Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action returns to Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a Watanabe and Dangan co-promoted card. This is a small card, with just 3 bouts on it in total, but it is also a very notable card, with all 3 bouts being title contests. As well as the 3 bouts, fans will also get an exhibition featuring one of the biggest stars in Japanese boxing, who makes a long awaited return to Korakuen Hall.
Also it's worth noting all of these bouts were originally scheduled to take place in May, but were delayed due to the Sumida City Gymnasium being closed during the recent State of Emergency in various Japanese regions.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Minimuwmeight champion Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) making his first defense, as he takes on the once beaten Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7). Taniguchi won the Japanese title late last year, winning the belt in his second shot at it, and he could end up having a very strong reign if he and his team are happy with him developing on the Japanese scene for the next few years. The talented champion will have hopes of winning a world title one day, but for now he's best off developing, getting some experience and fighting at this level. As for Nakashima he's a decent fighter, but it does feel like he's ill prepared for a bout with Taniguchi. He lost in 2018 to Kai Ishizawa and narrowly got past Ariston Aton in 2019. Nakashima has the potential to win a Japanese title, but we suspect he's getting this shot too soon in his career, and before he's really ready. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Taniguchi hunts first defense as he takes on Nakashima
In another of the title bouts we'll see former world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) battle against the unbeaten Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Minimumweight title. For Kuroki this really is a must win bout, she's more than 3 years removed from her last win, she's 1-2-1 in her last 4, and was last seen fighting to a draw with veteran Nao Ikeyama. The now 30 year old Kuroki went from looking like a woman on the verge of stardom to a woman who boxing has seemingly forgot. Another loss here and it'll be really hard for her to bounce back. As for the 27 year old Chimoto, she was a good amateur who has been on the fast track since making her debut in late 2018 and it's great to see her fighting for a title, against a former world champion, this early in her career. Our preview for this bout can be read here Chimoto steps up to take on former world champion Kuroki in third pro bout!
The third title bout will see Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) and Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) clash for the vacant Japanese female Bantamweight title. Both of these women are 34 years old and neither can really afford another set at this point. Taniyama turned professional with plenty of attention but has struggled to make a mark in pro boxing, something she was expected to do very easily. Henzan on the other hand has lost her last 3, and is limited, but has the clear edge in experience and will know that this is almost certainly going to be her final shot at a title. This could end up being a bit of a messy fight, with desperation setting in from both women, but with only 6 rounds it could also be a frantic and exciting one. Our in depth preview for this one is here Taniyama and Henzan battle for Japanese female title!
As well as the three bouts the card will also feature an exhibition bout, with WBA "super" Light Flyweight champion Hitoro Kyguchi (15-0, 10) showcasing his skills before the main event. Sadly at the time of writing his "opponent" hasn't been named.
Following a busy Saturday we get a pretty interesting Sunday, with 3 title fighters and a number of interesting match ups.
The most notable of the shows takes place in Osaka and will be promoted by Green Tsuda under their "Crash Boxing" banner.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, as Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) defends his title against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12). For Okumoto this will be his 4th defense of the title, and sees him looking to build on recent wins over Yuta Matsuo and and Dynamic Kenji. For Nakagawa the bout gives him a chance to reclaim the title he lost in 2017 to Ryuichi Funai. Since losing the title Nakagawa has scored 4 wins, but all at a much lower level than this bout, and at 34 years old he really cannot afford another set back. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Japanese champion Okumoto takes on former champion Nakagawa in up coming defense
In the chief support bout we'll see bombs away as Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) and former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-5, 16) trade blows for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Yada is less than 8 months removed from losing the Japanese title to Yuki Nagano, incidentally Nagano is the only man to beat Beppu, taking a decision over Beppu last year. Neither man is a world beater, but good fights don't need world beaters, they just need to be well matched and this one is! It's hard to imagine this one going the distance, but with both men being aggressive punchers it's very hard to predict who's going to end up victorious. Our preview of this bout can be read here The Kyushu Tyson takes on the Terminator of Naniwa for WBO Asia Pacific title!
Originally the plan was for this card to be a triple title show, but Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) was unable to secure an opponent to defend his JBC Youth Super Bantamweight title against. Instead of defending his title the talented Japanese youngster will go up against Indonesian teenager Jufry Kakahure (5-2, 5). Whilst it's disappointing to see Shimomachi not defend his title against a decent domestic foe we're glad he's still on the show.
