Cheonan, South Korea
The main card this coming Wednesday comes from South Korea, not something that we can say often enough.
The main event will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (21-2, 7) defending his title against Korean challenger Gyu Beom Jeon (9-3-1, 4). This is a bout that has been rescheduled numerous times this year, causing a loss of momentum for both men, especially Naito. The champion, who is looking for his third defense here, but has been out of the for almost a year, following his close win over Daishi Nagata. That sort of ring rust will not do Naito any favours here. Jeon is relative unknown outside of Korea, but he does have some momentum coming in to this with 5 straight wins, and 7 wins in his last 8. The challenger is the under-dog but he has been active whilst the champion has been horribly inactive recently. A full preview of this bout can be read here Rikki Naito heads to Korea for third OPBF title defense
In a decent looking support bout we'll see Sang Hun Oh (5-1, 3) take on Filipino veteran Michael Landero (19-14-4, 8). On paper this might not look great but is a really good step up for the 19 year old Oh, who is looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Kyung Min Kwon, back in May. Landero is a proper veteran, who has been out of the ring for around 30 months, and in his prime was the OPBF Minimumweight champion, stopping Kenichi Horikawa. It's hard to know what Landero has left at the age of 33, but if he's half the fighter he was he could be a banana skin for Oh here.
Sadly we're not expecting any real competition when South Korean Super Flyweight champion Ki Chang Go (7-3, 3) takes on awful Thai visitor Yutthichai Wannawong (9-9, 7). Go is no puncher, though did blow out Joo Ho Lee in June in his first title defense, and is actually best known for his only stoppage loss, to Masahiro Sakamoto in what was Sakamoto's final bout before facing Moruti Mthalane on New Year's Eve. Sadly Yutthichai is known for losing, and losing quickly with 8 stoppages losses, a JBC ban, and a loss last time out inside a round, to Carl Jammes Martin. This shouldn't be anything more than a stay busy fight for Go.
Another notable bout on this card will see hard hitting Korean Middleweight hopeful Sung Jae Jo (9-0, 7). He was originally scheduled to face Chinese visitor Wulamu Tulake (8-2-1, 4), though we have now been told he will be facing a Thai foe instead, in an 8 round bout, though the opponent hasn't been named. Like wise Heuk San Lee (10-1-2, 5) is scheduled for a 10 rounder, and his opponent hasn't been confirmed at the time of writing.
As well as the show in Korea, there will also be one in Thailand. The details for this are lacking, but Tassana Paladsrichuay (4-4, 1) will be up against Japanese visitor Umi Ishikawa (7-3, 5), who was stopped in 3 rounds by Kanyarat Yoohanngoh last time she fought in Thailand. This bout will be for the WBC's International female Minimumweight title, and whilst not a big bout is it significant for both fighters.
This coming Sunday is a busy day with several shows through Asia.
The most significant bout of the day comes in Osaka where Japan's once beaten Nana Yoshikawa (6-1, 4) faces unbeaten Korean Eun Hye Lee (8-0, 3) for the WBO female Flyweight title. Hye, the former WBO female Light Flyweight champion, is moving up in weight for this bout after having had troubles with funding when she was the champion and will be fighting away from home for the first time. For Yoshikawa the bout will be her second world title fight, after coming up short against Anabel Ortiz last year. The winner will be a target for several notable names and could see a potential show down with 3-weight world champion Naoko Fujioka in 2017.
In a supporting bout Shingo Kawamura (12-3-1, 6) will battle Takuya Yamamoto (7-4, 4) in an interesting looking 8 rounder at 122lbs. Although Kawamura will be favoured he has struggled recently and is 3-2-1 in his last 6, dating back more than 2 years. Kawamura has been mixing at a higher level than Yamamoto, who is stepping up, but he has been losing when he's been fighting the better competition.
In another supporting bout the once beaten Terumi Nuki (7-1, 4) will face a Thai foe, in what looks like to be a title prelude bout for Nuki.
Another Japanese card, from Hiroshima, will be headlined by veteran Koji Itagaki (16-10-2, 7) as he takes on former OPBF Minimumweight champion Michael Landero (18-13-4, 7). Landero, a Filipino veteran, will be looking to continue his 2 fight winning run, and scored a 3rd win on Japanese soil. For Itagaki the bout will be his first since being stopped by another Filipino visitor, Rey Loreto back in April.
In the chief support bout the Japanese ranked Ryuji Ikeda (11-3-1, 7) will face very highly experienced Filipino journeyman Mark Sales (22-40-3, 8). On paper this is a total mismatch but Ikeda is looking to bounce back from a loss last time out and will be looking rebuild his confidence rather than score a statement win.
Daejeon, South Korea
In Korea fight fans get an intriguing show with international implications.
The main event will see Korean-Russian Je Ni Ma (9-1-3, 8) battle against Japan's Hironobu Matsunaga (10-1, 5) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title. For both men this will be their biggest bout, though it's fair to say that Ma will be favoured given he's fighting at home and is currently riding a 12 fight unbeaten run. Despite Ma being the favourite Matsunaga will be confident and comes into this riding a 4 fight winning run.
On the under-card KBF 140lb champion Dong Hee Kim (5-1-1, 1) will be facing former OPBF Super Featherweight title challenger Ernie Sanchez (15-8-1, 6), with Sanchez being a late replacement for the aggressive Hyun Woo Yuh, who was originally stipulated to face Kim in a title fight.
One other bout of note on this under-card will see Japan's Chaoz Minowa (1-0, 1) battle Chan Mi Lim (2-1, 2). Minowa is tipped as the most promising Japanese female fighter since Naoko Fujioka and is returning to the ring just weeks after her debut. Although not well known Lim is exciting, heavy handed and aggressive and could well be the gut test Minowa needs before fighting for titles.