The big show this coming Sunday comes from Osaka and will be the West Japan Rookie of the Year final, which will decide the West Japan representative at the All Japan Rookie of the Year in December. Rather than going through all the bouts we've just picked 3 of the most interesting ones.
One of the most even match ups is the Super Featherweight bout between Kanta Fukui (5-1, 4) and Takuya Ota (5-1-1, 4). The two men have very similar looking records and both are in their mid 20's. Strange they do differ massively in when they debuted. Ota made his debut way back in 2012, when he would actually go 2-1-1, before returning late last year and eventually earning his spot in this Rookie final. Fukui on the other hand debuted last year and despite losing his second bout is coming into this final on a run of 4 straight wins.
Another good looking match up will see 24 year old Yuna Hara (6-1-1, 2) face off with unbeaten teenager Hiroki Hanabusa (4-0-1, 2) in a Super Bantamweight bout. Hara made his debut back in 2015 and seemed to have early success, including a draw in 2016 with Toshiki Shimomachi who went on to win the 2017 Rookie of the Year. He's reached this final by beating a couple of unbeaten foes, and will be hoping to make it 3 in a row. Hanabusa on the other hand debuted last year, going 2-0 in 2017, and has gone 2-0-1 this year. It's worth noting that for such a novice Hanabusa has faced two fighters with significantly more experience, and has shown that is better than his novice status would suggest. This could be a very interesting bout with skills being the key.
Another bout where skills will be key sees unbeaten Super Flyweight's collide, with Tetsuro Ohashi (4-0-1, 1) taking on Shunichi Okazaki (4-0-1, 1). The 19 year old Ohashi fought to a draw in his semi-final, and is perhaps a touch lucky to be in this final, but is a talented young fighter and the draw shows how competitive these rookie bouts can be. Okazaki is the slightly older man, at 21, and is also somewhat fortunate to be in the final following a narrow win in his semi-final bout. These two youngsters will know that a win here will open big doors for the future, but they know that this will not be an easy bout to win.
As well as the Rookie card there is also a show from Hiroshima, featuring a few notable names on the Japanese domestic scene.
The main event will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Ryuji Ikeda (13-5-2, 9) taking on veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-12-1, 7). Despite only being 23 Ikeda is already a very experienced fighter and has fought a few times outside of Japan. Although he's only won 2 of his last 6 Ikeda is a promising domestic fight who could win titles down the line. Ideta on the other hand is a 34 year old veteran who debuted back in 2005, and has faced a relative who's who, including Koji Numata, Akinori Watanabe, Suyon Takayama, Keita Obara, Nobuyuki Shindo and Koshinmaru Saito. Sadly for Ideta he has lost his last 8, and is 1-12-1 in his last 14 bouts. We'd be shocked it Ideta can pick up his first win in over 7 years here.
In a supporting bout we'll see international action as Taiyo Inoue (7-4-2, 5) takes on Filipino Roland Jay Biendima (12-2-1, 6) in a good looking match up. The Japanese fighter is better than his record suggests but this is a tough test. The visitor is a 22 year old who lost 2 of his first 4 bouts, both to fighters who are now considered very good prospects, but he's yet to score a big win. This is a great chance for both men to get a career best win, and we like those sorts of bouts.
One other bout from this card worthy of a mention is a female bout between 18 year old Japanese hopeful Eruka Hiromoto (3-0) takes on unbeaten Filipino visitor Charimae Salvador (4-0, 1). On paper this is two female novices facing off, but given that neither will want to give up their unbeaten records this could be very competitive. It is worth noting that Salvador, despite being 4-0 has only fought two opponents, rematching both of her opponents so far whilst Hiromoto has faced 3 different opponents from her 3 career bouts.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the two shows in Japan, there will also be a notable show in the Philippines, where the WBC will be holding their third Women's convention.
The main bout of this show will see unbeaten Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov (11-0, 4) take on once beaten Chinese fighter Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-1, 9) in a very good looking match up. The unbeaten 26 year old will be looking to make his first defense of the WBC "silver" Super Middleweight title, a title he won back in May when he beat Dmitrii Chudinov. The Chinese fighter lost on his debut in 2015, up at Light Heavyweight, but has since reeled off 11 wins at home and dropped down to the more natural Super Middleweight limit. We suspect will take the win, but this is still a very interesting match up.
