We'll see a couple of Kazakh hopefuls in action this coming Friday as they compete on a small card in California.
One of those Kazakh hopefuls is 30 year old Light Middleweight Madiyar Ashkeyev (10-0, 6), who takes on Luis Hernandez (16-6, 9) in an 8 round bout. The unbeaten Kazakh fighter has faced most limited opponents since his December 2015 debut, and it's a shame to have seen him treading water so much, given that he has got a fair bit of talent. Hernandez, from Puerto Rico, has lost 4 of his last 5, and 5 of his last 8, but is durable and should force Ashkeyev to work for a win here.
The other Kazakh on this card is 25 year old Middleweight prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (9-0, 7), who will be up against Ramon Aginaga (13-1, 9), who is the third opponent Nursulatanov has had to prepare for following his opponent changing twice. On paper this is another step forward for Nursultanov, who claimed the NABF Junior Middleweight title last time out. We're interested in seeing how the Kazakh develops and would expect him to be given a real test by the end of 2019, given that he has been impressing time and time again. Aginaga hasn't had great notice but is dangerous and has picked up wins on the road before, including a win over Shakeel Phinn in Canada, though was stopped in 5 rounds by exciting French prospect Christian Mbilli.
New Jersey, USA
Our attention will mostly be on New Jersey this coming Saturday as one Central Asian fighter defends a world title, and two others look to progress there careers.
The champion in question is the extremely talented and really exciting WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11), who defends his title against Malawi born challenger Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2, 10). The heavy handed and exciting Bivol comes into this bout on the back of his excellent victory over Sullivan Barrera this past March, in what was Bivol's 5th straight stoppage win. The Kyrgyzstan born fighter is making a name for himself and a win over Chilemba will help him there. Sadly for Chilemba it does feel like his career is coming to an en and he has lost 3 of his last 4, including a stoppage loss in November 2016 to Oleksandr Gvozdyk. At his best Chilemba was a handful for anyone but he's now a very old 31 who has been in a lot of wars during his career.
One of the guys looking to move forward with their career is unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (9-0, 5), who is set for a notable step up in class to take on Cleotis Pendarvis (21-4-2, 9). The Kazakh has looked close to flawless in recent bouts and has been impressing on US soil through his career. American southpaw Pendarvis has had a stop-start career, and his last 4 bouts really haven't been great to know what he has left, but at his best he was a solid fighter who managed to stop Michael Clark, though that was almost 6 years ago now. A prime Pendarvis would have made for an interesting test, but we now expect Ashkeyev to step up and put on a showcase performance against his more experienced foe.
Another Kazakh on this card is Middleweight prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (7-0, 6), who will be looking for this third win of 2018. His opponent for this bout hasn't been announced but we're not expecting anyone too testing for the 24 year old, who we think will be stepping up in class at this end of this year, or early next year. Heavy handed, talented and exciting Nursultanov has a lot going for him, but we wouldn't be surprised if he team just waited a year or two before throwing him in with notable names.
In Japan fans only get a single show from Okinawa, and even that show isn't massively great with two low key title fights and some small fights on the under-card.
One of those title fights is a WBO Asia Pacific female Bantamweight title fight, which will see Yuko Henzan (6-6-4, 2) take on unbeaten Chinese fighter Fan Yin (3-0, 1). The Japanese fighter started her career 0-3-1 but has managed to turn things and had gone 4-0-2 in her last 6 bouts, and claimed the OPBF female Bantamweight title, so a win here for Henzan would see her become a unified champion. The Chinese fighter made her professional debut last December, and scored 2 wins in the space of 2 weeks, but her activity has slowed significantly and she has only fought once since the turn of the year.
The other title fight will see Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) defending his belt against the promising Hiroki Inamine (2-1, 2). The 23 year old champion won the 2013 Rookie of the Year at Flyweight but has since struggled, going 5-4-1 (1). To help rectify things Oho has dropped to Light Flyweight which appears to be a more suitable weight class for him, given his relative lack of power. Inamine's record suggest he's a heavy handed fighter but he's only stopped two Thai's since making his debut, though he was a well regarded domestic amateur. Inamine was beaten last time out, by the ultra promising Rikito Shiba, but will feel he has the power to take care of Ono, in what could be the fight of the day.
