This coming Friday features 2 notable shows, one of which will end a saga that has dragged on for over 2 months with some frustrating moments and the other being a lesser notable, though perhaps more interesting, card.
After months of rescheduling we finally see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) face off with former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) in what will be their second bout. This was originally scheduled for early March, then late March then April and finally the end of May. It's a bout that we're looking forward to, given that Fukuhara gave Wanheng fits in their first bout, but are thoroughly annoyed by, due to all the scheduling changes. Wanheng, although still unbeaten, has looked more and more beatable in recent years but has found a way to maintain his winning run and title. Fukuhara on the other hand will likely know that he won't be getting too many more shots in the near future, and really needs to make the most of this. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Wanheng and Fukuhara battle again for WBC crown
As well as the world title show in Thailand we also have a compelling lesser card in Japan, where we get a number of faltering youngsters in action.
One of the most talented fighters on this card is the skilled but light punching Izuki Tomioka (5-2-1, 1), who gave Masayoshi Nakatani fits in an OPBF title bout. The talented Tomioka will be up against Filipino journeyman Marbon Bodiongan (15-8-2, 11), in what should be a straight forward win for Tomioka, who desperately needs a victory after going winless in his last 3. The Filipino does usually come to fight, but will struggle with the movement of Tomioka.
On the subject of someone who desperately needs a victory Kiyohei Endo (2-2, 2), a former talented amateur, cannot possibly have another defeat at this stage of his career, but he's in hard against Daiki Maniwa (7-3-1, 4). Endo was touted when he turned professional but was shocking stopped by Piyanut Sintao, in what could be classed as a fluke, and he hasn't lived up to his talent since. Whilst Endo needs a win, he may not get it here, and Maniwa, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, will be looking to save his own career in what is a must win for both men.
On paper the best of the bouts will see Jin Miura (10-3-1, 1) battle against the talented, and exciting, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14), who is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Ryoichi Tamura in a Japanese title fight. It's hard to see anything but a Nakagawa win, but this should be a fairly entertaining contest, as most Nakagawa bouts are.
One other bout of some note will see the light punching Ryo Narizuka (9-8-1) battle against Seiya Fujikita (12-4, 5), in what should be an interesting bout though one that isn't likely to be particularly explosive.
Misako gym put on their next show this coming Friday in what is a pretty weak card, with a very interesting main event, and only one under-card bout of real note.
The attractive main event will see the under-rated Noriaki Sato (5-4-1) take on former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (22-8-1, 15). On paper it's hard to get excited about this contest but for once the paper is really off. Sato is a very under-rated fighter, who holds notable wins over Valentine Hosokawa and Cristiano Aoqui. Sadly whilst Sato is under-rated he has lost his last 3, including back to back stoppage losses to Woo Min Won and Hayato Ono. The always fun to watch Aso hasn't fought since losing the Japanese title to Hosokawa last December, but he seems to have a lot more in the tank than Sato.
The only supporting bout of note will be a contest between domestic journeyman Takuya Yamaguchi (11-12, 9) and Japanese ranked Super Bantamweight Jin Miura (10-3, 1). Coming into this Miura has lost 2 of his last 3, but has mixed in good company against the likes of Mark Uranov and Takafumi Nakajima. Miura is talented but needs to re-find his groove and we suspect that's why he's been matched with Yamaguchi here. Yamaguchi is dangerous at this level, but he has lost 3 of his last 4 and we suspect his poor form will be why he's been selected here to fight Miura. It is worth noting Yamaguchi is a natural puncher, and he has been fighting at Featherweight, so he could be a surprising threat for Miura, if the ranked fighter has over-looked his upcoming opponent.
This coming Friday is a crazy day in the world of Asian boxing with a trio of Chinese cards, as well as a notable Japanese show. The bouts aren't likely to have much global attention, but they range from a really high profile debut, to a potentially thrilling war on the verges of world class.
For us the biggest show of the day is from Beijing, where we see a number of prospects in action, in bouts of varying quality.
