City Gymnasium, Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan
This coming Saturday our attention turns to Mie where we see the next event from Midori Promotions, and it's a pretty interesting one, with an excellent main event and two, solid, domestic bouts making up the chief support bouts.
The aforementioned main event will see former WBC Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12) look to rebuild from his rematch with Kenshiro Teraji, as he takes on unbeaten Thai punch Thanongsak Simsri (24-0, 22). At his best Yabuki is one of the top contenders at 108lbs, thanks to his freakishly heavy hands, under-rated boxing skills and good movement. He was however made to look third rate by Kenshiro in their rematch, with Kenshiro essentially ripping him apart in 3 rounds in March, and it's going to be interesting to see his mindset here. As for Simsri he was on the verges of landing a world title fight in 2020, before Hiroto Kyoguchi tested positive for covid, and that disappointment he has kept busy against low key Thai opponents, whilst physically developing and getting some rounds under his belt. Amazingly this will be Simsri's 7th bout in 12 months, but it's a huge step up for him and he will likely need a career best performance to over-come the former WBC champion.
In a supporting bout the popular Tom Mizokoshi (8-4-1, 4) will clash with Sonin Nihei (10-6-2, 2) in a 6 rounder. Mizkoshi, who is still only 23, feels like he's been around for ages and will be desperate to avoid another loss following recent defeats to Hiroyuki Takahara, Haruki Ishikawa and Ryuya Nihei. His confidence will be low and he and his team will know a win is very, very much-needed. Nihei has also struggled for success recently, with 3 losses in his last 4 and 5 losses in his last 7, but he has shown there is still life in him with upsets against Tatsuya Ikemizu and Ryosuke Nasu. He might not be a top domestic talent, but he's also no push over. This should be a very hard fought and competitive bout.
Another solid bout will see Katsuya Murakami (12-2-1, 3) look for a 5th straight win, and continue his climb towards a title fight, as he takes on Tetsuya Mimura (9-3, 2). Murakami might have had a few set backs on his record but he's a talent and has the tools to mix in the domestic title scene over the next few years. Mimura on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3 and has little momentum coming in to this, but has been fighting at a solid level, having run Riku Kano close in 2019 and Yuga Inoue in 2020. Sadly Mimura has fought just just 2 rounds since August 2020, and we are expecting him to have some build ring rust that needs shaking here.
Tomigusuki Civic Gymnasium, Okinawa, Japan
The most notable of two Japanese cards this coming Sunday comes form Okinawa, where we see one of the hottest prospects in world boxing look to pick up his second professional title, and we also see several interesting, albeit lower level, under-card bouts.
The main event of the card will be that aforementioned title bout, as the much touted Ginjiro Shigeoka (6-0, 5) takes on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-2-1, 7) for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. The hard hitting and explosive Shigeoka has seen his rapid career ascent slow, significantly, since the start of the pandemic, but a win here against Nakashima will open some significant doors for him, and his focus will be on winning here and then begin to move towards a world title fight later in the year. He will however have to make sure to not over-look Nakashima, a capable domestic level fighter who's having his second shot at the Japanese title, after having previously fallen short to current world champion Masataka Taniguchi. This should be a show case for the unbeaten man, but he will have to show Nakashima some respect in there. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Shigeoka goes for domestic gold as he faces Nakashima
In rare Japanese Welterweight bout we'll see professional novice Seeser Minagawa (1-0) take on the under-sized New Thunder Teruya (7-9-1, 4). Minagawa made his debut last year at Super Middleweight, and will be dropping down to Welterweight for the bout, whilst Teruya's last fight was at Super Featherweight and he'll be skipping up the weights. Sadly for Teruya he has been stopped in his last two bouts, and will be expected to take a bit of a pounding here in a very odd one, that should be little more than a brief work out for Minagawa, who was a very solid amateur, going 70-17 (36) in the unpaid ranks. Interestingly Teruya has changed his ring name a little bit for this fight, adding "New" to it, sadly for him, it's hard to imagine even a "New" Teruya having any chance at all here.
Another under-card bout will see 34 year old puncher Taiki Henzan (5-1, 4) take on Ryan Joshua Yamamoto (4-3, 1) in the other Welterweight bout. Coming in to this Henzan has a JBC ranking, but at his age their potential for him to be a domestic contender is slim. Despite that he is dangerous at this low level, and will be looking to make his power count. Yamamoto on the other hand is a natural Lightweight moving up in weight, on the back of 3 straight wins. He's the naturally smaller man, but at 28 he's also coming into his physical prime and will feel confident he has the youth needed to inflict Henzan's second professional loss.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
A second Japanese card comes from Aichi, and although this is less notable than the one in Okinawa, it's still a pretty solid one, with three bouts worthy of some attention.
