Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Attention turns toi Korakuen Hall this coming Tuesday for a notable card under the Diamond Glove banner.
The main event of the show will see us left with a single Japanese Welterweight champion, as regular champion Keita Obara (25-4-1, 22) returns from injury to take on interim champion Takeru Kobata (12-5-1, 5). On paper this looks to be little more than a mismatch in favour of the well known and heavy handed Obara, however with time ticking down on his career and injuries racking up it's hard to know how close to 100% Obara is. At his best he was dominant at this level, but we're not sure if he's even close to 100% and this bout really should be a chance to see how much he has slipped. As for Kobata he's improving, a lot, and has strung together good domestic wins including recent victories over Rikuto Adachi and Yuki Nagano, however this is a huge step up in class for him. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Obara and Kobata battle for unified Japanese crown
The chief support bout is a Japanese title eliminator at Lightweight, as the hard hitting Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) takes on the destructive Ken Koibuchi (8-5-1, 7). The 26 year old Nakazato is regularly proving himself as one to watch, with his bouts being exciting, fun and action packed, as we saw notably in his draw against Yoshimitsu Kimura, but he also proved he had plenty of skills last time out when he out pointed Kasuya Yasuda. As for Koibuchi, his record looks bad on paper, however he has lost just 1 of his last 6, and holds a very notable domestic win over Taison Mukaiyama, which has helped him secure this eliminator. We expect this one to turn into something of an explosive shoot out as both men look to secure a shot at the Japanese title in the new year.
Although the Japanese title and Japanese title eliminator bouts should both be good they do look like mismatches. On bout that doesn't look like an uncompetitive contest is the all-prospect show down between the highly skilled Josuke Nagata (3-0) and the explosive Yuki Nakajima (5-1-2, 5). Since making his debut June 2021 Nagata has looked like a real talent. He has incredible potential and brilliant skills, though does look something of a feather fisted fighter and does lack the pop needed, at the moment, to make a mark at world level, however the 24 year old South is still maybe a year or two from fully maturing. As for Nakajima the 27 year old has always looked a brutish puncher, but does struggle when his power can't turn a bout his way, and he may find Nagata's skills to be a real nightmare. We expect this one to be a case of Nakajima looking for a bomb and Nagata looking to use his skills in a bout full of tension.
Another touted prospect on this card is 23 year old Mikyo Watarai (1-0, 1), who made his debut in in April when he stopped Takafumi Shibata in 4 rounds. He will be taking on 22 year old Filipino visitor Romer Pinili (5-1-1, 4). Watarai is very, very highly regarded and many of those in Japan are tipping him as a top prospect who could rise to the top very quickly, and it'll be very interesting to see how he develops over the coming years. Pinili on the other hand debuted in 2019, and went unbeaten in his first 6 fights before a razor thin loss last time out Chan Ho Song in Vietnam. It's going to be really interesting to see how he bounced back from that loss, and whether the experience fo fighting away from home will prepare him for this bout.
Another professional novice on this card tipped form big things is Jinya Yamaguchi (1-0, 1), who takes on 21 year old Filipino Argelo Samson (4-1, 4). The talented Yamaguchi looked fantastic on debut, stopping Shunpei Kubo in 5 rounds back in June, and there are big plans for him going forward. As for Samson this is the first time he will face a non-Filipino fighter, and it's also a big step up. Samson has been destructive in recent bouts, stopping his last 4, but he was stopped inside a round on debut, and it will eb interesting to see if he can hand the power of Yamaguchi.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
To end February attention turns to Korakuen Hall for an excellent looking Phoenix Battle show, from the Ohashi Gym. The card is a double title, double header which not only has two excellent looking title bouts, but also two bouts featuring very promising prospects who look to continue their rise towards title fights of their own.
