This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for fans of Asian fighters with 3 different world title bouts featuring Asian fighters taking place on 3 continents. Not only do we have 3 world title bouts but we also get a bout featuring a former world champion and a fighter returning after more than 6 years out of the ring.
BT Sport Studio, Stratford, London, United Kingdom
The most interesting of the world title bouts comes from London, England, where Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13), aka Apinun Khongsong, will challenger IBF and WBA Light Welterweight champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12). The Thai enters as the IBF mandatory title challenger, having earned that shot last year, but he will be regarded as a huge under-dog against the very talent Scottish world champion. For the Thai the bout is a massive step up in class, and despite stopping Akihiro Kondo last year there is still a lot of questions for him to answer. As for Taylor he is regarded by many as the #1 in the division and comes into this on the back of his victory over Regis Prograis in the WBSS final last October. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Thai takes on unified champion Taylor!
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
The second most notable world title fight will see WBO Bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero (29-4, 20) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Duke Micah (24-0, 19) in the US. Originally the plan had been for Casimero to take on Naoya Inoue, to unify the WBO, IBF and WBA titles, but due to the on going situation the two men have gone in different directions. That opened the door for this bout with Casimero taking on the relatively unknown Micah. For Casimero this is a chance to build on his 2019 upset win over Zolani Tete, when he stopped the South African in the UK to claim his title, whilst Micah will be looking to make his mark on the highest level and adding some quality to quite a weak record. Although Casimero will be the favourite he is inconsistent and the last few months have been very frustrating ones for him, so this could end up being more interesting than many predict. Our full preview of this can be read here Casimero defends against the unbeaten Micah
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
In Hyogo we get a card from Shinsei who don't just have a world title bout on the card, but also two interesting support bouts. For those wanting to watch this show it will be streamed on BOXING REAL.
The main event of the card will see former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-2, 9) take on Takashi Igarashi (13-4, 5). This will be Kubo's first since being stopped by Can Xu last year and it's fair to say that he can't afford any more losses if he's to get another world title fight. Thankfully for him this is actually a very winnable contest, where he should be favoured. Although Igarashi has a similar looking record to Kubo he was beaten last time out by Toshiya Yokogawa, who had more losses than wins, and that bout was almost 2 years ago. Igarashi has been in active and hasn't scored a single win of any real note.
The world title bout here is actually the co-feature and will see WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) defending her title against fellow Japanese fighter Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1). Iwakawa won the title in July 2018, when she beat Nao Ikeyama, but sadly hasn't defended it, due to a lack of challengers. Now, more than 2 years on, the 37 year old looks to extend her reign and finally get a defense under her belt. For Suzuki this is a shot that she should feel fortunate to get given that just 18 months ago she did lose to the then 2-0 Eri Matsuda. Thankfully for the challenger she has picked up a couple of wins since then and has done enough to earn a shot at a champion who really needed a challenger. At the age of 28 this could be a case of right time, right place for Suzuki. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Iwakawa defends WBO title against Suzuki.
One other bout on this card worthy of a mention will be the ring return of Kohei Oba (36-3-1, 14), more than 6 years after his last bout. The former Japanese Bantamweight champion will be up against 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) in a 6 rounder. At his best Oba, dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya" would be very strongly favoured, but having bout of the ring for so long we really do wonder what he has left in the tank here. Sadly for Minato since winning Rookie of the Year he has gone 0-2 and and he is the naturally smaller man, being a natural Flyweight. This is really a case of "what does Oba have left?" If he's 80% of the fighter he once was he should take a win, but 6 years out is a very, very long time.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the Japanese we also get an interesting bout in Thailand where Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) will take on veteran Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-6, 10) in a rematch between the two men who fought in 2018. Originally Atchariya was supposed to face teenage sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 5), but sadly Phoobadin was injured and has been replaced by Kaewfah. Whilst this bout does give Kaewfah a chance to avenge his 2018 loss it should be noted that Atchariya has got a point to make, following a wrongful arrest in 2019, and could be out there to make statement and get something off his chest.
