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.
This coming Tuesday is a pretty interesting day for fight fans in Asia, which a big show in Tokyo and a notable card in China. In total, across the two cards, there will be 6 title fights! And other notable fighters will also be in action.
For us the most notable card for the day is from the Korakuen Hall, where we'll be getting a Japanese title fight, an OPBF title fighter and several interesting fighters on the under-card.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (19-2, 7) defending his title against tough Filipino challenger Jheritz Chavez (8-2-2, 6), in what will be Naito's first defense. The Japanese fighter won the title this past January, when he stopped Jeffrey Arienza in 9 rounds, and he looked great in that performance. Despite having fought much of his career at 130lbs Naito looks to have filled out his frame well into a Light Welterweight and could well have a really good run at his new weight. As for Chavez he has proven his toughness, having gone the 10 round scheduled in his two losses to Vage Sarukhanyan and Hiroki Okada. Despite being tough he has looked slow in both of his losses and that will likely be the case again here, with Naito likely to be too quick for the challenger. Chavez has the power to hurt Naito, but we suspect Naito will fight on his toes and look to keep distance between the two men and score at range.
The second title on this fight will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) face off with Ryosuke Maruki (15-4-1, 10) for the vacant Japanese Light Middleweight title, which was vacated by Takeshi Inoue earlier this year. Shindo claimed the Japanese Welterweight title in his second shot at the title, beating Yasuhiro Okawa, but only held the title for 3 months before being stopped by Toshio Arikawa. Since then he has gone 2-0 (2) but not looked that impressive. As for Maruki this will be his second shot at the title, having come up short in a very competitive contest against Yuki Nonaka in 2016. Since then he has gone 3-0 (3) and looked very destructive. The bout really is a must win for both men, who can't really afford another loss at title level, and should be very exciting.
On the under-card fans will see the hard hitting Ryosuke Takami (11-2, 10) take on Filipino foe Junny Salogaol (13-13-4, 12) in a bout that should be very explosive. Takami, given his record, will be the big favourite but the visitor has certainly got a punchers shot, and is tough enough to give Takami some real questions here. Although Salogaol was stopped by Hiroaki Teshigawara last year he does tend to go the distance in his losses and suspect Takami will be tested here.
Interestingly another bout on this card will see the under-rated Ken Achiwa (11-13-5, 4) take on Japanese based Filipino Rey Orais (19-17-2, 5). Although his record is less than flattering Achiwa is actually a really decent domestic level fighter, who has scored draws against the likes of Tatsuya Takahashi and Joe Tanooka, and ran Suguru Muranaka very close last December. The bigger talking point however is that of Orais, who will be having his first fight in a decade. The Filipino is now a trainer at the Flame Yamagami gym and despite not fighting since March 2008, when he was stopped by Denkaosan Kaovichit, he is still only 33. Given that Orais is working as a trainer we suspect he will look in surprisingly good shape for this and could prove to be a very interesting match up.
Xi An, China
In China fans get a quadruple header of regional title fights.
One of the most interesting of those bouts pits unbeaten fighters against each other, as China's Baolin Kang (4-0) takes on Indonesian puncher Ari Agustian (5-0, 5) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Featherweight title. The 20 year old Kang made his debut back in October 2016 and despite never scoring a stoppage has looked pretty solid, whilst fighting mostly as a Lightweight. Agustian on the other hand has never fought outside of his homeland, though did score a notable domestic level win over Boido Simanjuntak back in November. The Indonesian fighter looks like a crude but very aggressive and hard hitting fighter. Although he has clearly been selected too lose he is a very under-dog here.
Another pretty interesting looking bout will see unbeaten Chinese fighter ZongLi He (3-0, 1) take on Filipino Diarh Gabutan (20-6-3, 11) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title. The Chinese 23 year old really hasn't shown too much through his career so far, defeating 3 domestic novices, but this is a monstrous step up in class against a well schooled and experienced Filipino visitor. Gabutan, who has got a poor record on the road with 1 win from 4 bouts outside of the Philippines, is better than his record suggests and we think he'll be too good, too experienced and simply know too much for Chinese youngster.
