Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
It's fair to say that February is set to be a very, very quiet month with less action scheduled for the month than there was in January, also a super quiet month. Thankfully however this coming Thursday there is a notable show taking place at Korakuen Hall, and it's a genuinely exciting card with a Japanese Youth title fight and Japanese title fight both set for the show. Better than that, is the fact both of the title fights look very, very even and very interesting on paper..
The show only has 4 bouts on it in total. The most interesting of those will see Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-4, 2) take on Shota Ogasawara (5-3, 3) in a 6 round Super Bantamweight bout. Incidentally this is their second bout, but more about that in a moment. Coming in to this Kimoto is looking to rebound from a majority decision loss to talented youngster Tom Mizokoshi, a loss than ended a 2-fight winning run for him. As for Ogasawa he'll be fighting for the first time in over a year, following his loss in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year. Although he lost last time out in a notable bout Ogasawara is better for a different loss, his thrilling 2019 loss to Ryugo Ushijima. As mentioned these two have fought before, with Ogasawara beating Kimoto back in 2017, in what was Kimoto's debut. Fair to say Kimoto will want revenge here!
The first of the two title fights on the show will see Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) clash with Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) in a sensational looking Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title fight, for the vacant title. The 20 year old Horikawa impressed in his 2019 debut and impressed even more in his second professional bout, when he beat Yuki Nakajima, though was unlucky in his third bout when he was controversially held to a draw in China against Xiang Li. Horikawa is a very skilled and quick boxer-mover and will be looking to make the most of his slick footwork here. On the other hand Shigeoka, the older brother of Ginjiro Shigeoka, looked promising on debut and sensational in his second bout, as he calmly outboxed OPBF Lito Dante over 6 rounds. Shigeoka looks the more imposing fighter, the physically stronger and more polished, but also the man with the slower footwork. This should be a genuinely fantastic match up, and a really high level bout between two sensational youngsters. Our preview of this bout can be read here Horikawa and Shigeoka battle for Youth crown in Tokyo!
In the main event we'll see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) defend his belt against mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8), in a bout that was originally scheduled for 2020 but was delayed due to Covid19. For Sagawa this will be his third defense since beating Reiya Abe for the vacant title in 2019 and he looks to continue an excellent 9 fight winning run which has seen him defeat Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto, Al Toyogon and the aforementioned Abe. The champion has looked fantastic in recent bouts, but there are question marks about his chin and durability. On the other hand Maruta, who turned professional with a lot of buzz, has failed to meet the expectations put on his young shoulders, however a win here would see that buzz return. Aged just 23 Maruta has the tools to go a very, very long way, but a 2017 loss to Hidenori Otake slowed his rise and a controversial draw against Ben Mananquil also slowed him down. Coming in this the challenger has won his last 3, and has shown a more aggressive side to his boxing than earlier in his career. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Sagawa and Maruta clash at last, in Japanese title bout!
Yoyogi First Gym, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the show at Korakuen Hall there will also be a special event at the Yoyogi 1st Gym in Tokyo. This however isn't one you'll find on Boxrec and is instead a charity event where we'll get 7 exhibition bouts, and nothing that will go down on a fighters record. Despite that it's something that is worth being aware of, in part due to the fighters featured on it, including several world champions, amateur standouts and genuine Japanese stars.
One of those will be an potential dream bout as WBA "Super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) shares the ring with the now retired Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16), who himself held the IBF Light Flyweight title along with titles at Minimumweight and Flyweight. It's a shame the careers of these two didn't over-lap as this is a brilliant match up.
Another retired former world champion on this show will be former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) who will be in the ring with current Japanese national Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (21-5, 18). Although Uchiyama would be strongly favoured to win, had the two men clashed for real, this could be an interesting exhibition, especially given that Uchiyama is in fantastic condition.
A third former world champion included in the event is former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-2, 12) who will be battling with former K-1 fighter Yoshiki Takei (0-0), who makes his professional boxing debut in March. Whilst not the greatest match up it will be a chance to see what Takei brings as a boxer, and we always love seeing Sho Kimura in the ring.
Former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (17-1-1, 10) will be taking on amateur standout Yuito Moriwaki in one of several bouts between professional fighters and amateurs. Another of these will see 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) share the ring with Japanese Olympian Daisuke Narimatsu and the a third will see Japanese Youth champion Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽] face off with the very highly regarded Seon Okazawa.
