T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The big bout of the weekend comes from Nevada and is expected to see a storied rivalry come to an end, as Mexican star Saul Alvarez (57-2-2, 39) faces Kazakh nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin (42-1-1, 37) in their third bout. Coming in to this Golovkin is seen a man on the way out, and has failed to officially win either of the previous bouts with Canelo. Notably however those previous bouts have been at Middleweight whilst this bout will see Golovkin move up to Super Middleweight as he challenges Canelo for the unified Super Middleweight title. Canelo, who lost last time out to Dmitry Bivol at 175lbs, will be risking the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles at 168lbs in a bout that really is a huge match up for both men, and the division. Golovkin might be old, but he likely knows this is going to be one of, if not the, final bouts of his career and we expect to see him throw everything he has at Canelo, who can ill afford another poor performance after his loss to Bivol. Our preview of this bout can be read here Canelo Vs Golovkin III - The Trilogy
Golovkin isn't the only Kazakh on this card, as the once beaten Ali Akhmedov (18-1,14) looks to get his career back on track, as he takes on popular veteran Gabriel Rosado (26-15-1, 15) in a must win, for both men. The hard hitting and exciting Akhmedov seemed to be riding to the top when he was 16-0, but has struggled to rebuild since his December 2020 loss to Carlos Gongora, in what was a sensational fight for the IBO Super Middleweight title. As for Rosado, the 36 year old continues to be inconsistent, and has sadly failed to pick up a win since shocking Bektemir Melikuziev in 2021. He looked dreadful last time out, losing to Shane Mosley Jr, and will need a much, much better performance here.
Mielparque Hall, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
As well as the action Stateside we also get a notable show in Japan, with two title bouts. This card is expected to be explosive, and a genuinely interesting one thanks to former world champions Koki and Daiki Kameda.
The main event of the show promises fireworks as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) takes on hard hitting challenger Tsubasa Narai (8-1, 7), who gets the biggest fight of his career. For Saka the bout serves as his second defense of the Japanese title, which he won back in December 2019, but will see him looking to bounce back from a loss, having lost last December to Yoshimitsu Kimura in an OPBF Super Featherweight title bout. Saka will be favoured but he has long been unpredictable. As for Narai, the former Rookie of the Year winner was stopped last year by Kyonosuke Kameda, but has bounced back with an impressive win over Shinnosuke Hasegawa, back in April, and will be looking to build on that win here. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Saka faces Narai in potential fire fight!
In a supporting bout former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) will be facing off with Toshiya Yokogawa (12-12-3, 10). On paper this looks like an easy win for Tamura, but he hasn't looked great in recent fights and it seems like his hard career, filled with brutal wars, has caught up with him. He's not just lost a gear, but appears to have lost pretty much the entire transmission unit. As for Yokogawa, he's hard hitting, upset minded and will know this is a great chance for him to get a win over a former national champion. Yokogawa's career record does, notably, hide the fact he has gone 5-1-2 in his last 8, the best run of his career, and he will be full of confidence here.
One other bout on this show will be an OPBF female Minimumweight title fight, as the unbeaten Mizuki Chimoto (4-0, 1) faces limited Korean Hye Soo Park (6-8-3, 1), with Chimoto seeking her second defense, following he shock title win in June 2021 against current world champion Yuko Kuroki. Chimoto is one of the brightest hopes in female boxing and isn't expected to be tested at all by Park here. Park was beaten the last time she fought outside of Korea, and although she is unbeaten in her last 3, she has been fighting at a very, very low level since a 2019 loss to Tamao Ozawa. Our preview of this bout can be read here OPBF champion Chimoto faces Park
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The action for the month kicks off in Japan with a show from former world champion Hideki Todaka. The show is certainly not a huge one, but it does have two very interesting 8 rounders at the top of the card.
