Sumida City Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Sunday we'll be getting a genuine treat from the Sumida Ward Gymnasium, as Dangan put on one of the most notable Japanese domestic cards of the year, with 3 very good looking title match ups.
The main bout from the card will see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) take on Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10), in a bout not just for the Japanese title but also the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. The talented Maruta won the Japanese title last year, stopping Ryo Sagawa in a sensational performance, and since then has defended it once, beating Ryo Hino. The talented Maruta has long been tipped as a future world champion, and over the last 3 years has started to show that potential, but will need to show more here, and from what we understand he will come into this bout looking to not just win, but also make a huge statement. As for Abe, the "Genius" boxer is one of the best technical fighters in Japan, with a really high level boxing brain, though unfortunately for him he has stumbled in his two biggest bouts to date, fighting to a draw with Taiki Minamoto and suffering a close decision loss to Ryo Sagawa. For Abe this will be his third shot at the Japanese title, and if he suffered another set back at this level it will be hard to imagine him ever living up to the "Genius" tag that those in Japan have given him. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Maruta faces Abe in mouth watering clash!
In the Super Featherweight division we'll see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (10-1, 6) battle against veteran Takuya Watanabe (38-10-1, 22) for the OPBF title. The 27 year old Rikiishi has been in great form since suffering an early career loss to Kosuke Saka, and has won his last 10 in a row, including wins over the likes of Freddy Fonseca, Yuichiro Kasuya and Soreiki Taichi. Despite being in good form this will be his first title fight, and is very much a step up in class for him, though it does seem be coming at the right time for him. As for Watanabe, the teak tough veteran is a former WBO Asia Pacific champion who is looking to add to his title collection. He's very much a battled hardened fighter, with a technical style who has faced a who's who of the Asian scene over the years. Last year he was stopped by Kosuke Saka, in a brutal loss, but since then he has bounced back, and didn't appear to be showing any signs of that loss in October, when he stopped Kazuma Sanpei in 2 rounds. This should be a good be a good technical back and forth with the potential for fireworks in the later rounds. Our preview of this one can be read here Watanabe and Rikiishi battle for OPBF honours!
The third title bout on this show will see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) defending her title against Kaori Nagai (6-3-3, 2), in a bout that was first scheduled to take place in early March before being postponed. Of the two fighters the champion should be regarded as the favourite, especially given how she has looked since turning professional, however Nagai is a true battler and is not one to over-look. Notably Nagai will be risking her WBA and IBF world rankings here, and a potential world title fight, whilst Chimoto will be risking her title in what should be a very interesting 8 rounder. Our preview of this bout is available here Chimoto takes on Nagai in OPBF title bout
Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA
The most notable bout with an Asian fighter involved this Saturday is in New York as Japan's Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) battles talented South African Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9) for the IBF Super Flyweight title. This bout really is an incredibly interesting one between two world class fighters each looking to prove themselves on the world stage. Ogawa is talented, but rough around the edges, heavy handed and dangerous with a real will to win, and willingness to take a shot to land one when he needs to. Fuzile on the other hand is a slick, skilled, technically sharp boxer-mover who has the tools to frustrate anyone in the division. It will genuinely be interesting to see if Ogawa can land his heavy right hand, or whether the slippery southpaw moves of Fuzile will be too much for him. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogawa faces Fuzile for IBF title!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in the US we'll also get a title bout in Japan, as a talented Japanese fighter looks to make his first defense of a national title. Not only that but we'll also see the mandatory challenger for the winner being decided as well, with the show hosting a Japanese title eliminator.
The title bout on this show will see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) look to build on his excellent title win against Ryo Sagawa as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9). For Maruta this is a great chance to continue moving forward, and a win here moves him closer and closer to a world title shot, potentially against recently crowned Kiko Martinez. The excellent Maruta has long been regarded as one of the brightest hopes in Japanese boxing, and over the last few years he has been showing his potential with some stellar domestic wins, though we'd really like to see him make a move up to Oriental, if not world, level in 2022. As for Hino this is a second shot at the title, and although a solid domestic level fighter a win here would be, by far, the biggest of his career. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
In the main supporting bout on this show we'll see Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) and Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) clash in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator. These two men have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe back in 2018. Since their first bout Watanabe has gone unbeaten, going 6-0-2 (4) and has some momentum coming in to this bout thanks to his victory in the Hajime No Ippo Featherweight tournament, last year, and a good win over Yosuke Kawano earlier this year. The highly skilled Abe has gone 4-1-1 (1) since beating Watanabe, but has struggled at times, and and we dare say he's needed a fire lighting under his backside aty times, hopefully that fire will be lit here knowing he will get a third Japanese shot, if he wins.
