This coming Saturday is an exciting and busy day with multiple shows featuring Asian fighters, in bouts of varying significance.
For us the main card of the day will be in Japan as Teiken put on a Dynamic Glove at Korakuen Hall. This G+ televised card will feature two title bouts and a number of interesting hopefuls.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) in the first of the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts. This should be a really explosive bout and both men can hurt, and be hurt. Coming in Nagano will be seeking his second defense of the title and has scored 7 stoppages in his last 8 bouts. For Obara the bout is a chance to claim a second Japanese title, and a chance to give his career a shot in the arm after some recent set backs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Champion Nagano faces Obara in Japanese title defense
The second title fight on this card will be a Japanese Youth Super Featherweight bout between Ryusei Ishii (8-5-1, 5) and Yamato Hata (9-1, 9), who face off for the vacant title. Of the two Ishii is the more experienced man, and has faced the better competition, but Hata is a rising puncher, and will enter this bout with momentum on his side, with 6 straight TKO wins. Ishii on the other hand has struggled with just 1 win in his last 4. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Hata takes on Ishii for Japanese Youth title
In an interesting match up between Japanese ranked fighter's we'll see JBC ranked Welterweight Junpei Tsujimoto (6-1-3, 4) move up to 154lbs to face ranked Middleweight Nath Nwachukwu (5-0-2, 2), who drops down 6 lbs. This is interesting to see both men changing weight for the bout, which will be scheduled for 6 rounds. Interestingly both of these men won the Rookie of the Year in 2018, and each have picked up 2 wins since then. Maybe not a big bout but an interesting one.
At 14olbs we see another Japanese ranked fighter, with the hard hitting Kenta Endo (5-0-1, 4), who also won the 2018 Rookie of the Year, taking on Shun Akaiwa (4-1-1, 2). Aged 35 Endo's potentially to is limited by his age, but he's a fun, exciting and hard hitting fighter. Someone who can make very TV friendly bouts. Akaiwa on the other hand is not someone we can recall watching but he's yet to be stopped and should make for an interesting opponent for Endo.
Further down the card we see two notable Japanese prospects taking on Indonesian novices. One of those prospects is Kenshi Noda (1-0, 1), who is expected to pick up a quick win against Thomas Tope Hurek (2-4-1, 1) in a Light Flyweight bout, whilst the other is Super Flyweight Hiroto Yahsiro (1-0, 1), who takes takes on Abdul Rauf (1-2). Expect these to be little more than showcase wins for the local prospects.
Nuevo León, Mexico
Whilst the biggest show is the one in Japan the biggest single bout is actually in Mexico where IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2, 11) defends his belt against talented Mexican challenger Daniel Valladares (22-1, 13). Taduran won his title in a brilliant little war with Samuel Salva last September and at 23 is still just getting stronger. It is however always a big ask to pick up a win on the road in Mexico. Valladares on the other hand had an under-rated 2019 where he scored 4 wins including stoppages over Filipino fighters Melito Sabillo and Christian Araneta. This could be a very, very exciting match up! Our preview of this bout is available here Taduran defends IBF title against Valladares in Mexico!
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in Asia we get an interesting double header in Metro Manbila, where we see two Filipino title fights.
One of those will see Roldan Aldea (14-8-1, 8) defending his title as he takes on veteran Monico Laurente (30-16, 7) in a Lightweight clash. Although not a star Aldea has proven to be a rugged and durable fighter who is better than his record suggests, and his upset KO win last year over Mikhail Alexeev shows he can bang, when he lands clean. At 34 years old Laurente is certainly coming to the end of his career, and he will be the under-dog here, but will be a live under-dog. We expect this to be an interesting match up, even if it's the less intriguing of the two title bouts on the show.
The other title bout on this card will be a Flyweight bout as the under-rated Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-5, 5) takes on Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-2, 7). Although not well known outside of Asia Dagayloan has built a reputation for himself as a horror to face off with, he's aggressive, tough, strong and not an easy man to look good against. Penalosa on the other hand is a third generation fighter from the Penalosa family and is looking to bounce back from a loss last time out to Maximino Flores. This could be the hidden gem of the weekend.
