EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most interesting show this coming Saturday comes from Osaka, where we see a very solid looking regional title bout, a former world title challenger in the chief support bout and the debut of a touted Japanese youngster.
The main event will see world ranked youngster Riku Kano (19-4-1, 10) face off with fellow youngster Yuga Inoue (13-2-1, 2) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The bout will serve as Kano's first test since moving up to Flyweight earlier this year, and should see him being asked questions as he looks to move towards a second world title fight. As for Inoue the bout is a huge opportunity for him, and a win would put him in the mix for a world title fight, though he will ned a career best performance here against the most notable opponent of his career so far. Our preview of this bout can be read here Riku Kano and Yuga Inoue battle for regional honours
In the chief support bout we'll see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (30-3, 16) take on Filipino fighter Alvin Medura (10-6, 7), who appears to be a late replacement for Ronnie Baldonado. On paper this one looks like a mismatch, and it's hard to imagine Medura being any kind of a test for Ishida, especially given the fact Medura has lost 4 of his last 6, with all 4 of those losses coming on the road including a 2018 loss to the then 1-0 Yuki Yamauchi.
A third bout of note will see 19 year old hopeful Yuga Ozaki (0-0) make his professional debut, as he takes on Narathip Sungsut (5-8, 2). As an amateur Ozaki went 32-8 and is tipped for big things for the future. The Thai visitor has been stopped 7 times in total, with 6 of those stoppages happening in bouts in Japan, and we expect to see him being taken out early again here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the show in Osaka, there is also a notable one in Tokyo, as part of the Dynamic Glove series. Sadly this show lacks any sort of stand out matches, but does have two bouts that are worth being aware of.
The main event will see former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (38-2-2, 25) take on Filipino fighter Edrin Dapudong (35-7-1, 21). On paper this looks a pretty even match up, and had both men been in their primes it could have been a very interesting bout, but now a days both guys are well beyond their primes and it's hard to imagine this being anything other than a bit of a mess, especially having seen Akaho's recent bouts on NTV G+. Akaho is clumsy, awkward but is still heavy handed and can do damage. Dapudong, now 36, is best known for his 2013 win over Gideon Buthelezi but has gone 5-1-1 since then. Sounds good on paper, but that dates back 9 years and he's only fought once since 2018. This has a loser retires feel to it.
The other notable bout on the show sees the hard hitting and unbeaten Kazuto Takesako (13-0-1, 12) take on Thai visitor Niwat Kongkan (11-8-0-1, 8). Takesako is one of the few Japanese Middleweights worthy of attention, with his power and exciting style. Sadly however he's only fought twice since the start of 2020 and has lost much of the momentum his career once had. This bout appears to be about getting some momentum back and getting a quick win over a former OPBF Light Middleweight champion. Kongkan is unbeaten in his last 4, but that says more about the level he's been fighting at, and he's lost in his last 4 bouts outside of Thailand.
Spaceplus Bangkok RCA, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan there is also a pretty notable card in Thailand, headlined by one of the hottest teenage hopefuls in world boxing, and also featuring a former world title challenger.
The aforementioned teenager is the really promising Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (14-0, 9), who will be defending his WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, as he takes on Filipino Rimar Metuda (15-6-1, 9). The 18 year old Phoobadin has held the title since July 2000 and will be seeking his 5th defense here, in what is a minor step up in class for him. Metuda is no world beater but he is a very solid fighter, who fought to a draw with Nihito Arakawa in 2018. Sadly since that draw he has gone 3-3 and we suspect he will come up short again here as he takes on a truly fantastic young prospect.
The other notable fighter on this card is former world title challenger Yutthana Kaensa (22-4, 9) aka Stamp Kiatniwat, who will be expected to pick up a very easy win as he takes on Adisak Ketpiam (8-4, 7). Stamp, who seems to have been around for years, is still only 24 but sadly already looks to be on the slide and has lost 3 of his last 5, including a shock loss in July to F. Zoramchhana. He'll be looking to bounce back with a win here, and should be strongly favoured to over-come Adisak, who has been stopped twice already this year.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Attention in Japan returns to Korakuen Hall this weekend as we get the next show in the Dynamic Glove series of shows. The card isn't one of the strongest, though interestingly when we say that they are the shows that do tend to massively over-deliver. The main event is a Japanese title fight, whilst the support-card features a former world title challenger and a once touted prospect.
