This coming Friday is a small but notable day in Asia, with a potentially very exciting, but easy to over-look show in Tokyo and an Uzbek hopeful getting a chance to show what they can do.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The card in Tokyo is small one but a pretty notable one.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo (32-9-2, 18) take on Japanese Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (15-8-2, 11) in what should be a really exciting and action packed bout. The tough and aggressive Kondo is certainly a rough around the edges fighter but is rugged, comes to fight, and can be a nightmare for much better fighters, as we saw against Sergey Lipinets. As for Aoqui he's not the best fighter out there, but he's explosive, exciting and hard hitting. Aoqui is, like Kondo, quite rough around the edges, but his style should gel with Kondo's to give us something brilliant to watch. This will be Kondo's pressure and toughness against Aoqui's explosive aggression.
In the chief support bout the once beaten Takuya Uehara (16-1,10) will be looking to bounce back from a 2018 loss to Satoshi Shimizu. Uehara has sadly been out of the ring for well over 2 years but will be looking to prove a point here and get his career back on track. In the opposite corner to Uehars will be Ryusei Ishii (8-6-1, 5), who has been very out of sortes in recent bouts and is 2-4-1 in his last 7.
Reed Arena, College Station, Texas, USA
As well as the action in Japan we're also expecting to see some action in the US of interest as once beaten Uzbek fighter Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (16-1, 13) makes his US debut. Although not a well known fighter Najmitdinov is a very dangerous fighter, and is well over-due a chance to show what he can do on a big stage. The now 31 year old is not among the top amateurs from Uzbekistan, but he is someone who should be more well known and was legitimately robbed in 2017 when he faced Viktor Postol in Ukraine. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for this bout hasn't been confirmed, though hopefully it will be someone capable of asking him questions, as he can ill afford to waste more time with mismatches.
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 Monday attention turns to Osaka where we get two different shows.
One of the two shows takes place at the EDION Arena Osaka, where Hiroki Ioka puts on a small card, featuring a couple of low key but relatively notable contests.
The main event is scheduled for 10 rounds and will see Rikuto Adachi (10-1, 7) take on Filipino Jonel Dapidran (10-2, 6) in a brilliant clash of 20 year olds. The Japanese fighter suffered his only defeat in the 2017 Rookie of the Year final at Welterweight, losing a close decision to Hironori Shigeta, but has since bounced back with a pair of stoppage wins over visitors. Dapidran is a solid fighter, but has lost 2 of his last 5 and a win here would be his best so far. We genuinely are expecting this to be the bout of the day.
In the chief support bout on this card fans will see Koya Sato (11-4-1, 2) battle against Tatsuya Terada (6-3-2, 1). Sato is the more experienced fighter, and is currently riding a 4 fight winning run. Terada on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 bouts. This should be competitive, but Sato's experience should be the difference maker.
The other show is an Apollo promotions card from the Yodogawa Ward Center. As with the Hiroki Ioka card this isn't a big show and only really has 3 bouts of any note.
The headline bout on this show will see the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (15-0, 9) face off against Noriyoshi Taki (6-7-1, 1). The talented Uehara has impressed in recent bouts, with notable wins against the likes of Markquil Salvana and Takuya Yamamoto. The 25 year old Taki is a southpaw, which Uehara does need experience against, but he has been stopped in 3 of his last 5 and we would be surprised by him lasting the distance with Uehara. On paper this is a step down for Uehara, but a chance to get some ring time against a southpaw.
In the leading support bout fans will see former Uehara foe Shota Yukawa (8-5-3, 3) take on Indonesian foe Ramly Pasaribu (6-13, 1). Coming in to this Yukawa has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6 and needs a confidence building performance. Pasaribu should serve as that confidence building win for Yukawa, with the visitor having been stopped in 11 of his 13 losses.
On paper the most even bout is another Japan Vs Indonesia bout, and will see touted prospect Takamori Kiyama (1-0, 1) face off with Ken Neparasi (1-0, 1). On paper this is an even looking bout but Kiyama is very highly touted and is expected to go a long way. Neparasi may turn out to be a surprising talent but we would be very shocked to see him really test the Japanese prospect, despite their similar professional records.
Fight fans in Osaka get a small card this coming Sunday, headlined by a local hopeful looking to extend his unbeaten record.
