Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday we get a very notable and deep card at Korakuen Hall thanks to Ohashi Gym who put on a card that is headline by a rather poor Japanese title fight but is stacked with young talented and exciting hopefuls underneath that title bout.
The title bout in question will see Japanese 154lb champion Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) make his first defense, as he takes on former title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (18-7-1, 13). The 38 year old champion won the title this past April, but given that performance, and his age, it's hard to imagine him winning the belt long term. As for Maruki, this will be his 4th shot at the Japanese title, and another loss here will be very, very hard for him to bounce back from, especially given he is now 31 years old himself. Whilst the Japanese title at 154lbs has had some great fights for it over the years, and some excellent champions, it's genuinely quite hard to care about this underwhelming title bout. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Kawasaki takes on Maruki in first title defense
Thankfully we do expect some real excitement on the under-card. Part of that excitement will be seen when the hard hitting Kazuki Nakajima (11-1-1, 9) takes on former Naoya Inoue opponent Karoon Jarupianlerd (48-11, 22), aka Petchbarngborn Kokietgym. The Thai visitor lasted 10 rounds with Inoue in 2016, and has only been stopped in one other bout, a 2nd round KO to Sho Ishida. For Nakajima the target will be a KO here, though in fairness the Thai has proven to be tough, and should give Nakajima some decent rounds before, eventually, folding.
A second bout between an Ohashi Gym hopeful and a Thai will see Katsuya Yasuda (8-1, 5) take on Krai Setthaphon (29-8, 19), aka Kaewfah Tor Buamas. The talented, and often over-looked, Yasuda will be desperate to bounce back from a February loss to Shuma Nakazato, and we're expecting to see him shining here with a slightly tweaked, more aggressive style than we've seen from him in the past. Krai on the other hand was once a solid regional level fighter, but he has lost his last 4 bouts and is without a win since August 2019, when he beat the very poor Leon Maratas. This is a great chance for Yasuda to shine, and hopefully he makes the most of that opportunity.
The least notable Japan Vs Thailand bout on this show will see talented Flyweight hopeful Taku Kuwahara (9-1, 5) battle against the unbeaten Parinya Khaikanha (4-0, 4). The talented Kuwahara is looking to secure his second win since being stopped in 10 rounds by Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui and will be strongly favoured here, however he shouldn't over-looked his unbeaten foe. Parinya hasn't set the world on fire as a professional, but is the younger brother of former world champion Suriyan and former world title challenger Nawaphon. If the talent runs in the family then Parinya could be a real handful for Kuwahara here.
Another of the highly touted new generation of Ohashi Gym fighters on this card is Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2), who looks to bounce back from a disappointing draw in a Japanese Youth title bout last year. The talented Nakagaki will be up against the much more experienced Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) in a bout that seems more about finding out how Nakagaki is improving and tuning his style under the guidance of Akira Yaegashi, than really testing him. Kondo is no world beater, but will look to make this into a fight and should serve as a good foil for Nakagaki's skills. movement and sharp punching. We see this as being a good bit of match making from Ohashi, who are protecting their man, but also getting him some worth while rounds.
Lower down the card is the debut for notable amateur Yuya Tanaka (0-0), who went 36-17 in the unpaid ranks. He will be ho against the under-rated Fuya Tomita (7-4, 2), in what is a clash of 23 year olds. Tomita is a handful, despite his underwhelming record, and stood at just under 6' he really is a stylistic nightmare for fellow Bantamweights and Super Bantamweights. As for Tanaka he'll be giving up height here, but will feel his amateur boxing background should be the difference maker in a very good looking 6 rounder.
Opening the card is and debutant, this time teenager Kenta Yamakawa (0-0), who looks to build on a notable amateur career that saw him winning National High School championship last year and running up a 14-5 record. The talented youngster will looking to make an impact on his professional debut, as he takes on the wonderfully named Zapp Morimoto (1-1, 1). This bout, the only 4 rounder on the show, should give us a good chance to see what Yamakawa has to offer the sport, however aged just 18 we expect him to be a long term project for the Ohashi Gym, who should be looking to develop him carefully over the next 5 or 6 years
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
This coming Sunday boxing is back at the Aioi Hall in Aichi as we get a show from HEIWA promotions. It's not a big show, but there are notable names on it.
