There are a lot of Japanese shows during August but, for our money, the stand out one comes on August 10th as fans get a trio of interesting bouts as well as a show case contest for a man who is one of the hardest punchers in Asia.
The pick of the match ups is an OPBF Super Featherweight title bout between the once beaten Masayuki Ito (16-1-1, 7) and fellow contender Dai Iwai (17-3-1, 6), who will be trading blows in a bout for the vacant title. The bout doesn't promise a knockout, far from it in fact, but it does promise high quality action from two men who are both very well schooled and who are both looking for the biggest win of their career. Ito enters on the back of a controversial loss to Japanese champion Rikki Naito whilst Iwai enters on an 8 fight winning streak. This really could be a stand out bout with an emphasis on high speed chess.
Another notable bout on this card will see OPBF Featherweight champion Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16), a hard nosed veteran from the Philippines, defending his title against local favourite Ryo Takenaka (12-3-1, 6). This will be Rufino's first defense and although his record is “blotchy” to say the least he is a very good fighter and will be looking to continue his reign of champion. For Takenaka this is his second bite at the OPBF apple having come very close last year against Hisashi Amagasa, when he was stopped in the final round whilst ahead on the cards. This should be a really exciting and competitive 12 round bout between two men who simply cannot afford to lose.
Another highlight on this card is youngster Ken Shiro (3-0, 2) who looks to move a step towards a Japanese title fight as he takes on Takashi Omae (13-4-5, 1). Coming in both men are ranked by the JBC but it's fair to say that this is supposed to be “one final test” for Ken Shiro who looked sensational last time out, when he stopped Katsunori Nagamine. Omae hasn't been stopped in his 22 fight career so a stoppage win for the 23 year old prospect would be a huge statement before a title fight, possibly in December.
The show case fight here sees OPBF Light Welterweight champion Keita Obara (14-1, 13) fight in a non-title bout against Thai visitor Khompetch Sithsaithong (5-5, 5) in what should be no more than an easy win for the world ranked Obara. From what we understand this bout is being fought between the Light Welterweight and Welterweight limits with the intention being for Obara to gradually make a move to 147lbs, possibly by the end of this year.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned this card will feature 2 others making it perhaps the best “non-world title” show in Japan this year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines this week Elorde Promotions will be holding a special event to hand out the Flash Elorde awards. As well as the awards there will be a number of fights.
One of those fights will feature the world ranked Juan Martin Elorde (16-1-1, 7), a grandson of the great Flash Elorde, who looks to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title against limited Japanese visitor Hirotsugu Yamamoto (16-10-2, 2). Sadly this bout does look to be a very one-sided bout in favour of the grandson of the great Flash Elorde though should be a very popular result with the local fans attending the bout.
The Elorde/Yamamoto is one of 4 title bouts in total. Another will feature Juan Martin Elorde's younger brother Juan Miguel Elorde (17-1, 9), who will be hoping to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight. Elorde will be up against Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-2, 12) in what looks a good bout on paper but is likely to be one-sided given that Tabthong has lost the past 2 times he has faced someone of some note.
In an OPBF title bout we will see an all-Filipino clash as Vinvin Rufino (36-16-3, 16) battles Mark Gil Melligen (21-4-1, 12) for the OPBF Featherweight title. On paper this is a brilliant match up and a must win for both. Rufino has got experience at this level, having fought Hisashi Amagasa and Naoki Matsuda in previous OPBF title bouts but came up short in both of those bouts whilst Melligen will be fighting at this level for the first time.
For us however the pick of the bouts is a Filipino Bantamweight title bout which will see Monico Laurente (25-12, 6) defending his title against the once highly touted Marco Demecillo (20-2-1, 15). Laurente will be defending the belt for the 3rd time since winning it on March 25th 2012 though this is a very tough match up against a fighter looking to score a break out win of his own. This will be Demecillo second bout since losing to David Sanchez last December and it really is a must win for the 24 year old challenger.
Also on this card is promising Flyweight Giemel Magramo (12-0, 9) who battles against Jayar Estremos (10-9, 3). This looks like a mismatch but will be one of the first times Magramo has faced a fighter with a winning record so it is a small step up.
July 5th-Shibata battles Nishida in unified title defence whilst Taguchi, Taconing and Rufino are all in lesser bouts
This coming weekend is one of the quietest in boxing this year. Despite the relative lack of activity we do have some interesting contests on Saturday that thankfully do help keep some interest in the sport for the day.
The biggest show of the day for us is in Japan with a Watanabe Gym promoted card at the Korakuen Hall. The show, "The 526th Dynamic Glove, will have just 7 bouts but they are almost all worthy of attention.
The most interest bout is the main event which will see OPBF and Japanese Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (22-8-1, 9) defending his unified crown against the under-rated Hikaru Nishida (10-6-1, 3). On paper you'd be right to assume this would be a mismatch but Nishida is in tremendous form having won 6 of his last 7, including victories over Kazuhiko Hidaka and Makoto Fuchigami and has genuinely earned this opportunity on merit.
The penultimate bout on the show will be a contest between Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Hayato Hokazono (17-4-1, 10) and the light hitting Osamu Hashimoto (9-6,1). Going in to this bout we can't see anything but a win for Hokazanko and we're unsure why this has got the "chief support" billing on the card..
