This coming Saturday we get several bouts of note, including a world title fight in Ukraine and a small but notable Filipino card.
The world title bout will see Azeri born Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (18-0, 13) defending his WBA Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Dennapa Kiatniwat (20-1, 15), aka Sarawut Thawornkham, from Thailand. The champion will be looking for this third defense here, and will enter a very clear favourite, though for the first time he's taking on a young challenger, who has real belief. This isn't a washed up challenger, or a veteran who has seen better days, but is instead a man rising a 20 fight winning run. Dalakian has a strong amateur background, a good reign as the champion and a lot of momentum at the moment. Kiatniwat on the other hand has never notched a win on the road, but has shown some real promise despite this being a massive step up in class. A full preview of this bout can be read here Dennapa takes on unbeaten WBA king Dalakian
Davao del Sur, Philippines
As well as the bout in Ukraine there is, as mentioned, a show in the Philippines thanks to Red Boxing International.
The main event of this show is a Heavyweight bout, a real rarity for the Philippines. The bout will see the once beaten Ronald Johnson (15-1, 4) take on the hugely experienced Saul Farah (69-23-3, 60). Johnson is a 33 year old American who debuted at Super Middleweight, back in 2004, and last fought in 2017, more than 60lbs heavier than he was on debut. At 36 years old Farah is a true veteran and will be fighting the 96th time. The Bolivian is certainly no world beater, but he is an active fighter and a win here would be his 70th as a professional, a figure very rarely hit in modern day boxing.
One of many good looking supporting bouts will see the once beaten Christoval Furog (7-1, 3) take on Orlie Silvestre (13-5-1, 8), in what should be a very competitive bout. Of the two Furog is the less well known, but he did give Christian Bacolod one of his toughest bouts to date, whilst Silvestre has shown his ability with competitive performances against Reiya Konishi and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. This has the potential to be very entertaining.
In other notable under-card bouts we'll see the unbeaten Roy Nagulman (8-0-1, 6) take on Jufry Kakahure (4-2, 4) and the promising KJ Natuplag (8-0-2, 7) battle Reynold Kundimang (4-1-3, 1). It's hard to see past the unbeaten fighters here, but they should be tested and we should see questions being asked of both hopefuls.
In Australia we'll see a number of journeyman from Asia in action, with the only fighter of real note being unbeaten Korean Deok No Yun (3-0, 2), who battles against the once beaten David Drapac (6-1, 3). This will be Yun's third bout in Australia, and sees him stepping up to a 6 rounder for the first time. Drapac has a nice looking record, but has only beaten novices and the professional Aswin Cabuy. This is a pretty interesting match up, and Yun certainly has a good chance to extend his winning run.
Our attention turns to New York this coming Friday where we get the chance to see several Asian fighters in action.
New York, USA
The biggest of the bouts in New York will see little known Japanese fighter Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) challenge IBF Super Bantamweight champion TJ Doheny (20-0, 14). This is a huge step up class for Takahashi and an opportunity that few would have expected to see Takahashi get. This is Doheny's first title defense, and he really be the major favourite as he takes on the little known challenger. Takahashi had to wait until January 11th to get his visa for the fight but had been training for a potential clash with Doheny since early December. We've previewed this bout bout here Preview: Doheny Vs Takahashi
New York, USA
A separate card in New York will feature a trio of Asian fighters in bouts.
One of those Asian fighters in action is Filipino fighter Jessie Cris Rosales (22-1-1, 10), who will take on the very highly regarded American Shakur Stevenson (9-0, 5) in a very attractive looking contest. Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medal winner, is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in American boxing and looked fantastic last time out, when he blitzed Romanian veteran Viorel Simion. Rosales on the other hand has a good record and his only loss is to the monstrously hard hitting Jhonny Gonzalez. A win for Rosales isn't expected, but he should be the best test for Stevenson so far.
Former Indian amateur stand out Vikas Krishan (0-0) will be making his debut on this show as he faces off with Steven Andrade (3-3, 2). The gifted Krishan is a 2-time Olympian who announced his intention to turn professional last year and signed with Top Rank, who will look to guide his career to the top. There are huge hopes for Krishan who will begin his career in a 6 round bout here and will be looking to show what he can do. Sadly Adrade has lost his last 3, his last 2 by stoppage, and it's hard to see Krishan being tested at all here in what is likely to be an easy showcase for his debut.
A third Asian on this show is Uzbek fighter Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3), a 2016 Olympic gold medal winner and a 27 year old who is starting to understand the professional boxing scene. The unbeaten Uzbek will be up against Dominican fighter Ricardo Garcia (14-4-1, 9), in what is a very credible step up in class for Gaibnazarov. The Olympic champion has had his struggles, and was dropped on his debut, but does look to be improving and this is a real test. We would expect Gaibnazarov to win, but it'll be very interesting to see how he looks en route to that win.
We also get some action from Thailand.
In one of the major bouts Flyweight contender Dennapa Kiatniwat (20-1, 15), aka Sarawut Thawornkham, will be up against Filipino foe Mateo Handig (15-17, 9), in what looks likely to be a straight forward win for the Thai, who is currently ranked #1 by the WBA at Flyweight. In recent years Handig has been picking up a lot of losses, and we expect to see another one here against the hard hitting Thai.
On the same card we'll see Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (39-1, 29) make his first defense of the WBA Asia Light Middleweight title he won last year, as he takes on Tanzania's Meshack Mwankemwa (17-5-2, 10), in what we're expecting to be a total mismatch in favour of the Thai fighter.