Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Attention turns to Korakuen Hall once again this coming Tuesday for the first Diamond Glove show of 2022. The card is set to feature 6 bouts in total, but is a very, very top heavy one, with 3 very good bouts, partnered by 3 low key 4 rounders. Of the 3 main bouts, all 3 are worthy of serious attention, with a good domestic level bout, a great bout between two unbeaten prospects and brilliant bout for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title.
The less significant of the three main bouts will see the once beaten Tsubasa Murachi (7-1-1, 3) take on Musashi Yoshino (11-6, 4), in a bout that will move the winner towards a title fight, of some kind. Murachi turned professional with high expectations, and his team moved him very quickly. In fact they moved him a bit too quickly and in just his 5th bout he was stopped by Froilan Saludar in a bout for a regional title. Since then he has bounced back, with 3 wins, but was held to a very disappointing draw last time out against Yuto Nakamura. Yoshino in the other hand hasn't been pushed as anyone special, but comes in on the back of decent wins over Shunpei Kubo and Wataru Ikegami, and will feel full of confidence. Don't expect this one to be the most exciting bout of the show, but it should be a really solid one, it's well matched and both men have plenty of tools in their arsenal.
In the chief support bout of the card we see the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) take on fellow unbeaten Jinki Maeda (8-0, 4) in a mouth watering clash. This was supposed to take place late last year, before Kimura was forced to pull out of the scheduled date with an injury. Rather than seeing the two men go their own way, they have re-arranged it, and we should be in for a treat. Kimura, and his team, feel he is a very special fighter, but in his last bout he was given a genuinely tough time by the hard hitting Yoji Saito, and it will be interesting to see if being dropped twice by Saito will change his approach in the ring. Maeda on the other hand has had to create buzz about himself, winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year and putting in some very good performances since then. On paper Maeda will be the under-dog, but he should be regarded as a very, very live under-dog, and he certainly has the tools to ask serious questions of Kimura.
The main event will see former Japanese 140lb champion Masahiro Suzuki (7-0, 4) look to become a 2-weight champion as he takes on Shu Utsuki (9-0, 7) in a bout for the Japanese Lightweight title. Of the two men Suzuki is the more proven, and the better natural boxer. He moves around the ring easier, and things look more fluid for him, however Utsuki is a heavy handed pressure fighter who will be looking to get to Suzuki, use his superior physicality and break him down. This one could end up being something a little bit special, with skills against power, and the styles clash should deliver something really exciting. Especially if Suzuki gets off to a good start before Utsuki begins to time him with power shots. The winner of this will pick up the title that was vacated in 2021 by Shuichiro Yoshino, and we dare say the winner will begin to actively chase a bout with Yoshino in the next year or two. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Suzuki and Utsuki face off for Japanese title
This coming Sunday is an interesting day for Japanese fight fans who get three shows across the country. The most notable show of the day is Shizuoka, packed with prospects, whilst the other two shows are both at Korakuen Hall as part of the East Japan Rookie of the Year.
FujisanMesse, Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan
The show we like the most of the three is the show from Shizuoka, which features a bunch of notable prospects, many of whom are tipped to win titles over the next few years.
The most notable of the prospects on the show is the brilliantly talented Rentaro Kimura (4-0, 3), who takes on a really tough bout foe here as he battles the heavy handed Yoji Saito (3-1-2, 3). We've loved watching Kimura so far, and he does look like a very, very special talent who can do it all in the ring, but he has been caught a few times in the past and we suspect his team have put this bout together to give him a genuine chin check, with Saito being a genuine brute in the ring. This will be a battle between Kimura's skills, speed and movement, and Saito's power, strength and aggression and it should make for a genuinely brilliant contest.
Another major prospect on this card is Kimura's stablemate Tsubasa Murachi (7-1, 3), who looks to continue to move his career forward as he takes on Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8). The talented Murachi has been rebuilding well since a 2019 loss to Froilan Saludar, winning his last 3 by decision, and it certainly seems that that brutal KO loss has seen him fighting in a more safety first style that could end up really being a great change for his career, and longevity in the sport. Nakamura on the other hand is now world beater, but he is better than his record suggests and will looking to get his career back on track following a TKO loss in December to Ryo Akaho, in a bout that never really made much sense. At his best Nakamura is a good Super Flyweight and he should ask questions of Murachi, but not be a real threat to him.
