The most significant card this coming Sunday will come from Rizal where we get a world title eliminator as well as a card featuring a host of notable Filipino fighters, who are sadly taking on a number of over-matched foes.
The main bout is an IBF Minimumweight final eliminator with unbeaten Filipino sensation Mark Anthony Barriga (8-0, 1) battling against Colombian Gabriel Mendoza (29-5-2, 23). The talented Filipino has been waiting for an eliminator for some time, having seen various foes drop out, and will now be looking to dazzle as he takes on the limited but hard hitting Mendoza. As for Mendoza this will be his second bout since losing to Jose Argumedo in an IBF title fight, and although he's not world class he can hit hard and could test Barriga chin, if he can land on the slippery Filipino. Interestingly the winner of this will likely face Hiroto Kyoguchi later in the year, if Kyoguchi can retain his title against Vince Paras later this year
One of the most notable names on this show is recent world title challenger Genesis Servania (30-1, 13), who fights for the second time since his loss to Oscar Valdez. The talented Servania will be up against Indonesian journeyman Jason Butar Butar (27-23-1, 18), in what should really bee little more than a show case for Servania. Although a mismatch the bout will see Servania fight in the Philippines for the first time since February 2015.
Another very notable name in action is the enigmatic Marvin Sonsona (20-1-1, 15), who looks once again to kick start his frustrating career. The former WBO Super Flyweight champion hasn't fought since May 2015, when he struggled past Jonathan Arrellano. Whilst Sonsona is a genuine talent there is real question marks surrounding the Filipino and his desire to make the most of his skills. He'll be up against Arief Blader (23-27-2, 8) in what should be a really easy ring return, though we really don't know what Sonsona will turn up.
Also on this card are AJ Banal (35-2-1, 23), James Enterina (10-0-1, 4), Lolito Sonsona (21-2-4, 9) and Dave Apolinario (6-0, 4) among others.
A second Filipino show will be held in Bulacan, and will be a much smaller show.
The most notable bout here will see Jose Roda Jr (3-1-1) take on Richard Morales (3-2, 2) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds. Both men will come into this feeling confident of picking up the win and as a result this should make for an interesting contest, but we're not expecting anything in terms of high quality, at least compared to the other Filipino show which is much, much better than this card.
As well as the action in the Philippines there is also two shows in Japan, one of which is being held in Yamaguchi by Kanmon Japan.
The chief support bout on this card is a terrific match up as the unbeaten Kudura Kaneko (6-0, 4) takes on Change Hamashima (10-2-1, 4) in a rematch of their 2017 clash. In the first bout between these two Kaneko won a wide decision over 6 rounds but will be stepping up to the 8 round distance here. Interestingly this will be the first time either fighter has been scheduled in an 8 round bout, and should be a good test for the stamina of both men. Given how clearly Kaneko won the first bout however it's hard to see why these two are having rematch so soon after their first contest.
The main event of this card is fantastic on paper with Accel Sumiyoshi (10-4-2, 3) taking on Shogo Yamaguchi (11-3-2, 6). Since losing to Masayoshi Nakatani in an OPBF Lightweight title bout back on 2015 we've seen Sumiyoshi go 6-0-1 with notable wins over Tatsuya Yanagi, Allan Tanada, Naotoshoi Nakatani and Motoki Sasaki and really build himself a solid record at this level. As for the 24 year old Yamaguchi we've seen him begin to struggle. Yamaguchi went 9-0-1 (4) to begin his career but has since gone 2-3-2 and was stopped last year by Andy Hiraoka. Given the momentum in both men's careers it's hard to pick against Sumiyoshi, but it is a very good bout on paper.
The second Japanese show is from Ibaragi, where the fans will get the chance to see a number of unbeaten men in action.
One of the unbeaten fighters is Fumiya Fuse (5-0, 1), who is scheduled to face off with an Indonesian visitor. Last year we saw Fuse claim the Rookie of the Year crown at Bantamweight, when he stopped Hiroki Tokuyama in the final, and he'll be looking to build on that success here as he kicks off his 2018 and looks to secure a 6th straight win.
