Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
The big bout to feature an Asian fighter this coming Saturday comes from Wales as IBF Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (26-1-1-1, 18) defends his title against unbeaten Welsh challenger Joe Cordina (14-0, 8), in what will be Ogawa's first defense since winning the belt late last year. The hard hitting Ogawa is regarded by many as a weak champion at 130lbs, but his win over Azinga Fuzile last year showed his class and his power, and he'll be looking to replicate that form here and become the first ever Japanese fighter to successfully defend a world title in Europe. As for Cordina, a former British amateur stand out, this bout has a feel of now or never for him, and it's hard to imagine him getting another world title shot if he comes up short here. As for the bout it will be Ogawa's power against the speed and skills of Cordina, which should make for a very interesting match up. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogawa takes on Cordina in first defense!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Ogawa isn't the only Japanese fighter in action, and in fact over in Tokyo we get the next show under the Dynamic Glove banner. The card isn't the biggest or best, but there are two notable bouts on the show.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (17-2-1, 10) take on Nath Nwachukwu (7-2-2, 3), in what is the second bout between the two men. These two clashed in 2020, with Inoue taking a wide decision win, but since then both men have been some what inactive, with Inoue losing to Tim Tszyu last year, and Nwachukwu beating Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa and losing to Wade Ryan. Despite the inactivity of the two men their styles should gel and we should have a pretty fan friendly bout, as both look to secure something bigger and better later in the year.
In a really promising chief support bout we'll see former notable amateurs clash as Jun Ikegawa (2-0-1) and Issei Ochiai (3-0, 2) put their unbeaten records on the line in a mouth watering 8 rounder. Ikegawa debuted last year and immediately looked like a genuine talent, but someone with a style that needed major changes if he was to become a star in the professional ranks. We suspect we'll see the best of him here in what is his most dangerous bout to date. As for Ochiai, he made his debut in 2019 as a highly touted teenager and although he filed to really shine in his debut, he has impressed since and there is big hope for the unbeaten 21 year old. This promises a lot, and the winner will almost certainly be fast tracked to some sort of title fight in the next 12 to 18 months.
Daegu, South Korea
Staying in Asia, though moving over to South Korea, we're set for a lower level card headlined by a minor title fight.
That minor title fight will see Korean veteran Hee Jung Yuh (24-3, 12) battle against limited Thai foe Phannaluk Kongsang (8-8-1, 5), with Yuh defending her WBC International Female Super Flyweight title. The 42 year old Yuh has long been one of the more notable Korean fighters out there, but aside from her 2015 loss to Naoko Fujioka she hasn't really been willing to test herself against the better fighters out there, and that's the case again here as Kongsang really shouldn't be in the ring with her. The Thai challenger has won her last 3, but she has struggled when she's fought outside of Thailand, and we suspect she'll struggle again here, despite being the much, much younger fighter.
Expo Five Dome, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Another fighter who's scheduled to fight, though knowing how his career has gone so far will likely see his bout fall through, is Ivan Dychko (11-0, 11). The unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful has promised much since turning professional in 2016, following a brilliant amateur career, though has sadly done very little as a professional fighting against awful competition and proving next to nothing in the professional ranks since his September 2017 debut. Now aged 31 it really is time for Dychko and his team to get serious and start moving him forward with his career, before he ages his way out of possible contention, before even even getting there. Sadly for this scheduled bout, his opponent hasn't been named at the time of writing.
Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA
The most notable bout with an Asian fighter involved this Saturday is in New York as Japan's Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) battles talented South African Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9) for the IBF Super Flyweight title. This bout really is an incredibly interesting one between two world class fighters each looking to prove themselves on the world stage. Ogawa is talented, but rough around the edges, heavy handed and dangerous with a real will to win, and willingness to take a shot to land one when he needs to. Fuzile on the other hand is a slick, skilled, technically sharp boxer-mover who has the tools to frustrate anyone in the division. It will genuinely be interesting to see if Ogawa can land his heavy right hand, or whether the slippery southpaw moves of Fuzile will be too much for him. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogawa faces Fuzile for IBF title!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in the US we'll also get a title bout in Japan, as a talented Japanese fighter looks to make his first defense of a national title. Not only that but we'll also see the mandatory challenger for the winner being decided as well, with the show hosting a Japanese title eliminator.
