The main chunk of action this coming Sunday is from Kanagawa as Fuji TV put on a world title double header, with a couple of notable prospects packing out the under-card.
The headline bout of this show will see WBA Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (13-1, 10) make his first defense, as he battles Italian veteran Emanuele Felice Blandamura (27-2, 5), who is getting his first world title fight at the age of 38. Murata won the title last year, when he stopped Hassan N'Dam in their second meeting, and looked sensational doing it, literally picking and breaking N'Dam down through 7 rounds. The Japanese fighter has already been linked to a summer defense against Esquiva Falcao but will be aware that Blandamura is no push over. The Italian is a former European champion who has only lost to world class fighters, in Billy Joe Saunders and Michel Soro, and should give Murata some real questions. Blandamura has solid speed, timing and skills and should force Murata into showing something new here, but the challenger hasn't shown the best chin and that will likely be his down fall here, because Murata can certainly punch.
The other world title fight will see WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-0, 15) defending his title against Nicaraguan challenger Cristofer Rosales (26-3, 17. For Higa this bout not only serves as his 3rd defense but will also see him, potentially, set a Japanese record for the most successive stoppages, a record that he tied earlier this year when he stopped Moises Fuentes. The youngster from Okinawa has been a destructive force since his 2014 debut and and another win here will likely see him begin the hunt towards a Super Flyweight title. As for Rosales, the Nicaraguan has never been stopped and has only been beaten by Keyvin Lara, Khalid Yafai and Andrew Selby, with all 3 men having some problems with the Nicaraguan. Coming in to the Rosales has won his last 3, since the loss to Seby, including a win over the tricky Martin Tecuapetla and a big win in Italy against Mohammed Obbadi. This looks likely to be Higa's hardest fight so far, but a win will really legitimise him as a world class talent.
A notable prospect on this card is Junto Nakatani (14-0, 11), the Japanese Youth Flyweight champion. The unbeaten 20 year old, who went 4-0 (3) last year will be going up against WBC world ranked Mario Andrade (13-6-5, 3). On paper this is a huge step up in class for Nakatani, but he has looked sensational for the most part, with only Masamichi Yabuki and Yuma Kudo even testing the youngster so far. Andrade has a rather weird looking record, though much of that weirdness has come from a bizarre 3-5-4 start to his professional career. Since that odd started he has gone 10-1-1 with a win against Masayuki Kuroda, a draw against Oswaldo Novoa and a loss to Jesus Silvestre. This should be a really good test for Nakatani and win will put him on the fast track to a title fight.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Rookie of the Year Shawn Oda (7-0, 7), who takes on Filipino foe Roldan Aldea (12-4-1, 6). The talented Oda is one of Japan's most promising Lightweights and at just 19 years old he looks to be well on his way to mixing at title level in the near future. So far his 7 fight career has lasted just 17 combined rounds and he is a pure natural puncher. Aldea on the other hand has been stopped in 3 of his 4 losses, and was taken out in December 2016 by Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov. Despite lacking toughness Aldea has stopped his last 2 and will have some momentum coming into this one.
There inst much action of note in Yamaguchi, but fans will see the exciting and heavy handed Teiru Atsumi (13-2, 6) return to the ring for his first bout since his 2017 loss to Shingo Kawamura. The loss to Kawamura ended Kawamura's 7 fight winning run, which featured 5 stoppages including wins over Sho Nakazawa and Burning Ishii, and we expected to see the Japanese based Korean out to make a statement as he faces Katsuhiko Kanno (10-10-7, 4). Kanno has a lot of losses but he's only been stopped once in 27 bouts and should prove to be the tough foil that Atsumi needs to make a statement against.
In the main of a card in Mie fans will see Yuto Nakamura (7-4, 6) challenge OPBF ranked Bantamweight Tetsu Araki (10-1-1, 2) in what could be one of the unheralded bouts of the day. The 21 year old Nakamura is a gutsy youngster who gave the under-rated Matcha Nakagawa a good test last year, and has only close decisions other than that loss. Araki on the other hand is riding a 6 fight winning run, but does lack any real quality in terms of his wins and could be given a surprisingly tough test here.
Another potentially good bout on this show will see the once beaten Shuma Sugawara (4-1, 3) take on Yudai Imada (6-2-3, 3) in a solid and competitive 6 rounder. Both men have some power, and both have ambition so this should make for a very hotly contested contest.
This coming Sunday attention turns to Tokyo, with a world title triple header from the Kokugikan.
