The real show of note for us this weekend comes from Carson California in what is arguably the best card of the last few years. It's not stacked with 50-50 bouts, though two bouts could well fit into that category, but it is stacked with talent with potentially the top 5 fighters at Super Flyweight all in action with a trio of bouts that have a logical reason to be on the same show. This is a card which has had thought behind it, and promises so much. It's one of those rare card where if one bout turns out to be a disappointment, for example an early technical draw, there is still enough for the card to be remembered fondly.
The main event of the card is a rematch of one of the best fights of the year, as Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 29) takes on Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38). Their first bout saw Srisaket drop Gonzalez in the first round en route to a close, and disputed, decision over the previously unbeaten Gonzlez. Srisaket will be looking to repeat the victory and make the first defence of his second reign of the WBC Super Flyweight title. Gonzalez will be seeking revenge for his first, and only, loss and looking to reclaim the title that he lost to the Thai back in March.
A second world title fight on this card will see Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11) defending the WBO Super Flyweight title against Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9), in what is Inoue's US debut. The extremely talented Japanese youngster is viewed by many as one of the best natural talents in the sport, and will know that this is his chance to show the world just how good he is in front of an audience of fans from around the globe. Although the huge under-dog Nieves is coming into the bout confident, and knows that a win here really puts him on the boxing map. The challenger is a bit of an unknown, and this opportunity is huge, but it's a huge step up in class for him.
Interestingly a former Gonzalez foe is part of the under-card here, with Brian Viloria (37-5-0-2, 22) taking on Miguel Cartagena (15-3-1, 6), who is known in Asian circles for his win over Jobert Alvarez and his nasty technical draw with Toshiyuki Igarashi, from this past April. The 25 year old American is tough, aggressive and could be a genuine handful for the 36 year old Viloria, who has fought just once since his October 2015 loss to Gonzalez. At his best Viloria would be a huge favourite, but this bout could be extremely tough for the veteran.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Nick Frese (5-0, 5), who faces Nam Phan (3-2-1, 2). Dutch born Thai based Frese will be fighting outside of Asia for the first time and will be hoping to show his skills, and pick up another quick win. The unbeaten man us pencilled in to fight again in October and has been ultra busy this year, but has also been destructive racking up a combined 10 rounds from his 5 bouts. Nam Phan, who is an American based American, hasn't fought in will over a year and is 10 years removed from his last win, but the bout really is supposed to just showcase Frese.
As well as the bouts mentioned the card will feature an all-Mexican bout, back at Super Flyweight, as Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25) takes on Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1, 27), with the winner set to become the mandatory for the Srisaket Vs Gonzalez winner.
A second notable show packed with Asian fighters comes in Central Asian country Kazakhstan,where we get a number of notable and unbeaten Kazakh's in action, against opponents who look very solid on paper.
The main event of the card will see the world ranked Kanat Islam (24-0, 19) take on Brandon Cook (18-0, 11) in a really mouth watering match up. The unbeaten 32 year old Islam is slowly edging towards a world title fight, and is regarded as one of the notable Kazakh's in the professional ranks so far, but his career has been a slow burning and he's been a professional for close to 5 years with out yet really making a big splash. Aged 31 Cook has also been a bit of a slow burner as a professional, though his win in January against Steven Butler did get him some international attention, due to a post fight incident which saw Cook being hit with an item thrown at him. This really is a must win for both, and who ever loses will find it very hard to rebuild at this stage.
Another good looking bout towards the top of the card will see the very promising Zhankosh Turarov (21-0, 15) battle with Argentinian puncher Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-4, 18). Although less well known than Islam we have got high hopes for Turarov, who is 26 and has shown real flashes of being a genuine prospect. Romay will be hoping to make the most of his power, but this is a big step up for the South American, who's fighting in Asia for the first time.
Arguably the most notable prospect on this card is also the least experienced, as a professional. That's former amateur star Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (1-0, 1), who looks to impress in his second bout as he takes on Carmelito De Jesus (18-5, 15). We saw Alimkhanuly really shine in the amateurs, winning World and Asian championship gold in 2013 and reach the quarter finals of the 2016 Olympics. On his professional debut the Kazakh destroyed Milton Nunez and we're expecting a similar performance here. De Jesus, from Brazil, has scored wins on the road before, stopping Italian Stefano Castellucci, and will be there hunting the upset but he'll likely have little success against the Kazakh sensation.
