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.
Kadoebi return to Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a card that has a few good domestic fights, and an almost farcical Heavyweight rematch.
The main event is rematch between Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 19) and Naoki Mochizuki (16-4, 8), with Sakashita looking to make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The champion was actually the clear loser when these two men fought a few years ago, however since that first bout the career trajectory of both fights has gone in opposite directions with Sakashita's career trending upwards and Mochizuki's trending downwards. This will be a chance for Sakashita to avenge his loss, whilst a win for Mochizuki would be a huge boost to his career just when he needs it. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sakashita looks to defend title and gain revenge in Mochizuki rematch!
In a Japanese title eliminator at 140lbs we'll see Japanese-Brazilian puncher Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) take on the solid, if relatively unspectacular, Daishi Nagata (13-2-1, 5). On paper this might not look hugely competitive, but in reality we wouldn't be surprised if this was an instant classic. Aoqui is an exciting fighter, who lets his hands go, and Nagata applies a lot of intelligent pressure, so we could see some frighteningly fun exchanges when these two go to work. The winner of this will be expected to challenger for the Japanese title at Champion Carnival next year. In theory the winner would get a showdown with Koki Inoue next year, though it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Inoue vacate if he picks up a win in December for the WBO Asia Pacific title. A full preview of this bout can be read here Thriller expected when Aoqui and Nagata clash!
Another interesting fight here will see Riku Nagahama (10-2-1, 4) look to score his third successive win, following a 2018 loss to Yuki Nagano, as takes on Fumisuke Kimura (9-4-1, 6). On paper this doesn't look interesting, but looking below the numbers we do have a good fight here. Nagahama has been stopped in both of his losses, and whilst he's a pretty talented fighter he is 3-2 in his last 5, and has question marks over his durability and his confidence. Kimura is unbeaten in his last 3, and has scored notable upsets against Hayato Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda this year, he'll be the under dog but he can punch, and this could be another upset win for him this year.
And after those 3 bouts we come to what is really a bout that we don't like. At all. This bout will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1, 12) take on Thai foe Suthat Kalalek (13-10, 12), in their second meeting. Whilst we understand there aren't many Oriental Heavyweights worth putting Kyotaro in with this is a second bout with Suthat, Kajornsak Saikaew Boxing Camp, and the two men fought just over a year ago with Kyotaro taking a 6th round TKO win. Given potential bouts with foes from China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this seems like a waste for Kyotaro, who is world ranked. His career is losing all momentum and it's a real shame that he's not being tested in bouts.
The big focus this Saturday is in the Kazakh Capital of Nur-Sultan, where the country will be celebrating Capital City day. To celebrate the day MTK will be putting on a stacked card in the city with a world title fight main event, several interesting support bouts and a host of prospects.
The main event will see WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-3-1, 18). The talented French-Moroccan is a real talent, and he was one of the many top Bantamweights frozen out of the WBSS, but is getting on in age and won't remain the skilled boxer-puncher that he's looked for much longer. Despite being the older fighter Oubaali will be strongly favoured here against a challenger who has lost his 3 biggest bouts, and would need a career best performance to even come close against the Frenchman. Villanueva isn't a bad fighter, but his ability is more that of a gatekeeper than a true contender. A full preview of this bout is available here Villanueva takes on Oubaali for WBC Bantamweight crown
In the main supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Zhankosh Turarov (23-0, 16) take on Mauro Maximiliano Godoy (31-4-1, 16) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Light Welterweight title. The unbeaten Turarov returned to the ring in June after almost 21 months out of the ring, and took a really disappointing win over Richmond Djarbeng, who sat in his corner complaining of stomach cramps after the second round. Godoy should prove to be a good test for Turarov, but the Argentinian has lost 3 of his last 7 and may be on the slide from the fighter he once was. Still this is easily Turarov's best test on paper, so far.
Another notable supporting bout will see the unbeaten Viktor Kotochigov (9-0, 4) taking on Jairo Lopez (24-10, 16), who was once regarded as a fringe contender. On paper this is a step up for the unbeaten Kazakh but Lopez is 3-4 in his last 7 and has been stopped in 3 of those 4 losses. This should be easier than it looks on paper for Kotochigov.
