April 24th - World and Regional title fights in Japan, world title eliminator in South Africa and more!
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day, with two notable Japanese shows, a world title eliminator in South Africa and a show in the Philippines featuring several noteworthy fighters.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card comes from Osaka and is a lovely mix of everything Japanese boxing has to offer. It has a world title bout in the main event, a brilliant domestic bout in the co-feature role and several talented prospects in tough bouts through the card.
The main event will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) look to record his latest defense as he faces Japanese veteran Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20), in a bout that has a surprising amount of history behind it. The two men were originally scheduled to fight in 2017, before Kenshiro vacated the Japanese title and went on to fight for the WBC belt. They were also scheduled to fight in 2020, before legal issues scuppered the bout. Of the two men Kenshiro is the more well known and the more proven, with this being his 8th defense, but the highly experienced Hisada is a very capable fighter, who gave Hiroto Kyoguchi a tough test in 2019 and will know that this is his last chance at a world title. We expect this one to be a brilliant bout between a strong, aggressive, veteran and a talented and intelligent champion. A genuinely fantastic match up. Our in depth preview of this can be read here 4 years in the making - Kenshiro Teraji Vs Tetsuya Hisada
The co-feature for this show will see talented teenage hopeful Ayumu Hanada (5-0, 4) take on the huge punching Mammoth Kazunori (6-3-1, 6) in a 6 round bout between the Flyweight and Super Flyweight limits. Hanada began his career in Mexico before moving back to Japan last year and he made his JBC debut late last year in a very impressive performance. He's very young, but lives up to the "Flaco" nickname, with an aggressive, exciting and explosive style. Talking about explosive however Kazunori is one of the heaviest handed fighters in Japan, and if he catches an opponent clean he can wipe some one out. This is a very dangerous bout for Hanada, but a win here will likely lead him to a potential bout with a Japanese ranked opponent next time out.
Another prospect on this card is Kantaro Juri (2-0, 1), who looks to score his third win as he takes on the light punching Toma Kondo (8-6-1, 1). The 24 year old Juri is a talented southpaw, who has a lot of promise and showed a lot of ability as an amateur, but is yet to show what he can really do as a professional. Fingers crossed we see him put together a better performance here than we've seen from him so far. Kondo is no world beater, but he is much better than his record suggests and 4 of his 6 losses have been by split decision. He's coming in to this on the back of a minor high, as he he surprisingly held Yuki Nakajima to a draw in December, and will feel like he can build on that result here.
One other bout that deserves a bit of attention is a match up between Daiki Asai (0-1) and Yu Konomura (10-9-2, 4). Asai lost his debut, last year, to Kyonosuke Kameda, but showed a lot as an amateur and clearly has some tools in his arsenal that could see him in some interesting bouts over the next few years. Konomura is a win some-lose some, type of fighter, but has began to find his self belief and power, scoring his last 3 wins by stoppage, and we suspect he'll come in to this confident that he can get another KO. Both of these guys are better than their records suggest, and they could end up giving a genuine treat deep on the under-card of this show.
Convention Center, Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan
A second Japanese card, which will be aired live in Okinawa and be shown on tape delay in Tokyo, will be a card that has a very easy to over-look main event, and a solid prospect on the under-card. It's not as interesting, or as big as the Osaka card, but is a show worthy of attention.
The main event here will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) look to score his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, as he takes on the unbeaten Ryosuke Nishida (3-0, 1). Higa won the title in impressive fashion last December, when he stopped Yuki Strong Kobayashi, but hasn't looked the most convincing since his forced move to Bantamweight. He is certainly heavy handed and very exciting, but we do wonder whether he has the natural size to compete against the better fighters in the division. For Nishida this is a massive step up, but he has impressed since turning professional, and he looked a real talent last time out, when he beat Shohei Omori. He has the style and size to neutralise Higa, and if he can put a complete performance together here he could upset the local hero. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Higa returns to Okinawa to take on unheralded Nishida!
Higa's once beaten stablemate Ryuto Owan (6-1, 4) will also be on this show, as he takes on the tough and rugged Takafumi Iwaya (4-4). Owan won his first 5 bouts before losing in 2018, in a Japanese Youth title bout. Following that loss he disappeared for a couple of years before returning last year with a win over Tomoya Kishine and he looked really good in that win. Iwaya isn't a particularly well known fighter, but he is insanely tough and last year we saw him take a battering at the hands of the brilliant Rentaro Kimura, before finally being stopped in round 5. He's very limited but there is no doubting his toughness and he will be a potential nightmare for Owan here. Owan should have the tools to win, but he will have to work hard against one of the toughest men in the sport.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
Over in Thailand we get the next show from TL Promotions and it's one with a very peculiar main event.
