Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The most notable of the action this coming Friday comes from Vietnam, where we see the once touted Van Thao Tran (14-1, 9) face off with under-rated Filipino Prince Andrew Laurio (12-3-1, 0) in a bout for the IBA Bantamweight title. Tran, who has bounced back well from a 2019 loss to Billy Dib, is still the best male hope in Vietnam, but sadly at the age of 30 time does seem to be running out on his career, and he needs to begin to climb through the rankings soon if he's going to land a major international fight. Laurio is a talented 23 year old, but we do need to wonder what his ambition and hunger is like, following a trio of losses across 2018 and 2019, including an opening round loss to countryman Joy Joy Formentera. We also need to wonder if Laurio can take a shot at Bantamweight, given he was stopped at Flyweight and Super Flyweight.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we get a show that is all 4 rounders, which are typically really fun shows. The event, from Flash Akabane, will feature 11 bouts in total, including 3 all debutant bouts and 9 debutants in total.
Whilst we won't talk about any bout in detail, we are interested in a Bantamweight bout between Hoshito Uchino (0-0) and Kakeru Kobayashi (0-0), which is notable as Kobayashi is just 17 years old. Another couple of youngsters are Hibiki Kikuchi (0-0) and Masahiko Ohashi (0-0), who will be clashing in another Bantamweight bout, with both of these men being 20 years old.
AF Boxing Playground, Dhaka, Bangladesh
We also get a small card in Bangladesh. Most of the bouts on this show are 4 rounders, but the main event is an 8 rounds as Joynul Islam (3-2-2, 2) takes on Moksadul Rana (3-2-1, 1) in a Welterweight bout. Islam is 30 years old and comes into this on the back of 3 wins, after failing to win any of his first 4. Rana on the other hand is 19 and has had very inconsistent form, which we expect to continue here.
A more interesting looking bout will see unbeaten men collide over 6 rounds, as Abdul Mottalib (3-0, 2) takes on Sukhdarshan Singh (1-0). Mottalib is 25 years old who debuted in February, with a win over the aforementioned Rana. Singh on the other hand is 21 and began his career in July with a win, but is stepping up from that bout.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The first show in Vietnam for the new year will be one originally scheduled for mid-December, though it seems like most things last year things didn't go as hoped.
The main event will see once beaten Vietnamese fighter Van Thao Tran (13-1, 8) take on unbeaten Thai puncher Boonrueang Phayom (9-0, 9) in what looks set to be a really interesting match up. Tran was tipped for big things, following a solid amateur career, but inactivity and a loss in 2019 to Billy Dib has cost his career and he's really not reached the level that many had hoped he would. Aged 22 Boonrueang is one of the more interesting Thai prospects, and a genuine puncher, but someone who has fought at a very, very low level. For Boonrueang this is a massive step up in class, and his first fight bout outside of Thailand, but a win here would help set him up for some interesting bouts later in the year.
Interestingly this show will also feature a Super Middleweight bout, as Van Hieu Pham (1-0) takes on Vietnamese based Irishman Sean Anthony Duffy (0-0) in a 4 rounder. We're not expecting to see many bouts in Vietnam at 168lbs so this is certainly worthy of some attention.
This coming Sunday is a big day in Japan, with 4 different shows, including a title bout in Osaka, several bouts with prospects and the East Japan Rookie of the Year final.
Sumiyoshi Ward Center, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The show with the most important single bout takes place in Osaka, where we see several rising stars of Japanese boxing in action.
