Our attention turns to Canada this Thursday for a card featuring a trio of Canadian based Kazakh's all looking to maintain their unbeaten records and move their careers forward.
The most notable of the Kazakh trio is the hard hitting Batyrzhan Jukembayev (16-0-0-2, 13) who isn't just the most notable of the Kazakh's on the card, but also the one in with the biggest test. The hard hitting Jukembayev will be up against former IBF Lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez (41-8, 15), who could ask really serious questions of Jukembayev. At his best Vazquez was an avoided fighter, even when he held a world title, but in recent years he has become a popular gate keeper and has found himself in with a list of prospects and contenders, and often given them a very good test. For Jukembayev this is a big step up, and a win could move him into the title mix however we would be massively surprised if he wasn't pushed hard here and really forced to dig deep to get past the experienced Mexican.
Another interesting looking match up will see the power puncher Nurzat Sabirov (10-0, 9) take on the experienced Bruno Sandoval (20-3-1, 16) The 25 year old Sabirov has stopped his last 4, and on paper they have looked like good wins, but we still have a lot of questions left to answer about the unbeaten man.On paper Sandoval is another opponent who looks good on paper, but is 2-2-1 in his last 5, including a loss in 2016 to Ryota Murata, he's a natural Middleweight, he's been out of the ring for almost a year, and he's 0-2 outside of Mexico. A good bit of match making on paper, but we suspect we'll get no new answers in regards to how good Sabirov really is.
The third Kazakh on this card is the least well know, and that's Aman Kazankapov (0-0-1), who fought to a draw on his debut earlier this year. The 21 year old Kazakh will be hoping for a much easier night as he takes on Mexican Jesus Arriaga (2-1, 1), but this is no gimme and Arriaga could well play the role of human banana skin. Arriaga came close to upsetting Abraham Juarez in May and is not a push over. A tough assignment for the Kazakh youngster.
As well as the Kazakh action in Canada we also get some Rookie of the Year action in Japan, as the East Japan Rookie of the Year tournament takes it's next step forward.
On paper the pick of the bouts on this card will see Tetsuya Kondo (4-1, 3) clash with Jin Sasaki (6-0, 5) in a Lightweight bout. The 22 year old Kondo lost on debut, almost 2 years ago, but has turned his career around with 4 straight wins. The 18 year old Sasaki on the other hand turned pro just over a year ago and has been a little wrecking ball since. Sasaki has only heard the final bell once, and that was with his latest opponent Hikaru Sato. We are expecting fireworks here.
Another decent looking bout will see Kosuke Ando (5-1, 3) and Yuki Kajitani (2-1, 2), clash in a Light Flyweight bout. Kajitani lost on his debut in February, but has stopped both of his opponents since, whilst Ando has been a professional for over 3 years, but has had a stop start career and a win here could help him get some momentum into his career, some thing he desperately needs.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The most notable bout with an Asian this coming Friday comes from Belfast and sees a Filipino battle former Bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett (19-1, 9). The last time we saw Burnett we saw him injuring himself in a WBSS bout with Nonito Donaire, ending his dreams of winning the WBSS. Here we see Burnett move up to Super Bantamweight where he will face Jelbirt Gomera (14-5, 7), a Filipino journeyman looking for his first win outside of the Philippines. Gomera has mixed in good company, losing to the likes of Mark Anthony Geraldo, Hidenori Otake and Can Xu, and we expect to see him suffer another loss here. For Gomera this is the perfect time to take on on Burnett, who has been injured and had time way from the ring, but Gomera is unlikely to ever be good enough to beat the very talented Belfast man.
In Canada we'll see Kazakh born hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (15-0-0-2, 12) battle against limited Mexican foe Luis Jesus Vidales (13-6,6). The talented, and hard hitting, Jukembayev has been reportedly unhappy with his match making and progress, and a bout like this is unlikely to please him. Jukembayev should be mixing with fringe world ranked fighters and gatekeepers, but Vidales is a limited fighter who has lost 2 of his last 3 and doesn't seem to be a step in the right direction for Jukembayev.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Another bout worthy of some note will take place in New Zealand and will see Australian based Filipino veteran Jack Asis (38-21-5, 19) take on the once beaten Bowyn Morgan (19-1-0-1, 9). The 35 year old Asis is a long way removed from the fighter who was once 21-18-4 (10) but he is showing signs of being on the slide. Morgan on the other hand is unbeaten in his last 12, but lacks notable wins with his best coming against Gunnar Jackson. Although Morgan has yet to really shine we suspect his natural size advantage will be a gut factor here and he should over-come the Filipino.
The biggest show this coming Saturday comes from Gifu where we'll be getting a highly anticipated WBO Flyweight world title fight as well as bouts featuring a number of notable Japanese fighters, including 2 promising prospects and a former national title challenger. For fans outside of Japan wanting to watch this show it will be streamed live on our homepage!
The main event of the card will see WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) make his first defense. The champion, who won the title in the 2018 Fight of the Year against Sho Kimura, will be up against former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12). These two had sought to fight when both were campaigning at Light Flyweight, though injuries to Tanaka scuppered those plans. Since then both have moved up and we're now really looking forward to what could be a 2019 Fight of the Year contender. Our full preview of this bout can be read here "The Fate hangs in the balance Kosei Tanaka and Ryoichi Taguchi face off!"
