EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
This coming Sunday is a big day in Japan with 3 different shows, the most notable of which is a title double header in Osaka, promoted by former Japanese star Koki Kameda.
The main event here will see a 4th Japanese Heavyweight champion being crowned as the highly touted Brandon Mitsuro Tajima (1-0, 1) faces Korean fighter Sung Min Lee (7-2-1, 2) for the vacant title. Tajima made his long awaited debut earlier this year, but it was little more than a cameo as he dismantled Sang Ho Kim in 56 seconds. He will be hoping for a chance to show more of his ability here, though unfortunately Lee isn't the most testing of opponents, and in fact Lee is coming in to this on the back of an upset loss to Ja Sung Jo. Lee has proven to be tough and have heart, but this is a huge ask for him against a man many in Japan are very, very excited about. Our preview of this clash can be read here Tajima and Lee battle to become 4th Japanese Heavyweight champion
The other title bout on this show will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) defending his title against aggressive and hard hitting Filipino warrior Tomjune Mangubat (15-3-1, 12). For Rikiishi the bout will serve as his first defense of the title, which he won last time out with a very impressive win against Takuya Watanaba, and he will feel he has the tools and boxing IQ to neutralise Mangubat. As for the Filipino he'll be determined to make the most of this opportunity, especially given a loss last time out to unbeaten hopeful Charly Suarez. If Mangubat can get success with his pressure this will be a very tough bout Rikiishi, but that's a big if. Our preview of this contest can be read here OPBF champion Rikiishi defends against Filipino warrior Mangubat!
Outside of the two title bouts the big talking point of the show will be the professional boxing debut of 2008 Olympic gold medal winning Judoka Satoshi Ishii (0-0), who turns his hand to professional boxing at the age of 35. The former Judo star will be looking to secure a win in boxing as he takes on 30 year old novice Shuho Takayama (1-0, 1), in a 4 round Heavyweight bout. Interestingly Ishii has had success not just in Judo, where he was a genuine star, but also MMA and Kick boxing, and he is a well experienced combat sports practitioner, but we do wonder if it's too late for the Croatian based Japanese born fighter to make any sort of impact in professional boxing.
In a must win bout we'll see two former world title challengers face off as Hiroshige Osawa (37-5-4, 21) takes on Jeo Santisima (21-4, 18). Aged 37 Osawa is coming to the end of his career, and he's only fought once since the start of 2020, scoring a technical decision over Yoshiyuki Takabayashi last September. At his best Osawa was a solid regional level fighter, but given his age and inactivity it's hard to imagine him being even a shadow of the fighter he once was. As for Santisima he fought for a world title in 2020, and is 2-1 since losing in that title fight. Early in his career he looked explosive and powerful but when he's stepped he has looked limited and despite only being 26 it does feel like he's found his ceiling and is on the slide. We suspect Santisima is getting to Osawa at the the right point here, but this is certainly a hard one to call and Osawa might have one great performance left in the tank.
One other really notable bout on this card will see former world champion Ryo Miyazaki (26-2-3, 16), compete in the third bout of his on going comeback. On paper this is a big step up for Miyazaki as he takes on Azael Villar (18-1-3, 14), from Panama. Miyazaki, at his best, was a brilliant warrior, who had under-rated power, real toughness and great work rate, but at 33 he is old for a smaller weight fighter and it's hard to know how much he has left in the tank, even if he is something of a "young" 33. Villar on the other hand is 28 and has world rankings from 3 of the world title bouts, but this is a step up fir Villar, who has been beating low level fighters so far through his career. Given the styles of the two men, this should be a very, very fun and fan friendly bout.
One other under-card bout of note will see 2020 Rookie of the Year winner Sora Fukunaga (10-0, 5) clash with 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11), in what should be a thrilling bout. Although Yamashita is flawed he is always worth watching with an ultra aggressive style, and we suspect he could ask questions of Fukunaga, who is looking to record arguably his most notable win to date. This should genuinely be a very, very exciting match up, albeit one without a major name involved in it.
