This coming Saturday is a pretty busy day for Asian fight fans, with shows of note all across the globe.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
In Hong Kong fans get a pretty notable, yet small, card as DEF HK continue their relationship with Japanese promotions.
The main event of the card will see 22 year old local Raymond Poon KaiChing (5-1, 3) take on Japanese visitor Ryo Narizuka (8-7-1) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. KaiChing has won his last 3, but has been matched softly and it's hard to see why he's fighting for a title, even one as lightly regarded as this one. The light punching Narizuka is 1-3-1 in his last 5, but has been matched very hard with his last losses coming to Sho Kimura and Ryuya Yamanaka, both of whom are currently world champions. This has the potential to be a banana skin for the local fighter.
Despite not being the main event the most notable bout, for us at least, will see Japanese tough guy Takuya Watanabe (33-8-1, 18) face off with Indonesian journeyman Hendrik Barongsay (29-27-3, 18). It's not a great bout, given how good Watanabe is, but it is a chance for Watanabe to return to the ring following his loss to Yongqiang Yang earlier this year. The Indonesian, who has lost his last 4, shouldn't pose any sort of a threat to Watanabe, who who is 3-0 in Hong Kong and looking for bigger and better fights than this.
Arguably the most significant single fight with an Asian this coming Saturday will see female Bantamweight champion Aniya Seki (33-3-2, 5) defending her WIBF title against the heavy handed Csilla Nemedi (8-1, 6). The bout isn't just for Seki's WIBF title but also the GBU and WBC Silver titles and should be a compelling match up between the skills and experience of Seki and the heavy handed power of Nemedi.
We'll be able to see several central Asian fighters in action in Russia.
One of those is 23 year old Kazakh Madiyar Zhanuzak (4-0, 1), who will be up against Filipino foe Alphoe Dagayloan (9-2-5-1, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. The unbeaten Kazakh has impressed us since his July 2017 debut, but this does look like a genuine step up, and the type of bout that should see him having to prove himself. Aged 26 Dagayloan is the reigning PBF Super Flyweight champion and has gone 5-0-1 in his last 6, including a win over Mateo Handig and Jayar Diama.
Another notable one is Russian based Kyrgyzstan born Erzhan Turgumbekov (2-0), who is taking a massive step up in class to take on the experienced Andrei Isayeu (30-12, 9). The unbeaten Turgumbekov has began his career with back to back wins against limited novices, but this bout seems to suggests that he and his team are now comfortable on moving up against veterans. The 38 year old Isayeu is from Belarus and despite picking up losses he is a tough guy to stop, suggesting that he will take Turgumbekov the scheduled 6 rounds here.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see Macau born Lap Cheong Cheong (3-0, 2) look for his 4th straight win. The 21 year old Flyweight hopeful hasn't had his opponent named for the show but it's unlikely he'll be facing someone of any real note.
Turning our attention Stateside there is several notable fighters from Central Asia, with two of those looking to shine in California.
On paper the most exciting of those is the incredibly talented Murodjon Akhmadaliev (2-0, 2), who takes a small step up in class to face off with Luis Fernando Molina (7-4-1, 2). The very highly regarded Akhmadaliev, from Uzbekistan, shone on his debut in March and again in April with many now tipping him to become one of the faces of Uzbek boxing over the coming years. Argentinian fighter Molina showed his toughness last December, when he went 6 rounds with Michael Conlan and this bout gives Akhmadaliev a chance to earn some comparison to the popular Irishman. A stoppage for Akhmadaliev would be impressive, but wouldn't be a massive surprise.
The other Asian fighter on this card is Kazakh Ashkat Ualikhanov (2-1, 2), who looks to record his third straight win as he battles Darel Harris (1-2-1, 1). On debut Ualikhanov was disqualified in 3 rounds and his career has been horribly stop-start since then, but he does have power and talent and will be looking to make an impression here against Harris, who has failed to win aby of his last 3 bouts.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Staying in the US fight fans will be able to see 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (4-0, 2), as he takes on Kevin Johnson (5-0, 4). The unbeaten Uzbek was dropped in the first round of his professional but since then has looked really promising and appears to be on the right track to success, even if he does look some way from a world title fight. On paper this is a step up for the Uzbek and Johnson, not to be confused with the Heavyweight of the same name, is a solid puncher with an unbeaten record of his own and will be coming into this bout on the back of a career best win over Flavio Rodriguez. The Uzbek should come out on top, but this is an interesting match up on paper.
