This coming Sunday is a relatively busy day in Japanese boxing with 3 shows, including Rookie of the Year action, debuts of stand outs, a former champion and several notable Japanese domestic contenders.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
The biggest show of the day will be in Hirakata City and be promoted by Green Tsuda, who are putting on a very solid overall card.
The main event will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-10-4, 11) take on Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2), in the second bout between the two men. Okumoto desperately needs a good performance to get his career back in track, following back to back losses including a big upset defeat to Akui Furatani last year. With that in mind it's probably no surprise to see him facing an opponent he easily beat when he last faced him, in fact in 2016 Okumoto stopped Nihei in just 2 rounds and will be looking to do the same here. Nihei, who was once regarded as a contender himself, is 2-4 in his last 6 and his career certainly seems to be going through a rough patch, meaning this is very smart match making from Okumoto's team.
In the chief support bout the talented and very promising Jinki Maeda (7-0, 4) will be looking to pick up his 8th straight win as he takes on Yuya Azuma (5-5-1, 1). Although this should be a straight forward win for Maeda, who is slowly moving towards a title fight it is worth noting that Azuma is no push over and despite losing his last 2, to very talented fighters. We expect to see Maeda needing to work hard for a victory here, and get plenty of rounds under his belt here.
Also on this card are two notable debuts. One of those is Takafumi Shibata (0-0), who takes on Ryosei Niguma (5-3-1, 3), and the other is Kaito Yamasaki (0-0), who battles Kohei Hamamoto (4-2-1, 3). Both of the debutants will be expected to shine as they kick off their career's in 6 rounders. Shibata fought around 50 times in the amateurs, had about 30 wins and came third in the All Japan championships in 2018. Yamasaki on the other hand had almost 40 bouts, won 24 and shined at the National High School championships.
Ohama Gym, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
A second notable card in Osaka will be taking place in Sakai City, with Mitsuki promoting the event. It's not as big as the Hirakata city show, but there are 3 noteworthy bouts on this show.
The show's opening bout is a 6 rounder between two JBC ranked female fighters as Sarasa Ichimura (3-8-1) takes on Aoi Watanabe (3-4, 1), in the second bout between these two women. Entering this bout both are ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions, with Ichimura being a Minimumweight and Watanabe being a Flyweight, and Watanabe will be looking to beat Ichimura for the second time this year. Their first bout wasn't particularly exciting, but with both women having JBC rankings the bout is certainly a meaningful one.
Another noteworthy bout here will see two fighters who reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year finals in February facing off. In one corner is the once beaten Seika Fukuda (5-1, 1), who lost to Tsubasa Nari at Super Featherweight, and in the opposite corner will be Eiji Togawa (6-4, 3), who was beaten by Hiromasa Urakawa at Lightweight. Whilst neither man is expected to go far in the sport, this is almost the perfect comeback fight, and should be a very fun one to watch.
The main event will see JBC #2 Flyweight ranked fighter Shun Kosaka (16-7, 4) take on Shota Asami (8-8, 4), in what should be a pretty straight forward win for Kosaka at least on paper. Coming in to this Kosaka has fought at the top level of Japanese domestic boxing and shared the ring with the likes of Takuya Kogawa, Seigo Yuri Akui and Junto Nakatani, sadly however he lost to those 3 men and is now 1-4 in his last 5. Asami is no world beater, and he's 1-3 in his last 4, but he's proven to be very competitive in those losses and is certainly better than his record suggests.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
At the Aioi Hall we'll get the Central Japan Rookie of the Year Finals, with 9 bouts set for this show, from Minimumweight up to Welterweight. There was originally 10 bouts scheduled but the final at 140lbs has been cancelled.
The first really interesting match up on the show comes at Flyweight where 18 year old Yuki Morikawa (1-0-1) risks his unbeaten record against the much more experienced Katsuki Matsuura (6-4-1, 1). Morikawa made his debut back in 2019, with a draw, but looked good in his second bout, this past May, and a win here would move his career onto bigger and better things Matsuura on the other hand is 24 and on paper looks like a handful. It worth noting however that Matsuura is 1-4-1 in his last 6, and has really no momentum at all coming into this bout.
