This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for Asian fight fans, with a notable show in Japan and the Philippines, and then fighters from those two countries colliding in California at the end of the day. As well as the major shows there is also a small card in Singapore.
The biggest bout of the day is, obviously, the US bout, which will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20) defending his title against mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22). For Ancajas the bout will serve as his 7th defense of the title, which he won back in September 2016, and will be his third mandatory. The champion really under-performed last time out, narrowly holding on to the belt against Alejandro Santiago Barrios, and would be expected to put on a better showing here. Funai on the other hand is an unknown outside of Japan, though is a former Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific champion who has mixed in good company, with bouts against the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka, Rolly Lunas, Sho Ishida and Warlito Parrenas. The challenger has earned this shot, winning an eliminator last year, but will be regarded as a clear under-dog. A full preview of this bout is available here - Ancajas takes on mandatory challenger Funai
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to attend a Teiken promoted card at Korakuen Hall. Sadly this will only be shown on tape delay, meaning those not in the venue will have to wait to see the bouts.
The main event here will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) defending his title in a mandatory bout against Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4), in what is their second meeting. These two fought in February 2018, when Sueyoshi had to recover from a knockdown to stop Osato in the 8th round. Since then Sueyoshi has gone 1-0-1, fighting to a draw over 12 rounds with Hironori Mishiro, and will be looking for bigger bouts later in the year. Osato on the other has scored back to back decision wins since losing to Sueyoshi, but this is a step up from those wins. A full preview of this bout is available here Sueyoshi looks to over-come Osato again!
The chief support bout here will see the once beaten Shuya Masaki (11-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Nam Jun Lee (10-5-3, 4). For Masaki the bout is the first since his narrow win over Izuki Tomioka last year, in what was his third bout of 2018. It's notable Lee's first bout since June 2017. Notably the 35 year old Korean has had a very stop start Korea, but does hold notable wins over Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera, so could be a better test than his record suggests.
Another very notable bout on this card is the Japanese debut of Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1), who debuted last year in the US. The talented and touted Iwata will face 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-2-1, 2), in a very, very interesting match up. Iwata won his debut but didn't look sensational, and this could prove to be too much too soon for the former amateur standout, and a huge chance for the 22 year old Kameyama to build on his Rookie success.
Other interesting bouts on this card include Junpei Tsujimoto (4-1-3, 2) battling against Tetsuya Yoshimura (5-3-1, 4) and Hiroki Yajima (9-7-3, 4) facing off with Mirai Imagawa (9-5, 3), with both Imagawa and Tsujimoto having won Rookie of the Year in recent years. There will also be a chance for the hard hitting Yamato Hata (7-1, 7) to pick up another win, as he takes on Indonesian Alvius Maufani (6-2-2, 3), in what should be a straight forward bout for the local.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Of course it's not just Japan that has a great show but also the Philippines, with ESPN5 set to show a title fest from Metro Manila, with this show being aired live.
The pick of the bouts here is another Philippines Vs Japan clash, as Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) looks to defense his WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title against in form Japanese fighter Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4). The 21 year old Toyogon will be seeking his second defense here, and will be looking to record a 6th straight win as he continues to develop into a very solid fighter. Sagawa on the other hand gets his first title shot, and he clearly deserves it on the back of wins against Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto and Shingo Kawamura. This is probably the more intriguing bout of the day, even more saw than the world title bout. A full preview of this bout is available here Toyogon and Sagawa battle for regional title!
A second WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title fight takes place at Bantamweight and will see the heavy handed Jun Blazo (11-6-3, 8) take on Benezer Alolod (19-11-5, 7). Blazo has lost 4 of his last 7, but has spun off 3 straight wins coming into this bout and will be confident of extending that run. Alolod is very much Mr Inconsistent with a 6-6 record in his last 12. Hard to get a read on this, but if both are up for it we could get a very good fight.
In a GAB Lightweight title fight Roldan Aldea (12-7-1, 7) will be seeking his first defense, as he takes on Rey Ramos (8-11-2, 3), in what looks like a mismatch whilst 5lbs north we'll see Jheritz Chavez (8-3-2, 6) seek his second defense of the GAB Light Welterweight title, facing off with Junar Adante (7-11-1, 4). Sadly neither of these domestic title bouts look particularly competitive.
In Singapore local hopeful Nurshahidah Roslie (12-2, 9) will be seeking a 5th straight win as she takes on Thai novice Suphansa Phooong (1-0), in what looks like a mismatch, over 6 rounds. Roslie isn't the huge star that Singaporean boxing needs to really kick-start something but the Thai is an inexperienced teenager, and will be making her international debut.
