On the final Tuesday before Christmas Japanese fight fans get a really good looking Kadoebi promoted card from the Korakuen Hall, with several bouts of genuine significance.
The most important of the bouts is the main event of the show, which will see the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (16-0, 11) take on the highly experienced Jason Pagara (40-2-1, 25) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. The Japanese local knows that a win here will almost certainly be followed by a world title eliminator next year, with Okada having been ordered to face Ivan Baranchyk in an IBF eliminator however Pagaea is no push over. Interestingly Pagara, who is the WBO #8 ranked fighter at 147lbs, comes into this bout on the back of a FOTY contender against James Onyango, a bout that showed Pagara's faults and heart as he narrowly came away with a draw. This could be a very entertaining fight, and is a very significant one for both men involved.
The chief support bout will see touted former amateur star Ryota Yamauchi (1-0, 1) take a huge step up in class to face off with Lester Abutan (12-6-3, 6). The talented and touted Yamauchi impressed on debut and will now be tasked with facing someone who really is a very tough opponent for a second bout and is ranked in the top 15 by the OPBF. For Abutan the bout sees him returning to Japan for his second bout in the country, with the first being a loss in an OPBF title fight to Ken Shiro. It should be noted that Abutan hasn't just faced off with Ken Shiro but also fought to a split with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and is a really still test for Yamauchi
A third bout pitting Japan against the Philippines will see Yuta Nakagawa (21-5-1, 12) take on Markquil Salvana (13-4, 7). We last saw Nakagawa involved in a thrilling contest with Yasutaka Ishimoto, in a Japanese title eliminator, with Nakagawa losing the split decision in that bout. That loss to Ishimoto saw Nakagawa ending a 12 fight unbeaten run, and he'll be looking to get back to winning ways here. Salvana was once 9-0 (3) but has gone 4-4 (4) in his last 8 bouts, including losses in Japan to Takuya Uehara and Shota Hayashi, and has interestingly never won outside of his homeland.
In an all Japanese bout fans will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Yusuke Konno (11-4, 5) take on Welterweight puncher Kazuya Maruki (20-5, 13). The 32 year old Konno was last in the ring back in June, when he lost in a thriller against Koichi Aso for the Japanese Light Welterweight title. That bout showed that Konno really could fight, and he'll be looking to put in a similar performance here. The naturally bigger, and younger, Maruki has gone 3-3 in his last 6, including 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, but will likely feel his edge in youth and natural size advantage will be enough. It's hard to not excited about this bout given that both are flawed, aggressive and exciting fighters.
One other fighter of note on this card is Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Wataru Takeda (11-1-1, 5), who will be facing off with a Thai opponent. Takeda has won his last 2 by stoppage following a close loss to Ryohei Takahashi in October 2016 and it does seem like his team have got big plans for 2016, with this bout serving as just a stay busy fight before Christmas.
This coming Saturday is a pretty stacked day of action with a pair of world title fights, a regional title fight, a pair of Japanese title eliminators and a non-title bout featuring a controversial world champion.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The first of the world title fights will see WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (11-0, 9) defending the title he was recently handed, following Badou Jack's decision to avoid Bivol who has seen his “interim” title being upgraded. The talented Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter will be up against Trent Broadhurst (20-1, 12) in what looks likely to be little more than a showcase defense. The destructive Bivol looks like one of the best young fighters in the sport, with text books skills, an impressive engine, a fantastic in-ring mentality and very heavy hands. On paper Broadhurst looks like a good opponent, and has won his last 13 bouts, but is unlikely to be able to live with the work rate and power of Bivol, who will be expected to stop the challenger with few problems.
New York, USA
The other title fight will see unbeaten Kazakh born Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10) take on Japan's Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Terence Crawford. Of the two men it's Lipinets who has been the more impressive, with 4 stoppages in a row including wins over Leonardo Zappavigna and Levan Ghvamichava. The Kazakh, much like the previously mentioned Bivol, is an exciting and heavy handed fighter with an aggressive mentality. As for Kondo he's a tough fighter, as most Japanese fighters are, with a good engine and good form, having won his last 8 including stoppages over Patomsuk Pathompothong, Jeffrey Arienza and Yuya Okazaki.. Given the toughness of Kondo and the aggression of Lipinets it's hard not to get excited about this bout, despite the fact that Lipinets will be the very clear betting favourite.
