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.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy day for Asian fight fans with bouts featuring Asian fighters taking place all over the globe.
The biggest show of the day is an ALA show in Cebu that features a number of the best Filipino prospects getting decent tests.
The main event of the show will see the unbeaten, and highly touted, Mark Magsayo (16-0, 12) battle against Nicaraguan Daniel Diaz (23-7-2, 15). The bout will see Magsayo defending his WBO International Featherweight title, for the second, in what looks like a good test on paper. Magsayo is seen as one of the most promising Filipino hopefuls, and he has impressed, but this could be a tough ask as Diaz has mixed with good competition, fought for a world title and holds a win over Roberto Marroquin.
Another bout that looks great on paper sees the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (13-2, 11) take on the unbeaten Goodluck Mrema (16-0, 8). The 21 year old Santisima has won his last 11, with 10 stoppages, and has really impressed with his power and aggression but is in tough here against an unbeaten Tanzanian fighter who won't be wanting to give up his perfect record. This could be the stand out bout of the show.
Former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-1, 7) looks to bounce back from his narrow loss to WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin as he takes on fellow Filipino Joey Canoy (12-3-1, 6). The talented and exciting Jerusalem looks like a future world champion in the making and looks like someone with all the talented needed to be a future Filipino star, but needs to prove that he has the mentality to be a special fighter as he drops back down to domestic level. Canot has lost 3 of his last 7, but Jerusalem still cannot over-look him here.
Another notable bout here will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (27-1, 18) battle against Thai visitor Patomsith Pathompothong (16-9, 6). The talented Pagara will be fighting for the second time since suffering his sole career defeat, to Cesar Juarez, and should be able to get a confidence building win here. The Thai once looked like a possible contender, but with 5 losses in his last 6 he now looks like a journeyman, and it's unlikely he'll put up much of a fight here.
One final prospect on this card of real note is the unbeaten Kevin Jake Cataraja (5-0, 4), who will be facing off with Lony Cadayday (4-1-2, 1). The wonderfully talented Cataraja is one of the best young fighters in the Philippines but still needs a lot of time to develop his skills and will certainly be handled well by ALA who will look to keep him busy and continue his development before moving him in to title bouts, potentially next year. Cadayday comes into this bout as the under-dog, but as a man who has gone unbeaten in 6 and scored a big win last time out over Jeny Boy Boca, with that win being a huge confidence builder for the once beaten Cadayday.
Although the best card is in the Philippines it does need to be said that the most significant bout with an Asian fighter takes place in Mexico as WBC female Bantamweight champion Mariana Juarez (45-9-4, 17) defends her title against Japanese challenger Terumi Nuki (9-1, 6). The Mexican star will be strongly favoured, but there is a chance she'll get old over-night and that would give Nuki half a chance, like we saw last weekend when Jeff Horn shocked the legendary Manny Pacquiao.
New South Wales, Australia
We also get Asian's in action in Australia, where we get a trio of bouts of note.
For us the best of the bouts will see the unbeaten Mark Lucas (8-0, 3) take on upset minded Filipino Arnel Tinampay (24-20-1, 10). On paper this looks like a typical “Prospect Vs Journeyman” bout, but Tinampay has a reputation for upsetting the apple carts and beating guys he's not supposed to beat. Lucas will be favoured, but this is a real banana skin bout for him.
Another bout of note here will see Haithem Laamouz (9-0, 3) and Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes (15-7-1, 10) battle for the Australian Lightweight title, in a bout that could be better than the records suggest. Laamouz should win, but Delos Reyes is capable an upset, and is heavy handed.
The other fight of note will see the limited Michael Van Nimwegen (9-5, 4) take on long term Australian based Indonesian trial horse Aswin Cabuy (19-61-4, 7). On paper this looks likely to be another loss for Cabuy but he's certainly beaten fighters than Van Nimwegen in the past and could be up for this one, despite being 42 years old.
