This coming Sunday fight fans in Sakai City will be getting a double header at the Sangyo Shinko Center. One of the cards will be a West Japan Rookie of the Year show, whilst the other will feature a few notable fighters, including a well known veteran who is still looking to land a career defining fight.
Sangyo Shinko Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
The first of the two shows is the more notable one in many ways and will be promoted by Mitsuki promotions.
The main event of the card will see veteran Japanese Middleweight Yuki Nonaka (35-10-3, 10) face off with the much younger Hiroya Nojima (9-1, 4) in a 10 round bout for Nonaka's WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight title. Nonaka, who won the title in 2019, will be looking for his third defense of the title and will also be looking to move towards a long awaited world title fight, something that now seems really unlikely to happen given he's 44 and lacks any sort of profile outside of Asia. The talented and technically well schooled Nonaka, has had a great career on the domestic and regional scene since his 1999 debut, but that career has seen him make no impact outside of the local region. As for Nojima the 26 year old has gone unbeaten since 2019, winning his last 6 bouts, and is best known for winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in February 2021. He'll see this as a huge chance to make a name for himself and claim a major regional title. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read WBO Asia Pacific champion Nonaka takes on Nojima
In a supporting bout former WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight champion Daiki Tomita (17-2, 5) will be in the ring with Thai visitor Adisak Ketpiam (8-3, 7). The talented and fun to watch Tomita doesn't look like a world champion in the making, but is a real talent and someone who seems likely to become a fixture on and around the domestic and regional title scenes. As for Adisak, the Thai teenager has proven to have decent power against vey limited domestic foes, but this is very much a step up in class for him.
Sangyo Shinko Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
Following the Mitsuki show, there will then be the West Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final bouts.
Sadly with it being Rookie of the Year action none of the men involved on the show are well known, but there should be some pretty interesting match ups on the show. One of those is a Middleweight bout, which will see Ruku Sasaki (1-0-1) take on the wonderfully named Hammer Gorilla (3-2, 1). The 19 year old Sasaki debuted last year and is very much untested, with this being something of a step up for him. As for Gorilla, the 34 year old southpaw will know that he now needs to shine given that time is ticking on his career.
One other fight of note here will see Super Bantamweights collide as Kirei Yasumura (2-0, 2) takes on Shugo Hisataka (1-0, 1). Aged 22 Yasumura is the older, taller man, standing at around 5'8", and has looked dangerous since making his debut last November. Hisataka on the other hand debuted in April, and blasted out the then 3-0 Towa Tsuji in a very good debut performance. We expect this one to be short lived and very explosive.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
This coming Sunday is a busy day for Japanese fight fans with 3 shows taking place across the country. For us the most interesting of the 3 comes in Osaka City, and is being promoted by Green Tsuda, with a genuinely excellent prospect headlining the card.
The prospect headlining this card is the slippery and awkward Toshiki Shimomachi (13-1-2, 9), who hasn't made a lot of nose but is quietly putting together a solid record, and developing his reputation as one of the most skilled hopefuls in Japan. The talented Shimomachi has stopped his last 4 opponents, including Kenta Nomura and Hiroki Hanabusa, and will be desperate to show what he can do here, after more than a year out of the ring. The man looking to stop Shimomachi's run is Filipino Jerry Castroverde (10-7, 5), who has lost his last 3, but been matched hard and certainly has some higher level experience to call upon in an attempt at slowing Shimomachi's momentum
In the chief support we'll see the out of form Ryosuke Nasu (12-8-3, 2) take on Hiroki Yajima (9-10-3, 4), with Nasu looking to turn things around and end a 3 fight losing run. Sadly for Nasu things really have gone down hill for him following a solid 8-2-3 (2) start to his career as a professional fighter. Aged 26 Nasu is still young enough to turn things around, but he does need to start finding his groove sooner rather than later. As for Yajima it does seem like his career is going nowhere and he is 1-5 in his last 6, dating back to 2017, and at 31 his role in the sport seems to be less about moving his own career forward and more about giving talented prospects and hopefuls some rounds. We should see Nasu take a win here, and fingers crossed he gets to boost his confidence and move onwards and upwards in the coming years.
Sangyo Shinko Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
Staying in Osaka prefecture, though travelling to Sakai City, we get another card, and this one could be a bit more interesting despite only one of the fighters on the card being particularly notable.
