Negros Occidental, Philippines
The key show for fans of Asian fighters is in Negros Occidental where ALA will be putting on their next “Pinoy Pride” card.
In the main event fans will see long reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) face off against former 2-time champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23). Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, defeated Garcia's twin brother, Ramon Garcia Hirales, back in 2011 and will be hoping to record a win over Raul too. For Raul it's a chance to become a 3-time champion and avenge one of his brother's losses.
The most interesting of the supporting bouts sees former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) face off against the chinny Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight. Despite being for an Asia Pacific title Jimenez is a Mexican so we're not sure how he qualifies for this title, however with 8 stoppage losses to his name it's hard to see him winning here.
In one of the other main supporting bouts former world title challenger Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) will be facing Maximino Flores (19-2, 13), who appears to have been a late fill in for Javier Mendoza. This bout will be an IBF Light Flyweight eliminator and the winner could find themselves taking a big step towards a world title fight later in the year.
In another supporting bout the promising Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) will be up against Thai visitor Wanchai Nianghansa (5-7, 4). We have been impressed by Cataraja so far and expect this will be another straight forward win for the Filipino sensation, who is widely regarded by those in Filipino boxing circles as a future champion.
In Japan fans get a small card but one with an interesting main event and a notable return to the ring for a recent Japanese title challenger.
The interesting main event sees former world champion Kosei Tanaka (6-0, 3) move up to Light Flyweight where he will face world ranked Filipino foe Rene Patilano (15-1-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 rounder. For Tanaka the bout is a chance to make a mark at a new weight class, and shake the shackles of the 105lb weight class that he claimed to be struggling massively with. As for Patilano the bout will serve as a huge chance to make a mark on the sport and boost his opportunity to get a world title fight of his own later in the year.
The aforementioned former Japanese title challenger is Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10), who faces Yuta Sasaki (8-7-1, 1), in what is Tanaka's first bout since losing in that Japanese title bout to Kentaro Masuda. This should be an easy win for Tanaka but their may be lingering effects from his stoppage loss to Masuda.
Two other men looking to bounce back from a loss on this card will be Shogo Yamaguchi (9-1-1, 4), and Genki Maeda (2-1, 1), who face each other in an interesting looking Lightweight bout. Yamaguchi was beaten last time out by Akihiro Kondo, in a bout that saw Yamaguchi look like a promising fighter despite losing, whilst Maeda was stopped by Yoshimichi Matsumoto in a less impressive performance. This could be a very good one, or it could see Maeda made to look like a novice.
Their will also be action in Uzbekistan
In the main event hard hitting Russian Heavyweight hopeful Apti Davtaev (11-0-1, 11) will be facing Kazakh journeyman Talgat Dosanov (13-14-1, 6) in what looks like a total mismatch in favour of the heavy handed Russian hopeful.
A much more interesting bout will see Uzbek fighter Bahrom Payozov (23-5, 15) face Russian novice Alexander Kotov (3-0, 1). Kotov debuted in December and this is a huge step up in class for him, however a win here is somewhat expected. For Payozov, who has lost 3 of his last 5, the bout is a bit of a must win.
New South Wales, Australia
Once again we see Asian fighters travelling to Australia, this time however we have one genuinely competitive bout as Romnakit Boontree (8-0, 5) facing off against the once beaten Richard Smith (8-1, 3). The unbeaten Thai has shown genuine promise through his first 8 bouts and whilst this is a step up he does look like the sort of fighter who could go a long way, if he can win here in his first bout outside of Thailand.
Other Asian's on this card are Indonesian fighters Abbas Makki (1-4), who faces Michael Upton (4-1-1) and Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2), who faces Rocky Jerkic (14-0, 11), in bouts that are both likely to be won by the local favourites.
New York, USA
The end the week American fight fans get their first chance to see, in the flesh, Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (17-0, 12), as he makes his US debut against journey man Guillermo Sanchez (15-18-1, 6). The highly touted Dela Torre is tipped to be a star of the future, and whilst he should beat Sanchez with out any worries the key will be to look good and not just win.
The only show in Japan this coming Thursday comes from the Korakuen Hall and sees a number of novices taking part in qualifying bouts for the 2016 Rookie of the Year. The fighters for this particular show will all be from the East of Japan and not a single one has more than 6 bouts to their name.