There will also be a pair of shows in Indonesia. One of those will be in Mankwari where the card is headlined by a bout between Hengky Baransano (11-11, 4) and Domi Nenokeba (12-29-2, 8). The bout isn't hugely appealing internationally but should be fun for fans in attendance. The only other bout of note on this card will see veteran Geisler AP (10-10, 7) take on the debuting Samson (0-0).
The other show in Indonesia takes place in Jakarta and against won't get much international intention, but should still be a decent card.
One of those bouts on the card will see Ruben Manakane (20-17-1, 12) take on Edison Berwela (15-35-8, 4) in what could be a better bout than it looks on paper. Another bout similar intent will see veteran James Mokoginta (33-18-3, 20) take on journeyman Artid Bamrungauea (11-16, 9),with this bout being for the WBC ABC Continental title.
Another title fight will see Willem Marahina (5-15-1, 3) face off with Rocky Irawan Sikumbang (6-3, 2) for the International Boxing Association Super Lightweight title.
Another bout with some interest will see the unbeaten Hebi Marapu (8-0, 6) face of with Hendy Luis (7-11-2, 3), in what looks like a good test for the promising Marapu.
The biggest card of the weekend comes form Cebu and is a stacked ALA card.
The main event of the card will see former world title challengers Milan Melindo (34-2, 12) and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (31-4-1, 16) face off to crown a new IBF “interim” Light Flyweight champion, and decide the mandatory challenger for current world champion Akira Yaegashi. Melindo, fighting in his third world title fight, should be favoured here but Fahlan has put in his best performances as the under-dog, and the Thai is of course best known for upsetting Ryo Miyazaki. The bout should be a really intriguing one given the match up, and the fact that the winner moves into a world title bout this is an incredibly significant bout.
In a support bout will see the world ranked Jason Pagara (39-2, 24) battle former world champion Jose Alfaro (28-10-1-2, 24) in an interesting 10 rounder. Alfaro is a long way removed from his short reign as the WBA Lightweight world champion, but still has power and could still hurt Pagara who has shown himself to be a genuine world class fight. Sadly for Alfaro his only chance is a puncher's chance.
Staying with the Pagara family another bout will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (26-1, 18), who was last seen being stopped by Cesar Juaez, take on the tough but limited Raymond Commey (16-3, 9), who we saw lose to Qiu Xiao Jun not too long ago. The bout is a big question of Pagara's mental state, and whilst he should be favoured there is some worries that he will be damaged goods given the way he couldn't see Juarez and was stopped himself as Juarez rode the storm and came back strongly. Commey appears to be very durable and could be a real nightmare down the stretch for Pagara.
A really interesting looking all Filipino under-card bout will see former OPBF title challenger Jimmy Paypa (18-3-1, 6) battle the under-rated Jerry Nardo (21-9, 11) in what could potentially help decide a future OPBF title challenger. On paper Paypa should be favoured, especially given that Nardo has gone 2-5 in his last 7, but Nardo can spring upsets at domestic level and this bout could be a banana skin for Paypa.
Another good looking all-Filipino domestic bout will see Jeo Santisima (11-2, 10) face recent OPBF challenger Rex Wao (11-3, 9) in what look like a potentially explosive bout between very well matched fighters, at least on paper.
One of the most promising Filipino fighters is Kevin Jake Cataraja (4-0, 3) who looks for win #5 as he takes on the more experienced John Kenan Villaflor (6-1-2, 2) on a minor step up, and will hopefully be Cataraja's final bout before being stepped up. Another unbeaten hopeful in action here is the big punching Melvin Jerusalem (10-0, 7), who takes on Bonjun Loperez (10-5-1, 5) in a bit of a stay busy bout for the unbeaten youngster.
A second Filipino card of the day comes from Batangas.
In the headline bout on this card we'll see a rematched between the experienced Roberto Gonzales (27-2, 17) and Ryan Sermona (19-8, 12), who fight for the GAB Lightweight title. On paper it looks like a straight forward first defense for Gonzalez, who has won his last and 7 bouts, however he was stopped by Sermona when the two men first fought back in May 2012 and Sermona will be confident of scoring a second win over Gonzalez.