The main event sees double champion Andy Hiraoka (18-0, 13) looking to defend his WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Light Welterweight titles against the exciting and fun to watch Cristiano Aoqui (16-8-2, 11). For Hiraoka this will be his first defense, following an excellent win over Jin Sasaki late last year to win his title, and he'll know that if he wins here he takes a huge step towards a potential world title fight in a few years time. Given how we all expect the 140lb division to look when Josh Taylor inevitably moves up in weight he'll know that his wait for a world title fight might not be too long. For Aoqui on the other hand this will be his second title fight, and at 33 years old it really is now or never for him. Our preview of this bout can be read here Double champion Hiraoka takes on Aoqui in first defense
The other title fight will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) take on the under-rated and over-looked Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) in a bout for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight titles. For Hashizume this will be his second title fight, after previously fighting to a draw in a Japanese title fight, whilst Furutani will be having his first bout for a title, though has beaten former title holders in his last two bouts. This is a really well matched bout, despite what the records suggest, and it will be an interesting chess match, pitching Hashizume's smoothness and speed against the awkwardness and accurate counters of Furutani. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Hashizume and Furutani face off for unified regional titles!
Whilst the two title bouts are great the under-card also promises a lot, especially with the bout between the unbeaten Katsuya Yasuda (8-0, 5), who will be looking to secure himself a title fight later this year, and Shuma Nakazato (10-2-3, 7), who is looking to bounce back from a loss in a Japanese title fight last August. Of the two men Nakazato is the more proven, but Yasuda has long been hailed as a real talent, and this bout should see him finally being forced to sink or swim. We don't expect this to be the most exciting bout of the show, but it is arguably just as compelling as the two title bouts.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get the next Diamond Glove show from Korakuen Hall, and it's an interesting one with 3 bouts worthy of note on the show.
The first of the three bouts will be the debut of former amateur standout Ryusei Baba (0-0), who takes on Kenya Okada (5-3-1, 3) in a tough looking debut bout. The talented Baba went 45-26 in the unpaid ranks, winning national and international titles and is regarded as someone to really keep an eye on over the next 7 or 8 years. He might not be the mega prospect, like Naoya Inoue or Kazuto Ioka were, but there is a lot of expectation on his shoulders and many are tipping him to be moved aggressively, potentially towards a world title fight. Although no world beater Okada is no push over, and he's been unlucky in two of his recent losses, and he will be coming into this one knowing that a win would put him on the map, even with losses in previous two bouts. This should be a genuine test for Baba.
In the chief support bout we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) look to bounce back from his loss to Hinata Maruta as he takes on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4), in a really compelling match up. On paper this looks like an easy win for Sagawa, who is a genuine talent and a really intelligent boxer, however it's worth noting that he did suffered his first loss when he faced Kosaka in 2017. Since that 2017 bout Sagawa has gone 9-1, won a Japanese title and a WBO Asia Pacific title, and really built himself on the back of that loss, whilst Kosaka is 2-4 and really needs a win to remain relevant on the Japanese domestic scene.
The main event will see Lightweight triple crown winner Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) defending his Japanese title as he takes on second generation fighter Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7), who will be competing in his first title bout. Yoshino is probably the best Lightweight in Japan right now, though there is argument he deserves to be behind Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a fighter who can genuinely do it all in the ring. He can box, he can fight and he can certainly punch. He'll enter as the big favourite, and as a fighter who is eyeing up bigger and better things in the near future, including potential world title eliminators. He will however have to make sure he doesn't over-look Nakazato. The challenger is stepping up big time here, but is young, hungry, sharp, under-rated and coming in to this with no expectations on his shoulders. Although we strongly favour the champion heading in to this, we wouldn't be surprised to see a very good performance from the hungry challenger. Our in depth preview of this cone can be read here Yoshino looks to defend Japanese title as he takes on Nakazato
This Saturday promises to be a great day with a brilliant Japanese card being shown live on Boxing Raise, and a live show being streamed from the Philippines!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
That Japanese card comes from Tokyo and features 4 bouts of note, none are world title bouts, but there are two less title bouts on the show, and a mouth watering domestic show down, as well as a bout featuring a former Japanese national champion.
In the main event OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (22-2, 7) will battle against fellow Japanese fighter Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9), with both Naito's OPBF title on the line. Coming in Naito will be the clear favourite, he's the more proven man, the Oriental champion and the quicker more skilled fighter. We shouldn't write off Konno however, and he's a big, strong, powerful fighter, with good stamina and he'll be desperate to force his will on Naito. This is very much a match up of skill Vs will and knowing that Konno will be pressing and pressuring through out we can't help feel that Konno is a very live under-dog here. Our full preview of this bout is available here Naito and Konno clash for OPBF title
The chief support bout is a mouth watering match up between youngsters as Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) and Shuma Nakazato (10-1-2, 7) clash, in a truly brilliant match up. Kimura is coming in on the back of a split decision loss to OPBF 130lb champion Hironori Mishiro, which was a great clash last year, and he'll have given his standing and confidence a huge boost despite the lost. Incidentally Nakazato's sole loss also came to Mishiro, but since then he has gone 4-0-1 and will know a win here moves him to within touch distance of a title bout. We expect this to be highly technical but also really exciting with Kimura being the aggressor, applying calculated pressure and Nakazato looking to play the role of a puncher. We wouldn't be surprised if this was the bout of the week.
