Capio, Tsukuba, Ibaragi, Japan
This coming Sunday we see two cards in Japan. Neither are big, though the most notable of those comes from Ibaragi.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (31-9-6, 21) take on Hibiki Jogo (10-2, 5) in an 8 round match up. Aged 31 Takahashi is probably coming to the end of his career, but the teak tough and exciting Bantamweight may manage to have one more charge towards a title fight. Takahashi is currently in the JBC and WBO Asia Pacific rankings, but will know a loss here would likely see him being removed from those. Jogo on the other hand came runner up in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and despite a set back in 2018 has won 3 in a row to give him some momentum here. We suspect Takahashi will be the favourite here, but we do imagine he'll have to work for the win.
In a brilliant Light Flyweight bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) take on the very, very highly regarded and talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (2-0-1, 1). This has the potential to be the show stealing bout here. Since winning Rookie of the Year Kameyama has struggled for form, losing to Shokichi Iwata and Yuga Inoue, but will see this as a chance to end that slide. Horikawa on the other hand looked sensational in his win over Yuki Nakajima and was very unlucky last time out against Xiang Li, in a draw. This could be a very exciting bout.
The third bout of real interest here will see 2019 Rookie of the Year runner up Yuta Ashina (4-2) take on Yuya Nemoto (6-8-3, 1). Despite losing last December Ashina showed enough to want to follow him and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here, and he's incredibly exciting for those who haven't seen him. Aged 34 and with just 1 win in his last 7 it's easy to assume that Nemoto isn't won't be competitive, but Nemoto did score a win last time out and is unbeaten in his last 3. We suspect Ashina will be asked questions by the veteran, but should still take the win here with his aggression and work rate
Green Tsuda Gym, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The other Japanese card is a West Japan Rookie of the Year show from the Green Tsuada Gym, with 9 bouts on this card. This is the second Rookie of the Year card at the Osakan gym in recent days, following one last weekend.
The most interesting of the bouts on this show, for us, is a Super Bantamweight clash between the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (5-0, 2) and the stop of be stopped Shuya Kuwabuchi (2-1, 2). The 22 year old Fukunaga debuted in 2018 and since then has barely dropped a round, and shown improving power, stopping his last 2. Kuwabuchi on the other hand has yet to see the final bell, but was stopped last time out. We expect fireworks here.
Another Rookie bout on this card worthy of attention will be the debut of Daichi Morino (0-0), who takes on 20 year old Yasuhiro Kanzaki (3-1, 1) at Flyweight. Morino turns pro after running up a 2-1 amateur record and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here as he begins his professional career. As for Kanzaki he started his career perfectly, with 3 straight wins, but did lose last time out and will be desperate to get back to winning ways here.
This Sunday is a very quiet day in Asia, though there is a small, yet notable, card in Osaka from Taiho with a couple of interesting domestic clashes.
The main event will see 2-time Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger Ken Osato (15-3-1, 4) take on 20 year old hopeful Ruito Saeki (7-2-1, 1) in what looks like a very interesting match up. Last time out Osato ran Masaru Sueyoshi close in a bout for the Japanese Super Featerweight title, losing a majority decision to the champion, and will be looking to bounce back here in a bout he will be favoured to win. Although Saeki is stepping up, the 20 year old is a very nice, tidy boxer, though lacks power and hasn't yet matured fully. Entering as the under-dog Saeki is a tricky enough fight to ask questions of Osato, and we suspect he will manage to take a round or two from Osato.
Another Osato on this card is Noboru Osato (10-8-4, 2), who takes on the once beaten Ryo Suwa (11-1, 2) in a very interesting bout. The 24 year old Osato has lost his last 2, including a Japanese Youth Featherweigth title bout to Hikaru Matsuoka, but has managed to show that he's no push over and ran current WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi very close in 2017. Suwa on the other hand is unbeaten in 4, and has rebuilt well following a 2017 loss to Ikuro Sadatsune. Although relatively untested Suwa did score a notable win in December against Noldi Manakane. This one looks almost certain to go the distance, but should still be a very interesting and competitive match up
A third bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (9-2, 4) take on Indonesian Kichang Kim (9-8-1, 2). The talented Jogo has picked up 2 wins since suffering a loss to Yoshihiro Utsumi in April 2018, and will be expected to score another here as he continues to rebuild his confidence. Kim has been stopped in his 6 bouts outside of Indonesia, including blow out losses in Japan to Hayate Kaji and Yusuke Suzuki, and we'd expect that run to continue here, even if Jogo is not a power puncher.
