The biggest fight of the day, for the Asian scene at least, comes from Thailand and will see see a world title on the line, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (48-0,17) defends against former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7). The defending champion is getting very close to the magic 50-0, a record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and will be strongly favoured over Fukuhara here, with the Japanese challenger needing to create history to win. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very entertaining clash with two aggressive fighters facing off.
In Bohol we get a genuinely stacked card thanks to ALA who put on their next Pinoy Pride card.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten and highly regarded Mark Magsayo (17-0, 13) defending his WBO International Featherweight title against former Japanese champion Shota Hayashi (30-6-1, 16). The promising Magsayo is looking to move into world class in the near future and will see a bout against Hayashi as a good step forward following two quick blow outs earlier in the year. For Hayashi, who lost his Japanese title to Kosuke Saka back in April, the bout is a tough one for his international debut, but he will know the reward of winning is a world ranking.
The card is stacked with prospects. This includes Virgel Vitor (11-1, 7), Albert Pagara (28-1, 19), Jeo Santisima (14-2, 12) and former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-2, 7). Unfortunately all 4 of the promising fighters appear to be in huge mismatches as they look to stay busy going in to the new year.
Also on the card will be Roli Gasca (23-8-1, 7) and Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20), who like the aforementioned prospects are in easy against opponents they should have no trouble with.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card comes from Davao del Norte thanks to MB Boxing.
The main event of the card will see Filipino fighter Glenn Porras (30-6, 18) take on former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-22-2, 18) of Indonesia. The Filipino has lost 3 of his last 5 but is a talented fighter and should have no problem seeing off the visitor, who used to be a decent fighter, at best, but is now pretty much a regional journeyman who picks up far more losses than wins.
The talented and once touted Rosekie Cristobal (14-2, 10) will be looking to avoid a third loss in 5 bouts as he battles former OPBF Light Welterweight champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-15-1, 10). Jakosalem is almost 6 years removed from his career best win, and has only won 4 times since then. Cristobal has suffered 2 DQ losses in Mexico, and before those there was big hopes for him, so he'll be looking to bounce back and show what he's about here.
A third bout of some note sees the once beaten Michael Bravo (12-1, 5) battle against Lyster Jun Pronco (9-15-1, 6). The once beaten Bravo comes into this bout on a run of 7 straight wins, albeit against very limited opposition, whilst Pronco is win-less in his last 13, with 12 losses and a draw during that run. This bout is for the PBF Light Flyweight title, and we expect to see Bravo crowned the new champion.
Seoul, South Korea
We have an international show in Korea with some low key bouts.
One bout worthy of interest sees Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Japan's Kazuhiro Baba (6-5-2, 3). Lee is looking to extend a 3 fight winning run, which has seen him claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title, and despite being 34 is one of the more interesting fighters plying his trade in Korea right now. The visitor had the edge in age, given he's only 25, but he's the naturally smaller man, was recently stopped by Ryota Toyoshima and is fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
A second bout of note here will see Hyun Je Shin (7-6, 1) take on Filipino fighter Daniel Ferreras (13-9-2, 4). Shin is a former Korean Featherweight champion, having won the title last time out however that was more than 3 years ago and he has been inactive since winning the belt. Notably the Korean has fought as low as 112lbs before as well. Ferreras is also ending a break from the ring, which also began back in 2014 when he was stopped by Rey Vargas. Although Ferreras' record is lessthan great he has mixed in good company, with losses to Vargas and Kohei Kono.
New York, USA
There will also be US action with Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (4-0, 3) taking on fellow unbeaten Eric Moon (7-0, 6) in what looks like a great step up in class for the 24 year old Kazakh fighter. A win for Nursultanov will help push him towards bigger and better fights, potentially moving him into fights against “name” opponents in the very near future.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy day for Asian fight fans with bouts featuring Asian fighters taking place all over the globe.
The biggest show of the day is an ALA show in Cebu that features a number of the best Filipino prospects getting decent tests.
The main event of the show will see the unbeaten, and highly touted, Mark Magsayo (16-0, 12) battle against Nicaraguan Daniel Diaz (23-7-2, 15). The bout will see Magsayo defending his WBO International Featherweight title, for the second, in what looks like a good test on paper. Magsayo is seen as one of the most promising Filipino hopefuls, and he has impressed, but this could be a tough ask as Diaz has mixed with good competition, fought for a world title and holds a win over Roberto Marroquin.
Another bout that looks great on paper sees the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (13-2, 11) take on the unbeaten Goodluck Mrema (16-0, 8). The 21 year old Santisima has won his last 11, with 10 stoppages, and has really impressed with his power and aggression but is in tough here against an unbeaten Tanzanian fighter who won't be wanting to give up his perfect record. This could be the stand out bout of the show.
Former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-1, 7) looks to bounce back from his narrow loss to WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin as he takes on fellow Filipino Joey Canoy (12-3-1, 6). The talented and exciting Jerusalem looks like a future world champion in the making and looks like someone with all the talented needed to be a future Filipino star, but needs to prove that he has the mentality to be a special fighter as he drops back down to domestic level. Canot has lost 3 of his last 7, but Jerusalem still cannot over-look him here.
Another notable bout here will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (27-1, 18) battle against Thai visitor Patomsith Pathompothong (16-9, 6). The talented Pagara will be fighting for the second time since suffering his sole career defeat, to Cesar Juarez, and should be able to get a confidence building win here. The Thai once looked like a possible contender, but with 5 losses in his last 6 he now looks like a journeyman, and it's unlikely he'll put up much of a fight here.
