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.
It's been a slow start to the Japanese boxing calendar this year, but this coming Saturday we get out first live televised card of 2018. The show, set to be aired by G+, features the first Japanese title fight of 2018 along with a number of other names fighters, including 2 prospects who could really break out over the next 12 months.
The main event will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) make his second defense of the title, as he takes on the under-rated, and aggressive, Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6). Akaho, a former 2-time world title challenger, won the title last March and recorded his first defense with a stoppage win against Yuta Saito last August. Although a heavy handed fighter, at this level at least, he's a ling way from being the best Japanese fighter at 118lbs and could well see his reign being a short one, given the rising talent in the country. Suzuki started his career with big aspirations but sets backs to Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco slowed his climb. Coming in to this the challenger has won his last 3, and earned the right to fight Akaho thanks to his 7th riund TKO win over Eita Kikuchi in a Japanese title eliminator last October. This should be a hard hitting and violent war.
In the chief support bout we'll see Charles Bellamy (26-3-2, 17) return to the ring after more than a year out. The Japanese based American will be up against a Thai foe, who we've been told is a natural 140lb fighter and should look much smaller than Bellamy. The talented New Yorker born fighter hasn't fought since a controversial 2017 draw with Yuki Beppu and will likely be looking to make up for lost time this, with a quick blow out here and a speedy return to action.
One of the notable prospects on this card is Japanese Youth champion Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10), who takes on Filipino visitor Jeronil Borres (8-3-1, 5). The unbeaten 20 year old has been impressive since his 2015 debut, and claimed the 2016 Flyweight Rookie of the Year along with the Japanese Youth title last year. Beronil began his career 7-0-1 but has lost 3 of his last 4, including a very controversial loss to Joo Hyun Jung last February. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man and whilst he's a good fighter at his level, we suspect the power and size of Nakatani will be too much.
Another unbeaten on this show is the very exciting Kai Chiba (7-0, 6), who faces of with Filipino foe Brian Lobetania (12-4-3, 10). Last year we saw Chiba go 4-0 (3) and scoring a very notable win in a thriller with Ryo Matsubara, in what was one of many hidden gems of 2017, here he will be looking to continue his climb towards a title fight, but comes up against a very live Lobetania. The Filipino has lost 4 of his last 6, but is a natural puncher and will be looking to stop Chiba, in what is likely to be a very thrilling action bout.
The once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (11-1, 5) is expected to be in action on the card, though no information at all is available on his opponent. The talented Matsunaga fought 3 rimes in 2016, scoring 3 solid wins, but was inactive in 2017 and will be hoping to rebuild his career this year, potentially moving towards some kind of title fight before the year is over.
There is also set to be a Chinese card, with a number of title bouts.
In the main event of this card we'll see once beaten Chinese hopeful Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) take on Indonesian visitor John Ruba (15-3-1, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Welterweight title. The exciting Chinese fighter was beaten last time ouit by Rikki Naito, but was unlucky in what was a very competitive bout. It's hard to know how good he is but he has looked good through his career so far. As for Ruba he's a very promising fighter at this level, and comes into this bout on a 7 fight winning run...but it would take a career best win for Rub to win here.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see Jing Xiang (13-4-2,3) take on very talented Filipino fighter Dexter Alimento (13-2, 9) in a contest for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Light Flyweight title. Coming in to this Xiang is on a 5 fight winning run having claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title in 2016. He has come up short against some decent fighters in the past, such as Macrea Gandionco and Ben Mananquil, but a decision win over Mananquil in their second bout shows his ability.
Also on this card is a 10 rounder between once beaten local hopeful Jian Wang (4-1) and Thai foe Yutthichai Wannawong (6-4, 5) for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Wang has scored back to back wins following a loss in a regional title bout. The Thai visitor lost his first 3 bouts, all in Japan, but has gone 6-1 (4) since then and claimed a Thai title on his way up. On paper this isn't the most interesting of bouts, but the Thai has a little bit of form and could make for an a decent test.
In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already
This Friday marks the first “Asign Bee” card, and what a card it looks like being with 3 really notable bouts, each featuring a man with world title experience.
