Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday attention turns to Korakuen Hall for the next card from Ichiriki Promotions. The card is certainly not the deepest or the biggest, but it is an interesting one, with a potentially explosive main event, and a really solid chief support bout.
The main event will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (16-6-1, 14) taking on the once touted Kai Chiba (13-3, 8), in a bout that promises a lot of action, but also features two men who really need a win. Kurihara is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and whilst that does include a notable win over Kazuki Nakajima for the title he was lucky to escape with a technical draw against Yukinori Oguni in May, albeit in a non-title fight, and he has lost a lot of momentum since the start of the pandemic. As for Chiba he was tipped highly early in his career but has lost 2 of his last 3, and another loss here will see him being pushed a long, long from another notable fight. Both of these guys can fight, but of the two it feels like this is the champion's fight to lose, rather than Chiba's to win. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here OPBF king Kurihara clashes with Chiba
In the co-feature veteran tough guy Akihiro Kondo (34-10-2, 19) will face off with the under-rated, and usually fun to watch, Tatsuya Yanagi (18-7-2, 7). The 37 year old Kondo, who is best known for his 2017 bout with Sergey Lipinets, has had mixed fortune since 2018, though notably won the OPBF title at 140lbs back in June with a surprise win over Koichi Aso. He won't be defending his title here, but will be looking to build on that title win and score his third straight win, which would make this his longest winning run since the bout with Lipinets. As for Yanagi he is 2-2-1 in his last 5 but does make for fun bouts with an aggressive style and gave Kondo a solid clash in 2019, with this rematch likely being viewed as a chance for him to avenge that loss. Aged 32 Yanagi isn't "old" as such, but has had a tough career and has taken punishment over his 27 bouts, suggesting his career might also be coming to an end, and this could be the only window for the rematch with Kondo.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action is back at Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a small card from Ichiriki Promotions. Sadly the card has lost it's main event, which we'll mention in the moment, but it still has some relatively well matched domestic level bouts on it.
The planned main event was a bout at 140lbs between Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24) and former world title contender Akihiro Kondo (32-10-2, 18), in what had the potential to be an 8 round action bout. Baez's aggression and power against Kondo's toughness and desire could have made for a very nice bout, but Baez was forced to pull out of the bout well in advance of the show.
As a result of Baez pulling out the 8 rounder between Tatsuya Yanagi (17-7-2, 7) and Tsuyoshi Ozawa (15-4-1, 2) has become the new main event, and although not an amazing match up, it should be a very interesting one. The 32 year old Yanagi comes in to the bout with JBC and OPBF rankings but was stopped last time out and is 2-2-1 in his last 5 bouts, dating back more than 3 years. Ozawa, now aged 36, took a long break from the ring between 2012 and 2021, but did look solid in his return bout in July and will know that this is a huge opportunity for him to move towards a title fight. At his best Ozawa was a nightmare, and he'll know he could pick up a ranking here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Kosuke Ando (9-3, 4), who will be risking his WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight ranking as he takes on Yuta Nakayama (8-4-1, 5). The 29 year old Ando is coming in on the back of a solid win over Shuri Hasebe and will know that he's only a couple of wins away from a potential title fight. As for Nakayama he'll be fighting for the first time since losing in a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, against Ryota Yamauchi. Interestingly Nakayama has been stopped in 3 of his last 5, and hasn't heard the final bell in his last 6 bouts.
A third fight of note on this show will see JBC ranked 140lb fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (7-4, 1) take on former Japanese title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-4, 9). Coming in to the bout Matsumoto is ranked #6 by the JBC and will feel he's within touching distance of a Japanese title shot, helped by his recent win over Shinnosuke Saito. Ikeda on the other hand is without a win in his last 4 bouts, and was stopped in two of those, by Koki Inoue and Aso Ishiwaki. Ikeda seems to be on the way out, but a win here could revive his career.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we get action from Korakuen Hall, though this is a much smaller show than the stacked card we got on Thursdays. In fact this is a card where the names are minimal, but the action should again be very, very good. It should also be noted that this card was, originally, scheduled for April before the state of emergency in Japan forced it to be delayed, hence the poster above.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweights clash as Kazuma Sanpei (19-6, 8) takes on the heavy handed Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-5, 6). On paper Sanpei comes in as the clear favourite, with the more impressive record and the better JBC ranking, however it's certainly not a gimmie for him and the 26 year old has shown a questionable level of durability and comes into this 16 months removed from his last win. Miyamoto on the other hand is the definition of a glass cannon, with only one of this 12 bouts going to the final bell. Expect Miyamoto to try and take Sanpei's head off, and for Sanpei to try and box early before letting his heavier shots go in the later stages.
