This coming Sunday is certainly not a huge day, but it's a bizarrely packed one, with a lot going on, even if not much of it will make much of an impact on the winder boxing scene. We have a Japanese Heavyweight title fight, a Japanese title eliminator, a return to the ring for a popular female fighter, a regional title fight, a clash between former world title challengers and the KBF Rookie of the Year final, on a crazy, yet low key, Sunday.
For us the most noteworthy card comes from Kariya where we see a trio of notable bouts.
The most notable of the bouts on the card will be a rematch between Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) and Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5), who battle for the Japanese Heavyweight title and the chance to become only the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion. Coming in to this bout it's worth knowing that Takehara gave Ueda his sole defeat, but at the age of 41 and with a 30 fight career behind him we do wonder what Takehara has left in the tank. Technically Ueda looks the part, until he throws a punch and then he looks...well terrible, but he may have the youth and energy this time to see off the veteran. Our preview of this bout can be read here Takehara and Ueda rematch for Japanese Heavyweight title!
In an even better bout than the main event we'll see a Japanese Light Flyweight eliminator as the sensationally talented Rikito Shiba (4-0, 2) takes on the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9), with the winner securing a shot at the title in the 2020 Champion Carnival against Yuto Takahashi. Both of these fighters have big plans, and whilst we have been more impressed by Shiba's rise than Yabuki's recent bouts both of these are very talented and will likely end up as fixtures in the title scene in the coming years. This promises a lot and is going to be a very interesting bout between two very talented fighters. Our preview of this bout can be read here Light Flyweight eliminator sees Shiba and Yabuki clash!
Former female world title challenger Tomomi Takano (11-5, 8) will fight in Japan for the first time in over 2 years as she takes on Sachiko Kondo (2-4-2). At one point Takano looked like a star in the making, with the look that turned heads, but losses in big fights and a very public falling out with her then promoter saw her head into the boxing wilderness, fighting in Mexico. She's now back in Japan with a new team and a new hunger, and that should be in show here.
Another notable Japanese card comes from Ishikawa, as Kashimi promote their next show, headlined by a clash between a former world champion and a former world title challenger, and supported by several interesting bouts featuring Chinese fighters.
The main event will see Japanese based Filipino Genesis Servania (33-2, 16) take on former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-7, 35). Although both men are past their primes, this still makes for a really good match up. Servania is best known for his fantastic 2017 bout with Oscar Valdez. Despite losing that bout Servania put himself on the international map, though sadly a loss to Carlos Castro earlier this year has back into more obscure bouts, like this one. Pungluang on the other hand was a very talented Thai back in his prime, but losses in 4 of his last 5 have shown him to have slipped significantly. Despite on the downslide the Thai is tough and likes a fight. Stylistically these are similar fighters, with both enjoying a fight up close, and lacking speed, and as a result this could end up being a bit of a classic for fans at the Sangyo Hall.
In a supporting bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-3, 2) take on China's Baolin Kang (6-2, 1). Hanabusa won the Rookie of the Year on the majority point rule last December and has gone 1-0-1 since then, drawing in China against Ayati Sailike, in a bout that should have gone his way. Kang on the other hand is best known for being stopped by Ari Agustian in 2018, but has won both of his bouts this year. Although not an amazing bout this should be entertaining.
Another interesting looking bout will see Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-2, 3) fight against China's A Fu Bai (8-3, 5). Both men were beaten last time out, with Bolivar being stopped bu Shu Utsuki and Bai being beaten by Da Xu, and with both seeking a win we expect this to be a bout where both men look to find another gear in very competitive contest.
A third Japanese card, from Osaka, is much lower profile and only really has one bout of not. That bout will see 2-time Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger Ken Osato (16-3-1, 4) battle against the in form Kanehiro Nakagawa (8-6, 5). On paper this looks like a mismatch, and whilst Osato should be favoured it's worth noting that Nakagawa has won his last 3, including upsets against Seiichi Okada and Ryuto Araya, and will be full of confidence coming in here.
Sadly the rest of this card is very much nondescript.
