Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The only Asian action this coming Saturday is Japanese card and it's a pretty interesting one, as well as their first live televised show of the new year.
The main event of the show will see Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-2, 6) and Kenshin Oshima (7-1-1, 3) battle for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title, the cursed title. The title was made vacant when Yusuke Suzuki vacated due to injury, and continued a rather long line of events which plagued the title in recent years, including Sawada fighting to a technical draw for the title last year. Both Sawada and Oshima are looking to win their first title, and this is a meaningful bout, despite the recent history of the Japanese Bantamweight title. It is also a match up that looks likely to be really interesting, with both of the men involved in this being talented boxers, with Sawada being the more polished and aggressive, but Oshima being a smart counter boxer. This might not being a thrilling all action bout, but it should be a really, really interesting technical chess match. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sawada and Oshima battle for Japanese national title!
For those wanting action, we should get some explosive action in the main support bout, as Kaiki Yuba (7-1-2, 5) take on Tetsuya Kondo (6-4, 4). For Yuba this will be his first bout since a dramatic loss last year year to Jin Sasaki in a Japanese Youth title fight. We suspect Yuba will be seeking to make a statement following that loss. Kondo on the other hand has lost his last two, but shouldn't be written off, and has the power to take Yuba out if he connects. This should be a dramatic bout, even if the action isn't the most intense.
Other bouts on this card include a very interesting match up between the touted Yuki Nakajima (4-1-2, 4), who comes into this on the back of two disappointing draws, and former Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (8-5-1, 2). This bout is one where both will feel it's a must win. Neither has been having good results recently, with Kameyama losing 3 of his last 4, and we expect this one to be a really good little war between two men each looking to advance their career with a much needed win.
One other bout worthy of some attention is a 6 rounder between the once beaten Ren Kobayashi (4-1-1, 2) and the unbeaten Shinba Yamaguchi (1-0-1, 1). Yamaguchi, a second generation fighter, is the son of former WBA Light Flyweight world champion Keiji Yamaguchi, and looked really explosive on his debut, before being held to a draw in his second pro bout. Sadly he's been out of the ring for close to 2 years due to the ongoing pandemic. Kobayashi on the other hand started his career with 3 straight wins but is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and has struggled for form, though did fight twice last year and will be hoping his recent activity will prove vital for him here.
Capio, Tsukuba, Ibaragi, Japan
This coming Sunday we see two cards in Japan. Neither are big, though the most notable of those comes from Ibaragi.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (31-9-6, 21) take on Hibiki Jogo (10-2, 5) in an 8 round match up. Aged 31 Takahashi is probably coming to the end of his career, but the teak tough and exciting Bantamweight may manage to have one more charge towards a title fight. Takahashi is currently in the JBC and WBO Asia Pacific rankings, but will know a loss here would likely see him being removed from those. Jogo on the other hand came runner up in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and despite a set back in 2018 has won 3 in a row to give him some momentum here. We suspect Takahashi will be the favourite here, but we do imagine he'll have to work for the win.
In a brilliant Light Flyweight bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) take on the very, very highly regarded and talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (2-0-1, 1). This has the potential to be the show stealing bout here. Since winning Rookie of the Year Kameyama has struggled for form, losing to Shokichi Iwata and Yuga Inoue, but will see this as a chance to end that slide. Horikawa on the other hand looked sensational in his win over Yuki Nakajima and was very unlucky last time out against Xiang Li, in a draw. This could be a very exciting bout.
The third bout of real interest here will see 2019 Rookie of the Year runner up Yuta Ashina (4-2) take on Yuya Nemoto (6-8-3, 1). Despite losing last December Ashina showed enough to want to follow him and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here, and he's incredibly exciting for those who haven't seen him. Aged 34 and with just 1 win in his last 7 it's easy to assume that Nemoto isn't won't be competitive, but Nemoto did score a win last time out and is unbeaten in his last 3. We suspect Ashina will be asked questions by the veteran, but should still take the win here with his aggression and work rate
Green Tsuda Gym, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The other Japanese card is a West Japan Rookie of the Year show from the Green Tsuada Gym, with 9 bouts on this card. This is the second Rookie of the Year card at the Osakan gym in recent days, following one last weekend.
The most interesting of the bouts on this show, for us, is a Super Bantamweight clash between the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (5-0, 2) and the stop of be stopped Shuya Kuwabuchi (2-1, 2). The 22 year old Fukunaga debuted in 2018 and since then has barely dropped a round, and shown improving power, stopping his last 2. Kuwabuchi on the other hand has yet to see the final bell, but was stopped last time out. We expect fireworks here.
Another Rookie bout on this card worthy of attention will be the debut of Daichi Morino (0-0), who takes on 20 year old Yasuhiro Kanzaki (3-1, 1) at Flyweight. Morino turns pro after running up a 2-1 amateur record and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here as he begins his professional career. As for Kanzaki he started his career perfectly, with 3 straight wins, but did lose last time out and will be desperate to get back to winning ways here.
In Hyogo this coming Saturday we'll get a small but notable card from Morioka, which strangely doesn't feature a single Morioka promoted fighter. Although not a big card it does feature a really good main event and a solid supporting bout, along with a number of 4 rounders.
The stellar main event will see the talented, though light punching, Yuga Inoue (7-1-1, 1) take on Daiki Kameyama (7-3-1, 2) with both men looking to bounce back from recent losses. The highly skilled Inoue was beaten last time out by Kai Ishizawa, in what was an excellent bout for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title that saw the hard hitting Ishizawa finally break down Inoue in the 6th round. Inoue will be moving up for this bout and we suspect he'll settle well at Light Flyweight, and potentially make it his weight in the coming years. Kameyama on the other hand was schooled by Shokichi Iwata earlier this year and will be looking to re-establish himself following that loss, in what was Iwata's Japanese debut.
