The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
The most notable Asian card this coming Saturday comes from Paranaque City and is a rather interesting one, with a mix of emerging names, and established names, though sadly it does lack in terms of really good match ups.
One of the most notable of the emerging hopefuls on the show is 23 year old Aljum Pelesio (10-1, 5), who we hope to see stepping up in class next year. Here is expected to get a confidence building win, as he takes on the very limited Bonjun Loperez (12-15-1, 6). Given that Pelesio lost in 2019, and has only fought once since that loss, it's hard to complain too much about a bout like this, which is clearly there for him to build his self belief and get some rounds, but we do hope we don't see too many bouts like this for the youngster.
Another once beaten hopeful on this show is 22 year old Gary Tamayo (6-1, 3), who takes on 33 year old Danny Tampipi (9-15-2, 5). The bout is a good chance for Tamayo to get some rounds with a southpaw, who he should beat, and at this stage experience against difference will serve him well. Fingers crossed however 2023 will be the year when he steps up and takes on tougher tests.
Arguably the most well matched of the youngsters on the show is 24 year old Bryan Tamayo (7-2-2, 2), who takes on former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan (30-9-6, 9). Although no world beater himself Tamayo showed he was certainly not a poor fighter last year, when he gave Arthur Villanueva a good work out, and he should be able to beat Pabustan here, and hopefully kick on with more fights against higher level domestic foes in the coming year or two.
When it comes to more notable and well known fighters, this card will see Roland Jay Biendima (15-11-1, 8) in action against Powell Balaba (9-32-1, 5), in what should be an easy win of Biendima, and the always tricky Richard Pumicpic (22-12-3, 7), who takes on Edison Berwela (18-44-8, 6). These are both horrific mismatches, and are done as little more than to get Biendima a win, after 6 straight losses, and keep Pumicpic busy.
There is also a second Filipino card scheduled, this time in Cavite. This is a smaller show than the other Filipino show, though does feature a number of promising young hopefuls.
The most notable of the hopefuls here is the once beaten John Mark Tihuk (6-1-2, 2), who looks to score his latest win as he takes on the limited Margarito Moya (9-11, 3). The 23 year old Tihuk has won his last 4, following a 2019 loss to Aljum Pelesio, and although still very much a young novice, is someone worth keeping an eye on. Sadly Moya has lost his last 9, all by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him lasting 8 rounds with Tihuk here, despite the fact Tihuk isn't much of a puncher.
Other prospects on this card include Kenneth Llover (4-0, 4), who faces Miller Alapormina (5-2-1, 3) in a pretty interesting test, and John Vincent Pangga (4-0, 2), who takes on Joel Taduran (8-11-2, 2). Neither of these are big bouts, but are a chance for the unbeaten man to tick along and continue their development with out too much fuss and attention.
176BOX, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
We're also set to see notable prospects in action in Japan, as Osaka plays host to a card with two promising and unbeaten Japanese fighters.
On of the unbeaten fighters is former All Japan Rookie of the Year Sora Fukunaga (10-0, 5), who puts his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on all action warrior Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). The talented 24 year old Fukunaga struggled to build on his Rookie of the Year triumph, which came in February 2021, though a win here would seriously help move his career forward and boost his standing in the Japanese boxing world. The reason for that is the fact the 25 year old Yamashita, yes some how he's only 25, has long been a popular and exciting warrior who makes for good fights and does have a name that means something, despite numerous set backs in recent years. At one point Yamashita seemed like one to watch, with his youth, heavy hands, and aggression. This should be a genuinely exciting bout, but the size of Fukunaga should be the difference.
The other prospect of note on the show is Kaito Yamasaki (2-0, 1), who takes a big step up to take on Koshin Takeshima (4-2-1, 3). The 23 year old Yamasaki made his name in the amateur ranks and is widely expected to move through the ranks and make a big name for himself in the future, with his combination of skills, power and amateur experience. Takeshima was tipped for big things himself, and won his first 4 bouts, but has now gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, and will know another loss here will leave him in a big hole if he ever intends to become a domestic title contender. This should be a bout with impressive skills on show, and over 8 rounds could be a hard one to call.
Dawrpui Multipurpose Hall, Aizawl, India
We also have a small show in India. Sadly more than half of this card are bouts between debutants, but there two men with some recorded bouts to their name.