The main event will see youngsters clash as former Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight Champion Tom Mizokoshi (8-3-1, 4) takes on Ryuya Nihei (6-2-1, 1) in a really solid looking bout between two men in their early 20's. The 22 year old Mizokoshi is an exciting talent, with a lot of flair, but his chin has let him down and he's been stopped in 2 of his last 3, including his last bout. With a tweak to his style, and a more defensive mindset, he could go on to win national honours in the future, but he has taken a lot of punishment already in his career. Nihei on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, but the 23 year old is a talented fighter, and a real handful from a technical perspective. It's worth nothing that Mizokoshi's team have matched him with someone who is a genuine non-puncher here, but Nihei should provide a good test of Mizokoshi's boxing skills.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a TKO loss, like Mizokoshi, is the big punching Mammoth Kazunori (6-5-1, 6), as he takes on Takuto Mino (4-1, 1). Kazunori is very much a flawed puncher, and he's lost his last 3, but he's incredibly dangerous and the sort of fighter who can knock people out cold with a single shot, as we saw against Lerdchai Chaiyawed. Sadly he appears limited, and can be out boxed, but with his power he's always going to be a threat. Mino on the other hand is a non-puncher, looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to Daichi Hirai, and will feel his movement, skills, timing and size advantage will be the difference maker here. Interestingly Mizokoshi will be the much smaller man in the ring, but we suspect his power will still be dangerous at this level, even at Bantamweight.
In another good supporting bout we'll see Takatora Suzuki (4-1-2) take on Hyogo Kimura (6-3-1, 1), in a decent looking 6 rounder. Of the two men Kimura is the more well known, coming runner up in the All Japan Rookie of the Year 13 months ago, and whilst he's without a win in 3 bouts he shouldn't be written off here, given what we've seen of him so far in his young career. Suzuki on the other hand is a local fighter who has never lost in Aichi, and will be looking to make the most of home advantage here.
International Conference Hall, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Over in Aichi Midori promotions put on a very, very interesting card with two bouts worthy of attention. One of those is a very attractive looking Japanese Youth title bout whilst the other features a very well regarded prospect looking for his second pro win.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Tom Mizokoshi (8-2-1, 4) take on the limited, but heavy handed, Haruki Ishikawa (8-3, 6) in what is Mizokoshi's first defense of the title. The talented 22 year old champion won the title in March with a well fought, and hotly contested, 8 round decision win over Satoru Hoshiba and he'll be looking to build on that performance here. Ishikawa, at his best, in an all action slugger, and his 2019 bout with Toshiya Ishii was a brilliant 4 round thriller. Sadly though Ishikawa looked completely out of his depth last time out, when he lost to Kai Chiba, and we do wonder how effective he can be against a good boxer-mover like Mizokoshi. Regardless the challenger has power, and if he lands clean we could see the champion being in some real trouble here. Our full preview of that bout can be read here Mizokoshi takes on Ishikawa in Boxer Vs Banger affair!
In the main supporting bout the talented Narumi Yukawa (1-0) competes in his second professional bout, as he takes on Kazuki Hase (5-2-1, 3). As an amateur Yukawa showed great promise before he was convicted of a drug offense which killed his amateur career and delayed his move into the professional ranks. Now however he's served his punishment and looks likely to become one of the stars of the Shizuoka region, and a potentially great story of redemption in Japan, where marijuana possession is still regarded as a serious crime. Hase on the other hand is a win some-lose type of fighter who's competing in his first 6 rounder here, and comes in on the back of a loss to Kazuki Higuchi. It's hard to see anything a Yukawa win here, but we are hoping that Hase at least asks questions of his foe.
Sadly the planned main event for this show, which would have seen former Japanese amateur standout Mitsuro Tajima (0-0) make his professional debut against Japanese Heavyweight champion Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) had to be cancelled earlier in the month when Tajima suffered back pain and couldn't train as a result. Despite that bout being off there is still a lot to like about this card.
USC Soviet Wings, Moscow, Russia
As well as the action in Aichi we're also getting some action worthy of our attention over in Moscow. The bout in question will see once beaten Uzbek fighter Bakhromjon Fozilov (3-1-3, 3) take on the limited, but experienced, Pavel Mamontov (12-13-2, 1) in a scheduled 10 rounder. On paper Fozilov's record is a weird one, to say the least. He started his career 0-1-2, but since then has gone unbeaten in 4 and shown some very heavy hands. He's a puncher, but looks technically limited and it seems like he needs to get opponents out early to take home a win. In Mamontov we have a Kazakh born Russian fighter who has lost his last 9, only has a single win since 2016 and should pose no problems, at all, to Fozilov. The real question is whether or not Mamontov can last more than 2 or 3 rounds with the Uzbekistani fighter.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
This coming Sunday attention turns to Aichi for the next show from the Midori Gym. Although not a huge show it does feature two interesting bouts, both of which are rematches and should be entertaining, and it also features two novice bouts that we want to quickly talk about.
