The most notable action this coming Wednesday comes from Thailand, where we see a much anticipated bout, that is sadly being fought after it was allowed to marinate too long and lost of the lustre it once had.
The bout in question will see WBA Minimumweight "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (23-0, 9) defending his title against former long term WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-2-0-1, 19). This bout was the most demanded bout at 105lbs, just 2 years ago when both men were world champions. Since then however Wanheng has suffered two losses to Panya Pradabsri, though both were razor thin and controversial, and the loss of the WBC title has seen this bout lose a lot of the shine it had. The bouts also suffers from the fact Wanheng is now 36, and has suggested retiring in the past. As for Knockout, the 31 year old is a long reigning champion and will be favoured here. Saying that a win over Wanheng, even a Wanhneg with 2 losses, would be the biggest win in Knockout's career, and help further enhance his reputation as one of the best fighters at 105lbs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Knockout and Wanheng clash at last!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Japan we have a low level card, which is being held in honour of former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto, who will be taking part in his retirement ceremony, which will include a public sparring session with former world champion Takashi Uchiyama. Outside of that spar there isn't much which will get attention, but the card does have two that are noteworthy.
The main bout will see JBC ranked Middleweight Ran Tomomatsu (2-2) battle against the once beaten Eiki Kani (5-1-2, 2), in what could be something of a thrilling 8 rounder. The hard hitting and somewhat brutish Tomomatsu is no world beater, but he's strong, flawed and exciting, which makes for great action bouts. His limitations will likely hold him back from even winning a domestic title, but his style will lead to some very fan friendly wars. Kani on the other hand comes into this less than 18 months removed from a loss in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where he impressed with his exciting style. We suspect the physicality of Tomomatsu will be the difference maker here, but the styles of the men should really gel to give us something of a thrilling, and brutal 8 round war.
The other bout of note on this card will see JBC ranked Featherweight Kimihiro Nakagawa (8-5-2, 4) battle against Tamaki Miwa (8-7-1, 1). On paper Nakagawa will be the favourite here, but he has really been struggling the last few years and he is 3-4-1 in his last 8 bouts, going back 6 years. Miwa on the other hand has won his last 2, but is 2- in his last 5, and hasn't looking too threatening in the ring, with a lack of power, and a questionable chin. The winner of this will take a step towards a Japanese title fight, but in reality neither is even close to being ready for one.
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia, we'll also see a notable bout in Australia, as former Filipino world title challenger Juan Miguel Elorde (29-2, 15) takes on unbeaten Australian hopeful Sam Goodman (11-0, 6), in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental and WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight titles. Elorde has fought just once since being stopped by Emanuel Navarrete in September 2019, and now aged 35 we can't help but think we've seen the best of him. Goodman on the other hand will be returning to the ring for the first time since beating Japan's Fumiya Fuse in May, and looks to be heading towards bigger and better things. Aged 23 Goodman is not the complete article, but is certainly developing fight by fight and should have too much for Elorde at this point in time.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday Korakuen Hall plays host to an excellent looking Japanese card, headlined by a brilliant looking headliner, and also featuring a female regional title bout and a very solid, and potentially very explosive, Super Featherweight bout.
The brilliant main event of the show will see former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) look to continue his rise through the ranks as he takes on former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12). On paper this looks like Mishiro just taking the typical step up in class that we see from prospects, but the unbeaten man already has notable wins over the likes of Takuya Watanabe and Masayuki Ito to his name and instead it seems more like him and his team are wanting to keep him ticking over at a high domestic level until a big opportunity comes his way. Nishitani is no world beater, but he's a tough, rugged guy with under-rated boxing skills and the mentality to push the skilled, but light punching, Mishiro. This will almost certainly be a high level technical bout, but one where Mishiro's speed and polish should be the difference maker.
