Action really begins to pick up this coming weekend with a host of fights taking place that are worthy of attention. We get the first televised Japanese card of the year, the first televised Korean card of the year and the first world title fight involving an Asian of the year.
The Japanese card, which will be aired live on G+ as part of their Dynamic Glove series, is an interesting card with a fantastic main event and two notable fighters in supporting bouts.
Tha main event looks set to be a genuine shoot out as Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) defends his Japanese Middleweight title against Japanese national champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11). Whilst Takesako's title isn't on the line we still see this as being a very special and explosive bout between two hard hitters each out to make a statement. We do not expect this one to go the distance, and instead we expect bombs to be fired off until one man ends up being saved by the referee. It might be a short bout, it might be a long one, but with the power of the two men combined this is going to be a brutal for as long as it lasts. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hosokawa and Takesako battle in clash of champions
In the chief support bout we'll see former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (15-1-1, 9) make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title, as he takes on Chinese challenger Cheng Su (14-2-1, 8). Although this looks interesting on paper, with both men having similar looking records, we really can't see it being anything more than an easy defense for Inoue. Footage of Su shows him to be a slow, open and clumsy fighter and Inoue's pressure should grind him down in the middle rounds. Anything other than a stoppage for the champion should be seen as disappointing for a man who will be hoping to get a second world title fight in the near future. Our preview of this fight can be read here Takeshi Inoue takes on Cheng Su in WBO Asia Pacific title defense
Also on this card will be unbeaten prospect Takuma Takahashi (4-0, 4), who looks for his 5th straight win as he takes on Filipino journeyman Leonardo Doronio (17-17-3, 11). The talented Takahashi is likely to be looking at title fights by the end of 2020, and already holds a win over recent OPBF title challenger Sitthidet Banti, and this seems an easy first bout of the year. Doronio was once a capable Lightweight, and scored good wins against Al Rivera and Burning Ishii among others, but has gone 3-8-1 (2) in his last 12 and shouldn't be competing at Welterweight, a weight that really doesn't suit him.
We get more title action in Mexico, as WBC "interim" female Light Flyweight champion Kenia Enriquez (22-1, 9) defends her title against Japanese challenger Chaoz Minowa (6-2, 5). For Minowa this is a must win after coming up short in 2 previous world title bouts, and given her amateur reputation if Minowa does fail to claim some version of a world title it would be regarded as a huge achievement. Sadly for Minowa we've been very impressed by what we've seen of the technically sound Enriquez, who will be expecting to notch her 4th defense of the WBC interim title. We've previewed this bout here Chaoz Minowa returns to Mexico to face WBC interim queen Kenia Enqiruez!
Jeonju, South Korea
Back in Asia we also get an interesting card in South Korea, featuring 5 title bouts! These are 3 WBA Asia title bouts and 2 KBM title bouts.
One of those WBA Asia title bouts will see the heavy handed Yang Hyun Min (8-3, 7) take on Italian born Australian Danilo Creati (4-0, 1) for the WBA Asia Middleweight title. For Min this is a second regional title fight, after he gave Yuki Nonaka a surprisingly tough test last September in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout. Min is no world beater, but he hits hard, takes a short and is aggressive. As for Creati this will be a notable step up in class for the unbeaten Australian and will be his first bout in Asia. This could be a very interesting clash of styles.
In a WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title fight the unbeaten Min Jang (9-0-2, 2) will take on limited Chinese foe Junhui Zhao (4-5-2 1). Jang is a former Korean Super Flyweight champion but is said to have out grown the 115lb weight class and the 19 year old is expected to make a splash, at least domestically, at Super Bantamweight. Zhao will be a clear under-dog here, but should make for a good foil for the local hopeful.
The most interesting of the WBA Asia title bouts comes at Super Flyweight where former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-5-2, 5) take on once beaten Korean Woo Hyun Kim (8-1, 1). The local, a former "interim" PABA Bantamweight champion, has fought just once in the last 3 years, but that was a win against the previously mentioned Junhui Zhao, and he'll feel confident of picking up a career best win here. Nakayama on the other hand is 1-3-1 in his last 5 and has not looked good recent performances. Nakayama needs a win to keep his career alive, but we wouldn't be surprised at all if this was a third straight defeat for him.
The KBM title bout which has caught our attention sees all action Han Bin Suh (5-0-3, 4) defending his KBM Super Middleweight title against former amateur standout Dong Myung Shin (2-0). Suh really caught our attention last year, with the 19 year old going 2-0-2 for the year and being involved in some sensational bouts. Although not the most polished of fighters he did give us the vibe of being an old school Korean fighter. Shin is a talented fighter, and was a very experienced amateur turning professional, but with his 32nd birthday coming in March his best years are likely behind him. Interestingly when this bout was first announced Korean sources stated that if Suh won he would be chasing an OPBF title fight with Hiroaki Teshigawara later in the year, in what would be a massive step up in class.
The other KBM title fight takes place at Super Featherweight and will see unbeaten Korean based Kyrgyzstan fighter Urmat Amankulov (4-0-2, 3) battle against Seung Yoon Shin (4-3-3, 2) for the vacant title. Shin has scored 1 win in his last 3 and it would be a genuine surprise if he was competitive with Amankulov.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
One more Asian show of note will come from the Philippines, where we get some low level action.
