Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get the next show from the Ohashi Gym and despite once looking like a really good card the show has been ravaged by issues which has resulted in two of the bouts being removed from the show in the weeks leading up to the event. Despite the cancellations on the event we still have a solid show which should shine a light on some of the most promising young talent in Japan.
The main event will see unbeaten Japanese 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) fight in Japan for the first time since 2019 as he takes on domestic foe Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) in a scheduled 8 rounder. The talented Hiraoka, who is co-promoted by Top Rank, has had his last two bouts in the US, and now looks to tick over in what should be a straight forward bout here. In the opposite corner to the unbeaten 24 year old will be a 33 year old puncher who has lost his last 2 and would be seeking his first win in almost 2 years. On paper Kimura should be able to ask some questions of Hiraoka early but we suspect he'll come undone and be stopped somewhere in the middle rounds.
In the chief support bout we'll see former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) make his professional boxing debut and take on 34 year old veteran Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3). Although Takei will be boxing for the first time he has turned to the sport with lofty expectations and has impressed with his hands, in K1 and in his pro-test bout. Despite only taking to the sport in the last few months it's clear Takei has a natural affinity to boxing and with Akira Yaegashi training him huge things are expected from him. It's hard to see this being anything but an impressive looking debut from Takei, who really has looked a natural in the footage that's been released of him training.
Potentially the bout of the show will be a Flyweight bout as the unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) takes on former Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4). The 25 year old Kuwahara has been tipped for major success, but was sadly unable to fight in 2020, losing some of the moment he had built following a successful 2019, and will feel a need to shine here. Minato, who's just 22, made his big mark in 2018, when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, but back to back losses in 2019 slowed his climb through the rankings. Thankfully for Minato he scored a huge win last year, stopping Kohei Oba, and will be riding that win into this bout. Although not a huge bout this has the potential to be a very, very interesting and competitive one.
The show will also have a Japanese Youth title bout on it, as Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) and Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) trade blows for the vacant Japanese Youth Welterweight title. For the 22 year old Adachi this will be his first bout in well over a year, and his first since he left the Hiroki Ioka gym and became an Ohashi Gym fighter. Although talented Adachi was stopped juts a few bouts back, for this very title, when Kudura Kaneko broke him down and on paper this looks like it could be a tough bout for him. Kobata, despite having a less than flattering record, looked good last time out, when he ran Shoki Sakai close, and has the style and tenacity that could break Adachi down. Although not the most interesting bout on the show, on paper, this could end up being a very hotly contested one. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Adachi and Kobata go for Youth gold at Welterweight!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday Kadoebi put on their next show under the "Slugfest" banner at Korakuen Hall and although it's not a huge card, it is an interesting one with 3 bouts worthy of note on a 5 fight card. The event these include a real 50-50 match up at Lightweight, an excellent domestic clash at 140lbs and a regional title bout at Flyweight.
The bout we're most looking forward to is the Lightweight bout, which will put former Rookie of the Year winner Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-2, 4) against the very talented Masanori Rikiishi (7-1, 4), in a bout that will be pitting two JBC and OPBF ranked fighters against each other. Of the two Kasuya is probably the more technically well schooled, but his lack of power has held him back and he can be a very frustrating fighter to watch at times. Rikiishi is a more entertaining fighter and a heavier handed fighter, but this is a tough ask against a man with an excellent jab. The winner of this could well end up finding themselves in a title fight next year so this is a very notable and significant contest.
In a Light Welterweight bout the fun to watch Cristiano Aoqui (14-8-2, 10) will be up against Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) in what could turn out to be a real humdinger. The 31 year old Aoqui, a Japanese Brazilian, is a really exciting fighter who has his limitations but is very exciting when he lets his hands go and is not an easy man to beat. Kimura on the other hand has got under-rated power, and is an upset minded fighter, as we saw with his wins over Yusuke Yamanouchi, Hayto Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda. Both of these guys can bang, and both will know that a good win could move them onto a Japanese title fight next year.
The main event will see world ranked Flyweight hopeful Ryota Yamauchi (6-1, 5) take on Satoru Todaka (10-3-4, 4) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The talented Yamauchi is back on the fast track up the rankings following a 2019 loss to Wulan Tuolehazi and a win here would see him win his first title. Notably Yamauchi missed out on a Japanese title eliminator last year when he suffered a cut that hadn't healed in time for his eliminator and he'll be looking to make up for lost time here. As for Todaka the bout will be his second title fight, following a loss last year in a Japanese title fight against Kenichi Horikawa. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi goes for gold as he takes on Todaka
Kadoebi return to Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a card that has a few good domestic fights, and an almost farcical Heavyweight rematch.
The main event is rematch between Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 19) and Naoki Mochizuki (16-4, 8), with Sakashita looking to make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The champion was actually the clear loser when these two men fought a few years ago, however since that first bout the career trajectory of both fights has gone in opposite directions with Sakashita's career trending upwards and Mochizuki's trending downwards. This will be a chance for Sakashita to avenge his loss, whilst a win for Mochizuki would be a huge boost to his career just when he needs it. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sakashita looks to defend title and gain revenge in Mochizuki rematch!
