Action really begins to pick up this coming weekend with a host of fights taking place that are worthy of attention. We get the first televised Japanese card of the year, the first televised Korean card of the year and the first world title fight involving an Asian of the year.
The Japanese card, which will be aired live on G+ as part of their Dynamic Glove series, is an interesting card with a fantastic main event and two notable fighters in supporting bouts.
Tha main event looks set to be a genuine shoot out as Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) defends his Japanese Middleweight title against Japanese national champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11). Whilst Takesako's title isn't on the line we still see this as being a very special and explosive bout between two hard hitters each out to make a statement. We do not expect this one to go the distance, and instead we expect bombs to be fired off until one man ends up being saved by the referee. It might be a short bout, it might be a long one, but with the power of the two men combined this is going to be a brutal for as long as it lasts. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hosokawa and Takesako battle in clash of champions
In the chief support bout we'll see former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (15-1-1, 9) make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title, as he takes on Chinese challenger Cheng Su (14-2-1, 8). Although this looks interesting on paper, with both men having similar looking records, we really can't see it being anything more than an easy defense for Inoue. Footage of Su shows him to be a slow, open and clumsy fighter and Inoue's pressure should grind him down in the middle rounds. Anything other than a stoppage for the champion should be seen as disappointing for a man who will be hoping to get a second world title fight in the near future. Our preview of this fight can be read here Takeshi Inoue takes on Cheng Su in WBO Asia Pacific title defense
Also on this card will be unbeaten prospect Takuma Takahashi (4-0, 4), who looks for his 5th straight win as he takes on Filipino journeyman Leonardo Doronio (17-17-3, 11). The talented Takahashi is likely to be looking at title fights by the end of 2020, and already holds a win over recent OPBF title challenger Sitthidet Banti, and this seems an easy first bout of the year. Doronio was once a capable Lightweight, and scored good wins against Al Rivera and Burning Ishii among others, but has gone 3-8-1 (2) in his last 12 and shouldn't be competing at Welterweight, a weight that really doesn't suit him.
We get more title action in Mexico, as WBC "interim" female Light Flyweight champion Kenia Enriquez (22-1, 9) defends her title against Japanese challenger Chaoz Minowa (6-2, 5). For Minowa this is a must win after coming up short in 2 previous world title bouts, and given her amateur reputation if Minowa does fail to claim some version of a world title it would be regarded as a huge achievement. Sadly for Minowa we've been very impressed by what we've seen of the technically sound Enriquez, who will be expecting to notch her 4th defense of the WBC interim title. We've previewed this bout here Chaoz Minowa returns to Mexico to face WBC interim queen Kenia Enqiruez!
Jeonju, South Korea
Back in Asia we also get an interesting card in South Korea, featuring 5 title bouts! These are 3 WBA Asia title bouts and 2 KBM title bouts.
One of those WBA Asia title bouts will see the heavy handed Yang Hyun Min (8-3, 7) take on Italian born Australian Danilo Creati (4-0, 1) for the WBA Asia Middleweight title. For Min this is a second regional title fight, after he gave Yuki Nonaka a surprisingly tough test last September in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout. Min is no world beater, but he hits hard, takes a short and is aggressive. As for Creati this will be a notable step up in class for the unbeaten Australian and will be his first bout in Asia. This could be a very interesting clash of styles.
In a WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title fight the unbeaten Min Jang (9-0-2, 2) will take on limited Chinese foe Junhui Zhao (4-5-2 1). Jang is a former Korean Super Flyweight champion but is said to have out grown the 115lb weight class and the 19 year old is expected to make a splash, at least domestically, at Super Bantamweight. Zhao will be a clear under-dog here, but should make for a good foil for the local hopeful.
The most interesting of the WBA Asia title bouts comes at Super Flyweight where former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-5-2, 5) take on once beaten Korean Woo Hyun Kim (8-1, 1). The local, a former "interim" PABA Bantamweight champion, has fought just once in the last 3 years, but that was a win against the previously mentioned Junhui Zhao, and he'll feel confident of picking up a career best win here. Nakayama on the other hand is 1-3-1 in his last 5 and has not looked good recent performances. Nakayama needs a win to keep his career alive, but we wouldn't be surprised at all if this was a third straight defeat for him.
