Quintana Roo, Mexico
In theory the most meaningful bout, as it's a world title fight, this coming Saturday will take place in Mexico, as WBC Female Light Flyweight champion Yesenia Gomez (14-5-3, 6) defends her title against Japan's Erika Hanawa (10-3, 4). For Gomez this will be her first defense, following a big win over veteran Esmeralda Moreno in September, and a good test for what's going to she's going to be able to do as a champion. Hanawa, who is fighting in her second world title bout, is talented but has got a reputation as someone who comes up short in her biggest bouts. Fighting outside of Asia for the first time won't do Hanawa any favours, but she does seem like she's really up for this fight. Our preview of this bout is here Hanawa gets world title shot at Gomez!
Another really meaningful contest will take place in California, as Ryosuke Iwasa (25-5, 16) clashes with Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17) in an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator. Iwasa, a former world champion, will be making his US debut against a very exciting and aggressive Mexican in what could be one of the most exciting bouts at 122lbs this year. Both men are flawed, but both are exciting, and their styles should gel. Iwasa is the bigger puncher, on a single punch basis, but Juarez is tough and sets a higher pace, making this a very hard to call bout. Our preview of this fight can be read here Iwasa and Juarez meet in IBF eliminator!
Also on this card will be former WBO Bantamweight world champion Marlon Tapales (31-2, 14), though his opponent is still yet to be announced and there is a chance this bout could fall through by the time the show takes place.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines we get a televised show courtesy of ESPN5, and it's a card with a number of good looking fights on it.
The main event will be a 12 round contest between the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (14-0, 10) and Mexican visitor Marcos Cardenas (19-6-1, 15), who battle for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title. The unbeaten Penalosahas had a stop start career but two quick wins last year has seen him build some momentum to begin 2019 and a win here will give his career the big shot in the arm that it needs. Cardenas however won't be travelling to just lose however and he is riding a 3 fight winning run into this bout. Penalose will be strongly favoured, but Cardenas will have travelled to win, and has sort of proven his toughness, lasting 8 rounds with Miguel Marriaga and 5 rounds with Rey Vargas.
The main supporting bout will see former 2-time world champion John Riel Casimero (25-4, 16) take on exciting Japanese brawler Kenya Yamashita (13-4, 10). The 29 year old Casimero, who won world titles at Light Flyweight and Flyweight, hasn't looked great recently, with a loss to Jonas Sultan last time he fought on home soil, but will be under pressure to perform here. Yamashita is crude, but exciting and powerful and will be looking to shine on his international debut. Should be a huge gulf in technical ability, but also a potential gulf in desire and hunger.
A second supporting bout on this card will see teenage prospect Carl Jammes Martin (11-0, 10) take a huge step up in class to face off with Thai foe Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-2, 8). The unbeaten Martin scored 4 wins last year, all by stoppage, and seems like one of the most promising young Filipino fighters beginning to break out. Petchchorhae on the other hand has failed to impressive despite winning some minor titles earlier in his career. The Thai was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Giemel Magramo, and was stopped in his other loss by Iwan Zoda, suggesting he can be taken out, something that Martin will be looking to do here.
Suwon, South Korea
There will also be a domestic card in Korean, albeit at a relatively low level.
The main bouts are 6 round contests, with one of them being a bout between Ki Hyun Park (2-2-2) and Han Bin Suh (3-0-1, 2) whilst the other will be between Jong Won Jung (5-7-1) and Dae Young Lee (2-9-1). We'll be honest and admit that it's hard to get excited about either of these bouts, of the card in general.