There is also a card in India, where we get some low key action on a card in Mumbai.
One of the more notable bouts here will see Rahul Kumar (6-3-1, 4) take on novice Rakesh Bawa (0-1), in a bout scheduled for 8 rounds. It's hard to see Bawa winning, but the reality is that Kumar is no world beater himself and has lost 3 of his last 6 coming into this.
An even bugger mismatch will see the once beaten Sagar Narwat (9-1-1, 3) take on Harish Harish (0-0) in a 4 round bout. Narwat was beaten back in October, by Troy O'Meley, but this should be an easy comeback win for the 25 year old from Faridabad
In Uzbekistan we'll see a number of promising novices in action, in what will be a card where fighters will get a chance to show case their skills. At the moment none of the promising fighters on the card have had their opponents name, but we're expecting to see Dostonbek Turdiev (7-0, 3), Abdulazizbek Najmiddinov (4-0, 4), Jasurbek Latipov (0-0) and Obidjon Tokhirov (0-0) all in action. From those involved it's Latipov, who was a brilliant amateur, that stands out as the most interesting of those on the card and the one with the biggest upside.
There are more Uzbeks in action in Russia where a trio of Uzbeks will be looking to make their mark.
Thge most notable bout here will see Rustam Tulaganov (2-0, 1) take on the much more experienced Norbert Dabrowski (23-8-2, 10). The talented Tulaganov is expected to have a huge 2020 after having had a stop-start career so far, and a win here would be a massive statement for him. The 31 year old Dabrowski, from Poland, is talented, experienced and a big step up for Tulaganov, however the Uzbek will be regarded as the favourite here.
Another of the Uzbek's on this show is Odiljon Aslonov (1-0, 1) who will be up against South African foe Snamiso Ntuli (4-3, 2) in a 6 round bout whilst the third is the debuting Ulugbek Mubinov (0-0), who takes on the 30 year old Srdan Govedarica (7-8, 6). These bouts are less interesting than Tulaganov's but we're expecting dominant and impressive wins for the Uzbek pair.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show this coming Saturday is in the Philippines, where we get a world title fight and a world title eliminator.
The world title fight is a rare all-Filipino title bout, as the unbeaten Samuel Salva (17-0, 10) takes on Pedro Taduran (13-2, 10) for the IBF Minimumweight title. Salva was originally expected to face Deejay Kriel for the title, before Kriel chose to vacate setting up this all Filipino title bout which looks like it could be a very interesting match up. The unbeaten is a 22 year old who is getting his first shot at the big time, and has lived up to his name of being the "Silent Assassin" pretty well whilst climbing up the rankings without making too much noise. Taduran on the other hand will be getting his second world title fight, after running Wanheng Menayothin close in a WBC world title fight last year. This isn't going to get a lot of attention, but should be a lot more interesting than some of the other all-Filipino world title bouts we've had recently. A full preview of this bout is available here Salva and Taduran face off for IBF title
In another notable bout on this card the once beaten Giemel Magramo (23-1, 19) will take on Thailand's Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (25-5,16) in an IBF Flyweight world title eliminator. For both men this is a huge opportunity to set up a big fight down the line, and a shot at Moruti Mthalane, whilst from a fans point of view this could be some truly fantastic. The 24 year old Magramo has reeled off 6 straight wins since a close loss to Muhammad Waseem in 2016 and looks to be on an excellent run of form with notable wins against the likes of Petchchorhae Kokietgym and Wenfeng Ge. The Thai on the other hand is looking to notch his 4th straight win, and secure his second world title bout, though he failed to shine in bouts away from Thailand, with just a single win on the road. Style wise this should be a war, and it could easily end up being an instant classic. A preview of this bout can be read here Magramo and Nantapech set for Flyweight eliminator thriller!
Davao del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card this Saturday will be a much lower profile one in Davao del Sur, and will feature a number of unbeaten fighters, mostly in bouts that look stacked in their favour.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Jenel Lausa (9-0-1, 5) take on Indonesian foe Carlos Lopez (28-9, 9) in a fight for a minor title. On paper this looks like a big step up for the 31 year old Lausa, however Lopez has been out of the ring since March 2013. Interestingly Lopez was pencilled in to fight Billy Dib a few months ago, before Dib fought Amir Khan, so he should be in good condition, but will likely be an under-dog here.