The title bout on this show will see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) look to build on his excellent title win against Ryo Sagawa as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9). For Maruta this is a great chance to continue moving forward, and a win here moves him closer and closer to a world title shot, potentially against recently crowned Kiko Martinez. The excellent Maruta has long been regarded as one of the brightest hopes in Japanese boxing, and over the last few years he has been showing his potential with some stellar domestic wins, though we'd really like to see him make a move up to Oriental, if not world, level in 2022. As for Hino this is a second shot at the title, and although a solid domestic level fighter a win here would be, by far, the biggest of his career. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
In the main supporting bout on this show we'll see Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) and Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) clash in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator. These two men have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe back in 2018. Since their first bout Watanabe has gone unbeaten, going 6-0-2 (4) and has some momentum coming in to this bout thanks to his victory in the Hajime No Ippo Featherweight tournament, last year, and a good win over Yosuke Kawano earlier this year. The highly skilled Abe has gone 4-1-1 (1) since beating Watanabe, but has struggled at times, and and we dare say he's needed a fire lighting under his backside aty times, hopefully that fire will be lit here knowing he will get a third Japanese shot, if he wins.
Dawrpui Multipurpose Hall, Aizawl, India
As well as the title action in the US and Japan we also have a minor title bout in India, where Nutlai Lalbiakkima (2-0, 2) will be defending his IBA International Minimumweight title against Thai challenger Gerttipong Kumsahwat (6-9, 5). The talented Lalbiakkima is looking like a man on the fast track and we suspect he will be mixing against good competition in 2 or 3 years. Although not well known at the moment Lalbiakkima does have the potential to be the face of Indian boxing in the future. Gerttipong on the other hand is best known for losing to the then debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka back in 2018, and since then he has gone 3-7, likely to be 3-8 with this bout.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
There is also Asian action in Thailand, with a show being broadcast under the "The Fighter" banner, thanks to TL Promotions. Sadly whilst it does feature two very notable Thai hopefuls, neither man is in with someone expected to test them, also, notably, this show was originally scheduled to take place in late October before being delayed.
One of the promising Thai fighters on this show is the once beaten Tanes Ongjunta (8-1, 4), who looks notch a 5th straight win, as he takes on the limited Lerdchai Chaiyawed (6-5, 2). Ongjunta, looking to defend his WBA Asia Flyweight title, should be too good, too skilled, and too smart for his foe, though to credit where it's due, Chaiyawed does tend to offer plenty of resistance, even in his losses, and won't be there to just make up the numbers. We expect Chaiyawed to come to win, but simply not be good enough.
The other notable bout on this card will see the once beaten Arnon Yupang (7-1, 3) take on Filipino novice Fritz Biagtan (1-0, 1). Yupang was once a Thai amateur standout who has a lot of potential, and was last seen beating Amnat Ruenroeng for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title. He won't be defending that title here, but will be expecting to pick up a win. As for Biagtan, he made his debut in 2018, but has sadly been out of the ring for well over 40 months and is the naturally smaller man. Sadly we do not expect this one to be a particularly competitive match up.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Friday in Tokyo we get a card from Teiken that was originally supposed to take place around a month ago. The show was originally delayed due to the Teiken gym needing to close due to Jorge Linares having a positive PCR test, and despite a few minor changes the card still looks like a real good one.
The main event here will see former Japanese champions colliding as Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-1, 18) and Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-4-1, 12) face off. Not only are both former Japanese champions but both men are also taking world rankings into this one, giving it extra meaning. On paper this looks really interesting and may actually end up being even better when the two men get in the ring. Ogawa, at his best, is a boxer-puncher who likes to get full extension on his shots and let combinations go at mid-range. Nishitani on the other hand likes the action up close, leaning on an opponent and working with smart counters. Stylistically they are pretty much opposites, but they should make for a very entertaining clash here, with the winner taking a huge step towards a world title fight.
Highly touted youngster Shokichi Iwata (4-0, 3) looks to continue his climb through the rankings as he takes on domestic foe Ryo Narizuka (9-9-1) in an 8 rounder. In all honest we don't see Iwata struggling at all with Narizuka here, but it'll be a good chance for the unbeaten 24 year old to shake off some ring rust, with his last bout being around 11 months ago. Iwata would have had big plans for 2020 and whilst those plans have failed to materialise it's better for him to be busy than sit out the entire year.