Dawrpui Multipurpose Hall, Aizawl, India
As well as the title action in the US and Japan we also have a minor title bout in India, where Nutlai Lalbiakkima (2-0, 2) will be defending his IBA International Minimumweight title against Thai challenger Gerttipong Kumsahwat (6-9, 5). The talented Lalbiakkima is looking like a man on the fast track and we suspect he will be mixing against good competition in 2 or 3 years. Although not well known at the moment Lalbiakkima does have the potential to be the face of Indian boxing in the future. Gerttipong on the other hand is best known for losing to the then debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka back in 2018, and since then he has gone 3-7, likely to be 3-8 with this bout.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
There is also Asian action in Thailand, with a show being broadcast under the "The Fighter" banner, thanks to TL Promotions. Sadly whilst it does feature two very notable Thai hopefuls, neither man is in with someone expected to test them, also, notably, this show was originally scheduled to take place in late October before being delayed.
One of the promising Thai fighters on this show is the once beaten Tanes Ongjunta (8-1, 4), who looks notch a 5th straight win, as he takes on the limited Lerdchai Chaiyawed (6-5, 2). Ongjunta, looking to defend his WBA Asia Flyweight title, should be too good, too skilled, and too smart for his foe, though to credit where it's due, Chaiyawed does tend to offer plenty of resistance, even in his losses, and won't be there to just make up the numbers. We expect Chaiyawed to come to win, but simply not be good enough.
The other notable bout on this card will see the once beaten Arnon Yupang (7-1, 3) take on Filipino novice Fritz Biagtan (1-0, 1). Yupang was once a Thai amateur standout who has a lot of potential, and was last seen beating Amnat Ruenroeng for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title. He won't be defending that title here, but will be expecting to pick up a win. As for Biagtan, he made his debut in 2018, but has sadly been out of the ring for well over 40 months and is the naturally smaller man. Sadly we do not expect this one to be a particularly competitive match up.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday our attention turns to Tokyo for a solid card from Yokohama Hikari. The show isn't a massive one, by any stretch, but it has 3 very good bouts on it all of which could have headlined smaller shows.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (17-1, 11) look to make his third defense of the title, as he takes on the unbeaten Rei Nakajima (4-0). The talented and aggressive Matsunaga is one of the most fun Japanese fighters to watch in the "middle weight" range, as he's the type of fighter who brings incessant pressure, pushes forward and tries to force his will on his opponents. That has worked well for him over the last 5 years and he has won his last 11, against some pretty well established fighters on the Japanese scene. The challenger however is the exact opposite. Nakajima is a speed, slippery fighter, who uses good timing, good boxing IQ and quickness to land shots and avoid taking many. Nakajima isn't too well established, but really impressed last time out, beating Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa, and will come into this bout feeling he has the tools to defeat Matsunaga. This could be a very, very interesting bout. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Matsunaga clashes with Nakajima
In a second title bout we'll see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7) defending his title against Yuni Takada (8-6-2, 3). The exciting and hard hitting Ishizawa won the title way back in 2018, when he stopped Yuga Inoue, but hasn't managed to defend it yet and will have to vacate it later this year, as he's now 24. It seems very clear that he and his team wanted to make at least one defense before handing it back. As for Takada he won't be expected to put up much of a challenge, having gone 2-4-1 in his last 7 and he's winless in his last 3. However Takada has been matched hard, having faced the likes of Norihito Tanaka, Toshiki Kawamitsu and Tetsuya Mimura, and will be there knowing this is a rare title opportunity for him. We suspect Ishizawa will be in here to make a statement and really test the heart and toughness of Takada from the off, before going on to bigger and better things. Our preview of this bout can be read here Ishizawa takes on Takada in Japanese Youth title defense
The third bout of note on this card will see highly skilled Japanese Featherweight Reiya Abe (20-3-1, 9) take on the once beaten Koshin Takeshima (4-1-1, 3). The brilliant Abe has gone 12-1-1 (5) in his last 14 bouts, scoring notable wins against the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay, Satoshi Hosono and Daisuke Watanabe. Although not the most fun fighter to watch there is no doubting his talent, ability and high level boxing IQ. Traits that have seen him dubbed a boxing genius in Japan. Takeshima on the other hand turned professional with quite a bit of buzz around him, and there was high expectations on his shoulders, but he's gone 0-1-1 in his last 2 and has looked underwhelming at times. He's clearly a talented fighter, but he doesn't appear to have developed well since turning professional. Sadly for Takeshima we suspect he will come undone again here, especially given his poor performance last time out, against Yamato Hata.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday Yokohama Hikari are back with another show under the A-Sign Boxing banner, and as with other A-Sign cards it is a surprisingly deep and stacked card, and is expected to be streamed live on YouTube. The show has 6 bouts in total, from which 4 are worth genuine attention, with at least on JBC, OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter involved.
