This coming Friday is a busy day for Asian boxing, and there's a nice mix of fights across the globe. The most notable, for us, is in Thailand however as WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) looks to make his next, facing off with unbeaten Filipino ArAr Andales (10-0, 2). The talented Knockout, who has now scored 4 straight decision wins, will be fighting for the first time since November 2018, and will be hoping not to carry much ring rust into this bout. Andales on the other hand is a 19 year old who has already had a huge 2019, thanks to a massive win last time out against Cris Ganoza. This is a really interesting match up and one where the visitor can't be written, though will be the clear under-dog. We've previewed this bout here Unbeaten Andales looks to upset WBA champion Knockout
The second most compelling match up for the day comes from the US and will see us re-run the match up between Koki Eto (24-4-1-1, 19) and Jeyvier Cintron (10-0-0-1, 5), who had an opening round No Contest earlier in the year. Their first bout promised a lot, with Cintron using his speed and movement and Eto trying to use his power and, but ended in weird fashion following an accident headclash that left the touted Cintron stumbling around the ring. Whilst Cintron certainly looked the better boxer it's going to be very interesting to see how this rematch plays out. Our preview of this bout can be read here Eto and Cintron battle in rematch following No Contest
It's not just the bout in Florida that will see an Asian looking to pick up a win in the US but also Uzbek fighter Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-1, 13), who will be looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss Ronald Cruz. The 35 year old Hudaynazarov isn't in easy here easy, and will be taking on fellow once beaten fighter John Vera (18-1, 11), Vera, like Hudaynazarov, is coming in to this on the back of a loss but the American "Phenom" lost at fringe wold level to the excellent Michel Soro. On paper a very, very interesting match up, but one where we feel the younger Vera will come out on top.
Back in Asia we get a small, but pretty interesting card in Japan.
The main event of the card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing with Lightweight hopeful Kei Iwahara (10-6, 5) taking on former Light Welterweight title challenger Vladimir Baez (24-5-2, 22). On paper this looks like a straight forward win for Baez, other wise known as Destino Japan, given his better record and natural size but Baez has has lost his last two and is without a win in well over a year. At 35 Baez may well be a shot fighter. The 28 year old Iwahara is a long way from a world beater, and is 4-3 in his last 7, but has piclked up good domestic wins over Daiki Ichikawa and Mao Kawanishi.
In another really interesting match up we see young southpaws collide as Japan's Kento Yabusaki (7-2-1, 5) takes on Filipino Michael Mendoza (9-1-2, 3). Both of these men are 21 year olds and although neither is a bit name both have shown some solid promise at this stage. Yabusaki reached the Rookie of the Yearfinal in 2017, losing to Joe Shiraishi in the final, and has bounced back with 3 straight wins against progressive better competition. That progress looks to continue here against Mendoza. Mendoza on the other hand has won 4 in a row, and took the PBF Flyweight last time out. It's worth noting that Mendoza has been picking up his wins at a lower level than Yabusaki but does have the small edge in experience.
Another noteworthy fight on this card is the talented, but light punching Joe Tanooka (15-6-5, 1), who faces against Naoto Mizutani (5-6-2, 2) in a rematch of a technical draw they had in May. On paper this is a huge mismatch but we expect it to be pretty competitive. The 25 year old Tanooka has picked up just a since victory in his last 5, going 1-3-1 and he's had a really tough career so far. Mizutani on the other hand can score upsets, as he did against Mirai Imagawa, and can be a good test against light punchers, as we saw in February against Fumiya Fuse. This could be far better than the records suggest.
In Australia we'll see Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (33-20-3, 18) continue his incredibly long career. The 35 year old Indonesian, who has lost his last 4 and 8 of his last 10, will be expected to come up short again here as he takes on the unbeaten Mark Schleibs (11-0, 7). It's hard to know how good Schleibs is, given the level of his competition so far, but it's hard to imagine anything but an easy win here for the unbeaten man.
This coming Friday out attention turns to Russia for the next RCC card, which features several notable fighters from across Asia.
