Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday attention turns Korakuen Hall once again as we get a Japanese title fight and a relatively notable under-card.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) seek his first defense as he takes on the unlucky Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4). Sawada won the title earlier this year, with a 5th round technical decision win over Kenshin Oshima, in what was his second shot at the belt. The talented and technically very solid Sawada has long been under-rated due to suffering back to back losses to begin his career, but has rebuilt remarkably going 15-0-2 since then. Sadly though he is now 34 and there's a good chance he's on the slide already. As for Tsutsumi he is one of the most unlucky fighters in the sport, having been denied against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa, with those bouts resulting in draws when he had a great shout of winning both. Amazingly this will be his first title bout, despite the competition he's faced, and he'll know this is his chance to win a title, and make for lost time, given he's been out of the ring since October 2020. Despite not having a win in over 3 years Tsutusmi should not be written off here, and the 26 year old is some one with the potential and the tools to go all the way. This will be high action, between two well trained fighters, and could well have some serious drama as both men can hurt fighters, with Tsutsumi being heavy handed and Sawada being a wonderfully clean and accurate puncher. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Sawada takes on unbeaten Tsutsumi
In the chief support bout former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) takes on Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3), in what really is a mismatch. The 34 year old Wake isn't the fighter he once was, and is a shadow of the fighter who claimed the OPBF Super Bantamweight title in 2013 and is even diminished from the fighter who won the Japanese title in 2018. Despite that he's a capable boxer-puncher who can turn it on, and should be levels above Mizutani. As for Mizutani the 33 year old had been a regularly on the lower part of the Japanese domestic scene, and whilst isn't a bum or anything like that, he's also not close to the level of Wake. Sadly we suspect Wake's retirement isn't too far off, but he should still have far, far too much for Mizutani at this point in time.
Further down the card we'll see former Japanese title challenger Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) take on Hiroshi Takaki (6-9-1, 2). Hanamori was last seen in August, when he was stopped in 3 rounds in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight against Gakuya Furuhashi, but that loss saw him make some new fans with a gutsy, exciting, aggressive and determined performance. We expect to see that same aggression here as he faced a rather limited 36 year old foe in the form of Takaki. This should be little more than a showcase for Hanamori, who is limited, but very fun.
One other bout on this card worth being aware of will see the durable Taiga Higashi (7-5-1, 2) take on unbeaten puncher Shori Umezu (7-0, 6). Although not a stand out fighter Higashi has served as something of a domestic tester for prospects, going rounds with the likes of Matcha Nakagawa, Kazuki Nakajima, Kantaro Juri and Yusuke Mine. He's not going to spring many upsets but he will make fighters work for their win. As for Umezu he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year back in February, in his only bout to go the distance, and we suspect he will be asked some tough questions here by Higashi.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The only Asian action this coming Saturday is Japanese card and it's a pretty interesting one, as well as their first live televised show of the new year.
The main event of the show will see Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-2, 6) and Kenshin Oshima (7-1-1, 3) battle for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title, the cursed title. The title was made vacant when Yusuke Suzuki vacated due to injury, and continued a rather long line of events which plagued the title in recent years, including Sawada fighting to a technical draw for the title last year. Both Sawada and Oshima are looking to win their first title, and this is a meaningful bout, despite the recent history of the Japanese Bantamweight title. It is also a match up that looks likely to be really interesting, with both of the men involved in this being talented boxers, with Sawada being the more polished and aggressive, but Oshima being a smart counter boxer. This might not being a thrilling all action bout, but it should be a really, really interesting technical chess match. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sawada and Oshima battle for Japanese national title!
For those wanting action, we should get some explosive action in the main support bout, as Kaiki Yuba (7-1-2, 5) take on Tetsuya Kondo (6-4, 4). For Yuba this will be his first bout since a dramatic loss last year year to Jin Sasaki in a Japanese Youth title fight. We suspect Yuba will be seeking to make a statement following that loss. Kondo on the other hand has lost his last two, but shouldn't be written off, and has the power to take Yuba out if he connects. This should be a dramatic bout, even if the action isn't the most intense.
