Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we get action from Korakuen Hall, though this is a much smaller show than the stacked card we got on Thursdays. In fact this is a card where the names are minimal, but the action should again be very, very good. It should also be noted that this card was, originally, scheduled for April before the state of emergency in Japan forced it to be delayed, hence the poster above.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweights clash as Kazuma Sanpei (19-6, 8) takes on the heavy handed Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-5, 6). On paper Sanpei comes in as the clear favourite, with the more impressive record and the better JBC ranking, however it's certainly not a gimmie for him and the 26 year old has shown a questionable level of durability and comes into this 16 months removed from his last win. Miyamoto on the other hand is the definition of a glass cannon, with only one of this 12 bouts going to the final bell. Expect Miyamoto to try and take Sanpei's head off, and for Sanpei to try and box early before letting his heavier shots go in the later stages.
The chief support bout will also feature a ranked fighter, in fact Tatsuya Yanagi (17-6-2, 7) will be risking his JBC, OPBF and WBO AP rankings here, as he takes on Toru Kiyota (10-4, 7) in an 8 round Lightweight bout. Coming in to this Yanaga has been putting together some of his best performances, including wins over Masashi Noguchi, Koichi Aso and Kazuki Saito, and at 31 will likely know that a seventh career loss would be a massive setback. Kiyota on the other hand has only won one of his last 3, and 3 of his last 6, but can be a tricky customer and two of those losses was very close. Although perhaps not a great contest on paper, we expect this one to be ultra competitive throughout the 8 round schedule.
In a potentially easy to over-look bout we'll see the limited but heavy handed Ken Koibuchi (6-5, 5) take on Katsunori Endo (7-3, 4), in what could be a very explosive encounter between two men with some history between them. These two men faced off back in 2019, with Endo stopping Koibuchi in 3 rounds, giving Koibuchi his sole stoppage loss. It's fair to say Koibuchi will be seeking revenge here, but Endo on the other hand will be confidence of scoring a third straight win inside the distance. Although not a high level match up, this could be something a little special
One other Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Welterweight Hironori Shigeta (6-2-1, 3), who is looking to bounce back from a 2020 loss to Shoki Sakai. The talented Shigeta shouldn't have many problems here as he takes on the limited Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-14-1, 9), who has been stopped in his last 5 and is without a win in almost 4 years. In fact Miyazaki is 1-10 in his last 11 bouts!
One other fighter we want to briefly mention is Japanese based Italian fighter Federica Boni (0-0) who makes her belated debut against Asako Sugawara (0-0) in an all debutant bout. Boni was supposed to debut a few weeks ago, and has gotten a bit of press in Japan, for being an Italian born female boxer, and we really are looking forward to following her journey over the next few years.
Yunusabad Sports Complex in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Over in Tashkent we're set for a show featuring a number of notable Asian fighters, including three talented Uzbekistani fighters.
The main event of the show will see the heavy handed Shohjahon Ergashev (19-0, 17) take on Tanzania's Salimu Jengo (16-3, 10) in a bout for the lightly regarded EBP title at 140lbs. The talented Ergashev, will be fighting for the first time since his rather farcical bout with Dzmitry Miliusha last November, which had been postponed due to legal issues. The reality here is that Ergashev will almost certainly cruise past Jengo on route to bigger and better things. For those curious the most notable results on Jengu's record are a decision loss to China's Ju Wu and a TKO loss to former Devin Haney opponent Xolisani Ndongeni.
The other noteworthy local on this show is Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (16-1, 13), who appears to be in a stay busy bout after his US debut was delayed to September. His opponent has been named as Georgian fighter Merab Turkadze (6-9-1, 2), and it's really hard to see this being anything but an easy win for Najmiddinov, who's only loss was a very, very controversial one to Viktor Postol.
A third fighter of some note from Uzbekistan is Ulugbek Khakberdiev (6-0, 4), who returns to a pro ring for the first time in more than 2 years. The talented Middleweight is scheduled for 10 rounds against against Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-9, 7), from Belarus. Interestingly Atrokhau has proven to be durable, and it seems the focus here will be for the local man to get some rounds after such a long lay off. This should be a clear case of shaking some ring rust and cruising to a clear, wide, decision victory.