The biggest of the bouts is a rematch between Ryota Murata (12-1, 9) and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam (36-2, 21), with the Japanese fighter seeking to avenge his sole defeat and claim the WBA Middleweight title. These two fought back in May, with N'Dam winning a very controversial split decision over Murata, in a bout that many felt the Japanese fighter had clearly won, especially given that he dropped the Frenchman and had him rocked a number of times.
In another interesting match up we'll see WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (13-0, 13) defending his title for the first time as he takes on French challenger Thomas Masson (17-3-1, 5). The champion won the title back in May when he stopped Juan Hernandez in very impressive fashion to continue his perfect stoppage run. Masson on the other hand is fighting above European level for the first tine, having twice been a European champion. The challenger will be the taller, and longer man, and will be looking to fight at range, but this is a huge step up for him.
The third title bout on the show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (10-0, 5) defending his belt against mandatory challenger Pedro Guevara (30-2-1, 17), himself a former champion. The champion won the title back in May when he narrowly out pointed Ganigan Lopez and will seeking to continue his rise here against a very talented former champion. As for Guevara the bout will see him return to Japan to try and reclaim the title that he lost to Yu Kimura, also in Japan.
A fourth bout of note on this show will see Ryuto Owan (2-0, 2) take on fellow puncher Alvin Medura (5-1, 5) in a bout which should be an explosive encounter. Both guys can bang and both will be in there looking to secure their biggest win to date. Owan, has stopped his first 2 foes in a combined 3 rounds and will be stepping up in a big way here, whilst Medura has had 15 combined career rounds, with his 5 wins coming in just 9 combined rounds.
A much smaller Japanese show will be held in Tottori, where there is only really two fights of any note.
One of those is the main event, which will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) take on a Thai foe, in his first bout since vacant the Japanese title, which he only won in March. Nishitani's opponent shouldn't be much of a threat, though we will admit we would have preferred to have seen him in with a domestic foe rather than a limited visitor.
The other will see former world title challenger Mika Iwakawa (6-5-1, 2) fight for the first time since coming up short against Yunoka Furukawa in a bout for the WBA Atomweight title. Like Nishitani she will be up against a Thai foe, and will be expected to pick up an easy win en route to bigger and better things.
Another small Japanese card will take place in Okayama and will be head lined by a low key match up between Kota Fujimoto (6-2, 2) and Kenta Sugimoto (11-10-2, 1). On paper this looks like a probable win for the 19 year old Fujimoto, but he has lost his last 2 bouts and his early career momentum has come to a screeching halt. Although his record might not show it Sugimoto is a real potential banana skin and he holds notable wins over Tetsuya Hisada and Shunji Nagata, showing that there is a good fighter there, and he shouldn't be over-looked against Fujimoto.
New South Wales, Australia
We'll see another notable Japanese fighter in title action in Australia, as the Ryuji Hachimitsu Ikeda (12-3-2, 8) takes on Darragh Foley (12-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Oceania, WBC “interim” Asian Boxing Council and WBO Oriental Light Welterweight titles. The bout looks a really good one on paper and should see two well matched fighters going up against each other in a potentially explosive bout, with both men having enough bang to hurt the other.
Also on this card fans will see Thai Pakdee Tor Buamas (11-7-1, 7) take on the once beaten Ben Savva (7-1, 2), in a bout for the lightly regarded vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight Title. Interestingly the Thai is unbeaten in his last 4, albeit at a very low level, and does have some momentum coming in to this one. He is however up against a man who has won his last 6 and has shown some promise, even if he's not looking like a future world champion in the making.
This coming weekend sees boxing take over in Tokyo with 5 world title fights spread over 2 days thanks to Fuji TV who are set to give us one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory. It kicks off on Saturday with a trio of world title fights on a show promoted by Teiken
The most significant of the fights sees French based Middleweight Hassan N'Dam (35-2, 21) battle against Japanese gold medal winner Ryota Murata (12-0, 9) in a bout for the WBA “regular” Middleweight title. For N'dam, who is best known for losing to Peter Quillin and David Lemieux, the bout gives him a third shot to hold a “full” title, after several reigns as an interim champion, and he does seem very confident in build up to the fight. For Murata the bout is a chance to mark his name in history as the first Japanese fighter to claim and Olympic and World titles and become just the second Japanese fighter to claim a Middleweight world title. Of all the bouts this weekend this is probably the most significant and the most interesting.
Talking about interesting it's worth nothing that the card features a mouth watering Flyweight title bout as WBC champion Juan Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25) takes on Japanese destroyer Daigo Higa (12-0, 12). The bout will be a mandatory for the Mexican champion whilst Higa looks to claim a world title at the age of 21, and keep alive his incredible stoppage run. The bout looks set to be something a little bit special with both being very talented and having a nice mix of styles, which should lead to a thrilling war.
