This coming Thursday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a triple header of title fights, and whilst none are massive, all three look like they will be solid bouts, where both men have some to gain and something to lose.
One of the main bouts will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (16-2-2, 9) defends his belt for the second time, battling against former 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (26-2-1, 9). For the hard hitting, and really exciting, Teshigawara this will be his second defense following a win in a brilliant bout against Jason Canoy back in February. The champion will know that a win here moves him a step closer to a world title fight, but a loss will be a massive hit to his career, and be a major set back. As for Kinoshita, who has lost in world title fights to Zolani Tete and Jerwin Ancajas, this is a must win. A loss for Kinoshita now would essentially kill any dreams of getting another shot at a world title, and would be his third loss against a notable fighter in less than 4 years, which is sadly a 4 year period without a single win of note. We don't imagine Kinoshita will pose much of a threat to Teshigawara but could have the skills to ask some questions of the champion.
Another WBO Asia Pacific title fight will be at Super Flyweight, as former Japanese national champion Ryuichi Funai (29-7, 20) takes on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-7-1, 23) for the currently vacant title. On paper this is probably the best of the three title bouts and features two talented fighters each looking to work their way towards a potential world title bout. Coming in to this Funai is world ranked by all 4 title awarding bodies and he'll be interested in getting a world title fight later this year. Parrenas is best known for losing to the then WBO champion Naoya Inoue in 2015, and since then he has beaten 2-low key Thai foes whilst becoming a trainer at the Morioka gym. Given that Parrenas is a big puncher he has a real shot here, but he will be the under-dog against the more active, and more rounded, Funai.
The third title bout will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (7-0, 5) make his second defense, and take on the hard matched challenger Genki Maeda (6-2-1, 2). The talented Yoshino has been fast tracked through the Japanese ranks and claimed the national title last year, when he stopped Spicy Matsushita in the 7th round of their bout. The champion made his first defense this past February, blowing out Masaki Saito in 156 seconds, and has looked like a sensational prospect since making his debut in 2015. Whilst the champion is a former amateur standout and expected to go on to be a huge success the same can't be said for Maeda. Despite the fact he has been matched incredibly hard. So far Maeda has shared the ring with Yoshimichi Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Fujita and Shogo Yamaguchi, in just 9 bouts. Maeda is a pretty good fighter, but is going up against a really good fighter here, and we can't help but think this bout will be a case of levels, and Yoshino is several levels above Maeda.
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a notable bout in California, as Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-2-2, 17) takes on the once touted Robert Manzanarez (36-1, 29) in a bout for the NABO Lightweight title. This will be Gesta's first bout since losing in January to Jorge Linares, in what was Gesta's second loss in a world title fight. Despite losing to Linares the Filipino did acquit himself much better than he did in his other loss, a terrible performance against Miguel Vazquez. Manzanarez has rebuilt excellently since his sole loss, back in 2012, with 15 straight wins, but this is a big step up in class for him, and it could be too much too soon for the 23 year old American.
The biggest show this coming Saturday is in California where we get a world title double header, and interestingly both of those world title fights have a link to Asian boxing with both bouts having an Asian born fighter, and one of the non-Asian's being promoted by Teiken promotions.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten Thai hopeful Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (38-0, 28) take on exciting Argentinian Lucas Martin Matthysse (38-4-0-1, 35) for the WBA Welterweight title. For Matthysse the bout is a huge opportunity to become relevant again at the world stage, more than 2 years removed from his loss to Viktor Postol back in October 2015. Matthysse has been a very popular fighter with an aggressive style and heavy hands, but it's hard to really know what he has left in the tank. The Thai is stepping up massively, but given the huge wins by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last year he'll feel he too can make a name for himself with a big win in the US. Teerachai has been in more than 30 title fights on the regional scene and whilst he hasn't beaten many fighters of note he has beaten fighters like Vladimir Baez, Larry Siwu and Kaizer Mabuza, who have all posed different questions for the Thai.
The other bout will see Teiken promoted Venezuelan Jorge Linares (43-3, 27) battle Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17), in Linares's latest WBA Lightweight title defense. The talented "El Niño de Oro" has been in great form recently, and is unbeaten in more than 5 years whilst picking up wins against the likes of Nihito Arakawa, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, but questions over his durability will remain with the 3 surprise stoppage losses linger over his head. For Gesta this is a second shot at a world title, following a bizarre performance against the then IBF champion Vazquez back in 2010, which saw Gesta spending a lot of time looking at the big screen rather than actually fighting. Since the loss to Vazquez we've sene Gesta go 5-0-1 (3) but the reality is that few are giving him a chance here against someone with the skills and experience of Linares. Neither man can really afford a loss, but it's hard to imagine Gesta havign what's needed to give Linares his 4th professional defeat.