One of those is Russian based Tajik Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (12-0, 8), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten 23 year old will be up against experienced Mexican Emanuel Lopez (29-9-1, 13), who has had mixed success in recent years, losing 3 of his last 5. If Yaqubov is as good as he has looked in recent bouts then we'd expect him to win here, and take a huge step towards a potential world title eliminator later in the year.
Unbeaten Uzbek fighter Ravshanbek Umurzakov (6-0, 5) had an interesting 2018, going 5-0 (4) but having a big asterisks over his biggest win, a 58 second victory over Eden Sonsona who looked like he didn't want to be in the ring. Umurzakoz will be up against Filipino Rimar Metuda (12-4-1, 7), who has proven himself as durable, though is 2-4-1 in his last 7 and is 0-3-1 outside of the Philippines. We suspect Metuda will put up a good effort against the Uzbek, but not really test him.
Unbeaten Kazakh Stanislav Kalitskiy (6-0, 3) will be risking his unbeaten record against Filipino Venson Delopere (6-3-4, 2). The 21 year old Kalitskiy scored 3 wins last year, including a notable one against Jestoni Autida, but it's unclear what he can really do in the ring and he should be tested here. Delopere is a 23 year old who has proven tricky to beat, but is winless outside of the Philippines. This should be a good test for Kalitskiy and we wouldn't be surprised to see him struggle at times with the Filipino.
Another Filipino on this card is Arnold Garde (10-6-3, 4), who will be up against unbeaten Russian fighter Mekhdi Abdurashedov (5-0, 2). The Russian really impressed last time out, stopping Filipino Prince Andrew Lauro in 5 rounds, and this bout seems to be a good step up for him. Garde has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, but is going to have travelled with some ambition. Sadly for Garde we don't question his desire, but we do doubt he has the skills to handle Abdurashedov
In Hungary fans a bout is scheduled between Russian born Azeri Roman Zakirov (8-0, 7) and Mexican foe Daniel Vega Cota (13-2-1, 10). The unbeaten Zakirov is a 22 year old who only turned professional a year ago but has been ultra active, with fights in Uzbekistan, Georgia and Russia and now looks to add Hungary to passport. Cota on the other hand has only fought outside of Mexico once and should be easy enough for the Azeri, given he has been stopped in both of his losses.
In Thailand we'll see unbeaten Thai hopeful Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (10-0, 4) battle against experienced Filipino Crison Omayao (24-18-4, 8) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title. This bout will be the Thai's first at 108lbs and it's hoped that he will show what he can really do at the new weight after looking less than great at Minimumweight.
A second title bout on this show will see Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (4-2, 2) take on Japanese fighter Umi Ishikawa (7-2, 5) for the OPBF silver Female Minimumweight title. This is a low key bout but the winner should find themselves moving towards some bigger and better fights in the near future.
Interestingly this Thai card will also feature Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) and Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) playing some part in the show, though the specifics of their appearances seem to be an exhibition or a live public training event rather than any kind of fight.
London, United Kingdom
In London we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Sultan Zaurbek (3-0, 2) take a small step up in class as he takes on Lyuben Todorov (6-3, 2). The unbeaten prospect will be facing his first opponent with a winning record, but the Bulgarian is 0-3 outside of Bulgaria and isn't expected to be much of a threat for Zaurbek, who is scheduled to fight again a week later.
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.
The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
A rare mid-week Thai show will take place this coming Tuesday in Chonburi as WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (16-0, 7) defends his title against Filipino challenger Toto Landero (10-1-2, 2). The unbeaten champion won the WBA in the summer of 2016, when he out pointed Byron Rojas, and has racked up 3 defenses, including a mandatory last July against the hard hitting Rey Loreto. Whilst Knockout is well known by fans of the little men there is little to really go on in regards to 22 year old challenger Landero. The Filipino made his debut in 2013 and went unbeaten in his first 10 bouts before suffering an upset loss to Joey Canoy in 2016. Since then however he has score back-to-back wins, including a decision over Vic Saludar, to earn this shot.