The other title fight on this show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (28-6, 17) defending his title against former WBC Youth, Japanese and OPBF champion Ken Shiro (9-0, 5). The champion is a true grizzled veteran and has looked great in recent wins over Yu Kimura and Jonathan Taconing, with the Kimura win coming in Japan, but at 35 he is ancient for a Light Flyweight and is significantly older than Ken Shiro who will have a real advantage in youth. The bout will be Lopez's second defense and will be Ken Shiro's first bout at world level.
Whilst much of the attention for the day will be on Tokyo it won't be the only place with a world title fight, as Aichi also hosts a world title fight. Sadly whilst the Tokyo card will receive a lot of major press across Japan and looks set to be televised in a number of major markets it
looks like this will only be shown on CBC.
The headline bout of this show, and the world title bout, will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (8-0, 5) making his first defense of the title as he takes on monstrous Puerto Rican puncher Angel Acosta (16-0, 16). The bout is a mandatory defense for Tanaka and looks like a great match up on paper as the talented and speedy champion takes on a massive puncher, with both men looking not only to walk away as champion but to also keep their unbeaten records. It's hard not to feel that Tanaka's experience at world level will be the difference here. But it's clear that Acosta has power and we have seen Tanaka down before, against heavy handed Filipino Vic Saludar, and Acosta could build a gameplan on Saludar's success.
Another unbeaten man on this card is Kento Hatanaka (2-0, 2), the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka. The youngster will be taking part in a 6 rounder against an unknown Thai as he looks to continue his perfect start to professional boxing. The 18 year old has needed just 3 rounds to take out two domestic foes so far and will be looking for something similarly impressive here.
Also up against a Thai visitor will be 2-time Japanese Bantamweight challenger Yushi Tanaka (19-2-3, 13), who will be in an 8 rounder. Tanaka was last seen losing to Ryo Akaho in March, though put in a credible effort and will be hoping to run off a series of wins to earn a third shot at the Japanese title. This however won't be a notable win and will instead be confidence builder for the Hatanaka man.
There is also set to be action in Indonesia, where three of the hottest young Indonesian fighters will be in action.
One of the bouts will see the unbeaten Tibo Monabesa (15-0-1, 7) taking on Arnold Garde (8-4-2, 3) in an interesting match up for a minor WBC title at Light Flyweight. The unbeaten man, now regarded as one of the 3 Indonesian fighters to keep an out on, is going to be strongly favoured here, but Garde won't have travelled to make up the numbers and this could be a good test for the unbeaten man.
Another local fighter in action is Defry Palulu (17-2-1, 12), who will be battling the experienced Nathan Bolcio (14-12-3, 4) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. This looks like a mismatch but Bolcio has mixed in good company and could prove to be a stiff test for the popular local.
Another of the standout Indonesian hopefuls in action is 20 year old Iwan Zoda (13-2, 11), who will be up against domestic veteran Ical Tobida (13-23, 8). The bout will see Zoda return to action for the first time since a 7th round TKO loss to Robert Onggocan back in January and he'll clearly be fighting with intent to prove he is back to his best, following a rib injury.
In Korea the KBF will host a low key Rookie event, with very few details not note. We have been informed that the card will feature an 8 rounder, but other than that the details really are scarce.
Whilst big cards, with multiple noteworthy bouts, aren't rare in Japan it's rare to get a full card of notable and notable bouts. There is however one such card on December 30th when Ohashi put on a genuine super show with two world title bouts, two Olympic medal winners, several prospects and just one of those rare cards where everything looks to have significance...and that's despite the fact one of the key announced bouts for the show was actually cancelled due to an injury!
The main event of the card will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (11-0, 9) taking on former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (32-9-1, 13). This will be Inoue's most notable bout in 2 years, since he beat Omar Andres Narvaez to claim the title, and will see him hunting his 4th defense and most notable so far. For Kono this is a chance to prove he's still a world class Super Flyweight and potentially a chance to become a 3-time world champion.
In the chief main event of the show we see IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (24-5, 12) defending his title against Thailand's Samartlek Kokietgym (35-5, 12), who is best known for being stopped by the aforementioned Naoya Inoue in 2014. Yaegashi will be seeking his second defense of the title and will know that a win will lead him to about with interim champion Milan Melindo in 2017. A win for the challenger would be a shock and it would genuinely shake up the 108lbs division.
The chief support bout behind the double main event will see 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata (11-0, 8) fight against the once beaten Bruno Sandoval (19-1-1, 15). For Murata this bout is the next step forward as his team continue to pursue a 2017 fight with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, of the UK. Whilst Sandoval is a live opponent he hasn't really proven his worth and could well be an easy target for Murata, who has shown real improvement in recent bouts and with his heavy hands there is genuine potential.
