To end 2019 we get a bumper card from Watanabe Gym who give us 6 titles on a single show in Tokyo. For those at the venue this is set to be a monster show, one of the best of the year, whilst those at home will only be able to see 2, or 3, of the bouts from the show.
The show at the venue is set to open with one of the best opening bouts on a show this year, as fast rising prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) defends his WBO Asia Pacific title against former world title challenger Rey Loreto (25-14, 17). Fans who aren't aware of Loreto might see this as a mismatch but the Filipino, who started his career 0-4, is a legitimate danger man and this is a very legitimate test for Shigeoka. A win for the 20 year old local is expected to be followed by a world title fight next year, but again a win here is not a given against the tough and heavy handed Loreto. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Rising star Shigeoka defends regional crown against former world title challenger!
Another regional title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 13) take on Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal (16-8-6, 9), in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Kuga has had a great year, reclaiming the Japanese title with a win against Ryoichi Tamura and then defending it with a blow out against Yosuke Fujihara. He will be the favourite. However Ramonal is unbeaten since mounting a comeback in 2018, and was last seen blasting out Shingo Wake in October, and he will be full of confidence coming in to this bout. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kuga and Ramonal clash for WBO Asia Pacific crown!
The first of three world title bouts, and one that is available to a Japanese only audience through Paravi, will see Miyo Yoshida (13-1) defending her WBO female Super Flyweight title against Chinese challenger Li Ping Shi (5-2, 2). This will be Yoshida's first defense of the title she won earlier this year, when she beat Casey Morton, and she, and her team sound confident that she has really come on and developed since winning the title. For Shi this is a huge step up in class, but she comes in with self belief and confidence. We go into a lot more detail of this bout here Yoshida defends WBO crown against Shi!
The second world title fight on this card will see fast rising Japanese star Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) defending his WBO Flyweight title, for the third time, as he takes on Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6). The talented Tanaka looked poor last time out, needing to pull victory from the jaws of defeat against Jonathan Gonzalez, but put that down to being sick in the build up. We expect to see a better performance here, but Wulan is no pusher over and comes into this bout full of confidence, in what looks like a potential banana skin of a defense. This bout has been previewed in a lot of depth here Tanaka takes on Wulan in year ending WBO Flyweight title bout!
The main event of the card will see Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) defending his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-0, 5), in what will be the final world title bout of the decade. Ioka won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Aston Palicte, and will be looking to go into the new decade as one of the top faces of the lower weight classes. Cintron on the other hand is looking to claim a world title in his first world title fight, and build on a very successful amateur career. This is a actually a really good way to close out the year, and the winner will enter 2020 as a man with potentially huge fights out there for the new year, including a show down with Roman Gonzalez. A full scale preview of this bout can be read here Ioka and Cintron to clash in final world title bout of the decade!
The other title bout, which is actually pencilled in as a swing bout, will see Marina Sayama (4-1-1, 2) and Yume Hirayama (4-0) battle for the vacant Japanese female Flyweight title. This will be the second bout between the two fighters, who fought in 2017 with Hirayama winning, and looks likely to be a competitive bout, but one only those in the arena will get the chance to see. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hirayama and Sayama battle for Japanese title!
This coming Wednesday attention turns to Chiba for a world title triple header. The show not only has a trio of world title bout but also features a couple of promising Japanese prospects, both taking a step up in class.
The main event of the show will see Japanese 3-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) have his second shot at the WBO Super Flyweight title, as he takes on Filipino puncher Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21), who also gets his second shot at the title. These two both fought Donnie Nietes for the vacant title late year, with Palicte earning a draw and Ioka suffering a narrow loss, and with Nietes vacating the title to pursue a legacy defining fight, the two men get the chance to face off with each looking to make the most of their second chance. This should be a high skilled battle between two very talented fighters, with very different strengths. We're not expecting a FOTY style war, but we are expecting a very, very good bout. Our preview on this bout is available here Ioka and Palicte vie for vacant WBO crown!
