Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we turn our attention to Korakeun Hall for a mouth watering card from Dangan. The show is headlined by a Japanese title fight, and also features two very solid under-card bouts.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) make his first defense, as he takes on Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3). The hard hitting Tsutsumi won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Kyosuke Sawada, finally getting a big win after controversial draws against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa. The hope for him is that he can retain his title here and move on to bigger and better things, including potential regional title fights or even world title bouts, further down the line. As for Oshima this is his second shot at the "cursed title", following a technical decision loss to Sawada for the belt back in February. Oshima is a talented fighter, and does have good technical skills, though he can be made to look wild at times and we do wonder whether he has the power needed to get Tsutusmi's respect. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Tsutusmi faces Oshima in first defense
In a solid supporting bout the hard hitting Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) will face off with Yuki Yonaha (12-3-1, 8), in what is a very competitive looking match up and a Japanese title eliminator, with the winner set to face the winner of the main event next year. Heading into the bout Minamide is ranked #1 by the JBC and is coming in to the bout on the back of TKO wins over Kiyohei Endo and Takeshi Takehara. Despite those wins it is worth noting he has been stopped twice. Yonaha on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC and is unbeaten in his last 6, with notable wins against Shota Kawaguchi and Motoki Osanai. He has momentum and form coming into this, but he was stopped the last time he was in with an aggressive puncher, though that was way back in 2016.
Another great supporting bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Jukiya Iimura (3-0, 1) take on Filipino visitor Esneth Domingo (16-2, 8), in a solid step up for the unbeaten Japanese youngster. Coming in to the bout Iimura looks to be a very skilled fighter, but one who does need to have a still test before moving towards regional title fights. Whilst Domingo isn't an OPBF title level fighter, he isn't far from that level and he should serve as something of a gatekeeper to that level. A win for Iimura is likely to see him move into title bouts within 2 or 3 fights, but this is certainly not a gimmie
For us the most interesting card of the day takes place in China, where we see a a really talented local look to continue his impressive winning run, a once beaten local looking to add to his record and an unbeaten prospect look to build on his good start.
The main event will see the world ranked Jing Xiang (16-4-2, 3) take on Filipino visitor Jomar Caindog (10-1-1, 4) in a very interesting looking match up on paper. The talented Xiang, who is world ranked at 108lbs, will be dropping to Minimumweight for this match up as he attempts to claim the WBO International title. On paper Caindog is a good opponent, but this will be a big step up for the Filipino, who fights outside of the Philippines for the first time. The winner of this will be in the mix for WBO Minimumweight title so this is a very significant fight for both men and should be a bout that has a lot of skills on show. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Xiang moves down to take on Caindog in International title fight
In a good support bout local fighter Xiao Tao Su (10-1, 5) will take on Shota Yukawa (11-5-3, 4) for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. Coming into this the local is on a 6 fight winning run, including a KO win over the once touted Konthara KKP and another over Riki Hamada. Su is certainly not a big name prospect but has got momentum coming into this bout. Yukawa on the other hand is a 31 year old who has been facing very poor opposition since being stopped in May 2018 by Takura Uehara and will come into this bout as a clear under-dog.
A third bout of interest will see the flawed but hard hitting Chinese Xiang Li (4-0, 3) take on Korean teenager Do Jin Lee (6-2-3) for a pair of minor titles. For Li this will be his second second bout of the year, following January's win over Arvin Yurong. In that win over Young we saw plenty to like about the 24 year old Li, who really does look a powerful young kid, but he really needs a lot of polishing before being moved through the rankings. Lee on the other hand comes into this bout on the back of a very wide loss to Mirai Naito back in June, and that loss showed his level.
ALA have been really quiet this year, though they do have a show this coming Saturday in Leyte, featuring two of their biggest hopes, both in matches that look like mismatches.
The most clear of those mismatches will see the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (17-2, 14) take on Indonesian foe Alvius Maufani (6-3-2, 3). Santisima hasn't fought since last November, when he scored a solid win over tough Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez, and has lost much of his momentum as a result of the lay off. On the other hand Maufani has failed to win any of his last 3, and was stopped last time out, by Yamato Hata.
The other stand out fighter on this card is Albert Pagara (31-1, 22), who takes on Thai puncher Lucky Tor Buamas (12-3, 12). Pagara has promised a lot, but like Santisima has been inactive since last November, and has only fought 5 times since his loss to Cesar Jaurez in July 2016. Given that Lucky has been stopped in his 3 defeats we suspect another early defeat for him here.
Other notable Filipino fighters on this card include Esneth Domingo (11-1, 6) and former world title challengers Melvin Jerusalem (14-2, 8) and Jonas Sultan (15-5, 9). All 3 will be expected to pick up straight forward wins here.
Bang Phun, Thailand
Sticking with pretty notable action we also get a WP Boxing card from Bang Phun, which we expect to see being aired on DAZN in the US.
