Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday we are set to get a huge show in Tokyo, with a card that is, for the most part, Japan Vs Philippines. The show is headlined by a brilliant world title bout, and then features some really interesting match ups on one of the best Japanese cards of 2022.
The main event is a brilliant match up between Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) and legendary Filipino Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), with the men clashing for the WBO Super Flyweight title currently held by Ioka. The two men know each other fairly well, having clashed at the end of 2018 with Nietes taking a razor thin decision. Since then however Nietes' career has gone down hill with poor decision making, inactivity, injuries and poor management all costing him. Now aged 40 this is potentially the last big bout for him, however a win could secure him a long awaited showdown with Roman Gonzalez. As for Ioka, he has bounced back from the loss to Nietes to climb into the pound for pound rankings, and enhanced his already legendary status as a lower weight fighter and one of the all great Japanese fighters. This is set to be high level chess, and the winner will look to move towards divisional super fights. As for the loser, it's hard to see them bouncing back and getting another fight of note any time soon. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ioka seeks revenge in rematch with Nietes!
The main support bout will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-2-1, 17) look to bounce back from his second loss, a unanimous decision loss to Ryosuke Nishida last year, as he takes on former WBO title challenger Froilan Saludar (32-5-1, 22). The talented, exciting and hard hitting Higa has had a rollercoaster 4 years or so, which has seen him going 2-2-1 (2) and been stripped of the WBC Flyweight title. Despite his downfall Higa is still popular and is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport to watch, with an ultra aggressive pressure style That style, and his power, should be too much for Saludar, but the Filipino visitor is no push over. Saludar, once tipped to be a huge star himself, has had something of a bad rep in recent years for losing in notable bouts to the likes of Andre Moloney, Ryoji Fukunaga, Sho Kimura and Takuma Inoue, and unfortunately for him losing against top contenders has really harmed his reputation. Despite that he's a dangerous fighter, with a high level of experience and ambitions to secure himself a top fight in the near future. He'll know that a win here opens major doors for him, whilst a loss will almost certainly push him into the status of a journeyman. A lot on the line with this bout, which could be a very compelling 8 rounder.
In another supporting bout we'll see former WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (12-1, 7) take on once beaten Filipino puncher Presco Carcosia (10-1-1, 9). For Mori the bout will be his first since May 2021, when he lost to Satoshi Shimizu, and despite the lengthy lay off the 22 year old isn't expected to show any real ring rust after training alongside Ioka, in what was likely the best training camp of his career. If he has learned from that camp, and the Shimizu fight, he should feel confident of over-coming the little known Carcosia. The Filipino lacks wins of note, but has a much vaunted powerful right hand, and his only loss was a debatable one in Australia, against Jai Alexander. Given his power and size Carcosia could well be a banana skin for Mori, but he will go in as the under-dog.
The big talking point for the under-card isn't Mori or Higa. Instead it's the debut of former amateur star Hayato Tsutsumi (0-0), who is widely regarded as a special talent similar to Naoya Inoue, Kazuto Ioka or Kosei Tanaka. The talented 22 year old is set to debut in a baptism of fire as he takes on the upset minded Jhon Gemino (23-13-1, 13), who enters with a #5 ranking with the OPBF, in an 8 rounder. As an amateur Tsutusmi was the stand out Japanese fighter of his generation, and those in Japan are touting him as their next legendary super prospect. Gemino on the other hand has a record that is very misleading, and over his long career he has long been one to shock prospects and hopefuls, beating the likes of Arnold Alejandro, Carlos Ornelas, Sho Nakazawa and Toka Kahn Clary all on his travels. If Tsutusmi is as good in the pros as he was in the amateurs he should win here, but if there's any cracks or if he's over looking Gemino, he could in for a major set back on his debut.
