Every so often we get a fight that has the ingredients to be a FOTY contender, and obvious looking one. One where the fighters just have the explosive styles that should gel, and the mentality to put on a real show. That's this case this coming Saturday when WBC Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (31-1, 28) defends against mandatory challenger Takashi Miura (31-3-2, 24), himself a former champion. Both of these fighters have legitimate lights out power, both are flawed and both should come together to give us a bout to remember at the end of the year. Despite the excitement of something special there is also the possibility that this could be a blink and you miss it fight. Whether it's long drawn out war, or a quick blitz, there is no way this one is going to be dull.
On the under-card we'll see once touted Filipino Mercito Gesta (30-1-2, 16) take on Mexican veteran Martin Honorio (33-10-1, 16) in what could be an thriller. Although one touted really highly Gesta has failed to build on his potential and has seen his career plagued by inactivity and long lay off's. Here he cannot afford a set back against a tough and ready fighter looking to get his career back on track. Honorio is a 2-time world title challenger but has won just one of his last 5 fights, going back almost 5 years,and he would really have to turn the clock back to beat Gesta.
Before all the action in California we'll have a world title fight in Thailand as WBA Minimumweight kingpin Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) defends his title against mandatory challenger Rey Loreto (23-13, 15) in what could, potentially, be the under-the-radar fight of the year. On paper it looks like a mismatch in favour of the unbeaten champion, who has notched up a number of strong wins. However Loreto is much better than his record suggests and has scored some really impressive wins himself, including wins over Wisanu Kokietgym, Pornsawan Popramook, Nkosinathi Joyi and Koji Itagaki, all on the road. This could be something very specia
One of the best bouts of 2015 saw Takashi Miura (30-3-2, 23) face off with Francisco Vargas in a brilliant war for the WBC Super Featherweight title. This week wee see Miura return to an American ring as he takes on Mexican veteran Miguel Roman (56-11, 43) in a WBC world title eliminator, with the winner set to face either Vargas or Miguel Berchelt, who fight on the same card. The Miura Vs Roman bout had been touted through much of 2016 but for various reasons the bout hasn't taken place and instead we get to kick 2017 with the bout, just weeks into the near year.
Miura won't be the only Japanese fighter on the road this weekend as former IBF Super Flyweight title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8) fights in a world title eliminator against former champion McJoe Arroyo (17-1, 8). Kinoshita, making his international debut, is a former Japanese Super Flyweight champion who is best known for being out boxed by Zolani Tete for the IBF Super Flyweight title in the Portopia Hotel in Kobe, where Kinoshita was actually working at the time. Since then he has gone 6-0 (5) and shown a development in his power. For Arroyo this bout will be his first since losing the title last year in a mandatory title defense against Jerwin Ancasjas, where the Puerto Rican fighter was thoroughly uninspired. This is winnable for Kinoshita, but it will be a tough ask for the 31 year old Japanese Southpaw.
In Canada we'll see a pair of unbeaten Kazakh hopefuls fighting to extend their winning starts.
The more notable of the two is Batyrzhan Jukembayev (7-0-0-2, 6), who will be looking for his 8th win as he takes on David Rangel (12-4, 8). On paper this should be a good test for the Kazakh, although he will be strongly favoured. Rangel has lost 4 of his last 6, but has mixed in good company with losses to the likes of Gilberto Gonzalez and Javier Prietom and a recent win over Leonardo Jimenez.
The other Kazakh on this card is 25 year old Ablaikhan Khussainov (4-0, 3), who takes on the once beaten Oscar Mejia (8-1-1, 3). The Kazakh has looked good so far but is taking a clear step up here and will be fighting in his first scheduled 6 rounder as he takes on a Mexican who has shown some genuine potential himself. Although Mejia lost last time out he proved he was capable and should be a very good test for Khussainov.
The most notable bout set to take place in Asia this weekend will see rising Indonesian star Iwan Zoda (13-1, 12) defending his IBF Youth Flyweight title against Filipino Robert Onggocan (7-1, 3). Zoda, who is the most exciting Indonesian youngster since Daud Yordan was first breaking through the ranks, will be looking to make his first defence of the title whilst Onggocan will be fighting in his first title bout.
