Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan
This coming Saturday is set to be one of the biggest days in Asian boxing this year, as we get a hugely anticipated card from Saitama, headlined by a long over-due Middleweight unification bout between two fan friendly and aggressive fighters. Not only is the main event a great one, but the card in general is also a mouth watering one., with a second world title bout and a regional title bout.
The main bout on the card is the rescheduled bout between hard hitting Kazakh Middleweight star Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) and Japanese star Ryota Murata (16-2, 13), who were meant to clash on December 29th before the Japanese government made the bout impossible to stage due to covid regulations. The bout will see Golovkin enter as the IBF champion, seeking his second defense of this current reign. Although he will be the big favourite coming in to this bout, he is now 40 years old, with well over 400 bouts in total, as an amateur and professional, and he's been out of the ring since the end of 2020. It may well be the right time to face him, given his battle with father time. As for Murata, this is the bout he's been chasing for years, and at the age of 36 it really is now or never for him to show what he's capable of. Like Golovkin we've also not seen Murata fight recently, with his last bout coming at the end of 2019, and we expect him to be rusty, but he is so much younger than Golovkin. In regards to this one, it could be a very brutal, explosive, hard, tough and rough bout, which will likely see bombs thrown by both, with both likely needing to prove their toughness in what could be a very can friendly bout. Our in depth preview of this super clash can be read here The Middleweight Division gets a super fight as Golovkin and Murata face off!
In another world title fight we'll see WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17) make his second defense, as he takes on the heavy handed Ryota Yamauchi (8-1, 7) in an all Japanese title fight. The talented Nakatani, arguably the best fighter at 112lbs, won the title in 2020, with a brilliant win over Giemel Magramo, but he has a frustrating reign with his single defense coming last year against Angel Acosta in the US, in a bout marred by a brutal cut to Acosta. It's clear Nakatani is a special fighter, but the 24 year old needs to have a big year now and begin to really establish his reign, which has had a faltering start due to the pandemic. As for Yamauchi, the aggressive, heavy handed 27 year old is a really fun fighter to watch, but also a defensively flawed one, who was dropped in his 2019 loss to Wulan Tuolehazi, and although he's had some good wins so far this is a major step up in class for him. This should be a very entertaining bout, but one where Nakatani will enter as the clear favourite, though for those wanting a more in depth look at this bout our preview can be read here Nakatani seeks second defense as he takes on aggressive Yamauchi!
In another major supporting bout we'll see regional Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (14-0, 11) defending his WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles against former WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15). As with the Golovkin Vs Murata bout this was scheduled to take place last year, before being postponed when the December 29th card was cancelled, and much like that bout this is one that has got a lot of expectations on it, with over a year of back story. Whilst we won't go into all the backstory of the bout, it is worth getting very excited about with Yoshino looking to throw his hat into the ring for a major Lightweight bout, with the likes of George Kambosos, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia or Vasyl Lomachenko. For Ito the bout is about rebuilding his career after recent losses to Jamel Herring and Hironori Mishiro. Like the main event this should be a very, very compelling 12 rounder, and one that will see skills and power punching on show. Our preview of this bout can be read here Double champion Yoshino faces former WBO king Ito
In an interesting under-card bout we'll see former amateur standout Kazuki Anaguchi (1-0,1) take on the hard hitting Ryuji Yamamoto (6-1, 6). Anaguchi made his debut last year, and did so with a good win over Atsushi Takada, and it's clear from that performance, and his amateur pedigree, that he has the potential to be moved quickly and moved towards title fighters sooner rather than late. As for Yamamoto the 23 year old is a heavy handed youngster, who stopped his first 5 opponents before suffering a close decision loss in 2017. Notably he was out of the ring for close to 4 years after that loss before returning last year and stopping Takahiro Murai, in a very good win. It'll be interesting to see how Yamamoto deals with the skills of Anaguchi, and whether Anaguchi can handle the power of Yamamoto in a very good under-card fighter.
Abeno Ward Center, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Staying in Japan there is also set to be a show in Osaka, with this show being a West Japan Rookie of the Year event.
This show has 8 bouts set for it, between Light Flyweight and Welterweight. We won't go into too much details for this show, though one bout that did catch out attention was the all debutant bout between Yuichi Ikeda (0-0) and Jop Mustafa Jom (0-0), who will be facing off at Welterweight. We expect this one will be a wild, and open brawl, with both men being youngsters each looking to kick off their career with an eye catching win. Maybe not an amazing bout, but it should be a very fan friendly one.