The bout scheduled as the final bout on the card is all unbeaten contest as Hideaki Onuki (3-0) takes on Akihiko Kurita (2-0) in a bout scheduled for 4 round. This looks almost certain to go the distance but should still prove to be a very interesting and well matched bout between two fighters with similar records and similar experience.
There isn't much action this coming weekend, as we await next week's bumper weekend, but there is some Asian action, including a trio of Filipino's in Australia.
In one of the main bouts we'll see WBA Oceania Super Flyweight champion Andrew Moloney (13-0, 8) defending his title against Raymond Tabugon (20-7-1, 10), and also fighting for the OPBF Silver title. The talented Moloney won the title last year and will be looking to record his 4th defense of the title, and continue his success over Filipino's, including Renoel Pael, Jether Oliva and Markquil Salvana. Tabugon has fought on the road before, but has gone 1-4 outside of the Philippines, and is unlikely to come out on top here.
In the co-feature Andrew's brother Jason Moloney (13-0, 11) will be defending his WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title against Lolito Sonsona (21-1-4, 9) in what looks like a more competitive bout. Moloney, like his brother, will be the favourite for what will be his 5th defense of the title. Like his brother we've seen Jason defeat a string of Filipino's, but this does look like a step up in class. Sonsona is unbeaten in his last 8, with his only loss being a decision to the talented Ardin Diale. This could genuinely be a very good test for both men
A third bout of note between an Aussie and a Filipino will see the once beaten Ibrahim Balla (11-1, 7) take on former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (28-13-2, 19). Balla comes into this having won his last 2 since suffering a stoppage loss last year to Neil John Tabanao and it's fair to say that the heavy handed Lopez will be looking to repeat Tabanao's success. Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years, but can be a handful on his day and won't have travelled to suffer a 14th loss.
We also get some title action in the US as Kazakh Ali Akhmedov (7-0, 5) takes on fellow unbeaten Curtis Hill Jr (10-0, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Heavyweight title. It's always good to see unbeaten fighters face off against each other early in their career and it's hard to complain about this fight. The 22 year old Kazakh has proven to be dangerous early, with 5 stoppages in the openign round, but has also proven his stamina over 8 rounds. Hill on the other hand is less proven and this will be a sizeable step up for him.
For the second day running we'll get low key action in Jinan, with a trio of 6 rounders.
One of those is an all teenage bout which will see the unbeaten Jiancong Bao (2-0) battle Guangxiong Li (4-1-1). On paper this is a solid contest, though the lack of power, on behalf of both fighters, does make it unlikely that we'll see a stoppage. Whilst it's probably going the distance it could still be a very fun bout.
Another teenager looking to extend his unbeaten record is Alimujiang Abulaiti (1-0, 1), who takes on a really stiff test against Jianzheng Wang (5-0, 3) in a Cruiserweight bout. This one really does look like a tough test for the teenager, but he may well have the skills, and power needed to over-come his 30 year old foe.
Another notable unbeaten is Jianjing Wang (5-0-1, 3) who will be taking on fellow Middleweight southpaw Ju Xiang Huang (6-4-2, 5) in a second bout between the two men, who fought to a draw in 2016. In their first bout the judges all scored it 38-38, but this time around both men will be looking to close the show, or at least take a clear victory.
This coming Sunday we see action all across Asia in one of the busiest days of the year so far.
The main action for the day comes from Kumamoto in Japan, where fight fans get the chance to see a local star attempt to open the doors to some major fights.
That local star is the unheralded Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) who faces Mexican Moises Calleros (25-6-1, 14) in a bout for the WBO Interim Minimumweight title, with the winner set to get a fight at regular champion Katsunari Takayama later in the year. Fukuhara has come a long way since suffering a defeat to the the debuting Takuma Inoue in 2013 and has gone 6-0-3 with wins over Takumi Sake and Genki Hanai to earn this shot, as well as draws with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Shin Ono. Although Fukuhara is one of Japan's hidden gems he will be stepping up here to face a Mexican who is riding high following a win over Mario Rodriguez. Interesting Calleros has fought as high as 120 recently and will be fighting at 105lbs for the first time in over 7 years, so he's likely to be bigger and stronger that Fukuhara. Notably the Mexican has suffered a few poor losses and will be fighting outside of his homeland for the first time.
