This coming Saturday is a strange day for Asian fight fans, with not a lot happening, but what is happening is really important. If you prefer quality over quantity than this is a stand out day, if you prefer quantity then you may just need to wait until Sunday, which will be very busy day for fans of Asian fighters.
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
The most notable bout to feature and Asian fighter comes from Belfast as Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24) takes on former 2-weight champion Carl Frampton (24-1, 14) in a real must win for both men. The bout, for the WBO “interim” Featherweight title will see the winner remain firmly in the mix at world level, but it will be very hard to see where the loser goes next.
Aged 35 Donaire is on the slide, but is almost certainly a future Hall of Famer having won world titles from Flyweight to Featherweight and beaten the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane, Hernan Marquez, Fernando Montiel, Omar Andres Narvaez, Toshiaki Nishioka, Jorge Arce and Simpiwe Vetyeka. A win over Frampton would be yet another big win for Donaire, but a big ask at this point in his career. Frampton is the younger fighter at 31 and although his only loss was a razor thin one to Leo Santa Cruz last year he has gone through some wars, and is a fighter who has, at times, looked to be feeling the toll of tough bouts with the likes of Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, Scott Quigg, two bouts with Leo Santa Cruz and Horacia Garcia. On paper Frampton has a lot more left than Donaire, but he really was given a scare by the tough but relatively limited Garcia last time out and it could well be that the hard fights have caught up with him.
Unfortunately for the winner of this they will be in line to face the fearsome Oscar Valdez, which is seemingly more of a punishment than a reward right now.
We get a rare high quality all-Thai bout in Bangkok as well, as former world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai (40-1, 32) takes on former world champion Amnat Ruenroeng (18-2, 6) in a very interesting match up. Fight fans may remember Nawaphon looking terrible in March 2017, when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Juan Hernandez Navarrete, and whilst that wasn't a great performance it does seem like some of that was down to the weight of the Thai who has now moved up to Super Flyweight. Between January 2014 and June 2015 Amnat was the IBF Flyweight champion, and had gone on a great run with wins against Rocky Fuentes, Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo, Zou Shiming and John Riel Casimero. That however was almost 3 years ago, and he has looked a faded fighter since then.
Amnat will have the trickery to really test Nawaphon, whilst Nawaphon will have the youth. The loser really will have no where to go, whilst the winner may find themselves thrown back into the fringes of the WBC world rankings, which would be a reward for winning the for claiming the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Flyweight title.
The one bout that stands out as a sore thumb will come from Australia as local fighter Sara George (2-4, 1) battles Australian based Thai Monthida Rattanachai (0-2) for the vacant Australia - Queensland State Female Flyweight title. There may be a title on the line here, but it's very hard to care about the bout given that Monthida has never scored a win and George hasn't fought in over 6 years!
This coming Tuesday isn't a big day for Asian fight fans, but there is some notable action in China, and a Heavyweight hopeful fighting in Belarus.
The card in China is the only Asian one of the day, and does look like it could have some interesting action.
The main event sees unbeaten local Wenfeng Ge (9-0, 6) take a huge step up in class to face former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (18-1, 6). The 37 year old Amnat has fought only once as a professional since losing the IBF title to Johnriel Casimero in May 2016, stopping an over-match Thai. The little known Ge has faced no one of note, but knows that a win here would put his name on the map, and potentially help open the door to the world rankings. A real must win for both men involved here.
In an 8 round bout at Middleweight fans will see teenager Fei Hu Wang (4-1, 2) take on 36 year old Georgian visitor Badri Kereselidze (7-2, 2). The 19 year old Wang was beaten earlier this year by the promising Aleksei Podkolzin but will feel like he's better than he has shown, and will favour himself against a man who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3.
In a 6 rounder we'll see the debut of Jiajia Li (0-0), who takes on unbeaten Thai Atchariya Tor Chantaroj (8-0, 5). The Chinese fighter appears to be having a baptism of fire here against a very good Thai who holds wins against the likes of Ratchasi Sithsaithong, Heri Andriyanto and Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus. This looks interesting on paper, and if Li wins it is actually a very impressive debut.
In Belarus fans will be able to see Kazakh Heavyweight novice Zhan Kosobutskiy (1-0, 1) take on a yet to be named foe, in a bout expected to be fought over 4 rounds.
