Attention turns to Nevada this coming Saturday for the biggest card of the weekend, and one featuring several Filipino fighters.
The headline bout, and one of the biggest bouts of the month, will see Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) defending the WBA Welterweight title against controversial American Adrien Broner (33-3-1-1, 24). This will be Pacquiao's first defense of the title he took last July, when he beat Lucas Matthysse, and could potentially help set up another big bout later in the year, if he can over-come Broner. For the American, who was once tipped as the future of boxer, this is a must win bout and another loss, especially to a 40 year old Pacquiao, will be hard to bounce back from. This isn't the bout it could have been a few years ago, but should still be a very interesting must win bout. Our preview of this bout is available here Pacquiao and Broner battle for WBA Crown
Another title fight on this show will see WBA "interim" Featherweight champion Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17) defending his title against Mexican challenger Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33). The unbeaten fighter, from the Philippines, took the title last year in Malaysia and has shown to be a brutally heavy handed fighter, who is lacking in terms of speed and crispness, but is very hard hitting and very dangerous. Ruiz on the other hand made name at Bantamweight, where he was a WBA interim champion, and Super Bantamweight, where he held the WBC title, but has been relatively inactive recently and has shown shaky whiskers. We're expecting this to be very explosive and very exciting, with both having very good power. Our preview of this bout is here Tepora looks to make first defense of "interim" crown, takes on hard hitting Ruiz
Interestingly both Jayar Inson (18-1, 12) and Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10) were scheduled to be on this card, though it now appears that neither man will actually feature. Sadly. Libranza was lined up to face former world title challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-4-1-1, 17) though only Libranza is actually listed for the show now and Libranza has been removed.
We also get a really notable card in Tokyo, as G+ televise the first Dynamic Glove card of the new year, a card featuring 3 very attractive bouts.
The main event will see former OPBF and Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) taking on Japanese veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-11-1, 13), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two met way back in May 2012, with Nakajima defeating Wake via unanimous decision. Since their first bout Wake has gone on the have notable success, going 15-1 (12) and has fought for a world title. Nakajima on the other hand has gone 9-6 since beating Wake, losing in title bouts to Hidenori Otake and Mark John Yap. This is clearly a bout to give Wake revenge for his last loss at domestic level, but is still an interesting match up, and one with a bit of history behind it.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) face off with Reiya Abe (18-2, 9), in a strange yet compelling match. Sugita, who is a full time policeman outside of the ring, has impressed since making his debut and is tipped for big things, but obviously stiffer tests than he has been getting following a very impressive amateur career. This is however a massive step up in class for Sugita, who has never faced anyone like the world ranked Abe. For Abe the bout is a risky one, given his next bout has already been arranged and is a Japanese Featherweight title bout in the middle of the year. This bout see Abe losing his title fight, if he loses, but an injury or a cut could force his plans to change. We suspect Abe will have too many tools for Sugita, at this early stage, but this is still an incredibly interesting match up. Our preview of this bout is available here World ranked Abe takes on Policeman Sugita!
The third terrific match up on this card pits ranked youngsters against each other. In one corner will be Japanese ranked Teiken promoted 24 year old Kenshin Oshima (4-1-1, 3) whilst the other corner will host 21 year old southpaw Ikuro Sadatsune (9-2-3, 3), who holds Japanese WBO Asia Pacific rankings. Coming into this bout Oshima is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run, including an ugly but notable win over Joe Tanooka back in August. Sadatsune on the other hand has won his last 3, with notable wins over Ryo Suwa and Tatsuya Takahashi. We're expecting to see Oshima's power and aggression against Sadatsune's skills and movement in a very well matched and intriguing contest.
Seoul, South Korea
In South Korea we'll see the first card under the recently announced Annihilation banner, which co-promotes MMA and boxing. The main event of this card will see Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (6-2-1, 2) battling against Australian based veteran Samuel Colomban (25-10-1, 11) for the vacant OPBF Light Middleweight title. The bout will be the first OPBF title fight on Korean soil in quite some time, and seems to suggest that KBF are coming out for 2019 with some new fire in their belly. It should be noted Colomban has seen much, much better days but is still a very live fighter against the inexperienced Korean. Our preview of this bout is available here Lee and Colomban battle for OPBF crown!
One other bout of note will take place in Onratio, where we see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (3-0, 2) kicks off his 2019 with his first 6 round bout. Bhatti will take on Mitch Louis Charles (5-1-2, 2). Bhatti made his debut in March 2018and picked up 3 low key wins during the year. This is a credible step up, at least on paper, for the unbeaten man. We say on paper, because Charles hasn't fought in over 4 years and it's unclear what he'll look like given that lengthy lay off.
