Action finally returns to this coming weekend as we get the first Japanese show of 2016.
In the main event we'll see a Japanese title unification bout at 140lbs. The bout sees unbeaten champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) faces interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) in a bout to unify the title that was split, last year, when Okada was injured. This is, on paper, Okada;s toughest bout so far, especially when you consider his long lay off due to the injury, but will be confident of inflicting a second loss on Nakazawa, who was previously stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya.
An interesting support bout comes at Middleweight where the promising Shoma Fukumoto (7-1, 6) battles recent OPBF and JBC title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-5-1, 8). This is Akiyama's first bout since being beaten last year by Akio Shibata whilst Fukumoto will be fighting for the first time since joining the Kadoebi gym. Fukumoto, due to the gym transfer, will be be fighting for the first time in 7 months though will be favoured over the 36 year old Akiyama, who looked awful against Shibata.
Another good looking support bout sees recent Japanese Flyweight challenger Yusuke Sakashita (13-6-2, 8) face Masashi Odaira (6-4-2, 2). On paper it's hard to doubt Sakashita's the favourite, but with 2 losses in his last 3 bouts, including a 1-punch KO loss to Suguru Muranaka, he really needs to shine here.
A third notable under-card bout will see another recent title challenger in action as Yuki Ogata (21-2-1, 3) battles Keisuke Arima (8-11-1, 1). It's hard to see this being anything but a decision win for Ogata but it could be much more competitive than the records suggest.
In the US fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (17-0, 13), who faces a yet to be named opponent. The talented young Filipino scored 4 wins in the US last year and will be expected to grab a 5th successive victory, though sadly it's hard to get too excited given his level of competition.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day with a number of shows that are worthy of noting.
On paper the best show of the day is an Osaka Teiken show at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card features 3 bouts of note despite none of the bouts being title affairs.
The main event of the card sees Japanese and OPBF ranked prospect Sho Nakazawa (7-0, 4) battling against Daisuke Watanabe (2-1, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given the hype and expectancy that Nakazawa has on his shoulders, however Watanabe has been matched hard and could well bring a hunger and desire that Nakazawa hasn't yet seen. If the “Sho of Naniwa” gets through this one then it's likely that he will be moved into a title bout in 2016, however we don't have this one pegged down as a foregone conclusion.
One bout that is a foregone conclusion will see the once beaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-1, 5) battle against a Thai foe, who is thought to be very inexperienced and was brought in at very late notice. The 22 year old Ikemizu is coming into this one following his first loss, though that loss did come to the talented Mark John Yap, who is a real handful despite his less than flattering record. We can't see this being any more than a confidence builder for the Osaka based Japanese youngster.
Whilst Ikemizu and Nakazawa are worth of some attention it's fair to say that more fans will be interested in a 4 rounder that features the promising Juiki Tatsuyoshi (2-0, 2). Juiki, the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, will be hoping to record a 3rd straight stoppage win as he faces Koichi Wakita (2-1). Although not regarded as a major prospect Tatsuyoshi has looked exciting, aggressive and heavy handed so far, and those traits should see him to a win here.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka fight fans get an historic event as the country puts on it's first ever professional boxing card. The show, which will be the first to be held in Colombia since Sri Lanka was formed more than 60 years ago, is an event being promoted by a Japanese promoter who will be hoping his fighter can become the first champion to successfully defend a world title in the country.
That aforementioned world champion is WBO Atomweight queen Nao Ikeyama (16-3-1, 4) who defends her title, at the age of 46, against Filipino challenger Jujeath Nagaowa (13-15-1, 8). On paper this looks like a straight forward defense for the champion, however she is 18 years old than the challenger and “father” time is currently unbeaten in the ring. Ikeyama is certainly among the better “40+” fighters but we don't expect her to reign for too long and Nagaowa may have got her at the right time here.
Another female bout on this card will see Tamao Ozawa (9-2, 2) take on Thailand's Kledpetch KKP (6-4, 1) in what looks likely to be a simple win for Ozawa, who won an OPBF title just a couple of fights back and is clearly hoping to achieve bigger and better things before her career is over.
