Pak Kret, Thailand
The main action this coming Saturday is from Thailand of all places, as ONE Championship put on a card that will feature a major boxing world title fight.
That bout will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) defending his belt against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-2-3, 6). The champion, who is now a sporting hero in Thailand, will be making his third defense of the title that he won in March 2017 when he upset Roman Gonzalez. Since then he has beaten Gonzalez in a second bout, Juan Franisco Estarada and fought a stay busy bout against Young Gil Bae, this is however a serious chance to impress on a show that isn't aimed specifically at a boxing audience. Diaz is taking a huge step up in class, though has scored notable wins over Hernan Marquez and Luis Concepcion. Sadly the Mexican has suffered notable stoppage losses and given Srisaket's power the odds are he will suffer another stoppage defeat here. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Srisaket and Diaz clash at Kingdom of Heroes
As well as the big show in Thailand there is also a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, including a title unification bout, a Japanese title eliminator and the debut of a stand out amateur fighter.
The title unification bout will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (6-0, 2) battle against Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1, 11) to unify those two titles. Of the two men it's Sueyoshi, the national champion, that has the more distinguished reign, having held his title since October 2017 and has already made a couple of defenses of the belt. Although a talented fighter Sueyoshi can be frustrating to watch and has a rather unique tempo in the ring. Mishiro on the other hand only won his regional title this past June, defeating Carlo Magali with a split decision. He knows he's up against a more experienced professional fighter, but did have a very accomplished amateur background. This could be the best bout of the day in terms of skills, even if the action probably won't be the most intense. A full preview this bout can be read here - Mishiro and Sueyoshi battle to unify crowns!
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) face off with recent OPBF title challenger Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) with the winner getting a Japanese Flyweight title fight next year. Of the two Nakatani is clearly the favourite. He's a Rookie of the Year winner, a Japanese Youth Champion and a fighter who has broken into the world rankings. Kosaka on the other hand has come up short in most of his biggest bouts, with stoppage losses to Tetsuya Hisada and Jayr Raquinel, with the loss to Raquinel coming in an OPBF title bout. Given Nakatani's power we suspect Kosaka suffer his third stoppage defeat. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Nakatani and Kosaka fight for the right to challenge for Flyweight title!
This show will also feature the debut of of the very highly regarded Mikito Nakano (0-0), who ran up an excellent 75-9 in the amateurs and has been sparring with Hiroaki Teshigawara to prepare for his debut. The Japanese fighter will be taking on a relatively straight forward first assignment as he battles Thai foe Thanawat Yancharoen (1-3), in what should be a straight forward debut win for a genuine talent and a great addition to the Japanese professional ranks.
In the Philippines we get a card rescheduled from September 22nd, a pretty notable card taking place in Benguet.
The main event will see former OPBF title challenger Cris Paulino (18-3, 7) facing off with the upset minded Jomar Fajardo (16-11-2, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super. Flyweight title. Paulino has been stopped in all 3 of hos defeats, to Ardin Diale, Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, but is a very capable fighter who is riding a 4 fight winning run into this fight. “Wallopman” Fajardo is best known for his two fights with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, earning a draw in the first of those bouts. Despite being upset minded Fajardo is 1-7-1 in his last 9 and and a win here would be one of his very best.
A bout that should be better than the records of those involved suggests will see Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-2, 11) take on Cris Alfante (14-7-1, 6). Neither of these men are world beaters, by any stretch of the imagination, but they should make for a very good contest between each other. Ponteras, on his day, can hold his own with fringe OPBF level opponents but is very inconsistent and can end up losing to opponents he should be. Alfante is the naturally smaller man, but also the younger man, and the fighter who will be looking to build on recent wins over Reymark Taday and Roilo Golez. This could be a pretty interesting match up, if we get the best from both guys.
Also on this card is promising youngster Jayson Vayson (7-0, 4), who looks to continue his unbeaten start to professional boxing as he takes on Ronald Alapormina (3-2-1). We like the 20 year old Vayson, a lot, and are looking forward to seeing him let off the leash in the near future. On paper this isn't a step up in class, but it will be his first 10 round contest. As for Alapormina he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 and will be wanting to end that win-less run. We expect a win for Vayson, but do hope to see him getting tested in the near future.
There's another small card taking place in India, which has also been rescheduled from September 15th and feature a youth title bout.
The title bout will see unbeaten Indian Rajesh Kumar (9-0-1, 2) take on Bright Ayala (16-1, 11), with Kumar defending the WBC Youth Lightweight title for the first time. The unbeaten local won the title back in April, when he defeated Glenn Enterina, and will not be wanting to relinquish that title just 5 months after winning it. Ayala, from Ghana, hasn't fought anyone of real note though was beaten last time he faced an unbeaten opponent, losing a decision to Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab. This bout should let us know how good both men are, or aren't.
The lead supporting bout is a female contest which will see 20 year old local Kirti (4-1, 2) take on Kiwi visitor Cherneka Johnson (10-0, 5). Coming into this Kirti is looking to build on a big win over Noemi Bosques but she will be regarded as the underdog against the in-form Johnson, who has stopped 3 of her last 4.
