The most notable action takes place in Kazakhstan, as a former world champion returns to action and fans also get the chance to see a number of local prospects take their next towards stardom.
The main event of the bout will see former WBA Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 11) return to face the once beaten Hizni Altunkaya (30-1, 17) for a version of the WBA Cruiserweight title, one of 4 “world” titles the WBA has at the weight. The Kazakh hasn't fought in over 2 years, since beating Junior Anthony Wright for the WBA “regular” title, due to an eye injury but has shown a new hunger for this return at the age of 34. Altunkaya on the other hand has been active but is one of the biggest bottom feeders in the sport and is totally without a win of note. The German based Turk has lost his only bout of note, suffering a 5th round loss to Krzysztof Glowacki, and this is a significant step up from his other competition. If Shumenov is half the fighter he once was, he shouldn't struggle to come out on top here.
One of the most notable prospects is Bobirzhan Mominov (6-0, 5), who will be looking to make a mark on his first bout on Kazakh soil, as he takes on Georgian teenager Giorgi Bliadze (7-6, 2). The unbeaten Kazakh has fought in the US and in Argentina so far, and has looked good in his wins to date, but this should be a great chance for him to shine against the relatively limited Georgian fighter.
Among the other fighters on this card is Aidos Yerbossynuly (7-0, 6), who has looked fun in his first 7 bouts. His opponent hasn't been named at the time of writing, but we don't imagine it will be anyone too testing.
As well as the show in Kazakhstan there is also a notable card in Tokyo, which will be broadcast on tape delay in the coming week. The card isn't a stacked one in terms of quality match ups, but it does feature a good main event and several notable names.
The main event will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (15-0, 11), who is now a world ranked fighter, taking on talented Filipino Dexter Alimento (13-3, 9). On paper this is a great match up, with Nakatani looking to build on a strong run of wins against the likes of Seigo Yuri Akui, Jeronil Borres and Mario Andrade and Alimento looking to give his own career a big boost. The Japanese fighter looks to be one of the countries fastest rising hopefuls and at just 20 the future is very bright for Nakatani. The 22 year old Alimento scored a huge win in January 2016, when he stopped Chanachai CP Freshmart, but has since gone 3-3, including a razor thin loss to Masataka Taniguchi, A move up to Flyweight isn't likely to help the Filipino, but we can't write him off give his energy and style, and he could be a real banana skin here.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout looks to be thoroughly one-sided, as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5), the 2015 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year, takes on Marzon Cabilla (16-16-1, 5). The talented Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run coming in to this but hasn't fought since December. The Filipino the other hand has been active, with two fighters already this year, and whilst he has won 7 of his last 8 he was stopped last time out, and has been stopped in 12 of his 16 defeats.
Also on this card fans will be able to see Yuichi Yokoyama (17-4, 15), Ryota Toyoshima (8-2-1, 6) and Masaya Tamayama (10-1, 5) all in action, with all 3 men taking on Thai visitors.
There's also two cards in the Philippines, one of which will take place in Bohel and be promoter by former world champion Gerry Penalosa.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (12-0, 8) make his ring return, after almost 2 years away from the ring, as he takes on Indonesian veteran Ricky Manufoe (27-34-3, 10). The talented Penalosa had looked like a promising talent early in his career but a few stumbles in his activity has slowed his progress and he's now been out of the ring since September 2016. Despite the inactivity the the Filipino will be strongly favoured against an opponent who has been racking up a lot of losses on the road in recent years.
A second Philippines Vs Indonesia bout will see Carlo Caesar Penalosa (11-1, 4) battle against Iwan Key (11-21-3, 1), in an equally mismatched contest. Penalosa was upset in February 2017, by Reymark Taday, but has since bounced back with 4 wins and will be expecting another easy one here. Key has scored 1 win in his last 11 and won't be expected to get a win on the road here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The bets of the Filipino bouts, on paper at least, comes from Metro Manila, as WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Flyweight champion Cris Alfante (14-6-1, 6) makes his second defense, battling against veteran Ardin Diale (33-12-4, 16). Alfante won the title in 20116, with a win over Rolio Golez, and made his first defense last September. He will go in as the champion, but as the under-dog with less experience than the battle hardened Diale, who is a proven fighter at the regional level and will be looking to bounce back from a 2017 loss to Moruti Mthalane.
