Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
This coming Saturday our attention turns to Kobe for a Japanese card that features two title bouts, and a couple of well matched lower level bouts.
The main event of this show will be the rescheduled bout between Japanese veteran Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) and promising youngster Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5), who battle for the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight title. Originally this bout was supposed to take place in March before the boxing calendar got shaken up by the lengthy hiatus caused by the on going global situation. Thankfully this bout, which looked good back in February when we were waiting for it, looks just as good now, and we are anticipating a really well contested battle between two men at very different stages of their careers. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tomita clashes with veteran Horikawa for OPBF title!
In a Japanese Atomweight title bout we'll see Kaori Nagai (4-2-3, 2) and Momoko Kanda (10-12-2, 4) clash, in what will be the second bout between the two women. The title, which was vacated by Eri Matsuda, isn't a well established one with a long history, but the winner here will likely see themselves taking a huge step towards a potential world title fight. Of the two Nagai probably has the advantage, given she won the first bout, but the experience Kanda could be the difference here, with this likely to be her last big opportunity if she loses. Our preview of this fight can be read here Nagai and Kanda battle for Japanese national crown!
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Bantamweight Koichi Wakita (7-2-2, 2) take on Kaito Takeshima (6-3, 1) in what looks like it could be a competitive bout. Sadly despite being in good form, having gone 5-0-2 in his last 7, Wakita is now 30 years old and it's hard to imagine him going through the rankings and getting a title fight. On the other hand Takeshima, who's only 21, is needing to rebuild following a recent upset loss to Takuya Fujioka and we expect to see him give his all here.
In another well matched under-card bout the 20 year old Aoba Mori (6-2) will take on 25 year old Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2, 1). The young Mori may have won 6 of his 8 bouts but he has had 5 very close decisions in his favour and it seems hard to imagine him going far unless he can start to make himself stand out in bouts. Iwasaki on the other hand was last seen in the 2019 Rookie of the Year final, losing to Seiya Meguro last December. Both men will come in to this bout hungry and both are young, so we expect a high energy bout here between two men looking to make a point.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
There is also a show in Thailand as we see the sport begin to resume in the Land of Smiles.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Nawaphon Kaikanha (48-1-1, 38) battle against Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asia Banatamweight title. We expect this to be little more than a mismatch in favour of Nawaphon, who should be too good, too experienced and too big for the limited Ruhasiri.
On paper the co feature is a much better bout and will see Phongsaphon Panyakum (8-1, 3) take on Sophon Klachun (5-4-1, 1). Although a more competitive bout than the main event we don't see this as being a very high level contest.
Antai Tennis Park, Rizhao, China
As well as the Japanese and Thai shows we'll also be getting a small card in China. This card, like many of the other recent Chinese ones, is a novice show, where most of the fighters are taking one of their first steps as a professional.
Despite most of the bouts being between two novices it is worth noting that the show will have an interesting match up on it between Ju Wu (9-0-2)* and Wei Liu (1-0, 1). We've been impressed by the talented young Wu, who has shown a good boxing brain and ring craft and it's hard to see him losing to a 1-0 debutant. Saying that however over 4 rounds a quick start by Liu could see him potentially playing the role of a human banana peel, and the bout is more interesting than it looks on paper.
*It appears that Ju Wu and Lei Wang's draw from earlier in the year is no long on either man's record
In Tokyo fans get the first ever “Ladies Dangan” card, a card put on by “reason”, who promote the Dangan cards, and features only female fighters. The concept is an interesting one and we're hoping it's a success.
Whilst the concept is a good one, that match ups are also good with some genuinely well matched contests taking place on a card that features some notable names. One of those well matched bouts will see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mika Oda (6-7-1, 1) defending her title against Saemi Hanagata (11-6-2, 5). Incidentally Oda won this title in her last bout, which was way back in September 2014. Whilst Oda won the last meeting between these two she has been inactive whilst Hanagata has fought thrice winning two of those bouts and controversially losing the other, which was a world title bout.
The other title bout on this show sees OPBF female Atomweight champion Momoko Kanda (9-8-2, 3) defending her belt against Masae Akitaya (9-6-2, 3), in what looks like an excellent match up. Both fighters have their limitations but both have experienced fighting at world level and both have acquitted themselves well and we wouldn't be surprised if this scrap ended up being a high paced and highly entertaining contest between two fighters both looking to prove themselves.
Another high profile bout on this card sees former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) battle against the once beaten Emika Himuro (5-1-1, 1). Although her record may not suggest it Tsunami is a world class fighter who is tough, game and has a great work rate, sadly however her battles have taken a bit of a toll on her and she looked rather poor last time out against Carolina Rodriguez. Despite that she should have more than enough to over-come the 35 year old Himuro.
