This coming Saturday is a big day for Asian fighters, with two being involved in world title bouts, several notable rematches, and some notable hopefuls from Japan, Philippines and Tajikstan in action.
City Gym, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
For us the most notable card of the day takes place in Kyoto as we see a major rematch at world level, and two pretty interesting, though easy to over-look, domestic level bouts.
The main event of the card will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (13-3, 12) make his first defense, as he takes on former champion Kenshiro Teraji (18-1, 10), who is looking to avenge his sole and reclaim the title that he lost last year. The hard hitting Yabuki stopped Kenshiro last year, but did so following a controversial headclash, which lead Kenshiro's team to petition for a rematch, that the WBC decided to order. For Yabuki this is a huge chance to prove that his first win wasn't a fluke, and the headbutt ultimately didn't matter, whilst Kenshiro will be determined to reclaim the title, and prove that he wasn't his usual self during that loss. This is a great bout and one that every fan of the lower weights should be very interested in, especially due to the involvement of DAZN in the lower weights. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Yabuki Vs Kenshiro - The Rematch
In a notable supporting bout Japanese youth Flyweight champion Yuga Inoue (12-2-1, 2) will be facing off with Shota Asami (9-9, 4). On paper this looks likely to be an easy win for Inoue, however he has struggled several times in recent years, and whilst Asami is no world beater. Inoue is a talented fighter, but lacks power, and can be dragged into close and hotly contested bout against fighters over 8 rounds. As for Asami he is better than his record indicates, and can be very much a banana skin for decent domestic fighters, as we've seen in his wins over Sho Omote and Shun Kosaka.
An other support bout is a must win for both men involved as recent Japanese title contender Rikito Shiba (5-2, 3) takes on the once touted Shisui Kawabata (2-3, 2) in a bout that really neither man can afford to lose. Shiba turned professional following a strong amateur background and quickly won the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title, before losses to Masamichi Yabuki and Shokichi Iwata left his career hanging by a thread. Kawabata on the other hand was regarded as a major prospect when he turned professional in 2019 but has suffered 3 successive losses. Notably not only is this a must win for both men, but also a rematch of a 2019 bout between then, that saw Shiba give Kawabata his first loss, a loss he will be looking to avenge. We don't think this will out-shine the main event, but it will be a very compelling contest in it's own right.
Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The other major show for the day takes place in Dubai, where we get another world title fight, and a very interesting support bout.
The world title bout with see English slickster Sunny Edwards (17-0, 4) hunt his second defense of the IBF Flyweight title as he takes on Pakistani challenger Muhammad Waseem (12-1, 8), who gets his second shot at a world title. The slippery and talented Edwards impressed in his title win last year, dethroning Moruti Mthalane, and has been talking very confidently as if he felt he's the man to beat in the division. Hoepfully he'll get the chance to back up his talk later in the year against a fellow champion. As for Waseem, he was a fantastic fighter as an amateur, and a very capable professional, but at the age of 34 it's hard to see him being competitive with the fleet footed champion, though it Waseem will know it's now or never for his career. Or preview of this bout can be read here Waseem takes on IBF champion Edwards
In one of the main support bouts unbeaten Tajik fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (18-0, 10) will take on in form American O'Shaquie Foster (18-2, 11), in a bout at Super Featherweight. Yaqubov has been making a name for himself in Russia, where he has scored decent wins over the likes of Tomas Rojas, Emanuel Lopez and Mark Urvanov, but has lacked a major win so far and needs a break out win. As for Foster he appears to be on a good run with recent wins over Jon Fernandez, Alberto Mercado and Miguel Roman, though has only fought once since the start of 2020, and is more than a year removed form his last fight, so this might be the ideal time to face him.
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
It's not just Japan that will be having rematch, with a notable one in the Philippines between Garen Diagan (8-1, 4) and April Jay Abne (7-1, 3). These two clashed last year with Diagan scoring a notable upset against the wonderfully talented Abne, who was stopped inside a round. For Diagan that's his biggest win so far, and the "Hellboy" will be looking to show he didn't just catch Abne cold, but is the better fighter. As for Abne that was a very embarrassing loss, and one he'll be wanting to avenge and put behind him.