We've saved the best until last, and that's a bout between WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) and former WBC Flyweight kingpin Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) [比嘉 大吾], in what should be a sensational exhibition bout over 3 rounds and something worthy of paying the hefty admission fee for. This is two big names, both in their primes, facing off in a bit of a dream fight, even if it is just an exhibition.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For hardcore of the Japanese scene we get a live card from Boxing Raise and Dangan Aoki this coming Friday, and it’s the one card that genuinely standsout for the month of January. It’s a small card, with just 4 bouts on it, but all 4 of those bouts are meaningful ones, including two brilliant looking Japanese title fights, and it’s a show that looks like it will be worth watching every second of.
The show will begin with a B Class Tournament final at Super Bantamweight as the once beaten Koki Mioya (8-1-2, 2) takes on the unbeaten Tentaro Kimura (5-0-2), the cousin of the highly regarded Rentaro Kimura. The 23 year old Mioya has gone unbeaten in 7 bouts, including a draw in the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, and has looked like an improving fighter in recent years, but is still very much a work in progress. Kimura, who will be overshadowed by his brother, is a relatively crude fighter, but a fun one to watch and his September battle with Wataru Yokoyama was certainly a treat from Suruga Boys. We don’t expect highly quality boxing here, but we do expect a really fun 5 round war here between two men with a will to win, and relatively little power.
In another 5 rounder we’ll see an A-Class tournament final as heavy handed Lightweight hopeful Shu Utsuki (7-0, 6) takes on the experienced Masashi Wakita (10-10-2, 5). Since turning professional Utsuki has been highly impressive, showcasing solid boxing skills, very heavy hands, and a fun aggressive style. He’s still a work in progress but the 26 year old is looking like a future star for the Watanabe gym. In the other corner is Wakita, a 24 year old who is very much a “win some, lose some” fighter, but generally makes for fun battles, and he could, if he can see out the first round or two, make for a fun war with Utsuki. Sadly however there’s a very real chance that Utsuki could make this look very, very easy.
The first of two title fights will see the heavy handed Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) defending the Japanese Super Featherweight title against the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21), in what may well be an early contender for FOTY. Saka is a crude but aggressive and heavy handed fighter who, on his day, can be a nightmare for anyone on the regional and domestic scene. He looked fantastic in his title, though it should be noted he’s not fought since December 2019 and he has been inconsistent in his biggest bouts. Watanabe on the other hand is a true warrior, who appears to be made out of something they should be using to make tanks. His bouts are almost always action packed bouts and despite often relying on his toughness he is a solid boxer-fighter. He earned this show with his November 2019 win over Taiki Minamoto and despite being inactive for a year the break may well have done him a favour after a lot of very tough and punishing fights. Our in depth preview of this one can be found here Brutality awaits Saka and Watanabe in overdue Japanese title fight!
The other title fight on this show will see JBC Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) defending his belt against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14). Kuga, as with Saka, is a crude fighter but a monstrous puncher who can box a bit and bang a lot. Sadly for Kuga he will enter this bout after a lengthy break from the ring, and was last seen suffering a KO1 loss to Jhunriel Ramonal in December 2019. That loss will still be on his mind given he wasn’t able to get a confidence building win in 2020. Furuhashi will be getting his third shot at a Japanese title, having previously come up short against Yukinori Oguni and Yasutaka Ishimoto. At 33 years old Furuhashi is very much a veteran and he will know this could be his final shot at a Japanese title. As with the other title bout this could end up being a legitimately thrilling war, with Furuhashi setting a high tempo and Kuga looking to land bombs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Warriors Kuga and Furuhashi battle for Japanese throne!
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).
This coming Saturday fight fans through Asia will have action to look towards. There are several shows in Asia, as well as Asian fighters fighting around the globe.
