Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For the first in more than 5 months we are expecting to see fans return to Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday for the next Diamond Glove show. The event isn't a massive one, with just 3 bouts set for the show , but does feature some pretty notable and interesting fights, with a Japanese title fight serving as the main event.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) defending his title against Yuri Takemoto (8-1-1, 4). The bout isn't the bout we were expecting to see Sagawa in, with the talented champion being ordered to face Hinata Maruta before the who global situation, but isn't an awful substitution. For Sagawa this will be his second defense since winning the title last year, with a win over Reiya Abe, and will see him seeking a 9th straight win. As for Takemoto he did win Rookie of the Year in 2018, but it seems like he's taking a massive leap up in class here. Takemoto has a bright future, but for us Sagawa is fringe world class and will have far too much of everything for the challenger here. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Sagawa faces off with Takemoto!
In a good looking 8 round support bout Shinnosuke Hasegawa (11-2-1, 8) and Kazuma Sanpei (19-5, 8) will face off in a clash of JBC ranked Super Featherweights. Coming in to this Sanpei is ranked #5 by the JBC and has won 4 in a row, including wins against Tatsuya Otsubo and Toru Kiyota. Hasegawa on the other hand is ranked #16 and has won his last 10 in a row, though they haven't been against the stiffest of competition. This is an interesting match up, and a win for Hasegawa would be his best, by far, though Sanpei will be the betting favourite.
Another interesting bout on this show will see 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up Takeshi Takehara (5-1, 1) take on Beverly Tsukada (3-4-2, 2). The 25 year old Takehara lost a razor thin decision last December to Ryuya Tsugawa and will be looking to bounce back here with a win against the 31 year old Tsukada. Whilst this doesn't look great on paper it gets interesting when you scratch beneath the surface and realise Tsukada had lost his last and is winless in the last 24 months. This should be a simple win for Takehara.
Notably there was a fourth bout scheduled for this card, between Munetaka Kihara (3-2-1, 1) and the debuting Reiji Kodama (0-0), but this was cancelled when Teiken had to close due to Jorge Linares's recent PCR test.
Osaka Teiken put on their next show this coming Sunday, and whilst it's not a big one it is one with a couple of bouts that have caught our attention.
One of those bouts will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Yuri Takemoto (7-1-1, 4) taking on Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-10-1, 4) in an 8 round bout. The talented Takemoto lost early in his career,m in his second bout, but has since gone 6-0-1 and won the All Japan Rooki of the Year last year, when he beat Hikari Mineta in the final. He's tipped as one to watch and should have the tools to shine here. Takabayashi on the other hand is a 30 year old veteran who has 20 bouts behind him, and has mixed with good company, including the likes of Shota Hayashi, Ye Joon Kim, Yuta Saito and Gakuya Furuhashi. Sadly for Takabayashi he has come up short against his most notable opponents and this is likely to continue here.
Unbeaten youngster Sora Fukunaga (3-0) is also worth making a note of here, and he to repeat his June win over Yuto Nonoguchi (3-4, 1). Although not very well known the 21 year old Fukunaga is a talented youngster who debuted just a year ago and is still really trying to find his footing. In June he did take a very clear win over Nonoguchi, but will be looking for an even clearer win this time out.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Wakayama for a small card, featuring some young talent. On paper this is a very easy show to over-look but there are certainly some fighters on it worthy of some attention.
The most notable fighter involved on this show is 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yuri Takemoto (6-1-1, 3), who seeks his second win of 2019 as he takes on Indonesian foe Kiki Marciano (1-3). Coming in to this Takemoto has won his last 5, including taking the Featherweight Rookie of the Year crown last December Hikari Mineta, and will be flying high with confidence. The 34 year old Marciano was in Japan last year, when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Koshin Takeshima, and we wouldn't be surprised by him being stopped again here.
Another Rookie king on this show is 2015 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Retsu Kosaka (9-4, 3), who takes on Indonesian foe Anshori Anhar Pitulay (9-17-2, 6). Kosaka won his first 7 bouts in a row but has since gone 2-4 and looks like his ceiling is less high than many expected. Saying that however it is worth noting that 1 of those 2 wins came over the very fast rising Ryo Sagawa. The 33 year old Pitulay has suffered 15 stoppage losses so far through his career and we're expecting his 16th stoppage to come here, especially given that he has been stopped in 5 of his last 6 bouts.
A third bout on this card worthy of some note will see Taichi Sugimori (7-5, 2) battle against Wataru Ikegami (6-4-1, 3) in what looks like a competitive match up. Neither of these men are likely to make a big name for themselves but this match up, by it's self, is a solid and competitive one. Between them both have been beaten by their better opposition, though it is worth noting that Sugimori does hold a very good win over Dynamic Kenji from back in 2017, in what is the best either man has so far.