The rest of the under-card is splattered with bout of various quality, the best of the bunch being a WBC Asian Boxing Council female Bantamweight title fight between Phannaluk Kongsang (4-7-1, 2) and Urvashi Singh (3-0, 3). Phannaluk is a 23 year old Thai who has gone 1-4 in her last 5 bouts, but has mixed with quality fighters like Tamao Oawa and Miyo Yoshida, showing that whilst she's coming up short she is facing good fighters. Singh on the other hand is a little known Indian fighter who only debuted in June, and is pencilled in for another fight in December, in what is a big step up in class. It seems like the Indian is favoured, but this is a slight step up in class for her at this early point in her career.
The bigger show this coming Saturday is a big one from California which has seen more changes to it than most people change clothes, and credit needs to be given to the promoters for even getting a workable together.
Originally the card had been set to be the rematch between Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33) and Saul Alvarez, following their controversial 2017 draw, with the bout to be staged in Las Vegas. The Mexican failed a drugs test and a replacement was sought, with Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21) being the man to get the shot at Golovkin, and the fight moving to California, and the IBF deciding not to allow their title to be fought for by Martirosyan due to his lack of a world ranking. The desire to put on a show is admirable, but this isn't an amazing match up, and we've seen other issues with the show, such as Roman Gonzalez being removed from the show as well.
In the Uzbek capital of Tashkent fight fans will get the chance to see a number of local hopefuls in action.
The main event of the card will see the promising Azizbek Abdugofurov (10-0, 4) battle against Russian Dmitrii Chudinov (21-2-2, 13) in a bout for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight title. The local, fighting only his 3rd bout in Uzbekistan, will be looking to secure his second win at world level, following last year's win over Sirimongkol Singwancha. The 26 year old, has risen fast and looked really exciting but this is still a big step up. Chudinov is a former WBA “interim” Middleweight world champion, and at one point looked really good himself, however since losing to Chris Eubank Jr just over 3 years ago he's not looked the same and suffered a loss to veteran Lolenga Mock earlier this year. Chudinov has the tools to give the Uzbek problems, but it's hard to imagine Abdugofurov losing against this version of Chudinov.
At the time of writing the under-card doesn't look to be set to concretely, with only the promoters fighters having been confirmed for the show. Saying that however the is a lot of name value to make note of here, including Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (14-0, 9), Umid Rustamov (3-0, 3), Jasur Akhmadjonov (4-0, 3) and Ulugbek Sobirov (4-0, 2), all of whom look set to have a great future in the sport.
At the Korakuen Hall we'll see the next show from Kyoei, and it's a pretty interesting one in some ways, but one that isn't likely to get too much attention outside of Asia.
The headline bout is the shows key talking point, yet isn't even an official bout, as Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) battles Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (90-5-2, 47) in a rematch of Kameda's first professional defeat. This fight will be held under special exhibition rules, and is scheduled to go 8 rounds. The bout won't have judges, though a TV voting system will essentially be used to determine an unofficial winner if the bout goes the distance, and the bout won't be recorded on either man's record. Despite that the contest is something that both men seem to win with Kameda looking to avenge one of his two defeats and Wonjongkam looking to prove there is still life left in his 40 year old legs.
Koki's younger brother Tomoki Kameda (34-2, 20) will be in the main official bout as he takes on Mexican visitor Daniel Noriega (30-11-1, 15). Kameda has stated that this bout will be his final one before he gets another shot at a world title, likely at Super Bantamweight as he looks to become a 2-weight champion. The popular Japanese fighter should be too good, too fast and too skilled for Noriega but the Mexican is tough and could give Kameda some questions to answer late in the bout, with this being a 10 round contest.
Also on this card is rising female hopeful Jun Yabuki (10-0, 5), who will face a Thai foe, and Kyonosuke Kameda (0-1), who looks to pick up his first won against Kazuyuki Watanabe (1-1, 1).
Another Asian show will take place in Singapore, where local fighters will be looking to advance their careers.
The most notable bout on this card will see 22 year old hopeful Muhammad Ashiq (3-0, 3) fighting against 50 fight veteran Julio de la Basez (21-21-8, 12). On paper this looks like a huge step up for Ashiq but he's up against a 38 year old Indonesian veteran who has scored just 1 win in the last 7 years.
Busan, South Korea
The Asian action continues with a small show in Busan. This card won't get too much attention but does deserve a quick look over.
The main event of the show will see Ki Chang Go (5-2, 2) and JooHyun Kim (4-2-2, 1) battle for a version of the Korean Super Flyweight title. Despite losing his first two bouts Go has been impressive with 5 straight wins coming in to this one, including a an opening round stoppage last time out against Morakote PatanakanGym. As for Kim his form has suffered recently, and after winning his first 3 he has gone 1-2-2, with a stoppage loss to Teiru Atsumi back in November 2014 being his last bout.