Other bouts on this card include a very interesting match up between the touted Yuki Nakajima (4-1-2, 4), who comes into this on the back of two disappointing draws, and former Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (8-5-1, 2). This bout is one where both will feel it's a must win. Neither has been having good results recently, with Kameyama losing 3 of his last 4, and we expect this one to be a really good little war between two men each looking to advance their career with a much needed win.
One other bout worthy of some attention is a 6 rounder between the once beaten Ren Kobayashi (4-1-1, 2) and the unbeaten Shinba Yamaguchi (1-0-1, 1). Yamaguchi, a second generation fighter, is the son of former WBA Light Flyweight world champion Keiji Yamaguchi, and looked really explosive on his debut, before being held to a draw in his second pro bout. Sadly he's been out of the ring for close to 2 years due to the ongoing pandemic. Kobayashi on the other hand started his career with 3 straight wins but is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and has struggled for form, though did fight twice last year and will be hoping his recent activity will prove vital for him here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day in a row we get title action at Korakuen Hall, this time with a great show from Dangan, who give us a brilliant double header and a solid supporting bout.
The main event will be a rematch as Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-2, 6) and Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-4, 4) face off foe the Japanese Bantamweight title, in a very interesting match up. These two men fought earlier this year, and Sawada managed to drop Sadatsune, before a headclash early in round 2 forced the bout to be halted with both men suffering brutal cuts, and left us with a technical draw. This time we suspect both men will be more cautious than they were back in July, especially Sadatsune who looked like he had no answers to the speed and accuracy of Sadawa. Aged 33 this could be Sawada's last chance, though given how round 1 of their first fight went, he needs to go into this as a clear favourite. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Sadatsune and Sawada go again for Japanese Bantamweight title
The other title bout is arguably an even better match up as the once beaten Tsubasa Koura (15-1, 10) takes on Yudai Shigeoka (3-0, 2) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, which was vacated by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka. The 27 year old Koura was once tipped as a serious prospect, and a man with the potential to win a world title. With wins against Yuto Takahashi, Jaysever Abcede, Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka he is clearly a talent, but he looked very poor in 2019, when he was stopped in a huge upset against Lito Dante, and has only fought 3 rounds since that loss, beating Ariston Aton in early 2020. Shigeoka on the other hand has looked since his 2019 debut and holds not only a win over Lito Dante, but also Ryu Horikawa, and has shown a brilliant combination of skills, power, heart, and desire. On paper this is a huge step up for Shigeoka, who is fighting in a bout scheduled for more than 8 rounds for the first time, but he'll go in full of confidence. This really could be something very special, and the styles of the two fighters should gel really well. Our in depoth preview of this bout can be read here Tsubasa Koura and Yudai Shigeoka clash for WBO Asia Pacific title!
In a solid supporting bout the JBC ranked Ryohei Arakawa (7-4-1, 3) will take on Naoki Kabayama (5-4-3, 1). The 32 year old Arakawa is certainly nothing special, but he is better than his record suggests and is best know in Japan for his 2019 loss to upcoming Naoya Inoue opponent Aran Dipaen. Kabayama on the other hand is better than his record suggests and has gone 2-1-2 in his last 5. Neither of these two are likely to fight for domestic, or regional honours, but together they should make for a compelling bout over 8 rounds.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Monday the Korakuen Hall plays host to the next Japanese card, and the final one this month, as Dangan put on a pretty small, but very interesting, card.
The lower end of the card is pretty easy to over-look but the main event and chief support bouts are both really interesting bouts, which should see a lot of questions being answered about the men involved in them.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Mikio Sakai (3-0) battle against 42 year old veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13), in what is a good step forward for Sakai. The talented, but light punching, 27 year old is regarded as one of the best Middleweight hopefuls in Japan, and is a youngster with a lot of talent, but he really does need to show a bit more in terms of stopping power if he intends to face the likes of Kazuto Takesako for a title in 2022. Saito on the other hand is a true veteran, and also one of the most notable "nearly men" in Japanese boxing, having come up short in a host of title bouts. A loss for the veteran would likely end his career, and sadly we really can't see what he has to offer against Sakai here. Sakai should be too good, too quick and too smooth for the slower, older, veteran.
