This coming Saturday is a big day with a lot of action, though from an Asian point of view there's only really one major bout, with a lot of lesser quality contests floating around in Asia it's self.
That one big bout is the hugely anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 24) and Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34), for the WBA and WBC Middleweight titles. These two men fought to a very controversial draw last September, when Adalaide Byrd's 118-110 card for Canelo got much of the ire, and had been planned for a rematch earlier this year, before Alvarez failed a drugs test. Now it seems the respect from their first bout is gone and both men seem to genuinely dislike the other, which should add a intensity to the action. Their first bout was good, but we expect this one to be even better, with the backstories, the drug testing, Golovkin needing to give up the IBF title and various other sub plots, all helping to build towards something amazing. A win for Golovkin would set him aside as the clear #1 Middleweight of his era whilst a win for Canelo would be impressive, though likely come with a dark cloud hanging over it.
It's also worth noting that Ryota Murata is said to be wanting to face the winner of the Golovkin/Alvarez bout, in what would be the biggest ever fight for a Japanese Middleweight.
Outsiude of the big show the next most notable is in China, where we see a former world champion essentially fighting to keep his career alive, whilst a Chinese local looks to take a huge step forward.
The Chinese fighter looking to make huge strides is Jing Xiang (14-4-2, 3), who will be facing off with former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (27-5-1, 13), in a bout for the WBC Silver Flyweight title. Of two it's the 34 year old Sabillo who is better known, but he's now almost 5 years removed from his second world title fight, and since then he has gone 4-5 with notable losses to Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Ryuya Yamanaka and most recently Edward Heno. The 28 year old Chinese hopeful lost 3 of his first 6 but has since gone 11-1-2 giving Ben Mananquil his only defeat so far and also holding a victory over Dexter Alimento. Form is certainly with the Chinese fighter, who we suspect will have the edge in size and also youth, as he hunts for the biggest win of his career.
In a supporting bout we see China Vs Japan in a Heavyweight clash, as Zhiyu Wu (8-2-1, 2) takes on Kotatsu Takehara (15-11-3, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Heavyweight title. Aged 35 Wu is the CPBA National champion, having won the title last time out. Despite wearing a title around his waist Wu is certainly nothing special. At 40 years old Takehara is a real veteran of the Japanese scene, and is a 2-time national title challenger. Coming into this Takehara is riding a 5 fight winning run, but has faced very limited competition during that run. This is potentially an interesting match up, we're just not expecting anything too exciting when the two men get in the ring.
Another notable Asian show will come from Kaakhstan where fans will get a regional title double header.
On paper the more interesting of those two fights will see Kazakhstan's very own Aidos Yerbossynuly (8-0, 7) take on Azeri foe Rufat Hajiyev (7-0, 7) in a bout for the WBA Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Middleweight title. Although neither Yerbossynuly or Hajiyev have yet to make a big mark on the sport this give both a chance to boost their name and to put on a show in what we're expecting ton be a very exciting and explosive encounter.
A second title fight on the show will see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Bobirzhan Mominov (8-0, 7) take on Filipino foe Junjesie Ibgos (13-3, 11) for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Mominov is a talented prospect, who has sparred with Canelo in the past, but this is a notable step up in class for him. Ibgos is no world beater, by any stretch of the imagination, but is a power puncher and will be looking to show that power here against Mominov. Thsi could be a good test for the Kazakh, or a chance for him to shine.
Yongin, South Korea
On a KBF show in Korea fight fans will be getting a title double header.
One of those title bouts will see Korean based Uzbek Khusniddin Pulatov (9-3, 5) face off with Indonesia Sahlan Coral (17-6, 10) in a bout for the lightly regarded WBA Asia Light Middleweight title. For Pulatov this will be his 4th bout of 2018 as he looks to put 3 losses from 2017 behind him and rebuild his career. On the other hand Coral has been inactive for just over a year, though did win last time out against Benny Tamaela. Coral is tough, but we suspect he'll come up short here.