The main bout of the show will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Nishida (4-0, 1) defending the title he won from Daigo Higa earlier this year. The talented, and really promising, Nishida will be up against fellow Japanese fighter Tetsuro Ohashi (8-2-1, 2), who is best known as a solid and promising young Super Flyweight. Ohashi is a very solid fighter, but this is a big step up for him, and he is very much like a smaller, less polished version of Nishida. As for the champion this is a solid first defense, even if it is a step down from his last two bouts, which saw him beating Shohei Omori and Daigo Higa. Unlike those bouts this will see Nishida up against a fellow boxer, as opposed to a fighter or puncher, and we could see him needing to answer some different questions here. Our preview of this one can be read here Nishida takes on Ohashi in first WBO Asia Pacific title defense
In a major supporting bout we'll see former Japanese title challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-1, 2) look to bounce back from his loss to Kazuto Takesako as he takes on the unbeaten Kazuki Kyohara (5-0-2, 3). On paper this looks a really even match up but in reality Kunimoto is the more proven and the more polished, and a very solid former amateur. Kyohara will know a win opens the door for a title fight of his in 2022, but he's meant to be little more than a game "opponent" here.
On the subject of good former amateurs we'll also see Kaito Yamasaki (1-0) fight in his second professional bout, as he takes on the experienced Takahiro Hamazaki (3-7-2, 1). Yamasaki was a very talented amateur and he looked like he could go a long, long way on his debut, but does have some questions to answer, including some about how he'll adapt to the professional ranks, and how his power will hold up. Hamazaki on the other hand is there to play the role of a veteran, and we suspect the 35 year old will ask some questions on route to a wide decision loss.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Tokyo we get two shows, the most notable of which is set to take place at Korakuen Hall. The reason is so notable is because it's the East Japan Rookie of the Year Final, and is a platform for future stars. In total there is 12 bouts set for this card, with bouts taking place from 105lbs all the way up to Middleweight, with the exception of 154lbs which isn't competed in as part of the Rookie of the Year.
One of the most interesting match ups for this show is at Bantamweight, as Hiroto Sato (3-0-1) takes on Shori Umezu (5-0, 5) in a battle of unbeaten youngsters. Sato, aged 21, only debuted in July but has managed to squeeze 4 fights in already this year, prior to this one. Sadly he did fight to a draw on debut, has shown a lack of power, which could be a major issue here. Umezu, himself only 23, made his debut in August 2020, and has taken out his first 5 opponents in a combined 8 rounds. He has never seen round 3, and has really heavy hands. He'll be looking to show what his power can do here.
Another interesting bout between two unbeaten fighters will see Ryuya Kusamura (2-0, 2) take on Minori Okamura (2-0, 1), with this bout being the Middleweight bout, and for those not aware Japanese Rookie of the Year Middleweight bouts tend to be among the most entertaining as it's usually two big, somewhat unpolished, guys landing a lot of leather on each other. Interesting both these men debuted in September, both had their second pro bout in November and will be having this bout just 3 and a half months after their debuts. Kusamura is the taller man, and the harder hitter, and has looked really fun to watch in his first two bouts. Okamura on the other hand has had attention on him, with his debut coming against Eigoro Akai, the son of a popular former fighter, and he has gone 4 rounds, which he did last time out. This should be a very, very fun 4 rounder.
Arena Tachikawa Tachihi , Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
Staying in Tokyo, there is a small, but notable card in Tachikawa city. The card is certainly not a huge one but it does have a very solid main event, as JBC ranked Lightweight Shinnosuke Saito (8-4, 2) takes on Mirai Naito (8-3, 3). Coming in Saito is going to be the favourite, and he certainly is the more prove fighter, though Naito will be wanting to prove himself, especially with this bout coming less than a week after his brother's upset loss to Koichi Aso. Saito did lose last time out, with that loss ending a 5 fight winning run, but he'll be hungry to get back to winning ways here.
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
We'll also be getting rookies in action in Kariya as we get a show featuring only 4 rounders. Sadly it's always hard to get too excited about these shows, due to the lack of name value, but the 4 rounder format does tend to deliver some amazing action as two flawed novices put it all on the line. Despite the lack of notable names, we do like the look of these shows and this should be fun.
