Despite Christmas now only being a few days away the scheduled for boxing for boxing is certainly not slowing down and this coming Thursday we see a really notable Dangan card from the Korakuen Hall, feature a Japanese unification bout, a Japanese interim title bout and the return of a former Japanese champion.
The Japanese title unification bout will come at Light Middleweight, as "regular" champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-1, 8) takes on "interim" champion Akinori Watanabe (37-7, 31), in what looks like a really interesting match up. Shindo won the title in May, when he took a razor thin decision over Ryosuke Maruki at the champion carnival. Despite winning that bout Shindo suffered a hand injury that forced him out of the ring. During Shindo's recovery period Watanabe blitzed Maruki for the interim title. The winner of this will go into the champion carnival next year, with a mandatory hanging over their head, whilst the loser will have to question their future in the sport. A full preview of this bout can be read here Shindo and Watanabe battle to unify Japanese title!
The interim Japanese title bout comes at Bantamweight, where Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) will face Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) in what is a more confusing situation. The Japanese Bantamweight title has seemingly been cursed in 2018 with numerous bouts falling through, often at short notice. In September Yuta Saito eventually took the vacant title, stopping Eita Kikuchi in 2 rounds, but has since suffered an illness which has forced him out of the ring until the new year. That has caused this interim title fight, which should be an entertaining bout. Things get more confusing however when the winner of this bout then has to face Saito in early 2019, with the winner of that bout then face Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) before July 2019 in a mandatory title defense. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kimura and Kono battle for interim Japanese title!
In regards to the fight between Kimura and Kono we expect the two to be well matched, and it should be a compelling 10 round contest, it's just a shame that the whole Japanese title picture has been such a nightmare in 2019 and we've ended up in such a convoluted situation. Both have picked up recent losses, though Kimura certainly appears the more proven fighter at title level, and we suspect he comes into this bout as the marginal favourite.
As for the former champion that is Yusaku Kuga (16-3-1, 11), who returns to the ring since losing the Japanese Super Bantamweight title to Shingo Wake back in July. The hard hitting fighter from the Watanabe man is expected to get an easy confidence building win a he takes on the out-of-form Filipino John Mark Apolinario (20-12-3, 5), who was recently stopped by the limited but hard hitting Kenya Yamashita. Apolinario should offer little competition for Kuga, who we expect will be too big, too strong and too powerful.
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
This coming Saturday is set to be a huge one in the Philippines where a host of notable fighters will be in action across three different shows.
One of those Filipino shows is in Cebu and features a former world title challenger, a former world title contender and two really promising prospects.
The biggest name in action here is fringe contender Froilan Saludar (24-2-1, 15), who takes on Salatiel Amit (10-2-2, 7) in what should be a straight forward win for the once touted Saludar. Although Saludar isn't as highly regarded as he once was, with some picking him as a world champion in the making several years ago, he should still be far too good for Amit here.
Froilan's brother, Vic Saludar (14-2, 9), will continue to rebuild from his 2015 loss to Kosei Tanaka, in a WBO Minimumweight title bout, as he takes on the once beaten Toto Landero (8-1-2, 2). On paper this looks like it could be the bout of he day, and although Saludar will be favoured, given his destructive power, Landero is well schooled and won't be getting in the ring to suffer a second career defeat.
Another pretty good looking bout will see the unbeaten Vince Paras (10-0, 9) take on Jimboy Haya (10-3-2, 6). Again the puncher should be favoured, given he's unbeaten and on the rise, but Haya has never been stopped, and lasted 12 rounds with the aforementioned Vic Saludar last year, suggesting he can take a shot even if he was widely beaten but the former world title challenger.
Another unbeaten on this card is Robert Paradero (13-0, 8), who faces veteran Fabio Marfa (25-33-4, 12). Marfa began his career back in the mid 1990's and began as a promising teenager, going 9 bouts unbeaten before suffering his first defeat, sadly he's gone 0-12 in the last 9 years or so, and is unlikely to pose any real test for Paradero.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another notable Filipino card takes place in Cotabato del Sur and will again feature some notable names in action.
