This coming Saturday is an exciting day in Asian boxing with bouts taking place across Asia, and a promising Filipino getting a great chance to shine on US TV, just a week after we saw what John Riel Casimero can do when given an opportunity to shine.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The biggest show of the day, for us at least, comes from the Japanese Holy Land of boxing, Korakuen Hall, and will will be shown live on G+. This is a pretty deep an interesting card and will be headlined by a Japanese title fight, whilst featuring plenty of young hopefuls making up the noteworthy under-card.
The main event here will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) in a delayed Champion Carnival bout. Matsunaga won the belt last year, stopping Nobuyuki Shindo, and successfully defended it with a win over Koki Koshikawa, in what was a short but thrilling little bout. As for Shimizu he comes into this bout on the back of noteworthy wins over Charles Bellamy and the aforementioned Shindo. Coming into this we expect a really interesting match up, with the champion giving up notable size to the challenger, and but having the power and work rate to neutralise the size difference. Given the styles of the two men we are expecting a genuine tear up here. Our full preview of this one can be read here Matsunaga faces mandatory challenger Shimizu!
In the chief support bout former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (18-4-1, 8) will take on Kiyohei Endo (3-3, 3). We all saw Takahashi have his limitations exposed in 2019, when he was stopped by TJ Doheny, but since then he has resumed his career at a lower level and picked up two low key wins as he looks to build towards another fight of note. When he turned profession there was real expectations on Endo but he has shown poor durability, and very unpredictable form. Another loss for Endo here could end up spelling the end of his career.
In a mouth watering battle between unbeaten 25 year old Kenshi Noda (2-0, 2) will face off with Toshiki Kawamitsu (4-0, 1). As an amateur Noda went 45-16 (10) and is regarded as one of the more promising young fighters at the Teiken Gym, who have signed a lot of talented youngster in recent years. Since beginning his career Noda has looked sharp, aggressive and like the type of fighter who can be fast tracked. Although Noda was a very solid amateur Kawamitsu was a pretty decent one himself, going 35-15 in his amateur career. Kawamitsu has looked a lot more limited than Noda since turning professional, but has racked up rounds, and has 18 of them compared to Noda's 2. Of the two Kawamitsu has faced stiffer competition, got more rounds and shown more as a professional, though is likely to still be the under-dog here.
Another notable prospect on this show is Shigetoshi Kotari (1-0, 1), who notched an impressive 50-23 record in the amateurs. Kotari is tipped for very big things and looked decent in his debut, a year ago. Sadly Kotari has failed to build on his debut, in part due to what has gone on in the world in 2020, and looks to be easing himself back into the ring with a bout against 33 domestic fighter Motosuke Kimura (3-4-2, 1). Whilst Kimura has never been stopped he has lost his last 3 and with that in mind it's hard to see this being anything but an easy one for the talented Kotari.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
As well as the Japanese show there is also a pretty notable one in Thailand, thanks to Nakornluang and Work Point.
The main event here will see former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41) taking part in a stay busy bout as he faces Filipino foe Jomar Fajardo (17-17-2, 9). This will be Srisaket's first bout since he disappointing performance against Amnat Ruenroeng earlier in the year and it's clear that his team will be looking to keep him busy and prevent ring rust before a potentially huge fight in 2021. Fajardo was once a good test down at Light Flyweight, but he's been picking up a lot of losses recently and we expect him to be taken out early on by Srisaket here.
In a solid supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Thai hopeful Apichet Petchmanee (6-0, 2) [อภิเชษฐ เพชรมณี] defending the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Thai based Russian challenger Musheg Adoian (7-1, 7). The unbeaten Apichet has faced some stiff tests since tunring professional, but recent bouts have seen some question his potential, and there does seem to have been some worries in Thailand that he's not as good as he first looked. In Adoian we have a man who's on a 7 fight T/KO run, but is stepping up massively here. Despite stepping up Adoian looks destructive and he could ask questions of Apichet and his chin.
100-day yuan shopping mall, Zhuzhou, China
At the wonderfully named 100-day yuan shopping mall we'll be getting a small Chinese card. The bouts here are, on paper, nothing to get too excited about, but there is an interesting hopeful in one of the 6 rounders.