Whilst the biggest fighters aren't in Japan we are really excited about a Japanese card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9) defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles against Randall Rayment (8-3, 3). The Japanese boxer-mover became the first Japanese fighter to unify the Japanese, WBO AP. And OPBF titles and will be determined to continue that reign as he slowly moves towards a potential world title fight, though has seen such a contest with Joseph Parker recently falling through. Rayment is a real unknown but he has won his last 6 and is coming in with a bit of momentum, though has never gone beyond 6 rounds and is stepping up massively.
In a Japanese Super Bantamweight Japanese title eliminator we'll see Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) battle former champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9), with the #1and #2 facing off for a shot at the title in 2018. The 28 year old Nakagawa has gone 11-0-1 (6) since a 2012 loss to Breilor Teran back in 2012 and whilst his competition hasn't been great he does hold notable wins over Yosuke Fujihara, Monico Laurente and Yuta Saito. Ishimoto on the other hand is a real fan favourite who has engaged in some thrilling contests at the top of the domestic scene with the likes of Yukinori Oguni, Gakuya Fukuhara, Yusaku Kuga, Shingo Wake and Yota Sato, among others. Aged 36 Ishimoto has seen better days, but is certainly coming in to this one as a hungry and determined fighter wanting another title run.
An even better title eliminator takes place at Middleweight, as the once beaten Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) takes on the thrilling Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6). Fukumoto burst on to the pro scene in 2012, blowing out Dondon Lapuz in 130 seconds, but would lose his third bout to the dangerous Arnel Tinampay. Since then he has reeled off 9 straight wins to right the ship and now looks like a much improved fighter who came undone against Tinampay. As for Takesako he was a genuine amateur star before making his professional debut in 2015. As a professional he has been destructive with all 6 of his wins coming in a combined 12 rounds and he looks like the type of fighter who will enter the ring with every intent of continuing that stoppage run here.
In one of two notable under-card bouts we'll see the exciting Akinori Watanabe (34-6, 29) take on Filipino journeyman Dennis Padua (11-12-2, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for Watanabe, who is looking for a second straight win after losing two in a row. The other under-card bout of note will see former amateur stand out Kazuki Saito (3-0, 3) battle against heavy handed Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (8-1, 7). The talented Saito has the skills to go a long way, but does have question marks over him, especially given that he was dropped by Jimmy Borbon last time out. Lagumbay is stepping up massively, but is clearly a puncher and will be looking to stop Saito and propel himself towards an OPBF title fight.
Baja California, Mexico
One other bout of note sees unbeaten, and controversial, WBC Bantamweight champion Luis Nery (24-0, 18) fight in a non-title bout against Filipino Arthur Villanueva (31-2, 17). The Mexican, who failed a drugs test for his bout against Shinsuke Yamanaka but appears to have seen the WBC turn a blind eye to his failed drug's test and haven't yet stripped him. The Filipino has lost in his two most notable bouts, and we can't help but feel he'll come up short again here, potentially suffering his first stoppage loss in the process.
To begin a new week we get the next in the Asign Bee series of shows, and like many of the others it's a really good card, and will be available over the Asign service on demand.
The main event will see former Bantamweight world champion Tomoki Kameda (33-2, 20) continue to re-establish himself in Japan as he takes on former world title challenger Ivan Morales (31-2, 19) in a really good looking match up on paper. Although an attractive looking bout it's likely to be one sided, with Kameda almost certainly being too good for Morales, the younger brother of the legendary Erik Morales. Despite thinking Kameda will be too good we still expect this to be a fan friendly contest with a lot of action.
