Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get the next show from the Ohashi Gym and despite once looking like a really good card the show has been ravaged by issues which has resulted in two of the bouts being removed from the show in the weeks leading up to the event. Despite the cancellations on the event we still have a solid show which should shine a light on some of the most promising young talent in Japan.
The main event will see unbeaten Japanese 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) fight in Japan for the first time since 2019 as he takes on domestic foe Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) in a scheduled 8 rounder. The talented Hiraoka, who is co-promoted by Top Rank, has had his last two bouts in the US, and now looks to tick over in what should be a straight forward bout here. In the opposite corner to the unbeaten 24 year old will be a 33 year old puncher who has lost his last 2 and would be seeking his first win in almost 2 years. On paper Kimura should be able to ask some questions of Hiraoka early but we suspect he'll come undone and be stopped somewhere in the middle rounds.
In the chief support bout we'll see former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) make his professional boxing debut and take on 34 year old veteran Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3). Although Takei will be boxing for the first time he has turned to the sport with lofty expectations and has impressed with his hands, in K1 and in his pro-test bout. Despite only taking to the sport in the last few months it's clear Takei has a natural affinity to boxing and with Akira Yaegashi training him huge things are expected from him. It's hard to see this being anything but an impressive looking debut from Takei, who really has looked a natural in the footage that's been released of him training.
Potentially the bout of the show will be a Flyweight bout as the unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) takes on former Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4). The 25 year old Kuwahara has been tipped for major success, but was sadly unable to fight in 2020, losing some of the moment he had built following a successful 2019, and will feel a need to shine here. Minato, who's just 22, made his big mark in 2018, when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, but back to back losses in 2019 slowed his climb through the rankings. Thankfully for Minato he scored a huge win last year, stopping Kohei Oba, and will be riding that win into this bout. Although not a huge bout this has the potential to be a very, very interesting and competitive one.
The show will also have a Japanese Youth title bout on it, as Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) and Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) trade blows for the vacant Japanese Youth Welterweight title. For the 22 year old Adachi this will be his first bout in well over a year, and his first since he left the Hiroki Ioka gym and became an Ohashi Gym fighter. Although talented Adachi was stopped juts a few bouts back, for this very title, when Kudura Kaneko broke him down and on paper this looks like it could be a tough bout for him. Kobata, despite having a less than flattering record, looked good last time out, when he ran Shoki Sakai close, and has the style and tenacity that could break Adachi down. Although not the most interesting bout on the show, on paper, this could end up being a very hotly contested one. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Adachi and Kobata go for Youth gold at Welterweight!
November 28th - Mori takes on Tameda in Tokyo, Hiromoto, Phoobadin and Laurente all in action and more!
This coming Saturday is a pretty busy day in terms of Asian boxing with two shows in Japan, one in Thailand and one in India. Across those shows we will see a couple of regional title bouts, and a number of very promising youngsters as we move towards the end of November.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The most notable show of the day is an Ohashi promoted event at Korakuen Hall, which will feature a world ranked fighter defending a regional title, two interesting domestic fights and noteworthy exhibition.
In the main event we'll see WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) take on the heavy handed Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-5-2, 19) in an excellent match up. Mori, who is currently world ranked by the WBO, will be 21 when this fight takes place and will know that a win will help him move one step closer to a world title fight. Although a light puncher the talented youngster is maturing and following the guidance of legendary trainer Ismael Salas, and has become a very skilled young fighter. Tameda was once touted as one to watch, but in recent bouts he has been picking up losses, and appears to be falling short of expectation. Despite that Tameda is a rock fisted fighter and his power could give him a real chance, if he can catch Mori clean. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Young regional champion takes on dynamite puncher!
