The big show this coming Friday comes from Japan, where the Korakuen Hall plays host to an interest, but low key, card which will be put online through the A Sign boxing youtube channel.
The main event is a a really interesting match up between hard hitting Japanese fighter Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) and world ranked Thai foe Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (24-10, 16). Kurihara is 11-1 since his unremarkable 3-4 start to the pros, and claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title last year, a belt that he has defended once. Although this isn't a title defense for Kurihgara it is a significant bout. Sukkasem is no world beater but can be a handful and is world ranked by the IBF, so have a real reason to bit down on his gum shield and go for this, knowing that a win will take him one step closer to a world title shot. We expect this one to be a very, very interesting match up.
After back to back losses Akihiro Kondo (31-9-1, 18) will be hoping to rebuild his confidence as he goes up against Tatsuya Yanagi (16-5-2, 6). This year has been a bad one for Kondo, who was stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in February before being out pointed by Andy Hiraoka in July. Yanagi on the other hand is on a 6 fight unbeaten run, going 5-0-1 (2), including an excellent recent win over Koichi Aso. This is really a must win for the 34 year old Kondo, and another loss here is likely to send him into retirement.
The potential hidden gem on this card will see recent Japanese Light Welterweight title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-6-3, 9) going up against aggressive youngster Aso Ishiwaki (7-2-1, 5). Although Ikeda has fought at a higher level than Ishiwaki he hasn't shined in recent contests, going 3-4-2 in his last 9 bouts. On the other hand Ishiwaki looks like a really promising youngster, who appears to be the crown in Nobuhiro Ishida's stable of fighters. Ishiwaki is tough, heavy handed, aggressive and we see him as being a force for the future, and a win here would be huge for his career.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
As well as the card in Tokyo, there is also a show in the Philippines. The details for this are lacking at the time of writing, but the main event is a genuinely mouth watering match up between a former world title challenger and another notable Filipino fighter.
That main event will see recent WBA Minimumweight title challenger ArAr Andales (10-1, 2) look to rebuild from his recent loss to Knockout CP Freshmart as he takes on the tough, but out of form, Joel Lino (10-3-1, 3) in a bout for the GAB Minimumweight title. The now 20 year old Andales began his career 10-0 before losing a technical decision to Knokcout CP Freshmart this past August, in a bout that was very hotly contest. We suspect he'll be the big favourite here. On the other hand the 24 year old Lino has lost his last 3, with losses to Masataka Taniguchi in 2019 and defeats to Ginjiro Shigeoka and Toto Landero this year. Those 3 losses have seen Lino fall from 10-0-1 but he will feel like this is his chance to get back to winning ways. This is certainly a very interesting all-Filipino bout.
This coming Friday is a busy day for Asian boxing, and there's a nice mix of fights across the globe. The most notable, for us, is in Thailand however as WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) looks to make his next, facing off with unbeaten Filipino ArAr Andales (10-0, 2). The talented Knockout, who has now scored 4 straight decision wins, will be fighting for the first time since November 2018, and will be hoping not to carry much ring rust into this bout. Andales on the other hand is a 19 year old who has already had a huge 2019, thanks to a massive win last time out against Cris Ganoza. This is a really interesting match up and one where the visitor can't be written, though will be the clear under-dog. We've previewed this bout here Unbeaten Andales looks to upset WBA champion Knockout
The second most compelling match up for the day comes from the US and will see us re-run the match up between Koki Eto (24-4-1-1, 19) and Jeyvier Cintron (10-0-0-1, 5), who had an opening round No Contest earlier in the year. Their first bout promised a lot, with Cintron using his speed and movement and Eto trying to use his power and, but ended in weird fashion following an accident headclash that left the touted Cintron stumbling around the ring. Whilst Cintron certainly looked the better boxer it's going to be very interesting to see how this rematch plays out. Our preview of this bout can be read here Eto and Cintron battle in rematch following No Contest
It's not just the bout in Florida that will see an Asian looking to pick up a win in the US but also Uzbek fighter Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-1, 13), who will be looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss Ronald Cruz. The 35 year old Hudaynazarov isn't in easy here easy, and will be taking on fellow once beaten fighter John Vera (18-1, 11), Vera, like Hudaynazarov, is coming in to this on the back of a loss but the American "Phenom" lost at fringe wold level to the excellent Michel Soro. On paper a very, very interesting match up, but one where we feel the younger Vera will come out on top.
