The month of June has been relatively busy with low key action so far. That action continues this coming Monday in what looks set to be a brilliant card at the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of the card is one of two world title fights, and sees WBO female Bantamweight queen Naoko Fujioka (14-1,6) defending her title against compatriot Shindo Go (16-3, 11), in what is expected to be Go's final fight before she transitions to becoming a man later in the year. The bout should be a really good one and should be one of the most well matched bouts at the top level of female boxing.
The other world title bout will see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (17-3-1, 4) defending her title against the under-rated Saemi Hanagata (12-6-2, 6), in what should be a thrilling contest. At 46 Ikeyama knows a loss could be the end of her career, whilst Hanagata will see this as her best chance to win a world title. The bout isn't on the same level as the main event but is a great match up and could be, stylistically at least, a thriller.
In a supporting bout Takafumi Nakajima (25-7-1, 10) will be facing Jonathan Baat (30-7-5, 14), in what looks like an absolute corker between two genuine veterans. Baat is the more proven fighter however at 35 years old he may be coming to the end, and is win-less in his last 3 bouts, whilst Nakajima has won his last 3 and is looking like a genuinely hungry 31 year old.
Another good looking supporting bout sees the once touted Naoto Uebayashi (9-1-1, 5) battle against Mikihito Seto (34-12-3. 19). Uebayashi was tipped for big then when he turned professional a few years ago, following a very successful career in the amateurs, but problems with durability has seen him struggle to make a good run in the professional ranks. Seto, a genuine veteran at 36, has won just twice in his last 6 bouts but should prove to be a good test for Uebayashi, who really cannot afford another slip up.
One final bout of note will see the exciting Akihiro Kondo (24-6-1, 11) battle against Tanva Malihom (0-1) in a stay busy bout.
For a second day running the only Asian action is in Japan, though this time we do get a number of interesting looking match ups in what looks to be a solid domestic card from Ichiriki Promotions.
The main event will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (23-6-1, 11) battle against the unbeaten Shogo Yamaguchi (9-0-1, 4) in what will be a step up for the unbeaten 22 year old. Aged 30 Kondo is best known for having a short reign as the Japanese national champion back in 2009-2010 though retired in 2013 before mounting a comeback in 2014, that has seen him go 4-3, with notable wins against Jimrex Jaca and Patomsuk Pathompothong. As for Yamaguchi he's on a 9 fight winning run following a draw on his debut, however this is a big step up with his best win to date coming against Shota Suito.
Another unbeaten fighter looking to extend his record is the touted Hikaru Marugame (5-0-1, 3) who looks to bounce back from a draw against Jonathan Baat. Marugame will be up against Reiya Abe (10-2, 5), a 2014 Rookie of the Year winner at Featherweight. Whilst Abe has suffered a couple of losses, with one of them coming a year ago to Shingo Kusano, he is still a very good fighter and should be regarded as a very live under-dog against Marugame, who has promises a lot but failed to really deliver on that promise so far.
Marugame's stable mate Naoto Uebayashi (8-1-1, 4) will also be in action, as he faces Naoaki Kumagai (7-3, 4), in another bout which looks to be well matched. Uebayashi was a former top amateur in Japan, and has fought internationally in the unpaid ranks, but has shown a somewhat shaky chin in the professional ranks, a chin that let him down last year against Giovanni Escaner. This will be Uebayashi's second bout since he was beaten by Escaner and he will be the favourite but Kumagai will come to fight and this could be another banana skin for Uebayashi.
In other bouts on this card Japanese ranked Yudai Arai (7-3-3, 3) will be battling Tatsuya Kaneko (7-11-3, 1) in what looks like a good match up whilst recent Japanese title challenger Taiki Minamoto (10-5, 9) takes on Yudai Tamagawa (8-6-1, 2) in what looks to be a must win for Minamoto given that he is 3-3 in his last 6.
Fans in Tokyo get another treat this month with a “Fighting Bee” show that features a trio of really interesting bouts.
The main event of the show sees former 2-weight world champion Naoko Fujioka (13-1, 6) go for a third divisional world title as she battles South Korean fighter Hee Jung Yuh (15-2, 6) in a bout for the WBO female Bantamweight title. This is a big ask for Fujioka, who claimed her first title at 105lbs, however the talented Japanese fighter will be favoured against Yuh, who has an impressive record on paper but is stepping up, massively, in class. For a main event this is a well matched fight on paper and really could be a fantastic fight between highly skilled women.
The chief support bout sees the unbeaten, and touted, Hikaru Marugame (5-0, 3) take on the experienced Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (30-6-3, 14). Coming in to this one Baat is on a 3 fight winning streak including wins over Kenta Onjo and Takahiro Shigee however the unbeaten Marugame is tipped for the top and if he's as good as they say he should see off the 35 year old Baat.
