Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we get a show at Korakuen Hall, but this time it's a bit of a disappointing card as several bouts on the show were cancelled in the run up to the event due to injuries suffered in training.
The first of 3 bouts worthy of note will see veterans collide as Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) takes on Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2). For the 35 year old Kogawa, who has been one of the very best servants to Japanese boxing, this will be his first bout since a brutal TKO loss last year against Jayr Raquinel. Sadly Kogawa has been on the slide for a few years now and retirement is beckoning him. As for Yamaguchi he's not been on Kogawa's level, however he's much fresher, less ring worn and could, very seriously, be a banana skin for Kogawa here.
In a potentially thrilling match up we'll see the crude but physically imposing Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) take on the Japanese ranked Masashi Wakita (10-9-2, 5). Saito turned professional in 2018 and has struggled to get going, but has been very fun to watch and his 2019 clash with Aso Ishiwaki was an absolute war. Following back to back draws Saito needs a win to give his career a shot in the arm. As for Wakita the 24 year old is a win some-lose some type who has just managed to squeeze into the JBC top 20. With 5 stoppage losses against his name Wakita's chin may not be able to survive the storm from Saito, but if it can, Wakita's experience ,may help him nick a decision. The big question mark over Saito is his stamina, and the question over Wakita is his chin. We expect this one to be a brilliant fight.
Talking about suspect chin's the main event will see Kazuki Saito (7-2, 5), who's chin has let him down before, take on veteran Tatsuya Yanagi (16-6-2, 6). The talented Saito looks the real deal when he's letting his shots go, but has been dropped several times during his career and appears to lack the size and durability to make the most of his wonderful skills. Yanagi on the other hand has an ugly looking record, but is always upset minded and has gone 5-1-1 in his last 7, including wins over Koichi Aso, Masashi Noguchi and Ryusei Nakajima. We expect this to be a very interesting match up, with both men and it's a hard one to call, especially with Saito having lot 2 of his last 4 and being low on confidence.
Interestingly this card will also feature a public exhibition between Teruya Iimura [飯村 樹輝弥] and Jun Ikegawa [池側 純], who will be hoping to make their professional debut's in the near debut. Both men passed B class tests in September and were solid amateurs on the Japanese scene, so hopefully we see them in live fights sooner rather than later.
This coming Monday isn't a huge day for boxing, but there is still a lot of action in Osaka prefecture, with 2 cards taking place in the region, with a combined 4 title bouts!
The most significant bout from those two cards takes place in Osaka city and will see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) making his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The Japanese veteran, who vacated the OPBF title in the hope of moving towards a world title fight, will be defending the WBO regional title as he takes on South Korean Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) in what is expected to be little more than a work out for Nonaka. The highly skilled Nonaka is a very smart fighter who, even in his 40's, is a very talented and driven boxer who has made it clear he's still chasing goals in hi career. Min on the other hand is a bit of an unknown outside of Korea, and he's not expected to have much to test Nonaka, though has shown pretty heavy hands on the Korean domestic scene. For those interested in more information about this bout a preview can be read here Preview - Yuki Nonaka Vs Yang Hyun Min
The other title bout on this card will see youngsters collide, with Joe Shiraishi (8-0-1, 4) and Yoshiki Minato (8-2, 3) facing off for the Japanese Youth Flyweight title. Shiraishi came to our attention in 2017 when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, beating Minato along the way in fact, and has since added two stoppage wins since then. Sadly inactivity has been an issue for him but he is a really youngster. Of course he's not the only talented youngster here and Minato will be seeking revenge for his 2017 loss, however he comes into this on the back of an opening round blow out loss to Seigo Yuri Akui back in April. Incidentally Minato won the All Japan Rookie of the Year himself in 2018, meaning this is a clash of Rookie champions. A full preview of this bout can be read here Shiraishi and Minato rematch for Youth title!
