This coming Saturday is a busy day in Asian boxing circles with a number of major bouts.
The biggest bout for Asian fight fans this weekend comes form Mexico where highly experienced Thai veteran Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-2, 41) challenges “interim” WBO Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (29-1, 26). For the heavy handed Berchelt this will be the first defense of his title, a title he won earlier this year stopping George Jupp, and it could see him adding a genuinely recognisable name to his record. For Chonlatarn it's a third world title fight, and potentially opens the door to a rematch with Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko.
New Dehli, India
In India fans get their most significant bout, and the homecoming of their first boxing star.
That star is former amateur playboy Vijender Singh (6-0, 6) who looks to extend his perfect record and claim his first title as he steps up to face former European Middleweight champion Kerry Hope (23-7, 2) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Although there is potentially region defining fights in India there should also be plenty of attention given to the Philippines, where their will be two shows with some notable bouts.
The best bout in the Philippines this weekend will see unbeaten and highly touted prospect Giemel Magramo (16-0, 13) battled against the under-rated Renz Rosia (12-4, 6), in what is genuine a fantastic match up. The unbeaten man is regarded as one of the absolute best prospects in the Philippines and at 21 years old isn't being rushed with this bout being a well timed step up in class. For Rosia the bout comes following a 1-2 run, but that run features a win over Renan Trongco, a very disputed loss to Makazole Tete and a defeat to the world class Moruti Mthalane. This could genuinely be a cracker.
In a supporting bout on this card fans will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) battle Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. For both of these fighters a win looks possible and would open up doors on the regional scene. Coming in to this Suminguit is on a 6 fight winning streak, though the competition hasn't been great. Bais is 2-6-1 in his last 9, though he has been tested at a far higher level than his foe, and is 15-0-1 in his homeland.
In a genuine stay busy fight fans will see the once beaten Randy Braga (18-1-1, 4) face off with Donriel Marcos (10-26-1, 1). Braga is fringe world level, with his only loss being a controversial one to Macbute Sinyabi last year, and will be likely looking for a big fight before the year is over. This is however only his second bout of 2016 and he'll know that he can't afford to have periods of inactivity if he's to get a world title bout.
A notable bout way down this card is the professional debut of Arvin Magramo (0-0), the younger brother of Geimel Magramo. The youngster is said to be one with real promise, and will be up against the win-less Robert Mendano (0-6) in what looks like a “safe” debut.
On another show in the Philippines fans will get the chance to see some promising prospects in action,
The most notable of those prospects is big punching Minimumweight hopeful Melvin Jerusalem (9-0, 7), who will be up against domestic rival Jonathan Refugio (15-4-4, 3) in a 10 rounder. The talented Jerusalem posted his biggest win in February, beating former world champion Florante Condes, and will be looking to build on that win here.
Another notable prospect in action here is Super Bantamweight hopeful Jeo Santisima (10-2, 9) who goes up against the out of sorts Junior Bajawa (14-8, 7). Coming into this one Bajawa has lost his last 8, with 5 stoppage defeats, and it's hard to see this being much more than a record padding win for Bajawa.
The first really notable day of the month for Japanese fans comes on December 5th, a really busy day with name fighters in action across Asia.
In one of the most intriguing bouts fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (23-7, 10) battle against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-3-2, 7), in what is essentially a must win for Kawaguchi. The 28 year old former champion was stopped last time out against Takahiro Yamamoto, in a genuinely enthralling 7 round brawl, and will know that any except for a stellar performance here would leave his career in tatters. As for Tabuchi he's lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come in the 2014 Rookie of the Year and a 8 round loss to former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka. Hard to see Kawaguchi losing, but if he does he will have to consider his future.
Whilst Kawaguchi is fighting for his career it's fair to say that Kazuki Tanaka (3-0, 3) is merely fighting for recognition. The talented youngster, a former amateur stand out, takes a huge step up in class as he takes on GAB Bantamweight champion Monico Laurente (27-12, 6). Those in the know have suggested that Tanaka, 22, could be another of Japan's huge list of future stars however the youngster has been relatively untested so far. In Laurente we'll see Tanaka face a man with experience, grit, determination and skills, and we'd be very impressed if the youngster can really dominate here in what is a great step up in class.
