This coming Sunday is a relatively busy day in Japanese boxing with 3 shows, including Rookie of the Year action, debuts of stand outs, a former champion and several notable Japanese domestic contenders.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
The biggest show of the day will be in Hirakata City and be promoted by Green Tsuda, who are putting on a very solid overall card.
The main event will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-10-4, 11) take on Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2), in the second bout between the two men. Okumoto desperately needs a good performance to get his career back in track, following back to back losses including a big upset defeat to Akui Furatani last year. With that in mind it's probably no surprise to see him facing an opponent he easily beat when he last faced him, in fact in 2016 Okumoto stopped Nihei in just 2 rounds and will be looking to do the same here. Nihei, who was once regarded as a contender himself, is 2-4 in his last 6 and his career certainly seems to be going through a rough patch, meaning this is very smart match making from Okumoto's team.
In the chief support bout the talented and very promising Jinki Maeda (7-0, 4) will be looking to pick up his 8th straight win as he takes on Yuya Azuma (5-5-1, 1). Although this should be a straight forward win for Maeda, who is slowly moving towards a title fight it is worth noting that Azuma is no push over and despite losing his last 2, to very talented fighters. We expect to see Maeda needing to work hard for a victory here, and get plenty of rounds under his belt here.
Also on this card are two notable debuts. One of those is Takafumi Shibata (0-0), who takes on Ryosei Niguma (5-3-1, 3), and the other is Kaito Yamasaki (0-0), who battles Kohei Hamamoto (4-2-1, 3). Both of the debutants will be expected to shine as they kick off their career's in 6 rounders. Shibata fought around 50 times in the amateurs, had about 30 wins and came third in the All Japan championships in 2018. Yamasaki on the other hand had almost 40 bouts, won 24 and shined at the National High School championships.
Ohama Gym, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
A second notable card in Osaka will be taking place in Sakai City, with Mitsuki promoting the event. It's not as big as the Hirakata city show, but there are 3 noteworthy bouts on this show.
The show's opening bout is a 6 rounder between two JBC ranked female fighters as Sarasa Ichimura (3-8-1) takes on Aoi Watanabe (3-4, 1), in the second bout between these two women. Entering this bout both are ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions, with Ichimura being a Minimumweight and Watanabe being a Flyweight, and Watanabe will be looking to beat Ichimura for the second time this year. Their first bout wasn't particularly exciting, but with both women having JBC rankings the bout is certainly a meaningful one.
Another noteworthy bout here will see two fighters who reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year finals in February facing off. In one corner is the once beaten Seika Fukuda (5-1, 1), who lost to Tsubasa Nari at Super Featherweight, and in the opposite corner will be Eiji Togawa (6-4, 3), who was beaten by Hiromasa Urakawa at Lightweight. Whilst neither man is expected to go far in the sport, this is almost the perfect comeback fight, and should be a very fun one to watch.
The main event will see JBC #2 Flyweight ranked fighter Shun Kosaka (16-7, 4) take on Shota Asami (8-8, 4), in what should be a pretty straight forward win for Kosaka at least on paper. Coming in to this Kosaka has fought at the top level of Japanese domestic boxing and shared the ring with the likes of Takuya Kogawa, Seigo Yuri Akui and Junto Nakatani, sadly however he lost to those 3 men and is now 1-4 in his last 5. Asami is no world beater, and he's 1-3 in his last 4, but he's proven to be very competitive in those losses and is certainly better than his record suggests.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
At the Aioi Hall we'll get the Central Japan Rookie of the Year Finals, with 9 bouts set for this show, from Minimumweight up to Welterweight. There was originally 10 bouts scheduled but the final at 140lbs has been cancelled.
The first really interesting match up on the show comes at Flyweight where 18 year old Yuki Morikawa (1-0-1) risks his unbeaten record against the much more experienced Katsuki Matsuura (6-4-1, 1). Morikawa made his debut back in 2019, with a draw, but looked good in his second bout, this past May, and a win here would move his career onto bigger and better things Matsuura on the other hand is 24 and on paper looks like a handful. It worth noting however that Matsuura is 1-4-1 in his last 6, and has really no momentum at all coming into this bout.
The second bout of real interest to us here us at Bantamweight where Kenta Sugawara (2-1-1, 1) clashes with Takuto Mino (2-0). The 21 year old Mino made his debut last November, and struggled in that bout, but looked solid last time out against Yuto Oki. Mino on the other hand hasn't really had much moment with his career, and was only able to earn a draw last time out, though is more experienced and has been a professional since 2018.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see 30 year old Fumiya Abe (4-2-1, 2) look to bounce back from a 2020 TKO loss to Ren Anzai as he takes on the unbeaten Prince Fujiwara (3-0-1, 2), who impressed us in 2020 with his win against Judgement Aizu. Aged 22 there is real potential for Fujiwara, from the Suruga Danji gym, so we're looking forward to seeing how he performs here.