In a supporting bout JBC #1 ranked Lightweight Seiryu Toshikawa (12-5, 7) will be taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (9-3, 7) in a good looking 8 rounder. The 24 year old Toshikawa, who will be risking his ranking here, has won 6 of his last 7, and has bounced well since a 2018 loss to Shawn Oda, in a very close fight for the Japanese Youth title. This however is not a gimme for him. In Kobayashi we have an under-rated 24 year old puncher who gave Handy Hiraoka real problems in 2017, leading on all 3 cards before being stopped, and beat touted Korean Jeong Han Cha last time out. Although not a spectacular bout on paper this is a really interesting match up, and could be a very, very compelling one when the men get in the ring.
In another supporting bout we'll see the in form Hiromu Murota (6-4-1, 4) take on former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-7-1, 13). We've seen Murota really turn his record around after a 2-4-1 start, and he has run off 4 straight wins coming in to this bout, but they have all been at a very low level. As for Okada the 38 year old is well past his best, and it's more than 8 years since he lost the Japanese title to Daiki Kaneko. At his best Okada had more than enough skills to over-come Murota, but the question is what does he have left at this point in his long career.
Also on this card will be an exhibition between former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 17) and rising Japanese prospect Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4). Although Yaegashi has retired as an active fighter it is good to see him remain in the sport, and it will be good to see him again here. Despite being retired he has continued to work in the sport, and is now working as a trainer at the Ohashi Gym. As for Taku Kuwahara the 25 year old Flyweight is one of the best prospects in Japan and this will be a great opportunity for him to showcase his skills against a loved figure of Japanese boxing ahead of his next fight in January.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
On a second card in Japan, over in Osaka, we see several interesting match ups.
The main event will see Kyonosuke Kameda (5-2-1, 4), the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, battle against the debuting Daiki Asai (0-0). On paper it's easy to assume that Kameda will be favoured here, especially after he reached the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, where he lost to Jinki Maeda, however this bout isn't the gimme it looks. Despite Kameda being from a successful boxing family it needs to be noted that Asai is a former amateur standout and went 61-16 (33), and will be looking to make a statement now he's turned professional. This could be a very intriguing bout, despite having the debutant status of Asai.
Another very interesting bout here will see novice professional Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) take on Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Ryosuke Nasu (12-5-3, 2). Originally we were expecting to see Hiromoto battled for world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda but with Kuroda being injured Hiromoto's team looked elsewhere and secured him this bout with Nasu. So far Hiromoto has looked a real talent, with excellent skills and boxing craft, but this is a serious step up. As for Nasu he's looking to secure a third straight wins following a 2019 loss to Kenta Nakagawa. This should be a very interesting match up, and a genuine test to see what Hiromoto really has to offer going forward.
A third bout of interest here will see JBC ranked Light Flyweight Sho Omote (8-1, 3) take on Shota Asami (7-7, 4). The once beaten 26 year old is riding a 6 fight unbeaten streak, and had a sensational 2019 which included him winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in December. The 25 year old Asami might not have a great record, and has lost his last 2 bouts, but he's had a number of very close bouts and he is much better than his record looks. With that in mind we wouldn't be surprised, at all, if Omote was given a very serious test by Asami here.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
We also get a really good bout in Thailand pitting two talented unbeaten fighters against each other in a truly mouth watering contest.
In one corner will be talented teenager Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 4), who will be looking to defend his WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, whilst the other corner will play host to unbeaten challenger Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (13-0, 5). Aged just 16 Phoobadin is one of the most promising teenagers in the sport, and is tipped incredibly highly following several excellent performances. He will however need a career best performance here to over come the once touted Atchariya. As for Atchariya this will be his second bout since the start of 2019, following a lengthy legal battle, which derailed a bout in Japan against Andy Hiraoka. Aged 31 Atchariya can't afford an in ring set back, but he's in with a big, strong, skilled, youngster looking to make a big mark and move his career forward. This is a very, very interesting bout, and will be shown live on Thairath for fans interested in watching it live.
Bawing Gym, General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines we'll see unbeaten prospect Criztian Pitt Laurente (5-0, 3) take on Renan Portes (10-13, 6), in what is expected to be another win for the talented Laurente. At one point Portes was a very capable fighter but he has now lost 8 in a row, and has been stopped in his last 5 suggesting he's essentially given up with trying to win. Given the talent of Laurente it's hard to see anything but a win for the youngster here.