The key support bout on this card will see the unbeaten In Duck Seo (9-0-2, 6) battle against Uzbek visitor Eldorbek Sayidov (4-3-1, 3). The 23 year old Korean debuted just over 3 years ago and despite suffering 2 draws in his last 3 bouts has looked really promising and is likely to be the next Korean to try and make a mark at the Oriental level. The visiting Uzbek has won his last 3, but is win-less outside of Tashkent and won't be expected to defeat Seo here.
The key Asian show this coming Saturday comes from Malaysia, where fans will see a number of promising fighters in action.
The most promising fighter on the card is WBC Silver Welterweight champion Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (13-0, 9), who will be making his second defense of the title as he takes on Hungarian foe Laszlo Toth (25-3-1, 17). The Uzbek fighter had a fantastic 2017 with notable wins over Charles Manyuchi, to win the title, and Dmitry Mikhaylenko to defend it, and he looks like a future world title challenger, possibly fighting for a world title later this year. The visitor is a bit of an unknown, though unlike most Hungarian fighters he's not collapsed in his defeats, instead he has gone the distance against the likes of Vyacheslav Senchenko and Kerman Lejarraga. This could be a decent test for the Uzbek fighter, but one that we expect him to come through as he continues his march to a world title fight.
Another promising Uzbek fighter on this card is Azizbek Abdugofurov (9-0, 4), who kicks off his 2018 with a bout against Alfonso Tissen (10-1-2, 5). The 25 year old Uzbek Middleweight looked like a star in the making as we entered 2017, but some of the excitement has been lost for him, despite going 6-0 (1) for the year. He's still very promising and hotly tipped, but some of the hype has certainly gone. Tissen on the other hand is a bit of an unknown from South Africa, who looks to be stepping up in class, after 13 straight fights on the South African domestic scene. With 2 draws in his last 4 Tissen has shined recently and will not expected to pick up a win, but if this is competitive Abdugofurov will see his rise take another hit, and he really wouldn't want that to happen at the moment.
A third Uzbek on this card is Jasur Akhmadjanov (3-0, 2), who looks to take on his most notable foe so far as he battles former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-7-3, 22). Aged 21 Akhmadjanov is a promising youngster, but this is a monster step up in class, following 3 fights on the Uzbek domestic scene. Interestingly this will be the Uzbek's third bout of the year, following two bouts in January. Mukhlis challenged the then WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama in 2010, but since then his career has really faltered, going 5-4-1 with 3 stoppage losses. Mukhlis has looked shot in recent fights and this could be why he has been selected for Akhmadjanov's first step up, though he may still have the tool to ask questions of the youngster.
A final bout of potential interest here will be a rematch between Malaysia's very own Muhammad Shehran (6-1, 1) and Indonesian Erick Deztroyer (11-4-1, 2). These two fought last December, with Deztroyer defeating Shehran, who was then 5-0, courtesy of a majority decision. Shehran will be seeking revenge here, whilst Deztroyer will be looking to double down and get a second win over the 22 year old Malaysian fighter.
As well as the action in Malaysia there is also a show worthy of note in Victoria featuring a former world champion.
That former world champion is former WBO Bantamweight king Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13), who will be up against Indonesian foe Rivo Rengkung (36-24-6, 14). The under-rated Tapales hasn't been seen in the ring since his second bout with Shohei Omori, a bout he won by 11th round TKO but was stripped of his world title for failing to make weight, way back in April 2017. The Filipino is likely to be a real handful for anyone at 122lbs with his toughness and under-rated skills, and despite his long break from the ring he should have no issue with Rengkung. The Indonesian has been stopped in 9 of his 24 defeats, and whilst he could see out the bell, as he did against big punching South African Macbute Sinyabi, it really is hard to see anyway for him to be competitive with the Filipino.
Another Filipino on this card will be the once touted Neil John Tabano (14-4, 10), who will take on Thai puncher Yodchanchai Nakornluang (25-4-0-1, 20). Tabanao won his first 11 bouts, but has gone 3-4 in his last 7 and really needs to inject some momentum back into his career as soon as possible. The 39 year old Thai veteran hasn't fought in over 4 years and although he will still have his heavy hands he was never the toughest fighter and really should be fodder for the significantly younger and fresher Filipino hopeful.
In Russia local fans will be able to see the unbeaten Vyacheslav Mirzaev (10-0, 1) take on Filipino foe Kenny Demecillo (13-4-2, 7). The unbeaten 29 year old Mirzaev has shown nothing in terms of power but has shown some nice skills so far, including last December when widely out pointed Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. The Filipino visitor likely isn't expected to be a threat, but he is a talented fighter and should be regarded as a live under-dog here, despite his less than amazing record. Demecillo is better than the numbers suggest, and if he performs to bis best he can be a handful for a fighter like Mirzaev.
