Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
This coming Saturday our attention turns to Kobe for a Japanese card that features two title bouts, and a couple of well matched lower level bouts.
The main event of this show will be the rescheduled bout between Japanese veteran Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) and promising youngster Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5), who battle for the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight title. Originally this bout was supposed to take place in March before the boxing calendar got shaken up by the lengthy hiatus caused by the on going global situation. Thankfully this bout, which looked good back in February when we were waiting for it, looks just as good now, and we are anticipating a really well contested battle between two men at very different stages of their careers. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tomita clashes with veteran Horikawa for OPBF title!
In a Japanese Atomweight title bout we'll see Kaori Nagai (4-2-3, 2) and Momoko Kanda (10-12-2, 4) clash, in what will be the second bout between the two women. The title, which was vacated by Eri Matsuda, isn't a well established one with a long history, but the winner here will likely see themselves taking a huge step towards a potential world title fight. Of the two Nagai probably has the advantage, given she won the first bout, but the experience Kanda could be the difference here, with this likely to be her last big opportunity if she loses. Our preview of this fight can be read here Nagai and Kanda battle for Japanese national crown!
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Bantamweight Koichi Wakita (7-2-2, 2) take on Kaito Takeshima (6-3, 1) in what looks like it could be a competitive bout. Sadly despite being in good form, having gone 5-0-2 in his last 7, Wakita is now 30 years old and it's hard to imagine him going through the rankings and getting a title fight. On the other hand Takeshima, who's only 21, is needing to rebuild following a recent upset loss to Takuya Fujioka and we expect to see him give his all here.
In another well matched under-card bout the 20 year old Aoba Mori (6-2) will take on 25 year old Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2, 1). The young Mori may have won 6 of his 8 bouts but he has had 5 very close decisions in his favour and it seems hard to imagine him going far unless he can start to make himself stand out in bouts. Iwasaki on the other hand was last seen in the 2019 Rookie of the Year final, losing to Seiya Meguro last December. Both men will come in to this bout hungry and both are young, so we expect a high energy bout here between two men looking to make a point.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
There is also a show in Thailand as we see the sport begin to resume in the Land of Smiles.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Nawaphon Kaikanha (48-1-1, 38) battle against Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asia Banatamweight title. We expect this to be little more than a mismatch in favour of Nawaphon, who should be too good, too experienced and too big for the limited Ruhasiri.
On paper the co feature is a much better bout and will see Phongsaphon Panyakum (8-1, 3) take on Sophon Klachun (5-4-1, 1). Although a more competitive bout than the main event we don't see this as being a very high level contest.
Antai Tennis Park, Rizhao, China
As well as the Japanese and Thai shows we'll also be getting a small card in China. This card, like many of the other recent Chinese ones, is a novice show, where most of the fighters are taking one of their first steps as a professional.
Despite most of the bouts being between two novices it is worth noting that the show will have an interesting match up on it between Ju Wu (9-0-2)* and Wei Liu (1-0, 1). We've been impressed by the talented young Wu, who has shown a good boxing brain and ring craft and it's hard to see him losing to a 1-0 debutant. Saying that however over 4 rounds a quick start by Liu could see him potentially playing the role of a human banana peel, and the bout is more interesting than it looks on paper.
*It appears that Ju Wu and Lei Wang's draw from earlier in the year is no long on either man's record
This coming Sunday is a pretty quiet day for fight fans in Asia, despite a decent show in Thailand.
The show in Thailand comes to us thanks to TL Boxing Promotions. It's certainly not a big card, but will feature a pair of WBA Asia title bouts.
One of the bouts will see former world title challenger Dennapa Kiatniwat (21-2, 16) taking on Jeny Boy Buca (13-6, 11), in a bout for the WBA Asia Flyweight title. Dennapa, also known as Sarawut Thawornkham, will be defending the title he won last November, when he stopped Samuel Tehuayo in 8 rounds. The heavy handed Buca had shown some promise earlier in his career, but with 3 losses in his last 4 bouts and only a single win in the last 3 years, it's hard to see him as any sort of a test for the Thai fighter.
Interestingly the show also has a WBA Asia Super Flyweight title fight being advertised for it, with Jomvo Korsaklamphun (?-?), who doesn't appear to be listed on boxrec, taking on Filipino Adrian Lerasan (8-4, 1). Given we know nothing about the local we're either expecting a very special talent, or a terrible fighter, but we were impressed by Lerasan last year when he gave Dave Apolinario a good test, and wouldn't be surprised by another good showing, even in a loss, here.