Sadly other details relating to this card are few and far between though we do know the unbeaten 20 year old Bryan James Wild (6-0, 5) will be seeking his next win. Sadly his opponent for this show hasn't been announced yet, and we're not expecting anyone too testing, but it's going to be great to follow his exciting career over the coming years.
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, Albert Park, Victoria, Australia
At the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre we'll see unbeaten Australian hopeful Kayne Clarke (11-0, 8) looking for his 12th straight win as he takes on Indonesian visitor Agus Kustiawan (18-9-2, 8), who has never won a bout outside of Indonesia and is 0-2 in Australia. Kustiawan is unlikely to pose much of a test for Clarke, but Clarke will likely be wanting to better the 2016 result of Ibrahim Balla, when he stopped the Indonesian in 5 rounds.
The Melbourne Pavilion, Flemington, Victoria, Australia
Staying in Melbourne, there's going to be a pair of bouts of some Asian interest at the Melbourne Pavilion, sadly though both bouts look like easy wins for locals over poor Thai's.
One of the bouts will see Tom Fitzgerald (1-0) seek his second win, as he takes on Thatthakan Samanthong (0-2), in what is a reasonable second bout for the Australian hopeful. The other will be the debut Kha Lu (0-0), who faces win-less 40 year old Prakob Nuankaew (0-2). Hard to complain about bouts like this over 4 rounds, but also very hard to say much more than the obvious, the locals should win, with out too many problems.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In Malaysia we're expecting to see a bout that was scheduled for back in January, as the unbeaten Adli Hafidz (9-0, 5) takes on Thai veteran Komsan Polsan (40-12-1-1, 26), aka Patomsuk Pathompothong in a bout for the UBO Middleweight title. The 33 year old Hafidz is one of the very, very few noteworthy fighters from Malaysia, and whilst he is a notable local face it's hard to imagine him stepping up to making a mark on the wider regional scene. As for Komsan, he is very under-sized at Middleweight and despite his solid looking record his is 10-10-0-1 in his last 21 bouts, dating back 7 years, including 6 losses by stoppage. It would be a huge surprise to see the 38 year old Thai take home a win here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The most noteworthy action this coming Saturday is a Japanese national title fight at Korakuen Hall, which will headline this month's Dynamic Glove.
That title bout is the rescheduled bout between Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3) and Shokichi Iwata (6-0, 4), for the Japanese Light Flyweight title. This was supposed to take place back in September, before Iwata tested positive for Covid at the weigh in forcing the bout to be scrapped at the 11th hour. Given how we've seen Covid effecting fighters this could be a case of Iwata rushing back to soon, given his illness. Ignoring the Covid situation the bout is a mouth watering one, between two young fighters each looking to boost their careers and really move on to the next level. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Iwata and Shiba clash for Japanese title!
In a really good supporting bout we'll see novice professional Goki Kobayashi (1-0, 1) take on Hayato Aoki (4-1, 3), in what could be a really interesting match up. Kobayashi was a solid amateur, and looked very good in his debut in June, but we suspect that Aoki will look to drag him into a fire fight here, and we could get something a big explosive if Aoki can start fast.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Over in thailand we get the next show under the WP Boxing series of shows, and it's headlined by one of Thailand best young prospects, taking on someone who has long been a gatekeeper to the regional scene.
The prospect in question is Thattana Luangphon (14-0-1, 12), aka Chainoi Worawut, who will be looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. In the opposite corner to the unbeaten puncher will be Sukpraserd Ponpitak (27-12, 19), , who also fights as Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. Chainoi is regarded as one of the best prospects in Thailand, with nasty power, good skills, and a developing boxing brain, which could see him landing regional level fights in 2022, when Covid restrictions are finally lifted. Sukkasem on the other hand is known for once being a decent fighter, but is now a tune for many in Asia, including future Naoya Inoue opponent Aran Dipaen and current OPBF champion Keita Kurihara among others.
