Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we turn our attention to Korakeun Hall for a mouth watering card from Dangan. The show is headlined by a Japanese title fight, and also features two very solid under-card bouts.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) make his first defense, as he takes on Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3). The hard hitting Tsutsumi won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Kyosuke Sawada, finally getting a big win after controversial draws against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa. The hope for him is that he can retain his title here and move on to bigger and better things, including potential regional title fights or even world title bouts, further down the line. As for Oshima this is his second shot at the "cursed title", following a technical decision loss to Sawada for the belt back in February. Oshima is a talented fighter, and does have good technical skills, though he can be made to look wild at times and we do wonder whether he has the power needed to get Tsutusmi's respect. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Tsutusmi faces Oshima in first defense
In a solid supporting bout the hard hitting Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) will face off with Yuki Yonaha (12-3-1, 8), in what is a very competitive looking match up and a Japanese title eliminator, with the winner set to face the winner of the main event next year. Heading into the bout Minamide is ranked #1 by the JBC and is coming in to the bout on the back of TKO wins over Kiyohei Endo and Takeshi Takehara. Despite those wins it is worth noting he has been stopped twice. Yonaha on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC and is unbeaten in his last 6, with notable wins against Shota Kawaguchi and Motoki Osanai. He has momentum and form coming into this, but he was stopped the last time he was in with an aggressive puncher, though that was way back in 2016.
Another great supporting bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Jukiya Iimura (3-0, 1) take on Filipino visitor Esneth Domingo (16-2, 8), in a solid step up for the unbeaten Japanese youngster. Coming in to the bout Iimura looks to be a very skilled fighter, but one who does need to have a still test before moving towards regional title fights. Whilst Domingo isn't an OPBF title level fighter, he isn't far from that level and he should serve as something of a gatekeeper to that level. A win for Iimura is likely to see him move into title bouts within 2 or 3 fights, but this is certainly not a gimmie
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
This coming Monday action returns to Korakuen Hall for a an interesting card featuring a former world champion, an unbeaten hopeful and a once touted youngster looking to bounce back from their first defeat.
The main event of the show will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) take on the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-1, 4) in what is a really interesting Bantamweight bout. On paper Higa will be the clear betting favourite, despite the fact this is at Bantamweight, but Tsutsumi twice beat Higa in the amateurs, he's unbeaten and is very much an under-rated fighter. For Higa this will be his second bout since returning to the ring earlier this year, following a long suspension, and we suspect he has a point to prove. As for Tsutsumi this will be his first bout since a very controversial draw with Kazuki Nakajima, and we get the feeling he too will be in there with a point to prove. This could end up being an excellent fight, despite how easy it is to favour the more well known Higa.
In the chief supper bout we'll see Higa's "AMBITION Gym" stablemate Ryuto Owan (5-1, 3) take on Tomoya Kishine (6-3-1, 2) in an 8 rounder. Owan really impressed us in his first few bouts, and went 5-0 to begin his career before suffering a decision in Octoner 2018 to Tetsu Araki, in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. Sadly after that loss he was inactive and now, more than 2 years, we see him back in the ring for his first bout since that loss. For Kishine this will be his Korakuen Hall debut and he'll be looking to shine, though he has had mixed form, going 3-2-1 in his last 6. Kishine is no push over, but will certainly be regarded as the under-dog against the once touted Owan.
For the second time this month we head to the Korakuen Hall for a tournament final, and this time around we also have a lot of title action on the show, with the "God's Left" Bantamweight final coming on a show that also features 3 title fights, including a female world title fight!
The tournament final will see unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Kazuki Nakajima (8-0, 7) take on Kadoebi gym hopeful Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) in a very, very, explosive looking God's Left Bantamweight tournament final. Tsutsumi, who was the only seed in the tournament, has gotten through to the final with out fighting in a single bout, getting a bye in the quarter final stage then a walk over in his semi-final. Nakajima on the other hand has blitzed Kenichi Watanabe and Jin Minamide to reach the final, beating both men inside a round. Both of these fighters can bang, and we expect this to be fireworks almost from the off.
