This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for fans of Asian fighters with 3 different world title bouts featuring Asian fighters taking place on 3 continents. Not only do we have 3 world title bouts but we also get a bout featuring a former world champion and a fighter returning after more than 6 years out of the ring.
BT Sport Studio, Stratford, London, United Kingdom
The most interesting of the world title bouts comes from London, England, where Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13), aka Apinun Khongsong, will challenger IBF and WBA Light Welterweight champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12). The Thai enters as the IBF mandatory title challenger, having earned that shot last year, but he will be regarded as a huge under-dog against the very talent Scottish world champion. For the Thai the bout is a massive step up in class, and despite stopping Akihiro Kondo last year there is still a lot of questions for him to answer. As for Taylor he is regarded by many as the #1 in the division and comes into this on the back of his victory over Regis Prograis in the WBSS final last October. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Thai takes on unified champion Taylor!
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
The second most notable world title fight will see WBO Bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero (29-4, 20) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Duke Micah (24-0, 19) in the US. Originally the plan had been for Casimero to take on Naoya Inoue, to unify the WBO, IBF and WBA titles, but due to the on going situation the two men have gone in different directions. That opened the door for this bout with Casimero taking on the relatively unknown Micah. For Casimero this is a chance to build on his 2019 upset win over Zolani Tete, when he stopped the South African in the UK to claim his title, whilst Micah will be looking to make his mark on the highest level and adding some quality to quite a weak record. Although Casimero will be the favourite he is inconsistent and the last few months have been very frustrating ones for him, so this could end up being more interesting than many predict. Our full preview of this can be read here Casimero defends against the unbeaten Micah
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
In Hyogo we get a card from Shinsei who don't just have a world title bout on the card, but also two interesting support bouts. For those wanting to watch this show it will be streamed on BOXING REAL.
The main event of the card will see former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-2, 9) take on Takashi Igarashi (13-4, 5). This will be Kubo's first since being stopped by Can Xu last year and it's fair to say that he can't afford any more losses if he's to get another world title fight. Thankfully for him this is actually a very winnable contest, where he should be favoured. Although Igarashi has a similar looking record to Kubo he was beaten last time out by Toshiya Yokogawa, who had more losses than wins, and that bout was almost 2 years ago. Igarashi has been in active and hasn't scored a single win of any real note.
The world title bout here is actually the co-feature and will see WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) defending her title against fellow Japanese fighter Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1). Iwakawa won the title in July 2018, when she beat Nao Ikeyama, but sadly hasn't defended it, due to a lack of challengers. Now, more than 2 years on, the 37 year old looks to extend her reign and finally get a defense under her belt. For Suzuki this is a shot that she should feel fortunate to get given that just 18 months ago she did lose to the then 2-0 Eri Matsuda. Thankfully for the challenger she has picked up a couple of wins since then and has done enough to earn a shot at a champion who really needed a challenger. At the age of 28 this could be a case of right time, right place for Suzuki. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Iwakawa defends WBO title against Suzuki.
One other bout on this card worthy of a mention will be the ring return of Kohei Oba (36-3-1, 14), more than 6 years after his last bout. The former Japanese Bantamweight champion will be up against 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) in a 6 rounder. At his best Oba, dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya" would be very strongly favoured, but having bout of the ring for so long we really do wonder what he has left in the tank here. Sadly for Minato since winning Rookie of the Year he has gone 0-2 and and he is the naturally smaller man, being a natural Flyweight. This is really a case of "what does Oba have left?" If he's 80% of the fighter he once was he should take a win, but 6 years out is a very, very long time.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the Japanese we also get an interesting bout in Thailand where Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) will take on veteran Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-6, 10) in a rematch between the two men who fought in 2018. Originally Atchariya was supposed to face teenage sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 5), but sadly Phoobadin was injured and has been replaced by Kaewfah. Whilst this bout does give Kaewfah a chance to avenge his 2018 loss it should be noted that Atchariya has got a point to make, following a wrongful arrest in 2019, and could be out there to make statement and get something off his chest.
