Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
To kick off a new month we have one of, if not the, best all female of the year with a show at Korakuen Hall featuring 5 title bouts, all of which are female title bouts and all of which look interesting in their own way.
One of those bouts will see the touted Sumire Yamanaka (5-0, 1) take on Honoka Kano (4-0-2, 2) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Atomweight title. Of the two the more well known is Yamanaka, the younger sister of former world champion Ryuya Yamanaka, who was ear marked as one to keep an eye on when she first turned professional. As for Kano she gone under-the radar, but will see this as her chance to make a mark and leap out of the shadows. For both women this is the most notable bout of their careers so far, and the first title bout for either woman. Our preview of this bout can be read here Yamanaka and Kano battle for Japanese title
A second Japanese title fight will again see unbeaten fighters clash as former amateur standouts Mizuki Hiruta (2-0) and Hinami Yanai (2-0, 1) face off for the Japanese female Flyweight title. Of the two the more proven is Hiruta, who scored a big win last time out against Terumi Nuki, however she can't afford to over-look Hanai, who's style is likely to give Hiruta real problems. Hiruta is a wonderfully talented pure boxer, but Yanai is smart, aggressive and strong, and could well have the tools to grind down Hiruta in what is a very, very well matched bout and proof that novice do not need to be protected, especially not when they are solid amateurs wanting to be fast tracked to professional success. We've previewed this bout here Hiruta and Yanai battle for Japanese title
The only regional title bout on this card will see OPBF Atomweight champion Eri Matsuda (4-1-1, 1), one of the most technically schooled female boxers in the lower weights, take on the fast but technically limited Kaori Nagai (6-4-3, 2). Given the abilities of the two fighters it's hard to see Nagai really testing Matsuda, however it is worth noting that Matsuda is without a win since 2019 and this could be the perfect time for Nagai to face her. A win for Matsuda will likely secure her a third world title fight in 2023, whilst a loss will be very, very, very hard for her to come back to. As for Nagai a win here could land her a potential world title fight, though it would be a massive upset for her to beat Matsuda. Our preview of this bout can be read here OPBF champion Matsuda takes on Nagai
In one of two world title bouts on this card we'll see veterans collide as Ayaka Miyao (25-9-2, 6) makes her first defense of the IBF Atomweight title, which she won earlier this year with a close decision win over Eri Matsuda. The aggressive and high tempo Miyao will be up against the technically sound, but aging, Mika Iwakawa (10-6-1, 3), herself a former WBO world champion. This is stylistically a very interesting bout, and one that leaves the winner on the verge of a unification bout, and the loser potentially looking at retirement. We've previewed this world title bout here IBF queen Miyao battles Iwakawa
The other title bout on this show will see WBO Atomweight champion Nanae Suzuki (11-4-1, 1), who dethroned Iwakawa, defending her title against former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (19-7-2, 9), who is essentially fighting for her career right now. The all action Suzuki isn't someone with much power, but is a very physical fighter, who sets a high work rate, applies intense pressure and forces her opponents into a gruelling, exhausting and draining bout. As for Kuroki she's a great all round, but we suspect she will be dragged into the wrong sort of fight here, which should make this a very, very fan friendly war. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here WBO champion Suzuki battles Kuroki
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday we get the next show from the Diamond Glove series of events. The card was, on paper, is one of the stronger Diamond Glove shows we'll get this year, but sadly saw it's main event being cancelled in the build up.
The planned main event would have seen Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (25-4-1, 22) defending his title against Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15), the man he beat for the title back in 2020. Sadly this was cancelled in March when Obara suffered a leg injury.
As a result the main of the card will now see former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) takes on former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) in a scheduled 8 rounder. For Sagawa this is his second bout since losing the Japanese title last year, when he was stopped in 7 rounds by the sensationally talented Hinata Maruta. The talented Sagawa was last seen in the ring in October when he avenged his first loss, against Retsu Kosaka. As for Kubo, it's now more than 4 years since he lost the WBA world title, and since then he has gone 3-1, with his most recent bout being a 3 round win over Ruito Saeki more than a year ago
The card also has a notable female bout on it, as professional novice Mizuki Hiruta (1-0) battles former world title challenger Terumi Nuki (12-4, 8), in a huge step up for Hiruta. As an amateur Hiruta was very solid, winning 29 bouts and racking up more than 40 bouts in the unpaid ranks. She looked excellent on debut last year, and seems set to be moved incredibly quickly through the ranks. Nuki on the other hand is battle tested, and has been in with the likes of Mariana Juarez and Debora Anahi Dionicius, and is a very capable fighter, despite not being competitive at world level. This should be a great chance to see if Hiruta is as good as her team believe her to be.