The main event of this show will see Apichet Petchmanee (4-0, 2) and Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-4, 41) battle in a rematch. The two fought earlier this year and the unbeaten Apichet was given a really tough test by the much more experienced fighter, who was though to be past it but proved to still a lot left in the tank. The 65 fight veteran is a former multi-time world title challenger, and whilst he's proven to be no threat to world champions he is a solid regional fighter and will be looking to avenge the loss he suffered in his first bout with Apichet. This could end up being one of the most interesting bouts of the day.
Also on this card is unbeaten youngster Chainoi Worawut (5-0-1, 5), who looks like he could be in a bit of a shoot out as he battles Filipino Matthew Arcillas (6-2, 6). Between the two men they have had 14 bouts, but only seen the final bell once, Chainoi's draw with Rakniran Muadransarakam. Both can punch, and with Arcillas having a suspect chin we're not expecting this to go long. This could be explosive and very exciting.
From what we understand there was supposed to be two Super Flyweight tournaments bouts, with Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) taking on Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) and Samartlek Kokietgym (34-10-1,12) going up against Phongsaphon Panyakum (4-1, 1). We have however been told that at least one of these bouts, if not both, have been rescheduled due to an injury.
Staying in Asia there is also a show set to take place in Singapore, albeit a very low level card with little in terms of interesting action.
The main event will see Indonesian journeyman Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (29-17-1, 16) take on Thailand's Theerawat Yoohanngoh (21-10, 15) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Middleweight title. The 38 year old Ferdinandus was once a respectable regional fighter at Lightweight, but his 2018 clash with Tim Tszyu is hard to forget, and it's clear that his career is ambling to an end. Theerawat on the other hand is a 31 year old who showed promise a decade ago, but has certainly not shown that level of promise in recent years. This could be interesting, but it's one where neither guy is likely to go much further.
In a supporting bout 35 year old local Darryl Edmund Kho (4-1-1, 1) battles Rahman Ambodalle (6-12-2, 3). Given how Ferdinandus career is winding down we really do worry for Ambodalle who was stopped in 2 by Ferdinandus in May. That was Ambodalle 9th stoppage loss and he's almost certainly there to just pad Kho's record.
In what looks like another record padding bout the unbeaten Adli Hafidz (6-0, 3), from Malaysia, will be up against 35 year old Rocky Alap Alap (5-18-2). Alap Alap actually fought Theerawat back in 2010, losing in 4 rounds and has only win once since June 2008, suffering 15 losses in that time.
Over in the US Top Rank promoted Kazakh prospect Janibek Alimkhanuly (6-0, 2) looks to continue his unbeaten run as he takes a big step up in class and faces off with Stuart McLellan (27-3-3-1, 11). The talented and unbeaten Alimkhanuly has, at times, flattered to deceive and although clearly an excellent fighter hasn't totally adapted to the professional ranks...yet. McLellan on the other hand is a 32 year old Canadian who is no world beater, but is a solid enough fighter to match Alimkhanuly with at this stage of his career. McLellan has mostly fought on the Canadian scene with his most notable result being a TKO3 loss to Steve Clagget back in 2015. Since the loss to Clagget he has gone 15-1-0-1 and should ask some questions of the Kazakh hopeful.
Bucheon, South Korea
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from South Korea, keeping up what has been an interestingly busy Korean scheduled this year. This time around it will be the KBA who are leading the way, and not the more well established KBM or KBF.
The main event of the card will see female veteran Ji Hyun Park (23-3, 7) take on Chinese novice YuFei Wu (1-0). This will be Park's first defense of the WBF International Minimumweight title, which she won last July, and it's hard to see her losing here as she is genuinely a world class fighter. Wu is such an unknown that it's hard to get a read on her, though Korean sources have suggested that she was a standout Chinese amateur at high school level.
On the under-card there isn't too much to be excited by, with the biggest supporting bout being between KBA ranked Light Welterweight's Hwan Young Jo (5-7, 1) and Jong Hoon Lim (2-4-1). These are both top 3 ranked by the KBA, though that really sums up the lack of depth under the KBA ranks. Another supporting bout will see Bum Young Lee (10-9-2, 3) take on Hyeon Oh Lee (3-3), with both of these men being ranked in the top 10 by the KBA at Super Bantamweight.
As well as the show in Korea there is also a show of note in the Philippines, featuring a number of interesting local hopefuls.
One of the interesting bouts on this card will see unbeaten 19 year old ArAr Andales (9-0, 2) take on Cris Ganoza (17-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The bout is pencilled in as Andales' first defense of the belt, and he has really been impressive so far through his career, but this is a clear step up in class, and is obviously his toughest bout to date.
Another interesting match up on this card will see Alphoe Dagayloan (12-2-5, 5) make his first defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title, as he takes on unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (11-0, 6). Without trying to sound too easily impressed, we think this is a bloody brilliant match up. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, despite his less than perfect record, and Domingo is no patsy. This could be one of the weekends most interesting bouts.
Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall once again this coming Saturday for a stacked Dangan card, with 4 very good bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) take on Mexican youngster Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-2-1, 7) in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator, with the winner moving towards a world tittle fight against Jerwin Ancajas. Funai has been on a good run since losing in a Japanese title fight to Sho Ishida way back in 2016. He claimed the Japanese title last year and the WBO Asia Pacific belt earlier this year, and he's actually 6-0 (5) since the loss to Ishida. When it comes to assessing Olivo's career things aren't that impressive, with his most notable result being a narrow loss to Milan Melindo back in 2015. Aged 22 Olivo is a fighter who is developing but he was beaten just 2 fights back by Jose Briegel Quirino, in what looks to have been a home town decision. Olivo is probably better than his record indicates, but this is still a big step up in class for the Mexican. We've a full preview of this bout here Funai and Olivo battle in world title eliminator!
The chief supporting bout will match once beaten fighters, as Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) takes on recent OPBF title challenger Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1). The talented Masaki was tipped for big things, but his rise through the ranks was slowed this past January, when he was out pointed by Hironori Mishiro. Masaki has bounced back since his loss, with a decision win over Korean Hyun Je Shin, but this is a big step back up since that loss. On the other hand the 21 year old Tomioka surprised the Japanese scene this year when he pushed OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani very close in July, losing an 11th round TKO in a very competitive bout. Tomioka's biggest issue is his lack of power, but we wouldn't be surprised by him relying on his skills and picking up a career best win here.
Another mouth watering support bout will see Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) face off with the unbeaten Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title. The more experienced man is 22 years old and debuted back in August 2014. He suffered a few early career set backs, losing 3 of his first 6, but has since gone 7-1 with a very notable win last time out against Ryuji Ikeda. On the hand Oda is a 20 year old with insane upside, as he showed when taking the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at the age of 18. Oda hasn't been the busiest since his Rookie win, but has impressed, with 3 solid wins this year including a stoppage against Masashi Wakita in August. Oda is the more naturally gifted man, but this is likely to be his stiffest test to date. A preview of this bout is here Oda and Toshikawa battle for Lightweight youth crown!
A fourth major bout on this card will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese youth Minimumweight title fight. The 19 year old Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, really impressed last year before taking the Rookie crown in December against Retsu Akabane. Since that Rookie win Inoue has scored his only stoppage win, taking out Daisuke Sudo in 5 rounds this past May. As for the 21 year old Ishizawa he made his debut in June 2017 and has impressed ever since, scoring a huge win over Tatsuro Nakashima back in April. It should be noted that Ishizawa was supposed to fight for this title earlier in the year, against Daiki Tomita, but the bout was cancelled when Ishizawa suffered an injury, which he has now recovered from. Our in depth preview of this bout is here Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
As well as the stacked show in Japan there's also a notable card in the Philippines, headlined by former world title challengers facing off, and featuring several prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle against Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years, with Jerusalem giving Wanehng Menayothin arguably the toughest bout of his career, in 2017, and Landero recently losing to Knockout CP Freshmart. The loser will have some serious rebuilding to do, but given that both men are still young that won't be a huge issue with the right mind set. The winner however will have taken a huge step towards getting a second shot at a world title. Our preview of this bout is here Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash!
In one of the supporting bouts fans will see unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Domingo. Another of the supporting bouts will see will see the unbeaten Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) taking on fellow unbeaten Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what should be a compelling bout, though we do feel that Bacolod's power and extra experience will be the difference.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
The Funai bout isn't the only world title eliminator taking place as the UK plays host to a Lightweight world title eliminator between Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) and popular Englishman Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13), who will be hoping to take a step towards a WBA title shot. Yordan has been one of the few Indonesian fighters in recent years to make a mark internationally and his win earlier this year against Pavel Malikov was one of the best bouts of 2018. He is however up against here, with Crolla being a former WBA world champion and one of the best contenders in the division, with great stamina and under-rated skills. With a big reward for the winner we're expecting this to be a very exciting and action packed contest, with a lot of leather being thrown. We've previewed that bout here Yordan and Crolla set for a thriller...
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we're set for a bit of a mismatch, with the all action Joel Brunker (33-3, 19) battling Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-27-6, 14). The 32 year old Brunker isn't going to reach the heights many had hopes for, but Rengkung shouldn't pose any sort of a threat at all, and will instead be expected to pick up his 28th career defeat.
In Russia we'll see former Uzbek amateur stand out Makhmud Gaipov (0-0) make his professional debut. Sadly at the time of writing no opponent has been named for Gaipov, but we're expecting him to be moved quickly and in 2019 we'll expect to see him fighting in 6 or even 8 rounders.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
On April 25th fight fans in the Philippines will be able to attend a low key show in Negros Occidental.
The main bout on this show will see the unbeaten Esneth Domingo (8-0, 4) look to extend his unbeaten record, as he battles Jeffrey Stella (4-4-2, 4). The 19 year old Domingo has been a professional since late 2015 and despite not fighting anyone of note he has been busy for such a youngster, with 4 fights in 2016 and 3 fights in 2017. As for Stella he is a limited fighter , who has failed to win any of his last 4 bouts, but he is heavy handed and dangerous early on with 3 stoppages. If nothing else we suspect this could be a chin check for Domingo and a chance for him to answer some questions about his defense and toughness.