The main event will see Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) and Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-3, 4) battle for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title. Whilst neither of these two men are too well known outside of Japan these are both very talented, and criminally under-rated, fighters. Sawada was a stellar amateur and was thrown in deep when he began his professional career, losing his first two bouts, but since then has found his grove and gone unbeaten in 15 bouts whilst carving out a reputation as a very skilled fighter. At 33 it's hard to see him bouncing back from a loss here, and getting a second title shot. As for Sadatsune, a 23 year old, this bout is a chance for him to announce himself in a big way, following some unfortunate losses in 2019. He's young, hungry and, like Sawada, very over-looked. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Sawada and Sadatsune clash for Japanese title!
From where we're sat the main show this coming Saturday is in Tokyo, where we get 4 Japanese title eliminators on what is a mouth watering card. The winners will all get Japanese title shots at the 2020 Champion Carnival meaning these 4 bouts are very significant.
The lowest weight covered by these eliminators is Bantamweight, where the once touted Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) takes on the often under-rated Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6), in what could turn out to be a masterful lesson of boxing by Sawada or an all out brawl. This really does depend on just how desperate the two men get, and whether Tanaka's power will be too much for Sawada to handle with his skills. This could be a very, very good fight. A full preview of this bout can be found here Sawada and Tanaka look to book a place at the Champion Carnival
At Featherweight we'll see the very highly regarded Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) take on former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11). We suspect that Murata will have the speed, size and skills to deal with Ohashi, but the experienced man can genuinely bang and his KO earlier this year over Shun Wakabayashi showed just how heavy his hands are. This should be a win for Murata, but he really cannot get sloppy given the lights out power of his opponent. A full preview of this bout can be read here Maruta and Ohashi clash in Japanese eliminator
On paper we could end up with a bit of a boxing classic as Kazuki Saito (7-1, 5) and Izuki Tomioka (6-2-1, 2) meet in Japanese Lightweight title eliminator. Saito is a fantastic offensive boxer, but has real issues taking a shot, and that does actually make his fights even more fun to watch, and he is quite honest a bit of a glass cannon. Tomioka on the other hand is a very light punching boxer-mover and he managed to give Masayoshi Nakatani fits in an OPBF title fight. We expect skills to be on here. Our preview of this bout can be read here Saito and Tomioka clash in Lightweight eliminator!
The heaviest weight covered on this show is the Welterweight division, where former world title challenger Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) will take on Toshiro Tarumi (12-3-3, 6). On paper this doesn't look a great bout, with Obara having the edges in experience, power, and level of competition. It is worth noting however that Tarumi has momentum coming in to this, thanks to wins over Noriaki Sato and Shusaku Fujinaka during a 7 fight winning run. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Obara takes on little known Tarumi in Japanese eliminator
As well as the fantastic action in Japan we're actually being treat to a huge amount of fights spread across Asia, including a card from Kazakhstan.
The headline bout of this show will see the unbeaten Kanat Islam (26-0, 21) take on recent world title challenger Walter Kautondokwa (18-1,17), in what looks likely to be a very, very explosive bout. The unbeaten Kazakh will be fighting for the second time since returning from an injury that kept him out of the ring for close to 2 years. We say fighting for the but it's hard to call his 14 second demolition of Julio De Jesus a fight, more an assault. The 34 year old Kautondokwa, from Namibia, has only been beaten once and that in a WBO Middleweight world title fight against Demetrius Andrade, so he is tough, but it's a big ask for him to get a result in Kazakhstan.
Novice Kazakh prospect Nursultan Amanzholov (1-0) will look to build on his first professional win as he takes on 38 year old Polish foe Michal Banbula (13-31-4). At his very best Banbula was a criminally under-rated fighter who scored a win over Tony Oakey and a draw with Tony Jeffries. Sadly though Banbula has lost 5 of his last 6 and should pose little threat to someone like Amanzholov, who is a fully blown Heavyweight.
