EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The Edion Arena plays host to two different shows this coming Friday, one from Taisei Promotions and one from Harada Promotion, both of which were originally scheduled to take place in June.
The bigger of the two is the Taisei promoted event, which serves as a regional title double header.
The main event will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (17-4-1, 8) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title against the once touted Takumi Sakae (22-3-1, 16), in what could be a genuinely competitive match up. Kano was once regarded as the next super kid of Japanese boxing, but those hopes have faltered, repeatedly, in recent years and his ceiling, for now, appears to be this regional title level. Despite that comment he is a solid boxer, with good speed and he fights to his strengths. He is however too lightweight, at least at the moment, to make it to the top. Sakae was tipped incredibly highly at one point, but he has fallen short when he's stepped up and it seems clear that he doesn't have what it takes to reach the top. He's an exciting and fun guy to watch, but he's certainly lacking the tools to reach the world level. This bout could be a bit of a messy one, but should be competitive. Our full preview of this one can be read here Kano takes on Sakae in first defense of WBO Asia Pacific title
In the co-feature veteran fighter Yuki Nonaka (34-10-3, 10) will defend his WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight title against Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6). The talented Nonaka has had a remarkable career, and at 43 is among the oldest fighters in Japan. He signed a contract with an American promoted before the pandemic, and it was hoped that he would land a big US bout, but the pandemic put those plans to bed and he's now been out of the ring since September 2019. He desperately needs to get back in the ring, before father time beats him. In the opposite corner is a man who was tipped to be a star when he turned professional, following a strong run as an amateur, but has, so far, fallen short. Sadly for Koshikawa a TKO loss last time out, to Hironobu Matsunaga in 2019, has left his career dangling by a thread, and he needs a win here. It's rare for a bout to be a legitimate must win, but that's exactly what we have here. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Veteran Nonaka takes on flawed Koshikawa!
On the under-card we'll see WBO and JBC ranked Flyweight Arata Matsuoka (10-6, 4) take on Tetsuya Mimura (8-3, 1) in a 10 round bout. Matsuoka will be looking to fight for a domestic or regional title shortly, and this match up should help him prepare for something like that. As for Mimura he shouldn't be over-looked, but he's the big under-dog and probably lacks the power he'd need to defeat Matsuoka.
One other domestic bout on this card worthy of some note will see Ryo Suwa (11-4, 2) take on Tomoya Kishine (6-4-1, 2), in a scheduled 6 rounder at Super Bantamweight. Suwa was once regarded as a domestic contender, but he has now lost 3 in a row and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. Kishine on the other hand is no world beater, but will feel he's getting to Suwa at the right time and a win here would still be a sizable boost to his career.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The other show is a much smaller event headlined by a Japanese Youth title fight, and a really interesting one at that.
That Youth title bout will see the unbeaten Tsubasa Narai (7-0, 6), look to build on his Rookie of the Year win, back in February, as he takes on Kyonosuke Kameda (6-2-1, 5) in a mouth watering match up. Both of these men can punch, both are young, and both are coming to fight. For Kameda, the cousin of the fighting brothers, the key will be to use his height and reach to keep Narai at range and box behind his long straight shots. As for Narai we expect to see him relying on his power, and his aggression and for him to try and take Kameda out with single heavy shots, and well placed counters. Our preview of this one can be read here Narai and Kameda battle for Youth honours!
This coming Monday is a great day for those wanting to follow Japanese boxing, with free live streams available and shows in both Hyogo and Tokyo. The day might not be the biggest, but there is plenty to be excited about, and plenty of potentially thrilling match ups and action
Bunka Center, Sanda, Hyogo, Japan
The first of the cards will be from Hyogo on a Taisei promoted card in Sanda. This event will have 4 bouts on it, and may well have the bout of the week on it.
That potential bout of the week will see former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) take on former 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7) in a bout that has the ingredients to be something truly special. For Takayama, who's now 37, the bout is a return to the professional ranks after a short lived flirtation with the amateur game, and he has eyes on getting another world title before hanging them up for good. For Konishi the bout is a must win following recent losses to Carlos Canizales and Felix Alvarado, another loss will be the end of his world title dreams. Given the styles of the two men expect this to be all action, bloody, thrilling and a bit of a war. The only real shame here is that this is scheduled for just 6 rounds.