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
A second notable show takes place in Hyogo, and will be headlined by a former world champion taking on a former multi-time world title challenger, whilst the supporting card features two solid Japan Vs Philippines bouts.
The main event is a really dangerous one for former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (17-3, 6), who only returned to the sport earlier this year following a brain injury several years ago in his loss to Vic Saludar. The talented Yamanaka was expected to ease his way back into the sport, taking on a few easier opponents before stepping up in class. He however has taken a different approach and will take on hard hitting former 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (29-4-1, 22), of the Philippines. Given Yamanaka's previous injury this is a very, very risky bout against a flawed but aggressive and hard hitting fighter and there is a real feeling of danger here for Yamanaka. If he wins however the rewards are a potential world title fight in 2023, marking what would be one of the most impressive comebacks in the sport in recent years.
A very notable 8 rounder on this card will see the unbeaten Kazuki Anaguchi (2-0, 2) step up in class to face his first international opponent, as he battles Filipino Ranelio Quizo (10-2, 3). Since making his debut, just over a year ago, Anaguchi has looked like the sort of fighter who will be fast tracked, and despite only having 6 professional rounds to his name he looks a potential title holder, at least on the regional or domestic level. As for Quizo he comes into this bout on 3 straight wins, including a 7th round TKO win over Philip Luis Cuerdo last time out, a bout that was longer than Anaguchi's entire career. Quizo has the tools to ask questions of Anaguchi, but we do feel the local fighter will take this opportunity to shine.
A third bout of note on this card will see bombs being thrown as visiting Filipino Jun Blazo (16-6-3, 12) takes on charismatic Japanese switch hitter Takahiro Tai (3-1, 3). The heavy handed Blazo has been a professional since 2014 and has proven to be a very dangerous fighter, even on his travels, famously dropping Koki Eto in 2016. Sadly for Blazo he enters this bout 0-5 in bouts in Japan, but he will perhaps feel this is a chance to score his first win on Japanese soil. As for Tai he's aggressive but flawed and whilst he certainly not a polished fighter, he is very entertaining, takes risks and tries to behead opponents. Expect this one to be a brutal and explosive war.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
As well as the notable shows in Osaka and Hyogo we are also have the Central Japan Rookie of the Year finals. Sadly Central is over an over-looked region of Japan and with the show coming on the same day as two other notable cards it's even easier to over-look this card.
One of the more notable bouts on this card will be at Super Bantamweight, as the once beaten Junya Kawai (3-1, 1) takes on the unbeaten Ken Shioda (4-0, 2). Aged 31, Kawai has won his last two bouts and bounced back well from a 2021 loss to Shunsuke Bunno, however there are question marks regarding his long term future in the sport, given he's now 31 and actually debuted all the way back in 2015. As for Shioda he debuted in May 2021 and has been active, with 4 wins in around 15 months, and he will feel his activity and age, given he's only 28, will play a role here in what should be a great fight.
Another bout worthy of some attention is a clash between young Minimumweights, as 19 year old Rento Miyazawa (2-1, 1) faces 18 year old Seiya Imai (2-0) in a rematch of a bout we had last November. The older man debuted in July 2021 and won his debut before losing his second bout, to the then debuting Imai. Coming in this Miyazawa will be looking to avenge that loss, whilst Imai will bee looking to repeat his win over his fellow youngster.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
The most notable Asian card this coming Saturday comes from Paranaque City and is a rather interesting one, with a mix of emerging names, and established names, though sadly it does lack in terms of really good match ups.
One of the most notable of the emerging hopefuls on the show is 23 year old Aljum Pelesio (10-1, 5), who we hope to see stepping up in class next year. Here is expected to get a confidence building win, as he takes on the very limited Bonjun Loperez (12-15-1, 6). Given that Pelesio lost in 2019, and has only fought once since that loss, it's hard to complain too much about a bout like this, which is clearly there for him to build his self belief and get some rounds, but we do hope we don't see too many bouts like this for the youngster.
