After a bit of a break from events at Korakuen Hall return to the Japanese boxing "Holy Land" this coming Thursday for a really good looking card featuring an OPBF title bout, two Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals and two under-card bouts featuring notable names!
The main event will see Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) take on unbeaten Japanese-Afghan Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Welterweight title fight. The talented Nagahama has won 3 in a row since losing to Yuki Nagano in May 2018, and will be getting his second title fight, follow a loss in a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout against Takeshi Inoue. Kaneko on the other hand is someone who is getting his first title fight, but has earned it on the back of impressive wins against the likes of Toshio Arikawa, Rikuto Adachi and Moon Hyon Yun. Neither of these two are well known, but a win here will put the winner on the map, and see them become the new OPBF champion. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kaneko and Nagahama clash for OPBF crown!
In one of the two Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals we'll see hard hitting and teak tough Korean fighter Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) take on Japan's Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5). On paper this could end up the more fun of the two semi final bouts, especially given the quarter final bouts the men were involved in. Jae Woo Lee got past Tsuyoshi Tameda in a 3 round war, whilst Kusano was dropped multiple times before bouncing back to beat Qiang Ma. This could be a thriller, but it's hard imagine Kusano handling the pressure of Lee.
The other semi final will see Filipino fighter Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6), who had a bye in the round of 8, take on Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6), who advanced on the basis of a technical draw against Koshin Takeshima. This is the tougher of the two semi finals to predict. Pumicpic is, and has long been, an under-rated terror to face off with, but he is the naturally smaller man and is on away soil. Watanabe has an incredibly under-rated record, and on his day is a threat with his solid boxing and heavy hand. We expect another exciting fight here, though this could easily end up being a real mess, with head clashes, if the fighters aren't careful.
One of two notable fighters on the under-card is former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be up against Ariston Aton (9-2, 5). Koura, who hasn't fought since losing the OPBF title last year to Lito Dante, was originally scheduled to face Yujie Zeng (14-10-1, 6) before Zeng was replaced by Aton. For Koura the clear purpose of this bout is to rebuild however Aton is no push over and he was very competitive last December against Tatsuro Nakashima.
The other notable fighter on the under-card is former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18), who who has his first fight since June 2017, as he takes on Shogo Yamaguchi (11-5-3, 6). Tsuchiya was in the ring in January, albeit in a public exhibition, after his planned opponent failed to secure a visa, and we suspect he'll come on top here. As for Yamaguchi he has scored just 2 low level wins in his last 9, and was stopped last time out by Masanori Rikiishi.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day in Japan with 4 different shows across the country, and when we talk about them being across the country we do mean that with hundreds of miles separating some of the shows.
The most notable card, in many ways, is in Kumamoto in the South West of Japan, where Yakushiji Promotions will be putting on a very significant card.
The main event of this show will be a rematch between Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) and Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, when Mori took a technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, and he will be looking to make his first defense of that national title here. Pumicpic, a real under-rated Filipino warrior, will be hungry to avenge his loss. This is set to be a very, very tough bout and will be shown live on local TV channel TKU. Sadly for those outside of Kunamoto this appears to be a bout we won't be getting. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only bout of note and the show features a number of notable prospects. Among those is the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) who steps into his first 8 round bout, and takes on once beaten Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3). Lino's only loss came to Shigeoka's stablemate, and recent world title challenger, Masataka Taniguchi. This is a very serious test for Shigeoka, but also a bit that gives him a chance to gain immediate comparisons to Taniguchi, whilst Lino gets the chance to perform in front of a notable Japanese crowd.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see the aggressive Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) take on the tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), in what could be a really fun war. Tsutsumi has one of the most fan friendly, aggressive and exciting styles out there whilst Ponteras is a criminally under-rated veteran, who has never been stopped and can be a banana skin for better known fighters. Thhis could be a very, very exciting bout.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1, 1), who will be up against Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), the man the aforementioned Shigeoka made his debut against. We suspect Takeda will have the skills to over-come the Thai visitor, but this could be a good test of Takeda's metal.
Another of the more notable Japanese cards comes form Hyogo, in a female orientated card.
The biggest match up here here will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both have suffered 2 recent losses. Kuroki is the younger fighter, and certainly the one with more upside, though at 49 Ikeyama has proven that age really is just a number and she will be looking to extend her career in to her 50's with a win. This should be a very interesting bout, though Kuroki should enter as the clear favourite. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
As well as the Kuroki Vs Ikeyama bout, there will be two title bouts on this show. One of those bouts will see Japan's in form Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) face once beaten Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. Ogata has won her last 3, claiming a WBA Asia and WBO Asia Pacific title in her last 2 bouts, As for Salvador she was beaten last time out, at Atomweight, but will be fighting at her natural weight here. We're expecting Ogata to pick up another win, but this isn't going to be a walk in the park.