It's worth noting that this bout was originally supposed to take place last year, before the bout got cancelled with an expected showdown between Knockout and Xiong Zhao Zhong planned. That got scrapped and caused this bout to essentially be rescheduled for early 2018.
Every so often we get a fight that has the ingredients to be a FOTY contender, and obvious looking one. One where the fighters just have the explosive styles that should gel, and the mentality to put on a real show. That's this case this coming Saturday when WBC Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (31-1, 28) defends against mandatory challenger Takashi Miura (31-3-2, 24), himself a former champion. Both of these fighters have legitimate lights out power, both are flawed and both should come together to give us a bout to remember at the end of the year. Despite the excitement of something special there is also the possibility that this could be a blink and you miss it fight. Whether it's long drawn out war, or a quick blitz, there is no way this one is going to be dull.
On the under-card we'll see once touted Filipino Mercito Gesta (30-1-2, 16) take on Mexican veteran Martin Honorio (33-10-1, 16) in what could be an thriller. Although one touted really highly Gesta has failed to build on his potential and has seen his career plagued by inactivity and long lay off's. Here he cannot afford a set back against a tough and ready fighter looking to get his career back on track. Honorio is a 2-time world title challenger but has won just one of his last 5 fights, going back almost 5 years,and he would really have to turn the clock back to beat Gesta.
Before all the action in California we'll have a world title fight in Thailand as WBA Minimumweight kingpin Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) defends his title against mandatory challenger Rey Loreto (23-13, 15) in what could, potentially, be the under-the-radar fight of the year. On paper it looks like a mismatch in favour of the unbeaten champion, who has notched up a number of strong wins. However Loreto is much better than his record suggests and has scored some really impressive wins himself, including wins over Wisanu Kokietgym, Pornsawan Popramook, Nkosinathi Joyi and Koji Itagaki, all on the road. This could be something very specia
March is set to be an amazingly busy month, and there is no delay as we kick off the month with a WBA Minimumweight title fight. That fight will see defending champion Knockout CP Freshmart (14-0, 6) battle against Japanese challenger Go Odaira (13-5-3, 1), with Odaira looking to secure a world title in his third world title shot. The unbeaten champion, who had a great 2016 with wins over Carlos Buitrago, Byron Rojas and Shin Ono will be looking to make his second defense of the title and solidify his standing as one of the elite Minimumweight. On paper this should be a straight forward win for Knockout who will likely be looking for bigger fish than Odaira later in the year.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the world title fight in Thailand there will also be a show in Seoul, courtesy of Boxing M.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Ji Soo Jung (3-0, 1) battle against Ma Roo Jung (6-4-1, 2) in the final of the Boxing M Welterweight competition. Interestingly these two men fought last December, with Ji Soo Jung taking a competitive 4 round decision over his foe, and he'll be looking to do the same again here in an attempt to extend his unbeaten record. The more experience Ma Roo Jung impressed last time out, when he destroyed Doo Hyup Kim, and will be looking to avenge his December defeat here.
In a supporting bout we'll see Joon Yong Lee (5-4-4, 3) take on Gyu Won Lee (4-1-1, 2) in a 6 rounder. Although this bout doesn't look remarkable on paper it is worth noting that Joon Yong Lee holds a draw with OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson, and in fact deserved a win over Tyson when the two men fought last year. Gyu Won Lee started his career 0-1-1 but has subsequently won 4 in a row to get his career on track.
Another 6 rounder will see Bum Kyoo Lee (2-1) face off with O Gon Kwon (4-1-1, 4) in an interesting match up. Lee impressed in his first two bouts before suffering a razor thin loss to Doo Hyup Kim in January. As for Kwon he was beaten on his debut in February 2016 but has since gone 4-0-1 and appears to be a solid puncher, with 4 stoppages already at this sort of level
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
On Tuesday Japanese fans will get a trio of female title fights at the Korakuen Hall. Just a day later attention turns to Thailand where we get a male world title fight, and continue to move towards the really end of year bouts.
