We've had a bit of a break from major fighters recently but thankfully that break ends this weekend when we get a major show in Hyogo, a major that will sadly only be featured on TV in Osaka and not Tokyo.
A lot of the attention, rightfully, will be on the brilliant main event which pits 18 year old sensation Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5) up against veteran Katsunari Takayama (30-8-0-1, 12) in a wonderful match up for the vacant WBO Minimumweight title. Takayama, a multi-time champion, will be looking to show there is still life in the old dog here and will be looking to become a world champion one more time. For Kano the bout is about history and if he wins he will be come the youngster ever Japanese world champion. This bout really could be something very special.
In another world title bout we'll see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (11-0, 3) battle Australian Louisa Hawton (6-0, 3) in a contest for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title, a title last held by Eun Hye Lee of South Korea. Originally Hawton was signed to face Lee for the title but Lee has since given up the title and we'll instead see these two fight in what looks like a really interesting match up between two fighters looking to make the most of their first big chance.
A third title bout on this card will see Mika Iwakawa (5-4-1, 1) face off against Nonggig Sithjaanart (0-0) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. It's hard to say anything at all about the Thai however Iwakawa is nothing special, despite winning 2 of her last 3, both at Minimumweight.
Another notable “Japan Vs Thailand” bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) make his Japanese debut, as he faces Saijuea Tosandet (0-3). Akizuki has fought his 6 previous bouts in Thailand, where he has claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Bantamweight title. At just 18 years old he will be looking to make an immediate impact as he gets his first chance to impress Japanese fans and he'll soon be looking to follow stablemate Kano into world level.
In Mexico fight fan will be able to see Filipino Lightweight Rosekie Cristobal (12-0, 9) battle against Marcos Villasana Jr (19-6, 11) for the WBC Latino Lightweight title. There was real hope for Cristobal to become a real prospect but this is a real gut check of the youngster, who is stepping up in class in a big way here.
The ridiculousness of Japanese boxing is on full show this coming Sunday with a staggering 5 shows, 3 of which are in Osaka alone, with two of those actually sharing a venue!
The busy venue is the EDION Arena which is doubling up this Sunday. The first of the two shows is set to begin at 12:30 local time and is a relatively low profile Kazama promoted card.
The main event of the Kazama show sees Japanese 154lb champion Yuki Nonaka (28-8-3, 9) defending his title against the under-rated Yuto Shimizu (11-2-2, 4) in a mandatory defense. On paper it's easy to favour the champion, who is very experienced at title level and is a genuine joy to watch. Shimizu however is the much younger man and is on an 8-0 run with wins against the likes of Hikaru Nishida, the current JBC/OPBF Middleweight champion, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. This could be a very good bout.
In a notable under-card bout fans will see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (18-4-1, 11) face off against Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) in what looks like a mismatch, but could prove to be a good test for Carrillo, who is now managed by Hiroki Ioka. Whilst Mabao's record is “sketchy” at best he does come in to this one on a 3-fight unbeaten run, including a victory over Michael Enriquez and will be pretty confident coming into this bout.
The second show at the EDION Arena in Osaka is a much more notable card with several bouts of interest, even if they are likely to be pretty uncompetitive.
The nominal main event of the card will see the unbeaten OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (11-0, 6) defending his title against the limited, but very heavy handed, Tosho Makoto Aoki (20-13-2, 17). On paper this is a mismatch, there is no way of denying it, however Aoki has got a puncher's chance and will know that with his power his only chance is to take the fight to Nakatani. If the champion can take the power of the challenger then this will be a drama-less win for Nakatani, however Aoki's power may be enough to unsettle Nakatani's, or at least ask questions of the champion.
A second title bout on this card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (21-0, 11) take on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-6, 16). This will be Ishida's 5th defense of the title and if he's successful his team will almost certainly do what they can to get him a world title fight later in the year. For Funai the bout will be his second shot at a title, and he'll be hoping for a better outcome than his last title fight, a 9th round TKO loss to Rolly Lunas. Notably the challenger is 7-0 (6) since that loss and will be riding a high coming into this one.
