For a third day in a row we get world title action this Sunday as South Africa plays host to an interesting match at world level. As well as the action in South Africa we also get Rookie of the Year action in Japan and a card in India in what a very nice Sunday for fight fans, coming off back to back busy days!
Olive Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The would title bout in question will see IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26) looking to make his 4th defense as he takes on unbeaten Filipino youngster Jayson Mama (15-0, 8). The bout isn't just a normal defense for the well travelled Mthalane but will be his first professional bout in his home area of KWa-Zulu-Natal, and is set to be an emotional night for the veteran. Aged 38 it's hard to know how much longer Mthalane can go on, though he has rarely come close to losing since his 2008 defeat to Nonito Donaire. At 23 years old Mama is the much, much younger fighter, though their is perhaps some concern he is getting this fight too soon, and wins against the likes of Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Kwanthai Sithmoreseng haven't done enough to prepare him for someone as talented, experienced and battle hardened as Mthalane. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Mama takes on South African great Mthalane for IBF title
*At the time of publishing there is RUMOURS that Mthalane Vs Mama has been cancelled - we are currently awaiting an official confirmation from the promoter of either man. Please keep an eye out for updates regarding this world title bout.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the high profile action in South Africa we also get the annual East Japan Rookie of the Year final over in the Japanese capital. Originally there was 12 bouts scheduled for this show, but the Light Flyweight bout has been cancelled, leaving us with just 11.
Before we get on to the bouts, it should be noted that any match up on this show where both fighters have at least 4 wins, will be fought over 5 rounds, and not 4 as listed on Boxrec at the time of writing.
The stand out bout on the show will be a clash between teenage sensation Kosuke Tomioka (4-0, 3) and Shunpei Kubo (5-1-1, 3), who meet at Super Flyweight. Since the tournament began Tomioka, a stylish and exciting youngster, has been tipped as the favourite and has barely lost a minute on route to the final. Kubo on the other hand wasn't given too much of a chance, but has impressed during the tournament and will go in there knowing that a win would really build his career. Potentially a very interesting bout, with Tomioka's counter punching and speed going up against Kubo's aggression and work rate.
Staying with the little guys we expect explosive action with a match up between Shugo Namura (4-0, 4) and Akira Hoshuyama (3-0, 2), who clash in a very good looking Flyweight bout. The heavy handed Namura, managed by former world title challenger Hiroyuki Sakamoto, has stopped all 4 of his opponents in the first 2 rounds and looks to be a really destructive and fun fighter. Hoshuyama has himself looked hard hitting, but also looked a solid boxer last time out and should make for a brilliant dance partner for Namaura. This could be a very violent and thrilling action bout.
At Lightweight we'll see American born Japanese based Dominique Kenshin (5-1, 2) take on unbeaten puncher Tsubasa Narai (5-0, 4). Kenshin caught our eye last year, but ended 2019 with an opening round loss to Hiro Ichimichi which took some shine off him. Since then however he has picked up 2 wins and does look a strong and powerful fighter. Narai on the other hand has been on a tear with 4 stoppages in 5 bout and will feel confident of repeating which Ichimichi did to Kenshin last year.
Marine Centre Club, Mumbai, India
We also get low level action in India, where most of the bouts will be 4 rounders. The one exception is the clash between the unbeaten pairing of Mohammed Zekria Zamani (4-0, 2) and Sagar Chaudhary (2-0, 1) at Welterweight. The 22 year old Zamani is an Afghan fighter who debuted in 2019, in India, and has also fought in Thailand, albeit against novices. Chaudhary on the other hand is a native Indian and in his last bout won a 4 rounder by incredibly wide margins, including 10 points on one card.
December 19th-Gaballo gets big fight, Kudaka and Ohashi clash in Osaka and Teerachai fights at 175lbs!
This coming Saturday is one that has seen a whole host of changes to what we were supposed to get, but still managed to deliver a decent day of boxing, even if two of the fights that we most wanted to see were cancelled. It's still a day that promises plenty of action and fingers crossed gives us a great great final weekend before Christmas.
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
The show that the most changes was PBC's show in Uncasville, which was supposed to see two bouts featuring Filipino's in major bouts.
Originally we had expected to see Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) battle Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12), though Oubaali tested positive for Covid19 in November and then Donaire got a positive test in December, though it does seem like his was a false positive. As a result both of those men are off the show.