That interesting hopeful is the once beaten Dacong Wang (6-1-1, 1), who is seeking a 6th straight win as he takes on the debuting Hairula Maimaitiaili (0-0). Wang was 1-1-1 after 3 bouts but has scored 5 wins in a row, including one in Korea against Do Hyuk Kim, and will be hoping to continue building his momentum here. Unfortunately not much is known about Maimaitiaili, though it is reported that he is 20 years old, and will be hoping to kick his career off with a win.
Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, USA
Outside of Asia we have some of our attention on the US with unbeaten Filipino Mark Magsayo (20-0, 14) taking on Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-2-1, 8) in a 10 round bout. Magsayo is one of the most highly regarded hopefuls in the Philippines and fingers crossed we see him shine now he's linked up with MP Promotions and PBC. We had hoped to see him face Jose Haro in September but that date slipped, before Haro decided to retire. As a replacement Hermosillo is a poor one, and comes into this with back to back losses. We really don't see this as being much more than a showcase for the talented Filipino.
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 Friday features 2 notable shows, one of which will end a saga that has dragged on for over 2 months with some frustrating moments and the other being a lesser notable, though perhaps more interesting, card.
After months of rescheduling we finally see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) face off with former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) in what will be their second bout. This was originally scheduled for early March, then late March then April and finally the end of May. It's a bout that we're looking forward to, given that Fukuhara gave Wanheng fits in their first bout, but are thoroughly annoyed by, due to all the scheduling changes. Wanheng, although still unbeaten, has looked more and more beatable in recent years but has found a way to maintain his winning run and title. Fukuhara on the other hand will likely know that he won't be getting too many more shots in the near future, and really needs to make the most of this. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Wanheng and Fukuhara battle again for WBC crown
As well as the world title show in Thailand we also have a compelling lesser card in Japan, where we get a number of faltering youngsters in action.
One of the most talented fighters on this card is the skilled but light punching Izuki Tomioka (5-2-1, 1), who gave Masayoshi Nakatani fits in an OPBF title bout. The talented Tomioka will be up against Filipino journeyman Marbon Bodiongan (15-8-2, 11), in what should be a straight forward win for Tomioka, who desperately needs a victory after going winless in his last 3. The Filipino does usually come to fight, but will struggle with the movement of Tomioka.
On the subject of someone who desperately needs a victory Kiyohei Endo (2-2, 2), a former talented amateur, cannot possibly have another defeat at this stage of his career, but he's in hard against Daiki Maniwa (7-3-1, 4). Endo was touted when he turned professional but was shocking stopped by Piyanut Sintao, in what could be classed as a fluke, and he hasn't lived up to his talent since. Whilst Endo needs a win, he may not get it here, and Maniwa, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, will be looking to save his own career in what is a must win for both men.
On paper the best of the bouts will see Jin Miura (10-3-1, 1) battle against the talented, and exciting, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14), who is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Ryoichi Tamura in a Japanese title fight. It's hard to see anything but a Nakagawa win, but this should be a fairly entertaining contest, as most Nakagawa bouts are.
One other bout of some note will see the light punching Ryo Narizuka (9-8-1) battle against Seiya Fujikita (12-4, 5), in what should be an interesting bout though one that isn't likely to be particularly explosive.
The most notable show this coming Sunday, Easter Sunday, comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
The main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Masahiro Sakamoto (11-1, 7) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on highly experienced Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (60-9-2, 24). The Japanese fighter won the title last December, when he stopped Kwanthai Sithmorseng, and he'll be looking to score a second successive win over a Thai veteran here. For Pigmy another loss might well spell the end of his career, especially given he's already 36 years old and has been a professional for closing in on 19 years! A win for Sakamoto will take him a step closer to getting a rematch with Sho Kimura, the only man to beat him so far.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (15-5-3, 5) looks for a stay busy win as he takes on Thai visitor Kathawut Saikaew Boxing Camp (0-1). Mukai has score back to back wins since his 2017 stoppage loss to Rex Tso in Hong Kong, and although bigger fights are around the corner we can't grumble too much about him staying busy given the competition he has faced through his career so far.
Arguably the most even looking match up on the show is a contest between Yuki Strong Kobayashi (12-7, 6) and Taichi Sugimoto (6-4, 2). We're not expecting anything too special here, but it does see Kobayashi risking his OPBF Bantamweight ranking.
Another show in Osaka, this time at the EDION Arena Osaka, will be promoted by Green Tsuda and looks a very interesting card with several bouts of note.