It's been a slow start to the Japanese boxing calendar this year, but this coming Saturday we get out first live televised card of 2018. The show, set to be aired by G+, features the first Japanese title fight of 2018 along with a number of other names fighters, including 2 prospects who could really break out over the next 12 months.
The main event will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on the under-rated, and aggressive, Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6). Akaho, a former 2-time world title challenger, won the title last March and recorded his first defense with a stoppage win against Yuta Saito last August. Although a heavy handed fighter, at this level at least, he's a ling way from being the best Japanese fighter at 118lbs and could well see his reign being a short one, given the rising talent in the country. Suzuki started his career with big aspirations but sets backs to Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco slowed his climb. Coming in to this the challenger has won his last 3, and earned the right to fight Akaho thanks to his 7th riund TKO win over Eita Kikuchi in a Japanese title eliminator last October. This should be a hard hitting and violent war.
In the chief support bout we'll see Charles Bellamy (26-3-2, 17) return to the ring after more than a year out. The Japanese based American will be up against a Thai foe, who we've been told is a natural 140lb fighter and should look much smaller than Bellamy. The talented New Yorker born fighter hasn't fought since a controversial 2017 draw with Yuki Beppu and will likely be looking to make up for lost time this, with a quick blow out here and a speedy return to action.
One of the notable prospects on this card is Japanese Youth champion Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10), who takes on Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-3-1, 5). The unbeaten 20 year old has been impressive since his 2015 debut, and claimed the 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the Year along with the Japanese Youth title last year. Beronil began his career 7-0-1 but has lost 3 of his last 4, including a very controversial loss to Joo Hyun Jung last February. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man and whilst he's a good fighter at his level, we suspect the power and size of Nakatani will be too much.
Another unbeaten on this show is the very exciting Kai Chiba (7-0, 6), who faces of with Filipino foe Brian Lobetania (12-4-3, 10). Last year we saw Chiba go 4-0 (3) and scoring a very notable win in a thriller with Ryo Matsubara, in what was one of many hidden gems of 2017, here he will be looking to continue his climb towards a title fight, but comes up against a very live Lobetania. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, but is a natural puncher and will be looking to stop Chiba, in what is likely to be a very thrilling action bout.
The once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (11-1, 5) is expected to be in action on the card, though no information at all is available on his opponent. The talented Matsunaga fought 3 rimes in 2016, scoring 3 solid wins, but was inactive in 2017 and will be hoping to rebuild his career this year, potentially moving towards some kind of title fight before the year is over.
There is also set to be a Chinese card, with a number of title bouts.
In the main event of this card we'll see once beaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) take on Indonesian visitor John Ruba (15-3-1, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. The exciting Chinese fighter was beaten last time ouit by Rikki Naito, but was unlucky in what was a very competitive bout. It's hard to know how good he is but he has looked good through his career so far. As for Ruba he's a very promising fighter at this level, and comes into this bout on a 7 fight winning run...but it would take a career best win for Rub to win here.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see Jing Xiang (13-4-2,3) take on very talented Filipino fighter Dexter Alimento (13-2, 9) in a contest for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Light Flyweight title. Coming in to this Xiang is on a 5 fight winning run having claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title in 2016. He has come up short against some decent fighters in the past, such as Macrea Gandionco and Ben Mananquil, but a decision win over Mananquil in their second bout shows his ability.
Also on this card is a 10 rounder between once beaten local hopeful Jian Wang (4-1) and Thai foe Yutthichai Wannawong (6-4, 5) for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Wang has scored back to back wins following a loss in a regional title bout. The Thai visitor lost his first 3 bouts, all in Japan, but has gone 6-1 (4) since then and claimed a Thai title on his way up. On paper this isn't the most interesting of bouts, but the Thai has a little bit of form and could make for an a decent test.
