Our attention turns to the US this coming Friday for a pair of cards featuring Asian fighters.
The more notable of the two cards is from Kansas where we see two unbeaten fighters from Central Asia in action.
The better of the two bouts will see Uzbek Light Welterweight contender Shohjahon Ergashev (15-0, 14) take on unbeaten American Mykal Fox (19-0, 5) in what should be a decent test for Ergashev. The unbeaten Uzbek has ran through almost all of his competition, with only Wang Zhimin managing to stand up to his power. This however should be a test of his skills, and Fox will have significant height and reach advantages over the Uzbek, who may struggle to get into range in the way he has against other opponents. For Fox this is a big step up, and his first bout against a rising contender, and a brutal puncher. We're expect an Ergashev win, but hoping he shows more here than we've seen from him so far. Our full, in depth preview of this fight can be read here - Ergashev to go off Fox hunting, against Mykal
The other bout featuring an Asian will see Kazakh fighter Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-0-1, 12) look to extend his unbeaten record. The unbeaten Eyubov hasn't fought since June last year, and has really seen his momentum come to a crashing end. He needs to not only win here, but also to look destructive, impressive and exciting. His opponent will be Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (25-12, 13), in what should be little more than a confidence builder for Eyubov.
Another Kazakh on this card is Heavyweight novice Izim Izbaki (1-0, 1), who will be up against American Matt Foster (0-3). Izaki is tipped as one to watch and this should be a showcase for the Kazakh.
On a Top Rank show in Minnesota we'll see Filipino Giovanni Escaner (19-3, 12) take on Joshua Greer Jr (19-1-1, 11) in a bout for the WBC Continental Americans Bantamweight title. The Filipino is currently riding a n 8 fight winning run, including notable wins over Naoto Uebayashi and Rene Dacquel, following a 2014 loss to Jason Canoy. Greer on the other hand has won his last 16, following a 2015 loss to Stephen Fulton, including wins over the then unbeaten pair of Juan Gabriel Medina and James Smith. This is a really interesting match up between two amazingly well matched fighters.Ergashev to go off Fox hunting, against MykalErgashev to go off Fox hunting, against Mykal
In Tokyo this coming Wednesday Japanese fight fans get the chance to see two former national champions in action, bot of whom will be expected to pick up straight forward wins after recent defeats.
One of those former champions is the exciting, and teak tough, Suguru Muranaka (25-3-1, 8), who returns to the ring for the first time since his loss to WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The former Japanese Super Flyweight champion gained some genuine respect with his performance against Yafai, in what was Muranaka's first bout outside of the Korakuen Hall, and will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on domestic foe Ken Achiwa (11-12-5, 4). Interestingly however this may not be as easy as it looks and it will be a second meeting between the two, with Muranaka having taken a close decision over Achiwa in their first bout back in 2013.
The other former champion is Kenta Nakagawa (14-3-1, 10), who lost the Japanese Super Flyweight title earlier this year to Ryuichi Funai. This will be Nakagawa's second bout since that loss and we'll see him up against Indonesian journeyman Ical Tobida (13-23-1, 8). The talented Nakagawa was simply not good enough to defeat Funai, but should be far, far to good for Tobida, who has been stopped 13 times already and will likely not hear the final bell here.
In the Philippines fight fans get a small Elorde promoted card. The show generally doesn't have much to get excited about, but we do have to admit that we do like the look of one of the men in the main event and one of the supporting bouts.
The main event will see the very talented, and heavy handed, Giovanni Escaner (15-3, 10) take on Japan's Kyota Otsuka (6-2-2, 4). Of the two men it's Escaner who has been the more impressive and he has had 4 straight wins coming in to this, including stoppages over over Japanese veterans Junichi Ebisuoka and the then touted Naoto Uebayashi. Although Escaner has been beaten 3 times they have all come to decent fighters, such as Marco Demecillo, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Jason Canoy. Otsuka has won just 1 of his last 5 and is likely to come up short again here, but won't be looking to roll over and could give Escaner a really good test.
The supporting bout of interest will see 21 year old Robin Langres (7-2, 3) take on 19 year old Jerry Mae Villagracia (6-2, 2) in what looks like a bit og a 50-50 match up. Both men come in to this on the back a 2 losses in their last 4 and both were beaten last time out. Both of these fighters are limited, but this should be competitive as a result of their limitations and we wouldn't be surprised by a very fun low key bout.
Metro Manila, Philippines
For us this Saturday's highlight comes from the Philippines where several notable fighters will be in action.
For us the most notable of those is the really promising Giovanni Escaner (13-3, 9) who fights for the first time since his upset win over Naoto Uebayashi in April. Escaner, who has had a few tough bouts recently, has been matched lightly here against Jayar Estremos (10-11, 4), who has lost his last 6 including 5 straight stoppage defeats. This is a big step down in class for Escaner but he deserves a homecoming after two tough wins in Japan.
Also booked for this show is former world title challenger Michael Farenas (40-5-4, 32). The tough nosed “Hammer Fist” hasn't had his opponent for the card announced but is expected to pick up a win and get back to climbing the rankings. The bout will be his second since losing, back in November to Jose Pedraza.
Yangju, South Korea
In Korea we see another rookie show as the KBC continue to develop their domestic scene. This particular card is a very small one with just 4 bouts.
Of the bouts only 1 is scheduled for more than 4 rounds, and that is a 6 rounder between Gun Woo Gang (2-0-1, 1) and Jung Ho Jang (2-1-1, 1) in a bout at 154lbs.
New Delhi, India
In India fans will will get the chance to see a rare show promoted by Mike Miranda and Brico Santig. The card is certainly not a big one but it will, hopefully, help generate attention for the Indian boxing scene.
