Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as we get an IBF world title eliminator at 140lbs as well as a must win bout for a former Japanese title challenger.
The main event is the aforementioned world title eliminator, which will see teak tough Japanese veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) battle against unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (14-0, 11), with the winner getting a shot at the IBF Light Welterweight title. The Japanese fighter came to the attention of international fans in 2017, when he battled Sergey Lipinets in a surprisingly competitive contest, and since then has scored a couple low profile stoppages whilst staying busy. Downua on the other hand is a touted Thai hopeful who hasn't fought major names, but has impressed and was really sharp in December, when he stopped Sonny Katiandagho in 3 rounds to defend the IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title. The Thai is a heavy handed fighter, with good speed and timing, but this is a big step up for him. We're looking forward to this one, a lot, even if neither man would be regarded as a serious test for any of the current world champions. Our preview of this bout is available here Kondo and Downua battle in IBF eliminator!
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Lightweight title challenger Masashi Noguchi (12-11-1, 6) fighting in a must win contest. Noguchi has lost his last 6, including a stoppage losses to Shuhei Tsuchiya, Satoshi Hosono and Reiya Abe, and another loss likely ends his career. In the opposite corner to Noguchi will be Tasuku Nakagawa (7-4-1, 3), who has lost 3 of his last 4 and needs a win of his own. This is a real must win for both men.
Ichiriki put on their next show this coming Wednesday at the Korakuen Hall, with a pretty interesting looking card headlined by an OPBF title fight, with several pretty good bouts coming under it.
The main event of the card will see Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (28-12, 14) make his next defense of the OPBF Bantamweight title, as he takes on veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-9-1, 13), in what could be Nakajima's final bout. The talented Yap has had a real surge in the last few years, winning his last 9 bouts, claiming the OPBF title and making 2 notable defenses and is moving towards a world title fight, despite his less than perfect looking record. Nakajima on the other hand has struggled at times in recent years, , despite being 7-3 in his last 10. Those losses are nothing to be ashamed by, losing to Hidenori Otake, Jonathan Baat and Kosuke Saka, but at the age of 33 it's unclear what he really has left.
In a real must win we'll see Masashi Noguchi (12-9-1, 6) battle Tatsuya Yanagi (14-5-1, 5) for the second time. Noguchi fought for the Japanese Lightweight title back in December 2016, when he was stopped in 3 rounds by Shuhei Tsuchiya, and since then he has gone 0-3, with his career clearly on the rocks. Aged 28 Noguchi isn't an old fighter, but with with 4 straight losses, 3 of those by stoppage, there is clearly a feeling that his career might be heading to the end. Yanagi saved his career last year, going 3-0 for the year following a 0-3-1 run prior to his winning run. Among those 3 wins for Yanagi was a decision over Noguchi and another here really could end Noguchi and put Yanagi in the title mix.
A pretty interesting 8 rounder will see Ryuji Ikeda (12-4-2, 8) face off with Kentaro Endo (7-7-1, 6). Ikeda was beaten last time out by Darragh Foley, and he's now 1-2-1 in his last 4, with his only win coming over a very limit Thai in Bangkok last year. As for Endo his record is similarly patchy, though he has been competitive with Daishi Nagata and Kazuki Matsuyama and did look destructive last time out when he stopped Tatsuya Miyazaki. This could be a lot more competitive than the records suggest.
Another very exciting match up will see Tasuku Nakagawa (7-2-1, 3) battle against Filipino banger Jon Jon Estrada (10-4-1, 9). The 24 year old Nakagawa comes into this on the back of a big opening round win against Akihiko Katagiri and will be full of confidence coming into this one. Estrada on the other hand is a real danger man who was stopped last time out by Jeson Umbal but does hold notable stoppages against Brian Lobetania and the teak tough Pablito Canada. The Filipino will not have travelled to pick up a loss here.
This coming Monday is a relatively quiet day in Asian boxing, but Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall do get the next instalment in the Asign Bee series of shows, which we believe will be put on to youtube on tape delay.