The most notable card of the day, in Asia at least, takes place in Osaka and features not only a regional title fight but a guy who looks set for a world title fight later in the year and two evem looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese-Filipino Joe Noynay (16-2-1, 5) battle former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (18-4, 15), in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title, which was vacated by Masao Nakamura. Noynay is a really talented boxer, and one of the most under-rated fighters in the Philippines. Although not well known he did give Reiya Abe one of his toughest tests to date. Saka on the other hand is a crude but very heavy handed fighter, who lost the title in bizarre circumstances to Takenori Ohashi in 2017, when he misheard the clack for the bell, and since then he has bounced back with a couple of early wins. This could be a very, very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout can be read here Saka and Noynay clash for regional crown
In the chief support bout we'll see world ranked Light Flyweight Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) fight in a stay busy contest, as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Stevanus Nana Bau (9-10-2, 2) in what should be little more than a tick over fight for Hisada. Over the past few months Hisada has been linked to every Light Flyweigth world champion, but has been unable to secure a shot at one, which explains this tick over bout.
As for the supporting bouts we'll see Shota Asami (7-5, 4) take on Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3), in what should be a very compelling match up between two talented, and under-rated youngsters, and we'll also see Hirokazu Okajima (9-6-2, 5) take on Shota Yukawa (10-5-3, 4) in a battle of Japanese ranked fighters.
Goyang, South Korea
As well as the show in Japan there is also one in Goyang in Korea. This card is set to be a Korea Vs Japan card, though if we're being honest the card as a whole is poor, with very low quality match ups.
The main event will see the unbeaten Min Jang (7-0-2, 2) take on Hyeon Joon Lee (6-2-1, 4) in a bout for the BoxingM Korean Super Flyweight title. This is a pretty even looking bout, and could be a fairly compelling match up. The unbeaten Jang has won his last 4, since a draw with In Soo Jang back in 2018. Lee on the other hand is looking to claim his first title and score his second win since a loss in Japan to Shota Asami.
The most notable of the Korea Vs Japan bouts appears to be contests between Kyung Min Hwang (3-0, 2) and Teru Nobita (4-1-1, 2) and Ha Nok Shim (4-0, 2) battling against Tom Mizokoshi (3-1-1, 2). We're expecting Korea to win overall, and it's a shame that the card doesn't really have any notable names on it, like past Korea Vs Japan shows, with their being a couple of great shows last year, with several interesting match ups.
Bang Phun, Thailand
A third Asian show will take place in Bangphun, thanks to WorkPoint.
In one bout we'll see the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight title being fought for as the unbeaten pairing of Thattana Luangphon (3-0-1, 3) and Muhammad Ashiq (6-0-1, 5) battle. The title, which has been vacant since Tenta Kiyose gave it up, makes for an interesting reward for the winner of this one. The unbeaten Thai is 21 and is a staple of the WP Boxing shows, having fought all of his bouts in their studio. Ashiq on the other hand is a well travelled Singaporean, with bouts in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Neither man is a world beater, from what we've seen, but this should still be an interesting bout.
In another interesting, though very odd, bout we'll see former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-6, 35) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Carlo Magali (23-11-3, 12) in a 6 round bout. Coming in both men have gone without a win in a while. Pungluang has lost his last 3, and is without a win since February 2016, whilst Magali has lost his last 2, and is 4-4 since Pungluang's last win. A real strange one.
Outside of Asia we have some intriguing match ups, the best of which takes place in Ukraine and sees Japanese tough guy Nihito Arakawa (32-6-2, 18) take on unbeaten Ukrainian Denys Berinchyk (10-0, 7) in a bout for a WBO minor title. This bout is likely to be wonderfully violent, though we do wonder what Arakawa has left in his body at this time, given he's now 37. A few years ago this would have FOTY candidate written all over it, though we now thing that wear and tear will be a major issue for Arakawa against someone as strong and powerful as Berinchyk. A full preview of this bout is available here Arakawa and Berinchyk seek major win in Kyiv!
New York, USA
Over in the US we're expecting to see Indian former amateur standout Vikas Krishan (1-0, 1) take on Noah Kidd (3-1-1, 2), in what should be an easy win for the "Indian Tank".
The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
This coming Monday Japanese fans will get two different shows, neither of which is huge but both of which are worth making a mental note about.
For us the most interesting bout takes place in Nagoya, as an unbeaten prospect takes an insane step up in class.
