Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get two Japanese shows in Tokyo, albeit in different venues, with the Shinjuku FACE putting on a third show in as many days and the Korakuen Hall also hosting a card, a more notable card in fact, promoted by Hideki Todaka.
The most notable bout on the card is an 8 round Super Flyweight bout between JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighters, as Mirai Imagawa (12-5, 4) and Ryuto Oho (13-5-2, 5) clash. Of the two men Imagawa enters as the higher ranked man, by both the JBC and the WBO regional body, though he also enters the bout having been out of the ring since July 2021. Imagawa has shown a lot to like, and has won his last 4 include good wins over Kento Yabusaki and Yuji Okinori, however he has only fought once since the start of 2020, and his inactivity is a major issue coming in to this bout.
Another JBC ranked fighter on this card is Shinnosuke Hasegawa (13-4-1, 9), who will be facing off with Daichi Matsuura (7-6-3, 3). The 30 year old Hasegawa was on the very of a Japanese title fight last year, on the back of a 12 fight winning streak, but has unfortunately lost his last 2 bouts, and another loss here will essentially end any hopes of him getting a title fight. In the ring Hasegawa is a decent boxer, with heavy hands, and wins over the likes of Kazuma Sanpei and Shota Suito show he can fight, but a 2nd round TKO loss to Tsubasa Narai does leave some questions about whether he's on the slide or not. As for Matsuura, his career once promises a lot, but those days are well in his past, and he has lost 3 of his last 5 by stoppage. Given that recent form we expect another early loss for Matsuura here.
A third Japanese ranked fighter on the show is Ryohei Arakawa (8-4-1, 4), who takes on Shisui Kawabata (2-4, 2). On paper this is a total mismatch, however Kawabata might well be the best 2-4 fighter in the sport. Arakawa is best known for reaching the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2018, losing in the final to Yoshiki Minato, and despite losing to Aran Dipaen in 2019 he has won his last 2 bouts and built some momentum. Kawabata on the other hand turned professional following a solid amateur career, and has sparred with some of the top domestic talent in Japan. As a professional things haven't clicked for him, but he has been matched hard, and has lost two bouts against Rikito Shiba, with other losses coming to Yuki Nakajima and Akira Hoshuyama. This might look like a mismatch but we genuinely expect this one to be hotly contested.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
For a third day in a row we get East Japan Rookie of the Year action at the Shinjuku FACE.
One of the bouts worthy of note on this show will be at Lightweight, where we're not expecting to hear the final as Shota Mitani (1-3, 1) and Takara Kawaguchi (2-0, 2) face off. Through 6 combined fights these two men have competed in a combined 12 rounds, and have never seen the final bell. Mitani is the more experience man in terms of fights, but has proven to be a glass cannon, and all 3 of his losses have come in the first round. As for Kawaguchi, who will be the favourite, his wins have come in 2 and 4 rounds, and he will feel confident of picking up a win here to move to 3-0 (3).
Another bout we want to flag will be at Minimumweight, where 26 year old Masaki Shinotsuka (2-3-1, 2) will be taking on unbeaten 20 year old hopeful Kenta Kawakami (2-0). Shinotsuka debuted in 2020 and has had very mixed results since then, but does have experience on his side coming into this one. Kawakami on the other hand debuted late last year and was forced to answer some questions last time out, when he narrowly squeaked past Takato Fukuda back in March.