This coming Thursday attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall as we get a show with two title bouts, and several other interesting match ups.
One of those title bouts will see Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9) attempt to score his second victory over Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17), and make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. These two fought earlier this year, with Lagumbay upsetting the former world title challenger courtesy of a 2nd round KO. The bout not only saw an upset, but did so in a spectacular way, with a double knockdown that saw Lagumbay manage to beat the count whilst Obara was counted out. For Obara another loss will likely spell the end of his dreams to get a second world title fight, as for Lagumbay a loss wouldn't be the end, but a win would certainly enhance his options going forward.
A preview for the rematch between Lagumbay and Obara can be read here.
The other title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (15-5, 12) make his first defense, as he faces voluntary challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (12-8-1, 4). The champion impressed in his title winning performance earlier this year, when he stopped Takenori Ohashi but will now need to continue the momentum with his first defense. At his best Minamoto looks fantastic, and we're hoping the title boosts his performances going forward. For Otsubo this is a second shot at the Japanese title, following a 2015 loss to Satoshi Hosono. Since the loss to Hosono we've not really see Otsubo impress, despite going 4-1 (1) he has really been lucky in 3 of those wins, and could well have been 1-5 in his last 6 contests. Interestingly the winner of this will likely face Raiye Abe in early 2019.
On paper the best of the under-card fights will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (10-3-1, 6) take on upset minded Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-8, 5). The exciting Tamura gave Yusaku Kuga absolute hell last year, and proved to be one of the few fighters who could not only take Kuga's power but could also force the champion onto the back foot. Autida is 0-2 in Japan but has managed to be a nightmare for fighters like Ratchasak KKP and Petch Sor Chitpattana and could give Tamura some real questions.
Other bouts on this card will include Japanese ranked Middleweight Shuji Kato (8-1-1, 5) take on Naritsugu Nishihara (5-2-1, 1) and former Japanese title challenger Masaki Saito (14-13-6, 5) take on Takashi Sakamoto (7-10, 2). These should both see the more experienced men come out on top, but neither should be a mismatch.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.
For a second day running Asian fight fans have a world title fight to get excited about, as WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (14-0, 14) looks to kick off his 2018 with a homecoming defense in Okinawa. The destructive champion will be facing off with former WBO Minimumweight champion Moises Fuentes (25-4-1, 14). The aggressive and powerful Higa will be seeking his second defense, following an impressive win over Thomas Masson in October, and with 2018 being a potentially huge year for Higa there is few who would want to deny him a homecoming bout in Okinawa. For Fuentes, who looked terrible in his 2016 loss to Kosei Tanaka, this is likely to be one final shot at becoming a 2-weight champion. At his best Fuentes was a nightmare to fight, though his best days are well behind him and were down at Minimumweight, where he could use his size effectively. At Flyweight the Mexican is going to find life very difficult against the younger, stronger, bigger, fresher Higa.
In a leading support bout we get the chance to see another young puncher in action, as teenager Shawn Oda (6-0, 6) take on Filipino visitor Warren Mambuanag (11-8-2, 3). Oda came to our attention in 2016, when he claimed the All Japan Lightweight Rookie of the year, less than 7 months after his debut, and he has looked extremely promising and destructive. Despite the perfect start from Oda this is a step up and Mambuanag is no push over, having been the GAB Super Featherweight champion and a solid domestic level fighter on the Filipino scene.
Another teenager on this show will be former amateur stand out Ryuto Owan (3-0, 2), who goes in for a serious test as he battles big punching Filipino Jun Blazo (7-4-3, 6). Aged 19 Owan has a lot of potential, and his team really do have a lot of belief in him, putting him against someone as dangerous and heavy handed as Blazo, especially given that Blazo dropped Owan's stablemate Koki Eto back in 2016. Coming in to this Blazo has suffered back to back losses, but is a real dangerman for Owan and a monstrous step up in class.
There is also a small card in the Philippines this coming.