The main event will see veteran Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) clash with the once touted Koki Koshikawa (9-3, 6) in a bout for the Japanese Light Middleweight title, which was recently vacated by Hironobu Matsunaga. Coming into this it's fair to say that both men have been shown to be under legitimate domestic title level, but both men will see this as a chance to claim a career defining win. Aged 37 it's hard to imagine Kawasaki getting another chance if he loses here, and sadly for him it's also hard to imagine him fighting his usual busy style with much success, over 10 rounds at his age. On the other hand Koshikawa has never really managed to develop into the professional fighter many expected him to become and now aged 31 it appears his career is winding down, and he's now almost 3 years removed from his last win. We don't expect this to be the highest quality bout, but the styles should make it entertaining and the hunger of both men to win a win a title should make it very watchable. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kawasaki and Koshikawa battle for vacant Japanese title!
In the chief support bout former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (37-2-2, 25) will be up against the exciting Mugicha Nakagawa (24-7-2, 14), in what should be a very exciting match up. Now aged 35 Akaho's dreams of winning a world title seem pretty much over, after losing twice in world title bouts, but his hunger for the sport is still alive and he's looking for a 12th straight win here. Although not world class he's strong, heavy handed and does make for fun fights. Nakagawa on the other hand is 33 and has failed to win his last 3 fights, but will know that if he can get a result here he could find himself back in the domestic title picture, and jump start his career. It is however a big ask for Nakagawa, who hasn't fought since 2019 and hasn't won since 2018.
On paper one of the most well matched bouts will see the in form Taison Mukaiyama (7-2, 4) battle against Ken Koibuchi (7-5-1, 6), in a nice matched bout. Coming in to this Mukaiyama is really in good form, winning his last 4 including two wins over Ryugo Ushijima and an impressive TKO win over Toru Kiyota last time out. He's got his career back on track after a 3-2 (3) start and appears to be developing into a genuine hopeful. Koibuchi on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3, but has been fighting a good mix of fighters, and has been proving his chin recently, following a 2019 loss to Katsunari Endo. Mukaiyama should be the favourite, but he'll have to work for a win here.
Also on this card is a bout between the once touted Shigetoshi Kotari (2-1-1, 1) and the limited, but hard hitting, Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-7, 6). Kotari turned professional with a lot of expectation on his shoulders, and was thought to be one of the future stars for Japanese boxing, and the MT Gym. Sadly for him he suffered his first loss last year, a close and competitive one to Junya Shimada, and then suffered a technical decision 5 months later, leaving him now really needing a win to get his career back on track. The 28 year old Miyamoto has proven to be dangerous at the lower levels of the Japanese scene, but with all 7 of his losses coming inside the distance he has a reputation for being a glass cannon, and we suspect Kotari's clean, effective shots will be too much for him here.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Title action isn't limited to Japan today and over in Metro Manila we'll see a new OPBF Super Bantamweight champion being crowned, as the hard hitting Jhunriel Ramonal (17-9-6, 10) takes on the highly skilled Pete Apolinar (15-2, 9). The title became vacant when Hiraoka Teshigawara vacated it, and it's left us with a really nice looking match up between one of the most dangerous and over-looked fighters in the sport, and one of the most gifted Filipino fighters. Ramonal is well known to fans in Asia, in part thanks to his journeyman mentality, and also his ability to score brutal upset wins, as we saw in 2019 against Yusaku Kuga and Shingo Wake. Apolinar on the other hand has shownb to be a really nice to watch boxer, who sits in the pocket and has lovely defense, but a lack of man strength at 126lbs has seen him come down a weight here. This could be a very interesting bout of power and aggression vs skills and defense. Our preview of this bout can be read here Ramonal and Apolinar clash for OPBF honours!
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino show is pencilled in for Zamboanga City, sadly though the details for this show are few and far between.
The only bout listed for this show at the time of writing will see former world champion Milan Melindo (37-5, 13) take on Crison Omayao (24-23-5, 8) in what looks like a ridiculous mismatch. But could turn out to be a genuine banana skin for the talented Melindo. The 34 year old Melindo hasn't been since in a ring since being stopped in 6 rounds by Junto Nakatani, back in 2019, and hasn't scored a win since a very close and somewhat controversial decision over Hekkie Budler back in September 2017. We do wonder what he has left in the tank and what he has to offer at Super Flyweight, which is the weigh he'll be at here. As for Omayao he hasn't scored a win since June 2018, when he stopped the dread Rogen Flores, and is unlikely to put up anything resembling a test for Budler
Others pencilled in for this show are the debuting Joshua Borleo (0-0) and the hard hitting Anthony Marcial (24-4-1, 22), though at the time of writing neither man has had their opponent for the show announced.
