After a bit of a break from events at Korakuen Hall return to the Japanese boxing "Holy Land" this coming Thursday for a really good looking card featuring an OPBF title bout, two Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals and two under-card bouts featuring notable names!
The main event will see Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) take on unbeaten Japanese-Afghan Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Welterweight title fight. The talented Nagahama has won 3 in a row since losing to Yuki Nagano in May 2018, and will be getting his second title fight, follow a loss in a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout against Takeshi Inoue. Kaneko on the other hand is someone who is getting his first title fight, but has earned it on the back of impressive wins against the likes of Toshio Arikawa, Rikuto Adachi and Moon Hyon Yun. Neither of these two are well known, but a win here will put the winner on the map, and see them become the new OPBF champion. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kaneko and Nagahama clash for OPBF crown!
In one of the two Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals we'll see hard hitting and teak tough Korean fighter Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) take on Japan's Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5). On paper this could end up the more fun of the two semi final bouts, especially given the quarter final bouts the men were involved in. Jae Woo Lee got past Tsuyoshi Tameda in a 3 round war, whilst Kusano was dropped multiple times before bouncing back to beat Qiang Ma. This could be a thriller, but it's hard imagine Kusano handling the pressure of Lee.
The other semi final will see Filipino fighter Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6), who had a bye in the round of 8, take on Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6), who advanced on the basis of a technical draw against Koshin Takeshima. This is the tougher of the two semi finals to predict. Pumicpic is, and has long been, an under-rated terror to face off with, but he is the naturally smaller man and is on away soil. Watanabe has an incredibly under-rated record, and on his day is a threat with his solid boxing and heavy hand. We expect another exciting fight here, though this could easily end up being a real mess, with head clashes, if the fighters aren't careful.
One of two notable fighters on the under-card is former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be up against Ariston Aton (9-2, 5). Koura, who hasn't fought since losing the OPBF title last year to Lito Dante, was originally scheduled to face Yujie Zeng (14-10-1, 6) before Zeng was replaced by Aton. For Koura the clear purpose of this bout is to rebuild however Aton is no push over and he was very competitive last December against Tatsuro Nakashima.
The other notable fighter on the under-card is former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18), who who has his first fight since June 2017, as he takes on Shogo Yamaguchi (11-5-3, 6). Tsuchiya was in the ring in January, albeit in a public exhibition, after his planned opponent failed to secure a visa, and we suspect he'll come on top here. As for Yamaguchi he has scored just 2 low level wins in his last 9, and was stopped last time out by Masanori Rikiishi.
The main focus this coming Tuesday is on the Korakuen Hall the much anticipated Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament quarter-finals. The card features the 3 quarter-final bouts and we are expecting serious fireworks in some of these.
The standout bout among the quarter finals will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6). The talented Takeshima will be looking to build on solid wins already this year over Jian Wang and Jon Jon Estrada, but this will be his first bout against a fellow Japanese fighter. Watanabe on the other hand is unbeaten in his last 4, including a KO win last time out against Dai Iwai, and is unbeaten since a 2018 loss to Reiya Abe. This is by far and away the most interesting of the 3 quarters and should be a very hard one to call.
In a bout with an international flavour we'll see China's Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) take on the out of form Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4). Although this is Ma's international debut he does appear to have all the momentum coming into this and is unbeaten in 7 bouts, including a win last time out for a minor, regional, WBO belt. The 30 year old Kusano has lost his last 4 bouts, and is win-less since a February 2016 victory over Apisak Puttawong, who has gone 0-6 since losing to Kusano.
Whilst we would be shocked by a Kusano win over Ma that's not the quarter final we see as the biggest mismatch. Instead that mismatch is the quarter-final pitting the huge punching Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) against Korean Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5). Coming in Tameda should be regarded as one of the clear favourites for the tournament and he's looking for his 4th win of the year, and his 9th win in 10 bouts. Lee, a former Korean Featherweight champion, has a punchers chance, but he's been out of the ring since March 2018 due to injuries and should be regarded as a very, very clear under-dog. If Lee comes out swinging this could be very fun, but we see Tameda's power and experience being too much for the visitor.
