Yesan, South Korea
The most notable card this coming Sunday is from Yesan in South Korea. Originally the card was set a quadruple title show, though unfortunately an injury to Korean prospect Yoon Sung Kim saw his OPBF title challenge against Carlo Magali being cancelled in the build up to the show. That has however left 3 KBF title fights headlining the card.
One of those bouts will be for the South Korean Light Welterweight title, and will see Dong Hee Kim (8-2-2, 3) face off with Gyu Beom Jeon (5-3-1, 1). Kim will be making his second defense of the title, but will be coming in to this bout on the back of a 4th round TKO loss to Koki Inoue at the end of 2017 and could be relatively low on confidence given he has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3. Jeon on the other hand will be stepping up big time here, fighting in his first title bout, and stepping beyond 6 rounders for the first time. The champion should be favoured but this won't be a foregone conclusion.
In a Korean Light Middleweight title fight Joong Kyung Lee (3-2-1) will take on Se Ho Joo (6-7, 2), in a bout for the vacant title. Lee has failed to win his last 2 bouts, including fighting to a draw for this title last December. Joo on the other hand has lost 5 of his last 6 and really shouldn't be fighting for a title. This looks like the KBF want to crown a champion, with out having any suitable contenders. A very weird one.
The third title bout will be for the Korean Welterweight title and will see the once beaten Dong Woo Kim (4-1, 2) take on Gyung Mo Yuh (1-5-3). Looking at this on paper the bout is a mismatch with Kim clearly the favourite. Coming in to this one Yuh has gone 0-1-3 in his last 4 and is without a win in over 4 years. Another bizarre bout for the KBF to put a title on the line for.
In Japan fans will get a low key Taisei promoted show.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (12-3-1, 6) battle against a Thai foe. Little is known about the Thai but it's unlikely to be someone testing as Kano really needs a confidence building win. He has last 2 of his last 4, and despite scoring a win last time out, he only just managed to get past Naoya Haruguchi. Kano needs to rebuild his confidence and needs to do it quickly if he's ever going to come close to living up to his early promise.
Another man in need of a win is Futa Akizuki (10-2, 8), who went from being one of Japan's brightest prospects to suffering back to back losses. He is now in dire need of a win which may explain why he's taking on a limit Thai foe here, much like Kano. Akizuki is a real talent, but with losses in his last 2 bouts he may become another of Japan's wasted talents, which would be a huge shame for the 20 year old.
A pretty interesting bout on this card will see the once beaten Hibiki Jogo (7-1, 4) battle against Yoshihiro Utsumi (14-8-3, 9). Jogo reached the 2016 Rookie of the year final, losing to Masato Niijima in the final, and has bounced back with 3 wins, including a good one against Yuki Hirashima. The 34 year old Utsumi has struggled in recent bouts, going 4-4-2 in his last 10 going back 5 years, and despite winning his last 2 bouts he should be regarded as the under-dog here.
Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
We also get a card in the Philippines, albeit a very low key one which will be headlined by the unbeaten Jerald Daniega (12-0, 9), as he battled against domestic journeyman Alvin Makiling (11-14-4, 3). The talented Daniega was frustratingly inactive last year, fighting just once in 2017, but will be looking to kick his 2018 off here and could be set for a break out year if he can stay fit and busy. The 30 year old Makiling is limited, but is tough and should give Daniega a few really good rounds, unless his 2017 loss to Rosekie Cristobal has ruined his durability.
The most notable card card this weekend really is a big one, despite it's focus being on the lower weights. The card in question is the highly anticipated, little men super show “Superfly 2”.
The main event of the card is one of the most mouth watering bouts the little men can throw at us, with WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40) defending his title against mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25). The champion announced himself to the Western boxing fan base last year, when he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to claim and defend the WBC title. Estrada has been known about by the hard core fans for a long time, and will be looking to become a 2-weight champion, following a reign as a unified WBA and WBO Flyweight champion. The bout will likely be a case of Srisaket's power, size and strength against Estrada's brain, movement and technique and we're in for an absolute treat.