Another very highly regarded prospect on this card is second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (11-0, 9), the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, who looks to fight for the first time since beating Roland Jay Biendima in February 2020. Sadly Hantanaka's bout appears to be more of a tick over fight than a really competitive one as he takes on the limited Daisuke Sudo (7-7-3). Given lengthy break from action this is ideal to help Hatanaka shake some ring rust, but it really is a shame that his career has been on the back burner since the pandemic began to affect boxing in Japan.
One final touted prospect here is Narumi Yukawa (2-0, 1), a sparring partner of Kimura's and a man with a great story of redemption following an criminal issue before he got the chance to begin his professional career. He's in a really good match up on this show as he takes on Yuji Awata (12-8-1, 5), in what is arguably the most well balanced of the bouts with prospects, outside of Kimura's. Awata is no world beater but he's a very competent domestic level fighter and we suspect Yukawa will want to shine, but will have to work hard here.
It's also worth noting that Renataro Kimura's cousin Tentaro Kimura (6-0-2) is also on this card, as he takes on Satoru Hoshiba (7-5, 2). Kimura, although unbeaten, isn't regarded as a prospect in the same way that his cousin is, but is a talent and Danji Suruga, his promoter, does speak very highly of him, and his talent. Hoshiba's record is very misleading, but he's aggressive, he comes to fight, and he could be a real thorn in the side for Kimura here. Kimura is the favourite, but we suspect he will be asked real questions from the aggression and pressure of Hoshiba.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The first of the Rookie of the Year cards starts at 11:30am and features a total of 8 bouts, all 4 rounders. We're not going to take a look at all of them but there are some have caught the eye.
One of those worthy of some attention will see Ryugo Yanagibori (4-2, 1) take on the amazingly named Scorpion Kintaro (2-0, 2), who we really do think might be a Mortal Kombat fan. The 27 year old Yanagibori made his debut in 2018 and and has been stopped in both of his losses, but is coming into this bout with a recent win over Yuki Aizawa, a win that secured his place in this stage of the Rookie if the Year. Kintaro on the other had debuted in April, and has scored two quick wins, but this will be the first time he's facing a fighter with some professional experience.
In a bout at Featherweight novice fighter Daisuke Yoshikawa (1-0) will take on heavy handed 32 year old Kiyoharu Nunozaki (4-0, 3), in what should be an explosive encounter. Interestingly Yoshikawa is just 5'6" and will be giving up 4" here to Nunozaki, who will be the bigger man, the more experienced man and the heavier handed.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The second Rookie of the Year card, which will take place from 5:30PM, is a show with 6 bouts on it, including 3 at Welterweight. On this card there are a couple of debutants that we're going to be focusing on.
One of the debutants is 28 year old Sarimanu Suzuki (0-0), who takes on 29 year old Yusaku Minami (2-2, 2). Whilst we're interested to see how Suzuki fares it's worth noting that Minami has been a stop or be stopped fighter, with his bouts never getting past round 3. Suzuki will know about Minami's history, and will be looking to make the most of Minami's questionable chin, whilst looking to also avoid his power.
Another debutant we'll be interested in seeing is 22 year old Middleweight hopeful Ryuya Kusamura (0-0) who takes on the limited, but experienced, Kazuki Ikeya (1-4). Given how few Middleweights there are in Japan it's always good to see novice Middleweights and we're hoping that Kusamura can make a mark going forward.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Tuesday the Korakuen Hall will play host to the latest show from Misako promotions. The card isn't a bit one but it does feature a world title rematch in the main event, a good prospect in the chief support bout and some Japanese ranked fighters in supporting bouts. It's a decent show, but not one which set the world alight.