If pushed for a bout to make a note of, it's worth noting the nominal main event of the show will be a bout between Kenta Sugawara (2-2-1, 1) and Yuya Nakazato (5-12, 5), who is the most experienced man on the card, by far.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Over in Vietnam we're going to be seeing once beaten Vietnamese fighter Van Thao Tran (13-1, 8) take on unbeaten Thai puncher Boonrueang Phayom (9-0, 9) in what looks set to be a really interesting match up. Tran was tipped for big things, following a solid amateur career, but inactivity and a loss in 2019 to Billy Dib has cost his career and he's really not reached the level that many had hoped he would. Aged 22 Boonrueang is one of the more interesting Thai prospects, and a genuine puncher, but someone who has fought at a very, very low level. For Boonrueang this is a massive step up in class, and his first fight bout outside of Thailand, but a win here would help set him up for a very interesting 2022.
This coming Sunday isn't a big day for Asian boxing but there are a few shows taking place with some action on them.
Jekpe-Jek Arena, Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan
The most notable card of the day is in Kazakhstan where we see some notable unbeaten fighters look to step up and show what they can do.
One of those unbeaten fighters is 22 year old Heavyweight hopeful Danila Semenov (3-0, 2), who looks to score his second win of the year as he takes on the experienced Vikapita Meroro (30-10, 15), from Namibia. Semenov has looked good since beginning his professional career, and it is hard to criticise him and his team for this match up, but Meroro is a 36 year old who is 2-6 in his last 8 and has been stopped 5 times in those 6 losses. Semenov should pick up the win, with out any problems, but we would like to see him in with better opponents than this sooner rather than later.
Another touted youngster on this card is 21 year old Yevgeniy Pavlov (4-0, 3), who is stepping up in impressive fashion to take on the once beaten Isaac Sackey (25-1-1, 20) in a bout for the WBA International Super Bantamweight title. Pavlov was a stellar amateur and the way his team are moving him is really impressive. He appears to have the talent to go a long way and we don't imagine Sackey will be much of a test, despite his impressive looking record. Sackey, from Ghana, will be fighting away from home for the first time, and it's always interesting to see how fighters look when they away from home. Sadly we don't imagine Sackey is going to travel well.
A genuinely interesting match up at Super Middleweight will see 23 year old Kazakh hopeful Bek Nurmaganbet (4-0, 2) take on former Ryota Murata opponent Bruno Sandoval (21-4-1, 17) in a bout for the WBA International title at 168lbs. Nurmaganbet was regarded as one of the best Kazakh amateurs a few ago and turned professional to a lot of fanfare, but hasn't yet really shown what he can do, something we expect to see change here as he takes a big step up in class. Sandoval is a decent fighter, but he is 3-3 in his last 6 with all 3 of those losses coming by stoppage, including one to Murata in 2016 one to Louis Toutin in 2019. The Kazakh should win here, but it's nice to see him in with someone who has faced some notable fighters and has some ambition of his own.
The main event is a brilliant Super Middleweight bout as unbeaten Kazakh Aidos Yerbossynuly (15-0, 10) takes on Lennox Allen (22-1-1, 14), who was last seen losing to Cuban sensation David Morrell just over a year ago. Yerbossynuly was supposed to get a world title eliminator earlier this year, before a case of Covid19 forced him to cancel those plans, and he's been out of he ring for a while now. Rather than having an easy stay busy he's in there with a solid fighter in Lennox, though Lennox will, clearly, be the under-dog. This should be a genuine test for the Kazakh, but he needs to begin kicking on sooner rather than later, especially given how he pulled out of the aforementioned eliminator.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Over in Dubai we have a really interesting card, but that one really doesn't make too much sense. It's a card that features some notable non Asian names, such as Diego Gabriel Chaves. It's a card that really does look like it's been thrown together at random and has got some strange match ups as a result.
The strangest of the match ups on the show will see once touted American Light Middleweight Glen Tapia (23-5, 15) take on Thailand's Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-8, 22), who was at his best down at 135lbs and 140lbs. Saddam was once regarded as a promising fighter bus has gone 2-6 in his last 8 and is not a natural fighter at Welterweight, never mind Middleweight, where this bout will be. This should be a very, very easy win for Tapia.