Another debutant on this card is 31 year old female fighter Satsuki Ito (0-0), who begins her professional career with a bout against Thai veteran Saowaluk Nareepangsri (11-18, 5). As an amateur Ito really made a mark, winning the All Japan Championship in 2009 and remaining as an amateur until 2018 when she originally retired from the sport. Last year she decided to turn professional, and passed her B license test, with the Shisei gym. Given her amateur background we're expecting a very impressive debut. As for Saowaluk, she has won her last 3 by TKO, but has been fighting at a very low level, and when she has stepped up she has regularly been stopped. She will enter as the under-dog, and will need a career best performance to even be competitive with Ito.
Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
Over the last decade or so it has become tradition for Japan to host the last major boxing event of the year, with at least one big show on New Year's Eve. That's the case again this year, as we get a 4 fight card in Tokyo to close out 2021, and move us into what should, hopefully, be a much, much, much better year. The show isn't headlined by the bout we wanted, or even expected just a month ago, but as has been the case form much of the year, those in charge of the event have done the best with what they have to not just put on a show, but also give action that we want and that should, fingers crossed, end the year with some excitement.
The four fight card is a very top heavy one, and whilst the main event is clearly the highlight, there is one under-card bout want to put some attention on before discussing the main bout.
That under-card contest is an 8 rounder at a contracted 64.5Kg's, or 142.2lbs, between struggling veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-10-2, 18) and 22 year old Aso Ishiwaki (9-4-1, 7), who needs a win to build on his September victory over Yuichiro Kasuya. Kondo, best known for his IBF world title bout with Sergey Lipinets, is now 36 and has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, but he has fought at a decent level, and fought to a draw in a Japanese title fight a year ago. Ishiwaki, one of the most fun to watch Japanese guys in and around 140lbs, on the other hand last back to back fights before his win over Kasuya and knows a win here will help re-establish him on the domestic scene. This might not be a huge bout internationally, but it should make for a thrilling domestic clash for the fans in attendance.
As for the main event that will see Kazuto Ioka (27-2, 15) defending his WBO Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (15-4, 14), who was a very late replacement for IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas. We were supposed to see a world title unification bout here, but that got scrapped after the Omicron variant emerged, and led to Japan closing it's borders, preventing Ancajas to travel to Japan. As a result Fukunaga got the call for the biggest fight of his career and, understandably, said yes. Although Fukunaga is a huge downgrade from Ancajas, the challenger is a former triple crown winner, having won the WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese titles at 115lbs, and is heavy handed. Sadly though he is stepping up in class, massively to take on of the divisional elite. Ioka will have to fight off disappointment, seeing his unification with Ancajas fall apart, and if he does that he should dominate Fukunaga here, but there is, a chance, he could over-look Fukunaga, and if he does that this could be a very dangerous bout for him. Our in depth preview of this bout is available to watch here Ioka faces Fukunaga to end 2021
Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
To kick off the month of September attention turns to Tokyo, and the Ota-City General Gymnasium for a very notable card, albeit a very short card with just 4 bouts on it. And a card that will no be open to the public, as it will held behind closed doors due to a high level of Covid19 cases in Japan, however the under-card will be streamed by Shisei gym and the main event will be shown on TBS.
The card in question will feature two all debutant bouts to open up the card before a brilliant looking all-Japanese chief support bout, as the skilled, but often frustrating, Yuichiro Kasuya (14-3-2, 4) battles the dangerous, but flawed, Aso Ishiwaki (8-4-1, 6). Of the two men Kasuya is the much more technically skilled and the more well schooled boxer, but he's often been negative in the ring, and lacks fight changing power, something that has often been a problem in his recent bouts, especially given he's moved up from Super Featherweight to Light Welterweight. Ishiwaki on the other hand is a rough around the edges fighter with nasty power, a huge will to win, and a physically imposing style, which he will look to use here against the naturally smaller man. This should be a very, very interesting support bout.