Whilst Kawaguchi is a former OPBF champion we actually have a former world champion in action too as Shindo Go (15-3, 10), a former WBC female Flyweight champion, faces Suda Saknarong (0-0) in a stay busy bout. We're expect to see Go fight for a major title in 2016 however she's fighting this bout to shake off any ring rust after a frustrating year of inactivity, in fact she's only fought 3 rounds all year.
Technically the main event here will see Japan's Takayuki Okumoto (15-6-2, 6) take on unbeaten Filipino teenager Romel Oliveros (6-0-1, 1). The bout certainly isn't the most exciting on paper but it seems likely that Okumoto could get a Japanese title fight next year if he comes through this one unscathed. The home fighter has won his last 5, since suffering a stoppage loss more than 2 years ago to Rusalee Samor, whilst the visitor will, perhaps tellingly, be facing his first opponent with a winning record.
On a second Japanese card fans will again get a lot of good action, in fact the card is headlined by a 2-time world title challenger.
That aforementioned world title challenger is Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18), who was last seen in the ring being stopped, for the first time, by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The former OPBF champion will be looking to score his second win over Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-3, 12), who he stopped in their first meeting around 4 years ago. Since their first bout Akaho has had both of his world title tilts whilst Shiraishi has come up short in a pair of title fights, most notably a Japanese title fight against Teiru Kinoshita. This is likely to be another win for Akaho, though if it's not he will have to consider his future.
In supporting bouts on this card we have a trio of Japanese ranked fighters. The highest ranked of those is Light Middleweight contender Yuto Shimizu (10-2-2, 3) who has been in great form recently, scoring wins over Toru Chiba, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. Shimizu looks to continue his current 7 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Maxi Nahak (4-10-2, 1), from Indonesia. It's really hard to see anything but a Shimizu win here, and hopefully he'll get a title shot in 2016.
On paper the most attractive match up involving a ranked fighter, other than the main event where Shiraishi enters as a ranked fighter, comes at Super Flyweight where the JBC ranked Yuta Matsuo (8-2-1, 5) takes on southpaw Yota Hori (12-4-2, 7) in a really solid match up. Coming into this Matsuo is 3-2-1 in his last 6, though held his own in a split decision loss to Ardin Diale in one of those defeats.
The other ranked fighter is Hironobu Matsunaga (7-1, 3), who us ranked at 147lbs. Matsunaga will be risking his ranking against Shiro Saito (7-5-2, 2). Matsunaga's most notable bout to date is his loss, which came in last year's Rookie of the Year final against Yuki Beppu, and whilst that was a blow out he's cetainly proven himself since with a very good win over Hisao Narita. Saito on the other hand has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, and was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Moon Hyun Yun in a loss that may play on his mind coming into this one.
In Thailand fans will have a chance to see Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (1-0, 1) who will be up against Indonesian fighter Suparyanto Doglo (7-2-1, 4). Waseem, who won the Korean Super Flyweight title on his debut, will be looking to continue his perfect start to life as a professional and it seems likely that if he wins again here he could be moved into regional title fights in 2016, with the PABA title a very real target for 2016.
We're unsure but we think the same card will feature two televised bout as well as the Waseem bout. One of those, set to be shown on Channel 7, will see Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (33-1-2, 18) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Julias Kisarawe (21-2, 11) in what looks to be a brilliant match up on paper, something we can't say often enough about Thailand. Sadly whilst the bout does “look” good it's likely to be a mismatch with Kisarawe's opposition so far being relatively appalling, in fact it sort of resembles a Thai record with very little experience share between his opponents.
The other bout will see former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (57-2, 38) battle against Nattapol Sithsaithong (0-2) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Chonlatarn, who won't be given a test here.
To end the day our attention will turn to Mexico where Japan's Hurricane Futa (20-5-1, 11) faces off against former multi-weight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (58-10, 49). This is a really tough ask for Futa though we'll be honest and say that Gonzalez did look really bad last time out, losing a decision to Jonathan Oquendo, and this may be the perfect time to face him.
The first Japanese show of October takes place at the Korakuen Hall and sees the return to the ring of a former champion.