In an interesting match up we'll see the experienced Al Sabaupan (25-2-1, 20) battle Jheritz Chavez (5-1-2, 3) in a real cross roads. Sabaupan had once been tipped as a world title contender but losses in 2012 and 2013 ended those hopes. Sabaupan has won his last 5 but hasn't shown his early promise in recent years and has only fought twice in he last 25 months. Chavez was beaten last time out but is unbeaten at home and could prove to be a total handful for Sabuapan.
Another bout on the show will see Glenn Porras (29-4, 17) battle against the very limited Jayar Estremos (10-12, 4). Porras was beaten just 2 fights back, though that was back in December 2012 and he has did return to winning ways last time out. Estremos is a very limited fighter and it would be a huge surprise for him to test Porras, even with Porras' recent lack of activity.
Icheon City, South Korea
In South Korea fans will see former world champion Eun Hye Lee (8-1, 3) battle against Thailand's Nongnun Mor Krungthepthonburi (5-3-1) in a bout for the WIBA Flyweight title. Lee was unlucky to not become a 2-weight world champion this year, losing a controversial bout to Nana Yoshikawa. The Thai will be the huge under-dog and we can't see how she wins here.
In Mexico we'll see Japanese born, Mexican based, Shoki Sakai (21-6-1, 13) face off with Jose Lopez (26-6-2, 15) in a really well matched bout. Sakai has suffered back-to-back setbacks, albeit controversial ones, and will be looking to score his second win of the year. Whilst Sakai has been unfortunate this year Lopez had been in a bad run of form, going 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts over the last 14 months.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
The key show for fans of Asian fighters is in Negros Occidental where ALA will be putting on their next “Pinoy Pride” card.
In the main event fans will see long reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) face off against former 2-time champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23). Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, defeated Garcia's twin brother, Ramon Garcia Hirales, back in 2011 and will be hoping to record a win over Raul too. For Raul it's a chance to become a 3-time champion and avenge one of his brother's losses.
The most interesting of the supporting bouts sees former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) face off against the chinny Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight. Despite being for an Asia Pacific title Jimenez is a Mexican so we're not sure how he qualifies for this title, however with 8 stoppage losses to his name it's hard to see him winning here.
In one of the other main supporting bouts former world title challenger Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) will be facing Maximino Flores (19-2, 13), who appears to have been a late fill in for Javier Mendoza. This bout will be an IBF Light Flyweight eliminator and the winner could find themselves taking a big step towards a world title fight later in the year.
In another supporting bout the promising Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) will be up against Thai visitor Wanchai Nianghansa (5-7, 4). We have been impressed by Cataraja so far and expect this will be another straight forward win for the Filipino sensation, who is widely regarded by those in Filipino boxing circles as a future champion.
In Japan fans get a small card but one with an interesting main event and a notable return to the ring for a recent Japanese title challenger.
The interesting main event sees former world champion Kosei Tanaka (6-0, 3) move up to Light Flyweight where he will face world ranked Filipino foe Rene Patilano (15-1-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 rounder. For Tanaka the bout is a chance to make a mark at a new weight class, and shake the shackles of the 105lb weight class that he claimed to be struggling massively with. As for Patilano the bout will serve as a huge chance to make a mark on the sport and boost his opportunity to get a world title fight of his own later in the year.
The aforementioned former Japanese title challenger is Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10), who faces Yuta Sasaki (8-7-1, 1), in what is Tanaka's first bout since losing in that Japanese title bout to Kentaro Masuda. This should be an easy win for Tanaka but their may be lingering effects from his stoppage loss to Masuda.
Two other men looking to bounce back from a loss on this card will be Shogo Yamaguchi (9-1-1, 4), and Genki Maeda (2-1, 1), who face each other in an interesting looking Lightweight bout. Yamaguchi was beaten last time out by Akihiro Kondo, in a bout that saw Yamaguchi look like a promising fighter despite losing, whilst Maeda was stopped by Yoshimichi Matsumoto in a less impressive performance. This could be a very good one, or it could see Maeda made to look like a novice.
