To end 2019 we get a bumper card from Watanabe Gym who give us 6 titles on a single show in Tokyo. For those at the venue this is set to be a monster show, one of the best of the year, whilst those at home will only be able to see 2, or 3, of the bouts from the show.
The show at the venue is set to open with one of the best opening bouts on a show this year, as fast rising prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) defends his WBO Asia Pacific title against former world title challenger Rey Loreto (25-14, 17). Fans who aren't aware of Loreto might see this as a mismatch but the Filipino, who started his career 0-4, is a legitimate danger man and this is a very legitimate test for Shigeoka. A win for the 20 year old local is expected to be followed by a world title fight next year, but again a win here is not a given against the tough and heavy handed Loreto. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Rising star Shigeoka defends regional crown against former world title challenger!
Another regional title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 13) take on Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal (16-8-6, 9), in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Kuga has had a great year, reclaiming the Japanese title with a win against Ryoichi Tamura and then defending it with a blow out against Yosuke Fujihara. He will be the favourite. However Ramonal is unbeaten since mounting a comeback in 2018, and was last seen blasting out Shingo Wake in October, and he will be full of confidence coming in to this bout. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kuga and Ramonal clash for WBO Asia Pacific crown!
The first of three world title bouts, and one that is available to a Japanese only audience through Paravi, will see Miyo Yoshida (13-1) defending her WBO female Super Flyweight title against Chinese challenger Li Ping Shi (5-2, 2). This will be Yoshida's first defense of the title she won earlier this year, when she beat Casey Morton, and she, and her team sound confident that she has really come on and developed since winning the title. For Shi this is a huge step up in class, but she comes in with self belief and confidence. We go into a lot more detail of this bout here Yoshida defends WBO crown against Shi!
The second world title fight on this card will see fast rising Japanese star Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) defending his WBO Flyweight title, for the third time, as he takes on Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6). The talented Tanaka looked poor last time out, needing to pull victory from the jaws of defeat against Jonathan Gonzalez, but put that down to being sick in the build up. We expect to see a better performance here, but Wulan is no pusher over and comes into this bout full of confidence, in what looks like a potential banana skin of a defense. This bout has been previewed in a lot of depth here Tanaka takes on Wulan in year ending WBO Flyweight title bout!
The main event of the card will see Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) defending his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-0, 5), in what will be the final world title bout of the decade. Ioka won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Aston Palicte, and will be looking to go into the new decade as one of the top faces of the lower weight classes. Cintron on the other hand is looking to claim a world title in his first world title fight, and build on a very successful amateur career. This is a actually a really good way to close out the year, and the winner will enter 2020 as a man with potentially huge fights out there for the new year, including a show down with Roman Gonzalez. A full scale preview of this bout can be read here Ioka and Cintron to clash in final world title bout of the decade!
The other title bout, which is actually pencilled in as a swing bout, will see Marina Sayama (4-1-1, 2) and Yume Hirayama (4-0) battle for the vacant Japanese female Flyweight title. This will be the second bout between the two fighters, who fought in 2017 with Hirayama winning, and looks likely to be a competitive bout, but one only those in the arena will get the chance to see. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hirayama and Sayama battle for Japanese title!
For a third day in a row we get OPBF title action in Asia as we get a bout for the OPBF Middleweight title. That bout headlines a card that features a couple of other notable names.
That OPBF Middleweight title bout will be a rematch between Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4-1, 10) and Koki Tyson (14-3-3, 12), who fought to a draw earlier this year. We were genuinely surprised to see the two go the distance when they first fought, though it should be noted that Tyson took the bout on relatively short notice when Yuki Nonaka vacated the belt. This time around Tyson has had a full training camp, and may well find himself fighting a more aggressive bout than last time around. Both men are former holders of this belt, both can bang, and both are exciting fighters. We would be surprised if they go the distance again here, though it's still a very hard bout to call, and could go either way. A full preview of this bout can be read here Tyson and Hosokawa set to go again for OPBF crown!
Another rematch on this show will see former world title challenger Shingo Wake (26-5-2, 18) take on Jhunriel Ramonal (15-8-6, 8), in what is expected to be Wake's final bout before getting a second world title bout. These two clashed back in 2013, when Wake was the OPBF Super Bantamweight champion, and Ramonal was stopped in 3 rounds by the sharp shooting Japanese fighter. Since the Ramonal has gone 2-2-2. Wake on the other hand has gone 11-1, fought for a world title and claimed the Japanese title. Give the difference in form and the result of their first bout it's hard to imagine anything but another early win here for Wake.