The most notable Asian show of the day takes place at the Korakuen Hall and sees two former world champions in action, in bouts that look like mismatches. Although mismatches the two men are looking to move back to world level later in the year.
One of those men is former WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22) who faces Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) in what will be Miura's first bout since his loss to Francisco Vargas. The exciting Miura will be looking to make light world of Gadapan before moving back to world level by “Bomber” will have to show that the fight with Vargas hasn't ruined him or ended his primse.
The other former world champion is former WBC Flyweight king Toshiyuki Igarashi (21-2-2, 11), who faces Joel Taduran (7-2-1, 1). The talented Igarashi will be looking to extend a 5 fight unbeaten run here, though will be hoping to avoid his third technical decision, with headclashes marring many of his decent bouts. For Taduran this looks like a huge step up in class, however the 21 year old will know that a win could see him rewarded with a potential world ranking.
On the under-card there is a really intriguing 154lb match up between Masaya Tamayama (6-1, 3) and Dai Taoka (8-1, 5). We're expecting this will be a very even match up and could well have the on the edge of their seats at the hall.
Western Australia, Australia
In Australia Thai veteran, and former OPBF Featherweight title challenger, Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (16-7, 5) will be up against the once beaten Nathaniel May (13-1, 6). The 37 year old Thai has lost 3 of his last 5, though he has mixed in good company coming up short against Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Shingo Eto. As for May, he's looking to score a 10th straight win.
Action continues to build in Indonesia with another card in the country, albeit one without too many exciting and promising fighters.
In one of two 12 rounders Tiger Lamandau (1-0) is scheduled to face Jack Langodi Timor (2-10-1), though was stopped recently by Iwan Zoda and probably shouldn't be sanctioned for the bout. Lamandau debuted last year with a win over Suparyanto Doglo, in what was a decent debut, and a win here could well see him prove his promise, though of course he will still have a lot to prove before anyone will list him as “one to watch”.
The other main event will see Hendrik Barongsay (29-24-3, 18) face an unknown opponent. This will be Barongsay's first bout since an 8 round decision loss to Genesis Servania at the end of last year.
In Ifugao Philippines fans will get some low level action. In the supposed main event the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (1-0, 1) will be up against Noel Guliman (6-11-2, 3) in a 6 rounder. The unbeaten man made his debut in March and will be looking to give Guliman his 6th straight defeat.
Sadly the rest of this card appears to just be 4 rounders.
This weekend is a big one for fight fans, and it's fair to say Saturday is a huge day with some huge fights.
Potentially the fight of the year takes place in the US, and yet the bout is only a supporting bout as the all-action Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22) defends his WBC Super Featherweight title against Francisco Vargas (22-0-1, 16) on the under-card of the Miguel Cotto/Saul Alvarez card. Miura, who is an all southpaw with a vicious left hand whilst Vargas is a more refined pressure fighter. When the two get in the ring we are guaranteed action, excitement and a war. For fans who haven't see Miura he's a treat to watch, for those who have we don't need to build this fight up, it really does have all the ingredients to be a very special contest.
On the same card we will see two other Asian fighters in action. One of those is Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22) who is in his highest profile bout to date, as he takes on Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10). This will be Rigondeaux's first bout since his New Year's Eve battle with Hisashi Amagasa in Japan and since then he has lost his titles and sat on the shelf. For Francisco this is his second bout since being shocked, in a round, by Jason Canoy, who fights on Sunday against the debuting Hinata Maruta.
The other Asian is Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (5-0, 3) who faces the once beaten Donnie Palmer (6-1-1, 6). This is a step up for Zhilei though unfortunately at 32 years old he really will need to step much quicker if he's going to have any notable success in the pro ranks.
In France our attention turns to Thailand's Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (13-6-1, 1) who faces France's very own Anne Sophie Da Costa (19-2, 8) in a bout for the WBF female Light Flyweight title. It's a really tough ask for Ploynapa, who was recently seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Eun Hye Lee in a bout for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. Da Costa won her first 18 bouts but has gone 1-2 in her last 3 fights, including a shock loss to Sandy Coget last time suggesting that she is, at 33, coming to the end of her career.
