Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday is set to be a relatively quiet one in Asia but there is still a single card in Tokyo, promoted by former world champion Hideki Todaka. The card isn't a big one, at all, but features a former world title challenger and a couple of competitive looking under-card bouts.
The former world title challenger on this card is Japanese veteran Shin Ono (24-10-3, 6), who has twice challenged for world titles. The 37 year old Ono, who turns 38 in a few weeks time, will be up against the much, much younger Kento Yabusaki (7-4-1, 5), who's only 23. Entering the bout Ono will be regarded as the favourite, and he has experienced at the highest level, but has began to look his age didn't look good in either of his 2019 bouts. A win for Yabusaki would put him on the map, and see him bounce back from successive defeats, but it would take a career best performance for him to take home the victory here. Win or lose we don't imagine Ono will stick around much longer in the sport, though his career is certainly one worthy of more attention than it typically gets.
In a fairly interesting looking Lightweight bout we'll see Yuji Awata (12-7-1, 5) take on Toru Kiyota (9-4, 7). Neither of these men are world beaters but together they should make for an interesting match up. Awata is the more experienced man, and the more proven fighter, though we dare say Kiyota should be the favourite here. Kiyota is the bigger puncher of the two men, and despite losing his last 2 he has been unlucky in his biggest bouts. For fans at Korakuen Hall this could be a very competitive and interesting match up.
Talking about competitive and interesting we're really intrigued in a bout between Keisuke Ota (10-12, 3) and Shota Suito (11-11-1, 1). On paper neither of these men have much to rave about. Both have double digit losses, neither has much power and both are the wrong side of 30. Despite that, both will be in the ring looking to pick up a rare victory, and both have plenty of experience to rely on. With bouts like there, where both men feel they can pick up a win, we tend to get really fun and exciting bouts, and we expect that to be seen here. Yes this is a low key, easy to over look 6 rounder, but it could, very easily, be the show stealer with both men putting it all on the line to take home a victory.
For a third day in a row we get OPBF title action in Asia as we get a bout for the OPBF Middleweight title. That bout headlines a card that features a couple of other notable names.
That OPBF Middleweight title bout will be a rematch between Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4-1, 10) and Koki Tyson (14-3-3, 12), who fought to a draw earlier this year. We were genuinely surprised to see the two go the distance when they first fought, though it should be noted that Tyson took the bout on relatively short notice when Yuki Nonaka vacated the belt. This time around Tyson has had a full training camp, and may well find himself fighting a more aggressive bout than last time around. Both men are former holders of this belt, both can bang, and both are exciting fighters. We would be surprised if they go the distance again here, though it's still a very hard bout to call, and could go either way. A full preview of this bout can be read here Tyson and Hosokawa set to go again for OPBF crown!
Another rematch on this show will see former world title challenger Shingo Wake (26-5-2, 18) take on Jhunriel Ramonal (15-8-6, 8), in what is expected to be Wake's final bout before getting a second world title bout. These two clashed back in 2013, when Wake was the OPBF Super Bantamweight champion, and Ramonal was stopped in 3 rounds by the sharp shooting Japanese fighter. Since the Ramonal has gone 2-2-2. Wake on the other hand has gone 11-1, fought for a world title and claimed the Japanese title. Give the difference in form and the result of their first bout it's hard to imagine anything but another early win here for Wake.
Also on this card is former Japanese Minimumweight Shin Ono (23-10-3, 6), who will be looking to bounce back from January's loss to Norihito Tanaka. The 36 year old Ono, who made his debut in 2001, will be up against fellow veteran Akira Kokubo (8-8-3, 2), who is 35 years. On paper Ono has the experience edge, and is a multi-time world title challenger, but he will be moving up in weight for this, was stopped last time out and has little Momentum. Kokubo on the other hand has momentum coming in to this, with 4 straight wins including a good one last time out over Taiyo Inoue. This bout, being fought at a contracted limited around 110.25lbs, should be a lot more interesting than it looks on paper.
We get the first Japanese card of 2019 this coming Saturday, and it's a good one to begin the year with a pair of Japanese title fights.
