This Friday is set to be a relatively quiet one in the realms of Asian boxing, however there will be a relatively notable card in Singapore, with several fighters of interest being involved, several of whom meet in some really good match ups that deserve a lot more attention than they arelikely to get, sadly.
One of the most notable contest on this show will see local hopeful Muhamad Ridhwan (9-0, 7) battle under-rated Filipino Jeson Umbal (16-5, 11) for the vacant IBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title. The 30 year old local, known as “The Chosen Wan”, has impressed in recent fights,taking wins against the likes of Waldo Sabu, Fadhili Majiha and Nataneal Sebastian but this is a very big step up in class. Although Umbal's record might not look too impressive he is much better than the numbers suggest and is currently riding an 8 fight winning streak, including a win over Mark Anthony Geraldo. This really could be a very good match up, and promises a lot.
Another bout that promises a lot will see Filipino Michael Dasmarinas (27-2, 18) take on Frenchman Karim Guerfi (26-3-0-1, 8) for the lightly regarded International Boxing Organization World Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Dasmarinas is one of the many Filipino fighters who has been rising through the ranks without getting much attention from fans, but those in the sport are well away of his talent and he has been a sparring partner for the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka over the last few years. The Filipino is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak and is ranked by the WBC and WBO at Bantamweight. Guerfi on the other hand is enjoying his second reign as the European Bantamweight champion and is currently enjoying a 6 fight winning run, which includes notable wins over Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, Ryan Farag and Stephane Jamoye. The recent wins for Guerfi have put him into the WBC and IBF world rankings, and this essentially be a world title eliminator between these two talented, and under-rated fighters,
A third title bout will see Malaysian Muhammad Meeraj (6-2-1, 3) complete a trilogy with Chase Haley (5-2-1, 2) for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Heavyweight title. These two men fought back in May 2017 with Haley taking majority decision over Meeraj, in a bout that saw both men being dropped, a rematch in October resulted in a split decision draw and has left us with a third bout between the two men in just 11 months. Given the competitive nature of their first two bouts we won't complain much about this one, but do wonder if it's a case of the two fighting until Meeraj gets a win over his nemesis.
In a bout between unbeaten men, fans will see hard hitting Malaysian Keng Fai Hui (4-0, 4) take on Filipino born Singaporean Alexandrew David (4-0, 2) in what could be a very explosive fight. Hui has looked like a genuine puncher so far, needing just 9 rounds to defeat his first 4 opponents whilst David has notched a couple of opening round wins of his own. From the 8 combined wins of these fighters 4 have come in the first round, and 6 have come in the first 4.
One final bout of note will see John Hutchinson (12-2-3, 4) take on Indonesian veteran Larry Siwu (27-10, 23). Although relatively unknown Hutchinson, originally from Ireland, has been a bit of a boxing traveller fighting in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, the USA, Thailand, Australia and now Singapore. Siwu on the other hand has been fighting on the Asian scene through his career and has gone on to face some notable names in recent years, losing to the likes of Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Keita Obara and Sirimongkol Singwancha. This shouldn't be regarded in the same level of significance as the top bouts, but should still be a genuinely interesting fight, and one where Siwu has the edge in experience, but will be the naturally smaller man.
Chong Qing, China
The most notable action for us this coming Thursday takes place in Chong Qing, where fans will get 4 regional title fights and the ring return of a former world title challenger.
One of those bouts will see once beaten Chinese hopeful Peng Qu (12-1-1, 8) face off with Gasan Gasanov (14-5-1, 12) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Heavyweight title. The lanky Peng comes into this bout on the back of two opening round blow outs and will be looking to continue that run in his first 10 rounder. The 26 year old Gasanov also comes into the bout on the back of two blow out wins, but has been stopped in all 5 of his losses, including one in China earlier this year to Fanlong Meng.
In an IBF Pan Pacific Light Middleweight title fight fans will see Indonesian visitor Larry Siwu (26-9, 22) take on China's Tong Hui Li (9-1, 5). Of the two men it's Siwu who is much better known, and has shared the ring with the likes of Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Keita Obara, Sirimongkol Singwancha and Qudratillo Abduqaxorov. Although not a world class fighter Siwu is certainly well tested and has shown he can fight at a decent level. Although relatively unknown Li has shown some promise and has won his last 4, include his US debut. This is a big step up for the local, but a win will push him towards the rankings. This is an interesting bout, despite not being a big one.