The big action this coming Friday comes from Tokyo, with Boxingraise showing it live online. The card features a couple of title fights along with two very good looking supporting bouts.
The main event will see Akinori Watanabe (36-7, 30) battle against Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) for the interim Japanese Light Middleweight title. For Watanabe this is a chance to claim another belt to his collection, adding to reigns as the Japanese, OPBF and PABA champion at Welterweight. Maruki on the other hand gets a third shot as national honours, having come up short against Yuki Nonaka and Nobuyuki Shindo. We're expecting this to be explosive, with both fighters having very heavy hands, and very exciting with the winner then being lined up to face Shindo, either at the end of this year or in early 2019.
The other title fight will see Japanese Mminimumweight champion Shin Ono (22-9-3, 5) making his first defense of the title, as he takes on youngster Riku Kano (13-3-1, 7). The Watanabe veteran won the title earlier this year when he defeated Ryoki Hirai and will be hoping to use the title to land another world title fight, after having come up short in bouts against Katsunari Takayama and Wanheng Menayothin. The 20 year old Kano has promised a lot, but losses to Takayama and Jerry Tomogdan have slowed his career and a poor performance here could see him written off, despite his youth.
One of the really good supporting bouts will see the in form Kyosuke Sawada (11-2-1, 6), who has won his last 7, taking on former Japanese title challenger Yosuke Fujihara (17-5, 4). Although Sawada struggled early in his career losing his first 2 bouts, he has has really turned things around and scored a career best win in May against Kinshiro Usui. As for Fujihara he's been out of the ring for almost a year but is a capable fighter and should be a good test for Sawada, albeit one that Sawada should pass as he continues his pursuit of a title fight.
Another supporting bout will see the hard hitting Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) take on the much lighter hitting Joe Tanooka (15-4-4, 1). Last time out Oshima was held to an unexpected draw by Nobuaki Kanazawa and he'll be looking to bounce back from that set back. As for Tanooka, who is one of the more pure boxers in Japan, he'll be looking to build on a good domestic win against Kenichi Watanabe. A really interesting match up against two polar opposites.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable card in Shenzhen, China, where were several local fighters will be taking on interesting tests.
On paper the best of the bouts will see unbeaten Chinese prospect Wenfeng Ge (10-0, 6) look to build on his 2017 win over Amnat Ruenroeng as he takes on once beaten Filipino Ivan Soriano (18-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO International Flyweight title. Whilst Ge is unbeaten, and coming in to this on the back of a huge win, it's worth noting that Soriano hasn't lost in over 8 years and will feel confident of picking up a win here. Coming in to this both men are and both will know that a win here will shoot them up the rankings towards a potential world title shot, and a potential show down with either Sho Kimura or Kosei Tanaka.
A second title fight will see the once beaten Ahatelike Muerzhabieke (7-1-1, 4) battle against Thailand's Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (18-5, 14) for the WBO China National Super Middleweight title. The Thai once promises a lot, and began his career with 17 straight wins but has proven to be a huge disappointment since then, losing 5 of his last 6 by stoppage. Aged 19 this is a big step up in class for Muerzhabieke but he's won his last 5 and appears to be on a good run to build his confidence coming in to this bout.
In a battle of novices fans will see Bo Wang (1-0, 1) take on Aleksei Podkolzin (1-0). Wang needed just a round to win his debut in June 2016, but hasn't fought in an officially sanctioned professional bout since that contest, more than 2 years ago. Interestingly Podkolzin made his debut in January 2017, in a 10 rounder, but apparently hasn't fought since. This is an interesting match up, about as interesting as you can get between two men with 1-0 records.
We get the second Dangan show of the year this coming Tuesday, in what will be a show featuring bouts from the Dangan Rookies, C class and B class tournaments finals.
The most notable bouts on the show are all B class finals and all features who have got some genuine talent and hopes at the domestic level.
One of those bouts will see once beaten Teiken hopeful Kenshin Oshima (3-1, 3) take on the unbeaten novice Nobuaki Kanazawa (0-0-1). The talented Oshima has won 2 in a row since suffering a narrow decision loss to the under-rated Yuki Iriguchi in October 2016. In the ring Oshima is a destructive fighter and will be looking to prove that power here. Sadly little is known about Kanazawa who had a technical decision on debut in October, though he was a good amateur at the high school level.
In a really good looking bout novice Ryo Sagawa (2-1, 2) will look to build on his opening round blow out of Kazuki Sanpei as he takes on Tasuku Suwa (5-1-1, 1). Aged 23 Sagawa has been tipped for big things, but a loss to Retsu Kosaka last May has slowed his rise. Suwa on the other hand is just 20 and has shown some promise, but hasn't yet developed the man strength he'll need to progress through the ranks.