The most notable bout on this card will be a clash between two 24 year olds, as Daiki Tomita (16-2, 5) takes on Yoshiki Yamashita (8-3-1). The talented Tomita is now two bouts removed from a TKO loss to Kenichi Horikawa, and has got the tools to be a fixture on and around the domestic and regional title scene. Although talented Tomita is still a work in progress, and we can't help but feel he's not yet grown into his man strength, or his body, and it could be a year or two before we see the best of him. Yamashita on the other hand doesn't seem like a fighter going places, but he should be game and he should do enough to test Tomita, without being a real threat.
In an interesting and well matched supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting Toshiya Yokogawa (12-12-2, 10) take on Daichi Matsuura (7-6-2, 3). Yokogawa is limited as a boxer, but in the ring he's dangerous and with his power he does have a genuine chance against better fighters, as we've seen in recent wins against Takashi Igarashi and Glenn Medura, but he also has a questionable chin, having been stopped in 4 of his 12 losses. Matsuuura on the other hand has lost 3 of his last 4, though did show his toughness in 2019, when he went 12 with the hard hitting Chainoi Worawut. Yokogawa should be favoured, but this one could be tough, rough and if Matsuura can take hi power for a few rounds it could be a very competitive bout.
Kokura Kita Gym, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan
Over in Fukuoka we'll see former amateur standout Kiyotaka Horita (0-0) make his professional debut, as he takes on the hard hitting Ukyo Yoshigai (6-4, 5) in a scheduled 6 rounder. As an amateur Horita had 58 bouts and game 5th in the All Japan Championships and at 29 we suspect he'll be looking to moved quickly and aggressively. Yoshigai on the other hand won the All Japan Rookie of the Year back in 2016, but has gone 1-4 in his last 5 and hasn't fought since 2019. Yoshigai has power, but we wonder about his confidence and hunger coming in to this one.
For a second successive day we get notable action featuring Asian fighters, including a world title fight, a Japanese female title fight and a card from Korea.
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
Both of the Japanese cards come from the same venue in Sakai, with the first being a pretty notable one, as it will only feature female fighters, and will be streamed live on the Boxing Real YouTube channel.
Sadly with it being a female only card it's not a particularly deep or stacked card, but is does have a couple of bouts of note on it. The first of those noteworthy bouts will see Sumire Yamanaka (1-0) take on the debuting Natsuki Yamada (0-0). Whilst neither of these fighters are big names, by any stretch, there is plenty of quiet expectation on the shoulders of the 19 year old Yamanaka. She is the younger sister of former world champion Ryuya Yamanaka and some suggest she could follow in her brother's footsteps and become a world champion in the future. We don't know much about Yamada but we do know she's a naturally taller and older fighter than Yamanaka, and should be able to at least ask some questions of the teenager.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Atomweight champion Kaori Nagai (5-2-3, 2) defending her belt for the first time and taking on Natsuki Tarui (4-6-2). The 31 year old champion won the belt last July, when she defeated veteran Momoko Kanda for the second time, and is riding an impressive 8 bout unbeaten run, following back to back losses at the start of her career. She's not the most talented fighter out there, but she's got under rated skills, sets a good tempo and has got the tools to be successful at Japanese and OPBF level. Tarui on the other hand is 29 years old and seems to be coming in to her own after 4 straight losses to begin her career. She's not oozing world class potential, but she's worked hard, earned a shot at the Japanese title, and is a very live challenger. This could end up being a very, very good fight over 6 competitive rounds. Our preview of this one can be read here Nagai takes on Tarui in first Japanese title defense!
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
The second card from the Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center is also set to get a live stream courtesy of the Boxing Real YouTube channel and is a more interesting card, at least on paper, than the all female show.
One of the interesting bouts here will see Aoba Mori (6-2-1) and Keisuke Iwasaki (5-2-1, 1) clash for the second time. These two fought last July, fighting to a 6 round draw, and proved to be incredibly well matched. Given their first bout this is one to look forward if you can make it to the venue. The two men are unlikely to mix it at domestic title level, but they will make for some entertaining bouts at the lower levels of the domestic scene, in fact their first was solid. Since their first bout Mori has been inactive whilst Iwasaki scored a notable win over the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori, giving him a bit of momentum coming in to this one.
Another noteworthy under-card bout on this show will see Daiki Tomita (15-2, 5) take on Shota Asami (8-7, 4). The talented 23 year old Tomita has promised a lot, but lost his two most notable bouts, losing to Tsubasa Koura in 2018 and Kenichi Horikawa last year. He has a lot of potential, but we suspect needs to be given time to mature physically. In Asami we have someone who has struggled for form, in fact Asamai has lost 2 of his last 3 and 5 of his last 9, but he's someone who can dig in and score upsets, as he did last year against Sho Omote. This looks like a mismatch on paper, but Asami is very much a live under-dog, and the naturally bigger guy.
