Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
On Monday fight fans in Tokyo will be getting the latest show from Dangan Aoki. The card isn't the biggest, or best, but it is a show that has a number of notable domestic fighters on it, and has several bouts which should be exciting and entertaining.
The main event of the card will see former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-2, 12) fight in his first bout for more than 2 years, as he takes on talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1). The now 33 year old Kimura is the more well known fighter, and the more accomplished, but also someone who has been inactive, with just 3 fights since his 2018 loss to Kosei Tanaka in their instant class, and was last seen in a ring last year, being dropped on his head in a bizarre exhibition event in China. At his best Kimura would be favoured, but we don't know what he has left in the tank. As for Horikawa he's looking to bounce back from a TKO loss to Yudai Shigeoka last year, and the 22 year old really shouldn't be written off after that loss. He's talented, quick and over 8 rounds does have a chance here to score a win that would put his career on the fast track.
In a potentially very fan friendly bout former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) will take on the light punching Kaito Takeshima (6-4-1, 1). Tamura is the much more proven fighter, but the 34 year old he is slowing, and he has been in a host of wars, which do look to be taking their toll on him in recent performances. As for Takeshima, he's 23 and will be looking to use his youth and energy to leave Tamura chasing shadows. Given Tamura has long been a must watch fighter his bouts are always worth tuning in to, but sadly it does feel like this could be his final bout, win or lose.
In another supporting bout Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Ayato Hiromoto (4-1, 2) will be up against Wataru Ikegami (9-6-1, 5), in what should be a really, really good bout. Hiromoto will be looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to current Japanese national champion Kenta Nakagawa, and will know that a win here moves him a step towards a rematch with Nakagawa. Although no world beater he is a talent and will be looking to impress here. As for Ikegami, he has one of the most misleading records in Japan, and is a wonderful fighter to watch, as we've seen in his wins over the likes of Hibiki Jogo and Shion Tamada. This should be a bout where skills are on show, and could turn out to be a high paced chess match.
Talking about high paced we also want to mention the scheduled 8 rounder between Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) and Hiroshi Takaki (6-9-1, 2). Hanamori was last seen in august 2021 when he lost a 3 round war with Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Gakuya Furuhashi, in what was one of the best 3 round bouts in recent years. His style is genuinely must watch, and he'll be looking to show what he can do here against Takaki. We don't expect this one to be competitive, but we do want to see a lot more of Hanamori over the coming years. As for Takaki, the 36 year old has gone 1-5-1 in his last 7, though does tend to play his part in fun action bouts.
Ishikawa Multipurpose Dome, Uruma, Okinawa, Japan
The main show this coming Sunday comes from Okinawa as former world champion Akinobu Hiranaka promotes a show in his local area. Sadly the show isn't a huge one, but it's still got some recognisable names on it, and should prove to be a decent show overall.
The main event will be a 6 rounder between Hiranaka promoted Hiroki Kinjo (5-2, 4) and the experienced Ryuji Ikehara (13-4-1, 7). Aged 22 Kinjo is a promising youngster, a local fighter from Okinawa, sadly however he's a man who needs a win after losing his last two bouts, including one to the then debut Kyotaro Yoshida. He hits hard, he's exciting but he is limited and lacks experience. Ikehara on the other hand has 18 bouts to his name, though he has fought only once in the last 4 years, and it's hard to know what ambition the 36 year old still has for the fight game.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see Naoki Minagawa (0-0) make his debut against the experienced, but limited Toshihiro Kai (6-12-3, 2), in a 6 rounder. As an amateur Minagawa went an incredible 70-17 (36) and is touted as being a very special fighter for Okinawa, who doesn't have a lot of great talent fighting in the local area. If he's as good in the professional game as he was in the amateurs they may well have a star on their hands. Kai on the other hand is steady hand and should ask some questions of the newbie, but isn't expected to be an actual test for Minagawa.