The chief support bout will see unbeaten youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) making his first defense of the WBC Youth Flyweight title, as he takes on Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). This will be Hatanaka's first defense of the title, and the expectation on "Prince" Hatanaka is huge given his performances so far and the success of his father, a former world champion. The Thai has won his last 5 bouts and is riding some momentum, but did lose in his only previous bout in Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017.
Another Japan Vs Thailand bout will see the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) take on a Thai opponent. Mizuno will be looking to move through the rankings this year on to bigger and better fights and is currently riding an 8 fight winning run, including notable domestic wins over Noboru Osato and Yuki Iriguchi. He will be expecting to extend that winning run here.
Former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) will be taking on Chinese foe Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the Japanese fighter, despite the fact he has been out of the ring since September 2017. Tanaka, no relation to Kosei, is a talented fighter who's losses have come to Kentaro Masuda and Ryo Akaho, and this looks like a bout to ease him back into things before bigger bouts down the line. For Yu this will be his first bout since getting a gift draw in December against Yuya Nakamura, in an entertaining bout, but one he seemed to clearly lose.
A second Japan Vs China bout will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), who was involved in a real thriller earlier this year with Korean Seong Yeong Yang. It's hard not to think this will be an all action fight, and it's a great step up in class for Takeshima, who will be taking on a foe expected to last a few rounds with him here.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in Indonesia, with a couple of UBO minor title bouts on it.
One of those title bouts will see veteran Roy Tua Manihuruk (19-19-2, 15) take on 42 year old Thai foe Vachayan Khamon (11-25-1, 4), aka Suor Carryboy, for the UBO Inter Continental Light Welterweight title. This isn't a mouth watering match up, but given the limitations of both fighters it should be somewhat interesting.
A second title bout will see Moensaku Yor (5-5-1, 3) take on Artid Bamrungauea (22-25, 20) for the UBO International Super Bantamweight title. Yor has lost his last 3 by stoppage, including an opening round blow out loss to Ari Agustian. The Thai is a 34 year old who has lost every bout against a notable name, and would need one of his career best performances to pick up a win here.
As well as the notable bouts in Asia there are also a couple of central Asian fighters in action in Canada.
Unbeaten Kazakh Batyrzhan Jukembayev (14-0-0-2, 12) has seemingly repaired bridges with his promoter and manager, after a public falling out, and will battle against Mexican fighter Carlos Jimenez (14-9-1, 8). Jimenez, and his manager, are said to have agreed terms to fight different opponents, with Jimenez being announced as fighting Daniyar Yeleussinov on March 15th before actually being confirmed for this bout a day later. Jimenez is a great opponent at this point for Jukembayev and should be the best out of the Kazakh.
The other Kazakh on this show is Nurzat Sabirov (8-0, 7), who takes on Argentinian journeyman Cesar Hernan Reynoso (15-11-4, 7). The 25 year old Sabirov impressed last year, scoring 4 wins including a notable one over Rocky Montoya in November. Big things are expected from Sabirov, though this is a step up, and Reynoso has been in with some notable names, including Callum Smith and Martin Fidel Rios. This should be a clear win for Sabirov, but we don't expect an early blow out.
Staying in North America we'll get the US debut of Azeri fighter Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11) who goes up against talented American teenager Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4). The American youngster is a real talent and we'd expect to see him becoming a star in the future. Sadly for Aghayev we don't see this ending well for him, despite the fact he is the more experienced and naturally bigger man.
Yet more action in North America for Asian fighters will see Kazakh Sagadat Rakhmankul (3-1, 1) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Nicklaus Flaz as he takes on Brandon Adams (4-7-1, 2). Although he lost last time out Rakhmankul is touted as a very solid prospect and it will be very interesting to see how he bounces back here.
There will also be a fight in Australia, as Filipino fighter Glenn Enterina (14-4-1, 9) takes on the unbeaten Jacob Ng (9-0, 7) in a bout for the IBF Youth Lightweight title. On paper Ng, an Australian fighter, should be favoured but Enterina has mixed with good company, with loses to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Mark Urvanov.
Pak Kret, Thailand
The main action this coming Saturday is from Thailand of all places, as ONE Championship put on a card that will feature a major boxing world title fight.
That bout will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) defending his belt against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-2-3, 6). The champion, who is now a sporting hero in Thailand, will be making his third defense of the title that he won in March 2017 when he upset Roman Gonzalez. Since then he has beaten Gonzalez in a second bout, Juan Franisco Estarada and fought a stay busy bout against Young Gil Bae, this is however a serious chance to impress on a show that isn't aimed specifically at a boxing audience. Diaz is taking a huge step up in class, though has scored notable wins over Hernan Marquez and Luis Concepcion. Sadly the Mexican has suffered notable stoppage losses and given Srisaket's power the odds are he will suffer another stoppage defeat here. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Srisaket and Diaz clash at Kingdom of Heroes
As well as the big show in Thailand there is also a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, including a title unification bout, a Japanese title eliminator and the debut of a stand out amateur fighter.
The title unification bout will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (6-0, 2) battle against Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1, 11) to unify those two titles. Of the two men it's Sueyoshi, the national champion, that has the more distinguished reign, having held his title since October 2017 and has already made a couple of defenses of the belt. Although a talented fighter Sueyoshi can be frustrating to watch and has a rather unique tempo in the ring. Mishiro on the other hand only won his regional title this past June, defeating Carlo Magali with a split decision. He knows he's up against a more experienced professional fighter, but did have a very accomplished amateur background. This could be the best bout of the day in terms of skills, even if the action probably won't be the most intense. A full preview this bout can be read here - Mishiro and Sueyoshi battle to unify crowns!