In an interesting supporting bout the unbeaten Richard Bulacan (6-0, 4) will battle against Vergel Deguma (9-5, 4), in a battle of young southpaws. Bulacan has shown some real promise at this early stage but this should still be a solid test for the 20 year old.
The second Teiken card of the month is a much higher profile one than their first, and features not only a Japanese title fight but also a former 3 weight world champion and some notable prospects, in what looks like a very solid card.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) make his first defense as he battle against Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2). Nagano won the title back in April, when he stopped Ryota Yada and recorded a 14th straight win. The 30 year old, who went 2-2 in his first 4 has been in great form and beaten really good domestic fighters in recent years. At 35 years old Kawasaki is likely to be getting his last chance to win a title, but he will enter as a very clear under-dog, and will need a career best performance to over-come Nagano. Our preview of this bout is here Nagano to defend Japanese title against Kawasaki
Former multi-weight world champion Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) fights in the chief support bout of the card. The former 3 weight world champion has lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, but is still incredibly popular, especially in Japan, where he hasn't fought in over 4 years. Linares will be up against Filipino foe Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6), who has lost his last 2, but will be looking to bounce back from those losses, and show what he can do in the biggest profile bout of his career.
Another notable name on this card is Welterweight hopeful Ryota Toyoshima (11-2-1, 8), who will be be seeking a 5th straight win as he takes on Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3). The in form Toyoshima will be the favourite, and will be looking to build on wins over the likes of Moon Hyon Yun and Woo Min Won, however Ando did score a big win last time out against former Japanese national champion Toshio Arikawa. This could be a lot more interesting than it looks on paper.
The lower end of the card here is pretty interesting as well. In a really interesting look bout the 2018 Rookie of the Year runner up Hikari Mineta (6-1, 3) takes on Yuji Oba (6-4, 4), in what looks like a good test for Mineta, Rookie of the year winner Kenta Endo (4-0-1, 3) battles Korean foe Gi Won Shin (3-2-3) and the debuting Katsuya Fukui (0-0) faces off with Sang Hoon Kim (4-1-2, 3).
Jeju, South Korea
Talking about Korean fighters it's worth noting there will be a Korean card as well, albeit at a very low level, with an international theme as locals take on a mix of Japanese and Chinese opponents.
The most notable bout on this card will see unbeaten Korean teenager Min Jang (8-0-2, 2) take on Japanese visitor Wataru Ikegami (7-4-1, 4). The talent Jang should be took good for Ikegami, who's lost to Fumiya Fuse and Tsubasa Murachi in recent bouts, but it is still a step up in class for the Korean youngster.
Another Korean Vs Japan bout on this card will see 21 year old Korean local Yong In Jo (7-3-2, 2) take on Japanese veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-14-1, 7). This will be Jo's first bout since a November 2017 loss to Daishi Nagata whilst IDeta will be looking to end a 10 fight losing streak.
Paju, South Korea
A second Korean card will take place in Paju and, on paper at least, it is a more notable card.
One of the most notable bout on this card will see In Duck Seo (12-1-2, 7) attempt to build on his KO win against Tysinn Best, as he faces off with Uzbek foe Khusniddin Pulatov (7-3, 5) in a contest for the WBA Asia Welterweight title. This could be a very explosive and action packed fight between two relatively limited, but fun to watch fighters, who will both believe in their toughness and power.
In a female bout we'll see Bo Mi Re Shin (7-0-3, 3) take on Jinyan Gao (2-0) in a battle of unbeaten fighters. According to the KBA this will actually be the show's main event, though in reality this bout is less significant, and less interesting, than the co-feature bout.
In Thailand we have a small, yet very notable, card featuring two bouts worthy of some attention.
