Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
April is set to be a very busy month for Asian fight fans, and it all kicks off at Korakuen Hall on April 1st thanks to a show from former world champion Hideki Todaka, who is co-promoting the show with Nitta gym. It's not a big show by any stretch, but there is an interesting main event and under-card bout featuring a friend of the site!
The main event will see former title challenger Ryo Hino (13-2-2, 8) return to the ring for the first time in well over a year as he takes on Ryukyu Oho (7-4, 4). The 30 year old Hino was last seen in the ring in December 2019, when he came up short Ryo Sagawa in a bout for the Japanese Feather, and was sadly out of the ring last year as Covid19 decimated Japanese boxing. Although not the best fighter out there he is a very capable boxer and comes into this bout with rankings from both the OPBF and the JBC. Oho on the other hand is a man struggling for form, going 2-3 in his last 5, but the 25 year old will know that a win here will put him in the mix for a domestic title fight.
The main support bout will see Caliente Koyasu (3-2, 1) in action, in a 4 rounder, as he takes on Tomohiro Igarashi (2-1, 1). The 31 year old Koyasu is a charismatic and easy to like fighter who started his career with back to back wins but has struggled recently, losing 2 of his last 3. Igarashi began his career in 2019 and competed in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year, where he ran into Tsubasa Narai. Coming in to this both men will be desperate for a win and they should make for a compelling 4 rounder.
One other bout worthy of note here is an all debutant bout between Ryota Shibuya (0-0) and Asato Sato (0-0). Whilst all debutant bouts are rarely big news they do tend to provide good action and we suspect this bout will be a very fun one between two youngsters. Shibuya is 19 years old and will be looking to end his teenage years with a win whilst Sato is slightly older at 23, regardless both are young fighters and both will be looking to begin their careers with a "W".
This coming Monday in Kanagawa sees us having the final big show before Christmas, with 4 bouts worthy of real attention, including 3 world title bouts.
The one non-title bout which is worthy real of attention will be the ring return of Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39), who fights for the first time in a year. The 4-weight world champion will be fighting his first bout in Japan in almost 5 years, and takes on Filipino foe Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4). On paper this looks like an easy win for Gonzalez, but with wear and tear and inactivity there are question marks about what he has left in the tank. Diocos is no world beater but has only been blown away once in 5 losses, and that was to Daigo Higa way back in 2017.
The first of the 3 world title bouts isn't expected to be shown on Fuji TV, but does look like it could be the best of the bouts on the show, with IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25) defending his title against Japanese legend Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16). This will be Mthalane's third defense and despite being the wrong side of 35 he did look very good in his last 2 bouts, and seems almost ageless. As for Yaegashi this is a chance to become a 4-time world champion, but he's looked very much like a fighter who has had a career that is taking it's toll on his body, and his 2017 loss to Milan Melindo certainly remains in our mind. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Yaegashi challenges IBF king Mthalane in battle of veterans!
The first of the two televised world title fights will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (16-0, 9) defending his belt against late replacement Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23). Originally Teraji was to face Felix Alvarado in a WBC/IBF unification bout, before Alvarado fell ill in the build up to the bout. Thankfully the promoters managed to secure a fantastic replacement in Petalcorin, who is looking to make the most of his second world title bout. We expect this to be very high speed, with tactical elements and some power from both. Both men are fantastic and this, even as a late replacement bout, still promises a lot. The excellent George Delis previews this bout here Kenshiro Teraji goes up against Randy Petalcorin in next defense
The main event of the show will see WBA Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) looking to make his first defense of his second reign as he takes on Canadian challenger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24), who fights at world level for the first time. This is a really interesting bout on paper, with both being very heavy handed fighters, but both being very flawed fighters. Murata is the more proven, and the Olympic gold medal winner looks like the stronger basic fighter, but Butler looks like a very rangy fighter and appears to have the edge in speed. One notable thing to consider here is the pressure is all on Murata who knows that if he loses his dreams of a super fight end instantly, whilst a win swings the door open to some monster bouts in 2020. A preview of this bout can be read here Murata defends against big punching Canadian Butler
One other bout we want to mention features friend of the the site Caliente Koyasu (3-1, 1) battling against unbeaten puncher Daiki Sakamoto (2-0-1, 2). The 29 year old Koyasu will be looking to score his second win of the year, following a loss in May to Ryugo Yanagibori. Sakamoto on the other hand will be looking to extend his unbeaten record here, and has looked very destructive so far into his career.