AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA
This coming Saturday is a relatively quiet one for Asian fighters but, and there isn't really too much to talk about. Thankfully however there is something huge taking place in the US and we do get a bout with a Japanese fighter, in what could end up being something a little bit special. Especially for fans who still tend not to make an effort to see the little men in action.
Of course the main event this weekend is a super fight between global boxing star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders, but on the under-card of that we'll see popular Japanese warrior Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) challenge WBO Light Flyweight champion Elwin Soto (18-1, 12), in a bout that has the potential to give us something amazing.
For fans who haven't seen Takayama before, the Japanese veteran is one of the sports real warriors and he has been in with a legitimate who's who of the lower weights since his debut back in 2000. He has faced the likes of Eagle Den Junlaphan, Yutaka Niida, Roman Gonzalez, Nkosinathi Joyi, Mario Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, and Jose Argumedo, among others. Not only has he faced the best but he's also beaten a number of the best and is a multi-time former champion at 105lbs who is now looking to become a 2-weight champion.
Soto on the other hand has been making quite a name for himself in the last 2 years as a huge punching youngster with a solid chin and a thrilling style. He won the WBO title in 2019, with a big upset over Angel Acosta, and is looking for his third defense here. Despite being a huge puncher Soto is regarded as a work in progress, and his win, last year, against Carlos Buitrago showed there was still a lot of work for him to do, though at the age of 24 there's also no rush.
Given the styles of the two men this has the potential to be a brilliant war between an old veteran, looking to go to the well one last time, and an emerging force of the lower weights. Don't be surprised if this is a lot more exciting than the main event of the show.
Our full, in depth, preview of this bout, can be read here Takayama gets a chance to become 2-weight champion! Faces hard hitting Soto
This coming Sunday is a great one for fight fans in Osaka Prefecture, with two shows in both Osaka City, thanks to a stacked Green Tsuda show and Rookie of the Year show.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
We'll start with the Green Tsuda card, which features 5 bouts we want to talk about and is the card with the name value.
The main event here will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) take on veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) in an 8 round Welterweight bout. Yada, is eying up an OPBF title fight in the new year, and will be looking to shine here in what should be an easy win for the "Nanaiwa Terminator". For him this will be his second bout since his 2019 epic against Yuki Beppu, which saw Beppu climb off the canvas numerous times to stop Yada in round 10 of a thriller. The 36 year old Ideta really isn't expect to be much of a threat here, especially given that he has gone almost 10 years without a win, going 0-12-1 in his last 13. This is a clear showcase for Yada to shine in.
Another former Japanese champion expecting to pick up an easy win here is former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11), who lost the title in 2019 to Kenta Nakagawa. The 29 year old Okumoto will be looking to bounce back from that loss as he takes on 22 year old Akio Furutani (8-4, 3). At his best Okumoto is a solid fighter, not spectacular but a very solid one, and one we expect to be hovering in and around the domestic title scene for a while. Furatani on the other hand is something of an unknown quantity. He back his career 4-4 but he really kicked on since a 2018 loss to Yoshiki Minato and has won his last 4 in a row, and looked progressively better, especially last time out with Keisuke Nakayama. This could be, potentially, a banana skin for Okumoto.
One of our favourite Japanese prospects will be on this card defending his JBC Youth Super Flyweight title, in what will be his last defense before he stops being considered a "youth" fighter. That man is defending champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8), who looks to defend his title against 23 year old challenger Satoru Hoshiba (7-4, 2). We have been really impressed by Shimomachi in recent performance and he has become a wonderfully talented boxer, with a counter puncher's mindset, and we expect to see him fighting for senior titles in the next year or two. Hoshiba on the other hand hasn't impressed in the same way, but has been getting valuable rounds recently and his last 2 bouts will have prepared him well for this bout. Interestingly these two men fought in the 2017 Rookie of the Year, with Shimomachi taking a majority decision over Hoshiba, and Hoshiba will clearly be wanting to avenge that loss as well as taking the title from Shimomachi. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Shimomachi looks to make final defense as he takes on Hoshiba for the second time!
Arguably the standout bout on the show will see former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) clash with former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7). Originally we were supposed to see this bout in November, before it cancelled due to Konishi receiving a positive Covid19 test and then he paid for testing himself which stated that he wasn't infected. Sadly the issues with Covid19 delayed the bout, before the teams quickly re-organised it and the bout got added tot his show. Given the styles of the two men, who are both high energy fighters who throw a lot of leather, this should be a spectacular battle of wills, though we do wonder what's left in the tank of the 37 year old Takayama.