Another fantastic looking world title fight will see unbeaten men collide, with WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) defending his title against unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (11-0, 5) , aka Tanawat Nakoon. For Kyoguchi this will be his first defense, following his title at the end of 2018 against Hekkie Budler. The Japanese star will be strongly favoured here but it should be noted that the Thai challenger is a former Muay Thai stand out and should not be regarded as a push over. This should be very interesting and a real chance to see if the Thai is a legitimate threat in the world of professional boxing. Our preview of this bout is available here Kyoguchi takes on unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek
The third of the world title fights will see a second WBO Super Flyweight world champion being crowned, this time the female champion as in form Japanese fighter Miyo Yoshida (12-1) takes on Casey Morton (8-1-3, 1). Yoshida has managed to win Japanese and OPBF female titles on her climb up to this bout, but this is a bet test on paper, an her first 10 round bout. It should noted that whilst this should be Yoshida's toughest bout to date Morton did not impress in her her last bout at Super Flyweight, when she was clearly beaten by Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong and it could be that she just isn't suited to the 115lb weight class. Our preview of this bout is available here Yoshida and Morton battle for vacant WBO world title!
The more notable of the prospects on this card is the talented Shu Utsuki (4-0, 3), who looks to build on his stoppage win over Jerry Castroverde as he takes on Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-1, 3). Utsuki seems on his way to getting a title fight in the next 12 months or so and this is a really good step up in class, against a talented and often over-looked foe. The 28 year old Bolivar is no world beater but he's solid on the fringes of domestic level and should give Utsuki some tough rounds.
The other prospect on this card is former amateur stand out Shisui Kawabata (1-0, 1), who made his debut earlier this year. The 23 year old Japanese fighter had been touted as one to watch before his debut, back in March, but was surprisingly dropped in his first pro bout. He'll be hoping for a better performance here as he takes on Thai visitor Mongkol Kamsommat (5-4, 4). It should be noted the Thai is 0-2 in Japan, but did go 7 rounds last year with Kenichi Horikawa and is certainly better than his record suggests. This could be a real test for Kawabata.
We get the latest in the female only "Victoriva" series of shows this coming Wednesday as we get "Victoriva Vol 4" at the Korakuen Hall. The card isn't as stacked as some of the previous shows under the banner but does feature two really good looking title bouts, both of which are worthy of some attention for fans of female boxing.
The main event will see Atomweight titles being unified as OPBF champion Eri Matsuda (2-0) faces Japanese champion Nanae Suzuki (8-2-1, 1) in a fantastic match up. The unbeaten, and fast tracked, Matsuda is a delightful fighter to watch and her OPBF title win back in December was a brilliant performance, out pointing Minayo Kei over 8 rounds. Suzuki is a battler, and come be a nightmare up close for Matsuda, though the unbeaten fighter will look to make the most of her hand speed and excellent foot work, in what should be a great clash of styles. Our preview of this bout is available here Matsuda and Suzuki battle to unify titles!
The chief support bout will see JBC and OPBF female Bantamweight champion Miyo Yoshida (11-1) defending her national title, and we believe only the Japanese title, as JBC #1 ranked contender Yoshie Wakasa (6-0, 2). Yoshida has been on a tear, winning her last 7 bouts, unifying the Japanese and OPBF crowns and going 4-0 in title bouts. Wakasa is fighting in her first title bout, but as an unbeaten challenger she is clearly hungry and will be coming into this bout knowing it's her chance to get a career best win. This could be very, very exciting, even if it's not likely to be the tidiest of bouts to watch. Our preview of this bout is available here Yoshida takes on unbeaten Wakasa in upcoming defense
As well as the show in Tokyo there is also a Filipino card scheduled.
The main event here is set to be Jason Buenaobra (7-3-3, 3) taking on the once beaten Joseph Ambo (8-1-1, 6) in a well matched contest. The 24 year old Buenaobra is the only fighter to have heard the final bell with teenage sensation Carl Jammes Martin and has reeled off a 5 fight unbeaten run since then, but does lack power and hasn't scored a stoppage since his 5th bout. Ambo on the other hand is a puncher but was beaten last time out, losing a decision in Thailand to Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. Ambo will be looking to return to winning ways, whilst Buenaobra will be looking to extend his unbeaten run to 6 bouts.
Also set for this card is the unbeaten Denmark Quibido (8-0-1, 5), who saw his record being marked up late last year with a technical draw against Joel Taduran. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show this Sunday comes from the Philippines and features some very notable fighters, including an interim world champion, a former world champion and three touted prospects.