The more significant of the two bouts will be a Light Middleweight bout between former world title contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (41-1, 30) taking on Filipino southpaw Junjesie Ibgos (13-4, 11), in a bout for the WBA Asia title at 154lbs. Teerachai is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing to Lucas Matthysse in 2018 and will be strongly favoured here against Ibgos, who fought as a Featherweight earlier in his career.
The other bout is less significant, but arguably more intriguing. This bout will see novice professional Theeraphan Polsongkarm (1-0) take on former world title challenger Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-12-1, 19), in a 10 round bout. We often see Thai's being fast tracked but this is a huge step up for Theeraphan, and a win here would be a huge statement, even if Inthanon is a long, long, way from being the fighter who went 12 rounds with Kohei Kono back in 2016.
We get yet another Asian show, with one taking place in Singapore.
The main event here is a really, really good looking one, with Ongen Saknosiwi (6-0, 6) taking on Nanthawat Maolichat (6-0, 6) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Featherweight title. Saknosiwi is the IBPC champion and is regarded as a real hopeful for Indonesian boxing, though this will be his first bout outside of Indonesia and should be seen as a credible test. Nanthawat is a Thai teenager who debuted in November, and will be taking a big step up in class himself, in what will be his first title fight. This looks like it could be very, very explosive.
As well as the good looking main event this card will also feature local hopefuls Hamzah Farouk (8-0, 5) and Abdelelah Karroum (5-0, 4), who will both be taking on limited Indonesian visitors.
In Russia we get a small card, though a card with an excellent all-Asian main event. The match up will see unbeaten Uzbek fighter Ravshanbek Umurzakov (9-0, 7) take on the upset minded Roldan Aldea (14-7-1, 8), from the Philippines. Umurzakov has shown touches of real promise, and is clearly a prospect to make a note of, but there is a lot of questions for him to still answer. On the other hand Aldea will be looking to build on July's upset win over Mikhail Alexeev, a win that came thanks to a huge KO over the previously unbeaten Russian.
This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day in Japan, with 5 shows set to take place across the country, including 2 in Osaka.
The biggest show is one of those Osaka shows, and will be held by Green Tsuda, with 2 Japanese title bouts.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) defending his title against Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) in a mandatory defense. This will be Yada's third defense of the title, and will be the first time he faces a puncher since dethroning Toshio Arikawa in April 2018. Nagano has earned his shot with wins over Riku Nagahama and Yuki Beppu, but this is easily his toughest test to date. We're expecting a very, very entertaining contest here. An indepth preview of this bout is available here Yada and Nagano battle for Japanese crown!
The other title bout will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) make his second defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8). Okumoto won the title last August, dethroning Hiroyuki Kudaka, and this is a solid looking defense for the 27 year old champion. Matsuo earned this shot with a win over Rey Orais last year, and although that was a pretty straight forward win it is worth noting that the challenger is a live under-dog and he gave Masayuki Kuroda a real test in 2017. This could be a very close and competitive contest. A preview of this bout can be read here Okumoto hunts next defense, takes on mandatory Matsuo
Another bout on this card will see the once touted Kazuki Tanaka (9-2, 6) take on Thai foe Songrit Ontha (2-2). This is clearly a confidence building bout for Tanaka, following a stoppage loss last year to Keita Kurihara, and we would expect him to take a very straight forward, and quick, win here. Ontha has been stopped in the 4th round in both of his losses, and we expect something similar here too.
A second show in Osaka, which takes places after the Green Tsuda card, will be an Ioka promoted show featuring several notable fighters.
The co-feature of this show sees former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-2, 10) take on Japanese based Filipino journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-14-1, 4). It's hard to imagine Estremos beating the unbeaten Japanese fighter, though he did hold Hiroyuki Kudaka to a draw in December and is better than his record suggests. We're expecting a clear win for Hashizume, but one he has to work for.
In a really good looking clash we'll see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (27-1, 15) takes on the under-rated Ikuro Sadatsune (9-3-3, 3) in a Bantamweight clash. On paper this looks like a huge mismatch, but Sadatsune is an upset minded youngster, who is always worth watching and is the naturally bigger, younger man. A loss for Ishida will end his hopes of getting a second world title fight, and he will know that he can't afford a loss. This is a huge change for Sadatsune to make a name for himself, but he will obviously be the under-dog.
