Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
After a low profile Rookie of the Year card on July 12th in Kariya we see higher level action return to Japan this coming Thursday as we get the first card in Tokyo since February. Thankfully this is actually worthy of attention, despite only having 2 bouts on it. This is a card where quality comes first, and the two bouts we get are both very solid match ups.
The first of the bouts on the show will see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) defending his title against Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4), in what will be Shimizu's 5th defense of the belt and Tonomoto's first bout at Oriental level. Shimizu won the belt way back in October 2017 and looked like he was going to quickly rise through the rankings, but a 6th round TKO loss at Super Featherweight last July put a stop to that and injuries delayed his return. Now aged 34 he can't afford another set back if he's to get a world title shot. Whilst Shimizu had a nightmare 2019 Tonomoto had a solid year winning, and defending, the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. Aged 25 Tonomoto will know that a win here will put him on the boxing map, but he will also know that he's been chosen as a supposedly safe opponent for Shimizu, given the champion's inactivity and recent injury woes. Our preview of this bout can be read here Shimizu returns to Featherweight to defend OPBF title!
The other title bout on this show is a Champion Carnival bout and will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) defending his belt against mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5). This bout was originally supposed to take place in March before being delayed, originally due to Inoue being injured, to May which it's self was delayed by the on going global situation. As a stand alone bout this is an excellent match up with Inoue, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma, looking to extend his reign and Nagata looking to claim a title in his second title fight. Style wise we're expecting this to be a really fun contest, with Nagata pressuring the more naturally skilled champion, who will stand and fight in spurts. Although we feel the champion will have too much we do expect this to be a very, very good fight and the ideal type of bout to headline the first Korakuen Hall boxing show in months. Our preview of this bout can be read here Koki Inoue returns to the ring to take on mandatory challenger!
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Former OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (30-15, 15) looks to end his 2 fight losing run as he takes on former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25). Although Yap is fighting above his best weight, and has never really refound the form he had when he was fighting out of the Muto Gym, he's going to be alive under-dog here against the big punching Marriaga. The heavy handed Marriaga is the naturally bigger man, and has only lost at world level, but there are questions about his mental attitude after his 2017 bout with Vasyl Lomachenko.
On the same card will be fellow Filipino John Vincent Moralde (23-3, 13), who will be up against Mexican Alexis del Bosque (17-5, 9) in what looks like a very interesting match up and an even contest on paper.
Through December every weekend seems to have something of note happening in the wonderful world of Asian boxing.
Thankfully for those who need a bit of a break this coming weekend looks like the best on to take some time to yourself, but is still a pretty interesting weekend with a female world title fight, a Japanese youth title fight and a GAB title fight all coming on Saturday!
The biggest of the shows takes place in Kagoshima, where we see a female world title fight, as well as domestic stalwart take on a Thai visitor and a Rookie of the Year winner taking on an unbeaten Thai puncher.
The world title fight will see Japanese veteran Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) make her second defense of the WBO female Light Flyweight title as she takes on Filipino challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1, 5), who gets her third shot at a world title. The 35 year old Tsunami has held this title since March 2018, but has only defended it once due to challenging Naoko Fujioka for the WBA Flyweight title earlier this year, and fighting to a draw in a fantastic 10 round back and forth. Filipino fighter Pagauan, also 35 years old, has failed in 2 other title challenges, both in Japan. In the first she lost to Nao Ikeyama, in a bout for the WBO Atomweight title, before a headclash with Kumiko Seeser Ikehara saw her WBO female Minimumweight title fight end in a technical draw. Although Pagaduan will be hungry, she will be up against it here. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tsunami and Pagaduan clash in WBO world title fight!
In a supporting bout Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6), one of the most over-looked fighters in Japan, will take on Thai visitor Sanchai Yotboon (6-3, 6). Although Haruguchi's record is patchy at best his last 4 defeats have come to current Japanese champion Norihito Tanaka, current OPBF champion Lito Dante, former world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara and former world title challenger Riku Kano, and he wasn't embarrassed in any of those bouts. As for Yotboon he is 0-3 in Japan and was actually the debut opponent for Ginjiro Shigeoka in September 2018. Incidentally Yotboon was stopped by another fighter on this card, Sora Takeda, back in April.
