This coming Sunday is set to be a massive day for fight fans in Asia, specifically those in Yokohama who get an excellent triple header on Fuji TV, as part of the World Boxing Super Series.
The main bout will see WBA “regular” Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) kick off his WBSS campaign as he takes on former world champion Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9). The Japanese fighter is the betting favourite to win the competition and will be looking to put down his mark as he takes on Payano, who is being given little to no chance to pick up a win here. Inoue claimed the WBA title earlier this year, when he blew out Jamie McDonnell, but should be expecting a much stiffer test here. Payano has only lost to once, a close decision to Rau-shee Warren, and is a former 2-time Olympian, but is expected to be little more than a snack for the Monster. A full preview of this bout is here - The Monster begins WBSS campaign, faces Payano!
In a Light Welterweight WBSS bout we'll see WBA champion Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19) take on the heavy handed Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24). For the Belorussian fighter this will be his first defense, and the reality is that he really should be unbeaten, with the judging in both of his defeats being highly questionable. Troyanovsky is a a basic fighter, who at 38 is past his best, but is a brutish puncher, as we saw when he beat Keita Obara. This could be a lot of fun and we do not see it going 12 rounds. A preview of this bout is here - Relikh and Troyanovsky kick off WBSS
A third world title bout on this show will see the unbeaten Kenshiro (13-0, 7) defending his WBC Light Flyweight title against former IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-3, 13). On paper this is the standout bout from the card and the hardest one to call. The champion has been on a great run at world level, with a couple of wins against Ganigan Lopez, a great win over Pedro Guevara and a showcase performance against Gilberto Pedroza. Melindo on the other hand was beaten last time out but has scored notable recent wins against Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, Akira Yaegashi and Hekkie Budler,whilst suffering a loss in a unification bout at the end of last year. This has the potential to be amazing. A preview of this bout is here - WBC belt on the line as Kenshiro and Melindo battle on Sunday!
A second Japanese show on Sunday will come from Oita and is a much less interesting card.
The main event of this show is an 8 round contest that will feature Atsushi Takada (6-0-2, 3) facing off with Hironori Miyake (9-6-1, 1). The unbeaten Takada impressed last time out, when he stopped Jump Ikeo, but it's hard to read too much into his record given his competition so far. Miyake has a more marked up record but has only lost one of his last 6 bouts, and that was hardly a shameful defeat as he came up short against the very talented Kyosuke Sawada. Sadly this bout aside there isn't anything else on the card worthy of note.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the action outside of Japan there are two cards in Korea. One of those is a Boxing M Rookie card, with 22 bouts on it. All the contests on this card are 4 rounders and feature novice with 5 or fewer bouts. This could give us close to 90 professional rounds if all the bouts go the distance and will certainly give fans value for their money.
Ulsan, South Korea
A second Korean card is taking place in Ulsan. Again this is mostly novices though the main event is an 8 rounder between between Sang Kil Park (6-1, 2) and Tae Young Suh (3-0-1), in what could be a very interesting match up. The more experienced fighter is 35 years old but has got the edge in experience and power. Suh on the other hand is just 22 and only made his debut this past January. We're expecting action here even if the bout isn't at the highest level.
This Sunday closes out an incredibly long year for us boxing fans and does so in spectacular fashion with a trio of world title bouts, including a two mandatory title defenses by champions in their first defenses and a world title unification.
The first part of the world title triple header will see IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (8-0, 6) making his first defense of the title he won earlier this year as he takes on talented Nicaraguan challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-2-1-1, 17)). For the fast rising Kyoguchi, who won the title a little more than a year into his career, the bout is another big step up in class and this really does look like a baptism of fire for the youngster, who looked explosive whilst going to 6-0 (6) to begin his career. In Buitrago we'll see Kyoguchi up against a challenger in his 4th world title challenger, and it's likely that it's now or never for the man who was once regarded as the next Roman Gonzalez. The bout matches aggressive against skills and should be a very entertaining clash of styles.
The second part of the triple header is an all Japanese bout, as WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 8) makes his first defense, following his shock upset over Zou Shiming in July. The new champion will be up against mandatory challenger Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3, 12), a former WBC and Linear champion. Kimura really showed his will to win as he broke down the naturally more skilled Shiming and will be hoping to do the same here against the more experienced Igarashi, who will know it;s now or never if he's to become a 2-time world champion. Sadly fans who have followed Igarashi in recent times will be expecting head clashes to mar this bout, but on paper it's a very interesting and incredibly tough first defense for the Aoki gym fighter.