Also on this show we'll see an 8 round bout we'll see Japanese ranked Flyweight Arata Matsuoka (9-6, 4) take on Hideyuki Watanabe (8-12-3, 6). On paper it's hard to see this being anything but a win for the 25 year old Matsuoka, who is a former Japanese Youth Flyweight champion. Although no world beater Matsuoka is much better than his record suggests and is 6-1 in his last 7. As for Watanabe he's actually 1-6 in his last 7, though has been competitive in a number of those losses, and could well be a banana skin for Matsuoka here. This is a much, much better bout than it looks on paper.
Bunka Center, Sanda, Hyogo, Japan
After the first card in Sanda we get another, at the same venue by the same promoter, who has essentially split the show in to two to deal with the on going guidelines on boxing in Japan. This only features 3 bouts but two of those are well worthy of attention.
The first of those two notable bouts will see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (28-2, 15) take on Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2), in what could be a genuinely intriguing and explosive encounter. The twice beaten Ishida is likely best known for his WBA world title bout with Kal Yafai in the UK, though was once touted as an outstanding prospect form the Ioka Gym, and the next star from the gym, following Kazuto Ioka. That promise has never been delivered on but he'll be aware that a loss almost certainly ends any dream of a second world title fight. Ishii on the other hand has been thrown in deep from the off, with his second bout coming against the then 8-0 Fumiya Fuse and his third but being a war with Haruki Ishikawa. A win for Ishii puts him straight into the domestic title picture. A brilliant, risky, and wonderful match up that we are really looking forward to.
The other bout on this second part of the event will see another former world title challenger in action as Riku Kano (16-4-1, 8), who has previously fought the aforementioned Katsunari Takayama, takes on Ryoki Hirai (13-6-1, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Kano was once regarded as a prodigy but with a 6-3 record in his last 9 he's fallen a long way short of expectations. Thankfully he is only 23, but it really does seem like he has got a lot of work to do to even come close to what was predicted for him. In Hirai we have an under-rated fighter who hasn't had much fanfare or success, but is in his prime and will see this as a great chance to make a mark on the sport around 8 years after his debut! A very interesting bout that will put the winner in the world title mix, and leave the loser with some serious questions to answer. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Kano and Hirai clash for WBO regional title
For fans wanting to watch the action from Hyogo it'll be streamed on TV Osaka's YouTube channel, who will be showing both parts of the event!
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
The other show is the latest in the A-Sign series of shows and will come from the Sinjuku FACE in Tokyo. On paper this is the less interesting of the 3 events from Japan, and sadly is another small show, with just 3 bouts on it.
In the main event we'll see emerging Welterweight star Jin Sasaki (8-0, 7) taking on Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-13-1, 9) in a 6 rounder. When we talk about prospects we usually consider their skills as the key factor, but with Sasaki we are looking at the full package, with the 19 year old having skills, power, charisma and the X-Factor. He looks like a genuinely bankable future star for Japanese boxing, and just needs to work on his defense and carry his destructive power up through levels. Sadly the 36 year old Miyazaki is unlikely to ask many questions of Sasaki, but if he lands clean he could end up giving Sasaki's chin a test.
In the chief support bout the exciting Ryugo Ushijima (4-1-2, 2) will be up against the light punching Hyuma Fujioka (10-10-1, 1). Although we don't see future world champion potential in Ushuijima he does make for fun fights and his 2019 bout with Shota Ogasawara was a real highlight and his 2020 bout with Ryukyu Oho was a fun one a few months ago. In Fujioka we have a tough but limited fighter, who should ask questions of Ushijima, but come up short in what should be a solid bout.
Sadly a bout between Hyoga Taniguchi (4-2-2, 1) and Hiro Ichimichi (4-0-1, 3), which looked excellent on paper, has had to be cancelled after Taniguchi was involved in a traffic accident. As a result the only other bout on this show will see Ken Koibuchi (6-4, 5) take on Tetsuya Kondo (4-2, 3), in what should be a very explosive, but lower level, bout.
For fans wanting to watch this show it will be shown on the A-Sign YouTube channel.
Dayao Walnut Culture Square, Chuxiong, China
We also have action in China, albeit at a much lower level, with 5 of the 6 bouts on the card being 4 rounders.