This coming Monday isn't a huge day for boxing, but there is still a lot of action in Osaka prefecture, with 2 cards taking place in the region, with a combined 4 title bouts!
The most significant bout from those two cards takes place in Osaka city and will see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) making his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The Japanese veteran, who vacated the OPBF title in the hope of moving towards a world title fight, will be defending the WBO regional title as he takes on South Korean Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) in what is expected to be little more than a work out for Nonaka. The highly skilled Nonaka is a very smart fighter who, even in his 40's, is a very talented and driven boxer who has made it clear he's still chasing goals in hi career. Min on the other hand is a bit of an unknown outside of Korea, and he's not expected to have much to test Nonaka, though has shown pretty heavy hands on the Korean domestic scene. For those interested in more information about this bout a preview can be read here Preview - Yuki Nonaka Vs Yang Hyun Min
The other title bout on this card will see youngsters collide, with Joe Shiraishi (8-0-1, 4) and Yoshiki Minato (8-2, 3) facing off for the Japanese Youth Flyweight title. Shiraishi came to our attention in 2017 when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, beating Minato along the way in fact, and has since added two stoppage wins since then. Sadly inactivity has been an issue for him but he is a really youngster. Of course he's not the only talented youngster here and Minato will be seeking revenge for his 2017 loss, however he comes into this on the back of an opening round blow out loss to Seigo Yuri Akui back in April. Incidentally Minato won the All Japan Rookie of the Year himself in 2018, meaning this is a clash of Rookie champions. A full preview of this bout can be read here Shiraishi and Minato rematch for Youth title!
Another interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rikuto Adachi (12-2, 9) and Change Hamashima (10-4-1, 4) battle at Welterweight. Both men really need a win here, following recent losses, and interestingly both have also lost recently to Kudura Kaneko. Adachi was stopped in 5 rounds by Kaneko, who simply over-powered him, whilst Hamashima has lost 2 decisions to Kaneko and was also stopped in 7 rounds last time out by Masaharu Kaito. It's really hard to see where the loser goes next, but the winner will likely find themselves working towards a Japanese Youth title bout.
Staying in Osaka Prefecture, though going from Osaka City to Sakai City, we get another notable card with double title action on it, albeit on a less interesting card than the other card.
Like the other card the main event is a WBO Asia Pacific title fight, though this time it's down at Light Flyweight where the once beaten Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) takes on Hayato Yamaguchi (15-7-1, 2) for the vacant title. Tomita, who turns 22 in November, impressed us last year when he put up a brave effort against Tsuaba Koura in an OPBF title fight. Tomita impressed again last time out, blowing away Jeffrey Galero and we do suspect his move to 108lbs will be a good decision for his career. For Yamaguchi this is just his second bout since being stopped in October 2016 by Tetsuya Hisada, and we do wonder he has left in the tank at the moment in time. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Tomita and Yamaguchi face off for WBO Asia Pacific title!
In a notable supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Shingo Kawamura (16-5-2, 8) taking on the light hitting Jin Miura (10-3-2, 1). Coming in to this Kawamura is well over a year removed from his last win, which came back on April 28th 2018, and another set back here really will leave the 29 year old Southpaw in an terrible position if he's wanting to get another shot at gold any time soon. Although no world beater Miura is unbeaten in his last 3, including a notable draw against Mugicha Nakagawa and an upset win over Tatsuya Matsumoto, and a win here will move him towards a title fight of his own. A really interesting one, even if it's not likely to be the most explosive.
A second title bout on this show will see Tomoko Okuda (5-2-1, 1) take on the fast rising Kanako Taniyama (2-0, 1) in a bout for the JBC female Bantamweight title. This will probably be the only chance that the 36 year old Okuda has to win a notably bout whilst Taniyama will be looking to prove her move over from kick boxing to boxing has been a success. At 2 years old Taniyama is no spring chicken but her combat sport experience is expected to be a launch pad to help her move into world title action sooner rather than later. If Taniyama is what the Watanabe gym are hoping for she needs to win, and win big here. A preview of this bout can be read here Taniyama and Okuda battle for female Bantamweight title!