The second bout of real interest to us here us at Bantamweight where Kenta Sugawara (2-1-1, 1) clashes with Takuto Mino (2-0). The 21 year old Mino made his debut last November, and struggled in that bout, but looked solid last time out against Yuto Oki. Mino on the other hand hasn't really had much moment with his career, and was only able to earn a draw last time out, though is more experienced and has been a professional since 2018.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see 30 year old Fumiya Abe (4-2-1, 2) look to bounce back from a 2020 TKO loss to Ren Anzai as he takes on the unbeaten Prince Fujiwara (3-0-1, 2), who impressed us in 2020 with his win against Judgement Aizu. Aged 22 there is real potential for Fujiwara, from the Suruga Danji gym, so we're looking forward to seeing how he performs here.
This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day in Japan with a solid card from Green Tsuda along with two different Rookie of the Year shows. Whilst we're not getting any sort of "massive" bout we are getting the chance to see some talented prospects in action and a lot of rookies!
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card of the day is a Green Tsuda card and Masaya Motishi really is giving his prospects a chance to grow, with two very notable prospects on this card.
One of those prospects is 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4), who impressed in his Rookie triumph and then proved himself with two solid performances in 2020. The talented 24 year old southpaw is progressing well as a fighter, and doing so without too much fuss and noise. Here we'll see him up against a fellow southpaw, as he clashes with 31 year old Yushi Fujita (9-8-4, 2), who is a credible opponent. We suspect Maeda will be too good, too sharp, and too young for Fujita, but this is a genuine test for the unbeaten youngster.
The other notable prospect on this show is former Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8), who really does look like a very special young fighter. The talented and slippery Shimomachi will be looking to kick off his 2021 as he takes on Thunder Teruya (7-8-1, 4), in what is again a very legitimate test. The talented Shimomachi won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017, and since then has gone from strength to strength and scored notable wins against Kenta Nomura and Hiroki Hanabusa and will be strongly favoured here. Teruya looks very limited given his record, but he's no push over and he gave the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura a decent test last year. Teruya is decent, despite his record, but we suspect he will be made to look very limited by the excellent Shimomachi.
One other bout worthy of some attention on this show is a match up between Ryosuke Nasu (12-6-3, 2) and Sonin Nihei (9-5-2, 1), who are both ranked in the top 20 at Super Flyweight by the Japan Boxing Commission. The 25 year old Nasu is looking to bounce back from a loss to fast rising novice Ayato Hiromoto, and he really can ill afford another loss here given he is 4-4 in his last 8, after a 5-1-2 start to his professional career. Whilst Nihei is struggling, his struggle pale compared to Nasu's, with Nasu going 1-4 in his last 5 and he has seen his record completely fall apart after losing just 1 of his first 11 bouts. Despite that he has fought at a decent level and Nasu has shown a fair bit of ability. We don't expect this to be a huge exciting fight, but it should be a very competitive one.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Staying at the same venue as the Green Tsuda card there will be a second event at the EDION Arena Osaka, with this one taking place after the Green Tsuda show. This one is very different and will be the first set of bouts in this year's West Japan Rookie of the Year.
This show has 9 bouts scheduled for it, between Minimumweight and Light Welterweight, with 11 of the 18 fighters being debutants. In fact every bout on the show has a debutant on it and two of the bouts being all debutant affairs.
One of the most interesting looking bouts on this card will see Ren Nishimura (2-2) take on 19 year old Shui Kawato (0-0). Nishimura impressed us last year in the Rookie of the Year, and gave eventual All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Sora Fukunaga a real test in November 2020. He will go into this bout as the favourite. Kawato on the other hand will be a hungry 19 year old desperate to take a victory to begin his career, and we suspect this could be a fantastic bout.
Of all the fighters on this card with previous bouts to their name, only one is unbeaten and that's 22 year old Minimumweight Daiki Fujimoto (2-0-1) who looks to return to the ring after 2 years odd inactivity. He will be up against 24 year old debutant Yuki Yamamoto (0-0) and although we're not expecting an instant classic here, Fujimoto did prove he was a decent fighter before his absence from the ring and it'll be interesting to see what he's like here after such a long lay off.