Baja California, Mexico
Out side of Asia we have a number of notable bouts, including a very interesting contest in Mexico between Jason Canoy (27-8-2, 19) and Luis Nery (26-0, 20), who battle for the WBC Silver Bantamweight title. The rugged Canoy is best known for losing in his biggest fights, including a loss to a then debuting Hinata Maruta and a thrilling loss to Hiroaki Teshigawa, and is expected to come up short again here. However the Filipino is tough, heavy handed and has never been stopped, he will also know this is a massive opportunity. Nery on the other hand is known for being a controversial figure, who has two tainted wins over Shinsuke Yamanaka. Nery is talented, heavy handed and highly capable, though there are serious doubts as to whether he can make Bantamweight and he will always have dark clouds hanging over his head for the wins over Yamanaka.
Baja California, Mexico
Staying in Mexico there will also be a contest featuring Mark Magsayo (18-0, 13), though his opponent has yet to be named. This will be Magsayo's first bout of 2018, and his first contest since seemingly leaving ALA Promotions earlier this year. He's a talented fighter but the long break, change in management and the lack of named opponent will not serve him well as he continues looking to build towards a potential world title fight.
In Canada fans will be able to see Kazakh prospect Batyrzhan Jukembayev (13-0-0-2, 11) continue his rise as he faces off with Mexican southpaw Patricio Moreno (20-2, 14). This will be Jukembayev's third bout of the year and he is tipped to go on to big things, this however is a perfect step up in class with Moreno being a tough but limited opponent capable of genuinely testing Jukembayev. A really interesting and solid match up.
This coming Sunday is a pretty quiet day in Asian boxing, but there ate two shows of some note in Japan, with one of those being headlines by an OPBF title bout.
The more notable of the two shows comes from the Big Wave in Wakayama, thanks to Wakayama Kuratoki Promotions.
The main event here will see OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (9-0-1, 6) defending his title against Shun Kosaka (15-3, 4). The champion, from the Philippines, claimed the title back in March when he stopped Reisuke Nakayama in 9 rounds. In his title win the Filipino puncher looked like a a really exciting hopeful, and at just 21 he is still years away from hitting his physical peak. Despite his lack of years Raquinel showed no fear of going to Japan to win the title and won't be scared of defending it in Japan either. Kosaka has proven to be a credible fighter on the Japanese scene, only losing to good fighters like Tetsuya Hisada, Kenya Yamashita and Akinori Hoshino, but he's not yet scored a win at this type of level and it would take a career best performance to defeat Raquinel and claim the OPBF title here.
In a supporting bout Hyuma Fujioka (9-6-1, 1) will go up against the talented Shohei Kawashima (15-2-2, 3). Coming in to this Fujioka had lost 3 of his last 5, losing decisions to Yuta Horiike and Naoya Okamoto as well as a suffering a stoppage loss to Gaku Aikawa. He's clearly out of form but will know that a win here will give his career a huge boost. As for Kawashima the pressure is on his shoulders to perform here, despite the fact he has lost 2 of his last 3 including a stoppage loss to the aforementioned Gaku Aikawa last year. Kawashima had looked a talented fighter earlier in his career, and had even given Cristian Mijares a real test in 2016, and will be hoping to show those skills here as he attempts to get his career back on track.
The second show is a much lesser card from Hiroshima
On paper the best bout from this card will see Taiyo Inoue (7-3-2, 5) take on Isao Aoyama (10-6-1, 2) in what should be a very competitive bout. Neither of these men are near title level, but rather than fighting in mismatches, either unwinnable ones or ones against novice visitors, they will almost certainly make for a good match up here against each other. It's not quite 50-50, but it's not far off and should be a compelling contest.
A supporting bout on this card will see Hironori Miyake (8-6-1, 1) look to bounce back from a February loss to Kuosuke Sawada as he takes on Wolf Nakano (4-6-4, 1). As for Nakano he is pretty limited and has lost 4 of his last 6, but should be able to test Miyake over the scheduled 8 round decision.
In Japan we get a small card in Aichi, featuring three pretty good looking bouts.
One of the bouts will be a clash between two Japanese ranked fighters, as see Yota Hori (13-5-2, 8) takes on Shun Kosaka (14-3, 4). Coming into this Hori is a top 10 ranked fighter at Light Flyweight whilst Kosaka holds a similar Flyweight ranking. Neither man is a world beater, but both will be looking to get a Japanese title fight in 2018, and know that a win here will help them move towards a shot at the domestic crown.
The supposed chief support bout of the card will see talented novice Masanori Rikiishi (1-0) take on Ryo Tanimoto (4-1, 3) in what a very tough second bout for Rikiishi. The novice made his debut in July, impressing in a win over Korean visitor Sa Ya Lee, a former Korean Lightweight champion, but this is a genuinely interesting test. Tanimoto was stopped last time out, in an upset against Yuta Teruya, but prior to that has looked destructive and can certainly bang, which could mean a chin checking for Rikiishi here.
