Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The biggest card of the week sees attention turn to Australia, for a major Lightweight title rematch between Devin Haney and George Kambosos. The main event doesn't involve an Asian fighter, but one of the main support bouts does, and it's an incredible notable one.
The bout in question will see two world ranked contenders face off as popular Australian Jason Moloney (24-2, 19) takes on highly experienced Thai fighter Nawaphon Kaikanha (56-1-1, 46), in what is a WBC world title eliminator, setting the winner up for a potential WBC Bantamweight title fight next year. The highly skilled Moloney will go in as the favourite, as he looks to secure a second world title shot following a loss to Naoya Inoue back in 2020. Since that loss he has reeled off 3 wins, included notable ones against Joshua Greer Jr and Aston Palicte. As for Nawaphon the Thai is looking to land his own second shot at a world title, having lost in a WBC Flyweight title bout back in 2017 against Juan Hernandez Navarrete. Since that loss Nawaphon has reeled off 20 wins, including wins over former world champions Amnat Ruenroeng, Sonny Boy Jaro and Kompayak Porpramook, though all 3 were very much faded forces by the time he faced them.
Art Center, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
As well as action in Australia, we're also set for a trio of shows from Japan. The most notable of those is from Kobe.
One of the main bouts here will see Hiroyuki Takahara (9-4, 6) look to bounce back from a recent loss as he takes on Kyohei Tonomoto (12-3-1, 5) in what should be a hotly contested bout. Takahara, from Kobe himself, has really turned his career around in recent years, winning 5 of his last 6, and he'll be desperate to get back to winning ways here. As for Tonomoto he showed that he was a decent fighter when he challenged OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu in 2020, since then he has reeled off 3 wins, and although he's the away fighter here he will know this is a great chance to continue building some career momentum.
The chief support bout will see Kazunori Yorimasa (6-7-4, 2) take on JBC #3 ranked Flyweight contender Shun Kosaka (17-8, 4). Kosaka, who has challenged for the OPBF and Japanese Flyweight titles, is really struggling to keep his career alive and has lost 5 of his last 7. Thankfully for him a win in May, against Sho Omote, has kept his career alive but another loss will see him losing his ranking and any chance of getting another big fight in the near future. As for Yorimasa he will come into this as a major under-dog, however he did score a win last time out, when he beat Kenta Taguchi, and he is 3-1-2 in his last 6, giving him more momentum than we'd expect given his career record.
A third bout of note will see Seira Kishida (6-1-2, 2) risking his Japanese Super Featherweight ranking as he battles Morihisa Iju (11-5, 9). Kishida suffered an early career loss, but has gone 5-0-2 since then, including a win over Seika Fukuda last time out. He's no world beater but the 24 year old is heading in the right direction and it wouldn't be any surprise at all to see him competing for a Japanese title in the future. Iju on the other hand is better than his record suggests, but unfortunately he's not fought in almost 3 years and has lost 3 of his last 4, so we do wonder what his hunger and desire is like coming in to this bout. At his best Iju could ask questions of Kishida, but we're not sure we'll see Iju even close to 100%.
Shiroyama Sky Dome, Ashikita-gun, Kumamoto, Japan
A second Japanese card, this time in Kumamoto, features something of a Japan Vs Taiwan show, with the two feature bouts both featuring locals taking on the visitors.
The nominal main event of the show will see professional novice Kazuhiro Imamura (2-1-1, 1) take on Yu Che Li (6-3-2, 4) in a 6 rounder. Imamura was last seen being stopped inside a round by the destructive Yoshiki Takei, towards the end of last year, and is now without a win since October 2019, going 0-1-1 since then. Although he had promise he was derailed by the pandemic and is now 30 years old and needs to make up for lost time after this bout. As for Li, the Taiwanese 29 year old debuted in 2016 but has lost his last 2 bouts, and like Imamura needs a win to get his career going again. Sadly for him this is a big on Japanese soil and he'd likely need a career best performance to take home a win.
