This coming Monday isn't the busiest day in Asian boxing this month, but still features two title bouts and a notable debut.
The most interesting of the action comes from the ever popular Korakuen Hall where we get the interesting debut and a Japanese Welterweight title fight.
That title fight will see the big punching Toshio Arikawa (13-4, 11) battle against veteran Yasuhiro Okawa (14-12-3, 5). On paper this looks like a mismatch but for Arikawa, who has really come into his own in recent bouts, the contest serves as both his first defense and a chance to avenge a prior loss to Okawa. On paper Okawa will be the clear under-dog but with a win over Arikawa he'll be confident of doing the same here, and he will also be hoping it's second time lucky after losing a really competitive decision to Nobuyuki Shindo for the vacant title earlier this year. This really could be a very fun bout and one that will be a treat for the fans in attendance.
The debut of interest on the card will be that of Ryusei Kawaura (0-0), who begins his career in a 6 rounder against Thailand's Thepyothin Sithdabnid (0-3).This should be an easy introductory win for Kawaura, a new member of the Kawashima gym.
The other title bout comes form the Philippines and will see Jayson Rotoni (14-16-1, 8) battle Geboi Mansalayao (10-23-5, 4) for the interim Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Flyweight title. We'll admit this isn't a great match up, and both men have gone 1-5 in their last, but at least it looks winnable for both men and as a result we could end up with a fun contest here, and the belt might drive both on to give that little bit more.
Finally, it seems, Japanese action is picking up with the second title bout with in a week and a second card of note to begin the year.
The second Japanese title fight of the year comes just days after the first, which saw Hiroki Okada retain the Japanese 140lb title, this time we see a bout for a vacant title and, on paper, it's a mismatch. The bout in question sees former title challenger Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3-1, 6) battle against the experienced Yasuhiro Okawa (14-11-3, 5), who is set for his first title bout. On paper this is a huge mismatch but Okawa is better than his record suggests and has improved drastically from his 7-9-3 (2) start to professional life. Saying that however it's hard to see Shindo losing given how impressive he was in a Japanese title bout last year.
In the main support bout we see a former world champion in action as former WBC Flyweight kingpin Sonny Boy Jaro (42-13-5, 30) takes on Japanese ranked fight Yusuke Suzuki (6-2, 4), in what looks to be a very tough ask for Suzuki. Interestingly Jaro was once 0-3 in Japan though after a pair of wins in the “Land of the Rising Sun” last year he could level his record in the country with a win over Suzuki. For the 27 year old Japanese fighter this is an opportunity to score a big win, but he will be the huge under-dog.
Another supporting bout here will see former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-11, 12) take on Hideo Mikan (7-10-1, 2) in a must win bout for both men. Fuchigami, best known for being stuffed by Gennady Golovkin, has lost 4 of his last 5, with the last 2 both being stoppages. He needs a top performances here against Mikan, who has lost his last 3. Given that both will view this as a real opportunity we could end up with a very fun fight here.
One final under-card bout of note will see former Rookie of the year Hisao Narita (9-3, 4) take on Japanese based Colombian Elfelos Vega (5-2, 3). Both fighters were beaten last time out and know that a win here will give them something to build on, but it's fair to say that Narita will come into the bout as the favourite.