Finally Japanese action for the month kicks off with an interesting card at the Korakuen Hall, a card that will be televised on NTV G+.
In the main event of this card fans will see former world title challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (20-2, 12) take on Dennis Tubieron (19-6-2, 8) in an all Southpaw bout at Featherweight. Notably this sees both men looking to begin 2016 with a win after both suffered losses in the UK in 2015, with Iwasa being stopped by Lee Haskins and Tubiueron losing to be Josh Warrington and Mitchell Smith. It's hard to back Tubieron here but he'll come to win and it should make for an interesting match up.
Another former world title challenger in action here Motoki Sasaki (39-10-1, 24) who fights for the first time in almost 3 years. Sasaki, who lost world title challengers to Humberto Soto and Vyacheslav Senchenko, will be up against the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-7-1, 8) in what could be a fun to watch bout, though we suspect Sasaki isn't the fighter he once was.
The best matched bout on the card will see Kenji Ono (9-1, 4) battle against Jun Takigawa (7-1-1, 4) in a bout that could lift the winner towards a Japanese title fight later in the year. This is really well matched and could go either way, a fantastic bit of match making.
The main event isn't the only Japan vs Philippines bout on the card with another being a match up between once beaten local Masaru Sueyoshi (10-1, 6) and visitor Marbon Bodiongan (12-3-2, 10) in what could be a really exciting match up. Both men will be looking to take home the win and neither will back down from a fight here in what could be the most exciting bout on the card.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
In Camarines Sur Filipino fans get a show that seems rather fill of mismatches.
In the main event fans will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (24-2-1, 19) take on Thailand's Kosol Sor Vorapin (17-19-1, 11) in what should be little more than a blow than a stay busy but for Sabaupan, who is hunting a 5th straight stoppage win. The Thai has lost his last 7 by stoppage and it seems almost certain that he will be stopped again here
As well as the mismatch of a main event the supporting bouts also look like mismatches, though we are interested to see how 17 year old hopeful Michael Mendoza (3-0) copes with Manny Mamacquiao (1-7-1) in a 6 rounder. A similar match up will see Jerry Mae Villagracia (3-0, 2), also 17, take on Alberto Pentecostes (1-8-1).
Another Filiupino show looks to be more well matched, though lacks the star power that Sabaupan has.
One of the two bouts of note here will see Lester Abutan (8-4-3, 4) take on Powell Balaba (8-16-1, 5) in a bout in the Minimumweight division. This looks likely to be a win for Abutan, though the 24 year old will know that he needs to do more than just “win” here.
The other main bout is much more interestingly matched and will see Marlon Arcilla (8-3, 1) face off against Eric Panza (8-6-1, 2) in what should be a good test for the 21 year old Arcilla.
In Baku fans get the chance to see local star Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) attempt to claim a “world title” as he battles Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22) for the WBF crown at 154lbs. Given that Lusambya, a Ugandan puncher, has been inactive for 2 years it's easy to favour Mammadov, however Lusambya has got genuine power and could upset the local fans if he connects cleanly on the Baku man.
In the US fans will see the unbeaten Dimash Niyazov (8-0-3, 4), originally from Kazakhstan, face off against a yet to be named opponent.
On the same card fans will also get the debut of Serdar Hudayberdiyev (0-0), who is also facing a yet to be named foe.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will be able to see British-Yemeni fighter Muheeb Fazeldin (7-0-1, 3) battle Klaas Mboyane (18-10-2, 9) for the Commonwealth Bantamweight title. Fazeldin has won his last 5 bouts but this is a notable step up and could be too much too soon for the 23 year old Southpaw.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day with a number of shows that are worthy of noting.
On paper the best show of the day is an Osaka Teiken show at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card features 3 bouts of note despite none of the bouts being title affairs.
