The most notable action this coming Wednesday comes from Thailand, where we see a much anticipated bout, that is sadly being fought after it was allowed to marinate too long and lost of the lustre it once had.
The bout in question will see WBA Minimumweight "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (23-0, 9) defending his title against former long term WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-2-0-1, 19). This bout was the most demanded bout at 105lbs, just 2 years ago when both men were world champions. Since then however Wanheng has suffered two losses to Panya Pradabsri, though both were razor thin and controversial, and the loss of the WBC title has seen this bout lose a lot of the shine it had. The bouts also suffers from the fact Wanheng is now 36, and has suggested retiring in the past. As for Knockout, the 31 year old is a long reigning champion and will be favoured here. Saying that a win over Wanheng, even a Wanhneg with 2 losses, would be the biggest win in Knockout's career, and help further enhance his reputation as one of the best fighters at 105lbs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Knockout and Wanheng clash at last!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Japan we have a low level card, which is being held in honour of former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto, who will be taking part in his retirement ceremony, which will include a public sparring session with former world champion Takashi Uchiyama. Outside of that spar there isn't much which will get attention, but the card does have two that are noteworthy.
The main bout will see JBC ranked Middleweight Ran Tomomatsu (2-2) battle against the once beaten Eiki Kani (5-1-2, 2), in what could be something of a thrilling 8 rounder. The hard hitting and somewhat brutish Tomomatsu is no world beater, but he's strong, flawed and exciting, which makes for great action bouts. His limitations will likely hold him back from even winning a domestic title, but his style will lead to some very fan friendly wars. Kani on the other hand comes into this less than 18 months removed from a loss in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where he impressed with his exciting style. We suspect the physicality of Tomomatsu will be the difference maker here, but the styles of the men should really gel to give us something of a thrilling, and brutal 8 round war.
The other bout of note on this card will see JBC ranked Featherweight Kimihiro Nakagawa (8-5-2, 4) battle against Tamaki Miwa (8-7-1, 1). On paper Nakagawa will be the favourite here, but he has really been struggling the last few years and he is 3-4-1 in his last 8 bouts, going back 6 years. Miwa on the other hand has won his last 2, but is 2- in his last 5, and hasn't looking too threatening in the ring, with a lack of power, and a questionable chin. The winner of this will take a step towards a Japanese title fight, but in reality neither is even close to being ready for one.
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia, we'll also see a notable bout in Australia, as former Filipino world title challenger Juan Miguel Elorde (29-2, 15) takes on unbeaten Australian hopeful Sam Goodman (11-0, 6), in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental and WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight titles. Elorde has fought just once since being stopped by Emanuel Navarrete in September 2019, and now aged 35 we can't help but think we've seen the best of him. Goodman on the other hand will be returning to the ring for the first time since beating Japan's Fumiya Fuse in May, and looks to be heading towards bigger and better things. Aged 23 Goodman is not the complete article, but is certainly developing fight by fight and should have too much for Elorde at this point in time.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for Asian fight fans, but there is a nice mix of action, including title fights, in both Japan and the Philippines, as well as prospects in action in what should be a better day of action than it looks on paper.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For us the most interesting action comes from Tokyo, where will be getting the latest Dynamic Glove show. The card features an Oriental title fight, a rematch of an interest Japanese Middlewieght bout and a the next step up for a promising prospect.
The title bout will see OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) make his second defense of the OPBF belt as he takes on "reimported" boxer Shoki Sakai (26-12-2, 14), who first made his name fighting in the West. The talented Toyoshima has been on a tear in recent bouts, and scored notable wins over Riku Nagahama and Yuki Beppu already this year, a win over the teak tough Sakai would put him in the running for the Japanese domestic fighter of the year. Sakai on the other hand was last seen losing a close, and hotly contested, bout to Keita Obara for the Japanese title, and he'll know that a loss here might be his final shot to win a notable title, especially his style which does seem him taking a lot of punishment. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Toyoshima defends OPBF title against tough guy Sakai!
In an interesting Japanese Middleweight bout, yes we do actually get some of those, we'll see All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuhiro Nakata (7-0, 4) look to repeat his September win over once touted amateur Ran Tomomatsu (1-2). In their first bout Nakata won 58-56 on all 3 cards, but Tomomatsu was certainly not shown up there and will be determined to get revenge here, and get his career back on track after back to back losses.