The other title bout on this card will be a bizarre KBM and JBC female title bout, the first since a new OPBF rule was brought into play. The bout will pit Japan's Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) up against Korean Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will become a unified 2-nation champion, albeit temporarily, with the winner likely to immediately vacate the other nation's title. The idea to this is to create depth to thinner divisions, but leads to some odd situations like this.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will see a small card with a few notable names involved.
The main event of this card will see OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on a Thai foe, who we believe will be Sophon Klachun (4-2, 1). We don't see this being much of a test for Kenji, who is edging his way towards a title fight, and will look to take the visitor out as he advances his march towards a career defining bout.
In an 8 round supporting bout fans will see Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) battle in a very interesting match up. Neither of these men are big names, but they should make for a very competitive contest, much more saw the than records suggest.
Another 8 round supporting bout on this card will see Daijiro Yuki (8-5-1, 4) battle against Japanese ranked Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4). This will be Okumoto's first bout since losing to Japanese champion Ryota Yada, and he will be looking to end a 2 fight losing run. Yuki on the other hand will be seeking a career best win.
The least notable of the Japanese cards takes place in Tsu and will be headlined by a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, with Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1). This should be a hotly contested bout, though it's hard to doubt Nakamura and his edge in power. A full preview of this bout is available here Nakamura seeks first defense of youth crown, faces Kondo.
A notable supporting bout here will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8), who recently signed with Osaka Teiken, take on the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4). This looks like a huge step up for Sugawara, but a win puts him on the title hunt, whilst Gasca will be fighting for the first time in well over a year.
This biggest of the Asian shows this coming Sunday comes from Aichi, where we see a really good main event, and two notable support bouts.
The really interesting main event will see Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-8-2, 6) seek his second defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, as he goes up against Japanese teenager Musashi Mori (7-0, 5). On paper it's hard to go against the champion, who won the title in Japan by beating Hisashi Amagasa and then defended it against Yoshimitsu Kimura. The Filipino has regularly been a thorn in the side of Japanese boxing, and is expected to strike again here. Mori on the other hand is a talented and heavy handed youngster, who won the Rookie of the Year last year, and feel like he's the stronger man given he's coming down in weight. We're really excited about this one, and it could either solidify Pumicpic as a fringe contender, or launch Mori's career. A full preview of this fight can be read here Pumicpic faces Mori in next WBO regional title defense!
In a supporting bout we'll see Toshiya Yokogawa (9-11-1, 8) take on the OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight hopeful Takashi Igarashi (13-3, 5). Coming into this Igarashi is riding a 6 fight winning streak, but the reality is that his competition has been awful during that run, and it's hard to really say how good he actually is. The 33 year old Yokogawa doesn't have an impressive record, but an opening round win in September against Glenn Medura was impressive and will boost his confidence ahead of this bout.
Another supporting bouts on this card will see 25 year old Shin Tomita (9-5-2) take on Fire Ikkyu (6-1-1, 4). Although not a mouth watering bout on paper Tomita has mixed with good company, and has thrice fought recent Japanese title challenger Akihiro Toya. Ikkyu on the other hand is heavy handed, but was stopped himself last time out, by Masashi Tada. This is a well matched bout, but not the most exciting contest on the card.
As well as the show in Aichi, we also get a card in Kyoto.
One of the main bouts here will see former world title challengers clash, as Tamao Ozawa (14-5, 5) takes on Filipino foe Aisah Alico (7-9, 5). Despite both of these fighters coming up short in world title shots it does seem like Ozawa is the more likely to reach the top, and both of her defeats at world level were competitive, something that can't be said for Alico, who was stopped by Momo Koseki at Atomweight. Ozawa should have all the advantages here in what we suspect will be an easy win for the popular local.
The only other bout of note on this card will see Yusuke Hiranuma (8-3, 2) face off with Takaaki Kanai (9-8, 4), in what will technically be the show's headline bout. Hiranuma hasn't fought in over 18 months, though has won his last 3 bouts and has got promise if he decides to hit the ground running in 2019. Kanai on the other hand is a domestic journeyman, who is 2-5 in his last 7, but did upset Hideo Sakamoto earlier this year and can cause an upset when he's over-looked.
This coming Wednesday fight fans in Japan will get the chance to see a title double header at the Korakuen Hall, with both bouts being for WBO Asia Pacific titles, and pitting Japanese fighters against Filipinos. As well as the two title fighters there's also a Japanese ranked fighter and a very highly touted debutant.
