The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Around 7 weeks ago we saw two Japanese fighters pick up wins in Top Rank's "Bubble" at the MGM Grand, with Andy Hiraoka and Naoya Inoue both picking up stoppages on a major Top Rank card. This coming Saturday, exactly 7 weeks after those wins, we see another Japanese fighter in the bubble in what looks like a very, very good match up.
This time it's the turn of 31 year old Lightweight Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12) as he takes on touted Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo (27-1, 17). For Nakatani this will be his second bout in the US, following his competitive and close loss in 2019 to Teofimo Lopez, and he'll know that Verdejo is looking at him as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. If Nakatani can replicate the success of Hiraoka and Inoue by picking up a win however, he'll find himself on the verge of a potential rematch with Lopez and world title fight.
As for Verdejo it's hard to know which version of "Diamante" will turn up. At his best Verdejo looks sensational, with great speed, power, movement and skills, but at other times he looks unmotivated and scared of being hit. If he's in one of those negative moods this could be a very frustrating fight for viewers.
The big bout for Asian boxing this coming Friday will see unbeaten Japanese Lightweight Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) take on unbeaten American-Honduran Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11) in an IBF Lightweight world title eliminator. The bout is a make or break for both men. Coming in Lopez is seen as the next big US star at Lightweight, and has been looking sensational in recent outings. Nakatani on the other hand will be making his international debut after a long reign as the OPBF champion, though many of his defenses have been against limited opposition and it has long felt like his career has stagnated, massively, since he showed some very early promise. A full preview of this bout can be found here Does Nakatani have a chance against Lopez?
This coming Sunday is a hectic day with 4 Japanese shows, a Filipino show, a Korean show and a Vietnamese show. Not only is there lots of shows but those shows feature notable names and we get a host of title bouts, in what is a genuinely crazy day.
The biggest action for the day is from Osaka, where we get 8 bouts of note, spread over 2 shows at the EDION Arena Osaka. The first of those shows is a Green Tsuda triple title show.
The main event of this triple title show will see hard hitting Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) defending his belt against the limited but exciting Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 11). For the champion this will be a second defense of the title, and he will be looking to really make a statement in the new year, with a number of interesting challengers now vying for a shot at his belt. For Fujinaka this one more chance to win a belt, but the reality is that he's a clear under-dog. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fujinaka challenges Japanese champion Yada!
A second Japanese title fight on this card will see domestic Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) making his first defense, taking on unbeaten contender Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10). The champion won the belt earlier this year, over-coming Hiroyuki Kudaka, but looks likely to be little more than a transitional champion before a top domestic fighter takes it off him. Hashizume on the other hand was once a hotly tipped prospect, but poor match making from the Ioka gym has seen his development stall and stutter, and it's hard to know how prepared he is for a fight like this. Ore preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto defends Japanese title against unbeaten Hashizume
The third title bout on this show is a Japanese Super Flyweight Youth title bout, pitting the skilful Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) against the heavy handed Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) to crown a new champion. We're expecting a really interesting contest here, with Nakamura trying to land his power and Nasu trying to out box the bigger punching Nakamura. It's a hard bout to call, and should be a very good one for the fans at the venue. Our in depth look at this bout is available to read hereNasu and Nakamura battle for Japanese Youth title!
Another potentially great bout on this card will see the once beaten Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-1, 5) look to record his 8th straight win, as he takes a huge step up and faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (7-4, 4). Coming in to this momentum is clearly with Shimomachi, who won the Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year last year, but this is certainly a tougher test than it looks on paper. Watanabe, although "only 7-4" has been in with the likes of Reiya Abe, Sho Nakazawa and Gakuya Furuhashi, and held his own in some tough domestic bouts. This is a serious match up and a really good fight for both men, who will know that a win massively boosts their career.
After the Green Tsuda card we then get an Ioka promoted show from the EDION arena. This card only features a single title bout, but does have a great supporting card to go along with the main event.
The title match up will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (17-0, 11) defending his belt against tough and hard hitting challenger Hurricane Futa (25-7-1, 15), who should put up a very interesting challenge. Nakatani will be strongly favoured, as he looks to secure his 11th defense of the title, but his career has failed to live up to early expectations and there is a real worry that he will go off the boil, if he hasn't already, and he looked less than his best last time out. Futa is a dangerous fighter, despite technical limitations he can really bang, and he's tough, with his record littered with upset wins, including KO wins over Vage Sarukhanyan and Will Tomlinson. An in depth look at this bout from regular contributor George Delis can be read here OPBF king Nakatani battles hard hitting Futa!