The most notable show outside of Osaka takes place in Hyogo, and features a couple of Japanese ranked fighters each looking to move towards their first national title fights.
The chief support bout will see ranked fighters clash as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (14-2, 8) and Fumisuke Kimura (8-4, 5) clash in an 8 round bout at a contracted 64.5KG's. This, on paper, looks like a straight forward win for Kanda, but Kimura has shown the potential to spring upsets, especially when fighters over-look him. We suspect that Kanda will be too good and too strong, but he will have to respect Kimura to avoid a shock defeat here.
The other bout will see OPBF and JBC ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (10-6-1, 4) take on the limited Takayuki Teraji (9-17-1, 4), who isn't a world beater but is a fighter who can be relied on to give solid rounds to national level fighters. Hirai is an under-rated guy, but has sadly lost his last 2 and lost the momentum he had once built , and he should win here, but can't over-look Teraji. Teraji has lost his last 3, but was very competitive in losses to Seita Ogido and Takeru Kamikubo and is a potential banana skin here.
In Ishikawa we get a card from Casimi gym, who put on a 7 fight card headlined by a Japanese female title fight.
The Japanese title bout will see Asami Jinnari (6-3-1, 3) take on Miki Mitsuda (4-5, 3) in a battle for the Japanese female Featherweight title. The match up isn't the most interesting, especially given that Jinnari has already failed in 2 attempts to win the title, but given how we're seeing these female national titles act as something of a building block, we can't complain too much about title bouts like this. Jinnari is certainly a solid contender on the domestic front and Mitsuda is better than her record suggests. It's worth noting however that Jinnari did stop Mitsuda back in August and it's hard to see Mitsuda avenging that loss here.
A pretty good looking support bout on this card will see Omrri Bolivar (7-1, 3) take on under-rated Filipino Ernie Sanchez (19-13-1, 10). Bolivar is an OPBF ranked fighter who is now based in Japan, though is originally from Venezuela. This looks like his toughest bout to date by far, with Sanchez being a fantastic journeyman. Sanchez has been in with a real who's who, and although he has suffered 13 losses, 5 by stoppage, he is a very good journeyman who gave Evgeny Chuprakov a scare last year and stopped Hurricane Futa in 2017. This could be a very entertaining and hotly contested match up.
The least notable of the cards takes place in Yamaguchi, where we get a number of 4 round bouts at a low level. There's set to be 12 bouts on this card, but none of the bouts here are particularly notable.
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.
This coming Wednesday attention turns to the Korakuen Hall for the next Dynamic Glove show, headlined by a Japanese title fight with a number of notable fighters through the under-card.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (17-1, 11) defending his title against veteran Tsuyoshi Tojo (14-15-5, 3), in what will be the champion's second defense. The talented, yet frustrating, Sueyoshi made his first defense earlier this year, when he over-came Ken Osato, but had to pull himself off the canvas to record that win and looked pretty beatable at times, before finding his rhythm in the second half of the fight and stopping Osato. As for Tojo he is a pretty limited fighter at this level, but when he clicks he can be a frustrating night for decent fighters, having run Satoru Sugita close in 2016, and given stiff tests to the likes of Koji Umetsu and Hisashi Amagasa.
The main support bout will see the once beaten Shuya Masaki (9-1, 5) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Hironori Mishiro as he takes on Korean visitor Hyun Je Shin (8-7, 2). Masaki has shown touches of genius but has also flattered to decieve, and it's hard to really know how good he is. He might get in the ring be the fighter who looked poor against Vergil Puton or he might be the man who dominated Shingo Eto. At his best Masaki is very good, but we're not sure how well he can put a performance together going forward. Saying that however we doubt Masaki will need to be at his best here, as Shin is unlikely to have
In a Welterweight bout we'll see Japanese ranked fighters face. In one corner is JBC ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (13-2, 10) whilst the other will have JBC ranked Light Middlesbrough Riku Nagahama (8-1-1, 4). The hard hitting Nagano comes into this bout in great form, having won his last 11 in a row after a 2-2 (2) start to his career, but does lack wins of note during that running and really doesn't look ready for a title fight, yet. Whilst not ready to fight for a title Nagano will know that a win here against Nagahama will help prepare him for a shot. As for Nagahama he won the 2015 Rookie of the year and was unbeaten until last August, when he lost in a Japanese title fight to Takeshi Inoue. Since the loss to Inoue we've seen Nagahama fight just once, scoring a straight forward confidence boosting win over a a very poor Thai foe.