The most notable bout for Asian fight fans this Saturday is in Texas where we'll see a Filipino icon in action as Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24) returns to the ring for the first time since losing the WBO Super Bantamweight title to Jessie Magdaleno last November. The “Filipino Flash” has been training in Japan for his return, which sees him moving back up to Featherweight to face Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9) in a contest for the WBC Silver title. Although he has been inactive, and is 34, Donaire should have far too much for Hernandez.
In California there is another notable Filipino in action, as the heavy handed Romero Duno (14-1, 13) returns to the States for the first time since his break out win over Christian Gonzalez. The hard hitting Pinoy puncher will be up against Mexican veteran Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-13, 14). Duno should have too much fire power for his Mexican foe, who has been stopped 8 times, but Sanchez does appear to be than his record suggests and his last couple of losses, have been in competitive decisions against Rene Alvarado and Antonio Moran, both solid punchers.
More Asian fighters are in action in the US as a number of fighters from Central Asia fight on a card in Louisiana.
In the main event we'll see 21 year old Tajik hopeful Mekhrubon Sanginov (4-0, 3) take on American Cameron Burroughs (4-1-0-1, 3) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Sanginov has been a professional for just under a year but has impressed with 3 quick wins and a bizarre split decision in Poland where one judge appears to have been watching a different fight to everyone else. This should be a really interesting and looks to be very well matched, though neither man has has got many rounds under their belt, which could make this contest sloppy if it gets to the later rounds.
Also on this card are Balaussa Muzdiman (0-0), Iskander Kharsan (1-0, 1) and Ali Baloyev (1-0, 1) who will all be facing limited looking opposition as they look to take their next step in their professional journey.
Fight fans in Japan are set for a bit of a strange card with a trio of notable names, all taking on very weak opposition.
In the main event the always fun to watch Tatsuya Takahashi (26-7-5, 19) will be up against limited Thai visitor Chatphet Saithonggym (0-2) in what should be an easy win for Takahashi, following a technical decision loss to Jetro Pabustan earlier this year. Although Takahashi is a very fun to watch fighter it's unlikely this will be too exciting, with the bout likely designed to give Takahashi an easy win.
Another mismatch will see big punching Japanese Welterweight Yuki Beppu (15-0-1, 15) take on an unnamed Thai foe. This will be Beppu's second bout since drawing with Charles Bellamy back in January and we're expecting another early finish for the 26 year old banger.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see novice Tetsuya Watanabe (1-0), who is touted as once to watch, take on the always entertaining and charming Takuya Yamaguchi (3-8-2, 2). It's hard to imagine Yamaguchi winning, but he will throw leather with bad intentions and could well test Watanabe's resolve and chin in a potentially interesting contest.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
We get yet another Asian show with action in Malaysia, as we see FH Promotions give several fighters a chance to shine.
One of those looking to impress here is Azizbek Abdugofurov (7-0, 4), who was originally scheduled to face Ibrahim Tamba (21-8-1, 14) but is now listed as facing a TBA, presumably a late replacement for Tamba who appears to be out of the bout. Abdugofurov is regarded as one of the top Uzbek prospects and has quickly climbed into the top 25 on boxrec due to notable wins over the likes of Chaloemporn Singwancha, Sirimongkol Singwancha and Martin Fidel Rios. It's likely his bout here will just be a stay busy, but he really is one to watch.
Another unbeaten man looking to extend his record is local favourite Muhamad Farkhan (4-0, 4), who will want to shine in front of his loyal fans as he takes on Thai visitor Khundon Chaiyonggym (8-3, 8). It's fair to say that Farkhan will have all the fans behind him and should win, but this is a small step up for the local hero.
On paper one bout that does have promise will see Filipino fighters collide as Jeson Umbal (15-5, 10) takes on Jon Jon Estrada (10-3-1,9). For Umbal this bout will be his 4th in Malaysia, where he is 3-0 (1) and will see him look to continue his 7 fight winning run. As for Estrada this bout will be his first outside of the Philippines. Given his power Estrada is a real threat to the rise of Umbal and this could be a very exciting and hard hitting bout, which should thrill the fans.
Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be two shows, but the most notable is in Metro Manila.
