Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Saturday attention will be on Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, for a really interesting Ohashi Gym card, headlined by a regional title bout and featuring several notable prospects on the under-card, along with a battle of veterans.
The main event of the card will see the highly skilled Pete Apolinar (16-2, 10) look to make his first defense of the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on hard hitting Japanese hopeful Yoshiki Takei (4-0, 4). The talented champion, from the Philippines, won the title in April, with an excellent KO win over Jhunriel Ramonal, but he will be up against someone who is looking to prove a point and has already shown scary power since making his professional debut in March 2021. Of the two men the more technically schooled if Apolinar, who has a slippery style and 109 rounds to his name, however he has been stopped twice and Takei is building a reputation as a brutish puncher, taking just 5 rounds to win his first 4 bouts. If Takei can't finish this one early it will a very, very interesting contest. Our preview of this out can be read here OPBF champion Apolinar faces hard hitting hopeful Takei
The aforementioned battle of veterans will see 43 year old Ribo Takahata (17-10-1, 7) take on 40 year old former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-7-2, 13), in a bout where the loser will almost certainly retire, and the winner may well make the same decision. Takahata enters the bout on the back of 2 stoppage losses in his last 3 bouts, but is a tough, awkward fighter with a relaxed style, sadly however his style does depend on him still having good reactions and they have stated to face. As for Okada, he's 1-1-1 in his last 3, but those bouts date 4 years years now, and he's a long way from being the fighter he once was. The really does have the feeling of two men battling to end their careers.
One of the notable prospects on the under-card is the very highly regarded Taiga Imanaga (1-0, 1), who returns to the ring just 2 months after his professional debut. The highly touted Imanaga, who is tipped for major success in the professional ranks, will be facing off with Filipino visitor John Lawrence Ordonio (7-3-1, 4), who will be making his Japanese debut. Imanaga was a stand out amateur, who has been viewed as part of the next generation of stars from the Ohashi Gym, and this is a credible step up for him, against a man who could easily be 10-1, with his only decisive loss coming to the hard hitting Antonio Siesmundo in April.
Another highly regarded young hopeful is Kaiyu Toyoshima (1-0), who debuted last October, with a good win over Shohei Horii, and will now be looking to over-come fellow novice Akkhaphon Ngamkaeo (1-0, 1), from Thailand. Toyoshima was a solid amateur and is tipped for notable success in the professional ranks, despite the relative slow start to his career, and he an his team will feel he'll be the comfortable winner here, against the teenage Thai traveller.
New Delhi, India
As well as the show in Japan there is also a smaller card in India, taking place in New Delhi.
The most noteworthy bout on this card will see Gaurav (7-1, 4) take on Saurabh Kumar (6-0, 3), in a rematch of a bout the two men had back in January. In their first bout Kumar took a split decision over Gaurav, to give him his sole loss, and it's fair to say that history between the two men could well fuel this bout. Guarav has fought once since then, picking up a rather pointless win in July, whilst Kumar has notched two wins, and has managed to pick up some meaningful ring time.
In a 6 rounder we'll see Honey (2-1) take on Keisham Luckyson Singh (4-0, 4), with the 21 year old Singh being favoured here. Honey's loss came in 2019, when he was stopped, and whilst Singh might not be a star in the making he can certainly punch, as we suspect we'll see here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesdays Ohashi Gym put on their next card, and it's one that's very much focused on the emerging youth of Japanese boxing, with a Japanese Youth title fight along with 3 supporting bouts featuring genuine prospects.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) take on former Japanese title challenger Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2), in an excellent match up, and one that feel Mori's team should have searched for before his recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Isa won the title last August, when he narrowly over-came Yuni Takada, and although he did win that bout, he really seemed to get some good luck, and there is question marks about how he's developing, and how high his ceiling will be. As for Mori he looked like a top prospect in the making before being thrown in to a Japanese title fight with Kai Ishizawa this past January, a fight that he seemed to be getting too early. If that loss hasn't damaged him too much, he should be able to bounce back, and could end up living up to the expectations we have for him going forward. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese youth champion Isa takes on Mori!
