The highlight of the weekend, at least for Asian fight fans, comes from Arizona as Japanese veteran Hidenori Otake (31-2-3, 14) takes on WBO Super Bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe (19-0, 13). The challenger, fighting in his second world title fight, is riding an excellent little run of results including victories over Kinshiro Usui, Hinata Maruta and Brian Lobetania. However at the age of 37 this really will be Otake's last chance. The 23 year old Dogboe won the title earlier this year, winning a barn burner with Jessie Magdaleno, but will be up against a very different type of test here. Dogboe is an explosive, exciting and hard hitting young fighter, who has stopped his last 4, and will be strongly favoured here. We're expecting this to be a very exciting contest, with Dogboe's brutal power against Otake's insane chin.
Staying in the US, though in Indiana, fans will be able to see the promising Bobirzhan Mominov (7-0, 6), from Kazakhstan, continue his career. The talented Kazakh fought his first 3 bouts in the US but since then has fought in Argentina and in Kazakhstan. His opponent hasn't been announced, though we're not expecting anyone too testing given he fought back in July.
In Canada fans will be able to see Indian Welterweight hopeful Neeraj Goyat (9-2-2, 2) add another stamp to his passport. The Indian has previously fought in Thailand, China and South Korea, as well as his native India. Coming into this he is riding a 9 fight winning run, following a 0-2-2 start to his professional career and will be full of confidence coming in to this. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for the bout hasn't been announced.
This coming Tuesday fight fans in Tokyo will get the chance to see an OPBF title double header thanks to Kaneko gym and Dangan,who appear to be putting on a potentially thrilling show.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (30-2-3, 13) look for his third defense as he takes on big punching Filipino Brian Lobetania (13-4-3, 11). The champion is one of the toughest fighters in the sport, as he showed in his 2014 loss to Scott Quigg,and is coming in to this bout with good form following 8 straight wins, including victories over Jelbirt Gomera, Kinshiro Usui and Hinata Maruta. As for the challenger this bout is clearly a reward for his recent TKO win over the previously unbeaten Kai Chiba, who Lobetania beat back in January. The bout will put Otake's toughness against the power of Lobetania in what should be a really exciting contest.
The other OPBF title fight will see Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (10-2-2, 4) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on unbeaten Filipino challenger Jayar Raquinel (8-0-1, 5). The champion hasn't looked the best, in either his title win or his first defense, and his title reign isn't likely to push him towards a world title fight, but he is the champion and will have the champions edge coming in to this bout. Saying that however we have been impressed by what we've seen of Raquinel and he looks like he has the potential to go a long way, the big question is whether he's quite ready for a bout at this level. If the Filipino is ready then we suspect he'll take the title, and push on with a very successful career.
One under card bout of note here will see Japanese ranked Middleweights face off, with #2 ranked Kazuyuki Fukuyama (11-8, 3) battling against Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (8-3, 7), who is #6 himself. This bout could decide the next title challenger, and should be a very well matched and interesting bout at this level.
The show of the the day, for us at least, is in Tokyo where we get a pair of OPBF title fights, both of which are well matched, and one of which could be the coming out party for one of the best natural talents in the sport today.
The headline bout sees the teak tough Hidenori Otake (29-2-3, 13) making his second defense of the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on the hotly tipped youngster Hinata Maruta (5-0, 4). Otake, best known for going 12 rounds with Scott Quigg in the UK, will be viewing this bout as his next step towards a second world title fight and a chance to prove that he's still a top fighter despite being in his mid 30's. On the other hand Maruta is a young novice who has long been tipped as one of the Japanese stars of the future. The bout might be too much too soon for Maruta, or it could be the bout that sees him announce himself as being as good as advertised, and potentially a man who has the ability to go all the way to the top. It's going to be a special bout and something that deserves real attention.
The other title bout will see OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (10-2-1, 4) making his first defense, as he battles once touted Filipino for Jobert Alvarez (17-2-1, 7). For Nakayama the bout is a really tough first defense, but a winnable one against Alvarez, who was stopped by Miguel Cartagena inside around a few fights back. Both of these can box, though we're expecting to see a bit of a battle, with the later rounds expected to be very exciting as both men put it on the line in an attempt to come away with the title.
San Juan, Argentina
Another title bout of note comes from Argentina, as Japan's Yunoka Furukawa (9-1-2, 6) challenges IBF female Flyweight champion Leonela Paola Yudica (12-0-3). The Japanese fighter, a current champion at Atomweight, will be moving up in weight for the bout and taking part in her first bout outside of Asia. The bout is a tough ask for the Japanese battler but she can't be ruled out, and certainly has the edge in power against the technically well schooled, but some what negative Yudica.
