Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday we are set to get a huge show in Tokyo, with a card that is, for the most part, Japan Vs Philippines. The show is headlined by a brilliant world title bout, and then features some really interesting match ups on one of the best Japanese cards of 2022.
The main event is a brilliant match up between Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) and legendary Filipino Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), with the men clashing for the WBO Super Flyweight title currently held by Ioka. The two men know each other fairly well, having clashed at the end of 2018 with Nietes taking a razor thin decision. Since then however Nietes' career has gone down hill with poor decision making, inactivity, injuries and poor management all costing him. Now aged 40 this is potentially the last big bout for him, however a win could secure him a long awaited showdown with Roman Gonzalez. As for Ioka, he has bounced back from the loss to Nietes to climb into the pound for pound rankings, and enhanced his already legendary status as a lower weight fighter and one of the all great Japanese fighters. This is set to be high level chess, and the winner will look to move towards divisional super fights. As for the loser, it's hard to see them bouncing back and getting another fight of note any time soon. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ioka seeks revenge in rematch with Nietes!
The main support bout will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-2-1, 17) look to bounce back from his second loss, a unanimous decision loss to Ryosuke Nishida last year, as he takes on former WBO title challenger Froilan Saludar (32-5-1, 22). The talented, exciting and hard hitting Higa has had a rollercoaster 4 years or so, which has seen him going 2-2-1 (2) and been stripped of the WBC Flyweight title. Despite his downfall Higa is still popular and is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport to watch, with an ultra aggressive pressure style That style, and his power, should be too much for Saludar, but the Filipino visitor is no push over. Saludar, once tipped to be a huge star himself, has had something of a bad rep in recent years for losing in notable bouts to the likes of Andre Moloney, Ryoji Fukunaga, Sho Kimura and Takuma Inoue, and unfortunately for him losing against top contenders has really harmed his reputation. Despite that he's a dangerous fighter, with a high level of experience and ambitions to secure himself a top fight in the near future. He'll know that a win here opens major doors for him, whilst a loss will almost certainly push him into the status of a journeyman. A lot on the line with this bout, which could be a very compelling 8 rounder.
In another supporting bout we'll see former WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (12-1, 7) take on once beaten Filipino puncher Presco Carcosia (10-1-1, 9). For Mori the bout will be his first since May 2021, when he lost to Satoshi Shimizu, and despite the lengthy lay off the 22 year old isn't expected to show any real ring rust after training alongside Ioka, in what was likely the best training camp of his career. If he has learned from that camp, and the Shimizu fight, he should feel confident of over-coming the little known Carcosia. The Filipino lacks wins of note, but has a much vaunted powerful right hand, and his only loss was a debatable one in Australia, against Jai Alexander. Given his power and size Carcosia could well be a banana skin for Mori, but he will go in as the under-dog.
The big talking point for the under-card isn't Mori or Higa. Instead it's the debut of former amateur star Hayato Tsutsumi (0-0), who is widely regarded as a special talent similar to Naoya Inoue, Kazuto Ioka or Kosei Tanaka. The talented 22 year old is set to debut in a baptism of fire as he takes on the upset minded Jhon Gemino (23-13-1, 13), who enters with a #5 ranking with the OPBF, in an 8 rounder. As an amateur Tsutusmi was the stand out Japanese fighter of his generation, and those in Japan are touting him as their next legendary super prospect. Gemino on the other hand has a record that is very misleading, and over his long career he has long been one to shock prospects and hopefuls, beating the likes of Arnold Alejandro, Carlos Ornelas, Sho Nakazawa and Toka Kahn Clary all on his travels. If Tsutusmi is as good in the pros as he was in the amateurs he should win here, but if there's any cracks or if he's over looking Gemino, he could in for a major set back on his debut.
Another debutant on this card is 31 year old female fighter Satsuki Ito (0-0), who begins her professional career with a bout against Thai veteran Saowaluk Nareepangsri (11-18, 5). As an amateur Ito really made a mark, winning the All Japan Championship in 2009 and remaining as an amateur until 2018 when she originally retired from the sport. Last year she decided to turn professional, and passed her B license test, with the Shisei gym. Given her amateur background we're expecting a very impressive debut. As for Saowaluk, she has won her last 3 by TKO, but has been fighting at a very low level, and when she has stepped up she has regularly been stopped. She will enter as the under-dog, and will need a career best performance to even be competitive with Ito.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The next week or so set to be a good one in Tokyo, with three shows in 3 days at Korakuen Hall. The third of those is an Ohashi promoted event that is headlined by a fantastic main event, and has some very notable supporting bouts.
The fantastic main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (12-0, 7) take on OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9) in a massive regional unification bout. The talented Mori has been on a great run recently, with recent wins against Richard Pumicpic, Takuya Mizuno and Tsuyoshi Tameda, but he is now set for his most dangerous bout. Shimizu on the other hand is a very dangerous fighter, but has continually looked crude, easy to hit and defensively flawed. Give the styles of the two men this should be a thrilling bout, and a real test of Mori's chin and patience, as well as a test to see whether Shimizu can adjust against a speedy smart fighter.
