This coming Saturday is set to be a busy, yet thrilling, day with a show of note in each Japan and Hong Kong. Not only do both countries get a card of note, but both cards are genuinely significant as we go forward.
Hong Kong S.A.R, China
The Hong Kong card, put on by DEF HK and Watanabe as they continue to work together, has a trio of title bouts and potentially a fight of the year contender.
That fight of the year contender will see local star Rex Tso (21-0, 13) take on former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14), in a bout for Tso's WBO International Super Flyweight title. The local is one of the sports most exciting fighters, and although he has improved markedly in recent years he is still, at heart, a fighter there for the fans, and a man who enjoys a thrilling tear up at every opportunity. Kono on the other hand is a bit of a faded force, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but has a style that is very fan friendly, and should gel with Tso's here. Do not be surprised by this one being a little bit special.
In a second title bout we'll see Kono's stable mate Ayumi Goto (7-0, 5) battle with Indian teenager Kirti (3-0, 2). Reports have stated that this will either be a female OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight, with Goto defending her title, or a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, for a vacant title. On paper this should be an easy win for the Japanese fighter, but it is fair to say that Kirti is an unknown, and could be a surprise package of sorts.
The third title bout on this card will see the always fun to watch Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17) battle against Chinese foe Leshan Li (13-2-1, 8) for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. Watanabe is one of the many under-the-radar Japanese fighters who is guaranteed to put on good fight, no matter who he is facing, and we're expecting another fun one here. As for Li he's a bit of an unknown but is a heavy handed fighter and has won his last 7 bouts, suggesting good form and good confidence coming into this one.
One other bout on this card, which looks set to be explosive, will see Thai based Dutchman Nick Frese (6-0, 5) take on heavy handed Filipino Prabhjot Singh (7-1-1, 7). Given that these two have 12 stoppages in 13 wins we're expecting to see bombs away, though it's hard to see anything but a win for Frese, who looks like a genuine prospect.
In Japan we'll be getting a card that will be aired live on G+ and will be promoted by Teiken.
The main event of this card will see the in-form Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) for the vacant Japanese Super Featherweight title, in what will be the first title fight either man has been in. The bout, for the title vacated by Kenichi Ogawa, will see Sueyoshi coming in to it with a 12 fight winning run dating back more than 5 years, whilst Takahata has been inconsistent, alternating between wins and losses over his last 15 bouts. It's hard not to favour Sueyoshi but it is his most meaningful bout to date.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Shuya Masaki (8-0, 4) take on Filipino foe Ciso Morales (19-4-1, 12). It's fair to say that Masaki has shown touches of brilliance through his early career, but he has been inconsistent and it always seems like there is just something missing from his performances so far. We expect to see him show his maturity here against a visiting foe who shouldn't be over-looked and will be a very live under-dog. Morales might not be a sensational fighter, but he's a good enough fight to test someone like Masaki at this level.
In a really interesting under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Ryo Matsubara (7-1, 7) take on the unbeaten Kai Chiba (6-0, 5), in a bout between punchers. Coming in to this one Matsubara has won his last 6 bouts in a combined 7 rounds, and has well and truly put his sole defeat behind him, with that loss coming back in his second professional bout. Chiba on the other hand went 6 rounds last time out, ending his own stoppage run. Both of these men like to throw heavy leather, and this could be a very explosive contest.
Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (11-2, 8) will be risking a 9 fight winning run as he takes on Thai foe Kriengkrai Tor Silachai (3-0*) in what could be a potential banana skin for the local. Although ranked by the JBC it's hard to know how good Nagano really is, whilst the Thai is a bit of an unknown, and it's unclear really whether we even have his complete record here.
A second Japanese ranked Welterweight on this card is Ryota Toyoshima (7-1-1, 5), who risks his ranking against domestic rival Masaharu Kaito (5-2, 2). Coming in to this bout the 21 year old Toyoshima has won his last 5, though he did suffer a decision defeat to Kaito back in 2015, and it's obvious he is seeking to avenge that set back. Sadly for Kaito he has lost 2 of his last 3, including one to the previously mentioned Nagano and seems to be struggling for form coming in to this bout.
*-Record reported as being differed to the 3-0 figuire.
Hong Kong, China
The most notable card this coming weekend comes from Hong Kong of all places.
The headline bout on the card will see three secondary titles being unified as local star Rex Tso (20-0, 12) takes on former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3) in a bout that both men will see as a must win. The aggressive Tso will be favoured here, especially given the home advantage, but Mukai has impressed recently and stopped Inthanon Sithchamuang in 2 rounds back in November. The bout will be brawler against boxer and could a very compelling contest.