In a rare show from Azerbaijan fans get the chance to see a local “star” as Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) battle for the WBF Light Middleweight title. The Baku local appears to be in a tough one on paper as he takes on Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22), from Uganda. This is an interesting match up on paper, and although Lusambya, who is known as “Mr Crush”, has lost his most notable bouts his power does look legitimate and could be very problematic for Mammadov.
Manchester, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will see the return to the ring of Indian star Vijender Singh (2-0, 2) who looks for his third straight stoppage win as he takes on Samet Hyuseinov (7-7, 1). On paper this is, by far, the most testing bout of Singh's career, however that's not saying much and we don't expect Singh to really break a sweat here against a Bulgarian opponent who has won just one of his last 5 bouts.
Talented Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (16-0, 12) will be returning to the ring to continue his career, and fight for the 4th time this year. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named, though it's unlikely to be anyone testing for the Filipino who has fought some very poor opposition in his last 3 contests. We don't like seeing mismatches so we are hoping that in 2016 Penalosa Jr will step his competition up rather than just “staying busy” as he has done recently.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get the chance to see another unbeaten Filipino prospect in action as 22 year old Flyweight hopeful Genesis Libranza (8-0, 5) takes on compatriot Juan Purisima (11-8-1, 4). On paper it's hard to bet against Libranza however Purisima is better than his record suggests and has scored upsets against the likes of Renren Tesorio and Welbeth Loberanis, whilst also sharing the ring with world class fighters, like Roman Gonzalez and Jerwin Ancajas. This is a much better fight the records suggest.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenge Nana Yoshikawa (4-1, 2) take on Denisse De La Cruz (0-1). This is Yoshikawa's first bout since losing to Anable Ortiz in a bout for the WBA female Minimumweight title, back in April. Despite the loss, and the fact this is her first bout outside of Osaka, it's hard to see Yoshikawa losing to Nana.
This coming Saturday is a very busy day in Asian boxing, despite not having a real top tier fight.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Much of the action for the day is in the Philippines where fans get two shows. One of those is set to take place in Metro Manila and show case a former world title challenger who is really struggling for form.
The former challenger is the heavy handed Silvester Lopez (24-11-2, 18) who takes part in a confidence building bout against Eranio Semillano (10-7, 3). The bout is technically a contest for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Bantamweight title, but the reality is that no one really cares about the belt and instead the key is to get Lopez a much needed win.
The key under-card bout, for us at least, will see the unbeaten Joe Noynay (9-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record against Marvin Abila (4-10-1). This should be a straight forward win for Noynay however we haven't yet seen him step up and hopefully that will happen in the near future.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The other Filipino card is from General Santos City and features several bouts of note.
The main event will see recent OPBF title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) attempt to end a 2-fight losing streak as he takes on Ryan Rey Ponteras (13-11-1, 6). On paper this is a huge mismatch but, Ponteras has been over-looked in the past and has proven to be a banana skin, so could possible test Geraldo's resolve here.
As for the key under-card bout, that will be a contest featuring the promising, but once-beaten, Jhaleel Payao (11-1, 6) who hopes to bounce back from a loss to Michael Dasmarinas, as he takes on Jeson Umbal (8-3, 6). This really is a great supporting bout and could well be the show stealer.
Staying with Filipino's fans in the US will get the chance to see the much touted Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (14-0, 12) take part in his second bout in the space of 5 weeks. Penalosa Jr has been matched very easily here and will be up against “no hoper” Greg Coverson Jr (3-13-3, 2) in what should be a simple win for the 24 year old Filipino.
Also in the US fans will get the chance to see Kyrgyzstan's Urmat Ryskeldiev (11-3, 7) take on promising puncher Nathaniel Gallimore (9-0, 8) in what could be a very explosive match up in Burbank, California.
In China there will be a rookie show, consisting of 10 bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounders. This is the next set of bouts in the recent Top Rank/SECA co-promoted deal from the Mercedes-Benz Arena and is hoping to, eventually, develop the next crop of Chinese talent.
This coming Sunday is a big day for Asian fight fans, before than however fans get a busy, though not hugely exciting, Saturday.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Arguably the Asian show of the day comes from Cotabato del Sur where fans get a come genuinely good looking bouts and a number of prospects.