The most notable show for us is in California where we two notable Asian fighters in action. One is defending a world title whilst the the other is kicking off his career properly, after a very stop-start to his professional boxing career.
The world champion is Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20), who will be making his 6th defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title. Sadly for a man who has been a world champion for over 2 years Ancajas has had a disappointing reign, and it won't be helped here, as he takes on the little known Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-4, 7). The 22 year old Mexican challenger has never scored a win of note, fighting a draw in his most notable bouts. Ancajas should be mixing with the top Super Flyweight, who mostly seem to be wanting to fight each other, but instead is fighting third tier foes like this. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Ancajas returns to defend title against little known Mexican
Thankfully the other bout involving an Asian on this show is much more interesting, despite being less significant. That's because we'll finally see former Kazakh amateur star Janibek Alimkhanuly (2-0, 1) make his US debut, and take on the hard hitting Carlos Galvan (16-7-1, 15). The touted Alimkhanuly has had a very frustrating start to professional boxing, fighting once in 2016 and once in 2017, but now appears to have his mind set on becoming a full time professional. Galvan is no push over. Like many Colombian Galvan is a big puncher, but he also showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went the distance against Willie Monroe Jr. This is a great chance for Alimkhanuly to impress US audiences and to shine in front of new promoter Bob Arum.
A second Kazakh will be on this show, albeit in a minor role. That will be Askhat Ualikhanov (3-1, 2) who will be stepping up in class to take on 27 year old American fighter Angel Hernandez(13-10-2 8 KOs).
We also get a really interesting Kazakh Vs Colombian match up in Florida as the unbeaten Mussa Tursyngaliyev (7-0, 6) takes foe Deivi Julio Bassa (20-5-0-1, 12) in a 10 round contest. The unbeaten Kazakh began his career on fire, winning his first 6 bouts in the space of 19 days. Since then however he's only fought once, stopping Luis Hinojosa. This is a big step up for Tursyngaliyev but the Colombian fighter has struggled in recent years, and has lost 3 of his last 4. A few years ago when Bassa lost his unbeaten record to Kenichi Ogawa, and since then he has really struggled. We expect that struggle to continue here.
In Asia the most interesting card is from China, where we get several title bouts with a number of notable names involved. We won't go through all the bouts, but we will look at 3 of them.
The most interesting is a China Vs Philippines contest, as Wulan Tuolehazi (8-3-1, 4) takes on OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel (10-0-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC silver Flyweight title. On paper this doesn't look brilliant, but Tuolehazi is much better than his record suggests with a 7 fight unbeaten run, with some good wins during that run, including a 4th round TKO over Kwanthai Sithmorseng. Talking about good runs Raquinel has notched two big wins this year over Keisuke Nakayama and Shun Kosaka to win and defense the OPBF title. This could be very competitive.
In a supporting bout at Lightweight Zhimin Wang (10-3, 3) will face off with Indonesian foe Hero Tito (27-13-2, 11) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. Again this doesn't look amazing but Wang isn't a push over, he's no world beater but on the Asian scene there are a lot of potential match ups for him to be involved in down the line. Tito is pretty much a regional journeyman if we're being honest but should take Wang the rounds in what could be an entertaining contest.
In a Heavyweight bout unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhilei Zhang (19-0, 15) will face off with American Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13) in what will be Zhang's first defense of the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. At the age of 35 Zhang can ill afford bouts at this level if he wants to move on to fighting for a world title. In theory this will help with his WBO ranking but little else. The 36 year old Hayenesworth does have power, and could be a risk if he can connect on Zhang, but has lost to the only notable name he's face, losing in 3 rounds to Bryant Jennings. We expect Zhang to win, but we don't really know why he's wasting his time with bouts against the likes of Haynesworth.
We are also getting a show from Japan, which doesn't look much on paper but is actually the second set of East Japan Rookie of the Year semi finals. The winners will face the winners from the bouts on Thursday. Given the fact there will be 10 bouts on this card we'll only take a snapshot and look at a few of the more interesting looking contests.
The Minimumweight bout here will see Masatora Okada (4-2, 2) face off with Shunsuke Isa (6-1, 1). Neither of these two are unbeaten but they do look well matched and we expect this to be 4 rounds of competitive action. Of the two men Okada is the older man, at 24, and is arguably the naturally trickier given he's a southpaw. However he has only won a single bout out of his last 3. Isa is 20 years old and has bounced back from his sole, to the 2017 East Japan Rookie of the Year, with a couple of decision wins. This could be very interesting and very competitive.
