Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday fight fans at Korakuen Hall get an interesting card, with two solid title bouts and two interesting bouts featuring prospects.
The main event of the card will see hard hitting Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (10-0, 8) take on the highly skilled Izuki Tomioka (7-5-1, 2), in what will be Utsuki's first defense. Utsuki won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Masahiro Suzuki in 9 rounds, and rather than taking on an easy opponent with a style that could make him look amazing he's taking on an awkward, quick boxer who has a style that could well make him look limited. As for Tomioka this is a third shot at a title, and whilst he's come up short in his previous two he has been very competitive, before being stopped, with Shuichiro Yoshino and Masayoshi Nakatani, suggesting he could be a nightmare for Utsuki as well. Our in depth preview of this bout Utsuki seeks first defense of Japanese title as he takes on Tomioka
The other title bout will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) defending his belt against fellow veteran Akihiro Kondo (33-10-2, 18), in what could be a genuinely thrilling war. Both of these men are heading towards retirement, both have slowed and are edging towards 40 years old. However their styles, even at an advanced age, should gel with Aso being an aggressive pressure fighter letting shots go and using physicality whilst Kondo is a slower, more intelligent fighter who relied on timing and ring craft. The slowing feet of both men, and their styles should lead to something of an intense and thrilling action bout. Our preview of this bout can be read here OPBF king Aso takes on tough veteran Kondo!
In a notably supporting bout the once touted Go Hosaka (5-1, 3) looks to bounce back from his October loss to Ryo Nakai as he takes on the experienced Kazuma Sanpei (20-7, 9). When he turned professional, in the Philippines, Hosaka was tipped for big things and he looked like one to keep an eye on straight from his 2018 debut. Sadly however the closure of the ALA Gym and the pandemic really slowed his ascent and he hasn't looked good in either of bouts in Japan, a narrow win over Kanta Fukui and the loss to Sakai. As for Sanpei he's got a good looking record, but has lost his most notable bouts and is 1-2 in his last 3 with his last notable win coming back in 2019. He needs a win to remain genuinely relevant, but it's fair to say that he's been selected as the opponent here to give Hosaka's career the boost it needs. A loss for Hosaka really would be the destroy the expectation for him as a prospect.
Another supporting bout will see former Japanese amateur sensation Ryusei Baba (1-0) fight in his second professional bout, as he takes on the hard hitting Shugo Namura (5-1, 5). Baba, who really was a stand out amateur winning an All Japan crown and competing internationally, is expected to be moved quickly through the ranks with big bouts expected sooner rather than later. As for Namura, the hard hitting 27 year old has scored all 5 of his wins in the first 2 rounds, but has come up short against his only notable opponent, with Akira Hoshuyama beating him in the the East Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2020. If Baba can see out the opening two rounds, he should get the chance to shine here and take a controlled victory to move his career forward.
This coming Saturday is a busy day for Asian fight fans with several shows in Asia and some Asian fighters fighting in the US.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The best looking Asian card of the day, by some margin, comes from Tokyo, though is sadly set to be on behind a paywall. The card features just 4 bouts, but all 4 of those are very interesting match ups, including a Japanese title eliminator.
The Japanese title eliminator will be at Lightweight as former Japanese 140lb champion Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) takes on Seiryu Toshikawa (14-5, 8), in a very interesting match up. Suzuki looked sensational in his title win at 140lbs when he stopped Daishi Nagata but he knew it wasn't his best weight and he decided to begin a pursuit of the Japanese title at 135lsb. In his way is the under-rated Toshikawa, who has won his last 4 and is 8-1 since the start of 2017. Toshikawa hasn't been beating top, top domestic names, but he's been in good form, beating solid domestic fighters and could be a very solid test for the very good Suzuki.
Whilst the title eliminator is a great bout we're even more excited about a clash between Kai Chiba (13-2, 8) and Suzumi Takayama (4-0, 4). The talented Chiba will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Kazuki Nakajima in an OPBF title bout back in May, and he'll know another loss here puts him a very, very long way from another title shot, of any kind. As for Takayama, a former Japanese Youth champion, he's been highly impressive to begin his career, and a win here against Chiba would be a huge announcement, and a massive chance for him to put his hat into the mix for a title fight. Although he's only had a combined 13 rounds as a professional, Takayama does look like an incredible prospect with power, skills and heart, and this is a great chance for him to show exactly what he can do.