An easy one to over-look on this show will be a match up between the touted Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) and the once beaten Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2). The unbeaten Maeda won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019, beating Kyonosuke Kameda in the final, and impressed back in August when he stopped Arashi Iimi in 2 rounds, in what was a very impressive and eye catching performance. Okubo on the other hand is a 23 year old who is very tall and rangy and has some momentum of his own coming into this bout, with back to back stoppage wins. We rate Maeda highly, but this certainly looks like a genuine test for the unbeaten 24 year old.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
In Osaka we'll find out who will represent West Japan in the All Japan final next year, as we get the penultimate bout in this year's Rookie of the Year. In total there are 12 bouts scheduled for the event, but as is typical with Rookie of the Year we've picked a handful of the most interesting match ups to look at.
At Featherweight we'll get a good looking bout between 22 year olds as Kakeru Mio (5-2, 3) clashed with Hikaru Fukunaga (7-1, 4). Coming in to this it's easy to feel that Fukunaga should be favoured, but he's certainly not looked unbeatable on his route to becoming the Western Japan champion earlier this year and his competition has, for the most part, been very inexperienced. Mio on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 4 but is dangerous and will likely look to jump on Fukunaga at the first sign of weakness.
The Welterweight bout has the best name on the show, as Bigbaby Okamoto (2-0, 1) takes on Hiroya Nojima (4-1, 2). The 26 year old Okamoto made his debut in September, with a narrow decision win, but impressed last time out, stopping Yusa Toyonaka. Nojima on the other hand has been a pro since early 2019 and began his career with 3 wins before a slip up in 2019 against Homare Yasui. Nojima will be hoping experience pays off, whilst Okamoto will be looking to make the most of his power and strength.
Sadly there is only one clash between fighters sporting 100% winning records and that comes at Middleweight where 29 year old Katsuhiro Nakata (4-0, 3) takes on 26 year old Norifumi Hayakawa (2-0, 2). The 6'1" Nakata began his career in 2018 with 2 stoppage wins, before taking well over a year out before returning for this Year's Rookie of the Year. He has impressed since returning to the sport and looks like a dangerous big guy, by Japanese standards. Hayakawa on the other hand began his professional campaign in August and has just 2 rounds to his name. We expect this to become a wild and crazy shoot out for a place in the All Japan final.
As well as the action in Japan we're also set for some other action. This includes a bout from Tanzania which will see local fighter Cosmas Cheka (24-13-6, 5) take on Filipino slugger Alvin Lagumbay (12-5-1, 10), in a battle for a light regarded UBO title. With 13 losses to his name Cheka is certainly no world beater, but the 25 year old Lagumbay hasn't impressed since his 2018 upset win over Keita Obara, and has now lost 3 of his last 6. Lagumbay will be a threat, but we suspect his ambition has gone and he'll end up losing a decision here.
There is also set to be a show in India, but this is very, very low level stuff and there's not a single bout of any note on the show, sadly.
This coming Monday is a great day for those wanting to follow Japanese boxing, with free live streams available and shows in both Hyogo and Tokyo. The day might not be the biggest, but there is plenty to be excited about, and plenty of potentially thrilling match ups and action
Bunka Center, Sanda, Hyogo, Japan
The first of the cards will be from Hyogo on a Taisei promoted card in Sanda. This event will have 4 bouts on it, and may well have the bout of the week on it.
That potential bout of the week will see former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) take on former 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7) in a bout that has the ingredients to be something truly special. For Takayama, who's now 37, the bout is a return to the professional ranks after a short lived flirtation with the amateur game, and he has eyes on getting another world title before hanging them up for good. For Konishi the bout is a must win following recent losses to Carlos Canizales and Felix Alvarado, another loss will be the end of his world title dreams. Given the styles of the two men expect this to be all action, bloody, thrilling and a bit of a war. The only real shame here is that this is scheduled for just 6 rounds.
Also on this show we'll see an 8 round bout we'll see Japanese ranked Flyweight Arata Matsuoka (9-6, 4) take on Hideyuki Watanabe (8-12-3, 6). On paper it's hard to see this being anything but a win for the 25 year old Matsuoka, who is a former Japanese Youth Flyweight champion. Although no world beater Matsuoka is much better than his record suggests and is 6-1 in his last 7. As for Watanabe he's actually 1-6 in his last 7, though has been competitive in a number of those losses, and could well be a banana skin for Matsuoka here. This is a much, much better bout than it looks on paper.
Bunka Center, Sanda, Hyogo, Japan
After the first card in Sanda we get another, at the same venue by the same promoter, who has essentially split the show in to two to deal with the on going guidelines on boxing in Japan. This only features 3 bouts but two of those are well worthy of attention.
