This coming Saturday is a really interesting day, without being a massive one. We get the kick off of a special Japanese tournament, a Japanese Youth title bout a regional title bout in Thailand and more in what is a busy, yet low key, day.
The main show is the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament show which takes place at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Reason Promotions along with Floyd Mayweather's Japanese TMT arm, and former Japanese world champion Takashi Uchiyama.
For those who haven't followed the news the Knock Out Dynamite tournament is actually 3 tournaments, each with 4 men involved, and will take place at 65KG's, 60KG's and 56KG's, as opposed to the more standard boxing weight classes. Their are cash prizes available for the winners with bonuses for any knockouts.
One of the 65KG weight class will see semi-finals take place between Mongolian fighter Byambatsogt Tuguldur (0-0) and Japanese veteran Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11), in what looks like a mismatch on paper. It's hard to say much about the Mongolian, though Tuguldur could be a a genuine dark horse, given the reputation Mongolian fighters have for being tough, hard hitting and very exciting.
The winner of that semi-final will take on the winner of the other semi-final, which will pit Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) against Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9). As with the other semi-final isn't doesn't look the most competitive of bouts, but Baez has struggled recently, with 2 losses in his last 3, and it's possible that Miyazaki could be getting him when his confidence is low. The reality, however, is that Baez will be too good and too powerful for Miyazaki here.
The 60KG tournament will see another seemingly debuting Mongolian in action with Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-0) set to take on veteran Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) in one of the semi-final bouts. Aged 40 Takahata is coming to the end of his career, but is only 2 years removed from a Japanese title fight with Masaru Sueyoshi and is certainly not a fighter who is still solid despite his age. From what we could find the Mongolian has fought in MMA, but we've struggled to find any sign of a previous boxing career.
The winner in the Takahata Vs Bat-Ireedui fight will face the winner of a bout between Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) and Filipino Marvin Esquierdo (14-2-1-1, 8). This looks like one of the better semi final bouts on paper, and one where the visitor has a good chance of picking up the upset. Ito has scored just 1 win in his last 6, going 1-4-1, and that dates back over 4 years. He is however coming back after almost 18 months out, we expect to see him being reinvigorated by the break. The 24 year old Esquierdo is relatively unknown but has momentum, activity and youth on his side.
The 56KG division is really the most interesting, at least if we get the final we're expecting. In one semi-final we'll see the very talented promising Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) taking on the experienced Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9). The 24 year old Yamauchi is a real talent and whilst this is a genuine step up in class he has shown what he can do against Filipino fighters like Alvin Medura and Claudevan Sese. For he's the hidden gem of this tournament. Wakamtsu on the other hand is a 35 year old veteran who has been around the Japanese scene for a decade, with very mixed success. Wakamatsu is better than his record suggests, but we'd be shocked to see him over-come Yamauchi.
This division has a second unbeaten man in it, with former Rookie of the Year winner Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6) taking on the more experienced Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9). When he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2017 Sasaki showed so much promise, and whilst that promise hasn't yet been realised it's clear he can go a long way, and we fancy him to get past Iju and set up a final with Yamauchi. Despite being the under-dog Iju is a very live fighter here and even with 3 losses in his last 4 he is a potential banana skin if Sasaki tries to look past him
A second Japanese show is set to take place in Hyogo, and whilst this is a less significant show than the other, it does have the bout of the day on it, with a mouth watering Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout.
That title fight sees unbeaten men clash as former Rookie of the Year winner Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) takes on former amateur standout Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2). The title is vacant, but this is a great bout to fill that vacancy and pits a skill fighter against an aggressive fighter. Ohashi has barely lost a round during his 8 fight career, and whilst he does lack power there is a lot of skill and IQ behind what he does. Takayama hasn't yet face a Japanese opponent, but looks like he could go through most of the Japanese scene quickly, so don't be surprised it Watanabe strap a jet to him if he comes through this with his unbeaten record intact. Our full preview of this bout is available to read here Ohashi and Takayama battle for Japanese Youth title!
As well as the title bout we'll also see Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) fight in what looks like a stay busy bout against Masajiro Honda (6-11, 4). The talented Kawashima won the Rookie of the Year in 2014, and has shown real promise, though has twice lost close decisions on the road, losing narrowly to Cristian Mijares and Juan Miguel Elorde. We see this as being little more than a work out for Kawashima who really does deserve so much more in terms of competition than Honda, who has been stopped in each of his last 6 bouts.
