This coming Sunday may not be the biggest day in Asian boxing this year though it is certainly an interesting day with 2 separate Japanese shows both of which feature some very interesting match ups.
The most interesting of the two shows is in the International Conference Hall in Nagoya where Hatanaka promotion have got a 6 bout "Soulbox" card.
The first bout of note on this show is a rematch as Hayashi Shota (21-5-1, 13) looks to avenge a 2011 loss to Zuri Kannan (15-5-3, 4). Ranked inside the top 15 Featherweights in Japan Shota is a promising fighter who has developed notably from his first bout with Kannan and is currently on a 7 fight unbeaten run. Kannan on the other hand has seen his career falter with 3 losses in his 7 fights since the first meeting. A loss for Kannan here would likely spell the end of his career whilst a loss for Shota would be a clear hit to his dreams of being a Japanese champion at some point.
The second noteworthy bout on this show is actually a title fight as the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (11-0-3, 7) looks to make the second defense of the WBC Youth Bantamweight title. Trying to take the title away from Tanaka will be Indonesian John Bajawa (12-5, 6) who has lost 3 of his last 4, including an opening round KO loss to Ryo Matsumoto. With the current form of the two men it's hard to see Bajawa really testing Tanaka.
Although the two bouts above are both interesting they pale in comparison to the main event which features the massively popular and hugely talented Kosei Tanaka (1-0) fighting against his second world ranked opponent.
Kosei, who debuted back in November against the then WBO #6 ranked Oscar Raknafa, will be fighting WBA #15 ranked Minimumweight Ronelle Ferreras (13-6-2, 5) of the Philippines. Although this isn't a given victory for Kosei Tanaka many are viewing this as being effectively his prelude before a possible Japanese title fight later in the year and from what we've seen of him he really could win a title in just his third professional bout.
For those who are curious it's Shota at the bottom, Yushi Tanaka on the left and Kosei Tanaka on the right of the poster opposite.
The second of the Japanese takes place in the Kyushu Electric Power Memorial Gymnasium in Fukuoka and although it's a bigger show in terms of bouts, at 9 contests, it is a show that has appeared to slip under the radar, in fact Boxrec don't currently list it at all.
The main event here will see world ranked females colliding as former world title challenger Yuko Kuroki (9-4-1, 5) battles Filipino visitor Aisah Alico (5-2, 4). Both of these women have shared the ring with some fantastic fighters with Kuroki having lost to Etsuko Tada whilst Alico was beaten in 3 rounds by Samson Tor Buamas, so they are experienced on the world stage and both have high rankings. Despite the similar rankings it's hard not to favour Kuroki who has more experience, home advantage and seemingly better all round ability.
In the co-feature former 2-time Japanese title challenger Yosuke Kirima ( (17-4-2, 12) will face a Thai opponent. Although we've not got the name of the Thai we don't expect him to be much of an opponent for Kirima who will be looking to rebuild his confidence after a 156 second blow out loss to Tadashi Yuba last year.
(Poster courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/SOULBOX.HatanakaBoxingGym)