In a really great fight we'll see Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (12-0, 11) take on world ranked Filipino Christian Bacolod (12-0, 9) in a truly fantastic match up. The Thai youngster is training alongside the Green Tsuda gym, and has been compared to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the Thai press. That's huge praise in a way, but also massive amounts of pressure for a 19 year old who only debuted in the summer of 2018. This is a huge step up for him and we will see him answering questions, win or lose. Bacolod on the other hand has slowly been climbing towards a big fight. He enters with a WBO world ranking and has stopped 4 of his last in the first 2 rounds. Despite Bacolod being the more proven fighter he was dropped twice in a recent fight and that will be major encouragement for Simsri.
Another interesting assignment for an unbeaten man will see Rei Nakajima (2-0) take on Thai veteran Patomsuk Pathompothong (39-11-1, 25), aka Komsan Polsan. This is a huge step up in class for Nakajima, but the Nobuhiro Ishida promoted professional novice is very highly regarded and it's clear that a win here will be a massive boost to hid fledgling career.
Staying in Osaka there will be another title fight, as the unbeaten Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title against once beaten puncher Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14), in a mouth watering bout. Mori has impressed though much of his career, and working with Ismael Salas will help him tidy up his defensively flaws, flaws that had shown themselves in his most notable bouts. Although Mori is working on his defense it's clear Salas won't want him to be too negative, and against Mizuno negativity could be a problem. Mizuno is technically pretty poor, and he can be out boxed, but he bangs and Mori shouldn't let him build up any confidence. We suspect the gulf in skills should be the difference, but Mizuno can certainly turn the fight around. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fast rising Mori takes on hard hitting Mizuno in next title defense
Sadly the rest of the card here is non-descript 4 rounders.
A third show will take place in Okinawa, where we see some pretty a couple of interesting, but lower level, bouts.
The main event of this card will see a clash between Japan's Tatsuro Nakashima (10-1-1, 7) Filipino visitor and Ariston Aton (9-1, 5). Nakashima has bounced back well from a 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa with 3 straight wins, and looks to be heading in the ring direction. Similarly Aton has bounced back from his sole loss, with 2 low key wins. This is a low key main event, but a very interesting one between two men looking to continue the rebuilding success.
In a female bout we'll see Yuko Henzan (8-8-4, 2) clash with Gretel de Paz (5-5-2, 2). On paper this is a very competitive looking bout, and whilst the skill level will be low it should still make for an interesting 6 rounder.
Also on this card is the return of Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6), who hasn't fought since losing a Japanese title eliminator in October 2018 to Koki Inoue. Smith was supposed to fight earlier this year but missed weight, and was subsequently suspended. His return sees him being matched softly as he battles Indonesian journeyman Hendy Luis (10-17-3, 5). Although Smith is no world beater he is heavy handed and will be expected to beat Luis, though Luis is a durable foe and has only been stopped 3 times in his 30 fight career. This could be a very good chance to Smith to shake some ring rust.
Outside of Japan there will also be a small show in Qingdao, China. The quality of this show is lacking, however the card will feature an interesting main event between Youli Dong (14-2-1, 9) and Larry Siwu (28-12, 34). We suspect the local fighter will have the youth and skills to deal with Siwu, but the Indonesian visitor should be a good test for the 24 year old local.
This coming Sunday our attention turns to Osaka for the next Green Tsuda show, and it's a good one with two title bouts, some interesting prospects and a former national champion looking to get back to winning ways after losing his belt earlier in the year.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4,10) defending his title against Dynamic Kenji (11-3, 7). For Okumoto the bout will serve as his third defense, following close defenses against Masayoshi Hashizume and Yuta Matsuo, and is possibly the most dangerous bout he's had since his 2017 loss to Ryuichi Funai. Kenji isn't the most talented, and he looked really poor last time out against Thai visitor Sophon Klachun, but has proven to be a dangerous puncher at 115lbs with 5 stoppages in his last 7. Neither man is a future world champion, but they should make for an excellent match up between each other. Our preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto defends Japanese title against Kenji
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (18-5, 15) look to bounce back from his April title loss to Yuki Nagano as he take on Indonesian visitor Robert Kopa Palue (14-7-3, 4). Although a relatively limited fighter, albeit one with serious power at domestic level, Yada should have far too much for for Palue who has fought as low as Featherweight, in fact he was stopped by Hiroshige Osawa down at Featherweight more than 7 years ago. Yada should be far too big and too strong for the visitor here.