Their will also be action in Uzbekistan
In the main event hard hitting Russian Heavyweight hopeful Apti Davtaev (11-0-1, 11) will be facing Kazakh journeyman Talgat Dosanov (13-14-1, 6) in what looks like a total mismatch in favour of the heavy handed Russian hopeful.
A much more interesting bout will see Uzbek fighter Bahrom Payozov (23-5, 15) face Russian novice Alexander Kotov (3-0, 1). Kotov debuted in December and this is a huge step up in class for him, however a win here is somewhat expected. For Payozov, who has lost 3 of his last 5, the bout is a bit of a must win.
New South Wales, Australia
Once again we see Asian fighters travelling to Australia, this time however we have one genuinely competitive bout as Romnakit Boontree (8-0, 5) facing off against the once beaten Richard Smith (8-1, 3). The unbeaten Thai has shown genuine promise through his first 8 bouts and whilst this is a step up he does look like the sort of fighter who could go a long way, if he can win here in his first bout outside of Thailand.
Other Asian's on this card are Indonesian fighters Abbas Makki (1-4), who faces Michael Upton (4-1-1) and Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2), who faces Rocky Jerkic (14-0, 11), in bouts that are both likely to be won by the local favourites.
This coming weekend is a pretty big one with notable Asian's fighting in the Philippines and in the US and it's a day where a number of fighters are expected to be given a real test.
The biggest Asian show of the weekend is the next in the ALA line of “Pinoy Pride” cards and it looks to be a genuinely good looking one with a number of top prospects in action, some of which are being given a serious test, their first since turning professional.
The main event doesn't appear to be one of those testing bouts as Super Bantamweight sensation Albert Pagara (25-0, 18) defends his WBO Inter-Continental title against Yesner Talavera (15-3-1, 4). Pagara's team had hoped to secure a high profile opponent for their man but unfortunately ended up with Talavera after negotiations broke down with a former world champion. This should be a straight forward win for Pagara who may well be getting a world title fight later this year.
Another man who isn't taking a major step up on this card is the incredibly promising Mark Magsayo (12-0, 10), who faces Eduardo Montoya (17-4-1, 13) for the WBO Youth Featherweight title. This looks likely to be win #13 for Magsayo though the plan is to then move him into a much bigger bout, against former world title challenger Chris Avalos, in what would be a major step up in class for the 20 year old.
Another notable Filipino prospect on this card is Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (2-0, 2) who is stepping up to the 8 round distance for the first time. The hotly tipped 20 year old will be up against Tony Rodriguez (3-1, 1) in what looks like a straight forward win for the youngster, though we may see Cataraja's stamina being given a test here. If he's as good as advertised he may well be in 10 rounders by the end of the year and could well be future gem of Filipino boxing scene.
One youngster who is stepping up massively on this card is the heavy handed Melvin Jerusalem (8-0, 7) who doesn't so much "step up" as leap up to face former world champion Florante Condes (29-7-1, 23). This is a real gut check for Jerusalem and whilst Condes isn't the fighter he once was he is still a whole different universe to Jerusalem's previous opposition.
Another fighter moving up in a similar manner is Elmo Traya (10-1, 8) who faces former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-11-1, 8). Traya is currently on a 9 fight winning streak however this sees him stepping up to a level that he hasn't even come close to in the past. Jakosalem has seen better days but is still heavy handed and isn't a push over, despite 3 losses in his last 4.
Another really intriguing bout is the debut of 28 year Singaporean amateur stand out Muhamad Ridhwan (0-0) who faced unbeaten local Melchor Roda (3-0, 3). This look like an interesting match up on paper and although Roda hasn't faced a fighter of any note yet he may see this as a chance to get a notable win under his belt. For Ridhwan this is a check of his professional ability straight from the off. A really good looking match up.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines will be taking place in Metro Manila and will feature a number of promising fighters taking part in what appears to be mismatches.