The female world title bout will see Ayaka Miyao (23-8-1, 6) take on Etsuko Tada (19-3-2, 6) for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title. For Miyao this bout will see her moving up in weight, abandoning the Atomweight division that she has been such a major force in over the years, whilst Tada will be looking to become a 4-time world champion. Given the styles of the two women involved in this one we expect fireworks, as both like to let their hands go. Tada is certainly the bigger, stronger fighter but she's also the older slower fighter, whilst Miyao is faster and more energetic. A very, very interesting match up. Our preview of this can be read here Veterans Tada and Miyao face off for WBO title!
Another title fight on this show will see second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba (6-0-2, 4) take on Kanta Takenaka (7-4-1, 2) for the vacant JBC Youth Lightweight title. For the unbeaten Yuba this is a second shot at the title, following a technical draw when he fought Izuki Tomioka for the belt almost 2 years ago, whilst Takenaka will be looking to build on his win over Kazuaki Miyamoto from last April. This bout has an in depth preview here Yuba and Takenaka clash for Japanese youth title!
The other title bout on this card is actually a rematch, as Kanako Taniyama (2-0-1, 1) and Tomoko Okuda (5-2-2, 1) battle for the vacant JBC female Bantamweight title. These two women fought to a draw last September, in what was a genuinely entertaining bout, though it felt like Taniyama deserved the win but didn't get it in Okuda's home city. We can't help but think Taniyama will take the win here, in another entertaining battle. Our preview of this bout is here Taniyama and Okuda face off again for Japanese female title!
Over in Canada unbeaten Uzbek Hurshidbek Normatov (9-0, 3) is scheduled to be in action in a 6 round bout, though his opponent has yet to be named. This will be the unbeaten Uzbek's first professional bout outside of the US, and will see him look to build on what has been a pretty slow build career thus far.
This coming Saturday is a really exciting day in Asian boxing thanks to a brilliant card in Tokyo. The support bouts across the Asian scene aren't the best, but we do have good main events in Ibaragi and New South Wales, Australia, as well.
As mentioned the best card of the day is in Tokyo, and is Dangan card with 4 bouts worthy of attention.
On paper the most significant bout is a Japanese Super Featherweight eliminator. This bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) battle perennial regional contender Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21). On paper Minamoto is the one to back here, he's the more polished boxer and the bigger puncher, with higher level of wins. However Watanabe is no puch over, and he's as rugged as they come, with under-rated skills and will be the naturally bigger guys. We're expecting this to come down to Minamoto's power and skills against Watanabe's toughness and will to win. We are thinking this could be something special between two men who should have styles that gel really well here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
In a God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final we'll see a very exciting match up between the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) and the always entertaining Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). On paper it's hard to see what Yamashita has in his locker to over-come Tsutsumi, but he's never been one to just take a loss with putting up a fight. We really expect this to be an all out war between men who are very similar in their styles and mentality and this could be the hidden gem of the month.
Another potential gem for the month comes in the other God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final, as unbeaten fighter Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) and Kuzuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) face off for a place in the final. Both men have been very exciting and shown real power and aggression since their debuts. Both men are in their mid 20's and whilst the loser will see the bout as a notable set back they will likely be able to pursue a rematch down the line. This is a fantastic match up and another that we are expecting to be a war.
Also on this card is the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be fighting for the first time since being upset by Lito Dante earlier this year. Given how badly Koura lost to Dante, suffering a beating and being stopped in round 12, we can't complain too much about him facing a very limited foe, and that's what he's doing against Indonesian foe Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2). This is little more than a confidence rebuilder for Koura, and that's very understandable.
In Ibaragi we get another Japanese card. This one is much lower profile than the Tokyo show, but does appear to have an excellent main event.
