This coming Sunday sees 3 shows taking place across Japan.
The most notable of the shows is in Fukuoka where we get female world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (16-4-1, 8) battle against Mari Ando (13-9, 6), in what will be the second bout between the two ladies. Kuroki won the title in May 2014, when she defeated Ando, and has racked up 4 defenses of the title whilst showing genuine signs of improvement. For Ando the bout will be a chance to gain some revenge over Kuroki but a loss will almost be the end of her hard career.
In a really interesting supporting bout we'll see the struggling Hideo Sakamoto (16-3-3, 5) face of with Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-2, 5). Sakamoto made a name for himself in 2014, when he upset Hiroki Shiino, and looked to be beading towards a Japanese title, but a draw with Hiroaki Teshigawara has been followed by losses to Kentaor Masuda and Seizo Kono, leading some to wonder how much he has left. For Kawabata the bout is a chance to score his biggest win following draws against the likes of Hirofumi Mukai and Rene Dacquel. It's hard to know how good Kawabata is, but he did run Mark John Yap very close just a few fights back and clearly has potential.
Another title bout in Japan sees unbeaten youngster Takuya Uehara (10-0, 6) battle Filipino Markquil Salvana (11-2, 5) for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. For Uehara this will be his first title bout, but his team have prepared him pretty well with a string of 8 rounders, though he has only gone that distance once. Salvana has previously fought for a title, losing in a WBA Oceania title fight in 2015, and is struggling for form coming into this bout with 2 stoppages losses in his last 4. On paper this looks good but with Salvana's struggle and the fact he is moving up in weight does mean it's hard to see anything but a win for Uehara.
On the under-card here we'll see the now struggling Tatsuya Ikemizu (13-2, 6) battle against limited Thai Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-6, 1). Ikemizu has lost 2 of his last 3 bouts, albeit to good fighters in the form of Mak John Yap and Jonas Sultan, and is now looking to rebuild his career before being written off. Despite the set backs Ikemizu was the 2013 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year and has shown plenty of promise, though one wonders about his mental state. Jaipetch is expected to offer no resistance and will likely suffer his 5th stoppage loss.
There will also be a show in Hyogo, featuring no title action.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese title challenger Takumi Sakae (14-1-1, 9) face off with Ryoki Hirai (7-4-1, 3) as Sakae looks to end a bad year. Sakae began 2013 as a world ranked hopeful but a loss in a Japanese title fight with Tatsuya Fukuhara and a technical draw against Lito Dante has left him really needing to rebuild and a win over Hirai here would steady the ship leading into 2017. It looks like Hirai is a safe opponent for Sakae, with little to really test the youngster, but their will be questions about Sakae's confidence following the year he has had.
On the under-card wee see the once beaten Tetsu Araki (6-1-1) look to score a third straight win as he takes on Takuya Fujioka (7-5-1, 1) for the second time. This looks like a straight forward win for Araki, who's only loss was a razor thin set back to Tenta Kiyose in September 2015, however Fujioka did run Araki very close when the two men first fought back in July 2015.
Another notable under-card bout here will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (7-2, 4) take on Shota Aikawa (5-6-2, 2) in an interesting looking contest. On paper Kanda will be the favoured fighter but he was stopped inside a round last December and has fought only a single round since that loss . Aikawa has lost his last 2, but will come in here looking to change that here against a possibly rusty Kanda.
Action returns to Kyoto this coming Wednesday with an interesting card being put on by Woz boxing.
In the main event the very talented, and still very promising, Shohei Omori (16-1, 11) will be taking on world ranked Mexican Edgar Jimenez (22-11-2, 16) in a must win bout for the Japanese southpaw. Omori won last time out but failed in his last step up bout, being stopped in 2 rounds by current world champion Marlon Tapales, and will be looking to avoid a similar fate here. Whilst Jimenez doesn't have an amazing record on paper but he holds wins over Eric Ortiz, Juanito Rubillar, Ivan Morales and recently blew out Jovylito Aligarbes. This could be a tougher assignment for Omori than the records of the fighters may suggest.
In the chief supporting bout fans will see the world ranked, and unbeaten, Reiya Konishi (11-0, 4) battle against an unknown Thai foe, in what looks likely to be to be a straight forward win for Konishi who will likely turn his attention to title bouts in the very near future. Despite only being 23 Konishi is a Rookie of the Year winner, in 2014, and holds several good domestic wins over the likes of Jun Takigawa and Shogo Hayashi.
