Kobe Municipal Chuo Gymnasium, Kobe, Japan
We get lucky this coming Sunday as Boxing Real are set to stream a solid card from Japan for free. It's certainly not a massive show, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a solid one all the same with a former world champion, some solid domestic fighters and an enigmatic prospect all on the show.
The main event will see former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (14-2, 9) taking on youngster Ruito Saeki (7-4-1, 1). The 30 year old Kubo has struggled to build any career momentum since his 2017 title loss to Danny Roman, and it seems his confidence is shot and he needs a few wins to rebuild that. Last year he picked up a relatively easy win over Takashi Igarashi and he's stepping up from that bout here. Saeki is no world beater, not even close, but he's tough and will come to win. Sadly Saeki has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 and a win for him would be a big upset, but we suspect he will come to test Kubo, who has shown some real fragility in recent years.
In a supporting bout Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuki Yonaha (8-3-1, 5) will take on Kenta Sakata (7-7-2). The talented Yonaha will be looking to build on a 2020 win over the once touted Motoki Osanai and will be expected to pick up a straight forward win here against the light punching Sakata, who is a natural Flyweight and has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6.
Arguably the best of the supporting card will see the enigmatic, switch hitting, stylist Takahiro Tai (1-0, 1) take on Koichi Wakita (7-2-3, 2), who is risking his JBC Bantamweight ranking. Tai was a joy to watch in his debut, last December, and although very much a work in progress has one of the most flamboyant styles of any Japanese fighter, with a cocky in ring personality, taunting, switch hitting and a style more akin to Emanuel Augustus than a Japanese fighter. Wakita on the other hand is a 31 year old veteran who is certainly no push over, but has a lack of power and often sees his bouts being super close decisions. We expect this to be a test for Tai, but a test he should pass.
Gyeongnam, South Korea
As well as the Japanese show there is also supposed to be a Korean card, under the KBA banner, taking place in Gyeongnam. Sadly details of this card haven't been forth coming, despite the KBA announcing the main event draws for the show way back in January. There is a very, very real chance this show has fallen though, or could end up being cancelled at late notice.
Sadly no bouts have been confirmed for this show at the time of writing, though the main event was announced as featuring Hee Jung Yuh (23-3, 12) defending her WBC International female Super Flyweight title for the first time, albeit against a yet to be announced opponent. The 41 year old Korean veteran is riding an 8 fight winning streak, since her 2015 loss to Naoko Fujioka, but those wins have come at a very, very low level. Sadly we can't say anything about her opponent, given no foe has been named, but it's fair to say that if the show goes ahead it won't be anyone too testing.
The chief support bout is supposed see see Young Gil Bae (30-7-2, 23), the husband of Hee Jung Yuh, fighting for the WBF Asia-Pacific Flyweight title. Sadly Bae, like Yuh, has no opponent listed for this event. For Bae this will be his first bout in more than 2 years and he comes into the contest on the back of successive wins. Although not a big name fans may recognise his names for his losses in Thailand, to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Wanheng Menayothin. Given his inactivity and the lack of opponent we wouldn't expect anyone even slightly testing here for Bae.
There is a very, very real chance this show has fallen though, or could end up being cancelled at late notice, so don't get your hopes up on this one folks!
December 13th becomes the latest date for a promoter to hold two events at the same venue in Japan, and although neither of the shows are amazing, both look relatively interesting with title action and a couple of decent bouts. Interestingly it appears the first will be made available on YouTube, as part of the Boxing Real channel whilst the second will be available, on demand, on Boxing Raise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the cards features a solid, if somewhat easy to over-look, main event, a Japanese female title bout and an anticipated debut.
The main event on the first show will see Yuki Yonaha (7-3-1, 5) take on the JBC ranked Motoki Osanai (4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. The 29 year old Yonaha is without a win in well over 4 years, but did show plenty of desire and hunger in his most recent bout, a draw with Naota Iwai, and it's clear he is a talent, though we do question his hunger and desire in the sport. Osanai on the other hand turned professional to fanfare, taking part in his pro-test bout on the same day as Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but was sadly left in their shadows and lost 2 of his first 3. Coming into this he has scored 3 wins and appears to be building some career momentum, and a win here would continue the ball rolling. One of those ones where the abilities of both men are a lot better than their records suggest.