Another once beaten hopeful on this show is 22 year old Gary Tamayo (6-1, 3), who takes on 33 year old Danny Tampipi (9-15-2, 5). The bout is a good chance for Tamayo to get some rounds with a southpaw, who he should beat, and at this stage experience against difference will serve him well. Fingers crossed however 2023 will be the year when he steps up and takes on tougher tests.
Arguably the most well matched of the youngsters on the show is 24 year old Bryan Tamayo (7-2-2, 2), who takes on former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan (30-9-6, 9). Although no world beater himself Tamayo showed he was certainly not a poor fighter last year, when he gave Arthur Villanueva a good work out, and he should be able to beat Pabustan here, and hopefully kick on with more fights against higher level domestic foes in the coming year or two.
When it comes to more notable and well known fighters, this card will see Roland Jay Biendima (15-11-1, 8) in action against Powell Balaba (9-32-1, 5), in what should be an easy win of Biendima, and the always tricky Richard Pumicpic (22-12-3, 7), who takes on Edison Berwela (18-44-8, 6). These are both horrific mismatches, and are done as little more than to get Biendima a win, after 6 straight losses, and keep Pumicpic busy.
There is also a second Filipino card scheduled, this time in Cavite. This is a smaller show than the other Filipino show, though does feature a number of promising young hopefuls.
The most notable of the hopefuls here is the once beaten John Mark Tihuk (6-1-2, 2), who looks to score his latest win as he takes on the limited Margarito Moya (9-11, 3). The 23 year old Tihuk has won his last 4, following a 2019 loss to Aljum Pelesio, and although still very much a young novice, is someone worth keeping an eye on. Sadly Moya has lost his last 9, all by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him lasting 8 rounds with Tihuk here, despite the fact Tihuk isn't much of a puncher.
Other prospects on this card include Kenneth Llover (4-0, 4), who faces Miller Alapormina (5-2-1, 3) in a pretty interesting test, and John Vincent Pangga (4-0, 2), who takes on Joel Taduran (8-11-2, 2). Neither of these are big bouts, but are a chance for the unbeaten man to tick along and continue their development with out too much fuss and attention.
176BOX, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
We're also set to see notable prospects in action in Japan, as Osaka plays host to a card with two promising and unbeaten Japanese fighters.
On of the unbeaten fighters is former All Japan Rookie of the Year Sora Fukunaga (10-0, 5), who puts his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on all action warrior Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). The talented 24 year old Fukunaga struggled to build on his Rookie of the Year triumph, which came in February 2021, though a win here would seriously help move his career forward and boost his standing in the Japanese boxing world. The reason for that is the fact the 25 year old Yamashita, yes some how he's only 25, has long been a popular and exciting warrior who makes for good fights and does have a name that means something, despite numerous set backs in recent years. At one point Yamashita seemed like one to watch, with his youth, heavy hands, and aggression. This should be a genuinely exciting bout, but the size of Fukunaga should be the difference.
The other prospect of note on the show is Kaito Yamasaki (2-0, 1), who takes a big step up to take on Koshin Takeshima (4-2-1, 3). The 23 year old Yamasaki made his name in the amateur ranks and is widely expected to move through the ranks and make a big name for himself in the future, with his combination of skills, power and amateur experience. Takeshima was tipped for big things himself, and won his first 4 bouts, but has now gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, and will know another loss here will leave him in a big hole if he ever intends to become a domestic title contender. This should be a bout with impressive skills on show, and over 8 rounds could be a hard one to call.
Dawrpui Multipurpose Hall, Aizawl, India
We also have a small show in India. Sadly more than half of this card are bouts between debutants, but there two men with some recorded bouts to their name.