That step up will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (16-4, 13) take on the promising Masanori Rikiishi (2-0, 1), in what looks to be a serious acid test for Rikiishi. Saka held the Japanese title for 8 months last year, winning the title in April before losing it in his first defense in December. The loss was a surprise for Saka, who had entered that bout on an 8 fight stoppage run, and it seems like Rikiishi's team is hoping for Saka to be a damaged fighter. As for Rikiishi he has been matched hard since his debut in July last year but this is a massive step up. The 23 year old novice has looked fantastic so far, but this is still a bout that looks like he has been thrown into the deep end and told to sink or swim. A loss for Rikiishi won't be the end but a win would immediately put him into the title mix. A win for Saka will keep him relevant, whilst a loss will be very hard for him to come back from.
Despite the really interesting bout against Saka and Rikiishi that bout is only the chief supporting bout. The actual main event will see Japan's Kotatsu Takehara (14-11-3, 7) take on Indonesian foe Satria Antasena (6-9, 2) in a Heayweight bout. Entering this contest both men are ranked #1 in their respective nations, but it's hard to imagine the visitor, who is 0-4 outside of his homeland, pick up a win here.
Although we're really interested in the Nagaoya show there is also a notable card in Osaka, where we see a high profile prospect in the main event and several notable supporting bouts.
The main event here will see the popular Juiki Tatsuyoshi (7-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, battle against Shun Ishibashi (10-22-1, 4). This bout was originally meant to take place last year, though injuries got in the way and Tatsuyoshi had to pull out. Since then he has matured, had a child and recovered from injuries. He should be strongly favoured here, especially given that Ishibashi has lost his last 6, but we suspect he will prove to be a test for the hard hitting but crude Tatsuyoshi.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Teraji (9-14-1, 4) will battle against recent Japanese title challenger Takeru Kamikubo (13-3, 8). Coming in to this one the limited Teraji has scored back to back wins, for the first time in his career, and will be looking to snowball that success here. Kamikubo was once touted as a real hopeful, but with 3 stoppage losses in his last 8 fights, including a loss last time out to Tetsuya Hisada in a Japanese title fight, he seems unlikely to reach his potential. This is a great chance for Teraji to score a big win, but he will have to work very hard for it.
In another supporting bout 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (13-5-1, 8) will be up against Masashi Wakita (8-6-2, 3). The talented Sugita, who came up short twice against Kenichi Ogawa, has gone 2-3 in his last 5 but is a genuine talent and will be looking to get another shot at the Japanese title in the near future. The 22 year old Wakita is better than his record suggests, and he gave really tough tests to Spicy Matsushita and Naotoshi Nakatani, but will likely come up short again here against Sugita.
The first “big” show of December will take place this Friday, kicking off one of the most insanely busy months since we started this site!
The card will be headlined by a female world title fight, as Japanese sensation Naoko Fujioka (16-2, 7) chases a 5th divisional world title and drops down to Light Flyweight to take on the unbeaten Yokasta Valle (13-0, 6), who is moving up from Atomweight. The bout could see Fujioka further solidify her place as the greatest Japanese female boxer or could, potentially, see her ending her career with a loss likely to push her into retirement, ending what has been a legendary career.
Another title fight on this card will serve as the chief support and will see the big punching Kosuke Saka (16-3, 13) defending his Japanese Featherweight title against Takenori Ohashi (14-4-2, 9), in what looks like a straight forward first defense. The champion claimed the title in impressive fashion earlier this year, stopping Shota Hayashi, and will be looking to move into 2018 as the champion, and as a man looking for bigger and better things. Although a big under-dog Ohahsi will believe he has a chance, especially if Saka has over-looked him, and the challenger will almost certainly see this as his only chance to claim a title.
In another very interesting supporting bout fans will see the heavy handed Keita Kurihara (9-5, 8) take on unbeaten Filipino Ryan Lumacad (13-0-3, 7). The Japanese fighter is certainly is no world class fighter, but he is a powerful fighter and is a real danger, especially in the early stages of a bout. For Lumacad the bout sees him returning to Japan for his first bout in the country since a very controversial draw against Go Onaga in January, and he will be hoping to keep this bout out of the hands of the judges. A really interesting support bout here.
Also on the card are recent OPBF Super Bantamweight title challenger Kinshiro Usui (27-6, 11) and the experienced Akihiko Katagiri (17-9-2, 8) who are facing less experienced domestic foes. Both Usui and Katagiri suffered losses last time out and both will be wanting to get back to winnings ways here.
As well as the Japanese card there is also a notable card in the Philippines, with several notable names involved.
