September 11th-Iwata and Shiba battle for Japanese title, Beppu and Nagano face off
This coming Saturday looked like it could be an interesting one for fans of Asian fighters, though sadly a number of bouts being cancelled turned what was a good looking weekend into a pretty ordinary one. Despite that we do still have quite a few fights to look forward to.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
With the planned IBF Flyweight title bout between Sunny Edwards (16-0, 4) and Jayson Mama (16-0, 9) falling through in the middle of the week the real focus for us is Tokyo, ad we get the latest show in the Dynamic Glove series of shows. This card features a Japanese title fight, a Japanese title eliminator and an interesting test for a novice professional.
The main event is the aforementioned title bout, which will see the once beaten Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3) clash with the touted Shokichi Iwata (6-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title. The title became vacant a few weeks ago when Masamichi Yabuki, the one man to have beaten Shiba, vacated it to focus on his up coming WBC world title fight with Kenshiro Teraji and we've been left with this really interesting match up as a result. Of the two men Shiba is the slightly more proven as a professional, having scored the better wins and shared the ring with Yabuki, but Iwata has long been seen as a special talent following a very good run in the unpaid ranks, and he will enter as the favourite here. Despite the fact both men have only got 6 bouts to their name both are regarded highly, both were solid amateurs and both will be feeling they have the tools to not just win the Japanese title but to go much, much further in the coming years. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Iwata and Shiba clash for Japanese title!
In the chief support bout we'll see former Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (18-3, 14) take on former WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-2-1, 20) in a rematch of a clash the men had in 2018, when Nagano gave Beppu his first loss. Since their first bout both men went on the achieve their biggest success, with both winning titles, but both half also suffered recent stoppage losses and it's probably fair to say that neither man is quite the same fight that they were when they first faced off. We expect bombs to be thrown here, though it's a very, very hard bout to predict. Notably the winner of this will land a Japanese Welterweight title fight at the 2022 edition of the Champion Carnival.
The third bout of note on this card will see Goki Kobayashi (1-0, 1) take on Hayato Aoki (4-1, 3) in a very, very interesting match up. Kobayashi made his debut earlier this year, stopping the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up Hyogo Kimura. The hope is that he can be moved incredibly quickly, and taking on Aoki this early in his career is a good chance for him to prove himself. Aoki on the other hand will be desperate to rebuild following his first loss, which came this past June.
As well the action in Japan we'll also see a number of Central Asian hopefuls in action in action in Russia.
One of the Asian fighters on this card is once beaten Kazakh fighter Stanislav Kalitskiy (11-1, 4), who takes on unbeaten Russian foe Ruslan Kamilov (10-0-1, 5). The 24 year old Kalitskiy was beaten 2 fights ago, but bounced back in March this year when he stopped Dmitrii Khasiev, and he will be looking to add another win here as he looks to get his career back on track. Whilst Kalitskiy is coming in on the back of a good win Kamilov is on a string of them, including a stoppage win over former world title challenger Evgeny Chuprakov back in March.
Unbeaten Tajik hopeful Asror Vokhidov (9-0, 5) will be looking for his 10th successive win as he takes on Mukhammad Shekhov (9-0-1, 3). This is a really well matched bout, and whilst neither man is heading towards a world title fight any time soon, this should still be a very, very interesting one.
Another Tajik fighter on this card is world ranked Super Featherweight Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (17-0, 9), who will be looking to defend his WBC International Super Featherweight title against Cristian Palma (31-10-2, 7). The talented Yaqubov is banging on the door of a world title fight, and is being matched relatively softly here in what looks like a bit of a stay busy bout rather than a genuine test. Palma, from Chile, is experienced but shouldn't be any sort of a problem here for the talented Tajik.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we're at Korakuen Hall for title action in what is a very easy to over-look event, but one that has several very interesting match ups on it including a huge regional title unification bout, and a bout between two talented novices each looking to take huge strides forward with their careers.
That novice bout will see former amateur standouts clash as Junya Shimada (0-0) makes his debut and takes on Shigetoshi Kotari (2-0, 1). Although it's his professional debut there are huge things expected from Shimada, who is tipped as a future face of the Teiken Gym and a future world title contender. Kotari turned professional with a decent amount of hype himself, but a disappointing performance against Motosuke Kimura last time out did see some of that hype die down. Here we're expecting a highly skilled and very competitive bout, and the winner will almost certainly be pushed quickly towards a title fight. As for the loser, it's early days and they will not be written off.