We get the next Diamond Glove show this coming Thursday from the Korakuen Hall, which features a couple of title bouts.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) take on Filipino foe Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) in a bout for both the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles. The unbeaten Japanese fighter has looked fantastic in recent bouts, stopping his last 6 foes and running up 4 defenses of the Japanese title. Although this is his first bout above domestic level the view is that he will be strongly favoured and is expected to become a triple champion, before moving on wards and upwards to potential world title fights down the line. Dela Torre was once a hotly tipped young Filipino prospect, but with 2 losses in his last 3 and only 1 win in the last 2 year his rise has hit a brick wall. Dela Torre has got skills but this looks like too much of a step from his last win, which was a decision over domestic journeyman Richard Betos last December, to be competitive with Yoshino here. Our full preview of this bout can be read here - Yoshino and Dela Torre battle for regional domination
A second title fight on this show will see Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) defending his Japanese Light Flyweight title against Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5). This is a really interesting match up between two flawed, yet determined fighters at very different stages of their career's. The 39 year old Horikawa is in the Indian summer of his career and has reeled off 8 wins since losing in 2017 to Tetsuya Hisada. Coming in to this Horikawa has already made 1 defenses this year and will know another win will guarantee him a fight at the Champion Carnival next year. On the other hand Takahashi is 26, just reaching his physical prime and comes into the bout on the back of solid performance against Tatsuya Fukuhara, Ryoki Hirai and Yuta Nakayama. Takahashi could well be getting to Horikawa at the perfect time. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Horikawa defends Japanese title against Takahashi in a battle of circumstance
Also on this card is the second bout of novice professional Kazuhiro Imamura (1-0, 1), who takes on the frustratingly fragile Kiyohei Endo (3-2, 3). Originally Endo was tipped as one to watch, following a 42-18 amateur career. Sadly however he was stopped by a journeyman on debut and has never managed to really get going, and a loss in his third bout to Toshiki Shimomachi didn't help. On the other hand Imamura debuted back in March following a 32-20 amateur career, and he'll be hoping to build on his debut win. This is an interesting fight, given given that neither can really afford a loss. Saying that however we don't think Endo will have toughened up, and if Imamura puts it on him we see Endo being stopped again here.
This coming Thursday we see the next Diamond Glove card from Korakuen Hall, in what looks like being an excellent show. The card will feature two title fights, including one of the most mouth watering OPBF title bouts we've had in a very, very long time, as well as a big step up for a promising prospect and a very interesting lower key bout.
The main event will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (19-2-2, 12) defending his title against former world title challenger Shohei Omori (20-2, 15). The hard hitting Teshigawara will be seeking his second defense of the belt, and built on an 8th round TKO win over Yuki Iriguchi. Coming in to this bout he has won his last 7, with 6 wins by stoppages, and has looked super destructive since moving to 122lbs earlier this year. Interestingly Omori has moved up recently and has also on two bouts at Super Bantamweight by stoppage. Omori has looked brilliant since moving up in weight, and totally dismantled both Brian Lobetania and Takahiro Yamamoto. Of the two men Teshigawara appears to be the tougher, more rugged fighter, however Omori is the more smooth fighter and the more powerful one, so this is going to be a wonderful match to watch, and should be something very special. A full preview of this bout is available here - Teshigawara and Omori set for OPBF war!
The other title fight on this card will see veteran Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) seek his second defense of the Japanese Light Flyweight title. In the opposite corner to the 56 fight veteran will be rising youngster Ryuto Oho (12-5-1, 4), in an interesting match up. At 39 years old Horikawa is a true veteran, who debuted more than 19 years ago and has run off 8 wins in a row since losing in a national title fight back in April 2017. The 24 year old Oho showed real promise early in his career, winning the 2013 Rookie of the Year, but since then has had some mixed success, winning the Japanese Youth title in 2018 but losing to Masamichi Yabuki earlier this year. At Light Flyweight Oho is a solid fighter, and could pose a genuine test to the highly experienced champion. Our preview of this bout can be read here Veteran champion Horikawa faces Oho in upcoming defense
In a really good supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Masahiro Suzuki (2-0, 1) continue his rapid climb up the ranks as he takes on the heavy handed Kosuke Arioka (9-3-1, 8). The 24 year old Suzuki turned professional last year, and really impressed on his debut win over Antonio Siesmundo, before adding a win over Kelvin Tenorio this past March and he does look like he is going to be a big player on both the domestic and regional scene. Arioka is no world beater, but has gone 6 bouts without a loss, going 5-0-1 (4), and is certainly a dangerous fighter as Yui Oikawa and Mirai Naito found out. Not only is Arioka dangerous but he is talented, and actually won the Rookie of the Year in 2017. This should be a real test for the highly touted Suzuki.