The chief support bout will also feature a ranked fighter, in fact Tatsuya Yanagi (17-6-2, 7) will be risking his JBC, OPBF and WBO AP rankings here, as he takes on Toru Kiyota (10-4, 7) in an 8 round Lightweight bout. Coming in to this Yanaga has been putting together some of his best performances, including wins over Masashi Noguchi, Koichi Aso and Kazuki Saito, and at 31 will likely know that a seventh career loss would be a massive setback. Kiyota on the other hand has only won one of his last 3, and 3 of his last 6, but can be a tricky customer and two of those losses was very close. Although perhaps not a great contest on paper, we expect this one to be ultra competitive throughout the 8 round schedule.
In a potentially easy to over-look bout we'll see the limited but heavy handed Ken Koibuchi (6-5, 5) take on Katsunori Endo (7-3, 4), in what could be a very explosive encounter between two men with some history between them. These two men faced off back in 2019, with Endo stopping Koibuchi in 3 rounds, giving Koibuchi his sole stoppage loss. It's fair to say Koibuchi will be seeking revenge here, but Endo on the other hand will be confidence of scoring a third straight win inside the distance. Although not a high level match up, this could be something a little special
One other Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Welterweight Hironori Shigeta (6-2-1, 3), who is looking to bounce back from a 2020 loss to Shoki Sakai. The talented Shigeta shouldn't have many problems here as he takes on the limited Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-14-1, 9), who has been stopped in his last 5 and is without a win in almost 4 years. In fact Miyazaki is 1-10 in his last 11 bouts!
One other fighter we want to briefly mention is Japanese based Italian fighter Federica Boni (0-0) who makes her belated debut against Asako Sugawara (0-0) in an all debutant bout. Boni was supposed to debut a few weeks ago, and has gotten a bit of press in Japan, for being an Italian born female boxer, and we really are looking forward to following her journey over the next few years.
Yunusabad Sports Complex in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Over in Tashkent we're set for a show featuring a number of notable Asian fighters, including three talented Uzbekistani fighters.
The main event of the show will see the heavy handed Shohjahon Ergashev (19-0, 17) take on Tanzania's Salimu Jengo (16-3, 10) in a bout for the lightly regarded EBP title at 140lbs. The talented Ergashev, will be fighting for the first time since his rather farcical bout with Dzmitry Miliusha last November, which had been postponed due to legal issues. The reality here is that Ergashev will almost certainly cruise past Jengo on route to bigger and better things. For those curious the most notable results on Jengu's record are a decision loss to China's Ju Wu and a TKO loss to former Devin Haney opponent Xolisani Ndongeni.
The other noteworthy local on this show is Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (16-1, 13), who appears to be in a stay busy bout after his US debut was delayed to September. His opponent has been named as Georgian fighter Merab Turkadze (6-9-1, 2), and it's really hard to see this being anything but an easy win for Najmiddinov, who's only loss was a very, very controversial one to Viktor Postol.
A third fighter of some note from Uzbekistan is Ulugbek Khakberdiev (6-0, 4), who returns to a pro ring for the first time in more than 2 years. The talented Middleweight is scheduled for 10 rounds against against Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-9, 7), from Belarus. Interestingly Atrokhau has proven to be durable, and it seems the focus here will be for the local man to get some rounds after such a long lay off. This should be a clear case of shaking some ring rust and cruising to a clear, wide, decision victory.