Another interesting match up pits two veterans against each other in what should be a cerebral match up. The bout will see IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) take on mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3, 19), himself a former multi-weight world champion. Nietes has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, with this being his first defense of the Flyweight title. The champion is one the sports smartest fighters, and with over a decade at the top he is one of the all time great Filipino's. Reveco was an outstanding fighter in his prime, with wins against the likes of Nethra Sasiprapa, Karim Guerfi, Masayuki Kuroda, Ricardo Nunez, Felix Alvarado and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. Despite those good wins Reveco has lost 2 of his last 6, and looked like a shot fighter in the most recent of those losses, a stoppage loss to Kazuto Ioka more than 2 years ago.
A third world title bout on this show will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (38-5-0-2, 23) face off with unbeaten Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (15-0, 11) for the vacant WBA Flyweight title, which was vacated last year by Kazuto Ioka. For the 37 year old Viloria this is likely to be one final chance to climb back up to the top, after having had 3 previous world title reigns, however this will not be a gimme and Dalakian is a very credible foe. The Ukrainian, originally from Azerbaijan, Dalakian mae his debut in 2011 and althouigh he's he's only got one win of real note, an 8th round TKO win over stubborn veteran Silvio Olteanu, he is a very legitimate fighter and will not be a push over.
Out side of the big US show there's also a notable card in Osaka, as the Ioka gym put on a card with several notable fighters involved, including a current OPBF title defense.
That OPBF title fight will see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (15-0, 9) defending his title, for the 9th time, against Thai puncher Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-2, 18). The unbeaten champion is a real talent, but a frustrating fighter who has looked ready to step up for several years and already holds wins of note against fighters like Shuhei Tsuchiya, Yositaka Kato, Ricky Sismundo and Kaewfah Tor Buamas. tall, lanky and skilled Natani has the potential to claim a world title, but does need to start facing better opponents than he has been. On the other hand the Thai is a dangerous fighter and can't be over-looked. Pharanpetch is riding a 4 fight winning run since a loss to Brandon Ogilvie and although he is no world beater he does have the power to give a fighter like Nakatani a genuine chin check. If Nakatani uses his skills he should come out of this without too many problems, but if he switches he could be in some trouble.
The chief support bout for this show will see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (24-1, 13) return to the ring for the first time since he was beat by WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The talented Osakan will be up against the heavy handed Lucky Tor Buamas (12-1, 12), with the Thai looking to scored a 6th straight win. Ishida failed to make the most of shit chance against Yafai, though seems like to improve following that loss and will almost certainly come again. Despite the potential of the Japanese fighter he will have to be careful here against the heavy handed visitor. Lucky was stopped in his only bout of note, losing in 9 rounds to Rene Dacquel, but is a dangerman and will clearly be looking to prove his power against Ishida here.
Another notable member of the Ioka gym in action will be Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0-1, 10). The unbeaten Hashizume, who was the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year, suffered a draw last time out, as he had to pick himself off the canvas to score a draw against Kota Fujimoto. He'll be hoping to have an easier out here as he takes on the limited, but experienced, Takahiro Murai (15-7-2, 5). Hashizume is a genuine talent but there are questions to be asked about his toughness and what he's like when he's in there with decent competition, and Murai is certainly a credible foe given that he beat Fujimoto last year. Hashizume should be favoured, but this is a genuine test for the youngster.
Another supporting bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (10-1, 8) take on Takuya Fujioka (7-8-1, 1). The talented Akizuki will be looking to bounce back from his November loss to Kenji Kihisa, and despite that loss the 19 year old does have a lot of upside. The bout will be a test to see how Akizuki is mentally after a stoppage loss but shouldn't be much more of a confidence booster. Fujioka lacks power and really shouldn't be any sort of a test for the talented teen.
We also get title action in Australia, with OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (20-6-1, 6) taking on the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (15-0, 10). The bout will serve not only as an OPBF title defense from Dacquel but also as a defense of the WBA Oceania title by Moloney, meaning both fighters are risking something. Dacquel is on a nice run of recent results, following his 2015 loss to Takuma Inoue, and has scored decent wins over Go Onaga, Shota Kawaguchi and Hayato Kimura in his last 3 bouts, all on the road. Moloney is in good form himself but in many ways it's him stepping up in class here and this is his toughest match on paper. The Australian has been very impressive so far, but this is likely to be a real test for the 27 year old.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia fans will be able to see the debuting Daniel Keating (0-0) take on Thai “loser” Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-20-2). The Thai is win-less in 13, with 11 losses and 2 draws during that run, and although better than his record suggests it's hard to imagine he'll really try to upset the debutant.