The first of those two notable bouts will see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (28-2, 15) take on Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2), in what could be a genuinely intriguing and explosive encounter. The twice beaten Ishida is likely best known for his WBA world title bout with Kal Yafai in the UK, though was once touted as an outstanding prospect form the Ioka Gym, and the next star from the gym, following Kazuto Ioka. That promise has never been delivered on but he'll be aware that a loss almost certainly ends any dream of a second world title fight. Ishii on the other hand has been thrown in deep from the off, with his second bout coming against the then 8-0 Fumiya Fuse and his third but being a war with Haruki Ishikawa. A win for Ishii puts him straight into the domestic title picture. A brilliant, risky, and wonderful match up that we are really looking forward to.
The other bout on this second part of the event will see another former world title challenger in action as Riku Kano (16-4-1, 8), who has previously fought the aforementioned Katsunari Takayama, takes on Ryoki Hirai (13-6-1, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Kano was once regarded as a prodigy but with a 6-3 record in his last 9 he's fallen a long way short of expectations. Thankfully he is only 23, but it really does seem like he has got a lot of work to do to even come close to what was predicted for him. In Hirai we have an under-rated fighter who hasn't had much fanfare or success, but is in his prime and will see this as a great chance to make a mark on the sport around 8 years after his debut! A very interesting bout that will put the winner in the world title mix, and leave the loser with some serious questions to answer. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Kano and Hirai clash for WBO regional title
For fans wanting to watch the action from Hyogo it'll be streamed on TV Osaka's YouTube channel, who will be showing both parts of the event!
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
The other show is the latest in the A-Sign series of shows and will come from the Sinjuku FACE in Tokyo. On paper this is the less interesting of the 3 events from Japan, and sadly is another small show, with just 3 bouts on it.
In the main event we'll see emerging Welterweight star Jin Sasaki (8-0, 7) taking on Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-13-1, 9) in a 6 rounder. When we talk about prospects we usually consider their skills as the key factor, but with Sasaki we are looking at the full package, with the 19 year old having skills, power, charisma and the X-Factor. He looks like a genuinely bankable future star for Japanese boxing, and just needs to work on his defense and carry his destructive power up through levels. Sadly the 36 year old Miyazaki is unlikely to ask many questions of Sasaki, but if he lands clean he could end up giving Sasaki's chin a test.
In the chief support bout the exciting Ryugo Ushijima (4-1-2, 2) will be up against the light punching Hyuma Fujioka (10-10-1, 1). Although we don't see future world champion potential in Ushuijima he does make for fun fights and his 2019 bout with Shota Ogasawara was a real highlight and his 2020 bout with Ryukyu Oho was a fun one a few months ago. In Fujioka we have a tough but limited fighter, who should ask questions of Ushijima, but come up short in what should be a solid bout.
Sadly a bout between Hyoga Taniguchi (4-2-2, 1) and Hiro Ichimichi (4-0-1, 3), which looked excellent on paper, has had to be cancelled after Taniguchi was involved in a traffic accident. As a result the only other bout on this show will see Ken Koibuchi (6-4, 5) take on Tetsuya Kondo (4-2, 3), in what should be a very explosive, but lower level, bout.
For fans wanting to watch this show it will be shown on the A-Sign YouTube channel.
Dayao Walnut Culture Square, Chuxiong, China
We also have action in China, albeit at a much lower level, with 5 of the 6 bouts on the card being 4 rounders.
The one bout scheduled for longer than 4 rounds is an 8 rounder between Chunhua Yang (4-1-1, 2) and Jun Qi (2-1-1), who clash at Super Flyweight. Coming in to this Yang was beaten in September, in his only other bout this year, and his 4 wins have come against poor opposition and novices, with Qi will be facing his most experienced opponent to date.
We've had a bit of a break from major fighters recently but thankfully that break ends this weekend when we get a major show in Hyogo, a major that will sadly only be featured on TV in Osaka and not Tokyo.
A lot of the attention, rightfully, will be on the brilliant main event which pits 18 year old sensation Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5) up against veteran Katsunari Takayama (30-8-0-1, 12) in a wonderful match up for the vacant WBO Minimumweight title. Takayama, a multi-time champion, will be looking to show there is still life in the old dog here and will be looking to become a world champion one more time. For Kano the bout is about history and if he wins he will be come the youngster ever Japanese world champion. This bout really could be something very special.
In another world title bout we'll see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (11-0, 3) battle Australian Louisa Hawton (6-0, 3) in a contest for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title, a title last held by Eun Hye Lee of South Korea. Originally Hawton was signed to face Lee for the title but Lee has since given up the title and we'll instead see these two fight in what looks like a really interesting match up between two fighters looking to make the most of their first big chance.
A third title bout on this card will see Mika Iwakawa (5-4-1, 1) face off against Nonggig Sithjaanart (0-0) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. It's hard to say anything at all about the Thai however Iwakawa is nothing special, despite winning 2 of her last 3, both at Minimumweight.
Another notable “Japan Vs Thailand” bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) make his Japanese debut, as he faces Saijuea Tosandet (0-3). Akizuki has fought his 6 previous bouts in Thailand, where he has claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Bantamweight title. At just 18 years old he will be looking to make an immediate impact as he gets his first chance to impress Japanese fans and he'll soon be looking to follow stablemate Kano into world level.