The first of the 4 bouts worthy of attention is a bout between Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) and Masashi Tada (13-7-3, 8). The bout will see the all action, heavy handed and aggressive Ishizawa look for one of his biggest wins as he takes on the rugged former Japanese title challenger. The 23 year old Ishizawa lost last time out, losing a competitive decision to Masataka Taniguchi, but will know a win here will help put him right back in to the domestic title mix. At 31 years old Tada is coming to the end of his career, which began back in 2009, and has twice seen him fighting for domestic honours. Gone gone 2-4-2 in his last 8 Tada needs a win to remain relevant, but will be up against it as he takes on an excellent youngster. This has the potential to be the fight of the show.
On the subject of potential "fight of the show" it's hard to over-look the showdown between Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) and Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6), which promises fireworks. Both of these men are hard hitting, but have defensive flaws and both have been stopped. On paper Chiba is the more proven and he's also the more rounded, but Ishikawa is out there with a point to prove following a loss last year to Toshiya Ishii. We really are expecting big things from this one, and it has two guys whose style's should gel brilliantly!
Another supporting bout on the card will see the Japanese ranked Ryuto Araya (13-8-1, 4) risk his Super Featherweight ranking as he takes on Katsunori Endo (6-3, 3). The 32 year old Araya is a former OPBF title challenger who has had mixed successes in recently years. In the last 4 years he has gone 2-4 and really needs a big win soon if hg's to get a second shot at a title. As for Endo he's 29 and comes into the bout on the back of successive early wins. Expect to see Endo starting fast and then having questions asked of him as Araya's experience begins to show it's self.
The main event will see the highly skilled, though often frustrating, Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) take on the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) in a bout that promises very high level boxing, but potentially frustrating action. The brilliant Abe had a forgettable 2019, with a draw against Taiki Minamoto and a loss to Ryo Sagawa standing out, but his resume is a deep one on the domestic stage and he will come into this bout as a very clear favourite. Sasaki on the other hand is clearly stepping up in class, though comes in as an unbeaten man, who knows a win will put him in the title mix. We suspect the skills of Abe will be too much for Sasaki, however Sasaki seems the more willing to let his hands go, and he could, potentially, take this on work rate. Either way this is going to be a high level match up, though it could be a very, very frustrating one.
This coming Friday is a really notable one, with a lot of exciting action, even with the biggest bout of the weekend, for us, being cancelled.
New York, USA
The bout that was cancelled, would have seen the unified Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10) defending his WBA "super" and IBF titles against fast rising Uzbek amateur standout Murodjon Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5). Sadly this was called off due to an injury to Roman, however the plan seems to be to reschedule the bout for when Roman is 100%.
Despite the main bout being called off the card will still feature 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (7-0, 3), who has promised a lot but is yet to truly shine as a professional. The unbeaten Kazakh will be up against unbeaten American Reshard Hicks (12-0-1, 6). On paper this looks a good test for the Kazakh but in reality he shouldn't struggle with Hicks, if he's as good as many hoped he'd be.