Whilst the chief support bout is an interesting one it pales in comparison to the main event, which will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) defending his title against Francisco Rodriguez Jr (34-4-1, 24), in a rare bout between two men who unified titles 3 weight classes below the one where they are facing off themselves. Ioka has looked rejuvenated since his return to the sport, following a short lived retirement, and comes in to this on the back of an excellent win over Kosei Tanaka back in December. Sadly though Ioka also has the cloud hanging over his head of a drug testing issue that saw the JBC really getting embarrassed for the way they handled things, and it's something that could well be on his mind coming into this bout. As for Rodriguez this bout is a huge opportunity for him to prove that he's still one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, something he showed in 2014 when beat faced Katsunari Takayama. Sadly Rodriguez hasn't been as successful as Ioka since leaving the Minimumweight division and this will be his first real world level test since joining the division, though he is on a very nice winning run of 15 straight bouts dating back more than 5 years. Our full, in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ioka faces third straight mandatory as he battles Rodriguez!
Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
To end 2020 boxing gives the latest in the customary big Japanese show on December 31st thanks to Japanese broadcaster TBS. This year isn't one of the massive end of year shows like we have had some years but it's still a very solid show and feature a sensational main event and a potentially thrilling supporting bout, giving us a fun double header to close out the year.
The main event of the show, and the final main bout of 2020, will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) look to make his second defense as he takes on Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9). This will be the first time Ioka has faced a Japanese fighter since his historical 2012 win over Akira Yaegashi, to unify the WBA and WBC Minimumweight titles, and it's by far his most interesting challenger in years, possibly going back to his rematch Juan Carlos Reveco. Having won world titles at 4 weights Ioka is one of the big stars in Japan but a loss here would be a hard one to come back from. For Tanaka the bout will see him looking to become a 4-weight world champion in just 16 bouts, and build on his reputation as one of the best young fighters in the sport. Unlike Ioka he has been willing to face Japanese foes and 2 of his last 4 bouts have been against fellow Japanese, including his 2018 war with Sho Kimura. This is the perfect bout to put 2020 behind us and is set to be a genuine treat for fight fans. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here The end of year clash - Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka
The main support bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) defending his title, for the second time, as he takes on former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16). For Kobayashi this is an amazing opportunity to get some exposure and make his name in front of a larger audience, with this bout being televised in the Kanto region of Japan. His 2019 title win against Ben Mananquil is a very under-rated one and his 2018 barn burner with Keita Kurihara is a sensation 12 round battle. As for Higa he's not yet looked settled since moving to Bantamweight, and he was certainly lucky last time out to only have a draw against his name when he went 10 rounds with Seiya Tsutsumi. This could be a genuinely fascinating match up, and a very fan friendly one. Our preview of this one can be read here WBO Asia Pacific champion Kobayashi takes on Higa as the year comes to an end!
One other bout worth talking about, though is unlikely to be televised even in highlights, will see Yuki Nakajima (4-1, 4) take on Toma Kondo (8-6, 1) in an 8 round bout. The 25 year old Nakajima is looking to score his third straight win since losing in 2018 to Ryu Horikawa and build on his thrilling victory over Shisui Kawabata. The youngster, who's older brother Kazuki Nakajima is regarded as a top prospect at the Ohashi Gym, has looked impressive but is, on paper, taking a step up in class here. Kondo on the other hand is coming into this with just 1 win in his last 5, though does tend to lost hotly contested bouts and could prove to be a very good test for Nakajima after a frustrating year.
To end 2019 we get a bumper card from Watanabe Gym who give us 6 titles on a single show in Tokyo. For those at the venue this is set to be a monster show, one of the best of the year, whilst those at home will only be able to see 2, or 3, of the bouts from the show.
The show at the venue is set to open with one of the best opening bouts on a show this year, as fast rising prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) defends his WBO Asia Pacific title against former world title challenger Rey Loreto (25-14, 17). Fans who aren't aware of Loreto might see this as a mismatch but the Filipino, who started his career 0-4, is a legitimate danger man and this is a very legitimate test for Shigeoka. A win for the 20 year old local is expected to be followed by a world title fight next year, but again a win here is not a given against the tough and heavy handed Loreto. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Rising star Shigeoka defends regional crown against former world title challenger!
