It seems that we're getting some great fights week after week at the moment, and this coming weekend looks set to deliver something special with a number of noteworthy bouts.
The biggest bout of the weekend, by far, and one of the biggest bouts this year will see Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33) defending his WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO titles against Mexican icon Saul Alvarez (49-1-1, 34). For the mainstream sports fan the bout might not have the appeal of the recent Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor bout but for a boxing fan this is a bigger bout and it will see two of the biggest names in the sport collide in a really interesting match up. Will the biggest name in Mexican over-come the most destructive Middleweight of his generation, or will the Kazakh hero defeat the face of Mexican boxing.
It's not just in American that we get a world title fight, as we also get one in the Philippines, and this is another really well matched one which headlines a stacked card.
That world title bout will see IBF Light Flyweight champion Milan Melindo (36-2, 13) defending his title against former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10). The Filipino took the title earlier this year with a surprising first round win over Akira Yaegashi, setting a divisional record in the process, and will be looking to build on a fantastic little run which also includes a win over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. For Budler the bout sees him looking to become a 2-weight champion and score a third straight victory since his upset loss to Byron Rojas back in March 2016. This could be the fight of the weekend.
Talking about possible fights of the weekend it's hard not to think that John Riel Casimero (24-3, 15) against Jonas Sultan (13-3, 9) has the potential to be something special. Casimero, a former world champion at both Light Flyweight and Flyweight is seeking a world title fight at Super Flyweight and finds himself in there with a fighter who has slowly been building a reputation as one to watch. Whilst Casimero is a proven world level fighter, with wins against the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte and Amnat Ruenroeng, it's hard not to be impressed by Sultan, who has run up recent stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu, Makazole Tete and Sonny Boy Jaro. This has the potential to be a very good fight.
Whilst the bouts mentioned above are all about fighters looking to kick on and go to better places it should be noted that this card also features a bout where neither man can afford another set back. That bout will see former world title challengers Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16) and Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8) face off in a must win. Villanueva was last seen suffering a horribly one-sided loss to Zolani Tete in the UK, where Villanueva looked completely out of his depth, whilst Mepranum has been stopped in his last 2. Notably Villanueva is the naturally bigger man, and should win with out problems, but his performances in big bouts has left much to be desired so far.
One man looking to eventually get a big bout is Jason Pagara (40-2, 25), though he will need to over-come James Onyango (23-11-1, 19) if he's to get a shot at a world title. He's ranked #3 in the world by the WBO, and could be in the running for a shot very soon, but can't afford any slip ups here.
One man still looking to carve out his early career is Kevin Jake Cataraja (6-0, 5), who takes a small step up against Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-5-1, 4). The young Cataraja is regarded by those in the Philippines as one of the country's best prospects but will need to prove that against better foes than Ugbaniel. The more experienced man has lost his last 3 by stoppage, in a combined 4 rounds, and although he was once seen as a prospect it does seem like his career as a hopeful is now over.
We get another notable bout in Ukraine, as the unknown Uzbek Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (14-0, 9) takes on former world champion Viktor Postol (28-1, 12). For Postol the bout serves as his comeback contest following his wide decision loss to Terence Crawford back in July 2016 whilst the contests serves as a huge opportunity for Najimidinov to make a name for himself and score a career defining best win.
On a lower level we'll see two Thai's fighting in Australia.
One of those will see Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2) take on the unbeaten Matthew Triffett (3-0, 1) whilst the other will see Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-16-1) take on Lachlan Higgins (1-0, 1). It's clear these bouts won't get much attention given the other action for the day, but they will make up some under-card in Tasmania.
The Ohashi gym is one of the hottest in Japan right now and this coming Sunday they are hosting probably the most notable Asian card of the weekend, even if it's top matches are unlikely to be even slightly competitive.
The main event will see Ohashi fighter Koki Inoue (7-0, 6) take on a Thai foe in what is supposed to be a Japanese title prelude for Inoue. It's thought that Koki, the cousin of world champion Naoya Inoue and world level contender Takuma Inoue, will face Koichi Aso before the end of for the Japanese Light Welterweight title fight but will have to make sure he doesn't over-look his foe here in what is expected to be a mismatch.
In the chief supporting bout former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (14-8-2, 9) will be facing a Thai foe, in what should be a straight forward win for Sakashita, who has lost his last 2 and 4 of his last 6. Sakashita was once 12-4-2 but with losses piling up his career really cannot afford another setback.