This coming Friday fight fans in Japan will get two different shows in major areas, on in Osaka and one in Tokyo, there's also two shows in the Philippines and one in Dubai!
Of the two cards it's the Osaka one which will get most of the attention, featuring a major name in Japanese boxing along with a couple of bouts featuring interesting hopefuls.
The major name is that of Juiki Tatsuyoshi (10-0, 7), the son of former world champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who despite not being anywhere near to the fighter his father was, is still a noteworthy prospect. Tatsuyoshi will be up against Daichi Matsuura (6-3-2, 2), who doesn't look likely to be much of a test for Tatsuyoshi, even if Tatsuyoshi is a long way from being a world beater himself.
The chief support bout on this card will see the heavy handed Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (9-1, 8) take on Japanese based Korean fighter Tae Il Atusmi (15-2, 7) in a very interesting contest that could prove to be the highlight of the show. The 23 year old Tsutsumimoto enters this bout on the back of 5 stoppage wins, but this is a step up for him. Atsumi on the other hand will be looking to score his third straight win following a 2017 loss to Shingo Kawamura. This should be a very exciting and competitive contest between two guys who can hit hard.
Also on this show is former Rookie of the Year finalist Hibiki Jogo (8-2, 4), who looks to rebuild from a 2018 loss to Yoshihiro Utsumi. From what we under-stand the talented Jogo will be up against experienced Filipino foe Marzon Cabilla (17-17-1, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for the local hopeful.
In Tokyo we'll see the next Golden Child card. This is a smaller card, but should be a pretty entertaining one, with several good looking bouts.
The main event of the card will the always fun to watch Shusaku Fujinaka (16-10-2, 11) take on Toshiro Tarumi (11-3-3, 6) in a Welterweight bout between Japanese ranked fighters. Coming in to this Fujinaka has lost 4 of his last 5, but they have included defeats in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, to Keita Obara, and a Japanese title bout, to Ryota Yada. Tarumi on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC, and has won his last 6 to be on the verge of his first title bout.
The chief support bout is a fantastic match up, which will see young Japanese Middleweight prospect Riku Kunimoto (3-0, 1) take on the heavy handed, but flawed, Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) in a really intriguing contest. Kunimoto is taking a massive step up in class, but a win here will help him race towards a Japanese national title fight. On the other hand a loss for Fukumoto, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, could be the end of his dreams. A must win for Fukumoto, but one that comes against a former national amateur standout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kunimoto steps up to take on Fukumoto
Also on this card is a rare Japanese Heavyweight clash, as Yamato Fujinaka (7-5, 3) and Ryu Ueda (7-1-1, 4) face off for the second time. These two fought in November 2015, with Ueda taking the win by decision, and since then neither has really done too much of note.
As well as the Japanese cards, there is also a show in Cebu, featuring some pretty interesting local hopefuls.
One of the main bouts on this show will be a WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title bout, as the unbeaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-0-1, 9) takes on Arnel Baconaje (10-3, 8). This genuinely looks like it could be something really, really fun. We're not a fan of just how many regional minor titles there are out there, but if they are responsible for bouts like this, we can't complain too much!
A second title fight will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (9-0-1, 5) take on the under-rated Robert Onggocan (11-4, 7) , for a low key title on the domestic, or rather local, scene. The reality is that they could have used this bout as a major regional title eliminator, it's a fantastic match up, and should be some really special for the fans in attendance. It's a bout that clearly doesn't need a very low level title to be on the line, and the fight clearly overshadows the belt that they will be fighting for.
A second Filipino show will take place in Bukidnon.