Another regional title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 13) take on Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal (16-8-6, 9), in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Kuga has had a great year, reclaiming the Japanese title with a win against Ryoichi Tamura and then defending it with a blow out against Yosuke Fujihara. He will be the favourite. However Ramonal is unbeaten since mounting a comeback in 2018, and was last seen blasting out Shingo Wake in October, and he will be full of confidence coming in to this bout. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kuga and Ramonal clash for WBO Asia Pacific crown!
The first of three world title bouts, and one that is available to a Japanese only audience through Paravi, will see Miyo Yoshida (13-1) defending her WBO female Super Flyweight title against Chinese challenger Li Ping Shi (5-2, 2). This will be Yoshida's first defense of the title she won earlier this year, when she beat Casey Morton, and she, and her team sound confident that she has really come on and developed since winning the title. For Shi this is a huge step up in class, but she comes in with self belief and confidence. We go into a lot more detail of this bout here Yoshida defends WBO crown against Shi!
The second world title fight on this card will see fast rising Japanese star Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) defending his WBO Flyweight title, for the third time, as he takes on Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6). The talented Tanaka looked poor last time out, needing to pull victory from the jaws of defeat against Jonathan Gonzalez, but put that down to being sick in the build up. We expect to see a better performance here, but Wulan is no pusher over and comes into this bout full of confidence, in what looks like a potential banana skin of a defense. This bout has been previewed in a lot of depth here Tanaka takes on Wulan in year ending WBO Flyweight title bout!
The main event of the card will see Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) defending his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-0, 5), in what will be the final world title bout of the decade. Ioka won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Aston Palicte, and will be looking to go into the new decade as one of the top faces of the lower weight classes. Cintron on the other hand is looking to claim a world title in his first world title fight, and build on a very successful amateur career. This is a actually a really good way to close out the year, and the winner will enter 2020 as a man with potentially huge fights out there for the new year, including a show down with Roman Gonzalez. A full scale preview of this bout can be read here Ioka and Cintron to clash in final world title bout of the decade!
The other title bout, which is actually pencilled in as a swing bout, will see Marina Sayama (4-1-1, 2) and Yume Hirayama (4-0) battle for the vacant Japanese female Flyweight title. This will be the second bout between the two fighters, who fought in 2017 with Hirayama winning, and looks likely to be a competitive bout, but one only those in the arena will get the chance to see. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hirayama and Sayama battle for Japanese title!
June 19th-Triple header in Chiba!
This coming Wednesday attention turns to Chiba for a world title triple header. The show not only has a trio of world title bout but also features a couple of promising Japanese prospects, both taking a step up in class.
The main event of the show will see Japanese 3-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) have his second shot at the WBO Super Flyweight title, as he takes on Filipino puncher Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21), who also gets his second shot at the title. These two both fought Donnie Nietes for the vacant title late year, with Palicte earning a draw and Ioka suffering a narrow loss, and with Nietes vacating the title to pursue a legacy defining fight, the two men get the chance to face off with each looking to make the most of their second chance. This should be a high skilled battle between two very talented fighters, with very different strengths. We're not expecting a FOTY style war, but we are expecting a very, very good bout. Our preview on this bout is available here Ioka and Palicte vie for vacant WBO crown!
Another fantastic looking world title fight will see unbeaten men collide, with WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) defending his title against unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (11-0, 5) , aka Tanawat Nakoon. For Kyoguchi this will be his first defense, following his title at the end of 2018 against Hekkie Budler. The Japanese star will be strongly favoured here but it should be noted that the Thai challenger is a former Muay Thai stand out and should not be regarded as a push over. This should be very interesting and a real chance to see if the Thai is a legitimate threat in the world of professional boxing. Our preview of this bout is available here Kyoguchi takes on unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek
The third of the world title fights will see a second WBO Super Flyweight world champion being crowned, this time the female champion as in form Japanese fighter Miyo Yoshida (12-1) takes on Casey Morton (8-1-3, 1). Yoshida has managed to win Japanese and OPBF female titles on her climb up to this bout, but this is a bet test on paper, an her first 10 round bout. It should noted that whilst this should be Yoshida's toughest bout to date Morton did not impress in her her last bout at Super Flyweight, when she was clearly beaten by Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong and it could be that she just isn't suited to the 115lb weight class. Our preview of this bout is available here Yoshida and Morton battle for vacant WBO world title!
