This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
The bigger show this coming Saturday is a big one from California which has seen more changes to it than most people change clothes, and credit needs to be given to the promoters for even getting a workable together.
Originally the card had been set to be the rematch between Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33) and Saul Alvarez, following their controversial 2017 draw, with the bout to be staged in Las Vegas. The Mexican failed a drugs test and a replacement was sought, with Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21) being the man to get the shot at Golovkin, and the fight moving to California, and the IBF deciding not to allow their title to be fought for by Martirosyan due to his lack of a world ranking. The desire to put on a show is admirable, but this isn't an amazing match up, and we've seen other issues with the show, such as Roman Gonzalez being removed from the show as well.
In the Uzbek capital of Tashkent fight fans will get the chance to see a number of local hopefuls in action.
The main event of the card will see the promising Azizbek Abdugofurov (10-0, 4) battle against Russian Dmitrii Chudinov (21-2-2, 13) in a bout for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight title. The local, fighting only his 3rd bout in Uzbekistan, will be looking to secure his second win at world level, following last year's win over Sirimongkol Singwancha. The 26 year old, has risen fast and looked really exciting but this is still a big step up. Chudinov is a former WBA “interim” Middleweight world champion, and at one point looked really good himself, however since losing to Chris Eubank Jr just over 3 years ago he's not looked the same and suffered a loss to veteran Lolenga Mock earlier this year. Chudinov has the tools to give the Uzbek problems, but it's hard to imagine Abdugofurov losing against this version of Chudinov.
At the time of writing the under-card doesn't look to be set to concretely, with only the promoters fighters having been confirmed for the show. Saying that however the is a lot of name value to make note of here, including Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (14-0, 9), Umid Rustamov (3-0, 3), Jasur Akhmadjonov (4-0, 3) and Ulugbek Sobirov (4-0, 2), all of whom look set to have a great future in the sport.
At the Korakuen Hall we'll see the next show from Kyoei, and it's a pretty interesting one in some ways, but one that isn't likely to get too much attention outside of Asia.
The headline bout is the shows key talking point, yet isn't even an official bout, as Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) battles Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (90-5-2, 47) in a rematch of Kameda's first professional defeat. This fight will be held under special exhibition rules, and is scheduled to go 8 rounds. The bout won't have judges, though a TV voting system will essentially be used to determine an unofficial winner if the bout goes the distance, and the bout won't be recorded on either man's record. Despite that the contest is something that both men seem to win with Kameda looking to avenge one of his two defeats and Wonjongkam looking to prove there is still life left in his 40 year old legs.
Koki's younger brother Tomoki Kameda (34-2, 20) will be in the main official bout as he takes on Mexican visitor Daniel Noriega (30-11-1, 15). Kameda has stated that this bout will be his final one before he gets another shot at a world title, likely at Super Bantamweight as he looks to become a 2-weight champion. The popular Japanese fighter should be too good, too fast and too skilled for Noriega but the Mexican is tough and could give Kameda some questions to answer late in the bout, with this being a 10 round contest.
Also on this card is rising female hopeful Jun Yabuki (10-0, 5), who will face a Thai foe, and Kyonosuke Kameda (0-1), who looks to pick up his first won against Kazuyuki Watanabe (1-1, 1).
Another Asian show will take place in Singapore, where local fighters will be looking to advance their careers.
The most notable bout on this card will see 22 year old hopeful Muhammad Ashiq (3-0, 3) fighting against 50 fight veteran Julio de la Basez (21-21-8, 12). On paper this looks like a huge step up for Ashiq but he's up against a 38 year old Indonesian veteran who has scored just 1 win in the last 7 years.
Busan, South Korea
The Asian action continues with a small show in Busan. This card won't get too much attention but does deserve a quick look over.
The main event of the show will see Ki Chang Go (5-2, 2) and JooHyun Kim (4-2-2, 1) battle for a version of the Korean Super Flyweight title. Despite losing his first two bouts Go has been impressive with 5 straight wins coming in to this one, including a an opening round stoppage last time out against Morakote PatanakanGym. As for Kim his form has suffered recently, and after winning his first 3 he has gone 1-2-2, with a stoppage loss to Teiru Atsumi back in November 2014 being his last bout.