One of the men with some experience on this show is HC Lalramfela (2-0, 1), who scored two wins last year and will be looking to record his third one here, as he takes on Akoijam Naoton Meitei (0-0). The other fighter with some experience is C Lalhruaitluanga (2-0, 1), who seeks his third win as he takes on Laishram Ronalson Khuman (0-0). Sadly this is a step back for Lalhruaitluanga, who seemed to be moving his career forward.
Although this show is hard to get excited about, it is a sign that Indian boxing is slowly putting down the foundations for it to build off, and that is certainly not a bad things, just a very slow process.
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
The most notable fighter competing in a bout outside of Asia here is Chinese Heavyweight Junlong Zhang (18-0, 18), with the infamous "Dragon King" making his international debut, and battling against Mexican fighter Guillermo Casas (10-2-1, 6). For years Zhang was a bit of a mystery man, with those mysteries becoming even more telling when bouts of his were reported exhibitions bouts, and then he seemed to vanish. He's now not had a recorded bout in almost 5 years, and it really is hard to know what the 40 year old has left in the tank, or whether he ever really had anything in the tank. As for Casas the 27 year old Mexican has been a regular at the popular Big Punch Arena in Tijuana, and will be making his international debut here. It's hard to read much into his record, but his competition has, so far, been poor, as one expected om the Mexican Heavyweight scene.
The Bomb Factory, Dallas, Texas, USA
In the US we'll see Uzbekistani fighter Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (18-2, 14) look to bounce back from his 2021 loss to Will Madera, as he takes on Charles Hatley (30-2-1, 21) for the WBC United States Welterweight title. The talented Najmitdinov looked like he could be something special when he was robbed back in 2017 against Viktor Postol, but sadly he then ended up treading water before making his US debut last year, and losing to Madero after suffering an injury. As loss here against Hatley will likely be the end of Najmitdinov as any kind of hopeful. As for Hatley, he's a former world title challenger, who challenged Jermell Charlo back in 2017, and has gone unbeaten since losing to Charlo. Hatley will be the clear favourite, though he really can't afford to over the Uzbekistani, as we know Najmitdinov is better than his loss to Madera suggests.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday our attention turns to Tokyo for a solid card from Yokohama Hikari. The show isn't a massive one, by any stretch, but it has 3 very good bouts on it all of which could have headlined smaller shows.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (17-1, 11) look to make his third defense of the title, as he takes on the unbeaten Rei Nakajima (4-0). The talented and aggressive Matsunaga is one of the most fun Japanese fighters to watch in the "middle weight" range, as he's the type of fighter who brings incessant pressure, pushes forward and tries to force his will on his opponents. That has worked well for him over the last 5 years and he has won his last 11, against some pretty well established fighters on the Japanese scene. The challenger however is the exact opposite. Nakajima is a speed, slippery fighter, who uses good timing, good boxing IQ and quickness to land shots and avoid taking many. Nakajima isn't too well established, but really impressed last time out, beating Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa, and will come into this bout feeling he has the tools to defeat Matsunaga. This could be a very, very interesting bout. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Matsunaga clashes with Nakajima
In a second title bout we'll see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7) defending his title against Yuni Takada (8-6-2, 3). The exciting and hard hitting Ishizawa won the title way back in 2018, when he stopped Yuga Inoue, but hasn't managed to defend it yet and will have to vacate it later this year, as he's now 24. It seems very clear that he and his team wanted to make at least one defense before handing it back. As for Takada he won't be expected to put up much of a challenge, having gone 2-4-1 in his last 7 and he's winless in his last 3. However Takada has been matched hard, having faced the likes of Norihito Tanaka, Toshiki Kawamitsu and Tetsuya Mimura, and will be there knowing this is a rare title opportunity for him. We suspect Ishizawa will be in here to make a statement and really test the heart and toughness of Takada from the off, before going on to bigger and better things. Our preview of this bout can be read here Ishizawa takes on Takada in Japanese Youth title defense
The third bout of note on this card will see highly skilled Japanese Featherweight Reiya Abe (20-3-1, 9) take on the once beaten Koshin Takeshima (4-1-1, 3). The brilliant Abe has gone 12-1-1 (5) in his last 14 bouts, scoring notable wins against the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay, Satoshi Hosono and Daisuke Watanabe. Although not the most fun fighter to watch there is no doubting his talent, ability and high level boxing IQ. Traits that have seen him dubbed a boxing genius in Japan. Takeshima on the other hand turned professional with quite a bit of buzz around him, and there was high expectations on his shoulders, but he's gone 0-1-1 in his last 2 and has looked underwhelming at times. He's clearly a talented fighter, but he doesn't appear to have developed well since turning professional. Sadly for Takeshima we suspect he will come undone again here, especially given his poor performance last time out, against Yamato Hata.