A second title bout on this show will see the unbeaten Kazuki Nakajima (9-0-1, 8) take on the under-rated Kai Chiba (13-1, 8) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Bantamweight title, which was given up by Takuma Inoue. Although not as interesting as the main event, this has the potential to be a fight that breaks into a war. Neither of these men are too well polished, though with Nakajima being a very puncher and Chiba being a boxer-puncher it has the potential to erupt into a war at any moment. We expect this to be slow at times, but once the touch paper is lit expect this to give us serious fireworks until one of the fighters forces a stoppage, and claim the title.
Third generation fighter Keisuke Matsumoto (2-0, 2) looks to build on his early development as he takes on Hiromu Murota (6-4-2, 4). The 21 year old Matsumoto has looked a mixed bag so far. He's clearly talented, but we do have questions about his defense and his durability, and it seems he's a work in progress. Despite that he's being matched tough here against Murota, who recently held former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seichi Okada to a draw and is unbeaten in his last 5. Matsumoto should win, but we expect to see Murota asking genuine questions of him here.
One other bout on this card worthy of some attention will see rising Lightweight hopeful Katsuya Yasuda (7-0, 4) battle against Tomoki Takada (8-5-2, 5), in a battle between two JBC ranked Lightweights. The 29 year old Yasuda is a legitimat talent, with under-dated defense and an excellent boxing brain, but he is also someone who has yet to be given the chances to shine, and is sadly getting older without having made much of an impact on the sport. Here against Takada we see Yasuda getting a chance to move towards a national title fight. As for Takada he is showing power recently and has scored 3 opening round in his last 5 bouts. We expect to see Takada's power going up against Yasuda's defense and counter punching here.
International Convention Centre, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there is also action in South Africa where Filipino fighter Joey Canoy (16-4-1-1, 9) takes on Nhlanhla Tyirha (4-1, 2), in a bout for the WBA Inter Continental Light Flyweight title. Although not too well known internationally Canoy is very much an under-rated fighter with wins against Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, but it's fair to say that Filipino fighters rarely have any luck in South Africa and that's unlikely to change here. Tyirha isn't a big name but he did give Nkosinathi Joyi a close run bout in 2019 and he's certainly someone with the potential to be a contender in the lower weights in the coming years.
Bryan Glazer Family JCC Auditorium, Tampa, Florida, USA
Over in Florida we're expecting to see a trio of Japanese hopefuls in action as Teiken and All Star promotions look to develop some of the best talented in Tokyo.
The most established of the trio is Mikito Nakano (5-0, 4), who has looked brilliant on the Japanese scene and is coming through the deep Featherweight and Super Featherweight ranks at home. Although not a complete fighter yet, he is developing well and this should be a good chance to see what he can do on foreign soil, though his opponent has yet to be named
Another man on this card is Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1), who looked fantastic on debut earlier this year and looks like the type of fighter of who can be moved incredibly quickly. There is clearly a lot of work for him to do with Fujita, but he's a very advanced fighter for a 1-0 boxer, and he seems to have the potential to go a very, very long way. He's skilled, has a high level boxing IQ and fighting over in the US will do him the world of good, especially this earlier in his career. Sadly however he also hasn't had his opponent named fro this event.
The third Japanese fighter on this show is the debuting Subara Murata (0-0), a former amateur stand out who is tipped to go to the top very quickly. Murata turned professional last year, but was unable to kick things off due to the Covid19 pandemic. It's a shame he's had to wait so long to make his debut, but given his style and amateur pedigree is seems almost certain that he's set to be a major success in the pros. As with his two countrymen he has not had his opponent named for this bout, but it's still great to see him making his debut, at long last!
November 28th - Mori takes on Tameda in Tokyo, Hiromoto, Phoobadin and Laurente all in action and more!
This coming Saturday is a pretty busy day in terms of Asian boxing with two shows in Japan, one in Thailand and one in India. Across those shows we will see a couple of regional title bouts, and a number of very promising youngsters as we move towards the end of November.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The most notable show of the day is an Ohashi promoted event at Korakuen Hall, which will feature a world ranked fighter defending a regional title, two interesting domestic fights and noteworthy exhibition.
In the main event we'll see WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) take on the heavy handed Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-5-2, 19) in an excellent match up. Mori, who is currently world ranked by the WBO, will be 21 when this fight takes place and will know that a win will help him move one step closer to a world title fight. Although a light puncher the talented youngster is maturing and following the guidance of legendary trainer Ismael Salas, and has become a very skilled young fighter. Tameda was once touted as one to watch, but in recent bouts he has been picking up losses, and appears to be falling short of expectation. Despite that Tameda is a rock fisted fighter and his power could give him a real chance, if he can catch Mori clean. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Young regional champion takes on dynamite puncher!