In an all Filipino support bout we'll see the talented, but currently struggling, Mark Anthony Geraldo (33-7-3, 15) take on countryman Kenny Demecillo (12-3-2, 7) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Demecillo is on a solid 5 fight fight unbeaten run with two wins against Daryl Basadre and another win against Jestoni Autida. That run will fill Demecillo with a lot of confidence but it's fair to see that Gerlado will come into this knowing he needs a win. The experienced man has lost 3 of his last 5 and desperately needs to steady the ship.
In a Philippines Vs Japan bout we see big punching Filipino Rey Megrino (23-20-4, 20) take on Japan's Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-6, 5). Megrino has gone 8-0-1 (7) in his last 9, with notable wins against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Myung Ho Lee and Ernesto Saulong, and will be expecting to continue that rich vein of form here. Kobayashi has struggled in recent fights, going 2-3, but has mixed at a good level with losses to Ye Joon Kim and Takahiro Yamamoto and will be looking to use those experiences against Megrino.
Another bout with a metropolitan feeling will see Japan's teak tough Takuya Watanabe (30-7-1, 16) take on Thai veteran Khunkiri Wor Wisaruth (24-18-2, 16). The bout should be a mismatch in favour of Watanabe, though the Japanese fighter will be looking to make a statement following a wide loss to Masayuki Ito at the end of 2017.
There will also be action in Queensland featuring some Asian fighters.
One of those bouts will see local fighter Steve Spark (4-1, 4) take on Chinese fighter Zhen Yang Cai (4-2-1, 2). On paper this looks really well matched, though it should be noted that Cai has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and has never fought outside of China prior to this contest.
Another bout pitching a local against a Chinese visitor will see the unbeaten Brent Rice (5-0, 2) take on Li Fu Hu (4-2, 2), with Hu taking on his biggest test so far. The Chinese fighter, has proven to be limited and shouldn't pose many questions for Rice, but will be a trier and certainly will come to test the local
It's also worth noting that Hero Tito (22-12-2,8) and Jack Asis (35-19-5, 18) as both set to fight on this card, against different opponents, but neither man has had their foe named as of yet.
Things really take off over the weekend with some really notable fighters and some intriguing match ups.
Hong Kong, SAR China
The biggest card of the day comes from Hong Kong and promises a lot of exciting, despite not being littered with the biggest or best names in the sport. There should be a lot of action and should be a lot of fun for fight fans at the venue.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten fighters Rex Tso (19-0, 12) and Ryuto Maekawa (11-0-1, 7) face off in a bout that looks great on paper. Of the two Tso is by far the better known fighter, and has carved out a following thanks to Bob Arum and Top Rank who show cased him in various Macau shows. The bouts that helped Tso build a following were exciting fights and although he showed flaws he was fun. Maekawa on the other hand has really looked poor, despite being unbeaten, and seems to either blow opponents away or struggle over the finishing line.
In an interesting supporting bout Jay Solmiano (18-3-1, 14) will be up against the once beaten Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (17-1, 13). For Chaleomporn this bout will be his first since he was stopped, in a round, by Azizbek Abdugofurov he is however dropping down from Middleweight where that bout took place. Solmiano, a former OPBF title challenger, will be looking to record a second straight win since his 2014 loss to Keita Obara.
Another supporting bout will see unbeaten Australian Paul Fleming (22-0, 14) face off with Filipino Jerope Mercado (27-8-3, 9). The 36 year old Mercado was a very solid fighter at Bantamweight a few years ago, now however he is a man looking like he's at the end of his career and has gone 3-7 in his last 10. The unbeaten Fleming is a promising fighter and a win here should be expected, though it's where he goes next that could be really interesting.
Another supporting bout will see the criminally over-looked Filipino Rey Megrino (22-20-4, 19) face off with Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (20-18-1, 14). On paper this is a really, really, well matched bout between two fighters who look like heavy handed journeymen. In reality however this should be a mismatch, despite Megrino fighting well above his usual weight. Megrino is fringe world class and shouldn't struggle here, despite moving up in weight.
The biggest bout of the day with an Asian fighter comes from Mexico and sees former WBO-WBA “super” Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (33-2, 24) take on Filipino journeyman Raymond Tabugon (18-5-1, 8). The bout will be Estrada's first in over a year and although Tabugon will be the under-dog it may be the best time for him to face a guy like Estrada, who is moving up in weight, has been injured and inactive.
New South Wales, Australia
There will also be some Asian interest in Australia where two Asian fighters will be in action.