One of the supporting bouts will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) take on former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17). This looks almost certainly like a bout that will have explosive action. Omori is the more technically skilled of the two men, and has solid power to go with his technical skills, but Yamamoto can certainly bang and is a very dangerous fighter, even if he lacks that bit of class Omori has. Both fighters have been stopped and should feel they have the power to stop the other here. A preview of this bout can be read here Omori and Yamamoto clash in "survival" bout!
Another supporting bout will see former world title challengers battle, as former WBA Super Flyweigt title challenger Sho Ishida (26-1, 15) takes on former WBO title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-8-1, 23). At 27 years old the 5'8" Ishida has the potential to go all the way, and 2-0 (2) since his loss to Kal Yafai, in what as a close but very forgettable contest. That loss seems to have made Ishida aware that he does need to improve and we have seen a more spiteful attitude from him in the ring. Parrenas on the other hand is 35 and has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, losing to Naoya Inoue and Ryuichi Funai and this seems like a bout he must win if he intends to keep his career alive. Our preview of this clash can be read here Ishida and Parrenas clash in must win bout!
In one other bout of note we'll see Tatsuya Ikemizu (19-2, 8) hunt a 7th straight win, since being stopped by Jonas Sultan in 2016, as he takes on Sonin Nihei (8-2-3, 1). Both of these men were once tipped for success, though both have fallen very short of expectations so far. Given that both are young, both are 25, there is a chance that they could come good. It's worth noting that Nihei hasn't fought since being stopped by Keita Kurihara in December 2016, in what was a second straight stoppage loss for Nihei.
On a lesser level to the Osaka cards is a show from Okinawa, where 2017 Light Welterweight Rookie of the Year Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6) takes on Filipino Nelson Tinampay (13-7-1, 6). This will be Smith's first bout since losing a Japanese title eliminator to Koki Inoue and should be a solid test for the Japanese-American puncher. Tinampay has been stopped in 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good talent across the region and will give us something to compare Smith's result against.
In a supporting bout we'll see the talented Tatsuro Nakashima (7-1-1, 5), who came runner up in the East Japan Rookie of the Year last year, looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Japanese fighter will be up against Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (4-1, 4), who was last seen in the ring in September, being demolished by the debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka. We don't expect anything but a win for Nakashima, but we're interested in this bout to learn more about how good Shigeoka's performance was.
This card will also feature Former OPBF female Bantamweight champion Yuko Henzan (6-7-4, 2), who is scheduled to face off against a Thai opponent.
The least notable of the Japanese cards comes from Hyogo, where the Japanese ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (13-2, 7) takes on the hard hitting Takuya Matsuzaka (8-7, 7) in what should be a good test before Kanda begins a march towards titles in 2019. Kanda is riding a 7 fight winning streak into this bout whilst Matsusaka has managed to win just 3 of his last 7. Although heavy handed Matsusaka has been stopped in 6 of his 7 losses, and we'd not be surprised to see him being taken out again here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Japanese action there will also be a card in Vietnam, in association with a Japanese promoter, with a Japanese fighter headlining the card.
That Japanese fighter in the main event is the exciting Gakuya Furuhashi (23-8-1, 12), who faces off with limited Thai Yutthichai Wannawong (9-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title. The bout is supposed to be a special attraction as the OPBF look to build up boxing in Vietnam, and it seems clear the OPBF do have big plans for the coming years in these non-boxing countries, so fingers crossed this main event interests the fans.
A second OPBF affiliated title will be on the line as Nguyen Anh Tuan Dao (1-1, 1) faces an opponent, sadly we don't have their name, for the newly created OPBF Vietnamese National Light Welterweight title. The idea seems to be to spread these national titles across a number of countries, in what could be a very interesting experiment from the OPBF, who seem to realise that their market needs to grow outside of their strong hold markets.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see 3 bouts of note, even if they aren't hugely interesting match ups.
The most promising of those fighters is Joe Noynay (15-2-1, 5), who looks to secure a 4th straight win as he takes on Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4), who has lost his last 3. The talented 23 year old Noynay is unbeaten since losing in February 2017 to Reiya Abe, and looks to be a genuine prospect. Bolcio on the other hand looks like a fighter who has given up trying to win and is 4-13-2 in his last 19 bouts, with 8 of those 13 losses coming by stoppage.