Seoul, South Korea
Another fairly notable card will take place in the South Korean capital of Seoul, with a regional title bout and some rookie action
The main event will see former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Jung Kyoung Lee (7-3-1, 3) take on the once touted Thai Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-6, 22) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Middleweight title. Lee has had a roller coaster year, scoring a career best win in January, when he stopped Samuel Colomban for the OPBF title, and the losing the title less than 7 months later, to Akinori Watanabe. Throw in an injury to those extremes and it's fair to say things could have gone a lot better the Korean. As for Saddam he is a long way removed from the point where he was seen as a genuine hopeful. He's now 2-4 in his last 6 and 5-6 in his last 11, dating back more than 8 years. If we're being honest we suspect Saddam is somewhat less fussed about winning and losing than he once was.
As well the bout mentioned above the bulk of this card will actually be the KBF Rookie of the Year Finals. Unlike the Japanese Rookie of the Year finals, which take place next week, it's been hard to follow these and it's hard to say too much about the finalists, who in some cases have only a fight or two so far in their career. Certainly rookies, but it would have been nice to have had some more depth to the tournament, and make them show a bit more to get to the finals.
We also have a show in Thailand, from Evolution Fight Series. This isn't card isn't a big one, but does feature a world world title challenger and a promising Uzbek, among others.
The main event will see Armenian born Thai based Russian Musheg Adoian (3-1, 3) take on former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-11-4, 22) from Indonesia. The 24 year old Adoian has fought his entire professional career in Thai, and has scored 3 successive stoppage wins coming into this bout. Although a professional novice Adoian will be the favourite against Mukhlis, who is a long, long way removed from the fighter who challenged Takashi Uchiyama way back in September 2010. Since the loss to Uchiyama Mukhlis has gone 6-8-2 and is 0-5-1 in his last 6.
A second bout of note here will see unbeaten Thai based Uzbek Murodjon Yokubov (6-0, 4) battle against Indian foe Amandeep Singh (4-0, 1). For Yokubov this bout will be his 6th of the year and whilst his opposition has been limited it's hard not to like a guy who is active, developing his skills and getting ring time under his belt. As for Singh this will be only his second bout since the the start of 2018, and it's hard to know whether he'll manage to be put up any sort of competition for Yokubov.
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta also plays host to a small profile card, headlined by a 6 round contest between Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3) and Alvius Maufani (7-4-2, 4). On paper this is a really hard card to care about, and whilst we suspect their fun action from the Metro TV Studio the bouts are very much novices against each other and fighters with losing records rather than anything worth getting too excited by.
This coming Saturday is a big day with a lot of action, though from an Asian point of view there's only really one major bout, with a lot of lesser quality contests floating around in Asia it's self.
That one big bout is the hugely anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 24) and Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34), for the WBA and WBC Middleweight titles. These two men fought to a very controversial draw last September, when Adalaide Byrd's 118-110 card for Canelo got much of the ire, and had been planned for a rematch earlier this year, before Alvarez failed a drugs test. Now it seems the respect from their first bout is gone and both men seem to genuinely dislike the other, which should add a intensity to the action. Their first bout was good, but we expect this one to be even better, with the backstories, the drug testing, Golovkin needing to give up the IBF title and various other sub plots, all helping to build towards something amazing. A win for Golovkin would set him aside as the clear #1 Middleweight of his era whilst a win for Canelo would be impressive, though likely come with a dark cloud hanging over it.
It's also worth noting that Ryota Murata is said to be wanting to face the winner of the Golovkin/Alvarez bout, in what would be the biggest ever fight for a Japanese Middleweight.
Outsiude of the big show the next most notable is in China, where we see a former world champion essentially fighting to keep his career alive, whilst a Chinese local looks to take a huge step forward.
The Chinese fighter looking to make huge strides is Jing Xiang (14-4-2, 3), who will be facing off with former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (27-5-1, 13), in a bout for the WBC Silver Flyweight title. Of two it's the 34 year old Sabillo who is better known, but he's now almost 5 years removed from his second world title fight, and since then he has gone 4-5 with notable losses to Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Ryuya Yamanaka and most recently Edward Heno. The 28 year old Chinese hopeful lost 3 of his first 6 but has since gone 11-1-2 giving Ben Mananquil his only defeat so far and also holding a victory over Dexter Alimento. Form is certainly with the Chinese fighter, who we suspect will have the edge in size and also youth, as he hunts for the biggest win of his career.
