Negros Occidental, Philippines
To begin action for April we get a trio of OPBF “interim” title fights, and although we don't agree with interim title fights these fights do all have some appeal.
One of those “interim” OPBF title fights comes at Super Flyweight where local fighter Rene Dacquel (16-6-1, 5) battles unbeaten Thai hopeful Lucky Tor Bumas (7-0, 7). Dacquel came up short last December in a bout for the regular OPBF title, losing to Takuma Inoue, and will be hoping that it's second time lucky here. As for the Thai this is a huge step up in class and it's hard to see him continuing his perfect record here.
Another of those “interim” OPBF title fights comes at Super Featherweight where the under-rated Carlo Magali (19-7-3, 10) battles former OPBF Featherweight title challenger Mark Gil Melligen (21-6-1, 12). It's hard to see why either of these men are fighting for an OPBF title fight, however the contest should be a good one, with both knowing that a win would be a defining moment in their career.
The best of the “interim” title fights will come at Bantamweight and see the heavy handed Rey Megrino (22-20-3, 19) face off against the criminally under-rated Jonathan Baat (30-7-4, 14). This could be a genuinely thrilling match up, and although the records of the two men may not be impressive the bout is almost certainly going to be something very special.
Another bout of note on this card will see Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (3-0, 1) battle Filipino Gerry Patenio (4-10-2, 2). This is Bolivar's third bout in Asia and we're expecting him back, in China, later in the month. If he can get past Patenio here.
District of Columbia, USA
In the US fans will see promising Kazakh Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (2-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record as fellow unbeaten Riarus Dudley (2-0-1, 2) in what looks like a very interesting 4 rounder.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day in Asian boxing.
New York, USA
The main action of the day comes from the US with a card in New York getting particular interest thanks to two bouts, each of which promises to be exciting and will highlight a man who some regard as the top fighter on the planet.
For many the stand out bout is the Middleweight unification bout between WBA “super”/IBO/WBC “interim” champion Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30) and IBF title holder David Lemieux (34-2, 31). This bout promises to be an incredibly exciting one with fans sat on the edge of their seats due to the power of the two fighters, though everything suggests that it will be Golovkin's tougher resolve and more varied skill set that gets him the win.
The other bout of note will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (36-4-0-2, 22) take on unbeaten WBC Flyweight king Roman Gonzalez (43-0, 37) in what looks to be an equally interesting match up. We know that many, including ourselves, regard Gonzalez as the best fighter on the planet, pound-for-pound, though this should serve as a test of that tag and a real proof of his credentials as well as continuing to break him out to the American market, who have sadly only began to cotton on to the excitement of the lower weights.
In California we'll see Filipino promotional outfit ALA put on their first show in the US with the next of their “Pinoy Pride” cards.
In the main event we'll see long reigning world champion Donnie Nietes (36-1-4, 21) defendign his WBO Light Flyweight belt against unknown Mexican challenger Juan Alejo (21-3, 13), who we struggled to find any footage of. On paper this looks like an easy win for the champion, who is certainly a known quantity, however Alejo will be full of confidence and is riding an excellent 21 fight winning streak, albeit against some questionable opposition.
Whilst Nietes is the elder statesman of the card the show will also feature a couple of fighters from the new wave of Filipino boxing. One of those is the brilliant Mark Magsayo (11-0, 9) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Yardley Suarez (13-0, 8), a relatively unknown Mexican foe.
The other member of the new wave of Filipino boxing in action here is Albert Pagara (24-0, 17) who will be putting his unbeaten record and work rankings on the line against Nicaraguan William Gonzalez (27-5, 23). Pagara,if he wins as expected, will likely be looking towards a world title fight in 2016, and in fairness to him there's a good chance he could claim a major title in the next 12 months.
A fourth bout of note here will see the older of the Pagara brothers in action as Jason Pagara (36-2, 22), who will be up against Nicaragua's Santos Benavides (25-7-2, 19) in what looks like a genuine matched bout that could well steal the show, despite being the least interesting bout in terms of the future. This really could be a low level war, though for Pagara it's a must win with the Filipino being very highly ranked by the WBO in the Light Welterweight division.
There is a small show in Ishikawa.
The main event here will see Filipino born Japanese based fighter Mark Gil Melligen (21-5-1, 12) battle against Japan's very own Yudai Tamagawa (7-6-1, 2) in what should be an easy win for Melligen, who lost last time out to Vinvin Rufino in an OPBF title bout.