The main event will see 2-time former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (29-2-2, 19) take on the once beaten Yushi Tanaka (19-1-3, 13) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Bantamweight title. The title was vacated last year by Kentaro Masuda, who seems set to turn his attention on regional titles, and we've got this intriguing match up as a result. Akaho will be favoured, he has fought at a higher level, holds the more notable wins and has fought in and around title level for years, but the 25 year old Tanaka will be hungry and will know that he has avoided the career harming wars that Akaho has frequently had.
In the chief support bout we'll see former WBO Bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda (32-2, 20) take on experienced Thai Mike Tawatchai (42-9-1, 25). Tomoki, fighting in Japan for the first time since December 2013, will be expected to over-come Tawatchai as he looks to begin a run towards Super Bantamweight gold, and will have eyes on the likes of IBF champion Yukinori Oguni. Talking about Oguni he actually stopped Tawatchai last year, in 5 rounds. Tawatchai has also suffered a relatively recent loss in Japan to Shingo Wake and will be looking to avenge a 2012 loss to Tomoki's older brother Daiki Kameda. Highly experience Tawatchai isn't a terrible fighter, but shouldn't be much of a test for Kameda.
The third bout of note sees former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (31-6-2, 20), best known for twice dropping Guillermo Rigondeaux, taking on domestic foe Kinshiro Usui (27-4, 11) in a real must win for both men. Amagasa hasn't looked great in recent bouts, and it looks almost like his toughness is wearing down after damaging bouts with Rigondeaux, Patomsith Pathompothong, Josh Warrington and Carlo Demecillo. Usui is a former Japanese title challenger at Bantamweight and has mixed with good company himself, suffering losses to the likes of Kohei Oba, Ryosuke Iwasa and Takafumi Nakajima, but is riding a solid 6 fight winning streak and will be high on confidence coming into this bout.
Western Australia, Australia
We'll also see a number of Asian's fighting outside of Asia. One of those is Thai veteran Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-16, 6), who takes on former world champion Vic Darchinyan (42-9-1, 31) in Australia. The Thai is a very limited fighter, who has lost his last 3, but will be going up against a very shot Darchinyan, who is more than a year removed from his last win, and has been stopped in 4 of his last 7, dating back more than 3 years.
In the US we'll see once beaten Filipino hopeful Romero Duno (12-1, 11) take on the unbeaten Christian Gonzalez (16-0, 14) in a bout for the WBC Youth Intercontinental Lightweight title. This should be a genuinely exciting clash between two punchers, each looking to claim a title, and we'd be shocked if this one goes the distance. Between them the fighters have 25 stoppages from 29 fights and we'd be expecting both to go out swinging here.
Also in the USA we'll see American based Kyrgyzstan born Basyzbek Baratov (1-1-1) take on debut Tyrone Arzena (0-0). Baratov has had 3 very competitive bouts in his career so far, and could really be 0-0-3, but will be looking to add some consistency here and get some career momentum going in what will be his first bout in his adopted Pennsylvania.
The final Japanese show before Christmas is a wonderful card set to be shown on A-sign and features several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Middleweight champions colliding as Tomohiro Ebisu (16-4, 16) faces Makoto Fuchigami (23-11, 14) in a bout for the “interim” Japanese Middleweight title. The bout, caused by the accidental injury to regular champion Hikaru Nishida, is a must win for both men. Ebisu held the Japanese title in 2013, but lost it in his first defense and has failed to score a win of note since then. Although a big puncher Ebisu has been stopped 4 times and is viewed as a glass cannon. Fuchigami is technically a better boxer but has lost 5 of his last 9 and has shown the damage of his long career with his punch resistance fading. The winner of this is guaranteed at least another big bout down the road, but it's hard to see what will be next for the loser.
The most notable of the under-card bouts will see the highly experienced Motoki Sasaki (41-10-1, 25) battle against Yuki Kimura (6-8-1, 5) in a stay busy bout. The talented Sasaki has made it clear that he's now looking for a title bout, despite being in his 40's, a win here could help open doors for such an opportunity in 2017.
In another supporting bout we'll see former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (28-2-2, 18) battle against a limited Thai foe. Akaho will be looking to secure his third straight win since his 2nd round TKO loss to Pungluang Sor Singyu, back in August 2015, and will be looking for a much better performance than he had last time, when he squeaked past Hiroaki Teshigawara.