On paper the main event will see WBA “interim” Bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo (19-0, 16) battling against the horribly limited Julias Kisarawe (29-6-1, 15) of Tazania. The talented Gaballo claimed the interim title earlier this year, when he upset the unbeaten Stephon Young in the US, and showed that he was world class. Sadly Gaballo was one of the many talented Bantamweights who missed out on the World Boxing Super Series but as long as he stays active between now and the end of the tournament he will be in with a great chance of facing the eventual winner. Sadly this really is just a stay busy for Gaballo, and Kisarawe was stopped back in 5 rounds in July by Prince Patel, showing just how limited he is.
The former champion on the card is former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first since he scored an 11th round KO against Shohei Omori in April 2017, a bout that saw him being stripped of the title for failing to make weight. Given his long break from the ring few we can't complain much about Tapalese being matched softly, and he has been. On paper Goodluck Mrema (22-3, 12) looks to be a decent opponent but the man from Tanzania has been matched very softly and has lost in his two bouts outside of homeland, including a stoppage loss in June in Scotland to the then 3-0 Lee McGregor. Tapales should have no problems dealing with the visitor here.
One of the prospects on this card Dave Penalosa (13-0, 9), the nephew of promoter Gerry Penalosa, who looks to be taking a step up in class, at least on paper. The unbeaten southpaw will be up against Twalib Tuwa (21-5-2, 14), another import from Tanzania. Tuwa is 0-3 on the road, including a loss to to Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym. When you consider Kwanpichit is a Flyweight and Penalosa is a Featherweight we really should be questioning why Tuwa's team are throwing him in here.
Another Penalosa on this card is Carlo Caesar Penalosa (12-1, 5), who will also be taking on an opponent from Tanzania, Jemsi Kibazange (11-2-2, 1). On paper this actually looks the most compelling of the Philippines Vs Tanzania bouts, despite Kibazange being very feather fisted. Kibazange hasn't never been stopped and despite suffering a couple of losses at least looks like he could be a test for Penalosa. Even if we are expecting the contest to be a mismatch.
In Japan there will be two shows at the Kagoshima Arena,
On paper the more notable of those two cards is the second show, which features a couple of notable bouts.
The main event of this card will see Naoya Haruguchi (15-9, 6) take on Filipino visitor Lito Dante (14-10-4, 7). This will be Haruguchi's first bout since a loss to Tatsuya Fukuhara in July and although he's lost 2 of his last 3 he has proven to be a very credible fighter around the Japanese and OPBF title scene, with notable wins against the likes of Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. On paper Dante looks like a limited fighter, but like Haruguchi he is much better than his record suggests and has gone the distance twice with Vic Saludar and also took Simphiwe Khonce the schedule. Dante is tough, talented and will be there to pick up a win on the road. This could be a thrilling and hotly contest contest.
In the chief support bout we'll see OPBF female Bantamweight champion Miyo Yoshida (10-1) make her first defense, just weeks after winning the belt, as she takes on Thai challenger Phannaluk Kongsang (4-6-1, 2). Yoshida won the title on October 20th, to unify the OPBF and Japanese titles, and this will be her first defense of the regional belt as she gets a homecoming contest in Kagoshima, with the plan being for her to move on to world title fights in the near future. Coming in to this the Thai has lost 3 of her last 4, including a previous challenge for this title, and a win would be the biggest of her career, by far. We don't see the upset happening, but we do imagine the Thai will be able to last the distance, given Yoshida's lack of power.
The other card in Kagoshima is a Rookie of the Year card, pitting the Western Japan champions against the Central Japan champions. The winners of these bouts will then find themselves one bout away from an appearance at the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in December. This card will feature 9 bouts in total with contests taking place from Minimumweight to Welterweight. We won't go through the bouts, but we are expecting some very competitive contests.
This coming Monday Dangan put on their second “Victoriva” show, which took the role of Dangan Ladies. From that it should be clear that this will be an all female show, and it actually features a couple of female title fights.
The main event of the card will see Miyo Yoshida (9-1) take on Filipino foe Gretel de Paz (5-3, 2) in a bout for the vacant OPBF female Bantamweight title. The once beaten Yoshida has reeled off 5 straight wins, including a big win over Tomomi Takano for the Japanese female title, and looks to be getting better and better as she develops her in ring experience. As for de Paz she is pretty much a journey-woman, with her last 3 fights all taking place away from home. The visitor won last time out, against a debutant, but we can't see her beating the very in form Yoshida here.