The first of those bouts will see JBC ranked Featherweight Shinnosuke Hasegawa (13-3-1, 9) take on former All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Tsubasa Narai (7-1, 6), in what should be a very explosive clash. For Narai this will be his first bout since suffering a KO loss to Kyonosuke Kameda in a Japanese Youth title fight last year, and he'll be wanting to bounce back with a win, especially given that loss, but there will be question marks over his chin. As for Hasegawa, he'll be risking his JBC ranking, and comes into the bout on the back of a split decision loss to Kanehiro Nakagawa, who was himself rewarded for that win with a Japanese title fight later this month. Hasegawa will, rightfully, be the favourite, but this is certainly not a gimme for him.
The main event will see the explosive but flawed Jin Minamide (5-2, 4) take on the under-rated Takeshi Takehara (7-1, 2). Minamide is the more well known fighter, and has shared the ring with the likes of Kazuki Nakajima and Toshiya Ishii, but he's also shown himself to be something of a glass cannon, and his chin has let him down in both of his losses. Takehara on the other hand is well schooled fighter, who is naturally bigger than Minamide, and has shown good progress, with his 2012 win over Shohei Kawashima being the best of his career, by far. Notably both fighters are ranked by the JBC, though Minamide is ranked much higher and will be the clear favourite coming in to the bout. If Takehara can take his power though, this could get very, very for Minamide.
Jordal Idrettspark, Oslo, Norway
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a fight in Norway of some Asian interest. This bout will see Swedish based Azeri fighter Samo Jangirov (7-3-1, 1) battle against the unbeaten Simen Nysaether (10-0, 3), in a second bout between the men. Jangirov has fought his full career in Europe, with fights in Sweden, Finland, Norway and the UK, and is a former Swedish Cruiserweight champion. Notably all 3 of his losses have come when he's fought outside of Sweden. Nysaether on the other hand is a former Norwegian amateur who was slowly building a record for himself before the pandemic slowed his rise. Notably one of his 10 wins came in 2019, when he beat Jangirov in a 6 rounder. Jangirov will be seeking revenge here, whilst Nysaether will be looking to get his career going again with his first fight in more than 2 years.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The Edion Arena plays host to two different shows this coming Friday, one from Taisei Promotions and one from Harada Promotion, both of which were originally scheduled to take place in June.
The bigger of the two is the Taisei promoted event, which serves as a regional title double header.
The main event will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (17-4-1, 8) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title against the once touted Takumi Sakae (22-3-1, 16), in what could be a genuinely competitive match up. Kano was once regarded as the next super kid of Japanese boxing, but those hopes have faltered, repeatedly, in recent years and his ceiling, for now, appears to be this regional title level. Despite that comment he is a solid boxer, with good speed and he fights to his strengths. He is however too lightweight, at least at the moment, to make it to the top. Sakae was tipped incredibly highly at one point, but he has fallen short when he's stepped up and it seems clear that he doesn't have what it takes to reach the top. He's an exciting and fun guy to watch, but he's certainly lacking the tools to reach the world level. This bout could be a bit of a messy one, but should be competitive. Our full preview of this one can be read here Kano takes on Sakae in first defense of WBO Asia Pacific title
In the co-feature veteran fighter Yuki Nonaka (34-10-3, 10) will defend his WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight title against Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6). The talented Nonaka has had a remarkable career, and at 43 is among the oldest fighters in Japan. He signed a contract with an American promoted before the pandemic, and it was hoped that he would land a big US bout, but the pandemic put those plans to bed and he's now been out of the ring since September 2019. He desperately needs to get back in the ring, before father time beats him. In the opposite corner is a man who was tipped to be a star when he turned professional, following a strong run as an amateur, but has, so far, fallen short. Sadly for Koshikawa a TKO loss last time out, to Hironobu Matsunaga in 2019, has left his career dangling by a thread, and he needs a win here. It's rare for a bout to be a legitimate must win, but that's exactly what we have here. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Veteran Nonaka takes on flawed Koshikawa!
