Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
To kick off the month of September attention turns to Tokyo, and the Ota-City General Gymnasium for a very notable card, albeit a very short card with just 4 bouts on it. And a card that will no be open to the public, as it will held behind closed doors due to a high level of Covid19 cases in Japan, however the under-card will be streamed by Shisei gym and the main event will be shown on TBS.
The card in question will feature two all debutant bouts to open up the card before a brilliant looking all-Japanese chief support bout, as the skilled, but often frustrating, Yuichiro Kasuya (14-3-2, 4) battles the dangerous, but flawed, Aso Ishiwaki (8-4-1, 6). Of the two men Kasuya is the much more technically skilled and the more well schooled boxer, but he's often been negative in the ring, and lacks fight changing power, something that has often been a problem in his recent bouts, especially given he's moved up from Super Featherweight to Light Welterweight. Ishiwaki on the other hand is a rough around the edges fighter with nasty power, a huge will to win, and a physically imposing style, which he will look to use here against the naturally smaller man. This should be a very, very interesting support bout.
Whilst the chief support bout is an interesting one it pales in comparison to the main event, which will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) defending his title against Francisco Rodriguez Jr (34-4-1, 24), in a rare bout between two men who unified titles 3 weight classes below the one where they are facing off themselves. Ioka has looked rejuvenated since his return to the sport, following a short lived retirement, and comes in to this on the back of an excellent win over Kosei Tanaka back in December. Sadly though Ioka also has the cloud hanging over his head of a drug testing issue that saw the JBC really getting embarrassed for the way they handled things, and it's something that could well be on his mind coming into this bout. As for Rodriguez this bout is a huge opportunity for him to prove that he's still one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, something he showed in 2014 when beat faced Katsunari Takayama. Sadly Rodriguez hasn't been as successful as Ioka since leaving the Minimumweight division and this will be his first real world level test since joining the division, though he is on a very nice winning run of 15 straight bouts dating back more than 5 years. Our full, in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ioka faces third straight mandatory as he battles Rodriguez!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we'll get live televised action from Japan, as Teiken put on a show case of young talent live on G+ under the Dynamic Glove banner. The card isn't a major one, in fact if we're being honest it's a rather small one, but it's an interesting one with 4 intriguing match ups on it.
The main event of the card will see former amateur standout Gonte Lee (2-0-1, 1) take on the always fun to watch Aso Ishiwaki (8-3-1, 6). The talented Lee turned professional with high expectations but has been unable to deliver on those expectations so far, though that is partly due to being unfortunate and being out of the ring for the entire of 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic. He's a real talent, but things do need to kick on for him and it's Teiken know that he needs to be matched hard. As for Ishiwaki he's a fun, talented fighter with an aggressive style, though he was, notably, battered at the end of last year, when Jin Sasaki smashed him in 3 rounds for the Japanese Youth title, and he'll be looking to bounce back from that loss. This could be a very, very good match up, as the skills of Lee go up against the pressure of Ishiwaki.
In the chief support bout we'll see veteran Tatsuya Takahashi (32-9-6, 21) take on Ryotaro Kawabata (12-4-2, 6), in a rescheduled that was first pencilled for January. With 47 bouts to name Takahashi is one of the most experienced fighters in Japan, but he's never been a very polished fighter and he can be out boxed, with opponents taking advantage of his various limitations and flaws. Despite his flaws he comes to fight and tends to give anyone a good test due to his tenacity and fighting spirit. As for Kawabata he is limited himself, as we saw last September against Tsubasa Murachi, but a more polished boxer than Takahashi. Sadly for Kawabata he has scored just a single win in the last 5 years.
In a really mouth watering clash the unbeaten Katsuya Fukui (2-0, 2) will be up against Hiroki Hanabusa (8-1-3, 3). The talented Fukui has looked really exciting and promising, with two quick blow out wins so far, but his competition has been limited and this will be his first bout against a domestic opponent and it'll be interesting to see how he copes with a fellow Japanese fighter who's looking to move his own career forward. The 22 year old Hanabusa is a talented fighter, who impressed in 2018 Rookie of the Year and was unbeaten until last August, when he was stopped in 5 rounds by the fantastic Toshiki Shimomachi. With that loss in mind we suspect Hanabusa will be more determined than ever to pick up a win here. Although not a huge bout this one could be very interesting.
