Gateaux Kingdom Sapporo, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
This coming Sunday attention turns to Hokkaido for a rare boxing card in the region. The card is certainly not a big one, but it is one worth being aware of with two bouts of some note on it.
One of the bouts will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Featherweight Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) take on once beaten Nigerian fighter Ridwan Oyekola (8-1-1, 5), in a scheduled 8 rounder. For Watanabe the bout is a chance to prepare for a Japanese title fight in 2023, and at the age of 31 he can ill afford another set back, in what will be his 20th professional bout. Notably he will be fighting in his home town of Sapporo for the first time since 2017 and will be desperate to show local fans what he can do. As for Oyekola this bout is a major step up for him, though he will know a win really kick starts his career.
In another bout of note 30 year old novice Seeser Minagawa (2-0) will be facing off with Tomoyuki Yokota (6-6, 2) in an 8 rounder at 154lbs. At the moment the 154lb Japanese domestic scene is weak and Minagawa will know a win here will see him banging on the door of a title fight, despite only having had 2 professional bouts so far. As for Yokota, the 36 year old has rarely fought in recent years and will be hoping his bout in July will have helped him shake some ring rust.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the action in Japan we are also set to get a card in South Korea, with Bo Mi Re Shin (12-1-3, 6) looking to defend her WBC International Featherweight title against rising Japanese hopeful Aka Ringo (3-0, 2). This bout was put together at short notice after a planned world title bout for Ringo, against Hyun Mi Choi, was cancelled, and she'll be determined to take her frustrations out on Shin. Saying that however Shin is the naturally bigger and the more experienced fighter and will feel she has the tools to deal with the Japanese novice.
November 27th-Ogawa gets world title shot, Maruta seeks first defense! Abe and Watanabe face off!
Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA
The most notable bout with an Asian fighter involved this Saturday is in New York as Japan's Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) battles talented South African Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9) for the IBF Super Flyweight title. This bout really is an incredibly interesting one between two world class fighters each looking to prove themselves on the world stage. Ogawa is talented, but rough around the edges, heavy handed and dangerous with a real will to win, and willingness to take a shot to land one when he needs to. Fuzile on the other hand is a slick, skilled, technically sharp boxer-mover who has the tools to frustrate anyone in the division. It will genuinely be interesting to see if Ogawa can land his heavy right hand, or whether the slippery southpaw moves of Fuzile will be too much for him. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogawa faces Fuzile for IBF title!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in the US we'll also get a title bout in Japan, as a talented Japanese fighter looks to make his first defense of a national title. Not only that but we'll also see the mandatory challenger for the winner being decided as well, with the show hosting a Japanese title eliminator.
The title bout on this show will see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) look to build on his excellent title win against Ryo Sagawa as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9). For Maruta this is a great chance to continue moving forward, and a win here moves him closer and closer to a world title shot, potentially against recently crowned Kiko Martinez. The excellent Maruta has long been regarded as one of the brightest hopes in Japanese boxing, and over the last few years he has been showing his potential with some stellar domestic wins, though we'd really like to see him make a move up to Oriental, if not world, level in 2022. As for Hino this is a second shot at the title, and although a solid domestic level fighter a win here would be, by far, the biggest of his career. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
In the main supporting bout on this show we'll see Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) and Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) clash in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator. These two men have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe back in 2018. Since their first bout Watanabe has gone unbeaten, going 6-0-2 (4) and has some momentum coming in to this bout thanks to his victory in the Hajime No Ippo Featherweight tournament, last year, and a good win over Yosuke Kawano earlier this year. The highly skilled Abe has gone 4-1-1 (1) since beating Watanabe, but has struggled at times, and and we dare say he's needed a fire lighting under his backside aty times, hopefully that fire will be lit here knowing he will get a third Japanese shot, if he wins.
