Gimhae, South Korea
The most notable show of the day comes from Korea, where the we get top Korean female fighter making a defense of one of her titles.
The aforementioned female fighter is Hee Jung Yuh (20-3, 10), who will be defending her WBF Intercontinental Female Super Flyweight title against Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-14, 1). Yuh is an interesting and skilled fighter, though she is well below elite level, and her only loss in the last 10 years has come to Naoko Fujioka. Despite only losing once in 10 years her competition, Fujioka aside, has been appalling. Saowaluk has lost her last 5, including 3 by stoppage. She's very much a fight who will travel to pick up a loss, and that seems to be the case again here as she returns to Korea for the fourth time in her career, still seeking her first win in the country.
There will also be a bout featuring Seung Ho Lee (4-0, 4). Lee will battle for the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title as he takes on Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-1, 4), who was last seen losing inside a round to Rivo Kundimang in Indonesia in November. We'll get a chance to compare Lee to Kundimang, but that's about the only thing this bout will actually do.
As well as the title action in Korea there will also be a small, yet noteworthy, card in Osaka featuring two bouts of interest.
In a bout that genuinely excites us we'll see the inform Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on the once touted Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3). Coming in to this Kenji has won his last 5 by stoppage, including big wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. That winning run has taken him from 5-3 to 10-3 and he's quickly climbing up the rankings towards a potential title fight. Iwai was tipped highly as a prospect from Hyogo but the youngster suffered back to back defeats in 2017 and he's yet to really recover from those set backs. He's notched a couple of wins over Thai's since suffering his defeats but this is a clear step up, and it feels like Morioka will be looking to see if he sinks or swims against someone as good as Kenji.
The other bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (7-2, 4) take on Tricky Kumagai (9-8, 6). The 25 year old Jogo was stopped in 4 rounds in the Rookie of the Year final and was also stopped last time out, by Yoshihiro Utsumi, suggesting that perhaps he's lacking in durability. Kumagai has also been stopped, in fact 4 of his 8 losses have been inside the distance, and he is 2-6 in his last 8, meaning he can ill afford another loss here. This isn't a massive fight for the Japanese domestic scene, but is massive for both fighters, who will have a long road to climb if they come up short here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small card, expected to be headlined by the unbeaten Marlon Paniamogan (8-0-1, 5) taking on Jimmy Borbon (7-6-4, 4). This is a less than great match up, but the card looks like it will feature a bunch of more recognisable names.
Listed for the show are Wilbert Berondo (12-3-2, 5), Juan Miguel Elorde (26-1, 14), Arvin Magramo (8-1-1, 5) and Delmar Pellio (5-0, 3). Sadly none of those fighters have had their opponents named at the time of writing.
Kazakh fans get the chance to end the year on a high with a number of their fighters in action on a special card promoted by the Astana Arlans and Qazaq Promotions. The show will be free to attend, but sadly the level of bouts is a bit of a mystery.
Whilst full details on this card haven't been announced we do know that is it will feature Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6), Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5), Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2), Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6) and Ruslan Myrsataev (5-0, 5), all of whom likely to be up against limited opponents in what we suspect will be little more than show case bouts.
This coming Friday sees a relatively tame day in Asia, though there is shows across the continent.
Japanese promotional outfit “reason”, who are behind the Dangan cards, have seen Tokyo as their base and a huge amount of their shows have taken place in the Japanese capital. In recent times however they have branched out across Japan and this Friday they begin to make their mark in China as they promote a show in Shanghai.
The most notable bout on the card will see light hitting Chinese fighter Xian Qian Wei (12-6-1, 1) take on the crude but heavy handed Takuya Yamaguchi (11-11, 9) of Japan. Wei has impressed at times, and he scored a big win in 2015 against Rex Wao, but we don't really know how much actual promise he has going forward. Yamaguchi has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 but is a big puncher and should have the power to test Wei's chin. A very interesting match up for a low key regional title.
In another bout on this card we'll China's Chunlei Lin (7-2, 1) take on Shun Wakabayashi (7-3, 1) in a very evenly matched contest on paper. We don't see this one finishing early, but it should be a very competitive and enthralling bout between two men looking to win not only for themselves, but also for their country.
Strangely the top of the billing for this card appears to be a match between Wuhazi Ta La Pu Dan (1-1) and Igarashi Koji (4-1, 3). We can't really understand why the bout is higher up the card than the Wei Vs Yamaguchi bout, though there is a good chance this has been scheduled as a walk out bout, rather than the main event.
There will also be a relatively low key card in the Philippines.
The main event will see the unbeaten KJ Natuplag (6-0-1, 5) take on Ronnie Campos (7-3-2, 4) in what looks, at least on paper, a step up in class for Natuplag. The 21 year old Natuplag has looked really promising so far but this will be the first time he has taken on someone who has a chance to really test him. As for Campos his record isn't very flattering but he's no push over, and shold probe to be a tough, but perhaps under-sized, opponent.
Other fighters on this card include former female world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (9-1-1, 4) and the experienced Diarh Gabutan (20-6-3, 11), who are both facing opponents that were late to be named. Pagaduan looks to score a third straight win, whilst Gabutan will be looking to build on his 2017 win over Roilo Golez, in what was their second bout.
There is also a card in Singapore pencilled in. Very few details for this card have been confirmed, but we have been told that Zakaria Bin Ismail (0-0-1) will be in action on the show.
In the US fans will see Miami based Kazakh puncher Aidar Sharibayev (7-0, 6) look to continue his unbeaten record as he takes on Enrique Tinoco (16-5-4, 12). On paper this looks like a decent enough test for Sharibayev, but reality is that this actually a little bit of a step backwards for the unbeaten man who blasted out Daulis Prescott in a round last time out. Tinoco has only been stopped once in his 25 fight career and should be tough, but we suspect the Kazakh will be too big and too strong for him over the 10 round schedule.