In a Japanese title eliminator at 140lbs we'll see Japanese-Brazilian puncher Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) take on the solid, if relatively unspectacular, Daishi Nagata (13-2-1, 5). On paper this might not look hugely competitive, but in reality we wouldn't be surprised if this was an instant classic. Aoqui is an exciting fighter, who lets his hands go, and Nagata applies a lot of intelligent pressure, so we could see some frighteningly fun exchanges when these two go to work. The winner of this will be expected to challenger for the Japanese title at Champion Carnival next year. In theory the winner would get a showdown with Koki Inoue next year, though it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Inoue vacate if he picks up a win in December for the WBO Asia Pacific title. A full preview of this bout can be read here Thriller expected when Aoqui and Nagata clash!
Another interesting fight here will see Riku Nagahama (10-2-1, 4) look to score his third successive win, following a 2018 loss to Yuki Nagano, as takes on Fumisuke Kimura (9-4-1, 6). On paper this doesn't look interesting, but looking below the numbers we do have a good fight here. Nagahama has been stopped in both of his losses, and whilst he's a pretty talented fighter he is 3-2 in his last 5, and has question marks over his durability and his confidence. Kimura is unbeaten in his last 3, and has scored notable upsets against Hayato Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda this year, he'll be the under dog but he can punch, and this could be another upset win for him this year.
And after those 3 bouts we come to what is really a bout that we don't like. At all. This bout will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1, 12) take on Thai foe Suthat Kalalek (13-10, 12), in their second meeting. Whilst we understand there aren't many Oriental Heavyweights worth putting Kyotaro in with this is a second bout with Suthat, Kajornsak Saikaew Boxing Camp, and the two men fought just over a year ago with Kyotaro taking a 6th round TKO win. Given potential bouts with foes from China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this seems like a waste for Kyotaro, who is world ranked. His career is losing all momentum and it's a real shame that he's not being tested in bouts.
After a rather quiet June we see action really pick up in July, and to begin with we get a stacked Ohashi card with a wonderful mix of notable names, novice prospects interesting match ups.
The main event will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on the limited but fun to watch Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-3, 9). Inoue, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue, won the title earlier this year, when he out pointed veteran Valentine Hosokawa and has suggested that he's wanting to put on a fun fight for fans here. Ikeda can punch, but is defensively open and we suspect he has been selected as an opponent to make Inoue look good. A full preview of this bout can be read here Inoue takes on Ikeda in Japanese title defense
An excellent supporting bout will see the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (19-4-2, 17) take on Japanese based Korean Tae Il Atsumi (16-2, 8). Whilst the main event looks like it will be an easy one to pick the winner in this bout is the opposite, with a real 50-50 feel to the bout. Atsumi is a tough, aggressive and skilled with a lot of potential whilst Tameda is an explosive puncher, but one who hasn't looked was stopped last December, by Hinata Maruta, and didn't look his most destructive in his March win over Renerio Arizala.
The once touted Sho Nakazawa (12-3, 6) has a must must win bout as he takes on Jinya Ito (7-5-1, 2). Nakazawa was a solid Japanese amateur but with 3 losses in his last 7 bouts, including one to Tae Il Atsumi, and he looks like his potential won't be realised due to real question marks about his durability. Ito should pose no real threat, and has lost 5 of his last 8, but Nakazawa needs to do more than "just win", he needs to look good.
Touted prospect Katsuya Yasuda (3-0, 2) takes on his biggest test as he faces off with Japanese based Filipino foe Jerry Castroverde (10-6, 5). The talented Yasuda has a lot of potential, but has had issues with inactivity and at 27 years old now he needs to kick on and try to make the most of his potential, likely why Ohashi has matched him with Castroverde. The 22 year old Castroverde is a good young test for anyone at this level, and although he has lost 4 of his last 5 he should ask questions of Yasuda
Another touted prospect on this card is Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3), who looks to continue his winning run as he takes on domestic foe Kyomu Hamagami (4-2-2, 4). The 24 year old Kuwaha really impressed us last December, when he beat Takamori Kiyama over 8 rounds, but since then his competition hasn't been the best and we're really hoping to see him stepping up again before the year is over. He's a real talent who should be pushed hard and fast. The 22 year old Hamagami is limited, but the guy can punch, and could, potentially, give Kuwahara his first chin check, though we do suspect the unbeaten man to be too sharp to really be tested by the hard hitting but technically limited younger fighter.
Interestingly one of the worst looking bouts on paper may end up being one of the most interesting. The bout in questions sees Ohashi puncher Kentaro Endo (7-9-1, 6) take on the in form Fumisuke Kimura (9-4, 6). Endo is very limited, but really can punch and will be looking to take Kimura out. Kimura on the other hand comes into this bout following big domestic wins over Hayato Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda, which have pushed him to the verge of a Japanese title fight. This could be very exciting and very explosive.
After June this card is an ideal way to kick off a packed July!