Also on this card is former Japanese Minimumweight Shin Ono (23-10-3, 6), who will be looking to bounce back from January's loss to Norihito Tanaka. The 36 year old Ono, who made his debut in 2001, will be up against fellow veteran Akira Kokubo (8-8-3, 2), who is 35 years. On paper Ono has the experience edge, and is a multi-time world title challenger, but he will be moving up in weight for this, was stopped last time out and has little Momentum. Kokubo on the other hand has momentum coming in to this, with 4 straight wins including a good one last time out over Taiyo Inoue. This bout, being fought at a contracted limited around 110.25lbs, should be a lot more interesting than it looks on paper.
In Laguna this coming Wednesday there's a small card in the Philippines. The show doesn't really have any major bouts, but does have some fighters worthy of note.
In one of the few bouts of note former OPBF Super Bantamweight title challenger Jhunriel Ramonal (14-8-6, 7) will take on Danny Tampipi (8-9-2, 5). Coming in to this Ramonal is without a win in well over 4 years, with his last victory coming in August 2014 against Kota Fukuoka in Japan. In fact Ramonal is 1-2-2 in the last 6 years. Tampipi is also in poor form, having lost 3 of his last 4, and will be expected to lose again here.
Another noteworthy fighter on this card is 21 year old prospect Jino Rodrigo (5-1-1, 4), who takes on domestic journeyman Daffy Dempo (5-10, 4), in their second clash. These two fought last November, when Rodrigo stopped Dempo in the 5 rounds and he'll be looking to repeat that here.
One other bout of some interest will see the tough Robert Onggocan (11-5, 7) take on Vincent Bautista (5-13-4, 1). Despite suffering 5 losses, including 4 in his last 6 bouts, Onggocan is a solid fighters and could easily have a very different record if he'd had had just a bit of luck. Bautista is almost 3 years removed from a win and has gone 0-8-1 in his last 9 bouts, and we don't see him changing that here. If we're being totally honest this looks like little more than a confidence builder for Onggocan.
There's not much Asian action this coming Friday, as we all begin the count down to a truly incredible December. Whilst there isn't a lot there is some action worthy of note in both Singapore and the Philippines.
In Singapore fans will see unbeaten local hopeful Hamzah Farouk (6-0, 4) fight for his first title, as he takes on experienced Indonesian Isack Junior (25-9-3, 8) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten Farouk debuted last year and has stepped up gradually, through his first 6 bouts, though this is a massive step up from his previous competition. Junior on the other hand has fallen a long way short from early expectations, after a 22-1-2 (8) start to professional boxing. With 8 losses in his last 10 we can't really see what Juniour has to offer Farouk, mentally or physically.
Another unbeaten on this card is Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3), who takes on Indonesian journeyman Hardian Siregar (6-20, 2). Not too much is known of Karroum, who only debuted this past Fabruary, but the Singaporean based French is looking destructive, and has needed just 4 rounds to stop his first 3 opponents
As well as the show in Singapore there will also be action in the Philippines, with a small card in Laguna.
The main event of the card will see 22 year old Robert Onggocan (10-4, 6) look to build some career momentum, after 3 close losses in his last 4 bouts. The talented Onggocan has been matched hard and, as a result, got a misleading record that doesn't show how good he is. Given how impressed we've been by Onggocan we suspect he has the potential to compete at OPBF level in the future, if he doesn't get disillusioned with the sport. In the opposite corner to Onggocan will be 24 year old Jason Buenaobra (6-3-3, 3), who will come into this fight with a lot of ambition of his own, and could well end up making things very interesting. Although Buenaobra has suffered 3 losses of his own he is currently on a 4 fight unbeaten run.
A supporting bout will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight title challenger Jhunriel Ramonal (14-8-4, 7), who was stopped in 3 rounds by Shingo Wake back in 2013, end a 4 year break from the ring to take on the unbeaten Jenel Lausa (7-0, 4). Ramonal was a decent fighter back in his pomp, at least domestically, but with a 2-4-3 record in his last 9 bouts and a 4 year break we do wonder what he has left to offer. The unbeaten 30 year old Lausa, is also returning to the ring after a break, having been away for more than 2 years himself. Sadly for Lausa his break left him unable to build on a very good win over Jon Jon Estrada, and we're hoping he'll be wanting to make up for lost time.
Another unbeaten fighter on this card is the fast rising Kristian Hernandez (4-0, 4), who only debuted back in May but is already trying to record his 5th professional win. The heavy handed Hernandez is still in the formative years of his career, but is stepping up here, to take on veteran Prell Tupas (10-35-5, 2). Tupas, at his best, could have posed some questions for Hernandez, but sadly Tupas has lost his last 4, 3 by stoppage, and now looks to have little use in the sport, other than to pad records. We suspect Tupas fails to make it beyond round 5 here.
