In Nevada we'll see Uzbek hopeful Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (10-1-1, 5) look to bounce back from a recent loss to Marquis Taylor. Rakhmanov will go up against the once beaten Jonathan Steele (8-1-1, 6) in what looks like an excellent match up. Both fighters will know that another loss, this early in their careers, is a massive set back, but they will also know that a win here gives them a bigger boost than facing some over-matched foe just to get a win.
The biggest show this coming Saturday is in California where we get a world title double header, and interestingly both of those world title fights have a link to Asian boxing with both bouts having an Asian born fighter, and one of the non-Asian's being promoted by Teiken promotions.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten Thai hopeful Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (38-0, 28) take on exciting Argentinian Lucas Martin Matthysse (38-4-0-1, 35) for the WBA Welterweight title. For Matthysse the bout is a huge opportunity to become relevant again at the world stage, more than 2 years removed from his loss to Viktor Postol back in October 2015. Matthysse has been a very popular fighter with an aggressive style and heavy hands, but it's hard to really know what he has left in the tank. The Thai is stepping up massively, but given the huge wins by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last year he'll feel he too can make a name for himself with a big win in the US. Teerachai has been in more than 30 title fights on the regional scene and whilst he hasn't beaten many fighters of note he has beaten fighters like Vladimir Baez, Larry Siwu and Kaizer Mabuza, who have all posed different questions for the Thai.
The other bout will see Teiken promoted Venezuelan Jorge Linares (43-3, 27) battle Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17), in Linares's latest WBA Lightweight title defense. The talented "El Niño de Oro" has been in great form recently, and is unbeaten in more than 5 years whilst picking up wins against the likes of Nihito Arakawa, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, but questions over his durability will remain with the 3 surprise stoppage losses linger over his head. For Gesta this is a second shot at a world title, following a bizarre performance against the then IBF champion Vazquez back in 2010, which saw Gesta spending a lot of time looking at the big screen rather than actually fighting. Since the loss to Vazquez we've sene Gesta go 5-0-1 (3) but the reality is that few are giving him a chance here against someone with the skills and experience of Linares. Neither man can really afford a loss, but it's hard to imagine Gesta havign what's needed to give Linares his 4th professional defeat.
Another Filipino on this card is the heavy handed Romero Duno (15-1, 13), who takes on Mexican based Yardley Armenta Cruz (22-9-0-1, 12). The Filipino is an explosive puncher and someone everyone should make an effort to watch. Given that the Mexican has been stopped 6 times already we're expecting another stoppage loss here.
On a second American show fans will be able to see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Botirali Mamajonov (5-0, 3) seek a 6th straight win. The Uzbek is looking likely to be in another 4 rounder here, and will hopefully begin fighting in longer bouts later in 2018.
Another US show will feature a couple of Asian fighters.
One of these is Japanese Southpaw Gaku Takahashi (15-7-1, 7), who will be up against Cameron Krael (12-12-3, 3). The Japanese fighter has had mixed success in recent fights, but did score a career best victory in 2016, when he stopped Kim Poulsen, and will be looking to get a win here, and rebuild following a less to Jamontay Clark last time out.
American based Uzbek Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (9-0-1, 4) will be on the card seeking his 6th straight win, and looking to continue his rise towards a notable bout. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for this show hasn't yet been announced.
Back in Asia we will have a card in China, though at the time of writing the only a couple of bouts from the show are known about.
The more notable of the two bouts will see former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (92-4, 57) continue his long career, as he looks to move one win closer to becoming the latest boxing centurion. The 40year old Thai will be up against China's Fei Hu Wang (5-1, 3), who is less than half the age of Sirimongkol at just 19! The Thai has slowed significantly in recent times, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but will feel like he has a chance here. As for Wang he was beaten last January by a debuting Aleksei Podkolzin, but has since scored back to back wins and will have youth and size, around 7" in height, over the veteran.
The other bout will see 18 year old Qiang Jiang (1-0, 1) take on Ukrainian Oleksii Kostenko (0-1). The Chinese youngster made his debut in July, with a stoppage of another debutant, whilst Kostenko, who debuted in June, was stopped by a Chinese debutant. Hard to know too much about these two, but a bout between them should be decent enough given that both are real novices.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino veteran Drian Francisco (29-4-1, 22) take on rising Mexican hopeful Edivaldo Ortega (25-1-1, 12). The once touted Francisco is now 35 and is almost certainly coming to the end of his career, which began way back in 2005. A win here would keep him relevant as a fighter, but he'll be the under-dog against Ortega, who is quickly climbing the ranks towards a potential world title fight.