Also on this card is the highly touted Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2), who looks to continue his ascent to big fights as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (5-2, 1). this will be Suzuki's second bout against a Japanese foe, as he looks to build on August's win over Kosuke Arioka, and net his third victory of the year. We regard Suzuki very highly, but this isn't a gimme. The light punching Matsumoto was stopped last time out, by Kenta Endo, but is a tough and talented fighter and he will be looking for an upset win here.
We're focusing on Tokyo again this coming Monday for a small card at Korakuen Hall. It's not one which will get pulses racing but does feature a very interesting main event, and a few domestic names on the under-card.
The main event will see former OPBF title challenger Dai Iwai (23-5-1, 7) take on the under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (8-4-1, 5), in a very interesting bout. Iwai has the edge in experience, and has shared the ring with the likes of Masayuki Ito and Taiki Minamoto, but on the whole he has been rather softly matched. On the other hand Watanabe has been matched ridiculously hard, and has picked up some solid wins against the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi and Yosuke Fujihara. Although it doesn't look an even match up on paper we're expecting this to be very hotly contested.
Another bout that doesn't look like it will be competitive, though we're expecting it will be, sees former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (30-9-5, 21) take on Junnosuke Nagayasu (14-14-3, 4). The bout looks like a straight forward win for Takahashi on paper, but his record is mostly padded with wins against limited opposition and he is 3-4 in his last 7, dating back just over 2 years. With 44 bouts to his name, and some very damaging wars along the way, it's hard to know what Takahashi's body has left in it, and he has certainly not looked great in recent years. The 36 year old Nagayasu has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6, but that record doesn't show how close his losses have been and he is certainly no push over.
On paper a much better bout will see the limited but hard hitting Renji Ichimura (7-4, 6) take on Shingo Kusano (11-7-1, 4) in a support bout. This one could steal the show Ichimura is a stop or be stopped type of guy, and has only seen the final bell in 3 of his 11 bouts. Coming in to this he has been out of the ring for close to 3 years, but that rest could well have done him the world of good, and he's still only 25. Kusano, the last man to beat Reiya Abe, has lost his last 3 but a win over Abe holds a lot of weight and he ran Ryohei Takahashi really close last time out, showing that there is talent there. Although neither man is a world beater, this should be a really solid match up.
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 Sunday is a hectic day with 4 Japanese shows, a Filipino show, a Korean show and a Vietnamese show. Not only is there lots of shows but those shows feature notable names and we get a host of title bouts, in what is a genuinely crazy day.
The biggest action for the day is from Osaka, where we get 8 bouts of note, spread over 2 shows at the EDION Arena Osaka. The first of those shows is a Green Tsuda triple title show.
The main event of this triple title show will see hard hitting Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) defending his belt against the limited but exciting Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 11). For the champion this will be a second defense of the title, and he will be looking to really make a statement in the new year, with a number of interesting challengers now vying for a shot at his belt. For Fujinaka this one more chance to win a belt, but the reality is that he's a clear under-dog. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fujinaka challenges Japanese champion Yada!
A second Japanese title fight on this card will see domestic Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) making his first defense, taking on unbeaten contender Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10). The champion won the belt earlier this year, over-coming Hiroyuki Kudaka, but looks likely to be little more than a transitional champion before a top domestic fighter takes it off him. Hashizume on the other hand was once a hotly tipped prospect, but poor match making from the Ioka gym has seen his development stall and stutter, and it's hard to know how prepared he is for a fight like this. Ore preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto defends Japanese title against unbeaten Hashizume
The third title bout on this show is a Japanese Super Flyweight Youth title bout, pitting the skilful Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) against the heavy handed Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) to crown a new champion. We're expecting a really interesting contest here, with Nakamura trying to land his power and Nasu trying to out box the bigger punching Nakamura. It's a hard bout to call, and should be a very good one for the fans at the venue. Our in depth look at this bout is available to read hereNasu and Nakamura battle for Japanese Youth title!
