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.
Bang Phun, Thailand
The main card this coming Saturday is in Thailand, with Workpoint showing casing a hugely popular world champion, albeit in a non-title fight, and two former world title challenger.
The world champion in action is Thai superstar Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40), who won't be defending the WBC Super Flyweight title, as he takes on Korean foe Young Gil Bae (28-6-2, 22), but will be fighting in front of a Thai crowd for the first time since December 2016. Sriskaet is expected to see off Bae with ease, especially given that Bae came up very short in a WBC Minimumweight title bout against Wanheng Menayothin. This really should be little more than a showcase for Srisaket who has another bout set for October 6th in Pak Kret as part of a ONE Championship card.
A second bout of note on this card will see former WBC Flyweight title challenger Nawaphon Kaikanha (41-1, 33) take on Japanese visitor Shota Kawaguchi (21-10-1, 9) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title. Nawaphoin is best known for his 2017 loss to Juan Hernandez for the WBC Flyweight title, but he has since bounced back with 5 straight wins, all by stoppage, including a thrilling win over Amnat Ruenroeng back in April. As for Kawaguchi he has struggled in recent bouts, going 3-5 in his last 8, and suffered losses to the likes of Sonny Boy Jaro, Rene Dacquel and Ryuichi Funai. Given the form of the Japanese fighter it's hard to see him coming out on top here, even if Nawaphon hasn't always impressed.
A card in Hyogo is also worth noting due to the main event, which will see WBC Youth Super Bantamweight champion Tenta Kiyose (14-2-1, 6) facing off with former WBC Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (68-1-1, 28). The Thai is currently riding a 33 fight winning run since losing the WBC world title to Kazuto Ioka back in February 2011, but has mostly fought limited opponents, with his best wins during that run coming over the likes of Mark Anthony Geraldo, Jason Canoy and Hiroyuki Kudaka, all of which were years ago. The 21 year old Kiyose is stepping up in a huge way, but a win here could help put him on the boxing map and move him into the world rankings.
Sadly the main event aside this card is really not worthy of a mention.
There's also a card in the Philippines. Sadly this is a card that features two talented Filipino's facing very limited Indonesian visitors.
One of the local men is Ernesto Saulong (21-3-1, 8), who will be returning to the ring for the first time his loss to IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa back in March. The talented, and tough, Filipino will be going up again journey Waldo Sabu (12-12, 2), who has lost his last 2 by stoppage and was taken out inside a round by Takuma Inoue in May. Given recent outings it's hard to see anything but a Saulong win, likely inside the distance.
The other bout will see former OPBF champion Al Rivera (19-3, 17) take on Heri Andriyanto (23-26-2, 11). Rivera has been out of the ring since last October, when he stopped Rodel Wenceslao, but we don't expect the ring rust to be a problem here s he takes on a man was was banned from fighting in Japan back in 2016, when he give a poor effort against Koki Inoue. Since the loss to Inoue Andriyanto has gone 1-3 and it's hard to see what he has to test the very hard hitting Rivera.
In the US fans will be able to see promising Uzbek hopeful Hurshidbek Normatov (6-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Alexis Gaytan (4-0, 2). The Uzbek fighter hasn't set the world on fire yet, but has looked competent against decent opponents, beating the much more experienced Ronald Montes last time out. Interestingly Gaytan will be up against his 3rd successive unbeaten opponent here, and will have the confidence of an upset win over Kendrick Ball Jr as he comes into this fight. We suspect Normatov will be too good, but we do hope to see him answering some new questions here.
The most notable card card this weekend really is a big one, despite it's focus being on the lower weights. The card in question is the highly anticipated, little men super show “Superfly 2”.
The main event of the card is one of the most mouth watering bouts the little men can throw at us, with WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40) defending his title against mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25). The champion announced himself to the Western boxing fan base last year, when he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to claim and defend the WBC title. Estrada has been known about by the hard core fans for a long time, and will be looking to become a 2-weight champion, following a reign as a unified WBA and WBO Flyweight champion. The bout will likely be a case of Srisaket's power, size and strength against Estrada's brain, movement and technique and we're in for an absolute treat.