May looks likely to be one of the best boxing months of the and it takes absolutely no time to get under-way with exciting action almost from the off.
The Asian action for the month of May kicks off in Tokyo with a Fuji TV card from the Ota City gymnasium.
The main event here will see Japanese Middleweight star Ryota Murata (6-0, 4) battle against world ranked Brazilian foe Douglas Damiao Ataide (13-1-1, 6). This is a significant step up in class for Murata though he is still expected to take a win and continue to move towards a world title fight later in the year. From what we've seen of Ataide he does seem to have a style which could trouble Murata and this could well be a lot more competitive than many are suspecting.
Although the main event features Murata there is actually a world title fight on the card as WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) looks to record his 4th defense. In the opposite corner to Miura will be former IBF Featherweight champion Billy Dib (32-3, 29) who has sounded confident in the build up to the fight though appears to be a major under-dog against a very impressive and aggressive champion.
Another notable name in action on this card is former 2-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (20-5, 10) who makes his Super Flyweight debut in a bout against Songsaenglek Phosuwangym (1-11). This should be an easy win for Yaegashi though he has lost his last two bouts, suffering stoppages to Roman Gonzalez, in a Flyweight title bout, and Pedro Guevara, at Light Flyweight. Songsaenglek has previous experience of fighting in Japan, with 2 bouts in the country, though was stopped in both of those bouts.
On the under-card fans will also have the chance to see 2014 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year Ryohei Takahashi (5-1-1) in action as he faces the limited Hokuto Sakata (5-4-1, 3). This will be Takahashi's first bout since claiming the Rookie crown in December and he should be favoured here there he has shown a lack of power and has got question marks in regards to his chin.
Several hours after the action in Japan fans will get the chance to see Takahiro Ao (27-3-1, 12) attempt to add his name to an exclusive list of Japanese fighters who have claimed world titles in 3 weight classes. The Teiken fighter will be battling against Tough Mexican Raymundo Beltran (29-7-1, 17) in a bout for the vacant WBO Lightweight title with Beltran looking to claim a world title in his third attempt whilst Ao looks to become the third Japanese fighter to be a 3-weight champion. On paper this is a brilliantly matched bout between a technically capable but flawed boxer and an exciting and busy pressure fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a busy one with 2 major cards featuring Asian fighters in world title bouts. It may not be the busiest day of the year but it is certainly one of the most interesting.
As well as the Macau show we are also looking forward to a Japanese show promoted by Japanese promotional power house Teiken promotions who are putting on a small, 8 bout, card though one that features several very interesting looking contests including 2 world title bouts.
Prior to the world title action fans will get the chance to see the world ranked Ryo Akaho (24-1-2, 16) battle against recent world title challenger Antonio Tostado Garcia (14-3, 6). Akaho isn't one of the sports most talented fighters but he is certainly entertaining and with his power we suspect he'll stop Garcia in the middle rounds of the bout, if not earlier.
The first of the two world title fights will see Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34) make the first defense of his WBC Flyweight title. Gonzalez, one of the sports most impressive fighters, will be battling against tough Filipino Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20) in what looks likely to be a very entertaining bout though one that Gonzalez has to be favoured in, especially considering the way he won the title back in September by stopping Akira Yaegashi.
The other world title bout on this show will see the heavy handed Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20) defending his WBC Super Featherweight title in a mandatory defence of his belt against heavy handed Mexican slugger Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19) in what could potentially be a FOTY contender. Miura is earning himself a reputation as a Mexcutioner after 3 successive wins over Mexican foes, including his thrilling win over Sergio Thompson, and he'll be hoping to extend that run as he takes on a fighter who is similar to him in terms mentality in the ring. Expect this one to be violent and highly exciting as long as it lasts.
The final world title bout involving an Asian fighter comes from the United Kingdom as former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) battles the unbeaten Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22) in a bout for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. When this bout was signed Otake was unranked by the WBA, though he is now ranked #9 rather mysteriously. Otake is seen as a huge under-dog and with good reason considering his best wins are against domestic opponents and with that in mind we'd be shocked to see win, though like the two title bouts in Japan this should be entertaining as long as it lasts due to the styles of the men involved.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
Whilst much of the world is looking forward to getting drunk, popping party poppers and singing various songs, the Japanese are, rightfully awaiting celebrations of another kind, the kind that comes with victories. This New Years Eve, like several others from recent years, is one laced with boxing celebration courtesy of 3 world title fights, a number of world ranked fighters and some major action in our great sport.