The main event of the card will see Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) get his long awaited first Japanese title fight as he takes on former title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which was vacant by Shingo Wake towards the end of 2018. The 29 year old Nakagawa narrowly missed out on a mandatory shot in 2018, losing an eliminator by split decision to Yasutaka Ishimoto, and perhaps should have had a shot before then. Interestingly Tamura got a shot in 2018 due to Ishimoto, the man who had cost Nakagawa, retiring. In Tamura's previous title fight he gave Yusaku Kuga hell, and has strung together wins since then. Our preview of this bout can be read here Nakagawa and Tamura battle for Japanese crown!
The other title fight will see veterans colliding, as Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) looks to make his second defense of the Japanese Minimumweight title, and takes on Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9), in a mandatory defense as part of the 2019 Champion Carnival. Ono won the belt in April, beating Ryoki Hirai in Kobe, and made his first defense in August, suffering a nasty cut that now appears to have fully healed. Tanaka had his first title fight way back in 2011, challenging Akira Yaegashi, but took a break soon after losing to Yaegashi and is now essentially taking part in the comeback stage of his career. Neither of these are big punchers, but both are tough, and have a lot of desire, and this should make for a hard 10 round bout, that will take a lot from both men. We've previewed this bout here Ono and Tanaka clash for Japanese title!
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fans will be able to see the hard hitting Natthaphong Wannametee (6-1, 6) fighting for the Thai Super Featherweight title, though his opponent is current unknown.
The big action this coming Friday comes from Tokyo, with Boxingraise showing it live online. The card features a couple of title fights along with two very good looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Akinori Watanabe (36-7, 30) battle against Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) for the interim Japanese Light Middleweight title. For Watanabe this is a chance to claim another belt to his collection, adding to reigns as the Japanese, OPBF and PABA champion at Welterweight. Maruki on the other hand gets a third shot as national honours, having come up short against Yuki Nonaka and Nobuyuki Shindo. We're expecting this to be explosive, with both fighters having very heavy hands, and very exciting with the winner then being lined up to face Shindo, either at the end of this year or in early 2019.
The other title fight will see Japanese Mminimumweight champion Shin Ono (22-9-3, 5) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on youngster Riku Kano (13-3-1, 7). The Watanabe veteran won the title earlier this year when he defeated Ryoki Hirai and will be hoping to use the title to land another world title fight, after having come up short in bouts against Katsunari Takayama and Wanheng Menayothin. The 20 year old Kano has promised a lot, but losses to Takayama and Jerry Tomogdan have slowed his career and a poor performance here could see him written off, despite his youth.
One of the really good supporting bouts will see the in form Kyosuke Sawada (11-2-1, 6), who has won his last 7, taking on former Japanese title challenger Yosuke Fujihara (17-5, 4). Although Sawada struggled early in his career losing his first 2 bouts, he has has really turned things around and scored a career best win in May against Kinshiro Usui. As for Fujihara he's been out of the ring for almost a year but is a capable fighter and should be a good test for Sawada, albeit one that Sawada should pass as he continues his pursuit of a title fight.
Another supporting bout will see the hard hitting Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) take on the much lighter hitting Joe Tanooka (15-4-4, 1). Last time out Oshima was held to an unexpected draw by Nobuaki Kanazawa and he'll be looking to bounce back from that set back. As for Tanooka, who is one of the more pure boxers in Japan, he'll be looking to build on a good domestic win against Kenichi Watanabe. A really interesting match up against two polar opposites.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable card in Shenzhen, China, where were several local fighters will be taking on interesting tests.
On paper the best of the bouts will see unbeaten Chinese prospect Wenfeng Ge (10-0, 6) look to build on his 2017 win over Amnat Ruenroeng as he takes on once beaten Filipino Ivan Soriano (18-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO International Flyweight title. Whilst Ge is unbeaten, and coming in to this on the back of a huge win, it's worth noting that Soriano hasn't lost in over 8 years and will feel confident of picking up a win here. Coming in to this both men are and both will know that a win here will shoot them up the rankings towards a potential world title shot, and a potential show down with either Sho Kimura or Kosei Tanaka.
A second title fight will see the once beaten Ahatelike Muerzhabieke (7-1-1, 4) battle against Thailand's Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (18-5, 14) for the WBO China National Super Middleweight title. The Thai once promises a lot, and began his career with 17 straight wins but has proven to be a huge disappointment since then, losing 5 of his last 6 by stoppage. Aged 19 this is a big step up in class for Muerzhabieke but he's won his last 5 and appears to be on a good run to build his confidence coming in to this bout.
