Our attention to the US this coming Saturday with two different US shows featuring Asia fighters. One of those shows is in Nevada whilst the other is in Massachusetts, and interestingly both cards feature a major Middleweight title bout and a combined 3 Olympic gold medal winners!
For us the more significant card is in Nevada, with two Olympic gold medals winners from Asia on the show.
One of those Olympic gold medal winners is 2012 Middleweight gold medal winner Ryota Murata (14-1, 11) who takes on Rob Brant (23-1, 16). The Japanese fighter will be making his second defense of the WBA “regular” Middleweight title as he faces his first mandatory challenger. Murata has got huge plans for 2019, including a potential bout with Gennady Golovkin. We're really not sure how Brant has managed to work his way into a mandatory position but in his most notable bout to date he was clearly beaten by Juergen Braehmer, who was too good and too smart. We're expecting to see Murata being too power, too determined and too strong for the American challenger. A preview of this bout can be read here - Japanese star Murata takes on the challenge of Rob Brant
The other Olympic gold medal winner is 2016 Light Welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (5-0, 2), who takes a huge step up in class to battle American based Mexican Wilberth Lopez (23-9, 15). It's fair to say that whilst Gaibnazarov is a talented fighter he hasn't, yet, set the world on fire as a professional and there are worries that he won't live up to the expectations on his shoulders. This should be a great chance for his to prove his value as a professional. Lopez is no world beater, but is the sort of fighter that gives prospects a good test, and we expect to see him perform that duty again here, as he's done against the likes of Ivan Baranchyk, Alex Saucedo and Batyrzhan Jukembayev.
Amazingly we have another gold medal winner in action in Massachusetts as Kazakh fighter Daniyar Yeleussinov (3-0, 1), the 2016 Welterweight gold medal winner will be up against Matt Dougherty (8-5-1, 4). This should be a straight forward win for Yeleussinov, as he takes on a rugged but under-sized foe, though it's been a disappointing and uninspiring start to his professional so far given that former amateur rival Shakhram Giyasov is already fighting notable foes.
Notably this card in Massachusetts will be headlined by a WBO Middleweight title fight, though there is no direct Asian interest in that bout.
In Asia we get a card from Thailand televised by Workpoint. The main event here will see Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (16-5-11, 13) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Seita Ogido (12-3-3, 3). This isn't a huge bout, but it is a very interesting one and a well matched one, with the winner certainly boosting their chance of getting a notable fight in 2019.
Bang Phun, Thailand
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from Thailand, where Workpoint will be televising two notable all-Thai bouts.
The main event will see former WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook (59-5, 40) look to score his second win over Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (15-5-1, 13), and retain the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title. The veteran defeated Pongsaklek with a razor thin split decision back in March, to reclaim the regional title and to notch a win on his return to the ring after 18 months of inactivity. Pongsaklek will clearly be looking to avenge that loss and reclaim his title, and given his youth and relative freshness his team will be confident of their man getting revenge, and scoring his biggest win to date.
A second match will see the once beaten Rakniran Muadransarakam (13-1, 8) battle against former world title challenger Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-8-1, 20). Of the two men it's Petchbarngborn who is better know, though he is best known for losing in 8 rounds to Naoya Inoue back in 2016. Since that loss the experienced Petchbarngborn has scored 5 straight wins, though all 5 have come against very weak opposition. Rakniran on the other hand suffered his sole loss in October 2016, a technical draw against Shota Kawaguchi, and has only scored a single win since then. This is a real toss up, and should be very fun to watch.
As well as the relatively big Thai card there will be a small domestic show in the Philippines, featuring two really well matched bouts.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten 22 year old Denmark Quibido (6-0, 4) take on the once beaten Adrian Lerasan (6-1, 1), himself a 19 year old. The unbeaten fighter has impressed as he's stepped up in class, and his win over Ryan Torres this past March was a coming of age performance for the southpaw hopeful. The once beaten Lerasan can't be written off, his sole defeat was a 5 technical decision against the touted Jerven Mama and he does have the ability to get a win here. The winner will of this bout progress and the loser could also come out with an enhanced reputation.
The other excellent match up is a rematch between the unbeaten pairing of Joseph Ambo (6-0-1, 5) and Bienvenido Ligas (6-0-1, 4), who fought to a technical draw back in march when Ligas suffered a nasty cut from a headclash. Both of these men can punch, both are unbeaten and bother are young, with Ligas being 20 and Ambo being 21. Given the result of their first bout we're expecting both to come out fighting hard here, and not have an opening round feeling out session, and fans could be in for a real treat.