This coming Sunday we see two very notable cards in Asia, both of which are double headers, though both are at very different levels. The more notable is in China, though a Japanese card is certainly worth being aware of.
The Chinese card is expected to be a huge show in terms of local fan interest, with the new face of Chinese boxing headlining along side an incredibly popular foreign fighter, from nearby Japan.
The local star is current WBA "regular" Featherweight champion Can Xu (16-2, 2), who looks to make his first defense, as he takes on Japanese challenger Shun Kubo (13-1, 9), himself a former WBA Super Bantamweight champion.We saw Xu shock the boxing world earlier this year when he defeated Jesus M Rojas for the title in the US, announcing himself on the world stage in impressive and exciting fashion. As for Kubo this will be only his second fight since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman back in September 2017, and he comes in to the ring following surgery to his eyes and more than a year of inactivity. This should be a really, really entertaining and action packed bout, but one where the champion should be favoured. A full preview of this bout can be found here Will Xu be successful in first defense as he takes on Kubo?
The other world title bout on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17) take on former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (18-2-2, 11), who is dropping down 4lbs for this bout. Canizales has really made his name in Asia, despite being from Venezuela, with great performances against Ryoichi Taguchi, Reiya Konishi and Lu Bin. He has been very hard hitting, aggressive and exciting, and and will be looking to record his second defense. Kimura, who is huge in China following his win over Zou Shiming, will be looking to recapture world gold following his sensational 2018 loss to Kosei Tanaka but there are questions over how he will cope with dropping down to Light Flyweight. If Kimura can make weight safely we could be in for a true FOTY contender. An in depth preview of this bout is available here Canizales and Kimura battle for gold in China!
Another notable match up on this show will see world ranked Chinese Flyweight Wulan Tuolehazi (11-3-1, 5) taking on Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (35-13-4, 17). Tuolehazi will be looking to build on a very hotly contested win over Ryota Yamauchi from March, a bout that was much, much closer than the scores suggest and will be strongly favoured here. Diale is a veteran, but is well below world level and this should be a straight forward win for the Chinese local.
Another bout of note on this card will see Chinese youngster Shichao Gao (3-0-1, 1) take on former world title challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (23-1, 9). The 21 year old Gao looked fantastic in March, when he beat Koji Igarashi, and will know that a win here will give his career a massive boost. A win isn't however a foregone conclusion for the Chinese fighter, and Nop is no push over, with 6 wins in a row since his 2016 loss to Nehomar Cermeno back in 2016. This could be a very compelling contest and a real test for the naturally bigger local.
As well as the card in China we also get a pretty notable regional title double header in Osaka, featuring two WBO Asia Pacific title fights and a bout featuring a very promising local hopeful.
One of the WBO Asia Pacific title fights will take place at Flyweight title as former world title challenger, Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) takes on Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) in a bout that should be a lot more interesting than it looks. Sakamoto looked totally out classed when he faced Moruti Mthalane last year, and it was clear he isn't world class, but this regional title level is where he should find himself being really competitive. Sakashita is a solid Japanese domestic fighter, but we don't imagine him having the skills to really test Sakamoto, who looks to re-capture the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. A preview of this bout can be found here Sakamoto and Sakashita battle for regional title!
The other title bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4), defending his title against former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8). This looks like an easy win for Mananquil, who will be looking to make his first defense and build on February's big win over Tenta Kiyose, also in Japan. For Kobayashi this will be his first bout since since losing in December to Keita Kurihara, in a controversial and very entertaining clash. That bout with Kurihara saw Kobayashi show great resilience and a good boxing brain, and he is a lot better than his record suggests. He will however be the under-dog here. A preview of this bout is available here Manaquil looks to defend regional crown against Kobayashi!