In Liege fans will be able to see Belgian based Kyrgyzstan born Faroukh Kourbanov (16-1, 3) battle against Ukrainian 36 year old Volodymyr Matviichuk (4-1). Kourbanov suffered his sole defeat last year, to the experienced Devis Boschiero in Italy, and will be looking to score his second win since that defeat. Matviichuk, who competed at the 2016 Olympics, only debuted as a professional in 2017 and will clearly see this bout as a chance to get into the mix at European level. Whilst Matviichuk does have a loss, it appears to be a suspect one, losing a split decision in Latvia to Ivans Levickis, in a bout that one judge scored 60-55 to the Ukrainian.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show this Sunday comes from the Philippines and features some very notable fighters, including an interim world champion, a former world champion and three touted prospects.
On paper the main event will see WBA “interim” Bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo (19-0, 16) battling against the horribly limited Julias Kisarawe (29-6-1, 15) of Tazania. The talented Gaballo claimed the interim title earlier this year, when he upset the unbeaten Stephon Young in the US, and showed that he was world class. Sadly Gaballo was one of the many talented Bantamweights who missed out on the World Boxing Super Series but as long as he stays active between now and the end of the tournament he will be in with a great chance of facing the eventual winner. Sadly this really is just a stay busy for Gaballo, and Kisarawe was stopped back in 5 rounds in July by Prince Patel, showing just how limited he is.
The former champion on the card is former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first since he scored an 11th round KO against Shohei Omori in April 2017, a bout that saw him being stripped of the title for failing to make weight. Given his long break from the ring few we can't complain much about Tapalese being matched softly, and he has been. On paper Goodluck Mrema (22-3, 12) looks to be a decent opponent but the man from Tanzania has been matched very softly and has lost in his two bouts outside of homeland, including a stoppage loss in June in Scotland to the then 3-0 Lee McGregor. Tapales should have no problems dealing with the visitor here.
One of the prospects on this card Dave Penalosa (13-0, 9), the nephew of promoter Gerry Penalosa, who looks to be taking a step up in class, at least on paper. The unbeaten southpaw will be up against Twalib Tuwa (21-5-2, 14), another import from Tanzania. Tuwa is 0-3 on the road, including a loss to to Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym. When you consider Kwanpichit is a Flyweight and Penalosa is a Featherweight we really should be questioning why Tuwa's team are throwing him in here.
Another Penalosa on this card is Carlo Caesar Penalosa (12-1, 5), who will also be taking on an opponent from Tanzania, Jemsi Kibazange (11-2-2, 1). On paper this actually looks the most compelling of the Philippines Vs Tanzania bouts, despite Kibazange being very feather fisted. Kibazange hasn't never been stopped and despite suffering a couple of losses at least looks like he could be a test for Penalosa. Even if we are expecting the contest to be a mismatch.
In Japan there will be two shows at the Kagoshima Arena,
On paper the more notable of those two cards is the second show, which features a couple of notable bouts.
The main event of this card will see Naoya Haruguchi (15-9, 6) take on Filipino visitor Lito Dante (14-10-4, 7). This will be Haruguchi's first bout since a loss to Tatsuya Fukuhara in July and although he's lost 2 of his last 3 he has proven to be a very credible fighter around the Japanese and OPBF title scene, with notable wins against the likes of Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. On paper Dante looks like a limited fighter, but like Haruguchi he is much better than his record suggests and has gone the distance twice with Vic Saludar and also took Simphiwe Khonce the schedule. Dante is tough, talented and will be there to pick up a win on the road. This could be a thrilling and hotly contest contest.
In the chief support bout we'll see OPBF female Bantamweight champion Miyo Yoshida (10-1) make her first defense, just weeks after winning the belt, as she takes on Thai challenger Phannaluk Kongsang (4-6-1, 2). Yoshida won the title on October 20th, to unify the OPBF and Japanese titles, and this will be her first defense of the regional belt as she gets a homecoming contest in Kagoshima, with the plan being for her to move on to world title fights in the near future. Coming in to this the Thai has lost 3 of her last 4, including a previous challenge for this title, and a win would be the biggest of her career, by far. We don't see the upset happening, but we do imagine the Thai will be able to last the distance, given Yoshida's lack of power.