The aforementioned hopeful is the 22 year old Takuya Uehara (14-0, 8), who battles against Shota Yukawa (8-4-3, 3). The unbeaten Uehara is the WBC Youth Featherweight champion and he comes in to this bout looking to continue his climb towards bigger and better titles. Coming in to the bout Uehara is ranked by the JBC and OPBF and will know that if he can keep ranking up wins he could open the door to a Japanese or Oriental title fight in the near future. As for Yukawa he's a bit of unknown and isn't expected to provide much of a test for the youngster. At 30 years old Yukawa is probably as good as he'll ever be and although he's unbeaten in his last 3 we do question his hunger coming in to this bout.
Sadly other than the main event this show is a very weak one.
So Christmas is this coming Monday, Turkey, alcohol, presents, fun and family. On Sunday however we have fights in Japan as the sport delivers once more before the big day.
The more notable of two shows comes from Kadoma City in Osaka and will feature a number of notable fighters.
One of those notable fighters is second generation hopeful Juiki Tatsuyoshi (6-0, 4), who will be facing off with a Thai visitor in the main event of the card. The bout with Tatsuyoshi is his first to be scheduled over the 8 round distance, and will actually be aired on G+, who appear happy to push him as a star in the making, thanks to his still hugely popular father Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. This will be Tatsuyoshi's first bout of the year, though comes after a number of injuries and the birth of his first child, so expect a lot of substories being told by the TV crew, but the key is for the unbeaten Osakan to win, and move into 2018 with his unbeaten record intact.
In the co-feature we'll see former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (32-4-4, 19) look to take a huge step towards a second world title fight, as he takes on world ranked Nicaraguan Alexander Mejia (8-0, 4). Internationally Osawa is best known for his 1-sided loss to Oscar Valdez but has bounced back since then with two wins, including a wide decision win over the then unbeaten Julio Cortez. Coming into this Meija has never fought outside of Nicaragua and comes into the bout with split decision wins over Lesther Lara and Ramiro Blanco as well as his unbeaten record.
One other bout of note on this card will see Shohei Kawashima (15-1-2, 3) face off with Gaku Aikawa (8-5-1, 2) in what looks likely to be a pretty interesting match up. The once beaten Kawashima has only fought once since his narrow defeat to Cristian Mijares in October 2016 and is a very talented fighter, who may well suffer from inactivity here, after 9 months out of the ring. Although his record doesn't show it Aikawa is a very decent lower tier domestic fighter and could well take advantage of Kawashima's inactivity here.
The other show comes from Osaka city, and features some notable fighters, but far less than the other card.
The main event here sees the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (13-0, 8) take on Takuya Yamamoto (8-7, 4) in what looks like a mismatch on paper. The unbeaten 22 year old Southpaw has shown traits of being one to watch, but has been matched lightly, with his best win being a decision over Filipino Markquil Salvana. Uehara is young, and for that we can let him off for the poor competition, but it's starting to feel like he's ready for a step up. Yamamoto is a limited fighter but is much better than his record indicates, and he has given Shingo Kawamura and Yuta Uetani tough bouts in recent times, though was dominated by Satoshi Shimizu back in May, who stopped him inside 2 minutes.
In the chief support bout fans will see the touted Kazuaki Miyamoto (4-1, 3) take on a Thai foe, in what should be a straight forward win for Miyamoto. Miyamoto was stopped earlier this year, by Shuzo Inada, but should be able to record his second win since that loss.
The main show for us this coming Saturday is a televised card from the Korakuen Hall, which will be covered live by G+.
The main event of the card will see talented Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (21-1-1, 10) take on Filipino foe Glenn Enterina (11-2-1, 8) in what is expected to be one of Ito's final bouts before a potential world title clash. The talented Japanese fighter, who unified the WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles at the end of 2016 is regarded as top 15 fighter by 3 of the alphabet organisations and will be seeking a title fight sooner rather than later. In his way will be the big punching Enterina, who will be seeking his first win outside of the Philippines, but will be regarded as a huge under-dog against the highly schooled Japanese hopeful.
