The biggest show this coming Saturday comes from Gifu where we'll be getting a highly anticipated WBO Flyweight world title fight as well as bouts featuring a number of notable Japanese fighters, including 2 promising prospects and a former national title challenger. For fans outside of Japan wanting to watch this show it will be streamed live on our homepage!
The main event of the card will see WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) make his first defense. The champion, who won the title in the 2018 Fight of the Year against Sho Kimura, will be up against former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12). These two had sought to fight when both were campaigning at Light Flyweight, though injuries to Tanaka scuppered those plans. Since then both have moved up and we're now really looking forward to what could be a 2019 Fight of the Year contender. Our full preview of this bout can be read here "The Fate hangs in the balance Kosei Tanaka and Ryoichi Taguchi face off!"
The chief support bout will see unbeaten youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) making his first defense of the WBC Youth Flyweight title, as he takes on Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). This will be Hatanaka's first defense of the title, and the expectation on "Prince" Hatanaka is huge given his performances so far and the success of his father, a former world champion. The Thai has won his last 5 bouts and is riding some momentum, but did lose in his only previous bout in Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017.
Another Japan Vs Thailand bout will see the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) take on a Thai opponent. Mizuno will be looking to move through the rankings this year on to bigger and better fights and is currently riding an 8 fight winning run, including notable domestic wins over Noboru Osato and Yuki Iriguchi. He will be expecting to extend that winning run here.
Former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) will be taking on Chinese foe Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2) in what looks like a straight forward bout for the Japanese fighter, despite the fact he has been out of the ring since September 2017. Tanaka, no relation to Kosei, is a talented fighter who's losses have come to Kentaro Masuda and Ryo Akaho, and this looks like a bout to ease him back into things before bigger bouts down the line. For Yu this will be his first bout since getting a gift draw in December against Yuya Nakamura, in an entertaining bout, but one he seemed to clearly lose.
A second Japan Vs China bout will see the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) battle against Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), who was involved in a real thriller earlier this year with Korean Seong Yeong Yang. It's hard not to think this will be an all action fight, and it's a great step up in class for Takeshima, who will be taking on a foe expected to last a few rounds with him here.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a card in Indonesia, with a couple of UBO minor title bouts on it.
One of those title bouts will see veteran Roy Tua Manihuruk (19-19-2, 15) take on 42 year old Thai foe Vachayan Khamon (11-25-1, 4), aka Suor Carryboy, for the UBO Inter Continental Light Welterweight title. This isn't a mouth watering match up, but given the limitations of both fighters it should be somewhat interesting.
A second title bout will see Moensaku Yor (5-5-1, 3) take on Artid Bamrungauea (22-25, 20) for the UBO International Super Bantamweight title. Yor has lost his last 3 by stoppage, including an opening round blow out loss to Ari Agustian. The Thai is a 34 year old who has lost every bout against a notable name, and would need one of his career best performances to pick up a win here.
As well as the notable bouts in Asia there are also a couple of central Asian fighters in action in Canada.
Unbeaten Kazakh Batyrzhan Jukembayev (14-0-0-2, 12) has seemingly repaired bridges with his promoter and manager, after a public falling out, and will battle against Mexican fighter Carlos Jimenez (14-9-1, 8). Jimenez, and his manager, are said to have agreed terms to fight different opponents, with Jimenez being announced as fighting Daniyar Yeleussinov on March 15th before actually being confirmed for this bout a day later. Jimenez is a great opponent at this point for Jukembayev and should be the best out of the Kazakh.
The other Kazakh on this show is Nurzat Sabirov (8-0, 7), who takes on Argentinian journeyman Cesar Hernan Reynoso (15-11-4, 7). The 25 year old Sabirov impressed last year, scoring 4 wins including a notable one over Rocky Montoya in November. Big things are expected from Sabirov, though this is a step up, and Reynoso has been in with some notable names, including Callum Smith and Martin Fidel Rios. This should be a clear win for Sabirov, but we don't expect an early blow out.