The most notable fighter on the show is former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kohei Oba (36-4-1, 14), who is scheduled to face Ryumei Nakamura (3-1-2, 1) in a 6 round bout at Featherweight. Oba, who was once a world ranked fighter, began a comeback last year, after 6 out of the ring, and this will be his second since returning to the sport. As for Nakamura he's 20 and this is his biggest bout by far, as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing draw against Turtle Nishida in May. It's probably fair to say that Oba is expected to win here, however a loss really should spell the end of his career, for good.
In a much more interesting match up we'll see Welterweight Rookie of the Year winner Hiroya Nojima (6-1, 2) fighting for the first time since his Rookie triumph in February. The exciting Nojima will be up against 24 year old Shoma Okada (4-3, 2), who enters the bout on the back of 3 straight losses. Nojima, who is still very much a work in progress, will come into this with momentum and should he win we'll hopefully see him in more meaningful bouts in the not too distant future.
The main event for this show will see former Japanese title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (17-7-1, 12) take on Masateru Hatagami (6-2-1, 2), in what should be a straight forward win for Maruki. The heavy handed and fun to watch Maruki saw his career hit a bit of a wall in 2018, with losses to Nobuyuki Shindo and Akinori Watanabe, and he's looking to rebuild after those set backs. Hatagami on the other hand is unbeaten in his last 3, but they are spread over the last 8 years and it's hard to imagine him having much of a chance against someone as aggressive and exciting as Maruki.
For fans wanting to watch this one it will be streamed live on the Sakana1976 YouTube channel.
On November 29th we're expecting a low key but memorable day in Asian boxing thanks to a Japanese fan who has bout the rights to stream a show from Aichi.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The show will in Aichi comes from the Aioi Hall and is a 2-part event with streams for both being made available thanks to Seki-chan on YouTube.
The first part of the show features 4 bouts, headlined by a 6 rounder between Toshiya Yokogawa (11-12-2, 10) and Tamaki Miwa (6-6-1, 1). On paper it's certainly not an amazing match up, and we won't pretend otherwise, however it should certainly be an interesting match up between two limited but well matched fighters. Interestingly Yokogawa will enter the bout ranked #14 by the JBC at Featherweight and a loss here will see him lose that ranking.
Another 6 rounder on this part of the show will see Kazunori Takai (6-6-3, 3) battle against Katsuki Matsuura (5-3-1, 1) in a Bantamweight bout. As with Yokogawa Vs Miwa this should be a very competitive bout.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The second part of the even from Aioi Hall should be a much better one with several bouts worth of attention, though it's again a 4 bout part to the show.
The first of two notable bouts here will see former Japanese title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (16-7-1, 11) battle against 37 year old Tsunehiko Aitoku (5-9-2). On paper this is a mismatch, and we do expect Maruki to win, though it should be noted that Maruki has lost 3 of his last 4 and he needs a win to get his career back on track. Aitoku on the other hand has lost just once in his last 4 bouts and will need to win to keep his career alive.
The second notable bout on this part of the event will see Shin Tomita (10-8-2) battle against OPBF and JBC ranked Minimumweight Naoya Haruguchi (17-11, 7), in an 8 rounder. This should be high octane action between two men who will be wanting to impress, and potentially climb up the Japanese rankings in 2021, moving towards a title fight.
The two parts of this event can be seen on the youtube channel we're linked to here ボクシング選手名鑑.
The big show of the day this Saturday is in the Philippines, where we see a top prospect take on a former world champion and several under-card bouts worthy of some attention.