The KBM title bout which has caught our attention sees all action Han Bin Suh (5-0-3, 4) defending his KBM Super Middleweight title against former amateur standout Dong Myung Shin (2-0). Suh really caught our attention last year, with the 19 year old going 2-0-2 for the year and being involved in some sensational bouts. Although not the most polished of fighters he did give us the vibe of being an old school Korean fighter. Shin is a talented fighter, and was a very experienced amateur turning professional, but with his 32nd birthday coming in March his best years are likely behind him. Interestingly when this bout was first announced Korean sources stated that if Suh won he would be chasing an OPBF title fight with Hiroaki Teshigawara later in the year, in what would be a massive step up in class.
The other KBM title fight takes place at Super Featherweight and will see unbeaten Korean based Kyrgyzstan fighter Urmat Amankulov (4-0-2, 3) battle against Seung Yoon Shin (4-3-3, 2) for the vacant title. Shin has scored 1 win in his last 3 and it would be a genuine surprise if he was competitive with Amankulov.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
One more Asian show of note will come from the Philippines, where we get some low level action.
In one of the most noteworthy bouts on this card the once beaten 21 year old local Michael Mendoza (10-1-2, 3) will battle Indonesian journeyman Stevanus Nana Bau (10-12-2, 2), with the two men trading blows for the lightly regarded WBF International Flyweight title. Coming in to this Mendoza has won 5 in a row since his soul defeat, to Arvin Magramo, almost 2 years ago and appears to be building some genuine momentum. Bau on the other hand has lost 4 of his last 6 and is win-less outside of Indonesia, with an 0-8 record on the road. Fair to say we're not expecting much of Bau here.
The only other bout of note here will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (25-3-1, 20) end a lengthy break from the ring to take on Benny Tamaela (4-9-1, 1) in an 8 rounder. Although Sabaupan hasn't fought since November 2016, when he was stopped by Jheritz Chavez, he'll be strongly favoured here. Tamaela is a 36 year old who has 1 win since the start of 2016 and is 2-9-1 in his last 12. An easy comeback for Sabaupan.
The biggest bout featuring an Asian this coming Saturday comes from Mexico where WBC female Flyweight champion Ibeth Zamora Silva (29-6, 12) takes on Japanese challenger Chaoz Minowa (6-1, 5). For Silva this will be her first defense, though she had a long and successful reign at Light Flyweight before moving up in weight and winning this title. The Mexican is a veteran who has competed at world level for several years and is a proper veteran with numerous top fighters on her record. For Minowa however this will be her second world title fight, and is a big step up in class. Minowa lost her first world title fight, losing to Tenkai Tsunami, and this is is expected to be a big test to see how much she has developed since that loss. This could be a very entertaining contest, but Minowa will be travelling as the under-dog and will need a career best performance to even be competitive. A full preview of this bout can be read here Minowa looks to end WBC Zamora's run in Chaoz!
Hadong, South Korea
As well as the world title fight in Mexico there will also be a notable card in Korea, as the KPBF put on a pretty notable card.
The main event of the card will see WIBA Light Flyweight champion Eun Hye Lee (11-1, 4) make her third defense, as she takes on Chinese fighter Xiuli Liang (2-3). Lee is a real talent, and we hope to see her in with better competition in the near future. Sadly however Liang isn't a suitable opponent for Lee and we can't see her putting up any sort of a real challenger to the talented local, who really should be 12-0 with her sole loss being a very controversial one in Japan to Nana Yoshikawa.
In a major supporting bout we'll see the once touted Ye Joon Kim (15-1-2, 7) return to the ring after more than 2 years out of the ring. Kim, who is now 26, still has a long way to go and a lot of potential so we'll be looking forward to seeing his ring return. The one unfortunate thing here is that we aren't sure who Kim isn't fighting, though we have been told that they are targeting a Japanese fighter.
Also on this card is WBF Asia Pacific Light Middleweight champion, Do Hyuk Kim (4-0-2, 1). Kim will be making his first defense of the title as he takes on Chinese visitor Zhen Zhou (0-1). The Korean won the title in December but hasn't fought since. It's worth noting that Kim's competition so far has been dire, and it's the same here. The visitor here hasn't fought in over 2 years, and was stopped in 3 rounds back on his debut in 2016.