Due to the world title fight being called off in the US, the best card appears to be in Japan where we see a former world champion, a Japanese title fight, a Japanese youth title fight and a Japanese title eliminator.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) fight for the first time since losing his belt to Jamel Herring. The talented Ito will be up against Indonesian foe Ruben Manakane (25-18-1, 14), who despite only being 26 will be fighting in his 45th pro bout. This is expected to be an easy win for Ito, who is flirting with the Lightweight division, but it's clear there is a lot to work on given before he returns to facing world class opposition, at least based on his performance against Herring. Despite this being a pretty obvious mismatch Manakane does enter as the Indonesian champion and is 7-1 in his last 8.
Despite the main event being a mismatch the supporting card is solid with the best of the bouts being a Japanese Featherweight title bout, with Reiya Abe (19-1-2, 9) and Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) battling for the title that Taiki Minamoto vacated earlier in the year. This has the hall marks of a very, very special bout with both fighters being very highly skilled but having different styles and mentalities. Abe is the more pure counter puncher, a sharp shooting, back foot fighter, whilst Sagawa is a more offensively minded boxer-puncher. These style really should gel and the two fighters will both be looking for their most significant win to date. This could be one of the most thrilling bouts of the month. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Abe and Sagawa battle to crown new Japanese Featherweight champion!
In what looks likely to be an exciting brawl we'll see Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) and Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) battle in a JBC Super Bantamweight eliminator. The experienced Furuhashi is trying to secure a third Japanese title fight but will be the under-dog here against Tamura, who held the title earlier this year. Furuhashi is a solid national contender but he has been in tough bouts through his career and it's hard to know what he has left in the tank. On the other hand Tamura's last 2 bouts have been really hard wars, with his last bout being a brutal war with Yusaku Kuga, and they may well have added a lot of miles to his clock. A preview of this bout can be read here Tamura and Furuhashi to battle in eliminator!
A second title fight will see fast rising youngsters Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) and Shisui Kawabata (2-0, 2) battle for the JBC Youth Light Flyweight title. Both of these youngsters are tipped for big things, and in fact Shiba is pencilled in for a Japanese title eliminator later in the year, so to see them clash at this point is rather surprising, despite the Youth title. So far Shiba has looked the better fighter, and he really does look the goods, however Kawabata has sparred with Naoya Inoue among others and is very highly regarded. This could be another thriller. Our preview of this contest is here Shiba and Kawabata face off for Japanese youth title!
The rest of the card is full of small but still interesting bouts. These include a battle between Japanese ranked fighters, as Kanehiro Nakagawa (7-6, 4) looks to build on a career best win against Seiichi Okada as he takes on Ryuto Araya (13-7-1, 4). Other smaller bouts on this card include Satoru Goto (4-4-2) taking on the unbeaten Ryugo Ushijima (3-0-1, 2) and the debuting Taison Morishita (0-0) battling Kojiro Nishikawa (5-1, 2) in a tough 6 round debut.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Another notable fighter pencilled in for the day is former world title challenger Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6), who will be in action in Dubai. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
This coming Wednesday is not only the 1st of May but it is also a day with a stacked card as we begin a busy, and potentially brilliant month of Asian boxing. And if we're being honest we begin the month with a genuinely brilliant card courtesy of Dangan, who put on not only a brilliant title bout, but 3 other bouts worthy of note. This is a good a domestic card, on paper, that we've seen in 2019.
The main event is a Japanese Featherweight title bout, which will pit national champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9), The hard hitting champion really impressed us in his title win, dominating Takenori Ohashi in April 2018, but looked very beatable in his first defense, scoring a late stoppage in a nip and tuck bout against Tatsuya Otsubo. Abe on the other hand has been in impressive through the last few years with 11 straight wins, including victories over Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay and Satoshi Hosono. This will be a fantastic match up between a boxer-puncher and a brilliant slick boxer and we're really, really looking forward to this. It could be very special. Our full preview of this bout can be read heere Minamoto and Abe clash in mouth watering Featherweight title bout!