In the main event of the show fight fans will see Japanese ranked Naoki Mochizuki (12-2, 7) take on a Thai foe, who isn't expected to give the Japanese local any sort of concern at all. Coming in to this bout Mochizuki does look like a fighter on his way to success, and the 23 year old ran current OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama razor close in March, showing he has the ability to compete at title level. It's a shame Mochizuki isn't up against a more testing foe than but it's going to be exciting to see what 2018 holds for the youngster.
Another local taking on a Thai foe is Ryohei Takahashi (11-3-1, 3), who has had an interesting 2017. In May he scored a career best win, stopping the touted Kazuki Tanaka in 3 rounds, before losing a razor thin split decision to the under-rated Yuki Iriguchi. Although quite far off a title fight in the stacked 122lb division Takahashi will know that a win here will keep some momentum rolling and he could move into the domestic rankings in 2018.
Another bout of note here will see the out of form Masashi Noguchi (12-8-1, 6) take on Yosuke Kawano (11-6-2, 5) in a real must win for both men. Noguchi has lost his last 3, including stoppage losses to Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono, and can ill afford another loss here, or he will fall out of the Japanese rankings and move a long way from getting a second Japanese title fight. Kawano has won only 1 of his last 4, but is better than the numbers suggest and at the age of 29 he'll know that he can ill afford another set back, especially at this point.
In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already
For a second day running Japanese fans in Tokyo get a huge show at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.
The main event here sees Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) defending his WBO Super Flyweight title against Mexican born American based challenger Ricardo Rodriguez (16-3, 5. The bout will be Inoue's 5th defense of the title and it's likely to be his last with his team talking about vacating the title later in the year, ahead of his US debut. The pressure is on the youngster to shine here but Rodriguez is tough and has never been stopped, and will be looking to score a career defining victory here.
The other world title fight here will see IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (25-5, 15) battle against interim champion Milan Melindo (35-2, 12). The bout is, on paper at the very least, the most interesting of the 6 world title fights taking place this coming weekend and it looks like a genuine 50-50 match up. Of the two fighters Yaegashi is the more proven and the more well known, but he's also the older man and the man with a lot more miles on the clock. Melindo, the less proven fighter, is probably the more technically sound fighter, but a win here would be the biggest of his career by some margin.
The biggest mismatch on this card will see the once beaten Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17) battle against Hendrik Barongsay (29-25-3, 18) in what is little more than a stay busy fight for Matsumoto. The talented Japanese youngster looked better than ever last time out, blowing out Hideo Sakamoto in less than 2 minutes, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Barongsay last a similar amount og time here.
One of the biggest names on the under-card is former multi-time world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (32-3-1, 21), who will take on Masashi Noguchi (12-6-1, 6) in an 8 rounder. This will be Hosono's first bout since losing in October to Jonathan Victor Barros in an IBF world title eliminator. Aged 33 this will probably be the start of Hosono's last run, and he really can't afford another set back. Noguchi is a former Japanese title challenger, who lost in December to Shuhei Tsuchiya, and is the naturally bigger man, but a win here would be his best to date.
In another notable under-card bout we'll see 2012 Olympic Bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (2-0, 2) take on his first domestic opponent, Takuya Yamamoto (8-6, 4). The bout should be a straight forward win for Shimizu, though it's probably fair to say that his eyes are on the future and it's hard to imagine him not fighting for a domestic title before the end of 2017, especially given that he's now 31 and doesn't have much time to waste.
Also on the under-card is the re-re-scheduled meeting between talented youngster Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) and Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5), who were originally meant to meet in the 2014 Rookie of the Year. The two were also meant to fight earlier this year. Sadly Hiraoka was forced to pull out of both the previous dates but will be looking to prove a point here. As for Yamaguchi he's going to be wanting to take his frustrations out on the younger man in what could be an under-card classic.
There will also be title action in Okinawa, albeit at a lower level as fans get an OPBF title fight.