The first of the two title fights is the more interesting as WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Richard Pumicpic (20-8-2, 6) takes on the unbeaten Yoshimitsu Kimura (9-0, 4). The Filipino won the title last year, when he upset former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa, and will be returning to the scene of that win. Although his record doesn't suggest he's anything great Pumicpic is a total nightmare to fight, and has given problems to fighters like Yohei Tobe, Ryosuke Iwasa and Cesar Juarez. As for Kimura this is a massive step up in class,and he's yet to fight anyone of any note. In fact the challenger is stepping up from low level domestic competition to facing one of the most tricky fighters on the regional scene. A win for Kimura would be both a huge statement, and a massive upset.
The other title fight will see former world title challenger Keita Obara (19-2-1, 17) take on Filipino foe Alvin Lagumbay (9-2, 8), with Obara seeking his second defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. The heavy handed Japanese fighter is looking to move towards a second world title fight, now at a more natural Welterweight, but opponents like Lagumbay aren't going to help him get fights at the top level. For those unaware Lagumbay has fought in Japan before, and was stopped by the then 3-0 Lightweight prospect Kazuki Saito, which should sum up why he's such a terrible opponent for a Welterweight like Obara here.
In a domestic Middleweight bout we'll see Japanese ranked Shuji Kato (7-1-1, 5) take on Sosuke Sakata (5-4-1, 2). Kato won the 2017 Rookie of the Year, and is riding a 5 fight winning streak, to show that he deserves some attention. However this is a clear step up in class from the fellow novices he has been fighting, despite Sakata himself being a limited fighter. As for Sakata he has been plying his trade at Welterweight though could see the move up in weight give his career a new lease of life.
The debutant of real note on this card is former amateur stand out Daisuke Sugita (0-0), who went 110-31 (47) in the unpaid ranks before turning professional at the start of this year. The talented Sugita will be up against hard hitting Filipino visitor Jun Blazo (7-5-3, 6). The Filipino is 0-4 in Japan, but has fought very good competition, losing to Koki Eto, Daisuke Watanabe, Hayate Kaji and Ryuto Owan. This is a really tough debut bout for Sugita, but there is very high expectations on his shoulders and this sort of debut is a great statement of intent.
Originally there was also a Japanese Bantamweight title bout set for this card, between Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) and Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8). Sadly this bout has been cancelled, with Suzuki pulling out of the bout due to an injury suffered in training. From what we under-stand Muranaka will be fighting for the vacant title down the line, though this is understandably a cruel twist for Suzuki who already missed out on a title fight this past January when Ryo Akaho was forced to cancel a fight against him.
This coming Friday is a crazy day in the world of Asian boxing with a trio of Chinese cards, as well as a notable Japanese show. The bouts aren't likely to have much global attention, but they range from a really high profile debut, to a potentially thrilling war on the verges of world class.
For us the biggest show of the day is from Beijing, where we see a number of prospects in action, in bouts of varying quality.
One of the really good looking bouts will see Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (9-0-1, 6) defending his WBO “interim” Oriental Flyweight title against touted Indonesian puncher Iwan Zoda (14-2-1, 13). For the champion the bout will be his first defense of the title he won back in April, when he stopped Yiming Ma inside a round whilst Zoda will be looking to rebuild after a year that has seen hi suffer a stoppage to Robert Onggocan and a surprising draw with Ical Tobida. It's fair to say Zoda can ill afford a set back but Baldonado is on a role with a trio of first round blow outs.
Another really interesting contest will see Filipino prospect Mark Anthony Barriga (6-0, 1) take a huge step up to face former 2-time world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (33-6, 12) in a contest for the WBO International Minimumweight title. The 24 year old Barriga was a top Filipino prospect and it's clear his team view him as a special talent but this is a massive step up in class, and should tell us a lot about just how far Barriga could go. Samartlek, who is best known for losing in world title bouts to Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, does have a padded record, but is a very decent fight and will certainly not be afraid of Barriga's amateur background.
Another title bout featuring an unbeaten fighter on this show will see Jin Xiang Pan (7-0, 4) take on James MacDonald (8-1-1, 4) for the WBO Youth Super Featherweight title. On paper this bout doesn't have the appeal of the ones above, but it's a step up for both fighters and it should be very interesting to see where both men are going in their career.
Arguably the most notable title bout on the card, yet potentially the most one-sided, will see former Chinese amateur stand out Lu Bin (0-0) take on Thai foe Chatchai Or Benjamas (8-9, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight Title. Making his professional debut in a 10 rounder is clearly Bin and his team looking to make a statement and given his background in amateur boxing and the APB there is real star potential here. It should be noted that Chatchai isn't great, and was an early opponent for the likes of Yohei Tobe and KJ Cataraja, but Bin's willingness to fight for a title early is still a statement from his team.