The pick of the bouts outside of Japan looks to be an excellent contest in China where we see two older fighters in action to keep their careers alive.
The bout in questions sees the once beaten local Wenfeng Ge (11-1, 6) take on former world champion Kompayak Porpramook (60-7, 41) for the WBO Global Flyweight title. The tough Ge is looking to bounce back from a TKO loss to Giemel Magramo earlier in the year, and that was a painful beating so we'll see what effect it has on his psyche and will to win. As for the Thai he has lost 2 of his last 3, but the former WBC Light Flyweight champion is still a nightmare for fighters willing to have a war with hi, and he should be viewed as a legitimate live under-dog here.
The chief support bout is a contest for the WBC Asian Boxing Silver Super Bantamweight title China's Chunlei Lin (9-3, 2) will battle against Indonesian Galih Susanto (17-9-1, 4). The 25 year old local, dubbed the "Black Dragon", has not proven a great deal yet and has lost to his 2 most notable opponents thus far, including a loss at home to Japan's Shun Wakabayashi. On the other hand Susanto is no world beater but is a bit better than his record suggests and may well expose Lin a little bit, before losing, likely on the cards.
A second Chinese card will see the unbeaten Xiang Li (5-0, 4) take on Japan's Takuya Ota (8-2-1, 6). The technically limited but hard hitting Li scored a solid win in January, or Arvin Young, and scored another in August over Do Jin Lee. So it's good to see him being active after a very slow start to his professional career, sadly though his competition doesn't appear to be improving through the year. Ota is nothing of a step up from the last couple of bouts for Li, but is still a capable fighter and he reached the Rookie of the Year final last year. We suspect this will be another win for Li, but another one where his flaws are made evident by the successes of his opponent.
A third show in China will be headlined by Mongolian Tsendbaatar Erdenebat (1-0), though sadly his opponent hasn't yet been announced for a bout in Shenzhen. Whilst no opponent is known at the time of writing for the Mongolian this is set to be a 10 rounder, which is very ambitious for the 2016 Olympian.
Yet another Chinese card will take place, with this one being headlined by unbeaten local Zhong Liu (14-0, 5) taking on Filipino John Kenan Villaflor (8-5-4, 2) in what looks like an interesting 8 rounder. The unbeaten local comes into this on the back of a big win over Jess Rhey Waminal and Villaflor will be in the ring looking to get revenge for his countryman.
A second bout of interest will see Chinese youngster Wuzhati Nuerlang (12-3, 10) look score his second win of 2019 as he takes on veteran Said Mbelwa (47-29-5, 31). This could be a good chance for the 23 year old Chinese fighter to shine against a very shop worn foe who has got over 80 career bouts and 12 career stoppage losses.
La Union, Philippines
On a lesser level we have a Filipino show in La Union, this show certainly doesn't have much in terms of names, but does have a couple of bouts that could end up being much better than they look on paper.
The heavy hitting 25 year old Arnel Baconaje (11-3, 9) will be up against fellow Filipino Jestoni Autida (12-11, 6). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given that Baconaje has gone 5-1 in his last 6, however Autida is a tough and capable fighter who has give Ryoichi Tamua, Ernesto Saulong and Jason Canoy very tough bouts in recent years. Baconaje is the favourite, but Autida a clear live under-dog.
Another potentially interesting match up will see Jules Victoriano (9-2, 6) take on Virgil Puton (17-13-2, 8), though this could also be a stinker. The 22 year old Victoriano was on a 9 fight winning before losing in Japan to Yoshimitsu Kimura in June, and we suspect he'll be confident of getting back to winning ways here. The 30 year old Puton was once a very, very capable opponent, but he is now 0-5-2 in his last 7 and has been stopped in 4 of those 7 bouts, and seems very much like he's a "shot" fighter. If Puton has anything left in the tank he could make this competitive, but the worry is that he's only a shell of the fighter he once was.
