This coming Sunday is certainly not a huge day, but it's a bizarrely packed one, with a lot going on, even if not much of it will make much of an impact on the winder boxing scene. We have a Japanese Heavyweight title fight, a Japanese title eliminator, a return to the ring for a popular female fighter, a regional title fight, a clash between former world title challengers and the KBF Rookie of the Year final, on a crazy, yet low key, Sunday.
For us the most noteworthy card comes from Kariya where we see a trio of notable bouts.
The most notable of the bouts on the card will be a rematch between Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) and Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5), who battle for the Japanese Heavyweight title and the chance to become only the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion. Coming in to this bout it's worth knowing that Takehara gave Ueda his sole defeat, but at the age of 41 and with a 30 fight career behind him we do wonder what Takehara has left in the tank. Technically Ueda looks the part, until he throws a punch and then he looks...well terrible, but he may have the youth and energy this time to see off the veteran. Our preview of this bout can be read here Takehara and Ueda rematch for Japanese Heavyweight title!
In an even better bout than the main event we'll see a Japanese Light Flyweight eliminator as the sensationally talented Rikito Shiba (4-0, 2) takes on the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9), with the winner securing a shot at the title in the 2020 Champion Carnival against Yuto Takahashi. Both of these fighters have big plans, and whilst we have been more impressed by Shiba's rise than Yabuki's recent bouts both of these are very talented and will likely end up as fixtures in the title scene in the coming years. This promises a lot and is going to be a very interesting bout between two very talented fighters. Our preview of this bout can be read here Light Flyweight eliminator sees Shiba and Yabuki clash!
Former female world title challenger Tomomi Takano (11-5, 8) will fight in Japan for the first time in over 2 years as she takes on Sachiko Kondo (2-4-2). At one point Takano looked like a star in the making, with the look that turned heads, but losses in big fights and a very public falling out with her then promoter saw her head into the boxing wilderness, fighting in Mexico. She's now back in Japan with a new team and a new hunger, and that should be in show here.
Another notable Japanese card comes from Ishikawa, as Kashimi promote their next show, headlined by a clash between a former world champion and a former world title challenger, and supported by several interesting bouts featuring Chinese fighters.
The main event will see Japanese based Filipino Genesis Servania (33-2, 16) take on former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-7, 35). Although both men are past their primes, this still makes for a really good match up. Servania is best known for his fantastic 2017 bout with Oscar Valdez. Despite losing that bout Servania put himself on the international map, though sadly a loss to Carlos Castro earlier this year has back into more obscure bouts, like this one. Pungluang on the other hand was a very talented Thai back in his prime, but losses in 4 of his last 5 have shown him to have slipped significantly. Despite on the downslide the Thai is tough and likes a fight. Stylistically these are similar fighters, with both enjoying a fight up close, and lacking speed, and as a result this could end up being a bit of a classic for fans at the Sangyo Hall.
In a supporting bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-3, 2) take on China's Baolin Kang (6-2, 1). Hanabusa won the Rookie of the Year on the majority point rule last December and has gone 1-0-1 since then, drawing in China against Ayati Sailike, in a bout that should have gone his way. Kang on the other hand is best known for being stopped by Ari Agustian in 2018, but has won both of his bouts this year. Although not an amazing bout this should be entertaining.
Another interesting looking bout will see Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-2, 3) fight against China's A Fu Bai (8-3, 5). Both men were beaten last time out, with Bolivar being stopped bu Shu Utsuki and Bai being beaten by Da Xu, and with both seeking a win we expect this to be a bout where both men look to find another gear in very competitive contest.
A third Japanese card, from Osaka, is much lower profile and only really has one bout of not. That bout will see 2-time Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger Ken Osato (16-3-1, 4) battle against the in form Kanehiro Nakagawa (8-6, 5). On paper this looks like a mismatch, and whilst Osato should be favoured it's worth noting that Nakagawa has won his last 3, including upsets against Seiichi Okada and Ryuto Araya, and will be full of confidence coming in here.
Sadly the rest of this card is very much nondescript.