INTHEPINK FITNESS CLUB, Bangalore, India
There will also be a show in India, albeit a very, very low key card.
In one of the bouts on this show the unbeaten Karthik Sathish Kumar (5-0, 3) will be up against the debuting Jayapal Jaganadhan (0-0). The 24 year old Kumar debuting in April 2010 and has become a well travelled fighter already, with bouts in Thailand, Dubai and India. Sadly for him this will be his first bout since January. As for Jaganadhan, the 21 year old is really an unknown, and this looks like a tough debut, at least on paper.
Another fighter making their debut on this card will be Shaik Nagma (0-0), who takes on the once beaten Ramandeep Kaur (6-1) in a female bout. Kaur was beaten last time out, by Rinky Inder Kishore, but will be looking to get back to winning ways here.
December 2nd - Koki Inoue and Jheritz Chavez battle for title, Kuwahara and Matsumoto in supporting bouts
This coming Monday Ohashi will be putting on their next show, and whilst it's not a massive one it is a good one with 4 bouts of real not on it, including a Japanese champion, a former world title challenger and two unbeaten prospects.
The Japanese champion Koki Inoue (14-0, 11), the cousin of Naoya Inoue and Takuma Inoue, and despite being the Japanese champion he won't be defending his title here. Instead he goes up against hard hitting Filipino foe Jheritz Chavez (9-3-2, 7) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title, with Inoue looking to become a double champion and Chavez looking to take a career best win. Inoue has looked hit and miss at times, though is an incredibly talented fighter with a lot of potential and a win here should open up some big doors for him going forward. As for Chavez he was unlucky in 2018 when he challenged OPBF champion Rikki Naito and had him almost out of there late on. This should be a very exciting fight, with both men expected to try and make a statement as we close out 2019. Our preview of this bout can be read here Koki Inoue takes on Jhertiz Chavez for regional title!
The chief support bout will see the fast rising Taku Kuwahara (6-0, 4) hunt his 4th win of the year. "Ioka II", as he's been dubbed in Japan, is looking to build on a career best win over Jonathan Refugio as he takes on Ricardo Sueno (10-3-4, 3). Sadly this looks like a massive step backwards for Kuwahara, and one he only really gets away with thanks to his activity, with this actually being his 5th bout in the space of 365 days. Sueno was stopped in a round by Thanongsak Simsri the last time he fought in Japan, and whilst we expect him to last longer here, we suspect he'll suffer another stoppage loss here.
Former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) continues to rebuild following back to back losses in 2018, to Daniel Roman and Ryo Sagawa. The once very highly touted Matsumoto is understandably rebuilding his confidence and will be up against fellow Japanese fighter Jinya Ito (8-5-1, 3) here. Although 2018 was a nightmare year for Matsumoto it's hard to deny his talent, and at just 25 years old he does have plenty of time to rebuild and challenge again for a world title. The truth here is that Ito should provide very little in terms of a challenge for Matsumoto, unless Matsumoto is mentally done with the sport, and we don't believe he is!
Another prospect on this card is unbeaten 27 year old Ohashi gym hopeful Katsuya Yasuda (5-0, 3), who takes on Indonesian journeyman Rengga Rengga (8-4, 2). The talented Yasuda has failed to kick on with his career as we'd hoped, and 2018 was almost a write off for him, but this is his 3rd bout in a little over 5 months, and hopefully he'll use that activity as a launchpad in the new year. Renga has lost his last 2 by stoppage, and is 0-4 outside of Indonesia, with all all 4 losses coming in the first 2 rounds. We can't see this being anything other than a blow out win for Yasuda.
Whilst the biggest name from the Ohashi gym is set to fight in early November, with Naoya Inoue of course facing Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight final early in the month, the rest of the gym isn't just sitting still. This coming Tuesday we see a number of notable Ohashi gym fighters in action on their next domestic card.