One of those Asian's is Indonesian Rusmin Kie Raha (14-10-2, 3) who faces Valentine Borg (12-2, 8) in what looks likely to be Kie Raha's 11th loss. The Indonesian has gone 3-8 in his last 11 bouts and he has been several times recently, including an opening round blow out to Hyun Woo Yuh. Whilst Borg is flawed he should be far too good for the visitor here.
Another bout on this card sees debutant Satali Tevi Fuamoano (0-0) face Thai foe Pramool Boonpok (1-24-1). Given Boonpok's record it's fair to say that this is a safe debut for Fuamoano.
Their will also be an obscure Korean show in Gapyeong, which will be the first from a new Korean boxing body. The details on this are scarce but it's clear this will feature two "Korean" title bouts.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
This weekend sees our attention to to Hong Kong where a number of notable names are in action on a card that will see several fighters looking to take a notable step forward.
The star of the card for local fans will be Hong Kong's very own Rex Tso (18-0, 11), who looks to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-5-1, 21). On paper it's hard to see Bae win, especially given the way Wanheng Menayothin stopped him, but he's a step up in many ways from some of Tso's opponents, and will be looking to upset the local star. Given the styles of the two men this will almost certainly be very fun to watch, but we think natural size advantage will be the difference between these two.
Tso isn't the only notable fighter on this card, nor is he the only fighter looking to move towards a world title. Another man in a similar position is Japan's Ryota Murata (9-0, 6), who looks to secure his 10th win as he battles once beaten Brazilian fighter Felipe Santos Pedroso (13-1, 11). A win is expected from Murata but he'll be hoping to avoid any sort of injury as there is serious talk about him fighting in July in the US on a major card, possibly in a world title eliminator.
Another promising fighter, though one way lower down in his career, is Macau's promising Kuok Kun Ng (8-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Thailand's Weerachit Kitee (7-8-2, 7). It's hard to see Ng losing given what we have seen of him in the past, though we're hoping to see him show signs of development as he has shown some genuine potential.
In an interestingly matched bout Li Quan Lin (6-1-1, 2) will face the unbeaten Thai Campee Phayom (9-0, 7). Both of these men are teens, both are essentially stepping up, though Lin did face Terdsak Kokietgym on his debut back in 2012, and both will know that winning this will push their career forward. This really could be the best bout of the card.
As well as the card in Hong Kong there will also be a show in Kazakhstan.
In the main event the unbeaten Bekman Soylybayev (8-0, 3), who will be making his Kazakhstan debut, will be facing the more experienced Nikoloz Kokashvili (17-3-1, 7), for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. So far Soylybayev has made his career in Ukraine and the US but should be more than capable to pick up a win here. Interestingly Kokashvili, a Georgian fighter, has lost his sole fight outside of his home land, being stopped by Vladimir Tikhonov in Estonia earlier this year.
In a supporting bout the once touted Roman Zhailauov (15-2, 9) will be facing Nikoloz Gviniashvili (15-5-3, 11), in an 8 rounder. The bout sees the 21 year old Zhailauov returning to Kazakhstan for the first time in 2 years, and will be looking to bounce back following back-to-back defeats in South Africa.
In a 6 rounder fans will be able to see Heavyweight hopeful Ruslan Myrsatayev (1-0, 1) face off against Farruh Madaminov (1-4-1, 1) On his debut Myrsatayev scored an opening round win, and will hopefully be stepping up shortly, something that really is needed given he's in his 30's already.
Another notable bout on this card will see the promising Ali Akhmedov (0-0) make his debut. The 20 year old Akhmedov will be up against Siarhei Krapshyla (4-12-2, 3) and we've been told Akhmedov has a lot of potential and could well be another Kazakh to watch out for.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the wonderfully named Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (3-0, 2) face debutant Ahmet Kayretli (0-0). This should see the Maryland based Kazakh pick up a 4th straight win.
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.
Boy, what a busy Saturday we have ahead of us!
The main Asian show this Saturday comes from Macau where Top Rank are putting on solid card with an excellent main event and fights involving several fighters on the verge of a world title fight.
The main event of the show will see Chinese slugger Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) go for his first world title as he battles Argentina's Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF Light Welterweight title. On paper this isn't a “world class” title bout but it's an interesting one all the same between unbeaten fighters with very different styles and mentalities in the ring.
In a supporting bout, scheduled for 10 rounds, we'll see multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (34-4, 22) battle against Frenchman Anthony Settoul (20-3, 8) in what should be a mismatch in favour of the talented Filipino. For Donaire this is his second bout since being stopped by Nicholas Walters and it's likely to be a tune up contest before a potential world title fight with Englishman Scott Quigg, in a bout that is said to be pencilled in for later in the year.
