Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
At Korakuen Hall this coming Tuesday we get a small, yet notable, card thanks to Kawasaki Nitta Gym.
The main event of the bout will be the rubber bout between Kimika Miyoshi (16-13-2, 6) and Yoshie Wakasa (7-3, 2), who are fighting for the Japanese Featherweight title. In their first bout Miyoshi lost the belt to Wakasa, in 2020, but reclaimed the belt with a win in their rematch earlier this year. Coming into this third bout between the two women it seems clear that neither are going to be winning world titles, but against each other they have proven to be well matched, and it's always better to see competitive bouts that seeing total mismatches. Notably Miyoshi is 38 and her career will be coming to an end, but she might still have enough in the tank here to retain her title and win the series with the 4 year old Wakasa. Our preview of this bout can be read here Miyoshi Vs Wakasa III - The Rubber Match
In a supporting bout we'll see Shunsuke Isa (9-5-1, 1) risk his regional WBO ranking as he takes on Naoki Morooka (6-6, 3). The 24 year old Isa is a former Japanese Youth champion and is certainly no push over, though he was surprisingly taken out inside a minute last time out by Yuni Takada, in what was the third bout between the two, and it'll be interesting to see how he looks following that loss. As for Marooka his record looks poor, but the 29 year old has been matched pretty hard, with 2 losses to Tsubasa Koura, but he has won his last 2 and does have momentum coming in to this bout.
In a notable under-card fight we'll see two notable former amateurs face off as Junki Shirasaki (1-1) tries to bounce back from a loss, in June, to Yudai Murakami. As an amateur Shirasaki went 33-25 (3) and was notable on the domestic scene, and will feel he can get back to winning ways here. In the opposite corner to Shirasaki will be the debuting Gaito Sakakino (0-0), who went 21-13 in the unpaid ranks, and is tipped highly to be another stand out from the Kadoebi Gym. The 23 year old has real talent, but is being thrown in tough here on debut.
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA
The most notably bout with an Asian fighter in this weekend comes from the US where WBC Featherweight champion Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16) takes on mandatory challenger Rey Vargas (35-0, 22). For Magsayo the bout will be his first defense, following his upset win against Gary Russell Jr earlier this year, and he'll obviously be wanting to hand over the title so soon after winning it, however he is in with a really awkward, tough and talented challenger. Of the two men Vargas is the more skilled, the more natural boxer, and the one who has the more proven resume, however this is only his second bout since coming back to the sport following a broken leg, and if Magsayo is going to beat him, this is probably the best time to face him. Whilst Vargas is the more talented it's fair to say that Magsayo has shown a real will to win in recent bouts, and he has dug deep in wins over Rigoberto Hermosillo and Julio Ceja, and it's hard to ever write him off after the win over Ceja. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Magsayo faces Vargas in first defense of WBC title
O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
Staying outside of Asia for a little longer, we're also set to see the rematch between Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6) and Michel Soro (35-3-1, 24), who had a very controversial bout last year, with Madimov stopping Soro after the bell to end round 9. The bout, a WBA world title eliminator at 154lbs, left a sour taste and rather than letting the controversy stand the two men arranged this rematch, which actually serves both men well given the current state of the division. For Soro the bout is a chance to avenge his loss, and move towards another world title fight which given he's now 34 would likely be his last major bout. As for Madrimov the bout gives him a chance to get some more valuable rounds behind him, and if he wins he will be better prepared to face the top men in the division, though we suspect he would still be the clear under-dog against Jermell Charlo.
Esforta Arena Hachioji, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan
In Japan we have the next show from Hachioji Nakaya Gym. The show isn't a huge one, but does have 3 very solid domestic type bouts on it.
The main event will see the hard hitting Jin Sasaki (12-1, 11) take on 2021 All Japan Rookie of the Year Kotaro Sekine (3-0, 3) in a very exciting 8 rounder. For Sasaki, who is one of the most fan friendly fighters in Japan, the bout will be his second since losing to Andy Hiraoka in a Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific title fight in October, and he will know the pressure is on him to perform in front of local fans in his home town of Hachioji. As for Sekine this is a massive step for a man who has only had 5 career rounds, but a win here would boost his standing in the sport, and move to within touching distance of a title fight. We do not expect this one to last long, but do expect a lot of fireworks.
On the subject of title bouts, the card has one of those as Hyoga Taniguchi (5-3-2, 1) clashes with Seika Fukuda (6-3, 1) for the Japanese Youth Super Featherweight title. Unlike the main event, neither of these men are big punchers, but the two youngsters are exciting, they like to throw a lot, and in many ways it feels like the styles should gel to give us a very, very fun action fight. Taniguchi will be the favourite, as like Sasaki he's from Hachioji City, but Fukuda will not be looking to make up the numbers and will be a very, very live under-dog. Our preview of this bout can be read here Taniguchi and Fukuda battle for Youth title
One other bout of note on this card is the rubber match between Yuni Takada (8-8-3, 3) and Shunsuke Isa (9-4-1, 1), who have had two incredibly close bouts in recent years. The first of those saw Takada pick up a close unanimous decision in 2019 with Isa beating Takada by split decision last year, to win the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. Given how close and competitive their previous meetings were we expect another hotly contested bout here between two exciting, speedy and aggressive fighters.