One other potentially exciting fighter here will see Daiki Wakamatsu (6-1, 4) taking on the heavy handed Riki Hamada (7-2, 6), who has lost his last 2 by stoppage, losing to Arashi Iimi and Xiao Tao Su. Hamada can bang, but is almost 2 years removed from his last win. Interestingly Wakamatsu hasn't fought in over 2 years, since stopping Pathon Aiemyod last time out in July 2017, so neither man has much momentum coming into this bout, but both will feel this is a great chance to pick up a win and get back in to the swing of things.
The most notable card this coming Sunday comes from Kobe where we get a world title fight, a Japanese title fight, a once beaten hopeful and an unbeaten prospect.
The world title bout will see the once beaten Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) challenge huge punching IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30), in what looks like a really tough test for the Japanese hopeful. Konishi is a former Japanese Minimumweight champion who is best known for losing a competitive bout to Carlos Canizales last year, in a really good but now forgotten bout, and this will be his second shot at a world title. Alvarado on the other hand is looking to make his first defense of a title he won last year, when he battered Randy Petalcorin into submission. Alvarado is one of the true danger men at 108lbs and we suspect he will be too powerful for Konishi, though few can question Konishi's heart and desire, which could make this very, very fan friendly. A full preview of this bout can be read here Konishi challenges heavy handed champion Alvarado!
The second title fight on this card will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (39-15-1, 13) make his first defense, as he goes up against Masashi Tada (13-5-3, 8). Horikawa is a true veteran of the Japanese scene, and is enjoying his second reign at the age of 39. Although an old man Horikawa has great energy and desire and is riding an excellent 7 fight winning run into this bout, having gone unbeaten since a 2017 loss to Tetsuya Hisada. As for Tada this will be his second Japanese title fight, following a loss in 2014 to Go Odaira in a bout for the Japanese Minimumweight title. The loss to Odaira saw Tada take a lengthy break from the ring before returning in 2017 and going 0-1-2 in his first 3 bouts, though he has now scored back to back wins to get this shot at Horikawa. At 29 Tada has youth on his side, but this is a massive step up for him. Our preview of this bout is available here Veteran Horikawa battles Tada!
Also on this card are Ryo Suwa (10-1, 1) and Tetsuro Ohashi (6-0-1, 1), neither of whom have had their opponents named at the time of writing. Suwa has scored 3 straight wins since losing in 2017 to Ikuro Sadatsune, and is a very talented fighter, even if he lacks power. Ohashi, also a feather fisted fighter, impressed last year when he won the Rookie of the Year and we're really excited to see where the 20 year old Super Flyweight can go following that success.
A second Japanese card comes from Shizuoka, where we get the next Suruga Boys card. Although a much smaller card than the Kobe one, it is an interesting one with several good looking match ups, and the next appearance of a very promising young prospect.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (14-6-1, 9) take on the heavy handed but limited Daiki Ichikawa (11-5, 9). Coming in to this Sugita has gone 4-4, alternating wins and losses in his last 8, and using that record he should be on track to pick up a win here. Ichikawa has lost 3 of his last 5 and whilst he's not the most skilled fight he does have heavy hands, and if he lands cleanly on the crafty Sugita he could pick up a shock stoppage.
The chief support bout will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweights clashing, with Yuta Horiike (15-6-3, 3) taking on Gakuya Furuhashi (24-8-1, 13). Of the two men it's Furuhashi who is better known, thanks to 2 domestic title fights, but the 31 year old from Kanagawa has had a very tough career and is stepping up after 6 relatively straight forward wins. At 34 Horiike is the older man, and whilst he hasn't got the in-ring miles that Furuhashi has he isn't as technically good as his foe. The loser of this really will have no where to go.