The main event will see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) make her first defense as she takes on Miyo Yoshida (14-2), the woman she beat for the title back in December. The first bout between these two saw Okuda prove to be too strong, too aggressive and too powerful for Yoshida, before headclashes and cuts forced the bout to be stopped in round 6. This time around we dare say Yoshida knows what to expect from the 38 year old Okuda and we could end up seeing a more purposeful display from the former champion. As for Okuda she will not be looking to hand the title back without a fight and this could end up being very, very competitive and very personal. Our preview of this bout can be read here Okuda and Yoshida II - Repeat or revenge?
In the chief support bout we'll see the very talented Tsubasa Murachi (6-1, 3) battle against Ken Achiwa (12-15-6, 4) in a bout that should see the winner knocking on the door of a title fight. Entering the bout Murachi is ranked in the top 10 by the JBC and the WBO AP whilst Achiwa is in the top 20 of the JBC rankings. On paper this looks a mismatch, and Murachi should be strongly favoured as he is a genuine talent, but Achiwa is an upset minded fighter and he has proven to be much better than his record suggests. Achiwa will look for the upset, but we see the boxing brain and speed of Murachi being too much and the youngster should take a clear, if hard fought, decision here.
At Welterweight we'll see veteran's collide as Motonobu Suzuki (5-6-2, 2) takes on the JBC ranked Yuichi Ideta (14-15-1, 7), who is actually on the verge of a very unexpected title fight. The 37 year old Suzuki hasn't fought since January 2019, and despite his record looking like a mess he is 3-1-2 in his last 6 bouts dating back to 2015, impressive form for a man who was 2-5 in his first 7. Ideta on the other hand is a 36 year old who lost 11 in a row between 2012 and 2019, but scored an upset of the year contender in 2020, when he beat Ryota Yada. That shock win has put Ideta in the top 10 of the JBC rankings and just a win or two away from a very, very unexpected title fight.
Another JBC ranked fighter on this show is Shuri Hasebe (8-5, 2), who defends his top 15 JBC Minimumweight ranking as he takes on 28 year old Kosuke Ando (8-3, 3). Although no world beater Hasebe has put in some good performances, notably beating Desierto Nagaike last time out, and will know that if he keeps plugging along and picking up wins he could land a title fight. As for Ando this is an opportunity to rebuild his career after a blow out loss last time out to Toshiki Kawamitsu. Ando impressed in the 2019 Rookie of the Year, reaching the All Japan final, and will feel he needs win here to get his career back on the right track.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo will get the next Diamond Glove show and it's an interesting one, with a Japanese title fight in the main event and two solid prospects in supporting bouts. It's not a massive card, and features just 4 bouts in total, but it is one worthy of attention.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) make his first defense, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18). The talented Nagata won the title in July when he scored a major upset victory over Koki Inoue, stopping Inoue who then retire from boxing. That was the highlight of a career that had promise a lot but had seen Nagata suffer from some misfortune, including a draw with Takeshi Inoue and a razor thin loss to Rikki Naito. At 30 years old we are hoping to see Nagata kick on, and have a solid reign with this title, and potentially a rematch Naito. Kondo on the other hand is a 35 year old who has shown his age recently. Losses to Downua Ruawaiking and Andy Hiraoka in 2019 have left his career hanging by a thread, and another loss here likely sends him into retirement in 2021. Although we do strongly favour a Nagata here it needs to be said that Kondo is tough, a veteran, knows how to handle himself in the ring and can make for exciting match ups due to his style and toughness. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Nagata seeks first defense as he goes up against tough guy Kondo
In the chief support bout we'll see fast rising prospect Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2) return for his third bout of the year as he takes on Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4) at Korakuen Hall. Kimura, who debuted in an empty Korakuen Hall a few months ago, has looked really impressive, and looks like a man capable of being fast tracked to titles next year. In many ways we had hoped he was going up against a better fighter than Teruya here, but in reality this should be regarded as a showcase for fans who haven't yet seen him. He's a real natural with amazing balance, footwork, timing and every punch in the book. Despite being the very, very, clear under-dog Teruya comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight wins and 5 wins in his last 6. He has got some momentum going for him and is the naturally bigger fighter, but he is going to be in with a sensational fighter.
