Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday we get the next show under the Diamond Glove banner, and it's an excellent card, with two title bouts, a mouth watering bout between two heavy handed fighters with single losses, and a former Rookie of the Year taking on a once touted former amateur stand out.
The first of the 4 notable bouts will see the unbeaten, and JBC ranked, Akira Hoshuyama (7-0 4) take on Tomoki Kawasaki (2-2). Hoshuyama showed what he could do when he won the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year, and he looks like a genuine talent, who could well win a Japanese title down the line, though does have areas to work on and we suspect this bout will see him being asked a lot of questions. Kawasaki on the other hand was a very solid amateur, going 35-12 (8), and has been matched incredibly hard since turning professional, losing to the talented pairing of Jukiya Iimura and Josuke Nagata. Despite having two losses in his first 4 bouts we wouldn't write off the 22 year old here, and he has the skills to go a long, long way over the coming years.
Another excellent non title bout will see Homura Fujita (8-1, 6) clash with Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5), in what could be the show stealer. Fujita came runner up in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing in a 4 round shoot out with Kodai Honda, and has gone 3-0 (1) since then with a very notable win over Izuki Tomioka last time out. As for Yuba the second generation fighter is looking to score his second win since his dramatic 2021 loss to Jin Sasaki. Both of these men are young, both can punch, have some skills, and can make for something a little bit special. Given their styles we expect this to be a fire fight, and a bout that could end with just a single clean shot, from either man.
The first of two title fights will see Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) make her first defense of the Japanese female Minimumweight title, as she takes on Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1). On paper this looks like an easy first defense for Suzuki, and in all honest it would be a surprise to see Ichimura really ask any questions of her. Suzuki might not be a world champion in the making, but she looks like the sort of fighter who could be a staple in and around the top of the division domestically. Ichimura on the other hand looks very limited and it's hard to imagine her giving Suzuki anything close to a test. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Suzuki defends against Ichimura
In the main event we'll see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) look to kick off his third reign as a champion, as he defends the title against the once beaten Hayate Kaji (15-1, 9), in an excellent match up. Nakagawa won the title for the third time earlier this year, when he out boxed veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka, and showed there was still life left in his legs, despite the fact he's in his mid 30's. As for Kaji he is looking to put the disappointment of a very controversial 2021 loss to Ryoji Fukunaga behind him. Nakagawa is a very solid technical fighter, who has proven his toughness and his will to win, but given his age there are questions about how much longer he can continue to compete at the top of the domestic scene. As for Kaji he looks like he could be the emerging Japanese hopeful at 115lbs and will come in to this bout as a man with a point to prove, following his loss to Fukunaga last year. This could be a very compelling technical chess match. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kaji gets second shot at title as he takes on Japanese champion Nakagawa
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The only Asian action this coming Saturday is Japanese card and it's a pretty interesting one, as well as their first live televised show of the new year.
The main event of the show will see Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-2, 6) and Kenshin Oshima (7-1-1, 3) battle for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title, the cursed title. The title was made vacant when Yusuke Suzuki vacated due to injury, and continued a rather long line of events which plagued the title in recent years, including Sawada fighting to a technical draw for the title last year. Both Sawada and Oshima are looking to win their first title, and this is a meaningful bout, despite the recent history of the Japanese Bantamweight title. It is also a match up that looks likely to be really interesting, with both of the men involved in this being talented boxers, with Sawada being the more polished and aggressive, but Oshima being a smart counter boxer. This might not being a thrilling all action bout, but it should be a really, really interesting technical chess match. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sawada and Oshima battle for Japanese national title!
For those wanting action, we should get some explosive action in the main support bout, as Kaiki Yuba (7-1-2, 5) take on Tetsuya Kondo (6-4, 4). For Yuba this will be his first bout since a dramatic loss last year year to Jin Sasaki in a Japanese Youth title fight. We suspect Yuba will be seeking to make a statement following that loss. Kondo on the other hand has lost his last two, but shouldn't be written off, and has the power to take Yuba out if he connects. This should be a dramatic bout, even if the action isn't the most intense.