In a battle of novices fans will see Bo Wang (1-0, 1) take on Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0). Wang needed just a round to win his debut in June 2016, but hasn't fought in an officially sanctioned professional bout since that contest, more than 2 years ago. Interestingly Podkolzin made his debut in January 2017, in a 10 rounder, but apparently hasn't fought since. This is an interesting match up, about as interesting as you can get between two men with 1-0 records.
This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day for fight fans following the Asian boxing scene. There is 3 cards in Japan and a number of Asian fighters in action in Russia.
The most notable of the Japanese cards comes from Kobe where fans will get a Japanese title fight at Minimumweight, with both of the fighters involved looking to claim the vacant title.
That title bout will see the under-rated Ryoki Hirai (10-4-1, 4) battle against former multi-time world title challenger Shin Ono (21-9-3, 5) for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. These two are ranked #1 and #2 by the JBC and are fighting for the title that Reiya Konishi vacated earlier this year, so that he could move up in class to fight for the WBA title. Hirai's record is a bit of a mess, but that's because he started his career 3-3-1, before rebuilding and going 7-1. In recent bouts Hirai has beaten the likes of Takumi Sakae and Ryoya Ikema and has really deserved a shot at the title and a chance to shine. As for Ono he has really struggled in recent years, going 4-4-1 in his last 9, though has mixed at a high level with losses to Katsunari Takayama, Kenichi Horikawa, Knockout CP Freshmart and Reiya Konishi. The bout really pits Hirai's youth and hunger against Ono's experience and should be very interesting.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (11-2, 6) take on the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-10-1, 9). Although Kanda should be favoured he has has been stopped before and Miyazaki will have the belief that he has the power to stop Kanda, just like Yuki Nagano did in 2015.
Staying in Hyogo, though going from Kobe to Kawanishi, fight fans will be able to see the next Morioka card, featuring several noteworthy fighters in what will likely be some horrific mismatches.
The main event of the card will see former OPBF title challenger Hinata Maruta (6-1, 5) battle against Indonesian visitor Arega Yunian (6-9, 1), in what looks like a really disappointing match up for the talent Maruta. Despite losing to Hidenori Otake last November Maruta is an exceptional talent and a bout like this will do little to help build that talent, and it feels like he would have been much better off taking on a domestic level fighter than someone like Yunian. The Indonesian has already suffered 6 stoppage losses, all of which have come when he's fought on the road and include stoppages to Ryo Matsumoto and Takashi Igarashi in Japan
As well as Maruta fans will also be able to see former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (25-7-1, 22) and former Japanese Youth title challenger Naoto Iwai (4-2, 2) both in action, as they each face Thai opponents. Parrenas will be seeking his second win since a 2015 loss to Naoya Inoue, in a bout for the WBO Super Flyweight title, whilst Iwai will be looking to put a poor 2017 behind and begin to rebuild his career.
As well as the action in Hyogo there will also be a low key card in Fukuoka. This card is a pretty weak one in all honesty, but will be headlined by former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7), who will look to bounce back following back-to-back defeats to Ryuya Yamanaka and Wanheng Menayothin. The former champion, will be up against domestic foe Yuto Takahashi (8-3, 4) in what looks to be a big step down in class. Despite stepping down in levels Fukuhara does deserve an easy one given his run from winning the Japanese title in 2015 to today has seen him facing 3 unbeaten men, two current world champions and two other fringe world class fighters. Takahashi hasn't shown he can compete at the top of the domestic level and although this is a big chance for him to make a mark, it's very hard to see how he can over-come the under-rated Fukuhara.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a lot of Asian interest in a Russian card, with several notable fighters in action.
The main event of the card looks set to be a special kind of bout, as Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (37-3-0-1, 25) takes on unbeaten Russian Pavel Malikov (13-0, 5) in a really good looking 12 round bout. Yordan seems to have been around around forever but at 30 years old he still has some time on his side to get a second world title fight, following a set back against Chris John back in 2011, and a win against Malikov might be what he needs to get a crack at a world champion. As for Malikov he has been in some great bouts recently, and his last two have been razor thing wins over Daiki Kaneko, in an under-rated 2017 war, and Deiner Berrio. Malikov is certainly beatable, but whether Yordan will be the man to beat him is yet to be seen. It's worth nothing that both of these men hold world rankings and the bout is essentially a world title eliminator.