In Mexico fight fan will be able to see Filipino Lightweight Rosekie Cristobal (12-0, 9) battle against Marcos Villasana Jr (19-6, 11) for the WBC Latino Lightweight title. There was real hope for Cristobal to become a real prospect but this is a real gut check of the youngster, who is stepping up in class in a big way here.
The first show on a busy day is a Hatanaka promoted card, which will have it's headline bout broadcast on TBS.
That main bout will see WBO Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) defend his crown, for the first time, against Filipino puncher Vic Saludar (11-1, 9). On paper this looks a good test for the 20 year old Tanaka, who has sadly been inactive since winning the belt back in May. Saludar is genuinely dangerous and could well upset Tanaka if the Japanese champion has taken his eye off the ball, as compatriot Shohei Omori did recently.
On the under-card we see several interesting bouts. One of those features the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (15-0-3, 9), who is tipped as a future champion. The unbeaten 24 year old will be up against Indonesian visitor Zun Rindam (11-8-1, 5), who is hoping to score his first win in Japan having twice been blown out in the country, losing in the opening round against both Yasutaka Ishimoto and Ryo Matsumoto.
Another bout of note sees world ranked Filipino fighter Genesis Servania (26-0, 11) makes his Japanese debut as he takes on Hendrik Barongsay (29-23-3, 18) in what should be little more than a showcase for the excellent Servania. The year has been a frustrating one for the Filipino and we suspect that frustration will come out here against an opponent who will have very little too offer in terms of competition.
On paper the show of the day is the Ioka promoted card from Osaka, which is also set to be televised by TBS.
The main event, and one of two world title fights, will see Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10) defending the WBA Flyweight crown against former champion Juan Carlos Reveco (36-2, 19). Ioka beat Reveco for the belt back in April, claiming a majority decision, and will be hoping for a more conclusive result this time against the Argentinian visitor. For Reveco it's a chance to avenge his second professional loss whilst Ioka gets the chance to further strengthen his claim as a top Flyweight, and possibly move towards a potential unification bout with conqueror Amnat Ruenroeng.
The other world title bout will see IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12) defending his title against Mexican foe Jose Argumedo (15-3-1, 9). For Takayama this will be the 3rd defense of the title that he won a year ago, when he stopped Go Odaira, and he will be hoping to build on his last win, back in September against Ryuji Hara. The all action Takayama will be hoping to retain the title here to set up a unification bout in 2016. For Argumedo this is a huge opportunity but one that he does enter as a clear under-dog and isn't expected to really present much of a challenger
As well as the two world title bouts this card also features an OPBF title fight and a Japanese title fight. The OPBF title bout comes at Bantamweight where heavy handed champion Takahiro Yamamoto (16-4, 13) defends his title against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (9-4, 5). This will be Yamamoto's first defense of the title that he won earlier this year, when he stopped Yu Kawaguchi in a 7 round thriller. It's fair to say the champion is more proven, heavier handed and will go in to this one as a clear favourite. For Kobayashi, who was battered around by Hinata Maruta's in Maruta's pro-test, this is a huge opportunity bur one he's not expected to win, especially given that he is 3-3 in his last 6.
As for the Japanese title fight, that will see Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (20-0, 10) defending his title against Ryuta Otsuka (15-8-2, 5). Ishida, another member of the prestigious Ioka gym, will be hunting his 4th defense of the title and continue what has been a good year for the Osaka based gym. For Otsuka this is a second shot at the title, having previously lost to Teiru Kinoshita in November 2011. Despite being given a second shot at a title it's fair to say Otsuka will; be regarded as a major under-dog following recent losses to Malcolm Tunacao and Ryuichi Funai.
On the under-card fans get the chance to see former world champion Ryo Miyazaki (23-1-3, 14) take on Thai visitor Thongchai Chaiyonggym (0-1) in what is a stay busy fight for the highly ranked Osakan warrior. A win here is expected for Miyazaki who will be hoping to fight for a world title, at 108lbs, in 2016, he was however famously upset on the same date 2 years ago by Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and will know that he cannot afford another set back like that.
Another under-card bout will see the very exciting Masayoshi Hashizume (9-0, 6) battle against a Thai novice, thought to be “Ken Meanyothin”. We have been impressed by Hashizume and are hoping to see him step up in class in 2016, with a potential title fight coming towards the end of the year.
As well as the action on TBS there is also a TV Tokyo card thanks to Watanabe.
The main event of this show sees WBA Super Featherweight “super” champion Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1, 19) defending his belt against Nicaraguan challenger Oliver Flores (27-1-2, 17). This botu is widely regarded as a huge mismatch and it's hard to see Flores upsetting the long term champion, who looks for his 11th defense. If Uchiyama wins there is serious talk from his team about taking him to the US for 2016, with a bout against Nicholas Walters looking very likely.