Another fighter who appears to be in easy is Ryan Sermona (20-9-1, 13), who takes on Junar Adante (7-10-1, 4). Sermona has mixed with good fighters, including a 2014 loss to Masayuki Ito and a 2017 loss to Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a decent fighter on the domestic Filipino scene. Adante on the other hand has been stopped in his last 4 bouts, and 8 of his last 9, suggesting Sermona shouldn't have any problems at all here.
The other bout of note on this card will see 23 year old Glenn Medura (9-4-1, 5) battle against Dado Cabintoy (15-8-2, 8), in a bout that looks competitive on paper, but isn't a hugely interesting bout. Medua is 1-3 in his last 4, with only a single win in the last 2 years, whilst Cabintoy is 0-4 coming into this bout and is more than 40 months removed from his last win!
Seoul, South Korea
The main event here is really the only bout worth talking about, and will be an 8 round Super Featherweight clash, as Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) takes on Hwan Young Jo (5-6, 1). It's hard to see past a win for Lee, but he was stopped last time out, being taken out in 3 rounds by Jun Zhao back in September. Jo on the other hand has gone 1-3 in his last 4, and at 30 years old really looks like a fighter who won't be getting any better.
This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.
The most notable card card this weekend really is a big one, despite it's focus being on the lower weights. The card in question is the highly anticipated, little men super show “Superfly 2”.
The main event of the card is one of the most mouth watering bouts the little men can throw at us, with WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40) defending his title against mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25). The champion announced himself to the Western boxing fan base last year, when he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to claim and defend the WBC title. Estrada has been known about by the hard core fans for a long time, and will be looking to become a 2-weight champion, following a reign as a unified WBA and WBO Flyweight champion. The bout will likely be a case of Srisaket's power, size and strength against Estrada's brain, movement and technique and we're in for an absolute treat.
Another interesting match up pits two veterans against each other in what should be a cerebral match up. The bout will see IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) take on mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3, 19), himself a former multi-weight world champion. Nietes has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, with this being his first defense of the Flyweight title. The champion is one the sports smartest fighters, and with over a decade at the top he is one of the all time great Filipino's. Reveco was an outstanding fighter in his prime, with wins against the likes of Nethra Sasiprapa, Karim Guerfi, Masayuki Kuroda, Ricardo Nunez, Felix Alvarado and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. Despite those good wins Reveco has lost 2 of his last 6, and looked like a shot fighter in the most recent of those losses, a stoppage loss to Kazuto Ioka more than 2 years ago.
A third world title bout on this show will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (38-5-0-2, 23) face off with unbeaten Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (15-0, 11) for the vacant WBA Flyweight title, which was vacated last year by Kazuto Ioka. For the 37 year old Viloria this is likely to be one final chance to climb back up to the top, after having had 3 previous world title reigns, however this will not be a gimme and Dalakian is a very credible foe. The Ukrainian, originally from Azerbaijan, Dalakian mae his debut in 2011 and althouigh he's he's only got one win of real note, an 8th round TKO win over stubborn veteran Silvio Olteanu, he is a very legitimate fighter and will not be a push over.
Out side of the big US show there's also a notable card in Osaka, as the Ioka gym put on a card with several notable fighters involved, including a current OPBF title defense.
That OPBF title fight will see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (15-0, 9) defending his title, for the 9th time, against Thai puncher Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-2, 18). The unbeaten champion is a real talent, but a frustrating fighter who has looked ready to step up for several years and already holds wins of note against fighters like Shuhei Tsuchiya, Yositaka Kato, Ricky Sismundo and Kaewfah Tor Buamas. tall, lanky and skilled Natani has the potential to claim a world title, but does need to start facing better opponents than he has been. On the other hand the Thai is a dangerous fighter and can't be over-looked. Pharanpetch is riding a 4 fight winning run since a loss to Brandon Ogilvie and although he is no world beater he does have the power to give a fighter like Nakatani a genuine chin check. If Nakatani uses his skills he should come out of this without too many problems, but if he switches he could be in some trouble.
The chief support bout for this show will see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (24-1, 13) return to the ring for the first time since he was beat by WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The talented Osakan will be up against the heavy handed Lucky Tor Buamas (12-1, 12), with the Thai looking to scored a 6th straight win. Ishida failed to make the most of shit chance against Yafai, though seems like to improve following that loss and will almost certainly come again. Despite the potential of the Japanese fighter he will have to be careful here against the heavy handed visitor. Lucky was stopped in his only bout of note, losing in 9 rounds to Rene Dacquel, but is a dangerman and will clearly be looking to prove his power against Ishida here.