The key show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo where we get a triple title show courtesy of Watanabe gym.
The main event of this card is an IBF Minimumweight title fight as reigning world champion Jose Argumedo (20-3-1,12) defends his title against heavy handed Japanese fighter Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6). For Kyoguchi the bout could see him become the new face of the Watanabe gym, and the fastest fighter, in terms of time, to win a world title from Japan, around 15 months after his debut. For Argumedo the bout will be his 4th defense, and see him return to Japan, where he won the title at the end of 2015, when he beat Katusnari Takayama. On paper this is a really mouth watering match up, as a big and tough champion takes on a destructive ball of power punching energy, and we expect to see serious questions asked about both men. If Kyoguchi is ready for Argumedo, he's potentially ready to shake up the who division, but it's possible that Watanabe rushed just a touch too quick.
The other world title bout will see Watanabe's only current male world champion defending his title. That's Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-2, 11) who makes a mandatory defense of his WBA Light Flyweight title against Colombian foe Robert Barrera (18-1, 12), in what could be a testing bout for the frustrating Taguchi. At his best Taguchi is a brilliant fighter, who can box at range and make the most of his physical attributes, which include a very long reach. Problem is that he's frustratingly struggled with less fighters and seems to find it hard to get up for some opponents, and struggles against supposedly easier foes. Barrera, as a mandatory, should pose a good test, but it's hard to say for sure. If the Colombian is determined and fired up he could, potentially, scupper a strongly rumoured unification bout between Taguchi and WBO champion Kosei Tanaka. It's fair to say that Taguchi should be hungry to prove a point, but whether we see that in the ring is hard to predict.
A third title bout will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (27-7, 19) defending his title, for the first time. In the opposite corner to the champion will be first time challenger Takayuki Okumoto (18-7-3, 8), and it's fair to say that the champion will be the favoured fighter here. Funai won the title at the Champion Carnival, stopping good friend Kenta Nakagawa, and will be hoping to extend his reign in a voluntary defense. Okumoto was once seen as a prodigy but has become a streaky fighter and will need to record a career best win to dethrone the champion.
A name to make a note of in action on this card is touted former amateur star Hironori Mishiro (2-0, 1),who is tipped as another to follow in the footsteps of Kyoguchi and be moved quickly through the ranks following a very strong amateur grounding. He's looked good since turning professional but still needs to continue his development. He'll be up against a Thai foe, but sadly we've not been given the foes name.
Someone else up against an unknown Thai is former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13), who returns to the ring for the first time since his stoppage loss to Naoya Inoue. The bout is designed to help Kono shake off some ring rust ahead off a more meaningful bout with Rex Tso later in the year.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there is a card primarily focused on prospects.
On of those prospects is the once beaten Ben Mananquil (13-1-2, 3), who we have been impressed by since his controversial draw against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym back in 2013. Although Mananquil has got a loss, it was a razor thin one in China and we'd suggest he's one to follow going forward. With that said we clearly expect him to defeat the heavy handed but limited Kim Lindog (5-4-1, 4).
Another of the top prospects if former amateur stand out Jade Bornea (7-0, 4), who takes on the experienced, but very limited, Nicardo Calamba (7-24-4, 4). As an amateur Bornea won numerous trophies and scored a number of big wins, and huge things are expected of him. For this bout he should have way too much for Calamba, who has really struggled to pick up wins in recent years.
As well as the prospects we'll also see a veteran in action, as the highly experienced Eden Sonsona (36-7-2, 13) takes on JP Macadumpis (11-9-1, 5), and returns to the ring following a loss in Russia to unbeaten prospect Evgeny Chuprakov. On paper this should be an easy win for the 28 year old Sonsona, but there may be questions about how he looks given his stoppage loss last time out.
