This coming Saturday is a really busy day in Asia, but the standout card is a Japanese one with 4 notable bouts on it. Notably this card isn't just a good one on paper, but will also be available live, thanks to Boxing Raise.
The main event will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 12) make his first defense, of his second reign, as he battles against the limited but typically fun to watch Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5). The hard hitting Kuga won the belt back earlier this year, winning a Japanese Fight of the Year Contender against Ryoichi Tamura, and will be looking to impress here as he attempts to put his 2018 loss to Shingo Wake behind him. The power, pressure and aggression of Kuga is likely to be too much for the challenger but Fujihara does make for fun fights and this should be a fan friendly 1-sided bout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuga takes on Fujihara in first title defense!
A second title bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) take on former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Although not one of the big name hopefuls in Japan Murachi is very well regarded by those who have followed his career, and the plan had always been to fast track him, though we didn't expect such a big step up so early in his career. A win for Murachi at this stage will likely secure him a WBO world ranking but it's not an easy task. Saludar, who was once touted as a future world champion himself, has faltered in his biggest bouts, including bouts against Takuma Inoue and Sho Kimura, but is very capable. For Saludar another loss here would likely end his hopes of getting another world title fight, but he'll feel confident that his experience will be too much for the Japanese youngster. A very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout can be read here Murachi goes for gold in 5th fight, takes on Saludar for WBO regional title!
The third bout which is getting a lot of interest is a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator. This bout, the second of the eliminators for the 2020 Champion Carnival, will see former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) going up against hard hitting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6). For Taniguchi this is a must win bout, but also a huge step backwards following a bout with Vic Saludar earlier this year. As for Ishizawa this is a massive step up in class, and a win will put him on the map and secure a title fight next year. Our view is that it maybe too much too soon for Ishizawa, but we understand why he has taken the fight. This is genuine high risk, high reward for both men. Our preview of this bout is available here Taniguchi and Ishizawa meet in Japanese title eliminator
The final of the notable bouts will see rising Afghan born Japanese based Welterweight hopeful Kudura Kaneko (10-0, 7) continue to step up as he takes on rugged veteran Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) in what could turn out to be the best bout of the show. Kaneko is a very exciting, hard hitting boxer-puncher whilst Yun is a genuine tough guy who has scored more than his share of upset wins. This should be a real test for Kaneko, and could well be a genuine banana skin given the style that Yun brings to the ring. This bout has been featured as our One to watch-Kudura Kaneko vs Moon Hyon Yun this week.
In China we get an interesting card with an international feel to it.
In one of the main bouts we'll see Chinese puncher Jun Zhao (11-2-1, 8) take on Japanese foe Sonin Nihei (9-4-2, 1) in a contest for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Coming in to this the 26 year old Zhao has been in good form, winning his last 6, but hasn't looked sensational during that run and he certainly improvements to make. On the other hand Nihei has struggled for results, winning just 1 of his last 3, but will be travelling with the knowledge that he has the skills to spring in the upset.
In a supporting bout we'll see Mongolian hopeful Erkhembayar Batbayar (5-0, 3) take on Korean foe Jun Yong Lee (6-5-4, 3). This is a 10 rounder and on paper a big step up for the Mongolian, who has never been beyond 6 rounds so far. The Korean is a former national champion, but has won just 1 of his last 4, and is 2-4-1 in his last 7. Batbayar will be the favourite, and rightfully so, but this is certainly his biggest test to date.
Bang Phun, Thailand
We return to the Work Point Studio for a Thai card which will be available on Work Point in Thailand and DAZN in the US.
One of the main bouts on this card will see former Naoya Inoue opponent Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-9, 20) take on Filipino visitor Renz Rosia (15-8-1, 8). Petchbarngborn, also known as Karoon Jarupianlerd, has gone 8-1 since losing to Inoue in 2016 but has fought at a most limited level, with a loss earlier this year to Amnat Ruenroeng being the most notable of those bouts. Rosia on the other hand is 1-3-1 in his last 5 and despite once being a solid fighter at regional level looks like a man who is is often fighting above his best weight. Rosia always comes to fight, but there is a feeling that he probably won't have enough to over-come the Thai in Thailand, where an away win is never easy.