Another prospect on this card is the once beaten Tsubasa Murachi (5-1, 3), who is in a very good looking bout here against Isao Aoyama (12-7-1, 3), in a bout which sees both men entering as Japanese ranked fighters. Of the two men the 23 year old Murachi is the one regarded as the bigger hope and the brighter talent, despite a brutal 2019 TKO loss to Froilan Saludar in a regional title fight. Since his sole loss he has bounced back with a single win, over Ryotaro Kawabata, and looked very good in that bout. The 31 year old Aoyama has had mixed success, going 4-4 in his last 8, but has shown enough to suggest that he should be able to ask questions of Murachi. He'll be a clear under-dog, but will certainly be there to win and will feel he has the experience to deal with Murachi.
The other bout on this card will be a female bout between Nanako Suzuki (4-2, 1) and Megumi Hosoda (3-1), in what should be an entertaining 6 round female war between two JBC ranked fighters.
FujisanMesse, Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan
For a second day running we get live streamed action from Japan, with the Suruga Boys Channel streaming a show from Shizuoka. The card isn't a huge one, but it is one we're really interested in, given it features a really fun to watch fighter, a prospect looking to bounce back from a brutal KO loss and one of the hottest young prospects in Japan
The most established name on the card I former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (23-9-1, 15). The 34 year old Aso is certainly coming to the end of his career, and has lost 2 of his last 4, but will be looking to get another win on the slate here. In the opposite corner to Aso is the flawed Shogo Yamaguchi (12-5-3, 7), who has scored 1 win in his last 4, but that was a career best win over Shuhei Tsuchiya earlier this year. Given the styles of the fighters involved this could be a lot of fun!
The actual main event of the card will see Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3) looking to bounce back from a loss to Froilan Saludar, as he takes on domestic foe Ryotaro Kawabata (12-3-2, 6). The talented Murachi had won his firs 4 bouts with no real issues but was put in with Saludar way too early. He did have some success against the experienced Filipino, but was brutally knocked out in round 8 and it's now going to be interesting to see how he bounces back. Kawabata on the other hand isn't a gimme opponent and has shown what he can do with results like a draw against Rene Dacquel and a close loss to Mark John Yap. This is a genuine test for Murachi and could be a really, really tough out for the youngster.
Although not the main event it's hard not to feel that Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1) is the star of the show. The talented youngster has been tipped as a future world champion, he looked great on his debut, scored a KO of the year contender and was a very accomplished amateur. Sadly his original opponent had to pull out and has been replaced by Takafumi Iwaya (4-3), who is unlikely to pose many questions to Kimura who will be looking to shin and make a statement. Given how impressed Kimura looked on debut we can't imagine anything but a destructive stoppage here, before his team strap a rocket on him and race him to a title.
As well as the Japanese action there is also set to be a card in Russia featuring a couple of Kazakh hopefuls.
One of the hopefuls on this show is teenager Dastan Saduuly (3-0, 3) who takes on Vildan Minasov (3-0, 2) in an 8 round contest at 135lbs. So far neither of these two men have faced any sort of a test, so this is a step up for both men. The press in Kazakhstan are excited about the 18 year old Saduuly, and have tipped him since he made his debut, aged just 16, but this is his first real test. As for Minasov the 23 year old Russian has got more rounds to his name, but his competition has been horrifically bad and it's hard to say how he'll fair against someone who hits him back.
In a much more interesting match up we'll see the unbeaten Bobirzhan Mominov (11-0, 8) battle against Vaghinak Tamrazyan (17-7, 5) in a contender for the IBF Inter-Continental Welterweight title. For the 28 year old Mominov the bout will be a chance to build on a win over Cameron Krael back in June, as part of the Top Rank Summer Series, and will also be his first bout in Russia. Aged 34, and heading to his 35th birthday, Tamrazyan has won just 1 of his last 4, but has been matched hard and should prove to be a good test for the bullishly strong Mominov. Although maybe not the highest level bout we'll be getting this Sunday this could end up being a very good contest between two real tough guys, both vying for some silverware.
