This coming Tuesday we get two notable Asian cards, one in China and one in Japan. Both of those cards have an international feel and both have some really interesting match ups.
Xi An, China
The most interesting of the two cards is the Chinese one from Xi An, featuring local Chinese fighters along with Japanese and Korean visitors. The show features 3 regional title bouts along with several other less under-card bouts.
One of the title bouts will see local fighter Qixiu Zhang (10-5-1, 3) take on unbeaten Korean Jong Sun Gang (8-0-1, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Featherweight title. Zhang was stopped last year by Joe Noynay, in 8 rounds, though he can't be written off and did impress in stopping Nak Yul Park in Korea. On the other hand Gang, a natural Featherweight, was held to a draw last time out but has scored stoppages in 4 of his last 5. This could be the bout of the daY.
In a female bout we'll see Li Ping Shi (4-2, 2) make her first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Super Flyweight title as she takes on Japanese challenger Yuko Henzan (8-7-4, 2). Shi won the belt last year stopping Hyun Gee Gil and looks to be much, much better than her record suggests. Henzan on the other hand is a pretty limited fighter, despite having previously won the OPBF female Bantamweight title. Henzan lost last time she faced a Chinese fighter, coming up short to Fan Yin, and could only manage a draw with Phannaluk Kongsang last time she fought outside of Japan.
A third title fight will see Yougu Yu (5-1-3, 2) take on Hyuma Fujioka (10-8-1, 1) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Bantamweight title. Yu is 2-0-3 in his last 5 bouts, but those draws are a bit strange. He certainly deserved to lose to Yuya Nakamura in December, but also deserved a win over Yushi Tanaka back in April and that Tanaka fight showed he is a solid fighter. Fujioka has a poor looking record, but has been competitive with the likes of Ryo Akaho, Shohei Kawashima and Naoya Okamoto, so if a game fighter who will be in China to win.
One other bout of note here will see local fighter Shan Wu (8-5, 1) take on Chinese fighter Seita Ogido (13-4-3, 3). The 29 year old Wu has won his last 4 bouts, but has faced limited competition since losing to Min Jang in Korea. On the other hand Ogido is 2-2-2, with his last 2 wins really not being impressive and it does look like the Okinawa man will fall short of the expectations some had for him.
As well as the Chinese card there's also a really notable Japanese card, featuring two former world title challengers and a member of the Kameda family.
The main event of the show will see recent world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (15-4-1, 6) look to bounce back from his loss to TJ Doehny, as he takes on Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (10-6-5, 3). Whilst Takahashi is the much more well known fighter, given the Doheny bout, he's not a very skilLed fighter, relying more on toughness and work rate than technical skills. Lim isn't too well known but he but he has challenged for AN OPBF title before and is certainly a live under-dog here. Sadly for Lim he has been stopped in 2 of his last 4, and he would need a career best performance to pick up a win here.
The other world title challenger is Thai visitor Samartlek Kokietgym (34-9-1, 12), who has lost in world title fighters to Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi. The highly experienced Samartlek will be up against Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8), a recent Japanese title challenger. Although the Thai is the more experienced man he is the much smaller fighter and we suspect that Mochizuki will be too big, too strong and too powerful for Samartlek.
One other bout of interest will see Kyonosuke Kameda (3-1, 2), the cousin of the Kameda brothers, facing off with the unbeaten Ryugo Ushijima (3-0, 2). Kameda comes into this on the back of 3 straight wins, following a stoppage loss on his debut, but we see this as a step up for Kameda. The 18 year old Ushijima really impressed us this past February in his win over Shota Ogasawara and we do believe he's very, very talented, with the potential to develop into a pretty solid domestic fighter. If Ushijima is as a good as he looked against Ogasawara he should take the win here.
There isn't much action this coming Friday but there are a number of Asian prospects in action.