As a result of the positive tests we will now see unbeaten Filipino Reymart Gaballo (23-0, 20) take on Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12) for the interim WBC Bantamweight title, in a genuinely mouth watering match up, put on on short notice. Gaballo is looking to announce himself as the next big star of the Philippines and has the power, speed and style to genuinely make a name for himself at the top level. Rodriguez on the other hand is a former IBF champion who was last seen in the ring being stopped in 2 rounds by Naoya Inoue. Since that loss Rodriguez has genuinely had no luck at all, and we do wonder what his mental state his coming into this bout.
Although Gaballo took this bout on short notice he had been set to fight on the show anyway, with the Filipino scheduled to face Jose Velasquez (28-6-2, 19) for the WBA "interim" Bantamweight title before replacing Donaire in the main event, so he should be in great shape for this bout.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Over in Osaka we again see a card that had one main event planned for it, before changes had to be made, and end up getting a different bout that had already been postponed twice.
Originally we were set to get a WBC Light Flyweight title fight here, with Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) defending his title against Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20). That bout was cancelled when Kenshiro was contacted about a drunken incident in the summer, scrapping the bout at relatively short notice.
Sadly instead of the world title bout headlining the show we will instead see 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-4, 11) headline the event in a bout against the once beaten Tetsuro Ohashi (7-1-1, 2). the 35 year old Kudaka, also known as Hiroyuki Hisataka, is a true veteran of the sport having debuted back in 2002, and has been in with a who's who of the sport, including Tomonobu Shimizu, Takafumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Hugo Fidel Cazares, Omar Andres Narvaez and Takuma Inoue. Sadly in recent years Kudaka's career has been catching up with him and he's scored just 1 win in his last 6. Ohashi on the other hand is a 22 year old looking to bounce back from an 8th round KO loss to Suzumi Takayama last year. Although he lost there he is still very well regarded as a prospect and did win the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Super Flyweight.
In a supporting bout we'll see recent OPBF title challenger Kyohei Tonomoto (9-3-1, 4) take on Kimihiro Nakagawa (7-4-2, 3), in what should be a really good, 50-50 type bout between two men each looking to pick up a win to end the year with. Tonomoto showed good ability in his July loss to Satoshi Shimizu, but lacked the power needed to get Shimizu's respect, despite the loss we are looking forward to seeing him in action. Nakagawa on the other hand is riding pretty following an upset loss against Yosuke Kawano in April 2019 and will be looking to build some momentum after 20 months away from the ring.
The real one to make a note of on this show is the rescheduled match up between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) and Shohei Omori (21-3, 16), which is now on it's third date. The bout is a massive step up for the talented, and touted Nishida, who looks like he is potentially the future of the Mutoh Gym and someone that MTK's Japanese arm will be very hopeful of. Omori on the other hand is former world title challenger who will be looking to salvage his faltering career. For Nishida the bout is massive risk-reward, and he will likely enter as the under-dog, but a win would put him right in the domestic and regional title mix. For Omori a loss is unthinkable, and he needs a win. A really big match up, despite the issues surrounding it.
For those wanting to watch this card, it appears it will be shown live on Boxing Real.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
We also get action in Thailand, as TL Promotions put on their last show of 2020.
The main event here is a weird one as Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (21-6, 14) takes on former Welterweight contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (43-1, 31), aka Tewa Kiram, for the vacant WBA Asia Light Heavyweight title. Teerachai, best known for his bout with Lucas Matthysse, has no right fighting at 175lbs, though he should look in much better physical shape than the 32 year old Chaloemporn, who is only 5'6" and has looked very chubby when competing as a Middleweight. On paper not a bad bout, though we do, genuinely, wonder how the men will look at Light Heavyweight.
For those wanting to watch this it will be aired on Thairath.
This coming Friday is a busy day in the world of Asian boxing with Asian fighters in action in the US, Kazakhstan and the Philippines. The day is also a really interesting one with world title bouts, prospects and contenders all in action making it a real great day to sit down and watch some fights.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
The biggest show of the day for Asian fighters is in Florida, where Matchroom and DAZN put on one of their final shows of 2020. It's not a massive show, but it's certainly a noteworthy one.
