Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we turn our attention to Korakeun Hall for a mouth watering card from Dangan. The show is headlined by a Japanese title fight, and also features two very solid under-card bouts.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) make his first defense, as he takes on Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3). The hard hitting Tsutsumi won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Kyosuke Sawada, finally getting a big win after controversial draws against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa. The hope for him is that he can retain his title here and move on to bigger and better things, including potential regional title fights or even world title bouts, further down the line. As for Oshima this is his second shot at the "cursed title", following a technical decision loss to Sawada for the belt back in February. Oshima is a talented fighter, and does have good technical skills, though he can be made to look wild at times and we do wonder whether he has the power needed to get Tsutusmi's respect. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Tsutusmi faces Oshima in first defense
In a solid supporting bout the hard hitting Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) will face off with Yuki Yonaha (12-3-1, 8), in what is a very competitive looking match up and a Japanese title eliminator, with the winner set to face the winner of the main event next year. Heading into the bout Minamide is ranked #1 by the JBC and is coming in to the bout on the back of TKO wins over Kiyohei Endo and Takeshi Takehara. Despite those wins it is worth noting he has been stopped twice. Yonaha on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC and is unbeaten in his last 6, with notable wins against Shota Kawaguchi and Motoki Osanai. He has momentum and form coming into this, but he was stopped the last time he was in with an aggressive puncher, though that was way back in 2016.
Another great supporting bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Jukiya Iimura (3-0, 1) take on Filipino visitor Esneth Domingo (16-2, 8), in a solid step up for the unbeaten Japanese youngster. Coming in to the bout Iimura looks to be a very skilled fighter, but one who does need to have a still test before moving towards regional title fights. Whilst Domingo isn't an OPBF title level fighter, he isn't far from that level and he should serve as something of a gatekeeper to that level. A win for Iimura is likely to see him move into title bouts within 2 or 3 fights, but this is certainly not a gimmie
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable show this coming takes place in Osaka, as Green Tsuda put on a very interesting card featuring a number of promising young prospects.
The most notable bout on the card will see 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (27-19-4, 11) take on the fast rising, and very promising Ryusei Kawaura (9-0, 6), in what is a huge step up in class for Kawaura. The 36 year old Kudaka has a staggering 50 bouts to his name, including bouts against the likes of Takefumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Hugo Fidel Cazares, Oleydong Sithsamerchai, Sonny Boy Jaro and Andres Omar Narvaez and whilst he has come up short at world level he is an experience, exciting and tough warrior who always gives his all. Kawaura on the other hand is a skilled boxer-mover, who has been developed under the eye of former world champion Hiroshi Kawashima, who sees Kawaura as his successor. This will be the pressure and aggression of Kudaka against the boxing, movement and defensive skills of Kawaura.
Former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (24-10-4, 11) will serve as a major test as he takes on takes on talented youngster Jukiya Iimura (2-0, 1), who is taking a huge leap up in class. The 30 year old Okumoto won the Japanese title in 2018, when he beat the aforementioned Kudaka, and made 3 defenses before losing the belt in late 2019. Since losing the title he hasn't looked particularly good, but he'll feel his experience will be the difference maker here. Iimura has impressed since turning professional, and was a very talented amateur, but this is a massive leap up in class for a 23 year old in just his third professional bout. Saying that however, if Iimura wins he could find himself in the domestic title picture next year.
The third bout of interest on this card will see unbeaten fighters collide as Takafumi Shibata (1-0) takes on Reiji Kodama (3-0, 1). Shibata was a former amateur standout, who is tipped for big things in the coming years, however there are question marks about his power and his size, especially at 140lbs which seems likely to be the weigh he's competing at going forward. Kodama on the other hand turned professional without much fan fare and scored a very solid win over the debuting Shota Fukumori in August, with Fukumori having been a good amateur. This is a great chance for Kodama to get his second win over a decent or a chance for Shibata to show what he can do against someone who has shown himself to be a very capable fighter.
Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad, India
As well as the action in Japan there will also be two cards in India. One of those takes place in Hyderbad and is the more notable of the two, though is a show that is rescheduled from November 28th
That main event will see unbeaten Indian hopeful Karthik Sathish Kumar (7-0, 3) look to win the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Lightweight title as he takes on Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (29-15-2, 11), who will be having his 47th bout. Kumar will be favoured, after all he's at home, he's unbeaten and he's the younger man, though this is a massive leap up in class for him, and his competition so far has been novices and very limited fighters. Tito on the other hand is no world beater, but he can notch the odd upset, as we saw in April when he beat countryman Hebi Marapu. If Tito is hungry he could well pick up his 30th professional win here, and score 3 wins in a row for the first time since 2013!
KLVSP Boxing Hall, Pune, India
The second Indian card comes from Pune, and is a show that is set to feature 8 bouts in total, with 12 of the fighters on the show being debutants. Sadly little really is known about any of the fighters on this card, though all the bouts on it are 4 rounders.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action returns to Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for the next show from Dangan. This isn't a particularly big show but it is one worthy of some interest with a title fight headlining the event and several interesting bouts featuring debutants.