At Super Featherweight we see 21 year old's clash with Keita Hayashi (4-3, 3) facing off with Yusaku Sekishima (5-1, 3). Through his 7 fight career Hayashi has been a “stop or be stopped” fighter, with only 1 of his bouts going the distance. Whilst he can hit he can also be hurt. As for Sekishima he has been on a roll, and strung together 5 straight wins after a loss on debut. The form is certainly on Skeishima's side, but Hayashi's power could be the game changer.
At Welterweight the hard hitting Tetsuya Yoshimura (4-2-1, 3) will face off with the unbeaten Kojiro Nishikawa (3-0, 1). As with the aforementioned Hayashi we tend to see Yoshimura either stopping his foes, or scoring a stoppage, with only 2 of his 7 bouts going the distance. Saying that however it was his last 2 bouts that both went the schedule. At 30 years old Nishikawa will likely see the 2018 Rookie of the Year as the way to put himself on the map and will not be wanting to get this far for nothing.
East Jakarta, Indonesia
Another small show till take place in Indonesia, with Martin Daniel promoting the card.
The main event will see Andika Sabu (14-0, 7), also known as Andika D'Golden Boy, risk his unbeaten record against Melianus Mirin (9-5, 6). On paper this is a mismatch between the two Indonesian youngsters, but the realities is that Sabu isn't that proven and is actually the man stepping up in class here. Mirin has suffered his last couple of losses against talented Thai's and he certainly has the skills to give Sabu a test here.
On the under card Rivo Kundimang (5-0, 1) and Jufri Kakahure (1-0, 1) will be in action, as they both look at advance their career. Both will be facing local foes and looking to take a big step forward, towards bigger and better fights.
After a huge Friday for Japanese fight fans we get an interesting card on Saturday with interest for fans across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day is a huge one for Filipino fight fans, as IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) defends his title against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan (14-3, 0). This all-Filipino bout will the first all-Filipino world title bout in over 90 years and will see the winner really get a chance to become a big name back home, as well as solidifying themselves as one of the top Super Flyweights on the planet. Unfortunately it would seem likely that both are likely to miss out on the HBO “Superfly” series of shows, but if the winner can unify with WBA champion Kal Yafai that may not be too much of a problem in the short term.
For Mongolian fans attention should be shifted to Mississippi as unbeaten prospect Tugstsogt Nyambayar (9-0, 8) takes a huge step up to face off with former interim world champion Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17). The Mongolian hopeful was taken the distance for the first time in his last bout, and was dropped in that bout by Harmonito Dela Torre, but has looked capable of going all the way and this upcoming bout should be the sort of bout he needs to get himself in to the title mix. Escandon is just 15 months removed from an excellent KO win over Robinson Castellanos, but has lost his only bout since then, being stopped by Gary Russel Jr, and should really be 1-3 in his last 4, dating back over 3 years. This is a decent step up, but one that Nyambayar should manage without too many issues.
In Canada fans will be able to see hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (12-0-0-2, 10) battle against Argentinian Jonathan Jose Eniz (20-9-1-1, 7) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight title. The talented Kazakh does look like a very promising fighter but does need a genuine test after having had his way in many of his bouts so far. Given that Enil has been stopped only once, way back in 2015 by German Argentino Benitez, we're expecting him to be a real test for the Kazakh who may well need to show his skills as well as his power.
As for Japanese fans they can look a little bit closer to home thanks to a low key card in Osaka. The card is a pretty weak one but is headlined by former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (35-15-1, 9), who takes on a Thai we believe will be Mongkol Kamsommat (6-3, 5). This should be an easy win for Horikawa who fights in bis 52nd professional bout, which would see him become the outright number one for the most fights of any currently active Japanese fighter.
The Super Flyweight division is widely regarded as one of the best in the sport, even with Naoya Inoue leaving the division to make a mark at Bantamweight. Sadly though the division is a frustrating one with a number of fighters making themselves unavailable for big fights.
One such fighter is IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1, 19), who signed with Top Rank in late 2017 and froze himself out of fights against the likes of Inoue and the fighters who are currently tied to HBO. As a result of being frozen out of specific fights we won't see Ancajas in with a notable name, and instead he will be kicking off his 2018 with an IBF world title defense against Israel Gonzalez (21-1, 8). The talented Ancajas had an excellent 2017, Going 3-0 (3) for the year and beating the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teiru Kinoshita and Jamie Conlan and will be looking to continue his great momentum here. Sadly though Gonzalez, who the IBF miraculously ranked #10, feels like a huge step backwards, with the Mexican challenger really doing little to show he belongs at this level. The bout has been put together as a showcase for Ancajas on US TV and should be a real chance to shine for the Filipino, who will hopefully get better competition later in the year.
