Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Friday in Tokyo we get a card from Teiken that was originally supposed to take place around a month ago. The show was originally delayed due to the Teiken gym needing to close due to Jorge Linares having a positive PCR test, and despite a few minor changes the card still looks like a real good one.
The main event here will see former Japanese champions colliding as Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-1, 18) and Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-4-1, 12) face off. Not only are both former Japanese champions but both men are also taking world rankings into this one, giving it extra meaning. On paper this looks really interesting and may actually end up being even better when the two men get in the ring. Ogawa, at his best, is a boxer-puncher who likes to get full extension on his shots and let combinations go at mid-range. Nishitani on the other hand likes the action up close, leaning on an opponent and working with smart counters. Stylistically they are pretty much opposites, but they should make for a very entertaining clash here, with the winner taking a huge step towards a world title fight.
Highly touted youngster Shokichi Iwata (4-0, 3) looks to continue his climb through the rankings as he takes on domestic foe Ryo Narizuka (9-9-1) in an 8 rounder. In all honest we don't see Iwata struggling at all with Narizuka here, but it'll be a good chance for the unbeaten 24 year old to shake off some ring rust, with his last bout being around 11 months ago. Iwata would have had big plans for 2020 and whilst those plans have failed to materialise it's better for him to be busy than sit out the entire year.
Another fighter who would have had big plans for this year is the once touted Super Flyweight Hayate Kaji (14-0, 9). The hard hitting Kaji once seemed like the future star of the Teiken gym, but recent performances have been underwhelming. He'll be up against Hiroki Yajima (9-8-3, 4) here and if he puts in another poor performance, after an 11 month break from the ring, it may well be time to write him off. The reality is that Yajima is no push over, but shouldn't be a real test for a prospect as highly regarded as Kaji once was.
In a very interesting under-card bout we'll see Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Yamato Hata (10-1, 10) take on the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0-1, 3) in a very good looking match up. Hata has won his last 7, including bouts against Shingo Kusano and Ryusei Ishii, and at 23 years old looks like a future domestic title contender. On the other hand Takeshima was a solid amateur who debuted as a pro in 2018, and looked good in his first 4 bouts. Sadly Takeshima's rise through the ranks faltered in his last bout, when he had a technical draw with Daisuke Watanabe in the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament. Interestingly Takeshima will be moving up in weight for this one, and it'll be interesting to see how the extra few pounds suits him. Potentially this is the best bout on the card.
In a battle of once beaten men Hikari Mineta (8-1, 5) will clash with Ryuya Tsugawa (7-1, 3). The 24 year old Mineta is best known for his run in the 2018 Rookie of the Year, losing to Yuri Takemoto in the final, and since then he has reeled off 3 wins. Interestingly Tsugawa went a step further and won Rookie of the Year in 2019. These two are both talented young fighters who have the potential to go places, but will need time to full develop, and this bout should serve as a great test for both me. The winner will take big strides towards a domestic title fight, but don't write off the loser as they have plenty of time to come again.
This coming Saturday is a hectic day for Asian fight fans with a lot of action all crammed into a single day, and taking place all over the place. It might not be Christmas yet, but this weekend is set to feature a lot of gifts for us fight fans.
On paper the most significant bout of the weekend, at least in terms of Asian boxing, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) take on Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8), in Mexico. This bout has been arranged in a haste after a previously scheduled bout for Ancajas fell though, and although it looks good on paper we don't see this being anything other than a straight forward win for Ancajas. The Filipino has been frustrating at times, but he is a world class fighter and Gonzalez on the other hand has been easily beaten by the two world level guys he's faced. We're expecting a stoppage from Ancajas here, even if Gonzalez does end up being an awkward assignment. A full preview of this can be read here IBF king Ancajas faces Chilean challenger
New York, USA
Another bout with meaning at world level will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) take on former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. The interim title has been created due to injuries suffered by Danny Roman, and despite interim titles not being great for boxing this bout is a brilliant one, and we're looking forward to this. Both fighters are world class, both can bang and they should be well matched, with styles that we're expecting will gel well. This should be very exciting, and we'd be shocked if we get through 12 rounds here.