Bang Phun, Thailand
Staying in Asia we'll see 21 year old puncher Chainoi Worawut (3-0, 3) take a big step up in class as he takes on domestic rival Rakniran Muadransarakam (13-2, 8) in a very good looking match up. The unbeaten man has looked genuinely destructive since making his debut earlier this year, but this does look likely to be his first real test. Rakniran has never been stopped, but has fallen short in his two most notable bouts, against Shota Kawaguchi and Petchbarngborn Kokietgym. A win for Chainoi is likely expected but this is a very solid test at such an early stage in his career.
Also on this card will be a WBC Asia Bantamweight title bout, a Nawaphon Por Chokchai (42-1-1, 33) takes on Filipino puncher Richard Claveras (18-5-2, 15). This should be an exciting bout between two hard hitting, but flawed fighters. Sadly for the Filipino we suspect size will be a major issue, and he is likely to look tiny compared to Nawaphon, who has always looked huge compared to opponents.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South Wales fans will see local hopeful Nae Kisona (0-0) battle Filipino “loser” Jayson Mac Gura (1-21-3, 1). The Filipino scored a win on his debut, back in 2009, but has failed to win any of his last 24 bouts. He has also been stopped 15 times during his career and we wouldn't be surprised to see him fail to last the 4 round distance again here.
Staying in Australia we'll also see Dylan Conway (0-0) make his debut, as he takes on experienced Thai Plaisakda Boonmalert (33-28, 29), in what will be expected to be another win for the local debutant. The 46 year old Thai debuted way back in 1989 and has been stopped regularly in recent years, in fact with 23 stoppage losses and at the age of 46 we really do wonder why he continues to get in the ring. Conway will likely begin his career with a stoppage win here.
In the last few year's we've seen female boxing grow in the west, thanks to former amateur fighters like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. It's worth noting however that over the last few years Japan have had some all-female cards. The next one of those takes place this coming Thursday, and is the most stacked all-female card in Japanese history, with an incredible 6 title bouts, ranging from Japanese to world title bouts.
The main event is one of the two world title bouts, and will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) make her first defense, as she takes on Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). The Japanese fighter won the belt last May, in her 6th world title fight, and will be fully aware that a loss here will likely end her career, given that she's 42 years old. The Korean challenger is 32 and was once a very highly regarded fighter, but she comes into this bout after having not fought in over 2 years. At her best Park was a real talent, but with ring rust she may well not be the fighter she once was, or look like a fighter who has an active 16 fight unbeaten run.
The other world title fight promises to be something a bit special as the highly aggressive Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) battles Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten Minowa has spoke about winning world titles in a number of weight classes nut this will be her first world title fight and it's a genuinely tough one for the 30 year old former amateur standout. To date Minowa has mowed mowed through her first 5 foes in a combined 18 rounds and looked a truly spiteful force, but she is taking a huge step up in class here. Tsunami is a former WBA female Super Flyweight champion, holding that title for more than 3 years, and has fought a who's who of female boxing, often giving top fighters very tough fights. This could be something very exciting.
In an OPBF female Minimumweight title bout fans will see former world title challengers clash, with Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) battling Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3). It was Hanawa that was beaten by the aforementioned Ebata last year for the WBO title at this weight, and since then she has claimed the interim OPBF title. It's worth noting however that Hanagata is a 2-time OPBF champion who has come up just short in 4 world title bouts, and is hungry to get a 5th shot at at world honours.
In a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout fans will see Miyo Yoshida (8-1) make her first defense as she takes on Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2). The champion won the title last October when she narrowly out pointed Tomomi Takano and will be favoured to retain her title, but Johnson is better than her record suggests, and is much better than a typical fighter on a 6 fight losing run.
A Japanese Flyweight title bout will see the inaugural champion being crowned, as Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1). On paper Koseki looks the lesser of the two but she has mixed with good opponents, and has gone 1-1 with the aforementioned Yoshida. Ikemoto on the other hand hasn't faced anyone of any real note and is clearly stepping up a level here.
Another inaugural title will be the JBC female Atomweight class, which will be competed for between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1), who fought to a draw in a bout for this very same title back in December. On paper these two are very evenly matched, and the fact the judges failed to separate them last time out suggests this could be a very competitive contest again.