A third bout of note here sees Kei Takenaka (10-0, 3) battle against Daoruang Saknarong (0-0) in a world title “prelude”. If Takenaka gets through this, she should, she will be matched with IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata in late Summer.
Another bout on this card, and one which will infact split the title contests, will see OPBF ranked Flyweight contender Shun Kosaka (11-2, 2) face off against Kenta Yamada (8-5-1, 1). This is a relatively rare, at least for Japan, 10 round non-title bout and should help prepare Kosaka for a potential title fight in the coming years.
The third Osaka card comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center and is a Muto promoted card that features some of the best matchmaking for the day, yet another title fight, and some potentially action.
The main event is a rematch as the heavy handed Koki Tyson (9-2-1, 9), previously known as Koki Tyson Maebara, battles Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-11, 8) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Tyson made light work of the Thai in 2014, stopping him in 4 rounds, though was last seen suffering a 7th round TKO loss to Akio Shibata, in a bout that saw him being outboxed before being stopped. Since the first bout Petchsuriya has gone 2-1 though was notably beaten last time out by Kerry Hope, with the bout being given to Hope after the fight was reviewed by the WBC judges.
The best bout on the card is another rematch as former multi-time title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-14-1, 10) faces off against under-rated Filipino Mark John Yap (23-12, 10). These two men met last year with Yap winning an 8 round decision, this rematch however will be over 10 rounds and could well see the winner getting a Japanese or OPBF title fight later in the year. Although the records may not show it, this really could be something very special.
The main event isn't the only probably blow out, with the chief support bout being a contest between the explosive Masao Nakamura (21-3, 20) and the tough but limited San Saknarong (3-5, 1). The last time we saw the Thai he was stopped in 6 by Hidenori Otake, and it's hard to see him living with Nakamura, who will see a win a chance to move towards a well deserved title shot, potentially with Kenichi Ogawa in what would be a very fun shoot out.
In a 4th bout of note Japanese ranked fighters collide as Masahiro Sakamoto (6-0, 4) faces off against Atsushi Aburada (10-9, 6) in a bout that could potentially decide a future Japanese title challenger. On paper Sakamoto is the favourite but Aburada is the more proven fighter and this could be a very tough bout for both, who know there is a lot to lose coming in to this one.
One of the small Japanese shows comes from Kobe where fans will see a former world title contender and a former OPBF title challenger in action.
The former world title contender is Teiru Kinoshita (23-1-1, 6) who will be looking to continue to rebuild his career following his loss to the excellent Zolani Tete in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout back in 2014. The Japanese fighter should be very heavily favoured here as he takes on little known Korean fighter Min Wook Lee (2-3), who is best known for losing to the then debuting Muhammad Waseem late last year.
The former OPBF title challenger is Kazuya Murata (11-5, 5) who faces Tatsuya Yoneo (8-5, 1) in what will be Murata's first bout following a 5th round loss to Masayoshi Nakatani last August. Murata should win here, but it could be interesting to see if the loss to Nakatani did take something out of him.
The smallest of the Japanese shows comes from Fukuoka where fans get a very small card with novices. All the bouts here are 4 rounders with the most notable being a Lightweight contender between Tsuyoshi Matsuda (4-0, 2) and teenager Seiya Matsunaga (2-1, 1), which shows the level of this card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines.
The most notable bout here features former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-11-2, 18), who faces the limited and light hitting Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in what should be a walk in the park for Lopez. Sadly however Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years going 6-8-1 in his last 15 bouts.
In a notable under-card contest 21 year old puncher Allan Vallespin (5-0, 5) will risk his perfect record against Jomar Borbon (4-23-2, 2). Vallespin has looked devastating so far and will be looking to continue that run against the experienced Borbon.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
In wonderful Brazil fight fans will be able to see India's Neeraj Goyat (7-2-2, 2) battle against Brazilian local Guilherme Castagnazzi Ribeiro (3-1, 3). Ribeiro has won his last 3 bouts in a combined 4 rounds, but this is a step up in class for the local and Goyat, although the naturally smaller man, comes into this one on a 7-0 run.