Another bout on this card pitting a Thai against a Filipino will see Nawaphon Kaikanha (46-1-1, 36) take the under-rated and tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). The once beaten Nawaphon is a former world title challenger who is also the brother of former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. Since his loss, in a WBC Flyweight title bout to Juan Hernandez, Nawaphon has moved up to Bantamweight and reeled off 10 straight wins. On paper Ponteras doesn't look like much of a threat, but in reality he's a really good journeyman who should take Nawaphon some rounds, and be competitive at times. Saying that however there are question marks about what Ponteras still has left following his first stoppage defeat back in March, when he was stopped in the opening round by Seiya Tsutsumi. At his best he was very much an upset minded fighter, who scored more than his share of wins against the odds, but he's now without a win in 4 bouts and could well be past his best.
Another bout on this card will be part of the WP Boxing Super Flyweight tournament and will see novices Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) face off. These two were supposed to fight in August but their bout was pushed back to here. On paper this 6 rounder promises a lot and should be competitive, and of course we're big fans of tournaments, so fingers crossed the winner of the overall competition will be given a career boost as Thailand looks to unearth it's next generation of talent.
A second show in Thailand is a much lower profile card. The bouts here are much less interesting and the main event will see Murodjon Yokubov (4-0, 3) battle against teenager Tanawat Ketsiri (2-5, 2). The 25 year old Yokubov is a Thai based Uzbek who turned pro last year and really needs a step up in the near future. Ketsiri on the other hand has lost 4 times this year, and looks almost certain to pick up another loss here.
Sadly not other bout on this card is really worth talking about.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Yet another show of some note is a Filipino card from the Elorde Sports Center in Paranaque City.
Among the bouts on this card is a clash of once beaten youngsters, as Arvin Magramo (10-1-1, 6) and Francis Jay Diaz (8-1-1, 1) face off in an 8 round Light Flyweight contest. Magramo is very much in the rebuilding stages of his career, following a defeat at the hands of Garen Diagan a year ago, but this is a tough match up on paper and his team are taking a risk here. The 21 year old Diaz, dubbed "The Amazing Boy" began his career 1-1-1 before reeling off 7 straight wins, but this is a bi step up for him. Although a low key bout, in the grand scheme of things, this is a very interesting match up
A second contest between fighters with a single loss to their name will feature Marlon Paniamogan (9-1-1, 5) and Jino Rodrigo (5-1-2, 4), who will also be involved in a 10 round fight. On paper this should be more explosive than the other bout however it's worth noting that Paniamogan was beaten last time out, losing a decision in Japan to Kuntae Lee. Rodrigo, on the other hand, is 3-1-2 in his last 6, suggesting neither has much moment coming into this bout.
A third bout of interest here sees unbeaten men battle, with Delmar Pellio (7-0, 3) and Marjon Piencenaves (6-0-1, 4) fighting in an 8 rounder. The 19 year old Pellio has only previously faced 1 opponent with a winning record and will be looking for his third win of the year. Piencenaves on the other hand is a 24 year old who is facing his first opponent with a winning record, so for both men this is a step up and their real, serious test.
New Delhi, India
There's also a small show in India.
The main bout on this card will see the unbeaten Rajesh Kumar (10-0-1-2) take on Filipino foe Ivor Lastrilla (11-7-1, 6) in an 8 round contest. The 25 year old Kumar has won his last 5, following a draw in October 2016, and is looking to build on those wins here. On paper Lastrilla is a step down from Kumar's last 2 foes, but could still make for an interesting test. The 27 year old Lastrilla has lost his last 3, but when on form he can be a good test. Lastrilla is unlikely to have the size, power or strength to be a physical threat to Kumar, but may have the skills to ask questions of him.