In Japan we have a lot of action, with the most notable of the Japanese action coming from Tokyo, where we'll get a title double header, featuring two Super Featherweight title bouts. For fans wanting to watch this the show will be broadcast live on G+.
The most notable of the title fights will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) defending his title against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18). This year has been a huge one for Noynay, who has already travelled to Japan and stopped Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu, and a win here against Ogawa will put him well and truly in the world title mix. For Ogawa a win here would put him on the verge of a second world title fight. We expect bombs to be thrown, we wouldn't be surprised if both men were badly hurt at some point, and this is an ideal headliner for a televised card. Our preview of this fantastic match up can be read here Noynay looks to extend "Japanese Killer" run as he takes on Ogawa
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) defending his title against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16). For Sueyoshi this bout will be his 5th defense, and if he wins we wouldn't be massively surprised to see him vacating the title in the new year to pursue regional, if not world, honours. For Saka this is a chance to put a very mixed 24 months, in which he has gone 3-2 (2), behind him and would end the year on the high following a loss to Noynay back in April. Saka has the power to hurt Sueyoshi, but Sueyoshi has the skills to outfox and out think Saka, in what is a compelling match up. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sueyoshi takes on Saka in next Japanese title defense
Also on this card will be Teiken trio Hikari Mineta (7-1, 4), Daiki Funayama (10-3-1, 3) and Koki Mioya (6-1-2, 1) who will all be taking on limited Thai opposition in what look like stay busy fights to close out the year.
A second Japanese show takes place in Kanagawa, and although much lower profile it features another title bout.
That title bout will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defending her belt against unbeaten novice Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), in what will be Mioyoshi's first defense of her second reign. Miyoshi claimed the belt in September, when she took a split decision win over Miki Mitsuda, ending a 4 fight losing in a bit of an upset. Although Mitsuda was no world beater we hadn't seen Miyoshi win a fight in over 3 years! Midorikawa is taking a huge step up, and although she's unbeaten she is very untested ahead of this bout, her first title bout. It'll be a huge ask for Midorikawa, but Miyoshi is certainly not unbeatable. An in depth of preview of this bout can be read here Veteran Miyoshi takes on Midorikawa in Featherweight title bout
Despite the title bout on this show the main event is technically a rematch between Yui Oikawa (7-5, 4) and Seiryu Toshikawa (11-5, 7). Coming in Oikawa has been stopped in his last 2, and desperately needs a win. He'll be driven on not only by the need of a win, but by a chance of getting to avenge a 2016 loss to Toshikawa, who beat him with a 4 round split decision. On paper Toshikawa might not look great but he's much better than his record suggests and he'll be looking to score his second win since suffering a razor thin loss in a Japanese Youth title fight to Shawn Oda in 2018.
A third Japanese show takes place in Hyogo, where fans get a card with several noteworthy names on it.
In the main event we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (12-6-1, 4) take on the limited Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-7-2, 2). We've long seen Hirai as a fighter with a lot of potential, but someone who has faltered in many of his toughest bouts. Here we expect him to shine, as he looks to build to a title fight of some kind in 2020. With just 1 win in the last 4 years it's hard to imagine Ichikawa giving Hirai much of a test, but he could give Hirai some rounds.
World ranked fighter Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) looks to continue his slow build towards a meaningful fight as he takes on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-15, 7). The 32 year old Nishitani has won his last 5 by stoppage, including a notable upset win against Shuhei Tsuchiya for the Japanese Lightweight title in 2017. Sadly he has failed to make anything of his career after that win and vacated the title rather than defend it, which has done his career no favours as he continues to meander in the middle of cards in meaningless bouts like this one. Laurente isn't an awful opponent, but is certainly not a step forward for Nishitani who really has lost all the momentum of his win over Laurente.
Another bout of some note on this card will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-1-1, 2) take on Chikato Sumida (8-3, 1). This will see Tokuyama defending his JBC and OPBF rankings and score a 5th straight win. Sumida isn't terrible, but we don't see him posing much of a test for Tokuyama here.