A third bout of note on this card will see promising novice Yudai Murakami (1-0), who was a very solid Japanese amateur, look to score his second win in the professional ranks, as he takes on Yudai Yakabu (3-2, 3). Murakami looked solid in his debut, back in January, but this is a credible step up and the hard hitting Yakabu will be in the ring to stop, or be stopped. Interestingly Yakabu has never seen round 4 of a fight, and has only gone beyond a single round twice, so we do not expect this one to go long.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the Japanese card there's also an interesting one in the Philippines featuring former world title challengers and promising unbeaten fighters.
The best bout on the card sees the once touted Mark Anthony Geraldo (38-9-3, 19), who really is a skilled fighter but has been inconsistent at times, take on exciting youngster Carl Jammes Martin (17-0, 15) for the GAB Super Bantamweight title. Geraldo won the title in 2019 and has defended it once since winning it, but has been inactive and this will be his first bout in over 2 years. Although very skilled we do wonder problems inactivity will cause for him here. As for Martin he is one of the rising stars of Filipino boxing, with an exciting, hard hitting style. Martin has been stepping up his level of competition in recent bouts, and will feel confident of making this step up as well as he looks to prove he's ready for bigger and better bouts. This should be a very interesting test for the unbeaten youngster.
In a battle of unbeaten fighters former amateur standout Charly Suarez (8-0, 6) will be up against Delmar Pellio (9-0, 4). Suarez was someone who had the skills to go a long, long way in the sport. Now aged 33 it seems he will never come close to reaching his potential, and instead it seems almost like he's going to be a fighter who retires as tale of what could have been, had he turned professional younger and had the Pandemic not hit. Aged 21 Pellio is promising youngster, but sadly he comes into this bout having been out of the ring for almost 2 years and he is stepping up massively. It's hard to see past a Suarez win here, but he needs to kick on in 2022 if he's ever going to come close to landing a major international bout.
A third bout of note on this card will see two former world title challengers facing off, as recent Naoya Inoue victim Michael Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20) takes on Ernesto Saulong (22-7-2, 9), who challenged the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa back in 2018. On paper this looks a pretty interesting bout, but Saulong has struggled for wins recently and is 1-5-1 in his last 7. Despite that he is tough and he will be in the ring looking to upset Dasmarinas, who hasn't fought since losing to the Monster back in June. The loser of this is unlikely to find themselves anywhere close to a major international fight, but the winner could end up landing a fight of note next year.
CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Away from Asia we'll see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (8-0, 3) take on limited veteran Juan Carlos Raygosa (17-18-3, 6). Singh is a solid boxer, but the 29 year old is going to have to look to make up for lost time next year, as he only fought once in 2020 and this will be his first bout of 2021. Thankfully he will get some rounds here because Raygosa, for all his faults, is a tough and rugged guy capable of taking good fighters rounds. This is not the "gimmie" it looks, but it's hard to see past a Bhatti win.
This coming Sunday isn't a huge day for boxing, but if you're in Osaka, you may be in for a treat as the EDION Arena Osaka hosts 3 different shows, including the finals of the West Japan Rookie of the Year, which is split over 2 shows, and an unrelated show. As well as the West Japan Rookie of the Year events there is also set to be another Rookie of the Year event in Aichi as the Western and Central Japan Rookie of the Year winners clash.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the West Japan Rookie of the Year events is set to feature 5 bouts in total.
One of the most interesting bouts on this first show is the Light Flyweight bout which pits two real novices against each other, with Kohei Hosoda (1-0) battling against Takuma Kamigaki (1-0). Both of these men are in their early 20's, both have just 4 rounds to their names and neither is particularly well known, but they are only two wins away from fighting at All Japan Rookie of the Year final in February.
Another interesting match up will see Ren Nishimura (4-2, 2), who competed in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, taking on the hard hitting Shodai Morita (4-1, 3). This is one that promises to be explosive, with both men capable of hurting the other. This should be a very, very solid Super Bantamweight bout between two men with plenty of promise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
On the second West Japan Rookie of the Year show we'll see another 5 bouts.
One of the bouts on this card is a Welterweight clash between Mitsuyoshi Oshima (3-1, 1) and Yusa Toyonaka (2-2-1, 1). Welterweight bouts at Rookie of the Year tend to be very entertaining, as it's usually two big guys, at least for Japanese boxing, with some serious flaws, unloading on each other and that's exactly what we expect to see here.
