Metro Manila, Philippines
The most botable card in Asia is the next in the ESPN5 line of shows, stacked with prospects.
One of top prospects on the show is Jayson Mama (12-0, 6), who takes on former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-6-1, 26). The talented Filipino is a real talent and will be expected to win here, though the question is how he wins and how good he looks against the Thai veteran. Kwanthai was very good, once, but is a long way removed from his best years.
Another of the notable prospects in action here will see the all action Carl Jammes Martin (12-0, 11) take on unbeaten Indian visitor Rakesh Lohchab (6-0, 2). On paper this looks like a decent test for Martin, but in reality the Filipino youngster should pick up his next win with no problems. Martin is one of the sports true "made for TV" fighters and we suggest fans do all they can to catch every bout of his that they can.
In an all-Filipino show down we'll see the very highly regarded Dave Apolinario (10-0 6) take on the out of form Dexter Alimento (13-6, 9). Apolinario looks to be up there with the top prospects in Asia, and he should be too strong and too powerful for Alimento. Alimento's career once promised a lot, but it really has faltered in recent bouts and it's hard to know what he really has left.
In one other bout of note we'll see former world title challenger Randy Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22) take on Thai journeyman Worawatchai Boonjan (14-21-1, 13), aka Phupha Por Nobnom. This will be Petalcorin's first bout since losing to Felix Alvarado in an IBF Light Flyweight world title fight last October and will likely be little more than a confidence building win for the talented Filipino.
A second notable card this coming Sunday takes place in Hiroshima, Japan, and features a female OPBF title fight, and a couple of interesting, but low level, domestic bouts.
The main event of this show will see unbeaten teenager Eruka Hiromoto (4-0) taking on Korean foe Chan Mi Lim (4-6-1, 4) in a bout for the OPBF female Minimumweight title. The talented Hiromoto comes into this bout having already scored a win over Lim, just over a year ago, and will be hotly tipped to pick up the victory here and claim her first title. Lim has gone 2-1 since losing to Hiromoto in their first bout but is 0-2 on the road, having twice lost in Japan.
Another female bout on this card will see Yumi Narita (3-3-3, 1) battle Sana Hazuki (6-4-1, 2). Coming in to this both fighters are ranked by the OPBF and JBC, and will know that a win here could open the door to another title fight. We say another title fight as both women are, 0-1-1 in Japanese female title bouts, so both will be hoping to secure another shot and make it third time lucky.
One other female bout of note will see JBC ranked female Flyweights Sachiko Kondo (2-3-2) and Yume Hirayama (3-0) face off in a pretty good test for the 19 year old Kondo.
In a male Flyweight bout we'll see Taiyo Inoue (8-4-2, 5) take on Akira Kokubo (7-8-3, 2). Coming in to this Inoue is ranked by the WBO Asia Pacific , thanks to a win in November against Roland Jay Biendima, and will be risking that ranking here. On paper Inoue will be favoured, though it's worth noting that Kokubo has won 5 of his last 6, turning around a really bad start to his career.
As well as the shows in Asia there is also a show in Russia featuring several Asian fighters.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card is unbeaten Uzbek puncher Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14). Ergashev struggled last time out, narrowly over-coming Mykal Fox, and we're expecting him to have an easier time here against what appears to be a very late notice opponent
The other is Russian based Korean fighter He Su Khan (5-4-1, 1). Although Khan is 0-3-1 in his last 4 he has been unlucky in some of those set backs, and he is much, much better than his record suggests. At the time of writing Khan's opponent hasn't been named, though given how Khan has been facing fighters with better record we are hoping for him to get an easy win here.
This coming Monday Dangan put on their second “Victoriva” show, which took the role of Dangan Ladies. From that it should be clear that this will be an all female show, and it actually features a couple of female title fights.
The main event of the card will see Miyo Yoshida (9-1) take on Filipino foe Gretel de Paz (5-3, 2) in a bout for the vacant OPBF female Bantamweight title. The once beaten Yoshida has reeled off 5 straight wins, including a big win over Tomomi Takano for the Japanese female title, and looks to be getting better and better as she develops her in ring experience. As for de Paz she is pretty much a journey-woman, with her last 3 fights all taking place away from home. The visitor won last time out, against a debutant, but we can't see her beating the very in form Yoshida here.
