Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we turn our attention to Korakeun Hall for a mouth watering card from Dangan. The show is headlined by a Japanese title fight, and also features two very solid under-card bouts.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) make his first defense, as he takes on Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3). The hard hitting Tsutsumi won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Kyosuke Sawada, finally getting a big win after controversial draws against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa. The hope for him is that he can retain his title here and move on to bigger and better things, including potential regional title fights or even world title bouts, further down the line. As for Oshima this is his second shot at the "cursed title", following a technical decision loss to Sawada for the belt back in February. Oshima is a talented fighter, and does have good technical skills, though he can be made to look wild at times and we do wonder whether he has the power needed to get Tsutusmi's respect. Our preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Tsutusmi faces Oshima in first defense
In a solid supporting bout the hard hitting Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) will face off with Yuki Yonaha (12-3-1, 8), in what is a very competitive looking match up and a Japanese title eliminator, with the winner set to face the winner of the main event next year. Heading into the bout Minamide is ranked #1 by the JBC and is coming in to the bout on the back of TKO wins over Kiyohei Endo and Takeshi Takehara. Despite those wins it is worth noting he has been stopped twice. Yonaha on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC and is unbeaten in his last 6, with notable wins against Shota Kawaguchi and Motoki Osanai. He has momentum and form coming into this, but he was stopped the last time he was in with an aggressive puncher, though that was way back in 2016.
Another great supporting bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Jukiya Iimura (3-0, 1) take on Filipino visitor Esneth Domingo (16-2, 8), in a solid step up for the unbeaten Japanese youngster. Coming in to the bout Iimura looks to be a very skilled fighter, but one who does need to have a still test before moving towards regional title fights. Whilst Domingo isn't an OPBF title level fighter, he isn't far from that level and he should serve as something of a gatekeeper to that level. A win for Iimura is likely to see him move into title bouts within 2 or 3 fights, but this is certainly not a gimmie
Big Wave, Wakayama, Wakayama, Japan
After a busy Saturday things calm down significantly this coming Sunday, with only a single Asian card taking place. That card is a Kuratoki promoted card in Wakayama, with two bouts of note on it.
The main event of the show will see Yuri Takemoto (8-2-1, 4) take on Takuya Uehara (17-1, 10) in a genuinely brilliant domestic level match up, between two men who need a win after a lengthy lay off. The last time we saw Takemoto in action was August 2020, when he lost in 6 rounds to Ryo Sagawa in a Japanese Featherweight title fight, and that loss showed there was a lot to like about Takemoto, but also showed his lack of experience and it was clear he needed more bouts, and more time to develop. As for Uehara this will be only his second fight since his 2018 loss to Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF Featherweight title fight, with his latest bout being a razor thin 2021 win over Ryusei Ishii. This really is a must win, and should be a very exciting and hard fought bout.
A second interesting bout on this card will see JBC and OPBF ranked Bantamweight Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) take on tough Thai visitor Lerdchai Chaiyawed (7-8, 3). Yonaha was once tipped for big things, and whilst he's now 31, and likely one the back end of his career, there is the potential for him to mix it up at domestic title level before he ends his career. As for the Thai visitor, he is tough, and has been a credible tester on the Thai domestic scene, however we don't think he'll have the size, power or physicality to push Yonaha hard here.
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
This coming Sunday attention turns to Kobe, for the return of a former world champion, and several notable domestic scraps.
The main event of the card is the long awaited return to the ring of former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5), who retired after losing the WBO title to Vic Saludar back in 2018. Yamanaka suffered a brain bleed in that bout, and it was assumed his career was over until the boxing bug bit Yamanaka, an the JBC also changed their rules. He and his team have clearly taken his long lay off and health situation in mind when match him here, as he'll be in a 6 rounder against the limited and light punching Daisuke Sudo (7-8-3), in what should be an emotional night for Yamanaka, and a really interesting assignment for him, given the issues he's been through. As for Sudo, he's better than his record suggests, and did go 8 rounds with the hard hitting Kento Hatanakaa last year, but will be regarded as a safe comeback opponent for Yamanaka.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the show takes place at 105lbs, as the talented Goki Kobayashi (2-0, 1) takes on Sora Takeda (6-3, 1) in a really good 8 rounder, in the middle of the card. Kobayashi debuted less than a year ago, and is already moving into 8 rounders, but has already shown enough to be excited by, and he clearly has the potential to be mixing in title level bouts in the next 12 to 24 months. He's incredibly promising. Takeda on the other hand has proven to be a solid domestic level fighter, winning Rookie of the Year in 2018 and giving Katsuki Mori a good, competitive, and exciting bout in 2021. Kobayashi should be too good, but Takeda will not be in the ring to just roll over, and is a genuine potential banana skin here.
