Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California, USA
The main action to involve Asian fighters this coming Friday comes from California, and is part of a Golden Boy promoted card. Interestingly not only is the notable action in the US but it's also two bouts featuring veteran female fighters getting their chance to shine in front of a global audience, something both deserved to do much earlier in their careers.
The most interesting of the two bouts will see Japanese veteran Tenkai Tsunami (28-12-1, 16) defending her WBO female Light Flyweight title against the sensational Seniesa Estrada (20-0, 8). Tsunami is one of the true veterans of female boxing, having been around the world level for over a decade, and she's also a very well travelled fighter who has shown the toughness, engine and work rate in a brilliant career. But a career which is now heading to the end. Unfortunately for Tsunami she's in against one of the best of the new wave of female fighters in Estrada who looks like the sort of fighter who could, and maybe should be, the new face of female boxing. In her prime Tsunami would have made this very interesting, but right now we really don't see anyone between 105lbs and 115lbs beating Estrada, who is a genuine star in the making. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Tenkai Tsunami takes on "Super Bad" Estrada!
The other bout on this card of note will see WBA female Flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7) make her long over due US debut as she defends her title against Sulem Urbina (12-1-0-1, 2). Fujioka, Japan's only 5 weight world champion, has long been one of the best female fighters in the world, but with her 46th birthday coming in August and with more than a year of inactivity we do wonder what she can actually show here. At her best she belonged very high up the female pound for pound lists, but right now it's really hard to know what she has left in her legs. As for Urbina this is a massive leap up in class and comes on the back of a 2020 loss to Marlen Esparza. It's hard to back Urbina given her record, competition and form, though being 15 or so years younger, without the wear and tear and fighting relatively close to home, she may well be in the right place at the right time. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Fujioka makes long awaited US debut as she takes on warrior Urbina!
Airport Hilton, Miami, Florida, USA
Over in Miami we're expecting to see two more Asian fighters in action, albeit in rather low key bouts.
The more notable of the two bouts will see heavy handed Kazakh fighter Serik Musadilov (9-0, 9) take on Reuel Williams (8-1, 3) for the NABA Cruiserweight title. On paper this looks like an interestingly match up, even more when you consider Williams has won 8 in a row. Sadly however Williams is now 45 year old and hasn't fought in over 4 years. Even at his best he wasn't very good either and is a natural Light Heavyweight. It really is a shame Musadilov is still wasting his time with this type of fight, when it's very clear he's now needing a test, not just bouts to pad his record, like this one.
The other Asian on this card is Kazakh fighter Mark Bernaldez (22-4, 16), who takes on Mexican veteran Juan Kantun (21-11-3, 15). Bernaldez has picked up two wins since losing to Albert Bell in July 2020 and he'll be looking to keep that run going here, as he continues to plug along as a decent fighter, but an unspectacular one. Kantun on the other hand is without a win since 2013, having lost his last 7. As with the Musadilov bout, this is just padding the record of Bernaldez and little else.
Tacoma, Washington, USA
Staying in the US we have also seen that unbeaten Uzbekistani hopeful Ravshan Makhamadjonov (12-0, 8) is pencilled in to fight in Tacoma. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, though the 22 year old has been matched softly, on the whole, so far and we're not expecting that to change here. Sadly this is likely to be another easy win for the unbeaten Makhamadjonov
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Japan we also get action, in fact we get a second successive day of East Japan Rookie of the Year action as the Shinjuku FACE place host to some qualifying bouts. In total there are 7 bouts scheduled for this show, but we'll only take a look at a few of them.
On paper the one that stands out the most is a bout between unbeaten novices Kanta Kawamura (1-0-1, 1) and Shingo Koyasu (2-0, 2), who clash at Flyweight. The 21 year old Kawamura made his debut in December, with a quick win over Koyo Nakayama, but was held to a 4 round draw in his second bout, this past August. Koyasu on the other hand has looked explosive since debut in September 2020 and has stopped his first 2 opponents. We expect this one to be explosive and genuinely exciting, as both look to impress in the Rookie tournament.