This coming Satudays promised a lot, but sadly due to Covid19 and the extended state of emergency in Osaka two shows set for the date have been postponed, whilst a Thai show, seemingly, vanished with out a trace. As a result we went from having a good day to look forward to, to having a rather small, limited and quiet day with just a single show. Albeit a fair interesting one from Tokyo.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The show in question will come from Korakuen Hall, with G+ airing the show live across Japan. It's not a massive show, but it's certainly a notable one, with a solid main event, a very good chief support bout and one other bout worthy of some attention.
The main event will see former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (36-2-2, 24) take on boxing policeman Daisuke Sugita (6-1, 3). On paper this looks like a mismatch in favour of the much more experienced Akaho, but in reality it will likely be a lot, lot more competitive than it looks. Whilst Akaho is more proven as a professional Sugita was a good amateur, and is the naturally bigger man. Akaho is a former Super Flyweight who has grown into a Super Bantamweight, Sugita on the other hand is a Featherweight-come-Super Bantamweight. Akaho will, rightly, be favoured, but Sugita is certainly no push over and his sole loss has come to the excellent, if sometimes frustrating, Reiya Abe. We expect this one to be a very compelling contest.
Talking about compelling contests the chief support bout will see unbeaten prospect Shokichi Iwata (5-0, 4) take on tough veteran Toshimasa Ouchi (22-10-3, 8), in a major step up for Iwata. Iwata made his debut in December 2018, in the US, surrounding by a lot of excitement, but has yet to kick on. He's a real talent, but now needs to prove it. Ouchi on the other hand is a true grizzled veteran who has been a pro since 2003, and has take the likes of Shin Ono, Kenichi Horikawa, Kenshiro Teraji and Masamichi Yabuki the distance. This should be the first, real, test we see for Iwata, and a win should open see him finally securing his first title bout.
A third bout of note here will see JBC #1 ranked Lightweight Seiryu Toshikawa (13-5, 8) take on the #15 ranked Masaki Saito (15-15-6, 5). On paper Toshikawa's record is underwhelming, with the 5 losses, but he was very competitive in a number of those and is 7-1 in his last 8, having turned a 6-4 start to his career around really well. Saito on the other hand is very much a win some, lost some, type of fighter, but sadly he is picking a lot more losses than wins in recent years, going 2-5-1 in his last 8. Despite poor recent form Saito always comes to win, and this should be a very entertaining bout, even if the winner does seem pretty obvious.
For those who want a late Christmas present, we have one of those for you this coming Saturday as Japan put on two shows and China also put on a show. One of those Japanese shows is a mouth watering card from Tokyo, which is set to be streamed live on the A-Sign YouTube channel whilst the second, from Aichi, will be shown on delay on Boxing Raise.
Christmas might be over, but the gifts keep coming!
Sumida City Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
The more significant of the two shows is the Tokyo one, and it's a genuinely stacked domestic card that should give us a big of everything. The main event should be a fairly technical contest, the opening bouts should be competitive under-card bouts, and we get at least one, if not two, shoot outs on a genuinely fantastic show.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) take on current OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3). Mishiro won't be risking his title here, in a 10 round bout at Lightweight, but the winner will certainly see their standing improve, and we could end up seeing the winner being just a fight or two away from a potential world title fight. Ito is, of course, the more well known fighter and the more established but he has only fought once since losing the WBO title to Jamel Herring in May 2019, and since then he has had a bout cancelled and has had surgery. Mishiro on the other hand is bit of advanced novice, who has been fast tracked to an OPBF title and already has several wins of note to his name, and other here would really boost his standing in the sport. We expect this to be a tactical early on, but will, sooner or later, descend into more of an exciting back and forth war.