The other title bout will be a KBF Welterweight title bout, which will see In Duck Seo (9-1-2, 6) battle against Moon Sung Choi (6-1-1, 2) in a very good looking contest. For Choi, who lost on debut, this will be his first bout in 13 months and looks to be a step up in class against his most accomplished. Seo on the other hand lost his unbeaten record in May, but this will be his third bout this year and he is certainly active and hungry for a Korean title, having twice fought to draw for a Korean title.
There's also a small card in the Philippines.
One of the two 10 round bouts scheduled for this show will see Robin Langres (9-2, 4) take on Jason Buenaobra (6-3-3, 3). The 22 year old Langres is riding a 2 fight winning run coming into this, including a respectable win over Jomar Fajardo, and will be looking to continue that form over Buenaobra. On the other hand Buenaobra, the only man so far to have heard the final bell against Carl Jammes Martin, is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run into this, including a notable upset win over Jerry Pabila.
The other 10 round bout on this card will see the unbeaten Claudevan Sese (6-0-3, 1) take on domestic journeyman Junjie Lauza (6-23-2, 1). The 23 year old Sese seems to be taking a backwards step with this bout, but he's been out of the ring since December, so it's better to see him fight than not fight. As for Lauza he has lost his last 3, and 5 of his last 6, and will be expected to pick up another defeat here.
There's another small card taking place in India, which will feature a single title fight, and a number of low key contests.
The title bout will see unbeaten Indian Rajesh Kumar (9-0-1, 2) take on Bright Ayala (16-1, 11), with Kumar defending the WBC Youth Lightweight title for the first time. The unbeaten local won the title back in April, when he defeated Glenn Enterina, and will not be wanting to relinquish that title just 5 months after winning it. Ayala, from Ghana, hasn't fought anyone of real note though was beaten last time he faced an unbeaten opponent, losing a decision to Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab. This bout should let us know how good both men are, or aren't.
The lead supporting bout is a female contest which will see 20 year old local Kirti (4-1, 2) take on Kiwi visitor Cherneka Johnson (10-0, 5). Coming into this Kirti is looking to build on a big win over Noemi Bosques but she will be regarded as the underdog against the iunform Johnson, who has stopped 3 of her last 4.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
This coming Saturday fans in the Philippines get a small treat, with an excellent looking OPBF title fight and the return to the ring for a recent world title challenger and one other man making his return following a loss.
The OPBF title fight will see OPBF Light Flyweight champion Edward Heno (11-0-5, 5) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on former world champion Merlito Sabillo (27-4-1, 13). Heno won the title last September, when he stopped Seita Ogido in their second bout, and will be looking to continue his unbeaten run whilst also recording his most notable win to date. Sabillo is a long way removed from his reign as the WBO Minimumweight and has gone 4-4 in his last 8 bouts, dating back around 4 years. Has hs notched up 2 recent wins,beating Jack Amisa and Crison Omayao but looks to be a long way removed from what he was once. The bout is a step up for Heno, but it's hard to know just what Sabillo has left.
In a key support bout we'll see recent world title challenger Rey Loreto (23-14, 15) take on domestic foe Arnold Garde (8-5-3, 3). Loreto challenged WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart last July, coming up short against the Thai, but had been riding a 7 fight winning streak into that bout and is genuinely on the fringes of being a world class fighter. Garde on the other hand is struggling on the domestic scene and is 5-5-3 in his last 13 bouts, with losses to a mixture of novices and recognisable names, such as Randy Petalcorin and Jonathan Taconing. Given what we know about Loreto it's hard to see anything but a win for him.
One other man involved on this card is Ryan Lumacad (13-1-3, 7), who looks to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Keita Kurihara, who stopped the Filipino last December. It's unclear at the moment who Lumacad will be facing, but we suspect the bout will be an easy confidence building one for the Filipino.
In Argentina we get world world title action, as unbeaten IBF Female Super Flyweight champion Debora Anahi Dionicius (26-0, 6) defends her title against Japanese challenger Terumi Nuki (9-2, 6). The bout will Nuki getting her second world title fight but like her first bout she will be travelling around the globe to face a champion in their backyard. Dionicius has notched up 10 defenses already and will be looking for her 11th, but this will be her first bout against a Japanese opponent and could prove to be a trickier assignment than some of her other defenses, with some of her challengers being very poor.