In an interesting match up we'll see the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (37-10-1, 21) look to bounce back from a brutal and punish loss to Kosuke Saka in a Japanese Super Featherweight title fight. He's in an easier bout here ad he takes on the limited Kazuma Sanpei (20-6, 9), who is who has won 5 of his last 6, but has been fighting at a lower level than Watanabe, who has mixed at title level numerous times. Sanpei will feel confident of continuing his good run, and may feel he's getting Watanabe at the right time, but he will still be regarded as the under-dog here.
The other bout on this card will see the hard hitting, and incredibly fun to watch, Yasutaka Fujita (7-1, 6) take on the light punching, but very skilled, Izuki Tomioka (7-4-1, 2). Of the two men Fujita is the naturally bigger, heavier, hard hitting, but the man with questionable stamina and the much less skilled and accomplished boxer. Tomioka is light punching, but very skilled, tricky, and is battle tested at Japanese and OPBF level. On paper this is an easy bout to over-look but should prove to be a genuinely compelling 8 rounder.
Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines
In the Philippines ARQ Promotions will be putting on a small card, with a brilliant main event, as one of the brightest young prospects in the country takes a massive leap up in class. Sadly outside of that bout there isn't too much to be excited about.
That bout will see the unbeaten April Jay Abne (6-0, 3) battle for the OPBF "Silver" Flyweight title as he takes on the once beaten Bienvenido Ligas (13-1-2, 9), in a truly mouth watering clash. The talented, though inexperienced, Abne, is one of the best natural talents in the country, and seems like the type of fighter who has the technical abilities to go a long way, though does need to find his man strength. Ligas is the bigger puncher and the more naturally forceful fighter, but does leave holes and can be out boxed at times. Despite having holes Ligas is very solid, and he was very impressive Alphoe Dagayloan back in February, in a career best win. This is a genuinely excellent match up.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
There is also Asian action in Thailand, with a show being broadcast under the "The Fighter" banner, thanks to TL Promotions. Sadly whilst it does feature two very notable Thai hopefuls, neither man is in with someone expected to test them.
One of the promising Thai fighters on this show is the once beaten Tanes Ongjunta (8-1, 4), who looks notch a 5th straight win, as he takes on the limited Lerdchai Chaiyawed (6-5, 2). Ongjunta, looking to defend his WBA Asia Flyweight title, should be too good, too skilled, and too smart for his foe, though to credit where it's due, Chaiyawed does tend to offer plenty of resistance, even in his losses, and won't be there to just make up the numbers. We expect Chaiyawed to come to win, but simply not be good enough.
The other notable bout on this card will see the once beaten Arnon Yupang (7-1, 3) take on Filipino novice Fritz Biagtan (1-0, 1). Yupang was once a Thai amateur standout who has a lot of potential, and was last seen beating Amnat Ruenroeng for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title. He won't be defending that title here, but will be expecting to pick up a win. As for Biagtan, he made his debut in 2018, but has sadly been out of the ring for well over 40 months and is the naturally smaller man. Sadly we do not expect this one to be a particularly competitive match up.
Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA
Former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (17-5, 11) looks to keep himself in the world title mix as he takes on the hard hitting, and unbeaten, Carlos Caraballo (14-0, 14), in a brilliant match up. The technically well schooled Sultan, who holds a very good win over John Riel Casimero, is often under-rated but has shown what he can do in the ring and should be regarded as a leading contender in the Super Flyweight division. Sadly however he is stepping up in weight here, to take on the very exciting Caraballo. The unbeaten Caraballo has stopped everyone so far, including former world title challenger Christian Esquivel, and is a very dangerous fighter. Although technically gifted this is a very tough ask for Caraballo.
