This coming Wednesday Japanese fans have a day to look forward to, with a world title fight in Kyoto and an interesting, though much smaller, card in Tokyo. Both shows have very interesting main events but are a bit weak below the top bout.
Kyoto City Gym, Kyoto, Japan
Of the two cards it's the one in Kyoto which will get more attention, with a world title bout, a Japanese Youth title bout and a former world title challenger all in action.
That world title bout will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (18-0, 10) making his 9th defense of the title as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) in a mouth watering all Japanese clash. This will pit the skills, timing and boxing brain of the champion against the power, physicality and size of the challenger, and these sorts of bouts can make for very interesting contests. There is no doubting Kenshiro is the better boxer, and he's proven it with notable wins against the likes of Ganigan Lopez, Pedro Guevara, Milan Melindo and Randy Petalcorin and Tetsuya Hisada, but he has yet to beat a true puncher, and has been battling out of the ring with Covid19. As for Yabuki it is a step up in class for him, though he's coming in good form and has learned form his losses, including an early career defeat to Junto Nakatani and a loss to Cuban standout Daniel Matellon. Coming in to this the challenger has stopped 4 of his last 5 and has proven he can go rounds when he needs to, taking a decision over former Kenshiro foe Toshimasa Ouchi. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Kenshiro takes on Yabuki in defense #9!
In a Japanese Youth title bout at Flyweight we'll see Aoba Mori (7-2-1, 1) clash with Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2), in an interesting contest between two men who don't get much attention. The 21 year old Aoba is the younger man, and despite some set backs in recent bouts there is plenty of promise with him, as shown in his TKO win over Keisuke Iwasaki back in April. Although Mori has shown promise we suspect he will go in as the under-dog against Inoue, who is more well known and more established, having won Rookie of the Year and shared the ring with several notable domestic foes, including Kai Ishizawa. Neither man is a puncher, but both picked up stoppage wins last time out and will likely come in to this feeling they can hurt the other man. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese Youth Flyweight title bout see Aoba Mori and Yuga Inoue clash!
In a stay busy fight former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (36-5-4, 21) will be up against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-11-1, 4), in what really is a tick over bout for Osawa, who has sadly been inactive since beating Jason Butar Butar almost 2 years ago, and is certainly someone who's career has been negatively affected by the rise of Covid19. Osawa was on the verge of a world title fight going into last year, but it appearsthe chance of him getting a second shot are now dead in the water.
Sadly this show is essentially hidden away, despite how good it is, on what is essentially a Japanese PPV, costing 2,200Yen (around £15 or $20), a price that seems to be a sign of the times in Japanese boxing during the Pandemic era.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we get a Dangan card that has a stellar domestic main event, and a very interesting supporting bout.
The main will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) trying to get his career back on track as he takes on the under-rated Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5). Minamoto, who won the Japanese title in 2018, has failed to pick up a win in over 3 years now and desperately needs a big result if he's to keep open hopes of getting another title opportunity. Kusano on the other hand performed brilliant in a tournament in 2019 and 2020, losing in the final in a barn burner. This might not have much in terms of star power, but it could end up being a brutal war over 8 fascinating rounds.
In the main support bout former world champion Ayaka Miyao (23-9-2, 6) will be up against Kaori Nagai (6-2-3, 2). On paper this is a total mismatch in favour of Miayo, however he is now 38, she's had numerous injuries including a nasty one in 2016 against Nao Ikeyama, has failed to win her last 3, and was brutally knocked out last time out. Nagai on the other hand is riding a 5 winning streak and at 31 will feel she has youth, energy and health on her side. A real must win for Miyao and a huge opportunity for Nagai.
April 24th - World and Regional title fights in Japan, world title eliminator in South Africa and more!
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day, with two notable Japanese shows, a world title eliminator in South Africa and a show in the Philippines featuring several noteworthy fighters.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card comes from Osaka and is a lovely mix of everything Japanese boxing has to offer. It has a world title bout in the main event, a brilliant domestic bout in the co-feature role and several talented prospects in tough bouts through the card.
