December 13th becomes the latest date for a promoter to hold two events at the same venue in Japan, and although neither of the shows are amazing, both look relatively interesting with title action and a couple of decent bouts. Interestingly it appears the first will be made available on YouTube, as part of the Boxing Real channel whilst the second will be available, on demand, on Boxing Raise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the cards features a solid, if somewhat easy to over-look, main event, a Japanese female title bout and an anticipated debut.
The main event on the first show will see Yuki Yonaha (7-3-1, 5) take on the JBC ranked Motoki Osanai (4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. The 29 year old Yonaha is without a win in well over 4 years, but did show plenty of desire and hunger in his most recent bout, a draw with Naota Iwai, and it's clear he is a talent, though we do question his hunger and desire in the sport. Osanai on the other hand turned professional to fanfare, taking part in his pro-test bout on the same day as Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but was sadly left in their shadows and lost 2 of his first 3. Coming into this he has scored 3 wins and appears to be building some career momentum, and a win here would continue the ball rolling. One of those ones where the abilities of both men are a lot better than their records suggest.
The title bout on this card will see Japanese female Minimumweight champion Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) defending her title against Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1), in what will be Narita's first defense of the title. On paper this is another where the records of the two fighters suggests a poor bout, but the styles and mentalities of the two women should actually make for a war. Neither of the two are technically fantastic but both are warriors who let their hands go and we expect this to be a genuine tear up. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Narita takes on Miki in first Japanese title defense
As for the debutant that is switch hitter Takahiro Tai (0-0), who fights out of the gym by his father. Tai was a solid amateur on the Japanese amateur scene and is looking to make an impact on his professional debut as he takes on Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-6, 2) in a 6 rounder. We don't think Tai will be fast tracked, but there was a lot to like from his amateur performances and he's very much a fan friendly, stylish fighter with a lot of flare. We see that winning over fans quickly here. Hamaguchi isn't a bum, but he has lost 4 of his last 5, and has scored just 1 win in the last 3 years, so would need something a bit special to test the talented Tai here.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The second part of the card will again feature a title bout, an intriguing 8 rounder and a debut...well a debut of sorts.
The title bout here, which is also the main event, will see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Miyo Yoshida (14-1) making her second defense of her title as she takes on Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1). The talented Yoshida will be strongly favoured here, though it is worth noting that this will be her first bout since transferring over to the Misako Gym and the change in her team and set up could end up leaving some questions for her to answer. Okuda has been fortunate at times with some results, but at 37 we really do wonder if she has the tools to hang with a top class fighter like Yoshida. Our full preview of this world title bout can be read here Yoshida takes on Okuda in second WBO world title defense
In an excellent 8 round match up we'll see the once beaten Yuga Inoue (10-1-1, 1) take on Daiki Tomita (14-2, 5), in a bout between two top 10 JBC ranked Light Flyweights. The light punching Inoue has scored 3 wins since his 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa for the Japanese Youth title, and has rebuilt in a hard way, going up against solid fighters and testing the water at Flyweight. He's had a loss, and gone straight back in with tough competition rather than rebuilding his confidence with easy wins. In fairness that's actually what Tomita is looking to do here in his first bout since a 10th round TKO loss to Kenichi Horikawa in July. Although both men are in their early 20's this is strangely a cross roads bout and the winner will find themselves on the verge of a Japanese title fight, whilst the loser will begin a long climb back up the rankings. A genuinely excellent match up.
Also on this card is the debut of Ayumu Hanada (4-0, 3), or rather the Japanese debut of Hanada. Or more precisely the JBC debut of Hanada, who began his career in Mexico and fought in an unrecognised bout in Japan in 2019. Despite the weird start to his career Hanada is expected to be a star and he has impressed, bot just in his Mexican bout but also his "unofficial", for lack of a better word, bout in Japan. In the opposite corner to Hanada is the heavy handed Ryuku Nagamine (5-1, 5), who began his career with 5 early wins before losing to Keisuke Iwasaki in the Rookie of the Year last year. Given his power he's a real dangerman for Hanada and, if we're being honest, this could end up being the bout of the day. Both men are explosive punchers and both will be looking to make a statement. If you're going to watch this one, don't blink!