Also on the under will be two female bouts. One of those will see Tamao Ozawa (10-3, 3) battle against Suda Saknarong (0-1) in what should be a straight forward win for the 31 year old Japanese fighter, whilst the other will see Mari Ando (12-9, 5) face an un-named Thai.
We don't often see Japanese fighters on the road but today there will be three Japanese fighters fighting outside of their homeland, whilst we get a lot of other action.
Seoul, South Korea
One of those aforementioned Japanese fighters will be the unbeaten Shohei Kawashima (12-0-2, 3) who faced off against Korean Jin Wook Lim (7-3-5, 1) in a 10 round bout to headline a KBF show in Seoul. According to the KBF a regional title will be on the line for this bout, though unclear which title. One think is for sure however, and that is Kawashima will be expecting to get a win here, something that perhaps can't be said of the other Japanese fighters on the road.
Also on this card is a KBF Super Flyweight title fight. That bout will see Yo Han Bae (6-2-1, 1)* battle against Pil Joon Kim (6-3, 3)*. The title is vacant and this is a great chance for the winner to make their first real mark on the Korean national scene.
Seoul, South Korea
Staying in Seoul the KBC will also be sanctioning a card with the most notable action here being a bout between KBF Bantamweight champion Muhammad Waseem (2-0, 2), a Korean based former Pakistani amateur standout, and Indonesian visitor John Bajawa (11-12, 7). From what we've seen of Waseem this seems likely to be little more than a stay busy bout for the very promising unbeaten man, who looks likely to go on to bigger and better things in the near future.
Going back to Japanese fighters on the road, another will be Ryohei Takahashi (8-1-1, 1) who is in Victoria to face Andrew Moloney (5-0, 3) for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. This is a really tough match up for Takahashi, who will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time, though the pressure is on Moloney who some have tipped as a potential star for Australian boxing.
A second WBA Oceania title bout will also take place on this card and will see Indonesia's Junior Bajawa (14-6, 7) battle another of the Maloney brothers, Jason Moloney (5-0, 5), in a bout for the Super Bantamweight title. This is a massive ask for Bajawa who is unlikely to see out more than a few rounds with Moloney, who is a very exciting Australian prospect.
The final of the Japanese fighters on the road is Mari Ando (12-8, 5), who travels to México to face local star Ibeth Zamora Silva (24-5, 9) for the WBC female Light Flyweight title. Ando is attempting to become the second female 3-weight champion from Japan, following Naoko Fujioka, though she is up against one of the best female pound-for-pound fighters on the planet and is going to need to have a career best performance to over-come “La Roca”.
Back in Asia there will be a low profile card in Kunming, where SECA and Top Rank continue to try and build Chinese boxing. The card doesn;'t have any notable fighters on it, though we are interested to see how the unbeaten A Fu Bai (6-0, 3) does, as he faces the win-less Jiang Nan (0-1) in a 6 rounder.
Attention turns to to Chinese this Friday as we get a number of title bouts from a show in Ningbo, which is set to be aired on CCTV5.
The most notable bout on the show will see former world champion Xiong Chao Zhong (25-6-1, 14) battle against hard matched Filipino Crison Omayao (17-9-3, 5) in a bout for both the WBC International the OPBF Minimumweight titles. This will be Zhong's first defense of the WBC international belt, that he won earlier this year with a decision against Hiroya Yamamoto, whilst Omayao will look to claim his first international title.
Another title fight at 105lbs will see the once beaten Cai Zong Ju (5-1, 1) battle against Mari Ando (12-7, 5) for the WBC International Female title. Ju, who will be defending her belt for the second time will be looking to score her biggest win to date and her third successive win of note, having previous wins over Gretchen Abaniel and Angor Onesongchaigym. For Ando this is a chance to move towards another world title after having come up short 3 times in recent years.
A third title bout on this card will see China's Xu Chan (6-2) battle against Thai veteran Chaiyong Sithsaithong (37-13-4, 26) in a bout for the a WBA Oceania title. Chan, who impressed last time when he upset Kris George in Australia, is coming in to this one in some former with a trio of wins including a decision over Hurricane Futa. Despite being highly experienced Chaiyong has never won on the road, where he is 0-8-1, this however is his best chance at changing that.