Other bouts on this card include a very interesting match up between the touted Yuki Nakajima (4-1-2, 4), who comes into this on the back of two disappointing draws, and former Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (8-5-1, 2). This bout is one where both will feel it's a must win. Neither has been having good results recently, with Kameyama losing 3 of his last 4, and we expect this one to be a really good little war between two men each looking to advance their career with a much needed win.
One other bout worthy of some attention is a 6 rounder between the once beaten Ren Kobayashi (4-1-1, 2) and the unbeaten Shinba Yamaguchi (1-0-1, 1). Yamaguchi, a second generation fighter, is the son of former WBA Light Flyweight world champion Keiji Yamaguchi, and looked really explosive on his debut, before being held to a draw in his second pro bout. Sadly he's been out of the ring for close to 2 years due to the ongoing pandemic. Kobayashi on the other hand started his career with 3 straight wins but is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and has struggled for form, though did fight twice last year and will be hoping his recent activity will prove vital for him here.
Attention turns to Osaka this coming Tuesday for the first notable show of October, which features a world title fight, a bout featuring a #1 contender and a fight with a promising prospect.
The world title bout is an all-Japanese contest that pits Hiroto Kyoguchi (13-0, 9) against Tetsuya Hisada (34-9-2, 20). The bout will see Kyoguchi looking to make his second defense of the WBA "super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight titles as he takes on the very experienced Hisada, who's biggest success has been at the Japanese domestic level. The talented and aggressive Kyoguchi is strongly favoured here, and is expected to move on to world title unification bouts in the near future. At 34, and soon to be 35, it's now or never for Hisada and this is likely to be his only shot at a world title. Interestingly this bout is an all Osakan affair, with both men being from Osaka Prefecture. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kyoguchi takes on Hisada in Osakan showdown!
In the chief support bout the WBA #1 ranked Featherweight Hiroshige Osawa (35-5-4, 21) will fight in a stay busy bout against Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (30-26-1, 19). The Japanese fighter is hoping to land a second world title fight, potentially against Can Xu in 2020, so can ill afford a slip up here and can't look past Butar Butar. Saying that however the Indonesian has lost both of his previous fights in Japan and isn't regarded as much of a threat given his struggles against weak domestic opponents so far.
In another supporting bout we'll see second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba (5-0-2, 3), the son of former 5-weight Japanese national champion Tadashi Yuba, take on 22 year old Mikado Konishi (6-2, 4). Yuba has had some misfortune recently, resulting in 2 of his last 4 bouts ending in technical decisions. The unbeaten southpaw will be doing all he can to avoid that here. Konishi is less proven, and touted, than Yuba, but he is a threat here with his power and toughness and could be a genuine test for Yuba in this 6 rounder.
After a few days of no action we return to the Korakuen Hall for a show headlined by a Japanese title unification bout at Bantamweight. As well as the title bout, the card also features some pretty notable fighters in supporting bouts.
The main event, as mentioned, is a unification bout for the Japanese Bantamweight title, with regular champion Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) taking on interim champion Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19). Saito, who won the regular belt last year when he stopped Eita Kikuchi, was supposed to defend his belt late last year but was forced out of a scheduled defense due to ill, that illness then lead to Kimura fighting for the interim title. The 31 year old Saito will be fighting for the first time since his illness was diagnosed. As for Kimura this will be his third shot at the Japanese title, and a win would be regarded as his best victory to date. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Saito and Kimura battle to unify Japanese throne!
Interesting the next defense for the winner of the main event will see be against Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6), who is on this card, taking on Indonesian foe Kichang Kim (9-7-1, 2). If we're being honest this should be little more than a confidence building win for Suzuki, who has been out of the ring since October 2017, due to injury. Suzuki is a real nightmare to fight and if he's healthy here we expect a very dominant display against the limited Kim.
Another fight in a supporting role on this card is Kaiku Yuba (4-0-1, 2), who have been informed will be up against a Chinese fighter whilst the debuting Toshiya Ishii (0-0) will be up against Indonesian Adam Wijaya (2-2). It's hard to imagine anything but wins for the locals.
This coming Wednesday is a notable day in Asian boxing, with a big fight in Thailand, and a small yet noteworthy card in Japan.