The more notable of the prospects on this card is the talented Shu Utsuki (4-0, 3), who looks to build on his stoppage win over Jerry Castroverde as he takes on Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-1, 3). Utsuki seems on his way to getting a title fight in the next 12 months or so and this is a really good step up in class, against a talented and often over-looked foe. The 28 year old Bolivar is no world beater but he's solid on the fringes of domestic level and should give Utsuki some tough rounds.
The other prospect on this card is former amateur stand out Shisui Kawabata (1-0, 1), who made his debut earlier this year. The 23 year old Japanese fighter had been touted as one to watch before his debut, back in March, but was surprisingly dropped in his first pro bout. He'll be hoping for a better performance here as he takes on Thai visitor Mongkol Kamsommat (5-4, 4). It should be noted the Thai is 0-2 in Japan, but did go 7 rounds last year with Kenichi Horikawa and is certainly better than his record suggests. This could be a real test for Kawabata.
To end 2018 we turn to Macau for a monstrous show featuring 3 world title fights, as well as bouts featuring prospects from Hong Kong and Macau.
The main event of the card is one of the best match ups we could imagine, as Japan's Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) and Filipino Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23) battle for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title. The winner of this bout will become a 4 weight champion, with Ioka battling to become the first Japanese man to win 4 divisional world titles and Nietes looking to become the third Filipino, and both men attempting to become just the third man to win titles in the 4 lowest divisions in the sport. Both are gifted boxers, with Ioka being the more aggressive and Nietes being the more patient, and both know that a win here could end up defining their careers. To end the year with such a massive bout really is something special. Our excellent preview of this fantastic fight can be read here Neites Vs Ioka - The pursuit of destiny!
A Flyweight title fight will see IBF champion Moruti Mthalane (36-2, 24), from South Africa, make his first defense, as he takes on once beaten Japanese fighter Masahiro Sakamoto (13-1, 9). The South African champion won the title in July, when he defeated Muhammad Waseem with a close decision, and became a 2-time champion. At the age of 36 we do wonder what Mthalane has left, but against Waseem he did, for the most part, look great and should be favoured. Sakamoto is an unknown outside of Japan, and even then he's only really known in Osaka, but will know this is a huge chance to make his mark on the sport and become a notable name. It's a huge ask for Sakamoto, but he has nothing to lose. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sakamoto looks to shock the Flyweight division, faces Mthalane!
Another bout pitting South Africa against Japan will see Japanese fighter Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) challenge WBA Light Flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10). This will be Budler's first defense of the title, which he won from Kyoguchi's stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi, and it's an incredibly tough first defense. Although a tough bout Budler is a genuinely world-class fighter, one of the sport's most underrated fighters in fact, and certainly has the experience and skills to be trouble for anyone in the division. Kyoguchi, a former IBF Minimumweight champion, will be looking to become a 2-weight champion and is one of the most exciting little men in the sport, however this is a really tough test so soon after moving up. This is a hard bout to call and a really special contest, much like the Ioka Vs Nietes one. We've previewed this bout here Kyoguchi challenges Budler in Macau!
One of the prospects on this card is Light Flyweight Raymond Poon KaiChing (6-1, 3), who is from Hong Kong and is regarded as the country's most promising professional following Rex Tso's announcement that he was going back to the amateur ranks. Another is Macau's exciting Lap Cheong Cheong (4-0, 3). Both of these fighters will be up against novices.
September 8th-Superfly 3!