Uchiyama's world title defense is one of two on the card with stable mate Ryoichi Taguchi (22-2-1, 9) defending his WBA Light Flyweight title against Colombian challenger Luis de la Rosa (24-5-1, 14). On paper this too is an awful mismatch with nobody giving de la Rosa any chance, and in fairness it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Taguchi, who could be looking at unification bouts in 2016 if he comes through this one.
Sadly this under-card is lacking with the most notable name on it being former Japanese title challenger Hayato Kimura (23-8, 15), who is in an awful mismatch against Thai visitor Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-11), who is likely to suffer his 10th “recorded” stoppage loss.
As a bonus we also get a small bit of Indonesian action with the very promising Iwan Zoda (7-1, 6) battle in a 10 rounder against Thai visitor Phupha Por Nobnom (11-9-1, 10). The visitor's record isn't great but he has shared the ring with Tepparith Kokietgym, Richie Mepranum and Albert Pagara, so he has mixed at a good level, albeit he has been stopped by those 3 men. For Zoda this is his first bout since he stopped Petchchorhae Kokietgym in September, in what was an incredible win for the 19 year old Indonesian.
On the under-card of this show is an Indonesian title bout between Agus Kustiawan (13-4, 5) and Boido Simanjuntak (18-33-1, 7), who will be recognised by people who follow the Thai fight scene.
This coming Sunday looks to be the perfect closing day to a month that hasn't been the most exciting for boxing fans.
One of the cards of the month comes from the newly named EDION Arena Osaka where Ioka put on what may go down as one of the cards of the year. It feature 4 title fights, 2 notable prospects and more action than you shake a stick at.
The headline bout sees Japanese Kazuto Ioka (17-1, 10) defending the WBA Flyweight title against Argentinian foe Roberto Domingo Sosa (26-2-1, 14). This is Ioka's first defense of the title that he narrowly won earlier this year, when he over-came Juan Carlos Reveco, and it could be another tough night for Osakan star. Whilst this bout could be a very tough one for Ioka it needs noting that the winner will have a tough one next time out, as they are mandated to face with Reveco by the end of the year.
Another world title bout on this show will see IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (29-7-0-1, 11) defending his belt against Ryuji Hara (19-1, 11) in what looks like a potential FOTY contender. Takayama, who struggled last time out with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, is now 32 and has had a very hard career however Hara will be going into his first world title fight and was stopped in his most notable bout to date, by current WBO champion Kosei Tanaka.
In a Japanese title fight fans will see Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (19-0, 10) defending his title, for the 3rd time as he takes on Hayato Kimura (23-7, 15). The unbeaten champion has looked impressive in 18 of his bouts however he was run very close last time out by Taiki Eto and it that bout left question marks regarding Ishida's stamina. If he impresses here he may find himself heading to a world title bout in 2016. However Kimura cannot be ruled here and the experienced challenger has waited for his shot at Japanese title.
The fourth title bout on this show will see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (9-0, 3) defending her OPBF Light Flyweight title against Thailand's Krikanok Islandmuaythai (4-4-1, 2). This looks like a mismatch though Takenaka may well be just one or two fights from a world title shot and will be hoping to get some much needed ring time here before a potential fight at world level.
As for the prospects one of those is 17 year old Riku Kano (6-1-1, 4) who faces Kenta Matsui (6-4, 1) in what will be the teenager's second bout in Japan. The hope is that a win here will be followed in 2016 with a move towards a domestic title bout then a potential world title bout as he chases the record to be Japanese youngest world champion. Matsui is a safe option but also the type of fight who is physically tough enough to get Kano some competitive rounds.
A less competitive bout will see Super Flyweight hopeful Masayoshi Hashizume (8-0, 5) face Thailand's Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10) in what looks like like a horrible mismatch. Petchnamnung has been stopped in 8 of his 10 bouts and we expect stoppage loss #9 to come here in what is, supposedly, his international debut. Of course The Thai probably has an incomplete record but what the data we have suggests that this is a horrible match up and that the talented Hashizume should win without ny problems.
The two world title bouts from this card will be aired on TBS, though it's unclear at the moment if they will be “live” or on tape delay. Looking at the scheduled of the card however the odds are that Takayama Vs Hara will be aired on tape delay whilst Ioka Vs Sosa will likely be live, and will also be shown live on Argentinian TV.
Staying in Osaka there is also a Rookie of the West card, in fact it's the Rookie of the West final. Sadly though it will be massively over-looked give the other card.
Rather than going through all 12 bouts we've picked a few that interested us the most.