This coming Saturday is a really busy day in Asia, but the standout card is a Japanese one with 4 notable bouts on it. Notably this card isn't just a good one on paper, but will also be available live, thanks to Boxing Raise.
The main event will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 12) make his first defense, of his second reign, as he battles against the limited but typically fun to watch Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5). The hard hitting Kuga won the belt back earlier this year, winning a Japanese Fight of the Year Contender against Ryoichi Tamura, and will be looking to impress here as he attempts to put his 2018 loss to Shingo Wake behind him. The power, pressure and aggression of Kuga is likely to be too much for the challenger but Fujihara does make for fun fights and this should be a fan friendly 1-sided bout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuga takes on Fujihara in first title defense!
A second title bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) take on former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Although not one of the big name hopefuls in Japan Murachi is very well regarded by those who have followed his career, and the plan had always been to fast track him, though we didn't expect such a big step up so early in his career. A win for Murachi at this stage will likely secure him a WBO world ranking but it's not an easy task. Saludar, who was once touted as a future world champion himself, has faltered in his biggest bouts, including bouts against Takuma Inoue and Sho Kimura, but is very capable. For Saludar another loss here would likely end his hopes of getting another world title fight, but he'll feel confident that his experience will be too much for the Japanese youngster. A very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout can be read here Murachi goes for gold in 5th fight, takes on Saludar for WBO regional title!
The third bout which is getting a lot of interest is a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator. This bout, the second of the eliminators for the 2020 Champion Carnival, will see former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) going up against hard hitting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6). For Taniguchi this is a must win bout, but also a huge step backwards following a bout with Vic Saludar earlier this year. As for Ishizawa this is a massive step up in class, and a win will put him on the map and secure a title fight next year. Our view is that it maybe too much too soon for Ishizawa, but we understand why he has taken the fight. This is genuine high risk, high reward for both men. Our preview of this bout is available here Taniguchi and Ishizawa meet in Japanese title eliminator
The final of the notable bouts will see rising Afghan born Japanese based Welterweight hopeful Kudura Kaneko (10-0, 7) continue to step up as he takes on rugged veteran Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) in what could turn out to be the best bout of the show. Kaneko is a very exciting, hard hitting boxer-puncher whilst Yun is a genuine tough guy who has scored more than his share of upset wins. This should be a real test for Kaneko, and could well be a genuine banana skin given the style that Yun brings to the ring. This bout has been featured as our One to watch-Kudura Kaneko vs Moon Hyon Yun this week.
In China we get an interesting card with an international feel to it.
In one of the main bouts we'll see Chinese puncher Jun Zhao (11-2-1, 8) take on Japanese foe Sonin Nihei (9-4-2, 1) in a contest for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Coming in to this the 26 year old Zhao has been in good form, winning his last 6, but hasn't looked sensational during that run and he certainly improvements to make. On the other hand Nihei has struggled for results, winning just 1 of his last 3, but will be travelling with the knowledge that he has the skills to spring in the upset.
In a supporting bout we'll see Mongolian hopeful Erkhembayar Batbayar (5-0, 3) take on Korean foe Jun Yong Lee (6-5-4, 3). This is a 10 rounder and on paper a big step up for the Mongolian, who has never been beyond 6 rounds so far. The Korean is a former national champion, but has won just 1 of his last 4, and is 2-4-1 in his last 7. Batbayar will be the favourite, and rightfully so, but this is certainly his biggest test to date.
Bang Phun, Thailand
We return to the Work Point Studio for a Thai card which will be available on Work Point in Thailand and DAZN in the US.
One of the main bouts on this card will see former Naoya Inoue opponent Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-9, 20) take on Filipino visitor Renz Rosia (15-8-1, 8). Petchbarngborn, also known as Karoon Jarupianlerd, has gone 8-1 since losing to Inoue in 2016 but has fought at a most limited level, with a loss earlier this year to Amnat Ruenroeng being the most notable of those bouts. Rosia on the other hand is 1-3-1 in his last 5 and despite once being a solid fighter at regional level looks like a man who is is often fighting above his best weight. Rosia always comes to fight, but there is a feeling that he probably won't have enough to over-come the Thai in Thailand, where an away win is never easy.
