This coming Friday fight fans in Japan get two shows, whilst Korean fans get one, and even Indian fans have something worthy of their attention!
The biggest single show takes place in Hyogo where we get two title fights, a notable debut and a former Japanese champion all in action.
The main event will be a world title fight, and will see talented WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) battle against heavy handed challenger Vic Saludar (17-3, 10). The champion, who won the title last year, will be making his second defense and will be looking to shine again, just like he did in an eye opening domination of Moises Calleros back in March. Although seen as the less notable champion at 105lbs Yamanaka does look a very classy fighter. For Saludar this bout will be his second title shot, and he will be looking to prove that his performance against Kosei Tanaka wasn't a fluke performance, but a sign that he really should be competing at world level. This really is an excellent match up between a brilliant pure boxer, and a brutal puncher.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (15-1, 5) take on Filipino foe Orlie Silvestre (11-3-1, 7) in a out for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title. Earlier this year Konishi came up short against Carlos Canizales, though really looked like a great little fighter with insane bravery and an incredible desire to win. The Japanese fighter will be the favourite here, but Silvestre has nothing to lose and everything to win. The Filipino fighter comes into this on the back of 5 straight wins and will feel confident of scoring a career best victory here.
Former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (18-4-1, 10) looks to score his first win of 2018 and takes on limited Filipino foe Rey Ramos (8-8-2, 3). Nishitani really failed to build on his March 2017 upset win over Shuhei Tsuchiya, having scored only a single win since then over a limited Thai, but he has talent and shouldn't struggle to over-come Ramos here. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, including 2 by stoppage, and it's hard to imagine him having anything to trouble Nishitani with.
One other bout of note will see Yuki Yamauchi (0-0) make his debut, as he takes on Jimboy Rosales (3-2-1, 2). The Japanese debutant was a sensational amateur, with notable results on the high school, national and world university level. Aged 23 big things are expected of Yamauchi and this looks like a pretty interesting opponent for his debut, with Rosales having gone unbeaten in his last 4, following back-to-back losses to begin his career. If Yamauchi is as good as anticipated then he really could make an instant impact here.
A second Japanese show will take place in Tokyo, and was originally set to feature two former world title contenders in action.
The planned main event was a bout set to have Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17) take on domestic foe Quaye Peter (11-9-3, 6). Sadly for the teak tough Kondo, who is best known for his November 2017 loss to Sergey Lipinets, this bout has been cancelled due to Peter suffering an injury a a week or so before the show was set to take place.
A a result of Peter's injury the card will now be headlined by former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20), who returns to the ring following medical problems that forced him to vacate the Japanese Bantamweight title. It was expected that Akaho would be matched incredibly easily but instead he will be up against Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-3-3, 15). At his best Akaho is a tough, aggressive fighter, who has beaten the likes of Yushi Tanaka, Hiroaki Teshigawara, Masaaki Serie and Yohei Tobe. Sadly though it's unclear how much the health issues has taken from the Japanese fighter. As for the visitor he has got a pretty padded record, and has lost recent bouts to Qiu Xiao Jun and Ryoichi Tamura, but is a tougher opponent than expected for Akaho's ring return.
Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul there will be a small card courtesy of former world champion Myung Woo Yuh and his Buffalo Promotion.
The main event will be an interesting match up between 22 year old Ki Soo Lee (6-3) and 30 year old Hwan Young Jo (5-4, 1). The youngster has had mixed for, though showed he was a capable fighter last December when he ran the touted Katsuya Yasuda close in Yokohama and will look for his third win since that loss. On the other hand Jo hasn't really shined, but is certainly not going to be a push over here and should make for a good dance partner for Lee. Only real issue here is that neither man is much of a puncher.
In another bout of note on this card fans will see unbeaten fighters collide with Do Jin Lee (5-0-2) taking on Jong Sun Gang (4-0, 1). Lin is a 17 year old who made his debut at the age of 16 and despite only fighting in 4 rounders so far is worth following as he moves into his first 6 rounder. As for Gang he has been a professional since November last year and has been busy, but will also be taking part in his first 6 rounder.
