The key Asian show this coming Saturday comes from Malaysia, where fans will see a number of promising fighters in action.
The most promising fighter on the card is WBC Silver Welterweight champion Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (13-0, 9), who will be making his second defense of the title as he takes on Hungarian foe Laszlo Toth (25-3-1, 17). The Uzbek fighter had a fantastic 2017 with notable wins over Charles Manyuchi, to win the title, and Dmitry Mikhaylenko to defend it, and he looks like a future world title challenger, possibly fighting for a world title later this year. The visitor is a bit of an unknown, though unlike most Hungarian fighters he's not collapsed in his defeats, instead he has gone the distance against the likes of Vyacheslav Senchenko and Kerman Lejarraga. This could be a decent test for the Uzbek fighter, but one that we expect him to come through as he continues his march to a world title fight.
Another promising Uzbek fighter on this card is Azizbek Abdugofurov (9-0, 4), who kicks off his 2018 with a bout against Alfonso Tissen (10-1-2, 5). The 25 year old Uzbek Middleweight looked like a star in the making as we entered 2017, but some of the excitement has been lost for him, despite going 6-0 (1) for the year. He's still very promising and hotly tipped, but some of the hype has certainly gone. Tissen on the other hand is a bit of an unknown from South Africa, who looks to be stepping up in class, after 13 straight fights on the South African domestic scene. With 2 draws in his last 4 Tissen has shined recently and will not expected to pick up a win, but if this is competitive Abdugofurov will see his rise take another hit, and he really wouldn't want that to happen at the moment.
A third Uzbek on this card is Jasur Akhmadjanov (3-0, 2), who looks to take on his most notable foe so far as he battles former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-7-3, 22). Aged 21 Akhmadjanov is a promising youngster, but this is a monster step up in class, following 3 fights on the Uzbek domestic scene. Interestingly this will be the Uzbek's third bout of the year, following two bouts in January. Mukhlis challenged the then WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama in 2010, but since then his career has really faltered, going 5-4-1 with 3 stoppage losses. Mukhlis has looked shot in recent fights and this could be why he has been selected for Akhmadjanov's first step up, though he may still have the tool to ask questions of the youngster.
A final bout of potential interest here will be a rematch between Malaysia's very own Muhammad Shehran (6-1, 1) and Indonesian Erick Deztroyer (11-4-1, 2). These two fought last December, with Deztroyer defeating Shehran, who was then 5-0, courtesy of a majority decision. Shehran will be seeking revenge here, whilst Deztroyer will be looking to double down and get a second win over the 22 year old Malaysian fighter.
As well as the action in Malaysia there is also a show worthy of note in Victoria featuring a former world champion.
That former world champion is former WBO Bantamweight king Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13), who will be up against Indonesian foe Rivo Rengkung (36-24-6, 14). The under-rated Tapales hasn't been seen in the ring since his second bout with Shohei Omori, a bout he won by 11th round TKO but was stripped of his world title for failing to make weight, way back in April 2017. The Filipino is likely to be a real handful for anyone at 122lbs with his toughness and under-rated skills, and despite his long break from the ring he should have no issue with Rengkung. The Indonesian has been stopped in 9 of his 24 defeats, and whilst he could see out the bell, as he did against big punching South African Macbute Sinyabi, it really is hard to see anyway for him to be competitive with the Filipino.
Another Filipino on this card will be the once touted Neil John Tabano (14-4, 10), who will take on Thai puncher Yodchanchai Nakornluang (25-4-0-1, 20). Tabanao won his first 11 bouts, but has gone 3-4 in his last 7 and really needs to inject some momentum back into his career as soon as possible. The 39 year old Thai veteran hasn't fought in over 4 years and although he will still have his heavy hands he was never the toughest fighter and really should be fodder for the significantly younger and fresher Filipino hopeful.
In Russia local fans will be able to see the unbeaten Vyacheslav Mirzaev (10-0, 1) take on Filipino foe Kenny Demecillo (13-4-2, 7). The unbeaten 29 year old Mirzaev has shown nothing in terms of power but has shown some nice skills so far, including last December when widely out pointed Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. The Filipino visitor likely isn't expected to be a threat, but he is a talented fighter and should be regarded as a live under-dog here, despite his less than amazing record. Demecillo is better than the numbers suggest, and if he performs to bis best he can be a handful for a fighter like Mirzaev.
It's been busy in Asia recently and that's the case again on April 22nd when we get cards across Asia, and we get fighters on the road.
In Japan fans get two shows, with the most notable being held at the Korakuen Hall, and although it lacks a “big fight” it does look like a very intriguing card with three bouts of note.
The main event of the card sees the promising Takeshi Inoue (5-0-1, 2) battle against Elfelos Vega (6-2, 4) in a contest that could well decide the next Japanese title challenger at 154lbs. Of the two men Inoue is the one who has impressed more, though this will be his toughest test to date and comes against a man who does have the power to be a real threat to Inoue's unbeaten record.
Interestingly Vega's last loss came to a man on the under-card of this show, Kazuto Takesako (2-0, 2). The very promising Takesako will be up against a Thai foe who isn't expected to pose any threat to the unbeaten novice, though hopefully we will see Takesako let off the leash later in the year as he has the potential to go very far in the sport, though did look somewhat wild against Vega.