The other Japan Vs Taiwan bout will see the once beaten Misaki Hirano (6-1, 2) take on Chuan Hsun Hong (3-2, 2). Hirano suffered his sole loss back in October 2020, and since then has reeled off 5 wins and won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, which he did back in February. He certainly has momentum on his side coming into this bout but this will be his first bout against a non-Japanese fighter. As for Hong, he has never faced a man with a loss, and won the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Featherweight title last time out. Notably though he has lost 2 of his last 3, and has only scored 1 win since the start of 2019.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
On a third show in Japan, this time in Aichi, we'll see the highly experienced Takahiro Murai (16-10-2, 5) take on Tom Hamaguchi (6-4-2) in an 8 rounder. Neither of thee two are JBC ranked, or heading towards a title bout, but they are well matched and they should make for a decent contest. Although both men are relatively limited, and both have bad looking records, it should be noted that both are better than the numbers indicate, with Murai having had a number of very close decisions go against him and with that in mind he should be favoured here.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Over in the Philippines fight fans will get the chance to see the once beaten Arvin Magramo (14-1-1, 9) take on veteran Jonathan Refugio (22-8-5, 8), in what looks like a good step up for Magramo. At one point Refugio was considered a very solid regional level fighter, and he has been in with something of a regional who's who including Melvin Jerusalem, Hiroto Kyoguchi, Taku Kuwahara, Knockout CP Freshmart, Merlito Sabillo and Wanheng Menayothin. Sadly though he has only notched a single win since the start of the pandemic and it's hard to imagine him having what's needed to over-come the fresher, hungrier Magramo.
City Plaza Yayoinokaze Hall, Izumi, Osaka, Japan
This coming Sunday is a quiet one in Asian boxing, but there is an interesting, though small, card in Osaka. The show certainly doesn't screen "must watch action", but there are reasons to be aware of it, with some decent match up on it.
The main event of this show will see the once beaten Yuki Nakajima (4-1-2, 4) take on 22 year old Aoba Mori (7-3-1, 1) in a really matched bout. Of the two men Nakajima is the more touted, and when he turned professional there was a lot of fuss about him, though he has struggled recently and is 2-2-1 in his last 5 bouts, with draws in his last two bouts. Mori on the other hand, who is also 2-2-1 in his last 5, is 22 years old and had no real hype behind him but did impress in 2019, before losing to Yasuhiro Kanzaki into he West Japan Rookie of the Year. Coming into this both men need a win, and we suspect they'll put on a great battle here.
In a notable supporting bout Retsu Kosaka (10-7, 4) takes in JBC ranked Featherweight Kyohei Tonomoto (11-3-1, 5) in what could be something of a thriller. Kosaka, who holds a win over Ryo Sagawa, was once well regarded as a hopeful in Japan, but has struggled in recent years and has lost his last 3 and 5 of his last 7. He needs a win if he's going to get his career back on track. Tonomoto on the other hand has won his last 2 following a 2020 loss to Satoshi Shimizu and will be looking to keep that momentum rolling here as he looks to move towards a another title bout. Given how fun Tonomoto is to watch this should prove to be a really fun fight, and see both men throwing some huge leather.
One other bout on this card worth being aware of is the debut of 22 year old hopeful Taketo Yamahara (0-0), who debuts in a 6 round B Class bout against Mikado Konishi (6-5, 4). As an amateur Yamahara went 29-16 and was ranked #1 in Japan, with some being really excited about his debut. Sadly for him he doesn't have a major gym behind him, but it will be interesting to see his development over the coming years. As for Mikado he has lost his last 3, but had been matched hard against the likes of Kaiki Yuba and Ken Osato. On paper this is an easy match up for Yamahara, but we expect Konishi to genuinely test him here.
Grosse Freiheit 36, St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany
As well as the action in Japan, we'll also see some interesting female action in Germany as unbeaten Thai youngster Phannarai Netisri (10-0, 4) takes on the hard hitting Crystal Garcia Nova (10-1, 10) in a bout for a trio of minor titles. The 21 year old Thai has impressed since her debut in 2019, and although she's gone the distance in her last 3 bouts she does have pop and will feel she has what it takes to win here. Nova on the other hand is a 22 year old from the Dominican Republic, who comes into the bout with a reputation as a dangerous fighter, though he competition so far has been really poor, and her one loss so far came in her only bout away from home. This could be really entertaining, though Netisri should be regarded as the favourite here.
City Plaza Yayoinokaze Hall, Izumi, Osaka, Japan
This coming Tuesday attention turns to Izumi, in Osaka, for a show from Mitsuki Promotions. It's not a big show by any stretch if the imagination, but it does have two bouts worthy of attention on it.
The first of the two bouts will see the once beaten Taichi Sugimoto (6-1-1, 1) look to bounce back from his first defeat, which came in the All Rookie of the Year final in February. The promising Sugimoto isn't being given a gimme here, as he takes on the under-rated, and rugged, Taiga Higashi (6-5, 2). Higashi is no world beater, but he's tough, he comes to win and he has been proving himself to be a good test for Japanese prospects, such as Kazuki Nakajima, Kantaro Juri and Yusuke Mine. Sugimoto should be good enough to win, but he'll certainly have to work for his victory against Higashi.