The main event will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) look to record his latest defense as he faces Japanese veteran Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20), in a bout that has a surprising amount of history behind it. The two men were originally scheduled to fight in 2017, before Kenshiro vacated the Japanese title and went on to fight for the WBC belt. They were also scheduled to fight in 2020, before legal issues scuppered the bout. Of the two men Kenshiro is the more well known and the more proven, with this being his 8th defense, but the highly experienced Hisada is a very capable fighter, who gave Hiroto Kyoguchi a tough test in 2019 and will know that this is his last chance at a world title. We expect this one to be a brilliant bout between a strong, aggressive, veteran and a talented and intelligent champion. A genuinely fantastic match up. Our in depth preview of this can be read here 4 years in the making - Kenshiro Teraji Vs Tetsuya Hisada
The co-feature for this show will see talented teenage hopeful Ayumu Hanada (5-0, 4) take on the huge punching Mammoth Kazunori (6-3-1, 6) in a 6 round bout between the Flyweight and Super Flyweight limits. Hanada began his career in Mexico before moving back to Japan last year and he made his JBC debut late last year in a very impressive performance. He's very young, but lives up to the "Flaco" nickname, with an aggressive, exciting and explosive style. Talking about explosive however Kazunori is one of the heaviest handed fighters in Japan, and if he catches an opponent clean he can wipe some one out. This is a very dangerous bout for Hanada, but a win here will likely lead him to a potential bout with a Japanese ranked opponent next time out.
Another prospect on this card is Kantaro Juri (2-0, 1), who looks to score his third win as he takes on the light punching Toma Kondo (8-6-1, 1). The 24 year old Juri is a talented southpaw, who has a lot of promise and showed a lot of ability as an amateur, but is yet to show what he can really do as a professional. Fingers crossed we see him put together a better performance here than we've seen from him so far. Kondo is no world beater, but he is much better than his record suggests and 4 of his 6 losses have been by split decision. He's coming in to this on the back of a minor high, as he he surprisingly held Yuki Nakajima to a draw in December, and will feel like he can build on that result here.
One other bout that deserves a bit of attention is a match up between Daiki Asai (0-1) and Yu Konomura (10-9-2, 4). Asai lost his debut, last year, to Kyonosuke Kameda, but showed a lot as an amateur and clearly has some tools in his arsenal that could see him in some interesting bouts over the next few years. Konomura is a win some-lose some, type of fighter, but has began to find his self belief and power, scoring his last 3 wins by stoppage, and we suspect he'll come in to this confident that he can get another KO. Both of these guys are better than their records suggest, and they could end up giving a genuine treat deep on the under-card of this show.
Convention Center, Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan
A second Japanese card, which will be aired live in Okinawa and be shown on tape delay in Tokyo, will be a card that has a very easy to over-look main event, and a solid prospect on the under-card. It's not as interesting, or as big as the Osaka card, but is a show worthy of attention.
The main event here will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) look to score his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, as he takes on the unbeaten Ryosuke Nishida (3-0, 1). Higa won the title in impressive fashion last December, when he stopped Yuki Strong Kobayashi, but hasn't looked the most convincing since his forced move to Bantamweight. He is certainly heavy handed and very exciting, but we do wonder whether he has the natural size to compete against the better fighters in the division. For Nishida this is a massive step up, but he has impressed since turning professional, and he looked a real talent last time out, when he beat Shohei Omori. He has the style and size to neutralise Higa, and if he can put a complete performance together here he could upset the local hero. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Higa returns to Okinawa to take on unheralded Nishida!