The main event will see Michael Escobia (12-16-1, 3) take on Jestoni Autida (10-7,5), in what should be a highly entertaining domestic level clash. Escobia is 2-13 in his last 15 bouts, but has mixed at a decent level and took a big upset win last September against Jelbirt Gomera. Interestingly Autida is also best known for his upsets, wins over Jeffrey Francisco and Ratchasaki Kokietgym, and he did manage to be competitive with Jason Canoy and Ernesto Saulong. Both of these men are better than their records suggest, and we expect that to be shown here in what is likely to be a very good fight.
Sadly the rest of the card is pretty forgettable and unlikely to be too exciting.
This coming Sunday is a relatively quiet day, despite a show in Japan and one in the Philippines.
In Japan the action comes from Hiroshima where we see two bouts of some note.
The more notable of those bouts sees two men fighting for the opportunity to challenge for the Japanese Light Flyweight title in 2018. The bout will see the talented Koki Ono (12-3, 5) take on Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) in what looks likely to be a really solid fight, despite the men having very differing records. Coming in to this Ono has won his last 5, though his best wins have been over the likes of Ryoya Ikema and Aiki Koto. On the other hand Itagaki has been suffered losses in 5 of his last 11, though he has been fighting at a much higher level and come up short against the likes of Rey Loreto and Kenichi Horikawa. This could be a very good bout between a rising contender, and a true grizzled veteran.
The other bout of note on this show will see the once touted Takumi Sakae (16-2-1,11) continue his career rebuild as he takes on domestic foe Kenta Yokoe (6-12-2, 2). Sakae was once 13-0 and tipped as one to watch, but a 3-2-1 run has left his career in a bit of a mess and he is desperately seeking to right the ship. A win here would push him in the right direction, though much more will need to be done for him to really resurrect his career and get on with earning a second title fight.
Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines the show is a small one, though the main event has the potential to be a really enticing contest as Jestoni Autida (9-7, 4) takes on Donny Mabao (22-32-3, 4). On paper that might not look even worthy of consideration but both are far better than their records indicate with Autida beating the likes of a then unbeaten Jeffrey Francisco, Xinghua Wang and Ratchasak Kokietgym and Mabao holding wins over Michael Enriquez, Mateo Handig and Florante Condes. We're not expecting a fight of the year contender, but a very competitive bout should be seen between two men seeking a win, and each believing they could get it here.
This coming Friday is an interesting day in Japan where we get several shows of note, with arguably the best of them taking place in Tokyo.
In the main event we'll see the unbeaten Daishi Nagata (8-0-1, 4) risking his 0 against the more experienced Vladimir Baez (21-3-2, 19), a Japanese based Dominican fighter. So far Nagata has impressed, and has been matched relatively tough, though this is a step up in class for him and he will almost certainly have to show more than he has so far into his career. As for Baez, also known as “Destino Japan”, the bout will see him seeking to return to winning ways following a stoppage loss to Teerachai Kratingdaenggym last July. A must win for Baez, and a potential career booster for Nagata.
In the chief support bout we'll see unbeaten youngster Izuki Tomioka (2-0) battle against Shun Shimazaki (8-8-1, 3) in a really good looking 8 rounder. Tomioka will be fighting over the 8 round distance for the first time and has impressed since his debut back in December, but this is a clear step up in class. Although no world beater Shimazaki is a solid fighter who was competitive with Takuya Watanabe just a few fights ago and should be a solid test here for the youngster.
Another notable supporting bout will see former OPBF title contender Dai Iwai (20-4-1, 7) battle against the upset minded Masaki Saito (13-11-6, 4). On paper this looks a mismatch but Saito, on his day, can be a banana skin and and holds a win over Seiichi Okads as well as draws with Yuichiro Kasuya and Tsuyoshi Tojo. Coming in to this Iwai has won his last 3 bouts, and will be favoured here, but it's not a given win for the Misako man.
As well as the show in Tokyo there will also be a notable card in Osaka, headlined by the biggest Japanese bout of the day.
That big bout will be the third meeting between Tetsuya Hisada (27-9-2, 17) and Kenichi Horikawa (32-14-1, 7), who battle for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight. Hisada was supposed to face Ken Shiro earlier in the year, but that bout was cancelled on late notice when Ken Shiro was set to fight for a world title, and ended up having this bout made on short notice instead. Coming in to this bout Horikawa is 2-0 against Hisada, and a former Japanese title holder, but is he is now 37 and well beyond his physical prime.