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA
We're not just getting unification bouts in Japan, as we also get a female world title bout in the US as Japanese female boxing legend Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1, 7) takes on Marlen Esparza (11-1, 1) in a bout to unify the WBA and WBC female Flyweight titles. For Fujioka this bout comes following her US debut win over Sulem Urbina last year and given her age it really is now or never for her to to make a name internationally and a win over Esparza would see her improve her already very impressive resume and reputation. As for Esparza the bout will serve as her second defense of the title, and will see her looking to build on an excellent 2021, which saw her beating Ibeth Zamora Silva and Anabel Ortiz. Given the styles of the two women this could end up being a genuinely thrilling action bout. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Fujioka and Esparza clash in Flyweight unification!
Also on this card will be a bout between the unbeaten pairing of Katsuma Akitsugi (8-0, 1) and Gregory Morales (13-0, 8). Akitsugi is a US based Japanese fighter who debuted back in 2018 and has already ended a number of unbeaten streaks, beating Arnold Dinong (then 7-0), Eros Correa (then 10-0) and Rasheem Brown (then 11-0) in his last 4 bouts. Morales on the other hand is a Mexican born American fighter who beat former world champion Rodrigo Guerrero last year, but has been feasting on limited or smaller men and will be stepping up in class here.
Rizal, Laguna, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there's also a notable show in the Philippines, with a regional title bout in the headline bout, and several other notable contests. The show is certainly not a monster card, but it's a solid domestic level show for Pinoy fight fans.
The main event will see ArAr Andales (13-2, 5) take on Joey Canoy (17-5-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Minimumweight title, with Andales seeking his first defense of the title. Of the two men Andales is more well known, having challenged Knockout CP Freshmart in 2019, and he has bounced back from back to back losses, to win his last 3, including his title win in 2021 against Minh Phat Sam. Andales is still just 22 years old and seems destined for another world title fight down the line. As for Canoy, he is one of the many Filipino fighters who's record is misleading with numerous close and controversial losses and notable wins against the likes of Melvin Jerusalem and Toto Landero. Given what we know of the two men this should be a very good fight, with two men each looking to move towards a major bout later in the year.
In a main supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting Weljon Mindoro (6-0, 6) take on the limited Jerwin Mejes (4-6-6, 3), in a scheduled 8 rounder. Mindoro debuted in 2019 and has never been beyond round 3 in his short career, though in fairness he has only faced very low level competition and this is a notable step up in class for him. As for Mejes, who has one of the oddest looking records in the sport, he has gone 0-4-4 in his last 8 though has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and will need to be wary of Mindoro's power early on.
One other notable bout on this card will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (26-3-1, 21) face off with the very limited Jason Egera (24-23-3, 11), with Sabaupan looking to get his career back on track with just his second fight since 2017. He was once regarded as a genuinely bright hopeful for Filipino boxing, but losses to Marvin Quintero, in 2012, and Ricardo Dominguez, in 2013, ended much of the hype around him. Although he's been inactive in recent years, he should have too much for the very poor Egera.
Others on this card include unbeaten 25 year old Ryan James Racaza (11-0, 7), who takes on Monico Laurente (30-17, 7), and 26 year old Denmark Quibido (11-0-1, 6), who takes on Jovel Romasasa (10-19, 4), with the unbeaten men in these bouts expected to extend their unbeaten runs.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We're back at Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday for a Kadoebi promoted event featuring a standout talent defending a regional title in the main event, and a couple of decent on the under-card. It's not a stacked by any stretch, with just 5 bouts on the card, but there really is a feeling that this could be a surprisingly good show.
We regard the main event here as a bit of a mismatch as the talented Ryota Yamauchi (7-1, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title against Yuta Nakayama (8-3-1, 5) , in what should be little more than a stay busy defense for the champion. Yamauchi, who is world ranked by the WBA, WBO and IBF, is one of the more over-looked Flyweights in Japan and looks to be one of the most exciting, with an aggressive style, nasty power and a flawed defense. He can be hit, but he has the power to take opponents out. Nakayama on he other hand has lost his most meaningful bouts, by stoppage, and looks almost made to order for the pressure and power of Yamauchi. Don't expect this one to be competitive, but it's a clear sign that Kadoebi want him to have a few more bouts before an eventual world title shot. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi looks to make first defense of WBO AP title as he takes on Nakayama!