The bout on this show will see the once touted Junpei Tsujimoto (7-2-3, 5) take on Hideo Mikan (9-13-2, 2) in what looks like a total mismatch, but could be a very dramatic bout. The talented Tsujimoto is very much a man who has a questionable chin and he was stopped 2 fights ago, and was almost stopped last year as well, in a remarkable bout with Daiki Ogura. Despite having won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2018 his career really has not kicked on. Mikan on the other hand is a limited fighter, but comes into this unbeaten in his last 3 and will be looking to build a little bit more momentum with his career. Sadly for Mikan he had lost 6 in a row before his current unbeaten run.
In the chief support we'll see a very interesting match up as Japanese ranked Welterweight Masaya Tamayama (13-2, 7) takes on WBO Asia Pacific ranked Light Middleweight Hisashi Kato (10-9-2, 6). On paper this looks like a one sided bout, with Tamayama the clear favourite, and he certainly has momentum on his side going 9-1 (4) in his last 10. Kato however isn't the push over his record suggests and he can spring the upset and has faced a string of very good domestic fighters. This could be genuinely well contested, though obviously Tamayama will go in as the favourite.
The main event is a potential Japanese fight of the Year contender as Ryota Toyoshima (13-2-1, 8) the OPBF Welterweight champion takes on WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-1-1, 20) in a regional unification bout that promises so much. Toyoshima won his title earlier this year and showed himself to be a tough, aggressive fighter with clear technical limitations but a good work rate, good power and a good chin. Beppu on the other hand is a monstrous puncher, with very heavy hands, under-rated boxing skills and a shaky chin, but incredible powers of recover, as we saw against Ryota Yada in 2019. Given the styles of the two men this should be an all out war, and one that really could see both men being dropped, multiple times. If you can tune in to this one live, on G+, you're in for a genuine treat. The only real shame is that Beppu has been inactive for over a year coming in to this. Our full, in depth, preview of this one can be read here Beppu and Toyoshima clash to unify regional titles!
Lokomotiv Arena, Novosibirsk, Russia
As well as the Japanese show we also have an event in Russia featuring some Central Asian hopefuls.
One of the notable hopefuls on this show is talented Kazakh Bek Nurmaganbet (3-0, 2), who takes on Tazania's Twaha Kassim (17-7-1, 8), in what looks like a very nice test for the unbeaten Kazakh. The unbeaten Nurmaganbet was a sensational amateur and it's going to be very interesting to see how he developes in the professional ranks. Kassim is certainly not a bad fighter, but he has gone 5-5 in his last 10 and has struggled when fighting outside of Tanzania. On paper a very decent test for the Kazakh, but one he should pass with fly colours.
Nurmaganbet isn't the only Kazakh on this card as compatriots Yevgeniy Pavlov (3-0, 2) and Danila Semenov (2-0, 1) are also in action on this card, looking to build on their own fledgling careers. Sadly at the time of writing they don't have their opponents confirmed for this show.
Another unbeaten Asian fighter on this show is Indian fighter Gurpreet Singh (2-0-1, 1), who battles fellow novice Nachyn Chambaldoo (0-0-1) in a 6 rounder. Singh will be fighting for the first time in almost 2 years, though his last performance suggested there was something to him, fighting to a draw with the then 6-0 Rakesh Lohchab. The 27 year old Chambaldoo also had a draw last time, but to a professional loser, suggesting he's not a hugely promising fighter himself.
Another Indian fighter on this card is 22 year old Suraj (2-2, 1) who will be taking on the unbeaten Shahriyor Akhmedov (1-0, 1), originally from Tajikistan. Akhmedov looked decent on debut, winning his first bout by TKO due to cuts, though it's hard to read into that debut too much. As for Suraj he's not impressed since turning professional and both of his wins came against debutants. This is likely a bout to make Akhmedov look good, but it's still way too early to get too excited about him.
Following a busy Saturday we get a pretty interesting Sunday, with 3 title fighters and a number of interesting match ups.
