This past week has been a relatively quiet one in Asian boxing circles, but has been an interesting one all the same, with a number of notable bouts being announced through the week.
The first of those bouts set to take place will be on May 21st when former OPBF Super Flyweight champion Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17) battlers with Indonesian veteran Hendrik Barongsay (29-25-3, 18). The bout is a stay busy for Matsumoto, who will be looking for a world title fight before the end of the year, and although it’s a mismatch it is worth making a mental note of, as Matsumoto is a real genuine talent.
On June 13th we’ll see an exciting rematch between Takuya Kogawa (28-4, 14) and Masayuki Kuroda (26-7-3, 15). The bout will be a Japanese Flyweight unification bout, with Kogawa entering as the champion and Kuroda as the interim champion, and will almost certainly be a thrilling back and forth bout between two fringe world level fighters who love to let their hands go and have a fight. For Kogawa the bout will be his first following an ear injury whilst Kuroda will be seeking to avenge a loss a few fights back to Kogawa.
Another Japanese title fight announced this week was confirmed for July 1st and will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) defending his title against Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-13-3, 4). Although Ogawa has only been beaten once he hasn’t looked great in recent bouts and some feel that the title has been the start of his down fall, here however he will get a chance to make a statement against a very beatable foe.
The final bout to be announced, and by the most notable, is set for September 16th and will see Mexican icon Saul Alvarez (49-1-1, 34) battle against Kazakh star, and current WBC, WBA “super”, IBF and IBO Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33). The bout is set to take place in Las Vegas and will be one of the most anticipated bouts of the year so far. It was announced after Alvarez beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr this past Saturday.
As well as the bouts that were announced we had other bits of news. First former world title challenger Motoki Sasaki (42-11-1, 26) has announced his retirement, following a week at the weekend. The 41 year old suggested that he was too old and that he was going to hang them up now.
Notably former world champion Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) has delayed his decision when it comes to a retirement, with the Watanabe man saying he needed longer to decide on his future.
From the end of a career to the start. It was confirmed this week that Kazuki Nakajima (0-0) would be having his Pro-test on May 28th, and if he he passes that test, as expected, he will make his debut on June 25th.
A strange story from China is that WBO Flyweight Zou Shiming (9-1, 2) has turned down a fight with MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong, who made waves a couple of weeks ago when he beat up a Tai Chi master. It’s bit of a strange story but one that has kept Shiming’s name in the paper, and seen him confirm that he is preparing to defend his title, though has no set date for that defense.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)