Although the Hokazano/Hashimoto bout is technically the chief support bout the most interesting of the under-card contests is a Light Flyweight contest between former Japanese champion Ryoichi Taguchi (19-2-1, 8) and former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-8-1, 23). Taguchi is the only man to have seen the final bell against Naoya Inoue whilst Condes is a big punching Filipino who on't have travelled to Japan to just lose. With that in mind we're really excited about this bout.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout on this show will see the Japanese ranked Yuji Wauke (17-4-1, 8) fighting against Jonel Gadapan (8-6-1, 4). Whilst we're excited about the Taguchi/Condes fight this one sadly looks like a mismatch with Wauke the clear favourite to win against a limited visitor who has been beaten by almost every notable opponent he has faced in his career.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the solid looking show in Japan we also have a card in the Philippines, unfortunately it's a card that appears to have some interesting fighters on it but no interesting bouts with them all pretty much looking like mismatches on paper.
The most notable of the bouts will see recent OPBF Featherweight title challenger Vinvin Rufino (34-16-3, 16) taking on Cristian Abila (11-12-3, 3) in a defence of Rufino's GAB Featherweight title. Although Rufino was no match for Hisashi Amagasa earlier this year we can't see him coming unstuck against the very average Abila who is, at best, a domestic Filipino journeyman. Rufino's "level" probably is at the top end of the Filipino domestic scene and there is nothing wrong with that, we just wish he'd be in with someone a little bit better than Abila.
Rufino may have failed in his attempt to become an OPBF champion earlier this year but the same could not be said of the hard hitting Jonathan Taconing (18-2-1, 15) who claimed the OPBF Light Flyweight title back in March by winning a thriller with compatriot Vergilio Silvano. Sadly Taconing won't be defending his belt here and instead he'll be fighting in a non-title bout at Flyweight as he takes on Thai visitor Nimithra Sithsaithong (4-5, 3) in what is little more than a mismatch. We love Taconing and feel he could be a potential world champion but it'd be nice to see him fighting a much higher level than this.
From what we understand there are 5 other bouts on this card with the most interesting of those being a contest between Glenn Suminguit (12-2, 7), ending a 2 year break from the ring, and the unbeaten Junar Adante (5-0-1, 2). It's not a bout that features a big name but it should prove to be a very good bout and the winner will deserve serious credit.
The most interesting bout outside of Asia, though involving an Asian, is in Mexico where Thai female star Samson Tor Buamas (33-3, 15) takes on the talented Arely Mucino (19-2-2, 10) in a WBC female Flyweight eliminator. The winner of this contest would be set to take on Shindo Go and although we'd have to think Mucino goes in as the favourite Samson has the experience and skills to make life difficult for the Mexican.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will get the chance to see Australian based Filipino Joel Dela Cruz (17-21-2, 7) taking on relative novice Michael Mlacic (8-2-1, 2). Although Dela Cruz is the more experienced of the two men he is without a win since December 2011 and will be going in to this bout trying to avoid a 10th straight loss.
In Germany we have an all-Asian bout as Uzbekistan's Jonny Ibramov (8-5-2, 2) battles against Azerbaijan's Bakhtiyar Iskenderzade (9-4, 2) in a 6 round Light Welterweight bout. We've got to admit this isn't a hugely interesting bout but it's still a bout that does leave us curious about both men despite the potential of both men being pretty limited.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
One of the best things about the second tier Asian shows, especially Japanese ones, are that they tend to be stacked with a number of interesting bouts, often 2 title bouts and one or two notable prospects or ranked challengers. That type of show is what we have several times this coming week in what is one Asian's boxing's best weeks so far.
On Monday we kick off the week with 2 title fights in the Korakuen Hall, as well as bouts involving one of the most famous female fighters in the east and several very promising prospects.
The card will kick off with the promising Ryuto Maekawa (7-0, 4) fighting against a Thai opponent, whose name currently eludes us. Aged just 18 Maekawa is already a well travelled fighter having fought in both Thailand and Japan before finally returning to Japan where he looks likely to make his name.
Although Maekawa made a controversial decision last year to drop out of the Rookie of the Year tournament many are eyeing him as a potential champion and we'd be shocked if he faced a really tough Thai here.
The second bout on the show will feature another unbeaten man in the form of Kazuma Sanpei (9-0, 3) who we believe won the All Japan Rookie of the Year tournament at Super Featherweight last year. The 19 year old Sanpei will be hoping to extend his winning record to double figures as he takes on Thailand's limited Anuntachai Sor Por Lor Krungthep (6-6, 4) in what should be a show case bout.
A third unbeaten fighter will be on show in the card's third bout, this time the hugely popular Tomomi Takano (4-0, 3) who will be facing a Thai opponent in a 6 round bout. Whilst we don't know the name of the Thai we do view this as being a step up for Tomomi who has never been in a bout scheduled for more than 4 rounds. We're lead to believe that her training has been going very well and that we'll seen an improved Tomomi this time out.
The first of the two title fights on the show will see the world ranked Hidenori Otake (21-1-3, 9) in action as he defends his Japanese Super Bantamweight title. Otake has already already notched up 3 defences though will be facing the man he beat to win the title, Takafumi Nakajima (22-6-1, 9) in what looks likely to be a very competitive contest. When the men first met Otake took a split decision and we'd not be shocked to see this being equally as hard fought and competitive.
Following the first title fight we then get a second as OPBF Featherweight champion Hisashi Amagasa (25-4-2, 16) takes on experienced Filipino Vinvin Rufino (34-15-3, 16). On paper this looks like a complete mismatch though in reality Rufino is much better than his record indicates and is the #1 ranked contender for the OPBF title. We do expect the champion to retain though we do know that Rufino is tough and although his record doesn't show it he is heavy handed. This could be a difficult assignment for Amagasa who will likely feel that he should be ready to move into world title fights by the end of this year.
(Picture courtesy of boxmob.jp)