The one bout scheduled for longer than 4 rounds is an 8 rounder between Chunhua Yang (4-1-1, 2) and Jun Qi (2-1-1), who clash at Super Flyweight. Coming in to this Yang was beaten in September, in his only other bout this year, and his 4 wins have come against poor opposition and novices, with Qi will be facing his most experienced opponent to date.
In a rarity the show that has caught our eye for November 17th comes from Indonesia and will feature the biggest name in Indonesian boxing and one of the hottest prospects in the country.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Daud Yordan (39-4-0-1, 27), who takes on South African foe Michael Mokoena (15-4, 10) in a bout for the IBA World and WBO Oriental Light Welterweight titles. The talented Yordan is looking to score his second win since his 2018 loss to Anthony Crolla a year ago whilst Mokoena is looking to avoid a third loss in 4. It's hard to go against Yordan in Indonesia but the visitor will not be there to make up the numbers.
A second bout of note on this show will see the unbeaten Ongen Saknosiwi (7-0, 7) take on experienced Filipino Marco Demecillo (24-8-1, 19), in a bout for the IBA world Featherweight title. The unbeaten Saknosiwi is, on paper, taking a leap up in class after 7 bouts against relative novices, however he should have size, and physical advantage over Demecillo. The Filipino, who began his career around Super Flyweight, has fought as high as Lightweight in recent years, but is very much a blown-up-Bantamweight type fighter. Despite being the smaller man Demecillo shouldn't be written off, and he's an upset minded type of fighter who will be in the ring looking to shock the unbeaten local hero.
In Japan we have a couple of shows with the most notable of those taking place in Hyogo.
The main event of this card will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (15-4-1, 8) face off against the once beaten Tetsuya Mimura (8-1, 1), in what looks likely to be a much more interesting bout than the records suggest. Kano is a talent, but isn't looking likely to live up to the early expectations put on his shoulders, and looks like the best he'll do any time soon is a national title. Mimura on the other hand is looking for his third win since losing in the 2018 Rookie of the Year final. We'd assume Kano's experience will be key here, but it's not a given.
In the main support bout Japanese ranked Flyweight Arata Matsuoka (8-6, 4) will take on Shota Asami (7-6, 4). On paper this looks like a really competitive bout, and one that is worthy of attention. Matsuoka is a former Japanese Youth Flyweight champion and despite his record he is 6-1 (3) in his last 7, rebuilding from a 2-5 start. Asami on the other hand has suffered a lot of close losses, and could have had a 12-1 record with some good fortune shining his way. This might not look like the best of bouts, but we expect it will be much, much better than the records suggest.
Another bout that has the potential to out-shine the main event will see former Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Hikaru Matsuoka (15-5-3, 2) take on Retsu Kosaka (10-4, 4). With 23 bouts to his name it's hard to believe Matsuoka is only 24, but the youngster is an experienced young veteran who always comes to fight, despite his limitations. Kosaka isn't a great, and is 3-4 in his last 7, but can score the occasional upset and hold a a very big 2017 win over current Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa. This is another very good match up, even if it's not going to get much attention outside of Hyogo.
As well as the show in Hyogo there will also be a Japanese card in Yamaguchi, featuring a promising and talented young female fighter, a bout between Japanese fighters and a young novice with a lot of promise.
The main event of the show will be the one featuring the talented young female fighter, teenager Eruka Hiromoto (5-0). The promising Hiromoto will be looking to defend her OPBF female Minimumweight title, as she takes on the aggressive, but somewhat clumsy, Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2). For Hiromoto this will be her first defense, and the fleet footed southpaw will know she's in for a legitimate test here against the 35 year old Hazuki. Although Hazuki is the more technically limited of the two she's aggressive and will ask serious questions of of the champion in what promising to be a very interesting contest. Our preview of this bout can be read here Teenager Hiromoto takes on Hazuki in first title defense
The chief support bout will see Japanese ranked fighters Taiyo Inoue (8-5-2, 5) and Yuto Nakamura (11-5, 8) face off in an interesting looking 8 round contest. Entering the bout Inoue is ranked by the JBC at Light Flyweight, though has been fighting at Flyweight and Super Flyweight recently. Although Inoue is 2-3-2 in his last 7 he is much better than those numbers suggest. Nakamura on the other hand is ranked by the JBC at 115lb is a former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion who enters on the back of 4 straight wins. The size and power is with Nakamura here, but Inoue will certainly be in the ring seeking the upset.