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) face off with recent OPBF title challenger Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) with the winner getting a Japanese Flyweight title fight next year. Of the two Nakatani is clearly the favourite. He's a Rookie of the Year winner, a Japanese Youth Champion and a fighter who has broken into the world rankings. Kosaka on the other hand has come up short in most of his biggest bouts, with stoppage losses to Tetsuya Hisada and Jayr Raquinel, with the loss to Raquinel coming in an OPBF title bout. Given Nakatani's power we suspect Kosaka suffer his third stoppage defeat. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Nakatani and Kosaka fight for the right to challenge for Flyweight title!
This show will also feature the debut of of the very highly regarded Mikito Nakano (0-0), who ran up an excellent 75-9 in the amateurs and has been sparring with Hiroaki Teshigawara to prepare for his debut. The Japanese fighter will be taking on a relatively straight forward first assignment as he battles Thai foe Thanawat Yancharoen (1-3), in what should be a straight forward debut win for a genuine talent and a great addition to the Japanese professional ranks.
In the Philippines we get a card rescheduled from September 22nd, a pretty notable card taking place in Benguet.
The main event will see former OPBF title challenger Cris Paulino (18-3, 7) facing off with the upset minded Jomar Fajardo (16-11-2, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super. Flyweight title. Paulino has been stopped in all 3 of hos defeats, to Ardin Diale, Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, but is a very capable fighter who is riding a 4 fight winning run into this fight. “Wallopman” Fajardo is best known for his two fights with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, earning a draw in the first of those bouts. Despite being upset minded Fajardo is 1-7-1 in his last 9 and and a win here would be one of his very best.
A bout that should be better than the records of those involved suggests will see Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-2, 11) take on Cris Alfante (14-7-1, 6). Neither of these men are world beaters, by any stretch of the imagination, but they should make for a very good contest between each other. Ponteras, on his day, can hold his own with fringe OPBF level opponents but is very inconsistent and can end up losing to opponents he should be. Alfante is the naturally smaller man, but also the younger man, and the fighter who will be looking to build on recent wins over Reymark Taday and Roilo Golez. This could be a pretty interesting match up, if we get the best from both guys.
Also on this card is promising youngster Jayson Vayson (7-0, 4), who looks to continue his unbeaten start to professional boxing as he takes on Ronald Alapormina (3-2-1). We like the 20 year old Vayson, a lot, and are looking forward to seeing him let off the leash in the near future. On paper this isn't a step up in class, but it will be his first 10 round contest. As for Alapormina he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 and will be wanting to end that win-less run. We expect a win for Vayson, but do hope to see him getting tested in the near future.
There's another small card taking place in India, which has also been rescheduled from September 15th and feature a youth title bout.
The title bout will see unbeaten Indian Rajesh Kumar (9-0-1, 2) take on Bright Ayala (16-1, 11), with Kumar defending the WBC Youth Lightweight title for the first time. The unbeaten local won the title back in April, when he defeated Glenn Enterina, and will not be wanting to relinquish that title just 5 months after winning it. Ayala, from Ghana, hasn't fought anyone of real note though was beaten last time he faced an unbeaten opponent, losing a decision to Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab. This bout should let us know how good both men are, or aren't.
The lead supporting bout is a female contest which will see 20 year old local Kirti (4-1, 2) take on Kiwi visitor Cherneka Johnson (10-0, 5). Coming into this Kirti is looking to build on a big win over Noemi Bosques but she will be regarded as the underdog against the in-form Johnson, who has stopped 3 of her last 4.
Baja California, Mexico
Out side of Asia we have a number of notable bouts, including a very interesting contest in Mexico between Jason Canoy (27-8-2, 19) and Luis Nery (26-0, 20), who battle for the WBC Silver Bantamweight title. The rugged Canoy is best known for losing in his biggest fights, including a loss to a then debuting Hinata Maruta and a thrilling loss to Hiroaki Teshigawa, and is expected to come up short again here. However the Filipino is tough, heavy handed and has never been stopped, he will also know this is a massive opportunity. Nery on the other hand is known for being a controversial figure, who has two tainted wins over Shinsuke Yamanaka. Nery is talented, heavy handed and highly capable, though there are serious doubts as to whether he can make Bantamweight and he will always have dark clouds hanging over his head for the wins over Yamanaka.
Baja California, Mexico
Staying in Mexico there will also be a contest featuring Mark Magsayo (18-0, 13), though his opponent has yet to be named. This will be Magsayo's first bout of 2018, and his first contest since seemingly leaving ALA Promotions earlier this year. He's a talented fighter but the long break, change in management and the lack of named opponent will not serve him well as he continues looking to build towards a potential world title fight.
In Canada fans will be able to see Kazakh prospect Batyrzhan Jukembayev (13-0-0-2, 11) continue his rise as he faces off with Mexican southpaw Patricio Moreno (20-2, 14). This will be Jukembayev's third bout of the year and he is tipped to go on to big things, this however is a perfect step up in class with Moreno being a tough but limited opponent capable of genuinely testing Jukembayev. A really interesting and solid match up.
