This coming Thursday sees attention turn to Tokyo as we get a world title double header, thanks to Teiken.
The headline bout from the card is a WBC Bantamweight title rematch, as controversial champion Luis Nery (25-0, 19) takes on former champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19). These two fought last year with Nery stopping Yamanaka, and ending the long reign of “God's Left's” which had began in 2011. Following his win it was revealed that Nery had failed a drugs test, though the WBC seemed to believe his excuse of eating a huge amount of tainted beef. This time around Nery has had his diet tracked by the WBC, and it seems like they have tried to punish him, without really punishing him. The Mexican's win over Yamanaka last year put him at the top of the Bantamweight division, though the failed drug test has left a huge cloud over his win and he will have to repeat the exercise here if he's going to get the respect that he will feel he deserves. For Yamanaka this rematch is a chance to avenge his sole loss, reclaim his title and prove that he is the better fighter, with the drugs that Nery tested for. Sadly for the Japanese southpaw he is now 35 and even before the first bout with Nery he was showing signs of being on the slide, having been down several times in his bouts leading up to the Nery contest and looking like a fighter who may well have been caught at the right time by Nery. This is a huge bout for both men, but win or lose we don't Yamanaka sticking around long after this one.
The second world title fight on this show will see IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (24-2, 26) make his first defense, as he takes on little known Filipino challenger Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8). The hard hitting Japanese fighter impressed in his title winning effort last year, when he stopped Yukinori Oguni, and showed that he has got the skills to go with his early promise. There are still flaws, but against Oguni he looked like a fighter who had found his way, and nothing like the fighter who looked lost and confused against Lee Haskins. Whilst Iwasa has been on the title scene for a while, since his loss to Yamanaka for the Japanese Bantamweight title back in 2011, it's fair to say that much less is known about Saulong, who has spent much of his career on the Filipino domestic scene. His most notable bouts have been losses to Rey Megrino and Lwandile Sityatha, though he does hold some decent wins over Alie Laurel, twice, and Jestoni Autida, sadly those wins aside there is little to suggest that Saulong belongs at world level. The Filipino might be better than he's shown, but it's very hard to see him holding his own with someone as heavy handed and dangerous as Iwasa.
Another rematch will see Takahiro Ao (27-3-1-1, 12) take on Gamaliel Diaz (40-18-3, 19) in a battle of veterans. These two first fought way back in October 2012,when Diaz defeated Ao for the WBC Super Featherweight title, though since then neither had had much success. Diaz has gone 2-9-1, and was stopped in his first defense by Takashi Miura, whilst Ao has gone 4-0-0-1, with his most recent bout being a painful No Contest against Raymundo Beltran. Ao will be favoured here, but it's hard to imagine either man will have much of a career after this bout.
This coming Tuesday Japanese fight fans in Kyoto get the chance to see a world title fight featuring one of the biggest boxing names in Asia. Sadly though the rest of the card really is lacking and isn't worth talking about too much.
The exciting main event will see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19) look to score a record equalling 13th defence of the title as he takes on unbeaten mandatory challenger Luis Nery (23-0, 17), in a bout that looks truly mouth watering. With both fighters having unbeaten records and reputation as big punchers the bout does have the potential to be something really special, though it is viewed as a monstrous step up in class for the challenger. The champion, the longest reigning active champion, will tie a long standing Japanese record for most defences of a world title, held by Yoko Gushiken. For Nery the bout will be his first outside of Mexico, his first at world level and potentially his chance to announce himself on the world stage.
The one under-card bout worthy of some mention will see veteran Kenichi Horikawa (32-15-1, 7) take on Takayuki Teraji (7-13-1, 4), in what really looks like a mismatch. The 37 year old Horikawa was beaten last time out, by Tetsuya Hisada in a bout for the Japanese title, but showed enough fight back in February to over-come Koji Itagaki and claim the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Teraji has shown some ability at times, but he's scored just 1 win in his last 6, and has been stopped 3 times during that run including a 3rd round stoppage to Sho Kimura last year. Age may play a part here, but it's hard to imagine anything but a win for Horikawa.