Also on this card is exciting Super Flyweight prospect Hayate Kaji (9-0, 7), who takes on Indonesian visitor Kichang Kim (8-5-1, 2). The explosive Kaji failed to shine last time out, when he narrowly over-came Jun Blazo in what was a poor performance from the 20 year old Teiken man. It's fair to say his team will not have been happy with that outing and and he really will have to show more here than he did there if he expects his team to push him towards a title fight. As for Kim, he has been stopped in 3 of his last 5, and should be the perfect foil for Kaji to look good against. The Indonesian is 0-4 outside of his homeland and we'd be genuinely shocked to see him claim a win here.
The Super Flyweight division is widely regarded as one of the best in the sport, even with Naoya Inoue leaving the division to make a mark at Bantamweight. Sadly though the division is a frustrating one with a number of fighters making themselves unavailable for big fights.
One such fighter is IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1, 19), who signed with Top Rank in late 2017 and froze himself out of fights against the likes of Inoue and the fighters who are currently tied to HBO. As a result of being frozen out of specific fights we won't see Ancajas in with a notable name, and instead he will be kicking off his 2018 with an IBF world title defense against Israel Gonzalez (21-1, 8). The talented Ancajas had an excellent 2017, Going 3-0 (3) for the year and beating the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teiru Kinoshita and Jamie Conlan and will be looking to continue his great momentum here. Sadly though Gonzalez, who the IBF miraculously ranked #10, feels like a huge step backwards, with the Mexican challenger really doing little to show he belongs at this level. The bout has been put together as a showcase for Ancajas on US TV and should be a real chance to shine for the Filipino, who will hopefully get better competition later in the year.
At the Korakuen Hall we see the first of this year's Champion Carnival bouts, as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (16-1, 10) defends his title against Ken Osato (13-1-1, 4). The bout will be Sueyoshi's first defense of the title, which he won last October with a decision over Ribo Takahata whilst Osato will be having his first title bout. In 2017 we saw Sueyoshi have a great year, going 3-0 (2) but left questions to be asked with some of his performances and he will look to answer them here. Osato had a great 2017 himself, going 3-0 (1) with notable wins Sho Nagata and Satoru Sugita, with the Sugita win earning Osato a shot at the title. This should be a very skilled bout, with both men being very talented, and a very evenly matched bout, between two top domestic fighters.
In the chief support bout Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (12-2, 9) will face off with Thai visitor Najilek Sor Boonlieng (0-1). Coming into this Nagano is riding a 10 fight winning run, and is closing in on a title fight. Although not the greatest of fighters Nagano is a big puncher and should have significant size over the Thai, who will be lucky to last more than 3 rounds.
A second supportig bout of note will see unbeaten hopeful Haruaki Kamiya (7-0, 3) take on win-less Thai Chatchai Phonlemueangdee (0-3). Kamiya has had a real slow burn of a career, fighting only 4 times since the end of 2014, but if he gets sorted he could go quite far. Sadly bouts like this won't help him develop or move towards the bigger bouts than his early promises suggested he could end up having. As for the Thai he has been stopped in all 3 of his defeats.
In the Thai capital fans will be able to see Chinese puncher Pui Yu Lim (5-0, 5) take on Indonesian journeyman Ramadhan Weriuw (17-9-1, 15) in a bout for the WBC Interim Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title. On paper this is a step backwards for Lim, who has already scored wins over better fights than Weriuw, but with 5 fights last year Lim is a busy fighter and could use this interim title to help secure more meaningful bouts down the line.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy, yet thrilling, day with a show of note in each Japan and Hong Kong. Not only do both countries get a card of note, but both cards are genuinely significant as we go forward.
