The first half of the calendar year in Japan is usually reserved for what boxing fans there call the Champion Carnival, a series of fights where every national champion defends his title.
While we are still months away from the 2019 Champion Carnival to start, a number of title eliminators have been announced for every weight class that there is a Japanese national champion in. In a report by Asian Boxing, most of the fights are scheduled to take place in October with some taking place in November.
The Champion Carnival is not only big for Japanese boxing as national championship fights are taking place, but it is usually a launching point for eventual world champions out of the country. In recent years, we have seen Japanese world champions make their way to the world title level within one to two years of winning their Champion Carnival fights, such as Ken Shiro, Yukinori Oguni and Tatsuya Fukuhara.
Below are the dates for the Champion Carnival title eliminator fights.
- Flyweight: Junto Nakatani (16-0) vs. Shun Kosaka (15-4)
- Light Flyweight: Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1) vs. Koji Itagaki (18-12-3)
- Super Flyweight: Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1) vs. Rey Orais (20-17-2)
- Super Bantamweight: Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1) vs. Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1)
- Super Featherweight: Ken Osato (14-2-1) vs. Satoru Sugita (14-5-1)
- Junior Welterweight: Koki Inoue (11-0) vs. Marcus Smith (5-0-1)
- Junior Middleweight: Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2) vs. Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1)
- Minimumweight: Takumi Sakae (19-2-1) vs. Norihito Tanaka (16-7)
- Welterweight: Yuki Beppu (18-0-1) vs. Yuki Nagano (14-2)
- Lightweight: Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2) vs. Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1)
- Middleweight: Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1) vs. Shuji Kato (9-1-1)
Date to be determined:
- Bantamweight: Hayato Kimura (27-10) vs. Seizo Kono (19-10-1)
According to the report, the fight between Kimura and Kono is expected to have its date and venue announced in the coming weeks.