Another notable prospect is Nursultan Zhanabayev (2-0, 1), who made his debut last year in China and has already competed in a pair of 10 rounders. His upcoming bout will see him take on the heavy handed Brazilian Alex Sandro Duarte (13-1-1, 10). Although Duarte has a nice record on paper he has lost to his most notable foe to date, and we expect another set back for him here.
Other hopefuls on this card include Ali Akhmedov (8-0, 6), who was last seen stopping the unbeaten Curtis Hill Jr, battling against Justin Thomas (18-2, 7), and Aidos Yerbossynuly (6-0, 5), who's fighting for the first time since going the distance with Devin Butcher, who will look to shine against the more experienced Jonathan Geronimo Barbadillo (17-4-1, 14).
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines we have a pretty notable show.
One of the most notable bouts on the show will see Ben Mananquil (14-1-2, 3) battle against Jess Rhey Waminal (11-1-1, 6) in a bout between talented and once beaten fighters., looking to claim the interim OPBF Bantamweight title. Of the two men Mananquil is the more proven man, and he's unlucky not to have a stoppage win over Kwanpichit OnsongchaiGym to go along with his wins over Mateo Handig and Glenn Porras. Although less well known Waminal can't be over-looked and has scored notable wins over Joe Tejones and Gerpaul Valero. This isn't going to be a true OPBF title level fight, but the reality is that it is still a brilliant match up, with both fighters looking to go in there and prove they are the better fighter.
A less exciting looking bout will see veterans collide as Eden Sonsona (36-7-2, 13) takes on Jaime Barcelona (39-61-1, 10). The talented Sonsona is an upset minded fighter, as we saw in 2015 when he stopped Adrian Estrella in 2 rounds, but will be the favourite here against a man who really is just a journeyman, but a damned tough one who has only been stopped 5 times in 101 bouts. Although Sonsona will be the favourite it is worth noting that he only just took a narrow decision over Barcelona last December, and this could be another hotly contested bout, despite the hugely different looking records.
A really good match up on this card will see unbeaten Filipino prospect Jade Bornea (8-0, 5) taking on once beaten Thai Kongfah CP Freshmart (19-1, 11) in a mouth watering match up for the IBF Youth Super Flyweight title. The Filipino prospect was an amateur stand out before turning professional in 2014. He's tipped to go a long way but this is a big step up in class for the 22 year old Pinoy. For Kongfah this will be his most significant fight since he faced a then unknown Daigo Higa back in 2015, when Higa stopped the Thai in a 7 round thriller! This could be a coming out party for Bornea or a chance for Kongfah to climb back up the rankings, a great match up!
In a mismatch worthy of noting we'll see the world class Randy Petalcorin (26-2-1, 19) take on veteran Jetly Purisima (21-23-4, 6). The bout shouldn't be competitive,with Petalcorin being better than Purisima in every way, but it does give the talented “Razor” a chance to shake some ring rust after more than 6 months of inactivity. Petalcorin is a natural talent and should be fighting at world level so hopefully his team will move him in that direction next year, rather than keep him in there with horribly over-matched opponents, like Purisima.
There will also be two promising novice prospects on this card in low key bouts. One of those is Mark Antonio (2-0, 2), who will look to keep his stoppage run alive as he takes on Michael Padayag (3-8-1) in what should be a straight forward win and Dave Apolinario (2-0, 1), who will be strongly favoured to over-come Rudy Salaton (0-1).
New York, USA
In the biggest show of the night, and one of the biggest shows of the year so far, we get the chance to see two Asian fighters take part in potentially explosive world title bouts.