In the chief support bout we'll see Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) look to build on his December win over Tsuyoshi Tameda as he takes on Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4). For Hiroto this will be his first bout since fighting to a draw with Ryo Hino in January 2018, during which time he has been kicked out of the Kadoebi Gym for failing to make weight for a bout with Shohei Omori. Hiroto certainly has a point to prove, fighting under the Dangan banner for the first time, but will be the clear under-dog against Maruta, who is a super talent despite the two marks on his record. Our full preview of this bout is available here Maruta and Hiroto clash at Korakuen Hall!
Another brilliant bout on this show will see the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8) take on skilled youngster Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4), in a bout rearranged from March. The bout had to be delayed due to Oho suffering an injury but he now seems to be healthy in what is regarded as being a Japanese title eliminator. This promises high quality boxing, exciting exchanges and real action. A potential classic, and a bout that may have been helped in it's delay, by being added to such a stacked card, getting more eyeballs on the fighters.
One other bout worthy of note will see former amateur standout out Motoki Osanai (3-2, 1) look to record his third straight win, as he takes on Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5). Osanai turned professional with big expectations but hasn't yet found his groove in the pro ranks and has been fighting between Super Flyweight and Super Bantamweight. If he can find his place he has the ability to really put this poor start behind him. On paper Fujimoto looks like a bit of a nothing opponent, but the reality is that he's a nightmare to fight and we're expecting him to make this bout ultra-competitive and there could just be a round or 2 separating the men at the end of the scheduled 8.
Attention turns to Nevada this coming Saturday for the biggest card of the weekend, and one featuring several Filipino fighters.
The headline bout, and one of the biggest bouts of the month, will see Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) defending the WBA Welterweight title against controversial American Adrien Broner (33-3-1-1, 24). This will be Pacquiao's first defense of the title he took last July, when he beat Lucas Matthysse, and could potentially help set up another big bout later in the year, if he can over-come Broner. For the American, who was once tipped as the future of boxer, this is a must win bout and another loss, especially to a 40 year old Pacquiao, will be hard to bounce back from. This isn't the bout it could have been a few years ago, but should still be a very interesting must win bout. Our preview of this bout is available here Pacquiao and Broner battle for WBA Crown
Another title fight on this show will see WBA "interim" Featherweight champion Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17) defending his title against Mexican challenger Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33). The unbeaten fighter, from the Philippines, took the title last year in Malaysia and has shown to be a brutally heavy handed fighter, who is lacking in terms of speed and crispness, but is very hard hitting and very dangerous. Ruiz on the other hand made name at Bantamweight, where he was a WBA interim champion, and Super Bantamweight, where he held the WBC title, but has been relatively inactive recently and has shown shaky whiskers. We're expecting this to be very explosive and very exciting, with both having very good power. Our preview of this bout is here Tepora looks to make first defense of "interim" crown, takes on hard hitting Ruiz
Interestingly both Jayar Inson (18-1, 12) and Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10) were scheduled to be on this card, though it now appears that neither man will actually feature. Sadly. Libranza was lined up to face former world title challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-4-1-1, 17) though only Libranza is actually listed for the show now and Libranza has been removed.
We also get a really notable card in Tokyo, as G+ televise the first Dynamic Glove card of the new year, a card featuring 3 very attractive bouts.
The main event will see former OPBF and Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) taking on Japanese veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-11-1, 13), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two met way back in May 2012, with Nakajima defeating Wake via unanimous decision. Since their first bout Wake has gone on the have notable success, going 15-1 (12) and has fought for a world title. Nakajima on the other hand has gone 9-6 since beating Wake, losing in title bouts to Hidenori Otake and Mark John Yap. This is clearly a bout to give Wake revenge for his last loss at domestic level, but is still an interesting match up, and one with a bit of history behind it.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) face off with Reiya Abe (18-2, 9), in a strange yet compelling match. Sugita, who is a full time policeman outside of the ring, has impressed since making his debut and is tipped for big things, but obviously stiffer tests than he has been getting following a very impressive amateur career. This is however a massive step up in class for Sugita, who has never faced anyone like the world ranked Abe. For Abe the bout is a risky one, given his next bout has already been arranged and is a Japanese Featherweight title bout in the middle of the year. This bout see Abe losing his title fight, if he loses, but an injury or a cut could force his plans to change. We suspect Abe will have too many tools for Sugita, at this early stage, but this is still an incredibly interesting match up. Our preview of this bout is available here World ranked Abe takes on Policeman Sugita!