In a supporting bout we see China Vs Japan in a Heavyweight clash, as Zhiyu Wu (8-2-1, 2) takes on Kotatsu Takehara (15-11-3, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Heavyweight title. Aged 35 Wu is the CPBA National champion, having won the title last time out. Despite wearing a title around his waist Wu is certainly nothing special. At 40 years old Takehara is a real veteran of the Japanese scene, and is a 2-time national title challenger. Coming into this Takehara is riding a 5 fight winning run, but has faced very limited competition during that run. This is potentially an interesting match up, we're just not expecting anything too exciting when the two men get in the ring.
Another notable Asian show will come from Kaakhstan where fans will get a regional title double header.
On paper the more interesting of those two fights will see Kazakhstan's very own Aidos Yerbossynuly (8-0, 7) take on Azeri foe Rufat Hajiyev (7-0, 7) in a bout for the WBA Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Middleweight title. Although neither Yerbossynuly or Hajiyev have yet to make a big mark on the sport this give both a chance to boost their name and to put on a show in what we're expecting ton be a very exciting and explosive encounter.
A second title fight on the show will see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Bobirzhan Mominov (8-0, 7) take on Filipino foe Junjesie Ibgos (13-3, 11) for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Mominov is a talented prospect, who has sparred with Canelo in the past, but this is a notable step up in class for him. Ibgos is no world beater, by any stretch of the imagination, but is a power puncher and will be looking to show that power here against Mominov. Thsi could be a good test for the Kazakh, or a chance for him to shine.
Yongin, South Korea
On a KBF show in Korea fight fans will be getting a title double header.
One of those title bouts will see Korean based Uzbek Khusniddin Pulatov (9-3, 5) face off with Indonesia Sahlan Coral (17-6, 10) in a bout for the lightly regarded WBA Asia Light Middleweight title. For Pulatov this will be his 4th bout of 2018 as he looks to put 3 losses from 2017 behind him and rebuild his career. On the other hand Coral has been inactive for just over a year, though did win last time out against Benny Tamaela. Coral is tough, but we suspect he'll come up short here.
The other title bout will be a KBF Welterweight title bout, which will see In Duck Seo (9-1-2, 6) battle against Moon Sung Choi (6-1-1, 2) in a very good looking contest. For Choi, who lost on debut, this will be his first bout in 13 months and looks to be a step up in class against his most accomplished. Seo on the other hand lost his unbeaten record in May, but this will be his third bout this year and he is certainly active and hungry for a Korean title, having twice fought to draw for a Korean title.
There's also a small card in the Philippines.
One of the two 10 round bouts scheduled for this show will see Robin Langres (9-2, 4) take on Jason Buenaobra (6-3-3, 3). The 22 year old Langres is riding a 2 fight winning run coming into this, including a respectable win over Jomar Fajardo, and will be looking to continue that form over Buenaobra. On the other hand Buenaobra, the only man so far to have heard the final bell against Carl Jammes Martin, is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run into this, including a notable upset win over Jerry Pabila.
The other 10 round bout on this card will see the unbeaten Claudevan Sese (6-0-3, 1) take on domestic journeyman Junjie Lauza (6-23-2, 1). The 23 year old Sese seems to be taking a backwards step with this bout, but he's been out of the ring since December, so it's better to see him fight than not fight. As for Lauza he has lost his last 3, and 5 of his last 6, and will be expected to pick up another defeat here.
There's another small card taking place in India, which will feature a single title fight, and a number of low key contests.
The title bout will see unbeaten Indian Rajesh Kumar (9-0-1, 2) take on Bright Ayala (16-1, 11), with Kumar defending the WBC Youth Lightweight title for the first time. The unbeaten local won the title back in April, when he defeated Glenn Enterina, and will not be wanting to relinquish that title just 5 months after winning it. Ayala, from Ghana, hasn't fought anyone of real note though was beaten last time he faced an unbeaten opponent, losing a decision to Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab. This bout should let us know how good both men are, or aren't.
The lead supporting bout is a female contest which will see 20 year old local Kirti (4-1, 2) take on Kiwi visitor Cherneka Johnson (10-0, 5). Coming into this Kirti is looking to build on a big win over Noemi Bosques but she will be regarded as the underdog against the iunform Johnson, who has stopped 3 of her last 4.
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.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows in the country, with 2 of those taking place in Osaka.
The most significant of those is a multi-title show from Muto promotions, with the card being headlined by OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-2-2, 11), who faces off with veteran Yasuyuki Akiyama (11-7-1, 8). The bout will see Tyson defending his OPBF title and also look to add the WBO Asia Pacific title, which is currently vacant but on the line for this bout. It's hard to see past a win for Tyson, given he holds almost every advantage, but the bout is likely to be the final one of Akiyama's career, and he will almost certainly give everything he has here.
