The biggest show this coming Saturday comes from Gifu where we'll be getting a highly anticipated WBO Flyweight world title fight as well as bouts featuring a number of notable Japanese fighters, including 2 promising prospects and a former national title challenger. For fans outside of Japan wanting to watch this show it will be streamed live on our homepage!
The main event of the card will see WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) make his first defense. The champion, who won the title in the 2018 Fight of the Year against Sho Kimura, will be up against former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12). These two had sought to fight when both were campaigning at Light Flyweight, though injuries to Tanaka scuppered those plans. Since then both have moved up and we're now really looking forward to what could be a 2019 Fight of the Year contender. Our full preview of this bout can be read here "The Fate hangs in the balance Kosei Tanaka and Ryoichi Taguchi face off!"
The chief support bout will see unbeaten youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) making his first defense of the WBC Youth Flyweight title, as he takes on Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). This will be Hatanaka's first defense of the title, and the expectation on "Prince" Hatanaka is huge given his performances so far and the success of his father, a former world champion. The Thai has won his last 5 bouts and is riding some momentum, but did lose in his only previous bout in Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017.
Another Japan Vs Thailand bout will see the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) take on a Thai opponent. Mizuno will be looking to move through the rankings this year on to bigger and better fights and is currently riding an 8 fight winning run, including notable domestic wins over Noboru Osato and Yuki Iriguchi. He will be expecting to extend that winning run here.
Former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) will be taking on Chinese foe Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the Japanese fighter, despite the fact he has been out of the ring since September 2017. Tanaka, no relation to Kosei, is a talented fighter who's losses have come to Kentaro Masuda and Ryo Akaho, and this looks like a bout to ease him back into things before bigger bouts down the line. For Yu this will be his first bout since getting a gift draw in December against Yuya Nakamura, in an entertaining bout, but one he seemed to clearly lose.
A second Japan Vs China bout will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), who was involved in a real thriller earlier this year with Korean Seong Yeong Yang. It's hard not to think this will be an all action fight, and it's a great step up in class for Takeshima, who will be taking on a foe expected to last a few rounds with him here.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in Indonesia, with a couple of UBO minor title bouts on it.
One of those title bouts will see veteran Roy Tua Manihuruk (19-19-2, 15) take on 42 year old Thai foe Vachayan Khamon (11-25-1, 4), aka Suor Carryboy, for the UBO Inter Continental Light Welterweight title. This isn't a mouth watering match up, but given the limitations of both fighters it should be somewhat interesting.
A second title bout will see Moensaku Yor (5-5-1, 3) take on Artid Bamrungauea (22-25, 20) for the UBO International Super Bantamweight title. Yor has lost his last 3 by stoppage, including an opening round blow out loss to Ari Agustian. The Thai is a 34 year old who has lost every bout against a notable name, and would need one of his career best performances to pick up a win here.
As well as the notable bouts in Asia there are also a couple of central Asian fighters in action in Canada.
Unbeaten Kazakh Batyrzhan Jukembayev (14-0-0-2, 12) has seemingly repaired bridges with his promoter and manager, after a public falling out, and will battle against Mexican fighter Carlos Jimenez (14-9-1, 8). Jimenez, and his manager, are said to have agreed terms to fight different opponents, with Jimenez being announced as fighting Daniyar Yeleussinov on March 15th before actually being confirmed for this bout a day later. Jimenez is a great opponent at this point for Jukembayev and should be the best out of the Kazakh.
The other Kazakh on this show is Nurzat Sabirov (8-0, 7), who takes on Argentinian journeyman Cesar Hernan Reynoso (15-11-4, 7). The 25 year old Sabirov impressed last year, scoring 4 wins including a notable one over Rocky Montoya in November. Big things are expected from Sabirov, though this is a step up, and Reynoso has been in with some notable names, including Callum Smith and Martin Fidel Rios. This should be a clear win for Sabirov, but we don't expect an early blow out.
Staying in North America we'll get the US debut of Azeri fighter Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11) who goes up against talented American teenager Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4). The American youngster is a real talent and we'd expect to see him becoming a star in the future. Sadly for Aghayev we don't see this ending well for him, despite the fact he is the more experienced and naturally bigger man.
Yet more action in North America for Asian fighters will see Kazakh Sagadat Rakhmankul (3-1, 1) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Nicklaus Flaz as he takes on Brandon Adams (4-7-1, 2). Although he lost last time out Rakhmankul is touted as a very solid prospect and it will be very interesting to see how he bounces back here.
There will also be a fight in Australia, as Filipino fighter Glenn Enterina (14-4-1, 9) takes on the unbeaten Jacob Ng (9-0, 7) in a bout for the IBF Youth Lightweight title. On paper Ng, an Australian fighter, should be favoured but Enterina has mixed with good company, with loses to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Mark Urvanov.
This coming Monday is a big one in Japan, especially in Aichi where fans get a really notable card, featuring an all-Japanese world title bout, a WBC Youth title bout and a contest featuring a really promising Japanese prospect. As well as the Aichi card there will also be a small show in Oita.