One of the notable prospects on this card is JBC ranked Super Flyweight Ayato Hiromoto (3-0, 1), who takes on the more experienced Hiroki Yajima (9-9-3, 4). Hiromoto has impressed since debuting in 2019 and looked really good against Ryosuke Nasu, despite the very poor scorecard of Takaki Handa, and it seems clear that Kadoebi can move him very quickly, with title bouts likely in 2022 or 2023. Yajima on the other hand is limited, but tough and we should see Hiromoto being forced to go 8 rounds, at a decent pace, against a very game foe. Given Yajima went 8 rounds with Hayate Kaji recently this is the perfect sort of test for Hiromoto at this early stage of his career.
Another excellent prospect on this show is the technically solid Jun Ikegawa (1-0), who turned professional after a strong amateur career and showed some very good technical ability in his debut. Although technically solid we didn't see Ikegawa get out of first gear in his debut, and we'd like to see a lot more from him. Thankfully we expect to see Ryuya Nihei (5-1-1, 1) try to push him a bit and beat him here, showing a mix of his experience, his own desire and his own skills. Ikegawa should still be too good, but Nihei will certainly not be there to roll over, especially given that he lost last time out, to Yuki Yazan in the East Japan Rookie of the Year final.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday Kadoebi put on their next show under the "Slugfest" banner at Korakuen Hall and although it's not a huge card, it is an interesting one with 3 bouts worthy of note on a 5 fight card. The event these include a real 50-50 match up at Lightweight, an excellent domestic clash at 140lbs and a regional title bout at Flyweight.
The bout we're most looking forward to is the Lightweight bout, which will put former Rookie of the Year winner Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-2, 4) against the very talented Masanori Rikiishi (7-1, 4), in a bout that will be pitting two JBC and OPBF ranked fighters against each other. Of the two Kasuya is probably the more technically well schooled, but his lack of power has held him back and he can be a very frustrating fighter to watch at times. Rikiishi is a more entertaining fighter and a heavier handed fighter, but this is a tough ask against a man with an excellent jab. The winner of this could well end up finding themselves in a title fight next year so this is a very notable and significant contest.
In a Light Welterweight bout the fun to watch Cristiano Aoqui (14-8-2, 10) will be up against Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) in what could turn out to be a real humdinger. The 31 year old Aoqui, a Japanese Brazilian, is a really exciting fighter who has his limitations but is very exciting when he lets his hands go and is not an easy man to beat. Kimura on the other hand has got under-rated power, and is an upset minded fighter, as we saw with his wins over Yusuke Yamanouchi, Hayto Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda. Both of these guys can bang, and both will know that a good win could move them onto a Japanese title fight next year.
The main event will see world ranked Flyweight hopeful Ryota Yamauchi (6-1, 5) take on Satoru Todaka (10-3-4, 4) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The talented Yamauchi is back on the fast track up the rankings following a 2019 loss to Wulan Tuolehazi and a win here would see him win his first title. Notably Yamauchi missed out on a Japanese title eliminator last year when he suffered a cut that hadn't healed in time for his eliminator and he'll be looking to make up for lost time here. As for Todaka the bout will be his second title fight, following a loss last year in a Japanese title fight against Kenichi Horikawa. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi goes for gold as he takes on Todaka
Kadoebi are perhaps not one of the real big name promoters in the eyes of many but the Japanese stable consistently put on interesting shows in Tokyo, and this Friday they put on another at Korakuen Hall.
In the main event will be former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11). The experienced Saludar won the title last year, when he stopped the touted Tsubasa Murachi and he returns to Japan for this fight against the heavy handed Fukunaga, who is crude but dangerous. A win here will push Saludar one step closer to a second world title bout. Whilst Fukunaga may have home advantage he is very much the under-dog, but is the naturally bigger man. Our preview of this bout can be read here Saludar returns to Japan to defend regional title against hard hitting Fukunaga!