In a great support bout we'll see unbeaten men collide, with Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (10-0, 5) battling Leonardo Padilla (16-0, 12) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Featherweight Title. Uulu is a Kyrgyzstan born Russian based fighter who has struggled at times but appears to be improving and has got the talent to go a long way, if he can correct some defensive flaws. Those defensive flaws could be a major problem here however as Padilla, like many fighters from Venezuela, can bang with 8 stoppages in his last 10. We'll be honest and admit we're unsure how the Venezuelan qualifies for a WBA Asia title but that can't take away from what looks like a really exciting match up.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Uzbek hopeful Ravshanbek Umurzakov (2-0, 2) take on Georgian Merab Turkadze (5-0, 2). The Uzbek looks to be a natural prospect and was a solid amateur before making his debut at the end of last year. So far Umurzakov has fought only 2 rounds, taking both of his opponents out with brutal left hands to the body in the opening round. It's always hard to know what you get with a Georgian fighter but given that Umurzakov is scheduled to fight again in May it seems like his team are confident of another quick win here.
One other bout of note will see Russian novice Mekhdi Abdurashedov (1-0) take on the once touted Iwan Zoda (14-3-1, 13) of Indonesia. At one point Zoda looked like a star in the making, and his 2015 win over Petchchorhae Kokietgym was a sensational performance. Sadly though he has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and really is fighting an up hill battle to remain relevant. It's unclear how good Abdurashedov is, but this is a big step up for the Russian and hopefully Zoda will show of the skills that got many of us excited when he was younger
The most notable of two card for Japanese fight fans this Sunday comes from Kyoto, courtesy of Shinsei Gym, and featured a trio of title bouts.
The most significant of those title contests will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) make his first defense of the title as he takes on American challenger Daniel Roman (22-2-1, 8). Kubo won the title earlier this year, defeating Nehomar Cermeno, and will continue to look at proving himself as the new star at the Shinsei gym, following on from the success of the legendary Hozumi Hasegawa. For Roman the bout is his first in Asia and his first for a world title. The challenger has looked good moving through the ranks, but this is a big step up against a world class fighter. The bout, for those interested, will be televised live in the Kansai region of Japan and should see good numbers, given that Kubo's title win was hugely popular with the regional audience.
In an OPBF title fight we'll see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (14-0, 8) take on Ryan Sermona (20-8-1, 13). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 8th defense of the title and will almost certainly be eyeing bigger and better things in the near future. It's hard to see what Sermona brings to the table to really test the the tall and rangy champion, but hopefully we'll see him have some success in the biggest fight of his career. It's worth noting that Nakatani has held this title for well over 3 years but his last few performances haven't shown the progression many would have liked to have seen.
In the third of those title bouts we'll see Reiya Konishi (13-0, 5) defending his Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on former world title challenger Shin Ono (20-8-3, 4). This will be Konishi's first defense of the title that he won April, when he defeated Masataka Taniguchi. The talented champion will see this as a huge opportunity to move towards a title bout, and know he really needs to shine. For Ono this will be a third shot at a Japanese title, and potentially his last as the 34 year is really pushing on in terms of his career. Interestingly Ono won't just be fighting for the title but also for his stable as he looks to avenge Taniguchi's loss to Ono.
A second Japanese show will be held in Aichi and whilst it doesn't feature any title fights it does feature a trio of notable names.
In one of the headline bouts we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-6-1, 17) return to the ring following his first stoppage loss. The exciting Hayashi lost the Japanese title back in April, being stopped by the big punching Kosuke Saka, and will be looking to bounce back as he faces Filipino Markquil Salvana (13-3, 7). The once touted Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has yet to win on the road, where he is 0-3, and that's unlikely to change here against the aggressive and rough Hayashi.
Former 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (20-2-3, 14) will also be looking to rebuild his career against a Filipino. The talented Tanaka has lost 2 of his last 6, including a loss in March to Ryo Akaho, but he should fancy his chances against Bryan Capangpangan (12-3-1, 9), who looks a good opponent on paper but lacks a win of any note. The Filipino was blown out just a few fights ago by Jack Tepora and there's a good chance we'll see something similar here.
