New Jersey, USA
Bright American hopeful Jaron Ennis (24-0, 22) is legitimately one of the sports most over-looked and under-appreciated young fighters marching through the ranks right now. He is a real, legitimate talent, and someone we would suggest following closely as he heads towards a world title.
The reason we've started this by talking, in such glowing terms, about "Boots" Ennis is the fact that he'll be hunting his 25th victory this coming Friday when he takes on Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-1-1-1, 12). The once beaten Eyubov was once 10-0 (10) but has struggled recently, going 4-1-1-1 (2) since and will have to be at his very best to survive against Ennis. We genuinely expect this to be little more than a show case for the extremely talented young American.
New York, USA
The big show this coming Saturday comes from New York and will feature a pair of Kazakh fighters, one being the biggest name in Kazakh boxing, and the other being a youngster looking to become a contender.
The main man on the card is former Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34), who takes on unbeaten Canadian Steve Rolls (19-0, 10). This will be Golovkin's first bout since losing to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez late last year, and it's a huge step down in opponent from what Golovkin has been facing in recent years. Rolls, although unbeaten, has done little to suggest he can survive with Golovkin and really doesn't bring much at all to this bout. We understand Golovkin having an easy return, after almost 9 months out, but this bout really doesn't appeal to us at all.
Another Kazakh on this card is the unbeaten Ali Akhmedov (14-0, 10), a rising Super Middleweight. The 23 year old Akhmedov will be up against the limited, but entertaining, Abraham Han (26-4-1, 16). Han hasn't fought in over a year, but has proven to be a decent opponent, with good performances against fighters like Sergio Mora, Fernando Guerrero and J'Leon Love. On paper this is a big step up for Akhemedov, but one he should manage without too many problems.
A third Kazakh fighter on this show is Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1-1, 12), who will go up against the touted Brian Ceballo (8-0, 4), in what looks like a really tough one for Eyubov. The Kazakh man once looked like an emerging force, winning his first 10 by stoppage, but since then his career has really faltered, and he's lucky to still be unbeaten. Ceballo on the other hand is a fast rising prospect and will be expected to win here, in a step up bout, but a seemingly safe step up bout.
Another Asian fighter on this card is the hugely impressive Uzbek contender Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2), who takes a step up on class to take on Mexican gate keeper Norberto Gonzalez (23-12, 13), in what is likely to be Madrimov's toughest bout to date. The Uzbek has hardly put a foot wrong in the pros so far, and a win over the durable Gonzalez, especially this early in his career, would be another major statement. Whilst Gonzalez is certainly not the fighter he once was he is no bum, and should be able to ask some questions of the Uzbek.
In Queensland we'll see the once beaten Korean In Duck Seo (11-1-2, 6) take on the unbeaten Tysinn Best (10-0, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. Coming in to this Seo has just scored his biggest win to date, out pointing Heuk San Lee, and is much better than his loss to Eldorbek Sayodiv suggests. Best on the other hand is stepping up here, and whilst he has home advantage this should be his toughest bout to date, by far.
Our attention turns to the US this coming Friday for a pair of cards featuring Asian fighters.
The more notable of the two cards is from Kansas where we see two unbeaten fighters from Central Asia in action.
The better of the two bouts will see Uzbek Light Welterweight contender Shohjahon Ergashev (15-0, 14) take on unbeaten American Mykal Fox (19-0, 5) in what should be a decent test for Ergashev. The unbeaten Uzbek has ran through almost all of his competition, with only Wang Zhimin managing to stand up to his power. This however should be a test of his skills, and Fox will have significant height and reach advantages over the Uzbek, who may struggle to get into range in the way he has against other opponents. For Fox this is a big step up, and his first bout against a rising contender, and a brutal puncher. We're expect an Ergashev win, but hoping he shows more here than we've seen from him so far. Our full, in depth preview of this fight can be read here - Ergashev to go off Fox hunting, against Mykal
The other bout featuring an Asian will see Kazakh fighter Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-0-1, 12) look to extend his unbeaten record. The unbeaten Eyubov hasn't fought since June last year, and has really seen his momentum come to a crashing end. He needs to not only win here, but also to look destructive, impressive and exciting. His opponent will be Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (25-12, 13), in what should be little more than a confidence builder for Eyubov.
