This Friday is set to be a relatively quiet one in the realms of Asian boxing, however there will be a relatively notable card in Singapore, with several fighters of interest being involved, several of whom meet in some really good match ups that deserve a lot more attention than they arelikely to get, sadly.
One of the most notable contest on this show will see local hopeful Muhamad Ridhwan (9-0, 7) battle under-rated Filipino Jeson Umbal (16-5, 11) for the vacant IBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title. The 30 year old local, known as “The Chosen Wan”, has impressed in recent fights,taking wins against the likes of Waldo Sabu, Fadhili Majiha and Nataneal Sebastian but this is a very big step up in class. Although Umbal's record might not look too impressive he is much better than the numbers suggest and is currently riding an 8 fight winning streak, including a win over Mark Anthony Geraldo. This really could be a very good match up, and promises a lot.
Another bout that promises a lot will see Filipino Michael Dasmarinas (27-2, 18) take on Frenchman Karim Guerfi (26-3-0-1, 8) for the lightly regarded International Boxing Organization World Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Dasmarinas is one of the many Filipino fighters who has been rising through the ranks without getting much attention from fans, but those in the sport are well away of his talent and he has been a sparring partner for the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka over the last few years. The Filipino is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak and is ranked by the WBC and WBO at Bantamweight. Guerfi on the other hand is enjoying his second reign as the European Bantamweight champion and is currently enjoying a 6 fight winning run, which includes notable wins over Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, Ryan Farag and Stephane Jamoye. The recent wins for Guerfi have put him into the WBC and IBF world rankings, and this essentially be a world title eliminator between these two talented, and under-rated fighters,
A third title bout will see Malaysian Muhammad Meeraj (6-2-1, 3) complete a trilogy with Chase Haley (5-2-1, 2) for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Heavyweight title. These two men fought back in May 2017 with Haley taking majority decision over Meeraj, in a bout that saw both men being dropped, a rematch in October resulted in a split decision draw and has left us with a third bout between the two men in just 11 months. Given the competitive nature of their first two bouts we won't complain much about this one, but do wonder if it's a case of the two fighting until Meeraj gets a win over his nemesis.
In a bout between unbeaten men, fans will see hard hitting Malaysian Keng Fai Hui (4-0, 4) take on Filipino born Singaporean Alexandrew David (4-0, 2) in what could be a very explosive fight. Hui has looked like a genuine puncher so far, needing just 9 rounds to defeat his first 4 opponents whilst David has notched a couple of opening round wins of his own. From the 8 combined wins of these fighters 4 have come in the first round, and 6 have come in the first 4.
One final bout of note will see John Hutchinson (12-2-3, 4) take on Indonesian veteran Larry Siwu (27-10, 23). Although relatively unknown Hutchinson, originally from Ireland, has been a bit of a boxing traveller fighting in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, the USA, Thailand, Australia and now Singapore. Siwu on the other hand has been fighting on the Asian scene through his career and has gone on to face some notable names in recent years, losing to the likes of Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Keita Obara and Sirimongkol Singwancha. This shouldn't be regarded in the same level of significance as the top bouts, but should still be a genuinely interesting fight, and one where Siwu has the edge in experience, but will be the naturally smaller man.
The most notable bout for Asian fight fans this Saturday is in Texas where we'll see a Filipino icon in action as Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24) returns to the ring for the first time since losing the WBO Super Bantamweight title to Jessie Magdaleno last November. The “Filipino Flash” has been training in Japan for his return, which sees him moving back up to Featherweight to face Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9) in a contest for the WBC Silver title. Although he has been inactive, and is 34, Donaire should have far too much for Hernandez.
In California there is another notable Filipino in action, as the heavy handed Romero Duno (14-1, 13) returns to the States for the first time since his break out win over Christian Gonzalez. The hard hitting Pinoy puncher will be up against Mexican veteran Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-13, 14). Duno should have too much fire power for his Mexican foe, who has been stopped 8 times, but Sanchez does appear to be than his record suggests and his last couple of losses, have been in competitive decisions against Rene Alvarado and Antonio Moran, both solid punchers.