Another interesting match up pits two veterans against each other in what should be a cerebral match up. The bout will see IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) take on mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3, 19), himself a former multi-weight world champion. Nietes has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, with this being his first defense of the Flyweight title. The champion is one the sports smartest fighters, and with over a decade at the top he is one of the all time great Filipino's. Reveco was an outstanding fighter in his prime, with wins against the likes of Nethra Sasiprapa, Karim Guerfi, Masayuki Kuroda, Ricardo Nunez, Felix Alvarado and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. Despite those good wins Reveco has lost 2 of his last 6, and looked like a shot fighter in the most recent of those losses, a stoppage loss to Kazuto Ioka more than 2 years ago.
A third world title bout on this show will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (38-5-0-2, 23) face off with unbeaten Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (15-0, 11) for the vacant WBA Flyweight title, which was vacated last year by Kazuto Ioka. For the 37 year old Viloria this is likely to be one final chance to climb back up to the top, after having had 3 previous world title reigns, however this will not be a gimme and Dalakian is a very credible foe. The Ukrainian, originally from Azerbaijan, Dalakian mae his debut in 2011 and althouigh he's he's only got one win of real note, an 8th round TKO win over stubborn veteran Silvio Olteanu, he is a very legitimate fighter and will not be a push over.
Out side of the big US show there's also a notable card in Osaka, as the Ioka gym put on a card with several notable fighters involved, including a current OPBF title defense.
That OPBF title fight will see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (15-0, 9) defending his title, for the 9th time, against Thai puncher Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-2, 18). The unbeaten champion is a real talent, but a frustrating fighter who has looked ready to step up for several years and already holds wins of note against fighters like Shuhei Tsuchiya, Yositaka Kato, Ricky Sismundo and Kaewfah Tor Buamas. tall, lanky and skilled Natani has the potential to claim a world title, but does need to start facing better opponents than he has been. On the other hand the Thai is a dangerous fighter and can't be over-looked. Pharanpetch is riding a 4 fight winning run since a loss to Brandon Ogilvie and although he is no world beater he does have the power to give a fighter like Nakatani a genuine chin check. If Nakatani uses his skills he should come out of this without too many problems, but if he switches he could be in some trouble.
The chief support bout for this show will see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (24-1, 13) return to the ring for the first time since he was beat by WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The talented Osakan will be up against the heavy handed Lucky Tor Buamas (12-1, 12), with the Thai looking to scored a 6th straight win. Ishida failed to make the most of shit chance against Yafai, though seems like to improve following that loss and will almost certainly come again. Despite the potential of the Japanese fighter he will have to be careful here against the heavy handed visitor. Lucky was stopped in his only bout of note, losing in 9 rounds to Rene Dacquel, but is a dangerman and will clearly be looking to prove his power against Ishida here.
Another notable member of the Ioka gym in action will be Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0-1, 10). The unbeaten Hashizume, who was the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year, suffered a draw last time out, as he had to pick himself off the canvas to score a draw against Kota Fujimoto. He'll be hoping to have an easier out here as he takes on the limited, but experienced, Takahiro Murai (15-7-2, 5). Hashizume is a genuine talent but there are questions to be asked about his toughness and what he's like when he's in there with decent competition, and Murai is certainly a credible foe given that he beat Fujimoto last year. Hashizume should be favoured, but this is a genuine test for the youngster.
Another supporting bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (10-1, 8) take on Takuya Fujioka (7-8-1, 1). The talented Akizuki will be looking to bounce back from his November loss to Kenji Kihisa, and despite that loss the 19 year old does have a lot of upside. The bout will be a test to see how Akizuki is mentally after a stoppage loss but shouldn't be much more of a confidence booster. Fujioka lacks power and really shouldn't be any sort of a test for the talented teen.
We also get title action in Australia, with OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (20-6-1, 6) taking on the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (15-0, 10). The bout will serve not only as an OPBF title defense from Dacquel but also as a defense of the WBA Oceania title by Moloney, meaning both fighters are risking something. Dacquel is on a nice run of recent results, following his 2015 loss to Takuma Inoue, and has scored decent wins over Go Onaga, Shota Kawaguchi and Hayato Kimura in his last 3 bouts, all on the road. Moloney is in good form himself but in many ways it's him stepping up in class here and this is his toughest match on paper. The Australian has been very impressive so far, but this is likely to be a real test for the 27 year old.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia fans will be able to see the debuting Daniel Keating (0-0) take on Thai “loser” Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-20-2). The Thai is win-less in 13, with 11 losses and 2 draws during that run, and although better than his record suggests it's hard to imagine he'll really try to upset the debutant.
