For the second day running Japanese fans get the chance to see action at the Korakuen Hall including the retirement ceremony of a domestic legend as well as the return to the ring of a very exciting 140lb fighter who found himself coming up short last time out.
The fighter who is taking part in his retirement ceremony is former 5-weight Japanese champion Tadashi Yuba (46-10-2, 33) who won national titles from Lightweight to Middleweight in a sensational career that included wars, knockouts, heartbreak and a lot of fun. Sadly however Yuba lost 2 of his last 3 bouts, both in the last 12 months, and at 38 years old he is heading off into retirement.
One man who will be continuing despite a loss last time out is Shinya Iwabuchi (23-5, 19), who was stopped by Keita Obara in an OPBF title fight. Iwabuchi, who was previously ranked in the top 15 by the WBO, is always exciting to watch he'll be hoping to get back to winning ways when he takes on Venezuelan journeyman Luis Araguayan (11-7, 6). We believe Araguayan was the third choice opponent for Iwabuchi and this shouldn't be a tough test for the exciting Japanese fighter, who we are huge fans of.
Iwabuchi's fight is the main event bout and is one of just two bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. The other 8 rounder will see promising southpaw Kenta Nakagawa (8-2, 6) battle against light hitting veteran Takashi Nishimura (8-12-1, 1). Nakagawa comes into this bout on a run of 6 straight wins and will be expecting to extend that run against Nishimura who has won just 1 of his last 6 bouts.
The rest of the card is relatively weak though there is a well matched female bout between the unbeaten Aiko Yamagishi (4-0-1, 2) and the once beaten Yunoka Furukawa (4-1-2, 2). Whilst we won't pretend this is a mouth watering match up it does look very even on paper and could turn out to be a fantastic and competitive contest.
The card features a pair of Lightweight bouts each scheduled for 5 rounds in what appear to be B class tournament bouts. One of those will see Tsubasa Matsuo (8-3, 4) take on Manato Honma (7-3, 4) whilst the other will see the heavy handed Ryosuke Takami (5-1, 4) battle against Shintaro Nakamura (5-3-1, 2). Of the 4 men involved here Takami looks like the one with the most upside though he was stopped in the 2013 Rookie of the year final by Ryuji Ikeda in what was his most notable bout to date.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
Action is back at the Korakuen Hall for the second successive day this week for a show that has got us a little bit excited without truly blowing us away.
The most exciting of the bouts, by far, is the OPBF Light Middleweight title bout which sees experienced Filipino Dennis Laurente (48-5-5, 29) battling against Japanese veteran Tadashi Yuba (46-9-2, 33). The vacant title, recently given up by Koji Numata, is a major reward for the winner though it could spell the end for the loser with both men turning 38 next year. This promises excitement, action and although it won't be the most skilful bout we get in “The Hall” this month it could potentially be one of the most out-and-out fun.
In the chief support bout fan will see Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (10-1, 6) fighting French visitor David Radeff (5-8-2, 2). This bout is a direct comparison bout for Fujimoto who will be trying to do a better job against Radeff than Nobuhiro Ishida did earlier this year. Ishida clearly beat Radeff on points in their bout, back in September, and Fujimoto will be hoping to stop the French visitor to indirectly prove he's much better than his more experience compatriot. We're a bit disappointed by the actual bout but we do understand it and why it's been made.
Although unlikely to get as much there are 3 very interesting under-card bouts on this show.
One of those undercard bouts will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (25-7, 10) battling against the returning Kinshiro Usui (21-4, 10). Usui has been inactive for more than 3 though will be expected to come back with some new found desire and although he's close to 35 we suspect he'll feel he can beat Serie who is himself a faded force. We could end up with a potentially exciting contest or a dud depending on what Usui has left in the tank.
Another of the under-card bouts will see Yuta Matsuo (6-1-1, 4) battle against Yota Hori (12-2-2, 7). This is an incredibly even match up even if it's not something that will really excite international fans. We're unsure who'll be favoured here though it's clear that both men will be coming to win and that the action should be very competitive.
Arguably the pick of under-card bouts is a Flyweight contest at the unbeaten Katsunori Nagamine (9-0, 6) steps in against Ryuto Oho (6-1-1, 2). Both guys caught our eye in 2013 with Nagamine stepping up to 8 rounders in the middle of the year whilst Oho managed to win the Flyweight Rookie of the Year, an award Nagamine actually won in 2012. Unfortunately whilst both guys have looked great in the past they've had very poor 2014's with Nagamine not fighting at all this year whilst Oho is 0-1-1 for the year. This really is a bout both men need to win to make sure they haven't had a year that's to be written off, however both guys are young and a loss isn't the end of the world for either of them.
As well as the 5 bouts spoken about there will be one other under-card bout on this show.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Sometimes bouts just look great. They don't need titles attached to them, they don't need big names, they don't need HBO or Showtime to tell us how good they are going to be because we just know they will be good. This Wednesday sees one such bout as former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (18-1, 18) battles the unbeaten Masayuki Ito (14-0-1, 6). The fight, dubbed "The Battle" is a contest that looked great when it was signed and looks even better now we're close to it.