One of the most notable name on the card is the fast rising Romero Duno (13-1, 12), who looks to follow up on his career best win over Christian Gonzalez back in March. The once beaten Duno will be hotly tipped to score a 5th straight win as he takes on puncher Jason Tinampay (8-4-1, 7). This could be a shoot out, given that Tinampay's only chance seems to be a puncher's one, but it's still hard to doubt anything but a Duno win.
In one of the other notable bouts we'll see big punching hopeful Aston Palicte (22-2, 18) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-8-3, 4) in a bout that really should be a stepping stone for the much fancied Palicte. The twice beaten man, who was very controversially beaten in Mexico not too long ago, should be too strong and too powerful for Apolinario, who doesn't have the power to get the respect of a fighter like Palicte.
Malaysian Muhamad Farkhan (3-0, 3) will be in the remaining headline bout, as he takes a huge step up to take on Marlon Alta (12-7, 9). The talented Farkhan has looked promising and has 11 rounds under his belt, but this is a big step up in class against a Filipino who can punch, and is an experienced professional. Although Alta's record isn't great he has mixed in good company, facing the likes of Makoto Fuchigami, and Peng Qu, and should ask questions of Farkhan.
This card also features the debut of two touted youngsters. One of those is Dave Apolinario (0-0), who is viewed as a real prospect following success in the amateurs, and he will be up against Prince Canonero (0-3) and the other is Mark Antonio (0-0), who will be facing fellow debutant Rusty Padua (0-0).
A smaller show in the Philippines comes from Cavite and really lacks attention grabbing name action.
In one of the bigger bouts Alphoe Dagayloan (5-2-4, 2) will face limited veteran Ryan Tampus (11-18, 8) whilst another leading bout will feature Jerome Clavite (7-4-2, 3) taking on Mark Anthony Florida (9-7, 7). With all the other action in the Philippines it is, admittedly, hard to card much about this show.
Staying in Asia there will also be a show in China, where we'll see a number of notable of bouts. One of those will see former world title challenger Angky Angkotta (28-14-1, 14) battle against Chinese southpaw Yong Cai Liu (4-4-3, 3) in an interesting looking 6 rounder. On paper Angkotta will be favoured, but it's been a while since he last scored a win and Liu will be looking for his biggest win to date.
The best bout,on paper at least, will see Zhong Liu (8-0, 2) battle against Sen Chen (8-0, 2) in a perfectly balanced bout. Liu is a 25 year old Southpaw, and will be the slightly more experienced with 5 rounds more than 24 year old Chen, but the bout really is a toss up on paper.
Gauteng, South Africa
We get some really good looking bouts in South Africa as Filipino warriors continue to show their grit on the road.
The main event is an IBF Minimumweight title fight, which will see Simphiwe Khonco (17-5, 7) battle Lito Dante (13-7-4, 7) in a battle of the under-rated. Of the two men Khonco is likely the more well known, having lost in a thrilling WBA title bout to Hekkie Budler in 2015 before defeating Nkosinathi Joyi last time out. Dante however shouldn't be over-looked and could be a genuine banana skin for the local here.
In an even more mouth watering match up we'll see the Jayar Inson (13-0, 9) take on Thulani Mbenge (10-0, 10) in a battle of unbeaten punchers. Inson caught our eye last year, when he stopped Ryota Yada in Osaka and announced himself as a genuine prospect, but he's in tough here against a local puncher who has been taking out foes quickly, with only one bout going beyond 4 rounds for Mbenge. This could be a very exciting shoot out.
In Russia we'll see Uzbek novice Ulugbek Xakberdiyev (2-0, 1) take on Russian based Argentinian veteran Oscar Roberto Medina (27-14-2-1, 9). Although Xakberdiyev has only fought 7 rounds so far we already know that top Uzbek fighters don't wait around and we don't expect to see the 24 year old to actually struggle here, given that Medina has lost 5 of his last 6 and is now a 35 year old who has had than 230 professional rounds under his belt.
New South Wales, Australia
On Wednesday Australian fans have some Asian fighters in action.
In one of the major supporting bouts on this card fans will see former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (19-8-3, 5) take on Australian novice Luke Boyd (1-0, 1). Apolinario, who challenged Koki Kameda for the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2013, has lost 6 of his last 8 but will be hoping that his experience will help him over-come Boyd, who is returning to the ring for the first time since his December 2014 debut.