Talking about Sora Takeda (5-1, 1) the 2018 Rookie of the Year winner is in an interesting bout of his own as he takes on unbeaten Thai puncher Phanuwit Siriwong (7-0, 6). Since winning Rookie of the Year last December Takeda hasn't really done much, with his sole bout being his 3rd round KO win over Yotboon. The 18 year old Siriwong on the other hand has notched up 6 stoppage wins this year and will be in Japan looking to score his biggest win to date.
A second Japanese show is headlined by a Japanese Youth title bout, as Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2, 4) looks to make his first defense of the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. The under-rated Tonomoto, who suffered early career losses to Shingo Kawamura and Reiya Abe, has won his last 4 and took the title last time out with a decision win over Hikaru Matsuoka. On the other hand the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (9-1, 2) is on a 7 fight winning run, including a credible win over Noboru Osato back in April. This isn't a bout that will get much attention but could end up being a very compelling bout for those in Kishiwada. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tonomoto to defend Youth crown against Motohashi!
As well as the action in Japan we're also set for some Filipino action, with the most notable of two Filipino cards coming from Cebu.
Sadly this card isn't a particularly strong one, with the only bout of real interesting being the main event, which will pit the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (18-2, 15) against former OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (20-9-1, 6). This should be a good test for Santisima, but Dacquel has lost his last 3, and suffered his first stoppage loss last time out. Santisima will be favoured, but this is still a solid test for him at this stage in his career.
In the main support bout Peter Apolinar (10-1, 7) will take on former OPBF title challenger Lloyd Jardeliza (8-10-4, 6). Although Jardeliza did once fight for an OPBF title, way back in December 2015, he has gone 1-5-1 in his last 7 and appears to have essentially given up actually trying to win fights
On the under-card the unbeaten Regie Suganob (3-0, 1) will take on Rolly Dorong (1-1- 2) and Go Hosaka (4-0, 3) takes a good step up in class to battle Boyce Sultan (10-12-1, 5). These bouts will see Hosaka and Suganob fighting their third bout in the space of 5 months, though it's unclear on just how much ALA can really push them at this moment in time.
Metro Manila, Philippines
There will also be a small card in Metro Manila, which will be headlined by a bout between Cris Paulino (20-4, 8) and Mateo Handig (15-20, 9), who clash for the GAB Super Flyweight title. On paper this should be an easy win for Paulino. Although limited the 26 year old dubbed "The King" is a solid fighter on the Filipino scene, and all 4 of his losses have come to fighters above domestic level. On the other hand Handig has picked up just 2 wins since he upset Katsunari Takayama back in 2012, going 2-15 in his last 17. A mismatch to say the least.
This coming Sunday our attention turns to Hyogo for a title triple header from the Sanda hotel. The show, put on by Taisei, isn't a huge one, but does have some pretty interesting match ups on it, and a lot of young talent.
The main event will see former world title challenge Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) take on Indonesian visitor Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a bout for the WBC Youth Minimumweight title. The once very highly regarded Kano has struggled in recent bouts, losing last year to Shin Ono and has also been beaten in recent years to Jerry Tomogdan and Katsunari Takayama. The Indonesian visitor is no world beater, but he has shared the ring with Wanheng Menayothin and Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, so it is well experienced. This should be a straight forward win for Kano, but Marganti is expected to take Kano plenty of rounds. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Kano and Marganti battle for WBC Youth crown!
A second title fight on this card will see JBC Youth Featherweight champion Hikaru Matsuoka (15-4-3, 2) make his first defense, and take on the under-rated Kyohei Tonomoto (8-2, 4) in a pretty tough match up. Coming in to this Matsuoka has won his last 3, including a technical decision for the title last December, but has been stopped in 3 of his 4 losses and his chin is thought to be rather shaky. Tonomoto isn't a big puncher but is a very capable fighter who reached the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year, losing to Reiya Abe, and he is clearly a very live challenger. We're expecting a very hotly contested bout here. A preview of this clash can be read here Matsuoka and Tonomoto battle for Featherweight crown!
Another Japanese youth title fight will see Flyweight champion Arata Matsuoka (7-6, 4) defend his title against Jukiya Washio (7-2-1, 2), with Matsuoka making his first defense. The 24 year old champion has turned around a really poor start to his professional career, winning 5 of his last 6, but those wins have typically come against limited opposition. The 21 year old challenger has won 5 of his last 7, but this will be his first 8 round bout and his first contest for a title. The preview of this bout can be read here Youth Flyweight king Matsuoka takes on Washio