Another potentially great bout on this card will see the once beaten Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-1, 5) look to record his 8th straight win, as he takes a huge step up and faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (7-4, 4). Coming in to this momentum is clearly with Shimomachi, who won the Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year last year, but this is certainly a tougher test than it looks on paper. Watanabe, although "only 7-4" has been in with the likes of Reiya Abe, Sho Nakazawa and Gakuya Furuhashi, and held his own in some tough domestic bouts. This is a serious match up and a really good fight for both men, who will know that a win massively boosts their career.
After the Green Tsuda card we then get an Ioka promoted show from the EDION arena. This card only features a single title bout, but does have a great supporting card to go along with the main event.
The title match up will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (17-0, 11) defending his belt against tough and hard hitting challenger Hurricane Futa (25-7-1, 15), who should put up a very interesting challenge. Nakatani will be strongly favoured, as he looks to secure his 11th defense of the title, but his career has failed to live up to early expectations and there is a real worry that he will go off the boil, if he hasn't already, and he looked less than his best last time out. Futa is a dangerous fighter, despite technical limitations he can really bang, and he's tough, with his record littered with upset wins, including KO wins over Vage Sarukhanyan and Will Tomlinson. An in depth look at this bout from regular contributor George Delis can be read here OPBF king Nakatani battles hard hitting Futa!
One of the supporting bouts will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) take on former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17). This looks almost certainly like a bout that will have explosive action. Omori is the more technically skilled of the two men, and has solid power to go with his technical skills, but Yamamoto can certainly bang and is a very dangerous fighter, even if he lacks that bit of class Omori has. Both fighters have been stopped and should feel they have the power to stop the other here. A preview of this bout can be read here Omori and Yamamoto clash in "survival" bout!
Another supporting bout will see former world title challengers battle, as former WBA Super Flyweigt title challenger Sho Ishida (26-1, 15) takes on former WBO title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-8-1, 23). At 27 years old the 5'8" Ishida has the potential to go all the way, and 2-0 (2) since his loss to Kal Yafai, in what as a close but very forgettable contest. That loss seems to have made Ishida aware that he does need to improve and we have seen a more spiteful attitude from him in the ring. Parrenas on the other hand is 35 and has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, losing to Naoya Inoue and Ryuichi Funai and this seems like a bout he must win if he intends to keep his career alive. Our preview of this clash can be read here Ishida and Parrenas clash in must win bout!
In one other bout of note we'll see Tatsuya Ikemizu (19-2, 8) hunt a 7th straight win, since being stopped by Jonas Sultan in 2016, as he takes on Sonin Nihei (8-2-3, 1). Both of these men were once tipped for success, though both have fallen very short of expectations so far. Given that both are young, both are 25, there is a chance that they could come good. It's worth noting that Nihei hasn't fought since being stopped by Keita Kurihara in December 2016, in what was a second straight stoppage loss for Nihei.
On a lesser level to the Osaka cards is a show from Okinawa, where 2017 Light Welterweight Rookie of the Year Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6) takes on Filipino Nelson Tinampay (13-7-1, 6). This will be Smith's first bout since losing a Japanese title eliminator to Koki Inoue and should be a solid test for the Japanese-American puncher. Tinampay has been stopped in 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good talent across the region and will give us something to compare Smith's result against.
In a supporting bout we'll see the talented Tatsuro Nakashima (7-1-1, 5), who came runner up in the East Japan Rookie of the Year last year, looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Japanese fighter will be up against Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (4-1, 4), who was last seen in the ring in September, being demolished by the debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka. We don't expect anything but a win for Nakashima, but we're interested in this bout to learn more about how good Shigeoka's performance was.
This card will also feature Former OPBF female Bantamweight champion Yuko Henzan (6-7-4, 2), who is scheduled to face off against a Thai opponent.
The least notable of the Japanese cards comes from Hyogo, where the Japanese ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (13-2, 7) takes on the hard hitting Takuya Matsuzaka (8-7, 7) in what should be a good test before Kanda begins a march towards titles in 2019. Kanda is riding a 7 fight winning streak into this bout whilst Matsusaka has managed to win just 3 of his last 7. Although heavy handed Matsusaka has been stopped in 6 of his 7 losses, and we'd not be surprised to see him being taken out again here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Japanese action there will also be a card in Vietnam, in association with a Japanese promoter, with a Japanese fighter headlining the card.