The second title fight will see Japanese Atomweight champion Nanae Suzuki (6-2-1, 1) defending her belt against Akari Arase (6-4, 1), in what will be Suzuki's first defense of the title. Teh champion claimed the belt back in March, when she took a majority decision win over Sana Hazuki, in what was the second meeting between the two women. The 36 year old Arase is better than her record suggests, having ran Masae Akitaya close last year, but is no world beater and a win here would be her best win to date.
A supporting bout will see the aforementioned Sana Hazuki (6-3-1, 2) taking on the debuting Eri Matsuda (0-0) in a 6 round bout. As mentioned Hazuki has twice faced Suzuki in Japanese title fights, drawing once and losing a majority decision, showing that she is among the top domestic fighters at 102lbs. Matsuda on the other hand was a former amateur stand out who is jumping in at the deep end here. A win for Matsuda would see her announce herself on the national stage and be a huge way to kick off her career, but of course Hazuki is not there to make up the numbers.
Another supporting bout of note will see the once beaten Tomoko Okuda (4-1-1) battle against the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (5-0, 2). Okuda lost on her debut but has since gone 4-0-1 and moved into 6 rounders. Wakasa on the other hand has avoided a loss so far, but this will be her first 6 rounder. Interestingly neither fighter has a win of any real note so the winner here will have a career best win.
In the last few year's we've seen female boxing grow in the west, thanks to former amateur fighters like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. It's worth noting however that over the last few years Japan have had some all-female cards. The next one of those takes place this coming Thursday, and is the most stacked all-female card in Japanese history, with an incredible 6 title bouts, ranging from Japanese to world title bouts.
The main event is one of the two world title bouts, and will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) make her first defense, as she takes on Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). The Japanese fighter won the belt last May, in her 6th world title fight, and will be fully aware that a loss here will likely end her career, given that she's 42 years old. The Korean challenger is 32 and was once a very highly regarded fighter, but she comes into this bout after having not fought in over 2 years. At her best Park was a real talent, but with ring rust she may well not be the fighter she once was, or look like a fighter who has an active 16 fight unbeaten run.
The other world title fight promises to be something a bit special as the highly aggressive Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) battles Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten Minowa has spoke about winning world titles in a number of weight classes nut this will be her first world title fight and it's a genuinely tough one for the 30 year old former amateur standout. To date Minowa has mowed mowed through her first 5 foes in a combined 18 rounds and looked a truly spiteful force, but she is taking a huge step up in class here. Tsunami is a former WBA female Super Flyweight champion, holding that title for more than 3 years, and has fought a who's who of female boxing, often giving top fighters very tough fights. This could be something very exciting.
In an OPBF female Minimumweight title bout fans will see former world title challengers clash, with Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) battling Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3). It was Hanawa that was beaten by the aforementioned Ebata last year for the WBO title at this weight, and since then she has claimed the interim OPBF title. It's worth noting however that Hanagata is a 2-time OPBF champion who has come up just short in 4 world title bouts, and is hungry to get a 5th shot at at world honours.
In a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout fans will see Miyo Yoshida (8-1) make her first defense as she takes on Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2). The champion won the title last October when she narrowly out pointed Tomomi Takano and will be favoured to retain her title, but Johnson is better than her record suggests, and is much better than a typical fighter on a 6 fight losing run.
A Japanese Flyweight title bout will see the inaugural champion being crowned, as Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1). On paper Koseki looks the lesser of the two but she has mixed with good opponents, and has gone 1-1 with the aforementioned Yoshida. Ikemoto on the other hand hasn't faced anyone of any real note and is clearly stepping up a level here.
Another inaugural title will be the JBC female Atomweight class, which will be competed for between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1), who fought to a draw in a bout for this very same title back in December. On paper these two are very evenly matched, and the fact the judges failed to separate them last time out suggests this could be a very competitive contest again.