Another odd looking bout is a clash between Filipino puncher KJ Natuplag (8-3, 7) and Colombian fighter Argel Berrio (18-8, 11). On paper this one doesn't look too odd, but Berio is moving up from Bantamweight to Featherweight for the contest. We expect this one will be exciting, and a bit of a shoot out, but Natuplag should be too big, too strong and too powerful for Berrio.
Thankfully there is an all Asian bout on the card that really does actually have something going for it, and that's a bout between Sachin Dekwal (10-0, 6) and Muhammad Bilal (9-1-1, 7), in what looks pretty much like a 50-50 style bout for the WBA Asia Lightweight title. The unbeaten Dekwal has impressed in his homeland of India, and he'll know this is a chance to really build his name, but is also stepping up, massively here to take on a man who wants to beat him, and not just make up the numbers. Bilal, from Pakistan, was beaten last time out, at the end of 2020, but feel confident he has the power to hurt his foe. Given the issues between India and Pakistan we can imagine tensions running high here, and this could be a very intriguing match up.
Arena, Beppu, Oita, Japan
In Japan we get a very low key card in Oita. The card is mostly 4 rounders, in fact 3 of the 4 bouts on the show are set for the short distance. The one bout that is scheduled for a little bit longer is the main event, which is an 8 rounder between Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Takeru Kobata (10-5-1, 4), who won the title in March when he stopped Rikuto Adachi, and 33 year old Fumisuke Kimura (9-7-1, 6). Whilst this is certainly not a great bout, especially given that Kimura has lost his last 3 and hasn't scored a win since April 2019, it is good to see Kobata staying busy and this is his 4th bout since December 2020 and it's great to see a Japanese youngster being active during this current situation, which has slowed the progress of so many young fighters.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In Vietnam we'll see the once touted Van Thao Tran (13-1, 8) look to defend his very, very, lightly regarded IBA title as he takes on Fadhili Majiha (27-14-4, 13), from Tanzania. The talented Tran was expected to be the real star of Vietnamese boxing, but the last few years has seen his career stall with inactivity, bouts falling through and a loss in 2019 to Billy Dib. We would love to see Tran being tested, but Majiha is not going to be a test here. The man from Tanzania has lost consistently when fighting away from home, and it's almost unthinkable for him to pick up a win in Vietnam here.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge one for Asian boxing, but we so have plenty of hopefuls in action.
The biggest name in action is the hotly tipped Uzbek standout Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4), who takes on former world title challenger Charlie Navarro (29-9, 22). This bout, a world title eliminator with the WBA, is a good step forward for Madrimov on paper, but should be little more than another showcase when the two men actually get into the ring. As we all already know Madrimov is a very special talent and a win here should set him up for a world title fight later in the year. Navarro, despite being 40 years old, is no push over and could ask some questions of Madrimov by relying on his experience and power.
Over in Asia we'll have a show in Cambodia of all places, where we'll see several fighters of note in action.
In the main event Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (21-5, 12) will take on Filipino fighter Orlie Silvestre (15-5-2, 8) in a bout for a WBO regional title. Although Nazarov has 5 losses to his name he has won his last 8 and appears to be "coming good" as experience and time has allowed him to develop, and score wins over the likes of Ivan Soriano and Kongfah Nakornluang. Silvestre is a decent fighter, but is very much the smaller man and we suspect he'll struggle here, given he's a small Light Flyweight, and Nazarov is a big Flyweight.
In another title bout we'll see Vietnamese fighter Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (3-0, 1) battle against Thai foe Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (7-4, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. The unbeaten 23 year old Nguyen is stepping up massively here, but a win would put her in the mix for a world title bout. Aged 21 Kanyarat has previously fought at world level, where she was stopped by Etsuko Tada in a world title eliminator, and has lost 2 of her last 3. We see the unbeaten Vietnamese fighter picking up the win here.