An interestingly matched support bout will see Yukiya Hanabusa (8-2-2, 2) take on Yudai Arai (6-3-3, 3). This bout isn't an amazing one but should be a very good 8 round contest between two well matched fighters.
A bout that caught our eye will see Venezuelan novice Omrri Bolivar (2-0, 1) take on Chinese fighter Xinghua Wang (11-12-1). Bolivar was last seen in China, beating Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth and now fighting in Japan it seems he could be one of the more interesting imports to the the east, where hopefully he will begin to base himself in the coming months.
Whilst the remaining 4 bouts on this card are less than exciting they do feature some international fighters with a Thai and a Korea both on the under-card.
A card in Gifu is scheduled or 6 bouts though, unfortunately, only features one really interesting bout.
That interesting match up will see the touted Genki Hanai (4-0, 3) face off against Junya Nishikawa (7-6-2, 2). This bout is supposed to be a Japanese title prelude for Hanai who is expected to fight for either a Japanese or OPBF title early next year.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino tough guy Vergel Nebran (14-9-1, 9) take on the very exciting Jessie Magdaleno (21-0, 15), in what is a huge ask for Nebran. This is unlikely to end well for the 25 year old Filipino though he may be able to ask some questions of the unbeaten Magdaleno, who has looked like a champion in the making so far.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines this week Elorde Promotions will be holding a special event to hand out the Flash Elorde awards. As well as the awards there will be a number of fights.
One of those fights will feature the world ranked Juan Martin Elorde (16-1-1, 7), a grandson of the great Flash Elorde, who looks to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title against limited Japanese visitor Hirotsugu Yamamoto (16-10-2, 2). Sadly this bout does look to be a very one-sided bout in favour of the grandson of the great Flash Elorde though should be a very popular result with the local fans attending the bout.
The Elorde/Yamamoto is one of 4 title bouts in total. Another will feature Juan Martin Elorde's younger brother Juan Miguel Elorde (17-1, 9), who will be hoping to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight. Elorde will be up against Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-2, 12) in what looks a good bout on paper but is likely to be one-sided given that Tabthong has lost the past 2 times he has faced someone of some note.
In an OPBF title bout we will see an all-Filipino clash as Vinvin Rufino (36-16-3, 16) battles Mark Gil Melligen (21-4-1, 12) for the OPBF Featherweight title. On paper this is a brilliant match up and a must win for both. Rufino has got experience at this level, having fought Hisashi Amagasa and Naoki Matsuda in previous OPBF title bouts but came up short in both of those bouts whilst Melligen will be fighting at this level for the first time.
For us however the pick of the bouts is a Filipino Bantamweight title bout which will see Monico Laurente (25-12, 6) defending his title against the once highly touted Marco Demecillo (20-2-1, 15). Laurente will be defending the belt for the 3rd time since winning it on March 25th 2012 though this is a very tough match up against a fighter looking to score a break out win of his own. This will be Demecillo second bout since losing to David Sanchez last December and it really is a must win for the 24 year old challenger.
Also on this card is promising Flyweight Giemel Magramo (12-0, 9) who battles against Jayar Estremos (10-9, 3). This looks like a mismatch but will be one of the first times Magramo has faced a fighter with a winning record so it is a small step up.
Some days are busy, this coming Sunday is one such day with a host of bouts through out Asia, even if they aren't the biggest fights of the year.
The most interesting of the numerous Asian shows today will come from the Philippines where we see one of the sport's most exciting little men in action.
The aforementioned little man is Filipino slugger Denver Cuello (34-5-6, 22) who will be fighting against experienced Indonesian journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-27-2, 3) in a 10 round bout. This will be Cuello's second bout in quick succession this year having lost more than a year of his career to inactivity following a nasty arm injury that he suffered in a WBC world title fight in 2013 against Xiong Zhao Zhong. As for Tehuayo, AKA Sammy Hagler, this will be his second fight this month following a loss to Pigmy Kokietgym back on November 14th.
The co-feature bout on this show is also a notable one as former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (37-13-5, 27) battles against Arjet Caballes (6-31-5, 3) in another complete and utter mismatch.
