This coming Sunday sees a number of shows taking place in Asia, though the reality is that much of the focus is on just one of those shows, as Watanabe gym put on world title double header. Despite that there is notable names on a second Japanese card and title action from Korea.
The obvious starting point for a look into the fights for the day begins with that Watanabe card, which will feature a trio of title bouts, including two at world level.
The most notable of the world title fights sees WBA “super”, IBF and Ring magazine Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-2-2, 12) defending his titles against talented South African challenger Hekkie Budler (31-3, 10). The defending champion has a really strong claim to being the best Light Flyweight on the planet, with notable wins against the likes of Alberto Rossel, Ryo Miyazaki and Milan Melindo, though will know that this will not be an easy assignment against a former WBA Minimumweight champion. At his best Taguchi is a nightmare to fight, he's tough, has great stamina, freakish size and fantastic work rate. Sadly however he is inconsistent and can look like his mind is else where. If Taguchi is anything but his best he could be very easily beaten by the “Hexecutioner”, who had a notable title reign at 105lbs and can be a genuinely awkward fighter with his speed, determinedness and high out put. Whilst Taguchi should be favoured, this is far from a foregone conclusion and should be a very enthralling 12 round war.
Whilst we're expecting the Taguchi Vs Melindo bout to go the distance the same cannot be said of the other title bout, which pits hard hitting IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (9-0, 7) against big hitting Filipino Vince Paras (13-0, 11). This bout looks less likely to be a long drawn out war of attrition and more of a shoot out, with both men believing in their power and aggression. From the footage available it does seem like Kyoguchi has got more weapons in his arsenal, and he has showed them against a higher level of competition. Although Kyoguchi will be favoured Paras can bang and looks like a dangerous fighter, so the champion will not want to take too many risks here. Given how the two men fight this has the potential to be something very special, but also potentially very short.
The third title bout will see WBOA Asia Pacific Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (31-6-1, 18) defending his title against Rimar Metuda (12-3, 7). It's been known that Arakawa is chasing another world title fight, and we suspect Metuda has been hand selected as an opponent to make Arakawa look good against. Metuda is tough and can bang, but with 3 losses in his last 5 he certainly come into this as the under-dog, and as the man taking a huge step up in class.
A second, much over-shadowed, Japanese card comes from Shizuoka
The main event of the card will see the fantastically promising Kento Hatanaka (5-0, 5) take on a Thai visitor over the 8 round distance in a Super Flyweight bout. The 19 year old Japanese youngster, who is already ranked by the JBC, shined last time out when he stopped Kenta Matsui and is expected to continue his rise here as he looks to move towards a title fight of some kind. Sadly little is known about the visiting Thai.
The heavy handed but some what fragile Daiki Ichikawa (10-4, 8) will be up against Indonesian Agus Kustiawan (18-7-2, 8) in the shows chief support bout. On paper this doesn't look amazing but it could prove to be a pretty interesting bout. Ichikawa has lost 2 of his last 3, and needs a win if he's to keep his once promising career alive. The visitor has never won outside of Indonesia, but could see this as a great chance to pick up a win on the road.
In a third bout of some note fans will see Yuta Horiike (13-6-3, 3) take on upset minded Filipino veteran Edison Berwela (16-37-8, 5), who looks to build on his big January win over touted Thai teenager Saenganan Sithsaithong. On paper this looks a bit like a mismatch but Berwela has shown a tendency to score the occasional shock win, beating Saenganan as well as Jetro Pabustan and Robert Udtohan, and could see this as a chance to take another unexpected scalp. Horiike will be favoured but can't make the same mistakes as others when it's come to facing Berwela.
Seoul, South Korea
In Korea fans will get a small but notable Boxing M card, headlined by a title fight and featuring a number of Rookie bouts.
The title bout will see Gi Won Shin (3-1-2) and Shin Yong Kim (3-3-1, 2) face off for the vacant Boxing M Korean Welterweight title. On paper this probably shouldn't be a title fight, given that neither has a solid record and neither has won any of their last 3 bouts, but the contest should be competitive and both will be very hungry to pick up the win.
Among the most interesting of the rookie bouts is a clash between Super Featherweights Dong Kwan Lee (5-1-2, 1) and Ro Joon Suh (5-0, 2), in what could be the bout of the show. Another bout that stands out is a Heavyweight clash between Korean based American Aaron Singleton (3-0, 1) and Sung Min Lee (3-1, 2). A third Rookie bout worthy of some attention will see Mu Soon Kwon (1-0) face off with Korean based Mongolian hopeful Batzorig Batjargal (2-0, 1) in a bout at Welterweight. All 3 of these bouts will be fought over the 6 round schedule.