We get the second Dangan show of the year this coming Tuesday, in what will be a show featuring bouts from the Dangan Rookies, C class and B class tournaments finals.
The most notable bouts on the show are all B class finals and all features who have got some genuine talent and hopes at the domestic level.
One of those bouts will see once beaten Teiken hopeful Kenshin Oshima (3-1, 3) take on the unbeaten novice Nobuaki Kanazawa (0-0-1). The talented Oshima has won 2 in a row since suffering a narrow decision loss to the under-rated Yuki Iriguchi in October 2016. In the ring Oshima is a destructive fighter and will be looking to prove that power here. Sadly little is known about Kanazawa who had a technical decision on debut in October, though he was a good amateur at the high school level.
In a really good looking bout novice Ryo Sagawa (2-1, 2) will look to build on his opening round blow out of Kazuki Sanpei as he takes on Tasuku Suwa (5-1-1, 1). Aged 23 Sagawa has been tipped for big things, but a loss to Retsu Kosaka last May has slowed his rise. Suwa on the other hand is just 20 and has shown some promise, but hasn't yet developed the man strength he'll need to progress through the ranks.
A third bout of note will see Yasuki Katagiri (5-2-2, 1) attempt to extend his current 3 fight unbeaten run, as he takes on Shoma Sekine (4-5-2, 1). Katagiri began his career with a promising 4-0 run but since then has gone 1-2-2 and appears to have struggled in bouts scheduled for more than 4 rounds. As for Sekine he was winless in his first 3 fights, going 0-1-2 but has since gone 4-4 and managed to create some career momentum, though has been very stop-start and he'll know that he needs to put on a career best performance to win here.
Also on this card will be the ring return of the much touted Chaoz Minowa (4-0, 3), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since she fought in May. The Watanabe gym fighter is one of the most exciting female fighters on the planet, and hopefully 2018 will be her big year, though from what we understand this bout here will be a simple one against a Thai foe to shake some ring rust.
The key show this coming Friday comes from Tokyo where Dangan will be hosting Dangan Ladies Vol 5, which features a host of notable female fighters.
The main event of the card will see veteran former world title challenger Kayoko Ebata (10-7, 6) battle against unbeaten novice Erika Hanawa (7-0, 2) for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title. For Hanawa the bout marks a significant step up in class whilst Ebata will be looking to finally win a world title, after having fallen short in 5 previous world title bouts. This could be Ebata's big win at last, or it could be the result that sends her into retirement.
In the chief support bout Chaoz Minowa (3-0, 2) will be returning to the ring and will be looking to continue her unbeaten run as she takes ona limited Thai visitor.
Another notable fighter on this card is school-girl boxer Fuka Komura (3-0, 2) who will be battling against Mikiko Muto (2-4). The bout will see Komura look to continue her winning run in what is a genuine step up in class for the unbeaten youngster. A win here for Komura will likely be her final bout before she steps into 6 rounders however Muto will know that a win will seriously make her name and she won't be turning up for a loss.
As well as the female action in Japan there will also be a show in Indonesia.
In the main event fans will see the very experienced James Mokoginta (32-18-3, 19) battle against Thai visitor Sonnarai sor Bangkru (0-0). The 26 year old Mokoginta is a 13 year professional, having debuted in 2004 as a 13 year old, and has mixed with good company though has had mixed results. Very little is known about the Thai, as with many Thais, so it's hard to say much about him here.
Another bout on this card will see the experienced Ruben Manakane (19-17-1, 11) take on Thai foe Chatpayak Sithkopon (9-15, 7). The bout is an interesting one on paper, and both men are limited enough to make this a competitive match up, but one that should see the local fighter come out on top, especially given his home advantage.
With all the big fights at the end of the year it's fair to say that there is a lot set to happen in Japan before the end of 2016. The wait for world title action does however end this coming Tuesday as Japanese fans get a world title double title header at the Korakuen Hall as part of Dangan Ladies 3.
The main event of the card sees WBA Atomweight champion Yunoka Furukawa (8-1-2, 6) battle against OPBF female Light Flyweight champion Mika Iwakawa (6-4-1, 2). For Furukawa this will be her first defense and a chance to establish herself as one of the rising young female stars of Japanese boxing. Coming into this the champion has stopped her last 4 foes, including Satomi Nishimura last time out, and is unbeaten in her last 9, following a 1-1 start. For Iwakawa the bout will be her first world title bout, but she has mixed with good company including Brisa Hernandez, Kumiko Seeser Ikehara, Nao Ikeyama and Mako Yamada.