The main event will see the once beaten Randy Braga (17-1-1, 4), who was really unlucky to actually suffer that loss in South Africa, defending the GAB Featherweight title against the experienced but limited Danilo Pena (27-22-4, 11). Pena has been around the block but has gone 1-10-2 in his last 13 bouts and is unlikely to pose a threat to Braga, who is genuine a promising fighter. Although Braga should win we can't see this one ending in a stoppage given that Braga is a proven survivor with just a couple of stoppage losses in his 53 fight career.
The support bout features another once beaten fighter, Rene Patilano (14-1-2, 7) battling against the limited Jopher Marayan (7-8-2, 3) in what looks like a foregone conclusion over 10 rounds. That bout is one of two 10-round bouts with the other being a contest between the feather fisted Jay Loto (10-0-1) and the testing Vincent Bautista (4-3-3, 1), interestingly this could be a solid test for Loto.
Busan, South Korea
In Busan the KBC will be sanctioning an 8 bout card, headlined by a KBC title fight and supported by two bouts featuring international fighters.
The title bout will see defending KBC 140lb champion Woo Shin Kim (6-1-3, 2) battle against Dong Hee Kim (4-1-1, 1)*. This looks like a well matched bout on paper and sees the champion return to fighting his homeland following a draw in Vietnam against Nguyen Ngoc Hai last October.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Dong Hoon Yook (8-0, 4)* battle against well travelled Indonesian Hero Tito (11-9-1, 3),who adds Korea the list of countries where he has fought. Although not a top fighter Tito has mixed in decent company, and actually fought Ik Yang to a majority decision and is 1-1-1 with countryman Roy Mukhlis. Notably Yook is the current KBC Lightweight champion and seems to be viewed as one of their most promising fighters so it's hard to see him losing this one.
The other notable international bout sees the exciting Hyun Woo Yuh (2-0, 2)* battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (14-8-2, 3). The visitor is 2-6 in his last 8 bouts and whilst he has mixed with better fighters than Yuh it is hard to see him over-coming the Korean youngster, who does appear to be genuinely heavy handed.
In the US fans get another chance to see the best of the active Korean fighters, Min Wook Kim (14-1, 11). The once beaten “Snyper” will be facing off against Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (17-8, 10) and it's hard to see this being anything other than another easy win for the Korean, who has needed just 7 rounds to see off his last 3 foes. Hopefully another impressive performance here will see Kim move towards getting a real chance to prove himself against a worthy adversary.
On a card in Australia we'll see a peculiar 5 rounder as the win-less Sarawut Patsawatho (0-2), originally from Thailand, faces James Katz (3-1, 1). It's unlikely that Sarawut will claim his first win here, especially given that this is his first boxing contest in over 2 years, but we suspect he will put up a solid effort Katz, who was beaten last time out.
*Records taken from the KBC, boxrec list Dong Hee Kim as being 1-0-1, Dong Hoon Yook as being 4-0 (3) and Hyun Woo Yuh as being 4-0 (4). Strangly Yuh's 4-0 (4) is probably right with the KBC not recognising two bouts he fought outside of their control.
The biggest card of the day is a special card courtesy of WOWOW who will be showing the card as part of a free day for the channel. The card featured a couple of big main events in what could potentially feature one of the most exciting bouts of the year.
In one of the main events fans will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (3-0-1, 26) battle against all-action warrior Koki Eto (17-3-1, 13) in a bout that could potentially be a FOTY contender. Eto, who is as fun to watch as any other fighter out there, is going to be the under-dog against the unbeaten champion but he's naturally the taller man and has shown his ability to make a fight of any bout. Cuadras will go into this one as the favourite but will have to expect the unexpected from the challenger in what could be an all-out war.
The other co-main bout will see Yu Kimura (17-2-1, 3) attempt to claim an unlikely world title as he faces WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (26-1-1, 17) in a very tough bout for the challenger. Kimura is a former Japanese champion looking to climb the proverbial global summit but it's hard to see how he beats the talented Guevara, who actually returns to Japan for the first time since winning his title there, last December.
Sadly apart from the two main bouts, this show is relatively slim on the under-card.