The other card in Kagoshima is a Rookie of the Year card, pitting the Western Japan champions against the Central Japan champions. The winners of these bouts will then find themselves one bout away from an appearance at the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in December. This card will feature 9 bouts in total with contests taking place from Minimumweight to Welterweight. We won't go through the bouts, but we are expecting some very competitive contests.
The key Asian show this coming Saturday comes from Malaysia, where fans will see a number of promising fighters in action.
The most promising fighter on the card is WBC Silver Welterweight champion Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (13-0, 9), who will be making his second defense of the title as he takes on Hungarian foe Laszlo Toth (25-3-1, 17). The Uzbek fighter had a fantastic 2017 with notable wins over Charles Manyuchi, to win the title, and Dmitry Mikhaylenko to defend it, and he looks like a future world title challenger, possibly fighting for a world title later this year. The visitor is a bit of an unknown, though unlike most Hungarian fighters he's not collapsed in his defeats, instead he has gone the distance against the likes of Vyacheslav Senchenko and Kerman Lejarraga. This could be a decent test for the Uzbek fighter, but one that we expect him to come through as he continues his march to a world title fight.
Another promising Uzbek fighter on this card is Azizbek Abdugofurov (9-0, 4), who kicks off his 2018 with a bout against Alfonso Tissen (10-1-2, 5). The 25 year old Uzbek Middleweight looked like a star in the making as we entered 2017, but some of the excitement has been lost for him, despite going 6-0 (1) for the year. He's still very promising and hotly tipped, but some of the hype has certainly gone. Tissen on the other hand is a bit of an unknown from South Africa, who looks to be stepping up in class, after 13 straight fights on the South African domestic scene. With 2 draws in his last 4 Tissen has shined recently and will not expected to pick up a win, but if this is competitive Abdugofurov will see his rise take another hit, and he really wouldn't want that to happen at the moment.
A third Uzbek on this card is Jasur Akhmadjanov (3-0, 2), who looks to take on his most notable foe so far as he battles former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-7-3, 22). Aged 21 Akhmadjanov is a promising youngster, but this is a monster step up in class, following 3 fights on the Uzbek domestic scene. Interestingly this will be the Uzbek's third bout of the year, following two bouts in January. Mukhlis challenged the then WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama in 2010, but since then his career has really faltered, going 5-4-1 with 3 stoppage losses. Mukhlis has looked shot in recent fights and this could be why he has been selected for Akhmadjanov's first step up, though he may still have the tool to ask questions of the youngster.
A final bout of potential interest here will be a rematch between Malaysia's very own Muhammad Shehran (6-1, 1) and Indonesian Erick Deztroyer (11-4-1, 2). These two fought last December, with Deztroyer defeating Shehran, who was then 5-0, courtesy of a majority decision. Shehran will be seeking revenge here, whilst Deztroyer will be looking to double down and get a second win over the 22 year old Malaysian fighter.
As well as the action in Malaysia there is also a show worthy of note in Victoria featuring a former world champion.
That former world champion is former WBO Bantamweight king Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13), who will be up against Indonesian foe Rivo Rengkung (36-24-6, 14). The under-rated Tapales hasn't been seen in the ring since his second bout with Shohei Omori, a bout he won by 11th round TKO but was stripped of his world title for failing to make weight, way back in April 2017. The Filipino is likely to be a real handful for anyone at 122lbs with his toughness and under-rated skills, and despite his long break from the ring he should have no issue with Rengkung. The Indonesian has been stopped in 9 of his 24 defeats, and whilst he could see out the bell, as he did against big punching South African Macbute Sinyabi, it really is hard to see anyway for him to be competitive with the Filipino.