Amazingly the action isn't just televised on one channel but 2 with fights in both Tokyo and Osaka as fans get treat especially well.
For us the better of the two massive Japanese cards is in the Ota-City Gym in Tokyo where Watanabe put on an excellent 9 fight card headlined by 2 world title fights.
The first of those world title fights sees WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (26-2-2, 19), defending his title for the second time as he takes on Mexico's Dante Jardon (24-3, 20). Jardon, known as "El Loco" or "Crazy", is ranked #2 by the WBC and will be the 3rd successive Mexican to fight Miura following Gamaliel Diaz and Sergio Thompson. To date Miura is 2-0 against Mexican's whilst Jardon is 1-1 against Japanese fights. In our view this, despite being the co-feature, has the possibility of being the fight of the year.
Above the Miura/Jardon bout on the card is a WBA Super Featherweight title clash that sees Takashi Uchiyama (20-0-1, 17) defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Daiki Kaneko (19-2-3, 12, pictured together above. Kaneko, a former Japanese national champion, is taking a big step up going in to this clash though has been on a fabulous run of form and may feel that with a 9 year youth advantage he can over-come Uchiyama, a man many feel is the best on the planet at 130lbs. Although many will feel this is a complete mismatch we are expecting that the bout will be competitive, at least in spurts, and it could well see both men being rattled at one point.
Amazingly this card has more quality and name value than just the 2 world title fights. The same show will also act as a tune up for Kohei Kono (28-8, 11) ahead of his WBA world title fight with Denkaosan Kaovichit on March 26th, it will also feature notable fighters in the form of Carlos Cuadras (28-0, 13), the WBC #1 ranked fighter at Super Flyweight, Ryoichi Taguchi (18-2-1, 8) and model-turned-boxer Tomomi Takno (3-0, 2). Although these 4 fighters are being matched relatively easily, with only Taguchi's opponent Ryan Bito (22-12-3, 8) being of any sort known quantity, it's still great to see so many high profile fighters on the card.
This show, or at least the main events, will be shown on TV Tokyo.
Across the country from Tokyo we get the days second massive card with action in the wonderfully named Bodymaker Colosseum. Although this show only has a single world title fight on it, it also features a number of notable fighters including a former world champion, former world title challenger, former OPBF champion and 2 very promising unbeaten fighters.
The world title bout, a WBA Light Flyweight title fight, sees unbeaten men colliding as Kazuto Ioka (13-0, 9) looks for the 3rd defense of his belt. In Ioka's way is hard hitting Nicaraguan sensation Felix Alvarado (18-0, 15) who has been stopping opponents for fun back in Latin America. This is be far the most dangerous fight Ioka has had since becoming a Light Flyweight champion though on the flipside it's easily the stiffest test in the career of Alvarado who who is making a major leap up in class. We favour Ioka's experience at the higher level to be the difference here though it's certainly a dangerous challenge for the unbeaten Japanese youngster.
Whilst Ioka is the only world champion on the card his stablemate make Ryo Miyazaki (20-0-3, 11), the recent WBA Minimumweight champion, will also be on the show. Miyazaki, fighting for the first time since vacating his 105lb title will be taking on Thailand's world ranked Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (22-2, 14) in what appears to be a statement of intent from Miyazaki that he's going to be looking to make a mark on the Flyweight division. Sakkreerin Jr may not be a big name compared to Miyazaki but the young Thai is highly regarded and will know that a win would mean a lot in terms of his future.
Down the card we get fights involving KO sensation Masao Nakamura (17-1, 17) a former OPBF Super Featherweight champion, former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (13-4-1, 6), the fast fast rising Sho Ishida (14-0, 7) and unbeaten female prospect Kei Takenaka (5-0, 1). As with the other card, these fighters are expected to be against limited foes unfortunately.
We're expecting the Ioka bout to be shown like on TBS.