Another fighter who would have had big plans for this year is the once touted Super Flyweight Hayate Kaji (14-0, 9). The hard hitting Kaji once seemed like the future star of the Teiken gym, but recent performances have been underwhelming. He'll be up against Hiroki Yajima (9-8-3, 4) here and if he puts in another poor performance, after an 11 month break from the ring, it may well be time to write him off. The reality is that Yajima is no push over, but shouldn't be a real test for a prospect as highly regarded as Kaji once was.
In a very interesting under-card bout we'll see Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Yamato Hata (10-1, 10) take on the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0-1, 3) in a very good looking match up. Hata has won his last 7, including bouts against Shingo Kusano and Ryusei Ishii, and at 23 years old looks like a future domestic title contender. On the other hand Takeshima was a solid amateur who debuted as a pro in 2018, and looked good in his first 4 bouts. Sadly Takeshima's rise through the ranks faltered in his last bout, when he had a technical draw with Daisuke Watanabe in the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament. Interestingly Takeshima will be moving up in weight for this one, and it'll be interesting to see how the extra few pounds suits him. Potentially this is the best bout on the card.
In a battle of once beaten men Hikari Mineta (8-1, 5) will clash with Ryuya Tsugawa (7-1, 3). The 24 year old Mineta is best known for his run in the 2018 Rookie of the Year, losing to Yuri Takemoto in the final, and since then he has reeled off 3 wins. Interestingly Tsugawa went a step further and won Rookie of the Year in 2019. These two are both talented young fighters who have the potential to go places, but will need time to full develop, and this bout should serve as a great test for both me. The winner will take big strides towards a domestic title fight, but don't write off the loser as they have plenty of time to come again.
This coming Saturday is a hectic day for Asian fight fans with a lot of action all crammed into a single day, and taking place all over the place. It might not be Christmas yet, but this weekend is set to feature a lot of gifts for us fight fans.
On paper the most significant bout of the weekend, at least in terms of Asian boxing, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) take on Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8), in Mexico. This bout has been arranged in a haste after a previously scheduled bout for Ancajas fell though, and although it looks good on paper we don't see this being anything other than a straight forward win for Ancajas. The Filipino has been frustrating at times, but he is a world class fighter and Gonzalez on the other hand has been easily beaten by the two world level guys he's faced. We're expecting a stoppage from Ancajas here, even if Gonzalez does end up being an awkward assignment. A full preview of this can be read here IBF king Ancajas faces Chilean challenger
New York, USA
Another bout with meaning at world level will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) take on former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. The interim title has been created due to injuries suffered by Danny Roman, and despite interim titles not being great for boxing this bout is a brilliant one, and we're looking forward to this. Both fighters are world class, both can bang and they should be well matched, with styles that we're expecting will gel well. This should be very exciting, and we'd be shocked if we get through 12 rounds here.
In Japan we have a lot of action, with the most notable of the Japanese action coming from Tokyo, where we'll get a title double header, featuring two Super Featherweight title bouts. For fans wanting to watch this the show will be broadcast live on G+.
The most notable of the title fights will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) defending his title against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18). This year has been a huge one for Noynay, who has already travelled to Japan and stopped Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu, and a win here against Ogawa will put him well and truly in the world title mix. For Ogawa a win here would put him on the verge of a second world title fight. We expect bombs to be thrown, we wouldn't be surprised if both men were badly hurt at some point, and this is an ideal headliner for a televised card. Our preview of this fantastic match up can be read here Noynay looks to extend "Japanese Killer" run as he takes on Ogawa
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) defending his title against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16). For Sueyoshi this bout will be his 5th defense, and if he wins we wouldn't be massively surprised to see him vacating the title in the new year to pursue regional, if not world, honours. For Saka this is a chance to put a very mixed 24 months, in which he has gone 3-2 (2), behind him and would end the year on the high following a loss to Noynay back in April. Saka has the power to hurt Sueyoshi, but Sueyoshi has the skills to outfox and out think Saka, in what is a compelling match up. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sueyoshi takes on Saka in next Japanese title defense
Also on this card will be Teiken trio Hikari Mineta (7-1, 4), Daiki Funayama (10-3-1, 3) and Koki Mioya (6-1-2, 1) who will all be taking on limited Thai opposition in what look like stay busy fights to close out the year.