Another Chinese local who could find themselves up against it is 19 year old Li Ping Shi (2-2, 1), who battles against Korean Hyun Hee Kil (4-1, 1) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Female Flyweight title. The Chinese fighter won her first couple of fights, against limited Thai fighters, but has gone on to lose her most recent bouts, including one to Korean veteran Hee Jung Yuh and has no real form coming into this bout. Kil on the other hand lost her debut, but has won her last 4 and will feel like she's in great form her, despite having faced very limited opposition. Shi has a good chance here, but will be the slight under-dog.
One bout where the Chinese local will be favoured is a contest between the hard hitting Yiran Li (4-0, 4) and the out of form Filipino Joe Tejones (10-5, 6), for the WBC Youth World Featherweight title. The Chinese puncher, who will be defending the title for the first time, has looked very dangerous at the lower levels and will be looking to step up here. The Filipino has been going on a win-loss, win-loss run over the last few years, with a notable stoppage loss to Hinata Maruta. Tejones is a decent fighter at this type of level, but we suspect the Chinese fighter will shine here and take his best win to date.
The biggest fight for us this coming Saturday will see IBF Light Welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10) risk his title against the outstanding Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30), with Garcia looking to become a 4-weight champion. The American based Kazakh born champion won the title late last year following a competitive win over teak tough Japanese fighter Akihiro Kondo and will be looking to prove he's world class as he takes on Garcia. For Garcia the bout will see him looking to further prove himself as a pound for pound elite. On paper Garcia will be the heavily fancied man here,and the better pure boxer, but Lipinets is the naturally bigger and stronger fighter and could prove a tougher than expected test for Garcia.
Another world title bout will take place in Germany, with Tamao Ozawa (13-4, 5) taking on Raja Amasheh (20-1-1-1, 4) for the vacant WBO female Super Flyweight title. On paper the 35 year old Amasheh will be heavily favoured, given she has the home advantages and the much better record, though she has been out of the ring for almost a year and has just a single win in the last 24 months. For Ozawa the bout will be her second world title bout, following a loss to Su Yun Hong last year in a bout for the WBO Female Light Flyweight title. Despite losing to Hong Ozawa may feel more comfortable here, given she is naturally a Super Flyweight, and had to really boil down to make the Light Flyweight limit. This could be much better than it looks on paper.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Fans in Asia will also get the chance to see a small card in Metro Manila thanks to the promotional outfit of the legendary Gerry Penalosa.
The main event will feature the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (10-1, 3) battling against Tanzania's Adam Yahaya (18-2-1, 7) in a very good looking match up. Coming into this Penalosa has won his last 3 following a surprise defeat to Reymark Taday early last year. The visitor lost 2 of his first 5 bouts but has since gone 15-0-1. On paper that sounds impressive but Yahaya has fought some dire opposition and this is his toughest bout on paper, by some margin.
Another bout of note will see Malaysian prospect Muhamad Farkhan (5-0, 5) take on Indonesian veteran Jamed Jalarante (23-22-1, 11). The unbeaten Farkhan is arguably the most promising Malaysian fighter currently coming through the ranks, though how far he can go is yet to be seen. The 33 year old Jalarante was once a promising fighter, but over the last 8 years he has racked up losses, many by stoppage, and struggled to score any wins of note. Farkhan should win, and continue his rise, and hopefully he'll move on to a real test later this year.
Another unbeaten puncher on this card is teenager Dave Apolinario (5-0, 4), who looks to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the limited Dexter Dimaculangan (3-15-5, 1). Aged 19 Apolinario looks like one of the most exciting young Filipino fighters rising through the ranks, and whilst he is clearly some way from getting fights his rise is going to be a fun one to follow, and this will just be the next chapter in that rise.
Another Filipino card is set to take place in Laguna, with two title bouts.
One of those title bouts will see Jheritz Chavez (7-2-2, 5) take on a the hard hitting Reymond Yanong (9-3-1, 8) for the GAB title at 140lbs. This should be a really interesting test and will test Yanong's power against Chavez's toughness in what could be a very good contest for the fans in attendance, even if neither fighter is a world beater in the making.
The other title bout will see the once beaten Umi Ishikawa (5-1, 3) face off with local southpaw Norj Guro (9-7-1, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Female Minimumweight title. Neither of those fighters have looked that impressive but they should make for a compelling contest together, with neither really able to take another defeat at this stage, if they are wanting to go on to bigger and better things.