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.
The main focus this coming Tuesday is on the Korakuen Hall the much anticipated Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament quarter-finals. The card features the 3 quarter-final bouts and we are expecting serious fireworks in some of these.
The standout bout among the quarter finals will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6). The talented Takeshima will be looking to build on solid wins already this year over Jian Wang and Jon Jon Estrada, but this will be his first bout against a fellow Japanese fighter. Watanabe on the other hand is unbeaten in his last 4, including a KO win last time out against Dai Iwai, and is unbeaten since a 2018 loss to Reiya Abe. This is by far and away the most interesting of the 3 quarters and should be a very hard one to call.
In a bout with an international flavour we'll see China's Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) take on the out of form Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4). Although this is Ma's international debut he does appear to have all the momentum coming into this and is unbeaten in 7 bouts, including a win last time out for a minor, regional, WBO belt. The 30 year old Kusano has lost his last 4 bouts, and is win-less since a February 2016 victory over Apisak Puttawong, who has gone 0-6 since losing to Kusano.
Whilst we would be shocked by a Kusano win over Ma that's not the quarter final we see as the biggest mismatch. Instead that mismatch is the quarter-final pitting the huge punching Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) against Korean Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5). Coming in Tameda should be regarded as one of the clear favourites for the tournament and he's looking for his 4th win of the year, and his 9th win in 10 bouts. Lee, a former Korean Featherweight champion, has a punchers chance, but he's been out of the ring since March 2018 due to injuries and should be regarded as a very, very clear under-dog. If Lee comes out swinging this could be very fun, but we see Tameda's power and experience being too much for the visitor.
Also on this card is the highly touted Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2), who looks to continue his ascent to big fights as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (5-2, 1). this will be Suzuki's second bout against a Japanese foe, as he looks to build on August's win over Kosuke Arioka, and net his third victory of the year. We regard Suzuki very highly, but this isn't a gimme. The light punching Matsumoto was stopped last time out, by Kenta Endo, but is a tough and talented fighter and he will be looking for an upset win here.
The biggest card this coming Saturday is from Tokyo, and is the latest Dynamic Glove card set to be shown on tape delay. The card features a nice mixture of title fights and novices in what could be one a card of real interest.
The main event of the show is a rematch between Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) and Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6). These two fought earlier in the year, battling to a draw in a brilliant bout where the heavy handed Takesako had to dig deep to earn a draw against a determined and smart challenger. Kato will probably have felt like he let the win slip between his fingers in their first bout whilst Takesako may have over-looked his man and we should be assured another cracking bout here between men who are very well matched but have very contrasting styles. A full preview of this bout is available here Takesako and Kato go again for Japanese Middleweight crown!
The chief support bout sees former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1, 7) back in the ring following his loss to Jaime Munguia in January. The tough and exciting Inoue proved he could go to war against Munguia and will be expected to easily over-come Thai visitor Patomsuk Pathompothong (38-10-1 24) on a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title. Inoue actually held this title back in late 2017 and will be looking to become a 2-time champion. On the other hand the 35 year old Thai has been stopped in his last 2 bouts in Japan, both at 140lbs, and it's hard to see him putting up any sort of a fight against the rough and ready Japanese warrior. We've previewed this bout here Inoue returns to Japan to battle for regional title!
An interesting support bout will see the once beaten Kenshin Oshima (5-1-1, 3) take on Filipino Wilbert Berondo (14-3-2, 6). Oshima didn't look great last time out, taking a win over youngster Ikuro Sadatsune in a very good bout in January, and will be hoping to shine here against Berondo. The Filipino on the other hand will be returning to Japan for the first time since he was stopped by Hinata Maruta back in 2016 in a WBC Youth title fight.
