This coming Tuesday fight fans in China get a relatively small card in Shijiazhuang.
On paper the most interesting match up will seethe once beaten Nuerlanbieke Ayiding (6-1-1, 2) take on the unbeaten Duancai Tian (5-0-1) in an 8 rounder at 140lbs. The 29 year old Ayiding suffered his sole loss last October, but has bounced back with a win and will be coming into this one with a little bit of momentum. The unbeaten Tian suffered his only mark in September last year, fightign to a draw with Weihau Xu, but has since scored a couple of wins and will be confident of extending his unbeaten record here. Notably these two will be fighting for the CPBA China National Super Lightweight title.
In a second title bout fans will be able to see Fangyong Zhang (9-4-1, 3) and Chatchai Or Benjamas (9-10, 6) battle for the CPBA China National Super Flyweight title. Despite his poor looking record Zhang has gone 8-1-1 in his last 10 and appears to have matured a lot from the youngster who was thrown to the wolves early on, having travelled to Thailand to face Kongutorn CP Freshmart in just his 4th professional bout. Thai fighter Chatchai has been stopped in his last 5 bouts away from home, and it's unlikely that he'll get his first win on foreign soil here.
For a second day running Asian fight fans have a world title fight to get excited about, as WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (14-0, 14) looks to kick off his 2018 with a homecoming defense in Okinawa. The destructive champion will be facing off with former WBO Minimumweight champion Moises Fuentes (25-4-1, 14). The aggressive and powerful Higa will be seeking his second defense, following an impressive win over Thomas Masson in October, and with 2018 being a potentially huge year for Higa there is few who would want to deny him a homecoming bout in Okinawa. For Fuentes, who looked terrible in his 2016 loss to Kosei Tanaka, this is likely to be one final shot at becoming a 2-weight champion. At his best Fuentes was a nightmare to fight, though his best days are well behind him and were down at Minimumweight, where he could use his size effectively. At Flyweight the Mexican is going to find life very difficult against the younger, stronger, bigger, fresher Higa.
In a leading support bout we get the chance to see another young puncher in action, as teenager Shawn Oda (6-0, 6) take on Filipino visitor Warren Mambuanag (11-8-2, 3). Oda came to our attention in 2016, when he claimed the All Japan Lightweight Rookie of the year, less than 7 months after his debut, and he has looked extremely promising and destructive. Despite the perfect start from Oda this is a step up and Mambuanag is no push over, having been the GAB Super Featherweight champion and a solid domestic level fighter on the Filipino scene.
Another teenager on this show will be former amateur stand out Ryuto Owan (3-0, 2), who goes in for a serious test as he battles big punching Filipino Jun Blazo (7-4-3, 6). Aged 19 Owan has a lot of potential, and his team really do have a lot of belief in him, putting him against someone as dangerous and heavy handed as Blazo, especially given that Blazo dropped Owan's stablemate Koki Eto back in 2016. Coming in to this Blazo has suffered back to back losses, but is a real dangerman for Owan and a monstrous step up in class.
There is also a small card in the Philippines this coming.
The main event will see Michael Escobia (12-16-1, 3) take on Jestoni Autida (10-7,5), in what should be a highly entertaining domestic level clash. Escobia is 2-13 in his last 15 bouts, but has mixed at a decent level and took a big upset win last September against Jelbirt Gomera. Interestingly Autida is also best known for his upsets, wins over Jeffrey Francisco and Ratchasaki Kokietgym, and he did manage to be competitive with Jason Canoy and Ernesto Saulong. Both of these men are better than their records suggest, and we expect that to be shown here in what is likely to be a very good fight.
Sadly the rest of the card is pretty forgettable and unlikely to be too exciting.
The Super Flyweight division is widely regarded as one of the best in the sport, even with Naoya Inoue leaving the division to make a mark at Bantamweight. Sadly though the division is a frustrating one with a number of fighters making themselves unavailable for big fights.
One such fighter is IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1, 19), who signed with Top Rank in late 2017 and froze himself out of fights against the likes of Inoue and the fighters who are currently tied to HBO. As a result of being frozen out of specific fights we won't see Ancajas in with a notable name, and instead he will be kicking off his 2018 with an IBF world title defense against Israel Gonzalez (21-1, 8). The talented Ancajas had an excellent 2017, Going 3-0 (3) for the year and beating the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teiru Kinoshita and Jamie Conlan and will be looking to continue his great momentum here. Sadly though Gonzalez, who the IBF miraculously ranked #10, feels like a huge step backwards, with the Mexican challenger really doing little to show he belongs at this level. The bout has been put together as a showcase for Ancajas on US TV and should be a real chance to shine for the Filipino, who will hopefully get better competition later in the year.
