This coming Sunday is a busy day in Asia with a trio of notable cards in Asia.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
For us the most interesting of those cards is the Green Tsuda gym, that features a really nice mix of youngsters and notable names, along with the retirement ceremony of former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-8, 17).
The most notable bout on the card is an all Japan contest between rising youngster Toshiki Shimomachi (14-1-2, 10) and the hard hitting Takuya Mizuno (17-3-1, 14). The talented Shimomachi is best known for winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017, and since then has gone on to win the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title and slowly move towards a bout for a senior title. He comes into this on the back of 5 stoppage wins, including ones against Hiroki Hanabusa and Jerry Castroverde. Mizuno on the other hand is a noted puncher, but has struggled recently, losing his last 2 bouts and is without a win in the last 3 years. If Mizuno has ambition he should give Shimomachi a genuinely test here, but it's hard to know what hunger he has after being out of the ring for almost 2 year.
Shimomachi's stable mate Jinki Maeda (9-0, 4), also a former All Japan Rookie of the Year winner, will be looking to continue his winning run as he takes on hard hitting Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal (17-10-6, 10), in a really tough step up bout. The talented Maeda is a very nice boxer-puncher, who has gone under the radar with fans outside of Japan, and he'll know that he needs to step up to make a buzz on the regional scene. On paper Ramonal shouldn't be a test, but records don't fight and Ramonal has proven to be a nasty puncher and a really dangerous fighter, with notable KO's against the likes of Yusaku Kuga and Shingo Wake. If Maeda isn't careful here he could well find himself on the receiving end of a shock KO.
At Welterweight we'll see the always entertaining Aso Ishiwaki (9-5-1, 7) take on hard hitting Thai visitor Achariya Boonmoh (12-0, 11). Although not the best fighter out there Ishiwaki is a very fan friendly warrior, with an aggressive style and a real will to win. He will however need to show some real resolve here as the 21 year old Boonmoh is a nasty puncher, who has stopped his last 11 foes, in a combined 31 rounds. Notably the Thai is stepping up, massively here and hasn't faced anyone of any real note, but will feel confidence given how he has been destroying opponents so far.
Another Thai puncher on this card is Sitthisak Simsri (12-0, 12), the younger brother of Thanongsak Simsri, who will be risking his WBA ranking against the once beaten Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-1, 3). The 20 year old Simsri has never faced anyone of any note so far, but has been taking out his limited opposition in quick fashion, with his bouts lasting less than 3 rounds on average. As for Kawamitsu, he has been inactive since being stopped in 2 rounds last year by Ginjiro Shigeoka, and it's hard to know what his hunger will be like, and what his confidence will be like against someone as hard hitting as Simsri.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
The more notable of two Filipino cards comes from Metro Manila where we see a number of notable fighters in action.
The most notable bout on the card sees unbeaten hopeful Charly Suarez (11-0, 7) take on veteran Mark John Yap (30-16, 15), with Suarez looking to defend his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten Suarez was touted for big things when he turned professional, but now aged 33 he really is running out of time if he's to land a major international fight. As for Yap he was once a very good Bantamweight, and a legitimate top level regional fighter. Now a days however it's hard to know what to expected from him and he is 1-4 in his last 5 dating back 4 years. He has lost his last 3 and we don't think moving to Super Featherweight will be a good move for him here.
In a really solid match up we'll see Al Toyogon (12-6-1, 8) take on Allan Villanueva (11-2, 8), in what is a pretty even looking match up. Toyogon has lost 4 of his last 6, but they include defeats to the likes of Ryo Sagawa, Shuya Masaki and Jorge Linares, and he has notched wins in his last 2 bouts. As for Villanueva he has lost his last 2, but they have come to very solid domestic opponents. The winner of this will claim the WBF Asia Pacific Lightweight title, a very low quality title, but something that both men will be fighting hard for, given their opportunities for bigger titles will be limited.
Another WBF title fight, this time for their International Minimumweight title, will see the criminally under-rated Lito Dante (18-11-4, 10) take on Clyde Azarcon (17-4-1, 6). On paper Azarcon should be the favourite here, but the 27 year old has a very padded record, and has been stopped in the opening round of 2 of his last 4 bouts. As for Dante his record is underwhelming in terms of numbers, but he has some very solid wins including a TKO over future world title challenger Tsubasa Koura. Over 10 rounds Dante is a total nightmare, and it's hard to imagine him losing here to Azarcon.
Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines
A second Filipino card will be held in Sibonga, where we see two notable bouts.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will see once beaten fighters collide, as April Jay Abne (9-1, 5) takes on Christian Bacolod (14-1, 10). For Abne the bout will see him look to score his third win since a shock December 2021 loss to Garen Diagan, and he will feel he has the tools to deal with Bacolod. As for Bacolod he has won two in a row since a hotly contest 2019 loss to Thanongsak Simsri, though they have come at a very low level and this is a notable step back up in class for him. This has a genuine 50-50 feel and is the type of bout we really want to see more of in the Philippines.
The other notable bout on this card will see Bryan James Wild (8-0, 6) look to continue his winning run, as he takes on limited veteran Mateo Handig (15-21, 9). Wild struggled past Jason Dogelio back in May and with that in mind it's little wonder he's facing someone who has no ambition or drive to win, such as Handig here. At his best Handig was a solid Minimumweight fighter, and he holds a controversial win over Katsunari Takayama, however since then he has gone 2-16-1 and moved through the weights with a complete lack of success
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday is a solid day for Japanese fight fans in Tokyo, thanks to a Dangan and Watanabe promoted show headlined by a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, and featuring several solid match ups on the under-card.
The main event is a truly brilliant match up as the much touted Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) defends the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title against fellow unbeaten Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-0, 3). The explosive Shigeoka hasn't fought since stopping Rey Loreto at the end of 2019, and has had a really frustrating 18 months or so, needing to recover from an injury having several dates slip away. Given his long break from the ring and the issues that covid has had on his career it's hard to really know where Shigeoka is at mentally coming in to this. Kawamitsu on the other hand has really made his name in the "covid-era" of boxing with a brilliant win in 2020 over Kenshi Noda, in a truly fantastic fight, and a swift win over Kosuke Ando this past January. Those wins have helped put Kawamitsu on the map and a win here would boost him to the verges of a world title fight. This is a bout that should be explosive, high tempo, and a must watch for fans of the lower weights. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Shigeoka returns as he takes on unbeaten Kawamitsu!
The chief support bout is a genuinely brilliant one as the heavy handed Shu Utsuki (8-0, 7) takes on the skilled Ryo Nakai (2-0-1, 1) in a great 8 round Lightweight clash. The hard hitting Utsuki, who is banging on the door of a title fight, has stopped his last 6 opponents in a combined 21 rounds and looks like he's ready for a serious test after wins over the likes of Jerry Castroverde and Masashi Wakita. Although not too well known Nakai is no push over, and is instead a very talented boxer, who has rebuilt well since a draw on his debut. Although talented we do feel this is maybe a little bit too soon for Nakai, who perhaps could have done with 2 or 3 more fights before facing someone as dangerous as Utsuki.
In another interesting supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Fumiya Fuse (9-1, 1) battle against Fuya Tomita (6-2, 2). The talented Fuse, who won Rookie of the Year in 2017, will be fighting for the first time since he beat Melmark Dignos in last 2019, and with more than 18 months out it's going to be interesting to see how he looks here. Tomita on the other hand has been surprisingly busy in recent years, and has fought 3 times since since November 2020, including his win in the All Japan Rookie of the Year in February. Not only is Tomita active and in good form, but he's also a physical freak standing at close to 6 foot, despite fighting as a Bantamweight! This is going to be a very, very tough bout for Fuse.
Also on this card is the debut of 24 year old Watanabe hopeful Kyotaro Yoshida (0-0), who went 32-13 in the amateurs, who takes on the once beaten Hiroki Kinjo (5-1, 4). The talented debutant is expected to be a bright hope for the Watanabe gym and someone the gym could move quickly in the coming years. Kinjo on the other hand is 21 and debuted back in 2018, winning his first 5 before losing to the aforementioned Fuya Tomita last November. Prior to that loss Kinjo had been matched softly and this is certainly one of his toughest bouts so far.
This coming Saturday is an exciting day in Asian boxing with bouts taking place across Asia, and a promising Filipino getting a great chance to shine on US TV, just a week after we saw what John Riel Casimero can do when given an opportunity to shine.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The biggest show of the day, for us at least, comes from the Japanese Holy Land of boxing, Korakuen Hall, and will will be shown live on G+. This is a pretty deep an interesting card and will be headlined by a Japanese title fight, whilst featuring plenty of young hopefuls making up the noteworthy under-card.