Arguably the best bout on this card is actually a huge step up for a touted prospect. That prospect is Tsubasa Murachi (3-0, 3), who leaps up in class to take on Filipino Raymond Tabugon (21-9-1, 11) in a mouth watering clash. Although little known outside of Japan Murachi is a fantastic talent who had real questions to answer last time out, against Chinese fighter Sheng Peng, and we're expecting him to need to answer more questions here. Tabugon is a 28 year old who has lost 2 of his last 3, but has mixed with a who's who, including Luis Nery, Juan Francisco Estrada, Andrew Moloney and has previously scored upsets in the past, including wins over Lito Dante and Jake Bornea. This could be a very, very tough test for Murachi.
This coming Thursday we'll get another brilliant Japanese card, under the Diamond Glove Banner, with a number of fantastic bouts.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) make his first defense, as he takes on the under-rated Yuki Iriguchi (10-2-1, 4). The exciting Teshigawara won the title last year , when he moved up to the weight and stopped Glenn Suminguit. His title win completed a fantastic year, which has also seen him defeat Jason Canoy and Teiru Kinoshita. Although relatively unknown in the west Iriguchi has scored notable wins against Ryohei Takahashi and Takafumi Nakajima, though his 2018 was a frustrating one after he missed for a bout and only actually fought once all year. Our preview of this bout can be read here Teshigawara looks to defend OPBF crown against Iriguchi!
A second bout will see a new Japanese champion being crowned at Light Flyweight, as Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) takes on the little known Satoru Todaka (9-2-4, 3), to fill the vacancy left by Tetsuya Hisada. The 38 year old Horikawa is looking to become a 2-time national champion here, but is certainly up against not just Todaka but also father time and may well himself getting old over-night, though he did look good in October when he faced Koji Itagaki. Little known Todaka is a 29 year old getting his first title fight. Todaka has shown nice speed and movement, but this is a huge up for him and if father time doesn't over-come Horikawa we believe that Todaka will really struggle. Our preview of this bout can be read here Horikawa and Todaka battle for vacant Japanese crown!
Former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-3-2, 5) will be up against former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-3, 11), in a must win for both men. Both have suffered recent setbacks and will need to show that they still have enough in the tank if they are to move back into title fights. At 30 Nakayama is likely on the back end of his career, whilst Sakashita is just 27 but has had a hard career and has been stopped 3 times in his 27 bouts.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yoshimitsu Kimura (10-1, 5) face off with Filipino Allan Vallespin (12-3, 9). Kimura bounced back well from his loss to Richard Pumicpic and will likely see a win here as his chance to take a huge step towards another regional title bout. Vallespin, who is now 0-3 outside of the Philippines, is a live under-dog and he proved his worth in a narrow loss to Musashi More last July. This should be a really interesting match up, and stylistically it should be very exciting.
This coming Friday is a major day in Japan, despite not being a day that will get much international attention. The reason for this is that in Tokyo there will be an incredible 6 Japanese title eliminator contests, with the winners booking their place in the 2019 Champions Carnival.
At Light Flyweight we get a rematch between Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1, 11) and Koji Itagaki (18-12-3, 7). These two are both veterans who have come up short in a recent Japanese title bout to Tetsuya Hisada and both are clearly and wanting another shot at the belt. The winner will get a title fight next year, meaning the reward for a win is huge, though the loser will likely be pushed into retirement. The full preview of this bout is here Horikawa and Itagaki rematch with a title fight on the line!
At Super Flyweight we see recent Japanese title challenger Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) take on Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5), who has only fought once in the last 10 years. The talented Matsuo came up short in 2017 against Masayuki Kuroda but has notched up a couple of wins since then and looks to be hungry for a second shot. Orais on the other hand is a boxer-come-trainer-come part time boxer, who looks to be rolling the dice for one final charge at a title. An in depth fight preview for this bout can be read here Matsuo and Orais battle for shot at Super Flyweight gold!
At Super Bantamweight we may be getting a small treat at Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1, 14) takes on Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1, 6). Both men are under-rated outside of Japan and both should make for a very interesting match up here. Nakagawa caught our eye in a 2017 loss to Yasutaka Ishimoto, and despite losing has since bounced back with a pair of stoppages. Okamoto on the other hand comes into the bout on the back of big wins over Daisuke Watanabe and Yuta Saito, who has since won the Japanese Bantamweight title. This could be the hidden gem on the card and technically the winner will be ordered to fight current champion Shingo Wake, though he is expected to vacate before the Champion Carnival. A fight breakdown for this contest is available here Nakagawa and Okamoto to fight in Japanese eliminator!