Another promising youngster on this card is the hard hitting Takuma Takahashi (3-0, 3), who battles against Sitthidet Banti (11-4, 5). With just 5 rounds to his name Takahashi is still very much a professional novice, but it's clear he can bang, even if his technique needs some work before he starts to hunt titles. Takahashi was a successful amateur but still needs to polish his style in the next year or two and this should be a good chance for him to do some polishing against a tough Thai foe. Banti, also known as Denchana Sakkreerin, is no world beater but he's yet to be stopped and comes in to this bout on the back of 2 wins, including a victory over Saddam Kietyongyuth. Our "Introducing" feature on Takahashi from earlier in the year can be read here Introducing... Takuma Takahashi
Also on this card will be the debut of Celes Kobayashi's latest signing Issei Ochiai (0-0). The talented youngster will be debuting against Thai foe Lerdchai Chaiyawed (1-2), who holds a notable 2018 win over Wittawas Basapean though was beaten last time out, in Japan, by Seita Ogido. There are big hopes for Ochiai and we expect to see whether those hopes are well founded or not here. Our "Introducing" feature on Ochiai can be read here Introducing... Issei Ochiai
Metro Manila, Philippines
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque City is set to host a title double header which features some really interesting match ups, mixing domestic talent with some international talent.
The best of the all-Filipino fights on this card will see Allan Vallespin (12-4, 9) take on Glenn Enterina (14-5-1, 9) in an excellent match up for the GAB Super Featherweight title. The under-rated Vallespin is coming in to this on the back of just 1 win in his last 3, though he has been matched hard against the likes of Denys Brinchyk, Musashi Mori and Yoshimitsu Kimura, but is 12-0 in his homeland. Similarly Enterina has suffered all of his losses on the road, and is 14-1-1 (9) at home, showing just how good he is on the domestic scene. Given how these men have fared on the Filipino scene this should be a very competitive contest.
The second title fight will see Filipino puncher Alvin Medura (8-4, 7) take on Japanese visitor Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-2, 14) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Medura has suffered his last 3 loses to Japanese foes, all on the road, but will feel confident that his power, which has netted him 5 wins int he first 2 rounds, will play a major factor against Nakagawa. Nakagawa on the other hand will be trying to put a few bad months behind him. He lost in a Japanese title fight back in January, to Ryoichi Tamura, and then fought to a draw last time out with Jin Miura. At his best Nakagawa is a tough, hard working fighter, but we do question his confidence coming into this one. If Nakagawa is half the fighter he was 12 months ago he takes a clear win here.
One other Filipino Vs Japan bout will see Crison Omayao (24-19-5, 8) face Daisuke Sugita (4-1, 3), in what looks like an abhorrent mis-match. The 26 year old Omayao has fought much of his career as a Minimumweight, and was actually the debut of opponent of Naoya Inoue back in 2012, so we really need to query why he's fighting at Super Bantamweight here against the technically limited but hard hitting Daisuke Sugita. For Sugita this looks like a really straight forward way to get back to winning ways following a very clear loss back in January to Reiya Abe. We'd be very shocked if this one went more than a few rounds and didn't end up with Omayao suffering his 10th stoppage loss
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second card from the Philippines is a much smaller one, but will feature two more title bouts.
One of those title bouts will feature the limited but hard hitting Prabhjot Singh (7-4-1, 7) taking on Edsil Jungco (3-12-7), with the two fighters battling for the PBF Middleweight title. Singh has lost his last 4, dating back over 2 years, and it's really hard to know what he has left to offer. Jungco on the other hand, the expect of the draw with 7 of them from 22 bouts, has notched 2 wins in his last 4 and will have some confidence coming into this bout after 1 win in his first 18.
The other title bout on this card is between Alie Laurel (15-4-1,10) and Lloyd Jardeliza (8-9-4, 6), who battle for the LuzProBA Featherweight title. The 27 year old Laurel is very much an under-rated fighter, but sadly had his career put on ice for almost 3 years following a draw with Joe Noynay in 2016, a draw that now looks incredibly good. This will be his second bout since that bout with Noynay. JArdeliza on the other hand is best known for being stopped in 5 rounds by Shun Kubo in an OPBF title bout, back in 2015, and since then he has struggled to make any impact in the sport, going 1-6-1 since then. Jardeliza needs a win here, but is very unlikely to get it against the talented Laurel.