Another Filipino on this card will be the once touted Neil John Tabano (14-4, 10), who will take on Thai puncher Yodchanchai Nakornluang (25-4-0-1, 20). Tabanao won his first 11 bouts, but has gone 3-4 in his last 7 and really needs to inject some momentum back into his career as soon as possible. The 39 year old Thai veteran hasn't fought in over 4 years and although he will still have his heavy hands he was never the toughest fighter and really should be fodder for the significantly younger and fresher Filipino hopeful.
In Russia local fans will be able to see the unbeaten Vyacheslav Mirzaev (10-0, 1) take on Filipino foe Kenny Demecillo (13-4-2, 7). The unbeaten 29 year old Mirzaev has shown nothing in terms of power but has shown some nice skills so far, including last December when widely out pointed Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. The Filipino visitor likely isn't expected to be a threat, but he is a talented fighter and should be regarded as a live under-dog here, despite his less than amazing record. Demecillo is better than the numbers suggest, and if he performs to bis best he can be a handful for a fighter like Mirzaev.
The biggest show of the weekend, and one of the biggest Japanese shows of the year so far, takes place in Osaka on Sunday
The main event of the card will see WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) look to extend his reign as the champion as he takes on highly experienced Thai foe Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 38), who has won his last 61 fights! On paper this looks good, but it's a bout that really is based on smoke and mirrors with Noknoi's record being very padded so far. Interestingly this will be Ioka's 5th defense of the Flyweight title and if he wins he will become just the second Japanese man to win 14world title bouts!
The card feature a really good supporting bout as WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) defends his belt against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13). These two men fought in 2015, with Tapales dominating the then unbeaten Omori, and since then the Filipino had gone on to win the WBO title, taking a thrilling victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu. Although he was dominated, suffering a 2 round loss to Tapales, it does seem like Omori has looked at their first bout and admitted he was over-confident, making this rematch very interesting.
The most interesting of the under-card bouts will see Japanese based Korean Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) battle against the once touted Filipino Neil John Tabanao (13-3, 9). This really could be a very fun bout, with both men having good styles that should gel well for an exciting contest.
The under-card is also packed with a number of notable names, such as Sho Ishida (23-0, 12), Takahiro Yamamoto (18-5, 15), Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) Hayate Ikuta (7-0, 3) and Tatsuya Ikemizu (14-2, 6) all of whom will be facing Thai imports.
As well as the card in Osaka there will be a second notable show in Japan, with Aichi hosting a show featuring a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, and an interesting looking non-title bout.
That aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) make his second defense as he takes on mandatory title challenger Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12). Although this bout won't excite those outside of Japan too much, especially given the action in Osaka, we've got a genuine feeling that this will be a genuine barn burner. Hayashi is a busy, hard working yet basic fighter whilst Saka is a gutsy warrior with nasty power, and we're expecting those styles to gel perfectly for a war.
The other bout of note on this card will see the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (10-1-1, 10) battle against Noboru Osato (7-4-4, 1). Although Mizuno is unproven, and is stepping up a bit in class here, he has shown real promise and his power certainly looks genuine. Osato will go in to this bout as the under-dog but has never been stopped, and could well use his experience and toughness to teach Mizuno some new lessons.
There will be a third Japanese show in Hyogo, where fans get some lesser action, but still manage to get a card worthy of some note.
In the main event of this show we'll see WBO ranked Minimumweight hopeful Ryoki Hirai (8-4-1, 3) battle against the heavy handed Ryoya Ikema (11-3, 10). The little known Hirai really is ranked thanks to a technical decision win over the low-on-confidence Takumi Sakae from last December, other than that however his record has little to note. The huge punching Ikema was beaten last time out by Koki Ono, but is an interesting prospect and will be looking to score a career best win here.
The other bout of note on this card will see Giraffe Kirin Kanda (8-2, 5) battle against the very promising Ukyo Yoshigai (5-0, 4). It's hard to call this one, but a win for Yoshigai would put him in great position ahead of his bout in the Japanese Youth Tournament later in the year. Kanda was stopped just a few fights ago but will be looking to build on back-to-back blow out wins in what could be a really fun bout.
