This coming Saturday is set to be a huge day for Asian boxing, with a number of fighters taking place across a number of shows. This includes a big bout in Mexico, a pair of shows in China and a pretty notable card in the Philippines.
Nuevo León, Mexico
One of the Mexican fights takes place in Nuevo León and will see former IBF and WBO Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (27-4-1, 19) battle against former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) in a contest for the for Rodriguez's WBC Latino Silver Super Flyweight title. The Mexican is best remembered for his incredible 2014 bout with Katsunari Takayama but since then has gone 9-2-1 and moved up from Minimumweight to Super Flyweight, which doesn't appear to have suited him quite as well as the smaller divisions. Tobe was once one of the most touted prospects in Japan, and although he has failed to reach the expectations many had for him, this is a great chance to make a mark and put himself in the mix for a world title fight.
Of the actual shows in Asia the most notable is an ALA promoted card in Leyte.
The main event of the card will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (15-2, 13) take on Thai foe Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-5, 10) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The heavy handed Santisima has won his last 13 in a row, with 12 stoppage, and we expect to see him continue that run here. Despite that this isn't a foregone conclusion and Yodsingdaeng is a credible foe, with his only loss since 2015 coming in a decision to Juan Martin Elorde. This should be a good test for Santisima.
In the co-feature we'll see the touted Albert Pagara (29-1, 20) battle against Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-3-2, 14), with this bout being for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. Pagara has been rebuilding well since his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez, but on paper this bout is a step from his last 3 contests, all of which were pretty straight forward wins for the Filipino. Odoi, from Ghana, began his career by losing his first 2 bouts, and was 1-1-2 after 4 contests, but has rebuilt well with 19 wins from his following 21 bouts. Despite being a step up for Pagara from recent opponents we're not expecting the Filipino to come up short here, but he will be forced to work for his win.
In main supporting bouts we have two former world title challengers in action. One of those is Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7), who takes on fellow Filipino Philip Luis Cuerdo (10-4-1, 4) in what looks like an interesting match up. Jerusalem impressed in a narrow loss to Wanheng Menayothin, for the WBC Minimumweight title, but a loss to Joey Canoy last year does leave us wondering if he has the fire to prove himself. Cuerdo should be able to test Jerusalem here, but he been stopped in 2 of his last 3, and it would be a shock to see him pick up a victory over the former world title challenger.
The other former world title challenger on this card is Arthur Villanueva (31-3, 17), who has twice come up short when fighting for a world title. The technically well schooled Villanueva who has lost to McJoe Arroyo, Zolani Tete and Luis Nery, will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he take on domestic foe Renren Tesorio (16-12-3, 4).
Albert Pagara's older brother Jason Pagara (40-3-1, 25) is also on this card, and will be battling against Geisler Ap (12-10-1, 9). The 29 year old Pagara once promised so much but has disappointed in recent contests, including a draw with James Onyango and a loss last time out to Hiroki Okada. Despite those set backs it's hard to imagine Ap having much to test the Filipino.
The card is also set to see the debut of former Japanese stand out Go Hosaka (0-0), who will battle Holly Quinones (3-9-1, 1) in a “special attraction” bout. The 21 year old Hosaka signed with ALA not too long back and is tipped for big things. Despite this being his debut it's hard to imagine Hosaka losing to a fighter like Quinones, who has been stopped in 7 of his 9 losses.
On one Chinese show fight fans will see IBF female Minimumweight Zongju Cai (10-1, 1) battle against Mexico's Ana Victoria Polo (7-2, 1) for the IBO Female Minimumweight title. The Chinese fighter is looking to become a double champion, though from what is being reported won't be risking her IBF title here. Despite not risking her own title Cai will be strongly fancied here, and she is a genuine talent who is quickly become the face of female boxing in China. Aged 36 Polo is a fighter who has fought just once in the last 18 months and is unlikely to have the speed or skills match the local favourite.
The other title bout in China will see former world title contender Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) battle against the once beaten Petch Kokietgym (32-1, 5) in a contest for the OPBF “silver” Super Bantamweight title. The Chinese fighter hasn't fought since December 2016, when he suffered his second loss to Nehomar Cermeno, but will be favoured here against the very limited Petch. On paper the Thai looks a good fighter but his competition has been horrific so far and it's hard to image he has anything to test Jun with, even if Jun is rusty. Interestingly the winner of this will move towards a potential show down with Hidenori Otake.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
The biggest fight featuring an Asian this weekend comes from the UK with Japan's Sho Ishida (24-0, 13) looking to make history and become the first Japanese fighter to claim a world title in Europe. The Ioka gym fighter will be up against WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai (22-0, 14) and is regarded by many as a no-hoper against an Englishman who has long been touted as one of the best in the division. For Ishida this will be his first bout outside of Japan and his first against a European opponent, though he does enter as the mandatory challenger and a former Japanese champion. As for Yafai this will be his second defense and sees him facing a Japanese opponent for a second successive bout, following a decision win last time against Suguru Muranaka. Although regarded as a mismatch by the bookies we do suspect this could be a lot more competitive than fans are thinking.
