Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action is back at Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a small card from Ichiriki Promotions. Sadly the card has lost it's main event, which we'll mention in the moment, but it still has some relatively well matched domestic level bouts on it.
The planned main event was a bout at 140lbs between Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24) and former world title contender Akihiro Kondo (32-10-2, 18), in what had the potential to be an 8 round action bout. Baez's aggression and power against Kondo's toughness and desire could have made for a very nice bout, but Baez was forced to pull out of the bout well in advance of the show.
As a result of Baez pulling out the 8 rounder between Tatsuya Yanagi (17-7-2, 7) and Tsuyoshi Ozawa (15-4-1, 2) has become the new main event, and although not an amazing match up, it should be a very interesting one. The 32 year old Yanagi comes in to the bout with JBC and OPBF rankings but was stopped last time out and is 2-2-1 in his last 5 bouts, dating back more than 3 years. Ozawa, now aged 36, took a long break from the ring between 2012 and 2021, but did look solid in his return bout in July and will know that this is a huge opportunity for him to move towards a title fight. At his best Ozawa was a nightmare, and he'll know he could pick up a ranking here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Kosuke Ando (9-3, 4), who will be risking his WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight ranking as he takes on Yuta Nakayama (8-4-1, 5). The 29 year old Ando is coming in on the back of a solid win over Shuri Hasebe and will know that he's only a couple of wins away from a potential title fight. As for Nakayama he'll be fighting for the first time since losing in a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, against Ryota Yamauchi. Interestingly Nakayama has been stopped in 3 of his last 5, and hasn't heard the final bell in his last 6 bouts.
A third fight of note on this show will see JBC ranked 140lb fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (7-4, 1) take on former Japanese title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-4, 9). Coming in to the bout Matsumoto is ranked #6 by the JBC and will feel he's within touching distance of a Japanese title shot, helped by his recent win over Shinnosuke Saito. Ikeda on the other hand is without a win in his last 4 bouts, and was stopped in two of those, by Koki Inoue and Aso Ishiwaki. Ikeda seems to be on the way out, but a win here could revive his career.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We're back at Korakuen Hall this coming Thursday for a Kadoebi promoted event featuring a standout talent defending a regional title in the main event, and a couple of decent on the under-card. It's not a stacked by any stretch, with just 5 bouts on the card, but there really is a feeling that this could be a surprisingly good show.
We regard the main event here as a bit of a mismatch as the talented Ryota Yamauchi (7-1, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title against Yuta Nakayama (8-3-1, 5) , in what should be little more than a stay busy defense for the champion. Yamauchi, who is world ranked by the WBA, WBO and IBF, is one of the more over-looked Flyweights in Japan and looks to be one of the most exciting, with an aggressive style, nasty power and a flawed defense. He can be hit, but he has the power to take opponents out. Nakayama on he other hand has lost his most meaningful bouts, by stoppage, and looks almost made to order for the pressure and power of Yamauchi. Don't expect this one to be competitive, but it's a clear sign that Kadoebi want him to have a few more bouts before an eventual world title shot. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi looks to make first defense of WBO AP title as he takes on Nakayama!
One of the notable prospects on this card is JBC ranked Super Flyweight Ayato Hiromoto (3-0, 1), who takes on the more experienced Hiroki Yajima (9-9-3, 4). Hiromoto has impressed since debuting in 2019 and looked really good against Ryosuke Nasu, despite the very poor scorecard of Takaki Handa, and it seems clear that Kadoebi can move him very quickly, with title bouts likely in 2022 or 2023. Yajima on the other hand is limited, but tough and we should see Hiromoto being forced to go 8 rounds, at a decent pace, against a very game foe. Given Yajima went 8 rounds with Hayate Kaji recently this is the perfect sort of test for Hiromoto at this early stage of his career.
Another excellent prospect on this show is the technically solid Jun Ikegawa (1-0), who turned professional after a strong amateur career and showed some very good technical ability in his debut. Although technically solid we didn't see Ikegawa get out of first gear in his debut, and we'd like to see a lot more from him. Thankfully we expect to see Ryuya Nihei (5-1-1, 1) try to push him a bit and beat him here, showing a mix of his experience, his own desire and his own skills. Ikegawa should still be too good, but Nihei will certainly not be there to roll over, especially given that he lost last time out, to Yuki Yazan in the East Japan Rookie of the Year final.
In Tokyo we get a low key card that really doesn't have too much to talk about.
The main event will see Takuya Kihashi (5-7-2, 2) take on recent Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Satoru Todaka (9-3-4, 3). Coming in the limited Kihashi has won just once in his last 7 bouts and has really struggled to make any sort of impact at all. Todaka on the other hand is looking to bounce back from an 8th round loss in a Japanese title bout against Kenichi Horikawa, and it's hard to imagine anything but a win for Todaka here.
In the main supporting bout we'll see Yuta Nakayama (7-3-1, 4) take on Yuki Uchida (7-6, 1) in an 8 rounder. Nakayama has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, but win or lose he has tended to make for exciting fights and none of his last 4 bouts have seen the final bell. Uchida on the other hand has proven to be tough but light hitting. This will be a really interesting match, albeit at a very low level.
On paper the bout on this card that has our attention will see Celes Kobayashi promoted youngster Issei Ochiai (1-0) take on Kazunori Takai (6-5-3, 3). The 20 year old Ochiai is tipped to be a big star in Japan with Kobayashi guiding his career, and this is a good test for the youngster against a man he should beat, but could be asked questions by.
