The big show this coming Friday comes from Japan, where the Korakuen Hall plays host to an interest, but low key, card which will be put online through the A Sign boxing youtube channel.
The main event is a a really interesting match up between hard hitting Japanese fighter Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) and world ranked Thai foe Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (24-10, 16). Kurihara is 11-1 since his unremarkable 3-4 start to the pros, and claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title last year, a belt that he has defended once. Although this isn't a title defense for Kurihgara it is a significant bout. Sukkasem is no world beater but can be a handful and is world ranked by the IBF, so have a real reason to bit down on his gum shield and go for this, knowing that a win will take him one step closer to a world title shot. We expect this one to be a very, very interesting match up.
After back to back losses Akihiro Kondo (31-9-1, 18) will be hoping to rebuild his confidence as he goes up against Tatsuya Yanagi (16-5-2, 6). This year has been a bad one for Kondo, who was stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in February before being out pointed by Andy Hiraoka in July. Yanagi on the other hand is on a 6 fight unbeaten run, going 5-0-1 (2), including an excellent recent win over Koichi Aso. This is really a must win for the 34 year old Kondo, and another loss here is likely to send him into retirement.
The potential hidden gem on this card will see recent Japanese Light Welterweight title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-6-3, 9) going up against aggressive youngster Aso Ishiwaki (7-2-1, 5). Although Ikeda has fought at a higher level than Ishiwaki he hasn't shined in recent contests, going 3-4-2 in his last 9 bouts. On the other hand Ishiwaki looks like a really promising youngster, who appears to be the crown in Nobuhiro Ishida's stable of fighters. Ishiwaki is tough, heavy handed, aggressive and we see him as being a force for the future, and a win here would be huge for his career.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
As well as the card in Tokyo, there is also a show in the Philippines. The details for this are lacking at the time of writing, but the main event is a genuinely mouth watering match up between a former world title challenger and another notable Filipino fighter.
That main event will see recent WBA Minimumweight title challenger ArAr Andales (10-1, 2) look to rebuild from his recent loss to Knockout CP Freshmart as he takes on the tough, but out of form, Joel Lino (10-3-1, 3) in a bout for the GAB Minimumweight title. The now 20 year old Andales began his career 10-0 before losing a technical decision to Knokcout CP Freshmart this past August, in a bout that was very hotly contest. We suspect he'll be the big favourite here. On the other hand the 24 year old Lino has lost his last 3, with losses to Masataka Taniguchi in 2019 and defeats to Ginjiro Shigeoka and Toto Landero this year. Those 3 losses have seen Lino fall from 10-0-1 but he will feel like this is his chance to get back to winning ways. This is certainly a very interesting all-Filipino bout.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day in Japan with 4 different shows across the country, and when we talk about them being across the country we do mean that with hundreds of miles separating some of the shows.
The most notable card, in many ways, is in Kumamoto in the South West of Japan, where Yakushiji Promotions will be putting on a very significant card.
The main event of this show will be a rematch between Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) and Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, when Mori took a technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, and he will be looking to make his first defense of that national title here. Pumicpic, a real under-rated Filipino warrior, will be hungry to avenge his loss. This is set to be a very, very tough bout and will be shown live on local TV channel TKU. Sadly for those outside of Kunamoto this appears to be a bout we won't be getting. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only bout of note and the show features a number of notable prospects. Among those is the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) who steps into his first 8 round bout, and takes on once beaten Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3). Lino's only loss came to Shigeoka's stablemate, and recent world title challenger, Masataka Taniguchi. This is a very serious test for Shigeoka, but also a bit that gives him a chance to gain immediate comparisons to Taniguchi, whilst Lino gets the chance to perform in front of a notable Japanese crowd.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see the aggressive Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) take on the tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), in what could be a really fun war. Tsutsumi has one of the most fan friendly, aggressive and exciting styles out there whilst Ponteras is a criminally under-rated veteran, who has never been stopped and can be a banana skin for better known fighters. Thhis could be a very, very exciting bout.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1, 1), who will be up against Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), the man the aforementioned Shigeoka made his debut against. We suspect Takeda will have the skills to over-come the Thai visitor, but this could be a good test of Takeda's metal.
Another of the more notable Japanese cards comes form Hyogo, in a female orientated card.
The biggest match up here here will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both have suffered 2 recent losses. Kuroki is the younger fighter, and certainly the one with more upside, though at 49 Ikeyama has proven that age really is just a number and she will be looking to extend her career in to her 50's with a win. This should be a very interesting bout, though Kuroki should enter as the clear favourite. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
As well as the Kuroki Vs Ikeyama bout, there will be two title bouts on this show. One of those bouts will see Japan's in form Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) face once beaten Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. Ogata has won her last 3, claiming a WBA Asia and WBO Asia Pacific title in her last 2 bouts, As for Salvador she was beaten last time out, at Atomweight, but will be fighting at her natural weight here. We're expecting Ogata to pick up another win, but this isn't going to be a walk in the park.
The other title bout on this card will be a bizarre KBM and JBC female title bout, the first since a new OPBF rule was brought into play. The bout will pit Japan's Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) up against Korean Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will become a unified 2-nation champion, albeit temporarily, with the winner likely to immediately vacate the other nation's title. The idea to this is to create depth to thinner divisions, but leads to some odd situations like this.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will see a small card with a few notable names involved.
The main event of this card will see OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on a Thai foe, who we believe will be Sophon Klachun (4-2, 1). We don't see this being much of a test for Kenji, who is edging his way towards a title fight, and will look to take the visitor out as he advances his march towards a career defining bout.
In an 8 round supporting bout fans will see Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) battle in a very interesting match up. Neither of these men are big names, but they should make for a very competitive contest, much more saw the than records suggest.