The second title fight will see Japanese Atomweight champion Nanae Suzuki (6-2-1, 1) defending her belt against Akari Arase (6-4, 1), in what will be Suzuki's first defense of the title. Teh champion claimed the belt back in March, when she took a majority decision win over Sana Hazuki, in what was the second meeting between the two women. The 36 year old Arase is better than her record suggests, having ran Masae Akitaya close last year, but is no world beater and a win here would be her best win to date.
A supporting bout will see the aforementioned Sana Hazuki (6-3-1, 2) taking on the debuting Eri Matsuda (0-0) in a 6 round bout. As mentioned Hazuki has twice faced Suzuki in Japanese title fights, drawing once and losing a majority decision, showing that she is among the top domestic fighters at 102lbs. Matsuda on the other hand was a former amateur stand out who is jumping in at the deep end here. A win for Matsuda would see her announce herself on the national stage and be a huge way to kick off her career, but of course Hazuki is not there to make up the numbers.
Another supporting bout of note will see the once beaten Tomoko Okuda (4-1-1) battle against the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (5-0, 2). Okuda lost on her debut but has since gone 4-0-1 and moved into 6 rounders. Wakasa on the other hand has avoided a loss so far, but this will be her first 6 rounder. Interestingly neither fighter has a win of any real note so the winner here will have a career best win.
In the last few year's we've seen female boxing grow in the west, thanks to former amateur fighters like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. It's worth noting however that over the last few years Japan have had some all-female cards. The next one of those takes place this coming Thursday, and is the most stacked all-female card in Japanese history, with an incredible 6 title bouts, ranging from Japanese to world title bouts.
The main event is one of the two world title bouts, and will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) make her first defense, as she takes on Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). The Japanese fighter won the belt last May, in her 6th world title fight, and will be fully aware that a loss here will likely end her career, given that she's 42 years old. The Korean challenger is 32 and was once a very highly regarded fighter, but she comes into this bout after having not fought in over 2 years. At her best Park was a real talent, but with ring rust she may well not be the fighter she once was, or look like a fighter who has an active 16 fight unbeaten run.
The other world title fight promises to be something a bit special as the highly aggressive Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) battles Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten Minowa has spoke about winning world titles in a number of weight classes nut this will be her first world title fight and it's a genuinely tough one for the 30 year old former amateur standout. To date Minowa has mowed mowed through her first 5 foes in a combined 18 rounds and looked a truly spiteful force, but she is taking a huge step up in class here. Tsunami is a former WBA female Super Flyweight champion, holding that title for more than 3 years, and has fought a who's who of female boxing, often giving top fighters very tough fights. This could be something very exciting.
In an OPBF female Minimumweight title bout fans will see former world title challengers clash, with Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) battling Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3). It was Hanawa that was beaten by the aforementioned Ebata last year for the WBO title at this weight, and since then she has claimed the interim OPBF title. It's worth noting however that Hanagata is a 2-time OPBF champion who has come up just short in 4 world title bouts, and is hungry to get a 5th shot at at world honours.
In a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout fans will see Miyo Yoshida (8-1) make her first defense as she takes on Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2). The champion won the title last October when she narrowly out pointed Tomomi Takano and will be favoured to retain her title, but Johnson is better than her record suggests, and is much better than a typical fighter on a 6 fight losing run.
A Japanese Flyweight title bout will see the inaugural champion being crowned, as Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1). On paper Koseki looks the lesser of the two but she has mixed with good opponents, and has gone 1-1 with the aforementioned Yoshida. Ikemoto on the other hand hasn't faced anyone of any real note and is clearly stepping up a level here.
Another inaugural title will be the JBC female Atomweight class, which will be competed for between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1), who fought to a draw in a bout for this very same title back in December. On paper these two are very evenly matched, and the fact the judges failed to separate them last time out suggests this could be a very competitive contest again.
This coming Friday is a relatively low key day of fights,but there is some interesting action in Japan, Australia and the Philippines.
In Japan we will see history being made this coming Friday as Tomomi Takano (10-2, 7) and Miyo Yoshida (7-1) trade blows in the Inaugural JBC Female title fight, with the two fighting for the newly recognised Japanese Female Bantamweight title. Takano is a former world title challenger, and will be favoured by many given her experience and natural size advantages, but Yoshida know this will be a huge opportunity and the bout could be a really thrilling fight, and the perfect way to kick off the new title.