That main event will see former Welterweight contender Teerachai Sithmorseng (44-1, 31) clash with former Bantamweight and Super Featherweight champion Sirimongkhon Iamthuam (97-5, 62), with the bout taking place all the way up at Light Heavyweight. The bout will be for Teerachai's WBA Asia title and it's fair to say that neither man will look in their best physical shape and condition.
The show will also feature the third professional boxing contest of Nonthasith Petchnamthong (2-0) who will be defending his WBA Asia Bantamweight title , as he takes on Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5). Nonthasith is a top Muay Thai fighter who has been solid since turning to professional, and should be far, far too good for his Thai foe here. Though sadly Nonthasith has shown little power in professional boxing gloves, and it's going to be interesting to see whether or not he can stop his limited foe here.
2nd Floor, Mega Mart Burgos Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines
In the Philippines we're set to get a show that is rather disappointing overall, but one that does feature several fighters of note. Sadly however as with many Filipino shows it has the look of "mismatch city".
One of the notable fighters on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (5-0, 4), who had been tipped as a future force for Filipino boxing when he turned professional. The now 32 year old Suarez turned professional disappointingly late and now, in his 6th bout, is taking on regional journeyman Lorence Rosas (9-5-2, 3). We know that Filipino fighters, like Japanese fighters, are limited right now due to travel issues brought on by covid19 but in reality Rosas is a poor choice of opponent, and he shouldn't really force Suarez to break a sweat. Rosas has lost his last 4, last fought in 2019, as a Super Bantamweight, and offers very little to test Suarez with.
In a potentially better match up the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (21-11-2, 6), who is much, much better than his record suggests, will take on Landy Cris Leon (13-21-5, 6). Although Pumicpic's record is underwhelming he's a real nightmare to fight and has given the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Musashi Mori fits. He record might not show it, but he is a legitimate handful at the Oriental title level and shouldn't be over-looked, even with 11 losses to his name. Leon on the other hand has gone from once being a decent regional journeyman to a man who has started to collect losses bout after bout after bout. This should be an easy win for Pumicpic, but given he's lost his last 3 we won't complain too much. He deserves an easy one if we're being honest.
Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Japan the most significant bout of the day comes from South Africa, where once beaten Filipino Christian Araneta (19-1, 15) takes on hard hitting South African prospect Sivenathi Nontshinga (9-0, 9), in what is an IBF world title eliminator at 108lbs. The talented Araneta suffered his only loss in 2019, when an arm injury forced him to retire against Daniel Valladares, in what was a fantastic though disappointingly short bout. Since that loss he has notched 2 domestic wins and appears hungry to make a statement. Nontshinga on the other hand is somewhat unknown outside of South Africa but has got notable wins over Siyabonga Siyo and Ivan Soriano. Interestingly he did go 7 rounds before stopping Muhsin Kizota in 2018, the same Kizota who looked clueless recently against Hasanboy Dusmatov, and there maybe is some doubt about how good he really is. The winner of this will be right in the mix and may well end up getting a shot at Felix Alvarado later in the year. This is easy to over-look but could be the bout that steals the weekend.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten German based Thai Phannarai Netisri (7-0, 4) fight for a WBC Youth title. Sadly her opponent, at the time of writing, is yet to be announced as her original opponent appears to have been pulled out of the contest due to some nasty injuries suffered in their last bout. "Fai" is a really exciting young fighter at just 20 years old, and it's going to be very interesting to see how she develops from here
GK Ekaterininskiy, Krasnodar, Russia
As well as everything we've already mentioned there is also set to be an appearance from rising Uzbek hopeful Ulugbek Qayumboev (4-0, 4), who will be looking for his 5th straight early win as he takes on a yet to be named opponent. The 20 year old Qayumboev, who fights around the Lightweight division, debuted last year and has been blowing out very low level competition so far. Fingers crossed we see him stepping up later this year, though sadly this bout doesn't seem like to be much of an upgrade given no opponent was named 7 days out.
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.