The third terrific match up on this card pits ranked youngsters against each other. In one corner will be Japanese ranked Teiken promoted 24 year old Kenshin Oshima (4-1-1, 3) whilst the other corner will host 21 year old southpaw Ikuro Sadatsune (9-2-3, 3), who holds Japanese WBO Asia Pacific rankings. Coming into this bout Oshima is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run, including an ugly but notable win over Joe Tanooka back in August. Sadatsune on the other hand has won his last 3, with notable wins over Ryo Suwa and Tatsuya Takahashi. We're expecting to see Oshima's power and aggression against Sadatsune's skills and movement in a very well matched and intriguing contest.
Seoul, South Korea
In South Korea we'll see the first card under the recently announced Annihilation banner, which co-promotes MMA and boxing. The main event of this card will see Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (6-2-1, 2) battling against Australian based veteran Samuel Colomban (25-10-1, 11) for the vacant OPBF Light Middleweight title. The bout will be the first OPBF title fight on Korean soil in quite some time, and seems to suggest that KBF are coming out for 2019 with some new fire in their belly. It should be noted Colomban has seen much, much better days but is still a very live fighter against the inexperienced Korean. Our preview of this bout is available here Lee and Colomban battle for OPBF crown!
One other bout of note will take place in Onratio, where we see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (3-0, 2) kicks off his 2019 with his first 6 round bout. Bhatti will take on Mitch Louis Charles (5-1-2, 2). Bhatti made his debut in March 2018and picked up 3 low key wins during the year. This is a credible step up, at least on paper, for the unbeaten man. We say on paper, because Charles hasn't fought in over 4 years and it's unclear what he'll look like given that lengthy lay off.
This coming Saturday sees a new month begin, and it kicks off in stylee with a strong card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of card will see the Japanese Bantamweight title finally have a champion crowned, after having been vacated in January by Ryo Akaho and having seen several bouts to crown a new champion fall through. The void at the top of domestic scene will be filled by either Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) or Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8) who will both see this as a massive opportunity to claim a national title. Saito was supposed to face Suguru Muranaka for the title earlier in the year before Muranaka pulled out due to making weight. Kikuchi on the other will be getting his first title bout since losing to Shingo Wake in an OPBF title fight way back in 2013. The winner of this will likely enter 2019 with a target on their back, but will have claimed the biggest win of their career.
The leading support bout will see former Japanese and OPBF champion Charles Bellamy (27-3-2, 18) taking on Yuto Shimizu (12-3-2, 5) in a bout between Japanese ranked fighters. The hard hitting Bellamy has struggled for activity in recent years but is devastating at this level and will know, at the age of 36, that he really only has more run left in his body. A win over Shimizu will not assure Bellamy of a title shot, but will move him much closer to one. As for Shimizu this will only be his third fight since the start of 2016, and his first of note since losing to Yuki Nonaka more than 2 years ago. At 30 years old Shimizu has got youth on his side but would need a career best performance to pick up a win here.
In another notable supporting bout we'll see the very talented Reiya Abe (17-2, 8) battle against Masashi Noguchi (12-10-1, 6). Originally the plan had been for Abe to fight in a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator but with no suitable opponents being able and free he's fighting a bit of a stay busy bout whilst awaiting for a title fight, likely in 2019. Abe is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak, which saw him avenge one of his defeats and over-come the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satoshi Hosono. Noguchi is a former Japanese title challenger, but comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight losses. Noguchi has no momentum coming into this and has been hand selected to keep Abe busy, but won't be expected to offer much competition.
Arguably the biggest single name on this card is recent world title contender Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17), who will be looking to tick over with a stay busy fight of his own. The teak tough Kondo will be up against domestic journeyman Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-11-1, 9) in what should be Kondo's second victory since losing in 2017 to Sergey Lipinets in an IBF title fight. Miyazaki has been stopped in 8 of his 11 losses and we suspect to see another loss here for the 34 year old. Miyazaki has got power, but given the toughness of Kondo we don't think that will matter too much in this bout.
