Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
Rather interestingly in Aichi this coming Sunday fans will be allowed in a venue to watch boxing, though the show will only have 2 bouts on it, and social distance will be enforced with a lot of the venue also set to be empty. With only 2 bouts on the card we'll talk about both, and thankfully both have something to say about them.
The main event will be a Champion carnival bout as the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) clashes with Tsuyoshi Sato (10-1-1, 5) for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title. Originally Yabuki was supposed to face the defending champion Yuto Takahashi for the title earlier in the year. Sadly that bout was postponed due to the on going global situation and Takahashi, who had previously spoke about being frustrated by the sport, retired. His frustration at being unable to fight saw him retire and vacate the title.
Whilst a bout between Takahashi and Yabuki would have been great we feel this may be a more fun bout with the heavy handed handed Yabuki up against the intense pressure and energy of Sato. We think Sato might be lacking the power needed to get Yabuki's respect, but it's clear he's going to be there to win, and we can't help but feel this has the potential to be a very exciting fight. Our preview of this fight can be read here Yabuki and Sato clash to crown new Japanese champion!
The only other bout on this card will see the crude but exciting Takumi Chono (5-1, 3) take on Takefumi Higashi (5-8, 1) in a 6 round Minimumweight bout. Whilst we don't think many fans will be aware of Chono he came runner up in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing in the final to the excellent Katsuki Mori, and we enjoyed watching his aggression, pressure and energy. Higashi is a long way from a world beater, having scored just 2 wins in his last 8, but typically he goes the rounds and makes a fight of things. Chono should win, but he has a dance partner who will give everything and potentially make the perfect foil to the talented youngster.
Hongtang Shopping Center, Chengdu, China
Staying in Asia there's also set to be a small show in China, which, like many recent Chinese cards, is focused on novices.
We won't go through all the bouts here, but the most notable of the contests on the show is a 6 rounder between 22 year old Wen Song Liu (4-1, 3) and 19 year old debutant Xiaolong Jiang (0-0). Despite only being 22 Liu made his debut way back in 2017, when he suffered a TKO loss. Since losing in 2017 we've seen Liu score 4 straight wins and get his career back on track and he is coming in to this bout with some momentum.
Over in Belarus, of all places, we'll be seeing a show promoted by Suliemen Promotions. This card is stacked with unbeaten Kazakh hopefuls, in what should be a very interesting card on Khabar TV.
The main event will see world ranked Super Middleweight contender Aidos Yerbossynuly (13-0, 9) defending his numerous minor titles against 38 year veteran Nuhu Lawal (27-6, 15). The 28 year old Yerbossynuly has unified minor titles from the WBA, WBC and WBO and is looking to move towards a potential future world title fight. Lawal is a true veteran, at the age of 38, and will be expected to take Yerbossynuly rounds though isn't expected to be much of a threat to the talented Kazakh fighter.
In the co-feature Nursultan Zhangabayev (8-0, 5), another world ranked Kazakh, will be up against French southpaw Sandy Messaoud (13-6, 1). Although Messaoud has 6 losses to his name he is enjoying a nice run, with 5 straight wins, and will be full of confidence here. Saying that however it's hard see him over-coming the criminally under-rated Zhangabayev, who has impressed time and time again.
Also on this card are Bek Nurmaganbet (0-0), who won a gold medal at the 2019 Asian Amateur Championships, and Yevgeniy Pavlov (0-0), who will both be taking part in their debuts, and the unbeaten Nursultan Amanzholov (2-0, 1)
We really are closing in on Christmas, and even though we're a few days away we are set for one of the annual treats boxing calendar, the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. As well as the Rookie of the Year's there's a lot of other stuff going on, with a title bout, an eliminator and a host of prospects in action. This Sunday is big for Asian boxing!
Our attention is obvious focused on the All Japan Rookie of the Year final from Korakuen Hall, with G+ airing the show live, and in full. For fans who want to know what makes Japanese boxing special at the lower end this is it. This is the culmination of a tournament that covers the whole country and takes the better part of a year. To get to the final you need to have won your regional final, and you don't get this far by chance. You get here on merit alone, and as a result we get some amazing match ups.
We won't be going through all 12 bouts, but we have picked out favourite match ups from the line.
It's always great to see all-unbeaten fights in the final and at Minimumweight we have one such bout, as Katsuki Mori (5-0, 1) takes on Takumi Chono (5-0, 3). This is a brilliant fight, with both men being young, having very similar records and both proving themselves to get this far. Mori is a sensational pure boxer from the Ohashi gym and will be looking to show case his skills, but Chono is not a push over, and has looked strong and powerful through out. The winner of this will really be one to watch in 2020.