Yet another show with an Asian fighter in action is being held in Quebec, where fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (10-0, 9) takes on rugged Argentinian Jose Antonio Villalobos (12-5-2, 7). Akhmedov missed quite a bit of this year, whilst he recovered from injury and got married, but has still been busier than most and has began answering more and more questions, proving his stamina, his ability to box and move and that he can box on the back foot. There are still areas for him to work on, but for a 21 year old kid his incredibly impressive and a win here is seen as a formality before a potentially huge 2020. Villalobos will be there to try and ask questions of Akhmedov but we really don't see this as anything but an easy win for the talented Kazakh.
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
On a show that features more morally objectionable content that we can remember for a boxing card, including 4 fighters who have failed drug tests and the show taking place in a country with a terrible history human rights, we'll see Azeri fighter Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1) take on Tom Little (10-7, 3).
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter this coming Sunday comes from Maryland, as former world champions collide! The bout will see Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17) take on Kazakh-Russian Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10), in what should be a tremendous bout. Both of these men need a win if they are to remain in the world title mix, and both will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss, with Lipinets losing to Mikey Garcia and Peterson losing to Errol Spence Jr. Their styles should make for a fun fight and this is a really good quality match up between world class fighters.
Staying in the US there's also a couple of unbeaten Kazakh prospects in action in California.
One of those is Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10), who will be dropping down to Super Middleweight to face off with Mike Guy (9-3-1, 5). The unbeaten Akhmedov wasn't as active as we'd have hoped in 2018 but with his first bout of 2019 taking place this early he could end up having a really big year this year. Guy is a solid enough opponent, who has done 8 rounds with Tyron Zeuge and came close to doing the same with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, show he's durable. This might be a very tough test for Akhmedov but is also a chance for him to make a statement.
On the same card will be Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8), who will be fighting his second bout of the year and looks likely to have a huge year. He fought 4 times in 2018 and although his competition hasn't been the best he is making noise as one to watch. At 25 years old he has time to really build his record and reputation before moving onto big fights. He will be up against Puerto Rican fighter Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9).
Staying with Kazakh's there is also set to be a show in Almaty featuring a couple more notable Kazakh fighters.
In one of the main bouts Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) will take on tough Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1, 6) in a bout for minor titles from the WBO, WBA and WBC. This could end up being one of the low key bouts of the weekend and is a very real threat to Yerbossynuly's unbeaten record. The Kazakh has shown promise but has been down in a couple of his fights whilst Ndafoluma has managed to show toughness and skills on the road, upsetting British fighter Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017. This is a potential banana skin for the unbeaten Kazakh.
On the same card Nursultan Zhangabayev (6-0, 4) is scheduled to make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title. His opponent will be 25 year old Venezuelan fighter Ivan Matute (28-1, 23), who has a really good looking record, but there is no real quality on there. The unbeaten Zhangabayev won the belt last December, when he took a decision over tough Filipino Arnel Tinampay, and was given a real test, so we're hoping for another test here.
Also on this show will be 21 year old Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0, 7) who will be fighting for a WBC Asia title. The talented Kazakh will be up against John Ruba (17-5-1, 9), who shouldn't really be much of a match for Akhmedov, who will be expected to move to 8-0 (8) without too many problems.
The under-card is also set to feature a number of prospects, including Dastan Saduuly (2-0, 2), Iskander Kharsan (5-0, 4) and Ulugbek Khakberdiev (5-0, 3).
As well as all the Kazakh's in action there is actually set to be a couple of Japanese shows on the same day. The more notable of those takes place in Hyogo and is a Shinsei promoted card.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing, as Shun Kosaka (15-5, 4) takes on Shunji Nagata (12-17-2, 4) in an 8 round bout at a contracted 51.5KG's. The winner of this could end up finding themselves in a Japanese title bout later this year. Coming in Kosaka has lost his last 2, being stopped in an OPBF title fight by Jayr Raquinel and being out pointed by Junto Nakatani, but remains #2 ranked by the JBC at Flyweight. Nagata on the other hand has struggled for consistent results, with 6 losses in his last 8, but has shown the ability score an upset on his day and is better than his record suggests.
World ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (19-4-1, 11) will be taking on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-4-1, 6), in what looks like a straight forward bout for Nishitani. Medura has lost 3 of his last 5, losing all 3 of them in Japan by stoppage. Although Nishitani isn't anything special he has won his last 4 by stoppage and is a former Japanese national champion, so should have little problem picking up the win here.
Talented and highly touted prospect Yuki Yamauchi (2-0, 1) will seek his third win as he takes on unbeaten Filipino Claudevan Sese (7-0-3, 1). This looks like a good step forward for Yamauchi, who will be in his first 8 rounder just 8 months after his debut. For Sese this will be his international debut, and a big step up in class, though he has never tasted defeat and has gone 8 rounds twice during his career.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) take on Reymond Empic (6-2, 2), in what looks like a pretty even match up. Takemoto left his mark last year, when he took the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, and he looked to hit much harder than his record indicates in his final win over Hikari Mineta. Empic should prove to be an interesting assignment for Takemoto, but one that Takemoto will be confident of passing.
It's also worth noting that this show will feature the retirement ceremony of Eita Kikuchi (21-6-4, 8), who challenged for both the OPBF Super Bantamweight and Japanese Bantamweight title during his 31 fight career that began back in 2005.
As well as the Shinsei card there will also be a Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Fukuoka. Among the bouts on this card is an interesting bout between Ryusuke Ushihara (4-1-1, 1) and Yutaka Asakura (3-1-1, 2), which looks really competitive on paper.
This coming Friday fight fans in Japan get two shows, whilst Korean fans get one, and even Indian fans have something worthy of their attention!
The biggest single show takes place in Hyogo where we get two title fights, a notable debut and a former Japanese champion all in action.
The main event will be a world title fight, and will see talented WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) battle against heavy handed challenger Vic Saludar (17-3, 10). The champion, who won the title last year, will be making his second defense and will be looking to shine again, just like he did in an eye opening domination of Moises Calleros back in March. Although seen as the less notable champion at 105lbs Yamanaka does look a very classy fighter. For Saludar this bout will be his second title shot, and he will be looking to prove that his performance against Kosei Tanaka wasn't a fluke performance, but a sign that he really should be competing at world level. This really is an excellent match up between a brilliant pure boxer, and a brutal puncher.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (15-1, 5) take on Filipino foe Orlie Silvestre (11-3-1, 7) in a out for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Earlier this year Konishi came up short against Carlos Canizales, though really looked like a great little fighter with insane bravery and an incredible desire to win. The Japanese fighter will be the favourite here, but Silvestre has nothing to lose and everything to win. The Filipino fighter comes into this on the back of 5 straight wins and will feel confident of scoring a career best victory here.
Former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (18-4-1, 10) looks to score his first win of 2018 and takes on limited Filipino foe Rey Ramos (8-8-2, 3). Nishitani really failed to build on his March 2017 upset win over Shuhei Tsuchiya, having scored only a single win since then over a limited Thai, but he has talent and shouldn't struggle to over-come Ramos here. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, including 2 by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him having anything to trouble Nishitani with.
One other bout of note will see Yuki Yamauchi (0-0) make his debut, as he takes on Jimboy Rosales (3-2-1, 2). The Japanese debutant was a sensational amateur, with notable results on the high school, national and world university level. Aged 23 big things are expected of Yamauchi and this looks like a pretty interesting opponent for his debut, with Rosales having gone unbeaten in his last 4, following back-to-back losses to begin his career. If Yamauchi is as good as anticipated then he really could make an instant impact here.
A second Japanese show will take place in Tokyo, and was originally set to feature two former world title contenders in action.
The planned main event was a bout set to have Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17) take on domestic foe Quaye Peter (11-9-3, 6). Sadly for the teak tough Kondo, who is best known for his November 2017 loss to Sergey Lipinets, this bout has been cancelled due to Peter suffering an injury a a week or so before the show was set to take place.
