This coming Wednesday the Korakuen Hall plays host to a small, yet pretty interesting, card featuring a fun to watch puncher and an all-action youngster taking on a former national title challenger.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Zirolian Riku (9-3, 9) take on Ikemen Atsushi (7-4-2, 2), in what could a fun little bout. Although no world beating Riku is a solid enough domestic fighter, who is much better than his recent form, of 2 losses in 3 bouts, suggests. Likewise Atsushi unlikely to ever make any sort of mark above Japanese domestic level, but he should make for an interesting match up with Riku.
In our eyes the chief support bout is a much better up than the main event, and will see youngster Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) take on veteran Masashi Tada (13-6-3, 8). The 22 year old Sato is a genuine must watch fighter, who brings intense pressure, throws a lot of leather and despite being a Light Flyweight is an incredibly strong kid. Tada on the other hand is a 2-time Japanese title challenger who's had mixed success in recent years but is certainly no push over, and should serve as a legitimate test for the youngster.
A third bout of some note is a rematch between Yuji Okinori (9-5-2, 2) and Fire Ikkyu (6-2-1, 4), who fought to an opening round technical draw in July 2017. Since their draw Okinori has gone 1-1 whilst Ikkyu has gone 0-1, and neither has shined, though it means this rematch does have some significance, with neither really able to afford another loss at this point in time.
This coming Friday in Tokyo we get a low key card with a few notable bouts on it.
One of the names on this card to be excited about is the debuting Ayato Hiromoto (0-0), the older brother of promising female fighter Eruka Hiromoto. The talented Ayato is expected to go on to big things, and will get a chance to show what he can do here against Thai opponent Suriyo Chonlathan (1-0, 1). Little is known about the Thai, though from what we under-stand he made his debut 11 months ago, with a win against another debut.
In a potentially explosive bout we'll see the hard hitting Zirolian Riku (8-3, 8) take on fellow Japanese foe Ken Matsuzawa (5-5, 3). Between the two men they've had a combined 11 KO wins, from 13 combined wins, and 5 of their 8 combined losses have also been by stoppage. We do not expect this one to see the final bell!
Interestingly the actual main event of this card is a low key match up between Joji Tsuchiya (8-5-3, 5) and Kazuki Kobayashi (7-10, 2), in what is a really weak main event bout. It's hard to get excited about this main event, but it should be a pretty competitive 8 rounder and make for some really fun low level action.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Despite the action in Japan we'd actually say the day's highlight is in the Philippines, where we see a former world title challenger, a top young prospect and a once touted contender all in action.
One of two title bouts will see the talented Mark Anthony Geraldo (37-9-3, 18) take on the limited Lorence Rosas (9-4-2, 3), with Geraldo looking to defend the GAB Super Bantamweight title. The talented Geraldo will be looking to make his first defense here, and score his 4th straight win following a 2017 loss to Nordine Oubaali. Rosas on the other hand is looking to avoid a 4th straight loss, but it's now 18 months since he last picked up a win.
A second title bout on this card will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (13-0, 12) go for gold as he takes on the experienced Benezer Alolod (19-12-5, 7) in a bout for the PBF Bantamweight title. On paper this isn't really a step up for Martin, but in reality we;re expecting this to be his toughest bout to date, as Alolod, despite his record is no push over and he'll be in there to win, and to upset the fast rising youngster. Given Martin's energy, power and aggression he'll be favoured, but we expect to see him need to work for this one
Also on this card will be former world title challenger Vince Paras (14-2, 10), who has been matched incredibly softly as he goes up against domestic journeyman Vincent Bautista (5-15-4, 1). After taking two hard fought losses in 2018, to Hiroto Kyoguchi and Jonathan Taconing, we can excuse a couple of confidence building wins for Paras, who also picked up an easy win in April against Reymark Taday. At one point Bautista was a solid journeyman but with 9 losses in a row and 3 stoppages losses in his last 7 there is a feeling he's very becoming damaged goods.
Staying in Asia we also get a small card in Thailand.
One of the bouts of note here will see Kongfah CP Freshmart (28-1, 15) taking on Hyuma Fujioka (10-9-1, 2), in a bout for a regional WBC Super Bantamweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch in favour of Kongfah, who is currently riding a 14 fight winning. Despite being a clear under-dog Fujioka is a live dog here, and ran Ryo Akaho close earlier in the year. Kongfah should be favoured, but we wouldn't be surprised if he really needs to work for the win.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
We also see some Asian attention in the UK as once beaten Thai fighter Aran Dipaen (6-1, 5) takes on unbeaten Brit Tommy Frank (11-0, 3) in a bout for the WBC international silver Super Flyweight title. For Dipean this will be his third bout outside of Thailand, following a loss in Russia to Zafar Parpiev and a win earlier this year in Japan against Ryohei Arakawa. The under-dog the Thai is a very live fighter coming into this. Frank has been matched tougher than the Thai and until recently had shown little in terms of power, but with 3 stoppages in his last last 4 he is certainly developing belief in his power. This could be a very, very interesting match up.