Although Inoue and Sakashita are both well know the most interesting fight on this card may well be the debut of Kazuki Nakajima (0-0), a former amateur standout who will look to make an impact against a Thai opponent. The plans for Nakajima do seem to be about putting him on the fast track, and he is pencilled in to fight again in August, and he may well be fighting for a title in his first 5 or 6 fights. Little is known about his Thai foe, but the reality is that this is about Nakajima introducing himself to professional boxing.
In Fukuoka we'll see former Japanese Minimumweight title challenger Takumi Sakae (15-2-1, 10) continue to try to rebuild his career. The talented Japanese fighter looked like a man on his way to the top until he ran into Tatsuya Fukuhara, and since then he has gone 2-2-1. Sakae needs a win here and is likely to get it, as he takes on a limited Thai foe. It'd be a shock to see Sakae lose, but he really can't afford any more easy bouts after this one, given his last two wins have also been against limited Thai's.
A third Japanese card comes from Hokkaido, and features a very international card with the top three bouts all featuring a visitor against a local.
The main event of the card sees Japanese ranked Featherweight Junki Sasaki (17-3, 6) take on Korean visitor Sang Hoo Gil (6-5-2, 3). On paper this should be an easy win for Sasaki, who has won 6 of his last 7, but it's fair to say all Korean fighters will be travelling to Japan with their minds set on an upset following the recent shock win for Sa Myung Noh.
Also on this card will be Masaya Tamayama (8-1, 4), who will also be taking on a Korean foe, and Kyosuke Sawada (6-2-1, 3), who will battle a Thai visitor. Sadly the names of these two visitors haven't been as easy to get as Gil in the main event.
Lanao del Norte, Philippines
The biggest name in action is actually in the Philippines, and that's 2-weight world champion Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15), who takes on former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8). The talented Casimero will be moving up to Super Flyweight, as he hunts a third divisional world title, and will be looking to do so against a notable yet safe foe. Casimero has lacked activity in recent years, with just 4 fights in 3 years and non since last September. Saying that however Mepranum has lost his last two bouts, and hasn't scored a win since November 2015.
August was a quiet month, there is no denying that the reason for that was the 2016 Rio Olympics. September however tries to make up for all that with September 10th being probably the most stacked day of the year, with major bouts all over the globe.
London, United Kingdom
Two of the most notable bouts take place in the UK where we see two Asian champions defending their world titles in London.
One of those Asian's is Kazakhstan's unbeaten Middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32), who defends his WBC, IBF, and IBO titles against IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25). The Kazakh, who also holds the WBA title which won't be on the line, is widely favoured to retain his titles here but some view the bout as potentially the toughest test of his career. A win for Golovkin will likely open the doors for other UK bouts whilst an upset for Brook would likely help make him a star over-night.
The other Asian champion defending his title in the UK is IBF Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (22-3, 14), who looks to secure his first defense as he takes on English novice Charlie Edwards (8-0, 3). This will be Casimero's first defense of the title that he won in China earlier this year, stopping Amnat Ruenroeng, and will also be his European debut. Although fighting in Europe for the first time Casimero is very well travelled and won't be intimidated by the British fans who will certainly be behind Edwards here.
Whilst the bouts in the UK are high profile bouts there is also a big show in California, headlined by a WBC Super Flyweight title bout between two Teiken promoted fighters, Carlos Cuadras and Roman Gonzalez. In a supporting roll fans will get the chance to see a potential FOTY contender as Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-2, 23) battles against Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-4, 18). These two met in an all out war earlier this year but we're expecting this rematch to be even better than their first fight.
We also get notable title action in Japan where we see a domestic title bout, featuring a world ranked champion, and we also see an under-card bout featuring a former world champion.
That title bout will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (18-1, 15) defending his title, for the second time, against Kento Matsushita (34-9-7, 13) in what looks likely to be the challenger's final bout, if he loses. Ogawa has impressed us in the past but looked rather poor last time out and will likely look to make a statement here however the challenger is a veteran and will hope to use his experience to claim a national title at long last.
The former world champion on this card is Toshiyuki Igarashi (22-2-2, 11) who will be facing off against a limited Thai. The hope for Igarashi is to get a world title fight in the near future but the reality is that he's done little to deserve one in recent years and he's looked relatively poor in recent bouts. Despite that he should still beat the Thai that he's facing.