Another really interesting supporting bout will see Mikyo Watarai (0-0) make his professional debut against Takafumi Shibata (2-0), in a battle between two former Japanese amateur standouts. As an amateur Shibata came in the top 3 in several major domestic competitions and had a style more suited to the pro ranks. Since making his debut in 2021 he has proven to be exciting, fun to watch and busy in the ring, though he does lack power and it does seem like he's still very much a work in progress. As for Watari he ran up an excellent 77-15 (19) record in the unpaid ranks and impressed in several national tournaments. As an amateur Watari was aggressive, exciting and and very composed, with a style that should translate over to the professional ranks very nicely.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The most notable show, for us at least, this coming Friday comes from Korakeun Hall, as we get the latest Victoriva show, a female only card promoted by the find people at Dangan. The card is certainly not a big one, but it is one that's worth being aware of, especially if you're a fan of female boxing.
The main event here was supposed to be a rematch between WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (10-5-1, 3) and Nanae Suzuki (10-4-1, 1). Sadly however this bout was cancelled around a week ago when the champion had to pull out due to an injury she suffered in training. Is a disappointment, given how good their first bout was, but fingers crossed Iwakawa recovers swiftly and we can see this bout being rescheduled for the near future.
Due to the cancellation of the main event the new main event will instead see Kayoko Ebata (12-8, 6) and Nao Ikeyama (18-6-4, 5) battle in a clash between veteran former world champions. Aged 52 Ikeyama is a fighter who is well past the age of a typical fighter, but she's aged like fine wine and has had many of her career defining bouts after the age of 40, a win here could see her securing a world title fight in 2022. She's no spring chicken but she is, still, a world class fighter. As for Ebata she's got a patchy looking record but she's legitimately faced a who's who of the sport, and will be seeking a chance to become a 2-time world champion, if she can pick up a win here.
In a major supporting bout we'll get the debut of Mizuki Hiruta (0-0), who takes on Nanae Yamaka (4-0, 2) in a scheduled 6 rounder. Hiruta is highly regarded following an exciting amateur career, which saw her go 29-16 (13) and show a lot of power and tenacity in the unpaid ranks. Yamaka on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC, and will know that she's up against a talented former amateur, and has a lot to lose here. We expect this to be a genuine tear up.
In another supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked fighters face off as Megumi Hosoda (3-2) faces the unbeaten Honoka Kano (3-0-1, 2). The 38 year old Hosada has lost 2 of her last 3, but has mixed with good company and has shared the ring with Mong Blanc Miki and Nanako Suzuki. Kano on the other hand has a better looking record but the 26 year od has been matched softly so far and this is certainly a very credible step up in class, and one that could vault her to a Japanese title fight, if she can pick up the win.
Over in Pakistan we're expecting a small show, headlined by a Pakistani Super Middleweight title fight between Abi Jozi Khan (5-2, 4) and Jamal Khan (1-2, 1). The battle of Khan's is one that, on paper, clearly favour's Abi Jozi. He's got a better record, scored more notable wins and appears to have the better credentials, but at 33 father time will be tapping on his shoulder, and Jamal is several years younger and coming into his physical prime.
It's great to see boxing picking up in Pakistan, but in all honest it feels we are years away from their domestic title being worth anything at all. Hopefully bouts like this lay the foundation for the future, but there is a very, very, very, very long way to go before Pakistan's national title carries any value at all.
Over in Kazan we'll see once beaten Uzbekistani fighter Ali Turgunaliyev (5-1, 3) take on Azeri Elvin Akhundzada (4-8, 2). The talented Turgunaliyev has reeled off 5 straight wins since losing on debut in September 2019 and will feel confident of extending that run here against a man whi has been stopped 3 times already this year. The 34 year old Akhundzada appears to be little more than fodder and it's hard to see see this testing Turgunaliyev at all.