This coming Tuesday we see a return to action for the first post-Christmas show in Asia, with the attention switching to Hyogo where Shinsei promotions put on an interesting gift of a card, with a Japanese title bout and a very good looking chief support bout, with some genuine significance.
The main event is a Japanese Minimumweight title bout, as unbeaten champion Reiya Konishi (14-0, 5) makes his second defense of the title, taking on #1 ranked domestic challenger Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1). The champion, who won his title earlier this year against Masataka Taniguchi, looked less than stellar in his first defense, against Shin Ono, and it's fair to say that he needs to shine here if he's to really make the title his own, and move towards a world title fight in early 2018. On paper Matsui looks an under-qualified challenger but he has scored two notable wins in his last 3 bouts and could prove to be a banana skin here for the unbeaten but unspectacular champion.
The leading support bout will see Japanese ranked Lightweight Masashi Wakita (8-5-2, 3) take on Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Naotoshi Nakatani (10-1, 6) in a rematch of a bout from a year ago. In their first bout Nakatani won a competitive decision but since then Wakita has scored back to back wins, and looks to be getting some momentum going. On the other hand Nakatani was upset last time out, suffering a 6th round TKO loss to Accel Sumiyoshi, and hasn't won a bout since his win over Wakita 12 months ago.
In another supporting bout fans will see the talented Ryo Kosaka (15-3-1, 7) take on a Thai foe. Coming in to this Kosaka is riding an 8 fight winning run and should be fighting for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title next year, if he comes through this one without suffering any sort of serious injury.
As well as the action in Japan fans may also be interested to know that Swiss based Japanese fighter Aniya Seki (32-3-2, 5) will be in action, as she battles Hungarian foe Judit Hachbold (4-2). Although Seki is a flawed fighter it's hard to imagine her losing here to the visitor.
Belfast, United Kingdom
In regards to Asian fighters the biggest single fight is a Bantamweight unification contest, as Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18) takes on Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9) in Belfast. Coming in to that bout the heavy handed Zhakiyanov will be looking to defend the WBA title, however the Kazakh will be up against a real boxing talent in the form of the excellent Burnett. For both men this will not only be a unification world title bout, but also their first defense, making this a very tricky assignment for two men who only won their title's earlier this year. The Kazakh upset Rau'shee Warren for his title earlier this year, out hustling the American in a very competitive bout, whilst Burnett completely schooled fellow Brit Lee Haskins, despite one judge some how confusing the two fighters. This should be a really good bout,and could well crown the heir apparent for the Bantamweight division.
Whilst the biggest single fight, from an Asian perspective, takes place in Northern Ireland it's hard not to feel like a card from Tokyo is actually the more interesting show. Not only does it have a Japanese title fight, but it also has 4 Japanese title eliminators, and really does promise a fantastic value show.
The main event sees fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) battle against veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) for the Japanese Lightweight title, with both men competing for their first national titles. The unbeaten Yoshino has been touted since his debut, and really has looked like a champion in the making thanks to wins over Chaiyong Sithsaithong, Yoshitaka Kato and Kenta Onjo, and a win here is likely to see him begin a notable reign as a national champion, with not many domestic fighters looking up to the task of beating him. As for Matsushita the bout really is a must win, and he does come into the contest on the back of a huge win over a then unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya. Sadly for Matsushita form has been an issue and his recent wins have all been razor thin decisions, which won't bode well against the talented Yoshino.
At Featherweight we see an elimination bout as Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) and Taiki Minamoto (13-5, 11) battle for the right to challenger for the national title next year. Of the two men Iwai is the more experienced and the more technically gifted fighter, but Minamoto certainly has the edge in power, and acquitted himself well in a 2015 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni. Coming into this Iwai will be the favourite, we suspect hat the bout will be incredibly competitive.
In a potential thriller at Welterweight we'll see the tough and hard working Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 4) take on the big punching Ryota Yada (14-4,12), in possibly the best bout of the card. Yun is coming in to this after a Japanese FOTY contender against Shusaku Fujinaka and he's unbeaten in 6, including a draw with former champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The heavy handed Yada has blown out his last 2 opponents, but has a lot of question marks lingering over him following last years stoppage loss to Jayar Inson, who moved up in weight and bullied him. We're expecting this one to be a little bit special, and can't see anything but an action bout.