That former champion is former Japanese Flyweight title holder Suguru Muranaka (22-2-1, 7) who fights for the first time since losing his title on the scales about 6 months ago. The exciting Flyweight has been matched lightly here with a match up against limited Southpaw Hideyuki Watanabe (8-7-3, 6). This fight has been made just above 113.5lbs and it's going to be interesting to see if Muranaka's future will be at Flyweight or Super Flyweight.
In the chief support bout fans will get the chance to see Japanese ranked Welterweight Daisuke Sakamoto (10-8-2, 5) battle against Takashi Inagaki (17-13-1, 7) in an 8 rounder. This is, on paper at least, an intriguing bout though Inagaki has lost his last 3 in a row and hasn't won in over 2 years.
A third bout of note here will see 20 year old Hikaru Ota (5-3, 2) face off against Kazuyuki Nakayama (5-4-2, 1) in a 6 round Flyweight bout. Whilst neither fighter is anything special it is a well matched bout and could prove to be one of the most competitive.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned there will be 7 other bouts on this card.
In Thailand fans get a televised show on Channel 7 courtesy of Onesongchai who put several of ther biggest names in action.
The only title bout on the show will see Thewa Onesongchaigym (10-2, 5) attempt to score his 6th straight win and claim the recently vacated WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. The Thai will be up against unbeaten Tanzania fighter Mohammed Kamburuta (9-0, 2) in what looks a good bout on paper. Sadly paper can lie and Kamburuta has shown nothing of note so far in to his career, and in fact this is a massive step up for him in terms of his competition.
Thewa's title bout has come because his stable mate Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (56-2, 37), the former champion, has vacated the title to begin a run at 130lbs following more than 50 bouts as a Featherweight. The former 2-time world title challenger hasn't had his opponent for this bout announced though we're not expecting anything special.
Qne other notable name in action here is Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (32-1-2, 17) who faces Srisomdech Kwanjaisrikod (0-1) in what should be a very easy win for the experienced fighter.
One other fighter on this card is the unbeaten Rakniran Muadransarakam (6-0, 5) who takes on a opponent who's name we didn't have at the time of writing.
Thailand's win-less Aphichat Koedchatturat (0-3) looks to claim his first win as he takes on the debuting Jesse Travers (0-0). Although win-less Aphicat did run the unbeaten Kolby Johnson close last time out and will be hoping for similar success here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
To end the week we get a genuinely busy day with action all across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we get a WBO Bantamweight title fight between hard hitting Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) and Thai veteran Punluang Sor Singyu (50-3, 34), who is hoping to become a 2-time world champion. On paper it's hard to bet against Akaho, who is big, strong and hits like a mule, however no Japanese fighter has ever won a world title bout in Thailand and it could well be a case of history repeating it's self here.
Also on this show will be two other title bouts. One of those will see Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (55-2, 36) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he battles Indonesian visitor Boido Simanjuntak (18-28-1, 7) in what is a clear mismatch. The visitor enters this bout 0-14 on his trips to Thailand whilst Chonlatarn is unbeaten in his homeland and has only lost to world class ighters.
The other title bout will see the once beaten Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (31-1-2, 16) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title as he continues to rebuild following his 2014 loss to Chinese star Zou Shiming.
Whilst the biggest bout of the day is in Thailand the best card is actually in Dubai as ALA return to the oil rich emirate and show case some of their most exciting fighters.
The most exciting of the fighters on this card is the unbeaten Super Bantamweight hopeful Albert Pagara (23-0, 16). The 21 year old “Prince” Albert will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against Mexican challenger Jesus Rios (31-7-1, 25), who is expected to supper his 8th stoppage loss. Given the ability of Pagara we would like to see him step up in a class but that was never likely on this particular card
Albert's older brother Jason Pagara (35-2, 22) will also be in action as he battles Ramiro Alcaraz (15-4-1, 9) in what amounts to a 10 round stay busy contest at a contracted 143lbs. The bout is really little more than a ticking over bout for Pagara who is world ranked by the WBO and could potentially get a world title fight sooner rather than later.