The other bout of note here will see rising prospect Tulio Kuwabata (2-0, 2) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5), in what is a huge step up in class for Kuwabata. Despite being a step up the 23 year old Japanese fighter will be strongly favoured and will know a win here is a huge step towards a a regional title bout. Apolinario was once a credible fringe world class contender but with a 6-13-1 (3) record in his last 20 it's clear he has lost his desire and will be expected to pick up another loss here.
One other Asian card set to take place this Sunday is in Mumbai, where Arif Khan promoted a rather low key affair. Although most of the bouts are scheduled for 6 rounds they are mostly between novices. The bout with the most experienced sees a combined 18 bouts between the men involved, with Rahukl Kumar (5-1-1, 4) taking on Shiva (8-3, 3) in a Welterweight bout.
Although it's good to see bouts in India, there's nothing to get too excited about here.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.
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 biggest show this week, at least for Asian fans, takes place on Sunday and features a title triple header as Shinsei gym give us fight fans a real treat.
The main event of the card will see WBA “regular” Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (26-5-1-1, 15) take on unbeaten Japanese challenger Shun Kubo (11-0, 8), with Kubo getting his first world title bout. Coming in to this Cermeno is enjoying an Indian summer in regards to his career and and reeled off 4 wins last year, including 2 against Qiu Xiao Jun and one against Nop Kratingdaenggym, to claim and defend the title. Although good last year the champion is 37 and has had a long career. Aged 26 Shinsei gym view Kubo as the next Hozumi Hasegawa and know that a win here would see Hyogo based gym have their next star. For Kubo the bout is a huge step up in class, but he and his team wouldn't have taken this bout if they weren't confident of coming out on top in what should be a bout that answers a lot of questions about both men.
In a supporting bout we'll see OPBF title action as OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (13-0, 8) takes on once beaten Thai challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas (23-1, 16). For the champion this will be his 7th defense of the title, a title that he won more than 3 years ago, and it's arguably one of the more interesting defenses on paper. As for the Thai this is a must win bout given that he was dominated by Czar Amonsot last year, before being stopped in round 7. If Nakatani, as we suspect, wins here there will be serious talk of him getting a world title fight, and it could well be that he gets such a shot later this year, or early next year. For the Thai a win would be a shock, and it would take a career defining performance for him to walk away as the Oriental champion.
In another title bout from this card we see unbeaten youngsters clash in a bout for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. The bout will see Reiya Konishi (12-0, 5) battle with Watanabe's exciting Masataka Taniguchi (6-0, 4). Aged 23 Konishi has been a professional since 2013 and made his first real mark in 2014, when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown. Despite being the Rookie of the Year in 2014 he's not really progressed and hasn't really moved forward in his career in 2015 or 2016. Taniguchi is also 23 but has been a professional for just over a year, debuting last April, and has already impressed with a very notable win last October against Dexter Alimento being a stand out win. Although flawed, and inexperienced, Taniguchi has been seen as a fighter on the fast track and a win here would put him on to the fringes of a world title fight.
Also on this card will be the once beaten Sho Nakazawa (9-1, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor John Ray Logatiman (5-4-2, 1).
A second card in Osaka will be put on by Muto gym, and unfortunately whilst it does boast some notable names, the card looks to be a very one sided one. In fact it looks to be little more than a bunch of mismatches.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (25-12, 11) fight in a stay busy contest against a Thai foe. In a leading support bout former OPBF, Japanese and IBF Asia Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-11-5, 9) will fight in his retirement, also against a Thai foe, and Masahiro Sakamoto (8-1, 4) is also set to take on a Thai visitor. Sadly none of the Thai's are known quantities suggesting very limited visitors.
In an all-Japan bout we'll see Kazuyasu Okamoto (13-4, 3) battle with Ryo Okayama (8-3-1, 5), who returns to a Japanese ring for the first time since 2014.
There will be a third show in Osaka, though with much less attention than the other two.