The Thai show will be headlined by the rematch between WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (18-0, 7) and Nicaraguan foe Byron Rojas (25-3-3, 11), who he actually beat for the title in 2016. Knockout had been the interim champion prior to taking the full title from Rojas, and since winning the full title he has made 5 defenses including wins over Shin Ono, Rey Loreto and Xiong Zhao Zhong. In recent fights the champion has looked solid and dependable, rather than sensational and exciting, with an going joke that his name should be Unanimous Decision CP Freshmart. As for Rojas he comes into the bout on an 8 fight winning streak, though those wins have come at a much lower level than Knockout's and it's unclear how he will cope with the step back up in class. Given their first bout we're not anticipating a thrilling clash here. A preview of this bout is available here Knockout and Rojas meet in rematch for WBA crown!
In Tokyo we'll get another in the Japan Vs China series of shows that Dangan have been putting on.
Among the fighters included on this card is former amateur stand out Shu Utsuki (2-0, 1), who we believe is taking on fellow unbeaten Da Xu (3-0-1, 1) in an 8 round Super Featherweight bout. Utsuki is tipped to be a star and we have to strongly favour him to defeat the Chinese teenager.
Another unbeaten Japanese prospect on this card is Tsubasa Murachi (2-0, 2), who faces off with limited visitor Sheng Peng (3-5, 2), in another that should go Japan's way however we are interested to see what Murachi can show here.
One other Japanese prospect on this card is Kaiki Yuba (3-0-1, 2), though sadly we don't have the name of his opponent.
Arguably the best of the Japan Vs China bouts is a match up between the limited pairing of Shun Wakabayashi (8-3, 1) and Xian Qian Wei (13-6-1, 1). Both of these fighters are very flawed, lack power, but do make for entertaining contests and we wouldn't be surprised to see this being the potential bout of the day, with a high intensity and the belief that either man can win.
This card will also include an OPBF female title bout as Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) battles Jujeath Nagaowa (13-18-1, 8) for the Minimumweight title. Both of these fighters have come up short at the top level, but they should make for a competitive bout against each other, with both being flawed and limited fighters. Despite their limitations they aren't actually bad fighters and this could be a very entertaining distraction from the Japan Vs China competition.
A third card for the day will come from Shenzhen in China, with a trio of title bouts on the card.
In a WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Crruiserweight title fight Chinese local hopeful Peng Qu (13-2-1, 9) will take on the hard hitting Abraham Tabul (14-1-1, 12). This will be Qu's second bout since abandoning the Light Heavyweight division at the turn of the year, following a loss to Gasan Gasanov, and we suspect his frame will suit Cruiserweight much better than it did at 175lbs. Saying that however Cruiserweights do hit significantly harder than the Light Heavyweights he had previously been fighting and we expect to see him being chin checked here. Tabul, from Accra in Ghana, is 0-1 outside of his homeland, and his competition so far lacks any real quality and it's very hard to know what he brings to the ring.
A second title fight on this show will see Cheng Su (12-2-1, 6) battle against Thai foe Panturak Namtong (10-4-1, 7) for the WBO Oriental Super Welterweight title. It's hard to know what either man has done to get a shot at this belt, given that neither has notched a win of note and both have suffered a recent stoppage loss to a poor opponent. All things considered we suspect the local will pick up the win, but he's not going to go much further as a professional.
Sadly the biggest name on the card, OPBF Silver Super Featherweight champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) is actually a man involved in the biggest mismatch on the card, as he defends his title against Wisitsak Saiwaew (6-7, 5), who is best known for being stopped by Watanabe's stablemate Sho Kimura, at Flyweight. We are huge admirers of Watanabe, and his career has been a thoroughly entertaining one as well as one which has seen him fighting in Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taipei and China, but this is his third limited foe in a row. This really is little more than a show case for the talented. tough and exciting Watanabe.
This coming Monday fight fans in Japan get the chance to see a really intriguing domestic level card combining competitive match ups, youth and and fighters looking to prove themselves.