At the Korakuen Hall we see the first of this year's Champion Carnival bouts, as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (16-1, 10) defends his title against Ken Osato (13-1-1, 4). The bout will be Sueyoshi's first defense of the title, which he won last October with a decision over Ribo Takahata whilst Osato will be having his first title bout. In 2017 we saw Sueyoshi have a great year, going 3-0 (2) but left questions to be asked with some of his performances and he will look to answer them here. Osato had a great 2017 himself, going 3-0 (1) with notable wins Sho Nagata and Satoru Sugita, with the Sugita win earning Osato a shot at the title. This should be a very skilled bout, with both men being very talented, and a very evenly matched bout, between two top domestic fighters.
In the chief support bout Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (12-2, 9) will face off with Thai visitor Najilek Sor Boonlieng (0-1). Coming into this Nagano is riding a 10 fight winning run, and is closing in on a title fight. Although not the greatest of fighters Nagano is a big puncher and should have significant size over the Thai, who will be lucky to last more than 3 rounds.
A second supportig bout of note will see unbeaten hopeful Haruaki Kamiya (7-0, 3) take on win-less Thai Chatchai Phonlemueangdee (0-3). Kamiya has had a real slow burn of a career, fighting only 4 times since the end of 2014, but if he gets sorted he could go quite far. Sadly bouts like this won't help him develop or move towards the bigger bouts than his early promises suggested he could end up having. As for the Thai he has been stopped in all 3 of his defeats.
In the Thai capital fans will be able to see Chinese puncher Pui Yu Lim (5-0, 5) take on Indonesian journeyman Ramadhan Weriuw (17-9-1, 15) in a bout for the WBC Interim Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title. On paper this is a step backwards for Lim, who has already scored wins over better fights than Weriuw, but with 5 fights last year Lim is a busy fighter and could use this interim title to help secure more meaningful bouts down the line.
This coming Saturday is a genuine brilliant day for fight fans who follow the Asia fight scene, with a couple of world title bouts, along side a number of other interesting contests.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The biggest fight of the weekend for Asian fight fans takes places in Belfast and will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18) make his third defense of the title, as he takes on unbeaten challenger Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11). In some ways Ancajas is the forgotten man at 115lbs, a talented and beautiful to watch pure boxer, but a man who lacks the star power of Naoya Inoue, the hype of Kal Yafai and the power of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Although over-looked by many he's going to be looking to make a mark here. As for Conlan he's a man who really can't help but be involved in thrilling contests, no matter who he's against. The bout will be a massive step up for the unbeaten man, but he's almost certain to put on a show, win or lose.
Incheon, South Korea
Another world title fight takes place in Korea and will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) seek her next defense, as she faces off with Mexican challenger Jessica Gonzalez (7-3-2-3, 1). Choi is Korea's only world champion,and is one of the few beacons of success for Korean boxing, but has lacked suitable competition in recent fights and hasn't really been able to show her skills. Gonzalez is a decent enough foe, but falls much into the same categories as Choi's other recent foes, in being limited and lacking the skills, and likely desire, to let the champion shine.
In a minor title bout we'll see Korean local Hye Soo Park (4-7-1, 1) take on the unbeaten Hei Tao Zhang (2-0, 1) for the WBF Intercontinental Light Flyweight. The match up is an interesting one, though nothing too remarkable, with the most interesting thing being the step up for the unbeaten 19 year old Chinese hopeful.
Although there are a couple of world title fights featuring Asian fighters we dare suggest that the most interesting bout to feature an Asian is actually a non-title fight, between two unbeaten Asian fighters. The fight in question will see the very highly regarded Mongolian talent Tugstsogt Nyambayar (8-0, 8) taking on Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-0, 12). The winner of this will push themselves well on the way to a world title fight, in the often over-looked Super Bantamweight division, whilst the winner will have to rebuild their careers.
Da Lian, China
In China we get a small card, with a main event that promises explosive action.
That main event is a WBO Youth Super Middleweight title bout, between China's Wuzhati Nuerlang (8-1, 8) and Ghana's Iddrisa Amadu (9-1, 9). With 17 stoppage wins in a combined 19 fights we're expecting this to be a lot of fun, very exciting and very hard hitting.
Another bout of some note on this show will see the unbeaten Xiaolu Mu (8-0-1, 3) take on the once beaten Shidong Cai (5-1-1, 2). This should be an interesting contest even if it does lack any sort of international appeal.