One other name worthy of mentioning the 36 year old Kazakh Alexandr Zhuravskiy (13-7-1, 11), who is much better than his record suggests, taking on Russian Sergey Vorobiev (10-1, 7), in a really good bout at 154lbs. This should be much, much more competitive than it looks on paper, and could end up being potentially the most interestingly contest on the show.
Vegas City Hall, Krasnogorsk, Russia
As well as the action in Japan there are a few Asian fighters in action over in Russia.
One of those is once beaten Russian based Azeri Elnur Samedov (11-1, 3) who is expected to be in action in an 8 rounder. Sadly his opponent for this show hasn't been confirmed at the time of writing, which is a shame as he's been putting on some good performances recently, including scoring wins over Aik Shakhnazaryan and Alexander Podolsky.
Another Russian based Central Asian fighter on this car is the 35 year old Server Emurlaev (23-2, 8), who is supposedly pencilled in to face the returning Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (14-2, 12). This is just an oddity. Kalyuzhnyy hasn't fought since 2016, when he lost to limited Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk. Emurlaev on the other hand has fought twice this year, returning after 8 years out of the ring, and recently suffered a loss to touted Kazakh fightr Kamshybek Kunkabayev. Notably Emurlaev is pencilled in for another fighter late in the month, so this one may end up being cancelled due to the other fight, which is a much more meaningful fight than this one.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We return to Korakuen Hall this coming Tuesday, ending a 6 day run without a show there, as we get the next A-Sign Bee show. This isn't a big card, by any stretch, but does look to be quite an evenly matched one, and that's saying more than we can for some shows.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight fighters clash in a n 8 rounder. In corner is #9 ranked Kazuma Sanpei (19-6, 8) and in the other corner will be Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-5, 6), ranked #19. On paper this doesn't look like an amazing bout, but it should be a very well contested one. Sanpei is a 25 fight veteran who began his career in 2012, and is still only 25. His record looks good at first glance, and a 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year win also looks good, but he is 8-6 (4) in his last 14 bouts, not that much different to Miyamoto's career record. He has also been stopped in 4 of those 6 losses. Miyamoto on the other hand is a 27 year old glass cannon who has been stopped in all 5 losses, but has the power to be dangerous with only 1 decision win on his record. We expect this one to be explosive!
Another potentially explosive bout will see Ken Koibuchi (6-5, 5) and Katsunori Endo (7-3, 4) clash in another 8 rounder. The 25 year old Koibuchi is limited but tough, having been stopped once in his 5 losses whilst Endo has been stopped in 2 of his 3 defeats. The key however is the power for both men, and this could end up being one where both men are hurt before we see a finish. Interestingly Endo enters the bout ranked #11 by the JBC at Super Featherweight.
Another ranked fighter on this show is Tatsuya Yanagi (17-6-2, 7), who is risking rankings with the JBC, OPBF and the WBO Asia Pacific, as he takes on Toru Kiyota (10-4, 7). Yanagi's record is certainly not the best, but he is 6-1-1 in his last 8 including good wins over Ryusei Nakajima, Koichi Aso and Kazuki Saito. Kiyota on the other hand is 3-3 in his last 6 but has shown a lot to like, and with some luck could well have had 3 of those losses expunged from his record. This might not look great but should be a very interesting bout over the 8 round schedule.
One other bout worthy of note is an all debutant 4 rounder between Italian born Japanese based Boni Federica (0-0) and Asako Sugawara (0-0). Not much is known about either fighter, but Federica was born in Italy and is now fighting out of the RK Kamata Gym, with her goal being to win a Japanese title. Sugawara on the other hand is from the Ichiriki Gym and has reportedly set a target of winning a world title. Not a great bout, but certainly an interesting one.
NOTE - There is talk that this show may be postponed due to the recent state of emergency in Tokyo If you are attending the event please check with the promoter (Ichiriki)
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we get a show at Korakuen Hall, but this time it's a bit of a disappointing card as several bouts on the show were cancelled in the run up to the event due to injuries suffered in training.