Seoul, South Korea
Another fairly notable card will take place in the South Korean capital of Seoul, with a regional title bout and some rookie action
The main event will see former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Jung Kyoung Lee (7-3-1, 3) take on the once touted Thai Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-6, 22) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Middleweight title. Lee has had a roller coaster year, scoring a career best win in January, when he stopped Samuel Colomban for the OPBF title, and the losing the title less than 7 months later, to Akinori Watanabe. Throw in an injury to those extremes and it's fair to say things could have gone a lot better the Korean. As for Saddam he is a long way removed from the point where he was seen as a genuine hopeful. He's now 2-4 in his last 6 and 5-6 in his last 11, dating back more than 8 years. If we're being honest we suspect Saddam is somewhat less fussed about winning and losing than he once was.
As well the bout mentioned above the bulk of this card will actually be the KBF Rookie of the Year Finals. Unlike the Japanese Rookie of the Year finals, which take place next week, it's been hard to follow these and it's hard to say too much about the finalists, who in some cases have only a fight or two so far in their career. Certainly rookies, but it would have been nice to have had some more depth to the tournament, and make them show a bit more to get to the finals.
We also have a show in Thailand, from Evolution Fight Series. This isn't card isn't a big one, but does feature a world world title challenger and a promising Uzbek, among others.
The main event will see Armenian born Thai based Russian Musheg Adoian (3-1, 3) take on former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-11-4, 22) from Indonesia. The 24 year old Adoian has fought his entire professional career in Thai, and has scored 3 successive stoppage wins coming into this bout. Although a professional novice Adoian will be the favourite against Mukhlis, who is a long, long way removed from the fighter who challenged Takashi Uchiyama way back in September 2010. Since the loss to Uchiyama Mukhlis has gone 6-8-2 and is 0-5-1 in his last 6.
A second bout of note here will see unbeaten Thai based Uzbek Murodjon Yokubov (6-0, 4) battle against Indian foe Amandeep Singh (4-0, 1). For Yokubov this bout will be his 6th of the year and whilst his opposition has been limited it's hard not to like a guy who is active, developing his skills and getting ring time under his belt. As for Singh this will be only his second bout since the the start of 2018, and it's hard to know whether he'll manage to be put up any sort of competition for Yokubov.
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta also plays host to a small profile card, headlined by a 6 round contest between Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3) and Alvius Maufani (7-4-2, 4). On paper this is a really hard card to care about, and whilst we suspect their fun action from the Metro TV Studio the bouts are very much novices against each other and fighters with losing records rather than anything worth getting too excited by.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as we get the next show in the A Sign Bee series of cards. The show isn't the best, in fact it's main event looks to be a huge mismatch between a 2-time world title challenger and a limited domestic fighter, but it does have a well matched Japanese Youth title fight, and a well matched domestic support bout.
As mentioned the main event will feature a 2-time world title challenger, that's Ryo Akaho (32-2-2, 21) who really is being matched softly here, as he takes on Naoto Mizutani (5-4-1, 2). On one hand Akaho has had a frustrating year, giving up the Japanese title in December and then blowing out Robert Udtohan inside a round when he returned to the ring. On the other hand he really should be wanting to shake some ring rust before a bit 2019. Mizutani has no right being in the ring with Akaho, and has already been stopped 3 times in his career. Not only has Mizutani been stopped a number of times but he brings nothing to the table to really test Akaho, who should have been matched against someone much more testing here.
The main supporting bout here will see Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) defending his title against Yuta Nakayama (6-1-1, 3). The 23 year old champion has had a weird career so far. He was tipped for big things when he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2013 but numerous set backs since then have hampered his rise. He dropped down in weight, from Flyweight to Light Flyweight for the Youth title earlier this year and stopped Tetsuya Tomioka for the title. Nakayama went 1-1-1 to begin his career, but has impressive gone 5-0 since then, and done so with a notable win over Tatsuhiro Toguchi. This should be very hotly contest and very exciting, with both men starting to believe in their power in recent bouts. A full preview of this bout can be read here Oho seeks first defense, takes on tricky Nakayama
Lower down the card we'll see Japanese ranked Welterweight Makoto Kawasaki (9-7-1, 2) take on the limited but hard hitting Kentaro Endo (7-8-1, 6), in what looks like a surprisingly competitive contest on paper. Kawasaki is certainly the more skilled fighter, but has lost her last 3 bouts, and has taken punishment in recent bouts. Endo is limited, but he is very heavy handed and we suspect he'll be looking to use that power here, and he will be dangerous early on. Sadly for Endo the longer this bout goes the less chance he has of making the most of his power.