The main event of the show will see former OPBF title challenger Kyohei Tonomoto (10-3-1, 4) take on Takaaki Kanai (9-9, 4). This will be Tonomoto's second bout since his 2020 loss to Satoshi Shimizu, in a bout that saw Tonomoto impress despite being stopped in 7 rounds by the hard hitting Shimizu. As for Kanai he has been stopped in his last 2, and is 2-6 in his last 8. It's fair to say Kanai has been selected as a bit of a patsy for Tonomoto who should pick up the win here, relatively easily.
December 19th-Gaballo gets big fight, Kudaka and Ohashi clash in Osaka and Teerachai fights at 175lbs!
This coming Saturday is one that has seen a whole host of changes to what we were supposed to get, but still managed to deliver a decent day of boxing, even if two of the fights that we most wanted to see were cancelled. It's still a day that promises plenty of action and fingers crossed gives us a great great final weekend before Christmas.
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
The show that the most changes was PBC's show in Uncasville, which was supposed to see two bouts featuring Filipino's in major bouts.
Originally we had expected to see Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) battle Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12), though Oubaali tested positive for Covid19 in November and then Donaire got a positive test in December, though it does seem like his was a false positive. As a result both of those men are off the show.
As a result of the positive tests we will now see unbeaten Filipino Reymart Gaballo (23-0, 20) take on Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12) for the interim WBC Bantamweight title, in a genuinely mouth watering match up, put on on short notice. Gaballo is looking to announce himself as the next big star of the Philippines and has the power, speed and style to genuinely make a name for himself at the top level. Rodriguez on the other hand is a former IBF champion who was last seen in the ring being stopped in 2 rounds by Naoya Inoue. Since that loss Rodriguez has genuinely had no luck at all, and we do wonder what his mental state his coming into this bout.
Although Gaballo took this bout on short notice he had been set to fight on the show anyway, with the Filipino scheduled to face Jose Velasquez (28-6-2, 19) for the WBA "interim" Bantamweight title before replacing Donaire in the main event, so he should be in great shape for this bout.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Over in Osaka we again see a card that had one main event planned for it, before changes had to be made, and end up getting a different bout that had already been postponed twice.
Originally we were set to get a WBC Light Flyweight title fight here, with Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) defending his title against Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20). That bout was cancelled when Kenshiro was contacted about a drunken incident in the summer, scrapping the bout at relatively short notice.
Sadly instead of the world title bout headlining the show we will instead see 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-4, 11) headline the event in a bout against the once beaten Tetsuro Ohashi (7-1-1, 2). the 35 year old Kudaka, also known as Hiroyuki Hisataka, is a true veteran of the sport having debuted back in 2002, and has been in with a who's who of the sport, including Tomonobu Shimizu, Takafumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Hugo Fidel Cazares, Omar Andres Narvaez and Takuma Inoue. Sadly in recent years Kudaka's career has been catching up with him and he's scored just 1 win in his last 6. Ohashi on the other hand is a 22 year old looking to bounce back from an 8th round KO loss to Suzumi Takayama last year. Although he lost there he is still very well regarded as a prospect and did win the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Flyweight.
In a supporting bout we'll see recent OPBF title challenger Kyohei Tonomoto (9-3-1, 4) take on Kimihiro Nakagawa (7-4-2, 3), in what should be a really good, 50-50 type bout between two men each looking to pick up a win to end the year with. Tonomoto showed good ability in his July loss to Satoshi Shimizu, but lacked the power needed to get Shimizu's respect, despite the loss we are looking forward to seeing him in action. Nakagawa on the other hand is riding pretty following an upset loss against Yosuke Kawano in April 2019 and will be looking to build some momentum after 20 months away from the ring.
The real one to make a note of on this show is the rescheduled match up between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) and Shohei Omori (21-3, 16), which is now on it's third date. The bout is a massive step up for the talented, and touted Nishida, who looks like he is potentially the future of the Mutoh Gym and someone that MTK's Japanese arm will be very hopeful of. Omori on the other hand is former world title challenger who will be looking to salvage his faltering career. For Nishida the bout is massive risk-reward, and he will likely enter as the under-dog, but a win would put him right in the domestic and regional title mix. For Omori a loss is unthinkable, and he needs a win. A really big match up, despite the issues surrounding it.
For those wanting to watch this card, it appears it will be shown live on Boxing Real.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
We also get action in Thailand, as TL Promotions put on their last show of 2020.
The main event here is a weird one as Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (21-6, 14) takes on former Welterweight contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (43-1, 31), aka Tewa Kiram, for the vacant WBA Asia Light Heavyweight title. Teerachai, best known for his bout with Lucas Matthysse, has no right fighting at 175lbs, though he should look in much better physical shape than the 32 year old Chaloemporn, who is only 5'6" and has looked very chubby when competing as a Middleweight. On paper not a bad bout, though we do, genuinely, wonder how the men will look at Light Heavyweight.
For those wanting to watch this it will be aired on Thairath.
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