In a non-title bout Mohamadreza Hamze (6-6-1, 2) will face Huang Ju Xiang (0-1). This bout will be Hamze's first since losing in South Korea, albeit to an unknown opponent in a bout not listed on boxrec.com
In Thailand fans will also get some action as Channel 3 airs a small card from Bangkok.
The main event of the card will see Thailand's very own Chatpetch Sithmorseng (11-3-2, 6) take on experienced Filipino visitor Jetly Purisima (20-16-4, 5) in a bout for the PABA Super Flyweight title. On paper it's hard to see Purisima winning however we have seen Filipino travel to Thailand in recent months with a very upset minded mentality and that may be the case again here.
Other bouts on this card include a bout between Romnakit Technopoly Bangkok (4-0, 3) and Filipino Junar Adante (5-1-1, 2), in what looks like a good match up on paper though Romnakit has looked impressive so far, an all Thai bout between the unbeaten Dennapa Kiatniwat (5-0, 2) and the win-less Kongpichit Sithprayoon (0-3) and a bout featuring Montree Technopoly Bangkok (2-0, 1).
Pathum thani, Thailand
On a second Thai card, to be aired on Channel 7, Nakornloung will be putting on a show, which features a world ranked fighter and a former world champion.
That former world champion is 26 year old "veteran" Suriyan sor Rungvisai (44-6-1, 22) who will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title against Indonesian foe Frans Damur Palue (11-9-2, 6). Suriyan, who is a genuinely world class Bantamweight, shouldn't struggle at all here though the hope is that he will move towards another world title bout in 2016, with a possible bout against Rodrigo Guerrero coming before another shot at the top
Another bout on this card will see the unbeaten Nawaphon Por Chokchai (29-0, 22) taking on Medgoen Por Kobkua (0-0). Nawaphon, who is hoping to get a Flyweight world title bout, should pick up an easy win here to take him to 30-0 however the question is whether he will ever get a shot a Roman Gonzalez or whether his #1 ranking with the WBC is meaningless.
A more well matched bout, at least on paper, will see Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (4-3-1, 3) attempt to extend his 4 fight winning run as he takes on Heri Purnomo (2-5, 1). Although the records are both poor there is some talk of Pongasklek being one to watch and he has turned his career around after a 0-3-1 start. Incidentally the man that Pongsaklek scored his biggest win against, Kongfah Nakornloung (22-1, 14) will also be in action, albeit against an unknown opponent.
*Note we have been informed that “Romnakit Technopoly Bangkok” and “Ronnakit PKT College” are the same fighter likewise “Montree Technopoly Bangkok” and “Montree PKT College”
As February has gotten going we have, slowly, seen the boxing world awaken and it now seems that March is going to continue the trend. Before we get to March however we need to see out February which looks set to go out with a bang...
The action in Japan to end the month isn't the best but it is notable with a couple of world title bouts as well as a former 2-weight world champion. Unfortunately those “world” class fighters are all female fighters and lack the attention that their male counterparts would get.
The former 2-weight world champion is Mari Ando (11-7, 5) who battles against experienced Filipino fighter Jujeath Nagaowa (12-13-1, 8) in what looks to be an easy fight but really could be surprisingly difficult. Ando isn't a brilliant fight and although she is a multi-weight world champion her reigns have both been short. Nagaowa hasn't been a world champion but has been in with a who's who such as Momo Koseki, Samson Tor Buamas and Shindo Go whilst also being narrowly beaten in a number of other losses. This could, potentially, be a very competitive contest.
One of the world champions in action is WBO female Minimumweight champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (6-1-1, 3) who will be hoping to record the first defence of her title as she battles against Filipino challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (7-1, 4) in what looks like a greatest contest on paper. Sadly the paper is unlikely to give a full reflection of this bout and Pagaduan was beaten less than a year ago by Ikehara's friend Naoa Ikeyama in a bout for the WBO Atomweight title in a bout that really wasn't competitive. We suspect Ikehara looks just as dominated against Pagaduan as Ikeyama did.
Talking about Nao Ikeyama (15-3-1, 4) the WBO Atomweight champion will also be in action as she defends her belt, for the second time, and takes on Norj Guro (7-3-1, 4). The Japanese veteran, aged 45, will likely retire if she loses here however she will be favoured coming into the bout against the distinctly less than impressive Guro who has won just twice in her last 6 bouts.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a low level domestic show which is likely to give a number of prospects a chance to stay busy.