In the main supporting bout former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) tried to get his career back on track, after going more than 3 years without a win. The hard hitting Minamoto will not be in easy here however, as he takes on the determined and over-looked Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5), who is a tough southpaw and can spring the upsets when he's in the mood. At his best Minamoto is a very solid boxer-puncher, with naturally heavy hands, but without a win in his last 3 bouts we do wonder what his confidence is like coming in to this one. Kusano on the other hand was last seen losing in the final of the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament, in August 2020, having Jae Woo Lee in the semi-final. This could be a very interesting match up.
In the solitary title bout on this card OPBF Female Light Flyweight champion Chaoz Minowa (6-3, 5) will make her first defense of the title, as she battles the once beaten Yumemi Ikemoto (7-1). Minowa won the title in December 2016, and has had a really lengthy reign, without defending the title. In fact whilst she hasn't defended the title Minowa has fought 6 times, going 3-3 whilst getting 3 world title fights. This is a chance for her to show what she can do. As for Ikemoto, she's a former Japanese female Flyweight champion who is riding a 4 fight winning, and knows a win her could open up some doors for her future, much like the OPBF title has done for Minowa. Our full in depth preview of this bout can be read here Minowa defends OPBF title against Ikemoto!
This coming Wednesday Japanese fans have a day to look forward to, with a world title fight in Kyoto and an interesting, though much smaller, card in Tokyo. Both shows have very interesting main events but are a bit weak below the top bout.
Kyoto City Gym, Kyoto, Japan
Of the two cards it's the one in Kyoto which will get more attention, with a world title bout, a Japanese Youth title bout and a former world title challenger all in action.
That world title bout will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (18-0, 10) making his 9th defense of the title as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) in a mouth watering all Japanese clash. This will pit the skills, timing and boxing brain of the champion against the power, physicality and size of the challenger, and these sorts of bouts can make for very interesting contests. There is no doubting Kenshiro is the better boxer, and he's proven it with notable wins against the likes of Ganigan Lopez, Pedro Guevara, Milan Melindo and Randy Petalcorin and Tetsuya Hisada, but he has yet to beat a true puncher, and has been battling out of the ring with Covid19. As for Yabuki it is a step up in class for him, though he's coming in good form and has learned form his losses, including an early career defeat to Junto Nakatani and a loss to Cuban standout Daniel Matellon. Coming in to this the challenger has stopped 4 of his last 5 and has proven he can go rounds when he needs to, taking a decision over former Kenshiro foe Toshimasa Ouchi. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Kenshiro takes on Yabuki in defense #9!
In a Japanese Youth title bout at Flyweight we'll see Aoba Mori (7-2-1, 1) clash with Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2), in an interesting contest between two men who don't get much attention. The 21 year old Aoba is the younger man, and despite some set backs in recent bouts there is plenty of promise with him, as shown in his TKO win over Keisuke Iwasaki back in April. Although Mori has shown promise we suspect he will go in as the under-dog against Inoue, who is more well known and more established, having won Rookie of the Year and shared the ring with several notable domestic foes, including Kai Ishizawa. Neither man is a puncher, but both picked up stoppage wins last time out and will likely come in to this feeling they can hurt the other man. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese Youth Flyweight title bout see Aoba Mori and Yuga Inoue clash!
In a stay busy fight former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (36-5-4, 21) will be up against Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-11-1, 4), in what really is a tick over bout for Osawa, who has sadly been inactive since beating Jason Butar Butar almost 2 years ago, and is certainly someone who's career has been negatively affected by the rise of Covid19. Osawa was on the verge of a world title fight going into last year, but it appearsthe chance of him getting a second shot are now dead in the water.
Sadly this show is essentially hidden away, despite how good it is, on what is essentially a Japanese PPV, costing 2,200Yen (around £15 or $20), a price that seems to be a sign of the times in Japanese boxing during the Pandemic era.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we get a Dangan card that has a stellar domestic main event, and a very interesting supporting bout.
The main will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) trying to get his career back on track as he takes on the under-rated Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5). Minamoto, who won the Japanese title in 2018, has failed to pick up a win in over 3 years now and desperately needs a big result if he's to keep open hopes of getting another title opportunity. Kusano on the other hand performed brilliant in a tournament in 2019 and 2020, losing in the final in a barn burner. This might not have much in terms of star power, but it could end up being a brutal war over 8 fascinating rounds.