The chief support bout will see the hugely entertaining, and hard hitting, Narumi Yukawa (4-0, 3) will be seeking his 5th professional win as he takes on 34 year old veteran Takaki Sakurai (8-8-1, 3). The exciting Yukawa was one of the more notable prospects last year, with his debut coming in March and by the end of the year he had notched 3 wins and seemed well on the way to bigger and better fights. He also added a good win in January, stopping Kanta Fukui, and looks likely to be in the domestic title mix in the next year or two. Before then however he does need rounds, bouts and experience and fighters like Sakurai are ideal for him. Sakurai is generally regarded as tough and is naturally bigger, so should be able to last a few rounds and give Yukawa something new to think about
In another 8 rounder we'll see young battling older, as 24 year old hopeful Ryo Nakai (3-1-1, 1) faces off with 42 year old veteran Ribo Takahata (17-9-1, 7). Of the two men Takahata, who is ranked by the JBC at 130lbs, is the more well known and is a very well respected veteran, with a tricky style built around his jab, size and experience, and he has proven to be an awkward and tough fighter. As for Nakai, he's looking to climb into the Japanese rankings, and score a career best win. Although not too well known, he is a genuine talent, and pushed current Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki all the way, and holds recent wins over Mirai Naito and Go Hosoka. For Takahata this is a must win if he's to continue his career, whilst Nakai will know a win moves his career forward, massively.
In a battle of youngsters the 21 year old debutant Kotoji Irita (0-0) will face off with once touted 19 year old Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3), in a scheduled 6 rounder at Super Flyweight. Tomioka looked really impressive in his early days as a professional, with an exciting style and a lot of swag, but has lost his last 2, and shown some fragility with his chin. As for Irita he was a solid amateur, going 36-11, and is tipped for pretty big things in the professional ranks. This is certainly an interesting under-card bout, and one where we'll see two talented youngsters face off.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday attention turns to Japan, as Korakuen Hall hosts a show featuring two title bouts and the debut of an excellent youngster.
The more notable of the two title bouts will see unbeaten youngsters collide as Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) takes on the hard hitting Jin Sasaki (11-0, 10) in a bout for the Japanese and WBP Asia Pacific Light Welterweight titles. We suspect plenty of international fans will be aware of Hiraoka, who has featured on several US cards due to a co-promotional deal with Top Rank, and of the two men he is the more polished and the experienced, however he has shown that he can be caught and he's only had 3 bouts in the last 27 months and we wonder if he will have some ring rust. Sasaki on the other hand is known by those who follow the Japanese scene, and will have seen him break out last year. He is a raw, crude, puncher, but he really does have dynamite in his hands, stopping his last 5 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, with 4 of those wins coming since the start of 2020. This one should be fire works, with both having very solid power, and having enough flaws for the other man to target. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hiraoka and Sasaki risk unbeaten records in double title fight!
On the subject of fire works we're also expecting them in the other title fight, as OPBF Bantamweight champion Kazuki Nakajima (10-0-1, 8) takes on former champion Keita Kurihara (15-6, 13). Both of these men are very flawed in their own way, with Nakajima being very upright and stiff and Kurihara being slow of foot and open, but both men can seriously bang and throw almost all of their shots with nasty intent. The bout is less likely to be a boxing contest, and more of a fire fight, with one a single power shot needed to light the touch paper. Of the two men Nakajima is the more technically polished and "correct" fighter, but Kurihara is the more proven and battle hardened. This really could be an explosive, and short, encounter between two men looking to move onwards and upwards towards a potential world title fight. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Fireworks expected as Nakajima defends against Kurihara!
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight's clash as Katsunori Endo (7-3-1, 4) takes on veteran Ribo Takahata (16-9-1, 6). Aged Takahata is coming to the end of his career, and we wouldn't be surprised if he bowed out after this fight, win or lose. Whilst never a major star in Japan he has been a very good servant to Japanese boxing and his career really does get over-looked, as he has managed to perform at a good level at an age where most fighters retire. Aged 30 Endo is the much younger fighter, but also the man with a point to prove after a very disappointing draw last time out to Ken Koibuchi. This should be a solid fight, maybe not the most exciting, but certainly a competitive one.
