This coming Sunday is set to be a busy day for fight fans following the Asian boxing scene. There is 3 cards in Japan and a number of Asian fighters in action in Russia.
The most notable of the Japanese cards comes from Kobe where fans will get a Japanese title fight at Minimumweight, with both of the fighters involved looking to claim the vacant title.
That title bout will see the under-rated Ryoki Hirai (10-4-1, 4) battle against former multi-time world title challenger Shin Ono (21-9-3, 5) for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title. These two are ranked #1 and #2 by the JBC and are fighting for the title that Reiya Konishi vacated earlier this year, so that he could move up in class to fight for the WBA title. Hirai's record is a bit of a mess, but that's because he started his career 3-3-1, before rebuilding and going 7-1. In recent bouts Hirai has beaten the likes of Takumi Sakae and Ryoya Ikema and has really deserved a shot at the title and a chance to shine. As for Ono he has really struggled in recent years, going 4-4-1 in his last 9, though has mixed at a high level with losses to Katsunari Takayama, Kenichi Horikawa, Knockout CP Freshmart and Reiya Konishi. The bout really pits Hirai's youth and hunger against Ono's experience and should be very interesting.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Giraffe Kirin Kanda (11-2, 6) take on the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-10-1, 9). Although Kanda should be favoured he has has been stopped before and Miyazaki will have the belief that he has the power to stop Kanda, just like Yuki Nagano did in 2015.
Staying in Hyogo, though going from Kobe to Kawanishi, fight fans will be able to see the next Morioka card, featuring several noteworthy fighters in what will likely be some horrific mismatches.
The main event of the card will see former OPBF title challenger Hinata Maruta (6-1, 5) battle against Indonesian visitor Arega Yunian (6-9, 1), in what looks like a really disappointing match up for the talent Maruta. Despite losing to Hidenori Otake last November Maruta is an exceptional talent and a bout like this will do little to help build that talent, and it feels like he would have been much better off taking on a domestic level fighter than someone like Yunian. The Indonesian has already suffered 6 stoppage losses, all of which have come when he's fought on the road and include stoppages to Ryo Matsumoto and Takashi Igarashi in Japan
As well as Maruta fans will also be able to see former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (25-7-1, 22) and former Japanese Youth title challenger Naoto Iwai (4-2, 2) both in action, as they each face Thai opponents. Parrenas will be seeking his second win since a 2015 loss to Naoya Inoue, in a bout for the WBO Super Flyweight title, whilst Iwai will be looking to put a poor 2017 behind and begin to rebuild his career.
As well as the action in Hyogo there will also be a low key card in Fukuoka. This card is a pretty weak one in all honesty, but will be headlined by former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7), who will look to bounce back following back-to-back defeats to Ryuya Yamanaka and Wanheng Menayothin. The former champion, will be up against domestic foe Yuto Takahashi (8-3, 4) in what looks to be a big step down in class. Despite stepping down in levels Fukuhara does deserve an easy one given his run from winning the Japanese title in 2015 to today has seen him facing 3 unbeaten men, two current world champions and two other fringe world class fighters. Takahashi hasn't shown he can compete at the top of the domestic level and although this is a big chance for him to make a mark, it's very hard to see how he can over-come the under-rated Fukuhara.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a lot of Asian interest in a Russian card, with several notable fighters in action.
The main event of the card looks set to be a special kind of bout, as Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (37-3-0-1, 25) takes on unbeaten Russian Pavel Malikov (13-0, 5) in a really good looking 12 round bout. Yordan seems to have been around around forever but at 30 years old he still has some time on his side to get a second world title fight, following a set back against Chris John back in 2011, and a win against Malikov might be what he needs to get a crack at a world champion. As for Malikov he has been in some great bouts recently, and his last two have been razor thing wins over Daiki Kaneko, in an under-rated 2017 war, and Deiner Berrio. Malikov is certainly beatable, but whether Yordan will be the man to beat him is yet to be seen. It's worth nothing that both of these men hold world rankings and the bout is essentially a world title eliminator.
