The main action this coming Thursday comes from Shanghai in card that is essentially a China Vs Japan card. It's not a huge show, but it's certainly one worthy of some attention with a world ranked contender and a highly touted prospect involved.
The world ranked contender is China's awkward and tough Wulan Tuolehazi (12-3-1, 5), who will be defending his WBA International Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Satoshi Tanaka (7-5, 1). On paper this doesn't look like it'll be competitive, but the idea seems on be for Tuolehazi to just tick over whilst awaiting for a major title fight, following recent wins over Filipino Jayr Raquinel and Japan's Ryota Yamauchi. From what we can see the 28 year old Tanaka is simply there to make up the numbers.
In an excellent match up we'll see the WBO Youth Light Flyweight Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) take on the very promising Ryu Horikawa (2-0, 1) from Japan. Li won the title on the road, beating the popular Raymond Poon Kaiching for the belt in Hong Kong, when he put up a great and energetic performance to over-come Poon and the crowd. Horikawa is a professional novice, but the 19 year old is regarded very highly in Japan and his win over Yuki Nakajima last time out showed just how skilled he was. For us this is the best fight on the card, and one that deserves the attention of fight fans.
Another bout worthy of note will see local fighter Ayati Sailike (7-8-2-1, 2) take on Japan's unbeaten Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-2, 2). The 23 year old local isn't anyone special, but is experience, has taken on a number of unbeaten opponents and comes to win, though is technically quite limited. Hanabusa, who just 20, is looking to build on a good 2018, and a win here, in first 8 rounder, will likely see his team push him for a Youth title in 2020. Hanabusa is talented, but this is set to be a genuine test, even if Sailike's record suggests something else.
As well as the Chinese action there is also going to be a small card in the Philippines, featuring a former world title challenger up against a domestic journeyman.
The former world title challenger is Jerry Tomogdan (28-10-4, 15), who in a WBC Minimumweight title bout in 2015 to Wanheng Menayothin. Since that loss Tomogdan has had mixed success, going 12-4-1 (6) including a win over Riku Kano in Japan. His opponent will be Mike Kinaadman (7-11-2, 5), who really shouldn't give Tomogdan any issues here.
This coming Thursday sees Dangan put on a really low key but very interesting card stacked with B license fighters, in really well matched bouts as well the ring return of a former world champion.
The best of the bouts on this card will see the very promising Junpei Inamoto (1-0, 1) take on the promising Taiga Higashi (5-2, 2) in a really mouth watering bout B class tournament bout at Bantamweight. We caught Inamoto's debut last year and were immediately raving about the teenager, who appeared to have the aura of a star in the making and the confidence of someone who would be fast tracked. This is however a very tough assignment for Inamoto give than Higashi's two losses were very close bouts, to good fighters, in the form of Matcha Nakagawa and Kazuki Nakajima. The winner of this is scheduled to take on Seiya Tsutsumi later this year, in another fantastic bout.
Another of the B Class tournament bouts, this time at Featherweight, will see 20 year old Tasuku Suwa (5-2-1, 1) battle against out form 22 year old Nakagawa Kanehiro (4-5, 3). Suwa has lot 2 of his last 3, but strangely he has never lost a bout scheduled for less than 6 rounds, being 4-0-1 in 4 rounders and 1-0 in 5 rounders, which is notably here given that this bout will be fought over 5 rounds. Coming in to this Kanehiro has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 6, but could see this as a chan e to get back to winning ways. It's a really good match up between two men who will both feel like they can win here. The winner of this bout will be facing Ren Sasaki in the tournament final.
The least interesting looking of the B class tournaments bouts is at Flyweight and feature Yasuhiro Tanaka (4-3-2) battling namesake Satoshi Tanaka (4-4, 1). The 26 Satoshi Tanaka has lost his last 3 bouts, and can be hurt, with a couple of stoppage losses against him. Yasuhiro Tanaka has also lost his last 3, bit has really struggled more generally, winning just 2 of his last 7. These is by far the weakest of the B class tournament bouts, but both men will feel they can score the win here, and it should be competitive, even if it does perhaps lack in term of quality. The winner of this is set to battle former amateur stand out Rikito Shiba.
One of the most intriguing bouts on this card will see former amateur stands collide. In one corner will be Watanabe gym's Shu Utsuki (1-0, 1) whilst the other man will be Kadoebi debutant Yoji Saito (0-0), with the two men clashing in a 6 rounder. Utsuki had a reported amateur career of 81-27 and is tipped to be a star of the future. We've not been given Saito's amateur record, but we have been informed that he was also very accomplished in the amateur ranks which makes this a really baffling bout, but one we're really interested in and can't wait to see.
Another really interesting bout will see 2017 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year Mirai Imagawa (8-3, 2) battle for the first time since his Rookie of the Year win over Katsuki Matsuura. The 22 year old Imagawa will take on Koya Sato (10-4-1, 2), who has won his last 3 and started to turn his career around following a 4 bout losing streak. This is a good test for Imagawa but one that he should be able to pass, if he's as good as the Rookie win suggests.
Also on this card will be former female world champion Ayaka Miyao (21-7-1, 5), who returns to the ring for the first time since being stopped against Nao Ikeyama. The former WBA Atomweight champion suffered a serious leg injury in that bout, back in December 2016 and has been out of the ring ever since. Her return will see her battle against Filipino foe Aisah Alica (7-8, 5), who has lost in 7 of her last 9, including a stoppage loss to the then WBC Atomweight champion Momo Koseki. This should be a easy match up for Miyao, but we can't begrudge her that after the injury she suffered.