On paper the bout on this card that promises the most is the Super Featherweight bout between Ryuichi Sakamoto (2-0, 2) and Takehiro Ogawa (1-0-1). Both of these men are 21 years old, unbeaten and will bring a lot of ambition into this one. Sakamoto has needed just over 3 minutes to score his first two wins, and he will be coming out guns blazing here, whilst Ogawa will be happy to go rounds, given his first two bouts have both gone the scheduled 4 round distance.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The third show from the EDION Arena Osaka is a card from Green Tsuda and will feature 7 bouts in total. The show isn't the deepest but does have some interesting match ups on it.
One of those interesting match ups is a female contest between Terumi Nuki (11-4, 8) and Marina Sayama (4-2-1, 2). Of the two fighters Nuki is the better known, having fought in several female world title bouts, including two against the legendary Mariana Juarez Sadly however she has lost 3 of her last 5 and is fighting for the first time in well over 2 years. Sadly Sayama hasn't been seen in the ring since the very end of 2019, when she lost in a Japanese title fight to Yume Hirayama and it's hard to know what ambition she has coming in to this given her lengthy inactivity. Whilst this is certainly not a mouth watering bout, it is certainly an interesting one and one we expect will provide great entertainment.
The most interesting bout on this card will see touted former amateur stand out Ran Tomomatsu (1-1) battle against Rookie of the Year king Katsuhiro Nakata (6-0, 4), in a potentially thrilling Middleweight bout. Tomomatsu was tipped for pretty big things on the domestic scene when he turned professional, in 2019. Tomomatsu lost his second bout, to Mikio Sakai, who has proven his quality since that bout. Nakata on the other hand showed what he could do in 2020, Reaching the All Japan final which he won in February this year in a great bout against Eiki Kani. Given the styles of the two men, with Tomomatsu being an aggressive boxer-fighter and Nakata being a tall boxer, this could end up being a genuinely brilliant little war.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
In Aichi we'll see the Central Japan and Western Japan Rookie of the Year winners clash, and they will actually go on to face the West Japan winners later in the year.
One of the most interesting bouts on this card is the Lightweight bout, which will pit 24 year old puncher Ren Yamabe (2-0, 2) against 20 year old Kuhiro Arimitsu (0-0). Both men debuted earlier this year, with Yamabe making his debut in May and Arimitsu in June, and both are showing some real promise. Yamabe, as a southpaw, has the trickier style, but Arimitsu has the edge in height and reach and this could be a a very tough one to predict.
Another interesting bout on this event will see will be at Flyweight, where teenagers Yuki Morikawa (1-0-2) takes on Kento Seki (1-0, 1). It's rare for two 18 year olds to clash in Rookie of the Year, but for them to face off just 2 wins from a place in the All Japan Final is even rare. Of the two Morikawa is the more experienced, and is also the taller man and a southpaw, but he lacks power and has gone the distance in all 3 of his bouts. Seki on the other hand showed good power and aggression in his debut, back in June, and looks to be the man with some pop coming into this one.
This coming Monday focus heads to a Kadoebi card at Korakuen Hall, where we get an OPBF title fight, a really good looking novice pro bout, and several decent supporting bouts.
The main event will see OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) making his first defense of the title, as he take on Thai challenger Sitthidet Banti (12-5, 6), in what looks like a very, very soft first defense. Watanabe has mixed against stiff competition through his career, and last December's war with Nobuyuki Shindo was truly sensational, so for him to have an easy bout isn't too bad, but it is a weak title defense. To show how weak it is, Banti was stopped by Japanese novice Takuma Takahashi back in August. Our preview of this bout can be read here Does Watanabe get an easy first defense of OPBF crown?
Whilst the main event is a mismatch there is some really interesting action on this card, including a brilliant match up between Ran Tomomatsu (1-0) and Mikio Sakai (1-0). Despite both men being professional novices both were talented amateurs and they both looked great, albeit in very different ways, on their debut. Of the two Tomomatsu looks the more physical and stronger fighter, but the less technical, whilst Sakai has a flash and speedier look to him. This is a huge risk bout for both, and something to get very excited about.
In another interesting support bout we'll see the talented Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-1, 4) take on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (15-6-1, 10). Since moving over to the Kadoebi gym we've seen Kasuya show more some real development, and belief in his punching, and with 3 wins already this year he does now seem to have some momentum behind him. As for Sugita this is a real must win after going 4-4 in his last 8, including his two losses in Japanese title fights. As his best Sugita would favoured against the best we've seen from Kasuya, though it's unclear what Sugita still has left and how much more Kasuya can improve.