Another notable member of the Ioka gym in action will be Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0-1, 10). The unbeaten Hashizume, who was the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year, suffered a draw last time out, as he had to pick himself off the canvas to score a draw against Kota Fujimoto. He'll be hoping to have an easier out here as he takes on the limited, but experienced, Takahiro Murai (15-7-2, 5). Hashizume is a genuine talent but there are questions to be asked about his toughness and what he's like when he's in there with decent competition, and Murai is certainly a credible foe given that he beat Fujimoto last year. Hashizume should be favoured, but this is a genuine test for the youngster.
Another supporting bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (10-1, 8) take on Takuya Fujioka (7-8-1, 1). The talented Akizuki will be looking to bounce back from his November loss to Kenji Kihisa, and despite that loss the 19 year old does have a lot of upside. The bout will be a test to see how Akizuki is mentally after a stoppage loss but shouldn't be much more of a confidence booster. Fujioka lacks power and really shouldn't be any sort of a test for the talented teen.
We also get title action in Australia, with OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (20-6-1, 6) taking on the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (15-0, 10). The bout will serve not only as an OPBF title defense from Dacquel but also as a defense of the WBA Oceania title by Moloney, meaning both fighters are risking something. Dacquel is on a nice run of recent results, following his 2015 loss to Takuma Inoue, and has scored decent wins over Go Onaga, Shota Kawaguchi and Hayato Kimura in his last 3 bouts, all on the road. Moloney is in good form himself but in many ways it's him stepping up in class here and this is his toughest match on paper. The Australian has been very impressive so far, but this is likely to be a real test for the 27 year old.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia fans will be able to see the debuting Daniel Keating (0-0) take on Thai “loser” Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-20-2). The Thai is win-less in 13, with 11 losses and 2 draws during that run, and although better than his record suggests it's hard to imagine he'll really try to upset the debutant.
The most notable of two card for Japanese fight fans this Sunday comes from Kyoto, courtesy of Shinsei Gym, and featured a trio of title bouts.
The most significant of those title contests will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) make his first defense of the title as he takes on American challenger Daniel Roman (22-2-1, 8). Kubo won the title earlier this year, defeating Nehomar Cermeno, and will continue to look at proving himself as the new star at the Shinsei gym, following on from the success of the legendary Hozumi Hasegawa. For Roman the bout is his first in Asia and his first for a world title. The challenger has looked good moving through the ranks, but this is a big step up against a world class fighter. The bout, for those interested, will be televised live in the Kansai region of Japan and should see good numbers, given that Kubo's title win was hugely popular with the regional audience.
In an OPBF title fight we'll see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (14-0, 8) take on Ryan Sermona (20-8-1, 13). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 8th defense of the title and will almost certainly be eyeing bigger and better things in the near future. It's hard to see what Sermona brings to the table to really test the the tall and rangy champion, but hopefully we'll see him have some success in the biggest fight of his career. It's worth noting that Nakatani has held this title for well over 3 years but his last few performances haven't shown the progression many would have liked to have seen.
In the third of those title bouts we'll see Reiya Konishi (13-0, 5) defending his Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on former world title challenger Shin Ono (20-8-3, 4). This will be Konishi's first defense of the title that he won April, when he defeated Masataka Taniguchi. The talented champion will see this as a huge opportunity to move towards a title bout, and know he really needs to shine. For Ono this will be a third shot at a Japanese title, and potentially his last as the 34 year is really pushing on in terms of his career. Interestingly Ono won't just be fighting for the title but also for his stable as he looks to avenge Taniguchi's loss to Ono.
A second Japanese show will be held in Aichi and whilst it doesn't feature any title fights it does feature a trio of notable names.
In one of the headline bouts we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-6-1, 17) return to the ring following his first stoppage loss. The exciting Hayashi lost the Japanese title back in April, being stopped by the big punching Kosuke Saka, and will be looking to bounce back as he faces Filipino Markquil Salvana (13-3, 7). The once touted Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has yet to win on the road, where he is 0-3, and that's unlikely to change here against the aggressive and rough Hayashi.
Former 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (20-2-3, 14) will also be looking to rebuild his career against a Filipino. The talented Tanaka has lost 2 of his last 6, including a loss in March to Ryo Akaho, but he should fancy his chances against Bryan Capangpangan (12-3-1, 9), who looks a good opponent on paper but lacks a win of any note. The Filipino was blown out just a few fights ago by Jack Tepora and there's a good chance we'll see something similar here.