The title bout on this card will see Japanese female Minimumweight champion Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) defending her title against Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1), in what will be Narita's first defense of the title. On paper this is another where the records of the two fighters suggests a poor bout, but the styles and mentalities of the two women should actually make for a war. Neither of the two are technically fantastic but both are warriors who let their hands go and we expect this to be a genuine tear up. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Narita takes on Miki in first Japanese title defense
As for the debutant that is switch hitter Takahiro Tai (0-0), who fights out of the gym by his father. Tai was a solid amateur on the Japanese amateur scene and is looking to make an impact on his professional debut as he takes on Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-6, 2) in a 6 rounder. We don't think Tai will be fast tracked, but there was a lot to like from his amateur performances and he's very much a fan friendly, stylish fighter with a lot of flare. We see that winning over fans quickly here. Hamaguchi isn't a bum, but he has lost 4 of his last 5, and has scored just 1 win in the last 3 years, so would need something a bit special to test the talented Tai here.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The second part of the card will again feature a title bout, an intriguing 8 rounder and a debut...well a debut of sorts.
The title bout here, which is also the main event, will see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Miyo Yoshida (14-1) making her second defense of her title as she takes on Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1). The talented Yoshida will be strongly favoured here, though it is worth noting that this will be her first bout since transferring over to the Misako Gym and the change in her team and set up could end up leaving some questions for her to answer. Okuda has been fortunate at times with some results, but at 37 we really do wonder if she has the tools to hang with a top class fighter like Yoshida. Our full preview of this world title bout can be read here Yoshida takes on Okuda in second WBO world title defense
In an excellent 8 round match up we'll see the once beaten Yuga Inoue (10-1-1, 1) take on Daiki Tomita (14-2, 5), in a bout between two top 10 JBC ranked Light Flyweights. The light punching Inoue has scored 3 wins since his 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa for the Japanese Youth title, and has rebuilt in a hard way, going up against solid fighters and testing the water at Flyweight. He's had a loss, and gone straight back in with tough competition rather than rebuilding his confidence with easy wins. In fairness that's actually what Tomita is looking to do here in his first bout since a 10th round TKO loss to Kenichi Horikawa in July. Although both men are in their early 20's this is strangely a cross roads bout and the winner will find themselves on the verge of a Japanese title fight, whilst the loser will begin a long climb back up the rankings. A genuinely excellent match up.
Also on this card is the debut of Ayumu Hanada (4-0, 3), or rather the Japanese debut of Hanada. Or more precisely the JBC debut of Hanada, who began his career in Mexico and fought in an unrecognised bout in Japan in 2019. Despite the weird start to his career Hanada is expected to be a star and he has impressed, bot just in his Mexican bout but also his "unofficial", for lack of a better word, bout in Japan. In the opposite corner to Hanada is the heavy handed Ryuku Nagamine (5-1, 5), who began his career with 5 early wins before losing to Keisuke Iwasaki in the Rookie of the Year last year. Given his power he's a real dangerman for Hanada and, if we're being honest, this could end up being the bout of the day. Both men are explosive punchers and both will be looking to make a statement. If you're going to watch this one, don't blink!
As well as the action in Japan we also get a small Chinese card from Quzhou. Sadly this is a very low level card.
The most interestingly match up on the show will see 20 year old hopeful Yeerjialahasi Laayibieke (4-2, 3) take on the once beaten Jiaming Li (4-1, 2). Whilst this isn't expected to be a great fight we do love the fact it looks like a pretty 50-50 match up. Notably Laayibieke has won his last 4, with his last 3 coming by T/KO, but he's not the only one with momentum, and Li has also won his last 4. A genuinely interestingly match up.
The only other 8 rounder on this card will see Jiajia Li (6-2, 2) battle Ayati Sailike (10-8-3-1, 4) in a decent looking match up. We don't think this will be as good as the other one, but it is a lot more even than it looks on paper. The 32 year old Li was beaten last year, and since then has picked up two very low key wins. Sailike on the other hand is unbeaten in more than 2 years and looks like he's coming into his prime. This could end up being a lot better than it appears on paper.
Note - Hanada's Japanese debut was a WBF title bout in Osaka in June 2019. The bout isn't recognised by the JBC, his "actual" record is 5-0 (3)