One of those name fighters is the under-rated Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8), who faces off with fellow Filipino Renan Portes (10-5, 6) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title. The bout won't make much noise internationally, but should see the winner move towards an IBF top 15 position. Of the two Saulong has been the more impressive, but he can't continue fighting domestic level Filipino foes for too much longer, or his career will begin to stagnate massively. For Portes this will be his second bout since Hayate Kaji stopped him in 2 rounds, and he really shouldn't pose much of a test for Saulong.
The unbeaten Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8) makes his ring return, after almost a year of inactivity, as he takes on low key foe Jerwin Mejes (4-2-3, 3). Prior to his break from the ring Daniega had began to get some real momentum and had scored 4 wins in 2016, and will be looking to ease himself back into action here, before kicking on next year. For Mejes the bout will see him looking to continue a 4 fight unbeaten run, which has seen him score 2 wins and two draws. Although not the most talented of fighters Mejes does hold a win with Lloyd Jardeliza and could prove to be a tough foe for the returning prospect.
The hotly tipped Mark Anthony Barriga (7-0, 1) will be looking to continue his development as he takes on the once beaten Glenne Calacar (3-1-6, 1). The talented Barriga, a former top amateur star in the Philippines, has had a busy 2017 with 4 wins already including a very good 10 round decision win in September against Samartlek Kokietgym, and will be expecting another one here. As for Calacar, who has a very strange looking record, he comes into this bout having drawn his last two, and will be looking to place the spoiler once again, as he has done against every unbeaten fighter he has fought. Although Calacar will be the under-dog he is, strangely, 0-0-4 against unbeaten fighters!
Another very notable fighter on this card is the debuting Pete Panitente (0-0), who was recently a sparring partner for Jerwin Ancajas prior to Ancajas's world title defense against Jamie Conlan. The debutant will be facing off with journeyman Jomar Borbon (4-29-2, 2) and should have no issues showcasing his skills on route to inflicting Borbon's 30th career defeat.
Outside of Asia we'll get the chance to see former Kazakh amateur stand out Ivan Dychko (2-0, 2) continue his professional development, as he fights for the third time in just over 9 weeks. The talented and touted Heavyweight will be fighting in his first 6 rounder as he takes on 32 year old Lamarco Ellis (2-4, 1) in what should be another straight forward win for Dychko. It's worth noting that Ellis is a big lump, weighing in over 300lbs for all of his bouts to date, and is unlikely to have anything to trouble Dychko.
Rhode Island, USA
In a really interesting match up the once touted Toka Kahn Clary (23-1-0-1, 16) will take on unbeaten Filipino prospect John Vincent Moralde (19-0, 10). To date Clary's only loss was a shock opening round defeat to Filipino journeyman Jhon Gemino, in a highly surprising 90 second blow out, and and this will be Clary's first fight with a Filipino since that loss. For Moralde the bout will serve as his US debut, and he comes into the bout on a 3 fight stoppage run, albeit against limited domestic foes. A win for Moralde will help put him on the international boxing map, and it's clear he will be fighting with that in mind.
West Midlands, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will see English based Indian born fighter Dilbag Singh (4-0, 1) in action, with Singh seeking his 5th straight win. The unbeaten man hasn't had his opponent named at the time of writing, and we're not expecting anyone too testing, but if he keeps his winning run intact for the next 12-18 months he could well find himself fighting for titles on the British scene.
The biggest show of the weekend, and one of the biggest Japanese shows of the year so far, takes place in Osaka on Sunday
The main event of the card will see WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) look to extend his reign as the champion as he takes on highly experienced Thai foe Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 38), who has won his last 61 fights! On paper this looks good, but it's a bout that really is based on smoke and mirrors with Noknoi's record being very padded so far. Interestingly this will be Ioka's 5th defense of the Flyweight title and if he wins he will become just the second Japanese man to win 14world title bouts!
The card feature a really good supporting bout as WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) defends his belt against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13). These two men fought in 2015, with Tapales dominating the then unbeaten Omori, and since then the Filipino had gone on to win the WBO title, taking a thrilling victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu. Although he was dominated, suffering a 2 round loss to Tapales, it does seem like Omori has looked at their first bout and admitted he was over-confident, making this rematch very interesting.