In the main support bout former world champion Ayaka Miyao (23-9-2, 6) will be up against Kaori Nagai (6-2-3, 2). On paper this is a total mismatch in favour of Miayo, however he is now 38, she's had numerous injuries including a nasty one in 2016 against Nao Ikeyama, has failed to win her last 3, and was brutally knocked out last time out. Nagai on the other hand is riding a 5 winning streak and at 31 will feel she has youth, energy and health on her side. A real must win for Miyao and a huge opportunity for Nagai.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We're back at Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday for the next Diamond Glove show, which will be aired on Fuji TV on tape delay.
The main event of this show will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) defending his belt against Shingo Kawamura (16-5-4, 8). The tricky, talented, and in form Teshigawara will be seeking his 5th defense of the title he won back in 2018, and will be hoping to take another step towards a world title fight. In recent years Teshigawara has beaten guys like Jetro Pabustan, Teiru Kinoshita and Shohei Omori, and is now banging on the door of a world title fight. As for Kawamura he's struggling for form and is win-less in his last 5, including stoppage losses to Satoshi Shimizu and Ryo Sagawa. Sadly for Teshigawara this feels like a tick over bout and Kawamura has done little to earn a shot, though we can't complain too much at Teshigawara staying busy after 10 months out of the ring, even if this bout is a total mismatch in our eyes. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here World ranked Teshigawara takes on Kawamura in next OPBF title defense!
In a really good supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-6-1, 13) take on the in form and upset minded Kanehiro Nakagawa (9-6, 5) in a Super Featherweight bout. On paper this probably looks like a bit of a mismatch but in reality it should be much, much more interesting than it looks. Minamoto looked sensational in 2018, when, when he dominated Takenori Ohashi to claim the Japanese Featherweight title. Sadly he only defended the belt twice before being forced to move up in weight last year. He's now win-less in two and desperately needs a win. On the other hand Nakagawa has won his last 4, including notable wins over Seiichi Okada and Ken Osato to earn a #4 ranking with the JBC. Both of these men are JBC ranked, and the winner will find themselves on the verge of a Japanese title fight, whilst the loser will have some serious rebuilding to do in 2021. This could turn out to be a very, very intriguing match up
November 9th- Japanese title eliminator and God's Left tournament highlight an exciting day!
This coming Saturday is a really exciting day in Asian boxing thanks to a brilliant card in Tokyo. The support bouts across the Asian scene aren't the best, but we do have good main events in Ibaragi and New South Wales, Australia, as well.
As mentioned the best card of the day is in Tokyo, and is Dangan card with 4 bouts worthy of attention.
On paper the most significant bout is a Japanese Super Featherweight eliminator. This bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) battle perennial regional contender Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21). On paper Minamoto is the one to back here, he's the more polished boxer and the bigger puncher, with higher level of wins. However Watanabe is no puch over, and he's as rugged as they come, with under-rated skills and will be the naturally bigger guys. We're expecting this to come down to Minamoto's power and skills against Watanabe's toughness and will to win. We are thinking this could be something special between two men who should have styles that gel really well here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
In a God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final we'll see a very exciting match up between the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) and the always entertaining Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). On paper it's hard to see what Yamashita has in his locker to over-come Tsutsumi, but he's never been one to just take a loss with putting up a fight. We really expect this to be an all out war between men who are very similar in their styles and mentality and this could be the hidden gem of the month.
Another potential gem for the month comes in the other God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final, as unbeaten fighter Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) and Kuzuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) face off for a place in the final. Both men have been very exciting and shown real power and aggression since their debuts. Both men are in their mid 20's and whilst the loser will see the bout as a notable set back they will likely be able to pursue a rematch down the line. This is a fantastic match up and another that we are expecting to be a war.