Talking about wars we are really exciting about the Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title bout on this show, between Jin Sasaki (9-0, 8) and Aso Ishiwaki (8-2-1, 6), and this really should be a war. The hard hitting Sasaki has been creating a buzz with quick knockout and early wins, including a trio of success opening rounds wins, but Ishiwaki is the more proven man and a tough warrior. The 19 year old Sasaki really is a brutal boxer-puncher, and he's been swiping opponents aside with ease but has faced little in terms of competitive opposition. Ishiwaki has faced the much better competition, and has done so without much fuss, whilst creating a bit of an international following with his heart, energy, toughness and physical strength. This could be incredibly brutal war, and we do not expect it to go the scheduled 8 rounds. Our full preview of this one can be read here Sasaki and Ishiwaki clash for Youth Honours in potential Christmas Cracker!
On the subject of bouts not going the distance we don't imagine the 8 rounder between Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) and Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6) will see the final bell either. The hard hitting Kai Chiba was one looked at as a future regional champion, but a 2018 loss to Brian Lobetania, in a major upset, slowed his rise and he has only really began to rediscover his form in recent bouts, have now scored 5 straight wins. Ishikawa on the other hand is an explosive, heavy handed and wild fighter who comes into the ring with a war monger attitude and may well be too aggressive for Chiba to cope with. Interestingly this bout was delayed from earlier in the year following a positive Covid19 test for Ishikawa.
Former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (35-2-2, 23) looks to extend his current winning streak as he takes on youngster Yuto Nakamura (11-5-1, 8). The 34 year old Akaho has won his last 9 in a row though it does seem unlikely that he will land a third shot at a world title, following losses to Yota Sato and Pungluang Sor Singyu. At just 23 years old this is a great chance to Nakamura to show what he can do at a higher level following a short reign as the JBC Youth Super Flyweight champion. Sadly however it's hard to Imagine Nakamura coping with the power and strength of Akaho at Super Bantamweight.
One other bout worthy of attention is the second bout in Japan of "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (24-11-2, 13), who made his name in Mexico and the US. The exciting and rugged Sakai will be up against Takeru Kobata (8-4-1, 3). This really should serve as little more than a showcase for Sakai who should be too good, too strong and too powerful. Despite being the under-dog Kobata has some momentum coming into this, on the back of a solid win over Change Hamashima back in February. Even with that in mind it would still be a huge ask for him to be competitive with Sakai here.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The other show, the one from Aichi, is easier to over-look but does promise a very exciting main event between one of the biggest punchers at 108lbs and, strangely, just a single supporting bout.
The main event will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (11-3, 11) making his first defense of the belt as he takes on veteran Toshimasa Ouchi (22-9-3, 8). The hard hitting Yabuki moved down to Light Flyweight last year, stopping Rikito Shiba in 4 rounds and then blasting out Tsuyoshi Sato inside a round this past July to claim the title. Originally he had made his mark at Flyweight, losing in the 2016 Rookie of the Year final to Junto Nakatani, but looks much more suited to the 108lb limit and could find himself fighting for a world title in 2021. Ouchi on the other hand is a 35 year old, potentially getting his last notable fight. Although no world beater Ouchi has shared the ring with some notable names, including going 12 rounds with Kenshiro Teraji in 2016, and facing Kenichi Horikawa, shin Ono and Ryoichi Taguchi earlier in his career. Ouchi is tough, but we do wonder what his 35 year old body will do when it's caught by the power of Yabuki. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Yabuki faces first challenger as he takes on Ouchi
The only under-card bout scheduled for this show will see Teru Nobita (5-3-1, 2) face John Yano (5-6, 2). Nobita went through a run where he won 1 in 5, going 1-3-1, but did win last time out and will look to build on the momentum that December 2019 win over Kenshin Megumi. Yano on the other hand is a Japanese based Filipino who has stopped 2 of his last 3 and will be looking to show that power against Nobita. Potentially a much better bout than it looks on paper.
TSSG Center, Qingdao, China
As well as the action in Japan we also get a show from China, which is set to be one of their best of 2020.
In a bout at 154lbs we'll see Tonghui Li (12-2, 6) take on Dacong Wang (7-1-1, 1) in a bout for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental title. This will be Li's third bout since a loss to Jung Kyoung Lee, and at 30 years old it really is now or never for him to move his career forward. For Wang this is a massive step up in weight, but he has momentum on his side and is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run, and a 6 fight winning run. On paper this looks interesting, though we suspect Li's power and higher level experience will prove to be the difference.