World ranked Japanese Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4), who is bizarrely highly ranked by the WBA, will look to build on his 2019 Alphoe Dagayloan as he takes on MJ Bo (8-3-2, 4). It's fair to say that 2019 was a frustrating year for the talent Yamauchi, who lost a hotly contest decision to Wulan Tuolehazi in March, beat Dagayloan in August then missed out on a Japanese title eliminator due to injuries suffered against Dagayloan. We expect him out there to impress here. As for Bo the Filipino will be returning to Japan just 5 months after being stopped by Yuta Nakayama, and it's hard to imagine anything but another loss here for the Filipino visitor. We expect Yamauchi to go to the ring with the intention of making a real statement.
Foor us the real pick of the gems on this show is a potentially explosive bout between Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2). Although on paper this might just look like a typical novice bout the reality is that both of these men were solid amateurs, and both are regarded highly by those in Japan. Nakajima is regarded very highly and racked up more than 50 wins in the amateurs whilst Kawabata fought for a Japanese youth title in just his third bout. We expect explosive action here in what is our "One to watch" for this week.
Over in the US we'll see fast rising Uzbek hopeful Bektemir Melikuziev (4-0, 3) take on his most notable opponent to date, as he battles former world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban (25-5-1, 16). The bout will be "Bek Bully's" 5th in just over 8 months, and it's clear he and his team have got their eye on the fast track to the top. After going 10 rounds with Vaughn Alexander in December we know the Uzbek can box, as well as bang. Periban is a long way removed from the fighter lost a razor thin decision to Sakio Bika and fought to a draw with Badou Jack, back in 2013, but is still a solid name and someone who could ask questions of Melikuziev. Whilst Melikuziev is expected to win, the real question will be how, and if stops Periban early it would be a genuine statement from the 23 year old.
This coming Saturday is massive with a trio of world title bouts, to warm up for the big day we get a really interesting card in Japan on Friday, with 2 really good Japan Vs Philippines bouts and a pair of bouts involving touted debutants.
The main event of the show will see OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (10-1-1, 7) look to make his second defense, as he takes on Japanese veteran Takuya Kogawa (30-5-1, 13), who is essentially fighting for his career at this point. The talented Raquinel won the title in March 2018, stopping Keisuke Nakayama, and impressed when he stopped Shun Kosaka in his first defense. Sadly a loss in China to Wulan Tuolehazi last September slowed his ascent and he's been out of the ring ever since. At the age of 34 Kogawa really is a veteran, and the popular Tokyo brawler has began to show signs of his career catching up with him in recent years. Since losing the Japanese title in June 2016 to Masayuki Kuroda we've not been impressed by Kogawa, who has struggled in his 3 subsequent bouts, though has been hit by stretches of inactivity. If Kogawa is half the fighter he once was this could be amazing, alternatively this could be the bout that pushes him into retirement. A full preview of this bout is available here Rising hopeful Raquinel and veteran Kogawa clash for OPBF title
Another brilliant bout between a Filipino and a Japanese local will see Pinoy hopeful Alphoe Dagayloan (13-2-5, 5) take on touted Japanese hopeful Ryota Yamauchi (4-1, 4). For Dagayloan this bout will see him looking to extend a 7 fight winning streak, and build on wins over the likes of Esneth Domingo and Danrick Sumabong. A win for the Filipino will almost certainly open up big opportunities in the near future, given his run of form. For Yamauchi however the bout will be his first since suffering a controversial loss in China to Wulan Tuolehazi, the same man who has also beaten Jayr Raquinel. A win for Yamauchi gets him back on the fast track, whilst a loss will give him some real rebuilding to do. It's great to see both men taking a risk here, and we're really expecting something very special from this bout. Our preview of this bout is available here Yamauchi and Dagayloan set to battle in intriguing 8 rounder!
In an interesting all-Japanese bout ranked fighters clash, as JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked Yuichiro Kasuya (12-2-1, 3) takes on OPBF and JBC ranked Takayuki Sakai (9-1-2, 6), in what is arguably the most over-looked bout on the card. The 22 year old Kasuya has been a professional for over 5 years and show a lot of early promise, winning the Rookie of the Year in in 2014. A 3 fight run that saw him going 0-2-1 slowed his ascent but with Kadoebi now behind him it seems like his career is back on track and hopefully he can build on the early promise he showed. Sakai on the other hand started his career 3-1-2 but has since reeled off 6 straight wins, including a very notable one over Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, last December. The winner of this one could well find themselves in a title fight very soon.