Also on this card is the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be fighting for the first time since being upset by Lito Dante earlier this year. Given how badly Koura lost to Dante, suffering a beating and being stopped in round 12, we can't complain too much about him facing a very limited foe, and that's what he's doing against Indonesian foe Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2). This is little more than a confidence rebuilder for Koura, and that's very understandable.
In Ibaragi we get another Japanese card. This one is much lower profile than the Tokyo show, but does appear to have an excellent main event.
That main event will see the flawed but entertaining Tatsuya Takahashi (30-9-6, 21) take on Filipino foe Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4), in a really good looking 50/50 style bout. The Japanese local is a rather unpolished fighter, but he has great energy and toughness and it always worth watching for his aggression and pressure. On the other other hand Mannaquil is typically a tricky, skilled boxer-mover who has picked up good results on the road, though was stopped last time out by Yuki Strong Kobayashi. This will be a very interesting test and it's a hard one to call either way
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines. This is a much lower level card, with a main event between John Magagmoc (6-2-1) and Gary Tamayo (3-1, 2). Given the quality of action in Japan this is a very poor bout, but it is a clash between teenagers and we do like those, and do expecting an interesting out, even if it's not at the highest of levels.
New South Wales, Australia
Surprisingly it appears we could be in for a shoot out down under as the unbeaten pairing of Luke Boyd (7-0, 7) and Jon Jon Jet (10-0, 8) face off for the interim WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. Boyd, a 32 year old Australian, has been crushing low level opponents in double quick time, with only 1 of his 7 bouts going beyond the second round, with his most notable opponent being Inthanon Sithchamuang. At 25 years old Jet is one of the more promising Indonesian fighters, but his competition has been awful and it's hard to get a read on how good Jet may, or may not, be. This should be explosive, though is hard to know how good either man is given their competition to date.
In the US we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (13-0, 6) take on American veteran Walter Wright (17-8, 8). The 31 year old Ashkeyev has been a professional for close to 4 years and really needs to get a move on before he gets too old to make a mark. Whilst 2019 has been a better year for him he really does need to step it up again next year, in a big way. Given that Wright is a late replace, for a late replacement, this is unlikely to be a test for the Kazakh but Wright has only been stopped once, and that was way back on his debut in 2003.
This coming Wednesday is not only the 1st of May but it is also a day with a stacked card as we begin a busy, and potentially brilliant month of Asian boxing. And if we're being honest we begin the month with a genuinely brilliant card courtesy of Dangan, who put on not only a brilliant title bout, but 3 other bouts worthy of note. This is a good a domestic card, on paper, that we've seen in 2019.
The main event is a Japanese Featherweight title bout, which will pit national champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9), The hard hitting champion really impressed us in his title win, dominating Takenori Ohashi in April 2018, but looked very beatable in his first defense, scoring a late stoppage in a nip and tuck bout against Tatsuya Otsubo. Abe on the other hand has been in impressive through the last few years with 11 straight wins, including victories over Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay and Satoshi Hosono. This will be a fantastic match up between a boxer-puncher and a brilliant slick boxer and we're really, really looking forward to this. It could be very special. Our full preview of this bout can be read heere Minamoto and Abe clash in mouth watering Featherweight title bout!
In the chief support bout we'll see Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) look to build on his December win over Tsuyoshi Tameda as he takes on Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4). For Hiroto this will be his first bout since fighting to a draw with Ryo Hino in January 2018, during which time he has been kicked out of the Kadoebi Gym for failing to make weight for a bout with Shohei Omori. Hiroto certainly has a point to prove, fighting under the Dangan banner for the first time, but will be the clear under-dog against Maruta, who is a super talent despite the two marks on his record. Our full preview of this bout is available here Maruta and Hiroto clash at Korakuen Hall!
Another brilliant bout on this show will see the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8) take on skilled youngster Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4), in a bout rearranged from March. The bout had to be delayed due to Oho suffering an injury but he now seems to be healthy in what is regarded as being a Japanese title eliminator. This promises high quality boxing, exciting exchanges and real action. A potential classic, and a bout that may have been helped in it's delay, by being added to such a stacked card, getting more eyeballs on the fighters.