Once beaten former world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (11-1-1, 5) will be seeking her 5th straight win as she takes on limited domestic foe Charimae Salvador (4-2, 1). The talented Pagaduan has suffered both of her career set backs in Japan in world title bouts but will be looking to secure a third world title bout in the coming years. Interesting both of Salvador's set backs have also come in Japan but at a much lower level, including a loss to novice teenager Eruka Hiromoto last November. There's a gulf in class between these two, and it's hard to imagine anything but a clear win for Pagaduan.
Staying in Asia there will also be a card that will be headlined by Campee Phayom (16-4-1, 10) taking on China's Lunjun Zhao (6-1) in a contest for a WBO Youth title at Super Featherweight. This is the least significant of the Asian cards for the day, but is still a chance to see two youngsters in action for a minor title.
As well as all the action in Asia we'll also see Japanese veteran Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-14-3, 4) make his US debut, as he takes on the unbeaten Michael Norato (7-0, 2). The Japanese fighter, who will be fighting in his 38th pro bout, will be fighting for the first time in a little over 2 years, with his last bout being a TKO2 loss Kenichi Ogawa. Although now aged 35 Yamamoto is looking to continue his career Stateside, though will be a big under-dog against the 26 year old Norato. The unbeaten American is technically set for his toughest fight, but this merely looks like a natural step up for him, and Norato should pick up a straight forward win.
The biggest card with an Asian interest this coming Saturday is in Nevada, where we have two notable Asian fighters in action.
The main event will see Filipino fighting icon Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39) attempt to add another big name to his incredible resume as he takes on unbeaten American Keith Thurman (29-0-0-1, 22) for the WBA Welterweight "super" title. Coming in Thurman is the "Super" champion whilst Pacquiao is the regular champion, and it's clear that this bout has got a big fight feel to it. The unbeaten American has come across as his usual brash self in the build up, though there seems to be a feeling that Pacquiao can roll back the clock one final time. This is, easily, the biggest bout of the weekend, and a really intriguing main event for a PBC PPV.
Also on this card is a potentially mouth watering clash between Kazakh born Russian Sergey Lipinets (15-1, 11) and American John Molina Jr (30-8, 24). Although both men are certainly flawed fighters, with some serious limitations, both are entertaining, hard hitting and have been involved in some thrilling contests over the years. Expect this bout to be a potential show stealer.
In Japan we're set to see 3 highly regarded prospects. A couple of those hopefuls are fighting in step up bouts, whilst one is staying busy before a more meaningful bout in August.
The main event will see once beaten hopeful Takuya Mizuno (16-1-1, 14) take on former OPBF champion Roli Gasca (25-8-1, 8), in a really good step up for the hard hitting youngster. Mizuno, a 24 year old Super Bantamweight, has won his last 9 in a row but this is a very big step up. As for Gasca, now aged 30 though he's an old 30 given he debuted back in 2007, this will be his second bout since the start of 2018. In his pomp Gasca was a really solid fighter, with notable wins over Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat and Hiromasa Ohashi, but he has now lost 4 of his last 7.
The other prospect on this card is the fast rising Koshin Takeshima (3-0, 3), who is set for a huge test against the tough and hard hitting Jon Jon Estrada (11-6-1, 10). Takeshima has looked solid so far, looking one of the stars of the future back on the March 16th Hatanaka show, but he's only fought 8 rounds as a professional and perhaps needs more seasoning before facing someone like Estrada. The hard hitting Filipino visitor has proven himself to be a limited boxer, but a tough, game and dangerous fighter, who may be too much of a risk at this stage for Takeshima. There is real belief in the Japanese, but this is a big ask.
The guy ina stay busy fight is hard hitting youngster Kento Hatanaka (8-0, 8), who takes on Indonesian visitor Thomas Tope Hurek (3-3-1, 1) in what is expected to be little more than a tune up for Hatanaka. The second generation hopeful has been pencilled in for an appearance on the under-card of Kosei Tanaka's upcoming world title defense, taking on Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12), and so will be looking to take care of business and shake any ring rust here before that big fight.