One of the men with some experience on this show is HC Lalramfela (2-0, 1), who scored two wins last year and will be looking to record his third one here, as he takes on Akoijam Naoton Meitei (0-0). The other fighter with some experience is C Lalhruaitluanga (2-0, 1), who seeks his third win as he takes on Laishram Ronalson Khuman (0-0). Sadly this is a step back for Lalhruaitluanga, who seemed to be moving his career forward.
Although this show is hard to get excited about, it is a sign that Indian boxing is slowly putting down the foundations for it to build off, and that is certainly not a bad things, just a very slow process.
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
The most notable fighter competing in a bout outside of Asia here is Chinese Heavyweight Junlong Zhang (18-0, 18), with the infamous "Dragon King" making his international debut, and battling against Mexican fighter Guillermo Casas (10-2-1, 6). For years Zhang was a bit of a mystery man, with those mysteries becoming even more telling when bouts of his were reported exhibitions bouts, and then he seemed to vanish. He's now not had a recorded bout in almost 5 years, and it really is hard to know what the 40 year old has left in the tank, or whether he ever really had anything in the tank. As for Casas the 27 year old Mexican has been a regular at the popular Big Punch Arena in Tijuana, and will be making his international debut here. It's hard to read much into his record, but his competition has, so far, been poor, as one expected om the Mexican Heavyweight scene.
The Bomb Factory, Dallas, Texas, USA
In the US we'll see Uzbekistani fighter Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (18-2, 14) look to bounce back from his 2021 loss to Will Madera, as he takes on Charles Hatley (30-2-1, 21) for the WBC United States Welterweight title. The talented Najmitdinov looked like he could be something special when he was robbed back in 2017 against Viktor Postol, but sadly he then ended up treading water before making his US debut last year, and losing to Madero after suffering an injury. As loss here against Hatley will likely be the end of Najmitdinov as any kind of hopeful. As for Hatley, he's a former world title challenger, who challenged Jermell Charlo back in 2017, and has gone unbeaten since losing to Charlo. Hatley will be the clear favourite, though he really can't afford to over the Uzbekistani, as we know Najmitdinov is better than his loss to Madera suggests.
Art Center, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The most notable of three Japanese shows this coming Sunday is in Hyogo, where we get a card from Senrima Kobe Promotions.
The main event of the card will see two Japanese ranked Super Flyweights battling against each other as Hiroki Tokuyama (10-3-1, 2) clashes with Ryosuke Nasu (12-7-3, 2), and going in the two men will know that a win will push them to within a fight or two of a Japanese title fight. It will also be an interesting bout with a bit of history given these two men fought in August 2020, with Nasu winning a clear decision. Of the two men Nasu is the more more proven, and he holds a win over Tokuyama, but he has lost his 2 bouts and was surprisingly stopped by Sonin Nihei in April. Tokuyama on the other hand has bounce back from his loss to Nasu with a win over Shunji Nagata and will be looking to build on that win. We don't expect this bee the best bout of the weekend, but it should be a compelling bout between two men each looking to move their career forward.
In another interesting match up the 30 year old Hiroyuki Takahara (9-3, 6) will be looking to over-come Ryuya Nihei (5-2-1, 1) in what could be a very hard to call 6 rounder. Takahara has the experience and has got real momentum coming in to this, having won his last 5 bouts, dating back almost 4 years, including a notable win over Tom Mizokoshi last year. Nihei on the other hand is the younger man, at 23, but also the one struggling for form, with just a single win in his last 4 bouts and losses in his last 2.
A third bout of interest here will see professional novices Josuke Nagata (1-0) and Tomoki Kawasaki (1-1) clash in a 6 rounder. Nagata made his debut in June, beating Koji Tsurumi in an impressive performance and it was clear that he's certainly one to watch going forward, and someone with a decent amateur background. Though of course he's a novice who will need time to develop. Kawasaki on the other hand was a good amateur himself who lost to Jukiya Iimura on debut, in June, before bouncing back with a win in September. Whilst neither of these men have much professional experience, but are young, hungry fighters, who were good amateurs, are clearly skilled fighters and aren't scared of facing good competition from the off as they look to develop and progress quickly at the start of their careers.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
A second Japanese show will be in Aichi, where we see a couple of interesting looking 6 rounders.