In Australia fight fans will get the chance to see Australian based Filipino veteran Jack Asis (38-20-5, 19) take on Rivan Cesaire (15-5-1, 3). The 34 year old Asis has been one of the feel good stories of the last 6 or 7 years, as he turned his record around from 21-19-4 to actually being in the world rankings. He has however suffered a couple of recent defeats which has lead him to fighting low key bouts, like this one. Cesair is himself an Australian based import, originally from Cameroon, and at 33 years old he will be looking to avoid another defeat, and scored his 5th straight win. This should be an interesting bout between two men who will both be hungry for the victory.
To end the month of June Kadoebi put on a pretty interesting looking card, with a number of notable names featuring on the card and a significant main event.
That main event will see two top Japanese domestic Welterweights clash as Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8) takes on Makoto Kawasaki (9-4-1, 2) for the interim Japanese title. Originally Sakamoto was supposed to face Japanese champion Toshio Arikawa earlier this year, but an injury to Arikawa forced that bout to be cancelled and instead Sakamoto got this bout, with the winner to face Arikawa when he returns to the ring.
The under-card here features a trio of former Japanese champions. The most notable of those is former 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (15-0, 11), who faces once beaten Filipino Jheritz Chavez (7-1-2, 5). Okada, once tipped as a genuine one to watch at 140lbs, hasn't impressed in recent bouts, however there is a feeling that he has mentally turned off, and gone stale against opponents he has been strongly favoured to beat. A win here would see him open the door to potential OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights. For Chavez the bout is his second outside of the Philippines, following a decision loss in Russia last year, since that loss he has scored two solid stoppages at domestic level and he comes into this one as a real threat.
Another of the former champions in action is former Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-5, 18), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since losing his title to Kazuhiro Nishitani in March. In the opposite corner to the heavy handed Tushciya will be feather fisted Shota Suito (11-6-1, 1),who is a very light puncher but a durable fighter who has gone the rounds with a number of notable domestic foes including Masaru Sueyoshi.
A third former domestic champion in action is former Welterweight king Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7), who lost the title last year to the aforementioned Arikawa. The lanky Shindo will be up against the out of form Ryota Itoyama (10-8-1, 5), who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5 and is more than 4 years removed from his last win! This should be a straight forward win for Shindo, but his confidence won't be great and he does need an easy one.
Also on this card is the professional debut of the touted Ryota Yamauchi (0-0). As an amateur he went 38-15 (14) and is tipped as a genuine prospect from the Kadoebi gym. Yamauchi will be up against a Thai foe here in what should be a mismatch
This coming Friday is an action packed day with a lot of Asian fighters in action.
The most notable action of the day for Asian fight fans comes from Japan where we get an OPBF title fight and two match ups pitting JBC ranked fighters against each other.
The OPBF title fight will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (27-2-3, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which was recently vacated by Shun Kubo. For Otake the bout will be his first for an OPBF title, though he did have a 2 year reign as the Japanese champion before his most notable bout to date, a loss to Scott Quigg in 2014. Since that loss he has won 5 in a row, though looked poor last time out against Alexander Espinoza. Gomera is a real unknown, with his sole loss coming to the talented Mark Anthony Geraldo and his best win being over tough journeyman Eduardo Mancito. Gomera might be getting this bout at the right time, but Otake will certainly be regarded as the favourite.
In a supporting bout we'll see Shusaku Fujinaka (15-6-2, 10) take on Moon Hyun Yun (17-4-3, 4) in a really mouth watering domestic encounter. Of the two men Fujinaka is the more well known, though that's down to his 7th round KO loss to Randall Bailey from back in 2015 than any wins that he has scored. Yun is a former Japanese title challenger and although he lacks power he has an exciting and will be looking to earn another title fight. This could end up being the fight of the show.