A a result of Peter's injury the card will now be headlined by former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20), who returns to the ring following medical problems that forced him to vacate the Japanese Bantamweight title. It was expected that Akaho would be matched incredibly easily but instead he will be up against Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-3-3, 15). At his best Akaho is a tough, aggressive fighter, who has beaten the likes of Yushi Tanaka, Hiroaki Teshigawara, Masaaki Serie and Yohei Tobe. Sadly though it's unclear how much the health issues has taken from the Japanese fighter. As for the visitor he has got a pretty padded record, and has lost recent bouts to Qiu Xiao Jun and Ryoichi Tamura, but is a tougher opponent than expected for Akaho's ring return.
Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul there will be a small card courtesy of former world champion Myung Woo Yuh and his Buffalo Promotion.
The main event will be an interesting match up between 22 year old Ki Soo Lee (6-3) and 30 year old Hwan Young Jo (5-4, 1). The youngster has had mixed for, though showed he was a capable fighter last December when he ran the touted Katsuya Yasuda close in Yokohama and will look for his third win since that loss. On the other hand Jo hasn't really shined, but is certainly not going to be a push over here and should make for a good dance partner for Lee. Only real issue here is that neither man is much of a puncher.
In another bout of note on this card fans will see unbeaten fighters collide with Do Jin Lee (5-0-2) taking on Jong Sun Gang (4-0, 1). Lin is a 17 year old who made his debut at the age of 16 and despite only fighting in 4 rounders so far is worth following as he moves into his first 6 rounder. As for Gang he has been a professional since November last year and has been busy, but will also be taking part in his first 6 rounder.
London, United Kingdom
As for Indian fans they will turn their attention to London, England, as national hero Vijender Singh (10-0, 7) takes on Lee Markham (17-4-1, 7) for the Commonwealth Super Middleweight title. The Indian star is now 32 years old and his team won't keep holding him back for long. A win here could well open big doors for him and takes him much closer to a potential world title shot. On paper Markham looks limited but he is a former English Middleweight champion who has score several notable results on the British scene, including a draw with Frank Buglioni. Singh should be favoured, but Markham is a very live under-dog coming in to this one.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Tokyo, with a world title triple header from the Kokugikan.
The biggest of the bouts is a rematch between Ryota Murata (12-1, 9) and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam (36-2, 21), with the Japanese fighter seeking to avenge his sole defeat and claim the WBA Middleweight title. These two fought back in May, with N'Dam winning a very controversial split decision over Murata, in a bout that many felt the Japanese fighter had clearly won, especially given that he dropped the Frenchman and had him rocked a number of times.
In another interesting match up we'll see WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (13-0, 13) defending his title for the first time as he takes on French challenger Thomas Masson (17-3-1, 5). The champion won the title back in May when he stopped Juan Hernandez in very impressive fashion to continue his perfect stoppage run. Masson on the other hand is fighting above European level for the first tine, having twice been a European champion. The challenger will be the taller, and longer man, and will be looking to fight at range, but this is a huge step up for him.
The third title bout on the show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (10-0, 5) defending his belt against mandatory challenger Pedro Guevara (30-2-1, 17), himself a former champion. The champion won the title back in May when he narrowly out pointed Ganigan Lopez and will seeking to continue his rise here against a very talented former champion. As for Guevara the bout will see him return to Japan to try and reclaim the title that he lost to Yu Kimura, also in Japan.
A fourth bout of note on this show will see Ryuto Owan (2-0, 2) take on fellow puncher Alvin Medura (5-1, 5) in a bout which should be an explosive encounter. Both guys can bang and both will be in there looking to secure their biggest win to date. Owan, has stopped his first 2 foes in a combined 3 rounds and will be stepping up in a big way here, whilst Medura has had 15 combined career rounds, with his 5 wins coming in just 9 combined rounds.
A much smaller Japanese show will be held in Tottori, where there is only really two fights of any note.
One of those is the main event, which will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) take on a Thai foe, in his first bout since vacant the Japanese title, which he only won in March. Nishitani's opponent shouldn't be much of a threat, though we will admit we would have preferred to have seen him in with a domestic foe rather than a limited visitor.