Another supporting bout will see Indonesian veteran Roy Mukhlis (27-4-3, 21) take on Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19) in a 10 round bout at 137lbs. Mukhlis is a late replacement for Mickey Bey, who vacated the IBF Lightweight title rather than fight Shafikov, and will come into this bout as a massive under-dog. There is however little to lose for Indonesian who may get himself a world title opportunity if he was to upset the touted Russian.
One other supporting bout of note here will see Hong Kong's exciting Rex Tso (16-0, 8) taking on limit Thai Khunkiri Wor Wisaruth (21-11-1, 14) in what is really a stay busy fight for Tso, who is looking to get a world title bout later in the year. Tso should see off his limited Thai foe inside the distance, especially considering that Khunkiri has already been stopped 6 times, but we need to admit that Tso continues to blow hot and cold and may under-perform again here.
In the US we get a Super Flyweight world title bout as unbeaten Filipino Arthur Villanueva (27-0, 14) takes on talented Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo (16-0, 8) in a bout for the IBF title, which was recently vacated by Zolani Tete. The bout is a brilliant one on paper between two talented and unbeaten boxer-punchers who are each seeking to be recognised on the world stage. It's fair to say the winner here won't be recognised as a truly elite level fighter in the division, but they will throw their name into the hate for big fights against the likes of Naoya Inoue or Carlos Cuadras.
Also in Texas fans will get the chance to see the US debut of Korean slugger Min Wook Kim (12-1, 9). Kim, a former OPBF 140lb champion, will be battling 31 year old Mexican southpaw Sergio Rivera (27-15-2, 17) in what should be a straight forward win for the Korean star. Although boxing in Korea is quiet at the moment Kim is a shining light and an exciting win against Rivera could help the Korean become a staple in the US where his talent and style will be appreciated.
On another US card we'll see the debut of American based Kazakh Shynggyskhan Tazhibay (0-0) who takes on the win-less Jasey Montalvo (0-5). This should be an easy win for the 23 year debutant though it's only the first step of his career and we know bigger and better bouts will come in the future.
Pocheon, South Korea
In South Korea fans will get a small show of novices with 6 novice bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounds. There really isn't any big names in action here, a given considering how poor Korean boxing is at the moment, though we are interested in a heavyweight bout between Sang Ho Kim (1-0, 1) and Choong Yul Lee (0-0) and a Super Featherweight contest between Jin Jun (1-0, 1) and Sung Il Lim (1-0, 1), in what is the only bout between fighters with a record bout each.
Sawang Calero, Philippines
In the Philippines fight fans get a very small show that is likely to go under the radar.
The main event here will see Eduard Penerio (16-2, 11) take on the tough but limited JR Salvador (5-2-3). On paper this is a huge mismatch however Salvador has only been stopped once in his career, and that came more than 4 years ago.
March 7th-Amnat Vs Zou in a showdown, with notable action from Ik Yang, Rex Tso, Hiroki Okada, Suyon Takayama and more!
The start of the year has been tediously slow at times however March is certainly seeing in ring action liven up, in a big way. The first real date to mark down on your calendar is March 7th which sees action across Asia with several big names a host of notable fights ranging from a world title bout to world title eliminators to national title bouts.
The biggest of the days show's comes from Macau where fans are treat to another of Bob Arum's foray's into the gambling capital of Asia. In many ways this is the most important of all the Macau shows and is, potentially, the biggest banana skin on the road to making the experiment a major long term success.
The tricky part of this card is the main event which will see Chinese megastar Zou Shiming (6-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5) in a brilliant match up. These two men are both unbeaten, both under-rated and were major amateur rivals. They are also men looking to claim a major scalp. For Shiming this a test that really could see him becoming a national hero or boxing's biggest villain, for Ruenroeng it's a chance to level the score with Shiming, who holds a 2-1 record over him from the amateur ranks. For Bob Arum this is a real test of his nerve. Shiming is talented and fast but this is a major step up for the double Olympic champion.
Shiming of course isn't the only Chinese born fighter on this show, nor is he the most exciting. One of the contenders for the tag of “most exciting” is the heavy handed Ik Yang (18-0-0-1, 13) who will be up against Thailand's experienced Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-2-1, 18) in an IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title bout, which will also double as an IBF world title eliminator. Yang has been on a number of Top Rank shows and is known for his power and offensive style though his flawed defense may be a problem here against the talented Patomsuk, who gave world ranked Takayuki Hosokawa a very close bout back in late 2013. This could be very interesting.
