Bang Phun, Thailand
The main card this coming Saturday is in Thailand, with Workpoint showing casing a hugely popular world champion, albeit in a non-title fight, and two former world title challenger.
The world champion in action is Thai superstar Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40), who won't be defending the WBC Super Flyweight title, as he takes on Korean foe Young Gil Bae (28-6-2, 22), but will be fighting in front of a Thai crowd for the first time since December 2016. Sriskaet is expected to see off Bae with ease, especially given that Bae came up very short in a WBC Minimumweight title bout against Wanheng Menayothin. This really should be little more than a showcase for Srisaket who has another bout set for October 6th in Pak Kret as part of a ONE Championship card.
A second bout of note on this card will see former WBC Flyweight title challenger Nawaphon Kaikanha (41-1, 33) take on Japanese visitor Shota Kawaguchi (21-10-1, 9) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title. Nawaphoin is best known for his 2017 loss to Juan Hernandez for the WBC Flyweight title, but he has since bounced back with 5 straight wins, all by stoppage, including a thrilling win over Amnat Ruenroeng back in April. As for Kawaguchi he has struggled in recent bouts, going 3-5 in his last 8, and suffered losses to the likes of Sonny Boy Jaro, Rene Dacquel and Ryuichi Funai. Given the form of the Japanese fighter it's hard to see him coming out on top here, even if Nawaphon hasn't always impressed.
A card in Hyogo is also worth noting due to the main event, which will see WBC Youth Super Bantamweight champion Tenta Kiyose (14-2-1, 6) facing off with former WBC Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (68-1-1, 28). The Thai is currently riding a 33 fight winning run since losing the WBC world title to Kazuto Ioka back in February 2011, but has mostly fought limited opponents, with his best wins during that run coming over the likes of Mark Anthony Geraldo, Jason Canoy and Hiroyuki Kudaka, all of which were years ago. The 21 year old Kiyose is stepping up in a huge way, but a win here could help put him on the boxing map and move him into the world rankings.
Sadly the main event aside this card is really not worthy of a mention.
There's also a card in the Philippines. Sadly this is a card that features two talented Filipino's facing very limited Indonesian visitors.
One of the local men is Ernesto Saulong (21-3-1, 8), who will be returning to the ring for the first time his loss to IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa back in March. The talented, and tough, Filipino will be going up again journey Waldo Sabu (12-12, 2), who has lost his last 2 by stoppage and was taken out inside a round by Takuma Inoue in May. Given recent outings it's hard to see anything but a Saulong win, likely inside the distance.
The other bout will see former OPBF champion Al Rivera (19-3, 17) take on Heri Andriyanto (23-26-2, 11). Rivera has been out of the ring since last October, when he stopped Rodel Wenceslao, but we don't expect the ring rust to be a problem here s he takes on a man was was banned from fighting in Japan back in 2016, when he give a poor effort against Koki Inoue. Since the loss to Inoue Andriyanto has gone 1-3 and it's hard to see what he has to test the very hard hitting Rivera.
In the US fans will be able to see promising Uzbek hopeful Hurshidbek Normatov (6-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Alexis Gaytan (4-0, 2). The Uzbek fighter hasn't set the world on fire yet, but has looked competent against decent opponents, beating the much more experienced Ronald Montes last time out. Interestingly Gaytan will be up against his 3rd successive unbeaten opponent here, and will have the confidence of an upset win over Kendrick Ball Jr as he comes into this fight. We suspect Normatov will be too good, but we do hope to see him answering some new questions here.
This coming Friday isn't the busy of days, but it is a pretty notable day with a handful of name fighters in action.
The better of the Asian shows is from Laguna and features a former world champion, a youth champion and several other fighters of note.
The bigger name on the card is 37 year old former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5), who ends his professional retirement to take on Dado Cabintoy (15-7-2, 8) in a bit of a peculiar bout. Amnat had hung up his gloves last year, following his unsuccessful campaign at the Rio Olympics but appears to be making a comeback here. Cabintoy looks like a safe opponent for Amnat, especially with the Filipino having lost his last 3, but it's hard to imagine the comeback being a good one from the Thai.
Another notable bout near the top of this card will see former OPBF champion Al Rivera (17-3, 15) battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (15-12-3, 3). Rivera was controversially beaten last time out in Russia, and sadly for Raha we suspect he's going to be on to a hiding here against a massively heavy handed monster.