In a supporting bout JBC #1 ranked Lightweight Seiryu Toshikawa (12-5, 7) will be taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (9-3, 7) in a good looking 8 rounder. The 24 year old Toshikawa, who will be risking his ranking here, has won 6 of his last 7, and has bounced well since a 2018 loss to Shawn Oda, in a very close fight for the Japanese Youth title. This however is not a gimme for him. In Kobayashi we have an under-rated 24 year old puncher who gave Handy Hiraoka real problems in 2017, leading on all 3 cards before being stopped, and beat touted Korean Jeong Han Cha last time out. Although not a spectacular bout on paper this is a really interesting match up, and could be a very, very compelling one when the men get in the ring.
In another supporting bout we'll see the in form Hiromu Murota (6-4-1, 4) take on former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-7-1, 13). We've seen Murota really turn his record around after a 2-4-1 start, and he has run off 4 straight wins coming in to this bout, but they have all been at a very low level. As for Okada the 38 year old is well past his best, and it's more than 8 years since he lost the Japanese title to Daiki Kaneko. At his best Okada had more than enough skills to over-come Murota, but the question is what does he have left at this point in his long career.
Also on this card will be an exhibition between former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 17) and rising Japanese prospect Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4). Although Yaegashi has retired as an active fighter it is good to see him remain in the sport, and it will be good to see him again here. Despite being retired he has continued to work in the sport, and is now working as a trainer at the Ohashi Gym. As for Taku Kuwahara the 25 year old Flyweight is one of the best prospects in Japan and this will be a great opportunity for him to showcase his skills against a loved figure of Japanese boxing ahead of his next fight in January.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
On a second card in Japan, over in Osaka, we see several interesting match ups.
The main event will see Kyonosuke Kameda (5-2-1, 4), the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, battle against the debuting Daiki Asai (0-0). On paper it's easy to assume that Kameda will be favoured here, especially after he reached the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, where he lost to Jinki Maeda, however this bout isn't the gimme it looks. Despite Kameda being from a successful boxing family it needs to be noted that Asai is a former amateur standout and went 61-16 (33), and will be looking to make a statement now he's turned professional. This could be a very intriguing bout, despite having the debutant status of Asai.
Another very interesting bout here will see novice professional Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) take on Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Ryosuke Nasu (12-5-3, 2). Originally we were expecting to see Hiromoto battled for world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda but with Kuroda being injured Hiromoto's team looked elsewhere and secured him this bout with Nasu. So far Hiromoto has looked a real talent, with excellent skills and boxing craft, but this is a serious step up. As for Nasu he's looking to secure a third straight wins following a 2019 loss to Kenta Nakagawa. This should be a very interesting match up, and a genuine test to see what Hiromoto really has to offer going forward.
A third bout of interest here will see JBC ranked Light Flyweight Sho Omote (8-1, 3) take on Shota Asami (7-7, 4). The once beaten 26 year old is riding a 6 fight unbeaten streak, and had a sensational 2019 which included him winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in December. The 25 year old Asami might not have a great record, and has lost his last 2 bouts, but he's had a number of very close bouts and he is much better than his record looks. With that in mind we wouldn't be surprised, at all, if Omote was given a very serious test by Asami here.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
We also get a really good bout in Thailand pitting two talented unbeaten fighters against each other in a truly mouth watering contest.
In one corner will be talented teenager Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 4), who will be looking to defend his WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, whilst the other corner will play host to unbeaten challenger Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (13-0, 5). Aged just 16 Phoobadin is one of the most promising teenagers in the sport, and is tipped incredibly highly following several excellent performances. He will however need a career best performance here to over come the once touted Atchariya. As for Atchariya this will be his second bout since the start of 2019, following a lengthy legal battle, which derailed a bout in Japan against Andy Hiraoka. Aged 31 Atchariya can't afford an in ring set back, but he's in with a big, strong, skilled, youngster looking to make a big mark and move his career forward. This is a very, very interesting bout, and will be shown live on Thairath for fans interested in watching it live.
Bawing Gym, General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines we'll see unbeaten prospect Criztian Pitt Laurente (5-0, 3) take on Renan Portes (10-13, 6), in what is expected to be another win for the talented Laurente. At one point Portes was a very capable fighter but he has now lost 8 in a row, and has been stopped in his last 5 suggesting he's essentially given up with trying to win. Given the talent of Laurente it's hard to see anything but a win for the youngster here.
INTHEPINK FITNESS CLUB, Bangalore, India
There will also be a show in India, albeit a very, very low key card.
In one of the bouts on this show the unbeaten Karthik Sathish Kumar (5-0, 3) will be up against the debuting Jayapal Jaganadhan (0-0). The 24 year old Kumar debuting in April 2010 and has become a well travelled fighter already, with bouts in Thailand, Dubai and India. Sadly for him this will be his first bout since January. As for Jaganadhan, the 21 year old is really an unknown, and this looks like a tough debut, at least on paper.