The main event of the triple header is one of the best match ups we've seen this year and pits WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) against his IBF counter part Milan Melindo (37-2, 13) in a mouth watering world title unification bout. Coming in to this Taguchi is the longest active reigning champion at 108lbs, having held his title since the end of 2014 and racked up 6 defenses, but his form has been inconsistent and he's certainly frustrated at times during his reign, whilst seeking a big bout. For the technically superb Melindo this is his second defense, and sees him returning to Japan, where he won his title, with a chance to earn Fighter of the Year honours with an impressive performance. Since winning the title in May Melindo has beaten Hekkie Budler and had a career defining year, with a win here potentially putting a cherry on top. The winner will not only unify the WBA and IBF titles but also claim the Ring magazine title and be regarded by some as the de facto best in the division.
Also on this card will be former world title challenger Shingo Wake (22-5-2, 14), who is looking for his third successive win since being stopped by Jnathan Guman in 2016, and the excellent Masataka Taniguchi (8-2, 6), who's only losses have been razor thin ones in battles for the Japanese and OPBF Minimumweight titles. Both Wake and Taniguchi will be up against limited Thai foe
It seems that we're getting some great fights week after week at the moment, and this coming weekend looks set to deliver something special with a number of noteworthy bouts.
The biggest bout of the weekend, by far, and one of the biggest bouts this year will see Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33) defending his WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO titles against Mexican icon Saul Alvarez (49-1-1, 34). For the mainstream sports fan the bout might not have the appeal of the recent Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor bout but for a boxing fan this is a bigger bout and it will see two of the biggest names in the sport collide in a really interesting match up. Will the biggest name in Mexican over-come the most destructive Middleweight of his generation, or will the Kazakh hero defeat the face of Mexican boxing.
It's not just in American that we get a world title fight, as we also get one in the Philippines, and this is another really well matched one which headlines a stacked card.
That world title bout will see IBF Light Flyweight champion Milan Melindo (36-2, 13) defending his title against former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10). The Filipino took the title earlier this year with a surprising first round win over Akira Yaegashi, setting a divisional record in the process, and will be looking to build on a fantastic little run which also includes a win over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. For Budler the bout sees him looking to become a 2-weight champion and score a third straight victory since his upset loss to Byron Rojas back in March 2016. This could be the fight of the weekend.
Talking about possible fights of the weekend it's hard not to think that John Riel Casimero (24-3, 15) against Jonas Sultan (13-3, 9) has the potential to be something special. Casimero, a former world champion at both Light Flyweight and Flyweight is seeking a world title fight at Super Flyweight and finds himself in there with a fighter who has slowly been building a reputation as one to watch. Whilst Casimero is a proven world level fighter, with wins against the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte and Amnat Ruenroeng, it's hard not to be impressed by Sultan, who has run up recent stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu, Makazole Tete and Sonny Boy Jaro. This has the potential to be a very good fight.
Whilst the bouts mentioned above are all about fighters looking to kick on and go to better places it should be noted that this card also features a bout where neither man can afford another set back. That bout will see former world title challengers Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16) and Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8) face off in a must win. Villanueva was last seen suffering a horribly one-sided loss to Zolani Tete in the UK, where Villanueva looked completely out of his depth, whilst Mepranum has been stopped in his last 2. Notably Villanueva is the naturally bigger man, and should win with out problems, but his performances in big bouts has left much to be desired so far.
One man looking to eventually get a big bout is Jason Pagara (40-2, 25), though he will need to over-come James Onyango (23-11-1, 19) if he's to get a shot at a world title. He's ranked #3 in the world by the WBO, and could be in the running for a shot very soon, but can't afford any slip ups here.
One man still looking to carve out his early career is Kevin Jake Cataraja (6-0, 5), who takes a small step up against Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-5-1, 4). The young Cataraja is regarded by those in the Philippines as one of the country's best prospects but will need to prove that against better foes than Ugbaniel. The more experienced man has lost his last 3 by stoppage, in a combined 4 rounds, and although he was once seen as a prospect it does seem like his career as a hopeful is now over.
We get another notable bout in Ukraine, as the unknown Uzbek Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (14-0, 9) takes on former world champion Viktor Postol (28-1, 12). For Postol the bout serves as his comeback contest following his wide decision loss to Terence Crawford back in July 2016 whilst the contests serves as a huge opportunity for Najimidinov to make a name for himself and score a career defining best win.
On a lower level we'll see two Thai's fighting in Australia.