One other bout of note from this show will see big punching Filipino Jayar Inson (13-1, 9) take on China's Yangcheng Jin (5-1-2, 1). This is likely to be a straight forward win for the visitor, but he is coming in to the bout on the back of a loss on the road in South Africa, and may be wearing the mental scars of that defeat.
Xi An, China
We get more title action in Xi An as novices Yiran Li (3-0, 3) and Super Top Singnamchai (2-0, 1) battle for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. Li made his professional debut back in April and has needed just 7 rounds to despatch his first 3 foes whilst the Thai visitor apparently debuted in 2012, and hasn't had a boxing contest in more than 5 years, making this a very perplexing contest on paper.
Staying in China just a little longer fans will get card in Jinan where the headline bout will see Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (23-12-2, 8) battle with local Aizi Aili (5-2-1, 2), in what could be a pretty solid match up between well matched fighters at different stages of their career.
As well as all the action in China there will also be a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, which will be available on the A-sign service.
The main event of the card is a potential war as former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (33-6-2, 21) takes on Richard Pumicpic (19-8-2, 6) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, essentially securing the winner a top 15 WBO ranking. Of the two men Amagasa is the more well known, given his bouts with Guillermo Rigondeaux and Josh Warrington, and will be favoured, however Pumicpic is no pushover and he has has pushed fighters like Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Yohei Tobe all really close in thrilling fights. We're expecting this fight to be the bout of the day.
In another good looking contest we'll see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (28-9-1, 12) take on Jin Miura (9-2, 1). Coming in to this Nakajima has a little bit of momentum, with 3 straight wins to put back to back losses behind him, whilst Miura comes in on the back of a narrow loss in Russia. This could be a highly skilled battle with both men looking to really boost their hopes of a potential domestic title bout.
One other fighter of note on this card is Naoki Mochizuki (11-2, 6), who will be facing off with a Thai visitor.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The best of the three Asian shows this Sunday comes from the Philippines where we'll get some really intriguing action.
On paper the main event here is bout of the day and will see rising youngster Jonas Sultan (12-3, 8) take on former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro (43-13-5, 30), with Sultan looking to defend his IBF Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title for the first time. Sultan has impressed a lot over the last 2 years or so, with a number of solid wins including stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu and Makazole Tete and if he can score a win over Jaro he will potentially find himself on the fringes of the world rankings. Aged 34 Jaro is looking to earn another world title fight, and is on a 9 fight winning streak following a series of setbacks in 2012 and 2013. At his best Jaro is a tough guy to beat, with power, experience and toughness and will be looking to put himself back in the mix with a win over the rising hopeful. A really great match up.
Another really good domestic match up will see the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (18-8, 6) take on former OPBF champion Roli Gasca (23-7-1, 7) in what could be a real thriller, despite what the records suggest. Pumipic was last seen losing an all-action bout against Cesar Juarez last October and has previously given hell to the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Yohei Tobe and Allan Tanada. Gasca on the other hand has beaten Hiromasa Ohashi and twice had competitive bouts with Yukinori Oguni, and earned a draw with Akifumi Shimoda. Neither of these two are likely to be future world champions, but both are solid and should be make for a great bout against each other.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Edward Heno (9-0-4, 3), who looks to claim the Philippines Boxing Federation Light Flyweight title. Heno will be up against fellow unbeaten southpaw Cris Ganoza (12-0, 6) in what looks like another cracking match up on a really good show.
The more notable of two Japanese shows comes from Hyogo where we see a small card featuring a couple of fighters of some note.
The most promising fighter on the show will be rising Bantamweight hopeful Tenta Kiyose (11-2-1, 4), who looks to extend a nice 4 fight unbeaten run as he takes on Taisei Higashi (7-9-1, 5). Kiyose was last seen stopping Ryuta Otsuka in 3 rounds, and has been on a great run since coming up short at the 2015 Rookie of the Year final. Higashi on the other hand has struggled with consistency recently and gone 3-6-1 in his last 10, which doesn't bode well here.,
The other fighter of note is 22 year old Featherweight hopeful Tenmei Serizawa (9-3, 5), who battled against Takuya Yamamoto (7-6, 4). Earlier in his career Serizawa struggled, going 3-3 in his first 6, but has strung together 6 straight wins including a career best 4th round KO win over Hikaru Matsuoka last time which has put him on the map so to speak. On the other hand Yamamoto has struggled recently with a 1-3 run in his last 4, including defeats to Shingo Kawamura and Yuta Uetani. On paper this doesn't look hugely exciting but Yamamoto is better than his record suggests and this could be a very competitive match.
For fans interested in this show it will be part of the Boxingraise subscription sevrice, and will be added on delay.
The other card is a small one form Fukuoka.