In the main event of this card we'll see the talented pairing of Glenn Suminguit (19-3, 10) and Renoel Pael (21-6-1, 11) battle for the GAB Bantamweight title, with Suminguit looking for his firs defense of the title. Suminguit won the title a year ago, stopping Alvin Bais in 3 rounds for the vacant title, but has only fought once since then, losing in Super Bantamweight bout, and could well have some ring rust coming in to this one. As for Pael the bout will see is confidence being checked, with the once touted Leyte man being 2-5 in his last 7, and really struggling for form.
In supporting bouts we'll see the Elorde brothers take on two over-matched Indonesians. Juan Miguel Elorde (23-1, 12) will be up against Afrizal Tamboresi (11-6, 6), who has lost his last 4 and been stopped in his last 3 and Juan Martin Elorde (22-1-1, 9) will be up against veteran Arief Blader (23-24-2, 8), who has won 1 of his last 5. It's hard to imagine of the Elorde's losing here in what are really mismatches.
What could turn out to be an interesting contest is set to see Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4) take on the tough and under-rated Jayar Diama (7-11-7, 3). Although it looks one sided on paper it needs to be noted that Diama is much better than the numbers suggest and he could be a real handful for Berondo, who is best known for suffering a stoppage loss to the exceptional Hinata Maruta.
In a second Filipino show we'll see a card headlined by a bout between Roilo Golez (16-18-1, 7) and Diarh Gabutan (19-6-3,10). Coming in to this one Golez is totally out of form, losing 7 of his last 8 bouts by stoppage. Whilst Golez has mixed with some good company he's also suffered lossesto limited foes, like Geboi Mansalayao and it's fair hard to say that Gabutan should pick up the win here. Saying that however Golez' only win in his last 8 bouts, was actually a 5th round KO against Gabutan, who knows he cannot afford another loss, especially not to Golez.
Also in Asia there is a show in Singapore, featuring a number of fighters from across Asia.
In a high profile female bout local star Nurshahidah Roslie (6-1, 4) will take on Thai visitor Sriphrae Nongkipahuyuth (12-4-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female and OPBF Female Featherweight titles. This will give both fighters something to fight for, and we do expect them to have a proper fight here, but it's hard to imagine the visitor having the power needed to really test Roslie.
Another local in action is unbeaten Super Middleweight hopeful Rafi Majid (5-0, 5), who takes on Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (7-13-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Middleweight title. Majid has blitzed his first 5 opponents, in a combined 7 rounds, and will likely do the same here, against a naturally smaller man who has been stopped 9 times already n 23 fights.
Another fight where we'd expected to see someone beat an Indonesian is a contest that will feature Filipino fighter Jun Tapale (22-9-1, 8) battling Indon Rusmin Kie Raha (15-13-3, 3). Although Tapale isn's a huge puncher Raha has been stopped in 8 of his 13 losses and we could see a 9th here. Raha's best hope is to see out the final bell, but it's hard to imagine him really testing the Filipino.
This coming Saturday is far from a busy day in Asian rings, but we get some action in Japan and in Malaysia.
The Japanese action is from Osaka where we get a title bout, along with under-card bouts featuring a Japanese and an OPBF ranked fighter.
The main event will see OPBF Atomweight champion Masae Akitaya (11-6-2, 4) making her first defence of the title as she takes on fellow Japanese fighter Akari Arase (5-3, 1), in what really looks like a bit of a mismatch. Aged 39 Akitaya is a veteran of the sport but is a multi-time world title challenger and is a genuine talent, despite what her record suggests. Arase, aged 35 herself, on the other hand is a limited fighter who lost last time out, and lacks a win of any note. It's hard to see past Akitaya here but Arase could be the naturally bigger fighter and try to make advantage of that.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Yuta Maruoka (12-4, 6) take on a Thai foe in a bout at 140lbs. The bout is about keeping Maruoka busy before he gets a more significant bout down the line.
In another supporting bout the OPBF ranked Bantamweight contender Tetsu Araki (8-1-1, 1) facing off with fellow non-puncher Hiroshi Konoura (8-6, 1) in an 8 rounder, that probably will go the distance.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The other show, from Malaysia, isn't a particularly notable one either, though does feature two men of interest.
The most notable of those is Uzbek prospect Azizbek Abdugofurov (6-0, 4), who looks for his 4th win of the year as he takes on Tanzania's Ibrahim Tamba (20-8-1, 14). The Uzbek has impressed through his short career though likely knows he needs some more seasoning before stepping up to and will be hoping to rack up some rounds here. In saying that however we are expecting a stoppage win for Abdugofurov.
The other bout of interest will see in-form Filipino Jeson Umbal (14-5, 9) seek an 8th straight win, as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Arief Blader (23-23-2, 8). Umbal is now 18 months since his last loss and is rising though the ranks thanks to a number of solid wins and he should win this one with out any problems, though he did struggle last time out with the limited Fadhili Majiha.