One of those will see Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2) take on the unbeaten Matthew Triffett (3-0, 1) whilst the other will see Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-16-1) take on Lachlan Higgins (1-0, 1). It's clear these bouts won't get much attention given the other action for the day, but they will make up some under-card in Tasmania.
For a second day running Japanese fans in Tokyo get a huge show at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.
The main event here sees Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) defending his WBO Super Flyweight title against Mexican born American based challenger Ricardo Rodriguez (16-3, 5. The bout will be Inoue's 5th defense of the title and it's likely to be his last with his team talking about vacating the title later in the year, ahead of his US debut. The pressure is on the youngster to shine here but Rodriguez is tough and has never been stopped, and will be looking to score a career defining victory here.
The other world title fight here will see IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (25-5, 15) battle against interim champion Milan Melindo (35-2, 12). The bout is, on paper at the very least, the most interesting of the 6 world title fights taking place this coming weekend and it looks like a genuine 50-50 match up. Of the two fighters Yaegashi is the more proven and the more well known, but he's also the older man and the man with a lot more miles on the clock. Melindo, the less proven fighter, is probably the more technically sound fighter, but a win here would be the biggest of his career by some margin.
The biggest mismatch on this card will see the once beaten Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17) battle against Hendrik Barongsay (29-25-3, 18) in what is little more than a stay busy fight for Matsumoto. The talented Japanese youngster looked better than ever last time out, blowing out Hideo Sakamoto in less than 2 minutes, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Barongsay last a similar amount og time here.
One of the biggest names on the under-card is former multi-time world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (32-3-1, 21), who will take on Masashi Noguchi (12-6-1, 6) in an 8 rounder. This will be Hosono's first bout since losing in October to Jonathan Victor Barros in an IBF world title eliminator. Aged 33 this will probably be the start of Hosono's last run, and he really can't afford another set back. Noguchi is a former Japanese title challenger, who lost in December to Shuhei Tsuchiya, and is the naturally bigger man, but a win here would be his best to date.
In another notable under-card bout we'll see 2012 Olympic Bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (2-0, 2) take on his first domestic opponent, Takuya Yamamoto (8-6, 4). The bout should be a straight forward win for Shimizu, though it's probably fair to say that his eyes are on the future and it's hard to imagine him not fighting for a domestic title before the end of 2017, especially given that he's now 31 and doesn't have much time to waste.
Also on the under-card is the re-re-scheduled meeting between talented youngster Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) and Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5), who were originally meant to meet in the 2014 Rookie of the Year. The two were also meant to fight earlier this year. Sadly Hiraoka was forced to pull out of both the previous dates but will be looking to prove a point here. As for Yamaguchi he's going to be wanting to take his frustrations out on the younger man in what could be an under-card classic.
There will also be title action in Okinawa, albeit at a lower level as fans get an OPBF title fight.
That that OPBF title fight will see Japan's Seita Ogido (11-2-2, 3) battle unbeaten Filipino Edward Heno (10-0-4, 4) for the vacant Oriental Light Flyweight title. The title was vacated earlier this, by Ken Shiro ahead of his WBC world title fight with Ganigan Lopez, and the bout to crown a new champion does look like an interesting one. Ogido is seen as a promising youngster in Japan, and fought to a draw with the under-rated Jonathan Refugio earlier this year, suggesting there is talent there. Heno on the other hand is a bit of an unknown quantity, despite being unbeaten in 14 bouts, though he did impress last time out as he claimed the PBF title. This bout really could answer questions about both men.
The chief supporting bout here will see Masatoshi Kotani (20-2, 13) hunt an 11th straight win as he takes on Indonesian visitor Musa Letding (12-6-4, 6) in an 8 rounder. Kotani has been unbeaten since a 9th round stoppage loss to Filipino Cirilo Espino in 2012 and looks to have improved significantly since then. As for Letding he's 0-4 out side of Indonesia and will be looking for his first win on the road.
In another under-card bout we'll see the heavy handed Morihisa Iju (10-2, 8) battle against Masaya Kohama (6-5-1, 3). This bout will be Iju's third of the year, but will see him returning to the ring following a March loss to Ryo Kosaka and it's clear he'll be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats. Despite losing last time time out Iju should be favoured given that Kohama has been stopped in his last 3, with the most recent of those coming last July to Yohei Tobe.
