Tomigusuki Civic Gymnasium, Okinawa, Japan
The most notable of two Japanese cards this coming Sunday comes form Okinawa, where we see one of the hottest prospects in world boxing look to pick up his second professional title, and we also see several interesting, albeit lower level, under-card bouts.
The main event of the card will be that aforementioned title bout, as the much touted Ginjiro Shigeoka (6-0, 5) takes on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-2-1, 7) for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. The hard hitting and explosive Shigeoka has seen his rapid career ascent slow, significantly, since the start of the pandemic, but a win here against Nakashima will open some significant doors for him, and his focus will be on winning here and then begin to move towards a world title fight later in the year. He will however have to make sure to not over-look Nakashima, a capable domestic level fighter who's having his second shot at the Japanese title, after having previously fallen short to current world champion Masataka Taniguchi. This should be a show case for the unbeaten man, but he will have to show Nakashima some respect in there. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Shigeoka goes for domestic gold as he faces Nakashima
In rare Japanese Welterweight bout we'll see professional novice Seeser Minagawa (1-0) take on the under-sized New Thunder Teruya (7-9-1, 4). Minagawa made his debut last year at Super Middleweight, and will be dropping down to Welterweight for the bout, whilst Teruya's last fight was at Super Featherweight and he'll be skipping up the weights. Sadly for Teruya he has been stopped in his last two bouts, and will be expected to take a bit of a pounding here in a very odd one, that should be little more than a brief work out for Minagawa, who was a very solid amateur, going 70-17 (36) in the unpaid ranks. Interestingly Teruya has changed his ring name a little bit for this fight, adding "New" to it, sadly for him, it's hard to imagine even a "New" Teruya having any chance at all here.
Another under-card bout will see 34 year old puncher Taiki Henzan (5-1, 4) take on Ryan Joshua Yamamoto (4-3, 1) in the other Welterweight bout. Coming in to this Henzan has a JBC ranking, but at his age their potential for him to be a domestic contender is slim. Despite that he is dangerous at this low level, and will be looking to make his power count. Yamamoto on the other hand is a natural Lightweight moving up in weight, on the back of 3 straight wins. He's the naturally smaller man, but at 28 he's also coming into his physical prime and will feel confident he has the youth needed to inflict Henzan's second professional loss.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
A second Japanese card comes from Aichi, and although this is less notable than the one in Okinawa, it's still a pretty solid one, with three bouts worthy of some attention.
The main event will see youngsters clash as former Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight Champion Tom Mizokoshi (8-3-1, 4) takes on Ryuya Nihei (6-2-1, 1) in a really solid looking bout between two men in their early 20's. The 22 year old Mizokoshi is an exciting talent, with a lot of flair, but his chin has let him down and he's been stopped in 2 of his last 3, including his last bout. With a tweak to his style, and a more defensive mindset, he could go on to win national honours in the future, but he has taken a lot of punishment already in his career. Nihei on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, but the 23 year old is a talented fighter, and a real handful from a technical perspective. It's worth nothing that Mizokoshi's team have matched him with someone who is a genuine non-puncher here, but Nihei should provide a good test of Mizokoshi's boxing skills.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a TKO loss, like Mizokoshi, is the big punching Mammoth Kazunori (6-5-1, 6), as he takes on Takuto Mino (4-1, 1). Kazunori is very much a flawed puncher, and he's lost his last 3, but he's incredibly dangerous and the sort of fighter who can knock people out cold with a single shot, as we saw against Lerdchai Chaiyawed. Sadly he appears limited, and can be out boxed, but with his power he's always going to be a threat. Mino on the other hand is a non-puncher, looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to Daichi Hirai, and will feel his movement, skills, timing and size advantage will be the difference maker here. Interestingly Mizokoshi will be the much smaller man in the ring, but we suspect his power will still be dangerous at this level, even at Bantamweight.
In another good supporting bout we'll see Takatora Suzuki (4-1-2) take on Hyogo Kimura (6-3-1, 1), in a decent looking 6 rounder. Of the two men Kimura is the more well known, coming runner up in the All Japan Rookie of the Year 13 months ago, and whilst he's without a win in 3 bouts he shouldn't be written off here, given what we've seen of him so far in his young career. Suzuki on the other hand is a local fighter who has never lost in Aichi, and will be looking to make the most of home advantage here.
Ishikawa Multipurpose Dome, Uruma, Okinawa, Japan
The main show this coming Sunday comes from Okinawa as former world champion Akinobu Hiranaka promotes a show in his local area. Sadly the show isn't a huge one, but it's still got some recognisable names on it, and should prove to be a decent show overall.