Sun Rise Park Gym, Saga, Saga, Japan
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a very small Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Saga. This card is so small it features just 3 bouts, and is sadly a sign of what boxing is like in Western Japan.
Despite only being a small card it is worth noting that two of the bouts on this show will be Welterweight bouts, with the two winners set to battle on June 20th in the Western Japan final.
One of those bouts will see 29 year old Ryoji Matsumoto (0-1) battle 23 year old Rintaro Shiojiri (0-1). Matsumoto made his debut all the way back in 2016, losing to Sho Yasuda in a bout around the Lightweight limit, and has been away from the ring for well over 4 years. Shiojiri on the other hand debuted in 2019 and hasn't fought since losing on debut to Hiroya Nojima. With both men looking for their first win, and a place in the Western Japan Rookie of the Year final we expect to see an entertaining bout here. But if we're being honest neither man has much of a future, and it would be a massive surprise if they managed to become the West Japan representative at the All Japan final.
The other Welterweight bout here will see 33 year old Taiki Henzan (1-1, 1) battle 29 year old Tomotaka Noda (2-3), in what is a rematch of a clash these two had last September. When these two men first fought Henzan stopped Noda in 2 rounds, and he'll be looking for a repeat result here. Noda on the other hand will be looking to avenge the loss, and get back to winning ways. Interestingly he had won back to back bouts before that loss.
Amazingly all 4 of the Welterweights on this show lost their last bout, a rather peculiar stat.
This coming Sunday is a great one for fight fans in Osaka Prefecture, with two shows in both Osaka City, thanks to a stacked Green Tsuda show and Rookie of the Year show.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
We'll start with the Green Tsuda card, which features 5 bouts we want to talk about and is the card with the name value.
The main event here will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) take on veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) in an 8 round Welterweight bout. Yada, is eying up an OPBF title fight in the new year, and will be looking to shine here in what should be an easy win for the "Nanaiwa Terminator". For him this will be his second bout since his 2019 epic against Yuki Beppu, which saw Beppu climb off the canvas numerous times to stop Yada in round 10 of a thriller. The 36 year old Ideta really isn't expect to be much of a threat here, especially given that he has gone almost 10 years without a win, going 0-12-1 in his last 13. This is a clear showcase for Yada to shine in.
Another former Japanese champion expecting to pick up an easy win here is former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11), who lost the title in 2019 to Kenta Nakagawa. The 29 year old Okumoto will be looking to bounce back from that loss as he takes on 22 year old Akio Furutani (8-4, 3). At his best Okumoto is a solid fighter, not spectacular but a very solid one, and one we expect to be hovering in and around the domestic title scene for a while. Furatani on the other hand is something of an unknown quantity. He back his career 4-4 but he really kicked on since a 2018 loss to Yoshiki Minato and has won his last 4 in a row, and looked progressively better, especially last time out with Keisuke Nakayama. This could be, potentially, a banana skin for Okumoto.
One of our favourite Japanese prospects will be on this card defending his JBC Youth Super Flyweight title, in what will be his last defense before he stops being considered a "youth" fighter. That man is defending champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8), who looks to defend his title against 23 year old challenger Satoru Hoshiba (7-4, 2). We have been really impressed by Shimomachi in recent performance and he has become a wonderfully talented boxer, with a counter puncher's mindset, and we expect to see him fighting for senior titles in the next year or two. Hoshiba on the other hand hasn't impressed in the same way, but has been getting valuable rounds recently and his last 2 bouts will have prepared him well for this bout. Interestingly these two men fought in the 2017 Rookie of the Year, with Shimomachi taking a majority decision over Hoshiba, and Hoshiba will clearly be wanting to avenge that loss as well as taking the title from Shimomachi. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Shimomachi looks to make final defense as he takes on Hoshiba for the second time!