Surprisingly there's only a single all debutant bout on this card, and that will be between Shuhei Hanadate (0-0) and Hiroto Sato (0-0), who clash at Bantamweight. Neither of these men are from particularly big gyms, and whilst that is an issue longer term it also shows that the Rookie of the Year can be used as a shop window for fighters and these two men will know that going all the win in the tournament could open major doors for them. Don't be surprised if this ends up being a very compelling bout.
One other bout that needs mentioning is the clash between Keisuke Imabuchi (0-9-2) and Tsubasa Yamashita (0-0). The 35 year old Imabuchi has a genuine weird record, going winless in his first 11, and it would be great to see him score a win before being forced into retirement. Yamashita on the other hand is at the complete opposite end of his career, aged just 18 and kicking things off here. With 17 years difference and 11 bouts difference this is a very unique Rookie of the Year bout, but one that is certainly intriguing.
For a second successive day we get notable action featuring Asian fighters, including a world title fight, a Japanese female title fight and a card from Korea.
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
Both of the Japanese cards come from the same venue in Sakai, with the first being a pretty notable one, as it will only feature female fighters, and will be streamed live on the Boxing Real YouTube channel.
Sadly with it being a female only card it's not a particularly deep or stacked card, but is does have a couple of bouts of note on it. The first of those noteworthy bouts will see Sumire Yamanaka (1-0) take on the debuting Natsuki Yamada (0-0). Whilst neither of these fighters are big names, by any stretch, there is plenty of quiet expectation on the shoulders of the 19 year old Yamanaka. She is the younger sister of former world champion Ryuya Yamanaka and some suggest she could follow in her brother's footsteps and become a world champion in the future. We don't know much about Yamada but we do know she's a naturally taller and older fighter than Yamanaka, and should be able to at least ask some questions of the teenager.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Atomweight champion Kaori Nagai (5-2-3, 2) defending her belt for the first time and taking on Natsuki Tarui (4-6-2). The 31 year old champion won the belt last July, when she defeated veteran Momoko Kanda for the second time, and is riding an impressive 8 bout unbeaten run, following back to back losses at the start of her career. She's not the most talented fighter out there, but she's got under rated skills, sets a good tempo and has got the tools to be successful at Japanese and OPBF level. Tarui on the other hand is 29 years old and seems to be coming in to her own after 4 straight losses to begin her career. She's not oozing world class potential, but she's worked hard, earned a shot at the Japanese title, and is a very live challenger. This could end up being a very, very good fight over 6 competitive rounds. Our preview of this one can be read here Nagai takes on Tarui in first Japanese title defense!
Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
The second card from the Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center is also set to get a live stream courtesy of the Boxing Real YouTube channel and is a more interesting card, at least on paper, than the all female show.
One of the interesting bouts here will see Aoba Mori (6-2-1) and Keisuke Iwasaki (5-2-1, 1) clash for the second time. These two fought last July, fighting to a 6 round draw, and proved to be incredibly well matched. Given their first bout this is one to look forward if you can make it to the venue. The two men are unlikely to mix it at domestic title level, but they will make for some entertaining bouts at the lower levels of the domestic scene, in fact their first was solid. Since their first bout Mori has been inactive whilst Iwasaki scored a notable win over the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori, giving him a bit of momentum coming in to this one.
Another noteworthy under-card bout on this show will see Daiki Tomita (15-2, 5) take on Shota Asami (8-7, 4). The talented 23 year old Tomita has promised a lot, but lost his two most notable bouts, losing to Tsubasa Koura in 2018 and Kenichi Horikawa last year. He has a lot of potential, but we suspect needs to be given time to mature physically. In Asami we have someone who has struggled for form, in fact Asamai has lost 2 of his last 3 and 5 of his last 9, but he's someone who can dig in and score upsets, as he did last year against Sho Omote. This looks like a mismatch on paper, but Asami is very much a live under-dog, and the naturally bigger guy.