There will also be a small card in the Philippines. The card here is very poor overall but the main event does look interesting as Pedro Taduran (10-1, 7) and Philip Luis Cuerdo (9-3-1, 4) battle for the PBF Minimumweight title in a good looking 10 rounder. Coming in the once beaten Taduran has won his last 4 and has rebuilt well following his first loss however Cuerdo was stopped last time out, whilst leading on the score cards.
The biggest card of the weekend comes form Cebu and is a stacked ALA card.
The main event of the card will see former world title challengers Milan Melindo (34-2, 12) and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (31-4-1, 16) face off to crown a new IBF “interim” Light Flyweight champion, and decide the mandatory challenger for current world champion Akira Yaegashi. Melindo, fighting in his third world title fight, should be favoured here but Fahlan has put in his best performances as the under-dog, and the Thai is of course best known for upsetting Ryo Miyazaki. The bout should be a really intriguing one given the match up, and the fact that the winner moves into a world title bout this is an incredibly significant bout.
In a support bout will see the world ranked Jason Pagara (39-2, 24) battle former world champion Jose Alfaro (28-10-1-2, 24) in an interesting 10 rounder. Alfaro is a long way removed from his short reign as the WBA Lightweight world champion, but still has power and could still hurt Pagara who has shown himself to be a genuine world class fight. Sadly for Alfaro his only chance is a puncher's chance.
Staying with the Pagara family another bout will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (26-1, 18), who was last seen being stopped by Cesar Juaez, take on the tough but limited Raymond Commey (16-3, 9), who we saw lose to Qiu Xiao Jun not too long ago. The bout is a big question of Pagara's mental state, and whilst he should be favoured there is some worries that he will be damaged goods given the way he couldn't see Juarez and was stopped himself as Juarez rode the storm and came back strongly. Commey appears to be very durable and could be a real nightmare down the stretch for Pagara.
A really interesting looking all Filipino under-card bout will see former OPBF title challenger Jimmy Paypa (18-3-1, 6) battle the under-rated Jerry Nardo (21-9, 11) in what could potentially help decide a future OPBF title challenger. On paper Paypa should be favoured, especially given that Nardo has gone 2-5 in his last 7, but Nardo can spring upsets at domestic level and this bout could be a banana skin for Paypa.
Another good looking all-Filipino domestic bout will see Jeo Santisima (11-2, 10) face recent OPBF challenger Rex Wao (11-3, 9) in what look like a potentially explosive bout between very well matched fighters, at least on paper.
One of the most promising Filipino fighters is Kevin Jake Cataraja (4-0, 3) who looks for win #5 as he takes on the more experienced John Kenan Villaflor (6-1-2, 2) on a minor step up, and will hopefully be Cataraja's final bout before being stepped up. Another unbeaten hopeful in action here is the big punching Melvin Jerusalem (10-0, 7), who takes on Bonjun Loperez (10-5-1, 5) in a bit of a stay busy bout for the unbeaten youngster.
A second Filipino card of the day comes from Batangas.
In the headline bout on this card we'll see a rematched between the experienced Roberto Gonzales (27-2, 17) and Ryan Sermona (19-8, 12), who fight for the GAB Lightweight title. On paper it looks like a straight forward first defense for Gonzalez, who has won his last and 7 bouts, however he was stopped by Sermona when the two men first fought back in May 2012 and Sermona will be confident of scoring a second win over Gonzalez.
In an interesting match up we'll see the experienced Al Sabaupan (25-2-1, 20) battle Jheritz Chavez (5-1-2, 3) in a real cross roads. Sabaupan had once been tipped as a world title contender but losses in 2012 and 2013 ended those hopes. Sabaupan has won his last 5 but hasn't shown his early promise in recent years and has only fought twice in he last 25 months. Chavez was beaten last time out but is unbeaten at home and could prove to be a total handful for Sabuapan.
Another bout on the show will see Glenn Porras (29-4, 17) battle against the very limited Jayar Estremos (10-12, 4). Porras was beaten just 2 fights back, though that was back in December 2012 and he has did return to winning ways last time out. Estremos is a very limited fighter and it would be a huge surprise for him to test Porras, even with Porras' recent lack of activity.
Icheon City, South Korea
In South Korea fans will see former world champion Eun Hye Lee (8-1, 3) battle against Thailand's Nongnun Mor Krungthepthonburi (5-3-1) in a bout for the WIBA Flyweight title. Lee was unlucky to not become a 2-weight world champion this year, losing a controversial bout to Nana Yoshikawa. The Thai will be the huge under-dog and we can't see how she wins here.