Another interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rikuto Adachi (12-2, 9) and Change Hamashima (10-4-1, 4) battle at Welterweight. Both men really need a win here, following recent losses, and interestingly both have also lost recently to Kudura Kaneko. Adachi was stopped in 5 rounds by Kaneko, who simply over-powered him, whilst Hamashima has lost 2 decisions to Kaneko and was also stopped in 7 rounds last time out by Masaharu Kaito. It's really hard to see where the loser goes next, but the winner will likely find themselves working towards a Japanese Youth title bout.
Staying in Osaka Prefecture, though going from Osaka City to Sakai City, we get another notable card with double title action on it, albeit on a less interesting card than the other card.
Like the other card the main event is a WBO Asia Pacific title fight, though this time it's down at Light Flyweight where the once beaten Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) takes on Hayato Yamaguchi (15-7-1, 2) for the vacant title. Tomita, who turns 22 in November, impressed us last year when he put up a brave effort against Tsuaba Koura in an OPBF title fight. Tomita impressed again last time out, blowing away Jeffrey Galero and we do suspect his move to 108lbs will be a good decision for his career. For Yamaguchi this is just his second bout since being stopped in October 2016 by Tetsuya Hisada, and we do wonder he has left in the tank at the moment in time. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Tomita and Yamaguchi face off for WBO Asia Pacific title!
In a notable supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Shingo Kawamura (16-5-2, 8) taking on the light hitting Jin Miura (10-3-2, 1). Coming in to this Kawamura is well over a year removed from his last win, which came back on April 28th 2018, and another set back here really will leave the 29 year old Southpaw in an terrible position if he's wanting to get another shot at gold any time soon. Although no world beater Miura is unbeaten in his last 3, including a notable draw against Mugicha Nakagawa and an upset win over Tatsuya Matsumoto, and a win here will move him towards a title fight of his own. A really interesting one, even if it's not likely to be the most explosive.
A second title bout on this show will see Tomoko Okuda (5-2-1, 1) take on the fast rising Kanako Taniyama (2-0, 1) in a bout for the JBC female Bantamweight title. This will probably be the only chance that the 36 year old Okuda has to win a notably bout whilst Taniyama will be looking to prove her move over from kick boxing to boxing has been a success. At 2 years old Taniyama is no spring chicken but her combat sport experience is expected to be a launch pad to help her move into world title action sooner rather than later. If Taniyama is what the Watanabe gym are hoping for she needs to win, and win big here. A preview of this bout can be read here Taniyama and Okuda battle for female Bantamweight title!
This coming Saturday is a busy day though it's exciting an important day with a really notable domestic card in Japan and notable bots in Mexico and Canada.
That Japanese card is a small one, but a very significant one as it's the Strongest Korakuen show and will establish 4 fighters who will fight for Japanese titles in the first half of 2017.
The highest weight to see action is the 140lb Light Welterweight division where we will see the exciting Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13), who has come up short in previous Japanese title bouts, face off with talented novice foe Noriaki Sato (4-1-1). Aso has the advantages in power and experience but Sato is certainly no push over and he comes in the back of wins over Valentine Hosokawa and Kazuya Ito. This really could be an an excellent match up with very contrasting styles.
At Super Featherweight we'll see recent title challenger Satoru Sugita (11-3-1, 7) face off with the experienced Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-13-5, 2). Sugita was beaten last time out, when he he came up short against Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, though will clearly be looking to move into a second title fight. On paper this looks like an easy win for Sugita but Tojo is a much better fighter than his record suggests and he is a real potential banana skin for someone like Sugita.
The best of the bouts takes place at 122lbs where the highly experienced Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (32-7-5, 14) takes on 25 year old puncher Yusaku Kuga (12-2-1, 8). Baat is tested at a high level and is a potential banana skin for every one below world class, and he's had solid showings against the likes of Liborio Solis and Rey Megrino recently. Kuga on the other hand came up narrowly short in his most notable bout, against Japanese champion Yasutaka Ishimoto, and will be looking for a rematch with Ishimoto if he wins here. This is a really mouth watering contest and potentially thriller between two men who are at different stages of their career and should put on something a bit special.