Another Kazakh on this card is Heavyweight novice Izim Izbaki (1-0, 1), who will be up against American Matt Foster (0-3). Izaki is tipped as one to watch and this should be a showcase for the Kazakh.
On a Top Rank show in Minnesota we'll see Filipino Giovanni Escaner (19-3, 12) take on Joshua Greer Jr (19-1-1, 11) in a bout for the WBC Continental Americans Bantamweight title. The Filipino is currently riding a n 8 fight winning run, including notable wins over Naoto Uebayashi and Rene Dacquel, following a 2014 loss to Jason Canoy. Greer on the other hand has won his last 16, following a 2015 loss to Stephen Fulton, including wins over the then unbeaten pair of Juan Gabriel Medina and James Smith. This is a really interesting match up between two amazingly well matched fighters.Ergashev to go off Fox hunting, against MykalErgashev to go off Fox hunting, against Mykal
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to see a number of notable fighters in action, though in fairness it's not like those notable fighters are really likely to bes tested given the level of competition theyt are facing.
The most notable of the bouts on the card will see the limited but teak tough Tatsuya Takahashi (27-7-5, 20) take on countryman Keita Nakano (14-12-6, 4). The bout has the potential to be a very fun contest, but Takahashi has an unwelcome ability to make his life harder than it needs to be and this bout will likely be another case of him getting into a bit of an unnecessary war. Nakano's lack of power won't help him in that war, but he could be surprisingly competitive here in what could be a very fun match up at the fringes of the Japanese title scene.
Another notable fighter on this show is the heavy handed Yuki Beppu (16-0-1, 16), who will be looking to keep his unbeaten record alive as he takes on a Thai opponent in the show's final bout. Little is known about the Thai but Beppu has feasted on a series of limited opponents since claiming the Japanese Rookie of the Year back in 2014, with the one exception being the drawn fight against Charles Bellamy. It's unfortunately time that Beppu started facing more notable opponents and really began to do more than run up KO's against over-matched foes.
A third fighter of note on this card is 2014 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Yuichiro Kasuya (9-2-1, 1). Like Beppu we'll see him in with a Thai foe, though this is more understandable given that Kasuya is almost 2 years removed from his last win, and has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, albeit in very competitive bouts. The 21 year old does look like a fighter who needs to build belief in his power and an easy blow out against an over-matched Thai foe may be the perfect way to build that confidence.
New York, USA
In the US fight fans wil get the chance to see two exciting American based fighters from central Asia.
One of those fighters is Uzbek destroyer Shohjahon Ergashev (10-0, 10), who takes a huge step up in class to face fellow unbeaten fighter Sonny Fredrickson (18-0, 12). The hard hitting Uzbek went 4-0 (4) in 2017 fighting just 5 combined rounds, and has only gone beyond 2 rounds once, showing just what power he has early on. If he can take out Fredrickson then he'll be on his way to making a real statement in 2018. The 23 year old Fredrickson was a former amateur standout and will be looking to extend a 3 fight stoppage run, as he takes on his second successive unbeaten foe.
The other fighter of note on this card for us is Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (13-0, 11), who looks to put a less than great 2017 behind him as he takes on Maurice Chalmers (14-13-1, 8). The bout looks like a mismatch on paper, but with Eyubov fighting just 7 rounds last year we can understand why he's being given a relatively easy one here, against a man who is almost 2 years removed from his last bout.
This coming Friday we see a mini American invasion by a trio of central Asian fighters in Michigan.
One of those Asian fighters is the explosive Bakhtiyar Eyubov (12-0, 10), who looks to continue his unbeaten run as he takes on Mexican veteran Cesar Soriano Berumen (27-35-1, 16). Having started his career 10-0 (10) Eyubov has struggled in his last 2 bouts, going the distance in both, and it's clear that he and his team have realised he needs more rounds under his belt before being pushed. Berumen should provide some rounds, but won't be expected to be much of a threat for the Kazakh.
Unbeaten 28 year old Dimash Niyazov (10-0-3, 4) will risk his unbeaten record against the poor Ramon Guevara (10-24-2, 6), who has been stopped 19 times in his career. Guevara has been out oif the ring for more than 2 years and has just a single win in the last 7 years, showing his lack of quality, and this should be an easy win for Niyazov.