The main event on this show will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Hiroya Nojima (7-1, 3) take on Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2). The once beaten Nojima has reeled off 4 straight wins since a 2019 loss to Hoare Yasui, and won the the All Japan Rookie of the Year this past February. On paper this is a step up for him, but he comes into it with momentum and on the back of a blow out win over Shoma Okada in July. As for Nishikawa he is 1-3-1 in his last 5, and really needs a win now. Nishikawa has no momentum coming in to this, but will fight like a man who needs a victory, and could be a banana skin for the promising Nojima.
The second bout of note on this card, and the planned chief support bout, will see 30 year old veteran Takahiro Murai (15-9-2, 5) take on unbeaten 22 year old Atsuki Nakamura (5-0-1, 3). On paper this is a hard one to call, especially given that that neither man has been all that active in recent years. Murai did fight this past July, but that was his only bout since in over 3 years, and it's hard to know what he has left to offer, especially given he's 1-3 in his last 4 dating back more than 5 years. Nakamura on the other hand hasn't fought since December 2019, and we do wonder whether ring rust will be a problem for him here.
Chres Gym, Kochi, Kochi, Japan
A third Japanese show will take place in Kochi, and will be headlined by an 8 rounder between Sora Fukunaga (9-0, 4) and Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2). The unbeaten Fukunaga won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight back in February, but has sadly not fought since beating Yuki Yazan in that final. Notably this will be his first 8 rounder and in fact his first bout scheduled for more than 5 rounds. As for Kimoto he's yet to achieve anything of note, though his record is very, very misleading and all 5 of his losses have been razor thin, including a notable one against Tom Mizokoshi in 2019. We suspect Fukunaga will take home his 10th win here, but he will have to work for it.
Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad, India
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in India. This show isn't a big one, but the main event is certainly worth being aware of.
That main event will see unbeaten Indian hopeful Karthik Sathish Kumar (7-0, 3) look to win the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Lightweight title as he takes on Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (29-15-2, 11), who will be having his 47th bout. Kumar will be favoured, after all he's at home, he's unbeaten and he's the younger man, though this is a massive leap up in class for him, and his competition so far has been novices and very limited fighters. Tito on the other hand is no world beater, but he can notch the odd upset, as we saw in April when he beat countryman Hebi Marapu. If Tito is hungry he could well pick up his 30th professional win here, and score 3 wins in a row for the first time since 2013!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Sunday we will see last year's All Japan Rookie of the Year tournament come to an end, ending a tournament that has seen it's final pushed back 2 months, from it's original December date, due to Covid19. Despite the delay the finals are still set to be something special, and will be shown live on G+, though sadly the event will be a fan-less one.
Rather than going through the full card, which will feature 12 bouts in total, we'll just talk about a few that we think will be the most fun to watch, or have the best long term prospects involved.
The first bout we think could be a little bit special is the Super Flyweight bout, which will see Shunpei Kubo (6-1-1, 4) clash with Taichi Sugimoto (6-0-1, 1). To reach this bout Kubo had to upset Kosuke Tomioka in the East Japan final, in what was a genuine surprise, and he'll be flying high here. Despite his loss, suffered in 2019, Kubo has gone 4 fights unbeaten and will feel a huge boost of confidence following the win over the highly fancied Tomioka. Sugimoto on the other hand is a 22 year old who drew his secnd professional bout, but has since bounced back with 5 straight wins, and has shown he's very comfortable with the 4 round distance.