One of two notable debutants on this card is Mikio Sakai (0-0), who takes on the hard hitting Elfelos Vega (7-6, 5). As an amateur Sakai went 44-22 (19) and was a pretty notable amateur and even if he didn't regularly win national tournaments he was solid with Kadoebi clearly expecting big things from him. Vega is a very tough tough debut opponent, with the Japanese based Colombian being heavy handed and able to take a good shot. Vega hasn't fought since March 2018, but has shared the ring with the likes of Takeshi Inoue, Charles Bellamy and Kazuto Takesako, with only Takesako and Ryosuke Maruki managing to stop him. This looks like it could be a baptism of fire for Sakai.
Another debutant who is in tough is the 21 year old Ryo Nakai (0-0), who takes on unbeaten Filipino Jay Lloyd Quidlat (4-0-1, 2). The debutant ran up a 30-16 (15) record in the amateurs and should have the tools to handle Quidlat, who is unbeaten but has faced very limited opposition on the lower end of the Filipino scene. An interesting looking debut for Nakai, but a big step up for Quidlat.
In Okalahoma we're expecting to see two Central Asian prospects in action.
The more well known of those is hard hitting Uzbek prospect Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14), who risks his unbeaten record against fellow puncher Abdiel Ramirez (24-4-1, 22). On paper this looks like an interesting match up, and it should be explosive, though Ramirez is the naturally smaller man and has lost 3 of his last 4. Given that both can punch we do expect to see heavy leather thrown, but Ergashev should be too heavy handed, too big and too tough for 28 year old Mexican.
The other Central Asian fighter on this card is Izim Izbaki (1-0, 1), though it should be noted Izbaki has had several fight fall through since his debut. Well regarded by those in Kazakhstan Izbaki has got potential, and should be far too good for the 26 year old Armonte Summers (1-1), who is listed as being 6'10". If this bout takes place we expect Izbaki to fight like a man with a point to prove given the issues he's had with getting in the ring since his debut last November.
Staying in the US we'll also see the unbeaten Bobirzhan Mominov (10-0, 8) take on Javier Flores (14-2, 12). The talented 27 year old Mominov is one of the less spoken about Kazakh prospects but has impressed and looks like someone who needs to be let off the leash sooner, rather than later. On paper this is a big step up for him, with Flores having never been stopped, and having gone 10 rounds with the once touted Ronald Cruz just a few months ago. A good test, but one that Mominov should pass.
New South Wales, Australia
One other bout of note will take place in Australia and see Australian based Filipino veteran Jack Asis (38-22-5, 19) fight for the 66th time as he takes on the unbeaten Youssef Dib (12-0, 5). Asis has had a real roller coaster of a career, turning around a 21-18-4 (10) record by scoring 14 straight wins, but he has suffered back to back losses entering this bout, and was stopped last time out after being dropped a number of times. The 26 year old Dib is no puncher, and did look poor last time out, but should have more than enough to beat the 36 year old Asis.
Gauteng, South Africa
Under-rated Kazakh Alexandr Zhuravskiy (13-4-1, 11) ended a 3 fight losing run last time out, when he held Boyd Allen to a draw in South Africa. This coming Friday he returns to South Africa to take on 21 year old South African puncher Roarke Knapp (8-0-1, 7). This looks a tough ask for Zhuravskiy, however he continues to show that he's no easy out for anyone, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him to give Knapp a really serious test here.
For us the biggest show this Saturday is in China where we get a China Vs Japan card featuring a number of bouts between fighters from those two countries. Not only is there the China Vs Japan theme, but also the return to the ring of a popular Japanese former world champion.
The former world champion is Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10), who despite being Japanese is hugely popular in China following his title win over Zou Shiming in 2017. Kimura was dethroned of the WBO Flyweight title in September, by Kosei Tanaka, but will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he takes on Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (60-10-2, 24) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Flyweight. Pigmy was once a solid fighter, and is a 2-time world title challenger, but is not a natural Flyweight, he's 37 and has been stopped 7 times in his career, with Kimura likely to make that 8.
One of the many China Vs Japan bouts will see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) take on Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) in a bout for some minor WBA Light Welterweight title. Originally the title was listed as the WBA "International" title, though their is now speculation that it will be for the WBA "Asia" title. Nasiyiwula is a talented fighter, but often comes across as a man with a bad attitude, and a real arrogance. He has impressed in the past, but didn't look good last time out, when he fought Ernesto Espana. Konno on the other hand has a poor looking record, but comes into this bout on the back of 3 good domestic wins, including an excellent victory over Vladimir Baez in December and will be full of confidence.