The other title bout promises to be just as good as the main event, with Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) defending his title against Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2), in what will be Takayama's first defense. Unlike most countries Japan matches their young up and comers against each other often and the Youth title has seen that happen more and more often in recent years. Prior to turning professional both of these youngsters had made their marks on the amateur scene and seeing them face off at this ultra-early point in their professional careers is really exciting. This is a hard one to call and we are expecting a brilliant, tactical, hard hitting battle here. A fantastic match up and credit to both men for accepting the bout. This should be something special. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Novices clash in Japanese Youth title clash!
Also on this card will be former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (15-5-1, 7), who is always worth watching. The all action Tamura will be expected to pick up a relatively easy win here, as he takes on Ryu Oba (5-4, 3), though in fairness Tamura makes even mismatches fun and exciting with his action style and aggression. Although Oba is the under-dog he'll have some confidence having won his last 2 and will be here to win. This should be fun, even if it does have a very predictable winner.
The restart in Filipino boxing has been a slow one, though we do get another show in the country today as Sanman puts on a card with several notable names on it.
The main event will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-3, 16) battle against Eden Sonsona (36-11-2, 13) in a bout at a contracted 132lbs, well above Tapales' best weight. This will be Tapales's first bout since losing to Ryosuke Iwasa in an IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title bout, and to see him going up the scales this much is a worry, though he should still have enough to beat Sonsona.
Another notable fighter on this card is 2-time world title challenger Aston Palicte (26-4-1, 22), who will be in action at Bantamweight, where he takes on Reymark Taday (10-12-1, 5), in what looks very much like a confidence builder for Palicte following 2 losses last year, including one to Kazuto Ioka.
Other notables involved on the show are Joey Canoy (15-4-1, 8) and the talented Dave Apolinario (13-0, 8), who are both facing domestic foes that they shouldn't struggle with.
This event is set to be streamed on the Sanman Facebook page for those wanting to enjoy some Filipino action.
Xi An, China
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in China. This is another low key Chinese card, as we still see the sport re-finding it's feet in the Middle Kingdom.
One of the few interesting bouts on this show will see Jin Ping Yang (2-0-1) take on Xiaokang Song (4-0) in a battle of unbeaten men, over 10 rounds. The 23 year old Yang made his debut in October 2018, with a 4 round decision, and stepped up to 6 rounders earlier this year. He's now leaping up to a 10 rounder in what is very, very clearly a step up in class. Song on the other hand is a 21 year old and has been a fighting in 4 rounders. This isn't an easy one to call, but is an interesting one on paper, and a somewhat compelling match up, given that the promoter is trusting the two men to headline the card.
In a second bout on this card Shichao Gao (5-1-1, 2) will take on JiZhong He (2-1, 1) over 8 rounds. We have been impressed by Gao in the past, and he seemed to be on the fast track to the top when he beat Koji Igarashi and Anurak Thisa last year, but a loss in June has slowed his rise. As for He it's hard to say anything at all about him given the very low level of competition he has faced so far, and this is a very, very big step up in class for him.
Attention turns to Okinawa this coming Sunday for a small card at the wonderfully named "Something Four Nishizaki".
The main event of the card will see second generation fighter Shuma Nakazato (9-1-2, 6) look to begin his 2020 with a win against southpaw foe Yuji Awata (12-6-1, 5). The once beaten Nakazato, who's sole loss came in 2017 to Hironori Mishiro, is a 23 year old prospect with a lot of potential, and shouldn't be written off for the 3 marks on his record, given that two of them are technical draws and the other is the defeat to Mishiro. The 28 year old Awata is the sort of potential banana skin who fighters don't like to go up against. He's not just a southpaw but also a tall and rangy one and he could give Nakazato some real issues here.