One final prospect on this card of real note is the unbeaten Kevin Jake Cataraja (5-0, 4), who will be facing off with Lony Cadayday (4-1-2, 1). The wonderfully talented Cataraja is one of the best young fighters in the Philippines but still needs a lot of time to develop his skills and will certainly be handled well by ALA who will look to keep him busy and continue his development before moving him in to title bouts, potentially next year. Cadayday comes into this bout as the under-dog, but as a man who has gone unbeaten in 6 and scored a big win last time out over Jeny Boy Boca, with that win being a huge confidence builder for the once beaten Cadayday.
Although the best card is in the Philippines it does need to be said that the most significant bout with an Asian fighter takes place in Mexico as WBC female Bantamweight champion Mariana Juarez (45-9-4, 17) defends her title against Japanese challenger Terumi Nuki (9-1, 6). The Mexican star will be strongly favoured, but there is a chance she'll get old over-night and that would give Nuki half a chance, like we saw last weekend when Jeff Horn shocked the legendary Manny Pacquiao.
New South Wales, Australia
We also get Asian's in action in Australia, where we get a trio of bouts of note.
For us the best of the bouts will see the unbeaten Mark Lucas (8-0, 3) take on upset minded Filipino Arnel Tinampay (24-20-1, 10). On paper this looks like a typical “Prospect Vs Journeyman” bout, but Tinampay has a reputation for upsetting the apple carts and beating guys he's not supposed to beat. Lucas will be favoured, but this is a real banana skin bout for him.
Another bout of note here will see Haithem Laamouz (9-0, 3) and Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes (15-7-1, 10) battle for the Australian Lightweight title, in a bout that could be better than the records suggest. Laamouz should win, but Delos Reyes is capable an upset, and is heavy handed.
The other fight of note will see the limited Michael Van Nimwegen (9-5, 4) take on long term Australian based Indonesian trial horse Aswin Cabuy (19-61-4, 7). On paper this looks likely to be another loss for Cabuy but he's certainly beaten fighters than Van Nimwegen in the past and could be up for this one, despite being 42 years old.
There will also be a pair of shows in Indonesia. One of those will be in Mankwari where the card is headlined by a bout between Hengky Baransano (11-11, 4) and Domi Nenokeba (12-29-2, 8). The bout isn't hugely appealing internationally but should be fun for fans in attendance. The only other bout of note on this card will see veteran Geisler AP (10-10, 7) take on the debuting Samson (0-0).
The other show in Indonesia takes place in Jakarta and against won't get much international intention, but should still be a decent card.
One of those bouts on the card will see Ruben Manakane (20-17-1, 12) take on Edison Berwela (15-35-8, 4) in what could be a better bout than it looks on paper. Another bout similar intent will see veteran James Mokoginta (33-18-3, 20) take on journeyman Artid Bamrungauea (11-16, 9),with this bout being for the WBC ABC Continental title.
Another title fight will see Willem Marahina (5-15-1, 3) face off with Rocky Irawan Sikumbang (6-3, 2) for the International Boxing Association Super Lightweight title.
Another bout with some interest will see the unbeaten Hebi Marapu (8-0, 6) face of with Hendy Luis (7-11-2, 3), in what looks like a good test for the promising Marapu.
The biggest Asian show this coming Saturday takes place in Cebu where ALA host their latest “Pinoy Pride” card.
The main event of the card will see former 2-weight champion Donnie Nietes (39-1-4, 22) take on Thai visitor Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (22-3, 15) in a bout for the vacant IBF Flyweight title, that was vacated by Johnriel Casimero. On paper it's hard to go against the Filipino veteran, who hasn't lost since a very controversial defeat back in 2004, but at 34 years old and fighting in his first title fight at Flyweight this could be a really good test to see what Nietes has left in the tank. As for Eaktawan this could be a huge chance to score a break out win and announce himself on the world stage.
In the lead support bout fans will see the touted Mark Magsayo (15-0, 11) take on Tanzania's Issa Nampepeche (24-7-4, 11). The unbeaten Magsayo is slowly working his way towards a world title fight and although this won't put him in the mix it does seem him go in there with a live opponent and he will have to make sure that he doesn't over-look the “Peche Boy”.
Another notable prospect in a supporting role is Jeo Santisima (12-2, 11), who puts a 10 fight T/KO run on the line against Indonesian visitor Master Suro (11-8-1, 2). The heavy handed Santisima looks like he could be one of the next big stars of the Philippines and at just 20 years old there is real excitement in regards to his future. Suro isn't anything great but he has proben to be tough through his career so far, with his only stoppage loss so far coming to recent OPBF title challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying with the Philippines there will also be a small show in Metro Manila.
The main event of thise card will see Danny Tampipi (7-6-2, 4) battle against experienced domestic foe Albert Alcoy (14-23-8, 4) in a bout for the "interim" Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Bantamweight title. It's not a great bout but it should be a competitive one, and could well be a fun one with both men fighting to claim some silverware.
In Osaka fight fans will be able to get a little bit more world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Flyweight champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-1, 4) battle against Mexican challenger Monserrat Alarcon (8-3-2). The bout will be Yoshikawa's first defense of her title and on paper looks a really good one, though truthfully we're not too sure what Alarcon really brings to the table here and she could be a very tough foe for the 38 year old champion.
Also on this card will be a bout feature the promising Shingo Kawamura (13-3-1, 6), who takes on a Thai visitor, and an interesting looking bout will see Yu Konomura (7-4-2, 1) battle against Yuki Iriguchi (7-1-1, 4).
Another Japanese show will take place in Ishikawa, where we get a pretty interesting looking card.
The main event will see the unbeaten Genesis Servania (28-0, 11) battle against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-1-2, 5) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. The once touted Servania has seemingly wasted the last few years, but a win here will help put him back into the title mix with the WBO. For Lulu a win would be a potential career changer and put him in the mix for some notable fights later in the year.
In the co-feature Hurricane Futa (22-6-1, 13) will be battling against Ernie Sanchez (16-9-1, 7) in what should be a really fun to watch battle. Both guys are better than their records suggest, with both being tough, heavy handed and exciting fighters.