The main event here will see the highly touted Taku Kuwahara (5-0, 4) take a huge step up in class for face Filipino veteran Jonathan Refugio (21-6-5, 7) in a 8 rounder. The talented Kuwahara is stepping up massively, but has shown touches of brilliance since making his professional debut and has already been compared to Kazuto Ioka, among others. He's shown sensational body punching and is a really exciting youngster who will likely make a huge mark in 2020 if he gets past Refugio here. The Filipino has been around the block a few times, but has built a reputation as a tough, determined fighter capable of pushing fighters hard. Despite numerous losses Refugio has faced the likes of Knockout CP Freshmart, Hiroto Kyoguchi, Wanheng Menayothin and Merlito Sabillo. This should be a genuine acid test for Kuwahara. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kuwahara takes big step up to face off with Refugio!
In the chief support bout, from the running order at least, we'll see Toru Kiyota (9-3, 7) take on Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (17-5, 7) in another bout scheduled for 8 rounds. Kiyota is limited but heavy handed, with his last 4 wins coming inside the distance. Kiyota's power could be a real problem given that Sanpei has been stopped in 4 of his 5 losses, though Sanpei will be the favourite.
In a clash of former Hinata Maruta opponents we'll see the exciting, and thunderously hard hitting, Tsuyoshi Tameda (20-4-2, 18) take on skilled Filipino Joe Tejones (13-6, 7). Tameda has his flaws, and there is a lot of them, but his power is brutal and he is a nightmare for anyone just a step or two below regional title level. On the other hand Tejones has been really unlucky, and his record perhaps should have a few more wins on it than it currently does. This should be a really interesting fight, if Tejones can take the power of Tameda, which is certainly not a given.
Kuwahara isn't the only unbeaten prospect on this card, with Katsuya Yasuda (4-0, 2) looking to record his 5th win as he takes on Jack Dolu (4-4, 4). Yasuda hasn't really shown the type of potential that Kuwahara has, but was a notable amateur on the Japanese scene and should make this look easy against a very limited Indonesian foe.
After a rather quiet June we see action really pick up in July, and to begin with we get a stacked Ohashi card with a wonderful mix of notable names, novice prospects interesting match ups.
The main event will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on the limited but fun to watch Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-3, 9). Inoue, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue, won the title earlier this year, when he out pointed veteran Valentine Hosokawa and has suggested that he's wanting to put on a fun fight for fans here. Ikeda can punch, but is defensively open and we suspect he has been selected as an opponent to make Inoue look good. A full preview of this bout can be read here Inoue takes on Ikeda in Japanese title defense
An excellent supporting bout will see the hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (19-4-2, 17) take on Japanese based Korean Tae Il Atsumi (16-2, 8). Whilst the main event looks like it will be an easy one to pick the winner in this bout is the opposite, with a real 50-50 feel to the bout. Atsumi is a tough, aggressive and skilled with a lot of potential whilst Tameda is an explosive puncher, but one who hasn't looked was stopped last December, by Hinata Maruta, and didn't look his most destructive in his March win over Renerio Arizala.
The once touted Sho Nakazawa (12-3, 6) has a must must win bout as he takes on Jinya Ito (7-5-1, 2). Nakazawa was a solid Japanese amateur but with 3 losses in his last 7 bouts, including one to Tae Il Atsumi, and he looks like his potential won't be realised due to real question marks about his durability. Ito should pose no real threat, and has lost 5 of his last 8, but Nakazawa needs to do more than "just win", he needs to look good.