The main event of the card will see Kazakh Middleweight great Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35) defending his IBF and IBO titles against unbeaten Polish challenger Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5). For Golovkin this will be his first defense of the titles since reclaiming them in October 2019, when he narrowly beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and we do wonder what the 38 year old Kazakh has left in the tank, especially given the 14 month break between fights. Sadly however it's unlikely that Szeremeta will ask him any real questions in what is a massive step up in class for the Polish man. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Golovkin returns against unbeaten Szeremeta
A second Kazakh on this show will be the unbeaten Ali Akhmedov (16-0, 12) who clashes with fellow unbeaten Carlos Gongora (18-0, 13) in a bout for the IBO Super Middleweight title. The exciting Akhmedov has been facing very poor competition so far, and this is, very clearly, a step up in class for him, and his team will know that a win puts him on the verge of a "real" world title fight. As for Gongora the Ecuadorian was a stellar amateur, competing in 2 Olympics and 3 World Amateur Championships, but at 31 this is his first real test. This is an excellent match up, and one that promises to be very, very interesting.
In a female world title bout we'll see Korean Hyun Mi Choi (17-0-1, 4) make her international debut and look to make her latest defense of the WBA Super Featherweight title. The hope was that she would be in with some sort of name opponent or at very least a live foe for her US debut but instead she is matched with late call up Calista Silgado (19-11-3, 14), from Colombia. On paper Silgado looks like she can punch, but her record against opponents of some quality has shown she is limit. Thankfully she is tough, but this should be a straight forward defense for Choi, who deserves better from Matchroom. Our preview of this bout can be read here WBA champ Hyun Mi Choi makes US debut as she takes on Calista Silgado!
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan Tukeshov Promotions will be putting on an event with a staggering 22 bouts on it! Given boxrec currently list 132 bouts taking place anyone where on the globe on Friday it's amazing that a single show will have 22 of them! Of course we won't go through all of them, but there are 3 that have really got our interest.
The best of the bunch is a Cruiserweight bout between Kazakh amateur star Kamshybek Kunkabayev (1-0, 1), who has eyes on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and under-rated Ukrainian Serhiy Radchenko (7-6, 2). On paper a nothing bout, even for a 1-0 prospect, but this should actually be a legitimate test for Kunkabayev given that Radchenko has given the likes of Krzysztof Glowacki, Ruslan Fayfer, Adam Balski and Artur Szpilka real tests. We suspect the big man from Kazakhstan will be too good, but this is not the gimme it looks on paper.
Another potentially tough bout for an unbeaten Kazakh will see Sultan Zaurbek (9-0, 7) take on Vladyslav Melnyk (12-2, 7). Zaurbek has been needing a step up for a while, with MTK feeding him a lot of limited opponents early on and this is a much needed step up in class against a fighter who has proven himself and shown a desire to win. Zaurbek is very talented, but we don't yet know if he's very good. Melnyk is a 22 year old Ukrainian who will be coming in to this with belief and we suspect the hunger to test the Kazakh. Potentially a very compelling match up.
Another prospect worthy of real attention on this card is Talgat Shayken (2-0, 1), who will be up against Russian foe Maxim Churbanov (8-7-1-1). Shayken, who is now just 20 year's old, has got a lot of potential, but that potential needs work and he needs developing. The 34 year old Churbanov is well travelled and tends to be a good test for decent fights, asking questions of fighters like Michal Syrowtka. Shayken should win but bouts like this will help hone and develop his undeniable potential, so we've no issues with him being moved slowly.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
Over in the Philippines we get two shows thanks to Omega Sports who have split an event in two for Covid19 safety reasons.
The first of the two shows is Kumbati 6 and features two interesting prospects on it.
One of the prospects in question is unbeaten Light Flyweight Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6), who takes on veteran Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4) The talented Vicelles comes into this bout with wins against Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas and is very talented, however it's understandable that his team are just looking to keep him ticking over here. Garde was once a a decent opponent, capable of asking questions of good fighters, but he has now lost 6 of his last 7, and been stopped in 4 of those bouts. We see this being another loss for him.
The other notable prospect on Kumbati 6 is the twice beaten Tomjune Mangubat (11-2-1, 9), who returns to the ring for the first time since is 2019 epic with Jong Seon Kang, which is a bout everyone should get around to watching. In the opposite corner to Mangubat will be the limited Reymond Empic (7-5, 3), who is looking to avoid a third straight loss. On paper this isn't an awful bout for Mungubat, coming in off a loss himself, but Empic has lost 3 of his last 4 and is unlikely to be a serious test for Mungubat.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
The other show from Omega Sports will be Kumbati 7, and this looks a more stacked one, with prospects and a couple of world title level in action.
The best bout on this show will see the once beaten Christian Araneta (18-1, 14) take on Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8) in what should be a sensational battle. Araneta is looking to score his second win since a 2019 injury TKO loss to Daniel Valladares, and is very highly regarded. He is however also the smaller man and Biendima showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went toe-to-toe with Kento Hatanaka back in February. This should be a real test for Araneta.