Another potential action bout will be at Bantamweight and see veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) take on the exciting Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5). The 31 year old Kikuchi lost 2 of his first 11, before rebuilding his career and has subsequently only been beaten by Shingo Wake, in an OPBF title fight, and the aforementioned Minamoto, with both of those losses coming at Super Bantamweight. On paper Suuki's record is less than great, but to date his losses have all come to very good fighters, with the first coming to Yusaku Kuga back in 2013, the second to Ryoichi Tamura in 2015 and the third coming to Jeffrey Francisco in the Philippines last year. All 3 of those losses were close and were losses which will aid the development of the 28 year southpaw.
Another eliminator will take place Flyweight, and sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) battle against the in-form and very under-rated Akinori Hoshino (14-7-1, 9). The heavy handed Nagamine began his career 10-0 before being beaten by the excellent Ken Shiro in 2015. Since that loss Nagamine has bounced back with 4 stoppages, including thrilling wins over Kenya Yamashita, Mako Matsuyama and Tetsuya Tomioka, which have all been all out wars. Around a year agoHoshino was 11-7-1 (8) and it looked like his career was going no where. Since then however he has moved down in weight and reeled off 3 big wins, including a stoppage of Kenya Yamashita and a decision over Shun Kosaka. We're expecting another good one here, though it's hard to see a win for Hoshino.
Gümligen bei Bern, Switzerland
There's yet more notable action featuring a Japanese fighter as Aniya Seki (31-3-2, 5) takes on Hungarian Kleopatra Tolnai (13-12-1, 4) in Seki's adopted homeland of Switzerland. The bout will see Seki defending her WBC Silver female Bantamweight title, for the second time, and in all fairness this be a simple defense against an opponent who has won just 1 of her last 5.
Action begins to really get underway this Saturday with a really interesting looking “interim” world title bout alongside a number of other contests.
The biggest fight of the day, for us anyway, comes from Mexico where the heavy handed Warlito Parrenas (24-6, 21) attempts to upset local favourite David Carmona (19-2-4, 8) to claim the WBO “interim” Super Flyweight title and open the way to a potential clash with Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue. The bout, which has been put together following Inoue's hand issues, looks good on paper but we suspect Parrenas has to be strongly viewed as the favourite against a limited and light hitting Mexican foe.
The first Japanese show of the month takes place today at the Korakuen Hall.
Originally the main event was set to see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) defending his title against former foe Masayoshi Kotake (9-9-2, 5). Sadly an injury to Okada in late June has forced that bout to be cancelled.
As a result of Okada's injury the new main event will be between Japanese ranked Welterweights as Ryoji Tanaka (8-3-1, 2) battles against Daisuke Sakamoto (9-8-2, 5) in a bout that promises to be better than the records would suggest. Coming in Sakamoto is in good form, having won 2 of his last 3 and was very unlucky in his most recent loss. Tanaka on the other hand was beaten last time out, snapping a 5 fight winning streak. On paper it's not a special bout be we suspect it will be very competitive.
Although the card isn't the strongest it does have some interesting looking bouts, arguably the best of the under-card contests comes at Super Bantamweight where Yukinori Hisanaga (16-6-2, 9) takes on Yosuke Fujihara (14-3, 4) in a bit of a must win bout for both men. Coming in Fujihara has lost his last 2, and 3 of his last 4 though will know that a win puts him in the mix for a potential title fight. As for Hisanaga he has lost 2 of his last 3, though one of those did come in a national title fight to Hidenori Otake.
Another under-card bout worth noting will see the always fun to watch Shuhsei Tsuchiya (17-4, 15) take on Kazuya Soma (7-7-2, 6) in a potential shoot out. Tsuchiya has all the advantages on paper but with 3 stoppage losses in his last 6 he may well be a fighter “on the slide”, despite being just 28. It's a must win for the popular Tsuchiya if he's to ever get himself a domestic title fight, however Soma can certainly punch and will be looking to score the home run shot.
In Germany we see another Japanese fighter in action as the experienced Aniya Seki (26-3-2, 2) battles against unbeaten German Leonie Giebel (7-0-1, 1). On paper Seki's experience could be her key against a naturally bigger fighter, however this is a very tough bout for the European based Japanese fighter who is 14 years older than her foe.