Another major under-card bout will see the once beaten Ryo Matsumoto (17-1, 15) face off with his sole conqueror Victor Uriel Lopez (10-5-1, 4). This rematch was announced earlier in the year but cancelled as Matsumoto required surgery for a serious medical issue, the same issue that reared it's head in the first bout with Lopez. Now, supposedly healed, Matsumoto is looking for revenge whilst Lopez is looking to prove that Matsumoto's medical woes weren't the only reason for the result in the first bout.
In a relatively interesting bout we'll see former world title challenger Ryuji Hara (20-2, 12) battle with Hiroya Yamamoto (10-4, 4). Hara is looking to get his career back ion the right track after a 2-2 record in is last 4, and should be too good for Yamamoto however the under-dog is a 2-time Japanese title challenger, having come up short to Go Odaira and Takuya Fukuhara, and is certainly a live under-dog here.
Naoya isn't the only fighter from the Inoue clan on this card, as his cousin Koki Inoue (5-0, 4) takes on his biggest test to date, Futoshi Usami (14-2-1, 11). Inoue is touted as another world champion in the making but this is a credible test for the Kanagawa man, especially given that Usami fought for the OPBF Lightweight title in 2014, and went the 12 round distance with the world ranked Masayoshi Nakatani.
Another unbeaten prospect on this card is 20 year old hopeful Andy Hiraoka (7-0, 4), who fights for the second time as an Ohashi fighter. The talented youngster will be up against Indonesian journeyman Naty Yongraksa (0-0), in what should be a straight forward win for the local star. The visitor is 1-5-1 in his last 7 and it's hard to see what he has to really Hiraoka.
The second Olympian on the show is 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (1-0, 1), who takes a huge step up in class to take on Filipino Carlo Demecillo (6-3, 1). Whilst this is a big step up for Shimzu from his debut it should be noted that Demecillo struggled to win a round recently when he took in Hisashi Amagasa, back in October. Demecillo should give Shimizu some resistance, but the bout should be a win for the Japanese local
The most significant bouts featuring Asian fights this Saturday both come from a stacked card in Las Vegas where Bob Arum is putting on a bumper show with several good looking bouts, including a mouth watering world title unification fight.
The most interesting bout with an Asian interest on this card will see China's IK Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) face off against Leonardo Zappavigna (34-2, 24) in an IBF Light Welterweight eliminator. The bout looks almost certain to be a thriller with both fighters having serious flaws and being relatively free swinging. Of the two Zappavigna is the more proven however Yang is the bigger puncher and has the toughness that should help him to a very competitive victory.
The other Asian fighter on this card is Japanese Middleweight contender Ryota Murata (10-0,7) who takes on the much more experienced George Tahdooahnippah (34-2-3-2, 24) in what will be Murata's second bout Stateside. Murata failed to shine on his US debut, when he beat Gunnar Jackson, but should manage to look here against an opponent who has little to threaten him. Another other than an impressive victory will seriously harm Murata's hopes of becoming a star in the US.
It's not just in the US where we get some interesting match ups with Asian fighters as Singapore hosts a very intriguing card.
In the main event of the show fight fans will see promising Uzbek Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (7-0, 5) face off against once beaten Filipino Adones Cabalquinto (23-1, 15) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. The very talented Abduqaxorov has impressed so far in his career but this is a very credible step up and a win will put him on the boxing map. For Cabalquinto the bout is a must win with many criticising his career after a good start, with him facing a string of limited opponents.
In an interesting all Filipino bout Jeson Umbal (10-5, 7) will be up against Mark Anthony Geraldo (33-6-3, 15) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Geraldo has lost 2 of his last 4, though was closing in on a world title fight before those losses. He will be favoured over Umbal, though knows that another loss will be the end of his hopes as a contender. Interestingly this will be the second time these two men have fought this year, with Geraldo beating Umbal back in February.
A really testing bout will see former amateur stand out Azizbek Abdugofurov (2-0, 2) battle against Thailand's Chaloemporn Singwancha (17-0, 13) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title. The 24 year old Abdugofurov is a hotly tipped Uzbek prospect but this is a monstrous step up for a guy who only debuted in May! The Thai will be favoured on paper but is is one of his first bouts with a guy actually facing him with the intention of winning, and that's without mentioning that Abdugofurov was a very accomplished amateur fighter.
Another title bout will see Muhamad Farkhan (1-0, 1) face off with Indonesian Elly Pangaribuan (4-7-2, 1) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Cruiserweight title. We like Farkhan's desire to win a title at such an early stage but the WBC really should explain why either guy is fighting for any sort of belt here.