On the same card Australian based Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-4) will be facing debutant Rhyse Saliba (0-0)
The highest profile bout involving an Asian fighter takes place in Russia where WBA “regular" champion Ruslan Chagaev (34-2-1, 21), from Uzbekistan, defends hit title against unbeaten Australian puncher Lucas Browne (23-0, 20). At his best this would be a horrible mismatch in favour of Chagaev however at 37 and with his career having been derailed by a combination of illness, injuries, age and inactivity Chagaev is far from at his best. Browne is crude but powerful and hungry and this really could be a very good bout.
On the same card fellow Uzbek Behzod Nabiev (22-9-1, 16) fights Said Lwanga (0-2-1). This looks like a really clear mismatch however it's Nabiev's first bout since November 2014 and coming into this one he is 1-6 in his previous 7. This could be tougher for the Uzbek than it perhaps should be.
Whilst the bout in Russia is the biggest it's not the only title bout of note. Another sees WBC Youth Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (8-0, 8), one of the sports most exciting young prospects, defending his title against Filipino Romel Oliveros (6-1-1, 1). This is a step down in level for Higa however he was sensational in 2015 with wins against the likes of Kongfah CP Freshmart and Renren Tesorio. Although Oliveros is the naturally bigger man we can't see anything but a win for Higa who looks like a star in the making.
Another unbeaten fighter on this card is Ryuto Maekawa (10-0-1, 6) who risks his unbeaten record against the limited, but experienced, Bimbo Nacionales (13-10-1, 3). Maekawa is a fighter with a padded record and whilst he is unbeaten we can't imagine him getting too much further without a loss. Saying that though Nacionales isn't likely to be the one to inflict that loss.
A third bout of interest on this Japanese card sees promising puncher Ryo Matsubara (4-1, 4) in action. The once beaten Matsubara looks to be in easy as he takes on Dejchai Bovigym (0-2) though we are glad to see the Super Flyweight hopeful stepping up to 6 rounders. It should be noted that Dejchai has fought in Japan before, and was the debut opponent for Sho Nakazawa, who stopped him in 80 seconds.
We also get notable action in Australia as former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (19-6-3, 5) battles the unbeaten Luke Jackson (10-0, 5) for the WBA Oceania Featherweight belt. Apolinario, who lost to Koki Kameda in a WBA Bantamweight title bout, is likely to be far too small for Jackson but we suspect he will be game, as he usually is.
At a lower level fight fans will get a low profile Filipino card in Ifugao. The card features a lot of debutants, including Gerry Pablito (0-0) who kicks off his career in a 6 rounder against the unbeaten Lambert Buggati (1-0, 1).
We get another low profile card in China. Although we again get a lot of novices, we are interested in a 6 rounder between Zhong Jie Niu (6-0, 2) and 18 year old Wei Fang Li (2-2-1). On paper this looks one-sided but the reality is that both men are untested and this could be a very good match up.
This coming Saturday isn't a "big" day in terms of a big fight, but it is a packed day with a lot of fights involving Asian fighters, notably Filipino's.
Possibly the most notable all-Asian bout of the day comes from Haikou in China where the heavy handed Froilan Saludar (21-1-1, 13) battles Indonesian tough guy Faris Nenggo (10-7-3, 3) in a bout for the WBO Inter-continental Flyweight title. The talented Saludar was being lined up for a world title fight though was said to need more preparation time and has instead taken this bout, which looks to be a mismatch. Although limited Nenggo has gone the distance with some world class fighters and is actually coming into this bout on the back of a career defining victory over former world champion Merlito Sabillo, who Nenggo stopped on cuts last November. We suspect Saludar wins here but he may find it difficult to stop the tough Indonesian fighter.
A second Chinese card will come from Kunming where Zovi appear to be putting on a show of novices. In total there is 11 bouts scheduled for the card and the most experienced fighters on the card only have 2 career bouts coming into the show.
Rather than going through the card we'll just mention that 10 of the bouts are 4 rounders with the only non-4 rounder being a bout scheduled for 6. That bout will see Jian Hai Fei (0-1) take on debutant Zhu Yuan Cai (0-0) in a bout at Featherweight.