Dawrpui Multipurpose Hall, Aizawl, India
As well as the title action in the US and Japan we also have a minor title bout in India, where Nutlai Lalbiakkima (2-0, 2) will be defending his IBA International Minimumweight title against Thai challenger Gerttipong Kumsahwat (6-9, 5). The talented Lalbiakkima is looking like a man on the fast track and we suspect he will be mixing against good competition in 2 or 3 years. Although not well known at the moment Lalbiakkima does have the potential to be the face of Indian boxing in the future. Gerttipong on the other hand is best known for losing to the then debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka back in 2018, and since then he has gone 3-7, likely to be 3-8 with this bout.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
There is also Asian action in Thailand, with a show being broadcast under the "The Fighter" banner, thanks to TL Promotions. Sadly whilst it does feature two very notable Thai hopefuls, neither man is in with someone expected to test them, also, notably, this show was originally scheduled to take place in late October before being delayed.
One of the promising Thai fighters on this show is the once beaten Tanes Ongjunta (8-1, 4), who looks notch a 5th straight win, as he takes on the limited Lerdchai Chaiyawed (6-5, 2). Ongjunta, looking to defend his WBA Asia Flyweight title, should be too good, too skilled, and too smart for his foe, though to credit where it's due, Chaiyawed does tend to offer plenty of resistance, even in his losses, and won't be there to just make up the numbers. We expect Chaiyawed to come to win, but simply not be good enough.
The other notable bout on this card will see the once beaten Arnon Yupang (7-1, 3) take on Filipino novice Fritz Biagtan (1-0, 1). Yupang was once a Thai amateur standout who has a lot of potential, and was last seen beating Amnat Ruenroeng for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title. He won't be defending that title here, but will be expecting to pick up a win. As for Biagtan, he made his debut in 2018, but has sadly been out of the ring for well over 40 months and is the naturally smaller man. Sadly we do not expect this one to be a particularly competitive match up.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
On Tuesday the often overlooked Yamaguchi Tsuchiura promotions put on a show at Korakuen Hall. It’s not a big one, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is still a worthwhile one with a potential sleeper on the show.
The potential sleeper on this show will be an 8 rounder between Yosuke Kawano (14-9-2, 8) and Daisuke Watanabe (11-4-2, 6), who are both ranked by the JBC at Featherweight. Coming into this Watanabe is in great form, going unbeaten in his last 7 and winning the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary Featherweight tournament last year, where he beat Shingo Kusano in the final. He will be full of confidence coming into this and has really turned his career around after a 6-4 (3) start. The 32 year old Kowano has been inconsistent in terms of results but has certainly been very competitive in a number of his losses, and just a single round swing in many bouts could have seen him walking away with the W. Kawano will be the under-dog here, but should be regarded as a very live under. We suspect this will be competitive, with both men needing to take some huge shots, though we edge Watanabe in a potential thriller.
In a 6 rounder at a contracted 68KG's we'll see Yuya Nemoto (6-9-3, 1) take on Tetsuya Kondo (5-2, 3) in what should be a really exciting little war itself. Neither of these men are going to become world title contenders, but both can make for fan friendly bouts and we suspect together they should make for a very entertaining contest. Nemoto certainly has the edge in size, being a natural at 154lbs, but pulling him down around 4lbs may neutralise that edge, whilst Kondo is the more skilled, but much smaller man.
We were supposed to see Tatsuya Takahashi (32-9-6, 21) take on Ryotaro Kawabata (12-4-2, 6) in the main event of this show, but that bout has now been called off, and has been removed from every Japanese schedule for the show. Interestingly Kawabata wasn't the original opponent for Kawabata, that was Jin Miura (11-3-4, 2), so we really do wonder what has happened here to see not only the original bout change, but for the replacement fight to also be called off.
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
As well as the Japanese action there is also set to be a long card in Kazakhstan thanks to Tukeshov Promotions. Sadly the card is lacking in notable names, with many of the fighters on the card being novices, though there is certainly a main event worthy of attention.
That main event will see 22 year old hopeful Ray Seitzhanov (5-0, 2), who has been looking pretty good in recent fights, taking on 20 year old Nurbol Berdimuratov (2-0). It's always good to to see unbeaten youngsters risking their "0" in fights like this, though we'll admit that neither man has done much since turning professional, with both of Berdimuratov's wins coming against debutants.
One other noteworthy fighter on this card was once touted teenager Dastan Saduuly (3-1, 3), who turned professional very young and was talked about as one to watch. Despite being touted Saduuly was batterd last September, suffering is first loss, and it now getting a confidence building bout as he takes on the win-less Assylbek Tastulek (0-2).