The main event here will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) in a delayed Champion Carnival bout. Matsunaga won the belt last year, stopping Nobuyuki Shindo, and successfully defended it with a win over Koki Koshikawa, in what was a short but thrilling little bout. As for Shimizu he comes into this bout on the back of noteworthy wins over Charles Bellamy and the aforementioned Shindo. Coming into this we expect a really interesting match up, with the champion giving up notable size to the challenger, and but having the power and work rate to neutralise the size difference. Given the styles of the two men we are expecting a genuine tear up here. Our full preview of this one can be read here Matsunaga faces mandatory challenger Shimizu!
In the chief support bout former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (18-4-1, 8) will take on Kiyohei Endo (3-3, 3). We all saw Takahashi have his limitations exposed in 2019, when he was stopped by TJ Doheny, but since then he has resumed his career at a lower level and picked up two low key wins as he looks to build towards another fight of note. When he turned profession there was real expectations on Endo but he has shown poor durability, and very unpredictable form. Another loss for Endo here could end up spelling the end of his career.
In a mouth watering battle between unbeaten 25 year old Kenshi Noda (2-0, 2) will face off with Toshiki Kawamitsu (4-0, 1). As an amateur Noda went 45-16 (10) and is regarded as one of the more promising young fighters at the Teiken Gym, who have signed a lot of talented youngster in recent years. Since beginning his career Noda has looked sharp, aggressive and like the type of fighter who can be fast tracked. Although Noda was a very solid amateur Kawamitsu was a pretty decent one himself, going 35-15 in his amateur career. Kawamitsu has looked a lot more limited than Noda since turning professional, but has racked up rounds, and has 18 of them compared to Noda's 2. Of the two Kawamitsu has faced stiffer competition, got more rounds and shown more as a professional, though is likely to still be the under-dog here.
Another notable prospect on this show is Shigetoshi Kotari (1-0, 1), who notched an impressive 50-23 record in the amateurs. Kotari is tipped for very big things and looked decent in his debut, a year ago. Sadly Kotari has failed to build on his debut, in part due to what has gone on in the world in 2020, and looks to be easing himself back into the ring with a bout against 33 domestic fighter Motosuke Kimura (3-4-2, 1). Whilst Kimura has never been stopped he has lost his last 3 and with that in mind it's hard to see this being anything but an easy one for the talented Kotari.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
As well as the Japanese show there is also a pretty notable one in Thailand, thanks to Nakornluang and Work Point.
The main event here will see former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41) taking part in a stay busy bout as he faces Filipino foe Jomar Fajardo (17-17-2, 9). This will be Srisaket's first bout since he disappointing performance against Amnat Ruenroeng earlier in the year and it's clear that his team will be looking to keep him busy and prevent ring rust before a potentially huge fight in 2021. Fajardo was once a good test down at Light Flyweight, but he's been picking up a lot of losses recently and we expect him to be taken out early on by Srisaket here.
In a solid supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Thai hopeful Apichet Petchmanee (6-0, 2) [อภิเชษฐ เพชรมณี] defending the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Thai based Russian challenger Musheg Adoian (7-1, 7). The unbeaten Apichet has faced some stiff tests since tunring professional, but recent bouts have seen some question his potential, and there does seem to have been some worries in Thailand that he's not as good as he first looked. In Adoian we have a man who's on a 7 fight T/KO run, but is stepping up massively here. Despite stepping up Adoian looks destructive and he could ask questions of Apichet and his chin.
100-day yuan shopping mall, Zhuzhou, China
At the wonderfully named 100-day yuan shopping mall we'll be getting a small Chinese card. The bouts here are, on paper, nothing to get too excited about, but there is an interesting hopeful in one of the 6 rounders.
That interesting hopeful is the once beaten Dacong Wang (6-1-1, 1), who is seeking a 6th straight win as he takes on the debuting Hairula Maimaitiaili (0-0). Wang was 1-1-1 after 3 bouts but has scored 5 wins in a row, including one in Korea against Do Hyuk Kim, and will be hoping to continue building his momentum here. Unfortunately not much is known about Maimaitiaili, though it is reported that he is 20 years old, and will be hoping to kick his career off with a win.
Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, USA
Outside of Asia we have some of our attention on the US with unbeaten Filipino Mark Magsayo (20-0, 14) taking on Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-2-1, 8) in a 10 round bout. Magsayo is one of the most highly regarded hopefuls in the Philippines and fingers crossed we see him shine now he's linked up with MP Promotions and PBC. We had hoped to see him face Jose Haro in September but that date slipped, before Haro decided to retire. As a replacement Hermosillo is a poor one, and comes into this with back to back losses. We really don't see this as being much more than a showcase for the talented Filipino.