In the main supporting bout Change Hamashima (10-5-1, 4) will be looking to end a run of 3 straight losses. The once promising Hamashima, who has lost 4 of his last 5, will be up against Takeru Kobata (7-4-1, 3). This looks like a bout that Hamashima should win, but his confidence is rock bottom and he'll be up against against someone looking to make enhance their own reputation. Kobata is relatively limited, but we see him really being up for this one.
This weekend is a big one for fans of Asian boxing! The biggest show comes from Aichi on Saturday but that's not all we have, with notable action in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Russia!
The big card in Aichi, will be headlined by a world title fight, and will have support bouts featuring a fast rising local prospect and a former world title challenger. It's not a monster card, but it is a very good one.
The main event will see 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending the WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13). For Tanaka this will be his second defense of the title he took from Sho Kimura last year, and sees him looking to build on his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year. For Gonzalez this will be his first world title fight, and finally a chance for him to live up to the potential he showed as an amateur. This should be a really high speed and very technical bout, but the champion will clearly be the favourite. Interestingly if Tanaka wins there are murmurs he could be set for another step up in weight and another world title. Our preview of this world title bout can be read here Tanaka returns for next defense, faces "Bomba" Gonzalez
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting and wonderfully exciting Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) take on world ranked Filipino fighter Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12). The unbeaten Hatanaka has needed just 32 rounds to get to 9-0 and already looks like he's a star in the making with major titles clearly in his future. On paper Abcede should be a straight forward step up for Hatanaka hwever the Filipino is no push over and he has regularly proven to be a banana skin, with upset wins against the likes of Pigmy Kokietgym, Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui. This should be a really good test for Hatanaka. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hatanaka steps up in class for Abcede test!
Another notable name in a supporting role is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15), who will be fighting for the first time since he lost to Carlos Castro back in February. The talented Japanese based Filipino is getting a clear confidence builder here as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3), in a clear mismatch. Don't be surprised if this one ends very early!
A much more interesting match up on this card will see the limited but hard hitting Kanta Fukui (6-2, 5) take on the very talented and promising Shuma Nakazato (8-1-2, 6). Fukui came runner up in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, losing a razor thin decision to Takuya Ota in the final. Since then he has bounced back with a single win, but will be stepping up massively here. The 22 year old Nakazato is genuine talent, and someone who should be on the radar of hardcore Japanese. He's the son of former world title challenger Shigeru Nakazato, and has already held his own with Hironori Mishiro, losing a competitive decision to the current OPBF champion and beaten Lorence Rosas. Although in the middle of the card this is a very interesting match up, and one that could end in explosive fashion.
Also on this card will be Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (10-5, 7) who battles in an 8 round bout against Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Wahid impressed us, in some ways, this past May when he stood and took a 6 round pounding from Lap Cheon Cheong in Hong Kong, and he showed his bravery. We suspect that Wahid will again have to be brave, but can't see him lasting 8 round here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia we also get a notable card in Metro Manila, featuring a great mix of fighters from world class to prospect level.
The world title bout, or rather the WBO "interim" world title bout, will see John Riel Casimero (27-4, 18) defend his Interim Bantamweight title against the limited Cesar Ramirez (18-3, 11). The talented Casimero, a true road warrior, won the title in April and will be looking to make his first defense here. Ramirez is yet to prove he belongs any where near world level, especially in this talent stacked division that we currently have. Although can blow hot and cold, it's hard to imagine him really being tested here. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Casimero set to face Ramirez in first interim title defense
In a pretty interest all Filipino bout between regional contender types we'll see Vincent Astrolabio (13-3, 9) take on Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1, 5). Astrolabio will be defending the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title, which he won in Indonesian back in April, for the first time. Aserniero on the other hand will be looking to stretch a 4 fight unbeaten run.
The most notable prospect on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a big step up in class to face the under-rated Virgil Puton (17-12-2, 8). The 30 year old Suarez, who made his debut in January, will be looking to get his career back on track after a 5 month break from action. He's incredibly talented, but doesn't have time to waste. In Puton we have a true regional journeyman, who picks up losses, but pushes good fighters, such as Ye Joon Kim and Shuya Masaki. This is a tough test for Suarez, but one he must pass if he's to make any noise at all in the pro ranks.