The most notable of the shows takes place in Osaka and will be promoted by Green Tsuda under their "Crash Boxing" banner.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, as Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) defends his title against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12). For Okumoto this will be his 4th defense of the title, and sees him looking to build on recent wins over Yuta Matsuo and and Dynamic Kenji. For Nakagawa the bout gives him a chance to reclaim the title he lost in 2017 to Ryuichi Funai. Since losing the title Nakagawa has scored 4 wins, but all at a much lower level than this bout, and at 34 years old he really cannot afford another set back. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Japanese champion Okumoto takes on former champion Nakagawa in up coming defense
In the chief support bout we'll see bombs away as Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) and former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-5, 16) trade blows for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Yada is less than 8 months removed from losing the Japanese title to Yuki Nagano, incidentally Nagano is the only man to beat Beppu, taking a decision over Beppu last year. Neither man is a world beater, but good fights don't need world beaters, they just need to be well matched and this one is! It's hard to imagine this one going the distance, but with both men being aggressive punchers it's very hard to predict who's going to end up victorious. Our preview of this bout can be read here The Kyushu Tyson takes on the Terminator of Naniwa for WBO Asia Pacific title!
Originally the plan was for this card to be a triple title show, but Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) was unable to secure an opponent to defend his JBC Youth Super Bantamweight title against. Instead of defending his title the talented Japanese youngster will go up against Indonesian teenager Jufry Kakahure (5-2, 5). Whilst it's disappointing to see Shimomachi not defend his title against a decent domestic foe we're glad he's still on the show.
In a really great fight we'll see Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (12-0, 11) take on world ranked Filipino Christian Bacolod (12-0, 9) in a truly fantastic match up. The Thai youngster is training alongside the Green Tsuda gym, and has been compared to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the Thai press. That's huge praise in a way, but also massive amounts of pressure for a 19 year old who only debuted in the summer of 2018. This is a huge step up for him and we will see him answering questions, win or lose. Bacolod on the other hand has slowly been climbing towards a big fight. He enters with a WBO world ranking and has stopped 4 of his last in the first 2 rounds. Despite Bacolod being the more proven fighter he was dropped twice in a recent fight and that will be major encouragement for Simsri.
Another interesting assignment for an unbeaten man will see Rei Nakajima (2-0) take on Thai veteran Patomsuk Pathompothong (39-11-1, 25), aka Komsan Polsan. This is a huge step up in class for Nakajima, but the Nobuhiro Ishida promoted professional novice is very highly regarded and it's clear that a win here will be a massive boost to hid fledgling career.
Staying in Osaka there will be another title fight, as the unbeaten Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title against once beaten puncher Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14), in a mouth watering bout. Mori has impressed though much of his career, and working with Ismael Salas will help him tidy up his defensively flaws, flaws that had shown themselves in his most notable bouts. Although Mori is working on his defense it's clear Salas won't want him to be too negative, and against Mizuno negativity could be a problem. Mizuno is technically pretty poor, and he can be out boxed, but he bangs and Mori shouldn't let him build up any confidence. We suspect the gulf in skills should be the difference, but Mizuno can certainly turn the fight around. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fast rising Mori takes on hard hitting Mizuno in next title defense
Sadly the rest of the card here is non-descript 4 rounders.
A third show will take place in Okinawa, where we see some pretty a couple of interesting, but lower level, bouts.
The main event of this card will see a clash between Japan's Tatsuro Nakashima (10-1-1, 7) Filipino visitor and Ariston Aton (9-1, 5). Nakashima has bounced back well from a 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa with 3 straight wins, and looks to be heading in the ring direction. Similarly Aton has bounced back from his sole loss, with 2 low key wins. This is a low key main event, but a very interesting one between two men looking to continue the rebuilding success.
In a female bout we'll see Yuko Henzan (8-8-4, 2) clash with Gretel de Paz (5-5-2, 2). On paper this is a very competitive looking bout, and whilst the skill level will be low it should still make for an interesting 6 rounder.
Also on this card is the return of Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6), who hasn't fought since losing a Japanese title eliminator in October 2018 to Koki Inoue. Smith was supposed to fight earlier this year but missed weight, and was subsequently suspended. His return sees him being matched softly as he battles Indonesian journeyman Hendy Luis (10-17-3, 5). Although Smith is no world beater he is heavy handed and will be expected to beat Luis, though Luis is a durable foe and has only been stopped 3 times in his 30 fight career. This could be a very good chance to Smith to shake some ring rust.
Outside of Japan there will also be a small show in Qingdao, China. The quality of this show is lacking, however the card will feature an interesting main event between Youli Dong (14-2-1, 9) and Larry Siwu (28-12, 34). We suspect the local fighter will have the youth and skills to deal with Siwu, but the Indonesian visitor should be a good test for the 24 year old local.
On paper the most notable Asian show this coming Monday takes place in Osaka, where we get a pair of female Featherweight title bouts. Sadly though neither bout really screams that it deserves masses of attention, despite both featuring a world title challenger.