The main event of this show will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) looking to defend her title against fellow Japanese fighter Shione Ogata (11-6-1, 3). Tsunami won this title back in March 2018 and has defended it twice so far, whilst also dipping her toes into the Flyweight division. The 36 year old champion is a stalwart for Japanese boxing and has proven herself as a tough, hard working and criminally under-rated fighter, though sooner or later father time will catch up with her, especially given the tough bouts she's had over the years. Ogata on the other hand is an easy to over-look challenger who lost 5 of her first 6 before going 10-1-1 and winning the WBA Asia, WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles. She is a very, very live challenger and has developed so much in recent years under the guidance of Nobuhiro Ishida. The champion should be the favourite, but Ogata is a genuinely solid contender, despite her record. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ogata challenges WBO queen Tsunami
The Won Boxing Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
Over in South Korea we'll be getting a low profile card from the Won Promotion. This show really isn't a big one at all, but the main event is a very evenly matched bout between Dong Ho Geum (5-3-2, 3) and In Soo Jang (5-3-1), who battle for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 27 year old Geum is riding a 3 fight winning streak into this, and is actually 5-1 in his last 6 bouts, after a bizarre 0-2-2 start to his career. Jang on the other hand started his career will, going unbeaten in his first 3 bouts, but since then has gone 3-3, and lost his last 2 bouts. He needs a win, but has no momentum coming in to this and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. We're expecting a really fun fight here but one that, in the grand scheme of things, won't really matter despite the WBC regional title.
Through December every weekend seems to have something of note happening in the wonderful world of Asian boxing.
Thankfully for those who need a bit of a break this coming weekend looks like the best on to take some time to yourself, but is still a pretty interesting weekend with a female world title fight, a Japanese youth title fight and a GAB title fight all coming on Saturday!
The biggest of the shows takes place in Kagoshima, where we see a female world title fight, as well as domestic stalwart take on a Thai visitor and a Rookie of the Year winner taking on an unbeaten Thai puncher.
The world title fight will see Japanese veteran Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) make her second defense of the WBO female Light Flyweight title as she takes on Filipino challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1, 5), who gets her third shot at a world title. The 35 year old Tsunami has held this title since March 2018, but has only defended it once due to challenging Naoko Fujioka for the WBA Flyweight title earlier this year, and fighting to a draw in a fantastic 10 round back and forth. Filipino fighter Pagauan, also 35 years old, has failed in 2 other title challenges, both in Japan. In the first she lost to Nao Ikeyama, in a bout for the WBO Atomweight title, before a headclash with Kumiko Seeser Ikehara saw her WBO female Minimumweight title fight end in a technical draw. Although Pagaduan will be hungry, she will be up against it here. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tsunami and Pagaduan clash in WBO world title fight!
In a supporting bout Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6), one of the most over-looked fighters in Japan, will take on Thai visitor Sanchai Yotboon (6-3, 6). Although Haruguchi's record is patchy at best his last 4 defeats have come to current Japanese champion Norihito Tanaka, current OPBF champion Lito Dante, former world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara and former world title challenger Riku Kano, and he wasn't embarrassed in any of those bouts. As for Yotboon he is 0-3 in Japan and was actually the debut opponent for Ginjiro Shigeoka in September 2018. Incidentally Yotboon was stopped by another fighter on this card, Sora Takeda, back in April.
Talking about Sora Takeda (5-1, 1) the 2018 Rookie of the Year winner is in an interesting bout of his own as he takes on unbeaten Thai puncher Phanuwit Siriwong (7-0, 6). Since winning Rookie of the Year last December Takeda hasn't really done much, with his sole bout being his 3rd round KO win over Yotboon. The 18 year old Siriwong on the other hand has notched up 6 stoppage wins this year and will be in Japan looking to score his biggest win to date.
A second Japanese show is headlined by a Japanese Youth title bout, as Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2, 4) looks to make his first defense of the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. The under-rated Tonomoto, who suffered early career losses to Shingo Kawamura and Reiya Abe, has won his last 4 and took the title last time out with a decision win over Hikaru Matsuoka. On the other hand the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (9-1, 2) is on a 7 fight winning run, including a credible win over Noboru Osato back in April. This isn't a bout that will get much attention but could end up being a very compelling bout for those in Kishiwada. Our preview of this bout can be read here Tonomoto to defend Youth crown against Motohashi!
As well as the action in Japan we're also set for some Filipino action, with the most notable of two Filipino cards coming from Cebu.