One other bout worthy of some attention is the debut of Kaiyu Toyoshima (0-0), who went 60-20 (15) in the amateurs, captained his University team and looked like a star in the making. He'll be up against Shohei Horii (3-6-2, 2), who was last seen losing to Toyoshima's Ohashi Gym stablemate Ryutaro Nakagaki last year. It's hard to imagine anything but a Toyoshima win, but this is a great chance for the youngster to settle into the pro ranks before bigger and better things down the line.
Dhalpur Ground, India
As well as the excellent show in Tokyo we also have a small card in India. The card really is a very, very limited one with the main event being a bout between Suraj (2-2, 1) and the win-less Nawid Mohammadi (0-1), who battle over 6 rounds. It's hard to complain about bouts like this headlining in places like India, where professional boxing is in it's infancy, but it's also hard to care too much about such low quality cards. Hopefully, in the coming years, shows will be headlines by meaningful bouts between established local talent, but that seems a very, very, very long way off.
The main card this coming Sunday is the first Japanese card of 2020, and it's an exciting one as we see the Knock Out Dynamite finals, as well as the return to the ring of a former Japanese national champion and a likely show case for a former world title challenger.
For those who aren't aware of the Knock Out Dynamite format the fighters will be given a financial bonus for a stoppage win. The bonuses are bigger the earlier a fighter gets a stoppage, so round 1 pays better than round 5.
The most interesting match up will see hard hitting Japanese based Dominican fighter Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24) take on former Mongolian amateur standout Tuguldur Byambatsogt (1-0) in the 65KG Knock Out Dynamite tournament final. On paper this looks like a massive mismatch, with Baez having so much more experience than the Mongolian, however we were really impressed by Byambatsogt on debut and certainly wouldn't rule him out here.
At 60KG's, in another Knock Out Dynamite tournament final, Japanese veteran Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) will take on Filipino slugger Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9). Takahata is a former Japanese title challenger who, at the age of 40, will know that time is running down on his career, Esquierdo on the other hand took the full bonus in his semi-final bout. We expect this to be a very exciting match up.
In a rather notable Lightweight bout former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) returns to the ring for the first time in over 2 and a half years! The popular and hard hitting Tsuchiya was last seen in a ring in June 2017, retiring soon after his win over Shota Suito. In the opposite corner to Tsuichya will be China's once beaten Yangyang Li (8-1-2). On paper this looks interesting but it should be noted that this is a huge step up in class for Li, in what will be his first bout outside of China.
In what looks likely to be a total mismatch former world title challenger Shohei Omori (20-3, 15) will take on Filipino Danny Tampipi (9-10-2, 5), who is a replacement for Chinese fighter Leshan Li who was stopped in December in Kazakhstan. The last time we saw Omori he was being stopped by Hiroaki Teshigawara in an OPBF title and this is a big step down for the "Demon Left", who should rebuild some self belief with a blow out.
Sadly a match up between the unbeaten pairing of Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) and Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) has been cancelled. They were set to clash in the 56KG Knockout Dynamite final, before the bout was called off.
China will play host to a small yet card headlined by an OPBF Silver title fight, which could end up being a very explosive one.
The bout in question will see Korean In Duck Seo (12-2-2, 7) take on Chinese local Youli Dong (15-2-1, 9) for the OPBF Silver Welterweight title. The Korean fighter had a mixed 2019, scoring a sensational KO in Australia against Tysinn Best before losing later in the year against Khusniddin Pulatov. Interestingly Dong also had an up and down 2019, losing to Mikka Shonena in Tanzania before bouncing back with a win in December against Larry Siwu. Given both men can bang this could be very fun, low level action.
The chief support bout here will see Tajik born Chinese fighter Avzalbek Kuranbaev (5-1-1, 3) take on Indonesian foe Rivo Kundimang (9-1-2, 5) in a rather solid looking 6 rounder.
On the subject of China there will also be a low level show in Changsha, featuring rookies. Not too worthy of note here, but there are 6 bouts pencilled in for this card, featuring 10 debutants in total.
Another card will be held in Indonesia, where the Metro TV Studio will play host to a small card featuring a mix of veterans and novices.