The most significant bout, at least from an Asian perspective, this coming Saturday will see Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33) take on Japanese warrior Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24) in a bout for the WBO Light Middleweight title. For Cotto the bout will be a return to the ring after almost 2 years out of the ring, and he will be looking to prove there is still something left in the tank. For Kamegai the bout will be his first world title bout and could put the icing on the cake in regards to his career, which has been an incredibly fun one to following a lot of wars and exciting brawls.
Uthai Thani, Thailand
Another notable name will be in action in Thailand, on a less than exciting card.
The notable fighter is Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5), with the former IBF Flyweight champion taking on the limited Petchthongchai Singmanasak (6-12, 2). This will be Amnat's first professional boxing contest since he lost the world title 15 months ago, and at the age of 37 it's hard to know what he has left, however his foe is very limited and should pose no real threat.
In another mismatch we'll see the promising Atchariya Virotesunobon (7-0, 4) take on Birdy Tor Buamas (0-6-1) in what should be a very straight forward win for Atchariya.
In China fans will see the fast rising Pui Yu Lim (4-0, 4) take on highly experienced Indonesian fighter Alexander Bajawa (41-4-4, 14) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Heavyweight title. Lim is a heavy handed southpaw who looks like a fighter who is on a very fast track through the ranks, and he shouldn't struggle here, but it's hard to know just how good he is. As for Bajawa he's been stopped in his last two and his record is certainly a padded one.
In Kazakhstan we have a card with a number of title bouts.
One of those title bouts will see see Firuza Sharipova (6-1, 4) take on the battle hardened Milena Koleva (9-9-1, 3) in a contest for the WIBA Lightweight title. Sharipova suffered a loss on her debut but has gone 6-0 since then, however the level of her competition has been dire. Koleva has been fighting stiff competitive through her career and her last two bouts saw her suffer decision losses to Svetlana Kulakova and Katie Taylor. This could be much more competitive than the records may suggest.
Another title bout on this card will see Russian fighter Apti Ustarkhanov (15-2-3, 5) taking on Georgian Soso Abuladze (11-6-1, 8) for the IBO Inter Continental Super Middleweight title, and in another title bout we'll see Russian Aslambek Idigov (11-0, 4) fighting for the IBO Youth Super Middleweight title.
There will also be a small card in the Philippines.
On of the major bouts here will be a 10 rounder between Jerome Clavite (8-4-2, 4) and the out of form Roque Lauro (13-22-5, 3). Coming in to this Clavite has won 3 of his last 4, and at 21 has shown some promise to make a mark on the domestic scene going forward. That 3-1 run might not be amazing but it's likely to be extend as he takes on a low on confidence Lauro, who has lost his last 6. As his best Lauro was a potential banana skin, fighting to a draw with Edward Heno and scoring wins over the likes of Ryuya Yamanaka, Ronelle Ferreras and Young Gil Bae, but he appears to have slipped significantly as a fighter in recent contests.
In another interesting looking bout on this card we'll see Alphoe Dagayloan (6-2-4-1, 2) take on the once touted Renerio Arizala (13-7-1, 5). Arizala began his career 11-0-1, but has slipped significantly since then going 2-7-1 and finds himself really struggling to get his career back on track, with a 5 fight losing streak coming in to this. Dagayloan is nothing special but coming into this both fighters will believe they can come out on top and pick up a win.
In Australia we'll see former OPBF Middleweight champion Dwight Ritchie (15-1-0-4, 2) look to record his second win since losing the title to Koki Tyson last November. He'll be widely expected to score a win here as he takes on Thai journeyman Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2), who has never been stopped in 39 bouts, but doesn't tend to pick up many victories as he takes the role of a fighter intent on getting his opponents some rounds.
In Azerbaijan we'll be getting a low key card, with one of the most notable fighters on it being Rauf Aghayev (21-6, 9), who is facing off with a yet to be named foe in a 4 rounder. Aghayev has won his last 4, all this year, and is keeping up his high level of activity whilst looking to go 5-0 for the year so far.
Another fighter of some note on this card is 27 year old Light Heavyweight hopeful Malik Mammadzade (11-0, 6), who will be in an 8 rounder. The unbeaten man has shown some promise, and has picked up international experience in Germany and Georgia, but is a long way from attention on the wider scene. IF he keeps racking up the wins, which he has 3 of already this year, he will however work his way towards a title fight of some kind. Sadly Mammadzade hasn't yet had his opponent for the bout announced.
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.
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).
A new week is upon us and we have plenty of action to kick things off on Monday!
Hua Hin, Thailand
The biggest match up of the day comes from Thailand where we get televised world title action, as well a fight featuring a 2-time Olympic medal winner, a former world title contender and a genuinely promising prospect.