Halyk arena sport complex, Aktau, Kazakhstan
In Aktau we'll see a number of Kazakh hopefuls in action, though sadly the opponents really aren't the most testing and the match ups seem rather predictable, though it's better to see the hopefuls fighter rather than sat, twiddling their thumbs and waiting for interesting opponents to be available.
One of the prospects is Light Heavyweight Bekzad Nurdauletov (2-0, 1), an amateur standout tipped for really big things. He'll be up against Russian based Uzbekistani fighter Farrukh Juraev (6-4-1, 2). Notably Juraev has has never been stopped, and should take Nurdaletov the scheduled 8 rounds, but he is a natural Middleweight and he hasn't really shown much in terms of a being a threat against novices so far, and that includes novices without the amateur pedigree of the Kazakh.
Another notable unbeaten on this card is Meiirim Nursultanov (14-0, 8), who has been in an around the fringes of a world rankings for a whilst. The unbeaten Nursultanov is a 28 year old who looked set to break out after a very strong 2019, but has lost a lot of momentum here. Thankfully for him he shouldn't be tested too much here as he takes on the very limited Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-11, 7), from Belarus. Atrokhau is a 33 year old Southpaw who has been a professional since 2013 and despite picking up a lot of loses he is very much a survival expert, with his sole stoppage loss coming when his team threw in the towel against Andrii Velikovskyi. This should be a great chance for Nursultanov to get some ring time and shake some ring rust, but it would be a huge shock if the bout was at all competitive.
TMMA San-Chong Gym, Taipei, Taiwan
We also get a small card in Taiwan, with a few local fighters facing off. The most notable of which will see the unbeaten Ching Hsin Wang (2-0-1) face off with Chian Huei Chin (0-1-1), in a second bout between the two ladies. These two fought to a draw in 2019, and Wang hasn't fought since then, so will be coming in with more than 2 years of inactivity. Chin has fought since that draw, but has been inactive since November 2019, and has almost 2 years of inactivity herself.
This coming Saturday looked like it could be an interesting one for fans of Asian fighters, though sadly a number of bouts being cancelled turned what was a good looking weekend into a pretty ordinary one. Despite that we do still have quite a few fights to look forward to.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
With the planned IBF Flyweight title bout between Sunny Edwards (16-0, 4) and Jayson Mama (16-0, 9) falling through in the middle of the week the real focus for us is Tokyo, ad we get the latest show in the Dynamic Glove series of shows. This card features a Japanese title fight, a Japanese title eliminator and an interesting test for a novice professional.
The main event is the aforementioned title bout, which will see the once beaten Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3) clash with the touted Shokichi Iwata (6-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title. The title became vacant a few weeks ago when Masamichi Yabuki, the one man to have beaten Shiba, vacated it to focus on his up coming WBC world title fight with Kenshiro Teraji and we've been left with this really interesting match up as a result. Of the two men Shiba is the slightly more proven as a professional, having scored the better wins and shared the ring with Yabuki, but Iwata has long been seen as a special talent following a very good run in the unpaid ranks, and he will enter as the favourite here. Despite the fact both men have only got 6 bouts to their name both are regarded highly, both were solid amateurs and both will be feeling they have the tools to not just win the Japanese title but to go much, much further in the coming years. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Iwata and Shiba clash for Japanese title!
In the chief support bout we'll see former Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (18-3, 14) take on former WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-2-1, 20) in a rematch of a clash the men had in 2018, when Nagano gave Beppu his first loss. Since their first bout both men went on the achieve their biggest success, with both winning titles, but both half also suffered recent stoppage losses and it's probably fair to say that neither man is quite the same fight that they were when they first faced off. We expect bombs to be thrown here, though it's a very, very hard bout to predict. Notably the winner of this will land a Japanese Welterweight title fight at the 2022 edition of the Champion Carnival.
The third bout of note on this card will see Goki Kobayashi (1-0, 1) take on Hayato Aoki (4-1, 3) in a very, very interesting match up. Kobayashi made his debut earlier this year, stopping the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up Hyogo Kimura. The hope is that he can be moved incredibly quickly, and taking on Aoki this early in his career is a good chance for him to prove himself. Aoki on the other hand will be desperate to rebuild following his first loss, which came this past June.