Sadly this card isn't a particularly strong one, with the only bout of real interesting being the main event, which will pit the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (18-2, 15) against former OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (20-9-1, 6). This should be a good test for Santisima, but Dacquel has lost his last 3, and suffered his first stoppage loss last time out. Santisima will be favoured, but this is still a solid test for him at this stage in his career.
In the main support bout Peter Apolinar (10-1, 7) will take on former OPBF title challenger Lloyd Jardeliza (8-10-4, 6). Although Jardeliza did once fight for an OPBF title, way back in December 2015, he has gone 1-5-1 in his last 7 and appears to have essentially given up actually trying to win fights
On the under-card the unbeaten Regie Suganob (3-0, 1) will take on Rolly Dorong (1-1- 2) and Go Hosaka (4-0, 3) takes a good step up in class to battle Boyce Sultan (10-12-1, 5). These bouts will see Hosaka and Suganob fighting their third bout in the space of 5 months, though it's unclear on just how much ALA can really push them at this moment in time.
Metro Manila, Philippines
There will also be a small card in Metro Manila, which will be headlined by a bout between Cris Paulino (20-4, 8) and Mateo Handig (15-20, 9), who clash for the GAB Super Flyweight title. On paper this should be an easy win for Paulino. Although limited the 26 year old dubbed "The King" is a solid fighter on the Filipino scene, and all 4 of his losses have come to fighters above domestic level. On the other hand Handig has picked up just 2 wins since he upset Katsunari Takayama back in 2012, going 2-15 in his last 17. A mismatch to say the least.
The big show of the day this coming Friday is Osaka where Teiken put in a title triple header, featuring two world title bouts.
The main event of this card is the rematch between American Rob Brant (25-1, 17) and Japanese star Ryota Murata (14-2, 11), with Brant looking to make his second defense of the WBA Regular Middleweight title, a title he took from Murata last year. This is a really tough bout for Murata, who will know another loss to Brant likely ends his career, whilst a win could open up a huge opportunity for a bout in a Japanese dome at the end of the year. For Murata this is a must win, whilst for Brant it's a bout he is expected to win, especially given how easily he beat Murata the first time around. A full preview of this bout is available here Brant and Murata go again, but will the outcome be any different?
The other world title bout on the card will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) defending his title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-33-1, 11). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 6th defense and a chance to take a huge step towards a potential unification bout with Hiroto Kyoguchi at the end of the year, a bout both men have spoken about. Although Kenshiro is in great form we expect Taconing to ask questions of the champion we've never seen Kenshiro answer, and Taconing poses a real threat as a hard hitting and teak tough southpaw. Taconing can be out boxed, but he is a very dangerous threat to Kenshiro. Our preview of this show down is here Kenshiro takes on hard hitting Filipino challenger Taconing!
The third title bout on this card will see Filipino visitor Joe Noynay (17-2-1, 6) look to record his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title, as he takes on 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8). The bout sees Noynay return to Japan following his impressive title win over Kosuke Saka whilst Shimizu moves up in weight and tests the water at Super Featherweight. A full in depth preview of this bout can be read here Noynay takes on hard hitting Shimizu in regional title defense!
Also on this card is touted prospect Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) who looks to extend his perfect start as he battles 23 year old Filipino Paolo Sy (6-3-1, 3). Iwata was a fabulous amateur, scoring wins against the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue among others, and has shown a lot of promise already, but this looks like his stiffest test so far. Sy is no world beater in the making but should ask some questions of Iwata.
As well as the show in Osaka there is also a good one in Tokyo as we get a female world title fight and an interesting cross roads fight.
The female world title fight sees the great Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) defending her WBA female Flyweight title against veteran Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15), who is looking to become a 3 weight champion her self. Fujioka is among the few true female legends of boxing, having won world titles from Minimumweight to Bantamweight, but she's now at an advanced age and we wonder how long she can keep putting on top performances. On the other hand Tsunami has had an incredibly hard career, and that will catch up with her sooner or later. Our preview of this female clash can be read here Fujioka and Tsunami meet in clash for WBA crown!