It's the Aichi card which will get all the attention, though sadly appears set to only be televised live in small Japanese market on CBC, rather than receive national coverage. A huge disappointment.
The main event of the card will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) go for his third defense, as he faces the unbeaten Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7), who is looking to become a 3 weight champion in just 12 fights. The bout is seen as something that will come down to how Tanaka's handles the pressure and tempo of Kimura and whether or not Kimura can deal with the movement and skills of Tanaka. Stylistically this should be very interesting, and the winner will have doors swung wide open for big Flyweight bouts later in the year. In fact the winner of this will likely be featured on the year ending “Kyoguken” show on TBS. Notably we should have a live stream of this bout on our site so please keep your eyes peeled for that! A full in depth preview of this contest can be read here courtesy of George Delis.
The second title bout on this card will see second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (6-0, 6) fight against limited Indonesian foe Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC Youth Flyweight title. Hatanaka, the son of former WBC Super Bantamweight champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, is tipped for big things in the future and will be looking to move from a “Prince” to a “King” by taking his title here. The Indonesian visitor is unlikely to pose much of a threat here, in what will likely be a mismatch.
Another likely mismatch will see former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) take on Rusli Yanto (2-1). This should be little more than a stay busy win for Tanaka, who will be hoping to get another title opportunity in 2019.
Former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (1-0, 1) will be having his second contest on this show, and will also be facing an Indonesian visitor, Kiki Marciano (1-2). The 22 year old Japanese Featherweight looked great on debut, back in July, and is expected to be in the title mix sooner rather than later. This bout however is more about getting him some ring time and keeping him active rather than chasing belts. Despite the familiar surname Kiki Marciano is nothing like the great Rocky Marciano and we would be very surprised to see him last the scheduled 6 rounds.
As well as the action in Aichi there will also be a small card in Oita.
The main even here looks to be a well matched 6 round bout between Takeru Kobata (6-3-1, 2) and Tomoki Takada (5-4-2, 3) at 140lbs. These two aren't likely to find themselves fighting for titles any time soon, but should make for a compelling match up together, give their limitations.
In the chief support bout Kanta Takenaka (5-3-1, 1) will battle Shun Imuta (4-1-2, 3), in another 6 round contest. This also looks like it could be a compelling contest, albeit at the lower end of the Japanese domestic scene.
The main card card for us this coming Saturday comes from Aichi, where we'll see a 2-weight world champion along with several prospects.
The former world champion is Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6), who has won world titles at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. Tanaka's pursuit for a Flyweight title kicks off with a bout against unbeaten Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (10-0-1, 7), who had a huge 2017 with stoppages against Ma Yi Ming and Iwan Zoda. A win for Tanaka is likely to set up a world title fight at Flyweight later this year. Saying that however Baldonado will know a win here will give his career a massive boost in the arm and move him onto a world title fight of his own.
In a major supporting bout fans will see unbeaten prospect Kento Hatanaka (4-0, 4) take on former Japanese Minimumweight title challenger Kenta Matsui (8-7, 1). The hard hitting Hatanaka has looked fantastic so far, but this is a huge step up in class following fights against very limited opposition. Matsui may not have a great record but he's a massive step up in class for Hatanaka, and is an upset minded fighter, as seen with his wins against Rikito Hattori and Genki Hanai. This is a big step up, but a win for Hatanakawould have him instantly in the domestic title mix.
Also on this card will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14), who will be battling against Jinya Ito (6-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Tanaka has scored a couple of low key wins since losing a decision to Ryo Akaho just over a year ago. Ito has lost 3 of his last 5 and is very unlikely to pose much of a threat to Tanaka who will be looking to earn a third Japanese title fight in the near future.
As well as the the card in Aichi Japanese fans will also get a card in Shizuoka.
The main event of the card will see OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight Takashi Igarashi (12-3, 5) battle against Yutaka Motoyoshi (7-11, 5),in an 8 rounder. On paper this isn't that mouth watering, but Igarashi isn't as much of a foregone winner as his record suggests, and with two stoppages against his name he is certainly not the toughest man out there. Motoyoshi has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, but he has mixed at a decent level and could well have the power to give Igarashi problems if he can connect .
Another man at risk if gets caught is Omrri Bolivar (5-1, 3), who will be up against bit punching Filipino visitor Junny Salogaol (13-12-4, 12). Last time out Bolivar was stopped in 5 rounds by Jelbirt Gomera and will be looking to get his career back on track here. Salogaol looks like an easy win for the South American on paper, but Salogaol is tough and dangerous and will be looking to score one of the best wins of his career. This could be a very tough contest if Bolivar isn't careful.
One other bout of note on this card will see Asami Jinnari (5-2-1, 2) battle against Wakako Fujiwara (4-2-2, 2) for the Japanese female Featherweight title. These two fought to a draw in December last year and we're expecting another close and competitive match up here.
