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.
This coming Saturday is a big day with a lot of action, though from an Asian point of view there's only really one major bout, with a lot of lesser quality contests floating around in Asia it's self.
That one big bout is the hugely anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 24) and Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34), for the WBA and WBC Middleweight titles. These two men fought to a very controversial draw last September, when Adalaide Byrd's 118-110 card for Canelo got much of the ire, and had been planned for a rematch earlier this year, before Alvarez failed a drugs test. Now it seems the respect from their first bout is gone and both men seem to genuinely dislike the other, which should add a intensity to the action. Their first bout was good, but we expect this one to be even better, with the backstories, the drug testing, Golovkin needing to give up the IBF title and various other sub plots, all helping to build towards something amazing. A win for Golovkin would set him aside as the clear #1 Middleweight of his era whilst a win for Canelo would be impressive, though likely come with a dark cloud hanging over it.
It's also worth noting that Ryota Murata is said to be wanting to face the winner of the Golovkin/Alvarez bout, in what would be the biggest ever fight for a Japanese Middleweight.
Outsiude of the big show the next most notable is in China, where we see a former world champion essentially fighting to keep his career alive, whilst a Chinese local looks to take a huge step forward.
The Chinese fighter looking to make huge strides is Jing Xiang (14-4-2, 3), who will be facing off with former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (27-5-1, 13), in a bout for the WBC Silver Flyweight title. Of two it's the 34 year old Sabillo who is better known, but he's now almost 5 years removed from his second world title fight, and since then he has gone 4-5 with notable losses to Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Ryuya Yamanaka and most recently Edward Heno. The 28 year old Chinese hopeful lost 3 of his first 6 but has since gone 11-1-2 giving Ben Mananquil his only defeat so far and also holding a victory over Dexter Alimento. Form is certainly with the Chinese fighter, who we suspect will have the edge in size and also youth, as he hunts for the biggest win of his career.
In a supporting bout we see China Vs Japan in a Heavyweight clash, as Zhiyu Wu (8-2-1, 2) takes on Kotatsu Takehara (15-11-3, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Heavyweight title. Aged 35 Wu is the CPBA National champion, having won the title last time out. Despite wearing a title around his waist Wu is certainly nothing special. At 40 years old Takehara is a real veteran of the Japanese scene, and is a 2-time national title challenger. Coming into this Takehara is riding a 5 fight winning run, but has faced very limited competition during that run. This is potentially an interesting match up, we're just not expecting anything too exciting when the two men get in the ring.
Another notable Asian show will come from Kaakhstan where fans will get a regional title double header.
On paper the more interesting of those two fights will see Kazakhstan's very own Aidos Yerbossynuly (8-0, 7) take on Azeri foe Rufat Hajiyev (7-0, 7) in a bout for the WBA Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Middleweight title. Although neither Yerbossynuly or Hajiyev have yet to make a big mark on the sport this give both a chance to boost their name and to put on a show in what we're expecting ton be a very exciting and explosive encounter.
A second title fight on the show will see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Bobirzhan Mominov (8-0, 7) take on Filipino foe Junjesie Ibgos (13-3, 11) for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Mominov is a talented prospect, who has sparred with Canelo in the past, but this is a notable step up in class for him. Ibgos is no world beater, by any stretch of the imagination, but is a power puncher and will be looking to show that power here against Mominov. Thsi could be a good test for the Kazakh, or a chance for him to shine.
Yongin, South Korea
On a KBF show in Korea fight fans will be getting a title double header.
One of those title bouts will see Korean based Uzbek Khusniddin Pulatov (9-3, 5) face off with Indonesia Sahlan Coral (17-6, 10) in a bout for the lightly regarded WBA Asia Light Middleweight title. For Pulatov this will be his 4th bout of 2018 as he looks to put 3 losses from 2017 behind him and rebuild his career. On the other hand Coral has been inactive for just over a year, though did win last time out against Benny Tamaela. Coral is tough, but we suspect he'll come up short here.
The other title bout will be a KBF Welterweight title bout, which will see In Duck Seo (9-1-2, 6) battle against Moon Sung Choi (6-1-1, 2) in a very good looking contest. For Choi, who lost on debut, this will be his first bout in 13 months and looks to be a step up in class against his most accomplished. Seo on the other hand lost his unbeaten record in May, but this will be his third bout this year and he is certainly active and hungry for a Korean title, having twice fought to draw for a Korean title.
There's also a small card in the Philippines.
One of the two 10 round bouts scheduled for this show will see Robin Langres (9-2, 4) take on Jason Buenaobra (6-3-3, 3). The 22 year old Langres is riding a 2 fight winning run coming into this, including a respectable win over Jomar Fajardo, and will be looking to continue that form over Buenaobra. On the other hand Buenaobra, the only man so far to have heard the final bell against Carl Jammes Martin, is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run into this, including a notable upset win over Jerry Pabila.