Another veteran in action is multi-time title challenger Kayoko Ebata (8-6, 4), who takes on Sornsawan Sarakarngym (0-1). Aged 40 Ebata is a real veteran, having debuted back in 2007, and although not a world champion she has fought in 4 world title bouts, and found herself very competitive in several of them. Sadly she's likely to be ending her career shortly though she has had a career to be proud of.
As well as the Tokyo card there is also a show in Hyogo courtesy of Shinsei gym.
The main event of this card will see JBC ranked Ryo Kosaka (11-3-1, 5) battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-6-2, 2). This looks to be a mismatch, especially given that the 24 year old Mizuno has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, though Mizuno is a southpaw and is tough so may give Kosaka some questions over the 8 round distance.
The chief support bout looks to be a mismatch as former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (18-4-4, 8) battles against limited Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (1-6). Petchmai was stopped in his only previous bout in Japan and we expect to see that happen again here, though Petchmai did win his last bout and may well have some confidence coming in to this one.
A third bout of note will see Seizo Kono (15-8-1, 10) battle Thai novice Yodsing Padjaigym (0-0). Kono has gone 2-5 in hius last 7 but is better than his record suggests and blew away Hikaru Matsuoka last year. This should be a win for Kono but we really know nothing about the Thai who may be one of those fighters with a lot more experience than his record suggests.
Japanese fans get more title action on November 11th as they get a double female world title show.
The most notable of those titles fights comes at 115lbs where model-boxer Tomomi Takano (8-1, 5) goes up against Argentina's Daniela Romina Bermudez (17-3-2, 5). The bout sees Takano stepping up massively against the WBO female Super Flyweight champion who has proven her ability on the tough South American scene, where she has faced the likes of Yesica Yolanda Bopp and Mayerlin Rivas. Although it's a step up for the challenger she has been preparing with the best and has been sparring with Naoko Fujioka who she will hope to replicate in becoming a world champion.
The other title bout is an all Japanese affair as Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (7-1-2, 3) defends her WBO female Minimumweight title against Momoko Kanda (9-7-2, 3). On paper this looks like a massive mismatch with Kanda going in as the major under-dog however she is better than her record suggests and has rebuilt well after a 1-6-1 run in the middle of her career. For Ikehara this will be the third defence of the title she won in September 2014 and whilst she will be hoping to retain her title she will also be hoping to avoid headclashes, which have plagued her last two bouts.
As well as the two world title bouts there is another notable name on the card with former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (29-5-2, 19) battling against Filipino fighter Nathan Bolcio (12-9-2, 5). Amagasa is expected to win here and will then continue his chase towards another world title fight, with the fighter himself said to be eyeing up a shot at Lee Selby. Whilst there will be two men in the ring, Bolcio has lost 5 of his last 6 and has only scored 2 wins in his last 10 bouts.
Also on this card will be the promising Kenta Onjo (5-1, 3), who will be facing Tomoya Yamada (12-6, 3) whilst seeking his second win since being shocked by Jonathan Baat earlier this year, and Ryoichi Tamura (4-2-1, 1) who takes on Yuki Matsudo (10-2, 6) in a very good looking Super Bantamweight clash.
November 17th-Former champion Akihiro Kondo expected to score first win in 18 months! Kenta Onjo also in action
A new week kicks off on Monday with a Japanese domestic card that may not inspire many fans around the world but it has caught out eye due to the fact several interesting fighters will be featured on it and we suspect that several fights will be worth talking about after the show.
Sadly the main event isn't likely to be one of those more interesting bouts despite the fact it features the biggest name on the card. That name is Akihiro Kondo (19-4-1, 8) the former Japanese Lightweight champion who is rarely in a poor fight will be expected to pick up an easy win here as he takes on Thailand's Kaewkla Chaiyonggym (0-1) who was stopped in 2 rounds by Burning Ishii back in August. We like Kondo and suspect that this is a stay busy win before chasing a big fight in 2015 and can excuse him for an easy one after his war with Nihito Arakawa last time out.
The chief support bout will see Japanese #3 ranked Middleweight Yasuyuki Akiyama (9-4-1, 7) risking his ranking against Kazuaki Irisawa (8-5, 5) in an intriguing 8 rounder at Middleweight. We wouldn't suggest either man has a chance against Japanese champion Akio Shibata but against each other they should make for a very interesting contest.
Another interesting bout comes at Lightweight where the much touted Kenta Onjo (3-0, 3) pits his #13 Japanese ranking on the line against the more experienced and heavy handed Kazuya Soma (7-5-2, 6). We suspect a win for Onjo will move him towards a national or OPBF title fight in 2015 however this is not a gimme and Soma has the power to hurt Onjo if the young prospect fights foolishly. Unfortunately for those wanting to see the touted Onjo in action footage is scarce with only his debut against Thiland's Tanut Sitmanopchai being currently being available.
As well as the 3 bouts announced there will be a further 6 contests with one of them featuring WBC regional title holder Momoko Kanda (7-6-2, 1).
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)