In a potentially mouth watering supporting bout Hikaru Fukunaga (8-2, 5) will take on Dominique Kenshin (6-2, 2). For Fukunaga this will be his first bout since losing to Rentaro Kimura back in June, and he'll be looking to get back to winning ways against someone he should feel confident against. Kenshin on the other hand on the other hand comes in to this following a decent domestic win over Shogo Sakai and will feel like he has the confidence too build on that victory. We're not expecting a show stealer here, but this is likely to be very over-looked as a match up and could easily over-deliver.
On the subject of a bout that could steal the show, the 6 rounder between Ryuku Nagamine (5-2, 5) and Mammoth Kazunori (6-4-1, 6) could well be the bout that leaves fans talking. Neither of these two youngsters are world beaters, or even close. Both have lost their last two. But both throw bombs, both come to fight, and both have the potential to score terrifying KO's. We expect this one to be a serious shoot out. If you're in attendance do not go to the bathroom during this one, or there is real chance you'll miss something very special. Of the two men Kazunori should be seen as the favourite, but Nagamine is dangerous and will be throwing bombs of his own.
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the show in Okinawa there will also be one in Tokyo, with this one being held under the Fighting Spirit banner, and being promoted by the Hachioji Nakaya Boxing gym.
The card isn't a big one, but is an interesting one with a very well matched main event between two JBC ranked fighters. The bout in question will see JBC ranked Super Flyweight Musashi Yoshino (10-6, 4) taking on ranked Bantamweight Wataru Ikegami (9-5-1, 5). On paper neither of these men are outstanding, but in fairness to both men, they are much better than their records suggest. Yoshino comes into this bout on the back of a solid win over Shunpei Kubo back in July, and he's 4-2 since the start of 2010, with his only clear loss in that time coming to the excellent Ryusei Kawaura. Ikegami on the other hand is a joy to watch, and could easily have an 11-3-1 record, had luck gone his way. Interestingly Ikegami has scored stoppages in 3 of his last 4 wins and appears to be developing belief in his power.
Another, potentially, exciting clash will see the flawed but fun to watch Ryugo Ushijima (5-2-2, 3) take on Taison Mukaiyama (5-2, 3) in the chief support bout. The hard hitting Ushijima is an awkward, gangly fighter, who looks uncoordinated at times, but makes for fun fights due to his flaws. Mukaiyama on the other hand has shown himself to be something of a glass cannon, with 4 of his bouts ending in the first round. Interestingly these two fought back in November 2019, with Mukaiyama giving Ushijima his first loss, and it's fair to say the 20 year old will be wanting to avenge that loss here.
This coming Monday is a really great day for fight fans wanting to watch some Japanese action with two free shows being made available through the promoters YouTube channel.
Amagasaki Cultural Center, Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan
The more notable the shows will be streamed on the Boxing Real YouTube channel, and it's a pretty interesting show overall, even if it lacks major names.
The main event will see once touted prospect Rikito Shiba (4-1, 2) return to the ring for the first time since being stopped in a Japanese Light Flyweight title fight by Masamichi Yabuki, back in December 2019. The talented 25 year old will be dipping his toes at Flyweight as he takes on the experienced Hideyuki Watanabe (8-13-3, 6). On paper this is a clear mismatch, but given Shiba's confidence destroying loss to Yabuki, the 18 month lay off and the move up in weight it might not be the foregone conclusion that it looks. Watanabe, although no world beater, is a 36 year old veteran who has ran some solid domestic fighters very close in a number of his losses, including Takuya Kogawa, Naoki Mochizuki, Ryuto Oho and Yusuke Sakashita, giving him one of the most misleading records in the sport. Watanabe is expected to lose, but we expect him to give Chiba a genuine test.
