Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get world title action at Korakuen Hall on a show that features not only a world title bout, but also the long awaited debut of a man with a real point to prove, and rather unique back story, at least for Japanese boxing.
The world title bout will see IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) make her second defense, as she takes on the unbeaten, and fast tracked, Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1). The experienced Hanagata won the title in 2018, winning a world title in her 5th world title bout, and made her sole defense of the belt in September 2019, when she narrowly over-came Nao Ikeyema, ending their trilogy that had previously consisted of two draws. Matsuda on the other hand turned professional in 2018 and has moved incredibly quickly through the ranks, unifying Japanese and OPBF female titles in her first 3 bouts. In the ring this will be Hanagata's work rate and come forward pressure going up up against the movement and technical boxing skills of Matsuda, and it should make for an excellent match up in terms of styles and skills. Our preview of this bout can be read here IBF Queen Hanagata takes on unbeaten challenger Matsuda
In the chief support bout we'll see the long awaited debut of Narumi Yukawa (0-0), who was a talented amateur before being caught in possession of marijuana, which resulted in him getting a suspended sentence and putting his boxing career on hold. He's now served his time and will be debuting against Yuya Azuma (5-4-1, 1) in what should be a decent debut match up for the youngster. Interestingly Azuma was used as the debut opponent for Yukawa's stablemate Rentaro Kimura last year, and it's fair to saw that Yukawa will be looking to do better than the very highly touted Kimura.
Just to add, Yukawa has set him self a lofty goal for the sport, with Boxmob reporting his goal for boxing is to "defeat Naoya Inoue", maybe a rivalry for the future?
One other under-card bout on this show worthy of some attention is a match up between Ryu Oba (5-5, 3) and Mizuki Akima (5-3-1, 3). On paper this isn't anything special, though we were impressed by Oba last year, in his close decision loss to former Japanese champion Ryoichi Tamura, and there is clearly plenty to like about the 25 year old. The 29 year old Akima on the other hand won last time out and will feel confident of picking up another win here. This could end up being a bit of a sleeper hit given the toughness and styles of the men and the fact both will feel confident that they can pick up a win here in a well matched 6 rounder.
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
As well as the Japanese show there is also set to be a low key card in Kazakhstan thanks to Tukeshov promotions. Sadly this card is a pretty poor one, though one with a lot of fights on it. In fact the card is set to feature 20 bouts in total, featuring 20 debutants, and not a single fighter with double digit pro bouts to their name.
The only notable name on this card is 19 year old Kazakh hopeful Dastan Saduuly (5-1, 5), who is looking to secure his third win of the year. The once beaten Saduuly, who was destroyed last year by Vildan Minasov, will be up against the debut Aibek Zholdasbekov (0-0) in a scheduled 8 rounder. Whilst this is Saduuly's third bout of 2021 it's not a step up at all and it's a second straight bout against a debutant. Fingers crossed he steps up and gets bouts that are based around developing his skills rather than just padding his record.