The most notable bout on the card will see former world title contender Noldi Manakane (33-30-3, 18) take on the once promising Patrick Liukhoto (10-2-1, 7) in a second bout between the two men. The 36 year old Manakane, who has now had 66 bouts, has failed to win any of his last 6 bouts, and has lost 5 in a row. Interestingly the last time Manakane avoided a loss was when he fought to a draw with Liukhoto. The 26 year old Liukhoto was 9-0 when he faced Manakane in November 2018 but is now 1-2-1 in his last 4 and his early promise appears to be well and truly done.
Another veteran here is journeyman Jason Butar Butar (31-27-1, 19), who faces off with novice Carlos Obisuru (3-4-1, 1). Butar Butar is no world beater and he should have far too much in the tank for Obisuru, who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5, but if Obisuru loses here it's almost impossible to think of him having much of a career going forward.
Arguably the most interesting of the match ups here is an all debutant bout as Dedy Imprax (0-0) and Zainul Hasan Jr (0-0) face off in a 6 rounder. Given this is an all debutant bout it at least looks even on paper, whilst much of the card looks like it's heavily stacked in favour of the more experienced fighter involved.
This coming Saturday is a really interesting day, without being a massive one. We get the kick off of a special Japanese tournament, a Japanese Youth title bout a regional title bout in Thailand and more in what is a busy, yet low key, day.
The main show is the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament show which takes place at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Reason Promotions along with Floyd Mayweather's Japanese TMT arm, and former Japanese world champion Takashi Uchiyama.
For those who haven't followed the news the Knock Out Dynamite tournament is actually 3 tournaments, each with 4 men involved, and will take place at 65KG's, 60KG's and 56KG's, as opposed to the more standard boxing weight classes. Their are cash prizes available for the winners with bonuses for any knockouts.
One of the 65KG weight class will see semi-finals take place between Mongolian fighter Byambatsogt Tuguldur (0-0) and Japanese veteran Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11), in what looks like a mismatch on paper. It's hard to say much about the Mongolian, though Tuguldur could be a a genuine dark horse, given the reputation Mongolian fighters have for being tough, hard hitting and very exciting.
The winner of that semi-final will take on the winner of the other semi-final, which will pit Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) against Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9). As with the other semi-final isn't doesn't look the most competitive of bouts, but Baez has struggled recently, with 2 losses in his last 3, and it's possible that Miyazaki could be getting him when his confidence is low. The reality, however, is that Baez will be too good and too powerful for Miyazaki here.
The 60KG tournament will see another seemingly debuting Mongolian in action with Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-0) set to take on veteran Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) in one of the semi-final bouts. Aged 40 Takahata is coming to the end of his career, but is only 2 years removed from a Japanese title fight with Masaru Sueyoshi and is certainly not a fighter who is still solid despite his age. From what we could find the Mongolian has fought in MMA, but we've struggled to find any sign of a previous boxing career.
The winner in the Takahata Vs Bat-Ireedui fight will face the winner of a bout between Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) and Filipino Marvin Esquierdo (14-2-1-1, 8). This looks like one of the better semi final bouts on paper, and one where the visitor has a good chance of picking up the upset. Ito has scored just 1 win in his last 6, going 1-4-1, and that dates back over 4 years. He is however coming back after almost 18 months out, we expect to see him being reinvigorated by the break. The 24 year old Esquierdo is relatively unknown but has momentum, activity and youth on his side.
The 56KG division is really the most interesting, at least if we get the final we're expecting. In one semi-final we'll see the very talented promising Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) taking on the experienced Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9). The 24 year old Yamauchi is a real talent and whilst this is a genuine step up in class he has shown what he can do against Filipino fighters like Alvin Medura and Claudevan Sese. For he's the hidden gem of this tournament. Wakamtsu on the other hand is a 35 year old veteran who has been around the Japanese scene for a decade, with very mixed success. Wakamatsu is better than his record suggests, but we'd be shocked to see him over-come Yamauchi.
This division has a second unbeaten man in it, with former Rookie of the Year winner Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6) taking on the more experienced Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9). When he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2017 Sasaki showed so much promise, and whilst that promise hasn't yet been realised it's clear he can go a long way, and we fancy him to get past Iju and set up a final with Yamauchi. Despite being the under-dog Iju is a very live fighter here and even with 3 losses in his last 4 he is a potential banana skin if Sasaki tries to look past him
A second Japanese show is set to take place in Hyogo, and whilst this is a less significant show than the other, it does have the bout of the day on it, with a mouth watering Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout.