This coming Saturday is a busy day for fight fans wanting to follow Asian fighters, with shows in Japan, China, Russia and the US all needing to be mentioned. For us it's the Japanese show that's the most interesting, though both of the Russian shows have the potential to be very good shows, even if the Asian bouts aren't the biggest.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The Japanese show will be held at Korakuen Hall and will see Boxing Raise return for their first live stream since February. The event isn't a massive card, but is a very noteworthy one, with a tournament final, a former world title challenger and a former Japanese champion involved.
The main event will see Daisuke Watanabe (10-4-2, 6) and Shingo Kusano (13-8-1, 5) clash in the final of the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament. Both men have had to dig deep, and notch an upset or two along the way to get here. Neither man was favoured to reach the final and both men had to battle hard knowing a tournament win would be a massive boost to their career's. Originally this bout was planned for much earlier in the year, though due to the on-going situation it has been pushed back and back. On paper Watanabe will be the favourite, but the negative style of Kusano could really give him fits in an intriguing match up.
In the main support bout we'll see former world title challenger Shingo Wake (26-6-2, 18) take on the talented, but light punching, Shohei Kawashima (18-4-2, 4). On paper this is a must win bout for the 33 year old Wake, who was upset last year by Jhunriel Ramonal and desperately needs to make a statement, if he's to get a second world title shot. Kawashima is a talented fighter, but has gone 3-3 in his last 6 and was stopped last time out by Hiroaki Teshigawara. Despite being talented we don't really expect to see him holding his own with Wake here, who is fringe world class, despite the loss to Ramonal last year.
A third bout worthy of note will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-6, 18) face off with George Tachibana (8-4, 2). Tsuchiya is looking to pick a win following a loss in February, in what was a big upset against Shogo Yamaguchi, though it seems likely his glory days are gone and he isn't anything like the fighter he once was. As for Tachibana, who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2018, the bout will be a chance for him to rebuild following a blow out loss in December to Tomoki Takada, in what was also a notable upset.
Fenghuang Streat commercial square, Changsha, China
Action continues to trickle through form China with another small card, this time in Changsha. Like many of the other recent Chinese cards this is packed with novices, including 8 debutants from the 14 bouts.
With so many debutants on the show we only actually have a single bout not featuring a debutant and that's the 6 round main event between Sheng Peng (4-6-1, 2) and Xing Xie (1-5, 1). Although it's the main event we aren't expecting anything too excited here from fighters who have little power and little in terms of form. Still there maybe a diamond in the rough on the under-card for those who are going to tune in here.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Over in Russian we'll see unbeaten Kazakh born Russian hopeful Stanislav Kalitskiy (10-0, 3) look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on 25 year old Russian southpaw Dmitrii Khasiev (9-2-2, 3) in a 10 round. Kalitskiy has looked talented but lacked power and that may be an issue when he steps up in class, and takes on imposing fighters. Here however w edon't see it being an issue. Khasiev appears to be a solid professional, but it would be his biggest win if he was to take a victory here.
Pyramide, Kazan, Russia
On a second Russian show is the enigmatic Kazakh fighter Firuza Sharipova (10-1, 5), who takes on Tanzania's Happy Daudi (8-6-1, 4) in a contest for the IBA female Light Welterweight title. Although talented Sharipova is a frustrating fighter to follow, and seems to be more of a celebrity in Kazakhstan than a boxer now a days. This will be her first bout since April 2019, since which she has retired, had a child, and decided to return to the sport. Daudi on the other hand has never fought out of Tanzania and has never scored a win over a fighter with a win.
Whilst Sharipova should be criticised for her competition we do wonder what on earth is going on in the IBA to allow this to be for their "world" title. Disgraceful.
Bonita Springs Elks Lodge, Bonita Springs, Florida, USA
In the US Azeri born fighter Fardi Pashazade (2-0, 2) will look to score his third win. The unbeaten, but untested, Pashazade will be up against Daniel Mitchell (0-2) in what looks like a third straight meaningless bout for the Azeri. So far Pashazade has blown out his first two opponents in double quick time and Mitchell has been stopped in both of his bouts. Worse than the stoppages for Mitchell is the fact he's not fought in almost 3 years. This really is an exercise in pointlessness for the 31 year old Pashazade.
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.