The key support bout on this card will see the unbeaten In Duck Seo (9-0-2, 6) battle against Uzbek visitor Eldorbek Sayidov (4-3-1, 3). The 23 year old Korean debuted just over 3 years ago and despite suffering 2 draws in his last 3 bouts has looked really promising and is likely to be the next Korean to try and make a mark at the Oriental level. The visiting Uzbek has won his last 3, but is win-less outside of Tashkent and won't be expected to defeat Seo here.
On Monday we kick off a new year and for fans in the Japanese capital it will seem like nothing has chances as Kyoei put on a show at the Differ Ariake.
The show isn't as big as the two shows that ended 2017 but is still a notable one with a splattering of notable fighters.
Arguably the most distinguished of those fighters is Jun Yabuki (9-0, 4), who recently won the Japanese female Minimumweight title with a win over Fuka Komura. The 26 year old won't be defending her title, but will be in an 8 round bout, against a visiting Thai foe.
Yabuki is right in the middle of the card, despite her status as national champion. That's partly because she will be in action before the latest of the Kameda family to turn professional. That's Koki, Daiki and Tomoki's cousin Kyosuke Kameda (0-0) who kicks of his professional career with a bout against Shinnosuke Kimoto (2-1), who has won two bouts since a close loss on debut at the start of 2017.
The other bout on top of Yabuki's is the show's main event, which will see Joe Vlog (0-0) make his professional boxing debut against John Yano (2-3). The debutant is known in Japan for his youtube exploits, and saw his profile balloon in 2017 thanks to an exhibition contest against Koki Kameda on Abema TV, with Koki later taking the role of his trainer. A win for him here would be huge news and kick off a new joint deal with Kyoei and Abema. Yano, a Filipino based in Japan, appears to have been selected as a safe opponent for Vlog to shine against and this should be an easy win if the debutant wants any creditability going forward.
*Note - Joe Vlog is a name taken from the fighter's youtube, he may be fighting under an alternative name going forward
This coming Monday sees the next Dangan card taking place, and although not a huge show it does have a number of notable fighters involved, in what should be an entertaining card, and a chance to not only see a chance to see a new champion being crowned but also a lot of fun action.
The main event of the card will see the always fun to watch Kenya Yamashita (11-3, 8) take on Filipino foe Eranio Semillano (15-7-3, 5) in what should be a genuinely thrilling contest. The all action Yamashita has won his last two bouts, following a stoppage to Akinori Hoshino last November, comes into this bout on the back of a big win over Joe Tanooka in August. Semillano suffered back-to-back defeated in 2014 in Thailand, but has since gone 5-0-3 in his last 8, and has shown real self belief in those bouts. This could be something very exciting.
The only title bout on the card is a female title bout, as Jun Yabuki (8-0, 4) and Fuka Komura (5-0, 2) face off for the JBC female Minimumweight title. The bout will crown the title's first champion and will be a really interesting match up between two unbeaten fighters looking to extend their perfect records. On paper Yabuki will be favoured, given she has more experience and heavier hands, but Komura has impressed since her original test bout and will be coming in to this as a promising 20 year old with a point to prove.
Another unbeaten fighter on this card will see Yoshimitsu Kimura (8-0, 3) risking his record against Filipino Glenn Medura (8-3-1, 5). The 21 year old Japanese fighter fighter has shown some promise, and won the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, but this is very much a step up for the unbeaten youngster. As for Medura he has lost his last two, being stopped in both bouts in Japan, but he can bang and should prove to be a dangerous foe, at least early on against Kimura.
One other bout of interest here will see the heavy handed Daiki Ichikawa (9-3, 7) make his ring return, following July's opening round loss in Russia to Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov. Ichikawa will be up against Kazumasa Kobayashi (8-7-1, 5), who is now more than 6 years removed from his last win and won't be expected to change that here.
To begin a new week we get the next in the Asign Bee series of shows, and like many of the others it's a really good card, and will be available over the Asign service on demand.