In a great support bout we'll see unbeaten men collide, with Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (10-0, 5) battling Leonardo Padilla (16-0, 12) for the vacant WBA Asia Super Featherweight Title. Uulu is a Kyrgyzstan born Russian based fighter who has struggled at times but appears to be improving and has got the talent to go a long way, if he can correct some defensive flaws. Those defensive flaws could be a major problem here however as Padilla, like many fighters from Venezuela, can bang with 8 stoppages in his last 10. We'll be honest and admit we're unsure how the Venezuelan qualifies for a WBA Asia title but that can't take away from what looks like a really exciting match up.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Uzbek hopeful Ravshanbek Umurzakov (2-0, 2) take on Georgian Merab Turkadze (5-0, 2). The Uzbek looks to be a natural prospect and was a solid amateur before making his debut at the end of last year. So far Umurzakov has fought only 2 rounds, taking both of his opponents out with brutal left hands to the body in the opening round. It's always hard to know what you get with a Georgian fighter but given that Umurzakov is scheduled to fight again in May it seems like his team are confident of another quick win here.
One other bout of note will see Russian novice Mekhdi Abdurashedov (1-0) take on the once touted Iwan Zoda (14-3-1, 13) of Indonesia. At one point Zoda looked like a star in the making, and his 2015 win over Petchchorhae Kokietgym was a sensational performance. Sadly though he has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and really is fighting an up hill battle to remain relevant. It's unclear how good Abdurashedov is, but this is a big step up for the Russian and hopefully Zoda will show of the skills that got many of us excited when he was younger
This coming Friday is a crazy day in the world of Asian boxing with a trio of Chinese cards, as well as a notable Japanese show. The bouts aren't likely to have much global attention, but they range from a really high profile debut, to a potentially thrilling war on the verges of world class.
For us the biggest show of the day is from Beijing, where we see a number of prospects in action, in bouts of varying quality.
One of the really good looking bouts will see Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (9-0-1, 6) defending his WBO “interim” Oriental Flyweight title against touted Indonesian puncher Iwan Zoda (14-2-1, 13). For the champion the bout will be his first defense of the title he won back in April, when he stopped Yiming Ma inside a round whilst Zoda will be looking to rebuild after a year that has seen hi suffer a stoppage to Robert Onggocan and a surprising draw with Ical Tobida. It's fair to say Zoda can ill afford a set back but Baldonado is on a role with a trio of first round blow outs.
Another really interesting contest will see Filipino prospect Mark Anthony Barriga (6-0, 1) take a huge step up to face former 2-time world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (33-6, 12) in a contest for the WBO International Minimumweight title. The 24 year old Barriga was a top Filipino prospect and it's clear his team view him as a special talent but this is a massive step up in class, and should tell us a lot about just how far Barriga could go. Samartlek, who is best known for losing in world title bouts to Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, does have a padded record, but is a very decent fight and will certainly not be afraid of Barriga's amateur background.
Another title bout featuring an unbeaten fighter on this show will see Jin Xiang Pan (7-0, 4) take on James MacDonald (8-1-1, 4) for the WBO Youth Super Featherweight title. On paper this bout doesn't have the appeal of the ones above, but it's a step up for both fighters and it should be very interesting to see where both men are going in their career.
Arguably the most notable title bout on the card, yet potentially the most one-sided, will see former Chinese amateur stand out Lu Bin (0-0) take on Thai foe Chatchai Or Benjamas (8-9, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight Title. Making his professional debut in a 10 rounder is clearly Bin and his team looking to make a statement and given his background in amateur boxing and the APB there is real star potential here. It should be noted that Chatchai isn't great, and was an early opponent for the likes of Yohei Tobe and KJ Cataraja, but Bin's willingness to fight for a title early is still a statement from his team.
One other bout of note from this show will see big punching Filipino Jayar Inson (13-1, 9) take on China's Yangcheng Jin (5-1-2, 1). This is likely to be a straight forward win for the visitor, but he is coming in to the bout on the back of a loss on the road in South Africa, and may be wearing the mental scars of that defeat.
