The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
This coming Friday fight fans in Zhongshan will get a relatively low key card, but one with a few interesting looking bouts.
One of those bouts will see Filipino Engelbert Moralde (10-5, 6) take on unbeaten Chinese fighter Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (10-0-1, 2). The visitor has lost 3 of his last 5, including losses in a couple of visits to Japan, and has never won outside of the Philippines. Although not a notable name in Chinese boxing, yet, Nihemaituola has been building a bit of a reputation and looks like a potential hidden gem for Chinese boxing, especially given that he's only 23. A win here won't turn the Chinese fighter into a star but will help to enhance his reputation as a genuine Chinese prospect.
In a battle for the WBO China Zone Featherweight title fans will see Yu Che Li (3-1-1, 2) take on Da Xu (3-0, 1). Neither of these man have much name value, but both will be up for a fight as they both seek their first professional titles. Li, from Taiwan, claimed his most notable victory back in September when he scored a TKO win over Richard Garcia and will be looking to build on that. Aged 18 Xu is a boxing baby but does seem to be slowly developing and has done well since debuting just over 13 months ago. Interestingly Xu's last bout was also a TKO win over Garcia, and prior to that he had claimed two majority decisions. This isn't going to make waves, but could be a very interesting match up
A second WBO China Zone title fight comes at Light Flyweight, as the unbeaten pairing of Rongguo Wu (4-0-2, 1) and Lemen Chao (6-0) face off for the vacant title. So far in his career Wu has had struggles in almost all of his bouts. He scored a stoppage on debut but has gone the distance in his 5 subsequent bouts, with 4 of them being very close, including his two draws. It's hard to get a read on those results, given they all came against fellow Chinese novices. Chao has never scored a stoppage, and like Wu has some close wins, but does clear advantages in being the much taller man and a southpaw. This could be a very fun fight or a very frustrating one.
One other bout of interest here will see former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-23-2, 18) battling against unbeaten Chinese prospect Zhong Liu (10-0, 3). Liu has been impressive and won the Major League Boxing tournament at 122lbs earlier this year, and should see this as a chance to claim a win against a man with some name value, even if Manakane is way past his best.
Russian fans will get the chance to see a number of Asian fighters in action, in bouts of various significance.
The most important bout of the card will see Russia's Magomed Kurbanov (12-0, 9) take on Japan's Akinori Watanabe (35-6, 30) in about for the WBO International Light Middleweight title. The Russian enters the bout as the WBO #1 ranked fighter at 154lbs and although highly ranked has got a lot of questions to answer before getting a world title fight. It's unlikely that the 32 year old Watanabe will be able to ask too many questions of Kurbanov, but the power of Watanabe could see the Russian being given a chin check, if nothing else.
A second bout of some interest will see Tajik born Russian based Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (9-0, 6) battle against the very experienced Filipino Jaime Barcelona (40-61-1, 10). The unbeaten Yaqubov has stopped his last 3, including Daiki Ichikawa and Ernie Sanchez, and does look like a fighter with the potential to go places. Aged 40 Barcelona is unlikely to pose a serious threat to Yaqubov, but he is an upset minded fighter and comes into this on the back of a huge shock win over Eden Sonsona and is a very tough fighter, capable of giving decent fighters tough nights.
Another bout featuring a Filipino and an unbeaten fighter will see Roberto Gonzales (27-3, 17) take on Russia's Zaur Abdullaev (6-0, 4). Although this looks good on paper the reality is that Gonzales is very limited and has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, likely to become 4 here. Abdullaev is stepping up, in a pretty big way, but hasn't come close to losing yet and is unlikely to really be tested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
We also get a bout of note in South Africa, as in form South African Lwandile Sityatha (23-3-1, 7) v looks to extend an unbeaten 8 fight winning run as he takes on Filipino Jake Bornea (12-2, 6). Sityatha has been a thorn in the side of Filipino boxing in recent times, with wins over Edrin Dapudong, Michael Dasmarinas and Ernesto Saulong and it's unlikely that the naturally smaller Bornea will be able to change that here.
The biggest fight of the day, for the Asian scene at least, comes from Thailand and will see see a world title on the line, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (48-0,17) defends against former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7). The defending champion is getting very close to the magic 50-0, a record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and will be strongly favoured over Fukuhara here, with the Japanese challenger needing to create history to win. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very entertaining clash with two aggressive fighters facing off.
In Bohol we get a genuinely stacked card thanks to ALA who put on their next Pinoy Pride card.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten and highly regarded Mark Magsayo (17-0, 13) defending his WBO International Featherweight title against former Japanese champion Shota Hayashi (30-6-1, 16). The promising Magsayo is looking to move into world class in the near future and will see a bout against Hayashi as a good step forward following two quick blow outs earlier in the year. For Hayashi, who lost his Japanese title to Kosuke Saka back in April, the bout is a tough one for his international debut, but he will know the reward of winning is a world ranking.
The card is stacked with prospects. This includes Virgel Vitor (11-1, 7), Albert Pagara (28-1, 19), Jeo Santisima (14-2, 12) and former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-2, 7). Unfortunately all 4 of the promising fighters appear to be in huge mismatches as they look to stay busy going in to the new year.