One other bout of note sees our Canadian friend Ryan Ford (6-0, 4) in action for the first time since he beat Thailand's Manus Boonjumnong. The unbeaten Canadian will be up against Malaysian Muhammad Meeraj (2-0) in what should be an interesting bout. Ford will certainly be favoured but it seems that Meeraj should be the bigger fighter in the ring and could pose serious questions to the aggressive Canadian.
We also have title action in Indonesia where fans get two title fights.
One of those is for the Indonesian Featherweight title and will see the experienced James Mokoginta (30-18-3, 17) battle against Gusti Elnino (3-9, 1). This looks like a straight forward win for Mokoginta however he's certainly beatable and has lost 3 of his last 6.
The other title fight will see Ruben Manakane (17-16-1, 11) battle against Marten Kisamlu (3-6,1) - Indonesian Super Bantamweight title. This is a very competitive bout, despite the huge different in the records, and should be a genuinely compelling match of up for the fans in Jakarta.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
This weekend sees our attention to to Hong Kong where a number of notable names are in action on a card that will see several fighters looking to take a notable step forward.
The star of the card for local fans will be Hong Kong's very own Rex Tso (18-0, 11), who looks to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-5-1, 21). On paper it's hard to see Bae win, especially given the way Wanheng Menayothin stopped him, but he's a step up in many ways from some of Tso's opponents, and will be looking to upset the local star. Given the styles of the two men this will almost certainly be very fun to watch, but we think natural size advantage will be the difference between these two.
Tso isn't the only notable fighter on this card, nor is he the only fighter looking to move towards a world title. Another man in a similar position is Japan's Ryota Murata (9-0, 6), who looks to secure his 10th win as he battles once beaten Brazilian fighter Felipe Santos Pedroso (13-1, 11). A win is expected from Murata but he'll be hoping to avoid any sort of injury as there is serious talk about him fighting in July in the US on a major card, possibly in a world title eliminator.
Another promising fighter, though one way lower down in his career, is Macau's promising Kuok Kun Ng (8-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Thailand's Weerachit Kitee (7-8-2, 7). It's hard to see Ng losing given what we have seen of him in the past, though we're hoping to see him show signs of development as he has shown some genuine potential.
In an interestingly matched bout Li Quan Lin (6-1-1, 2) will face the unbeaten Thai Campee Phayom (9-0, 7). Both of these men are teens, both are essentially stepping up, though Lin did face Terdsak Kokietgym on his debut back in 2012, and both will know that winning this will push their career forward. This really could be the best bout of the card.
As well as the card in Hong Kong there will also be a show in Kazakhstan.
In the main event the unbeaten Bekman Soylybayev (8-0, 3), who will be making his Kazakhstan debut, will be facing the more experienced Nikoloz Kokashvili (17-3-1, 7), for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. So far Soylybayev has made his career in Ukraine and the US but should be more than capable to pick up a win here. Interestingly Kokashvili, a Georgian fighter, has lost his sole fight outside of his home land, being stopped by Vladimir Tikhonov in Estonia earlier this year.
In a supporting bout the once touted Roman Zhailauov (15-2, 9) will be facing Nikoloz Gviniashvili (15-5-3, 11), in an 8 rounder. The bout sees the 21 year old Zhailauov returning to Kazakhstan for the first time in 2 years, and will be looking to bounce back following back-to-back defeats in South Africa.
In a 6 rounder fans will be able to see Heavyweight hopeful Ruslan Myrsatayev (1-0, 1) face off against Farruh Madaminov (1-4-1, 1) On his debut Myrsatayev scored an opening round win, and will hopefully be stepping up shortly, something that really is needed given he's in his 30's already.
Another notable bout on this card will see the promising Ali Akhmedov (0-0) make his debut. The 20 year old Akhmedov will be up against Siarhei Krapshyla (4-12-2, 3) and we've been told Akhmedov has a lot of potential and could well be another Kazakh to watch out for.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the wonderfully named Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (3-0, 2) face debutant Ahmet Kayretli (0-0). This should see the Maryland based Kazakh pick up a 4th straight win.
This coming Saturday is a very busy day in Asian boxing circles with a lot of fighters in action, particularly in China.
The most notable the shows comes from Shanghai where fight fans will get the chance to see a number of big names in action.
The main event sees former world title challenger Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) fight for the first time since he lost to Amnat Ruenroeng last March. The Chinese fighter looks to be in tough against 21 year old Brazilian puncher Natan Santana Coutinho (12-0, 10) but the reality is that Coutinho is unlikely to pose many threats to the Chinese fighter, and as we know Brazilians have regularly had padded puncher's records with little in terms of real skill.