Metro Manila, Philippines
For Filipino fans at home the day is a busy one with stacked card, though unfortunately much of the card is less than exciting.
The main event of the show will see the hammer fisted Michael Farenas (39-5-4, 31) battle against Thai visitor Chaiyong Sithsaithong (36-13-4, 26) in what should amount to being little more a tune up for Farenas. The former world title challenger was disappointing last time out, when he was clearly beaten by Jose Pedraza, but is several levels about the tough but limited Chaiyong, who has only been stopped once.
In the chief support bout we'll see the promising Rommel Oliveros (3-0-1, 1) take on veteran Ricky Oyan (4-23-2, 2). On paper this is a huge step up for the unbeaten 19 year old who has faced poor novices so far however Oyan has lost his last 14 bouts dating back more than 3 years, with 10 stoppage losses coming during that run.
Another apparent mismatch will see former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (23-10-2, 17) battle against Danny Tampipi (5-4-2, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lopez's career really has fallen apart in recent years with 3 losses in his last 4 and a record of 5-7-1 in his last 13 bouts!
Also on this card is the once touted Gabriel Altarejos (12-3-1, 4), who battles the very limited Diover Mangayaay (1-6-1). A few years ago Altarejos was 12-0 and a really promising youngster though he has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 and hasn't been in the ring in more than 18 months.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned here there is a further 8 expected to take place on the card.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico we see another Filipino in action as Jeffrey Arienza (12-3-1, 7) battles against Mexican slugger Dante Jardon (25-5, 20). Jardon, best known for his loss to Takashi Miura in a WBC Super Featherweight title bout, has gone 1-2 in his last 3 bouts and knows that he'll need to start stringing together wins if he's to be moved towards another world title bout. Unfortunately for Arienza he is 0-2 in bouts held outside of the Philippines and it's unlikely he'll be able to overcome “Crazy” Jardon.
Staying in Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-5-3, 5), another Filipino, take on the unbeaten Edibaldo Ortega (20-0-1, 11). This looks just as tough at Arienza's bout, at least on paper, though we need to admit we know very little about Ortega coming in to this one.
In Australia fans will have the chance to see the win-less Arnon Yuchareon (0-8) continue his career as he takes on Ben Kite (1-2). Kite isn't anything special and although Arnon hasn't won a bout so far he is better than his 0-8 record suggests and we'd not be that shocked if he managed to pull out the upset here.
(Image courtesy of notifight,com)
It's a day of travelling Filipino fighters this Saturday with Pinoy's fighting almost every where.
The most notable bout of the day for Asian boxing fans comes from Mexico where the heavy handed Richard Claveras (12-0-1, 12) attempts to claim the biggest upset of the year so far and over-come WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (24-1-1, 16). Guevara will be defending his for the first time since he claimed it last December, stopping Akira Yaegashi in Japan, and looks like he has the ability to hold it for a very long time. The unknown Claveras has looked good on the Filipino domestic scene but is leaping up massively in class for this bout and may well find himself in a bout he simply wasn't ready for. Although Claveras is, rightfully, the big under-dog it's fair to say that he will take some inspiration from last weekends win in Mexico by his compatriot Jonathan Taconing, who looked brilliant when he stopped Raul Garcia,also in Mexico.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the UK we see world ranked Featherweight Dennis Tubieron (19-3-2, 8) battle against the unbeaten, and very popular, Josh Warrington (20-0, 4) in a bout for he WBC International Featherweight title. The winner here will be boosted up the rankings and whilst they won't become the mandatory for current champion Gary Russell Jr, they will put themselves in a good position to challenge for a world in the next year or two.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia there are two bouts of note, each featuring Australian based Asian fighters fighters.
In a relatively predictable bout the “professional loser” Aswin Cabuy (14-51-4, 7), of Indonesia, battles novice professional Paul Cupitt (1-0). A decade ago Cabuy was 9-2-1 (3) as a professional, since then he has gone 5-49-3 (4) and become little more than a fighter brought in to lose to prospects, something that we'll likely see here. Unfortunately Cabuy is now 0-13-1 in his last 14 and he's no longer serving much of a purpose with stoppage losses now starting to pile up alongside his decision loses.