Arguably the standout bout on the show will see former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) clash with former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7). Originally we were supposed to see this bout in November, before it cancelled due to Konishi receiving a positive Covid19 test and then he paid for testing himself which stated that he wasn't infected. Sadly the issues with Covid19 delayed the bout, before the teams quickly re-organised it and the bout got added tot his show. Given the styles of the two men, who are both high energy fighters who throw a lot of leather, this should be a spectacular battle of wills, though we do wonder what's left in the tank of the 37 year old Takayama.
An easy one to over-look on this show will be a match up between the touted Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) and the once beaten Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2). The unbeaten Maeda won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019, beating Kyonosuke Kameda in the final, and impressed back in August when he stopped Arashi Iimi in 2 rounds, in what was a very impressive and eye catching performance. Okubo on the other hand is a 23 year old who is very tall and rangy and has some momentum of his own coming into this bout, with back to back stoppage wins. We rate Maeda highly, but this certainly looks like a genuine test for the unbeaten 24 year old.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
In Osaka we'll find out who will represent West Japan in the All Japan final next year, as we get the penultimate bout in this year's Rookie of the Year. In total there are 12 bouts scheduled for the event, but as is typical with Rookie of the Year we've picked a handful of the most interesting match ups to look at.
At Featherweight we'll get a good looking bout between 22 year olds as Kakeru Mio (5-2, 3) clashed with Hikaru Fukunaga (7-1, 4). Coming in to this it's easy to feel that Fukunaga should be favoured, but he's certainly not looked unbeatable on his route to becoming the Western Japan champion earlier this year and his competition has, for the most part, been very inexperienced. Mio on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 4 but is dangerous and will likely look to jump on Fukunaga at the first sign of weakness.
The Welterweight bout has the best name on the show, as Bigbaby Okamoto (2-0, 1) takes on Hiroya Nojima (4-1, 2). The 26 year old Okamoto made his debut in September, with a narrow decision win, but impressed last time out, stopping Yusa Toyonaka. Nojima on the other hand has been a pro since early 2019 and began his career with 3 wins before a slip up in 2019 against Homare Yasui. Nojima will be hoping experience pays off, whilst Okamoto will be looking to make the most of his power and strength.
Sadly there is only one clash between fighters sporting 100% winning records and that comes at Middleweight where 29 year old Katsuhiro Nakata (4-0, 3) takes on 26 year old Norifumi Hayakawa (2-0, 2). The 6'1" Nakata began his career in 2018 with 2 stoppage wins, before taking well over a year out before returning for this Year's Rookie of the Year. He has impressed since returning to the sport and looks like a dangerous big guy, by Japanese standards. Hayakawa on the other hand began his professional campaign in August and has just 2 rounds to his name. We expect this to become a wild and crazy shoot out for a place in the All Japan final.
As well as the action in Japan we're also set for some other action. This includes a bout from Tanzania which will see local fighter Cosmas Cheka (24-13-6, 5) take on Filipino slugger Alvin Lagumbay (12-5-1, 10), in a battle for a light regarded UBO title. With 13 losses to his name Cheka is certainly no world beater, but the 25 year old Lagumbay hasn't impressed since his 2018 upset win over Keita Obara, and has now lost 3 of his last 6. Lagumbay will be a threat, but we suspect his ambition has gone and he'll end up losing a decision here.
There is also set to be a show in India, but this is very, very low level stuff and there's not a single bout of any note on the show, sadly.
This coming Tuesday is a very interesting day in Japan with a world title show in Osaka and a Rookie of the Year show in Tokyo. It might not be the biggest day of the year, but it really does having boxing at the two opposite ends of the spectrum.
Intex Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
We'll start with the show in Osaka which is the much, much bigger show and will have the main event streamed live on Hiroto Kyoguchi's own YouTube channel.
The main event will see the aforementioned Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) defending his Ring Magazine and WBA "super" Light Flyweight titles against unbeaten Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12). For Kyoguchi the bout will be his third defense of the title and will see him trying to put a frustrating 2020 behind him, with the fighting missing out on a scheduled summer title defense. He'll enter as the big favourite, and will be looking to end the year on a high. As for Simsri this is a massive step up for the heavy handed Thai, though given he's still a boxing baby we wouldn't write him off if he lose here. Simsri has been impressive, but is still very much a prospect. Given the power of the two men, and the aggressive styles both have we expect this to be an action packed bout, but it should be man against boy. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kyoguchi and Simsri battle for WBA title!