Hilton Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Also in the US we'll see the limited Jeronil Borres (11-5-1, 6), another Filipino fighter, take on unbeaten American Dylan Price (14-0, 10). The 26 year old Borres is now world beater, but he was very competitive against Matthew Griego last time out, also in the US, and will be looking to show what he can do against Price here. The 23 year old Price is a genuine prospect, and he has scored 3 wins already this year, with a 4th expected here. Although not a world beater Borres is better than a TKO1 loss to Junto Nakatani suggests, and he could ask questions of Price here, but we don't expect him to run the unbeaten man too close.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we get action from Korakuen Hall, though this is a much smaller show than the stacked card we got on Thursdays. In fact this is a card where the names are minimal, but the action should again be very, very good. It should also be noted that this card was, originally, scheduled for April before the state of emergency in Japan forced it to be delayed, hence the poster above.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweights clash as Kazuma Sanpei (19-6, 8) takes on the heavy handed Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-5, 6). On paper Sanpei comes in as the clear favourite, with the more impressive record and the better JBC ranking, however it's certainly not a gimmie for him and the 26 year old has shown a questionable level of durability and comes into this 16 months removed from his last win. Miyamoto on the other hand is the definition of a glass cannon, with only one of this 12 bouts going to the final bell. Expect Miyamoto to try and take Sanpei's head off, and for Sanpei to try and box early before letting his heavier shots go in the later stages.
The chief support bout will also feature a ranked fighter, in fact Tatsuya Yanagi (17-6-2, 7) will be risking his JBC, OPBF and WBO AP rankings here, as he takes on Toru Kiyota (10-4, 7) in an 8 round Lightweight bout. Coming in to this Yanaga has been putting together some of his best performances, including wins over Masashi Noguchi, Koichi Aso and Kazuki Saito, and at 31 will likely know that a seventh career loss would be a massive setback. Kiyota on the other hand has only won one of his last 3, and 3 of his last 6, but can be a tricky customer and two of those losses was very close. Although perhaps not a great contest on paper, we expect this one to be ultra competitive throughout the 8 round schedule.
In a potentially easy to over-look bout we'll see the limited but heavy handed Ken Koibuchi (6-5, 5) take on Katsunori Endo (7-3, 4), in what could be a very explosive encounter between two men with some history between them. These two men faced off back in 2019, with Endo stopping Koibuchi in 3 rounds, giving Koibuchi his sole stoppage loss. It's fair to say Koibuchi will be seeking revenge here, but Endo on the other hand will be confidence of scoring a third straight win inside the distance. Although not a high level match up, this could be something a little special
One other Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Welterweight Hironori Shigeta (6-2-1, 3), who is looking to bounce back from a 2020 loss to Shoki Sakai. The talented Shigeta shouldn't have many problems here as he takes on the limited Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-14-1, 9), who has been stopped in his last 5 and is without a win in almost 4 years. In fact Miyazaki is 1-10 in his last 11 bouts!
One other fighter we want to briefly mention is Japanese based Italian fighter Federica Boni (0-0) who makes her belated debut against Asako Sugawara (0-0) in an all debutant bout. Boni was supposed to debut a few weeks ago, and has gotten a bit of press in Japan, for being an Italian born female boxer, and we really are looking forward to following her journey over the next few years.
Yunusabad Sports Complex in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Over in Tashkent we're set for a show featuring a number of notable Asian fighters, including three talented Uzbekistani fighters.
The main event of the show will see the heavy handed Shohjahon Ergashev (19-0, 17) take on Tanzania's Salimu Jengo (16-3, 10) in a bout for the lightly regarded EBP title at 140lbs. The talented Ergashev, will be fighting for the first time since his rather farcical bout with Dzmitry Miliusha last November, which had been postponed due to legal issues. The reality here is that Ergashev will almost certainly cruise past Jengo on route to bigger and better things. For those curious the most notable results on Jengu's record are a decision loss to China's Ju Wu and a TKO loss to former Devin Haney opponent Xolisani Ndongeni.
The other noteworthy local on this show is Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (16-1, 13), who appears to be in a stay busy bout after his US debut was delayed to September. His opponent has been named as Georgian fighter Merab Turkadze (6-9-1, 2), and it's really hard to see this being anything but an easy win for Najmiddinov, who's only loss was a very, very controversial one to Viktor Postol.
A third fighter of some note from Uzbekistan is Ulugbek Khakberdiev (6-0, 4), who returns to a pro ring for the first time in more than 2 years. The talented Middleweight is scheduled for 10 rounds against against Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-9, 7), from Belarus. Interestingly Atrokhau has proven to be durable, and it seems the focus here will be for the local man to get some rounds after such a long lay off. This should be a clear case of shaking some ring rust and cruising to a clear, wide, decision victory.
