This coming Monday is a really great day for fight fans wanting to watch some Japanese action with two free shows being made available through the promoters YouTube channel.
Amagasaki Cultural Center, Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan
The more notable the shows will be streamed on the Boxing Real YouTube channel, and it's a pretty interesting show overall, even if it lacks major names.
The main event will see once touted prospect Rikito Shiba (4-1, 2) return to the ring for the first time since being stopped in a Japanese Light Flyweight title fight by Masamichi Yabuki, back in December 2019. The talented 25 year old will be dipping his toes at Flyweight as he takes on the experienced Hideyuki Watanabe (8-13-3, 6). On paper this is a clear mismatch, but given Shiba's confidence destroying loss to Yabuki, the 18 month lay off and the move up in weight it might not be the foregone conclusion that it looks. Watanabe, although no world beater, is a 36 year old veteran who has ran some solid domestic fighters very close in a number of his losses, including Takuya Kogawa, Naoki Mochizuki, Ryuto Oho and Yusuke Sakashita, giving him one of the most misleading records in the sport. Watanabe is expected to lose, but we expect him to give Chiba a genuine test.
The brilliantly named Condor Inaba (7-5-1, 3) looks to make a successful return to the ring himself, following a lengthy lay off, as he takes on light punching Yuga Inoue (10-2-1, 1). Inaba hasn't fought since October 2019, and although not a star in the making the 26 year old will be desperate to pick up his next win and get back on track. In the opposite corner is Inoue, no relation to Naoya and Takuma, who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017 but came undone against Kai Ishizawa and has moved through the weights ever since. Inoue is the more talented fighter, but we do worry for him here as he will be giving away quite a bit of size to Inaba.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will see Hibiki Jogo (10-3, 5) take on Wataru Ikegami (8-5-1, 5). It's fair to say that international fans will not be too aware of these two men, but both are fan friendly fighters, who are happy to let their shots go, and their styles should gel really well. Jogo is a 27 year old who was last seen losing in a competitive bout to Tatsuya Takahashi and although not the biggest or strongest fighter he does have the desire to be involved in exciting contests. Ikegami on the other hand is one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport, with an eye pleasing aggressive style. He seemed to find his groove last time out, against Shion Tamada, and he'll want to build on that performance, which was genuinely very impressive. This one really could be a show stealer.
One other bout worthy of some attention will see Hyogo Kimura (6-2-1, 1), who lost in the All Japan final of the Rookie of the Year back in February, taking on the debuting Goki Kobayashi (0-0). Kimura was unfortunate in the Rookie of the Year, and his bout with Ryota Karimata was one of the best bouts on the show. He proved himself to be tough, skilled, and at 20 years old incredibly promising. Kobayashi on the other hand is a 22 year old debutant who fought more than 30 bouts as an amateur and picked up more than 20 wins. Hard to know much about how good Kobayashi is, but in all honest we're glad to see more of Kimura.
Arena Tachikawa Tachihi , Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
The other Japanese show will come from Tachikawa, and is also expected to be live streamed on the promoters YouTube channel. This is a much smaller show, but is a good example of a Japanese style "small hall" show. None of the bouts are high profile, or feature anyone with exceptionally high ceilings, but the contests should be well matched competitive bouts.
The main event will be a rematch between Shinnosuke Saito (8-3, 2) and Hokuto Matsumoto (6-4, 1), who battled late last year in a very competitive 8 rounder. Last time around Saito took a razor thin split decision and we expect a super close bout again here. Coming in to this Saito is riding a 5 fight winning run and certainly has some momentum on his side, whilst Matsumoto is struggling for form with just a single win in his last 4, however given how competitive their first bout Matsumoto will come into this believing he can pick up the win.
In the chief support bout the light punching Yoshiki Yamashita (7-3) will be up against the JBC ranked Hizuki Saso (12-7-2, 4). Coming in to this Yamashita does have some momentum, having won 3 of his last 4, and the 23 year old will know that a win here would put him on the domestic map and help him secure a JBC ranking. As for Saso this will be his first fight since being stopped by Masataka Taniguchi, in what was a Japanese title fight last year. Whilst this is not a huge bout, we do expect it to be a very competitive one.
Another former Japanese title challenger on this show is Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-3, 9), who is in dire need of a win having gone 1-3-1 in his last 5. Whilst Ikeda is a former Japanese title challenger he will probably be the under-dog here, as he takes on the heavy handed Hayato Ono (8-4, 8). Kato is a stop or be stopped fighter, and he will be looking to bomb out Ikeda and get his own career back on track. We are not expecting high level boxing here and we're also not expecting the judges to be needed.
