Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday action returns to Korakuen Hall with a small card from Misako. The card isn't a big one, but it does feature a number of noteworthy names on it, including 4 Japanese ranked fighters, one of which is a former world title challenger!
The first of the 4 ranked fighters in action will be JBC ranked Lightweight Shinnosuke Saito (7-3, 2), who battles Hokuto Matsumoto (6-3, 1) in an 8 rounder. The 25 year old Saito won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 29019 and is looking to build on that with his second win of 2020. Matsumoto on the other hand will go in to the bout with an upset minded mentality, just as he did in July when he Ryosei Niguma and when he ran Masahiro Suzuki close a year ago. It's easy to favour Saito here, but make no mistake Matsumoto will see this as a great chance to score a win over a domestically ranked foe.
In a bout between Japanese ranked fighters JBC ranked Featherweight Yuki Kumazoe (14-6, 5) will move up to face JBC ranked Lightweight Tomoki Takada (7-5-2, 4), in another 8 rounder. The 28 year old Kumazoe is seeking a third straight win since his 2017 loss to Ryota Ishida and is looking for a 5th win in 6 following a nightmare stretch in 2012-2015, which saw him lose 5 in a row. As for Takada he's looking to build on a big win last December over George Tachibana, and the 27 year old will be looking at this as a great chance to make moves towards a Japanese title fight in the next year or two.
The most noteworthy name on this show is former world title challenger Norihito Tanaka (19-8, 10), who looks to bounce back from a loss in March to Knockout CP Freshmart. The 35 year old Tanaka will be looking to show age is just a number as he battles 22 year old Yuni Takada (8-5-2, 3). On paper we would expected Tanaka to win, but given his age and ring years we do wonder what he has left to offer. By that same token Takada is now push over and he fought to a draw in august against upcoming Japanese title challenger Yuni Takada. This could be much, much more competitive than it looks.
This coming Sunday is one of the busiest days we've seen this year for boxing in Asia, with numerous cards taking place, at varying levels.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
The best of the shows will come from Osaka, thanks to Green Tsuda who put on a Japanese Youth title bout and a contest featuring a former national champion.
The main event of this show will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-6, 16) take on Takuya Fujii (7-5, 3) in an 8 rounder. On paper this looks like an easy win for Yada, but he's coming into this bout following 2 stoppage losses in his last 3 bouts, including a loss last December in a sensational bout against Yuki Beppu. Fuji is no world beater but he could be the right person at the right time here.
Although it's not the main event the more interesting bout on this card will see JBA Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (11-1-2, 7) defending his belt against unbeaten challenger Hiroki Hanabusa (8-0-3, 3). The hope was to get this bout sorted earlier in the year but due to what's been going on in the world it was delayed. Despite the delay we're really looking looking forward to this one and expect a very, very good, hotly contested bout, though one where the champion probably has the slight edge. Our in depth previous of this bout can be read here Shimomachi takes on Hanabusa in Youth title defense!
Another bout on this card worthy of note is a contest between Jinki Maeda (4-0, 2) and Arashi Iimi (7-2, 7). The unbeaten Maeda won the Rookie of the Year last year, when he defeated Kyonosuke Kameda in the final, and he will be looking to build on that success here. Interestingly the hard hitting Iimi lost in a Rookie of the Year final back in 2017 against the previously mentioned Toshiki Shimomachi. On paper this should bhe a very, very good test for Maeda, and see what his chin is like.
This show was also supposed to feature a contest between former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) and once beaten prospect Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2). Sadly however this bout was cancelled when the "Osakan gym cluster" was discovered, leading some suspicion to it being an issue at the Mutoh Gym, where Kuwabata trains. This meant that for health and safety a number of bouts involving fighters from a number of Osaka gyms were cancelled, including this bout.
Arena Tachikawa Tachihi , Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
In Tokyo we get another small card, featuring a total of 6 bouts, two of which involve a Japanese ranked fighter.
The main event of the show will see Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific ranked Minimumweight Hizuki Saso (12-6-1, 4) take on Yuni Takada (8-5-1, 3). Coming in to this Saso has won 6 of his last 7 and built a bit of moment, despite a loss last year to Rikito Shiba. On the other hand Takada has lost 3 of his last 5 and is struggling for any traction in his career, with another loss expected here.
The other ranked fighter on this show is Japanese ranked Lightweight Shinnosuke Saito (6-3, 2), who takes on Yuji Hashimoto (6-4, 4). Coming in to this Saito has the momentum, having won Rookie of the Year in 2019, but this is a step up for him and his first 6 rounder. On paper Hashimoto likely doesn't look much of a threat, but he has actually gone 6-1 in his last 7, albeit against very low level competition. Both men will be coming into this one hungry, and it could end up being a surprisingly good bout.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The third Japanese card comes from Kariya and is a 6 bout Central Japan Rookie of the Year show.
From the 6 bouts on this card the one that has us most interested is a bout between unbeaten youngsters Rikiya Nakamura (2-0, 2) and Aito Takabatake (3-0), who clash in a bout at 140lbs. Strangely it appears boxrec have got Takabatake listed with a loss, though we have confirmed that he did actually win his September 2018 bout against Hitoka Kitagawa. This should be a genuine highlight for the show and hopefully both men do go on to have promising careers in the years to come.
Daesan Gymnasium, Daegu, South Korea
As well as the Japanese action we're also set to get some action from Korea thanks to a KBA show in Daegu. The card is certainly nothing special and it's a very low profile effort.
Although it's a very poor card the main event of the show does have some significance, as Hyeon Oh Lee (3-4-1) and Chul Hyun Lim (5-16-2, 3) battle for a KBA ranking at Super Bantamweight. Neither man is expected to go far in the sport, Lee is a 27 year old who has won just 1 of his last 5 whilst Lim is a 39 year old who's last win came in 2010. If we're being this is a very weak main event for a very weak card. The sort of thing we expect when we think of the KBA, sadly.