Touted prospect Katsuya Yasuda (3-0, 2) takes on his biggest test as he faces off with Japanese based Filipino foe Jerry Castroverde (10-6, 5). The talented Yasuda has a lot of potential, but has had issues with inactivity and at 27 years old now he needs to kick on and try to make the most of his potential, likely why Ohashi has matched him with Castroverde. The 22 year old Castroverde is a good young test for anyone at this level, and although he has lost 4 of his last 5 he should ask questions of Yasuda
Another touted prospect on this card is Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3), who looks to continue his winning run as he takes on domestic foe Kyomu Hamagami (4-2-2, 4). The 24 year old Kuwaha really impressed us last December, when he beat Takamori Kiyama over 8 rounds, but since then his competition hasn't been the best and we're really hoping to see him stepping up again before the year is over. He's a real talent who should be pushed hard and fast. The 22 year old Hamagami is limited, but the guy can punch, and could, potentially, give Kuwahara his first chin check, though we do suspect the unbeaten man to be too sharp to really be tested by the hard hitting but technically limited younger fighter.
Interestingly one of the worst looking bouts on paper may end up being one of the most interesting. The bout in questions sees Ohashi puncher Kentaro Endo (7-9-1, 6) take on the in form Fumisuke Kimura (9-4, 6). Endo is very limited, but really can punch and will be looking to take Kimura out. Kimura on the other hand comes into this bout following big domestic wins over Hayato Ono and Giraffe Kirin Kanda, which have pushed him to the verge of a Japanese title fight. This could be very exciting and very explosive.
After June this card is an ideal way to kick off a packed July!
The first Ohashi card of 2019 takes place this coming Monday when we see a card headlined by a 3-weight world champion, and features a number of excellent rising hopefuls.
The main event will see former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (27-6, 15) fight in a tick over, as he takes on limited Thai Sahaphap Bunop (4-2, 3), who has been stopped in both of his previous bouts in Japan. Yaegashi is trying to secure a world title fight at Super Flyweight later in the year, and this bout is being sold as a prelude for such a bout. It really should be little more than a stay busy for the popular Yaegashi.
In a much more compelling match up Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) will take on the unbeaten Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) in a fantastic fight between unbeaten men. Of the two Hiraoka looks like the man with the bigger potential and upside, but he will certainly be asked questions here from the Thai, who is slippery, smart and a good boxer overall. This is likely to be the best bout on the card, by some margin. A full preview of this bout can be read here Hiraoka and Atchariya risk unbeaten records!
In an all-Japanese fight fans will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-6-1, 13) take on domestic foe Nakagawa Kanehiro (6-6, 4), in what should be a straight forward win for Okada. The veteran has won his last 4, but does turn 37 just days before this fight. Kanehiro on the other hand is just 23, but is 2-4 in his last 6.
Others on this card include former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (21-3, 19) and the once touted Sho Nakazawa (11-3, 5), who both need to rebuild after disappointing 2018's, and the very highly regarded Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2). All 3 of these men will be facing off with Indonesian visitors who won't be expected to put up much of a challenge.
This coming Monday Japanese fight fans get a genuinely exceptional card, headlined by an OPBF Featherweight title fight, between unbeaten fighters, and stacked with several other notable bouts, including 2 genuinely brilliant support bouts.
The main event of this card will 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (7-0, 7) take on Takuya Uehara (16-0, 10). The bout will be Shimizu's 4th defense of the OPBF Featherweight title and if he wins he's expected to be moved aggressively into a world title fight in the new year. Despite being a stand out amateur Shimizu has looked like a flawed professional, but with his unbeaten record and perfect T/KO run it's hard to double the results, even if the performances haven't been the best. The 23 year old Uehara is a former WBC Youth champion but this is a massive step up in class, and is likely to be his first bout against a genuine puncher. This could be a good test for Shimizu, but one he'll be expected to pass. A full preview of this bout can be found here - Olympic hero Shimizu takes on Uehara in next OPBF title defense!