At Featherweight we expect to see fire-works as Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) and Jinki Maeda (3-0, 2) face off. It's been an emotional year for Kameda, the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, and only 2 weeks ago there was a a real chance he'd miss out on this bout due to the politics at the Kyoei gym. Now here the hard hitting 21 year old will be wanting to make the most of his opportunity. Maeda has quietly made his way to the final, blowing out his first two professional opponents before shutting out the then 4-0 Hikaru Fukunaga. We expect this one to be the standout bout of the day.
More fireworks are expected up at 140lbs where Kodai Honda (4-1, 3) and Yasutaka Fujita (5-0, 5) will face off. The 20 year old Honda lost on debut, more than a year ago, but has reeled off 4 wins since then, and he has stopped each of his last 3 opponents. Fujita on the other hand has been blitzing opponents and his 5 bouts have lasted just 10 rounds. Expect bombs to be thrown, and to be thrown early here!
Whilst the Rookie of the Year show is the biggest it's certainly not the only show of note, and at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center the Muto Gym will be show casing some of their brightest young talents, as well as a regional champion.
The main event of the show will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) defending his title against Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4). This will be Kobayashi's first defense since winning the title in May with a minor upset against Ben Mananquil, and he'll be looking to go into the new year with some real momentum behind following a bizarre decision loss to Keita Kurihara at the end of 2018. It's really hard to see what Go offers here, and it was only last year that Go was stopped by career Flyweight Masahiro Sakamoto, a stablemate of Kobayashi's at the time. Our full and in depth previous of this regional title bout can be read here Kobayashi defends against Go in Osaka!
In supporting bouts we'll see a trio of Muto gym prospects taking on Filipino foes. The most notable of the trio is Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1), who takes a huge step up to take on veteran Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17). This is a brilliant bit of match making from the Muto team, who know that Diale is on the slide, but still very live and has been in there with a who's who of the lower weights. A risky match up for their star prospect, but a win here will instantly launch him into the mix for regional titles. High risk and high reward for Mine here.
Another stellar prospect is Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2), who will be fighting as Deka-narudo Torio, who takes on hard hitting Pinoy Ken Jordan (8-1-2, 7). The 23 year old Kuwabata is tipped very highly by those in Japan and has been matched aggressively so far, with this being a pretty logical looking step. Jordan is unbeaten in over 2 years and recently claimed an ABF title, back in August. This is a bout between two youngsters each coming to win, and it should give us some very competitive action over 8 rounds.
The third prospect of note is Ryosuke Nishida (1-0, 1), who made his debut in Thailand back in October. Unlike his fellow hopefuls he won't be in an 8 rounder, but instead he'll be scheduled for 6 rounds against the tough Pablito Canada (7-17-4, 1), and will likely be taken the distance by Canada who has only been stopped twice in his 28 bout career.
A second Osaka, card, this time from the EDION Arena, will also be worthy of some attention.
The main event here is a Japanese Super Flyweight title eliminator, the final of the eliminators to take place this year, and will see former world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-3, 11) clash with Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) for the chance to fight Kenta Nakagawa in the new year. At 34 years old a loss will likely send Kudaka into retirement, ending an incredibly interesting and often exciting career, so we expect to see him being fired up for this. Matsuo is no world beater, but he is better than his record suggests and is hoping to secure a second Japanese Super Flyweight title fight, following a loss to Takayuki Okumoto earlier this year. Our in depth preview of this eliminator is available to read here Kudaka and Matsuo to clash in final Japanese eliminator of 2019!
In an 8 round supporting bout Kenta Nomura (6-3, 3) will battle Ryo Suwa (11-2, 2), in a very interesting looking contest. Nomura is looking to bounce back from an August loss to Toshiki Shimomachi, in a Japanese Youth title fight, and although he's nothing special he does tend to make for good fights. Suwa on the other hand has won 4 of his last 5 and will see this as a chance to take a huge step towards a potential youth title fight of his own.
This show will also feature the debut of former amateur standout Kantaro Juri (0-0), who fought in the Asian and World Youth Championships back in 2014, who will be in a 6 rounder at a contracted 53KG's. Sadly his opponent here hasn't been confirmed, though we have been told it will be an Indonesian opponent.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a low level Indian card in Golaghat.
This card will be headlined by Sagar Narwat (9-1-1, 3) taking on Shiva (9-3, 3) in an 8 round bout. For Narwat this is a chance to get back to winning ways following October's loss to Troy O'Meley in Australia. As for Shiva he's now wheeled off 3 straight wins after he suffered a trio of losses on the road in 2017. Sadly this bout aside the card isn't really worth getting too excited about.