It's also worth noting that Eruka Hiromoto's older brother Ayato Hiromoto (1-0, 1) will be having his second bout on this card. The talented Hiromoto will be taking on Filipino foe Romel Oliveros (10-5-1, 4), in what is a big step up in class from his debut back in September against Suriyo Chonlathan. Although Oliveros is no World beater he's a very good test for someone as inexperienced in the professional ranks as Hiromoto.
This coming Sunday our attention turns to Hyogo for a title triple header from the Sanda hotel. The show, put on by Taisei, isn't a huge one, but does have some pretty interesting match ups on it, and a lot of young talent.
The main event will see former world title challenge Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) take on Indonesian visitor Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a bout for the WBC Youth Minimumweight title. The once very highly regarded Kano has struggled in recent bouts, losing last year to Shin Ono and has also been beaten in recent years to Jerry Tomogdan and Katsunari Takayama. The Indonesian visitor is no world beater, but he has shared the ring with Wanheng Menayothin and Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, so it is well experienced. This should be a straight forward win for Kano, but Marganti is expected to take Kano plenty of rounds. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Kano and Marganti battle for WBC Youth crown!
A second title fight on this card will see JBC Youth Featherweight champion Hikaru Matsuoka (15-4-3, 2) make his first defense, and take on the under-rated Kyohei Tonomoto (8-2, 4) in a pretty tough match up. Coming in to this Matsuoka has won his last 3, including a technical decision for the title last December, but has been stopped in 3 of his 4 losses and his chin is thought to be rather shaky. Tonomoto isn't a big puncher but is a very capable fighter who reached the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the year, losing to Reiya Abe, and he is clearly a very live challenger. We're expecting a very hotly contested bout here. A preview of this clash can be read here Matsuoka and Tonomoto battle for Featherweight crown!
Another Japanese youth title fight will see Flyweight champion Arata Matsuoka (7-6, 4) defend his title against Jukiya Washio (7-2-1, 2), with Matsuoka making his first defense. The 24 year old champion has turned around a really poor start to his professional career, winning 5 of his last 6, but those wins have typically come against limited opposition. The 21 year old challenger has won 5 of his last 7, but this will be his first 8 round bout and his first contest for a title. The preview of this bout can be read here Youth Flyweight king Matsuoka takes on Washio
The Taisei gym put on a notable card this coming Sunday with two youth title fights, as well as a contest featuring a former world title contender. It's not a huge card by any stretch but is a notable one.
The more interesting of the two Japanese Youth title fights will see the talented but light punching pair of Hikaru Matsuoka (14-4-3, 2) and Noboru Osato (10-6-4, 2) battle for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. On paper this looks pretty competitive, and although almost certain to go the distance we should see some real skills on show. Both fighters are talented boxer, and we're not expecting a tear up, but we should see a lot of skill in the ring, with both fighters being smart and understanding their role in the ring. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Matsuoka and Osato battle for Youth Featherweight title!
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see Arata Matsuoka (6-6, 4) face off with Hikaru Ota (9-8, 5) for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title, which has been vacated by the excellent Junto Nakatani. The bout isn't an amazing looking one, but given both fighters are flawed it should at least be evenly contest, and if bot Matsuoka's win they would be the first twins to pick up Japanese Youth titles together. This is one of those bouts where we expect to be better than it looks on paper, and could end up being pretty explosive if we're being honest. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Matsuoka and Ota battle for vacant Youth Flyweight title
Also on this card is former world title challenger Riku Kano (13-4-1, 7), who looks to be in a confidence building fight against Takayuki Teraji (9-16-1, 4). There was a time when Kano was seen as one of the brightest young prospects in Japan, but losses to Katsunari Takayama, Jerry Tomogdan and Shin Ono in his last 6 bouts have taken the gloss off his potential. Teraji usually puts up a good fight at domestic level, but has come up short against every notable fight he's faced, such as Sho Kimura and Reiya Konishi and will be expect to lost a decision here.