Sadly we don't expect to see Albert Pagara (32-1, 23) have any sort of issues at all when he takes on Virgil Puton (18-14-2, 9). Once up a time Puton was good regional level opponent, giving the likes of Shuya Masaki and Masayuki Ito questions to answer. Now a days however he looks about spent and has been stopped in 3 of his last 6. Pagara should be too quick, too powerful and far too good to go too many rounds here with the worn and weary Puton.
The once beaten Peter Apolinar (12-1, 8) looks to score his latest win as he goes up against the limited Danilo Tampipi (9-11-2, 5), who has been stopped in 3 of his last 4. Apolinar has won his last 7, including a very solid win over Jetro Pabustan in October, and shouldn't need to work too hard to pick up a win here.
One other man who should be picking up an easy win is the all action Carl Jammes Martin (15-0, 14), who fights for the first time since December 2019. The 21 year old sensation is one of the most fan friendly fighters in the Philippines and he should be looking at big bouts in the next year or two. Here however he's just looking to take over and shake some ring rust as he takes on Richard Rosales (14-13-2, 8), who has lost his last 4 and 7 of his last 8.
This coming Thursday is an intriguing day for fight fans who will get a genuinely brilliant bout in the US featuring an unbeaten Kazakh, and the chance to see several notable Filipino's in action, over in General Santos City. It's not a huge day, but it is a very, very interesting one.
Wild Card Boxing, Los Angeles, California, USA
For once we'll start in the US where we expect to see the bout of the day as unbeaten men collide in this week's Ring City USA show.
In one corner will be unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (14-0, 7), taking a long over-due step up in class, as he takes on touted American fighter Charles Conwell (13-0, 10) in a mouth watering match up. The 32 year old Ashkeyev has struggled to get notable opponents in the ring with him and has pretty much floundered due to a real lack of notable competition. When he's been in the ring however he looks talented and strong. Just a shame he's not had the competition to prove it against. Conwell on the other hand might be the pick of the bunch in terms of unheralded US hopefuls. The 23 year old had an emotional 2019, with his bout against the well liked Patrick Day ending in tragedy, but he has bounced back well and looked very good last time out, stopping Wendy Toussaint in October. This is a really, really good match up and should push the winner towards a world title fight.
Sanman Boxing Gym, General Santos City, Philippines
Although the best single bout is in the US the card that has the most notable names in action is in the Philippines where we see three former world title challengers and a very highly regarded prospect in action.
The highly regarded prospect on the show is the sensationally talented KJ Cataraja (11-0, 9), who takes on former Bantamweight world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5). The brilliant Cataraja looked like he had the talent to be fast tracked but sadly he was stuck with ALA Promotions when they were on a downturn and was unable to get the fights he needed to progress his career. Now with ZIP it's expected Cataraja will be moved very aggressively in 2021. This should be a good way to shake some ring rust before big fights in the new year. As for Apolinario he's been in the ring with some solid names, including Koki Kameda and Roberto Vasquez, but he's very much looked like a fighter at the end of his career in recent bouts, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 5.
Another former world title challenger on this show is Jeo Santisima (19-3, 16), who will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on novice foe Marjon Piencenaves (6-1-1, 4). This will be Santisima's first bout since losing to Emanuel Navarrete in a WBO Super Bantamweight title and despite that loss we expect him to pick up a very straight forward win. However Piencenaves will come into this with an upset mentality and know he can really boost his career if he can get the shock win here.
Another world title challenger on this show is former WBC Minimumweight title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who has previously given Wanheng Menayothin an incredibly tough test. Jerusalem is currently very highly ranked by the WBC and will be looking at potentially getting a second world title bout in 2021, though he will need to get past fellow Filipino Jayson Francisco (5-2, 1) here. As with Cataraja's bout it's hard to see this as anything more than a tick over bout for the favourite who will be looking for bigger and better things next year.
Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Over in the Dominican Republic we'll get action involving several Japanese fighters.
One of those is Masayuki Suwa (22-13-2, 14), previously known as Cobra Suwa, who takes on Jean Carlos Rodriguez (8-6, 4). The 40 year old Suwa has had a really interesting career seems to be just ploughing on with boxing well beyond the typical Japanese retirement age, with this being his third straight bout since his last Japanese bout in April 2018. Aged 28 Rodriguez is the much younger man, however he has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and has only beaten 1 opponent with a winning record. We wouldn't be surprised at all by Suwa picking up the win here.