In a battle of unbeaten fighters Kaisheng Fu (6-0, 1) will take on the heavy handed Yongqiang Yang (7-0, 6) for the WBO China Zone Light Welterweight title. The 30 year old Fu has won his last 2 bouts by very close decision and is rather lucky to still have a 100% winning record. The same cannot be said of Yang, who has only faced limited foes, but has typically blasted them out, including Indonesian journeyman Geisler AP who was stopped inside a round back in April.
Another WBO China Zone title bout takes place at Welterweight and will see Abulimiti Tuersunniyazi (4-1-1, 3) take on the unbeaten Youli Dong (9-0-1, 6). The 26 year old Tuersunniyazi has had mixed success recently, going 1-1-1 in his last 3 bouts and has yet to really shine. Dong on the other hand is unbeaten in 10, and has won his last 9, with 6 straight stoppages. It's worth noting that whilst Dong's record ticks the right boxes on paper, his competition is paper thin and he has only really fought novices.
Another notable bout will see 22 year old Filipino prospect Adam Diu Abdulhamid (11-4, 4) take on former world title challenger Ik Yang (19-2-0-1, 14). For the Filipino the bout is a huge step up, and he comes into the bout having lost 2 of his last 4, including an opening round blow out in Russia and a decision defeat in Thailand. Yang has lost his last 2, losing to Cesar Rene Cuenca and Leonardo Zappavigna, and his career looks like it's falling apart, though he will know this is a chance to get a much needed win, and another loss will likely be the end for the “Wild man”. This is a must win for both fighters, and could be a very entertaining contest, despite no title being on the line.
In the US fight fans will be able to see unbeaten Kazakh novice Yedil Kozhamberdiyev (1-0, 1) fight in his first 6 rounder. The Kazakh fighter will be up against 22 year old American Blake LaCaze (3-4-1, 1), who has had mixed results, and shouldn't prove to be any sort of a threat for Kozhamberdiyev.
For a second day running we get action in Jinan, and for a second day running that action is headlined by a Chinese fighter taking on an Indonesian foe. This time around it will be the big punching Ainiwaer Yilixiati (10-1, 8) defending the Chinese honour as he takes on Skax Max (8-15, 7). The once beaten local lost last time out, after putting in a solid performance against Jayde Mitchell in an OPBF title fight, a fight that was much more competitive than the scorecards suggested. As for the visitor he has gone 2-4 in his last 6, and was stopped last time out in China by the talented Pui Yu Lim, and we expect the same to happen here.
In Indonesia we get a number of title fights on what looks like a pretty interesting card, at least given the typical stand of Indonesian cards.
One of the title bouts will see the once touted Defry Palulu (18-2-1, 12) take on domestic foe Isack Junior (25-7-2, 8) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title, with Palulu making his first defense of the title. The bout should be an interesting but should see Palulu come out on top, and continue to rebuild his career, following an upset loss last year to Jason Butar Butar.
Another title bout on this card will see John Ruba (14-3-1, 7) take on Joffrey Garcia (5-6-4, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. Although the bout looks like a mismatch it will be good to see Ruba pick up a title and begin a run towards bigger and better fights. Although relatively unknown Ruba has impressed on the road, and ran Ryosuke Maruki mega close back in 2015, and has got the ability to go far.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (15-0-2, 7) and the experienced Larry Siwu (25-9, 21), who will both be facing relatively poor opponents as they look to stay busy before potentially bigger fights in the near future.
In a second Indonesian show fight fans will see Budi Wilson (0-6) take on the debuting James Lipus (0-0) in a bout that is hard to get too excited about given the lack of information available on either fighter.
The biggest card of the day, for Asian boxing at least, will be in Singapore where there will be a host of UBO title fights. There's too much going on on this card for us to cover everything, but we've spotted 3 bouts which have intrigued is.
At Super Featherweight we'll see the unbeaten Singaporean local Muhamad Ridhwan (7-0, 6) battle against Fadhili Majiha (20-8-4, 9) in what is a credible step up for Ridhwan. The 29 year old, dubbed “The Chosen Wan”, has impressed so far and has stopped his last 6 foes but this is a very tough step up against a 23 year old Tanzanian who has gone the distance with fighters like Immanuel Naidjala, Pungluang Sor Singyu and Marlon Tapales.
Up at 154lbs we'll see Thai veteran Sirimongkol Singwancha (91-3, 57) face off with Indonesian Larry Siwu (24-8, 20). The Thai, looking for his 92nd win, is now 39 years old and fighting well above his best weight, but is still a talented fighter and he is a handful at regional level, and should be favoured here. Saying that however he could get old over-night. Aged 34 Siwu is no spring chicken and he has lost 3 of his last 5, but could be a tough ask for the Thai if he's on song.