In the main event of this card we'll see the fast rising Kento Hatanaka (3-0, 3) take on a Thai foe as the youngster continues to move towards his first title fight. Hatanaka, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, made his debut last November and is already headlining shows thanks to his fun style and good looks, and there is real hope that he could prove to be the next star from the Hatanaka gym, run by his father.
The biggest show this week, at least for Asian fans, takes place on Sunday and features a title triple header as Shinsei gym give us fight fans a real treat.
The main event of the card will see WBA “regular” Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (26-5-1-1, 15) take on unbeaten Japanese challenger Shun Kubo (11-0, 8), with Kubo getting his first world title bout. Coming in to this Cermeno is enjoying an Indian summer in regards to his career and and reeled off 4 wins last year, including 2 against Qiu Xiao Jun and one against Nop Kratingdaenggym, to claim and defend the title. Although good last year the champion is 37 and has had a long career. Aged 26 Shinsei gym view Kubo as the next Hozumi Hasegawa and know that a win here would see Hyogo based gym have their next star. For Kubo the bout is a huge step up in class, but he and his team wouldn't have taken this bout if they weren't confident of coming out on top in what should be a bout that answers a lot of questions about both men.
In a supporting bout we'll see OPBF title action as OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (13-0, 8) takes on once beaten Thai challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas (23-1, 16). For the champion this will be his 7th defense of the title, a title that he won more than 3 years ago, and it's arguably one of the more interesting defenses on paper. As for the Thai this is a must win bout given that he was dominated by Czar Amonsot last year, before being stopped in round 7. If Nakatani, as we suspect, wins here there will be serious talk of him getting a world title fight, and it could well be that he gets such a shot later this year, or early next year. For the Thai a win would be a shock, and it would take a career defining performance for him to walk away as the Oriental champion.
In another title bout from this card we see unbeaten youngsters clash in a bout for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. The bout will see Reiya Konishi (12-0, 5) battle with Watanabe's exciting Masataka Taniguchi (6-0, 4). Aged 23 Konishi has been a professional since 2013 and made his first real mark in 2014, when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown. Despite being the Rookie of the Year in 2014 he's not really progressed and hasn't really moved forward in his career in 2015 or 2016. Taniguchi is also 23 but has been a professional for just over a year, debuting last April, and has already impressed with a very notable win last October against Dexter Alimento being a stand out win. Although flawed, and inexperienced, Taniguchi has been seen as a fighter on the fast track and a win here would put him on to the fringes of a world title fight.
Also on this card will be the once beaten Sho Nakazawa (9-1, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor John Ray Logatiman (5-4-2, 1).
A second card in Osaka will be put on by Muto gym, and unfortunately whilst it does boast some notable names, the card looks to be a very one sided one. In fact it looks to be little more than a bunch of mismatches.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (25-12, 11) fight in a stay busy contest against a Thai foe. In a leading support bout former OPBF, Japanese and IBF Asia Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-11-5, 9) will fight in his retirement, also against a Thai foe, and Masahiro Sakamoto (8-1, 4) is also set to take on a Thai visitor. Sadly none of the Thai's are known quantities suggesting very limited visitors.
In an all-Japan bout we'll see Kazuyasu Okamoto (13-4, 3) battle with Ryo Okayama (8-3-1, 5), who returns to a Japanese ring for the first time since 2014.
There will be a third show in Osaka, though with much less attention than the other two.
The main event here will see Yuta Uetani (19-5-1, 9) facing off with a no-name Thai foe. Although Uetani's bout is the main event there will also be a domestic match up between Ken Osato (10-1-1, 3) and Keita Ito (8-20-2, 4), in what looks like a clear mismatch.
The only non-Osakan show on Saturday comes from Fukuoka and is again a low key show.
The main event here will be a really well matched 6 rounder as Yuki Hirashima (5-1-1, 1) battles against Shinji Uramoto (5-1, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Sadly the rest of the card is merely full of novices.
This coming Friday is a hectic day with 5 title bouts taking place in Japan.
In Kobe we get an OPBF quadruple header, with the card looking, at least on paper, like one of the most notable Oriental cards of the month. The bouts might not be 4 brilliant match up, but they will help establish the OPBF scene as we enter 2017, and at least 2 of the bouts look like they could be very interesting match ups.
The “main event”, well the final of the 4 main events, will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (10-0, 7) defending his title, and unbeaten record, against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (8-4-5, 2). This was the first bout on the card to be known about and although it looks like a mismatch it could, potentially, be a good test for Kubo who will be looking for stiff competition next year. Lim, although having a sketchy record, is a former Korean champion and holds a draw with touted Korean prospect Ye Joon Kim, giving him some legitimacy as a challenger here.