There's also set to be a very notable card in Australia featuring a number of Asian fighters, of various abilities.
One of the most interesting of the match ups on paper will see Joel Camilleri (14-4, 7) battle against China's Yao Yi Ma (15-2, 10). The local has had a mixed career, fighting against limited foe's and although he is riding a 5 fight winning streak a win here would be a career best. For Mathe bout is a chance to bounce back from last November's loss to Dennis Hogan, in what was Ma's last outing. On paper this looks competitive and we're expecting to see something really exciting here.
Another good looking contender on paper will see recent OPBF Lightweight title challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas (25-2, 16) take on Australian hopeful George Kambosos Jnr (12-0, 6). Of the two men it's Kaewfah who is the more experienced, and more proven, having given Masayoshi Nakatani a decent test earlier this year and holding wins over the likes of Andrew Wallace and Jason Butar Butar. Despite a relative lack of experience Kambosos has looked really good and has wins of note over fighters like Brandon Ogilvie and Qamil Balla.
In a female bout we'll see Thai Petcharas Superchamp (7-5, 1) take on the excellent Susie Ramadan (26-2, 11). This will be a huge ask for Thai, who has lost 3 of her last 4, but she will be travelling knowing that this is a chance for her to put in a good performance on foreign soil. Aged 38 Ramadan has likely started on the downslope of her career but should still have too much for the visitor.
One other bout that looks good on paper will see the once beaten Tiger Tor Buamas (19-1, 14) take on the always exciting Joel Brunker (31-2, 18). Tiger is a limited fighter, but at 31 there is some live there and he does know his way around the ring, however he has spent much of his career fighting at a very low level. As for Brunker he was once eyed as possible world title challenger, but with 2 losses in his last 6 those hopes do look a long way from reality and at 31 years old his style is potentially set to catch up on him.
This coming Wednesday sees Japanese fight fans focus on a really notable oriental level show at the Korakuen Hall, with two OPBF title fights and a supporting card that features a former world title challenger taking on a former Japanese interim champion.
The main event of the show will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (28-2-3, 12) making his first defense of the title as he takes on 37 year old veteran Kinshiro Usui (27-5, 11). On paper this bout may not interest fans, given how unknown Usui is outside of Japan, but those who have seen him will have seen him push Hisashi Amagasa incredibly close and will know he's a genuine threat to Otake's reign. We accept Otake should be favoured, given his experience and the proven qualities of his toughness and energy, but this is certainly no foregone conclusion.
The other OPBF title fight is also one where the under-dog challenger is a live challenger and the bout is again no foregone conclusion. This bout will see OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (19-6-1, 6) take on Japanese challenger Hayato Kimura (26-9, 17) in a good looking contest. The champion is 3-2-1 in Japan, but has won in his last two visits beating Go Onaga and Shota Kawaguchi and looks to be moving his career along nicely in recent times. As for the challenger he has twice come up short in a Japanese title fight, but should be a competitive challenger here.
In a notable non-title bout we'll see Shingo Wake (20-5-2, 12) return to the ring for the first time since his loss in July 2016 to Jonathan Guzman in an IBF title fight. Wake will be up against fellow Japanese fighter Mikihito Seto (34-13-3, 18), a former Japanese interim Bantamweight champion. At his best Seto was a really solid fighter but he's notched just a single win in the last 60 months, and has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4, with all 3 of those losses being by stoppage. It's a bout that should be a good return for Wake, but also a safe one for the popular and gutsy sharp shooting southpaw.
On the under-card we'll see Japanese ranked Welterweight Shusaku Fujinaka (15-7-2, 10) take on Tomoyuki Omura (8-8, 4) and Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (6-3, 5) battle with Naoki Wada (10-10-2, 2), both of these bouts should be interesting, but both have a very clear favourite.
This coming Friday is an action packed day with a lot of Asian fighters in action.
The most notable action of the day for Asian fight fans comes from Japan where we get an OPBF title fight and two match ups pitting JBC ranked fighters against each other.