In another supporting bout former amateur standout Kazuki Tanaka (10-2, 7) looks to pick up his second win since his 2018 loss to Keita Kurihara. The talented Tanaka has failed to live up to expectations but should have far too much for Indonesian for Bobi Ronsumbre (3-0-1, 2). The visitor is unbeaten but his competition has been incredibly poor and really hasn't prepared him for someone like Tanaka.
The other title fight on this show will see the once beaten Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-2, 5) take on Kenta Nomura (6-2, 3) for the vacant JBC Youth Super Bantamweight title. Coming in to this the 22 year old Shimomachi is more than 3 years removed from his sole defeat, and since then has won the 2017 Rookie of the Year and proven to be a pretty interesting prospect. Whilst Shimomachi did only manage a draw with Daisuke Watanabe back in December there can be no doubting his potential. Nomura on the other hand has has won his last 2, but is 2-2 in his last 4 and has only recently moved up to the Super Bantamweight division, having fought at Super Flyweight and Bantamweight earlier in his career. Our preview of this bout can be read here Shimomachi and Nomura battle for Youth title!
Also on this card is Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (9-0, 9), who has been dubbed "Srisaket II" by the Thai press. Simsri has signed up with the Green Tsuda gym, to help his development, and will be up against Indonesian journeyman Melianus Mirin (10-5, 6). On paper this shouldn't be a tough test for the Thai, though it is worth noting however that Mirin has never been stopped, and has gone the distance with the likes of Panya Pradabsri and Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, so a stoppage for Simsri would be pretty impressive.
A second interesting Japanese card comes from Okinawa and the main bouts will see Japan and Chinese fighters clashing.
The main event will see the once beaten Tatsuro Nakashima (9-1-1, 6) look to continue his rise through the rank. The talent Nakashima, who's only loss has come to Kai Ishizawa, has won 2 in a row, but is taking a bit of a step up here as he battles China's Rongguo Wu (6-2-2, 2). Whilst Nakashima is in some form, with his recent wins, Wu is not and was stopped last time out by Alphoe Dagayloan, last October and he's almost a year removed from his last win.
In a Welterweight clash we'll see hard hitting local Ukyo Yoshigai (6-3, 5) look to get back to winning ways after a 2019 loss to Andy Hiraoka, and 3 losses in his last 4. The hard hitting Yoshigai will be up against 31 year old Chinese visitor Yangcheng Jin (8-4-2, 4). The visitor really hasn't got much of note on his record, though worryingly has lost 3 of his last 5, including stoppages to Jayar Inson and Alexander Kotov. Given how Jin has been stopped a few times we have to suspect that Yoshigai's power will be too much.
A third Japanese card comes from Aichi, where Yakushiji promote a show. The card has a number of Rookie of the Year bouts, as the Central Japan Rookie of the Year comes to an end, though is otherwise quite a forgettable show.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Flyweight Katsuya Murakami (7-1-1, 2) take on Shin Tomita (10-6-2), in what should be a good test over 8 rounds for. These two fought earlier in the year, with Murakami taking a clear win over Tomita, and although the rematch isn't really needed it's good for Murakami to be kept busy after being inactive right through 2018. This serves as a chance for Tomita to try and avenge his loss and for Murakami to shake some more ring rust before moving on to bigger and better things.
As for the Rookie of the Year bouts the most interesting will see the unbeaten Tentaro Kimura (3-0) take on Teru Nobita (4-2-1, 2) in the Bantamweight final. This looks to be the most interesting of the Rookie bouts, and sadly it's a fine example of why the Central Japan Rookie of the Year isn't regarded as highly as the East and West tournaments.
As well as the busy day in Japan there is also a notable card in Thailand.
