This coming Thursday we'll see the next show from Misako, and although it's not a big show, it's an interesting one, with two ranked fighters, a several fights which could be exciting and explosive.
The first notable bout will be fought at a contracted 61KG's, around 156.5lbs, and will see Kentaro Miyamoto (4-2, 2) take on Eiki Kani (4-1-2, 1) in an interesting contest between two men at very different points in their careers. In one corner is a 35 year old southpaw, Miyamoto, who began his career back in 2009, and took a 10 year sabbatical, from 2011 to 2021, before starting something of a comeback late last year. The 20 year old Kani on the other hand debuted in 2019 and reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, losing to Katsuhiro Nakata in February. In his performances so far Kani has looked exciting, promising and fun to watch. As with most Japanese fights around the Middleweight division this should be low level, but fun, exciting and a bit of a brawl, and we suspect the youth of Kani will be the difference maker.
Talking about potential brawls, we could end up with an explosive one as the hard hitting Hayato Ono (8-4-1, 8) takes on JBC ranked Lightweight Kei Iwahara (10-7, 5). The heavy handed Ono has failed to win any of his last 3, though is hard hitting and will feel he has the power to take out the naturally smaller Iwahara. As for Iwahara he has lost his last two, and will know that if he comes up short here he will likely lose his Japanese ranking. Notably Iwahara has shown questionable durability and that could be a major issue here, though he is the more talented fighter.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Hokuto Matsumoto (7-4-1, 1), who takes on Shun Akaiwa (6-3-1, 4) in the main event of the card, at 140lbs. Matsumoto has struggled in recent fights, gong 2-3-1 in his last 6, but has shown his ability with a good win over Shinnosuke Saito last year and a good draw with Ryuji Ikeda, also last year. Sadly for him he lacks power and will find it hard against the top domestic fighters at 140lbs. As for Akaiwa he is upset minded, as we saw in 2020 against Kenta Endo, but he hasn't looked great in recent bouts and has lost 2 of his last 3. This one is is an interesting one, that could go either way, and is rightfully the main event of a decent lower level domestic card.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action is back at Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a small card from Ichiriki Promotions. Sadly the card has lost it's main event, which we'll mention in the moment, but it still has some relatively well matched domestic level bouts on it.
The planned main event was a bout at 140lbs between Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24) and former world title contender Akihiro Kondo (32-10-2, 18), in what had the potential to be an 8 round action bout. Baez's aggression and power against Kondo's toughness and desire could have made for a very nice bout, but Baez was forced to pull out of the bout well in advance of the show.
As a result of Baez pulling out the 8 rounder between Tatsuya Yanagi (17-7-2, 7) and Tsuyoshi Ozawa (15-4-1, 2) has become the new main event, and although not an amazing match up, it should be a very interesting one. The 32 year old Yanagi comes in to the bout with JBC and OPBF rankings but was stopped last time out and is 2-2-1 in his last 5 bouts, dating back more than 3 years. Ozawa, now aged 36, took a long break from the ring between 2012 and 2021, but did look solid in his return bout in July and will know that this is a huge opportunity for him to move towards a title fight. At his best Ozawa was a nightmare, and he'll know he could pick up a ranking here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Kosuke Ando (9-3, 4), who will be risking his WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight ranking as he takes on Yuta Nakayama (8-4-1, 5). The 29 year old Ando is coming in on the back of a solid win over Shuri Hasebe and will know that he's only a couple of wins away from a potential title fight. As for Nakayama he'll be fighting for the first time since losing in a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, against Ryota Yamauchi. Interestingly Nakayama has been stopped in 3 of his last 5, and hasn't heard the final bell in his last 6 bouts.
A third fight of note on this show will see JBC ranked 140lb fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (7-4, 1) take on former Japanese title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-4, 9). Coming in to the bout Matsumoto is ranked #6 by the JBC and will feel he's within touching distance of a Japanese title shot, helped by his recent win over Shinnosuke Saito. Ikeda on the other hand is without a win in his last 4 bouts, and was stopped in two of those, by Koki Inoue and Aso Ishiwaki. Ikeda seems to be on the way out, but a win here could revive his career.
The main focus this coming Tuesday is on the Korakuen Hall the much anticipated Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament quarter-finals. The card features the 3 quarter-final bouts and we are expecting serious fireworks in some of these.
The standout bout among the quarter finals will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6). The talented Takeshima will be looking to build on solid wins already this year over Jian Wang and Jon Jon Estrada, but this will be his first bout against a fellow Japanese fighter. Watanabe on the other hand is unbeaten in his last 4, including a KO win last time out against Dai Iwai, and is unbeaten since a 2018 loss to Reiya Abe. This is by far and away the most interesting of the 3 quarters and should be a very hard one to call.
In a bout with an international flavour we'll see China's Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) take on the out of form Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4). Although this is Ma's international debut he does appear to have all the momentum coming into this and is unbeaten in 7 bouts, including a win last time out for a minor, regional, WBO belt. The 30 year old Kusano has lost his last 4 bouts, and is win-less since a February 2016 victory over Apisak Puttawong, who has gone 0-6 since losing to Kusano.
Whilst we would be shocked by a Kusano win over Ma that's not the quarter final we see as the biggest mismatch. Instead that mismatch is the quarter-final pitting the huge punching Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) against Korean Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5). Coming in Tameda should be regarded as one of the clear favourites for the tournament and he's looking for his 4th win of the year, and his 9th win in 10 bouts. Lee, a former Korean Featherweight champion, has a punchers chance, but he's been out of the ring since March 2018 due to injuries and should be regarded as a very, very clear under-dog. If Lee comes out swinging this could be very fun, but we see Tameda's power and experience being too much for the visitor.
Also on this card is the highly touted Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2), who looks to continue his ascent to big fights as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (5-2, 1). this will be Suzuki's second bout against a Japanese foe, as he looks to build on August's win over Kosuke Arioka, and net his third victory of the year. We regard Suzuki very highly, but this isn't a gimme. The light punching Matsumoto was stopped last time out, by Kenta Endo, but is a tough and talented fighter and he will be looking for an upset win here.