At the Korakuen Hall we see the first of this year's Champion Carnival bouts, as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (16-1, 10) defends his title against Ken Osato (13-1-1, 4). The bout will be Sueyoshi's first defense of the title, which he won last October with a decision over Ribo Takahata whilst Osato will be having his first title bout. In 2017 we saw Sueyoshi have a great year, going 3-0 (2) but left questions to be asked with some of his performances and he will look to answer them here. Osato had a great 2017 himself, going 3-0 (1) with notable wins Sho Nagata and Satoru Sugita, with the Sugita win earning Osato a shot at the title. This should be a very skilled bout, with both men being very talented, and a very evenly matched bout, between two top domestic fighters.
In the chief support bout Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (12-2, 9) will face off with Thai visitor Najilek Sor Boonlieng (0-1). Coming into this Nagano is riding a 10 fight winning run, and is closing in on a title fight. Although not the greatest of fighters Nagano is a big puncher and should have significant size over the Thai, who will be lucky to last more than 3 rounds.
A second supportig bout of note will see unbeaten hopeful Haruaki Kamiya (7-0, 3) take on win-less Thai Chatchai Phonlemueangdee (0-3). Kamiya has had a real slow burn of a career, fighting only 4 times since the end of 2014, but if he gets sorted he could go quite far. Sadly bouts like this won't help him develop or move towards the bigger bouts than his early promises suggested he could end up having. As for the Thai he has been stopped in all 3 of his defeats.
In the Thai capital fans will be able to see Chinese puncher Pui Yu Lim (5-0, 5) take on Indonesian journeyman Ramadhan Weriuw (17-9-1, 15) in a bout for the WBC Interim Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title. On paper this is a step backwards for Lim, who has already scored wins over better fights than Weriuw, but with 5 fights last year Lim is a busy fighter and could use this interim title to help secure more meaningful bouts down the line.
To kick off February we get a small Dangan card, featuring 4 round bouts. Sadly, as with many of these shows, the fighters aren't big names but the card should be a very fun one with a lot of well matched novices facing off.
One paper one of the more interesting bouts pits teenager Shoichiro Osada (2-0) against fellow unbeaten Koshi Fujisaki (2-0-1, 1) in a Lightweight bout. The 19 year old Osada debuted last June and fought his second bout in November, travelling to Korea for it, whilst the 28 year old Fujisaki debuted back in August 2016, before going 1-0-1 in 2017.
Another bout between unbeaten fighters will see Rui Ikari (1-0-1) face off with Ryuya Kai (2-0, 1) in a Super Flyweight bout. The 18 year old Ikari debuted last June as a 17 year old and won his debut, before being held to a draw in his second contest. Aged 17 Kai is even younger than his foe and debuted just 2 weeks after his 17th birthday, last July, and went on to score a stoppage win in his second bout. Neither of these guys may be true prospects but this is a very interesting bout at this level.
To end the month of January we get a low key card in Cebu featuring some notable fighters.
One of the more well known fighters on this card is Carlo Demecillo (9-4, 3), who faces off with Margarito Moya (9-4, 3). In 2016 we saw Demecillo suffer two losses in Japan, being out pointed by Hisashi Amagasa and stopped in 3 rounds by Satoshi Shimizu. Since those losses he has bounced back well, with 3 wins on the domestic scene. Coming in to this bout Moya has no real momentum, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 bouts, with another loss expected here.
A second fighter of note on this card is the once beaten Cris Ganoza (14-1, 8) taking on the hugely experienced Sherwin McDo Lungay (8-41-2). The 23 year old Ganoza was stopped last year by Edward Heno,who has since gone on to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title but has since bounced back with two stoppage wins of his own. Given that Lungay has been stopped 23 times already, it's very hard to see him lasting with with Ganoza.