The other will see former world title challenger Mika Iwakawa (6-5-1, 2) fight for the first time since coming up short against Yunoka Furukawa in a bout for the WBA Atomweight title. Like Nishitani she will be up against a Thai foe, and will be expected to pick up an easy win en route to bigger and better things.
Another small Japanese card will take place in Okayama and will be head lined by a low key match up between Kota Fujimoto (6-2, 2) and Kenta Sugimoto (11-10-2, 1). On paper this looks like a probable win for the 19 year old Fujimoto, but he has lost his last 2 bouts and his early career momentum has come to a screeching halt. Although his record might not show it Sugimoto is a real potential banana skin and he holds notable wins over Tetsuya Hisada and Shunji Nagata, showing that there is a good fighter there, and he shouldn't be over-looked against Fujimoto.
New South Wales, Australia
We'll see another notable Japanese fighter in title action in Australia, as the Ryuji Hachimitsu Ikeda (12-3-2, 8) takes on Darragh Foley (12-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Oceania, WBC “interim” Asian Boxing Council and WBO Oriental Light Welterweight titles. The bout looks a really good one on paper and should see two well matched fighters going up against each other in a potentially explosive bout, with both men having enough bang to hurt the other.
Also on this card fans will see Thai Pakdee Tor Buamas (11-7-1, 7) take on the once beaten Ben Savva (7-1, 2), in a bout for the lightly regarded vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight Title. Interestingly the Thai is unbeaten in his last 4, albeit at a very low level, and does have some momentum coming in to this one. He is however up against a man who has won his last 6 and has shown some promise, even if he's not looking like a future world champion in the making.
Action in the ring has been great recently and this coming weekend it's set to stay great with a host of notable bouts taking place all over the globe. As usual we'll focus on the Asian fighters, but we know there are a lot of other notable bouts taking on the same day.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we see a WBC Flyweight title fight. The bout, for the title vacated by Roman Gonzalez last year, will see unbeaten Thai Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-0, 28) take on in form Mexican Juan Hernandez Navarrete (33-2, 24) in a mouth watering bout. Nawaphon holds one of the longest unbeaten runs in the sport today, but his record lacks names of any real quality with his best wins coming against fighters like Mateo Handig, Donny Mabao and Rey Megrino. Despite the lack of competition the Thai has passed the eye test and matured into a vicious fighter at the regional level. This is however a huge step up for the unbeaten man. Although he has tasted defeat twice Hernandez has fought at the top and holds wins over the likes of Moises Fuentes, Denver Cuello – albeit controversially, Saul Juarez, Ramon Garcia Hirales, Jesus Silvestre and Omar Nino Romero, with his only loss in he last decade coming to Kazuto Ioka. This is a big test for both men, with Nawaphon facing his toughest foe and Hernandez facing the horrific conditions of Thailand, though his team has managed to get the bout in doors which could make a huge difference here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We'll also get a Japanese card this Saturday with G+ airing the card live in Japan.
In the main event of this show we'll see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-4, 18) make the first defense of his title as he takes on mandatory challenger Kazuhiro Nishitani (16-4-1, 8). Tsuchiya won the title last year, when he stopped Masashi Noguchi in 3 rounds, and will be hoping to have a distinguished reign as champion. The heavy handed champion has shown flaws in the past but is an exciting and heavy handed fighter who has proven his toughness and hunger in the past. Nishitani has never been stopped, and has proven his toughness, but has suffered notable losses to fighters less accomplished than Tsuchiya. This will be the challenger's second shot, following a December 2015 loss to Kota Tokunaga, but sadly he's been inactive with only one bout in the entire of 2016. Given Nishitani's toughness and Tsuchiya's power this could be a lot of fun!
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (14-0, 10) take on Filipino journeyman Rodel Wenceslao (11-13-1, 4). During a 2 year reign Okada defended the Japanese title 6 times, though looked rather poor in the final 2 defenses and it seems that he and his team and looking for more serious challenges this year. Despite looking for bigger bouts he begins his year against the limited Wenceslao, who has lost 11 of his last 15. Wenceslao has been matched hard, with losses to the likes of Keita Obara, Adones Cabalquinto and Adones Aguelo, ad we expect to see him come up short against Okada here too.