One other name worthy of mentioning the 36 year old Kazakh Alexandr Zhuravskiy (13-7-1, 11), who is much better than his record suggests, taking on Russian Sergey Vorobiev (10-1, 7), in a really good bout at 154lbs. This should be much, much more competitive than it looks on paper, and could end up being potentially the most interestingly contest on the show.
Vegas City Hall, Krasnogorsk, Russia
As well as the action in Japan there are a few Asian fighters in action over in Russia.
One of those is once beaten Russian based Azeri Elnur Samedov (11-1, 3) who is expected to be in action in an 8 rounder. Sadly his opponent for this show hasn't been confirmed at the time of writing, which is a shame as he's been putting on some good performances recently, including scoring wins over Aik Shakhnazaryan and Alexander Podolsky.
Another Russian based Central Asian fighter on this car is the 35 year old Server Emurlaev (23-2, 8), who is supposedly pencilled in to face the returning Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (14-2, 12). This is just an oddity. Kalyuzhnyy hasn't fought since 2016, when he lost to limited Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk. Emurlaev on the other hand has fought twice this year, returning after 8 years out of the ring, and recently suffered a loss to touted Kazakh fightr Kamshybek Kunkabayev. Notably Emurlaev is pencilled in for another fighter late in the month, so this one may end up being cancelled due to the other fight, which is a much more meaningful fight than this one.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We return to Korakuen Hall this coming Tuesday, ending a 6 day run without a show there, as we get the next A-Sign Bee show. This isn't a big card, by any stretch, but does look to be quite an evenly matched one, and that's saying more than we can for some shows.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight fighters clash in a n 8 rounder. In corner is #9 ranked Kazuma Sanpei (19-6, 8) and in the other corner will be Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-5, 6), ranked #19. On paper this doesn't look like an amazing bout, but it should be a very well contested one. Sanpei is a 25 fight veteran who began his career in 2012, and is still only 25. His record looks good at first glance, and a 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year win also looks good, but he is 8-6 (4) in his last 14 bouts, not that much different to Miyamoto's career record. He has also been stopped in 4 of those 6 losses. Miyamoto on the other hand is a 27 year old glass cannon who has been stopped in all 5 losses, but has the power to be dangerous with only 1 decision win on his record. We expect this one to be explosive!
Another potentially explosive bout will see Ken Koibuchi (6-5, 5) and Katsunori Endo (7-3, 4) clash in another 8 rounder. The 25 year old Koibuchi is limited but tough, having been stopped once in his 5 losses whilst Endo has been stopped in 2 of his 3 defeats. The key however is the power for both men, and this could end up being one where both men are hurt before we see a finish. Interestingly Endo enters the bout ranked #11 by the JBC at Super Featherweight.
Another ranked fighter on this show is Tatsuya Yanagi (17-6-2, 7), who is risking rankings with the JBC, OPBF and the WBO Asia Pacific, as he takes on Toru Kiyota (10-4, 7). Yanagi's record is certainly not the best, but he is 6-1-1 in his last 8 including good wins over Ryusei Nakajima, Koichi Aso and Kazuki Saito. Kiyota on the other hand is 3-3 in his last 6 but has shown a lot to like, and with some luck could well have had 3 of those losses expunged from his record. This might not look great but should be a very interesting bout over the 8 round schedule.
One other bout worthy of note is an all debutant 4 rounder between Italian born Japanese based Boni Federica (0-0) and Asako Sugawara (0-0). Not much is known about either fighter, but Federica was born in Italy and is now fighting out of the RK Kamata Gym, with her goal being to win a Japanese title. Sugawara on the other hand is from the Ichiriki Gym and has reportedly set a target of winning a world title. Not a great bout, but certainly an interesting one.