Xi An, China
We get more title action in Xi An as novices Yiran Li (3-0, 3) and Super Top Singnamchai (2-0, 1) battle for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. Li made his professional debut back in April and has needed just 7 rounds to despatch his first 3 foes whilst the Thai visitor apparently debuted in 2012, and hasn't had a boxing contest in more than 5 years, making this a very perplexing contest on paper.
Staying in China just a little longer fans will get card in Jinan where the headline bout will see Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (23-12-2, 8) battle with local Aizi Aili (5-2-1, 2), in what could be a pretty solid match up between well matched fighters at different stages of their career.
As well as all the action in China there will also be a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, which will be available on the A-sign service.
The main event of the card is a potential war as former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (33-6-2, 21) takes on Richard Pumicpic (19-8-2, 6) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, essentially securing the winner a top 15 WBO ranking. Of the two men Amagasa is the more well known, given his bouts with Guillermo Rigondeaux and Josh Warrington, and will be favoured, however Pumicpic is no pushover and he has has pushed fighters like Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Yohei Tobe all really close in thrilling fights. We're expecting this fight to be the bout of the day.
In another good looking contest we'll see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (28-9-1, 12) take on Jin Miura (9-2, 1). Coming in to this Nakajima has a little bit of momentum, with 3 straight wins to put back to back losses behind him, whilst Miura comes in on the back of a narrow loss in Russia. This could be a highly skilled battle with both men looking to really boost their hopes of a potential domestic title bout.
One other fighter of note on this card is Naoki Mochizuki (11-2, 6), who will be facing off with a Thai visitor.
This coming weekend sees boxing take over in Tokyo with 5 world title fights spread over 2 days thanks to Fuji TV who are set to give us one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory. It kicks off on Saturday with a trio of world title fights on a show promoted by Teiken
The most significant of the fights sees French based Middleweight Hassan N'Dam (35-2, 21) battle against Japanese gold medal winner Ryota Murata (12-0, 9) in a bout for the WBA “regular” Middleweight title. For N'dam, who is best known for losing to Peter Quillin and David Lemieux, the bout gives him a third shot to hold a “full” title, after several reigns as an interim champion, and he does seem very confident in build up to the fight. For Murata the bout is a chance to mark his name in history as the first Japanese fighter to claim and Olympic and World titles and become just the second Japanese fighter to claim a Middleweight world title. Of all the bouts this weekend this is probably the most significant and the most interesting.
Talking about interesting it's worth nothing that the card features a mouth watering Flyweight title bout as WBC champion Juan Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25) takes on Japanese destroyer Daigo Higa (12-0, 12). The bout will be a mandatory for the Mexican champion whilst Higa looks to claim a world title at the age of 21, and keep alive his incredible stoppage run. The bout looks set to be something a little bit special with both being very talented and having a nice mix of styles, which should lead to a thrilling war.
The other title fight on this show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (28-6, 17) defending his title against former WBC Youth, Japanese and OPBF champion Ken Shiro (9-0, 5). The champion is a true grizzled veteran and has looked great in recent wins over Yu Kimura and Jonathan Taconing, with the Kimura win coming in Japan, but at 35 he is ancient for a Light Flyweight and is significantly older than Ken Shiro who will have a real advantage in youth. The bout will be Lopez's second defense and will be Ken Shiro's first bout at world level.
Whilst much of the attention for the day will be on Tokyo it won't be the only place with a world title fight, as Aichi also hosts a world title fight. Sadly whilst the Tokyo card will receive a lot of major press across Japan and looks set to be televised in a number of major markets it
looks like this will only be shown on CBC.
The headline bout of this show, and the world title bout, will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (8-0, 5) making his first defense of the title as he takes on monstrous Puerto Rican puncher Angel Acosta (16-0, 16). The bout is a mandatory defense for Tanaka and looks like a great match up on paper as the talented and speedy champion takes on a massive puncher, with both men looking not only to walk away as champion but to also keep their unbeaten records. It's hard not to feel that Tanaka's experience at world level will be the difference here. But it's clear that Acosta has power and we have seen Tanaka down before, against heavy handed Filipino Vic Saludar, and Acosta could build a gameplan on Saludar's success.