For those who don't know about the fighters Nakamura is another Japanese Super Featherweight with stunning power. His 18 stoppages have included an opening round blow out of Thai veteran Fahsai Sakkreerin and a victory over the previously unbeaten Allan Tanada for the OPBF title. Unfortunately for Nakamura his reign as OPBF champion was short lived and he was stopped just 61 seconds into his first defence by Ronald Pontillas. As for Ito he's a arguably a more skilled fighter though he's less tested and has considerably less power. We'd expect Nakamura to win but he'll likely be given some difficulties before the bout is through.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see Japanese domestic legend, and multi-weight champion, Tadashi Yuba (45-9-2, 32) fighting against experienced but limited Filipino Dondon Lapuz (19-45-7, 7). Yuba is an exciting and hard hitting fighter who won Japanese titles from Lightweight all the way up to Middleweight and although he is limited he does bring a lot of fun to the ring, as shown in his Middleweight title thriller with Carlos Linares. As for Lapuz it's really hard to see him surviving long with Yuba.
Another very interesting bout between a Japanese fighter and a Filipino will be the contest between Hayato Kimura (21-6, 15) and the once beaten Michael Dasmarinas (16-1, 10). Going in to this bout Dasmarinas is riding a 13 fight winning streak though he has been facing very limited opposition. Kimura, also known as "Big Yoo" or Joon-In Yoo, began his career aged 16 and has scored some solid wins, including a good victory over Little Roseman, though has lost to a number of notable names such as AJ Banal and Oleydong Sithsamerchai. We need to favour Kimura here, due to his better level of competition, but Dasmarinas is certainly going to put up a good fight.
One final bout of note is a contest between Yusaku Kuga (8-1-1, 5) and Koji Aoki (16-7-2, 6). Kuga is a very promising 23 year old who holds a very good draw with the emerging Naoto Uebayashi and is ranked #11 in Japan at 122lbs. Aoki is clearly more experienced and has shared the ring with the likes of Hidenori Otake, Masaaki Serie, Mikihito Seto and Takafumi Nakajima though will know that this is very much a must win bout if he is to ever get a domestic title shot. We've simply got to say that this bout is the result of fantastic match making and a credit to both men for signing up to it.
With a further 4 bouts on this card it does look likely to be a great fight card and, if nothing else, fans are likely to see some explosive knockouts.
In Australia fans will get the chance to see South Korea's Joon-Yong Lee (4-1-3, 2) battle against the unbeaten Rocky Jerkic (7-0, 5). It would take a career best performance for Lee to beat Jerkic but it's a bout where Lee has nothing to lose and no expectation on his shoulders.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the great things about the Asian boxing scene is that no days seem to be off limits for big fighters. In the US and through much of Europe the big fights only take place on a Saturday night with some "B grade" world title fights being fought on a Friday. In Asia however it seems every day has the potential to be a boxing day. This is made obvious this week as we get three major title fights on a Tuesday!
Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima
The first title fight of the day is also the most important bout of the day and takes place in Thailand. What makes this one the most important is that it's for the WBA "interim" Flyweight title. Sure it may not be the full version of the title but with the bouts we've had for it in recent years it's hard to deny that the fighters view it as just an interim belt. Last year we saw Koki Eto rip this very belt from the hands of Kompayak Porpramook in a thriller, then we saw Eto get beaten up and grind down as he lost it in his first defense.
The man who beat Eto for the title is Thailand's unheralded Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (33-2, 20) who may not be a big name but is a big talent. He'll be hoping to prove that once again as he attempts to defend his belt for the first time and battles former Japanese national champion Takuya Kogawa (22-3, 13) in what is potentially another war for the belt.
Kogawa is skilled and experienced though he is 0-1 in fights in Thailand and in world title fights and Japanese fighters have had notoriously bad luck in world title fights in Thailand.
We honestly think Kogawa winning would be an upset though we can't see him going down with out putting up a real fight in what promises to be a memorable affair.
In regards to rest of the card, we really don't know what to expect. We're expecting it to be televised on Thai TV though just what will be televised is a whole different question.
Whilst we get the interim world title fight in Thailand we also get a Japanese title double header in Japan, under the guise of Dangan 95".
The first of the title fights will see the unbeaten stoppage machine Hiroki Okada (7-0, 7) attempt to claim his first title, the vacant Japanese Light Welterweight title. In Okada's way is the tough, though limited Masayoshi Kotake (9-7-1, 5). Kotake, who is a tricky southpaw, is expected to cause Okada some problems, though we still expect Okada's power and strength to over-come Kotake.
Following the Japanese Light Welterweight title bout we get the second Japanese title bout as the legendary Tadashi Yuba (45-8-2, 32) attempts to make the second defense of his Japanese Light Middleweight title. Unfortunately for Yuba things aren't that easy and he'll have take on Takayuki Hosokawa (24-10-3, 8) who has already run Yuba incredibly close in a fight a few years back.
Although Hosokawa doesn't have the greatest of records he is a decent fighter and is much younger than the champion and has already given him fits. Although it's Yuba's bout to lose there is plenty of risk in the contest.
As well as the two title fights we're expecting 4 other contests, the most notable of which will feature Dai Iwai (13-3-1, 5) fighting in a testing contest with Shogo Ishikawa (10-5, 3). This may not b a great contest on paper but it's a well.