The OPBF title fight will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (27-2-3, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which was recently vacated by Shun Kubo. For Otake the bout will be his first for an OPBF title, though he did have a 2 year reign as the Japanese champion before his most notable bout to date, a loss to Scott Quigg in 2014. Since that loss he has won 5 in a row, though looked poor last time out against Alexander Espinoza. Gomera is a real unknown, with his sole loss coming to the talented Mark Anthony Geraldo and his best win being over tough journeyman Eduardo Mancito. Gomera might be getting this bout at the right time, but Otake will certainly be regarded as the favourite.
In a supporting bout we'll see Shusaku Fujinaka (15-6-2, 10) take on Moon Hyun Yun (17-4-3, 4) in a really mouth watering domestic encounter. Of the two men Fujinaka is the more well known, though that's down to his 7th round KO loss to Randall Bailey from back in 2015 than any wins that he has scored. Yun is a former Japanese title challenger and although he lacks power he has an exciting and will be looking to earn another title fight. This could end up being the fight of the show.
Another bout between Japanese ranked fighters comes at Middleweight where the heavy handed Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (6-2, 5) takes on former Japanese title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-7-1, 8). Coming in to this Hosokawa has won his last 4 bouts by stoppage and looks like a man who can carry his power up to at least domestic level. Akiyama has lost his last 3, but has mixed with good company and knows that this is step back down in class from what he has been up against. This could be a very solid fight even if neither man has an out standing record.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia there will also be a low profile card in Metro Manila. The card is a mostly forgettable one, though the main event will see the once beaten Jheritz Chavez (6-1-2, 4) battle against Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) for the GAB Light Welterweight title. Chavez will be the favourite and he has impressed in recent times, beating both Tatsuya Yanagi and Al Sabaupan in his last 3 bouts. Although the under-dog Gadapan is an upset minded fighter and he holds a recent win of his own over Nelson Tinampay, suggesting he won't be there to roll over, though he has been stopped in 6 of his 8 career losses.
In Moscow fans are in for a genuine treat as OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (17-2, 15) takes on Russian Aik Shakhnazaryan (19-2, 10) in a bout for the WBC International title. The heavy handed Rivera impressed last year when he dominated Shinya Iwabuchi for the title, and would go 3-0 (3) for the year scoring not only the win over Iwabuchi but also a solid win over Adones Cabalquinto. Coming in to this the Filipino is on an impressive 7-0 (7) run. The once touted Shakhnazaryan won his first 15 bouts but suffered back-to-back losses in 2015 and has been rebuilding with 4 stoppage wins, but this pormises to be a much tougher bout for the Russian than his last 4.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (33-3-3, 21) continue to carve out a career down under as he battles 21 year old Hungarian Zsigmond Vass (12-4, 2) in a bout for Amonsot's Interim WBA Oceania title at 140lbs. Coming in to this Vass has beaten nobody of note and been stopped in the opening round in his last 2 losses. Although not widely regarded as a top contender Amonsot is world ranked and has gone 15-0-2 (11) since his memorable war with Michael Katsidis.
Also on this card will be Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (24-21-1, 15), who will be expected to pick up another loss here as he takes on the exciting but limited Joel Brunker (30-2, 17). Whilst Brunker is limited Butar Butar is little more than a record padder on the international stage, and that is likely to be seen again here.
Staying in Australia we'll also see Thai novice Chaiyan Sakkoed (0-3) go for his first win as he takes on the debuting Timacoy Williams (0-0). With 3 straight losses we know Chaiyan is limited, and he's already been stopped in two of those defeats, with a third stoppage loss likely to come here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The key card of the day is in the Philippines where we see a former world champion.
The biggest bout of the day will see former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (42-13-5, 30) battle against the heavy handed Marjun Pantilgan (11-3, 10) in a bout for the vacant WBC International Super Flyweight title. Coming into this Jaro has won his last 8, since being upset by Gerpaul Valero more than 3 years ago, and seems to still have some life in his 34 year old legs. Pantilgan, 22, is stepping up massively here but will see this as a potential chance to score a win that could begin to put him on the map.
In an supporting bout the unbeaten Edward Heno (8-0-4, 2) will face veteran Roque Lauro (13-19-5, 3) for the second time, following a draw last December. Heno has shown some promise but will need to show more if he's to go far with his career, however the suggestion is that he's not likely to progress beyond domestic level.
In another supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (6-0, 2) take on the limited Jason Dogelio (5-4, 2) in an 8 rounder. Penalosa, the latest fighter from the legendary Penalosa clan, is slowly making his way in the sport and although their isn't much expectation on his shoulders there are some excited by his name, and hopefully they won't be let down by the youngster.