London, United Kingdom
As for Indian fans they will turn their attention to London, England, as national hero Vijender Singh (10-0, 7) takes on Lee Markham (17-4-1, 7) for the Commonwealth Super Middleweight title. The Indian star is now 32 years old and his team won't keep holding him back for long. A win here could well open big doors for him and takes him much closer to a potential world title shot. On paper Markham looks limited but he is a former English Middleweight champion who has score several notable results on the British scene, including a draw with Frank Buglioni. Singh should be favoured, but Markham is a very live under-dog coming in to this one.
Title action continues in Tokyo for a second day running, with a trio of title bouts at the Korakuen Hall, including an OPBF title defense, a Japanese youth title defense and a bout for a vacant Japanese youth title, as well as a Japanese title eliminator. It's fair to say fans are in store for a packed card!
The most notable of the title bouts will see the fast rising Tsubasa Koura (11-0, 8) defending his OPBF Mnimumweight title against former amateur stand out Masataka Taniguchi (8-1, 6). The champion will be making his first defense of the title, a title that he won this past July, and he will be looking to continue his impressive stoppage run, which currently stands at 5 stoppages including wins over Jeffrey Galero and Jaysever Abcede. As for Taniguchi this will be his second title bout, having come up short in a bout against Reiya Konishi for the Japanese title.
At Lightweight we'll see Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (4-0, 1) defending his title for the first time, and facing off with with 21 year old puncher Taiju Shiratori (8-2, 5). The talented Tomioka won the title in August, defeating Yuichito Kasyua, and has had a stellar 2017 with with with wins over Joon Woo Park and Shun Shimazaki. As for Shiratori he's stopped his last 3 foes but this is a step up in class for him and going to be a test of how he can cope with a very skilled fighter.
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see the highly regarded Andy Hiraoka (10-0, 7) taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (7-2, 5) for the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title. These two both fought in the Semi-Final of the Japanese Youth tournament on August 23rd with Hiraoka blowing out Ukyo Yoshigai in 3 rounds whilst Kobayashi struggled to over-come Hayato Ono, avenging one of his two losses. Of the two it's Hiraoka who has impressed more, but at 6'0” Kobayashi will be one of the very few fighters taller than Hiraoka and could pose some questions based on size alone.
Despite there being 3 title bouts on this show the main event is technically a Japanese title eliminator at Light Middleweight as former national Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) takes on veteran Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11). Shindo's reign at 147lbs was a short lived one, lasting just over 3 months, and he has fought only once since, getting off the canvas to defeat Sansouke Sasaki. The 37 year old Suwa had been a professional for more than 14 year and although he has challenged for both the OPBF and JBC titles he hasn't had a career defining win, but will know that a title fight in 2018 could given him one last chance.
One other bout of note here will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-3-1, 5) take on experienced Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-2-3, 15). Tamura recently challenged Yusaku Kuga, and gave Kuga all sorts of hell showing his power, aggression and energy. The Filipino is best known for his 2016 bout Qiu Xiao Jun, in which he was stopped in 3 rounds. It's hard to see Udtohan win here, but this should be a very entertaining contest.
New York, USA
There will also be some central Asian fighters in action in the US.
One of those fighters is hard hitting Uzbek Welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (9-0, 9), who will be making his US debut and risking his perfect record against Marquis Hawthorne (5-7, 1). The Uzbek has taken out his first 9 foes in a combined 15 rounds and looks like a genuine monster, though with this being his first fight Stateside it really does look like he's being matched softly on paper. Hawthorne has shown little power during his career so far, but has only been stopped once and should be able to test Ergashev's power.
Also on the card is unbeaten American based Kazakh Dimash Niyazov (12-0-3, 5), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced.