The other 10 round bout on this card will see the unbeaten Claudevan Sese (6-0-3, 1) take on domestic journeyman Junjie Lauza (6-23-2, 1). The 23 year old Sese seems to be taking a backwards step with this bout, but he's been out of the ring since December, so it's better to see him fight than not fight. As for Lauza he has lost his last 3, and 5 of his last 6, and will be expected to pick up another defeat here.
There's another small card taking place in India, which will feature a single title fight, and a number of low key contests.
The title bout will see unbeaten Indian Rajesh Kumar (9-0-1, 2) take on Bright Ayala (16-1, 11), with Kumar defending the WBC Youth Lightweight title for the first time. The unbeaten local won the title back in April, when he defeated Glenn Enterina, and will not be wanting to relinquish that title just 5 months after winning it. Ayala, from Ghana, hasn't fought anyone of real note though was beaten last time he faced an unbeaten opponent, losing a decision to Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab. This bout should let us know how good both men are, or aren't.
The lead supporting bout is a female contest which will see 20 year old local Kirti (4-1, 2) take on Kiwi visitor Cherneka Johnson (10-0, 5). Coming into this Kirti is looking to build on a big win over Noemi Bosques but she will be regarded as the underdog against the iunform Johnson, who has stopped 3 of her last 4.
It's been a slow start to the Japanese boxing calendar this year, but this coming Saturday we get out first live televised card of 2018. The show, set to be aired by G+, features the first Japanese title fight of 2018 along with a number of other names fighters, including 2 prospects who could really break out over the next 12 months.
The main event will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on the under-rated, and aggressive, Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6). Akaho, a former 2-time world title challenger, won the title last March and recorded his first defense with a stoppage win against Yuta Saito last August. Although a heavy handed fighter, at this level at least, he's a ling way from being the best Japanese fighter at 118lbs and could well see his reign being a short one, given the rising talent in the country. Suzuki started his career with big aspirations but sets backs to Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco slowed his climb. Coming in to this the challenger has won his last 3, and earned the right to fight Akaho thanks to his 7th riund TKO win over Eita Kikuchi in a Japanese title eliminator last October. This should be a hard hitting and violent war.
In the chief support bout we'll see Charles Bellamy (26-3-2, 17) return to the ring after more than a year out. The Japanese based American will be up against a Thai foe, who we've been told is a natural 140lb fighter and should look much smaller than Bellamy. The talented New Yorker born fighter hasn't fought since a controversial 2017 draw with Yuki Beppu and will likely be looking to make up for lost time this, with a quick blow out here and a speedy return to action.
One of the notable prospects on this card is Japanese Youth champion Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10), who takes on Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-3-1, 5). The unbeaten 20 year old has been impressive since his 2015 debut, and claimed the 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the Year along with the Japanese Youth title last year. Beronil began his career 7-0-1 but has lost 3 of his last 4, including a very controversial loss to Joo Hyun Jung last February. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man and whilst he's a good fighter at his level, we suspect the power and size of Nakatani will be too much.
Another unbeaten on this show is the very exciting Kai Chiba (7-0, 6), who faces of with Filipino foe Brian Lobetania (12-4-3, 10). Last year we saw Chiba go 4-0 (3) and scoring a very notable win in a thriller with Ryo Matsubara, in what was one of many hidden gems of 2017, here he will be looking to continue his climb towards a title fight, but comes up against a very live Lobetania. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, but is a natural puncher and will be looking to stop Chiba, in what is likely to be a very thrilling action bout.
The once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (11-1, 5) is expected to be in action on the card, though no information at all is available on his opponent. The talented Matsunaga fought 3 rimes in 2016, scoring 3 solid wins, but was inactive in 2017 and will be hoping to rebuild his career this year, potentially moving towards some kind of title fight before the year is over.
There is also set to be a Chinese card, with a number of title bouts.
In the main event of this card we'll see once beaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) take on Indonesian visitor John Ruba (15-3-1, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. The exciting Chinese fighter was beaten last time ouit by Rikki Naito, but was unlucky in what was a very competitive bout. It's hard to know how good he is but he has looked good through his career so far. As for Ruba he's a very promising fighter at this level, and comes into this bout on a 7 fight winning run...but it would take a career best win for Rub to win here.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see Jing Xiang (13-4-2,3) take on very talented Filipino fighter Dexter Alimento (13-2, 9) in a contest for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Light Flyweight title. Coming in to this Xiang is on a 5 fight winning run having claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title in 2016. He has come up short against some decent fighters in the past, such as Macrea Gandionco and Ben Mananquil, but a decision win over Mananquil in their second bout shows his ability.
Also on this card is a 10 rounder between once beaten local hopeful Jian Wang (4-1) and Thai foe Yutthichai Wannawong (6-4, 5) for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Wang has scored back to back wins following a loss in a regional title bout. The Thai visitor lost his first 3 bouts, all in Japan, but has gone 6-1 (4) since then and claimed a Thai title on his way up. On paper this isn't the most interesting of bouts, but the Thai has a little bit of form and could make for an a decent test.