In the only title bout of the day fight fans in Hyogo will see youngsters collide with the 21 year old Tenta Kiyose (13-2-1, 6) taking on 20 year old Filipino Joe Tejones (9-4, 5) for the WBC youth Super Bantamweight title. Of the two men it's Tejones who is probably the more well known internationally, following bout with the likes of Hinata Maruta and Singsayan CP Freshmart, for the WBC Youth Bantamweight and Super Flyweight titles respectively. As for Kiyose he's yet to fight for a title, but did fight in the 2015 Rookie of the Year final and has since gone 6-0 (5) and will be looking to use his natural size advantage.
A second show in Hyogo promises a lot more, without featuring any title action. Instead of title action it's a show mostly focused on youngsters looking to continue their budding careers.
The most notable of the youngsters is former world title challenger Riku Kano (11-3-1, 6), who faces domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (14-7, 6). Coming in to this one the once touted Kano knows he needs a win, having lost 2 of his last 3 including a stoppage loss to Jerry Tomogdan. Talented, speedy and young Kano did attempt to set a Japanese record last year as the youngster Japanese world champion, though came up short against Katsunari Takayama. As for Haruguchi he's in great form with 6 straight wins, including victories over Norihito Tanaka and Jun Takigawa. Although not well known Haruguchi will not be there to lose, and this could be a very competitive contest.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Hiroshige Osawa (31-4-4, 19), who will be expected to blitz Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (9-5-1, 2) in what looks like a mismatch. The talented Osawa was several levels below WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez when they fought around year ago, but Deztroyer should be several levels below Osawa.
Another youngster on this card is Kano's 19 year old stable mate Futa Akizuki (10-0, 8), who fights for the 6th time in Japan. The talented and heavy handed Akizuki will be facing off with Kenji Kihisa (6-3, 3) in a good looking 8 round bout. Akizuki has impressed, with a near shut out against Vincent Bautista and a 7th round stopped of the usually durable Shun Ishibashi. Kihisi is yet to win a bout of note, but he has never been stopped and should prove to be a durable foe for Akizuki and a test of Akizuki's power, especially at this lower tier of domestic level.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card is the “debut” of 17 year old Kazusa Arai (2-0, 2), who has fought twice in Thailand but will finally be fighting on Japanese soil for the first time. The teenager will be up against 18 year old Tetsuro Ohashi (2-0, 1). Ohashi has racked up 4 rounds so far in his career, compared to Arai's 3, but hasn't shown the power of the younger man who will be looking to make a mark here and announce himself to a domestic audience, who may well not know of his activity in Thailand.
In Fukuoka fan will see the heavy handed Ryota Ishida (8-2, 6) take on local resident Yuki Ozawa (12-5, 3) in what looks like a really decent match up on paper. Ishida was last seen losing a decision to the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno in August, with that loss ending a 3 fight stoppage run for Ishida. Ozawa on the other hand has notched up back-to-back wins following a 5 fight losing run, which included losses to Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. And he looks to be getting his career back on track.
We again see action in Osaka, and once again it's a relatively small card getting out attention, though it is a small card with 4 ranked fighters on it and a pretty even looking main event.
The main event will see former OPBF Bantamweight title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-7, 5) facing off with former Japanese title challenger Satoshi Ozawa (13-7-1, 2), in a bout that both men really must win to remain even semi-relevant on the domestic scene. Kobayashi has lost 4 of his last 6, including an opening round blow out loss last time out to Rey Megrino in Hong Kong, but was once regarded as a promising fighter. On the other hand Ozawa has been stopped in 3 of his last 7, and has struggled with close decision wins in many of his recent victories. Interestingly this will be the second meeting between the two men, who fought back in September 2013, with Ozawa claiming a split decision, and both will have a serious point to prove.
The chief support bout will see OPBF ranked Light Flyweight Rikito Hattori (8-1, 3) battle against unbeaten Japanese ranked Minimumweight Daiki Tomita (9-0, 3) in a bout being fought at a contracted weight above the Light Flyweight limit. Hattori has won his last 3, following a setback last year to Kenta Matsui, but has been facing relatively limited opponents in those bouts.