Another China Vs Japan bout, with a title on the line, will see world ranked Chinese fighter Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5) battle against highly regarded Japanese prospect Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) in a bout for the WBA International Flyweight title. Tuolehazi has impressed in recent years, turning around a 0-2 start to professional boxing to have a 10-3-1 record including a big win over Jayr Raquinel last year. Yamauchi has impressed us since his professional debut, and already has a couple of solid wins on his record, but this is a big step up for him. We suspect Yamauchi has the tools needed to over-come Tuolehazi, but he will need to answer serious questions here, and prove himself more than he has at any other point in his career. A full preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi and Tuolehazi battle in mouth watering Flyweight clash
The China Vs Japan rivalry may be set to give us a very special bout as Fangyong Zhang (11-4-1, 3) and Ryuto Maekawa (11-1-1, 7) clash in a potential war. Neither of these are world beaters, but both are happy to let their hands go and be involved in a fight. Maekawa is best known for his insane bout with Rex Tso whilst Zhang is less well known he is certainly not a bad fighter to watch and should make for the perfect partner with Maekawa for a brilliant fight.
As well as the big card in China there will also be a big one in the US, in fact the US card in Pennsylvania is the biggest of the day in terms of general boxing. The card isn't just big in a wider boxing sense but also features several Asian fighters.
The most significant bout, in regards to Asian interest, will see the unbeaten Uzbek fighter Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) take on Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) in an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator. The talented Abdukakhorov will be making his US debut and begin a 3 fight deal with Top Rank with this fight, and will know that a win will open up major doors, though he is up against a serious puncher in Obara. For Obara, who has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, this is a must win but he has failed to win his biggest bouts and at the age of 32 he is likely on the slide. Our preview of this bout is available here Abdukakhorov and Obara battle for mandatory position
Once beaten American based Kazakh Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2) will take on Puerto Rican puncher Jose Lopez (11-1, 9) in an 8 round bout. The 28 year old Ualikhanov was beaten on debut, in 2016, when he was controversially DQ'd and since then has reeled off 4 wins, to rebuild his reputation. Lopez on the other hand was stopped last time out by journeyman Carlos Winson Velasquez and is may not find this bout to be the confidence builder he needs.
New South Wales, Australia
There will also be a show in Australia, featuring a couple of Filipino fighters.
The main event of this card will see WBSS participant Jason Moloney (17-1, 14) return to the ring for the first time since losing to IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. The talented, once beaten, Australian will be up against Filipino visitor Cris Paulino (19-3, 8) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. Given that all 3 of Paulino's losses have come by stoppage it's hard to imagine him lasting with the hard hitting Moloney, who will likely get to Paulino sooner or later.
Another Filipino on this card is Rey Juntilla (23-8-5, 14), who takes on Billel Dib (22-3, 10). The 29 year old Juntilla has lacked activity in recent years, with only 1 bout in the last 2 years, and although he has a good looking record he has lost against almost every noteworthy name he's faced. Dib is no world beater, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but he should pick up an easy win here.
In a bit of an oddity we'll see German based Moroccan Bilal Messoudi (6-4-1, 2) take on Chinese fighter Shayilanbieke Kadeerbieke (2-3-2, 1). Although Messoudi has lost 4 bouts he has mixed with decent fighters and is better than the numbers suggest. As for Kadeerbieke this will be his first bout outside of China, and we'll be honest and admit that is strange he's set to fight in Germany.
To kick off the month of October we get the next show in the “Slugfest” series of cards from Kadoebi. The card's the most exciting but is headlined by a former national champion and features 3 notable prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-5-2, 10) taking on teenage hopeful Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1). The heavy handed Ohashi was totally manhandled earlier this year when Taiki Minamoto ripped the title from him in April in impressive fashion, stopping Ohashi in 7 rounds and ending his 4 month reign as champion. This will be Ohashi's first bout since that loss. The 19 year old Saeki competed in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and has has shown good skills, but a lack of power is likely to be a major problem, especially here, with Ohashi unlikely to show him respect.
