Gimhae, South Korea
The most notable show of the day comes from Korea, where the we get top Korean female fighter making a defense of one of her titles.
The aforementioned female fighter is Hee Jung Yuh (20-3, 10), who will be defending her WBF Intercontinental Female Super Flyweight title against Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-14, 1). Yuh is an interesting and skilled fighter, though she is well below elite level, and her only loss in the last 10 years has come to Naoko Fujioka. Despite only losing once in 10 years her competition, Fujioka aside, has been appalling. Saowaluk has lost her last 5, including 3 by stoppage. She's very much a fight who will travel to pick up a loss, and that seems to be the case again here as she returns to Korea for the fourth time in her career, still seeking her first win in the country.
There will also be a bout featuring Seung Ho Lee (4-0, 4). Lee will battle for the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title as he takes on Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-1, 4), who was last seen losing inside a round to Rivo Kundimang in Indonesia in November. We'll get a chance to compare Lee to Kundimang, but that's about the only thing this bout will actually do.
As well as the title action in Korea there will also be a small, yet noteworthy, card in Osaka featuring two bouts of interest.
In a bout that genuinely excites us we'll see the inform Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on the once touted Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3). Coming in to this Kenji has won his last 5 by stoppage, including big wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. That winning run has taken him from 5-3 to 10-3 and he's quickly climbing up the rankings towards a potential title fight. Iwai was tipped highly as a prospect from Hyogo but the youngster suffered back to back defeats in 2017 and he's yet to really recover from those set backs. He's notched a couple of wins over Thai's since suffering his defeats but this is a clear step up, and it feels like Morioka will be looking to see if he sinks or swims against someone as good as Kenji.
The other bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (7-2, 4) take on Tricky Kumagai (9-8, 6). The 25 year old Jogo was stopped in 4 rounds in the Rookie of the Year final and was also stopped last time out, by Yoshihiro Utsumi, suggesting that perhaps he's lacking in durability. Kumagai has also been stopped, in fact 4 of his 8 losses have been inside the distance, and he is 2-6 in his last 8, meaning he can ill afford another loss here. This isn't a massive fight for the Japanese domestic scene, but is massive for both fighters, who will have a long road to climb if they come up short here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small card, expected to be headlined by the unbeaten Marlon Paniamogan (8-0-1, 5) taking on Jimmy Borbon (7-6-4, 4). This is a less than great match up, but the card looks like it will feature a bunch of more recognisable names.
Listed for the show are Wilbert Berondo (12-3-2, 5), Juan Miguel Elorde (26-1, 14), Arvin Magramo (8-1-1, 5) and Delmar Pellio (5-0, 3). Sadly none of those fighters have had their opponents named at the time of writing.
Kazakh fans get the chance to end the year on a high with a number of their fighters in action on a special card promoted by the Astana Arlans and Qazaq Promotions. The show will be free to attend, but sadly the level of bouts is a bit of a mystery.
Whilst full details on this card haven't been announced we do know that is it will feature Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6), Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5), Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2), Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6) and Ruslan Myrsataev (5-0, 5), all of whom likely to be up against limited opponents in what we suspect will be little more than show case bouts.
Yesan, South Korea
The most notable card this coming Sunday is from Yesan in South Korea. Originally the card was set a quadruple title show, though unfortunately an injury to Korean prospect Yoon Sung Kim saw his OPBF title challenge against Carlo Magali being cancelled in the build up to the show. That has however left 3 KBF title fights headlining the card.
One of those bouts will be for the South Korean Light Welterweight title, and will see Dong Hee Kim (8-2-2, 3) face off with Gyu Beom Jeon (5-3-1, 1). Kim will be making his second defense of the title, but will be coming in to this bout on the back of a 4th round TKO loss to Koki Inoue at the end of 2017 and could be relatively low on confidence given he has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3. Jeon on the other hand will be stepping up big time here, fighting in his first title bout, and stepping beyond 6 rounders for the first time. The champion should be favoured but this won't be a foregone conclusion.
In a Korean Light Middleweight title fight Joong Kyung Lee (3-2-1) will take on Se Ho Joo (6-7, 2), in a bout for the vacant title. Lee has failed to win his last 2 bouts, including fighting to a draw for this title last December. Joo on the other hand has lost 5 of his last 6 and really shouldn't be fighting for a title. This looks like the KBF want to crown a champion, with out having any suitable contenders. A very weird one.
The third title bout will be for the Korean Welterweight title and will see the once beaten Dong Woo Kim (4-1, 2) take on Gyung Mo Yuh (1-5-3). Looking at this on paper the bout is a mismatch with Kim clearly the favourite. Coming in to this one Yuh has gone 0-1-3 in his last 4 and is without a win in over 4 years. Another bizarre bout for the KBF to put a title on the line for.
In Japan fans will get a low key Taisei promoted show.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (12-3-1, 6) battle against a Thai foe. Little is known about the Thai but it's unlikely to be someone testing as Kano really needs a confidence building win. He has last 2 of his last 4, and despite scoring a win last time out, he only just managed to get past Naoya Haruguchi. Kano needs to rebuild his confidence and needs to do it quickly if he's ever going to come close to living up to his early promise.