The main event here will see Yuta Uetani (19-5-1, 9) facing off with a no-name Thai foe. Although Uetani's bout is the main event there will also be a domestic match up between Ken Osato (10-1-1, 3) and Keita Ito (8-20-2, 4), in what looks like a clear mismatch.
The only non-Osakan show on Saturday comes from Fukuoka and is again a low key show.
The main event here will be a really well matched 6 rounder as Yuki Hirashima (5-1-1, 1) battles against Shinji Uramoto (5-1, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Sadly the rest of the card is merely full of novices.
This coming Friday is a hectic day with 5 title bouts taking place in Japan.
In Kobe we get an OPBF quadruple header, with the card looking, at least on paper, like one of the most notable Oriental cards of the month. The bouts might not be 4 brilliant match up, but they will help establish the OPBF scene as we enter 2017, and at least 2 of the bouts look like they could be very interesting match ups.
The “main event”, well the final of the 4 main events, will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (10-0, 7) defending his title, and unbeaten record, against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (8-4-5, 2). This was the first bout on the card to be known about and although it looks like a mismatch it could, potentially, be a good test for Kubo who will be looking for stiff competition next year. Lim, although having a sketchy record, is a former Korean champion and holds a draw with touted Korean prospect Ye Joon Kim, giving him some legitimacy as a challenger here.
In a bout at Lightweight we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7) defending his title against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6). The bout will be Nakatani's 6th defense and will see him looking to build on wins against the likes of Ricky Sismundo, Accel Sumiyoshi and Tosho Makoto Aoki. For Tanada , who has actually lost 3 of his last 4, the bout sees him attempting to score his biggest win since his 2010 shock upset over Rikiya Fukuhara. Sadly for Tanada he's gone 4-5-3 since his win over Fukuhara almost 6 years ago and it's hard to imagine this being a win for the Filipino.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card sees OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4, 15) defending his title against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (24-12, 10). On paper this might not look like a great bout but the reality is that the contest is brilliantly well matched and puts an exciting and hard hitting champion up against a talented and tough young veteran. For Yamamoto the bout will be his third defense, but is a huge step up from his previous 2, whilst Yap will be looking to extend a 5 fight winning run which has included a notable upset over Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Another intriguing bout will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12) battle with rising prospect Ryuya Yamanaka (12-2, 3) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title. For Sabillo the bout sees him returning to Japan for the first time since his May loss to Riku Kano, which was for the OPBF interim title, and it's fair to say that the Filipino cannot afford another set back after going 2-3-1 in his last 6 bouts. Aged 21 Yamanaka knows that a win will open doors for potential world title bouts, but this bout is by far the toughest of his career and it's clear that he will need a career best performance to defeat the Filipino veteran.
The 4 title bouts in Kobe won't be the only title action in Japan, in fact we also have a world title bout in the country, featuring the longest reigning active world champion, and the one with the most defenses of their current title.
That world champion is WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (22-2-1, 8) who looks to record her 17th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to Koseki will be the little known Chie Higano (6-4, 2), who will be making her first title challenger. On paper this looks like a mismatch and it's, unfortunately, hard to see anything but a win for Koseki, possibly by stoppage in the early rounds.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (7-0-1, 3) take on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee (5-1, 4). Inoue already has his next bout booked, a contest in January with Akinori Watanabe, has impressed and is being tipped as a potential Japanese title contender, but this is a bout against a live under-dog. Lee is unknown outside of Korea but has impressed on the domestic scene and scored a good win over Young Sub Han this past June. Although Inoue will be favoured this could be a good test for the Japanese fighter before the Watanabe bout.
In another Japan Vs Korean bout we'll see the brilliantly exciting and fast rising Kazuto Takesako (4-0, 4) battling against Kyung-Joon Ahn (6-3-1, 5). Takesako has taken out his first 4 opponents in just 7 combined rounds and will be looking to extend that run here. Ahn on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Shoma Fukumoto, from almost 3 years ago. On paper this looks like a decent test for Takesako but in reality it should be a bit of a mismatch and an early blow out for the Japanese prospect.