From what we under-stand the bout worth making a note of is an all debutant bout between Mukesh Kumar (0-0) and Sandeep Singh (0-0), with Kumar's brother being an Olympian.
In Germany we'll get the chance to see Kazakh banger Sadam Sascha Kerimov (12-0, 12) attempt to extend his record. The heavy handed 21 year old will be up against 42 year old journeyman Albert Starikov (16-20-1, 7) in what should be a clear mismatch
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.
One of the most exciting days so far this year for Japanese fans comes on April 22nd with two notable shows at very different levels. Although the cards are a million miles apart in terms of international attention they both promise a lot of very interesting action.
The most notable of the two shows comes from Osaka where we get a couple of world title bouts, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and a number of promising prospects all in action on a show that is genuinely mouth watering.
The main event promises to be something a little bit special as the once beaten Kazuto Ioka (16-1, 10) battles WBA Flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) in a bout that has looked brilliant since it was first mentioned last year. Ioka, attempting to become the second Japanese born fighter to become a 3-weight champion, will be hoping to claim a Flyweight title at the second time of asking, following a loss to Amnat Ruenroeng last year in a bout for the IBF title, whilst Whilst Reveco will be hoping to secure his second title defense in Japan, following a victory over Masayuki Kuroda back in 2013.
In the other world title fight we will see the always fun to watch Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) take on Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15) in an IBF world title defense by the Japanese warrior. Takayama, who vacated the WBO belt earlier this year, will be looking for the first defense of his second reign as the IBF champion and is looking to move on to bouts with Kosei Tanaka and Hekkie Budler later in the year. As for Fahlan, he'll be looking to record his second big win in the Osaka Prefectural gym and try and replicate his shock win over Ryo Miyazaki from December 31st 2013.
It's not just the top two bouts that are exciting but also the chief support bout which will see the highly skilled and fast rising Sho Ishida (18-0, 10) defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against Taiki Eto (14-3, 10). This will be Ishida's second defense of the belt and will see Eto getting his second shot at the title. Incidentally Eto lost his first shot to Yohei Tobe who went on to lost the belt in his first defense, to Ishida. This bout promises a lot and a win for Ishida would likely move him to a world title shot later in the year whilst a win for Eto would be a massive achievement for the youngster of the Eto brothers.
As well as the 3 title bouts we will also see the next bout in the career of the exciting Ryo Miyazaki (22-1-3, 13) who is fighting Thailand's Namphol Sithsaithong (7-9, 5) in a clear mismatch. This is viewed as a warm up bout for Miyazaki, a former WBA Minimumweight champion, and from what we understand he is targeting a Light Flyweight title and will almost certainly try to chuck his hat into the ring to fight the winner of the upcoming WBA title fight between Ryoichi Taguchi and Kwanthai Sithmorseng, who meet on May 6th.
As for the card's prospects there are several. Among them is the exciting Masayoshi Hashizume (7-0, 4), the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year. Hashizume is set to fight a Thai foe Saenrachan Sor Theptanee (0-1)in what should be a mismatch as Hashizume looks to sepdn the rest of the year moving up the domestic rankings, possibly fighting for the national title after Ishida gives it up.
Another prospect on this card is Reiya Konishi (7-0, 4), who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight. Konishi will be in a solid looking bout against Kenta Shimizu (8-4-1, 4), a much better fighter than his record indicates.
A third prospect is female fighter is Kei Takenaka (8-0, 3). Takenaka, the current OPBF female ligth Flyweight champion, will be facing a Thai opponent who we believe will be Kannittha Saknarong (0-2). On paper this should be an easy day's work for the talented Japanese fighter, though we are hoping to see her in a real test before she starts to be moved towards a world title bout.
At the Korakuen Hall we get a trio of notable bouts. One of which is a cross roads bout between two experienced fighters whilst the other two are both notable bouts involving touted Japanese prospects.
The main event is the bout between the experienced fighters and will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (21-5-1, 10) battling against former Filipino champion Ricky Sismundo (27-8-1, 12). Coming into this bout both men are 2-1 with a notable win the last time and both are going to be heading into the bout with the hope of generating a bit of traction in their career. Last time out we saw Sismundo defeat Shuhei Tsuchiya with an 8 round decision win, back in December, whilst Kondo recently stopped Jimrex Jaca in 4 rounds, back on March 16th. Coming into this bout we're expecting a very competitive and tough bout.
In the chief support bout we get the chance to see the touted, the fragile looking, Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) fighting against exciting Filipino Giovanni Escaner (12-3, 8). This is a brilliant match up between unheralded fighters who know a win puts them into serious contention for an OPBF title fight later in the year. Whilst Uebayashi is the more “hyped” of the two men Escaner has shown that he's a man who has a lot of promise, despite his record, and won't be turning up just to lose. Fantastic to see both men signing up for this bout.
The other notable bout sees the exceptionally promising Hikaru Marugame (3-0, 2) battle against Wataru Miyasaka (9-2-1, 2). Marugame, a stablemate or Uebayashi's, hasn't had the attention of some other Japanese youngsters but he's every bit as good as some of the others and has shown that ability against solid competition for such an inexperienced fighter. On paper this is a big step up for the unbeaten 25 year old and although Miyasak hasn't set the world he is in good form with 3 notable wins in his last 4 bouts. As with the previous two match ups, this is very interesting.
This card will also feature 4 other bouts though none of them really caught our attention like the trio we've mentioned.
In Mexico fans will have the chance to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (17-5, 11) battle against Fernando Torres (16-10-1, 13). This is a great opportunity for Sakai who narrowly lost his last 2 bouts. The Japanese fighter, who is based in Mexico city, has shown a surprising amount of potential and hopefully he'll manage to build on that potential down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)