The main event of this card sees Indonesian fighting hero Daud Yordan (38-4-0-1, 26) battle against Thai local Patomsith Pathompothong (21-11, 10), aka Aekkawee Kaewmanee. For Yordan the bout will be his first since losing to Luke Campbell in the UK, in a WBA world title eliminator, and he will be looking to prove himself on the road again, like he did against Pavel Malikov last year and Cristian Rafael Coria in 2016. The 37 year old Patomsith has reeled off 4 straight wins since losing to Viktor Kotochigovlast September, but the level of those 4 wins have been very low and it's hard to read much into them at all. Although Yordan is a step below world class he should easily despatch the Thai here.
Also on this card is promising Malaysian fighter Murodjon Yokubov (3-0, 2), who fights in Thailand for the third time. The 25 year old debuted last year, and whilst his hasn't yet scored a bit win it's clear he's staying active his year. Sadly his competition doesn't step up here either, as he takes on the very poor Jirapat Jorajan (3-13, 2).
The Hiranaka Boxing school, headed by Akinobu Hiranaka, are putting on a stacked event this coming Thursday with 2 different shows at the City Gym in Tomigusuku. The first card is a Rookie show, as part of the Rookie of the Year, whilst the second is a much more serious shows with more notable fighters involved.
The first card is set to begin at mid-day with 6 bouts set for it, including a number of Rookie of the Year bouts.
Among the Rookie of the Year bouts is a contest between Hikaru Fukunaga (1-0, 1) and the debuting Shinya Saito (0-0), who will be fighting at Featherweight. Fukunaga made his debut over a year ago, but has spent a lot of time out of the ring, as for Saito this will be his debut, and is a chance to progress through the Rookie of the Year.
Another interesting Rookie of the Yeah bout will see the hard hitting Ryuku Nagamine (3-0, 3) take on Takanobu Fujinami (1-2-1). Nagamine scored 3 stoppage wins last year, including two at this venue in Tomigusuku, whilst Fujinami went 1-1-1 last year he could well have gone 3-0 and this shouldn't be the mismatch it looks on paper. It's also worth noting that Fujinami's debut came against the very under-rated Taiga Higashi.
The second show is set to begin at 4PM local time and feature 7 bouts, involving fighters with much more notable names.
The main event of the card is a mouth watering showdown between Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4) and Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8), in what really could be something very special. Oho has had an up and down career, but has won the Rookie of the Year, in 2013, and the Japanese Youth title, in 2018, and is coming into this bout on the back of 3 straight wins. Yabuki has gone 2-2 in his last 4, but has stopped a former world title challenger and made his international debut during that run, and will be full of confidence here.
It's not only the main event that is tasty, and another will see talented youngster Shuma Nakazato (7-1-2, 6) face off with Filipino fighter Lorence Rosas (9-3-2, 3). This looks a fantastic and well matched bout, and should be a tough but winnable test for Nakazato, who is much better than his recent form of 2-1-2 suggests. Rosas is no world beater but should make for an interesting assignment for the 22 year old Nakazato, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro.
Another international bout will see Tatsuro Nakashima (8-1-1, 6) battle Indonesian foe Hengky Elleuw (5-7, 5). This should be little more than an easy win for Nakashima, especially when you consider that Elleuw has been stopped in all 7 of his defeats.
One other man on this show is Seita Ogido (12-4-3, 3), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced. He has only won 1 of his last 5 bouts and despite once being a touted hopeful he is now a fighter needing a win to keep alive any hope of having a meaningful career.
Also in action will be popular Filipino fighter Mercito Gesta (32-2-2, 17) who will be facing off with Mexican foe Juan Antonio Rodriguez (29-7, 25) in a 10 round bout. This will be Gesta's second contest since he lost to Jorge Linares in January 2018 and he will be looking to build on a June 2018 win over Robert Manzanarez. Rodriguez hasn't fought since June 2017, when he was beaten by Pedro Campa, and has lost 2 of his last 3 and 3 of his last 6, including defeats Javier Fortuna and Jezzrel Corralas
This coming Sunday is a hectic day with 4 Japanese shows, a Filipino show, a Korean show and a Vietnamese show. Not only is there lots of shows but those shows feature notable names and we get a host of title bouts, in what is a genuinely crazy day.
The biggest action for the day is from Osaka, where we get 8 bouts of note, spread over 2 shows at the EDION Arena Osaka. The first of those shows is a Green Tsuda triple title show.