NOTE - There is talk that this show may be postponed due to the recent state of emergency in Tokyo If you are attending the event please check with the promoter (Ichiriki)
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For the first in more than 5 months we are expecting to see fans return to Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday for the next Diamond Glove show. The event isn't a massive one, with just 3 bouts set for the show , but does feature some pretty notable and interesting fights, with a Japanese title fight serving as the main event.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) defending his title against Yuri Takemoto (8-1-1, 4). The bout isn't the bout we were expecting to see Sagawa in, with the talented champion being ordered to face Hinata Maruta before the who global situation, but isn't an awful substitution. For Sagawa this will be his second defense since winning the title last year, with a win over Reiya Abe, and will see him seeking a 9th straight win. As for Takemoto he did win Rookie of the Year in 2018, but it seems like he's taking a massive leap up in class here. Takemoto has a bright future, but for us Sagawa is fringe world class and will have far too much of everything for the challenger here. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Sagawa faces off with Takemoto!
In a good looking 8 round support bout Shinnosuke Hasegawa (11-2-1, 8) and Kazuma Sanpei (19-5, 8) will face off in a clash of JBC ranked Super Featherweights. Coming in to this Sanpei is ranked #5 by the JBC and has won 4 in a row, including wins against Tatsuya Otsubo and Toru Kiyota. Hasegawa on the other hand is ranked #16 and has won his last 10 in a row, though they haven't been against the stiffest of competition. This is an interesting match up, and a win for Hasegawa would be his best, by far, though Sanpei will be the betting favourite.
Another interesting bout on this show will see 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up Takeshi Takehara (5-1, 1) take on Beverly Tsukada (3-4-2, 2). The 25 year old Takehara lost a razor thin decision last December to Ryuya Tsugawa and will be looking to bounce back here with a win against the 31 year old Tsukada. Whilst this doesn't look great on paper it gets interesting when you scratch beneath the surface and realise Tsukada had lost his last and is winless in the last 24 months. This should be a simple win for Takehara.
Notably there was a fourth bout scheduled for this card, between Munetaka Kihara (3-2-1, 1) and the debuting Reiji Kodama (0-0), but this was cancelled when Teiken had to close due to Jorge Linares's recent PCR test.
The big focus this coming Thursday is on Korakuen Hall, where we get a very interesting Diamond Glove card featuring a rising a second generation hopeful, a former world champion and a Japanese title fight.
The main event is the Japanese title fight, which will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) defending his title against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) as part of the Champion Carnival. Yoshino, who holds the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, will only be defending his national title, but a loss would seriously hamper his chance to advance to world level in 2020. As for Tomioka he's getting his second fight at the type of level, having previously lost to Masayoshi Nakatani in an OPBF title. On paper the stronger, heavier handed, and more powerful Yoshino should be favoured, but Tomioka certainly has the size and speed, both hand and feet, to make life very tricky for the champion. This bout has been previewed here Yoshino defends against mandatory Tomioka!
The former world champion on this show is former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) who returns to the ring for the first time since his 2018 loss to Cristofer Rosales. The talented and aggressive Higa was given an indefinite suspension by the JBC following the Rosales loss, for his failure to make weight, with that suspension only being lifted late last year. On his return he's being matched with Filipino visitor Jason Buenaobra (7-4-3, 3), in what could turn out to be a rather solid test. Although Buenaobra is no world beater he has gone the schedule with Carl Jammes Martin, the only man to have heard the bell against the "Wonder Boy" and could prove to be a very durable test for the returning Higa. We really are looking forward to this one. Our preview of this bout can be read here Higa returns, but can he over-come the rugged Buenaobra?
Another bout of some note on this card is a contest between Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (18-5, 7) and Soreike Taichi (7-2, 5), who will know that a win here boosts their chance to get a Japanese title fight later this year. Coming in the 25 year old Sanpei is the more well established fighter and despite his record being blotted with losses he is 6-1 (3) in his last 7 and did show real promise early in his career, winning Rookie of the Year back in 2013. Taichi is less well known but has won his last 4, including good wins over Yusaku Sekishima and Masaki Saito. Interestingly Taichi's last loss was in 2014, when he was stopped in a round bye Reiya Abe.
The second generation fighter mentioned above is Shinba Yamaguchi (1-0, 1), the son of former world champion Keiji Yamaguchi, who takes a significant step up from his debut. The 19 year old Yamaguchi who won his debut in just 40 seconds last October, will be up against Filipino Luis Borje (5-1-1, 2) in what should be a very credible test. It's hard to say much about Yamaguchi's professional career so far but it is worth noting that both of Borje's set backs have come to John Mark Tihuk, who should be seen as one to watch going forward. A very tough test this early in Yamaguchi's career.