Another Filipino on this card is the heavy handed Romero Duno (15-1, 13), who takes on Mexican based Yardley Armenta Cruz (22-9-0-1, 12). The Filipino is an explosive puncher and someone everyone should make an effort to watch. Given that the Mexican has been stopped 6 times already we're expecting another stoppage loss here.
On a second American show fans will be able to see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Botirali Mamajonov (5-0, 3) seek a 6th straight win. The Uzbek is looking likely to be in another 4 rounder here, and will hopefully begin fighting in longer bouts later in 2018.
Another US show will feature a couple of Asian fighters.
One of these is Japanese Southpaw Gaku Takahashi (15-7-1, 7), who will be up against Cameron Krael (12-12-3, 3). The Japanese fighter has had mixed success in recent fights, but did score a career best victory in 2016, when he stopped Kim Poulsen, and will be looking to get a win here, and rebuild following a less to Jamontay Clark last time out.
American based Uzbek Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (9-0-1, 4) will be on the card seeking his 6th straight win, and looking to continue his rise towards a notable bout. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for this show hasn't yet been announced.
Back in Asia we will have a card in China, though at the time of writing the only a couple of bouts from the show are known about.
The more notable of the two bouts will see former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (92-4, 57) continue his long career, as he looks to move one win closer to becoming the latest boxing centurion. The 40year old Thai will be up against China's Fei Hu Wang (5-1, 3), who is less than half the age of Sirimongkol at just 19! The Thai has slowed significantly in recent times, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but will feel like he has a chance here. As for Wang he was beaten last January by a debuting Aleksei Podkolzin, but has since scored back to back wins and will have youth and size, around 7" in height, over the veteran.
The other bout will see 18 year old Qiang Jiang (1-0, 1) take on Ukrainian Oleksii Kostenko (0-1). The Chinese youngster made his debut in July, with a stoppage of another debutant, whilst Kostenko, who debuted in June, was stopped by a Chinese debutant. Hard to know too much about these two, but a bout between them should be decent enough given that both are real novices.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino veteran Drian Francisco (29-4-1, 22) take on rising Mexican hopeful Edivaldo Ortega (25-1-1, 12). The once touted Francisco is now 35 and is almost certainly coming to the end of his career, which began way back in 2005. A win here would keep him relevant as a fighter, but he'll be the under-dog against Ortega, who is quickly climbing the ranks towards a potential world title fight.
Pocheon, South Korea
It's also worth noting that there is a small, low key card courtesy of BoxingM. The card features a total of 8 bouts, and will include a 14 debuts, showing the level of this card. For those wondering all of the bouts will be 4 rounders.
Every so often we get a fight that has the ingredients to be a FOTY contender, and obvious looking one. One where the fighters just have the explosive styles that should gel, and the mentality to put on a real show. That's this case this coming Saturday when WBC Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (31-1, 28) defends against mandatory challenger Takashi Miura (31-3-2, 24), himself a former champion. Both of these fighters have legitimate lights out power, both are flawed and both should come together to give us a bout to remember at the end of the year. Despite the excitement of something special there is also the possibility that this could be a blink and you miss it fight. Whether it's long drawn out war, or a quick blitz, there is no way this one is going to be dull.
On the under-card we'll see once touted Filipino Mercito Gesta (30-1-2, 16) take on Mexican veteran Martin Honorio (33-10-1, 16) in what could be an thriller. Although one touted really highly Gesta has failed to build on his potential and has seen his career plagued by inactivity and long lay off's. Here he cannot afford a set back against a tough and ready fighter looking to get his career back on track. Honorio is a 2-time world title challenger but has won just one of his last 5 fights, going back almost 5 years,and he would really have to turn the clock back to beat Gesta.