One other notable name on this card is Jimrex Jaca (39-8-4, 22) who battles 24 year old foe Pablo Lugo Montiel (21-5, 17). On paper this looks a lot tastier than than the other two major bouts however Montiel has gone 4-4 in his last 8 and going through his record shows that he hasn't scored a win of any real note so far
There will also action at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo where fans get the chance to see several crossroad bouts.
The most exciting bout on the card will see former Japanese title contenders collide in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator at 122lbs. In one corner is Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5-1, 7), who was recently held to a draw by current champion Yukinori Oguni, whilst in the other corner will be Yasutaka Ishimoto (25-8, 7), who was narrowly beaten by Oguni last year. This bout may not be one that gets international attention but the winner will be regarded as a fringe contender on the world scene and could well end up getting a national title fight next year before a possible step up to a world title fight at some point. This will be a relatively tactical affair but a very good fight all the same.
Another intriguing match up on this card is a rematch of a Japanese Middleweight contest that is a must win for both men. In one corner for this bout is the criminally under-rated Hikaru Nishida (12-7-1, 4) who looks to score his second win over former OPBF and Japanese champion Makoto Fuchigami (21-10, 12), who is best known for his loss in a world title bout to Gennady Golovkin. On paper it's easy to back Fuchigami but in their first meeting Nishida won a unanimous decision and has gone 6-1 in his last 7 whilst Fuchigami has struggled for form with 4 losses in his last 6.
On the under-card there are two novices who are expected to receive notable attention. One of those is the unbeaten Kohei Kashino (2-0, 1), who battles Hizuki Saso (4-1), and the other is Riyako Goshi (3-3), who faces Chie Higano (3-3). Kashino is, from what we understand, a highly qualified young man who is attempting to make his name in boxing whilst Goshi is a model known for risque pictures, and always seems to get more attention than her talent deserves.
We also have two bouts in Australia featuring Asian fighters.
The most notable of those fights is a PABA Light Welterweight title fight that sees the talented Czar Amonsot (28-3-3, 17) battle against Indonesian fighter Rusmin Kie Raha (14-7-2, 3). It's hard to see what Raha has to really test Amonsot but the Filipino has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this bout.
Another Filipino in action on this card is Roberto Lerio (16-21-1, 6) who looks to upset the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (7-0, 5) in a bout for the Australian Super Bantamweight title. Lerio, who is based in Australia, is the clear under-dog but will know that a win here will open up some really good opportunities for him in Mexico.
(Image courtesy of www.onesongchai.com)
It's fair to say we, boxing fans, have been treat especially well to begin the start of May, at least in terms of great match ups. That run continues on May 6th as we get a genuinely brilliant Super Featherweight title fight headlining a title triple header in Japan
The Japanese show is a fiesta of sorts for Watanabe gym who have 2 of their 3 world champions in action whilst another of their fighters attempts to become a world champion and finish their long career with a world title.
The main event here is really mouth watering and will see WBA Super Featherweight “super” champion Takashi Uchiyama (22-0-1, 18) defending his belt for the 10th time. In the opposite corner will be unbeaten Thai Jomthong Chuwatana (9-0, 4), a Muay Thai exponent who has had a very interesting boxing career and shown that his skills can generate genuine success in western boxing. The bout isn't expected to be a “FOTY” style war but technically we may struggle to find a better bout between two heavy handed technicians who are both very capable fighters. This is really, as good as it gets.
In the co-feature Uchiyama's young stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi (21-2-1, 8) looks to make the first defence of his WBA Light Flyweight title. This is another Japan Vs Thailand bout and will see Taguchi battle against Thai veteran Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-3-1, 26) in a bout that looks really good on paper though is likely to be relatively one sided with Kwanthai not looking like a “world class” fighter in recent years. For a first defense this is acceptable though hopefully Taguchi's next bout comes against a more interesting opponent, such as Ryo Miyazaki or Randy Petalcorin, both of which would be mouth watering bouts.
A third world title bout here will see Kayoko Ebata (8-5, 4) attempt to claim the WBO female Minimumweight title as she battles defending champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (6-1-2, 3). The 39 year old Ebata will be in her 4th world title bout and it comes 7 years after her first, a very close and controversial loss to Samson Tor Buamas. As for Ikehara this will be her second defense of the title, though her first was a less than memorable opening round technical draw with Jessebelle Pagaduan back in February.
