This coming Friday fight fans in Tokyo get the chance to see the next show in the Asign Bee series of shows, and it looks like a genuinely great show on paper, littered with notable domestic fighters and a number of good match ups.
The main event is the pick of the bouts and will see the hard hitting Keita Kurihara (10-5, 9) take on the unbeaten Tetsuya Watanabe (3-0, 2). The 25 year old Kurihara lost 4 of his first 7 but has since gone 7-1 (6) with his only loss during that run coming against the very talented Hiroaki Teshigawara. Since that loss to Teshigawara we've only seen Kurihara once, but that was an impressive stoppage win over Ryan Lumacad. Watanabe debuted last year and despite winning his first 3 bouts in a combined 9 rounds this is a huge step up in class for him, with his opposition so far doing little to really show how good he actually is. A win for Watanabe would put him in the title mix, but this is a huge ask for the unbeaten man.
In the co-feature we'll see 38 year old veteran Kinshiro Usui (28-6, 12) battle against Kyosuke Sawada (10-2-1, 5) in another really good looking match up. The veteran has lost 2 of his last 3, both to former world title challengers in Hisashi Amagasa and Hidenori Otake, but showed that he was still a very good fighter over 8 rounds in both of those bouts. Usui isn't a world beater, by any stretch, but is a very good domestic level fighter who will be a nightmare to Japanese level fighters at 122lbs. Sawada turned professional with some promise, but back to back losses to Yusuke Suzuki and Hiroaki Teshigawara saw him quickly fall to 0-2. Since then however he has rebuilt brilliantly, defeating the likes of Gaku Aikawa, Kenta Okumura and Yuta Horiike. The bout is pretty much a 50-50 and a win for either man will be significant, with both risking their JBC rankings here.
A less well matched domestic bout will see Naoki Mochizuki (13-3, 8) face off with Hideyuki Watanabe (8-10-3, 6). On paper this is a bit of a mismatch, though with Mochizuki losing 3 of his 2, including his last bout, we can't really complain about him having an easier bout, especially as this will be a rematch of a razor thins 2015 bout. In their first bout Mochizuki took a raor thin win, and has since gone 5-2 (1), losing to Keisuke Nakayama and Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking in competitive bouts. Sadly for Watanabe he has gone 0-2 since losing to Mochizuki and will be looking to avoid a 5th straight loss here.
Another promising fighter looking to bounce back from a recent loss is the hard hitting Kai Chiba (7-1, 6), who was stopped last time out by Brian Lobetania. The once beaten Chiba will be up against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-4-2, 7) in what could be a potential banana skin. The 25 year old Chiba looked really promising in 2017, going 4-0 (3) for the year with notable wins over Ikuro Sadatsune and Ryo Matsubara putting nim on the map, but his loss to Lobetania has slowed his ascent and shown defensive and mental flaws. As for Tabuchi he has lost 3 of his last 4, but has been mixing at a high level with losses to Ryohei Takahashi, Hiroyuki Kudaka and Yu Kawaguchi. Interestingly Tabuchi has had a lengthy break from the ring and will likely be looking to return as a rejuvenated man here in what could be a very exciting domestic bout.
In another bout we'll see see multi-time title challenger Koshinmaru Saito (23-9-2, 13) take on a Thai foe as he attempts to earn one more shot before his career comes to an end.
The most notable Asian card of the day is Dangan134 which is being held at the Korakuen Hall and features 4 bouts of real note, including a Japanese title fight and an intriguing bout between relative novices.
The event of the card is the title bout which will see Takuya Kogawa (23-4, 13) battle against Hiroki Saito (9-4, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Flyweight title. On paper it looks like a mismatch but the truth of the matter is that this is expected to be a very hard fought, exciting and competitive match up, possibly even the fight of the month. Stylistically Kogawa is always involved in fun fights and Saito has proven he's not a fan of taking a backwards step.
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger Shingo Eto (16-3-1, 9) battle against experienced Filipino Edgar Gabejan (27-31-6, 9). Again this looks like a mismatch on paper but Gabejan is much better than his record suggests and holds a very notable win over current OPBF champion Vinvin Rufino. This could turn out to be a very interesting and tough contest.
Another supporting bout will see the under-rated Hideo Sakamoto (16-1-2, 5) attempt to notch his 7th straight win as he takes on Hiroaki Teshigawara (9-1-1, 4), who has won his last 4. On paper this looks like an interesting match up but it's hard to imagine anything but a Sakamoto win as he moves towards a Japanese of OPBF title fight.
Former Sakamoto foe Ryoichi Tamura (3-2-1, 1) is also on this card in a fantastic match up against Yusuke Suzuki (6-1, 4). This bout won't appeal to many outside of the hardcore Japanese domestic fans but it has the potential to be a genuine barn burner between two talented and over-looked fighters who could well both go on to advance to title level over the coming years. This really is a mouth watering bout for those who look beyond the “records” of fighters.
As well as the show in Tokyo there is also one in Osaka. This card is much weaker but does have an interesting main event as recent Japanese title challenger Atsushi Aburada (10-7, 6) takes on Tetsuya Hisada (22-9-2, 12). On paper Hisada has the better record however he has struggled in recent times, with just 2 wins in his last in his last 7, Aburada on the other hand is coming in on an exceptional win win over Takeru Kamikubo.
Pathhum Thani, Thailand
We also get a relatively interesting bout from Thailand as Nawaphon Por Chokchai (28-0, 21) defends his WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight against Filipino foe Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-3-1, 4). Nawaphon hasn't impressed us in the way his record would suggest however he should over-come Ugbaniel, who was stopped last time out by Melvin Gumban.
In Yemen fans will get the chance to see the charismatic Hani Ansi (22-0-1, 20) take on an as yet un-named opponent for the UBO Super Flyweight title. From what we understand this was supposed to be the much anticipated Ansi Vs Ali Raymi bout, though Raymi's untimely passing left Ansi's team struggling to find a replacement foe.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)