The main bout will see the unbeaten Mark Magsayo (19-0, 14) battle against former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-6, 35) in a bout for a couple of minor regional titles. For Magsayo this will be his second bout since a 2017 in over Shota Hayashi, in what was a really tough bout, whilst Pungluang will be looking to build on a recent win over Carlo Magali. Despite the two men having very, very, different careers it's worth noting that only 5 years separate these two men, yet their debuts were almost 9 years difference between their debuts. Pungluang is a true veteran, and will be here to win, but Magsayo will be favoured and has long been regarded as a special talent.
In an excellent GAB Bantamweight title fight we'll see Giovanni Escaner (19-4, 12) take on Renoel Pael (23-9-1, 12), with both looking to rebuild following a loss on foreign soil. Escaner was beaten in February by Joshua Greer Jr in the US, though had given a really decent account of himself before the stoppage. Pael on the other hand was taken to school in Japan by Ryusei Kawaura May, suffering his 5th loss on the road. With the GAB title up for grabs and a chance to get some momentum in to their career, we're expecting this to be a very hotly contested match up.
Another supporting bout of interest will see Filipino Roldan Aldea (14-7-1, 8) go up against Malaysian based Uzbek Anvar Turapov (5-1, 4). Coming in to this Aldea is riding a huge boost following his big upset win in Russia against Mikhail Alexeev whilst Turapov has notched 5 straight wins following a loss on debut. Given Aldea's recent win this could be interesting.
For a second day in a row we get action from Qingdao, and this is potentially just heavily stacked in favour of the locals as the other card.
The main event will see Ainiwaer Yilixiati (15-1, 11) drop down to Middleweight to take on Japanese Light Middleweight contender Ryosuke Maruki (16-6-1, 11) in a bout for two regional Middleweight titles. The hard nosed Chinese puncher suffered his only loss 3 years ago, when he was beaten in Australia by Jayde Mitchell, and has since reeled off 5 straight wins. Maruki on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, including a blow out loss to Akinori Watanabe a year ago and this will be a very tough bout for him in what will be his international debut.
Another bout on this card will see Tonghui Li (11-2, 5) take on Tanzania's Maono Ally (9-4-1, 5). Li lost in August 2018, to Jung Kyoung Lee, and had bounced back with a win over Arnel Tinampay last September but has been inactive since that win. Ally has lost in 3 of his 4 bouts outside of Tanzania, and was beaten last time out by Oliver Meng. Ally may not be the best fighter but we do love his nickname "The Monster of Bagamoyo".
One local who is looking to bounce back from a couple of recent set backs is Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-3, 9), who has been beaten twice on the road recently and needs a confidence building victory. He will be up against Tanzanian veteran Said Mbelwa (47-29-5-2, 31), who at the age of 41 really is on the back end of his career. Given Nuerlang's recent losses we can't hold this bout against him, and expect him to rebuild some of his broken confidence here.
Macao S.A.R., China
Staying around China, Macau hosts a small card, which on the whole isn't too interesting, though local hopeful Lap Cheong Cheong (6-0, 4) is in the headline bout, as he takes on Yu Fen Wu (0-0). Cheong isn't a big name but he is an incredibly fun to watch youngster. Aged 22 he looks like he might be the face of Macao boxing over the coming years, sadly though this is a clear step backwards for him to take on a debutant at this point in time.
Pocheon, South Korea
Staying in Asia there's also a low key card in Pocheon, though this really is a card that won't get much attention.
The main bout here is a 6 round Middleweight clash that will see Seung Hee Lee (3-5, 1) take on Hyo Joon Jang (1-1-1). Given this is the main event you can understand how low level this show really is.
Technically this show is a KBM 4 round parade show, and should be fun to watch, as they usually are, but it's very to talk about before hand as it's a card of novices and debutants, with not stand out bout on it.
In Victoria, Australian fans will see one of their unbeaten hopefuls go up against a former world title challenger.