In Mexico we'll see Japanese born, Mexican based, Shoki Sakai (21-6-1, 13) face off with Jose Lopez (26-6-2, 15) in a really well matched bout. Sakai has suffered back-to-back setbacks, albeit controversial ones, and will be looking to score his second win of the year. Whilst Sakai has been unfortunate this year Lopez had been in a bad run of form, going 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts over the last 14 months.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
The key show for fans of Asian fighters is in Negros Occidental where ALA will be putting on their next “Pinoy Pride” card.
In the main event fans will see long reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) face off against former 2-time champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23). Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, defeated Garcia's twin brother, Ramon Garcia Hirales, back in 2011 and will be hoping to record a win over Raul too. For Raul it's a chance to become a 3-time champion and avenge one of his brother's losses.
The most interesting of the supporting bouts sees former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) face off against the chinny Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight. Despite being for an Asia Pacific title Jimenez is a Mexican so we're not sure how he qualifies for this title, however with 8 stoppage losses to his name it's hard to see him winning here.
In one of the other main supporting bouts former world title challenger Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) will be facing Maximino Flores (19-2, 13), who appears to have been a late fill in for Javier Mendoza. This bout will be an IBF Light Flyweight eliminator and the winner could find themselves taking a big step towards a world title fight later in the year.
In another supporting bout the promising Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) will be up against Thai visitor Wanchai Nianghansa (5-7, 4). We have been impressed by Cataraja so far and expect this will be another straight forward win for the Filipino sensation, who is widely regarded by those in Filipino boxing circles as a future champion.
In Japan fans get a small card but one with an interesting main event and a notable return to the ring for a recent Japanese title challenger.
The interesting main event sees former world champion Kosei Tanaka (6-0, 3) move up to Light Flyweight where he will face world ranked Filipino foe Rene Patilano (15-1-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 rounder. For Tanaka the bout is a chance to make a mark at a new weight class, and shake the shackles of the 105lb weight class that he claimed to be struggling massively with. As for Patilano the bout will serve as a huge chance to make a mark on the sport and boost his opportunity to get a world title fight of his own later in the year.
The aforementioned former Japanese title challenger is Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10), who faces Yuta Sasaki (8-7-1, 1), in what is Tanaka's first bout since losing in that Japanese title bout to Kentaro Masuda. This should be an easy win for Tanaka but their may be lingering effects from his stoppage loss to Masuda.
Two other men looking to bounce back from a loss on this card will be Shogo Yamaguchi (9-1-1, 4), and Genki Maeda (2-1, 1), who face each other in an interesting looking Lightweight bout. Yamaguchi was beaten last time out by Akihiro Kondo, in a bout that saw Yamaguchi look like a promising fighter despite losing, whilst Maeda was stopped by Yoshimichi Matsumoto in a less impressive performance. This could be a very good one, or it could see Maeda made to look like a novice.
Their will also be action in Uzbekistan
In the main event hard hitting Russian Heavyweight hopeful Apti Davtaev (11-0-1, 11) will be facing Kazakh journeyman Talgat Dosanov (13-14-1, 6) in what looks like a total mismatch in favour of the heavy handed Russian hopeful.
A much more interesting bout will see Uzbek fighter Bahrom Payozov (23-5, 15) face Russian novice Alexander Kotov (3-0, 1). Kotov debuted in December and this is a huge step up in class for him, however a win here is somewhat expected. For Payozov, who has lost 3 of his last 5, the bout is a bit of a must win.
New South Wales, Australia
Once again we see Asian fighters travelling to Australia, this time however we have one genuinely competitive bout as Romnakit Boontree (8-0, 5) facing off against the once beaten Richard Smith (8-1, 3). The unbeaten Thai has shown genuine promise through his first 8 bouts and whilst this is a step up he does look like the sort of fighter who could go a long way, if he can win here in his first bout outside of Thailand.
Other Asian's on this card are Indonesian fighters Abbas Makki (1-4), who faces Michael Upton (4-1-1) and Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2), who faces Rocky Jerkic (14-0, 11), in bouts that are both likely to be won by the local favourites.
The biggest card of the day is a special card courtesy of WOWOW who will be showing the card as part of a free day for the channel. The card featured a couple of big main events in what could potentially feature one of the most exciting bouts of the year.
In one of the main events fans will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (3-0-1, 26) battle against all-action warrior Koki Eto (17-3-1, 13) in a bout that could potentially be a FOTY contender. Eto, who is as fun to watch as any other fighter out there, is going to be the under-dog against the unbeaten champion but he's naturally the taller man and has shown his ability to make a fight of any bout. Cuadras will go into this one as the favourite but will have to expect the unexpected from the challenger in what could be an all-out war.
