This coming Sunday we see action all across Asia in one of the busiest days of the year so far.
The main action for the day comes from Kumamoto in Japan, where fight fans get the chance to see a local star attempt to open the doors to some major fights.
That local star is the unheralded Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) who faces Mexican Moises Calleros (25-6-1, 14) in a bout for the WBO Interim Minimumweight title, with the winner set to get a fight at regular champion Katsunari Takayama later in the year. Fukuhara has come a long way since suffering a defeat to the the debuting Takuma Inoue in 2013 and has gone 6-0-3 with wins over Takumi Sake and Genki Hanai to earn this shot, as well as draws with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Shin Ono. Although Fukuhara is one of Japan's hidden gems he will be stepping up here to face a Mexican who is riding high following a win over Mario Rodriguez. Interesting Calleros has fought as high as 120 recently and will be fighting at 105lbs for the first time in over 7 years, so he's likely to be bigger and stronger that Fukuhara. Notably the Mexican has suffered a few poor losses and will be fighting outside of his homeland for the first time.
On the under-card we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Light Welterweight Ryusei Yoshida (29-8, 15) take on limited Thai Lekker Bangkok 2007 (0-3), in what should be an easy win for Yoshida. The Thai visit or has been stopped in all3 of his previous bouts, including loss last June to then debuting Kazuki Saito.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In Cotabato del Sur we'll get a notable Filipino card.
One of those title bouts will see Lolito Sonsona (20-1-4, 9) face off with Renren Tesorio (15-9-3, 4) in a bout for the WBF Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Coming in to this Sonsona is on a 7 fight unbeaten streak, including a notable win over Bobby Concepcion. Whilst Sonsona has been in form the same cannot be said of his foe, with Tesorio having lost his last 3, including a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa.
A much better looking bout sees the under-rated Ben Mananquil (12-1-2, 3) take on Glenn Porras (29-5, 17) for the WBF International Bantamweight title. Mananquil is one of the hidden jewels of the Filipino boxing scene. His only loss was a controversial one in China it Jing Xiang and he was also controversially denied a win against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym. Porras on the other hand Porras has been relatively inactive with just a 1-1 record in the last 4 years, he was however once a touted fighter and did show a lot of potential early on. This could be a very interesting match up.
In a WBF International Super Featherweight title bout we'll see the in form Eden Sonsona (35-6-2, 12) take on Jovany Rota (9-9, 6). Sonsona is 9-0-2 in his last 11, including a massive win in 2015 over Adrian Estrella, and although he fought only once last year he will be full of confidence coming into this bout. Rota on the other hand is a bit of a domestic journeyman and shouldn't provide much of a test for Sonsona.
Arguably the best of the bouts is an IBF Youth Super Flyweight title bout between the super talented Jade Bornea (6-0, 4) and once beaten puncher Raul Yu (9-1-2, 8). Bornea was an amateur standout, and holds a notable amateur win over Kosei Tanaka, but is stepping up as a professional here and Yu is certainly his biggest test since his pro debut in October 2014. Yu is a series puncher and although he has suffered a loss, a decision loss in February 2015, he is a dangerman who will be looking to make a point here. Coming into this Yu is unbeaten in 6 and will looking to claim his first professional title.
Also on this card will be world class Light Flyweight Randy Petalcorin (25-2-1, 18), who fights in a stay busy fight against compatriot Mark Anthony Florida (9-6, 7) in what should be an easy win for Petalcorin, who will have bigger fish to fry.
On a second card in the Philippines we'll see a less exciting series of fights.
In the main event we'll see the once beaten Pedro Taduran (9-1, 7) take on Jerome Clavite (6-3-2, 2). The 20 year old Taduran, nicknamed “Rattle Snake”, is a good puncher at domestic level but did suffer a loss 10 months ago to Joel Lino. Since that loss he has bounced back with 3 wins an will be looking to keep that run going here. Whilst Taduran is back to winning ways it's hard to really know where Clavite's career is going. He has won just once in his last 5, but has been matched against some very decent domestic competition and should be seen as a step up for Taduran in what could be a very good match up for both men.
In an under-card bout from this show fans will see Rex Tito (5-7-2, 2) battle Marlon Arcilla (8-5, 1) in a bout between limited guys. Tito will be returning to the ring following a break of more than 4 years. Prior to his sabbatical he had gone 0-7-1 in his previous 8, with set backs to the likes of Jerwin Ancajas and Giovnni Escaner. As for Arcilla,he has lost his last 3, though has been matched hard with bouts against Ryosyuke Iwasa and Reymart Gaballo. He should be strongly favoured here but a hungry Tito could make life tricky for the 22 year old Arcilla.
Gimhae City, South Korea
We're also set for some title action in South Korea courtesy of a KBA show.
The main event of the show will see former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-6-1, 21) battle against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamas (7-8, 6) (7-8, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title. The bout will be Bae's first since his 4th round TKO loss last year to Rex Tso, 15 months ago, and see him entering on a 2-2 record in the last 24 months. Although talented at this level Bae's future, at the age of 37, looks to be very limited. On paper Chatchai has been in good form, winning 6 of his last 7, but his competition during that run has been awful with only Kevin Jake Cararaja being of any note, and he stopped Chatchai in 4 rounds last year.
The co-feature will see Hee Jung Yuh (17-3, 8) take on novice Nongkiat Saithonggym (1-1) in about for the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Super Flyweight title. As with the other bout it's hard to see the local losing here with Yuh being a very solid fighter, even if that wasn't evident in her wide decision loss last year to Naoko Fujioka. The Thai, who possibly has an incomplete record, is best known for a 2011 stoppage loss to Yuko Kuroki and we don't imagine she'll see the distance here.
Amazingly there will also be action in China, though the show is relatively weak over-all.
The most notable of the bouts on the show will see the light hitting Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (8-0-1, 1) battle against Thai visitor Petchwanchai Sor Visetkit (14-9, 6). On paper the Thai looks like he has a fighting chance here but he has lst his last 3 bouts, all by stoppage in a combined 7 rounds, and is almost 3 years removed from a win. Although the unbeaten Nihemaituola isn't a puncher it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him win here.
In another bout of some interest Maimaitijiang Nuermaimaiti (3-0-1, 3) will risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Hongfeng Li (4-0, 1) in what looks likely to be a power vs skill match up with genuine intrigue.
The Foodpal Kumamoto gets another taste of title action this coming Thursday as a local star attempts to extend his title reign and end 2016 as a national champion.
That champion is the under-rated Tatsuya Fukuhara (17-4-6, 6) who seeks his 3rd defense of the Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on the unbeaten, and highly touted, Genki Hanai (7-0, 5). Fukuhara has really turned his career around in recent years after being 12-4-3 (3) in the wake of losses to Yu Kimura and Takuma Inoue in 2013. Since then he has gone 5-0-3 and scored notable results with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, Hiroya Yamamoto, Takumi Sakae and Shin Ono, this is however his toughest defense on paper with Hanai being a real prospect. For Hanai the bout is a monstrous step up but one he and his team have chased for a while and one that he will feel confident of winning.
In the key under-card bout we'll see see OPBF and JBC ranked Ryusei Yoshida (28-8, 15) take on Thai visitor Apisak Puttawong (1-2, 1), who returns Japan where he lost earlier this year. Although limited Apisak hasn't yet been stopped and should provide rounds for Yoshida, who will be hoping to build towards a title fight of some kind in 2017.
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.