At Super Bantamweight Yuki Yazan (7-2, 4) will battle the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (8-0, 4) in a really good looking match up. The 29 year old Yazan has won his last 4 and was incredibly active last year, fighting 4 times in 2020. Despite that he did struggle in one of those bouts, but his route to the Rookie of the Year final did look rather easy, as he barely lost a round in his 3 Rookie bouts. Fukunaga on the other hand is 23 years old, has stopped 4 of his last 5 though did struggle against Ren Nishimura in November, and it's clear that if he can't take opponents out he might be well struggle.
In the Super Featherweight bout the heavy handed Tsubasa Narai (6-0, 5) will take on fellow unbeaten fighter Seika Fukuda (5-0, 1). The 21 year old Narai has been really impressive in the Rookie of the Year, reaching the all Japan final with 3 straight stoppage wins, and it's clear he'll enter with the confidence of a man in great form and self belief. Fukuda on the other hand is a 21 year old non puncher. Despite not having much in terms of power Fukuda looked very good last time out, and, as an unbeaten fighter himself, will also be full of confidence. This should be a very interesting match up.
Another match up pitting unbeaten men against each other will see Eiki Kani (3-0-2, 1) take on Katsuhiro Nakata (5-0, 4). The 19 year old Kani reached the final following a brilliant 4 round bout with Kenji Yoshino, and he has shown an aggressive, exciting style, but it looks like he can be hurt. At 19 he is still a kid, but he has a very, very fan friendly style and will mature into a better fighter in the years to come. Nakata on the other hand is 29 years old and is an out and out puncher, with 4 stoppages in his 5 career bouts. If Kani gets into a fire fight he could be in trouble but his tenacity could be a problem for Nakata, and this could be a very, very explosive match up.
This coming Sunday is a busy for Asian fight fans, with two shows in Japan and a show in Kazakhstan. None of the big names in action are big names, but there is a lot of talent in action across the three shows and a lot young, promising prospects in action.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
For us the best of the action is expected to come from Aichi where Midori put on a show under the Green Dream banner. It's not a big show, but it should be a very interesting one.
The main event here will see the very well regarded Masanori Rikiishi (8-1, 4) look to continue his rise through the Japanese domestic scene as he takes on Soreike Taichi (7-3, 5). The very talented Rikiishi is one of the most promising Japanese Lightweights and it's going to be interesting to see where he goes next year, but for us this is very much a stay busy fight for him, before bigger and better bouts. As for Taichi he's a decent fighter, but it's hard to imagine him having success at Lightweight against someone as good as Rikishii.
In the main supporting bout Japanese ranked Flyweight Katsuya Murakami (8-2-1, 2) will be up against Kazunori Yorimasa (5-6-3, 2). Coming in to this Murakami will be looking to get his career back on track after a competitive loss last year to Yuga Inoue, and will be expected to pick up the win against a relatively over-matched Yorimasa. Although Yorimasa is unbeaten in his last 3 here's certainly no world beater and we don't see him being any kind of banana skin for Murakami.
Possibly the best looking match up on the show will see the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori (6-2-1, 6) battle against Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2-1, 1) in a really good one. The hard hitting Kazunori scored a brutal KO last time we saw him, blasting out Lerdchai Chaiyawed, and he'll be looking to leave another mark here. Iwasaki is a much lighter puncher than Kazunori, but is the naturally bigger man, and his win over Ryuku Nagamine proved he had grit and determination. This could be a great bout between the power of Kazunori and the skills and toughness of Iwasaki.
This show is also set to feature a public work out from Japanese hopeful Mitsuro Tajima, who is expected to talk about his debut as well as show what he can do in the scheduled short work out.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
As well as the show in Kariya there is also a Japanese card in Osaka, as we move on in the West Japan Rookie of the Year. In total there 11 bouts set for this show, but we'll just quickly over a few of the more interesting ones.