At the Korakuen we get a genuinely important card, as Japanese and Chinese fighters face off in the second Japan Vs China Dangan card.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (17-2, 6) take on unbeaten Chinese visitor Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-0-1, 5), in a really good looking bout. For Naito it's his second as a 140lb'der, and his 6th since losing the Japanese Super Featherweight title to Kenichi Ogawa. Although Naito's has been troubled recently he will feel confident of picking up a win over the Chinese fighter. For Nasiyiwula the bout will be his first outside of China and his second successive bout against a Chinese foe, having won adecision back in May against Taisho Ozawa. A win for the visitor will open up doors for more significant fights and could well see him in the mix for an OPBF title sooner rather than later.
A second good looking bout on here will see the once beaten Takeshi Kaneko (5-1-1) look to bounce back from a June loss as he takes on Wulan Tuolehazi (5-3, 1). The Chinese visitor has a mixed record, but has won his last 3, including a win over former world title challenger Nouldi Manakane. Although this bout will be expected to go the contacted 8 rounds it should still be a lot of fun and a very exciting contest.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
We get another notable card in the Philippines, with two bouts of note.
The biggest in terms of names will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (26-4-1, 13) battle against well regarded journeyman Crison Omayao (22-14-4, 7), who has share the ring with the likes of Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka. Since losing the WBO Minimumweight title to Francisco Rodriguez Jr back in 2014 life has been hard in the ring for Sabillo, who has gone 3-3 and cannot really afford any more set backs. Whilst Omayao has also had mixed results recently he certainly has time on his side, and the 24 year old really isn't at the end of the line, despite the fact he is racking up losses now a days.
The other bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten Jayr Raquinel (7-0-1, 5) take on Richard Rosales (12-4-2, 7) for the OPBF interim Flyweight title, despite the fact the “regular” title was defended just a week ago. The bout should be a good one, given the men involved and their desire for a win, but one does wonder what the OPBF are playing at with the logic that this was going to be an interim title fight, so soon after the last defense of the actual title.
The deepest of the Asian shows is from Singapore, where Ringstar Management Pte Ltd will be hosting a notable show with a host of title bouts, and notable names,
In one of the supporting bouts on this card we'll see talented Filipino hopeful Michael Dasmarinas (26-2, 17) take on Thai journeyman Phupha Por Nobnom (11-10-1, 10). This should be a total mismatch in favour of the criminally under-rated Filipino, who has won his last 8 and looks ready to be stepped up massively after this contest.
A slightly more competitive looking supporting bout will see Thailand's Decha Kokietgym (34-11-3, 18) take on Australian veteran Chad Bennett (36-4-3, 27). The 32 year old Thai hasn't fought since June 2013, and is certainly not the fighter her once was, though Bennett is no spring chicken and had his 44th birthday a few months ago. It's also worth noting that Bennett himself has been out of the ring for over 2 years. This bout may not excite fans, but there is some intrigue on paper.
A much more relevant bout will see Malaysian hopeful Keng Fai Hui (3-0, 3) compete in his first title bout, as he battles Petch Fonchang Chonburi (7-3, 2) for the IBO Oceania Welterweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch but it's a step up for the unbeaten 22 year old, who has been in with really limited opposition for. The Thai is nothing special, but should prove a better opponent that Hui's previous 3.
In a competitive looking bout we'll see Muhammad Meeraj (6-2, 3) battle against Chase Haley (5-1, 2), in a second contest between the two men. These two fought back in May, with Haley winning a majority decision in a bout that saw both men being dropping, and it's clear that Meeraj will be out for revenge whilst Haley will be chasing a second win over the Malaysian hopeful. On the line in this bout will be the International Boxing Organization Oceania Light Heavyweight Title, which Haley won last time out.
The biggest name on the card will be 2-weight former world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (92-3, 57), who continues his long career as he takes on Australian fighter Tommy Browne (34-6-2, 13). The 40 year old Thai has lost just once in his last 53 and will be hoping to edge towards 100 wins here, as he takes on a 34 year old Australian, who is 8-0-1 in his last 9. The bout will see the two fighters trading blows for the International Boxing Organization Asia Pacific Super Welterweight Title and there is a good chance the winner will try and move on towards a more notable title bout in 2018.