The second bout of note will be an IBO International Lightweight title bout, pitting the unbeaten Ju Wu (9-0-2) against Xiao Tao Su (11-1, 6), with Wu looking to defend his minor IBO title for the first time. The talented Wu is the more skilled man and the naturally bigger fighter, but we do wonder how he will cope with Su's power, which has seen him score stoppages in his last 3.
New York, USA
The biggest show this coming weekend comes from New York and features a trio of Central Asian fighters in notable bouts.
The biggest of those bouts will see Kazakh legend Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35) battle against Ukrainian foe Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10) for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. The hard hitting Golovkin is seen as being past his best, but is still favoured to pick up the win here against the technically well schooled Derevyanchenko. The title, which was vacated when Saul Alvarez's team failed to reach a deal with Derevyanchenko, will give the winner a bargaining chip for a unification bout next year, but will leave the loser in a really awful position. Our full preview of this fight can be read here Golovkin and Derevyanchenko clash for IBF crown!
The fast rising Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3), from Ukraine, will be fighting in his 4th professional bout as he takes on Alejandro Barrera (29-5,18). On paper this is another solid match up for Madrimov, but in reality it's a notable step backwards for the Uzbek who should be expected to score a very clear win. Barrera's record looks good on paper but he has lost 3 of his last 4, was stopped by Errol Spence in 2015 and only has 1 win in the last 3 years, he has also been fighting at Welterweight. The one thing Barrera does, perhaps, have going for him is that he's only been stopped once but inactivity, natural size disadvantage and poor form doesn't bode well against a fighter like Madrimov.
Kazakh Super Middleweight Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) is also on this card, where he will be taking on 33 year old American Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2-1, 9). The experienced Hernandez has mixed in good company, but losses to the likes of Caleb Plant, Jesse Hart and Ahmed Elbiali do show his limitations. Saying that Hernandez has been a banana skin through his career for prospects and will be a really good test for Akhmedov. The 24 year old Kazakh is climbing through the rankings well and this is a brilliant bit of match making for him. We expect Akhmedov to win, but we expect to see him needing to earn the victory.
Whilst New York has a big card there is also a really interesting one in Japan, where Tokyo plays host to the next Dynamic Glove show, though sadly it won't be aired live on G+ and is instead set for a tape delay broadcast.
The main event here sees Japanese youngster Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) take a huge step up in class as he takes on former world champion Milan Melindo (37-4, 13) in a really interesting 10 round contest. Nakatani has looked brilliant coming through the ranks, but has, for the most part, faced smaller opponents and limited opposition. Here we still see him up against a smaller foe, but an experience and skilled opponent with world class experience. Melindo will be going up in weight for this, and will feel he has the experience to deal with Nakatani. This is a really major bout on the regional scene, and we suspect that the winner here will end up fighting for a world title in 2020. A full preview of this fight can be read here Nakatani takes on former world title challenger Melindo!
On paper the chief support bout looks like a massive mismatch, with Korean visitor Kyung Min Kwon (7-5, 3) taking on 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (34-2-2, 22). On paper this should be an easy win for Akaho, who has the clear edge in power and experience however Kwon is the naturally bigger fighter and the younger man and will be in the ring looking to score an upset. Kwon enters the bout as the interim Korean champion and managed to last 8 rounds last year with Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF Featherweight title fight. Kwon is tough and could well frustrate Akaho, though we do expect Akaho to pick up the win.
A really good looking support bout will see Filipino Robin Langres (10-3, 4) take on under-rated Japanese local Ikuro Sadatsune (9-4-3, 3) in what has the potential to be a thriller. The 23 year old Langres is making his international debut here, and comes into the bout on the back of his second win against Jomar Fajardo, but he was beaten last year by Jason Buenaobra. Sadatsune has lost twice already this year, though both of those bouts were razor thin and against against well regarded fighters Kenshin Oshima and Sho Ishida. This could be a very hotly contest and exciting back and forth battle. For those interested in learning more about Sadatsune he was recently covered in a recent "Introducing" article Introducing... Ikuro Sadatsune
Also on this card is the debuting, but very highly touted, Shigetoshi Kotari (0-0) who kicks off his professional career against Lasben Sinaba (3-2, 3), from Indonesia. As an amateur Kotari fought over 70 professional bouts and has already impressed in sparring since turning professional. He's expected to show case his skills here, but Sinaba has been stopped in both of his losses and we see him being taken out again here and it may only be a short showcase for the Japanese debutant.