Another bout on this card worth noting looks like a shoot out, as the unbeaten Allan Villanueva (7-0, 6) takes on the limited but hard hitting Jason Tinampay (8-7-1, 7). The unbeaten fighter has fought only 17 professional rounds but is a promising youngster with an exciting future ahead. As for Tinampay he's been hard matched, and has gone 0-5-1 in his last 6, but is dangerous, and will but looking to blast out his unbeaten foe here in what could be a very exciting contest.
We get the second Dangan show of the year this coming Tuesday, in what will be a show featuring bouts from the Dangan Rookies, C class and B class tournaments finals.
The most notable bouts on the show are all B class finals and all features who have got some genuine talent and hopes at the domestic level.
One of those bouts will see once beaten Teiken hopeful Kenshin Oshima (3-1, 3) take on the unbeaten novice Nobuaki Kanazawa (0-0-1). The talented Oshima has won 2 in a row since suffering a narrow decision loss to the under-rated Yuki Iriguchi in October 2016. In the ring Oshima is a destructive fighter and will be looking to prove that power here. Sadly little is known about Kanazawa who had a technical decision on debut in October, though he was a good amateur at the high school level.
In a really good looking bout novice Ryo Sagawa (2-1, 2) will look to build on his opening round blow out of Kazuki Sanpei as he takes on Tasuku Suwa (5-1-1, 1). Aged 23 Sagawa has been tipped for big things, but a loss to Retsu Kosaka last May has slowed his rise. Suwa on the other hand is just 20 and has shown some promise, but hasn't yet developed the man strength he'll need to progress through the ranks.
A third bout of note will see Yasuki Katagiri (5-2-2, 1) attempt to extend his current 3 fight unbeaten run, as he takes on Shoma Sekine (4-5-2, 1). Katagiri began his career with a promising 4-0 run but since then has gone 1-2-2 and appears to have struggled in bouts scheduled for more than 4 rounds. As for Sekine he was winless in his first 3 fights, going 0-1-2 but has since gone 4-4 and managed to create some career momentum, though has been very stop-start and he'll know that he needs to put on a career best performance to win here.
Also on this card will be the ring return of the much touted Chaoz Minowa (4-0, 3), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since she fought in May. The Watanabe gym fighter is one of the most exciting female fighters on the planet, and hopefully 2018 will be her big year, though from what we understand this bout here will be a simple one against a Thai foe to shake some ring rust.
The biggest show this coming Saturday is in California where we get a world title double header, and interestingly both of those world title fights have a link to Asian boxing with both bouts having an Asian born fighter, and one of the non-Asian's being promoted by Teiken promotions.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten Thai hopeful Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (38-0, 28) take on exciting Argentinian Lucas Martin Matthysse (38-4-0-1, 35) for the WBA Welterweight title. For Matthysse the bout is a huge opportunity to become relevant again at the world stage, more than 2 years removed from his loss to Viktor Postol back in October 2015. Matthysse has been a very popular fighter with an aggressive style and heavy hands, but it's hard to really know what he has left in the tank. The Thai is stepping up massively, but given the huge wins by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last year he'll feel he too can make a name for himself with a big win in the US. Teerachai has been in more than 30 title fights on the regional scene and whilst he hasn't beaten many fighters of note he has beaten fighters like Vladimir Baez, Larry Siwu and Kaizer Mabuza, who have all posed different questions for the Thai.
The other bout will see Teiken promoted Venezuelan Jorge Linares (43-3, 27) battle Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17), in Linares's latest WBA Lightweight title defense. The talented "El Niño de Oro" has been in great form recently, and is unbeaten in more than 5 years whilst picking up wins against the likes of Nihito Arakawa, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, but questions over his durability will remain with the 3 surprise stoppage losses linger over his head. For Gesta this is a second shot at a world title, following a bizarre performance against the then IBF champion Vazquez back in 2010, which saw Gesta spending a lot of time looking at the big screen rather than actually fighting. Since the loss to Vazquez we've sene Gesta go 5-0-1 (3) but the reality is that few are giving him a chance here against someone with the skills and experience of Linares. Neither man can really afford a loss, but it's hard to imagine Gesta havign what's needed to give Linares his 4th professional defeat.
Another Filipino on this card is the heavy handed Romero Duno (15-1, 13), who takes on Mexican based Yardley Armenta Cruz (22-9-0-1, 12). The Filipino is an explosive puncher and someone everyone should make an effort to watch. Given that the Mexican has been stopped 6 times already we're expecting another stoppage loss here.