The real show of note for us this weekend comes from Carson California in what is arguably the best card of the last few years. It's not stacked with 50-50 bouts, though two bouts could well fit into that category, but it is stacked with talent with potentially the top 5 fighters at Super Flyweight all in action with a trio of bouts that have a logical reason to be on the same show. This is a card which has had thought behind it, and promises so much. It's one of those rare card where if one bout turns out to be a disappointment, for example an early technical draw, there is still enough for the card to be remembered fondly.
The main event of the card is a rematch of one of the best fights of the year, as Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 29) takes on Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38). Their first bout saw Srisaket drop Gonzalez in the first round en route to a close, and disputed, decision over the previously unbeaten Gonzlez. Srisaket will be looking to repeat the victory and make the first defence of his second reign of the WBC Super Flyweight title. Gonzalez will be seeking revenge for his first, and only, loss and looking to reclaim the title that he lost to the Thai back in March.
A second world title fight on this card will see Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11) defending the WBO Super Flyweight title against Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9), in what is Inoue's US debut. The extremely talented Japanese youngster is viewed by many as one of the best natural talents in the sport, and will know that this is his chance to show the world just how good he is in front of an audience of fans from around the globe. Although the huge under-dog Nieves is coming into the bout confident, and knows that a win here really puts him on the boxing map. The challenger is a bit of an unknown, and this opportunity is huge, but it's a huge step up in class for him.
Interestingly a former Gonzalez foe is part of the under-card here, with Brian Viloria (37-5-0-2, 22) taking on Miguel Cartagena (15-3-1, 6), who is known in Asian circles for his win over Jobert Alvarez and his nasty technical draw with Toshiyuki Igarashi, from this past April. The 25 year old American is tough, aggressive and could be a genuine handful for the 36 year old Viloria, who has fought just once since his October 2015 loss to Gonzalez. At his best Viloria would be a huge favourite, but this bout could be extremely tough for the veteran.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Nick Frese (5-0, 5), who faces Nam Phan (3-2-1, 2). Dutch born Thai based Frese will be fighting outside of Asia for the first time and will be hoping to show his skills, and pick up another quick win. The unbeaten man us pencilled in to fight again in October and has been ultra busy this year, but has also been destructive racking up a combined 10 rounds from his 5 bouts. Nam Phan, who is an American based American, hasn't fought in will over a year and is 10 years removed from his last win, but the bout really is supposed to just showcase Frese.
As well as the bouts mentioned the card will feature an all-Mexican bout, back at Super Flyweight, as Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25) takes on Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1, 27), with the winner set to become the mandatory for the Srisaket Vs Gonzalez winner.
A second notable show packed with Asian fighters comes in Central Asian country Kazakhstan,where we get a number of notable and unbeaten Kazakh's in action, against opponents who look very solid on paper.
The main event of the card will see the world ranked Kanat Islam (24-0, 19) take on Brandon Cook (18-0, 11) in a really mouth watering match up. The unbeaten 32 year old Islam is slowly edging towards a world title fight, and is regarded as one of the notable Kazakh's in the professional ranks so far, but his career has been a slow burning and he's been a professional for close to 5 years with out yet really making a big splash. Aged 31 Cook has also been a bit of a slow burner as a professional, though his win in January against Steven Butler did get him some international attention, due to a post fight incident which saw Cook being hit with an item thrown at him. This really is a must win for both, and who ever loses will find it very hard to rebuild at this stage.
Another good looking bout towards the top of the card will see the very promising Zhankosh Turarov (21-0, 15) battle with Argentinian puncher Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-4, 18). Although less well known than Islam we have got high hopes for Turarov, who is 26 and has shown real flashes of being a genuine prospect. Romay will be hoping to make the most of his power, but this is a big step up for the South American, who's fighting in Asia for the first time.
