This coming Wednesday is a notable day in Asian boxing, with a big fight in Thailand, and a small yet noteworthy card in Japan.
The Thai show will be headlined by the rematch between WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (18-0, 7) and Nicaraguan foe Byron Rojas (25-3-3, 11), who he actually beat for the title in 2016. Knockout had been the interim champion prior to taking the full title from Rojas, and since winning the full title he has made 5 defenses including wins over Shin Ono, Rey Loreto and Xiong Zhao Zhong. In recent fights the champion has looked solid and dependable, rather than sensational and exciting, with an going joke that his name should be Unanimous Decision CP Freshmart. As for Rojas he comes into the bout on an 8 fight winning streak, though those wins have come at a much lower level than Knockout's and it's unclear how he will cope with the step back up in class. Given their first bout we're not anticipating a thrilling clash here. A preview of this bout is available here Knockout and Rojas meet in rematch for WBA crown!
In Tokyo we'll get another in the Japan Vs China series of shows that Dangan have been putting on.
Among the fighters included on this card is former amateur stand out Shu Utsuki (2-0, 1), who we believe is taking on fellow unbeaten Da Xu (3-0-1, 1) in an 8 round Super Featherweight bout. Utsuki is tipped to be a star and we have to strongly favour him to defeat the Chinese teenager.
Another unbeaten Japanese prospect on this card is Tsubasa Murachi (2-0, 2), who faces off with limited visitor Sheng Peng (3-5, 2), in another that should go Japan's way however we are interested to see what Murachi can show here.
One other Japanese prospect on this card is Kaiki Yuba (3-0-1, 2), though sadly we don't have the name of his opponent.
Arguably the best of the Japan Vs China bouts is a match up between the limited pairing of Shun Wakabayashi (8-3, 1) and Xian Qian Wei (13-6-1, 1). Both of these fighters are very flawed, lack power, but do make for entertaining contests and we wouldn't be surprised to see this being the potential bout of the day, with a high intensity and the belief that either man can win.
This card will also include an OPBF female title bout as Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) battles Jujeath Nagaowa (13-18-1, 8) for the Minimumweight title. Both of these fighters have come up short at the top level, but they should make for a competitive bout against each other, with both being flawed and limited fighters. Despite their limitations they aren't actually bad fighters and this could be a very entertaining distraction from the Japan Vs China competition.
A third card for the day will come from Shenzhen in China, with a trio of title bouts on the card.
In a WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Crruiserweight title fight Chinese local hopeful Peng Qu (13-2-1, 9) will take on the hard hitting Abraham Tabul (14-1-1, 12). This will be Qu's second bout since abandoning the Light Heavyweight division at the turn of the year, following a loss to Gasan Gasanov, and we suspect his frame will suit Cruiserweight much better than it did at 175lbs. Saying that however Cruiserweights do hit significantly harder than the Light Heavyweights he had previously been fighting and we expect to see him being chin checked here. Tabul, from Accra in Ghana, is 0-1 outside of his homeland, and his competition so far lacks any real quality and it's very hard to know what he brings to the ring.
A second title fight on this show will see Cheng Su (12-2-1, 6) battle against Thai foe Panturak Namtong (10-4-1, 7) for the WBO Oriental Super Welterweight title. It's hard to know what either man has done to get a shot at this belt, given that neither has notched a win of note and both have suffered a recent stoppage loss to a poor opponent. All things considered we suspect the local will pick up the win, but he's not going to go much further as a professional.
Sadly the biggest name on the card, OPBF Silver Super Featherweight champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) is actually a man involved in the biggest mismatch on the card, as he defends his title against Wisitsak Saiwaew (6-7, 5), who is best known for being stopped by Watanabe's stablemate Sho Kimura, at Flyweight. We are huge admirers of Watanabe, and his career has been a thoroughly entertaining one as well as one which has seen him fighting in Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taipei and China, but this is his third limited foe in a row. This really is little more than a show case for the talented. tough and exciting Watanabe.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day with a number of shows that are worthy of noting.
On paper the best show of the day is an Osaka Teiken show at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card features 3 bouts of note despite none of the bouts being title affairs.