Another fighter making their debut on this card will be Shaik Nagma (0-0), who takes on the once beaten Ramandeep Kaur (6-1) in a female bout. Kaur was beaten last time out, by Rinky Inder Kishore, but will be looking to get back to winning ways here.
Following a busy Saturday we get a pretty interesting Sunday, with 3 title fighters and a number of interesting match ups.
The most notable of the shows takes place in Osaka and will be promoted by Green Tsuda under their "Crash Boxing" banner.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, as Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) defends his title against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12). For Okumoto this will be his 4th defense of the title, and sees him looking to build on recent wins over Yuta Matsuo and and Dynamic Kenji. For Nakagawa the bout gives him a chance to reclaim the title he lost in 2017 to Ryuichi Funai. Since losing the title Nakagawa has scored 4 wins, but all at a much lower level than this bout, and at 34 years old he really cannot afford another set back. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Japanese champion Okumoto takes on former champion Nakagawa in up coming defense
In the chief support bout we'll see bombs away as Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) and former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-5, 16) trade blows for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Yada is less than 8 months removed from losing the Japanese title to Yuki Nagano, incidentally Nagano is the only man to beat Beppu, taking a decision over Beppu last year. Neither man is a world beater, but good fights don't need world beaters, they just need to be well matched and this one is! It's hard to imagine this one going the distance, but with both men being aggressive punchers it's very hard to predict who's going to end up victorious. Our preview of this bout can be read here The Kyushu Tyson takes on the Terminator of Naniwa for WBO Asia Pacific title!
Originally the plan was for this card to be a triple title show, but Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) was unable to secure an opponent to defend his JBC Youth Super Bantamweight title against. Instead of defending his title the talented Japanese youngster will go up against Indonesian teenager Jufry Kakahure (5-2, 5). Whilst it's disappointing to see Shimomachi not defend his title against a decent domestic foe we're glad he's still on the show.
In a really great fight we'll see Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (12-0, 11) take on world ranked Filipino Christian Bacolod (12-0, 9) in a truly fantastic match up. The Thai youngster is training alongside the Green Tsuda gym, and has been compared to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the Thai press. That's huge praise in a way, but also massive amounts of pressure for a 19 year old who only debuted in the summer of 2018. This is a huge step up for him and we will see him answering questions, win or lose. Bacolod on the other hand has slowly been climbing towards a big fight. He enters with a WBO world ranking and has stopped 4 of his last in the first 2 rounds. Despite Bacolod being the more proven fighter he was dropped twice in a recent fight and that will be major encouragement for Simsri.
Another interesting assignment for an unbeaten man will see Rei Nakajima (2-0) take on Thai veteran Patomsuk Pathompothong (39-11-1, 25), aka Komsan Polsan. This is a huge step up in class for Nakajima, but the Nobuhiro Ishida promoted professional novice is very highly regarded and it's clear that a win here will be a massive boost to hid fledgling career.
Staying in Osaka there will be another title fight, as the unbeaten Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title against once beaten puncher Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14), in a mouth watering bout. Mori has impressed though much of his career, and working with Ismael Salas will help him tidy up his defensively flaws, flaws that had shown themselves in his most notable bouts. Although Mori is working on his defense it's clear Salas won't want him to be too negative, and against Mizuno negativity could be a problem. Mizuno is technically pretty poor, and he can be out boxed, but he bangs and Mori shouldn't let him build up any confidence. We suspect the gulf in skills should be the difference, but Mizuno can certainly turn the fight around. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fast rising Mori takes on hard hitting Mizuno in next title defense
Sadly the rest of the card here is non-descript 4 rounders.
A third show will take place in Okinawa, where we see some pretty a couple of interesting, but lower level, bouts.
The main event of this card will see a clash between Japan's Tatsuro Nakashima (10-1-1, 7) Filipino visitor and Ariston Aton (9-1, 5). Nakashima has bounced back well from a 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa with 3 straight wins, and looks to be heading in the ring direction. Similarly Aton has bounced back from his sole loss, with 2 low key wins. This is a low key main event, but a very interesting one between two men looking to continue the rebuilding success.
In a female bout we'll see Yuko Henzan (8-8-4, 2) clash with Gretel de Paz (5-5-2, 2). On paper this is a very competitive looking bout, and whilst the skill level will be low it should still make for an interesting 6 rounder.
Also on this card is the return of Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6), who hasn't fought since losing a Japanese title eliminator in October 2018 to Koki Inoue. Smith was supposed to fight earlier this year but missed weight, and was subsequently suspended. His return sees him being matched softly as he battles Indonesian journeyman Hendy Luis (10-17-3, 5). Although Smith is no world beater he is heavy handed and will be expected to beat Luis, though Luis is a durable foe and has only been stopped 3 times in his 30 fight career. This could be a very good chance to Smith to shake some ring rust.