As well the action in Japan we'll also see a number of Central Asian hopefuls in action in action in Russia.
One of the Asian fighters on this card is once beaten Kazakh fighter Stanislav Kalitskiy (11-1, 4), who takes on unbeaten Russian foe Ruslan Kamilov (10-0-1, 5). The 24 year old Kalitskiy was beaten 2 fights ago, but bounced back in March this year when he stopped Dmitrii Khasiev, and he will be looking to add another win here as he looks to get his career back on track. Whilst Kalitskiy is coming in on the back of a good win Kamilov is on a string of them, including a stoppage win over former world title challenger Evgeny Chuprakov back in March.
Unbeaten Tajik hopeful Asror Vokhidov (9-0, 5) will be looking for his 10th successive win as he takes on Mukhammad Shekhov (9-0-1, 3). This is a really well matched bout, and whilst neither man is heading towards a world title fight any time soon, this should still be a very, very interesting one.
Another Tajik fighter on this card is world ranked Super Featherweight Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (17-0, 9), who will be looking to defend his WBC International Super Featherweight title against Cristian Palma (31-10-2, 7). The talented Yaqubov is banging on the door of a world title fight, and is being matched relatively softly here in what looks like a bit of a stay busy bout rather than a genuine test. Palma, from Chile, is experienced but shouldn't be any sort of a problem here for the talented Tajik.
This coming Monday is a really great day for fight fans wanting to watch some Japanese action with two free shows being made available through the promoters YouTube channel.
Amagasaki Cultural Center, Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan
The more notable the shows will be streamed on the Boxing Real YouTube channel, and it's a pretty interesting show overall, even if it lacks major names.
The main event will see once touted prospect Rikito Shiba (4-1, 2) return to the ring for the first time since being stopped in a Japanese Light Flyweight title fight by Masamichi Yabuki, back in December 2019. The talented 25 year old will be dipping his toes at Flyweight as he takes on the experienced Hideyuki Watanabe (8-13-3, 6). On paper this is a clear mismatch, but given Shiba's confidence destroying loss to Yabuki, the 18 month lay off and the move up in weight it might not be the foregone conclusion that it looks. Watanabe, although no world beater, is a 36 year old veteran who has ran some solid domestic fighters very close in a number of his losses, including Takuya Kogawa, Naoki Mochizuki, Ryuto Oho and Yusuke Sakashita, giving him one of the most misleading records in the sport. Watanabe is expected to lose, but we expect him to give Chiba a genuine test.
The brilliantly named Condor Inaba (7-5-1, 3) looks to make a successful return to the ring himself, following a lengthy lay off, as he takes on light punching Yuga Inoue (10-2-1, 1). Inaba hasn't fought since October 2019, and although not a star in the making the 26 year old will be desperate to pick up his next win and get back on track. In the opposite corner is Inoue, no relation to Naoya and Takuma, who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017 but came undone against Kai Ishizawa and has moved through the weights ever since. Inoue is the more talented fighter, but we do worry for him here as he will be giving away quite a bit of size to Inaba.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will see Hibiki Jogo (10-3, 5) take on Wataru Ikegami (8-5-1, 5). It's fair to say that international fans will not be too aware of these two men, but both are fan friendly fighters, who are happy to let their shots go, and their styles should gel really well. Jogo is a 27 year old who was last seen losing in a competitive bout to Tatsuya Takahashi and although not the biggest or strongest fighter he does have the desire to be involved in exciting contests. Ikegami on the other hand is one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport, with an eye pleasing aggressive style. He seemed to find his groove last time out, against Shion Tamada, and he'll want to build on that performance, which was genuinely very impressive. This one really could be a show stealer.