After a huge Friday for Japanese fight fans we get an interesting card on Saturday with interest for fans across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day is a huge one for Filipino fight fans, as IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) defends his title against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan (14-3, 0). This all-Filipino bout will the first all-Filipino world title bout in over 90 years and will see the winner really get a chance to become a big name back home, as well as solidifying themselves as one of the top Super Flyweights on the planet. Unfortunately it would seem likely that both are likely to miss out on the HBO “Superfly” series of shows, but if the winner can unify with WBA champion Kal Yafai that may not be too much of a problem in the short term.
For Mongolian fans attention should be shifted to Mississippi as unbeaten prospect Tugstsogt Nyambayar (9-0, 8) takes a huge step up to face off with former interim world champion Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17). The Mongolian hopeful was taken the distance for the first time in his last bout, and was dropped in that bout by Harmonito Dela Torre, but has looked capable of going all the way and this upcoming bout should be the sort of bout he needs to get himself in to the title mix. Escandon is just 15 months removed from an excellent KO win over Robinson Castellanos, but has lost his only bout since then, being stopped by Gary Russel Jr, and should really be 1-3 in his last 4, dating back over 3 years. This is a decent step up, but one that Nyambayar should manage without too many issues.
In Canada fans will be able to see hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (12-0-0-2, 10) battle against Argentinian Jonathan Jose Eniz (20-9-1-1, 7) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight title. The talented Kazakh does look like a very promising fighter but does need a genuine test after having had his way in many of his bouts so far. Given that Enil has been stopped only once, way back in 2015 by German Argentino Benitez, we're expecting him to be a real test for the Kazakh who may well need to show his skills as well as his power.
As for Japanese fans they can look a little bit closer to home thanks to a low key card in Osaka. The card is a pretty weak one but is headlined by former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (35-15-1, 9), who takes on a Thai we believe will be Mongkol Kamsommat (6-3, 5). This should be an easy win for Horikawa who fights in bis 52nd professional bout, which would see him become the outright number one for the most fights of any currently active Japanese fighter.
The main card card for us this coming Saturday comes from Aichi, where we'll see a 2-weight world champion along with several prospects.
The former world champion is Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6), who has won world titles at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. Tanaka's pursuit for a Flyweight title kicks off with a bout against unbeaten Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (10-0-1, 7), who had a huge 2017 with stoppages against Ma Yi Ming and Iwan Zoda. A win for Tanaka is likely to set up a world title fight at Flyweight later this year. Saying that however Baldonado will know a win here will give his career a massive boost in the arm and move him onto a world title fight of his own.
In a major supporting bout fans will see unbeaten prospect Kento Hatanaka (4-0, 4) take on former Japanese Minimumweight title challenger Kenta Matsui (8-7, 1). The hard hitting Hatanaka has looked fantastic so far, but this is a huge step up in class following fights against very limited opposition. Matsui may not have a great record but he's a massive step up in class for Hatanaka, and is an upset minded fighter, as seen with his wins against Rikito Hattori and Genki Hanai. This is a big step up, but a win for Hatanakawould have him instantly in the domestic title mix.
Also on this card will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title contender Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14), who will be battling against Jinya Ito (6-3-1, 1). The 26 year old Tanaka has scored a couple of low key wins since losing a decision to Ryo Akaho just over a year ago. Ito has lost 3 of his last 5 and is very unlikely to pose much of a threat to Tanaka who will be looking to earn a third Japanese title fight in the near future.
As well as the the card in Aichi Japanese fans will also get a card in Shizuoka.
The main event of the card will see OPBF ranked Super Bantamweight Takashi Igarashi (12-3, 5) battle against Yutaka Motoyoshi (7-11, 5),in an 8 rounder. On paper this isn't that mouth watering, but Igarashi isn't as much of a foregone winner as his record suggests, and with two stoppages against his name he is certainly not the toughest man out there. Motoyoshi has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, but he has mixed at a decent level and could well have the power to give Igarashi problems if he can connect .
Another man at risk if gets caught is Omrri Bolivar (5-1, 3), who will be up against bit punching Filipino visitor Junny Salogaol (13-12-4, 12). Last time out Bolivar was stopped in 5 rounds by Jelbirt Gomera and will be looking to get his career back on track here. Salogaol looks like an easy win for the South American on paper, but Salogaol is tough and dangerous and will be looking to score one of the best wins of his career. This could be a very tough contest if Bolivar isn't careful.
One other bout of note on this card will see Asami Jinnari (5-2-1, 2) battle against Wakako Fujiwara (4-2-2, 2) for the Japanese female Featherweight title. These two fought to a draw in December last year and we're expecting another close and competitive match up here.
In Indonesian we'll see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (16-0-2, 8) continue his climb to a world title fight as he takes on former OPBF title challenger Lester Abutan (12-7-3, 6). The unbeaten Monabesa is one of the best hopes for the Indonesian scene but this is a step up and one of the first real tests for the 27 year old southpaw. Abutan was last seen being stopped by Ryota Yamauchi but despite that loss he is still a very capable fighter, and should bring the best out of Monabesa, especially given that a win for Abutan will give his career a boost and he'll be there to win. Interestingly this will be Monabesa's second defense of the World Boxing Council International Silver Light Flyweight title.
A second title fight on this card will see the huighly experienced Samuel Tehuayo (21-43-2, 6) battle against former Hinata Maruta foe Hamson Lamandau (8-2-1, 5), who has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts. The winner of this will become the new Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) International Flyweight champion.
For Asian fans in China there will also be a low key card in Jinan from Top Rank and SECA Ltd. This card is set to only feature novices, but should be a pretty interesting card with every fighter on the card looking to take a step towards bigger and better things.
