The Dangan series returns this Thursday in what originally looked like one of the best Japanese shows of the year so far. Originally it featured not only title action, with a pair of title bouts, but also a brilliant all prospect match up and two bouts between ranked contenders on the domestic scene. It wasn't stacked with world class talent but as far as a domestic show it was very solid on paper. Sadly however we saw one bout change at late notice leaving us with a respectable, but less impressive card.
The changed fight will see Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (24-8-1, 10) fight against Indonesian visitor Michael Speed Sigarlaki (15-13-2, 13) in a non-title bout. Originally however Shibata was supposed to defend his unified crown against Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). Sadly however Akiyama suffered an injury just over a week before the fight resulting in this change.
The first of the still notable bouts on this show will see ranked Super Bantamweight Kenta Toi (4-4, 1) battle against Keita Nakano (12-9-2, 2). On paper this is a mismatch however Toi scored a career defining win last time out, stopping Mikihito Seto, and is looking to build on that huge upset. Nakano will be the favourite coming in here but he is up again a man flying high and who will be full of confidence.
Possibly the standout bout of the show is between prospects as the much touted Ken Shiro (2-0, 1) battles the more experienced Katsunori Nagamine (10-0, 6). Nagamine was the 2012 All Japan Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year however he has been relatively in active since then with just 3 bouts in the last 2 years. Ken Shiro, the son of former OPBF and Japanese champion Hisashi Teraji, is viewed as another “Super prospect” and a win here will likely boost him to getting a title fight of some type later in the year. Notably Ken Shiro will be taking this fight at 112lbs, a weight that sees him fighting for the first time as a fully blown Flyweight.
In a third bout of note we will see OPBF and Japanese ranked Ryuichi Funai (22-6, 15) battle Japanese ranked Ryuta Otsuka (14-7-2, 4). Funai is on a 5 fight willing streak since coming up short against Rolly Lunas in an OPBF title fight back in 2012, that is his only loss in the last 4 years. As for Otsuka he has had mixed fortunes with a record of 3-3-1 in his last 7 however he has been in with Yuki Nasu, Konosuke Tomiyama, Teiru Kinoshita and Malcolm Tunacao during that run of 7 bouts. Neither of these guys will ever be world champions but both are fighting to get a shot as a Japanese or OPBF title in the near future and will put it all on the line to pick up a win here.
The remaining title bout will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (11-4-3, 1) defending his title again Yutaka Sowano (9-5-1, 6). For Odaira this is a return to the Japanese domestic level after coming up short in a world title fight with Katsunari Takayama on New Year's Eve and although he was stopped by Takayama it's hard to see Sowano really testing him here. As for Sowano this is a big step up in class.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)