More Asian fighters are in action in the US as a number of fighters from Central Asia fight on a card in Louisiana.
In the main event we'll see 21 year old Tajik hopeful Mekhrubon Sanginov (4-0, 3) take on American Cameron Burroughs (4-1-0-1, 3) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Sanginov has been a professional for just under a year but has impressed with 3 quick wins and a bizarre split decision in Poland where one judge appears to have been watching a different fight to everyone else. This should be a really interesting and looks to be very well matched, though neither man has has got many rounds under their belt, which could make this contest sloppy if it gets to the later rounds.
Also on this card are Balaussa Muzdiman (0-0), Iskander Kharsan (1-0, 1) and Ali Baloyev (1-0, 1) who will all be facing limited looking opposition as they look to take their next step in their professional journey.
Fight fans in Japan are set for a bit of a strange card with a trio of notable names, all taking on very weak opposition.
In the main event the always fun to watch Tatsuya Takahashi (26-7-5, 19) will be up against limited Thai visitor Chatphet Saithonggym (0-2) in what should be an easy win for Takahashi, following a technical decision loss to Jetro Pabustan earlier this year. Although Takahashi is a very fun to watch fighter it's unlikely this will be too exciting, with the bout likely designed to give Takahashi an easy win.
Another mismatch will see big punching Japanese Welterweight Yuki Beppu (15-0-1, 15) take on an unnamed Thai foe. This will be Beppu's second bout since drawing with Charles Bellamy back in January and we're expecting another early finish for the 26 year old banger.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see novice Tetsuya Watanabe (1-0), who is touted as once to watch, take on the always entertaining and charming Takuya Yamaguchi (3-8-2, 2). It's hard to imagine Yamaguchi winning, but he will throw leather with bad intentions and could well test Watanabe's resolve and chin in a potentially interesting contest.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
We get yet another Asian show with action in Malaysia, as we see FH Promotions give several fighters a chance to shine.
One of those looking to impress here is Azizbek Abdugofurov (7-0, 4), who was originally scheduled to face Ibrahim Tamba (21-8-1, 14) but is now listed as facing a TBA, presumably a late replacement for Tamba who appears to be out of the bout. Abdugofurov is regarded as one of the top Uzbek prospects and has quickly climbed into the top 25 on boxrec due to notable wins over the likes of Chaloemporn Singwancha, Sirimongkol Singwancha and Martin Fidel Rios. It's likely his bout here will just be a stay busy, but he really is one to watch.
Another unbeaten man looking to extend his record is local favourite Muhamad Farkhan (4-0, 4), who will want to shine in front of his loyal fans as he takes on Thai visitor Khundon Chaiyonggym (8-3, 8). It's fair to say that Farkhan will have all the fans behind him and should win, but this is a small step up for the local hero.
On paper one bout that does have promise will see Filipino fighters collide as Jeson Umbal (15-5, 10) takes on Jon Jon Estrada (10-3-1,9). For Umbal this bout will be his 4th in Malaysia, where he is 3-0 (1) and will see him look to continue his 7 fight winning run. As for Estrada this bout will be his first outside of the Philippines. Given his power Estrada is a real threat to the rise of Umbal and this could be a very exciting and hard hitting bout, which should thrill the fans.
Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be two shows, but the most notable is in Metro Manila.
In the main event of this card we'll see the talented pairing of Glenn Suminguit (19-3, 10) and Renoel Pael (21-6-1, 11) battle for the GAB Bantamweight title, with Suminguit looking for his firs defense of the title. Suminguit won the title a year ago, stopping Alvin Bais in 3 rounds for the vacant title, but has only fought once since then, losing in Super Bantamweight bout, and could well have some ring rust coming in to this one. As for Pael the bout will see is confidence being checked, with the once touted Leyte man being 2-5 in his last 7, and really struggling for form.