The main event here sees 23 year olds collide as Daryl Basadre (14-2-1, 10) takes on Kenny Demecillo (9-3-1, 6) in what looks like a genuinely solid domestic match up. There is some minor title attached to the bout but there really needn't be as it is a great bout on paper and could well help the winner establish themselves as a real hopeful. Notably this is a rematch from a very controversial clash earlier this year that Demecillo won via TKO with the referee's decision being hotly disputed.
Another good match with a minor strap attached to it will see Rimar Metuda (7-0, 3) face the heavy handed Jason Tinampay (6-1, 5). These two, both southpaws, are very young fighters and the winner will certainly be one to keep an eye on, however we wouldn't rule out the loser from becoming a solid fighter in the future.
In our eyes the best fighter on the card is John Vincent Moralde (13-0, 7) who takes on the once beaten Jerry Castroverde (6-1, 3). This could be a really good bout though we suspect that Moralde will be too good for his 18 year old foe, who will need a career best performance to even be competitive.
Other prospects on thus card worth making a note of are Markquil Salvana (8-0, 2), an 18 year Super Bantamweight, Michael Angelo Plania (6-0, 3), another 18 year old plying his trade at 122lbs and 19 year old Bantamweight puncher Raymart Gaballo (9-0, 7). Unfortunately all 3 of these youngsters are softly matched.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila where we have one of our favourites Filipinos in action.
That man is Giovanni Escaner (13-3, 9) who battles the horribly over-matched Jayar Estremos (10-11, 4) in what should be an easy win for Escaner, who really impressed when he stopped Naoto Uebayashi earlier this year.
In Ibaragi Japanese fans get a relatively poor show which lacks a really significant bout but does does feature a fighter that we have liked to keep close tabs on in recent times.
That man is domestic Bantamweight contender Tatsuya Takahashi (20-6-4, 15), aka the “Zombie”, who faces Thai fighter Kukiet Sorkaeokamsi (0-0). Takahashi caught our eye last year, in an exciting loss to the then Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda, and since then we've been fans so we're hoping he can pick up another win here and move towards a second Japanese title fight.
The rest of the card however is entire missable.
A second Japanese show, which is even worse than the Ibaragi one, comes from Oita.
The one bout which does look interesting on paper here will see Yamato Uchinono (6-3-5, 4) battle against Koki Ono (8-3, 4) in what should be a genuinely compelling 8 round bout around the Flyweight limit. Another well matched bout, albeit at a low level, will see Yuta Sasaki (6-7, 1) face off against Taisei Higashi (6-8, 5) in a 50-50 match up, but at a very low level.
Wr. Neudorf, Austria
In Germany fans will get the chance to see a female world title fight as Thailand's Teeraporn Pannimit (20-8, 5) battles Austrian “Golden Girl” Eva Voraberger (19-4, 9) in a bout for the IBO, GBU and WIBF Super Flyweight titles. The bout is a tough one for the Thai but she has traveled in the past and shouldn't be concerned about fighting in Voraberger's homeland.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the very exciting Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (13-0, 12) take on as yet unnamed opponent. This will be Penalosa's first bout in 14 months and sadly his career has really slowed after a very exciting win against Jesus Lule, in his US debut back in December 2012. Hopefully a win here will see Penalosa kick on with his career rather than battle with inactivity.
This coming Saturday is an amazingly busy day for boxing fans though it does build to a clear highlight that should get the attention of every single boxing fan on the planet.
New York, USA
The aforemention standout bout of the day is in New York where Kazakhstan's sensational Gennady Golovkin (29-0, 26) attempts to defend his WBA Middleweight "super" title for the first time since being upgraded earlier this year. Golovkin, who made numerous defences of the WBA interim and regular titles, will be facing his toughest test as he goes up against former double champion Daniel Geale (30-2, 16). Despite the notable step up in class Golovkin is widely viewed as unbackable favourite against the talented Australian fighter.
Metro Manila, Philippines
We get two shows in Metro Manila this Saturday though for us the more interesting of the two takes place at the Mandaluyong Gym.