At Super Flyweight unbeaten teenagers collide as 18 year old Shion Tamada (2-0) takes on 19 year old Kensei Hirano (4-0, 2). Tamada is a prospect of the Ioka gym and will have sparred with some top quality partners though given his age he's certainly a baby and could will find himself being pushed all the way by Hirano, who is more experienced and has shown more power.
Another all unbeaten contender will come at Light Flyweight where Kaminoko Okamura Kentokid (5-0-3, 2) takes on Seigo Yuri Akui (3-0-1, 1). Although both men are unbeaten both have been relatively fortunate with draws and it's fair to say that neither is expected to be raced through the ranks if they do end up being crowned the Rookie of the Year.
One other all unbeaten bout that has us excited is at Featherweight where teenager puncher Ryuya Yanagida (2-0, 2) takes on Yuto Nagano (4-0, 2). It's fair to say that Yanagida is completely unproven but he has shown solid power so far and may well need that power to get beyond the 21 year old Nagano, who had to gut out his most recent win, against Yu Konomura.
As well as all he action in Japan Thai fans will also get their share of televised action with Mono 29 airing a Kiatkreein show, form 3PM local time.
In the main event of this show fans will see Thailand's experienced Mike Tawatchai (35-8-1, 21) take on Filipino foe Junny Salogaol (9-7-4-1, 9) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title. This is Tawatchai's first bout since being dominated by Shingo Wake in an IBF world title eliminator back in June and although that loss was a wide one he shouldn't struggle at all with Salogaol. Despite Salogaol's record being less than great he is coming into this bout in form, with 5 straight T/KO wins.
Tawatchai isn't the only notable name on this show. Another is 2-time Olympic medal winner Manus Boonjumnong (1-0) who faces Indonesian Marco Tuhumury (10-11-2, 3). Although Manos is 35, and looked out of shape last time out against Jamed Jalarante, he has got a lot of skill and shouldn't struggle, at all, with Tuhumury. In fact if anything we're expecting the Thai to stop his foe here.
Another fighter on this card is recent world title challenger Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-4-1, 15) who will face Indonesian fighter Oscar Raknafa (12-10, 5) in a stay busy fight. This is Fahlan's first bout since his controversial loss to Katsunari Takayama back in April. A win here could see Fahlan's team moving him towards another title fight at some point in 2016.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the most exciting days so far this year for Japanese fans comes on April 22nd with two notable shows at very different levels. Although the cards are a million miles apart in terms of international attention they both promise a lot of very interesting action.
The most notable of the two shows comes from Osaka where we get a couple of world title bouts, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and a number of promising prospects all in action on a show that is genuinely mouth watering.
The main event promises to be something a little bit special as the once beaten Kazuto Ioka (16-1, 10) battles WBA Flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) in a bout that has looked brilliant since it was first mentioned last year. Ioka, attempting to become the second Japanese born fighter to become a 3-weight champion, will be hoping to claim a Flyweight title at the second time of asking, following a loss to Amnat Ruenroeng last year in a bout for the IBF title, whilst Whilst Reveco will be hoping to secure his second title defense in Japan, following a victory over Masayuki Kuroda back in 2013.
In the other world title fight we will see the always fun to watch Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) take on Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15) in an IBF world title defense by the Japanese warrior. Takayama, who vacated the WBO belt earlier this year, will be looking for the first defense of his second reign as the IBF champion and is looking to move on to bouts with Kosei Tanaka and Hekkie Budler later in the year. As for Fahlan, he'll be looking to record his second big win in the Osaka Prefectural gym and try and replicate his shock win over Ryo Miyazaki from December 31st 2013.
It's not just the top two bouts that are exciting but also the chief support bout which will see the highly skilled and fast rising Sho Ishida (18-0, 10) defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against Taiki Eto (14-3, 10). This will be Ishida's second defense of the belt and will see Eto getting his second shot at the title. Incidentally Eto lost his first shot to Yohei Tobe who went on to lost the belt in his first defense, to Ishida. This bout promises a lot and a win for Ishida would likely move him to a world title shot later in the year whilst a win for Eto would be a massive achievement for the youngster of the Eto brothers.
As well as the 3 title bouts we will also see the next bout in the career of the exciting Ryo Miyazaki (22-1-3, 13) who is fighting Thailand's Namphol Sithsaithong (7-9, 5) in a clear mismatch. This is viewed as a warm up bout for Miyazaki, a former WBA Minimumweight champion, and from what we understand he is targeting a Light Flyweight title and will almost certainly try to chuck his hat into the ring to fight the winner of the upcoming WBA title fight between Ryoichi Taguchi and Kwanthai Sithmorseng, who meet on May 6th.
As for the card's prospects there are several. Among them is the exciting Masayoshi Hashizume (7-0, 4), the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year. Hashizume is set to fight a Thai foe Saenrachan Sor Theptanee (0-1)in what should be a mismatch as Hashizume looks to sepdn the rest of the year moving up the domestic rankings, possibly fighting for the national title after Ishida gives it up.