In a really good looking support bout we'll see veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) take on youngster Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9). The tough Kondo, a former world title challenger, was last seen being stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in an IBF world title eliminator and he will be desperate to put that loss behind him and pick up a win here. For Hiraoka this is a great opportunity to get himself a major win and move towards a major title fight, as he looks to add to the Japanese Youth title he won in 2017. Our preview for this bout can be read here Kondo looks to bounce back whilst Hiraoka looks for big win
Also on this card is Seiryu Toshikawa (10-5, 6), who is criminally under-rated. Despite not having a great record Toshikawa is a very talented 23 year old who is looking to bounce back from a split decision loss to Shawn Oda in late 2018. His opponent will be Filipino puncher Junny Salogaol (14-16-5, 13), a late replacement though a man who was training for a now cancelled fight in Japan in late June.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
From Japan to Saudi Arabia as we see boxing join the WWE in an the attempt of becoming part of the sporting propaganda of the Saudi government. Whilst this card isn't one we'll be focusing a lot on, especially given the action in Japan, it is still a show which will get a lot of attention, especially in the West.
The main event will see Amir Khan (33-5, 20) take on Billy Dib (45-5-0-2, 26) in a match that was put together on about 3 weeks notice. Originally Khan was going to Indian face Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) in a bout being sold on the Indian vs Pakistan rivalry, and was originally set to be for the WBC Pearl title. Goyat suffered an injury in a car accident weeks before the fight and Dib, a former Featherweight world champion, moved up the card to fill the position left by Goyat. Originally Dib was to face Indonesian fighter Carlos Lopez, so he has clearly landed a much better pay day here. Sadly the WBC Pearl title will no longer be on the line, and the bout will instead be for the WBC International Welterweight crown.
A more interesting bout on this card, at least terms of competitiveness, will see unbeaten and exciting Filipino Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11) take on South African foe Lerato Dlamini (12-1, 6) for the WBC Silver Featherweight title. This is a big step up for Penalosa who hasn't really scored a win of note. On the other hand the South African holds a really notable win over Simpiwe Vetyeka from 2017 and will feel that that bout will have prepared him for a bout like this against Penalosa.
Others on this card include Uzbek hopeful Shakhobidin Zoirov (2-0, 2), who has been very impressive in his professional career so far.
All the way over in Florida we'll get the chance to see a couple of unbeaten Kazakh fighters attempt to continue their run onwards and upwards.
The more notable of the two is Heavyweight hopeful Ivan Dychko (8-0, 8), who takes on Nate Heaven (9-2, 7). The talented, yet awful badly promoted Dychko, was originally pencilled in to fight Raphael Zumbano (39-16-1, 31) though Zumbano was later replaced by Heaven, who should pose of a test. Sadly for Dychko, a former amateur star, his competition has been awful and his activity has been less than great, and he's falling a long way behind some of his amateur contemporaries, such as Filip Hrgovic, Tony Yoka and Joe Joyce. If he stops Heaven, as expected, it's then a must for Dychko to step up in class.
The other Kazakh on this card is Mussa Tursyngaliyev (9-0, 6), who is pencilled in for a major step up in class as he takes on former world title challenger Ricardo Nunez (29-9, 23). On paper this looks a really tough match up for the unbeaten Tursyngaliyev however it should be noted that Nunez had his best wins down at Flyweight and Super Flyweight, and Tursyngaliyev is at Featherweight. Natural size difference will likely be the key between these two here.
This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.
In the last few year's we've seen female boxing grow in the west, thanks to former amateur fighters like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. It's worth noting however that over the last few years Japan have had some all-female cards. The next one of those takes place this coming Thursday, and is the most stacked all-female card in Japanese history, with an incredible 6 title bouts, ranging from Japanese to world title bouts.
The main event is one of the two world title bouts, and will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) make her first defense, as she takes on Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). The Japanese fighter won the belt last May, in her 6th world title fight, and will be fully aware that a loss here will likely end her career, given that she's 42 years old. The Korean challenger is 32 and was once a very highly regarded fighter, but she comes into this bout after having not fought in over 2 years. At her best Park was a real talent, but with ring rust she may well not be the fighter she once was, or look like a fighter who has an active 16 fight unbeaten run.