The big action of the day comes from Wenzhou in China where fight fans will get a genuinely notable card of international note. Not only does it feature 3 of China's most notable fighters but also a world title fight between a Thai and a Panamanian based Venezuelan.
That world title bout will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) take on unbeaten Thai challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-0, 5), aka Anurak Thisa, in an intriguing match up between ambitious youngster and veteran champion. The champion will be looking to record his first defense of the title he won in June, when he stopped Qiu Xiao Jun in the 12th round though at 36 he is ancient for a top level fighter. On the other hand the 25 year old Thai will be fighting outside of Thailand for the first time and will be taking a huge step up in class.
In a supporting title bout Can Xu (9-2) will be facing the unbeaten Ramiro Blanco (14-0-3, 7) in what looks like an intriguing match up. Blanco is an unbeaten Nicaraguan, fighting outside of home for the first time. Xu on the other hand is one of China's most promising young talents and despite lacking power he does look to be a diamond in the rough for Chinese boxing.
Another Chinese diamond in the rough is Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9), who fights for the first time since being stopped by Cermeno. Although very rudimentary Jun has scored a number of notable wins and will be looking to add another as he faces Filipino Robert Udtohan (23-1-3, 15) here. The Filipino has a pretty good looking record but this is actually a big step up for him and he'll be the clear under-dog against the solid hitting Jun.
In a Heavyweight bout fans will see Zhang Zhilei (11-0, 7) take on the highly experienced Gogita Gorgiladze (32-13, 27) from Georgia. On paper this looks like a good step forward for Zhilei but the reality is that the visitor has a very padded record and shouldn't last long with “Big Bang”
In another China Vs Georgia bout we'll see the touted Fanlong Meng (8-0, 6) battle against Zura Mekereshvili (18-5, 14). The 28 year old Meng is tipped as a real hopeful and a win here should be his final one before moving into 10 rounders. Sadly Mekereshvili should prove to be too small to really test Meng.
Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
As well as the big show in China there is also a notable card in the Philippines where titles will be on the line.
The two main bouts on this card are both OPBF Silver title fights and both feature a former world title challenger against an unbeaten foe. One of those fights comes at 115lbs and sees former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-10-3, 15) battle Ryan Lumacad (11-0-1, 6). Coming in to this one the 44 fight Diale will be looking to show that his recent beating to Daigo Higa wasn't the start of the end. For Luamcad the bout is a potential break out opportunity and he'll be coming into this one with the belief of an unbeaten man looking for a career best win.
The other OPBF Silver title fight comes at Flyweight and sees former WBC Light Flyweight world title challenger Richard Claveras (15-2-2, 13) battle against Jeronil Borres (7-0-1, 5). Claveras is best known for losing to Pedro Guevara last year and since then has gone 3-1 (1). The 20 year old Borres is leaping up in class but will hope to have struck at the right time with Claveras showing flaws recently.
The key bout from Thailand will see Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (21-3, 14) defending his IBF regional title against Filipino puncher Jeny Boy Boca (12-3, 10) in what looks like a really intriguing match up and one not expected to see the final bell. Both of these guys can punch and both will be hoping to make the most of their power here.
Also in Thailand fight fans will see the unbeaten Downua Ruaviking (2-0, 1) battle against Thai based Cameroonian Afanwi Kingsly Shu (1-1). The Thai is tipped as a real hope and although this is a very low quality bout some are hyping him as a bright prospect already. This bout likely won't tell us much but hopefully a step up in 2017 will tell us something about the youngster.
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.
This coming Saturday is one of the biggest and best of the year so far for Asian fans with a host of major fights taking place, many of which involve Filipino's
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show of the day is in the Philippines where we get several very interesting looking bouts involving some very big names in Asian boxing and some really high level talent.