On the subject of rising hopeful's it's worth noting that unbeaten Uzbek prospect Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14) will look to continue his rise, though his opponent at the time of writing is unknown. The talented Ergashev really needs to build on his win over Mykal Fox earlier in the year but at the moment that tough test seems to have made Ergashev's team doubt their man, and that's a huge shame given his exciting style, power and ability. Too many bouts at a lower level could, potentially, really harm his future, so we hope that he will take another step up in class before the end of 2019.
An Indonesian show is set to be held in Jayapura and will be an IPBC card, with 3 title fights on the show. Sadly whilst sounds enticing the card is a putrid one, with little in terms of standout action.
Of the match ups on the card the pick of the bunch, on paper at least, will see 35 year old local veteran Geisler AP (14-10-1, 11) take on unbeaten Pakistani fighter Muhammad Bilal (6-0, 5) in a match for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Light Welterweight. This is less than great on paper, but is better than either of the other two title title bouts, which are both for IPBC national titles.
Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia
A second Indonesian show will see veteran Roy Tua Manihuruk (20-19-2, 15) take part in his 43rd professional bout as he takes part in his first bout since claiming the UBO Inter-continental title at 140lbs in March.
Also on this card will be Moensaku Yor (6-5-1, 4), who looks to build on a March win of his own, which came over Artid Bamrungauea for a minor UBO title
The biggest show this coming Saturday comes from Gifu where we'll be getting a highly anticipated WBO Flyweight world title fight as well as bouts featuring a number of notable Japanese fighters, including 2 promising prospects and a former national title challenger. For fans outside of Japan wanting to watch this show it will be streamed live on our homepage!
The main event of the card will see WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) make his first defense. The champion, who won the title in the 2018 Fight of the Year against Sho Kimura, will be up against former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12). These two had sought to fight when both were campaigning at Light Flyweight, though injuries to Tanaka scuppered those plans. Since then both have moved up and we're now really looking forward to what could be a 2019 Fight of the Year contender. Our full preview of this bout can be read here "The Fate hangs in the balance Kosei Tanaka and Ryoichi Taguchi face off!"
The chief support bout will see unbeaten youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) making his first defense of the WBC Youth Flyweight title, as he takes on Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). This will be Hatanaka's first defense of the title, and the expectation on "Prince" Hatanaka is huge given his performances so far and the success of his father, a former world champion. The Thai has won his last 5 bouts and is riding some momentum, but did lose in his only previous bout in Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017.
Another Japan Vs Thailand bout will see the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) take on a Thai opponent. Mizuno will be looking to move through the rankings this year on to bigger and better fights and is currently riding an 8 fight winning run, including notable domestic wins over Noboru Osato and Yuki Iriguchi. He will be expecting to extend that winning run here.
Former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) will be taking on Chinese foe Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the Japanese fighter, despite the fact he has been out of the ring since September 2017. Tanaka, no relation to Kosei, is a talented fighter who's losses have come to Kentaro Masuda and Ryo Akaho, and this looks like a bout to ease him back into things before bigger bouts down the line. For Yu this will be his first bout since getting a gift draw in December against Yuya Nakamura, in an entertaining bout, but one he seemed to clearly lose.
A second Japan Vs China bout will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), who was involved in a real thriller earlier this year with Korean Seong Yeong Yang. It's hard not to think this will be an all action fight, and it's a great step up in class for Takeshima, who will be taking on a foe expected to last a few rounds with him here.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in Indonesia, with a couple of UBO minor title bouts on it.
One of those title bouts will see veteran Roy Tua Manihuruk (19-19-2, 15) take on 42 year old Thai foe Vachayan Khamon (11-25-1, 4), aka Suor Carryboy, for the UBO Inter Continental Light Welterweight title. This isn't a mouth watering match up, but given the limitations of both fighters it should be somewhat interesting.
A second title bout will see Moensaku Yor (5-5-1, 3) take on Artid Bamrungauea (22-25, 20) for the UBO International Super Bantamweight title. Yor has lost his last 3 by stoppage, including an opening round blow out loss to Ari Agustian. The Thai is a 34 year old who has lost every bout against a notable name, and would need one of his career best performances to pick up a win here.
As well as the notable bouts in Asia there are also a couple of central Asian fighters in action in Canada.
