Tokiwa Arena, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The bigger of two shows this coming Sunday comes from Kobe thanks to Senrima Kobe promotions. The card isn't a huge one, but does have a Japanese Youth title fight, as well as two relatively interesting lower level domestic fights.
The title fight will see Seira Kishida (5-1-2, 2) face off with Seika Fukuda (6-2, 1) for the vacant Japanese Youth Super Featherweight title. Aged 23 Kishida is the slightly older fight, and the mall taller one, standing just under 6 foot, and also the one bringing some momentum into the bout having gone unbeaten since losing in December 2018, running off a 4-0-2 run since then. As for Fukuda, who's 22, he's lost 2 of his last 3, though one of those was in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in February 2021 to Tsubasa Narai. He'll go in with little momentum, but has gone 8 rounds, which Kishida hasn't and that could play a major role in this bout. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kishida and Fukuda clash for Youth title
In the chief support bout Sho Omote (9-3, 3) will take on JBC ranked Flyweight Shun Kosaka (16-8, 4). The 27 year old Omote will know this is a chance for him to crash into the rankings, but with 2 losses in his last 3 he hasn't much momentum coming in to this, though did show his ability in 2019 and clearly has got potential to move towards a Japanese title fight in the next few years. Kosaka on the other hand has really struggled recently and is 1-5 in his last 6, with his only win in that run being a razor thin one against Shunji Nagata in 2019. Whilst Omote has no momentum, it's hard to imagine Kosaka has any confidence.
The main event of the card will see Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific ranked Super Flyweight Hiroki Tokuyama (11-3-1, 2) take on JBC 2 ranked Flyweight Keisuke Iwasaki (6-3-2, 2), in a bout at Super Flyweight. This should be on where Tokuyama is favoured, given the bout is at his weight and he is the local fighter, however it's certainly not a foregone conclusion and he has lost 2 of his last 4, and has struggled with the 8 round distance, even in bouts he has won over that distance. As for Iwasaki he comes into this on the back of a good win over Shota Asami last year, and also holds very solid wins over Ryuku Nakamine and Mammoth Kazunori, and whilst he is the smaller man, he has regularly fought at 115lbs and could end up having the tools to over-come Tokuyama here in a very matched bout.
Barangay Ligaya Gymnasium, General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan we also have a small card in the Philippines. Sadly at the time of writing, the show hasn't yet had the B-sides announced, and even the A-sides aren't hugely appealing, though it's obvious they are being matched to pick up easy wins.
One of the A sides is veteran Ernie Sanchez (19-17-2, 10), who has genuinely faced a who's who of the sport over the years. In his 39 fight career he has faced the likes of Rey Vargas, Sergey Lipinets, Oscar Valdez, Masayuki Ito, and Evgeny Chuprakov. Sadly Sanchez has been struggling for victories in recent years, and comes into this with a 0-5-1 record in his last 6, so it's perhaps fair for his team to try and get him an easy win here.
One of the other A sides of note is young puncher Ken Jordan (9-1-2, 8) who seemed to be rebuilding well following a 2017 loss to Jimboy Haya. Sadly his rebuilding hit a wall at the start of the pandemic, and he's not fought since stopping touted Japanese fighter Tulio Dekanarudo in December 2019, which is a genuine shame, as that was the sort of win that should have served as a platform for his career taking off. Aged just 24, time is on his side, but it's still a huge shame that he has lost 2 years of his career.
We really are closing in on Christmas, and even though we're a few days away we are set for one of the annual treats boxing calendar, the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. As well as the Rookie of the Year's there's a lot of other stuff going on, with a title bout, an eliminator and a host of prospects in action. This Sunday is big for Asian boxing!
Our attention is obvious focused on the All Japan Rookie of the Year final from Korakuen Hall, with G+ airing the show live, and in full. For fans who want to know what makes Japanese boxing special at the lower end this is it. This is the culmination of a tournament that covers the whole country and takes the better part of a year. To get to the final you need to have won your regional final, and you don't get this far by chance. You get here on merit alone, and as a result we get some amazing match ups.
We won't be going through all 12 bouts, but we have picked out favourite match ups from the line.
It's always great to see all-unbeaten fights in the final and at Minimumweight we have one such bout, as Katsuki Mori (5-0, 1) takes on Takumi Chono (5-0, 3). This is a brilliant fight, with both men being young, having very similar records and both proving themselves to get this far. Mori is a sensational pure boxer from the Ohashi gym and will be looking to show case his skills, but Chono is not a push over, and has looked strong and powerful through out. The winner of this will really be one to watch in 2020.