House of Warriors Boxing Academy, New Delhi, India
Also in Asia will be a small card in India. Sadly the most notable bouts on this card are very, very clear mismatches.
One of those mismatches will see rising Indian hopeful Shiva (14-3-1, 7) battle against 21 year old novice Arun Sharma (3-4, 3). Coming into this Sharma has lost his last 3 bouts, including one in June, and he is clearly up against it here. Shiva on the other hand is unbeaten in his last 9, going 8-0-1, and should be too skilled, too experienced and too good for his foe.
The other notable mismatch will see unbeaten 24 year old Mahesh (7-0, 5) take on struggling 17 year old Sumit Kumar (1-2) in a 6 rounder. Mahesh might not be a world beater, but he's one of the more promising Indian fighters, and this looks like a bit of record padding for him here, though Kumar has never been stopped and may be able to take Mahesh a few rounds here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesdays Ohashi Gym put on their next card, and it's one that's very much focused on the emerging youth of Japanese boxing, with a Japanese Youth title fight along with 3 supporting bouts featuring genuine prospects.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) take on former Japanese title challenger Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2), in an excellent match up, and one that feel Mori's team should have searched for before his recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Isa won the title last August, when he narrowly over-came Yuni Takada, and although he did win that bout, he really seemed to get some good luck, and there is question marks about how he's developing, and how high his ceiling will be. As for Mori he looked like a top prospect in the making before being thrown in to a Japanese title fight with Kai Ishizawa this past January, a fight that he seemed to be getting too early. If that loss hasn't damaged him too much, he should be able to bounce back, and could end up living up to the expectations we have for him going forward. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese youth champion Isa takes on Mori!
The chief support bout will see the hugely entertaining, and hard hitting, Narumi Yukawa (4-0, 3) will be seeking his 5th professional win as he takes on 34 year old veteran Takaki Sakurai (8-8-1, 3). The exciting Yukawa was one of the more notable prospects last year, with his debut coming in March and by the end of the year he had notched 3 wins and seemed well on the way to bigger and better fights. He also added a good win in January, stopping Kanta Fukui, and looks likely to be in the domestic title mix in the next year or two. Before then however he does need rounds, bouts and experience and fighters like Sakurai are ideal for him. Sakurai is generally regarded as tough and is naturally bigger, so should be able to last a few rounds and give Yukawa something new to think about
In another 8 rounder we'll see young battling older, as 24 year old hopeful Ryo Nakai (3-1-1, 1) faces off with 42 year old veteran Ribo Takahata (17-9-1, 7). Of the two men Takahata, who is ranked by the JBC at 130lbs, is the more well known and is a very well respected veteran, with a tricky style built around his jab, size and experience, and he has proven to be an awkward and tough fighter. As for Nakai, he's looking to climb into the Japanese rankings, and score a career best win. Although not too well known, he is a genuine talent, and pushed current Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki all the way, and holds recent wins over Mirai Naito and Go Hosoka. For Takahata this is a must win if he's to continue his career, whilst Nakai will know a win moves his career forward, massively.
In a battle of youngsters the 21 year old debutant Kotoji Irita (0-0) will face off with once touted 19 year old Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3), in a scheduled 6 rounder at Super Flyweight. Tomioka looked really impressive in his early days as a professional, with an exciting style and a lot of swag, but has lost his last 2, and shown some fragility with his chin. As for Irita he was a solid amateur, going 36-11, and is tipped for pretty big things in the professional ranks. This is certainly an interesting under-card bout, and one where we'll see two talented youngsters face off.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The first Japanese show in August is a small one, but one worthy of some attention with two title bouts on it, and both of those do promise a lot of action, even if they are both, on paper, mismatches.
The first of the two will be for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title and will see Shunsuke Isa (8-3-1, 1) clash with Yuni Takada (8-7-2, 3), for the vacant title. Of the two men it's fair to say that Isa has the better looking record, and in many ways he will be regarded as the favourite. His overall record is more impressive and he's won two of his last 3. However Takada is no push over and in recent bouts he has held Hizuko Saso to a draw and gave both Norihito Tanaka and Kai Ishizawa genuine tests. Isa will have the tools to come out with a win, but if he over looks Takada he could be in a lot of trouble here thanks to Takada's solid jab and work rate. Our preview of this bout can be read here Isa and Takada face off for Japanese Youth title!
The second title fight will see Gakuya Furuhashi (27-8-1, 15) defending the Japanese Super Bantamweight title for the first time, as he takes on youngster Seigo Hanamori (7-3, 5). The all action Furuhashi won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yusaku Kuga in a 2021 Fight of the Year contender, but he's hard a long, punishing and hard career, with a style that will take a toll on any fighter. As for Hanamoori, he's stepping up massively in terms of class, but has got some momentum of his own, with stoppage wins in his last 4 bouts. Sadly for Hanamori he's not a natural Super Bantamweight, he's very much untested at this level, and he is leaping up to face one of the best 122lb fighters in Japan. We really can't see this being anything but painful for the challenger who will do well to see the final rounds. Our full preview of this one can be read here Furuhashi returns to make first defense of Japanese title!