Another fighter looking to return to winning ways is Kazuki Saito (5-1, 5), a talented former amateur stand out who was upset last time out by Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, who really showed how flawed Saito is defensively. The hard hitting Saito is being matched softly here, as he takes on Filipino Rey Ramos (8-9-2, 3), who has been beat in 5 of his last 7 with 3 career stoppage losses. This is clearly a confidence booster for Saito, and we can't begrudge him one those given the stoppage loss.
Another of the under-card bouts features super prospect Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) in what looks to be a stay busy fight. The sensationally talented Yamauchi, who has really impressed us through 2018, will be up against Indonesian foe Rio Nainggolan (4-8, 3). Coming in to this Yamauchi has spent 2018 stopping both Lester Abutan and Yota Hori, to move into the OPBF and JBC rankings at Flyweight. As for the visitor he has fought just once this year, losing to Carlo Cesar Penalosa in 3 rounds. The Indonesian has had no luck at all on the road with losses to the likes of Petch Sor Chitpattana, Juiki Tatsuyoshi, Petch Kokietgym and Penalosa, and we would be massively surprised if Nainggolan managed to last more than 5 rounds with the Japanese wunderkind.
Another notable prospect in action here is the debuting Yuki Nakajima (0-0), the brother of Kazuki Nakajima. The 23 year old is tipped for huge success and will look to shine as he begins his professional career against Thai visitor Somphon Banyaem (3-1, 3), who's only bout of note was a 4th round KO loss to Takamori Kiyama in May, with Kiyama making his debut in that bout. We suspect Nakajima will stop the Thai, and will look to do so quicker than Kiyama, but this is an interesting debut given that it allows for a direct comparison between two young up and comers.
A new week kicks off with an interesting Kadoebi card on Monday, with a host of notable fights, including two title fights a world ranked contender and a fast rising prospect.
The main event of the card with see Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10) defending his two regional titles as he battles Australian Aaron Russell (11-4, 4). The bout seems to be more of a case of keeping Kyotaro busy rather than really testing him, with Russell being an under-sized and under-powered opponent who has fought mostly at Cruiserweight. With 4 stoppage losses against his name Russell seems like an opponent there to make Kyotaro look good, and that's exactly what we expect to see here.
A much more interesting title fights comes at 140lbs, as Japanese national champion Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) defends his title against Japanese based Dominican puncher Vladimir Baez (24-3-2, 22) in what looks like a bout that could be something special. Hosokawa might not be well known outside of Japan but he has been involved in some thriller during his career and has proven to be tough, have a great engine and loves to fight. Baez is a huge puncher at this weight and is a marauding fighter, who will come forward and look to bomb out his opponent. We're not expecting a technical masterpiece here, but we are expecting some great action.
The aforementioned prospect is Flyweight hopeful Ryota Yamauchi (2-0, 2), who made his debut last June before shining in December by stopping Lester Abutan. Yamauchi will be looking to continue his rise as he takes on domestic contender Yota Hori (13-6-2, 8) in what is another still test for the 23 year old hopeful. A win for Yamauchi is likely to see him begin the push towards title fights and we wouldn't be surprised to see him in a title fight in the next 12 months, if he wins here. Of course a win for Yamauchi is no foregone conclusion and Hori is no push over, with wins over Musashi Suzuki, Kenta Okamura and a draw with Koki Eto showing he's a live underdog in this bout.
Another unbeaten man on this card is the world ranked Hiroki Okada (17-0, 12), who is looking to get a world title fight in the near future. Okada will be up against visiting Filipino fighter Ciso Morales (19-6-1, 12). On paper this looks like it could be a test for Okada, but reality is that Morales was stopped in a round on his last visit to Japan, by Shuya Masaki, and has been stopped in 5 of his 6 defeats. Not only that but he has made his career fighting well before the Light Welterweight limit, that Okada competes at. There's a risk of Okada over-looking the Filipino here but the reality is that Okada should come out on top with no real worries.
On the final Tuesday before Christmas Japanese fight fans get a really good looking Kadoebi promoted card from the Korakuen Hall, with several bouts of genuine significance.