Also on this card will be two novice prospects looking to secure their second professional wins. One of those is Dave Apolinario (1-0, 1), who takes on the win-less Elizer Ambon (0-1), who was recently signed to a professional contract and looked on debut. The other is his stable mate Mark Antonio (1-0, 1), who signed with and debuted at the same time as Apolinario. Antonio will be up against the debuting Jeffrey Diale (0-0), and will also be looking for his second victory.
In South Africa we'll see the really promising Filipino youngster Dexter Alimento (12-1, 8) take on South African local DeeJay Kriel (11-1-1, 6) in a bout for the currently vacant WBC International Minimumweight title. Alimento came to our attention last year, when he stopped Chanachai CP Freshmart, and despite a very close loss to Masataka Taniguchi we still have huge hopes for him. Kriel is unbeaten since a points loss on his debut in 2014 but as wit many African fighters his record is a hard one to read, with no fights against opponents that we can say much about. This is a hard one to get a read on, but could tell us a lot about both mem
This coming Monday we get the second Diamond Glove show of the month, with an OPBF title being the headliner and two wonderfully interesting support bouts with prospects being given serious tests and giving us a chance to really know what their careers will have to offer.
The OPBF title bout will see OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (14-3-1, 8) defending his belt against once beaten Filipino Randy Braga (19-1-1, 5). For the champion this will be his second defense of the title, though his 14 month reign has been a frustrating one plagued by injuries. Takenaka looked great when he won the title, scoring an eye catching KO of Vinvin Rufino but a defense against Akira Shono proved little. Although relatively unknown Braga is a really credible challenger who proved himself last year, losing a controversial one to Macbute Sinyabi and taking the unbeaten record of Neil John Tabanao
In one of two really mouth watering supporting bouts we'll see unbeaten Light Welterweight hopeful Shuichiro Yoshino (2-0, 1) face the once touted Kenta Onjo (6-2, 3) in an intriguing 8 rounder. Yoshino has looked good so far, and made a statement in his second bout out boxing the highly experienced Chaiyong Sithsaithong but Onjo is a man now fighting for his career after 2 losses in his last 4. This could end up being a really great bout.
Although the two bouts mentioned above are really interesting the bout of the show, in our eyes at least, sees Masataka Taniguchi (4-0, 4) take on the world ranked Dexter Alimento (11-0, 7) in a bout fit to headline a card. Taniguchi is a young Watanabe fighter who has looked sensational so far, stopping his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, he is however taking a huge leap up in class. Alimento, a 20 year old Filipino,really impressed us earlier this year with a break out win against Chanachai CP Freshmart. Some might think these two are being thrown against each other too early but we love that the teams want to test their men, and that the fighters are willing to put their 0's on the line! Real credit to both fighters and we're expecting something very, very special.
Unbeaten Kazakh Ruslan Madiev (7-0, 3) continues his career after a spell of inactivity. Madiev will be up against Baltazar Ramirez (3-1, 3), who either stopped his opponents or been stopped in the first 3 rounds of his fights so far. We suspect with Ramirez's style this might not last long, one way or the other.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
In the UK fight fans will see Iranian born Scottish based fighter Mohammad Babazadeh (4-0, 1) look to build on his unbeaten record. This will be Babazadeh's first bout this year, after 3 bouts in 2015, and it seems he may be too inactive to build much career momentum at this stage.
The final Asian card of the month comes from the Philippines and whilst it's not a great card it does feature several prospects worth noting.
The most noteworthy of those prospects is the very talented Dexter Alimento (10-0, 7), who came to our attention earlier this year with an upset win over Thailand's Chanchai CP Freshmart, for the WBC Youth Minimumweight title. For this bout Alimento will be stepping up in weight to face the very experience Rodel Tejares (20-37-6, 5) for the MinProBA Light Flyweight title. Tejares isn't expected to really test Alimento however this will be the 20 year old hopefuls first bout since his tragic contest with Chanachai, which left the Thai in a coma, and his mental state may be tested here.