On paper the most interesting bout here is at 122lbs where the unbeaten Seiya Kumagaya (2-0) battles Masayoshi Yamasaki (3-2-1, 1)
Mid week action isn't that rare in the East but this week we do get a relatively special treat with a brilliant looking show in China.
The main event of the card is the much anticipated rematch between IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5) and former Light Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (21-3, 13). The two meet for a second time after their first bout became a farcical contest full of wrestling, holding and rule bending from Ruenroeng, who seemed to be allowed to do what he wanted from inept referee Larry Doggett. This could be a defining fight for both men, a win for either does open up some very interesting bouts for later in the year.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (26-6-1, 14) face off against Jose Antonio Jimenez (16-5-1, 7) in an IBF world title eliminator at 105lbs. The winner will take a huge step towards getting a world title fight with Jose Argumedo later in the year however it is really a must win for Zhong who has looked like a man coming to the the end in recent bouts.
The main event isn't the only title bout on the card as China's Cai Zong Ju (7-1, 1) faces former world champion Samson Tor Buamas (37-3, 19) in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental female Minimumweight title. This is a big step up for Ju but she has impressed and will know that a win here will put her in the mix for a world title fight in the near future.
Another bout of note on this card sees the unbeaten Fanlong Meng (6-0, 4) battle Australian Rob Powdrill (6-2, 1) in what is a notable step up for the former Chinese amateur star.
In the Philippines fans get a small, and relatively forgettable, show, in Tarlac.
The main event of the card will see veterans colliding as Cristian Abila (14-19-4, 5) faces off against Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in a bout for the LuzProBA Featherweight title. We won't try and build this up to be anything special, however it should be noted that the bout has seemingly been re-arranged a number of times in recent weeks.
New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia there are also a couple of Indonesian fighters travelling to Australia.
One of those will be the experienced, but limited, Roy Tua Manihuruk (18-15-2, 14) who will be up against novice professional Ben Savva (2-1), with Savva looking for a third straight win. The other will be Marco Tuhumury (10-12-2, 3), who is expected to be little more than fodder for the unbeaten Ahmed Dib (18-0, 9).
To end a relatively quiet week Japanese fans in Kagoshima get a low key card at the Orocity Hall.
In the main event the win-some, lose-some, Naoya Haruguchi (8-7, 2) will be facing a Thai visitor in an 8 round bout. Sadly we've not got the name of the Thai but we do know that Haruguchi is better than his record suggests and he will be looking to score his 4th win in 6 bouts.
The only other 8 rounder on this card looks to be a brilliantly event match up as Japanese ranked 140lb fighter Mitsuyoshi Fujita (8-2, 3) faces off against Yusuke Yamanouchi (8-2-1, 4). Coming in to this one Fujita is on a 6 fight winning streak and will be risking his Japanese ranking as he faces a man who will be looking to record a third successive stoppage win. Interestingly this will be the first time either of these men has been scheduled to go 8 rounds.
In Russia fans will get the chance to see Indonesian fighter Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (20-10-1-1, 9) battle for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Lightweight title, as he takes on Manvel Sargsyan (11-0, 7).
Seoul, South Korea
Arguably the most notable bout to feature an Asian comes from Seoul where Hyun Mi Choi (12-0-1, 4) [최현미] returns to the ring to defend her WBA female Super Featherweight title, and look to claim the WBF title, as she takes on South African challenger Unathi Myekeni (10-2-1, 4). This will be Choi's 13th world title bout and sees her return to the ring just a few weeks after defeating Diana Ayala.
In Russia fight fans will be able to see the very exciting Kyrgyzstan born Dmitry Bivol (6-0, 6) fight in his most significant bout to date, as he faces the unbeaten Dominican Felix Valera (13-0, 12) for the WBA “interim” Light Heavyweight title, a title that Valera will be defending for the first time. The bout is a step up in class for Bivol but, given how he's looked so far, he is likely to pass this test with flying colours.
In the US fans get the chance to see Kazakhstan's Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10) continue his career, as he faces Junior Anthony Wright (15-1-1, 12) for the WBA Cruiserweight title. Sadly due to how late this bout was put together we were unable to preview it, and we have been told that it won't be televised, though looks like a good one on paper.