The former world title challenger is Filipino fighter Ernesto Saulong (22-4-2, 9), who challenged the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa in 2018, and will now be taking on Australian youngster Brock Jarvis (16-0, 15). Since then however he has gone 1-1-1, including a huge KO loss to Waldo Sabu in July 2017. Jarvis is a really talented, hard hitting 21 year old prospect, but needs to step up his competition, and on paper this is a very good step up. A win for Jarvis is expected, but we expect to see him given something of a test after 15 straight wins in the first 3 rounds.
This coming Sunday there will be a couple of Asian cards, one in Japan and one in Korea.
The Japanese card is a pretty interesting one, headlined by a rising hopeful and featuring a fairly solid supper bout.
The main event will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (4-1, 3) take on Kei Iwahara (10-5, 5) in an 8 round bout between two Japanese ranked lightweights. Riikishi suffered his first loss last April, losing to Kosuke Saka after stepping up too much too soon, but bounced back with a couple of stoppages, including one over former Japanese title challenger Genki Maeda in December. Iwahara on the other hand is 3-1 in his last 4, and comes into this with notable wins over the likes of Yuji Awata, Mao Kawanishi and Daiki Ichikawa. This could be something very special.
In the main support bout Japan's Ryosuke Maruki (15-6-1, 10) will take on South Korean Gun Woo Gang (4-2-3, 1). Coming in to this Maruki has lost his last two, being narrowly out pointed by Nobuyuki Shindo and being blasted out by Akonori Watanabe, but typically he has been a solid and dependable fighter on the Japanese scene. Gang on the other hand has won just 1 of his last 5, going 1-2-2 during that stretch. This looks like a rebuilding fight for Maruki, and hopefully he'll be back into bigger fights later this year.
This card will also feature a number of Rookie of the Year fights as we begin the largest annual boxing tournament.
Busan, South Korea
Gun Woo Gang won't be the only Korean in action, with a card in Busan, which will feature several Korean fighters.
One of those Korean's is Bo Mi Re Shin (6-0-3, 3), who takes on Indian foe Rupinder Kaur (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Interim WIBA Super Featherweight title. The 24 year old Shin has a mostly weak looking record, but did notable score a stoppage win over Chika Mizutani in August last year and will be coming into this bout on the back of that big win. Kaur on the other hand will be fighting outside of India for the first time, and will be taking a serious step up in class, and cutting weight, significantly, having last fought above Light Welterweight.
In an interesting Champion V Champion bout we'll see KBF Super Featherweight champion Ki Soo Lee (8-3, 1) battling against IBC Super Featherweight champion Alvius Maufani (6-2-2, 3) in a clash between Korean and Indonesian champions. Lee has the edge in experience and home advantage, but Maufani has won bouts against more experienced foes in the past.
One other bout will see Uzbek puncher Abdurasul Ismoilov (3-0, 3) take on unbeaten local Jong Sun Gang (7-0, 4). This looks like the best match up on the show, with the Uzbek looking to build on a win over veteran Jaime Barcelona. Gang turned professional in late 2017 and has been active, with stoppage wins in his last 3. This looks like it could be very explosive, and very fun.
*Note Boxrec recently corrected Ismoilov's record which was previously 4-1 (4)
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.
This coming Tuesday is a pretty interesting day for fight fans in Asia, which a big show in Tokyo and a notable card in China. In total, across the two cards, there will be 6 title fights! And other notable fighters will also be in action.
For us the most notable card for the day is from the Korakuen Hall, where we'll be getting a Japanese title fight, an OPBF title fighter and several interesting fighters on the under-card.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (19-2, 7) defending his title against tough Filipino challenger Jheritz Chavez (8-2-2, 6), in what will be Naito's first defense. The Japanese fighter won the title this past January, when he stopped Jeffrey Arienza in 9 rounds, and he looked great in that performance. Despite having fought much of his career at 130lbs Naito looks to have filled out his frame well into a Light Welterweight and could well have a really good run at his new weight. As for Chavez he has proven his toughness, having gone the 10 round scheduled in his two losses to Vage Sarukhanyan and Hiroki Okada. Despite being tough he has looked slow in both of his losses and that will likely be the case again here, with Naito likely to be too quick for the challenger. Chavez has the power to hurt Naito, but we suspect Naito will fight on his toes and look to keep distance between the two men and score at range.