Also in the middle of the card we'll see the out of form Arashi Iimi (7-4, 7) take on JBC ranked Yuna Hara (10-2-1, 5). Iimi started his career really well, winning his first 4 and reaching the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but has since gone 3-4. He's limited, he has questionable durability, but he can also punch, and 5 of his wins have come in the first 2 rounds, showing he's dangerous early on. Sadly for him however he has been stopped 3 times and has lost his last 3. As for Hara he has been brought through quite softly to be honest, but managed to get some good rounds, get some experience and has won his last 4 to earn a Japanese ranking at 130lbs. Iimi can certainly punch hard enough to hurt Hara, but Hara should be the favourite with his more accomplished skillset.
Another fight with a Japanese fighter will see Shion Tamada (6-4, 3) take on JBC ranked Bantamweight Yuki Yonaha (10-3-1, 7) in another scheduled 8 rounder. The 25 year old Tamada has got some skills, but has lost 3 of his last 6, and has shown a lack of real toughness and stamina in some of those bouts. He clearly has something to work with, despite his record, but we can't help feeling he's missing too many things to go far, including confidence in himself. As for Yonaha he's a 31 year old who was tipped for big things but has had some stumbles in his most notable bouts. Despite his slip ups he does seem to be finding something of a groove recently, having won his last 3 and is expected to continue that run here, likely doing so in comprehensive fashion
Kobe Municipal Chuo Gymnasium, Kobe, Japan
We get lucky this coming Sunday as Boxing Real are set to stream a solid card from Japan for free. It's certainly not a massive show, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a solid one all the same with a former world champion, some solid domestic fighters and an enigmatic prospect all on the show.
The main event will see former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (14-2, 9) taking on youngster Ruito Saeki (7-4-1, 1). The 30 year old Kubo has struggled to build any career momentum since his 2017 title loss to Danny Roman, and it seems his confidence is shot and he needs a few wins to rebuild that. Last year he picked up a relatively easy win over Takashi Igarashi and he's stepping up from that bout here. Saeki is no world beater, not even close, but he's tough and will come to win. Sadly Saeki has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 and a win for him would be a big upset, but we suspect he will come to test Kubo, who has shown some real fragility in recent years.
In a supporting bout Japanese ranked Bantamweight Yuki Yonaha (8-3-1, 5) will take on Kenta Sakata (7-7-2). The talented Yonaha will be looking to build on a 2020 win over the once touted Motoki Osanai and will be expected to pick up a straight forward win here against the light punching Sakata, who is a natural Flyweight and has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6.
Arguably the best of the supporting card will see the enigmatic, switch hitting, stylist Takahiro Tai (1-0, 1) take on Koichi Wakita (7-2-3, 2), who is risking his JBC Bantamweight ranking. Tai was a joy to watch in his debut, last December, and although very much a work in progress has one of the most flamboyant styles of any Japanese fighter, with a cocky in ring personality, taunting, switch hitting and a style more akin to Emanuel Augustus than a Japanese fighter. Wakita on the other hand is a 31 year old veteran who is certainly no push over, but has a lack of power and often sees his bouts being super close decisions. We expect this to be a test for Tai, but a test he should pass.
Gyeongnam, South Korea
As well as the Japanese show there is also supposed to be a Korean card, under the KBA banner, taking place in Gyeongnam. Sadly details of this card haven't been forth coming, despite the KBA announcing the main event draws for the show way back in January. There is a very, very real chance this show has fallen though, or could end up being cancelled at late notice.
Sadly no bouts have been confirmed for this show at the time of writing, though the main event was announced as featuring Hee Jung Yuh (23-3, 12) defending her WBC International female Super Flyweight title for the first time, albeit against a yet to be announced opponent. The 41 year old Korean veteran is riding an 8 fight winning streak, since her 2015 loss to Naoko Fujioka, but those wins have come at a very, very low level. Sadly we can't say anything about her opponent, given no foe has been named, but it's fair to say that if the show goes ahead it won't be anyone too testing.