In a supporting bout female hopeful Ramandeep Kaur (5-0) will take on Thai journey-woman Saranyaphong Theinthong (2-13, 2), in what really should be an easy win for Kaur over 6 rounds.
The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
This coming Tuesday attention turns to the Philippines for a card of mismatches, though mismatches that feature some notable fighters.
One of those notable fighters is unbeaten prospect Robert Paradero (16-0, 11), who looks to continue his unbeaten run as he takes on the limited but hard hitting Royder Lloyd Borbon (5-2-1, 5). The 21 year old Paradero is showing real talent, power and improvements as he continues to develop though maybe needs to face a step up sooner rather than later, before he gets the chance to stagnate as we've seen with too many Filipino prospects in the past. Borbon has yet to be stopped, but hasn't really faced anyone of any note, and was beaten last time out by Clyde Azarcon. Borbon does appear to have power, but his 5 wins have come against opponents with a combined 6-10-3 record and it's clear that he hasn't score a win of any note so far.
Former world title challenger Vic Saludar (16-3, 9) will be looking to continue his pursuit of a second world title bout as he takes on former foe Mike Kinaadman (6-5-2, 4). Saludar is best known for dropping Kosei Tanaka in their WBO Minimumweight title bout back in 2015, and since then he has gone 5-1, with his only lose coming in an upset to Toto Landero who has since proven his ability with a close loss to Knockout CP Freshmart. One of those 5 wins was an 8 round decision over Kinaadman, and it's likely he'll be looking to stop him this time out. For Kinaadman however this is a chance to avenge his loss, and get a career defining victory.
Vic's brother Froilan Saludar (27-2-1, 18) will also feature on this card, as he takes on the limited Jonathan Francisco (9-8-1, 3). This will be Saludar's 5th bout since his 2016 loss to Takuma Inoue and it's certainly feeling like Saludar should be doing much more than fighting guys like Francisco. It's not like he's been inactive since losing to Inoue, fighting 4 times in 2017, and it's not like he's still a youngster, at 28 he's in his prime and should be getting bigger bouts than this. Francisco has only been stopped twice, but those stoppages have come in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he has no right to be in the ring with Saludar here. An horrific mismatch.
This coming Saturday is set to be a huge one in the Philippines where a host of notable fighters will be in action across three different shows.
One of those Filipino shows is in Cebu and features a former world title challenger, a former world title contender and two really promising prospects.
The biggest name in action here is fringe contender Froilan Saludar (24-2-1, 15), who takes on Salatiel Amit (10-2-2, 7) in what should be a straight forward win for the once touted Saludar. Although Saludar isn't as highly regarded as he once was, with some picking him as a world champion in the making several years ago, he should still be far too good for Amit here.
Froilan's brother, Vic Saludar (14-2, 9), will continue to rebuild from his 2015 loss to Kosei Tanaka, in a WBO Minimumweight title bout, as he takes on the once beaten Toto Landero (8-1-2, 2). On paper this looks like it could be the bout of he day, and although Saludar will be favoured, given his destructive power, Landero is well schooled and won't be getting in the ring to suffer a second career defeat.
Another pretty good looking bout will see the unbeaten Vince Paras (10-0, 9) take on Jimboy Haya (10-3-2, 6). Again the puncher should be favoured, given he's unbeaten and on the rise, but Haya has never been stopped, and lasted 12 rounds with the aforementioned Vic Saludar last year, suggesting he can take a shot even if he was widely beaten but the former world title challenger.
Another unbeaten on this card is Robert Paradero (13-0, 8), who faces veteran Fabio Marfa (25-33-4, 12). Marfa began his career back in the mid 1990's and began as a promising teenager, going 9 bouts unbeaten before suffering his first defeat, sadly he's gone 0-12 in the last 9 years or so, and is unlikely to pose any real test for Paradero.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another notable Filipino card takes place in Cotabato del Sur and will again feature some notable names in action.