On paper the more significant of the two bouts will see OPBF female Featherweight champion Wakako Fujiwara (8-3-2, 3) defending her title against Yoshie Wakasa (6-1, 2), in what looks like a pretty decent match up on paper. Fujiwara won the belt last year and defended it once before challenging WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi earlier this year, and lost a clear decision to the Korean. Fujiwara is a decent fighter, and a solid OPBF level competitor, but at 38 we do need to wonder what she has left in the tank. At 31 Wakasa is the much younger challenger, but is also the naturally smaller fighter, and her last bout was a loss in a Japanese female Bantamweight title fight, so we need to wonder how she operates 8lbs heavier than she's been fighting at recently. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fujiwara to defend OPBF title against once beaten Wakasa
The other title bout is much less interesting, as the limited but solid punching Miki Mitsuda (5-5, 4) takes on veteran Kimika Miyoshi (13-12-1, 5) for the Japanese female Featherweight title. Of the two it's Miyoshi who is the more well known, a 3-weight OPBF champion and a former world title challenger, but she has lost her last 4 and is more than 3 years removed from a win. Mitsuda on the other hand is the defending champion, having won the belt last time out, and she's turned her career right around with a 4-1 (3) record in her last 5 bouts. This is very much momentum Vs experience, and should be entertaining, but shows the clear lack of depth in some divisions of female boxing, still. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Mitsuda takes on experienced veteran Miyoshi for vacant title!
A second Japanese show will be held in Fukuoka and see several notable hopefuls in action as they look to move towards bigger and better fights.
One of the notable hopefuls is Welterweight puncher Yuki Beppu (19-1-1, 18), who has had a frustrating 12 months thanks to a loss last October to Yuki Nagno and scored his first decision win this past April. The big punching Beppu is expected to score his 10th win, and his 19 stoppage, as he takes on under-sized Indonesian visitor Roy Mukhlis (31-10-4, 23). At his best Mukhlis was a world title challenger, at Super Featherweight, but that was almost a decade ago, and even that he was blasted out by Takashi Uchiyama. This should be nothing more than a showcase win for Beppu.
Another fighter expecting to win a show case against an Indonesian foe is Takumi Sakae (21-3-1, 15), who takes on the very limited Stevanus Nana Bau (9-11-2, 2). Sakae was once tipped for big things, in the world rankings and a Rookie of the Year winner. In recent years his career has faltered, but he is a skilled fighter with an aggressive mentality and he should go through Bau with ease. The visitor has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, and 8 of his 11 career losses, and we can't see anything but another stoppage loss here for the visitor.
A third bout of note on this show will see the unbeaten Kazuki Kyohara (4-0-1, 3) step up for his first 6 rounder. The unbeaten youngster will be up against the much more experienced Toshihiro Kai (6-11-2, 2) who has been stopped in 4 of his last 5. On paper this is a step up for Kiyohara, but it should be a very manageable step up up for the youngster.
The most notable show this coming Monday comes from Tokyo as the Korakuen Hall .
In the main event of this card we'll see the hard hitting Japanese Bantamweight Yuki Beppu (18-1-1, 18) take on Filipino veteran Jason Egera (24-20-2, 11). This should be little more than a bounce back win for Beppu, who was beaten last October in a Japanese title eliminator by Yuki Nagano in a Japanese title eliminator. With 9 stoppage losses on his record Egera will not be expected to see out the scheduled 8 rounds with Beppu.
In a supporting bout former Japanese Bantamweight challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (30-8-5, 21) will take on the limited but hard hitting Masayasu Nakamura (6-3-1, 6). Coming into this Takahashi will be seeking a third straight win, whilst Nakamura will be looking for a career best victory. A loss for Takahashi is likely to cost him his Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific rankings.
A third bout of note will see Japanese ranked Minimumweight Desierto Nagaike (11-4-2, 2) face off with Shuri Hasebe (7-5, 2). Nagaike has won just 1 of his last 4, but will be confident of picking up a win here. Hasebe on the other hand will be looking to build on a win against Yoshimitsu Kushibe from back in December.
Once beaten hopeful Tetsuya Watanabe (4-1, 3) looks to record his second win since losing to Keita Kurihara, as he takes on Masajiro Honda (6-10, 4). This should be a pretty straight forward win for Watanabe, especially given that Honda has been stopped in his last 5 and is more than 4 years removed from his last win.