The main event of this triple title show will see hard hitting Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) defending his belt against the limited but exciting Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 11). For the champion this will be a second defense of the title, and he will be looking to really make a statement in the new year, with a number of interesting challengers now vying for a shot at his belt. For Fujinaka this one more chance to win a belt, but the reality is that he's a clear under-dog. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fujinaka challenges Japanese champion Yada!
A second Japanese title fight on this card will see domestic Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) making his first defense, taking on unbeaten contender Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10). The champion won the belt earlier this year, over-coming Hiroyuki Kudaka, but looks likely to be little more than a transitional champion before a top domestic fighter takes it off him. Hashizume on the other hand was once a hotly tipped prospect, but poor match making from the Ioka gym has seen his development stall and stutter, and it's hard to know how prepared he is for a fight like this. Ore preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto defends Japanese title against unbeaten Hashizume
The third title bout on this show is a Japanese Super Flyweight Youth title bout, pitting the skilful Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) against the heavy handed Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) to crown a new champion. We're expecting a really interesting contest here, with Nakamura trying to land his power and Nasu trying to out box the bigger punching Nakamura. It's a hard bout to call, and should be a very good one for the fans at the venue. Our in depth look at this bout is available to read hereNasu and Nakamura battle for Japanese Youth title!
Another potentially great bout on this card will see the once beaten Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-1, 5) look to record his 8th straight win, as he takes a huge step up and faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (7-4, 4). Coming in to this momentum is clearly with Shimomachi, who won the Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year last year, but this is certainly a tougher test than it looks on paper. Watanabe, although "only 7-4" has been in with the likes of Reiya Abe, Sho Nakazawa and Gakuya Furuhashi, and held his own in some tough domestic bouts. This is a serious match up and a really good fight for both men, who will know that a win massively boosts their career.
After the Green Tsuda card we then get an Ioka promoted show from the EDION arena. This card only features a single title bout, but does have a great supporting card to go along with the main event.
The title match up will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (17-0, 11) defending his belt against tough and hard hitting challenger Hurricane Futa (25-7-1, 15), who should put up a very interesting challenge. Nakatani will be strongly favoured, as he looks to secure his 11th defense of the title, but his career has failed to live up to early expectations and there is a real worry that he will go off the boil, if he hasn't already, and he looked less than his best last time out. Futa is a dangerous fighter, despite technical limitations he can really bang, and he's tough, with his record littered with upset wins, including KO wins over Vage Sarukhanyan and Will Tomlinson. An in depth look at this bout from regular contributor George Delis can be read here OPBF king Nakatani battles hard hitting Futa!
One of the supporting bouts will see former world title challenger Shohei Omori (19-2, 14) take on former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (21-5, 17). This looks almost certainly like a bout that will have explosive action. Omori is the more technically skilled of the two men, and has solid power to go with his technical skills, but Yamamoto can certainly bang and is a very dangerous fighter, even if he lacks that bit of class Omori has. Both fighters have been stopped and should feel they have the power to stop the other here. A preview of this bout can be read here Omori and Yamamoto clash in "survival" bout!
Another supporting bout will see former world title challengers battle, as former WBA Super Flyweigt title challenger Sho Ishida (26-1, 15) takes on former WBO title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-8-1, 23). At 27 years old the 5'8" Ishida has the potential to go all the way, and 2-0 (2) since his loss to Kal Yafai, in what as a close but very forgettable contest. That loss seems to have made Ishida aware that he does need to improve and we have seen a more spiteful attitude from him in the ring. Parrenas on the other hand is 35 and has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, losing to Naoya Inoue and Ryuichi Funai and this seems like a bout he must win if he intends to keep his career alive. Our preview of this clash can be read here Ishida and Parrenas clash in must win bout!
In one other bout of note we'll see Tatsuya Ikemizu (19-2, 8) hunt a 7th straight win, since being stopped by Jonas Sultan in 2016, as he takes on Sonin Nihei (8-2-3, 1). Both of these men were once tipped for success, though both have fallen very short of expectations so far. Given that both are young, both are 25, there is a chance that they could come good. It's worth noting that Nihei hasn't fought since being stopped by Keita Kurihara in December 2016, in what was a second straight stoppage loss for Nihei.
On a lesser level to the Osaka cards is a show from Okinawa, where 2017 Light Welterweight Rookie of the Year Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6) takes on Filipino Nelson Tinampay (13-7-1, 6). This will be Smith's first bout since losing a Japanese title eliminator to Koki Inoue and should be a solid test for the Japanese-American puncher. Tinampay has been stopped in 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good talent across the region and will give us something to compare Smith's result against.