One other bout on this card will see IBF Bantamweight mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (29-2-1, 19) fight in a stay busy bout against Artid Bamrungauea (25-27, 23). The talented Filipino is the mandatory for the winner of the upcoming WBSS winner Bantamweight finish and this really is just a tick over against a heavy handed but very limited Thai foe. It's worth noting that in recent weeks Dasmarinas has been sparring with Takuma Inoue, and although this is only a low key fight he'll likely be wanting to impress.
In Bangkok fans are set for some low quality action.
In the most notable bout the UK's 48 year old Denise Castle (2-2, 2) will go up against Thailand's Sutthinee Bamrungpao (4-6) in a bout for the vacant WIBA Minmumweight title. The Thai fighter is the younger of the two but has suffered 6 stoppage losses in her 10 bout career and has never beaten a fighter with a winning record. Castle is well beyond her best years, which were spent outside of boxing, but we wouldn't be surprised if she did enough to take the win here. It's worth noting that both of Castles' losses have come in world title bouts, with the first coming to Momo Koseki, but she's done very little to derseve this fight with her last win being more than 5 years ago.
Also on this card we'll see rather odd WBC interim Asian Boxing Council silver Featherweight title bout between the limited Thai based Filipino Joel Kwong (4-9, 4) and the limited Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3), from Indonesia. We assumed the idea of the Silver titles was to get rid of the need for an interim belt, but an interim silver regional title fight between two guys with losing records is very, very hard to defend.
Staying in Asia we also have a small card in Singapore.
One of the main bouts will see unbeaten Malaysian fighter Adli Hafidz (7-0, 3) take on 40 year old Indonesian fighter Ramadhan Weriuw (18-11-1, 16) in a bout for the WBA Asia South Super Middleweight title. This really should be a very straight forward win for Hafidz, who is no world title challenger in the making but still a very capable fighter. It's worth noting that in 2016 Weriuw fought as a Welterweight and has no reason to be fighting as an out of shape, old Cruiserweight.
Local favourite Muhamad Ridhwan (13-2, 9) will also be on this show as he takes on Thai visitor Taweechai Juntarasuk (10-13, 6), who is 0-8 in fights outside of Thailand. This looks a mismatch on paper, and we suspect it will also be a mismatch in the ring, with Ridhwan looking to score a third straight win since back to back losses.
In the US we get a very even looking match up as 28 year old American Andy Vences (22-1-1, 12) takes on 25 year old Filipino Mark Bernaldez (19-2, 13). Vences began his career 20-0 but has struggled in recent bouts, going 2-1-1 in his last 4, and now needs to get his career back on track following his first professional loss, back in June to Albert Bell. Bernaldez on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 6, but is unbeaten the US, where his last 2 bouts have been held and does have a little big of momentum. We suspect the naturally bigger Vences will take the win, but this it the perfect time for Bernaldez to face him.
Whilst March has been packed with interesting bouts through the month one of the best takes place this coming Wednesday when Dangan put on their next show at the Korakuen Hall. It isn't a huge card, but it does have a brilliant main event, a pretty notable support bout and one of the most exciting Japanese prospects.
That really good main event will see Hironori Mishiro (6-0-1, 2) defending the OPBF Super Featherweight title against OPBF "silver" champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20), in what could be an excellent show case of boxing skills. Mishiro is one of the many rising hopefuls from the Watanabe gym and won the OPBF title in just his 6th fight, before fighting to a draw with Japanese national champion Masaru Sueyoshi in a unification bout. He's talented smooth in the ring, but lacks real fight changing power. Watanabe, from the Aoki gym, on the other hand is a true veteran, despite only being 30 years old, and is much, much better than his record suggests. This should be a brilliant match up and the winner will almost certainly be lined up for something big later this year. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mishiro and Watanabe to battle for OPBF crown!