Arguably the best match bout on this card will see Yuki Nagano (8-2, 6) battle Dai Taoka (8-2, 5) in a real 50-50 type bout. Nagano is top 10 Japanese ranked but this is a real test and the winner will almost certainly find themselves in the mix for a Japanese Welterweight title fight in 2017.
One other bout of note on this card will see Japan's Shohei Kikuzato (11-2, 5) battle against Filipino ranked Renan Portes (8-3, 4) in what should be a very competitive 8 rounder between two men who each looking for a break out win.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
We also get some notable action in the Philippines with two different shows, the most notable of which is in Cotabato del Sur.
The match up here sees once beaten puncher Romero Duno (10-1, 9) face off against Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (16-8, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. Duno is a big puncher with a lot of promise and we expect him to see him stop the Thai, who has gone 2-4 in his last 6 including a stoppage loss to Hisashi Amagasa in an OPBF title fight.
The other notable bout here will see the unbeaten Reymart Gaballo (14-0, 12) battle with Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-13, 6) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. We can't see this as anything but a mismatch but hopefully it will open doors for Gaballo to face stiffer competition in coming bouts, he really is far too good for this level of opposition.
Tarlac City, Tarlac, Philippines
A second Filipino card is set to take place in Tarlac but sadly this is a very poor card. The two main bouts will see Jeffrey Garcia (2-5-3, 2) battle against Menard Zaragosa (6-23-1, 4) and Ryan Bongcawil (7-11-5, 3) face off against Jeson Berwela (4-22, 2) in 8 rounders. Hardly worth getting exciting about on quiet days, never mind a day like this!
We also get action in China where it looks like things are starting to take off on a pretty regular basis now. Interestingly this particular card appears to be a major move by the WBA to make their mark on the Chinese mainland.
The main event of this card will see Xing Xin Yang (11-4-2, 8) battle against Qiang Luo (6-1, 4) in a bout for the WBA China Light Middleweight title. The bout is a well matched one and should provide some decent action, but we suspect it won't go the distance with the two men both being solid punchers.
Another title bout on this card will see the unbeaten Bai Shan Bo (8-0-1, 4) trade blows with He Zhang (2-3, 1) in a bout for the WBA China Light Welterweight title. It's fair to say that Bo should win this and should move into bigger and better fights in the near future.
Another notable bout on this card will see A Fu Bai (7-0, 4) battle against Kazakh novice Viktor Kotochigov (1-0,1) in a 6 rounder. This could be the best bout on the card despite the novice status of the 23 year old Kotochigov.
Staying with all-unbeaten fighters Russian fans will get the chance to see Uzbek fighter Kobiljon Bobojonov (2-0, 1) battle against Sergey Sharapov (5-0, 2) in a 6 rounder.
Mid week action isn't that rare in the East but this week we do get a relatively special treat with a brilliant looking show in China.
The main event of the card is the much anticipated rematch between IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5) and former Light Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (21-3, 13). The two meet for a second time after their first bout became a farcical contest full of wrestling, holding and rule bending from Ruenroeng, who seemed to be allowed to do what he wanted from inept referee Larry Doggett. This could be a defining fight for both men, a win for either does open up some very interesting bouts for later in the year.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (26-6-1, 14) face off against Jose Antonio Jimenez (16-5-1, 7) in an IBF world title eliminator at 105lbs. The winner will take a huge step towards getting a world title fight with Jose Argumedo later in the year however it is really a must win for Zhong who has looked like a man coming to the the end in recent bouts.
The main event isn't the only title bout on the card as China's Cai Zong Ju (7-1, 1) faces former world champion Samson Tor Buamas (37-3, 19) in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental female Minimumweight title. This is a big step up for Ju but she has impressed and will know that a win here will put her in the mix for a world title fight in the near future.
Another bout of note on this card sees the unbeaten Fanlong Meng (6-0, 4) battle Australian Rob Powdrill (6-2, 1) in what is a notable step up for the former Chinese amateur star.
In the Philippines fans get a small, and relatively forgettable, show, in Tarlac.
The main event of the card will see veterans colliding as Cristian Abila (14-19-4, 5) faces off against Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in a bout for the LuzProBA Featherweight title. We won't try and build this up to be anything special, however it should be noted that the bout has seemingly been re-arranged a number of times in recent weeks.
New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia there are also a couple of Indonesian fighters travelling to Australia.