In Uganda fight fan will see Azeri born Shahin Adygezalov (8-0, 7) battle against Amos Mwamakula (15-6-2, 7) in a contest for the UBO Welterweight title. The bout is a low key affair but will see the winner score their best win to date.
The most notable action this coming Wednesday comes from Thailand where we will see a very intriguing world title bout.
That world title bout it the most significant bout of the day and sees WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-3, 35) defending his title against mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales (28-2, 11). The champion, who won the title last year against Ryo Akaho, will be making the second defense of his title and will be favoured given the bout is in Thailand. However Tapales has been an upset minded fighter in the past, as we saw last year when he blitzed the touted Shohei Omori in 2 rounds and when he was very narrowly beaten by David Sanchez in Mexico back in 2013.
As well as the show in Thailand fight fans in Japan will also get a card, albeit a low level one with only one notable name on it.
In the most notable bout on this card recent Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-7, 16) will be fighting in a stay busy bout against a Thai opponent, who's name we don't currently have. This is one of 3 bouts scheduled for 5 rounds on this card and Funai will know that a win could potentially help him get a second shot at the national title.
Another 5 rounder on this show will see the unbeaten OPBF ranked Erika Hanawa (5-0, 1) battle Thailand's win-less Sirisopha Sirisak (0-4). For Hanawa the bout could we be an OPBF title eliminator, and if she wins she may well move on to an OPBF Atomweight title fight in the coming months. For Sirisak the bout will be her first outside of Thailand and her first in more than 2 years.
One other bout from this card that caught our eye will see 19 year old Yoshimitsu Kimura (4-0, 2) face 25 year old Masaaki Shiraishi (3-0-2, 2) in what looks like a really intriguing 4 rounder.
December 16th-Omori battles Tapales for world title shot whilst Tokunaga and Nishitani face off for Japanese crown!
For a second day this week Japanese fans get a real treat with another double main event show. Unlike the first one however, this one is in Kyoto, not Tokyo.
The most notable of the main bouts is a WBO Bantamweight world title eliminator between Japanese national champion Shohei Omori (15-0, 10) and Filipino visitor Marlon Tapales (27-2, 10), with the winner to get a shot at the WBO crown in 2016. In recent bouts Omori has attracted the attention of international fans with some starting to see him as the the next great Japanese Bantamweight, following in the recent footsteps of Hozumi Hasegawa and Shinsuke Yamanaka, however this is a huge test for the youngster and one he will need to pass if he's to become the star some have suggested he will be. For Tapales, who's last loss came in a very close fight against David Sanchez almost 3 years ago, this is a huge opportunity and sees him returning to Japan for his 3rd bout in the country. Interestingly he is 2-0 in Japan and will be looking to continue that successful run.
The other main event will see Omori's stable mate Kota Tokunaga (16-2, 11) make the second defense of the Japanese Lightweight title. Tokunaga, who won the title earlier this year by stopping Yuya Sugizaki, will be up against the relatively unknown Kazuhiro Nishitani (15-3-1, 7) who is perhaps lucky to even be getting a title fight. Tokunaga isn't the best champion out there, and was relatively lucky in his last bout, where he scored a final round come-from-behind TKO, though his will to win is one of many positive traits for the fast improving champion. Nishitani will be the under-dog but should be regarded as a very live under-dog.
Chinese fans continue to have a wave of action as Top Rank continue their small foray into Shanghai, where they continue to put on shows at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The show isn't a big one, in fact it's scarcely a footnote on the Asian boxing scene, but it is notable that Top Rank are continuing their commitment to China and seem to still view the area as a potential gold mine, even if Zou Shiming isn't the star that they were hoping for.
Although January has been a bit of a slow month it does end in exciting and busy fashion with a pair of Filipino shows. We won't pretend that any of them are ground breaking with huge headline bouts but there is certainly something to be intrigued by on both shows.