Another bout between Japanese ranked fighters comes at Middleweight where the heavy handed Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (6-2, 5) takes on former Japanese title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-7-1, 8). Coming in to this Hosokawa has won his last 4 bouts by stoppage and looks like a man who can carry his power up to at least domestic level. Akiyama has lost his last 3, but has mixed with good company and knows that this is step back down in class from what he has been up against. This could be a very solid fight even if neither man has an out standing record.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia there will also be a low profile card in Metro Manila. The card is a mostly forgettable one, though the main event will see the once beaten Jheritz Chavez (6-1-2, 4) battle against Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) for the GAB Light Welterweight title. Chavez will be the favourite and he has impressed in recent times, beating both Tatsuya Yanagi and Al Sabaupan in his last 3 bouts. Although the under-dog Gadapan is an upset minded fighter and he holds a recent win of his own over Nelson Tinampay, suggesting he won't be there to roll over, though he has been stopped in 6 of his 8 career losses.
In Moscow fans are in for a genuine treat as OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (17-2, 15) takes on Russian Aik Shakhnazaryan (19-2, 10) in a bout for the WBC International title. The heavy handed Rivera impressed last year when he dominated Shinya Iwabuchi for the title, and would go 3-0 (3) for the year scoring not only the win over Iwabuchi but also a solid win over Adones Cabalquinto. Coming in to this the Filipino is on an impressive 7-0 (7) run. The once touted Shakhnazaryan won his first 15 bouts but suffered back-to-back losses in 2015 and has been rebuilding with 4 stoppage wins, but this pormises to be a much tougher bout for the Russian than his last 4.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (33-3-3, 21) continue to carve out a career down under as he battles 21 year old Hungarian Zsigmond Vass (12-4, 2) in a bout for Amonsot's Interim WBA Oceania title at 140lbs. Coming in to this Vass has beaten nobody of note and been stopped in the opening round in his last 2 losses. Although not widely regarded as a top contender Amonsot is world ranked and has gone 15-0-2 (11) since his memorable war with Michael Katsidis.
Also on this card will be Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (24-21-1, 15), who will be expected to pick up another loss here as he takes on the exciting but limited Joel Brunker (30-2, 17). Whilst Brunker is limited Butar Butar is little more than a record padder on the international stage, and that is likely to be seen again here.
Staying in Australia we'll also see Thai novice Chaiyan Sakkoed (0-3) go for his first win as he takes on the debuting Timacoy Williams (0-0). With 3 straight losses we know Chaiyan is limited, and he's already been stopped in two of those defeats, with a third stoppage loss likely to come here.
For a third day running Japanese fans in Tokyo get some interesting action, and in fact it seems the pick of the bunch comes today with a pair of Japanese title fights, one of which has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
That FOTY contender will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (25-4, 13), one of the most fan-friendly fighters on the planet, battle former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (24-6-3, 14). The bout is expected to be a high action bout with both men being relatively light hitters with good engines and very respectable toughness. Between the two men they have had just a single stoppage loss, suffered by Kuroda against the world ranked Suguru Muranaka, and we're expecting something very exciting here.
The other title bout will see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (23-7, 12) face off against the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (16-0-3, 10), for the vacant Bantamweight crown. For Masuda this is a chance to reclaim the title he lost last year to Shohei Omori, and it's a chance that he will be slightly favoured to make the most of, whilst Tanaka is seriously stepping up in class. Although unbeaten, and the younger man, Tanaka does lack a notable win against a genuine Bantamweight and this really is a huge step up for him.
In a support bout fans will see a couple of Japanese ranked fighters. One of those is Hiroaki Teshigawara (10-1-2, 5), who will be risking his ranking against Kenichi Watanabe (7-2-1, 4), whilst the other will be the limited but dangerous Takuya Yamaguchi (10-9, 8), who risks his ranking against Ryuto Araya (8-4-1, 1).
In Australia fight fans will see popular Australian based Filipino Czar Amonsot (30-3-3, 18) battle in a 10 round bout, against Fijian Farzan Ali Jr (28-6-2, 19), who hasn't fought many notable name,s but was stopped in 2002 by Vic Darchinyan. This should be a straight forward win for Amonsot who is expected to be back in the ring in April.
Staying with Filipino's on the road the unbeaten Jheritz Chavez (5-0-2, 3) will be in Moscow where he's risking his unbeaten record and his WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight title. The 27 year old Chavez will be up against the once beaten Vage Sarukhanyan (12-1-1, 2),who is the interim title holder to Chavez's title. Given this bout is in Russia it's easy to favour the adopted local, originally from Armenia, but Sarukhanyan hans't really proven his quality as of yet and could well be upset by the visitor.