The third bout of note sees the return to the ring of Naoto Uebayashi (7-1-1, 4), who was stopped last time out by Giovanni Escaner. The one beaten 28 year old will be up against Atsushi Hosogai (7-9) in what is a real must win for Uebayashi. It seems clear that Uebayashi's team have little belief in his toughness, and as a result have matched him with a clear non-puncher here.
One of the most exciting days so far this year for Japanese fans comes on April 22nd with two notable shows at very different levels. Although the cards are a million miles apart in terms of international attention they both promise a lot of very interesting action.
The most notable of the two shows comes from Osaka where we get a couple of world title bouts, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and a number of promising prospects all in action on a show that is genuinely mouth watering.
The main event promises to be something a little bit special as the once beaten Kazuto Ioka (16-1, 10) battles WBA Flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) in a bout that has looked brilliant since it was first mentioned last year. Ioka, attempting to become the second Japanese born fighter to become a 3-weight champion, will be hoping to claim a Flyweight title at the second time of asking, following a loss to Amnat Ruenroeng last year in a bout for the IBF title, whilst Whilst Reveco will be hoping to secure his second title defense in Japan, following a victory over Masayuki Kuroda back in 2013.
In the other world title fight we will see the always fun to watch Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) take on Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15) in an IBF world title defense by the Japanese warrior. Takayama, who vacated the WBO belt earlier this year, will be looking for the first defense of his second reign as the IBF champion and is looking to move on to bouts with Kosei Tanaka and Hekkie Budler later in the year. As for Fahlan, he'll be looking to record his second big win in the Osaka Prefectural gym and try and replicate his shock win over Ryo Miyazaki from December 31st 2013.
It's not just the top two bouts that are exciting but also the chief support bout which will see the highly skilled and fast rising Sho Ishida (18-0, 10) defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against Taiki Eto (14-3, 10). This will be Ishida's second defense of the belt and will see Eto getting his second shot at the title. Incidentally Eto lost his first shot to Yohei Tobe who went on to lost the belt in his first defense, to Ishida. This bout promises a lot and a win for Ishida would likely move him to a world title shot later in the year whilst a win for Eto would be a massive achievement for the youngster of the Eto brothers.
As well as the 3 title bouts we will also see the next bout in the career of the exciting Ryo Miyazaki (22-1-3, 13) who is fighting Thailand's Namphol Sithsaithong (7-9, 5) in a clear mismatch. This is viewed as a warm up bout for Miyazaki, a former WBA Minimumweight champion, and from what we understand he is targeting a Light Flyweight title and will almost certainly try to chuck his hat into the ring to fight the winner of the upcoming WBA title fight between Ryoichi Taguchi and Kwanthai Sithmorseng, who meet on May 6th.
As for the card's prospects there are several. Among them is the exciting Masayoshi Hashizume (7-0, 4), the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year. Hashizume is set to fight a Thai foe Saenrachan Sor Theptanee (0-1)in what should be a mismatch as Hashizume looks to sepdn the rest of the year moving up the domestic rankings, possibly fighting for the national title after Ishida gives it up.
Another prospect on this card is Reiya Konishi (7-0, 4), who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight. Konishi will be in a solid looking bout against Kenta Shimizu (8-4-1, 4), a much better fighter than his record indicates.
A third prospect is female fighter is Kei Takenaka (8-0, 3). Takenaka, the current OPBF female ligth Flyweight champion, will be facing a Thai opponent who we believe will be Kannittha Saknarong (0-2). On paper this should be an easy day's work for the talented Japanese fighter, though we are hoping to see her in a real test before she starts to be moved towards a world title bout.
At the Korakuen Hall we get a trio of notable bouts. One of which is a cross roads bout between two experienced fighters whilst the other two are both notable bouts involving touted Japanese prospects.
The main event is the bout between the experienced fighters and will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (21-5-1, 10) battling against former Filipino champion Ricky Sismundo (27-8-1, 12). Coming into this bout both men are 2-1 with a notable win the last time and both are going to be heading into the bout with the hope of generating a bit of traction in their career. Last time out we saw Sismundo defeat Shuhei Tsuchiya with an 8 round decision win, back in December, whilst Kondo recently stopped Jimrex Jaca in 4 rounds, back on March 16th. Coming into this bout we're expecting a very competitive and tough bout.