In one of the feature bouts fans will see the world ranked Rene Patilano (12-1-2, 6) battle against “domestic loser” Aroel Romasasa (11-8, 5) who is in desperate need for a win after losing 8 straight following an 11-0 start to his career.
Another of the feature bouts will see the unbeaten Jay Loto (9-0) fight against the limited JC Francisco (6-9-3, 2) in what looks like a mismatch on paper for the unbeaten but light punching Loto, who is known as “The Mindoro Assasin” despite his lack of power.
Another well regarded unbeaten fighter on this card will be Randy Braga (14-0-1, 3) who battles the experienced Cristian Aliba (12-15-3, 4) in what looks like being one of the most competitive bouts on the shame, even though Braga should extend his unbeaten record.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned the card is expected to feature a further 8 contests.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Another Filipino in action will be the heavy handed and criminally under-rated Rey Loreto (19-13, 11) who will be hoping that lightning strikes twice as he defends his IBO Light Flyweight for the first time. Last year we saw Loreto make a name for himself as he stopped former world champion Nkosinathi Joyi (24-3-0-1, 17) in eye catching fashion and he'll be hoping to do the same again when he travels to Joyi's homeland in a much anticipated rematch.
German fans will get the chance to see a potentially explosive encounter as “unbeaten” Kazakhstan Isa Akberbayev (14-0-0-1, 10) battles against Argentinian KO artist Ruben Angel Mino (25-1, 25). Mino has one of the most impressive looking records on paper however it is incredibly padded and it's hard to see how he'll fare here. Akberbayev was a touted prospect a few years ago though he was “exposed” when he was iced by Anthony Ferrante in January 2013 and it's hard to see him ever reaching his perceived ceiling, saying that he should win here against the limited but heavy handed Mino.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is one of the quietest in boxing for a while but yet we still have some interes
The biggest show of the day, at least to us, is in Osaka where we get a trio of notable female bouts, including a pair of world title contests.
That trio of bouts kicks off with the once beaten Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (4-1-1, 3), ranked #4 by the OPBF at Atomweight, fighting against a Thai opponent. Unfortunately we've been unable to identify the Thai though expect it to be a weak opponent as they try to build Ikehara towards a female title fight somewhere in the next 12-18 months.
Following Ikehara's bout we then get the first of the title bouts as unbeaten Filipino Jessebelle Pagaduan (6-0, 4) battles Japanese veteran Nao Ikeyama (13-3-1, 4) in the inaugural WBO Atomweight title fight. At 44 years old this will be Ikeyama's first, and probably last, chance at winning a "big 4" world title and we can't help but think the significantly younger Pagaduan will simply be too young, too lively and too strong, despite this being a huge step up in class for the Filipino southpaw.
The main event of the show, and the second world title fight, is a great looking clash between WBC female Minimumweight champion Mari Ando (11-6, 5) and former WBA title challenger Yuko Kuroki (10-4-1, 6). Although the ecords aren't flashy the fighters have an identical "point score" on boxrec and the bout is genuinely a very even looking one with both having power, toughness and plenty to offer in a bout that has all the qualities a fight fan could want to see in a contest.
Russian former kick boxer Yuri Trogiyanov (0-0) makes his professional boxing debut as he battles Edwin Solis (5-2-3, 3). From our limited research on the 23 year old debutant we have read that he was dubbed a "super fighter" and a "sensation" in the kick boxing world and with a debut opponent like Solis, who is much better than his record indicates, this really could be the beginning of a special career.
On a separate Californian card fans will have the chance to see the world ranked Light Welterweight Anton Novikov (28-0-0-1, 10) in action. Novikov will be facing the dangerous Javier Castro (27-6, 22). Castro, a Mexican southpaw, has been inactive for over a year but has the power and toughness to give plenty of fighters a tough night and the break may well have done him a world of good after 33 fights in 8 years. Novikov will obviously be favoured but this could be a seriously good test for the unbeaten Russian.
London, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will get the chance to see the Afghan born Israrullah Yaqobzai (1-0) who looks for his second win as he takes on the win-less Tom Price (0-5). Dubbed "The Afghan Lion" we've been told that Yagobzai was a successful amateur with real potential to make a name for himself as a professional. Of course we're unsure at this point but with Britain's Goodwin promotions behind him he may well manage to go on to win titles somewhere down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)