In a great supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten, and very talented, Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) look to build on his 2019 Rookie of the Year triumph as he takes on the once beaten Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2). We've been really impressed by Maeda, and he shone last time out, taking out Arashi Iimi in 2 rounds, and we have to favour him here, but it's not a gimmie. Okubo has noticed back to back wins since his sole defeat and is the naturally bigger, taller man. Okubo will be the under-dog, but is an awkward proposition for Maeda and should ask some testing questions of the unbeaten hopeful.
Another supporting bout will see the light punching Sonin Nihei (9-5-2, 1) battle veteran Shunji Nagata (12-18-2, 4). The 26 year old Nihei has lost 4 of his last 5 and is very much in need of a win if he's every going to manage to do anything of note with his career. At the age of 35 Nagata has seen better days, but is much better than his record suggests and has been competitive with much younger fighters. We see this one being a bout that is easy to over-look but it should be very entertaining, even if neither man has much pop on their shots.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we see bouts as part of the East Japan Rookie of the Year. We won't go through all of the bouts on this show, given there's 12 of them, but we have picked 3 interesting ones off the show.
In a Featherweight bout we'll see unbeaten men colliding with Ryo Yoshida (2-0, 1) taking on Yuya Hirose (3-0-1, 2). Both of these men won back on September 25th, though did so in very different fashion. Yoshida went through a war with Ricky Hasegawa, in what was a sensational bout, whilst Hirose beat the controversial Leon Yamaguchi with a very wide decision. We expect this one to be really fun given how both men looked last time pout
At Super Featherweight 20 year old banger Tsubasa Narai (4-0, 3) will be looking to secure his 5th straight as he battles the experienced Hiromichi Komatsu (4-5-2, 4). We've been impressed by Narai and despite Komatsu's record he can certainly punch so this one is expected to be explosive. Don't blink, this one could be over very early, and could see a lot of dynamite thrown, very early.
On the subject of don't blink it's worth noting that Aito Abe (2-0, 2) will be in action here against Shunpei Kubo (5-1, 3), in a Super Flyweight bout. Abe's last bout was a 17 second blitz against Kentaro Omori in early September and he's yet to see the end of the first round. Kubo has got rounds under his belt but his only loss was a stoppage and we suspect Abe will be looking to set a high pace and close the show quickly here. Another one where blink is not advised!
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.
We really are closing in on Christmas, and even though we're a few days away we are set for one of the annual treats boxing calendar, the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. As well as the Rookie of the Year's there's a lot of other stuff going on, with a title bout, an eliminator and a host of prospects in action. This Sunday is big for Asian boxing!
Our attention is obvious focused on the All Japan Rookie of the Year final from Korakuen Hall, with G+ airing the show live, and in full. For fans who want to know what makes Japanese boxing special at the lower end this is it. This is the culmination of a tournament that covers the whole country and takes the better part of a year. To get to the final you need to have won your regional final, and you don't get this far by chance. You get here on merit alone, and as a result we get some amazing match ups.
We won't be going through all 12 bouts, but we have picked out favourite match ups from the line.
It's always great to see all-unbeaten fights in the final and at Minimumweight we have one such bout, as Katsuki Mori (5-0, 1) takes on Takumi Chono (5-0, 3). This is a brilliant fight, with both men being young, having very similar records and both proving themselves to get this far. Mori is a sensational pure boxer from the Ohashi gym and will be looking to show case his skills, but Chono is not a push over, and has looked strong and powerful through out. The winner of this will really be one to watch in 2020.
At Featherweight we expect to see fire-works as Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) and Jinki Maeda (3-0, 2) face off. It's been an emotional year for Kameda, the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, and only 2 weeks ago there was a a real chance he'd miss out on this bout due to the politics at the Kyoei gym. Now here the hard hitting 21 year old will be wanting to make the most of his opportunity. Maeda has quietly made his way to the final, blowing out his first two professional opponents before shutting out the then 4-0 Hikaru Fukunaga. We expect this one to be the standout bout of the day.