In a bout at Lightweight we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7) defending his title against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6). The bout will be Nakatani's 6th defense and will see him looking to build on wins against the likes of Ricky Sismundo, Accel Sumiyoshi and Tosho Makoto Aoki. For Tanada , who has actually lost 3 of his last 4, the bout sees him attempting to score his biggest win since his 2010 shock upset over Rikiya Fukuhara. Sadly for Tanada he's gone 4-5-3 since his win over Fukuhara almost 6 years ago and it's hard to imagine this being a win for the Filipino.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card sees OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4, 15) defending his title against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (24-12, 10). On paper this might not look like a great bout but the reality is that the contest is brilliantly well matched and puts an exciting and hard hitting champion up against a talented and tough young veteran. For Yamamoto the bout will be his third defense, but is a huge step up from his previous 2, whilst Yap will be looking to extend a 5 fight winning run which has included a notable upset over Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Another intriguing bout will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12) battle with rising prospect Ryuya Yamanaka (12-2, 3) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title. For Sabillo the bout sees him returning to Japan for the first time since his May loss to Riku Kano, which was for the OPBF interim title, and it's fair to say that the Filipino cannot afford another set back after going 2-3-1 in his last 6 bouts. Aged 21 Yamanaka knows that a win will open doors for potential world title bouts, but this bout is by far the toughest of his career and it's clear that he will need a career best performance to defeat the Filipino veteran.
The 4 title bouts in Kobe won't be the only title action in Japan, in fact we also have a world title bout in the country, featuring the longest reigning active world champion, and the one with the most defenses of their current title.
That world champion is WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (22-2-1, 8) who looks to record her 17th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to Koseki will be the little known Chie Higano (6-4, 2), who will be making her first title challenger. On paper this looks like a mismatch and it's, unfortunately, hard to see anything but a win for Koseki, possibly by stoppage in the early rounds.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (7-0-1, 3) take on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee (5-1, 4). Inoue already has his next bout booked, a contest in January with Akinori Watanabe, has impressed and is being tipped as a potential Japanese title contender, but this is a bout against a live under-dog. Lee is unknown outside of Korea but has impressed on the domestic scene and scored a good win over Young Sub Han this past June. Although Inoue will be favoured this could be a good test for the Japanese fighter before the Watanabe bout.
In another Japan Vs Korean bout we'll see the brilliantly exciting and fast rising Kazuto Takesako (4-0, 4) battling against Kyung-Joon Ahn (6-3-1, 5). Takesako has taken out his first 4 opponents in just 7 combined rounds and will be looking to extend that run here. Ahn on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Shoma Fukumoto, from almost 3 years ago. On paper this looks like a decent test for Takesako but in reality it should be a bit of a mismatch and an early blow out for the Japanese prospect.
There is also a Japanese card in Osaka, in what is a busy day for Japanese fans. This is however this is a much smaller and less interesting card than the other two.
In the main event we'll see Middleweights clash as Ryuji Kanza (7-2, 5) takes on Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (7-5, 6) in what should be a really intriguing contest. Both guys are limited but both can bang and we'd not be shocked to see this one be a bit of a wild slugfest that lacks quality but is fun to watch.
In a supporting bout we'll see Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Adam Alap Alap (0-1), who we've been informed is a top 15 ranked Indonesian Lightweight suggesting his record is incomplete
There's also action in China where we get the next League of Fists show.
The main event here is a brilliant match up between unbeaten men, as Zhi Quan Xie (4-0-3, 1) battles against Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (7-0-1, 1). The bout is a really intriguing one and should tell us a lot about both men, and their potential to go further in the sport.
In the US fans will be able to see hotly touted Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (18-0, 12) fight for the second time on US soil. At the moment his opponent is an unknown but it's unlikely to be too much of a test for Dela Torre.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see two Asian fighters fighting in New South Wales.
One of those is China's Yong Zhang (5-5-1, 1), who faces a yet to be named opponent, whilst the other will be Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-5), who faces the unbeaten Michael Hall (3-0, 3) in what looks like a mismatch against the Korean.
The ridiculousness of Japanese boxing is on full show this coming Sunday with a staggering 5 shows, 3 of which are in Osaka alone, with two of those actually sharing a venue!
The busy venue is the EDION Arena which is doubling up this Sunday. The first of the two shows is set to begin at 12:30 local time and is a relatively low profile Kazama promoted card.