Another man in need of a win is Futa Akizuki (10-2, 8), who went from being one of Japan's brightest prospects to suffering back to back losses. He is now in dire need of a win which may explain why he's taking on a limit Thai foe here, much like Kano. Akizuki is a real talent, but with losses in his last 2 bouts he may become another of Japan's wasted talents, which would be a huge shame for the 20 year old.
A pretty interesting bout on this card will see the once beaten Hibiki Jogo (7-1, 4) battle against Yoshihiro Utsumi (14-8-3, 9). Jogo reached the 2016 Rookie of the year final, losing to Masato Niijima in the final, and has bounced back with 3 wins, including a good one against Yuki Hirashima. The 34 year old Utsumi has struggled in recent bouts, going 4-4-2 in his last 10 going back 5 years, and despite winning his last 2 bouts he should be regarded as the under-dog here.
Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
We also get a card in the Philippines, albeit a very low key one which will be headlined by the unbeaten Jerald Daniega (12-0, 9), as he battled against domestic journeyman Alvin Makiling (11-14-4, 3). The talented Daniega was frustratingly inactive last year, fighting just once in 2017, but will be looking to kick his 2018 off here and could be set for a break out year if he can stay fit and busy. The 30 year old Makiling is limited, but is tough and should give Daniega a few really good rounds, unless his 2017 loss to Rosekie Cristobal has ruined his durability.
This coming Sunday is a pretty busy day of action Asia.
For us the most notable of the bouts will be in Osaka and feature a really interesting Japanese Super Featherweight bout, a step up in class for an unbeaten prospect and an interesting under-card bout.
The Super Featherweight bout pits two top 5 Japanese domestic fighters against each other, as the once beaten Ken Osato (12-1-1, 4) takes on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (13-4-1, 8) in a real step up for the 23 year old Osato and a must win for Sugita. The younger man has gone 8-0-1 since suffering an opening round KO loss back in September 2013, when he was still just a teenager. As for Sugita he has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though both of those loses came against the then Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, who will fight for a world title just hours before this bout takes place.
One man who we are glad to see taking a step in the right direction is Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0, 10), who impressed us early in his career but really faltered in terms of building a real name for himself recently, being matched against horribly inept opponents. Here we'll see the Ioka gym prospect take on domestic foe Kota Fujimoto (7-2, 2), and hopefully a win here for Hashizume will launch him towards bigger and better bouts in 2018. Fujimoto has lost 2 of his last 3, but will know that a win here will give his career a huge shot and push him towards potential title fights.
A third bout of note here will see the heavy handed Hibiki Jogo (6-1, 4) battle against the talented Yuki Hirashima (7-1-1, 1). Jogo's loss came last year, at the All Japan Rookie of the year, and since then he has racked up two wins and is really genuine puncher at the lower levels of the Japanese domestic scene. Hirashima suffered a blip last year, going 0-1-1 for the year, bus has racked up 3 wins in 2017 and will know that another here will see him go into 2018 as a man in good domestic form.
A second show in Japan will take place in Aichi and will see Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Takuya Mizuno (12-1-1, 11) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on fellow youngster Yuki Iriguchi (9-1-1, 4). Mizuno won the title last time out, with a split decision win over Ryota Ishida and the 22 year old puncher will be looking to get back to his destructive best here. As for the 20 year old Iriguchi this bout will see him looking to buil on a 4 fight winning run, which includes victories over touted amateur Kenshin Oshima and the then inform Ryohei Takahashi. Although an easy bout to over-look it really is a cracking contest on paper.
There is also set to be a pretty interesting card in China.
One of the best bouts on the card will see Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (18-0, 14) take on Belgian visitor Herve Hubeaux (28-2, 14) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. We'll admit we're unsure how Hubeaux qualifies for the title, but the reality is that he's been taken over to China to lose, and despite the good looking record on paper the 25 year old has shown nothing to worry Zhang. The Chinese fighter should really be seeing this as his chance to record an easy first defense of the title he won back in January. Interestingly coming into this bout Zhang is on a run of 5 opening round KO's.
A second title bout will see the once touted Zhimin Wang (9-2, 3) take on Filipino visitor Anthony Sabalde (12-6, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. The match up isn't as good looking on paper as the Heavyweight title clash, but the reality is that this bout should be much more interesting, and looks like a much more competitive contest. Both Wang and Sabalde are flawed and both will feel they take advantage of their foes weaknesses.
There are two other notable bouts on this card. One of those will see Jianzheng Wang (6-0, 4) take on former OPBF title challenger Kajornsak Sithsaithong (10-6, 10), in what we expect will be a mismatch, and the heavy handed Wuzhati Nuerlang (9-1, 8) taking on Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (17-5, 13), in what promises to be an explosive encounter.
In Pngasinan fight fans are in for a very low key card, with the main event being the only bout worthy of noting. That bout will see Alphoe Dagayloan (7-2-5, 3) take on Mateo Handig (13-15, 7), in what would have been an interesting fight had Handig not lost his last 10. Handig used to be pretty decent, but is only a shadow of the fighter he once was