In Indonesian we'll see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (16-0-2, 8) continue his climb to a world title fight as he takes on former OPBF title challenger Lester Abutan (12-7-3, 6). The unbeaten Monabesa is one of the best hopes for the Indonesian scene but this is a step up and one of the first real tests for the 27 year old southpaw. Abutan was last seen being stopped by Ryota Yamauchi but despite that loss he is still a very capable fighter, and should bring the best out of Monabesa, especially given that a win for Abutan will give his career a boost and he'll be there to win. Interestingly this will be Monabesa's second defense of the World Boxing Council International Silver Light Flyweight title.
A second title fight on this card will see the huighly experienced Samuel Tehuayo (21-43-2, 6) battle against former Hinata Maruta foe Hamson Lamandau (8-2-1, 5), who has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts. The winner of this will become the new Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) International Flyweight champion.
For Asian fans in China there will also be a low key card in Jinan from Top Rank and SECA Ltd. This card is set to only feature novices, but should be a pretty interesting card with every fighter on the card looking to take a step towards bigger and better things.
Seoul, South Korea
It's not only Chinese fans who get a low key novice card but also Korean ones with Boxing M putting on a a small card in Seoul. These match up here, like with the Chinese card, are all low key contests, but the winners will take a step towards something big, as this is part of a big tournament show.
Outside of Asia there will also be some Asian fighters in action in Canada, where they have been building their respective careers so far.
One of those is the promising Batyrzhan Jukembayev (11-0-0-2, 9) of Kazakhstan. The 26 year old will be facing off with Mexican Noe Nunez (18-5-1, 13). The Kazakh looks like a real prospect, and although he does look like he's treading water with this fight, given his other recent fights, it is worth noting that he should look good. For those who recognise Nunez's name he has been stopped in 3 rounds by Britain's Jack Caterall and in 6 rounds by Tony Luis, showing he's not the toughest fighter out there.
The other Asian fight on this card is Ablaikhan Khussainov (7-0, 5), also a a Kazakh, who will battle against Gilberto Meza (8-3-1, 5). Last time out Khussainov had some questions to answer, as Jesus Silveria pushed him hard through a 6 rounder, but the Kazakh will be out to make a statement here. It's worth noting that Meza has never been stopped, and did score a career best win last time out, when he stopped Francisco Javier Hernandez.
The most notable of two card for Japanese fight fans this Sunday comes from Kyoto, courtesy of Shinsei Gym, and featured a trio of title bouts.
The most significant of those title contests will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) make his first defense of the title as he takes on American challenger Daniel Roman (22-2-1, 8). Kubo won the title earlier this year, defeating Nehomar Cermeno, and will continue to look at proving himself as the new star at the Shinsei gym, following on from the success of the legendary Hozumi Hasegawa. For Roman the bout is his first in Asia and his first for a world title. The challenger has looked good moving through the ranks, but this is a big step up against a world class fighter. The bout, for those interested, will be televised live in the Kansai region of Japan and should see good numbers, given that Kubo's title win was hugely popular with the regional audience.
In an OPBF title fight we'll see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (14-0, 8) take on Ryan Sermona (20-8-1, 13). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 8th defense of the title and will almost certainly be eyeing bigger and better things in the near future. It's hard to see what Sermona brings to the table to really test the the tall and rangy champion, but hopefully we'll see him have some success in the biggest fight of his career. It's worth noting that Nakatani has held this title for well over 3 years but his last few performances haven't shown the progression many would have liked to have seen.
In the third of those title bouts we'll see Reiya Konishi (13-0, 5) defending his Japanese Minimumweight title as he takes on former world title challenger Shin Ono (20-8-3, 4). This will be Konishi's first defense of the title that he won April, when he defeated Masataka Taniguchi. The talented champion will see this as a huge opportunity to move towards a title bout, and know he really needs to shine. For Ono this will be a third shot at a Japanese title, and potentially his last as the 34 year is really pushing on in terms of his career. Interestingly Ono won't just be fighting for the title but also for his stable as he looks to avenge Taniguchi's loss to Ono.
A second Japanese show will be held in Aichi and whilst it doesn't feature any title fights it does feature a trio of notable names.
In one of the headline bouts we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-6-1, 17) return to the ring following his first stoppage loss. The exciting Hayashi lost the Japanese title back in April, being stopped by the big punching Kosuke Saka, and will be looking to bounce back as he faces Filipino Markquil Salvana (13-3, 7). The once touted Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has yet to win on the road, where he is 0-3, and that's unlikely to change here against the aggressive and rough Hayashi.
Former 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (20-2-3, 14) will also be looking to rebuild his career against a Filipino. The talented Tanaka has lost 2 of his last 6, including a loss in March to Ryo Akaho, but he should fancy his chances against Bryan Capangpangan (12-3-1, 9), who looks a good opponent on paper but lacks a win of any note. The Filipino was blown out just a few fights ago by Jack Tepora and there's a good chance we'll see something similar here.
In the main event of this card we'll see the fast rising Kento Hatanaka (3-0, 3) take on a Thai foe as the youngster continues to move towards his first title fight. Hatanaka, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, made his debut last November and is already headlining shows thanks to his fun style and good looks, and there is real hope that he could prove to be the next star from the Hatanaka gym, run by his father.