Another Uzbek Vs Philippines bout on this show will see Abdurasul Ismoilov (7-1, 4) take on veteran Adones Aguelo (33-20-2, 23). On paper this looks like another step forward for Ismoilov, who looks to continue to rebuild following a surprise 2019 loss to Hwang Kil Kim, but Aguelo, on his day, can be a banana skin. Aguelo is tough, rugged, his hard and can pick up upsets, as he did last year against Eden Sonsona and did a few years ago against Jerry Nardo. Aguelo will be the under-dog, but he has got the ability to ask real questions of Ismoilov.
Another fighter of note on this card is Vietnamese fighter Van Thao Tran (12-1 8), who looks to rebuild from a loss to Billy Dib. The talented Tran will be strongly favoured here as he takes on Filipino journeyman Aries Buenavidez (13-4, 7), who was stopped in November by Petch Sor Chitpattana. Tran may have disappointed against Dib, but we suspect he will be too big and too good for Buenavidez here.
This coming Saturday is a genuinely crazy day of action, with a host
London, United Kingdom
The biggest bout for Asian boxing, on a truly hectic day, comes from the Copper Box in London and will see rising local star Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12) take on Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13), in what is likely to be a bit of a mismatch. Dubois is considered by many as one of the future stars of the Middleweight division and is likely going to be took quick, too strong and too powerful for Kyotaro. The Japanese fighter managed to have notable success on the domestic and regional title scene but this is a huge step up in class.
Staying in the Western world Miami plays host to Filipino hopeful Mike Plania (22-1, 12), who takes on Giovanni Gutierrez (9-0, 6) in a bout for the IBF North American Super Bantamweight title. Although not very well known Plania is a real talent and there is genuine potential for him to make a mark in the coming years. On paper Gutierrez has the better wins, but the Nicaraguan hasn't done anything to prove he's better than Plania, making this very much a 50-50 contest in our eyes, and one of the more under-rated bout of the day.
New South Wales, Australia
Staying on the theme of international action it's worth noting that two Asian fighters will be in action "down under".
One of those is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (12-0, 8), who risks his unbeaten record against former world champion Billy Dib (45-6-0-2, 26). This will be Dib's first bout since being stopped in July by Amir Khan, when he moved up to Welterweight on short notice. Although once a world champion Dib has looked a shadow of himself recently and it's hard to see what the 34 year old really has left in the tank. The 27 year old Thao is stepping up massively, and is certainly under pressure as he'll knows a win here would be the biggest win ever by a Vietnamese boxer. The big question is whether Tran has got Dib at the right time or not? If he has this will be a huge win for Tran, and Vietnam.
The other Asian on this card is Indonesian Rivo Kundimang (9-0-2, 5), who looks to make a swift return to the ring following his technical draw with Kunta Lee from early November. The 22 year old Southpaw will be up against fellow unbeaten Daniel Lewis (5-0, 3) in what looks a really interesting match up. It's hard to read much into this, but we do love seeing unbeaten fighters taking risks and that's what they are doing here.
One of the final big cards of the pre-Christmas period is in Russia, where we'll see a number of really interesting match ups, including several bouts with Asian fighters.
The most interesting of the bouts with Asian fighters will see the unbeaten Aidos Yerbossynuly (12-0, 8), from Kazakhstan, take on Ghanaian veteran Obodai Sai (35-3, 26). The talented Yerbossynuly will be seeking his third win of the year here, and is looking to build on a solid win over Rocky Jerkic last time out. As for Sai, this will be his first bout of the year and it's hard to know what the 32 year old has left in the tank.
Lower down the card we'll see the debut of Uzbek Odiljon Aslonov (0-0) and the return to the pros of former amateur standout Rustam Tulaganov (1-0), who hasn't fought as a pro since 2017. At the time of writing it's unclear who either man will be facing off against, though men will likely be matched softly.