In the main event of this card we'll see Yusuke Yamanouchi (8-3-1, 4) battling against a Thai visitor in a 10 rounder. The bout looking to bounce back from an 8 round decision last May to Mitsuyoshi Fujita whilst little is known about the Thai he'll be facing.
The chief supporting bout here is a 6 rounder between Takuya Sugiyama (5-3-1) and Yuta Nakashima (7-10, 2), who fight in a rematch following a very close contest last year. Between them the fighters have a combined 12 wins, with 2 stoppages, and 13 losses, with just 2 of them by stoppage. Although yet to score a stoppage Sugiyama will be favoured to win here with Nakahsima having lost his last 5 in a row, including a loss to Sugiyama last time out, and is without a win in over 6 years!
The attention for this weekend is pretty scattered with no one country really stealing the focus. Saying that however the most intriguing card is probably in Kazakhstan.
In the main event of the card fight fans get to see Kanat Islam (21-0, 18) make his Kazakh debut at long last, as he takes on Ghana's Patrick Allotey (34-2, 28) in a bout for a number of minor titles. Originally this bout was said to be a WBA “interim” world title bout, but will instead have IBO, WBO and WBA minor titles and whilst it's not what either man really wanted, it could open doors for world title bouts down the line. On paper it's a big step up for Islam though Allotey has suffered 2 recent stoppage losses and it seems likely he will again be stopped as Islam is a solid puncher, despite being a technically flawed fighter.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Zhankhozh Turarov (19-0, 13) fight for the 5th time in Kazakhstan, returning for the first time since December 2012. In the opposite corner to Turarov will be the heavy handed Ghanaian Isaac Aryee (24-8, 22). Ayree comes into this bout with a puncher's reputation but is 0-3 outside of Ghana and was stopped in 3 rounds last year by Jimmy Kilrain Kelly, with a similar outcome expected here.
The card features a really notable debutant in the form of 2016 Olympian Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (0-0), who goes in deep against the highly experience Milton Nunez (33-16-1, 29), who has faced a relative who's who. The Kazakh debutant may not have won a medal at 2016 Olympics but did win the 2013 World Amateur Championship and the Asian Championships, in 2013, and is holy tipped to race through the ranks if he decides to turn professional full time, something that is still unclear.
Also on this card will be Aidos Yerbossynuly (4-0, 4), who will be in a 6 rounder.
Seoul, South Korea
The new BoxingM organisation continue to build their brand with their second show in the space of just a few weeks, and for the first time they put on international title fighters.
In the main event we see one of Korea's more interesting fighters, Woo Min Won (8-1, 5), take on a Japanese veteran, Taisho Ozawa (21-8-2, 13), for the WBC EPBC, Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council, Light Welterweight title. Won comes into this bout on a 3 fight winning run including a win for the Korean 140lb title last year and a big upset win over Daiki Koide earlier this year, and should be favoured to keep that run going here. The 36 year old Ozawa hasn't fought in more than 3 years, and was 2-4 in his previous bouts, and although he was once a decent fighter he was on the slide before his long break from the ring.
In the other title bout on this card we'll see the WBC EPBC “interim” Lightweight title on the line, as Il Kwon Kim (6-3, 3) takes on Juk San Lee (6-3, 1), aka Ryo Akahori as he's listed on the poster for the show. Lee isn't the most active of fighters, in fact this is only his second bout in the last 5 years, but a win here could kick start his career. Kim, who has also been plagued with inactivity, won the Korean Lightweight title earlier this year and will see a win here as a chance to move into much more significant and interesting bouts in the near future.
In the main event of a card in Durango fight fans will see former world champion Cristian Mijares (54-8-2, 26) battle unbeaten Japanese fight Shohei Kawashima (14-0-2, 3) in a bout for Mijares' WBC silver Featherweight title. The bout is a huge step up for Kawashima but a great opportunity for him to make a mark on the big stage and build on things like being the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year and his win in Korea earlier this year. At 35 Mijares, once one of the sports most talented boxers, is on the back end of his career, though comes into this bout on a 5 fight winning streak, including a shock win over the then unbeaten Andres Gutierrez. At his best this would be a huge mismatch in favour of Mijares, however he's not the fighter he was and Kawashima does have a chance, albeit a slim one, to claim a career changing win
Also on this card is former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (19-4-1, 12), best known for his incredible contest with Katsunari Takayama, who fights Filipino fighter Crison Omayao (20-12-3, 7), best known for being the debut opponent of Naoya Inoue back in 2012. Omayao has been passed around Japanese prospects the past few years, including Genki Hanai and Kosei Tanaka, and it seems he is here to serve as a tune up opponent for Rodriguez who is said to be chasing Flyweight gold now. This could be a painful night for the “D'Cowboy” given that Rodriguez is a bit of a monster in the ring.
