Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday we get the next show under the Diamond Glove banner, and it's an excellent card, with two title bouts, a mouth watering bout between two heavy handed fighters with single losses, and a former Rookie of the Year taking on a once touted former amateur stand out.
The first of the 4 notable bouts will see the unbeaten, and JBC ranked, Akira Hoshuyama (7-0 4) take on Tomoki Kawasaki (2-2). Hoshuyama showed what he could do when he won the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year, and he looks like a genuine talent, who could well win a Japanese title down the line, though does have areas to work on and we suspect this bout will see him being asked a lot of questions. Kawasaki on the other hand was a very solid amateur, going 35-12 (8), and has been matched incredibly hard since turning professional, losing to the talented pairing of Jukiya Iimura and Josuke Nagata. Despite having two losses in his first 4 bouts we wouldn't write off the 22 year old here, and he has the skills to go a long, long way over the coming years.
Another excellent non title bout will see Homura Fujita (8-1, 6) clash with Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5), in what could be the show stealer. Fujita came runner up in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing in a 4 round shoot out with Kodai Honda, and has gone 3-0 (1) since then with a very notable win over Izuki Tomioka last time out. As for Yuba the second generation fighter is looking to score his second win since his dramatic 2021 loss to Jin Sasaki. Both of these men are young, both can punch, have some skills, and can make for something a little bit special. Given their styles we expect this to be a fire fight, and a bout that could end with just a single clean shot, from either man.
The first of two title fights will see Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) make her first defense of the Japanese female Minimumweight title, as she takes on Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1). On paper this looks like an easy first defense for Suzuki, and in all honest it would be a surprise to see Ichimura really ask any questions of her. Suzuki might not be a world champion in the making, but she looks like the sort of fighter who could be a staple in and around the top of the division domestically. Ichimura on the other hand looks very limited and it's hard to imagine her giving Suzuki anything close to a test. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Suzuki defends against Ichimura
In the main event we'll see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) look to kick off his third reign as a champion, as he defends the title against the once beaten Hayate Kaji (15-1, 9), in an excellent match up. Nakagawa won the title for the third time earlier this year, when he out boxed veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka, and showed there was still life left in his legs, despite the fact he's in his mid 30's. As for Kaji he is looking to put the disappointment of a very controversial 2021 loss to Ryoji Fukunaga behind him. Nakagawa is a very solid technical fighter, who has proven his toughness and his will to win, but given his age there are questions about how much longer he can continue to compete at the top of the domestic scene. As for Kaji he looks like he could be the emerging Japanese hopeful at 115lbs and will come in to this bout as a man with a point to prove, following his loss to Fukunaga last year. This could be a very compelling technical chess match. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kaji gets second shot at title as he takes on Japanese champion Nakagawa
Art Center, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The most notable of three Japanese shows this coming Sunday is in Hyogo, where we get a card from Senrima Kobe Promotions.
The main event of the card will see two Japanese ranked Super Flyweights battling against each other as Hiroki Tokuyama (10-3-1, 2) clashes with Ryosuke Nasu (12-7-3, 2), and going in the two men will know that a win will push them to within a fight or two of a Japanese title fight. It will also be an interesting bout with a bit of history given these two men fought in August 2020, with Nasu winning a clear decision. Of the two men Nasu is the more more proven, and he holds a win over Tokuyama, but he has lost his 2 bouts and was surprisingly stopped by Sonin Nihei in April. Tokuyama on the other hand has bounce back from his loss to Nasu with a win over Shunji Nagata and will be looking to build on that win. We don't expect this bee the best bout of the weekend, but it should be a compelling bout between two men each looking to move their career forward.
In another interesting match up the 30 year old Hiroyuki Takahara (9-3, 6) will be looking to over-come Ryuya Nihei (5-2-1, 1) in what could be a very hard to call 6 rounder. Takahara has the experience and has got real momentum coming in to this, having won his last 5 bouts, dating back almost 4 years, including a notable win over Tom Mizokoshi last year. Nihei on the other hand is the younger man, at 23, but also the one struggling for form, with just a single win in his last 4 bouts and losses in his last 2.
A third bout of interest here will see professional novices Josuke Nagata (1-0) and Tomoki Kawasaki (1-1) clash in a 6 rounder. Nagata made his debut in June, beating Koji Tsurumi in an impressive performance and it was clear that he's certainly one to watch going forward, and someone with a decent amateur background. Though of course he's a novice who will need time to develop. Kawasaki on the other hand was a good amateur himself who lost to Jukiya Iimura on debut, in June, before bouncing back with a win in September. Whilst neither of these men have much professional experience, but are young, hungry fighters, who were good amateurs, are clearly skilled fighters and aren't scared of facing good competition from the off as they look to develop and progress quickly at the start of their careers.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
A second Japanese show will be in Aichi, where we see a couple of interesting looking 6 rounders.
