Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday the Korakuen Hall plays host to the next show in the Diamond Glove series of events televised, on tape delay, by Fuji TV. Although not a massive card it does have a Japanese title bout, along with some very interesting supporting bouts, with some of the stars of the latest Rookie of the Year looking to shine.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) look to make his second defense of the title, which he took from Koki Inoue in 2020, as he takes on the unbeaten Masahiro Suzuki (5-0, 3). The tough and rugged Nagata will come in to this as a huge favourite and will try to use his physicality and pressure to break down the smaller, less experienced Suzuki, however that might not be as easy to do as Nagata might think. Suzuki, although inexperienced as a professional was a very good amateur and has impressed since kicking off his professional career with an excellent win against Antonio Siesmundo. This will be pressure against movement, and those bouts do tend to make for some very good stylistic clashes. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Nagata defends against unbeaten Suzuki!
In a really, really good looking chief support bout we'll see the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (3-0, 3) take on the once beaten Hikaru Fukunaga (8-1, 5) in a very solid 6 rounder. Kimura has looked fantastic since making his professional debut, late last year, and clearly has his eyes on getting title fights later this year. To do that he needs to keep winning and can't afford a slip up here against Fukunaga. As for Fukunaga he reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but sadly tested posted for Covid19 before the bout and was unable to compete in his scheduled bout. With that disappointment we expect to see Fukunaga come in to this bout full of hunger and desire, and he could be a real test for Kimura in this mouth watering contest.
Another excellent match up on the under-card will see All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Ryota Karimata (6-0, 3) take on Hayato Aoki (4-0, 3) in a brilliant match up. The 25 year old Karimata is one of the potential stars from the belated Rookie of the Year tournament, and he looked solid through the tournament, despite some struggles in the final against Hyogo Kimura. He's aggressive, heavy handed, and a fun to watch fighter who lets his hands go. Aoki on the other hand is a 36 old who knows he can't afford any more set backs if he's ever going to secure a title fight. Expect to see a hot tempo set early on and bombs to be thrown by both men in this one.
Another notable standout from the latest Rookie of the Year tournament was Akira Hoshuyama (5-0, 2), who won a Flyweight. He will be looking to build on his Rookie success with a bout against former amateur standout Shisui Kawabata (2-2, 2), who has struggled since moving over to the professional ranks. Hoshuyama's Rookie of the Year final, against Yasuhiro Kanzaki, was one of the more controversial, and exciting, finals and he'll be looking to put to bed some question marks that hang over his head from that bout. Kawabata on the other hand desperately needs a win after back to back losses to Rikito Shiba and Yuki Nakajima. Kawabata might have two losses in 4, but he can fight, and if he clicks here he could end rebuilding rapidly, and becoming the fighter many expected him to become when he made his debut in early 2018.
The remaining bout on this carer will see the crude but fun to watch Shota Ogasawara (6-3, 3) take on Rookie of the Year runner up Naito Oikawa (3-1, 1) in a 6 rounder. This isn't a great bout, but it should be regarded as a must win for both men, following some disappointing performances in recent contests.
Kadoebi are perhaps not one of the real big name promoters in the eyes of many but the Japanese stable consistently put on interesting shows in Tokyo, and this Friday they put on another at Korakuen Hall.
In the main event will be former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11). The experienced Saludar won the title last year, when he stopped the touted Tsubasa Murachi and he returns to Japan for this fight against the heavy handed Fukunaga, who is crude but dangerous. A win here will push Saludar one step closer to a second world title bout. Whilst Fukunaga may have home advantage he is very much the under-dog, but is the naturally bigger man. Our preview of this bout can be read here Saludar returns to Japan to defend regional title against hard hitting Fukunaga!
World ranked Japanese Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4), who is bizarrely highly ranked by the WBA, will look to build on his 2019 Alphoe Dagayloan as he takes on MJ Bo (8-3-2, 4). It's fair to say that 2019 was a frustrating year for the talent Yamauchi, who lost a hotly contest decision to Wulan Tuolehazi in March, beat Dagayloan in August then missed out on a Japanese title eliminator due to injuries suffered against Dagayloan. We expect him out there to impress here. As for Bo the Filipino will be returning to Japan just 5 months after being stopped by Yuta Nakayama, and it's hard to imagine anything but another loss here for the Filipino visitor. We expect Yamauchi to go to the ring with the intention of making a real statement.
Foor us the real pick of the gems on this show is a potentially explosive bout between Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2). Although on paper this might just look like a typical novice bout the reality is that both of these men were solid amateurs, and both are regarded highly by those in Japan. Nakajima is regarded very highly and racked up more than 50 wins in the amateurs whilst Kawabata fought for a Japanese youth title in just his third bout. We expect explosive action here in what is our "One to watch" for this week.