The chief support bout is supposed see see Young Gil Bae (30-7-2, 23), the husband of Hee Jung Yuh, fighting for the WBF Asia-Pacific Flyweight title. Sadly Bae, like Yuh, has no opponent listed for this event. For Bae this will be his first bout in more than 2 years and he comes into the contest on the back of successive wins. Although not a big name fans may recognise his names for his losses in Thailand, to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Wanheng Menayothin. Given his inactivity and the lack of opponent we wouldn't expect anyone even slightly testing here for Bae.
There is a very, very real chance this show has fallen though, or could end up being cancelled at late notice, so don't get your hopes up on this one folks!
December 13th becomes the latest date for a promoter to hold two events at the same venue in Japan, and although neither of the shows are amazing, both look relatively interesting with title action and a couple of decent bouts. Interestingly it appears the first will be made available on YouTube, as part of the Boxing Real channel whilst the second will be available, on demand, on Boxing Raise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the cards features a solid, if somewhat easy to over-look, main event, a Japanese female title bout and an anticipated debut.
The main event on the first show will see Yuki Yonaha (7-3-1, 5) take on the JBC ranked Motoki Osanai (4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. The 29 year old Yonaha is without a win in well over 4 years, but did show plenty of desire and hunger in his most recent bout, a draw with Naota Iwai, and it's clear he is a talent, though we do question his hunger and desire in the sport. Osanai on the other hand turned professional to fanfare, taking part in his pro-test bout on the same day as Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but was sadly left in their shadows and lost 2 of his first 3. Coming into this he has scored 3 wins and appears to be building some career momentum, and a win here would continue the ball rolling. One of those ones where the abilities of both men are a lot better than their records suggest.
The title bout on this card will see Japanese female Minimumweight champion Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) defending her title against Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1), in what will be Narita's first defense of the title. On paper this is another where the records of the two fighters suggests a poor bout, but the styles and mentalities of the two women should actually make for a war. Neither of the two are technically fantastic but both are warriors who let their hands go and we expect this to be a genuine tear up. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Narita takes on Miki in first Japanese title defense
As for the debutant that is switch hitter Takahiro Tai (0-0), who fights out of the gym by his father. Tai was a solid amateur on the Japanese amateur scene and is looking to make an impact on his professional debut as he takes on Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-6, 2) in a 6 rounder. We don't think Tai will be fast tracked, but there was a lot to like from his amateur performances and he's very much a fan friendly, stylish fighter with a lot of flare. We see that winning over fans quickly here. Hamaguchi isn't a bum, but he has lost 4 of his last 5, and has scored just 1 win in the last 3 years, so would need something a bit special to test the talented Tai here.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The second part of the card will again feature a title bout, an intriguing 8 rounder and a debut...well a debut of sorts.
The title bout here, which is also the main event, will see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Miyo Yoshida (14-1) making her second defense of her title as she takes on Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1). The talented Yoshida will be strongly favoured here, though it is worth noting that this will be her first bout since transferring over to the Misako Gym and the change in her team and set up could end up leaving some questions for her to answer. Okuda has been fortunate at times with some results, but at 37 we really do wonder if she has the tools to hang with a top class fighter like Yoshida. Our full preview of this world title bout can be read here Yoshida takes on Okuda in second WBO world title defense
In an excellent 8 round match up we'll see the once beaten Yuga Inoue (10-1-1, 1) take on Daiki Tomita (14-2, 5), in a bout between two top 10 JBC ranked Light Flyweights. The light punching Inoue has scored 3 wins since his 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa for the Japanese Youth title, and has rebuilt in a hard way, going up against solid fighters and testing the water at Flyweight. He's had a loss, and gone straight back in with tough competition rather than rebuilding his confidence with easy wins. In fairness that's actually what Tomita is looking to do here in his first bout since a 10th round TKO loss to Kenichi Horikawa in July. Although both men are in their early 20's this is strangely a cross roads bout and the winner will find themselves on the verge of a Japanese title fight, whilst the loser will begin a long climb back up the rankings. A genuinely excellent match up.
Also on this card is the debut of Ayumu Hanada (4-0, 3), or rather the Japanese debut of Hanada. Or more precisely the JBC debut of Hanada, who began his career in Mexico and fought in an unrecognised bout in Japan in 2019. Despite the weird start to his career Hanada is expected to be a star and he has impressed, bot just in his Mexican bout but also his "unofficial", for lack of a better word, bout in Japan. In the opposite corner to Hanada is the heavy handed Ryuku Nagamine (5-1, 5), who began his career with 5 early wins before losing to Keisuke Iwasaki in the Rookie of the Year last year. Given his power he's a real dangerman for Hanada and, if we're being honest, this could end up being the bout of the day. Both men are explosive punchers and both will be looking to make a statement. If you're going to watch this one, don't blink!