Arguably the best bout on this card will see the touted Sho Nakazawa (10-1, 4) take on Ryo Hino (10-1-1, 6) in a very even looking match up on paper. Nakazawa was once seen as a top prospect in Japan but a loss last year to Teiru Atsumi put the breaks on that and two subsequent wins have scarcely excited the fans who seem to know that he is talented, but isn't quite as exciting as they had first hoped. As for Hino he's a bit of an unknown, though he did give Reiya Abe a tough bout a couple of years ago and has stopped his last 4. This could be skills against power, and should be the best bout on the card.
Another competitive looking contest will see the Japanese ranked Yuta Horiike (12-5-3, 3) take on Kyosuke Sawada (7-2-1, 4) in what should be a good supporting contest, just like the bout between Yosuke Fujihara (16-5, 4) and Keita Nakano (14-11-6, 4), which is likely to be much better than it looks on paper. Both of these bouts will be over 8 rounds and could be very interesting contests for fans watching at the venue and on TV.
In Osaka we'll see the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (12-0, 7) look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on a Thai visitor in an 8 rounder. Uehara, the WBC Youth Featherweight champion, will not be risking his belt here but shouldn't have any problems beating the Thai, who we have been informed is naturally smaller and is typically fighting as a Super Bantamweight.
Ansan, South Korea
There will also be a show in Ansan, South Korea, with this show being part of the rising Boxing M series of shows. The theme of the show is that it's the last 8 of a Korean Lightweight tournament, however those bouts are joined by an interesting 6 rounder between Jae Woo Lee (4-2, 4) and Young Hwan Jun (3-3-1, 1), who we believe will be fighting for the right to challenge for a Korean title.
The biggest bout of the day, in regards to Asian fights at least, comes from Rizal where we see a rearranged contest between the talented, and criminally under-rated, Jonas Sultan (12-3, 8) and former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro (43-13-5, 30). The bout will see Sultan defending his IBF Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title, which he won last time out when he stopped Makazole Tete, and both men will be seeing a win here as potentially opening the door to a world title fight.
Xi An, China
In China we'll be getting quite a notable show.
The main event of this card will see the world ranked Can Xu (11-2) defending his WBA International Super Featherweight title against Filipino veteran Jack Asis (35-19-5,18). This will be Asis' first bout since he lost to Malcolm Klassen last year, and will see him ending a retirement, a retirement that he announced following the loss to Klassen. Xu is risking his world ranking and his title, but will favour his youth and energy to be the difference here.
In a bout pitting a local talent against an Indonesian, fans will see Wulan Tuolehazi (4-3, 1) battle former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane (32-21-2, 18), with Tuolehazi seemingly replacing Qiu Xiao Jun who was originally set to face the Indonesian veteran. At his best Manakane was a decent fighter, but nothing better than decent on the regional scene. Saying that however it's hard to know how good Tuolehazi is and although he should win here, it's still not likely we'll know really how good he is for a while yet.
In a China Vs Japan bout we'll unbeaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (11-0-1, 5) battle with Japanese veteran Taisho Ozawa (21-9-2, 13). Although relatively unknown Baisahnbo has caught our eye in the past and the 22 year old does look like a genuine prospect. Aged 36 Ozawa is in last chance saloon, and is looking to record his first win since 2012!
Also on this card will be a bout between heavy handed Puerto Rican Waldemar Pagan (8-1, 7) and Filipino Macrea Gandionco (12-4-2, 7). Although not an Asian fighter this will be Pagan's second fight in Asia, where he has also been used as a sparring partner, and he has impressed in the area, likely leaving a number of promotional outfits interested in him long term. The Filipino has already been stopped 4 times in his career, and it's hard to imagine him lasting the distance with the Puerto Rican here.
The only show in Japan is a small one in Osaka. Whilst it is small, and very low key, it does have a somewhat notable main event as the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (11-0, 6) defends his WBC Youth Featherweight title against Thai visitor Nongdear Sor Bangkharu (1-14). Despite the title being on the line it's hard to get too excited about this one given the unbeaten champion is taking on someone who has lost his last 6, suffering 5 stoppages during that run.
In Australia fans will see Australian veteran Les Sherrington (35-10, 19) battle against Indonesian foe Marco Tuhumury (11-17-2, 4) in what should be a straight forward win for Sherrington, despite the fact he's 34 and been stopped in his last 3 bouts, dating back more than 2 years.
This coming Sunday sees 3 shows taking place across Japan.