This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day in Japan with a solid card from Green Tsuda along with two different Rookie of the Year shows. Whilst we're not getting any sort of "massive" bout we are getting the chance to see some talented prospects in action and a lot of rookies!
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card of the day is a Green Tsuda card and Masaya Motishi really is giving his prospects a chance to grow, with two very notable prospects on this card.
One of those prospects is 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4), who impressed in his Rookie triumph and then proved himself with two solid performances in 2020. The talented 24 year old southpaw is progressing well as a fighter, and doing so without too much fuss and noise. Here we'll see him up against a fellow southpaw, as he clashes with 31 year old Yushi Fujita (9-8-4, 2), who is a credible opponent. We suspect Maeda will be too good, too sharp, and too young for Fujita, but this is a genuine test for the unbeaten youngster.
The other notable prospect on this show is former Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8), who really does look like a very special young fighter. The talented and slippery Shimomachi will be looking to kick off his 2021 as he takes on Thunder Teruya (7-8-1, 4), in what is again a very legitimate test. The talented Shimomachi won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017, and since then has gone from strength to strength and scored notable wins against Kenta Nomura and Hiroki Hanabusa and will be strongly favoured here. Teruya looks very limited given his record, but he's no push over and he gave the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura a decent test last year. Teruya is decent, despite his record, but we suspect he will be made to look very limited by the excellent Shimomachi.
One other bout worthy of some attention on this show is a match up between Ryosuke Nasu (12-6-3, 2) and Sonin Nihei (9-5-2, 1), who are both ranked in the top 20 at Super Flyweight by the Japan Boxing Commission. The 25 year old Nasu is looking to bounce back from a loss to fast rising novice Ayato Hiromoto, and he really can ill afford another loss here given he is 4-4 in his last 8, after a 5-1-2 start to his professional career. Whilst Nihei is struggling, his struggle pale compared to Nasu's, with Nasu going 1-4 in his last 5 and he has seen his record completely fall apart after losing just 1 of his first 11 bouts. Despite that he has fought at a decent level and Nasu has shown a fair bit of ability. We don't expect this to be a huge exciting fight, but it should be a very competitive one.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Staying at the same venue as the Green Tsuda card there will be a second event at the EDION Arena Osaka, with this one taking place after the Green Tsuda show. This one is very different and will be the first set of bouts in this year's West Japan Rookie of the Year.
This show has 9 bouts scheduled for it, between Minimumweight and Light Welterweight, with 11 of the 18 fighters being debutants. In fact every bout on the show has a debutant on it and two of the bouts being all debutant affairs.
One of the most interesting looking bouts on this card will see Ren Nishimura (2-2) take on 19 year old Shui Kawato (0-0). Nishimura impressed us last year in the Rookie of the Year, and gave eventual All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Sora Fukunaga a real test in November 2020. He will go into this bout as the favourite. Kawato on the other hand will be a hungry 19 year old desperate to take a victory to begin his career, and we suspect this could be a fantastic bout.
Of all the fighters on this card with previous bouts to their name, only one is unbeaten and that's 22 year old Minimumweight Daiki Fujimoto (2-0-1) who looks to return to the ring after 2 years odd inactivity. He will be up against 24 year old debutant Yuki Yamamoto (0-0) and although we're not expecting an instant classic here, Fujimoto did prove he was a decent fighter before his absence from the ring and it'll be interesting to see what he's like here after such a long lay off.
Sun Rise Park Gym, Saga, Saga, Japan
As well as the action in Osaka there will also be a very small Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Saga. This card is so small it features just 3 bouts, and is sadly a sign of what boxing is like in Western Japan.
Despite only being a small card it is worth noting that two of the bouts on this show will be Welterweight bouts, with the two winners set to battle on June 20th in the Western Japan final.
One of those bouts will see 29 year old Ryoji Matsumoto (0-1) battle 23 year old Rintaro Shiojiri (0-1). Matsumoto made his debut all the way back in 2016, losing to Sho Yasuda in a bout around the Lightweight limit, and has been away from the ring for well over 4 years. Shiojiri on the other hand debuted in 2019 and hasn't fought since losing on debut to Hiroya Nojima. With both men looking for their first win, and a place in the Western Japan Rookie of the Year final we expect to see an entertaining bout here. But if we're being honest neither man has much of a future, and it would be a massive surprise if they managed to become the West Japan representative at the All Japan final.