That title fight sees unbeaten men clash as former Rookie of the Year winner Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) takes on former amateur standout Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2). The title is vacant, but this is a great bout to fill that vacancy and pits a skill fighter against an aggressive fighter. Ohashi has barely lost a round during his 8 fight career, and whilst he does lack power there is a lot of skill and IQ behind what he does. Takayama hasn't yet face a Japanese opponent, but looks like he could go through most of the Japanese scene quickly, so don't be surprised it Watanabe strap a jet to him if he comes through this with his unbeaten record intact. Our full preview of this bout is available to read here Ohashi and Takayama battle for Japanese Youth title!
As well as the title bout we'll also see Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) fight in what looks like a stay busy bout against Masajiro Honda (6-11, 4). The talented Kawashima won the Rookie of the Year in 2014, and has shown real promise, though has twice lost close decisions on the road, losing narrowly to Cristian Mijares and Juan Miguel Elorde. We see this as being little more than a work out for Kawashima who really does deserve so much more in terms of competition than Honda, who has been stopped in each of his last 6 bouts.
Bang Phun, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan there is also some interesting action in Thailand, as the Work Point Studio plays host to another card.
The headline bout here will see Chainoi Worawut (7-0-1, 7) take on Filipino foe Alvin Medura (9-4, 7), with the unbeaten local for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. The local, also known as Thattana Luangphon, is a very promising 22 year old who is rising through the ranks and looks likely to be one of the nations big stars of the future. Medura isn't a terrible fight, but shouldn't be much of a test for the Thai, who appears to be getting matched progressively harder. This should be a test for the unbeaten puncher, but a test he passes without too many issues.
In a supporting bout on this card teenage Super Flyweights clash, with Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) facing off in a 6 rounder, we believe as part of a Work Point Super Flyweight tournament.
In Cebu we get a small Filipino card, featuring two men men who are each looking to take a step towards a bigger fight.
One of those men is Clyde Azarcon (15-3-1, 5), who will be looking to bounce back from his first round loss to Ginjiro Shigeoka earlier this year. The loss to Shigeoka was from a brutal body shot and we fully understand why Azarcon has been matched softly here, as he takes on Garry Rojo (9-13-1, 5) in what should be a straight forward win.
The other is the under-rated Carlo Demecillo (13-5-1, 6), who is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run since a loss to Ruben Manakane in Indonesia. Although he's yet to get a big win he did come close to get a career best victory last Novemeber, when he drew with Arthur Villanueva, and it's clear he can take the next step up. Here he's up against Jonathan Francisco (10-12-1, 4) and this should be little more than a simple win for the talented Demecillo.
Staying in Asia there will also be a card in Vietnam, thanks to Victory 8.
The main event will be a WBA East Asia title bout between local novice professional Dinh Hoang Truong (1-0, 1) and South Korean visitor Gyu Hyun Lee (2-4-1). It's hard to get too excited about this bout, though we are looking forward to seeing Filipino hopeful Charly Suarez (3-0, 3), who goes up against a local opponent.
Christchurch, New Zealand
One other bout featuring a fighter from Asia takes place in New Zealand where once beaten local Bowyn Morgan (20-1, 10) takes on Filipino visitor Nelson Tinampay (14-7-1, 6) for the WBU Welterweight title. Whilst Morgan is no world beater, and his competition hasn't been amazing so far, he has notched some notable wins over the likes of Gunnar Jackson and Jack Asis. On the other hand Tinampay is very limited and was stopped 44 year old Yong Soo Choi in 2017, and has been stopped 3 times since then. This should be an early win for the local.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy, yet thrilling, day with a show of note in each Japan and Hong Kong. Not only do both countries get a card of note, but both cards are genuinely significant as we go forward.
Hong Kong S.A.R, China
The Hong Kong card, put on by DEF HK and Watanabe as they continue to work together, has a trio of title bouts and potentially a fight of the year contender.