The most notable of the shows is in Fukuoka where we get female world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (16-4-1, 8) battle against Mari Ando (13-9, 6), in what will be the second bout between the two ladies. Kuroki won the title in May 2014, when she defeated Ando, and has racked up 4 defenses of the title whilst showing genuine signs of improvement. For Ando the bout will be a chance to gain some revenge over Kuroki but a loss will almost be the end of her hard career.
In a really interesting supporting bout we'll see the struggling Hideo Sakamoto (16-3-3, 5) face of with Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-2, 5). Sakamoto made a name for himself in 2014, when he upset Hiroki Shiino, and looked to be beading towards a Japanese title, but a draw with Hiroaki Teshigawara has been followed by losses to Kentaor Masuda and Seizo Kono, leading some to wonder how much he has left. For Kawabata the bout is a chance to score his biggest win following draws against the likes of Hirofumi Mukai and Rene Dacquel. It's hard to know how good Kawabata is, but he did run Mark John Yap very close just a few fights back and clearly has potential.
Another title bout in Japan sees unbeaten youngster Takuya Uehara (10-0, 6) battle Filipino Markquil Salvana (11-2, 5) for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. For Uehara this will be his first title bout, but his team have prepared him pretty well with a string of 8 rounders, though he has only gone that distance once. Salvana has previously fought for a title, losing in a WBA Oceania title fight in 2015, and is struggling for form coming into this bout with 2 stoppages losses in his last 4. On paper this looks good but with Salvana's struggle and the fact he is moving up in weight does mean it's hard to see anything but a win for Uehara.
On the under-card here we'll see the now struggling Tatsuya Ikemizu (13-2, 6) battle against limited Thai Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-6, 1). Ikemizu has lost 2 of his last 3 bouts, albeit to good fighters in the form of Mak John Yap and Jonas Sultan, and is now looking to rebuild his career before being written off. Despite the set backs Ikemizu was the 2013 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year and has shown plenty of promise, though one wonders about his mental state. Jaipetch is expected to offer no resistance and will likely suffer his 5th stoppage loss.
There will also be a show in Hyogo, featuring no title action.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese title challenger Takumi Sakae (14-1-1, 9) face off with Ryoki Hirai (7-4-1, 3) as Sakae looks to end a bad year. Sakae began 2013 as a world ranked hopeful but a loss in a Japanese title fight with Tatsuya Fukuhara and a technical draw against Lito Dante has left him really needing to rebuild and a win over Hirai here would steady the ship leading into 2017. It looks like Hirai is a safe opponent for Sakae, with little to really test the youngster, but their will be questions about Sakae's confidence following the year he has had.
On the under-card wee see the once beaten Tetsu Araki (6-1-1) look to score a third straight win as he takes on Takuya Fujioka (7-5-1, 1) for the second time. This looks like a straight forward win for Araki, who's only loss was a razor thin set back to Tenta Kiyose in September 2015, however Fujioka did run Araki very close when the two men first fought back in July 2015.
Another notable under-card bout here will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (7-2, 4) take on Shota Aikawa (5-6-2, 2) in an interesting looking contest. On paper Kanda will be the favoured fighter but he was stopped inside a round last December and has fought only a single round since that loss . Aikawa has lost his last 2, but will come in here looking to change that here against a possibly rusty Kanda.
The first big Japanese show of the month takes place this coming Sunday in Kanagawa and looks set to be a significant one for a number of fighters as well as fans who can tune in on Fuji TV.
The main event of the show sees WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (10-0, 8) defending his title, for the third time, against Thai Petchbarngborn Kokikietgym (38-7-1, 18). For the challenger this will be his most notable fighter to date, and sees him return to Japan for his 6th bout in the country, it will however be his most difficult, and probably most painful. For Inoue the bout is a chance to get back to his most destructive against an opponent who really isn't in his league.
Naoya's little brother Takuma Inoue (7-0, 2) is taking on another serious test as he faces fringe level Filipino fighter Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14). Saludar was, once, tipped to be one of the big stars of Filipino boxing but appears to have fallen well short of that mark. A win here for the Filipino would however reignite his career and put him back in the title mix. Inoue is the favourite and will be viewing this bout as a test before a potential world title fight, with the Japanese youngster said to be targeting a Bantamweight title later in the year.