In a really well matched contest we'll see OPBF and JBC ranked Super Featherweight Shachihoko Dragons Keita (7-5-2, 1) take on Yu Konomura (7-5-2, 1), in a second meeting between the two men who fought last year. On paper this doesn't look amazing, but given their first bout this should be really good and really well contested.
The remaining ranked fighter is OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Futa Akizuki (9-0, 7), who takes on his biggest test to date as he faces Shun Ishibashi (10-21-1, 4). The 19 year old Akizuki debuted in Japan less than a year ago and has already racked up 3 wins in his homeland including an impressively one-sided win over Vincent Bautista. The 29 year old Ishibashi looks like a journeyman on paper but he's a solid stepping stone at domestic level and should serve as a really good test for Akizuki here, but a test that the youngster should be able to pass.
After a small break in Japanese action we see things return this coming Friday with an interesting show in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see two former world title challengers face off in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. The match up will see Japanese teenager Riku Kano (11-2-1, 6) battle against Filipino Jerry Tomogdan (22-8-4, 10). For the 19 year old Kano the bout will be his second since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama last August whilst Tomogdan will be looking to get his career back on track following following a 4-3-2 in his last 9 bouts. On paper Kano will be favoured, but this is certainly no foregone conclusion.
The chief support bout will also be a Japan Vs Philippines bout as the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Futa Akizuki (8-0, 7) takes a step up in class and takes on Vincent Bautista (5-6-4, 1). On paper this looks like a real mismatch but the 19 year old Akizuki hasn't yet faced a foe with much of a pulse and this is his stiffest test on paper. Although his record isn't great Bautista has been matched hard and has gone in with Petch Sor Chitpattana, Palangpol CP Freshmart and Masataka Taniguchi showing his level of competition. This really could be a great test for the unbeaten man.
In another supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Rikito Hattori (7-1, 2) take on Takayuki Teraji (7-12-1, 4) in what should be another bout that will be better than the records of the two men suggest. Teraji is very beatable but always puts up a good effort and could well be a potential banana skin for Hattori.
We also have Asian action in Russia with two Filipinos fighting in interesting bouts.
One of those bouts will see Russian based Tajik Shavkat Rakhimov (9-0, 7) battle with Filipino Jimmy Paypa (19-3-1, 7) in a 10 round contest. Rakhimov has picked up wins over other Filipinos, stopping both Jerry Castroverde and Rogelio Jun Doliguez, and should be favoured again here, especially given that Paypa was stopped inside a round by Shingo Wake in his most notable bout to date. Although Rakhimov should be favoured it's worth noting that Paypa has won his last 3, including wins over Bernabe Concepcion and Jerry Nardo.
The other bout with a Filipino will see the unbeaten Evgeny Chuprakov (17-0, 9) take on experienced Filipino Eden Sonsona (36-6-2, 13) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. The talented Sonsona hasn't lost in over 5 years, going 10-0-2 during that run, and has the experience against very good opponents to be a real banana skin for Chuprakov. Saying that however the Russian will be favoured given he is the naturally bigger fighter and has home advantage. Despite being the away fighter Sonsona won't be turning up to lose, and will instead be looking to replicate his huge 2015 upset over Adrian Estrella.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows taking places in the country.
The most notable of those shows is in Hyogo, whee we see a former world title challenger and several other bouts of note.
That former world title challenger is teenager Riku Kano (10-2-1, 5), who is fighting for the first time since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama earlier this year. The teenager was supposed to fight in a second bout with Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym but Pigmy was replaced, several weeks out, by Thoedkiad Weerachon (0-5) giving us a very disappointing headline bout.
In a supporting bout we'll see Hikaru Matsuoka (12-3-3, 1) hunting for a 5th straight win as he takes on the inform Tenmei Serizawa (8-3, 4), who has turned around his career after a 3-3 start. On paper this looks like it should be a win for Matsuoka but his lack of power is an issue and has struggled with fighters he would have been favoured against before.
Interestingly one of the men to beat Matsuoka will be on the card as well, that's Seizo Kono (17-8-1, 11), who stopped Matsuoka in a round last year. Kono will be up against the limited Ryota Kihara (8-9-4, 6) and will be looking to build on an upset win over Hideo Sakamoto this past August. Kihara has won his last two bouts but this is a big step back up in class for him.