In an under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Yuki Takahashi (7-1, 3) battle against Sam Puadi (7-7, 5) in what looks likely to be a one-sided contest, and in another under-card bout we'll see Takeru Kamikubo (12-2, 8) battle against Masashi Odaira (6-7-2, 2). These bouts aren't the most interesting on paper but should allow fight fans to see two promising prospects in action.
There will also be an Asian show in the Philippines.
In arguably the most interesting bout of the show we'll see the under-rated pairing of Ernesto Saulong (19-2-1, 8) and Jestoni Autida (9-6, 4) face off in what looks like a mismatch but should be an interesting fight. On paper Saulong will be strongly favoured, he has lost just twice in his career and has got some good wins including a 2015 victory over Alie Laurel. Although Saulong has the better record Autida is no push over and has scored upsets before, and been competitive in many of his losses. This is a really intriguing match up.
In another notable bout on this card we'll see Benezer Alolod (17-8-5, 5) face off with Renz Rosia (12-5, 6) in a really well matched bout. Both of these men are good domestic level fighters, who can impress away from home, and should make for a fantastic match up against each other.
One other card will take place in China, with the most interesting looking bout being a contest between the unbeaten pairing of Venson Delopere (5-0-3, 2) and Alimu Wushouer (9-0, 7). Filipino fighter Delopere will be fighting outside of his homeland for the first time, but is being matched hard here against the very talented Wushouer.
Another unbeaten on this card will be Yongqiang Yang (6-0, 5) who risks his unbeaten record against Indonesian visitor Geisler AP (9-9, 6), who won't be expected to take the power of the Chinese hopeful
There isn't much action this coming Friday, with only a single notable show from the Philippines.
The main event of the card is the only title bout but also features real intrigue as the unbeaten, and highly touted, Jack Tepora (18-0, 13) takes on Indonesian foe Galih Susanto (12-6-1, 2) for the vacant WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. On paper this looks like an easy one for Tepora but Susanto has proven to be a tough guy and has been the distance with the likes of Marlon Tapales, Mike Tawatchai and Denkaosan Kaovichit.
An intriguing match up will see Kenny Demecillo (11-3-2, 7) face the upset minded Jestoni Autida (9-5, 4). Demecillo will be the favourite, and has mixed with good company facing the likes of Jetro Pabustan, Edward Mansito, Edrin Dapudong and Daryl Basadre, though did suffer a surprising stoppage loss in 2 rounds to Dondon Narvaez. Although the under-dog Autida has been a surprise package in fights in the past and holds wins over Jeffrey Francisco and Ratchasak Kokietgym, and almost Petch Sor Chitpattana back in 2015. Although this looks like mismatch it should vbe very competitive.
In an interesting under-card bout we'll see unbeaten puncher Christian Araneta (12-0, 10) face off with the upset minded Philip Luis Cuerdo (9-2-1, 4). Cuerdo is beatable, but has only been beaten by the pairing of Vic Saludar and Toto Landero. Whilst Araneta will be the favourite we suspect Cuerdo will ask some new questions of him here.
Also on the under-card is former amateur stand out Mark Anthony Barriga (2-0), who looks to extend his unbeaten run as he takes on domestic foe Rodel Kirk Pelenio (3-1-1, 2) in an 8 rounder. Barriga is tipped as a future star of Filipino boxing, but he will have to show more than he has so far, especially in terms of power, if he's going to reach the heights some have suggested he can reach. Pelenio will be the under-dog but will come in to this one on the back of a 4 fight unbeaten run.
In Australia on Wednesday fight fans will see a trio of Filipino fighters in action.
One of those Filipino's is the once beaten Jeffrey Francisco (14-1-1, 1) take on the heavy handed Jason Moloney (8-0, 8), a former amateur stand out. Francisco may not have a glitzy record but hs isn't a bad fighter and his only loss has come to the criminally under-rated Jestoni Autida, whilst his other mark was a draw on debut. Moloney is tipped to be a star but this could prove to be a good test.