The coming weekend is huge for boxing fans, in fact it may well be the biggest boxing weekend of the year with major fights on two continents. The weekend however kicks off a day early, on the Friday, as Japan's heavy handed Keita Obara (16-1-1, 15) challenges the unbeaten Eduard Troyanovsky (24-0, 21) for the IBF and IBO Light Welterweight titles. The bout, an IBF mandatory, will be in Russia with Obara fighting outside of Japan for the second time, following last year's horrendous draw with Walter Castillo, and it will be his first world title bout with many fans expecting real fireworks here between two big punchers.
Staying in Russia fight fans will also be able to see unbeaten Filipino hopeful Rimar Metuda (10-0, 5) battle against the once beaten Kazakh Mirzhan Zhaksylykov (9-1, 4) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title. On paper this is a brilliant match up, though Zhaksylykov, a former PABA champion, has fought just once in 6 years, losing in a 4 rounder to Shavkat Rakhimov.
Talking about Tajik born Shavkat Rakhimov (5-0, 3) he will himself be in action as he takes on the experienced Farhod Oripov (11-12-1, 5) in a 6 rounder.
There will also be action in China. The headlined bout here will see Tao Ji (10-6-2, 2) face Xinghua Wang (12-13-1) for the vacant WBA China National Bantamweight title. Ji has gone 0-1-2 in his last 3 and is far from outstanding himself.
Another interesting bout from the card in China will see the unbeaten An Bi Liang (3-0, 2) battle against the heavy handed Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (11-2, 9) in what looks like a really serious test for the unbeaten man.
This coming Sunday is a big day for Asian fight fans, before than however fans get a busy, though not hugely exciting, Saturday.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Arguably the Asian show of the day comes from Cotabato del Sur where fans get a come genuinely good looking bouts and a number of prospects.
The main event here sees 23 year olds collide as Daryl Basadre (14-2-1, 10) takes on Kenny Demecillo (9-3-1, 6) in what looks like a genuinely solid domestic match up. There is some minor title attached to the bout but there really needn't be as it is a great bout on paper and could well help the winner establish themselves as a real hopeful. Notably this is a rematch from a very controversial clash earlier this year that Demecillo won via TKO with the referee's decision being hotly disputed.
Another good match with a minor strap attached to it will see Rimar Metuda (7-0, 3) face the heavy handed Jason Tinampay (6-1, 5). These two, both southpaws, are very young fighters and the winner will certainly be one to keep an eye on, however we wouldn't rule out the loser from becoming a solid fighter in the future.
In our eyes the best fighter on the card is John Vincent Moralde (13-0, 7) who takes on the once beaten Jerry Castroverde (6-1, 3). This could be a really good bout though we suspect that Moralde will be too good for his 18 year old foe, who will need a career best performance to even be competitive.
Other prospects on thus card worth making a note of are Markquil Salvana (8-0, 2), an 18 year Super Bantamweight, Michael Angelo Plania (6-0, 3), another 18 year old plying his trade at 122lbs and 19 year old Bantamweight puncher Raymart Gaballo (9-0, 7). Unfortunately all 3 of these youngsters are softly matched.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila where we have one of our favourites Filipinos in action.
That man is Giovanni Escaner (13-3, 9) who battles the horribly over-matched Jayar Estremos (10-11, 4) in what should be an easy win for Escaner, who really impressed when he stopped Naoto Uebayashi earlier this year.
In Ibaragi Japanese fans get a relatively poor show which lacks a really significant bout but does does feature a fighter that we have liked to keep close tabs on in recent times.
That man is domestic Bantamweight contender Tatsuya Takahashi (20-6-4, 15), aka the “Zombie”, who faces Thai fighter Kukiet Sorkaeokamsi (0-0). Takahashi caught our eye last year, in an exciting loss to the then Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda, and since then we've been fans so we're hoping he can pick up another win here and move towards a second Japanese title fight.
The rest of the card however is entire missable.
A second Japanese show, which is even worse than the Ibaragi one, comes from Oita.
The one bout which does look interesting on paper here will see Yamato Uchinono (6-3-5, 4) battle against Koki Ono (8-3, 4) in what should be a genuinely compelling 8 round bout around the Flyweight limit. Another well matched bout, albeit at a low level, will see Yuta Sasaki (6-7, 1) face off against Taisei Higashi (6-8, 5) in a 50-50 match up, but at a very low level.
Wr. Neudorf, Austria
In Germany fans will get the chance to see a female world title fight as Thailand's Teeraporn Pannimit (20-8, 5) battles Austrian “Golden Girl” Eva Voraberger (19-4, 9) in a bout for the IBO, GBU and WIBF Super Flyweight titles. The bout is a tough one for the Thai but she has traveled in the past and shouldn't be concerned about fighting in Voraberger's homeland.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the very exciting Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (13-0, 12) take on as yet unnamed opponent. This will be Penalosa's first bout in 14 months and sadly his career has really slowed after a very exciting win against Jesus Lule, in his US debut back in December 2012. Hopefully a win here will see Penalosa kick on with his career rather than battle with inactivity.