Amazing we'll have a third world title fight, with WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-3, 10) making his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1, 5) in Puerto Rico. The under-rated champion, who won the belt in July 2018, was successful this past February when he beat Masataka Taniguchi in his first defense and now fights outside of Asia for the first time. Although not a major global name Saludar is very talented, heavy handed and has under-rated boxing skills. For Mendez this will be his first world title fight, and it looks like a massive step up in class for the talented, though rather negative, Puerto Rican hopeful. This could be a very interesting clash of styles, though will of course be over-shadowed by the other world title bouts earlier in the day. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Vic Saludar and Wilfredo Mendez clash for WBO title!
In Russia we get a pretty big card headlined by Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde. Although that bout doesn't have an Asian interest the under-card does, and it has quite a few in fact with several different bouts featuring an unbeaten Central Asian fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the Central Asian hopefuls on this card is the always fun to watch Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (14-0, 7) defending his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. Originally he was pencilled in to face off with Sibusiso Zingange (13-3-2, 3), though Zingange was removed from the bout and at the time of writing, his replacement hasn't been named. Uulu, whilst flawed, would have been strongly favoured to beat the South African.
Another really interesting bout will see Uzbek Super Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) risk his WBC Silver title against once beaten Russian Andrey Sirotkin (16-1, 5). The talented Uzbek has been out of the ring since beating Wuzhati Nuerlang last November, and has lost much of the early momentum his career once had. Despite that he will be favoured over the 34 year old Sirotkin, who is best known for being stopped last October by John Ryder in the UK.
Unbeaten Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Erzhan Turgumbekov (6-0-1, 2) looks to bounce back from a draw against Javokhirbek Karimov just a few weeks ago, as he takes on unbeaten Ukrainian teenager Heorhii Lashko (9-0, 5). The unbeaten Turgumbekov rushed to 6-0 in just over 13 months but the draw last time out certainly slowed his momentum. Lashko on the other hand scored his biggest win in March, when he beat Ryo Takenaka in China, and will be looking for his 5th win of the year here. Takenaka aside there is little on his record of any note at all.
Kazakh Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8) will also be looking to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the once beaten Artur Osipov (15-1, 10). The 26 year old Kazakh, who is managed by Egis Klimas, has been out of the ring since beating Luis Hernanez in March, and will be looking to impress on what will be his first bout outside of the US in close to 2 years. Osipov on the other hand is coming in to this bout after a loss in March to Evgeny Terentiev, and will likely be low on confidence, for what looks like his toughest bout so far, on paper.
Another bout on this Russian card worthy of interest ins a contest between Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10) and Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24) in what is a must watch bout on paper, promising a lot of explosive fireworks and a real feeling that this one will not see the final bell. A full preview of this bout is available here Dynamite meets TNT as Papin and Makuba clash!
The Hiranaka Boxing school, headed by Akinobu Hiranaka, are putting on a stacked event this coming Thursday with 2 different shows at the City Gym in Tomigusuku. The first card is a Rookie show, as part of the Rookie of the Year, whilst the second is a much more serious shows with more notable fighters involved.
The first card is set to begin at mid-day with 6 bouts set for it, including a number of Rookie of the Year bouts.
Among the Rookie of the Year bouts is a contest between Hikaru Fukunaga (1-0, 1) and the debuting Shinya Saito (0-0), who will be fighting at Featherweight. Fukunaga made his debut over a year ago, but has spent a lot of time out of the ring, as for Saito this will be his debut, and is a chance to progress through the Rookie of the Year.
Another interesting Rookie of the Yeah bout will see the hard hitting Ryuku Nagamine (3-0, 3) take on Takanobu Fujinami (1-2-1). Nagamine scored 3 stoppage wins last year, including two at this venue in Tomigusuku, whilst Fujinami went 1-1-1 last year he could well have gone 3-0 and this shouldn't be the mismatch it looks on paper. It's also worth noting that Fujinami's debut came against the very under-rated Taiga Higashi.
The second show is set to begin at 4PM local time and feature 7 bouts, involving fighters with much more notable names.
The main event of the card is a mouth watering showdown between Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4) and Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8), in what really could be something very special. Oho has had an up and down career, but has won the Rookie of the Year, in 2013, and the Japanese Youth title, in 2018, and is coming into this bout on the back of 3 straight wins. Yabuki has gone 2-2 in his last 4, but has stopped a former world title challenger and made his international debut during that run, and will be full of confidence here.