The second title on this fight will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) face off with Ryosuke Maruki (15-4-1, 10) for the vacant Japanese Light Middleweight title, which was vacated by Takeshi Inoue earlier this year. Shindo claimed the Japanese Welterweight title in his second shot at the title, beating Yasuhiro Okawa, but only held the title for 3 months before being stopped by Toshio Arikawa. Since then he has gone 2-0 (2) but not looked that impressive. As for Maruki this will be his second shot at the title, having come up short in a very competitive contest against Yuki Nonaka in 2016. Since then he has gone 3-0 (3) and looked very destructive. The bout really is a must win for both men, who can't really afford another loss at title level, and should be very exciting.
On the under-card fans will see the hard hitting Ryosuke Takami (11-2, 10) take on Filipino foe Junny Salogaol (13-13-4, 12) in a bout that should be very explosive. Takami, given his record, will be the big favourite but the visitor has certainly got a punchers shot, and is tough enough to give Takami some real questions here. Although Salogaol was stopped by Hiroaki Teshigawara last year he does tend to go the distance in his losses and suspect Takami will be tested here.
Interestingly another bout on this card will see the under-rated Ken Achiwa (11-13-5, 4) take on Japanese based Filipino Rey Orais (19-17-2, 5). Although his record is less than flattering Achiwa is actually a really decent domestic level fighter, who has scored draws against the likes of Tatsuya Takahashi and Joe Tanooka, and ran Suguru Muranaka very close last December. The bigger talking point however is that of Orais, who will be having his first fight in a decade. The Filipino is now a trainer at the Flame Yamagami gym and despite not fighting since March 2008, when he was stopped by Denkaosan Kaovichit, he is still only 33. Given that Orais is working as a trainer we suspect he will look in surprisingly good shape for this and could prove to be a very interesting match up.
Xi An, China
In China fans get a quadruple header of regional title fights.
One of the most interesting of those bouts pits unbeaten fighters against each other, as China's Baolin Kang (4-0) takes on Indonesian puncher Ari Agustian (5-0, 5) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Featherweight title. The 20 year old Kang made his debut back in October 2016 and despite never scoring a stoppage has looked pretty solid, whilst fighting mostly as a Lightweight. Agustian on the other hand has never fought outside of his homeland, though did score a notable domestic level win over Boido Simanjuntak back in November. The Indonesian fighter looks like a crude but very aggressive and hard hitting fighter. Although he has clearly been selected too lose he is a very under-dog here.
Another pretty interesting looking bout will see unbeaten Chinese fighter ZongLi He (3-0, 1) take on Filipino Diarh Gabutan (20-6-3, 11) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title. The Chinese 23 year old really hasn't shown too much through his career so far, defeating 3 domestic novices, but this is a monstrous step up in class against a well schooled and experienced Filipino visitor. Gabutan, who has got a poor record on the road with 1 win from 4 bouts outside of the Philippines, is better than his record suggests and we think he'll be too good, too experienced and simply know too much for Chinese youngster.
Another Chinese local who could find themselves up against it is 19 year old Li Ping Shi (2-2, 1), who battles against Korean Hyun Hee Kil (4-1, 1) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Female Flyweight title. The Chinese fighter won her first couple of fights, against limited Thai fighters, but has gone on to lose her most recent bouts, including one to Korean veteran Hee Jung Yuh and has no real form coming into this bout. Kil on the other hand lost her debut, but has won her last 4 and will feel like she's in great form her, despite having faced very limited opposition. Shi has a good chance here, but will be the slight under-dog.