Higa's once beaten stablemate Ryuto Owan (6-1, 4) will also be on this show, as he takes on the tough and rugged Takafumi Iwaya (4-4). Owan won his first 5 bouts before losing in 2018, in a Japanese Youth title bout. Following that loss he disappeared for a couple of years before returning last year with a win over Tomoya Kishine and he looked really good in that win. Iwaya isn't a particularly well known fighter, but he is insanely tough and last year we saw him take a battering at the hands of the brilliant Rentaro Kimura, before finally being stopped in round 5. He's very limited but there is no doubting his toughness and he will be a potential nightmare for Owan here. Owan should have the tools to win, but he will have to work hard against one of the toughest men in the sport.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
Over in Thailand we get the next show from TL Promotions and it's one with a very peculiar main event.
That main event will see former Welterweight contender Teerachai Sithmorseng (44-1, 31) clash with former Bantamweight and Super Featherweight champion Sirimongkhon Iamthuam (97-5, 62), with the bout taking place all the way up at Light Heavyweight. The bout will be for Teerachai's WBA Asia title and it's fair to say that neither man will look in their best physical shape and condition.
The show will also feature the third professional boxing contest of Nonthasith Petchnamthong (2-0) who will be defending his WBA Asia Bantamweight title , as he takes on Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5). Nonthasith is a top Muay Thai fighter who has been solid since turning to professional, and should be far, far too good for his Thai foe here. Though sadly Nonthasith has shown little power in professional boxing gloves, and it's going to be interesting to see whether or not he can stop his limited foe here.
2nd Floor, Mega Mart Burgos Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines
In the Philippines we're set to get a show that is rather disappointing overall, but one that does feature several fighters of note. Sadly however as with many Filipino shows it has the look of "mismatch city".
One of the notable fighters on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (5-0, 4), who had been tipped as a future force for Filipino boxing when he turned professional. The now 32 year old Suarez turned professional disappointingly late and now, in his 6th bout, is taking on regional journeyman Lorence Rosas (9-5-2, 3). We know that Filipino fighters, like Japanese fighters, are limited right now due to travel issues brought on by covid19 but in reality Rosas is a poor choice of opponent, and he shouldn't really force Suarez to break a sweat. Rosas has lost his last 4, last fought in 2019, as a Super Bantamweight, and offers very little to test Suarez with.
In a potentially better match up the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (21-11-2, 6), who is much, much better than his record suggests, will take on Landy Cris Leon (13-21-5, 6). Although Pumicpic's record is underwhelming he's a real nightmare to fight and has given the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Musashi Mori fits. He record might not show it, but he is a legitimate handful at the Oriental title level and shouldn't be over-looked, even with 11 losses to his name. Leon on the other hand has gone from once being a decent regional journeyman to a man who has started to collect losses bout after bout after bout. This should be an easy win for Pumicpic, but given he's lost his last 3 we won't complain too much. He deserves an easy one if we're being honest.
Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Japan the most significant bout of the day comes from South Africa, where once beaten Filipino Christian Araneta (19-1, 15) takes on hard hitting South African prospect Sivenathi Nontshinga (9-0, 9), in what is an IBF world title eliminator at 108lbs. The talented Araneta suffered his only loss in 2019, when an arm injury forced him to retire against Daniel Valladares, in what was a fantastic though disappointingly short bout. Since that loss he has notched 2 domestic wins and appears hungry to make a statement. Nontshinga on the other hand is somewhat unknown outside of South Africa but has got notable wins over Siyabonga Siyo and Ivan Soriano. Interestingly he did go 7 rounds before stopping Muhsin Kizota in 2018, the same Kizota who looked clueless recently against Hasanboy Dusmatov, and there maybe is some doubt about how good he really is. The winner of this will be right in the mix and may well end up getting a shot at Felix Alvarado later in the year. This is easy to over-look but could be the bout that steals the weekend.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten German based Thai Phannarai Netisri (7-0, 4) fight for a WBC Youth title. Sadly her opponent, at the time of writing, is yet to be announced as her original opponent appears to have been pulled out of the contest due to some nasty injuries suffered in their last bout. "Fai" is a really exciting young fighter at just 20 years old, and it's going to be very interesting to see how she develops from here
GK Ekaterininskiy, Krasnodar, Russia
As well as everything we've already mentioned there is also set to be an appearance from rising Uzbek hopeful Ulugbek Qayumboev (4-0, 4), who will be looking for his 5th straight early win as he takes on a yet to be named opponent. The 20 year old Qayumboev, who fights around the Lightweight division, debuted last year and has been blowing out very low level competition so far. Fingers crossed we see him stepping up later this year, though sadly this bout doesn't seem like to be much of an upgrade given no opponent was named 7 days out.