The other co-main bout will see Yu Kimura (17-2-1, 3) attempt to claim an unlikely world title as he faces WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (26-1-1, 17) in a very tough bout for the challenger. Kimura is a former Japanese champion looking to climb the proverbial global summit but it's hard to see how he beats the talented Guevara, who actually returns to Japan for the first time since winning his title there, last December.
Sadly apart from the two main bouts, this show is relatively slim on the under-card.
A second Japanese card comes from Kagoshima where fans will get the chance to see Naoya Haruguchi (7-6, 2) face off against Takayuki Teraji (6-8-1, 3) in a Light Flyweight bout. The fight, scheduled for 8 rounds, is the highlight of another wise forgettable card featuring 7 undercard bouts, all set for 4 rounds.
The most exciting of several Filipino shows is a card from ALA which will feature several very notable names, including some world class fighters and one of the most promising prospects that the country has seen in recent years.
Sadly we've not had the full bout sheet for this card, though it seems like AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22) will be facing Emilio Norfat (25-6, 19) in one of the main bouts. This should be an easy win for “Bazooka” but the Tanzanian visitor will be looking to score an upset and won't travel with the intention of just making up the numbers.
Others scheduled for this card include Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (1-0, 1) who is expected to be in a 6 rounder as well as former world title challengers Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2, 20), Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) and Milan Melindo (32-2, 12). Sadly we've not been given the opponents for any of those 4 men.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show will see former OPBF title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) attempt to end a 2 fight losing streak as he takes on the unbeaten Jelbirt Gomera (10-0, 6) in an interesting 10 round bout. For Geraldo this is the first bout since he lost a clear decision to Takuma Inoue, for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, whilst the relatively unproven Gomera will be stepping up massively. It's a good match in many ways but one that seems designed to get Geraldo back on the winning track.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another notable Filipino fighter in action is the talented, and under-rated Randy Braga (16-1-1, 3) who will be up against yet another “yet to be named” opponent.
Another show in the Philippines will be headlined by the promising Arnel Baconaje (3-0, 3) who will face another of the un-named opponents that seem to be scheduled for action this coming weekend.
In South Africa fans will be able to see under-rated Filipino Renz Rosia (12-3, 6) battle against former IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane (31-2, 20) in a bout for the IBO Flyweight title. The bout is a very tough ask for Rosia though he did show his ability earlier this year when he pushed Makazole Tete all the way in a controversial loss, and with a recent win over Renan Trongco there is a great chance that Rosia could score a career defining upset against the talented but inactive Mthalane.
May 30th-Kosei Tanaka and Melindo go for gold, Pinoy's get domestic show and even India get in on the action!
This Saturday is one of the busiest and possibly most memorable days this year for boxing fans around the globe. For us it's a day that feature two major world title bouts and a lot, lot more besides.
The big show of the day, for us at least, comes from Japan where an impressive record is under threat and we may well be able to crown the next Japanese sensation.
That potential sensation is the incredibly talented 19 year Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) who looks to claim the WBO Minimumweight title in just his 5th professional bout. In the opposite corner to Tanaka will be once beaten Mexican fighter Julian Yedras (24-1, 13), a decent contender though a man who is seen as being “up against it” here against a potential superstar in the making. Tanaka has been nothing but sensational thus far into his career and a win here would see him setting a Japanese national record for fewest bouts to a world title. A loss would be a serious set back but given his age Tanaka would bounce back.
In the chief support bout fans will see unbeaten OPBF and Japanese ranked contender Yushi Tanaka (13-0-3, 9) battle against the brave but limited Mako Matsuyama (7-8-2, 3). Tanaka is slowly working towards a title bout and should come out on top here, though we're unsure just how good he is, or how good he could become. As for Matsuyama we'll never forget his amazingly brave effort against Rex Tso last year and we hope for a similarly exciting bout here, though we're next expecting one even near to the same level.
Another supporting bout will see the experienced Shota Hayashi (24-5-1, 15) battle against Yasuyuki Otagaki (5-3-3, 1) in what looks to be a stay busy fight for Hayashi, who hasn't fought this year. Hayashi is ranked by both the OPBF and JBC and this bout seems to be more about shaking off ring rust than anything else.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned this card is scheduled to feature 4 undercard bouts as well.