One of the most notable name on the card is the fast rising Romero Duno (13-1, 12), who looks to follow up on his career best win over Christian Gonzalez back in March. The once beaten Duno will be hotly tipped to score a 5th straight win as he takes on puncher Jason Tinampay (8-4-1, 7). This could be a shoot out, given that Tinampay's only chance seems to be a puncher's one, but it's still hard to doubt anything but a Duno win.
In one of the other notable bouts we'll see big punching hopeful Aston Palicte (22-2, 18) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-8-3, 4) in a bout that really should be a stepping stone for the much fancied Palicte. The twice beaten man, who was very controversially beaten in Mexico not too long ago, should be too strong and too powerful for Apolinario, who doesn't have the power to get the respect of a fighter like Palicte.
Malaysian Muhamad Farkhan (3-0, 3) will be in the remaining headline bout, as he takes a huge step up to take on Marlon Alta (12-7, 9). The talented Farkhan has looked promising and has 11 rounds under his belt, but this is a big step up in class against a Filipino who can punch, and is an experienced professional. Although Alta's record isn't great he has mixed in good company, facing the likes of Makoto Fuchigami, and Peng Qu, and should ask questions of Farkhan.
This card also features the debut of two touted youngsters. One of those is Dave Apolinario (0-0), who is viewed as a real prospect following success in the amateurs, and he will be up against Prince Canonero (0-3) and the other is Mark Antonio (0-0), who will be facing fellow debutant Rusty Padua (0-0).
A smaller show in the Philippines comes from Cavite and really lacks attention grabbing name action.
In one of the bigger bouts Alphoe Dagayloan (5-2-4, 2) will face limited veteran Ryan Tampus (11-18, 8) whilst another leading bout will feature Jerome Clavite (7-4-2, 3) taking on Mark Anthony Florida (9-7, 7). With all the other action in the Philippines it is, admittedly, hard to card much about this show.
Staying in Asia there will also be a show in China, where we'll see a number of notable of bouts. One of those will see former world title challenger Angky Angkotta (28-14-1, 14) battle against Chinese southpaw Yong Cai Liu (4-4-3, 3) in an interesting looking 6 rounder. On paper Angkotta will be favoured, but it's been a while since he last scored a win and Liu will be looking for his biggest win to date.
The best bout,on paper at least, will see Zhong Liu (8-0, 2) battle against Sen Chen (8-0, 2) in a perfectly balanced bout. Liu is a 25 year old Southpaw, and will be the slightly more experienced with 5 rounds more than 24 year old Chen, but the bout really is a toss up on paper.
Gauteng, South Africa
We get some really good looking bouts in South Africa as Filipino warriors continue to show their grit on the road.
The main event is an IBF Minimumweight title fight, which will see Simphiwe Khonco (17-5, 7) battle Lito Dante (13-7-4, 7) in a battle of the under-rated. Of the two men Khonco is likely the more well known, having lost in a thrilling WBA title bout to Hekkie Budler in 2015 before defeating Nkosinathi Joyi last time out. Dante however shouldn't be over-looked and could be a genuine banana skin for the local here.
In an even more mouth watering match up we'll see the Jayar Inson (13-0, 9) take on Thulani Mbenge (10-0, 10) in a battle of unbeaten punchers. Inson caught our eye last year, when he stopped Ryota Yada in Osaka and announced himself as a genuine prospect, but he's in tough here against a local puncher who has been taking out foes quickly, with only one bout going beyond 4 rounds for Mbenge. This could be a very exciting shoot out.
In Russia we'll see Uzbek novice Ulugbek Xakberdiyev (2-0, 1) take on Russian based Argentinian veteran Oscar Roberto Medina (27-14-2-1, 9). Although Xakberdiyev has only fought 7 rounds so far we already know that top Uzbek fighters don't wait around and we don't expect to see the 24 year old to actually struggle here, given that Medina has lost 5 of his last 6 and is now a 35 year old who has had than 230 professional rounds under his belt.