One other under-card bout of note is a contest between Japanese ranked Heavyweight Ryu Ueda (6-1-1, 3) and unbeaten Korean Jong Kook Kim (3-0, 2). Interestingly these two men both stopped Sang Ho Kim in their last bout, with Ueda doing it last year and Jong Kook Kim doing it more than 2 years ago. Sadly the inactivity for Kim could be the difference here, but the Korean southpaw will not have travelled to lose his unbeaten record. The Japanese fighter is also a southpaw, but he is notably 1-1-1 in his last 3, and doesn't have much momentum coming into this, despite his win over Sang Ho Kim last time out.
It's fair to say that Japanese fight fans have been left somewhat short changed during this year's “Golden Week”, and where theirs often 2 or 3 major card there wasn't really any, with the recent Watanabe card coming just before the Golden Week and the next big card, an Ohashi one, coming on the Sunday after the Golden Week. Saying that however the wait until this Sunday is a worthy one with their being several notable shows throughout Japan.
Of those Japanese shows it goes without saying the biggest, and the best, is in Tokyo and is going to be the highly anticipated Ohashi card from the 10,000 seater Ariake Colosseum. The card, which we strongly suspect will have more than 10,000,000 viewers, will see only two bouts televised live but they are both likely to feel a little bit special.
The first of those bouts is expected to be an all out war as IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) defends his title against the aggressive and very fun to watch Martin Tecuapetla (13-6-3, 10). This bout really does promise a lot of excitement, and for fans who like a war this is as sure fire a slugfest as we can think of with both men enjoying a tear up. Yaegashi will be the favourite but we wouldn't be surprised to see him taken to hell and back to retain his title.
Of course whilst Yaegashi's bout promises real 2-way fireworks it's unlikely to be the bout that gets international attention. Instead that attention will be focused on 23 year old sensation Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8), who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). The bout will be Inoue's second defense of his title and is likely to be his final bout in Japan before making a highly anticipated US debut later in the year. Although the bout is anticipated, because of Inoue's incredible appeal and ability, it's a mismatch and is unlikely to be more than a cameo-like appearance from the “Monster”, who has fought just 4 rounds in the last 18 months.
The two world title bouts are of course the bouts getting the most attention but their will also be a third title bout on the show, as youngster Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1) defends the OPBF Super Flyweight title against Indonesian challenger Afrizal Tamboresi (12-4, 6). The bout really should be a mismatch in favour of Takuma, who should make the second defense of his title here, but Tamboresi knows there is nothing to lose and their will be no pressure on him coming into this bout against the much touted Inoue.
The card featured a third fighter from the Inoue clan, with the touted Koki Inoue (2-0, 2) taking on another Indonesian, in Bimo Jaguar (0-0), in what is unlikely to be anything other than an early blow out win for the biggest of the Inoue's. Koki, for those unaware, is the cousin of Naoya and Takuma and, like the brothers, is trained by their father Shingo who may well be the best young trainer in world boxing.
One other notable name on this card is world title contender Ryo Matsumoto (17-0, 15), who risks his rankings and unbeaten record against Victor Uriel Lopez (8-5-1, 3). This seems likely to be Matsumoto's final bout before a world title fight, later in 2016. That talented Matsumoto has been treading water for a while, and this seems to be another stay busy, but he is insanely talented and is viewed as another fighter who is going to be part of a Japanese revolution over the coming years.