December 19th-Gaballo gets big fight, Kudaka and Ohashi clash in Osaka and Teerachai fights at 175lbs!
This coming Saturday is one that has seen a whole host of changes to what we were supposed to get, but still managed to deliver a decent day of boxing, even if two of the fights that we most wanted to see were cancelled. It's still a day that promises plenty of action and fingers crossed gives us a great great final weekend before Christmas.
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
The show that the most changes was PBC's show in Uncasville, which was supposed to see two bouts featuring Filipino's in major bouts.
Originally we had expected to see Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) battle Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12), though Oubaali tested positive for Covid19 in November and then Donaire got a positive test in December, though it does seem like his was a false positive. As a result both of those men are off the show.
As a result of the positive tests we will now see unbeaten Filipino Reymart Gaballo (23-0, 20) take on Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12) for the interim WBC Bantamweight title, in a genuinely mouth watering match up, put on on short notice. Gaballo is looking to announce himself as the next big star of the Philippines and has the power, speed and style to genuinely make a name for himself at the top level. Rodriguez on the other hand is a former IBF champion who was last seen in the ring being stopped in 2 rounds by Naoya Inoue. Since that loss Rodriguez has genuinely had no luck at all, and we do wonder what his mental state his coming into this bout.
Although Gaballo took this bout on short notice he had been set to fight on the show anyway, with the Filipino scheduled to face Jose Velasquez (28-6-2, 19) for the WBA "interim" Bantamweight title before replacing Donaire in the main event, so he should be in great shape for this bout.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Over in Osaka we again see a card that had one main event planned for it, before changes had to be made, and end up getting a different bout that had already been postponed twice.
Originally we were set to get a WBC Light Flyweight title fight here, with Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) defending his title against Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20). That bout was cancelled when Kenshiro was contacted about a drunken incident in the summer, scrapping the bout at relatively short notice.
Sadly instead of the world title bout headlining the show we will instead see 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-4, 11) headline the event in a bout against the once beaten Tetsuro Ohashi (7-1-1, 2). the 35 year old Kudaka, also known as Hiroyuki Hisataka, is a true veteran of the sport having debuted back in 2002, and has been in with a who's who of the sport, including Tomonobu Shimizu, Takafumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Hugo Fidel Cazares, Omar Andres Narvaez and Takuma Inoue. Sadly in recent years Kudaka's career has been catching up with him and he's scored just 1 win in his last 6. Ohashi on the other hand is a 22 year old looking to bounce back from an 8th round KO loss to Suzumi Takayama last year. Although he lost there he is still very well regarded as a prospect and did win the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Flyweight.
In a supporting bout we'll see recent OPBF title challenger Kyohei Tonomoto (9-3-1, 4) take on Kimihiro Nakagawa (7-4-2, 3), in what should be a really good, 50-50 type bout between two men each looking to pick up a win to end the year with. Tonomoto showed good ability in his July loss to Satoshi Shimizu, but lacked the power needed to get Shimizu's respect, despite the loss we are looking forward to seeing him in action. Nakagawa on the other hand is riding pretty following an upset loss against Yosuke Kawano in April 2019 and will be looking to build some momentum after 20 months away from the ring.