The main event will see triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) defending his WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Super Flyweight titles against the unheralded Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3), who is stepping up massively here. The heavy handed Fukunaga had a brilliant 2020, with wins over Froilan Saludar and Kenta Nakagawa, but both of those bouts were punishing wars and it's probably a good thing that he's being matched a little bit more lightly here than we've seen for his last two bouts. Fujii really is a very limited, domestic level fighter and shouldn't pose too much if a threat to the champion, but it's a huge opportunity for him, and likely to be his only fight at this level. We expect Fujii to be hungry, fight to win, but then be broken down by the heavy hands of the champion. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Fukunaga defends two titles as he takes on Fujii!
In a brilliant chief support bout we'll see Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) take on Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0), in what we believe is the third of fourth date set for this fight. Iimura really impressed in his debut, back in January and we've been desperate to see him back in action. He looked really explosive, exciting and heavy handed in that bout and oozed charisma. Kawasaki on the other hand was a very decent amateur and will come into this bout with hunger to make a statement and shine in his first pro bout. These are the type of bouts that Japan gives us regularly, and others don't. Two young, talented, good amateurs facing off early in their careers, taking a risk and knowing that they can prove how good they are without waiting years. Something w would love to see in the UK and US.
Another debutant going in rather hard here is former amateur fighter Josuke Nagata (0-0), who went 38-20 in the unpaid ranks. Whilst not a stellar record he looked the part in the unpaid ranks and we're excited to see what he's going to do in the pros. He'll be up against the relatively decent Koji Tsurumi (5-3-1, 2), who comes into this bout on the back of an excellent win over the then debut Yugo Kon in January. Although his record looks poor Tsurumi is unbeaten in his last 3 and has shown some genuine ability, with wins against Kon, Kazusa Arai and Shion Yokoyama. This might look like a gimme for Nagata, but it's not and we expect him to be given a genuine test here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We get the first live televised Japanese card of the year this coming Saturday, though it's a relatively small show from Kadoebi with the focus more on debutants than established names, with one very clear exception.
The one exception on the card will see OPBF Welterweight champion Riku Nagahama (12-2-1, 4) make his first defense of the title he won back in February 2020, as he takes on Ryota Toyoshima (12-2-1, 8) in a very interesting looking match up. The talented Nagahama has bounced back well from stoppage losses to Takeshi Inoue and Yuki Nagano, and is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak, including his title winning bout against Kudura Kaneko last year. Despite that run he still has question marks over his toughness and his chin. Toyoshima on the other hand is unbeaten since a 2017 loss to Masaharu Kaito, who also gave him his first loss way back in 2015. The challenger has won his last 5 and certainly enters the bout as the puncher, but a win here would be his most meaningful by far. Our preview of this bout can be read here Potential thriller as OPBF champion Nagahama takes on Toyoshima!
In the middle of the card is another bout between two men with some experience as Japanese ranked Super Flyweights Chikato Sumida (9-3, 1) and Ken Achiwa (12-15-5, 4) clash in an 8 rounder at Bantamweight. Coming into this the 27 year old Shumida has won 5 of his last 6, and will know another win will continue to move him towards a title bout. On the other hand the 34 year old Achiwa has only scored a single win in his last 6, though he is much better than his record suggests and should give Sumida a bit of a test here.
Most of the card here is based around introducing some Kadoebi promoted novices, who will make their debuts. One of those is Flyweight hopeful Jukiya Iimura (0-0), who went an excellent 68-13 in the amateurs. He’s being matched in a 6 rounder against 36 year old Daisuke Yamada (6-5, 1), who reached the East Japan Rookie of the Year final, back in 2016 when he was then blasted out in a round by Junto Nakatani. We suspect Iimura will have too much for Yamada, though it’s nice to see him making his debut in a 6 rounder.
Another of the debutants, this time at Super Bantamweight, will be Jun Ikegawa (0-0) who takes on Kakeru Yoshikawa (4-1-2) in a tough looking debut. As an amateur Ikegawa went 51-15 and was a very solid amateur in the Kansai League, where he made his name as a talented southpaw. The 23 year old Yoshikawa has gone unbeaten in his last 4, and is unbeaten since July 2017. Notably he enters this bout following back to back draws in 6 rounders, and may well have the stamina and experience to ask real questions of Ikegawa.
Another of the debutants is 21 year old Yugo Kon (0-0), who notched a 23-11 amateur record during his relatively short career in the unpaid ranks. He’s been matched with Koji Tsurumi (4-3-1, 1) in a 6 round bout at a contracted 54.5KG’s (just over 120lbs). Kon wasn’t the deeply experienced amateur that some of the others on this card were, but he seems to be incredibly hungry to prove a point and we suspect he could end up being moved relatively quickly over the next few years. Although his record might not show it, Tsurumi is going to be in a confident mood here, having taken the unbeaten record of Shion Yokoyama 2 bouts ago, and scoring a draw with the aforementioned Kakeru Yoshikawa.
In an all debutant bout Kadoebi fighter Yudai Murakami (0-0) will be taking on Naoki Shimizu (0-0) from the MT Gym, in a 4 rounder at Lightweight. Murakami went 29-6 in the amateurs, and does have some hype behind him as he begins his career. Reportedly Shimizu went 14-7 in the amateurs, and will be regarded as the under-dog here in what will be the opening bout of the show.