One other bout worthy of note will see former amateur standout out Motoki Osanai (3-2, 1) look to record his third straight win, as he takes on Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5). Osanai turned professional with big expectations but hasn't yet found his groove in the pro ranks and has been fighting between Super Flyweight and Super Bantamweight. If he can find his place he has the ability to really put this poor start behind him. On paper Fujimoto looks like a bit of a nothing opponent, but the reality is that he's a nightmare to fight and we're expecting him to make this bout ultra-competitive and there could just be a round or 2 separating the men at the end of the scheduled 8.
This coming Thursday attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall as we get a show with two title bouts, and several other interesting match ups.
One of those title bouts will see Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9) attempt to score his second victory over Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17), and make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. These two fought earlier this year, with Lagumbay upsetting the former world title challenger courtesy of a 2nd round KO. The bout not only saw an upset, but did so in a spectacular way, with a double knockdown that saw Lagumbay manage to beat the count whilst Obara was counted out. For Obara another loss will likely spell the end of his dreams to get a second world title fight, as for Lagumbay a loss wouldn't be the end, but a win would certainly enhance his options going forward.
A preview for the rematch between Lagumbay and Obara can be read here.
The other title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (15-5, 12) make his first defense, as he faces voluntary challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (12-8-1, 4). The champion impressed in his title winning performance earlier this year, when he stopped Takenori Ohashi but will now need to continue the momentum with his first defense. At his best Minamoto looks fantastic, and we're hoping the title boosts his performances going forward. For Otsubo this is a second shot at the Japanese title, following a 2015 loss to Satoshi Hosono. Since the loss to Hosono we've not really see Otsubo impress, despite going 4-1 (1) he has really been lucky in 3 of those wins, and could well have been 1-5 in his last 6 contests. Interestingly the winner of this will likely face Raiye Abe in early 2019.
On paper the best of the under-card fights will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (10-3-1, 6) take on upset minded Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-8, 5). The exciting Tamura gave Yusaku Kuga absolute hell last year, and proved to be one of the few fighters who could not only take Kuga's power but could also force the champion onto the back foot. Autida is 0-2 in Japan but has managed to be a nightmare for fighters like Ratchasak KKP and Petch Sor Chitpattana and could give Tamura some real questions.
Other bouts on this card will include Japanese ranked Middleweight Shuji Kato (8-1-1, 5) take on Naritsugu Nishihara (5-2-1, 1) and former Japanese title challenger Masaki Saito (14-13-6, 5) take on Takashi Sakamoto (7-10, 2). These should both see the more experienced men come out on top, but neither should be a mismatch.
Kadoebi will be putting on a pretty stacked card at the Korakuen Hall, headlined by a Japanese title fight and littered with notable names from the Kadoebi stable.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-4-2, 10) make his first defense of the title, as he battles fellow puncher Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) in a Champion Carnival bout. Ohashi won the title last year in bizarre fashion as he stopped Kosuke Saka as Saka misheard the end of round clacker, and this will be his first defense since that win. Prior to the stoppage Ohashi had looked a monster against Saka, but with 3 stoppages against his name it's clear he's not the toughest. Minamoto is himself a bit of a glass cannon, with 2 stoppages against his name, but he did show good skills last October when he defeated Dai Iwai to earn this shot. This could well be a shoot out, and could be something very exciting.
The chief support bout is a mouth watering ,match up between Akinori Watanabe (35-7, 30) and Ratchasi Sithsaithong (10-4, 7). Watanabe has lost 3 of his last 5, including an 8th round TKO loss last time out to Magomed Kurbanov, but is still a really dangerous puncher and will know that a win here will see him back in the OPBF title mix. For Ratchasi this will be his first bout in Japan since losing the OPBF Light Middleweight title to Takeshi Inoue last October, and prior to that he had been on a role with wins against Cobra Suwa, Yutaka Oishi and Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine. We're expecting this to be two men each fighting to remain relevant, and could be very special.