Shiming, a 2-time Olympic champion, isn't the only Olympic Gold medal winner on this card as Japan's Ryota Murata (8-0, 5) battles against Argentinian Gaston Alejandro Vega (24-10-1-1, 10). This should be a straight forward win for Murata but the Japanese Middleweight will need a good performance if he's to move closer to a world title fight later in the year. Unfortunately Murata failed to shine last year on his US debut, against Gunnar Jackson, and cannot afford another less than impressive performance here.
Other bouts on this card include a Super Middleweight bout between Zulpikar Maimaitiali (5-0-1, 3), one of the most exciting prospects in China, and Australian visitor Steve Moxon (5-2, 4) and a bout featuring former WBA "interim" Light Flyweight title challenger Ma Yi Ming (12-6, 7), who is fighting for the first time since he was blitzed by Randy Petalcorin.
Sadly however a bout at 140lbs between former world title challenger IK Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) and unbeaten Thai Chalermpol Singwancha (16-0, 12) has been cancelled following an injury in training suffered by Yang.
A second show in Shanghai, also promoted by Bob Arum, will see novices in action as part of the Fists of Fury cards, which are hoping to help develop more home grown talents.
One potential star in action is 21 year old puncher Alimu Wushouer (5-0, 5) who will be fighting against Jin Sheng Zhang (1-0-2). Wushouer, from Xinjiang, blew out 5 opponents last year in a combined 7 rounds and will be hoping to notch up another quick win as he faces an unbeaten 17 year old.
Another puncher putting his unbeaten record on the line is Abulimiti Tuersunniyazi (3-0, 3) who puts his perfect record on the line against Yangcheng Jin (0-1-2). This should be a 4th straight win for Tuersunniyazi who could be a real hidden gem.
Staying in China fight fans will get the chance to see Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (11-0, 11) battle against Argentinian visitor Juan Pedro Guglielmetti (7-4, 5). Junlong may be the best of the Chinese Heavyweights, and wins over Jason Gavern and Shawn Cox, are pretty notable. Sadly though fighting solely in China and missing out on the Top Rank cards will be doing Junglong more harm than good and it's unlikely he'll get to have a genuinely big fight.
On the same card the once beaten Wang Kun (3-1, 1) will face experienced Filipino Cristian Abila (13-18-4, 4). Abila, who has been a professional for more than 6 years, has been racking up losses recently but can turn in solid performances, as he did last year against Nino Magboo, and is a threat to the rising Kun, who looks to build on a big win over Romeo Jakosalem last year.
A Korean show, sanctioned by the KBF, will feature a number of bouts, sadly though the specific details of the card are scarce with only confirmed bout being a 6 rounder featuring Mongolian youngster Joldasbyek Tagtyanal (0-0), a 20 year old from Ulaanbaatar. From what we under-stand he will be facing a local Korean fighter but sadly the specific details really are lacking here.
Outside of Asia, and in the US, fight fans get the chance to see the American debut of former OPBF Lightweight title challenger Ricky Sismundo (30-8-2, 13). The under-rated Japanese based Filipino is in a tough one as he takes on fringe contender Jose Felix Jr (32-1-1, 25). On paper the bout is a mismatch, with Felix being much hiugher regarded that Sismundo however the Filipino is far better than his record indicates and comes in on a 5 fight unbeaten run, including wins over Yoshitaka Kato, Akihiro Kondo and Shuhei Tsuchiya. This really could be a good one if Sismundo can handle the power of Felix early on.
Staying in North America fans will get the chance to see Filipino Leonardo Doronio (15-11-3, 10) battle against the charismatic Nery Saguilan (36-5-1, 13). The bout, for the WBC Latino Lightweight title, looks like a mismatch but the bout is a huge opportunity for Doronio who holds notable wins against the likes of Taiwo Ali, Al Rivera and Burning Ishii.
Fans in Kazakhstan also get some notable action.
Among the bouts in Almaty is the debut of former amateur stand out Ruslan Myrsatayev (0-0), who faces the win-less Valery Zamiralov (0-3). Myrsatayev made his name back in 2007 when he went to the World Amateur Championships, and continued to make a name for himself at the 2008 Olympics. Sadly, aged 30, this could be a case of waiting too long to go pro however he was impressive in WSB.
November 7th-Murata, Obara and Higa make it a day for Japanese bangers, Islam and Zhakiyanov add a Kazakh twist
This coming Saturday is an amazing day for Asian fight fans who will get the chance to see some of Japan's hardest hitters, two of which will be in action in the US!