In Victoria fight fans get the chance to see a couple of Asian fighters.
The most notable of those fights will see Indonesian fighter Hero Tito (21-11-2, 7) face off against Will Tomlinson (24-2-1, 13) for the "interim" WBA Oceania Lightweight. Tito has won just twice in in his last 6 fights and won't be expected to pick up a win here, though it must be said that Tomlinson hasn't looked great in recent bouts, having lost 2 of his last 5.
In another bout Thai veteran Thong Por Chokchai (23-10-1, 15) faces the unbeaten Cameron Eyes (5-0, 3) in what looks like a tough test for the Thai, despite his edge in experience.
In Queensland fans will see unbeaten Thai Aphichat Koedchatturat (0-6) go for his first win, as he takes on James Katz (3-1, 1) in a peculiar 5 rounder. Although Katz lost last time out we can't see the Thai ending his win-less streak here.
After a few quiet days in Japanese boxing the action returns to the Korakuen Hall for a Yokohama Hikari show featuring a former world title challenger and several interesting match ups.
The main event sees that former world title challenger, Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18) facing former foe Toyoto Shiraishi (25-9-3, 12) in a long awaited rematch. These two originally fought in 2009, with Akaho scoring a 9th round TKO win, and were supposed to fight last year but Akaho failed to make weight for that bout. Coming in to this one both men will know it's a must win, with both men having lost last time out, and neither can afford another slip up.
In a very good looking supporting bout the once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (9-1, 4) will be up against former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-4, 5) in what is a really attractive looking bout. Sasaki has lost his last 3 but has the experience to give Matsunaga a real test in what looks like a very even bout.
A potentially explosive bout at Super Flyweight will see Masashi Odaira (6-5-2, 2) face off against the limited but gutsy Mako Matsuyama (7-10-2, 3). This might not get a lot of attention going in but it will surely be a real war.
Arguably the best bout on the card is a 6 rounder between Takahiko Suzuki (6-1, 4) and Ryota Ishida (5-1, 3). Both of these men are 20 years old and both and both will know that a win here has the potential to be a launch pad towards a major bout with a well known domestic foe. A brilliant match up and one where the two youngsters both deserve a lot of credit.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a regional title fight in Thailand, as Nawaphon Por Chokchai (33-0, 26) defends his WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title against Filipino Macrea Gandionco (11-2-2, 7). This should be a straight forward win for Nawaphon, who is looking to secure a world title fight later in the year.
This coming Monday sees a notable card taking place in Hyogo as several promising Japanese fighters look to continue their development.
In the main event of the card we'll see the promising Shun Kubo (9-0, 7) make the first defense of the OPBF Super Bantamweight title as he takes on Filipino challenger Benjie Suganob (10-4-1, 5). The bout sees Kubo fight for the first time this year, though strangely he fought his first bout of last year around the same time last year and for 3 bouts in. On paper this is a step up for the Shinsei man though the reality is that Suganob isn't likely to really prove much of a challenger for the unbeaten champion.
One of the promising fighters on the under-card is Ryuya Yamanaka (11-2, 2), who faces Thailand's Thoedkiad Singhamanasak (0-4). The 21 year old Yamanaka has already proven he can go 10 rounds and is likely to be hunting a Japanese title fight later in the year, with this bout acting as a tune up bout rather than a real test.
The unbeaten Retsu Kosaka (6-0, 1) will also be on this card.
Action returns to Okinawa this weekend where fans will get a less than great card, but a card all the same.
The most notable bout on the show will see Ryuji Ikehara (10-3-1, 5) face off against Takaaki Kanai (7-4, 3) in a 6 rounder. The bout, at 122lbs, is a match up that should prove to be better than perhaps the record's of the men suggests.
The only other 6 rounder on this card will see the once beaten Morihisa Iju (7-1, 5) battle Thai “loser” Rungniran Korat Sport School (0-10), who has lost 9 bouts in Japan already and has been stopped in his last 2 bouts in the country.
Strangely the “main event” appears to be a Lightweight bout between Tomoya Ikeda (2-0-1, 2) and the debuting Shomu Oda (0-0), in what a bout that doesn't really scream “main event” to us. The debuting man is from Okinawa himself and may be viewed as a promising fighter but we can't see much to get too excited about in regards to the contest.