In Mexico we'll see Filipino Richard Pumicpic (18-7-2, 6) take on a really tough ask as he battles Mexican star Cesar Juarez (18-5, 14), who has been a thorn in the side of Filipino boxing in recent years. Juarez first gave Filipino's a headache when he gave Nonito Donaire a nightmare late in their world title bout last December, and destroyed Filipino hearts earlier this year when he beat the hotly tipped Albert Pagara. Pumicpic isn't as well known as the other Filipino's that Jaurez has faced but is likely to find out what the other two found out, the Mexican is a heavy handed, tough nosed nightmare
In Russia we see WBA “interim” Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (7-0, 6) fight in a 10 round non-title fight as he faces fellow puncher Abdallah Paziwapazi (13-3, 12), from Tanzania. The bout is Bivol's first since he claimed his “world” title, easily defeating Felix Valera with a 12 round decision, and should be little more than a stay busy fight for the Kyrgyzstan born sensation. It is worth noting that Paziwapazi is not only a puncher but has never been stopped and that will be the target here for Bivol, who will be fighting for the third time this year
Metro Manila, Philippines
The action in May is pretty hectic after a slow start. The action doesn't actually kick off until May 4th when Filipino fans get a title double double.
In one of the two title bouts fans will see the once beaten Jeffrey Francisco (13-1-1, 1) battle against Yusuke Suzuki (6-2, 4) for the EPBC Bantamweight title. On paper this might not look like anything special however it's a really good match up with Francisco's only loss coming to the very decent Jestoni Autida whilst Suzuki's only losses are to Ryoichi Tamura and Yusaku Kuga, two more very good fighters. The bout is likely to be a boxer vs puncher affair but a very good one to watch.
The other title bout on this card will see the unbeaten Joe Noynay (10-0-1, 3) battle former OPBF title challenger Richard Pumicpic (17-7-2, 6) in what looks like a very tough assignment for the WBC International Super Bantamweight title. Noynay comes into this on the back of a draw against the under-rated, and under-sized, Alie Laurel in what was a coming of age fight for Noynay. For Pumicpic this is a chance to claim a notable title.
As for the under-card on this card it features a host of notable fighters. Including the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (10-0, 7), former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-11-2, 18), the once touted Renan Trongco (17-6, 10) and the exciting Allan Vallespin (5-0, 5)
If we say November ended in style with a number of big and exciting bouts then we need to confess that November starts even better with a day so brilliant, packed and wonderful that we know a lot of great bouts will go over-looked just do to the depth of the day.
The headline bout of the day is in the US where WBO Bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda (30-0, 19) battles against interim champion Alejandro Hernandez (28-10-2, 15). On paper this looks a mismatch given that Hernandez's record contains numerous losses however in reality the Mexican is a very good fighter and comes into this bout on a good run of results with wins over Marvin Mabait and Daniel Rosas. We'd still favour the more talented and slicker Kameda but this certainly isn't the mismatch the that numbers would suggest and Hernandez is a tough and difficult assignment for anyone at 118lbs.
Tomoki won't be the only Japanese fighter on this side as older brother Koki Kameda (32-1, 17) will also be in action. Koki, fighting for the first this year, will be battling against Mexican veteran Omar Salado (24-8-2, 15) in what we suspect will be a bout designed to help him shake off some ring rust ahead of a probably WBA Super Flyweight title fight next year against Kohei Kono. Notably for Koki this will be his debut and gives him a great chance to impress a new audience much like Tomoki did on his US debut when he stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu.
It's not just in the US that we get a world title fight but also in Japan with Fukuoka hosting a female world title fight between WBC Female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (11-4-1, 6) and former IBF champion Katia Gutierrez (19-4, 4). Kuroki will be defending her title for the first time since winning it earlier this year with a decision over Mari Ando and she has gone from the frying pan into the fire with Gutierrez being a very, very tough opponent. We favour Kuroki but this is a very tough contest between two truly world class fighters.
In the chief support bout we will see the unbeaten and promising Shohei Okuda (11-0, 4) battle against Ryusei Yoshida (24-6, 11) in a very tough and interesting bout. Okuda is a Japanese ranked fighter who will see his opportunity to jump up the rankings with a win here and although Yoshida is unranked this is a great step up for Okuda who has yet to have a coming of age fighter, despite being a 2012 Rookie of the Year winner.
Another support bout on this show will see Aiki Koto (7-1-1, 4), a Japanese ranked Light Flyweight, will be battling against Koki Ono (7-2, 4). This is one of those very even bouts that we love seeing on the Japanese domestic scene. Both of these guys has suffered an early blow out defeat but both have the talent and desire to come again and could become a force on the fringes of the domestic scene, especially if they compete in bouts like this one.