In one of the most noteworthy bouts on this card the once beaten 21 year old local Michael Mendoza (10-1-2, 3) will battle Indonesian journeyman Stevanus Nana Bau (10-12-2, 2), with the two men trading blows for the lightly regarded WBF International Flyweight title. Coming in to this Mendoza has won 5 in a row since his soul defeat, to Arvin Magramo, almost 2 years ago and appears to be building some genuine momentum. Bau on the other hand has lost 4 of his last 6 and is win-less outside of Indonesia, with an 0-8 record on the road. Fair to say we're not expecting much of Bau here.
The only other bout of note here will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (25-3-1, 20) end a lengthy break from the ring to take on Benny Tamaela (4-9-1, 1) in an 8 rounder. Although Sabaupan hasn't fought since November 2016, when he was stopped by Jheritz Chavez, he'll be strongly favoured here. Tamaela is a 36 year old who has 1 win since the start of 2016 and is 2-9-1 in his last 12. An easy comeback for Sabaupan.
The activity of the weekend continues on Sunday with 3 Japanese cards as well as a show in the Philippines and one in Korea.
The best of 3 Japanese cards this Sunday comes from Ishikawa and features several notable fighters taking on Venezuelan visitors.
In the main event fight fans will see Hurricane Futa (21-6-1, 12), fresh off his upset win over Will Tomlinson back in August, face off against Luis Araguayan (12-9, 7). Futa's win over Tomlinson will have filled him with a lot of confidence coming in to this one but the visitor is better than his record suggests and he managed top give Shinya Iwabuchi a tough test before being stopped in 7 rounds last year.
In the chief support bout fans will see world ranked Filipino Genesis Servania (27-0, 11) battled against the heavy handed and tough Alexander Espinoza (11-7-1, 10). Servania hasn't actually had a fight since last December, but has stayed sharp with sparring sessions along side the Inoue brothers, and should be favoured here. Saying that however Espinoza is a puncher and is genuine tough having gone the distance with former world champions Jhonathan Romero and Jorge Solis in his last 2 bouts.
In a third bout of note Suoer Bantamweight Jonathan Baat (31-7-5, 14) faces Iwier Henriquez (9-8-1, 4) in what should serve as a tune up for Baat ahead of his October 22nd bout with Yusaku Kuga in the Strongest Korakuen. Baat's record may not show it but he's a really talented fighter and shouldn't have any problems with his Venezuelan foe who has lost his last 4, including a decision to Keyvin Lara, and is naturally a Super Flyweight.
In Osaka we get the Rookie of the West finals. The card, in total, features 10 bouts but 3 genuinely stand out as being mouth watering.
The first of those is the Minimumweight bout which will see Shintaro Ryuko (3-0, 1) face off against Daiki Tomita (5-0, 1) in a brilliant match up between two young fighters looking to take a huge step in their careers. Tomita, aged 18, is the younger man but he is the more experienced fighter whilst the older man himself is only 21. With both fighters being really young they have a lot of potential and could just be a few bouts away from a Japanese ranking, with that in mind both will put it all on the line here.
At Super Featherweright the 22 year old Shu Takeuchi (3-0, 2) will facing 23 year old Ryuji Ueda (5-0) in another bout between unbeaten fighters. Takeuchi definitely has the edge in power but Ueda is much more experienced with 20 rounds, as compared to Takeuchi's 11 rounds.
The best of the fights is at Super Flyweight, and is the only 5 rounder on the card. The bout will see the teenager Kenta Nomura (4-0, 1) face off with fellow teen Kota Fujimoto (4-0, 1). Not only are both fighters teens but both have identical records and very similar amount of career rounds. Whilst Super Flyweight is one of the deepest divisions in Japan we wouldn't be surprised to see both of these men in the Japanese rankings in the future.
In Nagasaki fight fans will be able to see ting return of 35 year old puncher Aozora Nishida (12-2-2, 11), who ends an almost 6 year break from the ring, to face Shota Yamaguchi (13-3, 8). At his best Nishida was a genuinely promising fighter, and was last seen stopping Kota Fukuoka, but given his age and inactivity he probably won't be the same fighter he was. Yamaguchi has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 but given his activity and freshness compared to Nishida he may well be to out last the veteran here.
Surigao del Norta, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will see Renoel Pael (19-4-1, 9) face off against Rogen Flores (14-31-6, 7) in a bout for the PBF Super Flyweight title. For Pael, who will clearly be the favourite, the bout should see an end to a 3 fight losing streak, which has included losses to Go Oanaga and Suguru Muranaka in Japan along with a defeat in an OPBF Flyweight title fight against Ardin Diale. Given Pael's recent losses however Flores may see this as a great chance to pick up a major upset.
There will also be action in South Korea, action that is set to be streamed over youtube.
The main event here is a PABA Bantamweight title bout between defending champion Woo Hyun Kim (6-1, 1) [김우현] and Jong Min Jung (7-7, 2). This is one of two title bouts on the card with a Korean Cruiserweight title bout also on the show.
In Russia fight fans will get the chance to see Kyrgyzstan's Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (1-0, 1) fight in his second professional bout.