Another rival to the tag of China's most exciting fighter is the very flawed but fun Rex Tso (15-0, 9) who battles Filipino Michael Enriquez (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBA International Super Flyweight title. Tso will go into this bout as the favourite and is viewed as being likely to get a fight with WBA world champion Kohei Kono if he comes through here. For Enriquez this is a major opportunity though he has lost both of his previous title fights.
Going further down the card fans will get the chance to see the explosively heavy handed Aston Palicte (16-1, 14), of the Philippines, take on one of his toughest tests as he goes up against Ismael Garnica (13-5-1-1, 5). Garnica is best known for losing a decision British fighter Paul Butler last year, other than that however there is very little of note on his record. Palicte on the other hand is a dynamite puncher who comes into this bout on the back of 5 successive opening round blow outs, including a very notable one against Gerpaul Valero.
Another Filipino in action here will be Raymond Sermona (17-4-5, 8) who will be hoping to record his 3rd successive win as he battles former “world” title challenger Jose Felix Jr (28-1-1, 23). Felix Jr's only loss came last year when he stepped up to fight Bryan Vasquez and was well beaten, despite two horribly close scorecards, and he'll be favoured to make light work of Sermona.
To open the show we're expecting to see some local talent in action. One of those locals will be the unbeaten Zhou Yun Fei (4-0, 1) who battles against Paul Valenzuela (2-1-1, 2) whilst the other will be Macau's Kuok Kun Ng (6-0, 2), who will be facing Thailand's Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-2, 3).
As well as the action in Macau there is also a show, with title action, in Japan where fans will get a couple of domestic title fights courtesy of Kadoebi.
One of those title bouts will see once beaten Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (21-1, 7) defending his belt against former foe Nobuyuki Shindo (16-2, 6) in what looks like to be a very competitive match up. Takayama has the title, the better looking record and a win over Shindo already on his record however he is a weak champion and a lot of bouts have been very close. Shindo has height and reach advantages though the question coming in is whether or not he will be able to make them count.
In the other title fight the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) will be up against former title contender Hayato Hokazono (18-4-1, 11). We like Okada though are unsure how far he can really go, though it is obviously early days in his career. Hokazono is best known for his losses to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara, aside from those losses there is little else to note about his record other than a win over Kazuyoshi Kumano way back in December 2010.
On the under-card there is little of note though a bout between Hisao Narita (8-1, 4) and Yusuke Konno (8-2, 3) does look likely to be very competitive over the scheduled 8 rounds. Another undercard bout that we'll mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Yukinori Hisanaga (16-5-2, 9) battle against Takuma Takahashi (6-4-1, 1).
In South Korea we get 3 bouts between Korean fighters and Japanese visitors as Watanabe send a trio of their stable over to Korea.
The most notable of the Japanese fighters is Sonin Nihei (5-1-1, 1) who came runner up in last years East Japan Rookie of the year. The talented 21 year old, who lost a split decision to Kenya Yamashita, will be taking on the debuting Tae Un Jung (0-0) who we know nothing about.
Another of the bouts will see unbeaten Korean Joo-Young Kwon (2-0) take on Keisuke Kanazawa (2-4, 1). On paper it's hard to go against the Korean though he has only faced debutants so far whilst Kanazawa holds a very surprising win over the much touted Koki Tyson Maebara from back in January 2013.
The remaining bout, and the most looking on paper, will see Shingo Yabu (4-4-2) battle against Chan-Hee Park (4-5-1). Yabu is 0-2-1 in his last 3, including a loss to Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine in the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Park on the other hand has lost his last 4 and hasn't notched a win since 2009, in fact he's not fought since October 2010. Interesting match up in some ways but neither guy is anything great.
(Image courtesy of http://www.sandscotaicentral.com)
We have two shows this Sunday, local time, in Asia with one of those boxing a huge, monster show with one of the biggest names in the sport.
The biggest show of the day for almost every boxing fan is in Macau where Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions returns for another huge show with some of the biggest names in Asian boxing and some genuinely compelling match ups.
The main event, as is often the case, is the main talking point as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38) risks his WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten American Chris Algieri (20-0, 8). For Pacquiao this will be the first defence of the title he regained when he defeated Timothy Bradley earleir this year, following a highly controversial loss to Bradley in 2012. As for Algieri this is a chance to continue an unlikely rise to stardom which is all the more shocking considering his lack of power. Pacquiao is of course one of the biggest names in world boxing and he is strongly favoured to retain his belt here though will need to over-come a notable size disadvantage to defeat the gutsy Algieri who really shocked many when he defeated Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year.