New South Wales, Australia
Interestingly on we'll see the debuting Natalie Jenkinsen (0-0) take on Thai Siriwan Thongmanit (6-10-1), who is a former world title challenger and has twice been stopped by the aforementioned Hyun Mi Choi.
Attention turns to Australia this coming Sunday as Top Rank host a major card, headlined by one Filipino star, and acting as a potential show case for the another.
The main bout will see the iconic Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38) defending the WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten Australian challenger Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11). Although Pacquiao is coming to the end of his great career he is expected to still have too much for Horn, who is stepping up massively to face the “Pacman”. Although the bout does see Pacquiao defending his title the contest has lacked the big fight feel of most Pacquiao bouts and it certainly hasn't caught the attention of international fans, but is set to do big numbers in Australia where demand for the tickets has been high.
A second world title fight on this card will see talented Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1,17) defending his IBF Super Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8), who enters the bout as the mandatory challenger. Coming into this Ancajas will be seeking his second defense of the title that he won last year, when he upset McJoe Arroyo, and he will be hoping that an impressive win here opens the door to major bouts in the red hot Super Flyweight division. For Kinoshita the bout will see him making his international debut, and getting his second world title fight, following a loss to Zolani Tete. The bout is potentially a huge opportunity for the winner to move into divisional super fights but it a bout where the champion will be strongly favoured.
Also on this card is Filipino youngster Jonel Dapidran (8-1, 4), who will be making his international debut. The Filipino youngster will be looking to score his second successive win here as he takes on Australian local Brent Dames (5-3), who was beaten last time in a 10 rounder. This is a tough ask for Dapidran, but he has shown plenty of promise and will be coming in to this one with the hope of scoring a huge win on a card headlined by his older cousin Manny Pacquiao.
As well as the action in Australia there will also be a small card in China. The most notable bout on the card will see rising local puncher Pui Yu Lim (3-0, 3) battling against Indonesian foe Skak Max (8-14, 7). Although Lim is relatively unknown he has impressed so far, and last time out the confident Chinese fighter stopped Chaloemporn Singwancha in Thailand and will now be looking to continue his rise here. Max has never won outside of Indonesia and it's hard to see him winning here.
To begin the Chinese new year we get the first of two shows at the Cotai Arena in Macao, with the second set to be held on January 30th.
In the main event we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (25-1-1, 19) make his first defense as he takes on Mexican veteran Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (32-4, 19), who is best known for losing to Kazuto Ioka on a New Year's Eve show and to Milan Melindo the following year. For Ancajas it's a bout that should be an easy first defense,but in many ways it's also a chance for him to return to Macau, where he has fought twice before, earn some money following a paltry purse for his title win, and potentially move towards some bigger and better fights in 2017. For Rodriguez the bout is a huge opportunity to win a world title, but he'll be the clear under-dog for the bout, and it's hard to see what he has to really test Ancajas.
In a supporting bout we see unbeaten Heavyweights collide as Frenchman Raphael Tronche (8-0, 4) takes on touted Romanian Bogdan Dinu (16-0, 12) for the IBF Inter-Continental Heavyweight title. Although not a star Dinu has the potential to become a force on the Heavyweight scene and a win here could see the talented Romanian move into the IBF world rankings and give his career a huge shot in the arm. Troche is a real unknown and this will be a huge step up for him, and his first fight above the French domestic scene.
Another supporting Heavyweight bout will see Carlos Takam (33-3-1, 25) face off with Marcin Rekowski (17-4, 4) in what should be a straight forward win for the under-rated Frenchman. The 39 Rekowski has lost 3 of his last 4 and although he holds wins over Danny Williams and Oliver McCall both of those wins came against fighters well beyond their best.
Metro Manila, Philippines
There will also be a show in the Philippines, although a small card it does have some people of note on it.
The most notable fighter on the card is Argie Toquero (11-5-2, 8), who is looking to secure his third win since his controversial 2016 loss to Rikki Naito in Kanagawa. In the opposite corner to Toquero will be veteran Danilo Pena (27-26-4, 11). Although Toquero is is far from a world class prospect he is a handful and should easily see off Pena.
In a supporting bout Jonel Dapidran (7-1, 4) will be looking to bounce back from his first professional loss. Dapidran will be up against Jesson Inso (9-6-1, 3) and should be strongly favoured here, despite the 19 year old being beaten last time our by the unheralded Richard Morales back in October.
Another once beaten teenager on this show is Cris Ocano (7-1-1, 5), who will be taking on the limited Roy Lagrada (3-14-1, 3) in a 6 rounder. Ocano should be more than good enough to over-come Lagrada, who has lost his last 8 in a row.
The growth of Indian boxing continues this coming Sunday as we get a show in Imphal.