The Superfly series of shows has it's third chapter this coming Saturday, and despite not having the likes of Roman Gonzalez or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on the card the show promises a lot with several notable bouts. For us two of those stand out due to the fact they feature Asian boxers in very meaningful contests.
The most significant of those, in theory at least, will see Filipino's collide in the second all-Filipino world title fight of 2018. The bout will see veteran Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23) attempt to become a 4-weight champion as he takes on heavy handed countryman Aston Palicte (24-2, 20) for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title, the belt that Naoya Inoue vacated earlier this year. Nietes, who has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, has been one of the most over-looked Filipino fighters in recent years though impressed a wider audience when he defeated Juan Carlos Reveco earlier this year. Although less established Palicte is a dangerous fighter who, at 27, is reaching his physical prime, is going to have serious size and strength advantages over Nietes and is a very imposing Super Flyweight. Palicte can be out boxed but has the power and size to trouble almost any Super Flyweight and his only loss in the last 5 years was a very controversial one, that many felt he had deserved the win in. With his hunger and youth Palicte is going to be a very dangerous foe for Nietes.
Whilst the Nietes Vs Palicte is the bigger bout there may well be more intrigue in the other bout to feature an Asian fighter. That's because 3-weight champion Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) will be ending his retirement and making his US debut in a contender against McWilliams Arroyo (17-3, 14), for the WBC Silver Super Flyweight title. The talented Ioka hasn't fought in over a year, in part due to a falling out with his father and former promoter, and will be looking to immediately jump into the Super Flyweight mix here by taking on a fighter who has given problems to the likes of Roman Gonzalez and Amnat Ruenroeng. If Ioka has filled out his frame and is strong at 115lbs he'll be a fantastic new addition to the division, however at times he did look under-sized at Flyweight. For Arroyo this is a chance to build on his February upset win over Carlos Cuadras, and could move him to within touching distance of a WBC title shot. This is a genuinely intriguing match up and one we're very excited about.
One other bout of note on this card will see American based Filipino Bruno Escalante (17-3-1, 7) take on unbeaten Romanian Alexandru Marin (16-0, 11). We're expecting this to be a hotly contested 10 round bout, and the winner may not find themselves immediately in the mix but will only be a few bouts from a potential title fight.
The biggest show of the weekend, and one of the biggest Japanese shows of the year so far, takes place in Osaka on Sunday
The main event of the card will see WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) look to extend his reign as the champion as he takes on highly experienced Thai foe Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 38), who has won his last 61 fights! On paper this looks good, but it's a bout that really is based on smoke and mirrors with Noknoi's record being very padded so far. Interestingly this will be Ioka's 5th defense of the Flyweight title and if he wins he will become just the second Japanese man to win 14world title bouts!
The card feature a really good supporting bout as WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) defends his belt against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13). These two men fought in 2015, with Tapales dominating the then unbeaten Omori, and since then the Filipino had gone on to win the WBO title, taking a thrilling victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu. Although he was dominated, suffering a 2 round loss to Tapales, it does seem like Omori has looked at their first bout and admitted he was over-confident, making this rematch very interesting.
The most interesting of the under-card bouts will see Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) battle against the once touted Filipino Neil John Tabanao (13-3, 9). This really could be a very fun bout, with both men having good styles that should gel well for an exciting contest.
The under-card is also packed with a number of notable names, such as Sho Ishida (23-0, 12), Takahiro Yamamoto (18-5, 15), Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) Hayate Ikuta (7-0, 3) and Tatsuya Ikemizu (14-2, 6) all of whom will be facing Thai imports.
As well as the card in Osaka there will be a second notable show in Japan, with Aichi hosting a show featuring a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, and an interesting looking non-title bout.
That aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory title challenger Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12). Although this bout won't excite those outside of Japan too much, especially given the action in Osaka, we've got a genuine feeling that this will be a genuine barn burner. Hayashi is a busy, hard working yet basic fighter whilst Saka is a gutsy warrior with nasty power, and we're expecting those styles to gel perfectly for a war.