The chief support bout sees Japanese ranked fighters clash, with Kyosuke Sawada (12-2-1, 6) and Keita Nakano (15-13-6, 5) facing off against each other. Obviously Sawada, who has won his last 8 and gone 12-0-1 after losing his first 2 bouts, is on the verge of a title fight and will know that a win here takes him one step closer to a shot at national gold. Nakano is better than his record suggests, but is 2-4-3 in his last 9 and has 1-3 in his last 4. Interestingly these two have fought before, fighting to a draw in 2016, but Sawada's career really has taken off since then, with his 8 straight wins.
Also on this card will be the very highly regarded Hayate Kaji (11-0, 9), who will be up against Filipino visitor Arnold Garde (10-6-3, 4). This looks like an interesting test for Kaji, but if he's on song he could make the bout look very easy, with Garde having been stopped several times already during his career, whilst fighting at a lower weight than Kaji's natural Super Flyweight.
The big action this coming Friday comes from Tokyo, with Boxingraise showing it live online. The card features a couple of title fights along with two very good looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Akinori Watanabe (36-7, 30) battle against Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) for the interim Japanese Light Middleweight title. For Watanabe this is a chance to claim another belt to his collection, adding to reigns as the Japanese, OPBF and PABA champion at Welterweight. Maruki on the other hand gets a third shot as national honours, having come up short against Yuki Nonaka and Nobuyuki Shindo. We're expecting this to be explosive, with both fighters having very heavy hands, and very exciting with the winner then being lined up to face Shindo, either at the end of this year or in early 2019.
The other title fight will see Japanese Mminimumweight champion Shin Ono (22-9-3, 5) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on youngster Riku Kano (13-3-1, 7). The Watanabe veteran won the title earlier this year when he defeated Ryoki Hirai and will be hoping to use the title to land another world title fight, after having come up short in bouts against Katsunari Takayama and Wanheng Menayothin. The 20 year old Kano has promised a lot, but losses to Takayama and Jerry Tomogdan have slowed his career and a poor performance here could see him written off, despite his youth.
One of the really good supporting bouts will see the in form Kyosuke Sawada (11-2-1, 6), who has won his last 7, taking on former Japanese title challenger Yosuke Fujihara (17-5, 4). Although Sawada struggled early in his career losing his first 2 bouts, he has has really turned things around and scored a career best win in May against Kinshiro Usui. As for Fujihara he's been out of the ring for almost a year but is a capable fighter and should be a good test for Sawada, albeit one that Sawada should pass as he continues his pursuit of a title fight.
Another supporting bout will see the hard hitting Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) take on the much lighter hitting Joe Tanooka (15-4-4, 1). Last time out Oshima was held to an unexpected draw by Nobuaki Kanazawa and he'll be looking to bounce back from that set back. As for Tanooka, who is one of the more pure boxers in Japan, he'll be looking to build on a good domestic win against Kenichi Watanabe. A really interesting match up against two polar opposites.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable card in Shenzhen, China, where were several local fighters will be taking on interesting tests.
On paper the best of the bouts will see unbeaten Chinese prospect Wenfeng Ge (10-0, 6) look to build on his 2017 win over Amnat Ruenroeng as he takes on once beaten Filipino Ivan Soriano (18-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO International Flyweight title. Whilst Ge is unbeaten, and coming in to this on the back of a huge win, it's worth noting that Soriano hasn't lost in over 8 years and will feel confident of picking up a win here. Coming in to this both men are and both will know that a win here will shoot them up the rankings towards a potential world title shot, and a potential show down with either Sho Kimura or Kosei Tanaka.
A second title fight will see the once beaten Ahatelike Muerzhabieke (7-1-1, 4) battle against Thailand's Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (18-5, 14) for the WBO China National Super Middleweight title. The Thai once promises a lot, and began his career with 17 straight wins but has proven to be a huge disappointment since then, losing 5 of his last 6 by stoppage. Aged 19 this is a big step up in class for Muerzhabieke but he's won his last 5 and appears to be on a good run to build his confidence coming in to this bout.