A second Japanese show takes place in Kanagawa, and although much lower profile it features another title bout.
That title bout will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defending her belt against unbeaten novice Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), in what will be Mioyoshi's first defense of her second reign. Miyoshi claimed the belt in September, when she took a split decision win over Miki Mitsuda, ending a 4 fight losing in a bit of an upset. Although Mitsuda was no world beater we hadn't seen Miyoshi win a fight in over 3 years! Midorikawa is taking a huge step up, and although she's unbeaten she is very untested ahead of this bout, her first title bout. It'll be a huge ask for Midorikawa, but Miyoshi is certainly not unbeatable. An in depth of preview of this bout can be read here Veteran Miyoshi takes on Midorikawa in Featherweight title bout
Despite the title bout on this show the main event is technically a rematch between Yui Oikawa (7-5, 4) and Seiryu Toshikawa (11-5, 7). Coming in Oikawa has been stopped in his last 2, and desperately needs a win. He'll be driven on not only by the need of a win, but by a chance of getting to avenge a 2016 loss to Toshikawa, who beat him with a 4 round split decision. On paper Toshikawa might not look great but he's much better than his record suggests and he'll be looking to score his second win since suffering a razor thin loss in a Japanese Youth title fight to Shawn Oda in 2018.
A third Japanese show takes place in Hyogo, where fans get a card with several noteworthy names on it.
In the main event we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (12-6-1, 4) take on the limited Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-7-2, 2). We've long seen Hirai as a fighter with a lot of potential, but someone who has faltered in many of his toughest bouts. Here we expect him to shine, as he looks to build to a title fight of some kind in 2020. With just 1 win in the last 4 years it's hard to imagine Ichikawa giving Hirai much of a test, but he could give Hirai some rounds.
World ranked fighter Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) looks to continue his slow build towards a meaningful fight as he takes on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-15, 7). The 32 year old Nishitani has won his last 5 by stoppage, including a notable upset win against Shuhei Tsuchiya for the Japanese Lightweight title in 2017. Sadly he has failed to make anything of his career after that win and vacated the title rather than defend it, which has done his career no favours as he continues to meander in the middle of cards in meaningless bouts like this one. Laurente isn't an awful opponent, but is certainly not a step forward for Nishitani who really has lost all the momentum of his win over Laurente.
Another bout of some note on this card will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-1-1, 2) take on Chikato Sumida (8-3, 1). This will see Tokuyama defending his JBC and OPBF rankings and score a 5th straight win. Sumida isn't terrible, but we don't see him posing much of a test for Tokuyama here.
Yet another show with an Asian fighter in action is being held in Quebec, where fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (10-0, 9) takes on rugged Argentinian Jose Antonio Villalobos (12-5-2, 7). Akhmedov missed quite a bit of this year, whilst he recovered from injury and got married, but has still been busier than most and has began answering more and more questions, proving his stamina, his ability to box and move and that he can box on the back foot. There are still areas for him to work on, but for a 21 year old kid his incredibly impressive and a win here is seen as a formality before a potentially huge 2020. Villalobos will be there to try and ask questions of Akhmedov but we really don't see this as anything but an easy win for the talented Kazakh.
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
On a show that features more morally objectionable content that we can remember for a boxing card, including 4 fighters who have failed drug tests and the show taking place in a country with a terrible history human rights, we'll see Azeri fighter Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1) take on Tom Little (10-7, 3).
The big focus this Saturday is in the Kazakh Capital of Nur-Sultan, where the country will be celebrating Capital City day. To celebrate the day MTK will be putting on a stacked card in the city with a world title fight main event, several interesting support bouts and a host of prospects.