In a supporting bout fans will see once touted youngster Seita Ogido (11-3-3, 3) look to get his career back on track after going 0-1-2 in his last 3. Ogido hasn't been softly matched but he has failed to win any of his last 3 bouts, which were all title contest, and is clearly being matched softly here to get some confidence back. He'll be up against Takayuki Teraji (9-15-1, 4) who has won just 3 of his last 10 and should manage to give Ogido rounds with out really coming close to winning them.
One other fighter on this card worthy of note is American born Japanese fighter Marcus Smith (5-0-1, 5), who looks to secure his second win of 2018 as he takes on Koji Igarashi (4-2, 3). It's hard to see Igarashi coming out on top here, given both of his losses have been by stoppage, but he does have power of his own and could well chin check Smith here.
This coming Saturday we get a world title in the West and we'll also see two very interesting and notable Japanese cards, both taking place in the Kanto region of Japan.
New York, USA
The world title bout is one of a trio of bouts at Madison Square Garden to feature Asian fighters, in what should be a great chance for a number of fighters to shine.
The world title bout will see Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Light Heavyweight Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10) defending his title against once beaten Cuban Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14). For both men the bout is a major step forward for their career with Bivol facing his most notable opponent to date and Barrera really fighting in a must win, against his second most significant opponent to date,only behind Andre Ward who beat him 2 years ago. The bout pits two top Light Heavyweights against each other, and could well be a very special bout.
This card will also feature a pair of Kazakh hopefuls. One of those is Meiirim Nursultanov (5-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Alejandro Torres (9-3-2, 4). Nulrsultanov has looked really good since his debut in late 2016 and will be looking to launch himself up towards the world rankings by the end of 2018, with Torres being his first bout of the year. As for Torres the Mexican 24 year old has proven to be tough and should serve a good test for the Kazakh, who will be hunting his 5th straight stoppage.
The other Kazakh on this show will be Madiyar Ashkeyev (8-0, 4), who faces live under-dog Jose Antonio Abreu (13-3, 8). The Kazakh isn't as touted as his aforementioned countryman but is a skilled operator who will be looking to make up for lost time after having fought just once in 2017. Abreu, from the Dominican Republic, has lost 3 of his last 4, all in the US, and will likely come up short again here, though has been matched hard in those losses and is certainly no push over.
New York, USA
On a separate US card in New York, fans will see Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (5-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, but it's unlikely to be too much of a step up in class for the unbeaten man.
On paper the Japanese card with the best single bouts take place in Kanagawa on a Kawasaki Nitta promoted card where fans will get two Japanese title fights and another solid support bout.
The main event of the card is a Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) and mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10), who meet in a Champion Carnival bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense of the title, and will be expecting a much tougher bout than his last defense, which saw him dominate the limited but entertaining Mako Matsuyama. Nagamine on the other hand will be getting his first title bout, and, on paper, his toughest bout since his sole loss to Ken Shiro.
The other title bout is likely to be even better and will see teak tough Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (17-8-1, 8) take on the explosive Kazuto Takesako (7-0, 7) in another of the 2018 Champion Carnival bouts. Nishida has held the title for almost 2 years, but has only managed a single defense, due to an out of the ring accident which forced him out of the ring for a while. Despite the lack of defenses he's a tough, aggressive and exciting champion with a solid mentality and style. Takesako is a talented slugger, and should take the fight to Nishida in a potential war. We are expecting this bout to be a potential Japanese fight of the year and something very special.
Also on this card will be the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (20-8-1, 9), who faces Masashi Kamon (7-2-1, 4) in an 8 rounder. Furuhashi has long been one of the fringe contenders on the domestic scene, and is far better than his record suggests, despite 3 losses in his last 6. Kamon on the other hand began his career 1-2 but has gone on a good run, going 6-0-1 in his last 7. Despite being on a good run Kamon is taking a notable step up in class here.
The other Japanese card will be televised on G+ and despite being higher profile in it's coverage it's arguably a lesser card, despite having a number of notable fighters on it.