The most notable of those prospects is the very talented and very exciting Canadian based Kazakh Sadriddin Akhmedov (3-0, 3), who takes a massive step up in class to take on Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-5, 18). The 20 year old Akhmedov, who is fighting out of Quebec, was a sensational amateur at youth level and already appears to be on the fast track in the professional ranks, thats despite only making his debut this past April. Whilst this is a big step up it does seem like Akhmedov's team are confident and his next bout is pencilled in for October. Argentinian 30 year old Romay is heavy handed and tough, and should pose a very serious threat to Akhmedov. Romay has only been stopped once in 26 bouts, and that was all the way back in his 4th bout, since then he has faced mostly limited opposition, but was able to go 10 rounds with Zhankosh Turarov last September.
As well as Akhmedov's fight in Canada there will also be a couple of bouts of note in Russia.
For us the most interesting bout will see Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (11-0, 5) take on Mirzhan Zhaxylykov (10-3, 4). Uulu, originally from Kyrgyzstan though now based in Russia, has been slowly stepping up the quality of his opposition though was pushed all the way last time out by Leonardo Padilla which perhaps showed his team that he needs a step backwards. Kazakh foe Zhaxylykov hasn't fought in almost 18 months, and was stopped in his last 2 bouts, so he shouldn't serve as much of a test for Uulu.
A more promising Kazakh on thus card will be Stanislav Kalitskiy (4-0, 3). Sadly however he hasn't had his opponent for the card announced at the time of writing.
Busan, South Korea
In Asia it's self there will be a low key card in Busan, featuring a couple of title fights.
One of those title fights will see former OPBF title challenger Jin Wook Lim (10-5-5, 3) take on Filipino visitor Jess Rhey Waminal (11-2-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Both men have come up short against their most notable opponents, with Lim losing to the likes of Shohei Kawashima and Shun Kubo whilst Waminal has lost to Ben Mananquil and Carlo Demecillo, however they should make for a very interesting match up together.
The second title bout will see big punching Middleweight hopeful Sung Jae Jo (6-0, 5) take on Jong Min Bang (3-7-1) in a bout for the vacant Korean Middleweight title. The 23 year old Jo has shown promise and has been moved relatively well for a Korean domestic level fighter, and should be strongly favoured here. Unfortunately Bang has been stopped in his last 3, and should pose no real threat to the rising youngster.
Another bout on this card will see 31 year old Tae San Kil (5-0, 3) battle against Thai visitor Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-2, 2) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds. It's hard to see anything but a win for the unbeaten man, though hopefully this will open doors to more meaningful bouts in the near future.
Busan, South Korea
Attention turns to Korea on Friday as the KBF sanction a notable card.
In one of those bouts we'll see the once beaten Dong Hee Kim (7-1-1, 2) defending his title KBF Light Welterweight title against the unbeaten In Duck Seo (8-0, 5). The champion won the title more than a year ago, but has only fought in international bouts since then, rather than defending his belt, and as a result this will be his first defense. Notably Kim is on an 8 fight unbeaten run following a decision loss on his debut back in November 2014. The unbeaten Seo is a 23 year old who debuted in 2015 and has taken 4 unbeaten records already, and is currently riding a 3 fight KO run, which he will be looking to extend here.
The other bout of note was supposed to be another title bout, as KBF Bantamweight champion Jin Wook Lim (8-5-5, 2) was supposed to defend his title against Sung Baek Noh (3-8-2). We have since been informed that Lim's opponent has chanced and that it will no longer be a title bout, with Lim looking to bounce back to winning ways following a stoppage loss to Shun Kubo back in November 2016
This coming Friday is a hectic day with 5 title bouts taking place in Japan.
In Kobe we get an OPBF quadruple header, with the card looking, at least on paper, like one of the most notable Oriental cards of the month. The bouts might not be 4 brilliant match up, but they will help establish the OPBF scene as we enter 2017, and at least 2 of the bouts look like they could be very interesting match ups.
The “main event”, well the final of the 4 main events, will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (10-0, 7) defending his title, and unbeaten record, against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (8-4-5, 2). This was the first bout on the card to be known about and although it looks like a mismatch it could, potentially, be a good test for Kubo who will be looking for stiff competition next year. Lim, although having a sketchy record, is a former Korean champion and holds a draw with touted Korean prospect Ye Joon Kim, giving him some legitimacy as a challenger here.