The other Welterweight bout here will see 33 year old Taiki Henzan (1-1, 1) battle 29 year old Tomotaka Noda (2-3), in what is a rematch of a clash these two had last September. When these two men first fought Henzan stopped Noda in 2 rounds, and he'll be looking for a repeat result here. Noda on the other hand will be looking to avenge the loss, and get back to winning ways. Interestingly he had won back to back bouts before that loss.
Amazingly all 4 of the Welterweights on this show lost their last bout, a rather peculiar stat.
This coming Tuesday is a very interesting day in Japan with a world title show in Osaka and a Rookie of the Year show in Tokyo. It might not be the biggest day of the year, but it really does having boxing at the two opposite ends of the spectrum.
Intex Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
We'll start with the show in Osaka which is the much, much bigger show and will have the main event streamed live on Hiroto Kyoguchi's own YouTube channel.
The main event will see the aforementioned Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) defending his Ring Magazine and WBA "super" Light Flyweight titles against unbeaten Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12). For Kyoguchi the bout will be his third defense of the title and will see him trying to put a frustrating 2020 behind him, with the fighting missing out on a scheduled summer title defense. He'll enter as the big favourite, and will be looking to end the year on a high. As for Simsri this is a massive step up for the heavy handed Thai, though given he's still a boxing baby we wouldn't write him off if he lose here. Simsri has been impressive, but is still very much a prospect. Given the power of the two men, and the aggressive styles both have we expect this to be an action packed bout, but it should be man against boy. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kyoguchi and Simsri battle for WBA title!
In a great supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten, and very talented, Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) look to build on his 2019 Rookie of the Year triumph as he takes on the once beaten Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2). We've been really impressed by Maeda, and he shone last time out, taking out Arashi Iimi in 2 rounds, and we have to favour him here, but it's not a gimmie. Okubo has noticed back to back wins since his sole defeat and is the naturally bigger, taller man. Okubo will be the under-dog, but is an awkward proposition for Maeda and should ask some testing questions of the unbeaten hopeful.
Another supporting bout will see the light punching Sonin Nihei (9-5-2, 1) battle veteran Shunji Nagata (12-18-2, 4). The 26 year old Nihei has lost 4 of his last 5 and is very much in need of a win if he's every going to manage to do anything of note with his career. At the age of 35 Nagata has seen better days, but is much better than his record suggests and has been competitive with much younger fighters. We see this one being a bout that is easy to over-look but it should be very entertaining, even if neither man has much pop on their shots.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we see bouts as part of the East Japan Rookie of the Year. We won't go through all of the bouts on this show, given there's 12 of them, but we have picked 3 interesting ones off the show.
In a Featherweight bout we'll see unbeaten men colliding with Ryo Yoshida (2-0, 1) taking on Yuya Hirose (3-0-1, 2). Both of these men won back on September 25th, though did so in very different fashion. Yoshida went through a war with Ricky Hasegawa, in what was a sensational bout, whilst Hirose beat the controversial Leon Yamaguchi with a very wide decision. We expect this one to be really fun given how both men looked last time pout
At Super Featherweight 20 year old banger Tsubasa Narai (4-0, 3) will be looking to secure his 5th straight as he battles the experienced Hiromichi Komatsu (4-5-2, 4). We've been impressed by Narai and despite Komatsu's record he can certainly punch so this one is expected to be explosive. Don't blink, this one could be over very early, and could see a lot of dynamite thrown, very early.
On the subject of don't blink it's worth noting that Aito Abe (2-0, 2) will be in action here against Shunpei Kubo (5-1, 3), in a Super Flyweight bout. Abe's last bout was a 17 second blitz against Kentaro Omori in early September and he's yet to see the end of the first round. Kubo has got rounds under his belt but his only loss was a stoppage and we suspect Abe will be looking to set a high pace and close the show quickly here. Another one where blink is not advised!
This coming Saturday is a really busy day in Asia, but the standout card is a Japanese one with 4 notable bouts on it. Notably this card isn't just a good one on paper, but will also be available live, thanks to Boxing Raise.
The main event will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 12) make his first defense, of his second reign, as he battles against the limited but typically fun to watch Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5). The hard hitting Kuga won the belt back earlier this year, winning a Japanese Fight of the Year Contender against Ryoichi Tamura, and will be looking to impress here as he attempts to put his 2018 loss to Shingo Wake behind him. The power, pressure and aggression of Kuga is likely to be too much for the challenger but Fujihara does make for fun fights and this should be a fan friendly 1-sided bout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuga takes on Fujihara in first title defense!