Before all the action in California we'll have a world title fight in Thailand as WBA Minimumweight kingpin Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) defends his title against mandatory challenger Rey Loreto (23-13, 15) in what could, potentially, be the under-the-radar fight of the year. On paper it looks like a mismatch in favour of the unbeaten champion, who has notched up a number of strong wins. However Loreto is much better than his record suggests and has scored some really impressive wins himself, including wins over Wisanu Kokietgym, Pornsawan Popramook, Nkosinathi Joyi and Koji Itagaki, all on the road. This could be something very specia
This coming Saturday sees us turn our attention to G+ for the next live card to be aired on their channel
In the main event of the card we'll see former WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-2, 12) battle against upset minded American Miguel Cartagena (15-3, 6), with both men risking world rankings coming into this bout. Igarashi, who has had a stop-start career in recent times, will be looking to kick start his career which really has struggled to have momentum since losing the WBC title almost 4 years ago. Cartagena will be entering this bout 3-3 in his last 6, but does come into the bout on the back of a career best win over Joebert Alvarez, who he stopped inside a round last July.
The best of the supporting bouts will see the hotly tipped Shuya Masaki (6-0, 3) take on Shingo Eto (17-5-1, 9) in a delayed bout, that was originally scheduled for last year though had to be cancelled after Eto was forced to pull out of the bout. Masaki is tipped as one of the most promising fighters at the Teiken gym and is primed for big things, but this is a big step up for him and Eto, who has lost his last 2, will be looking to resurrect his career here. The bout is a key one for both men, and should be a thrilling one to watch.
Another supporting bout will see Yoshinobu Kakinaga (6-2, 2) take on 2016 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year Ryoji Fukunaga (8-2, 8), one of two Super Rookie of the Year's on this card. The 30 year old Fukunaga will be fighting in his first 8 rounder and will be hoping that a win could move him, slowly, towards a Japanese title fight and we suspect that'll be where he and his team are looking for him to be in the next 24 months. As for Kakinaga the 23 year old will potentially see this bout as chance for him to move into the Japanese rankings and we're expecting a really exciting encounter here.
The other Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year on this card is 2015 winner Hayate Kaji (6-0, 5), who will be fighting in a relative stay busy fight against a Thai foe. We're hoping that Kaji will have a big 2017, but given he's a genuine youngster there is no need to rush him, and he's getting great gym time at the Teiken with the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka. Sadly for Kaji fans it does feel like a second successive stay busy fight, a shame for someone with his natural talented and power.
American fans will see exciting Filipino Mercito Gesta (29-1-2, 16) return to the ring as he takes on the big punching Gilberto Gonzalez (26-3, 22) in a tough looking Lightweight bout. The once touted Gesta will be ending an 18 month break from the ring and his stop-start career has been a thoroughly frustrating one that promised so much, but has delivered so little. Gonzalez is beatable, and this is a must win for Gesta, but the Mexican has the power and size to cause Gesta real problems.
In the Netherlands we'll see Azeri Bakhtiyar Isgandarzada (11-10, 4) battle unbeaten Dutch hopeful Steve Suppan (6-0-1, 4). Suppan, the UBO Youth champion at 140lbs, should be far too good for the Azeri. Although a journeyman Isgandarzada has shared the ring with a number of respectable names, including Viorel Simion, and will look to make the most of that experience here.
The best Asian card of the day comes from Japanese promotional giant Teiken who show case some of their notable fighters and also put on an interesting under-card of well matched bouts.
In the main event former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (29-4-2, 12) takes on an interesting in the form of Filipino foe Jerry Nardo (21-7, 11). On paper it's clear that Shimoda should be favoured however Nardo is much better than his record suggests and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the supposedly chinny Shimoda in some worrying moments
In the co-feature Welterweight puncher Yoshihiro Kamegai (25-3-1, 22) takes on Filipino fighter Nelson Gulpe (8-5, 3). We can't see this being anything more than an easy win for Kamegai, who should be too strong, too powerful and too tough for the limited Gulpe. The Filipino, who has been in poor form here, may feel he's getting a diminished Kamegai but the Japanese fighter is unbeaten in Japan and is likely to swat aside almost everyone at Oriental level, never mind Gulpe who is some way away from Oriental class.
Arguably the best of 3 well matched under-card bouts will see Japanese ranked Musashi Suzuki (11-3, 4) battle against 2014 Rookie of the Year Kenya Yamashita (7-1, 4). This is Yamanashita's first bout since he was beaten by Jo Tanooka and we expect to see him try and make a statement against Suzuki, however the more experienced man cannot be written off here.
Another of the under-card bouts that caught our eye will see once beaten Teiken fighter Masaru Sueyoshi (9-1, 6) take on the “better than his record suggests” Roman Canto (10-7-2, 5). On paper it's easy to write off Canto though this should genuinely be a very good measure of how good Masaru is and we may well see him kick on if he can look impressive here.
