FujisanMesse, Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan
For a second day running we get live streamed action from Japan, with the Suruga Boys Channel streaming a show from Shizuoka. The card isn't a huge one, but it is one we're really interested in, given it features a really fun to watch fighter, a prospect looking to bounce back from a brutal KO loss and one of the hottest young prospects in Japan
The most established name on the card I former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (23-9-1, 15). The 34 year old Aso is certainly coming to the end of his career, and has lost 2 of his last 4, but will be looking to get another win on the slate here. In the opposite corner to Aso is the flawed Shogo Yamaguchi (12-5-3, 7), who has scored 1 win in his last 4, but that was a career best win over Shuhei Tsuchiya earlier this year. Given the styles of the fighters involved this could be a lot of fun!
The actual main event of the card will see Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3) looking to bounce back from a loss to Froilan Saludar, as he takes on domestic foe Ryotaro Kawabata (12-3-2, 6). The talented Murachi had won his firs 4 bouts with no real issues but was put in with Saludar way too early. He did have some success against the experienced Filipino, but was brutally knocked out in round 8 and it's now going to be interesting to see how he bounces back. Kawabata on the other hand isn't a gimme opponent and has shown what he can do with results like a draw against Rene Dacquel and a close loss to Mark John Yap. This is a genuine test for Murachi and could be a really, really tough out for the youngster.
Although not the main event it's hard not to feel that Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1) is the star of the show. The talented youngster has been tipped as a future world champion, he looked great on his debut, scored a KO of the year contender and was a very accomplished amateur. Sadly his original opponent had to pull out and has been replaced by Takafumi Iwaya (4-3), who is unlikely to pose many questions to Kimura who will be looking to shin and make a statement. Given how impressed Kimura looked on debut we can't imagine anything but a destructive stoppage here, before his team strap a rocket on him and race him to a title.
As well as the Japanese action there is also set to be a card in Russia featuring a couple of Kazakh hopefuls.
One of the hopefuls on this show is teenager Dastan Saduuly (3-0, 3) who takes on Vildan Minasov (3-0, 2) in an 8 round contest at 135lbs. So far neither of these two men have faced any sort of a test, so this is a step up for both men. The press in Kazakhstan are excited about the 18 year old Saduuly, and have tipped him since he made his debut, aged just 16, but this is his first real test. As for Minasov the 23 year old Russian has got more rounds to his name, but his competition has been horrifically bad and it's hard to say how he'll fair against someone who hits him back.
In a much more interesting match up we'll see the unbeaten Bobirzhan Mominov (11-0, 8) battle against Vaghinak Tamrazyan (17-7, 5) in a contender for the IBF Inter-Continental Welterweight title. For the 28 year old Mominov the bout will be a chance to build on a win over Cameron Krael back in June, as part of the Top Rank Summer Series, and will also be his first bout in Russia. Aged 34, and heading to his 35th birthday, Tamrazyan has won just 1 of his last 4, but has been matched hard and should prove to be a good test for the bullishly strong Mominov. Although maybe not the highest level bout we'll be getting this Sunday this could end up being a very good contest between two real tough guys, both vying for some silverware.
This coming Sunday sees 3 shows taking place across Japan.
The most notable of the shows is in Fukuoka where we get female world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (16-4-1, 8) battle against Mari Ando (13-9, 6), in what will be the second bout between the two ladies. Kuroki won the title in May 2014, when she defeated Ando, and has racked up 4 defenses of the title whilst showing genuine signs of improvement. For Ando the bout will be a chance to gain some revenge over Kuroki but a loss will almost be the end of her hard career.
In a really interesting supporting bout we'll see the struggling Hideo Sakamoto (16-3-3, 5) face of with Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-2, 5). Sakamoto made a name for himself in 2014, when he upset Hiroki Shiino, and looked to be beading towards a Japanese title, but a draw with Hiroaki Teshigawara has been followed by losses to Kentaor Masuda and Seizo Kono, leading some to wonder how much he has left. For Kawabata the bout is a chance to score his biggest win following draws against the likes of Hirofumi Mukai and Rene Dacquel. It's hard to know how good Kawabata is, but he did run Mark John Yap very close just a few fights back and clearly has potential.
Another title bout in Japan sees unbeaten youngster Takuya Uehara (10-0, 6) battle Filipino Markquil Salvana (11-2, 5) for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. For Uehara this will be his first title bout, but his team have prepared him pretty well with a string of 8 rounders, though he has only gone that distance once. Salvana has previously fought for a title, losing in a WBA Oceania title fight in 2015, and is struggling for form coming into this bout with 2 stoppages losses in his last 4. On paper this looks good but with Salvana's struggle and the fact he is moving up in weight does mean it's hard to see anything but a win for Uehara.