As well as the 3 bouts which have been mentioned there will be a further 2 on this card, one of which will feature Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Takumi Suda (11-10-2, 3) who will be risking his ranking against Yoshinori Wakahara (7-4, 4).
As well as the Japanese card there will also be a show in Thailand where we get the chance to see some recognisable faces in action.
The main event here will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (49-3, 33) defending his WBO Asia Pacific title against former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane (29-16-1, 18). Pungluang, best known for being stopped by Tomoki Kameda, will be seeking his 4th straight win and shouldn't really struggle here against a man who is 0-6 in Thailand and a long way removed from his WBA Bantamweight title fight with Koki Kameda, back in 2012. Incidentally it's thought that if Pungluang gets through this he may get a chance to recapture his old title with a bout against Ryo Akaho looking very possible for later in the year.
In the co-feature fans will see 2-time world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (53-2, 34) in action against Indonesian visitor Yakobus Heluka (8-10, 1) in what should be little more than a tune up bout for the talented Chonlatarn. Although the Thai was made to look absolutely terrible by Vasyl Lomachenko last year he is a capable fighter and this really does have “ugly mismatch” written all over it.
(Image courtesy of http://www.watanabegym.com)
We have two shows this Sunday, local time, in Asia with one of those boxing a huge, monster show with one of the biggest names in the sport.
The biggest show of the day for almost every boxing fan is in Macau where Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions returns for another huge show with some of the biggest names in Asian boxing and some genuinely compelling match ups.
The main event, as is often the case, is the main talking point as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38) risks his WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten American Chris Algieri (20-0, 8). For Pacquiao this will be the first defence of the title he regained when he defeated Timothy Bradley earleir this year, following a highly controversial loss to Bradley in 2012. As for Algieri this is a chance to continue an unlikely rise to stardom which is all the more shocking considering his lack of power. Pacquiao is of course one of the biggest names in world boxing and he is strongly favoured to retain his belt here though will need to over-come a notable size disadvantage to defeat the gutsy Algieri who really shocked many when he defeated Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year.
In a second world title bout fans will see Thailand's experienced Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33) attempt to claim the WBO Featherweight title from former amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1). Lomachenko will be defending the belt he won earlier this year when he defeated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr and we suspect the talented Ukrainian will just have too much of everything for the experienced but limited Thai, who is of course best known for his loss to Chris John in his only previous world title bout. On paper this looks like a very odd contest given the huge gulf in professional experience but in reality the gulf in in skills and not experience.
A third world title bout on this show will see the controversial Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9) defending his WBA Light Welterweight title against former Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23). Vargas always appears to get the rub of the green in close fights and we wouldn't be shocked if he did the same here however this will be his first bout outside of the US and DeMarco is as gutsy as they come, as seen memorably in his bouts with Edwin Valero and Jorge Linares. This could be the most competitive contest on the show even if there is no Asian involved in the bout.
Yet another 12 rounder on this show will pit unbeaten fighters together as China's former amateur sensation-turn professional hopeful Zou Shiming (5-0, 1) risks his perfect record against Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (27-0-2, 12). On paper this is one of the most compelling bouts on the show though we do suspect that Shiming will end up having a relatively easy time with his Thai opponent. Kwanpichit is world ranked by 3 of the big 4 organisations however we are in the "he's lucky to be unbeaten" camp having seen him narrowly escape an opening round defeat to Ben Mananquil in 2013 in a bout that could so easily have been stopped, and having narrowly taken a decision over the limited Jay-Ar Estremos earlier this year. Shiming might not be as good as advertised but he really should have more than enough to see off Kwanpichit who has feasted on smaller and less experienced men throughout his career so far. This is a must win for Shiming but if he loses then he isn't going to be good enough to ever win a world title.