This coming Sunday looks to be the perfect closing day to a month that hasn't been the most exciting for boxing fans.
One of the cards of the month comes from the newly named EDION Arena Osaka where Ioka put on what may go down as one of the cards of the year. It feature 4 title fights, 2 notable prospects and more action than you shake a stick at.
The headline bout sees Japanese Kazuto Ioka (17-1, 10) defending the WBA Flyweight title against Argentinian foe Roberto Domingo Sosa (26-2-1, 14). This is Ioka's first defense of the title that he narrowly won earlier this year, when he over-came Juan Carlos Reveco, and it could be another tough night for Osakan star. Whilst this bout could be a very tough one for Ioka it needs noting that the winner will have a tough one next time out, as they are mandated to face with Reveco by the end of the year.
Another world title bout on this show will see IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (29-7-0-1, 11) defending his belt against Ryuji Hara (19-1, 11) in what looks like a potential FOTY contender. Takayama, who struggled last time out with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, is now 32 and has had a very hard career however Hara will be going into his first world title fight and was stopped in his most notable bout to date, by current WBO champion Kosei Tanaka.
In a Japanese title fight fans will see Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (19-0, 10) defending his title, for the 3rd time as he takes on Hayato Kimura (23-7, 15). The unbeaten champion has looked impressive in 18 of his bouts however he was run very close last time out by Taiki Eto and it that bout left question marks regarding Ishida's stamina. If he impresses here he may find himself heading to a world title bout in 2016. However Kimura cannot be ruled here and the experienced challenger has waited for his shot at Japanese title.
The fourth title bout on this show will see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (9-0, 3) defending her OPBF Light Flyweight title against Thailand's Krikanok Islandmuaythai (4-4-1, 2). This looks like a mismatch though Takenaka may well be just one or two fights from a world title shot and will be hoping to get some much needed ring time here before a potential fight at world level.
As for the prospects one of those is 17 year old Riku Kano (6-1-1, 4) who faces Kenta Matsui (6-4, 1) in what will be the teenager's second bout in Japan. The hope is that a win here will be followed in 2016 with a move towards a domestic title bout then a potential world title bout as he chases the record to be Japanese youngest world champion. Matsui is a safe option but also the type of fight who is physically tough enough to get Kano some competitive rounds.
A less competitive bout will see Super Flyweight hopeful Masayoshi Hashizume (8-0, 5) face Thailand's Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10) in what looks like like a horrible mismatch. Petchnamnung has been stopped in 8 of his 10 bouts and we expect stoppage loss #9 to come here in what is, supposedly, his international debut. Of course The Thai probably has an incomplete record but what the data we have suggests that this is a horrible match up and that the talented Hashizume should win without ny problems.
The two world title bouts from this card will be aired on TBS, though it's unclear at the moment if they will be “live” or on tape delay. Looking at the scheduled of the card however the odds are that Takayama Vs Hara will be aired on tape delay whilst Ioka Vs Sosa will likely be live, and will also be shown live on Argentinian TV.
Staying in Osaka there is also a Rookie of the West card, in fact it's the Rookie of the West final. Sadly though it will be massively over-looked give the other card.
Rather than going through all 12 bouts we've picked a few that interested us the most.
At Super Flyweight unbeaten teenagers collide as 18 year old Shion Tamada (2-0) takes on 19 year old Kensei Hirano (4-0, 2). Tamada is a prospect of the Ioka gym and will have sparred with some top quality partners though given his age he's certainly a baby and could will find himself being pushed all the way by Hirano, who is more experienced and has shown more power.