In Russia we'll see a rematch between Kazakh Firuza Sharipova (10-1, 5) and Russian Yuliya Kutsenko (7-1-1, 3), with Sharipova looking to score her second win over Kutsenko. Shripova gets a lot of attention in the Kazakh press, though much of it is to do with her looks rather than her boxing skill, but she doesn't seem to have the desire to really make the mark that her media suggest. It's hard to see anything but a win for Sharipova, but it's really time she started to take her boxing career seriously and take on serious challengers, rather people she has already beaten and second rate foes.
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter this coming Sunday comes from Maryland, as former world champions collide! The bout will see Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17) take on Kazakh-Russian Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10), in what should be a tremendous bout. Both of these men need a win if they are to remain in the world title mix, and both will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss, with Lipinets losing to Mikey Garcia and Peterson losing to Errol Spence Jr. Their styles should make for a fun fight and this is a really good quality match up between world class fighters.
Staying in the US there's also a couple of unbeaten Kazakh prospects in action in California.
One of those is Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10), who will be dropping down to Super Middleweight to face off with Mike Guy (9-3-1, 5). The unbeaten Akhmedov wasn't as active as we'd have hoped in 2018 but with his first bout of 2019 taking place this early he could end up having a really big year this year. Guy is a solid enough opponent, who has done 8 rounds with Tyron Zeuge and came close to doing the same with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, show he's durable. This might be a very tough test for Akhmedov but is also a chance for him to make a statement.
On the same card will be Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8), who will be fighting his second bout of the year and looks likely to have a huge year. He fought 4 times in 2018 and although his competition hasn't been the best he is making noise as one to watch. At 25 years old he has time to really build his record and reputation before moving onto big fights. He will be up against Puerto Rican fighter Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9).
Staying with Kazakh's there is also set to be a show in Almaty featuring a couple more notable Kazakh fighters.
In one of the main bouts Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) will take on tough Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1, 6) in a bout for minor titles from the WBO, WBA and WBC. This could end up being one of the low key bouts of the weekend and is a very real threat to Yerbossynuly's unbeaten record. The Kazakh has shown promise but has been down in a couple of his fights whilst Ndafoluma has managed to show toughness and skills on the road, upsetting British fighter Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017. This is a potential banana skin for the unbeaten Kazakh.
On the same card Nursultan Zhangabayev (6-0, 4) is scheduled to make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title. His opponent will be 25 year old Venezuelan fighter Ivan Matute (28-1, 23), who has a really good looking record, but there is no real quality on there. The unbeaten Zhangabayev won the belt last December, when he took a decision over tough Filipino Arnel Tinampay, and was given a real test, so we're hoping for another test here.
Also on this show will be 21 year old Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0, 7) who will be fighting for a WBC Asia title. The talented Kazakh will be up against John Ruba (17-5-1, 9), who shouldn't really be much of a match for Akhmedov, who will be expected to move to 8-0 (8) without too many problems.
The under-card is also set to feature a number of prospects, including Dastan Saduuly (2-0, 2), Iskander Kharsan (5-0, 4) and Ulugbek Khakberdiev (5-0, 3).
As well as all the Kazakh's in action there is actually set to be a couple of Japanese shows on the same day. The more notable of those takes place in Hyogo and is a Shinsei promoted card.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing, as Shun Kosaka (15-5, 4) takes on Shunji Nagata (12-17-2, 4) in an 8 round bout at a contracted 51.5KG's. The winner of this could end up finding themselves in a Japanese title bout later this year. Coming in Kosaka has lost his last 2, being stopped in an OPBF title fight by Jayr Raquinel and being out pointed by Junto Nakatani, but remains #2 ranked by the JBC at Flyweight. Nagata on the other hand has struggled for consistent results, with 6 losses in his last 8, but has shown the ability score an upset on his day and is better than his record suggests.
World ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (19-4-1, 11) will be taking on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-4-1, 6), in what looks like a straight forward bout for Nishitani. Medura has lost 3 of his last 5, losing all 3 of them in Japan by stoppage. Although Nishitani isn't anything special he has won his last 4 by stoppage and is a former Japanese national champion, so should have little problem picking up the win here.
Talented and highly touted prospect Yuki Yamauchi (2-0, 1) will seek his third win as he takes on unbeaten Filipino Claudevan Sese (7-0-3, 1). This looks like a good step forward for Yamauchi, who will be in his first 8 rounder just 8 months after his debut. For Sese this will be his international debut, and a big step up in class, though he has never tasted defeat and has gone 8 rounds twice during his career.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) take on Reymond Empic (6-2, 2), in what looks like a pretty even match up. Takemoto left his mark last year, when he took the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, and he looked to hit much harder than his record indicates in his final win over Hikari Mineta. Empic should prove to be an interesting assignment for Takemoto, but one that Takemoto will be confident of passing.
It's also worth noting that this show will feature the retirement ceremony of Eita Kikuchi (21-6-4, 8), who challenged for both the OPBF Super Bantamweight and Japanese Bantamweight title during his 31 fight career that began back in 2005.
As well as the Shinsei card there will also be a Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Fukuoka. Among the bouts on this card is an interesting bout between Ryusuke Ushihara (4-1-1, 1) and Yutaka Asakura (3-1-1, 2), which looks really competitive on paper.