A second title bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) take on former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Although not one of the big name hopefuls in Japan Murachi is very well regarded by those who have followed his career, and the plan had always been to fast track him, though we didn't expect such a big step up so early in his career. A win for Murachi at this stage will likely secure him a WBO world ranking but it's not an easy task. Saludar, who was once touted as a future world champion himself, has faltered in his biggest bouts, including bouts against Takuma Inoue and Sho Kimura, but is very capable. For Saludar another loss here would likely end his hopes of getting another world title fight, but he'll feel confident that his experience will be too much for the Japanese youngster. A very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout can be read here Murachi goes for gold in 5th fight, takes on Saludar for WBO regional title!
The third bout which is getting a lot of interest is a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator. This bout, the second of the eliminators for the 2020 Champion Carnival, will see former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) going up against hard hitting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6). For Taniguchi this is a must win bout, but also a huge step backwards following a bout with Vic Saludar earlier this year. As for Ishizawa this is a massive step up in class, and a win will put him on the map and secure a title fight next year. Our view is that it maybe too much too soon for Ishizawa, but we understand why he has taken the fight. This is genuine high risk, high reward for both men. Our preview of this bout is available here Taniguchi and Ishizawa meet in Japanese title eliminator
The final of the notable bouts will see rising Afghan born Japanese based Welterweight hopeful Kudura Kaneko (10-0, 7) continue to step up as he takes on rugged veteran Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) in what could turn out to be the best bout of the show. Kaneko is a very exciting, hard hitting boxer-puncher whilst Yun is a genuine tough guy who has scored more than his share of upset wins. This should be a real test for Kaneko, and could well be a genuine banana skin given the style that Yun brings to the ring. This bout has been featured as our One to watch-Kudura Kaneko vs Moon Hyon Yun this week.
In China we get an interesting card with an international feel to it.
In one of the main bouts we'll see Chinese puncher Jun Zhao (11-2-1, 8) take on Japanese foe Sonin Nihei (9-4-2, 1) in a contest for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Coming in to this the 26 year old Zhao has been in good form, winning his last 6, but hasn't looked sensational during that run and he certainly improvements to make. On the other hand Nihei has struggled for results, winning just 1 of his last 3, but will be travelling with the knowledge that he has the skills to spring in the upset.
In a supporting bout we'll see Mongolian hopeful Erkhembayar Batbayar (5-0, 3) take on Korean foe Jun Yong Lee (6-5-4, 3). This is a 10 rounder and on paper a big step up for the Mongolian, who has never been beyond 6 rounds so far. The Korean is a former national champion, but has won just 1 of his last 4, and is 2-4-1 in his last 7. Batbayar will be the favourite, and rightfully so, but this is certainly his biggest test to date.
Bang Phun, Thailand
We return to the Work Point Studio for a Thai card which will be available on Work Point in Thailand and DAZN in the US.
One of the main bouts on this card will see former Naoya Inoue opponent Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-9, 20) take on Filipino visitor Renz Rosia (15-8-1, 8). Petchbarngborn, also known as Karoon Jarupianlerd, has gone 8-1 since losing to Inoue in 2016 but has fought at a most limited level, with a loss earlier this year to Amnat Ruenroeng being the most notable of those bouts. Rosia on the other hand is 1-3-1 in his last 5 and despite once being a solid fighter at regional level looks like a man who is is often fighting above his best weight. Rosia always comes to fight, but there is a feeling that he probably won't have enough to over-come the Thai in Thailand, where an away win is never easy.
Another bout on this card pitting a Thai against a Filipino will see Nawaphon Kaikanha (46-1-1, 36) take the under-rated and tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). The once beaten Nawaphon is a former world title challenger who is also the brother of former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. Since his loss, in a WBC Flyweight title bout to Juan Hernandez, Nawaphon has moved up to Bantamweight and reeled off 10 straight wins. On paper Ponteras doesn't look like much of a threat, but in reality he's a really good journeyman who should take Nawaphon some rounds, and be competitive at times. Saying that however there are question marks about what Ponteras still has left following his first stoppage defeat back in March, when he was stopped in the opening round by Seiya Tsutsumi. At his best he was very much an upset minded fighter, who scored more than his share of wins against the odds, but he's now without a win in 4 bouts and could well be past his best.
Another bout on this card will be part of the WP Boxing Super Flyweight tournament and will see novices Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) face off. These two were supposed to fight in August but their bout was pushed back to here. On paper this 6 rounder promises a lot and should be competitive, and of course we're big fans of tournaments, so fingers crossed the winner of the overall competition will be given a career boost as Thailand looks to unearth it's next generation of talent.
A second show in Thailand is a much lower profile card. The bouts here are much less interesting and the main event will see Murodjon Yokubov (4-0, 3) battle against teenager Tanawat Ketsiri (2-5, 2). The 25 year old Yokubov is a Thai based Uzbek who turned pro last year and really needs a step up in the near future. Ketsiri on the other hand has lost 4 times this year, and looks almost certain to pick up another loss here.