In a battle of novices fans will see Bo Wang (1-0, 1) take on Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0). Wang needed just a round to win his debut in June 2016, but hasn't fought in an officially sanctioned professional bout since that contest, more than 2 years ago. Interestingly Podkolzin made his debut in January 2017, in a 10 rounder, but apparently hasn't fought since. This is an interesting match up, about as interesting as you can get between two men with 1-0 records.
This coming Friday fight fans in Tokyo get the chance to see the next show in the Asign Bee series of shows, and it looks like a genuinely great show on paper, littered with notable domestic fighters and a number of good match ups.
The main event is the pick of the bouts and will see the hard hitting Keita Kurihara (10-5, 9) take on the unbeaten Tetsuya Watanabe (3-0, 2). The 25 year old Kurihara lost 4 of his first 7 but has since gone 7-1 (6) with his only loss during that run coming against the very talented Hiroaki Teshigawara. Since that loss to Teshigawara we've only seen Kurihara once, but that was an impressive stoppage win over Ryan Lumacad. Watanabe debuted last year and despite winning his first 3 bouts in a combined 9 rounds this is a huge step up in class for him, with his opposition so far doing little to really show how good he actually is. A win for Watanabe would put him in the title mix, but this is a huge ask for the unbeaten man.
In the co-feature we'll see 38 year old veteran Kinshiro Usui (28-6, 12) battle against Kyosuke Sawada (10-2-1, 5) in another really good looking match up. The veteran has lost 2 of his last 3, both to former world title challengers in Hisashi Amagasa and Hidenori Otake, but showed that he was still a very good fighter over 8 rounds in both of those bouts. Usui isn't a world beater, by any stretch, but is a very good domestic level fighter who will be a nightmare to Japanese level fighters at 122lbs. Sawada turned professional with some promise, but back to back losses to Yusuke Suzuki and Hiroaki Teshigawara saw him quickly fall to 0-2. Since then however he has rebuilt brilliantly, defeating the likes of Gaku Aikawa, Kenta Okumura and Yuta Horiike. The bout is pretty much a 50-50 and a win for either man will be significant, with both risking their JBC rankings here.
A less well matched domestic bout will see Naoki Mochizuki (13-3, 8) face off with Hideyuki Watanabe (8-10-3, 6). On paper this is a bit of a mismatch, though with Mochizuki losing 3 of his 2, including his last bout, we can't really complain about him having an easier bout, especially as this will be a rematch of a razor thins 2015 bout. In their first bout Mochizuki took a raor thin win, and has since gone 5-2 (1), losing to Keisuke Nakayama and Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking in competitive bouts. Sadly for Watanabe he has gone 0-2 since losing to Mochizuki and will be looking to avoid a 5th straight loss here.
Another promising fighter looking to bounce back from a recent loss is the hard hitting Kai Chiba (7-1, 6), who was stopped last time out by Brian Lobetania. The once beaten Chiba will be up against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-4-2, 7) in what could be a potential banana skin. The 25 year old Chiba looked really promising in 2017, going 4-0 (3) for the year with notable wins over Ikuro Sadatsune and Ryo Matsubara putting nim on the map, but his loss to Lobetania has slowed his ascent and shown defensive and mental flaws. As for Tabuchi he has lost 3 of his last 4, but has been mixing at a high level with losses to Ryohei Takahashi, Hiroyuki Kudaka and Yu Kawaguchi. Interestingly Tabuchi has had a lengthy break from the ring and will likely be looking to return as a rejuvenated man here in what could be a very exciting domestic bout.
In another bout we'll see see multi-time title challenger Koshinmaru Saito (23-9-2, 13) take on a Thai foe as he attempts to earn one more shot before his career comes to an end.
This coming Sunday we a small show in Japan.
The Japanese show will take place at the Marina Hop in Hiroshima, with the two main bouts both being pretty competitive, at least on paper.