In a much more interesting bout fans will see the rampant Jack Asis (32-18-5, 17), an Aussie based Filipino, battle against the unbeaten Kye MacKenzie (14-0, 12) for the IBO Super Featherweight title. Since 2011 Asis has really turned his career around and gone 11-0-1 (7) with a number of solid wins, he'll be hoping to claim his biggest win to date against MacKenzie. MacKenzie has won his last 10 by stoppage and looks like he could be the next star of Australian boxing however this is a small step up for the aggressive “Mr Frenzy”.
In Texas it's the turn of another Filipino fighter, as former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-5-3, 5), who will make his US debut, takes on the unbeaten, and very exciting, Jessie Magdaleno (20-0, 15). Apolinario comes into this bout 1-3-2 though has faced some amazing competition, including a bout with Koki Kameda for the WBA Bantamweight title, a pair of draws with former world title holder Roberto Vasquez and losses to both Hernan Marquez and Drian Francisco. On paper Magdaleno should win comfortably though a stoppage over Apolinario would be impressive and hasn't happened since 2009, when Apolinario was stopped by Marvin Tampus.
New Mexico, USA
Hard hitting American based Filipino veteran Ranee Ganoy (36-11-2, 32) continues his eventful career as he competes in his second US bout and battles against Josh Torres (13-3-2-1, 6). The Filipino is known as the “KO Kid” and will be hoping that that power helps him here against 25 year old “Pitbull” who has never been stopped. The winner of this bout will claim the WBC United States (USNBC) silver Light Welterweight title and claim local bragging, with both men now fighting out of Albuquerque.
(Image courtesy of http://suljosblog.com)
Some days are insanely busy and today is one such day with more fights of note than almost any other day this year, and better yet they are spread all over the globe form the Philippines to the US, from Germany to Mexico. It really is a great day to look forward to.
New Jersey, USA
The most important bout for many fans this Saturday is in the US where destructive Russian Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23) attempts to unify his WBO Lightweight title with the WBA "super" and IBF titles currently held by Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32) in a bout that appears to have every boxing fans interested , even those that typically hate watching Hopkins. Kovalev, a destructive puncher, has been a on a real role recently wiping out decent contenders on a regular basis, often with out breaking sweat. Hopkins on the other hand has been the same old Hopkins we all know, lulling opponents to sleep en route to winning wide decisions. We suspect this bout could be over early if Kovalev hits as hard as we think, or could end up being a long and slow night if Hopkins can hypnotise Kovalev, like he has to many previous opponents. That's what makes this bout so interesting, who will manage to instill their natural game plan on the bout?
On the undercard we have another Russian, Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1), risking his unbeaten record against the limited Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1) in what should be a straight forward 6 round affair for Sirotkin.
Whilst the main event in New Jersey is undeniably the biggest bout of the day it's very easy to pick the biggest female bout of the day as unbeaten Japanese boxing queen Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) attempts to become the first Japanese female fighter to become a 3-weight world champion. Unfortunately for Fujioka she will be up against her toughest challenge yet, Germany's popular Susi Kentikian (33-2-0-1, 17), the current WBA female Flyweight champion. The bout is a tough one on paper and it's made even tougher by the fact Fujioka is on the road traveling to Germany for the bout against on of Europe's most popular female fighters.
A second very good female bout comes from Mexico as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (13-1-2, 3) attempts to regain the title and avenge her sole defeat. That however will see her needing to over-come Mexico's very own Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3) who claimed a controversial split decision in Japan over Tada last year. We suspect this could be a better bout that the Fujioka/Kentikian one though in our eyes the other is slightly more significant considering that Fujioka is attempting to carve her place in history. We'll admit with this being a rematch we're hoping for something a bit special.
On the same card in Mexico Ryuji Yokoyama (11-1-1, 3) will be looking for the biggest win of his career as he takes on the world class Jesus Silvestre (25-9, 21) in a very big test for the Japanese fighter.