A second rematch on this card, this time at Super Featherweight, will see Ken Osato (14-2-1, 4) and Satoru Sugita (14-5-1, 9) face off for the second time inside a year. Interestingly these two fought last December in a Japanese title eliminator that Osato narrowly won. Sadly for Osato he would come up short in his eventual title fight, losing to Masaru Sueyoshi earlier this year. This should be a technically compelling match up, even if it fails to be one of the more exciting bouts on the card. A preview of this bout can be read here Osato and Sugita go again, in title eliminator!
Talking about exciting it's hard not to have pulses racing about the Light Welterweight bout between the unbeaten and heavy handed pairing of Koki Inoue (11-0, 10) and Marcus Smith (6-0-1, 6). Inoue, the cousin of both Naoya and Takuma Inoue, is one of the most avoided fighters on the Japanese domestic scene and with good reason, having left good good opponents battered and broken. Smith, the 2017 Rookie of the Year, is an American born Japanese fighter who has looked very destructive and heavy handed, but is taking a massive step up in class here. This is going to be something very fun and despite favouring Inoue we think this could be the bout of the show. The preview for this contest is available here Inoue and Smith clash in Japanese title eliminator!
The heaviest bout on this card will take place at Light Middleweight and will see veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) battle against Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1, 7), in what could be another very entertaining bout, and one that could see the winner join a mixed up situation in the Japanese Light Middleweight scene. The 39 year old Saito has come up short in 7 title bouts during his 35 fight career, but outside of title fights he is an impressive 24-3-1. Matsunaga comes in to this on the back of 7 straight wins, including notable wins over Sanosuke Sasaki, Je Ni Ma and Patomsuk Pathompothong. Saito will know he can't afford another set back, given that he turns 40 early next year, but Matsunaga won't be looking to lose his own career momentum. Our preview for this bout is available here Veteran Saito takes on Matsunaga for Japanese title shot!
After a few days of rest Japanese fight fans in Tokyo will get the chance for more fights this coming Thursday, with a card from the Misako Gym.
The main event of the card will see JBC ranked Light Welterweight Daishi Nagata (10-1-1, 4) take on Filipino visitor Jimmy Borbon (7-5-4, 4). Last year Nagata suffered his first defeat, being battered into a 7th round TKO loss to Vladimir Baez, but since then he has bounced back well with two decent wins. He should be looking to continue that run here, as he takes on the naturally smaller Borbon. The Filipino has won 2 of his last 8 bouts, and we don't expect him to come out on top here against the talented Nagata.
A really good looking bout will see the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (21-8-1, 10) take on the under-rated Gaku Aikawa (9-5-1, 3). The 30 year old Furuhashi is a 2-time Japanese title challenger, who has been matched softly since suffering a 10th round TKO loss to Yasutaka Ishimoto in 2016. Despite being matched softly Furuhashi is no push over and is clear stepping up in class here, compared to his last 3 opponents. Aikawa has been pretty inconsistent, but will be coming into this on the back of a huge December win over Shohei Kawashima, and he will know that a win over Furuhashi will move him very close to a Japanese title fight.
Another excellent match up will see Daisuke Watanabe (6-4, 3) battle against Daiki Maniwa (6-2-1, 4). On paper this might not look like anything special but we really do expect an excellent bout. The 26 year old Watanabe has been matched insanely tough so far, battling the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Sho Nakazawa, Ryuto Araya and Reiya Abe in his first 10 bouts, and scoring wins against some of those. Maniwa on the other hand comes into the bout on the back of a loss in a Japanese Youth title fight, his most notable bout to date, but will take some confidence from that loss and come in here knowing that a win will get his career back on track. A really interesting fight between two men who will both believe they can come out on top here.
One other bout of note will see former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (36-15-1, 10) take on Naoto Takanashi (5-12-3, 4). This will be Horikawa's 53rd career bout, his third this year, and he seems to be looking to get himself one more title fight. For Takanashi the bout is a huge ask, but a chance to take on a bit of a domestic legend.