Outside of Japan there will also be a small show in Qingdao, China. The quality of this show is lacking, however the card will feature an interesting main event between Youli Dong (14-2-1, 9) and Larry Siwu (28-12, 34). We suspect the local fighter will have the youth and skills to deal with Siwu, but the Indonesian visitor should be a good test for the 24 year old local.
This coming Sunday is an ultra-busy day in Japan, but a day that has quantity but little in terms of quality. One bout stands out as being strong, but the others are, on the whole, low level Rookie bouts and mismatches.
The bout that stands out takes place on the first of two shows at the Aioi Hall in Kariya and will see the talented Masanori Rikiishi (6-1, 4) take on the world ranked Freddy Fonseca (27-3-1, 18). Rikiishi is one of Japan's more interesting hopefuls, who was rushed into a bout with former national champion Kosuke Saka maybe a touch too early, but has rebounded with 4 strong wins to build momentum coming into this bout. Fonseca on the other hand is just a few months removed from a bout with Jojo Diaz for the WBA "gold" Super Featherweight title. Fonseca, a southpaw from Nicaragua, is a real challenge for someone who has as little experience as Rikiishi but a win for the local would be huge at this point in his career. A full preview of this bout can be read here Rikiishi takes step up to face experienced Fonseca!
The second of the Aioi Hall cards is headlined by the unbeaten Musashi Mori (9-0, 5), who appears to be on the card in a stay busy capacity as he takes on Suntorn Panhom (5-4, 4). Mori is one of Japanese many fast rising youngster, and already has a couple of wins over Richard Pumicpic, though both were razor thin decisions. Suntorn is there to be taken out and we suspect Mori ticks over with an early win here.
Everything else on this card is Rookie of the Year action, over 4 rounds. These Rookie of the Year bouts include a Light Welterweight bout between Yasutaka Fujita (3-0, 3) and Ryota Uno (4-1, 2), in what looks like the pick of the bouts. Another notable Rookie bout is at Welterweight, between Hiroya Nojima (2-0, 1) and Rintaro Shiojiri (0-0), with Shiojari potentially being crowned the local region's Rookie of the Year in his debut bout.
The low level action with only a semi-notable main event continues in Hiroshima, where Hironori Miyake (9-8-2, 1) and Yoshihiro Utsumi (15-9-3, 10) clash at Bantamweight. The 31 year old Miyake has won 1 of his last 5, but is often competitive in his losses and really has been held back by a lack of fire power. Utsumi on the other hand might be a recognisable name to some as he has been in with a string of notable opponents including Yasutaka Ishimoto, Ye Joon Kim and Kazuki Nakajima, though has lost almost every time he has stepped up in class. Whilst this isn't a great bout it should be pretty competitive.
We are back to Rookie of the Year action in Osaka with the West Japan Rookie of the Year finals.
On paper one of the most interesting looking match ups will see Jinki Maeda (2-0, 2) and Konosuke Kirihigashi (2-0, 2) throw down in the Featherweight final. Both are young, unbeaten, hard hitting youngsters and will be looking to win here, and move one step closer to competing in the All Japan final in December. Given the two men have a combined 8 rounds under their belt it's hard to say how good either is, but we're expecting a shoot out here.
Another final between unbeaten fighters will take place at Minimumweight with 23 year old Sho Hatsuda (1-0) facing off against 19 year old Hyogo Kimura (4-0, 1). We're not expecting a shoot out here, but a good showing of boxing skills, speed and movement, very different to the Featherweight bout.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day in Japan with 4 different shows across the country, and when we talk about them being across the country we do mean that with hundreds of miles separating some of the shows.
The most notable card, in many ways, is in Kumamoto in the South West of Japan, where Yakushiji Promotions will be putting on a very significant card.
The main event of this show will be a rematch between Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) and Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, when Mori took a technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, and he will be looking to make his first defense of that national title here. Pumicpic, a real under-rated Filipino warrior, will be hungry to avenge his loss. This is set to be a very, very tough bout and will be shown live on local TV channel TKU. Sadly for those outside of Kunamoto this appears to be a bout we won't be getting. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only bout of note and the show features a number of notable prospects. Among those is the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) who steps into his first 8 round bout, and takes on once beaten Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3). Lino's only loss came to Shigeoka's stablemate, and recent world title challenger, Masataka Taniguchi. This is a very serious test for Shigeoka, but also a bit that gives him a chance to gain immediate comparisons to Taniguchi, whilst Lino gets the chance to perform in front of a notable Japanese crowd.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see the aggressive Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) take on the tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), in what could be a really fun war. Tsutsumi has one of the most fan friendly, aggressive and exciting styles out there whilst Ponteras is a criminally under-rated veteran, who has never been stopped and can be a banana skin for better known fighters. Thhis could be a very, very exciting bout.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1, 1), who will be up against Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), the man the aforementioned Shigeoka made his debut against. We suspect Takeda will have the skills to over-come the Thai visitor, but this could be a good test of Takeda's metal.