Arguably the most notable prospect on this card is also the least experienced, as a professional. That's former amateur star Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (1-0, 1), who looks to impress in his second bout as he takes on Carmelito De Jesus (18-5, 15). We saw Alimkhanuly really shine in the amateurs, winning World and Asian championship gold in 2013 and reach the quarter finals of the 2016 Olympics. On his professional debut the Kazakh destroyed Milton Nunez and we're expecting a similar performance here. De Jesus, from Brazil, has scored wins on the road before, stopping Italian Stefano Castellucci, and will be there hunting the upset but he'll likely have little success against the Kazakh sensation.
Another notable prospect is Nursultan Zhanabayev (2-0, 1), who made his debut last year in China and has already competed in a pair of 10 rounders. His upcoming bout will see him take on the heavy handed Brazilian Alex Sandro Duarte (13-1-1, 10). Although Duarte has a nice record on paper he has lost to his most notable foe to date, and we expect another set back for him here.
Other hopefuls on this card include Ali Akhmedov (8-0, 6), who was last seen stopping the unbeaten Curtis Hill Jr, battling against Justin Thomas (18-2, 7), and Aidos Yerbossynuly (6-0, 5), who's fighting for the first time since going the distance with Devin Butcher, who will look to shine against the more experienced Jonathan Geronimo Barbadillo (17-4-1, 14).
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines we have a pretty notable show.
One of the most notable bouts on the show will see Ben Mananquil (14-1-2, 3) battle against Jess Rhey Waminal (11-1-1, 6) in a bout between talented and once beaten fighters., looking to claim the interim OPBF Bantamweight title. Of the two men Mananquil is the more proven man, and he's unlucky not to have a stoppage win over Kwanpichit OnsongchaiGym to go along with his wins over Mateo Handig and Glenn Porras. Although less well known Waminal can't be over-looked and has scored notable wins over Joe Tejones and Gerpaul Valero. This isn't going to be a true OPBF title level fight, but the reality is that it is still a brilliant match up, with both fighters looking to go in there and prove they are the better fighter.
A less exciting looking bout will see veterans collide as Eden Sonsona (36-7-2, 13) takes on Jaime Barcelona (39-61-1, 10). The talented Sonsona is an upset minded fighter, as we saw in 2015 when he stopped Adrian Estrella in 2 rounds, but will be the favourite here against a man who really is just a journeyman, but a damned tough one who has only been stopped 5 times in 101 bouts. Although Sonsona will be the favourite it is worth noting that he only just took a narrow decision over Barcelona last December, and this could be another hotly contested bout, despite the hugely different looking records.
A really good match up on this card will see unbeaten Filipino prospect Jade Bornea (8-0, 5) taking on once beaten Thai Kongfah CP Freshmart (19-1, 11) in a mouth watering match up for the IBF Youth Super Flyweight title. The Filipino prospect was an amateur stand out before turning professional in 2014. He's tipped to go a long way but this is a big step up in class for the 22 year old Pinoy. For Kongfah this will be his most significant fight since he faced a then unknown Daigo Higa back in 2015, when Higa stopped the Thai in a 7 round thriller! This could be a coming out party for Bornea or a chance for Kongfah to climb back up the rankings, a great match up!
In a mismatch worthy of noting we'll see the world class Randy Petalcorin (26-2-1, 19) take on veteran Jetly Purisima (21-23-4, 6). The bout shouldn't be competitive,with Petalcorin being better than Purisima in every way, but it does give the talented “Razor” a chance to shake some ring rust after more than 6 months of inactivity. Petalcorin is a natural talent and should be fighting at world level so hopefully his team will move him in that direction next year, rather than keep him in there with horribly over-matched opponents, like Purisima.
There will also be two promising novice prospects on this card in low key bouts. One of those is Mark Antonio (2-0, 2), who will look to keep his stoppage run alive as he takes on Michael Padayag (3-8-1) in what should be a straight forward win and Dave Apolinario (2-0, 1), who will be strongly favoured to over-come Rudy Salaton (0-1).
New York, USA
In the biggest show of the night, and one of the biggest shows of the year so far, we get the chance to see two Asian fighters take part in potentially explosive world title bouts.
The main course from the show sees Kazakh Middleweight sensation Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33) defending his WBC, IBF and WBA “super” titles against WBA “regular” champion Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29), in what is one of the most anticipated bouts of the year. Golovkin, who has made a reputation as an unbeatable puncher, will be looking to score the biggest win of his career and potentially prove himself as being head and shoulders above the rest of the division. Jacobs, who is seen as the big under-dog here, will know this is a huge step up from his recent competition, but he will feel he has the speed, power and athleticism to trouble Kazakh destroyer.