Another bout on this card pitting a Thai against a Filipino will see Nawaphon Kaikanha (46-1-1, 36) take the under-rated and tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). The once beaten Nawaphon is a former world title challenger who is also the brother of former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. Since his loss, in a WBC Flyweight title bout to Juan Hernandez, Nawaphon has moved up to Bantamweight and reeled off 10 straight wins. On paper Ponteras doesn't look like much of a threat, but in reality he's a really good journeyman who should take Nawaphon some rounds, and be competitive at times. Saying that however there are question marks about what Ponteras still has left following his first stoppage defeat back in March, when he was stopped in the opening round by Seiya Tsutsumi. At his best he was very much an upset minded fighter, who scored more than his share of wins against the odds, but he's now without a win in 4 bouts and could well be past his best.
Another bout on this card will be part of the WP Boxing Super Flyweight tournament and will see novices Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) face off. These two were supposed to fight in August but their bout was pushed back to here. On paper this 6 rounder promises a lot and should be competitive, and of course we're big fans of tournaments, so fingers crossed the winner of the overall competition will be given a career boost as Thailand looks to unearth it's next generation of talent.
A second show in Thailand is a much lower profile card. The bouts here are much less interesting and the main event will see Murodjon Yokubov (4-0, 3) battle against teenager Tanawat Ketsiri (2-5, 2). The 25 year old Yokubov is a Thai based Uzbek who turned pro last year and really needs a step up in the near future. Ketsiri on the other hand has lost 4 times this year, and looks almost certain to pick up another loss here.
Sadly not other bout on this card is really worth talking about.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Yet another show of some note is a Filipino card from the Elorde Sports Center in Paranaque City.
Among the bouts on this card is a clash of once beaten youngsters, as Arvin Magramo (10-1-1, 6) and Francis Jay Diaz (8-1-1, 1) face off in an 8 round Light Flyweight contest. Magramo is very much in the rebuilding stages of his career, following a defeat at the hands of Garen Diagan a year ago, but this is a tough match up on paper and his team are taking a risk here. The 21 year old Diaz, dubbed "The Amazing Boy" began his career 1-1-1 before reeling off 7 straight wins, but this is a bi step up for him. Although a low key bout, in the grand scheme of things, this is a very interesting match up
A second contest between fighters with a single loss to their name will feature Marlon Paniamogan (9-1-1, 5) and Jino Rodrigo (5-1-2, 4), who will also be involved in a 10 round fight. On paper this should be more explosive than the other bout however it's worth noting that Paniamogan was beaten last time out, losing a decision in Japan to Kuntae Lee. Rodrigo, on the other hand, is 3-1-2 in his last 6, suggesting neither has much moment coming into this bout.
A third bout of interest here sees unbeaten men battle, with Delmar Pellio (7-0, 3) and Marjon Piencenaves (6-0-1, 4) fighting in an 8 rounder. The 19 year old Pellio has only previously faced 1 opponent with a winning record and will be looking for his third win of the year. Piencenaves on the other hand is a 24 year old who is facing his first opponent with a winning record, so for both men this is a step up and their real, serious test.
New Delhi, India
There's also a small show in India.
The main bout on this card will see the unbeaten Rajesh Kumar (10-0-1-2) take on Filipino foe Ivor Lastrilla (11-7-1, 6) in an 8 round contest. The 25 year old Kumar has won his last 5, following a draw in October 2016, and is looking to build on those wins here. On paper Lastrilla is a step down from Kumar's last 2 foes, but could still make for an interesting test. The 27 year old Lastrilla has lost his last 3, but when on form he can be a good test. Lastrilla is unlikely to have the size, power or strength to be a physical threat to Kumar, but may have the skills to ask questions of him.