As well as the action in Japan we also get a small Chinese card from Quzhou. Sadly this is a very low level card.
The most interestingly match up on the show will see 20 year old hopeful Yeerjialahasi Laayibieke (4-2, 3) take on the once beaten Jiaming Li (4-1, 2). Whilst this isn't expected to be a great fight we do love the fact it looks like a pretty 50-50 match up. Notably Laayibieke has won his last 4, with his last 3 coming by T/KO, but he's not the only one with momentum, and Li has also won his last 4. A genuinely interestingly match up.
The only other 8 rounder on this card will see Jiajia Li (6-2, 2) battle Ayati Sailike (10-8-3-1, 4) in a decent looking match up. We don't think this will be as good as the other one, but it is a lot more even than it looks on paper. The 32 year old Li was beaten last year, and since then has picked up two very low key wins. Sailike on the other hand is unbeaten in more than 2 years and looks like he's coming into his prime. This could end up being a lot better than it appears on paper.
Note - Hanada's Japanese debut was a WBF title bout in Osaka in June 2019. The bout isn't recognised by the JBC, his "actual" record is 5-0 (3)
The only show this Thursday is an interesting one from the Korakuen Hall.
In the main event fight fans will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (18-1-1, 8) defending his title against Filipino foe Ernie Sanchez (15-7-1, 6). The talented, yet criminally under-rated Ito, will be making the second defense of his title and looking to make a successful ring return following a hand injury, that already scuppered and arranged bout with Sanchez. For Sanchez the bout is an undeserved opportunity given he has gone 1-4-1 over the last 3 years but he has mixed with some very good fighters like Oscar Valdez, Sergey Lipinets and Rey Vargas.
In a supporting bout we see the wonderfully fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (11-1, 7) take on the very credible Yuki Yonaha (7-2, 5), who enters the bout with an OPBF rating and the hunger to move forward with his own career. For fans this is the sort of match up that makes Japanese boxing so brilliant, there is no waiting for either Nagamine, who comes in following two tough bouts, or Yanaha to get on with securing themselves a big fight and the winner of this could well move in to the mix for a title bout.
Another man looking to move to a title fight is the unbeaten 21 year old Tsubasa Koura (7-0, 4), who claimed the Rookie of the Year crown last year. The unbeaten youngster will be taking on his most experienced foe to date, Bimbo Nacionales (14-11-1, 3). The experienced Filipino is nothing special but should be a good test for the hotly tipped Japanese youngster.
Talking about fighters looking for titles there is also a former Japanese national champion on this card, that's former Japanese Super Flyweight, and current WBA International, champion Yohei Tobe (10-2-1, 6), who takes on the limited Masaya Kohama (6-4-1, 3). For Tobe this bout will be his first since his excellent win over Luzuko Siyo and should see him scoring a third successive win. For Kohama it's hard to see him winning but he'll get a chance to face a notable opponent.
The first post-Christmas Japanese show comes on December 26th when Shinsei promote their next “Real Spirits” show, and try to create their next champion.
In the main event of the show fans will see rising local star Shun Kubo (8-0, 6) battle in his first title fight. Kubo will be facing Filipino puncher Lloyd Jardeliza (7-2-3, 6) in a bout for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, a title recently vacated by future world title challenger Shingo Wake. The match up isn't the best OPBF title bout, but it is an intriguing bout between two young fighters each looking for a break out win. So far Kubo is the more proven but this will be the first time he has faced a true puncher.
In another Japan Vs Philippines bout fans will see the hard hitting Yuki Yonaha (5-2, 4) take on former world ranked Filipino Renan Trongco (17-5, 10). Trongco is a former “world” title challenger and a former WBC International champion possessing a real threat to the locla fighter who is stepping up massively for this fight. Yonaha has been matched hard through out his career, though has suffered two losses, including one to Renoel Pael, and it's that result that perhaps edges things to Trongco, in what really is another excellent match up.
In an all Japanese ranked bout fans will see Satoshi Ozawa (10-6-1, 2) battle against Yoshihiko Matsuo (18-6-6, 3). The battle of this one will become a real contender of the Japanese scene for 2016, however neither are likely to progress beyond the Japanese domestic level.
Another ranked Japanese fighter in action here is the light punching Kenta Sugimoto (10-7-1, 1) , who will be up against veteran professional Masafumi Otake (14-14-3, 7), who is looking to avoid his 5th successive loss.