As well as the show in the Philippines there is also set to be a show in the Philippines, sadly though this is a much less significant show with only one bout of real note.
That one bout is set to be a 12 round contest between the in form Jhon Gemino (19-11-1, 9) and Juanito Paredes (8-5-1, 3). On paper this doesn't look amazing but both have been in notable runs, with Gemino upsetting Carlos Ornelas and Sho Nakazawa in his last 2 bouts and Paredes riding a 5 fight winning run with victories over the likes of Lloyd Jardeliza and Jestoni Autida. This could be very interesting.
Although there is only a single bout of note, at least at the time of writing, it is worth noting that the 21 year old Jahzeel Trinidad (3-0) will be in action here, and he is expected to go on to do big things in the near future.
This coming Sunday isn't a big day in Asian boxing but there are a number of bouts of note, with two Japanese eliminators in Fukuoka and a pretty interesting card in South Korea with Koreans, and Korean based fighters, taking on Japanese visitors.
The card in Fukuoka really is lacking in terms of depth, with just 6 total bouts on the card, but the top two bouts are mouth watering Japanese title eliminators, featuring local fighters taking on opponents from Tokyo for the right to compete at the 2019 Champion Carnival.
One of those two eliminators takes place down at 105lbs and will see the once touted Takumi Sakae (19-2-1, 13) take on recent OPBF title challenger Norihito Tanaka (16-7, 9). The 25 year old Tanaka debuted in 2011 and looked on the route to success when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown in 2013. Sadly since that early success he has faltered, losing in a Japanese title fight in 2016 to Tatsuya Fukuhara, drawing with Lito Dante and losing to Ryoki Hirai. Sakae has won his last 5, but those wins have come against some very limited foes. The 33 year old Tanaka ran up a 14-5 (7) record before walking away from the sport in 2011. He returned to the ring in 2017 and has had mixed success, with a loss last time out to OPBF champion Tsubasa Koura. Given the need for both men to win, and look good, this could be very entertaining. A preview of this bout is available here Sakae and Tanaka face off in Japanese eliminator!
The other title eliminator bout bout will see heavy handed Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) clash with Teiken hopeful Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) in a Welterweight eliminator. Beppu, like Sakae, is a Rookie of the Year winner but at 27 years old it certainly feels like time for his to step up his competition, following 4 wins over terrible foes. The one time he really stepped, since his Rookie triumph, saw him fight to a draw with Charles Bellamy, and he seemed to bide his time whilst waiting for an opportunity like this. At 29 years old Nagano is slight older but also more tested. He comes into this bout on a 12 fight winning run, including a Rookie of the Year triumph in 2015 and a recent win over Riku Nagahama. Notably this will be Nagano's first bout outside of the Korakuen Hall, and that may be a problem with the crowd behind Beppu, but he'll be confident of continuing his good form. This has the potential to be very explosive. Our preview of this bout can be read here - Heavy handed Beppu and Nagano clash in eliminator!
There will be a second Japanese card, albeit a significantly less significant one.
The main event here will see Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-3, 2) taking on Chiharu Takasuka (5-4-1, 3), in what is a pretty low key bout if we're being honest, especially given the action in Fukuoka.
Daejeon, South Korea
In South Korea fans get a very interesting card, featuring several good looking international bouts and two BoxingM title bouts.
One of those Korean title bouts will see Doo Hyup Kim (10-6-1, 5) take on Gun Woo Gang (4-2-2, 1) for the Korean Light Middleweight title. This will be Kim's first defense of the title, and despite having been stopped in 2 of his previous 3 he will be the man with the champions mentality. On the other hand the 21 year old Gang will be having his third title fight, having come up short in two previous Korean title bouts.
The second title fight will be at 140lbs and will see Jin Soo Kim (3-1, 1) face off with Min Ho Jung (7-1-1, 1) for the vacant title. At 22 years old Kim is the younger, less experienced man but is a promising southpaw, who made an impact on his 2015 debut by scoring a brilliant KO of Andrew Silva. Jung will enter the bout as the older man, but will be the naturally smaller fighter. This could be an entertaining match up, but this will be the first title bout for either man.
On paper the most evenly matched of the international bouts will see unbeaten fighters collide as local Min Jang (6-0-2, 2) takes on Japan's Fumiya Fuse (6-0, 1). The 18 year old Jang debuted last year and has already racked up 8 fights, but this is a big step up for him. At 20 years old Fuse is tipped as one to watch on the Japanese scene, and was the 2017 Rookie of the Year, but this will be his first bout outside of Japan. With neither man being a puncher we are expecting a distance bout, but a very interesting one.