The first of 3 bouts worthy of note will see veterans collide as Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) takes on Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2). For the 35 year old Kogawa, who has been one of the very best servants to Japanese boxing, this will be his first bout since a brutal TKO loss last year against Jayr Raquinel. Sadly Kogawa has been on the slide for a few years now and retirement is beckoning him. As for Yamaguchi he's not been on Kogawa's level, however he's much fresher, less ring worn and could, very seriously, be a banana skin for Kogawa here.
In a potentially thrilling match up we'll see the crude but physically imposing Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) take on the Japanese ranked Masashi Wakita (10-9-2, 5). Saito turned professional in 2018 and has struggled to get going, but has been very fun to watch and his 2019 clash with Aso Ishiwaki was an absolute war. Following back to back draws Saito needs a win to give his career a shot in the arm. As for Wakita the 24 year old is a win some-lose some type who has just managed to squeeze into the JBC top 20. With 5 stoppage losses against his name Wakita's chin may not be able to survive the storm from Saito, but if it can, Wakita's experience ,may help him nick a decision. The big question mark over Saito is his stamina, and the question over Wakita is his chin. We expect this one to be a brilliant fight.
Talking about suspect chin's the main event will see Kazuki Saito (7-2, 5), who's chin has let him down before, take on veteran Tatsuya Yanagi (16-6-2, 6). The talented Saito looks the real deal when he's letting his shots go, but has been dropped several times during his career and appears to lack the size and durability to make the most of his wonderful skills. Yanagi on the other hand has an ugly looking record, but is always upset minded and has gone 5-1-1 in his last 7, including wins over Koichi Aso, Masashi Noguchi and Ryusei Nakajima. We expect this to be a very interesting match up, with both men and it's a hard one to call, especially with Saito having lot 2 of his last 4 and being low on confidence.
Interestingly this card will also feature a public exhibition between Teruya Iimura [飯村 樹輝弥] and Jun Ikegawa [池側 純], who will be hoping to make their professional debut's in the near debut. Both men passed B class tests in September and were solid amateurs on the Japanese scene, so hopefully we see them in live fights sooner rather than later.
The big show this coming Friday comes from Japan, where the Korakuen Hall plays host to an interest, but low key, card which will be put online through the A Sign boxing youtube channel.
The main event is a a really interesting match up between hard hitting Japanese fighter Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) and world ranked Thai foe Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (24-10, 16). Kurihara is 11-1 since his unremarkable 3-4 start to the pros, and claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title last year, a belt that he has defended once. Although this isn't a title defense for Kurihgara it is a significant bout. Sukkasem is no world beater but can be a handful and is world ranked by the IBF, so have a real reason to bit down on his gum shield and go for this, knowing that a win will take him one step closer to a world title shot. We expect this one to be a very, very interesting match up.
After back to back losses Akihiro Kondo (31-9-1, 18) will be hoping to rebuild his confidence as he goes up against Tatsuya Yanagi (16-5-2, 6). This year has been a bad one for Kondo, who was stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in February before being out pointed by Andy Hiraoka in July. Yanagi on the other hand is on a 6 fight unbeaten run, going 5-0-1 (2), including an excellent recent win over Koichi Aso. This is really a must win for the 34 year old Kondo, and another loss here is likely to send him into retirement.
The potential hidden gem on this card will see recent Japanese Light Welterweight title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-6-3, 9) going up against aggressive youngster Aso Ishiwaki (7-2-1, 5). Although Ikeda has fought at a higher level than Ishiwaki he hasn't shined in recent contests, going 3-4-2 in his last 9 bouts. On the other hand Ishiwaki looks like a really promising youngster, who appears to be the crown in Nobuhiro Ishida's stable of fighters. Ishiwaki is tough, heavy handed, aggressive and we see him as being a force for the future, and a win here would be huge for his career.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
As well as the card in Tokyo, there is also a show in the Philippines. The details for this are lacking at the time of writing, but the main event is a genuinely mouth watering match up between a former world title challenger and another notable Filipino fighter.