Over in the US we'll see fast rising Uzbek hopeful Bektemir Melikuziev (4-0, 3) take on his most notable opponent to date, as he battles former world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban (25-5-1, 16). The bout will be "Bek Bully's" 5th in just over 8 months, and it's clear he and his team have got their eye on the fast track to the top. After going 10 rounds with Vaughn Alexander in December we know the Uzbek can box, as well as bang. Periban is a long way removed from the fighter lost a razor thin decision to Sakio Bika and fought to a draw with Badou Jack, back in 2013, but is still a solid name and someone who could ask questions of Melikuziev. Whilst Melikuziev is expected to win, the real question will be how, and if stops Periban early it would be a genuine statement from the 23 year old.
This coming Friday is a really notable one, with a lot of exciting action, even with the biggest bout of the weekend, for us, being cancelled.
New York, USA
The bout that was cancelled, would have seen the unified Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10) defending his WBA "super" and IBF titles against fast rising Uzbek amateur standout Murodjon Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5). Sadly this was called off due to an injury to Roman, however the plan seems to be to reschedule the bout for when Roman is 100%.
Despite the main bout being called off the card will still feature 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (7-0, 3), who has promised a lot but is yet to truly shine as a professional. The unbeaten Kazakh will be up against unbeaten American Reshard Hicks (12-0-1, 6). On paper this looks a good test for the Kazakh but in reality he shouldn't struggle with Hicks, if he's as good as many hoped he'd be.
Due to the world title fight being called off in the US, the best card appears to be in Japan where we see a former world champion, a Japanese title fight, a Japanese youth title fight and a Japanese title eliminator.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) fight for the first time since losing his belt to Jamel Herring. The talented Ito will be up against Indonesian foe Ruben Manakane (25-18-1, 14), who despite only being 26 will be fighting in his 45th pro bout. This is expected to be an easy win for Ito, who is flirting with the Lightweight division, but it's clear there is a lot to work on given before he returns to facing world class opposition, at least based on his performance against Herring. Despite this being a pretty obvious mismatch Manakane does enter as the Indonesian champion and is 7-1 in his last 8.
Despite the main event being a mismatch the supporting card is solid with the best of the bouts being a Japanese Featherweight title bout, with Reiya Abe (19-1-2, 9) and Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) battling for the title that Taiki Minamoto vacated earlier in the year. This has the hall marks of a very, very special bout with both fighters being very highly skilled but having different styles and mentalities. Abe is the more pure counter puncher, a sharp shooting, back foot fighter, whilst Sagawa is a more offensively minded boxer-puncher. These style really should gel and the two fighters will both be looking for their most significant win to date. This could be one of the most thrilling bouts of the month. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Abe and Sagawa battle to crown new Japanese Featherweight champion!
In what looks likely to be an exciting brawl we'll see Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) and Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) battle in a JBC Super Bantamweight eliminator. The experienced Furuhashi is trying to secure a third Japanese title fight but will be the under-dog here against Tamura, who held the title earlier this year. Furuhashi is a solid national contender but he has been in tough bouts through his career and it's hard to know what he has left in the tank. On the other hand Tamura's last 2 bouts have been really hard wars, with his last bout being a brutal war with Yusaku Kuga, and they may well have added a lot of miles to his clock. A preview of this bout can be read here Tamura and Furuhashi to battle in eliminator!
A second title fight will see fast rising youngsters Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) and Shisui Kawabata (2-0, 2) battle for the JBC Youth Light Flyweight title. Both of these youngsters are tipped for big things, and in fact Shiba is pencilled in for a Japanese title eliminator later in the year, so to see them clash at this point is rather surprising, despite the Youth title. So far Shiba has looked the better fighter, and he really does look the goods, however Kawabata has sparred with Naoya Inoue among others and is very highly regarded. This could be another thriller. Our preview of this contest is here Shiba and Kawabata face off for Japanese youth title!
The rest of the card is full of small but still interesting bouts. These include a battle between Japanese ranked fighters, as Kanehiro Nakagawa (7-6, 4) looks to build on a career best win against Seiichi Okada as he takes on Ryuto Araya (13-7-1, 4). Other smaller bouts on this card include Satoru Goto (4-4-2) taking on the unbeaten Ryugo Ushijima (3-0-1, 2) and the debuting Taison Morishita (0-0) battling Kojiro Nishikawa (5-1, 2) in a tough 6 round debut.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Another notable fighter pencilled in for the day is former world title challenger Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6), who will be in action in Dubai. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
This coming Wednesday attention turns to Chiba for a world title triple header. The show not only has a trio of world title bout but also features a couple of promising Japanese prospects, both taking a step up in class.