This coming weekend sees boxing take over in Tokyo with 5 world title fights spread over 2 days thanks to Fuji TV who are set to give us one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory. It kicks off on Saturday with a trio of world title fights on a show promoted by Teiken
The most significant of the fights sees French based Middleweight Hassan N'Dam (35-2, 21) battle against Japanese gold medal winner Ryota Murata (12-0, 9) in a bout for the WBA “regular” Middleweight title. For N'dam, who is best known for losing to Peter Quillin and David Lemieux, the bout gives him a third shot to hold a “full” title, after several reigns as an interim champion, and he does seem very confident in build up to the fight. For Murata the bout is a chance to mark his name in history as the first Japanese fighter to claim and Olympic and World titles and become just the second Japanese fighter to claim a Middleweight world title. Of all the bouts this weekend this is probably the most significant and the most interesting.
Talking about interesting it's worth nothing that the card features a mouth watering Flyweight title bout as WBC champion Juan Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25) takes on Japanese destroyer Daigo Higa (12-0, 12). The bout will be a mandatory for the Mexican champion whilst Higa looks to claim a world title at the age of 21, and keep alive his incredible stoppage run. The bout looks set to be something a little bit special with both being very talented and having a nice mix of styles, which should lead to a thrilling war.
The other title fight on this show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (28-6, 17) defending his title against former WBC Youth, Japanese and OPBF champion Ken Shiro (9-0, 5). The champion is a true grizzled veteran and has looked great in recent wins over Yu Kimura and Jonathan Taconing, with the Kimura win coming in Japan, but at 35 he is ancient for a Light Flyweight and is significantly older than Ken Shiro who will have a real advantage in youth. The bout will be Lopez's second defense and will be Ken Shiro's first bout at world level.
Whilst much of the attention for the day will be on Tokyo it won't be the only place with a world title fight, as Aichi also hosts a world title fight. Sadly whilst the Tokyo card will receive a lot of major press across Japan and looks set to be televised in a number of major markets it
looks like this will only be shown on CBC.
The headline bout of this show, and the world title bout, will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (8-0, 5) making his first defense of the title as he takes on monstrous Puerto Rican puncher Angel Acosta (16-0, 16). The bout is a mandatory defense for Tanaka and looks like a great match up on paper as the talented and speedy champion takes on a massive puncher, with both men looking not only to walk away as champion but to also keep their unbeaten records. It's hard not to feel that Tanaka's experience at world level will be the difference here. But it's clear that Acosta has power and we have seen Tanaka down before, against heavy handed Filipino Vic Saludar, and Acosta could build a gameplan on Saludar's success.
Another unbeaten man on this card is Kento Hatanaka (2-0, 2), the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka. The youngster will be taking part in a 6 rounder against an unknown Thai as he looks to continue his perfect start to professional boxing. The 18 year old has needed just 3 rounds to take out two domestic foes so far and will be looking for something similarly impressive here.
Also up against a Thai visitor will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight challenger Yushi Tanaka (19-2-3, 13), who will be in an 8 rounder. Tanaka was last seen losing to Ryo Akaho in March, though put in a credible effort and will be hoping to run off a series of wins to earn a third shot at the Japanese title. This however won't be a notable win and will instead be confidence builder for the Hatanaka man.
There is also set to be action in Indonesia, where three of the hottest young Indonesian fighters will be in action.
One of the bouts will see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (15-0-1, 7) taking on Arnold Garde (8-4-2, 3) in an interesting match up for a minor WBC title at Light Flyweight. The unbeaten man, now regarded as one of the 3 Indonesian fighters to keep an out on, is going to be strongly favoured here, but Garde won't have travelled to make up the numbers and this could be a good test for the unbeaten man.
Another local fighter in action is Defry Palulu (17-2-1, 12), who will be battling the experienced Nathan Bolcio (14-12-3, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. This looks like a mismatch but Bolcio has mixed in good company and could prove to be a stiff test for the popular local.
Another of the standout Indonesian hopefuls in action is 20 year old Iwan Zoda (13-2, 11), who will be up against domestic veteran Ical Tobida (13-23, 8). The bout will see Zoda return to action for the first time since a 7th round TKO loss to Robert Onggocan back in January and he'll clearly be fighting with intent to prove he is back to his best, following a rib injury.
In Korea the KBF will host a low key Rookie event, with very few details not note. We have been informed that the card will feature an 8 rounder, but other than that the details really are scarce.
This Friday marks the first “Asign Bee” card, and what a card it looks like being with 3 really notable bouts, each featuring a man with world title experience.
The main event will see 2-time former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (29-2-2, 19) take on the once beaten Yushi Tanaka (19-1-3, 13) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title. The title was vacated last year by Kentaro Masuda, who seems set to turn his attention on regional titles, and we've got this intriguing match up as a result. Akaho will be favoured, he has fought at a higher level, holds the more notable wins and has fought in and around title level for years, but the 25 year old Tanaka will be hungry and will know that he has avoided the career harming wars that Akaho has frequently had.