Originally Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13) was pencilled into for this card, but he now appears to have had his bout on the show cancelled.
Compostela Valley, Philippines
The most notable card this coming Friday is in the Philippines where we get a small but interesting card with several notable domestic clashes taking place on the show.
The main event will see PBF Flyweight title bout between Arnold Garde (10-7-3, 4) and Renz Rosia (14-8-1, 7), in what is easily the best bout of the show. Garde was last seen going 8 rounds with Hayate Kaji in Japan, and show he was tough and a little awkward. Despite that showing it needs to be noted that he has only scored 1 win in his lat 5 and it's hard to know what ambition he really has. Rosia, of course, is no world beater himself but another loss for him really could be the end of any hopes he has of landing another big fight, and would leave him win-less in 5. For both guys this is essentially a must win bout.
In a supporting bout we'll see talented Light Flyweight Rene Mark Cuarto (16-2-1, 9) look to bounce back from a recent loss to the world ranked Samuel Salva. The talented Cuarto will be expected to get a relatively straight forward win here, as he takes on the limited Mike Kinaadman (6-9-2, 4), who has lost his last 7 in a row.
One other fighter on this card worthy of a note is Aries Buenavidez (13-3, 7), who will be expecting to pick up his 14th win as he takes on limited domestic foe Kim Lindog (5-6-1, 4).
As well as the Filipino card there is also a small card in Toyko thanks to Flash Akabane. Sadly the most interesting fighter scheduled for this card, Zirolian Riku (8-0, 3), has had his bout cancelled and won't be on the card despite being announced for the show to begin with.
The main event of this card will see Akihiro Yamanaka (7-7-2, 3) battle against Yuki Uchida (6-6, 1), in an 8 round bout. Given the records of the two men it's clear neither is a world beater. However both are well matched and this should be a very competitive and well contested bout between two men with very similar records, and two men who will be coming into this with the belief they can pick up a win.
The co-feature will see Ken Achiwa (11-15-5, 4) take on Hikaru Ota (9-9, 5), in another bout that should be competitive, but not an incredibly high quality bout. Achiwa may have the worse looking record on paper but he has been matched incredibly hard and run guys like Suguru Muranaka and Yuki Nasu and Yuku Fukimoto close, and he could have had a very, very different record with a little bit of luck through his career.
One other card, that we got late notice of, was a show in Thailand, set to be headlined by OPBF Flyweight "silver" champion Panya Pradabsri (25-1, 14), who will be looking to get past tough Filipino Robert Onggocan (12-5, 8) before beginning a run for a Light Flyweight world title later in the year. His team had planned to petition the WBO for a shot at Angel Acosta before Acosta's recent loss, and will likely still push forward with their desire for a world title fight at 108lbs.
In the US we'll see Uzbek fighter Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-2-1, 5) look to rebuild his confidence after losses in 2 of his last 3. Having started his career 10-0-1 Rakhmanov has really faltered in recent fights, losing to Marquis Taylor and Keith Hunter in the last 12 months. He's not a bad fighter, but we don't expect him to be one of the stars of Uzbek boxing in the future.
This coming Monday action returns to the Korakun Hall for the next Flash Akabane card.
The main event sums up how low key the card is, as Akihiro Yamanaka (7-6-2, 3) takes on Ryo Narizuka (8-8-1) in what doesn't look amazing, but at least should be competitive and give the fans a solid an entertaining 8 round contest. Both men need clearly need a win, with Yamanaka's last victory coming in September 2017 whilst Narizuka has only a single win since the start of 2015. Despite the poor run it is worth noting that Narizuka has fought two men who went on to win world titles, losing to both Sho Kimura and Ryuya Yamanaka.
Another well matched bout will see Joji Tsuchiya (7-5-2, 5) face off with Yasuki Katagiri (7-2-2, 1). Tsuchiya hits decently at the lower level of the domestic scene, but has been stopped in 4 of his 5 losses and hasn't fought in over a year. Katagiri has little in terms of power, but has gone unbeaten in his last 5 bouts, and will bring momentum into this contest. Interestingly these two fought to a draw in April 2016 over 6 rounds.
The best bout on paper will see the hard hitting Zirolian Riku (8-2, 8), who came runner up in the 2017 Rookie of the Year, take on Ryuki Ishii (8-3, 5), who was himself a Rookie of the Year finalist in 2016. This is actually a mouth watering contest between two fighters who can punch and both will be hungry heading into what could be a huge new year for the winner. We're really excited about this contest.