Another unbeaten man on this card is Kento Hatanaka (2-0, 2), the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka. The youngster will be taking part in a 6 rounder against an unknown Thai as he looks to continue his perfect start to professional boxing. The 18 year old has needed just 3 rounds to take out two domestic foes so far and will be looking for something similarly impressive here.
Also up against a Thai visitor will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight challenger Yushi Tanaka (19-2-3, 13), who will be in an 8 rounder. Tanaka was last seen losing to Ryo Akaho in March, though put in a credible effort and will be hoping to run off a series of wins to earn a third shot at the Japanese title. This however won't be a notable win and will instead be confidence builder for the Hatanaka man.
There is also set to be action in Indonesia, where three of the hottest young Indonesian fighters will be in action.
One of the bouts will see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (15-0-1, 7) taking on Arnold Garde (8-4-2, 3) in an interesting match up for a minor WBC title at Light Flyweight. The unbeaten man, now regarded as one of the 3 Indonesian fighters to keep an out on, is going to be strongly favoured here, but Garde won't have travelled to make up the numbers and this could be a good test for the unbeaten man.
Another local fighter in action is Defry Palulu (17-2-1, 12), who will be battling the experienced Nathan Bolcio (14-12-3, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. This looks like a mismatch but Bolcio has mixed in good company and could prove to be a stiff test for the popular local.
Another of the standout Indonesian hopefuls in action is 20 year old Iwan Zoda (13-2, 11), who will be up against domestic veteran Ical Tobida (13-23, 8). The bout will see Zoda return to action for the first time since a 7th round TKO loss to Robert Onggocan back in January and he'll clearly be fighting with intent to prove he is back to his best, following a rib injury.
In Korea the KBF will host a low key Rookie event, with very few details not note. We have been informed that the card will feature an 8 rounder, but other than that the details really are scarce.
One of the best bouts of 2015 saw Takashi Miura (30-3-2, 23) face off with Francisco Vargas in a brilliant war for the WBC Super Featherweight title. This week wee see Miura return to an American ring as he takes on Mexican veteran Miguel Roman (56-11, 43) in a WBC world title eliminator, with the winner set to face either Vargas or Miguel Berchelt, who fight on the same card. The Miura Vs Roman bout had been touted through much of 2016 but for various reasons the bout hasn't taken place and instead we get to kick 2017 with the bout, just weeks into the near year.
Miura won't be the only Japanese fighter on the road this weekend as former IBF Super Flyweight title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8) fights in a world title eliminator against former champion McJoe Arroyo (17-1, 8). Kinoshita, making his international debut, is a former Japanese Super Flyweight champion who is best known for being out boxed by Zolani Tete for the IBF Super Flyweight title in the Portopia Hotel in Kobe, where Kinoshita was actually working at the time. Since then he has gone 6-0 (5) and shown a development in his power. For Arroyo this bout will be his first since losing the title last year in a mandatory title defense against Jerwin Ancasjas, where the Puerto Rican fighter was thoroughly uninspired. This is winnable for Kinoshita, but it will be a tough ask for the 31 year old Japanese Southpaw.
In Canada we'll see a pair of unbeaten Kazakh hopefuls fighting to extend their winning starts.
The more notable of the two is Batyrzhan Jukembayev (7-0-0-2, 6), who will be looking for his 8th win as he takes on David Rangel (12-4, 8). On paper this should be a good test for the Kazakh, although he will be strongly favoured. Rangel has lost 4 of his last 6, but has mixed in good company with losses to the likes of Gilberto Gonzalez and Javier Prietom and a recent win over Leonardo Jimenez.
The other Kazakh on this card is 25 year old Ablaikhan Khussainov (4-0, 3), who takes on the once beaten Oscar Mejia (8-1-1, 3). The Kazakh has looked good so far but is taking a clear step up here and will be fighting in his first scheduled 6 rounder as he takes on a Mexican who has shown some genuine potential himself. Although Mejia lost last time out he proved he was capable and should be a very good test for Khussainov.
The most notable bout set to take place in Asia this weekend will see rising Indonesian star Iwan Zoda (13-1, 12) defending his IBF Youth Flyweight title against Filipino Robert Onggocan (7-1, 3). Zoda, who is the most exciting Indonesian youngster since Daud Yordan was first breaking through the ranks, will be looking to make his first defence of the title whilst Onggocan will be fighting in his first title bout.