Another Filipino on this show is Markquil Salvana (11-1, 5) who faces another of the Moloney brothers, Andrew Moloney (8-0, 4). The Filipino coming in to this one has lost once, a 5th round TKO defeat to Andrew's brother Jason last year. Salvana will be hoping to avoid a second loss to a Moloney, but Andrew is a very talented fighter much like his brother.
Although both Salvana and Francisco will be the under-dogs in their bouts one Filipino will be favoured going in to his. That's Czar Amonsot (31-3-3, 19) who takes on big punching Dominican Julio De Jesus (24-1, 23). Although De Jesus has an impressive record he was stopped by the only notable name that he's fought, Victor Manuel Cayo. De Jesus will be dangerous but we suspect Amonsot's experience at a higher level will be the difference here.
Whilst we all know that New Year's Eve is a date to always mark down on your boxing calendar for the action from Japan we have also got a special show on December 29th as Ohashi follow up their very successful FES 2014 with FES 2015, another festival of boxing with big names and the backing of Fuji TV.
The main event of the card sees the return of the hugely popular Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7) who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title for the first time since he won it last December. Inoue, who really impressed a year ago when he blitzed Omar Andres Narvaez, has been out of the ring with a hand injury, suffered in that bout, and gets thrown straight into the deep end once again as he faces big punching Filipino fighter Warlito Parrenas (24-6-1, 21). The bout has got attention due to it beign Inoue's return however Parrenas is a serious threat and despite having 6 losses, 4 by stoppage, he has really impressed in recent bouts, including a controversial draw in Mexico with David Carmona. The pressure is on Inoue to impress, though Parrenas will know that this is a huge opportunity to make a name for himself and become a fixture on the world scene.
The Inoue Vs Parrenas bout is one of two world title bouts with the other being a really exciting looking Light Flyweight bout between former 2-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (22-5, 12) goes up against IBF champion Javier Mendoza (24-2-1, 19). For Mendoza this will be his second defense, following a controversial technical decision win against Milan Melindo earlier this year and this is a great chance for him to make a name for himself. Sadly for the Mexican he is going up against one of the most popular Japanese fighters in Yaegashi, who will have the whole venue behind him. Yaegashi is looking to become the third Japanese man to become a 3-weight world champion and will know that this is a must win if his career is going to continue at the world level.
The two world title fights are joined by both an OPBF and a Japanese title fight. The OPBF title fight sees Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (5-0, 1) defending the OPBF Super Flyweight title against under-rated Filipino Rene Dacquel (15-5-1, 5). This is Takuma's first defense of the title, that he won back in July when he out pointed Mark Anthony Geraldo, and is another tough match up for the talented youngster. The speed Inoue will be up against a man who is in good form having recently beaten both Melvin Gumban and Thembelani Nxoshe. This is a really good match up, but one that will get over-looked given the two main events.
The Japanese title fight is a genuinely thrilling match up as Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (29-2-1, 20) takes on former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-4-2, 13) in as good of a domestic title bout as you could make. Hosono is hoping to secure a 4th world title fight in 2016 though will need to impress against Shimoda, whilst also recording his 5th defense of the title that he won in April 2014. For Shimoda, who is best known for suffering KO of the Year type losses to Rico Ramos and Marvin Sonsona, will know that a win here could help him get a title fight, though will be aware that another eye catching KO loss will be the end of his career.
On the under-card, in non title bouts, we have two notable fighters. The highest profile of those is former OPBF champion, and current world ranked contender, Ryo Matsumoto (16-0, 14) who faces under-rated Filipino Jestoni Autida (9-3, 4). On paper this looks like a stay busy bout for Matsumoto, who is likely eyeing a world title fight in 2016, however Autida cannot be over-looked and in 2015 he has already upset Ratchasak KKP and pushed Petch Sor Chitpattana very close, with both of those bouts taking place in Thailand. This is a genuine test for Matsumoto.
The other notable fighter is the debuting Koki Inoue (0-0), the cousin of Naoya and Takuma. Koki, a former amateur stand out himself, will be up against Indonesian fighter Arif Maud (1-2, 1) in a 6 rounder. The promising Inoue is a 23 year old southpaw who will be looking to make a name for himself at 140lbs and could potentially be a third member of the Inoue family to become a star.