A second OPBF title fight will see Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (27-12, 13) seek his second defense, as he puts his title on the line against Japanese foe Seizo Kono (19-8-1, 12). The Japanese based Filipino champion will be making his second defense of the title, following his dramatic win over Kentaro Masuda, and knows that if he can continue on his current winning streak there is a chance he will be able to move towards a world title fight. For Kono the bout perhaps comes at the perfect time, with the Japanese man having won his last 4, and seemingly ended his blotchy form, which saw him going 2-5. Despite being on a bit of a run this is still a big ask for Kono.
In a rematch we'll see former multi-time world title challengers collide, as Hirofumi Mukai (14-5-3, 4) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-9-1, 19) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, just as they did in November 2016. In their first meeting Mukai stopped the Thai in 3 rounds, but since then he has gone 1-1, beating a novice Thai and being stopped in a war with Rex Tso. As for Inthanon, he's fought once since losing to Mukai, also a win over a novice Thai. It's fair to say that Mukai will be favoured, given how easily he won the first contest between the two, but it'll be interesting to see what the Tso bout took out of him.
A second Japan Vs Thailand bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title will see the once beaten Masahiro Sakamoto (10-1, 6) take on veteran former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Aged 26 Sakamoto is just coming into his prime and the Flyweight will be looking to claim the biggest win of his career here. His only loss came in a bout for this very same title last year, when he suffered a very close loss to current WBO world champion Sho Kimura, and he will know that a win against Kwanthai could push him into the world title mix. As for Kwanthai, he's a long way removed from the man who claimed the WBA Minimumweight title in 2010. He has gone 19-4 since that win, but suffered 2 stoppages and only beaten very limited opposition. This should be a win for Sakamoto, but the question is really “how impressive does he look here?”
A second show in Osaka will be promoted by Green Tsuda and although not a big card does have one of the day's most interesting contests on it, as well as the continued push of a man who has been matched hard through his career.
That hard matched man is Takayuki Okumoto (18-8-3, 8), who's record doesn't suggest anything special but he did recently challenge Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai, and ran Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking close in 2016. The Japanese fighter will be up against a Thai foe here, and should, easily, pick up the win in the card's main event.
Arguably the most interesting match up of the day is a supporting contest between two once tipped amateur stars, both in need of a big win after recent set backs. In one corner will be Kazuki Tanaka (7-1, 5), a Green Tsuda man who was tipped as a star but was stopped last time out by Ryohei Takahashi. Like Tanaka we saw Hikaru Marugame (6-2-1, 4) turn professional with high expectations, having competed on the international stage in the amateurs, but with 2 losses and a draw in his last 4 bouts those expectations are quickly dying. A loss here for either man would likely spell the end of any hope of them becoming a notable name, and the bout really is a must win for both.
A third card from Japan this coming Sunday is from Aichi, and is certainly one with an international feel, given the three most notable bouts all feature a visitor.
The main event sees former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (14-4-1, 9) take on Indonesia's Filipus Rangga (10-17, 1). The Japanese fighter looked like one to watch when he lost to Yuki Nonaka, with some suggesting just a tiny bit of seasoning was needed, and since then he has picked up two stoppage wins and looks like a genuine domestic contender, with a second title fight perhaps only a few bouts away. Rangga began his career 5-1 but since then has gone 5-16 and really is a very limited fighter on the domestic scene, and has fought at much higher weights. Not only is Rangga smaller, older, and less talented but he is also making his international debut. In all honesty Maruki should be disappointed if this goes beyond 6 rounds.
In an interesting support bout fans will see the pretty solid Shogo Yamaguchi (10-3-2, 5) take on domestically ranked Indonesian Lightweight Sam Puadi (7-8, 5). Yamaguchi has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, though has faced the likes of Akihiro Kondo and Andy Hiraoka during that run, and really needs a win to kick start his once fledgling career. The visitor is 0-2 outside of Indonesia, including a loss earlier this year in Japan to Yuki Harada, though it's fair to say that the visitor will feel he has half a chance here against a very out of form Yamaguchi.