The main event of the Kazama show sees Japanese 154lb champion Yuki Nonaka (28-8-3, 9) defending his title against the under-rated Yuto Shimizu (11-2-2, 4) in a mandatory defense. On paper it's easy to favour the champion, who is very experienced at title level and is a genuine joy to watch. Shimizu however is the much younger man and is on an 8-0 run with wins against the likes of Hikaru Nishida, the current JBC/OPBF Middleweight champion, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. This could be a very good bout.
In a notable under-card bout fans will see Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (18-4-1, 11) face off against Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) in what looks like a mismatch, but could prove to be a good test for Carrillo, who is now managed by Hiroki Ioka. Whilst Mabao's record is “sketchy” at best he does come in to this one on a 3-fight unbeaten run, including a victory over Michael Enriquez and will be pretty confident coming into this bout.
The second show at the EDION Arena in Osaka is a much more notable card with several bouts of interest, even if they are likely to be pretty uncompetitive.
The nominal main event of the card will see the unbeaten OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (11-0, 6) defending his title against the limited, but very heavy handed, Tosho Makoto Aoki (20-13-2, 17). On paper this is a mismatch, there is no way of denying it, however Aoki has got a puncher's chance and will know that with his power his only chance is to take the fight to Nakatani. If the champion can take the power of the challenger then this will be a drama-less win for Nakatani, however Aoki's power may be enough to unsettle Nakatani's, or at least ask questions of the champion.
A second title bout on this card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (21-0, 11) take on mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-6, 16). This will be Ishida's 5th defense of the title and if he's successful his team will almost certainly do what they can to get him a world title fight later in the year. For Funai the bout will be his second shot at a title, and he'll be hoping for a better outcome than his last title fight, a 9th round TKO loss to Rolly Lunas. Notably the challenger is 7-0 (6) since that loss and will be riding a high coming into this one.
A third bout of note here sees Kei Takenaka (10-0, 3) battle against Daoruang Saknarong (0-0) in a world title “prelude”. If Takenaka gets through this, she should, she will be matched with IBF female Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata in late Summer.
Another bout on this card, and one which will infact split the title contests, will see OPBF ranked Flyweight contender Shun Kosaka (11-2, 2) face off against Kenta Yamada (8-5-1, 1). This is a relatively rare, at least for Japan, 10 round non-title bout and should help prepare Kosaka for a potential title fight in the coming years.
The third Osaka card comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center and is a Muto promoted card that features some of the best matchmaking for the day, yet another title fight, and some potentially action.
The main event is a rematch as the heavy handed Koki Tyson (9-2-1, 9), previously known as Koki Tyson Maebara, battles Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-11, 8) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Tyson made light work of the Thai in 2014, stopping him in 4 rounds, though was last seen suffering a 7th round TKO loss to Akio Shibata, in a bout that saw him being outboxed before being stopped. Since the first bout Petchsuriya has gone 2-1 though was notably beaten last time out by Kerry Hope, with the bout being given to Hope after the fight was reviewed by the WBC judges.
The best bout on the card is another rematch as former multi-time title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (24-14-1, 10) faces off against under-rated Filipino Mark John Yap (23-12, 10). These two men met last year with Yap winning an 8 round decision, this rematch however will be over 10 rounds and could well see the winner getting a Japanese or OPBF title fight later in the year. Although the records may not show it, this really could be something very special.
The main event isn't the only probably blow out, with the chief support bout being a contest between the explosive Masao Nakamura (21-3, 20) and the tough but limited San Saknarong (3-5, 1). The last time we saw the Thai he was stopped in 6 by Hidenori Otake, and it's hard to see him living with Nakamura, who will see a win a chance to move towards a well deserved title shot, potentially with Kenichi Ogawa in what would be a very fun shoot out.
In a 4th bout of note Japanese ranked fighters collide as Masahiro Sakamoto (6-0, 4) faces off against Atsushi Aburada (10-9, 6) in a bout that could potentially decide a future Japanese title challenger. On paper Sakamoto is the favourite but Aburada is the more proven fighter and this could be a very tough bout for both, who know there is a lot to lose coming in to this one.
One of the small Japanese shows comes from Kobe where fans will see a former world title contender and a former OPBF title challenger in action.
The former world title contender is Teiru Kinoshita (23-1-1, 6) who will be looking to continue to rebuild his career following his loss to the excellent Zolani Tete in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout back in 2014. The Japanese fighter should be very heavily favoured here as he takes on little known Korean fighter Min Wook Lee (2-3), who is best known for losing to the then debuting Muhammad Waseem late last year.