At Flyweight we're going to be getting a 5 rounder between Hibiki Takano (4-2-1) and Yasuhiro Kanzaki (4-1, 1). The 22 year old Takano lost his first 2 of his first 3 bouts but has turned things around well and is 3-0-1 in his last 4 bouts, though he's yet to score a win against an opponent with a winning record. Kanzaki on the other hand has proven himself against better fighters, but was beaten last around a year ago and it'll be interesting to see how he fairs here, especially given his close win back in September against the debuting Daichi Morino.
In a Super Bantamweight bout Ren Nishimura (2-1) will take on the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (6-0, 3), who many regard as one of the hot favourites for the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown. The 24 year old Nishimura was stopped in his debut, by Ryuya Tsugawa, and has since bounced back with two decision wins, including a razor thin one back in September. Fukunaga on the other hand debuted in 2018, won his first 3 bouts by decision and has started to find his power, with 3 success T/KO wins. A win for Nishimura here would be a genuine upset.
At Featherweight we'll see 22 year old Kakeru Mio (5-2, 3) look to build on a win in September as he takes on unbeaten puncher Takato Shibata (3-0, 3). After starting his career 3-0 Mio has struggled, and gone 2-2 in his last 4, however he did drop to Featherweight earlier this year and seems to be more suited to the lighter weight. Shibata on the other hand is unbeaten and has been destroying fighters, taking out his first 3 opponents in just 3 rounds. We suspect this will be a test for Shibata, but if his power is legit it's hard to bet against him here.
Up at Middleweight Mitsuyoshi Oshima (2-0) will clash with Katsuhiro Nakata (3-0, 2) in a bout between unbeaten 160lb fighters. Whilst Middleweight is rarely division that gets much attention in Japan it is a division where Rookie of the Year fighters can be moved quickly, and both men will know a win here and they could, potentially, be just 4 or 5 fights from a Japanese title fight. Going in Nakata will be the favourite, and he appears to have most of the advantages, however the 31 year old Oshima will know a loss here will likely end any hope he has for getting a big fight in the future.
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in Kazakhstan. The card is full of novices, but still manages, some how, to a quadruple title show, with 4 minor titles on the show.
At 154lbs we'll see Miras Ertanov (1-0) take on Daryn Imakhanov (1-0) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title. Whilst we love to see fighters on the fast track, we also like to see fighters doing something to earn a chance, and in reality neither of these men have done anything to deserve a title fight. Both won 6 round debuts on September 23, and are being rushed into the ring against each other to seemingly fill a vacancy. Something you'll see with all 4 of the title bouts here.
Another bout at 154lbs will see Nurbol Sultanbay (2-0, 1) and Yerasyl Akranbek (1-0) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth title, which has never previously been fought for. Akranbek was another fighter who debuted on September 23rd, taking a split decision in his debut, whilst Sultanbay debuted in February and picked up his second win September. Despite the extra experienced Sultanbay's first two opponents were both debutants.
A second WBO Asia Pacific Youth champion will be crowned at Super Featherweight as Torgynbek Amirov (1-0) and Nurbolat Bekbauov (1-0, 1) both clash in their second professional bouts. We don't think anyone will be surprised by this, but both of these men debuted on September 23rd, and beat novices. Interestingly this particular title does have some history. In fact it dates way back to 2007 and has been held by the likes of William Kicket, Allan Tanada, Nathaniel May and Joe Noynay.
Amazingly the title bout with the most experience between the fighters is a bout between Nursultan Isakhan (1-0, 1) and Alimzhan Tursunov (3-0, 2), who will be battling for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title. The 20 year old Tursonov, with 3 bouts, is the second most experienced man on the entire show. Tursonov debuted in 2019, scored 2 wins before the year was over, and also on the September 23rd card. That September card was also the one that Isakhan made his debut on.
Whilst some of the fighters involved in the title bouts may have been good amateurs it's hard to understand how 8 men, with a combined 11 bouts, have all qualified for these minor, and currently vacant, titles. A bit of a farce for all involved.