In a supporting bout female hopeful Ramandeep Kaur (5-0) will take on Thai journey-woman Saranyaphong Theinthong (2-13, 2), in what really should be an easy win for Kaur over 6 rounds.
The most notable card this coming Sunday comes from Kobe where we get a world title fight, a Japanese title fight, a once beaten hopeful and an unbeaten prospect.
The world title bout will see the once beaten Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) challenge huge punching IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30), in what looks like a really tough test for the Japanese hopeful. Konishi is a former Japanese Minimumweight champion who is best known for losing a competitive bout to Carlos Canizales last year, in a really good but now forgotten bout, and this will be his second shot at a world title. Alvarado on the other hand is looking to make his first defense of a title he won last year, when he battered Randy Petalcorin into submission. Alvarado is one of the true danger men at 108lbs and we suspect he will be too powerful for Konishi, though few can question Konishi's heart and desire, which could make this very, very fan friendly. A full preview of this bout can be read here Konishi challenges heavy handed champion Alvarado!
The second title fight on this card will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (39-15-1, 13) make his first defense, as he goes up against Masashi Tada (13-5-3, 8). Horikawa is a true veteran of the Japanese scene, and is enjoying his second reign at the age of 39. Although an old man Horikawa has great energy and desire and is riding an excellent 7 fight winning run into this bout, having gone unbeaten since a 2017 loss to Tetsuya Hisada. As for Tada this will be his second Japanese title fight, following a loss in 2014 to Go Odaira in a bout for the Japanese Minimumweight title. The loss to Odaira saw Tada take a lengthy break from the ring before returning in 2017 and going 0-1-2 in his first 3 bouts, though he has now scored back to back wins to get this shot at Horikawa. At 29 Tada has youth on his side, but this is a massive step up for him. Our preview of this bout is available here Veteran Horikawa battles Tada!
Also on this card are Ryo Suwa (10-1, 1) and Tetsuro Ohashi (6-0-1, 1), neither of whom have had their opponents named at the time of writing. Suwa has scored 3 straight wins since losing in 2017 to Ikuro Sadatsune, and is a very talented fighter, even if he lacks power. Ohashi, also a feather fisted fighter, impressed last year when he won the Rookie of the Year and we're really excited to see where the 20 year old Super Flyweight can go following that success.
A second Japanese card comes from Shizuoka, where we get the next Suruga Boys card. Although a much smaller card than the Kobe one, it is an interesting one with several good looking match ups, and the next appearance of a very promising young prospect.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (14-6-1, 9) take on the heavy handed but limited Daiki Ichikawa (11-5, 9). Coming in to this Sugita has gone 4-4, alternating wins and losses in his last 8, and using that record he should be on track to pick up a win here. Ichikawa has lost 3 of his last 5 and whilst he's not the most skilled fight he does have heavy hands, and if he lands cleanly on the crafty Sugita he could pick up a shock stoppage.
The chief support bout will see Japanese ranked Super Bantamweights clashing, with Yuta Horiike (15-6-3, 3) taking on Gakuya Furuhashi (24-8-1, 13). Of the two men it's Furuhashi who is better known, thanks to 2 domestic title fights, but the 31 year old from Kanagawa has had a very tough career and is stepping up after 6 relatively straight forward wins. At 34 Horiike is the older man, and whilst he hasn't got the in-ring miles that Furuhashi has he isn't as technically good as his foe. The loser of this really will have no where to go.
Arguably the best bout on this card is actually a huge step up for a touted prospect. That prospect is Tsubasa Murachi (3-0, 3), who leaps up in class to take on Filipino Raymond Tabugon (21-9-1, 11) in a mouth watering clash. Although little known outside of Japan Murachi is a fantastic talent who had real questions to answer last time out, against Chinese fighter Sheng Peng, and we're expecting him to need to answer more questions here. Tabugon is a 28 year old who has lost 2 of his last 3, but has mixed with a who's who, including Luis Nery, Juan Francisco Estrada, Andrew Moloney and has previously scored upsets in the past, including wins over Lito Dante and Jake Bornea. This could be a very, very tough test for Murachi.