After a huge weekend of fighters we see the action continuing with fights on a busy Monday that show cases two highly touted Japanese prospect with both expected to go far and reach heady heights in the next few years.
Arguably the best of the prospects in action is the much touted Light Flyweight Genki Hanai (2-0, 2) who appears to be one of the most prospects in the world. Hanai is the sort of fighter who gets in the ring, closes the distance and going on the offensive with brutal shots on the inside, as seen in his bout Against Thailand's Farung Porsuwangym. We suspect to see Hanai record his third stoppage in as many fighter here as he takes on Filipino visitor Crison Omayao (16-8-2, 4) who enters on the back of a 6 fight winless streak, including a 4th round KO defeat to Naoya Inoue a little more than 2 years ago, and an opening round defeat to Kosei Tanaka back in July. We love Omayao's bravery but his management need to consider his health as he can't keep taking beatings to Japanese prospects like this and end up with much of a future. Omayao does enter the bout ranked #9 at Minimumweight by the OPBF but it's a mystery he still has any sort of a ranking considering his current run which is unlikely to change until his management start to look after their fighter.
Aside from the main event on this Gifu show there is little of real value despite the show having several competitive looking 6 rounders on it.
The other standout prospect in action is in Osaka as Sho Nakazawa (4-0, 4) puts his unbeaten record on the line against OPBF ranked Filipino Super Bantamweight Jhunriel Ramonal (14-7-4, 7). This is a huge step up for Nakazawa though we don't think we've seen his true potential so far and if he can impress against Ramonal, as we suspect, he'll be moved towards a title fight in 2015. For those who haven't seen Nakazawa in action we have a couple of his fights, including his bout with Thailand's Charit Aomtanom.
Thankfully this show isn't just a show with just one notable bout, in fact this card features a trio of notable bouts. The second of that trio will be a potentially explosive encounter between the unbeaten Ryuto Kyoguchi (12-0-1, 9) and the heavy handed Shohei Fujimoto (9-3-3, 8). On paper we have to favour Kyoguchi, who's only "black mark" has come against the criminally under-rated Adones Aguelo, Fujimoto on the other hand has been stopped in all 3 of his losses.
In the main event fans will get a chance to see a battle between ranked contenders as Myung Ho Lee (16-4-1, 5), a former OPBF Flyweigth title challenger, battles against Takashi Omae (12-3-5, 1). Going in to this bout Lee enters as the #7 ranked Japanese Flyweight and the #10 ranked OPBF Flyweight whilst Omae is the #9 ranked Japanese Light Flyweight contender however Lee comes into this bout with a record of 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts, including decisions losses to both Rocky Fuentes, in an OPBF title fight, and Edgar Sosa, in Mexico. Omae on the other hands is on an excellent unbeaten run of 8 bouts undefeated dating back more than 3 years.
Another show in Osaka seems just as interesting as the other one, in fact it this one actually has 4 bouts of note on it.
The main event here will see the heavy handed and exciting Koki Tyson Maebara (6-1-1, 6) battle against Thai visitor Petchsuriya Singwancha (12-8, 6) in a very interesting looking Middleweight bout. On paper this bout does look like a mismatch however the Thai has been in great form with 7 straight wins and actually enters as the WBC Youth Light Middleweight champion, though admittedly his title isn't on the line here.
In a Light Welterweight bout the heavy handed Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (8-2, 7) battles against the tough Shohei Kanemoto (9-8-1, 3) in what will be a second meeting between the two men. Back in April Kanemoto shocked Petagine with a majority decision win and it's fair to say the heavy handed Petagine will be seeking revenge here.
In a compelling Super Flyweight bout Cyborg Nawatedani (7-2-2, 3) will be battling against Shunji Nagata (10-11-2, 3) in a battle between ranked Japanese fighters. Nawatedani enters as the #10 ranked Flyweight whilst Nagata is ranked #13 and this bout really should help the winner move up the rankings. The 25 year old Nawatedani enters the bout unbeaten in 7 contests whilst Nagata has won his last 3. Although Nawatedani enters, rightfully, as the favourite it needs to be noted that Nagata has mixed with better company such as Myung Ho Lee and Tetsuya Hisada.
One final bout of note will see tough Filipino journeyman Marjohn Yap (19-11, 10) battle against Yuta Uetani (15-5-1, 7) in what looks set to be a “tough guy fight” between two very, very hard men. Between them they have suffered just 2 stoppage defeats and we suspect they won't be stopping each other here, in potentially the fight of the day.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)