In the chief support bout we'll see former WBO Bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda (32-2, 20) take on experienced Thai Mike Tawatchai (42-9-1, 25). Tomoki, fighting in Japan for the first time since December 2013, will be expected to over-come Tawatchai as he looks to begin a run towards Super Bantamweight gold, and will have eyes on the likes of IBF champion Yukinori Oguni. Talking about Oguni he actually stopped Tawatchai last year, in 5 rounds. Tawatchai has also suffered a relatively recent loss in Japan to Shingo Wake and will be looking to avenge a 2012 loss to Tomoki's older brother Daiki Kameda. Highly experience Tawatchai isn't a terrible fighter, but shouldn't be much of a test for Kameda.
The third bout of note sees former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (31-6-2, 20), best known for twice dropping Guillermo Rigondeaux, taking on domestic foe Kinshiro Usui (27-4, 11) in a real must win for both men. Amagasa hasn't looked great in recent bouts, and it looks almost like his toughness is wearing down after damaging bouts with Rigondeaux, Patomsith Pathompothong, Josh Warrington and Carlo Demecillo. Usui is a former Japanese title challenger at Bantamweight and has mixed with good company himself, suffering losses to the likes of Kohei Oba, Ryosuke Iwasa and Takafumi Nakajima, but is riding a solid 6 fight winning streak and will be high on confidence coming into this bout.
Western Australia, Australia
We'll also see a number of Asian's fighting outside of Asia. One of those is Thai veteran Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-16, 6), who takes on former world champion Vic Darchinyan (42-9-1, 31) in Australia. The Thai is a very limited fighter, who has lost his last 3, but will be going up against a very shot Darchinyan, who is more than a year removed from his last win, and has been stopped in 4 of his last 7, dating back more than 3 years.
In the US we'll see once beaten Filipino hopeful Romero Duno (12-1, 11) take on the unbeaten Christian Gonzalez (16-0, 14) in a bout for the WBC Youth Intercontinental Lightweight title. This should be a genuinely exciting clash between two punchers, each looking to claim a title, and we'd be shocked if this one goes the distance. Between them the fighters have 25 stoppages from 29 fights and we'd be expecting both to go out swinging here.
Also in the USA we'll see American based Kyrgyzstan born Basyzbek Baratov (1-1-1) take on debut Tyrone Arzena (0-0). Baratov has had 3 very competitive bouts in his career so far, and could really be 0-0-3, but will be looking to add some consistency here and get some career momentum going in what will be his first bout in his adopted Pennsylvania.
The final day of 2016 is one of the most notable on the boxing calendar as Japanese TV promoters, and TV channels put on a number of shows. This year we get three shows, each with multi-ple title bouts and notable prospects.
The most notable of the three shows takes place in Kyoto and will be aired on TBS as part of their huge end of year celebrations.
The headline bout here will see the WBA regular and interim titles at Flyweight being unified. The bout sees regular champion Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) battle with unbeaten interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) from Thailand. The bout is an interesting match up with Stamp's team showing confidence in their man, who seemed to believe he was travelling to Japan to stop the champion. The experience Ioka will be looking to show that experience is key here and will likely be looking to prove he's the best Flyweight on the planet in 2017, after getting this mandatory defense out of the way.
A second world title fight on this card will see IBF Super Bantamweight chamion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) defending his title for the first time. The heavy handed Dominican will be up against once beaten Japanese challenger Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7), who is looking to add a world title to his collection which already includes a Japanese and OPBF title. Guzman, who won the title in Japan with a stoppage win over Shingo Wake, has looked relaxed but some have felt that he is over-looking Oguni who has started to find his own power in recent bouts.
Sadly an IBF Bantamweight title bout between Lee Haskins (34-3, 14) and Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) was cancelled in the weeks leading up to the bout, as Haskins suffered an injury that forced him out. Omori's team, who are promoting the show, managed to find their man a solid late replacement in the former of multi-time world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (32-8-2, 20). The bout isn't a bad one given the short notice but it should be noted that Fuentes is best known for his run at Flyweight and will be dwarfed by Omori who is around 5” taller than the Filipino.
Another bout pitting a Japanese fighter against a Thai will see the unbeaten, and world ranked, Sho Ishida (22-0, 11) up against the hapless Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-10). The Thai has been stopped 8 times in his 10 defeats and will be unlikely to test Ishida who has made it clear that he's wanting world title fights in 2017. A bout like this won't prepare him for world class opposition but serves the task of keeping him busy and ticking him over whilst looking for a big fight.
Another Ioka gym hopeful on this under card is the unbeaten, and exciting, Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (11-0, 8). Hashizume won the Rookie of the Year in 2014 and although we had hoped to see him in notable fights since he actually this year facing unknown Thai Chatpetch Saithonggym (0-0). Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for the Osaka man who hasn't progressed like some had hoped.
Another notable multi-title show will come from Tokyo and be promoted by Watanabe promotions, who continue their association with TV Tokyo.
The headline bout of this is the “revenge or repeat” bout between Panama's tricky Jezreel Corrales (20-1-1, 8) and Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20). Earlier this year Corrales blitzed Uchiyama in 2 rounds to give “KO Dynamite” his first professional defeat and to claim the WBA Super Featherweight “super” title and shocked the boxing world. Now the champion will be looking to repeat the feat as he returns to a Japanese ring whilst Uchiyama will be looking to prove the result was an anomaly. At 37 years old however the view is that Uchiyama is several years removed from his prime and will likely be over-whelmed by the speed and movement of Corrales once again.