Sadly not other bout on this card is really worth talking about.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Yet another show of some note is a Filipino card from the Elorde Sports Center in Paranaque City.
Among the bouts on this card is a clash of once beaten youngsters, as Arvin Magramo (10-1-1, 6) and Francis Jay Diaz (8-1-1, 1) face off in an 8 round Light Flyweight contest. Magramo is very much in the rebuilding stages of his career, following a defeat at the hands of Garen Diagan a year ago, but this is a tough match up on paper and his team are taking a risk here. The 21 year old Diaz, dubbed "The Amazing Boy" began his career 1-1-1 before reeling off 7 straight wins, but this is a bi step up for him. Although a low key bout, in the grand scheme of things, this is a very interesting match up
A second contest between fighters with a single loss to their name will feature Marlon Paniamogan (9-1-1, 5) and Jino Rodrigo (5-1-2, 4), who will also be involved in a 10 round fight. On paper this should be more explosive than the other bout however it's worth noting that Paniamogan was beaten last time out, losing a decision in Japan to Kuntae Lee. Rodrigo, on the other hand, is 3-1-2 in his last 6, suggesting neither has much moment coming into this bout.
A third bout of interest here sees unbeaten men battle, with Delmar Pellio (7-0, 3) and Marjon Piencenaves (6-0-1, 4) fighting in an 8 rounder. The 19 year old Pellio has only previously faced 1 opponent with a winning record and will be looking for his third win of the year. Piencenaves on the other hand is a 24 year old who is facing his first opponent with a winning record, so for both men this is a step up and their real, serious test.
New Delhi, India
There's also a small show in India.
The main bout on this card will see the unbeaten Rajesh Kumar (10-0-1-2) take on Filipino foe Ivor Lastrilla (11-7-1, 6) in an 8 round contest. The 25 year old Kumar has won his last 5, following a draw in October 2016, and is looking to build on those wins here. On paper Lastrilla is a step down from Kumar's last 2 foes, but could still make for an interesting test. The 27 year old Lastrilla has lost his last 3, but when on form he can be a good test. Lastrilla is unlikely to have the size, power or strength to be a physical threat to Kumar, but may have the skills to ask questions of him.
In a supporting bout female hopeful Ramandeep Kaur (5-0) will take on Thai journey-woman Saranyaphong Theinthong (2-13, 2), in what really should be an easy win for Kaur over 6 rounds.
We're back at Korakuen Hall this coming Tuesday for what looks like a pretty good card from the Kaneko Boxing gym.
The main event of the card is a potentially match up as the hard hitting pairing of Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4, 10) and Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) battle for the now vacant OPBF Middleweight title. The two men, who have both previously held this title, are flawed punchers and both will know this is a huge chance to reclaim a big regional title. Of the two Hosokawa is the more crude, but aggressive, fighter whilst Tyson is the more skilled boxer-puncher. Given the styles of the two men this could be a very, very exciting bout and is something that could end at any moment. This has the ingredients to be an instant classic. A full preview of this bout is available here Hosokawa and Tyson battle for OPBF title in potential shootout!
In the chief support bout we'll see the hard hitting and very skilled Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5) take on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-14, 7). The talented Saito is a wonder to watch, but has shown real issues with his chin, having been down several times already in his career and stopped in his only loss. Laurente isn't likely to pose a threat to Saito's chin, but will be there to win and will have the experience to ask questions of Saito.
Another supporting match up will see the Japanese ranked Sonin Nihei (9-3-2, 1) take on Takahiro Fujii (10-6-1, 3) in what should be a pretty good support bout. Nihei returned in December, after almost 2 years out, and shocked Tatsuya Ikemizu with a decision win and he'll be looking to build on that here. Fujii on the other hand is a win some-lose some fighter on the domestic scene, and should ask questions of Nihei, though we suspect that Fujii will come up short in a competitive bout.
One more notable fighter on this card is 2018 Rookie of the Year winner George Tachibana (7-3, 2), who takes on Akira Morita (7-7, 2) in what will be Tachibana's first bout since winning the Rookie of the Year crown. This isn't likely to be a tough test for Tachibana but it is good to see him back in the ring following his Rookie triumph.
This coming Sunday is a hectic day with 4 Japanese shows, a Filipino show, a Korean show and a Vietnamese show. Not only is there lots of shows but those shows feature notable names and we get a host of title bouts, in what is a genuinely crazy day.
The biggest action for the day is from Osaka, where we get 8 bouts of note, spread over 2 shows at the EDION Arena Osaka. The first of those shows is a Green Tsuda triple title show.