One final bout worthy of note for those tuning in is a match up between Dominique Kenshin (5-2, 2) and Shogo Sakai (7-6-3, 5). Kenshin reached the East Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, and whilst not a great fighter the 20 year old has got ambitions to compete at the domestic title scene. He is a crude heavy handed, and chinny fighter so his fights are always worth tuning in to. Sakai is also heavy handed, but hasn't been seen in the ring since 2017, and now aged 32 he can ill afford any more set backs with his career.
The One Boxing Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
As well as the action in Japan we're also set to get a small show in South Korea. The main event here will see Kook Min Moon (7-1-1, 5) battle against Tae Sun Kim (5-1-1, 2) for the KBM Super Featherweight title. For both men this is a huge opportunity to win their first title, though it feels like it's a bigger chance for the 21 year old Moon who is more active than Kim and appears to be the man with more ambition in the sport. Saying that however a win for Kim would see him being given a massive boost and potentially begin his move towards bigger and better international fights.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Our focus this Tuesday will be on Japan with Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header. Originally the show was planned to be a triple header, though one of those bouts was sadly cancelled back in November, though thankfully it was the least notable of the originally planned title bouts.
The first of the two title bouts will see female veteran Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) and Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6) clash for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title, in a very interesting match up. These two faced off this past January in a 10 round draw, and will be looking to end their rivalry here as we head towards the end of the year. Of thee two we feel Miyao is the quicker, sharper and fresher, but at 37 and with a style that relies on her movement she could age very quickly. At 39 Tada is showing signs of clear slowdown, but she is the naturally bigger, stronger and more powerful fighter. Given their competitive first bout it's hard not to intrigued by this one, and we suspect the loser may well call time on their long, and successful career. We've previewed this title bout here Miyao and Tada battle again for WBO world title!
The other title fight will see Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) and Hizuki Saso (12-6-2, 4) battle for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. Of the two men it's fair to say that Taniguchi is the much more established fighter, being a former WBO Asia Pacific champion and world title challenger, though it's also fair to say the pressure is on him here. Taniguchi is the big favourite, and the man with a point to prove, however he has come up short in the past and another loss here could be hard to rebuild from for the Watanabe gym fighter. Saso on the other hand hasn't really impressed in his 22 fight career and will need a career best performance to even be competitive. However with no pressure on his shoulders Saso could surprise us all with a relaxed, comfortable performance in what is likely to be one of his very, very few bouts at title level. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Taniguchi and Saso battle for vacant Japanese title
Fortitude Music Hall, Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia
Outside of Japan we will also see Indian born Australian based fighter Tej Pratap Singh (16-4-3-1, 8) look to score his first win of the year, and notch a notable upset, as he takes on the very promising Issac Hardman (7-0, 6). The 34 year old Singh hasn't lost since a close decision loss in 2017 but has been matched somewhat softly in recent bouts, barring a controversial 2018 bout with Sam Soliman. Harman on the other hand looked very impressive earlier this year, stopping Jamie Weetch, and he will be looking to impress again here. Hardman is the "novice" here he looks like a genuine prospect and we suspect he'll be too good, too young and too strong for Singh.
This coming Sunday is one of the busiest days we've seen this year for boxing in Asia, with numerous cards taking place, at varying levels.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
The best of the shows will come from Osaka, thanks to Green Tsuda who put on a Japanese Youth title bout and a contest featuring a former national champion.
The main event of this show will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-6, 16) take on Takuya Fujii (7-5, 3) in an 8 rounder. On paper this looks like an easy win for Yada, but he's coming into this bout following 2 stoppage losses in his last 3 bouts, including a loss last December in a sensational bout against Yuki Beppu. Fuji is no world beater but he could be the right person at the right time here.
Although it's not the main event the more interesting bout on this card will see JBA Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (11-1-2, 7) defending his belt against unbeaten challenger Hiroki Hanabusa (8-0-3, 3). The hope was to get this bout sorted earlier in the year but due to what's been going on in the world it was delayed. Despite the delay we're really looking looking forward to this one and expect a very, very good, hotly contested bout, though one where the champion probably has the slight edge. Our in depth previous of this bout can be read here Shimomachi takes on Hanabusa in Youth title defense!