Another all unbeaten contender will come at Light Flyweight where Kaminoko Okamura Kentokid (5-0-3, 2) takes on Seigo Yuri Akui (3-0-1, 1). Although both men are unbeaten both have been relatively fortunate with draws and it's fair to say that neither is expected to be raced through the ranks if they do end up being crowned the Rookie of the Year.
One other all unbeaten bout that has us excited is at Featherweight where teenager puncher Ryuya Yanagida (2-0, 2) takes on Yuto Nagano (4-0, 2). It's fair to say that Yanagida is completely unproven but he has shown solid power so far and may well need that power to get beyond the 21 year old Nagano, who had to gut out his most recent win, against Yu Konomura.
As well as all he action in Japan Thai fans will also get their share of televised action with Mono 29 airing a Kiatkreein show, form 3PM local time.
In the main event of this show fans will see Thailand's experienced Mike Tawatchai (35-8-1, 21) take on Filipino foe Junny Salogaol (9-7-4-1, 9) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title. This is Tawatchai's first bout since being dominated by Shingo Wake in an IBF world title eliminator back in June and although that loss was a wide one he shouldn't struggle at all with Salogaol. Despite Salogaol's record being less than great he is coming into this bout in form, with 5 straight T/KO wins.
Tawatchai isn't the only notable name on this show. Another is 2-time Olympic medal winner Manus Boonjumnong (1-0) who faces Indonesian Marco Tuhumury (10-11-2, 3). Although Manos is 35, and looked out of shape last time out against Jamed Jalarante, he has got a lot of skill and shouldn't struggle, at all, with Tuhumury. In fact if anything we're expecting the Thai to stop his foe here.
Another fighter on this card is recent world title challenger Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-4-1, 15) who will face Indonesian fighter Oscar Raknafa (12-10, 5) in a stay busy fight. This is Fahlan's first bout since his controversial loss to Katsunari Takayama back in April. A win here could see Fahlan's team moving him towards another title fight at some point in 2016.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the most exciting days so far this year for Japanese fans comes on April 22nd with two notable shows at very different levels. Although the cards are a million miles apart in terms of international attention they both promise a lot of very interesting action.
The most notable of the two shows comes from Osaka where we get a couple of world title bouts, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and a number of promising prospects all in action on a show that is genuinely mouth watering.
The main event promises to be something a little bit special as the once beaten Kazuto Ioka (16-1, 10) battles WBA Flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) in a bout that has looked brilliant since it was first mentioned last year. Ioka, attempting to become the second Japanese born fighter to become a 3-weight champion, will be hoping to claim a Flyweight title at the second time of asking, following a loss to Amnat Ruenroeng last year in a bout for the IBF title, whilst Whilst Reveco will be hoping to secure his second title defense in Japan, following a victory over Masayuki Kuroda back in 2013.
In the other world title fight we will see the always fun to watch Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) take on Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15) in an IBF world title defense by the Japanese warrior. Takayama, who vacated the WBO belt earlier this year, will be looking for the first defense of his second reign as the IBF champion and is looking to move on to bouts with Kosei Tanaka and Hekkie Budler later in the year. As for Fahlan, he'll be looking to record his second big win in the Osaka Prefectural gym and try and replicate his shock win over Ryo Miyazaki from December 31st 2013.
It's not just the top two bouts that are exciting but also the chief support bout which will see the highly skilled and fast rising Sho Ishida (18-0, 10) defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against Taiki Eto (14-3, 10). This will be Ishida's second defense of the belt and will see Eto getting his second shot at the title. Incidentally Eto lost his first shot to Yohei Tobe who went on to lost the belt in his first defense, to Ishida. This bout promises a lot and a win for Ishida would likely move him to a world title shot later in the year whilst a win for Eto would be a massive achievement for the youngster of the Eto brothers.
As well as the 3 title bouts we will also see the next bout in the career of the exciting Ryo Miyazaki (22-1-3, 13) who is fighting Thailand's Namphol Sithsaithong (7-9, 5) in a clear mismatch. This is viewed as a warm up bout for Miyazaki, a former WBA Minimumweight champion, and from what we understand he is targeting a Light Flyweight title and will almost certainly try to chuck his hat into the ring to fight the winner of the upcoming WBA title fight between Ryoichi Taguchi and Kwanthai Sithmorseng, who meet on May 6th.