Fast rising Kadoebi prospect Kazuki Saito (4-0, 4) will be continuing his development as he faces off with Marbon Bodiongan (14-6-2, 11). Despite only having 4 bouts to his name Saito is already ranked by the JBC and OPBF and looks to be racing towards a title fight thanks to good wins over Jimmy Borbon and Alvin Lagumbay. This is, on paper, a slight step up in class for Saito as he takes on his most experienced opponent. Bodiongan is 0-3 on his travels, but has has mixed with the likes of Nihito Arakawa and Masaru Sueyoshi, and should give Saito a chance to compare himself to those two men. They both stopped Bodiongan though if Saito can stop him in 4 rounds he would have bettered both men's win over the Filipino visitor.
Last November we saw Shoma Fukumoto (11-2, 9) being stopped in a 90 second war with Kazuto Takesako, who has since gone on to win the Japanese Middleweight title. Fukumoto makes his return on this show as he goes up against Indonesian foe Maxi Nahak (7-14-3, 3), who has been stopped in his 3 previous visits to Japan.
Another man looking to get some momentum into his career is Cristiano Aoqui (11-7-2, 7), who has lost his last 3 bouts, and 4 of his last 5. The Japanese-Brazilian will be expected to pick up an easy win here as he takes on a poor Thai visitor.
The under-card also has a really interesting match up on it as the 21 year old Tsuyoshi Sato (5-1-1, 2). who was the 2017 Light Flyweight Rookie of the Year, takes on the unbeaten Yuma Wada (4-0-1, 1), also 21. Sato had a big year in 2017 going 4-0-1 with an opening round win over Yusei Nagai in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, to put himself in the JBC rankings. He will be risking that rankings here against Wada, who looks a very capable young fighter himself.
As well as the action in Tokyo there will also be a pretty notable Asian show in Cebu.
The main event of this card will see Joe Noynay (13-2-1, 4) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Featherweight title against Mexican Hector Garcia (12-6-2-1, 7).We're really unsure how Garcia qualifies for this title, given that he's not from the Asia Pacific region, but he is battle tested and will be a very tough test for Noynay. The Mexican has never been stopped and gave decent tests to Devin Haney and Juan Carlos Burgos last year. Noynay is a genuine talent, and gave Reiya Abe real problems last year, so should be able to come out on top here, but he should get well tested by the Mexican visitor.
One of the main bouts will see Cris Alfante (13-6-1, 5) hunt a third straight win as he takes on Renoel Pael (21-8-1, 11) in a 10 rounder. Coming in to this one Alfante has got a big of momentum with back to back wins, though he has suffered 2 losses in his last 5 bouts, including a 4th round KO defeat to Daigo Higa. Pael once looked like he could be a diamond in the rough, but with 4 straigth losses his career is floundering now and there is a risk that he has resigned himself to being little more than a regional gatekeeper, which would be a shame given his competitive bouts with Ardin Diale and Suguru Muranaka.
Other undercard bouts on this card will see Cris Paulino (16-3, 6) take on Jason Tinampay (8-8-1, 7), in what could be much better than it looks, and Ronel Sumalpong (4-0, 4) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Justin Darap (2-0, 2).
In Canada fans will be able to see former world title challenger Michael Farenas (42-5-4, 34) take on Guadalupe Rosales (34-14, 18). Filipino banger Farenas has had a pretty stop-start career in recent times, with a couple of low key bouts in 2015, none in 2016 and one last year. Aged 33 there is still life in Farenas' career, but he will need a big and busy 2018, with this bout being a perfect chance to shake some ring rust. Rosales on the other hand is a relatively low risk opponent for someone like Farenas and despite being tough, shouldn't have the legs to avoid Farenas.