Las Vegas, USA
As well as the Japanese action there is also a bout of interest in the US, where we'll see an Uzbek fighter in action. The Uzbek on this show is 35 year old Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-3, 13), who looks to end a 3 fight losing streak. The US based Uzbek began his career 17-0 before seemingly ending his career in 2014. He returned to the ring in 2018 and since then has gone 0-3, and been stopped in 2 of those 3 losses. On paper we would expect Hudaynazarov to turn things around here in what looks like an easy bout against Cameron Krael (16-15-3, 4), however Krael has a very misleading record and the kid can fight. We wouldn't be surprised at all by an upset here.
This same show will also feature Kyrgyzstan born American based hopeful Andrei Odintsev (4-0, 4) take on Britton Norwood (9-4-1, 7) in a 4 round Light Heavyweight contest.
The most notable show for us this coming Friday is in Tokyo, where Hideka Todaka will be promoting a card.
The main event of this show will see the talented Koki Koshikawa (8-1, 5), who is ranked #3 by the JBC at 154lbs, take on Indonesian visitor Yosmar Kefi (9-9, 8). On paper this looks like a dangerous bout for Koshikawa, given Kefi's reputation as a puncher, but in reality we don't see this as anything but a total mismatch as Koshikawa looks to move a step closer to his first title bout.
In another notable bout, fans will see Japanese ranked Featherweights clash, with Kazuma Sanpei (16-5, 7) and Tatsuya Otsubo (13-9-1, 4) facing off in a must win bout. Both men had mixed 2018's, going 2-1, losing to real talented fights by stoppage. Sanpei was stopped in July by Yoshimitsu Kimura and a month later Otsubo was stopped in a Japanese title fight by Taiki Minamoto. This could easily be the Asian bout of the weekend.
Also on this card was 2017 Rookie of the Year runner up Kento Yabusaki (6-2-1, 4), who has bounced back from his loss in the Rookie of the Year final with a couple of good wins. He'll be stepping up to his first 8 rounder here as he takes on domestic foe Yuji Okinori (8-4-2, 1), who has failed to take a win in his last 3 bouts.
As well as the Japanese card there will also be one in Singapore.
The main event of the card will see Singapore's very own Hamzah Farouk (7-0, 5) battle against Thai veteran Paiboon Lorkham (19-11, 8), in what will be Farouk's first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. It's hard to back the Thai here, despite his wealth of experience, given he's now 40, but he should be a decent test for Farouk who is looking to become the face of Singaporean boxing.
In an all unbeaten bout we'll see Singaporean based French born fighter Abdelelah Karroum (4-0, 4) take on Filipino born Singaporean foe Alexandrew David (4-0-1, 2). This bout will be for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Light Middleweight title. It's hard to read too much into what the potential winner of this bout will do, but by it's self this does look like it could be a very interesting match up.
Another bout of note here will see Filipino fighter Jeson Umbal (16-6, 11) take on Indonesian foe Tommy Seran (28-16, 16), in what should be a very straight forward win for the under-rated Umbal. It's worth noting that Umbal did lose last time out, losing a majority decision to Muhamad Ridhwan last year, but he shouldn't struggle at all against Seran, who has lost his last 4 and 7 of his last 8.
As well as the bouts in Asia there will also be a notable bout in the US, with unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (5-0, 2) battling against American based Mexican foe Cristian Olivas (16-4, 13). This looks to be another good step forward for Alimkhanuly who looked good last time out after a fell than stellar performances. We suspect the Kazakh will again show his ability here, though there are still areas to work on, and we want to start seeing some killer instinct from him, rather than just the skills we already knew he had.
This coming Wednesday the Korakuen Hall hosts a small, but notable card. It involves a once touted prospects from the Celes gym, a former OPBF champion and a former Japanese title challenger.
The main event will see the once touted Koki Koshikawa (7-1, 5) taking on former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (8-7, 6) in a very good test for Kokshikawa. The Japanese fighter turned professional with a bit of early career buzz but would step up a touch too quickly and lose a wide decision to Koshinmaru Saito in 2015. After a 2 year break he has reeled off 3 straight stoppage wins, including a big win last time out against Daisuke Sakamoto. Ratchasi, aka Niwat Kongkan, went on a great run in 2016 and 2017 but has now lost 4 of his last 5. At his best the Thai was a nightmare to beat, with a determined will to win and heavy hands, but now appears to be a fighter well on the slide. Despite being on the slide a win for Koshikawa would be his best win to date.