At Featherweight we expect to see fire-works as Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) and Jinki Maeda (3-0, 2) face off. It's been an emotional year for Kameda, the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, and only 2 weeks ago there was a a real chance he'd miss out on this bout due to the politics at the Kyoei gym. Now here the hard hitting 21 year old will be wanting to make the most of his opportunity. Maeda has quietly made his way to the final, blowing out his first two professional opponents before shutting out the then 4-0 Hikaru Fukunaga. We expect this one to be the standout bout of the day.
More fireworks are expected up at 140lbs where Kodai Honda (4-1, 3) and Yasutaka Fujita (5-0, 5) will face off. The 20 year old Honda lost on debut, more than a year ago, but has reeled off 4 wins since then, and he has stopped each of his last 3 opponents. Fujita on the other hand has been blitzing opponents and his 5 bouts have lasted just 10 rounds. Expect bombs to be thrown, and to be thrown early here!
Whilst the Rookie of the Year show is the biggest it's certainly not the only show of note, and at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center the Muto Gym will be show casing some of their brightest young talents, as well as a regional champion.
The main event of the show will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) defending his title against Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4). This will be Kobayashi's first defense since winning the title in May with a minor upset against Ben Mananquil, and he'll be looking to go into the new year with some real momentum behind following a bizarre decision loss to Keita Kurihara at the end of 2018. It's really hard to see what Go offers here, and it was only last year that Go was stopped by career Flyweight Masahiro Sakamoto, a stablemate of Kobayashi's at the time. Our full and in depth previous of this regional title bout can be read here Kobayashi defends against Go in Osaka!
In supporting bouts we'll see a trio of Muto gym prospects taking on Filipino foes. The most notable of the trio is Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1), who takes a huge step up to take on veteran Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17). This is a brilliant bit of match making from the Muto team, who know that Diale is on the slide, but still very live and has been in there with a who's who of the lower weights. A risky match up for their star prospect, but a win here will instantly launch him into the mix for regional titles. High risk and high reward for Mine here.
Another stellar prospect is Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2), who will be fighting as Deka-narudo Torio, who takes on hard hitting Pinoy Ken Jordan (8-1-2, 7). The 23 year old Kuwabata is tipped very highly by those in Japan and has been matched aggressively so far, with this being a pretty logical looking step. Jordan is unbeaten in over 2 years and recently claimed an ABF title, back in August. This is a bout between two youngsters each coming to win, and it should give us some very competitive action over 8 rounds.
The third prospect of note is Ryosuke Nishida (1-0, 1), who made his debut in Thailand back in October. Unlike his fellow hopefuls he won't be in an 8 rounder, but instead he'll be scheduled for 6 rounds against the tough Pablito Canada (7-17-4, 1), and will likely be taken the distance by Canada who has only been stopped twice in his 28 bout career.
A second Osaka, card, this time from the EDION Arena, will also be worthy of some attention.
The main event here is a Japanese Super Flyweight title eliminator, the final of the eliminators to take place this year, and will see former world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-3, 11) clash with Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) for the chance to fight Kenta Nakagawa in the new year. At 34 years old a loss will likely send Kudaka into retirement, ending an incredibly interesting and often exciting career, so we expect to see him being fired up for this. Matsuo is no world beater, but he is better than his record suggests and is hoping to secure a second Japanese Super Flyweight title fight, following a loss to Takayuki Okumoto earlier this year. Our in depth preview of this eliminator is available to read here Kudaka and Matsuo to clash in final Japanese eliminator of 2019!
In an 8 round supporting bout Kenta Nomura (6-3, 3) will battle Ryo Suwa (11-2, 2), in a very interesting looking contest. Nomura is looking to bounce back from an August loss to Toshiki Shimomachi, in a Japanese Youth title fight, and although he's nothing special he does tend to make for good fights. Suwa on the other hand has won 4 of his last 5 and will see this as a chance to take a huge step towards a potential youth title fight of his own.
This show will also feature the debut of former amateur standout Kantaro Juri (0-0), who fought in the Asian and World Youth Championships back in 2014, who will be in a 6 rounder at a contracted 53KG's. Sadly his opponent here hasn't been confirmed, though we have been told it will be an Indonesian opponent.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a low level Indian card in Golaghat.
This card will be headlined by Sagar Narwat (9-1-1, 3) taking on Shiva (9-3, 3) in an 8 round bout. For Narwat this is a chance to get back to winning ways following October's loss to Troy O'Meley in Australia. As for Shiva he's now wheeled off 3 straight wins after he suffered a trio of losses on the road in 2017. Sadly this bout aside the card isn't really worth getting too excited about.