The Light Heavyweight division is looking like a division that could quickly become a division run by Soviet fighters. At the top we already know about Sergey Kovalev and leading the chasing pack is of course Artur Beterbiev. Another notable name is Russian based Kyrgyzstan hopeful Dmitry Bivol (4-0, 4) who looks to continue his insanely quick race up the rankings this coming Wednesday as he takes on Brazilian puncher Jackson Junior (19-4, 17). The bout, which is Bivol's first to be scheduled for 10 rounds, will be for the WBA Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title and could well see the winner claim a WBA world ranking so this is an important bout, despite how early it is in Bivol's career.
In China we'll see an interesting show with a pair of tile fights involving Asian fighters.
One of those bouts will see China's Wei Qian Xian (8-4-1, 1) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title against Filipino puncher Rex Wao (11-1, 9), who is fighting for the second time since being stopped by Silvester Lopez last December. On paper it looks a clear mismatch in favour of the visitor but Xian is better than his record suggests and he could very easily upset the Filipino if Wao is still feeling the mental effects of his loss.
The other title bout will see the very promising Michael Dasmarinas (21-2, 13) defending his WBC Youth Super Flyweight title against Thai fighter Wisanlek Sithsaithong (14-8, 9). We have become big fans of Dasmarinas in recent times and can't see anything but a clear win for the very talented Filipino southpaw.
In Japan fans in the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see the Rookie of the East finals. The show will feature 9 bouts after several contests were aborted, originally however the show was set to feature 12 bouts from Minimumweight to Middleweight.
The second day of the month of November is genuinely one of the most interesting with 4 really notable bouts all taking place on same show, a show dubbed the “Strongest Korakuen Million Yen Fight”. The show is a return to the Strongest Korakuen tournament, which helps to decide the mandatory challengers for various Japanese titles. As well as the eliminator status of the bouts their will be additional bonuses, with a ¥1,000,000 up for grabs for the MVP of the event.
At Flyweight we'll see former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (23-6-3, 14) battle against Yusuke Sakashita (13-5-2, 8) for a shot at the domestic Flyweight title next year. Both have been beaten by former champion Suguru Muranaka but should make for an excellent match up together. Both have a lot to prove and both have styles that should make for a lot of action.
At Bantamweight we see former Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda (22-7, 11) battle against the under-rated Hideo Sakamoto (16-1-3, 5). Masuda is the more proven of the two fighters however Sakamoto has long been under-the-radar and could well see this bout as his potential coming out party. Notably Masuda's last bout of note saw him being blown away by Shohei Omori and it's hard to know how much he has left after a long and hard career whilst Sakamoto hasn't had the wars that Masuda has had.
At Lightweight we see the teak tough Nihito Arakawa (25-6-1, 16) battle against recent title challenger Yuya Sugizaki (20-10-1, 6). Of the two men Arakawa is the more well known and the more proven however his recent form has been disappointing with a 2-5 run in his last 7. Saying that however he has been mixing at a higher level to Sugizaki who was last seen being stopped by Kota Tokunaga. A win for Sugizaki would a career best whilst a win for Arakawa is pretty expected here.
The highest weight covered by the Strongest Korakuen show here is Welterweight where punchers collide as Akinori Watanabe (33-4, 28) take on the little known Toshio Arikawa (11-4, 9). Of the two men Watanabe is the more established, having held various titles, but has shown frailties when he's been hit back. Arikawa is scarcely known but with his power he is a danger man and a 3rd round TKO win over Shusaku Fuinaka is clear proof of that. We really don't expect to see this one go the distance and it really could be a very explosive and short lived encounter.
The most notable card of the day takes place in Hiroshima where we get the chance to see several ranked fighters.
The main event of the card is a 10 round contest between two OPBF ranked fighters. The lower ranked fighter is Japan's very own Koji Itagaki (15-9-2, 6) who likely to be viewed as the under-dog against the better ranked Filipino Michael Enriquez (11-3-1, 7). Coming into this one Itagaki is 3-4-1 though those 3 wins have come in his last 3 and he does hold notable wins over Palangpol CP Freshmart and Benezer Alolod. As for Enriquez he is 3-4 in his last 7 and is best known for his close and exciting loss, in March, to Rex Tso in what was a genuine FOTY contender. Given what we know of both fighters we have to favour the Filipino.