The main event will see WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-3-1, 18). The talented French-Moroccan is a real talent, and he was one of the many top Bantamweights frozen out of the WBSS, but is getting on in age and won't remain the skilled boxer-puncher that he's looked for much longer. Despite being the older fighter Oubaali will be strongly favoured here against a challenger who has lost his 3 biggest bouts, and would need a career best performance to even come close against the Frenchman. Villanueva isn't a bad fighter, but his ability is more that of a gatekeeper than a true contender. A full preview of this bout is available here Villanueva takes on Oubaali for WBC Bantamweight crown
In the main supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Zhankosh Turarov (23-0, 16) take on Mauro Maximiliano Godoy (31-4-1, 16) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Light Welterweight title. The unbeaten Turarov returned to the ring in June after almost 21 months out of the ring, and took a really disappointing win over Richmond Djarbeng, who sat in his corner complaining of stomach cramps after the second round. Godoy should prove to be a good test for Turarov, but the Argentinian has lost 3 of his last 7 and may be on the slide from the fighter he once was. Still this is easily Turarov's best test on paper, so far.
Another notable supporting bout will see the unbeaten Viktor Kotochigov (9-0, 4) taking on Jairo Lopez (24-10, 16), who was once regarded as a fringe contender. On paper this is a step up for the unbeaten Kazakh but Lopez is 3-4 in his last 7 and has been stopped in 3 of those 4 losses. This should be easier than it looks on paper for Kotochigov.
This card will b stacked with other Kazakh prospects, as MTK go all out to put on a show for local fans with Kazakh talent. Among the prospects are Ali Baloyev (8-0, 7), Sultan Zaurbek (7-0, 5), Nurtas Azhbenov (5-0, 1), Abay Tolesh (2-0, 2) and Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (5-0, 4), who are in relatively easily here and won't face too much of a test as they continue to build their careers and move towards bigger bouts.
As well as the Kazakh show there is also a notable card in Tokyo thanks to Teiken. This card is a really interesting one, with a notable name in the main event, a really good chief support bout, and a host of notable prospects
The main event will see Kenichi Ogawa (23-1-0-1, 17) take on limited Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-5-1, 6) in what will be little more than a stay busy bout for Ogawa. Originally the Japanese puncher was scheduled to have an IBF world title eliminator eliminator with South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), but Fuzile failed to secure a visa in time for the bout leading to Medura, who is 0-4 in Japan, getting the bout. We don't see this going very long at all.
A much better Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) take on Al Toyogon (10-3-1, 6) in an excellent match up. The once beaten Masaki, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro, hasn't really shined as Teiken would have wished and this is a long way from a gimme. Masaki is talented, but really needs to get prove he can put on good performances, something we don't really see from him with any consistency. Toyogon on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Ryo Sagawa, and will be coming into this out with a point to prove. A very interesting bout contest.
One of the other main supporting bouts will be a Welterweight bout between Masaya Tamayama (12-1, 6) and Riku Nagahama (9-2-1, 4), with both men wanting to tak a big step towards a potential Japanese title fight in the near future. Nagahama is looking to secure a second win since his TKO loss last year to Yuki Nagano, who has since gone on to win the Japanese title, whilst Tamayama is looking for a 9th straight win, and a chance to take a huge step towards a big bout.
Among the other supporting bouts we will see Japanese Super Flyweight prospect Hayate Kaji (12-0, 9) take on Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-18-2, 5), in what looks to be a chance for Kaji to take a huge step towards a Japanese title fight. It feels like Kaji has been on the verge of a break out fight for a while and whilst this isn't going to be it, it seems like a win and his next one will be his long awaited break out bout. For Orais questions should be asked why he's continuing to fight, rather than focus more on the training role he has at the Flare Yamagami gym.
Lower down on this card we'll see two more touted Japanese prospects both take big steps up in class against Filipino foes. One of those is the fantastic Mikito Nakano (2-0, 2), who takes on Arvin Yurong (12-2, 3) in a genuinely good test. Nakano looks like he has the ability to move through the rankings quickly, and could fight for a title as early as late 2020, and Yurong is a very under-rated young fighter who should force answers from Nakano.
The other is Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1), who's debut saw him look fantastic against an opponent who didn't want to be there. Here Lee takes on unbeaten Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (9-0-1, 5) in what should be a much, much better match up. Sadly not much is known about the visitor, so it's unclear what type of a test he will actually pose for the very talented Lee.
A smaller show takes place in the Phillipines where we see a few interesting Filipino fighters in action with a really good main event.