Going back to the US we'll see Kazakh heavyweight Izim Izbaki (2-0, 1) take on the win-less Troy Albring (0-2). The 24 year old Izbaki is worth making a note of, as he rises through the ranks, but this is little more than a fight to help him adapt to professional boxing. Albring has been blown in the opening round of both his previous fights and we're expecting the same to happen again here.
Also in the US will be Chinese Light heavyweight Fanlong Meng (15-0, 9), who faces Gilberto Rubio (9-8, 6), in a stay busy fight whilst he awaits his shot at the IBF Light Heavyweight title.
We get the next A Sign Bee card this coming Tuesday, which will feature a former 2-time world title challenger in the main event, and a couple of decent looking low level domestic bouts.
The former 2-time world title challenger on this card is Ryo Akaho (33-2-2, 22) who takes on southpaw Hyuma Fujioka (10-7-1, 1) in the main event. On paper this looks to be a total mismatch, though the focus has been on Akaho improving his skill set against southpaws, with Akaho admitting he's not good against lefties. It's unclear what Akaho is aiming for in the future though it should be noted that Japan has a host of notable southpaws at 122lbs, including Shingo Wake and Shohei Omori. Fujioka is no world beater though could be more competitive than his record suggests.
The chief support bout will see Yuta Nakayama (6-2-1, 3) take on JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Yuto Takahashi (9-4, 4). Last time out Nakayama was stopped by Ryuto Oho, in a Japanese Youth title fight, and he will be looking to bounce back from that set back. Takahashi on the other hand will be looking to build on a good win over Ryoki Hirai. Although Takahashi does has 4 losses, he has mixed with good company and he's lost to the likes of Tsubasa Koura, Norihito Tanaka and Tatsuya Fukuhara.
Another good looking competitive bout will see Ryuta Wakamatsu (11-14-1, 8) take on Masatoshi Nakamura (7-9, 4) in a very competitive looking contest. Wakamatsu has gone 2-6-1 in his last 9 whilst Nakamura on the other hand has won just 1 of his last 5 and it's clear that both will feel like this is a great chance to pick up a win.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as we get the next show in the A Sign Bee series of cards. The show isn't the best, in fact it's main event looks to be a huge mismatch between a 2-time world title challenger and a limited domestic fighter, but it does have a well matched Japanese Youth title fight, and a well matched domestic support bout.
As mentioned the main event will feature a 2-time world title challenger, that's Ryo Akaho (32-2-2, 21) who really is being matched softly here, as he takes on Naoto Mizutani (5-4-1, 2). On one hand Akaho has had a frustrating year, giving up the Japanese title in December and then blowing out Robert Udtohan inside a round when he returned to the ring. On the other hand he really should be wanting to shake some ring rust before a bit 2019. Mizutani has no right being in the ring with Akaho, and has already been stopped 3 times in his career. Not only has Mizutani been stopped a number of times but he brings nothing to the table to really test Akaho, who should have been matched against someone much more testing here.
The main supporting bout here will see Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) defending his title against Yuta Nakayama (6-1-1, 3). The 23 year old champion has had a weird career so far. He was tipped for big things when he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2013 but numerous set backs since then have hampered his rise. He dropped down in weight, from Flyweight to Light Flyweight for the Youth title earlier this year and stopped Tetsuya Tomioka for the title. Nakayama went 1-1-1 to begin his career, but has impressive gone 5-0 since then, and done so with a notable win over Tatsuhiro Toguchi. This should be very hotly contest and very exciting, with both men starting to believe in their power in recent bouts. A full preview of this bout can be read here Oho seeks first defense, takes on tricky Nakayama
Lower down the card we'll see Japanese ranked Welterweight Makoto Kawasaki (9-7-1, 2) take on the limited but hard hitting Kentaro Endo (7-8-1, 6), in what looks like a surprisingly competitive contest on paper. Kawasaki is certainly the more skilled fighter, but has lost her last 3 bouts, and has taken punishment in recent bouts. Endo is limited, but he is very heavy handed and we suspect he'll be looking to use that power here, and he will be dangerous early on. Sadly for Endo the longer this bout goes the less chance he has of making the most of his power.