This card will b stacked with other Kazakh prospects, as MTK go all out to put on a show for local fans with Kazakh talent. Among the prospects are Ali Baloyev (8-0, 7), Sultan Zaurbek (7-0, 5), Nurtas Azhbenov (5-0, 1), Abay Tolesh (2-0, 2) and Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (5-0, 4), who are in relatively easily here and won't face too much of a test as they continue to build their careers and move towards bigger bouts.
As well as the Kazakh show there is also a notable card in Tokyo thanks to Teiken. This card is a really interesting one, with a notable name in the main event, a really good chief support bout, and a host of notable prospects
The main event will see Kenichi Ogawa (23-1-0-1, 17) take on limited Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-5-1, 6) in what will be little more than a stay busy bout for Ogawa. Originally the Japanese puncher was scheduled to have an IBF world title eliminator eliminator with South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), but Fuzile failed to secure a visa in time for the bout leading to Medura, who is 0-4 in Japan, getting the bout. We don't see this going very long at all.
A much better Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) take on Al Toyogon (10-3-1, 6) in an excellent match up. The once beaten Masaki, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro, hasn't really shined as Teiken would have wished and this is a long way from a gimme. Masaki is talented, but really needs to get prove he can put on good performances, something we don't really see from him with any consistency. Toyogon on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Ryo Sagawa, and will be coming into this out with a point to prove. A very interesting bout contest.
One of the other main supporting bouts will be a Welterweight bout between Masaya Tamayama (12-1, 6) and Riku Nagahama (9-2-1, 4), with both men wanting to tak a big step towards a potential Japanese title fight in the near future. Nagahama is looking to secure a second win since his TKO loss last year to Yuki Nagano, who has since gone on to win the Japanese title, whilst Tamayama is looking for a 9th straight win, and a chance to take a huge step towards a big bout.
Among the other supporting bouts we will see Japanese Super Flyweight prospect Hayate Kaji (12-0, 9) take on Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-18-2, 5), in what looks to be a chance for Kaji to take a huge step towards a Japanese title fight. It feels like Kaji has been on the verge of a break out fight for a while and whilst this isn't going to be it, it seems like a win and his next one will be his long awaited break out bout. For Orais questions should be asked why he's continuing to fight, rather than focus more on the training role he has at the Flare Yamagami gym.
Lower down on this card we'll see two more touted Japanese prospects both take big steps up in class against Filipino foes. One of those is the fantastic Mikito Nakano (2-0, 2), who takes on Arvin Yurong (12-2, 3) in a genuinely good test. Nakano looks like he has the ability to move through the rankings quickly, and could fight for a title as early as late 2020, and Yurong is a very under-rated young fighter who should force answers from Nakano.
The other is Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1), who's debut saw him look fantastic against an opponent who didn't want to be there. Here Lee takes on unbeaten Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (9-0-1, 5) in what should be a much, much better match up. Sadly not much is known about the visitor, so it's unclear what type of a test he will actually pose for the very talented Lee.
A smaller show takes place in the Phillipines where we see a few interesting Filipino fighters in action with a really good main event.
The main event will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (10-0-1, 5) take on the once touted Jesse Espinas (19-3, 11). The 23 year old Vicelles isn't well known but comes into this on the back of an excellent win over Robert Onggocan, and this is a logical step up in class. As for Espinas this is a slight step backwards, but is one that makes sense given he was beaten last time out in an OPBF title bout against Edward Heno. A very interesting match up, and rightfully the main event of the card.
In a good supporting bout Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5) and Prince Andrew Laurio (10-2-1, 7) will face off for the Philippines Visayas Professional Boxing Association Super Flyweight title. The 22 year old Remandiman has turned around a 2-4-1 start with 8 straight wins and has great momentum coming into this bout, as well as a good win last time out against Renz Rosia. Interestingly Lauio's career is going in the opposite direction, and he is 2-2-1 in his last 5, with stoppage losses in his last 2 bouts. His early potential appears to have been massively over-hyped and he is now really faltering.
One other bout of note here will see the one beaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-1-1, 9) take on Joffrey Garcia (6-10-4, 5), in what should be another straight forward win for Mangubat.