There is also a Japanese card in Osaka, in what is a busy day for Japanese fans. This is however this is a much smaller and less interesting card than the other two.
In the main event we'll see Middleweights clash as Ryuji Kanza (7-2, 5) takes on Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (7-5, 6) in what should be a really intriguing contest. Both guys are limited but both can bang and we'd not be shocked to see this one be a bit of a wild slugfest that lacks quality but is fun to watch.
In a supporting bout we'll see Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Adam Alap Alap (0-1), who we've been informed is a top 15 ranked Indonesian Lightweight suggesting his record is incomplete
There's also action in China where we get the next League of Fists show.
The main event here is a brilliant match up between unbeaten men, as Zhi Quan Xie (4-0-3, 1) battles against Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (7-0-1, 1). The bout is a really intriguing one and should tell us a lot about both men, and their potential to go further in the sport.
In the US fans will be able to see hotly touted Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (18-0, 12) fight for the second time on US soil. At the moment his opponent is an unknown but it's unlikely to be too much of a test for Dela Torre.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see two Asian fighters fighting in New South Wales.
One of those is China's Yong Zhang (5-5-1, 1), who faces a yet to be named opponent, whilst the other will be Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-5), who faces the unbeaten Michael Hall (3-0, 3) in what looks like a mismatch against the Korean.
This coming Monday sees a notable card taking place in Hyogo as several promising Japanese fighters look to continue their development.
In the main event of the card we'll see the promising Shun Kubo (9-0, 7) make the first defense of the OPBF Super Bantamweight title as he takes on Filipino challenger Benjie Suganob (10-4-1, 5). The bout sees Kubo fight for the first time this year, though strangely he fought his first bout of last year around the same time last year and for 3 bouts in. On paper this is a step up for the Shinsei man though the reality is that Suganob isn't likely to really prove much of a challenger for the unbeaten champion.
One of the promising fighters on the under-card is Ryuya Yamanaka (11-2, 2), who faces Thailand's Thoedkiad Singhamanasak (0-4). The 21 year old Yamanaka has already proven he can go 10 rounds and is likely to be hunting a Japanese title fight later in the year, with this bout acting as a tune up bout rather than a real test.
The unbeaten Retsu Kosaka (6-0, 1) will also be on this card.
The first post-Christmas Japanese show comes on December 26th when Shinsei promote their next “Real Spirits” show, and try to create their next champion.
In the main event of the show fans will see rising local star Shun Kubo (8-0, 6) battle in his first title fight. Kubo will be facing Filipino puncher Lloyd Jardeliza (7-2-3, 6) in a bout for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, a title recently vacated by future world title challenger Shingo Wake. The match up isn't the best OPBF title bout, but it is an intriguing bout between two young fighters each looking for a break out win. So far Kubo is the more proven but this will be the first time he has faced a true puncher.
In another Japan Vs Philippines bout fans will see the hard hitting Yuki Yonaha (5-2, 4) take on former world ranked Filipino Renan Trongco (17-5, 10). Trongco is a former “world” title challenger and a former WBC International champion possessing a real threat to the locla fighter who is stepping up massively for this fight. Yonaha has been matched hard through out his career, though has suffered two losses, including one to Renoel Pael, and it's that result that perhaps edges things to Trongco, in what really is another excellent match up.
In an all Japanese ranked bout fans will see Satoshi Ozawa (10-6-1, 2) battle against Yoshihiko Matsuo (18-6-6, 3). The battle of this one will become a real contender of the Japanese scene for 2016, however neither are likely to progress beyond the Japanese domestic level.
Another ranked Japanese fighter in action here is the light punching Kenta Sugimoto (10-7-1, 1) , who will be up against veteran professional Masafumi Otake (14-14-3, 7), who is looking to avoid his 5th successive loss.