The lowest weight covered here is Light Flyweight where Tetsuya Hisada (26-9-2, 16) will face Hayato Yamaguchi (14-6-1, 2) in a really interesting fight. Aged 31 Hisada cannot afford a loss but is 8-5-2 in his last 15 bouts and has been inconsistent against his more notable opponents, he is skilled, and has developed some real sting on his shots, but is fundamentally flawed. Yamaguchi has come up short against his most notable opponents but has got the ability to give Hisada fits, unfortunately he too is inconsistent. This could be a great bout, or it could be a case that the fighter who turns up wins without needing to impress.
Also on this card is a stay busy bout for Ryuichi Funai (25-7, 17), as he faces Jomyuth Looktabthai (1-0) in what should prepare him for a bout with Kenta Nakagawa in 2017 when he competes in the Champion Carnival.
In Quebec we get 3 bouts of interest.
The most interest of those 3 bouts sees experienced Filipino Ricky Sismundo (30-9-3, 13) take on the once touted Canadian based Ghislain Maduma (18-2, 11). It was only a few years ago that Maduma was looking like a future world title challenger in the making but 2 losses in his last 4 have left him fighting for his career and he can't afford another loss. Although Sismundo has a less than stellar record he has been a surprising fighter with upsets against the likes of Shuhei Tsuchiya, Akihiro Kondo and Yoshitaka Kato and deserved wins recently over Jose Felix Jr and Dierry Jean. This looks like a mismatch on paper but certainly won't be when the men get in the ring.
In an interesting step up we'll see Canadian based Kazakh puncher Batyrzhan Jukembayev (5-0-0-2, 5) face the much more experienced Ivan Pereyra (20-7, 14). Jukembayev is a really promising prospect with serious power and looks to be one of the truly exciting punchers making their marks. In Pereyra we have an experienced Mexican but one who has been stopped in 3 of his last 6 bouts, and will likely struggle to see the final bell here, if Jukembayev is as good as he has looked so far.
Another Canadian based Kazakh hopeful on this card is Ablaikhan Khussainov (2-0, 2), who takes a notable step up in class to face Attila Csereklye (6-2, 4). So far Khussainov has been matched incredibly easily and although this is, technically, a step up Csereklye isn't expected to pose much of a threat, with Hungarians being notoriously bad when facing fighters who punch back.
In China we get a show from Yinchuan, for the second day running.
In the main event we'll see the experienced Xing Xin Yang (11-4-3, 8) battling against the once beaten Tong Hui Li (6-1, 4). Coming in to this Yang is 1-1-1 in his last 3, having been stopped by Jack Brubaker last year in that loss, but should be favoured over his countryman. Li is looking for his second win since a loss to Alimu Tuersun back in March but this is a step up in class for him.
In another bout on this card we'll see the once beaten Hu Li Fu (3-1, 2) battle Kazakh hopeful Viktor Kotochigov (2-0, 1). On paper this doesn't look the most interesting but Kotochigov scored a notable win over A Fu Bai last time out and a win here could solidify him as one to watch going forward. Interestingly the Kazakh will be fighting in China for the third time.
Baja California, Mexico
One of the more interesting bouts comes from Mexico as the unbeaten Luis Nery (20-0,14) takes on Filipino former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (31-5-1, 8). On paper this one looks like a step up for Nery but given the weight Nery has to be favoured and Mepranum has been stopped in his last two international bouts, with this likely to be another loss for the “Magnum” and a chance for Nery to further prove himself as a rising contender.
We get a Filipino show in Benguet which is headlined by a title fight, and features an interesting test for an unbeaten fighter on the under-card.
The title bout will see the once beaten Bener Santig (4-1-1, 1) face off against the unbeaten Dexter Eraya (2-0, 1) for the LuzProBA Super Bantamweight title in what looks like an intriguing match up between two men on the rise. Santig is looking to record a third win since his sole defeat, which came last November, whilst former Muay Thai fighter Eraya looks to record his best win as a boxer.