The main event will be a 6 rounder between Hiranaka promoted Hiroki Kinjo (5-2, 4) and the experienced Ryuji Ikehara (13-4-1, 7). Aged 22 Kinjo is a promising youngster, a local fighter from Okinawa, sadly however he's a man who needs a win after losing his last two bouts, including one to the then debut Kyotaro Yoshida. He hits hard, he's exciting but he is limited and lacks experience. Ikehara on the other hand has 18 bouts to his name, though he has fought only once in the last 4 years, and it's hard to know what ambition the 36 year old still has for the fight game.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see Naoki Minagawa (0-0) make his debut against the experienced, but limited Toshihiro Kai (6-12-3, 2), in a 6 rounder. As an amateur Minagawa went an incredible 70-17 (36) and is touted as being a very special fighter for Okinawa, who doesn't have a lot of great talent fighting in the local area. If he's as good in the professional game as he was in the amateurs they may well have a star on their hands. Kai on the other hand is steady hand and should ask some questions of the newbie, but isn't expected to be an actual test for Minagawa.
In a potentially mouth watering supporting bout Hikaru Fukunaga (8-2, 5) will take on Dominique Kenshin (6-2, 2). For Fukunaga this will be his first bout since losing to Rentaro Kimura back in June, and he'll be looking to get back to winning ways against someone he should feel confident against. Kenshin on the other hand on the other hand comes in to this following a decent domestic win over Shogo Sakai and will feel like he has the confidence too build on that victory. We're not expecting a show stealer here, but this is likely to be very over-looked as a match up and could easily over-deliver.
On the subject of a bout that could steal the show, the 6 rounder between Ryuku Nagamine (5-2, 5) and Mammoth Kazunori (6-4-1, 6) could well be the bout that leaves fans talking. Neither of these two youngsters are world beaters, or even close. Both have lost their last two. But both throw bombs, both come to fight, and both have the potential to score terrifying KO's. We expect this one to be a serious shoot out. If you're in attendance do not go to the bathroom during this one, or there is real chance you'll miss something very special. Of the two men Kazunori should be seen as the favourite, but Nagamine is dangerous and will be throwing bombs of his own.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the show in Okinawa there will also be one in Tokyo, with this one being held under the Fighting Spirit banner, and being promoted by the Hachioji Nakaya Boxing gym.
The card isn't a big one, but is an interesting one with a very well matched main event between two JBC ranked fighters. The bout in question will see JBC ranked Super Flyweight Musashi Yoshino (10-6, 4) taking on ranked Bantamweight Wataru Ikegami (9-5-1, 5). On paper neither of these men are outstanding, but in fairness to both men, they are much better than their records suggest. Yoshino comes into this bout on the back of a solid win over Shunpei Kubo back in July, and he's 4-2 since the start of 2010, with his only clear loss in that time coming to the excellent Ryusei Kawaura. Ikegami on the other hand is a joy to watch, and could easily have an 11-3-1 record, had luck gone his way. Interestingly Ikegami has scored stoppages in 3 of his last 4 wins and appears to be developing belief in his power.
Another, potentially, exciting clash will see the flawed but fun to watch Ryugo Ushijima (5-2-2, 3) take on Taison Mukaiyama (5-2, 3) in the chief support bout. The hard hitting Ushijima is an awkward, gangly fighter, who looks uncoordinated at times, but makes for fun fights due to his flaws. Mukaiyama on the other hand has shown himself to be something of a glass cannon, with 4 of his bouts ending in the first round. Interestingly these two fought back in November 2019, with Mukaiyama giving Ushijima his first loss, and it's fair to say the 20 year old will be wanting to avenge that loss here.
April 24th - World and Regional title fights in Japan, world title eliminator in South Africa and more!
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day, with two notable Japanese shows, a world title eliminator in South Africa and a show in the Philippines featuring several noteworthy fighters.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card comes from Osaka and is a lovely mix of everything Japanese boxing has to offer. It has a world title bout in the main event, a brilliant domestic bout in the co-feature role and several talented prospects in tough bouts through the card.
