Last year Thai fans were shocked by the little known Filipino fighter Alie Laurel (12-3, 8) who traveled to the land of smiles as a supposedly "easy mark" for the then unbeaten Tiger Tor Buamas (then 15-0). Laurel left Thailand in surprising fashion having battered Tiger into defeat after just 5 rounds and claimed the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title in one of 2014's first shock results.
Sadly Laurel, who was rewarded with a world ranking, then became a forgotten man and it was some 4 months before he was back in the ring, stopping Mike Espanosa in just 110 seconds.
Sadly since stopping Espanosa last May we've not seen Laurel in action and much of the momentum of his win over Tiger Tor Buamas has faded away. Thankfully Laurel will return to the ring in a meaningful bout on March 17th when he battles against former Japanese title challenger Nobuhisa Coronita Doi (29-14-8, 11) at the Korakuen Hall.
Aged 23 Laurel is one of the many fighters in the Philippines who has shown the potential to be a real threat though has lacked the opportunities to really make a name for himself, so far. In many ways that makes him a bit like Rey Loreto, and like Loreto, he is a very hard hitting southpaw who has youth on his side and the potential to become a genuine contender in the future.
For Doi this could be all or nothing. Aged 36 he needs a win of note and has lost a number of notable matches in recent years, including a technical decision loss to Hidenori Otake and an opening round KO loss to Gakuya Furuhashi. For Laurel a win here however will boost his standing and could well push him towards an OPBF title fight later in the year.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!