Top Rank's exciting looking "Ring of Gold" card has been fully announced and will feature and impressive 10 bouts, including 3 title bouts, 3 Olympic gold medal winners, 4 former world champions and 9 unbeaten fighters.
The card, at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort in Macau is expected to kick off with a 4 rounder between local fighter Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) and Rocky Alap Alap (5-10). Although Kun Ng is still a novice we do really like him and with him being the "Macao Kid" we do see the future potential in him as a local star.
Kun Ng/Alap Alap is the only 4 rounder on the show, though is joined in the under with 3 bouts scheduled for 6 rounds.
The 6 rounders include the first of the Olympic champions in the form of Russian Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) who takes on unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). Mekhontsev, who won gold in the Light Heavyweight division, is regarded as a fighter with all the tools needed to be a superstar and we'd expect them to be on show against Atthaporn who, although unbeaten, hasn't faced anyone of any note.
Another of the 6 rounders is set to see Filipino prospect Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) take on the limited Indonesian Yakobus Heluka (7-5). We like what we've heard about Dela Torre but, as with many Filipino prospects it's hard to know just how good he will end up being. Despite the questions marks are Dela Torre it'd be a huge upset to see him beaten.
The remaining 6 rounder will see China's Ik Yang (14-0-0-1, 9), real name Yang Lian Hui, fighting against Thailand's Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-2, 1). We do like Yang and think he has a very fan friendly style though we've got to admit that Petchsamuthr impressed up last time out going 6 hard rounds with Felix Verdejo. Although this isn't a marquee bout we do expect it to be very enjoyable to watch.
As with the 6 rounder we also have a trio of 8 rounders. Of those the leas interesting to us is one between Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) and Thailand's Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11). On paper this looks pretty interesting but Inthanon's chin has been cracked when he's faced good foes in the past, including both Rocky Fuentes and Mark Anthony Geraldo. We'd expect Ancajas to do the same.
One of the other 8 rounders sees Chinese icon Zou Shiming (3-0), another Olympic gold medal winner, taking on Thai Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). On paper this looks like an amazing test for Shiming though Yokthong has been stopped twice, including 2nd round KO to Ryuji Hara, and has never beaten anyone of any sort of note. Shiming may not manage to score a stoppage but should really be able to over-come his Thai rival.
The most interesting of the 8 rounders sees Japanese Olympic champion Ryota Murata (2-0, 2) taking on Brazilian veteran Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23). This bout shouldn't be difficult for Murata though should allow him another stoppage and a few more rounds at a decent level. Nascimento, once a world title challenger, isn't as big or strong as Murata though could use his experience to give Murata a few questions before finally being stopped.
The first title bout, fought over 10 rounds, will see Hong Kong's sensationally popular Rex Tso (11-0, 7) attempt to unify his WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title with the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Unfortunately for Tso a victory won't actually mean a lot as he attempts to take on Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3) a very limited Japanese fighter who has won just 3 of his last 8.
In the most recent bout to be announced on the card, and the second title fight, we will see former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) taking on fellow former world champion Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14). This bout, for the WBO International Featherweight title, has been made in the last day or two and keeps Shimoda on the card after Simpiwe Vetyeka was taken from the card due to the WBA. This bout, one we favour Shimoda in, is a good bout on paper, though we do feel that Sonsona probably isn't big enough or strong enough to test Shimoda at Featherweight.
The only world title bout on the card will see Mexico's talented, though unexciting, Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) defending his IBF Lightweight title against Russia's Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18). This is the hardest bout on the show to call with Vazquez being a very slippery customer though Shafikov is strong as a bull and will always come forward. Great bout and one we can't wait to see.
We hope to have more details on the actual running order sooner rather than later though we'll admit we're really excited about this card.
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