This coming Sunday isn't a huge day for boxing, but if you're in Osaka, you may be in for a treat as the EDION Arena Osaka hosts 3 different shows, including the finals of the West Japan Rookie of the Year, which is split over 2 shows, and an unrelated show. As well as the West Japan Rookie of the Year events there is also set to be another Rookie of the Year event in Aichi as the Western and Central Japan Rookie of the Year winners clash.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the West Japan Rookie of the Year events is set to feature 5 bouts in total.
One of the most interesting bouts on this first show is the Light Flyweight bout which pits two real novices against each other, with Kohei Hosoda (1-0) battling against Takuma Kamigaki (1-0). Both of these men are in their early 20's, both have just 4 rounds to their names and neither is particularly well known, but they are only two wins away from fighting at All Japan Rookie of the Year final in February.
Another interesting match up will see Ren Nishimura (4-2, 2), who competed in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, taking on the hard hitting Shodai Morita (4-1, 3). This is one that promises to be explosive, with both men capable of hurting the other. This should be a very, very solid Super Bantamweight bout between two men with plenty of promise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
On the second West Japan Rookie of the Year show we'll see another 5 bouts.
One of the bouts on this card is a Welterweight clash between Mitsuyoshi Oshima (3-1, 1) and Yusa Toyonaka (2-2-1, 1). Welterweight bouts at Rookie of the Year tend to be very entertaining, as it's usually two big guys, at least for Japanese boxing, with some serious flaws, unloading on each other and that's exactly what we expect to see here.
On paper the bout on this card that promises the most is the Super Featherweight bout between Ryuichi Sakamoto (2-0, 2) and Takehiro Ogawa (1-0-1). Both of these men are 21 years old, unbeaten and will bring a lot of ambition into this one. Sakamoto has needed just over 3 minutes to score his first two wins, and he will be coming out guns blazing here, whilst Ogawa will be happy to go rounds, given his first two bouts have both gone the scheduled 4 round distance.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The third show from the EDION Arena Osaka is a card from Green Tsuda and will feature 7 bouts in total. The show isn't the deepest but does have some interesting match ups on it.
One of those interesting match ups is a female contest between Terumi Nuki (11-4, 8) and Marina Sayama (4-2-1, 2). Of the two fighters Nuki is the better known, having fought in several female world title bouts, including two against the legendary Mariana Juarez Sadly however she has lost 3 of her last 5 and is fighting for the first time in well over 2 years. Sadly Sayama hasn't been seen in the ring since the very end of 2019, when she lost in a Japanese title fight to Yume Hirayama and it's hard to know what ambition she has coming in to this given her lengthy inactivity. Whilst this is certainly not a mouth watering bout, it is certainly an interesting one and one we expect will provide great entertainment.
The most interesting bout on this card will see touted former amateur stand out Ran Tomomatsu (1-1) battle against Rookie of the Year king Katsuhiro Nakata (6-0, 4), in a potentially thrilling Middleweight bout. Tomomatsu was tipped for pretty big things on the domestic scene when he turned professional, in 2019. Tomomatsu lost his second bout, to Mikio Sakai, who has proven his quality since that bout. Nakata on the other hand showed what he could do in 2020, Reaching the All Japan final which he won in February this year in a great bout against Eiki Kani. Given the styles of the two men, with Tomomatsu being an aggressive boxer-fighter and Nakata being a tall boxer, this could end up being a genuinely brilliant little war.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
In Aichi we'll see the Central Japan and Western Japan Rookie of the Year winners clash, and they will actually go on to face the West Japan winners later in the year.
One of the most interesting bouts on this card is the Lightweight bout, which will pit 24 year old puncher Ren Yamabe (2-0, 2) against 20 year old Kuhiro Arimitsu (0-0). Both men debuted earlier this year, with Yamabe making his debut in May and Arimitsu in June, and both are showing some real promise. Yamabe, as a southpaw, has the trickier style, but Arimitsu has the edge in height and reach and this could be a a very tough one to predict.
Another interesting bout on this event will see will be at Flyweight, where teenagers Yuki Morikawa (1-0-2) takes on Kento Seki (1-0, 1). It's rare for two 18 year olds to clash in Rookie of the Year, but for them to face off just 2 wins from a place in the All Japan Final is even rare. Of the two Morikawa is the more experienced, and is also the taller man and a southpaw, but he lacks power and has gone the distance in all 3 of his bouts. Seki on the other hand showed good power and aggression in his debut, back in June, and looks to be the man with some pop coming into this one.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Sunday we will see last year's All Japan Rookie of the Year tournament come to an end, ending a tournament that has seen it's final pushed back 2 months, from it's original December date, due to Covid19. Despite the delay the finals are still set to be something special, and will be shown live on G+, though sadly the event will be a fan-less one.
Rather than going through the full card, which will feature 12 bouts in total, we'll just talk about a few that we think will be the most fun to watch, or have the best long term prospects involved.
The first bout we think could be a little bit special is the Super Flyweight bout, which will see Shunpei Kubo (6-1-1, 4) clash with Taichi Sugimoto (6-0-1, 1). To reach this bout Kubo had to upset Kosuke Tomioka in the East Japan final, in what was a genuine surprise, and he'll be flying high here. Despite his loss, suffered in 2019, Kubo has gone 4 fights unbeaten and will feel a huge boost of confidence following the win over the highly fancied Tomioka. Sugimoto on the other hand is a 22 year old who drew his secnd professional bout, but has since bounced back with 5 straight wins, and has shown he's very comfortable with the 4 round distance.
At Super Bantamweight Yuki Yazan (7-2, 4) will battle the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (8-0, 4) in a really good looking match up. The 29 year old Yazan has won his last 4 and was incredibly active last year, fighting 4 times in 2020. Despite that he did struggle in one of those bouts, but his route to the Rookie of the Year final did look rather easy, as he barely lost a round in his 3 Rookie bouts. Fukunaga on the other hand is 23 years old, has stopped 4 of his last 5 though did struggle against Ren Nishimura in November, and it's clear that if he can't take opponents out he might be well struggle.
In the Super Featherweight bout the heavy handed Tsubasa Narai (6-0, 5) will take on fellow unbeaten fighter Seika Fukuda (5-0, 1). The 21 year old Narai has been really impressive in the Rookie of the Year, reaching the all Japan final with 3 straight stoppage wins, and it's clear he'll enter with the confidence of a man in great form and self belief. Fukuda on the other hand is a 21 year old non puncher. Despite not having much in terms of power Fukuda looked very good last time out, and, as an unbeaten fighter himself, will also be full of confidence. This should be a very interesting match up.
Another match up pitting unbeaten men against each other will see Eiki Kani (3-0-2, 1) take on Katsuhiro Nakata (5-0, 4). The 19 year old Kani reached the final following a brilliant 4 round bout with Kenji Yoshino, and he has shown an aggressive, exciting style, but it looks like he can be hurt. At 19 he is still a kid, but he has a very, very fan friendly style and will mature into a better fighter in the years to come. Nakata on the other hand is 29 years old and is an out and out puncher, with 4 stoppages in his 5 career bouts. If Kani gets into a fire fight he could be in trouble but his tenacity could be a problem for Nakata, and this could be a very, very explosive match up.