Also on this card will be a Heavyweight bout, as top ranked Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (13-11-3, 7) takes on Korean visitor Hoo Won Lee (4-3). The 39 year old Takehara is a 2 time Japanese title challenger and although he came up short in both bouts, to Kyotaro Fujimoto, he is a game fighter. Interestingly Takehara will be fighting for the first time since May 2016, when Japanese rules actually forbid him from fighting, and will surely be wanting to prove age is just a number. The 24 year old Korean visitor has age on his side, but the former Korean Heavyweight champion is stepping up in a big way here, and was stopped in a round back in June. If Takehara is half the fighter he was he should win, if he loses however it's got to be the end for him.
Seoul, South Korea
Fans in Korea will get their own title bout, as the unbeaten In Duck Seo (8-0-1, 5) takes on the limited Joong Kyung Lee (3-2) in a bout for the KBF Light Middleweight title. Seo is unbeaten, but could only a manage a draw last time out, in a very good match up against Dong Hee Kim down at 140lbs. As for Lee, who will be having his 6th bout of the year, this bout follows an 8 round loss to Moon Sung Choi and he will certainly be coming into this one looking to score a big domestic win.
It's fair to say that Japanese fight fans have been left somewhat short changed during this year's “Golden Week”, and where theirs often 2 or 3 major card there wasn't really any, with the recent Watanabe card coming just before the Golden Week and the next big card, an Ohashi one, coming on the Sunday after the Golden Week. Saying that however the wait until this Sunday is a worthy one with their being several notable shows throughout Japan.
Of those Japanese shows it goes without saying the biggest, and the best, is in Tokyo and is going to be the highly anticipated Ohashi card from the 10,000 seater Ariake Colosseum. The card, which we strongly suspect will have more than 10,000,000 viewers, will see only two bouts televised live but they are both likely to feel a little bit special.
The first of those bouts is expected to be an all out war as IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) defends his title against the aggressive and very fun to watch Martin Tecuapetla (13-6-3, 10). This bout really does promise a lot of excitement, and for fans who like a war this is as sure fire a slugfest as we can think of with both men enjoying a tear up. Yaegashi will be the favourite but we wouldn't be surprised to see him taken to hell and back to retain his title.
Of course whilst Yaegashi's bout promises real 2-way fireworks it's unlikely to be the bout that gets international attention. Instead that attention will be focused on 23 year old sensation Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8), who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). The bout will be Inoue's second defense of his title and is likely to be his final bout in Japan before making a highly anticipated US debut later in the year. Although the bout is anticipated, because of Inoue's incredible appeal and ability, it's a mismatch and is unlikely to be more than a cameo-like appearance from the “Monster”, who has fought just 4 rounds in the last 18 months.
The two world title bouts are of course the bouts getting the most attention but their will also be a third title bout on the show, as youngster Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1) defends the OPBF Super Flyweight title against Indonesian challenger Afrizal Tamboresi (12-4, 6). The bout really should be a mismatch in favour of Takuma, who should make the second defense of his title here, but Tamboresi knows there is nothing to lose and their will be no pressure on him coming into this bout against the much touted Inoue.
The card featured a third fighter from the Inoue clan, with the touted Koki Inoue (2-0, 2) taking on another Indonesian, in Bimo Jaguar (0-0), in what is unlikely to be anything other than an early blow out win for the biggest of the Inoue's. Koki, for those unaware, is the cousin of Naoya and Takuma and, like the brothers, is trained by their father Shingo who may well be the best young trainer in world boxing.
One other notable name on this card is world title contender Ryo Matsumoto (17-0, 15), who risks his rankings and unbeaten record against Victor Uriel Lopez (8-5-1, 3). This seems likely to be Matsumoto's final bout before a world title fight, later in 2016. That talented Matsumoto has been treading water for a while, and this seems to be another stay busy, but he is insanely talented and is viewed as another fighter who is going to be part of a Japanese revolution over the coming years.
Talking about the next wave of Japanese fighters their will also be one of the youngest in action in Hyogo. That's 18 year old Riku Kano (9-1-1, 5), who faces former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-2-1, 12) in a bout for the OPBF interim Minimumweight title. Kano has his eyes on setting the Japanese age record, for the youngest world champion from Japan, but knows that he will need to beat Sabillo here. For the Filipino form champion this is a must win and he knows his career will essentially be over as a top contender if he loses the 18 year old Kano.
Sadly we do need to say that although listed on boxrec, Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) will not be making his Japanese debut on this card.
In Osaka fans will get a show at the Mierparque Hall in Osaka City.
