Bucheon, South Korea
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from South Korea, keeping up what has been an interestingly busy Korean scheduled this year. This time around it will be the KBA who are leading the way, and not the more well established KBM or KBF.
The main event of the card will see female veteran Ji Hyun Park (23-3, 7) take on Chinese novice YuFei Wu (1-0). This will be Park's first defense of the WBF International Minimumweight title, which she won last July, and it's hard to see her losing here as she is genuinely a world class fighter. Wu is such an unknown that it's hard to get a read on her, though Korean sources have suggested that she was a standout Chinese amateur at high school level.
On the under-card there isn't too much to be excited by, with the biggest supporting bout being between KBA ranked Light Welterweight's Hwan Young Jo (5-7, 1) and Jong Hoon Lim (2-4-1). These are both top 3 ranked by the KBA, though that really sums up the lack of depth under the KBA ranks. Another supporting bout will see Bum Young Lee (10-9-2, 3) take on Hyeon Oh Lee (3-3), with both of these men being ranked in the top 10 by the KBA at Super Bantamweight.
As well as the show in Korea there is also a show of note in the Philippines, featuring a number of interesting local hopefuls.
One of the interesting bouts on this card will see unbeaten 19 year old ArAr Andales (9-0, 2) take on Cris Ganoza (17-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The bout is pencilled in as Andales' first defense of the belt, and he has really been impressive so far through his career, but this is a clear step up in class, and is obviously his toughest bout to date.
Another interesting match up on this card will see Alphoe Dagayloan (12-2-5, 5) make his first defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title, as he takes on unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (11-0, 6). Without trying to sound too easily impressed, we think this is a bloody brilliant match up. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, despite his less than perfect record, and Domingo is no patsy. This could be one of the weekends most interesting bouts.
Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall once again this coming Saturday for a stacked Dangan card, with 4 very good bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) take on Mexican youngster Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-2-1, 7) in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator, with the winner moving towards a world tittle fight against Jerwin Ancajas. Funai has been on a good run since losing in a Japanese title fight to Sho Ishida way back in 2016. He claimed the Japanese title last year and the WBO Asia Pacific belt earlier this year, and he's actually 6-0 (5) since the loss to Ishida. When it comes to assessing Olivo's career things aren't that impressive, with his most notable result being a narrow loss to Milan Melindo back in 2015. Aged 22 Olivo is a fighter who is developing but he was beaten just 2 fights back by Jose Briegel Quirino, in what looks to have been a home town decision. Olivo is probably better than his record indicates, but this is still a big step up in class for the Mexican. We've a full preview of this bout here Funai and Olivo battle in world title eliminator!
The chief supporting bout will match once beaten fighters, as Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) takes on recent OPBF title challenger Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1). The talented Masaki was tipped for big things, but his rise through the ranks was slowed this past January, when he was out pointed by Hironori Mishiro. Masaki has bounced back since his loss, with a decision win over Korean Hyun Je Shin, but this is a big step back up since that loss. On the other hand the 21 year old Tomioka surprised the Japanese scene this year when he pushed OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani very close in July, losing an 11th round TKO in a very competitive bout. Tomioka's biggest issue is his lack of power, but we wouldn't be surprised by him relying on his skills and picking up a career best win here.
Another mouth watering support bout will see Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) face off with the unbeaten Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title. The more experienced man is 22 years old and debuted back in August 2014. He suffered a few early career set backs, losing 3 of his first 6, but has since gone 7-1 with a very notable win last time out against Ryuji Ikeda. On the hand Oda is a 20 year old with insane upside, as he showed when taking the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at the age of 18. Oda hasn't been the busiest since his Rookie win, but has impressed, with 3 solid wins this year including a stoppage against Masashi Wakita in August. Oda is the more naturally gifted man, but this is likely to be his stiffest test to date. A preview of this bout is here Oda and Toshikawa battle for Lightweight youth crown!
A fourth major bout on this card will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese youth Minimumweight title fight. The 19 year old Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, really impressed last year before taking the Rookie crown in December against Retsu Akabane. Since that Rookie win Inoue has scored his only stoppage win, taking out Daisuke Sudo in 5 rounds this past May. As for the 21 year old Ishizawa he made his debut in June 2017 and has impressed ever since, scoring a huge win over Tatsuro Nakashima back in April. It should be noted that Ishizawa was supposed to fight for this title earlier in the year, against Daiki Tomita, but the bout was cancelled when Ishizawa suffered an injury, which he has now recovered from. Our in depth preview of this bout is here Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
As well as the stacked show in Japan there's also a notable card in the Philippines, headlined by former world title challengers facing off, and featuring several prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle against Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years, with Jerusalem giving Wanehng Menayothin arguably the toughest bout of his career, in 2017, and Landero recently losing to Knockout CP Freshmart. The loser will have some serious rebuilding to do, but given that both men are still young that won't be a huge issue with the right mind set. The winner however will have taken a huge step towards getting a second shot at a world title. Our preview of this bout is here Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash!
In one of the supporting bouts fans will see unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Domingo. Another of the supporting bouts will see will see the unbeaten Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) taking on fellow unbeaten Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what should be a compelling bout, though we do feel that Bacolod's power and extra experience will be the difference.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
The Funai bout isn't the only world title eliminator taking place as the UK plays host to a Lightweight world title eliminator between Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) and popular Englishman Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13), who will be hoping to take a step towards a WBA title shot. Yordan has been one of the few Indonesian fighters in recent years to make a mark internationally and his win earlier this year against Pavel Malikov was one of the best bouts of 2018. He is however up against here, with Crolla being a former WBA world champion and one of the best contenders in the division, with great stamina and under-rated skills. With a big reward for the winner we're expecting this to be a very exciting and action packed contest, with a lot of leather being thrown. We've previewed that bout here Yordan and Crolla set for a thriller...
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we're set for a bit of a mismatch, with the all action Joel Brunker (33-3, 19) battling Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-27-6, 14). The 32 year old Brunker isn't going to reach the heights many had hopes for, but Rengkung shouldn't pose any sort of a threat at all, and will instead be expected to pick up his 28th career defeat.
In Russia we'll see former Uzbek amateur stand out Makhmud Gaipov (0-0) make his professional debut. Sadly at the time of writing no opponent has been named for Gaipov, but we're expecting him to be moved quickly and in 2019 we'll expect to see him fighting in 6 or even 8 rounders.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
On April 25th fight fans in the Philippines will be able to attend a low key show in Negros Occidental.
The main bout on this show will see the unbeaten Esneth Domingo (8-0, 4) look to extend his unbeaten record, as he battles Jeffrey Stella (4-4-2, 4). The 19 year old Domingo has been a professional since late 2015 and despite not fighting anyone of note he has been busy for such a youngster, with 4 fights in 2016 and 3 fights in 2017. As for Stella he is a limited fighter , who has failed to win any of his last 4 bouts, but he is heavy handed and dangerous early on with 3 stoppages. If nothing else we suspect this could be a chin check for Domingo and a chance for him to answer some questions about his defense and toughness.