Balbir Singh Juneja Stadium, Chattisgarh, India
This coming Wednesday there is some very notable action in India, where several of the biggest names in Indian boxing will be in action.
The biggest of the bouts on this show is set to be the comeback of former amateur standout Vijender Singh (12-1, 8), who will be fighting for the first time since losing to Artysh Lopsan back in March 2021. In the opposite corner to the 36 year old Singh will be the unbeaten Eliasu Sulley (8-0, 8), from Ghana, who fights for the first time since December 2020, and only the second time since 2017. At his best Singh was a fringe top 15 type of fighter, who had plenty to off, but at 36 this feels like something of a farewell bout, to end his career on a win. Sulley's record looks good on paper, but his 8 wins have come against opponents with a combined 7 wins and 73 losses, which suggests he's incredibly limited.
The unbeaten Karthik Kumar (8-0, 3) will be seeking his first win of the year as he takes on fellow Indian Ashish Sharma (2-1). Kumar has been unbeaten since debuting in 2019, and has stepped up well, with his last bout being a good win over Hero Tito, which showed there was some genuine talent with Kumar. As for Sharma, he has won his last two, after losing on debut, but his competition has been really limited so far and this is a big step up for him.
A third bout of note will see 21 year old hopeful Faizan Anwar (12-0, 5) battle against the out of form Sachin Nautiyal (6-2, 5), who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3. Anwar is one of the better Indian prospects, but amazingly this will actually be his Indian debut, with all of his bouts taking place outside of his homeland, with most taking place in Dubai. As for Nautiyal his wins so far have come against novices, all in India, whilst his two losses have come away from home. It's hard to imagine Anwar being really tested here, but Nautiyal is danger and has stopped 5 opponents in the first 2 rounds.
Art Center, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The most notable of three Japanese shows this coming Sunday is in Hyogo, where we get a card from Senrima Kobe Promotions.
The main event of the card will see two Japanese ranked Super Flyweights battling against each other as Hiroki Tokuyama (10-3-1, 2) clashes with Ryosuke Nasu (12-7-3, 2), and going in the two men will know that a win will push them to within a fight or two of a Japanese title fight. It will also be an interesting bout with a bit of history given these two men fought in August 2020, with Nasu winning a clear decision. Of the two men Nasu is the more more proven, and he holds a win over Tokuyama, but he has lost his 2 bouts and was surprisingly stopped by Sonin Nihei in April. Tokuyama on the other hand has bounce back from his loss to Nasu with a win over Shunji Nagata and will be looking to build on that win. We don't expect this bee the best bout of the weekend, but it should be a compelling bout between two men each looking to move their career forward.
In another interesting match up the 30 year old Hiroyuki Takahara (9-3, 6) will be looking to over-come Ryuya Nihei (5-2-1, 1) in what could be a very hard to call 6 rounder. Takahara has the experience and has got real momentum coming in to this, having won his last 5 bouts, dating back almost 4 years, including a notable win over Tom Mizokoshi last year. Nihei on the other hand is the younger man, at 23, but also the one struggling for form, with just a single win in his last 4 bouts and losses in his last 2.
A third bout of interest here will see professional novices Josuke Nagata (1-0) and Tomoki Kawasaki (1-1) clash in a 6 rounder. Nagata made his debut in June, beating Koji Tsurumi in an impressive performance and it was clear that he's certainly one to watch going forward, and someone with a decent amateur background. Though of course he's a novice who will need time to develop. Kawasaki on the other hand was a good amateur himself who lost to Jukiya Iimura on debut, in June, before bouncing back with a win in September. Whilst neither of these men have much professional experience, but are young, hungry fighters, who were good amateurs, are clearly skilled fighters and aren't scared of facing good competition from the off as they look to develop and progress quickly at the start of their careers.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
A second Japanese show will be in Aichi, where we see a couple of interesting looking 6 rounders.
The main event on this show will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Hiroya Nojima (7-1, 3) take on Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2). The once beaten Nojima has reeled off 4 straight wins since a 2019 loss to Hoare Yasui, and won the the All Japan Rookie of the Year this past February. On paper this is a step up for him, but he comes into it with momentum and on the back of a blow out win over Shoma Okada in July. As for Nishikawa he is 1-3-1 in his last 5, and really needs a win now. Nishikawa has no momentum coming in to this, but will fight like a man who needs a victory, and could be a banana skin for the promising Nojima.