This coming Wednesday attention turns to the Korakuen Hall for the next Dynamic Glove show, headlined by a Japanese title fight with a number of notable fighters through the under-card.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (17-1, 11) defending his title against veteran Tsuyoshi Tojo (14-15-5, 3), in what will be the champion's second defense. The talented, yet frustrating, Sueyoshi made his first defense earlier this year, when he over-came Ken Osato, but had to pull himself off the canvas to record that win and looked pretty beatable at times, before finding his rhythm in the second half of the fight and stopping Osato. As for Tojo he is a pretty limited fighter at this level, but when he clicks he can be a frustrating night for decent fighters, having run Satoru Sugita close in 2016, and given stiff tests to the likes of Koji Umetsu and Hisashi Amagasa.
The main support bout will see the once beaten Shuya Masaki (9-1, 5) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Hironori Mishiro as he takes on Korean visitor Hyun Je Shin (8-7, 2). Masaki has shown touches of genius but has also flattered to decieve, and it's hard to really know how good he is. He might get in the ring be the fighter who looked poor against Vergil Puton or he might be the man who dominated Shingo Eto. At his best Masaki is very good, but we're not sure how well he can put a performance together going forward. Saying that however we doubt Masaki will need to be at his best here, as Shin is unlikely to have
In a Welterweight bout we'll see Japanese ranked fighters face. In one corner is JBC ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (13-2, 10) whilst the other will have JBC ranked Light Middlesbrough Riku Nagahama (8-1-1, 4). The hard hitting Nagano comes into this bout in great form, having won his last 11 in a row after a 2-2 (2) start to his career, but does lack wins of note during that running and really doesn't look ready for a title fight, yet. Whilst not ready to fight for a title Nagano will know that a win here against Nagahama will help prepare him for a shot. As for Nagahama he won the 2015 Rookie of the year and was unbeaten until last August, when he lost in a Japanese title fight to Takeshi Inoue. Since the loss to Inoue we've seen Nagahama fight just once, scoring a straight forward confidence boosting win over a a very poor Thai foe.
Also on this card is exciting Super Flyweight prospect Hayate Kaji (9-0, 7), who takes on Indonesian visitor Kichang Kim (8-5-1, 2). The explosive Kaji failed to shine last time out, when he narrowly over-came Jun Blazo in what was a poor performance from the 20 year old Teiken man. It's fair to say his team will not have been happy with that outing and and he really will have to show more here than he did there if he expects his team to push him towards a title fight. As for Kim, he has been stopped in 3 of his last 5, and should be the perfect foil for Kaji to look good against. The Indonesian is 0-4 outside of his homeland and we'd be genuinely shocked to see him claim a win here.
This coming Wednesday sees action in both Japan and China as Asian fight fans get a couple of low key cards.
The more notable of the two shows is at the Korakuen Hall, where we get a Japanese Youth title fight and an interest chief support bout, on what is likely to be an entertaining but over-looked show.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Kazuma Sanpei (13-4, 4) defending his title against the heavy handed Ryuki Ishii (6-2, 4). We saw Sanpei win the title back in August, when he narrowly defeated Ryusei Ishii, and that was only his second win in 4 bouts as his career has really struggled, despite the fact he was the 2013 Rookie of the Year and was touted for big things. Ishii has been stopped twice, once on debut and once in the 2016 Rookie of the Year final against the brilliant Shawn Oda. This is a really interesting bout, between two flawed but well matched fighters.
A second bout of note takes places at 154lbs and sees recent Japanese title challenger Riku Nagahama (7-1-1, 3) take on Filipino veteran Mark Sales (22-42-4, 8). This should be little more than a confidence builder for Nagahama, who came off second best in August when he challenger Takeshi Inoue and was stopped in 8 by the talented Inoue.
The other show takes place in Shenzhen and is another low key card, featuring a pair of title fights.
One of those bouts will see Kun Wang (9-3, 3) take on Qi Xiu Zhang (6-2-1, 1) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title. Wang is the better known of the two, and although he was blasted out early in his career he has shown solid toughness in going 8 rounds with Xiangxiang Sun earlier this year. As for Zhang he's now on a 6 fight unbeaten run and will feel full of confidence here.
The other bout will see the faltering Zhimin Wang (8-2, 3) take on Aketelieke Jieensi (6-2-3, 2) for the WBO China Zone Lightweight title. Wang turned professional with a lot expected of him, but 2 losses in his last 3 have left him in need of a strong run and he will know that he really needs a win here if he's to keep his career alive. As for Jieensi he's unbeaten in 5, but has struggled and looks to have been very fortunate during that run, with a loss expected here.
