For those who want a late Christmas present, we have one of those for you this coming Saturday as Japan put on two shows and China also put on a show. One of those Japanese shows is a mouth watering card from Tokyo, which is set to be streamed live on the A-Sign YouTube channel whilst the second, from Aichi, will be shown on delay on Boxing Raise.
Christmas might be over, but the gifts keep coming!
Sumida City Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
The more significant of the two shows is the Tokyo one, and it's a genuinely stacked domestic card that should give us a big of everything. The main event should be a fairly technical contest, the opening bouts should be competitive under-card bouts, and we get at least one, if not two, shoot outs on a genuinely fantastic show.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) take on current OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3). Mishiro won't be risking his title here, in a 10 round bout at Lightweight, but the winner will certainly see their standing improve, and we could end up seeing the winner being just a fight or two away from a potential world title fight. Ito is, of course, the more well known fighter and the more established but he has only fought once since losing the WBO title to Jamel Herring in May 2019, and since then he has had a bout cancelled and has had surgery. Mishiro on the other hand is bit of advanced novice, who has been fast tracked to an OPBF title and already has several wins of note to his name, and other here would really boost his standing in the sport. We expect this to be a tactical early on, but will, sooner or later, descend into more of an exciting back and forth war.
Talking about wars we are really exciting about the Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title bout on this show, between Jin Sasaki (9-0, 8) and Aso Ishiwaki (8-2-1, 6), and this really should be a war. The hard hitting Sasaki has been creating a buzz with quick knockout and early wins, including a trio of success opening rounds wins, but Ishiwaki is the more proven man and a tough warrior. The 19 year old Sasaki really is a brutal boxer-puncher, and he's been swiping opponents aside with ease but has faced little in terms of competitive opposition. Ishiwaki has faced the much better competition, and has done so without much fuss, whilst creating a bit of an international following with his heart, energy, toughness and physical strength. This could be incredibly brutal war, and we do not expect it to go the scheduled 8 rounds. Our full preview of this one can be read here Sasaki and Ishiwaki clash for Youth Honours in potential Christmas Cracker!
On the subject of bouts not going the distance we don't imagine the 8 rounder between Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) and Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6) will see the final bell either. The hard hitting Kai Chiba was one looked at as a future regional champion, but a 2018 loss to Brian Lobetania, in a major upset, slowed his rise and he has only really began to rediscover his form in recent bouts, have now scored 5 straight wins. Ishikawa on the other hand is an explosive, heavy handed and wild fighter who comes into the ring with a war monger attitude and may well be too aggressive for Chiba to cope with. Interestingly this bout was delayed from earlier in the year following a positive Covid19 test for Ishikawa.
Former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (35-2-2, 23) looks to extend his current winning streak as he takes on youngster Yuto Nakamura (11-5-1, 8). The 34 year old Akaho has won his last 9 in a row though it does seem unlikely that he will land a third shot at a world title, following losses to Yota Sato and Pungluang Sor Singyu. At just 23 years old this is a great chance to Nakamura to show what he can do at a higher level following a short reign as the JBC Youth Super Flyweight champion. Sadly however it's hard to Imagine Nakamura coping with the power and strength of Akaho at Super Bantamweight.
One other bout worthy of attention is the second bout in Japan of "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (24-11-2, 13), who made his name in Mexico and the US. The exciting and rugged Sakai will be up against Takeru Kobata (8-4-1, 3). This really should serve as little more than a showcase for Sakai who should be too good, too strong and too powerful. Despite being the under-dog Kobata has some momentum coming into this, on the back of a solid win over Change Hamashima back in February. Even with that in mind it would still be a huge ask for him to be competitive with Sakai here.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
The other show, the one from Aichi, is easier to over-look but does promise a very exciting main event between one of the biggest punchers at 108lbs and, strangely, just a single supporting bout.
The main event will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (11-3, 11) making his first defense of the belt as he takes on veteran Toshimasa Ouchi (22-9-3, 8). The hard hitting Yabuki moved down to Light Flyweight last year, stopping Rikito Shiba in 4 rounds and then blasting out Tsuyoshi Sato inside a round this past July to claim the title. Originally he had made his mark at Flyweight, losing in the 2016 Rookie of the Year final to Junto Nakatani, but looks much more suited to the 108lb limit and could find himself fighting for a world title in 2021. Ouchi on the other hand is a 35 year old, potentially getting his last notable fight. Although no world beater Ouchi has shared the ring with some notable names, including going 12 rounds with Kenshiro Teraji in 2016, and facing Kenichi Horikawa, shin Ono and Ryoichi Taguchi earlier in his career. Ouchi is tough, but we do wonder what his 35 year old body will do when it's caught by the power of Yabuki. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Yabuki faces first challenger as he takes on Ouchi
The only under-card bout scheduled for this show will see Teru Nobita (5-3-1, 2) face John Yano (5-6, 2). Nobita went through a run where he won 1 in 5, going 1-3-1, but did win last time out and will look to build on the momentum that December 2019 win over Kenshin Megumi. Yano on the other hand is a Japanese based Filipino who has stopped 2 of his last 3 and will be looking to show that power against Nobita. Potentially a much better bout than it looks on paper.
TSSG Center, Qingdao, China
As well as the action in Japan we also get a show from China, which is set to be one of their best of 2020.