The third bout of note from this card will see Kazuaki Moriya (13-7, 2) battle against Ryuto Oho (8-2-1, 2), in what is essentially the co-feature bout. The records may not be great, and given the power of both men we do suspect this will go the scheduled 8 rounds, but we'd be amazed if it wasn't an action packed and exciting Flyweight encounter.
The other Japanese show comes from Osaka and sadly is lacking in terms of bouts, with the only notable contest being a bout between Tetsuya Hisada (24-9-2, 14) and poor Indonesian import Ardi Tefa (6-6-1, 4), who is unlikely to pose any threat to the JBC ranked Light Flyweight contender. This should be an easy contest for Hisada before a potential Japanese title fight later in the year.
Tefa isn't to be the only Indonesian in action this weekend and in fact Indonesian fans get a show all of their own, and in fact they get two title fights.
On paper the more significant of those two title fights comes in an international bout as former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (28-5-3, 21), who once faced Takashi Uchiyama for the WBA Super Featherweight title, faces former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (13-4-3, 5) for the lightly regarded World Boxing Foundation Asia Pacific Lightweight title. Coming in to this one Mukhlis has gone 2-2-1, in his last 5, including a 1-1-1 series with Hero Tito. Interestingly Tanada is also 2-2-1 in his last 5, though has lost his last 2 bouts.
The other title bout will see veteran Rasmanudin (19-14-3, 10) battle against Hanif Yogya (3-2-1, 2) for the IBC Super Bantamweight title. If we're being honest Rasmanudin has looked horrible show in recent fights, and has gone 3-11-1 in his last 15. On paper Yogya shouldn't pose much of a threat however he has won his last 3 and may simply have more left than his rival.
Metro Manila, Philippines
We get yet more title action in the Philippines with a bout between Warren Mambuanag (9-5-2, 3) and the hard hitting Arnel Baconaje (5-0, 5), who will be trading blows for the Interim GAB Super Featherweight title. The winner of this will be set to face veteran Edgar Gabejan for the full title later in the year, though Gabejan hasn't actually defended the belt in over a year.
Sadly aside from the main event there is little to really note about this show, though there is an interesting 6 rounder between Carlo Caesar Penalosa (3-0, 1) and fellow novice Alvin Defeo (1-0).
Another card in the Philippines, which is actually worse than the one above, is set to take place in Tarlac.
On paper the most notable bout is a 6 round mismatch as former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-12-1, 8) faces the horribly over-matched Edsil Jungco (1-9-5). Jakosalem has lost his last 3, and 8 of his last 12, but should be far too good for Jungco here in what we suspect will be an easy win for “Jako”.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Fans get two really interesting bouts in South Africa as Japanese fighters get their passports out to face a pair of locals.
The most notable of the bouts on offer sees Japan's very promising Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-1-2, 11) take on former world champion Simpiwe Vetyeka (28-3,17). Although relatively unknown outside of Asia Tameda is a genuinely promising fighter who has notable stoppage wins over Takenori Ohashi and Mark Bernaldez, with the Bernaldez win being his best to date. As for Vetyeka he's a man known to Japanese fans for his bout with Hozumi Hasegawa, almost 9 years ago, whilst international fan will recognise his win over Chris John and his loss to Nonito Donaire. On paper it's easy to favour Vetyeka, a former WBA champion, however he is now 35 and has fought just 4 rounds in the last 16 months.
The other bout sees former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (9-2-1, 5) face off against Luzuko Siyo (15-3, 12) in a bout for the WBA Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title. Again the local is the favourite but Tobe is better than his record indicates and does seem to be the naturally bigger man here, with Siyo having fought as low as Minimumweight. This could be a really good bout, even if it does end up being over-shadowed by the other contest on the card.
Staying with Japanese fighters on the road, fans in Australia will be able to see Japanese veteran Yosuke Kirima (22-5-2, 15) take on Australia's very own Michael Zerafa (18-2, 10) for the IBF Pan Pacific Middleweight crown. Although experienced Kirima has been known as a fighter who loses in his most notable contests, losing in two Japanese title fights, and hasn't yet managed to score a “big win”, even domestically. As for Zerafa he too has lost his biggest bouts, though one of those was a bout with former world champion Peter Quuillin, whilst the other was against fast rising Russian Arif Magomedov, both of whom are much better than Kirima if we're being honest.
In Russia we get a low profile match up as Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (1-0, 1), originally from Tajikistan, faces Kazakh Amir Saltayev (1-0) in a bout between unbeaten novices.
This coming Friday isn't the busiest day of recent times, but it does have some notable bouts.
Prachuab Khirikhan, Thailand
Thai fans get the chance to catch some televised against courtesy of Channel 7 who will be airing a potentially thrilling action fight between former world champion Kompayak Porpramook (54-5, 38) takes on Indonesian warrior Espinos Sabu (12-7-2, 5) in a bout for Kompayak's Interim WBA Asia Light Flyweight title. On paper this looks a mismatch, especially when you consider Sabu is 0-7-1 in his last 8, howeverhe is a genuine handful and much better than those numbers suggest.
Sabu won't be the only Indonesian in action and in fact fans in Indonesia will get their own small show.
This card will be headlined by a 12 round bout between former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (27-5-3, 21) and fellow Indonesian Hero Tito (11-8-1, 3) in what will be a rare match up between two “names” on the Indonesian circuit. It is worth noting however that Tito was a late replacement for Smile Brown, a much more limited Indonesian than Tito.
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.