Sumiyoshi Ward Center, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The big show for us this coming Sunday takes place in Osaka, where we get a Japanese title fight, along with two bouts featuring prospects who are expected to mix in title bouts down the line.
The title bout will see the once beaten Riku Kunimoto (5-1, 2) take on the unbeaten Mikio Sakai (4-0) in a bout for the Japanese Middleweight title, which was vacated by Kazuto Takesako. The 24 year old Kunimoto has been tipped for success since turning professional, and won his first 4 bouts, without really even being pushed. That 4 fight run saw him make his international debut, fighting in China, and score a notable domestic win over Shoma Fukumoto. Sadly though his rise was derailed by the pandemic, and he was then stopped inside a round in an over-due title fight against Takesako last year. Since then he has bounced back with a win, but question marks do linger with him. As for Sakai the talented 28 year old has shown a real lack of power, failing to stop any of his first 4 opponents, but has shown good skills, determination, stamina and will to win, and comes into this on the back of a career best win last time out over veteran Koshinmaru Saito. This should be a very interesting and technical match up and our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Kunimoto and Sakai battle for Japanese title!
In a really interesting supporting bout we'll see unbeaten men face off as the highly touted Yusuke Mine (5-0, 2) takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Josuke Nagata (2-0). The 25 year old Mine has been tipped for stardom since making his 2019 debut, and has notched notable wins over Ardin Diale and Dynamic Kenji. The expectation seems to be that Mine, a former amateur stand out, will land a title fight of some kind in the next 12-18 months, however he will need to get past Nagata here. As for Nagata he was himself an experienced amateur, with almost 60 bouts in the unpaid ranks, and he has an aggressive, exciting action style that could over-come the slicker, more polished skills of Mine. If he wins Nagata will find himself in the rankings, and begin moving towards major bouts of his own.
Another notable supporting bout will see Japanese ranked fighters collide as Tulio Dekanarudo (4-1-1, 2) takes on Tomoya Kishine (8-4-1, 2). Dekanarudo was tipped very highly when he turned professional, but back-to-back set backs did see his hype bubble pop. Since those set backs he has scored a career best win over Noboru Osato and will know a win here will help him move towards his first title bout. Although his record might look limited Koshino shouldn't be over-looked here, especially given recent wins over the likes of Masato Moriaki and Ryo Suwa, and whilst he will be moving up in weight for the bout, he is very much a capable fighter, looking to advance his own career. This should be competitive, and a genuine test for both men.
Sun Rise Park Gym, Saga, Saga, Japan
As well as the show in Osaka, we'll also get a Western Japan Rookie of the Year show in Saga. The card is a really small one, even by regional Rookie of the Year standards, with just 5 bouts scheduled for the show. From those 5 bouts 4 of them contain debutants, including an all debutant Lightweight bout between Kazuki Takesue (0-0) and Yuta Higuchi (0-0).
The most interesting bout on this card, at least on paper, isn't that all debutant bout but is instead the one bout that doesn't contain a debutant. That is a Super Bantamweight bout between the chinny Shinya Saito (1-3, 1) and the unbeaten Zapp Morimoto (1-0, 1). In his 4 career bouts Saito has either been stopped in the opening round, or scored a win in round 2. He is not there to go rounds and does make for short and interesting bights. As for Zapp Morimoto, how can we not love a guy called Zapp? Morimoto made his debut last November, scoring a 4th round TKO, and will be looking to score his second win here. One thing we will say for those watching this one is don't blink!
L-Theatre, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable action this Sunday takes place in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture as Taiho Promotions put on a card with two really interesting match up involving prospects stepping up in a notable manner.
The first of the two notable bouts will see former Japanese title challenger Dynamic Kenji (11-4, 7) battle against the unbeaten, very highly regarded, Yusuke Mine (4-0, 1) in a very good looking 8 rounder. Kenji hasn't fought since August 2019, when he lost to Takayuki Okumoto in a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout. That losses ended a 6 fight winning streak for Kenji, who has impressed against the likes of Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. Sadly that loss, and inactivity, are hanging over him here, but he has shown he is a good fighter. Mine on the other hand was a very highly regarded amateur who turned professional with a lot of hype but has yet to live up to that hype. Mine is talented, accurate, skilled, but this is a big step up for him, and a chance to prove he is as good as his team claim.
The other notable bout will see Noboru Osato (13-8-4, 3) take on the once beaten Tulio Dekanarudo (3-1-1, 2). Osato isn't an amazing fighter, something that seems obvious given his record, but he is a talented one and he's on the run of his career with recent wins over Ryo Suwa and Retsu Kosaka, on paper this is a big step down from those bouts, but it's certainly not a gimmie. Dekanarudo was tipped to be one to watch, but was shocked in 2019, when Ken Jordan stopped him in a round, and failed to bounce back when he was last in the ring, suffering a technical draw with Yoshihiro Utsumi in October 2020. If Dekanarudo can show what he did as an amateur he has a real chance here, though he will, understandably, be the under-dog.
Sangyo Shinko Center, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
A second Japanese show, also in Osaka Prefecture, will be a 4 fight card promoted by Mitsuki Promotion. Sadly this really is a small show in Sakai City, but there is two bouts worth of some attention.
The first of those two bouts is an 8 rounder between Tomoya Kishine (7-4-1, 2) and Hironori Miyake (9-11-2, 1). Neither of these two men are going to go far in the sport, if we're being honest, but both men are better than their records suggest. Kishine has scored decent domestic wins over Masato Morisaki and Ryo Suwa in his last 3 bouts, and appears to be a pretty decent fighter, despite his record suggesting otherwise. Miyake on the other hand went the distance with Tomoki Kameda last time out, and actually dropped Kameda during that bout. He's no world beater, but Miyake will be there to fight and this could be end up being a very compelling 8 rounder.
The other notable bout on this card will see Yu Konomura (10-10, 2, 4) take on the JBC ranked Kimihiro Nakagawa (7-5-2, 3) in what will be an interesting Featherweight bout. Konomura is a win some, lose some, fighter. His last 6 bouts have all ended inside the distance and whilst did seem durable earlier in his career his recent bouts have have been exciting. Nakagawa on the other hand has one of the most misleading records in Japan, due in part to the fact he's gone 2-4-1 in his last 7. At his best Nakagawa is a rugged fighter, and his wins over Yosuke Kawano and Kanehiro Nakagawa are both very solid wins. This might not look great on paper, but it should be a good one in the ring.
Florence Day School, Liluah, India
Outside of Japan we also have action in India. Sadly this card is packed with debutants, though that's a good sign for the long term future of Indian boxing, with lots of fighters turning professional in the country.
The one bout of some note here is a 6 rounder, as 26 year old Dharamvir Singh (6-3, 5) takes on the win-less Deepak Kumar (0-2). Singh is limited, but he appears to be determined to make a mark on the Indian domestic scene throws heavy leather and could be one to watch longer term. As for Kumar, he's never been stopped and will be legitimately looking for his first win, rather than just making up the numbers against a fighter with a more impressive record.
Rebel Entertainment Complex, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Over in Canada we'll see Canadian based Iranian born Cruiserweight hopeful Salar Gholami (4-0, 2) back in the ring. The 6'4" "Saliwan" began his career in late 2018 and looked to be making a bit of a name for himself before the Pandemic slowed his rise, and he's been out of action since January 2020. Sadly we don't expect to see him tested here, but we are glad he's back in the ring after such a long lay off.