The other bout of note on this card will see the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (10-1-1, 10) battle against Noboru Osato (7-4-4, 1). Although Mizuno is unproven, and is stepping up a bit in class here, he has shown real promise and his power certainly looks genuine. Osato will go in to this bout as the under-dog but has never been stopped, and could well use his experience and toughness to teach Mizuno some new lessons.
There will be a third Japanese show in Hyogo, where fans get some lesser action, but still manage to get a card worthy of some note.
In the main event of this show we'll see WBO ranked Minimumweight hopeful Ryoki Hirai (8-4-1, 3) battle against the heavy handed Ryoya Ikema (11-3, 10). The little known Hirai really is ranked thanks to a technical decision win over the low-on-confidence Takumi Sakae from last December, other than that however his record has little to note. The huge punching Ikema was beaten last time out by Koki Ono, but is an interesting prospect and will be looking to score a career best win here.
The other bout of note on this card will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (8-2, 5) battle against the very promising Ukyo Yoshigai (5-0, 4). It's hard to call this one, but a win for Yoshigai would put him in great position ahead of his bout in the Japanese Youth Tournament later in the year. Kanda was stopped just a few fights ago but will be looking to build on back-to-back blow out wins in what could be a really fun bout.
In Uganda fight fan will see Azeri born Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Amos Mwamakula (15-6-2, 7) in a contest for the UBO Welterweight title. The bout is a low key affair but will see the winner score their best win to date.
The final day of 2016 is one of the most notable on the boxing calendar as Japanese TV promoters, and TV channels put on a number of shows. This year we get three shows, each with multi-ple title bouts and notable prospects.
The most notable of the three shows takes place in Kyoto and will be aired on TBS as part of their huge end of year celebrations.
The headline bout here will see the WBA regular and interim titles at Flyweight being unified. The bout sees regular champion Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) battle with unbeaten interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) from Thailand. The bout is an interesting match up with Stamp's team showing confidence in their man, who seemed to believe he was travelling to Japan to stop the champion. The experience Ioka will be looking to show that experience is key here and will likely be looking to prove he's the best Flyweight on the planet in 2017, after getting this mandatory defense out of the way.
A second world title fight on this card will see IBF Super Bantamweight chamion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) defending his title for the first time. The heavy handed Dominican will be up against once beaten Japanese challenger Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7), who is looking to add a world title to his collection which already includes a Japanese and OPBF title. Guzman, who won the title in Japan with a stoppage win over Shingo Wake, has looked relaxed but some have felt that he is over-looking Oguni who has started to find his own power in recent bouts.
Sadly an IBF Bantamweight title bout between Lee Haskins (34-3, 14) and Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) was cancelled in the weeks leading up to the bout, as Haskins suffered an injury that forced him out. Omori's team, who are promoting the show, managed to find their man a solid late replacement in the former of multi-time world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (32-8-2, 20). The bout isn't a bad one given the short notice but it should be noted that Fuentes is best known for his run at Flyweight and will be dwarfed by Omori who is around 5” taller than the Filipino.
Another bout pitting a Japanese fighter against a Thai will see the unbeaten, and world ranked, Sho Ishida (22-0, 11) up against the hapless Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10). The Thai has been stopped 8 times in his 10 defeats and will be unlikely to test Ishida who has made it clear that he's wanting world title fights in 2017. A bout like this won't prepare him for world class opposition but serves the task of keeping him busy and ticking him over whilst looking for a big fight.
Another Ioka gym hopeful on this under card is the unbeaten, and exciting, Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (11-0, 8). Hashizume won the Rookie of the Year in 2014 and although we had hoped to see him in notable fights since he actually this year facing unknown Thai Chatpetch Saithonggym (0-0). Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for the Osaka man who hasn't progressed like some had hoped.
Another notable multi-title show will come from Tokyo and be promoted by Watanabe promotions, who continue their association with TV Tokyo.