After a huge Friday for Japanese fight fans we get an interesting card on Saturday with interest for fans across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day is a huge one for Filipino fight fans, as IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) defends his title against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan (14-3, 0). This all-Filipino bout will the first all-Filipino world title bout in over 90 years and will see the winner really get a chance to become a big name back home, as well as solidifying themselves as one of the top Super Flyweights on the planet. Unfortunately it would seem likely that both are likely to miss out on the HBO “Superfly” series of shows, but if the winner can unify with WBA champion Kal Yafai that may not be too much of a problem in the short term.
For Mongolian fans attention should be shifted to Mississippi as unbeaten prospect Tugstsogt Nyambayar (9-0, 8) takes a huge step up to face off with former interim world champion Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17). The Mongolian hopeful was taken the distance for the first time in his last bout, and was dropped in that bout by Harmonito Dela Torre, but has looked capable of going all the way and this upcoming bout should be the sort of bout he needs to get himself in to the title mix. Escandon is just 15 months removed from an excellent KO win over Robinson Castellanos, but has lost his only bout since then, being stopped by Gary Russel Jr, and should really be 1-3 in his last 4, dating back over 3 years. This is a decent step up, but one that Nyambayar should manage without too many issues.
In Canada fans will be able to see hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (12-0-0-2, 10) battle against Argentinian Jonathan Jose Eniz (20-9-1-1, 7) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight title. The talented Kazakh does look like a very promising fighter but does need a genuine test after having had his way in many of his bouts so far. Given that Enil has been stopped only once, way back in 2015 by German Argentino Benitez, we're expecting him to be a real test for the Kazakh who may well need to show his skills as well as his power.
As for Japanese fans they can look a little bit closer to home thanks to a low key card in Osaka. The card is a pretty weak one but is headlined by former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (35-15-1, 9), who takes on a Thai we believe will be Mongkol Kamsommat (6-3, 5). This should be an easy win for Horikawa who fights in bis 52nd professional bout, which would see him become the outright number one for the most fights of any currently active Japanese fighter.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Hyogo where we get a world title double header, supported by two notable fighters taking on limited Thai foes in mismatches.
The main event of the card is one of the two titles bouts, and will see WBO Minmumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (15-2, 4) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on under-rated Mexican Moises Calleros (28-7-1, 16). The 22 year old Yamanaka won the title last year, when he over-came Tatsuya Fukuhara in a thrilling war, and took the title from Fukuhara, who had himself beaten Calleros for the title last year. Given that both men had thrilling bouts with Fukuhara we're expecting something a bit special here. Neither of these two is a big puncher, but both are grinders with high work rate and that should make for a really entertaining bout with a lot of 2-way back and forth action.
The other world title fight sees hard hitting Venezuelan Carlos Canizales (19-0-1, 16) battle against Reiya Konishi (15-0, 5) in a contest for the vacant WBA Light Flyweight title, or rather the “regular” version of the title. On paper this looks like a real barn burner. Canizales is best known for giving Ryoichi Taguchi absolute hell in 2016, fighting to a draw with the Watanabe gym fighter, and will know that a win here takes him very close to a rematch with Taguchi. For Konishi the bout sees him abandoning the Minimumweight division and getting his first shot at a world title, with his body likely out growing the 105lb limit. Konishi will also know that he can earn a shot at Taguchi with a win here, and that would be a very notable all-Japanese contest, between fighters from Kanto and Kansai, likely leading to huge TV numbers. As for the two men involved in this bout both are aggressive fighters who throw a lot of leather and as a result this has the potential to be an all out war.
The main bouts will be supported by the ring return of Masao Nakamura (22-3, 21), who will be fighting for the first time in almost 2 years. The heavy handed Nakamura announced his retirement in 2016, just as he was being linked to a fight with Jezreel Corrales, stating that his body wasn't physically up to being a boxer any more. A long break has however reignited the fire within Nakamura, who kicks off his comeback with a contest against Thai novice Phaendin Saithonggym (0-1). It's unlikely we'll see Nakamura struggle here, with the bout made to shake some ring rust, and it does sound like Nakamura has now got his eyes on working his way towards winning titles.
The other notable fighter in a non-title fight on this card is 38 year old Kenichi Horikawa (34-15-1, 8), who fights in his 51st professional bout. The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion announced his retirement in following his loss to Ken Shiro in late 2015, but has bounced back and fought 4 times last year as he continues to be a busy fighter, and could well end up fighting a similar number of times this year, whilst trying to reclaim a national title. His opponent is a yet to be named Thai, and is unlikely to provide any sort of a test for the veteran.