The second of the world title bouts on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) defending his belt against unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13). On paper this looks like a good defense for Taguchi but in fairness Canizales hasn't yet fought anyone of any name recognition and it's hard to know how good he really is. He could be the next gem of a talent from Venezuela or he could be a crude domestic fighter, as the footage suggests, either way we'll see questions answered about him, even if we don't learn anythign new about Taguchi.
Arguably the most interesting bout of the whole day is an OPBF / WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title unification bout as the once beaten Masayuki Ito (19-1-1, 9), the current OPBF champion, takes on the teak tough and criminally under-rated Takuya Watanabe (30-6-1, 16), the current WBO Asia Pacific title holder. This bout is one for the hardcore but is something we expect to actually leave the fans the happiest with. Both men are incredibly talented, have under-rated power and skills and the winner really does deserve some other major bouts in 2017. We think Ito is the more proven but Watanabe is always a handful and appears to be getting better with every fight.
One of the hottest young talents in Japanese boxing will be looking to secure his 5th straight stoppage win. That is the wonderfully aggressive Hiroto Kyoguchi (4-0, 4), who will be up against Filipino visitor Junuel Lacar (7-3-3, 5). The bout should be a test for Kyoguchi but the reality is that he has made supposed tests, like Kenichi Miyazaki and Michael Camelion, look poor courtesy of his speed and power. A win here could see Kyoguchi begin to fight for titles in 2017.
Another fast rising prospect on this card is the really exciting Masataka Taniguchi (5-0, 4), who is looking to build on his recent win over Dexter Alimento as he takes on Vicent Bautista (5-5-3, 1) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the much fancied Taniguchi. It's thought that 2017 will see Taniguchi battle for titles and this could be his final bout before he gets to wear his first strap.
For those interested in final 3 bouts mentioned here they will be features on tape delay as part of the Boxingraise service.
A third show, in fact the first of the three, takes place in Gifu where Hatanaka will be promoting a card. The main event of this will have a legal stream broadcast world wide for fans interested.
The main event of this card will see former WBO Minimumweight champions collide as Kosei Tanaka (7-0, 4) takes on Moises Fuentes (24-2-1, 13) for the vacant WBO Light Flyweight. For Tanaka this is a huge chance to match Naoya Inoue's Japanese record of becoming a 2-weight world champion in 8 bouts however it's a tough bout against a very talented Mexican who many feel should should have scored a win a win over Donnie Nietes in his first bout with the talented Filipino. On paper this is probably the most interesting of the bouts from the day, at least at world title level.
At Japanese title level we'll see Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17), making his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title, taking on former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-5-2, 14). For Hayashi, who won the title back in September, a win here would legitimise his reign and prove him to be a worthy champion. For Shimoda this is a second shot at this title following a narrow loss to Satoshi Hosono last year.
In a supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (18-1-3, 12) face off with Takuya Taniguchi (6-9-2, 1). For Tanaka this is a chance to record a third straight win following his March loss to Kentaro Masuda for the Japanese title. The little known Taniguchi will be looking to score his biggest win, though he has gone just 1-3 in his last 4 bouts dating back more than a year.
Another supporting bout will see Kento Hatanaka (1-0, 1), the son of former former world champion Kiyohi Hatanaka, battle against Yukihiro Asahara (2-4, 1). The 18 year old Hatanaka will be seeking to score his second win in the space of just 5 weeks! On his debut Hatanaka score a quick blow out over an over-matched foe and will be looking to do the same again here.
The most notable bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend sees former-2 weight world champion Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) make his long anticipated move up to Flyweight where he will kick off his campaign with a fighter against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (52-9, 30). The bout isn't a major test, given Viloria's recent performances at world level, but is is a solid introduction to the weight for Nietes, who will be looking to become a 3-weight champion in the near future.
In a supporting bout on the same card former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (29-1, 15) will face Juan Jimenez (22-10, 15) in a rematch. These two men fought earlier this year with Villanueva controversially winning the bout, and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, with a head-butt KO. Coming into this one Jimenez will be seeking revenge whilst Villanueva will be looking to win this one cleanly.
A third notable Filipino in action in the US is the touted prospect Mark Magsayo (14-0, 11), who risks his unbeaten record against Ruben Garcia (17-2-1, 7). The talented Magsayo won the WBO International Featherweight title last time out, beating Chris Avalos in a slugfest, and will be hoping to defend the belt here against Garcia. If he comes out on top then ALA might see fit to step up Magsayo and move him towards a title fight in the next 12 months or so.
The day is a busy on in Japan with 4 shows across the country. The most notable of which is a Dangan card in Tokyo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) face off against Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3) in what will be Arakawa's first defense of the title. The teak tough champion won the belt earlier this year, ending the reign of Kota Tokunaga, and looks like he's making a simple first defense before potentially facing Shuhei Tsuchiya.
