In Tokyo this coming Friday we get a wonderful card with a couple of title fighters and several very interesting under-card bouts. If you're a fan of the Japanese, or Asian scene in general, this card deserves your attention, even if it's not a particularly huge one in terms of names. It's one that has quality match ups, rather than big name fighters.
The main event will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) make his first defense, following his controversial title win in December against Yuki Strong Kobayashi. The hard hitting, and incredibly fun to watch, Kurihara will take on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-9-1, 23). For those who haven't seen Kurihara he's aggressive, very heavy handed and always worth watching. Parrenas, in his prime, was very similar, though the now Japanese based Filipino has aged significantly from his pomp and is certainly heading towards last chance saloon. If Parrenas can roll back the clock we could have a FOTY contender on our hands here. A full preview of this bout is available here Kurihara and Parrenas meet in OPBF title bout!
The other title fight on this card will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) defending his title against mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8), in what is Shindo's second defense of the title. Shindo won the title in 2018 though suffered an injury in that win, leading to an interim title being created and Shindo then facing Akinori Watanabe in a thriller in December. Matsunaga on the other hand has earned his title shot thanks to a win over Koshinmaru Saito, in what was his 8th straight victory. Shindo is a tall, rangy boxer whilst Matsunaga is much shorter, and how that dynamic comes into play will be really interesting here. A preview of this bout is available here Shindo takes on mandatory challenger Matsunaga
This isn't just a top heavy card, but also one with good supporting bouts. On paper the best of those is Bantamweight bout between Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) and Kai Chiba (10-1, 7). Both of these men are in their mid-twenties and both will know a win here pushes them to verge of a title fight. With both having just a single loss it's clear that both men will be looking to pick up a win here, and given their contrasting styles we're expecting a really compelling fight.
Another intriguing under-card fight will see the popular Joe Tanooka (15-6-4, 1) battle against Naoto Mizutani (5-6-1, 2). Tanooka is the clear favourite, but has lost 3 of his last 4 and desperately needs a win to remain relevant. He's not been matched softly, but too many losses and he will lose some of the fans that have been with him since his 2013 Rookie of the year campaign, where he reached the All Japan final. It's worth noting that Mizutani has also lost 3 of his last 4, but gave a very good test to Fumiya Fuse in February. Mizutani will be coming in to this lookign for an upset, like the one he got in September against Mirai Imagawa.
One more meaningful match up will see former title challengers collide. In one corner is former Japanese Lightweight title challenger Masaki Saito (15-13-6, 5) whilst the other will feature former OPBF Featherweight title challenger Ryuto Araya (12-7-1, 4. The men are meeting at a catch weight, around 133lbs, and both will know that a loss here could finish their hopes of getting another shot at a belt.
One other fighter pencilled in to fight on Friday is Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7), who takes on 48 year old American Ray Austin (29-9-4, 18) in Miami. This will be Dychko's first bout since beating Maurice Harris back in July 2018 and if we're being honest it's a truly disappointing bout for his return. The Kazakh should be much, much further along with his career by now, but his team really have dropped the ball massively with him and this bout is further proof of that.
The most notable action takes place in Kazakhstan, as a former world champion returns to action and fans also get the chance to see a number of local prospects take their next towards stardom.
The main event of the bout will see former WBA Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 11) return to face the once beaten Hizni Altunkaya (30-1, 17) for a version of the WBA Cruiserweight title, one of 4 “world” titles the WBA has at the weight. The Kazakh hasn't fought in over 2 years, since beating Junior Anthony Wright for the WBA “regular” title, due to an eye injury but has shown a new hunger for this return at the age of 34. Altunkaya on the other hand has been active but is one of the biggest bottom feeders in the sport and is totally without a win of note. The German based Turk has lost his only bout of note, suffering a 5th round loss to Krzysztof Glowacki, and this is a significant step up from his other competition. If Shumenov is half the fighter he once was, he shouldn't struggle to come out on top here.
One of the most notable prospects is Bobirzhan Mominov (6-0, 5), who will be looking to make a mark on his first bout on Kazakh soil, as he takes on Georgian teenager Giorgi Bliadze (7-6, 2). The unbeaten Kazakh has fought in the US and in Argentina so far, and has looked good in his wins to date, but this should be a great chance for him to shine against the relatively limited Georgian fighter.
Among the other fighters on this card is Aidos Yerbossynuly (7-0, 6), who has looked fun in his first 7 bouts. His opponent hasn't been named at the time of writing, but we don't imagine it will be anyone too testing.
As well as the show in Kazakhstan there is also a notable card in Tokyo, which will be broadcast on tape delay in the coming week. The card isn't a stacked one in terms of quality match ups, but it does feature a good main event and several notable names.
The main event will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (15-0, 11), who is now a world ranked fighter, taking on talented Filipino Dexter Alimento (13-3, 9). On paper this is a great match up, with Nakatani looking to build on a strong run of wins against the likes of Seigo Yuri Akui, Jeronil Borres and Mario Andrade and Alimento looking to give his own career a big boost. The Japanese fighter looks to be one of the countries fastest rising hopefuls and at just 20 the future is very bright for Nakatani. The 22 year old Alimento scored a huge win in January 2016, when he stopped Chanachai CP Freshmart, but has since gone 3-3, including a razor thin loss to Masataka Taniguchi, A move up to Flyweight isn't likely to help the Filipino, but we can't write him off give his energy and style, and he could be a real banana skin here.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout looks to be thoroughly one-sided, as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5), the 2015 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year, takes on Marzon Cabilla (16-16-1, 5). The talented Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run coming in to this but hasn't fought since December. The Filipino the other hand has been active, with two fighters already this year, and whilst he has won 7 of his last 8 he was stopped last time out, and has been stopped in 12 of his 16 defeats.
Also on this card fans will be able to see Yuichi Yokoyama (17-4, 15), Ryota Toyoshima (8-2-1, 6) and Masaya Tamayama (10-1, 5) all in action, with all 3 men taking on Thai visitors.
There's also two cards in the Philippines, one of which will take place in Bohel and be promoter by former world champion Gerry Penalosa.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (12-0, 8) make his ring return, after almost 2 years away from the ring, as he takes on Indonesian veteran Ricky Manufoe (27-34-3, 10). The talented Penalosa had looked like a promising talent early in his career but a few stumbles in his activity has slowed his progress and he's now been out of the ring since September 2016. Despite the inactivity the the Filipino will be strongly favoured against an opponent who has been racking up a lot of losses on the road in recent years.
A second Philippines Vs Indonesia bout will see Carlo Caesar Penalosa (11-1, 4) battle against Iwan Key (11-21-3, 1), in an equally mismatched contest. Penalosa was upset in February 2017, by Reymark Taday, but has since bounced back with 4 wins and will be expecting another easy one here. Key has scored 1 win in his last 11 and won't be expected to get a win on the road here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The bets of the Filipino bouts, on paper at least, comes from Metro Manila, as WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Flyweight champion Cris Alfante (14-6-1, 6) makes his second defense, battling against veteran Ardin Diale (33-12-4, 16). Alfante won the title in 20116, with a win over Rolio Golez, and made his first defense last September. He will go in as the champion, but as the under-dog with less experience than the battle hardened Diale, who is a proven fighter at the regional level and will be looking to bounce back from a 2017 loss to Moruti Mthalane.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.