Fans in Indonesia has an interesting, but small, card headlined by one of our favourites defending his title.
That main event will see fast rising Flyweight prospect Iwan Zoda (11-1, 10) return to the ring to defend his IBF Youth title for the first time. The heavy handed, and really exciting Indonesian, will be up against Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (7-1-1, 5), who proved his toughness earlier this year with a very competitive outing against Richard Claveras. Zoda has stopped everyone he has faced and will be looking to continue that record here, but this is his toughest test this year.
Note- Since this was first published Zoda's bout has been cancelled unfortunately.
In Japan we'll have a different show, that looks less than great but does feature some notable names.
The biggest name on the card is former OPBF and JBC Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (29-7-2, 9), who battle Filipino visitor Leonardo Doronio (15-13-3, 10). On paper this looks a mismatch however Kato is win-less in 2 years and has struggled to assert himself in his last 3 bouts. Doronio has struggled himself, winning just one of his last 6, but has scored notable wins over the likes of Taiwo Ali, Burning Ishii, Jeffrey Arienza and current OPBF champion Al Rivera. Although limited Doronio is a fighter capable of scoring major under-dogs and Kato will have to be aware of that here.
In supporting bouts we'll see several notable fighters. One of the better under-card bouts will see Yuta Nakagawa (18-4-1, 9) face off against Keigo Soma (8-11-2, 4) in what looks like a mismatch but could be very competitive. Another will see former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (14-7-2, 9) battle against the once beaten Naoki Mochizuki (10-1, 6) in a real must win for Sakashita, who has struggled since Suguru Muranaka stopped him in in October 2014.
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.
The first show on a busy day is a Hatanaka promoted card, which will have it's headline bout broadcast on TBS.
That main bout will see WBO Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) defend his crown, for the first time, against Filipino puncher Vic Saludar (11-1, 9). On paper this looks a good test for the 20 year old Tanaka, who has sadly been inactive since winning the belt back in May. Saludar is genuinely dangerous and could well upset Tanaka if the Japanese champion has taken his eye off the ball, as compatriot Shohei Omori did recently.
On the under-card we see several interesting bouts. One of those features the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (15-0-3, 9), who is tipped as a future champion. The unbeaten 24 year old will be up against Indonesian visitor Zun Rindam (11-8-1, 5), who is hoping to score his first win in Japan having twice been blown out in the country, losing in the opening round against both Yasutaka Ishimoto and Ryo Matsumoto.
Another bout of note sees world ranked Filipino fighter Genesis Servania (26-0, 11) makes his Japanese debut as he takes on Hendrik Barongsay (29-23-3, 18) in what should be little more than a showcase for the excellent Servania. The year has been a frustrating one for the Filipino and we suspect that frustration will come out here against an opponent who will have very little too offer in terms of competition.
On paper the show of the day is the Ioka promoted card from Osaka, which is also set to be televised by TBS.
The main event, and one of two world title fights, will see Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10) defending the WBA Flyweight crown against former champion Juan Carlos Reveco (36-2, 19). Ioka beat Reveco for the belt back in April, claiming a majority decision, and will be hoping for a more conclusive result this time against the Argentinian visitor. For Reveco it's a chance to avenge his second professional loss whilst Ioka gets the chance to further strengthen his claim as a top Flyweight, and possibly move towards a potential unification bout with conqueror Amnat Ruenroeng.
The other world title bout will see IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12) defending his title against Mexican foe Jose Argumedo (15-3-1, 9). For Takayama this will be the 3rd defense of the title that he won a year ago, when he stopped Go Odaira, and he will be hoping to build on his last win, back in September against Ryuji Hara. The all action Takayama will be hoping to retain the title here to set up a unification bout in 2016. For Argumedo this is a huge opportunity but one that he does enter as a clear under-dog and isn't expected to really present much of a challenger
As well as the two world title bouts this card also features an OPBF title fight and a Japanese title fight. The OPBF title bout comes at Bantamweight where heavy handed champion Takahiro Yamamoto (16-4, 13) defends his title against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (9-4, 5). This will be Yamamoto's first defense of the title that he won earlier this year, when he stopped Yu Kawaguchi in a 7 round thriller. It's fair to say the champion is more proven, heavier handed and will go in to this one as a clear favourite. For Kobayashi, who was battered around by Hinata Maruta's in Maruta's pro-test, this is a huge opportunity bur one he's not expected to win, especially given that he is 3-3 in his last 6.