In supporting bouts we'll see the Elorde brothers take on two over-matched Indonesians. Juan Miguel Elorde (23-1, 12) will be up against Afrizal Tamboresi (11-6, 6), who has lost his last 4 and been stopped in his last 3 and Juan Martin Elorde (22-1-1, 9) will be up against veteran Arief Blader (23-24-2, 8), who has won 1 of his last 5. It's hard to imagine of the Elorde's losing here in what are really mismatches.
What could turn out to be an interesting contest is set to see Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4) take on the tough and under-rated Jayar Diama (7-11-7, 3). Although it looks one sided on paper it needs to be noted that Diama is much better than the numbers suggest and he could be a real handful for Berondo, who is best known for suffering a stoppage loss to the exceptional Hinata Maruta.
In a second Filipino show we'll see a card headlined by a bout between Roilo Golez (16-18-1, 7) and Diarh Gabutan (19-6-3,10). Coming in to this one Golez is totally out of form, losing 7 of his last 8 bouts by stoppage. Whilst Golez has mixed with some good company he's also suffered lossesto limited foes, like Geboi Mansalayao and it's fair hard to say that Gabutan should pick up the win here. Saying that however Golez' only win in his last 8 bouts, was actually a 5th round KO against Gabutan, who knows he cannot afford another loss, especially not to Golez.
Also in Asia there is a show in Singapore, featuring a number of fighters from across Asia.
In a high profile female bout local star Nurshahidah Roslie (6-1, 4) will take on Thai visitor Sriphrae Nongkipahuyuth (12-4-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female and OPBF Female Featherweight titles. This will give both fighters something to fight for, and we do expect them to have a proper fight here, but it's hard to imagine the visitor having the power needed to really test Roslie.
Another local in action is unbeaten Super Middleweight hopeful Rafi Majid (5-0, 5), who takes on Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (7-13-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Middleweight title. Majid has blitzed his first 5 opponents, in a combined 7 rounds, and will likely do the same here, against a naturally smaller man who has been stopped 9 times already n 23 fights.
Another fight where we'd expected to see someone beat an Indonesian is a contest that will feature Filipino fighter Jun Tapale (22-9-1, 8) battling Indon Rusmin Kie Raha (15-13-3, 3). Although Tapale isn's a huge puncher Raha has been stopped in 8 of his 13 losses and we could see a 9th here. Raha's best hope is to see out the final bell, but it's hard to imagine him really testing the Filipino.
This coming Saturday is far from a busy day in Asian rings, but we get some action in Japan and in Malaysia.
The Japanese action is from Osaka where we get a title bout, along with under-card bouts featuring a Japanese and an OPBF ranked fighter.
The main event will see OPBF Atomweight champion Masae Akitaya (11-6-2, 4) making her first defence of the title as she takes on fellow Japanese fighter Akari Arase (5-3, 1), in what really looks like a bit of a mismatch. Aged 39 Akitaya is a veteran of the sport but is a multi-time world title challenger and is a genuine talent, despite what her record suggests. Arase, aged 35 herself, on the other hand is a limited fighter who lost last time out, and lacks a win of any note. It's hard to see past Akitaya here but Arase could be the naturally bigger fighter and try to make advantage of that.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see Japanese ranked Yuta Maruoka (12-4, 6) take on a Thai foe in a bout at 140lbs. The bout is about keeping Maruoka busy before he gets a more significant bout down the line.
In another supporting bout the OPBF ranked Bantamweight contender Tetsu Araki (8-1-1, 1) facing off with fellow non-puncher Hiroshi Konoura (8-6, 1) in an 8 rounder, that probably will go the distance.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The other show, from Malaysia, isn't a particularly notable one either, though does feature two men of interest.
The most notable of those is Uzbek prospect Azizbek Abdugofurov (6-0, 4), who looks for his 4th win of the year as he takes on Tanzania's Ibrahim Tamba (20-8-1, 14). The Uzbek has impressed through his short career though likely knows he needs some more seasoning before stepping up to and will be hoping to rack up some rounds here. In saying that however we are expecting a stoppage win for Abdugofurov.