The co-feature looks even better than the main event, and is a really well balanced match up that should give us a combination between explosive heavy handed blows and skills. The match up pits the very heavy handed Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-3-2, 16) against the incredibly highly skilled Hinata Maruta (7-1-1, 6), in a bout that will likely lead the winner to a regional title fight in 2019. Tameda is the more raw fighter, but also the hard hitting and the one with real explosive power. Maruta is the more skilled man, but has failed to deliver on the promise he has in recent bouts, and some are perhaps not doubting the Morioka man. This really could be something very, very special. A preview of this can be read here - Preview - Maruta and Tameda to fight on December 3rd!
Another interesting all prospect match up is a mouth watering 8 rounder between Taku Kuwahara (2-0, 2) and Takamori Kiyama (2-0, 2), which may well go down as the best match up between a couple of 2-0 fighters ever. As an amateur Kuwahara was a 2-time national champion and the Ohashi gym view him as a potential major player in their gym, this is however a massive step up in class from the Indonesian fighters he has faced in his first two bouts, neither of which have lasted a round. Kiyama, from the Atsumi gym, was also an amateur standout, and he's has looked fantastic since turning professional as well. This is really a risky bout for both fighters but they should both be admired, for willing to risk their "0" against a fellow prospect this early on.
Former Japanese Supe Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (21-6-1, 12) looks to record his 4th straight win, as he takes on the limited Takahiro Araki (12-7, 4). Okada is a faded force to the man who had pushed Takashi Miura hard in 2010 and had gone on to win the Japanese title the following year, running up 3 defenses before losing to Daiki Kaneko. He is however capable against the lower level domestic fighters and will see this as a good chance to score his 22nd professional win. The 31 year old Araki however is no push over and will see this an opportunity to get a win against a former national champion.
The once touted Sho Nakazawa (11-2, 5) looks to continue rebuilding his career after a 2017 loss to Ryo Hino. The former amateur standout will be looking for a second straight win as he takes on Filipino journeyman Jhon Gemino (17-11-1, 7). On paper this looks like a mismatch but Nakazawa really has failed to shine as a professional and Gemino is the sort of fighter who can be a very tricky out. We suspect Nakazawa gets the win, but Gemino won't have travelled to just roll over.
Another prospect on this card is the highly touted Kazuki Nakajima (5-0, 4), who takes a notable step up in class to fight the experienced Yoshihiro Utsumi (15-8-3, 10). So far Nakajima has only been tested one, with Taiga Higashi giving him issues last December, and has otherwise had things all his own way. Utsumi on the hand has collected losses, but has faced tough competition with losses to Yasutaka Ishimoto, Ye Joon Kim and Hiroaki Teshigawara. It's worth noting that coming into this bout Utsumi scored a huge upset win over Hibiki Jogo and is riding a 3 fight stoppage run into this contest.
This coming Tuesday attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo as Hideyuki Ohashi puts on a really interesting and notable card with a fantastic headline bout, and several notable fighters on the under-card.
The main event will be a WBC Bantamweight world title eliminator, as OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (29-12, 14) takes on the unbeaten Takuma Inoue (11-0, 3) for a shot at the currently vacant WBC Bantamweight title. Yap hasn't got a fantastic record, but comes into this bout on the back of a fantastic 10 fight winning run, including wins against the likes of Hiroyuki Kudaka, Takahiro Yamamoto, Kentaro Masuda and Takafumi Nakajima. Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya Inoue, has long been tipped for the top but an injury in 2016 slowed his rise. On paper this might look like a mismatch, due to the records, but in reality this is a fantastic 50-50 contest.
A full preview of that bout can be read here - Takuma Inoue and Mark John Yap clash in WBC Eliminator!
One of the main support bouts will see Ryo Matsumoto (21-2, 19) return to the ring for the first time since he lost to Daniel Roman in a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight earlier this year. The touted Matsumoto will be up against the in form Ryo Sagawa (4-1, 2), who has won his last 3 including a major domestic upset against Junki Sasaki. This should be a straight forward return to domestic level for Matsumoto but it'll be interesting to see what his confidence is like following the loss to Roman, where he was out boxed, out thought and out fought.