Another bout worth noting here will see talented youngster Yuki Nakajima (2-1, 2) look to bounce back from his first defeat as he takes on Yasuhiro Tanaka (6-4-2) in a good looking comeback bout. Nakajima was beaten back in August, by the excellent Ryu Horikawa and although he was beaten it wasn't a loss to be ashamed by and he's certainly not having an easy blow out here, despite Tanaka's record. Tanaka has proven to be a competitive fighter at the lower levels of the Japanese scene and went 5 rounds with the excellent Rikito Shiba last year. That will be the target for Nakajima, and if he can beat what Shiba did then we'll be impressed.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a notable card in Kazakhstan, though one that appears to have gone through a number of changes in recent days. The card is being hosted to celebrate Kazakhstan Independence day, and should be a great show if you're a Kazakh with a great array of Kazakh talent on the show.
Former world champion Hekkie Budler was originally announced for main event of this show, but it now appears that the main event will see Viktor Kotochigov (10-0, 4) take on Javier Jose Clavero (27-5, 5). On paper this looks like a good test for the unbeaten 26 old Kazakh, but in reality Clavero should be seen as a clear under-dog against an unbeaten prospect fighting in front of his home fans. This is a step up for Kotochigov, but one he will be be expected to win with out too many issues.
A solid supporting bout will see the highly touted Sultan Zaurbek (8-0, 6) take on China's Leshan Li (16-3-2, 9), in what is Zaurbek's first title bout as they face off for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight title. We've been wanting to see Zaurbek take a step up for a while and this is exactly the sort of bout that should tell us more about the talented 23 year old. Impressive Zaurbek will be fighting for the 6th time in 2019. As for Li he's unbeaten in 3, but has yet to score a win of note in his 21 bout career.
Other fighters on this card include an array of Central Asian prospects and hopefuls. They include 22 year old American based Kazakh Iskander Kharsan (7-0, 6), 2-time Olympian Khurshid Tojibaev (3-0, 2) and 2016 Olympic champion Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4).
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see another bout in the excellent Philippines Vs South Africa rivalry. This time around it'll be unheralded Filipino Joey Canoy (15-3-1, 8) taking on South African Nkosinathi Joyi (28-5-1-1, 19) in a bout for the IBO Minimumweight title. On paper Joyi will be the favourite, the former IBF world champion is the more proven and more experienced man, however Canoy will be confident of picking up the win, in what is his third visit to South Africa, and he'll be boosted by John Riel Casimero's recent win against Zolani Tete.
This coming Tuesday we'll see a really good card from Tokyo as Japanese and Korean fighters clash, and we get a female title fight featuring a fighter who has been put on the fast track.
The female title fight will see Japanese female Minimumweight champion Chie Higano (8-8-1, 2) defending her title against touted novice Mizuki Chimoto (1-0, 1), who looks to win a Japanese title fight in just her second bout. Chimoto was a former amateur standout who looked sensational on her debut and is clearly being pushed hard by her team at the Watanabe Gym. Higano is a nightmare to fight with her aggression and style, but she will enter as the under-dog against the talented upstart in what should be a very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout is available here Chimoto goes up against Higano in Japanese title fight!
The title bout is actually in the middle of the card, with the main event being the Japan Vs Korea bout that looks most likely to have fireworks. The match up in question will see unbeaten Korean teenager Jeong Han Cha (5-0, 5) take on Japanese puncher Takahiko Kobayashi (8-3, 6) in a bout at 140lbs. This has the potential to be a very exciting bout between two heavy handed, but flawed, young fighters who will be in the ring attempting to stop the other, rather than win a decision.
Another Korean teenager on the show will be In Soo Jang (5-1-1) who will battle former Japanese amateur standout Suzumi Takayama (1-0, 1), in what could be a very interesting match up. Jang is only 19 but already has a 6 round bout under his belt. Takayama on the other hand made his debut in February and is taking a clear step up in class here, though was a very accomplished fighter on the amateur scene.
Another Japanese novice on this card will be Ai Tomomatsu (0-0), a former amateur stand out who will be up against unbeaten Korean puncher Sang Geun Lee (6-0, 4). This is a baptism of fire for Tomomatsu, but a win will give his career a huge boost straight away and we wouldn't be surprised by him showing his amateur skills to shine here. Lee is dangerous, but Tomomatsu will be favoured.
One other interesting bout between fighters from the two countries will see Do Jin Lee (6-1-3) take on Mirai Naito (7-1, 3), the brother of OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito. On paper this looks like a really competitive bout, and although we don't expect thrilling fireworks this should still be a very compelling match up.