The main event of the show will see Singapore's very own Muhamad Ridhwan (8-0, 7) face off with Namibia's Nataneal Sebastian (9-0, 5) in a battle of unbeaten's. The two men will be trading blows for the International Boxing Organization International Super Featherweight Title and will be looking to extend their unbeaten records. Ridhwan struggled on his debut but has stopped his last 7, taking small but progressive steps up whilst Sebastian will be fighting in a notable step up, and his first bout outside of Namibia.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Argentina fight fan will be able to see unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Bobirzhan Mominov (4-0, 4) take on Argentinian based Uruguayan fighter Carlos Andres Chaparro (7-15-1, 3). The heavy handed Kazakh has needed just 11 rounds for his first 4 wins and will be looking to keep his stoppage run alive here, but may find that tricky against a durable but limited foe.
This coming Friday is a hectic day with 5 title bouts taking place in Japan.
In Kobe we get an OPBF quadruple header, with the card looking, at least on paper, like one of the most notable Oriental cards of the month. The bouts might not be 4 brilliant match up, but they will help establish the OPBF scene as we enter 2017, and at least 2 of the bouts look like they could be very interesting match ups.
The “main event”, well the final of the 4 main events, will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (10-0, 7) defending his title, and unbeaten record, against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (8-4-5, 2). This was the first bout on the card to be known about and although it looks like a mismatch it could, potentially, be a good test for Kubo who will be looking for stiff competition next year. Lim, although having a sketchy record, is a former Korean champion and holds a draw with touted Korean prospect Ye Joon Kim, giving him some legitimacy as a challenger here.
In a bout at Lightweight we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7) defending his title against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6). The bout will be Nakatani's 6th defense and will see him looking to build on wins against the likes of Ricky Sismundo, Accel Sumiyoshi and Tosho Makoto Aoki. For Tanada , who has actually lost 3 of his last 4, the bout sees him attempting to score his biggest win since his 2010 shock upset over Rikiya Fukuhara. Sadly for Tanada he's gone 4-5-3 since his win over Fukuhara almost 6 years ago and it's hard to imagine this being a win for the Filipino.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card sees OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4, 15) defending his title against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (24-12, 10). On paper this might not look like a great bout but the reality is that the contest is brilliantly well matched and puts an exciting and hard hitting champion up against a talented and tough young veteran. For Yamamoto the bout will be his third defense, but is a huge step up from his previous 2, whilst Yap will be looking to extend a 5 fight winning run which has included a notable upset over Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Another intriguing bout will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12) battle with rising prospect Ryuya Yamanaka (12-2, 3) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title. For Sabillo the bout sees him returning to Japan for the first time since his May loss to Riku Kano, which was for the OPBF interim title, and it's fair to say that the Filipino cannot afford another set back after going 2-3-1 in his last 6 bouts. Aged 21 Yamanaka knows that a win will open doors for potential world title bouts, but this bout is by far the toughest of his career and it's clear that he will need a career best performance to defeat the Filipino veteran.
The 4 title bouts in Kobe won't be the only title action in Japan, in fact we also have a world title bout in the country, featuring the longest reigning active world champion, and the one with the most defenses of their current title.
That world champion is WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (22-2-1, 8) who looks to record her 17th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to Koseki will be the little known Chie Higano (6-4, 2), who will be making her first title challenger. On paper this looks like a mismatch and it's, unfortunately, hard to see anything but a win for Koseki, possibly by stoppage in the early rounds.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (7-0-1, 3) take on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee (5-1, 4). Inoue already has his next bout booked, a contest in January with Akinori Watanabe, has impressed and is being tipped as a potential Japanese title contender, but this is a bout against a live under-dog. Lee is unknown outside of Korea but has impressed on the domestic scene and scored a good win over Young Sub Han this past June. Although Inoue will be favoured this could be a good test for the Japanese fighter before the Watanabe bout.