New South Wales, Australia
In NSW Australian fans will get the chance to see the upset minded Filipino Arnel Tinampay (22-17-1, 8) battle against unbeaten Aussie Rocky Jerkic (10-0, 8). Whilst Tinampay isn't the best fighter out there he is better than his record suggests and shouldn't be taken lightly, as he's proven in bouts against the likes of Yosuke Kirima and Shoma Fukumoto. Jerkick is on a good run but this will almost certainly be a tougher bout for him than his team may have suspected.
New South Wales, Australia
A separate show in NSW sees several bouts featuring Asian's, though none of whom will be given a real chance.
The biggest of the mismatches sees Pramool Boonpok (1-15-1) battle against the unbeaten Tony Senior (6-0, 5). It's hard to see a win for Boonpok here, though we would be impressed if he could see the distance with the hard hitting Senior.
Another one sided of the bouts, on paper, will see Filipino journeyman Jonel Alibio (18-18-5, 10) battle against unbeaten Australian Nathan Wright (6-0, 3) in a contest for the IBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title. On paper this looks like Alibio has been selected to help Wright win a title, though hopefully Alibio will come with the belief that he can upset Wright.
Another big mismatch will see Thailand's Mongkolchai Lookmuangkanch (12-3, 7) battle against the well regarded TJ Doheny (11-0, 7). Doheny is really starting to make a name for himself and would, obviously, be favoured here. Sadly for the Thai his last loss, a TKO defeat to Corey McConnell doesn't bode well for his chances here and it seems likely that he will be stopped again here.
The one, slight, chance for an upset comes in a 10 round bout between Joebert Delos Reyes (13-5-1, 10) and the unbeaten Darragh Foley (5-0, 3). Reyes scored a huge upset last year, when he scored a sensational KO against Valentine Borg, and will be hoping for a repeat of that here against the Australian based Foley. Foley, a southpaw originally from England, will be the favourite but this is a step up for him.
(Image courtesy of notifight.com)
March 6th-Valero returns, Saulong and Sonsona battle limited foes in the Philippines, Seki and Teeraporn to be tested in Germany
The week ends with lower profile action but there is plenty of it.
The only Asian show of the day takes place in Laguna where a number of notable Filipino fighters will be in action.
The most notable of the bouts will see Ernesto Saulong (16-1-1, 6) battle against Jaderes Padua (9-4-1, 6) in a 10 round bout. Saulong, has won his last 2 bouts after being stopped by the heavy handed Rey Megrino last year. Coming into this bout Padua has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, including a 72 second knockout loss last year to Rikiya Fukuhara
Another 10 round will see Eden Sonsona (32-6-2, 10) battle against the limited but tough Rex Olisa (10-27-1, 8). Sonsona will, obviously, be favoured but he'll almost certainly have to work for his win and Olisa did manage to give Vinvin Rufino a very good test last December.
As well as the two bouts mentioned there are several other bouts scheduled for this show.
In Australia fans get the chance to see one of the most under-rated fighters on the planet look to act an upsetter once again. That fighter is the tough Gerpaul Valero (18-16-3, 12) who takes on the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (2-0, 2) in a 6 round bout. Valero has one of the most deceiving records in the sport having begun his career 1-13-3, since then he has gone 17-3 (11). Notably Valero was stopped in a round last time out, by Aston Palicte, though will be looking to upset his touted foe here.
Another Filipino on this card is Alvin Bais (14-4, 3) who battles the unbeaten Jason Moloney (2-0, 2) in another tough looking bout. Sadly for Bais he has lost 4 of his last 5, with 3 stoppage losses, and is going to struggle here.
In Germany there will be a pair of Asian female fighters in action. One of those is Swiss based Japanese fighter Aniya Seki (26-3-2, 2) who will be up against the unbeaten Christina McMahon (6-0, 3) in a bout for the WBC International female Bantamweight title. Seki has won her last 2 bouts, both against Claudia Ferenczi, though lingering memories or her stoppage loss to Judith Rodriguez will linger coming into this bout.
The other Asian in action here is Thailand's Teeraporn Pannimit (20-7, 5) who is in an incredibly tough bout against Raja Amasheh (17-0-1, 4) in a bout for the WBC Silver female Flyweight title. The 22 year old Pannimit has been in with a number of top fighters, such as Momo Koseki, Susi Kentikian, Jessica Chavez and Su-Yun Hong and although she's always come up short at the top level she has got that top level of experience