Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday attention turns Korakuen Hall once again as we get a Japanese title fight and a relatively notable under-card.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) seek his first defense as he takes on the unlucky Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4). Sawada won the title earlier this year, with a 5th round technical decision win over Kenshin Oshima, in what was his second shot at the belt. The talented and technically very solid Sawada has long been under-rated due to suffering back to back losses to begin his career, but has rebuilt remarkably going 15-0-2 since then. Sadly though he is now 34 and there's a good chance he's on the slide already. As for Tsutsumi he is one of the most unlucky fighters in the sport, having been denied against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa, with those bouts resulting in draws when he had a great shout of winning both. Amazingly this will be his first title bout, despite the competition he's faced, and he'll know this is his chance to win a title, and make for lost time, given he's been out of the ring since October 2020. Despite not having a win in over 3 years Tsutusmi should not be written off here, and the 26 year old is some one with the potential and the tools to go all the way. This will be high action, between two well trained fighters, and could well have some serious drama as both men can hurt fighters, with Tsutsumi being heavy handed and Sawada being a wonderfully clean and accurate puncher. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Sawada takes on unbeaten Tsutsumi
In the chief support bout former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) takes on Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3), in what really is a mismatch. The 34 year old Wake isn't the fighter he once was, and is a shadow of the fighter who claimed the OPBF Super Bantamweight title in 2013 and is even diminished from the fighter who won the Japanese title in 2018. Despite that he's a capable boxer-puncher who can turn it on, and should be levels above Mizutani. As for Mizutani the 33 year old had been a regularly on the lower part of the Japanese domestic scene, and whilst isn't a bum or anything like that, he's also not close to the level of Wake. Sadly we suspect Wake's retirement isn't too far off, but he should still have far, far too much for Mizutani at this point in time.
Further down the card we'll see former Japanese title challenger Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) take on Hiroshi Takaki (6-9-1, 2). Hanamori was last seen in August, when he was stopped in 3 rounds in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight against Gakuya Furuhashi, but that loss saw him make some new fans with a gutsy, exciting, aggressive and determined performance. We expect to see that same aggression here as he faced a rather limited 36 year old foe in the form of Takaki. This should be little more than a showcase for Hanamori, who is limited, but very fun.
One other bout on this card worth being aware of will see the durable Taiga Higashi (7-5-1, 2) take on unbeaten puncher Shori Umezu (7-0, 6). Although not a stand out fighter Higashi has served as something of a domestic tester for prospects, going rounds with the likes of Matcha Nakagawa, Kazuki Nakajima, Kantaro Juri and Yusuke Mine. He's not going to spring many upsets but he will make fighters work for their win. As for Umezu he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year back in February, in his only bout to go the distance, and we suspect he will be asked some tough questions here by Higashi.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
On Monday fight fans in Tokyo will be getting the latest show from Dangan Aoki. The card isn't the biggest, or best, but it is a show that has a number of notable domestic fighters on it, and has several bouts which should be exciting and entertaining.
The main event of the card will see former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-2, 12) fight in his first bout for more than 2 years, as he takes on talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1). The now 33 year old Kimura is the more well known fighter, and the more accomplished, but also someone who has been inactive, with just 3 fights since his 2018 loss to Kosei Tanaka in their instant class, and was last seen in a ring last year, being dropped on his head in a bizarre exhibition event in China. At his best Kimura would be favoured, but we don't know what he has left in the tank. As for Horikawa he's looking to bounce back from a TKO loss to Yudai Shigeoka last year, and the 22 year old really shouldn't be written off after that loss. He's talented, quick and over 8 rounds does have a chance here to score a win that would put his career on the fast track.
In a potentially very fan friendly bout former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) will take on the light punching Kaito Takeshima (6-4-1, 1). Tamura is the much more proven fighter, but the 34 year old he is slowing, and he has been in a host of wars, which do look to be taking their toll on him in recent performances. As for Takeshima, he's 23 and will be looking to use his youth and energy to leave Tamura chasing shadows. Given Tamura has long been a must watch fighter his bouts are always worth tuning in to, but sadly it does feel like this could be his final bout, win or lose.
In another supporting bout Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Ayato Hiromoto (4-1, 2) will be up against Wataru Ikegami (9-6-1, 5), in what should be a really, really good bout. Hiromoto will be looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to current Japanese national champion Kenta Nakagawa, and will know that a win here moves him a step towards a rematch with Nakagawa. Although no world beater he is a talent and will be looking to impress here. As for Ikegami, he has one of the most misleading records in Japan, and is a wonderful fighter to watch, as we've seen in his wins over the likes of Hibiki Jogo and Shion Tamada. This should be a bout where skills are on show, and could turn out to be a high paced chess match.
Talking about high paced we also want to mention the scheduled 8 rounder between Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) and Hiroshi Takaki (6-9-1, 2). Hanamori was last seen in august 2021 when he lost a 3 round war with Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Gakuya Furuhashi, in what was one of the best 3 round bouts in recent years. His style is genuinely must watch, and he'll be looking to show what he can do here against Takaki. We don't expect this one to be competitive, but we do want to see a lot more of Hanamori over the coming years. As for Takaki, the 36 year old has gone 1-5-1 in his last 7, though does tend to play his part in fun action bouts.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The first Japanese show in August is a small one, but one worthy of some attention with two title bouts on it, and both of those do promise a lot of action, even if they are both, on paper, mismatches.
The first of the two will be for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title and will see Shunsuke Isa (8-3-1, 1) clash with Yuni Takada (8-7-2, 3), for the vacant title. Of the two men it's fair to say that Isa has the better looking record, and in many ways he will be regarded as the favourite. His overall record is more impressive and he's won two of his last 3. However Takada is no push over and in recent bouts he has held Hizuko Saso to a draw and gave both Norihito Tanaka and Kai Ishizawa genuine tests. Isa will have the tools to come out with a win, but if he over looks Takada he could be in a lot of trouble here thanks to Takada's solid jab and work rate. Our preview of this bout can be read here Isa and Takada face off for Japanese Youth title!
The second title fight will see Gakuya Furuhashi (27-8-1, 15) defending the Japanese Super Bantamweight title for the first time, as he takes on youngster Seigo Hanamori (7-3, 5). The all action Furuhashi won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yusaku Kuga in a 2021 Fight of the Year contender, but he's hard a long, punishing and hard career, with a style that will take a toll on any fighter. As for Hanamoori, he's stepping up massively in terms of class, but has got some momentum of his own, with stoppage wins in his last 4 bouts. Sadly for Hanamori he's not a natural Super Bantamweight, he's very much untested at this level, and he is leaping up to face one of the best 122lb fighters in Japan. We really can't see this being anything but painful for the challenger who will do well to see the final rounds. Our full preview of this one can be read here Furuhashi returns to make first defense of Japanese title!