A second Russian card will take place in Kanevskaya and will feature unbeaten Russian born Azeri Roman Zakirov (6-0, 4), who is looking for his 5th win of the year. The unbeaten 23 year old is up against South African foe Gift Bholo (8-9, 4), in what should be an easy win for Zakirov.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most notable of three scheduled Filipino shows comes from Metro Manila, where we see a number of notable names in action.
The main event will see Al Toyogon (10-5-1, 6) look to bounce back from successive losses to Ryo Sagawa, Shuya Masaki and Jorge Linares as he takes on Carlo Magali (24-13-3, 13), in a bout for the GAB Super Featherweight title. Although Toyogon is on a bad run he has shown that he's tough, he comes to fight and really won't be discouraged easily. Magali is no world beater but tends to be a rugged and tough guy who comes to fight. With that in mind this could be a very good 12 round battle.
On the supporting card we'll see 2-time world title challenger Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21) take on Renz Rosia (15-9-1, 8). The heavy handed Palicte will be looking to bounce back from his TKO loss to Kazuto Ioka back in June and will be favoured, though Rosia can play the role of spoiler when he's on form, so Palicte really shouldn't over-look him.
This card will also feature one of our favourite Filipino prospects, Carl Jammes Martin (14-0, 13), who looks to notch his 4th win of the year. The all action Martin will be up against Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-8-1, 4), who has lost his last 3. This could be a very quick win for Martin, who will be expecting to face better competition in 2020.
A second Filipino card will take place in Cebu, and will be a family affair for the Saludar family.
The main event will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-4, 10) take on Filipino journeyman Mike Kinaadman (7-12-2, 5), in a bout for the ABF Minimumweight title. This should be a very easy win for Saludar, who is looking to get back to winning ways after losing the WBO world title to Wilfredo Mendez back in August.
Vic's brothers Jakeson Saludar (4-0, 4) and Van June Saludar (5-2-2, 3) will also be on the card. On paper neither man is in an easy one here, and we wouldn't be surprised to see at least one of the brothers being tested, if not slipping up and losing.
One other fighter of note on this card is former female world title challenger Casey Morton (8-2-3, 1), who will be taking on Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (8-17, 2).
A third Filipino card will be taking place in Cavite. This is a much, much smaller card than the other two and the most notable name in action here is former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Ronald Pontillas (18-8-3, 9), who takes on Edsil Jungco (3-14, 7) in a 6 rounder.
Bang Phun, Thailand
Another Asian country with some actual action this Saturday is Thailand, as Work Point give us the last WP Boxing of the year. On paper this is one of the more interesting ones, but also one that lacks in terms of name value.
In an interesting 10 rounder Apichet Petchmanee (5-0, 2) will face off with unbeaten Indonesian Ari Agustian (8-0, 8). The 30 year old Thai was touted highly going in to the year, but hasn't really progressed as expected in 2019 and has instead looked rather human. Agustian looked like a potential break out star for Indonesia last year, after his big win over Baolin Kang, but has struggled to build on it. Here we see two men each looking to go into the new year with some momentum and a win here will give their career a big shot in the arm.
In a second notable bout on this card we'll see 22 year old Thai puncher Thattana Luangphon (8-0-1, 8) take on Japanese visitor Daichi Matsuura (7-4-2, 3), with the local looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. Thattana, also known as Chainoi Worawut, has looked like a star of the WP Boxing series, and will be looking for his 6th win of the year. As for Matsuura he'll be looking for his second win since being taken out in a round by Juiki Tatsuyoshi.
The main show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo, where we get the East Japan Rookie of the Year Finals, with 12 bouts scheduled for the show. The winners here will move on to December's All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where they will face the West Japan representatives. We won't go through all 12 bouts, but we have got 4 bouts that do really interest us.