Another of the more notable Japanese cards comes form Hyogo, in a female orientated card.
The biggest match up here here will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both have suffered 2 recent losses. Kuroki is the younger fighter, and certainly the one with more upside, though at 49 Ikeyama has proven that age really is just a number and she will be looking to extend her career in to her 50's with a win. This should be a very interesting bout, though Kuroki should enter as the clear favourite. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
As well as the Kuroki Vs Ikeyama bout, there will be two title bouts on this show. One of those bouts will see Japan's in form Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) face once beaten Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. Ogata has won her last 3, claiming a WBA Asia and WBO Asia Pacific title in her last 2 bouts, As for Salvador she was beaten last time out, at Atomweight, but will be fighting at her natural weight here. We're expecting Ogata to pick up another win, but this isn't going to be a walk in the park.
The other title bout on this card will be a bizarre KBM and JBC female title bout, the first since a new OPBF rule was brought into play. The bout will pit Japan's Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) up against Korean Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will become a unified 2-nation champion, albeit temporarily, with the winner likely to immediately vacate the other nation's title. The idea to this is to create depth to thinner divisions, but leads to some odd situations like this.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will see a small card with a few notable names involved.
The main event of this card will see OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on a Thai foe, who we believe will be Sophon Klachun (4-2, 1). We don't see this being much of a test for Kenji, who is edging his way towards a title fight, and will look to take the visitor out as he advances his march towards a career defining bout.
In an 8 round supporting bout fans will see Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) battle in a very interesting match up. Neither of these men are big names, but they should make for a very competitive contest, much more saw the than records suggest.
Another 8 round supporting bout on this card will see Daijiro Yuki (8-5-1, 4) battle against Japanese ranked Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4). This will be Okumoto's first bout since losing to Japanese champion Ryota Yada, and he will be looking to end a 2 fight losing run. Yuki on the other hand will be seeking a career best win.
The least notable of the Japanese cards takes place in Tsu and will be headlined by a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, with Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1). This should be a hotly contested bout, though it's hard to doubt Nakamura and his edge in power. A full preview of this bout is available here Nakamura seeks first defense of youth crown, faces Kondo.
A notable supporting bout here will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8), who recently signed with Osaka Teiken, take on the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4). This looks like a huge step up for Sugawara, but a win puts him on the title hunt, whilst Gasca will be fighting for the first time in well over a year.
This biggest of the Asian shows this coming Sunday comes from Aichi, where we see a really good main event, and two notable support bouts.
The really interesting main event will see Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-8-2, 6) seek his second defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, as he goes up against Japanese teenager Musashi Mori (7-0, 5). On paper it's hard to go against the champion, who won the title in Japan by beating Hisashi Amagasa and then defended it against Yoshimitsu Kimura. The Filipino has regularly been a thorn in the side of Japanese boxing, and is expected to strike again here. Mori on the other hand is a talented and heavy handed youngster, who won the Rookie of the Year last year, and feel like he's the stronger man given he's coming down in weight. We're really excited about this one, and it could either solidify Pumicpic as a fringe contender, or launch Mori's career. A full preview of this fight can be read here Pumicpic faces Mori in next WBO regional title defense!
In a supporting bout we'll see Toshiya Yokogawa (9-11-1, 8) take on the OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight hopeful Takashi Igarashi (13-3, 5). Coming into this Igarashi is riding a 6 fight winning streak, but the reality is that his competition has been awful during that run, and it's hard to really say how good he actually is. The 33 year old Yokogawa doesn't have an impressive record, but an opening round win in September against Glenn Medura was impressive and will boost his confidence ahead of this bout.
Another supporting bouts on this card will see 25 year old Shin Tomita (9-5-2) take on Fire Ikkyu (6-1-1, 4). Although not a mouth watering bout on paper Tomita has mixed with good company, and has thrice fought recent Japanese title challenger Akihiro Toya. Ikkyu on the other hand is heavy handed, but was stopped himself last time out, by Masashi Tada. This is a well matched bout, but not the most exciting contest on the card.
As well as the show in Aichi, we also get a card in Kyoto.
One of the main bouts here will see former world title challengers clash, as Tamao Ozawa (14-5, 5) takes on Filipino foe Aisah Alico (7-9, 5). Despite both of these fighters coming up short in world title shots it does seem like Ozawa is the more likely to reach the top, and both of her defeats at world level were competitive, something that can't be said for Alico, who was stopped by Momo Koseki at Atomweight. Ozawa should have all the advantages here in what we suspect will be an easy win for the popular local.