In a supporting bout we'll see the talented Tatsuro Nakashima (7-1-1, 5), who came runner up in the East Japan Rookie of the Year last year, looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Kai Ishizawa. The 24 year old Japanese fighter will be up against Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (4-1, 4), who was last seen in the ring in September, being demolished by the debuting Ginjiro Shigeoka. We don't expect anything but a win for Nakashima, but we're interested in this bout to learn more about how good Shigeoka's performance was.
This card will also feature Former OPBF female Bantamweight champion Yuko Henzan (6-7-4, 2), who is scheduled to face off against a Thai opponent.
The least notable of the Japanese cards comes from Hyogo, where the Japanese ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (13-2, 7) takes on the hard hitting Takuya Matsuzaka (8-7, 7) in what should be a good test before Kanda begins a march towards titles in 2019. Kanda is riding a 7 fight winning streak into this bout whilst Matsusaka has managed to win just 3 of his last 7. Although heavy handed Matsusaka has been stopped in 6 of his 7 losses, and we'd not be surprised to see him being taken out again here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Japanese action there will also be a card in Vietnam, in association with a Japanese promoter, with a Japanese fighter headlining the card.
That Japanese fighter in the main event is the exciting Gakuya Furuhashi (23-8-1, 12), who faces off with limited Thai Yutthichai Wannawong (9-7, 7) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title. The bout is supposed to be a special attraction as the OPBF look to build up boxing in Vietnam, and it seems clear the OPBF do have big plans for the coming years in these non-boxing countries, so fingers crossed this main event interests the fans.
A second OPBF affiliated title will be on the line as Nguyen Anh Tuan Dao (1-1, 1) faces an opponent, sadly we don't have their name, for the newly created OPBF Vietnamese National Light Welterweight title. The idea seems to be to spread these national titles across a number of countries, in what could be a very interesting experiment from the OPBF, who seem to realise that their market needs to grow outside of their strong hold markets.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see 3 bouts of note, even if they aren't hugely interesting match ups.
The most promising of those fighters is Joe Noynay (15-2-1, 5), who looks to secure a 4th straight win as he takes on Nathan Bolcio (14-15-3, 4), who has lost his last 3. The talented 23 year old Noynay is unbeaten since losing in February 2017 to Reiya Abe, and looks to be a genuine prospect. Bolcio on the other hand looks like a fighter who has given up trying to win and is 4-13-2 in his last 19 bouts, with 8 of those 13 losses coming by stoppage.
Another fighter who appears to be in easy is Ryan Sermona (20-9-1, 13), who takes on Junar Adante (7-10-1, 4). Sermona has mixed with good fighters, including a 2014 loss to Masayuki Ito and a 2017 loss to Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a decent fighter on the domestic Filipino scene. Adante on the other hand has been stopped in his last 4 bouts, and 8 of his last 9, suggesting Sermona shouldn't have any problems at all here.
The other bout of note on this card will see 23 year old Glenn Medura (9-4-1, 5) battle against Dado Cabintoy (15-8-2, 8), in a bout that looks competitive on paper, but isn't a hugely interesting bout. Medua is 1-3 in his last 4, with only a single win in the last 2 years, whilst Cabintoy is 0-4 coming into this bout and is more than 40 months removed from his last win!
Seoul, South Korea
The main event here is really the only bout worth talking about, and will be an 8 round Super Featherweight clash, as Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) takes on Hwan Young Jo (5-6, 1). It's hard to see past a win for Lee, but he was stopped last time out, being taken out in 3 rounds by Jun Zhao back in September. Jo on the other hand has gone 1-3 in his last 4, and at 30 years old really looks like a fighter who won't be getting any better.
This coming Sunday fight fans in Japan get 3 different shows across the country. On paper the most notable of those is from Okinawa, where fans will get three title fights and several notable fighters from recent Rookie of the Year competitions.
The main event of the card will see hard hitting Ryoya Ikema (12-4, 11) take on fellow puncher Mongkol Kamsommat (6-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title. The 20 year old Ikema had a 2017 to forget, with losses to Koki Ono and Ryoki Hirai, but will feel confident of claiming his first title here as he takes on an opponent who has been stopped in both of his losses. The Thai however will fancy his chances to make a name for himself and will be coming in to this on the back of 4 straight wins.