This coming Sunday is expected to be a really interesting day for fight fans with a number of show of interest, and some really notable fighters in action. Whilst it's not a huge day, it is certainly an interesting one, and one well worth making a mental note of as we move towards the weekend.
The show of the day comes from Russia where we get a host of Asian fighters making up the supporting cast of a card headlined by the always fun to watch Denis Lebedev.
The most notable bout on the card will see Russian fighter Dmitry Mikhaylenko (22-1, 10) battle against fast rising Uzbek contender Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (11-0, 8), with the Uzbek looking to make his first defense of the WBC Silver Welterweight title. On paper this is really the stand out bout of the day, and a real chance for the Uzbek to prove himself as a top contender, it is however a really tough test on Russian soil and he'll have to really be on the top of his game to shut down the “Mechanic”.
Another mouth watering bout sees former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (26-5-3, 18) face off with the unbeaten Pavel Malikov (11-0, 5). The Japanese fighter is best known for his bout with Takashi Uchiyama, in which he dropped Uchiyama late, and sine then he has struggled to really shine, going 7-2. He will however see this as a huge opportunity to get his career back on track. For Malikov the bout is his first against a former world title challenger, and is a huge step up for the 31 year old Russian.
In another Russia Vs Japan bout we'll see Mark Urvanov (10-1, 6) take on Jin Miura (9-1, 1), with the two men fighting for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Featherweight title. The bout looks great on paper, even if it's clear neither has lights out power. It's a huge test for both men and is the type of bout we love to see, with both men having something to gain and something to lose.
Another bout where both fighters will be fighting for a title will be a contest between unbeaten Tajik fighter Mukhammadkhuja Yaqubov (7-0, 4) and Japanese puncher Daiki Ichikawa (9-2, 7), who will face off for the WBO Lightweight title, currently held by Yaqubov. This is a real corker on paper and could be a coming out party for Ichikawa, who has stopped his last 3 and bounced back from a couple of defeats. Yaqubov has struggled himself, especially early in his career, and will need to prove himself here.
One final bout of note will see the unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev (4-0, 3) face off with Japanese fighter Mao Kawanishi (4-2, 1), in what looks likely to be a competitive 4 rounder.
The more notable of two Japanese cards comes from Osaka where we'll see a former Japanese title challenger headline and a former touted amateur make their debut.
Before we talk about the bouts which will take place we will just make a quick note that the card was supposed to be headlined by Juiki Tatsuyoshi (6-0, 4). Originally Tatsuyoshi was supposed to face off with Indonesian Jundullah M Fauzan (3-1), but the bout was cancelled just over a week before the contest due to Juiki suffering an injury. Sadly that injury has seen the card being pulled from the planned TV coverage that G+ was going to give the show.
The former Japanese title challenger on the card is former 2-time challenger Satoru Sugita (12-4-1, 7), who will now headline the card with a bout against Indonesian visitor Egy Rozten (5-15-2, 3). With losses in 2 of his last 3 we can't begrudge Sugita an easy bout, but it's a shame that the bout will now headline the card, because it's not a headline worthy contest.
In a supporting bout Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (4-1, 3) will look to bounce back from his first career loss as he battles Takashi Okura (5-5, 1). The 22 year old Tsutsumimoto has been out of action since suffering his sole loss, in March 2016, but looks to be back with some hunger for his first 6 rounder. Okura has also been out of the ring for more than a year, and will be the under-dog, but will be a hungry fighter here looking for a chance to make a name for himself.
The most intriguing bout on the card sees former amateur stand out Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (0-0), who really looked like a joy in some of his amateur contests, face off with Jio Alfriando (3-2, 2). In the unpaid ranks Tsutsumimoto went 24-3 and looked like a more accomplished fighter than his record suggests. He may not be in the mould of a super prospect, but he is certainly a highly capable young fighter, and the 19 year old is one to keep an eye out for.
A second show in Japan will take place in Chiba, with this card being a much smaller one
The first of two bouts of note on this card will see Yudai Tamagawa (9-8-1, 3) take on Ryuki Ishii (5-2, 4) in what looks like an intriguing bout, but nothing too mouth watering. Both of these fighters are southpaws and the bout should be competitive, but we do suspect that Ishii will be too good for Tamagawa.
A much more notable fight will see the unbeaten Fire Ikkyu (4-0, 3) take on Yoshiki Abe (5-5-3, 1) in a 6 rounder. Ikkyu will be fighting in his first 6 round bout and he should be favoured, however Abe is better than his record suggests and could put up a genuine fight here.