One other bout worthy of some attention will see Hyogo Kimura (6-2-1, 1), who lost in the All Japan final of the Rookie of the Year back in February, taking on the debuting Goki Kobayashi (0-0). Kimura was unfortunate in the Rookie of the Year, and his bout with Ryota Karimata was one of the best bouts on the show. He proved himself to be tough, skilled, and at 20 years old incredibly promising. Kobayashi on the other hand is a 22 year old debutant who fought more than 30 bouts as an amateur and picked up more than 20 wins. Hard to know much about how good Kobayashi is, but in all honest we're glad to see more of Kimura.
Arena Tachikawa Tachihi , Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
The other Japanese show will come from Tachikawa, and is also expected to be live streamed on the promoters YouTube channel. This is a much smaller show, but is a good example of a Japanese style "small hall" show. None of the bouts are high profile, or feature anyone with exceptionally high ceilings, but the contests should be well matched competitive bouts.
The main event will be a rematch between Shinnosuke Saito (8-3, 2) and Hokuto Matsumoto (6-4, 1), who battled late last year in a very competitive 8 rounder. Last time around Saito took a razor thin split decision and we expect a super close bout again here. Coming in to this Saito is riding a 5 fight winning run and certainly has some momentum on his side, whilst Matsumoto is struggling for form with just a single win in his last 4, however given how competitive their first bout Matsumoto will come into this believing he can pick up the win.
In the chief support bout the light punching Yoshiki Yamashita (7-3) will be up against the JBC ranked Hizuki Saso (12-7-2, 4). Coming in to this Yamashita does have some momentum, having won 3 of his last 4, and the 23 year old will know that a win here would put him on the domestic map and help him secure a JBC ranking. As for Saso this will be his first fight since being stopped by Masataka Taniguchi, in what was a Japanese title fight last year. Whilst this is not a huge bout, we do expect it to be a very competitive one.
Another former Japanese title challenger on this show is Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-3, 9), who is in dire need of a win having gone 1-3-1 in his last 5. Whilst Ikeda is a former Japanese title challenger he will probably be the under-dog here, as he takes on the heavy handed Hayato Ono (8-4, 8). Kato is a stop or be stopped fighter, and he will be looking to bomb out Ikeda and get his own career back on track. We are not expecting high level boxing here and we're also not expecting the judges to be needed.
One final bout worthy of note for those tuning in is a match up between Dominique Kenshin (5-2, 2) and Shogo Sakai (7-6-3, 5). Kenshin reached the East Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, and whilst not a great fighter the 20 year old has got ambitions to compete at the domestic title scene. He is a crude heavy handed, and chinny fighter so his fights are always worth tuning in to. Sakai is also heavy handed, but hasn't been seen in the ring since 2017, and now aged 32 he can ill afford any more set backs with his career.
The One Boxing Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
As well as the action in Japan we're also set to get a small show in South Korea. The main event here will see Kook Min Moon (7-1-1, 5) battle against Tae Sun Kim (5-1-1, 2) for the KBM Super Featherweight title. For both men this is a huge opportunity to win their first title, though it feels like it's a bigger chance for the 21 year old Moon who is more active than Kim and appears to be the man with more ambition in the sport. Saying that however a win for Kim would see him being given a massive boost and potentially begin his move towards bigger and better international fights.
This coming Sunday is certainly not a huge day, but it's a bizarrely packed one, with a lot going on, even if not much of it will make much of an impact on the winder boxing scene. We have a Japanese Heavyweight title fight, a Japanese title eliminator, a return to the ring for a popular female fighter, a regional title fight, a clash between former world title challengers and the KBF Rookie of the Year final, on a crazy, yet low key, Sunday.
For us the most noteworthy card comes from Kariya where we see a trio of notable bouts.
The most notable of the bouts on the card will be a rematch between Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) and Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5), who battle for the Japanese Heavyweight title and the chance to become only the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion. Coming in to this bout it's worth knowing that Takehara gave Ueda his sole defeat, but at the age of 41 and with a 30 fight career behind him we do wonder what Takehara has left in the tank. Technically Ueda looks the part, until he throws a punch and then he looks...well terrible, but he may have the youth and energy this time to see off the veteran. Our preview of this bout can be read here Takehara and Ueda rematch for Japanese Heavyweight title!