The main event of the card sees Japanese and OPBF ranked prospect Sho Nakazawa (7-0, 4) battling against Daisuke Watanabe (2-1, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given the hype and expectancy that Nakazawa has on his shoulders, however Watanabe has been matched hard and could well bring a hunger and desire that Nakazawa hasn't yet seen. If the “Sho of Naniwa” gets through this one then it's likely that he will be moved into a title bout in 2016, however we don't have this one pegged down as a foregone conclusion.
One bout that is a foregone conclusion will see the once beaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (12-1, 5) battle against a Thai foe, who is thought to be very inexperienced and was brought in at very late notice. The 22 year old Ikemizu is coming into this one following his first loss, though that loss did come to the talented Mark John Yap, who is a real handful despite his less than flattering record. We can't see this being any more than a confidence builder for the Osaka based Japanese youngster.
Whilst Ikemizu and Nakazawa are worth of some attention it's fair to say that more fans will be interested in a 4 rounder that features the promising Juiki Tatsuyoshi (2-0, 2). Juiki, the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, will be hoping to record a 3rd straight stoppage win as he faces Koichi Wakita (2-1). Although not regarded as a major prospect Tatsuyoshi has looked exciting, aggressive and heavy handed so far, and those traits should see him to a win here.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka fight fans get an historic event as the country puts on it's first ever professional boxing card. The show, which will be the first to be held in Colombia since Sri Lanka was formed more than 60 years ago, is an event being promoted by a Japanese promoter who will be hoping his fighter can become the first champion to successfully defend a world title in the country.
That aforementioned world champion is WBO Atomweight queen Nao Ikeyama (16-3-1, 4) who defends her title, at the age of 46, against Filipino challenger Jujeath Nagaowa (13-15-1, 8). On paper this looks like a straight forward defense for the champion, however she is 18 years old than the challenger and “father” time is currently unbeaten in the ring. Ikeyama is certainly among the better “40+” fighters but we don't expect her to reign for too long and Nagaowa may have got her at the right time here.
Another female bout on this card will see Tamao Ozawa (9-2, 2) take on Thailand's Kledpetch KKP (6-4, 1) in what looks likely to be a simple win for Ozawa, who won an OPBF title just a couple of fights back and is clearly hoping to achieve bigger and better things before her career is over.
In a rare show from Azerbaijan fans get the chance to see a local “star” as Fariz Mammadov (18-2-1, 12) battle for the WBF Light Middleweight title. The Baku local appears to be in a tough one on paper as he takes on Badru Lusambya (24-2-2, 22), from Uganda. This is an interesting match up on paper, and although Lusambya, who is known as “Mr Crush”, has lost his most notable bouts his power does look legitimate and could be very problematic for Mammadov.
Manchester, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will see the return to the ring of Indian star Vijender Singh (2-0, 2) who looks for his third straight stoppage win as he takes on Samet Hyuseinov (7-7, 1). On paper this is, by far, the most testing bout of Singh's career, however that's not saying much and we don't expect Singh to really break a sweat here against a Bulgarian opponent who has won just one of his last 5 bouts.
Talented Filipino Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (16-0, 12) will be returning to the ring to continue his career, and fight for the 4th time this year. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named, though it's unlikely to be anyone testing for the Filipino who has fought some very poor opposition in his last 3 contests. We don't like seeing mismatches so we are hoping that in 2016 Penalosa Jr will step his competition up rather than just “staying busy” as he has done recently.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get the chance to see another unbeaten Filipino prospect in action as 22 year old Flyweight hopeful Genesis Libranza (8-0, 5) takes on compatriot Juan Purisima (11-8-1, 4). On paper it's hard to bet against Libranza however Purisima is better than his record suggests and has scored upsets against the likes of Renren Tesorio and Welbeth Loberanis, whilst also sharing the ring with world class fighters, like Roman Gonzalez and Jerwin Ancajas. This is a much better fight the records suggest.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenge Nana Yoshikawa (4-1, 2) take on Denisse De La Cruz (0-1). This is Yoshikawa's first bout since losing to Anable Ortiz in a bout for the WBA female Minimumweight title, back in April. Despite the loss, and the fact this is her first bout outside of Osaka, it's hard to see Yoshikawa losing to Nana.