That main event will see recent WBA Minimumweight title challenger ArAr Andales (10-1, 2) look to rebuild from his recent loss to Knockout CP Freshmart as he takes on the tough, but out of form, Joel Lino (10-3-1, 3) in a bout for the GAB Minimumweight title. The now 20 year old Andales began his career 10-0 before losing a technical decision to Knokcout CP Freshmart this past August, in a bout that was very hotly contest. We suspect he'll be the big favourite here. On the other hand the 24 year old Lino has lost his last 3, with losses to Masataka Taniguchi in 2019 and defeats to Ginjiro Shigeoka and Toto Landero this year. Those 3 losses have seen Lino fall from 10-0-1 but he will feel like this is his chance to get back to winning ways. This is certainly a very interesting all-Filipino bout.
The big headline bout this coming weekend sees us focus on Glasgow, Scotland, as the WBSS moves towards the final bouts. The bout of interest for us is the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight semi-final bout between WBA "regular" champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12). The bout is a clash between unbeaten world class fighters, who are both looking to move one step closer to proving they are the best Bantamweight on the planet. For Inoue this will be his first bout in Europe, and he will be looking to become the first Japanese fighter to win a world title bout in the continent, whilst Rodriguez returns to the country that he won the IBF title in, when he beat Paul Butler. Coming in both are in great form, though it should be noted that Rodriguez went 24 rounds last year, Inoue has only gone 20 rounds combined in his last 6 fights. If Rodriguez can survive the early going Inoue's lack of activity could be a problem here, as could history. A full review of this bout can be read here Inoue and Rodriguez go one on one in semi final!
Before the action in the UK there will be some action in Asia, including a notable show at Korakuen Hall in Toyko.
The main event of this show will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) make his first defense, as he takes on former champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 11), in what will be a second bout between these two. Thee two men fought in 2017, with Kuga taking a narrow decision win over Tamura to retain the title, since then however Kuga has been stopped by Shingo Wake and Tamura has bounced back from losing to Kuga to win the title. Given their first bout was a brilliant and violent fight we're expecting something really special here. A full preview of this bout is available here Tamura and Kuga to meet again, potential war set?
In a major supporting bout we'll see Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-2, 6) and Koichi Aso (23-8-1, 15) clash at Lightweight, in a bout that should be very fan friendly. Coming in to this Yanagi is unbeaten in 5 bouts, including a draw in a Japanese title eliminator last year with Accel Sumiyoshi, but this is likely to be a really tough bout for him. Aso, a veteran and former Japanese Light Welterweight champion, will be dropping down in weight but always brings intense pressure and will be looking to break down Yanagi. This could be an all out war if Yanagi can't keep Aso at range.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see ranked fighters clash, as Naoya Okamoto (13-7-1, 6) and Yosuke Fujihara (17-6, 4) face off in a bout that could well set up a future title fight with the winner of the main event. Okamoto narrowly missed out on a title fight, when he lost a technical decision in October in a Japanese title eliminator, and will be hungry here to shine. Fujihara on the other hand is someone who has challenged for a title before but has lost 3 of his last 4 and really needs a good performance here.
Another bout featuring domestic ranked fighters will see Kenta Nakagawa (16-3-1, 11) take on Ryosuke Nasu (10-4-3, 2). Nakagawa is a former Japanese Super Flyweight champion, holding the title in 2016-2017, and has won 3 in a row since losing the belt to Ryuichi Funai. Nasu on the other hand is a former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion who will know that a win here will prove to be a huge step towards a potential senior title fight later in the year.
Another name worthy of noting on this card is Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5), though our understanding is a planned bout has been cancelled and he will instead compete in a spar rather than an actual fight.
Bang Phun, Thailand
At the Workpoint Studio we'll former world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai (44-1-1, 34) take on former champion Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14-5, 32), in what looks almost certain to be a fun fight. Nawaphon, at 27, is the much younger man and needs a big win, and a win over Jaro would be among his very best. Jaro, who is known in Thailand due to his shock win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam back in 2012. At the age of 37 it's hard to know what Jaro really has left, though he was stopped in 2017 by Jonas Sultan, a none puncher, and surely has to be coming very close to the end of his career.