The first big Japanese show of the month takes place this coming Sunday in Kanagawa and looks set to be a significant one for a number of fighters as well as fans who can tune in on Fuji TV.
The main event of the show sees WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (10-0, 8) defending his title, for the third time, against Thai Petchbarngborn Kokikietgym (38-7-1, 18). For the challenger this will be his most notable fighter to date, and sees him return to Japan for his 6th bout in the country, it will however be his most difficult, and probably most painful. For Inoue the bout is a chance to get back to his most destructive against an opponent who really isn't in his league.
Naoya's little brother Takuma Inoue (7-0, 2) is taking on another serious test as he faces fringe level Filipino fighter Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14). Saludar was, once, tipped to be one of the big stars of Filipino boxing but appears to have fallen well short of that mark. A win here for the Filipino would however reignite his career and put him back in the title mix. Inoue is the favourite and will be viewing this bout as a test before a potential world title fight, with the Japanese youngster said to be targeting a Bantamweight title later in the year.
A third Inoue on this card is cousin Koki Inoue (4-0, 3) who looks to continue his impressive start as he takes on Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (22-22-2,10). Inoue will be stepping into his first 8 round bout but we don't expect to see Andriyanto lasting the distance against the aggressive and heavy handed Japanese fighter.
Whilst much of the attention will be on the Inoue family there is however a lot of buzz around the debuting Satoshi Shimizu (0-0), who will be facing off against Korean visitor In Kyoo Lee (3-2, 1). Shimizu won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Aged 30 Shimizu's time to progress is relatively short but he's likely to be fast tracked and we could see him facing notable names as early as his next fight
A second Japanese card will be taking place in Osaka, with boxingraise.com showing this one on a 1 day tape delay.
In the main event fans will see the promising Takuya Uehara (9-0, 6) face off against the much more experienced Katsuhiko Kanno (9-9-7, 4). This Kanno has won just 1 of his last 9 bouts, but he has faced stiff competition and held several fighters to a draw, in fact with 7 draws from his 25 fights we can call him a draw expected. Aged 20 Uehara is a really promising fighter but this is a step up in class.
In a supporting bout former Japanese title challenger Masato Morisaki (11-4-1, 6) will be up against Takahiro Murai (13-6-2, 4) in what looks like a relatively even match up between two men each in need of a big win to build towards 2017 on.
Another notable match up here sees 23 year old prospect Kazuaki Miyamoto (1-0, 1) facing off against an Indonesian foe. Not much is known about the “opponent” but Miyamoto is tipped to be a special fighter and a win here will likely result in him moving into 8 round bouts and then building towards a title opportunity in 2017
The biggest show of the day takes place in Japan with Teiken putting on a double feature, with a pair of Japanese title fights.
One of those title bouts will see the heavy handed Kenichi Ogawa (17-1, 14) defending the Japanese Super Featherweight title against Satoru Sugita (11-2-1, 7). This will be Ogawa's first defense of the title that he won late last year with a technical decision against Rikki Naito and a win here could well help Ogawa move towards a world title fight later in the year.
The other title fight will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (27-8, 7) making the first defense of his title against Yosuke Fujihara (16-3, 4). The under-rated Ishimoto will be strongly favoured here but his career has been a hard one and at 34 he could well be coming to the end of his days as a top domestic level fighter.
Another of the notable shows takes place in Indonesia where fans will get the chance to see some of the most notable Indonesian fighters.
The main bout sees arguably the most promising Indonesian in action as teenager Iwan Zoda (8-1, 7) battled the unbeaten Szilveszter Kanalas (8-0, 6) for the IBF Youth Flyweight title. Zoda came to attention of international fans as he avenged his sole loss, stopping Petchchorhae Kokietgym and will be looking to continue to build on that success here. Kanalas is also looking to build on his success, and last time out he won the World Boxing Federation World Super Flyweight title.
