The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South Wales fans will get the chance to see a number of Asian fighters taking on Australian fighters, two of which will be in title bouts.
The most interesting of the bouts will see Australian Brit Darragh Foley (10-2, 7) battle against under-rated Filipino Sonny Katiandagho (11-1, 6) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. Coming in to this Foley is the champion, seeking his second defense of the title, but will be up against one of the toughest foes of his career so far. Although relatively unknown Katiandagho has shown his ability on the road, and is 3-0 (1) outside of the Philippines, having taken the unbeaten records of Hyun Woo Yuh and Rafik Harutjunjan. This could be a very good contest.
In a less exciting bout we'll see OPBF Welterweight champion Jack Brubaker (12-1-1, 6), who is a really solid fight, take on the less than decent Mark Sales (22-40-4, 8). Sales, who is listed as being down to challenge the champion for the title, is unbeaten in his last 3 has lost 5 of his last 8 and shouldn't be in title bouts. Sales is better than his record suggests but shouldn't be getting a title fight if we're being honest.
In form Australian based Brit Ben Savva (5-1, 1) will be seeking his 6th straight win as he takes on Filipino veteran Joel Dela Cruz (20-25-3, 8). The bout, like the Brubaker/Sales bout, should be a mismatch in favour of Savva but on paper it is a step up for him as he slowly moved up the level of his competition. Dela Cruz has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 but we suspect he may go the distance here against the light hitting Savva.
The remaining bout will see the hotly tipped Jai Opetaia (9-0, 6), a former Australian amateur standout, take on Korean visitor Joo Hyuk Lee (4-1, 2). This really should be a mismatch, especially given that Lee is a former Middleweight who has fought just once in the last 60 months, but Opetaia is young enough and busy enough to have these types of bouts on the way on up, and this is his 7th bout in 12 months.
As well as the action in Australia there will also be a show in Singapore.
In the main event of this card we'll see unbeaten Singaporean Muhamad Ridhwan (6-0, 5) take on Indonesian fighter Waldo Sabu (12-6, 3). On paper this looks like a step up for Ridhwan, who is unbeaten but taking on a fighter who will actually be coming to win, but it does need to be said that Sabu has struggled recently and suffered 4 losses, 3 by stoppage, last year. Sabu has won his last 5 but they have been against very limited opponents at home. These two will be facing off the WBA Asia Super Featherweight Title.
Another Singaporean local on this card is female fighter Nurshahidah Roslie (5-1, 3), who looks to rebuild her career following a loss last November. The Singaporean will be up against limited Thai Nongoum Por Niramon (1-1) in what should be a confidence building win for the local.
In a Singapore Vs Indonesia support bout fans will see the unbeaten Rafi Majid (4-0, 4) battle against Marco Tuhumury (11-16-2, 4). Majid is a popular fighter in the region, and is showing signs of being a genuine puncher, but has been matched softly and that's the case again here with Tuhumury having already been stopped 10 times.
In another supporting bout fans will see Filipino Jun Talape (21-9-1, 8) battle with Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (22-23-2, 10). On paper this looks a total mismatch but Tapale has been out of the ring for more than 5 years, and is 6 years removed from his last win. Andriyanto has won just one of his last 6 but could make for an interesting opponent for Tapale's ring return.
This Saturday is set to be a hectic day for Asian fight fans.
The biggest show of the day sees action return to China for a Max Power card of international note with a world title fight, an international title fight and several bouts involving notable Chinese fighters.
The main event of the card sees WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (25-5-1-1, 15) fight in China for a third time this year as he rematches Qiu Xiao Jun (21-3, 10), the man he beat earlier this year for the title. Cermeno has had a bizarre late career revival in China winning the title by stopping Jun and then defending it against the then unbeaten Nop Kratingdaenggym, after having been all but inactive previously. Although very talented Cermeno is 37 and it's likely that father time will get to him sooner rather than later. Saying that he did dominate Jun back in June and it's hard to see him having aged much since that win.