We also get a show in Japan featuring a former world title challenger.
That former world title challenger is the teak tough Hidenori Otake (26-2-3, 12) who takes on big punching South American Alexander Espinoza (11-8-1, 10) as he continues to tread and move towards a second world title fight, likely at Featherweight. The limited Espinoza is unlikely to be much of a challenger for Otake but should keep the Japanese fighter busy and knock off any ring rust that he may be getting waiting for a big fight.
Also on the card will be former Randall Bailey victim Shusaku Fujinaka (14-6-2, 9), who takes on a Thai foe. This will see Fujinaka hunting a third win since his famous loss to Bailey in Korea last year.
This Friday is set to be a busy day in China with two shows, including a very notable card put together by Zovi boxing and Sampson boxing, in association with the WBA.
The more notable of the two Chinese cards is set to be held in the Chinese capital of Beijing and feature two world title fights.
For Chinese fans the biggest bout of the day sees fast rising Chinese fighter Qiu Xiao Jun (20-2, 9) battle for the WBA Super Bantamweight title as he takes on former world champion Nehomar Cermeno (23-5-1, 13). A win for Jun would see him becoming just the second Chinese man to become a world champion, though China has had several female world champions however Cermeno is a talented and tricky fighter, albeit one past his sell by date.
The Jun vs Cermeno bout isn't the only world title bout for the day was WBA Super Featherweight champion Javier Fortuna (29-0-1-1, 21) brings international attention to China as he faces Jason Sosa (18-1-4, 14). For Fortuna the bout is a chance to move towards a clash with “Super” champion Jezreel Corrales and a chance to extend his unbeaten record, and possibly impress by stopping a man who recently went the distance with Nicholas Walters. For Sosa the bout will be his first would title fight and could see him claiming a major title.
On the under-card we get another two title fights. One of those will see Xu Can (8-2) face Corey McConnell (15-1-1, 2) in a bout for two regional WBA titles at 130lbs whilst another will see Alesia Graf (27-5, 12) battle against Noemi Bosques (10-6-2, 2) in a bout for a WBA International female title.
On a second Chinese show in Nanning fight fans will see several more title bouts.
On paper the most interesting of those will see English Heavyweight slugger Ian Lewison (11-2-1, 7) battle against unbeaten Chinese fighter Zhi Yu Wu (7-0, 1) for the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title. The bout sees Lewis fighting in Asia for the first time, despite the travel he should over-come Wu, who is fighting for just the third time in more than 4 years.
Another good looking title bout on this card sees unbeaten Chinese local Xiang Xiang Sun (7-0, 5) battle once beaten Thai youngster Campee Phayom (9-1, 7) for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Light Welterweight crown. Phayom was beaten last time out, losing a decision to Li Quan Lin in Hong Kong but will be coming in to this one with that experience behind him, whilst Sun is stepping up slightly here.
Another title bout will see Xiang Jing (8-4-2, 1) faces Filipino foe Joel Taduran (7-3-1, 1) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title. Whilst the records may not suggest anything special here we are expecting a competitive match up between two fighters looking to prove themselves.
As well as the Chinese action there is also a show in Japan which is headlined by former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (25-2-3, 12) facing off against South American visitor Hernan Cortez (9-8-3, 2). It's hard to see anything but a win for Otake here
Outside of Asia fans will be able to see Filipino fighter Cris Alfante (11-5-1, 4) battle the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (7-0, 4) in what looks like a very tall ask for the 24 year old Filipino, who has won just 1 of his last 6 bouts.
The only Asian action this coming Wednesday takes place at the Korakuen Hall and although it's not the most exciting card it does feature a couple of notable fighters.
The main event will feature one of those notable fighters and will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (24-2-3, 11) battle against Thai novice Satantung Sor Bangkhru (0-1) in what looks like a real mismatch. Otake, who has reigned as the Japanese Super Bantamweight champion in the past, will be fighting as a fully fledged Featherweight for the second successive bout.
Chief support bout will see Shusaku Fujinaka (12-6-2, 8) return to the ring following his most recent loss, last year, to Randall Bailey. The exciting Fujinaka will be up against Takashi Inagaki (17-13-2, 7) in what looks like an easy comeback fight, given that Fujinaka was stopped last time out. On paper this looks straight forward but Inagaki is likely to see this as an opportunity to score a big win and potentially turn his career around.
The Korakuen Hall plays host to another card this coming Wednesday and on this one fans will get the chance to see a former world title challenger, sadly however the card is less than excellent with the main event being a mismatch and the under-card being less than great.
