The highest profile bout involving an Asian fighter takes place in Russia where WBA “regular" champion Ruslan Chagaev (34-2-1, 21), from Uzbekistan, defends hit title against unbeaten Australian puncher Lucas Browne (23-0, 20). At his best this would be a horrible mismatch in favour of Chagaev however at 37 and with his career having been derailed by a combination of illness, injuries, age and inactivity Chagaev is far from at his best. Browne is crude but powerful and hungry and this really could be a very good bout.
On the same card fellow Uzbek Behzod Nabiev (22-9-1, 16) fights Said Lwanga (0-2-1). This looks like a really clear mismatch however it's Nabiev's first bout since November 2014 and coming into this one he is 1-6 in his previous 7. This could be tougher for the Uzbek than it perhaps should be.
Whilst the bout in Russia is the biggest it's not the only title bout of note. Another sees WBC Youth Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (8-0, 8), one of the sports most exciting young prospects, defending his title against Filipino Romel Oliveros (6-1-1, 1). This is a step down in level for Higa however he was sensational in 2015 with wins against the likes of Kongfah CP Freshmart and Renren Tesorio. Although Oliveros is the naturally bigger man we can't see anything but a win for Higa who looks like a star in the making.
Another unbeaten fighter on this card is Ryuto Maekawa (10-0-1, 6) who risks his unbeaten record against the limited, but experienced, Bimbo Nacionales (13-10-1, 3). Maekawa is a fighter with a padded record and whilst he is unbeaten we can't imagine him getting too much further without a loss. Saying that though Nacionales isn't likely to be the one to inflict that loss.
A third bout of interest on this Japanese card sees promising puncher Ryo Matsubara (4-1, 4) in action. The once beaten Matsubara looks to be in easy as he takes on Dejchai Bovigym (0-2) though we are glad to see the Super Flyweight hopeful stepping up to 6 rounders. It should be noted that Dejchai has fought in Japan before, and was the debut opponent for Sho Nakazawa, who stopped him in 80 seconds.
We also get notable action in Australia as former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (19-6-3, 5) battles the unbeaten Luke Jackson (10-0, 5) for the WBA Oceania Featherweight belt. Apolinario, who lost to Koki Kameda in a WBA Bantamweight title bout, is likely to be far too small for Jackson but we suspect he will be game, as he usually is.
At a lower level fight fans will get a low profile Filipino card in Ifugao. The card features a lot of debutants, including Gerry Pablito (0-0) who kicks off his career in a 6 rounder against the unbeaten Lambert Buggati (1-0, 1).
We get another low profile card in China. Although we again get a lot of novices, we are interested in a 6 rounder between Zhong Jie Niu (6-0, 2) and 18 year old Wei Fang Li (2-2-1). On paper this looks one-sided but the reality is that both men are untested and this could be a very good match up.
Where we have had some interesting days already this month we see things go on to a totally new gear on July 11th with the Philippines really dominating a very, very active day.
The best of the shows comes from Cebu where ALA will be running the next in the “Pinoy Pride” cards. Not only is the card a “big name” one but it features a little bit of everything from a recognised champion in a really exciting match up to action involving touted prospects and a major debut for a man tipped as a future Filipino star.
The main event is the world title bout which sees long term WBO Light Flyweight kingpin Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) defends his belt against former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11). This is a genuinely mouth watering match up between arguably the best, and most proven, fighter in the division and one of the most promising and battle hardened young fighters on the planet. Credit to both men for getting this one sorted.
In the co-feature we'll see the much touted Mark Magsayo (10-0, 8) attempt to claim his first title. The talented Filipino will be up against Mexico's Rafael Reyes (16-4, 12) in a bout for the IBF Youth Featherweight title. Magsayo has, generally, impressed but this is a much more significant bout than his previous 10 and we expect to learn something new of the 20 year old here.
Whilst Magsayo is the most touted prospect on the card there is a lot of attention being given to Kevin Jake Cataraja (0-0) who makes his professional debut against Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). From what we've been told the 20 year old Cataraja is expected to progress quickly through the ranks and could find himself in the same position as Magsayo within the the next year or two.
One other prospect on this card worthy of a mention is the heavy handed Vic Saludar (9-1, 7) who has failed to live up to expectation so far. The once touted Saludar will be up against Michael Kaibigan (3-2-2, 2).