Belfast, United Kingdom
In regards to Asian fighters the biggest single fight is a Bantamweight unification contest, as Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18) takes on Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9) in Belfast. Coming in to that bout the heavy handed Zhakiyanov will be looking to defend the WBA title, however the Kazakh will be up against a real boxing talent in the form of the excellent Burnett. For both men this will not only be a unification world title bout, but also their first defense, making this a very tricky assignment for two men who only won their title's earlier this year. The Kazakh upset Rau'shee Warren for his title earlier this year, out hustling the American in a very competitive bout, whilst Burnett completely schooled fellow Brit Lee Haskins, despite one judge some how confusing the two fighters. This should be a really good bout,and could well crown the heir apparent for the Bantamweight division.
Whilst the biggest single fight, from an Asian perspective, takes place in Northern Ireland it's hard not to feel like a card from Tokyo is actually the more interesting show. Not only does it have a Japanese title fight, but it also has 4 Japanese title eliminators, and really does promise a fantastic value show.
The main event sees fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) battle against veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) for the Japanese Lightweight title, with both men competing for their first national titles. The unbeaten Yoshino has been touted since his debut, and really has looked like a champion in the making thanks to wins over Chaiyong Sithsaithong, Yoshitaka Kato and Kenta Onjo, and a win here is likely to see him begin a notable reign as a national champion, with not many domestic fighters looking up to the task of beating him. As for Matsushita the bout really is a must win, and he does come into the contest on the back of a huge win over a then unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya. Sadly for Matsushita form has been an issue and his recent wins have all been razor thin decisions, which won't bode well against the talented Yoshino.
At Featherweight we see an elimination bout as Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) and Taiki Minamoto (13-5, 11) battle for the right to challenger for the national title next year. Of the two men Iwai is the more experienced and the more technically gifted fighter, but Minamoto certainly has the edge in power, and acquitted himself well in a 2015 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni. Coming into this Iwai will be the favourite, we suspect hat the bout will be incredibly competitive.
In a potential thriller at Welterweight we'll see the tough and hard working Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 4) take on the big punching Ryota Yada (14-4,12), in possibly the best bout of the card. Yun is coming in to this after a Japanese FOTY contender against Shusaku Fujinaka and he's unbeaten in 6, including a draw with former champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The heavy handed Yada has blown out his last 2 opponents, but has a lot of question marks lingering over him following last years stoppage loss to Jayar Inson, who moved up in weight and bullied him. We're expecting this one to be a little bit special, and can't see anything but an action bout.
Another potential action bout will be at Bantamweight and see veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) take on the exciting Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5). The 31 year old Kikuchi lost 2 of his first 11, before rebuilding his career and has subsequently only been beaten by Shingo Wake, in an OPBF title fight, and the aforementioned Minamoto, with both of those losses coming at Super Bantamweight. On paper Suuki's record is less than great, but to date his losses have all come to very good fighters, with the first coming to Yusaku Kuga back in 2013, the second to Ryoichi Tamura in 2015 and the third coming to Jeffrey Francisco in the Philippines last year. All 3 of those losses were close and were losses which will aid the development of the 28 year southpaw.
Another eliminator will take place Flyweight, and sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) battle against the in-form and very under-rated Akinori Hoshino (14-7-1, 9). The heavy handed Nagamine began his career 10-0 before being beaten by the excellent Ken Shiro in 2015. Since that loss Nagamine has bounced back with 4 stoppages, including thrilling wins over Kenya Yamashita, Mako Matsuyama and Tetsuya Tomioka, which have all been all out wars. Around a year agoHoshino was 11-7-1 (8) and it looked like his career was going no where. Since then however he has moved down in weight and reeled off 3 big wins, including a stoppage of Kenya Yamashita and a decision over Shun Kosaka. We're expecting another good one here, though it's hard to see a win for Hoshino.
Gümligen bei Bern, Switzerland
There's yet more notable action featuring a Japanese fighter as Aniya Seki (31-3-2, 5) takes on Hungarian Kleopatra Tolnai (13-12-1, 4) in Seki's adopted homeland of Switzerland. The bout will see Seki defending her WBC Silver female Bantamweight title, for the second time, and in all fairness this be a simple defense against an opponent who has won just 1 of her last 5.
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.