Here the main event will see the promising 20 year old Takuya Uehara (8-0, 5), an OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender, battling against Indonesian ranked Ramli Pasaribu (4-7, 1). Uehara is OPBF ranked already though hasn't really proven himself against anyone of actual quality. A win here won't change that, but we suspect that this could his final bout before facing a known opponent, possibly this coming summer.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese ranked Flyweight Shunji Nagata (10-14-2, 3) face off with former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masato Morisaki (10-4-1, 6). For Morisaka this will be his second bout since he was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Sho Ishida back on December 31st 2014 and although the “more proven” fighter he has fought just 2 rounds since that Ishida bout. Nagata might not be a great fighter but he's someone who has been battle tested and should give Morisaka a very good fight.
A third bout of note on this card will see OPBF and JBC ranked 140lb fighter Ryusei Yoshida (27-8, 14) fight in what really should be a stay busy contest against Tatsunori Fukunaga (7-6, 3). If Yoshida wins, as is widely expected, he could potentially be the next Japanese title challenger later in the year, and will almost certainly call out Hiroki Okada.
A fourth Japanese show is set to take place in Aichi, with this one having 4 bouts that caught our eye.
The main event of the card will see veteran Daiki Koide (22-7-2, 9) battle against OPBF ranked Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (2-0-1), who incidentally claimed the KBF 140lb title last time out. On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch but Kim has been fast tracked and has already proven that he can go rounds, with 22 career rounds already, and he may well see Koide as just the next step on his way through the OPBF rankings.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout on this card sees former Keita Obara opponent Kazuya Maruki (19-3, 12) face off with Chan Hee Park (5-6-1) in what looks likely to be another good bout for fans, though with Park lacking power it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Maruki. For those who haven't seen Park before we suggest watching his fight with Kyoo Hwan Hwang from last year as it really was so fun and just a crazy battle.
Maruki's brother, Ryosuke Maruki (11-3-1, 7) will also be up against a Korean visitor, in the form of Joon Yong Lee (5-3-3, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lee is the Korean Middleweight champion and may well be a real handful for Maruki, in what could be a genuinely fun bout for fans at the venue. Notably Lee enters the bout as a highly ranked contender by the OPBF so will be fighting to defend that ranking.
The final bout of note is an all-Japanese bout at Heavyweight. The bout will see the unbeaten Ryu Ueda (5-0, 2) risk his perfect record against veteran fighter Kotatsu Takehara (12-11-3, 6). This is a big step up in class for Ueda however Takehara has won just 2 of his last 4, and was stopped in both of his losses. It's a good test for the 23 year old novice who knows a win could see him move towards a Japanese title fight, and perhaps even a chance to become the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion.
Incheon, South Korea
As well as all the action in Japan there is also a card in Korea, under the KPBF banner.
The main event here is a PABA “interim” title bout that sees Korean Jong-Min Jung (6-7, 2) battle Ghana's Razak Nettey (17-4, 13) at Featherweight. Notably this Nettey is a replacement for Filipino Jason Redondo and unfortunately for the Korean it seems Nettey may not have been an easier option.
This card will also feature two other PABA affiliated title bouts, one at Bantamweight and one at Light Middleweight. From what we understand the Bantamweight bout will see Woo Hyun Kim (5-1, 1) battle Michael Barnor (15-7-2, 11). The Light Middleweight bout will see Youn Bae Kim (4-0, 1), the current PABA interim champion, battle Joo Hun Kim (7-1, 2), the KPBF champion.
*Note several Korean records have been provided by the KPBF.
Fans in Tokyo have had a few days of interesting action in Tokyo this week and it continues on Thursday with a yet another show at the Korakuen Hall. The show might not be one of the best on paper but there is enough in terms of interesting match ups for us to be genuinely interested by the action set to take place.
In the main event fans will have the chance to see the limited but exciting “Zombie” Tatsuya Takahashi (19-6-4, 14) going up against the limited Kenta Toi (4-5, 1). Takahashi caught our attention last year when he was involved in a late FOTY contender against Kentaro Masuda and has been a fighter we've followed closely since. Given that performance we expect him to see off Toi here, though Takahashi didn't look too good last time out in a split decision draw with Ken Achiwa.