The main event of the card will see IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (16-0, 5) defending his title against unheralded Japanese challenger Myung Ho Lee (19-4-1, 6), who is looking to claim a world title in his first bout at world level. Amnat, who won the title in early 2014, has already defended the title 4 times, with the most recent being his foul filled wrestling match with Johnriel Casimero, it's thought that a win against Lee will open the door for a potentially unification bout with WBC champion Roman Gonzalez in 2016. For Lee there's nothing to lose, it'd be surprisingly if he won and he probably knows it.
The two-time Olympic medal winner on this card is Manus Boonjumnong (2-0) who looked to continue his career as he faces a third successive Indonesian fighter, Jonatan Simamora (23-26-5, 8). Despite the huge gulf in experience we suspect that the skills of Manus will be too much for the visitor, who's only recent win came against the man Manus beat on his debut. It's worth noting that Simamora hasn't won outside of Indonesia and hasn't fought in more than a year coming into this bout.
The former world title challenger in action here is Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (28-4-1, 15), who looks to continue his pursuit of a second world title fight as he takes on Indonesian fighter Boy Tanto (9-17, 1). The 22 year old Thai is a genuinely talented fighter who we suspect will get another world title shot in 2016 or 2017 and we can't imagine this bout will be anything more than a warm up for him against an opponent who has never really impressed and has lost 3 of his last 4.
A really promising prospect on this card Atchariya Tor Chantaroj (6-0, 3), who looks to continue his impressive start to professional boxing as he faces experienced Filipino loser Richard Olisa (23-29-2, 12). If Atchariya is as good as he's looked this should be a mismatch, especially given that Olisa has lost his last 12, though the Filipino's experience may see him asking some questions of the Thai.
One other bout on this card will see Mike Tawatchai (36-8-1, 21) defending the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title against Galih Susanto (10-5-1, 1) Although Susanto will not be favoured to win, we wouldn't be surprised to see him ask some questions of Tawatchai and go the distance with him, given that the visitor has never been stopped and actually took Bantamweight contender Marlon Tapales the 10 round distance last year.
In Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall, Japanese fans will get a Misako promoted card that really lacks much in terms of appeal. The only really notable bout is the 8 round main event which will see the promising Daishi Nagata (4-0-1, 2) risk his unbeaten record and OPBF ranking against the more experienced Yoshiyuki Suzuki (5-8-5, 1). Although less experienced Nagata is the more gifted fighter, the bigger puncher and in fact the more proven which should help see him to a win here.
The lull in action comes to a notable end this Saturday with major fights across Asia.
The most significant bout for us comes form Thailand where we get a mouth watering IBF Flyweight title bout between one of the most explosive lighter weight fighters and one of the trickiest. The bout will see unbeaten champion Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5) defending his title for the 4th time as he takes on exciting Filipino Johnriel Casimero (21-2, 13). This is one of the best match ups this year though the big question is whether or not Casimero can solve the puzzle set by the tricky Thai. If Casimero is to win he will likely need a KO, though he does have the power to score one. If Amnat can control the pace of the bout and the range he'll like continue his run of notching impressive victory, despite not managing to really set the world alight with his style.
Whilst the main event is great there are other interesting bouts of note on the under-card. One of which is debut of 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Manus Boonjumnong (0-0) who debuts in a Middleweight bout against Indonesian journeyman Jamed Jalarante (23-18-1, 11). Aged 34 we don't expect Manus to become the star that her perhaps could have been, but this should still prove to be an interesting match up.
A big name on this under-card is exciting Filipino Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 23), who battles Boy Tanto (9-16, 1). This is a stay busy fight for Cuello who is expected to to get a world title eliminator in the fall and a possible world title bout in December, against Thailand's very own Wanheng Menayothin.
Also on the card are two Kiatkreerin prospects, Atchariya Virotesunobon (3-0, 1) and Denchana Chanadejgym (1-0). Atchariya will be up against will be up against Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus (16-8-1, 8) in what is a good step up for the young unbeaten fighter
Jeollanam-do, South Korea
On a KBC sanctioned show, fans will see some international action.
In the main event fans will see Eun Hye Lee (7-0, 2) battling against Thai visitor Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (12-5-1, 1) in a contest for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. The bout is as low key of a “world” title bout that we've seen this year yet a win for Lee will further strengthen the standing of female boxing in South Korea. Interestingly this will be Ploynapa's 4th bout in Korea, where she currently has a 0-3 record with all 3 losses coming in title bouts.