Another notable supporting bout will see Japanese Light Welterweight Youth champion Andy Hiraoka (12-0, 8) defending his title against Ukyo Yoshigai (6-2, 5), in what will be the second between the two men. These two fought back in August 2017, with Hiraoki stopping Yoshigai to claim the Japanese Youth title, which he has since defended once. Yoshigai will be seeking revenge, but will be be the under-dog against one of the top young talents in Japan.
Lower down on the under-card fans will be able to see former amateur stand out Katsuya Yasuda (2-0, 1) take on experienced Indonesian Anshori Anhar Pitulay (9-16-2, 6), in what is likely to be a mismatch, whilst Taku Kuwahara (1-0, 1) faces off with Ardi Tefa (6-7-1, 4), in what suspect will be a quick blow out win for the unbeaten Japanese fighter.
This coming Friday is a big day for Asian boxing, as we get a couple of world title fight a couple of prospects and a hotly tipped debutant.
The main bout of the card will see Englishman Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13) defending his WBA Bantamweight title against 2-weight world champion Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13), who looks to become a 3-weight champion in just 16 bouts. The defending champion will boast significant size advantage over Inoue, but has been struggling to make 118lbs over the last few years and Inoue's trademark body attack may well take advantage of that issue. As for McDonnell he is unbeaten in over a decade and holds several notable wins, including a couple against Tomoki Kameda, one against Julio Ceja and one against Liborio Solis. The challenger is one of the biggest names in Japanese boxing and will know that another win here will help increase his profile around the boxing world, and move him towards becoming a global star.
Interesting Inoue and McDonnell may not only be fighting for the WBA Bantamweight title but also, potentially, a place in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series at Bantamweight.
The other title bout on this card will see WBC Light Flyweight Ken Shiro (12-0, 6) defending his belt against Ganigan Lopez (34-7, 19), the man he beat for the title last year. Since winning the belt Ken Shiro has made two defenses and gone from being a fighter only the hardcore fans know about to being a man who has featured on Japanese main stream TV and has really built his profile magnificently. Lopez will be looking to avenge his 2017 loss to the Japanese fighter, but at the age of 36 it could be that Lopez's career is naturally coming to an end, and this bout will bee the one that makes him realise he's not the fighter he once was.
The leading support bout will see Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (10-0, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Waldo Sabu (12-11, 2). This bout really should be little more than a show case bout for the talented Inoue, who should be getting a world title fight this year, but on the other hand it's good to see him tick over. Despite only being 22 it does feel like Inoue, who debuted in December 2013, should be up against better opposition and has been ready for a world title fight for a while, so hopefully this will be his final tune up bout. As for Sabu Sabu is yet to win a bout outside of Indonesia, having suffered notable losses to Shingo Wake in Japan as well as Nop Kratingdaenggym, Norasing Kokietgym and Petchbarngborn Kokietgym in Thailand.
The hard hitting Tsuyoshi Tameda (16-3-2, 14) looks for his 4th straight win, following a 2016 loss to Reiya Abe, as he takes on Indonesian veteran Rivo Rengkung (36-24-6, 14). Although still a bit unknown outside of Japan Tameda is one of the countries more unheralded prospects. The hard hitting Tameda suffered a couple of losses in 2016, to Simpiwe Vetyeka and Reiya Abe, but has bounced back well with 3 stoppage wins, including one for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title, and is now being stepped up slight take on the Indonesian visitor here. Rengkung is a pretty limited fighter but should be able to take Tameda a few rounds here, before being stopped..
Also on this card will be touted debutant Taku Kuwabara (0-0), who makes his debut against Indonesian foe Mochamad Sholimin (3-6, 3). The Japanese fighter was a notable on the Japanese scene and looks likely to be yet another top fighter at the Ohashi Gym. He will clearly be looking to make a statement here, but may struggle to really wow the fans in Tokyo as he takes on a man who took Daiki Tomita 8 rounds last August. We suspect Kuwabara will win without many problems, but if he can stop Sholimin that will be a solid statement from the debutant.