This coming Thursday sees one of the biggest Asian cards of the year so far as we get a qoeld title fight, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and former world title challenger all competing on the same card.
In the main event of this show we will see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) look to record his 12th defense of the title. The heavy handed southpaw, widely regarded as the best Bantamweight on the planet, will be up against the in form Carlos Carlson (22-1, 13), who has won his last 22. Yamanaka has had a tough 18 months, with two bouts against Anselmo Moreno and a bout with Liborio Solis, but has come through those bouts and this is a much easier bout on paper than those were. Carlson is a real unknown, and will be stepping up massively, but seems confident of making his mark on the boxing world and a win here would certainly shake up the sport.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (20-1, 16) take on mandatory challenger Satoru Sugita (12-3-1, 7), in what will be a rematch between the two men who faced off last year. In their first bout Ogawa looked less than great, though had the power to see off Sugita in round 9, covering over the cracks off a less than great performance. Here Ogawa will be looking to shine and knows that another struggle will hard his chances of getting a world title fight. For Sugita revenge will be the aim and he will feel he has the skills to over-come Ogawa here.
On the under-card we'll see 2-weight world champion Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22) battle with Mexican foe Ruben Montoya (14-4-1, 9). This will be Viloria's first bout since his October 2015 loss to Roman Gonzalez and it's likely to be the start of Viloria's final run in the sport, with the 36 year old being relatively ancient for a Flyweight. Montoya has mixed with good competition, including Pedro Guevara and Paul Butler, but two losses to Samuel Gutierrez does leave question marks bout his ability.
Also on the under-card will be Ryosuke Iwasa (22-2, 14) who looks to keep busy with a bout againt Filipino Glenn Madura (8-1-1, 5). Iwasa will get a world title fight later this year, against IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni, but will have to get through this one without suffering any sort of cuts or damage to delay his world title shot. Although Madura doesn't have a great record he has won his last 8 and appears to be in solid form ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
Attention continues to be given to Japan this coming Friday as we get yet more title action in the Land of the Rising Sun, with two world title bouts.
The more interesting, and much better matched, of the bouts sees WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (25-0-2, 17) facing off against Anselmo Moreno (36-4-1, 12). The two men are fighting in a rematch after Yamanaka narrowly retained his title last September with a razor thin decision. Some are suggesting that Yamanaka will be better prepared for the slippery Panamanian challenger whilst others feel like Yamanaka has slipped, a lot, from his prime and is there for the taking. The one clear thing here is that opinions differ on the outcome and the styles of the fighters differ in the ring. This should be worth tuning in to.
The other title bout will see WBC Super Bantamweight champion Hugo Ruiz (36-3, 32) making his first defense of the title as he takes on former Bantamweight legend Hozumi Hasegawa (35-5, 15). Hasegawa is looking to become a 3-weight world champion, following reigns at 118lbs and 126lbs, but he's very much a faded fighter whilst the big punching Ruiz is a very dangerous man in his pomp. This could be very painful for the multi-time Japanese MVP.
Sadly other than the title bouts the card has little of interest, with almost nothing of note on the under-card.
Japanese fans have been a bit unlucky so far this year with the most notable action taking place on either tape delay or pay TV. That changes on March 4th as the fans get their first world title fight of the year, in fact they get their first two world title bouts of the year, though one of those is on pay TV.
The higher profile of those bouts sees WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17) defending his title, for the 10th time, against Venezuelan Liborio Solis (23-3-1, 10), a former WBA Super Flyweight champion. This looks likely to be a really bout between Yamanaka's power and Solis's aggressive pressure. The fight is a tough one for the champion but one he will be favoured to win. The winner of this is expected to face the winner of the upcoming eliminator between Anselmo Moreno and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, both men who gave Yamanaka tough bouts in recent years.