This show was originally scheduled for a date back in May though Lee suffered an injury which forced it to be pushed back a month.
Also on this show will be a Korean Middleweight title bout and some form of regional title bout, though unfortunately we're unsure which title.
A second south Korean show will also be headlined by a female title bout as Ji Hyun Park (21-2, 6) defends her IFBA and WIBA titles at 102lbs against Filipino fighter Gretchen Abaniel (15-7, 6). This show, sanctioned by the KBA, is listed on boxrec as being unsanctioned and is likely to be the only bout that the records website will list though we have been assured other contests will take place on the card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Manila fans will see Japanese puncher Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian fighter Eddy Comaro (32-12-5, 13). It's hard to see Aoki losing here, though at 36 another loss will be the end for him.
In Australia Asian fighters “make up the numbers” in a number of bouts.
One of those bouts will see Australian based Filipino Jack Asis (33-18-5, 18) in action against Indonesian journeyman Hero Tito (9-6-1, 3). Tito, best known for his loss to Ik Yang in Macau, really shouldn't have anything to trouble Asis who has been in inspired form over the last 4 years with a 12-0-1 run. A run that we expect will continue here.
Another of the bouts will see China's Xu Chan (5-2) take on the unbeaten Kris George (7-0, 5) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. Unfortunate for Chan we really cannot give him much of a chance here.
Another Chinese fighter here is southpaw Wang Xinghua (11-11-1) who battles against Will Young (4-4, 2) in an interestingly matched 8 round affair. Young will be the favourite but neither guy is great and as a result we could get a very competitive match up here.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
March 7th-Amnat Vs Zou in a showdown, with notable action from Ik Yang, Rex Tso, Hiroki Okada, Suyon Takayama and more!
The start of the year has been tediously slow at times however March is certainly seeing in ring action liven up, in a big way. The first real date to mark down on your calendar is March 7th which sees action across Asia with several big names a host of notable fights ranging from a world title bout to world title eliminators to national title bouts.
The biggest of the days show's comes from Macau where fans are treat to another of Bob Arum's foray's into the gambling capital of Asia. In many ways this is the most important of all the Macau shows and is, potentially, the biggest banana skin on the road to making the experiment a major long term success.
The tricky part of this card is the main event which will see Chinese megastar Zou Shiming (6-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5) in a brilliant match up. These two men are both unbeaten, both under-rated and were major amateur rivals. They are also men looking to claim a major scalp. For Shiming this a test that really could see him becoming a national hero or boxing's biggest villain, for Ruenroeng it's a chance to level the score with Shiming, who holds a 2-1 record over him from the amateur ranks. For Bob Arum this is a real test of his nerve. Shiming is talented and fast but this is a major step up for the double Olympic champion.
Shiming of course isn't the only Chinese born fighter on this show, nor is he the most exciting. One of the contenders for the tag of “most exciting” is the heavy handed Ik Yang (18-0-0-1, 13) who will be up against Thailand's experienced Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-2-1, 18) in an IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title bout, which will also double as an IBF world title eliminator. Yang has been on a number of Top Rank shows and is known for his power and offensive style though his flawed defense may be a problem here against the talented Patomsuk, who gave world ranked Takayuki Hosokawa a very close bout back in late 2013. This could be very interesting.
Another rival to the tag of China's most exciting fighter is the very flawed but fun Rex Tso (15-0, 9) who battles Filipino Michael Enriquez (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBA International Super Flyweight title. Tso will go into this bout as the favourite and is viewed as being likely to get a fight with WBA world champion Kohei Kono if he comes through here. For Enriquez this is a major opportunity though he has lost both of his previous title fights.
Going further down the card fans will get the chance to see the explosively heavy handed Aston Palicte (16-1, 14), of the Philippines, take on one of his toughest tests as he goes up against Ismael Garnica (13-5-1-1, 5). Garnica is best known for losing a decision British fighter Paul Butler last year, other than that however there is very little of note on his record. Palicte on the other hand is a dynamite puncher who comes into this bout on the back of 5 successive opening round blow outs, including a very notable one against Gerpaul Valero.
Another Filipino in action here will be Raymond Sermona (17-4-5, 8) who will be hoping to record his 3rd successive win as he battles former “world” title challenger Jose Felix Jr (28-1-1, 23). Felix Jr's only loss came last year when he stepped up to fight Bryan Vasquez and was well beaten, despite two horribly close scorecards, and he'll be favoured to make light work of Sermona.
