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.