Davao del Sura, Philippines
For us the best of the Filipino shows comes from Davao del Sur and features 4 notable bouts. They aren't earth shattering bouts but all 4 contests have some form of significance to them.
The least interesting of the 4 contests will see that talented but light hitting Marlon Tapales (26-2, 9) battles against struggling compatriot Jecker Buhawe (16-10-1, 10) in what looks to bo a straight forward win for Tapales. Buhawe's record however is misleading and he is better than the numbers suggest, though we still favour Tapales.
Another bout that looks like a mismatch will see Drian Francisco (26-2-1, 20) fight against Jason Egera (21-11, 10). We suspect this will be 1-sided with Francisco taking a stoppage over Egera, however Egera may feel he needs to put in a career best performance considering that he has lost his last 3 bouts and his career will certainly be on the rocks if he's beaten quickly here.
Possibly the best bout on the card will be for the IBF Youth Super Flyweight title as the talented, young and heavy handed Aston Palicte (15-1, 13) battles against Thai visitor Jomyuthlek Sor Narongchai (12-2, 5). Palicte, dubbed “Mighty”, is a serious puncher and a really exciting guy to watch, and he should see off the Thai visitor here, however it's not a forgone conclusion and we hope to see Jomyuthlek really asking some questions of Palicte.
In the main event we get another between a Filipino and a Thai as the unbeaten Adones Cabalquinto (18-0, 11) fights against Denkamon Pakdee Gym (12-3, 5) for the IBF Australasian Light Welterweight title. From what we understand this will be Dankamon's first bout in almost 4 years and it's really hard to see him even testing Cabalquinto here. Unfortunately however it does seem that the unbeaten Filipino is doing his best to avoid real challenges and bouts like this are becoming a big common place in his career, unfortunately.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another of the Filipino shows takes place in Metro Manila and although this card isn't as good as the other one it does still have a few interesting contests scheduled.
The main event will see the heavy handed Richard Claveras (11-0-2, 11) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title as he takes on Indonesian visitor Demsi Manufoe (9-3, 6). On paper it looks like a test for Claveras however in reality it's a horrible mismatch and Manufoe has been stopped in both of his bouts outside out Indonesia, lasting 3 rounds with Knockout CP Freshmart and less than a round with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. This could be over very quickly.
The co-feature will see Rene Dacquel (12-4-1, 4) looking to bounce back from a loss in December. The talented Dacquel, a former WBC Youth champion, will be fighting against Boy Dondee Pumar (10-6-3, 4) in what appears to be a genuinely good contest.
Sadly much of the under-card appears to be mismatches however we do like the look of Kyota Otsuka's (5-0, 3) contest, which will see the unbeaten fighter up against the light hitting but under-rated Jesame Dela Cerna (5-2-3, 1). Otsuka will be the favourite though Dela Cerna has the ability to make this a good test for the unbeaten 20 year old from Tokyo.
Whilst there are mismatches on the remaining parts of this card they do feature some very fighters including Michael Dasmarinas (18-2, 11) and Ardin Diale (26-9-3, 13) who will both be expect to pick up straight forward wins.
As well as the action in the Philippines there is also a bout of note in Mexico as the unheralded Jomar Fajardo (14-5-2, 7) battles against former Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2-1, 11). These two traded blows in a thrilling encounter last year in the Philippines with Rodriguez being surprisingly taken a to a draw and this time out the Mexican will be hoping to make a statement as he looks to get an opportunity to become a Light Flyweight champion later in the year.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia there are more Asian's in action, albeit as the clear B-side in bouts they are supposed to lose.
One of those Asian fighters is Filipino fighter Rodynie Rafol (12-5-2, 5) who will be trying to upset the unbeaten George Kambosos Jnr (6-0, 3). The other Asian fighter is Indonesian whipping boy Erick Diaz Siregar (16-20-4, 4), who has lost 9 of his last 10 bouts. The Indonesian will need the performance of a life time if he is to win here however as he goes up against the promising Billel Dib (15-1, 6) here.