Although the Middleweight title bout is the main course it's hard not to be incredibly excited about the “starter” as we see WBC Super Flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez (46-0, 38) battle against former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38). Although fans who have seen Gonalez may feel this is a mismatch, especially given the way HBO rave about Gonzalez, the bout is an incredibly exciting one with Srisaket being the naturally bigger and stronger man than Gonzalez, and being a destructive fighter himself. Although the Thai has suffered 4 losses during his career he has, amazingly, gone 40-1 (37) since a troubled 1-3-1 (1) start and is a genuine monster in the ring. This will be no walk over for Chocolatito.
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
The most notable of the other cards featuring Asian fighters comes from Cebu City where we get two regional title fights and several other interesting contests.
The most notable of the title fights sees the highly regarded Jack Tepora (19-0, 14) defending his WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title against Indonesian challenger Yon Armed (14-7, 6). The 23 year old Tepora has long been regarded as one of the most promising Filipino's rising through the ranks and he should be far too good for Armer, who's most notable bouts have seen him being stopped in a round by Hiroshige Osawa, 2 rounds by Kenichi Ogawa and 3 rounds by Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo.
The other title fight on this card will see the heavy handed Christian Araneta (13-0, 11) take on Indonesian Demsi Manufoe (11-6, 8) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title. Although not the most skilled fighter Araneta has an exciting style, solid power and at 22 years old he has a lot of potential, potential which should be showcased here against the the chinny Manufoe.
In a 10 rounder we'll see the heavy handed Salatiel Amit (9-2-2, 7) take on the out of former Renerio Arizala (13-5-1, 5), with Arizala looking to avoid a 4th straight loss and Amit looking to bounce back from a 10th round loss to Jonathan Taconing.
Fans also get the chance to see some notable unbeaten hopefuls on this show. These include Jessie Cris Rosales (20-0-1, 8), who battles the out of form Jerry Nardo (21-10, 11), and teenage puncher Tomjune Mangubat (6-0, 6), who takes on veteran Marvin Tampus (27-24-3, 18). It's hard to imagine either Rosales or Mangubat losing here, but both will have better tests ahead.
La Union, Philippines
On a second show in the Philippines fight fans will see a Philippines Boxing Federation Super Bantamweight title fight as Brian Lobetania (11-2-3, 9) takes on Arnel Baconaje (7-2, 6). Both guys have got limitations, and both are 2-2 in their last 4, but both can punch and they should put on a fun contest against each other, with both men looking to claim their first professional title.
In Australia fans will see Filipino tough guy Vergil Puton (16-7, 8) battle against the once beaten Ibrahim Balla (10-1, 7). Balla, who was stopped last year by Neil John Tabanao, will be favoured over Puton, but the Filipino can be a nightmare at this level and could be a potential banana skin, as he almost showed in 2015 against Ye Joon Kim.
There will be two cards in Thailand, one of which is a show from Nakornluang Promotions who will be show casing two of their best fighters.
The most notable of those fighters is Super Flyweight destroyer Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (37-4-1, 34) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] who is going to take part in a stay busy bout ahead of rematch with current WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras. Although we're not sure who Srisaket will be fighting we have been informed that it will be an Indonesian opponent and the bout will only be a stay busy.
The other fighter is unbeaten Flyweight contender Nawaphon Por Chokchai (31-0, 24) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] who is the mandatory challenger to Roman Gonzalez. The unbeaten Nawaphon will not be facing a test here with Nakornluang not risking his big bout later in the year, they may however petition the WBC to strip Gonzalez if the Nicaraguan does make the move up to Super Flyweight later in the year.
We believe this card will be aired on Channel 7 in Thailand.
The other Thai show will be put on by Kiatkreerin and features several notable fighters again.
The main event of the card sees the experienced Mike Tawatchai (37-8-1, 21) defending his IBF Pan Pacific title against Japanese visitor Shingo Kawamura (11-2-1, 6). For Tawatchai this is his most notable fight since last June when he was widely beaten by IBF #1 ranked contender Shingo Wake whilst for Kawamura this is a big step up and sees him fighting in his first title bout.