The main event of the card sees Japanese and OPBF ranked prospect Sho Nakazawa (7-0, 4) battling against Daisuke Watanabe (2-1, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given the hype and expectancy that Nakazawa has on his shoulders, however Watanabe has been matched hard and could well bring a hunger and desire that Nakazawa hasn't yet seen. If the “Sho of Naniwa” gets through this one then it's likely that he will be moved into a title bout in 2016, however we don't have this one pegged down as a foregone conclusion.
One bout that is a foregone conclusion will see the once beaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-1, 5) battle against a Thai foe, who is thought to be very inexperienced and was brought in at very late notice. The 22 year old Ikemizu is coming into this one following his first loss, though that loss did come to the talented Mark John Yap, who is a real handful despite his less than flattering record. We can't see this being any more than a confidence builder for the Osaka based Japanese youngster.
Whilst Ikemizu and Nakazawa are worth of some attention it's fair to say that more fans will be interested in a 4 rounder that features the promising Juiki Tatsuyoshi (2-0, 2). Juiki, the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, will be hoping to record a 3rd straight stoppage win as he faces Koichi Wakita (2-1). Although not regarded as a major prospect Tatsuyoshi has looked exciting, aggressive and heavy handed so far, and those traits should see him to a win here.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka fight fans get an historic event as the country puts on it's first ever professional boxing card. The show, which will be the first to be held in Colombia since Sri Lanka was formed more than 60 years ago, is an event being promoted by a Japanese promoter who will be hoping his fighter can become the first champion to successfully defend a world title in the country.
That aforementioned world champion is WBO Atomweight queen Nao Ikeyama (16-3-1, 4) who defends her title, at the age of 46, against Filipino challenger Jujeath Nagaowa (13-15-1, 8). On paper this looks like a straight forward defense for the champion, however she is 18 years old than the challenger and “father” time is currently unbeaten in the ring. Ikeyama is certainly among the better “40+” fighters but we don't expect her to reign for too long and Nagaowa may have got her at the right time here.
Another female bout on this card will see Tamao Ozawa (9-2, 2) take on Thailand's Kledpetch KKP (6-4, 1) in what looks likely to be a simple win for Ozawa, who won an OPBF title just a couple of fights back and is clearly hoping to achieve bigger and better things before her career is over.
In a rare show from Azerbaijan fans get the chance to see a local “star” as Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) battle for the WBF Light Middleweight title. The Baku local appears to be in a tough one on paper as he takes on Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22), from Uganda. This is an interesting match up on paper, and although Lusambya, who is known as “Mr Crush”, has lost his most notable bouts his power does look legitimate and could be very problematic for Mammadov.
Manchester, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will see the return to the ring of Indian star Vijender Singh (2-0, 2) who looks for his third straight stoppage win as he takes on Samet Hyuseinov (7-7, 1). On paper this is, by far, the most testing bout of Singh's career, however that's not saying much and we don't expect Singh to really break a sweat here against a Bulgarian opponent who has won just one of his last 5 bouts.
Talented Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (16-0, 12) will be returning to the ring to continue his career, and fight for the 4th time this year. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named, though it's unlikely to be anyone testing for the Filipino who has fought some very poor opposition in his last 3 contests. We don't like seeing mismatches so we are hoping that in 2016 Penalosa Jr will step his competition up rather than just “staying busy” as he has done recently.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get the chance to see another unbeaten Filipino prospect in action as 22 year old Flyweight hopeful Genesis Libranza (8-0, 5) takes on compatriot Juan Purisima (11-8-1, 4). On paper it's hard to bet against Libranza however Purisima is better than his record suggests and has scored upsets against the likes of Renren Tesorio and Welbeth Loberanis, whilst also sharing the ring with world class fighters, like Roman Gonzalez and Jerwin Ancajas. This is a much better fight the records suggest.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenge Nana Yoshikawa (4-1, 2) take on Denisse De La Cruz (0-1). This is Yoshikawa's first bout since losing to Anable Ortiz in a bout for the WBA female Minimumweight title, back in April. Despite the loss, and the fact this is her first bout outside of Osaka, it's hard to see Yoshikawa losing to Nana.