In the main event fans will see the unbeaten Siddharth Ravindra Varma (3-0) battle with the debuting Jaganathan (0-0). The rest of the card sees local debutants taking on limited visitors, but shows the clear growth behind Indian boxing as we go forward.
The most notable bout of the day, at least in Asian circles, sees once beaten Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (24-1-1, 16) getting his long await world title shot against the unbeaten IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8). Arroyo won the title in 2015, taking a debatable decision over Filipino Arthur Villanueva in a very forgettable bout, but has been inactive since with hand issues. For Ancajas, who has been waiting for his shot, this has been a long wait and he'll be raring to go at the man who has pretty much froze his career for 6 months.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the Ancajas/Arroyo bout we have more action in the Philippines with a showcase card in Metro Manila.
One of the being show cased is the unbeaten, third generation fighter, Dave Penalosa (11-0, 8) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against the limited Edison Berwela (13-34-8, 3) in what should be a straight forward win for the grandson of Carl Penalosa, and the son of Dodie Boy Penalosa.
Staying with the Penalosa dynasty we'll also see Carlo Caesar Penalosa (5-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line against the limited and light hitting Ernie Mino Jr (4-6-2). Like the bout with Dave Penalosa we're next expecting any surprises here.
Thankfully the card does have some interesting match ups as well as the show cases. One of those will see once beaten puncher Jeric Potaso (2-1, 2) battle the unbeaten KJ Natuplag (2-0, 2) in a bout that shouldn't be expected to go the distance. Another sees the unbeaten pairing of Claudevan Sese (3-0-2, 1) and John Lawrence Ordonio (4-0-1, 3) face off in arguably the best matched bout of the card.
May 30th-Kosei Tanaka and Melindo go for gold, Pinoy's get domestic show and even India get in on the action!
This Saturday is one of the busiest and possibly most memorable days this year for boxing fans around the globe. For us it's a day that feature two major world title bouts and a lot, lot more besides.
The big show of the day, for us at least, comes from Japan where an impressive record is under threat and we may well be able to crown the next Japanese sensation.
That potential sensation is the incredibly talented 19 year Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) who looks to claim the WBO Minimumweight title in just his 5th professional bout. In the opposite corner to Tanaka will be once beaten Mexican fighter Julian Yedras (24-1, 13), a decent contender though a man who is seen as being “up against it” here against a potential superstar in the making. Tanaka has been nothing but sensational thus far into his career and a win here would see him setting a Japanese national record for fewest bouts to a world title. A loss would be a serious set back but given his age Tanaka would bounce back.
In the chief support bout fans will see unbeaten OPBF and Japanese ranked contender Yushi Tanaka (13-0-3, 9) battle against the brave but limited Mako Matsuyama (7-8-2, 3). Tanaka is slowly working towards a title bout and should come out on top here, though we're unsure just how good he is, or how good he could become. As for Matsuyama we'll never forget his amazingly brave effort against Rex Tso last year and we hope for a similarly exciting bout here, though we're next expecting one even near to the same level.
Another supporting bout will see the experienced Shota Hayashi (24-5-1, 15) battle against Yasuyuki Otagaki (5-3-3, 1) in what looks to be a stay busy fight for Hayashi, who hasn't fought this year. Hayashi is ranked by both the OPBF and JBC and this bout seems to be more about shaking off ring rust than anything else.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned this card is scheduled to feature 4 undercard bouts as well.
The second world title fight of the day involving and Asian fighter we'll see Milan Melindo (32-1, 12) challenge hard hitting IBF Light Flyweight champion Javier Mendoza (23-2-1, 19). This is a really tough test for Melindo though he has been up against it in the past and managed to acquit himself well in his only other bout at this level, losing a competitive decision to Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. For Mendoza this will be the first defense of the title that he won last year, in a really engaging brawl with Ramon Garcia Hirales, and he won't be wanting to give that title up. We really expect that this one could be something a little bit special
Staying in Mexico fans will see Filipino fighter Vergel Nebran (13-8-1, 8) take on former world champion Cristian Mijares (51-8-2, 25). Mijares, once one of the best pure boxers on the planet, is several years removed from his best however he should still be too good, too quick and too skilled for the 25 year old Filipino who has gone 3-5 in his last 8 and is 0-5 outside of the Philippines.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
Having mentioned a few Filipinos in international action it makes sense to look at what's going on in the Philippines with an interesting looking card coming from General Santos City.
The main event here will see Adones Cabalquinto (19-0, 12) defend his Filipino national title against Jonel Gadapan (9-7-2, 5) in what appears to be a complete mismatch in favour of the champion. We do like Cabalquinto but really cannot understand why he's still toiling around at this level rather than being pushed upwards and onwards towards an OPBF title fight.