That Japanese fighter in the main event is the exciting Gakuya Furuhashi (23-8-1, 12), who faces off with limited Thai Yutthichai Wannawong (9-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title. The bout is supposed to be a special attraction as the OPBF look to build up boxing in Vietnam, and it seems clear the OPBF do have big plans for the coming years in these non-boxing countries, so fingers crossed this main event interests the fans.
A second OPBF affiliated title will be on the line as Nguyen Anh Tuan Dao (1-1, 1) faces an opponent, sadly we don't have their name, for the newly created OPBF Vietnamese National Light Welterweight title. The idea seems to be to spread these national titles across a number of countries, in what could be a very interesting experiment from the OPBF, who seem to realise that their market needs to grow outside of their strong hold markets.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see 3 bouts of note, even if they aren't hugely interesting match ups.
The most promising of those fighters is Joe Noynay (15-2-1, 5), who looks to secure a 4th straight win as he takes on Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4), who has lost his last 3. The talented 23 year old Noynay is unbeaten since losing in February 2017 to Reiya Abe, and looks to be a genuine prospect. Bolcio on the other hand looks like a fighter who has given up trying to win and is 4-13-2 in his last 19 bouts, with 8 of those 13 losses coming by stoppage.
Another fighter who appears to be in easy is Ryan Sermona (20-9-1, 13), who takes on Junar Adante (7-10-1, 4). Sermona has mixed with good fighters, including a 2014 loss to Masayuki Ito and a 2017 loss to Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a decent fighter on the domestic Filipino scene. Adante on the other hand has been stopped in his last 4 bouts, and 8 of his last 9, suggesting Sermona shouldn't have any problems at all here.
The other bout of note on this card will see 23 year old Glenn Medura (9-4-1, 5) battle against Dado Cabintoy (15-8-2, 8), in a bout that looks competitive on paper, but isn't a hugely interesting bout. Medua is 1-3 in his last 4, with only a single win in the last 2 years, whilst Cabintoy is 0-4 coming into this bout and is more than 40 months removed from his last win!
Seoul, South Korea
The main event here is really the only bout worth talking about, and will be an 8 round Super Featherweight clash, as Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) takes on Hwan Young Jo (5-6, 1). It's hard to see past a win for Lee, but he was stopped last time out, being taken out in 3 rounds by Jun Zhao back in September. Jo on the other hand has gone 1-3 in his last 4, and at 30 years old really looks like a fighter who won't be getting any better.
After a few days of rest Japanese fight fans in Tokyo will get the chance for more fights this coming Thursday, with a card from the Misako Gym.
The main event of the card will see JBC ranked Light Welterweight Daishi Nagata (10-1-1, 4) take on Filipino visitor Jimmy Borbon (7-5-4, 4). Last year Nagata suffered his first defeat, being battered into a 7th round TKO loss to Vladimir Baez, but since then he has bounced back well with two decent wins. He should be looking to continue that run here, as he takes on the naturally smaller Borbon. The Filipino has won 2 of his last 8 bouts, and we don't expect him to come out on top here against the talented Nagata.
A really good looking bout will see the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (21-8-1, 10) take on the under-rated Gaku Aikawa (9-5-1, 3). The 30 year old Furuhashi is a 2-time Japanese title challenger, who has been matched softly since suffering a 10th round TKO loss to Yasutaka Ishimoto in 2016. Despite being matched softly Furuhashi is no push over and is clear stepping up in class here, compared to his last 3 opponents. Aikawa has been pretty inconsistent, but will be coming into this on the back of a huge December win over Shohei Kawashima, and he will know that a win over Furuhashi will move him very close to a Japanese title fight.
Another excellent match up will see Daisuke Watanabe (6-4, 3) battle against Daiki Maniwa (6-2-1, 4). On paper this might not look like anything special but we really do expect an excellent bout. The 26 year old Watanabe has been matched insanely tough so far, battling the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Sho Nakazawa, Ryuto Araya and Reiya Abe in his first 10 bouts, and scoring wins against some of those. Maniwa on the other hand comes into the bout on the back of a loss in a Japanese Youth title fight, his most notable bout to date, but will take some confidence from that loss and come in here knowing that a win will get his career back on track. A really interesting fight between two men who will both believe they can come out on top here.