The other bout of interest will see in-form Filipino Jeson Umbal (14-5, 9) seek an 8th straight win, as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Arief Blader (23-23-2, 8). Umbal is now 18 months since his last loss and is rising though the ranks thanks to a number of solid wins and he should win this one with out any problems, though he did struggle last time out with the limited Fadhili Majiha.
Action returns to Singapore this coming Saturday with a number of interesting prospects back in action.
In the main event we'll see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (10-0, 7) take a huge step up in class as he takes on Zimbabwean fighter Charles Manyuchi (20-2-1, 12) for the WBC “silver” Welterweight title. For Abduqaxorov the bout is a massive step up but a win would secure him a place in the WBC rankings and move him towards a world title shot, as well as see him build on wins against the likes of Larry Siwu, Adones Cabalquinto and Romeo Jakosalem. For Manyuchi the bout sees him making his Asian debut, though he has scored notable wins in Burkina Fase, Italy and Russia. If Manyuchi retains his title it seems him building on last year's huge upset win over Dmitry Mikhaylenko and likely secures him a WBC title shot in the near future.
In a supporting bout Azizbek Abdugofurov (5-0, 4) will put his unbeaten record on the line against Martin Fidel Rios (21-10-4, 11). The unbeaten Abdugofurov was forced to go 12 rounds earlier this year against Sirimongkol Singwancha and proved his stamina in the process but still has a number of questions to answer in regard to his long term potential. For Rios the bout comes after an upset win over Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna and a very controversially and foul filled fight with Jamie Cox in the UK. A really interesting match up even though it may not look it on paper.
In an support bout we'll see in form Filipino Jeson Umbal (13-5, 9) battle against Fadhili Majiha (20-7-4, 9). Umbal really has been stringing together a nice run over the last 12 months, with 5 wins in the last year, and will be looking to notch another here as he looks to move onto the fringes of a world title fight. As for Majiha he returns to Asia for the first time since 2014, when he suffered 3 successive losses to world class fighters, losing to Marlon Tapales, Pungluang Sor Singyu and Jerwin Ancajas. A win for Umbal would see him joining that notable list of fighters.
Another notable bout on this card will see Indonesian fighter Daud Yordan (36-3-0-1, 24) take on Thai youngster Campee Phayom (11-2, 7). The talented, and fun to watch, Yordan is currently riding a 6 fight winning run and will be looking to extend that run as he looks to move towards another world title fight. He'll know that he is on the verge of a potential title shot, but can't let it slip from his grasp with a loss here. For Campee the bout sees him looking for a third successive win, and looking to build on a big upset win last year against Yoshimichi Matsumoto. Against Matsumoto we saw Campee prove that he can fight on the road and a win here would get him some serious attention.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Fight fans in Metro Manila are also set for a card with some notable action.
In a bout for the WBC International Minimumweight title we'll see the unbeaten Jay Loto (13-0-1) take on the tough Lito Dante (12-7-4, 7). On paper this looks like a clear win for the unbeaten man but the reality is that he's stepping up to face a much more battle hardened fighter, who will be looking to score an upset. This is much better than it looks on paper.
Also on this card will be Jonathan Taconing (23-3-1, 19) and Glenn Suminguit (19-2, 10), though neither of their opponents have been announced at the time of writing.
In Russia we'll see the unbeaten Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (5-0, 4), a Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter, taking on Denis Lashin (6-2, 2) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. The bout is a notable step up for Sulaymanbek uulu, who has never been in a bout scheduled for more than 6 rounds, and it should be a good test, though it's hard to know just how good Lashin is himself.
In Uganda we'll see Azeri Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Fabian Lyimo (18-6-2, 11) in a bout for the UBO Welterweight title. Strangely this will be Adygezalov's 4th successive bout in Uganda, and his 5th bout in Africa as looks to make a name for himself away from “home”.