The only other bout of note on this card will see Yusuke Hiranuma (8-3, 2) face off with Takaaki Kanai (9-8, 4), in what will technically be the show's headline bout. Hiranuma hasn't fought in over 18 months, though has won his last 3 bouts and has got promise if he decides to hit the ground running in 2019. Kanai on the other hand is a domestic journeyman, who is 2-5 in his last 7, but did upset Hideo Sakamoto earlier this year and can cause an upset when he's over-looked.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This coming Sunday we get one of the biggest shows of the year, possibly in fact the show of the year, as Pacquiao fever takes over Malaysia for a stacked card with 4 world title fights, and a number of notable under-card fights.
The main event will see Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38) challenge WBA Welterweight champion Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-4-0-1, 36) in what is really a must win for both men. The Filipino icon, 39, hasn't fought in over a year with his last outing being a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn in Australia. In fact we now need to go back to November 2016 to find Pacquiao's last win, which came against Jessie Vargas. At his best Pacquiao was a destructive dervish in the ring, but he is several years beyond his best. Matthysse also looks to be on the slide, and looked like a shadow of himself last time out against Teerachai Kratingdaenggym. Although a dynamite puncher, with under-rated skills, Matthysse can be out boxed, and can be made to look slow and predictable. We're not sure what to expect here, but with both men being past their prime neither can really afford a loss.
In another of the world title bouts we'll see former IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (35-2, 24) look to reclaim that title as he faces South Korean based Pakistani Muhammad Waseem (8-0, 6). The IBF Flyweight title became when Donnie Nietes vacated it, to move up to Super Flyweight, and as a result we have a brilliant match up here. At his best Mthalane was a leading Flyweight, an aggressive but technically sound fighter with wins against the likes of Hussein Hussein, Julio Cesar Miranda, Zolani Tete, Johnriel Casime and Ricardo Nunez. Sadly though the former champion is now 35, ancient for a Flyweight. Waseem on the other hand was on the fast track to the top to begin his career, but financial issues have slowed his rise and he's spent the last year treading water to keep off ring rust. At his best Waseem is an excellent boxer, but this is easily his toughest test to date. This could be a really high class contest.
Another of the title fights could, potentially, be an historic one. The bout in question sees WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (20-0-1, 16) defending his belt against Chinese novice Lu Bin (1-0, 1). The Chinese 23 year old is looking to become the new record holder for the fewest fights to win a world title, doing so in 2 fights, and the confidence of Bin suggests he believes he can do it. He was a former amateur stand out and, like Vasyl Lomachenko, wanted to be fast tracked in the professional ranks. A win for Bin really would raise the bar for what is expected of true “super prospects”. Canizales on the other hand is looking for his first defense, after winning the title against Reiya Konishi earlier this year. The Venezuelan puncher is a fearsome fighter who's only set back was a split decision draw with Ryoichi Taguchi, and coming into this bout he may well be the best fighter at 108lbs, though obviously has stiff competition from the likes of Ken Shiro. We suspect Canizales will be the favourite but Bin is not there to roll over and lose.
The 4th world title bout will see Filipino Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16) battle against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 12) for the WBA “interim” Featherweight title. The talented Tepora has long been tipped as one of the most promising young Filipino fighters and has picked up a number of minor titles in recent years but this is a big step up from the likes of Lusanda Komanisi, who Tepora stopped in eye opening fashion last September. The Filipino is flawed but has lights out power and will be a very dangerous fighter to go toe-to-toe with. Ortega is an all-action fighter with a come forward pressure style. He has scored notable wins over the likes of Juan Carlos Carlos Sanchez Jr, Tomas Rojas and Drian Francisco, but has never been in with someone who has power like Tepora. We're expecting to see Ortega bring the action and Tepora look for counters in what could be an absolute barn burner.
The under-card here is littered with great match ups, including a bout between unbeaten Chinese fighter Yongqiang Yang (10-0, 7) and once beaten Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), in what really could be a very special bout. Another good looking contest will see the hard hitting Filipino Jayar Inson (16-1, 11) taking on Aussie foe Terry Tzouramanis (20-3-3, 3) in what could be a very exciting contest.
As well as the big Malaysian show there will also be a smaller, though somewhat notable, card in Aichi.
The main event of this Aichi card will see 2017 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Musashi Mori (6-0, 5) battling against Filipino foe Allan Vallespin (12-2, 9). The 18 year old Mori is one to watch, blessed with natural power, speed and skills he appears to be a fighter who could find himself in the title mix in 2 or 3 years, if he can continue to rack up wins. On paper this is a notable step up in class for the Japanese teenager, given that Vallespin's only losses have come to very decent fights in the form of Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk. This is a a really interesting bout and a very tough test for Mori.
Also on this card is the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (5-1, 5), who takes on Suntorn Panhom (2-2, 1) on Thailand. The Japanese fighter came runner up in the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight and has since bounced back with a stoppage over Shuto Takase in April. This will be his first bout against a non-Japanese fighter. Panhom comes into this on the back of back-to-back losses and we're not expecting him to to handle the power of Iimi, at all.
