This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian boxing, with a two notable shows in Japan and very high profile bouts in the US.
The most notable of the bouts takes place in California, and is world title fight, with a supporting that also features an Asian fighter.
The main event will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) battle against Mexican challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15). For Ancajas this will be his 8th defense, though it's not the type of defense which will really improve his profile. Ancajas is incredibly talented, but seems to have been kept away from most of the other top Super Flyweights, which is incredibly disappointing and frustrating. For Rodriguez this bout is a big step up, and despite a win over Felipe Orucuta last time out there's very, very little quality on his record. Our full preview of this bout can be read here IBF king Ancajas takes on Rodriguez
On the same show we'll see Japan's Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) attempt to bounce back from his first loss, as he takes on 2008 Olympian Javier Molina (20-2, 8) in a very interesting looking bout. Okada was stopped last time out, by Raymundo Beltran in a very entertaining bout, and is not being given an easy comeback bout here. Molina isn't a big puncher, but is skilled and has won 3 in a row since his most recent loss, a 2016 decision loss to Jamal James.
Las Vegas, USA
A second US show of note will see two very interesting looking match ups.
The most interesting of those will see the once beaten Romero Duno (21-1, 16) take on unbeaten American Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15). The talented Duno has won 12 in a row since suffering his sole defeat, a 2016 loss in Russia to Mikhail Alexeev. During his winning run he has scored some solid wins but a win here would put him on the map in a big way. On the other hand Garcia is a hotly tipped prospect, and is a hugely popular fighter who will be expected to get a real test here. Garcia has been able to build his record with noteworthy wins over the likes of Jayson Velez and Jose Lopez, but has yet to fight a young prime fighter. This is a big step up for both men and the winner will be ear marked to go a very long way.
The second bout featuring an Asian fighter will see Kazakh fighter Meiirim Nursultanov (12-0, 8) take on tough Mexican fighter Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13). The talented Kazakh has looked good coming through the ranks but this is set to be a genuine test against a flawed but tough and heavy handed for. A very interesting match and a great test, on paper, for Nursultanov.
The most significant show in Asia for the day is at the Korakuen Hall and will be shown on G+ in Japan. The card has 6 bouts scheduled for it, but 2 of those really stand out.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) defending his belt against Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6). The talented and exciting Matsunaga will be looking to make his first defense of the belt, following his title win over Nobuyuki Shindo earlier this year, and is riding a real hot streak with 9 straight wins. For Koshikawa, who was once tipped as a future star following a strong amateur background, this will be a big step up and marks his first title fight. A very interesting match up, and a very hard one to call. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Matsunaga seeks first defense as he goes up against talented Koshikawa
The chief support bout on this show will be a Japanese Light Middleweight title eliminator, as former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) takes on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5). This a match that will decide who challenges for the title in next year's Champion Carnival and is another hard one to call. Shindo is the more accomplished fighter but Shimizu has impressed in recent fights and will be there to build on a recent win over Charles Bellamy. Our preview of this eliminator can be read here Shindo and Shimizu battle in eliminator
As well as the two main bouts there will supporting bouts featuring former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (17-4-1, 7) and the once beaten Kai Chiba (11-1, 7).
A second show at Korakuen Hall on Saturday, though the one which will actually take place first, is a Teiken show featuring 6 of their brightest hopefuls all in 8 round bouts.
One of those hopefuls is Shuya Masaki (13-1, 5) who looks to be heading towards a title fight in the near future. He will be up against Filipino foe Roman Canto (14-13-3, 8) in what should be a relatively easy bout for Masaki. The Japanese fighter is only a bout or two from a title of some kind, though is likely to head for an OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title fight in 2020. Canto has lost in 5 previous visits to Japan and it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
Another bout pitting a Japanese hopeful against a Filipino will see unbeaten Japanese puncher Hayate Kaji (13-0, 9) take on Diomel Diocos (14-4-3, 4). Early in his career Kaji looked like a star in the making, he looked like he had all the tools to go to the top, combining skills, power, speed and ambition. Sadly he's not really progressed as we'd hoped and his career seems to faltered, and he's had disappointing performances in his last two bouts. The Filipino has lost 2 of his last 3 and was stopped in 4 rounds last time he fought in Japan, being stopped in 2017 by Daigo Higa.