The other title fight will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (18-2-1, 3) defending his title, for the first time, against Mexican slugger Ganigan Lopez (26-6, 17). This is a tough first defense for the Japanese fighter, who upset Pedro Guevara last year, but with a pro-Japanese crowd behind him the champion will feel confident of proving himself, and taking a huge step towards an all-Japanese world title unification bout later this year.
In the most notable of the support bouts fans will see the much touted Shuya Masaki (3-0, 2) battle Filipino foe Vergil Puton (15-6, 7). On paper this looks like a huge step up for Masaki however it should be noted that Puton is the naturally smaller man and is likely to look like a man lacking fire-power against the much touted Masaki.
A really well matched under-card bout here will see the unbeaten 18 year old Retsu Kosaka (5-0, 1) take on the once beaten 22 year old Yuto Nagano (5-1, 2). Kosaka debuted last year and quickly ran his record to 5-0 in a great year, though the youngster does have questions over his strength and power. As for Nagano, he was stopped last time out and will not be wanting to suffer a second successive loss, which really could derail his career before he really gets go.
In China Top Rank, along with SECA,will be promoting a low profile card at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
The card isn't a great one, though we would suggest keeping an eye out for two bouts, both at Super Featherweight.
One of those bouts will see the once beaten Leshan Li (6-1-1, 4) battle against the more experienced puncher Cai Yong Liu (4-3-2, 4). The other will see the unbeaten 18 year old Jin Xiang Pan (5-0, 3) face off against Yongle Feng (2-1, 1). We hope the winners of these two bouts face off later in the year, though it does need to be noted that already Li holds a win over Feng, having stopped him earlier this year, whilst Pan holds a win over Liu, having out pointed him late last year.
Although the fight scene has been a little bit quiet in Japan the last few weeks things do get exciting over the next few days, beginning with a Teiken promoted show this coming Tuesday.
The main is one of the truly brilliant fights this month as WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (23-0-2, 17) takes on slippery Panamanian Anselmo Moreno (35-3-1, 12). On paper this is the toughest bout that Yamanaka has been involved in and sees him taking on a former WBA “super” champion, who defended variations of the WBA belt an impressive 12 times. Stylistically this is a brilliant match up between a feared puncher and a defensively exceptional boxer and it really is a bout that every fight fan should be very interested in, It does need to be noted however this is Moreno's first bout since a controversial technical decision loss almost a year ago.
The chief under-card bout will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight puncher Kenichi Ogawa (15-1, 13) battle against the WBC world ranked Deivi Julio Bassa (17-0, 10). It's hard to see what has earned Bassa his ranking, and his competition has been terrible so far. Ogawa has got a loss on his record but that was 3 years ago and since then he has gone 7-0 (7) and avenged his defeat. Ogawa is great form and we suspect he'll see off Bassa here, though the Colombian visitor does appear to have been a very good amateur prior to turning professional.
Ogawa isn't the only JBC ranked fighter on this show as JBC ranked Lightweight Spice Matsushita (14-8, 2) takes on fellow light puncher Joe Takeshima (6-3, 1). Coming in to this Matsushita is on a 3 fight winning streak and will be hoping to extend that run until he gets a chance to fight for a title. At 32 however his career is a race against time. Takeshima has won his last 2 but hasn't fought in over a year and is stepping up massively for this fight.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned this card will also feature a further 5 low level bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
April 16th-Yamanaka defends against Santillan, Tatsuyoshi debuts, Nakazawa and Ikemizu face tests...and more!
Although the month has been packed so far things really begin to pick up over the next week or saw. Part of that is due to a pair of brilliant shows in Osaka. The first is today whilst another comes 6 days later.
The aforementioned Osaka show is the first really big Teiken show of 2015 and it really does have a bit of everything. The main event features one of the sports premier punchers whilst the undercard features highly touted prospects, and debutants, including the debut of a man likely to get more attention than more experienced fighters.