In another interesting bout Danny Tampipi (5-6-2, 3) will be looking to test the unbeaten Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-0-2, 5) in an 8 rounder. Lulu, if he wins here, should be stepped up in 2017 with the “Bomber” in need of a win over a notable foe.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
A second Filipino show is set to be held in Negros Occidental.
The most notable bout here will see the once beaten Raul Yu (8-1-2, 7) face off against Paul Varona (2-6-1), in what looks like a mismatch in favour of the promising and heavy handed Yu.
On the under-card of this show fans will be able to see the unbeaten Kenneth Paul Gentallan (4-0, 2) fight against the once beaten Ricardo Sueno (2-1-3, 1), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Gallan.
In Australia fight fans will get the chance to see two limited Thai's in action.
One of those bouts will see Jamie Hilt (4-1-1) take on Aphichat Koedchatturat (1-8) in what looks like a recording padding bout for local fighter Hilt, who lost last time out whilst the other will see the win-less pairing of Mel Baker (0-1) and Monthida Rattanachai (0-1) face off in a female bout.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japanese boxing with a trio of shows.
Arguably the most talented fighter in action for the day is the 18 year old Hinata Maruta (1-0) who looks to score his second win in the professional ranks. The talented Morioka Gym fighter defeated the world ranked Jason Canoy on his debut and now looks to score an easy win as he takes on unknown Thai Krunsing Kaolamlekgym (0-0). A win here is expected for Maruta who is targeting a WBC Youth title fight for the summer. Given so little is known about Krunsing there is little doubt that Maruta will be looking to start cautiously before hunting a stoppage in the later rounds of the bout.
The under-card here isn't that notable however there are a couple of bouts worth noting. One of those will see former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (11-4-2, 1) face off against Toshikuni Wake (8-15-3,2) in what should be an easy win for Mukai. Once touted as a potential champion Mukai's career has failed to really kick on after an early career win over Sonny Boy Jaro and he's now looking to avoid successive defeats. Wake has been stopped in his last two, and has only 2 wins in the last 5 years.
Another under-card bout sees Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (6-4, 5) in action against Songthaya Kaolamlekgym (0-0). Although not the best of fighters the American has an infectious personality and we really do wish him all the best against his Thai opponent.
Another of the Japanese cards comes from Miyazaki where fans are set to get a trio of 8 rounders.
The most notable of those bouts takes place at Featherweight and will see former Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Kinshiro Usui (24-4, 10) take on Yosuke Kawano (10-4-2, 4). Aged 36 Usui is fighting for his career and knows that he's only a few wins from a potential Japanese title fight, on the other hand Kawano, who is unbeaten in 4, will know he's just hitting his stride at 27 and will be looking to record the biggest win of his career.
In the co-feature recent Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Hayato Yamaguchi (13-6-1, 2) will fight Yamato Uchinono (6-4-5, 4). On paper this should be a straight forward win for the JBC ranked Yamaguchi however he has gone 1-2 in his last 3, including a stoppage loss to Yu Kimura, and Uchinono, for all his limitations, is a puncher. On the other hand Uchinono has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and has been stopped in all 4 of his defeats.
Another bout of note sees JBC ranked 154lb fighter Hironobu Matsunaga (8-1, 4) face off against Hiroshi Ohashi (7-8, 3). This looks likely to be a clear win for Matsunaga, who will be looking to work his way towards a title fight in the coming months. Interestingly Ohashi has won just once in the last 9 years, however he has spent much of that time out of the ring.
Arguably the least interesting of the Japanese cards is in Hyogo where there's only really one bout of note.
That one notable bout sees Japanese and OPBF ranked Light Flyweight Toshimasa Ouchi (19-8-3, 5) face off against Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-4-4, 7), in what is a really well matched 8 round bout. The winner of this one will be looking to secure a title fight later in the year however both are a long way from being the best in either Japan or the Orient at 108lbs.