In the chief support bout we'll see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (27-9-1, 12) take on Filipino foe John Ray Logatiman (6-5-2, 2). The 33 year old Nakajima has been in their with a who's who during his long and hard career, and it's likely he's now winding down on a career that began back in 2003. He may have enough to score a win here, but Logatiman is 10 years his junior and will be looking to pick up his first win in Japan, following a loss to Sho Nakazawa earlier this year.
In a really good supporting bout we'll see the upset minded Toshiro Tarumi (6-3-3, 3) take on the under-rated Noriaki Sato (5-1-1). On paper this bout won't grab fans but the reality is that should be a real thriller. In recent bouts Tarumi has upset Kazuki Hayashi Jr, Quaye Peter and Takashi Inagaki, and went out swinging against Yuki Nagano. Sato on the other-hand is a real talent and will be looking to move towards a title fight in the near future, and will know he needs a win here.
Talking about title fighters it's interesting to note that we see the first ever Japanese female title eliminator as Jun Yabuki (7-0, 3) and Yumiko Shimooka (3-3, 1) face off. The winner of this bout will take a huge step towards becoming a Japanese female champion, and whilst that's not earth shattering news it is a big story for female boxing, and boxing in Japan.
One other bout of note sees Yuta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 11) take on a Thai foe in an 8 rounder. The bout isn't anything more than a stay busy bout for Nakagawa, though he is in line for a potential Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight down the line, and cannot afford any slip ups, or cuts, here if he's wanting to advance to a title bout, or eliminator of his own.
This coming Monday we see the next Kadoebi Houseki show, and although not the deepest is a notable card with an OPBF title fight headlining the card and several under-card bouts worthy of some note.
The main event is by far and away the most interesting bout on the show and will see OPBF Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (16-1, 8) looks to make his first defense of the title, as he takes on Australian challenger Herman Ene Purcell (12-5, 6), with the WBO Asia Pacific title also on the line. The champion won the title earlier this year, when he out sped and out boxed the heavy handed Willie Nasio, in an impressively calculated performance and will be looking for something similar here. Although Samoan born Purcell hasn't got a great record on paper he's a fit fighter who is unbeaten out side of Australia and will see this as a huge opportunity to claim a major international title and a potential world ranking.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see former OPBF, PABA and Japanese champion Akinori Watanabe (33-6, 28) battle against Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (7-12-2, 3). On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch, and in fairness it probably will be, but Watanabe has lost his last 2 bouts and is almost 2 years removed from his last win. In fact Watanabe has had just 15 rounds in the last 24 months! As for Nahak he has won his last 3 including a huge upset last year in Korea against Eun Chang Lee.
Also on the under-card will be heavy handed Middleweight hopeful Shoma Fukumoto (10-1, 8) and Super Bantamweight Yuta Nakagawa (19-4-1, 10), who are both ranked #1 in their respective divisions by the JBC. Both Fukumoto and Nakagawa will be up against unknown Thai's in what we expect will be little more than stay busy fights for the locals, who will be looking to get domestic title fights in the near future.
The “Dangan” shows tend to provide a lot of action, albeit at a lower level than some of the major shows. That's likely to be seen again this coming Wednesday in a pretty well matched card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of the card sees Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (12-1, 6) battle against Mexican puncher David Torres Garcia (10-1, 9). We know Kyotaro isn't a world class Heavyweight but we don't know much about his opponent, other than his record. What we do known suggests that this could be an interesting, and explosive encounter and we're genuinely looking forward to it.
In the co-feature bout fans will see Japanese ranked Super Flyweight contender Yuta Nakagawa (15-4-1, 9) take on Yutaka Kamioka (9-3-2, 5) in what looks to be a good, but not sensational, test for the ranked fighter. A win for Nakagawa here could lead to a title fight in 2016 for the Kadoebi fighter.
Another of the major bouts on this card sees Japanese and OPBF fighters face off as recently Japanese Welterweight title challenger Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3, 6) takes on Moon Hyun Yun (16-4, 3). Neither of these guys are punchers, and neither has been stopped, but both can fight and we're expecting a very tough and action packed bout between two skilled and aggressive fighters. This may well be the show stealer given that both men have a lot to fight for.