On the under-card we have 4 bouts that we rather like the look of, for one reason or another. One of those will see the exciting Jerwin Ancajas (21-1-1, 13) take on the tough Fadhili Majiha (15-5-4, 7) in an 8 round bout. Ancajas impressed on his Macau debut s he blew away Inthanon Sithchamuang however he'll be expecting a much, much more competitive contest here with Majiha having proven his toughness in recent decison losses to Marlon Tapes and Pungluang Sor Singyu with the Punglunag bout being a surprisingly competitive one. In another under-card bout the always entertaining Rex Tso (14-0, 9) battles late fill in Espinos Sabu (11-2-1, 5) who has taken the fight on short notice after Kenta Okumura was forced to pull out with a hand injury. Tso is one of the sports more exciting fighters but unfortunately the popular Hong Kong fighter is somewhat limited and we suspect that he will find his level sooner rather than later. With that said, the tough Sabu is unlikely to be the one who does take the unbeaten record of Tso. It wouldn't be the biggest upset of the year if Sabu won but it would be somewhat a shock.
In 6 round action fans will see Chinese Light Heavyweight hopeful Qu Peng (6-0-1, 4) fight against Andrew Robinson (3-2, 2) in what looks like a step up for Peng. Also in another 6 rounder is the popular Kuok Kun Ng (5-0, 2) who faces fellow unbeaten Steve Attard (5-0-2, 2). We'll admit we like Ng, a lot, and view him as potentially the best of the emerging Chinese novices and if he's as good as we think he should come out on top here.
Their is only one show in Japan this Sunday as Hatanaka put on one of their “Soul Fighting” cards which will be shown, at some point, on CBC TV in Japan, which we've been informed is a regional channel so fans likely won't be able to find this one available for streams.
The main event here is a WBC Youth Bantamweight title bout as the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (12-0-3, 8) looks to make the third defense of his belt. Unfortunately for fans, and Tanaka, this defense looks like a mismatch as the promising Japanese youngster battles against Indonesian visitor Rendi Stone (3-2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge step backwards for Tanaka following recent wins over Vergel Nebran and John Bajawa. Whilst Stone does enter this bout on a trio of wins we do wonder several things about him, including what his complete record looks like as we have real doubts that he is “only” 3-2-1 (2) considering his career began back in 2006.
In the chief support bout Shota Hayashi (23-5-1, 15), the #7 ranked Japanese Featherweight, will be fighting against experienced but limited Indonesian fighter Jason Butar Butar (16-14-1, 12). Hayashi will enter this bout on a 9 fight unbeaten streak, including 4 successive stoppages, and will know that if he can continue running up wins he can move towards a title fight of some kind. Butar Butar may be a recognisable name for some fans who may remember his loss, in Macau, to Harmonito Dela Torre, and sadly for the Indonesian fighter he is better known for his losses than his wins and is 0-8-1 on the road.
In Yemen we see a collision of unbeaten fighters as Muhammad Harazi (4-0, 1) battles against Hasan Dhubaibi (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Yemeni Minimumweight Title. The title will be defended by the 16 year old Harazi who won the belt with a 12 round decision ove Ali Rafik in October and it would seem plausible that the winner here will be looking for a big domestic show down with Ali Raymi.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a busy one with 2 major cards featuring Asian fighters in world title bouts. It may not be the busiest day of the year but it is certainly one of the most interesting.
As well as the Macau show we are also looking forward to a Japanese show promoted by Japanese promotional power house Teiken promotions who are putting on a small, 8 bout, card though one that features several very interesting looking contests including 2 world title bouts.
Prior to the world title action fans will get the chance to see the world ranked Ryo Akaho (24-1-2, 16) battle against recent world title challenger Antonio Tostado Garcia (14-3, 6). Akaho isn't one of the sports most talented fighters but he is certainly entertaining and with his power we suspect he'll stop Garcia in the middle rounds of the bout, if not earlier.
The first of the two world title fights will see Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34) make the first defense of his WBC Flyweight title. Gonzalez, one of the sports most impressive fighters, will be battling against tough Filipino Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20) in what looks likely to be a very entertaining bout though one that Gonzalez has to be favoured in, especially considering the way he won the title back in September by stopping Akira Yaegashi.