In an interesting non-Asian bout we'll see Canadian Ryan Ford (11-0, 7) battle against New Zealander Robert Berridge (29-6-1, 21). Although this bout has no direct connection with Asia we do enjoy Ford's run recent run through Asia, and this will be his 4th bout in the region in just over a year. This UBO Light Heavyweight bout is a good test for Ford, and it will be fun to see how he gets on with someone like Berridge.
In Mexico fans will see popular veteran warrior Orlando Salido (43-13-4-1, 30) battle against Thai puncher Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (18-2, 14). Not too long ago we saw Salido have an up-and-down war with Terdsak Kokietgym, and since then he has had 3 really tough wars, but even with those wars he should be favoured here against the Thai, who has lost 2 of his last 3.
Ansan, South Korea
There will also be title action in Sout Korea where fans get two title fights.
One of those will see Gyu Won Lee (4-2-1, 2) battle against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (2-0-1, 1) for the vacant South Korean Light Middleweight title. Gyu is a former Korean Middleweight champion, but he was beaten last time out and is certainly not something special. Heuk, also known as Abdoulaye Assan, is a Cameroon born fighter who looked great last time out but is a small Light Middleweight.
The other bout is a much less attractive contest as the out of form Da Won Seo (3-6-1, 1) takes on the equally faltering Gwang Shik Na (2-7, 1) for a Korean Super Flyweight title. Of the two men Seo has the slightly better record but has shared the ring with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, and lasted the distance with the Thai. Na on the other hand has just 1 win in his last 5 and has only ever beaten a couple of debutants.
Next Thursday we see another notable card from the Korakuen Hall, and this one really is a rather exciting one with a number of notable names features.
The main event of the card will see the criminally under-rated Masayuki Ito (20-1-1, 8) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title against big punching Filipino title challenger Lorenzo Villanueva (32-2-0-1, 28). For Ito the bout will be his first defense, since he claimed the title at the very end of 2016, and he should be looking to extend a current 4 winning run which which includes really good wins over Shingo Eto and Takuya Watanabe. For the Filipino the bout is his first outside of the Philippines since his thrilling 2012 loss to Daud Yordan in Singapore. The challenger will have the big edge in power, but he's up against a very talented boxer, and will need to show more than just brute force to over-come Ito.
In a major supporting bout we'll see former world title challenger Keita Obara (16-2-1, 15) take on Indonesian Larry Siwu (24-7, 20) in a Welterweight bout. For Obara the contest will be his first since losing in a world title bout to Eduard Troyanovsky last September. The talented Obara is taking off the shackles of making Light Welterweight and it seems likely that he will be continuing his career at 147lbs going forward. Although Siwu is a decent fighter he really shouldn't have anything to really test Obara, who will be looking to shake some ring rust and make a statement.
Arguably the most intriguing match up on the card will see former Japanese and OPBF Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (30-7-2, 9) take on touted former amateur standout Shuichiro Yoshino (3-0, 2) in what looks like a must win for the veteran and a potential coming out party for the novice. Although now a faded force Kato, who is more than 2 years removed from a win of note, is tough, skilled and a nightmare for fighters who look to have a war. If Yoshino can avoid a war and rely on his amateur skills then he could announce himself as a serious play on the Japanese scene at 135lbs, but this is a huge step up for the 25 year old.
Another former champion on this card is former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (26-7, 14), who vacated his title around the start of the year. The world ranked Masuda will be up against Filipino visitor Romel Oliveros (8-3-1, 3), who is fighting in Japan for the third time. The talented Masuda is hunting a world title bout later in the year and this is clearly a stay busy bout for him, but one that should help him get some rounds under his belt. Oliveros has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, being stopped in 2 rounds by Daigo Higa and in 5 rounds by Jonas Sultan, and it's hard to see him lasting the distance here against Masuda.
Yoshino isn't the only touted novice on this card as former amateur star Motoki Osanai (1-0) returns to the ring for his second professional outing, and takes on fellow unbeaten Takeshi Kaneko (4-0-1). The talented Osanai turned professional last year, along with Hiroto Kyoguchi and Masataka Taniguchi, but has failed to shine like those two and will be looking to make up for lost time here. As for Kaneko he is unbeaten, but his 0 has certainly come under challenger during his career and it'd take a career best performance to keep that 0 here.