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.