In a supporting bout we'll see recent OPBF title challenger Yuya Okazaki (11-8-1, 4) take on novice Noriaki Sato (2-1). This is a huge step up for Sato however a win could move him towards a title fight. For Okazaki this is his first bout since he was stopped by Keita Obara back in April.
Another supporting bout will see see the inform Tetsuya Morisada (6-3, 6) risk his Japanese ranking against Ryuji Ikeda (10-2-1, 6), who is looking to extend a 4 fight KO streak. On paper this looks like a bout where Ikeda should be favoured but Morisada would certainly feel that he deserves to be favoured given his ranking. Of the two men Ikeda has achieved more, winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2013, but that was Lightweight whilst this bout will be closer to 140lbs which should favour Morisada.
A second Japanese show takes place in Shizuoka.
The main event appears to be a mismatch as Yuya Miyagi (18-4-3, 7) takes on Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (1-4, 1). Miyagi has gone 3-2-1 in his last 6 but should be far too good for Tienchai who has been stopped in his last 4 bouts, all of which have taken place in Japan.
The co-feature of the show sees the unbeaten Shogo Yamaguchi (8-0-1, 4) in a good looking bout against the light punching Shota Suito (10-4-1, 1). On paper it's hard to back Suito however his edge in experience could help here against the younger and less tested fighter.
As well as the Japanese action there will also be an Indonesian show.
In the main event fans will see veteran James Mokoginta (28-17-3, 15) battle against novice foe Marten Kisamlu (3-5) in a bout for the KTPI/IBPC Featherweight title. Mokoginta is the more well known of the two men and has fought a relative who's who of the Asian fight scene, including Daiki Kameda, Dennis Tubieron and Sod Kokietgym, though has yet to pick up a win of note on the international stage. As for Kisamlu he has never fought outside of Indonesia and in all honesty a win here would be his best, by far.
In the chief support bout fans will get an all-debutant bout between Aris Larabi (0-0) and Felix Babel (0-0). This is scheduled to go 6 rounds and could well be a well matched bout, though given what we know about Indonesian records we may well see this being a total mismatch.
Metro Manila, Philippines
For us this Saturday's highlight comes from the Philippines where several notable fighters will be in action.
For us the most notable of those is the really promising Giovanni Escaner (13-3, 9) who fights for the first time since his upset win over Naoto Uebayashi in April. Escaner, who has had a few tough bouts recently, has been matched lightly here against Jayar Estremos (10-11, 4), who has lost his last 6 including 5 straight stoppage defeats. This is a big step down in class for Escaner but he deserves a homecoming after two tough wins in Japan.
Also booked for this show is former world title challenger Michael Farenas (40-5-4, 32). The tough nosed “Hammer Fist” hasn't had his opponent for the card announced but is expected to pick up a win and get back to climbing the rankings. The bout will be his second since losing, back in November to Jose Pedraza.
Yangju, South Korea
In Korea we see another rookie show as the KBC continue to develop their domestic scene. This particular card is a very small one with just 4 bouts.
Of the bouts only 1 is scheduled for more than 4 rounds, and that is a 6 rounder between Gun Woo Gang (2-0-1, 1) and Jung Ho Jang (2-1-1, 1) in a bout at 154lbs.
New Delhi, India
In India fans will will get the chance to see a rare show promoted by Mike Miranda and Brico Santig. The card is certainly not a big one but it will, hopefully, help generate attention for the Indian boxing scene.
From what we under-stand the bout worth making a note of is an all debutant bout between Mukesh Kumar (0-0) and Sandeep Singh (0-0), with Kumar's brother being an Olympian.
In Germany we'll get the chance to see Kazakh banger Sadam Sascha Kerimov (12-0, 12) attempt to extend his record. The heavy handed 21 year old will be up against 42 year old journeyman Albert Starikov (16-20-1, 7) in what should be a clear mismatch
Metro Manilla, Philippines
In the Philippines this Friday fans get the chance to see a pair of title bouts as well as action from several other notable fighters.
One of those title bouts will see Vergil Puton (14-6, 7) battle against journeyman Rex Olisa (10-28-1, 8) in a contest for the PBF Featherweight title. Puton is coming into this one on a 3 fight losing streak however he is better than his record suggests and should over-come Olisa here, even if he does have to go the distance.