Back in Asia we get a small, but pretty interesting card in Japan.
The main event of the card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing with Lightweight hopeful Kei Iwahara (10-6, 5) taking on former Light Welterweight title challenger Vladimir Baez (24-5-2, 22). On paper this looks like a straight forward win for Baez, other wise known as Destino Japan, given his better record and natural size but Baez has has lost his last two and is without a win in well over a year. At 35 Baez may well be a shot fighter. The 28 year old Iwahara is a long way from a world beater, and is 4-3 in his last 7, but has piclked up good domestic wins over Daiki Ichikawa and Mao Kawanishi.
In another really interesting match up we see young southpaws collide as Japan's Kento Yabusaki (7-2-1, 5) takes on Filipino Michael Mendoza (9-1-2, 3). Both of these men are 21 year olds and although neither is a bit name both have shown some solid promise at this stage. Yabusaki reached the Rookie of the Yearfinal in 2017, losing to Joe Shiraishi in the final, and has bounced back with 3 straight wins against progressive better competition. That progress looks to continue here against Mendoza. Mendoza on the other hand has won 4 in a row, and took the PBF Flyweight last time out. It's worth noting that Mendoza has been picking up his wins at a lower level than Yabusaki but does have the small edge in experience.
Another noteworthy fight on this card is the talented, but light punching Joe Tanooka (15-6-5, 1), who faces against Naoto Mizutani (5-6-2, 2) in a rematch of a technical draw they had in May. On paper this is a huge mismatch but we expect it to be pretty competitive. The 25 year old Tanooka has picked up just a since victory in his last 5, going 1-3-1 and he's had a really tough career so far. Mizutani on the other hand can score upsets, as he did against Mirai Imagawa, and can be a good test against light punchers, as we saw in February against Fumiya Fuse. This could be far better than the records suggest.
In Australia we'll see Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (33-20-3, 18) continue his incredibly long career. The 35 year old Indonesian, who has lost his last 4 and 8 of his last 10, will be expected to come up short again here as he takes on the unbeaten Mark Schleibs (11-0, 7). It's hard to know how good Schleibs is, given the level of his competition so far, but it's hard to imagine anything but an easy win here for the unbeaten man.
Bucheon, South Korea
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from South Korea, keeping up what has been an interestingly busy Korean scheduled this year. This time around it will be the KBA who are leading the way, and not the more well established KBM or KBF.
The main event of the card will see female veteran Ji Hyun Park (23-3, 7) take on Chinese novice YuFei Wu (1-0). This will be Park's first defense of the WBF International Minimumweight title, which she won last July, and it's hard to see her losing here as she is genuinely a world class fighter. Wu is such an unknown that it's hard to get a read on her, though Korean sources have suggested that she was a standout Chinese amateur at high school level.
On the under-card there isn't too much to be excited by, with the biggest supporting bout being between KBA ranked Light Welterweight's Hwan Young Jo (5-7, 1) and Jong Hoon Lim (2-4-1). These are both top 3 ranked by the KBA, though that really sums up the lack of depth under the KBA ranks. Another supporting bout will see Bum Young Lee (10-9-2, 3) take on Hyeon Oh Lee (3-3), with both of these men being ranked in the top 10 by the KBA at Super Bantamweight.
As well as the show in Korea there is also a show of note in the Philippines, featuring a number of interesting local hopefuls.
One of the interesting bouts on this card will see unbeaten 19 year old ArAr Andales (9-0, 2) take on Cris Ganoza (17-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The bout is pencilled in as Andales' first defense of the belt, and he has really been impressive so far through his career, but this is a clear step up in class, and is obviously his toughest bout to date.
Another interesting match up on this card will see Alphoe Dagayloan (12-2-5, 5) make his first defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title, as he takes on unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (11-0, 6). Without trying to sound too easily impressed, we think this is a bloody brilliant match up. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, despite his less than perfect record, and Domingo is no patsy. This could be one of the weekends most interesting bouts.