The second title bout sees WBO Atomweight queen Nao Ikeyama (17-3-2, 4) defending her title against former WBA champion Ayaka Miyao (21-6-1, 5). The 47 year old Ikeyama, the oldest world champion ever from Japan, will be looking to record her 5th defense of the title, a title that she won back in May 2014, but is taking on a world class fighter here in the form of Miyao. The challenger held the WBA title from 2012 until 2015, when she lost a narrow decision to Momo Koseki, and will be looking to become a 2-time champion here.
A third title bout on this card will see the incredibly exciting Chaoz Minowa (2-0, 2) face off against Filipino Carleans Rivas (5-3-3) for the OPBF female Flyweight title. Minowa, who only debuted back in September, has been put on the fast track to the top and will know that a win here would see her winning her first title less than 3 months after debuting. She's spoken about being a multi-weight world champion and will know that to do that she will have to win an Oriental title first. As for Rivas she has gone 3-3-2 in her last 8 and whilst she is more experienced than Minowa she will be the huge under-dog here.
This coming Sunday is a busy day with several shows through Asia.
The most significant bout of the day comes in Osaka where Japan's once beaten Nana Yoshikawa (6-1, 4) faces unbeaten Korean Eun Hye Lee (8-0, 3) for the WBO female Flyweight title. Hye, the former WBO female Light Flyweight champion, is moving up in weight for this bout after having had troubles with funding when she was the champion and will be fighting away from home for the first time. For Yoshikawa the bout will be her second world title fight, after coming up short against Anabel Ortiz last year. The winner will be a target for several notable names and could see a potential show down with 3-weight world champion Naoko Fujioka in 2017.
In a supporting bout Shingo Kawamura (12-3-1, 6) will battle Takuya Yamamoto (7-4, 4) in an interesting looking 8 rounder at 122lbs. Although Kawamura will be favoured he has struggled recently and is 3-2-1 in his last 6, dating back more than 2 years. Kawamura has been mixing at a higher level than Yamamoto, who is stepping up, but he has been losing when he's been fighting the better competition.
In another supporting bout the once beaten Terumi Nuki (7-1, 4) will face a Thai foe, in what looks like to be a title prelude bout for Nuki.
Another Japanese card, from Hiroshima, will be headlined by veteran Koji Itagaki (16-10-2, 7) as he takes on former OPBF Minimumweight champion Michael Landero (18-13-4, 7). Landero, a Filipino veteran, will be looking to continue his 2 fight winning run, and scored a 3rd win on Japanese soil. For Itagaki the bout will be his first since being stopped by another Filipino visitor, Rey Loreto back in April.
In the chief support bout the Japanese ranked Ryuji Ikeda (11-3-1, 7) will face very highly experienced Filipino journeyman Mark Sales (22-40-3, 8). On paper this is a total mismatch but Ikeda is looking to bounce back from a loss last time out and will be looking rebuild his confidence rather than score a statement win.
Daejeon, South Korea
In Korea fight fans get an intriguing show with international implications.
The main event will see Korean-Russian Je Ni Ma (9-1-3, 8) battle against Japan's Hironobu Matsunaga (10-1, 5) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title. For both men this will be their biggest bout, though it's fair to say that Ma will be favoured given he's fighting at home and is currently riding a 12 fight unbeaten run. Despite Ma being the favourite Matsunaga will be confident and comes into this riding a 4 fight winning run.
On the under-card KBF 140lb champion Dong Hee Kim (5-1-1, 1) will be facing former OPBF Super Featherweight title challenger Ernie Sanchez (15-8-1, 6), with Sanchez being a late replacement for the aggressive Hyun Woo Yuh, who was originally stipulated to face Kim in a title fight.
One other bout of note on this under-card will see Japan's Chaoz Minowa (1-0, 1) battle Chan Mi Lim (2-1, 2). Minowa is tipped as the most promising Japanese female fighter since Naoko Fujioka and is returning to the ring just weeks after her debut. Although not well known Lim is exciting, heavy handed and aggressive and could well be the gut test Minowa needs before fighting for titles.