On a second American show fans will be able to see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Botirali Mamajonov (5-0, 3) seek a 6th straight win. The Uzbek is looking likely to be in another 4 rounder here, and will hopefully begin fighting in longer bouts later in 2018.
Another US show will feature a couple of Asian fighters.
One of these is Japanese Southpaw Gaku Takahashi (15-7-1, 7), who will be up against Cameron Krael (12-12-3, 3). The Japanese fighter has had mixed success in recent fights, but did score a career best victory in 2016, when he stopped Kim Poulsen, and will be looking to get a win here, and rebuild following a less to Jamontay Clark last time out.
American based Uzbek Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (9-0-1, 4) will be on the card seeking his 6th straight win, and looking to continue his rise towards a notable bout. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for this show hasn't yet been announced.
Back in Asia we will have a card in China, though at the time of writing the only a couple of bouts from the show are known about.
The more notable of the two bouts will see former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (92-4, 57) continue his long career, as he looks to move one win closer to becoming the latest boxing centurion. The 40year old Thai will be up against China's Fei Hu Wang (5-1, 3), who is less than half the age of Sirimongkol at just 19! The Thai has slowed significantly in recent times, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but will feel like he has a chance here. As for Wang he was beaten last January by a debuting Aleksei Podkolzin, but has since scored back to back wins and will have youth and size, around 7" in height, over the veteran.
The other bout will see 18 year old Qiang Jiang (1-0, 1) take on Ukrainian Oleksii Kostenko (0-1). The Chinese youngster made his debut in July, with a stoppage of another debutant, whilst Kostenko, who debuted in June, was stopped by a Chinese debutant. Hard to know too much about these two, but a bout between them should be decent enough given that both are real novices.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino veteran Drian Francisco (29-4-1, 22) take on rising Mexican hopeful Edivaldo Ortega (25-1-1, 12). The once touted Francisco is now 35 and is almost certainly coming to the end of his career, which began way back in 2005. A win here would keep him relevant as a fighter, but he'll be the under-dog against Ortega, who is quickly climbing the ranks towards a potential world title fight.
Pocheon, South Korea
It's also worth noting that there is a small, low key card courtesy of BoxingM. The card features a total of 8 bouts, and will include a 14 debuts, showing the level of this card. For those wondering all of the bouts will be 4 rounders.
This coming Friday fans in Thailand can tune into a title double header on Channel 7. Neither bout looks great on paper, but both do feature unbeaten local hopefuls taking on visiting fighters with more experience.
In a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight title we'll see 25 year old Southpaw Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (3-0, 1) take on Indonesian foe Melianus Mirin (9-3, 6). Not too much is known about the Thai, who hasn't faced anyone of any note, but this is a chance to make his first mark on the sport. Interestingly for Mirin this will be his first bout outside of Indonesia, and he's currently riding a 5 fight winning run coming into this bout, so should make for an interesting test.
The other title bout will see 19 year old Wanchana Menayothin (7-0, 3) facing off with Agus Kustiawan (18-6-2, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title. On paper this looks like a simple win for the emerging prospect, but the Indonesian visitor has proven his toughness and could well provide some stiff foil for the local teenager, who debuted in late 2016. The local is a former WBC Youth Intercontinental champion and this is a credible step up for the youngster.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The first Filipino show of 2018 takes place this coming Sunday in General Santos City, and features a pair of title fights.
In the main event we'll see the unbeaten Jayson Mama (8-0, 4) take on Michael Camelion (10-6-1, 8) for the WBO Asia Youth Flyweight title. The unbeaten Mama made is debut in late 2016 and has looked promising, whilst fighting at the lower levels of the Filipino domestic scene, and beating the usual combination of novices and flawed veteran. The 23 year old Camelion once looked like he could make a mark on the domestic but has lost 4 of his last 5, including an opening round loss to Hiroto Kyoguchi in late 2016 and two more subsequent stoppage defeats.
The other title fight will see former world title challenger Tomomi Takano (10-3, 7) face off with Joan Ambalong (6-7-1, 3) in a bout for the interim OPBF female Bantamweight title. Takano did hold the full version of this title not too long ago, but has lost 2 of her last 4 and appears to be on the slide. In saying that however the Filipino is very limited, naturally smaller and has lost 3 of her last 4, with this likely to be another loss for the Tampilisan fighter.