That main event will see the flawed but entertaining Tatsuya Takahashi (30-9-6, 21) take on Filipino foe Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4), in a really good looking 50/50 style bout. The Japanese local is a rather unpolished fighter, but he has great energy and toughness and it always worth watching for his aggression and pressure. On the other other hand Mannaquil is typically a tricky, skilled boxer-mover who has picked up good results on the road, though was stopped last time out by Yuki Strong Kobayashi. This will be a very interesting test and it's a hard one to call either way
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines. This is a much lower level card, with a main event between John Magagmoc (6-2-1) and Gary Tamayo (3-1, 2). Given the quality of action in Japan this is a very poor bout, but it is a clash between teenagers and we do like those, and do expecting an interesting out, even if it's not at the highest of levels.
New South Wales, Australia
Surprisingly it appears we could be in for a shoot out down under as the unbeaten pairing of Luke Boyd (7-0, 7) and Jon Jon Jet (10-0, 8) face off for the interim WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. Boyd, a 32 year old Australian, has been crushing low level opponents in double quick time, with only 1 of his 7 bouts going beyond the second round, with his most notable opponent being Inthanon Sithchamuang. At 25 years old Jet is one of the more promising Indonesian fighters, but his competition has been awful and it's hard to get a read on how good Jet may, or may not, be. This should be explosive, though is hard to know how good either man is given their competition to date.
In the US we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (13-0, 6) take on American veteran Walter Wright (17-8, 8). The 31 year old Ashkeyev has been a professional for close to 4 years and really needs to get a move on before he gets too old to make a mark. Whilst 2019 has been a better year for him he really does need to step it up again next year, in a big way. Given that Wright is a late replace, for a late replacement, this is unlikely to be a test for the Kazakh but Wright has only been stopped once, and that was way back on his debut in 2003.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day in Japan with 4 different shows across the country, and when we talk about them being across the country we do mean that with hundreds of miles separating some of the shows.
The most notable card, in many ways, is in Kumamoto in the South West of Japan, where Yakushiji Promotions will be putting on a very significant card.
The main event of this show will be a rematch between Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) and Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, when Mori took a technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, and he will be looking to make his first defense of that national title here. Pumicpic, a real under-rated Filipino warrior, will be hungry to avenge his loss. This is set to be a very, very tough bout and will be shown live on local TV channel TKU. Sadly for those outside of Kunamoto this appears to be a bout we won't be getting. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only bout of note and the show features a number of notable prospects. Among those is the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) who steps into his first 8 round bout, and takes on once beaten Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3). Lino's only loss came to Shigeoka's stablemate, and recent world title challenger, Masataka Taniguchi. This is a very serious test for Shigeoka, but also a bit that gives him a chance to gain immediate comparisons to Taniguchi, whilst Lino gets the chance to perform in front of a notable Japanese crowd.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see the aggressive Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) take on the tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), in what could be a really fun war. Tsutsumi has one of the most fan friendly, aggressive and exciting styles out there whilst Ponteras is a criminally under-rated veteran, who has never been stopped and can be a banana skin for better known fighters. Thhis could be a very, very exciting bout.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1, 1), who will be up against Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), the man the aforementioned Shigeoka made his debut against. We suspect Takeda will have the skills to over-come the Thai visitor, but this could be a good test of Takeda's metal.
Another of the more notable Japanese cards comes form Hyogo, in a female orientated card.
The biggest match up here here will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both have suffered 2 recent losses. Kuroki is the younger fighter, and certainly the one with more upside, though at 49 Ikeyama has proven that age really is just a number and she will be looking to extend her career in to her 50's with a win. This should be a very interesting bout, though Kuroki should enter as the clear favourite. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
As well as the Kuroki Vs Ikeyama bout, there will be two title bouts on this show. One of those bouts will see Japan's in form Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) face once beaten Filipino foe Charimae Salvador (4-1, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Light Flyweight title. Ogata has won her last 3, claiming a WBA Asia and WBO Asia Pacific title in her last 2 bouts, As for Salvador she was beaten last time out, at Atomweight, but will be fighting at her natural weight here. We're expecting Ogata to pick up another win, but this isn't going to be a walk in the park.