Bang Phun, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan there is also some interesting action in Thailand, as the Work Point Studio plays host to another card.
The headline bout here will see Chainoi Worawut (7-0-1, 7) take on Filipino foe Alvin Medura (9-4, 7), with the unbeaten local for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. The local, also known as Thattana Luangphon, is a very promising 22 year old who is rising through the ranks and looks likely to be one of the nations big stars of the future. Medura isn't a terrible fight, but shouldn't be much of a test for the Thai, who appears to be getting matched progressively harder. This should be a test for the unbeaten puncher, but a test he passes without too many issues.
In a supporting bout on this card teenage Super Flyweights clash, with Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) facing off in a 6 rounder, we believe as part of a Work Point Super Flyweight tournament.
In Cebu we get a small Filipino card, featuring two men men who are each looking to take a step towards a bigger fight.
One of those men is Clyde Azarcon (15-3-1, 5), who will be looking to bounce back from his first round loss to Ginjiro Shigeoka earlier this year. The loss to Shigeoka was from a brutal body shot and we fully understand why Azarcon has been matched softly here, as he takes on Garry Rojo (9-13-1, 5) in what should be a straight forward win.
The other is the under-rated Carlo Demecillo (13-5-1, 6), who is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run since a loss to Ruben Manakane in Indonesia. Although he's yet to get a big win he did come close to get a career best victory last Novemeber, when he drew with Arthur Villanueva, and it's clear he can take the next step up. Here he's up against Jonathan Francisco (10-12-1, 4) and this should be little more than a simple win for the talented Demecillo.
Staying in Asia there will also be a card in Vietnam, thanks to Victory 8.
The main event will be a WBA East Asia title bout between local novice professional Dinh Hoang Truong (1-0, 1) and South Korean visitor Gyu Hyun Lee (2-4-1). It's hard to get too excited about this bout, though we are looking forward to seeing Filipino hopeful Charly Suarez (3-0, 3), who goes up against a local opponent.
Christchurch, New Zealand
One other bout featuring a fighter from Asia takes place in New Zealand where once beaten local Bowyn Morgan (20-1, 10) takes on Filipino visitor Nelson Tinampay (14-7-1, 6) for the WBU Welterweight title. Whilst Morgan is no world beater, and his competition hasn't been amazing so far, he has notched some notable wins over the likes of Gunnar Jackson and Jack Asis. On the other hand Tinampay is very limited and was stopped 44 year old Yong Soo Choi in 2017, and has been stopped 3 times since then. This should be an early win for the local.
Robinson's Galleria, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Cebu City plays host to a small but notable card from Big Yellow Boxing Promotion, headlined by a minor regional title and featuring one or two fighters of some note.
The main event will see 23 year old fighters clash as Carlo Demecillo (12-5-1, 6) takes on the once beaten Junrel Jimenez (8-1-1, 5) for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. Of the two it's Demecillo who is more well known, with bouts against the likes of Satoshi Shimizu and Hisashi Amagasa. Jimenez, although less well known, cannot be over-looked here and he he has stopped of his 4 opponents since suffering his sole loss almost 3 years ago. This should be a very good bout.
Former Demecillo foe Virgel Vitor (13-2, 7) will feature in a confidence building bout, as he takes on Jeffrey Stella (4-7-3, 4). Vitor was stopped last time out, by Mark Anthony Geraldo and is clearly looking to get back in the win column here against an opponent who should be over-matched.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the Filipino card we also have a Japanese card, which will make up part of the 2019 East Japanese Rookie of the Year tournament. Originally there was 11 bouts scheduled for this show, but there's been 3 cancellations since leaving us a few bouts down.
Of the bouts that remain the standout contest appears to be the Bantamweight clash between Azusa Takeda (3-0, 3) and Yu Kasahara (2-0, 2). Between them they have fought just 10 rounds and have a combined 3 opening round wins, so this certainly should be explosive and exciting!
Another one to watch on this card is Featherweight hopeful Daiki Imanari (2-0, 2), who takes on Seiya Yamaguchi (3-4-1, 2). This will be Imanari's first bout against someone with a big or experience but he's still going to be expected to pick up the win and move a step towards the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in December
This Saturday is a huge one for Asian fight fans with notable bouts taking place on 3 different continents.
New Jersey, USA
The biggest card for us is North America where we see a headlining bout between two established fighters and get a supporting card featuring major Central Asian prospects.