The other world title bout on this show will see the heavy handed Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20) defending his WBC Super Featherweight title in a mandatory defence of his belt against heavy handed Mexican slugger Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19) in what could potentially be a FOTY contender. Miura is earning himself a reputation as a Mexcutioner after 3 successive wins over Mexican foes, including his thrilling win over Sergio Thompson, and he'll be hoping to extend that run as he takes on a fighter who is similar to him in terms mentality in the ring. Expect this one to be violent and highly exciting as long as it lasts.
The final world title bout involving an Asian fighter comes from the United Kingdom as former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) battles the unbeaten Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22) in a bout for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. When this bout was signed Otake was unranked by the WBA, though he is now ranked #9 rather mysteriously. Otake is seen as a huge under-dog and with good reason considering his best wins are against domestic opponents and with that in mind we'd be shocked to see win, though like the two title bouts in Japan this should be entertaining as long as it lasts due to the styles of the men involved.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
After very few fights of interest this week it may be no surprise to learn that things don't really change on Friday as it appears the entire of Asia is still catching it's boxing breath after last weekends hectic fight action.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The first show we have any details about takes place in Nakhon Ratchasima as Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (26-0-2, 11), also known as Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express, defends his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Indonesia's Oscar Raknafa (12-5, 5). Raknafa was the fighter the fighter that Kosei Tanaka debuted against and is likely too small and too limited to be given much of a chance against Kwanpichit.
On the same card we're expecting a non-title fight between former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (50-1, 33) and Indonesia's Eddy Comaro (29-19-5, 11), who fought Michael Katsidis in a high profile bout not long ago. It's hard to see anything but a win for Chonlatarn who we think is awaiting a WBO eliminator bout and merely being kept busy here.
In a female bout on the same card, which will be televised on Thai Channel 7, fans will be able to see Buakaew Onesongchaigym (6-2-1) battle against Napaporn Superchamps (8-8, 2) in an all Thai contest.
A second show of relevance to Thai fans takes place in nearby Laos will be shown on Thai channel 3.
The main event here will see Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (25-7-1, 10) defending the PABA Super Flyweight title, or interim version, against Indonesia's Anis Ceunfin (16-20-5, 6). Petchbarngborn was stopped last year by Sho Ishida though has bounced back well with 3 straight wins and we expect him to extend that to 4 wins here against the very poor Ceunfin.
The co-feature for this card will see Samartlek Kokietgym (15-4, 5) fighting yet another Indonesian, Sammy Tehuayo (17-21-2, 3). Tehuayo is tough but very limited and shouldn't be a problem for Samartlek.
(All information here courtesy of our friend Pal).
Every boxing fan this week is obviously looking forward to Saturday which, let be honest, has one of the biggest fights of the year so far. Before then though we get a very interesting Friday with a lot of action involve Asian fighters. The action, which takes place not just across Asia but across the globe really is a great warm up for what we have on Saturday.
The first televised card of the weekend comes from Thailand where the very highly ranked former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (49-1, 32) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. We've not yet got the name of Chonlatarn's opponent though we believe it to be a Filipino.
The show, televised on Channel 7 in Thailand, is an important bout for Chonlatarn. Not only is it his chance to record a 50th victory but it's also a tune up fight before a prospective clash with Australian Joel Brunker in what would be a world title eliminator. From what we understand a bout between Chonlatarn and Brunker will be fought later this year with the winner meeting the winner of the upcoming world title fight between Vasyl and Gary Russell Jr.
Unfortunately we're unsure on the rest of this card.
Southern Leyte, Philippines
We won't try and pretend that this Friday night's card from Southern Leyte in the Philippines is one of the best Filipino shows of the year but it is one that we are keeping a close eye on.
First reason is the main event which features WBO #3 ranked Light Welterweight Jason Pagara (32-2, 19). Although Pagara is in a mismatch against Indonesia's Rusmin Kie Raha (12-4-2, 2), who has been stopped in his last 2 bouts, it's still great to see Pagara in action, especially with a prospective world title clash just around the corner.
The second reason is that Jason Pagara's younger brother "Prince" Albert Pagara (19-0, 13) is on the card. As with Jason, Albert is in with an over-matched Indonesian in the form of Skak Max (6-13, 6). Although Max is a journeyman with more losses than wins he has proven to be a tough fighter and has gone the distance with some pretty decent competition so it'd not be a shock to see Pagara extended at least 3 or 4 rounds.