A second title bout on this card will see Agus Kustiawan (14-4, 6) battle against former OPBF title challenger Lloyd Jardeliza (7-3-3, 6) for the WBF Asia Pacific Featherweight title. Last time out Jardeliza was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Japan's Shun Kubo whilst Kustiawan has lost 2 of his last 3.
Another bout on this card will see the unbeaten Ilham Loeisa (4-0, 4) battle against Run Tangkilisan (0-5), in what should be a mismatch in favour of the unbeaten man.
Interestingly this show will also feature exhibitions featuring Daud Cino Yordan and Ellyas Pical, though not against each other.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines we get yet more title action, with a trio of regional title bouts, and an under-card that features several promising Filipino fighters.
One of those title bouts will see former world title challenger Vic Saludar (11-2, 9) battle against Lito Dante (11-5-3, 6) for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. This is Saludar's first bout since he lost to Kosei Tanaka, at the end of 2015, and whilst he will be strongly favoured against Dante there may be some question marks regarding his mental state coming in to this bout.
Another all Filipino title bout will see the once beaten Jake Bornea (10-1, 5) battle against Renerio Arizala (13-3-1, 5) for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Arizala, who started his career 11-0-1 (4) has struggled recently picking up 3 losses in his last 5 bouts though has faced some notable foes, including Toshiyuki Igarashi, and is likely to pick up another loss here against the touted Bornea.
The remaining title bout will have an international feel with Japan's Hiroshige Osawa (29-3-4, 18) battling Indonesia's Yon Armed (12-5-1, 6) for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. It's hard to see this being anything other than a mismatch in favour of the Japanese fighter, who is a former OPBF champion.
Also on this card will be Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14), Robert Paradero (10-0, 7), Jade Bornea (4-0, 2) and Renz Magarce (8-0, 6), though they are all being matched relatively safely in what look to be very clear mismatches.
Ansan, South Korea
We get yet more title action in Korea with a KBC show that features a pair of Korean title fights.
One of those title bouts is a Korean Welterweight title bout which will see the unbeaten Joo Young Kim (3-0-2, 2) battle against Ma Roo Jung (2-3-1). This is a step up for Kim and although Jung isn't very proven he has fought at a higher level, with bouts against Jung Hoon Yang and Je Ni Ma.
The other title bout will cone at Lightweight and sees the unbeaten 19 year old Gun Woo Gang (3-0-1, 1) battle against Il Kwon Kim (5-3, 2). Gang fought to a draw on his debut and has since racked up 3 wins, though was dropped in one of those. As for Kim this will be his second Korean title fight, after having previously fought for the Korean Featherweight title.
As well the two title bouts, this card has long under-card as well.
This coming Saturday isn't a "big" day in terms of a big fight, but it is a packed day with a lot of fights involving Asian fighters, notably Filipino's.
Possibly the most notable all-Asian bout of the day comes from Haikou in China where the heavy handed Froilan Saludar (21-1-1, 13) battles Indonesian tough guy Faris Nenggo (10-7-3, 3) in a bout for the WBO Inter-continental Flyweight title. The talented Saludar was being lined up for a world title fight though was said to need more preparation time and has instead taken this bout, which looks to be a mismatch. Although limited Nenggo has gone the distance with some world class fighters and is actually coming into this bout on the back of a career defining victory over former world champion Merlito Sabillo, who Nenggo stopped on cuts last November. We suspect Saludar wins here but he may find it difficult to stop the tough Indonesian fighter.
A second Chinese card will come from Kunming where Zovi appear to be putting on a show of novices. In total there is 11 bouts scheduled for the card and the most experienced fighters on the card only have 2 career bouts coming into the show.