In the chief support bout we get heavyweight action as former Japanese Heavyweight title contender Kotatsu Takehara (11-11-3, 5) takes on Korean visitor Kin Nam Kim (4-7-3, 2). It's hard to see the visitor winning here, especially given the fact he has lost his last 3, but we are unsure just how much Takahara has left and this could prove to be more interesting than we may first think.
Another interesting bout will see the ranked Kinshiro Usui (22-4, 10) put his ranking on the line against the significantly younger Kota Sato (10-6-2, 5). On paper it's hard to see Sato winning however the 23 year old has shown an eye for the upset in the past and he may well manage to make the most of this opportunity against the 35 year old Usui.
A really well matched Flyweight bout will see Mikiya Ishikawa (9-6, 1) battle fellow light puncher Kazuaki Moriya (11-7, 1) in a must win for both men. Moriya has lost his last 4 bouts, though has competed with good opposition such as Masayuki Kuroda and Shin Ono, whilst Ishikawa is 1-2 in his last 3. Both will know this is a winnable match up and both will likely know that a loss will be a huge set back.
One more bout of note here will come at a contracted 119lbs where Atsushi Hosogai (7-8) will battle Keigo Soma (6-11-1, 2). This isn't the most mouth watering match up but it is still a solid one and should be a very interesting 8 rounder between two men who will know that they can win this one if they turn up and put in a good performance.
In Thailand fans will get the chance to see Samson Tor Buamas (35-3, 17) in action as she defends her WIBA title against Filipino challenger Lady Love Sampiton (2-3, 1) in what should be little more than a routine win for the defending champion.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Whilst not all shows are major events we do get some relative interesting shows with bouts that look like they could deliver on action and excitement even if the quality isn't the highest. One such show takes place today in Japan.
The main event of the card sees former Japanese title challenger Kotatsu Takehara (10-11-3, 4) battle against Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Nesterenko (9-3, 4) in a genuine must win bout for both men. Kotatsu comes into this bout following back-to-back stoppage losses to Kyotaro Fujimoto and Nobuhiro Ishida whilst Nesterenko has been blown away by Denis Boytsov and Apti Davtaev and is win-less since 2010. This could be something a little bit special with both men really needing a win to have any chance at getting another notable bout.
On paper the most even of the match ups come at Bantamweight where Tonko Nakagawa (12-6-2, 4) battles against Hajime Nagai (11-6-2, 2) in a really competitive looking bout. This is the second meeting between the two men with Nakagawa claiming a split decision win over Nagai in 2012 however Nakagawa has gone 1-1-2 in his last bouts. Notably though Nagai has been relatively inactive with just 2 fights in the last 2 years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We return to action after having had a short break for Christmas and the return is certainly an interesting one with notable action in both Japan and China.
In the first post-Christmas show in Japan we see a genuinely recognisable name in action in what is a relatively small show.
The most notable man in action is former WBA interim Light Middleweight champion Nobuhiro Ishida (26-10-2, 10) who continues his Heavyweight project as he takes on fellow Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (10-10-3, 4) in what is, for all intents a Japanese Heavyweight title eliminator. Both men have lost to Japanese champion Kyotaro Fujimoto but both would presumably like another fight with him, he is after all the only money in the division domestically. We know Ishida went to Heavyweight in pursuit of the Japanese title but he does need to win here to keep that dream alive.
In the co-feature on this card fans will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Kazuki Hashimoto (9-4, 5) fighting against Yoichi Oguma (15-6, 3). For Hashimoto this will be his first bout since February as he looks for a third successive win following a trio of losses. The 34 year old Oguma has been inactive even longer, in fact the southpaw has been inactive since last December, where he was stopped by Mike Tawatchai in Thailand. The loser here really will need to give a serious thought to retirement.
Although the show in Japan features the well known Nobuhiro Ishida we've got to admit we're more excited by the other show of the day which comes from China and features a trio of title fights.
The most interesting of the 3 bouts is a compelling rematch for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The bout will see China's very own Xiang Jing (7-3-2, 1) battle against unbeaten Filipino Ben Mananquil (10-0-2, 2). The men fought to a split decision draw earlier this year and we've got to admit this is a rematch we really like the look of. Although somewhat unknown we do like Mananquil a lot and feel he his first draw was very unfair in a bout that he should have had an opening round TKO over Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym. Jing however held his own with Mananquil last time out and this is by far the most well matched bout of the day.