The main event is the most notable contest on the show and will see once beaten hopeful Kazuki Tanaka (8-1, 6) battle recent OPBF title challenger Seizo Kono (19-9-1, 12). The talented Tanaka was expected to be fast tracked into becoming a star however a 3rd round TKO loss last year to Ryohei Takahashi really did set him back, despite a bounce back win over Hikaru Marugame. Last time out Kono battled against Mark John Yap, and despite a solid effort he was stopped in 10 rounds. Given that both men need a win this should be a very hotly contested bout.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (19-8-3, 9) will take on Indonesian Frengky Rohi (5-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Okumoto has gone 3-2-1 (3), with set backs to Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, Eranio Semillano and, most recently, Ryuichi Funai in a Japanese title fight. The Indonesian visitor when 5-0-1 to begin his career, but has lost his last 3 bouts, and will struggle to over-come Okumoto here, in what looks like a very tough bout on Japanese soil.
A great match up between 24 year old fighters will see Ryo Sagawa (3-1, 2) take on the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Sawai (5-2-1, 5). Sagawa caught out eye on debut and looked very impressive, though was stopped in his second bout by Retsu Kosaka in a Japanese Youth title fight. Since that loss he has bounced back with two credible wins and will be looking for another one here. As for Sawai he's a very dangerous puncher at this level, and despite being flawed he can bang, with his power taking him to the 2016 Rookie of the Year final, where he lost to Yoshimitsu Kimura. This is a very interesting bout, and the winner could well go a very long way, despite already having a loss on their record.
Another bout pitting men with one loss against each other will see 2017 Super Bantamweight Rookie of the year Toshiki Shimomachi (7-1-1, 4) take on former amateur stand out Kiyohei Endo (1-1, 1). Shimomachi started his career 2-1-1 but is now riding a 5 fight winning run and has broken into the Japanese rankings. Endo, a former amateur stand out, suffered a surprise loss on debut but looks a class fighter and a win here would move him to the fringes of a Japanese ranking. A very interesting bout and one that both will be wanting to win, and win impressively.
There will also be a low key card in Aichi, as Yakushiji put on a show.
The main event of this card will see teenager Musashi Mori (5-0, 4) take on a Thai foe. The 18 year old Mori won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight and enters this bout ranked by the JBC. A win for the teenager won't push him up the ranking, but will kick off a year which should push him towards a title fight, if not see him in the mix for a Japanese youth title before the end of 2018.
A pretty interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rookie of the Year runner up Katsuki Matsuura (5-1, 1) take on Toma Kondo (6-2, 1). These two men are both 21 years old, both have very similar looking records and whilst neither is much of a puncher they should make for a very exciting contest against each other. This could be a very interesting bout between two men each looking to bounce back from a loss. Very good match making here.
This coming Sunday is a relatively quiet day in Asian boxing, with only a couple of shows of note.
The most notable of those shows comes from Hokkaido where Dangan take their show on the road and put one a rare card outside of Tokyo.
The main event of this card is a genuinely intriguing one, as the under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (6-2, 3) battles Naoya Okamoto (11-6-1, 5) in a really good match up. Of the two men it's Watanabe who has impressed us more, with notable wins against Ryuto Araya and Yosuke Fujihara, and he's currently riding a 4 fight winning run since back-to-back losses in 2015. Okamoto is a decent fighter but a 1-1-1 record in his last 3 seems like like he's now found his level and he looks like he'll always be a decent fringe domestic level guy. Watanabe should win and move a step closer to a title fight, but he should have to work for his win here.
Another bout on this card worthy of a note is a contest between Kiyohei Endo (0-1) and Ninmongkol Phetphumgym (0-1). The bout looks like it should be ignored on paper, but Endo is a real talent and he showed that on his debut, before being stopped by a real lucky punch. Endo will likely show a bit more caution here and it'd be amazing to see anything but an Endo win, as he looks to score his first win as a professional.
The other show comes from Kochi and will be headlined by the once beaten Tetsu Araki (9-1-1, 1) taking on the heavy handed Akira Ono (7-5-1, 6). Araki has won his last 5, since losing a split decision to Tenta Kiyose in the 2015 Rookie of the Year tournament, and looks to be a promising youngster slowly making a name for himself. Although promising Araki hasn't really been too much of a chin checking, and we're expecting that to change here as Ono can really bang. Although not the most talented Ono can bang, and we're expecting to see that again here. This will be skills against power, and should be very intriguing.