The other world title fight promises to be something a bit special as the highly aggressive Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) battles Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten Minowa has spoke about winning world titles in a number of weight classes nut this will be her first world title fight and it's a genuinely tough one for the 30 year old former amateur standout. To date Minowa has mowed mowed through her first 5 foes in a combined 18 rounds and looked a truly spiteful force, but she is taking a huge step up in class here. Tsunami is a former WBA female Super Flyweight champion, holding that title for more than 3 years, and has fought a who's who of female boxing, often giving top fighters very tough fights. This could be something very exciting.
In an OPBF female Minimumweight title bout fans will see former world title challengers clash, with Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) battling Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3). It was Hanawa that was beaten by the aforementioned Ebata last year for the WBO title at this weight, and since then she has claimed the interim OPBF title. It's worth noting however that Hanagata is a 2-time OPBF champion who has come up just short in 4 world title bouts, and is hungry to get a 5th shot at at world honours.
In a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout fans will see Miyo Yoshida (8-1) make her first defense as she takes on Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2). The champion won the title last October when she narrowly out pointed Tomomi Takano and will be favoured to retain her title, but Johnson is better than her record suggests, and is much better than a typical fighter on a 6 fight losing run.
A Japanese Flyweight title bout will see the inaugural champion being crowned, as Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1). On paper Koseki looks the lesser of the two but she has mixed with good opponents, and has gone 1-1 with the aforementioned Yoshida. Ikemoto on the other hand hasn't faced anyone of any real note and is clearly stepping up a level here.
Another inaugural title will be the JBC female Atomweight class, which will be competed for between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1), who fought to a draw in a bout for this very same title back in December. On paper these two are very evenly matched, and the fact the judges failed to separate them last time out suggests this could be a very competitive contest again.
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.
March 1st-Dangan Ladies show!
In Tokyo fans get the first ever “Ladies Dangan” card, a card put on by “reason”, who promote the Dangan cards, and features only female fighters. The concept is an interesting one and we're hoping it's a success.
Whilst the concept is a good one, that match ups are also good with some genuinely well matched contests taking place on a card that features some notable names. One of those well matched bouts will see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mika Oda (6-7-1, 1) defending her title against Saemi Hanagata (11-6-2, 5). Incidentally Oda won this title in her last bout, which was way back in September 2014. Whilst Oda won the last meeting between these two she has been inactive whilst Hanagata has fought thrice winning two of those bouts and controversially losing the other, which was a world title bout.
The other title bout on this show sees OPBF female Atomweight champion Momoko Kanda (9-8-2, 3) defending her belt against Masae Akitaya (9-6-2, 3), in what looks like an excellent match up. Both fighters have their limitations but both have experienced fighting at world level and both have acquitted themselves well and we wouldn't be surprised if this scrap ended up being a high paced and highly entertaining contest between two fighters both looking to prove themselves.
Another high profile bout on this card sees former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) battle against the once beaten Emika Himuro (5-1-1, 1). Although her record may not suggest it Tsunami is a world class fighter who is tough, game and has a great work rate, sadly however her battles have taken a bit of a toll on her and she looked rather poor last time out against Carolina Rodriguez. Despite that she should have more than enough to over-come the 35 year old Himuro.
Another veteran in action is multi-time title challenger Kayoko Ebata (8-6, 4), who takes on Sornsawan Sarakarngym (0-1). Aged 40 Ebata is a real veteran, having debuted back in 2007, and although not a world champion she has fought in 4 world title bouts, and found herself very competitive in several of them. Sadly she's likely to be ending her career shortly though she has had a career to be proud of.
As well as the Tokyo card there is also a show in Hyogo courtesy of Shinsei gym.
The main event of this card will see JBC ranked Ryo Kosaka (11-3-1, 5) battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-6-2, 2). This looks to be a mismatch, especially given that the 24 year old Mizuno has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, though Mizuno is a southpaw and is tough so may give Kosaka some questions over the 8 round distance.
The chief support bout looks to be a mismatch as former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (18-4-4, 8) battles against limited Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (1-6). Petchmai was stopped in his only previous bout in Japan and we expect to see that happen again here, though Petchmai did win his last bout and may well have some confidence coming in to this one.