In a better looking contest the 30 year old Serdar Hudayberdiyev (3-0, 2) will take on Antonio Urista (7-2, 2). The Brooklyn based fighter originally Turkmenistan will be ending an 11 month break from the ring and is stepping up in a big way here, to take on someone hungry and tough. Urista has suffered losses in 2 of his last 4, but they were both to unbeaten fighters on the road, in California, and he could be a genuine banana skin for Hudayberdiyev
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.
New York, USA
This coming Friday there are some Asian fighters in action in the US.
One of those is Kazakh prospect Bakhtiyar Eyubov (10-0, 10) who takes a notable step up in class to face off against Karim Mayfield (19-3-1, 11).The heavy handed Kazakh has never been beyond 3 rounds however this is a massive step up. Mayfield has never been stopped and has proven to be a tricky and difficult type of fighter who holds a notable win over Mauricio Herrera and has gone the distance with the likes of Thomas Dulorme and Dmitry Mikhaylenko.
Also in action here is Uzbek Bahodir Mamadjonov (19-2, 11) who is fighting for the third time since last year's loss to Richard Commey. The once promising Uzbek will be up against the very experienced Mason Menard (31-1, 23) in a bout for the WBO NABO Lightweight title and the win could put the winner into the WBO rankings. Impressively Menard brings a 29 fight winning into this bout, dating back around 8 years
It's unclear what action will be in Thailand but we have been informed that CH7 will be broadcasting a card, set for a 2 hour TV time slow.
There will be two cards in Thailand, one of which is a show from Nakornluang Promotions who will be show casing two of their best fighters.
The most notable of those fighters is Super Flyweight destroyer Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (37-4-1, 34) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] who is going to take part in a stay busy bout ahead of rematch with current WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras. Although we're not sure who Srisaket will be fighting we have been informed that it will be an Indonesian opponent and the bout will only be a stay busy.
The other fighter is unbeaten Flyweight contender Nawaphon Por Chokchai (31-0, 24) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] who is the mandatory challenger to Roman Gonzalez. The unbeaten Nawaphon will not be facing a test here with Nakornluang not risking his big bout later in the year, they may however petition the WBC to strip Gonzalez if the Nicaraguan does make the move up to Super Flyweight later in the year.
We believe this card will be aired on Channel 7 in Thailand.
The other Thai show will be put on by Kiatkreerin and features several notable fighters again.
The main event of the card sees the experienced Mike Tawatchai (37-8-1, 21) defending his IBF Pan Pacific title against Japanese visitor Shingo Kawamura (11-2-1, 6). For Tawatchai this is his most notable fight since last June when he was widely beaten by IBF #1 ranked contender Shingo Wake whilst for Kawamura this is a big step up and sees him fighting in his first title bout.
Also in action here will be former Olympic star Manus Boonjumnong (3-0, 1) [มนัส บุญจำนงค์]. Sadly we're unsure who Manus will be up against but we do need to confess we have been impressed by him so far.
For fans interested in this one, it will be aired on Thairath
In Arizona there will be two Asian fighters in action.
In the most notable of the two bouts fans will see touted Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (17-0, 12) risk his record against Rafael Guzman (16-1-1-1, 10). On paper this looks like a genuinely tasty match up though we do wonder how good Guzman is given his competition so far has been relatively poor. If Guzman is as good as the numbers suggest however, then we may be in for a genuine treat here with the Filipino being given a real test.
The other Asian in action is Kazak puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (9-0, 9), who takes a huge step up as he faces Jared Robinson (16-2-1, 7). The bout should pose real questions of both men and be a genuinely interesting fight. Eyubov, as mentioned, is stepping up massively whilst Robinson has faced some quality fighters like Amir Imam, who stopped him in 4, Michael Perez, who took a decision win against him, and Haskell Rhodes, who he fought to a draw. This really is a fantastic match up and credit to both men for taking it.
New York, USA
In the US this Thursday fans get the chance to see a Kazakh puncher attempt to extend his unbeaten run. The fighter in question is the unbeaten Bakhtiyar Eyubov (8-0, 8) who faces off against the very limited Antonio Chaves Fernandez (6-22-2, 1). So far we've yet to see Eyubov go beyond 3 rounds and that's unlikely to change here given that Taras Shelestyuk needed just a round to blow away Fernandez.