One of the really good looking bouts will see Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (9-0-1, 6) defending his WBO “interim” Oriental Flyweight title against touted Indonesian puncher Iwan Zoda (14-2-1, 13). For the champion the bout will be his first defense of the title he won back in April, when he stopped Yiming Ma inside a round whilst Zoda will be looking to rebuild after a year that has seen hi suffer a stoppage to Robert Onggocan and a surprising draw with Ical Tobida. It's fair to say Zoda can ill afford a set back but Baldonado is on a role with a trio of first round blow outs.
Another really interesting contest will see Filipino prospect Mark Anthony Barriga (6-0, 1) take a huge step up to face former 2-time world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (33-6, 12) in a contest for the WBO International Minimumweight title. The 24 year old Barriga was a top Filipino prospect and it's clear his team view him as a special talent but this is a massive step up in class, and should tell us a lot about just how far Barriga could go. Samartlek, who is best known for losing in world title bouts to Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, does have a padded record, but is a very decent fight and will certainly not be afraid of Barriga's amateur background.
Another title bout featuring an unbeaten fighter on this show will see Jin Xiang Pan (7-0, 4) take on James MacDonald (8-1-1, 4) for the WBO Youth Super Featherweight title. On paper this bout doesn't have the appeal of the ones above, but it's a step up for both fighters and it should be very interesting to see where both men are going in their career.
Arguably the most notable title bout on the card, yet potentially the most one-sided, will see former Chinese amateur stand out Lu Bin (0-0) take on Thai foe Chatchai Or Benjamas (8-9, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight Title. Making his professional debut in a 10 rounder is clearly Bin and his team looking to make a statement and given his background in amateur boxing and the APB there is real star potential here. It should be noted that Chatchai isn't great, and was an early opponent for the likes of Yohei Tobe and KJ Cataraja, but Bin's willingness to fight for a title early is still a statement from his team.
One other bout of note from this show will see big punching Filipino Jayar Inson (13-1, 9) take on China's Yangcheng Jin (5-1-2, 1). This is likely to be a straight forward win for the visitor, but he is coming in to the bout on the back of a loss on the road in South Africa, and may be wearing the mental scars of that defeat.
Xi An, China
We get more title action in Xi An as novices Yiran Li (3-0, 3) and Super Top Singnamchai (2-0, 1) battle for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. Li made his professional debut back in April and has needed just 7 rounds to despatch his first 3 foes whilst the Thai visitor apparently debuted in 2012, and hasn't had a boxing contest in more than 5 years, making this a very perplexing contest on paper.
Staying in China just a little longer fans will get card in Jinan where the headline bout will see Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (23-12-2, 8) battle with local Aizi Aili (5-2-1, 2), in what could be a pretty solid match up between well matched fighters at different stages of their career.
As well as all the action in China there will also be a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, which will be available on the A-sign service.
The main event of the card is a potential war as former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (33-6-2, 21) takes on Richard Pumicpic (19-8-2, 6) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, essentially securing the winner a top 15 WBO ranking. Of the two men Amagasa is the more well known, given his bouts with Guillermo Rigondeaux and Josh Warrington, and will be favoured, however Pumicpic is no pushover and he has has pushed fighters like Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Yohei Tobe all really close in thrilling fights. We're expecting this fight to be the bout of the day.
In another good looking contest we'll see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (28-9-1, 12) take on Jin Miura (9-2, 1). Coming in to this Nakajima has a little bit of momentum, with 3 straight wins to put back to back losses behind him, whilst Miura comes in on the back of a narrow loss in Russia. This could be a highly skilled battle with both men looking to really boost their hopes of a potential domestic title bout.
One other fighter of note on this card is Naoki Mochizuki (11-2, 6), who will be facing off with a Thai visitor.
This coming Sunday is expected to be a really interesting day for fight fans with a number of show of interest, and some really notable fighters in action. Whilst it's not a huge day, it is certainly an interesting one, and one well worth making a mental note of as we move towards the weekend.
The show of the day comes from Russia where we get a host of Asian fighters making up the supporting cast of a card headlined by the always fun to watch Denis Lebedev.
The most notable bout on the card will see Russian fighter Dmitry Mikhaylenko (22-1, 10) battle against fast rising Uzbek contender Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (11-0, 8), with the Uzbek looking to make his first defense of the WBC Silver Welterweight title. On paper this is really the stand out bout of the day, and a real chance for the Uzbek to prove himself as a top contender, it is however a really tough test on Russian soil and he'll have to really be on the top of his game to shut down the “Mechanic”.