The card is headlined by Dmitry Bivol (14-0, 11)defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title against veteran Jean Pascal (33-5-1-1, 20). The talented Bivol has been busy this year with wins against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba and a win over Pascal would see him ending a good year with a big name on his record, albeit a faded force in Pascal. The 36 year old Pascal is well beyond his best, but was competitive with Eleider Alvarez last year and the hope will be for Bivol and Alvarez to face off in 2019. A prime Pascal would have given Bivol a real test, but he's now little more than a name. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Can Bivol over-come Pascal in one of the final HBO shows?
One of the prospects on this card is Uzbek sensation Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0, 3), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Akhmadaliev was a former amateur stand out will be up against American foe Isaac Zarate (16-3-3, 2) , who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run including wins over Carlos Carlson and Horacio Garcia. This is a good step up for the Uzbek, who's is set to have his fight televised on HBO, and hopefully bigger and better opportunities will come his way in 2019.
One of the other major prospects on this card is the debuting Israil Madrimov (0-0), who looks to instantly announce himself as one to watch, as he takes on Vladimir Hernandez (10-2, 6) in a 10 rounder, on debut. The highly regarded Madrimov is tipped to be a major success, and it seems clear that his team have big expectations for him, putting him in such a tough bout to begin his career. Hernandez might not be a major name but he's a very solid opponent for a debut, and has only lost a couple of close decisions, to Humberto Velazco Torres and Adrian Luna Flores. Not only has Hernandez been competitive with good opponents, but he has scored decent wins over Elco Garcia and Danny Valdivia. This is a serious debut.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (5-0, 4), who will be up against the very experienced Miguel Zamudio (41-11-1, 25). The unbeaten Giyasov has been very impressive this year, beating good opponents like Gabor Gorbics, Albert Mensah and Julio Laguna, defeating Laguna at Wembley on a massive international card. Zamudio is a 27 year old Mexican veteran, who debuted back in 2009 and has been ultra-active. Despite being active Zamudio has lost to the notable opponents he's faced, such as Jose Zepeda, Sharif Bogere and Will Tomlinson.
Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) was also scheduled to be on this card, though was pulled in the weeks leading up to the show, without a reason being given.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Another international card with notable action comes from Monaco, where we get a couple bouts involving Asian fighters.
A second unbeaten Chinese fighter on this card is Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) who goes up against popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). The bout will be Fanlong's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, a title he won in October 2017 when he defeated Ammanuel Danso. The Chinese fighter has looked good at times, but has been shown to have a less than amazing chin and although Buglioni is not a world beater, he does have respectable power. If Buglioni lands clean this could be a night to forget for Fanlong, who will be making his Euroipean debut.
Another Olympic medal winner on this card will be 2016 gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0, 2) of Kazakhstan. The 2016 Olympic champion will be battling against Nicaraguan Marcos Mojica (16-2-2, 12) and this is another good platform for Yeleussinov to shine on, as he did last time out, when he stopped Matt Doherty. If Yeleussinov can continue to develop his style he could become a star, but there is still a long way for him to go. Mojica is the under-dog, but is a live under-dog here.
We were also hoping to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) take on veteran Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25), but that bout was cancelled at late notice due to Zhilei having visa issues in the weeks running up to the fight.
Despite the notable action in the US and Monaco there is actually a stacked card in the Philippines, courtesy of ALA Promotions who are putting on a show with several WBO affiliated titles.
One of those title bouts will feature the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) making his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Mexican visitor Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6). The champion won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda and this should be a good defense against a fighter who has proven he can fight on the road. Lopez first came to our attention in 2016, when he upset Ryo Matsumoto, and despite a loss to Matsumoto in a rematch he has remained relevant, with a big win this past August against Antonio Tostado. We're expecting an interesting bout here.
Another title bout on this card will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) make his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Ghanaian puncher George Krampah (14-3, 12). On paper this looks dangerous for Pagara, but the visitor has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he lacks any win of note. This is a great chance for Pagara to make his first defense, and we suspect his aim will be on stopping Krampah in under 4 rounds, to try and beat the result Isaac Dogboe had against him.
In one of the major supporting bouts we'll see former world title challengers face off with Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) taking on Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16). Sultan failed to shine in his recent world title fight with Jerwin Ancajas, but he is a talented fighter and will be wanting to bounce back from that setback. A win over would certainly help him go into 2019 with some momentum. As for Diale his record has been patchy recently, though he has mixed with top quality fighters such as Daigo Higa, Moruti Mthlane and Andrew Selby. We suspect Sultan's youth will get him over the line here, but this could be more competitive than the records suggest.