In Victoria we'll see Filipino Czar Amonsot (34-3-3-1, 22) defending his “Interim” WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title against unbeaten Paraguayan Carlos Manuel Portillo (18-0, 14). Amonsot will be fighting for the first time since a No Contest with Martin Enrique Escobar back in July, when a headclash left Amonsot unable to continue in the second round. As for Portillo this will be his first bout outside of Paraguay.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia, there will be a number of Thai journeymen involved on a card in Western Australia. The show isn't a big one, but it's clear the Thai's, of which there are 4 of them, have been brought in to lose, and only to lose.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get a card that appears to have been delayed from late September. The card has an interesting main event between two fighters who are known better for putting up great efforts in losses, rather than their ability to win, but should put on a really good bout against each other.
That main event will see the criminally over-looked Vergil Puton (16-8, 8) battle against Eduardo Mancito (15-6-2, 9). Of the two men Puton is the better known, and has given problems to the likes of JR Magboo, Ye Joon Kim, Shuya Masaki and Ibrahim Balla, proving his ability as an “opponent”, who comes to win but just falls short. As for Mancito he has suffered losses to Thong Sithluangphophun, Jelbirt Gomera, Alberto Guevara, Tomas Rojas and Rey Vargas. This should be a really fun, competitive and exciting fight, but we suspect Puton will take home the win.
In a supporting bout on this card fans will see Malaysian prospect Aiman Abubakar (5-0, 2) face off with Nestor Junio (1-9-2), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
There isn't much action this coming Sunday but what there is is pretty important as fans in Kyoto get the chance to see a female world title fight. The bout in question will see former WBO female Minimumweight champion Su-Yun Hong (14-1-1, 7) battle against former OPBF female Super Flyweight champion Tamao Ozawa (12-3, 4). The two women will be battling for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight, which was vacated earlier this year by Louisa Hawton.
Sadly other than the main event, the rest of the card is very, very poor.
A second show from Japan is again a low key affair but it does have a notable main event as Japanese ranked Minimumweight contender Naoyo Haruguchi (12-7, 6) takes on Norihito Tanaka (15-5, 8). Haruguchi, who has won his last 4, will be risking his JBC ranking here and will know that a loss will set back his dreams of fighting for a Japanese title. As for Tanaka the bout will see him fight for just the second time in 5 years, following a successful ring return in February.
In the lead support bout fans will see female fighter Miyo Yoshida (6-1) battle against Filipino visitor Kim Actub (4-7-1, 3) in an 8 rounder. This should be an interesting test for Yoshida, especially given the fact Actub did give Ayumi Goto a good test earlier this year.
We get the first of two Boxingraise shows on February 19th, albeit one that will be aired on delay, as Dangan put on “Pioneer of Fight Vol 2”
The main event of the show is a very interesting match up as the heavy handed Akinori Hoshino (12-7-1, 9) takes on the once touted Shun Kosaka (13-2, 3). Aged 28 Hoshino comes into this following an excellent 7th round TKO win over Kenya Yamanashita, and although his record is patchy he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Tatsuya Takahashi, Ryuichi Funai and Yusuke Suzuki. Although his record isn't great Hoshino is a real threat at domestic level. As for Kosaka he'll be hunting a 5th straight and prove that he's back on his way up following losses in 2014, to Yamashita, and in 2015, to Tetsuya Hisada
In a female bout we'll see the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (4-0, 2) take on the once beaten Miyo Yoshida (5-1). The 28 year old Wakasa will be stepping into 6 rounders for the first time, and this bout follows a tough win last year against Thai visitor Dokmaipaa Kietpompetch. Yoshida made her debut more than 2 years ago and had a busy 2016, in which she went 4-1, and she will be looking to score her best win here. Both fighters are obviously fighting for a solid win and it wouldn't be a shock to see both women fight their heart out here.
In another supporting bout we'll see Junto Nakatani (9-0, 7) battle against Thai visitor Mingkwan Sithjirachai (0-1), who was stopped in a round on debut last year. The 19 year old Nakatani will be fighting for the first time since winning the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at Flyweight and will be looking to make a splash in 2017.