As for the Japanese title fight, that will see Super Flyweight champion Sho Ishida (20-0, 10) defending his title against Ryuta Otsuka (15-8-2, 5). Ishida, another member of the prestigious Ioka gym, will be hunting his 4th defense of the title and continue what has been a good year for the Osaka based gym. For Otsuka this is a second shot at the title, having previously lost to Teiru Kinoshita in November 2011. Despite being given a second shot at a title it's fair to say Otsuka will; be regarded as a major under-dog following recent losses to Malcolm Tunacao and Ryuichi Funai.
On the under-card fans get the chance to see former world champion Ryo Miyazaki (23-1-3, 14) take on Thai visitor Thongchai Chaiyonggym (0-1) in what is a stay busy fight for the highly ranked Osakan warrior. A win here is expected for Miyazaki who will be hoping to fight for a world title, at 108lbs, in 2016, he was however famously upset on the same date 2 years ago by Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and will know that he cannot afford another set back like that.
Another under-card bout will see the very exciting Masayoshi Hashizume (9-0, 6) battle against a Thai novice, thought to be “Ken Meanyothin”. We have been impressed by Hashizume and are hoping to see him step up in class in 2016, with a potential title fight coming towards the end of the year.
As well as the action on TBS there is also a TV Tokyo card thanks to Watanabe.
The main event of this show sees WBA Super Featherweight “super” champion Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1, 19) defending his belt against Nicaraguan challenger Oliver Flores (27-1-2, 17). This botu is widely regarded as a huge mismatch and it's hard to see Flores upsetting the long term champion, who looks for his 11th defense. If Uchiyama wins there is serious talk from his team about taking him to the US for 2016, with a bout against Nicholas Walters looking very likely.
Uchiyama's world title defense is one of two on the card with stable mate Ryoichi Taguchi (22-2-1, 9) defending his WBA Light Flyweight title against Colombian challenger Luis de la Rosa (24-5-1, 14). On paper this too is an awful mismatch with nobody giving de la Rosa any chance, and in fairness it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Taguchi, who could be looking at unification bouts in 2016 if he comes through this one.
Sadly this under-card is lacking with the most notable name on it being former Japanese title challenger Hayato Kimura (23-8, 15), who is in an awful mismatch against Thai visitor Petchnamnung Sor Thiebkhun (0-11), who is likely to suffer his 10th “recorded” stoppage loss.
As a bonus we also get a small bit of Indonesian action with the very promising Iwan Zoda (7-1, 6) battle in a 10 rounder against Thai visitor Phupha Por Nobnom (11-9-1, 10). The visitor's record isn't great but he has shared the ring with Tepparith Kokietgym, Richie Mepranum and Albert Pagara, so he has mixed at a good level, albeit he has been stopped by those 3 men. For Zoda this is his first bout since he stopped Petchchorhae Kokietgym in September, in what was an incredible win for the 19 year old Indonesian.
On the under-card of this show is an Indonesian title bout between Agus Kustiawan (13-4, 5) and Boido Simanjuntak (18-33-1, 7), who will be recognised by people who follow the Thai fight scene.
For a second day running Thai fans will get televised action, though this time around the action is a bit more interesting and Channel 7 do appear to have picked up a solid looking card, well solid looking for a Thai show at least.
The main event will see the unbeaten Petchchorhae Kokietgym (13-0, 8) trying to record a double over promising Indonesian teenager Iwan Zoda (6-1, 5), in a bout for the interim WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. These two men met last October with Petchchorhae taking a 6 round decision win, though since then the Indonesian has picked up 5 straight stoppage wins and could well go into this bout believe he can avenge his sole defeat. We'll admit we're actually rather exciting about this one.