Macao S.A.R., China
Boing returns to Macao this weekend with a rescheduled female world title fight headlining the card.
That female title bout will see China's Zong Ju Cai (9-1,1) make her first defense of the IBF Female Minimumweight title, as she battles experienced Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (18-8, 6). Originally this bout was supposed to take place back in July, before the card was cancelled, and now looks to see the two finally get it on. Of the two Cai is more naturally talented, and is a speedy outside fighter who moves really well and has lovely speed. Abaniel on the other hand is the far more experienced fighter and is a woman who will likely know she can't afford another loss if she wishes to remain relevant on the world stage.
An interesting supporting bout will see Yangcheng Jin (6-2-2, 2) look to bounce back from a loss to Jayar Inson as he takes on Thai veteran Saddam Kietyongyuth (26-3, 21). This is a big test for Jin,who has never faced someone like Saddam before, whilst the Thai will be looking to avoid a 4th loss in 7 bouts.
Seoul, South Korea
Korean fans get a rare show, in what could end up being an entertaining low key card. Though one that has had major alterations made to it after one competitor was injured in sparring, forcing several bouts to be rescheduled for November.
On paper the most notable bout will see Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Indonesian Jackson Koel Lapie (4-8, 2). Lee has gotten a fair bit of publicity in Korea after his battle for refugee status and will be looking to continue his winnings ways here as he takes on an opponent who has lost his last 4, and is probably best known for being Koki Inoue's debut opponent.
In an all debutant female bout we'll get the chance to see Se Eun Park (0-0) take on Eun Bit Hwang (0-0), in what is the show's most well matched bout on paper. It's always good to see more women take up the sport,and in the last few years it's really been the women who have kept Korean boxing alive, so the more the better in our eyes.
Staying in Asia there will also be a low key card in the Philippines.
In a 10 rounder we'll see the promising Carl Jammes Martin (5-0, 4) take a step up in class to face off with the under-rated Vincent Bautista (5-9-4,1). The unbeaten man should be favoured here, and the 18 year old has genuine looked like one to watch, but this will be his first 10 rounder and comes against the very stubborn Bautista. Although Bautista's record is nothing to write home about he has proven his toughness against some very good fighters and should prove to have some genuine fighting spirit as he takes on Martin.
On the same card we'll see unbeaten's collide as Ariel Bolante (3-0, 3) faces off with Bienvenido Ligas (4-0, 2). Both of these men are taking a step up in what will be their first fight against someone really coming to win, and the bout should show what both fighters are about. It's hard to predict a win, given the quality of opponents so far, but the bout should be very interesting.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will be able to see once beaten local punched Kyron Dryden (9-1, 7) battle against unebaten Indian fighter Shiva (6-0, 2), with Shiva seeking his first win outside of his homeland. The unbeaten man is taking a huge step up here but will be full of confidence given his unbeaten record. As for Dryden he has won his last 7 bout and has fought at a higher level than Shiva, so will clearly be favoured here.
This coming Tuesday attention turns to China where we get a small but notable card, headlined by a female world title fight, but also featuring a number of interesting under-card contests.
The main event of the card will see IBF female Minimumweight champion Zong Ju Cai (9-1, 1) make her first defense of the title as she goes up against Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (17-8, 6). The Chinese local out boxed Etsuko Tada for the title earlier this year and now looks like she's hungry to make a name for herself and capitalise on the win. The fast and skilled Chinese won't be in an easy one here however as Abaniel is a determined and skilled fighter herself, who has lost in a number of world title bouts already, but will be hungry to not only win but also avenge a 2015 loss to Cai.
Arguably the best of the under-card bouts sees the unbeaten Xiang Xiang Sun (12-0, 9) risking his record against big punching Filipino foe Anthony Marcial (22-3-1, 21). The talented Sun has began to create some buzz internationally and has stopped 8 out of his last 9 and if he wins again here there is a good reason to believe an OPBF title fight could be just around the corner, in what would be a potential break out fight. For Marcial the bout ends a 14 month break from action and gives him a change to prove if his power is legitimate or not. Although a puncher it should be noted that Marcial has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, suggesting he's a glass cannon.
Another unbeaten Chinese fighter looking to score a big win is Flyweight Wen Feng Ge (5-0, 2), who takes on former world title contender Kwanpichit OneSongchaigym (39-2-2, 24), who is best known for his two bouts with Zou Shiming. On paper this is a huge step up for the 30 year old Chinese fighter, who has never fought anyone with the experience of Kwanpichit. Although experienced it should be noted that Kwanpichit is the much smaller man, moving up from Flyweight to Bantamweight for this bout.