The main course from the show sees Kazakh Middleweight sensation Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33) defending his WBC, IBF and WBA “super” titles against WBA “regular” champion Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29), in what is one of the most anticipated bouts of the year. Golovkin, who has made a reputation as an unbeatable puncher, will be looking to score the biggest win of his career and potentially prove himself as being head and shoulders above the rest of the division. Jacobs, who is seen as the big under-dog here, will know this is a huge step up from his recent competition, but he will feel he has the speed, power and athleticism to trouble Kazakh destroyer.
Although the Middleweight title bout is the main course it's hard not to be incredibly excited about the “starter” as we see WBC Super Flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez (46-0, 38) battle against former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38). Although fans who have seen Gonalez may feel this is a mismatch, especially given the way HBO rave about Gonzalez, the bout is an incredibly exciting one with Srisaket being the naturally bigger and stronger man than Gonzalez, and being a destructive fighter himself. Although the Thai has suffered 4 losses during his career he has, amazingly, gone 40-1 (37) since a troubled 1-3-1 (1) start and is a genuine monster in the ring. This will be no walk over for Chocolatito.
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
The most notable of the other cards featuring Asian fighters comes from Cebu City where we get two regional title fights and several other interesting contests.
The most notable of the title fights sees the highly regarded Jack Tepora (19-0, 14) defending his WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title against Indonesian challenger Yon Armed (14-7, 6). The 23 year old Tepora has long been regarded as one of the most promising Filipino's rising through the ranks and he should be far too good for Armer, who's most notable bouts have seen him being stopped in a round by Hiroshige Osawa, 2 rounds by Kenichi Ogawa and 3 rounds by Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo.
The other title fight on this card will see the heavy handed Christian Araneta (13-0, 11) take on Indonesian Demsi Manufoe (11-6, 8) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title. Although not the most skilled fighter Araneta has an exciting style, solid power and at 22 years old he has a lot of potential, potential which should be showcased here against the the chinny Manufoe.
In a 10 rounder we'll see the heavy handed Salatiel Amit (9-2-2, 7) take on the out of former Renerio Arizala (13-5-1, 5), with Arizala looking to avoid a 4th straight loss and Amit looking to bounce back from a 10th round loss to Jonathan Taconing.
Fans also get the chance to see some notable unbeaten hopefuls on this show. These include Jessie Cris Rosales (20-0-1, 8), who battles the out of form Jerry Nardo (21-10, 11), and teenage puncher Tomjune Mangubat (6-0, 6), who takes on veteran Marvin Tampus (27-24-3, 18). It's hard to imagine either Rosales or Mangubat losing here, but both will have better tests ahead.
La Union, Philippines
On a second show in the Philippines fight fans will see a Philippines Boxing Federation Super Bantamweight title fight as Brian Lobetania (11-2-3, 9) takes on Arnel Baconaje (7-2, 6). Both guys have got limitations, and both are 2-2 in their last 4, but both can punch and they should put on a fun contest against each other, with both men looking to claim their first professional title.
In Australia fans will see Filipino tough guy Vergil Puton (16-7, 8) battle against the once beaten Ibrahim Balla (10-1, 7). Balla, who was stopped last year by Neil John Tabanao, will be favoured over Puton, but the Filipino can be a nightmare at this level and could be a potential banana skin, as he almost showed in 2015 against Ye Joon Kim.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day in Asian boxing.
New York, USA
The main action of the day comes from the US with a card in New York getting particular interest thanks to two bouts, each of which promises to be exciting and will highlight a man who some regard as the top fighter on the planet.
For many the stand out bout is the Middleweight unification bout between WBA “super”/IBO/WBC “interim” champion Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30) and IBF title holder David Lemieux (34-2, 31). This bout promises to be an incredibly exciting one with fans sat on the edge of their seats due to the power of the two fighters, though everything suggests that it will be Golovkin's tougher resolve and more varied skill set that gets him the win.
The other bout of note will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (36-4-0-2, 22) take on unbeaten WBC Flyweight king Roman Gonzalez (43-0, 37) in what looks to be an equally interesting match up. We know that many, including ourselves, regard Gonzalez as the best fighter on the planet, pound-for-pound, though this should serve as a test of that tag and a real proof of his credentials as well as continuing to break him out to the American market, who have sadly only began to cotton on to the excitement of the lower weights.