The key support bout here will see former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (21-5, 6) take on Indonesia's Iwan Key (9-12-3, 1). It's hard to see Key offering much resistance to Samartlek, who has run up 4 wins since his 11th round TKO loss to Naoya Inoue, almost a year ago to the day.
One man we're excited to see return to action is unbeaten prospect Kongthara KKP (8-0, 6) who will be up against Indonesia's Rasmanudin (19-10-3, 10). A few years ago this would have been a solid bout but in recent times Rasmanudin has become a “loser” and is 1-6-1 in his last 8. We expect this to be another loss to the talented and fast rising Rasmanudin.
Although western boxing fans don't have much action this Sunday it is actually a great day for boxing fans in in Asia with both Chinese and Indonesian fans getting notable and interesting shows.
It seems that Chinese boxing is rising and although the country is still a long way from being a “force” in world boxing it's great to see the proliferation of the country's talent and with several Chinese fighters now plying their trade in the US we suspect will be quicker and more visible for western fans than ever before.
Although several Chinese fighters are making their name in the west there is still plenty of action in China it's self where a number of fighters are beginning to forge their own legacies.
The most established of the China based Chinese fighters is former WBC Minimumweight world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-6-1, 14) who will be hoping to work himself into another world title fight later in the year. Zhong will be expected to pick up an easy win here as he battles against Japanese visitor Hiroya Yamamoto (8-2, 3) in a bout for the WBC International Minimumweight belt. Although Zhong is limited he will have to be heavily favoured here against Yamamoto who enters having lost 2 of his last 3, including a Japanese title fight against Go Odaira last September.
Whilst Zhong is limited he is the most established talent in the country. Zhong's success has lead to more success in the country and the rising star at the moment is Super Bantamweight prospect Qiu Xiao Jun (14-2, 6) who will be battling in his most notable bout to date. The Chinese fighter will be up against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (23-9-2, 17) in a bout for the WBC Silver Super Bantamweight title and we suspect that this really could be a very special bout between two men each looking for their biggest win and looking to move towards establishing themselves in WBC world rankings.
Another title bout on this card will see Xian Wei Qian (6-4-1, 1) risking his WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title whilst also hoping to claim the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Featherweight title. In the opposite corner to Qian will be Indonesian foe Hero Tito (9-5-1, 3). On paper this looks like a good bout, despite the fact neither man is ever going to be a world beater.
Another possibly interesting title bout will see Yang Xing Xin (9-3-2, 6) attempt to defend the WBC Youth Welterweight title against South Korean foe Joon-Yong Lee (4-2-3, 2). Xin has won his last 3 bouts and although he's nothing special the 22 year old “Chinese Warrior” is an improving fighter who has shown good development in recent contests. As for the Korean 24 year old this is a big opportunity and sees him coming into the bout on the back of a loss in a Korean Light Middleweight title bout. Although Lee isn't well known he does hold a notable win over Sa Ya Lee, the current Korean Lightweight champion.
One final title bout on this card is a female title bout which will see Cai Zongju (3-1, 1) battling again Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (15-6, 6). This bout will be for the female versions of the WBC International and WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight titles and looks like a very interesting fight. For Abaniel it's a must win bout following recent losses on the road to Ayaka Miyao and Kumiko Seeser Ikehara. Saying that however Zongju is a much weaker for than the two Japanese fighters who have beaten Abaniel.
In Indonesia fans will have the chance to see promising youngster Iwan Zoda (4-1, 3) battle against Stevanus Nana Bau (2-1-1, 1) in a second meeting between the two men. The two met last September in what was both mens debut, according to boxrec, with Zoda taking a decision and since then Zoda has improved and likely to become one of the few Indonesian fighters worth making a note of. This bout is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be at Flyweight, unlike their original bout which was fought over 6 rounds.
Regarding the records of Zoda and Nana Bau, we believe that Zoda's record is complete, including his loss to Thailand's promising Petchchorhae Kokietgym, whilst Nana Bau is thought to have had several unrecorded bouts as well as bouts fought under the name of Stevanus Nanai.
(Image courtesy of http://suljosblog.com)