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we have a number of intriguing matches with more Filipino's including a match up that may go down as the best domestic Filipino bout of the year, the card will also feature a pair of former world title challengers and a GAB title fight.
The match up we most like is a 10 round bout for the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title between the unbeaten Jhaleel Payao (11-0, 6) and Michael Dasmarinas (20-2, 13). We've been impressed in the past by Dasmarinas who looked fantastic beating Hayato Kimura last year ans was very unlucky against Lwandile Sityatha. As for Payao he's impressed in sessions working with Ryosuke Iwasa and the reports are that he's a very promising young prospect. We really cannot say enough good words about this one.
Another WBC strap will be on the line as former world title challenger Richard Claveras (12-1-2, 12) looks to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council title against Benezer Alolod (16-7-5, 5). This will be Claveras's first bout since his loss, in a WBC world title fight, to Pedro Geuvara back in April and this is a tough return to action, despite Alolod not holding the most impressive of records.
A third title bout is for the GAB Super Flyweight title as Rene Dacquel (14-4-1, 5) defends his title against Jonas Sultan (8-2, 5). On paper it's hard to side with Sultan but he has looked good recently with 4 straight wins, 3 by T/KO, and was unlucky in his most recent loss. Whilst it's not the best match up on the card it certainly isn't a bad one.
A final title but here will see Rey Juntilla (20-6-4, 13) trading blows with Danilo Pena (26-21-4, 11) for the vacant LuzProBA Featherweight title. We've got to admit we can't see a win for Pena who is now little more than a domestic journeyman, and is 3 years removed from his last win. Juntilla may go on to achieve something more notable, given he is just 25, but we can't see him progressing to the levels that he'd like to get to.
One final bout of note here will see former world title challenger Ardin Diale (28-9-3, 14) take on Indonesian veteran Heri Amol (35-23-4, 14). From what we understand Diale is awaiting to get a shot at the OPBF Flyweight title and will know that a win here really will put him within touching distance of a shot later in the year. It does need saying Amol has lost his last 9, including a defeat to the then debuting Ken Shiro, but is still a decent enough journeyman to get Diale some good rounds.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show really looks very exciting with some fantastic match ups on a more domestic level.
The most promising fighter on the card is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (12-0, 6), who will be fighting for the first time since his tragic bout with Brayd Smith. The unbeaten Moralde has been matched easily here against William George (10-22, 3) in what should be an easy win, but that allows Moralde's handlers to know where he's at in terms of his mental state.
Another very touted young fighter on this card is 20 year old Jade Bornea (3-0, 2), who holds a notable amateur victory over Kosei Tanaka. Bornea will be facing his stiffest test to date as he goes up against fellow unbeaten Salatiel Amit (6-0-2, 4) in what looks to be a very well matched bout. Jade's brother Jake Bornea (9-1, 4) is also in a very good looking bout as he takes on Richard Rosales (9-2-2, 4) in a bout for the WBC Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Jake is highly tipped, like his brother, though it's hard to overlook his 2014 loss to Raymond Tabugon.
One other prospect worthy of note from this card is Jelbirt Gomera (8-0, 5) takes on the highly experienced, though limited Prell Tupaz (8-27-5, 1) in a bout for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. Gomera hasn't received the plaudits of many others but has slowly carved out a promising record and a title win here will almost certainly move him onto bigger fights.
Whilst this card doe feature a lot of prospects one bout stands out as being a truly mouth watering clash. That bout pits former world title challenger Vergilio Silvano (20-4-1, 12) takes on the talented Jetro Pabustan (25-2-6, 7). On paper this is a brilliant fight with the winner almost certainly being moved towards a bigger and better fight whilst the loser will hover around the top of the domestic scene.
It's not in the Philippines that we have a world title as fight fans in Germany get the chance to see WBA Heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20) defending his title against German based Italian born fighter Francesco Pianeta (31-1-1, 17). On paper this looks mouth watering but in fairness Chagaev is not the fighter he once was and Pianeta was made to look like a journeyman in his last notable bout, a 6th round TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Although it's a “heavyweight title fight” it's hard to see anyone even pretending that this features 2 of the divisions top fighters.
One final bout comes from Mexico as Filipino Jhon Gemino (12-3-1, 5) takes on the touted and unbeaten Andres Gutierrez (31-0-1, 22). This is a huge task for Gemino, who has clearly been brought in to lose, but we can't criticise him for taking the fight.