Also on the card will be Roli Gasca (23-8-1, 7) and Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20), who like the aforementioned prospects are in easy against opponents they should have no trouble with.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card comes from Davao del Norte thanks to MB Boxing.
The main event of the card will see Filipino fighter Glenn Porras (30-6, 18) take on former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-22-2, 18) of Indonesia. The Filipino has lost 3 of his last 5 but is a talented fighter and should have no problem seeing off the visitor, who used to be a decent fighter, at best, but is now pretty much a regional journeyman who picks up far more losses than wins.
The talented and once touted Rosekie Cristobal (14-2, 10) will be looking to avoid a third loss in 5 bouts as he battles former OPBF Light Welterweight champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-15-1, 10). Jakosalem is almost 6 years removed from his career best win, and has only won 4 times since then. Cristobal has suffered 2 DQ losses in Mexico, and before those there was big hopes for him, so he'll be looking to bounce back and show what he's about here.
A third bout of some note sees the once beaten Michael Bravo (12-1, 5) battle against Lyster Jun Pronco (9-15-1, 6). The once beaten Bravo comes into this bout on a run of 7 straight wins, albeit against very limited opposition, whilst Pronco is win-less in his last 13, with 12 losses and a draw during that run. This bout is for the PBF Light Flyweight title, and we expect to see Bravo crowned the new champion.
Seoul, South Korea
We have an international show in Korea with some low key bouts.
One bout worthy of interest sees Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Japan's Kazuhiro Baba (6-5-2, 3). Lee is looking to extend a 3 fight winning run, which has seen him claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title, and despite being 34 is one of the more interesting fighters plying his trade in Korea right now. The visitor had the edge in age, given he's only 25, but he's the naturally smaller man, was recently stopped by Ryota Toyoshima and is fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
A second bout of note here will see Hyun Je Shin (7-6, 1) take on Filipino fighter Daniel Ferreras (13-9-2, 4). Shin is a former Korean Featherweight champion, having won the title last time out however that was more than 3 years ago and he has been inactive since winning the belt. Notably the Korean has fought as low as 112lbs before as well. Ferreras is also ending a break from the ring, which also began back in 2014 when he was stopped by Rey Vargas. Although Ferreras' record is lessthan great he has mixed in good company, with losses to Vargas and Kohei Kono.
New York, USA
There will also be US action with Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (4-0, 3) taking on fellow unbeaten Eric Moon (7-0, 6) in what looks like a great step up in class for the 24 year old Kazakh fighter. A win for Nursultanov will help push him towards bigger and better fights, potentially moving him into fights against “name” opponents in the very near future.
The biggest bout of the day, in regards to Asian fights at least, comes from Rizal where we see a rearranged contest between the talented, and criminally under-rated, Jonas Sultan (12-3, 8) and former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro (43-13-5, 30). The bout will see Sultan defending his IBF Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title, which he won last time out when he stopped Makazole Tete, and both men will be seeing a win here as potentially opening the door to a world title fight.
Xi An, China
In China we'll be getting quite a notable show.
The main event of this card will see the world ranked Can Xu (11-2) defending his WBA International Super Featherweight title against Filipino veteran Jack Asis (35-19-5,18). This will be Asis' first bout since he lost to Malcolm Klassen last year, and will see him ending a retirement, a retirement that he announced following the loss to Klassen. Xu is risking his world ranking and his title, but will favour his youth and energy to be the difference here.
In a bout pitting a local talent against an Indonesian, fans will see Wulan Tuolehazi (4-3, 1) battle former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane (32-21-2, 18), with Tuolehazi seemingly replacing Qiu Xiao Jun who was originally set to face the Indonesian veteran. At his best Manakane was a decent fighter, but nothing better than decent on the regional scene. Saying that however it's hard to know how good Tuolehazi is and although he should win here, it's still not likely we'll know really how good he is for a while yet.
In a China Vs Japan bout we'll unbeaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (11-0-1, 5) battle with Japanese veteran Taisho Ozawa (21-9-2, 13). Although relatively unknown Baisahnbo has caught our eye in the past and the 22 year old does look like a genuine prospect. Aged 36 Ozawa is in last chance saloon, and is looking to record his first win since 2012!
Also on this card will be a bout between heavy handed Puerto Rican Waldemar Pagan (8-1, 7) and Filipino Macrea Gandionco (12-4-2, 7). Although not an Asian fighter this will be Pagan's second fight in Asia, where he has also been used as a sparring partner, and he has impressed in the area, likely leaving a number of promotional outfits interested in him long term. The Filipino has already been stopped 4 times in his career, and it's hard to imagine him lasting the distance with the Puerto Rican here.
The only show in Japan is a small one in Osaka. Whilst it is small, and very low key, it does have a somewhat notable main event as the unbeaten Takuya Uehara (11-0, 6) defends his WBC Youth Featherweight title against Thai visitor Nongdear Sor Bangkharu (1-14). Despite the title being on the line it's hard to get too excited about this one given the unbeaten champion is taking on someone who has lost his last 6, suffering 5 stoppages during that run.
In Australia fans will see Australian veteran Les Sherrington (35-10, 19) battle against Indonesian foe Marco Tuhumury (11-17-2, 4) in what should be a straight forward win for Sherrington, despite the fact he's 34 and been stopped in his last 3 bouts, dating back more than 2 years.