This card is headlined by a trio of 10 rounders and although they don't look the most competitive of bouts they do look interesting. The best of the three, at least on paper, will see Bernabe Concepcion (32-6-1, 18) battle against Eden Sonsona (32-6-1, 10) in a very even looking contest. Although Concepcion is more well known to Western fans, courtesy of his bouts with Juan Manuel Lopez and Mikey Garcia, Sonsona has mixed comparable company courtesy of fights with Pungluang Sor Singyu and Kohei Kono. We do make Concepcion a slight favourite but this has the potential to be a great contest.
Another of the 10 rounders will see the criminally over-looked Richard Pumicpic (14-6-2, 4) battle against Rex Olisa (10-28-1, 8). We are big admirers of Pumicpic who has proven to be a man who is very tricky to beat, as Yohei Tobe and Ryosuke Iwasa have found out in recent times and with that in mind we need to suspect he'll have more than enough to see off the limited Olisa.
The third 10 rounder is unfortunately a giant mismatch as the explosive and promising Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (12-0, 11) battles Indonesia's Dicky Amtiran (3-8). Dodie Boy Jr, the son of Dodie boy Sr and newphew of the show's promoter Gerry Penalosa, really should be matched than this considering his potential and although we are happy to admit we think Amtiran has an "incomplete record" he should still be no match at all for Penalosa. Whilst some will point to the fact Amtiran is a late replacement for
On the under-card their will be a chance to see Dodie's brother Dave Penalosa (8-0, 5) battling against Danilo Gabisay (5-2, 3). This should actually be a tougher test than the one Dodie Boy Jr gets. Gabisay isn't great but he has only lost to Rex Wao and Jack Tepora, two very talented Filipino's who are both getting some notable attention for their potential.
The same Filipino card has a further 3 bouts listed for it.
The other Manila card, held at The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, will feature 8 bouts in total with the most interesting of those bouts being a contest between the "world ranked" Lionel Legada (11-6-1, 5) and journeyman Ricky Oyan (4-20-2, 2). We've got to admit we're not sure how Legada is still world ranked despite losing 4 of his last 6 but he should still have way more than enough to beat Oyan.
Legada's former foe Lionel Mark Duran (12-10-2, 5) will also be on the same card as he battles Ruben Traza (4-6-3, 1) in what is another less than pulsating bout.
Amazingly the main event is an 8 rounder between Bebong Manalo (8-2, 5) and Jovill Marayan (8-17-3, 3) in what really isn't fit to main event a show. Thankfully however the card does have something of real intrigue, the 4th professional bout of Warlight Dapidran (3-0, 2). Dapidran will be fighting against Diover Mangaya-ay (1-5-1) and should win without any problems but will hopefully go 6 rounds here. For those who are unaware Dapidran is Manny Pacquiao's young cousin.
One of the most interesting shows of the night takes place in Mexico where fans get a trio of Mexico Vs Asia bouts.
The most interesting of those bouts will see Japan's Takahiro Shigee (11-0-1, 9) battle against former IBF Super Flyweight champion Rodrigo Guerrero (20-5-1, 13). Shigee will be Guerrero's second Japanese opponent in just 3 fights with Guerrero having been beaten by Daiki Kameda 10 months ago in what was one of Daiki's best performance. Shigee however will need to have a sensational night to over-come the Mexican in Mexico.
In an IBF International Flyweight title fight fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Minimumweight title challenger Jonathan Refugio (13-4-4, 3), of the Philippines, battle Mexico's Armando Santos (14-3, 8). Santos is no stranger to fighting Asian fighters having already shared a ring with Toshiyuki Igarashi and Rolio Golez and will almost certainly be the favourite against Refugio who will need a career best performance to over-come the Mexican.
Sadly the third bout is a complete mismatch as WBA female Minimumweight champion Anabel Ortiz (14-3, 2) defends her belt against Filipino challenger Norj Guro (7-3-1, 4). The bout will be Ortiz's second defence of the title and it's hard to see anything but a straight forward win for the Mexican fighter.
"Down under" fans will get the chance to see Thailand's Phissanuthep Chaiyonggym (4-10-1, 3) battle for the IBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Unfortunately for the limited Thai he will be up against Australia's very own Jason cooper (10-2-1, 5). Cooper, a very capable fighter, is probably best known for his loss, in China, to Qiu Xiao Jun though he is 2-0 since that loss in February and we'd expect him to extend that winning run to 3 here with very few problems.
(Image courtesy of http://www.thegarden.com)