Another rematch on this card will see Xian Wei Qian (5-4-1) defending his WBA Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title against Thailand's Thewa Onesongchaigym (5-1, 1). These two met back in August with Qian beating Thewa to become the first Chinese fighter to win a title in Thailand, he'll now be hoping to defend that belt for the first time.
Amazingly the third title bout will also be a rematch as Thailand's heavy handed Kajornsak Sithsaithong (7-3, 7) battles against Russia's Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (5-1, 3) in a bout for the IBF Youth Super Middleweight title. In their first bout the Russian stopped Kajomsak in just 32 seconds and he'll be hoping to do the same here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This coming Wednesday is one of the most significant mid-week days in boxing this year with several major bouts ranging from domestic title fights all the way up to a world title bout.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The most significant bout of the day will be in Thailand as the talented and unbeaten IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (13-0, 5) defends his belt against mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo (15-1, 13). This bout looks incredibly interesting as Arroyo has monstrous power, as shown in his win over Froilan Saludar, whilst Amnat is a slick and tricky boxer who will do his best to neutralise that power. As we saw against Kazuto Ioka the Thai is genuinely talented and is going to be the favourite going in though Arroyo's power is a real threat here. Fantastic bout and one we're really looking forward to.
On the undercard of this show we will get to see the world ranked the world ranked Mike Tawatchai (33-7-1, 21) fighting against Filipino journeyman Cristian Abila (11-13-3, 3). It's a shame Tawatchai isn't facing a better opponent though this will be his first fight in 7 months and it's a real shame that he's been so inactive recently.
A second undercard bout will see Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (24-3, 15) taking on Tatsuya Fukuhara (13-4-4, 4). Whilst Fahlan is well known for his upset win over Ryo Miyazaki he also has something in common with Fukuhara, both men have been beaten by Takuma Inoue. Sakkreerin has won one bout since his loss to Inoue though that win was at a very low level. Fukuhara however has fought twice since his loss, beating Prabpram Sithsaithong and scoring a 7 round technical draw with Akiyoshi Kanazawa.
Action in Japan comes from the Korakuen Hall as we get a much anticipated rematch between Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (9-1, 5) and former challenger Kotatsu Takehara (10-9-3, 4). When the two men met last year Fujimoto was fortunate to retain his title with a tight win though one that he did deserve. By the time of the final bell however the champion was exhausted and the challenger seemed to know that he could have won had he not started so slowly.
As well as the title fight we expect a trio of 8 rounders which are being given an extra little incentive. Dubbed "KO challenge bouts" the fighters will be trying to win bonuses for winning the bout inside the distance. The prizes are staggered so that if a fighter scores a quick they are rewarded with a bigger payment than if they score a late win.
The first of those KO challenge bout will see the Japanese ranked Daisuke Sakamoto (8-8-1, 4) battle against the light punching Shiro Saito (7-4-1, 2). Although the bout is a KO challenger contest we think the promoter may have been mischievous with this bout likely to go the distance considering neither guy is a big puncher and neither has looked that frail so far into their career.
Another KO challenger bout will feature recent Japanese Featherweight title challenger Yuki Ogata (19-1-1, 3) taking on Kentaro Yamada (8-4-1, 6). Ogata is the better boxer and proved his toughness by going into the 10th round last time out against the heavy handed Satoshi Hosono. Yamada might get stopped if Ogata really is driven by the incentive of the bonus though we'd not be shocked to see Ogata cruising to a clear decision win.
The final KO challenger bout is a rematch between Kenji Kubo (4-2-1, 2) and Kota Sato (9-5-2, 4). The two men fought to an 8 round draw in January in a very competitive contest though neither will be hoping to hear the final bell this time around considering the KO bonus on offer.
Prior to the KO challenge bouts fans will see former OPBF title challenger Yuki Nasu (23-8, 16) battle against Filipino visitor Jonathan Ligas (8-5-1, 1). Nasu is coming in to this bout on the back of back-to-back defeats, including one against Rocky Fuentes in an OPBF title bout, though has fought at a much higher level than Ligas, who has won his last 4 at a very low level.
Another of note takes place in Belarus as Kazahkstan's heavy hitting Zhanat Zhakiyanov (22-1, 15) takes on unbeaten Georgian Gagi Edisherashvili (7-0, 6) for the vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Bantamweight title. Zhakiyanov was last seen knocking out Karim Guerfi with a thunderous shot back in April and we'd expect something similar here though we don't know a great deal about the Georgian.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)