Seoul, South Korea
It's not only Chinese fans who get a low key novice card but also Korean ones with Boxing M putting on a a small card in Seoul. These match up here, like with the Chinese card, are all low key contests, but the winners will take a step towards something big, as this is part of a big tournament show.
Outside of Asia there will also be some Asian fighters in action in Canada, where they have been building their respective careers so far.
One of those is the promising Batyrzhan Jukembayev (11-0-0-2, 9) of Kazakhstan. The 26 year old will be facing off with Mexican Noe Nunez (18-5-1, 13). The Kazakh looks like a real prospect, and although he does look like he's treading water with this fight, given his other recent fights, it is worth noting that he should look good. For those who recognise Nunez's name he has been stopped in 3 rounds by Britain's Jack Caterall and in 6 rounds by Tony Luis, showing he's not the toughest fighter out there.
The other Asian fight on this card is Ablaikhan Khussainov (7-0, 5), also a a Kazakh, who will battle against Gilberto Meza (8-3-1, 5). Last time out Khussainov had some questions to answer, as Jesus Silveria pushed him hard through a 6 rounder, but the Kazakh will be out to make a statement here. It's worth noting that Meza has never been stopped, and did score a career best win last time out, when he stopped Francisco Javier Hernandez.
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day with a lot of action as we continue to race towards Christmas!
In many ways the most significant bout to include an Asian this coming Saturday comes from Mexico where former world champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-2, 4) resurfaces, to take on the limited Delia Lopez (10-6-2, 5) for the WBC Female interim Flyweight title. For Yoshikawa a loss is likely to be the end of her career, and it would be a huge disappointment given her amateur background. Lopez however is a less than great opponent and should pose little threat for the Japanese fighter.
Staying on the theme of Japanese fighters there is also a low key card in Hyogo, thanks to Senrima Kobe.
The main event of the card will see 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-2-1, 8) take on a Thai foe in what is expected to be little more than a confidence builder for Kinoshita. The Japanese fighter was last seen in action this past July when he was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in Australia, and it's clear that he's not going to win a world title. Despite that it's good to see him back in the ring, and hopefully he'll be moved towards an OPBF title fight in 2018.
Another notable Japanese fighter on this card is Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4), who sadly will also be facing a less than testing Thai foe. The talented Hirai has a misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest, as shown by recent wins over Takumi Sake and Ryoya Ikema. Although this bout is a step backwards for Hirai it should be noted that he was injured earlier in the year and this looks like an easy run out to test how he's recovered.
The most interesting bout on this card will see Japanese ranked fighters collide as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (10-2, 6) battles Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3). Coming in to this Kanda is on a 4 fight winning streak, including a big win over Ukyo Yoshigai, and looks to be slowly but surely working his way to a domestic title fight. Whilst Kanda is in good form the same can't be said or Fujita, who was stopped last time out by Koki Inoue, though prior to that loss he had been on an 8 fight winning run and is a live fighter here in what looks like a genuine 50-50 match up.
For a second day running there will be action in Zhongshan, with several titles on the line.
One of those titles will be the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title, which will see Filipino Joe Noynay (12-2-1, 4) battle against Chinese fighter Yongcai Liu (6-4-3, 3). Noynay was last seen losing in a very competitive contest to Reiya Abe, in what was his second loss in 4 bouts, but he should be favoured here. The local has won hist last two against veterans, but a win here would be a surprise given that he is stepping up quite notably here.
A second bout for a WBC Asian Boxing Council title will be at Super Middleweight and will see once beaten Chinese puncher Ainiwaer Yilixiati (11-1, 9) take on Georgian foe Tornike Gikashvili (15-7-1, 3). For Yilixiati this bout will be his second since losing to OPBF champion Jayde Mitchell back in August, and it's hard to see anything but a win for the aggressive Chinese slugger. The 20 year old visitor has gone 1-5 in his last 6, including 4 stoppage losses, and it's hard to imagine him lasting the distance here.
Another bout at Super Middleweight will see Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (9-1-1, 7) take on Pavel Semjonov (21-7-2, 8), in a non-title bout. The exciting Maimaitiali will be fighting for the second time since his very close loss to Vijender Singh in August and he will be looking to make a statement here. The visitor, from Estonia, may be recognisable to European fight fans, as he has fought a variety of notable fighters, but regularly comes up short in performance that show his toughness. We're expecting to see Maimaitiali win, and if so we can hopefully move towards a bout between him and the aforementioned Yilixiati.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most significant of three shows in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila and features a trio of title bouts, along with a scattering of other notable fighters.
One of those title bouts will see the promising Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8) battle against countryman Renan Portes (10-5, 6) for the IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Saulong has won his last 3, and rebuilt well following his 2015 loss to Lwandile Sityatha. On paper Portes looks the much lesser fighter, and his loss to Hayate Kaji earlier this year does show he can be blasted out, but Portes will know this is a big opportunity and hopefully he looks to take it with both hands.
A second title bout, for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title will see the once beaten Ivan Soriano (16-1-1, 8) take on the upset minded Jaysever Abcede (15-7, 10). Coming in to this Soriano is riding a 12 fight winning run, dating back to 2010, though he has taken a significant break from action during that run and has fought only 4 rounds in the last 4 years. Abcede is best known for a 2015 upset win over Pigmy Kokietgym, though has only gone 5-4 since then and lost to the likes of Tsubasa Koura and Wanheng Menayothin. This could be a really intriguing match up, though it does look like one that Soriano should pick up the win in.