One other name worthy of mentioning the 36 year old Kazakh Alexandr Zhuravskiy (13-7-1, 11), who is much better than his record suggests, taking on Russian Sergey Vorobiev (10-1, 7), in a really good bout at 154lbs. This should be much, much more competitive than it looks on paper, and could end up being potentially the most interestingly contest on the show.
Vegas City Hall, Krasnogorsk, Russia
As well as the action in Japan there are a few Asian fighters in action over in Russia.
One of those is once beaten Russian based Azeri Elnur Samedov (11-1, 3) who is expected to be in action in an 8 rounder. Sadly his opponent for this show hasn't been confirmed at the time of writing, which is a shame as he's been putting on some good performances recently, including scoring wins over Aik Shakhnazaryan and Alexander Podolsky.
Another Russian based Central Asian fighter on this car is the 35 year old Server Emurlaev (23-2, 8), who is supposedly pencilled in to face the returning Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (14-2, 12). This is just an oddity. Kalyuzhnyy hasn't fought since 2016, when he lost to limited Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk. Emurlaev on the other hand has fought twice this year, returning after 8 years out of the ring, and recently suffered a loss to touted Kazakh fightr Kamshybek Kunkabayev. Notably Emurlaev is pencilled in for another fighter late in the month, so this one may end up being cancelled due to the other fight, which is a much more meaningful fight than this one.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
We turn our attention back to Japan to end the month, and we get treat very nicely thanks to A-Sign boxing who are putting on a live stream of their event from the Shinjuku Face in Tokyo. The event isn't a massive card, but it is a compelling card, featuring a nice mix of prospects, domestic hopefuls and the Japanese debut of a fighter who has, until now, been fighting entirely in the west.
In the main event we'll see veteran Shoki Sakai (23-11-2, 13) make his Japanese debut after more than 30 fights in Mexico and the US. The tough and rugged Sakai was once a fighter with a genuine hunger and ambition, but in recent years he has been used as a gatekeeper of sorts in the West. He has lost his last 4, though managed to ask questions of Genero Gamez, Eddie Gomez, Alexis Rocha and Gor Yeritsyan and has proven his value as a genuine trial horse. For his Japanese debut he is being matched some what easier than he has been in the West as he takes on Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3), who is best known for winning the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year, at Welterweight, though he has failed to kick on since then and has fought just twice since that Rookie triumph. Shigeta is unbeaten in his last 7 but this is a serious step up in class for him.
One of the best prospects on this card is unbeaten teenage Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6), who turned 19 in July. The talented Sasaki will be taking a big step up, as he takes on Shun Akaiwa (5-1-1, 3), who answered what was essentially an open challenge by the promoters of the event. Sasaki has shown a lot to be excited about, including power, skills and timing, though unfortunately had to pull out of the East Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2019. The youngster is tipped for big things but this is expected to be a real test. Akaiwa enters the bout ranked #13 by the JBC at 140lbs and has won his last 3, which has seen him avenge his sole defeat and score a shock TKO win over Kenta Endo. This is a genuinely serious test for Sasaki and a win here will give him a huge boost after the disappointing end to his Rookie of the Year journey last year. A win for Akaiwa on the other hand will continue his great form and move him a step closer to a title fight. This is a real 50-50 type bout.
In a bout that could, potentially, be an explosive bout we'll see Ryugo Ushijima (3-1-2, 2) and Ryukyu Oho (6-3, 3) battle in a 6 rounder. We were impressed and frustrated by Ushijima last year. His bout with Shota Ogasawara was an instant classic, but he then went 0-1-2 for the rest of the year, and failed to show any real development. Aged 19 and stood at 5'10" he is very much a growing boy and not the complete product, but we do need to start to see some improvements from the youngster, who has the size and frame to be a genuine prospect, despite his current record. Oho on the other hand has struggled for form recently, losing 2 of his last 3 including a 2018 Rookie of the Year bout with Hikari Mineta. This has the potential to be the hidden gem on the card with both men desperate to get a win.
The 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year Super Featherweight king Hyoga Taniguchi (3-2-2, 1) will be up against Yoshiki Tatsukami (4-6-1), in what will be Taniguchi's first bout since his Rookie triumph in December. The 21 year old Taniguchi has got promise but his lack of power could be a major issue, unless he develops it in the coming years. Coming in to this Tatsukami has lost his last 3, but has generally asked questions of fighters, testing Mirai Naito and Hokuto Matsumoto. We expect Taniguchi to take the win, but this will not be easy for the youngster.