Another 8 round supporting bout on this card will see Daijiro Yuki (8-5-1, 4) battle against Japanese ranked Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4). This will be Okumoto's first bout since losing to Japanese champion Ryota Yada, and he will be looking to end a 2 fight losing run. Yuki on the other hand will be seeking a career best win.
The least notable of the Japanese cards takes place in Tsu and will be headlined by a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, with Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1). This should be a hotly contested bout, though it's hard to doubt Nakamura and his edge in power. A full preview of this bout is available here Nakamura seeks first defense of youth crown, faces Kondo.
A notable supporting bout here will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8), who recently signed with Osaka Teiken, take on the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4). This looks like a huge step up for Sugawara, but a win puts him on the title hunt, whilst Gasca will be fighting for the first time in well over a year.
In Bangkok this coming Tuesday we'll see two Japanese fighters from the Watanabe gym fighting for regional titles.
One of those will be Masataka Taniguchi (10-2, 7), who will be fighting against Filipino fighter Joel Lino (10-0-1, 3) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. There was talk about Taniguchi getting a world title fight at the end of the year, though it seems those plans are off, due to him lacking a WBO world title, but a win here will put him in to the rankings. The unbeaten Lino may feel he's being over-looked, but he's certainly a live under-dog against the under-rated Japanese fighter, who's losses have come ton Reiya Konishi and Tsubasa Koura. It should be noted that Lino hold a really notable win over recent world title challenger Pedro Taduran and will be feeling confident of picking up another huge win here.
The other title fight on this show will be an ABF Featherweight title bout between boxing-policeman Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) and Thai journeyman Worawatchai Boonjan (12-17-1, 11). Sugita is a very talented fighter and a win here is expected in what appears to be a mismatch in favour of the visitor.
This coming Sunday is a relatively busy day in Asia, with a pair of shows in bot Philippines and Japan.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most interesting card, for us at least, is in Metro Manila where Elorde will be putting on a card.
The main event of this card sees the excellent Giemel Magramo (20-1, 16) take on the once beaten Michael Bravo (13-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant WBO Oriental Flyweight title, and a chance to take a huge step towards getting a potential world title fight. Magramo is the better known fighter and has scored a two of notable wins since losing a very close decision to Muhammad Waseem in late 2016. Magramo world class potential in that loss and could thrust himself into the world title picture with a win here. For Bravo the bout is a huge step up in class, though he is riding an 8 fight winning run coming in to this and has won both PBF and MinProBA titles in his last 2 bouts, showing he is in really good form and very confident.
Another bout on this card will see the unbeaten Casey Morton (6-0-3, 1) battle Thai foe Nongmuay Kokietgym (13-3-3) in a female bout. The unbeaten Morton, who is based in the US, will be having her third successive fight in Asia and this is a step up for her. The Thai is a multi-time former world title challenger and is a very credible foe, despite her total lack of punching power.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino show, courtesy of Pacquiao Promotions will take place in Davao del Sur.
The main event here will be a Filipino Welterweight title fight, as Jayar Inson (15-1, 10) takes on Romeo Jakosalem (18-16-1, 10). The bout sees two former regional title holders facing off in what should be a bit of a slugfest. Of the two fighter Inson is the younger and more promising fighter, with the 27 year old Southpaw being a brutal puncher, as we saw in his demolition job against Ryota Yada for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Despite only being 29 years old Jakosalem has had a very hard career and already looks a bit shot, as shown by the fact he has been stopped 10 times in total, including 3 of those in his last 3 bouts. Inson will be strongly favoured here and should be able to stop Jakosalem and move towards bigger and better fights.
The rest of this card is pretty weak in all honesty, but will feature a host of promising fighters in mismatches. Those fighters include Joel Lino (8-0-1, 2), Rene Mark Cuarto (14-1, 8), Vincent Astrolabio (10-1, 7) and Jerry Francisco (2-0), who should all be adding to their win column against some horribly over-matched opposition.
The most notable the two Japanese cards will take place in Aichi and will feature a Japanese youth title fight along with a bout between two OPBF ranked fighters.
The youth title fight will see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (13-1-1, 11) defending his title against Daiki Maniwa (6-1-1, 4), in what will be Mizuno's second defense of the belt. The champion won the title last August and defended it in December, taking split decision in both of those bouts. Although a powerful puncher it does seem like Mizuno's power isn't carrying up to level and he could well be dragged into another tough bout by Maniwa. The challenger is a bit of an unknown, though he has won his last 6, with his win last November against Yo Konomura being a career best.
In a battle between OPBF ranked fighters we'll see Super Bantamweight contender Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1) take on Bantamweight veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8). Aged 19 Saeki is a promising youngster who's only loss was in the West Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2016, and since then he has bounced back with 3 wins to work his way into the OPBF rankings. The 32 year old Kikuchi is a former OPBF title challenger, have challenger Shingo Wake for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title back in June 2013. Since losing to Wake Kikuchi has gone 7-2 (2), though was stopped last time out by Yusuke Suzuki in a Japanese Bantamweight title eliminator, and may well be feeling the after effects of his third stoppage loss.
In Fukuoka fans will see Japanese ranked Bantamweight Hideo Sakamoto (17-4-4, 5) look to get his career back on track as he takes on Takaaki Kanai (8-7, 4). Back in early 2015 Sakamoto looked well on his way to getting a Japanese title fight, thanks to wins over Hiroki Shiino and Ryoichi Tamura, sadly though he has gone 1-3-2 since then and is clearly faltering with his career, and needs a win to give his career one more shot in the arm. Kanai shouldn't put up much of a test for Sakamoto, given he has fought at a far lower level and struggled a lot in recent bouts, but the pressure is on Sakamoto to perform, and make sure he does more than just get the win.