In a bout at Lightweight we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7) defending his title against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6). The bout will be Nakatani's 6th defense and will see him looking to build on wins against the likes of Ricky Sismundo, Accel Sumiyoshi and Tosho Makoto Aoki. For Tanada , who has actually lost 3 of his last 4, the bout sees him attempting to score his biggest win since his 2010 shock upset over Rikiya Fukuhara. Sadly for Tanada he's gone 4-5-3 since his win over Fukuhara almost 6 years ago and it's hard to imagine this being a win for the Filipino.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card sees OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4, 15) defending his title against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (24-12, 10). On paper this might not look like a great bout but the reality is that the contest is brilliantly well matched and puts an exciting and hard hitting champion up against a talented and tough young veteran. For Yamamoto the bout will be his third defense, but is a huge step up from his previous 2, whilst Yap will be looking to extend a 5 fight winning run which has included a notable upset over Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Another intriguing bout will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12) battle with rising prospect Ryuya Yamanaka (12-2, 3) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title. For Sabillo the bout sees him returning to Japan for the first time since his May loss to Riku Kano, which was for the OPBF interim title, and it's fair to say that the Filipino cannot afford another set back after going 2-3-1 in his last 6 bouts. Aged 21 Yamanaka knows that a win will open doors for potential world title bouts, but this bout is by far the toughest of his career and it's clear that he will need a career best performance to defeat the Filipino veteran.
The 4 title bouts in Kobe won't be the only title action in Japan, in fact we also have a world title bout in the country, featuring the longest reigning active world champion, and the one with the most defenses of their current title.
That world champion is WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (22-2-1, 8) who looks to record her 17th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to Koseki will be the little known Chie Higano (6-4, 2), who will be making her first title challenger. On paper this looks like a mismatch and it's, unfortunately, hard to see anything but a win for Koseki, possibly by stoppage in the early rounds.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (7-0-1, 3) take on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee (5-1, 4). Inoue already has his next bout booked, a contest in January with Akinori Watanabe, has impressed and is being tipped as a potential Japanese title contender, but this is a bout against a live under-dog. Lee is unknown outside of Korea but has impressed on the domestic scene and scored a good win over Young Sub Han this past June. Although Inoue will be favoured this could be a good test for the Japanese fighter before the Watanabe bout.
In another Japan Vs Korean bout we'll see the brilliantly exciting and fast rising Kazuto Takesako (4-0, 4) battling against Kyung-Joon Ahn (6-3-1, 5). Takesako has taken out his first 4 opponents in just 7 combined rounds and will be looking to extend that run here. Ahn on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Shoma Fukumoto, from almost 3 years ago. On paper this looks like a decent test for Takesako but in reality it should be a bit of a mismatch and an early blow out for the Japanese prospect.
There is also a Japanese card in Osaka, in what is a busy day for Japanese fans. This is however this is a much smaller and less interesting card than the other two.
In the main event we'll see Middleweights clash as Ryuji Kanza (7-2, 5) takes on Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (7-5, 6) in what should be a really intriguing contest. Both guys are limited but both can bang and we'd not be shocked to see this one be a bit of a wild slugfest that lacks quality but is fun to watch.
In a supporting bout we'll see Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Adam Alap Alap (0-1), who we've been informed is a top 15 ranked Indonesian Lightweight suggesting his record is incomplete
There's also action in China where we get the next League of Fists show.
The main event here is a brilliant match up between unbeaten men, as Zhi Quan Xie (4-0-3, 1) battles against Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (7-0-1, 1). The bout is a really intriguing one and should tell us a lot about both men, and their potential to go further in the sport.
In the US fans will be able to see hotly touted Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (18-0, 12) fight for the second time on US soil. At the moment his opponent is an unknown but it's unlikely to be too much of a test for Dela Torre.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see two Asian fighters fighting in New South Wales.
One of those is China's Yong Zhang (5-5-1, 1), who faces a yet to be named opponent, whilst the other will be Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-5), who faces the unbeaten Michael Hall (3-0, 3) in what looks like a mismatch against the Korean.