One of those will be the experienced, but limited, Roy Tua Manihuruk (18-15-2, 14) who will be up against novice professional Ben Savva (2-1), with Savva looking for a third straight win. The other will be Marco Tuhumury (10-12-2, 3), who is expected to be little more than fodder for the unbeaten Ahmed Dib (18-0, 9).
The lull in action comes to a notable end this Saturday with major fights across Asia.
The most significant bout for us comes form Thailand where we get a mouth watering IBF Flyweight title bout between one of the most explosive lighter weight fighters and one of the trickiest. The bout will see unbeaten champion Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5) defending his title for the 4th time as he takes on exciting Filipino Johnriel Casimero (21-2, 13). This is one of the best match ups this year though the big question is whether or not Casimero can solve the puzzle set by the tricky Thai. If Casimero is to win he will likely need a KO, though he does have the power to score one. If Amnat can control the pace of the bout and the range he'll like continue his run of notching impressive victory, despite not managing to really set the world alight with his style.
Whilst the main event is great there are other interesting bouts of note on the under-card. One of which is debut of 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Manus Boonjumnong (0-0) who debuts in a Middleweight bout against Indonesian journeyman Jamed Jalarante (23-18-1, 11). Aged 34 we don't expect Manus to become the star that her perhaps could have been, but this should still prove to be an interesting match up.
A big name on this under-card is exciting Filipino Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 23), who battles Boy Tanto (9-16, 1). This is a stay busy fight for Cuello who is expected to to get a world title eliminator in the fall and a possible world title bout in December, against Thailand's very own Wanheng Menayothin.
Also on the card are two Kiatkreerin prospects, Atchariya Virotesunobon (3-0, 1) and Denchana Chanadejgym (1-0). Atchariya will be up against will be up against Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus (16-8-1, 8) in what is a good step up for the young unbeaten fighter
Jeollanam-do, South Korea
On a KBC sanctioned show, fans will see some international action.
In the main event fans will see Eun Hye Lee (7-0, 2) battling against Thai visitor Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (12-5-1, 1) in a contest for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. The bout is as low key of a “world” title bout that we've seen this year yet a win for Lee will further strengthen the standing of female boxing in South Korea. Interestingly this will be Ploynapa's 4th bout in Korea, where she currently has a 0-3 record with all 3 losses coming in title bouts.
This show was originally scheduled for a date back in May though Lee suffered an injury which forced it to be pushed back a month.
Also on this show will be a Korean Middleweight title bout and some form of regional title bout, though unfortunately we're unsure which title.
A second south Korean show will also be headlined by a female title bout as Ji Hyun Park (21-2, 6) defends her IFBA and WIBA titles at 102lbs against Filipino fighter Gretchen Abaniel (15-7, 6). This show, sanctioned by the KBA, is listed on boxrec as being unsanctioned and is likely to be the only bout that the records website will list though we have been assured other contests will take place on the card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Manila fans will see Japanese puncher Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian fighter Eddy Comaro (32-12-5, 13). It's hard to see Aoki losing here, though at 36 another loss will be the end for him.
In Australia Asian fighters “make up the numbers” in a number of bouts.
One of those bouts will see Australian based Filipino Jack Asis (33-18-5, 18) in action against Indonesian journeyman Hero Tito (9-6-1, 3). Tito, best known for his loss to Ik Yang in Macau, really shouldn't have anything to trouble Asis who has been in inspired form over the last 4 years with a 12-0-1 run. A run that we expect will continue here.
Another of the bouts will see China's Xu Chan (5-2) take on the unbeaten Kris George (7-0, 5) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. Unfortunate for Chan we really cannot give him much of a chance here.
Another Chinese fighter here is southpaw Wang Xinghua (11-11-1) who battles against Will Young (4-4, 2) in an interestingly matched 8 round affair. Young will be the favourite but neither guy is great and as a result we could get a very competitive match up here.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
In boxing some days are bigger than others, some fights more significant and some shows more attention grabbing than others. This Saturday, the Saturday closest to Cinco de Mayo, is one such day and is a day that has almost become synonymous with undefeated American Floyd "Money" Mayweather.
Mayweather is such a big draw that all boxing pales in insignificance to him and we're well aware of that, however that doesn't mean that there are no fights in Asia on the same day. In fact the day it littered with Asian fighters fighting in bouts of widely differing significance. Of course none are close to what Mayweather has in store against Argentina's Marcos Maidana but all have their own significance.