The most notable bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend sees former-2 weight world champion Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) make his long anticipated move up to Flyweight where he will kick off his campaign with a fighter against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (52-9, 30). The bout isn't a major test, given Viloria's recent performances at world level, but is is a solid introduction to the weight for Nietes, who will be looking to become a 3-weight champion in the near future.
In a supporting bout on the same card former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (29-1, 15) will face Juan Jimenez (22-10, 15) in a rematch. These two men fought earlier this year with Villanueva controversially winning the bout, and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, with a head-butt KO. Coming into this one Jimenez will be seeking revenge whilst Villanueva will be looking to win this one cleanly.
A third notable Filipino in action in the US is the touted prospect Mark Magsayo (14-0, 11), who risks his unbeaten record against Ruben Garcia (17-2-1, 7). The talented Magsayo won the WBO International Featherweight title last time out, beating Chris Avalos in a slugfest, and will be hoping to defend the belt here against Garcia. If he comes out on top then ALA might see fit to step up Magsayo and move him towards a title fight in the next 12 months or so.
The day is a busy on in Japan with 4 shows across the country. The most notable of which is a Dangan card in Tokyo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) face off against Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3) in what will be Arakawa's first defense of the title. The teak tough champion won the belt earlier this year, ending the reign of Kota Tokunaga, and looks like he's making a simple first defense before potentially facing Shuhei Tsuchiya.
It's worth noting that Shuhei Tsuchiya (20-4, 17) will be in one of the main supporting bout on this card as he takes on Filipino visitor Rex Olisa (11-29-1, 8). The bout is expected to be a mismatch with the bout serving almost entirely to help build for a bout between Tsuchiya and Arakawa in 2017.
Another Japanese title bout will be held in Aichi as Shota Hayashi (27-5-1, 17) trades blows with veteran Noriyuki Ueno (18-13-5, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, which was recently vacated by Satoshi Hosono. Coming in Hayashi will clearly be the favourite however Ueno is under-rated, knows this will almost certainly be his only chance and comes in riding a huge high after a massive upset win against Yuki Ogata last time out.
In the chief support bout Yushi Tanaka (17-1-3,11) will be facing a poor Thai opponent in what will be Tanaka's second bout since losing in a Japanese title bout against Kentaro Masuda this past March. It's hard to see Tanaka losing here but he'll be forced to step up his competition in the near future if he wants another crack at silverware.
Fans in Ibaragi get a less interesting card though one headlined by the insanely tough Tatsuya Takahashi (24-6-4, 17), who faces Thai visitor Parkin Phakdeepin (1-7) in a 10 rounder. The bout, for all intents, is a mismatch but we find it impossible not to love Takahashi who has been in numerous thrillers. Although a mismatch Takahashi should make this fun.
Another low profile card comes from Oita where the main event will see Yuta Sasaki (8-8-1, 1) face off against Hyuma Fujioka (7-4-1). The bout is another less than great match up, however this one should at least be competitive with both men looking to prove they are the better fight.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Filipino fans also get some action, the most notable of which features the very talented and under-rated Michael Dasmarinas (24-2, 16) facing off with Michael Escobia (11-12-1, 3). On paper this looks like a real mismatch however Escobia is much better than his record suggests and he has given fighters like Masaaki Serie and Koki Eto really competitive bouts, with the Eto bout coming earlier this year. Dasmarinas should win but this is no gimme.
A second Filipino show is set to take place in Rizal where we get several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) face off against Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. The bout isn't the greatest one but should be a very competitive one and both men will be coming in to this one seeking a title victory. On paper it's easy to favour Suminguit, who has won his last 8, but he will be tested here in what should a relatively competitive bout.
On this card in supporting bouts are the Elorde brothers. Juan Martin Elorde (20-1-1, 8) will face off against Indonesian veteran Boido Simanjuntak (23-40-2, 9) whilst Juan Miguel Elorde (21-1, 11) will face Junior Bajawa (14-9, 7). It's hard to see either of the brothers losing here, though we do hope they will both step up a level in the near future, as neither should be tested by their inferior foes here.
Staying in Asia there is also action in Kazakhstan where we get several bouts of note.
The most interesting bout will see unbeaten puncher Issa Akberbayev (17-0-0-1, 12) face off against fellow puncher Maik Kurzweil (17-6, 17) in a bout we don't imagine will go the distance. Although neither is near “world class” they are fighting for the GBC title and will put it on the line to hold the belt.
In an under-card bout the once beaten Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (17-1, 12) will face the highly experienced Gary Abajyan (33-27-1, 17). This will be Bektemirov's second bout since suffering a split decision loss last year to Alexander Brand. It's hard to see Abajyan holding his own here, but Bektermirov is usually fun to watch.
In another under-card bout the unbeaten Berikbay Nurymbetov (2-0) will be facing the much more experienced Valentyn Kuts (22-5-0-1, 8). Kuts has failed to win any of his last 5 bouts and we suspect that losing run will continue here against a man who is obviously backed by a very confident team.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see the much unfancied Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-12-2, 3) battle against former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (61-10, 51) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It's hard not to favour the much more experienced Gonzalez here in what looks like a mismatch against the visitor.
Back in California, though not on the same show as the three Filipino's, fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (5-0, 3) face off with fellow unbeaten Martez Jackson (3-0-2, 2). The bout looks relatively even on paper but we suspect the Kazakh will be too good and too powerful for the unbeaten American.
Hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (4-0-0-2, 4) will be looking to continue his reign of terror as he battles Leandro Mendes Pinto (19-9-2, 9) in a notable step up. The Kazakh destroyer has looked promising so far and should look good here, but notably Pinto has been around the clock and could teach the youngster a few new tricks. Although Pinto has avoided regular stoppages it's hard to imagine him being big enough or tough enough to last long with Jukembayev
Recent weeks have seen a rise in fights of note, and that's certainly the case this coming Saturday with a host of fights featuring Asian fighters, 3 of which feature world title bouts.