The remaining under-card bout that caught our eye will see Junki Sasaki (13-3, 5) battle against Yuki Ozawa (10-4, 2). This is an excellently matched bout and although Ozawa has lost his last 4 he should ask very god questions of Sasaki. Notably Sasaki did run Ryo Takenaka very close last time out and seems like he has got a lot of promise, though hasn't yet
In Thailand fans will get the chance to see highly regarded Paipharob Kokietgym (30-0, 23) defending his WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title against Filipino journeyman Jopher Marayan (7-7-2, 3). This is one of the worst bouts we've seen headline a Thai card, especially given that Marayan has lost 5 of his last 6 bouts coming in to this one.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will get the chance to see a number of Thais in action.
Many of the bouts here are low profile but three actually did, genuinely, catch our eye. In one of them former world champion Denkaosan Kaovichit (63-5-1, 26) battles the unbeaten TJ Doheny (12-0, 8) in a bout for the PABA Super Bantamweight “super” title. This will be Denkaosan's first bout since he was stopped last year by Ryo Matsumoto. The Thai will be the under-dog here but has got the experienced to perhaps make life difficult for the champion, then again at 39 Denkaosan might be too shot to put up any kind of a fight at all.
Another bout of note sees Mongkolchai Lookmuangkanch (12-4, 7) take on former world champion Vic Darchinyan (40-8-1, 29). This should be a horrible mismatch against the Thai but, at 39, Darchinyan is a bit long in the tooth and could find himself being a bout that turns out to be much more competitive than expected.
The third bout of note will see the experienced, but limited Denkamon Pakdee Gym (22-6, 13) take on the unbeaten, and much touted, Cameron Hammond (13-0, 7). This is a very tough ask for the Thai who has lost his last 2 and is unlikely to pose any threat at all to Hammond, who some are tipping as a potential Australian world champion.
In the US fans get a mouth watering b-tier match up as popular Filipino Mercito Gesta (28-1-2, 16) takes on former world title challenger Martin Honorio (32-9-1, 16). On paper Gesta will be the clear favourite but Mexican veteran Honorio is certainly no push over, despite losing his last 3. At his best Honorio was a real handful, giving Juan Carlos Salgado a close loss back in 2014, pushing Argenis Mendez razor close in 2010 and scoring upsets over the likes of John Molina and Steve Luevano. Despite Honorio's ability to play the upsetter it's difficult to see him winning this one.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
It's fair to say April has been a really interest month and it ends in an interesting fashion as well with a trio of Japanese title bouts as well as a compelling contest for a Filipino hopefully. A really good way to end the month and a brilliant way to move towards a potentially mind blowing May.
One of the really exciting shows this month for Japanese fans comes on the final day of April as the fans get a brilliant Japanese title triple header with an under-card that also delivers.
The main event, and for many international fans the real bout of interest, comes at Heavyweight as Japanese champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (11-1, 6) defends his title against the well known Nobuhiro Ishida (27-10-2, 11) in a very interesting rematch. Ishida seems to have the support of many western fans going into this bout who remember his shock win over the then unbeaten James Kirkland. Notably however Fuimoto did win the first meeting between the two men and seems to be taking this bout very seriously after perhaps over-looking Ishida the first time around. It's not often we'll say this about a Japanese bout at Heavyweight but this is a really good match up and one that should really be a bit special.
In another title bout fans will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (14-1, 4) defending his belt for the first time as he takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5, 7). Oguni, who is world ranked coming into this bout, won the title late last year when he narrowly over-came Yasutaka Ishimoto though will have to perform incredibly highly to over-come Furuhashi who has waited almost a year to get a shot at a world title following a bout with Hidenori Otake falling through last year, This could be a thoroughly engaging contest from start to end.
The third title bout will see two men looking to score a break out win, with neither being a name of note so far. This bout will see Kota Tokunaga (14-2, 9) battle against Yuya Sugizaki (20-9-1, 6) for the Japanese Lightweight title and it's fair to say that the champion will have an interesting list of possible challengers later in the year. This isn't a bout that sets out pulses racing but it could prove to be a very good contest between two men who both know that a win could be career changing.
The under-card, which only features a couple of bouts, is also mouth watering.
One of the under-card contests will see former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (12-5-2, 7) battle against Yasuhiro Sakurai (7-18). On paper this is a mismatch however Sakashita is coming into the bout following a 1-punch KO defeat to the then Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka and that could well have shot the confidence and self belief out of Sakashita.