The main event will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) look to record his latest defense as he faces Japanese veteran Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20), in a bout that has a surprising amount of history behind it. The two men were originally scheduled to fight in 2017, before Kenshiro vacated the Japanese title and went on to fight for the WBC belt. They were also scheduled to fight in 2020, before legal issues scuppered the bout. Of the two men Kenshiro is the more well known and the more proven, with this being his 8th defense, but the highly experienced Hisada is a very capable fighter, who gave Hiroto Kyoguchi a tough test in 2019 and will know that this is his last chance at a world title. We expect this one to be a brilliant bout between a strong, aggressive, veteran and a talented and intelligent champion. A genuinely fantastic match up. Our in depth preview of this can be read here 4 years in the making - Kenshiro Teraji Vs Tetsuya Hisada
The co-feature for this show will see talented teenage hopeful Ayumu Hanada (5-0, 4) take on the huge punching Mammoth Kazunori (6-3-1, 6) in a 6 round bout between the Flyweight and Super Flyweight limits. Hanada began his career in Mexico before moving back to Japan last year and he made his JBC debut late last year in a very impressive performance. He's very young, but lives up to the "Flaco" nickname, with an aggressive, exciting and explosive style. Talking about explosive however Kazunori is one of the heaviest handed fighters in Japan, and if he catches an opponent clean he can wipe some one out. This is a very dangerous bout for Hanada, but a win here will likely lead him to a potential bout with a Japanese ranked opponent next time out.
Another prospect on this card is Kantaro Juri (2-0, 1), who looks to score his third win as he takes on the light punching Toma Kondo (8-6-1, 1). The 24 year old Juri is a talented southpaw, who has a lot of promise and showed a lot of ability as an amateur, but is yet to show what he can really do as a professional. Fingers crossed we see him put together a better performance here than we've seen from him so far. Kondo is no world beater, but he is much better than his record suggests and 4 of his 6 losses have been by split decision. He's coming in to this on the back of a minor high, as he he surprisingly held Yuki Nakajima to a draw in December, and will feel like he can build on that result here.
One other bout that deserves a bit of attention is a match up between Daiki Asai (0-1) and Yu Konomura (10-9-2, 4). Asai lost his debut, last year, to Kyonosuke Kameda, but showed a lot as an amateur and clearly has some tools in his arsenal that could see him in some interesting bouts over the next few years. Konomura is a win some-lose some, type of fighter, but has began to find his self belief and power, scoring his last 3 wins by stoppage, and we suspect he'll come in to this confident that he can get another KO. Both of these guys are better than their records suggest, and they could end up giving a genuine treat deep on the under-card of this show.
Convention Center, Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan
A second Japanese card, which will be aired live in Okinawa and be shown on tape delay in Tokyo, will be a card that has a very easy to over-look main event, and a solid prospect on the under-card. It's not as interesting, or as big as the Osaka card, but is a show worthy of attention.
The main event here will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) look to score his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, as he takes on the unbeaten Ryosuke Nishida (3-0, 1). Higa won the title in impressive fashion last December, when he stopped Yuki Strong Kobayashi, but hasn't looked the most convincing since his forced move to Bantamweight. He is certainly heavy handed and very exciting, but we do wonder whether he has the natural size to compete against the better fighters in the division. For Nishida this is a massive step up, but he has impressed since turning professional, and he looked a real talent last time out, when he beat Shohei Omori. He has the style and size to neutralise Higa, and if he can put a complete performance together here he could upset the local hero. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Higa returns to Okinawa to take on unheralded Nishida!
Higa's once beaten stablemate Ryuto Owan (6-1, 4) will also be on this show, as he takes on the tough and rugged Takafumi Iwaya (4-4). Owan won his first 5 bouts before losing in 2018, in a Japanese Youth title bout. Following that loss he disappeared for a couple of years before returning last year with a win over Tomoya Kishine and he looked really good in that win. Iwaya isn't a particularly well known fighter, but he is insanely tough and last year we saw him take a battering at the hands of the brilliant Rentaro Kimura, before finally being stopped in round 5. He's very limited but there is no doubting his toughness and he will be a potential nightmare for Owan here. Owan should have the tools to win, but he will have to work hard against one of the toughest men in the sport.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
Over in Thailand we get the next show from TL Promotions and it's one with a very peculiar main event.
That main event will see former Welterweight contender Teerachai Sithmorseng (44-1, 31) clash with former Bantamweight and Super Featherweight champion Sirimongkhon Iamthuam (97-5, 62), with the bout taking place all the way up at Light Heavyweight. The bout will be for Teerachai's WBA Asia title and it's fair to say that neither man will look in their best physical shape and condition.
The show will also feature the third professional boxing contest of Nonthasith Petchnamthong (2-0) who will be defending his WBA Asia Bantamweight title , as he takes on Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5). Nonthasith is a top Muay Thai fighter who has been solid since turning to professional, and should be far, far too good for his Thai foe here. Though sadly Nonthasith has shown little power in professional boxing gloves, and it's going to be interesting to see whether or not he can stop his limited foe here.