As well as the Pagara brothers we are expecting at least 2 other bouts on the show.
At the Korakuen Hall we have an 8 fight card, dubbed "Mega Fight 50", headlined by a contest between the Japanese ranked Ryuji Yokoyama (10-1, 3) and the unbeaten Koya Sato (7-0-1, 1). Yokoyama enters as the #11 ranked Light Flyweight though we'd suggest that Sato actually has the better win and although Sato lacks power we'd not be shocked at all by an upset here.
Yokoyama isn't the only ranked fighter on the show as 19 year old Ryuto Oho (6-0, 2), the #15 ranked Japanese Flyweight, faces Rookie of the Year runner up Jo Tanooka (7-1-3). This bout might see the fighters coming to the ring with a combined 39 years of age but it's hard not to be excited about Oho who does look very talented despite his young age.
As well as the Filipino's fighting in the Philippines we also have one fighting in the US. This time it's the turn of the popular Mercito Gesta (26-1-1, 14) who battles against limited veteran Edgar Riovalle (37-17-2, 26) in what will be Gesta's first bout since he lost a decision to Miguel Vazquez in an IBF Lightweight world title fight back in December 2012.
As well Mercito Gesta their is also a bout for his younger brother Anecito Gesta (2-2) on the card with Anecito battling against the debuting Riccy Hood (0-0). Anecito is nothing like the fighter Mercito is though we're hoping for a double Gesta victory.
(Poster courtesy of boxmob.jp)
A busy week sees us getting a third successive day with fighters from Asia in action and this time things come in multiple countries.
Thailand -Bang Rajan
To us the key card of the day is in Bang Rajan in Thailand. This show, courtesy of Onesongchai, is the Channel 7 card for the week and is headlined by the world ranked Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (24-0-2, 10), pictured.
Kwanpichit, who also goes by the name "Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express", will be defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against the limited Filipino Jopher Marayan (6-4-2, 2). Although his title is on the line we'd expect Kwanpichit to be more concerned by his world rankings which are currently very promising. At the moment the WBO rank the Thai #5 at Flyweight whilst the WBA have him at #14 and a loss to Marayan, dubbed "Baby Hatton" would see them immediately stripped away.
Kwanpichit isn't the only world ranked fighter on the card with both Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (48-1, 31) and Pungluang Sor Singyu (46-2, 31) also in action.
Although no opponent has been announced for Pungluang it's very unlikely to be anyone even semi testing with for the former WBO Bantamweight championing currently lining up a world title fight with Tomoki Kameda. For Chonlatarn, who has had his opponent named, things should be straight forward with Suor Carryboy (9-9-1, 4) having next to no chance to do anything but give the highly favoured fighter some rounds.
As well as the show in Thailand we also have action in the Philippines with a long looking 12 fight card courtesy of various promoters working together.
The main event here appears to be a PABA Super Middleweight title fight between unbeaten men. The defending champion Ben McCulloch (12-0, 9), of Australia, will be hoping to secure the second defense of his title as he takes on Iran's Gavad Zohrehvand (13-0) in what looks, on paper, to be a great contest. Unfortunately Zohrehvand has yet to fight anyone of any type of note and this looks to be a massive step up for him.
We've got to admit we're not sure why an Australian and an Iranian are fighting each other in the Philippines though we can't complain about unbeaten fighters battling each other.
The McCulloch/Zohrehvand fight isn't the only title bout on the card as Gretchen Abaniel (13-5, 4) fights Thailand's Nongnun Mor Krungthepthonburi (2-0) for the Women's International Boxing Association (WIBA) Minimumweight title. This bout is expected to be a straight forward victory for Abaniel who is a very good fighter, though with Nongnun having an unbeaten record she may well be a banana skin for the Filipino fighter,
Other bouts of note on this card include former world title challenger Ardin Diale (22-8-3, 9) fighting against Thailand's Kaichon Sor Vorapin (25-11, 9) and Ryan Bito (22-13-3, 8) taking on domestic journeyman Geboi Mansalayao (8-16-4, 3). Whilst these should be one sided they are still notable due to the "A-side" in them who are both known by fans on the international stage.