The main event is one of the two rematches and will see the exciting Tom Mizokoshi (7-2-1, 4) take on the all action Satoru Hoshiba (7-4, 2) for the vacant Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title. The talented Mizokoshi stopped Hoshiba in 2 rounds when the men first clashed, but was in trouble before Hoshiba walked on to one, and failed to clear his head before the referee jumped in. It's fair to say Hoshiba, who is all about pressure and coming forward, will be after revenge here. As for Mizokoshi he will be looking to repeat his win over Hoshiba, and bounce back from a brutal loss last year to Hiroyuki Takahara. We expect genuine exciting action here, and a solid gelling of styles. For those interested in a deep dive on this bout, our preview of it can be read here Mizokoshi and Hoshiba face off for Japanese Youth title!
The second rematch will see 2019 All Japan Minimumweight Rookie of the Year finalist Takumi Chono (6-1, 4) rematch Takefumi Higashi (5-9, 1). These two clashed last year and Chono mowed throw Higashi in 89 seconds. With that in mind we don't see this as a competitive one, but Chono's style is a really fun to watch one, and he is all about aggression and power. Higashi will likely come up short here, but it would be a genuine surprise to see him blown away quickly again as he is usually a very durable opponent and had only been stopped once in his previous 8 losses.
Lower down the card we'll see Japanese-Brazilian Felipe Do Prado (0-1) seek his first professional win, as he takes on the debuting Shota Iwanaga (0-0) and we'll also see the wonderfully named Judgement Aizu (0-1) take on Shinsuke Nishii (1-0, 1) in another novice match up.
Tokiwa Arena, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Action returns to Hyogo this coming Friday for a show promoted by Senrima Kobe. It's not a big card, by any stretch, but there are 4 bouts worthy of note from a show with 7 scheduled contests.
The first of the interesting bouts worthy of note will see Hiroyuki Takahara (7-3, 5) take on the once beaten Tom Mizokoshi (7-1-1, 4) in a 6 round Featherweight bout. The 28 year old Takahara is a win some, lose some type of fighter, who has reeled off 3 straight wins after back to back losses in 2017. It should be noted he's not fought since April 2019. On the other hand Mizokoshi is a highly regarded 21 year old who had won his last 5, including a win in South Korea against Ha Nok Shim last year. Interestingly Mizokoshi fought 4 times in 2019 and it'll be interesting to see what a lay off, since December, will do for him. This may only be a 6 rounder but it should serve as a good test to see what improvements and development Mizokoshi is making.
The first of three Japanese ranked fighters on this show is Japanese ranked Featherweight Chiharu Takasuka (7-6-1, 4), who takes on Yuna Hara (8-2-1, 4) in an 8 rounder. Despite being ranked Takasuka is certainly nothing incredible and he has lost 4 of his last 6. Hara on the other hand has won 4 of his last 5, and his only loss in that stretch was in the West Japan Rookie of the Year in November 2018. The momentum is all behind Hara who will be looking to gate crash the Japanese rankings here.
Another ranked fighter on this show is the once beaten Light Flyweight hopeful Yuga Inoue (9-1-1, 1), who enters ranked #8 by the JBC. Inoue will be in against Tetsuya Mimura (8-2, 1) in an 8 round Flyweight bout that really does look brilliant. Although very light punching the 21 year old Inoue is a real talent, and he won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight, before losing in a Japanese Youth title fight to Kai Ishizawa. Since that loss he has been trying to make a point and been facing solid domestic opponents. Mimura is a touch older, turning 24 just days before the fight, and is himself a former Rookie of the Year runner up, losing in the 2018 final. Despite that loss he has bounced back well, and was unlucky in his second loss, losing a razor thin majority decision to Riku Kano in Sanda last November. Expect this one to be high level boxing between two very skilled young boxers.
The final ranked fighter is Ryosuke Nasu (11-5-3, 2), who takes on Hiroki Tokuyama (9-2-1, 2) in the main event. The 24 year old Nasu has lost 3 of his last 6, but has been mixing in good company and wins over Tatsuya Terada and Toma Kondo in his last 3 bouts. He's not looking likely to get a Japanese title fight any time soon, but we suspect he will get one before his career is over. Although not ranked himself Tokuyama is banging on the door of a ranking having won 4 of his last 5. His most notable result was a loss to Fumiya Fuse in the 2017 Rookie of the Year final, and he bounced back with 4 straight wins, before a razor thin loss last December against Chikato Sumida. We expect this one will be close and competitive and it's a hard to pick a winner in.
Again this isn't a big card, but is a very competitive looking one, and we can't complain about getting several 50/50 type bouts on a single show!