Another is Naoki Inaba (7-5-1, 3), who takes on Angelo Munoz (18-17, 11). On paper this looks a relatively even match up, but Inaba has gone unbeaten in his last 4 whilst Munoz has lost his last 9, falling from 18-8 (11) to 18-17 (11), and has been stopped in 8 of those 9 losses.
Another was Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24), also known as Vladimir Baez, who takes on Mario Beltre (17-6, 12). This will be Baez's first bout since losing to Mongolian sensation Tuguldur Byambatsogt back in January whilst Beltre will return to the ring for the first time since June 2018.
Attention turns to Kazakhstan this coming Wednesday for the next show from Suleimen promotions. Although certainly not a huge card it's a very interesting one with some very highly regarded prospects taking on real tests. As well as the prospects we'll also get a clash between two unbeaten fighters looking to move towards a big fight in 2021.
Arguably the most interesting of the prospects on this card is 22 year old former Kazakh amateur stand out Bek Nurmaganbet (2-0, 1), who won the 2019 Asian Amateur Championships. He's set to take a huge step up to take on the dangerous Emmanuel Danso (32-5, 26), from Ghana. The talented Kazakh youngster has shown a lot to like in his first two professional bouts but there is still a lot to prove and we might see him prove some of those things here. In reality however Danso has been stopped in 4 of his losses and is unlikely to pose too many threats to the talented Kazakh. Although likely a mismatch it is worth noting that Danso has gone 10 rounds with Fanlong Meng, 4 with Ruslan Fayfer and 3 with Umar Salamov. With Nurmaganbet taking him on this early it seems like a real sign of his ambition to get into the world rankings as quickly as possible.
The exceptionally talented Bekzad Nurdauletov (1, 0, 1), who has already booked his place at the Tokyo Olympics and won gold at the World Amateur Championships, looks to tick over with a bout against 40 year old Nigerian puncher Kabiru Towolawi (13-2, 10). The 22 year old Nurdauletov has gone to the professional ranks to stay busy until the Olympics and a bout like this seems to be the perfect type of bout for him. Towolawi is a fairly limited fighter with decent power and a solid chin, going 10 rounds with Olanrewaju Durodola just over a year ago. This should be a decent insight into what the Kazakh can offer the pros, when he finally commits fully to the professional ranks.
In a very ambitious bit of match making we'll see Kazakh novice Yevgeniy Pavlov (2-0, 2) take on under-rated Pinoy puncher Alie Laurel (18-4-1, 11), in arguably the most interesting of the under-card bouts. The 21 year old Pavlov looked impressive last time out, but was up against someone with little ambition. Here he's in with a very, very capable fighter in Laurel, albeit a naturally smaller man. Although Laurel has fought as high as Super Featherweight he has had his best success at Bantamweight, where he beat the likes of Tiger Tor Buamas and Nobuhisa Coronita Doi. On paper a genuinely tough one for Pavlov, who will be asked questions by a live under-dog.
Another under-card bout will see Danila Semenov (1-0, 1) seek win #2 as he takes on Ghana's Abraham Tabul (17-4-1, 14) in a Heavyweight clash. We weren't blown away by Semenov on his debut, which saw him stop Mussa Ajibu in 4 rounds, but we do expect him to walk through Tabul here, given the man from Ghana has been stopped in 3 of his last 4. This might be over very, very quickly and leave us still wondering about how good Semenov is.
The real highlight of this show is the main event, which will pit world ranked Kazakh Super Middleweight Aidos Yerbossynuly (14-0, 9) against unbeaten Issah Samir (19-0, 16). The 29 year old Yerbossynuly is world ranked by all 4 world title bodies and holds minor titles from across the bodies, including the WBO Global and WBA International titles, which he'll be defending here. Although talented he has been down several times and is certainly not the most comfortable fighter under pressure. Samir on the other hand is a 31 year old from Ghana who sports a very nice looking record, but will be fighting outside of Ghana for the first time. Samir will the under-dog, but comes into the bout with a punchers and the confidence of being unbeaten. This could be a genuine test for Yerbossynuly and his questionable chin.
Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, USA
In the US we'll see the highly anticipated professional debut of Filipino amateur star Eumir Marcial (0-0), who is hotly tipped to take a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The talented Pinoy will be tested against a foe with a winning record, as he battles Andrew Whitfield (3-1, 2) over 4 rounds. Guided by MP Promotions Marcial is regarded as one of the potential stars of the future for the Philippines and we are expecting a very impressive performance here on his debut.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Monday we get live action from Boxing Raise who have their streaming service show cases the latest event from the criminally under-rated Kaoebi Promotions, who have consistently been turning out great events under their "Slugfest" banner in recent years. This show features a triple title main event, a mouth watering support bout, a potentially compelling Super Bantamweight and several notable prospects.
The main event of the card is an excellent match up, which should end up being a very explosive encounter as Ryoji Fukunaga (12-4, 12) and Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12) clash at Super Flyweight. Coming into this Nakagawa is the JBC champion and Fukunaga is the WBO Asia Pacific champion, not only are their belts on the line, but so is the vacant OPBF title, meaning the winner is essentially the champion of Asia. Of the two Fukunaga is the certainly bigger puncher, and showed that last time out, when he beat Froilan Saludar, though it's fair to say that Nakagawa is the more proven fighter, has been in with tougher competition and is a 2-time Japanese champion. For us this is a true 50-50 type bout and the only thing we're confident about is the fact it won't go 12. We're anticipating a hard hitting, technical shoot out here. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Fukunaga and Nakagawa battle for the triple at Super Flyweight!
In an amazing support bout former Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) will be up against the very talented Izuki Tomioka (7-3-1, 2), who has given Masayoshi Nakatani and Shuichiro Yoshino two of their toughest bouts. On paper Okada is the naturally bigger, stronger and more powerful fighter but with back to back stoppages losses against his name we do wonder what he has left in the tank, he has, arguably, been left with a lot of questions to answer. Tomioka isn't a puncher, but he is a quick, rangy, talented fighter and we wouldn't be surprised at all if he frustrates Okada with his jab and ends up simply out working the older man.
The first of two notable prospects on the under-card is the unbeaten Mikio Sakai (2-0), who takes on Toshihiro Kai (6-11-3, 2). The 27 year old Sakai is likely to be moved towards a Japanese title fight in the next year or two, but having been out of the ring since last December we can't begrudge him an easy one here. The 35 year old Kai is a veteran, but not a particularly sturdy one and he has been stopped in 4 of his last 6, and really never kicked off at reaching the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year. The focus here is on Sakai, and seeing him shake some ring rust and get the cogs whirring again before a bigger year in 2021.
On paper a really even match up in the show is a contest between Matcha Nakagawa (13-2-1, 5) and Ryo Suwa (11-3, 2), with Nakagawa looking to defend his JBC and OPBF rankings against the skilled, but light punching, Suwa. The 26 year old Nakagawa has been a professional since 2013 and did promise a good deal early in his career, winning Rookie of the Year in 2015, but losses to Ryohei Takahashi and Kai Chiba in his last 6 has seen him need a solid win. Suwa is also a man in need for a big win after losing 3 of his last 7 and his last 2. We suspect Nakagawa will be the favourite here, but Suwa certainly has the ability to cause him fits with his style and boxing brain.
The other notable prospect on this card is the OPBF and JBC ranked Masahiro Suzuki (4-0, 2), who takes on former OPBF title challenger Takahiro Oda (10-5, 8), who previously fought as Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine. The talented Suzuki really impressed us on his debut, against Antonio Siemundo, though in fairness we've become less convinced by him since and this is a genuine step up in class for him following a 13 month break from the ring. Whilst Suzuki has been out of the ring for a while his inactivity pales in comparison to the inactivity of Oda, who was last seen in the ring in July 2017, when he lost to Ratchasi Sithsaithong in an OPBF title bout. Coming into this Oda has won just 2 bouts in 6 years and it's hard to imagine him winning here, but he certainly has the power to test Suzuki's chin.
December 13th becomes the latest date for a promoter to hold two events at the same venue in Japan, and although neither of the shows are amazing, both look relatively interesting with title action and a couple of decent bouts. Interestingly it appears the first will be made available on YouTube, as part of the Boxing Real channel whilst the second will be available, on demand, on Boxing Raise.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The first of the cards features a solid, if somewhat easy to over-look, main event, a Japanese female title bout and an anticipated debut.
The main event on the first show will see Yuki Yonaha (7-3-1, 5) take on the JBC ranked Motoki Osanai (4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. The 29 year old Yonaha is without a win in well over 4 years, but did show plenty of desire and hunger in his most recent bout, a draw with Naota Iwai, and it's clear he is a talent, though we do question his hunger and desire in the sport. Osanai on the other hand turned professional to fanfare, taking part in his pro-test bout on the same day as Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but was sadly left in their shadows and lost 2 of his first 3. Coming into this he has scored 3 wins and appears to be building some career momentum, and a win here would continue the ball rolling. One of those ones where the abilities of both men are a lot better than their records suggest.