A second Japanese card comes from Kagoshima where fans will get the chance to see Naoya Haruguchi (7-6, 2) face off against Takayuki Teraji (6-8-1, 3) in a Light Flyweight bout. The fight, scheduled for 8 rounds, is the highlight of another wise forgettable card featuring 7 undercard bouts, all set for 4 rounds.
The most exciting of several Filipino shows is a card from ALA which will feature several very notable names, including some world class fighters and one of the most promising prospects that the country has seen in recent years.
Sadly we've not had the full bout sheet for this card, though it seems like AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22) will be facing Emilio Norfat (25-6, 19) in one of the main bouts. This should be an easy win for “Bazooka” but the Tanzanian visitor will be looking to score an upset and won't travel with the intention of just making up the numbers.
Others scheduled for this card include Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (1-0, 1) who is expected to be in a 6 rounder as well as former world title challengers Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2, 20), Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) and Milan Melindo (32-2, 12). Sadly we've not been given the opponents for any of those 4 men.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show will see former OPBF title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) attempt to end a 2 fight losing streak as he takes on the unbeaten Jelbirt Gomera (10-0, 6) in an interesting 10 round bout. For Geraldo this is the first bout since he lost a clear decision to Takuma Inoue, for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, whilst the relatively unproven Gomera will be stepping up massively. It's a good match in many ways but one that seems designed to get Geraldo back on the winning track.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another notable Filipino fighter in action is the talented, and under-rated Randy Braga (16-1-1, 3) who will be up against yet another “yet to be named” opponent.
Another show in the Philippines will be headlined by the promising Arnel Baconaje (3-0, 3) who will face another of the un-named opponents that seem to be scheduled for action this coming weekend.
In South Africa fans will be able to see under-rated Filipino Renz Rosia (12-3, 6) battle against former IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane (31-2, 20) in a bout for the IBO Flyweight title. The bout is a very tough ask for Rosia though he did show his ability earlier this year when he pushed Makazole Tete all the way in a controversial loss, and with a recent win over Renan Trongco there is a great chance that Rosia could score a career defining upset against the talented but inactive Mthalane.
Where we have had some interesting days already this month we see things go on to a totally new gear on July 11th with the Philippines really dominating a very, very active day.
The best of the shows comes from Cebu where ALA will be running the next in the “Pinoy Pride” cards. Not only is the card a “big name” one but it features a little bit of everything from a recognised champion in a really exciting match up to action involving touted prospects and a major debut for a man tipped as a future Filipino star.
The main event is the world title bout which sees long term WBO Light Flyweight kingpin Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) defends his belt against former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11). This is a genuinely mouth watering match up between arguably the best, and most proven, fighter in the division and one of the most promising and battle hardened young fighters on the planet. Credit to both men for getting this one sorted.
In the co-feature we'll see the much touted Mark Magsayo (10-0, 8) attempt to claim his first title. The talented Filipino will be up against Mexico's Rafael Reyes (16-4, 12) in a bout for the IBF Youth Featherweight title. Magsayo has, generally, impressed but this is a much more significant bout than his previous 10 and we expect to learn something new of the 20 year old here.
Whilst Magsayo is the most touted prospect on the card there is a lot of attention being given to Kevin Jake Cataraja (0-0) who makes his professional debut against Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). From what we've been told the 20 year old Cataraja is expected to progress quickly through the ranks and could find himself in the same position as Magsayo within the the next year or two.
One other prospect on this card worthy of a mention is the heavy handed Vic Saludar (9-1, 7) who has failed to live up to expectation so far. The once touted Saludar will be up against Michael Kaibigan (3-2-2, 2).
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we have a number of intriguing matches with more Filipino's including a match up that may go down as the best domestic Filipino bout of the year, the card will also feature a pair of former world title challengers and a GAB title fight.
The match up we most like is a 10 round bout for the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title between the unbeaten Jhaleel Payao (11-0, 6) and Michael Dasmarinas (20-2, 13). We've been impressed in the past by Dasmarinas who looked fantastic beating Hayato Kimura last year ans was very unlucky against Lwandile Sityatha. As for Payao he's impressed in sessions working with Ryosuke Iwasa and the reports are that he's a very promising young prospect. We really cannot say enough good words about this one.