The other bout will see former Japanese Featherweight title challenger Yuki Ogata (20-1-1, 3) battle against Kentaro Yamada (8-5-1, 6). Again on paper this is a mismatch but Ogata only narrowly over-came Yamada when the two men met last September, with Ogata claiming a razor thin split decision. Yamada has to believe he can beat his more experienced foe, and will know that if he does he'll earn himself a Japanese ranking. Another brilliant match up on a genuinely fantastic card.
In the US fans will get the chance to see exciting Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta (28-1-1, 16) in action against Carlos Molina (17-2-1, 7). Several years ago Gesta was one of the most hyped Filipino prospects though a 2012 loss to Miguel Vazquez seemed to show up a lot of his flaws. Since then he has worked hard on his issues improved notably. Those improvements should be on show against Molina, a talented fringe contender who managed to give Adrien Broner an unexpectedly competitive contest last year. This bout will push the winner towards a really good bout later in the year whilst the loser will be left with a lot of rebuilding to do.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
July 18th-Teiru Kinoshita headlines a busy day of action which also features the debut of a huge Chinese Heavyweight!
Something's in boxing are rare. One of those is an IBF title fight that takes place in Japan and another is a Chinese Heavyweight. Amazingly this Friday we get the chance to see both of those in a day that is genuinely littered with fights featuring Asians in contests that we wouldn't typically have expected.
The most important card of the day anywhere in the world on Friday is in the amazing Portopia Hotel in Kobe, Hyogo, as we get the day's only world title fight. The bout in question is the aforementioned IBF title fight which will see the unbeaten Teiru Kinoshita (19-0-1, 3) taking on South African puncher Zolani Tete (18-3, 16) in a battle for the vacant IBF Super Flyweight title. The bout, the first title fight in Kinoshita's career, is a hugely important one for not only the fighters but also the venue which is hosting it's first ever fights and also the IBF who has still viewed negatively in Japan.
Whilst the Kinoshita/Tete bout is the headline contest it's just 1 of the 6 bouts on the card. Sadly the most notable support bouts are both pretty poor with one of them being between Shinichiro Morikawa (15-4-1, 10) and Ryota Kihara (6-8-4, 5) and the other being a bout between Yubon Kim (10-4, 3) and Yuta Matsuda (9-10-2, 4). Despite these bouts it's clear the fans at the venue will all be there to see the main event and not the support.
Another Japanese card will be held at the Korakuen Hall as Kaneko Promotions put on a show that did promise a lot until recently.
Originally the main event for this show was to feature Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) defending his belt against Daisuke Furuhashi (16-5, 6). Sadly a rib injury has forced Otake out of the bout and as a result the card does look a bit disappointing. As a result of Otake's injury the main event will now be the contest between Ryuto Oho (6-1, 2) and Shuji Hamada (12-6-3, 2). It's an acceptable contest but sadly it's not a great main event, especially considering that the main event was originally supposed to be a very interesting title bout.
From the other 7 bouts on the card we need to admit that we are a little bit excited by the contest between Toshimitsu Goto (12-10-1, 5) and Spice Matsushita (11-8, 2). The records of neither man is great but they are about the same and both will be coming to win, also both men are better than their records indicate and will be looking to prove it in a really solid 50-50 bout.
A third Japanese card takes place in Osaka at the Bodymaker Colosseum. This card is by far the smallest profile show in Japan for the day and will feature a total of 7 bouts, the most notable of which is arguably the 8 round contest between the experienced Tetsuya Hisada (21-8-1, 11) and the limited Takahiro Murai (9-5-1, 3). We imagine Hisada will win but it's a bout that is competitive and could go either way though neither guy is likely to even win a national title as they campaign in some of the deepest divisions on the Japanese domestic scene.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
The action in Thailand will feature the very promising Nawaphon Por Chokchai (21-0, 15) who will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title against Filipino visitor Jay-ar Estremos (10-7, 4). Nawaphon, the younger brother of former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, is widely touted as a future world champion and shouldn't really struggle with Estremos here though the Filipino is much better than his record indicates and he should really have a victory over Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym from earlier this year.
In the California we have two intriguing contests.
One of those, the main event on a Fox Sports 1 card, will see former world title challenger Mercito Gesta (27-1-1, 15) taking on the experienced Luis Arceo (28-12-4, 18). Although the bout looks like a mismatch it is always fun to see "No Mercy" in the ring and hopefully he'll be at his most explosive against an opponent who is there to be taken out.