It's worth noting that Shuhei Tsuchiya (20-4, 17) will be in one of the main supporting bout on this card as he takes on Filipino visitor Rex Olisa (11-29-1, 8). The bout is expected to be a mismatch with the bout serving almost entirely to help build for a bout between Tsuchiya and Arakawa in 2017.
Another Japanese title bout will be held in Aichi as Shota Hayashi (27-5-1, 17) trades blows with veteran Noriyuki Ueno (18-13-5, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, which was recently vacated by Satoshi Hosono. Coming in Hayashi will clearly be the favourite however Ueno is under-rated, knows this will almost certainly be his only chance and comes in riding a huge high after a massive upset win against Yuki Ogata last time out.
In the chief support bout Yushi Tanaka (17-1-3,11) will be facing a poor Thai opponent in what will be Tanaka's second bout since losing in a Japanese title bout against Kentaro Masuda this past March. It's hard to see Tanaka losing here but he'll be forced to step up his competition in the near future if he wants another crack at silverware.
Fans in Ibaragi get a less interesting card though one headlined by the insanely tough Tatsuya Takahashi (24-6-4, 17), who faces Thai visitor Parkin Phakdeepin (1-7) in a 10 rounder. The bout, for all intents, is a mismatch but we find it impossible not to love Takahashi who has been in numerous thrillers. Although a mismatch Takahashi should make this fun.
Another low profile card comes from Oita where the main event will see Yuta Sasaki (8-8-1, 1) face off against Hyuma Fujioka (7-4-1). The bout is another less than great match up, however this one should at least be competitive with both men looking to prove they are the better fight.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Filipino fans also get some action, the most notable of which features the very talented and under-rated Michael Dasmarinas (24-2, 16) facing off with Michael Escobia (11-12-1, 3). On paper this looks like a real mismatch however Escobia is much better than his record suggests and he has given fighters like Masaaki Serie and Koki Eto really competitive bouts, with the Eto bout coming earlier this year. Dasmarinas should win but this is no gimme.
A second Filipino show is set to take place in Rizal where we get several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) face off against Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. The bout isn't the greatest one but should be a very competitive one and both men will be coming in to this one seeking a title victory. On paper it's easy to favour Suminguit, who has won his last 8, but he will be tested here in what should a relatively competitive bout.
On this card in supporting bouts are the Elorde brothers. Juan Martin Elorde (20-1-1, 8) will face off against Indonesian veteran Boido Simanjuntak (23-40-2, 9) whilst Juan Miguel Elorde (21-1, 11) will face Junior Bajawa (14-9, 7). It's hard to see either of the brothers losing here, though we do hope they will both step up a level in the near future, as neither should be tested by their inferior foes here.
Staying in Asia there is also action in Kazakhstan where we get several bouts of note.
The most interesting bout will see unbeaten puncher Issa Akberbayev (17-0-0-1, 12) face off against fellow puncher Maik Kurzweil (17-6, 17) in a bout we don't imagine will go the distance. Although neither is near “world class” they are fighting for the GBC title and will put it on the line to hold the belt.
In an under-card bout the once beaten Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (17-1, 12) will face the highly experienced Gary Abajyan (33-27-1, 17). This will be Bektemirov's second bout since suffering a split decision loss last year to Alexander Brand. It's hard to see Abajyan holding his own here, but Bektermirov is usually fun to watch.
In another under-card bout the unbeaten Berikbay Nurymbetov (2-0) will be facing the much more experienced Valentyn Kuts (22-5-0-1, 8). Kuts has failed to win any of his last 5 bouts and we suspect that losing run will continue here against a man who is obviously backed by a very confident team.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see the much unfancied Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-12-2, 3) battle against former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (61-10, 51) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It's hard not to favour the much more experienced Gonzalez here in what looks like a mismatch against the visitor.
Back in California, though not on the same show as the three Filipino's, fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (5-0, 3) face off with fellow unbeaten Martez Jackson (3-0-2, 2). The bout looks relatively even on paper but we suspect the Kazakh will be too good and too powerful for the unbeaten American.
Hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (4-0-0-2, 4) will be looking to continue his reign of terror as he battles Leandro Mendes Pinto (19-9-2, 9) in a notable step up. The Kazakh destroyer has looked promising so far and should look good here, but notably Pinto has been around the clock and could teach the youngster a few new tricks. Although Pinto has avoided regular stoppages it's hard to imagine him being big enough or tough enough to last long with Jukembayev
Negros Occidental, Philippines
The key show for fans of Asian fighters is in Negros Occidental where ALA will be putting on their next “Pinoy Pride” card.
In the main event fans will see long reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) face off against former 2-time champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23). Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, defeated Garcia's twin brother, Ramon Garcia Hirales, back in 2011 and will be hoping to record a win over Raul too. For Raul it's a chance to become a 3-time champion and avenge one of his brother's losses.
The most interesting of the supporting bouts sees former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) face off against the chinny Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight. Despite being for an Asia Pacific title Jimenez is a Mexican so we're not sure how he qualifies for this title, however with 8 stoppage losses to his name it's hard to see him winning here.