In a second world title bout fans will see Thailand's experienced Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33) attempt to claim the WBO Featherweight title from former amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1). Lomachenko will be defending the belt he won earlier this year when he defeated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr and we suspect the talented Ukrainian will just have too much of everything for the experienced but limited Thai, who is of course best known for his loss to Chris John in his only previous world title bout. On paper this looks like a very odd contest given the huge gulf in professional experience but in reality the gulf in in skills and not experience.
A third world title bout on this show will see the controversial Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9) defending his WBA Light Welterweight title against former Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23). Vargas always appears to get the rub of the green in close fights and we wouldn't be shocked if he did the same here however this will be his first bout outside of the US and DeMarco is as gutsy as they come, as seen memorably in his bouts with Edwin Valero and Jorge Linares. This could be the most competitive contest on the show even if there is no Asian involved in the bout.
Yet another 12 rounder on this show will pit unbeaten fighters together as China's former amateur sensation-turn professional hopeful Zou Shiming (5-0, 1) risks his perfect record against Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (27-0-2, 12). On paper this is one of the most compelling bouts on the show though we do suspect that Shiming will end up having a relatively easy time with his Thai opponent. Kwanpichit is world ranked by 3 of the big 4 organisations however we are in the "he's lucky to be unbeaten" camp having seen him narrowly escape an opening round defeat to Ben Mananquil in 2013 in a bout that could so easily have been stopped, and having narrowly taken a decision over the limited Jay-Ar Estremos earlier this year. Shiming might not be as good as advertised but he really should have more than enough to see off Kwanpichit who has feasted on smaller and less experienced men throughout his career so far. This is a must win for Shiming but if he loses then he isn't going to be good enough to ever win a world title.
On the under-card we have 4 bouts that we rather like the look of, for one reason or another. One of those will see the exciting Jerwin Ancajas (21-1-1, 13) take on the tough Fadhili Majiha (15-5-4, 7) in an 8 round bout. Ancajas impressed on his Macau debut s he blew away Inthanon Sithchamuang however he'll be expecting a much, much more competitive contest here with Majiha having proven his toughness in recent decison losses to Marlon Tapes and Pungluang Sor Singyu with the Punglunag bout being a surprisingly competitive one. In another under-card bout the always entertaining Rex Tso (14-0, 9) battles late fill in Espinos Sabu (11-2-1, 5) who has taken the fight on short notice after Kenta Okumura was forced to pull out with a hand injury. Tso is one of the sports more exciting fighters but unfortunately the popular Hong Kong fighter is somewhat limited and we suspect that he will find his level sooner rather than later. With that said, the tough Sabu is unlikely to be the one who does take the unbeaten record of Tso. It wouldn't be the biggest upset of the year if Sabu won but it would be somewhat a shock.
In 6 round action fans will see Chinese Light Heavyweight hopeful Qu Peng (6-0-1, 4) fight against Andrew Robinson (3-2, 2) in what looks like a step up for Peng. Also in another 6 rounder is the popular Kuok Kun Ng (5-0, 2) who faces fellow unbeaten Steve Attard (5-0-2, 2). We'll admit we like Ng, a lot, and view him as potentially the best of the emerging Chinese novices and if he's as good as we think he should come out on top here.
Their is only one show in Japan this Sunday as Hatanaka put on one of their “Soul Fighting” cards which will be shown, at some point, on CBC TV in Japan, which we've been informed is a regional channel so fans likely won't be able to find this one available for streams.
The main event here is a WBC Youth Bantamweight title bout as the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (12-0-3, 8) looks to make the third defense of his belt. Unfortunately for fans, and Tanaka, this defense looks like a mismatch as the promising Japanese youngster battles against Indonesian visitor Rendi Stone (3-2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge step backwards for Tanaka following recent wins over Vergel Nebran and John Bajawa. Whilst Stone does enter this bout on a trio of wins we do wonder several things about him, including what his complete record looks like as we have real doubts that he is “only” 3-2-1 (2) considering his career began back in 2006.
In the chief support bout Shota Hayashi (23-5-1, 15), the #7 ranked Japanese Featherweight, will be fighting against experienced but limited Indonesian fighter Jason Butar Butar (16-14-1, 12). Hayashi will enter this bout on a 9 fight unbeaten streak, including 4 successive stoppages, and will know that if he can continue running up wins he can move towards a title fight of some kind. Butar Butar may be a recognisable name for some fans who may remember his loss, in Macau, to Harmonito Dela Torre, and sadly for the Indonesian fighter he is better known for his losses than his wins and is 0-8-1 on the road.
