New York, USA
The biggest show this coming weekend comes from New York and features a trio of Central Asian fighters in notable bouts.
The biggest of those bouts will see Kazakh legend Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35) battle against Ukrainian foe Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10) for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. The hard hitting Golovkin is seen as being past his best, but is still favoured to pick up the win here against the technically well schooled Derevyanchenko. The title, which was vacated when Saul Alvarez's team failed to reach a deal with Derevyanchenko, will give the winner a bargaining chip for a unification bout next year, but will leave the loser in a really awful position. Our full preview of this fight can be read here Golovkin and Derevyanchenko clash for IBF crown!
The fast rising Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3), from Ukraine, will be fighting in his 4th professional bout as he takes on Alejandro Barrera (29-5,18). On paper this is another solid match up for Madrimov, but in reality it's a notable step backwards for the Uzbek who should be expected to score a very clear win. Barrera's record looks good on paper but he has lost 3 of his last 4, was stopped by Errol Spence in 2015 and only has 1 win in the last 3 years, he has also been fighting at Welterweight. The one thing Barrera does, perhaps, have going for him is that he's only been stopped once but inactivity, natural size disadvantage and poor form doesn't bode well against a fighter like Madrimov.
Kazakh Super Middleweight Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) is also on this card, where he will be taking on 33 year old American Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2-1, 9). The experienced Hernandez has mixed in good company, but losses to the likes of Caleb Plant, Jesse Hart and Ahmed Elbiali do show his limitations. Saying that Hernandez has been a banana skin through his career for prospects and will be a really good test for Akhmedov. The 24 year old Kazakh is climbing through the rankings well and this is a brilliant bit of match making for him. We expect Akhmedov to win, but we expect to see him needing to earn the victory.
Whilst New York has a big card there is also a really interesting one in Japan, where Tokyo plays host to the next Dynamic Glove show, though sadly it won't be aired live on G+ and is instead set for a tape delay broadcast.
The main event here sees Japanese youngster Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) take a huge step up in class as he takes on former world champion Milan Melindo (37-4, 13) in a really interesting 10 round contest. Nakatani has looked brilliant coming through the ranks, but has, for the most part, faced smaller opponents and limited opposition. Here we still see him up against a smaller foe, but an experience and skilled opponent with world class experience. Melindo will be going up in weight for this, and will feel he has the experience to deal with Nakatani. This is a really major bout on the regional scene, and we suspect that the winner here will end up fighting for a world title in 2020. A full preview of this fight can be read here Nakatani takes on former world title challenger Melindo!
On paper the chief support bout looks like a massive mismatch, with Korean visitor Kyung Min Kwon (7-5, 3) taking on 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (34-2-2, 22). On paper this should be an easy win for Akaho, who has the clear edge in power and experience however Kwon is the naturally bigger fighter and the younger man and will be in the ring looking to score an upset. Kwon enters the bout as the interim Korean champion and managed to last 8 rounds last year with Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF Featherweight title fight. Kwon is tough and could well frustrate Akaho, though we do expect Akaho to pick up the win.
A really good looking support bout will see Filipino Robin Langres (10-3, 4) take on under-rated Japanese local Ikuro Sadatsune (9-4-3, 3) in what has the potential to be a thriller. The 23 year old Langres is making his international debut here, and comes into the bout on the back of his second win against Jomar Fajardo, but he was beaten last year by Jason Buenaobra. Sadatsune has lost twice already this year, though both of those bouts were razor thin and against against well regarded fighters Kenshin Oshima and Sho Ishida. This could be a very hotly contest and exciting back and forth battle. For those interested in learning more about Sadatsune he was recently covered in a recent "Introducing" article Introducing... Ikuro Sadatsune
Also on this card is the debuting, but very highly touted, Shigetoshi Kotari (0-0) who kicks off his professional career against Lasben Sinaba (3-2, 3), from Indonesia. As an amateur Kotari fought over 70 professional bouts and has already impressed in sparring since turning professional. He's expected to show case his skills here, but Sinaba has been stopped in both of his losses and we see him being taken out again here and it may only be a short showcase for the Japanese debutant.
Going back to the US we'll see Kazakh heavyweight Izim Izbaki (2-0, 1) take on the win-less Troy Albring (0-2). The 24 year old Izbaki is worth making a note of, as he rises through the ranks, but this is little more than a fight to help him adapt to professional boxing. Albring has been blown in the opening round of both his previous fights and we're expecting the same to happen again here.
Also in the US will be Chinese Light heavyweight Fanlong Meng (15-0, 9), who faces Gilberto Rubio (9-8, 6), in a stay busy fight whilst he awaits his shot at the IBF Light Heavyweight title.
This coming Monday attention turns to Japan as Ohashi put on their next notable show, headlined by an OPBF title fight and featuring several fighters of note on the supporting card.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (5-0, 5) defending his title, for the second time, against Korean challenger Kyung Min Kwon (6-3, 3). The 2012 Olympic Bronze medal winner has been fast tracked like few before him, even for the often fast tracked Japanese, and won the OPBF title after just 13 months as a professional. He made his first defense back in December and will be looking to score his third win in less than 6 months as he takes on Kwon. The Korean challenger is a bit of an unknown, though his record doesn't suggest he'll be much of a threat for the heavy handed Japanese fighter, who is expected to get a world title fight by the end of 2018.
The chief support bout will see former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (25-6, 13) take on Indonesian foe Frans Damur Palue (15-18-2, 10) in a bout at Super Flyweight, as Yaegashi chases a 4th world title. For the popular Yaegashi this will be his first bout since he lost the IBF Light Flyweight title inside a round to Milan Melindo last May. He's moving up 7lbs from that loss, though the general feeling is that he's pretty much a spent force as a fighter, after having had a career of wars. Palue is expected to lose, and to be stopped, but given how much damage Yaegashi has taken through his career, this could be his chance to score a career defining victory, and retire the very exciting Yaegashi. The visitor is the naturally bigger fighter, the younger man, and although the far less skilled he has a chance to define his career here.
Shimizu isn't the only fast rising unbeaten fighter on this card, as OPBF and JBC ranked Light Welterweight Koki Inoue (10-0, 9) is also on the card. Sadly the talented, destructive, Inoue isn't yet getting his first title bout, but will instead be fighting in a stay busy bout against a Thai visitor. The plan seems to be based around keeping Inoue busy as he prepares for a Japanese title fight, likely later this year. Koki is the cousin of Naoya Inoue and Takuma Inoue, and like those two he is an excellent talent who really doesn't need any more easy bouts after this one, though in fairness he has already scored 3 very solid domestic level wins and is just staying busy here.
Another unbeaten prospect on this card will be former amateur standout Kazuki Nakajima (3-0, 2), who takes part in his first 8 round bout. The talented Japanese hopeful failed to shine last time out, narrowly over-coming Taiga Higashi, and will be up against a Thai novice here in what should be little more than a show case for Nakajima, who has a lot of talent, but can't be rushed in the way Shimizu was. Instead he's maybe 2 or 3 years away from a title fight.