One other bout of note will see former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (36-15-1, 10) take on Naoto Takanashi (5-12-3, 4). This will be Horikawa's 53rd career bout, his third this year, and he seems to be looking to get himself one more title fight. For Takanashi the bout is a huge ask, but a chance to take on a bit of a domestic legend.
In Tokyo this coming Friday fight fans will see the next Asign Bee show.
The main event of the card is a mouth watering match up between Reiya Abe (16-2, 8) and Daisuke Watanabe (6-3, 3). Coming in to this Abe is ranked the JBC, OPBF and IBF and looks to be well on his way to a title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satosho Hosono. On paper Watanabe looks like an easy opponent for for the red hot Abe but the reality is that Watanabe is a very credible fighter who holds notable wins over the likes of Jun Blazo, Yosuke Fujihara and Gakuya Furuhashi. This is a really well matched bout and should be very contest in the ring.
In the led support bout recently title challenger Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16) will be up against a Thai foe. Kondo gained some international respect last November when he gave the talented Sergey Lipinets a competitive 12 round bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, this will be his first bout since loss
In another notable bout fans will see the under-rated Ryohei Takahashi (13-3-1, 5) battle Tetsuya Koyama (7-9, 2). The under-rated Takahashi has been matched hard, but looks like someone who will always be able to mix in and around the top of the domestic level. He shouldn't struggle with Koyama, but Koyama is the naturally bigger man and could ask some questions of his man.
Another bout worth noting from this card is a competitive contest between Ryuto Araya (11-6-1, 3) and Tatsuya Otsubo (10-8-1, 3). Both of these men have fought in title bouts, with Otsubo losing a decision to the then Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono in 2015 and Araya losing to then then OPBF Featherweight champion Rtyo Takenaka early last year. It's also worth noting that these two fought last October in a nail biting fight,that Otsubo won with cards of 76-75 in his favour from all 3 judges. This could be the highlight of the card.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia local fans will see hard hitting prospect Brock Jarvis (12-0, 11) take on once beaten Indonesian fighter Hamson Tiger Lamandau (8-1-1, 5). The hard hitting Jarvis has stopped his last 11 foes, including the notable but very shop worn Rasmanudin, and looks like one of the most exciting prospects down under. As for Lamandau he is best known for suffering a 6th round loss to Hinata Maruta last year, and has fought only once since then.
This coming Sunday is a relatively quiet day in Asian boxing, with only a couple of shows of note.
The most notable of those shows comes from Hokkaido where Dangan take their show on the road and put one a rare card outside of Tokyo.
The main event of this card is a genuinely intriguing one, as the under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (6-2, 3) battles Naoya Okamoto (11-6-1, 5) in a really good match up. Of the two men it's Watanabe who has impressed us more, with notable wins against Ryuto Araya and Yosuke Fujihara, and he's currently riding a 4 fight winning run since back-to-back losses in 2015. Okamoto is a decent fighter but a 1-1-1 record in his last 3 seems like like he's now found his level and he looks like he'll always be a decent fringe domestic level guy. Watanabe should win and move a step closer to a title fight, but he should have to work for his win here.
Another bout on this card worthy of a note is a contest between Kiyohei Endo (0-1) and Ninmongkol Phetphumgym (0-1). The bout looks like it should be ignored on paper, but Endo is a real talent and he showed that on his debut, before being stopped by a real lucky punch. Endo will likely show a bit more caution here and it'd be amazing to see anything but an Endo win, as he looks to score his first win as a professional.
The other show comes from Kochi and will be headlined by the once beaten Tetsu Araki (9-1-1, 1) taking on the heavy handed Akira Ono (7-5-1, 6). Araki has won his last 5, since losing a split decision to Tenta Kiyose in the 2015 Rookie of the Year tournament, and looks to be a promising youngster slowly making a name for himself. Although promising Araki hasn't really been too much of a chin checking, and we're expecting that to change here as Ono can really bang. Although not the most talented Ono can bang, and we're expecting to see that again here. This will be skills against power, and should be very intriguing.