In Texas this coming Saturday we'll get a number of Asian fighters fighting on a major Golden Boy card, two of whom will be challenging for major titles
The main event of the card will see unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26) defending his WBO Light Middleweight title against Japanese challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7). The champion really burst onto the scene last year, not only winning the title but also fitting in 2 defenses of the belt in a real break out year. Surprisingly Munguia was an unknown when was denied the chance to fight Gennady Golovkin, but ended the year one with incredible momentum. A real break out star of the year. Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, had a brilliant 2017, scoring 4 wins and unifying the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, but had a frustrating 2018 fighting only once. The expectation is that Inoue will be brushed aside by the excellent Mexican, but he will have travelled to score the upset and seems to be fully aware of how big this opportunity is. Our preview of this contest can be read here Inoue looks to upset WBO champion Munguia!
Thhe other bout will see Puerto Rican puncher Jesus M Rojas (26-2-2-1, 19) take on Chinese challenger Can Xu (15-2, 2), with Rojas looking to defend his WBA "Regular" Featherweight title. Rojas lost last time out to Joseph Diaz, but Diaz failed to make weight resulting in Rojas keeping the, and he'll be looking to make a real statement this coming year. Xu will be looking to become the first Chinese man above 112lbs to win any form of a world title but is up against it here. Rojas is the more experienced man, the hard hitting and the more proven fight, but Xu will certainly be there to win and to put himself at the top of the world scene. This is an interesting match and for many their first real chance to see Xu fighting live. Our preview of this bout can be found here Can Xu become the WBA "regular" Featherweight champion?
New York, USA
Staying in the US, though travelling over to New York, we get a real 50-50 match up, as unbeaten Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar (10-0, 9) take on the explosive Dominican Claudio Marrero (23-2, 17) in a bout for the lightly regarded IBO Featherweight title. It's hard to see this bout going the distance, with both being serious punchers and both having been down in recent bouts. For Nyambayar this bout is a big step up in class, and his first against a Featherweight puncher in his prime. On the other hand Marrero has fought just 33 seconds since being stopped by Jesus M Rojas back in September 2017. It's hard to see this as anything but a thrilling contest. Our preview of this fight can be read here Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Claudio Marrero clash!
In Canadian we'll see top Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (6-0, 6) look to enhance his reputation after a brilliant 2018. He'll be up against Mexican foe Abraham Juarez (13-1, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Middleweight title. The unbeaten 20 year old Kazakh really impressed us in 2018 and we are expecting him to shine again this year. On paper Juarez is a good step up in class, and he has gone unbeaten in his last 9 bouts, but he is seen as the clear under-dog against the sensational Kazakh.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see Kazakh fighter Aida Satybaldinova (4-1-1, 1) begin her 2019 campaign. "Lady Sparta" made he debut in March 2018 and was bust last year, but lost against her only opponent with a winning record and we suspect she's going to be matched softly here, though her opponent hasn't currently been announced.
The more interesting of two Filipino cards will take place in Cavite, in what is being sold a very clear double header.
One of the main bouts will see Alphoe Dagayloan (11-2-5, 5) battle against Danrick Sumabong (7-1, 6) for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, who showed his power last year with stoppage wins against Madiyar Zhanuzak and Rongguo Wu. Sumabong on the other hand is a 19 year old who hasn't had much attention, but is heavy-handed fighter who managed to give the very highly regarded Jade Bornea real problems last year. This is certainly worth getting excited about.
The other bout of note will see ArAr Andales (8-0, 1) battle Charlie Malupangue (7-3-3, 6) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The 19 year old Andales is stepping up massively here, but he has shown plenty of promise and has won the LuzProBA title already in his short career. Mulapangue was stopped in his most notable bout, by Robert Paradero, but this is a credible fighter on the domestic scene, as he'll be looking to prove here. It's worth mentioning that neither of these really should be fighting for a WBA Asia title, but it's still an interesting fight all the same.
Paranque City, Philippines
As well as the Cavite show there will also be one at Paranque City. This show will be headlined by an WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title clash between Al Toyogon (9-2-1, 6), the defending champion, and Ryusei Ishii (7-4-1, 4). On paper this is a well matched bout and should be pretty competitive.
The show will also feature a WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title bout, with Ricardo Sueno (8-2-4, 3) and Diomel Diocos (13-2-3, 4) fighting for the vacant title. On paper this is another well matched contest and should provide some excellent action for the fans, who appear to be getting treated well in the Philippines this year with strong low level domestic clashes!