The main event will see Hironori Miyake (8-5-1, 1) take on Japanese ranked Bantamweight Kyosuke Sawada (9-2-1, 5). The 29 year old Miyake struggled early in his career, losing 3 of his first 4, but has managed to go 7-2-1 since then and has got some momentum coming into this bout. Sawada has also got momentum coming in to this bout, going 9-0-1 following two losses to begin his career, to the talented pairing of Yusuke Suzuki and Hiroaki Teshigawara no less! His 10 bout unbeaten run includes notable domestic wins over Gaku Aikawa,Kenta Okumura and Yuta Horiike. This should be a really good match up.
Another interesting match, albeit at a much lower level, will see Takayuki Teraji (8-14-1, 4) take on Kenta Yokoe (6-13-2, 2), with both men looking at this bout as a chance to claim a rare win. Teraji scored a rare win last time out, ending a 3 fight losing run, but has now scored just 4 wins in 5 years. Saying that however he's not been matched easily and has come up against Sho Kimura, Ryuya Yamanaka, Reiya Konishi and Kenichi Horikawa in recent years. Yokoe has been slightly moe success over the last few years, but not significantly and has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6, with his most recent bout being a 3rd round stoppage to Takumi Sakae.
This coming Sunday is a relatively quiet day in Asian boxing circles, but there will be 3 different low key cards. The most interesting of which is from Yamaguchi.
The headline bout from this card sees former OPBF Lightweight title challenger Accel Sumiyoshi (9-4-2, 3) take on the returning veteran Motoki Sasaki (42-11-1, 26), who looks to end his latest retirement from the sport. Although the 32 year old Sumiyoshi does have a less than great record he has been matched incredibly hard and is in the form of his life, having gone 5-0-1 (2) in his last 6. The 42 year old retired earlier this year, following a loss to Genki Ishikawa, but has ended his retirement for this bout, and one final run.
In and under-card bout on this card fans will see Jump Ikeo (6-5-3, 4) take on the Japanese ranked Bantamweight contender Kyosuke Sawada (8-2-1, 5). Ikeo has had mixed results through his career, and whilst limited he can hit hard enough to hurt opponents and could be a decent test for Sawada. As for Sawada he has gone 8-0-1 after back-to-back defeats early in his career, and he is certainly showing signs of going places with his career.
Another under-card bout will see the once beaten Change Hamashima (9-1-1, 3) take on unbeaten puncher Kudura Kaneko (5-0, 4) in what could turn out to be the best bout of the card. Although fighting for the 12th time Hamashima will be looking to make a point here in a notable step up in class. As for Kaneko the bout sees him hunting a third straight stoppage win.
A second Japanese card takes place in Gifu and will be headlined by local hopeful Ruito Saeki (6-1, 1) battling against Thai visitor Rungniran Korat Sport School (5-13, 4). The local fighter is coming in to this one on the back of successive wins, including a stoppage against Kevin Mendoza, but this could be an interesting step up to 8 rounds for Saeki. The Thai might not have a flattering record but has won 5 of his last 6, following a strange 0-12 start to his professional career.
As well as the cards in Japan there will also be one in the Philippines.
On paper the main event is an 8 rounder between Rey Ramos (7-8-2, 3) and Cristian Abila (16-22-5, 5), who are well matched, but both limited. Coming in to this Ramos has won just 1 of his last 5, though it was an interesting win over Landy Cris Leon. As for Abila he has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, though is better than his record suggests and did defeat Vergel Nebran back in July. This should be a decent contest, despite the records of the two men.
In a more interesting looking match on paper, fans will see Jason Dogelio (6-4, 2) take on the promising Kevin Aseniero (6-0, 3). The unbeaten man may be favoured on paper, but this is a genuine step up for the undefeated 23 year old prospect, who has gone the distance in his last 3 bouts. Dogelio isn't a proven quantity himself, but has never been stopped and could give Aseniero a decent test here.
Aseniero isn't the only unbeaten hopeful on this card as Joseph Ambo (5-0, 4), Prince Andrew Laurlo (6-0, 4) and Denmark Quibido (4-0, 3) look to continue their perfect starts as they take on limited domestic foes, and really should all pick up straight forward wins.