A second title fight on this card will see Yuko Henzan (5-6-4, 2) battle Phannaluk Kongsang (3-4-1, 2) for the OPBF female Bantamweight title, in a less than great looking bout which will actually be a rematch from a bout back in November. When these two first fought, in the Philippines, they fought to an 8 round draw, and given how competitive that bout was we're expecting another close one here, but it's unlikely to be a high quality match up.
A really mouth watering bout will see Tatsuro Nakashima (7-0-1, 5) face off with Kai Ishizawa (3-0, 3) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. Nakashima got all the way to the 2017 Rookie of the Year West final, where he fought to a draw with Yuga Inoue, and certainly looks like a talented youngster with power and ambition. As for Ishizawa he was a pretty solid amateur, going 28-14, and turning professional with a B class license. Since turning professional last June Ishizawa has looked sensational, and the 21 year old will be looking to continue to demonstrate his brutal power, which has seen him stop his first 3 foes in a combined 5 rounds. This could be a very explosive and exciting match up.
Other fighters of note on this card are 2016 Light Welterweight Rookie of year winner Ukyo Yoshigai (5-2, 4) and 2017 winner Marcus Smith (4-0-1, 4), though both men are up against relatively weak opponents and not each other, in what would have been a genuinely notable bout.
In Okyama we'll be able to see two really interesting match ups on the Japanese domestic scene, despite neither fight being a hugely significant one, for now.
The more interesting of those two bouts will see talented 22 year old Seigo Yuri Akui (11-1-1, 7) return to the ring since his first loss, to Junto Nakatani, and battle against the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (6-1, 6). The promising Akui was looking like a star in the making before running into the naturally bigger Nakatani last August and simply being out power by his foe. As for Yabuki he's a big puncher who lost in the 2016 Rookie of the year final, with that loss also coming to Junto Nakatani. It's clear both men will be looking for a statement win here, and a chance to work their way towards a rematch with Nakatani. This could be very exciting with both men having hands, and both looking to push themselves to a bigger and better fight.
The other bout of note on this card will see Kota Fujimoto (7-2-1, 2) battle against Shunji Nagata (11-16-2, 3). Coming in to this Fujimoto is ranked by the OPBF, and will be favoured here, but Nagata could be a banana skin, and certainly not be there to roll over though will be giving away significant size to Fujimoto.
At the L-Theatre in Osaka fans will get a relatively notable card featuring several fighters with some form of ranking, and 3 bouts worthy of some note.
The main event will see OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Kenji Kihisa (8-3, 5) take on WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Shota Kawaguchi (21-9-1, 9). Coming in to this Kihisa is on a 3 fight stoppage run, including a career best win over Futa Akizuki which pushed him into the OPBF rankings. If we remove the run from Kihisa he doesn't have much else on his record, but the 27 year old does look like he is hitting his stride now. Kawaguchi is a former WBO Asia Pacific “Interim” champion, but has gone 4-5 in his last 9, including a stoppage last time out to Ryuichu Funai in a Japanese title fight. Kawaguchi needs a win to remain relevant whilst a victory for Kihisa will put him into the title mix, a really key bout at this regional level.
In a supporting bout fans will see OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Tatsuya Ikemizu (17-2, 7) take on Naoto Fujimoto (9-8-1, 4). The 25 year old Ikemizu has rebuilt well from losses to Mark John Yap and Jonas Sultan, scoring 4 straight wins, but this bout is a step up from the 4 Thai's he has faced over the last 18 months. Although a step up for Ikemizu from recent bouts, it's hard to imagine Fujimoto providing any sort of real test for the 2013 Rookie of the Year winner.
One other bout of note on this card will see Noboru Osato (8-6-4, 1) take on Takuya Yamamoto (8-8, 4) in a bout that both men really need to win. Osata has gone 3-3-1 in his last 7, including a close loss to Yuki String Kobayashi last time out, and really needs a win to give his career any sort of momentum. As for Yamamoto he has lost his last 2, including a 109 second blow out loss to Satoshi Shimizu, and has gone 2-5 in his last 7, showing just how much he needs another win.