Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
It's fair to say that 2015 has been incredibly slow to get going. We have had shows and fights but so far it's been a bit stop-start with the only notable bout for Asian fights in January being the OPBF Super Featherweight title bout between Jomthong Chuwatana and Daiki Kaneko. Thankfully however things are set to change, in a big way, throughout a very exciting looking February.
Technically the month started a few days ago however really begins today with the first world title bout of the month and several youth title fights as things get underway in impressive fashion.
In the main event fans will see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (36-0, 12) defending his belt for the first time as he goes up against the little known Jeffrey Galero (11-0, 5). Last time out we saw Wanheng over-come Oswaldo Novoa to win the title and prove he could step up to fight at world level, this time around the shoe is on the other foot and it's Galero looking to prove he belongs at this level. For Galero it's a huge opportunity however it's hard to see him over-coming the more experienced and proven Menayothin here.
Notably the winner of the Menayothin/Galero bout is expected to be made a seriously big financial offer to travel to Japan and defend the belt against Kosei Tanaka in April. That incentive could well be enough for both men to really go out and make a statement here.
In one of two supporting titles bouts fans will see the much touted Kongputorn CPFreshmart (5-0, 3)* defending his WBC Youth Flyweight title against Chinese visitor Zhang Fang Yon (0-1). We like Kongputorn, a lot, and suspect he'll make a good impression again here as he continues his rise through the boxing ranks. It may seem early to say this but we suspect Kongputorn will be a world champion somewhere down the line.
The other supporting title bout will see Chanachai Cp Freshmart (1-0, 1) defending his WBC Youth Minimumweight title against the much more experienced Wilber Andogan (10-17-4, 4). We'll be honest this looks like an amazing test on paper for Chanchai and it's clear his team have serious belief in him. We expect a win from the Thai however we also expect to see him have a few hairy moments en route to retaining his title.
In a monster mismatch fans will also get the chance to see the talented and highly experienced Noknoi Sitthiprasert (51-4, 30) battle against the win-less Mongkol Patanakan Gym (0-7). Coming into this bout Noknoi has one of, it not the, longest winning run in boxing with 50 successive wins dating back to 2005 and we suspect it'll continue here.
One final bout on this card is expected to feature former world title challenger Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (42-2, 24) who is said to be hunting a world title fight later in the year. The 30 year old southpaw is facing a yet to be announce opponent and will be hunting his 7th straight win since being narrowly beaten in Japan by the then WBA Bantamweight champion Koki Kameda back in April 2013.
*Boxrec refuse to acknowledge Kongputorn's debut win over Veeradej Manoprungroj, which can be seen here
For the second day running we get Rookie of the Year East bouts as we get the second set of semi final contests. As with the first batch of bouts we aren't going to cover every contest for the upcoming show but instead a selection of the ones we feel stand out, though for those interested the show will feature a total of 12 contests with bouts taking place in every division from Minimumweight to Middleweight, barring Light Middleweight.
At Flyweight we'll get the chance to see 20 year old destroyer Naoki Mochizuki (5-0, 4) ply his skills against fellow unbeaten 20 year old Sonin Nihei (4-0-1, 1). This is one of those outstandingly even, on paper, matches that we get thrown by the Rookie of the Year competitions every year and something worth looking forward to if you have tickets to the show.
In the Welterweight division fans will get the chance to see the tall and powerful Hiroki Ashizawa (2-0, 2) battle against Teiken's very young Masaya Tamayama (3-0, 3). Going on the records of the two men involved here this bout may not go the distance and although their is 8 years difference between the men involved they will know that the division, domestically, is wide open for the winner to progress through quickly.
We've also got to admit that the Middleweight bout is thoroughly under-whelming with Naoya Kaneko (3-2, 3) fighting against Asahi Hatsumi (3-1, 1). This really shows the lack of depth at Middleweight, unfortunately this is the final bout on the show and the winner will progress to the Rookie of the East final later in the year.
Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan we will also get fights in Thailand, in fact the fights in Thailand are somewhat more significant than the Japanese contests and will be shown on Channel 7.