The show includes several debutants though the most notable is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (0-0) the second son of the great Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. Although he's only a debutant Juiki is expected to get a lot of attention and even TV time, despite the fact he's fighting the very poor Tadao Iwaya (1-2) in a bout that really lacks much interest. For Juiki being his father's son could be a double edged sword. He will get a lot of attention and it could help his career, but he'll also have people comparing him to his father and expecting him to be better than he probably is.
A more interesting debut from out stand point is that of Shuya Masaki (0-0) who went 54-8 in the amateur ranks and is hotly tipped as a man to watch. The 21 year old Masaki will be battling against Panthong Por Panya (0-0) in a 6 rounder. Although both men are debutants it's fair to say Masaki will start as the big favourite and some are tipping him as a world champion in the making.
Another highly touted prospect on this card is Sho Nakazawa (5-0, 4) who looks to continue his perfect start as he battles Mexican fighter Alexander Cazares (9-3, 3). Nakazawa is regarded very highly and his shut out win against Jhunriel Ramonal showed just how much talent he has, though we are hoping to see him tested here a little bit by the tough Cazares.
Another touted prospect on this card is Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-0, 5) who faces his toughest test so far as he takes on experienced and tough Filipino Marjohn Yap (19-12, 10). Ikemizu is highly regarded and won the 2013 Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight though this is a massive leap up in class against one of the better journeymen doing the roads in Asia.
In the main event we'll see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (22-0-2, 16) attempt to extend his reign as the Bantamweight kingpin as he battles against undefeated Argentinian challenger Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-0, 15). On paper this looks competitive with both men having similar records, however the quality that Yamanaka has beaten is so much better than anyone that Santillan has faced. Yamanaka is the best opponent Santillan has been in with whilst Santillan may just be in the top 10 of Yamanaka's best foes.
A second Japanese show takes place at the Korakuen Hall and takes place at a much lower level.
The main event here will see the heavy handed Akinori Watanabe (31-4, 27) battle against upset minded Filipino fighter Arnel Tinampay (22-16-1, 8). Watanabe is a former OPBF, Japanese and PABA Welterweight champion who comes into this bout on a run of 12-0 (10) and although he will, clearly, be the favourite Tinampay has made a habit out of beating Japanese fighters and holds relatively recent wins over Koshimaru Saito, Shoma Fukumoto and Yosuke Kirima.
One of the chief support bouts is an interesting match up as former Japanese Featherweight champion Koji Umetsu (22-15-3, 10) battles former title challenger Kazunori Takayama (20-8-4, 4). Both of these fighters are in their 30's and both are clearly on the back-side of their career. The loser here may well be looking at the end whilst the winner is possible set to get a title shot.
The other supporting bout will see promising Welterweight hopeful Takeshi Inoue (2-0-1, 1) in action against Thai visitor Kriburee Sithniwat (0-2-1). Inoue has been one of the men on our radar since his debut, a draw with fellow prospect Daishi Nagata, and it seems likely that he will continue his development with a win here before moving onto a more notable opponent later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
A big mid week show this week takes place in Japan as Teiken put on a very interesting show.
The main event will see the exceptional and very heavy handed Shinsuke Yamanaka (21-0-2, 16) returning to the ring for his 7th world title defence. This time around Yamanaka, the man known as the "God of Left", will be taking on WBC mandatory challenger Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (37-5-1, 16). Sor Rungvisai is a former WBC Super Flyweight champion has proven ability at both Super Flyweight, where he was a world champion, and at Flyweight, where he ran the great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam very close way back in 2010. For Yamanaka this isn't a gimme, after all Suriyan is tough and more skilled than many other Thai's that we see competing at world level. We suspect Yamanaka will make this look easy though it's a genuine tough bout for the champion, especially considering that how Rungvisai has competed tall southpaws in the past, including Thomas Rojas who made to chase shadows at times by the diminutive Thai. For Suriyan this bout will see him returning to Japan for the first time since he lost his Super Flyweight title to Yota Sato and he'll certainly be looking to score a big win here, though he is with out a win in 4 previous bouts outside of Thailand.