Another under-card bout on this card will see the once beaten Fei Hu Wang (3-1, 1) take on the unbeaten Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0) in a 10 round rematch of their bout in January. In their first meeting a then debuting Russian took a decision over the Chinese teenager in Macau, and will be looking to score a stoppage this time, whilst Wang will be hoping to avenge his only defeat.
Macao S.A.R, Macao
For a second day running fans in Macao will get a notable card at the Cotai Arena.
The main event on this card will be a female world title fight and will see Japan's Etsuko Tada (16-2-2, 5) defending her IBF female Minimumweight title against once beaten Chinese fighter Cai Zong Ju (8-1, 1). The bout will be Tada's first defense of the title she won in December 2015 whilst the Chinese challenger will be fighting in her first world title fight. On paper it's hard to see Tada losing, but she has never won outside of Japan and Ju will have the fans behind her.
In supporting bouts we'll see the unbeaten Wen Feng Ge (4-0, 2) face off with the once beaten Melmark Dignos (6-1), teenage hopeful Fei Hu Wang (3-0, 1) battle with the debuting Aleksei Podkolzin (0-0) and the very exciting Xiang Xiang Sun (9-0,7) battling with Kun Wang (6-2, 1).
As well as the Macao show there will also be a notable show in Tokyo.
In the main event of the card fans will see former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Hayato Kimura (25-9, 16) battle against the under-rated Ryohei Takahashi (10-2-1, 2), who will be looking to record a career boosting win. Kimura has lost 2 of his last 4 fights, but they have come in title bouts against Sho Ishida and Kenta Nakagawa and he will be feeling confident of earning another title fight in the coming year or two. For Takahashi, a Rookie of the Year winner, the bout is a potential chance to score a statement win, however this would be the biggest win of his career and would certainly over-shadow his Rookie crown win from 2014.
As well as the action at the Korakuen Hall there will also be a low profile Filipino show from Cavite. The card is a small one but does have a few fighters of some interest on it.
In a 10 rounder we'll see Recky Dulay (8-2, 5) face off with the highly experienced Philip Parcon (26-22-3, 8). Dulay lost last time out, and has gone 3-2-1 in his last 6, but will be favoured strongly here. Parcon hasn't won in over 2 years, but has faced some stiff competition and had a sizeable break from the ring, which could revitalise him here.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Joseph Ambo (2-0, 2) take on Alberto Pentecostes (1-10-1). Ambo has looked destructive so far, albeit against very limited opponents, and we expected to see more of the same here, especially given that Pentecostes has been stopped in 4 of his 10 losses.
Arguably the biggest name on this card is former world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (8-1-1, 4), who takes on the win-less Beverly Casero (0-1) in a 6 rounder. Pagaduan will be fighting for just just the second time since a February 2015 draw with Kumiko Seeser Ikehara, in a bout for the WBO Female Minimumweight title. Despite the inactivity Pagaduan should be more than good enough to beat Casero here.
Mid week action isn't that rare in the East but this week we do get a relatively special treat with a brilliant looking show in China.
The main event of the card is the much anticipated rematch between IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5) and former Light Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (21-3, 13). The two meet for a second time after their first bout became a farcical contest full of wrestling, holding and rule bending from Ruenroeng, who seemed to be allowed to do what he wanted from inept referee Larry Doggett. This could be a defining fight for both men, a win for either does open up some very interesting bouts for later in the year.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (26-6-1, 14) face off against Jose Antonio Jimenez (16-5-1, 7) in an IBF world title eliminator at 105lbs. The winner will take a huge step towards getting a world title fight with Jose Argumedo later in the year however it is really a must win for Zhong who has looked like a man coming to the the end in recent bouts.
The main event isn't the only title bout on the card as China's Cai Zong Ju (7-1, 1) faces former world champion Samson Tor Buamas (37-3, 19) in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental female Minimumweight title. This is a big step up for Ju but she has impressed and will know that a win here will put her in the mix for a world title fight in the near future.
Another bout of note on this card sees the unbeaten Fanlong Meng (6-0, 4) battle Australian Rob Powdrill (6-2, 1) in what is a notable step up for the former Chinese amateur star.
In the Philippines fans get a small, and relatively forgettable, show, in Tarlac.
The main event of the card will see veterans colliding as Cristian Abila (14-19-4, 5) faces off against Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in a bout for the LuzProBA Featherweight title. We won't try and build this up to be anything special, however it should be noted that the bout has seemingly been re-arranged a number of times in recent weeks.
New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia there are also a couple of Indonesian fighters travelling to Australia.
One of those will be the experienced, but limited, Roy Tua Manihuruk (18-15-2, 14) who will be up against novice professional Ben Savva (2-1), with Savva looking for a third straight win. The other will be Marco Tuhumury (10-12-2, 3), who is expected to be little more than fodder for the unbeaten Ahmed Dib (18-0, 9).