The most interesting of the under-card bouts will see Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) battle against the once touted Filipino Neil John Tabanao (13-3, 9). This really could be a very fun bout, with both men having good styles that should gel well for an exciting contest.
The under-card is also packed with a number of notable names, such as Sho Ishida (23-0, 12), Takahiro Yamamoto (18-5, 15), Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) Hayate Ikuta (7-0, 3) and Tatsuya Ikemizu (14-2, 6) all of whom will be facing Thai imports.
As well as the card in Osaka there will be a second notable show in Japan, with Aichi hosting a show featuring a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, and an interesting looking non-title bout.
That aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory title challenger Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12). Although this bout won't excite those outside of Japan too much, especially given the action in Osaka, we've got a genuine feeling that this will be a genuine barn burner. Hayashi is a busy, hard working yet basic fighter whilst Saka is a gutsy warrior with nasty power, and we're expecting those styles to gel perfectly for a war.
The other bout of note on this card will see the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (10-1-1, 10) battle against Noboru Osato (7-4-4, 1). Although Mizuno is unproven, and is stepping up a bit in class here, he has shown real promise and his power certainly looks genuine. Osato will go in to this bout as the under-dog but has never been stopped, and could well use his experience and toughness to teach Mizuno some new lessons.
There will be a third Japanese show in Hyogo, where fans get some lesser action, but still manage to get a card worthy of some note.
In the main event of this show we'll see WBO ranked Minimumweight hopeful Ryoki Hirai (8-4-1, 3) battle against the heavy handed Ryoya Ikema (11-3, 10). The little known Hirai really is ranked thanks to a technical decision win over the low-on-confidence Takumi Sakae from last December, other than that however his record has little to note. The huge punching Ikema was beaten last time out by Koki Ono, but is an interesting prospect and will be looking to score a career best win here.
The other bout of note on this card will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (8-2, 5) battle against the very promising Ukyo Yoshigai (5-0, 4). It's hard to call this one, but a win for Yoshigai would put him in great position ahead of his bout in the Japanese Youth Tournament later in the year. Kanda was stopped just a few fights ago but will be looking to build on back-to-back blow out wins in what could be a really fun bout.
In Uganda fight fan will see Azeri born Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Amos Mwamakula (15-6-2, 7) in a contest for the UBO Welterweight title. The bout is a low key affair but will see the winner score their best win to date.
After a short quiet period in Japan over Christmas we see action return this coming Wednesday in Osaka.
In the main event of the card we'll see former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (17-5-1, 10) face off against fellow veteran Atsushi Aburada (11-10, 6) in what looks like a must win bout for both men. Kakutani will be fighting for the first time since suffering an opening round stoppage loss to Ken Shiro back in April, in a Japanese title fight, whilst Aburada has lost 3 of his last 4 and cannot afford another loss if he's to be in a notable fight next year.
In the chief support bout we'll see the exciting Kosuke Saka (14-3, 11) attempt to end a break year. So far in 2016 has stopped Burning Ishii and Takafumi Nakajima and will be looking to add Thai Denyaso Sithkhrumak (1-3), who has lost in his 3 previous visits to Japan, to his victim list for the year. Although not a huge name we do love watching Saka and wouldn't be surprised to see him in the title mix by the end of 2017 and the 24 year old really does look like an exciting prospect.
The action in Japan really has picked up in September and on September 13th we see the first officially sanctioned WBO Asia Pacific title fight on Japanese soil.
That title bout will see world ranked Akihiro Kondo (25-6-1, 12) battle against Filipino visitor Jeffrey Arienza (15-4-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. Although a flawed fighter Kondo is a busy and tough guy in the ring and we suspect he'll out work and break down the visitor however Arienza won't have travelled to just fold so we're expecting a fun bout here between two men who will let their hand go,
In an interesting supporting bout fans will see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (25-8-1, 10) battle against the heavy handed Kosuke Saka (13-3, 10). Aged 32 Nakajima is a veteran but one who still seems to have boundless energy and his win over Xian Qian Wei earlier this year showed he still has a lot to give, as did his very good effort against Jonathan Baat last time out. For Saka this bout is great opportunity to make a name for himself. The 24 year old puncher has won his last 5 inside the distance, including both Ryuto Kyoguchi, in what was a fun bout, and Burning Ishii, and he'll be looking to keep that momentum going here.
Notably this show will be aired in full on A-sign.