The most notable of those world title bouts comes in California as Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 21) defends his WBA “super”, IBF and WBC “interim” titles against IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade (18-0, 12). The bout pits unbeaten fighters together but the reality is that the bout is widely seen as a mismatch with Golovkin a clear favourite and a man who is simply destroying the contenders at 160lbs as he continues to hunt more titles and unifications bouts.
Another of the world title bouts headlines a card in the Philippines and, like the bout in California, this one is also viewed as a mismatch.
The world title bout in question will see WBO Super Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (36-3, 23) defending his title against the very unqualified Hungarian challenger Zsolt Bedak (25-1, 8). For Donaire the bout will be his first since reclaiming the title in December, winning a very competitive bout with Cesar Juarez, and it's an easy first defense if we're being honest. Bedak has only lost once, losing by 10th round TKO to Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, but has done nothing since that loss to deserve a world title fight.
Whilst the world title bout on this show is likely to be a exercise in pointlessness for the champion the show does feature a really tasty looking support bout as the touted Mark Magsayo (13-0, 10) battles former world title challenger Chris Avalos (26-4, 19) in a bout for the WBO International Featherweight title. Avalos has lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, but this should be a good test for Magsayo who is stepping up in quality fight by fight.
On the under card are several notable fighters, one of which is Light Welterweight contender Jason Pagara (37-2, 23) who faces off against Mexican Miguel Zamudio (35-8-1, 21), who is best known for his exploits down at Featherweight, where fought for a WBA interim title. Sadly given the natural size difference this looks to be another mismatch in favour of the local favourite who seems to be treading water.
Another undercard bout will see former world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (36-8-2, 21) ace off against Romnick Magos (12-5, 7, in what looks like a safe fight for Fuentes. The bout will be the “Road Warrior's” second contest since his stoppage loss to Roman Gonzalez in late 2014 and looks to be a case of staying busy rather than anything else. As for Magos the “Daredevil” will be looking for a career best result, though is unlikely to find it here.
The third world title fight to feature an Asian will see Filipino Richie Mepranum (31-4-1, 8) battle against WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (34-0-1, 26). On paper this is a mismatch in favour of the Mexican champion, who is looking for his 6th defense of the title, but Mepranum has got experience at this level and holds a notable win over Hernan Marquez. Saying that however Cuadras should be too big and too good for the challenger. Notably however the winner of this will go into a mandatory title bout against Thailand's all action Srisaket Sor Rungvisai later in the year.
In the US fans will get their first chance to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (20-5, 13), who makes his US debut against Texan Carlos Villa (11-2-1, 6). The bout should be a win for the under-rated Sakai, though travelling to Villa's home state may make things difficult for Sakai,
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in the Philippines fans get a low level domestic card, with the most notable bout being a contest between former world ranked fighter Renan Trongco (17-6, 10) and domestic journeyman Ricky Oyan (4-27-2, 2), in what should be a straight forward win for Trongco.
This coming weekend is a pretty big one with notable Asian's fighting in the Philippines and in the US and it's a day where a number of fighters are expected to be given a real test.
The biggest Asian show of the weekend is the next in the ALA line of “Pinoy Pride” cards and it looks to be a genuinely good looking one with a number of top prospects in action, some of which are being given a serious test, their first since turning professional.
The main event doesn't appear to be one of those testing bouts as Super Bantamweight sensation Albert Pagara (25-0, 18) defends his WBO Inter-Continental title against Yesner Talavera (15-3-1, 4). Pagara's team had hoped to secure a high profile opponent for their man but unfortunately ended up with Talavera after negotiations broke down with a former world champion. This should be a straight forward win for Pagara who may well be getting a world title fight later this year.
Another man who isn't taking a major step up on this card is the incredibly promising Mark Magsayo (12-0, 10), who faces Eduardo Montoya (17-4-1, 13) for the WBO Youth Featherweight title. This looks likely to be win #13 for Magsayo though the plan is to then move him into a much bigger bout, against former world title challenger Chris Avalos, in what would be a major step up in class for the 20 year old.
Another notable Filipino prospect on this card is Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (2-0, 2) who is stepping up to the 8 round distance for the first time. The hotly tipped 20 year old will be up against Tony Rodriguez (3-1, 1) in what looks like a straight forward win for the youngster, though we may see Cataraja's stamina being given a test here. If he's as good as advertised he may well be in 10 rounders by the end of the year and could well be future gem of Filipino boxing scene.
One youngster who is stepping up massively on this card is the heavy handed Melvin Jerusalem (8-0, 7) who doesn't so much "step up" as leap up to face former world champion Florante Condes (29-7-1, 23). This is a real gut check for Jerusalem and whilst Condes isn't the fighter he once was he is still a whole different universe to Jerusalem's previous opposition.
Another fighter moving up in a similar manner is Elmo Traya (10-1, 8) who faces former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-11-1, 8). Traya is currently on a 9 fight winning streak however this sees him stepping up to a level that he hasn't even come close to in the past. Jakosalem has seen better days but is still heavy handed and isn't a push over, despite 3 losses in his last 4.
Another really intriguing bout is the debut of 28 year Singaporean amateur stand out Muhamad Ridhwan (0-0) who faced unbeaten local Melchor Roda (3-0, 3). This look like an interesting match up on paper and although Roda hasn't faced a fighter of any note yet he may see this as a chance to get a notable win under his belt. For Ridhwan this is a check of his professional ability straight from the off. A really good looking match up.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines will be taking place in Metro Manila and will feature a number of promising fighters taking part in what appears to be mismatches.