In Colorado we'll see Uzbek veteran Bexzod Nabiyev (25-9-1, 17) battle against Manuel Perez (27-12-1, 7) in a really well matched bout. The 31 year old Nabiyev looked like his career was fading away when he won 1 of 7 bouts a few years ago, but he's won his last 3 and will feel like he can make it 4 in a row as he takes on Perez, however Perez is much better than the opposite than Nabiyev has been beating.
For a second day running we're expecting to see action in Jakarta.
The main event of this card will see Stevanus Nana Bau (6-8-2, 2),who has twice lost to the touted Iwan Zoda, battle against the win-less Abeito Freitas (0-3) in a bout for the vacant Indonesia Boxing Association Light Flyweight title. Whilst we always doubt the completion of Indonesian records it's hard to believe that Freitas will be getting this title bout after being out of the ring for more than 4 years.
A more attractive under-card bout will see the half decent Isack Junior (24-7-2, 8), who has lost 6 of his last 8 but has lost those all on the road to good fighters, take on Boido Simanjuntak (23-46-2, 9). On paper this looks like a mismatch, but Junior has been inactive recently and the experienced Simanjuntak could be looking at this as a chance to end a 12 fight losing run.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In Malaysia we'll see the experienced Filipino Carlo Magali (21-9-3, 10) face off with unbeaten Indian hopeful Sandeep Balhara (4-0, 3), who will be fighting outside of India for the first time. On paper the Filipino will be favoured, given his significant experience advantage, but it' lear that Balhara's team have got belief in their man to even take this fight.
Action returns to Singapore this coming Saturday with a number of interesting prospects back in action.
In the main event we'll see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (10-0, 7) take a huge step up in class as he takes on Zimbabwean fighter Charles Manyuchi (20-2-1, 12) for the WBC “silver” Welterweight title. For Abduqaxorov the bout is a massive step up but a win would secure him a place in the WBC rankings and move him towards a world title shot, as well as see him build on wins against the likes of Larry Siwu, Adones Cabalquinto and Romeo Jakosalem. For Manyuchi the bout sees him making his Asian debut, though he has scored notable wins in Burkina Fase, Italy and Russia. If Manyuchi retains his title it seems him building on last year's huge upset win over Dmitry Mikhaylenko and likely secures him a WBC title shot in the near future.
In a supporting bout Azizbek Abdugofurov (5-0, 4) will put his unbeaten record on the line against Martin Fidel Rios (21-10-4, 11). The unbeaten Abdugofurov was forced to go 12 rounds earlier this year against Sirimongkol Singwancha and proved his stamina in the process but still has a number of questions to answer in regard to his long term potential. For Rios the bout comes after an upset win over Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna and a very controversially and foul filled fight with Jamie Cox in the UK. A really interesting match up even though it may not look it on paper.
In an support bout we'll see in form Filipino Jeson Umbal (13-5, 9) battle against Fadhili Majiha (20-7-4, 9). Umbal really has been stringing together a nice run over the last 12 months, with 5 wins in the last year, and will be looking to notch another here as he looks to move onto the fringes of a world title fight. As for Majiha he returns to Asia for the first time since 2014, when he suffered 3 successive losses to world class fighters, losing to Marlon Tapales, Pungluang Sor Singyu and Jerwin Ancajas. A win for Umbal would see him joining that notable list of fighters.
Another notable bout on this card will see Indonesian fighter Daud Yordan (36-3-0-1, 24) take on Thai youngster Campee Phayom (11-2, 7). The talented, and fun to watch, Yordan is currently riding a 6 fight winning run and will be looking to extend that run as he looks to move towards another world title fight. He'll know that he is on the verge of a potential title shot, but can't let it slip from his grasp with a loss here. For Campee the bout sees him looking for a third successive win, and looking to build on a big upset win last year against Yoshimichi Matsumoto. Against Matsumoto we saw Campee prove that he can fight on the road and a win here would get him some serious attention.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Fight fans in Metro Manila are also set for a card with some notable action.
In a bout for the WBC International Minimumweight title we'll see the unbeaten Jay Loto (13-0-1) take on the tough Lito Dante (12-7-4, 7). On paper this looks like a clear win for the unbeaten man but the reality is that he's stepping up to face a much more battle hardened fighter, who will be looking to score an upset. This is much better than it looks on paper.
Also on this card will be Jonathan Taconing (23-3-1, 19) and Glenn Suminguit (19-2, 10), though neither of their opponents have been announced at the time of writing.