Another title bout from this card will see the light punching Can Xu (10-2) defending his WBA International Super Featherweight title against Japan's Spice Matsushita (16-8-1, 2). The champion will be looking for his third defense and although lacking power he has impressed at times, and looks to be developing into a talented fighter, who simply hasn't yet matured into a powerful young man. Matsushita is a true veteran having debuted more than a decade ago but at 33 he's not a spring chicken and has never fought outside of Japan before.
Another interesting international bout will see the promising Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (10-0-1, 5) battle against unbeaten New Zealander Leki Maka (9-0, 3). Baishanbo has impressed through his career, and has caught our eye in the past, but this looks like a very different assignment to his previous ones. Although the favourite the Chinese fighter will be aware that Maka holds a notable recent win over Farzan Ali Jr on the road in Fiji.
Another interesting international bout will see Chinese based Ruissian Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (13-2, 11) face off with struggling Thai Chaloemporn Singwancha (17-2, 13). On paper this looks like a really good bout but the Thai has lost his last 2 by stoppage and has struggled throughout his career when facing someone who comes to fight, like the Russian does. This could be a third straight set back for the Thai.
One other international bout will see Filipino Sonny Katiandagho (10-1, 6) face Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (24-12-1, 12), in a bout that has been re-arranged after being been set earlier in the month. The once beaten Filipino is a guy who has had good results, including wins over Allan Tanada, Hyun Woo Yuh and Rafik Harutjunjan and this should be another.
A second, less notable, Chinese card will come from Shanghai and will a few interesting bouts of it's own, albeit at a lower level.
The main even of the card will see Indonesian fighter Geisler AP (9-8, 6) battle unbeaten local hopeful Alimu Wushouer (8-0, 6), with Wushouer looking to record his first win over an international opponent. Wushouer has impressed on the Chinese scene, as part of the League of Fists, but this could be a more interesting assignment for the unbeaten 22 year old. Geisler has never won outside of Indonesia but this could be a chance to change that.
In an all Chinese bout we'll see the heavy handed WuZhati Nuerlang (5-1, 5) take on the limited but heavy handed Chengbo Zheng (6-5-0-1, 4) in what could be an explosive contest. It's likely that we'll see Nuerlang come out on top here, given he as has stopped his last 5 opponents and that Zheng has been stopped several times before, however its good to see him face someon who has a punchers reputation themselves.
Another all-Chinese bout will see the unbeaten Naiwuzhati Nuermaimaiti (4-0-1, 2) take on the once beaten Chao Peng (5-1-2, 1) in a very interesting looking match up.
New Delhi, India
More title action will be held in India where Indian boxing megastar Vijender Singh (7-0, 6) battles against the experienced Francis Cheka (32-9-2, 17). The bout will be Singh's first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title, a title he won back in July with a decision victory over Kerry Hope. Cheka was once a good test for an emerging fighter but is well past his best and shouldn't trouble Singh too much here.
In Cebu fight fans will get a relatively uninteresting card, though the main event is worth making a note of. That main event will see the once beaten Jess Rhey Waminal (9-1-1, 5) take on Margarito Moya (9-2, 3) in what looks like a very even and competitive bout.
In Russia we'll see unbeaten Russian Pavel Malikov (9-0, 3) take on Filipino veteran Adones Aguelo (27-14-2, 19). Aguelo, one of the more under-rated Filipino fighters, will be hoping to pick up a win here to claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title and score a 4th straight win. Malikov has shown promise but this is a step up for him and should be a real test for the unbeaten man.
In the US we'll see big punching Filipino Aston Palicte (21-2, 18) face off against the talented, but feather fisted, Oscar Cantu (14-0, 1) in a bout for a trio of regional titles. The bout is a “puncher Vs slickster” type of bout but should be some very fun and very exciting with Palicte almost certain to hunt a stoppage after his robbery defeat last time he fought away from the Philippines.