In California we'll see Filipino promotional outfit ALA put on their first show in the US with the next of their “Pinoy Pride” cards.
In the main event we'll see long reigning world champion Donnie Nietes (36-1-4, 21) defendign his WBO Light Flyweight belt against unknown Mexican challenger Juan Alejo (21-3, 13), who we struggled to find any footage of. On paper this looks like an easy win for the champion, who is certainly a known quantity, however Alejo will be full of confidence and is riding an excellent 21 fight winning streak, albeit against some questionable opposition.
Whilst Nietes is the elder statesman of the card the show will also feature a couple of fighters from the new wave of Filipino boxing. One of those is the brilliant Mark Magsayo (11-0, 9) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Yardley Suarez (13-0, 8), a relatively unknown Mexican foe.
The other member of the new wave of Filipino boxing in action here is Albert Pagara (24-0, 17) who will be putting his unbeaten record and work rankings on the line against Nicaraguan William Gonzalez (27-5, 23). Pagara,if he wins as expected, will likely be looking towards a world title fight in 2016, and in fairness to him there's a good chance he could claim a major title in the next 12 months.
A fourth bout of note here will see the older of the Pagara brothers in action as Jason Pagara (36-2, 22), who will be up against Nicaragua's Santos Benavides (25-7-2, 19) in what looks like a genuine matched bout that could well steal the show, despite being the least interesting bout in terms of the future. This really could be a low level war, though for Pagara it's a must win with the Filipino being very highly ranked by the WBO in the Light Welterweight division.
There is a small show in Ishikawa.
The main event here will see Filipino born Japanese based fighter Mark Gil Melligen (21-5-1, 12) battle against Japan's very own Yudai Tamagawa (7-6-1, 2) in what should be an easy win for Melligen, who lost last time out to Vinvin Rufino in an OPBF title bout.
An interestingly matched support bout will see Yukiya Hanabusa (8-2-2, 2) take on Yudai Arai (6-3-3, 3). This bout isn't an amazing one but should be a very good 8 round contest between two well matched fighters.
A bout that caught our eye will see Venezuelan novice Omrri Bolivar (2-0, 1) take on Chinese fighter Xinghua Wang (11-12-1). Bolivar was last seen in China, beating Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth and now fighting in Japan it seems he could be one of the more interesting imports to the the east, where hopefully he will begin to base himself in the coming months.
Whilst the remaining 4 bouts on this card are less than exciting they do feature some international fighters with a Thai and a Korea both on the under-card.
A card in Gifu is scheduled or 6 bouts though, unfortunately, only features one really interesting bout.
That interesting match up will see the touted Genki Hanai (4-0, 3) face off against Junya Nishikawa (7-6-2, 2). This bout is supposed to be a Japanese title prelude for Hanai who is expected to fight for either a Japanese or OPBF title early next year.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino tough guy Vergel Nebran (14-9-1, 9) take on the very exciting Jessie Magdaleno (21-0, 15), in what is a huge ask for Nebran. This is unlikely to end well for the 25 year old Filipino though he may be able to ask some questions of the unbeaten Magdaleno, who has looked like a champion in the making so far.
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)
We know in Japan that the best shows really are amazing shows whilst the smaller ones can, in some cases, be very poor. This Sunday gives us both of those distinctly different levels of shows as we get a few domestic cards as well as a show which can only be described as a super show.
We'll start with the obvious "Super Show", a show dubbed "Ring of Diamonds". This show, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Ohashi Gym is one of the most out standing cards, from top to bottom, that will be put on this year and it really shows in the match ups.
The kicks off with some extremely aggressive match making as young novice Takuma Inoue (1-0) takes on world ranked Thai Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (23-2, 15). Takuma Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya Inoue, did say he wanted to win a Japanese title in his 3rd professional contest however if he beats Sakkreerin here there is every possibility that he could challenger for a world title next time out and tie the long standing record of Saensak Muangsurin. Of course the Thai is no push over and stopped former world champion Ryo Miyazaki at the end of last year in a big upset victory.