Another notable fighter in action here will be the sensationally talented Jerwin Ancajas (22-1-1, 14) who is fighting a stay busy fight against Juan Purisima (11-7-1, 4). Ancjas has looked brilliant recently and we're hoping to see him fighting at a higher level than this shortly though he has been out of the ring since last November, when he blitzed Fadhili Majiha in Macau. Hopefully a quick win here will allow the “Pretty Boy” to return to action sooner rather than later.
Another fighter on this show who has been showcased in Macau is Aston Palicte (17-1, 15). The heavy handed Palicte made an impressive statement when he stopped Ismael Garnica and will be hunting his 8th straight stoppage here as he battles Michael Escobia (10-9-1, 2). Interestingly Escobia has gone the distance with some good fighters, including Froilan Saludar and Masaaki Serie, though he has been stopped thrice.
One final name of note on this show will be Drian Francisco (27-2-1, 21) who will be in a genuinely interesting looking match up against Jason Canoy (23-5-2, 17). On paper this is, easily, the stand out bout and although Francisco is more experienced, at least at a higher level, we're not expecting him to just have a walk in the park here. Brilliant match up.
Dongducheon, South Korea
There is also a card in South Korea, sanctioned by the KBC.
This card is certainly not a big one and only features novices though it may still be an interesting card.
From what we understand there is no notable name in action as much of the card is focused on debutants. Despite that there should be some good action, including a Welterweight bout between Woo Min Kim (1-0) and Won Suk Lee (0-0-1) who are both risking their unbeaten records.
New Dehli, India
The most peculiar card of the day comes from New Dehli in India as Brazilian promoter Mike Miranda puts on what is believes to be the first professional boxing show in India since 1952.
The card, despite it's historic status, is a weak looking one with the main event being a 12 round bout between Neeraj Goyat (2-2-2) and Nelson Gulpe (8-4, 3) for the lightly regarded WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title. We're not sure what either fighter has done to deserve a title fight but the belt does add some allure to the card.
The only other notable fighter in action here is Gurlal Singh (6-0, 6) who fights against Vikas Hooda (0-0). Singh has been based in Thailand fighting under the guidance of South Korean promoter Andy Kim and he'll be hoping to carry on his run in the country of his birth.
In Texas fans will see Filipino veteran Juanito Rubillar (49-22-7, 24) battle against former world champion Joseph Agbeko (29-5, 22). The 38 year old Rubillar has seen much better days, in fact he's not fought in more than 18 months and not scored a win in more than 2 years, in fact you need to go back to 2009 to find his second most win. Agbeko might not have scored a win in 2 years but he's a world class fighter and should over-come his Filipino foe.
Another bout in the US will see Kyrgyzstan's Timur Shailezov (17-9-1, 4) battle against the unbeaten Nate Green (7-0, 2) in a tough looking 6 round for the 35 year old from Bishek. Shailezov has won just 1 of his last 8 and we're not expecting him to pick up the win here, though he has scored an occasional upset in the past.
In Australia fans will see Filipino journeyman Fernando Ocon (13-8-1, 5) battle against Jason Cooper (13-2-1, 7) in a contest for the WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. It's a tough ask to see Ocon coming back with the win here but it's a good opportunity for the well traveled Filipino.
(Image courtesy of Kosei Tanaka's blog)
We have two shows this Sunday, local time, in Asia with one of those boxing a huge, monster show with one of the biggest names in the sport.
The biggest show of the day for almost every boxing fan is in Macau where Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions returns for another huge show with some of the biggest names in Asian boxing and some genuinely compelling match ups.
The main event, as is often the case, is the main talking point as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38) risks his WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten American Chris Algieri (20-0, 8). For Pacquiao this will be the first defence of the title he regained when he defeated Timothy Bradley earleir this year, following a highly controversial loss to Bradley in 2012. As for Algieri this is a chance to continue an unlikely rise to stardom which is all the more shocking considering his lack of power. Pacquiao is of course one of the biggest names in world boxing and he is strongly favoured to retain his belt here though will need to over-come a notable size disadvantage to defeat the gutsy Algieri who really shocked many when he defeated Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year.
In a second world title bout fans will see Thailand's experienced Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33) attempt to claim the WBO Featherweight title from former amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1). Lomachenko will be defending the belt he won earlier this year when he defeated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr and we suspect the talented Ukrainian will just have too much of everything for the experienced but limited Thai, who is of course best known for his loss to Chris John in his only previous world title bout. On paper this looks like a very odd contest given the huge gulf in professional experience but in reality the gulf in in skills and not experience.