In an easy to over-look bout the limited but hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (5-4, 4) will be up against one of our favourite unheralded fighters Takuya Yamaguchi (4-11-2, 2). Coming in to this Koibuchi has lost 3 of his last 4 but two of those were razor thin decisions and he's certainly better than his record suggests. Yamaguchi on the other hand is a very likable loser, and the recent A-Sign documentary on him is brilliant, insightful and opens a door into the life of someone who has charmed us in recent years. We suspect Koibuchi will have too much for the 34 year old Yamaguchi.
In a Rookie of the Year bout we'll see the unbeaten and charismatic Kosuke Tomioka (2-0, 2) in action against Shota Hara (2-2-1). Although he's still only a boxing baby Tomioka has been receiving a lot of attention for his exciting style and unique in ring flair, which we hope to see more of here. Hara is the older man, but is very much coming into this bout as the under-dog and we suspect he will struggle, despite having an under-rated counter punchers game.
Attention turns to Tokyo this coming Saturday as we get a really interesting Kadoebi card at the Korakuen Hall, headlined by a Japanese title fight but also featuring numerous other notable fighters.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) defending his title against unbeaten mandatory challenger Koki Inoue (12-0, 10), the third member of the Inoue clan. For the 37 year old Hosokawa this will be his third defense of the belt, which he won in 2017 against Koichi Aso. As for Inoue this will be his first title fight, and comes after a relatively disappointing performance against Marcus Smith, though a performance that did see Inoue battling with injuries. A full preview of this bout can be read here Another Inoue goes for gold, as Koki takes on Valentine Hosokawa.
In the chief support bout we'll see former OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-3-2, 11) take on durable Thai Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-3, 2). For Tyson this will be his first bout since signing with the Kadoebi Gym and his first bout since losing the OPBF title to Yasuyuki Akiyama in December 2017. Chaiwat on the other hand comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight losses, but has proven to be tough and almost went 7 complete rounds with Kazuto Takesako last year. Tyson should win, but will have to work for it.
An excellent supporting bout will see Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (13-7-2, 9) battle against Anthony Marcial (24-3-1, 22) of the Philippines.The talented Aoqui isn't a world beater, but is an exciting and fun yo watch fighter who has a notable fan base. Marcial on the other hand has an impressive looking record, but has mostly been a can crusher on the Filipino domestic scene. This could be a much, much better bout than it looks on paper, though we're expecting Aoqui to be too good for the visitor.
Another supporting bout will see Tsuyoshi Sato (8-1-1, 4) take on Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) in a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title tournament semi final bout. The exciting Sato is aggressive, all action and very fan friendly, whilst Tomioka is a big puncher, with questionable durability. This might end up being the bout of the show, and both are very fun to watch. It's worth noting that this bout will be a semi-final bout of a 4 man tournament to crown a new Japanese Light Flyweight youth champion, with the other semi-final taking place on April 11th.
Other supporting bouts will see Hironori Shigeta (5-1-1, 3) take on Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-5-1, 3) and Aso Ishiwaki (5-2, 3) battle Yoji Saito (1-1, 1). On paper neither of these bouts look amazing, but both promise a lot. Shigeta is a Japanese ranked Welterweight, and the 2017 Rookie of the year, whilst Takahashi is a very solid domestic level guy. Ishiwaki is the 2018 Lightweight Rookie of the Year whilst Saito is a former amateur standout, and despite having a loss on his record is very much a prospect to make a note of.
As well as the great show in Japan there is also a low key card in the Philippines. The headline bout here will see Eduardo Mancito (16-10-2, 9) battling against Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4). On paper this is a pretty good domestic bout, it's nothing amazing, but should be pretty competitive and that's always a good thing!
This coming Sunday isn't a big day in Asian boxing but there are a number of bouts of note, with two Japanese eliminators in Fukuoka and a pretty interesting card in South Korea with Koreans, and Korean based fighters, taking on Japanese visitors.
The card in Fukuoka really is lacking in terms of depth, with just 6 total bouts on the card, but the top two bouts are mouth watering Japanese title eliminators, featuring local fighters taking on opponents from Tokyo for the right to compete at the 2019 Champion Carnival.