The title bout on this card will see Japanese female Minimumweight champion Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) defending her title against Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1), in what will be Narita's first defense of the title. On paper this is another where the records of the two fighters suggests a poor bout, but the styles and mentalities of the two women should actually make for a war. Neither of the two are technically fantastic but both are warriors who let their hands go and we expect this to be a genuine tear up. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Narita takes on Miki in first Japanese title defense
As for the debutant that is switch hitter Takahiro Tai (0-0), who fights out of the gym by his father. Tai was a solid amateur on the Japanese amateur scene and is looking to make an impact on his professional debut as he takes on Ryosei Hamaguchi (6-6, 2) in a 6 rounder. We don't think Tai will be fast tracked, but there was a lot to like from his amateur performances and he's very much a fan friendly, stylish fighter with a lot of flare. We see that winning over fans quickly here. Hamaguchi isn't a bum, but he has lost 4 of his last 5, and has scored just 1 win in the last 3 years, so would need something a bit special to test the talented Tai here.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The second part of the card will again feature a title bout, an intriguing 8 rounder and a debut...well a debut of sorts.
The title bout here, which is also the main event, will see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Miyo Yoshida (14-1) making her second defense of her title as she takes on Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1). The talented Yoshida will be strongly favoured here, though it is worth noting that this will be her first bout since transferring over to the Misako Gym and the change in her team and set up could end up leaving some questions for her to answer. Okuda has been fortunate at times with some results, but at 37 we really do wonder if she has the tools to hang with a top class fighter like Yoshida. Our full preview of this world title bout can be read here Yoshida takes on Okuda in second WBO world title defense
In an excellent 8 round match up we'll see the once beaten Yuga Inoue (10-1-1, 1) take on Daiki Tomita (14-2, 5), in a bout between two top 10 JBC ranked Light Flyweights. The light punching Inoue has scored 3 wins since his 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa for the Japanese Youth title, and has rebuilt in a hard way, going up against solid fighters and testing the water at Flyweight. He's had a loss, and gone straight back in with tough competition rather than rebuilding his confidence with easy wins. In fairness that's actually what Tomita is looking to do here in his first bout since a 10th round TKO loss to Kenichi Horikawa in July. Although both men are in their early 20's this is strangely a cross roads bout and the winner will find themselves on the verge of a Japanese title fight, whilst the loser will begin a long climb back up the rankings. A genuinely excellent match up.
Also on this card is the debut of Ayumu Hanada (4-0, 3), or rather the Japanese debut of Hanada. Or more precisely the JBC debut of Hanada, who began his career in Mexico and fought in an unrecognised bout in Japan in 2019. Despite the weird start to his career Hanada is expected to be a star and he has impressed, bot just in his Mexican bout but also his "unofficial", for lack of a better word, bout in Japan. In the opposite corner to Hanada is the heavy handed Ryuku Nagamine (5-1, 5), who began his career with 5 early wins before losing to Keisuke Iwasaki in the Rookie of the Year last year. Given his power he's a real dangerman for Hanada and, if we're being honest, this could end up being the bout of the day. Both men are explosive punchers and both will be looking to make a statement. If you're going to watch this one, don't blink!
As well as the action in Japan we also get a small Chinese card from Quzhou. Sadly this is a very low level card.
The most interestingly match up on the show will see 20 year old hopeful Yeerjialahasi Laayibieke (4-2, 3) take on the once beaten Jiaming Li (4-1, 2). Whilst this isn't expected to be a great fight we do love the fact it looks like a pretty 50-50 match up. Notably Laayibieke has won his last 4, with his last 3 coming by T/KO, but he's not the only one with momentum, and Li has also won his last 4. A genuinely interestingly match up.
The only other 8 rounder on this card will see Jiajia Li (6-2, 2) battle Ayati Sailike (10-8-3-1, 4) in a decent looking match up. We don't think this will be as good as the other one, but it is a lot more even than it looks on paper. The 32 year old Li was beaten last year, and since then has picked up two very low key wins. Sailike on the other hand is unbeaten in more than 2 years and looks like he's coming into his prime. This could end up being a lot better than it appears on paper.