In the sole world title bout on this show fans will see Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) defending his WBO Light Flyweight title again Mexican puncher Gilberto Parra (19-2, 17). Parra, on paper, looks like a really good challenger though in reality it's fair to say this is a tune up bout for Nietes who is set to fight Francisco Rodriguez Jr later in the year, barring a major shock here. The Nietes Vs Rodriguez bout will be sensational, this bout however is made to make Nietes look brilliant. Parra is made to order, crude, open and the sort of fighter than Nietes should really shine again.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21) return to the ring for his first bout since his stoppage loss last year to Nicholas Walters in a Featherweight title bout. Donaire looked to small for Featherweight and will be dropping back down to Super Bantamweight here as he battles Brazilian visitor William Prado (22-4-1, 15) in a bout for the NABF Super Bantamweight title. We suspect we'll see a bit of the Donaire of old here as he fights in the Philippines for the first time since stopping Raul Martinez in April 2009!
In one of two major support bouts fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Super Bantamweight contender Albert Pagara (22-0, 15). “Prince” Pagara will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against the dangerous looking Rodolfo Hernandez (26-5-1, 24). On paper this looks like a dangerous bout for Pagara though Hernandez's competition so far has been incredibly limited and and in all honesty Pagara should make light work of him, if the Filipino is half the fighter that he appears to be.
The other major support bout will see Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (25-1-2, 17) kick off his ALA contract as he battles Prosper Ankrah (24-4, 15) in a contest for the WBO International Bantamweight title. Akaho is on the verge of a world title shot and will know that he is risking his opportunity here, however he knows that if he impresses the crowd and the promoter he may get a world title shot next time out. Ankrah is well travelled though has lost every time he has fought at this type of level and we expect that will continue here.
Lower down we'll see the popular AJ Banal (32-2-1, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Junior Bajawa (14-5, 7). Bajawa has lost his last 4 in a row, including 3 straight stoppage losses, and that run should continue here
Another Filipino show will be held in Baguio City where several regional titles will be on the line.
In the main event fans will get the chance to see the heavy handed Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian journeyman Eddy Comaro (32-23-5, 13). This will be Aoki's first defence of the best that he won last May, when he stopped Jonel Alibio, and will see him trying to extend his run to 7 straight wins. Comaro on the other hand is seeking a 4th straight win.
In an all-Filipino bout fans will see the once beaten Robert Udtohan (22-1-2, 14) battle against the limited Mike Espanosa (12-9-1, 7) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Udtohan should be the favourite though a win here would go down as one of his best wins so far.
In an interesting match up between unbeaten fighters fans will see Philippines based Indian fighter Prabhjot Singh (1-0, 1) battle against F Faturochman (2-0, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. Whilst both of these fighters are novices we can't help be be interested in this scheduled 10 round affair which will put the winner on the map in some ways, even if they are a long way from being genuinely relevant.
Another interesting match up will see Jheritz Chavez (3-0-2, 2) stepping up massively to battle Randy Megrino (15-17-3, 8) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Chavez has been matched hard since he made his debut but this is a huge step up in class. Megrino, who doesn't a particularly attractive record, does have an occasional notable results and he could well be too much for Chavez at this point in is career.
[Note Boxrec list this card for March 29th, other sources state it's the 28th]
In Mexico we see another Filipino involved in a title bout as former WBO Minimumweight world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) takes on an extremely tough assignment against unified, WBA “Super” and WBO, Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22). For Asenjo this is an opportunity to make a name for himself however Estrada is a fantastic fighter who gave Roman Gonzalez one of his toughest ever bouts. Estrada didn't look great last time out, against Joebert Alvarez, but we suspect he'll shine here against the limited but heavy handed Asenjo.
New York, USA
We get lower profile stuff in the US as Kazakh prospect Dimash Niyazov (6-0-3, 4) put his unbeaten record on the line against the very limited, but tough, Micah Branch (2-13-1). Branch rarely picks up wins but has never been stopped and has been in with various unbeaten prospects such as Evgeny Chuprakov. Sadly for Branch he is the smaller man here and Niyazov, whilst not a world champion in the making, should be too big and too strong for the American fighter.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)