On the under-card we'll see WBO and JBC ranked Flyweight Arata Matsuoka (10-6, 4) take on Tetsuya Mimura (8-3, 1) in a 10 round bout. Matsuoka will be looking to fight for a domestic or regional title shortly, and this match up should help him prepare for something like that. As for Mimura he shouldn't be over-looked, but he's the big under-dog and probably lacks the power he'd need to defeat Matsuoka.
One other domestic bout on this card worthy of some note will see Ryo Suwa (11-4, 2) take on Tomoya Kishine (6-4-1, 2), in a scheduled 6 rounder at Super Bantamweight. Suwa was once regarded as a domestic contender, but he has now lost 3 in a row and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. Kishine on the other hand is no world beater, but will feel he's getting to Suwa at the right time and a win here would still be a sizable boost to his career.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The other show is a much smaller event headlined by a Japanese Youth title fight, and a really interesting one at that.
That Youth title bout will see the unbeaten Tsubasa Narai (7-0, 6), look to build on his Rookie of the Year win, back in February, as he takes on Kyonosuke Kameda (6-2-1, 5) in a mouth watering match up. Both of these men can punch, both are young, and both are coming to fight. For Kameda, the cousin of the fighting brothers, the key will be to use his height and reach to keep Narai at range and box behind his long straight shots. As for Narai we expect to see him relying on his power, and his aggression and for him to try and take Kameda out with single heavy shots, and well placed counters. Our preview of this one can be read here Narai and Kameda battle for Youth honours!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Sunday we will see last year's All Japan Rookie of the Year tournament come to an end, ending a tournament that has seen it's final pushed back 2 months, from it's original December date, due to Covid19. Despite the delay the finals are still set to be something special, and will be shown live on G+, though sadly the event will be a fan-less one.
Rather than going through the full card, which will feature 12 bouts in total, we'll just talk about a few that we think will be the most fun to watch, or have the best long term prospects involved.
The first bout we think could be a little bit special is the Super Flyweight bout, which will see Shunpei Kubo (6-1-1, 4) clash with Taichi Sugimoto (6-0-1, 1). To reach this bout Kubo had to upset Kosuke Tomioka in the East Japan final, in what was a genuine surprise, and he'll be flying high here. Despite his loss, suffered in 2019, Kubo has gone 4 fights unbeaten and will feel a huge boost of confidence following the win over the highly fancied Tomioka. Sugimoto on the other hand is a 22 year old who drew his secnd professional bout, but has since bounced back with 5 straight wins, and has shown he's very comfortable with the 4 round distance.
At Super Bantamweight Yuki Yazan (7-2, 4) will battle the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (8-0, 4) in a really good looking match up. The 29 year old Yazan has won his last 4 and was incredibly active last year, fighting 4 times in 2020. Despite that he did struggle in one of those bouts, but his route to the Rookie of the Year final did look rather easy, as he barely lost a round in his 3 Rookie bouts. Fukunaga on the other hand is 23 years old, has stopped 4 of his last 5 though did struggle against Ren Nishimura in November, and it's clear that if he can't take opponents out he might be well struggle.
In the Super Featherweight bout the heavy handed Tsubasa Narai (6-0, 5) will take on fellow unbeaten fighter Seika Fukuda (5-0, 1). The 21 year old Narai has been really impressive in the Rookie of the Year, reaching the all Japan final with 3 straight stoppage wins, and it's clear he'll enter with the confidence of a man in great form and self belief. Fukuda on the other hand is a 21 year old non puncher. Despite not having much in terms of power Fukuda looked very good last time out, and, as an unbeaten fighter himself, will also be full of confidence. This should be a very interesting match up.
Another match up pitting unbeaten men against each other will see Eiki Kani (3-0-2, 1) take on Katsuhiro Nakata (5-0, 4). The 19 year old Kani reached the final following a brilliant 4 round bout with Kenji Yoshino, and he has shown an aggressive, exciting style, but it looks like he can be hurt. At 19 he is still a kid, but he has a very, very fan friendly style and will mature into a better fighter in the years to come. Nakata on the other hand is 29 years old and is an out and out puncher, with 4 stoppages in his 5 career bouts. If Kani gets into a fire fight he could be in trouble but his tenacity could be a problem for Nakata, and this could be a very, very explosive match up.