As well as the Taisei card there will also be a show in Aichi, thanks to Green promotions
Overall this is a really weak card, but we do like the look of the main event, which will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (3-1, 2) taking on Genki Maeda (6-3-1, 2). This is a fantastic match up between two Japanese fighters both looking to score a solid domestic win to end a year which has been disappointing. Rikiishi's disappointment came when he was stopped by Kosuke Saka whilst Maeda was stopped in a Japanese title fight by Shuichiro Yoshino, and the fight between these two should be hotly contested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a bout of note in South Africa, as Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) challenges IBO Minimumweight champion Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7). The Filipino doesn't have an amazing record, but does hold very notable wins over both Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, showing he can compete against world class fighters, though has been stopped twice and perhaps has question marks about his chin. Khonco, who also has a misleading record due to losing 4 of his first 10 bouts, is riding a 4 fight winning run since a 2015 loss to Hekkie Budler. Those wins have included victories over Nkosinathi Joyi and Toto Landero. We suspect home advantage will play a key factor in this bout, but it should still be very competitive.
The big action this coming Friday comes from Tokyo, with Boxingraise showing it live online. The card features a couple of title fights along with two very good looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Akinori Watanabe (36-7, 30) battle against Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) for the interim Japanese Light Middleweight title. For Watanabe this is a chance to claim another belt to his collection, adding to reigns as the Japanese, OPBF and PABA champion at Welterweight. Maruki on the other hand gets a third shot as national honours, having come up short against Yuki Nonaka and Nobuyuki Shindo. We're expecting this to be explosive, with both fighters having very heavy hands, and very exciting with the winner then being lined up to face Shindo, either at the end of this year or in early 2019.
The other title fight will see Japanese Mminimumweight champion Shin Ono (22-9-3, 5) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on youngster Riku Kano (13-3-1, 7). The Watanabe veteran won the title earlier this year when he defeated Ryoki Hirai and will be hoping to use the title to land another world title fight, after having come up short in bouts against Katsunari Takayama and Wanheng Menayothin. The 20 year old Kano has promised a lot, but losses to Takayama and Jerry Tomogdan have slowed his career and a poor performance here could see him written off, despite his youth.
One of the really good supporting bouts will see the in form Kyosuke Sawada (11-2-1, 6), who has won his last 7, taking on former Japanese title challenger Yosuke Fujihara (17-5, 4). Although Sawada struggled early in his career losing his first 2 bouts, he has has really turned things around and scored a career best win in May against Kinshiro Usui. As for Fujihara he's been out of the ring for almost a year but is a capable fighter and should be a good test for Sawada, albeit one that Sawada should pass as he continues his pursuit of a title fight.
Another supporting bout will see the hard hitting Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) take on the much lighter hitting Joe Tanooka (15-4-4, 1). Last time out Oshima was held to an unexpected draw by Nobuaki Kanazawa and he'll be looking to bounce back from that set back. As for Tanooka, who is one of the more pure boxers in Japan, he'll be looking to build on a good domestic win against Kenichi Watanabe. A really interesting match up against two polar opposites.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable card in Shenzhen, China, where were several local fighters will be taking on interesting tests.
On paper the best of the bouts will see unbeaten Chinese prospect Wenfeng Ge (10-0, 6) look to build on his 2017 win over Amnat Ruenroeng as he takes on once beaten Filipino Ivan Soriano (18-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO International Flyweight title. Whilst Ge is unbeaten, and coming in to this on the back of a huge win, it's worth noting that Soriano hasn't lost in over 8 years and will feel confident of picking up a win here. Coming in to this both men are and both will know that a win here will shoot them up the rankings towards a potential world title shot, and a potential show down with either Sho Kimura or Kosei Tanaka.
A second title fight will see the once beaten Ahatelike Muerzhabieke (7-1-1, 4) battle against Thailand's Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (18-5, 14) for the WBO China National Super Middleweight title. The Thai once promises a lot, and began his career with 17 straight wins but has proven to be a huge disappointment since then, losing 5 of his last 6 by stoppage. Aged 19 this is a big step up in class for Muerzhabieke but he's won his last 5 and appears to be on a good run to build his confidence coming in to this bout.
