Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Saturday attention will be on Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, for a really interesting Ohashi Gym card, headlined by a regional title bout and featuring several notable prospects on the under-card, along with a battle of veterans.
The main event of the card will see the highly skilled Pete Apolinar (16-2, 10) look to make his first defense of the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on hard hitting Japanese hopeful Yoshiki Takei (4-0, 4). The talented champion, from the Philippines, won the title in April, with an excellent KO win over Jhunriel Ramonal, but he will be up against someone who is looking to prove a point and has already shown scary power since making his professional debut in March 2021. Of the two men the more technically schooled if Apolinar, who has a slippery style and 109 rounds to his name, however he has been stopped twice and Takei is building a reputation as a brutish puncher, taking just 5 rounds to win his first 4 bouts. If Takei can't finish this one early it will a very, very interesting contest. Our preview of this out can be read here OPBF champion Apolinar faces hard hitting hopeful Takei
The aforementioned battle of veterans will see 43 year old Ribo Takahata (17-10-1, 7) take on 40 year old former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-7-2, 13), in a bout where the loser will almost certainly retire, and the winner may well make the same decision. Takahata enters the bout on the back of 2 stoppage losses in his last 3 bouts, but is a tough, awkward fighter with a relaxed style, sadly however his style does depend on him still having good reactions and they have stated to face. As for Okada, he's 1-1-1 in his last 3, but those bouts date 4 years years now, and he's a long way from being the fighter he once was. The really does have the feeling of two men battling to end their careers.
One of the notable prospects on the under-card is the very highly regarded Taiga Imanaga (1-0, 1), who returns to the ring just 2 months after his professional debut. The highly touted Imanaga, who is tipped for major success in the professional ranks, will be facing off with Filipino visitor John Lawrence Ordonio (7-3-1, 4), who will be making his Japanese debut. Imanaga was a stand out amateur, who has been viewed as part of the next generation of stars from the Ohashi Gym, and this is a credible step up for him, against a man who could easily be 10-1, with his only decisive loss coming to the hard hitting Antonio Siesmundo in April.
Another highly regarded young hopeful is Kaiyu Toyoshima (1-0), who debuted last October, with a good win over Shohei Horii, and will now be looking to over-come fellow novice Akkhaphon Ngamkaeo (1-0, 1), from Thailand. Toyoshima was a solid amateur and is tipped for notable success in the professional ranks, despite the relative slow start to his career, and he an his team will feel he'll be the comfortable winner here, against the teenage Thai traveller.
New Delhi, India
As well as the show in Japan there is also a smaller card in India, taking place in New Delhi.
The most noteworthy bout on this card will see Gaurav (7-1, 4) take on Saurabh Kumar (6-0, 3), in a rematch of a bout the two men had back in January. In their first bout Kumar took a split decision over Gaurav, to give him his sole loss, and it's fair to say that history between the two men could well fuel this bout. Guarav has fought once since then, picking up a rather pointless win in July, whilst Kumar has notched two wins, and has managed to pick up some meaningful ring time.
In a 6 rounder we'll see Honey (2-1) take on Keisham Luckyson Singh (4-0, 4), with the 21 year old Singh being favoured here. Honey's loss came in 2019, when he was stopped, and whilst Singh might not be a star in the making he can certainly punch, as we suspect we'll see here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday we get the next notable card from Ohashi Gym, who have a mouth watering card with two title bouts and a host of young, emerging, prospects.
The main event will see unbeaten fighter Masayoshi Hashizume (19-0-2, 11) look to make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, as he takes on former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (16-1, 9), in what is an incredibly important bout for both men. Hashizume scored his most notable win last time out, when he took a decision over Akio Furutani to claim the WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles, and despite long being touted as one to watch he still lacks that B+ type win. A win he however would change that massively, and would really help him establish himself as a legitimate contender on the world stage. As for Tanaka this will be his second bout since losing to Kazuto Ioka at the end of 2020, and will see him looking to build on his 2021 win over Sho Ishida. Notably this will only be Tanaka's second bout at Korakuen Hall, and will see him return to the venue where he claimed his first professional title, way back in October 2014. He'll go in to this knowing he needs a win if he's to get a second shot at a Super Flyweight world title, and the pressure is all on Tanaka, despite the fact he's the challenger. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tanaka challenges regional champion Hashizume!
The other title bout on this card will see Yoshiki Minato (10-5, 5) and Yasuhiro Kanzaki (7-2-1, 2) battle for the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title. Coming in to this we have seen Minato really struggling, losing 4 of his last 6 including one to Masayoshi Hashizume last year, though he is a talent and aged just 23 we wouldn't write him off at all. Sadly though he does need time to build so momentum and his 2020 win over Kohei Oba is easily forgotten now. As for Kanzaki he's 21 years old and reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2020, losing in the final to Akira Hoshuyama. Despite that loss he showed the level he can compete at and he should come into this bout thinking this is his time to shine. Going in to this we expect to see both men putting on a great show in what should be a very good technical bout between two talented youngster looking to make their mark on the sport. Our preview of this bout can be read here Minato and Kanzaki battle for Japanese Youth title
The leading support bout from the under-card will see the touted Keisuke Matsumoto (4-0, 4) look to extend his perfect record as he faces his first international opponent, Thailand's Nakharin Hangyu (4-1, 2). The promising Matsumoto looks like a kid with natural power, and very good size, but we're still yet to see anything close to he can really deliver and he is clearly a work in progress, albeit a very advanced work in progress and more well developed than most 4-0 fighters. The Thai visitor is someone who's untested, and is taking a big step up here, and we don't expect him to offer much competition to someone with the promise of Matsumoto.
In another notable under-card bout Japanese ranked 154lb hopeful Rikuto Adachi (16-3, 12) taking on Hisashi Kato (10-10-2, 6). Aged 24 Adachi has time on his hands, and even with 3 losses to his name there is no reason to write him off, though he is very much a work in progress and really needs to develop defensively given his last 2 losses have both come by stoppage. He is someone with a lot of potential, but his team do need to let him develop slowly, and he needs to be given time to fill out his frame. As for Kato the 36 year old southpaw is no world beater but should have the tools to ask some questions of Adachi, especially with his lefty stance.
The card also feature the much anticipated debut of former Japanese amateur standout Taiga Imanaga (0-0), who kicks off his professional career with a bout against Takahiro Hamazaki (3-8-3, 1). The 22 year old Imanaga is tipped for big things, and whilst his debut isn't a tough one, at least on paper, the bout will give him a chance to show what he can do and hopefully help settle him into the pro-style of boxing before bigger and better bouts later in the year. As for Hamazaki, the 36 year old is 1-5-3 in his last 9 and isn't expected to do much more than survive a few rounds with the talented former amateur.