As for the card's prospects there are several. Among them is the exciting Masayoshi Hashizume (7-0, 4), the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year. Hashizume is set to fight a Thai foe Saenrachan Sor Theptanee (0-1)in what should be a mismatch as Hashizume looks to sepdn the rest of the year moving up the domestic rankings, possibly fighting for the national title after Ishida gives it up.
Another prospect on this card is Reiya Konishi (7-0, 4), who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight. Konishi will be in a solid looking bout against Kenta Shimizu (8-4-1, 4), a much better fighter than his record indicates.
A third prospect is female fighter is Kei Takenaka (8-0, 3). Takenaka, the current OPBF female ligth Flyweight champion, will be facing a Thai opponent who we believe will be Kannittha Saknarong (0-2). On paper this should be an easy day's work for the talented Japanese fighter, though we are hoping to see her in a real test before she starts to be moved towards a world title bout.
At the Korakuen Hall we get a trio of notable bouts. One of which is a cross roads bout between two experienced fighters whilst the other two are both notable bouts involving touted Japanese prospects.
The main event is the bout between the experienced fighters and will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (21-5-1, 10) battling against former Filipino champion Ricky Sismundo (27-8-1, 12). Coming into this bout both men are 2-1 with a notable win the last time and both are going to be heading into the bout with the hope of generating a bit of traction in their career. Last time out we saw Sismundo defeat Shuhei Tsuchiya with an 8 round decision win, back in December, whilst Kondo recently stopped Jimrex Jaca in 4 rounds, back on March 16th. Coming into this bout we're expecting a very competitive and tough bout.
In the chief support bout we get the chance to see the touted, the fragile looking, Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) fighting against exciting Filipino Giovanni Escaner (12-3, 8). This is a brilliant match up between unheralded fighters who know a win puts them into serious contention for an OPBF title fight later in the year. Whilst Uebayashi is the more “hyped” of the two men Escaner has shown that he's a man who has a lot of promise, despite his record, and won't be turning up just to lose. Fantastic to see both men signing up for this bout.
The other notable bout sees the exceptionally promising Hikaru Marugame (3-0, 2) battle against Wataru Miyasaka (9-2-1, 2). Marugame, a stablemate or Uebayashi's, hasn't had the attention of some other Japanese youngsters but he's every bit as good as some of the others and has shown that ability against solid competition for such an inexperienced fighter. On paper this is a big step up for the unbeaten 25 year old and although Miyasak hasn't set the world he is in good form with 3 notable wins in his last 4 bouts. As with the previous two match ups, this is very interesting.
This card will also feature 4 other bouts though none of them really caught our attention like the trio we've mentioned.
In Mexico fans will have the chance to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (17-5, 11) battle against Fernando Torres (16-10-1, 13). This is a great opportunity for Sakai who narrowly lost his last 2 bouts. The Japanese fighter, who is based in Mexico city, has shown a surprising amount of potential and hopefully he'll manage to build on that potential down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This coming Sunday is a second big day for Japanese boxing. Saturday was mostly titles whilst Sunday is about the future with the Rookie of the year East finals and a very interest, though smaller, show in Hyogo.
We'll start with that smaller show which is scheduled to feature the only Asian title fight of the day, as well as the debut of a very promising young Bantamweight that we've heard rave reviews about.
The title bout will see the unbeaten Kei Takenaka (7-0, 3) defending her OPBF female Light Flyweight title against "debuting" Thai Petchvaree Mor Krungthepthonburi (0-0). Whilst Takenaka needs to be favoured, obviously, we do question whether or not boxrec have the right record for the Thai challenger, especially given that the OPBF do tend to have some sort of standards on who they allow to challenge for titles. Whether Petchvaree is 0-0 or has a few fights on her record is unlikely to matter though as Takenaka is a very good fighter and will likely be moved towards a world title fight in 2015.