That that OPBF title fight will see Japan's Seita Ogido (11-2-2, 3) battle unbeaten Filipino Edward Heno (10-0-4, 4) for the vacant Oriental Light Flyweight title. The title was vacated earlier this, by Ken Shiro ahead of his WBC world title fight with Ganigan Lopez, and the bout to crown a new champion does look like an interesting one. Ogido is seen as a promising youngster in Japan, and fought to a draw with the under-rated Jonathan Refugio earlier this year, suggesting there is talent there. Heno on the other hand is a bit of an unknown quantity, despite being unbeaten in 14 bouts, though he did impress last time out as he claimed the PBF title. This bout really could answer questions about both men.
The chief supporting bout here will see Masatoshi Kotani (20-2, 13) hunt an 11th straight win as he takes on Indonesian visitor Musa Letding (12-6-4, 6) in an 8 rounder. Kotani has been unbeaten since a 9th round stoppage loss to Filipino Cirilo Espino in 2012 and looks to have improved significantly since then. As for Letding he's 0-4 out side of Indonesia and will be looking for his first win on the road.
In another under-card bout we'll see the heavy handed Morihisa Iju (10-2, 8) battle against Masaya Kohama (6-5-1, 3). This bout will be Iju's third of the year, but will see him returning to the ring following a March loss to Ryo Kosaka and it's clear he'll be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats. Despite losing last time time out Iju should be favoured given that Kohama has been stopped in his last 3, with the most recent of those coming last July to Yohei Tobe.
There will also be a small card in the Philippines. The card here is very poor overall but the main event does look interesting as Pedro Taduran (10-1, 7) and Philip Luis Cuerdo (9-3-1, 4) battle for the PBF Minimumweight title in a good looking 10 rounder. Coming in the once beaten Taduran has won his last 4 and has rebuilt well following his first loss however Cuerdo was stopped last time out, whilst leading on the score cards.
December 19th isn't set to be a huge day for Asian fight fans, but it will be an interesting day as we get the next Dangan card.
In the main event we'll see the heavy handed Shuhei Tsuchiya (21-4, 17) battle the in form Masashi Noguchi (12-5-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title. This will be the first time either man will have fought for a Japanese title, with Nihito Arakawa recently vacating the title, but we're expecting a very fun bout between two men who can be hurt and stopped.
The main support bout will see exciting veteran Rikiya Fukuhara (31-9-1, 23) take on Filipino visitor Alvin Bais (15-7-1, 4). The bout isn't the most exciting contest on the card, not even the most exciting bout between a Japanese and a Filipino, but it will be the final bout of Fukuhara's career with the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion announcing that win or lose his career was ending here.
A really good under-card bout will see the experienced Yosuke Fujihara (16-4, 4) take on the criminally under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (4-2, 3). Although this looks like an easy win for the more experienced Fujihara on paper Watanabe is one of the more under-rated fighters coming through the Japanese ranks and we're expecting to see the novice come out on top here, and potentially fighting for titles by the end of next year.
A brilliant Japan Vs Philippines bout will see unbeaten local Tsubasa Koura (8-0, 5) battle against former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (14-2, 7). Koura, the 2015 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, has impressed with a pair of stoppages earlier this year and looks to be one of the more notable Minimumweight prospects coming through the ranks at the moment, but this is a huge step up in class. Galero on the other hand is looking to rebuild following a loss to Seita Ogida earlier this year. Although he lost last time out we must admit we thought we saw a lot of promise in Galero when he took on WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin and this could be a chance for him to get his career back on track.
In another good looking bout we'll see the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year Bantamweight runner up Tenta Kiyose (10-2-1, 3) battle against former Japanese title challenger Ryuta Otsuka (16-9-2, 6). Kiyosa has impressed in the past, and is riding a 3 fight winning run coming into this bout but is stepping up massively against Otsuka. As for Otsuka he has lost 4 of his last 7, but they have included losses to two Japanese champions, Teiru Kinoshita and Sho Ishida, along with a defeat to former world champion Malcolm Tunacao. This really could be a very good bout.
For fans interested in this card it will be streamed live on boxingraise.com.