One other under-card bout of note is a contest between Japanese ranked Heavyweight Ryu Ueda (6-1-1, 3) and unbeaten Korean Jong Kook Kim (3-0, 2). Interestingly these two men both stopped Sang Ho Kim in their last bout, with Ueda doing it last year and Jong Kook Kim doing it more than 2 years ago. Sadly the inactivity for Kim could be the difference here, but the Korean southpaw will not have travelled to lose his unbeaten record. The Japanese fighter is also a southpaw, but he is notably 1-1-1 in his last 3, and doesn't have much momentum coming into this, despite his win over Sang Ho Kim last time out.
This coming Friday fight fans in Japan get two shows, whilst Korean fans get one, and even Indian fans have something worthy of their attention!
The biggest single show takes place in Hyogo where we get two title fights, a notable debut and a former Japanese champion all in action.
The main event will be a world title fight, and will see talented WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) battle against heavy handed challenger Vic Saludar (17-3, 10). The champion, who won the title last year, will be making his second defense and will be looking to shine again, just like he did in an eye opening domination of Moises Calleros back in March. Although seen as the less notable champion at 105lbs Yamanaka does look a very classy fighter. For Saludar this bout will be his second title shot, and he will be looking to prove that his performance against Kosei Tanaka wasn't a fluke performance, but a sign that he really should be competing at world level. This really is an excellent match up between a brilliant pure boxer, and a brutal puncher.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (15-1, 5) take on Filipino foe Orlie Silvestre (11-3-1, 7) in a out for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Earlier this year Konishi came up short against Carlos Canizales, though really looked like a great little fighter with insane bravery and an incredible desire to win. The Japanese fighter will be the favourite here, but Silvestre has nothing to lose and everything to win. The Filipino fighter comes into this on the back of 5 straight wins and will feel confident of scoring a career best victory here.
Former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (18-4-1, 10) looks to score his first win of 2018 and takes on limited Filipino foe Rey Ramos (8-8-2, 3). Nishitani really failed to build on his March 2017 upset win over Shuhei Tsuchiya, having scored only a single win since then over a limited Thai, but he has talent and shouldn't struggle to over-come Ramos here. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, including 2 by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him having anything to trouble Nishitani with.
One other bout of note will see Yuki Yamauchi (0-0) make his debut, as he takes on Jimboy Rosales (3-2-1, 2). The Japanese debutant was a sensational amateur, with notable results on the high school, national and world university level. Aged 23 big things are expected of Yamauchi and this looks like a pretty interesting opponent for his debut, with Rosales having gone unbeaten in his last 4, following back-to-back losses to begin his career. If Yamauchi is as good as anticipated then he really could make an instant impact here.
A second Japanese show will take place in Tokyo, and was originally set to feature two former world title contenders in action.
The planned main event was a bout set to have Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17) take on domestic foe Quaye Peter (11-9-3, 6). Sadly for the teak tough Kondo, who is best known for his November 2017 loss to Sergey Lipinets, this bout has been cancelled due to Peter suffering an injury a a week or so before the show was set to take place.
A a result of Peter's injury the card will now be headlined by former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20), who returns to the ring following medical problems that forced him to vacate the Japanese Bantamweight title. It was expected that Akaho would be matched incredibly easily but instead he will be up against Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-3-3, 15). At his best Akaho is a tough, aggressive fighter, who has beaten the likes of Yushi Tanaka, Hiroaki Teshigawara, Masaaki Serie and Yohei Tobe. Sadly though it's unclear how much the health issues has taken from the Japanese fighter. As for the visitor he has got a pretty padded record, and has lost recent bouts to Qiu Xiao Jun and Ryoichi Tamura, but is a tougher opponent than expected for Akaho's ring return.
Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul there will be a small card courtesy of former world champion Myung Woo Yuh and his Buffalo Promotion.
The main event will be an interesting match up between 22 year old Ki Soo Lee (6-3) and 30 year old Hwan Young Jo (5-4, 1). The youngster has had mixed for, though showed he was a capable fighter last December when he ran the touted Katsuya Yasuda close in Yokohama and will look for his third win since that loss. On the other hand Jo hasn't really shined, but is certainly not going to be a push over here and should make for a good dance partner for Lee. Only real issue here is that neither man is much of a puncher.
In another bout of note on this card fans will see unbeaten fighters collide with Do Jin Lee (5-0-2) taking on Jong Sun Gang (4-0, 1). Lin is a 17 year old who made his debut at the age of 16 and despite only fighting in 4 rounders so far is worth following as he moves into his first 6 rounder. As for Gang he has been a professional since November last year and has been busy, but will also be taking part in his first 6 rounder.