The most important of the bouts is the main event of the show, which will see the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (16-0, 11) take on the highly experienced Jason Pagara (40-2-1, 25) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. The Japanese local knows that a win here will almost certainly be followed by a world title eliminator next year, with Okada having been ordered to face Ivan Baranchyk in an IBF eliminator however Pagaea is no push over. Interestingly Pagara, who is the WBO #8 ranked fighter at 147lbs, comes into this bout on the back of a FOTY contender against James Onyango, a bout that showed Pagara's faults and heart as he narrowly came away with a draw. This could be a very entertaining fight, and is a very significant one for both men involved.
The chief support bout will see touted former amateur star Ryota Yamauchi (1-0, 1) take a huge step up in class to face off with Lester Abutan (12-6-3, 6). The talented and touted Yamauchi impressed on debut and will now be tasked with facing someone who really is a very tough opponent for a second bout and is ranked in the top 15 by the OPBF. For Abutan the bout sees him returning to Japan for his second bout in the country, with the first being a loss in an OPBF title fight to Ken Shiro. It should be noted that Abutan hasn't just faced off with Ken Shiro but also fought to a split with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and is a really still test for Yamauchi
A third bout pitting Japan against the Philippines will see Yuta Nakagawa (21-5-1, 12) take on Markquil Salvana (13-4, 7). We last saw Nakagawa involved in a thrilling contest with Yasutaka Ishimoto, in a Japanese title eliminator, with Nakagawa losing the split decision in that bout. That loss to Ishimoto saw Nakagawa ending a 12 fight unbeaten run, and he'll be looking to get back to winning ways here. Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has gone 4-4 (4) in his last 8 bouts, including losses in Japan to Takuya Uehara and Shota Hayashi, and has interestingly never won outside of his homeland.
In an all Japanese bout fans will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Yusuke Konno (11-4, 5) take on Welterweight puncher Kazuya Maruki (20-5, 13). The 32 year old Konno was last in the ring back in June, when he lost in a thriller against Koichi Aso for the Japanese Light Welterweight title. That bout showed that Konno really could fight, and he'll be looking to put in a similar performance here. The naturally bigger, and younger, Maruki has gone 3-3 in his last 6, including 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, but will likely feel his edge in youth and natural size advantage will be enough. It's hard to not excited about this bout given that both are flawed, aggressive and exciting fighters.
One other fighter of note on this card is Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Wataru Takeda (11-1-1, 5), who will be facing off with a Thai opponent. Takeda has won his last 2 by stoppage following a close loss to Ryohei Takahashi in October 2016 and it does seem like his team have got big plans for 2016, with this bout serving as just a stay busy fight before Christmas.
To end the month of June Kadoebi put on a pretty interesting looking card, with a number of notable names featuring on the card and a significant main event.
That main event will see two top Japanese domestic Welterweights clash as Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8) takes on Makoto Kawasaki (9-4-1, 2) for the interim Japanese title. Originally Sakamoto was supposed to face Japanese champion Toshio Arikawa earlier this year, but an injury to Arikawa forced that bout to be cancelled and instead Sakamoto got this bout, with the winner to face Arikawa when he returns to the ring.
The under-card here features a trio of former Japanese champions. The most notable of those is former 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (15-0, 11), who faces once beaten Filipino Jheritz Chavez (7-1-2, 5). Okada, once tipped as a genuine one to watch at 140lbs, hasn't impressed in recent bouts, however there is a feeling that he has mentally turned off, and gone stale against opponents he has been strongly favoured to beat. A win here would see him open the door to potential OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights. For Chavez the bout is his second outside of the Philippines, following a decision loss in Russia last year, since that loss he has scored two solid stoppages at domestic level and he comes into this one as a real threat.
Another of the former champions in action is former Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-5, 18), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since losing his title to Kazuhiro Nishitani in March. In the opposite corner to the heavy handed Tushciya will be feather fisted Shota Suito (11-6-1, 1),who is a very light puncher but a durable fighter who has gone the rounds with a number of notable domestic foes including Masaru Sueyoshi.
A third former domestic champion in action is former Welterweight king Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7), who lost the title last year to the aforementioned Arikawa. The lanky Shindo will be up against the out of form Ryota Itoyama (10-8-1, 5), who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5 and is more than 4 years removed from his last win! This should be a straight forward win for Shindo, but his confidence won't be great and he does need an easy one.
Also on this card is the professional debut of the touted Ryota Yamauchi (0-0). As an amateur he went 38-15 (14) and is tipped as a genuine prospect from the Kadoebi gym. Yamauchi will be up against a Thai foe here in what should be a mismatch