To open the show we're expecting to see some local talent in action. One of those locals will be the unbeaten Zhou Yun Fei (4-0, 1) who battles against Paul Valenzuela (2-1-1, 2) whilst the other will be Macau's Kuok Kun Ng (6-0, 2), who will be facing Thailand's Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-2, 3).
As well as the action in Macau there is also a show, with title action, in Japan where fans will get a couple of domestic title fights courtesy of Kadoebi.
One of those title bouts will see once beaten Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (21-1, 7) defending his belt against former foe Nobuyuki Shindo (16-2, 6) in what looks like to be a very competitive match up. Takayama has the title, the better looking record and a win over Shindo already on his record however he is a weak champion and a lot of bouts have been very close. Shindo has height and reach advantages though the question coming in is whether or not he will be able to make them count.
In the other title fight the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) will be up against former title contender Hayato Hokazono (18-4-1, 11). We like Okada though are unsure how far he can really go, though it is obviously early days in his career. Hokazono is best known for his losses to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara, aside from those losses there is little else to note about his record other than a win over Kazuyoshi Kumano way back in December 2010.
On the under-card there is little of note though a bout between Hisao Narita (8-1, 4) and Yusuke Konno (8-2, 3) does look likely to be very competitive over the scheduled 8 rounds. Another undercard bout that we'll mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Yukinori Hisanaga (16-5-2, 9) battle against Takuma Takahashi (6-4-1, 1).
In South Korea we get 3 bouts between Korean fighters and Japanese visitors as Watanabe send a trio of their stable over to Korea.
The most notable of the Japanese fighters is Sonin Nihei (5-1-1, 1) who came runner up in last years East Japan Rookie of the year. The talented 21 year old, who lost a split decision to Kenya Yamashita, will be taking on the debuting Tae Un Jung (0-0) who we know nothing about.
Another of the bouts will see unbeaten Korean Joo-Young Kwon (2-0) take on Keisuke Kanazawa (2-4, 1). On paper it's hard to go against the Korean though he has only faced debutants so far whilst Kanazawa holds a very surprising win over the much touted Koki Tyson Maebara from back in January 2013.
The remaining bout, and the most looking on paper, will see Shingo Yabu (4-4-2) battle against Chan-Hee Park (4-5-1). Yabu is 0-2-1 in his last 3, including a loss to Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine in the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Park on the other hand has lost his last 4 and hasn't notched a win since 2009, in fact he's not fought since October 2010. Interesting match up in some ways but neither guy is anything great.
(Image courtesy of http://www.sandscotaicentral.com)
This coming Wednesday is one of the most significant mid-week days in boxing this year with several major bouts ranging from domestic title fights all the way up to a world title bout.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The most significant bout of the day will be in Thailand as the talented and unbeaten IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (13-0, 5) defends his belt against mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo (15-1, 13). This bout looks incredibly interesting as Arroyo has monstrous power, as shown in his win over Froilan Saludar, whilst Amnat is a slick and tricky boxer who will do his best to neutralise that power. As we saw against Kazuto Ioka the Thai is genuinely talented and is going to be the favourite going in though Arroyo's power is a real threat here. Fantastic bout and one we're really looking forward to.
On the undercard of this show we will get to see the world ranked the world ranked Mike Tawatchai (33-7-1, 21) fighting against Filipino journeyman Cristian Abila (11-13-3, 3). It's a shame Tawatchai isn't facing a better opponent though this will be his first fight in 7 months and it's a real shame that he's been so inactive recently.
A second undercard bout will see Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (24-3, 15) taking on Tatsuya Fukuhara (13-4-4, 4). Whilst Fahlan is well known for his upset win over Ryo Miyazaki he also has something in common with Fukuhara, both men have been beaten by Takuma Inoue. Sakkreerin has won one bout since his loss to Inoue though that win was at a very low level. Fukuhara however has fought twice since his loss, beating Prabpram Sithsaithong and scoring a 7 round technical draw with Akiyoshi Kanazawa.
Action in Japan comes from the Korakuen Hall as we get a much anticipated rematch between Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (9-1, 5) and former challenger Kotatsu Takehara (10-9-3, 4). When the two men met last year Fujimoto was fortunate to retain his title with a tight win though one that he did deserve. By the time of the final bell however the champion was exhausted and the challenger seemed to know that he could have won had he not started so slowly.