There is also a small card in Korea courtesy of the KBA.
The headline bout here will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) defending her title against Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-7, 4). Choi, the only current Korean world champion, will be looking to extend her reign and increase her profile with this win as she attempts to make her 6th defense of the title. The champion, a tall and rangy fighter, should be strongly favoured, but Gomez has fought at world level before and has proven to be no push over against the likes of Jackie Nava.
Also on this card will be Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6), who will be up against a Thai foe. The Korean is a IFBA, WIBA and WIBF world champion who will be looking to add a WBF International Minimumweight title to her collection. Although she's a multi-time title winner Park was beaten last time out in a WBO world title fight by Kayoko Ebata, in what was her first defeat in over a decade. We suspect she'll be back to winning ways here.
The most notable show this coming Sunday, Easter Sunday, comes from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka.
The main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Masahiro Sakamoto (11-1, 7) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on highly experienced Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (60-9-2, 24). The Japanese fighter won the title last December, when he stopped Kwanthai Sithmorseng, and he'll be looking to score a second successive win over a Thai veteran here. For Pigmy another loss might well spell the end of his career, especially given he's already 36 years old and has been a professional for closing in on 19 years! A win for Sakamoto will take him a step closer to getting a rematch with Sho Kimura, the only man to beat him so far.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (15-5-3, 5) looks for a stay busy win as he takes on Thai visitor Kathawut Saikaew Boxing Camp (0-1). Mukai has score back to back wins since his 2017 stoppage loss to Rex Tso in Hong Kong, and although bigger fights are around the corner we can't grumble too much about him staying busy given the competition he has faced through his career so far.
Arguably the most even looking match up on the show is a contest between Yuki Strong Kobayashi (12-7, 6) and Taichi Sugimoto (6-4, 2). We're not expecting anything too special here, but it does see Kobayashi risking his OPBF Bantamweight ranking.
Another show in Osaka, this time at the EDION Arena Osaka, will be promoted by Green Tsuda and looks a very interesting card with several bouts of note.
The main event is the most notable contest on the show and will see once beaten hopeful Kazuki Tanaka (8-1, 6) battle recent OPBF title challenger Seizo Kono (19-9-1, 12). The talented Tanaka was expected to be fast tracked into becoming a star however a 3rd round TKO loss last year to Ryohei Takahashi really did set him back, despite a bounce back win over Hikaru Marugame. Last time out Kono battled against Mark John Yap, and despite a solid effort he was stopped in 10 rounds. Given that both men need a win this should be a very hotly contested bout.
In a supporting bout Takayuki Okumoto (19-8-3, 9) will take on Indonesian Frengky Rohi (5-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Okumoto has gone 3-2-1 (3), with set backs to Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, Eranio Semillano and, most recently, Ryuichi Funai in a Japanese title fight. The Indonesian visitor when 5-0-1 to begin his career, but has lost his last 3 bouts, and will struggle to over-come Okumoto here, in what looks like a very tough bout on Japanese soil.
A great match up between 24 year old fighters will see Ryo Sagawa (3-1, 2) take on the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Sawai (5-2-1, 5). Sagawa caught out eye on debut and looked very impressive, though was stopped in his second bout by Retsu Kosaka in a Japanese Youth title fight. Since that loss he has bounced back with two credible wins and will be looking for another one here. As for Sawai he's a very dangerous puncher at this level, and despite being flawed he can bang, with his power taking him to the 2016 Rookie of the Year final, where he lost to Yoshimitsu Kimura. This is a very interesting bout, and the winner could well go a very long way, despite already having a loss on their record.
Another bout pitting men with one loss against each other will see 2017 Super Bantamweight Rookie of the year Toshiki Shimomachi (7-1-1, 4) take on former amateur stand out Kiyohei Endo (1-1, 1). Shimomachi started his career 2-1-1 but is now riding a 5 fight winning run and has broken into the Japanese rankings. Endo, a former amateur stand out, suffered a surprise loss on debut but looks a class fighter and a win here would move him to the fringes of a Japanese ranking. A very interesting bout and one that both will be wanting to win, and win impressively.
There will also be a low key card in Aichi, as Yakushiji put on a show.
The main event of this card will see teenager Musashi Mori (5-0, 4) take on a Thai foe. The 18 year old Mori won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight and enters this bout ranked by the JBC. A win for the teenager won't push him up the ranking, but will kick off a year which should push him towards a title fight, if not see him in the mix for a Japanese youth title before the end of 2018.
A pretty interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rookie of the Year runner up Katsuki Matsuura (5-1, 1) take on Toma Kondo (6-2, 1). These two men are both 21 years old, both have very similar looking records and whilst neither is much of a puncher they should make for a very exciting contest against each other. This could be a very interesting bout between two men each looking to bounce back from a loss. Very good match making here.