The most notable of those two US debut's for Japanese fighters comes in Nevada where Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata (7-0, 5) risks his unbeaten record against Gunnar Jackson (22-6-3, 8). On paper this is a step up Murata however the bout is more about getting the US fans interested in him rather than really testing himself against world level opposition. A win for Murata would likely see him return to the US next year for a more notable bout, perhaps against a former champion or world title challenger.
We see another Japanese fighter make their US debut as the heavy handed, and genuinely fun to watch, Keita Obara (15-1, 14) takes on Nicaraguan warrior Walter Castillo (26-3, 19). For Obara this is a chance to prove himself internationally and move towards a potential world title fight, with this bout serving as an IBF eliminator, however Castillo is himself a man who knows that a win will change his career. We expect this one to be fun and full of heavy handed action but it will be a serious test for Obara.
On the same card we will also see Kazakhstan's 154lb contender Kanat Islam (19-0, 16) who battles 34 year old Alexis Camacho (21-5, 19) in what looks like a bout unlikely to go the distance. This will be Camacho's first bout in more than a year and he really hasn't beaten anyone close to Islam's level, in fact he's best known for a loss to Carlos Molina than anything else. Although it looks good on paper this really should be a mismatch.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
More fighters fighting away from home will land in Monte Carlo where we have two Asian fighters in action.
One of those fighters is Kazakh Bantamweight Zhanat Zhakiyanov (25-1, 18) who faces WBA interim champion Yonfrez Parejo (17-1-1, 8) in what looks like a very good match up on paper. Of the two men it's the defending champion who looks like the more accomplished boxer however the Kazakh challenger certainly has the edge in power and will be looking to knock out out foe. For “ZZ” this could be his first, and last, chance at a world title and it's clear that his training will have been stepped up for this opportunity, however it is still a tough ask.
The other fighter of note is WBC Super Bantamweight silver champion Qiu Xiao Jun (18-2, 8) who defends his title against light punching Frenchman Amor Belahdj Ali (14-3-1, 2). On paper this looks well matched though the Chinese fighter has certainly been in good form recently and although he's crude he is powerful and is more proven than the Frenchman, who doesn't have names like Jonathan Baat and Silvester Lopez on his record.
We were also hoping to see Japan's Yosuke Kirima on this card but it appears that that bout is now off.
Staying in Europe for a moment, we will also Indian star Vijender Singh (1-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he faces 33 year old Dean Gillen (2-0) in a 4 rounder.
The major show in Asia comes from the Korakuen Hall where we get two bouts of note, including the first defense of a WBC Youth crown.
That youth defense comes at Flyweight where the all action Daigo Higa (7-0, 7) looks to defend his title against the under-rated Renren Tesorio (15-6-3, 4). For Higa, who won his title in Thailand this year in a thriller with Kongfah CP Freshmart, this is a great home coming and if he wins it's likely that he will move onto a Japanese or OPBF title fight next year before a potential world title bvout in the near future. For Tesorio it's a chance to win his most notable title and to get a win in Japan, following last year's narrow defeat to Toshiyuki Igarashi.
The other bout of interest here sees former Higa foe Cris Alfante (11-5, 4) return to Japan to face unbeaten teenage Ryuto Maekawa (10-0, 6) in what looks likely to be a tough test for the unbeaten man. This is a bout where we suspect the records don't really tell us the full story and Alfante is certainly the more proven fighter, despite losing to Higa, Florante Condes, Kongfah and Knockout CP Freshmart. This really could be the show stealing bout and has the potential to be an “upset”.
The only other Asian show is in China here Top Rank and SECA put on the next of their novice shows. The show, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, is another in Top Rank's attempt to create a thriving boxing scene in the Chinese mainland. Sadly not of the bout really have much to talk about though it does seem like an idea with genuine potential.
May looks likely to be one of the best boxing months of the and it takes absolutely no time to get under-way with exciting action almost from the off.
The Asian action for the month of May kicks off in Tokyo with a Fuji TV card from the Ota City gymnasium.
The main event here will see Japanese Middleweight star Ryota Murata (6-0, 4) battle against world ranked Brazilian foe Douglas Damiao Ataide (13-1-1, 6). This is a significant step up in class for Murata though he is still expected to take a win and continue to move towards a world title fight later in the year. From what we've seen of Ataide he does seem to have a style which could trouble Murata and this could well be a lot more competitive than many are suspecting.
Although the main event features Murata there is actually a world title fight on the card as WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) looks to record his 4th defense. In the opposite corner to Miura will be former IBF Featherweight champion Billy Dib (32-3, 29) who has sounded confident in the build up to the fight though appears to be a major under-dog against a very impressive and aggressive champion.