The other prospect of note here is Joe Tejones (3-0, 1), a 19 year old who will be up against Rowel Garcia (7-18-3, 1), a limited and light hitting opponent who is unlikely to do anything but go a few rounds with the teenager.
This coming Friday is an interesting day with bouts across Asia ranging from prospect bouts to national title contests.
In South Korea cans will get a KBF title double televised on MBC Sports +. The bouts may not be the biggest bouts of the day though they do show just how committed the KBF are to continue the sport in Korea.
One of the bouts will see KBF Featherweight champion Bong Joon Suk (8-1-2, 1) defending his title against Sa Myung Noh (6-2, 1). Noh appears to be going up in weight for this bout having first made a name for himself at Super Bantamweight, however he did manage to score a win over Suk back in 2012 in their first meeting. For Suk this is a chance to defend his title and gain revenge over the only man to have beaten him so far.
The other title bout will see Woo Shin Kim (5-1-2, 2) battle against Sung Tae Kim (5-10-1, 2) for the vacant Korean Light Welterweight title. For Sung Tae Kim it'll be a chance to become a 2-weight Korean champion however he will need to score his first win since September 2009 if he's to become the champion. Woo Shin Kim however will be in his first title bout and is seeking a break out win here.
There is also a show in Laos with a notable main event.
In the main event we'll see the unbeaten Norasing Kokietgym (14-0-1, 10) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Flyweight title against Indonesian fighter Juventus Baga (2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge mismatch. We like Norasing but at 28 years old he really needs to make the step up now if he's to do anything with his career other than tread water with meaningless bouts, like this one.
In the Philippines 3 Jewels Promotions will be putting on a small card with a couples of interesting bouts.
The most interesting bout here is the main event which will see the unbeaten Dexter Alimento (8-0, 6) battle against Lester John Pronco (9-9-1, 6) for the LuzProBA Minimumweight title. The 19 year old Alimento is a promising prospect but has yet to be given a real test. Although Pronco isn't an amazing fighter he is better than his record suggests and although he is 0-6-1 in his last 7 we really wouldn't be shocked to see him run Alimento close.
A second notable bout will see the unbeaten Jeronil Borres (5-0-1, 5) take on Gerald Paclar (2-1, 1) . Last time out Paclar “exposed” the then 3-0 record of Rene Mark Cuarto and he'll be hoping to do the same here against Borres. Saying that however Borres does appear to have genuine power and has already been in a gut-check, drawing with fellow unbeaten hopeful Salatiel Amit back in January.
(Image courtesy of http://www.koreaboxing.or.kr)
Some days are busy, this coming Sunday is one such day with a host of bouts through out Asia, even if they aren't the biggest fights of the year.
The most interesting of the numerous Asian shows today will come from the Philippines where we see one of the sport's most exciting little men in action.
The aforementioned little man is Filipino slugger Denver Cuello (34-5-6, 22) who will be fighting against experienced Indonesian journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-27-2, 3) in a 10 round bout. This will be Cuello's second bout in quick succession this year having lost more than a year of his career to inactivity following a nasty arm injury that he suffered in a WBC world title fight in 2013 against Xiong Zhao Zhong. As for Tehuayo, AKA Sammy Hagler, this will be his second fight this month following a loss to Pigmy Kokietgym back on November 14th.
The co-feature bout on this show is also a notable one as former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (37-13-5, 27) battles against Arjet Caballes (6-31-5, 3) in another complete and utter mismatch.
An interesting under-card bout here will see the unbeaten Kyota Otsuka (4-0, 2) fighting against the much more experienced Ricky Oyan (4-22-2, 2). On paper this is a a good step up for Otsuka but it's a step up he should manage with out too many problems.
In Ishikawa, on one of the three Japanese shows, we see a number of bouts featuring international fighters.