The main event will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (10-0-1, 5) take on the once touted Jesse Espinas (19-3, 11). The 23 year old Vicelles isn't well known but comes into this on the back of an excellent win over Robert Onggocan, and this is a logical step up in class. As for Espinas this is a slight step backwards, but is one that makes sense given he was beaten last time out in an OPBF title bout against Edward Heno. A very interesting match up, and rightfully the main event of the card.
In a good supporting bout Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5) and Prince Andrew Laurio (10-2-1, 7) will face off for the Philippines Visayas Professional Boxing Association Super Flyweight title. The 22 year old Remandiman has turned around a 2-4-1 start with 8 straight wins and has great momentum coming into this bout, as well as a good win last time out against Renz Rosia. Interestingly Lauio's career is going in the opposite direction, and he is 2-2-1 in his last 5, with stoppage losses in his last 2 bouts. His early potential appears to have been massively over-hyped and he is now really faltering.
One other bout of note here will see the one beaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-1-1, 9) take on Joffrey Garcia (6-10-4, 5), in what should be another straight forward win for Mangubat.
The month of February kicks off this coming Saturday, and we start to see action return to normal with the second Dynamic Glove card of the year, and a Kazakh prospect in action in the US.
Toyko, Korakuen Hall
The Dynamic Glove card is an interesting one, with a ring return of a fighter who has served a year long suspension, a Japanese title fight and the second bout of a very highly regarded prospect.
The returning fighter is Kenichi Ogawa (22-1-0-1, 17), who will be fighting for the first time since December 2017 when he faced Tevin Farmer. The former Japanese Super Featherweight champion has served a 12 month ban for testing positive for illegal substance and will be looking to put that year behind him as he takes on Filipino foe Roldan Aldea (12-6-1, 6). The Filipino has lost his last 2, but did become the first fighter to take the exciting Shawn Oda the distance, doing that last April, and will be looking to have another solid performance here, even if he does end up coming up short again.
The Japanese title fight will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (17-0, 12) look to enhance his growing reputation as he takes on Naoki Mochizuki (15-3, 8) for the vacant Japanese Flyweight title. The title was vacated in late 2018, as Masayuki Kuroda put his focus on preparing for a world title fight, allowing Mochizuki to face Nakatani in the Champion Carnival. The unbeaten Nakatani is a former Rookie of the Year and Japanese Youth Champion who has already broken into the world rankings and is expected to go a very, very, long way. Mochizuki on the other hand is underrated due to his losses, with 2 of those being very competitive and one of those being suffered early in his career. Mochizuki has proven to be tough, have a good work rate and could well spring the upset over the much fancied and very highly regarded 21 year old Nakatani, but many will be tipping the youngster. We've previewed this bout here Nakatani and Mochizuki battle for Japanese title!
Another notable name on this card will be former WBA "interim" Flyweight and OPBF Super Flyweight champion Koki Eto (23-4-1, 18), who will be up against Filipino visitor Rommel Oliveros (9-4-1, 4). This looks like it will be little more than a tune up bout for Eto who is wanting to fight for a world title this year, though is likely to continue just ticking over, as he has done since facing Carlos Cuadras way back in 2015.
Also on this card is the second professional bout of former amateur standout Mikito Nakano (1-0, 1) and the professional debut of Gonte Lee (0-0), also an amateur standout. These two Teiken prospects will be up against Thai visitors in what we expect will be little more than show case bouts for the novices, who are expected to achieve great things in the near future, as the Teiken gym rebuild after a few disappointing years.
As well as the Japanese action fight fans will also get the chance to see touted Kazakh fighter Janibek Alimkhanuly (4-0, 1) take on Steven Martinez (18-4, 13), in a dangerous looking bout. We were excited to see Alimkhanuly goo full on professional last year, and sign with Top Rank, though his performances in 2018 left us wondering whether he really is suited to the professional ranks. He is very talented, sharp and accurate, but there is a feeling that something hasn't yet clicked, though in fairness he has been matched hard and there is incredibly high expectations on his shoulders. Martinez is a 28 year old who is tough, having never been stopped, but has been beaten by his most notable opponents, such as Terrell Gausha, Denis Douglin and Christopher Pearson. This should be a very good test for the Kazakh.
This coming Saturday is set to be a very busy day for boxing fans, with some huge action taking place over the weekend.