The main event will see the once beaten Randy Braga (17-1-1, 4), who was really unlucky to actually suffer that loss in South Africa, defending the GAB Featherweight title against the experienced but limited Danilo Pena (27-22-4, 11). Pena has been around the block but has gone 1-10-2 in his last 13 bouts and is unlikely to pose a threat to Braga, who is genuine a promising fighter. Although Braga should win we can't see this one ending in a stoppage given that Braga is a proven survivor with just a couple of stoppage losses in his 53 fight career.
The support bout features another once beaten fighter, Rene Patilano (14-1-2, 7) battling against the limited Jopher Marayan (7-8-2, 3) in what looks like a foregone conclusion over 10 rounds. That bout is one of two 10-round bouts with the other being a contest between the feather fisted Jay Loto (10-0-1) and the testing Vincent Bautista (4-3-3, 1), interestingly this could be a solid test for Loto.
Busan, South Korea
In Busan the KBC will be sanctioning an 8 bout card, headlined by a KBC title fight and supported by two bouts featuring international fighters.
The title bout will see defending KBC 140lb champion Woo Shin Kim (6-1-3, 2) battle against Dong Hee Kim (4-1-1, 1)*. This looks like a well matched bout on paper and sees the champion return to fighting his homeland following a draw in Vietnam against Nguyen Ngoc Hai last October.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Dong Hoon Yook (8-0, 4)* battle against well travelled Indonesian Hero Tito (11-9-1, 3),who adds Korea the list of countries where he has fought. Although not a top fighter Tito has mixed in decent company, and actually fought Ik Yang to a majority decision and is 1-1-1 with countryman Roy Mukhlis. Notably Yook is the current KBC Lightweight champion and seems to be viewed as one of their most promising fighters so it's hard to see him losing this one.
The other notable international bout sees the exciting Hyun Woo Yuh (2-0, 2)* battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (14-8-2, 3). The visitor is 2-6 in his last 8 bouts and whilst he has mixed with better fighters than Yuh it is hard to see him over-coming the Korean youngster, who does appear to be genuinely heavy handed.
In the US fans get another chance to see the best of the active Korean fighters, Min Wook Kim (14-1, 11). The once beaten “Snyper” will be facing off against Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (17-8, 10) and it's hard to see this being anything other than another easy win for the Korean, who has needed just 7 rounds to see off his last 3 foes. Hopefully another impressive performance here will see Kim move towards getting a real chance to prove himself against a worthy adversary.
On a card in Australia we'll see a peculiar 5 rounder as the win-less Sarawut Patsawatho (0-2), originally from Thailand, faces James Katz (3-1, 1). It's unlikely that Sarawut will claim his first win here, especially given that this is his first boxing contest in over 2 years, but we suspect he will put up a solid effort Katz, who was beaten last time out.
*Records taken from the KBC, boxrec list Dong Hee Kim as being 1-0-1, Dong Hoon Yook as being 4-0 (3) and Hyun Woo Yuh as being 4-0 (4). Strangly Yuh's 4-0 (4) is probably right with the KBC not recognising two bouts he fought outside of their control.
Where we have had some interesting days already this month we see things go on to a totally new gear on July 11th with the Philippines really dominating a very, very active day.
The best of the shows comes from Cebu where ALA will be running the next in the “Pinoy Pride” cards. Not only is the card a “big name” one but it features a little bit of everything from a recognised champion in a really exciting match up to action involving touted prospects and a major debut for a man tipped as a future Filipino star.
The main event is the world title bout which sees long term WBO Light Flyweight kingpin Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) defends his belt against former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11). This is a genuinely mouth watering match up between arguably the best, and most proven, fighter in the division and one of the most promising and battle hardened young fighters on the planet. Credit to both men for getting this one sorted.
In the co-feature we'll see the much touted Mark Magsayo (10-0, 8) attempt to claim his first title. The talented Filipino will be up against Mexico's Rafael Reyes (16-4, 12) in a bout for the IBF Youth Featherweight title. Magsayo has, generally, impressed but this is a much more significant bout than his previous 10 and we expect to learn something new of the 20 year old here.
Whilst Magsayo is the most touted prospect on the card there is a lot of attention being given to Kevin Jake Cataraja (0-0) who makes his professional debut against Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). From what we've been told the 20 year old Cataraja is expected to progress quickly through the ranks and could find himself in the same position as Magsayo within the the next year or two.
One other prospect on this card worthy of a mention is the heavy handed Vic Saludar (9-1, 7) who has failed to live up to expectation so far. The once touted Saludar will be up against Michael Kaibigan (3-2-2, 2).
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we have a number of intriguing matches with more Filipino's including a match up that may go down as the best domestic Filipino bout of the year, the card will also feature a pair of former world title challengers and a GAB title fight.
The match up we most like is a 10 round bout for the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title between the unbeaten Jhaleel Payao (11-0, 6) and Michael Dasmarinas (20-2, 13). We've been impressed in the past by Dasmarinas who looked fantastic beating Hayato Kimura last year ans was very unlucky against Lwandile Sityatha. As for Payao he's impressed in sessions working with Ryosuke Iwasa and the reports are that he's a very promising young prospect. We really cannot say enough good words about this one.
Another WBC strap will be on the line as former world title challenger Richard Claveras (12-1-2, 12) looks to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council title against Benezer Alolod (16-7-5, 5). This will be Claveras's first bout since his loss, in a WBC world title fight, to Pedro Geuvara back in April and this is a tough return to action, despite Alolod not holding the most impressive of records.
A third title bout is for the GAB Super Flyweight title as Rene Dacquel (14-4-1, 5) defends his title against Jonas Sultan (8-2, 5). On paper it's hard to side with Sultan but he has looked good recently with 4 straight wins, 3 by T/KO, and was unlucky in his most recent loss. Whilst it's not the best match up on the card it certainly isn't a bad one.