Another prospect on this card is Reiya Konishi (7-0, 4), who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight. Konishi will be in a solid looking bout against Kenta Shimizu (8-4-1, 4), a much better fighter than his record indicates.
A third prospect is female fighter is Kei Takenaka (8-0, 3). Takenaka, the current OPBF female ligth Flyweight champion, will be facing a Thai opponent who we believe will be Kannittha Saknarong (0-2). On paper this should be an easy day's work for the talented Japanese fighter, though we are hoping to see her in a real test before she starts to be moved towards a world title bout.
At the Korakuen Hall we get a trio of notable bouts. One of which is a cross roads bout between two experienced fighters whilst the other two are both notable bouts involving touted Japanese prospects.
The main event is the bout between the experienced fighters and will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (21-5-1, 10) battling against former Filipino champion Ricky Sismundo (27-8-1, 12). Coming into this bout both men are 2-1 with a notable win the last time and both are going to be heading into the bout with the hope of generating a bit of traction in their career. Last time out we saw Sismundo defeat Shuhei Tsuchiya with an 8 round decision win, back in December, whilst Kondo recently stopped Jimrex Jaca in 4 rounds, back on March 16th. Coming into this bout we're expecting a very competitive and tough bout.
In the chief support bout we get the chance to see the touted, the fragile looking, Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) fighting against exciting Filipino Giovanni Escaner (12-3, 8). This is a brilliant match up between unheralded fighters who know a win puts them into serious contention for an OPBF title fight later in the year. Whilst Uebayashi is the more “hyped” of the two men Escaner has shown that he's a man who has a lot of promise, despite his record, and won't be turning up just to lose. Fantastic to see both men signing up for this bout.
The other notable bout sees the exceptionally promising Hikaru Marugame (3-0, 2) battle against Wataru Miyasaka (9-2-1, 2). Marugame, a stablemate or Uebayashi's, hasn't had the attention of some other Japanese youngsters but he's every bit as good as some of the others and has shown that ability against solid competition for such an inexperienced fighter. On paper this is a big step up for the unbeaten 25 year old and although Miyasak hasn't set the world he is in good form with 3 notable wins in his last 4 bouts. As with the previous two match ups, this is very interesting.
This card will also feature 4 other bouts though none of them really caught our attention like the trio we've mentioned.
In Mexico fans will have the chance to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (17-5, 11) battle against Fernando Torres (16-10-1, 13). This is a great opportunity for Sakai who narrowly lost his last 2 bouts. The Japanese fighter, who is based in Mexico city, has shown a surprising amount of potential and hopefully he'll manage to build on that potential down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a huge one for us with a host of notable fights, including a possibly historic bout in Mexico for one of our favourite fighters in the sport today.
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
For us the biggest fight, by a long way, is in Nuevo Leon where IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (27-6-0-1, 10) attempts to become the first Japanese fighter to complete a grandslam. For Takayama to claim the grandslam he will need to get past hard hitting Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr (14-2, 10), the current WBO champion. This is much easier said than done and Rodriguez is a hard hitting and tough Minimumweight who is likely to make a serious name for himself in the coming years. This is one of those rare bouts which pits two world class fighters against each other but gets over-looked by the wider boxing public, a huge shame for what has the potential to be one of the best bouts of the year.
Takayama isn't the only man of note involved in a world title fight and in Crimea fans will get to see Russia's unbeaten Dmitry Chudinov (13-0-2, 8) defending his WBA interim Middleweight title against French veteran Mehdi Bouadla (30-5, 11). Bouadla, who is ranked #12 by the WBA, shouldn't be getting this shot considering his recentactivity and the fight also shouldn't be in Crimea given the political issues there between Russia and Ukraine though it is a pleasure to see Chudinov develop from crude slugger into a heavy handed boxer-puncher and we imagine he could become one of the names to follow in the division in the coming years.
On the same card as Chudinov are 2 other bouts of note. For us the key one, is that of the very promising Arif Magomedov (11-0, 8) who battled against the usually durable Patrick Mendy (15-7-1, 1). Mendy fought to an 8 round draw with Chudinov last July but was stopped, inside a round, by Callum Smith 2 months later. We'd imagine Magomedov stops Mendy, though we're unsure when. We'll admit that we think Magomedov's a better talent than Chudinov and at just 22 years old Magomedov is a baby, his potential is phenomenal.
The remaining bout on this card will see Pavel Doroshilov (0-0) make his debut against the very experienced Danny Williams (46-22-0-1, 35). We don't know much about the debutant though one would assume that if he wins here he will quickly become one of the men to keep an eye on in coming years, especially given the lack of talent in the Heavyweight.