The most important card in Asia is, easily, the on in Cebu which features not only the most important fight of the day but also two very highly tipped prospects. It's the sort of card that, were it happening else where on the planet, it would be given some notable attention. The fact it's in the Philippines and on "Mayday" however has seen it relegated to being little more than a regional card.
The show's lesser experienced prospect will be Jack "The Golden Boy" Tepora (9-0, 5). Tepora is a former amateur stand out, his nickname coming from his amateur successes. He now looks to turn amateur success into professional success as he battles Jo-as Apericio (11-11, 8) for the lightly regarded WBF International Super Bantamweight title. The belt might be as insignificant as the belt you wear to work though it'll be Tepora's first professional title fight and that experience seems to be the key.
Tepora isn't the only unbeaten prospect looking for his first taste of gold as compatriot Harmonito Dela Torre (12-0, 7) attempts to pick up the WBF international Super Featherweight title. Dela Torre, known as "El Huracan de Gensan" looked sensational in stopping Indonesia's Yakobus Heluka in February in Macau and will be hoping for a similar showing when he takes on Gadwin Tubigon (10-8-2, 5). If Dela Torre performs as well as we know he can he shouldn't struggle, in the slightest, with Tubigon.
The main event of this show, and easily the most significant yet least exciting, is the IBF Light Flyweight title fight between defending champion Johnriel Casimero (19-2, 11) and the very undeserving Mauricio Fuentes (16-2, 10). We've no idea why, or how, Fuentes has gotten a world title bout but we can't help but think he's on to a hiding to nothing here. It's awful from the IBF to allow this fight and we hope that standards will rise, significantly, in Casimero's next defence.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
The Cebu show isn't the only one in the Philippines and we also have one in Davao del Sur. Interestingly this show is headlined by a man show shared the last Macau card with Harmonito Dela Torre and impressed just as much as Dela Torre. That man was the once beaten Jerwin Ancajas (19-1-1, 11) who stopped a mismatched Thai in very eye catching fashion on that show. Ancajas will be looking for win #20 when he takes on another Thai opponent in the form of Petchwanchai Sor Visetkit (14-6, 6) and in all honesty we cannot see any way in which Ancajas loses this one.
Ancajas impresses us and we really see this as a formality.
It's not just the Philippines that are hosting cards on "Mayday" but also Japan which has two separate cards. The most significant of those is in Tokyo where we get "Dangan 100".
The show doesn't have a "stand bout" but instead it has 4 very interesting match ups that are a little bit more interesting than you'd get on a typical domestic card.
One of those 4 bouts will see unbeaten fighters colliding as Japanese based Filipino Johnreil Maligro (10-0, 8), otherwise known as Jun Sakura, battles against Tatsuya Yanagi (10-0, 4) in a very interesting bout. Neither man is ranked, such is the the strength in the Super Featherweight division in Japan, but both know that a win could help them in to the top 15.
The least interesting of the 4 notable match ups is a contest between former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (24-6, 10) and the visiting Filipino Michael Escobia (10-6-1, 2). Both are ranked by their relevant domestic organisation but we can't help but think that this should be a walk over for Serie if he's still even half the fighter he once way.
Interestingly another of those 4 contests features Rikiya Fukuhara (28-7-1, 20), who beat Serie last time out. Fukuhara also a former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion and like Serie he'll be expected to pick up a win as he battles visiting Filipino Jaderes Padua (9-3-1, 6). This does, like the Serie fight, look a mismatch. At 35 years old however Fukuhara is windin gdown his career and has lost 4 of his last 8.
The remaining bout of note looks like one of the most even of the day as Ryuta Otsuka (13-6-2, 3) faces Yosuke Fujihara (14-2, 4). This bout isn't the best on paper, nor does it contain a fighter of real significance but Otsuka holds a notable ranking with the JBC whilst Fujihara has run current Japanese current Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda very close. This should very competitive.
The second Japanese bout is in Osaka as former OPBF Featherweight champion Hiroshige Osawa (24-3-4, 13) battles against the seemingly over-matched Kosuke Saka (8-2, 5). Saka himself is a good fighter but we do think he's in a bit deep here against a very good fighter. Maybe isSaka had another 5 bouts under his belt he'd be ready for one like this but for now we feel it's a bit too soon for him.
(Image, the poster from "Dangan 100", courtesy of Danganboxing and boxmob.jp)