We get another title bout in Tokyo, albeit at a lower level as Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (14-2-1, 2) battles against Atsushi Aburada (9-6, 5). For Kimura this will be his second defense following an excellent win over Yuki Chinen earlier this year whilst for the challenger this will be his first title opportunity and it looks to be a big ask for Aburada to over-come the world ranked Kimura.
It's not just the main event here that looks interesting, far from in fact, and the under-card is packed with some very good fights and fighters.
One of those fighters is former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Tetsuma Hayashi (24-2-2, 8) who fights in what looks like a mismatch against Ryutaro Taira (8-4-2, 3). Hayashi is a fun fighter and he really did push Takuya Kogawa close in their bout in 2012, since then he is unbeaten in 7 though did look less than sensational last time out fighting to a draw with Hideyuki Watanabe. Whilst Hayashi wasn't great last time out Taira has only won 1 of his last 5 and can't be favoured here to even push Hayashi close.
A good bout on this card will see the heavy handed Yuichi Yokoyama (14-2, 13) battle against Filipino visitor Jonel Alibio (17-18-5, 9) in what looks to be a very good bout, despite the very different records of the two men. Alibio hasn't been in form recently though is a former OPBF champion and may have the experience to trouble Yokoyama.
Another heavy handed fighter in action is Hiroyuki Otsuka (7-2, 6) who will be up against the more experienced Takumi Suda (10-10-2, 2). Otsuka looked really promising at one point though has lost 2 of his last 3 and is needing to rebuild his career, however this isn't a gimme and Suda could prove to be a banana skin.
For us the best of the under-card bouts will be a contest between Jun Hamana (9-2, 3) and Shota Suito (9-3-1, 1). This is another 50-50 bout and despite it almost certainly being a distance bout it should be really good. Hamana's bout with Kazuma Sanpei impressed us whilst Suito is better than his record indicates and this should be a very interesting, high paced and exciting bout with neither having real fear of the other man.
Another Japanese card takes place in Hyogo. Whilst this one doesn't have a title fight on it it does look like a brilliant show and the type of thing that makes the Japanese domestic so exciting right now.
The main event here will see Japan's very own Hikaru Matsuoka (7-1-3, 1) battle against one of boxing's most under-rated fighters, Richard Pumicpic (15-6-2, 4). Pumicpic is the type of fighter nobody looks good against, he's hard working, tough, aggressive and a bit like a terrier in many ways. Matsuoka will have home advantage but Pumicpic proved he was good in Japan when he pushed OPBF Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa all the way earlier this year. Very tough assignment for the Japanese fighter.
Another solid fight on this card is the co-feature which will see the very experienced Junichi Ebisuoka (23-17-6, 10) battling against Giovanni Escaner (11-3, 7). Neither of these guys are world beaters but both are better than first meets the eye. Ebisuoka has a bad looking record though is just below the Japanese title picture whilst Escaner has lost 3 of his last 4 but has been competing against a solid level, such as Oleydong Sithsamerchai. This has the potential to be a truly sensational contest between two men who both want a win badly and we would suggest that this one will be worth catching if you're in Hyogo.
A third bout on this card that has caught out eye is between the destructive Yuji Itani (4-0, 4) and Filipino Jonel Gadapan (8-7-1, 4). We suspect that this will be a somewhat straight forward win for Itani but it's still worth keeping an eye on him, afterall he may be fast tracked given that he's already in his 30's.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico we have two bouts of note in a card that looks like it will be worth tuning in to.
The main even will see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (17-4, 11) battling against the always interesting Nery Saguilan (30-4-1, 11). Going in to this bout the Mexican will be hunting a second successive victory over a Japanese fighter, having beaten Seiichi Okada last time out. Sadly we suspect that Okada was a bit of a shot fighter however Sakai certainly isn't and this could be a very interesting bout.
The other bout that has caught our eye is between Filipino fighter Silvester Lopez (22-8-2, 16) and the heavy handed Mexican fighter Rey Vargas (21-0, 18). This will be the second meeting between the two after Vargas scored a stoppage victory over an injured Lopez earlier this year. Interestingly in their first meeting Lopez dropped Vargas prior to being injured in the 7th round.
(Image courtesy of http://www.warriorsboxing.com)
This coming Saturday is an amazingly busy day for boxing fans though it does build to a clear highlight that should get the attention of every single boxing fan on the planet.
New York, USA
The aforemention standout bout of the day is in New York where Kazakhstan's sensational Gennady Golovkin (29-0, 26) attempts to defend his WBA Middleweight "super" title for the first time since being upgraded earlier this year. Golovkin, who made numerous defences of the WBA interim and regular titles, will be facing his toughest test as he goes up against former double champion Daniel Geale (30-2, 16). Despite the notable step up in class Golovkin is widely viewed as unbackable favourite against the talented Australian fighter.