That fight of the year contender will see local star Rex Tso (21-0, 13) take on former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14), in a bout for Tso's WBO International Super Flyweight title. The local is one of the sports most exciting fighters, and although he has improved markedly in recent years he is still, at heart, a fighter there for the fans, and a man who enjoys a thrilling tear up at every opportunity. Kono on the other hand is a bit of a faded force, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but has a style that is very fan friendly, and should gel with Tso's here. Do not be surprised by this one being a little bit special.
In a second title bout we'll see Kono's stable mate Ayumi Goto (7-0, 5) battle with Indian teenager Kirti (3-0, 2). Reports have stated that this will either be a female OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight, with Goto defending her title, or a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, for a vacant title. On paper this should be an easy win for the Japanese fighter, but it is fair to say that Kirti is an unknown, and could be a surprise package of sorts.
The third title bout on this card will see the always fun to watch Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17) battle against Chinese foe Leshan Li (13-2-1, 8) for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. Watanabe is one of the many under-the-radar Japanese fighters who is guaranteed to put on good fight, no matter who he is facing, and we're expecting another fun one here. As for Li he's a bit of an unknown but is a heavy handed fighter and has won his last 7 bouts, suggesting good form and good confidence coming into this one.
One other bout on this card, which looks set to be explosive, will see Thai based Dutchman Nick Frese (6-0, 5) take on heavy handed Filipino Prabhjot Singh (7-1-1, 7). Given that these two have 12 stoppages in 13 wins we're expecting to see bombs away, though it's hard to see anything but a win for Frese, who looks like a genuine prospect.
In Japan we'll be getting a card that will be aired live on G+ and will be promoted by Teiken.
The main event of this card will see the in-form Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) for the vacant Japanese Super Featherweight title, in what will be the first title fight either man has been in. The bout, for the title vacated by Kenichi Ogawa, will see Sueyoshi coming in to it with a 12 fight winning run dating back more than 5 years, whilst Takahata has been inconsistent, alternating between wins and losses over his last 15 bouts. It's hard not to favour Sueyoshi but it is his most meaningful bout to date.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Shuya Masaki (8-0, 4) take on Filipino foe Ciso Morales (19-4-1, 12). It's fair to say that Masaki has shown touches of brilliance through his early career, but he has been inconsistent and it always seems like there is just something missing from his performances so far. We expect to see him show his maturity here against a visiting foe who shouldn't be over-looked and will be a very live under-dog. Morales might not be a sensational fighter, but he's a good enough fight to test someone like Masaki at this level.
In a really interesting under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Ryo Matsubara (7-1, 7) take on the unbeaten Kai Chiba (6-0, 5), in a bout between punchers. Coming in to this one Matsubara has won his last 6 bouts in a combined 7 rounds, and has well and truly put his sole defeat behind him, with that loss coming back in his second professional bout. Chiba on the other hand went 6 rounds last time out, ending his own stoppage run. Both of these men like to throw heavy leather, and this could be a very explosive contest.
Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (11-2, 8) will be risking a 9 fight winning run as he takes on Thai foe Kriengkrai Tor Silachai (3-0*) in what could be a potential banana skin for the local. Although ranked by the JBC it's hard to know how good Nagano really is, whilst the Thai is a bit of an unknown, and it's unclear really whether we even have his complete record here.
A second Japanese ranked Welterweight on this card is Ryota Toyoshima (7-1-1, 5), who risks his ranking against domestic rival Masaharu Kaito (5-2, 2). Coming in to this bout the 21 year old Toyoshima has won his last 5, though he did suffer a decision defeat to Kaito back in 2015, and it's obvious he is seeking to avenge that set back. Sadly for Kaito he has lost 2 of his last 3, including one to the previously mentioned Nagano and seems to be struggling for form coming in to this bout.
*-Record reported as being differed to the 3-0 figuire.
This coming Tuesday sees action return to the Korakuen Hall for what is a genuinely intriguing title double header, featuring two really nice looking bouts.
Technically the main event of the card is a Japanese Light Middleweight title fight, as Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-2, 13) takes on Takeshi Inoue (9-0-1, 4) for the currently vacant title. Originally Saito was supposed to fight Yuki Nonaka for the title, but Nonaka vacated and as a result this bout was made, which in fairness is a much more even looking bout. Saito is a genuine veteran of the sport, aged 38 and with almost 17 years of experience under his belt. Despite being a veteran Saito has never win “a big one” and will likely know that this will be his final title shot. For the exciting Inoue this is a big step up, but could well see him becoming a champion less than 3 years after his debut.