As well as the action in Japan we also get a small Chinese card from Quzhou. Sadly this is a very low level card.
The most interestingly match up on the show will see 20 year old hopeful Yeerjialahasi Laayibieke (4-2, 3) take on the once beaten Jiaming Li (4-1, 2). Whilst this isn't expected to be a great fight we do love the fact it looks like a pretty 50-50 match up. Notably Laayibieke has won his last 4, with his last 3 coming by T/KO, but he's not the only one with momentum, and Li has also won his last 4. A genuinely interestingly match up.
The only other 8 rounder on this card will see Jiajia Li (6-2, 2) battle Ayati Sailike (10-8-3-1, 4) in a decent looking match up. We don't think this will be as good as the other one, but it is a lot more even than it looks on paper. The 32 year old Li was beaten last year, and since then has picked up two very low key wins. Sailike on the other hand is unbeaten in more than 2 years and looks like he's coming into his prime. This could end up being a lot better than it appears on paper.
Note - Hanada's Japanese debut was a WBF title bout in Osaka in June 2019. The bout isn't recognised by the JBC, his "actual" record is 5-0 (3)
The Victoriva series of shows is different to pretty much anything else we get in professional boxing, as the shows don't just embrace female fighter, but sell completely on it. They are, for all intents and purposes, female boxing show cases, with some of the biggest female names in Japanese boxing taking part.
This coming Thursday we get the next show in the series and it's a title triple header, with two world title bouts, an Japanese female title bout and a real focus on the Atomweight division, a division only recognised in female boxing.
The main event of the card will see Saemi Hanagata (16-5-4, 7) and Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) fight in their third bout, with Hanagata looking to make her first defense of the IBF Atomweight. In their first two bouts these two actually fought to draws, showing how well matched they were, not however Ikeyama is heading towards her 50th birthday whilst Hanagata, for the first time in her career, is fighting as a world champion and looking to keep the title she tried so hard to win. We expect this to be a hotly contested bout, though feel that Ikeyama's age may finally have caught up with here. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hanagata and Ikeyama set to meet for third time, following two draws!
In the co-feature we'll see the WBA Atomweight title being unified as regular champion Monserrat Alarcon (12-4-2) takes on interim champion Ayaka Miyao (23-7-1, 6). These two were meant to fight in 2018, though Alarcon was injured in the lead up to the fight, leading to Miyao fighting Hanagata for the interim belt. Sadly Miyao has been inactive through the whole of 2019, and this is a tough return to the ring after so long out. We're expecting this to be a really fun, eye catching fight, and the styles should gel well, though we do feel the local fighter has the edge. Our preview of this contest is available to read here Miyao and Alarcon fight to unify WBA Atomweight crown!
The third title bout will see the fast rising Eri Matsuda (3-0) defending her Japanese Atomweight title, as she takes on Mont Blanc Miki (4-2-1, 1). Matsuda, who has already unified JBC and OPBF titles, is one of the most natural boxers on the female scene, and has a very text book style, basing things off her jab and movement. She should be far too good for Miki, who has been stopped twice already. We assume that the plan is for Matsuda to move to world level if she looks impressive here. Our preview of this national title fight can be read here Matsuda seeks first Japanese title defense!
One other bout of note here will see Nanae Suzuki (8-3-1, 1), who lost to Matsuda in March, battle against Minayo Kei (6-4, 1), who actually lost to Matsuda last year. The winner of this may well find themselves picking up the pieces after Matsuda steps up to world class, making this a genuinely significant match up in terms of the divisional development.
Whilst we understand most fans aren't too interested in female boxing, or the lower weights, we love these themed cards and this one certainly appears to be setting up longer narratives in terms of the Atomweight division. The bouts are all meaningful and potentially help set up future bouts, which is something the sport needs to try and do more often to try and get fans coming back and remaining interested in a longer vision.