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.