The main event on this show will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Hiroya Nojima (7-1, 3) take on Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2). The once beaten Nojima has reeled off 4 straight wins since a 2019 loss to Hoare Yasui, and won the the All Japan Rookie of the Year this past February. On paper this is a step up for him, but he comes into it with momentum and on the back of a blow out win over Shoma Okada in July. As for Nishikawa he is 1-3-1 in his last 5, and really needs a win now. Nishikawa has no momentum coming in to this, but will fight like a man who needs a victory, and could be a banana skin for the promising Nojima.
The second bout of note on this card, and the planned chief support bout, will see 30 year old veteran Takahiro Murai (15-9-2, 5) take on unbeaten 22 year old Atsuki Nakamura (5-0-1, 3). On paper this is a hard one to call, especially given that that neither man has been all that active in recent years. Murai did fight this past July, but that was his only bout since in over 3 years, and it's hard to know what he has left to offer, especially given he's 1-3 in his last 4 dating back more than 5 years. Nakamura on the other hand hasn't fought since December 2019, and we do wonder whether ring rust will be a problem for him here.
Chres Gym, Kochi, Kochi, Japan
A third Japanese show will take place in Kochi, and will be headlined by an 8 rounder between Sora Fukunaga (9-0, 4) and Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2). The unbeaten Fukunaga won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight back in February, but has sadly not fought since beating Yuki Yazan in that final. Notably this will be his first 8 rounder and in fact his first bout scheduled for more than 5 rounds. As for Kimoto he's yet to achieve anything of note, though his record is very, very misleading and all 5 of his losses have been razor thin, including a notable one against Tom Mizokoshi in 2019. We suspect Fukunaga will take home his 10th win here, but he will have to work for it.
Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad, India
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in India. This show isn't a big one, but the main event is certainly worth being aware of.
That main event will see unbeaten Indian hopeful Karthik Sathish Kumar (7-0, 3) look to win the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Lightweight title as he takes on Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (29-15-2, 11), who will be having his 47th bout. Kumar will be favoured, after all he's at home, he's unbeaten and he's the younger man, though this is a massive leap up in class for him, and his competition so far has been novices and very limited fighters. Tito on the other hand is no world beater, but he can notch the odd upset, as we saw in April when he beat countryman Hebi Marapu. If Tito is hungry he could well pick up his 30th professional win here, and score 3 wins in a row for the first time since 2013!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action returns to Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for the next show from Dangan. This isn't a particularly big show but it is one worthy of some interest with a title fight headlining the event and several interesting bouts featuring debutants.
The main event will see triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) defending his WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Super Flyweight titles against the unheralded Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3), who is stepping up massively here. The heavy handed Fukunaga had a brilliant 2020, with wins over Froilan Saludar and Kenta Nakagawa, but both of those bouts were punishing wars and it's probably a good thing that he's being matched a little bit more lightly here than we've seen for his last two bouts. Fujii really is a very limited, domestic level fighter and shouldn't pose too much if a threat to the champion, but it's a huge opportunity for him, and likely to be his only fight at this level. We expect Fujii to be hungry, fight to win, but then be broken down by the heavy hands of the champion. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Fukunaga defends two titles as he takes on Fujii!
In a brilliant chief support bout we'll see Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) take on Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0), in what we believe is the third of fourth date set for this fight. Iimura really impressed in his debut, back in January and we've been desperate to see him back in action. He looked really explosive, exciting and heavy handed in that bout and oozed charisma. Kawasaki on the other hand was a very decent amateur and will come into this bout with hunger to make a statement and shine in his first pro bout. These are the type of bouts that Japan gives us regularly, and others don't. Two young, talented, good amateurs facing off early in their careers, taking a risk and knowing that they can prove how good they are without waiting years. Something w would love to see in the UK and US.
Another debutant going in rather hard here is former amateur fighter Josuke Nagata (0-0), who went 38-20 in the unpaid ranks. Whilst not a stellar record he looked the part in the unpaid ranks and we're excited to see what he's going to do in the pros. He'll be up against the relatively decent Koji Tsurumi (5-3-1, 2), who comes into this bout on the back of an excellent win over the then debut Yugo Kon in January. Although his record looks poor Tsurumi is unbeaten in his last 3 and has shown some genuine ability, with wins against Kon, Kazusa Arai and Shion Yokoyama. This might look like a gimme for Nagata, but it's not and we expect him to be given a genuine test here.