One bout where the Chinese local will be favoured is a contest between the hard hitting Yiran Li (4-0, 4) and the out of form Filipino Joe Tejones (10-5, 6), for the WBC Youth World Featherweight title. The Chinese puncher, who will be defending the title for the first time, has looked very dangerous at the lower levels and will be looking to step up here. The Filipino has been going on a win-loss, win-loss run over the last few years, with a notable stoppage loss to Hinata Maruta. Tejones is a decent fighter at this type of level, but we suspect the Chinese fighter will shine here and take his best win to date.
This coming Sunday is a busy day in Japan with 3 shows in the country, with 2 of those taking place in Osaka.
The most significant of those is a multi-title show from Muto promotions, with the card being headlined by OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-2-2, 11), who faces off with veteran Yasuyuki Akiyama (11-7-1, 8). The bout will see Tyson defending his OPBF title and also look to add the WBO Asia Pacific title, which is currently vacant but on the line for this bout. It's hard to see past a win for Tyson, given he holds almost every advantage, but the bout is likely to be the final one of Akiyama's career, and he will almost certainly give everything he has here.
A second OPBF title fight will see Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (27-12, 13) seek his second defense, as he puts his title on the line against Japanese foe Seizo Kono (19-8-1, 12). The Japanese based Filipino champion will be making his second defense of the title, following his dramatic win over Kentaro Masuda, and knows that if he can continue on his current winning streak there is a chance he will be able to move towards a world title fight. For Kono the bout perhaps comes at the perfect time, with the Japanese man having won his last 4, and seemingly ended his blotchy form, which saw him going 2-5. Despite being on a bit of a run this is still a big ask for Kono.
In a rematch we'll see former multi-time world title challengers collide, as Hirofumi Mukai (14-5-3, 4) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-9-1, 19) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, just as they did in November 2016. In their first meeting Mukai stopped the Thai in 3 rounds, but since then he has gone 1-1, beating a novice Thai and being stopped in a war with Rex Tso. As for Inthanon, he's fought once since losing to Mukai, also a win over a novice Thai. It's fair to say that Mukai will be favoured, given how easily he won the first contest between the two, but it'll be interesting to see what the Tso bout took out of him.
A second Japan Vs Thailand bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title will see the once beaten Masahiro Sakamoto (10-1, 6) take on veteran former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Aged 26 Sakamoto is just coming into his prime and the Flyweight will be looking to claim the biggest win of his career here. His only loss came in a bout for this very same title last year, when he suffered a very close loss to current WBO world champion Sho Kimura, and he will know that a win against Kwanthai could push him into the world title mix. As for Kwanthai, he's a long way removed from the man who claimed the WBA Minimumweight title in 2010. He has gone 19-4 since that win, but suffered 2 stoppages and only beaten very limited opposition. This should be a win for Sakamoto, but the question is really “how impressive does he look here?”
A second show in Osaka will be promoted by Green Tsuda and although not a big card does have one of the day's most interesting contests on it, as well as the continued push of a man who has been matched hard through his career.
That hard matched man is Takayuki Okumoto (18-8-3, 8), who's record doesn't suggest anything special but he did recently challenge Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai, and ran Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking close in 2016. The Japanese fighter will be up against a Thai foe here, and should, easily, pick up the win in the card's main event.
Arguably the most interesting match up of the day is a supporting contest between two once tipped amateur stars, both in need of a big win after recent set backs. In one corner will be Kazuki Tanaka (7-1, 5), a Green Tsuda man who was tipped as a star but was stopped last time out by Ryohei Takahashi. Like Tanaka we saw Hikaru Marugame (6-2-1, 4) turn professional with high expectations, having competed on the international stage in the amateurs, but with 2 losses and a draw in his last 4 bouts those expectations are quickly dying. A loss here for either man would likely spell the end of any hope of them becoming a notable name, and the bout really is a must win for both.
A third card from Japan this coming Sunday is from Aichi, and is certainly one with an international feel, given the three most notable bouts all feature a visitor.
