This coming Sunday is set to be a rather interesting, but low key, day for Asian boxing with two small shows in Japan, one in Hyogo and one in Mie.
Art Center, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The Hyogo show is the much more notable of the two but is, sadly, a pretty weak show overall.
The main event here will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-3-1, 2) take on Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Shunji Nagata (12-18-2, 4), who will be risking his #20 JBC ranking. The 29 year old Tokuyama is best known for reaching the final of the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, losing to Fumiya Fuse in the final. Since then he has gone 4-2, and hasn't really looked particularly impressive since his Rookie of the Year campaign. Nagata on the other hand is a 36 year old veteran who's record is under-whelming but he is much better than the numbers suggest and he can cause upsets. Whilst neither of these two are going to reach the top of the sport, they should make for a very competitive and well matched bout.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Noboru Osato (12-8-4, 3), who is risking his JBC and WBO Asia Pacific rankings against Retsu Kosaka (10-5, 4). Osato is a "win some, lose some" fighter who manages to lose bouts he's expected to win, and then upset fighters that are regarded as better than he is, such as in 2019 when he defeated Ryo Suwa. He's a bit unpredictable, but when he's on song he is a legitimate banana skin. As for Kosaka he now needs a win after going 3-5 in his last 8, after starting his career 7-0. Interestingly Kosaka has got a very notable win, stopping Ryo Sagawa in 2017, but has gone 2-3 since then and it seemed to be more a case of Sagawa being inexperience than Kosaka being the better fighter.
The under-rated Hiroyuki Takahara (8-3, 6) will feature in an 6 round bout as he takes on Tamaki Miwa (6-6-1, 1), and looked to keep his winning run going. Takahara has won his last 4, including a massive win in August 2020 against Tom Mizokoshi, and will not be wanting that run to end here. Especially not as he's heading towards a Japanese ranking, and a potential title fight. Miwa on the other hand will be there to give a legitimate effort, but has lost his last 2 and lacks the power suspect he'd need to get Takahara's respect.
One other bout of note will see the limited Takuya Fujioka (9-10-1, 1) battle against Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Shingo Kawamura (16-6-4, 8). The light punching Fujioka was last seen losing a competitive decision in 2019 to Juiki Tatsuyoshi and although no world beater he has shown himself to be a legit competitor who comes to win and put in a fair and honest effort every time. Kawamura on the other hand has really struggled since losing in an OPBF title fight to Satoshi Shimizu in 2018. Since that loss he has gone 0-2-3 and he desperately needs a win. Kawamura should be favoured, but it's hard to know just how badly damaged his confidence is having failed to win any of his last 6.
Messe Mie, Tsu, Mie, Japan
The show in Mie features a total of 6 bouts, with 5 of those being 4 rounders and one being an 8 rounder.
The most notable of the 4 rounders will see Ryumei Nakamura (3-1-1, 1) take on the amazingly named Turtle Nishida (6-10-2, 1). Nakamura is a 20 year old hopeful who sadly hasn't fought since late 2019 and hopefully his activity does pick up when Japan manages to get back on top of the Covid19 situation. He looked promising early in his career, but there is certainly a lot of work left for him to do. As for Nishida he's looking to bounce back from successive stoppage losses, but really is a very limited 33 year old who shouldn't pose too much of a test to Nakamura.
The main event of this show will be an a very good looking 8 rounder between Shuma Sugawara (6-2, 4) and Arashi Iimi (7-3, 7). For Sugawara this will be his first bout in over 2 years, following a 2019 loss to Roli Gasca, and despite his lay off the 25 year old was once highly regarded as a prospect and fingers crossed we can see him show some of that potential here. Iimi on the other hand impressed in 2017, losing in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but has struggled since then and is 3-2 since then. Iimi is a big puncher, and is dangerous, but is also vulnerable and desperately needs a big performance after losing his last two inside the distance.
For those wanting to watch this card live, it will be streamed live on Youtube thanks to sakana 1976 who continues to be a massive asset for Japanese boxing and one of the biggest helps for fans wanting see what Japanese boxing in regions like Aichi and Mie is like.
Tokiwa Arena, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Action returns to Hyogo this coming Friday for a show promoted by Senrima Kobe. It's not a big card, by any stretch, but there are 4 bouts worthy of note from a show with 7 scheduled contests.
The first of the interesting bouts worthy of note will see Hiroyuki Takahara (7-3, 5) take on the once beaten Tom Mizokoshi (7-1-1, 4) in a 6 round Featherweight bout. The 28 year old Takahara is a win some, lose some type of fighter, who has reeled off 3 straight wins after back to back losses in 2017. It should be noted he's not fought since April 2019. On the other hand Mizokoshi is a highly regarded 21 year old who had won his last 5, including a win in South Korea against Ha Nok Shim last year. Interestingly Mizokoshi fought 4 times in 2019 and it'll be interesting to see what a lay off, since December, will do for him. This may only be a 6 rounder but it should serve as a good test to see what improvements and development Mizokoshi is making.
The first of three Japanese ranked fighters on this show is Japanese ranked Featherweight Chiharu Takasuka (7-6-1, 4), who takes on Yuna Hara (8-2-1, 4) in an 8 rounder. Despite being ranked Takasuka is certainly nothing incredible and he has lost 4 of his last 6. Hara on the other hand has won 4 of his last 5, and his only loss in that stretch was in the West Japan Rookie of the Year in November 2018. The momentum is all behind Hara who will be looking to gate crash the Japanese rankings here.
Another ranked fighter on this show is the once beaten Light Flyweight hopeful Yuga Inoue (9-1-1, 1), who enters ranked #8 by the JBC. Inoue will be in against Tetsuya Mimura (8-2, 1) in an 8 round Flyweight bout that really does look brilliant. Although very light punching the 21 year old Inoue is a real talent, and he won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight, before losing in a Japanese Youth title fight to Kai Ishizawa. Since that loss he has been trying to make a point and been facing solid domestic opponents. Mimura is a touch older, turning 24 just days before the fight, and is himself a former Rookie of the Year runner up, losing in the 2018 final. Despite that loss he has bounced back well, and was unlucky in his second loss, losing a razor thin majority decision to Riku Kano in Sanda last November. Expect this one to be high level boxing between two very skilled young boxers.
The final ranked fighter is Ryosuke Nasu (11-5-3, 2), who takes on Hiroki Tokuyama (9-2-1, 2) in the main event. The 24 year old Nasu has lost 3 of his last 6, but has been mixing in good company and wins over Tatsuya Terada and Toma Kondo in his last 3 bouts. He's not looking likely to get a Japanese title fight any time soon, but we suspect he will get one before his career is over. Although not ranked himself Tokuyama is banging on the door of a ranking having won 4 of his last 5. His most notable result was a loss to Fumiya Fuse in the 2017 Rookie of the Year final, and he bounced back with 4 straight wins, before a razor thin loss last December against Chikato Sumida. We expect this one will be close and competitive and it's a hard to pick a winner in.
Again this isn't a big card, but is a very competitive looking one, and we can't complain about getting several 50/50 type bouts on a single show!