Arguably the most interesting match up on the card is the professional debut of former amateur standout Kenji Fujita (0-0), who we've been waiting to see in the professional ring for almost a year now. The talented Fujita was a genuine amateur standout and he should be looking to make an impression here as he takes on Motosuke Kimura (3-5-2, 1) in a 6 rounder. Kimura has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, but is better than those numbers suggest and he should ask questions of Fujita, though it'd be a massive upset if Kimura won.
For those who want a late Christmas present, we have one of those for you this coming Saturday as Japan put on two shows and China also put on a show. One of those Japanese shows is a mouth watering card from Tokyo, which is set to be streamed live on the A-Sign YouTube channel whilst the second, from Aichi, will be shown on delay on Boxing Raise.
Christmas might be over, but the gifts keep coming!
Sumida City Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
The more significant of the two shows is the Tokyo one, and it's a genuinely stacked domestic card that should give us a big of everything. The main event should be a fairly technical contest, the opening bouts should be competitive under-card bouts, and we get at least one, if not two, shoot outs on a genuinely fantastic show.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) take on current OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3). Mishiro won't be risking his title here, in a 10 round bout at Lightweight, but the winner will certainly see their standing improve, and we could end up seeing the winner being just a fight or two away from a potential world title fight. Ito is, of course, the more well known fighter and the more established but he has only fought once since losing the WBO title to Jamel Herring in May 2019, and since then he has had a bout cancelled and has had surgery. Mishiro on the other hand is bit of advanced novice, who has been fast tracked to an OPBF title and already has several wins of note to his name, and other here would really boost his standing in the sport. We expect this to be a tactical early on, but will, sooner or later, descend into more of an exciting back and forth war.
Talking about wars we are really exciting about the Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title bout on this show, between Jin Sasaki (9-0, 8) and Aso Ishiwaki (8-2-1, 6), and this really should be a war. The hard hitting Sasaki has been creating a buzz with quick knockout and early wins, including a trio of success opening rounds wins, but Ishiwaki is the more proven man and a tough warrior. The 19 year old Sasaki really is a brutal boxer-puncher, and he's been swiping opponents aside with ease but has faced little in terms of competitive opposition. Ishiwaki has faced the much better competition, and has done so without much fuss, whilst creating a bit of an international following with his heart, energy, toughness and physical strength. This could be incredibly brutal war, and we do not expect it to go the scheduled 8 rounds. Our full preview of this one can be read here Sasaki and Ishiwaki clash for Youth Honours in potential Christmas Cracker!
On the subject of bouts not going the distance we don't imagine the 8 rounder between Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) and Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6) will see the final bell either. The hard hitting Kai Chiba was one looked at as a future regional champion, but a 2018 loss to Brian Lobetania, in a major upset, slowed his rise and he has only really began to rediscover his form in recent bouts, have now scored 5 straight wins. Ishikawa on the other hand is an explosive, heavy handed and wild fighter who comes into the ring with a war monger attitude and may well be too aggressive for Chiba to cope with. Interestingly this bout was delayed from earlier in the year following a positive Covid19 test for Ishikawa.
Former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (35-2-2, 23) looks to extend his current winning streak as he takes on youngster Yuto Nakamura (11-5-1, 8). The 34 year old Akaho has won his last 9 in a row though it does seem unlikely that he will land a third shot at a world title, following losses to Yota Sato and Pungluang Sor Singyu. At just 23 years old this is a great chance to Nakamura to show what he can do at a higher level following a short reign as the JBC Youth Super Flyweight champion. Sadly however it's hard to Imagine Nakamura coping with the power and strength of Akaho at Super Bantamweight.
One other bout worthy of attention is the second bout in Japan of "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (24-11-2, 13), who made his name in Mexico and the US. The exciting and rugged Sakai will be up against Takeru Kobata (8-4-1, 3). This really should serve as little more than a showcase for Sakai who should be too good, too strong and too powerful. Despite being the under-dog Kobata has some momentum coming into this, on the back of a solid win over Change Hamashima back in February. Even with that in mind it would still be a huge ask for him to be competitive with Sakai here.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The other show, the one from Aichi, is easier to over-look but does promise a very exciting main event between one of the biggest punchers at 108lbs and, strangely, just a single supporting bout.