The former OPBF title challenger is Kazuya Murata (11-5, 5) who faces Tatsuya Yoneo (8-5, 1) in what will be Murata's first bout following a 5th round loss to Masayoshi Nakatani last August. Murata should win here, but it could be interesting to see if the loss to Nakatani did take something out of him.
The smallest of the Japanese shows comes from Fukuoka where fans get a very small card with novices. All the bouts here are 4 rounders with the most notable being a Lightweight contender between Tsuyoshi Matsuda (4-0, 2) and teenager Seiya Matsunaga (2-1, 1), which shows the level of this card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines.
The most notable bout here features former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-11-2, 18), who faces the limited and light hitting Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in what should be a walk in the park for Lopez. Sadly however Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years going 6-8-1 in his last 15 bouts.
In a notable under-card contest 21 year old puncher Allan Vallespin (5-0, 5) will risk his perfect record against Jomar Borbon (4-23-2, 2). Vallespin has looked devastating so far and will be looking to continue that run against the experienced Borbon.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
In wonderful Brazil fight fans will be able to see India's Neeraj Goyat (7-2-2, 2) battle against Brazilian local Guilherme Castagnazzi Ribeiro (3-1, 3). Ribeiro has won his last 3 bouts in a combined 4 rounds, but this is a step up in class for the local and Goyat, although the naturally smaller man, comes into this one on a 7-0 run.
The final really notable card this month, as far as Japanese fans should be concerned, takes place on August 28th as we see an OPBF title bout, a world ranked contender and a couple of unbeaten JBC ranked prospects.
The main event is the aforementioned OPBF title bout which will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani (10-0, 5) defending his belt for the 4th time as he takes on clear under-dog Kazuya Murata (11-4, 5). Coming in to the bout Nakatani will be hoping to make a statement and end a run of 4 successive decision wins, including victories over Yoshitaka Kato and Ricky Sismundo, though he did look disappointing last time out against Accel Sumiyoshi. For Murata this is his first title bout and one that he's expected to be stopped in, it is however a huge opportunity for him to make a name for himself.
The world ranked contender is unbeaten Super Bantamweight prospect Shun Kubo (7-0, 5), who came to the attention of the WBC last year when he out-pointed Luis May. Sadly for Kubo, who had a solid 2014 over-all, the momentum on his career has slowed significantly and that's shown by the fact he'll be facing Jakarachlek Sor Wankaew (0-4) in his bout on this show. It should be noted however that Kubo is in the running for a potential OPBF title fight and may well attempt to pick up the title after Shingo Wake vacates.
One of the ranked prospects on this card is Bantamweight hopeful Shohei Kawashima (10-0-2, 2), who will be hoping to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the experienced Tatsuya Miyamoto (11-13-1, 7). This bout should be a good, but passable, test for the unbeaten 23 year old.
The other unbeaten ranked contender is Reiya Konishi (8-0, 4), who actually won the All Japan Rookie of the Year last year. Konishi, who was recently included in the WBO world rankings, will be up against Naoya Haruguchi (7-5, 2) in what appears to be a suitable test for he 22 year old, who is fighting in just his second 8 round bout.
As well as the 4 bouts which have been mentioned, this card will feature 3 others.
Staying in Asia we also know there will be a show in Thailand, televised on Channel 7.
One of he headline bouts will see Pigmy Kokietgym (57-7-2, 23) face off against Jaysever Abcede (9-3, 5) on a bout for the for vacant WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. It appears that this bout will serve as a warm up for Pigmy who is said to be in talks for a world title fight with Kosei Tanaka, which could be announced in the next week or two, if he sees off Abcede here.
The other attraction will see Paipharob Kokietgym (29-0, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Fanther Ndahiuw (3-2-1). This bout will see Paipharob defending his defending WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title as he continues to pursue a WBO world title fight.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South Wales fans will see a battle of veterans as 43 year old Thai Plaisakda Singwancha (38-21, 32) battles 38 year old Australian based-Keyan born Kariz Kariuki (25-11-2, 19). Given the age of the two men we're not expecting anything great but both can punch and both have shown durability issues so it'd not be a huge shock to see this one end inside the schedule.
In South Africa fans will get the chance to see Filipino youngster Rene Dacquel (14-5-1, 5) take on local fighter Thembelani Nxoshe (13-5-1, 3) in a bout for the IBO International Super Flyweight title. This could well be one of the fights of the week given that both are aggressive fighters who lack major power. This really could be a joy for fans in attendance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)