A third Inoue on this card is cousin Koki Inoue (4-0, 3) who looks to continue his impressive start as he takes on Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (22-22-2,10). Inoue will be stepping into his first 8 round bout but we don't expect to see Andriyanto lasting the distance against the aggressive and heavy handed Japanese fighter.
Whilst much of the attention will be on the Inoue family there is however a lot of buzz around the debuting Satoshi Shimizu (0-0), who will be facing off against Korean visitor In Kyoo Lee (3-2, 1). Shimizu won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Aged 30 Shimizu's time to progress is relatively short but he's likely to be fast tracked and we could see him facing notable names as early as his next fight
A second Japanese card will be taking place in Osaka, with boxingraise.com showing this one on a 1 day tape delay.
In the main event fans will see the promising Takuya Uehara (9-0, 6) face off against the much more experienced Katsuhiko Kanno (9-9-7, 4). This Kanno has won just 1 of his last 9 bouts, but he has faced stiff competition and held several fighters to a draw, in fact with 7 draws from his 25 fights we can call him a draw expected. Aged 20 Uehara is a really promising fighter but this is a step up in class.
In a supporting bout former Japanese title challenger Masato Morisaki (11-4-1, 6) will be up against Takahiro Murai (13-6-2, 4) in what looks like a relatively even match up between two men each in need of a big win to build towards 2017 on.
Another notable match up here sees 23 year old prospect Kazuaki Miyamoto (1-0, 1) facing off against an Indonesian foe. Not much is known about the “opponent” but Miyamoto is tipped to be a special fighter and a win here will likely result in him moving into 8 round bouts and then building towards a title opportunity in 2017
It's fair to say that Japanese fight fans have been left somewhat short changed during this year's “Golden Week”, and where theirs often 2 or 3 major card there wasn't really any, with the recent Watanabe card coming just before the Golden Week and the next big card, an Ohashi one, coming on the Sunday after the Golden Week. Saying that however the wait until this Sunday is a worthy one with their being several notable shows throughout Japan.
Of those Japanese shows it goes without saying the biggest, and the best, is in Tokyo and is going to be the highly anticipated Ohashi card from the 10,000 seater Ariake Colosseum. The card, which we strongly suspect will have more than 10,000,000 viewers, will see only two bouts televised live but they are both likely to feel a little bit special.
The first of those bouts is expected to be an all out war as IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) defends his title against the aggressive and very fun to watch Martin Tecuapetla (13-6-3, 10). This bout really does promise a lot of excitement, and for fans who like a war this is as sure fire a slugfest as we can think of with both men enjoying a tear up. Yaegashi will be the favourite but we wouldn't be surprised to see him taken to hell and back to retain his title.
Of course whilst Yaegashi's bout promises real 2-way fireworks it's unlikely to be the bout that gets international attention. Instead that attention will be focused on 23 year old sensation Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8), who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). The bout will be Inoue's second defense of his title and is likely to be his final bout in Japan before making a highly anticipated US debut later in the year. Although the bout is anticipated, because of Inoue's incredible appeal and ability, it's a mismatch and is unlikely to be more than a cameo-like appearance from the “Monster”, who has fought just 4 rounds in the last 18 months.
The two world title bouts are of course the bouts getting the most attention but their will also be a third title bout on the show, as youngster Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1) defends the OPBF Super Flyweight title against Indonesian challenger Afrizal Tamboresi (12-4, 6). The bout really should be a mismatch in favour of Takuma, who should make the second defense of his title here, but Tamboresi knows there is nothing to lose and their will be no pressure on him coming into this bout against the much touted Inoue.
The card featured a third fighter from the Inoue clan, with the touted Koki Inoue (2-0, 2) taking on another Indonesian, in Bimo Jaguar (0-0), in what is unlikely to be anything other than an early blow out win for the biggest of the Inoue's. Koki, for those unaware, is the cousin of Naoya and Takuma and, like the brothers, is trained by their father Shingo who may well be the best young trainer in world boxing.
One other notable name on this card is world title contender Ryo Matsumoto (17-0, 15), who risks his rankings and unbeaten record against Victor Uriel Lopez (8-5-1, 3). This seems likely to be Matsumoto's final bout before a world title fight, later in 2016. That talented Matsumoto has been treading water for a while, and this seems to be another stay busy, but he is insanely talented and is viewed as another fighter who is going to be part of a Japanese revolution over the coming years.