The main event sees former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (14-4-1, 9) take on Indonesia's Filipus Rangga (10-17, 1). The Japanese fighter looked like one to watch when he lost to Yuki Nonaka, with some suggesting just a tiny bit of seasoning was needed, and since then he has picked up two stoppage wins and looks like a genuine domestic contender, with a second title fight perhaps only a few bouts away. Rangga began his career 5-1 but since then has gone 5-16 and really is a very limited fighter on the domestic scene, and has fought at much higher weights. Not only is Rangga smaller, older, and less talented but he is also making his international debut. In all honesty Maruki should be disappointed if this goes beyond 6 rounds.
In an interesting support bout fans will see the pretty solid Shogo Yamaguchi (10-3-2, 5) take on domestically ranked Indonesian Lightweight Sam Puadi (7-8, 5). Yamaguchi has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, though has faced the likes of Akihiro Kondo and Andy Hiraoka during that run, and really needs a win to kick start his once fledgling career. The visitor is 0-2 outside of Indonesia, including a loss earlier this year in Japan to Yuki Harada, though it's fair to say that the visitor will feel he has half a chance here against a very out of form Yamaguchi.
Also on this card will be a Heavyweight bout, as top ranked Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (13-11-3, 7) takes on Korean visitor Hoo Won Lee (4-3). The 39 year old Takehara is a 2 time Japanese title challenger and although he came up short in both bouts, to Kyotaro Fujimoto, he is a game fighter. Interestingly Takehara will be fighting for the first time since May 2016, when Japanese rules actually forbid him from fighting, and will surely be wanting to prove age is just a number. The 24 year old Korean visitor has age on his side, but the former Korean Heavyweight champion is stepping up in a big way here, and was stopped in a round back in June. If Takehara is half the fighter he was he should win, if he loses however it's got to be the end for him.
Seoul, South Korea
Fans in Korea will get their own title bout, as the unbeaten In Duck Seo (8-0-1, 5) takes on the limited Joong Kyung Lee (3-2) in a bout for the KBF Light Middleweight title. Seo is unbeaten, but could only a manage a draw last time out, in a very good match up against Dong Hee Kim down at 140lbs. As for Lee, who will be having his 6th bout of the year, this bout follows an 8 round loss to Moon Sung Choi and he will certainly be coming into this one looking to score a big domestic win.
After a crazy Saturday, with all the Filipino action, the fights slow down and on Sunday we only get a single, small, show in Japan.
The card will be a double header, with the Maruki brothers headlining, and featuring in the only bouts of note.
The main event will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (13-4-1, 8), who pushed Yuki Nonaka all the way last July, take on Rocky Indonesian visitor Irawan Sikumbang (6-2, 2). The bout really should be a mismatch, with Maruki being better than his record suggests. Although the Indonesian may try and make it a fight we suspect Maruki's physicality will be too much for the visitor.
Ryosuke's older brother Kazuya Maruki (19-5, 12) will be looking to resurrect his own career, following backto back defeats, as he takes on Yosmar Kefi (5-8, 4). Although Maruki is out of form he's not a bad fighter and should have the power and physicality to over-come Kefi, who has been stopped in two previous visits to Japan.
Arguably the most intriguing bout of the day comes from Korea and features world ranked Korea Ye Joon Kim (14-1-2, 7) as he looks to defend his minor IBF title against Japanese visitor Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-5, 5). Kim is regarded as one of the best Korean born prospects but this is a good test against a former OPBF title challenger. If Kim, who is enigmatic to say the least, is at his best he could make this look easy but Kobayashi is an upset minded fighter and showed that last year when he defeated Hikaru Matsuoka, and the year before when he beat Bunta Mitaka.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten In Duck Seo (6-0, 3) battle against Jae Sun Kim (4-2-2, 2) in a bout scheduled for 8 rounds. The 22 year old Seo will be looking for his second win this year and has, impressively, beaten 4 unbeaten opponents in a row.. Kim hasn't won a bout in his last 3, but is a step up in class for Seo.
There will also be a single show in China.