In the co-feature we have another excellent match up as 2-weight world champion Takahiro Ao (26-3-1, 12) battles against former 2-time Super Featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado (26-3-1-1, 16). Ao, a former world champion at both Featherweight and Super Featherweight, is on the hint for a third divisional world title though will know that this could be a very difficult assignment considering that Salgado is a proven world class fighter and a former WBA and IBF champion at Super Featherweight. For many Salgado's "signature" win came the first time he fought in Japan, stopping Ao's stablemate Jorge Linares inside a round in a real upset of the year contender, since then however he has been stopped himself by Takashi Uchiyama, also in Japan. Coming into this bout Salgado has lost his last 2 by stoppage and won just 2 of his last 5 bouts with many feeling that he's now coming to the end of his career at the top level. Ao is on a 3 fight willing streak though didn't look good prior to that when he was out pointed by Gamaliel Diaz and some may question how good he really is going into what looks like a clear cross roads bout.
In a third notable bout, albeit one notable only to those who follow the Japanese domestic scene, fans will get the chance to see a bout between two Japanese ranked Super Featherweights. The bout will see the heavy handed Kenichi Ogawa (12-1, 10) battling against Ribo Takahata (10-4-1, 2). Going in to this one Ogawa is ranked #15 by the JBC whilst Takahata is #12 despite those rankings we do suspect that Ogawa will come out on top here, and probably inside the distance considering his power and the fact Takahata was stopped just 2 fights back.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned this show will feature a further 4 bouts, albeit at a much lower level to the 3 we've already mentioned.
For those interested in watching the card it will be televised on both NTV in Japan and Channel 7 in Thailand.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
As we all know top level boxing is rare to see on a week day. This week however is no normal week and rather brilliantly we have two world title fights in Japan and a world ranked fighter in action on a tremendously exciting Wednesday in the world of boxing
Technically the day has two cards but there is only one that will have fans really talking, that's the one in the Castle Hall, Osaka which really is one of the highlight shows of the year so far.
The first of 3 notable bouts on the show feature the world ranked Lightweight Takahiro Ao (25-3-1, 12). Ao, a former world champion at Featherweight and Super Featherweight is hoping to, one day, capture a Lightweight title though will need to over-come Mexican Marco Lopez (23-3, 14) here if that dream is continue. Ao is a talented fighter but blows hot and cold. His talent is obvious and wins over Oscar Larios, Vitali Tajbert, Devis Boschiero and Terdsak Kokietgym prove that but losses to Larios, Gamaliel Diaz and Elio Rojas do leave some questions about whether or not he is truly a world level talent.
After Ao's bout we get the first of the world title fights as the popular and fun to watch Hozumi Hasegawa (33-4, 15) attempts to claim the IBF Super Bantamweight title. Hasegawa, one of Japan's most popular fighters, will be up against it as he takes on the heavy handed and hard nosed Kiko Martinez (30-4, 22) who will be defending his title for the second time. We're expecting, due to the styles of these two men, that this will be a scintillating affair with both men throwing a lot of leather though we simply can't image the contest going the scheduled 12 rounds.
Although Hasegawa is always going to be a popular figure in Japanese boxing a win would make him just the second ever 3-weight world champion from Japan and would further enhance his reputation as a modern day Japanese great.
The show's third major bout then sees the destructive Shinsuke Yamanaka (20-0-2, 15) in action. Yamanaka, one of the worlds hardest hitting fighters, will be seeking the 6th defence of his WBC Bantamweight title as he takes on former European champion Stephane Jamoye (25-4, 15) in what looks like an exciting but potentially one-sided contest. Jamoye is an exciting brawler who has come to Japan with a lot of confidence though it's hard to imagine him really testing "The god of Left"
As well as the show in Japan there is also a small show in the Philippines. The main even on this show will see Rey Ramos (6-4-2, 3) battling against veteran Richard Olisa (23-24-2, 12). This is a well matched bout but we'll be honest it's hard to care about the action in the Philippines considering what we have in Japan.