In an 8 round support bout Shinichiro Morikawa (16-4-1, 11) will battle Thai visitor Keanpetch Manoprungroj (4-1, 2) in what appears to be a clear mismatch between an experienced fringe domestic contender and a limited and inexperienced Thai, especially when you consider that Kaenpetch lost his only other bout outside of Thailand to TJ Doheny in just 3 rounds.
The most interesting fighter on this show however is 18 year old Bantamweight debutant Kazuma Yokoya (0-0), who we have mistakenly referred to as Kazuma Yokota in the past. Yokoya will be facing Thailand's Fahpetch Sor Praithong (0-0) in a 6 rounder and the expectation is that the Japanese youngster is a Bantamweight champion in the making. It's going to be good to see how the youngster looks on his debut and from what we under-stand there is going to be a spate of promising Japanese debutants in and around 118lbs in the next 6 months or so.
Whilst the Hyogo show looks good it pales in significance to the other Japanese show on the same day, the Rookie of the year East finals.
This show will feature a total of 12 bouts from the Minimumweight division to the Middleweight division and will decide the "East" representative at the All Japan Rookie of the Year show in December.
Rather than breaking down the bouts here we have instead done a full feature on the show looking at the 12 bouts and the 24 men partaking in them. Hopefully you'll enjoy the feature which can be read here!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
April 4th-Kohei Oba meets Randy Caballero, Rookie of the Year qualifiers and Joebert Alvarez in action!
Not many Friday's are genuinely significant days in boxing but this week Friday is a really major day as we get several fights involving men on the fringes of a world title shot, both in terms of Asians and non-Asians.
The most significant show of the day is in Hyogo and is the "Real Spirits 36" card.
This card features 8 bouts in total with the main event being an IBF Bantamweight world title eliminator between Japanese champion Kohei Oba (25-2-1, 14) and unbeaten American Randy Caballero (20-0, 12). The winner of this bout should move directly into an IBF world title fight, though their is some discussion that they may need to wait a little longer with a strong rumour that champion Stuart Hall, of Britain, will try to fit in another title defense before his mandatory date.
As well as the world title eliminator the show also featured a female OPBF title bout as Kei Takenaka (6-0, 2) battles Thailand's win-less Yokkhao Loei Citygym (0-4) in a fight for the OPBF female Light Flyweight title. We do usually preview female OPBF title bouts but feel their is little need here. Yokkhao was beaten easily by Tomomi Takano in Takano's second fight last year with that in mind it's almost impossible to even imagine the upset here.
A third notable bout on this card sees Shun Kubo (3-0, 2) taking on Nongbeer Sor Bangkru (0-1). Kubo, ranked #8 by the OPBF at 118lbs is one of those fast rising Japanese prospects and comes in to this bout on the back of an outstanding victory over Monico Laurente last time out.
A second Japanese show is going to be held at the Korakuen Hall as the C Class Tournament and Rookie of the Year qualifiers continue. In total the show, Dangan 98, will have 12 bouts with our "one to watch" being 17 year old prospect Andy Hiraoka (2-0, 1) who fights in the final bout of the show against Susumu Nakata (1-4-2, 1).
In Thailand we get a televised show on Channel 7. The main event here is listed as being a bout between Chatpetch Sithmorseng (6-3, 2) and Dicky Amtiran (3-7) despite the records of both men being distinctly unimpressive we are lead to believe that the interim PABA Super Flyweight title.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico the highly touted, and world ranked, Joebert Alvarez (13-0-1, 6) will be fighting against Mexican journeyman Julian Rivera (13-8-1, 2). Alvarez, who has been strongly linked to Juan Francisco Estrada, will be hoping to score his first victory outside of his native Phillipines though will know that this is no gimme despite Rivera's less than perfect record.
(First poster courtesy of Boxmob.jp)