Another notable name in action on this card is former 2-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (20-5, 10) who makes his Super Flyweight debut in a bout against Songsaenglek Phosuwangym (1-11). This should be an easy win for Yaegashi though he has lost his last two bouts, suffering stoppages to Roman Gonzalez, in a Flyweight title bout, and Pedro Guevara, at Light Flyweight. Songsaenglek has previous experience of fighting in Japan, with 2 bouts in the country, though was stopped in both of those bouts.
On the under-card fans will also have the chance to see 2014 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year Ryohei Takahashi (5-1-1) in action as he faces the limited Hokuto Sakata (5-4-1, 3). This will be Takahashi's first bout since claiming the Rookie crown in December and he should be favoured here there he has shown a lack of power and has got question marks in regards to his chin.
Several hours after the action in Japan fans will get the chance to see Takahiro Ao (27-3-1, 12) attempt to add his name to an exclusive list of Japanese fighters who have claimed world titles in 3 weight classes. The Teiken fighter will be battling against Tough Mexican Raymundo Beltran (29-7-1, 17) in a bout for the vacant WBO Lightweight title with Beltran looking to claim a world title in his third attempt whilst Ao looks to become the third Japanese fighter to be a 3-weight champion. On paper this is a brilliantly matched bout between a technically capable but flawed boxer and an exciting and busy pressure fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The end of year run in begins this coming Tuesday with a show that may well be the best and most packed show this year. It features many of those who are regarded the future of Japanese boxing, 3 world title bouts and a very good OPBF title bout. All in all it's the sort of show every fight fan should have an interest in, even if they can't actually watch it.
The show kicks off with the world ranked Takuma Inoue (3-0, 1) battling against former world title challenger Nestor Daniel Narvaes (20-2-2, 9). For Inoue this is his biggest test so far though is, in some ways, only a small step up from his biggest win so far, a decision victory over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr back in April. Narvaes may be remembered by Japanese fans for giving Toshiyuki Igarashi a very tough test back in 2012 though since then the Argentinian has fought just twice and not looked great in either of those bouts. It is a step for Inoue but one he should pass if he's as good as touted.
In the second bout on the show we see another heavily touted Japanese prospect in action as Ryo Matsumoto (12-0, 10) attempts to claim his first professional title. Matsumoto, a former amateur standout, will be hoping to claim the OPBF Super Flyweight title as he battles against the world ranked Rusalee Samor (25-5-2, 11) of Thailand. Samor will be best known to many fans for his tight loss to Rex Tso in Macau and if he fights like that here we could be in for a great contest. Saying that however we expected Matsumoto to struggle against Denkaosan Kaovichit though took him early doors and he may be able to do the same here against Samor with his devastating body shots.
We go from one title fight to another, and the show's third bout will see former 2-weight world champion Jorge Linares (37-3, 24) attempt to claim the WBC Lightweight title as he takes on the limited, but heavy handed, Javier Prieto (24-7-2, 18). The bout looks like a mismatch and it's hard to see how Linares loses unless he does something stupid, sadly however we have seen Linares do something stupid in the past and he may well get caught here. For Linares this is a great opportunity to win a a 3rd divisional and we really can't see him getting a better chance any time soon.
The next bout will see 2012 Olympic Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (5-0, 4) in action as he battles against American Jessie Nicklow (24-4-3, 8). This is Murata's 4th bout of the year and his first since being take the distance by Adrian Luna Flores in September. Although Murata did go 10 rounds last time out we struggle to see Nicklow coping with the power or pressure of the Japanese fighter for long here and this could be over relatively early if Murata is in the mood to make a statement.
In the chief support bout fans are in for a treat as the always exciting Akira Yaegashi (20-4, 10) battles against Mexico's Pedro Guevara (23-1-1, 15) for the vacant WBC Light Flyweight title. This bout is a great opportunity for Yaegashi to become a 3-weight world champion though Guevara is talented himself and will not be flying around the world to just pick up a paycheck. Potentially this could be the fight of the night, and in fact we'd not be surprised if this was a very late contender for FOTY.
The main event will see Japanese youngster Naoya Inoue (7-0, 6) attempt to become a 2-weight world champion in just his 8th professional contest. Inoue will battle against Argentinian veteran Omar Andres Narvaez (43-1-2, 23) with Narvaez attempting to make the 12th defense of the WBO Super Flyweight title. The fight is intriguing to say the least and could end up being the passing of the torch from the 39 year old Narvaez to the 21 year old Inoue or, alternatively, it could a veteran proving that there is still life left in his legs despite his advanced age. The only thing that is clear about this bout is that it's going to answer a lot of questions about both men involved in it.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)