A potentially more explosive match up will see 26 year old Korean Dong Kwan Lee (8-2-2, 4) take on heavy handed Japanese fighter Arashi Iimi (6-1, 6). Coming into this Lee's record doesn't look too interesting, but his short term for has seen him going 4-1 (4) and he hasn't seen the final bell in any of his last 5 bouts. Iimi, the runner up for the 2017 Japanese Rookie of the Year has never seen the final bell, and has scored two wins already this year. Given their recent shows we're expecting to see both men go for the KO and to go for it early!
One other bout of interest will see Korean based Mongolian Batzorig Batjargal (3-0, 2) take on Japan's Hironori Shigeta (5-1, 3). We've been impressed by Batjargal since his debut and he's looked really exciting so far, but this is a notable step up in class for him. Shigeta hasn't fought since December, but was crowned the Japanese Rookie of the Year last year at Welterweight, and he has a very good win over Rikuto Adachi. We can't help but think this could be the best bout on the card.
Attention returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Friday where fans will get the chance to see a big punching Welterweight in the main event, and a pretty solid chief supporting bout.
The hard hitting Welterweight is the unbeaten Yuki Beppu (17-0-1, 17), who is highly ranked by the JBC and OPBF, and he will be looking to continue his destructive tear as he faces off with Thai visitor Phongsathon Sompol (8-3, 5). Last year we saw Beppu suffer the only mark on his record, an 8 round draw against Charles Bellamy, and since then he has been matched very light against Thai visitors whilst waiting to get a title fight. Sadly this bout, like Beppu's last 3, appears to be a straight forward stay busy bout against an over-matched visitor. The Thai has been stopped twice, and lacks a win of any note, so this looks a bit like a foregone conclusion.
In a supporting bout fans will get the chance to see Masayuki Ichikawa (7-5-1, 2) battle against Desierto Nagaike (10-3-2, 2) in what should be a genuinely compelling match up between two men who have faced off. Ichikawa has struggled recently, gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, but has faced the likes of Norihito Tanaka and lost a razor thin decision to Nagaike in late 2015. Since beating Ichikawa we've seen Nagaike show some good form, going 5-1-1, with his only loss coming to the excellent Daiki Tomita. This really could be one of the hidden gems of the month for fans in Tokyo.
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to see a number of notable fighters in action, though in fairness it's not like those notable fighters are really likely to bes tested given the level of competition theyt are facing.
The most notable of the bouts on the card will see the limited but teak tough Tatsuya Takahashi (27-7-5, 20) take on countryman Keita Nakano (14-12-6, 4). The bout has the potential to be a very fun contest, but Takahashi has an unwelcome ability to make his life harder than it needs to be and this bout will likely be another case of him getting into a bit of an unnecessary war. Nakano's lack of power won't help him in that war, but he could be surprisingly competitive here in what could be a very fun match up at the fringes of the Japanese title scene.
Another notable fighter on this show is the heavy handed Yuki Beppu (16-0-1, 16), who will be looking to keep his unbeaten record alive as he takes on a Thai opponent in the show's final bout. Little is known about the Thai but Beppu has feasted on a series of limited opponents since claiming the Japanese Rookie of the Year back in 2014, with the one exception being the drawn fight against Charles Bellamy. It's unfortunately time that Beppu started facing more notable opponents and really began to do more than run up KO's against over-matched foes.
A third fighter of note on this card is 2014 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Yuichiro Kasuya (9-2-1, 1). Like Beppu we'll see him in with a Thai foe, though this is more understandable given that Kasuya is almost 2 years removed from his last win, and has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, albeit in very competitive bouts. The 21 year old does look like a fighter who needs to build belief in his power and an easy blow out against an over-matched Thai foe may be the perfect way to build that confidence.
New York, USA
In the US fight fans wil get the chance to see two exciting American based fighters from central Asia.
One of those fighters is Uzbek destroyer Shohjahon Ergashev (10-0, 10), who takes a huge step up in class to face fellow unbeaten fighter Sonny Fredrickson (18-0, 12). The hard hitting Uzbek went 4-0 (4) in 2017 fighting just 5 combined rounds, and has only gone beyond 2 rounds once, showing just what power he has early on. If he can take out Fredrickson then he'll be on his way to making a real statement in 2018. The 23 year old Fredrickson was a former amateur standout and will be looking to extend a 3 fight stoppage run, as he takes on his second successive unbeaten foe.