That title bout will see WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (13-0, 6) take on Japan's Shin Ono (19-7-3, 3). The unbeaten Thai will be fighting for the first time since unifying the WBA and WBA interim titles, back in June, and will be looking to end the year as one of the stand out Minimumweights. Whether he's the best in the division or not is open to debate but he's certainly in the mix thanks to notable wins over Nicaraguan pair Byron Rojas and Carlos Buitrago. Ono is best known for coming up short in an IBF title fight against Katsunari Takayamabut has gone 2-1-1 since that loss, with both setbacks coming at Japanese domestic level. It's hard to see Knockout losing here but it's good to see him in the ring again before the end of the year.
On the under-card will be another Japan Vs Thailand bout as former 2-time world title challenger Go Odaira (12-5-3, 1) returns from March's stoppage loss to Wanheng Menayothin to battle Fahpituck Por Pakdee (6-1, 3). Odaira will know that anything but a win here could finish off his career which has failed to really live up to the potential it once showed.
In Japan Misako will be putting on a lowl level card.
The main event of the show will see Masajiro Honda (6-7, 4) battle against Shun Shimazaki (7-8-1, 2) in an 8 rounder. Both of these guys are struggling, with both having won just 2 of their last 6, but together they should make for a hotly contested and very interesting match up that should rovides some thrills for the fans in attendance.
Whilst the main event isn't anything great it's hard not to be excited about the chief support bout which will see Itsuki Tomioka (0-0) battle Tatsuki Shinozuka (0-0) in an all-debut 6 rounder. To be licensed to fight in a 6 rounder a Japanese fighter needs a B license, which should automatically mean that they have managed to prove their ability to the JBC. It's worth noting that fighters who begin in 6 rounders typically have solid amateur backgrounds, or backgrounds form other combat sports, and have developed an understanding of the fight game. As a result we're actually quite excited about this bout despite neither man having had a professional bout before
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Attention turns back to Thailand this week with a card from Khon Kaen which has a genuine fantastic looking Minimumweight title bout, as well as two notable fighters in supporting bouts.
In the main event we see a really mouth watering match up as unbeaten Thai Knockout CP Freshmart (12-0, 6) faces Nicaraguan fighter Byron Rojas (17-2-3, 8) for the WBA Minimumweight title. Coming in to this one Knockout is the interim champion whilst Rojas is the “real champion”, saying that however this will only be Rojas's second world title bout whilst Freshmart will be in his 5th “world” title bout. For Rojas the bout will be a chance to build on his upset win over Hekkie Budler whilst Knockout finally gets his shot at the main WBA title.
In a supporting bout Thailand's touted Palangpol CP Freshmart (11-1, 7) will be in a stay busy bout against Filipino foe Vincent Bautista (4-4-3, 1). Bautista was stopped last time he was in Thailand, losing in 5 rounds to Petch Sor Chitpattana and we expect something similar here with Palangpol almost certainly being too heavy handed for the visitor.
One other notable bout on this card will see the highly experienced Noknoi Sitthiprasert (57-4, 35) battle against Samuel Tehuayo (19-37-2, 4), in what is surprisingly their first contest against each other. Coming in to this one the Indonesian warrior will be the clear under-dog whilst the Thai seeks a 57th straight win!
We may have lacked notable action in January but February promises to be a much more active month and we get notable action from the off with a major show this coming Thursday.
In the main event we get a rematch as local favourite Knockout CP Freshmart (11-0, 6) faces off against exceptional Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (28-1-1-1, 16) in a bout for the WBA Flyweight title. These two met, for the interim title, back in October 2014 and had a really competitive and close bout. We're expecting another close one here with the two men being well matched and having very different skill sets. It wouldn't be a shock to again see the bout decided by the judges and it wouldn't be surprising for the loser to feel hard done by.
Whilst the main event is brilliant the under-card is also littered with notable fighters with bouts announced for former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (37-3, 23), who is expected to be in a regional title bout, former world title challenger Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (47-2, 29) and former world champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (58-1-1, 23). Sadly however we're unsure who those men are fighting on what is set to be a 3 hour telecast.