A third title bout, and by far the weakest on the card, will see Danny Tampipi (7-8-2, 4) battle Noel Adelmita (13-11-2, 2) for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. We'll be honest and admit we really are struggling to get excited about this one with both fighters being out of form and neither likely to really shine here.
Other fighters on this card include Mark Anthony Barriga (7-0, 1), Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8), Richard Claveras (18-3-2, 15) and AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23), all of whom are expected to pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes. Barriga and Daniega are two real prospects with genuine potential, whilst Claveras and Banal are both aggressive and exciting and aggressive fighters who should be looking to make statements.
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second Filipino show in Metro Manila will take place, though to much less fan fare than the one above.
The most notable bout on the card is a huge mismatch between Cris Paulino (14-3, 4) and Roy Lagrada (3-18-1, 3). The talented Paulino is the much better fighter here, despite losing successive bout to Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, though has taken 2 years out of the ring and will be looking to ease himself back into action against the over-matched Lagrada.
This show will also feature the once beaten Giemel Magramo (19-1, 15), who looks to secure his third win since a close and competitive loss to Muhammad Waseem back in November 2016. Sadly at the time of writing Magramo's opponent hadn't been announced.
There will also be a small card in Cebu.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Jayar Aliasot (6-1, 5) take on domestic foe Carlo Demecillo (8-4, 2). Aliasot is stepping up big time here, but will feel his power can do a number on Demecillo, like Satoshi Shimizu's did last December, and that he can get the lighter punching man out of there. As for Demecillo the game plan will be able dragging his man into the later rounds, and out working him, showing the toughness that gave Hisashi Amagasa problems in October 2016.
Also on this card is a very interesting looking match up between 32 year old Clyde Azarcon (10-1, 4) and 21 year old Royder Lloyd Borbon (5-1-1, 5). Coming in to this Azarcon has won his last 9, but the competition during that run tells us very little about how good he is and none of the opponents had records to suggest they were really going to be tests. Borbon on the other hand will come in on the back of 3 stoppages, and will be looking to score his best win to date here. This should tell us a lot about both men.
In Ukraine we see a Filipino fighter go to the Lion's den to face one of the more over-looked Ukrainian fighters of recent times. The Ukrainian in question is the outstanding Denys Berinchyk (7-0, 4), who was a Silver medal winner at the 2011 World Amateur championships and the 2012 Olympics. In the opposite corner to the Ukrainian will be once beaten Filipino Allan Vallespin (11-1, 8), who was stopped in his only bout outside of the Philippines by a thunder bolt from current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi. Vallespin could test Barinchyk but it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
We have another bout involving a Filipino in France, as local prospect Nordine Oubaali (12-0, 9) takes on the highly experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (34-7-3, 15) in a bout for the WBC “Silver” Bantamweight title. The talented Oubaali is a 2-time Olympian who was once tipped for big things, but at 31 years old it does seem like now or never for him. Aged 26 Geraldo has been able to be a busy professional and has shown real touches of brilliance, but has never quite managed to put on a full performance at the higher levels. Coming in to this Geraldo is 3-3, including a loss to Takuma Inoue, and although he could give Oubaali a good test, it would be regarded as a real upset if Geraldo picked up the win.
In Canada we see one of the most exciting prospects from Kazakhstan in action. That man is the heavy handed Batyrzhan Jukembayev (10-0-0-2, 9), who takes a credible step up in class to take on 22 year old American Wilberth Lopez (20-8, 14). The hard hitting Jukembayev does look like a destructive force and is carving out a promising career in Canada but does need to win here to continue that run. Lopez will come in as the opponent but he will be a very live one. He has gone the distance with decent prospects, like Alex Saucedo, Ivan Baranchyk and Juan Ruiz, whilst also proving he can score the odd upset, as he did against Jose Roman. This is not likely to be a walk in the park for the Canadian based Kazakh.
Mandaue City, Philippines
The biggest show this coming Friday for us is in the Philippines, where we will see a nice mix of bouts, ranging from notable names to unbeaten prospects.
One of the biggest names on the card is the teak tough, and heavy handed, Jason Canoy (26-7-2, 19). Canoy, who was the debut opponent of Hinata Maruta, will be up against relatively notable domestic foe Renerio Arizala (13-7-2, 5) in what should be a straight forward win for Canoy. The talented Canoy was beaten last time out, losing a split decision in in South Africa to Mzuvukile Magwaca, but should have far too much for Arizala, who struggled in recent years and has scored just 1 win in his last 8 bouts.
In the only title bout on the card fans will be able to see Jhaleel Payao (15-1, 9) make his first defense of the PBF Bantamweight title, as he takes on the heavy handed Raul Yu (9-2-2, 8). The talented Payao has only been beaten by the very skilful Michael Dasmarinas, and since that loss has bounced back with 4 straight forward domestic wins, including his title winning effort back in March against Nelson Tinampay. The big punching Yu was beaten last time out, losing a wide decision to Jade Bornea, but should be viewed as a live challenger here, and he certainly has the edge in power here. This should be a really interesting match up, but we do see the champion retaining his title.
Another pretty decent match up on this card will see Kenny Demecillo (12-4-2, 7) take on domestic banana skin Gerpaul Valero (21-19-4, 15), in what could be a very tricky match up. On paper Demecillo will be the favourite, though he did lose his last bout, suffering a decision loss to Mark Anthony Geraldo, and Valero has scored notable upsets in the past.