The biggest bout of the day, featuring an Asian fighter, is in Nevada and will be a bout for the currently vacant IBF Super Featherweight title. The bout will see Japan's Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17) take on defensive American Tevin Farmer (25-4-1, 5) in a bout that pits a puncher against a slickster. The bout will be for the title recently stripped from Gervonta Davis, who failed to make weight for a defence back in August, and looks like a really intriguing match up, even if it's unlikely to be the most exciting fight of the weekend.
In Osaka we're set to get a pretty interesting lower level card.
The main event will see ranked fighters facing off, with the unbeaten Daiki Tomita (10-0, 3) risking his JBC, WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF rankings against Desierto Nagaike (10-2-1, 2), who will be putting his own OPBF ranking on the line. The winner of this will clearly move closer to a title fight, and there is a lot to be fighting for in a bout that both will believe they can win.
A second bout of intrigue will see the capable Shingo Kawamura (14-3-1, 7) battle against Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (13-1, 6). On paper Kawamura seems like the lesser fighter but with wins over the likes of Shun Ishibashi, Kota Fukuoka and Shingo Kusano he's proven to be a credible domestic fighter through his career so far. Atsumi has been on a role in recent fights, beating the likes of Sho Nakazawa, Dennis Tubieron, Burning Ishii and Neil John Tabanao but cannot be over-confident coming in to this bout.
A second show in Osaka will also take place, and this one features some slightly bigger names, albeit again foes who aren't likely to pose much of a threat.
One of those notable names is former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (24-7-1, 21), who fights for the first time since his December 2015 loss to WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue. The Filipino,who is now based in Japan and part of the Morioka Gym, will be up against a limited Thai foe and will be expected to pick up a relatively straight forward win here and begin to get his career back on track.
Another notable man on this card is youngster Tatsuya Ikemizu (16-2, 7), who who looks to continue the rebuilding profess of his career. Ikemizu lost 2 bouts in a run of 3 but is now on a 3 fight winning streak, albeit against limited Thais. Sadly this bout will also see him up against a limited opponent from the Land of Smiles.
The main event of this card will see OPBF ranked Bantamweight Yuki Strong Kobayashi (11-7, 6) take on Noboru Osato (8-5-4, 1) in what looks likely to be a pretty competitive bout. Kobayashi is less than 2 years removed from an OPBF title fight, but with a 6-7 record in his last 13 he's certainly no world beater, and despite having the skills to upset fighters on the domestic scene. Osato has had better recent form, going 7-4-2 in his last 13, but he has been competing at a lower level. This could be a very intriguing bout.
Fans in Indonesia will get their own card, albeit a small one, which will be headlined by a bout between the experienced Heri Andriyanto (22-26-2, 10) and the very limited Benny Tamaela (3-7, 1). The reality is that this is a weak bout, but it could well be a competitive one, between two limited fighters.
There will also be Asian fighters fighting in Russia.
One of those bouts will see Russian fighter Isa Chaniev (11-1, 5) take on Filipino visitor Juan Martin Elorde (23-1-1, 10). The bout, for the IBF Inter-Continental and WBO International Lightweight titles, will be Elorde's first bout outside of the Philippines and marks a clear step up for the 33 year old Pinoy, who now seems set to sink or swim. The Russian was beaten back in May but has scored a win since and will know that a win here will help establish him as name to watch at 135lbs.
Another is Thai fighter Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (18-7, 12), who takes on the unbeaten Vyacheslav Mirzaev (9-0, 1). The Thai is a former world ranked fighter but is 5-5 in his last 10 and looks like a man who simply can't do it against fighters with something to them. This bout will serve as a test for Mirzaev, but a win won't propel him too far, more prove that he has the ability to go further than the likes of Sukkasem.
This coming weekend might be a big one due to a massive show on Sunday but the truth is that Saturday is a limp one for Asian fight fans with only a single show, and even that's not big enough to be televised live.
Although the show isn't going to be televised live it does actually feature a Japanese Super Featherweight title fight as Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) defends his title against Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-13-3, 4). The talented Ogawa has started to struggle in recent bouts to impress but he is certainly a talented fighter, with spiteful power. That power should be too much for Yamamoto, who has been a number of times already, but the challenger will know there's nothing to lose and everything to gain by just going out there and going for the win from the off.