The main event will see former Bantamweight world champion Tomoki Kameda (33-2, 20) continue to re-establish himself in Japan as he takes on former world title challenger Ivan Morales (31-2, 19) in a really good looking match up on paper. Although an attractive looking bout it's likely to be one sided, with Kameda almost certainly being too good for Morales, the younger brother of the legendary Erik Morales. Despite thinking Kameda will be too good we still expect this to be a fan friendly contest with a lot of action.
In the chief support bout we'll see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (27-9-1, 12) take on Filipino foe John Ray Logatiman (6-5-2, 2). The 33 year old Nakajima has been in their with a who's who during his long and hard career, and it's likely he's now winding down on a career that began back in 2003. He may have enough to score a win here, but Logatiman is 10 years his junior and will be looking to pick up his first win in Japan, following a loss to Sho Nakazawa earlier this year.
In a really good supporting bout we'll see the upset minded Toshiro Tarumi (6-3-3, 3) take on the under-rated Noriaki Sato (5-1-1). On paper this bout won't grab fans but the reality is that should be a real thriller. In recent bouts Tarumi has upset Kazuki Hayashi Jr, Quaye Peter and Takashi Inagaki, and went out swinging against Yuki Nagano. Sato on the other-hand is a real talent and will be looking to move towards a title fight in the near future, and will know he needs a win here.
Talking about title fighters it's interesting to note that we see the first ever Japanese female title eliminator as Jun Yabuki (7-0, 3) and Yumiko Shimooka (3-3, 1) face off. The winner of this bout will take a huge step towards becoming a Japanese female champion, and whilst that's not earth shattering news it is a big story for female boxing, and boxing in Japan.
One other bout of note sees Yuta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 11) take on a Thai foe in an 8 rounder. The bout isn't anything more than a stay busy bout for Nakagawa, though he is in line for a potential Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight down the line, and cannot afford any slip ups, or cuts, here if he's wanting to advance to a title bout, or eliminator of his own.
Asign boxing get their second stand out show of the month this coming Monday as we get Asign Bee Vol 2, and just like the first show on March 10th, the show is really good one.
The main event of the card sees the sensationally talented Naoko Fujioka (15-2, 6) hunt a 4th divisional title as she takes on Mexican Isabel Millan (18-2-1, 8) in a bout for the WBA female Flyweight title. Originally Fujioka had been down for facing Louisa Hawton for the WBO female Light Flyweight title, but that bout was scrapped about 5 weeks before the contest and as a result the promoter got Millan to travel to Japan for this equally as interesting Flyweight bout. A win for Fujioka would see her becoming the first Japanese fighter to become a 4-weight world champion, whilst a win for Millan would massively boost her career.
In a major supporting bout we'll see the world ranked Akihiro Kondo (27-6-1, 14) take on Thai visitor Patomsuk Pathompothong (33-6-1-1, 20) in a rematch of a contest the two men had back in 2015. On paper this should be a repeat win for Kondo, who looks to be having a solid run at the moment, but Patomsuk did look good last time out, losing a controversial decision to Kuok Kun Ng.
A second notable female bout here sees the unbeaten Jun Yabuki (6-0, 3) take on the in form Shione Ogata (7-5, 2). Although the bout looks like a mismatch on paper Ogata has won her last 6 in a row and has certainly turned her career around since a 1-5 start and she will be hungry to keep that run going here.
In another supporting bout we'll see Takafumi Nakajima (26-9-1, 11) take on Jump Ikeo (6-4-2, 4) in what looks like a straight forward win for experienced man. Nakajima will be looking to secure his second straight win since being blown out in 88 seconds last September, by a rampant Kosuke Saka and although a bit of a faded fighter now a days Nakajima is still solid. Ikeo has lost 3 of his last 5 and shouldn't prove much of a test here.
Another notable name on this card is the struggling Hikaru Marugame (6-2-1, 4). Marugame turned professional with high expectations and a strong amateur background but has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and cannot afford another slip up here. In the opposite corner to the Japanese fighter will be Filipino visitor John Ray Logatiman (5-4-2, 1), who looks to build on a career best win over Brian Lobetania here. This could be a real gut check for Marugame, who's career may be written off with another loss.