The second world title fight of the day involving and Asian fighter we'll see Milan Melindo (32-1, 12) challenge hard hitting IBF Light Flyweight champion Javier Mendoza (23-2-1, 19). This is a really tough test for Melindo though he has been up against it in the past and managed to acquit himself well in his only other bout at this level, losing a competitive decision to Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. For Mendoza this will be the first defense of the title that he won last year, in a really engaging brawl with Ramon Garcia Hirales, and he won't be wanting to give that title up. We really expect that this one could be something a little bit special
Staying in Mexico fans will see Filipino fighter Vergel Nebran (13-8-1, 8) take on former world champion Cristian Mijares (51-8-2, 25). Mijares, once one of the best pure boxers on the planet, is several years removed from his best however he should still be too good, too quick and too skilled for the 25 year old Filipino who has gone 3-5 in his last 8 and is 0-5 outside of the Philippines.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
Having mentioned a few Filipinos in international action it makes sense to look at what's going on in the Philippines with an interesting looking card coming from General Santos City.
The main event here will see Adones Cabalquinto (19-0, 12) defend his Filipino national title against Jonel Gadapan (9-7-2, 5) in what appears to be a complete mismatch in favour of the champion. We do like Cabalquinto but really cannot understand why he's still toiling around at this level rather than being pushed upwards and onwards towards an OPBF title fight.
Another notable fighter in action here will be the sensationally talented Jerwin Ancajas (22-1-1, 14) who is fighting a stay busy fight against Juan Purisima (11-7-1, 4). Ancjas has looked brilliant recently and we're hoping to see him fighting at a higher level than this shortly though he has been out of the ring since last November, when he blitzed Fadhili Majiha in Macau. Hopefully a quick win here will allow the “Pretty Boy” to return to action sooner rather than later.
Another fighter on this show who has been showcased in Macau is Aston Palicte (17-1, 15). The heavy handed Palicte made an impressive statement when he stopped Ismael Garnica and will be hunting his 8th straight stoppage here as he battles Michael Escobia (10-9-1, 2). Interestingly Escobia has gone the distance with some good fighters, including Froilan Saludar and Masaaki Serie, though he has been stopped thrice.
One final name of note on this show will be Drian Francisco (27-2-1, 21) who will be in a genuinely interesting looking match up against Jason Canoy (23-5-2, 17). On paper this is, easily, the stand out bout and although Francisco is more experienced, at least at a higher level, we're not expecting him to just have a walk in the park here. Brilliant match up.
Dongducheon, South Korea
There is also a card in South Korea, sanctioned by the KBC.
This card is certainly not a big one and only features novices though it may still be an interesting card.
From what we understand there is no notable name in action as much of the card is focused on debutants. Despite that there should be some good action, including a Welterweight bout between Woo Min Kim (1-0) and Won Suk Lee (0-0-1) who are both risking their unbeaten records.
New Dehli, India
The most peculiar card of the day comes from New Dehli in India as Brazilian promoter Mike Miranda puts on what is believes to be the first professional boxing show in India since 1952.
The card, despite it's historic status, is a weak looking one with the main event being a 12 round bout between Neeraj Goyat (2-2-2) and Nelson Gulpe (8-4, 3) for the lightly regarded WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title. We're not sure what either fighter has done to deserve a title fight but the belt does add some allure to the card.
The only other notable fighter in action here is Gurlal Singh (6-0, 6) who fights against Vikas Hooda (0-0). Singh has been based in Thailand fighting under the guidance of South Korean promoter Andy Kim and he'll be hoping to carry on his run in the country of his birth.
In Texas fans will see Filipino veteran Juanito Rubillar (49-22-7, 24) battle against former world champion Joseph Agbeko (29-5, 22). The 38 year old Rubillar has seen much better days, in fact he's not fought in more than 18 months and not scored a win in more than 2 years, in fact you need to go back to 2009 to find his second most win. Agbeko might not have scored a win in 2 years but he's a world class fighter and should over-come his Filipino foe.
Another bout in the US will see Kyrgyzstan's Timur Shailezov (17-9-1, 4) battle against the unbeaten Nate Green (7-0, 2) in a tough looking 6 round for the 35 year old from Bishek. Shailezov has won just 1 of his last 8 and we're not expecting him to pick up the win here, though he has scored an occasional upset in the past.
In Australia fans will see Filipino journeyman Fernando Ocon (13-8-1, 5) battle against Jason Cooper (13-2-1, 7) in a contest for the WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. It's a tough ask to see Ocon coming back with the win here but it's a good opportunity for the well traveled Filipino.