The main event of this show will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) looking to defend her title against fellow Japanese fighter Shione Ogata (11-6-1, 3). Tsunami won this title back in March 2018 and has defended it twice so far, whilst also dipping her toes into the Flyweight division. The 36 year old champion is a stalwart for Japanese boxing and has proven herself as a tough, hard working and criminally under-rated fighter, though sooner or later father time will catch up with her, especially given the tough bouts she's had over the years. Ogata on the other hand is an easy to over-look challenger who lost 5 of her first 6 before going 10-1-1 and winning the WBA Asia, WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles. She is a very, very live challenger and has developed so much in recent years under the guidance of Nobuhiro Ishida. The champion should be the favourite, but Ogata is a genuinely solid contender, despite her record. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogata challenges WBO queen Tsunami
The Won Boxing Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
Over in South Korea we'll be getting a low profile card from the Won Promotion. This show really isn't a big one at all, but the main event is a very evenly matched bout between Dong Ho Geum (5-3-2, 3) and In Soo Jang (5-3-1), who battle for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 27 year old Geum is riding a 3 fight winning streak into this, and is actually 5-1 in his last 6 bouts, after a bizarre 0-2-2 start to his career. Jang on the other hand started his career will, going unbeaten in his first 3 bouts, but since then has gone 3-3, and lost his last 2 bouts. He needs a win, but has no momentum coming in to this and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. We're expecting a really fun fight here but one that, in the grand scheme of things, won't really matter despite the WBC regional title.
December 13th becomes the latest date for a promoter to hold two events at the same venue in Japan, and although neither of the shows are amazing, both look relatively interesting with title action and a couple of decent bouts. Interestingly it appears the first will be made available on YouTube, as part of the Boxing Real channel whilst the second will be available, on demand, on Boxing Raise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the cards features a solid, if somewhat easy to over-look, main event, a Japanese female title bout and an anticipated debut.
The main event on the first show will see Yuki Yonaha (7-3-1, 5) take on the JBC ranked Motoki Osanai (4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. The 29 year old Yonaha is without a win in well over 4 years, but did show plenty of desire and hunger in his most recent bout, a draw with Naota Iwai, and it's clear he is a talent, though we do question his hunger and desire in the sport. Osanai on the other hand turned professional to fanfare, taking part in his pro-test bout on the same day as Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but was sadly left in their shadows and lost 2 of his first 3. Coming into this he has scored 3 wins and appears to be building some career momentum, and a win here would continue the ball rolling. One of those ones where the abilities of both men are a lot better than their records suggest.
The title bout on this card will see Japanese female Minimumweight champion Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) defending her title against Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1), in what will be Narita's first defense of the title. On paper this is another where the records of the two fighters suggests a poor bout, but the styles and mentalities of the two women should actually make for a war. Neither of the two are technically fantastic but both are warriors who let their hands go and we expect this to be a genuine tear up. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Narita takes on Miki in first Japanese title defense
As for the debutant that is switch hitter Takahiro Tai (0-0), who fights out of the gym by his father. Tai was a solid amateur on the Japanese amateur scene and is looking to make an impact on his professional debut as he takes on Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-6, 2) in a 6 rounder. We don't think Tai will be fast tracked, but there was a lot to like from his amateur performances and he's very much a fan friendly, stylish fighter with a lot of flare. We see that winning over fans quickly here. Hamaguchi isn't a bum, but he has lost 4 of his last 5, and has scored just 1 win in the last 3 years, so would need something a bit special to test the talented Tai here.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The second part of the card will again feature a title bout, an intriguing 8 rounder and a debut...well a debut of sorts.