There was also plans for a Japanese female Minimumweight title bout on this card between Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) and Yumi Narita (3-4-3, 1). Sadly however this bout got cancelled in the build up to the show.
Whilst there is a card in Japan the better card is actually in Singapore, of all places.
The main event on this card will see the unbeaten local Hamzah Farouk (9-0, 6) take on Indonesian teenager Reynold Kundimang (8-1-3, 2) in a bout for the OPBF silver Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten Farouk has impressed at times, and the 31 year old is likely to have missed his window for success. Despite his age Farouk will have the home advantage and the edge in power. The 18 year old Kundimang is a talented youngster, but is probably getting this fight a bit too early. Rather oddly we are having a post peak fighter take on a pre-peak fighter, and it's going to be interesting to see who wins, and who enters 2020 as the OPBF silver champion.
Also on this card is Muhamad Ridhwan (14-2, 10), another local hopeful, who takes on Filipino journeyman Junny Salogaol (14-17-5, 13). Ridhwan suffered back to back losses at the end of 2018 and start of 2019, but has reeled off 3 wins since then. He should have too much for Salogaol here.
We get the next A Sign Bee card this coming Tuesday, which will feature a former 2-time world title challenger in the main event, and a couple of decent looking low level domestic bouts.
The former 2-time world title challenger on this card is Ryo Akaho (33-2-2, 22) who takes on southpaw Hyuma Fujioka (10-7-1, 1) in the main event. On paper this looks to be a total mismatch, though the focus has been on Akaho improving his skill set against southpaws, with Akaho admitting he's not good against lefties. It's unclear what Akaho is aiming for in the future though it should be noted that Japan has a host of notable southpaws at 122lbs, including Shingo Wake and Shohei Omori. Fujioka is no world beater though could be more competitive than his record suggests.
The chief support bout will see Yuta Nakayama (6-2-1, 3) take on JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Yuto Takahashi (9-4, 4). Last time out Nakayama was stopped by Ryuto Oho, in a Japanese Youth title fight, and he will be looking to bounce back from that set back. Takahashi on the other hand will be looking to build on a good win over Ryoki Hirai. Although Takahashi does has 4 losses, he has mixed with good company and he's lost to the likes of Tsubasa Koura, Norihito Tanaka and Tatsuya Fukuhara.
Another good looking competitive bout will see Ryuta Wakamatsu (11-14-1, 8) take on Masatoshi Nakamura (7-9, 4) in a very competitive looking contest. Wakamatsu has gone 2-6-1 in his last 9 whilst Nakamura on the other hand has won just 1 of his last 5 and it's clear that both will feel like this is a great chance to pick up a win.
Action returns to the Korakuen Hall this coming Monday as we get the next show in the A Sign Bee series of cards. The show isn't the best, in fact it's main event looks to be a huge mismatch between a 2-time world title challenger and a limited domestic fighter, but it does have a well matched Japanese Youth title fight, and a well matched domestic support bout.
As mentioned the main event will feature a 2-time world title challenger, that's Ryo Akaho (32-2-2, 21) who really is being matched softly here, as he takes on Naoto Mizutani (5-4-1, 2). On one hand Akaho has had a frustrating year, giving up the Japanese title in December and then blowing out Robert Udtohan inside a round when he returned to the ring. On the other hand he really should be wanting to shake some ring rust before a bit 2019. Mizutani has no right being in the ring with Akaho, and has already been stopped 3 times in his career. Not only has Mizutani been stopped a number of times but he brings nothing to the table to really test Akaho, who should have been matched against someone much more testing here.
The main supporting bout here will see Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) defending his title against Yuta Nakayama (6-1-1, 3). The 23 year old champion has had a weird career so far. He was tipped for big things when he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2013 but numerous set backs since then have hampered his rise. He dropped down in weight, from Flyweight to Light Flyweight for the Youth title earlier this year and stopped Tetsuya Tomioka for the title. Nakayama went 1-1-1 to begin his career, but has impressive gone 5-0 since then, and done so with a notable win over Tatsuhiro Toguchi. This should be very hotly contest and very exciting, with both men starting to believe in their power in recent bouts. A full preview of this bout can be read here Oho seeks first defense, takes on tricky Nakayama
Lower down the card we'll see Japanese ranked Welterweight Makoto Kawasaki (9-7-1, 2) take on the limited but hard hitting Kentaro Endo (7-8-1, 6), in what looks like a surprisingly competitive contest on paper. Kawasaki is certainly the more skilled fighter, but has lost her last 3 bouts, and has taken punishment in recent bouts. Endo is limited, but he is very heavy handed and we suspect he'll be looking to use that power here, and he will be dangerous early on. Sadly for Endo the longer this bout goes the less chance he has of making the most of his power.
One other under-card bout of note is a contest between Japanese ranked Heavyweight Ryu Ueda (6-1-1, 3) and unbeaten Korean Jong Kook Kim (3-0, 2). Interestingly these two men both stopped Sang Ho Kim in their last bout, with Ueda doing it last year and Jong Kook Kim doing it more than 2 years ago. Sadly the inactivity for Kim could be the difference here, but the Korean southpaw will not have travelled to lose his unbeaten record. The Japanese fighter is also a southpaw, but he is notably 1-1-1 in his last 3, and doesn't have much momentum coming into this, despite his win over Sang Ho Kim last time out.