It should be noted that Takano has retired according to the JBC and there is some suspicion that this fight will not take place, and if it does it would be seen as an unsanctioned bout by the JBC.
Another fighter of interest on this card is Ben Mananquil (15-1-2, 3), who is involved in a huge mismatch as he takes on Alvin Bais (15-10-1, 4). We think Mananquil is a genuine talent with a lot of upside, but bouts like this won't do his development any favours, especially given that Bais has been stopped in his last 4 and is more than 2 years removed from his last win.
It's been a slow start to the Japanese boxing calendar this year, but this coming Saturday we get out first live televised card of 2018. The show, set to be aired by G+, features the first Japanese title fight of 2018 along with a number of other names fighters, including 2 prospects who could really break out over the next 12 months.
The main event will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on the under-rated, and aggressive, Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6). Akaho, a former 2-time world title challenger, won the title last March and recorded his first defense with a stoppage win against Yuta Saito last August. Although a heavy handed fighter, at this level at least, he's a ling way from being the best Japanese fighter at 118lbs and could well see his reign being a short one, given the rising talent in the country. Suzuki started his career with big aspirations but sets backs to Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco slowed his climb. Coming in to this the challenger has won his last 3, and earned the right to fight Akaho thanks to his 7th riund TKO win over Eita Kikuchi in a Japanese title eliminator last October. This should be a hard hitting and violent war.
In the chief support bout we'll see Charles Bellamy (26-3-2, 17) return to the ring after more than a year out. The Japanese based American will be up against a Thai foe, who we've been told is a natural 140lb fighter and should look much smaller than Bellamy. The talented New Yorker born fighter hasn't fought since a controversial 2017 draw with Yuki Beppu and will likely be looking to make up for lost time this, with a quick blow out here and a speedy return to action.
One of the notable prospects on this card is Japanese Youth champion Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10), who takes on Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-3-1, 5). The unbeaten 20 year old has been impressive since his 2015 debut, and claimed the 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the Year along with the Japanese Youth title last year. Beronil began his career 7-0-1 but has lost 3 of his last 4, including a very controversial loss to Joo Hyun Jung last February. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man and whilst he's a good fighter at his level, we suspect the power and size of Nakatani will be too much.
Another unbeaten on this show is the very exciting Kai Chiba (7-0, 6), who faces of with Filipino foe Brian Lobetania (12-4-3, 10). Last year we saw Chiba go 4-0 (3) and scoring a very notable win in a thriller with Ryo Matsubara, in what was one of many hidden gems of 2017, here he will be looking to continue his climb towards a title fight, but comes up against a very live Lobetania. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, but is a natural puncher and will be looking to stop Chiba, in what is likely to be a very thrilling action bout.
The once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (11-1, 5) is expected to be in action on the card, though no information at all is available on his opponent. The talented Matsunaga fought 3 rimes in 2016, scoring 3 solid wins, but was inactive in 2017 and will be hoping to rebuild his career this year, potentially moving towards some kind of title fight before the year is over.
There is also set to be a Chinese card, with a number of title bouts.
In the main event of this card we'll see once beaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) take on Indonesian visitor John Ruba (15-3-1, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. The exciting Chinese fighter was beaten last time ouit by Rikki Naito, but was unlucky in what was a very competitive bout. It's hard to know how good he is but he has looked good through his career so far. As for Ruba he's a very promising fighter at this level, and comes into this bout on a 7 fight winning run...but it would take a career best win for Rub to win here.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see Jing Xiang (13-4-2,3) take on very talented Filipino fighter Dexter Alimento (13-2, 9) in a contest for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Light Flyweight title. Coming in to this Xiang is on a 5 fight winning run having claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title in 2016. He has come up short against some decent fighters in the past, such as Macrea Gandionco and Ben Mananquil, but a decision win over Mananquil in their second bout shows his ability.
Also on this card is a 10 rounder between once beaten local hopeful Jian Wang (4-1) and Thai foe Yutthichai Wannawong (6-4, 5) for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Wang has scored back to back wins following a loss in a regional title bout. The Thai visitor lost his first 3 bouts, all in Japan, but has gone 6-1 (4) since then and claimed a Thai title on his way up. On paper this isn't the most interesting of bouts, but the Thai has a little bit of form and could make for an a decent test.