The min event will see the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (5-1, 5) take on Masashi Tada (11-4-2, 7). The hard hitting Yabuki has needed just 6 rounds to score his 5 stoppage, and his only loss came in last year's Rookie of the Year to the brilliant Junto Nakatani. Although limited Tada has got far more experience than Yabuki and he has yet to be stopped, having fought for a Japanese title and going 10 rounds, which is actually the total rounds of Yabuki's career. Despite Tada being a good opponent it should be noted he's not scored a win in over 4 rounds.
There is also a very low profile card in the Philippines.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten KJ Natuplag (5-0-1, 4) face off with veteran Danilo Pena (27-28-5, 11) for the PBF Featherweight title. The 21 year old Natuplag will be looking to claim his second title, after having previously claimed the LuzProBA Bantamweight title, and will be strongly favoured here. Pena on the other hand has is looking to stop the rot, and he has gone 0-7-1 in his last 8, going back more than 2 years.
This coming Saturday Shinsei gym put on a small but notable card in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Bantamweight contender Ryo Kosaka (14-3-1, 7) risk a potential title fight as he takes on Akira Ono (7-4-1, 6) in what could be a tough test for the fancied Kosaka. Coming in to the bout Kosaka is on a 7 fight winning streak, with a notable win over Morihisa Iju last time out but Ono is better than his record suggests and he could be a genuine banana skin here if Kosaka is looking past him already.
In the chief support bout Shun Kosaka (13-3, 3) will be facing off against Shogo Sumitomo (6-9-1, 5). Coming in to this bout Kosaka will be looking to bounce back form a loss to the under-rated Akinori Hoshino, who took a split decision over him in February. With 3 losses to his name Kosaka may not look like a notable fighter, but those losses have come to good fighters and the 22 year old has got potential. Sumitomo has been stopped 7 times, and we expect to see him struggle to last the distance here.
Seoul, South Korea
We also get a small show in Korea, headlined by a WIBA Flyweight title fight as Eun Hye Lee (9-1, 4) defends her title against Filipino foe Norj Guro (7-7-1, 4). The talented Lee, who's sole loss was a controversial one in Japan last year, should be far too good for the Filipino, who has lost her last 4 and really poses nothing to test the Korean 34 year old.
We get the first of two Boxingraise shows on February 19th, albeit one that will be aired on delay, as Dangan put on “Pioneer of Fight Vol 2”
The main event of the show is a very interesting match up as the heavy handed Akinori Hoshino (12-7-1, 9) takes on the once touted Shun Kosaka (13-2, 3). Aged 28 Hoshino comes into this following an excellent 7th round TKO win over Kenya Yamanashita, and although his record is patchy he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Tatsuya Takahashi, Ryuichi Funai and Yusuke Suzuki. Although his record isn't great Hoshino is a real threat at domestic level. As for Kosaka he'll be hunting a 5th straight and prove that he's back on his way up following losses in 2014, to Yamashita, and in 2015, to Tetsuya Hisada
In a female bout we'll see the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (4-0, 2) take on the once beaten Miyo Yoshida (5-1). The 28 year old Wakasa will be stepping into 6 rounders for the first time, and this bout follows a tough win last year against Thai visitor Dokmaipaa Kietpompetch. Yoshida made her debut more than 2 years ago and had a busy 2016, in which she went 4-1, and she will be looking to score her best win here. Both fighters are obviously fighting for a solid win and it wouldn't be a shock to see both women fight their heart out here.
In another supporting bout we'll see Junto Nakatani (9-0, 7) battle against Thai visitor Mingkwan Sithjirachai (0-1), who was stopped in a round on debut last year. The 19 year old Nakatani will be fighting for the first time since winning the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at Flyweight and will be looking to make a splash in 2017.
The Olympic break is over and we see action resuming now with regular shows picking up Asia. This Sunday attention turns to Hiroshima where Shinsei put on their next show.
In the main event Japanese ranked Bantamweight Ryo Kosaka (12-3-1, 6) will be up against Corrales Kawashimo (7-7-1, 2). The 23 year old Kosaka is on a 5 fight winning streak, including notable wins over Satoshi Niwa and Dado Cabintoy and will be expecting to extend that streak here against a man who has lost his last 2 and is 3-3 in his last 6.
In a supporting bout the OPBF ranked Shun Kosaka (12-2, 3) will be up against Tatsuya Kaneko (7-12-3, 1). Kosaka was the Flyweight runner up at the 2014 Rookie of the Year and although he was stopped by the experienced Tetsuya Hisada in 2015 there is genuine promise with the youngster, who at 21 is still a long way from his peak. For Kaneko the focus has to be on a good performance with the 29 year old going 3-10-3 in his last 16!
Another really good looking supporting bout will see unbeaten teenager Retsu Kosaka (7-0, 2) battle against once beaten Japanese ranked Ken Osato (8-1-1, 3) in what looks like a genuinely mouth watering match up. The 18 year old Kosaka debuted in April 2015 and has quickly made a name for himself a genuinely promising younger Aged 22 Osato isn't much older than his foe but has fought at a much higher level, and fought to a draw with Kento Matsushita last year. This is the best bout on the card and is a clear step up for Kosaka and a great test for Osato, just the sort of match up we love.