In one of the other main supporting bouts former world title challenger Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) will be facing Maximino Flores (19-2, 13), who appears to have been a late fill in for Javier Mendoza. This bout will be an IBF Light Flyweight eliminator and the winner could find themselves taking a big step towards a world title fight later in the year.
In another supporting bout the promising Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) will be up against Thai visitor Wanchai Nianghansa (5-7, 4). We have been impressed by Cataraja so far and expect this will be another straight forward win for the Filipino sensation, who is widely regarded by those in Filipino boxing circles as a future champion.
In Japan fans get a small card but one with an interesting main event and a notable return to the ring for a recent Japanese title challenger.
The interesting main event sees former world champion Kosei Tanaka (6-0, 3) move up to Light Flyweight where he will face world ranked Filipino foe Rene Patilano (15-1-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 rounder. For Tanaka the bout is a chance to make a mark at a new weight class, and shake the shackles of the 105lb weight class that he claimed to be struggling massively with. As for Patilano the bout will serve as a huge chance to make a mark on the sport and boost his opportunity to get a world title fight of his own later in the year.
The aforementioned former Japanese title challenger is Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10), who faces Yuta Sasaki (8-7-1, 1), in what is Tanaka's first bout since losing in that Japanese title bout to Kentaro Masuda. This should be an easy win for Tanaka but their may be lingering effects from his stoppage loss to Masuda.
Two other men looking to bounce back from a loss on this card will be Shogo Yamaguchi (9-1-1, 4), and Genki Maeda (2-1, 1), who face each other in an interesting looking Lightweight bout. Yamaguchi was beaten last time out by Akihiro Kondo, in a bout that saw Yamaguchi look like a promising fighter despite losing, whilst Maeda was stopped by Yoshimichi Matsumoto in a less impressive performance. This could be a very good one, or it could see Maeda made to look like a novice.
Their will also be action in Uzbekistan
In the main event hard hitting Russian Heavyweight hopeful Apti Davtaev (11-0-1, 11) will be facing Kazakh journeyman Talgat Dosanov (13-14-1, 6) in what looks like a total mismatch in favour of the heavy handed Russian hopeful.
A much more interesting bout will see Uzbek fighter Bahrom Payozov (23-5, 15) face Russian novice Alexander Kotov (3-0, 1). Kotov debuted in December and this is a huge step up in class for him, however a win here is somewhat expected. For Payozov, who has lost 3 of his last 5, the bout is a bit of a must win.
New South Wales, Australia
Once again we see Asian fighters travelling to Australia, this time however we have one genuinely competitive bout as Romnakit Boontree (8-0, 5) facing off against the once beaten Richard Smith (8-1, 3). The unbeaten Thai has shown genuine promise through his first 8 bouts and whilst this is a step up he does look like the sort of fighter who could go a long way, if he can win here in his first bout outside of Thailand.
Other Asian's on this card are Indonesian fighters Abbas Makki (1-4), who faces Michael Upton (4-1-1) and Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2), who faces Rocky Jerkic (14-0, 11), in bouts that are both likely to be won by the local favourites.
For a third day running Japanese fans in Tokyo get some interesting action, and in fact it seems the pick of the bunch comes today with a pair of Japanese title fights, one of which has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
That FOTY contender will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (25-4, 13), one of the most fan-friendly fighters on the planet, battle former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (24-6-3, 14). The bout is expected to be a high action bout with both men being relatively light hitters with good engines and very respectable toughness. Between the two men they have had just a single stoppage loss, suffered by Kuroda against the world ranked Suguru Muranaka, and we're expecting something very exciting here.
The other title bout will see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (23-7, 12) face off against the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (16-0-3, 10), for the vacant Bantamweight crown. For Masuda this is a chance to reclaim the title he lost last year to Shohei Omori, and it's a chance that he will be slightly favoured to make the most of, whilst Tanaka is seriously stepping up in class. Although unbeaten, and the younger man, Tanaka does lack a notable win against a genuine Bantamweight and this really is a huge step up for him.
In a support bout fans will see a couple of Japanese ranked fighters. One of those is Hiroaki Teshigawara (10-1-2, 5), who will be risking his ranking against Kenichi Watanabe (7-2-1, 4), whilst the other will be the limited but dangerous Takuya Yamaguchi (10-9, 8), who risks his ranking against Ryuto Araya (8-4-1, 1).
In Australia fight fans will see popular Australian based Filipino Czar Amonsot (30-3-3, 18) battle in a 10 round bout, against Fijian Farzan Ali Jr (28-6-2, 19), who hasn't fought many notable name,s but was stopped in 2002 by Vic Darchinyan. This should be a straight forward win for Amonsot who is expected to be back in the ring in April.
Staying with Filipino's on the road the unbeaten Jheritz Chavez (5-0-2, 3) will be in Moscow where he's risking his unbeaten record and his WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight title. The 27 year old Chavez will be up against the once beaten Vage Sarukhanyan (12-1-1, 2),who is the interim title holder to Chavez's title. Given this bout is in Russia it's easy to favour the adopted local, originally from Armenia, but Sarukhanyan hans't really proven his quality as of yet and could well be upset by the visitor.