A third bout of note will see Yasuki Katagiri (5-2-2, 1) attempt to extend his current 3 fight unbeaten run, as he takes on Shoma Sekine (4-5-2, 1). Katagiri began his career with a promising 4-0 run but since then has gone 1-2-2 and appears to have struggled in bouts scheduled for more than 4 rounds. As for Sekine he was winless in his first 3 fights, going 0-1-2 but has since gone 4-4 and managed to create some career momentum, though has been very stop-start and he'll know that he needs to put on a career best performance to win here.
Also on this card will be the ring return of the much touted Chaoz Minowa (4-0, 3), who will be returning to the ring for the first time since she fought in May. The Watanabe gym fighter is one of the most exciting female fighters on the planet, and hopefully 2018 will be her big year, though from what we understand this bout here will be a simple one against a Thai foe to shake some ring rust.
This coming Monday Japanese fight fans in Tokyo get an interesting card at the domestic level, featuring a number of notable fighters, many of which were touted and have yet to really shine in the way some had hoped.
The main event of the card is a brilliant match up between unbeaten fighters Hironori Mishiro (3-0, 2) and Shuma Nakazato (6-0-1, 5). Mishiro was a touted former amateur standout, and a lot is expected of him during his career, whilst Nakazato was the runner up at the 2015 Rookie of the Year, losing out on the crown on a rule used to separate fighters who draw. This really will push the winner forward with their career, and promises a lot between fighters who are both in their early 20's.
In a interesting looking bout on paper Coach Hiroto (12-2-1, 4) will take on Naoki Kumagai (8-6, 5) in what could be an under-the-radar battle. Coming in to this Hiroto will be the favourite, but he has fought just 5 rounds in the last 5 years, whilst the more limited Kumagai is limited but has been busy and has faced decent competition with bouts against the likes of Jin Miura, Naoto Uebayashi and Ryuto Araya.
The once touted Kenshin Oshima (2-1, 2) will be looking to get some momentum in his careeras he takes on the heavy handed Takuya Mori (6-2, 5) in a bout that really should be explosive. Oshima was a standout amateur, but was beaten in his second bout by the very capable Yuki Iriguchi, ina very competitive bout. Mori has lost a couple of close decision but has scored all 5 of his stoppages in the opening 2 rounds, and is a very dangerous fighter early on.
The debuting Nobuaki Kanazawa (0-0) is a former amateur standout who looks to make a mark on his debut as he takes on Naoto Mizutani (4-3, 2) in a pretty tricky debut. On paper Kanazawa should have the skills to take home a win, and look good, but the bout is certainly no foregone conclusion and Mizutani will be there win.
Another interesting bout sees Ryo Sagawa (1-1, 1) look to bounce back from a loss in a Japanese Youth title semi final to Retsu Kosaka. The touted Sagawa lacked the experience to cope with Kosaka and should find himself at a more comfortable level here, as he takes on Kazuki Sanpei (4-4, 1), who gave Juiki Tatsuyoshi a scare last year. On paper this looks like a really interesting match up, and could turn out to be the bout of the show.
This coming weekend might be a big one due to a massive show on Sunday but the truth is that Saturday is a limp one for Asian fight fans with only a single show, and even that's not big enough to be televised live.
Although the show isn't going to be televised live it does actually feature a Japanese Super Featherweight title fight as Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) defends his title against Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-13-3, 4). The talented Ogawa has started to struggle in recent bouts to impress but he is certainly a talented fighter, with spiteful power. That power should be too much for Yamamoto, who has been a number of times already, but the challenger will know there's nothing to lose and everything to gain by just going out there and going for the win from the off.
In the under-card we get 3 bouts with an international vibe. Two of those will see local talent facing off with Thai's, as heavy handed Yuichi Yokoyama (16-4, 14) takes on one fighter from the Land of Smiles and Kenshin Oshima (1-1, 1) also faces a Thai.
The other bout with an international feel will see the heavy handed Ryo Matsubara (6-1, 6) take on Korean visitor Chan Young Yook (5-2, 4). This should be a really fun bout between two hard hitters, but one where the local will be expected to come out on top given his home advantage and his slightly higher level of competition, however he will have to prove his toughness here against the aggressive Yook.
The most significant card for us this Saturday comes from Tokyo and will be aired on G+ in Japan.
In the main event of the show card we'll see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (28-8, 7) battle against Gakuya Furuhashi (18-7-1, 8) in a really exciting rematch between two well matched fighters. These two fought last year, with Ishimoto winning a very competitive decision, and we favour him again here though it's a bout that should be genuinely compelling from the opening round to the final bell, and the two men will almost certainly gel well again here, as they did in their first bout.