In Russia we'll see the unbeaten Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (5-0, 4), a Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter, taking on Denis Lashin (6-2, 2) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. The bout is a notable step up for Sulaymanbek uulu, who has never been in a bout scheduled for more than 6 rounds, and it should be a good test, though it's hard to know just how good Lashin is himself.
In Uganda we'll see Azeri Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Fabian Lyimo (18-6-2, 11) in a bout for the UBO Welterweight title. Strangely this will be Adygezalov's 4th successive bout in Uganda, and his 5th bout in Africa as looks to make a name for himself away from “home”.
Although Ohio,of all places, may seem strange for the most significant bout with an an Asian interest that's exactly what will happen this coming Saturday as Kazakh Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18) challenges WBA “Super” and IBO Bantamweight champion Rau'shee Warren (14-1-0-1, 4). For the heavy handed Zhakiyanov this is a huge step up in class, and amazingly his US debut as he adds yet another stamp to his passport. The Kazakh has fought through much of the world, but is still a relative unknown in America, where few of his fights have been televised. Warren, a former 3-time US Olympian, is the most talented fighter that Zhakiyanov will have faced and will be seeking his first defense of the title. On paper this is puncher vs skillster and it could turn out to be a very intriguing contest.
Another show of Asian interest takes place in Singapore, where we see several notable fighters in action.
When it comes to fast rising prospects few are rising quite as quickly as 24 year old Uzbek Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (4-0, 4), who looks to over-come a former 2-weight world champion in just his 5th professional bout. Not only is Abdogofurov taking on a former world champion, but a highly experienced one as he battles 39 year old Thai Sirimongkol Singwancha (91-2, 57), in what will be a defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title by the Uzbek. The Thai veteran, who has claimed world titles at Bantamweight and Super Featherweight, is well past his best but will be hoping to make the most of his experience here.
Another promising Uzbek on this card is the unbeaten Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (9-0, 6), who looks for win #10 as he takes on the more-than-credible Ukrainian Viktor Plotnykov (34-4, 16). Although Abduqaxorov isn't quite as touted as his countryman he's in relatively tough here and Plotnykov is an upset minded fighter who can be a banana skin, as we saw when he beat the once touted Denton Vassell in the UK. Although Plotnykov can be a banana skin he has lost 2 of his last 4 and, at 39, is well beyond his best. If Abduqaxorov wins, as expected, he will return in a few weeks time to face Charles Manyuchi for the WBC Silver Welterweight title, he will however have to make sure not to over-look the Ukrainian here.
In an all Filipino bout we'll see the in form Jeson Umbal (12-5, 8) seek a 5th straight win as he takes on the struggling Roman Canto (12-8-3, 7). Coming in to this Umbal has scored notable wins over Luis Bedolla Orozco and Mark Anthony Geraldo and he will know if he keeps this run going he could find himself fighting for titles in the near future. As for Canto things have been tough recently, and he has fallen from 8-0 (3) to 12-8-3 with real struggles over the last 4 years or so. A win for Canto would boost his career massively here, but this will be a very tough one for the “Hitman”.
The first Asian show of a new year takes place in Malaysia of all places. Although the card is in a bit of a boxing black spot it is actually set to be a very interesting card.
In a 12 round bout on the show fans will see an all Filipino bout as Jeson Umbal (11-5, 8) faces Gadwin Tubigon (14-12-2, 9). Umbal comes into this bout in the form of his career and has stopped his last 3 foes, including Mark Anthony Geraldo, and should be expecting another win here, especially given that that Tubigon has been stopped 7 times during his 28 bouts.
In a really interesting 10 rounder we'll see exciting Uzbek hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (3-0, 3) battle the highly experienced Aleksander Bajawa (41-2-4 14). The heavy handed Abdugofurov is a prospect on an incredible fast track and is expected to be in the ring against in February against former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha. Bajawa looks like a great test on paper but the reality is that the Indonesian is inactive and is unlikely to last long with the big punching Abdugofurov.
Another fast tracked Uzbek on this card is Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (8-0, 5), who will be up against former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-13-1, 10). The 23 year old Abduqaxorov is expected to fight in February and March if he over-comes Jakosalem here, however it's not a foregone conclusion with Jakosalem having enough power to potentially test the Uzbek. If Abduqaxorov has over-looked Jakosalem this could be a very tough night for the promising youngster.
Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (11-0, 10) kicks off his year and takes on the massively experienced Elvin Perez (28-16-4, 19). This will be Eyubov's first bout since his controversial win over Karim Mayfield, and looks to be a huge step backwards, but given how fortunate he was to beat Mayfield this could be a chance to rebuild his confidence.