Gauteng, South Africa
Another "world" title bout will be fought in South Africa as former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (22-4-1, 6) attempts to claim the IBO Super Bantamweight title. Sadly for Gasca he is up against the monstrously hard hitting Thabo Sonjica (19-2, 14) who has stopped 4 of his last 5 opponents, including Gasca's compatriot Silvester Lopez. This is a tough one for the Filipino but it is winnable if Gasca is on song.
On the same card Russia's Denis Grachev (13-3-1, 8) will be trying to claim the WBC Silver Light Heavyweight title as he battles the unbeaten Ryno Liebenberg (15-0, 11). This is potentially Grachev's 4th loss in 5 fights and this could well be an "all or nothing" fight for the Russian.
New South Wales, Australia
In another title bout Filipino Ryan Sermona (16-5, 9) will be trying to capture the WBC International Super Featherweight title as he takes on the light hitting Corey McConnell (13-1-1, 1). McConnell will be best know by international fans who saw him being stopped by Lee Selby and really shouldn't be that much of a favourite against the capable Sermona.
The undercard here will feature 2 other Filipinos. One of those will be the hard hitting Joebert Delos Reyes (12-4-1, 9), who is looking to build on his win over Valentine Borg by taking on John Min (7-6, 4). For those who remember Delos Reyes stopping Borg that was one of the KO's of the year and if he lands that shot anyone he has a chance of stopping them, sadly however he is limited and lacks a certain kind of toughness himself, at least he did early in his career.
The other Filipino will be Joel Dela Cruz (17-21-3, 7) who will be looking to secure a victory over Wade Ryan (5-2). Sadly for Dela Cruz it's hard to see him coming out on top here given that Ryan is a naturally bigger man and given that Dela Cruz has now gone well over 2 years since last scoring a win.
Staying in Australia Arnon Yuchareon (0-4) will be battling against the debuting Luke Hall (0-0) in a 4 rounder. With both men battling for their first win this could be interesting though we tend to feel that Arnon is being selected to lose to Hall.
We have yet another Russian in action in the US as Vasily Lepikhin (15-0, 8) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Robert Berridge (24-1-1, 20). Berridge has won his last 9 by T/KO and it wouldn't be a huge shock for him to take the "0" from Lepikhin here.
(Image courtesy of nakazatoboxing.com)
May 7th-Ioka battles Ruenroeng, Takayama defends against Ono and Masayoshi Nakatani defends his OPBF title
This past weekend saw the boxing world focussing on Las Vegas for Floyd Mayweather's contest with Marcos Maidana. The bout was thrilling and deserved all the attention it got, even if the rest of the card did fall a bit flat. This Wednesday the action refocusses back on Asia as we get world title action with a very interesting world title double header and a pair of bouts which feature very interesting prospects.
The show in question is an Ioka promoted card at the Bodymaker Colosseum headlined by former 2-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (14-0, 9). The 24 year old Japanese star, one of the most well known active fighters in Japan, will be attempting to become the second ever Japanese fighter to claim a third divisional title as he battles Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0, 5).
Ruenroeng is the reigning IBF Flyweight champion and holds an amateur win over Ioka. The amateur win is being played up to give Ruenroeng a chance but in all honesty he'll have to fight out of his skin to defeat Ioka, in Japan.
The Ioka/Ruenroeng bout takes precedence over an all-Japan Light Flyweight bout that sees IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (26-6-0-1, 10) in action. Takayama, one of our genuine favourites, will be defending his world title for the second time as he battles former OPBF Light Flyweight champion Shin Ono (17-5-2, 2). The bout is being regarded by many as a mismatch but we're expecting that if Takayama can win he'll bein a unification bout on New Years Eve with WBO champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
The two world title fights follow an OPBF title fight that sees OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5) defending his belt for the first time. Nakatani, who beat Yoshitaka Kato for the belt earlier this year, will be defending his belt against Filipino challenger Ricky Sismundo (26-7-1, 12) in what is a fantastic test for the unbeaten youngster. Sismundo, also known as Mondo Harada, isn't great but has fought on the fringes of world level and a win for Nakatani will allow him to be compared to the likes of Billy Dib, Dante Jardon, Daud Cino Yordan and Terdsak Kokietgym.
Another promising unbeaten fighter on this card is the very touted and world ranked Sho Ishida (15-0, 8). We feel Ishida is an outstanding talent and should very easily over-come Thai visitor Brukluk Kor Narong (0-0) who we believe is making his professional debut. Ishida needs bigger tests than Brukluk but is being kept somewhat active and this is his 4th bout in less than a year.
As well as the 4 bouts we've mentioned there are a further 5 bouts, including 2 "Rookie of the Year" qualifying bouts on the show. Unfortunately they will all be over looked by the two world title bouts which we believe will both be shown, in their entirety, on TBS from 7:56PM local time.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)