Another mouth watering bout sees former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (26-5-3, 18) face off with the unbeaten Pavel Malikov (11-0, 5). The Japanese fighter is best known for his bout with Takashi Uchiyama, in which he dropped Uchiyama late, and sine then he has struggled to really shine, going 7-2. He will however see this as a huge opportunity to get his career back on track. For Malikov the bout is his first against a former world title challenger, and is a huge step up for the 31 year old Russian.
In another Russia Vs Japan bout we'll see Mark Urvanov (10-1, 6) take on Jin Miura (9-1, 1), with the two men fighting for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Featherweight title. The bout looks great on paper, even if it's clear neither has lights out power. It's a huge test for both men and is the type of bout we love to see, with both men having something to gain and something to lose.
Another bout where both fighters will be fighting for a title will be a contest between unbeaten Tajik fighter Mukhammadkhuja Yaqubov (7-0, 4) and Japanese puncher Daiki Ichikawa (9-2, 7), who will face off for the WBO Lightweight title, currently held by Yaqubov. This is a real corker on paper and could be a coming out party for Ichikawa, who has stopped his last 3 and bounced back from a couple of defeats. Yaqubov has struggled himself, especially early in his career, and will need to prove himself here.
One final bout of note will see the unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev (4-0, 3) face off with Japanese fighter Mao Kawanishi (4-2, 1), in what looks likely to be a competitive 4 rounder.
The more notable of two Japanese cards comes from Osaka where we'll see a former Japanese title challenger headline and a former touted amateur make their debut.
Before we talk about the bouts which will take place we will just make a quick note that the card was supposed to be headlined by Juiki Tatsuyoshi (6-0, 4). Originally Tatsuyoshi was supposed to face off with Indonesian Jundullah M Fauzan (3-1), but the bout was cancelled just over a week before the contest due to Juiki suffering an injury. Sadly that injury has seen the card being pulled from the planned TV coverage that G+ was going to give the show.
The former Japanese title challenger on the card is former 2-time challenger Satoru Sugita (12-4-1, 7), who will now headline the card with a bout against Indonesian visitor Egy Rozten (5-15-2, 3). With losses in 2 of his last 3 we can't begrudge Sugita an easy bout, but it's a shame that the bout will now headline the card, because it's not a headline worthy contest.
In a supporting bout Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (4-1, 3) will look to bounce back from his first career loss as he battles Takashi Okura (5-5, 1). The 22 year old Tsutsumimoto has been out of action since suffering his sole loss, in March 2016, but looks to be back with some hunger for his first 6 rounder. Okura has also been out of the ring for more than a year, and will be the under-dog, but will be a hungry fighter here looking for a chance to make a name for himself.
The most intriguing bout on the card sees former amateur stand out Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (0-0), who really looked like a joy in some of his amateur contests, face off with Jio Alfriando (3-2, 2). In the unpaid ranks Tsutsumimoto went 24-3 and looked like a more accomplished fighter than his record suggests. He may not be in the mould of a super prospect, but he is certainly a highly capable young fighter, and the 19 year old is one to keep an eye out for.
A second show in Japan will take place in Chiba, with this card being a much smaller one
The first of two bouts of note on this card will see Yudai Tamagawa (9-8-1, 3) take on Ryuki Ishii (5-2, 4) in what looks like an intriguing bout, but nothing too mouth watering. Both of these fighters are southpaws and the bout should be competitive, but we do suspect that Ishii will be too good for Tamagawa.
A much more notable fight will see the unbeaten Fire Ikkyu (4-0, 3) take on Yoshiki Abe (5-5-3, 1) in a 6 rounder. Ikkyu will be fighting in his first 6 round bout and he should be favoured, however Abe is better than his record suggests and could put up a genuine fight here.
In Colorado we'll see Uzbek veteran Bexzod Nabiyev (25-9-1, 17) battle against Manuel Perez (27-12-1, 7) in a really well matched bout. The 31 year old Nabiyev looked like his career was fading away when he won 1 of 7 bouts a few years ago, but he's won his last 3 and will feel like he can make it 4 in a row as he takes on Perez, however Perez is much better than the opposite than Nabiyev has been beating.