London, United Kingdom
As for Indian fans they will turn their attention to London, England, as national hero Vijender Singh (10-0, 7) takes on Lee Markham (17-4-1, 7) for the Commonwealth Super Middleweight title. The Indian star is now 32 years old and his team won't keep holding him back for long. A win here could well open big doors for him and takes him much closer to a potential world title shot. On paper Markham looks limited but he is a former English Middleweight champion who has score several notable results on the British scene, including a draw with Frank Buglioni. Singh should be favoured, but Markham is a very live under-dog coming in to this one.
It's been a slow start to the Japanese boxing calendar this year, but this coming Saturday we get out first live televised card of 2018. The show, set to be aired by G+, features the first Japanese title fight of 2018 along with a number of other names fighters, including 2 prospects who could really break out over the next 12 months.
The main event will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on the under-rated, and aggressive, Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6). Akaho, a former 2-time world title challenger, won the title last March and recorded his first defense with a stoppage win against Yuta Saito last August. Although a heavy handed fighter, at this level at least, he's a ling way from being the best Japanese fighter at 118lbs and could well see his reign being a short one, given the rising talent in the country. Suzuki started his career with big aspirations but sets backs to Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco slowed his climb. Coming in to this the challenger has won his last 3, and earned the right to fight Akaho thanks to his 7th riund TKO win over Eita Kikuchi in a Japanese title eliminator last October. This should be a hard hitting and violent war.
In the chief support bout we'll see Charles Bellamy (26-3-2, 17) return to the ring after more than a year out. The Japanese based American will be up against a Thai foe, who we've been told is a natural 140lb fighter and should look much smaller than Bellamy. The talented New Yorker born fighter hasn't fought since a controversial 2017 draw with Yuki Beppu and will likely be looking to make up for lost time this, with a quick blow out here and a speedy return to action.
One of the notable prospects on this card is Japanese Youth champion Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10), who takes on Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-3-1, 5). The unbeaten 20 year old has been impressive since his 2015 debut, and claimed the 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the Year along with the Japanese Youth title last year. Beronil began his career 7-0-1 but has lost 3 of his last 4, including a very controversial loss to Joo Hyun Jung last February. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man and whilst he's a good fighter at his level, we suspect the power and size of Nakatani will be too much.
Another unbeaten on this show is the very exciting Kai Chiba (7-0, 6), who faces of with Filipino foe Brian Lobetania (12-4-3, 10). Last year we saw Chiba go 4-0 (3) and scoring a very notable win in a thriller with Ryo Matsubara, in what was one of many hidden gems of 2017, here he will be looking to continue his climb towards a title fight, but comes up against a very live Lobetania. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, but is a natural puncher and will be looking to stop Chiba, in what is likely to be a very thrilling action bout.
The once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (11-1, 5) is expected to be in action on the card, though no information at all is available on his opponent. The talented Matsunaga fought 3 rimes in 2016, scoring 3 solid wins, but was inactive in 2017 and will be hoping to rebuild his career this year, potentially moving towards some kind of title fight before the year is over.
There is also set to be a Chinese card, with a number of title bouts.
In the main event of this card we'll see once beaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) take on Indonesian visitor John Ruba (15-3-1, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. The exciting Chinese fighter was beaten last time ouit by Rikki Naito, but was unlucky in what was a very competitive bout. It's hard to know how good he is but he has looked good through his career so far. As for Ruba he's a very promising fighter at this level, and comes into this bout on a 7 fight winning run...but it would take a career best win for Rub to win here.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see Jing Xiang (13-4-2,3) take on very talented Filipino fighter Dexter Alimento (13-2, 9) in a contest for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Light Flyweight title. Coming in to this Xiang is on a 5 fight winning run having claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title in 2016. He has come up short against some decent fighters in the past, such as Macrea Gandionco and Ben Mananquil, but a decision win over Mananquil in their second bout shows his ability.
Also on this card is a 10 rounder between once beaten local hopeful Jian Wang (4-1) and Thai foe Yutthichai Wannawong (6-4, 5) for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Wang has scored back to back wins following a loss in a regional title bout. The Thai visitor lost his first 3 bouts, all in Japan, but has gone 6-1 (4) since then and claimed a Thai title on his way up. On paper this isn't the most interesting of bouts, but the Thai has a little bit of form and could make for an a decent test.
In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already