One of those two eliminators takes place down at 105lbs and will see the once touted Takumi Sakae (19-2-1, 13) take on recent OPBF title challenger Norihito Tanaka (16-7, 9). The 25 year old Tanaka debuted in 2011 and looked on the route to success when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown in 2013. Sadly since that early success he has faltered, losing in a Japanese title fight in 2016 to Tatsuya Fukuhara, drawing with Lito Dante and losing to Ryoki Hirai. Sakae has won his last 5, but those wins have come against some very limited foes. The 33 year old Tanaka ran up a 14-5 (7) record before walking away from the sport in 2011. He returned to the ring in 2017 and has had mixed success, with a loss last time out to OPBF champion Tsubasa Koura. Given the need for both men to win, and look good, this could be very entertaining. A preview of this bout is available here Sakae and Tanaka face off in Japanese eliminator!
The other title eliminator bout bout will see heavy handed Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) clash with Teiken hopeful Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) in a Welterweight eliminator. Beppu, like Sakae, is a Rookie of the Year winner but at 27 years old it certainly feels like time for his to step up his competition, following 4 wins over terrible foes. The one time he really stepped, since his Rookie triumph, saw him fight to a draw with Charles Bellamy, and he seemed to bide his time whilst waiting for an opportunity like this. At 29 years old Nagano is slight older but also more tested. He comes into this bout on a 12 fight winning run, including a Rookie of the Year triumph in 2015 and a recent win over Riku Nagahama. Notably this will be Nagano's first bout outside of the Korakuen Hall, and that may be a problem with the crowd behind Beppu, but he'll be confident of continuing his good form. This has the potential to be very explosive. Our preview of this bout can be read here - Heavy handed Beppu and Nagano clash in eliminator!
There will be a second Japanese card, albeit a significantly less significant one.
The main event here will see Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-3, 2) taking on Chiharu Takasuka (5-4-1, 3), in what is a pretty low key bout if we're being honest, especially given the action in Fukuoka.
Daejeon, South Korea
In South Korea fans get a very interesting card, featuring several good looking international bouts and two BoxingM title bouts.
One of those Korean title bouts will see Doo Hyup Kim (10-6-1, 5) take on Gun Woo Gang (4-2-2, 1) for the Korean Light Middleweight title. This will be Kim's first defense of the title, and despite having been stopped in 2 of his previous 3 he will be the man with the champions mentality. On the other hand the 21 year old Gang will be having his third title fight, having come up short in two previous Korean title bouts.
The second title fight will be at 140lbs and will see Jin Soo Kim (3-1, 1) face off with Min Ho Jung (7-1-1, 1) for the vacant title. At 22 years old Kim is the younger, less experienced man but is a promising southpaw, who made an impact on his 2015 debut by scoring a brilliant KO of Andrew Silva. Jung will enter the bout as the older man, but will be the naturally smaller fighter. This could be an entertaining match up, but this will be the first title bout for either man.
On paper the most evenly matched of the international bouts will see unbeaten fighters collide as local Min Jang (6-0-2, 2) takes on Japan's Fumiya Fuse (6-0, 1). The 18 year old Jang debuted last year and has already racked up 8 fights, but this is a big step up for him. At 20 years old Fuse is tipped as one to watch on the Japanese scene, and was the 2017 Rookie of the Year, but this will be his first bout outside of Japan. With neither man being a puncher we are expecting a distance bout, but a very interesting one.
A potentially more explosive match up will see 26 year old Korean Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) take on heavy handed Japanese fighter Arashi Iimi (6-1, 6). Coming into this Lee's record doesn't look too interesting, but his short term for has seen him going 4-1 (4) and he hasn't seen the final bell in any of his last 5 bouts. Iimi, the runner up for the 2017 Japanese Rookie of the Year has never seen the final bell, and has scored two wins already this year. Given their recent shows we're expecting to see both men go for the KO and to go for it early!
One other bout of interest will see Korean based Mongolian Batzorig Batjargal (3-0, 2) take on Japan's Hironori Shigeta (5-1, 3). We've been impressed by Batjargal since his debut and he's looked really exciting so far, but this is a notable step up in class for him. Shigeta hasn't fought since December, but was crowned the Japanese Rookie of the Year last year at Welterweight, and he has a very good win over Rikuto Adachi. We can't help but think this could be the best bout on the card.