Although the new month has had a slow start it does appear that things are going to get going on the month's first Saturday, and what a day it looks to be with a genuinely mouth watering domestic Japanese card.
The Japanese card comes from the Korakuen Hall and features a bit of everything.
The main event is a Japanese Light Welterweight interim title fight between the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (17-1-1, 7) and former challenger Masayoshi Kotake (9-9-2, 5). Originally Kotake was supposed to fight reigning champion Hiroki Okada though a serious injury to Okada's right thumb saw him need to cancel the bout which has lead to this fight. On paper it's hard to see anything but a win for Nakazawa though the truth is that his record is very padded and this is a huge step up against the much more proven, though limited, Kotake.
A really mouth watering match up will see former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Shinya Iwabuchi (25-5, 21) battle against former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-10-1, 8). Iwabuchi is rarely in a bad fight and the heavy handed southpaw is known to want another OPBF title fight, having fallen short twice in the past. Jakosalem isn't the fighter he once was, but is still a dangerous foe if given full preparation time, which he has been here, and as a result we're expecting a very special war here.
Another former champion in action is the always entertaining Rikiya Fukuhara (30-8-1, 22) who will look for win #31 as he takes on Yusuke Nakagawa (8-3-1, 4). Although not the best fighter on the planet Fukuhara is a real handful for many and he's only been beaten by one man in the last 4 years, the world ranked Satoshi Hosono. It's hard to see Nakagawa giving Fukuhara too many problems here though we'd be shocked if the bout wasn't entertaining all the same.
One man who will be hoping to move from contender to champion in the near future is Ryuta Otsuka (14-8-2, 4) who will be risking his JBC ranking against Takaaki Ishikawa (11-6, 6). Otsuka is ranked at Super Flyweight though will be testing the waters at Bantamweight here. Ishikawa, who has lost 2 of his last 3, may see this as a huge opportunity to get himself a domestic ranking and as a result we'd not be shocked for this one to be very exciting.
Another really meaningful bout will see Japanese ranked fighters facing off against each other as Hiroya Yamamoto (8-3, 3) takes on Takumi Suda (12-10-2, 3). Both of these men are seen as possible title challengers for the Japanese title in the near future and we'd not be shocked at this bout being incredibly competitive. We've got to admit neither guy has been incredible in recent times though both have mixed with good company. Yamamoto's last two losses have come to Xiong Zhao Zhong and Go Odaira whilst Suda has suffered losses to the likes of Akira Yaegashi, Warlito Parrenas and Shin Ono and both are better than their records indicate.
A second Japanese show comes form Osaka and really pales in significance to the Tokyo card.
The most interesting of two notable bouts will see Akira Shono (8-7-2, 4) face a Thai foe in an 8 round bout. We've not got the name of the Thai though we do know that Shono is ranked by both the OPBF and the JBC, so those rankings could be at risk.
The other bout of note will see Takuya Uehara (6-0, 3) facing another Thai foe. It's hard to predict where Uehara is going in his career but this will be his first 8 round bout and there should be some excitement around him even if his opponent is an unknown Thai
As well as the two bouts we've mentioned there will be 7 other bouts on this card.
Yangju, South Korea
In South Korea the KBC put on their next rookie card. On the whole this show is less than inspiring and features mainly 4 rounders.
The one bout which isn't for just 4 rounds will see unbeaten teenager Gun Woo Gang (1-0-1, 1) face the more experienced Dong Suk Han (1-6) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds at Welterweight.
Staying with Korean fighter's we actually get a Korean novice in action in the US as Tae Woong Jung (3-2-2, 3) battles against the unbeaten Antonio Nieves (12-0-1, 6) in an 8 rounder. This is a considerable step up for Jung, who hasn't fought out of Korea before. Sadly for Jung he is 0-2-2 in his last 4 and won't be expected to end that win-less run here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the great things about the Asian boxing scene is that no days seem to be off limits for big fighters. In the US and through much of Europe the big fights only take place on a Saturday night with some "B grade" world title fights being fought on a Friday. In Asia however it seems every day has the potential to be a boxing day. This is made obvious this week as we get three major title fights on a Tuesday!
Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima
The first title fight of the day is also the most important bout of the day and takes place in Thailand. What makes this one the most important is that it's for the WBA "interim" Flyweight title. Sure it may not be the full version of the title but with the bouts we've had for it in recent years it's hard to deny that the fighters view it as just an interim belt. Last year we saw Koki Eto rip this very belt from the hands of Kompayak Porpramook in a thriller, then we saw Eto get beaten up and grind down as he lost it in his first defense.
The man who beat Eto for the title is Thailand's unheralded Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (33-2, 20) who may not be a big name but is a big talent. He'll be hoping to prove that once again as he attempts to defend his belt for the first time and battles former Japanese national champion Takuya Kogawa (22-3, 13) in what is potentially another war for the belt.
Kogawa is skilled and experienced though he is 0-1 in fights in Thailand and in world title fights and Japanese fighters have had notoriously bad luck in world title fights in Thailand.
We honestly think Kogawa winning would be an upset though we can't see him going down with out putting up a real fight in what promises to be a memorable affair.
In regards to rest of the card, we really don't know what to expect. We're expecting it to be televised on Thai TV though just what will be televised is a whole different question.
Whilst we get the interim world title fight in Thailand we also get a Japanese title double header in Japan, under the guise of Dangan 95".
The first of the title fights will see the unbeaten stoppage machine Hiroki Okada (7-0, 7) attempt to claim his first title, the vacant Japanese Light Welterweight title. In Okada's way is the tough, though limited Masayoshi Kotake (9-7-1, 5). Kotake, who is a tricky southpaw, is expected to cause Okada some problems, though we still expect Okada's power and strength to over-come Kotake.
Following the Japanese Light Welterweight title bout we get the second Japanese title bout as the legendary Tadashi Yuba (45-8-2, 32) attempts to make the second defense of his Japanese Light Middleweight title. Unfortunately for Yuba things aren't that easy and he'll have take on Takayuki Hosokawa (24-10-3, 8) who has already run Yuba incredibly close in a fight a few years back.
Although Hosokawa doesn't have the greatest of records he is a decent fighter and is much younger than the champion and has already given him fits. Although it's Yuba's bout to lose there is plenty of risk in the contest.
As well as the two title fights we're expecting 4 other contests, the most notable of which will feature Dai Iwai (13-3-1, 5) fighting in a testing contest with Shogo Ishikawa (10-5, 3). This may not b a great contest on paper but it's a well.