This coming Sunday is a busy for Asian fight fans, with two shows in Japan and a show in Kazakhstan. None of the big names in action are big names, but there is a lot of talent in action across the three shows and a lot young, promising prospects in action.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
For us the best of the action is expected to come from Aichi where Midori put on a show under the Green Dream banner. It's not a big show, but it should be a very interesting one.
The main event here will see the very well regarded Masanori Rikiishi (8-1, 4) look to continue his rise through the Japanese domestic scene as he takes on Soreike Taichi (7-3, 5). The very talented Rikiishi is one of the most promising Japanese Lightweights and it's going to be interesting to see where he goes next year, but for us this is very much a stay busy fight for him, before bigger and better bouts. As for Taichi he's a decent fighter, but it's hard to imagine him having success at Lightweight against someone as good as Rikishii.
In the main supporting bout Japanese ranked Flyweight Katsuya Murakami (8-2-1, 2) will be up against Kazunori Yorimasa (5-6-3, 2). Coming in to this Murakami will be looking to get his career back on track after a competitive loss last year to Yuga Inoue, and will be expected to pick up the win against a relatively over-matched Yorimasa. Although Yorimasa is unbeaten in his last 3 here's certainly no world beater and we don't see him being any kind of banana skin for Murakami.
Possibly the best looking match up on the show will see the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori (6-2-1, 6) battle against Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2-1, 1) in a really good one. The hard hitting Kazunori scored a brutal KO last time we saw him, blasting out Lerdchai Chaiyawed, and he'll be looking to leave another mark here. Iwasaki is a much lighter puncher than Kazunori, but is the naturally bigger man, and his win over Ryuku Nagamine proved he had grit and determination. This could be a great bout between the power of Kazunori and the skills and toughness of Iwasaki.
This show is also set to feature a public work out from Japanese hopeful Mitsuro Tajima, who is expected to talk about his debut as well as show what he can do in the scheduled short work out.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
As well as the show in Kariya there is also a Japanese card in Osaka, as we move on in the West Japan Rookie of the Year. In total there 11 bouts set for this show, but we'll just quickly over a few of the more interesting ones.
At Flyweight we're going to be getting a 5 rounder between Hibiki Takano (4-2-1) and Yasuhiro Kanzaki (4-1, 1). The 22 year old Takano lost his first 2 of his first 3 bouts but has turned things around well and is 3-0-1 in his last 4 bouts, though he's yet to score a win against an opponent with a winning record. Kanzaki on the other hand has proven himself against better fighters, but was beaten last around a year ago and it'll be interesting to see how he fairs here, especially given his close win back in September against the debuting Daichi Morino.
In a Super Bantamweight bout Ren Nishimura (2-1) will take on the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (6-0, 3), who many regard as one of the hot favourites for the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown. The 24 year old Nishimura was stopped in his debut, by Ryuya Tsugawa, and has since bounced back with two decision wins, including a razor thin one back in September. Fukunaga on the other hand debuted in 2018, won his first 3 bouts by decision and has started to find his power, with 3 success T/KO wins. A win for Nishimura here would be a genuine upset.
At Featherweight we'll see 22 year old Kakeru Mio (5-2, 3) look to build on a win in September as he takes on unbeaten puncher Takato Shibata (3-0, 3). After starting his career 3-0 Mio has struggled, and gone 2-2 in his last 4, however he did drop to Featherweight earlier this year and seems to be more suited to the lighter weight. Shibata on the other hand is unbeaten and has been destroying fighters, taking out his first 3 opponents in just 3 rounds. We suspect this will be a test for Shibata, but if his power is legit it's hard to bet against him here.
Up at Middleweight Mitsuyoshi Oshima (2-0) will clash with Katsuhiro Nakata (3-0, 2) in a bout between unbeaten 160lb fighters. Whilst Middleweight is rarely division that gets much attention in Japan it is a division where Rookie of the Year fighters can be moved quickly, and both men will know a win here and they could, potentially, be just 4 or 5 fights from a Japanese title fight. Going in Nakata will be the favourite, and he appears to have most of the advantages, however the 31 year old Oshima will know a loss here will likely end any hope he has for getting a big fight in the future.
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in Kazakhstan. The card is full of novices, but still manages, some how, to a quadruple title show, with 4 minor titles on the show.
At 154lbs we'll see Miras Ertanov (1-0) take on Daryn Imakhanov (1-0) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title. Whilst we love to see fighters on the fast track, we also like to see fighters doing something to earn a chance, and in reality neither of these men have done anything to deserve a title fight. Both won 6 round debuts on September 23, and are being rushed into the ring against each other to seemingly fill a vacancy. Something you'll see with all 4 of the title bouts here.
Another bout at 154lbs will see Nurbol Sultanbay (2-0, 1) and Yerasyl Akranbek (1-0) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth title, which has never previously been fought for. Akranbek was another fighter who debuted on September 23rd, taking a split decision in his debut, whilst Sultanbay debuted in February and picked up his second win September. Despite the extra experienced Sultanbay's first two opponents were both debutants.
A second WBO Asia Pacific Youth champion will be crowned at Super Featherweight as Torgynbek Amirov (1-0) and Nurbolat Bekbauov (1-0, 1) both clash in their second professional bouts. We don't think anyone will be surprised by this, but both of these men debuted on September 23rd, and beat novices. Interestingly this particular title does have some history. In fact it dates way back to 2007 and has been held by the likes of William Kicket, Allan Tanada, Nathaniel May and Joe Noynay.
Amazingly the title bout with the most experience between the fighters is a bout between Nursultan Isakhan (1-0, 1) and Alimzhan Tursunov (3-0, 2), who will be battling for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title. The 20 year old Tursonov, with 3 bouts, is the second most experienced man on the entire show. Tursonov debuted in 2019, scored 2 wins before the year was over, and also on the September 23rd card. That September card was also the one that Isakhan made his debut on.
Whilst some of the fighters involved in the title bouts may have been good amateurs it's hard to understand how 8 men, with a combined 11 bouts, have all qualified for these minor, and currently vacant, titles. A bit of a farce for all involved.