In the under-card we get 3 bouts with an international vibe. Two of those will see local talent facing off with Thai's, as heavy handed Yuichi Yokoyama (16-4, 14) takes on one fighter from the Land of Smiles and Kenshin Oshima (1-1, 1) also faces a Thai.
The other bout with an international feel will see the heavy handed Ryo Matsubara (6-1, 6) take on Korean visitor Chan Young Yook (5-2, 4). This should be a really fun bout between two hard hitters, but one where the local will be expected to come out on top given his home advantage and his slightly higher level of competition, however he will have to prove his toughness here against the aggressive Yook.
This coming Thursday sees one of the biggest Asian cards of the year so far as we get a qoeld title fight, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and former world title challenger all competing on the same card.
In the main event of this show we will see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) look to record his 12th defense of the title. The heavy handed southpaw, widely regarded as the best Bantamweight on the planet, will be up against the in form Carlos Carlson (22-1, 13), who has won his last 22. Yamanaka has had a tough 18 months, with two bouts against Anselmo Moreno and a bout with Liborio Solis, but has come through those bouts and this is a much easier bout on paper than those were. Carlson is a real unknown, and will be stepping up massively, but seems confident of making his mark on the boxing world and a win here would certainly shake up the sport.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (20-1, 16) take on mandatory challenger Satoru Sugita (12-3-1, 7), in what will be a rematch between the two men who faced off last year. In their first bout Ogawa looked less than great, though had the power to see off Sugita in round 9, covering over the cracks off a less than great performance. Here Ogawa will be looking to shine and knows that another struggle will hard his chances of getting a world title fight. For Sugita revenge will be the aim and he will feel he has the skills to over-come Ogawa here.
On the under-card we'll see 2-weight world champion Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22) battle with Mexican foe Ruben Montoya (14-4-1, 9). This will be Viloria's first bout since his October 2015 loss to Roman Gonzalez and it's likely to be the start of Viloria's final run in the sport, with the 36 year old being relatively ancient for a Flyweight. Montoya has mixed with good competition, including Pedro Guevara and Paul Butler, but two losses to Samuel Gutierrez does leave question marks bout his ability.
Also on the under-card will be Ryosuke Iwasa (22-2, 14) who looks to keep busy with a bout againt Filipino Glenn Madura (8-1-1, 5). Iwasa will get a world title fight later this year, against IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni, but will have to get through this one without suffering any sort of cuts or damage to delay his world title shot. Although Madura doesn't have a great record he has won his last 8 and appears to be in solid form ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
The coming month is packed for Japanese fans with title bouts taking place regularly through the month. The first of those takes place on December 3rd at the Korakuen Hall, the home of Japanese boxing.
That title fight is a really highly anticipated rematched between Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (19-1, 16) and former champion Rikki Naito (15-1, 5). The two men fought a year ago, with Ogawa dropping Naito on route to a technical decision win to claim the title and give Naito his sole defeat. Since then however neither guy has looked great. Ogawa has defended the title twice, stopping both Satoru Sugita and Kento Matsushita, but looked very poor and was outboxed for stretches of both fights. Naito on the other hand easily beat Chaiyong Sithsaithong this past May but was very fortunate last time out to take a technical decision over Argie Toquero, in a bout that Toquero seemed to deserve. The winner of this may have the title but it's fair to say that both will have to put in better efforts than they have in recent bouts.
A real humdinger of a support bout will see the exciting Kenji Ono (11-1, 6) take on the unbeaten Seigo Yuri Akui (8-0-1, 4) in a really attractive bout. Ono, who won the 2014 Light Flyweight Rookie of the Year, may be best remembered for his February war with Jun Takigawa, a bout that could potentially be the Japanese FOTY, and that proved that he really was a fun to watch fighter. Akui is a 2015 Rookie of the Year winner, also at Light Flyweight, and has the unbeaten record, but is stepping up big time here. This is a wonderful match up and the type of bout that Japanese youngsters seem to take part in more than similar fighters in any other country.
Another prospect in action here is the unbeaten and exciting Hayate Kaji (5-0, 4), who will be looking to extend his perfect professional start as he takes on Thai visitor Sitthiphong Saithong (0-1), who's only recorded bout was a 4th round TKO loss in Japan from last year. Kaji impressed last year, when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Flyweight, but has lacked activity since and this will be only his second fight since the start of the year