Another WBC strap will be on the line as former world title challenger Richard Claveras (12-1-2, 12) looks to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council title against Benezer Alolod (16-7-5, 5). This will be Claveras's first bout since his loss, in a WBC world title fight, to Pedro Geuvara back in April and this is a tough return to action, despite Alolod not holding the most impressive of records.
A third title bout is for the GAB Super Flyweight title as Rene Dacquel (14-4-1, 5) defends his title against Jonas Sultan (8-2, 5). On paper it's hard to side with Sultan but he has looked good recently with 4 straight wins, 3 by T/KO, and was unlucky in his most recent loss. Whilst it's not the best match up on the card it certainly isn't a bad one.
A final title but here will see Rey Juntilla (20-6-4, 13) trading blows with Danilo Pena (26-21-4, 11) for the vacant LuzProBA Featherweight title. We've got to admit we can't see a win for Pena who is now little more than a domestic journeyman, and is 3 years removed from his last win. Juntilla may go on to achieve something more notable, given he is just 25, but we can't see him progressing to the levels that he'd like to get to.
One final bout of note here will see former world title challenger Ardin Diale (28-9-3, 14) take on Indonesian veteran Heri Amol (35-23-4, 14). From what we understand Diale is awaiting to get a shot at the OPBF Flyweight title and will know that a win here really will put him within touching distance of a shot later in the year. It does need saying Amol has lost his last 9, including a defeat to the then debuting Ken Shiro, but is still a decent enough journeyman to get Diale some good rounds.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show really looks very exciting with some fantastic match ups on a more domestic level.
The most promising fighter on the card is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (12-0, 6), who will be fighting for the first time since his tragic bout with Brayd Smith. The unbeaten Moralde has been matched easily here against William George (10-22, 3) in what should be an easy win, but that allows Moralde's handlers to know where he's at in terms of his mental state.
Another very touted young fighter on this card is 20 year old Jade Bornea (3-0, 2), who holds a notable amateur victory over Kosei Tanaka. Bornea will be facing his stiffest test to date as he goes up against fellow unbeaten Salatiel Amit (6-0-2, 4) in what looks to be a very well matched bout. Jade's brother Jake Bornea (9-1, 4) is also in a very good looking bout as he takes on Richard Rosales (9-2-2, 4) in a bout for the WBC Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Jake is highly tipped, like his brother, though it's hard to overlook his 2014 loss to Raymond Tabugon.
One other prospect worthy of note from this card is Jelbirt Gomera (8-0, 5) takes on the highly experienced, though limited Prell Tupaz (8-27-5, 1) in a bout for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. Gomera hasn't received the plaudits of many others but has slowly carved out a promising record and a title win here will almost certainly move him onto bigger fights.
Whilst this card doe feature a lot of prospects one bout stands out as being a truly mouth watering clash. That bout pits former world title challenger Vergilio Silvano (20-4-1, 12) takes on the talented Jetro Pabustan (25-2-6, 7). On paper this is a brilliant fight with the winner almost certainly being moved towards a bigger and better fight whilst the loser will hover around the top of the domestic scene.
It's not in the Philippines that we have a world title as fight fans in Germany get the chance to see WBA Heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20) defending his title against German based Italian born fighter Francesco Pianeta (31-1-1, 17). On paper this looks mouth watering but in fairness Chagaev is not the fighter he once was and Pianeta was made to look like a journeyman in his last notable bout, a 6th round TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Although it's a “heavyweight title fight” it's hard to see anyone even pretending that this features 2 of the divisions top fighters.
One final bout comes from Mexico as Filipino Jhon Gemino (12-3-1, 5) takes on the touted and unbeaten Andres Gutierrez (31-0-1, 22). This is a huge task for Gemino, who has clearly been brought in to lose, but we can't criticise him for taking the fight.
(Image courtesy of ALA Boxing)