On paper one of the more even match ups will see the in form Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) take on Shingo Kusano (11-6-1, 4), who is one of the two men to hold a win over the aforementioned Reiya Abe. Takahashi has rebuilt well since suffering an August 2017 defeat, and was last seen scoring an upset win in Thailand against Mike Tawatchai for a regional IBF title. Kusano on the other hand has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and is without a win since February 2016, when he defeated a Thai novice. It's hard to see past a Takahashi victory here, but he should get some good rounds in against a usually durable foe.
One other fighter of note on this show is Hayate Kaji (10-0, 8), who will be taking on a Thai foe. The talented Kaji has looked fantastic at times, but a disappointing performance last December against Jun Blazo has left some serious questions for him to answer. If Kaji can commit himself to the sport his potential is huge, but her really does just need to make sure he can focus on his training and what he needs to do in the ring. We're not expecting him to be tested here, but we are hoping to see an impressive performance from the Japanese youngster.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see veteran Sirimongkol Singwancha (95-4, 60) continue his journey to being a centurion as he take on Muhammad Nsubuga (0-6-1) in a bout for the vacant Thai Light Heavyweight title. The 41 year old Sirimongkol, who had world title reigns at Bantamweight and Super Featherweight more than a decade ago, is long past his prime but clear still has hunger and that shows by the fact he'll be fighting at 175lb for the first time in his career. Ugandan born Thai based Nsuubuga has been stopped in 6 of his 7 bouts and we suspect he'll be stopped again here as Sirimongkol marks his 100th professional bout!
In Tokyo this coming Friday fight fans will see the next Asign Bee show.
The main event of the card is a mouth watering match up between Reiya Abe (16-2, 8) and Daisuke Watanabe (6-3, 3). Coming in to this Abe is ranked the JBC, OPBF and IBF and looks to be well on his way to a title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satosho Hosono. On paper Watanabe looks like an easy opponent for for the red hot Abe but the reality is that Watanabe is a very credible fighter who holds notable wins over the likes of Jun Blazo, Yosuke Fujihara and Gakuya Furuhashi. This is a really well matched bout and should be very contest in the ring.
In the led support bout recently title challenger Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16) will be up against a Thai foe. Kondo gained some international respect last November when he gave the talented Sergey Lipinets a competitive 12 round bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, this will be his first bout since loss
In another notable bout fans will see the under-rated Ryohei Takahashi (13-3-1, 5) battle Tetsuya Koyama (7-9, 2). The under-rated Takahashi has been matched hard, but looks like someone who will always be able to mix in and around the top of the domestic level. He shouldn't struggle with Koyama, but Koyama is the naturally bigger man and could ask some questions of his man.
Another bout worth noting from this card is a competitive contest between Ryuto Araya (11-6-1, 3) and Tatsuya Otsubo (10-8-1, 3). Both of these men have fought in title bouts, with Otsubo losing a decision to the then Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono in 2015 and Araya losing to then then OPBF Featherweight champion Rtyo Takenaka early last year. It's also worth noting that these two fought last October in a nail biting fight,that Otsubo won with cards of 76-75 in his favour from all 3 judges. This could be the highlight of the card.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia local fans will see hard hitting prospect Brock Jarvis (12-0, 11) take on once beaten Indonesian fighter Hamson Tiger Lamandau (8-1-1, 5). The hard hitting Jarvis has stopped his last 11 foes, including the notable but very shop worn Rasmanudin, and looks like one of the most exciting prospects down under. As for Lamandau he is best known for suffering a 6th round loss to Hinata Maruta last year, and has fought only once since then.
This coming Sunday is an interesting day for Asian fight fans. We get a world title fight, several interesting prospects, and a recent world title challenger all in action.
The biggest bout for the day, by some margin, is in Fukuoka and will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8) take on long reigning WBC Atomweight queen Momo Koseki (23-2-1, 9). The bout will see Koseki move up in weight after an incredible 9 year reign as the Atomweight champion, which has seen her defend the title an incredible 17 times. For Kuroki the bout will be her 6th defense, and if she wins here she really will continue to build her reputation as the rising force in the division, perhaps even solidifying her place as the division's #2 fighter behind Anabel Ortiz.