The main event here will see WBO #1 ranked Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (22-1-1, 11) take on under-rated Filipino Vergil Puton (17-9, 8), in a bout which appears to be a world title prelude for Ito. The talented Japanese fighter, a former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion, will be expected to easily over-come Puton but the visitor is no push over, and has asked genuine questions to the likes of Paul Fleming, Ibraham Balla, Shuya Masaki and Ye Joon Kim. Ito should win, but this will be much tough than a public spar for the Japanese fighter.
In a really good chief support bout fans will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (12-2-1, 8) take on Hajime Nagai (15-9-2, 5), with both men risking JBC rankings. Coming into this Tobe is ranked #7 by the JBC and Nagai is ranked #10. Tobe is riding a 4 fight winning run since losing the Japanese title to Sho Ishida, in a very competitive bout back in 2014, and despite issues with activity he is still a top domestic talent. Nagai on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, bith technical decisions,but does have under-rated skills, as he's shown against the likes of Yuji Shimizu back in 2016. This should be Tobe's to lose, but is a very good test on paper for the Misako gym fighter.
Another support bout will see the often fun to watch Koki Eto (21-4-1, 16) take on Filipino journeyman Marzon Cabilla (16-15-1, 5). Eto is currently riding a 4 fight winning run, albeit against limited competition, since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras. Despite his low level of competition the Japanese fighter is a fringe world class talent, and is well known for his thrilling bouts against the likes of Kompayak Porpramook, Yodmongol Vor Saengthep and Ardin Diale. Cabilla enters this bout in the form of his career, riding a 7 fight winning run, but is stepping back up in class here and is likely to see that run of success come to an end.
One other bout of note will see Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Kenji Ono (11-2-1, 6) take on former Japanese Minimumweight contender Masashi Tada (11-5-2, 7). Ono is best known for his up-and-down war with Jun Takigawa from 2016, and has gone 1-1-1 since that bout, suffering an opening round loss to Seigo Yuri Akui in late 2016. He needs a win if he's to move into a title bout. As for Tada he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, and over 4 years removed from his last win, however at the age of 28 he does still have time to rebuild his career and a win here would see him move into the JBC rankings.
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.
For fans of the Asian scene the most notable show of the day comes from Thailand where we see an unbeaten Local continue to slowly chase a world title fight,and a battle of veterans.
That unbeaten Thai is Welterweight contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (37-0, 28), who appears to have drifted from a world title fight, and will be facing Ramadhani Shauri (22-11-1, 11), of Tanzania. The bout, for the WBA Asia Welterweight title, will be Teerachai's second this year and shows his inactivity during 2017, following 4 bouts last year and the same in 2015. Although he's been out for 5 months he should be far too good for Shauri here.
In a battle of veterans we'll see Les Sherrington (35-10, 19) take on Plaisakda Boonmalert (39-26, 33). Aged 45 and with 21 stoppages against him it's hard to see what the Thai has to offer, but he can bang and Sherrington has been stopped in 9 of his 10 losses. With a combined age of 80 we're not expecting anything fun here, but it looks interesting on paper.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (34-3-3, 22) defending his interim WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, so we suspect it could well be a very poor foe for Amonsot, who is slowly grinding his way to a potential world title fight.
Western Australia, Australia
In Western Australia we'll see a number of Asian fighters used to be the “opponent”, with none of them really being given a shot.
One of those is Thai fighter Komkit Chanawong (1-3), who takes on novice Francis Chua (1-0) in a 4 rounder. Another Thai in action here is the debuting Dechsak Sangmorakot (0-0), who takes on fellow novice Francisco Da Silva (1-0).
The third bout featuring an Asian will see Jacob McBride (7-5, 3) take on Indonesia Boido Simanjuntak (23-46-2, 9) in what looks likely to be yet another loss for the Indonesian veteran.
In California we'll see talented Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (2-0, 1) take on Lannay Dardar (5-7-2, 3) in a 6 rounder. On paper the bout is a step up for the Kazakh, and it should be known that other top prospects, like Jason Quigley and Esquiva Falcao both stopped Dardar. This is a good chance for the Kazakh to get some rounds with a decent but limited foe.