Former amateur stand out Kuntae Lee (2-0, 1) takes his next step up as he takes on unbeaten Indonesian hopeful Rivo Kundimang (9-0-1, 5). As an amateur Lee really was a stand out, and he is hotly tipped to be a a future star in Japan. Despite only being a novice Lee he has already taken one unbeaten record, beating Marlon Paniamogan back in July. Kundimang will be fighting outside of Indonesia for the first time, and has win his last 9 bouts in a row, following a draw on his debut back in September 2017.
In a good step up we'll also see Mikito Nakano (3-0, 3) take on Filipino foe KJ Natuplag (8-1-2, 7), in an excellent bout. The talented Nakano has adapted well to the professional ranks and looks to be on his way to real success at Featherweight in the coming years. On paper this is a step up, but Nakano has looked very good, and last time out he really impressed against Arvin Young. Natuplag has shown real promise, and back in March he stopped Robert Udtohan, but was beaten last time out by Joe Tejones. We're expecting an excellent showing from Nakano who will likely find himself in the title mix next year.
Also on this card will be Kenshin Oshima (6-1-1, 3) and Masaya Tamayama (12-2, 6), who look to continue their rise through the ranks and move towards a title fight in the coming 18 months or so.
One of the other interesting bouts for the day will see the unbeaten Tajik fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (14-0, 9) take on the once beaten Abraham Montoya (18-1-1, 13), in what will be Yaqubov's second defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The talented Yaqubov has impressed recently and moved towards a world title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Mark Urvanov, Victor Alejandro Zunigaabd Emanuel Lopez, and another win here would leave him on the verge of a shot. Montoya, from Mexico, is unbeaten in 19 but this will be his first bout outside of Mexico.
Unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight Issa Akberbayev (20-0-0-1, 15) takes on his biggest test so far as he battles against 2016 Olympic champion Evgeny Tishchenko (5-0, 3), who is of course best known for his controversial Olympic win over Vasiliy Levit in the Olympic final. Despite being unbeaten the Kazakh will be the very clear under-dog and the Russian will be the favourite. Notably Akberbayev has been away from the ring for almost 2 years, and it's hard to not imagine that being a major issue here, against his most notable foe so far.
In Australia we'll see the unbeaten Chris Brackin (7-0, 3), an Australian local, take on Indian fighter Balkar Singh (3-1, 1). Singh lost last time out, when he was out pointed by the unbeaten Andrew Hunt over 4 rounds, and we suspect he will suffer another loss here to the talented Brackin.
The most notable bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend sees former-2 weight world champion Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) make his long anticipated move up to Flyweight where he will kick off his campaign with a fighter against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (52-9, 30). The bout isn't a major test, given Viloria's recent performances at world level, but is is a solid introduction to the weight for Nietes, who will be looking to become a 3-weight champion in the near future.
In a supporting bout on the same card former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (29-1, 15) will face Juan Jimenez (22-10, 15) in a rematch. These two men fought earlier this year with Villanueva controversially winning the bout, and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, with a head-butt KO. Coming into this one Jimenez will be seeking revenge whilst Villanueva will be looking to win this one cleanly.
A third notable Filipino in action in the US is the touted prospect Mark Magsayo (14-0, 11), who risks his unbeaten record against Ruben Garcia (17-2-1, 7). The talented Magsayo won the WBO International Featherweight title last time out, beating Chris Avalos in a slugfest, and will be hoping to defend the belt here against Garcia. If he comes out on top then ALA might see fit to step up Magsayo and move him towards a title fight in the next 12 months or so.
The day is a busy on in Japan with 4 shows across the country. The most notable of which is a Dangan card in Tokyo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) face off against Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3) in what will be Arakawa's first defense of the title. The teak tough champion won the belt earlier this year, ending the reign of Kota Tokunaga, and looks like he's making a simple first defense before potentially facing Shuhei Tsuchiya.
It's worth noting that Shuhei Tsuchiya (20-4, 17) will be in one of the main supporting bout on this card as he takes on Filipino visitor Rex Olisa (11-29-1, 8). The bout is expected to be a mismatch with the bout serving almost entirely to help build for a bout between Tsuchiya and Arakawa in 2017.