Although Ohio,of all places, may seem strange for the most significant bout with an an Asian interest that's exactly what will happen this coming Saturday as Kazakh Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18) challenges WBA “Super” and IBO Bantamweight champion Rau'shee Warren (14-1-0-1, 4). For the heavy handed Zhakiyanov this is a huge step up in class, and amazingly his US debut as he adds yet another stamp to his passport. The Kazakh has fought through much of the world, but is still a relative unknown in America, where few of his fights have been televised. Warren, a former 3-time US Olympian, is the most talented fighter that Zhakiyanov will have faced and will be seeking his first defense of the title. On paper this is puncher vs skillster and it could turn out to be a very intriguing contest.
Another show of Asian interest takes place in Singapore, where we see several notable fighters in action.
When it comes to fast rising prospects few are rising quite as quickly as 24 year old Uzbek Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (4-0, 4), who looks to over-come a former 2-weight world champion in just his 5th professional bout. Not only is Abdogofurov taking on a former world champion, but a highly experienced one as he battles 39 year old Thai Sirimongkol Singwancha (91-2, 57), in what will be a defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title by the Uzbek. The Thai veteran, who has claimed world titles at Bantamweight and Super Featherweight, is well past his best but will be hoping to make the most of his experience here.
Another promising Uzbek on this card is the unbeaten Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (9-0, 6), who looks for win #10 as he takes on the more-than-credible Ukrainian Viktor Plotnykov (34-4, 16). Although Abduqaxorov isn't quite as touted as his countryman he's in relatively tough here and Plotnykov is an upset minded fighter who can be a banana skin, as we saw when he beat the once touted Denton Vassell in the UK. Although Plotnykov can be a banana skin he has lost 2 of his last 4 and, at 39, is well beyond his best. If Abduqaxorov wins, as expected, he will return in a few weeks time to face Charles Manyuchi for the WBC Silver Welterweight title, he will however have to make sure not to over-look the Ukrainian here.
In an all Filipino bout we'll see the in form Jeson Umbal (12-5, 8) seek a 5th straight win as he takes on the struggling Roman Canto (12-8-3, 7). Coming in to this Umbal has scored notable wins over Luis Bedolla Orozco and Mark Anthony Geraldo and he will know if he keeps this run going he could find himself fighting for titles in the near future. As for Canto things have been tough recently, and he has fallen from 8-0 (3) to 12-8-3 with real struggles over the last 4 years or so. A win for Canto would boost his career massively here, but this will be a very tough one for the “Hitman”.
The first Asian show of a new year takes place in Malaysia of all places. Although the card is in a bit of a boxing black spot it is actually set to be a very interesting card.
In a 12 round bout on the show fans will see an all Filipino bout as Jeson Umbal (11-5, 8) faces Gadwin Tubigon (14-12-2, 9). Umbal comes into this bout in the form of his career and has stopped his last 3 foes, including Mark Anthony Geraldo, and should be expecting another win here, especially given that that Tubigon has been stopped 7 times during his 28 bouts.
In a really interesting 10 rounder we'll see exciting Uzbek hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (3-0, 3) battle the highly experienced Aleksander Bajawa (41-2-4 14). The heavy handed Abdugofurov is a prospect on an incredible fast track and is expected to be in the ring against in February against former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha. Bajawa looks like a great test on paper but the reality is that the Indonesian is inactive and is unlikely to last long with the big punching Abdugofurov.
Another fast tracked Uzbek on this card is Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (8-0, 5), who will be up against former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-13-1, 10). The 23 year old Abduqaxorov is expected to fight in February and March if he over-comes Jakosalem here, however it's not a foregone conclusion with Jakosalem having enough power to potentially test the Uzbek. If Abduqaxorov has over-looked Jakosalem this could be a very tough night for the promising youngster.
Kazakh puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (11-0, 10) kicks off his year and takes on the massively experienced Elvin Perez (28-16-4, 19). This will be Eyubov's first bout since his controversial win over Karim Mayfield, and looks to be a huge step backwards, but given how fortunate he was to beat Mayfield this could be a chance to rebuild his confidence.