The main event of the show should be something very special as the always fun to watch Kenya Yamashita (12-3, 9) takes on the experienced Hayato Kimura (26-10, 17). It's hard to think of a dull fight featuring Yamashita, who is an ultra-aggressive fighter always looking for the KO and in Kimura he should find someone able to take his power early on and have a war. Coming into this Yamashita is ranked #5 by the JBC at 115lbs whilst Kimura is ranked #6 and both men will know that a win here will move them close to a shot at the national title.
Talking about titles there will be a JBC Youth Lightweight title fight on the card, as Izuki Tomioka (5-0, 1) takes on Kaiki Yuba (3-0, 2). The talented Tomioka will be seeking his 2nd defense of the title, and although a genuine talent there is a feeling that he lacks the power needed, at the moment, to move on to the next level. If, or when, Tomioka adds that power then there is a huge ceiling for him to aim for. As for Yuba he looks like a man with that power already there and will be looking to prove that he really is the future in this bout. Aged 19 Yuba has the potential to go much further than his father, a 5-weight Japanese national champion, but this is certainly a step up for him.
A really interesting match up will see recent Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yuta Saito (10-8-3, 7) take on Naoya Okamoto (12-6-1, 6). Saito came up short last time out, suffering a 9th round TKO loss to Ryo Akaho, but was competitive prior to the stoppage, and is certainly better than his record suggests. Okamoto is also better than his record suggests, and comes in to this bout on the back of wins against Gaku Aikawa and Daisuke Watanabe, two of his very best. This should be a very intriguing and exciting match, despite their records suggesting otherwise.
Another interesting bout on this show will see Kenichi Watanabe (7-3-1, 4) end an almost 2 year break from action as he takes on the light punching Joe Tanooka (14-4-4, 1). Watanabe was stopped in 2 of his last 3, with Akinori Hoshino and Hiroaki Teshigawara both stopping him, but with some time out of the ring there is a chance we will see him revitalised here. Tanooka was stopped inside a round last time out, by Yamashita, and will be looking to get his career back on track here in what should be a very competitive contest.
After a few quiet days in Asian boxing we get back into the swing of things on Thursday, as we approach the weekend with a great card from the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event we'll see former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan (29-4-6, 9) make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, as he takes on the always fun towatch Hiroaki Teshigawara (14-2-2, 8). The Filipino won the title earlier this year, when he took a technical decision win over Tatsuya Takahashi, and will be looking for a third straight win. Although coming in on a big win Pabustan is inconsistent and often involved in messy bouts, with a staggering 13 technical decisions in his 39 fight career. For Teshigawara the bout willserve as his first title contest, but he has mixed with good competition fighting to a draw with Hideo Sakamoto and narrowly losing to Ryo Akaho last October. Given the styles of the two men this should be action packed, but given Pabustan's reputation this may get messy and heads may get involved.
In a solid supporting bout we'll see the under-rated Ryuto Araya (11-5-1, 3) looks to bounce back from a loss in an OPBF title fight to Ryo Takenaka. In the opposite corner to Araya will be former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (9-8-1, 3), who will be fighting for just the second time since the end of 2015. Both men will feel they need a win to remain relevant and both will know that a loss will be very hard to bounce back from. We're not expecting a war here, but this should prove to be an compelling contest.
Youngster Kaiki Yuba (2-0, 2) has looked like a real one to watch so far, and he'll be looking to continue his momentum as he takes on the tough Pablito Canada (6-12-3, 1). So far Yuba has fought just 4 rounds, but the second generation fighter is expected to reach huge heights, like his father Tadashi Yuba a 5-weight domestic champion. The Filipino journeyman has been stopped once in his 21 fight career, being stopped by Jon Jon Estrada last year, but has since gone the distance with Jelbirt Gomera, Hirotsugu Yamamoto and Hironori Mishiro. This should be a win for Yuba, but also a good solid test of what he does when a fighter doesn't just fall over.
Another under-card bout on this card will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (11-2-1,7) return for his first fight in over a year. The talented Tobe, who really has had a frustrating career plagued with inactivity and untimely setbacks, will be expecting an easy win here as he takes on Thai visitor Saengthong Tor Buamas (5-2, 5), who has been stopped in his last 2 visits to Japan, and is unlikely to avoid the same fate here.