In the main event we'll see the exciting Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (9-0-1, 4) take on Filipino visitor Stephen Gelawa (6-2-1, 4). The Chinese fighter has impressed in the past, and has won his last 8 bouts including victories over Tackie Annan, to claim the WBC Youth title at 140lbs, and Nelson Tinampay. Gelawa has been stopped in his last 2 bouts, including a defeat to Charles Bellamy, but is a decent test for Baishanbo at this point.
In another main bout we'll see Chinese based Russian Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (12-2, 10) take on Yang Liu (4-3-1) in what looks like a mismatch of a 10 rounder. Although not an evenly matched bout the Russian is rebuilding following a loss earlier this year.
A more perplexing match up will see the once beaten A Fu Bai (7-1, 4) take on novice Yuan Yao (1-0). This will be Bai's first bout since he suffered his sole defeat, a 6 round decision loss to Viktor Kotochigov. Yao only debuted back in July, but did so against an experienced foe and impressed, so he may be be more competitive than the numbers suggest.
Of course much of the day's action, again, comes from Japan where there will be 3 cards, the most notable of which will be the Rookie of the West finals, and feature a total of 12 bouts from Minimumweight to Middleweight
One of the best bouts on the card is at Super Bantamweight where we see unbeaten fighters face off. In one corner will be Ioka gym's Bunta Okamoto (4-0, 2) whilst in the other corner will be Gifu Yokozeki's Ruito Saeki (4-0). With Super Bantamweight being one of the best division's in Japan this is a really significant and could see another youngster pushed towards making a mark on the division next year.
Another intriguing match up comes at Bantamweight where Hibiki Jogo (3-0, 3), another Ioka prospect, takes on fellow puncher Yuto Nakamura (6-2, 5), a 19 year old banger from the Ichino gym. This should be an explosive contest with neither man being known for going the distance.
At Super Flyweight we see another bout between unbeaten men as Kota Fujimoto (5-0, 1) takes on Katsuya Murakami (4-0-1, 1) in what looks likely to be a distance between between two men who are skilled but a bit feather fisted. A technical bout should be likely, but should be a really intriguing one with both fights looking to keep their unbeaten records.
Another show takes place in Aichi.
In the main event of the show we'll see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Yuya Okazaki (11-9-2, 4) face off with veteran Daiki Koide (22-8-2, 9). Okazaki is without a win in almost 2 years, going 0-2-1 in his last 3, but has mixed with stiff competition in the likes of Keita Obara, Noriaki Sato and Motoki Sasaki. As for Koide he is 3-3 in his last 6 but is 2 years removed from his last win and was last seen being stopped by Korean Woo Min Won, so there are a lot of questions about what he has left in the tank. Interestingly this will be the second bout between these two who fought in July 2014, when Okazaki took a razor thin victory over Koide.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see recent Japanese title challenger Ryosuke Maruki (12-4-1, 7) battle against Elfelos Vega (6-4, 4). This will be Maruki's first bout since July's loss to Yuki Nonaka and give his performance there it's hard to see anything but a win here, with Vega having lost his last 3. Despite Vega being the under-dog he is a live under-dog who is tough and has the power to perhaps hurt Maruki, if he can land clean. Both of these men have a Japanese ranking coming into this bout so the winner could, potentially, get a title fight in 2017.
The card will be a family affair for the Maruki family as Ryosuke's brother Kazuya Maruki (19-4, 12) takes on Dai Taoka (8-3, 5). Kazuya will be looking to bounce back from a shock defeat to Chan Hee Park in May and although he has an impressive looking record he is 2-2 in his last 4 and certainly a beatable fighter. Despite Maruki being beatable Taoka has gone 1-3 in his last 4 and has lost his last 2. This should be competitive and both fighters know they can't afford another loss at the moment.
There will also be a low level card in Tokyo, headlined by an interesting looking, and well matched, 10 rounder. The bout in question will see Ryuto Araya (10-4-1, 3) face off with Yosuke Kawano (10-5-2, 4) in what is a really solid looking domestic Featherweight bout. Coming in to this Araya will be risking a 10 top Japanese ranking but should be good enough to over-come Kawano,