In a battle of novices fans will see Bo Wang (1-0, 1) take on Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0). Wang needed just a round to win his debut in June 2016, but hasn't fought in an officially sanctioned professional bout since that contest, more than 2 years ago. Interestingly Podkolzin made his debut in January 2017, in a 10 rounder, but apparently hasn't fought since. This is an interesting match up, about as interesting as you can get between two men with 1-0 records.
Yesan, South Korea
The most notable card this coming Sunday is from Yesan in South Korea. Originally the card was set a quadruple title show, though unfortunately an injury to Korean prospect Yoon Sung Kim saw his OPBF title challenge against Carlo Magali being cancelled in the build up to the show. That has however left 3 KBF title fights headlining the card.
One of those bouts will be for the South Korean Light Welterweight title, and will see Dong Hee Kim (8-2-2, 3) face off with Gyu Beom Jeon (5-3-1, 1). Kim will be making his second defense of the title, but will be coming in to this bout on the back of a 4th round TKO loss to Koki Inoue at the end of 2017 and could be relatively low on confidence given he has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3. Jeon on the other hand will be stepping up big time here, fighting in his first title bout, and stepping beyond 6 rounders for the first time. The champion should be favoured but this won't be a foregone conclusion.
In a Korean Light Middleweight title fight Joong Kyung Lee (3-2-1) will take on Se Ho Joo (6-7, 2), in a bout for the vacant title. Lee has failed to win his last 2 bouts, including fighting to a draw for this title last December. Joo on the other hand has lost 5 of his last 6 and really shouldn't be fighting for a title. This looks like the KBF want to crown a champion, with out having any suitable contenders. A very weird one.
The third title bout will be for the Korean Welterweight title and will see the once beaten Dong Woo Kim (4-1, 2) take on Gyung Mo Yuh (1-5-3). Looking at this on paper the bout is a mismatch with Kim clearly the favourite. Coming in to this one Yuh has gone 0-1-3 in his last 4 and is without a win in over 4 years. Another bizarre bout for the KBF to put a title on the line for.
In Japan fans will get a low key Taisei promoted show.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (12-3-1, 6) battle against a Thai foe. Little is known about the Thai but it's unlikely to be someone testing as Kano really needs a confidence building win. He has last 2 of his last 4, and despite scoring a win last time out, he only just managed to get past Naoya Haruguchi. Kano needs to rebuild his confidence and needs to do it quickly if he's ever going to come close to living up to his early promise.
Another man in need of a win is Futa Akizuki (10-2, 8), who went from being one of Japan's brightest prospects to suffering back to back losses. He is now in dire need of a win which may explain why he's taking on a limit Thai foe here, much like Kano. Akizuki is a real talent, but with losses in his last 2 bouts he may become another of Japan's wasted talents, which would be a huge shame for the 20 year old.
A pretty interesting bout on this card will see the once beaten Hibiki Jogo (7-1, 4) battle against Yoshihiro Utsumi (14-8-3, 9). Jogo reached the 2016 Rookie of the year final, losing to Masato Niijima in the final, and has bounced back with 3 wins, including a good one against Yuki Hirashima. The 34 year old Utsumi has struggled in recent bouts, going 4-4-2 in his last 10 going back 5 years, and despite winning his last 2 bouts he should be regarded as the under-dog here.
Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
We also get a card in the Philippines, albeit a very low key one which will be headlined by the unbeaten Jerald Daniega (12-0, 9), as he battled against domestic journeyman Alvin Makiling (11-14-4, 3). The talented Daniega was frustratingly inactive last year, fighting just once in 2017, but will be looking to kick his 2018 off here and could be set for a break out year if he can stay fit and busy. The 30 year old Makiling is limited, but is tough and should give Daniega a few really good rounds, unless his 2017 loss to Rosekie Cristobal has ruined his durability.
In the only title bout of the day fight fans in Hyogo will see youngsters collide with the 21 year old Tenta Kiyose (13-2-1, 6) taking on 20 year old Filipino Joe Tejones (9-4, 5) for the WBC youth Super Bantamweight title. Of the two men it's Tejones who is probably the more well known internationally, following bout with the likes of Hinata Maruta and Singsayan CP Freshmart, for the WBC Youth Bantamweight and Super Flyweight titles respectively. As for Kiyose he's yet to fight for a title, but did fight in the 2015 Rookie of the Year final and has since gone 6-0 (5) and will be looking to use his natural size advantage.