On the under-card we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Light Welterweight Ryusei Yoshida (29-8, 15) take on limited Thai Lekker Bangkok 2007 (0-3), in what should be an easy win for Yoshida. The Thai visit or has been stopped in all3 of his previous bouts, including loss last June to then debuting Kazuki Saito.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In Cotabato del Sur we'll get a notable Filipino card.
One of those title bouts will see Lolito Sonsona (20-1-4, 9) face off with Renren Tesorio (15-9-3, 4) in a bout for the WBF Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Coming in to this Sonsona is on a 7 fight unbeaten streak, including a notable win over Bobby Concepcion. Whilst Sonsona has been in form the same cannot be said of his foe, with Tesorio having lost his last 3, including a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa.
A much better looking bout sees the under-rated Ben Mananquil (12-1-2, 3) take on Glenn Porras (29-5, 17) for the WBF International Bantamweight title. Mananquil is one of the hidden jewels of the Filipino boxing scene. His only loss was a controversial one in China it Jing Xiang and he was also controversially denied a win against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym. Porras on the other hand Porras has been relatively inactive with just a 1-1 record in the last 4 years, he was however once a touted fighter and did show a lot of potential early on. This could be a very interesting match up.
In a WBF International Super Featherweight title bout we'll see the in form Eden Sonsona (35-6-2, 12) take on Jovany Rota (9-9, 6). Sonsona is 9-0-2 in his last 11, including a massive win in 2015 over Adrian Estrella, and although he fought only once last year he will be full of confidence coming into this bout. Rota on the other hand is a bit of a domestic journeyman and shouldn't provide much of a test for Sonsona.
Arguably the best of the bouts is an IBF Youth Super Flyweight title bout between the super talented Jade Bornea (6-0, 4) and once beaten puncher Raul Yu (9-1-2, 8). Bornea was an amateur standout, and holds a notable amateur win over Kosei Tanaka, but is stepping up as a professional here and Yu is certainly his biggest test since his pro debut in October 2014. Yu is a series puncher and although he has suffered a loss, a decision loss in February 2015, he is a dangerman who will be looking to make a point here. Coming into this Yu is unbeaten in 6 and will looking to claim his first professional title.
Also on this card will be world class Light Flyweight Randy Petalcorin (25-2-1, 18), who fights in a stay busy fight against compatriot Mark Anthony Florida (9-6, 7) in what should be an easy win for Petalcorin, who will have bigger fish to fry.
On a second card in the Philippines we'll see a less exciting series of fights.
In the main event we'll see the once beaten Pedro Taduran (9-1, 7) take on Jerome Clavite (6-3-2, 2). The 20 year old Taduran, nicknamed “Rattle Snake”, is a good puncher at domestic level but did suffer a loss 10 months ago to Joel Lino. Since that loss he has bounced back with 3 wins an will be looking to keep that run going here. Whilst Taduran is back to winning ways it's hard to really know where Clavite's career is going. He has won just once in his last 5, but has been matched against some very decent domestic competition and should be seen as a step up for Taduran in what could be a very good match up for both men.
In an under-card bout from this show fans will see Rex Tito (5-7-2, 2) battle Marlon Arcilla (8-5, 1) in a bout between limited guys. Tito will be returning to the ring following a break of more than 4 years. Prior to his sabbatical he had gone 0-7-1 in his previous 8, with set backs to the likes of Jerwin Ancajas and Giovnni Escaner. As for Arcilla,he has lost his last 3, though has been matched hard with bouts against Ryosyuke Iwasa and Reymart Gaballo. He should be strongly favoured here but a hungry Tito could make life tricky for the 22 year old Arcilla.
Gimhae City, South Korea
We're also set for some title action in South Korea courtesy of a KBA show.
The main event of the show will see former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-6-1, 21) battle against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamas (7-8, 6) (7-8, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title. The bout will be Bae's first since his 4th round TKO loss last year to Rex Tso, 15 months ago, and see him entering on a 2-2 record in the last 24 months. Although talented at this level Bae's future, at the age of 37, looks to be very limited. On paper Chatchai has been in good form, winning 6 of his last 7, but his competition during that run has been awful with only Kevin Jake Cararaja being of any note, and he stopped Chatchai in 4 rounds last year.