There's plenty of action set to take place this coming Sunday, even if the quality of that action isn't the best.
For us the most notable card of the day takes place in Okayama, and will be available on demand on Boxing Raise.
The main event of the card will see the talented pairing of Seigo Yuri Akui (12-2-1, 8) and Yoshiki Minato (8-1, 3) meet in a brilliantly matched bout. We like Akui a lot, he's fun to watch, hard hitting and aggressive, but has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, and is certainly not an unbeatable fighter despite having real sting on his punches. Akui has already had success, winning the 2015 Rookie of the Year, and picked up solid wins over Kenji Ono, Ryuto Oho and Masamichi Yabuki, but he really cannot afford another loss at this point. Minato is less well known, but is riding a 4 fight winning run, which lead him to winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year. This could end up being the bout of the day.
Another potential contender for the bout of the day will see Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Tetsu Araki (13-1-1, 2) make his first defense, and take on the unbeaten Atsushi Takada (6-0-3, 3), in what we're expecting will be a technical war. Neither of these guys is a huge puncher, but both are talented, skilled youngsters each looking to make their name. We're expecting a very, very good fight here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Araki and Takada battle for Youth Crown!
A second Japanese show comes from Gifu, where we'll see a rising hopeful take on a recent OPBF title challenger, looking to get his career back on track. Coming in both men need a win.
The match up will see 20 year old Ruito Saeki (7-2, 1) take on Shingo Kawamura (16-5-1, 8). Saeki was last seen in October, losing to former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi. That losses ended a 4 fight winning run for Saeki, who's other loss came in the 2016 West Japan Rookie of the Year final. Kawamura on the other hand has been stopped in his last 2 bouts, coming up short to Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF title fight and Reiya Abe. For Kawamura this really is a must win, with a third straight loss likely ending his hopes of getting another major any time soon. For Saeki this is a great chance to get his career back on track a hiccup last time out. A very interesting bout.
Seoul, South Korea
Staying in Asia we also get a title double header from Korea, though if we're being totally honest neither looks to be an amazing match up despite national titles being on the line.
One of the title bouts will see Doo Hyup Kim (10-6-2, 5) make his second defense of the KBM Korean Light Middleweight title, as he takes on unbeaten foe Tae Yun Baek (3-0-1, 1). The 38 year old Kim won the title last year, when he over-came Boo Hyun Baek, but was lucky in his first defense, when he retained with a defense against Kun Woo Kang. Baek , the 27 year old challenger, has never been scheduled for more than 6 rounds, so this is a massive step up in class, but he will go in with the confidence of an unbeaten fighter.
The other title clash will be for the vacant KBM Korean Super Bantamweight title and will pit the unbeaten Han Bin Suh (3-0-2, 2) against Dae Young Lee (2-9-2). The unbeaten fighter is a 19 year old hopeful, who has drawn his last 2, and never featured in a bout longer than 6 rounds. Lee, who has won just 2 of 13 fights, is 40 years old and is 1-6-2 in his last 9. It's hard to say anything positive about this bout.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
It's sad to say that ALA have had a quiet year, the once dominant force in Filipino boxing has all but vanished this year with nothing major having happened, and not on the visible horizon. Their one highlight for the coming weeks will see former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (15-4, 9) travel to South Africa to take on Athenkosi Dumezweni (11-2, 8) in a bout for the WBC silver Super Flyweight title. Sultan is a real talent, one of many talented fighters under the ALA banner, but he's not very exiting and his last 3 bouts, including a loss to Jerwin Ancajas, haven't left great lasting memories. It's alays been hard to pick up a win in South Africa and given Sultan's recent performances he may not do enough to impress the local judges here. Dumezweni doesn't appear to be the next hidden gem of South African boxing, but he can hit and will be strongly supported here.