Rather than going through the card we'll just mention that 10 of the bouts are 4 rounders with the only non-4 rounder being a bout scheduled for 6. That bout will see Jian Hai Fei (0-1) take on debutant Zhu Yuan Cai (0-0) in a bout at Featherweight.
Metro Manila, Philippines
For Filipino fans at home the day is a busy one with stacked card, though unfortunately much of the card is less than exciting.
The main event of the show will see the hammer fisted Michael Farenas (39-5-4, 31) battle against Thai visitor Chaiyong Sithsaithong (36-13-4, 26) in what should amount to being little more a tune up for Farenas. The former world title challenger was disappointing last time out, when he was clearly beaten by Jose Pedraza, but is several levels about the tough but limited Chaiyong, who has only been stopped once.
In the chief support bout we'll see the promising Rommel Oliveros (3-0-1, 1) take on veteran Ricky Oyan (4-23-2, 2). On paper this is a huge step up for the unbeaten 19 year old who has faced poor novices so far however Oyan has lost his last 14 bouts dating back more than 3 years, with 10 stoppage losses coming during that run.
Another apparent mismatch will see former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (23-10-2, 17) battle against Danny Tampipi (5-4-2, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lopez's career really has fallen apart in recent years with 3 losses in his last 4 and a record of 5-7-1 in his last 13 bouts!
Also on this card is the once touted Gabriel Altarejos (12-3-1, 4), who battles the very limited Diover Mangayaay (1-6-1). A few years ago Altarejos was 12-0 and a really promising youngster though he has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 and hasn't been in the ring in more than 18 months.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned here there is a further 8 expected to take place on the card.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico we see another Filipino in action as Jeffrey Arienza (12-3-1, 7) battles against Mexican slugger Dante Jardon (25-5, 20). Jardon, best known for his loss to Takashi Miura in a WBC Super Featherweight title bout, has gone 1-2 in his last 3 bouts and knows that he'll need to start stringing together wins if he's to be moved towards another world title bout. Unfortunately for Arienza he is 0-2 in bouts held outside of the Philippines and it's unlikely he'll be able to overcome “Crazy” Jardon.
Staying in Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-5-3, 5), another Filipino, take on the unbeaten Edibaldo Ortega (20-0-1, 11). This looks just as tough at Arienza's bout, at least on paper, though we need to admit we know very little about Ortega coming in to this one.
In Australia fans will have the chance to see the win-less Arnon Yuchareon (0-8) continue his career as he takes on Ben Kite (1-2). Kite isn't anything special and although Arnon hasn't won a bout so far he is better than his 0-8 record suggests and we'd not be that shocked if he managed to pull out the upset here.
(Image courtesy of notifight,com)
Many sports fans are putting boxing to the back of their mind for a few weeks due to the world cup. In our eyes that's a mistake as we continue to get some brilliant fights with the next stand out contest coming on Thursday in Puerto Rico
Bayamon, Puerto Rico
The highlight of the day, and one of the best bouts of the whole week, is a IBF Flyweight eliminator that sees the unbeaten Filipino prospect Froilan "The Sniper" Saludar (19-0-1, 12) taking on the very highly touted Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo (14-1, 12). Arroyo saw his twin brother winning an IBF Super Flyweight title eliminator with an amazing performance against Hernan Marquez this past Saturday and will be hoping for a similar result but the Saludar has looked like a special fighter and this, to us, looks like a 50-50 contest that could go either way. Fantastic match making and well done to both guys for signing up to face each other.
The winner of the Saludar/Arroyo bout will be facing IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng later this year.
In California fans will get the chance to see the continued development of former Russian amateur star Alexey Zubov (3-0, 3) who takes on his toughest opponent so far in the form of Brent Urban (7-5-1, 5). Zubov has stopped all 3 of his previous opponents inside a round and he'll be hoping to continue that run against Urban who is, on paper, a decent test but has been stopped several times before and is returning to the ring after a long lay off.
(Image courtesy of TCPR.com)