Talking about being fast tracked the other title bout will see Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) make the first defense of his OPBF Minimumweight title, as he takes on Jonathan Refugio (16-5-5,4). The ultra-fast rising Kyoguchi has been a professional for just over a year but has had a meteoric rise since debuting in April 2016 and has already claimed his first title, with others expected to follow before the end of 2017. Although Refugio is 23 years old he's already a bit of a veteran and has shared the ring with a string of notable names and should serve as a very legitimate first challenger for Kyoguchi.
On the under-card we'll see Noriyuki Ueno (18-14-5, 5) battle against a Thai visitor and veteran Ribo Takahata (12-7-1, 4) battle against recent Japanese Lightweight title challenger Yusuke Tsukada (8-6, 3), in what should be a very interesting card.
The month of June has started relatively slowly though this Saturday sees things heating up with a lot of action featuring Asian fighters, including notable bouts outside of Asia.
One of those notable bouts is set to take place in the UK where Thai veteran Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (38-7-1, 18) faces former IBF Bantamweight champion Paul Butler (21-1, 12) in a bout for the WBO International Super Flyweight title, and a bout that could well set the winner on the way to facing world champion Naoya Inoue. For Petchbarngborn the bout sees him risking a 16 fight winning streak though he will be the clear under-dog and will be facing one of his best opponents to date. For Butler the bout is a step up in class, but one he will be strongly favoured to win.
Staying “on the road” Indonesian fighter Daud Yordan (35-3-0-1, 24) will be in Uruguay where he will face Argentinian fighter Cristian Rafael Coria (24-4-2, 9) in a bout for the “Interim” WBA International Lightweight title. Yordan should be the favourite here, but will be looking to do more than “just win” in what could potentially be a huge stepping stone towards a world title fight, later in the year.
Continuing with title action action outside of Asian fight fans in the US will see Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-6-1, 5) battle against the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Christian Gonzalez (13-0, 12) for the WBC Youth Lightweight title. This looks like a huge ask for Gemino but he will go in to the ring knowing that a win would open up some doors, and be a genuinely good win.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
One final bout of note outside of Asia will see former OPBF title challenger Jovylito Aligarbes (12-3, 6) face off against Edgar Jimenez (21-11-2, 15) in what looks like a well matched bout in Jimenez's homeland of Mexico.
As well as the bouts outside of Asia there is some interesting match ups in Asia.
One of those interesting match ups sees former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (22-5-3, 15) battle against Ribo Takahata (12-6-1, 4), in what could see the winner move towards a title fight. On paper Kaneko should be strongly favoured however he has lost 3 of his last 6 and doesn't look like the fighter that many tipped to become a world champion, following his competitive bout with Takashi Uchiyama at the end of 2013.
Another really good bout will see Shingo Eto (17-4-1, 9) face the once beaten Masaru Sueyoshi (11-1, 7). Eto is the better known man here but he has lost twice in his last 5 bouts and knows that another loss here could be the end of his title dreams. For Sueyoshi the bout will see him going for a 9th straight win and build on victories over the likes of Yuta Nagai and Kazuma Sanpei. This could be the bout of the day and is really well matched.
Talking about the possible “bout of the day” it's hard not to get a little bit excited about seeing Kenji Ono (10-1, 5) face Takumi Suda (12-11-2, 3). The records may not suggest that this one will be anything special but Ono has been in a FOTY once already this year, his 8th round win over Jun Takigawa, and could be forced into a war here against the under-rated Suda.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
There's also action in the Philippines, though the matches here are mostly looking like mismatches.
The biggest of the mismatches sees former Filipino Light Welterweight champion Adones Cabalquinto (22-1, 15) battle against journeyman Rodel Wenceslao (11-11-1, 4). Cabalquinto was once tipped for big things but has seen his career flat line recently, despite that he should be far too good for Wenceslao here.