The main event of this show will see Jerry Tomogdan (26-10-4, 14) battle against Dexter Alimento (13-5, 9) in what should be a pretty interesting match up between two under-rated Filipino's. Both have suffered recent losses and both need a win to remain relevant, but this not an easy one for either guy.
Also on this card is Robert Paradero (17-0, 11), who will be fighting for the first time in a year following visa issues with arranged bouts outside of his homeland. He will be expecting to pick up an easy win as he takes on 19 year old Jonathan Almacen (5-2-2, 1).
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As well as the bouts in the power houses of Asian boxing there will also be Asian action in Dubai, as MTK Global take their show on the road and show case a number of prospects.
One of those Asian fighters is Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (2-0, 1), who will be battling against Teimuraz- Abuladze (9-6, 7) of Georgia. Another in action is Sultan Zaurbek (5-0, 3), who takes on Chinese foe Chenghong Tao (7-5-1, 5).
The biggest hopeful on the card however is 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Shakhobidin Zoirov (0-0), who will be making his professional debut against Indonesian foe Anthony Holt (5-4-1, 3), who was stopped inside a round last June by the then debuting Jin Minamide. This should be little more than a cameo for Zoirov.
Another central Asian fighter in action this Friday is Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-1-1, 5), who looks to score his second win following a 2018 loss to Marquis Taylor. The Uzbek will be up against unbeaten puncher Keith Hunter (9-0, 7) in what looks like a fantastic bout, at least on paper.
Gimhae, South Korea
The most notable show of the day comes from Korea, where the we get top Korean female fighter making a defense of one of her titles.
The aforementioned female fighter is Hee Jung Yuh (20-3, 10), who will be defending her WBF Intercontinental Female Super Flyweight title against Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-14, 1). Yuh is an interesting and skilled fighter, though she is well below elite level, and her only loss in the last 10 years has come to Naoko Fujioka. Despite only losing once in 10 years her competition, Fujioka aside, has been appalling. Saowaluk has lost her last 5, including 3 by stoppage. She's very much a fight who will travel to pick up a loss, and that seems to be the case again here as she returns to Korea for the fourth time in her career, still seeking her first win in the country.
There will also be a bout featuring Seung Ho Lee (4-0, 4). Lee will battle for the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title as he takes on Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-1, 4), who was last seen losing inside a round to Rivo Kundimang in Indonesia in November. We'll get a chance to compare Lee to Kundimang, but that's about the only thing this bout will actually do.
As well as the title action in Korea there will also be a small, yet noteworthy, card in Osaka featuring two bouts of interest.
In a bout that genuinely excites us we'll see the inform Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on the once touted Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3). Coming in to this Kenji has won his last 5 by stoppage, including big wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. That winning run has taken him from 5-3 to 10-3 and he's quickly climbing up the rankings towards a potential title fight. Iwai was tipped highly as a prospect from Hyogo but the youngster suffered back to back defeats in 2017 and he's yet to really recover from those set backs. He's notched a couple of wins over Thai's since suffering his defeats but this is a clear step up, and it feels like Morioka will be looking to see if he sinks or swims against someone as good as Kenji.
The other bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (7-2, 4) take on Tricky Kumagai (9-8, 6). The 25 year old Jogo was stopped in 4 rounds in the Rookie of the Year final and was also stopped last time out, by Yoshihiro Utsumi, suggesting that perhaps he's lacking in durability. Kumagai has also been stopped, in fact 4 of his 8 losses have been inside the distance, and he is 2-6 in his last 8, meaning he can ill afford another loss here. This isn't a massive fight for the Japanese domestic scene, but is massive for both fighters, who will have a long road to climb if they come up short here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small card, expected to be headlined by the unbeaten Marlon Paniamogan (8-0-1, 5) taking on Jimmy Borbon (7-6-4, 4). This is a less than great match up, but the card looks like it will feature a bunch of more recognisable names.
Listed for the show are Wilbert Berondo (12-3-2, 5), Juan Miguel Elorde (26-1, 14), Arvin Magramo (8-1-1, 5) and Delmar Pellio (5-0, 3). Sadly none of those fighters have had their opponents named at the time of writing.