The other title bout will see the the unpredictable Ronald Pontillas (17-8-3, 8) battle against former world title challenger Balweg Bangoyan (18-10, 7). This bout is for the PBF Lightweight title and sees both men really going in to this one in need of a win. Pontillas, a former OPBF champion, has won just 2 of his last 6 whilst Bangoyan, who once fought Toshiaki Nishioka, has gone 2-6 in his last 8 bouts.
In one of the under-card bouts the promising Ernesto Saulong (18-1-1, 7) will be up against Edison Berwela (13-32-8, 3). This is a mismatch on paper and should be an easy win for Saulong however it is still good to see the 26 year old in the ring. Another promising fighter on this card is Minimumweight hopeful Toto Landero (6-0-2, 2) who faces Ryan Bajala (4-4-1, 2) in a 10 rounder. This should be a win for Landero though we're hoping to see him improve his his power as he matures in the near future.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we'll see Filipino born Rex Regalado (1-6-1), who will be trying to score his second successive win as he takes on the win-less Mitchell Dawson (0-1).
New York, USA
In the US this Thursday fans get the chance to see a Kazakh puncher attempt to extend his unbeaten run. The fighter in question is the unbeaten Bakhtiyar Eyubov (8-0, 8) who faces off against the very limited Antonio Chaves Fernandez (6-22-2, 1). So far we've yet to see Eyubov go beyond 3 rounds and that's unlikely to change here given that Taras Shelestyuk needed just a round to blow away Fernandez.
There isn't much action this coming Wednesday however there is a bout of note for ourselves as Kyrgyzstan's Chyngyz uulu Akhmat (1-3, 1) takes on the debuting Arnold Khegai (0-0). Coming in to this one Akhmat has lost his last 3 bouts however this is certainly a chance for him to turn that run around.
The first of the Japanese shows this coming week is a low level Dangan show that features only 4 round bouts. The card hasn't got a notable fighter on it though we would suggest making a mental note of 17 year old Kudura Kaneko (1-0, 1) who looks to extend his winning run as he takes on Kazuhiro Baba (2-3-1, 1).
In total the show will feature 12 bouts, and as mentioned they will all be 4 rounders. They may lack big names but the action is quick and fast and we suspect that fans in attendance will get their monies worth from the show.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This coming Saturday is a very busy day in Asian boxing, despite not having a real top tier fight.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Much of the action for the day is in the Philippines where fans get two shows. One of those is set to take place in Metro Manila and show case a former world title challenger who is really struggling for form.
The former challenger is the heavy handed Silvester Lopez (24-11-2, 18) who takes part in a confidence building bout against Eranio Semillano (10-7, 3). The bout is technically a contest for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Bantamweight title, but the reality is that no one really cares about the belt and instead the key is to get Lopez a much needed win.
The key under-card bout, for us at least, will see the unbeaten Joe Noynay (9-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record against Marvin Abila (4-10-1). This should be a straight forward win for Noynay however we haven't yet seen him step up and hopefully that will happen in the near future.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The other Filipino card is from General Santos City and features several bouts of note.
The main event will see recent OPBF title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) attempt to end a 2-fight losing streak as he takes on Ryan Rey Ponteras (13-11-1, 6). On paper this is a huge mismatch but, Ponteras has been over-looked in the past and has proven to be a banana skin, so could possible test Geraldo's resolve here.
As for the key under-card bout, that will be a contest featuring the promising, but once-beaten, Jhaleel Payao (11-1, 6) who hopes to bounce back from a loss to Michael Dasmarinas, as he takes on Jeson Umbal (8-3, 6). This really is a great supporting bout and could well be the show stealer.
Staying with Filipino's fans in the US will get the chance to see the much touted Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (14-0, 12) take part in his second bout in the space of 5 weeks. Penalosa Jr has been matched very easily here and will be up against “no hoper” Greg Coverson Jr (3-13-3, 2) in what should be a simple win for the 24 year old Filipino.
Also in the US fans will get the chance to see Kyrgyzstan's Urmat Ryskeldiev (11-3, 7) take on promising puncher Nathaniel Gallimore (9-0, 8) in what could be a very explosive match up in Burbank, California.
In China there will be a rookie show, consisting of 10 bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounders. This is the next set of bouts in the recent Top Rank/SECA co-promoted deal from the Mercedes-Benz Arena and is hoping to, eventually, develop the next crop of Chinese talent.