For a second day running we're expecting to see action in Jakarta.
The main event of this card will see Stevanus Nana Bau (6-8-2, 2),who has twice lost to the touted Iwan Zoda, battle against the win-less Abeito Freitas (0-3) in a bout for the vacant Indonesia Boxing Association Light Flyweight title. Whilst we always doubt the completion of Indonesian records it's hard to believe that Freitas will be getting this title bout after being out of the ring for more than 4 years.
A more attractive under-card bout will see the half decent Isack Junior (24-7-2, 8), who has lost 6 of his last 8 but has lost those all on the road to good fighters, take on Boido Simanjuntak (23-46-2, 9). On paper this looks like a mismatch, but Junior has been inactive recently and the experienced Simanjuntak could be looking at this as a chance to end a 12 fight losing run.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In Malaysia we'll see the experienced Filipino Carlo Magali (21-9-3, 10) face off with unbeaten Indian hopeful Sandeep Balhara (4-0, 3), who will be fighting outside of India for the first time. On paper the Filipino will be favoured, given his significant experience advantage, but it' lear that Balhara's team have got belief in their man to even take this fight.
This key show this weekend for Asian fight fans comes from the Korakuen Hall where we get two title bouts.
In the main event we'll see Japanese youngster Ken Shiro (8-0, 4) make his first defense of the OPBF Light Flyweight title as he takes on Filipino foe Lester Abutan (11-5-3, 5), and attempts to take another step towards a world title fight. The Japanese youngster, who has claimed the WBC Youth, Japanese and WBC Youth titles already in his career, will know that a loss will be a major set back in his climb towards a shot at a world title, but that a win will put further pressure on the divisional champions to face him. For Abutan the bout will be his Japanese debut, though he has performed well in his two bouts away from the Philippines and could be a genuine banana skin for Ken Shiro, if he's on form here.
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (25-7, 13) face first time challenger Satoshi Ozawa (13-6-1, 2). On paper this is a big step up for Ozawa however the 29 year old challenger is on a 4 fight winning streak, including 2 solid wins over Yoshihikp Matsuo, and has been making a mark at Super Bantamweight over the last 18 month or so. For Masuda the bout will be his second defense of his second reign and could open the doors to a potential rematch with Tatsuya Takahashi next year, if he wins here and Takahashi wins in January, which we would love to see!
A really fan friendly bout will see the once beaten Katsunori Nagamine (12-1, 8) face off with the limited but gutsy Mako Matsuyama (8-10-2, 3). Nagamine was in one of the most intensely fun fights of the year, his win over Kenya Yamashita back in February. Whilst Nagamine is certainly a fun and aggressive fighter it's fair to say that Matsuyama's 2014 bout with Rex Tso, an insane war in Macau, was a better bout and with these two getting it on we're expecting to see something very special.
Another under-card bout will see Jin Miura (8-1, 1) battle against Naoaki Kumagai (7-5, 4). The light hitting Miura does look like the favourite here but has struggled in a number of his wins and could well be given a really good test here by Kumagai, who is a very under-rated fighter. Although he has lost his last 3 Kumagai has mixed in good company and could be a banana skin for Miura.
As part of the under-card we'll also see the debut of Ryo Sagawa (0-0), who takes on Korean foe Ho Ya Kim (4-4, 2). Sagawa was a former amateur standout and is tipped for big things, kicking off his career in a 6 rounder here. Kim will be fighting in Japan for the second time, following a loss to Ryuya Kaji earlier this year, and may come into this with the belief of scoring a win on Japanese soil, though will have to put in a career best performance against Sagawa to even be competitive.
In California we'll see fast rising Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar (6-0, 6) take on veteran fighter German Meraz (55-39-1, 32) in what looks like a step up for Nyambayar. Merez, a real veteran with more than 90 fights under his belt, is a proven tough guy who has only lost by stoppage 7 times in his long career. Nyambayar has never been extended beyond 4 rounds and this is, potentially, set to be his toughest and longest bout to date. If the Mongolian can blow away Meraz in quick fashion it could time to put him in with the divisional wolves, rather than continue to slowly develop the Mongolian monster.