In another Japan Vs Korean bout we'll see the brilliantly exciting and fast rising Kazuto Takesako (4-0, 4) battling against Kyung-Joon Ahn (6-3-1, 5). Takesako has taken out his first 4 opponents in just 7 combined rounds and will be looking to extend that run here. Ahn on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Shoma Fukumoto, from almost 3 years ago. On paper this looks like a decent test for Takesako but in reality it should be a bit of a mismatch and an early blow out for the Japanese prospect.
There is also a Japanese card in Osaka, in what is a busy day for Japanese fans. This is however this is a much smaller and less interesting card than the other two.
In the main event we'll see Middleweights clash as Ryuji Kanza (7-2, 5) takes on Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (7-5, 6) in what should be a really intriguing contest. Both guys are limited but both can bang and we'd not be shocked to see this one be a bit of a wild slugfest that lacks quality but is fun to watch.
In a supporting bout we'll see Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Adam Alap Alap (0-1), who we've been informed is a top 15 ranked Indonesian Lightweight suggesting his record is incomplete
There's also action in China where we get the next League of Fists show.
The main event here is a brilliant match up between unbeaten men, as Zhi Quan Xie (4-0-3, 1) battles against Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (7-0-1, 1). The bout is a really intriguing one and should tell us a lot about both men, and their potential to go further in the sport.
In the US fans will be able to see hotly touted Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (18-0, 12) fight for the second time on US soil. At the moment his opponent is an unknown but it's unlikely to be too much of a test for Dela Torre.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see two Asian fighters fighting in New South Wales.
One of those is China's Yong Zhang (5-5-1, 1), who faces a yet to be named opponent, whilst the other will be Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-5), who faces the unbeaten Michael Hall (3-0, 3) in what looks like a mismatch against the Korean.
It's fair to say that Japanese fight fans have been left somewhat short changed during this year's “Golden Week”, and where theirs often 2 or 3 major card there wasn't really any, with the recent Watanabe card coming just before the Golden Week and the next big card, an Ohashi one, coming on the Sunday after the Golden Week. Saying that however the wait until this Sunday is a worthy one with their being several notable shows throughout Japan.
Of those Japanese shows it goes without saying the biggest, and the best, is in Tokyo and is going to be the highly anticipated Ohashi card from the 10,000 seater Ariake Colosseum. The card, which we strongly suspect will have more than 10,000,000 viewers, will see only two bouts televised live but they are both likely to feel a little bit special.
The first of those bouts is expected to be an all out war as IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) defends his title against the aggressive and very fun to watch Martin Tecuapetla (13-6-3, 10). This bout really does promise a lot of excitement, and for fans who like a war this is as sure fire a slugfest as we can think of with both men enjoying a tear up. Yaegashi will be the favourite but we wouldn't be surprised to see him taken to hell and back to retain his title.
Of course whilst Yaegashi's bout promises real 2-way fireworks it's unlikely to be the bout that gets international attention. Instead that attention will be focused on 23 year old sensation Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8), who defends his WBO Super Flyweight title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). The bout will be Inoue's second defense of his title and is likely to be his final bout in Japan before making a highly anticipated US debut later in the year. Although the bout is anticipated, because of Inoue's incredible appeal and ability, it's a mismatch and is unlikely to be more than a cameo-like appearance from the “Monster”, who has fought just 4 rounds in the last 18 months.
The two world title bouts are of course the bouts getting the most attention but their will also be a third title bout on the show, as youngster Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1) defends the OPBF Super Flyweight title against Indonesian challenger Afrizal Tamboresi (12-4, 6). The bout really should be a mismatch in favour of Takuma, who should make the second defense of his title here, but Tamboresi knows there is nothing to lose and their will be no pressure on him coming into this bout against the much touted Inoue.
The card featured a third fighter from the Inoue clan, with the touted Koki Inoue (2-0, 2) taking on another Indonesian, in Bimo Jaguar (0-0), in what is unlikely to be anything other than an early blow out win for the biggest of the Inoue's. Koki, for those unaware, is the cousin of Naoya and Takuma and, like the brothers, is trained by their father Shingo who may well be the best young trainer in world boxing.