The biggest bout this coming Saturday, for fans of Asian boxing, comes from Thailand where WBC Minmumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (46-0, 17) hunts a 7th defense of the title as he takes on Australian based fighter Omari Kimweri (16-3, 6). Wanheng will be strongly favoured here but hasn't shone in recent bouts, even the stay busy fights have seen him put on less than great performances, and it does sometimes seem like he's on cruise control. A win here for Wanheng will take him to within touching distance of 50-0 but Kimweri will not have travelled to just lose.
As well as the big bout in Thailand there will also be a low profile card in Tokyo.
The main event of this card does look interesting as Japan's Daisuke Watanabe (5-2, 3) takes on big punching Filipino Jun Blazo (7-2-3, 6). We've been impressed by Watanabe so far, despite the fact he has a couple of losses, and his team are willing to continue pushing him hard and in risky bouts, and this is certainly a risky one. Blazo's power is genuine and he dropped Koki Eto in a previous visit to Tokyo, suggesting he could be a handful for Watanabe.
Another Japanese fighter facing a Filipino is Coach Hiroto (11-2-1, 3), who faces Glenn Medura (8-2-1, 5). Madura, like Blazo, is returning to Japan having faced someone much better known than themselves, losing to Ryosuke Iwasa, but will fancy his chances here against Hiroto, who has been out of the ring for close to 5 years.
Another bout on this card will see the promising Shuma Nakazato (5-0-1, 4) take on a Thai foe in what will be his first 6 rounder. Nakazato showed real promise in 2015 but was out of the ring since fighting to a draw with Teppei Kayanuma in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. This should be a straight forward comeback, but with nothing known about his Thai foe it could be a tougher than expected assignment for the 20 year old Okinawan.
December 19th isn't set to be a huge day for Asian fight fans, but it will be an interesting day as we get the next Dangan card.
In the main event we'll see the heavy handed Shuhei Tsuchiya (21-4, 17) battle the in form Masashi Noguchi (12-5-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title. This will be the first time either man will have fought for a Japanese title, with Nihito Arakawa recently vacating the title, but we're expecting a very fun bout between two men who can be hurt and stopped.
The main support bout will see exciting veteran Rikiya Fukuhara (31-9-1, 23) take on Filipino visitor Alvin Bais (15-7-1, 4). The bout isn't the most exciting contest on the card, not even the most exciting bout between a Japanese and a Filipino, but it will be the final bout of Fukuhara's career with the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion announcing that win or lose his career was ending here.
A really good under-card bout will see the experienced Yosuke Fujihara (16-4, 4) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (4-2, 3). Although this looks like an easy win for the more experienced Fujihara on paper Watanabe is one of the more under-rated fighters coming through the Japanese ranks and we're expecting to see the novice come out on top here, and potentially fighting for titles by the end of next year.
A brilliant Japan Vs Philippines bout will see unbeaten local Tsubasa Koura (8-0, 5) battle against former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (14-2, 7). Koura, the 2015 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, has impressed with a pair of stoppages earlier this year and looks to be one of the more notable Minimumweight prospects coming through the ranks at the moment, but this is a huge step up in class. Galero on the other hand is looking to rebuild following a loss to Seita Ogida earlier this year. Although he lost last time out we must admit we thought we saw a lot of promise in Galero when he took on WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin and this could be a chance for him to get his career back on track.
In another good looking bout we'll see the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year Bantamweight runner up Tenta Kiyose (10-2-1, 3) battle against former Japanese title challenger Ryuta Otsuka (16-9-2, 6). Kiyosa has impressed in the past, and is riding a 3 fight winning run coming into this bout but is stepping up massively against Otsuka. As for Otsuka he has lost 4 of his last 7, but they have included losses to two Japanese champions, Teiru Kinoshita and Sho Ishida, along with a defeat to former world champion Malcolm Tunacao. This really could be a very good bout.
For fans interested in this card it will be streamed live on boxingraise.com.