In the main event of this card we'll see the fast rising Kento Hatanaka (3-0, 3) take on a Thai foe as the youngster continues to move towards his first title fight. Hatanaka, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, made his debut last November and is already headlining shows thanks to his fun style and good looks, and there is real hope that he could prove to be the next star from the Hatanaka gym, run by his father.
The next few days are set to be interesting ones in Japan, with Dangan holding back-to-back shows. The second of those, on May 16th, is a Youth tournament semi final show, but before then we have a lower key card with a number of notable names on it.
The main event of this card sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (13-1, 9) battle against heavy handed foe Tetsuya Tomioka (5-1, 5). Nagamine is the #1 ranked JBC Flyweight, and will be looking to continue his run towards a Japanese title fight however Tomioka can't be over-looked and his power is legitimate. We've seen Nagamine hurt, and stopped, before and with Tomioka's power there is a chance we will see him hurt again, but Nagamine should be regarded as the definitive favourite here.
In a really good looking supporting bout fans will see the popular but light punching Joe Tanooka (13-3-4, 1) take on veteran Hajime Nagai (14-8-2, 4). Although Tanooka isn't a big name he does have a very credible following due to his personality and the youngster has certainly connected with fans, despite his lack of power. Against Nagai we're expect Tanooka to be be too quick and too busy, but he 33 year old Nagai has been able to score upsets throughout his career. Notably Tanooka is booked to be back in the ring in August, in a Youth tournament final.
We also have two bouts where notable local talents take on Thai foes. One of those locals will be the exciting and heavy handed youngster Tsubasa Koura (9-0, 6), who fights in a stay busy contest against Thongchai Chaiyonggym (0-5) whilst the other will see former world title challenger Shin Ono (19-8-4, 3) take on Chanai Jaikrajang (0-3). It's hard to imagine either Koura or Thognchai losing here but it's good to see both men being active, albeit for different reasons.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
On Tuesday Japanese fans will get a trio of female title fights at the Korakuen Hall. Just a day later attention turns to Thailand where we get a male world title fight, and continue to move towards the really end of year bouts.
That title bout will see WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (13-0, 6) take on Japan's Shin Ono (19-7-3, 3). The unbeaten Thai will be fighting for the first time since unifying the WBA and WBA interim titles, back in June, and will be looking to end the year as one of the stand out Minimumweights. Whether he's the best in the division or not is open to debate but he's certainly in the mix thanks to notable wins over Nicaraguan pair Byron Rojas and Carlos Buitrago. Ono is best known for coming up short in an IBF title fight against Katsunari Takayamabut has gone 2-1-1 since that loss, with both setbacks coming at Japanese domestic level. It's hard to see Knockout losing here but it's good to see him in the ring again before the end of the year.
On the under-card will be another Japan Vs Thailand bout as former 2-time world title challenger Go Odaira (12-5-3, 1) returns from March's stoppage loss to Wanheng Menayothin to battle Fahpituck Por Pakdee (6-1, 3). Odaira will know that anything but a win here could finish off his career which has failed to really live up to the potential it once showed.
In Japan Misako will be putting on a lowl level card.
The main event of the show will see Masajiro Honda (6-7, 4) battle against Shun Shimazaki (7-8-1, 2) in an 8 rounder. Both of these guys are struggling, with both having won just 2 of their last 6, but together they should make for a hotly contested and very interesting match up that should rovides some thrills for the fans in attendance.
Whilst the main event isn't anything great it's hard not to be excited about the chief support bout which will see Itsuki Tomioka (0-0) battle Tatsuki Shinozuka (0-0) in an all-debut 6 rounder. To be licensed to fight in a 6 rounder a Japanese fighter needs a B license, which should automatically mean that they have managed to prove their ability to the JBC. It's worth noting that fighters who begin in 6 rounders typically have solid amateur backgrounds, or backgrounds form other combat sports, and have developed an understanding of the fight game. As a result we're actually quite excited about this bout despite neither man having had a professional bout before
A new week kicks off on Monday with an interesting day for fans in Kumamoto, who get two shows at the Foodpal. One of those is a regional rookie show whilst the other is headlined by a really intriguing Japanese title fight.