In the chief supporting bout we'll see former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-5-2, 13) battle against Filipino journeyman Gadwin Tubigon (14-11-2, 9). Shimoda was last seen in December, losing in a very close Japanese Featherweight title fight against Satoshi Hosono, however he has remained in the domestic title mix and will be expecting a title fight next time out, if he over-comes Tubigon. Interestingly Tubigon has won his last 4, by stoppage, and will be riding a streak of confidence coming in to this even if he is the huge under-dog.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a defeat is the once touted Sho Nakazawa (8-1, 4), who will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Teiru Atsumi. That loss was a genuine upset and a real set back for Nakazawa who will be looking to bounce back as he takes on Filipino fighter Cris Leon (10-13-4, 4). Leon is a journeyman and despite scoring a couple of wins recently he shouldn't be able to last with Nakazawa, especially given that Leon has 10 stoppage losses against him already.
A big name on the under-card is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (5-0, 3), the son of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who will be up against Monkey Shuhei (5-8-1, 2). This will be Tatsuyoshi's second 6 rounder and should be a far better test than his first one, which saw him defeat a really poor Thai foe. Shuhei comes into this on the back of 5 losses, and just a single win in his last 8, but should be game against the 20 year old Osakan.
Arguably the most intriguing of the under-card bouts sees Teiken prospect Kenshin Oshima (1-0, 1), who has only 68 seconds of professional experience, taking on teenager Yuki Iriguchi (5-1-1, 3). Oshima made an impressive debut back in June and will be looking to build on that however Iriguchi impressed last year, going 4-0 (3) for the year. Despite a good 2015 Iriguchi has gone 0-1-1 this year and will be hoping to end that skid.
Another under-card bout will see the once beaten Masaya Tamayama (7-1, 4) take on the experienced Shohei Kanemoto (10-11-1, 3). It's hard to see anything but a win for Tamayama however he will be fighting in his first 8 rounder and could be moving on to big things in the near future.
Although the Japanese card is a really interesting show the bout of the day actually looks likely to be in Mexico as WBC Female Flyweight champion Jessica Chavez (27-4-3, 4) battles 3-weight world champion Naoko Fujioka (15-1, 6). The bouts sees Fujioka attempt to become the first Japanese fighter to become a 4-weight world champion but to claim that honour she will have to defeat a fellow female fighting great. This really is a mouth watering bout, and although we know plenty don't care about female boxing they should make an exception for this bout.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in Asia there will also be a notable show in Metro Manila with two title bouts.
One of hose title bouts will see Cris Alfante (11-6-1, 4) battle against Roilo Golez (16-15-1, 7) in a bout for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Flyweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch in favour of Alfante however the bout should be better than it looks. Despite having a moderately decent record on paper Alfante has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6 and is seriously struggling. Interestingly Golez is 2-4 in his last 6 and should put up a solid bout here, despite the disparity in records.
The other title bout here will see Danilo Gabisay (6-6, 4) take on Joe Noynay (10-1-1, 3) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title. Noynay began his career 10-0 but has suffered successive set backs this year and knows that he'll need a win here to put things back on track. On paper Gabisay should be an easy mark for Noynay and with 1 win in his last 5 it does likely that he is the “patsy” for Noynay to get back to winning ways.
A genuinely intriguing bout on this card will see Roldan Aldea (9-3-1, 3) battle former OPBF title challenger Benjie Suganob (10-5-1, 5) in a really even looking contest. Aldea has lost his last 2 bouts, though both were on the road, and will be hoping to avoid a third successive loss whilst Suganob has gone 2-3 in his last 5 but has certainly not shamed himself and could see this as a great chance to get notable win and move himself towards another top fight.
A second Filipino show will be held in Ifugao. This card lacks any sort of quality and the main event will see unbeaten 17 year old Carl Jammes Martin (2-0, 2) face the limited Manny Mamacquiao (1-8-1) in what should be a straight forward win for Martin.
In Russian fight fans will see Kyrgyzstan born Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (1-0, 1) take on a yet to be named foe
One of the final Japanese shows of the month is the next in the Dangan series of shows and features a number of interesting match ups, despite not being a major show in the slightest.
The most interesting bout, at least in our eyes, is the nominal main event which will feature the debut of Teiken promoted 21 year old Kenshin Oshima (0-0), who will be up against Naoto Mizutani (3-1, 1). Oshima hasn't really had a lot of hype ahead of his debut but the youngster will be in a 5 rounder to kick things off and some have suggest that he's another Bantamweight to make a note of for the long term.
In another 5 rounder from this card fans will see Yuichiro Sano (4-3-2, 1) battle Ryusei Ishii (5-2, 3) in what looks like an interesting Featherweight bout. Again this may not have a pair of established names involved in it but does looks like a competitive bout that both men will give their all in.