In Russia we'll see a couple of hard hitting Uzbek fighters in action.
One of those fighters is Ravshanbek Umurzakov (7-0, 7), who takes on Anthony Moloisane (11-3-1, 7) in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The talented Umurzakov has shown a lot of promise but isn't being moved up through the levels yet, sadly, and that shows again here, with South African fighter Moloisane, who isn't bad, but also isn't a clear step up for the Uzbek who should be taking on much better opponents now.
A second Uzbek on this show will see Elnur Abduraimov (4-0, 4) in action, as he hunts his 5th straight stoppage. He's stepped up in his last two bouts, but it's clear he needs a real test in the near future, so fingers crossed that happens sooner rather than later. He's too good to be wasting his time against limited opposition and would be served much better by take on someone to extend him some rounds and help prepare him for bigger and better bouts. At the time of writing the opponent for this bout hasn't been named, suggesting a limited and late notice opponent for the Uzbek.
Also on this card is unbeaten Kazakh youngster Stanislav Kalitskiy (7-0, 3), who will be stepping into his first 8 round bout. Sadly there is not currently an opponent confirmed for Kalitskiy, and as with Abduraimov it seems like he will be matched softly with a late notice foe.
Another Asian card will take place in Taiwan, though this is a very low level card, headlined by an 8 round bout between Chia Ching Hung (4-1-1, 4) and Anurak Madua (6-3, 4). Hung is a local to Taiwan, but hasn't fought in over a year, and is 1-1-1 in his last 3. Madua on the other hand was stopped in 77 seconds last time out, when he fought in Osaka against Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto.
The rest of this card is mostly novices bouts with debutants.
This coming Sunday we'll see two Japanese shows. Neither are particularly deep though both have significant main events.
On paper the slightly more significant card is in Yamaguchi, as we get a Japanese title eliminator and a noteworthy support bout.
The title eliminator is at Lightweight as 33 year old Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) takes on 28 year old Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) in a bout to decide who will go on to challenge for the Japanese title at the Champion Carnival next year. Of the two men Sumiyoshi is the more proven fighter, having challenged for the OPBF title in 2015 and scoring notable wins over the likes of Allan Tanada, Naotoshi Nakatani, Motoki Sasaki and Shogo Yamaguchi. In fact at the moment Sumiyoshi is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run following his loss in his OPBF title fight. Yanagi on the other hasn't fought for a title recognised by the JBC, but did come up short against Jhertiz Chavez in a bout for a minor regional title. Coming in to this Yanagi has won his last 3, but hasn't really shone in those wins. It's also worth noting that this will be the third meeting between these two men, with Sumioyoshi leading the series 1-0-1. A preview of this bout can be read here - Sumiyoshi and Yanagi finish off trilogy in Japanese eliminator!
The other bout of note on this card will see Change Hamashima (10-3-1, 4) take on the JBC ranked Masaharu Kaito (6-2, 2). The 22 year old Hamashima has lost 3 of his last 5, but 2 of those came to the very talented Kudura Kaneko and even in those losses he didn't embarrass himself against a very solid puncher. Interestingly Kaito is 2-2 in his last 4, with one of his losses coming to Kaneko as well, but his last outing was a huge win last October over Ryota Toyoshima. Sadly Kaito has been out of action for a little over a year, and that ring rust could be an issue here against Hamashima.
The other show will take place in Okayama and it's only the main event worthy of any attention at all.
That main event will see the fun to watch Japanese Flyweight Seigo Yuri Akui (12-1-1, 8) take on world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede (17-8, 11). We've been impressed with Akui, who won the Rookie of the Year crown in 2015 and has since gone 6-1 (6) with 5 opening round stoppages including big domestic wins over Kenji Ono and Masamichi Yabuki. Although beatable, as we saw when Junto Nakatani stopped him last year, Akui is very dangerous. The visitor from the Philippines has had a reputation for being limited, but scored a huge knockout win in Thailand over Stamp Kiatniwat in May and claimed a WBA ranking as a result. We're expecting something explosive here!