The brilliantly named Condor Inaba (7-5-1, 3) looks to make a successful return to the ring himself, following a lengthy lay off, as he takes on light punching Yuga Inoue (10-2-1, 1). Inaba hasn't fought since October 2019, and although not a star in the making the 26 year old will be desperate to pick up his next win and get back on track. In the opposite corner is Inoue, no relation to Naoya and Takuma, who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017 but came undone against Kai Ishizawa and has moved through the weights ever since. Inoue is the more talented fighter, but we do worry for him here as he will be giving away quite a bit of size to Inaba.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will see Hibiki Jogo (10-3, 5) take on Wataru Ikegami (8-5-1, 5). It's fair to say that international fans will not be too aware of these two men, but both are fan friendly fighters, who are happy to let their shots go, and their styles should gel really well. Jogo is a 27 year old who was last seen losing in a competitive bout to Tatsuya Takahashi and although not the biggest or strongest fighter he does have the desire to be involved in exciting contests. Ikegami on the other hand is one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport, with an eye pleasing aggressive style. He seemed to find his groove last time out, against Shion Tamada, and he'll want to build on that performance, which was genuinely very impressive. This one really could be a show stealer.
One other bout worthy of some attention will see Hyogo Kimura (6-2-1, 1), who lost in the All Japan final of the Rookie of the Year back in February, taking on the debuting Goki Kobayashi (0-0). Kimura was unfortunate in the Rookie of the Year, and his bout with Ryota Karimata was one of the best bouts on the show. He proved himself to be tough, skilled, and at 20 years old incredibly promising. Kobayashi on the other hand is a 22 year old debutant who fought more than 30 bouts as an amateur and picked up more than 20 wins. Hard to know much about how good Kobayashi is, but in all honest we're glad to see more of Kimura.
Arena Tachikawa Tachihi , Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
The other Japanese show will come from Tachikawa, and is also expected to be live streamed on the promoters YouTube channel. This is a much smaller show, but is a good example of a Japanese style "small hall" show. None of the bouts are high profile, or feature anyone with exceptionally high ceilings, but the contests should be well matched competitive bouts.
The main event will be a rematch between Shinnosuke Saito (8-3, 2) and Hokuto Matsumoto (6-4, 1), who battled late last year in a very competitive 8 rounder. Last time around Saito took a razor thin split decision and we expect a super close bout again here. Coming in to this Saito is riding a 5 fight winning run and certainly has some momentum on his side, whilst Matsumoto is struggling for form with just a single win in his last 4, however given how competitive their first bout Matsumoto will come into this believing he can pick up the win.
In the chief support bout the light punching Yoshiki Yamashita (7-3) will be up against the JBC ranked Hizuki Saso (12-7-2, 4). Coming in to this Yamashita does have some momentum, having won 3 of his last 4, and the 23 year old will know that a win here would put him on the domestic map and help him secure a JBC ranking. As for Saso this will be his first fight since being stopped by Masataka Taniguchi, in what was a Japanese title fight last year. Whilst this is not a huge bout, we do expect it to be a very competitive one.
Another former Japanese title challenger on this show is Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-3, 9), who is in dire need of a win having gone 1-3-1 in his last 5. Whilst Ikeda is a former Japanese title challenger he will probably be the under-dog here, as he takes on the heavy handed Hayato Ono (8-4, 8). Kato is a stop or be stopped fighter, and he will be looking to bomb out Ikeda and get his own career back on track. We are not expecting high level boxing here and we're also not expecting the judges to be needed.
One final bout worthy of note for those tuning in is a match up between Dominique Kenshin (5-2, 2) and Shogo Sakai (7-6-3, 5). Kenshin reached the East Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, and whilst not a great fighter the 20 year old has got ambitions to compete at the domestic title scene. He is a crude heavy handed, and chinny fighter so his fights are always worth tuning in to. Sakai is also heavy handed, but hasn't been seen in the ring since 2017, and now aged 32 he can ill afford any more set backs with his career.
The One Boxing Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
As well as the action in Japan we're also set to get a small show in South Korea. The main event here will see Kook Min Moon (7-1-1, 5) battle against Tae Sun Kim (5-1-1, 2) for the KBM Super Featherweight title. For both men this is a huge opportunity to win their first title, though it feels like it's a bigger chance for the 21 year old Moon who is more active than Kim and appears to be the man with more ambition in the sport. Saying that however a win for Kim would see him being given a massive boost and potentially begin his move towards bigger and better international fights.