The other title bout on this card will be a bizarre KBM and JBC female title bout, the first since a new OPBF rule was brought into play. The bout will pit Japan's Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) up against Korean Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will become a unified 2-nation champion, albeit temporarily, with the winner likely to immediately vacate the other nation's title. The idea to this is to create depth to thinner divisions, but leads to some odd situations like this.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will see a small card with a few notable names involved.
The main event of this card will see OPBF, JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on a Thai foe, who we believe will be Sophon Klachun (4-2, 1). We don't see this being much of a test for Kenji, who is edging his way towards a title fight, and will look to take the visitor out as he advances his march towards a career defining bout.
In an 8 round supporting bout fans will see Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) battle in a very interesting match up. Neither of these men are big names, but they should make for a very competitive contest, much more saw the than records suggest.
Another 8 round supporting bout on this card will see Daijiro Yuki (8-5-1, 4) battle against Japanese ranked Welterweight Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4). This will be Okumoto's first bout since losing to Japanese champion Ryota Yada, and he will be looking to end a 2 fight losing run. Yuki on the other hand will be seeking a career best win.
The least notable of the Japanese cards takes place in Tsu and will be headlined by a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, with Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1). This should be a hotly contested bout, though it's hard to doubt Nakamura and his edge in power. A full preview of this bout is available here Nakamura seeks first defense of youth crown, faces Kondo.
A notable supporting bout here will see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8), who recently signed with Osaka Teiken, take on the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4). This looks like a huge step up for Sugawara, but a win puts him on the title hunt, whilst Gasca will be fighting for the first time in well over a year.
This coming Tuesday our attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall where Dangan put on the finals of their recent B-class tournament, featuring several very promising fighters, and also featuring several other bouts of note.
The main event of the show will be the B Class Tournament Bantamweight final, which will see former amateur stand out Seiya Tsutsumi (2-0, 2) take on the charismatic Junpei Inamoto (2-0, 1) in a mouth watering clash. Tsutsumi went 84-17 (40) in the amateurs ranks and although he has only faced two limited Thai's so far Watanabe have huge expectations for him. Inamoto went 37-7 (9) as an amateur and has been matched harder since turning professional, but he was tested big time in his last bout. This has the potential to be a very special bout.
In the B Class Tournament Flyweight tournament final we see another former amateur stand out, as Rikito Shiba (1-0), who went 38-13 in the unpaid ranks, battles Yasuhiro Tanaka (5-3-2). On paper this is less exciting than the Bantamweight bout, but really big things are expected of Shiba and a win here for the 22 year old will put him on the fast track to a domestic or regional title. Tanaka isn't a former standout but instead he's a fighter who made his professional debut way back in 2009. Sadly for Tanaka his career has been rather stop-start but this is a great chance to make up for lost time and defeat a former amateur stand out.
The Featherweight final of the B Class Tournament will see the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (7-0, 5) take on Kanehiro Nakagawa (5-5, 3). This is the only B Class final with no real amateur pedigree behidn it, but Sasaki was the Rookie of the Year at Featherweight last year and comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight stoppage wins. Nakagawa ended a 3-fight losing streak back in June, when he over-came namesake Tasuku Nakagawa, but has battled tested with bouts against the likes of Yoshimitsu Kimura. This could be a very interesting match up.
One of the more interesting non-tournament bouts on this card will see Wataru Ikegami (5-3-1, 2) take on novice Tsubasa Murachi (1-0, 1). The 28 year old Ikegami has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3, but has been matched pretty hard with bouts against the likes of Fumiya Fuse and Tokuken Yoshimoto. Murachi on the other hand has fought just 92 seconds a professional before heading into this 6 round bout, which looks to be a huge step up in class.