(Image courtesy of ALA Boxing)
After a great month of June we're disappointed to say that July seems to be limping to begin a new month, almost as if it's out of breath. Thankfully we do have the odd interesting bout but on the whole Sunday will not be a day to remember.
Although this weekend is certainly not one to remember, especially not when we consider how great some of the other weekends have been. One redeeming factor is that Sunday will feature a pretty tasty card from Russia with a number of interesting contest at varying levels.
The main event of the show will be a very interesting contest between Uzbekistan's Ruslan Chagaev (32-2-1, 20) and American veteran Fres Oquendo (37-7, 24). The men, who will be battling for the "vacant" WBA Heavyweight title, are likely fighting for their career and the loser will almost certainly be thinking about hanging up their gloves. Unfortunately whilst the belt is for a "world title" it's probably the most paper belt in boxing and sees gthe WBA further devaluing the Heavyweight division, thankfully though it's a good enough bout to just enjoy for what it is.
It's not just the Chagaev/Oquendo bout on the Russian show, in fact that is just 1 of 3 Heavyweight bouts on the show, but it is clearly the highlight bout. One of the other Heavyweight contests however did catch our eye and that was the bout between the unbeaten Apti Davtaev (6-0, 6), who has stopped all 6 opponents so far in the first 2 rounds, and the more experienced Oleksandr Nesterenko (9-2, 4). Nesterenko may have been stopped last time out but this is still a great step up for Davtaev who has a nice record but little stands out other than the numbers.
One other bout on the show we'd like to note is a Welterweight contest that will see the unbeaten Viskhan Murzabekov (8-0, 4) battle against the far more experienced Igor Faniyan (14-8-2, 7) in a battle for the vacant WBC Youth Intercontinental Welterweight title. It's a good step up for the unbeaten 23 year old, dubbed "Little Tyson", and Faniyan should prove to be an excellent test for the unbeaten man.
As well as the 3 bouts we've spoken about we are expecting a further 4 bouts on this show.
As well as the Russian show we also have a trio of domestic cards in Japan. One of those is an 8 bout show at the Kyushu Kyoritsu University. This show will be headlined by a very intriguing contest between Yosuke Kirima (18-4-2, 13) and the unbeaten Takahito Osaka (6-0-2, 4). Kirima is ranked by the JBC and OPBF at Light Middleweight but the 23 year old Osaka will not be coming to the ring to just make up numbers and this could be a very good 8 round bout.
Sadly one of the others bouts on the card made us simply shake our heads and wonder what the match making was thinking. This bout is the contest between the unbeaten and fast rising Takumi Sakae (8-0, 5) and the very poor Indonesian visitor Boy Tanto (6-14) who will be unlikely to see out the first sustained attack from Sakae who impressed us a lot last year when he won the Rookie of the Year competition.
At the IMP Hall in Osaka we get several interesting contests including a major domestic clash at Minimumweight as the highly ranked, domestically, Naoki Matsumoto (9-7-2, 2) battles former multi-time title challenger Kenichi Horikawa (25-13-1, 4). Horikawa is the favourite here for us but the winner will certainly start eyeing up a Japanese title for in their next fight or two with both men being that level of fighter and this is why it's such a great bout despite neither man having a great record.
Another very interesting Japanese domestic bout will see the unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (10-0, 4) battling against Satoshi Niwa (15-17-3, 2). On paper this is a total mismatch but in reality it's a fantastic test for Ikemizu who has never fought at this level before. It's not often a fighting with 17 losses from 35 bouts is a step up but Niwa is much better than his record would indicate and Ikemizu will have to step up his game to over-come Niwa.
One more bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten Ryuto Kyoguchi (11-0-1, 8) battling against the very tough Kenta Takahashi (10-7-3, 3). Kyoguchi is a heavy handed prospect but Takahashi has never been stopped in his 20 bouts and this could see Kyoguchi asked some serious questions about a plan B. Of course if Kyoguchi can stop Takahashi then we have a serious puncher on our hands.
The weakest of the Japanese cards is at the Aioi Hall in Aichi and will feature 9 bouts in total. Sadly despite having 9 bouts none are really worth much attention with the most significant of them being a contest between Yuji Shimizu (15-8-1, 1) and Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi (1-3). Whilst the records really should have been enough to rule this fight off it's an even bigger mismatch than it looks with Yamaguchi being a 34 year old with no recorded fights in almost 7 years. Awful match up and very poor card we're afraid.
(Image courtesy of the13thround)