Ichiriki put on their next show this coming Wednesday at the Korakuen Hall, with a pretty interesting looking card headlined by an OPBF title fight, with several pretty good bouts coming under it.
The main event of the card will see Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (28-12, 14) make his next defense of the OPBF Bantamweight title, as he takes on veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-9-1, 13), in what could be Nakajima's final bout. The talented Yap has had a real surge in the last few years, winning his last 9 bouts, claiming the OPBF title and making 2 notable defenses and is moving towards a world title fight, despite his less than perfect looking record. Nakajima on the other hand has struggled at times in recent years, , despite being 7-3 in his last 10. Those losses are nothing to be ashamed by, losing to Hidenori Otake, Jonathan Baat and Kosuke Saka, but at the age of 33 it's unclear what he really has left.
In a real must win we'll see Masashi Noguchi (12-9-1, 6) battle Tatsuya Yanagi (14-5-1, 5) for the second time. Noguchi fought for the Japanese Lightweight title back in December 2016, when he was stopped in 3 rounds by Shuhei Tsuchiya, and since then he has gone 0-3, with his career clearly on the rocks. Aged 28 Noguchi isn't an old fighter, but with with 4 straight losses, 3 of those by stoppage, there is clearly a feeling that his career might be heading to the end. Yanagi saved his career last year, going 3-0 for the year following a 0-3-1 run prior to his winning run. Among those 3 wins for Yanagi was a decision over Noguchi and another here really could end Noguchi and put Yanagi in the title mix.
A pretty interesting 8 rounder will see Ryuji Ikeda (12-4-2, 8) face off with Kentaro Endo (7-7-1, 6). Ikeda was beaten last time out by Darragh Foley, and he's now 1-2-1 in his last 4, with his only win coming over a very limit Thai in Bangkok last year. As for Endo his record is similarly patchy, though he has been competitive with Daishi Nagata and Kazuki Matsuyama and did look destructive last time out when he stopped Tatsuya Miyazaki. This could be a lot more competitive than the records suggest.
Another very exciting match up will see Tasuku Nakagawa (7-2-1, 3) battle against Filipino banger Jon Jon Estrada (10-4-1, 9). The 24 year old Nakagawa comes into this on the back of a big opening round win against Akihiko Katagiri and will be full of confidence coming into this one. Estrada on the other hand is a real danger man who was stopped last time out by Jeson Umbal but does hold notable stoppages against Brian Lobetania and the teak tough Pablito Canada. The Filipino will not have travelled to pick up a loss here.
The final Japanese show of November is a low interest card from the Korakuen Hall promoted by Katsumata boxing gym, who are celebrating their 55 anniversary as a gym. The card is unlikely to create many headlines, but does feature a title bout and several interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout will see former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (23-12, 12) take on Filipino visitor Carleans Rivas (6-4, 3) in a bout for a WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. The talented and tough Tsunami has had very mixed fortune in recent bouts, going 6-9 in her last 15, but is much better than her record suggests and will come in to the ring here on the back of a competitive bout with Arely Mucino in Cancun. Rivas has gone 4-4 in her last 8 and is likely to pick up another loss here, against someone as talented as Tsunami.
In a good looking support bout fans will see Tatsuya Yanagi (13-5-1, 4) take on Joji Tsuchiya (7-4-2, 5) in what looks like an interesting domestic bout. Yanagi was once tipped as a fighter with a very bright future, but has gone 3-5-1 in his last 9, following a 10-0 start. Tsuchiya on the other hand started 1-2-1 but has reeled off 3 straight wins and appears to be in the best fork of his career. This is a real crossroads fight, and could be very competitive.
One other interesting bout on this show will see Ryuta Wakamatsu (10-12-1, 7) take on Yoshihiro Utsumi (13-8-3, 8). The bout isn't anything great on paper but we always like bouts where both men will be fighting to win, and it's clear that this bout will be one where both fighters will be in there with the belief they can win.