The main event will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (11-3, 11) making his first defense of the belt as he takes on veteran Toshimasa Ouchi (22-9-3, 8). The hard hitting Yabuki moved down to Light Flyweight last year, stopping Rikito Shiba in 4 rounds and then blasting out Tsuyoshi Sato inside a round this past July to claim the title. Originally he had made his mark at Flyweight, losing in the 2016 Rookie of the Year final to Junto Nakatani, but looks much more suited to the 108lb limit and could find himself fighting for a world title in 2021. Ouchi on the other hand is a 35 year old, potentially getting his last notable fight. Although no world beater Ouchi has shared the ring with some notable names, including going 12 rounds with Kenshiro Teraji in 2016, and facing Kenichi Horikawa, shin Ono and Ryoichi Taguchi earlier in his career. Ouchi is tough, but we do wonder what his 35 year old body will do when it's caught by the power of Yabuki. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Yabuki faces first challenger as he takes on Ouchi
The only under-card bout scheduled for this show will see Teru Nobita (5-3-1, 2) face John Yano (5-6, 2). Nobita went through a run where he won 1 in 5, going 1-3-1, but did win last time out and will look to build on the momentum that December 2019 win over Kenshin Megumi. Yano on the other hand is a Japanese based Filipino who has stopped 2 of his last 3 and will be looking to show that power against Nobita. Potentially a much better bout than it looks on paper.
TSSG Center, Qingdao, China
As well as the action in Japan we also get a show from China, which is set to be one of their best of 2020.
In a bout at 154lbs we'll see Tonghui Li (12-2, 6) take on Dacong Wang (7-1-1, 1) in a bout for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental title. This will be Li's third bout since a loss to Jung Kyoung Lee, and at 30 years old it really is now or never for him to move his career forward. For Wang this is a massive step up in weight, but he has momentum on his side and is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run, and a 6 fight winning run. On paper this looks interesting, though we suspect Li's power and higher level experience will prove to be the difference.
The second bout of note will be an IBO International Lightweight title bout, pitting the unbeaten Ju Wu (9-0-2) against Xiao Tao Su (11-1, 6), with Wu looking to defend his minor IBO title for the first time. The talented Wu is the more skilled man and the naturally bigger fighter, but we do wonder how he will cope with Su's power, which has seen him score stoppages in his last 3.
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.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
The biggest bout for the day, at least for us, this coming Sunday will see Tajik born boxer-puncher Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (14-0, 11) take on unbeaten South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8) in an IBF world title eliminator. The Tajik, fighting outside of Russia for the first time, is seen as the under-dog but is riding a run of good wins against the likes of Emanuel Lopez, Malcolm Klassen and Robinson Castellnos. Fuzile has looked the part but this appears to be a step up for him against a dangerous and hungry fighter, who will be in the ring looking to cut the ring off and break him down. This has the potential to be an excellent, if low-key, bout between talented fighters each looking to stamp themselves on the division and secure a world title fight. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Tajik born Rakhimov and unbeaten South African Fuzile face off in eliminator!
In Osaka we have a small but notable Green Tsuda card featuring a female bout in the headliner and two notable supporting bouts.
The main event will see the talented Shione Ogata (11-6, 3) fighting in a non-title bout against Filipino foe Gretel De Paz (5-5-1, 2). The talented Ogata, has unified the OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and WBA Asia female Light Flyweight titles in her last 3 bouts and is quickly approaching a world title fight. Paz is here to make up the numbers and give Ogata a tune up before a bigger bout down the line. Paz has gone 1-4-1 in her last 6, but has proven to be tough and should take Ogata the scheduled 8 rounds here.
The all action Aso Ishiwaki (6-2-1, 4) features in one of the support bouts worth talking about. Ishiwaki is no world beater, but is a very exciting, hard hitting fighter and is well worth making a mental note of, especially given he is only 20 years old. Ishiwaki's opponent is 26 year old glass cannon Takuya Matsusaka (8-8, 7), who has only heard the final bell twice in 16 fights. Through his career so far Matsusaka has seen 12 of his bouts end in the first 2 rounds, so expect this one to be very explosive very early.
The other bout of note on this card will see the touted Rei Nakajima (1-0) fight in his second pro bout. Sadly Nakajima's opponent hasn't been announced at the time of writing, suggesting a late and limited foreign import, but Nakajima himself is regarded highly in Japan and is tipped to achieve notable success in the professional ranks, Nakajima debuted back in July and looked dominant, so we would certainly suggest fans make a mental note of him here, even if his opponents isn't likely to be much of a test.