The real one to make a note of on this show is the rescheduled match up between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) and Shohei Omori (21-3, 16), which is now on it's third date. The bout is a massive step up for the talented, and touted Nishida, who looks like he is potentially the future of the Mutoh Gym and someone that MTK's Japanese arm will be very hopeful of. Omori on the other hand is former world title challenger who will be looking to salvage his faltering career. For Nishida the bout is massive risk-reward, and he will likely enter as the under-dog, but a win would put him right in the domestic and regional title mix. For Omori a loss is unthinkable, and he needs a win. A really big match up, despite the issues surrounding it.
For those wanting to watch this card, it appears it will be shown live on Boxing Real.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
We also get action in Thailand, as TL Promotions put on their last show of 2020.
The main event here is a weird one as Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (21-6, 14) takes on former Welterweight contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (43-1, 31), aka Tewa Kiram, for the vacant WBA Asia Light Heavyweight title. Teerachai, best known for his bout with Lucas Matthysse, has no right fighting at 175lbs, though he should look in much better physical shape than the 32 year old Chaloemporn, who is only 5'6" and has looked very chubby when competing as a Middleweight. On paper not a bad bout, though we do, genuinely, wonder how the men will look at Light Heavyweight.
For those wanting to watch this it will be aired on Thairath.
This coming Monday in Kanagawa sees us having the final big show before Christmas, with 4 bouts worthy of real attention, including 3 world title bouts.
The one non-title bout which is worthy real of attention will be the ring return of Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39), who fights for the first time in a year. The 4-weight world champion will be fighting his first bout in Japan in almost 5 years, and takes on Filipino foe Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4). On paper this looks like an easy win for Gonzalez, but with wear and tear and inactivity there are question marks about what he has left in the tank. Diocos is no world beater but has only been blown away once in 5 losses, and that was to Daigo Higa way back in 2017.
The first of the 3 world title bouts isn't expected to be shown on Fuji TV, but does look like it could be the best of the bouts on the show, with IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25) defending his title against Japanese legend Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16). This will be Mthalane's third defense and despite being the wrong side of 35 he did look very good in his last 2 bouts, and seems almost ageless. As for Yaegashi this is a chance to become a 4-time world champion, but he's looked very much like a fighter who has had a career that is taking it's toll on his body, and his 2017 loss to Milan Melindo certainly remains in our mind. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Yaegashi challenges IBF king Mthalane in battle of veterans!
The first of the two televised world title fights will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (16-0, 9) defending his belt against late replacement Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23). Originally Teraji was to face Felix Alvarado in a WBC/IBF unification bout, before Alvarado fell ill in the build up to the bout. Thankfully the promoters managed to secure a fantastic replacement in Petalcorin, who is looking to make the most of his second world title bout. We expect this to be very high speed, with tactical elements and some power from both. Both men are fantastic and this, even as a late replacement bout, still promises a lot. The excellent George Delis previews this bout here Kenshiro Teraji goes up against Randy Petalcorin in next defense
The main event of the show will see WBA Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) looking to make his first defense of his second reign as he takes on Canadian challenger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24), who fights at world level for the first time. This is a really interesting bout on paper, with both being very heavy handed fighters, but both being very flawed fighters. Murata is the more proven, and the Olympic gold medal winner looks like the stronger basic fighter, but Butler looks like a very rangy fighter and appears to have the edge in speed. One notable thing to consider here is the pressure is all on Murata who knows that if he loses his dreams of a super fight end instantly, whilst a win swings the door open to some monster bouts in 2020. A preview of this bout can be read here Murata defends against big punching Canadian Butler
One other bout we want to mention features friend of the the site Caliente Koyasu (3-1, 1) battling against unbeaten puncher Daiki Sakamoto (2-0-1, 2). The 29 year old Koyasu will be looking to score his second win of the year, following a loss in May to Ryugo Yanagibori. Sakamoto on the other hand will be looking to extend his unbeaten record here, and has looked very destructive so far into his career.