This coming Wednesday is a notable day in Asian boxing, with a big fight in Thailand, and a small yet noteworthy card in Japan.
The Thai show will be headlined by the rematch between WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (18-0, 7) and Nicaraguan foe Byron Rojas (25-3-3, 11), who he actually beat for the title in 2016. Knockout had been the interim champion prior to taking the full title from Rojas, and since winning the full title he has made 5 defenses including wins over Shin Ono, Rey Loreto and Xiong Zhao Zhong. In recent fights the champion has looked solid and dependable, rather than sensational and exciting, with an going joke that his name should be Unanimous Decision CP Freshmart. As for Rojas he comes into the bout on an 8 fight winning streak, though those wins have come at a much lower level than Knockout's and it's unclear how he will cope with the step back up in class. Given their first bout we're not anticipating a thrilling clash here. A preview of this bout is available here Knockout and Rojas meet in rematch for WBA crown!
In Tokyo we'll get another in the Japan Vs China series of shows that Dangan have been putting on.
Among the fighters included on this card is former amateur stand out Shu Utsuki (2-0, 1), who we believe is taking on fellow unbeaten Da Xu (3-0-1, 1) in an 8 round Super Featherweight bout. Utsuki is tipped to be a star and we have to strongly favour him to defeat the Chinese teenager.
Another unbeaten Japanese prospect on this card is Tsubasa Murachi (2-0, 2), who faces off with limited visitor Sheng Peng (3-5, 2), in another that should go Japan's way however we are interested to see what Murachi can show here.
One other Japanese prospect on this card is Kaiki Yuba (3-0-1, 2), though sadly we don't have the name of his opponent.
Arguably the best of the Japan Vs China bouts is a match up between the limited pairing of Shun Wakabayashi (8-3, 1) and Xian Qian Wei (13-6-1, 1). Both of these fighters are very flawed, lack power, but do make for entertaining contests and we wouldn't be surprised to see this being the potential bout of the day, with a high intensity and the belief that either man can win.
This card will also include an OPBF female title bout as Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) battles Jujeath Nagaowa (13-18-1, 8) for the Minimumweight title. Both of these fighters have come up short at the top level, but they should make for a competitive bout against each other, with both being flawed and limited fighters. Despite their limitations they aren't actually bad fighters and this could be a very entertaining distraction from the Japan Vs China competition.
A third card for the day will come from Shenzhen in China, with a trio of title bouts on the card.
In a WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Crruiserweight title fight Chinese local hopeful Peng Qu (13-2-1, 9) will take on the hard hitting Abraham Tabul (14-1-1, 12). This will be Qu's second bout since abandoning the Light Heavyweight division at the turn of the year, following a loss to Gasan Gasanov, and we suspect his frame will suit Cruiserweight much better than it did at 175lbs. Saying that however Cruiserweights do hit significantly harder than the Light Heavyweights he had previously been fighting and we expect to see him being chin checked here. Tabul, from Accra in Ghana, is 0-1 outside of his homeland, and his competition so far lacks any real quality and it's very hard to know what he brings to the ring.
A second title fight on this show will see Cheng Su (12-2-1, 6) battle against Thai foe Panturak Namtong (10-4-1, 7) for the WBO Oriental Super Welterweight title. It's hard to know what either man has done to get a shot at this belt, given that neither has notched a win of note and both have suffered a recent stoppage loss to a poor opponent. All things considered we suspect the local will pick up the win, but he's not going to go much further as a professional.
Sadly the biggest name on the card, OPBF Silver Super Featherweight champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) is actually a man involved in the biggest mismatch on the card, as he defends his title against Wisitsak Saiwaew (6-7, 5), who is best known for being stopped by Watanabe's stablemate Sho Kimura, at Flyweight. We are huge admirers of Watanabe, and his career has been a thoroughly entertaining one as well as one which has seen him fighting in Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taipei and China, but this is his third limited foe in a row. This really is little more than a show case for the talented. tough and exciting Watanabe.