This coming Sunday fight fans in Japan get 3 different shows across the country. On paper the most notable of those is from Okinawa, where fans will get three title fights and several notable fighters from recent Rookie of the Year competitions.
The main event of the card will see hard hitting Ryoya Ikema (12-4, 11) take on fellow puncher Mongkol Kamsommat (6-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title. The 20 year old Ikema had a 2017 to forget, with losses to Koki Ono and Ryoki Hirai, but will feel confident of claiming his first title here as he takes on an opponent who has been stopped in both of his losses. The Thai however will fancy his chances to make a name for himself and will be coming in to this on the back of 4 straight wins.
A second title fight on this card will see Yuko Henzan (5-6-4, 2) battle Phannaluk Kongsang (3-4-1, 2) for the OPBF female Bantamweight title, in a less than great looking bout which will actually be a rematch from a bout back in November. When these two first fought, in the Philippines, they fought to an 8 round draw, and given how competitive that bout was we're expecting another close one here, but it's unlikely to be a high quality match up.
A really mouth watering bout will see Tatsuro Nakashima (7-0-1, 5) face off with Kai Ishizawa (3-0, 3) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. Nakashima got all the way to the 2017 Rookie of the Year West final, where he fought to a draw with Yuga Inoue, and certainly looks like a talented youngster with power and ambition. As for Ishizawa he was a pretty solid amateur, going 28-14, and turning professional with a B class license. Since turning professional last June Ishizawa has looked sensational, and the 21 year old will be looking to continue to demonstrate his brutal power, which has seen him stop his first 3 foes in a combined 5 rounds. This could be a very explosive and exciting match up.
Other fighters of note on this card are 2016 Light Welterweight Rookie of year winner Ukyo Yoshigai (5-2, 4) and 2017 winner Marcus Smith (4-0-1, 4), though both men are up against relatively weak opponents and not each other, in what would have been a genuinely notable bout.
In Okyama we'll be able to see two really interesting match ups on the Japanese domestic scene, despite neither fight being a hugely significant one, for now.
The more interesting of those two bouts will see talented 22 year old Seigo Yuri Akui (11-1-1, 7) return to the ring since his first loss, to Junto Nakatani, and battle against the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (6-1, 6). The promising Akui was looking like a star in the making before running into the naturally bigger Nakatani last August and simply being out power by his foe. As for Yabuki he's a big puncher who lost in the 2016 Rookie of the year final, with that loss also coming to Junto Nakatani. It's clear both men will be looking for a statement win here, and a chance to work their way towards a rematch with Nakatani. This could be very exciting with both men having hands, and both looking to push themselves to a bigger and better fight.
The other bout of note on this card will see Kota Fujimoto (7-2-1, 2) battle against Shunji Nagata (11-16-2, 3). Coming in to this Fujimoto is ranked by the OPBF, and will be favoured here, but Nagata could be a banana skin, and certainly not be there to roll over though will be giving away significant size to Fujimoto.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will get a relatively notable card featuring several fighters with some form of ranking, and 3 bouts worthy of some note.
The main event will see OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Kenji Kihisa (8-3, 5) take on WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Shota Kawaguchi (21-9-1, 9). Coming in to this Kihisa is on a 3 fight stoppage run, including a career best win over Futa Akizuki which pushed him into the OPBF rankings. If we remove the run from Kihisa he doesn't have much else on his record, but the 27 year old does look like he is hitting his stride now. Kawaguchi is a former WBO Asia Pacific “Interim” champion, but has gone 4-5 in his last 9, including a stoppage last time out to Ryuichu Funai in a Japanese title fight. Kawaguchi needs a win to remain relevant whilst a victory for Kihisa will put him into the title mix, a really key bout at this regional level.
In a supporting bout fans will see OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Tatsuya Ikemizu (17-2, 7) take on Naoto Fujimoto (9-8-1, 4). The 25 year old Ikemizu has rebuilt well from losses to Mark John Yap and Jonas Sultan, scoring 4 straight wins, but this bout is a step up from the 4 Thai's he has faced over the last 18 months. Although a step up for Ikemizu from recent bouts, it's hard to imagine Fujimoto providing any sort of real test for the 2013 Rookie of the Year winner.
One other bout of note on this card will see Noboru Osato (8-6-4, 1) take on Takuya Yamamoto (8-8, 4) in a bout that both men really need to win. Osata has gone 3-3-1 in his last 7, including a close loss to Yuki String Kobayashi last time out, and really needs a win to give his career any sort of momentum. As for Yamamoto he has lost his last 2, including a 109 second blow out loss to Satoshi Shimizu, and has gone 2-5 in his last 7, showing just how much he needs another win.
The end the weekend attention turns to Hiroshima where Japanese fight fans get an easy to over-look card from Hiroshima.
In the main event of this show we see veterans colliding for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. The match up sees former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (31-14-1, 7) taking on 33 year old Koji Itagaki (17-10-2, 7). It's fair to say that Horikawa is the more proven fighter, having been in with a variety of well known fighters, such as Akira Yaegashi to Florante Condes, Edgar Sosa, Yu Kimura Shin Ono and Ken Shiro, and has typically held his own with them. Although he has 14 losses to his name Horikawa has proven to be a very solid fighter during a very hard career. Itagaki on the other hand has been in good form, winning 5 of his last 6 bouts, with notable victories over Benezer Alolod, Michael Enriquez and Michael Landero. Although neither man will be in the running for a world title fight, this should be a very good match up and a real war between two men really fighting for their pride.
Whilst the main event is something we're excited about we also really like some of the supporting bouts. One of those bouts we like will see the heavy handed teenager Ryoya Ikema (11-2, 10) take on domestic foe Koki Ono (11-3, 5). Ikema debuted back in 2013, as a 15 year old, and although he was 4-2 at one point he has been impressing recently with a 7-0 (6) run, including an 8 round decision win over Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai. Ono is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak and will feel confident here of upsetting the teenage hopeful, but he has been stopped before and it's clear that Ikema has got power.
Another supporting bout will see the once beaten Retsu Kosaka (7-1, 2) battle against the out of form Yuki Ozawa (10-5, 2). Last time out Kosaka suffered a competitive loss to fellow youngster Ken Osato and will be looking to get back to winning ways here. Ozawa will be looking to end a 5 fight slide here, and looking to make the most of a ring return following a sizeable break from the ring. On paper 5 losses looks terrible for the once 10-0 Ozawa but he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Masaaki Serie and Ryo Takenaka. If Ozawa is in form he could prove to be an excellent test for Kosaka and he is much better than the raw numbers suggest.