In an IBF Youth Flyweight title fight we'll see Robert Onggocan (8-1, 4), who won the title with an upset win over Iwan Zoda in Indonesia, defending his belt against the heavy handed Marjun Pantilgan (14-4, 11). This is a really tough first defense,on paper at least, for Onggocan and a successful defense would solid, a stoppage would be hugely impressive for the champion.
Other fighters on this card include Ernesto Saulong (20-2-1, 8), Venson Delopere (5-1-3, 2) and Alvin Lagumbay (7-1, 6) who should all pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes.
As well as the show in Laguna there will also be a card in Tokyo, albeit a less interesting one that the Filipino one.
The main event will see Takashi Inagaki (18-15-2, 8) face off with a Thai foe in an 8 round whilst the chief support bout will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Cobra Suwa (18-12-2, 10) face a Thai. Sadly with the top two bouts both being decent Japanese fighters taking on Thai imports that card won't excite fans outside of Japan and it's a show that will struggle to get any wider attention.
This coming Friday is an action packed day with a lot of Asian fighters in action.
The most notable action of the day for Asian fight fans comes from Japan where we get an OPBF title fight and two match ups pitting JBC ranked fighters against each other.
The OPBF title fight will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (27-2-3, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which was recently vacated by Shun Kubo. For Otake the bout will be his first for an OPBF title, though he did have a 2 year reign as the Japanese champion before his most notable bout to date, a loss to Scott Quigg in 2014. Since that loss he has won 5 in a row, though looked poor last time out against Alexander Espinoza. Gomera is a real unknown, with his sole loss coming to the talented Mark Anthony Geraldo and his best win being over tough journeyman Eduardo Mancito. Gomera might be getting this bout at the right time, but Otake will certainly be regarded as the favourite.
In a supporting bout we'll see Shusaku Fujinaka (15-6-2, 10) take on Moon Hyun Yun (17-4-3, 4) in a really mouth watering domestic encounter. Of the two men Fujinaka is the more well known, though that's down to his 7th round KO loss to Randall Bailey from back in 2015 than any wins that he has scored. Yun is a former Japanese title challenger and although he lacks power he has an exciting and will be looking to earn another title fight. This could end up being the fight of the show.
Another bout between Japanese ranked fighters comes at Middleweight where the heavy handed Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (6-2, 5) takes on former Japanese title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-7-1, 8). Coming in to this Hosokawa has won his last 4 bouts by stoppage and looks like a man who can carry his power up to at least domestic level. Akiyama has lost his last 3, but has mixed with good company and knows that this is step back down in class from what he has been up against. This could be a very solid fight even if neither man has an out standing record.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia there will also be a low profile card in Metro Manila. The card is a mostly forgettable one, though the main event will see the once beaten Jheritz Chavez (6-1-2, 4) battle against Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) for the GAB Light Welterweight title. Chavez will be the favourite and he has impressed in recent times, beating both Tatsuya Yanagi and Al Sabaupan in his last 3 bouts. Although the under-dog Gadapan is an upset minded fighter and he holds a recent win of his own over Nelson Tinampay, suggesting he won't be there to roll over, though he has been stopped in 6 of his 8 career losses.
In Moscow fans are in for a genuine treat as OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (17-2, 15) takes on Russian Aik Shakhnazaryan (19-2, 10) in a bout for the WBC International title. The heavy handed Rivera impressed last year when he dominated Shinya Iwabuchi for the title, and would go 3-0 (3) for the year scoring not only the win over Iwabuchi but also a solid win over Adones Cabalquinto. Coming in to this the Filipino is on an impressive 7-0 (7) run. The once touted Shakhnazaryan won his first 15 bouts but suffered back-to-back losses in 2015 and has been rebuilding with 4 stoppage wins, but this pormises to be a much tougher bout for the Russian than his last 4.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (33-3-3, 21) continue to carve out a career down under as he battles 21 year old Hungarian Zsigmond Vass (12-4, 2) in a bout for Amonsot's Interim WBA Oceania title at 140lbs. Coming in to this Vass has beaten nobody of note and been stopped in the opening round in his last 2 losses. Although not widely regarded as a top contender Amonsot is world ranked and has gone 15-0-2 (11) since his memorable war with Michael Katsidis.
Also on this card will be Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (24-21-1, 15), who will be expected to pick up another loss here as he takes on the exciting but limited Joel Brunker (30-2, 17). Whilst Brunker is limited Butar Butar is little more than a record padder on the international stage, and that is likely to be seen again here.