In a 6 rounder we'll see Ryusei Ishii (6-2, 4) take on debutant Kazu Tanaka (0-0). As with all B class debutants we're interested in seeing how Tanaka gets on here with the RK Kamata gym fighter seemingly having enough promise for his team to throw him in with a capable fighter like Ishii. As for Ishii he'll be looking for a second successive win in what will be his first 6 rounder.
This coming Tuesday sees attention turn back to Tokyo for the next show from the Korakuen Hall. The card, for those interested, will be featured on A-Sign giving fans a chance to see the bouts a day after they take place.
The main event of the card sees former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (27-2-2, 18) take on the once beaten Hiroaki Teshigawara (12-1-2, 6). Coming in to this Akaho is the #2 ranked Japanese Bantamweight contender, however he has only fought once in the last year and is only 14 months removed from a 2nd round KO loss to Pungluang Sor Singyu in a world title bout in Thailand. Teshigawara is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run coming in to this and will be high on confidence and looking for a career best win.
A really interesting looking supporting bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (9-2-1, 2) face the unbeaten Wataru Takeda (9-0-1, 3) in a rematch. These two met 3 years ago, fighting to a draw, and since then have both progressed nicely. Takahashi has claimed the 2014 Rookie of the Year and gone 9-1, with that sole loss being in a regional title fight to Andrew Moloney in Australia, whilst Takeda has gone 9-0 (3) and claimed the Rookie of the Year crown in 2015. This is a bout that is really intriguing and will go mostly over-looked despite having all the ingredients of a brilliant fight.
After a few quiet days in Japanese boxing the action returns to the Korakuen Hall for a Yokohama Hikari show featuring a former world title challenger and several interesting match ups.
The main event sees that former world title challenger, Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18) facing former foe Toyoto Shiraishi (25-9-3, 12) in a long awaited rematch. These two originally fought in 2009, with Akaho scoring a 9th round TKO win, and were supposed to fight last year but Akaho failed to make weight for that bout. Coming in to this one both men will know it's a must win, with both men having lost last time out, and neither can afford another slip up.
In a very good looking supporting bout the once beaten Hironobu Matsunaga (9-1, 4) will be up against former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-4, 5) in what is a really attractive looking bout. Sasaki has lost his last 3 but has the experience to give Matsunaga a real test in what looks like a very even bout.
A potentially explosive bout at Super Flyweight will see Masashi Odaira (6-5-2, 2) face off against the limited but gutsy Mako Matsuyama (7-10-2, 3). This might not get a lot of attention going in but it will surely be a real war.
Arguably the best bout on the card is a 6 rounder between Takahiko Suzuki (6-1, 4) and Ryota Ishida (5-1, 3). Both of these men are 20 years old and both and both will know that a win here has the potential to be a launch pad towards a major bout with a well known domestic foe. A brilliant match up and one where the two youngsters both deserve a lot of credit.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a regional title fight in Thailand, as Nawaphon Por Chokchai (33-0, 26) defends his WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title against Filipino Macrea Gandionco (11-2-2, 7). This should be a straight forward win for Nawaphon, who is looking to secure a world title fight later in the year.
The first really notable day of the month for Japanese fans comes on December 5th, a really busy day with name fighters in action across Asia.
In one of the most intriguing bouts fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (23-7, 10) battle against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-3-2, 7), in what is essentially a must win for Kawaguchi. The 28 year old former champion was stopped last time out against Takahiro Yamamoto, in a genuinely enthralling 7 round brawl, and will know that any except for a stellar performance here would leave his career in tatters. As for Tabuchi he's lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come in the 2014 Rookie of the Year and a 8 round loss to former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka. Hard to see Kawaguchi losing, but if he does he will have to consider his future.
Whilst Kawaguchi is fighting for his career it's fair to say that Kazuki Tanaka (3-0, 3) is merely fighting for recognition. The talented youngster, a former amateur stand out, takes a huge step up in class as he takes on GAB Bantamweight champion Monico Laurente (27-12, 6). Those in the know have suggested that Tanaka, 22, could be another of Japan's huge list of future stars however the youngster has been relatively untested so far. In Laurente we'll see Tanaka face a man with experience, grit, determination and skills, and we'd be very impressed if the youngster can really dominate here in what is a great step up in class.