A third bout of note will see Seizo Kono (15-8-1, 10) battle Thai novice Yodsing Padjaigym (0-0). Kono has gone 2-5 in hius last 7 but is better than his record suggests and blew away Hikaru Matsuoka last year. This should be a win for Kono but we really know nothing about the Thai who may be one of those fighters with a lot more experience than his record suggests.
August 22nd-Tsunami goes for gold in Chile whilst regional titles are on the line in the Philippines
The main bout of the day comes from Chile of all places as Japanese road warrior Tenkai Tsunami (21-10, 10) battles Chilean boxing star Carolina Rodriguez (14-0, 1) for the IBF female Bantamweight title. The bout is a tough one for Tsunami though the Japanese fighter really is a well traveled warrior and fighting in Chile, in front of Rodriguez's family and friends, won't be a problem. The biggest question however may be whether or not she's going to suffer another, razor thin, defeat in Latin America.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the bout in Chile there is also a very interesting card in the Philippines where a trio of titles will be up for grabs with some very good looking bouts.
One of those bouts will see the unbeaten Jheritz Chavez (4-0-2, 3) face Japanese hopeful Tatsuya Yanagi (11-2, 4) in a bout for the vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight title. Coming in to the bout Chavez is in good form and impressed last time out by stopping Randy Megrino, however this is a step up. For Yanagi this bout will be his first outside of Japan and his first since he upset Toru Suzuki earlier this year. Notably the visitor has lost 2 of his last 3, but his big win last time out may have helped boost his confidence.
Another bout for a vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council title comes at Super Flyweight as former OPBF Flyweight title challenger Cris Paulino (14-2, 4) battles against the limited Edison Berwela (13-30-8, 3). Originally Paulino was set to face the once beaten Lolito Sonsona (18-1-4, 8) in a genuinely exciting match up, though unfortunately Sonsona has been replaced in late notice by Berwela. Paulino impressed us, despite losing, when he challenged Koki Eto last December and if he performs even close to how he did back then, he'll easily defeat Berwela, who is essentially a journeyman.
Another title bout here sees the highly rated Renan Trongco (17-4, 10) defending his WBC International Flyweight title, and WBC world ranking, against compatriot Renz Rosia (11-3, 5). This is a really well matched bout on paper and one which really is a key bout for both. On paper it's easy to favour Trongco however Rosia is a solid fighter himself and has gone 11-1 in his last 12, with that loss coming to Makazole Tete in South Africa.
As well as the title bouts this show will feature a further 9 bouts.
March 16th-Jaca Vs Kondo and Onjo Vs Baat gives us two exciting looking match ups!
The action in Japan keeps coming through March and one of the most interesting shows comes on the 16th as we get several notable names in action, with one of the bouts being particularly notable.
That notable bout will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (20-5-1, 9) battled against former “world” title challenger Jimrex Jaca (39-7-4, 22) of the Philippines. Jaca is a serious puncher and is capable of hurting almost anyone in, or around, the Lightweight division and Kondo is tough which means that this could be an explosive and exciting encounter with Jaca's power battling against Kondo's will and toughness.
In a female bout on this card former female world champion Tenkai Tsunami (20-10, 9) will fight in a stay busy contest against Thailand's Rathsada Sor Worasin (0-4). This really is a stay busy contest for the talent Tsunami who will likely be looking for another world title bout later in the year.
Another bout of note will see the fast rising Kenta Onjo (4-0, 3) battle against Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (27-6-3, 13). On paper this is a huge step up in class for the talented Onjo however he will be strongly favoured and should have a considerable size advantage against Baat who will be going from Bantamweight all the way up to Super Featherweight for this contest. From what we've seen of the 25 year old Onjo he is massively talented and should be able to see off his smaller but more experienced for with out too many issues.
One other bout that looks particularly interesting will see the light hitting Yukiya Hanabusa (7-2-2, 1) face off against Yudai Arai (6-1-3, 3). This looks like a brilliantly even contest on paper even if the two men aren't well known. In 2013 Hanabusa reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final whilst Arai has gone 5-0-2 in his last 7 bouts. This really does look promising and both guys will know what a win will boost them to moving towards a national ranking.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)