Back in the US we see the next bout of the talented Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9) who attempts to build on his excellent victory over Robert Berridge last time out. This time Lepikhin will be battling big punching Brazilian Jackson Junior (15-1, 13), was was last in the US about 20 months ago being taken apart by Cuban Umberto Savigne. We suspect that Lepikhin will have a very easy night with the Brazilian who isn't as dangerous as his record would indicate.
In a third US bout fans will see Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (5-0, 5) take the next step on his way to a world title. Mekhontsev has had things all his own way so far but we wouldn't be shocked to see him struggle, at least a bit, with the extremely heavy handed Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6). Guerrero is limited but what he hits, he hurts. Guerrero comes in with 2 losses in his last 3 but he is insanely heavy handed and if Mekhontsev gets caught or gets reckless this could get very interesting.
A bit closer to "home" is a card in Australia that strikes us as interesting but not great with two bouts of note.
The main event here will see world ranked Bantamweight puncher Zhanat Zhakiyanov (23-1, 16) battle against Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-20-1, 6) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for the highly regarded Kazakh puncher. This will be Zhakiyanov's third bout of the year and will see him building on two stoppage wins, including an eye catching 1-punch KO over Karim Guerfi back in April and we'd be shocked if Lerio managed to take him the distance here.
The other bout will see the always entertaining Filipino slugger Romeo Jakosalem (15-8-1, 8) battle against the fast rising Cameron Hammond (10-0, 4) in what is likely to be a painful night for the Filipino. Jakosalem comes into this bout with 4 losses in his last 5, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Min Wook Kim back in May 2012, though did win last time out against Elmer Legaria and, if he's on form, he could make life difficult for Hammond. Odds are however Jakosalem isn't going to be close to his best unfortunately and will instead be dominated by the talented Australian.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Having just mentioned some Filipino's it makes sense to mention some more as we go to the first of two Filipino cards.
This one in Davao del Sur involved two interesting bouts with the co-feature being the better of the two, at least on paper. That bout will see the heavy handed but limited Drian Francisco (25-2-1, 20) battle against former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-4-3, 4). Having seen Apolinario struggle to survive against Koki Kameda last year we believe Francisco will stop him, though we do know that Francisco can be out boxed by a speedy fighter and that could prove to be an issue here.
The main event looks like a total mismatch as the talented Adones Cabalquinto (17-0, 10) continues to toil and waste away his career. The talented Filipino Light Welterweight will be battling against Thai visitor Pankorn Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title and we can't help but think he really should bite the bullet, take a risk and go for the OPBF title with a fight against Keita Obara, as was once arranged earlier this year.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other Filipino show comes from Metro Manila and is a much deeper card. Sadly due to just how busy the day is we're only going to talk about a few of the bouts on the card.
The main event will see the thunderously hard hitting Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) attempting to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against the limited but tough JC Francisco (6-8-3, 2). Francisco has won just 1 of his last 4 and we don't see it changing here but we do suspect that Claveras will be forced to work hard to get the win considering that Francisco has never been stopped so far.
A second interesting bout on here will see Ardin Diale (24-9-3, 11) attempt to defend his his GAB Flyweight title against the heavy handed Jenny Boy Buca (9-1, 9). Diale is better than his record suggests though we're unsure how good Buca is. If Buca has got skills as well as power he may manage to upset Diale who has had a very hard year considering his slugfest with Koki Eto was just 5 months and he has already had a very hard fight with Renerio Arizala since then. This is going to be a tough year for the Filipino who needs a win here to remain relevant.
In Russia we have yet more Filipino's in action with two Filipino's fighting in the Russian town of Klimovsk.
At Lightweight we will see Rey Labao (26-5, 17) attempting to claim the PABA title as he takes on the unbeaten Roman Andreev (15-0, 11), a man attempting to make the first defense of his title. Labao's record may not make him look like a killer but he's a very good fighter and his only loss in his last 8 bouts came against Yoshitaka Kato in an OPBF title fight. As for Andreev this is a tough defense but advantage will likely help him some what against a testing opponent though one who is perhaps less rounded and skilled than Andreev is.
The other bout comes at Bantamweight where Jason Canoy (21-4-2, 15) fights against Nikolay Potapov (12-0, 6) for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. This bout, like the other one, looks really interesting and although we again suspect the unbeaten is more skilled we cannot rule out the Filipino fighter who we suspect will go to Russia with an upset on his mind.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One final show scheduled to take place is in Thailand where we have one interesting bout and one other bout worth noting, albeit a total mismatch.