One other notable name on this card is world title contender Ryo Matsumoto (17-0, 15), who risks his rankings and unbeaten record against Victor Uriel Lopez (8-5-1, 3). This seems likely to be Matsumoto's final bout before a world title fight, later in 2016. That talented Matsumoto has been treading water for a while, and this seems to be another stay busy, but he is insanely talented and is viewed as another fighter who is going to be part of a Japanese revolution over the coming years.
Talking about the next wave of Japanese fighters their will also be one of the youngest in action in Hyogo. That's 18 year old Riku Kano (9-1-1, 5), who faces former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-2-1, 12) in a bout for the OPBF interim Minimumweight title. Kano has his eyes on setting the Japanese age record, for the youngest world champion from Japan, but knows that he will need to beat Sabillo here. For the Filipino form champion this is a must win and he knows his career will essentially be over as a top contender if he loses the 18 year old Kano.
Sadly we do need to say that although listed on boxrec, Futa Akizuki (6-0, 5) will not be making his Japanese debut on this card.
In Osaka fans will get a show at the Mierparque Hall in Osaka City.
Here the main event will see the promising 20 year old Takuya Uehara (8-0, 5), an OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender, battling against Indonesian ranked Ramli Pasaribu (4-7, 1). Uehara is OPBF ranked already though hasn't really proven himself against anyone of actual quality. A win here won't change that, but we suspect that this could his final bout before facing a known opponent, possibly this coming summer.
In the chief support bout fans will see Japanese ranked Flyweight Shunji Nagata (10-14-2, 3) face off with former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Masato Morisaki (10-4-1, 6). For Morisaka this will be his second bout since he was stopped, in 5 rounds, by Sho Ishida back on December 31st 2014 and although the “more proven” fighter he has fought just 2 rounds since that Ishida bout. Nagata might not be a great fighter but he's someone who has been battle tested and should give Morisaka a very good fight.
A third bout of note on this card will see OPBF and JBC ranked 140lb fighter Ryusei Yoshida (27-8, 14) fight in what really should be a stay busy contest against Tatsunori Fukunaga (7-6, 3). If Yoshida wins, as is widely expected, he could potentially be the next Japanese title challenger later in the year, and will almost certainly call out Hiroki Okada.
A fourth Japanese show is set to take place in Aichi, with this one having 4 bouts that caught our eye.
The main event of the card will see veteran Daiki Koide (22-7-2, 9) battle against OPBF ranked Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (2-0-1), who incidentally claimed the KBF 140lb title last time out. On paper this looks like a horrible mismatch but Kim has been fast tracked and has already proven that he can go rounds, with 22 career rounds already, and he may well see Koide as just the next step on his way through the OPBF rankings.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout on this card sees former Keita Obara opponent Kazuya Maruki (19-3, 12) face off with Chan Hee Park (5-6-1) in what looks likely to be another good bout for fans, though with Park lacking power it's hard to see what he has to compete with the talented Maruki. For those who haven't seen Park before we suggest watching his fight with Kyoo Hwan Hwang from last year as it really was so fun and just a crazy battle.
Maruki's brother, Ryosuke Maruki (11-3-1, 7) will also be up against a Korean visitor, in the form of Joon Yong Lee (5-3-3, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lee is the Korean Middleweight champion and may well be a real handful for Maruki, in what could be a genuinely fun bout for fans at the venue. Notably Lee enters the bout as a highly ranked contender by the OPBF so will be fighting to defend that ranking.
The final bout of note is an all-Japanese bout at Heavyweight. The bout will see the unbeaten Ryu Ueda (5-0, 2) risk his perfect record against veteran fighter Kotatsu Takehara (12-11-3, 6). This is a big step up in class for Ueda however Takehara has won just 2 of his last 4, and was stopped in both of his losses. It's a good test for the 23 year old novice who knows a win could see him move towards a Japanese title fight, and perhaps even a chance to become the third ever Japanese Heavyweight champion.
Incheon, South Korea
As well as all the action in Japan there is also a card in Korea, under the KPBF banner.
The main event here is a PABA “interim” title bout that sees Korean Jong-Min Jung (6-7, 2) battle Ghana's Razak Nettey (17-4, 13) at Featherweight. Notably this Nettey is a replacement for Filipino Jason Redondo and unfortunately for the Korean it seems Nettey may not have been an easier option.