Pocheon, South Korea
It's also worth noting that there is a small, low key card courtesy of BoxingM. The card features a total of 8 bouts, and will include a 14 debuts, showing the level of this card. For those wondering all of the bouts will be 4 rounders.
The most interesting show of the day, at least for us, is in the Korakuen Hall where we see the first set of Japanese Youth Tournament finals, with 4 finals, all of which are really interesting match ups, and bouts that should be really hotly contested.
The stand out bout is a rematch between Joe Tanooka (14-3-4, 1) and Kenya Yamashita (10-3, 7), who meet at Super Flyweight. Tanooka came runner up at the 2013 Rookie of the year whilst Yamashita won the Rookie of the Year the following year. In 2015 Tanooka scored a decision win over Yamashita, to give the heavy handed Yamashita his first loss, and since then both men have faltered yet remained popular. Tanooka has gone 5-1-1 since beating Yamashita, but shown a real lack of power with only a single stoppage. Yamashita is like an all action warrior and has gone 3-2 (3) since losing to Tanooka, with both losses being by stoppage. This will be a boxer vs bralwer, with history and the potential to be something really thrilling.
Another potential thriller comes at Featherweight as the talented, but out of form, Tsuyoshi Tameda (13-3-2, 11) takes on Retsu Kosaka (8-2, 3). We've seen Tameda losing his last two, suffering a decision loss to Simpiwe Vetyeka and suffering a stoppage to Reiya Abe, but has been given time to rest, heal and reignite his fire, with this being his final bout for the Yonekura gym, before joining the Ohashi Gym. As for Kosaka he has lost 2 of his last 3, but shone last time out beating the touted Ryo Sagawa in 2 rounds. This looks like a win on paper for Tameda, but it's not going to be easy against the hungry Kosaka.
Potentially the hidden gem on this show will be the Lightweight bout, as the really exciting and promising Izuki Tomioka (3-0, 1) takes on the Japanese Yuichiro Kasuya (9-1-1, 1). We were really impressed by Tomioka last time out, as he stopped Shun Shimazaki in 5 rounds, and the 20 year old from Saitama looks like a real one to watch. Kasuya, who won the Rookie of the Year at Super Featherweight in 2014, has faltered in his last two, drawing with Masaki Saito and losing to Spicy Matsushita. With those recent set backs against Kasuya we suspect he'll try to up his game, but Tomioka will be too good for him.
At Super Featherweight we'll see the struggling Kazuma Sanpei (12-4, 4) battle the inconsistent Ryusei Ishii (7-3, 4) in what looks like the black sheep of the match ups. Sanpei has gone 1-4 in his last 5, with 3 stoppage losses during that run, and his 11-0 (4) start to professional boxing is a distance memory, with only a single win in the last 3 years. Ishii has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though did earn his place in this bout with a dominant win over Sho Nagata in May. Ishii has some momentum here, Sanpei has none, leading us to favour Ishii for the win.
Fight fans in Las Vegas will see American based Uzbek hopeful Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (7-0-1, 3) fight in an 8 rounder, as he looks for a 4th straight victory. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, so we suspect it will be a less than taxing foe foe the unbeaten prospect.
In Pakistan we'll see a bizarre all-debutant 10 rounder, as Ali Dad (0-0) takes on Asmatullah (0-0). It's really odd to see a debutant in a 10 rounder, to see two of them in a 10 rounder is even weirder and it's hard to see what the plan behind this bout was, though hopefully it helps in the development of Pakistani boxing going forward, and is interesting to see how they are growing the sport there.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the continued development of Uzbek hopeful Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (3-0, 2). The unbeaten 26 year old will be up against Puerto Rican Jose Miguel Castro (5-6, 3) in what looks like a mismatch on paper. Despite looking like a mismatch we do see this as being a good test for Rakhmanov with Castro typically facing much more experienced prospects than the Uzbek, in fact Castro's last 5 losses have come against fighters who were 6-0, 8-0 or 10-0 entering the ring against him.