Sultan isn't the only former world title challenger on this show as the once touted Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18) looks to rebuild his career after his loss earlier this year to Luis Nery. Villanueva will be up against countryman Carlo Demecillo (11-5, 5) who is less than 2 years removed from a brutal KO loss to Satoshi Shimizu. He is 5-1 (4) since that loss, but this is a big step back up in class and is certainly his toughest bout since the Shimizu bout. Hard to see anything but a win for Villanueva, but he will have to work for it.
Unbeaten prospect KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) takes a step up as he faces Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. Cataraja is widely regarded as one of the top Filipino prospects but hasn't yet had the opponents to really show what he's capable of. This is a good chance to Cataraja to prove what he can do and potentially convince his team to give him better match ups in the new year. Reyes is a live fighter, but his record doesn't have much quality on it, with his most notable bout being his loss to Ricardo Rafael Sandoval back in March. Reyes will travel to win, and should give Cataraja a good teat, but one that we expect Cataraja to pass.
Japanese prospect Go Hosaka (1-0, 1), who is signed with ALA Promotions, will be having his second professional bout. The talented former amateur stand out will be up against the hard hitting but limited Jason Tinampay (8-11-1, 7). Hosaka is a real talent and ALA may well have a future world champion on their hands here, if they manage his career properly. At this stage putting him in with Tinampay seems a good choice. Tinampay was once a dangerous fighter, but has gone 1-10-1 since a 7-1 start to his career.
We see yet more prospects in Canada, where two Kazakh hopefuls will be looking to extend their unbeaten records.
One of those prospects is the very talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (4-0, 4), who goes up against the experienced Jose Francisco Zuniga (14-11-2, 5). On paper this is a slight step up in class for Akhmedov, who has stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, but one he should manage without any issues. It's worth noting Zuniga has only been stopped once in his 11 losses, but we feel he will have to put in a real survival effort to hear the final bell here.
The other is prospects is 24 year old Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6), who a huge step up in class to battle Rocky Montoya (32-2, 22). Sabirov is tipped to be a star, like many of the Kazakh's currently based in Canada , and has looked very promising since his debut in June 2017. This is however a step up and Montoya has only been stopped once, by the under-rated David Lopez. Whilst Montoya is a test on paper it's hard to know how good he is given that, for the most part, his competition has been dreadful. We suspect Montoya's record will be exposed here by the talented Kazakh.
In less notable action we'll see Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-6, 5) look to build on a recent big win in China, over Youli Dong. The under-rated Filipino will be facing off with Australian Joel Camilleri (15-5-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Although relatively unknown Abdulhamid is a very good fighter and seems happy fighting on the road, despite bein 1-3 outside of the Philippines. Camilleri has won just 1 of his last 3 fights, and really lacks a good wins, but was competitive with Dwight Richie last time out, and is better than his record suggests. This looks like it could be a very interesting match up.
To end the month of January we get a low key card in Cebu featuring some notable fighters.
One of the more well known fighters on this card is Carlo Demecillo (9-4, 3), who faces off with Margarito Moya (9-4, 3). In 2016 we saw Demecillo suffer two losses in Japan, being out pointed by Hisashi Amagasa and stopped in 3 rounds by Satoshi Shimizu. Since those losses he has bounced back well, with 3 wins on the domestic scene. Coming in to this bout Moya has no real momentum, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 bouts, with another loss expected here.
A second fighter of note on this card is the once beaten Cris Ganoza (14-1, 8) taking on the hugely experienced Sherwin McDo Lungay (8-41-2). The 23 year old Ganoza was stopped last year by Edward Heno,who has since gone on to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title but has since bounced back with two stoppage wins of his own. Given that Lungay has been stopped 23 times already, it's very hard to see him lasting with with Ganoza.
Another bout on this card worth noting looks like a shoot out, as the unbeaten Allan Villanueva (7-0, 6) takes on the limited but hard hitting Jason Tinampay (8-7-1, 7). The unbeaten fighter has fought only 17 professional rounds but is a promising youngster with an exciting future ahead. As for Tinampay he's been hard matched, and has gone 0-5-1 in his last 6, but is dangerous, and will but looking to blast out his unbeaten foe here in what could be a very exciting contest.