Whilst Kawaguchi is a former OPBF champion we actually have a former world champion in action too as Shindo Go (15-3, 10), a former WBC female Flyweight champion, faces Suda Saknarong (0-0) in a stay busy bout. We're expect to see Go fight for a major title in 2016 however she's fighting this bout to shake off any ring rust after a frustrating year of inactivity, in fact she's only fought 3 rounds all year.
Technically the main event here will see Japan's Takayuki Okumoto (15-6-2, 6) take on unbeaten Filipino teenager Romel Oliveros (6-0-1, 1). The bout certainly isn't the most exciting on paper but it seems likely that Okumoto could get a Japanese title fight next year if he comes through this one unscathed. The home fighter has won his last 5, since suffering a stoppage loss more than 2 years ago to Rusalee Samor, whilst the visitor will, perhaps tellingly, be facing his first opponent with a winning record.
On a second Japanese card fans will again get a lot of good action, in fact the card is headlined by a 2-time world title challenger.
That aforementioned world title challenger is Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18), who was last seen in the ring being stopped, for the first time, by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The former OPBF champion will be looking to score his second win over Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-3, 12), who he stopped in their first meeting around 4 years ago. Since their first bout Akaho has had both of his world title tilts whilst Shiraishi has come up short in a pair of title fights, most notably a Japanese title fight against Teiru Kinoshita. This is likely to be another win for Akaho, though if it's not he will have to consider his future.
In supporting bouts on this card we have a trio of Japanese ranked fighters. The highest ranked of those is Light Middleweight contender Yuto Shimizu (10-2-2, 3) who has been in great form recently, scoring wins over Toru Chiba, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. Shimizu looks to continue his current 7 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Maxi Nahak (4-10-2, 1), from Indonesia. It's really hard to see anything but a Shimizu win here, and hopefully he'll get a title shot in 2016.
On paper the most attractive match up involving a ranked fighter, other than the main event where Shiraishi enters as a ranked fighter, comes at Super Flyweight where the JBC ranked Yuta Matsuo (8-2-1, 5) takes on southpaw Yota Hori (12-4-2, 7) in a really solid match up. Coming into this Matsuo is 3-2-1 in his last 6, though held his own in a split decision loss to Ardin Diale in one of those defeats.
The other ranked fighter is Hironobu Matsunaga (7-1, 3), who us ranked at 147lbs. Matsunaga will be risking his ranking against Shiro Saito (7-5-2, 2). Matsunaga's most notable bout to date is his loss, which came in last year's Rookie of the Year final against Yuki Beppu, and whilst that was a blow out he's cetainly proven himself since with a very good win over Hisao Narita. Saito on the other hand has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, and was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Moon Hyun Yun in a loss that may play on his mind coming into this one.
In Thailand fans will have a chance to see Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (1-0, 1) who will be up against Indonesian fighter Suparyanto Doglo (7-2-1, 4). Waseem, who won the Korean Super Flyweight title on his debut, will be looking to continue his perfect start to life as a professional and it seems likely that if he wins again here he could be moved into regional title fights in 2016, with the PABA title a very real target for 2016.
We're unsure but we think the same card will feature two televised bout as well as the Waseem bout. One of those, set to be shown on Channel 7, will see Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (33-1-2, 18) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Julias Kisarawe (21-2, 11) in what looks to be a brilliant match up on paper, something we can't say often enough about Thailand. Sadly whilst the bout does “look” good it's likely to be a mismatch with Kisarawe's opposition so far being relatively appalling, in fact it sort of resembles a Thai record with very little experience share between his opponents.
The other bout will see former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (57-2, 38) battle against Nattapol Sithsaithong (0-2) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Chonlatarn, who won't be given a test here.
To end the day our attention will turn to Mexico where Japan's Hurricane Futa (20-5-1, 11) faces off against former multi-weight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (58-10, 49). This is a really tough ask for Futa though we'll be honest and say that Gonzalez did look really bad last time out, losing a decision to Jonathan Oquendo, and this may be the perfect time to face him.