In Yemen we see a collision of unbeaten fighters as Muhammad Harazi (4-0, 1) battles against Hasan Dhubaibi (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Yemeni Minimumweight Title. The title will be defended by the 16 year old Harazi who won the belt with a 12 round decision ove Ali Rafik in October and it would seem plausible that the winner here will be looking for a big domestic show down with Ali Raymi.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a busy one with 2 major cards featuring Asian fighters in world title bouts. It may not be the busiest day of the year but it is certainly one of the most interesting.
As well as the Macau show we are also looking forward to a Japanese show promoted by Japanese promotional power house Teiken promotions who are putting on a small, 8 bout, card though one that features several very interesting looking contests including 2 world title bouts.
Prior to the world title action fans will get the chance to see the world ranked Ryo Akaho (24-1-2, 16) battle against recent world title challenger Antonio Tostado Garcia (14-3, 6). Akaho isn't one of the sports most talented fighters but he is certainly entertaining and with his power we suspect he'll stop Garcia in the middle rounds of the bout, if not earlier.
The first of the two world title fights will see Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34) make the first defense of his WBC Flyweight title. Gonzalez, one of the sports most impressive fighters, will be battling against tough Filipino Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20) in what looks likely to be a very entertaining bout though one that Gonzalez has to be favoured in, especially considering the way he won the title back in September by stopping Akira Yaegashi.
The other world title bout on this show will see the heavy handed Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20) defending his WBC Super Featherweight title in a mandatory defence of his belt against heavy handed Mexican slugger Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19) in what could potentially be a FOTY contender. Miura is earning himself a reputation as a Mexcutioner after 3 successive wins over Mexican foes, including his thrilling win over Sergio Thompson, and he'll be hoping to extend that run as he takes on a fighter who is similar to him in terms mentality in the ring. Expect this one to be violent and highly exciting as long as it lasts.
The final world title bout involving an Asian fighter comes from the United Kingdom as former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) battles the unbeaten Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22) in a bout for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. When this bout was signed Otake was unranked by the WBA, though he is now ranked #9 rather mysteriously. Otake is seen as a huge under-dog and with good reason considering his best wins are against domestic opponents and with that in mind we'd be shocked to see win, though like the two title bouts in Japan this should be entertaining as long as it lasts due to the styles of the men involved.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
MacauThis coming Saturday is a ridiculously busy day in the boxing world though only one show really matters to many fans, "Champions of Gold". The card, otherwise known as "The Macau card" is the show that has been getting the column inches, forum discussions and most of the weeks attention.
The show, the 6th Top Rank promoted Macau show, doesn't look like the most interesting on paper but it does feature an interesting test and a trio of Olympic champions.
The most testing of the bouts on the show is that of the much maligned Zou Shiming (4-0, 1) who will be facing off against former world title challenger Luis De La Rosa (23-3-1, 12). De La Rosa is a huge step up in class for Shiming though we doubt Arum and his team have taken this bout without feeling very confident that Shiming will win. We assume part of their confidence is the fact De La Rosa is a significantly smaller fighter than Shiming and he has also been knocked out in 2 of his last 4 bouts, interestingly however De La Rosa did Raul Garcia real fits when they fought back in 2010 suggesting that he will come into this bout with the mentality of scoring a huge upset. This bout will be Shiming's first title bout, as he attempts to claim the WBO International Flyweight title, though the most interesting thing is that it could see him going 10 rounds for the first time in his career.
Another possible test could be seen in the fight between "The Macau Kid" Kuok Kun Ng (4-0, 2) and fellow unbeaten fighter Beau O'Brien (4-0-1, 1). We do like KK Ng and think he has real potential to be a shining light in Chinese boxing but O'Brien is no mug and has previously won a version of the New Zealand Light Middleweight title suggesting he could be a handful for the promising fighter from Macau.
Unfortunately not all the bouts are tests and one man who will be expected to score an easy win is the always exciting Rex Tso (13-0, 8) who will be fighting Indonesia's John Bajawa (12-6, 6). Bajawa has lost 4 of his last 5 including an opening round stoppage loss to Ryo Matsumoto less than 18 months ago. Tso is exciting and this bout is likely more about keeping his profile up and getting him a highlight reel KO more than anything else, especially considering the expectation is that he's going to be manoeuvred into a world title fight in his next 3 or 4 fights.
