Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Friday action returns to Korakuen Hall for a small, but notable card show casing two talented unbeaten prospects, along with two other bouts of note.
The main event will feature one of the unbeaten hopefuls, as Yuri Kanaya (2-0) takes on Takumi Chono (7-1, 5) in a very tough looking 8 rounder. The 25 year old Kanaya debuted last October and has already broken into the JBC rankings, but this is a very notable step up in class and a win against Chono, who's only loss came in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2019 to Katsuki Mori, would be a big statement of intent. Kanaya has looked quick, sharp and skilled, though perhaps needs to show some more power before being moved towards a Japanese title fight. As for Chono he's a talented fighter with good counters and solid pop, which could well get Kanaya's respect.
The other unbeaten hopeful on this show is Yuya Oku (2-0-1, 1), who debuted last July with a 50 second win over Naoto Moriya, but hasn't looked a puncher since. In the opposite corner to Oku is a puncher, as he clashes with the hard hitting Kazunori Hirano (4-1-1, 4), who stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 10 rounds. Sadly for Hirano his power hasn't carried up and he has gone 0-1-1 in his last 2 bouts, kissing off some of the fear his power may have had. Regardless we do expect Hirano to throw bombs here, and Oku will have to pass something of a chin check if he's to pick up his third victory.
In regards to other fighters on the card, the most well known is probably Ryusei Ishii (8-7-1, 5), who is in desperate need of a win. The once touted Ishii, is 1-4-1 in his last 6 bouts, and has understandably been matched softly here as he takes on Naoya Nishimura (4-10-1, 3) in a scheduled 6 rounder. The 26 year old Ishii was once ranked by the JBC but his career has really fallen apart in recent years. As for Nishimura, the 36 year old will go into this knowing it will be his final bout, due to the retirement age in Japan, and will be looking to retire on a victory making him something of a potential banana skin for his younger foe.
Interestingly the most fun bout of the show could be at Welterweight as the always fin to watch Yuta Ashina (6-3) takes on Masaki Kobayashi (6-2, 3). Coming in to this Ashina should be the slight favourite, and should feel comfortable building on a win in March against Takumi Imasato. He does however lack power, and is very much a battler who has to fight hard for results. Kobayashi on the other hand does have some bang, with half of his wins coming inside the distance, but also has something of a questionable chin, having been stopped in both of his losses. This could well be a very, very interesting and exciting bout, even if it is buried deep down the card.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day in a row we get action from Korakuen Hall as Ichiriki put on a small card under the A-Sign Boxing Banner. This really is a small card, but as we see all the time even small Japanese cards can deliver some real fun and there is the potentially for some intriguing action here.
The main event here will see the "stop or be stopped" Kazuaki Miyamoto (6-5, 5) take on the under-rated Tasuku Suwa (6-4-1, 1) in what could be a brilliant, and easy to over-look, 8 rounder. In his 11 bouts to date Miyamoto has heard the final bell once, and that was in September 2017, since then he has had 6 bouts and none have gone the distance with only 2 lasting longer than 2 rounds. Thankfully for Miyamoto's chin Suwa isn't a puncher, but he is much better than his record suggests and he ran the inform Kanehiro Nakagawa razor close in 2018. Don't look at the records and ignore this one, is really could a very good bout.
Talking about good bouts we also have a 6 round Middleweight clash between Kazuki Kyohara (4-0-2, 3) and Yuta Ashina (5-2) which could end up being something very tasty. Kyohara fought to a draw in the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year with Nath Nwachukwu, and showed he was tough, aggressive and energetic in that bout. He might not be a big name but he's certainly a capable fighter. Ashina on the other hand lost in the final of the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but his route to the final was all action, and he's one of the most fan friendly, aggressive fighters out there. We genuinely expect this to be an all out war and one of the hidden gems of the month.
InterContinental Miami, Miami, Florida, USA
Unbeaten US based Azeri fighter Elvin Gambarov (9-0, 8) is looking to have a quick turn around as he looks to return to the ring just weeks after his most recent bout. Gambarov took a quick win in Colombia against Segundo Herrera on November 20th and will be looking to squeeze in his third bout within a month as he takes on Geronimo Nahuel Sacco (8-1-1, 1). Although talented it's hard to say much about Gambarov as his competition has been very poor so far. Sacco on the other hand is an Argentinian who began his career 8-0 but has come up short in his last 2 bouts, losing one and drawing the other. On paper this looks a good match up but we can't help think this is an easy 10th win for Gambarov who will need bigger and tougher tests soon.
Capio, Tsukuba, Ibaragi, Japan
This coming Sunday we see two cards in Japan. Neither are big, though the most notable of those comes from Ibaragi.
The main event will see former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (31-9-6, 21) take on Hibiki Jogo (10-2, 5) in an 8 round match up. Aged 31 Takahashi is probably coming to the end of his career, but the teak tough and exciting Bantamweight may manage to have one more charge towards a title fight. Takahashi is currently in the JBC and WBO Asia Pacific rankings, but will know a loss here would likely see him being removed from those. Jogo on the other hand came runner up in the 2016 Rookie of the Year and despite a set back in 2018 has won 3 in a row to give him some momentum here. We suspect Takahashi will be the favourite here, but we do imagine he'll have to work for the win.
In a brilliant Light Flyweight bout we'll see 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) take on the very, very highly regarded and talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (2-0-1, 1). This has the potential to be the show stealing bout here. Since winning Rookie of the Year Kameyama has struggled for form, losing to Shokichi Iwata and Yuga Inoue, but will see this as a chance to end that slide. Horikawa on the other hand looked sensational in his win over Yuki Nakajima and was very unlucky last time out against Xiang Li, in a draw. This could be a very exciting bout.
The third bout of real interest here will see 2019 Rookie of the Year runner up Yuta Ashina (4-2) take on Yuya Nemoto (6-8-3, 1). Despite losing last December Ashina showed enough to want to follow him and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here, and he's incredibly exciting for those who haven't seen him. Aged 34 and with just 1 win in his last 7 it's easy to assume that Nemoto isn't won't be competitive, but Nemoto did score a win last time out and is unbeaten in his last 3. We suspect Ashina will be asked questions by the veteran, but should still take the win here with his aggression and work rate
Green Tsuda Gym, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The other Japanese card is a West Japan Rookie of the Year show from the Green Tsuada Gym, with 9 bouts on this card. This is the second Rookie of the Year card at the Osakan gym in recent days, following one last weekend.
The most interesting of the bouts on this show, for us, is a Super Bantamweight clash between the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (5-0, 2) and the stop of be stopped Shuya Kuwabuchi (2-1, 2). The 22 year old Fukunaga debuted in 2018 and since then has barely dropped a round, and shown improving power, stopping his last 2. Kuwabuchi on the other hand has yet to see the final bell, but was stopped last time out. We expect fireworks here.
Another Rookie bout on this card worthy of attention will be the debut of Daichi Morino (0-0), who takes on 20 year old Yasuhiro Kanzaki (3-1, 1) at Flyweight. Morino turns pro after running up a 2-1 amateur record and it'll be interesting to see how he looks here as he begins his professional career. As for Kanzaki he started his career perfectly, with 3 straight wins, but did lose last time out and will be desperate to get back to winning ways here.