In an even better bout than the main event we'll see a Japanese Light Flyweight eliminator as the sensationally talented Rikito Shiba (4-0, 2) takes on the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9), with the winner securing a shot at the title in the 2020 Champion Carnival against Yuto Takahashi. Both of these fighters have big plans, and whilst we have been more impressed by Shiba's rise than Yabuki's recent bouts both of these are very talented and will likely end up as fixtures in the title scene in the coming years. This promises a lot and is going to be a very interesting bout between two very talented fighters. Our preview of this bout can be read here Light Flyweight eliminator sees Shiba and Yabuki clash!
Former female world title challenger Tomomi Takano (11-5, 8) will fight in Japan for the first time in over 2 years as she takes on Sachiko Kondo (2-4-2). At one point Takano looked like a star in the making, with the look that turned heads, but losses in big fights and a very public falling out with her then promoter saw her head into the boxing wilderness, fighting in Mexico. She's now back in Japan with a new team and a new hunger, and that should be in show here.
Another notable Japanese card comes from Ishikawa, as Kashimi promote their next show, headlined by a clash between a former world champion and a former world title challenger, and supported by several interesting bouts featuring Chinese fighters.
The main event will see Japanese based Filipino Genesis Servania (33-2, 16) take on former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-7, 35). Although both men are past their primes, this still makes for a really good match up. Servania is best known for his fantastic 2017 bout with Oscar Valdez. Despite losing that bout Servania put himself on the international map, though sadly a loss to Carlos Castro earlier this year has back into more obscure bouts, like this one. Pungluang on the other hand was a very talented Thai back in his prime, but losses in 4 of his last 5 have shown him to have slipped significantly. Despite on the downslide the Thai is tough and likes a fight. Stylistically these are similar fighters, with both enjoying a fight up close, and lacking speed, and as a result this could end up being a bit of a classic for fans at the Sangyo Hall.
In a supporting bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-3, 2) take on China's Baolin Kang (6-2, 1). Hanabusa won the Rookie of the Year on the majority point rule last December and has gone 1-0-1 since then, drawing in China against Ayati Sailike, in a bout that should have gone his way. Kang on the other hand is best known for being stopped by Ari Agustian in 2018, but has won both of his bouts this year. Although not an amazing bout this should be entertaining.
Another interesting looking bout will see Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-2, 3) fight against China's A Fu Bai (8-3, 5). Both men were beaten last time out, with Bolivar being stopped bu Shu Utsuki and Bai being beaten by Da Xu, and with both seeking a win we expect this to be a bout where both men look to find another gear in very competitive contest.
A third Japanese card, from Osaka, is much lower profile and only really has one bout of not. That bout will see 2-time Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger Ken Osato (16-3-1, 4) battle against the in form Kanehiro Nakagawa (8-6, 5). On paper this looks like a mismatch, and whilst Osato should be favoured it's worth noting that Nakagawa has won his last 3, including upsets against Seiichi Okada and Ryuto Araya, and will be full of confidence coming in here.
Sadly the rest of this card is very much nondescript.
Seoul, South Korea
Another fairly notable card will take place in the South Korean capital of Seoul, with a regional title bout and some rookie action
The main event will see former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Jung Kyoung Lee (7-3-1, 3) take on the once touted Thai Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-6, 22) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Middleweight title. Lee has had a roller coaster year, scoring a career best win in January, when he stopped Samuel Colomban for the OPBF title, and the losing the title less than 7 months later, to Akinori Watanabe. Throw in an injury to those extremes and it's fair to say things could have gone a lot better the Korean. As for Saddam he is a long way removed from the point where he was seen as a genuine hopeful. He's now 2-4 in his last 6 and 5-6 in his last 11, dating back more than 8 years. If we're being honest we suspect Saddam is somewhat less fussed about winning and losing than he once was.
As well the bout mentioned above the bulk of this card will actually be the KBF Rookie of the Year Finals. Unlike the Japanese Rookie of the Year finals, which take place next week, it's been hard to follow these and it's hard to say too much about the finalists, who in some cases have only a fight or two so far in their career. Certainly rookies, but it would have been nice to have had some more depth to the tournament, and make them show a bit more to get to the finals.