In a bout at 154lbs we'll see Tonghui Li (12-2, 6) take on Dacong Wang (7-1-1, 1) in a bout for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental title. This will be Li's third bout since a loss to Jung Kyoung Lee, and at 30 years old it really is now or never for him to move his career forward. For Wang this is a massive step up in weight, but he has momentum on his side and is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run, and a 6 fight winning run. On paper this looks interesting, though we suspect Li's power and higher level experience will prove to be the difference.
The second bout of note will be an IBO International Lightweight title bout, pitting the unbeaten Ju Wu (9-0-2) against Xiao Tao Su (11-1, 6), with Wu looking to defend his minor IBO title for the first time. The talented Wu is the more skilled man and the naturally bigger fighter, but we do wonder how he will cope with Su's power, which has seen him score stoppages in his last 3.
The big show of the day this Saturday is in the Philippines, where we see a top prospect take on a former world champion and several under-card bouts worthy of some attention.
The main bout will see the unbeaten Mark Magsayo (19-0, 14) battle against former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-6, 35) in a bout for a couple of minor regional titles. For Magsayo this will be his second bout since a 2017 in over Shota Hayashi, in what was a really tough bout, whilst Pungluang will be looking to build on a recent win over Carlo Magali. Despite the two men having very, very, different careers it's worth noting that only 5 years separate these two men, yet their debuts were almost 9 years difference between their debuts. Pungluang is a true veteran, and will be here to win, but Magsayo will be favoured and has long been regarded as a special talent.
In an excellent GAB Bantamweight title fight we'll see Giovanni Escaner (19-4, 12) take on Renoel Pael (23-9-1, 12), with both looking to rebuild following a loss on foreign soil. Escaner was beaten in February by Joshua Greer Jr in the US, though had given a really decent account of himself before the stoppage. Pael on the other hand was taken to school in Japan by Ryusei Kawaura May, suffering his 5th loss on the road. With the GAB title up for grabs and a chance to get some momentum in to their career, we're expecting this to be a very hotly contested match up.
Another supporting bout of interest will see Filipino Roldan Aldea (14-7-1, 8) go up against Malaysian based Uzbek Anvar Turapov (5-1, 4). Coming in to this Aldea is riding a huge boost following his big upset win in Russia against Mikhail Alexeev whilst Turapov has notched 5 straight wins following a loss on debut. Given Aldea's recent win this could be interesting.
For a second day in a row we get action from Qingdao, and this is potentially just heavily stacked in favour of the locals as the other card.
The main event will see Ainiwaer Yilixiati (15-1, 11) drop down to Middleweight to take on Japanese Light Middleweight contender Ryosuke Maruki (16-6-1, 11) in a bout for two regional Middleweight titles. The hard nosed Chinese puncher suffered his only loss 3 years ago, when he was beaten in Australia by Jayde Mitchell, and has since reeled off 5 straight wins. Maruki on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, including a blow out loss to Akinori Watanabe a year ago and this will be a very tough bout for him in what will be his international debut.
Another bout on this card will see Tonghui Li (11-2, 5) take on Tanzania's Maono Ally (9-4-1, 5). Li lost in August 2018, to Jung Kyoung Lee, and had bounced back with a win over Arnel Tinampay last September but has been inactive since that win. Ally has lost in 3 of his 4 bouts outside of Tanzania, and was beaten last time out by Oliver Meng. Ally may not be the best fighter but we do love his nickname "The Monster of Bagamoyo".
One local who is looking to bounce back from a couple of recent set backs is Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-3, 9), who has been beaten twice on the road recently and needs a confidence building victory. He will be up against Tanzanian veteran Said Mbelwa (47-29-5-2, 31), who at the age of 41 really is on the back end of his career. Given Nuerlang's recent losses we can't hold this bout against him, and expect him to rebuild some of his broken confidence here.
Macao S.A.R., China
Staying around China, Macau hosts a small card, which on the whole isn't too interesting, though local hopeful Lap Cheong Cheong (6-0, 4) is in the headline bout, as he takes on Yu Fen Wu (0-0). Cheong isn't a big name but he is an incredibly fun to watch youngster. Aged 22 he looks like he might be the face of Macao boxing over the coming years, sadly though this is a clear step backwards for him to take on a debutant at this point in time.
Pocheon, South Korea
Staying in Asia there's also a low key card in Pocheon, though this really is a card that won't get much attention.
The main bout here is a 6 round Middleweight clash that will see Seung Hee Lee (3-5, 1) take on Hyo Joon Jang (1-1-1). Given this is the main event you can understand how low level this show really is.
Technically this show is a KBM 4 round parade show, and should be fun to watch, as they usually are, but it's very to talk about before hand as it's a card of novices and debutants, with not stand out bout on it.
In Victoria, Australian fans will see one of their unbeaten hopefuls go up against a former world title challenger.
The former world title challenger is Filipino fighter Ernesto Saulong (22-4-2, 9), who challenged the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa in 2018, and will now be taking on Australian youngster Brock Jarvis (16-0, 15). Since then however he has gone 1-1-1, including a huge KO loss to Waldo Sabu in July 2017. Jarvis is a really talented, hard hitting 21 year old prospect, but needs to step up his competition, and on paper this is a very good step up. A win for Jarvis is expected, but we expect to see him given something of a test after 15 straight wins in the first 3 rounds.