Action heads back to Japan this coming Monday for a small, yet notable, show from Korakuen Hall. The main event features one of the most over-looked fighters in the country whilst another bout should see a new female national champion being crowned. Certainly not a big show, but one worthy of some attention.
The hidden gem on this card is Ikuro Sadatsune (10-4-3, 4), who's record is incredibly misleading. The 22 year old southpaw lost in the 2016 East Japan Rookie of the Year, and since then has suffered loss to Kai Chiba, Kenshin Oshima and Sho Ishida, with the Oshima and Ishida results both being very debatable. He looks to kick off his year with success as he takes on domestic veteran Naoto Fujimoto (12-10-1, 6). Fujimoto is also better than his record suggests but we suspect this will be a rather straight forward win for Sadatsune, who is likely to find himself in the title mix in the coming years. Don't be fooled by his record.
The title bout on this card will see Yumiko Shimooka (4-7, 1) and Yumi Narita (3-4-3, 1) battle for the vacant Japanese female Minimumweight title. For Shimooka this is her first bout in over 14 months, and she'll be looking to score just her second win in well over 3 years. Narita has been more active, fighting twice last year, but her last win came in July 2018, against Shimooka. Sadly this is the state of female domestic boxing in some weight classes in Japan, and although we're expecting a competitive bout we don't expect either of these two to be battling for major world honours any time soon. Our preview of this bout can be read here Shimooka and Narita to face off for Japanese female title
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most botable card in Asia is the next in the ESPN5 line of shows, stacked with prospects.
One of top prospects on the show is Jayson Mama (12-0, 6), who takes on former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-6-1, 26). The talented Filipino is a real talent and will be expected to win here, though the question is how he wins and how good he looks against the Thai veteran. Kwanthai was very good, once, but is a long way removed from his best years.
Another of the notable prospects in action here will see the all action Carl Jammes Martin (12-0, 11) take on unbeaten Indian visitor Rakesh Lohchab (6-0, 2). On paper this looks like a decent test for Martin, but in reality the Filipino youngster should pick up his next win with no problems. Martin is one of the sports true "made for TV" fighters and we suggest fans do all they can to catch every bout of his that they can.
In an all-Filipino show down we'll see the very highly regarded Dave Apolinario (10-0 6) take on the out of form Dexter Alimento (13-6, 9). Apolinario looks to be up there with the top prospects in Asia, and he should be too strong and too powerful for Alimento. Alimento's career once promised a lot, but it really has faltered in recent bouts and it's hard to know what he really has left.
In one other bout of note we'll see former world title challenger Randy Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22) take on Thai journeyman Worawatchai Boonjan (14-21-1, 13), aka Phupha Por Nobnom. This will be Petalcorin's first bout since losing to Felix Alvarado in an IBF Light Flyweight world title fight last October and will likely be little more than a confidence building win for the talented Filipino.
A second notable card this coming Sunday takes place in Hiroshima, Japan, and features a female OPBF title fight, and a couple of interesting, but low level, domestic bouts.
The main event of this show will see unbeaten teenager Eruka Hiromoto (4-0) taking on Korean foe Chan Mi Lim (4-6-1, 4) in a bout for the OPBF female Minimumweight title. The talented Hiromoto comes into this bout having already scored a win over Lim, just over a year ago, and will be hotly tipped to pick up the victory here and claim her first title. Lim has gone 2-1 since losing to Hiromoto in their first bout but is 0-2 on the road, having twice lost in Japan.
Another female bout on this card will see Yumi Narita (3-3-3, 1) battle Sana Hazuki (6-4-1, 2). Coming in to this both fighters are ranked by the OPBF and JBC, and will know that a win here could open the door to another title fight. We say another title fight as both women are, 0-1-1 in Japanese female title bouts, so both will be hoping to secure another shot and make it third time lucky.
One other female bout of note will see JBC ranked female Flyweights Sachiko Kondo (2-3-2) and Yume Hirayama (3-0) face off in a pretty good test for the 19 year old Kondo.
In a male Flyweight bout we'll see Taiyo Inoue (8-4-2, 5) take on Akira Kokubo (7-8-3, 2). Coming in to this Inoue is ranked by the WBO Asia Pacific , thanks to a win in November against Roland Jay Biendima, and will be risking that ranking here. On paper Inoue will be favoured, though it's worth noting that Kokubo has won 5 of his last 6, turning around a really bad start to his career.
As well as the shows in Asia there is also a show in Russia featuring several Asian fighters.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card is unbeaten Uzbek puncher Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14). Ergashev struggled last time out, narrowly over-coming Mykal Fox, and we're expecting him to have an easier time here against what appears to be a very late notice opponent
The other is Russian based Korean fighter He Su Khan (5-4-1, 1). Although Khan is 0-3-1 in his last 4 he has been unlucky in some of those set backs, and he is much, much better than his record suggests. At the time of writing Khan's opponent hasn't been named, though given how Khan has been facing fighters with better record we are hoping for him to get an easy win here.
To end the month of October fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a small card, headlined by a female title fight, and features a couple of 6 round bouts to support the main contest.
The main event will see Chie Higano (7-7, 2) take on Yumi Narita (3-2-2, 1) for the Japanese female Atomweight title. The more experienced Higano is a former world title challenger, having come up short against Momo Koseki for an Atomweight world title, and has mixed at a good level. Higano should be favoured but Narita can't be written off and she has avoided a loss in her last 3 bouts, and looks to be developing. On paper this is a poor match up, but we expect a very good and competitive contest as both fighters look to claim a the national title.
In a supporting 6 rounder fans will see 22 year old Yoshiki Tatsukami (4-4-1) take on Mirai Naito (5-1, 2), the brother of OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito. We suspect Naito will have more than enough to deal with Tatsukami but the once beaten member of the Naito family hasn't fought since November, when he was stopped in a 2017 Rookie of the Year bout.
Another supporting bout, and a pretty even looking one, will see Naoki Sakata (4-2-1, 3) battle Soreike Taichi (4-2, 3). Coming in to this Sakata has suffered back to back stoppage losses, following a 5 fight unbeaten run to begin his career, whilst Taichi will be fighting for just the second time since losing inside a round to Reiya Abe back in May 2014! Both guys can be hurt and this could turn into a shoot out!