The IBF may not be the most popular organisation in Japan but it seems that Japanese fighters are warming to them.
With two IBF champions already, in the form of Katsunari Takayama and Daiki Kameda Japan has an opportunity to add a third in April when Hozumi Hasegawa fights Kiko Martinez for the IBF Super Bantamweight title. It's now been announced that the winner of Hasegawa/Martinez will be facing the winner of an upcoming IBF eliminator between another Japanese fighter, Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-6, 7), and American Chris Avalos (23-2, 17).
Avalos, for those who haven't seen him, is a big punching American who has been shown to have a lot of power, though he does lack somewhat in terms of fundamental boxing skills. Despite his flaws he has scored some notable wins, including a decision last year over Filipino fighter Drian Francisco and a stoppage over Rolly Lunas.
As for Ishimoto, pictured, he made his name on the international stage with a decision over former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in 2013. He lacks the power of Avalos though has a tricky style, a lot of heart and may well find himself winning another upset against a much fancied American.
The bout, scheduled for May 31st, will be held in Macau on the under-card of Nonito Donaire's world title bout with Simpiwe Vetyeka.
(Picture courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today all the fighters on the "Ring of Gold" card were paraded in front of the press ahead of the big show this coming Sunday.
Amongst those on show were Olympic gold medal winning trio Egor Mekhontsev, Zou Shiming and Ryota Murata, pictured, Denis Shafikov, Rex Tso, Kuok Kun Ng and Akifumi Shimoda.
It seems that all the fighters have made it over well and look in fine condition ahead of their fights though a few final touches will be put to their preparation as will very light training. The key for the next few days will be to make sure they weigh in correctly and that they've adapted to the conditions. It'd be a shock if any of them did fail to make weight though we did hear that the contracted weight for Murata's fight with Carlos Nascimento has been increased slightly from the originally contracted weight.
Future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38) who has been out of the ring since being stopped by Juan Manuel Marquez in December has announced his return to the the ring.
Pacquiao will be facing American action fighter Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios (31-1-1, 23) in Macau. The details of the card are still sketchy though it's expected to be on November 24th and we're also expecting Zou Shiming on the undercard.
Rios was expected to finish a trilogy with Mike Alvarado though with a prospective Pacquiao bout is worth much, much more to Rios bank balance and legacy.
Macau set it's foot on to the boxing map in a big way just a few weeks ago as they hosted a really high profile card featuring not only the debut of Zou Shimng (1-0) but also 2 world title bouts. It appears now that the winner of one of those world title bouts will return to action in Macau against one of the fighters who look sensation on the under-card.
In the only currently scheduled bout for a card set in Macau for July 27th we will see Super Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (23-2, 18) taking on unbeaten Filipino challenger Milan Melindo (29-0, 12) in what promises to be an amazing bout.
Mexican Estrada really made his name last year in a fight of the year contender with former Teiken fighter Roman Gonzalez. Although Estrada came up short against Gonzalez he put up an excellent fight and was rewarded with a bout against the highly talented Brian Viloria in Macau back on April 6th. Estrada would then upset Viloria by decision for the WBA "super" and WBO Flyweight titles.
Melindo also fought on the April card in Macau where he dismantled Indonesian Tommy Seran in 4 rounds, dropping Seran several times on route to the victory. In all honesty Melindo has looked ready for a world title fight for a few years now and his poor performance against Jean Piero Perez (a majority deicison) aside he has looked fantastic.
This really should be a great bout and hopefully Top Rank put on a solid under-card giving exposure to several prospects from around the area. It'd be great if the Penalosa brothers were on the card (as they were on the last Macau card).
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!