That title bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (17-4-5, 6) making the second defense of his title, as he takes on former world title challenger Shin Ono (19-7-2, 3). The under-rated Fukuhara won the title last November, beating Hiroya Yamamoto, and was last seen out pointing the then unbeaten Takumi Sakae in March. For Ono the bout really is a must win following last year's loss to Kenichi Horikawa and this will only be his second bout since that loss, last September.
In the only supporting bout of note Tomohiro Nagakari (6-2-1, 1) will end a 22 month break from the ring to take on a Thai visitor in a 10 rounder. Strangely this will be Nagakari's first bout bout scheduled for more than 8 rounds, a distance he has only fought over once. A bit of a strange one really.
The other card at the Foodpal is a regional rookie card. It's nothing major but does have some interesting match ups.
In a Welterweight bout, scheduled for 5 rounds, fans will see the limited but heavy handed Shinpei Tominaga (4-4, 4) take on the unbeaten 20 year old Change Hamashima (7-0-1, 2). Tominaga clearly has the edge in power here but with 3 stoppage losses against his name it's clear he hasn't got the strongest chins and Hamashina really should extend his unbeaten record here.
A potential shoot out could take place at 140lbs as 34 year old Shingo Saiki (5-1, 5) faces 19 year old Ukyo Yoshigai (2-0, 2) in a bout that features two who have never won a decision. Saiki has won 4 bouts inside a round and his only loss is a split decision last November whilst Yoshigai has scored a couple of second round stoppages. We expect this one to be fun, exciting and a little bit wild with both going for the stoppage from the off.
In another battle of unbeaten fighter we'll see Japanese based Filipino southpaw Miguel Ocampo (3-0, 1) battle against 17 year old hopeful Sean Oda (2-0, 2). Oda has already beaten 2 unbeaten fighters and despite only making his debut in May he looks like a genuine prospect and a win here could push him into some notable bouts in 2017.
Their isn't a lot of action this Sunday but it's fair to say that one bout does stand out as being more intriguing than any other, and that is the headline bout of a show in Hiroshima.
That bout is one between world ranked Filipino banger Rey Loreto (21-13, 13) and the Japanese and OPBF ranked Koji Itagaki (16-9-2, 7). On paper this may not look like a great bout, especially give the 22 combined losses, but the reality is that these are both fighters with more ability than their records suggest. Coming in to this one Itagaki is on a 4 fight winning streak, including wins over Benezer Alolod and Michael Enriquez, whilst Loreto has won his last 5, including victories over Pornsawan Porpramook and Nkosinathi Joyi. Both are capable fighters and this really could be very exciting.
In the chief support bout Japanese ranked Ryuji Ikeda (11-2-1, 7) will be facing Kazuyasu Okamoto (10-4, 3) in a good looking 8 round affair. The 20 year old Ikeda has stopped his last 5 opponents since being stopped himself, by Kenta Onjo, and looks to be an emerging force at 140lbs on the Japanese domestic scene. Okamoto is nothing special but is a good test for the promising youngster, and could provide an upset if Ikeda isn't on his game.
The other card in Japan is a genuinely forgettable card on paper from Mie.
The main event of this show will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Yusuke Nakagawa (9-4-1, 5) risk his ranking against Yutaka Ekawa (7-4-1, 4). Although Nakagawa has a JBC ranking this bout could be a tough one for him, and it will be just his second bout since a KO loss to Rikiya Fukuhara last September. Notably however Ekawa was stopped in his last bout and has been beaten inside the distance 3 times.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Featherweight contender Shota Hayashi (26-5-1, 16), who looks to secure a stay busy win as he takes on Shohei Fujimoto (9-5-3, 8). Hayashi is very close to a Japanese title fight, and we suspect a win here could get him a shot at the Japanese title, with the division likely to have a genuine shake up in the near future.
There's also a card in Thailand which will see Japanese veteran Cobra Suwa (17-11-2, 9) attempt to claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council 154lb title as he takes on Thai local Ratchasai Sithsaithong (6-2, 5). Last year Suwa claimed the “Silver” version of the title, and the PABA belt, in bouts in Thailand and is now fighting his third successive bout in the country as he attempts to end his career with a collection of titles. As for the Thai he's facing his second Japanese opponent after losing a bout last year to current OPBF/JBC Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida.
Also in Thailand fans will get the chances to see former world title challenger Shin Ono (18-7-2, 2). Ono is facing a Thai local, though unfortunately we don't have the Thai's name.