To end the week we get a genuinely busy day with action all across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we get a WBO Bantamweight title fight between hard hitting Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) and Thai veteran Punluang Sor Singyu (50-3, 34), who is hoping to become a 2-time world champion. On paper it's hard to bet against Akaho, who is big, strong and hits like a mule, however no Japanese fighter has ever won a world title bout in Thailand and it could well be a case of history repeating it's self here.
Also on this show will be two other title bouts. One of those will see Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (55-2, 36) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he battles Indonesian visitor Boido Simanjuntak (18-28-1, 7) in what is a clear mismatch. The visitor enters this bout 0-14 on his trips to Thailand whilst Chonlatarn is unbeaten in his homeland and has only lost to world class ighters.
The other title bout will see the once beaten Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (31-1-2, 16) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title as he continues to rebuild following his 2014 loss to Chinese star Zou Shiming.
Whilst the biggest bout of the day is in Thailand the best card is actually in Dubai as ALA return to the oil rich emirate and show case some of their most exciting fighters.
The most exciting of the fighters on this card is the unbeaten Super Bantamweight hopeful Albert Pagara (23-0, 16). The 21 year old “Prince” Albert will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against Mexican challenger Jesus Rios (31-7-1, 25), who is expected to supper his 8th stoppage loss. Given the ability of Pagara we would like to see him step up in a class but that was never likely on this particular card
Albert's older brother Jason Pagara (35-2, 22) will also be in action as he battles Ramiro Alcaraz (15-4-1, 9) in what amounts to a 10 round stay busy contest at a contracted 143lbs. The bout is really little more than a ticking over bout for Pagara who is world ranked by the WBO and could potentially get a world title fight sooner rather than later.
One other notable name on this card is Jimrex Jaca (39-8-4, 22) who battles 24 year old foe Pablo Lugo Montiel (21-5, 17). On paper this looks a lot tastier than than the other two major bouts however Montiel has gone 4-4 in his last 8 and going through his record shows that he hasn't scored a win of any real note so far
There will also action at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo where fans get the chance to see several crossroad bouts.
The most exciting bout on the card will see former Japanese title contenders collide in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator at 122lbs. In one corner is Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5-1, 7), who was recently held to a draw by current champion Yukinori Oguni, whilst in the other corner will be Yasutaka Ishimoto (25-8, 7), who was narrowly beaten by Oguni last year. This bout may not be one that gets international attention but the winner will be regarded as a fringe contender on the world scene and could well end up getting a national title fight next year before a possible step up to a world title fight at some point. This will be a relatively tactical affair but a very good fight all the same.
Another intriguing match up on this card is a rematch of a Japanese Middleweight contest that is a must win for both men. In one corner for this bout is the criminally under-rated Hikaru Nishida (12-7-1, 4) who looks to score his second win over former OPBF and Japanese champion Makoto Fuchigami (21-10, 12), who is best known for his loss in a world title bout to Gennady Golovkin. On paper it's easy to back Fuchigami but in their first meeting Nishida won a unanimous decision and has gone 6-1 in his last 7 whilst Fuchigami has struggled for form with 4 losses in his last 6.
On the under-card there are two novices who are expected to receive notable attention. One of those is the unbeaten Kohei Kashino (2-0, 1), who battles Hizuki Saso (4-1), and the other is Riyako Goshi (3-3), who faces Chie Higano (3-3). Kashino is, from what we understand, a highly qualified young man who is attempting to make his name in boxing whilst Goshi is a model known for risque pictures, and always seems to get more attention than her talent deserves.
We also have two bouts in Australia featuring Asian fighters.
The most notable of those fights is a PABA Light Welterweight title fight that sees the talented Czar Amonsot (28-3-3, 17) battle against Indonesian fighter Rusmin Kie Raha (14-7-2, 3). It's hard to see what Raha has to really test Amonsot but the Filipino has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this bout.
Another Filipino in action on this card is Roberto Lerio (16-21-1, 6) who looks to upset the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (7-0, 5) in a bout for the Australian Super Bantamweight title. Lerio, who is based in Australia, is the clear under-dog but will know that a win here will open up some really good opportunities for him in Mexico.
(Image courtesy of www.onesongchai.com)
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)