A final title but here will see Rey Juntilla (20-6-4, 13) trading blows with Danilo Pena (26-21-4, 11) for the vacant LuzProBA Featherweight title. We've got to admit we can't see a win for Pena who is now little more than a domestic journeyman, and is 3 years removed from his last win. Juntilla may go on to achieve something more notable, given he is just 25, but we can't see him progressing to the levels that he'd like to get to.
One final bout of note here will see former world title challenger Ardin Diale (28-9-3, 14) take on Indonesian veteran Heri Amol (35-23-4, 14). From what we understand Diale is awaiting to get a shot at the OPBF Flyweight title and will know that a win here really will put him within touching distance of a shot later in the year. It does need saying Amol has lost his last 9, including a defeat to the then debuting Ken Shiro, but is still a decent enough journeyman to get Diale some good rounds.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show really looks very exciting with some fantastic match ups on a more domestic level.
The most promising fighter on the card is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (12-0, 6), who will be fighting for the first time since his tragic bout with Brayd Smith. The unbeaten Moralde has been matched easily here against William George (10-22, 3) in what should be an easy win, but that allows Moralde's handlers to know where he's at in terms of his mental state.
Another very touted young fighter on this card is 20 year old Jade Bornea (3-0, 2), who holds a notable amateur victory over Kosei Tanaka. Bornea will be facing his stiffest test to date as he goes up against fellow unbeaten Salatiel Amit (6-0-2, 4) in what looks to be a very well matched bout. Jade's brother Jake Bornea (9-1, 4) is also in a very good looking bout as he takes on Richard Rosales (9-2-2, 4) in a bout for the WBC Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Jake is highly tipped, like his brother, though it's hard to overlook his 2014 loss to Raymond Tabugon.
One other prospect worthy of note from this card is Jelbirt Gomera (8-0, 5) takes on the highly experienced, though limited Prell Tupaz (8-27-5, 1) in a bout for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. Gomera hasn't received the plaudits of many others but has slowly carved out a promising record and a title win here will almost certainly move him onto bigger fights.
Whilst this card doe feature a lot of prospects one bout stands out as being a truly mouth watering clash. That bout pits former world title challenger Vergilio Silvano (20-4-1, 12) takes on the talented Jetro Pabustan (25-2-6, 7). On paper this is a brilliant fight with the winner almost certainly being moved towards a bigger and better fight whilst the loser will hover around the top of the domestic scene.
It's not in the Philippines that we have a world title as fight fans in Germany get the chance to see WBA Heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20) defending his title against German based Italian born fighter Francesco Pianeta (31-1-1, 17). On paper this looks mouth watering but in fairness Chagaev is not the fighter he once was and Pianeta was made to look like a journeyman in his last notable bout, a 6th round TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Although it's a “heavyweight title fight” it's hard to see anyone even pretending that this features 2 of the divisions top fighters.
One final bout comes from Mexico as Filipino Jhon Gemino (12-3-1, 5) takes on the touted and unbeaten Andres Gutierrez (31-0-1, 22). This is a huge task for Gemino, who has clearly been brought in to lose, but we can't criticise him for taking the fight.
(Image courtesy of ALA Boxing)
Whilst the action has been warming up through out February it really begins to catch fire on February 7th with a couple of notable cards, one in the Philippines and one in Japan.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
The stronger of the two notable cards comes from the Philippines as ALA put on the next in their headline series of “Pinoy Pride” shows. The card may not feature a world title bout but it does feature a number of men who are world ranked.
One of those world ranked fighters in action is the unbeaten and highly touted Genesis Servania (25-0, 11) who will be hoping to keep his world title dreams alive as he battles against 32 year old Mexican fighter Juan Luis Hernandez (17-3-1, 9). It's hard to see what Hernandez has to challenger Servania here but the Filipino will no that no slip ups are allowed when he's this close to a world title shot.
Another fighter who is highly ranked and features on this card is 140lber Jason Pagara (34-2, 21). Pagara will bring a 7 fight winning streak to the ring as he battles against the fragile Cesar Chavez (24-7, 12) who has been stopped in all 7 of his losses. Pagara is risking a very high ranking though the risk is slim against the very limited Chavez who has been stopped in the first 4 rounds in all of his losses.
Possibly the best looking of the 3 main bouts is a Super Flyweight bout which will see the highly regarded “King” Arthur Villanueva (26-0, 14) battle against free swinging former world champion Julio Cesar Miranda (38-11-2, 29). Villanueva has failed to impress in has last few bouts though there is the possibility that he was unmotivated for them. If he performs equally bad here there is every chance he could be stopped by the exciting Miranda. The winner of this bout will take a huge step towards a world title bout and possibly even a clash with WBO champion Naoya Inoue later in the year.
In the chief support bout from the undercard fans will get the chance to see the fast rising prospect Mark Magsayo (9-0, 7) take on Thai fighter Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (13-3, 8). Magsayo ran up an impressive 5 wins last year but this is a very clear step up in class for the man known as “Magnifico”. As for Sukkasem he comes into this bout following an 8th round stoppage loss to Ik Yang last August.
Like the Filipino fans, the Japanese fans don't get any world title action here but the show it's self features a former world champion and several interesting domestic level match ups.
The main event here is easily the best bout on the show as former WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (19-2-1, 11) battles against tough Mexican Efrain Perez (17-5, 12). Perez may be familiar to fans for his bout in Macau with Mark Anthony Geraldo and we suspect he has the ability to give Igarashi a very hard 10 rounds here.
Although the support bouts aren't there are very interesting bouts. The most notable of those will see former 2-time OPBF Light Middleweight title challenger Takehiro Shimokawara (19-9-3, 6) battling against Yuto Shimizu (8-2-2, 2). For Shimizu this is a great opportunity to move towards a title fight whilst Shimokawara will feel he needs a win to remain relevant.