Unbeaten Kazakh Batyrzhan Jukembayev (14-0-0-2, 12) has seemingly repaired bridges with his promoter and manager, after a public falling out, and will battle against Mexican fighter Carlos Jimenez (14-9-1, 8). Jimenez, and his manager, are said to have agreed terms to fight different opponents, with Jimenez being announced as fighting Daniyar Yeleussinov on March 15th before actually being confirmed for this bout a day later. Jimenez is a great opponent at this point for Jukembayev and should be the best out of the Kazakh.
The other Kazakh on this show is Nurzat Sabirov (8-0, 7), who takes on Argentinian journeyman Cesar Hernan Reynoso (15-11-4, 7). The 25 year old Sabirov impressed last year, scoring 4 wins including a notable one over Rocky Montoya in November. Big things are expected from Sabirov, though this is a step up, and Reynoso has been in with some notable names, including Callum Smith and Martin Fidel Rios. This should be a clear win for Sabirov, but we don't expect an early blow out.
Staying in North America we'll get the US debut of Azeri fighter Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11) who goes up against talented American teenager Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4). The American youngster is a real talent and we'd expect to see him becoming a star in the future. Sadly for Aghayev we don't see this ending well for him, despite the fact he is the more experienced and naturally bigger man.
Yet more action in North America for Asian fighters will see Kazakh Sagadat Rakhmankul (3-1, 1) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Nicklaus Flaz as he takes on Brandon Adams (4-7-1, 2). Although he lost last time out Rakhmankul is touted as a very solid prospect and it will be very interesting to see how he bounces back here.
There will also be a fight in Australia, as Filipino fighter Glenn Enterina (14-4-1, 9) takes on the unbeaten Jacob Ng (9-0, 7) in a bout for the IBF Youth Lightweight title. On paper Ng, an Australian fighter, should be favoured but Enterina has mixed with good company, with loses to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Mark Urvanov.
This coming Monday is a big one in Japan, especially in Aichi where fans get a really notable card, featuring an all-Japanese world title bout, a WBC Youth title bout and a contest featuring a really promising Japanese prospect. As well as the Aichi card there will also be a small show in Oita.
It's the Aichi card which will get all the attention, though sadly appears set to only be televised live in small Japanese market on CBC, rather than receive national coverage. A huge disappointment.
The main event of the card will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) go for his third defense, as he faces the unbeaten Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7), who is looking to become a 3 weight champion in just 12 fights. The bout is seen as something that will come down to how Tanaka's handles the pressure and tempo of Kimura and whether or not Kimura can deal with the movement and skills of Tanaka. Stylistically this should be very interesting, and the winner will have doors swung wide open for big Flyweight bouts later in the year. In fact the winner of this will likely be featured on the year ending “Kyoguken” show on TBS. Notably we should have a live stream of this bout on our site so please keep your eyes peeled for that! A full in depth preview of this contest can be read here courtesy of George Delis.
The second title bout on this card will see second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (6-0, 6) fight against limited Indonesian foe Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC Youth Flyweight title. Hatanaka, the son of former WBC Super Bantamweight champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, is tipped for big things in the future and will be looking to move from a “Prince” to a “King” by taking his title here. The Indonesian visitor is unlikely to pose much of a threat here, in what will likely be a mismatch.
Another likely mismatch will see former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) take on Rusli Yanto (2-1). This should be little more than a stay busy win for Tanaka, who will be hoping to get another title opportunity in 2019.
Former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (1-0, 1) will be having his second contest on this show, and will also be facing an Indonesian visitor, Kiki Marciano (1-2). The 22 year old Japanese Featherweight looked great on debut, back in July, and is expected to be in the title mix sooner rather than later. This bout however is more about getting him some ring time and keeping him active rather than chasing belts. Despite the familiar surname Kiki Marciano is nothing like the great Rocky Marciano and we would be very surprised to see him last the scheduled 6 rounds.
As well as the action in Aichi there will also be a small card in Oita.
The main even here looks to be a well matched 6 round bout between Takeru Kobata (6-3-1, 2) and Tomoki Takada (5-4-2, 3) at 140lbs. These two aren't likely to find themselves fighting for titles any time soon, but should make for a compelling match up together, give their limitations.
In the chief support bout Kanta Takenaka (5-3-1, 1) will battle Shun Imuta (4-1-2, 3), in another 6 round contest. This also looks like it could be a compelling contest, albeit at the lower end of the Japanese domestic scene.
This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.