Explosive youngster Tomjune Mangubat (7-0, 7) will be seeking to continue his impressive start as he battles against Crisanto Contemprato (6-3-1, 4) in an decent looking match up. The 20 year old Mangubat is being gradually stepped up, but has so far just been too powerful for everyone he's faced,scoring 7 T/KO's in just 11 combined rounds. The 25 year old Contemprato has only been stopped once in 10 bouts, and that was up at Super Featherweight, suggesting he can take a shot, which he'll need to do to over-come Mangubat.
Also on the under is a battle of unbeaten fighters as Rimon Rama (6-0-1, 4) takes on Richard Bulacan (3-0, 3) in a match up that looks likely to be explosive,a little bit wild and very exciting. Despite both men being novices this is scheduled for 8 rounds, and is 18 year old Rama's second bout scheduled for the distance.
In Canada we'll see touted Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (9-0-0-2, 8) take a huge step up in class as he faces off with once touted Panamanian Alberto Mosquera (24-3-2-2, 16). The Kazakh has been an exciting fighter so far, and looks like a very dangerous man with serious power, though has shown decent stamina with an 8 round decision win last year. It's worth noting that whilst Mosquera is a decent fighter he has been stopped in al 3 of his defeats and Jukembayev can certainly punch.
In the US fight fans will get the chance to see former Uzbek amateur star Rustam Tulaganov (0-0) make his professional debut. The talented 26 year old will be debuting in a 4 rounder, though the reality is that he could be fast tracked through the ranks and facing notable names before the end of 2018.
One of the best bouts of 2015 saw Takashi Miura (30-3-2, 23) face off with Francisco Vargas in a brilliant war for the WBC Super Featherweight title. This week wee see Miura return to an American ring as he takes on Mexican veteran Miguel Roman (56-11, 43) in a WBC world title eliminator, with the winner set to face either Vargas or Miguel Berchelt, who fight on the same card. The Miura Vs Roman bout had been touted through much of 2016 but for various reasons the bout hasn't taken place and instead we get to kick 2017 with the bout, just weeks into the near year.
Miura won't be the only Japanese fighter on the road this weekend as former IBF Super Flyweight title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8) fights in a world title eliminator against former champion McJoe Arroyo (17-1, 8). Kinoshita, making his international debut, is a former Japanese Super Flyweight champion who is best known for being out boxed by Zolani Tete for the IBF Super Flyweight title in the Portopia Hotel in Kobe, where Kinoshita was actually working at the time. Since then he has gone 6-0 (5) and shown a development in his power. For Arroyo this bout will be his first since losing the title last year in a mandatory title defense against Jerwin Ancasjas, where the Puerto Rican fighter was thoroughly uninspired. This is winnable for Kinoshita, but it will be a tough ask for the 31 year old Japanese Southpaw.
In Canada we'll see a pair of unbeaten Kazakh hopefuls fighting to extend their winning starts.
The more notable of the two is Batyrzhan Jukembayev (7-0-0-2, 6), who will be looking for his 8th win as he takes on David Rangel (12-4, 8). On paper this should be a good test for the Kazakh, although he will be strongly favoured. Rangel has lost 4 of his last 6, but has mixed in good company with losses to the likes of Gilberto Gonzalez and Javier Prietom and a recent win over Leonardo Jimenez.
The other Kazakh on this card is 25 year old Ablaikhan Khussainov (4-0, 3), who takes on the once beaten Oscar Mejia (8-1-1, 3). The Kazakh has looked good so far but is taking a clear step up here and will be fighting in his first scheduled 6 rounder as he takes on a Mexican who has shown some genuine potential himself. Although Mejia lost last time out he proved he was capable and should be a very good test for Khussainov.
The most notable bout set to take place in Asia this weekend will see rising Indonesian star Iwan Zoda (13-1, 12) defending his IBF Youth Flyweight title against Filipino Robert Onggocan (7-1, 3). Zoda, who is the most exciting Indonesian youngster since Daud Yordan was first breaking through the ranks, will be looking to make his first defence of the title whilst Onggocan will be fighting in his first title bout.
This coming Saturday is a busy day though it's exciting an important day with a really notable domestic card in Japan and notable bots in Mexico and Canada.
That Japanese card is a small one, but a very significant one as it's the Strongest Korakuen show and will establish 4 fighters who will fight for Japanese titles in the first half of 2017.
The highest weight to see action is the 140lb Light Welterweight division where we will see the exciting Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13), who has come up short in previous Japanese title bouts, face off with talented novice foe Noriaki Sato (4-1-1). Aso has the advantages in power and experience but Sato is certainly no push over and he comes in the back of wins over Valentine Hosokawa and Kazuya Ito. This really could be an an excellent match up with very contrasting styles.
At Super Featherweight we'll see recent title challenger Satoru Sugita (11-3-1, 7) face off with the experienced Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-13-5, 2). Sugita was beaten last time out, when he he came up short against Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, though will clearly be looking to move into a second title fight. On paper this looks like an easy win for Sugita but Tojo is a much better fighter than his record suggests and he is a real potential banana skin for someone like Sugita.