A little lower down the card we'll see Japanese ranked Takenori Ohashi (13-4-2, 8) up against Yutaka Motoyoshi (7-9, 5). Ohashi, a ranked Featherweight, will be hoping to get a title fight in the near future and can't afford a slip up here against Motoyoshi. Although he is a potential banana skin Motoyoshi has been stopped 5 times and will be expected to struggle with the power of Ohashi here.
In another under-card bout we'll see Shingo Koike (9-2, 5) take on Jin Miura (9-1, 1) in a very well matched and competitive looking contest. The 26 year old Koike has won his last 4 and seemed to have found some recent belief in his power. Miura on the other hand has won 3 in a row, following an opening round defeat to Reni Ichimura in the 2015 East Japan Rookie of the Year final. Both men will know they need to win here.
Also on this card will be the very promising Kazuki Saito (2-0, 2), who moves up in class to face Jimmy Borbon (5-4-3, 3) over 8 rounds. Saito has been very impressive so far, against limited Thai foes, but this will be a good test for the youngster who was a former amateur standout. Borbon has fought in Japan just once, where he suffered his only stoppage loss though that was against Takashi Miura, and will see this as a chance to prove himself in front of a Japanese audience.
Back on the road, in Mexico, we'll see IBF Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (16-3-1, 5) defending her title, for the 6th time, against the woman she originally beat for the belt, Alondra Garcia (16-3-1, 1). Although both fighters have very similar records Shibata has gone 7-0-1 (2) in her last 8 whilst Garcia has gone 5-2-1, including a draw with a debutant in late 2014.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we'll see even more title action as Australian Valentine Borg (13-2, 8) takes on Filipino puncher Junjesie Ibgos (11-1, 9) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Light Welterweight title. The once beaten Ibgosa will be making his international debut and although a clear under-dog he does look like he has the power to be a nightmare for Borg, who has been stopped twice. Borg is the more proven fighter but this is an interesting contest and the winner could open the door for bigger and better fights in the near future.
The action seemed to go quiet for a while but picks up suddenly this weekend. Saturday was big but in many ways Sunday is busier with 3 Japanese shows and a Singaporean show, featuring a streamed card, courtesy of asign, and an OPBF title bout.
The OPBF title bout from an intriguing card in Okinawa where we get several bouts between Japanese locals and Filipino visitors.
The most notable of those international bouts will see OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (17-6-1, 6) take on veteran challenger Go Onaga (27-2-2, 18) in a bout that both men will see as a must win bout. For the 36 year old Onaga a loss here will likely thwart any dreams of fighting for a world title, his one major dream. A loss for Dacquel however would probably see his own dreams shattered, and many would likely suggest that he won't ever progress beyond continental level.
A really interesting supporting bout will see Japan's Seita Ogido (10-2-1, 3) battle former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (14-1, 7), who managed to ask some questions of Wanheng Menayothin last year. Since suffering his sole loss Galero has picked up 3 wins and will be looking to continue that winning run here. Ogido is stepping up in a huge way however he will be looking to be buoyed on by the local fans with Ogido being a local fighter to Okinawa.
On paper the biggest mismatch between the Japanese and Filipino fighters will see Masatoshi Kotani (18-2, 13) battle against journeyman Jovill Marayan (9-22-3, 4). Kotani is on an 8 fight winning run, albeit against limited opposition and should extend that here against a man who has gone 1-10 in his last 11 bouts.
The asign show, which will be streamed on a PPV basis, is a Yokohama Hikari card and although it's not the best card of the weekend all the bouts will be streams and several of those are worth noting.
The biggest bout on the card is the main event which will see former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (23-5-3, 15) continue to try and rebuild his career after losses to Jomthong Chuwatanab and Masao Nakamura. The former Japanese champion will be up against Japanese ranked fighter Yusuke Nakagawa (10-4-1, 6) in what looks to be an easy win for the experienced man, at least on paper. Nakagawa however is an under-rated fighter and will be a stiffer tests than his record suggests.