Having had some very good days so far this week it's fair to say that we aren't going to be let down on Saturday with yet more interesting looking fights spread across the globe.
The most interesting of those bouts takes place in Nebraska as the very highly regarded Russian Matt Korobov (23-0, 14) takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Jose Uzcategui (22-0, 18) in what could potentially be the fight of the night. The two, who are 45-0 (32) between them, will be fighting for the WBO Inter-Continental title and, in all likeliness, the winner will become the WBO mandatory challenger for reigning champion Peter Quillin.
On the same card fans will also get to see the very promising Konstantin Ponomarev (23-0, 11), also from Russia, who will be fighting against Hector Munoz (23-13-1, 15). Munoz is probably best known to some as the man Yoshihiro Kamegai made his US debut against way back in October 2011, on that occasion Kamegai stopped Munoz in 6 rounds in what is still his only win on US soil. Ponomarez won't be expected to by quite as impressive against Munoz but will be expected to score a win here and live up to his nickname of "Talant".
Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
Staying on the Russian theme for a moment longer fans in the Dominican Republic will get the chance to see the very promising Fedor Chudinov (10-0, 8) in action. Fedor is the younger brother of current WBA interim Middleweight champion Dmitry Chudinov and will be seeking his 11th straight win as he takes on Emiliano Cayetano (22-7, 13). On paper this is a step up for Chudinov but we view him as a better fighter than his brother and expect him to easily see off his more experienced foe.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Whilst the three Russian's fighting will likely grab the attention of many fans there is also a lot of action in the Philippines with 3 separate shows. For us the most interesting of those is in Davao del Sur where Aljoe O Jaro will be putting on a show that, just a few weeks ago, seemed on the verge of falling apart.
The main event isn't great as former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (36-13-5, 26) battles against Ichal Tobida (10-11, 8) in a bout that looks, for all intents and purposes, like a mismatch. Jaro, best known for his shock win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, has lost 3 of his last 5 including a major upset loss to Gerpaul Valero. With those recent results Tobida may find himself having a chance, albeit only a slim one.
In the co-main event the unbeaten Adones Cabalquinto (15-0, 8) will be defending his GAB Light Welterweight title against the limited Giovani Rota (7-6, 4). When you consider Cabalquinto was lined up to fight Keita Obara earlier this year in an OPBF this bout does look like a waste of time though hopefully it will be the final bout at this level for Cabalquinto before he does move beyond domestic level and throw his name out there to fight Obara, Min Wook Kim or Shinya Iwabuchi. We'd be shocked if Rota makes it to the second half of this fight.
Whilst the two main events look like forgone conclusions in relatively uninteresting bouts we've got to admit we're exciting about the contest between Lorenzo Villanueva (25-1-0-1, 22) and Hendrik Barongsay (26-16-3, 15). We expect the obvious winner here and will be hoping that Villanueva gets the win though he's always been a favourite of ours since we saw his fight with Daud Cino Yordan in 2012. That bout was one of the most insanely entertaining bouts in recent years and we'd recommend you all watch the video of the fight here. Barongsay has only been stopped 5 times in his 45 fight career and the most recent of those was way back in 2009 so there is every chance he could give Villanueva some resistance here.
One other man pencilled in for this show is Roksie Cristobal (7-0, 7), the freakishly tall Lightweight prospect that some in the Philippines have become very excited about. Although he's still young we do want to see Cristobal step up a little bit in coming fights, sadly he's down to face a "TBA" at the time of writing.
As well as those bouts mentioned we expect to see several other bouts, albeit at a lower level.