Another bout on this card worthy of note is a contest between Jinki Maeda (4-0, 2) and Arashi Iimi (7-2, 7). The unbeaten Maeda won the Rookie of the Year last year, when he defeated Kyonosuke Kameda in the final, and he will be looking to build on that success here. Interestingly the hard hitting Iimi lost in a Rookie of the Year final back in 2017 against the previously mentioned Toshiki Shimomachi. On paper this should bhe a very, very good test for Maeda, and see what his chin is like.
This show was also supposed to feature a contest between former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) and once beaten prospect Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2). Sadly however this bout was cancelled when the "Osakan gym cluster" was discovered, leading some suspicion to it being an issue at the Mutoh Gym, where Kuwabata trains. This meant that for health and safety a number of bouts involving fighters from a number of Osaka gyms were cancelled, including this bout.
Arena Tachikawa Tachihi , Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
In Tokyo we get another small card, featuring a total of 6 bouts, two of which involve a Japanese ranked fighter.
The main event of the show will see Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific ranked Minimumweight Hizuki Saso (12-6-1, 4) take on Yuni Takada (8-5-1, 3). Coming in to this Saso has won 6 of his last 7 and built a bit of moment, despite a loss last year to Rikito Shiba. On the other hand Takada has lost 3 of his last 5 and is struggling for any traction in his career, with another loss expected here.
The other ranked fighter on this show is Japanese ranked Lightweight Shinnosuke Saito (6-3, 2), who takes on Yuji Hashimoto (6-4, 4). Coming in to this Saito has the momentum, having won Rookie of the Year in 2019, but this is a step up for him and his first 6 rounder. On paper Hashimoto likely doesn't look much of a threat, but he has actually gone 6-1 in his last 7, albeit against very low level competition. Both men will be coming into this one hungry, and it could end up being a surprisingly good bout.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The third Japanese card comes from Kariya and is a 6 bout Central Japan Rookie of the Year show.
From the 6 bouts on this card the one that has us most interested is a bout between unbeaten youngsters Rikiya Nakamura (2-0, 2) and Aito Takabatake (3-0), who clash in a bout at 140lbs. Strangely it appears boxrec have got Takabatake listed with a loss, though we have confirmed that he did actually win his September 2018 bout against Hitoka Kitagawa. This should be a genuine highlight for the show and hopefully both men do go on to have promising careers in the years to come.
Daesan Gymnasium, Daegu, South Korea
As well as the Japanese action we're also set to get some action from Korea thanks to a KBA show in Daegu. The card is certainly nothing special and it's a very low profile effort.
Although it's a very poor card the main event of the show does have some significance, as Hyeon Oh Lee (3-4-1) and Chul Hyun Lim (5-16-2, 3) battle for a KBA ranking at Super Bantamweight. Neither man is expected to go far in the sport, Lee is a 27 year old who has won just 1 of his last 5 whilst Lim is a 39 year old who's last win came in 2010. If we're being this is a very weak main event for a very weak card. The sort of thing we expect when we think of the KBA, sadly.
Japanese fans will be focused on the Korakuen Hall this coming Friday for a small, yet interesting, card. The main event here will feature a former Japanese champion whilst supporting bouts will include 2 JBC ranked fighters in 8 round action.
The main event of this card will see former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11) take on Kosuke Arioka (9-4-1, 8), in what will be Hosokawa's first bout since losing the Japanese title to Koki Inoue. The 38 year old Hosokawa is still in the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific rankings and will know that a win here could open up another title fight in 2020. As for Arioka he'll be looking to bounce back from an August KO loss to Masahiro Suzuki, and a win here would be massive for his career.
In the main supporting bout Japanese ranked fighter Desierto Nagaike (11-5-2, 2) will take on JBC ranked Minimumweight Hizuki Saso (11-6-1, 4), in what will be the second bout between these two men. These two fought back in October 2018, with Saso taking a split decision over Nagaike, but since then he Saso has gone 1-1 and was stopped in 2 rounds by Rikito Shiba. Sadly for Nagaike he has lost his only bout since the first clash with Saso and is 1-3-1 in his last 5.
The other JBC ranked fighter on this show is Yuki Kumazoe (13-6, 4), who faces off with Thai visitor Weerapon Kingsantea (5-6, 2). The local is ranked #20 by the JBC, so he's out of the title mix, and is 3-6 in his last 9. Despite the poor form he is capable of scoring upsets and is better than his recent form suggests. On the other hand the Thai has been stopped in 3 previous visits to Japan, including a 2013 clash with Hozumi Hasegawa, and will not be fancied here.