The main event sees the teak tough Hidenori Otake (23-2-3, 10) take on Thai visitor San Saknarong (2-4) in an 8 round bout at Featherweight. We suspect that Otake is wanting to try out the Featherweight division before mounting a challenge towards the Japanese or OPBF title. This bout won't prepare him for a title contest however it will help him see how he copes with the weight.
In the chief support bout Flyweights collide as Takahiro Fujii (7-4-1, 2) battles the visiting Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (5-3, 1). It's not a great fight but it is a competitive looking one, especially when compared to the main event. Coming in to this Fujii has lost 2 of his last 3 whilst Jaipetch has won 2 of his last 3 and has mixed with good company, including Jonathan Taconing, Denver Cuello and Takumi Sakae, meaning he's probably better than the numbers suggest.
Arguably the most intriguing match up on this car is a 6 round supporting bout which will see Japanese Heavyweights colliding. One of the men will be 23 year old Ryu Ueda (4-0, 2), an unbeaten Southpaw who is fighting at Heavyweight for the first time whilst the other man is 30 year old Yamato Fujinaka (6-3, 2), who has won hs last 5 bouts after a 1-3 start to his professional career. This could be the bout that helps keep alive the Japanese Heavyweight scene which appears to look like it needs an injection of new fighters and Ueda may be that fighter to follow the likes of Kyotaro Fujimoto.
There isn't much action on Friday but the day is effectively the calm before the storm with Saturday expected to be a huge day of action.
The most notable action comes from Japan where we see a former world title challenger in action whilst the undercard features several interesting looking bouts.
In the main event fans will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (22-2-3, 9) fight for the first time since he was widely out pointed by Scott Quigg. The Japanese fighter, a former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion, will be up against Thailand's Phissanuthep Chaiyonggym (4-12-1, 3) in what should be a mismatch. Otake is obviously wanting to shake some ring rust going in to this one, considering he's not fought since last November, though it's hard to see where the 33 year old goes next time out.
The chief support bout is an interesting looking Flyweight bout between 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year Ryuto Oho (6-2-1, 2) and Takahiro Fujii (7-3-1, 2), a solid but unspectacular fighter. This is likely to be much better than the main event, though certainly won't get the headline that Otake's bout will.
A third 8 rounder will see Naoya Okamoto (8-4, 4) take on Yutaka Kamioka (8-3-2, 4) in a very well matched bout at a contracted 54.5Kg's. We're not going to try and pretend either of these guys are world class, or even domestic title level fighters, but they should make for a brilliant match up together given that both men are flawed and both know that a win will help boost their career. We suspect Kamioka will come out on top but neither will lie down for the other.
Another bout on this card, a 6 rounder, is a rare Heavyweight clash which will see Yamato Fujinaka (5-3, 1) battle against Thailand's Prakampetch Por Palapol (0-2). Coming in to this bout Fujinaka is on a 4 fight winning streak and should be too good for Prakampetch who was stopped in both of his previous bouts, both back in 2013.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned there will be a further 4 bouts on the under-card.
In China there appears to be a small but notable card.
The main event of the show will see Chinese Heavyweight destroyer Zhang Junlong (10-0, 10)* battle against former world title contender Shawn Cox (18-5, 17) in what looks to be a genuine test for the Chinese fighter. Junlong has been matched lightly for the most part but did stop Jason Gavern last time out and this is his second success bout against a recognisable opponent. If Junlong can take Cox's power then we'll be impressed, though there is every chance that Junlong will see off his visiting opponent before being tagged himself.
In a supporting bout China's Wang Kun (2-1, 1) will be facing Filipino visitor Romeo Jakosalem (16-9-1, 8) in what looks to be a really tough match up for Kun. Another supporting bout will see the unbeaten Lin Chunlei (2-0, 1) take on Jason Redondo (10-3-1, 7) in what looks to be another big ask for the home fighter.
On a Channel 11 card from Thailand fans will see the heavy handed Chalermpol Singwancha (12-0, 10) defending his ABF Welterweight title. Sadly we've not been able to work out who Chalermpol's challenger will be, though we have been informed it will be an Italian fighter.
As well as the Channel 11 show there will also be a Channel 7 card. Unfortunately details regarding this show are scarce though we believe there will be a WBA Asia Bantamweight title on here.
*Junlong's record is disputed with his manager informing us that his boxrec is missing a number of his bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)