The other fighter of note on this card for us is Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (13-0, 11), who looks to put a less than great 2017 behind him as he takes on Maurice Chalmers (14-13-1, 8). The bout looks like a mismatch on paper, but with Eyubov fighting just 7 rounds last year we can understand why he's being given a relatively easy one here, against a man who is almost 2 years removed from his last bout.
The most notable bout for Asian fight fans this Saturday is in Texas where we'll see a Filipino icon in action as Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24) returns to the ring for the first time since losing the WBO Super Bantamweight title to Jessie Magdaleno last November. The “Filipino Flash” has been training in Japan for his return, which sees him moving back up to Featherweight to face Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9) in a contest for the WBC Silver title. Although he has been inactive, and is 34, Donaire should have far too much for Hernandez.
In California there is another notable Filipino in action, as the heavy handed Romero Duno (14-1, 13) returns to the States for the first time since his break out win over Christian Gonzalez. The hard hitting Pinoy puncher will be up against Mexican veteran Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-13, 14). Duno should have too much fire power for his Mexican foe, who has been stopped 8 times, but Sanchez does appear to be than his record suggests and his last couple of losses, have been in competitive decisions against Rene Alvarado and Antonio Moran, both solid punchers.
More Asian fighters are in action in the US as a number of fighters from Central Asia fight on a card in Louisiana.
In the main event we'll see 21 year old Tajik hopeful Mekhrubon Sanginov (4-0, 3) take on American Cameron Burroughs (4-1-0-1, 3) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Sanginov has been a professional for just under a year but has impressed with 3 quick wins and a bizarre split decision in Poland where one judge appears to have been watching a different fight to everyone else. This should be a really interesting and looks to be very well matched, though neither man has has got many rounds under their belt, which could make this contest sloppy if it gets to the later rounds.
Also on this card are Balaussa Muzdiman (0-0), Iskander Kharsan (1-0, 1) and Ali Baloyev (1-0, 1) who will all be facing limited looking opposition as they look to take their next step in their professional journey.
Fight fans in Japan are set for a bit of a strange card with a trio of notable names, all taking on very weak opposition.
In the main event the always fun to watch Tatsuya Takahashi (26-7-5, 19) will be up against limited Thai visitor Chatphet Saithonggym (0-2) in what should be an easy win for Takahashi, following a technical decision loss to Jetro Pabustan earlier this year. Although Takahashi is a very fun to watch fighter it's unlikely this will be too exciting, with the bout likely designed to give Takahashi an easy win.
Another mismatch will see big punching Japanese Welterweight Yuki Beppu (15-0-1, 15) take on an unnamed Thai foe. This will be Beppu's second bout since drawing with Charles Bellamy back in January and we're expecting another early finish for the 26 year old banger.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see novice Tetsuya Watanabe (1-0), who is touted as once to watch, take on the always entertaining and charming Takuya Yamaguchi (3-8-2, 2). It's hard to imagine Yamaguchi winning, but he will throw leather with bad intentions and could well test Watanabe's resolve and chin in a potentially interesting contest.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
We get yet another Asian show with action in Malaysia, as we see FH Promotions give several fighters a chance to shine.
One of those looking to impress here is Azizbek Abdugofurov (7-0, 4), who was originally scheduled to face Ibrahim Tamba (21-8-1, 14) but is now listed as facing a TBA, presumably a late replacement for Tamba who appears to be out of the bout. Abdugofurov is regarded as one of the top Uzbek prospects and has quickly climbed into the top 25 on boxrec due to notable wins over the likes of Chaloemporn Singwancha, Sirimongkol Singwancha and Martin Fidel Rios. It's likely his bout here will just be a stay busy, but he really is one to watch.
Another unbeaten man looking to extend his record is local favourite Muhamad Farkhan (4-0, 4), who will want to shine in front of his loyal fans as he takes on Thai visitor Khundon Chaiyonggym (8-3, 8). It's fair to say that Farkhan will have all the fans behind him and should win, but this is a small step up for the local hero.
On paper one bout that does have promise will see Filipino fighters collide as Jeson Umbal (15-5, 10) takes on Jon Jon Estrada (10-3-1,9). For Umbal this bout will be his 4th in Malaysia, where he is 3-0 (1) and will see him look to continue his 7 fight winning run. As for Estrada this bout will be his first outside of the Philippines. Given his power Estrada is a real threat to the rise of Umbal and this could be a very exciting and hard hitting bout, which should thrill the fans.
Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be two shows, but the most notable is in Metro Manila.
In the main event of this card we'll see the talented pairing of Glenn Suminguit (19-3, 10) and Renoel Pael (21-6-1, 11) battle for the GAB Bantamweight title, with Suminguit looking for his firs defense of the title. Suminguit won the title a year ago, stopping Alvin Bais in 3 rounds for the vacant title, but has only fought once since then, losing in Super Bantamweight bout, and could well have some ring rust coming in to this one. As for Pael the bout will see is confidence being checked, with the once touted Leyte man being 2-5 in his last 7, and really struggling for form.
In supporting bouts we'll see the Elorde brothers take on two over-matched Indonesians. Juan Miguel Elorde (23-1, 12) will be up against Afrizal Tamboresi (11-6, 6), who has lost his last 4 and been stopped in his last 3 and Juan Martin Elorde (22-1-1, 9) will be up against veteran Arief Blader (23-24-2, 8), who has won 1 of his last 5. It's hard to imagine of the Elorde's losing here in what are really mismatches.
What could turn out to be an interesting contest is set to see Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4) take on the tough and under-rated Jayar Diama (7-11-7, 3). Although it looks one sided on paper it needs to be noted that Diama is much better than the numbers suggest and he could be a real handful for Berondo, who is best known for suffering a stoppage loss to the exceptional Hinata Maruta.
In a second Filipino show we'll see a card headlined by a bout between Roilo Golez (16-18-1, 7) and Diarh Gabutan (19-6-3,10). Coming in to this one Golez is totally out of form, losing 7 of his last 8 bouts by stoppage. Whilst Golez has mixed with some good company he's also suffered lossesto limited foes, like Geboi Mansalayao and it's fair hard to say that Gabutan should pick up the win here. Saying that however Golez' only win in his last 8 bouts, was actually a 5th round KO against Gabutan, who knows he cannot afford another loss, especially not to Golez.
Also in Asia there is a show in Singapore, featuring a number of fighters from across Asia.
In a high profile female bout local star Nurshahidah Roslie (6-1, 4) will take on Thai visitor Sriphrae Nongkipahuyuth (12-4-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female and OPBF Female Featherweight titles. This will give both fighters something to fight for, and we do expect them to have a proper fight here, but it's hard to imagine the visitor having the power needed to really test Roslie.
Another local in action is unbeaten Super Middleweight hopeful Rafi Majid (5-0, 5), who takes on Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (7-13-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Middleweight title. Majid has blitzed his first 5 opponents, in a combined 7 rounds, and will likely do the same here, against a naturally smaller man who has been stopped 9 times already n 23 fights.
Another fight where we'd expected to see someone beat an Indonesian is a contest that will feature Filipino fighter Jun Tapale (22-9-1, 8) battling Indon Rusmin Kie Raha (15-13-3, 3). Although Tapale isn's a huge puncher Raha has been stopped in 8 of his 13 losses and we could see a 9th here. Raha's best hope is to see out the final bell, but it's hard to imagine him really testing the Filipino.
June 18th-Low key Japanese day
In Japan this coming Sunday we'll see two rather low key cards.
On paper the more significant of them will come from Wakayama where we get two Japanese ranked fighters in action.
In the main event of the show Seizo Kono (18-8-1, 11) will take on Takuya Taniguchi (6-10-2, 1), with Kono looking to move towards a potential title fight. Although Kono has got a number of losses on his record he has mixed at a good level, battling the likes of Rey Vargas and Yu Kawaguchi. The reality here is that this should be an easy win for Kono, but he has slipped up against limited foes in the past
The other ranked fighter on this card is former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (20-4-4, 8), who will be battling against Takuya Fujioka (7-6-1, 1). Coming in to this bout Kikuchi has won his last 6, albeit against limited foes, and moved up the Japanese rankings as he's began a genuine run towards a Japanese title fight. Fujioka is better than his record suggests, but shouldn't be much of a test for Kikuchi, who is heavier handed, more experienced and generally more talented.
The other Japanese card is from Fukuoka, and will be headlined by unbeaten puncher Yuki Beppu (14-0-1, 14), who takes on Taengthong Sithsaithong (0-2). The Thai has fought twice before in Japan, and suffered stoppages both times with this likely to be a third stoppage loss for the Thai in the Land of the Rising Sun.