As well as the action in Tokyo we'll also get a card in Haikou, China, with a couple of bouts of international note, as locals take on Filipino foes.
The most interesting of the bouts on this card will see unbeaten Chinese Super Flyweight ZongLi He (6-0, 1) take the criminally under-rated Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-5, 5) from the Philippines. He has the unbeaten record and a run of of notable victories over foreigners, but this is a big step up and Dagayloan is no easy out for anyone. We wouldn't be surprised at all if He has bit off more than he can chew here.
A second bout will see Chinese puncher Abulimiti Tuersunniyazi (8-3-1, 6) seek his 5th straight win as he takes on Filipino Rodel Wenceslao (14-18-2, 6). Whilst Tuersunniyazi is no world beater he is in the best form of his career, and is unbeaten since May 2018. The 26 year old Wencelsao is a very hit and miss fighter, when he's on point he can spring upsets, but has lost 2 of his last 3 and we wonder what ambition he has for this bout. If Wencelsao is hungry he could end up picking up another surprise win here, though it's a big "if."
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
MTK go to Dubai a pretty notable card featuring a host of Asian fighters, from all over the continent.
The biggest Asian name on this show is Indian Super Middleweight Vijender Singh (11-0, 8), who looks to score his second win of the year. The 34 year old Singh will be up against veteran Charles Adamu (33-14, 26). Singh had long been tipped for big things, and there is a chance he will get a world title fight before his career is over, but he's unlikely to reach the heights expected of him. The 42 year old Adamu on the other hand is a genuine tough guy from Ghana, who has been stopped twice in his 47 bouts, and both of those stoppages have come to men who have held world titles. Expect this to be a long night at the office for Singh.
Singh isn't the only fighter from the sub-continent to be in action, with Pakistani Flyweight Muhammad Waseem (9-1, 7) also in action. The once beaten Waseem will be taking on former world champion Ganigan Lopez (36-10, 19), who has looked very much like a shot fighter since being stopped by Kenshiro in May 2018. We're expecting an early win here for the very talented Waseem.
Another notable Asian fighter on this card will be OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (11-1-1, 8), who fights in a non-title 8 round bout against Indonesian journeyman Jack Amisa (21-46-2, 14). Given the level that Raquinel has been fighting at recently this seems like a really disappointing match up, and takes away from an opportunity to really build on his recent KO win against Takuya Kogawa. A really odd bout of match making, the previously rumoured match between Raquinel and Waseem would have been far more meaningful for both men
Dubai based Afghan Hasibullah Ahmadi (7-0, 1) will look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on Thai foe Detnarong Omkrathok (3-10, 1) in a 6 rounder. This will be Ahmadi's 5th bout of the year and the 19 year old has been active since making his debut last December. Notably Detnarong will be fighting for the first time since being stopped in August by former world title contender Denver Cuello.
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo get the chance to see a pretty significant Diamond Glove card, with a Japanese fight, a notable fighter in a supporting bout and two Japanese Youth title eliminators.
The main event will see unbeaten Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) look for his fourth defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-3, 3). Yoshino has looked fantastic since winning the title in 2017, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita, and has stopped his last 3 challengers. Sumiyoshi on the other hand is getting his second shot at gold, after having challenged for he OPBF title way back in 2015. Since losing to Masayoshi Nakatani Sumiyoshi has gone 7-0-2 and put his career back on track with a solid unbeaten run, this is however a huge step up from those last 9 bouts. A full preview of this bout can be read here Yoshino defends against mandatory Sumiyoshi!
In a supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) looks to bounce back from an October loss to Rikki Naito, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Tsukada (9-7, 3). Nagata is a fun guy to watch, and whilst he's no world beater he is likely to find himself in another title fight sooner rather than later. Tsukada on the other hand has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 and we wouldn't be surprised with him being stopped again here.
The really exciting part of the under-card are the two Japanese Youth title eliminators. The more exciting of the two comes at Light Flyweight, where Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) will take on the unbeaten Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) in what could be a really amazing fight, and a proper test for the unbeaten Shiba. The other eliminator will see the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (7-1, 7) take on Kenta Nomura (5-2, 2) in a Super Bantamweight eliminator.
The eliminators here will see the winner of the Super Bantamweight bout take on Toshiki Shimomachi later in the year for the vacant title, whilst the Light Flyweight winner will take on either Tsuyoshi Sato or Tetsuya Tomioka, who will have fought on April 6th after this was written.