Also in action here will be former Olympic star Manus Boonjumnong (3-0, 1) [มนัส บุญจำนงค์]. Sadly we're unsure who Manus will be up against but we do need to confess we have been impressed by him so far.
For fans interested in this one, it will be aired on Thairath
In Arizona there will be two Asian fighters in action.
In the most notable of the two bouts fans will see touted Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (17-0, 12) risk his record against Rafael Guzman (16-1-1-1, 10). On paper this looks like a genuinely tasty match up though we do wonder how good Guzman is given his competition so far has been relatively poor. If Guzman is as good as the numbers suggest however, then we may be in for a genuine treat here with the Filipino being given a real test.
The other Asian in action is Kazak puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (9-0, 9), who takes a huge step up as he faces Jared Robinson (16-2-1, 7). The bout should pose real questions of both men and be a genuinely interesting fight. Eyubov, as mentioned, is stepping up massively whilst Robinson has faced some quality fighters like Amir Imam, who stopped him in 4, Michael Perez, who took a decision win against him, and Haskell Rhodes, who he fought to a draw. This really is a fantastic match up and credit to both men for taking it.
Thai promoter Nakornloung give us their latest show this coming Tuesday and show case a number of notable fighters.
Arguable the most notable of the fighters in action is the world class Super Flyweight Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (35-4-1, 32) who fights a stay busy fight with Indonesian visit Domi Nenkeba (12-15-1, 8). This bout is, clearly, a mismatch but the aim of the contest is to give Srisaket a tune up before a potential show down with Carlos Cuadras later in the year. It's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for the Thai though know what's on the line for him he will need to make sure not to get cut or suffer any sort of injury here.
In a title bout fans will see Jirapan Nakornluang (13-0, 10) defending his WBC Youth Silver Featherweight title against the much smaller Junior Bajawa (14-6, 7), from Indonesia. It's hard to see anything but a win here for the talented Jirapan who looks like he could be the next star of the Nakornloung stable.
The third bout of note on this card will see former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (84-2, 54) take on a limited visiting foe. The Thai was supposed to have had a fight with Demetrius Andrade but it fell apart and instead of sitting on the side the Thai will instead fight here as he begins a relationship with Nakornloung Promotions. Sadly we've not been sent the name of Sirimongkol's foe for this bout.
For fans interested in watching this show, it will be screened on Thai Channel 3 between 14:00-16:00 local time.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One of the final highlights of the month takes place on Thursday in Thailand as fans get the chance to see former WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (33-4-1, 30) takes on Mexico's talented Jose Salgado (34-2-2, 27). This bout, for the WBC silver Super Flyweight title is set to act as a world title eliminator and move the winner on to a world title fight with current WBC world champion Carlos Cuadras. Incidentally Cuadras holda technical decision win over Srisaket and a technical draw against Salgado, both from bouts marred with head-clashes from last year. On paper this really does look like a fantastic fight and whilst we won't go as far as tipping it to be a FOTY contender it does have the ingredients for a brilliant contest.
Sadly other than the Srisaket Vs Salgado bout we're unsure what other bouts will be on this card, though the TV broadcast, on Channel 7, is set to run for 2 hours.
The most significant bout of the day takes place in the US where the popular and exciting Yoshihiro Kamegai (25-2-1, 22) battles against former world title challenger Alfonso Gomez (24-6-2, 12). For Kamegai this will be his 6th bout in the US, and his first since signing for Golden Boy Promotions. Currently Kamegai has a record of 2-2-1 (2) when he has travelled Stateside with the last win there coming last December against Oscar Godoy. The 34 year old Gomez is himself best known for coming up short against Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto and we suspect that this is a make or break fight for the popular Mexican, who famously took part in the first season of “The Contender”. In the ring these two should make for a great fight with both men having styles that should gel for a very memorable action fight.
In Australia fans will have the chance to see the world ranked Czar Amonsot (27-3-3, 17) facing off against Thai veteran Decha Kokietgym (34-11-3, 18) in what looks to be a huge mismatch in favour of the Australian based Filipino fighter
Thai fans get two shows, the most notable of which comes from Bangkok where fans get the chance to see unbeaten fringe contender and a former world champion.