The headline bout of this is the “revenge or repeat” bout between Panama's tricky Jezreel Corrales (20-1-1, 8) and Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20). Earlier this year Corrales blitzed Uchiyama in 2 rounds to give “KO Dynamite” his first professional defeat and to claim the WBA Super Featherweight “super” title and shocked the boxing world. Now the champion will be looking to repeat the feat as he returns to a Japanese ring whilst Uchiyama will be looking to prove the result was an anomaly. At 37 years old however the view is that Uchiyama is several years removed from his prime and will likely be over-whelmed by the speed and movement of Corrales once again.
The second of the world title bouts on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) defending his belt against unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13). On paper this looks like a good defense for Taguchi but in fairness Canizales hasn't yet fought anyone of any name recognition and it's hard to know how good he really is. He could be the next gem of a talent from Venezuela or he could be a crude domestic fighter, as the footage suggests, either way we'll see questions answered about him, even if we don't learn anythign new about Taguchi.
Arguably the most interesting bout of the whole day is an OPBF / WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title unification bout as the once beaten Masayuki Ito (19-1-1, 9), the current OPBF champion, takes on the teak tough and criminally under-rated Takuya Watanabe (30-6-1, 16), the current WBO Asia Pacific title holder. This bout is one for the hardcore but is something we expect to actually leave the fans the happiest with. Both men are incredibly talented, have under-rated power and skills and the winner really does deserve some other major bouts in 2017. We think Ito is the more proven but Watanabe is always a handful and appears to be getting better with every fight.
One of the hottest young talents in Japanese boxing will be looking to secure his 5th straight stoppage win. That is the wonderfully aggressive Hiroto Kyoguchi (4-0, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor Junuel Lacar (7-3-3, 5). The bout should be a test for Kyoguchi but the reality is that he has made supposed tests, like Kenichi Miyazaki and Michael Camelion, look poor courtesy of his speed and power. A win here could see Kyoguchi begin to fight for titles in 2017.
Another fast rising prospect on this card is the really exciting Masataka Taniguchi (5-0, 4), who is looking to build on his recent win over Dexter Alimento as he takes on Vicent Bautista (5-5-3, 1) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the much fancied Taniguchi. It's thought that 2017 will see Taniguchi battle for titles and this could be his final bout before he gets to wear his first strap.
For those interested in final 3 bouts mentioned here they will be features on tape delay as part of the Boxingraise service.
A third show, in fact the first of the three, takes place in Gifu where Hatanaka will be promoting a card. The main event of this will have a legal stream broadcast world wide for fans interested.
The main event of this card will see former WBO Minimumweight champions collide as Kosei Tanaka (7-0, 4) takes on Moises Fuentes (24-2-1, 13) for the vacant WBO Light Flyweight. For Tanaka this is a huge chance to match Naoya Inoue's Japanese record of becoming a 2-weight world champion in 8 bouts however it's a tough bout against a very talented Mexican who many feel should should have scored a win a win over Donnie Nietes in his first bout with the talented Filipino. On paper this is probably the most interesting of the bouts from the day, at least at world title level.
At Japanese title level we'll see Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17), making his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title, taking on former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-5-2, 14). For Hayashi, who won the title back in September, a win here would legitimise his reign and prove him to be a worthy champion. For Shimoda this is a second shot at this title following a narrow loss to Satoshi Hosono last year.
In a supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (18-1-3, 12) face off with Takuya Taniguchi (6-9-2, 1). For Tanaka this is a chance to record a third straight win following his March loss to Kentaro Masuda for the Japanese title. The little known Taniguchi will be looking to score his biggest win, though he has gone just 1-3 in his last 4 bouts dating back more than a year.
Another supporting bout will see Kento Hatanaka (1-0, 1), the son of former former world champion Kiyohi Hatanaka, battle against Yukihiro Asahara (2-4, 1). The 18 year old Hatanaka will be seeking to score his second win in the space of just 5 weeks! On his debut Hatanaka score a quick blow out over an over-matched foe and will be looking to do the same again here.