The main event of this triple title show will see hard hitting Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) defending his belt against the limited but exciting Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 11). For the champion this will be a second defense of the title, and he will be looking to really make a statement in the new year, with a number of interesting challengers now vying for a shot at his belt. For Fujinaka this one more chance to win a belt, but the reality is that he's a clear under-dog. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fujinaka challenges Japanese champion Yada!
A second Japanese title fight on this card will see domestic Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) making his first defense, taking on unbeaten contender Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10). The champion won the belt earlier this year, over-coming Hiroyuki Kudaka, but looks likely to be little more than a transitional champion before a top domestic fighter takes it off him. Hashizume on the other hand was once a hotly tipped prospect, but poor match making from the Ioka gym has seen his development stall and stutter, and it's hard to know how prepared he is for a fight like this. Ore preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto defends Japanese title against unbeaten Hashizume
The third title bout on this show is a Japanese Super Flyweight Youth title bout, pitting the skilful Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) against the heavy handed Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) to crown a new champion. We're expecting a really interesting contest here, with Nakamura trying to land his power and Nasu trying to out box the bigger punching Nakamura. It's a hard bout to call, and should be a very good one for the fans at the venue. Our in depth look at this bout is available to read hereNasu and Nakamura battle for Japanese Youth title!
Another potentially great bout on this card will see the once beaten Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-1, 5) look to record his 8th straight win, as he takes a huge step up and faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (7-4, 4). Coming in to this momentum is clearly with Shimomachi, who won the Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year last year, but this is certainly a tougher test than it looks on paper. Watanabe, although "only 7-4" has been in with the likes of Reiya Abe, Sho Nakazawa and Gakuya Furuhashi, and held his own in some tough domestic bouts. This is a serious match up and a really good fight for both men, who will know that a win massively boosts their career.
After the Green Tsuda card we then get an Ioka promoted show from the EDION arena. This card only features a single title bout, but does have a great supporting card to go along with the main event.
The title match up will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (17-0, 11) defending his belt against tough and hard hitting challenger Hurricane Futa (25-7-1, 15), who should put up a very interesting challenge. Nakatani will be strongly favoured, as he looks to secure his 11th defense of the title, but his career has failed to live up to early expectations and there is a real worry that he will go off the boil, if he hasn't already, and he looked less than his best last time out. Futa is a dangerous fighter, despite technical limitations he can really bang, and he's tough, with his record littered with upset wins, including KO wins over Vage Sarukhanyan and Will Tomlinson. An in depth look at this bout from regular contributor George Delis can be read here OPBF king Nakatani battles hard hitting Futa!
One of the supporting bouts will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) take on former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17). This looks almost certainly like a bout that will have explosive action. Omori is the more technically skilled of the two men, and has solid power to go with his technical skills, but Yamamoto can certainly bang and is a very dangerous fighter, even if he lacks that bit of class Omori has. Both fighters have been stopped and should feel they have the power to stop the other here. A preview of this bout can be read here Omori and Yamamoto clash in "survival" bout!
Another supporting bout will see former world title challengers battle, as former WBA Super Flyweigt title challenger Sho Ishida (26-1, 15) takes on former WBO title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-8-1, 23). At 27 years old the 5'8" Ishida has the potential to go all the way, and 2-0 (2) since his loss to Kal Yafai, in what as a close but very forgettable contest. That loss seems to have made Ishida aware that he does need to improve and we have seen a more spiteful attitude from him in the ring. Parrenas on the other hand is 35 and has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, losing to Naoya Inoue and Ryuichi Funai and this seems like a bout he must win if he intends to keep his career alive. Our preview of this clash can be read here Ishida and Parrenas clash in must win bout!
In one other bout of note we'll see Tatsuya Ikemizu (19-2, 8) hunt a 7th straight win, since being stopped by Jonas Sultan in 2016, as he takes on Sonin Nihei (8-2-3, 1). Both of these men were once tipped for success, though both have fallen very short of expectations so far. Given that both are young, both are 25, there is a chance that they could come good. It's worth noting that Nihei hasn't fought since being stopped by Keita Kurihara in December 2016, in what was a second straight stoppage loss for Nihei.
On a lesser level to the Osaka cards is a show from Okinawa, where 2017 Light Welterweight Rookie of the Year Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6) takes on Filipino Nelson Tinampay (13-7-1, 6). This will be Smith's first bout since losing a Japanese title eliminator to Koki Inoue and should be a solid test for the Japanese-American puncher. Tinampay has been stopped in 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good talent across the region and will give us something to compare Smith's result against.