Talking about the next wave of Japanese fighters their will also be one of the youngest in action in Hyogo. That's 18 year old Riku Kano (9-1-1, 5), who faces former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-2-1, 12) in a bout for the OPBF interim Minimumweight title. Kano has his eyes on setting the Japanese age record, for the youngest world champion from Japan, but knows that he will need to beat Sabillo here. For the Filipino form champion this is a must win and he knows his career will essentially be over as a top contender if he loses the 18 year old Kano.
Sadly we do need to say that although listed on boxrec, Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) will not be making his Japanese debut on this card.
In Osaka fans will get a show at the Mierparque Hall in Osaka City.
Here the main event will see the promising 20 year old Takuya Uehara (8-0, 5), an OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender, battling against Indonesian ranked Ramli Pasaribu (4-7, 1). Uehara is OPBF ranked already though hasn't really proven himself against anyone of actual quality. A win here won't change that, but we suspect that this could his final bout before facing a known opponent, possibly this coming summer.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese ranked Flyweight Shunji Nagata (10-14-2, 3) face off with former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masato Morisaki (10-4-1, 6). For Morisaka this will be his second bout since he was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Sho Ishida back on December 31st 2014 and although the “more proven” fighter he has fought just 2 rounds since that Ishida bout. Nagata might not be a great fighter but he's someone who has been battle tested and should give Morisaka a very good fight.
A third bout of note on this card will see OPBF and JBC ranked 140lb fighter Ryusei Yoshida (27-8, 14) fight in what really should be a stay busy contest against Tatsunori Fukunaga (7-6, 3). If Yoshida wins, as is widely expected, he could potentially be the next Japanese title challenger later in the year, and will almost certainly call out Hiroki Okada.
A fourth Japanese show is set to take place in Aichi, with this one having 4 bouts that caught our eye.
The main event of the card will see veteran Daiki Koide (22-7-2, 9) battle against OPBF ranked Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (2-0-1), who incidentally claimed the KBF 140lb title last time out. On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch but Kim has been fast tracked and has already proven that he can go rounds, with 22 career rounds already, and he may well see Koide as just the next step on his way through the OPBF rankings.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout on this card sees former Keita Obara opponent Kazuya Maruki (19-3, 12) face off with Chan Hee Park (5-6-1) in what looks likely to be another good bout for fans, though with Park lacking power it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Maruki. For those who haven't seen Park before we suggest watching his fight with Kyoo Hwan Hwang from last year as it really was so fun and just a crazy battle.
Maruki's brother, Ryosuke Maruki (11-3-1, 7) will also be up against a Korean visitor, in the form of Joon Yong Lee (5-3-3, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lee is the Korean Middleweight champion and may well be a real handful for Maruki, in what could be a genuinely fun bout for fans at the venue. Notably Lee enters the bout as a highly ranked contender by the OPBF so will be fighting to defend that ranking.
The final bout of note is an all-Japanese bout at Heavyweight. The bout will see the unbeaten Ryu Ueda (5-0, 2) risk his perfect record against veteran fighter Kotatsu Takehara (12-11-3, 6). This is a big step up in class for Ueda however Takehara has won just 2 of his last 4, and was stopped in both of his losses. It's a good test for the 23 year old novice who knows a win could see him move towards a Japanese title fight, and perhaps even a chance to become the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion.
Incheon, South Korea
As well as all the action in Japan there is also a card in Korea, under the KPBF banner.
The main event here is a PABA “interim” title bout that sees Korean Jong-Min Jung (6-7, 2) battle Ghana's Razak Nettey (17-4, 13) at Featherweight. Notably this Nettey is a replacement for Filipino Jason Redondo and unfortunately for the Korean it seems Nettey may not have been an easier option.
This card will also feature two other PABA affiliated title bouts, one at Bantamweight and one at Light Middleweight. From what we understand the Bantamweight bout will see Woo Hyun Kim (5-1, 1) battle Michael Barnor (15-7-2, 11). The Light Middleweight bout will see Youn Bae Kim (4-0, 1), the current PABA interim champion, battle Joo Hun Kim (7-1, 2), the KPBF champion.
*Note several Korean records have been provided by the KPBF.