A really interesting, and potentially explosive, encounter at Super Featherweight will see Kenichi Ogawa (13-1, 11) battle against Kazuya Nakano (8-3, 7). This domestic level contest will almost certainly not go the distance but should be captivating from the first bell. On paper Ogawa looks the favourite however Nakano has mixed with better company and his losses have come to good fighters in the form of Hiroki Okada, Kenta Takahashi and Masayuki Ito.
Another good looking competitive match up will see the heavy handed Heisuke Ono (5-2-2, 5) battle against the light punching Tatsuya Mukai (5-3-2, 1) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The biggest show of the weekend this Saturday comes from the Philippines as ALA Promotions put on the 28th show in their "Pinoy Pride" series and, we've got to be honest here, it looks like a great one even if the main event is likely to feel like a let down, thankfully however there are 4 or 5 other interesting bouts on the card and several notable names.
The aforementioned main event will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (33-1-3, 9) return to the ring in an attempt to record the 5th defense of his title. We say attempt though he shouldn't really struggle as he takes on the exciting but limited Carlos Velarde (26-3-1, 14). We don't think Nietes will be given a real test here but we do suspect the fight will be fun to watch as Velarde always brings action to the ring, as he did prior to getting stopped by Ryo Miyazak in a WBA Minimumweight title bout last year.
Whilst the main event looks somewhat predictable the two main support bouts both look interesting to say the least.
One of those will see former world title challenger Milan Melindo (31-1, 12) drop down to Light Flyweight to take on Mexico's Saul Juarez (20-3, 11) in an IBF world title eliminator. The bout was put together after Juarez missed out on the world title shot that Velarde has and we suspect that Melindo will be given a good work out here even if he does make it look relatively easy. The other major support bout will see the unbeaten Albert Pagara (21-0, 15) battle against tough Mexican Raul Hirales (22-3-1, 11). This will be Pagara's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title and appears to be a great step up for the Filipino who has blitzed his last 3 foes in a combined 5 rounds. It's a big step up but Hirales has looked very ordinary in his 3 losses and we suspect Pagara will manage to make him look poor as well.
In the most interesting of 3 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds we will see unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2, 11) battle against Jomar Fajardo (14-5-1, 7). Rodriguez will be fighting for the first time since he unified the IBF and WBO titles with his stellar victory over Katsunari Takayama this year in a FOTY contender and we suspect that this will be his last bout before making a permanent move to the Light Flyweight division, which appears to be set for a memorable 2015.
Another of the 10 rounders will see former Rodriguez foe Merlito Sabillo (23-1-1, 12) battle against the limited Faris Nenggo (8-6-3, 2). This will be Sabillo's first bout since being stopped by Rodriguez in March whilst for Nenggo it'll be his first bout since back-to-back defeats to Ryuji Hara and Paipharob Kokietgym. It should be an easy win for Sabillo but it's hard to judge what his confidence will be like after the battering he suffered at the hands of Rodriguez.
The third 10 rounder will see former world title contender AJ Banal (31-2-1, 22) battle against recent OPBF Featherweight title challenger Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (15-5, 4). We assume this could be fun to watch but Banal, for all his talent, appears to have a knack of letting us down. We wouldn't be shocked for him to take out his Thai foe early nor would we be shocked to see him struggle to a relatively limp and unexciting decision win.
Lower down the card in an 8 rounder we will see Mark Magsayo (8-0, 6), one of out favourite Filipino prospects, battle against South Korean visitor Moon-Sun Jung (2-3-3). We imagine Magsayo will see off Jung though hopefully he'll get some rounds in the bank before closing the show.
Nakhon Nayok, Thailand
Whilst the Filipino show is clearly the most important of the day we do have shows across Asia with one of them taking place in Thailand.
This show will be headlined by a regional title bout between unbeaten fighters as Petchchorhae Kokietgym (8-0, 5) attempts to make the first defense of his WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Flyweight title. The man trying to stop the Thai is unbeaten Indonesian Rizky Pratama (2-0) who we really don't know about. Hopefully this will be competitive though we suspect the Indonesian will be blown away relatively quickly in a mismatch.
In a clear mismatch fans will get the chance to see former world title challenger Terdsak Kokietgym (53-5-1, 33) take on Indonesia's Yacob Ton (4-10, 2). This is a mismatch and few will defend it however it will be Terdsak's first bout since his thrilling encounter with Orlando Salido a few months ago and hopefully Terdsak won't damaged good following that fight which was extremely damaging for the Thai.
A third bout on this card will see Petchnamchai KKP (1-0, 1) risking his unbeaten record against the debuting Ricardo Sithsaithong (0-0) in what looks like an even match up on paper though is unlikely to be even at all given what we know about boxing in Thailand.
A small show in Japan, featuring 9 bouts in total, looks to be a forgettable one with only 2 bouts even worth mentioning.
The main event, an 8 rounder, will see Keita Nakano (11-9-3, 2) fight against Takaaki Ishikawa (10-5, 5) in what appears to be a competitive match up though a sub-domestic level one that won't get fans, even domestic ones, excited in the slightest. Although not a great bout both men do need a win and will likely put it all on the line to take home a W. The only other bout worth noting is a 6 rounder that will see Ryuto Araya (6-2-1) taking on Tsubasa Mochizuki (6-4, 2) in a bout we suspect will go the distance considering neither guy has much power on their shots.
Daegu, South Korea
In South Korea we get another domestic level card though one that features 2 relatively weak looking title fights.
At Super Middleweight we will see Eun-Chang Lee (7-4, 3) attempt to defend the Korean Super Middleweight title for the first time since winning the title in March. Lee, who lost in Macau to Esquiva Falcao last time out, will be battling against Young-Kyoon Lee (1-13-1) who really shouldn't be in any sort of a title fight given that he has won just 1 of 15 professional bouts.