The main event here will see former world title challenger Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (40-2, 23), best known for his loss to Koki Kameda, battle against Indonesian visitor Junior Bajawa (14-3, 7). Going in to the bout Bajawa is 0-3 in bouts outside of Indonesia and we'd be shocked if that run doesn't continue against the fringe world-level Panomroonglek. Our source has informed us that if Panomroomglek wins, which he really should, his promoter will attempt to get him a WBA world title fight later this year. Of course with the WBA employing their patented 3 world champion concept we're unsure which champion the Thai will attempt to line up though out feeling is Jamie McDonnell, the WBA "regular" champion, would be the preferred target.
In the chief support bout Kongputorn CPFreshmart (3-0, 2)* will be attempting to extend his winning run as he battles against Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai (10-2, 4), who was reportedly stopped in August by Tommy Seran in Indonesia. We'll be honest we really like Kongputorn and although this looks tough on paper it's likely to be a relative 1-sided bout with Kongputorn showing his class against an opponent who we don't think belongs in the ring with him
A third bout for this show will see Kaenpetch Sithmuangkan (8-4, 1) attempt to end a 2 fight losing streak as he takes on the win-less Chanachai Sor Siamchai (0-1) in a relatively meaningless bout.
*We know that Boxrec are missing one of Kongputorn's bouts, his contest with Veeradej Manoprungroj.
There isn't much action today, in fact from what we're aware there is actually just a single card from Japan.
The regular shows promoted by Ohashi Gym are the "Phoenix Battle" shows and this week sees the 50th edition of the Phoenix Battle, sadly though it is a weak one with no stand out bout though it does have some recognisable names on show.
The most recognisable name on the show is Ohashi's very own Ayaka Miyao (17-5-1, 2). Miyao, the WBA Atomweight champion, will be an over-whelming favourite to see off Yokfah Mor Krungthepthonburi (0-6) and in fact Miyao will actually be expected to score a stoppage. Talented, popular and energetic Miyao is a fun fighter to watch though this bout really is little more than a stay busy fight for the Japanese fighter who needs to be matched better next time out. Despite this being a mismatch we do suspect that Miyao is difficult to get bouts for especially at her weight of 102lbs and we we know this bout is being fought marginally above her usual fighting weight.
Whilst Miyao is the most notable name on the show, at least in our eyes, she is given a good run for her money by recent world title challenger Shin Ono (17-6-2, 2) who will be battling against unbeaten Thai novice Petchnamchai Sor Sakulwong (1-0, 1). For Ono this will be his first bout since falling short in an IBF Minimumweight world title challenge earlier this year and despite that loss, to Katsunari Takayama, we don't see him struggling the slightest here.
The remaining 7 bouts on the card all feature fighters from the Ohashi gym though none of them are particularly notable with the show being used to help those fighters get some experience. We understand why Ohashi has put this card together though we can't help but feel the main event should have been better. We have no problem with Miyao and Ono being on the card but it would have been nice to have seen either of them in with an opponent 2 or 3 steps up the ladder to what they are facing, especially with this being the 50th show under the Phoenix Battle banner.
We have recently been informed of a Thai card which will feature 2 bouts.
The most significant of those 2 bouts will see the unbeaten and well regarded Palangpol CP Freshmart (3-0, 3) moving into title fights for the first time. Palangol will be fighting against Filipino Joan Imperial (9-4-6, 4) in a battle for the currently vacant WBA Asia Light Flyweight title. Palangpol will rightly be favoured here and Imperial has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5 bouts, suggesting this really is a total mismatch.
In the shows other bout we've been told that Kongputorn CPFreshmart (2-0, 2) will be fighting against China's Zhu Yuan Kai (0-0) who we can't find on boxrec. This bout will also be a title bout as the men battle for the vacant WBC Youth Flyweight that was last defended by Morakot CP Freshmart more than a year ago.
*Kongputorn CPFreshmart is listed as 1-0 (1) on boxrec, we've observed 2 of his fights
It's been brought to our attention that the heavy handed Kanat Islam (17-0, 14) will be in action in Colombia. Islam, a Chinese-Kazakh will be fighting against Fidel Monterrosa Munoz (32-9-1, 26) in what should be one of Isalm's best tests since turning professional after the 2008 Olympics.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)