It's not only the main event that is tasty, and another will see talented youngster Shuma Nakazato (7-1-2, 6) face off with Filipino fighter Lorence Rosas (9-3-2, 3). This looks a fantastic and well matched bout, and should be a tough but winnable test for Nakazato, who is much better than his recent form of 2-1-2 suggests. Rosas is no world beater but should make for an interesting assignment for the 22 year old Nakazato, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro.
Another international bout will see Tatsuro Nakashima (8-1-1, 6) battle Indonesian foe Hengky Elleuw (5-7, 5). This should be little more than an easy win for Nakashima, especially when you consider that Elleuw has been stopped in all 7 of his defeats.
One other man on this show is Seita Ogido (12-4-3, 3), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced. He has only won 1 of his last 5 bouts and despite once being a touted hopeful he is now a fighter needing a win to keep alive any hope of having a meaningful career.
Also in action will be popular Filipino fighter Mercito Gesta (32-2-2, 17) who will be facing off with Mexican foe Juan Antonio Rodriguez (29-7, 25) in a 10 round bout. This will be Gesta's second contest since he lost to Jorge Linares in January 2018 and he will be looking to build on a June 2018 win over Robert Manzanarez. Rodriguez hasn't fought since June 2017, when he was beaten by Pedro Campa, and has lost 2 of his last 3 and 3 of his last 6, including defeats Javier Fortuna and Jezzrel Corralas
The main show for us this coming Wednesday will come from the Differ Ariake in Tokyo. The card will feature a number of a very good bouts, mos of which will be Japan Vs China, though is headlined by an OPBF title fight between a Filipino champion and a Japanese prospect, in what ios a really mouth watering match up.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Carlo Magali (23-9-3, 12) face off with Japanese prospect Hironori Mishiro (5-0, 2), in a bout that is genuinely mouth watering. Magali has had a frustrating 2018, with several bouts announced and then falling through, and as a result this will be his return to the ring for the first time since his impressive January win over Masatoshi Kotani. Against Kotani we saw the Filipino show that he was a lot better than his record suggests, and it seems the OPBF title is helping Magali improve as a fighter, building his self belief. As for Mishiro the Japanese fighter was a former amateur stand out who only debuted 15 months ago but already holds notable domestic wins against Shuma Nakazato and Shuya Masaki and will be full of confidence coming into this bout. A win for Magali will perhaps move him on to bouts against top tier regional fighters, such as Masaru Sueyoshi or Reiya Abe, however a win for Mishiro will shoot him up to being one of the leading prospects in Japan. A really good match up, and a tough one to call!
The leading support bout is one of the many Japan vs China bouts and will see recent Japanese Flyweight title challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1, 10) battle against Yujie Zeng (11-7-1, 6) in what should be a very exciting bout, as is the norm for a Nagamine bout. Nagamine came close to claiming the Japanese Flyweight title this past March, when he lost a very lose decision to Masayuki Kuroda, and he should come in to this bout with a point to prove. It's also worth notign that Nagamine's only other loss was to WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro, more than 3 years ago. Zeng on the other hand is pretty much an unknown outside of those who follow the Chinese domestic scene. His only real bout of note came last September, when he lost to promising Filipino Genesis Libranza, and aside from that there isn't really much we can take from the Chinese fighter's record, other than that he seems to be fighting from Minimumweight to Super Bantamweight. Given what we know of Nagamine we're expecting a win for the Japanese fighter here.
In another Japanese Vs China bout fans will see the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (7-1-1, 6) battle against Qixiu Zhang (9-4-1, 3). Nakazato is one of the many hidden gems in Japanese boxing and managed to reach the 2015 Rookie of the Year, before needing to take almost 18 months away from the ring. Last year Nakazato suffered a narrow loss to Mishiro but has bounced back since with a blow out win against a Thai foe. The Chinese fighter is pretty unknown, though did impress last time out, when he travelled to Korea and scored an 11th round KO win against Nak Yul Park in May. That win aside there is little of note on Zhang's record and it;s hard to say what eh really has the potential to do, so this should give him a chance to answer some questions about his potential.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in Thailand, headlined by a regional title fight between Japan's Ryohei Takahashi (14-3-1, 6) and Thai veteran Mike Tawatchai (45-11-1, 28). The two men, who are clashing over the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title, are at different stages in their careers and Tawatchai, a genuine veteran with close to 60 fights, seems to be looking past his foe already with another bout set for September. That could well be a mistake as Takahashi is a very capable fighter with good wins over Kazuki Tanaka and Matcha Nakagawa, and defeatuing Tawatchai isn't out of the question here.