We also have a show in Thailand, from Evolution Fight Series. This isn't card isn't a big one, but does feature a world world title challenger and a promising Uzbek, among others.
The main event will see Armenian born Thai based Russian Musheg Adoian (3-1, 3) take on former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-11-4, 22) from Indonesia. The 24 year old Adoian has fought his entire professional career in Thai, and has scored 3 successive stoppage wins coming into this bout. Although a professional novice Adoian will be the favourite against Mukhlis, who is a long, long way removed from the fighter who challenged Takashi Uchiyama way back in September 2010. Since the loss to Uchiyama Mukhlis has gone 6-8-2 and is 0-5-1 in his last 6.
A second bout of note here will see unbeaten Thai based Uzbek Murodjon Yokubov (6-0, 4) battle against Indian foe Amandeep Singh (4-0, 1). For Yokubov this bout will be his 6th of the year and whilst his opposition has been limited it's hard not to like a guy who is active, developing his skills and getting ring time under his belt. As for Singh this will be only his second bout since the the start of 2018, and it's hard to know whether he'll manage to be put up any sort of competition for Yokubov.
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta also plays host to a small profile card, headlined by a 6 round contest between Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3) and Alvius Maufani (7-4-2, 4). On paper this is a really hard card to care about, and whilst we suspect their fun action from the Metro TV Studio the bouts are very much novices against each other and fighters with losing records rather than anything worth getting too excited by.
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.
We are set for a mouth watering title triple header on July 27th. Originally the card was a quadruple header, though one of the bouts was cancelled, but more about that in a few moments.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) seek his third defense, as he goes up against former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (18-5-1, 11). The talented and highly skilled Mishiro has been moved quickly since his 2017 debut, and already has wins against the likes of Shuya Masaki, Carlo Magali and Takuya Watanabe. Another win here would move him close to a potential world title fight. On the other hand Takenaka, 34, is now in last chance saloon , following a loss in March to Heorhii Lashko and it's hard to see how he can bounce back from another defeat. Our preview of this bout can be read here Mishiro takes on Takenaka in latest OPBF title defense
A second title fight will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) defending his title against mandatory challenger Yusuke Suzuki (10-3, 7), in what should be an excellent match up between two skilled and heavy handed fighters. For Saito the bout will be his second defense, and despite his poor looking record he has looked sensational in his last 2 bouts with heavy handed, intense pressure and a lot of aggression. Suzuki has long been due a title fight, but due to injuries and issues with opponents his opportunity has been pushed back, and back until now. Suzuki has shown more variety to his boxing than Saito, though he's been pretty inactive recently, due to his injuries. This is likely to be the show stealer, based on the styles of the two men involved. Our preview of this bout is here Saito and Suzuki battle for Japanese crown
The third title bout will see super prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) facing Filipino foe Clyde Azarcon (15-2-1, 5) in a bout for the in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. For the extremely highly touted Shigeoka this will be his first title fight, and a win here would see him match the Japanese male record for fewest fights to win a title, of any kind. Shigeoka was a very high touted amateur before turning professional last year and has raced to this shot. The Filipino on the other hand will be fighting out of the Philippines for the first time, but will be competing in his third title bout, after claiming the PBF title last year and fighting to a close loss in a WBO Oriental title fight. This has the potential to be the coronation of a future star, or a case of another fighter coming up short when being pushed too far too fast. Our preview of this sensational match up is available here Shigeoka goes for regional title against Azarcon!
Sadly a scheduled bout between Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) and Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2), which would have been for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title, had to be cancelled earlier in the month. The bout was called off after Sato suffered an injury in training, but the hope does seem like the two sides will try to rearrange the contest for later in the year.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the Japanese action there will also be some more Filipino interest in the day as young Filipino Joseph Ambo (9-1-1, 6) takes on once beaten South African Yanga Sigqibo (12-1-1, 3) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title. Ambo sufffered his only loss so far when he fought outside of the Philippines last year, losing a decision to the capable Sukkasem Kietyongyuth in Hua Hin, Thailand. Sigqibo on the other hand is on a good run and has recently scored good wins over Rene Dacquel and Keyvin Lara, and will clearly be expected to pick up another win here.