Attention turns to Tokyo again this coming Thursday, ending a few days of quietness for the sport in the Land of the Rising sun.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Keita Obara (17-2-1, 15) take on Thai visitor Saddam Kietyongyuth (26-2, 21) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. For Obara this will be his first title bout since losing in a world title fight to Eduard Troyanovsky last September. It will also confirm that he is now a full time Welterweight, finally letting his body ditch the crippling limits of Light Welterweight. For Saddam this looks like a really tough contest, with the Thai scoring 3 low key wins in the last 6 years. Losses to Alisher Rahimov and Cole Smith don't bode well for Saddam and we suspect Obara will break him down in the middle rounds.
In the co-feature we'll see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue (10-0-1, 5) making the first defense of his title, as he takes on fellow unbeaten Riku Nagahama (7-0-1, 3) in a really mouth watering clash. Coming in to this Inoue is riding a 9 fight winning run, including notable wins over Chan Ho Lee, Akinori Watanabe and Koshinmaru Saito, who he beat for the title earlier this year. The champion is an exciting fighter who can box, or brawl, and is looking to make a statement by taking on such a tough challenger in his first defense. As for Nagahama, the #1 ranked contender, he comes in on a 7 fight winning run, including victories over Brandon Lockhart and Hideo Mikan, with his last 3 by stoppage. Given the recent performances by both men this should be a really fan friendly contest.
The most notable of the under-card bouts will see the fast rising Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) take on Thai visitor Katika Saithonggym (0-1), in what is a stay busy fight for the Japanese fighter. Yoshino will know that he's supposed to win here with not issues, but can't over-look the Thai as he has got a Japanese title eliminator bout with Spicy Matsushita lined up for October. If Yoshino suffers a cut here he will be kicking himself, so expect to see the talented youngster show some caution, but see off the visitor relatively early.
In another supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Yoshimitsu Kimura (7-0, 3), who claimed the Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight last year, take on Kanehiro Nakagawa (4-4, 3) in what looks like a decent for the unbeaten 20 year old. Nakagawa is a very beatable fighter, but he does have plenty of sting on his shots and should give the unbeaten man a chin check, at the very least.
We get more Korakuen Hall action on Tuesday with an SGS/Dangan card.
In the main event we'll see the exciting Koki Eto (19-4-1, 14) take on a Thai foe. At the moment the Thai is an unknown quantity, but it's fair to say that Eto will be favoured here. Although favoured Eto hasn't looked great in his last two bouts, struggling past both Michael Escobia and Jun Blazo, who actually dropped Eto, and it's fair to say that he's not the fighter he once was. Eto's style never seemed to be made for a long career and it could be that he's only got a few more fights left in him.
In the chief support bout we'll see Japanese ranked Takahiro Araki (9-6, 4) will take on the once beaten Ryota Ishida (7-1, 5) in what should be a competitive and exciting Super Featherweight bout. Neither of these will likely move beyond domestic level, but bouts at this level, against well matched opponents could be really fun, as we expect this one will be.
Anbother Japanese ranked fighter in action on this card will be Japanese ranked Middleweight Riku Nagahama (6-0-1, 2), who takes on the experienced Hideo Mikan (7-11-1, 2). Coming in to this bout Nagahama is only a few wins from a potential Japanese Middleweight title bout, and although not a puncher he has stopped his last two foes, and looks to be improving with every fight, as he develops his confidence. Mikan, a good servant for Japanese boxing, has lost his last 4, but has mixed with good company and his better than his record suggests, having run both Hikaru Nishida and Yosuke Kirima close in recent losses.
Arguably the best bout on paper will see the heavy handed Hokuto Kawana (6-2, 5) face off with the very hard matched Burning Ishii (7-4-1, 2). Kawana is a glass cannon, who has been stopped in both of his losses. Although he has won his last two bouts there is always a chance he'll unravel as he did twice in 2015. With Ishii we have a solid fighter who is seemingly always in with good opponents, and was stopped twice last year, by Kosuke Saka and Teiru Atsumi. This is a bout which will go over-looked but will be very competitive as long as it lasts.