Lanao del Norte, Philippines
Although we do like the the previously mentioned Filipino show we need to admit that the best single Filipino fight is in Lanao del Norte as Marlon Tapales (25-2, 9) attempts to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title for the first time. Tapales ,a very talented young fighter, will be battling against Tanzania's 20 year old Fadhili Majiha (15-3-4, 7) in a bout that looks very interesting on paper. Tapales will start as the clear favourite but Majiha is 1-0 in Asia having beaten Heri Amol in Amol's native Indonesia. Interestingly Majiha's only stoppage loss came when he was a 16 year old to Vusi Malinga suggesting he may well be a very tough cookie to Tapales to crack.
Also on this card will be the debut of Brian Capampangan (0-0) who kicks off his career with a 6 rounder against Michael Acevido (2-5-1, 1). We'll admit we don't know much about Capampangan but the fact he's beginning his career with a 6 rounder intrigues us.
As with the other show there will be other bouts on this show.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manilla we get another very interesting looking headline bout as Renan Trongco (14-4, 8) defends his WBC International Flyweight title against fellow Filipino Weljan Ugbaniel (12-2-1, 3). Ranked #11 by the WBC at Flyweight Trongco has a lot to lose but we do favour him as he has more proven experience and has been in there with both Sammy Gutierrez and Hekkie Budler, saying that however Ugbaniel will see this as his big chance and we expect to see him fighting better than he has before.
Sadly the chief support bout is a total mismatch as former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (21-7-2, 15) takes on Arjet Caballes (6-30-5, 3). In a normal situation we'd describe this as a disgusting mismatch but in fairness to Lopez there is serious question marks about how much he has left after suffering 3 losses, including 2 stoppages, in his last 4 bouts. Evenif Lopez has something left he genuinely does need a confidence builder and that's exactly what this bout should be for him.
On paper the most competitive bout on this show will see Junjie Lauza (4-10-1, 1) facing against Zoren Pama (5-10-3, 2) which is a bit of a shame. We'd expect this bout to be very competitive. Sadly the same cannot be said about the bout between Dennis Tubieron (17-3-1, 8) and Rey Ramos (6-5-2, 3) or the Cris Paulino (13-1, 3) bout, which will see him facing Lowell Saguisa (7-15, 3) both of which are very bad mismatches we're afraid.
Again there are more than just the bouts we've mentioned.
(Image, courtesy of boxrec.com, is of Adones Cabalquinto)
It's hard to explain this weekend as a boxing fan without using the word "disappointing". Unfortunately it is, genuinely an awful couple of days over Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully we do have some meat to pick off the bones and one or two fights that could be interesting, if we're lucky.
Philippines, Davao City
Two of the fights that have caught our eye are in Davao City in the Philippines.
One of these sees the world ranked Marlon Tapales (23-2, 9), pictured, defending his WBO Asia Pacific title for the first time. Originally Tapales was scheduled in a very interesting looking contest against Mexico's Noe Martinez Raygoza, unfortunately Raygoza pulled out and instead we get to see the talented Tapales defending against the limited Indonesian Galih Susanto (6-3, 1). Susanto is tough though shouldn't have anything to test the wonderfully named "Maranding Nightmare".
The other bout in Davao city sees the return to the ring of Filipino "Golden Boy" Jack Tepora (9-0, 5). Tepora, widely regarded as one of the most promising young Filipino's, will be in his toughest test so far as he takes on fellow youngster Edward Mansito (8-1-2, 5). Whilst this bout is unlikely to get the attention of many outside of the Philippines we actually think this could be a snorter with both men looking to make a statement. Great match up.
As well as these two contests we expect at least 4 others on the show.
As well as the Filipino show there is also one in Russia. Sadly this, like much of the day's action, strikes us as disappointing. The key bout of note, for us, is the Light Heavyweight main event which will see the hard hitting Gasan Gasanov (6-2, 5) fighting Apti Ustarkhanov (4-1-1, 1) in what looks like a competitive match up. Unfortunately when you consider that's the main event you sort of under-stand just how poor this card is. A real shame.