Another bout of some interest here will see recent OPBF title challenger Futoshi Usami (13-2-1, 10) face off with the heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-8-1, 8). Usami challenged Masayoshi Nakatani for the OPBF title in 2014 but has only fought 6 rounds since then and Miyazaki might see this as his chance to take advantage of his opponents inactivity and end a 4-fight losing streak.
A third Japanese show will come from Hyogo, sadly however the card is less than great despite featuring a former world title contender.
That former world title contender is the light hitting Teiru Kinoshita (24-1-1, 7) who will be facing a Thai visitor as Kinoshita looks for a 6th successive win. Kinoshita, who lost to Zolani Tete in an IBF title fight, has stated in the past that he would like another world title bout, will need to start facing better opponents that Thai novices if he's to be full prepared for a world level bout.
Another local taking on a Thai foe will be Kazuhiro Nishitani (15-4-1, 7), and as with the Kinoshita bout we're unsure on the name of the Thai. Nishitani has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4, including a loss in a Japanese title fight to Kota Tokunaga, but should come away with a win here.
In an all Japanse bout Kazuya Murata (12-5, 5) will face Makoto Kawasaki (7-4-1, 1). Coming in to this Murata holds a #2 ranking with the JBC at Lightweight and know that he could move towards securing a Japanese title fight with a win here. For Kawasaki, who is 3-3 in his last 6, this is a great opportunity to move towards a ranking place.
Another man looking to secure a ranking place with an upset will be Satoshi Momota (10-11-1, 4) who faces ranked Light Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (11-4, 3). Despite being the “promoter's boy” Momota will be the clear under-dog coming into this one.
Fight fans in Singapore will also get some action, albeit low level action.
In the main event former amateur stand out Muhamad Ridhwan (3-0, 2) will be up against Filipino Jonel Borbon (2-19-2, 2). Ridhwan was given some attention on debut following his amateur success but appears unlikely to become a star that Singaporean fight fans would have been hoping for.
Staying with local talent Nurshahidah Roslie (3-0, 1) will be up against the debuting Krisna Limbaga (0-0). Roslie claimed the UBO Inter-Continental title last time out but will not be defending her title here.
December 16th-Omori battles Tapales for world title shot whilst Tokunaga and Nishitani face off for Japanese crown!
For a second day this week Japanese fans get a real treat with another double main event show. Unlike the first one however, this one is in Kyoto, not Tokyo.
The most notable of the main bouts is a WBO Bantamweight world title eliminator between Japanese national champion Shohei Omori (15-0, 10) and Filipino visitor Marlon Tapales (27-2, 10), with the winner to get a shot at the WBO crown in 2016. In recent bouts Omori has attracted the attention of international fans with some starting to see him as the the next great Japanese Bantamweight, following in the recent footsteps of Hozumi Hasegawa and Shinsuke Yamanaka, however this is a huge test for the youngster and one he will need to pass if he's to become the star some have suggested he will be. For Tapales, who's last loss came in a very close fight against David Sanchez almost 3 years ago, this is a huge opportunity and sees him returning to Japan for his 3rd bout in the country. Interestingly he is 2-0 in Japan and will be looking to continue that successful run.
The other main event will see Omori's stable mate Kota Tokunaga (16-2, 11) make the second defense of the Japanese Lightweight title. Tokunaga, who won the title earlier this year by stopping Yuya Sugizaki, will be up against the relatively unknown Kazuhiro Nishitani (15-3-1, 7) who is perhaps lucky to even be getting a title fight. Tokunaga isn't the best champion out there, and was relatively lucky in his last bout, where he scored a final round come-from-behind TKO, though his will to win is one of many positive traits for the fast improving champion. Nishitani will be the under-dog but should be regarded as a very live under-dog.
Chinese fans continue to have a wave of action as Top Rank continue their small foray into Shanghai, where they continue to put on shows at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The show isn't a big one, in fact it's scarcely a footnote on the Asian boxing scene, but it is notable that Top Rank are continuing their commitment to China and seem to still view the area as a potential gold mine, even if Zou Shiming isn't the star that they were hoping for.