An interesting under-card bout here will see the unbeaten Kyota Otsuka (4-0, 2) fighting against the much more experienced Ricky Oyan (4-22-2, 2). On paper this is a a good step up for Otsuka but it's a step up he should manage with out too many problems.
In Ishikawa, on one of the three Japanese shows, we see a number of bouts featuring international fighters.
The main event will feature promising Filipino Daryl Basadre (13-1-1, 9) fighting against unbeaten Thai Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (6-0, 4) in what looks to be a genuinely interesting contest for the WBC Youth Bantamweight. Basadre is unbeaten since being stopped by Suriyan Sor Rungvisai back in September 2013 and has since ran up 4 wins, 3 by stoppage, as he's redeveloped his confidence. Yodsingdaeng is a bit of a mystery Thai though hopefully will prove to be better than some other Thai's we've seen fighting on the road recently.
The show will also feature two other bouts between a Filipinos and Thais. One will see Mark Gil Melligen (20-4-1, 11) battling against a Thai opponent, though sadly one we haven't the name of. The other will see the very exciting and promising Neil John Tabanao (9-0, 6) fighting against the win-less Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (0-3). We suspect we'll see the Filipino's going 3-0 here.
The 5 other bouts on this card will see Japanese fighters fighting against Chinese fighters. The most notable of these bouts is a 6 rounder between Yukiya Hanabusa (6-2-2, 1) battle against Chinese novice Xu Yuan Cai (0-1).
Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card is going to be held in Zamboanga and will be headlined by a bout between the unbeaten and promising Dexter Alimento (6-0, 4) and the limited but experienced Jherom Tuyor (6-19-2, 3) in what we suspect will be a relatively straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
A second Japanese show comes from Tochigi and is only a small one featuring a total of 7 bouts, though only 2 are worth noting.
The main event here is a 10 round featuring OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender Yoshitomo Watanabe (5-1, 4). The 22 year old Japanese fighter will be fighting against a Thai opponent though unfortunately we don't have any information about the Thai in this bout.
In the chief support bout fans will get an 8 rounder between Yuki Furuya (6-6, 2) and Masahide Shinabe (6-11-2, 3). This isn't a great bout on paper but it should give the fans something to enjoy before the main event.
In Kagoshima we get the weakest of the three Japanese cards. The show will also feature 7 bouts and it's most notable bouts are both relatively poor.
One of the co-features will see Naoya Haruguchi (5-5, 2) fighting against Takeshi Nakayama (3-6-2, 1) whilst the other will see Tomohiro Nagakari (6-2, 1) battling against Takuya Taniguchi (4-5-1, 1). Both of these bouts are 6 rounders and sadly it does leave us feeling under-whelmed with nothing on the show being particularly interesting.
In China there is a small show as well, with yet more Chinese fighters in action. That card, from Wuhan, appears to have a number of novices in action with no real stand out bout.
One of those novices is Wang Kun (1-1, 1) who will be battling against limited Georgian Giorgi Gochishvili (3-4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. Kun fought both of his bouts in 2012 and will be returning to the ring after a notable break. Gochishvili started his career 3-0 though has failed to record a win in his last 6 bouts and suspect that run will be continue here.
The other bout will see A Mu (0-0) making his debut. The debuting Chinese fighter will be in action against Georgian visitor Renat Samedovi (10-11-1, 3). We suspect that Mu will be given a good test here and this isn't a gimme as we would usually see from a debutant.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
We get two more Asian fighters in action in South Africa as we get a pair of IBO title fights, strange the Asian's on this show have actually fought each other in the past.
One of the fighters is is the heavy handed Filipino hopeful Marbon Bodiongan (11-1-2, 9) who will be fighting against Xolani Mcotheli (10-1, 8) in a bout for the IBO Super Featherweight title. This is a great bout on paper and one we're excited by given that both guys are talented and both guys appear to have real power.
The other Asian on this show is another Filipino, the talented and very promising Michael Dasmarinas (18-1, 11) challenging for the IBO Super Flyweight title against Lwandile Sityatha (17-3-1, 7). Dasmarinas was actually stopped by Bodiongan back in April 2012 though has since ran off 15 straight wins, including an impressive one on the road against Hayato Kimura in Japan. Sityatha comes into this bout following a very narrow win over Edrin Dapudong and we suspect Dasmarinas has been given a heads up about how the South African fighters ahead of this coming contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)