A second show in Hyogo promises a lot more, without featuring any title action. Instead of title action it's a show mostly focused on youngsters looking to continue their budding careers.
The most notable of the youngsters is former world title challenger Riku Kano (11-3-1, 6), who faces domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (14-7, 6). Coming in to this one the once touted Kano knows he needs a win, having lost 2 of his last 3 including a stoppage loss to Jerry Tomogdan. Talented, speedy and young Kano did attempt to set a Japanese record last year as the youngster Japanese world champion, though came up short against Katsunari Takayama. As for Haruguchi he's in great form with 6 straight wins, including victories over Norihito Tanaka and Jun Takigawa. Although not well known Haruguchi will not be there to lose, and this could be a very competitive contest.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Hiroshige Osawa (31-4-4, 19), who will be expected to blitz Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (9-5-1, 2) in what looks like a mismatch. The talented Osawa was several levels below WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez when they fought around year ago, but Deztroyer should be several levels below Osawa.
Another youngster on this card is Kano's 19 year old stable mate Futa Akizuki (10-0, 8), who fights for the 6th time in Japan. The talented and heavy handed Akizuki will be facing off with Kenji Kihisa (6-3, 3) in a good looking 8 round bout. Akizuki has impressed, with a near shut out against Vincent Bautista and a 7th round stopped of the usually durable Shun Ishibashi. Kihisi is yet to win a bout of note, but he has never been stopped and should prove to be a durable foe for Akizuki and a test of Akizuki's power, especially at this lower tier of domestic level.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card is the “debut” of 17 year old Kazusa Arai (2-0, 2), who has fought twice in Thailand but will finally be fighting on Japanese soil for the first time. The teenager will be up against 18 year old Tetsuro Ohashi (2-0, 1). Ohashi has racked up 4 rounds so far in his career, compared to Arai's 3, but hasn't shown the power of the younger man who will be looking to make a mark here and announce himself to a domestic audience, who may well not know of his activity in Thailand.
In Fukuoka fan will see the heavy handed Ryota Ishida (8-2, 6) take on local resident Yuki Ozawa (12-5, 3) in what looks like a really decent match up on paper. Ishida was last seen losing a decision to the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno in August, with that loss ending a 3 fight stoppage run for Ishida. Ozawa on the other hand has notched up back-to-back wins following a 5 fight losing run, which included losses to Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. And he looks to be getting his career back on track.
After a small break in Japanese action we see things return this coming Friday with an interesting show in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see two former world title challengers face off in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. The match up will see Japanese teenager Riku Kano (11-2-1, 6) battle against Filipino Jerry Tomogdan (22-8-4, 10). For the 19 year old Kano the bout will be his second since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama last August whilst Tomogdan will be looking to get his career back on track following following a 4-3-2 in his last 9 bouts. On paper Kano will be favoured, but this is certainly no foregone conclusion.
The chief support bout will also be a Japan Vs Philippines bout as the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Futa Akizuki (8-0, 7) takes a step up in class and takes on Vincent Bautista (5-6-4, 1). On paper this looks like a real mismatch but the 19 year old Akizuki hasn't yet faced a foe with much of a pulse and this is his stiffest test on paper. Although his record isn't great Bautista has been matched hard and has gone in with Petch Sor Chitpattana, Palangpol CP Freshmart and Masataka Taniguchi showing his level of competition. This really could be a great test for the unbeaten man.
In another supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Rikito Hattori (7-1, 2) take on Takayuki Teraji (7-12-1, 4) in what should be another bout that will be better than the records of the two men suggest. Teraji is very beatable but always puts up a good effort and could well be a potential banana skin for Hattori.
We also have Asian action in Russia with two Filipinos fighting in interesting bouts.
One of those bouts will see Russian based Tajik Shavkat Rakhimov (9-0, 7) battle with Filipino Jimmy Paypa (19-3-1, 7) in a 10 round contest. Rakhimov has picked up wins over other Filipinos, stopping both Jerry Castroverde and Rogelio Jun Doliguez, and should be favoured again here, especially given that Paypa was stopped inside a round by Shingo Wake in his most notable bout to date. Although Rakhimov should be favoured it's worth noting that Paypa has won his last 3, including wins over Bernabe Concepcion and Jerry Nardo.