The interesting bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (28-7-1, 11) defending his belt against the once beaten Filipino hopeful Macrea Gandionco (10-1-1, 6). We suspect Petchbarngborn will be too big for the Filipino however it's a bout we're interested in and hope that Gandionco will be comfortable at the weight.
The other bout that interests us, despite it being a disgusting mismatch, will see Fonluang KKP (21-1-1, 9) take on journeyman Falazona Fidal (25-41-1, 8). This is an awful mismatch though it's nice to see Fonluang staying busy and this will be his 5th bout this year, a big change from 2012 in which he was completely inactive.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)
It's rare that we get no Asian cards but this Saturday is one such day, thankfully however we do have a number of notable Asian fighters in around the world in some very, very good looking fights with some real significance.
With no cards of note taking place in Asia the most significant card for us, by a long way, is the Zanfer Promociones card in Sonora which features two notable fights involving Asian fighters.
The bigger of those two bouts will see Filipino Richie Mepranum (27-3-1, 6) challenge unified Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18). Estrada is the reigning the WBO and WBA "super" champion at Flyweight and will be the big, big favourite against the Filipino but Mepranum has fought at this type of level before having already faced Denkaosan Kaovichit, Julio Cesar Miranda and Hernan "Tyson" Marquez, in fact Mepranum is 1-1 with "Tyson" Marquez.
Interestingly for Estrada this will be his second successive defence against a Filipino having beaten Milan Melindo last time out in a very competitive bout in Macau.
Having just mentioned Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (36-4, 26) it's worth noting that he will be in the second fighting involving an Asian as he battles former Bantamweight title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-3-3, 4), who was bested by Koki Kameda last year. Apolinario is, like Mepranum, also a Filipino.
The fact Apolinario was hurt and dropped by Koki doesn't bode well for him here and it's going to be hard to see him lasting the distance with Marquez who is a fearsome and hard punching machine. Though we wish him the best of look in what we view as the toughest bout of his career so far.
Mexico City, Mexico
A second card in Mexico that features Asian fighters will take place in Mexico City. Although not yet listed on boxrec the card does look like an interesting one.
For us the more significant of the bouts here features OPBF female Bantamweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (20-9, 9) who faces former adversary, and one of the elite female fighters on the planet, Jessica Chavez (19-3-3, 4). Tsunami lost a decision to Chavez last year and although the scorecards were wider than they should have been the right fighter did win. Interestingly Chavez, who is unbeaten in 3 years, could only manage a draw last time out whilst Tsunami looked revitalised in stopping Honey Katsumata in 7 rounds.
The other bout is sadly a mismatch as Filipino Ranel Suco (15-7-2, 6), last seen in a ring over a year ago, takes on the world class Julio Ceja (26-1, 24). Ceja has said he wants to fight Shinsuke Yamanaka and that would be a fight we'd be interested in, sadly this is little more than a stay busy affair for the powerful Mexican puncher.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom fans will get the chance to see the Ricky Hatton trained Kazakh Bantamweight Zhanat Zhakiyanov (21-1, 14) attempt to claim the European title as he battles Frenchman Karim Guerfi (20-2, 5). Guerfi, who beat recent world title challenger Stephane Jamoye for the title, is a tricky and difficult customer who moves well, is tough and very tricky and could well upset the Zhakiyanov apple cart.
We've got to admit we're not 100% sure how a Kazakh qualifies to fight for the European title but it is what it is is we're afraid and a win here for the Zhakiyanov will put him into the world rankings.
In Germany, where the biggest card of the day in terms of world boxing, will be held fans will get the chance to see heavy handed Russian prospect Roman Belaev (13-0, 10). We really like the look of Belaev and he had a great work out last time out going 12 rounds with Dean Byrne. This time around Belaev is limited to just 6 rounds as he takes on the tough but light hitting Fouad El Massoudi (9-3, 1) in what should be a very easy assignment for the Russian puncher.
(Image courtesy of Zanfer and Notifight)