December 20th-Mama gets big shot at Mthalane and the East Japan Rookie of the Year finals!
For a third day in a row we get world title action this Sunday as South Africa plays host to an interesting match at world level. As well as the action in South Africa we also get Rookie of the Year action in Japan and a card in India in what a very nice Sunday for fight fans, coming off back to back busy days!
Olive Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The would title bout in question will see IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26) looking to make his 4th defense as he takes on unbeaten Filipino youngster Jayson Mama (15-0, 8). The bout isn't just a normal defense for the well travelled Mthalane but will be his first professional bout in his home area of KWa-Zulu-Natal, and is set to be an emotional night for the veteran. Aged 38 it's hard to know how much longer Mthalane can go on, though he has rarely come close to losing since his 2008 defeat to Nonito Donaire. At 23 years old Mama is the much, much younger fighter, though their is perhaps some concern he is getting this fight too soon, and wins against the likes of Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Kwanthai Sithmoreseng haven't done enough to prepare him for someone as talented, experienced and battle hardened as Mthalane. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Mama takes on South African great Mthalane for IBF title
*At the time of publishing there is RUMOURS that Mthalane Vs Mama has been cancelled - we are currently awaiting an official confirmation from the promoter of either man. Please keep an eye out for updates regarding this world title bout.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the high profile action in South Africa we also get the annual East Japan Rookie of the Year final over in the Japanese capital. Originally there was 12 bouts scheduled for this show, but the Light Flyweight bout has been cancelled, leaving us with just 11.
Before we get on to the bouts, it should be noted that any match up on this show where both fighters have at least 4 wins, will be fought over 5 rounds, and not 4 as listed on Boxrec at the time of writing.
The stand out bout on the show will be a clash between teenage sensation Kosuke Tomioka (4-0, 3) and Shunpei Kubo (5-1-1, 3), who meet at Super Flyweight. Since the tournament began Tomioka, a stylish and exciting youngster, has been tipped as the favourite and has barely lost a minute on route to the final. Kubo on the other hand wasn't given too much of a chance, but has impressed during the tournament and will go in there knowing that a win would really build his career. Potentially a very interesting bout, with Tomioka's counter punching and speed going up against Kubo's aggression and work rate.
Staying with the little guys we expect explosive action with a match up between Shugo Namura (4-0, 4) and Akira Hoshuyama (3-0, 2), who clash in a very good looking Flyweight bout. The heavy handed Namura, managed by former world title challenger Hiroyuki Sakamoto, has stopped all 4 of his opponents in the first 2 rounds and looks to be a really destructive and fun fighter. Hoshuyama has himself looked hard hitting, but also looked a solid boxer last time out and should make for a brilliant dance partner for Namaura. This could be a very violent and thrilling action bout.
At Lightweight we'll see American born Japanese based Dominique Kenshin (5-1, 2) take on unbeaten puncher Tsubasa Narai (5-0, 4). Kenshin caught our eye last year, but ended 2019 with an opening round loss to Hiro Ichimichi which took some shine off him. Since then however he has picked up 2 wins and does look a strong and powerful fighter. Narai on the other hand has been on a tear with 4 stoppages in 5 bout and will feel confident of repeating which Ichimichi did to Kenshin last year.
Marine Centre Club, Mumbai, India
We also get low level action in India, where most of the bouts will be 4 rounders. The one exception is the clash between the unbeaten pairing of Mohammed Zekria Zamani (4-0, 2) and Sagar Chaudhary (2-0, 1) at Welterweight. The 22 year old Zamani is an Afghan fighter who debuted in 2019, in India, and has also fought in Thailand, albeit against novices. Chaudhary on the other hand is a native Indian and in his last bout won a 4 rounder by incredibly wide margins, including 10 points on one card.