Another notable female bout on this card will see Sana Hazuki (6-2, 2) battle Nanae Suzuki (5-2, 1) in a bout to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese female Atomweight title. On paper this is a real 50-50 fight with both being beatable but decent fighters, at least at domestic level. Coming in Suzuki has won her last 4, including a notable win over Chie Higano last time out, whilst Hazuki has gone 2-2 in her last 4, but has fought a slightly higher level of competition.
We get a trio of notable fighters in Ishikawa, unfortunately all three look like total mismatches on paper. The one possible saving grace of this show is a Japanese female title bout.
The main event of the card sees the entertaining Hurricane Futa (22-7-1, 13) take on Thai novice Detanan Rongriankila Korat (1-1, 1), in what looks set to be an easy ring return for Futa following a 5th round TKO loss to Ernie Sanchez in April. The tough Futa had never previously been stopped, so this bout will be all about how he is mentally following that defeat.
Another man returning to the ring following a loss last time out is Genesis Servania (29-1, 12), who put in a solid showing en route to a loss against Oscar Valdez in a WBO Featherweight title fight. The Japanese based Filipino stepped up and impressed against Valdez and will fighting a stay busy bout against a Thai here, before potentially moving towards a second world title fight in 2018.
The third mismatch featuring a fighter of note will see OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight Takashi Igarashi (11-3, 4) face off with Satopet Saithonggym (0-2). Coming in to this Igarashi has won his last 4, and will be looking for a third win of the year here. Satopet will be fighting for the third time this year, and in his previous bouts of the year he was stopped, with both bouts coming in Japan. It'd be a surprise to see the Thai avoid a third straight stoppage loss.
Arguably the one bout of real intrigue here is a Japanese female Featherweight title fight, as Asami Jinnari (5-2, 2) takes on Wakako Fujiwara (4-2-1, 2) for the vacant title. The 33 year old Jinnari has won her last two, following a 2016 loss to Ayumi Goto, whilst the 36 year old Fujiwara is aon a 3 fight winning run and appears to have the moment coming in to this one.
In Tokyo fight fans get the chance to see a couple of notable fighters, but sadly they are both in mismatches.
One of those fighters is the really promising and very much in form Reiya Abe (15-2, 7). Abe has had a really great few years and is riding a 7 fight winning streak with notable wins against the likes of Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Tsuyoshi Tameda and Satoshi Hosono. Given that level of competition that Abe has been facing we can't begrudge him an easy bout, but it's still disappointing that he's not being moved more aggressively towards a title fight of some kind.
In another bout fans will see 2016 Super Featherweight Rookie of the year Yuji Awata (9-4, 3) in action. Sadly, like Abe, he's up against a Thai visitor and is not expected to get much of a test here.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there's a small but relative intriguing card.
The main event of the card looks likely to be a genuine entertaining contest as the once beaten Genisis Libranza (13-1, 9) takes on the often exciting Michael Enriquez (13-8-1, 9). The talented Libranza has notched up two wins since suffering a loss in April to Moruti Mthalane and will be favoured here against his more experienced foe. On paper Enriquez looks limited and he's lost 6 of his last 9, however he has been in thrillers with Rex Tso and Stamp Kiatniwat and we suspect this could also be a very entertaining contest, and Enriquez is likely to put up a better than his record suggests.
In a notable step up we'll see 20 year old Vincent Astrolabio (10-0, 7) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-11-3, 4). The unbeaten youngster stopped 7 of his first 8 but has gone the distance in his last 2 bouts and will likely feel he's proven his stamina in those two bouts. Apolinario foiught for the WBA Bantamweight title way back in 2013, losing a wide decision to Koki Kameda. Since that loss he has gone 2-8 and it's likely to become 2-9 here, with Apolinario having shown little desire since the loss to Kameda.
One really interesting bout here will see 19 year old Vince Paras (12-0, 10) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Aldren Moreno (3-0, 2). The bout really could be very exciting. Both fighters are young, punchers who are being given an opportunity to prove themselves here. On paper Paras's extra experience will likely serve him well here, but Moreno was a former amateur stand out and his team wouldn't throw him to the wolves unless they believed he could win.