On the under-card here we'll see the now struggling Tatsuya Ikemizu (13-2, 6) battle against limited Thai Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-6, 1). Ikemizu has lost 2 of his last 3 bouts, albeit to good fighters in the form of Mak John Yap and Jonas Sultan, and is now looking to rebuild his career before being written off. Despite the set backs Ikemizu was the 2013 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year and has shown plenty of promise, though one wonders about his mental state. Jaipetch is expected to offer no resistance and will likely suffer his 5th stoppage loss.
There will also be a show in Hyogo, featuring no title action.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese title challenger Takumi Sakae (14-1-1, 9) face off with Ryoki Hirai (7-4-1, 3) as Sakae looks to end a bad year. Sakae began 2013 as a world ranked hopeful but a loss in a Japanese title fight with Tatsuya Fukuhara and a technical draw against Lito Dante has left him really needing to rebuild and a win over Hirai here would steady the ship leading into 2017. It looks like Hirai is a safe opponent for Sakae, with little to really test the youngster, but their will be questions about Sakae's confidence following the year he has had.
On the under-card wee see the once beaten Tetsu Araki (6-1-1) look to score a third straight win as he takes on Takuya Fujioka (7-5-1, 1) for the second time. This looks like a straight forward win for Araki, who's only loss was a razor thin set back to Tenta Kiyose in September 2015, however Fujioka did run Araki very close when the two men first fought back in July 2015.
Another notable under-card bout here will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (7-2, 4) take on Shota Aikawa (5-6-2, 2) in an interesting looking contest. On paper Kanda will be the favoured fighter but he was stopped inside a round last December and has fought only a single round since that loss . Aikawa has lost his last 2, but will come in here looking to change that here against a possibly rusty Kanda.
This coming Sunday sees Japanese attention turn to Osaka with the Sumiyoshi Ward Center playing host to two different shows, one after the other. The first is a Morioka card whilst the second is a Mutoh card.
To us the most interesting bout from the first show will see fast rising Japanese teenager Hinata Maruta (2-0, 1) go for his first professional title, as he faces unbeaten Filipino Wilbert Berondo (10-0, 4) for the WBC Youth Bantamweight title. The bout is, on paper, a huge step up for Berondo but the pressure will be on Maruta, who is tipped by many to be one of the next stars of Japanese boxing. Unfortunately very little is known about Berondo with even our Filipino friends admitting they know very little about him and the footage available shows a raw slugger.
Another interesting bout on this card will see Japanese based Korean fighter Teiru Atsumi (10-1, 4) battle Filipino visitor Dennis Tubieron (19-7-2, 8). Tubieron has been picking up losses recently, including a loss earlier this year to Ryosuke Iwasa. Atsumi is relatively unknown but impressed last time out when he stopped the touted Sho Nakazawa and some are suggesting he is one of the top two Korean prospects still in Asia, along with Ye Joon Kim. If he can add Tubieron to his record Atsumi really will be riding a high into the end of the year, and may well see his team try secure him a title fight in the near future.
On the second card we have another title bout, but one that perhaps doesn't quite have the same excitement as the Maruta/Berondo bout.
This time it's the case of OPBF Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-10-4, 9) facing off against multi-time title challenger Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-1, 13). For Hosokawa this will be his first defense, following his career defining victory late last year against Dennis Laurente to claim the Oriental title. For Hosokawa a good performance here may help open the door to a world title fight, with the Japanese fighter very highly ranked by the IBF, however Saito enters this bout knowing this will be his last chance at winning a world title.
In a supporting bout fans will see former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (12-4-2, 2) battle against Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-1, 5) in what is a really good, well matched contest. The bout sees two well matched men facing off in a bout that neither can really afford to lose. For Mukai the bout is his second since losing to Shohei Omori in a Japanese title fight whilst Kawabata looks to extend a 4 fight unbeaten run.
In a small step up the unbeaten Masahiro Sakamoto (7-0, 4) will be up against Il Che (7-11-5, 1). Che has lost his last 3, and only, has a single win in his last 8 but has proven to be a good test for prospects and gave Genki Hania Hanai a good run out back in March, we suspect the same will be the case here.
One fight we're not expecting to go the distance will see Japanese Middleweight puncher Koki Tyson (10-2-1, 10) face Korean Joon Yong Lee (5-4-3, 3). This will be Lee's second bout in Japan, following a loss in May to Ryosuke Maruki and although he went the distance, in a competitive bout with Maruki, we don't see him being able to take Tyson's power here.