As well as the title fight we expect a trio of 8 rounders which are being given an extra little incentive. Dubbed "KO challenge bouts" the fighters will be trying to win bonuses for winning the bout inside the distance. The prizes are staggered so that if a fighter scores a quick they are rewarded with a bigger payment than if they score a late win.
The first of those KO challenge bout will see the Japanese ranked Daisuke Sakamoto (8-8-1, 4) battle against the light punching Shiro Saito (7-4-1, 2). Although the bout is a KO challenger contest we think the promoter may have been mischievous with this bout likely to go the distance considering neither guy is a big puncher and neither has looked that frail so far into their career.
Another KO challenger bout will feature recent Japanese Featherweight title challenger Yuki Ogata (19-1-1, 3) taking on Kentaro Yamada (8-4-1, 6). Ogata is the better boxer and proved his toughness by going into the 10th round last time out against the heavy handed Satoshi Hosono. Yamada might get stopped if Ogata really is driven by the incentive of the bonus though we'd not be shocked to see Ogata cruising to a clear decision win.
The final KO challenger bout is a rematch between Kenji Kubo (4-2-1, 2) and Kota Sato (9-5-2, 4). The two men fought to an 8 round draw in January in a very competitive contest though neither will be hoping to hear the final bell this time around considering the KO bonus on offer.
Prior to the KO challenge bouts fans will see former OPBF title challenger Yuki Nasu (23-8, 16) battle against Filipino visitor Jonathan Ligas (8-5-1, 1). Nasu is coming in to this bout on the back of back-to-back defeats, including one against Rocky Fuentes in an OPBF title bout, though has fought at a much higher level than Ligas, who has won his last 4 at a very low level.
Another of note takes place in Belarus as Kazahkstan's heavy hitting Zhanat Zhakiyanov (22-1, 15) takes on unbeaten Georgian Gagi Edisherashvili (7-0, 6) for the vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Bantamweight title. Zhakiyanov was last seen knocking out Karim Guerfi with a thunderous shot back in April and we'd expect something similar here though we don't know a great deal about the Georgian.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)
May 7th-Ioka battles Ruenroeng, Takayama defends against Ono and Masayoshi Nakatani defends his OPBF title
This past weekend saw the boxing world focussing on Las Vegas for Floyd Mayweather's contest with Marcos Maidana. The bout was thrilling and deserved all the attention it got, even if the rest of the card did fall a bit flat. This Wednesday the action refocusses back on Asia as we get world title action with a very interesting world title double header and a pair of bouts which feature very interesting prospects.
The show in question is an Ioka promoted card at the Bodymaker Colosseum headlined by former 2-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (14-0, 9). The 24 year old Japanese star, one of the most well known active fighters in Japan, will be attempting to become the second ever Japanese fighter to claim a third divisional title as he battles Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0, 5).
Ruenroeng is the reigning IBF Flyweight champion and holds an amateur win over Ioka. The amateur win is being played up to give Ruenroeng a chance but in all honesty he'll have to fight out of his skin to defeat Ioka, in Japan.
The Ioka/Ruenroeng bout takes precedence over an all-Japan Light Flyweight bout that sees IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (26-6-0-1, 10) in action. Takayama, one of our genuine favourites, will be defending his world title for the second time as he battles former OPBF Light Flyweight champion Shin Ono (17-5-2, 2). The bout is being regarded by many as a mismatch but we're expecting that if Takayama can win he'll bein a unification bout on New Years Eve with WBO champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
The two world title fights follow an OPBF title fight that sees OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5) defending his belt for the first time. Nakatani, who beat Yoshitaka Kato for the belt earlier this year, will be defending his belt against Filipino challenger Ricky Sismundo (26-7-1, 12) in what is a fantastic test for the unbeaten youngster. Sismundo, also known as Mondo Harada, isn't great but has fought on the fringes of world level and a win for Nakatani will allow him to be compared to the likes of Billy Dib, Dante Jardon, Daud Cino Yordan and Terdsak Kokietgym.
Another promising unbeaten fighter on this card is the very touted and world ranked Sho Ishida (15-0, 8). We feel Ishida is an outstanding talent and should very easily over-come Thai visitor Brukluk Kor Narong (0-0) who we believe is making his professional debut. Ishida needs bigger tests than Brukluk but is being kept somewhat active and this is his 4th bout in less than a year.
As well as the 4 bouts we've mentioned there are a further 5 bouts, including 2 "Rookie of the Year" qualifying bouts on the show. Unfortunately they will all be over looked by the two world title bouts which we believe will both be shown, in their entirety, on TBS from 7:56PM local time.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)