Really interestingly both of the men in the main event have won Rookie of the Year. For Inoue it was the Minimumweight crown in 2017 with Kameyama taking the Light Flyweight title the following year, showing just how good both young men are. We have also preview that main event, with the preview available to read here Youngster Yuga Inoue and Daiki Kameyama clash!
The chief supporting bout will see Kaito Takeshima (5-3) take on Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-5, 2) in a 6 round bout at a contracted 54.8KG's, or 120.8lbs. The 20 year old Takeshima will be hoping to rebuild from a razor thin loss to Takuya Fujioka in March. On the other hand Hamaguchi will be looking to end a 2 fight slide, which has left him with just 1 win in his last 4 fights.
This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for Asian fight fans, with a notable show in Japan and the Philippines, and then fighters from those two countries colliding in California at the end of the day. As well as the major shows there is also a small card in Singapore.
The biggest bout of the day is, obviously, the US bout, which will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20) defending his title against mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22). For Ancajas the bout will serve as his 7th defense of the title, which he won back in September 2016, and will be his third mandatory. The champion really under-performed last time out, narrowly holding on to the belt against Alejandro Santiago Barrios, and would be expected to put on a better showing here. Funai on the other hand is an unknown outside of Japan, though is a former Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific champion who has mixed in good company, with bouts against the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka, Rolly Lunas, Sho Ishida and Warlito Parrenas. The challenger has earned this shot, winning an eliminator last year, but will be regarded as a clear under-dog. A full preview of this bout is available here - Ancajas takes on mandatory challenger Funai
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to attend a Teiken promoted card at Korakuen Hall. Sadly this will only be shown on tape delay, meaning those not in the venue will have to wait to see the bouts.
The main event here will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) defending his title in a mandatory bout against Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4), in what is their second meeting. These two fought in February 2018, when Sueyoshi had to recover from a knockdown to stop Osato in the 8th round. Since then Sueyoshi has gone 1-0-1, fighting to a draw over 12 rounds with Hironori Mishiro, and will be looking for bigger bouts later in the year. Osato on the other has scored back to back decision wins since losing to Sueyoshi, but this is a step up from those wins. A full preview of this bout is available here Sueyoshi looks to over-come Osato again!
The chief support bout here will see the once beaten Shuya Masaki (11-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Nam Jun Lee (10-5-3, 4). For Masaki the bout is the first since his narrow win over Izuki Tomioka last year, in what was his third bout of 2018. It's notable Lee's first bout since June 2017. Notably the 35 year old Korean has had a very stop start Korea, but does hold notable wins over Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera, so could be a better test than his record suggests.
Another very notable bout on this card is the Japanese debut of Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1), who debuted last year in the US. The talented and touted Iwata will face 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-2-1, 2), in a very, very interesting match up. Iwata won his debut but didn't look sensational, and this could prove to be too much too soon for the former amateur standout, and a huge chance for the 22 year old Kameyama to build on his Rookie success.
Other interesting bouts on this card include Junpei Tsujimoto (4-1-3, 2) battling against Tetsuya Yoshimura (5-3-1, 4) and Hiroki Yajima (9-7-3, 4) facing off with Mirai Imagawa (9-5, 3), with both Imagawa and Tsujimoto having won Rookie of the Year in recent years. There will also be a chance for the hard hitting Yamato Hata (7-1, 7) to pick up another win, as he takes on Indonesian Alvius Maufani (6-2-2, 3), in what should be a straight forward bout for the local.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Of course it's not just Japan that has a great show but also the Philippines, with ESPN5 set to show a title fest from Metro Manila, with this show being aired live.
The pick of the bouts here is another Philippines Vs Japan clash, as Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) looks to defense his WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title against in form Japanese fighter Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4). The 21 year old Toyogon will be seeking his second defense here, and will be looking to record a 6th straight win as he continues to develop into a very solid fighter. Sagawa on the other hand gets his first title shot, and he clearly deserves it on the back of wins against Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto and Shingo Kawamura. This is probably the more intriguing bout of the day, even more saw than the world title bout. A full preview of this bout is available here Toyogon and Sagawa battle for regional title!
A second WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title fight takes place at Bantamweight and will see the heavy handed Jun Blazo (11-6-3, 8) take on Benezer Alolod (19-11-5, 7). Blazo has lost 4 of his last 7, but has spun off 3 straight wins coming into this bout and will be confident of extending that run. Alolod is very much Mr Inconsistent with a 6-6 record in his last 12. Hard to get a read on this, but if both are up for it we could get a very good fight.
In a GAB Lightweight title fight Roldan Aldea (12-7-1, 7) will be seeking his first defense, as he takes on Rey Ramos (8-11-2, 3), in what looks like a mismatch whilst 5lbs north we'll see Jheritz Chavez (8-3-2, 6) seek his second defense of the GAB Light Welterweight title, facing off with Junar Adante (7-11-1, 4). Sadly neither of these domestic title bouts look particularly competitive.
In Singapore local hopeful Nurshahidah Roslie (12-2, 9) will be seeking a 5th straight win as she takes on Thai novice Suphansa Phooong (1-0), in what looks like a mismatch, over 6 rounds. Roslie isn't the huge star that Singaporean boxing needs to really kick-start something but the Thai is an inexperienced teenager, and will be making her international debut.