Sadly the other title bout on the show, a South Korean Super Featherweight bout, is almost as bad as Ik Soo Han (6-3, 1) takes on Jong-Won Won (7-13-1, 3) for the vacant belt. Han last fought 19 months ago, losing a 6th round TKO to Junta Sekimoto in Japan whilst Won hasn't won a bout since July 2009! We understand that titles can interest fans but this is farcical for a title bout.
A third bout on this card will see former female world title challenger Hye-Soo Park (3-7-1, 1) fighting against win-less Thai Dorkmaipah Kiatpompetch (0-3) in what should be a clear mismatch, despite the fact Park isn't a great fighter herself.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa we will see two Russian's in action in interesting looking bouts.
At Light Heavyweight we will get the chance to see Denis Grachev (13-4-1, 8) take on the unbeaten, and freakishly tall, Thomas Oosthuizen (22-0-2, 13). It's fair to say the loser here will have to forget any dreams of being a world champion whilst a win will likely help them move into contention for a belt. With the stakes so high this could a very good bout however both men have looked poor in recent contests and they may again fail to inspire here.
The other bout will see the heavy handed Roman Belaev (14-0, 10) fighting former world title challenger Ali Funeka (35-4-3, 29) in a bout for the IBO Welterweight title. Belaev has generally impressed us with his power, aggression and style and we suspect he'll show those same traits here against the 36 year old Funeka who we thing could be ready for his first stoppage loss.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)
This past week has been a major one with Katsunari Takayama defeating compatriot Shin Ono on Wednesday whilst Amnat Ruenroeng defended his world title against Kazuto Ioka. Both of those bouts saw champions successfully defending their world titles.
On Saturday there will be two more champions hoping to retain their titles in Asia. One of those bouts looks difficult whilst the other looks incredibly straight forward.
The straight forward world title fight comes in Korea as the talented Hyun Mi Choi (8-0-1, 2) defends her WBA female Super Featherweight title against Thai novice Thongmanit Siriwan (0-1). It's hard to see anything but but a successful defence from Choi who is genuinely excellent.
Unfortunately we can't find many details about this bout, or the card, other than what boxrec lists. So we'll admit we have our worries about this bout not actually taking place as neither the KBC, the KPBF or the WBA have really publicised it as one would have expected.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other world title fight, and the one we know will be taking place, is in the Philippines as WBO Light Flyweight world champion Donnie Nietes (32-1-4, 18) defends his belt against the very strong and improving Mexican Moises Fuentes (19-1-1, 10). This is the second meeting between these two men after they fought to a controversial draw last year. We thought Fuentes had won the first meeting with his work rate but we admit this is likely to be a very different fight with both men knowing that they need to win this one.
In the chief support out on this Filipino show we will get to see recent world title challenger Milan Melindo (30-1, 12) battle against fellow world ranked fighter Martin Tecuapetla (11-5-2, 8). Tecuapetla, who comes in to this bout on the back of a victory over Gilberto Parra, is highly ranked with the WBA but we don't imagine he'll give Melindo too many problems with the Filipino being a genuinely talented fighter.
A third high profile bout on this card will see the ever popular Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista (34-3, 25) face off with with 22 year old Mexican Sergio Villanueva (26-3-2, 13). Bautista is apparently re-committed to boxing and could well be set for a rise back through the ranks, sadly however his commitment has waned in the past and some has suggested that his loss to Jose Ramirez last year was due to commitment issues. If he's on form and has his head in the fight Bautista should win, but you never can be sure with him as to how he will perform on any given night.
With three great match ups on the card it would be easy to ignore the undercard but ALA have done a great job in putting some great undercard bouts together as well.
These under-card bouts include a contest between Mark Bernaldez (12-0, 8) and Thailand's Non Sithsaithong (11-6, 7), over 10 rounds, a bout between Filipino based Cuban Reymi Castellano Aleye (4-0, 1) and Filipino "homeboy" Junmar Dulog (8-23-3, 4), over 8 rounds, a 6 round bout between the excellent Mark Magsayo (5-0, 4) and South Korea's Hyuk-Tak Joo (1-1) and an other 6 rounder that features Joseph Von Minoza (14-6, 6) fighting against the unbeaten Sung-Tak Joo (5-0-2, 1).
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second show in Metro Manila will take place at the Olivarez Stadium and be a much smaller show though will, as with the other card, feature some some excellent bouts.
The best looking of those bouts will see Alie Laurel (11-3, 7) defending his WBO Oriental Bantamweight title against Mike Espanosa (12-7-1, 7). Earlier this week we had expected Laurel to be battling against unbeaten Indonesian Defry Palulu though it appears the big punching Palulu has been swapped out for Espanosa in what is a lesser bout, though one that will allow both Laurel and Palulu to continue their careers with out any risk against each other. For those who recognise Laurel's name, he comes in to this bout following an excellent victory over Tiger Tor Buamas earlier this year, a victory that saw him winning the title he'll be defending for the first time
Another title bout on the same show will see Japan's Tosho Makoto Aoki (16-12-2, 13) defending the WBC Asia Council Continental lightweight title against Filipino challenger Jonel Alibio (16-17-5, 8). This will be the second defence of the belt by Aoki though neither man is really up to much and we'd not be shocked by any result though we do expect an engaging encounter.
A third title bout on this same show will see unorthodox Japanese fighter Kenichi Yamaguchi (17-2-2, 4) fighting against Argie Toquero (6-3-1, 4) in a battle for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. Yamaguchi may be known for two reasons. Firstly he is a former world title challenger having fought Orlando Salido for the WBO Featherweight and he was also involved in a memorable incident with Australia's Billy Dib where the ring erupted into a mini-riot. Unfortunately for Yamaguchi this will be his first bout since he lost to Salido back in 2011.
(Image courtesy of ALA)