The co-feature will see Hee Jung Yuh (17-3, 8) take on novice Nongkiat Saithonggym (1-1) in about for the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Super Flyweight title. As with the other bout it's hard to see the local losing here with Yuh being a very solid fighter, even if that wasn't evident in her wide decision loss last year to Naoko Fujioka. The Thai, who possibly has an incomplete record, is best known for a 2011 stoppage loss to Yuko Kuroki and we don't imagine she'll see the distance here.
Amazingly there will also be action in China, though the show is relatively weak over-all.
The most notable of the bouts on the show will see the light hitting Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (8-0-1, 1) battle against Thai visitor Petchwanchai Sor Visetkit (14-9, 6). On paper the Thai looks like he has a fighting chance here but he has lst his last 3 bouts, all by stoppage in a combined 7 rounds, and is almost 3 years removed from a win. Although the unbeaten Nihemaituola isn't a puncher it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him win here.
In another bout of some interest Maimaitijiang Nuermaimaiti (3-0-1, 3) will risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Hongfeng Li (4-0, 1) in what looks likely to be a power vs skill match up with genuine intrigue.
May 5th-Chris Paulino Vs Lolito Sonsona headlines in the Philippines whilst Masayuki Kuroda fights in Mexico
We'll not pretend that this coming Friday is the best looking day in boxing this year but there is plenty of action, including an intriguing all Filipino bout and a Japanese fighter traveling to Mexico for a make-or-break bout.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines there is an interesting card at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The card isn't littered with huge match ups but there is a great bout and a few other notables in action.
The stand out, for us anyway, will see Cris Paulino (14-2, 4) battle against Lolito Sonsona (18-1-4, 8) in a bout for the lightly regarded WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Flyweight title. Paulino impressed us last year with his smart boxing, prior to being stopped by Koki Eto in an OPBF Flyweight title bout. As for Sonsona he'll be hoping to extend a 5-fight unbeaten streak dating back more than 3 years. Genuinely an excellent domestic scrap.
In a Flyweight title bout Renan Trongco (16-4, 9) will be defending his WBC International title against late replacement Rolio Golez (15-13-1, 6). Trongco enters this bout with a WBC world ranking and although he's a long way from being world class he does appear to be an attractive “target” to others who may view him as an easy step to a top rating. Golez, who has mixed in good company, shouldn't have anything to really trouble Tronco with.
At Super Bantamweight the unbeaten Joe Noynay (8-0, 2) will be up against journeyman Edison Berwela (13-29-8, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Berwela does come to win and may well managed to shock the youngster in a bout that is better than it “looks”. This is another of the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council title bouts.
Another bout for a WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council title comes at Minimumweight where the unbeaten Rolly Sumalpong (7-0-1, 4) takes on the unpredictable JC Francisco (6-9-4, 2). On paper it should be a mismatch, especially considering that Francisco is 0-3-2 in his last 5 but he is much better than those results suggest. This is by far the toughest bout, so far, for Sumalpong.
Also on this card is former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (23-10-2, 17) who takes on Pablito Canada (4-5-2, 1) in a stay busy fight before facing Sho Nakazawa in Japan in July. The idea seems to be for Lopez to shake some ring rust and get a confidence building win before taking on the touted Japanese youngster.
In Mexico we'll see Masayuki Kuroda (23-5-3, 14) will return to the ring on June 5th as he fights outside of Japan for the first time in his career. The 28 year old, best known for facing Juan Carlos Reveco back in 2013, will be up against Mexico's Mario Andrade (6-5-5, 1) in what really is a must win bout for the Japanese fighter.
In Australia fans will get the chance to see limit Thai Morakote Patanakan Gym (9-5, 5) take on former OPBF title contender Omari Kimweri (13-3, 5). Morakote is limited and has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, including a 2 round blow out to Young Kil Bae, and will likely be stopped again here by the under-rated Kimweri, who gave Shin Ono a very close bout in 2013.
Also on this card will be Filipino Alvin Bais (14-5, 3) who will be up against unbeaten puncher Ibrahim Balla (6-0, 4) in what looks to be a very tough bout for the Filipino.
Although we're unsure who we have been informed that Channel 7 will be showing some fights. Sadly no details have been made available as of yet.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)