We get the next Dangan card this coming Tuesday and although the card isn't a particularly stacked one, it's hard not to be very excited about the main event, which has the potentially to be a FOTY style war, and with an OPBF title bout as a co-feature bout it's hard not to give the show some real attention.
The aforementioned potential FOTY will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (28-4, 13) battle with interim champion Masayuki Kuroda (26-7-3, 15) in an exciting looking bout, which will also serve as a rematch. The two men fought last year, with Kogawa easily beating Kuroda, but since then the champion has suffered an ear injury and gone through a number of hard rounds. The injury opened to the door for Kuroda to claim the interim title and now we'll see the two men face off in what has the potential to be an all out war. Both men are limited, flawed but exciting and that combination tends to make for thrilling fights,as we're expecting here.
The co-feature is also at Flyweight as Filipino Richard Claveras (17-2-2, 14) takes on Japan's Keisuke Nakayama (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the OPBF Flyweight crown. The title, vacated by Daigo Higa, has often been a stepping stone to world class and winning it would be the biggest achievement for either man. Claveras is best known for losing in a world title fight to Pedro Guevara, being stopped in a round, but has improved since then and will be favoured. Nakayama on the other hand is one of the more obscure Japanese Flyweights, and is taking a huge step up for this fight, with his most notable result so far being a very wide loss to Hiroyuki Hisataka.
In another supporting bout we'll see 21 year old Japanese fighter Taiju Shiratori (7-2, 4) take on Filipino veteran Prell Tupaz (10-31-5, 2) in an 8 rounder. Tupaz appears to have been selected to make Shiratori look good, but the youngster has been stopped twice already and it seems clear that he'll be in need of some real seasoning, which seems to be the aim here against a true veteran like Tupaz.
Also in a supporting bout we'll see second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba (1-0, 1) battle against Filipino visitor Bener Santig (5-1-1, 1). Yuba, the son of Tadashi Yuba, looked fun in his debut but is facing a much bigger test here and Santig won't have travelled to pick up a loss. Whilst the Filipino will be the under-dog he has experience in his favour and is a hungry fighter himself.
To end February Dangan give us a nice looking card with a title double header and several fighters of note on the under-card.
One of the title bouts will see Yuta Matsuo (12-2-1, 6) and Masayuki Kuroda (25-7-3, 15) battle for the “interim” Japanese Flyweight title. The two men, who are facing off whilst Flyweight champion Takuiya Kogawa recovers from an ear injury, will be guaranteed a shot at the full title later in the year if they win here. Of the two men Kuroda is the more well known, he's a former Japanese Light Flyweight champion and has fought for a WBA Flyweight world title in the past, he is however a fighter who has struggled recently, with a 4-4-3 record in his last 11 dating back 5 years. Matsuo on the other hand is getting his first title fight, though has beaten solid fighters like Yota Hori and Ryuto Oho so far in his career, and fought to a very narrow loss against Ardin Diale. This should be a very competitive and fun to watch contest.
The other title bout sees Watanabe's fast rising Hiroto Kyoguchi (5-0, 5) take on Filipino veteran Armando dela Cruz (25-14-3, 11) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title, recently vacated by Ryuya Yamanaka. The bout seems to suggest that Watanabe are going to be pushing hard for Kyoguchi to get a world title fight this year, and although this fight was put together on about a month's notice it's hard to see the unbeaten youngster coming up short against the veteran.
The main under-card bout looks like a genuine treat as the under-rated Reiya Abe (13-2, 7) takes on the once beaten Joe Noynay (12-1-1, 4). Although relatively unknown outside of Japan Abe has been impressing fans in Tokyo recently with notable wins over Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Shingo Kusano and Tsuyoshi Tameda, showing poise, skills and power. Noynay, also known as Joe Misako, will be looking to score his first win outside of the Philippines and although he has got a good looking record this is a big step up for him here.
Another of the under-card bouts will feature the debuting Kaiki Yuba (0-0) making his debut, as he takes on Thai visitor Petchmahalert Eminent Air (0-4). Yuba is the son of the popular Tadashi Yuba, a 5-weight Japanese national champion and is expected to have a strong career going forward. His interest hasn't recieved massive attention but it is clear that those in Japan are hoping that he can have a similar level of popularity to his father.