In a supporting bout we'll see the talented Tatsuro Nakashima (7-1-1, 5), who came runner up in the East Japan Rookie of the Year last year, looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Japanese fighter will be up against Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (4-1, 4), who was last seen in the ring in September, being demolished by the debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka. We don't expect anything but a win for Nakashima, but we're interested in this bout to learn more about how good Shigeoka's performance was.
This card will also feature Former OPBF female Bantamweight champion Yuko Henzan (6-7-4, 2), who is scheduled to face off against a Thai opponent.
The least notable of the Japanese cards comes from Hyogo, where the Japanese ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (13-2, 7) takes on the hard hitting Takuya Matsuzaka (8-7, 7) in what should be a good test before Kanda begins a march towards titles in 2019. Kanda is riding a 7 fight winning streak into this bout whilst Matsusaka has managed to win just 3 of his last 7. Although heavy handed Matsusaka has been stopped in 6 of his 7 losses, and we'd not be surprised to see him being taken out again here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Japanese action there will also be a card in Vietnam, in association with a Japanese promoter, with a Japanese fighter headlining the card.
That Japanese fighter in the main event is the exciting Gakuya Furuhashi (23-8-1, 12), who faces off with limited Thai Yutthichai Wannawong (9-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title. The bout is supposed to be a special attraction as the OPBF look to build up boxing in Vietnam, and it seems clear the OPBF do have big plans for the coming years in these non-boxing countries, so fingers crossed this main event interests the fans.
A second OPBF affiliated title will be on the line as Nguyen Anh Tuan Dao (1-1, 1) faces an opponent, sadly we don't have their name, for the newly created OPBF Vietnamese National Light Welterweight title. The idea seems to be to spread these national titles across a number of countries, in what could be a very interesting experiment from the OPBF, who seem to realise that their market needs to grow outside of their strong hold markets.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see 3 bouts of note, even if they aren't hugely interesting match ups.
The most promising of those fighters is Joe Noynay (15-2-1, 5), who looks to secure a 4th straight win as he takes on Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4), who has lost his last 3. The talented 23 year old Noynay is unbeaten since losing in February 2017 to Reiya Abe, and looks to be a genuine prospect. Bolcio on the other hand looks like a fighter who has given up trying to win and is 4-13-2 in his last 19 bouts, with 8 of those 13 losses coming by stoppage.
Another fighter who appears to be in easy is Ryan Sermona (20-9-1, 13), who takes on Junar Adante (7-10-1, 4). Sermona has mixed with good fighters, including a 2014 loss to Masayuki Ito and a 2017 loss to Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a decent fighter on the domestic Filipino scene. Adante on the other hand has been stopped in his last 4 bouts, and 8 of his last 9, suggesting Sermona shouldn't have any problems at all here.
The other bout of note on this card will see 23 year old Glenn Medura (9-4-1, 5) battle against Dado Cabintoy (15-8-2, 8), in a bout that looks competitive on paper, but isn't a hugely interesting bout. Medua is 1-3 in his last 4, with only a single win in the last 2 years, whilst Cabintoy is 0-4 coming into this bout and is more than 40 months removed from his last win!
Seoul, South Korea
The main event here is really the only bout worth talking about, and will be an 8 round Super Featherweight clash, as Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) takes on Hwan Young Jo (5-6, 1). It's hard to see past a win for Lee, but he was stopped last time out, being taken out in 3 rounds by Jun Zhao back in September. Jo on the other hand has gone 1-3 in his last 4, and at 30 years old really looks like a fighter who won't be getting any better.
To kick off a new week we get the next Ichiriki show from the Korakuen Hall. The card features a number of notable Japanese fighters but sadly not much to be excited about in terms of competitive match ups.
The main event will see the world ranked Akihiro Kondo (26-6-1, 13) risking his IBF and WBO rankings against a poor imported Thai. Kondo, who is the current WBO Asia Pacific champion at 140lbs, won't be risking his title in this 8 rounder. Sadly we're unsure who the Thai is, and the same applied for the chief support bout, where an unknown Thai will be facing Japanese veteran Takafumi Nakajima (25-9-1, 10), with Nakajima looking to rebuild following an opening round loss to Kosuke Saka in September.
On the under-card we have a number of interesting fighters, including the now struggling Hikaru Marugame (5-2-1, 3). Once touted as a potential star Marugame has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 and needs a win. His team know he needs a win and that appears to be the reason behind him facing Thai visitor Pepsi Sithluangporphun (1-0, 1), who last fought in July 2015 according to Boxrec. Another loss here for Marugame would likely be the end of his dreams.