The best of the bouts takes place at 122lbs where the highly experienced Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (32-7-5, 14) takes on 25 year old puncher Yusaku Kuga (12-2-1, 8). Baat is tested at a high level and is a potential banana skin for every one below world class, and he's had solid showings against the likes of Liborio Solis and Rey Megrino recently. Kuga on the other hand came up narrowly short in his most notable bout, against Japanese champion Yasutaka Ishimoto, and will be looking for a rematch with Ishimoto if he wins here. This is a really mouth watering contest and potentially thriller between two men who are at different stages of their career and should put on something a bit special.
The lowest weight covered here is Light Flyweight where Tetsuya Hisada (26-9-2, 16) will face Hayato Yamaguchi (14-6-1, 2) in a really interesting fight. Aged 31 Hisada cannot afford a loss but is 8-5-2 in his last 15 bouts and has been inconsistent against his more notable opponents, he is skilled, and has developed some real sting on his shots, but is fundamentally flawed. Yamaguchi has come up short against his most notable opponents but has got the ability to give Hisada fits, unfortunately he too is inconsistent. This could be a great bout, or it could be a case that the fighter who turns up wins without needing to impress.
Also on this card is a stay busy bout for Ryuichi Funai (25-7, 17), as he faces Jomyuth Looktabthai (1-0) in what should prepare him for a bout with Kenta Nakagawa in 2017 when he competes in the Champion Carnival.
In Quebec we get 3 bouts of interest.
The most interest of those 3 bouts sees experienced Filipino Ricky Sismundo (30-9-3, 13) take on the once touted Canadian based Ghislain Maduma (18-2, 11). It was only a few years ago that Maduma was looking like a future world title challenger in the making but 2 losses in his last 4 have left him fighting for his career and he can't afford another loss. Although Sismundo has a less than stellar record he has been a surprising fighter with upsets against the likes of Shuhei Tsuchiya, Akihiro Kondo and Yoshitaka Kato and deserved wins recently over Jose Felix Jr and Dierry Jean. This looks like a mismatch on paper but certainly won't be when the men get in the ring.
In an interesting step up we'll see Canadian based Kazakh puncher Batyrzhan Jukembayev (5-0-0-2, 5) face the much more experienced Ivan Pereyra (20-7, 14). Jukembayev is a really promising prospect with serious power and looks to be one of the truly exciting punchers making their marks. In Pereyra we have an experienced Mexican but one who has been stopped in 3 of his last 6 bouts, and will likely struggle to see the final bell here, if Jukembayev is as good as he has looked so far.
Another Canadian based Kazakh hopeful on this card is Ablaikhan Khussainov (2-0, 2), who takes a notable step up in class to face Attila Csereklye (6-2, 4). So far Khussainov has been matched incredibly easily and although this is, technically, a step up Csereklye isn't expected to pose much of a threat, with Hungarians being notoriously bad when facing fighters who punch back.
In China we get a show from Yinchuan, for the second day running.
In the main event we'll see the experienced Xing Xin Yang (11-4-3, 8) battling against the once beaten Tong Hui Li (6-1, 4). Coming in to this Yang is 1-1-1 in his last 3, having been stopped by Jack Brubaker last year in that loss, but should be favoured over his countryman. Li is looking for his second win since a loss to Alimu Tuersun back in March but this is a step up in class for him.
In another bout on this card we'll see the once beaten Hu Li Fu (3-1, 2) battle Kazakh hopeful Viktor Kotochigov (2-0, 1). On paper this doesn't look the most interesting but Kotochigov scored a notable win over A Fu Bai last time out and a win here could solidify him as one to watch going forward. Interestingly the Kazakh will be fighting in China for the third time.
Baja California, Mexico
One of the more interesting bouts comes from Mexico as the unbeaten Luis Nery (20-0,14) takes on Filipino former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (31-5-1, 8). On paper this one looks like a step up for Nery but given the weight Nery has to be favoured and Mepranum has been stopped in his last two international bouts, with this likely to be another loss for the “Magnum” and a chance for Nery to further prove himself as a rising contender.
We get a Filipino show in Benguet which is headlined by a title fight, and features an interesting test for an unbeaten fighter on the under-card.
The title bout will see the once beaten Bener Santig (4-1-1, 1) face off against the unbeaten Dexter Eraya (2-0, 1) for the LuzProBA Super Bantamweight title in what looks like an intriguing match up between two men on the rise. Santig is looking to record a third win since his sole defeat, which came last November, whilst former Muay Thai fighter Eraya looks to record his best win as a boxer.
In another interesting bout Danny Tampipi (5-6-2, 3) will be looking to test the unbeaten Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-0-2, 5) in an 8 rounder. Lulu, if he wins here, should be stepped up in 2017 with the “Bomber” in need of a win over a notable foe.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
A second Filipino show is set to be held in Negros Occidental.
The most notable bout here will see the once beaten Raul Yu (8-1-2, 7) face off against Paul Varona (2-6-1), in what looks like a mismatch in favour of the promising and heavy handed Yu.
On the under-card of this show fans will be able to see the unbeaten Kenneth Paul Gentallan (4-0, 2) fight against the once beaten Ricardo Sueno (2-1-3, 1), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Gallan.
In Australia fight fans will get the chance to see two limited Thai's in action.
One of those bouts will see Jamie Hilt (4-1-1) take on Aphichat Koedchatturat (1-8) in what looks like a recording padding bout for local fighter Hilt, who lost last time out whilst the other will see the win-less pairing of Mel Baker (0-1) and Monthida Rattanachai (0-1) face off in a female bout.