Kazakh fans get the chance to end the year on a high with a number of their fighters in action on a special card promoted by the Astana Arlans and Qazaq Promotions. The show will be free to attend, but sadly the level of bouts is a bit of a mystery.
Whilst full details on this card haven't been announced we do know that is it will feature Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6), Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5), Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2), Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6) and Ruslan Myrsataev (5-0, 5), all of whom likely to be up against limited opponents in what we suspect will be little more than show case bouts.
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.
This coming Sunday is a pretty busy day of action Asia.
For us the most notable of the bouts will be in Osaka and feature a really interesting Japanese Super Featherweight bout, a step up in class for an unbeaten prospect and an interesting under-card bout.
The Super Featherweight bout pits two top 5 Japanese domestic fighters against each other, as the once beaten Ken Osato (12-1-1, 4) takes on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (13-4-1, 8) in a real step up for the 23 year old Osato and a must win for Sugita. The younger man has gone 8-0-1 since suffering an opening round KO loss back in September 2013, when he was still just a teenager. As for Sugita he has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though both of those loses came against the then Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, who will fight for a world title just hours before this bout takes place.
One man who we are glad to see taking a step in the right direction is Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0, 10), who impressed us early in his career but really faltered in terms of building a real name for himself recently, being matched against horribly inept opponents. Here we'll see the Ioka gym prospect take on domestic foe Kota Fujimoto (7-2, 2), and hopefully a win here for Hashizume will launch him towards bigger and better bouts in 2018. Fujimoto has lost 2 of his last 3, but will know that a win here will give his career a huge shot and push him towards potential title fights.
A third bout of note here will see the heavy handed Hibiki Jogo (6-1, 4) battle against the talented Yuki Hirashima (7-1-1, 1). Jogo's loss came last year, at the All Japan Rookie of the year, and since then he has racked up two wins and is really genuine puncher at the lower levels of the Japanese domestic scene. Hirashima suffered a blip last year, going 0-1-1 for the year, bus has racked up 3 wins in 2017 and will know that another here will see him go into 2018 as a man in good domestic form.
A second show in Japan will take place in Aichi and will see Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Takuya Mizuno (12-1-1, 11) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on fellow youngster Yuki Iriguchi (9-1-1, 4). Mizuno won the title last time out, with a split decision win over Ryota Ishida and the 22 year old puncher will be looking to get back to his destructive best here. As for the 20 year old Iriguchi this bout will see him looking to buil on a 4 fight winning run, which includes victories over touted amateur Kenshin Oshima and the then inform Ryohei Takahashi. Although an easy bout to over-look it really is a cracking contest on paper.
There is also set to be a pretty interesting card in China.
One of the best bouts on the card will see Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (18-0, 14) take on Belgian visitor Herve Hubeaux (28-2, 14) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. We'll admit we're unsure how Hubeaux qualifies for the title, but the reality is that he's been taken over to China to lose, and despite the good looking record on paper the 25 year old has shown nothing to worry Zhang. The Chinese fighter should really be seeing this as his chance to record an easy first defense of the title he won back in January. Interestingly coming into this bout Zhang is on a run of 5 opening round KO's.
A second title bout will see the once touted Zhimin Wang (9-2, 3) take on Filipino visitor Anthony Sabalde (12-6, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. The match up isn't as good looking on paper as the Heavyweight title clash, but the reality is that this bout should be much more interesting, and looks like a much more competitive contest. Both Wang and Sabalde are flawed and both will feel they take advantage of their foes weaknesses.
There are two other notable bouts on this card. One of those will see Jianzheng Wang (6-0, 4) take on former OPBF title challenger Kajornsak Sithsaithong (10-6, 10), in what we expect will be a mismatch, and the heavy handed Wuzhati Nuerlang (9-1, 8) taking on Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (17-5, 13), in what promises to be an explosive encounter.
In Pngasinan fight fans are in for a very low key card, with the main event being the only bout worthy of noting. That bout will see Alphoe Dagayloan (7-2-5, 3) take on Mateo Handig (13-15, 7), in what would have been an interesting fight had Handig not lost his last 10. Handig used to be pretty decent, but is only a shadow of the fighter he once was