Also on this card will be teenage puncher Futa Akizuki (7-0, 6) who will be looking to score his second win on home soil after starting his career in Thailand.
The day also features 2-shows at the L-Theatre in Osaka with one of those show's being much more interesting the the other.
The more interesting of those shows is first of those shows, promoted by Taiho.
The main event here will see Japanese based Mexican Kenbun Torres (11-2, 9), the son of former world champion German Torres, battle against Filipino foe Engelbert Moralde (9-3, 6). Torres, who debuted way back in 2003, ended a 9 year sabbatical from the ring earlier this year and will be looking to score a career best win as he takes on Moralde. The Filipino has come up short when he has faced anyone of any note but could potentially pick up a win here in a very competitive looking match up.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Ken Osato (9-1-1, 3) battle against Toshiya Yokogawa (7-10-1, 6). On paper this isn't a great bout and Osato has proven he's a genuine prospect with solid results against the likes of Kento Matsushita and Retsu Kosaka. Despite that Yokogawa will come to fight and Osato will have to work for his win and it won't be handed to him here.
One bout that probably will be a mismatch will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Yuta Uetani (18-5-1, 9) take on Takuya Yamamoto (7-5, 4). Uetani isn't a top tier domestic fighter, but he's not far off and holds a number of notable wins including, a stoppage against Mark John Yap, with really only title level fighters beating him, including Shinsuke Yamanaka. Yamamoto on the other hand has done little of note and shouldn't really be a test for Uetani.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-6-4, 7) battle against the under-rated Shunji Nagata (10-15-2, 3). On paper this looks like another mismatch but it's genuinely a more interesting fight than it first appears. Kanazawa has the much better record but has gone 2-4-1 in his last 7, whilst mixing with good company on the hole. The first of those 4 defeats however came in 2014 to to Nagata who will be hoping for a repeat here. Kanazawa will obvious but hunting revenge and given their history this could be a very good and competitive bout.
The other show at the L-Theatre will be headlined by an intriguing lower level bout between Shachihoko Dragons Keita (6-5-1, 1) and Yu Konomura (7-4-1, 1). Neither guy has much of a punch and neither will go on to win titles, unless something changes massively, however they should make for a competitive and close bout which is better than a total mismatch. A lot of pride will be on the line here and it should be good.
In Australia fans will see local novice Tino Tanuvasa (2-0, 2) take on Australian based Indonesian veteran Aswin Cabuy (19-58-4, 7), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
We've had a bit of a break from major fighters recently but thankfully that break ends this weekend when we get a major show in Hyogo, a major that will sadly only be featured on TV in Osaka and not Tokyo.
A lot of the attention, rightfully, will be on the brilliant main event which pits 18 year old sensation Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5) up against veteran Katsunari Takayama (30-8-0-1, 12) in a wonderful match up for the vacant WBO Minimumweight title. Takayama, a multi-time champion, will be looking to show there is still life in the old dog here and will be looking to become a world champion one more time. For Kano the bout is about history and if he wins he will be come the youngster ever Japanese world champion. This bout really could be something very special.
In another world title bout we'll see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (11-0, 3) battle Australian Louisa Hawton (6-0, 3) in a contest for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title, a title last held by Eun Hye Lee of South Korea. Originally Hawton was signed to face Lee for the title but Lee has since given up the title and we'll instead see these two fight in what looks like a really interesting match up between two fighters looking to make the most of their first big chance.
A third title bout on this card will see Mika Iwakawa (5-4-1, 1) face off against Nonggig Sithjaanart (0-0) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. It's hard to say anything at all about the Thai however Iwakawa is nothing special, despite winning 2 of her last 3, both at Minimumweight.
Another notable “Japan Vs Thailand” bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) make his Japanese debut, as he faces Saijuea Tosandet (0-3). Akizuki has fought his 6 previous bouts in Thailand, where he has claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Bantamweight title. At just 18 years old he will be looking to make an immediate impact as he gets his first chance to impress Japanese fans and he'll soon be looking to follow stablemate Kano into world level.
In Mexico fight fan will be able to see Filipino Lightweight Rosekie Cristobal (12-0, 9) battle against Marcos Villasana Jr (19-6, 11) for the WBC Latino Lightweight title. There was real hope for Cristobal to become a real prospect but this is a real gut check of the youngster, who is stepping up in class in a big way here.