Talking about the next wave of Japanese fighters their will also be one of the youngest in action in Hyogo. That's 18 year old Riku Kano (9-1-1, 5), who faces former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-2-1, 12) in a bout for the OPBF interim Minimumweight title. Kano has his eyes on setting the Japanese age record, for the youngest world champion from Japan, but knows that he will need to beat Sabillo here. For the Filipino form champion this is a must win and he knows his career will essentially be over as a top contender if he loses the 18 year old Kano.
Sadly we do need to say that although listed on boxrec, Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) will not be making his Japanese debut on this card.
In Osaka fans will get a show at the Mierparque Hall in Osaka City.
Here the main event will see the promising 20 year old Takuya Uehara (8-0, 5), an OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender, battling against Indonesian ranked Ramli Pasaribu (4-7, 1). Uehara is OPBF ranked already though hasn't really proven himself against anyone of actual quality. A win here won't change that, but we suspect that this could his final bout before facing a known opponent, possibly this coming summer.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese ranked Flyweight Shunji Nagata (10-14-2, 3) face off with former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masato Morisaki (10-4-1, 6). For Morisaka this will be his second bout since he was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Sho Ishida back on December 31st 2014 and although the “more proven” fighter he has fought just 2 rounds since that Ishida bout. Nagata might not be a great fighter but he's someone who has been battle tested and should give Morisaka a very good fight.
A third bout of note on this card will see OPBF and JBC ranked 140lb fighter Ryusei Yoshida (27-8, 14) fight in what really should be a stay busy contest against Tatsunori Fukunaga (7-6, 3). If Yoshida wins, as is widely expected, he could potentially be the next Japanese title challenger later in the year, and will almost certainly call out Hiroki Okada.
A fourth Japanese show is set to take place in Aichi, with this one having 4 bouts that caught our eye.
The main event of the card will see veteran Daiki Koide (22-7-2, 9) battle against OPBF ranked Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (2-0-1), who incidentally claimed the KBF 140lb title last time out. On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch but Kim has been fast tracked and has already proven that he can go rounds, with 22 career rounds already, and he may well see Koide as just the next step on his way through the OPBF rankings.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout on this card sees former Keita Obara opponent Kazuya Maruki (19-3, 12) face off with Chan Hee Park (5-6-1) in what looks likely to be another good bout for fans, though with Park lacking power it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Maruki. For those who haven't seen Park before we suggest watching his fight with Kyoo Hwan Hwang from last year as it really was so fun and just a crazy battle.
Maruki's brother, Ryosuke Maruki (11-3-1, 7) will also be up against a Korean visitor, in the form of Joon Yong Lee (5-3-3, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lee is the Korean Middleweight champion and may well be a real handful for Maruki, in what could be a genuinely fun bout for fans at the venue. Notably Lee enters the bout as a highly ranked contender by the OPBF so will be fighting to defend that ranking.
The final bout of note is an all-Japanese bout at Heavyweight. The bout will see the unbeaten Ryu Ueda (5-0, 2) risk his perfect record against veteran fighter Kotatsu Takehara (12-11-3, 6). This is a big step up in class for Ueda however Takehara has won just 2 of his last 4, and was stopped in both of his losses. It's a good test for the 23 year old novice who knows a win could see him move towards a Japanese title fight, and perhaps even a chance to become the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion.
Incheon, South Korea
As well as all the action in Japan there is also a card in Korea, under the KPBF banner.
The main event here is a PABA “interim” title bout that sees Korean Jong-Min Jung (6-7, 2) battle Ghana's Razak Nettey (17-4, 13) at Featherweight. Notably this Nettey is a replacement for Filipino Jason Redondo and unfortunately for the Korean it seems Nettey may not have been an easier option.
This card will also feature two other PABA affiliated title bouts, one at Bantamweight and one at Light Middleweight. From what we understand the Bantamweight bout will see Woo Hyun Kim (5-1, 1) battle Michael Barnor (15-7-2, 11). The Light Middleweight bout will see Youn Bae Kim (4-0, 1), the current PABA interim champion, battle Joo Hun Kim (7-1, 2), the KPBF champion.
*Note several Korean records have been provided by the KPBF.