The final really notable card this month, as far as Japanese fans should be concerned, takes place on August 28th as we see an OPBF title bout, a world ranked contender and a couple of unbeaten JBC ranked prospects.
The main event is the aforementioned OPBF title bout which will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani (10-0, 5) defending his belt for the 4th time as he takes on clear under-dog Kazuya Murata (11-4, 5). Coming in to the bout Nakatani will be hoping to make a statement and end a run of 4 successive decision wins, including victories over Yoshitaka Kato and Ricky Sismundo, though he did look disappointing last time out against Accel Sumiyoshi. For Murata this is his first title bout and one that he's expected to be stopped in, it is however a huge opportunity for him to make a name for himself.
The world ranked contender is unbeaten Super Bantamweight prospect Shun Kubo (7-0, 5), who came to the attention of the WBC last year when he out-pointed Luis May. Sadly for Kubo, who had a solid 2014 over-all, the momentum on his career has slowed significantly and that's shown by the fact he'll be facing Jakarachlek Sor Wankaew (0-4) in his bout on this show. It should be noted however that Kubo is in the running for a potential OPBF title fight and may well attempt to pick up the title after Shingo Wake vacates.
One of the ranked prospects on this card is Bantamweight hopeful Shohei Kawashima (10-0-2, 2), who will be hoping to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the experienced Tatsuya Miyamoto (11-13-1, 7). This bout should be a good, but passable, test for the unbeaten 23 year old.
The other unbeaten ranked contender is Reiya Konishi (8-0, 4), who actually won the All Japan Rookie of the Year last year. Konishi, who was recently included in the WBO world rankings, will be up against Naoya Haruguchi (7-5, 2) in what appears to be a suitable test for he 22 year old, who is fighting in just his second 8 round bout.
As well as the 4 bouts which have been mentioned, this card will feature 3 others.
Staying in Asia we also know there will be a show in Thailand, televised on Channel 7.
One of he headline bouts will see Pigmy Kokietgym (57-7-2, 23) face off against Jaysever Abcede (9-3, 5) on a bout for the for vacant WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. It appears that this bout will serve as a warm up for Pigmy who is said to be in talks for a world title fight with Kosei Tanaka, which could be announced in the next week or two, if he sees off Abcede here.
The other attraction will see Paipharob Kokietgym (29-0, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Fanther Ndahiuw (3-2-1). This bout will see Paipharob defending his defending WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title as he continues to pursue a WBO world title fight.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South Wales fans will see a battle of veterans as 43 year old Thai Plaisakda Singwancha (38-21, 32) battles 38 year old Australian based-Keyan born Kariz Kariuki (25-11-2, 19). Given the age of the two men we're not expecting anything great but both can punch and both have shown durability issues so it'd not be a huge shock to see this one end inside the schedule.
In South Africa fans will get the chance to see Filipino youngster Rene Dacquel (14-5-1, 5) take on local fighter Thembelani Nxoshe (13-5-1, 3) in a bout for the IBO International Super Flyweight title. This could well be one of the fights of the week given that both are aggressive fighters who lack major power. This really could be a joy for fans in attendance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The busy action continues on May 9th with a host of notable fighters in action with some very interesting match ups.
The most significant bout involving an Asian comes from Texas, where unbeaten Bantamweight Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) attempts to claim the WBA “regular” title and over-come Britain's hard working Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12). This bout was originally announced as a WBO-WBA unification bout but Kameda was forced to vacate by the WBO who refused to recognise the bout as a unification due to the WBA having multiple champions. Whilst the WBO's move has removed some lure of the bout we're still expecting the action inside the ring to be fantastic and we really can't wait for this.
On a different US show fans will have the chance to see Chinese Heavyweight giant Taishan Dong (3-0, 2) continue his development as he takes on American foe Karinn Davis (2-4, 2). Whilst Dong is heavily hyped in the US he is being matched softly and that's shown again here with Davis being a 40 year old who fought much of his career at Cruiserweight before making his Heavyweight debut earlier this year. Notably Dong will have a 1' height advantage here completely dwarfing Davis when the two get in to the ring.