The title bout here, which is also the main event, will see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Miyo Yoshida (14-1) making her second defense of her title as she takes on Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1). The talented Yoshida will be strongly favoured here, though it is worth noting that this will be her first bout since transferring over to the Misako Gym and the change in her team and set up could end up leaving some questions for her to answer. Okuda has been fortunate at times with some results, but at 37 we really do wonder if she has the tools to hang with a top class fighter like Yoshida. Our full preview of this world title bout can be read here Yoshida takes on Okuda in second WBO world title defense
In an excellent 8 round match up we'll see the once beaten Yuga Inoue (10-1-1, 1) take on Daiki Tomita (14-2, 5), in a bout between two top 10 JBC ranked Light Flyweights. The light punching Inoue has scored 3 wins since his 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa for the Japanese Youth title, and has rebuilt in a hard way, going up against solid fighters and testing the water at Flyweight. He's had a loss, and gone straight back in with tough competition rather than rebuilding his confidence with easy wins. In fairness that's actually what Tomita is looking to do here in his first bout since a 10th round TKO loss to Kenichi Horikawa in July. Although both men are in their early 20's this is strangely a cross roads bout and the winner will find themselves on the verge of a Japanese title fight, whilst the loser will begin a long climb back up the rankings. A genuinely excellent match up.
Also on this card is the debut of Ayumu Hanada (4-0, 3), or rather the Japanese debut of Hanada. Or more precisely the JBC debut of Hanada, who began his career in Mexico and fought in an unrecognised bout in Japan in 2019. Despite the weird start to his career Hanada is expected to be a star and he has impressed, bot just in his Mexican bout but also his "unofficial", for lack of a better word, bout in Japan. In the opposite corner to Hanada is the heavy handed Ryuku Nagamine (5-1, 5), who began his career with 5 early wins before losing to Keisuke Iwasaki in the Rookie of the Year last year. Given his power he's a real dangerman for Hanada and, if we're being honest, this could end up being the bout of the day. Both men are explosive punchers and both will be looking to make a statement. If you're going to watch this one, don't blink!
As well as the action in Japan we also get a small Chinese card from Quzhou. Sadly this is a very low level card.
The most interestingly match up on the show will see 20 year old hopeful Yeerjialahasi Laayibieke (4-2, 3) take on the once beaten Jiaming Li (4-1, 2). Whilst this isn't expected to be a great fight we do love the fact it looks like a pretty 50-50 match up. Notably Laayibieke has won his last 4, with his last 3 coming by T/KO, but he's not the only one with momentum, and Li has also won his last 4. A genuinely interestingly match up.
The only other 8 rounder on this card will see Jiajia Li (6-2, 2) battle Ayati Sailike (10-8-3-1, 4) in a decent looking match up. We don't think this will be as good as the other one, but it is a lot more even than it looks on paper. The 32 year old Li was beaten last year, and since then has picked up two very low key wins. Sailike on the other hand is unbeaten in more than 2 years and looks like he's coming into his prime. This could end up being a lot better than it appears on paper.
Note - Hanada's Japanese debut was a WBF title bout in Osaka in June 2019. The bout isn't recognised by the JBC, his "actual" record is 5-0 (3)
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
This coming Saturday our attention turns to Kobe for a Japanese card that features two title bouts, and a couple of well matched lower level bouts.
The main event of this show will be the rescheduled bout between Japanese veteran Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) and promising youngster Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5), who battle for the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight title. Originally this bout was supposed to take place in March before the boxing calendar got shaken up by the lengthy hiatus caused by the on going global situation. Thankfully this bout, which looked good back in February when we were waiting for it, looks just as good now, and we are anticipating a really well contested battle between two men at very different stages of their careers. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tomita clashes with veteran Horikawa for OPBF title!
In a Japanese Atomweight title bout we'll see Kaori Nagai (4-2-3, 2) and Momoko Kanda (10-12-2, 4) clash, in what will be the second bout between the two women. The title, which was vacated by Eri Matsuda, isn't a well established one with a long history, but the winner here will likely see themselves taking a huge step towards a potential world title fight. Of the two Nagai probably has the advantage, given she won the first bout, but the experience Kanda could be the difference here, with this likely to be her last big opportunity if she loses. Our preview of this fight can be read here Nagai and Kanda battle for Japanese national crown!
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Bantamweight Koichi Wakita (7-2-2, 2) take on Kaito Takeshima (6-3, 1) in what looks like it could be a competitive bout. Sadly despite being in good form, having gone 5-0-2 in his last 7, Wakita is now 30 years old and it's hard to imagine him going through the rankings and getting a title fight. On the other hand Takeshima, who's only 21, is needing to rebuild following a recent upset loss to Takuya Fujioka and we expect to see him give his all here.