The second bout of note on this card, and the planned chief support bout, will see 30 year old veteran Takahiro Murai (15-9-2, 5) take on unbeaten 22 year old Atsuki Nakamura (5-0-1, 3). On paper this is a hard one to call, especially given that that neither man has been all that active in recent years. Murai did fight this past July, but that was his only bout since in over 3 years, and it's hard to know what he has left to offer, especially given he's 1-3 in his last 4 dating back more than 5 years. Nakamura on the other hand hasn't fought since December 2019, and we do wonder whether ring rust will be a problem for him here.
Chres Gym, Kochi, Kochi, Japan
A third Japanese show will take place in Kochi, and will be headlined by an 8 rounder between Sora Fukunaga (9-0, 4) and Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2). The unbeaten Fukunaga won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight back in February, but has sadly not fought since beating Yuki Yazan in that final. Notably this will be his first 8 rounder and in fact his first bout scheduled for more than 5 rounds. As for Kimoto he's yet to achieve anything of note, though his record is very, very misleading and all 5 of his losses have been razor thin, including a notable one against Tom Mizokoshi in 2019. We suspect Fukunaga will take home his 10th win here, but he will have to work for it.
Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad, India
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in India. This show isn't a big one, but the main event is certainly worth being aware of.
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!
This coming Friday our attention will be turning to India of all places, for what appears to be one of the biggest and most notable Indian shows in history. It features their biggest name professional in the main event and several other notable fighters on the show in what looks like an interesting event, albeit one that won't create waves outside of India.
The big name in action on the show is the unbeaten Vijender Singh (12-0, 8), a former amateur standout who has been promoted by both Frank Warren and Bob Arum, with neither managing to turn him into the star they had been expecting. Sadly for the now 35 year old Singh his career seems unlikely to go much further, but it's nice to see him back in the ring after more than a year of inactivity. In fact this will be his first bout since November 2019. Sadly however his opponent for the bout, Russian fighter Artysh Lopsan (4-1-1, 2), really brings nothing to the table. Last year Lopsan was stopped in 7 rounds by novice Pavel Silyagin, and we suspect he'll likely be stopped again here as Singh looks to shake some ring rust and put on a show for local fans.
Although Singh's bout appears to be a mismatch we do love the look of a supporting bout between Karthik Sathish Kumar (6-0, 3) and Sachin Dekwal (9-0, 6). A bout that actually looks like a real 50/50 match up, something we rarely see in India. The 24 year old Kumar has been matched incredibly softly, but has experience of fighting in Thailand, Dubai and India and has been, for the most part, fairly impressive against fellow novices. Dekwal on the other hand is the more experienced, more proven and slightly older man, and will likely be the favourite. Whichever way this one goes we suspect the winner will begin to be viewed as one of the key figures to build Indian boxing around.
Also on this card will be the once beaten Ramandeep Kaur (7-1, 1), who will be looking to avenge her loss in rematch with Rinky Inder Kishore (1-0). The two women battled in January 2020, with Kishore taking a 6 round split decision win over Kaur and Kaur will be looking to right that wrong. This is nothing amazing on paper, but with the back story between the two women the bout does have some genuine interest and intrigue to it.
New Delhi, India
It's India that takes our attention this coming Sunday as we get two cards from the country. The most notable of those takes place in New Dehli.
One of the more notable fighters on this card is the unbeaten Sachin Dekwal (6-0, 4), who will risk his unbeaten record against Jaskaran Singh (1-0-1). The 24 year old Sachin debuted just over 2 years ago and has already fought in the Philippines, Thailand and India. On paper this should be an easy win against a man who has never fought beyond 4 rounds, and has struggle against limited novices so far.
Another notable fighter on this card is 30 year old Kuldeep Dhanda (7-2, 1) who looks to rebuilding following a huge KO loss last year against Romero Duno, in what was a legitimate KO of the year contender. Singh, who has been out of the ring since February, will be taking on professional novice Rohan Rohan (1-0, 1) who debuted last November with an opening round win.
The other card takes place in Bangalore, and is much more a novice card, with very few fighters having more than 3 fights to their name, and of those that do have some experience their opponents haven't been named at the time of writing.
The most notable and experienced fighters here are female Flyweight Ramandeep Kaur (6-0) and Lightweight puncher Karthik Sathish Kumar (4-0, 3), who fought on an MTK card last September in Dubai. As mentioned though neither of these two have had opponents confirmed at the time of writing, and we wouldn't expect them to face anyone decent on short notice. Expect them both to pick up straight forward wins here.