Another man not expect to struggle is Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0, 8) who will be defending his WBO and WBA "super" titles at Bantamweight. Sadly for Asian fans Rigondeaux will be battling against Thai veteran Sod Kokietgym (63-2-1, 28) who has been given no chance by anyone. The bookies make Rigondeaux an unbackable 1/100 favourite and it's hard to argue with them though hopefully a victory for the Cuban will lure him back to Macau for future fights with the likes of Shingo Wake.
Yet another apparent mismatch comes in a Lightweight contest between the very exciting Ik Yang (15-0-0-1, 10) of China and Thailand's limited Rachamongkol Sor Pleonchit (14-8, 6). Yang is a fighter who has a very American style and is great fun to watch so this is likely about getting him another eye catching win against a fighter who simply isn't fit to get in the ring with him. Rahamongkol has won just 1 of his last 7 and been stopped 6 times in his 22 bouts, we expect that to become 7 times in 23. For those interested in seeing what Yang is about before this fight we have a number of his fights in our video section, including his Macau debut against Elly Ray.
On paper another interesting bout will see Russia's Egor Mekhontsev (3-0, 3) fighting against Filipino Mike Mirafuente (2-0, 2). Sadly this contest is only interesting on paper and Mekhontsev is a very special fighter who will likely beat Mirafuente with out even breaking sweat. Hopefully next time out Mekhontsev will face a much better opponent because he has all the tools to be fast tracked to a world title.
As well as the bout involving Asian's the show will also feature an international bout of note as Mexico's unbeaten contender Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez (28-0, 22) battles against Australian Junior Talipeau (20-2-1, 7) in a bout that looks great on paper though is unlikely to be more than a simple win for "Zurdo" Sanchez who we rate very highly.
One more bout on the card will see the popular Brian Viloria (33-4-0-2, 19) returning to Macau for the first time since he lost his world crown to Juan Francisco Estrada last year. This time around Viloria is being matched easily as he takes on Jose Alfredo Zuniga (11-5-1, 5), a man who has gone the distance with both Alberto Rossel and Oswaldo Novoa in recent contests. Viloria is, of course, a bigger fighter than both Rossel and Novoa and will be expected to do a job on Zuniga here.
Wonju, South Korea
In a bit of an oddity in South Koreans fans will get the chance to see Japan's Takuya Watanabe (20-5-1, 8) fight against Thailand's Yodpichai Sithsaithong (10-11, 4) in a bout for the IBF Asia Featherweight title. From what we understand the JBC won't recognise the belt but won't be punishing Watanabe for taking the fight with the knowledge that the title does help a fighter get an IBF ranking and move them towards a world title fight.
The interesting Watanabe will be fighting in Korea for a second successive bout following his bloody battle with Jaesung Lee. If you've not managed to see that bout before we advise you give it a watch, though we do need to warn you that it's probably the bloodiest bout of the year so far and all the claret seemed to come from Watanabe.
Western Australia, Australia
Western Australia plays host to three Asians this weekend though none of them will be expected to come away with a win.
In the main event Indonesian journeyman Roy Tua Manihuruk (15-10-2, 11) will be looking to become the inaugural WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight champion as he battles the unbeaten Clint Hosking (9-0, 2). Unfortunately for Manihuruk he is 0-3 in Australia and has sadly lost 4 of his last 6 bouts, including a stoppage loss to the always fun to watch Ji-Hoon Kim. With Hosking taking an unbeaten record into the ring here it's hard to expect anything other than his 10th victory.
Another bout on this card, we expect the opening bout on the show, Thailand's Baikon Lokromklao (1-3) will be in action against the win-less Jacob McBride (0-1). Although McBride hasn't won a fight he's being matched Baikon for a reason and with that in mind it's hard to to imagine anything but a victory for McBride, a win we expect will come by stoppage.
Another Thai on this show is female fighter Keanpetch Superchamps (6-8-1). Kaenpetch, who recently challenger WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi, will be expected to suffer her third straigth stoppage loss as she fights Erin McGowan (15-2, 8) in a clear mismatch.
Another fighter fighting on the round this weekend is Seiichi Okada (18-4, 11) who travels to Mexico to fight Nery Saguilan (29-4-1, 10) in an intriguing contest. Okada is a former Japanese Super Featherweight champion who has been in the ring with Takashi Miura and Daiki Kaneko amongst others though he is a fighter many feel is on the back end of his career. If Okada can upset Saguilan then he could effectively earn himself another big fight however Saguilan himself is in need of a big win after losing 3 of his previous 8 contests. As both men know they need a win we expect this to be a contest that sees them both putting it all on the line and leading to a very exciting contest.
(Image courtesy of Top Rank)