This card will also feature two other PABA affiliated title bouts, one at Bantamweight and one at Light Middleweight. From what we understand the Bantamweight bout will see Woo Hyun Kim (5-1, 1) battle Michael Barnor (15-7-2, 11). The Light Middleweight bout will see Youn Bae Kim (4-0, 1), the current PABA interim champion, battle Joo Hun Kim (7-1, 2), the KPBF champion.
*Note several Korean records have been provided by the KPBF.
The only Asian card this Sunday is in the Philippines where fans can expect some mixed action.
In the main event we get an international match up as Japanese banger Tosho Makoto Aoki (20-12-2, 17) takes on Filipino veteran Chaiyong Sithsaithong (38-14-4, 27) in a bout that is likely to be an explosive one. The two men, who both have very respectable power at this level, Will be fighting for the WBC Asian Boxing Council lightweight title, which Aoki will be hoping to defend for the first time since he claimed it, also in the Philippines. We're not expecting this to be a FOTY contender, but with both having genuine it could be an explosive and brief affair.
A second title bout here will see Jessebelle Pagaduan (7-1-1, 4) battling against Christine Latube (1-7-2) for the GAB female Minimumweight title. Latube has gone 0-6-2 in her last 8 bouts and it's hard to see her beating the more proven Pagaduan, who has twice fought for a world title and is a former GAB champion.
Another notable bout here will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (24-2-1, 12) battle against Jack Amisa (21-37-2, 14) in a 6 round confidence builder. Sabillo has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 bouts and does need to rebuild, so it's hard to hold this one against him even though Amisa has won just once in the last 4 years, during which he has gone 1-23.
Hong Kong, SAR China
The biggest Asian show this coming weekend comes from Hong Kong where fans get the home coming event of the nation's boxing son
In the main event fans will see local star Rex Tso (17-0, 10) battle against Australian visitor Brad Hore (5-1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title. Tso, who has been a popular star on the shows in Macau appears to be trying to help build the sport back home in Hong Kong however this bout is unlikely to be anything more than a showcase for the “Wonder Boy”. Given his position however we suspect we won't see Tso in a competitive looking bout until he's secured a world title fight.
Another title fight will see Thailand's limited Petchsuriya Singwancha (14-10, 8) take on Australian based Welshman Kerry Hope (22-7, 2) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title. Petchsuriya, a former WBC Youth champion, has been stopped numerous times but is better than his record suggests. Saying that however he will be the under-dog against Hope, a former European Middleweight champion.
One under-rated, but notable, fighter on this card is the heavy handed Filipino Rey Megrino (21-20-3, 18) who will be up against Thailand's Khunsuk Twins Gym (11-1, 6). Megrino, on paper, has a journeyman's record but in reality he's a very dangerous fighter who has often taken bouts on short notice and still managed to score more than his share of upsets. Going by the records Megrino is the under-dog but in reality he should totally rip his Thai foe apart in what is a mismatch “against” the records.
Another Megrino in action on this card is Randy Megrino (15-18-3, 3), who is up against the unbeaten Kane Cassells (5-0, 2). Randy, like Rey, has a poor looking record unfortunately however his record is reflective of his ability and as a result it wouldn't be a shock if Cassells wins here.
On the Chinese mainland fans get another show with a number of bouts, 3 of which have caught our eye.
One of those will see promising Filipino Robert Udtohan (22-1-3, 14) battle against the limited but local Wang Xinghua (11-12-1). This should be Udtohan's 23rd win but he will know that he'll need to make sure this one isn't close considering he's fighting on the round. Interestingly this will be Udtohan's second bout in China.
In a battle of unbeaten fighters Bai Shan Bo (2-0-1) will be fighting Cai Zheng Yang (3-0-1, 2). Whilst it's hard to predict the quality of either man we do like the fact that unbeaten fighters are facing each other early in their career, something that doesn't happen often enough in this day and age.
The other bout of note here will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (24-2-1, 12) face a yet to be named opponent.
This coming Friday isn't packed with action but there are some notable names in action.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a relatively good looking show with several notable fighters in action.