The second bout on the show is again aggressive match making as the unbeaten, and highly touted, Ryo Matsumoto (9-0, 8) takes on multi-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (22-11-1, 10). This is a big step up for Matsumoto though he should be the favoured fighter here with some viewing him as a nailed on Super Flyweight world champion somewhere down the line.
In the show's third contest we get the first of 3 title bouts. This one, a Japanese Featherweight title bout, will see former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (24-2-1, 18) fight against the unbeaten Yuki Ogata (19-0-1, 3) in what we feel is a fantastic match up between power puncher and skilled boxer. It's hard to imagine Hosono not connecting on Ogata though if the unbeaten man can take the power of Hosono we may see another star break out of this show.
Breaking up the three title fights is unbeaten Nicaraguan sensation Roman "El Chocolatito" Gonzalez (38-0, 32) who will be partaking in a show case bout against Filipino opponent Juan Purisima (11-4-1, 1). This is as much a mismatch at it looks on paper though for Gonzalez this bout is all about getting his face back out there in Japan ahead of a bigger bout later this year.
The bigger bout that Gonzalez is expected to be in is against Akira Yaegashi (19-3, 9) the current WBC Flyweight champion. For Yaegashi to get the Gonzalez fight however he'll need to be successful on the same card as he takes on Mexican challenger Odilon Zaleta (15-3, 8). For Yaegashi this is his third successive Mexican opponent and whilst we do expect he'll win he does need to make sure that he's focussed on Zaleta and doesn't think too much about Gonzalez.
In the main event fans will see rising young star Naoya Inoue (5-0, 4) attempt to lay down the marker for other top young prospects. The 20 year old Inoue, Takuma's older brother, will be looking to set a Japanese national record as he battles WBC Light Flyweight champion Adrian Hernandez (29-2-1, 18). A victory for Inoue here would see him becoming the fast Japanese fighter to win a world title and would also mark him down as potentially the #1 fighter at 108lbs. Although this is clearly a huge test for the youngster he is actually favoured to win and few would back against him going on his recent performances.
At least the two world title fights from this show will be televised on Fuji TV with studio guests reportedly being Takashi Uchiyama and Ryota Murata.
As well as the Tokyo show we also have two in the Aioi Hall. The first of these is a 9 fight card promoted by Yakushiji Promotions. Although their are 9 fights on the show only one really sticks out as being worthy of making a note of and that's the main event. In that bout the #11 Japanese ranked Lightweight Daiki Koide (20-6-2, 9) will be fighting against Filipino visitor Jose Maxian (9-3, 7). The bout isn't great but is meant to be a return to the ring for Koide who lost last time out.
The second Aioi Hall card is promoted by Midori (Green)and will be headlined by a fight between Japanese ranked Light Welterweight contender Kazuya Maruki (15-2, 10) who faces Filipino RJ Ano-os (8-5-1, 2), who is ranked by the OPBF, in a 10 round contest.
As well as the Maruki/Ano-os bout this card also features former Japanese Heavyweight title challenger Kotatsu Takehara (9-9-3, 4) who battles Frenchman Cyril Leonet (6-7-2, 1) in an interesting Heavyweight bout with an international feel. Although neither man has a great record we do feel this could be an entertaining scrap and Takehara is certainly better than the numbers indicate.
One of the lesser shows, in the Mimasaka Bunka Center, will see 7 bouts in total. For this card the main event will see Hirohito Fukuhara (16-8-9, 8) battling against Filipino foe Adones Aguelo (29-9-2, 12). Both of these men are ranked in the top 15 of their respective domestic divisions though we're going to go with the naturally bigger Fukuhara to come out on top.
Another interesting looking bout on this card will see Japanese ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (12-2, 6) take on the big punching Gabriel Royo (9-8-2, 8).Although limited Royo could certainly give Nishitani issues if he can connect.
The remaining card is in the Kokura Kita Gym and will feature 5 bouts. The only real bout of note on this show is Yoshihiko Matsuo's (16-5-5, 3) fight with Yudai Matsumoto (8-8-3, 1) and this is only notable due to the fact Matsuo is ranked by both the JBC and OPBF.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)