The main event will feature promising Filipino Daryl Basadre (13-1-1, 9) fighting against unbeaten Thai Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (6-0, 4) in what looks to be a genuinely interesting contest for the WBC Youth Bantamweight. Basadre is unbeaten since being stopped by Suriyan Sor Rungvisai back in September 2013 and has since ran up 4 wins, 3 by stoppage, as he's redeveloped his confidence. Yodsingdaeng is a bit of a mystery Thai though hopefully will prove to be better than some other Thai's we've seen fighting on the road recently.
The show will also feature two other bouts between a Filipinos and Thais. One will see Mark Gil Melligen (20-4-1, 11) battling against a Thai opponent, though sadly one we haven't the name of. The other will see the very exciting and promising Neil John Tabanao (9-0, 6) fighting against the win-less Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (0-3). We suspect we'll see the Filipino's going 3-0 here.
The 5 other bouts on this card will see Japanese fighters fighting against Chinese fighters. The most notable of these bouts is a 6 rounder between Yukiya Hanabusa (6-2-2, 1) battle against Chinese novice Xu Yuan Cai (0-1).
Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card is going to be held in Zamboanga and will be headlined by a bout between the unbeaten and promising Dexter Alimento (6-0, 4) and the limited but experienced Jherom Tuyor (6-19-2, 3) in what we suspect will be a relatively straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
A second Japanese show comes from Tochigi and is only a small one featuring a total of 7 bouts, though only 2 are worth noting.
The main event here is a 10 round featuring OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender Yoshitomo Watanabe (5-1, 4). The 22 year old Japanese fighter will be fighting against a Thai opponent though unfortunately we don't have any information about the Thai in this bout.
In the chief support bout fans will get an 8 rounder between Yuki Furuya (6-6, 2) and Masahide Shinabe (6-11-2, 3). This isn't a great bout on paper but it should give the fans something to enjoy before the main event.
In Kagoshima we get the weakest of the three Japanese cards. The show will also feature 7 bouts and it's most notable bouts are both relatively poor.
One of the co-features will see Naoya Haruguchi (5-5, 2) fighting against Takeshi Nakayama (3-6-2, 1) whilst the other will see Tomohiro Nagakari (6-2, 1) battling against Takuya Taniguchi (4-5-1, 1). Both of these bouts are 6 rounders and sadly it does leave us feeling under-whelmed with nothing on the show being particularly interesting.
In China there is a small show as well, with yet more Chinese fighters in action. That card, from Wuhan, appears to have a number of novices in action with no real stand out bout.
One of those novices is Wang Kun (1-1, 1) who will be battling against limited Georgian Giorgi Gochishvili (3-4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. Kun fought both of his bouts in 2012 and will be returning to the ring after a notable break. Gochishvili started his career 3-0 though has failed to record a win in his last 6 bouts and suspect that run will be continue here.
The other bout will see A Mu (0-0) making his debut. The debuting Chinese fighter will be in action against Georgian visitor Renat Samedovi (10-11-1, 3). We suspect that Mu will be given a good test here and this isn't a gimme as we would usually see from a debutant.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
We get two more Asian fighters in action in South Africa as we get a pair of IBO title fights, strange the Asian's on this show have actually fought each other in the past.
One of the fighters is is the heavy handed Filipino hopeful Marbon Bodiongan (11-1-2, 9) who will be fighting against Xolani Mcotheli (10-1, 8) in a bout for the IBO Super Featherweight title. This is a great bout on paper and one we're excited by given that both guys are talented and both guys appear to have real power.
The other Asian on this show is another Filipino, the talented and very promising Michael Dasmarinas (18-1, 11) challenging for the IBO Super Flyweight title against Lwandile Sityatha (17-3-1, 7). Dasmarinas was actually stopped by Bodiongan back in April 2012 though has since ran off 15 straight wins, including an impressive one on the road against Hayato Kimura in Japan. Sityatha comes into this bout following a very narrow win over Edrin Dapudong and we suspect Dasmarinas has been given a heads up about how the South African fighters ahead of this coming contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)