Metro Manila, Philippines
We get two shows in Metro Manila this Saturday though for us the more interesting of the two takes place at the Mandaluyong Gym.
This card is headlined by a trio of 10 rounders and although they don't look the most competitive of bouts they do look interesting. The best of the three, at least on paper, will see Bernabe Concepcion (32-6-1, 18) battle against Eden Sonsona (32-6-1, 10) in a very even looking contest. Although Concepcion is more well known to Western fans, courtesy of his bouts with Juan Manuel Lopez and Mikey Garcia, Sonsona has mixed comparable company courtesy of fights with Pungluang Sor Singyu and Kohei Kono. We do make Concepcion a slight favourite but this has the potential to be a great contest.
Another of the 10 rounders will see the criminally over-looked Richard Pumicpic (14-6-2, 4) battle against Rex Olisa (10-28-1, 8). We are big admirers of Pumicpic who has proven to be a man who is very tricky to beat, as Yohei Tobe and Ryosuke Iwasa have found out in recent times and with that in mind we need to suspect he'll have more than enough to see off the limited Olisa.
The third 10 rounder is unfortunately a giant mismatch as the explosive and promising Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (12-0, 11) battles Indonesia's Dicky Amtiran (3-8). Dodie Boy Jr, the son of Dodie boy Sr and newphew of the show's promoter Gerry Penalosa, really should be matched than this considering his potential and although we are happy to admit we think Amtiran has an "incomplete record" he should still be no match at all for Penalosa. Whilst some will point to the fact Amtiran is a late replacement for
On the under-card their will be a chance to see Dodie's brother Dave Penalosa (8-0, 5) battling against Danilo Gabisay (5-2, 3). This should actually be a tougher test than the one Dodie Boy Jr gets. Gabisay isn't great but he has only lost to Rex Wao and Jack Tepora, two very talented Filipino's who are both getting some notable attention for their potential.
The same Filipino card has a further 3 bouts listed for it.
The other Manila card, held at The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, will feature 8 bouts in total with the most interesting of those bouts being a contest between the "world ranked" Lionel Legada (11-6-1, 5) and journeyman Ricky Oyan (4-20-2, 2). We've got to admit we're not sure how Legada is still world ranked despite losing 4 of his last 6 but he should still have way more than enough to beat Oyan.
Legada's former foe Lionel Mark Duran (12-10-2, 5) will also be on the same card as he battles Ruben Traza (4-6-3, 1) in what is another less than pulsating bout.
Amazingly the main event is an 8 rounder between Bebong Manalo (8-2, 5) and Jovill Marayan (8-17-3, 3) in what really isn't fit to main event a show. Thankfully however the card does have something of real intrigue, the 4th professional bout of Warlight Dapidran (3-0, 2). Dapidran will be fighting against Diover Mangaya-ay (1-5-1) and should win without any problems but will hopefully go 6 rounds here. For those who are unaware Dapidran is Manny Pacquiao's young cousin.
One of the most interesting shows of the night takes place in Mexico where fans get a trio of Mexico Vs Asia bouts.
The most interesting of those bouts will see Japan's Takahiro Shigee (11-0-1, 9) battle against former IBF Super Flyweight champion Rodrigo Guerrero (20-5-1, 13). Shigee will be Guerrero's second Japanese opponent in just 3 fights with Guerrero having been beaten by Daiki Kameda 10 months ago in what was one of Daiki's best performance. Shigee however will need to have a sensational night to over-come the Mexican in Mexico.
In an IBF International Flyweight title fight fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Minimumweight title challenger Jonathan Refugio (13-4-4, 3), of the Philippines, battle Mexico's Armando Santos (14-3, 8). Santos is no stranger to fighting Asian fighters having already shared a ring with Toshiyuki Igarashi and Rolio Golez and will almost certainly be the favourite against Refugio who will need a career best performance to over-come the Mexican.
Sadly the third bout is a complete mismatch as WBA female Minimumweight champion Anabel Ortiz (14-3, 2) defends her belt against Filipino challenger Norj Guro (7-3-1, 4). The bout will be Ortiz's second defence of the title and it's hard to see anything but a straight forward win for the Mexican fighter.
"Down under" fans will get the chance to see Thailand's Phissanuthep Chaiyonggym (4-10-1, 3) battle for the IBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Unfortunately for the limited Thai he will be up against Australia's very own Jason cooper (10-2-1, 5). Cooper, a very capable fighter, is probably best known for his loss, in China, to Qiu Xiao Jun though he is 2-0 since that loss in February and we'd expect him to extend that winning run to 3 here with very few problems.
(Image courtesy of http://www.thegarden.com)