A third world title bout on this show will see the controversial Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9) defending his WBA Light Welterweight title against former Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23). Vargas always appears to get the rub of the green in close fights and we wouldn't be shocked if he did the same here however this will be his first bout outside of the US and DeMarco is as gutsy as they come, as seen memorably in his bouts with Edwin Valero and Jorge Linares. This could be the most competitive contest on the show even if there is no Asian involved in the bout.
Yet another 12 rounder on this show will pit unbeaten fighters together as China's former amateur sensation-turn professional hopeful Zou Shiming (5-0, 1) risks his perfect record against Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (27-0-2, 12). On paper this is one of the most compelling bouts on the show though we do suspect that Shiming will end up having a relatively easy time with his Thai opponent. Kwanpichit is world ranked by 3 of the big 4 organisations however we are in the "he's lucky to be unbeaten" camp having seen him narrowly escape an opening round defeat to Ben Mananquil in 2013 in a bout that could so easily have been stopped, and having narrowly taken a decision over the limited Jay-Ar Estremos earlier this year. Shiming might not be as good as advertised but he really should have more than enough to see off Kwanpichit who has feasted on smaller and less experienced men throughout his career so far. This is a must win for Shiming but if he loses then he isn't going to be good enough to ever win a world title.
On the under-card we have 4 bouts that we rather like the look of, for one reason or another. One of those will see the exciting Jerwin Ancajas (21-1-1, 13) take on the tough Fadhili Majiha (15-5-4, 7) in an 8 round bout. Ancajas impressed on his Macau debut s he blew away Inthanon Sithchamuang however he'll be expecting a much, much more competitive contest here with Majiha having proven his toughness in recent decison losses to Marlon Tapes and Pungluang Sor Singyu with the Punglunag bout being a surprisingly competitive one. In another under-card bout the always entertaining Rex Tso (14-0, 9) battles late fill in Espinos Sabu (11-2-1, 5) who has taken the fight on short notice after Kenta Okumura was forced to pull out with a hand injury. Tso is one of the sports more exciting fighters but unfortunately the popular Hong Kong fighter is somewhat limited and we suspect that he will find his level sooner rather than later. With that said, the tough Sabu is unlikely to be the one who does take the unbeaten record of Tso. It wouldn't be the biggest upset of the year if Sabu won but it would be somewhat a shock.
In 6 round action fans will see Chinese Light Heavyweight hopeful Qu Peng (6-0-1, 4) fight against Andrew Robinson (3-2, 2) in what looks like a step up for Peng. Also in another 6 rounder is the popular Kuok Kun Ng (5-0, 2) who faces fellow unbeaten Steve Attard (5-0-2, 2). We'll admit we like Ng, a lot, and view him as potentially the best of the emerging Chinese novices and if he's as good as we think he should come out on top here.
Their is only one show in Japan this Sunday as Hatanaka put on one of their “Soul Fighting” cards which will be shown, at some point, on CBC TV in Japan, which we've been informed is a regional channel so fans likely won't be able to find this one available for streams.
The main event here is a WBC Youth Bantamweight title bout as the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (12-0-3, 8) looks to make the third defense of his belt. Unfortunately for fans, and Tanaka, this defense looks like a mismatch as the promising Japanese youngster battles against Indonesian visitor Rendi Stone (3-2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge step backwards for Tanaka following recent wins over Vergel Nebran and John Bajawa. Whilst Stone does enter this bout on a trio of wins we do wonder several things about him, including what his complete record looks like as we have real doubts that he is “only” 3-2-1 (2) considering his career began back in 2006.
In the chief support bout Shota Hayashi (23-5-1, 15), the #7 ranked Japanese Featherweight, will be fighting against experienced but limited Indonesian fighter Jason Butar Butar (16-14-1, 12). Hayashi will enter this bout on a 9 fight unbeaten streak, including 4 successive stoppages, and will know that if he can continue running up wins he can move towards a title fight of some kind. Butar Butar may be a recognisable name for some fans who may remember his loss, in Macau, to Harmonito Dela Torre, and sadly for the Indonesian fighter he is better known for his losses than his wins and is 0-8-1 on the road.
In Yemen we see a collision of unbeaten fighters as Muhammad Harazi (4-0, 1) battles against Hasan Dhubaibi (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Yemeni Minimumweight Title. The title will be defended by the 16 year old Harazi who won the belt with a 12 round decision ove Ali Rafik in October and it would seem plausible that the winner here will be looking for a big domestic show down with Ali Raymi.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)