A very good supporting bout will see former 2-time Japanese Featherweight title challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (12-9-1, 4) take on Yosuke Kawano (13-7-2, 7), in a bout between two Japanese ranked fighters. The last time we saw Otsubo he came up short against Taiki Minamoto in a very exciting Japanese title bout that saw Otsubo being stopped in the 9th round of a very competitive contest. The 30 year old Kawano has faced a number of decent domestic foes, and has generally been competitive, fight to a draw with Takenori Ohashi and losing narrow decisions to Ryuto Araya and Dai Iwai. This should be a very competitive contest.
A third bout of note will see Japanese ranked Kazuma Sanpei (15-5, 6) take on Yuji Awata (11-5, 4). Last time out Sanpei was stopped by Yoshimitsu Kimura, ending a 3 fight winning run, and he has mixed with very good domestic fighters since winning the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Awata on the other hand 2-2 in his last 4, but was the 2016 Rookie of the Year and is looking to get back to winning ways here.
To kick off a new week attention returns to the Korakuen Hall where fans will get the chance to see a Japanese youth title fight and the next fight in the career of a very promising youngster.
The title fight will see the Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Kazuma Sanpei (15-4, 6) defending his title against the once beaten Yoshimitsu Kimura (9-1, 4). The talented Sanpei once promised a lot and was 11-0 but has subsequently gone 4-4 and struggled to get his career back on track. Saying that however Sanpei has won his last 3 bouts and now appears to be resurrecting his faltering career. On the other hand Kimura will be looking to get his career back on track, following a loss in April to WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Richard Pumicpic. This is a step up in weight for Kimura but one he will feel he can make comfortably in what could be his break out performance. We are expecting something very exciting here.
In an under-card fight the unbeaten Ryuto Owan (4-0, 2) will take on Takuma Matsushita (5-4, 2). This isn't a step up for Owan as such, but is a chance for him to shake some ring rust after hang been out of the ring since February. Owan is very talented prospect, as wins over Alvin Medura and Jun Blazo have shown, but we're unlikely to see any new questions answered about him here. Matsushita has been stopped in 3 of his last 7, and is 2-5 during that 7 fight run and we'd be very surprised if he can survive the distance with Owan.
This coming Tuesday fight fans in Tokyo get a card at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Hideki Todaka, who will be putting on several pretty interesting looking match ups.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked Featherweights facing off with Dai Iwai (21-5-1, 7) taking on Yosuke Kawano (12-6-2, 6), in a bit of a title eliminator. Coming in to this Iwai, a former OPBF title challenger, will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Taiki Minamoto, a loss that cost Iwai a shot at Japanese Featherweight Takenori Ohashi. Iwai will be fully aware that he hasn't looked good in his last two, and will need a good performance here if he's to get a domestic title bout. As for Kawano he has bounced back well from two losses in 2016, and looked really good in stopping Masashi Noguchi last time out. Although no world beater Kawano is is solid and should push Iwai all the way.
Another bout putting Japanese ranked fighters against each other, as Kazuma Sanpei (14-4, 5) takes on Kei Iwahara (8-4, 4), with both men having top 15 rankings at Super Featherweight with the JBC. Coming in to this Sanpei is on a 2 fight winning run, having twice beaten Ryuki Ishii last year, and looks to be turning his career around after a struggle that saw him go 1-4 between October 2014 and October 2016. As for Iwahara he comes into this on a career best win over Yuji Awata, which shoot give him a huge boost of confidence coming in to this bout.
Another fight of note on this card will see veteran Cobra Suwa (19-13-2, 11) take on a Thai foe. Little is known about the visitor but Suwa needs a win, given that he has gone 1-2 in his last 3, including stoppage to Nobuyuki Shindo last November and a decision loss to Ratchasi Sithsaithong in late 2016. Given that we're not expecting the Thai visitor to be particularly good it's hard to imagine Suwa losing, but the local will need to do more than just pick up a win,instead he will have to impress.