More fireworks are expected up at 140lbs where Kodai Honda (4-1, 3) and Yasutaka Fujita (5-0, 5) will face off. The 20 year old Honda lost on debut, more than a year ago, but has reeled off 4 wins since then, and he has stopped each of his last 3 opponents. Fujita on the other hand has been blitzing opponents and his 5 bouts have lasted just 10 rounds. Expect bombs to be thrown, and to be thrown early here!
Whilst the Rookie of the Year show is the biggest it's certainly not the only show of note, and at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center the Muto Gym will be show casing some of their brightest young talents, as well as a regional champion.
The main event of the show will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) defending his title against Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4). This will be Kobayashi's first defense since winning the title in May with a minor upset against Ben Mananquil, and he'll be looking to go into the new year with some real momentum behind following a bizarre decision loss to Keita Kurihara at the end of 2018. It's really hard to see what Go offers here, and it was only last year that Go was stopped by career Flyweight Masahiro Sakamoto, a stablemate of Kobayashi's at the time. Our full and in depth previous of this regional title bout can be read here Kobayashi defends against Go in Osaka!
In supporting bouts we'll see a trio of Muto gym prospects taking on Filipino foes. The most notable of the trio is Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1), who takes a huge step up to take on veteran Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17). This is a brilliant bit of match making from the Muto team, who know that Diale is on the slide, but still very live and has been in there with a who's who of the lower weights. A risky match up for their star prospect, but a win here will instantly launch him into the mix for regional titles. High risk and high reward for Mine here.
Another stellar prospect is Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2), who will be fighting as Deka-narudo Torio, who takes on hard hitting Pinoy Ken Jordan (8-1-2, 7). The 23 year old Kuwabata is tipped very highly by those in Japan and has been matched aggressively so far, with this being a pretty logical looking step. Jordan is unbeaten in over 2 years and recently claimed an ABF title, back in August. This is a bout between two youngsters each coming to win, and it should give us some very competitive action over 8 rounds.
The third prospect of note is Ryosuke Nishida (1-0, 1), who made his debut in Thailand back in October. Unlike his fellow hopefuls he won't be in an 8 rounder, but instead he'll be scheduled for 6 rounds against the tough Pablito Canada (7-17-4, 1), and will likely be taken the distance by Canada who has only been stopped twice in his 28 bout career.
A second Osaka, card, this time from the EDION Arena, will also be worthy of some attention.
The main event here is a Japanese Super Flyweight title eliminator, the final of the eliminators to take place this year, and will see former world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-3, 11) clash with Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) for the chance to fight Kenta Nakagawa in the new year. At 34 years old a loss will likely send Kudaka into retirement, ending an incredibly interesting and often exciting career, so we expect to see him being fired up for this. Matsuo is no world beater, but he is better than his record suggests and is hoping to secure a second Japanese Super Flyweight title fight, following a loss to Takayuki Okumoto earlier this year. Our in depth preview of this eliminator is available to read here Kudaka and Matsuo to clash in final Japanese eliminator of 2019!
In an 8 round supporting bout Kenta Nomura (6-3, 3) will battle Ryo Suwa (11-2, 2), in a very interesting looking contest. Nomura is looking to bounce back from an August loss to Toshiki Shimomachi, in a Japanese Youth title fight, and although he's nothing special he does tend to make for good fights. Suwa on the other hand has won 4 of his last 5 and will see this as a chance to take a huge step towards a potential youth title fight of his own.
This show will also feature the debut of former amateur standout Kantaro Juri (0-0), who fought in the Asian and World Youth Championships back in 2014, who will be in a 6 rounder at a contracted 53KG's. Sadly his opponent here hasn't been confirmed, though we have been told it will be an Indonesian opponent.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a low level Indian card in Golaghat.
This card will be headlined by Sagar Narwat (9-1-1, 3) taking on Shiva (9-3, 3) in an 8 round bout. For Narwat this is a chance to get back to winning ways following October's loss to Troy O'Meley in Australia. As for Shiva he's now wheeled off 3 straight wins after he suffered a trio of losses on the road in 2017. Sadly this bout aside the card isn't really worth getting too excited about.