In the chief support bout we get the chance to see the touted, the fragile looking, Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) fighting against exciting Filipino Giovanni Escaner (12-3, 8). This is a brilliant match up between unheralded fighters who know a win puts them into serious contention for an OPBF title fight later in the year. Whilst Uebayashi is the more “hyped” of the two men Escaner has shown that he's a man who has a lot of promise, despite his record, and won't be turning up just to lose. Fantastic to see both men signing up for this bout.
The other notable bout sees the exceptionally promising Hikaru Marugame (3-0, 2) battle against Wataru Miyasaka (9-2-1, 2). Marugame, a stablemate or Uebayashi's, hasn't had the attention of some other Japanese youngsters but he's every bit as good as some of the others and has shown that ability against solid competition for such an inexperienced fighter. On paper this is a big step up for the unbeaten 25 year old and although Miyasak hasn't set the world he is in good form with 3 notable wins in his last 4 bouts. As with the previous two match ups, this is very interesting.
This card will also feature 4 other bouts though none of them really caught our attention like the trio we've mentioned.
In Mexico fans will have the chance to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (17-5, 11) battle against Fernando Torres (16-10-1, 13). This is a great opportunity for Sakai who narrowly lost his last 2 bouts. The Japanese fighter, who is based in Mexico city, has shown a surprising amount of potential and hopefully he'll manage to build on that potential down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
A new week sees action in Japan and a Filipino in action on the road in South Africa.
In Japan we get a genuinely interesting card with several very notable fighters on it and a number of bouts we suspect could be very good.
One of those bouts we suspect will be a mismatch will see the very promising Hikaru Marugame (2-0, 1) fighting against the much more experienced Ryoji Okahata (9-9-5, 1). We genuinely think Marugame is one of Japanese boxing's best hidden secrets and unfortunately, he's been more hidden this year than we'd hoped with no fights in 2014, and the only footage we have of him is from his debut last year against Makoto Kato. Okahata is a tough enough fighter to take Marugame rounds but we only see one winner here as Marugame looks to move towards a domestic ranking. It's notable that Okahata ran both Yu Kawaguchi and Jason Egera very close in recent bouts and has only been stopped once, by Shingo Wake more than 4 years ago. On paper this is a mismatch though in reality it's a great test for the touted youngster.
Marugame's unbeaten stablemate Naoto Uebayashi (6-0-1, 4) is arguably in the best bout on the show as he puts his unbeaten record on the line against former world title challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-8-1, 23), who will be fighting for the first time since signing up with Japanese promoter Ichiriki boxing. This should be Uebayashi's biggest test since his draw with Yusaku Kuga back in August 2013 however Uebayashi should be able to over-come his Mexican foe here given the fact he is the naturally bigger fighter. Ranked by the JBC and OPBF Uebayashi appears to be on the fast track to a title fight but this could be a really serious test of his credentials.
In the card's chief support bout fans will see recent Japanese title challenger Gosuke Seki (15-1-2, 3) fighting for the first time since suffering a stoppage loss to Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono. Seki has been matched in a very interesting contest with veteran Yuta Nagai (28-10-4, 19) and both men will be looking to get their careers back on track with a win here.
The main event willfeature former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (20-4-1, 9), who is fighting for the second time in less than a month. On November 17th Kondo made light work of Thailand's Kaewkla Chaiyonggym and will be hoping to do the same against domestic foe Tomoya Yamada (11-5, 3) in what looks to be another confidence building bout for the former champion.
East Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (22-5-1, 6) returning to action against the heavy handed Lusanda Komanisi (17-3, 16). Gasca is fighting in South Africa for the second time this year and will be attempting to put his recent loss to Thabo Sonjica behind him. Sadly against a big puncher like Komanisi this could be a really hard bout for the Filipino fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The one Japanese card of the day takes place at the Green Arena in Hiroshima and features one of Japan's rising stars as well as a number of his stable mates.
The rising star is the unbeaten Naoto Uebayashi (5-0-1, 3) who will be facing a Singnoi Singmanasak (1-0). We're expecting to see Uebayashi, a former amateur standout, do a number on Singnoi as he continues his development towards being a very good fighter. Currently ranked #14 by the JBC at Super Bantamweight we imagine Uebayashi will be hunting a title fight next year, however he will need to keep improving and not make some of the mistake he has made previously, including those he made in his contest with Yusaku Kuga which resulted in a draw.
In the co-feature we will get the chance to see the 19 year old Ryuji Ikeda (6-2-1, 2), who was last seen being stopped by Kenta Onjo back in April. As with Uebayashi we're unsure on who Ikeda will be fighting though again we know it will be a Thai foe. We also know that this will be an 8 round bout
In total there will be 5 bouts on this show due to one of the originally scheduled 6 being cancelled.
(Image courtesy of http://box-fitness-gym.com)