Thankfully there are some prospects on this card, despite them being in mismatches. One of those prospects is Genesis Libranza (9-0, 6) who looks to extend his perfect start as he battles veteran Jetly Purisima (21-18-4, 6). Although likely to be a mismatch this is a step up for Libranza and is the right way to move the promising 22 year “Cobra”.
Another prospect of note on this show is Lightweight hopeful Jayar Inson (10-0, 7), who faces Richard Betos (20-14-1, 7). This another “logical step” for a prospect, but one that doesn't look too exciting on paper. Inson has impressed in recent times and some are tipping him to fight for regional honours in the near future, he will however have to see off fighters like Betos if he's to progress to fighting for an OPBF title
December 21st-A pre-Christmas treat!
The final Japanese card before Christmas comes on December 21st as we get the final Dangan card of the year.
The main event of the card is a really intriguing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title as promising youngster Yusaku Kuga (11-1-1, 7) battles against the experienced Yasutaka Ishimoto (26-8, 7). The title is vacant going in to this one, after having recently been given up by Yukinori Oguni, but that shouldn't take the shine off what will be a thrilling contest between a young puncher and a speed veteran, both looking to claim the biggest win of their career, and a Japanese title. Don't be surprised if this is a pre-Christmas cracker!
In an excellent under-card bout fans will get the chance to see Jo Tanoka (12-2-3) battle against the heavy handed Kenta Nakagawa (9-2-1, 7). Coming in to this one both are JBC ranked and both know that a win will leap them towards a Japanese Super Flyweight title fight in 2016. This skill Vs power and whilst Tanoka hasn't yet stopped anyone he is a young man growing into his body and has proven himself as a very capable boxer. This really is a brilliant match up.
Another bout that sees Japanese ranked fighters face off will see Ribo Takahata (11-6-1, 3) take on Yusuke Tsukada (8-4, 3). The match up isn't as exciting as the other two bouts we've made a note of, but it is a very significant bout that will see the winner move towards a title fight in 2016. Coming into this one Tsukada is on a 3 fight winning streak including a victory over recent title challenger Kazuhiro Nishitani. Tsukada has lost 2 of his last 3, but does hold a notable win over the then unbeaten Johnreil Maligro, and has faced very good competition including current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa.
September 17th-Ono faces Horikawa for Japanese title, Masuda, Tanoka and Takahata also in action!
For a second day running Japanese fans have domestic title action as we see the vacancy at Light Flyweight being filled. The vacancy, which arose after Yu Kimura gave up the title to focus on getting himself a world title shot, will be filled by either former world title challenger Shin Ono (18-6-2, 2) or multi-time domestic challenger Kenichi Horikawa (29-13-1, 6), who meet in an intriguing match up. Of the two men Ono will likely be favoured, he is a former OPBF champion and did, as mentioned, fight for a world title however Horikawa may well “win a big one” after coming up short numerous times in title bouts. We wouldn't suggest this will be a FOTY contender, but it should be very entertaining with a lot of exchanges and trading.
Interestingly the winner of the Ono/Horikawa bout may well become an immediate target for the fast rising Ken Shiro who will almost certainly be eyeing up a potential national title clash in 2016.
In the chief support bout fans will get the chance to see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (21-7, 11) fight in a warm up bout against Wataru Miyasaka (9-3-1, 2). This should be a relatively straight forward win for Masuda who will be back in action, if he wins, on November 2nd as he takes on Hideo Sakamoto in the Strongest Korakuen bout, with the winner of that one to get a shot at the Japanese Bantamweight title in 2016. Although a clear favourite this will be Masuda's first bout since he was blitzed by Shohei Omori earlier this year
Another supporting bout will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Ribo Takahata (11-5-1, 3) battle against 2013 All Japanese Rookie of the year Kazuma Sanpei (11-2, 4). Sanpei, who looked really promising back in 2013 has lost back-to-back fights, by stoppage, and will know that he needs a win here if he's to do anything going forward with his career.
One other bout of note will see the talented, but light hitting, Jo Tanoka (11-2-3) battle the gutsy, but limited, Mako Matsuyama (7-9-2, 3). Coming in to this bout Tanoka is JBC ranked at Flyweight and will be hoping to move towards a title fight in 2016. Whilst limited Matsuyama is the more well known of the two men following his memorable war with Rex Tso in Macau.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)