Note - Hanada's Japanese debut was a WBF title bout in Osaka in June 2019. The bout isn't recognised by the JBC, his "actual" record is 5-0 (3)
The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Around 7 weeks ago we saw two Japanese fighters pick up wins in Top Rank's "Bubble" at the MGM Grand, with Andy Hiraoka and Naoya Inoue both picking up stoppages on a major Top Rank card. This coming Saturday, exactly 7 weeks after those wins, we see another Japanese fighter in the bubble in what looks like a very, very good match up.
This time it's the turn of 31 year old Lightweight Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12) as he takes on touted Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo (27-1, 17). For Nakatani this will be his second bout in the US, following his competitive and close loss in 2019 to Teofimo Lopez, and he'll know that Verdejo is looking at him as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. If Nakatani can replicate the success of Hiraoka and Inoue by picking up a win however, he'll find himself on the verge of a potential rematch with Lopez and world title fight.
As for Verdejo it's hard to know which version of "Diamante" will turn up. At his best Verdejo looks sensational, with great speed, power, movement and skills, but at other times he looks unmotivated and scared of being hit. If he's in one of those negative moods this could be a very frustrating fight for viewers.
KO Addiction Boxing & Fitness Center, Plant City, Florida, USA
Sadly this coming Friday there isn't much action planned featuring Asian fighters and the only bout we've come across is the planned debut of former Kazakh amateur fighter Darkhan Zhumsakbayev (0-0). Sadly however at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named.
The 28 year old Kazakh was a decent amateur, though was in a tough Kazakh domestic scene and his opportunities were limited, though he did score a very good win in Thailand over Sailom Ardee in 2015 and was certainly a credible amateur, even if he wasn't a standout. His debut is expected to be a 6 rounder, though with no opponent named a week out we're not expecting anyone too testing for Zhumsakbayev.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday fight fans in Tokyo will get the next Diamond Glove show and it's an interesting one, with a Japanese title fight in the main event and two solid prospects in supporting bouts. It's not a massive card, and features just 4 bouts in total, but it is one worthy of attention.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) make his first defense, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18). The talented Nagata won the title in July when he scored a major upset victory over Koki Inoue, stopping Inoue who then retire from boxing. That was the highlight of a career that had promise a lot but had seen Nagata suffer from some misfortune, including a draw with Takeshi Inoue and a razor thin loss to Rikki Naito. At 30 years old we are hoping to see Nagata kick on, and have a solid reign with this title, and potentially a rematch Naito. Kondo on the other hand is a 35 year old who has shown his age recently. Losses to Downua Ruawaiking and Andy Hiraoka in 2019 have left his career hanging by a thread, and another loss here likely sends him into retirement in 2021. Although we do strongly favour a Nagata here it needs to be said that Kondo is tough, a veteran, knows how to handle himself in the ring and can make for exciting match ups due to his style and toughness. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Nagata seeks first defense as he goes up against tough guy Kondo
In the chief support bout we'll see fast rising prospect Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2) return for his third bout of the year as he takes on Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4) at Korakuen Hall. Kimura, who debuted in an empty Korakuen Hall a few months ago, has looked really impressive, and looks like a man capable of being fast tracked to titles next year. In many ways we had hoped he was going up against a better fighter than Teruya here, but in reality this should be regarded as a showcase for fans who haven't yet seen him. He's a real natural with amazing balance, footwork, timing and every punch in the book. Despite being the very, very, clear under-dog Teruya comes into this bout on the back of 3 straight wins and 5 wins in his last 6. He has got some momentum going for him and is the naturally bigger fighter, but he is going to be in with a sensational fighter.
Another prospect on this card is the once beaten Tsubasa Murachi (5-1, 3), who is in a very good looking bout here against Isao Aoyama (12-7-1, 3), in a bout which sees both men entering as Japanese ranked fighters. Of the two men the 23 year old Murachi is the one regarded as the bigger hope and the brighter talent, despite a brutal 2019 TKO loss to Froilan Saludar in a regional title fight. Since his sole loss he has bounced back with a single win, over Ryotaro Kawabata, and looked very good in that bout. The 31 year old Aoyama has had mixed success, going 4-4 in his last 8, but has shown enough to suggest that he should be able to ask questions of Murachi. He'll be a clear under-dog, but will certainly be there to win and will feel he has the experience to deal with Murachi.
The other bout on this card will be a female bout between Nanako Suzuki (4-2, 1) and Megumi Hosoda (3-1), in what should be an entertaining 6 round female war between two JBC ranked fighters.