouts can make for very interesting contests. There is no doubting Kenshiro is the better boxer, and he's proven it with notable wins against the likes of Ganigan Lopez, Pedro Guevara, Milan Melindo and Randy Petalcorin and Tetsuya Hisada, but he has yet to beat a true puncher, and has been battling out of the ring with Covid19. As for Yabuki it is a step up in class for him, though he's coming in good form and has learned form his losses, including an early career defeat to Junto Nakatani and a loss to Cuban standout Daniel Matellon. Coming in to this the challenger has stopped 4 of his last 5 and has proven he can go rounds when he needs to, taking a decision over former Kenshiro foe Toshimasa Ouchi. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Kenshiro takes on Yabuki in defense #9!
In a Japanese Youth title bout at Flyweight we'll see Aoba Mori (7-2-1, 1) clash with Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2), in an interesting contest between two men who don't get much attention. The 21 year old Aoba is the younger man, and despite some set backs in recent bouts there is plenty of promise with him, as shown in his TKO win over Keisuke Iwasaki back in April. Although Mori has shown promise we suspect he will go in as the under-dog against Inoue, who is more well known and more established, having won Rookie of the Year and shared the ring with several notable domestic foes, including Kai Ishizawa. Neither man is a puncher, but both picked up stoppage wins last time out and will likely come in to this feeling they can hurt the other man. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese Youth Flyweight title bout see Aoba Mori and Yuga Inoue clash!
In a stay busy fight former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (36-5-4, 21) will be up against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-11-1, 4), in what really is a tick over bout for Osawa, who has sadly been inactive since beating Jason Butar Butar almost 2 years ago, and is certainly someone who's career has been negatively affected by the rise of Covid19. Osawa was on the verge of a world title fight going into last year, but it appearsthe chance of him getting a second shot are now dead in the water.
Sadly this show is essentially hidden away, despite how good it is, on what is essentially a Japanese PPV, costing 2,200Yen (around £15 or $20), a price that seems to be a sign of the times in Japanese boxing during the Pandemic era.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we get a Dangan card that has a stellar domestic main event, and a very interesting supporting bout.
The main will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) trying to get his career back on track as he takes on the under-rated Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5). Minamoto, who won the Japanese title in 2018, has failed to pick up a win in over 3 years now and desperately needs a big result if he's to keep open hopes of getting another title opportunity. Kusano on the other hand performed brilliant in a tournament in 2019 and 2020, losing in the final in a barn burner. This might not have much in terms of star power, but it could end up being a brutal war over 8 fascinating rounds.
In the main support bout former world champion Ayaka Miyao (23-9-2, 6) will be up against Kaori Nagai (6-2-3, 2). On paper this is a total mismatch in favour of Miayo, however he is now 38, she's had numerous injuries including a nasty one in 2016 against Nao Ikeyama, has failed to win her last 3, and was brutally knocked out last time out. Nagai on the other hand is riding a 5 winning streak and at 31 will feel she has youth, energy and health on her side. A real must win for Miyao and a huge opportunity for Nagai.