Staying in North America we'll get the US debut of Azeri fighter Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11) who goes up against talented American teenager Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4). The American youngster is a real talent and we'd expect to see him becoming a star in the future. Sadly for Aghayev we don't see this ending well for him, despite the fact he is the more experienced and naturally bigger man.
Yet more action in North America for Asian fighters will see Kazakh Sagadat Rakhmankul (3-1, 1) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Nicklaus Flaz as he takes on Brandon Adams (4-7-1, 2). Although he lost last time out Rakhmankul is touted as a very solid prospect and it will be very interesting to see how he bounces back here.
There will also be a fight in Australia, as Filipino fighter Glenn Enterina (14-4-1, 9) takes on the unbeaten Jacob Ng (9-0, 7) in a bout for the IBF Youth Lightweight title. On paper Ng, an Australian fighter, should be favoured but Enterina has mixed with good company, with loses to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Mark Urvanov.
The first major show of the new year takes place in China this coming Saturday, and it really is a great show with several bouts of note, in what will see 4 different title bouts taking place.
The main event is a fantastic match up between unbeaten Chinese Flyweight Wenfeng Ge (11-0, 6) and once beaten Filipino Giemel Magramo (22-1, 18), who will be fighting for the WBO International Flyweight title, with Ge making his first defense of the tite. So far Ge has scored notable wins over Amnat Ruenroeng and Ivan Soriano, and looked solid, but at the age of 31 will know he can't afford a loss. Magramo on the other hand looks like a star in the making, and his sole defeat was a razor thin one in Korea to Muhammad Waseem. Since his loss Magramo has reeled off 5 stoppage wins and looks to be a fighter intent on making a statement. This really could be a brilliant way to break in the new year. A preview of this fantastic clash can be read here -Ge and Magramo look to begin year with mouth watering match up!
Another fantastic match up will see Chinese Light Flyweight Jing Xiang (15-4-2, 3) take on Thai veteran Kompayak Porpramook (59-6, 40) for the WBC silver Light Flyweight. The 28 year old Chinese fighter will be making his first defense of the title, which he last September when he defeated Merlito Sabillo, and he'll be looking to record an 8th straight win. Porpramook, best known for his wars with Adrian Hernandez and Koki Eto, is now 36, but showed he was still a capable fighter last year, when he defeated Pongsaklek Sithdabnij in the first of two bouts. The winner of this will be in the world title mix, but it's hard to see where the loser goes. A preview of this bout can be read here - Chinese novice Jing Xiang takes on Thai veteran Satorn
China's Jian Wang (7-1, 2) will be looking for his 6th straight win as he takes on Korean visitor Sung Young Yang (6-2-4, 3) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The Chinese fighter looks to be in good form on paper, but his competition during his winning run has been poor, and his only real win of note came back in November 2015, when he beat the then debuting Wulan Tuolehazi. Yang is a 22 year old Korean fighter who has won his last 4, and is unbeaten in his last 6, though like Wang he's untested and a win here would be the biggest of his career,
The other title bout on this card pits unbeaten men against each other, as local hopeful Xiang Li (3-0, 2) faces off with Filipino Ryan James Racaza (10-0, 6) in a contest for the WBO Oriental Youth Lightweight title. The local novice debuted back in November 2016 but hasn't been particularly active in a pro ring, avoiding the ring through 2017 and only fighting once on 2018. Despite the inactivity Li is regarded highly as a prospect and a win here would be huge proof of his ability. Racaza isn't one of the more well known prospects in the Philippines but the 22 year old southpaw has scarcely lost a round since his debut and has already stopped both Jayar Estremos and Junar Adante. Racaza looks like one to watch, and a win here, on his international debut, would be a potential statement of intent. Although neither man in this bout is well known, this is a very interesting match up.
In the Philippines we'll see the unbeaten Roy Nagulman (6-0-1, 4) battle against experienced journeyman Albert Alcoy (15-27-8, 5), in what should serve as little more than a record padding win for Nagulman, who is just 17 and really shouldn't be rushed. The 35 year old Alcoy has been stopped 16 times, and has just 1 win since the start of 2013, despite that he is actually a step up for Nagulman.