The main event of the show will see Japanese 3-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) have his second shot at the WBO Super Flyweight title, as he takes on Filipino puncher Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21), who also gets his second shot at the title. These two both fought Donnie Nietes for the vacant title late year, with Palicte earning a draw and Ioka suffering a narrow loss, and with Nietes vacating the title to pursue a legacy defining fight, the two men get the chance to face off with each looking to make the most of their second chance. This should be a high skilled battle between two very talented fighters, with very different strengths. We're not expecting a FOTY style war, but we are expecting a very, very good bout. Our preview on this bout is available here Ioka and Palicte vie for vacant WBO crown!
Another fantastic looking world title fight will see unbeaten men collide, with WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) defending his title against unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (11-0, 5) , aka Tanawat Nakoon. For Kyoguchi this will be his first defense, following his title at the end of 2018 against Hekkie Budler. The Japanese star will be strongly favoured here but it should be noted that the Thai challenger is a former Muay Thai stand out and should not be regarded as a push over. This should be very interesting and a real chance to see if the Thai is a legitimate threat in the world of professional boxing. Our preview of this bout is available here Kyoguchi takes on unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek
The third of the world title fights will see a second WBO Super Flyweight world champion being crowned, this time the female champion as in form Japanese fighter Miyo Yoshida (12-1) takes on Casey Morton (8-1-3, 1). Yoshida has managed to win Japanese and OPBF female titles on her climb up to this bout, but this is a bet test on paper, an her first 10 round bout. It should noted that whilst this should be Yoshida's toughest bout to date Morton did not impress in her her last bout at Super Flyweight, when she was clearly beaten by Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong and it could be that she just isn't suited to the 115lb weight class. Our preview of this bout is available here Yoshida and Morton battle for vacant WBO world title!
The more notable of the prospects on this card is the talented Shu Utsuki (4-0, 3), who looks to build on his stoppage win over Jerry Castroverde as he takes on Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-1, 3). Utsuki seems on his way to getting a title fight in the next 12 months or so and this is a really good step up in class, against a talented and often over-looked foe. The 28 year old Bolivar is no world beater but he's solid on the fringes of domestic level and should give Utsuki some tough rounds.
The other prospect on this card is former amateur stand out Shisui Kawabata (1-0, 1), who made his debut earlier this year. The 23 year old Japanese fighter had been touted as one to watch before his debut, back in March, but was surprisingly dropped in his first pro bout. He'll be hoping for a better performance here as he takes on Thai visitor Mongkol Kamsommat (5-4, 4). It should be noted the Thai is 0-2 in Japan, but did go 7 rounds last year with Kenichi Horikawa and is certainly better than his record suggests. This could be a real test for Kawabata.
The most notable action this coming Sunday comes from Kanagawa where Dangan and the Cassius Gym put on an interesting card, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the E&J Cassius Gym.
The main event will see Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) make his next defense of the OPBF Minimumweight title, taking on tough Filipino challenger Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7). The champion will be the very clear favourite here, and will be expected to make his 4th defense and build on wins over the likes of Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, but Dante is a trickier test than he's been given credit for, and he has scored upsets in the past, and proven himself as a very tough opponent. A Koura win will be expected, but if he stops Dante then we will be massively impressed. Our full preview of this contest can be read here Koura takes on teak tough Filipino challenge!
Koura isn't the only notable E&J Cassius gym fighter on this card, as stable Mirai Naito (6-1, 2) features in the main support bout. The once beaten son of Cassius Naito will be up against a Thai foe, though we've not managed to work out who the Thai will be at the time of writing.
Another fighter of name value on this show is the exciting and hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-4-2, 16). Tameda will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Hinata Maruta in 2018, and will be expected to get a confidence building win as he takes on Renerio Arizala (13-8-3, 5). On paper this looks potentially a battle for Tameda, but in realise Arizala has gone 0-6-2 in his last 8 and is likely to be splattered by the heavy hands of Tameda.
Also on this card is the debuting Shisui Kawabata (0-0), who will be in a 6 rounder against Thai visitor Natchaphon Wichaita (0-1). Kawabata is the latest in the long line of fighters looking to be fast tracked at the Watanabe gym.
For fans wanting to watch this show, it will be live on Boxing Raise.
As well as the card in Kanagawa there is also a show in Aichi, which will feature several Rookie of the Year bouts.
One of the best rookie bouts on this card will see Kenta Sugawara (1-0, 1) take on Satoshi Nagaya (1-0, 1) in a Super Flyweight bout. One of the great things about Rookie of the Year bouts is that fighters can't avoid decent tests or pad their record, and bouts like this show us what both men are made of.
Despite this card having a number of Rookie bouts the main event is actually an 8 round bout, which will see Shin Tomita (10-5-2) risk his JBC Flyweight ranking against Katsuya Murakami (6-1-1, 2). Coming into this Tomita is riding a 4 fight winning run, including a win over Fire Ikkyu last time out, but has yet to score a stoppage win in his 17 career bouts. Murakami has won his last 2 bouts, but has been out of the ring for well over a year and would be scoring a career best win if he beat Tomita here