The fringe contender is the limited but always entertaining Kongfah Nakornluang (19-0, 11) who will be defending the WBC Youth Silver Super Flyweight for the first time. Kongfah, who won the title in January with a 3rd round TKO against Rendi Stone, will be defending his belt against the unbeaten Ricky Morales (4-0-1), who is apparently unbeaten but his record appears incomplete.
As for the former champion, that is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (32-4-1, 29) who stays busy with a bout against Indonesian journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-34-2, 3), who has amazingly gone 18 fights with out a stoppage loss. The tough Tehuayo is likely to be stopped here but that says more about the destructive power of Srisaket than anything else.
A relatively interesting looking lower tier bout will see Denchai Por Korkua (1-2) battle against the win-less Petch-ek Sithsaithong (0-1). We won't pretend this is a special contest but it could be entertaining all the same.
For those wanting to watch this card it will be televised on Channel 7.
This other Thai show will be on Channel 11 and features a long term unbeaten fighter who has yet to full convince us of his ability.
The aforementioned unbeaten but untested fighter is Kaewfah Tor Buamas (17-0, 11) who battles Indonesia's Boido Simanjuntak (18-27-1, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBA Asia Lightweight title. This should be a straight forward win for Kaewfah however it is a huge step up in class for the Thai who really has got a paper record, to be polite.
In a second bout on this show fans will see the unbeaten Pharanpetch tor Buamas (14-0, 10) in a non-title bout, unfortunately however we've not yet got the name of his opponent.
In Japan fans get a small show with little to really get excited about.
The main event here sees Japanese ranked fighter Tsukasa Saito (19-3, 14), a former Japanese Lightweight title challenger and former WBC Youth champion, battle against regular visitor Fasanghan Or Benjamad (0-7). Fasanghan has lost all 7 recorded bouts by stoppage with 6 losses coming in Japan and we suspect this will be #7 in the country.
In the chief support bout fans will see the once beaten Haruka Itakura (4-1, 1) battle against the limited Katsunori Imai (5-6-1). Itakura was a participant in last year's Rookie of the Year and came up short against the talented Reiya Abe, in what was his most recent contest. Imai however comes into this bout in appalling form having won just 1 of his last 7 bouts. That bad form of Imai's dates back to 2008!
(Image courtesy of http://www.goldenboypromotions.com)
Action returns to Thailand this coming Friday with a Channel 7 televised card featuring fighters from the Nakornluang stable of fighters. The fighters might not be involved in the most interesting of bouts but a number of fighters ion action are proven fighters and another is possibly the most fun to watch Thai currently breaking through.
The exciting fighter previously mentioned is the unbeaten, but scarily limited, Kongfah Nakornluang (18-0, 10). Kongfah is an all action brawler who is unlikely to make an impact at world level but will also be fun to watch win or lose. In his upcoming bout it's hard to see anything but a win for Kongfah who will be hoping to claim the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title as he takes on Indonesia's Rendy Stone (3-3-1, 2). Stone is best known for losing last November to Yushi Tanaka in WBC Youth Bantamweight title fight and we suspect the Indonesian will come up short again here.
Although Kongfah is in title action he's not the biggest name on the show, in fact there's a pair of former world champions both in action.
One of those former world champions is former WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (31-4-1, 28) who will be taking part in a stay busy fight as he prepares for a world title eliminator with Mexican Jose Salgado in either March or April. Sadly at the time of writing Srisaket's opponent has yet to be named suggesting it could be a debutant or a very poor imported foe to just keep power puncher ticking over.
The other former world champion is Srisaket's close friend and also a former WBC Super Flyweight champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (38-6-1, 17) who will be fighting for the second time since he lost to Shinsuke Yamanaka in a WBC Bantamweight title fight. It seems likely that Suriyan will also be in an eliminator later this year but first for him is this stay busy bout. Sadly as with Srisaket his opponent hasn't yet been publicly named.
One final member of the Nakornluang stable of fighters to be in action is the very promising Jirapan Nakornluang (1-0, 1) who impressed us on his debut when he out boxed and broke down Toto Lookmuangbangklang this past December. Although a novice it's clear this young man has a lot of talent and we'd be very surprised if we didn't see him in bigger and better bout in the next year or two. As with Srisaket and Suriyan, Jirapan's opponent hasn't yet been named