On the same card fans will get the chance to see Chinese Heavyweight giant Taishan Dong (0-0) make his debut against the limited Alex Rozman (2-6, 1). Stood at 6'11" Dong really is a giant of a man and their seems to be real excitement about him though we really haven't seen much of him action other than one or two kick boxing contests, including a knockout win over Bob Sapp. If however he has skills as well as size he could be a genuine force in the division and it would be great to see him having success in the boxing ranks.
New York, USA
We have another US bout that takes place in New York. This bout will see Mongolia's
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Staying in North America we also have a fight of interest in Mexico. This contest will see the promising Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoky Sakai (17-3, 11) battle against Abraham Cordero (8-2, 5). Although not a world beater Sakai is certainly developing into a capable fighter and his clear win over the previously unbeaten Omar Barajas back in May suggests that he may have the potential to become a possible contender in the future. For those interested in the titles this bout will be fought for the vacant WBC Youth Silver Lightweight title and of course the Youth titles are often a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Another bout outside of Asia will see IBO Super Flyweight champion Edrin Dapudong (29-5, 17) defending his belt against Lwandile Sityatha (16-3-1, 7). Dapudong, who won the belt by stopping Gideon Buthelezi inside a round last year, will be hoping to become the first Filipino to win back-to-back fights in South Africa though he will be coming into this fight after 13 months out of the ring and he may have some ring rust going into this bout.
(Image courtesy of Senrima Kobe Promotions)
Every boxing fan this week is obviously looking forward to Saturday which, let be honest, has one of the biggest fights of the year so far. Before then though we get a very interesting Friday with a lot of action involve Asian fighters. The action, which takes place not just across Asia but across the globe really is a great warm up for what we have on Saturday.
The first televised card of the weekend comes from Thailand where the very highly ranked former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (49-1, 32) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. We've not yet got the name of Chonlatarn's opponent though we believe it to be a Filipino.
The show, televised on Channel 7 in Thailand, is an important bout for Chonlatarn. Not only is it his chance to record a 50th victory but it's also a tune up fight before a prospective clash with Australian Joel Brunker in what would be a world title eliminator. From what we understand a bout between Chonlatarn and Brunker will be fought later this year with the winner meeting the winner of the upcoming world title fight between Vasyl and Gary Russell Jr.
Unfortunately we're unsure on the rest of this card.
Southern Leyte, Philippines
We won't try and pretend that this Friday night's card from Southern Leyte in the Philippines is one of the best Filipino shows of the year but it is one that we are keeping a close eye on.
First reason is the main event which features WBO #3 ranked Light Welterweight Jason Pagara (32-2, 19). Although Pagara is in a mismatch against Indonesia's Rusmin Kie Raha (12-4-2, 2), who has been stopped in his last 2 bouts, it's still great to see Pagara in action, especially with a prospective world title clash just around the corner.
The second reason is that Jason Pagara's younger brother "Prince" Albert Pagara (19-0, 13) is on the card. As with Jason, Albert is in with an over-matched Indonesian in the form of Skak Max (6-13, 6). Although Max is a journeyman with more losses than wins he has proven to be a tough fighter and has gone the distance with some pretty decent competition so it'd not be a shock to see Pagara extended at least 3 or 4 rounds.
As well as the Pagara brothers we are expecting at least 2 other bouts on the show.
At the Korakuen Hall we have an 8 fight card, dubbed "Mega Fight 50", headlined by a contest between the Japanese ranked Ryuji Yokoyama (10-1, 3) and the unbeaten Koya Sato (7-0-1, 1). Yokoyama enters as the #11 ranked Light Flyweight though we'd suggest that Sato actually has the better win and although Sato lacks power we'd not be shocked at all by an upset here.
Yokoyama isn't the only ranked fighter on the show as 19 year old Ryuto Oho (6-0, 2), the #15 ranked Japanese Flyweight, faces Rookie of the Year runner up Jo Tanooka (7-1-3). This bout might see the fighters coming to the ring with a combined 39 years of age but it's hard not to be excited about Oho who does look very talented despite his young age.
As well as the Filipino's fighting in the Philippines we also have one fighting in the US. This time it's the turn of the popular Mercito Gesta (26-1-1, 14) who battles against limited veteran Edgar Riovalle (37-17-2, 26) in what will be Gesta's first bout since he lost a decision to Miguel Vazquez in an IBF Lightweight world title fight back in December 2012.
As well Mercito Gesta their is also a bout for his younger brother Anecito Gesta (2-2) on the card with Anecito battling against the debuting Riccy Hood (0-0). Anecito is nothing like the fighter Mercito is though we're hoping for a double Gesta victory.
(Poster courtesy of boxmob.jp)