In Tashkent we're expecting an Uzbek card stacked with notable names, though at the time of writing only half of the card is actually listed.
With no opponents currently listed for the show it's unlikely the card isn't going to be full of competitive match ups, however the card does have a host of notable Uzbek prospects listed for it. These include Olympic 2016 gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4), big punching Middleweight hopeful Ulugbek Khakberdiev (6-0, 4), novice professional Sanjar Tursunov (1-0, 1) and recent World Amateur Championship winner Bakhodir Jalolov (6-0, 6).
Samut Prakan, Thailand
In Thailand there's set to be a show-case of novices, in low profile bouts from the Blue Arena in Samut Prakan.
One of the bouts will be a battle between unbeaten fighters for a national title, as Boonrueang Phayom (2-0, 2) and Tongthep Taeyawong (3-0-1, 3) battle for the vacant Thai Bantamweight title. Little is known about these two fighters, but at 20 years old Boonrueang is the older man, whilst Thongthep is just 16. Notably both of these men have fought twice in recent months, and we do have to wonder, again, what the Thai commission's actually do to try and prevent youngsters from getting injured.
Another fighter who is fighting for the second time without much of a break is Nattapong Jankaew (1-0, 1), who debuted back in September 8th. Nattpong will be up against Kittipong Jareonroy (3-3, 1) in a bout for the Interim Thai Super Flyweight title. It's hard to get too excited here, especially given that Kittipong was stopped inside a round by Ryoji Fukunaga back in May.
A third title bout will see the unbeaten Pattawee Phansawat (3-0, 3) take on the wonderfully named Mega Daophommachan (0-0), from Laos, in a bout for the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (PAT) International Light Flyweight title.
Attention turns to Tokyo this coming Saturday as we get a really interesting Kadoebi card at the Korakuen Hall, headlined by a Japanese title fight but also featuring numerous other notable fighters.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) defending his title against unbeaten mandatory challenger Koki Inoue (12-0, 10), the third member of the Inoue clan. For the 37 year old Hosokawa this will be his third defense of the belt, which he won in 2017 against Koichi Aso. As for Inoue this will be his first title fight, and comes after a relatively disappointing performance against Marcus Smith, though a performance that did see Inoue battling with injuries. A full preview of this bout can be read here Another Inoue goes for gold, as Koki takes on Valentine Hosokawa.
In the chief support bout we'll see former OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-3-2, 11) take on durable Thai Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-3, 2). For Tyson this will be his first bout since signing with the Kadoebi Gym and his first bout since losing the OPBF title to Yasuyuki Akiyama in December 2017. Chaiwat on the other hand comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight losses, but has proven to be tough and almost went 7 complete rounds with Kazuto Takesako last year. Tyson should win, but will have to work for it.
An excellent supporting bout will see Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (13-7-2, 9) battle against Anthony Marcial (24-3-1, 22) of the Philippines.The talented Aoqui isn't a world beater, but is an exciting and fun yo watch fighter who has a notable fan base. Marcial on the other hand has an impressive looking record, but has mostly been a can crusher on the Filipino domestic scene. This could be a much, much better bout than it looks on paper, though we're expecting Aoqui to be too good for the visitor.
Another supporting bout will see Tsuyoshi Sato (8-1-1, 4) take on Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) in a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title tournament semi final bout. The exciting Sato is aggressive, all action and very fan friendly, whilst Tomioka is a big puncher, with questionable durability. This might end up being the bout of the show, and both are very fun to watch. It's worth noting that this bout will be a semi-final bout of a 4 man tournament to crown a new Japanese Light Flyweight youth champion, with the other semi-final taking place on April 11th.
Other supporting bouts will see Hironori Shigeta (5-1-1, 3) take on Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-5-1, 3) and Aso Ishiwaki (5-2, 3) battle Yoji Saito (1-1, 1). On paper neither of these bouts look amazing, but both promise a lot. Shigeta is a Japanese ranked Welterweight, and the 2017 Rookie of the year, whilst Takahashi is a very solid domestic level guy. Ishiwaki is the 2018 Lightweight Rookie of the Year whilst Saito is a former amateur standout, and despite having a loss on his record is very much a prospect to make a note of.
As well as the great show in Japan there is also a low key card in the Philippines. The headline bout here will see Eduardo Mancito (16-10-2, 9) battling against Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4). On paper this is a pretty good domestic bout, it's nothing amazing, but should be pretty competitive and that's always a good thing!