The main event, a WBC Youth Super Featherweight title fight, will see Argie Toquero (8-3-1, 6) defending his belt against unbeaten puncher Ardie Boyose (15-0-1, 11). On paper this is a really tricky defense for Toquero however the bout is also a step up for Boyose who has been matched softly so far.
Arguably the most interesting bout, on paper, will see Jerry Nardo (20-6, 11) battle against Jason Egera (21-13, 10). This bouts pits two flawed fighters against each other and could end up being a very interesting match up, even if it's not likely to a really highly skilled affair.
The biggest name fighter here is former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (23-2-1, 12) who fights for the first time since his shock loss to Faris Nenggo last November. Sabillo, who has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts, will be expected to pick up a straight forward win here against Powell Balaba (8-13-1, 5) though it really is a must win for Sabillo who has been stopped in his last 2 bouts.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fans will be getting a televised show featuring several notable names.
The most notable is Terdsak Kokietgym (56-5-1, 36) who looks to continue his long career as he battles once beaten Filipino Roldan Aldea (9-1-1, 3). Up for grabs here will be the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title with Terdsak looking to earn himself one more shot at a world title. Unfortunately for the 33 year old Thai he is getting on and it would appear like that his last shot at the top level was his September 2014 FOTY contender with Orlando Salido.
In one of the supporting bouts we'll see the unbeaten Petchmanee Kokietgym (7-0, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Rofiq Aditaya (2-1-1, 2). Aditaya will be fighting in Thailand for the second time, and this one comes less than a month after his defeat to Jirapan Nakorluang, a 3rd round KO.
The second supporting bout of note will see former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (56-7-2, 22) battle against Indonesian foe Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). Tefa comes in to this bout 0-4 outside of his homeland and it's very hard to see him changing that against someone with Pigmy's experience.
In Germany we'll get the chance to see two Asian fighters in action.
One of those is Kazakh Cruiserweight hopeful Isa Akerbayev (15-0-0-1, 11) take on Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (27-4, 24). This should be a straight forward win for Akerbayev, however given the fact Dos Santos can punch we may see the Kazakh take his time and fight cautiously against the 37 year old South American.
The other fighter in action here is Filipino tough guy Rey Labao (27-6, 18) who takes on once German Rico Mueller (18-1-1, 13). This is Labao's third successive bout on the road and although he'll be the under-dog he is very live, as seen last time out when he shocked former OPBF champion Masao Nakamura. The one big problem for Labao here will be the weight with the bout having been made at Welterweight rather than his more natural Lightweight or even Light Welterweight.
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 Saturday is a really interesting day in the world of boxing. There is a lot of "big name" fights or much that would appeal to the casual fan but for the hardcore there is a lot to look forward from from the biggest men in the sport right down to the smallest men.
Nuevo León, Mexico
For once we're actually starting by looking away from Asia and instead focussing on Nuevo León in Mexico where WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (23-0-1, 12) looks to make the third defence of his world title title.
Sabillo travels across the globe to take on the #9 ranked challenger, according to the WBO, Francisco Rodriguez Jr (13-2, 9) a man who is probably best known for his loss last year to Roman Gonzalez. Although at home Rodriguez has never beat an opponent even near the quality of Sabillo, other than a shop worn Manuel Vargas, and as a result the champion should be favoured to defend his title even though he is fighting on the road. This is however a very good test of Sabillo's mental make up and he'll also have to prove his toughness against a hard hitting fighter with the crowd behind him.
Whilst a Filipino would champion will be in action in Mexico his compatriots will still be in action back home with a small, and somewhat unimportant, card in Benguet.
The reflection of how poor the Filipino card is, is in the main event as the unbeaten Ben Mananquil (9-0-1, 2) battles domestic journeyman Michael Rodriguez (13-38-1, 3) in the main event. This bout, scheduled for 10, is likely to got the distance as Mananguil is a very light hitter and Rodriguez, fall all his limitations, is a tough survivor.
Unfortunately this appears to be the only bout of note in the Philippines despite their being a full card of fights in Benguet.
(Picture courtesy of The 13th round)