In another well matched under-card bout the 20 year old Aoba Mori (6-2) will take on 25 year old Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2, 1). The young Mori may have won 6 of his 8 bouts but he has had 5 very close decisions in his favour and it seems hard to imagine him going far unless he can start to make himself stand out in bouts. Iwasaki on the other hand was last seen in the 2019 Rookie of the Year final, losing to Seiya Meguro last December. Both men will come in to this bout hungry and both are young, so we expect a high energy bout here between two men looking to make a point.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
There is also a show in Thailand as we see the sport begin to resume in the Land of Smiles.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Nawaphon Kaikanha (48-1-1, 38) battle against Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asia Banatamweight title. We expect this to be little more than a mismatch in favour of Nawaphon, who should be too good, too experienced and too big for the limited Ruhasiri.
On paper the co feature is a much better bout and will see Phongsaphon Panyakum (8-1, 3) take on Sophon Klachun (5-4-1, 1). Although a more competitive bout than the main event we don't see this as being a very high level contest.
Antai Tennis Park, Rizhao, China
As well as the Japanese and Thai shows we'll also be getting a small card in China. This card, like many of the other recent Chinese ones, is a novice show, where most of the fighters are taking one of their first steps as a professional.
Despite most of the bouts being between two novices it is worth noting that the show will have an interesting match up on it between Ju Wu (9-0-2)* and Wei Liu (1-0, 1). We've been impressed by the talented young Wu, who has shown a good boxing brain and ring craft and it's hard to see him losing to a 1-0 debutant. Saying that however over 4 rounds a quick start by Liu could see him potentially playing the role of a human banana peel, and the bout is more interesting than it looks on paper.
*It appears that Ju Wu and Lei Wang's draw from earlier in the year is no long on either man's record
This coming Sunday is a pretty quiet day for fight fans in Asia, despite a decent show in Thailand.
The show in Thailand comes to us thanks to TL Boxing Promotions. It's certainly not a big card, but will feature a pair of WBA Asia title bouts.
One of the bouts will see former world title challenger Dennapa Kiatniwat (21-2, 16) taking on Jeny Boy Buca (13-6, 11), in a bout for the WBA Asia Flyweight title. Dennapa, also known as Sarawut Thawornkham, will be defending the title he won last November, when he stopped Samuel Tehuayo in 8 rounds. The heavy handed Buca had shown some promise earlier in his career, but with 3 losses in his last 4 bouts and only a single win in the last 3 years, it's hard to see him as any sort of a test for the Thai fighter.
Interestingly the show also has a WBA Asia Super Flyweight title fight being advertised for it, with Jomvo Korsaklamphun (?-?), who doesn't appear to be listed on boxrec, taking on Filipino Adrian Lerasan (8-4, 1). Given we know nothing about the local we're either expecting a very special talent, or a terrible fighter, but we were impressed by Lerasan last year when he gave Dave Apolinario a good test, and wouldn't be surprised by another good showing, even in a loss, here.
This coming Monday isn't a huge day for boxing, but there is still a lot of action in Osaka prefecture, with 2 cards taking place in the region, with a combined 4 title bouts!
The most significant bout from those two cards takes place in Osaka city and will see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) making his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The Japanese veteran, who vacated the OPBF title in the hope of moving towards a world title fight, will be defending the WBO regional title as he takes on South Korean Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) in what is expected to be little more than a work out for Nonaka. The highly skilled Nonaka is a very smart fighter who, even in his 40's, is a very talented and driven boxer who has made it clear he's still chasing goals in hi career. Min on the other hand is a bit of an unknown outside of Korea, and he's not expected to have much to test Nonaka, though has shown pretty heavy hands on the Korean domestic scene. For those interested in more information about this bout a preview can be read here Preview - Yuki Nonaka Vs Yang Hyun Min
The other title bout on this card will see youngsters collide, with Joe Shiraishi (8-0-1, 4) and Yoshiki Minato (8-2, 3) facing off for the Japanese Youth Flyweight title. Shiraishi came to our attention in 2017 when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, beating Minato along the way in fact, and has since added two stoppage wins since then. Sadly inactivity has been an issue for him but he is a really youngster. Of course he's not the only talented youngster here and Minato will be seeking revenge for his 2017 loss, however he comes into this on the back of an opening round blow out loss to Seigo Yuri Akui back in April. Incidentally Minato won the All Japan Rookie of the Year himself in 2018, meaning this is a clash of Rookie champions. A full preview of this bout can be read here Shiraishi and Minato rematch for Youth title!