(Image courtesy of Kosei Tanaka's blog)
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 past week has been a major one with Katsunari Takayama defeating compatriot Shin Ono on Wednesday whilst Amnat Ruenroeng defended his world title against Kazuto Ioka. Both of those bouts saw champions successfully defending their world titles.
On Saturday there will be two more champions hoping to retain their titles in Asia. One of those bouts looks difficult whilst the other looks incredibly straight forward.
The straight forward world title fight comes in Korea as the talented Hyun Mi Choi (8-0-1, 2) defends her WBA female Super Featherweight title against Thai novice Thongmanit Siriwan (0-1). It's hard to see anything but but a successful defence from Choi who is genuinely excellent.
Unfortunately we can't find many details about this bout, or the card, other than what boxrec lists. So we'll admit we have our worries about this bout not actually taking place as neither the KBC, the KPBF or the WBA have really publicised it as one would have expected.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other world title fight, and the one we know will be taking place, is in the Philippines as WBO Light Flyweight world champion Donnie Nietes (32-1-4, 18) defends his belt against the very strong and improving Mexican Moises Fuentes (19-1-1, 10). This is the second meeting between these two men after they fought to a controversial draw last year. We thought Fuentes had won the first meeting with his work rate but we admit this is likely to be a very different fight with both men knowing that they need to win this one.
In the chief support out on this Filipino show we will get to see recent world title challenger Milan Melindo (30-1, 12) battle against fellow world ranked fighter Martin Tecuapetla (11-5-2, 8). Tecuapetla, who comes in to this bout on the back of a victory over Gilberto Parra, is highly ranked with the WBA but we don't imagine he'll give Melindo too many problems with the Filipino being a genuinely talented fighter.
A third high profile bout on this card will see the ever popular Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista (34-3, 25) face off with with 22 year old Mexican Sergio Villanueva (26-3-2, 13). Bautista is apparently re-committed to boxing and could well be set for a rise back through the ranks, sadly however his commitment has waned in the past and some has suggested that his loss to Jose Ramirez last year was due to commitment issues. If he's on form and has his head in the fight Bautista should win, but you never can be sure with him as to how he will perform on any given night.
With three great match ups on the card it would be easy to ignore the undercard but ALA have done a great job in putting some great undercard bouts together as well.
These under-card bouts include a contest between Mark Bernaldez (12-0, 8) and Thailand's Non Sithsaithong (11-6, 7), over 10 rounds, a bout between Filipino based Cuban Reymi Castellano Aleye (4-0, 1) and Filipino "homeboy" Junmar Dulog (8-23-3, 4), over 8 rounds, a 6 round bout between the excellent Mark Magsayo (5-0, 4) and South Korea's Hyuk-Tak Joo (1-1) and an other 6 rounder that features Joseph Von Minoza (14-6, 6) fighting against the unbeaten Sung-Tak Joo (5-0-2, 1).
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second show in Metro Manila will take place at the Olivarez Stadium and be a much smaller show though will, as with the other card, feature some some excellent bouts.
The best looking of those bouts will see Alie Laurel (11-3, 7) defending his WBO Oriental Bantamweight title against Mike Espanosa (12-7-1, 7). Earlier this week we had expected Laurel to be battling against unbeaten Indonesian Defry Palulu though it appears the big punching Palulu has been swapped out for Espanosa in what is a lesser bout, though one that will allow both Laurel and Palulu to continue their careers with out any risk against each other. For those who recognise Laurel's name, he comes in to this bout following an excellent victory over Tiger Tor Buamas earlier this year, a victory that saw him winning the title he'll be defending for the first time
Another title bout on the same show will see Japan's Tosho Makoto Aoki (16-12-2, 13) defending the WBC Asia Council Continental lightweight title against Filipino challenger Jonel Alibio (16-17-5, 8). This will be the second defence of the belt by Aoki though neither man is really up to much and we'd not be shocked by any result though we do expect an engaging encounter.
A third title bout on this same show will see unorthodox Japanese fighter Kenichi Yamaguchi (17-2-2, 4) fighting against Argie Toquero (6-3-1, 4) in a battle for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. Yamaguchi may be known for two reasons. Firstly he is a former world title challenger having fought Orlando Salido for the WBO Featherweight and he was also involved in a memorable incident with Australia's Billy Dib where the ring erupted into a mini-riot. Unfortunately for Yamaguchi this will be his first bout since he lost to Salido back in 2011.
(Image courtesy of ALA)