2nd Floor, Mega Mart Burgos Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines
In the Philippines we're set to get a show that is rather disappointing overall, but one that does feature several fighters of note. Sadly however as with many Filipino shows it has the look of "mismatch city".
One of the notable fighters on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (5-0, 4), who had been tipped as a future force for Filipino boxing when he turned professional. The now 32 year old Suarez turned professional disappointingly late and now, in his 6th bout, is taking on regional journeyman Lorence Rosas (9-5-2, 3). We know that Filipino fighters, like Japanese fighters, are limited right now due to travel issues brought on by covid19 but in reality Rosas is a poor choice of opponent, and he shouldn't really force Suarez to break a sweat. Rosas has lost his last 4, last fought in 2019, as a Super Bantamweight, and offers very little to test Suarez with.
In a potentially better match up the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (21-11-2, 6), who is much, much better than his record suggests, will take on Landy Cris Leon (13-21-5, 6). Although Pumicpic's record is underwhelming he's a real nightmare to fight and has given the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Musashi Mori fits. He record might not show it, but he is a legitimate handful at the Oriental title level and shouldn't be over-looked, even with 11 losses to his name. Leon on the other hand has gone from once being a decent regional journeyman to a man who has started to collect losses bout after bout after bout. This should be an easy win for Pumicpic, but given he's lost his last 3 we won't complain too much. He deserves an easy one if we're being honest.
Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Japan the most significant bout of the day comes from South Africa, where once beaten Filipino Christian Araneta (19-1, 15) takes on hard hitting South African prospect Sivenathi Nontshinga (9-0, 9), in what is an IBF world title eliminator at 108lbs. The talented Araneta suffered his only loss in 2019, when an arm injury forced him to retire against Daniel Valladares, in what was a fantastic though disappointingly short bout. Since that loss he has notched 2 domestic wins and appears hungry to make a statement. Nontshinga on the other hand is somewhat unknown outside of South Africa but has got notable wins over Siyabonga Siyo and Ivan Soriano. Interestingly he did go 7 rounds before stopping Muhsin Kizota in 2018, the same Kizota who looked clueless recently against Hasanboy Dusmatov, and there maybe is some doubt about how good he really is. The winner of this will be right in the mix and may well end up getting a shot at Felix Alvarado later in the year. This is easy to over-look but could be the bout that steals the weekend.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten German based Thai Phannarai Netisri (7-0, 4) fight for a WBC Youth title. Sadly her opponent, at the time of writing, is yet to be announced as her original opponent appears to have been pulled out of the contest due to some nasty injuries suffered in their last bout. "Fai" is a really exciting young fighter at just 20 years old, and it's going to be very interesting to see how she develops from here
GK Ekaterininskiy, Krasnodar, Russia
As well as everything we've already mentioned there is also set to be an appearance from rising Uzbek hopeful Ulugbek Qayumboev (4-0, 4), who will be looking for his 5th straight early win as he takes on a yet to be named opponent. The 20 year old Qayumboev, who fights around the Lightweight division, debuted last year and has been blowing out very low level competition so far. Fingers crossed we see him stepping up later this year, though sadly this bout doesn't seem like to be much of an upgrade given no opponent was named 7 days out.
This coming Sunday is a busy for Asian fight fans, with two shows in Japan and a show in Kazakhstan. None of the big names in action are big names, but there is a lot of talent in action across the three shows and a lot young, promising prospects in action.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
For us the best of the action is expected to come from Aichi where Midori put on a show under the Green Dream banner. It's not a big show, but it should be a very interesting one.
The main event here will see the very well regarded Masanori Rikiishi (8-1, 4) look to continue his rise through the Japanese domestic scene as he takes on Soreike Taichi (7-3, 5). The very talented Rikiishi is one of the most promising Japanese Lightweights and it's going to be interesting to see where he goes next year, but for us this is very much a stay busy fight for him, before bigger and better bouts. As for Taichi he's a decent fighter, but it's hard to imagine him having success at Lightweight against someone as good as Rikishii.
In the main supporting bout Japanese ranked Flyweight Katsuya Murakami (8-2-1, 2) will be up against Kazunori Yorimasa (5-6-3, 2). Coming in to this Murakami will be looking to get his career back on track after a competitive loss last year to Yuga Inoue, and will be expected to pick up the win against a relatively over-matched Yorimasa. Although Yorimasa is unbeaten in his last 3 here's certainly no world beater and we don't see him being any kind of banana skin for Murakami.
Possibly the best looking match up on the show will see the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori (6-2-1, 6) battle against Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2-1, 1) in a really good one. The hard hitting Kazunori scored a brutal KO last time we saw him, blasting out Lerdchai Chaiyawed, and he'll be looking to leave another mark here. Iwasaki is a much lighter puncher than Kazunori, but is the naturally bigger man, and his win over Ryuku Nagamine proved he had grit and determination. This could be a great bout between the power of Kazunori and the skills and toughness of Iwasaki.