Whilst the attention grabbing bouts, for many, are stateside we do still get plenty of notable action in Japan with the most notable of two shows coming from Kobe.
The Kobe show is a genuinely intriguing one which is headlined by the come-back of the popular Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15). Hasegawa, fighting for the first time since he was stopped by Kiko Martinez last year, will be taking on dangerous Mexican Horacio Garcia (29-0, 21) in what looks to be a really tough return to action. This is a really difficult bout for Hasegawa though he knows that if he scores a win he could well be back in the title mix by the end of the year. The stakes however are high and another stoppage loss could well be the end of his fantastic career.
As well as the interesting main event there was also some notable fighters on the under-card. The most notable of those fighters is the fast rising Shun Kubo (6-0, 4) who is world ranked at Super Bantamweight, by the WBC, and should really have an easy time in his upcoming bout with Masajiro Honda (6-5, 4). We like Kubo a lot and hope that we see him in a more notable bout next time out.
A genuinely notable bout on this card will see Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (28-6-3, 14) take on Takahiro Shigee (12-1-1, 10). This is Baat's first bout since he upset Kenta Onjo in March and if he wins again here he'll be on the verges of a title fight. For Shigee this will be his first bout of note since he was stopped in 8 rounds by Rodrigo Guerrero last July. Incidentally both men have been stopped by Guerrero.
Another really interesting match up on this card will see Tetsuya Hisada (21-9-2, 11) take on Shun Kosaka (9-1) in what should be a very competitive 8 round bout between decent but flawed fighters. Neither of these two are great but that should lead to a competitive match up and at the end of the day that's what we enjoy more than quick blow outs in mismatches.
A second Japanese card comes from Osaka where fans will get a female world title bout along with a number of relatively miss-able under-card bouts.
The main event will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (12-4-1, 6) defending her title against multi-time title challenger Masae Akitaya (9-5-2, 3). For Kuoki this will be the second defense of the title she won last May, with a decision over Mari Ando, and on paper it's a step down. However Akitaya is certainly not a push over and will come into this bout feeling like this could be her last chance. Don't be surprised if this one ends up being fantastic despite neither fighter being being near the elite.
As for the under-card there isn't really anything of note happening on it, despite 8 scheduled bouts supporting the main event.
There will also be title action in Korea where we're expecting a couple of low level title bouts,
The most “interesting” of those bouts is a WBA Asia Middleweight title bout between Eun Chang Lee (8-4, 4) and Thailand's John Ford (6-6-1, 5). Lee may be remembered by some for his Macau Bout with Brazilian Middleweight Esquiva Falcao and although he clearly lost that bout he did show his toughness and strength. Ford on the other hand was last seen being stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya at Light Welterweight. Given the size difference between the two we have to assume this is going to be a horrible mismatch.
The other title bout is set to be for some PABA title, though we're unsure which actual belt it will be with the suspicion it'll be a female title bout at Super Featherweight.
As well as the two title bouts this show will feature 3 under-card bouts.
We get the chance to see an interest bout in Bulgaria as Kazakh Bantamweight banger Zhanat Zhakiyanov (24-1, 17) will be battling against the unbeaten Argentinian Hector Rolando Guzman (14-0, 9). This bout will be for the WBA International Bantamweight title and seems to suggest that Zhakiyanov may not be heading the WBC route after all, a smart move considering the champion is the sensational Shinsuke Yamanaka.
Wellington, New Zealand
In New Zealand fans will have the chance to see an “interim” WIBA Super Bantamweight title fight as Thailand's Anrey Onesongchaigym (7-1-1, 3) battles Gentiane Lupi (3-1-1, 1). This bout isn't likely to tell much about either fighter though should leave the loser well away from a notable fight.