The key bout featuring an Asian this coming Sunday comes from Victoria in Australia and will see once beaten local prospect Ibrahim Balla (13-1, 7) battle against unbeaten Thai hopeful Norasing Kokietgym (22-0-1, 15). The bout, which will be for Balla's WBA Ocenia Featherweight, looks like a really good one on paper. The local hopeful has bounced back really well since his June 2016 loss to Neil John Tabanao, scoring notable decision wins over Vergil Puton and Silvester Lopez last year, and looks to be someone rising through the rankings at a very good rate. As for Norasing he once looked like one of Thailand's best prospects, but he failed to fight in 2017 and didn't really face anyone of note in 2016. This is a step up for the Thai but a win would be the perfect way to put himself back in the mix for notable fights later in the year. A really good match up.
As well as the card in Victoria there is also a small on in Kagoshima, Japan.
The main event here will see Filipino visitor Jeffrey Galero (16-3, 8) take on Japanese local Naoya Haruguchi (14-8, 6). The Filipino is 0-3 on the road, including a loss in a world title bout to Wanheng Menayothin and a stoppage loss to Tsubasa Koura, though is a genuinely solid fighter at the Oriental level, and will be risking his OPBF ranking here. As for Haruguchi he has a very misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest. The local was last seen suffering a razor thin defeat to Riku Kano and has shared the ring with a number of notable Japanese domestic fighters, including Reiya Konishi. Although far from a Oriental title level clash this should be very competitive and compelling contest.
In a supporting bout fans will see the heavy handed and very promising Shuma Nakazato (6-1-1, 5) battling against Thai teenager Chanchai Khowaka (0-2), who has lost both of his recorded bouts in Japan. Nakazato is a genuine prospect, with power, and despite going 1-1-1 in his last 3 should really blitz his Thai foe here.
This coming Monday Japanese fight fans in Tokyo get an interesting card at the domestic level, featuring a number of notable fighters, many of which were touted and have yet to really shine in the way some had hoped.
The main event of the card is a brilliant match up between unbeaten fighters Hironori Mishiro (3-0, 2) and Shuma Nakazato (6-0-1, 5). Mishiro was a touted former amateur standout, and a lot is expected of him during his career, whilst Nakazato was the runner up at the 2015 Rookie of the Year, losing out on the crown on a rule used to separate fighters who draw. This really will push the winner forward with their career, and promises a lot between fighters who are both in their early 20's.
In a interesting looking bout on paper Coach Hiroto (12-2-1, 4) will take on Naoki Kumagai (8-6, 5) in what could be an under-the-radar battle. Coming in to this Hiroto will be the favourite, but he has fought just 5 rounds in the last 5 years, whilst the more limited Kumagai is limited but has been busy and has faced decent competition with bouts against the likes of Jin Miura, Naoto Uebayashi and Ryuto Araya.
The once touted Kenshin Oshima (2-1, 2) will be looking to get some momentum in his careeras he takes on the heavy handed Takuya Mori (6-2, 5) in a bout that really should be explosive. Oshima was a standout amateur, but was beaten in his second bout by the very capable Yuki Iriguchi, ina very competitive bout. Mori has lost a couple of close decision but has scored all 5 of his stoppages in the opening 2 rounds, and is a very dangerous fighter early on.
The debuting Nobuaki Kanazawa (0-0) is a former amateur standout who looks to make a mark on his debut as he takes on Naoto Mizutani (4-3, 2) in a pretty tricky debut. On paper Kanazawa should have the skills to take home a win, and look good, but the bout is certainly no foregone conclusion and Mizutani will be there win.
Another interesting bout sees Ryo Sagawa (1-1, 1) look to bounce back from a loss in a Japanese Youth title semi final to Retsu Kosaka. The touted Sagawa lacked the experience to cope with Kosaka and should find himself at a more comfortable level here, as he takes on Kazuki Sanpei (4-4, 1), who gave Juiki Tatsuyoshi a scare last year. On paper this looks like a really interesting match up, and could turn out to be the bout of the show.