At Lightweight we'll see Shinnosuke Saito (5-3, 2) take on the unbeaten Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6). Saito has has twice been beaten in previous Rookie of the Year events, losing to Zirolian Riku in 2017 and George Tachibana in 2018, and will be hoping it's third time lucky. Sasaki on the other hand only made his debut in August 2018, and the 18 year old has been really active and really impressive. His competition hasn't been great though he looked fantastic in his East Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final in September, when he stopped Tetsuya Kondo. It's hard to see Sasaki losing, but this should be his best test so far.
At Featherweight we'll see the unbeaten Daiki Imanari (5-0, 3) take on Kyonosuke Kameda (4-1-1, 3). The unbeaten Imanari made his debut in October 2018 and has notched 4 wins this year as he's marched his way to. Aged 22 and fighting out of the southpaw stance Imanari has been impressive and booked his place in the final with an opening round TKO win against Azumah Tanaka. The once beaten Kameda, the cousin of the Kameda fighting brothers, is a huge Featherweight, at 6'0" and although he's not unbeaten he has improved drastically since being stopped on his debut at the very start of January 2018. This could be a really interesting bout and it's worth noting that both men can really punch.
On paper the Super Flyweight bout between Satoshi Iriinafuku (5-4, 4) and Seiya Meguro (4-0, 3) might not look great but this could be the hidden gem for the show. The 26 year old Iriinafuku is on a roll this year, scoring 3 successive stoppages and appears to have build his confidence with those wins, including surprise win over Rui Ikari in his semi final in September. Meguro on the other hand is a talented 19 year old who has been very dangerous in the early stages. Expect leather to fly in the opening couple of rounds of their scheduled 5 rounder.
The final bout that really interests us is the Minimumweight bout, which will pit unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Katsuki Mori (4-0, 1) against the very exciting Shu Nawai (3-1, 2), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two actually fought in October 2018, when Mori out pointed the debuting Nawai, and it's fair to say that the aggressive Nawai will want to avenge that loss against the slippery and sharp Mori. This should be very interesting with their styles meshing well and the history of their previous bout.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Rookie of the Year show in Japan there will also be a card in Vietnam.
The main event of this card is a really interesting one, with Korean teenager Jong Seon Kang (9-0-2, 6) facing off against Filipino youngster Tomjune Mangubat (11-1-1, 9) in a contest for the WBO Oriental Youth Featherweight title. Kang impressed earlier this year, when he stopped Qixiu Zhang in China, and this will be his second bout in Vietnam, following a draw back in August. Mangubat on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 and there is very little of quality on his record and this appears to be a genuine step up for him. This could be a very interesting match up.
Another potentially interesting fight will see Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (19-5, 11) take on the limited but fun to watch Kongfah Nakornluang (32-1, 20) from Thailand. Coming in to this Nazarov has won 6 in a row, including a huge win in August over Ivan Soriano, and is a long way removed from the man who lost 3 times in just over 3 months. Kongfah on the other hand has 10 wins in a row since his sole loss, Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, but those wins have come against total novices, and his last bout was way back in March 2018.
Also set for this show is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (11-0, 8), who takes on Filipino visitor Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5). The talented Tran has had a really frustrating career, with bouts being cancelled and plans being changed, and sadly this will be his first bout in over 16 months! A huge change to the first half of 2018, where he fought 4 times in just 6 months. Remandiman has rebuilt really well since a 2-4-1 start to his career, and has won 8 in a row, including a recent win over Renz Rosia. The visitor has momentum coming into this, but will be regarded as the clear under-dog.
In Thailand this coming Thursday fight fans will see the unbeaten Tran Van Thao (6-0, 4) take on George Lumoly (8-3-1, 6) for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight Title. The unbeaten man, who is from Vietnam, has won 3 in a row in Thailand and is seen by some as the country's biggest boxing hope, though will be stepping up in same ways here after 4 early wins. Lumoly, from Indonesia, has won his last 3, and claimed a national title but hasn't had any success outside of his homeland and scored his best win way down at 108lbs, not the 115lbs that this bout will be fought at.