Hong Kong S.A.R, China
The Hong Kong card, put on by DEF HK and Watanabe as they continue to work together, has a trio of title bouts and potentially a fight of the year contender.
That fight of the year contender will see local star Rex Tso (21-0, 13) take on former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14), in a bout for Tso's WBO International Super Flyweight title. The local is one of the sports most exciting fighters, and although he has improved markedly in recent years he is still, at heart, a fighter there for the fans, and a man who enjoys a thrilling tear up at every opportunity. Kono on the other hand is a bit of a faded force, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but has a style that is very fan friendly, and should gel with Tso's here. Do not be surprised by this one being a little bit special.
In a second title bout we'll see Kono's stable mate Ayumi Goto (7-0, 5) battle with Indian teenager Kirti (3-0, 2). Reports have stated that this will either be a female OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight, with Goto defending her title, or a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, for a vacant title. On paper this should be an easy win for the Japanese fighter, but it is fair to say that Kirti is an unknown, and could be a surprise package of sorts.
The third title bout on this card will see the always fun to watch Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17) battle against Chinese foe Leshan Li (13-2-1, 8) for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. Watanabe is one of the many under-the-radar Japanese fighters who is guaranteed to put on good fight, no matter who he is facing, and we're expecting another fun one here. As for Li he's a bit of an unknown but is a heavy handed fighter and has won his last 7 bouts, suggesting good form and good confidence coming into this one.
One other bout on this card, which looks set to be explosive, will see Thai based Dutchman Nick Frese (6-0, 5) take on heavy handed Filipino Prabhjot Singh (7-1-1, 7). Given that these two have 12 stoppages in 13 wins we're expecting to see bombs away, though it's hard to see anything but a win for Frese, who looks like a genuine prospect.
In Japan we'll be getting a card that will be aired live on G+ and will be promoted by Teiken.
The main event of this card will see the in-form Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) for the vacant Japanese Super Featherweight title, in what will be the first title fight either man has been in. The bout, for the title vacated by Kenichi Ogawa, will see Sueyoshi coming in to it with a 12 fight winning run dating back more than 5 years, whilst Takahata has been inconsistent, alternating between wins and losses over his last 15 bouts. It's hard not to favour Sueyoshi but it is his most meaningful bout to date.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Shuya Masaki (8-0, 4) take on Filipino foe Ciso Morales (19-4-1, 12). It's fair to say that Masaki has shown touches of brilliance through his early career, but he has been inconsistent and it always seems like there is just something missing from his performances so far. We expect to see him show his maturity here against a visiting foe who shouldn't be over-looked and will be a very live under-dog. Morales might not be a sensational fighter, but he's a good enough fight to test someone like Masaki at this level.
In a really interesting under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Ryo Matsubara (7-1, 7) take on the unbeaten Kai Chiba (6-0, 5), in a bout between punchers. Coming in to this one Matsubara has won his last 6 bouts in a combined 7 rounds, and has well and truly put his sole defeat behind him, with that loss coming back in his second professional bout. Chiba on the other hand went 6 rounds last time out, ending his own stoppage run. Both of these men like to throw heavy leather, and this could be a very explosive contest.
Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (11-2, 8) will be risking a 9 fight winning run as he takes on Thai foe Kriengkrai Tor Silachai (3-0*) in what could be a potential banana skin for the local. Although ranked by the JBC it's hard to know how good Nagano really is, whilst the Thai is a bit of an unknown, and it's unclear really whether we even have his complete record here.
A second Japanese ranked Welterweight on this card is Ryota Toyoshima (7-1-1, 5), who risks his ranking against domestic rival Masaharu Kaito (5-2, 2). Coming in to this bout the 21 year old Toyoshima has won his last 5, though he did suffer a decision defeat to Kaito back in 2015, and it's obvious he is seeking to avenge that set back. Sadly for Kaito he has lost 2 of his last 3, including one to the previously mentioned Nagano and seems to be struggling for form coming in to this bout.
*-Record reported as being differed to the 3-0 figuire.