Another Japanese title bout will be held in Aichi as Shota Hayashi (27-5-1, 17) trades blows with veteran Noriyuki Ueno (18-13-5, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, which was recently vacated by Satoshi Hosono. Coming in Hayashi will clearly be the favourite however Ueno is under-rated, knows this will almost certainly be his only chance and comes in riding a huge high after a massive upset win against Yuki Ogata last time out.
In the chief support bout Yushi Tanaka (17-1-3,11) will be facing a poor Thai opponent in what will be Tanaka's second bout since losing in a Japanese title bout against Kentaro Masuda this past March. It's hard to see Tanaka losing here but he'll be forced to step up his competition in the near future if he wants another crack at silverware.
Fans in Ibaragi get a less interesting card though one headlined by the insanely tough Tatsuya Takahashi (24-6-4, 17), who faces Thai visitor Parkin Phakdeepin (1-7) in a 10 rounder. The bout, for all intents, is a mismatch but we find it impossible not to love Takahashi who has been in numerous thrillers. Although a mismatch Takahashi should make this fun.
Another low profile card comes from Oita where the main event will see Yuta Sasaki (8-8-1, 1) face off against Hyuma Fujioka (7-4-1). The bout is another less than great match up, however this one should at least be competitive with both men looking to prove they are the better fight.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Filipino fans also get some action, the most notable of which features the very talented and under-rated Michael Dasmarinas (24-2, 16) facing off with Michael Escobia (11-12-1, 3). On paper this looks like a real mismatch however Escobia is much better than his record suggests and he has given fighters like Masaaki Serie and Koki Eto really competitive bouts, with the Eto bout coming earlier this year. Dasmarinas should win but this is no gimme.
A second Filipino show is set to take place in Rizal where we get several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) face off against Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. The bout isn't the greatest one but should be a very competitive one and both men will be coming in to this one seeking a title victory. On paper it's easy to favour Suminguit, who has won his last 8, but he will be tested here in what should a relatively competitive bout.
On this card in supporting bouts are the Elorde brothers. Juan Martin Elorde (20-1-1, 8) will face off against Indonesian veteran Boido Simanjuntak (23-40-2, 9) whilst Juan Miguel Elorde (21-1, 11) will face Junior Bajawa (14-9, 7). It's hard to see either of the brothers losing here, though we do hope they will both step up a level in the near future, as neither should be tested by their inferior foes here.
Staying in Asia there is also action in Kazakhstan where we get several bouts of note.
The most interesting bout will see unbeaten puncher Issa Akberbayev (17-0-0-1, 12) face off against fellow puncher Maik Kurzweil (17-6, 17) in a bout we don't imagine will go the distance. Although neither is near “world class” they are fighting for the GBC title and will put it on the line to hold the belt.
In an under-card bout the once beaten Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (17-1, 12) will face the highly experienced Gary Abajyan (33-27-1, 17). This will be Bektemirov's second bout since suffering a split decision loss last year to Alexander Brand. It's hard to see Abajyan holding his own here, but Bektermirov is usually fun to watch.
In another under-card bout the unbeaten Berikbay Nurymbetov (2-0) will be facing the much more experienced Valentyn Kuts (22-5-0-1, 8). Kuts has failed to win any of his last 5 bouts and we suspect that losing run will continue here against a man who is obviously backed by a very confident team.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see the much unfancied Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-12-2, 3) battle against former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (61-10, 51) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It's hard not to favour the much more experienced Gonzalez here in what looks like a mismatch against the visitor.
Back in California, though not on the same show as the three Filipino's, fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (5-0, 3) face off with fellow unbeaten Martez Jackson (3-0-2, 2). The bout looks relatively even on paper but we suspect the Kazakh will be too good and too powerful for the unbeaten American.
Hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (4-0-0-2, 4) will be looking to continue his reign of terror as he battles Leandro Mendes Pinto (19-9-2, 9) in a notable step up. The Kazakh destroyer has looked promising so far and should look good here, but notably Pinto has been around the clock and could teach the youngster a few new tricks. Although Pinto has avoided regular stoppages it's hard to imagine him being big enough or tough enough to last long with Jukembayev