Staying in Australia we'll also see Thai novice Chaiyan Sakkoed (0-3) go for his first win as he takes on the debuting Timacoy Williams (0-0). With 3 straight losses we know Chaiyan is limited, and he's already been stopped in two of those defeats, with a third stoppage loss likely to come here.
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There isn't a lot of action this coming Friday but the key shows is in the Philippines.
The most notable bout of the day will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (16-2, 14) make the first defense of his title as he takes on Fellow Filipino Adones Cabalquinto (23-2, 15), in what will be the second meeting between these two men. Riveral scored a surprise 2nd round win over Cabalquinto in November 2015 and subsequently went on to batter Shinya Iwabuchi to claim the OPBF title this year. This will be Rivera's first defense of the title and will also give Cabalquinto a chance to avenge his 2015 loss. This could be a really good bout, or another impressive performance from the monstrously heavy handed Rivera who has stopped his last 6
In the chief supporting bout we'll see the out of form Benezer Alolod (16-8-5, 5) battle against fellow struggler Renren Tesorio (15-8-3, 4) in a rubber bout between the two men. The men first fought in 2014, with Alolod taking a split decision win, then rematched in 2015 with Tesorio taking a majority decision. Since their second bout Tesorio has gone 1-2, suffering a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa, whilst Alolod has suffered back to back losses to Koji Itagaki and Richard Claveras.
In another title bout involving a Filipino we'll see Czar Amonsot (32-3-3, 20) battle against Kaewfah Tor Buamas (23-0, 16). The bout will be Amonsot's first defense of the “interim” WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title and could see the winner move towards a potential world title fight, with Amonsot holding a decent world ranking. The bout will be Kaewfah's first bout of real note, though he has been scheduled to face other notable opponents, whilst Amonsot will be looking to extend a 16 fight winning run.
Yet another title fight involving a Filipino will see South African Gideon Buthelezi (17-5, 4) defending his IBO Super Flyweight title against Filipino visitor Jonas Sultan (11-3, 7). The bout is a tough ask for Sultan, given he's on the road here, but he has impressed on the road in the past, giving Go Onaga a very competitive bout last year and stopping Tatsuya Ikemizu earlier this year. It's worth noting that Buthelezi has been stopped by a Filipino before, having been taken out in a round by Edrin Dapudong in 2013
The main action of the day sees action return to the Korakuen Hall for what looks to be a genuinely interesting looking card.
The main event will be a real treat for fight fans as punchers collide in a bout for the OPBF 140lb title. The match up will see former Japanese champion Shinya Iwabuchi (26-5, 22), fighting in his third OPBF title fight, face off against Filipino puncher Al Rivera (14-2, 12), who comes into the bout on the back of a stoppage win over Adones Cabalquinto last November. This will almost certainly be a fire fight and, given the power and style of the two men involved we wouldn't be surprised if this ended with an eye catching KO.
As well as the mouth watering main event this card features 3 other bouts of note. One of those is an evenly matched Flyweight bout between Yuta Matsuo (9-2-1, 5) and Seiya Fujikita (8-2, 1). This is a wonderfully matched bout between two fighters with similar looking records. Matsuo has won his last two bouts but was beaten last May by Ardin Diale whilst Fujikita has been very close in both of his losses. This really could be a very competitive and exciting bout.
A less competitive, yet still very relevant match up, will see the unbeaten Daishi Nagata (5-0-1, 3) battle against Kentaro Endo (5-6, 4). It's hard to see anything but a win for the unbeaten 26 year old here, however Endo is no push over and could test Nagata.
Possibly the most eye raising bout on the card will see the much touted Shuichiro Yoshino (1-0) battle against Thai veteran Chaiyong Sithsaithong (39-14-4, 28) in what will almost certainly see Yoshino answering questions about his potential. This really is a risky match up for the unbeaten 24 year old.
As well as the action in Japan there is also set to be a very interesting card in Chin where two codes of professional boxing collide in what is being regarded as a very unique show to begin the Chinese new year.
The main event of the card will see former WBC Minimumweight champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (26-6-1, 14) face off with APB champion Lu Bin. The bout between the two has been hyped by Chinese boxing sources as a “Super Bowl” of boxing and is a real oddity in boxing where the “normal” professional fighters and the “APB” professionals have stayed away from each other. Unfortunately a lack of clear details on this bout do leave us wondering if the contest will be counted officially on either man's record.
The show will feature three other, similar bouts, one of which will be between the under-rated Xinghua Wang (12-13-1) and Jiawei Zhang.