Another hopeful on this card is Bantamweight Sonin Nihei (8-2-2, 1) who looks to bounce back from an August loss to Takayuki Okumoto. The once touted 23 year old is being thrown in against the heavy handed, but limited, Keita Kurihara (7-4, 6) in what looks likely to be a better bout than it initially seems. Although Kurihara doesn'ty have a great record he has won his last 4 and stopped his last 3 so will be full of confidence here.
One other bout worthy of noting is one between Japanese ranked Featherweight Junki Sasaki (16-3, 6) and the upset minded Yudai Tamagawa (9-7-1, 3), up is just a year removed from his career best win over Mark Gil Melligen. On paper this is Sasaki's to lose but it should be one where he needs to concentrate as he could be just a few fights from a potential title fight.
This coming Sunday is a busy day for fight fans, specifically those in Osaka who get 3 shows.
The most notable of those shows comes from the EDION Arena where the Boxingraise cameras will in attendance to stream live content, featuring some of the brightest young prospects in Japan.
The most notable of those prospects is Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (7-0, 4), who faces the much more experienced Toshimasa Ouchi (20-8-3, 6) in a bout for both the Japanese and the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight titles. Ouch is a man looking to secure his biggest win to date and will go into the bout knowing that pressure is on Ken Shiro, however the veteran may not get another title fight if he loses here. For Ken Shiro this is a brilliant chance to put himself into the window for a world title fight in December.
Whilst the attention is on the main event it's not the only really good bout on this card with another exciting match up seeing the very promising Hiroto Kyoguchi (2-0, 2) going up against Kenichi Miyazaki (10-2-1, 3) in a mouth watering clash. Miyazaki does come in to this on the back of a loss but isn't a push over whilst Kyoguchi is leaping up in class. A really good match up and a really good test for the unbeaten 22 year old.
In another bout of note we'll see 22 year old Light Flyweight hopeful Masataka Taniguchi (3-0, 3) look to extend his great start as he takes on a Thai opponent. Taniguchi is fighting for the 4th time in a little over 4 months, though that's scarcely an issue given he has wiped out his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. We're unsure who the Thai will be for this bout, but there is little to suggest that he should be favoured over Taniguchi.
There will also be another show at the EDION Osaka and this one was originally set to features some notable bouts, though sadly has seen some adjustments.
Originally the main event was supposed to see Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4) battle, in what would have been a huge step up in class, against Hideo Sakamoto (16-2-3, 5) with the key supporting bout being set as a contest between Seizo Kono (16-8-1, 11) and Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-7-1, 5). Sadly however Tanaka has been forced out of the bout leading to a contest between Sakamoto and Kono. It's an alright bout, especially given the short notice, but the reality is that it's not the main event that had had us excited for several weeks.
As a result of the shake up at the top of the card the new main event will see Takayuki Okumoto (16-7-12, 6) face off against the once beaten Sonin Nihei (8-1-2, 1) in what is a really nice match up and a good step up for Nihei who's only loss came to Kenya Yamashita almost 2 years ago.
Another notable bout here will see young female fighter Fuka Komura (0-0) make her debut, as she takes on Kaori Nagai (0-1). Although a debutant, and one without a host of amateur titles, Komura has received a lot of press and there is serious talk about her being fast tracked to a title following a very impressive pro-test bout earlier this year.
A third show in Osaka comes form the L-Theatre.
The main event here sees OPBF and Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryota Kajiki (28-9, 19) take on Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Taiki Minamoto (11-5, 10). Kajiki is looking to move towards a second title bout, following a 2012 loss to the then Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko and is currently riding a 6 fight winning streak, dating back more than 2 years, with notable wins over Shota Yamaguchi and Kota Fukuoka. As for Minamoto he's looking for a second win following last year's loss to Yukinori Oguni, in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout.
In the chief support bout for this show fans will see former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (30-14-1, 7) end his retirement to take on Akiyoshi Kanazawa (13-5-4, 7). For Horikawa the bout will be his first since losing the Japanese title, back in December, to Ken Shiro. Interestingly Kanazawa is returning following a less this year to Toshimasa Ouchi, with Ken Shiro and Ouchi facing off across the city in the first show mentioned in this article!
The only other show in Japan, and the only one taking place outside of Osaka is a small one in Aichi, which is being used to as a Rookie of the Year qualifying show.
The best bout on this card is a 5 rounder between Jinya Ito (4-0-1) and the hard hitting Yuto Nakamura (4-2, 4). The card is a huge step down from the Osaka shows but should provide some thrills in well matched novice type bouts.
As well as all the action in Japan there will also be a show in China where Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (13-0, 13) headlines. The Chinese puncher will be risking his perfect KO record against Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (30-6, 27), who has been in with a who's who of the Cruiserweight division. It's hard to back against Junlong here, but the hope is that a big bout is only around the corner.