The other bout with a Filipino will see the unbeaten Evgeny Chuprakov (17-0, 9) take on experienced Filipino Eden Sonsona (36-6-2, 13) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. The talented Sonsona hasn't lost in over 5 years, going 10-0-2 during that run, and has the experience against very good opponents to be a real banana skin for Chuprakov. Saying that however the Russian will be favoured given he is the naturally bigger fighter and has home advantage. Despite being the away fighter Sonsona won't be turning up to lose, and will instead be looking to replicate his huge 2015 upset over Adrian Estrella.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows taking places in the country.
The most notable of those shows is in Hyogo, whee we see a former world title challenger and several other bouts of note.
That former world title challenger is teenager Riku Kano (10-2-1, 5), who is fighting for the first time since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama earlier this year. The teenager was supposed to fight in a second bout with Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym but Pigmy was replaced, several weeks out, by Thoedkiad Weerachon (0-5) giving us a very disappointing headline bout.
In a supporting bout we'll see Hikaru Matsuoka (12-3-3, 1) hunting for a 5th straight win as he takes on the inform Tenmei Serizawa (8-3, 4), who has turned around his career after a 3-3 start. On paper this looks like it should be a win for Matsuoka but his lack of power is an issue and has struggled with fighters he would have been favoured against before.
Interestingly one of the men to beat Matsuoka will be on the card as well, that's Seizo Kono (17-8-1, 11), who stopped Matsuoka in a round last year. Kono will be up against the limited Ryota Kihara (8-9-4, 6) and will be looking to build on an upset win over Hideo Sakamoto this past August. Kihara has won his last two bouts but this is a big step back up in class for him.
Also on this card will be teenage puncher Futa Akizuki (7-0, 6) who will be looking to score his second win on home soil after starting his career in Thailand.
The day also features 2-shows at the L-Theatre in Osaka with one of those show's being much more interesting the the other.
The more interesting of those shows is first of those shows, promoted by Taiho.
The main event here will see Japanese based Mexican Kenbun Torres (11-2, 9), the son of former world champion German Torres, battle against Filipino foe Engelbert Moralde (9-3, 6). Torres, who debuted way back in 2003, ended a 9 year sabbatical from the ring earlier this year and will be looking to score a career best win as he takes on Moralde. The Filipino has come up short when he has faced anyone of any note but could potentially pick up a win here in a very competitive looking match up.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Ken Osato (9-1-1, 3) battle against Toshiya Yokogawa (7-10-1, 6). On paper this isn't a great bout and Osato has proven he's a genuine prospect with solid results against the likes of Kento Matsushita and Retsu Kosaka. Despite that Yokogawa will come to fight and Osato will have to work for his win and it won't be handed to him here.
One bout that probably will be a mismatch will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Yuta Uetani (18-5-1, 9) take on Takuya Yamamoto (7-5, 4). Uetani isn't a top tier domestic fighter, but he's not far off and holds a number of notable wins including, a stoppage against Mark John Yap, with really only title level fighters beating him, including Shinsuke Yamanaka. Yamamoto on the other hand has done little of note and shouldn't really be a test for Uetani.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-6-4, 7) battle against the under-rated Shunji Nagata (10-15-2, 3). On paper this looks like another mismatch but it's genuinely a more interesting fight than it first appears. Kanazawa has the much better record but has gone 2-4-1 in his last 7, whilst mixing with good company on the hole. The first of those 4 defeats however came in 2014 to to Nagata who will be hoping for a repeat here. Kanazawa will obvious but hunting revenge and given their history this could be a very good and competitive bout.
The other show at the L-Theatre will be headlined by an intriguing lower level bout between Shachihoko Dragons Keita (6-5-1, 1) and Yu Konomura (7-4-1, 1). Neither guy has much of a punch and neither will go on to win titles, unless something changes massively, however they should make for a competitive and close bout which is better than a total mismatch. A lot of pride will be on the line here and it should be good.
In Australia fans will see local novice Tino Tanuvasa (2-0, 2) take on Australian based Indonesian veteran Aswin Cabuy (19-58-4, 7), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.