Capio, Tsukuba, Ibaragi, Japan
This coming Sunday we see two cards in Japan. Neither are big, though the most notable of those comes from Ibaragi.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (31-9-6, 21) take on Hibiki Jogo (10-2, 5) in an 8 round match up. Aged 31 Takahashi is probably coming to the end of his career, but the teak tough and exciting Bantamweight may manage to have one more charge towards a title fight. Takahashi is currently in the JBC and WBO Asia Pacific rankings, but will know a loss here would likely see him being removed from those. Jogo on the other hand came runner up in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and despite a set back in 2018 has won 3 in a row to give him some momentum here. We suspect Takahashi will be the favourite here, but we do imagine he'll have to work for the win.
In a brilliant Light Flyweight bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) take on the very, very highly regarded and talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (2-0-1, 1). This has the potential to be the show stealing bout here. Since winning Rookie of the Year Kameyama has struggled for form, losing to Shokichi Iwata and Yuga Inoue, but will see this as a chance to end that slide. Horikawa on the other hand looked sensational in his win over Yuki Nakajima and was very unlucky last time out against Xiang Li, in a draw. This could be a very exciting bout.
The third bout of real interest here will see 2019 Rookie of the Year runner up Yuta Ashina (4-2) take on Yuya Nemoto (6-8-3, 1). Despite losing last December Ashina showed enough to want to follow him and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here, and he's incredibly exciting for those who haven't seen him. Aged 34 and with just 1 win in his last 7 it's easy to assume that Nemoto isn't won't be competitive, but Nemoto did score a win last time out and is unbeaten in his last 3. We suspect Ashina will be asked questions by the veteran, but should still take the win here with his aggression and work rate
Green Tsuda Gym, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The other Japanese card is a West Japan Rookie of the Year show from the Green Tsuada Gym, with 9 bouts on this card. This is the second Rookie of the Year card at the Osakan gym in recent days, following one last weekend.
The most interesting of the bouts on this show, for us, is a Super Bantamweight clash between the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (5-0, 2) and the stop of be stopped Shuya Kuwabuchi (2-1, 2). The 22 year old Fukunaga debuted in 2018 and since then has barely dropped a round, and shown improving power, stopping his last 2. Kuwabuchi on the other hand has yet to see the final bell, but was stopped last time out. We expect fireworks here.
Another Rookie bout on this card worthy of attention will be the debut of Daichi Morino (0-0), who takes on 20 year old Yasuhiro Kanzaki (3-1, 1) at Flyweight. Morino turns pro after running up a 2-1 amateur record and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here as he begins his professional career. As for Kanzaki he started his career perfectly, with 3 straight wins, but did lose last time out and will be desperate to get back to winning ways here.
Osaka Teiken put on their next show this coming Sunday, and whilst it's not a big one it is one with a couple of bouts that have caught our attention.
One of those bouts will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Yuri Takemoto (7-1-1, 4) taking on Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-10-1, 4) in an 8 round bout. The talented Takemoto lost early in his career,m in his second bout, but has since gone 6-0-1 and won the All Japan Rooki of the Year last year, when he beat Hikari Mineta in the final. He's tipped as one to watch and should have the tools to shine here. Takabayashi on the other hand is a 30 year old veteran who has 20 bouts behind him, and has mixed with good company, including the likes of Shota Hayashi, Ye Joon Kim, Yuta Saito and Gakuya Furuhashi. Sadly for Takabayashi he has come up short against his most notable opponents and this is likely to continue here.
Unbeaten youngster Sora Fukunaga (3-0) is also worth making a note of here, and he to repeat his June win over Yuto Nonoguchi (3-4, 1). Although not very well known the 21 year old Fukunaga is a talented youngster who debuted just a year ago and is still really trying to find his footing. In June he did take a very clear win over Nonoguchi, but will be looking for an even clearer win this time out.