Another interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rikuto Adachi (12-2, 9) and Change Hamashima (10-4-1, 4) battle at Welterweight. Both men really need a win here, following recent losses, and interestingly both have also lost recently to Kudura Kaneko. Adachi was stopped in 5 rounds by Kaneko, who simply over-powered him, whilst Hamashima has lost 2 decisions to Kaneko and was also stopped in 7 rounds last time out by Masaharu Kaito. It's really hard to see where the loser goes next, but the winner will likely find themselves working towards a Japanese Youth title bout.
Staying in Osaka Prefecture, though going from Osaka City to Sakai City, we get another notable card with double title action on it, albeit on a less interesting card than the other card.
Like the other card the main event is a WBO Asia Pacific title fight, though this time it's down at Light Flyweight where the once beaten Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) takes on Hayato Yamaguchi (15-7-1, 2) for the vacant title. Tomita, who turns 22 in November, impressed us last year when he put up a brave effort against Tsuaba Koura in an OPBF title fight. Tomita impressed again last time out, blowing away Jeffrey Galero and we do suspect his move to 108lbs will be a good decision for his career. For Yamaguchi this is just his second bout since being stopped in October 2016 by Tetsuya Hisada, and we do wonder he has left in the tank at the moment in time. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Tomita and Yamaguchi face off for WBO Asia Pacific title!
In a notable supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Shingo Kawamura (16-5-2, 8) taking on the light hitting Jin Miura (10-3-2, 1). Coming in to this Kawamura is well over a year removed from his last win, which came back on April 28th 2018, and another set back here really will leave the 29 year old Southpaw in an terrible position if he's wanting to get another shot at gold any time soon. Although no world beater Miura is unbeaten in his last 3, including a notable draw against Mugicha Nakagawa and an upset win over Tatsuya Matsumoto, and a win here will move him towards a title fight of his own. A really interesting one, even if it's not likely to be the most explosive.
A second title bout on this show will see Tomoko Okuda (5-2-1, 1) take on the fast rising Kanako Taniyama (2-0, 1) in a bout for the JBC female Bantamweight title. This will probably be the only chance that the 36 year old Okuda has to win a notably bout whilst Taniyama will be looking to prove her move over from kick boxing to boxing has been a success. At 2 years old Taniyama is no spring chicken but her combat sport experience is expected to be a launch pad to help her move into world title action sooner rather than later. If Taniyama is what the Watanabe gym are hoping for she needs to win, and win big here. A preview of this bout can be read here Taniyama and Okuda battle for female Bantamweight title!
The main card of interest this coming Sunday comes from Osaka, where we get a small but notable show.
The main event of this show sees 21 year old Japanese hopeful Daiki Tomita (12-1, 4) take on former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (17-6, 8). Interestingly both me these men have lost to Tsubasa Koura, with Koura blitzing Galero being going 12 rounds with Tomita, and it feels very much like Tomita is the man with the potential to go on to big things, whilst Galero is on a downward slide towards becoming a journeyman, with 3 losses in his last 4.
A pretty solid bout on this card will see Yu Konomura (9-8-2, 3) take on Daisuke Watanabe (7-4-1, 4). On paper it's very easy to overlook this contest, but in reality it should be really entertaining. Konomura has struggled to not wins recently, winning just twice in his last 8, but can be a banana skin whilst Watanabe has one of the sports truly deceiving records, and he is much, much better than those numbers suggest.
Also on this card is former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (34-5-4, 20), who looks to score a stay busy win against Indonesian visitor Ahmad Lahizab (4-7-1, 1). This is a big step down in class for Osawa, but appears to be a real tick over before something bigger later in the year.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in Indonesia featuring a pair of unbeaten local prospects, each looking to extend their unbeaten records and claim a title.
The main event will be a 12 round bout, which will see the talented Andika D'Golden Boy (15-0, 8) take on Filipino foe Romshane Sarguilla (7-2-2, 4) in a bout for the WBA Asia Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten local fighter is 23 years old and looking to build on a relatively poor 2018, which saw him fighting just twice. On the other hand Sarguilla will be fighting for the second time this year, looking to bounce back from a February loss to Dave Apolinario, a loss that was aired on ESPN5. Although the bout won't get much attention internationally, it will be a pretty interesting and potentially very competitive bout.
The other title bout on this show will see the unbeaten and heavy handed Ari Agustian (7-0, 7) take on Thai visitor Suntorn Panhom (3-3, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Lightweight title. We were really impressed by Agustian in 2018, when he travelled to China and blasted out Baolin Kang, but he's been inactive since and not build on a really notable win. Panhom on the other hand is a 19 year old Thai who has lost 3 of his last 4, and he's yet to score a win over someone with a recorded bout.
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.