This show is also set to feature a public work out from Japanese hopeful Mitsuro Tajima, who is expected to talk about his debut as well as show what he can do in the scheduled short work out.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
As well as the show in Kariya there is also a Japanese card in Osaka, as we move on in the West Japan Rookie of the Year. In total there 11 bouts set for this show, but we'll just quickly over a few of the more interesting ones.
At Flyweight we're going to be getting a 5 rounder between Hibiki Takano (4-2-1) and Yasuhiro Kanzaki (4-1, 1). The 22 year old Takano lost his first 2 of his first 3 bouts but has turned things around well and is 3-0-1 in his last 4 bouts, though he's yet to score a win against an opponent with a winning record. Kanzaki on the other hand has proven himself against better fighters, but was beaten last around a year ago and it'll be interesting to see how he fairs here, especially given his close win back in September against the debuting Daichi Morino.
In a Super Bantamweight bout Ren Nishimura (2-1) will take on the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (6-0, 3), who many regard as one of the hot favourites for the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown. The 24 year old Nishimura was stopped in his debut, by Ryuya Tsugawa, and has since bounced back with two decision wins, including a razor thin one back in September. Fukunaga on the other hand debuted in 2018, won his first 3 bouts by decision and has started to find his power, with 3 success T/KO wins. A win for Nishimura here would be a genuine upset.
At Featherweight we'll see 22 year old Kakeru Mio (5-2, 3) look to build on a win in September as he takes on unbeaten puncher Takato Shibata (3-0, 3). After starting his career 3-0 Mio has struggled, and gone 2-2 in his last 4, however he did drop to Featherweight earlier this year and seems to be more suited to the lighter weight. Shibata on the other hand is unbeaten and has been destroying fighters, taking out his first 3 opponents in just 3 rounds. We suspect this will be a test for Shibata, but if his power is legit it's hard to bet against him here.
Up at Middleweight Mitsuyoshi Oshima (2-0) will clash with Katsuhiro Nakata (3-0, 2) in a bout between unbeaten 160lb fighters. Whilst Middleweight is rarely division that gets much attention in Japan it is a division where Rookie of the Year fighters can be moved quickly, and both men will know a win here and they could, potentially, be just 4 or 5 fights from a Japanese title fight. Going in Nakata will be the favourite, and he appears to have most of the advantages, however the 31 year old Oshima will know a loss here will likely end any hope he has for getting a big fight in the future.
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in Kazakhstan. The card is full of novices, but still manages, some how, to a quadruple title show, with 4 minor titles on the show.
At 154lbs we'll see Miras Ertanov (1-0) take on Daryn Imakhanov (1-0) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title. Whilst we love to see fighters on the fast track, we also like to see fighters doing something to earn a chance, and in reality neither of these men have done anything to deserve a title fight. Both won 6 round debuts on September 23, and are being rushed into the ring against each other to seemingly fill a vacancy. Something you'll see with all 4 of the title bouts here.
Another bout at 154lbs will see Nurbol Sultanbay (2-0, 1) and Yerasyl Akranbek (1-0) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth title, which has never previously been fought for. Akranbek was another fighter who debuted on September 23rd, taking a split decision in his debut, whilst Sultanbay debuted in February and picked up his second win September. Despite the extra experienced Sultanbay's first two opponents were both debutants.
A second WBO Asia Pacific Youth champion will be crowned at Super Featherweight as Torgynbek Amirov (1-0) and Nurbolat Bekbauov (1-0, 1) both clash in their second professional bouts. We don't think anyone will be surprised by this, but both of these men debuted on September 23rd, and beat novices. Interestingly this particular title does have some history. In fact it dates way back to 2007 and has been held by the likes of William Kicket, Allan Tanada, Nathaniel May and Joe Noynay.
Amazingly the title bout with the most experience between the fighters is a bout between Nursultan Isakhan (1-0, 1) and Alimzhan Tursunov (3-0, 2), who will be battling for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title. The 20 year old Tursonov, with 3 bouts, is the second most experienced man on the entire show. Tursonov debuted in 2019, scored 2 wins before the year was over, and also on the September 23rd card. That September card was also the one that Isakhan made his debut on.
Whilst some of the fighters involved in the title bouts may have been good amateurs it's hard to understand how 8 men, with a combined 11 bouts, have all qualified for these minor, and currently vacant, titles. A bit of a farce for all involved.