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo get the chance to see a pretty significant Diamond Glove card, with a Japanese fight, a notable fighter in a supporting bout and two Japanese Youth title eliminators.
The main event will see unbeaten Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) look for his fourth defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-3, 3). Yoshino has looked fantastic since winning the title in 2017, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita, and has stopped his last 3 challengers. Sumiyoshi on the other hand is getting his second shot at gold, after having challenged for he OPBF title way back in 2015. Since losing to Masayoshi Nakatani Sumiyoshi has gone 7-0-2 and put his career back on track with a solid unbeaten run, this is however a huge step up from those last 9 bouts. A full preview of this bout can be read here Yoshino defends against mandatory Sumiyoshi!
In a supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) looks to bounce back from an October loss to Rikki Naito, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Tsukada (9-7, 3). Nagata is a fun guy to watch, and whilst he's no world beater he is likely to find himself in another title fight sooner rather than later. Tsukada on the other hand has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 and we wouldn't be surprised with him being stopped again here.
The really exciting part of the under-card are the two Japanese Youth title eliminators. The more exciting of the two comes at Light Flyweight, where Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) will take on the unbeaten Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) in what could be a really amazing fight, and a proper test for the unbeaten Shiba. The other eliminator will see the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (7-1, 7) take on Kenta Nomura (5-2, 2) in a Super Bantamweight eliminator.
The eliminators here will see the winner of the Super Bantamweight bout take on Toshiki Shimomachi later in the year for the vacant title, whilst the Light Flyweight winner will take on either Tsuyoshi Sato or Tetsuya Tomioka, who will have fought on April 6th after this was written.
This coming Tuesday our attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall where Dangan put on the finals of their recent B-class tournament, featuring several very promising fighters, and also featuring several other bouts of note.
The main event of the show will be the B Class Tournament Bantamweight final, which will see former amateur stand out Seiya Tsutsumi (2-0, 2) take on the charismatic Junpei Inamoto (2-0, 1) in a mouth watering clash. Tsutsumi went 84-17 (40) in the amateurs ranks and although he has only faced two limited Thai's so far Watanabe have huge expectations for him. Inamoto went 37-7 (9) as an amateur and has been matched harder since turning professional, but he was tested big time in his last bout. This has the potential to be a very special bout.
In the B Class Tournament Flyweight tournament final we see another former amateur stand out, as Rikito Shiba (1-0), who went 38-13 in the unpaid ranks, battles Yasuhiro Tanaka (5-3-2). On paper this is less exciting than the Bantamweight bout, but really big things are expected of Shiba and a win here for the 22 year old will put him on the fast track to a domestic or regional title. Tanaka isn't a former standout but instead he's a fighter who made his professional debut way back in 2009. Sadly for Tanaka his career has been rather stop-start but this is a great chance to make up for lost time and defeat a former amateur stand out.
The Featherweight final of the B Class Tournament will see the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (7-0, 5) take on Kanehiro Nakagawa (5-5, 3). This is the only B Class final with no real amateur pedigree behidn it, but Sasaki was the Rookie of the Year at Featherweight last year and comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight stoppage wins. Nakagawa ended a 3-fight losing streak back in June, when he over-came namesake Tasuku Nakagawa, but has battled tested with bouts against the likes of Yoshimitsu Kimura. This could be a very interesting match up.
One of the more interesting non-tournament bouts on this card will see Wataru Ikegami (5-3-1, 2) take on novice Tsubasa Murachi (1-0, 1). The 28 year old Ikegami has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3, but has been matched pretty hard with bouts against the likes of Fumiya Fuse and Tokuken Yoshimoto. Murachi on the other hand has fought just 92 seconds a professional before heading into this 6 round bout, which looks to be a huge step up in class.