New Jersey, USA
The most important bout for many fans this Saturday is in the US where destructive Russian Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23) attempts to unify his WBO Lightweight title with the WBA "super" and IBF titles currently held by Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32) in a bout that appears to have every boxing fans interested , even those that typically hate watching Hopkins. Kovalev, a destructive puncher, has been a on a real role recently wiping out decent contenders on a regular basis, often with out breaking sweat. Hopkins on the other hand has been the same old Hopkins we all know, lulling opponents to sleep en route to winning wide decisions. We suspect this bout could be over early if Kovalev hits as hard as we think, or could end up being a long and slow night if Hopkins can hypnotise Kovalev, like he has to many previous opponents. That's what makes this bout so interesting, who will manage to instill their natural game plan on the bout?
On the undercard we have another Russian, Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1), risking his unbeaten record against the limited Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1) in what should be a straight forward 6 round affair for Sirotkin.
Whilst the main event in New Jersey is undeniably the biggest bout of the day it's very easy to pick the biggest female bout of the day as unbeaten Japanese boxing queen Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) attempts to become the first Japanese female fighter to become a 3-weight world champion. Unfortunately for Fujioka she will be up against her toughest challenge yet, Germany's popular Susi Kentikian (33-2-0-1, 17), the current WBA female Flyweight champion. The bout is a tough one on paper and it's made even tougher by the fact Fujioka is on the road traveling to Germany for the bout against on of Europe's most popular female fighters.
A second very good female bout comes from Mexico as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (13-1-2, 3) attempts to regain the title and avenge her sole defeat. That however will see her needing to over-come Mexico's very own Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3) who claimed a controversial split decision in Japan over Tada last year. We suspect this could be a better bout that the Fujioka/Kentikian one though in our eyes the other is slightly more significant considering that Fujioka is attempting to carve her place in history. We'll admit with this being a rematch we're hoping for something a bit special.
On the same card in Mexico Ryuji Yokoyama (11-1-1, 3) will be looking for the biggest win of his career as he takes on the world class Jesus Silvestre (25-9, 21) in a very big test for the Japanese fighter.
Back in the US we see the next bout of the talented Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9) who attempts to build on his excellent victory over Robert Berridge last time out. This time Lepikhin will be battling big punching Brazilian Jackson Junior (15-1, 13), was was last in the US about 20 months ago being taken apart by Cuban Umberto Savigne. We suspect that Lepikhin will have a very easy night with the Brazilian who isn't as dangerous as his record would indicate.
In a third US bout fans will see Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (5-0, 5) take the next step on his way to a world title. Mekhontsev has had things all his own way so far but we wouldn't be shocked to see him struggle, at least a bit, with the extremely heavy handed Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6). Guerrero is limited but what he hits, he hurts. Guerrero comes in with 2 losses in his last 3 but he is insanely heavy handed and if Mekhontsev gets caught or gets reckless this could get very interesting.
A bit closer to "home" is a card in Australia that strikes us as interesting but not great with two bouts of note.
The main event here will see world ranked Bantamweight puncher Zhanat Zhakiyanov (23-1, 16) battle against Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-20-1, 6) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for the highly regarded Kazakh puncher. This will be Zhakiyanov's third bout of the year and will see him building on two stoppage wins, including an eye catching 1-punch KO over Karim Guerfi back in April and we'd be shocked if Lerio managed to take him the distance here.
The other bout will see the always entertaining Filipino slugger Romeo Jakosalem (15-8-1, 8) battle against the fast rising Cameron Hammond (10-0, 4) in what is likely to be a painful night for the Filipino. Jakosalem comes into this bout with 4 losses in his last 5, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Min Wook Kim back in May 2012, though did win last time out against Elmer Legaria and, if he's on form, he could make life difficult for Hammond. Odds are however Jakosalem isn't going to be close to his best unfortunately and will instead be dominated by the talented Australian.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Having just mentioned some Filipino's it makes sense to mention some more as we go to the first of two Filipino cards.
This one in Davao del Sur involved two interesting bouts with the co-feature being the better of the two, at least on paper. That bout will see the heavy handed but limited Drian Francisco (25-2-1, 20) battle against former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-4-3, 4). Having seen Apolinario struggle to survive against Koki Kameda last year we believe Francisco will stop him, though we do know that Francisco can be out boxed by a speedy fighter and that could prove to be an issue here.
The main event looks like a total mismatch as the talented Adones Cabalquinto (17-0, 10) continues to toil and waste away his career. The talented Filipino Light Welterweight will be battling against Thai visitor Pankorn Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title and we can't help but think he really should bite the bullet, take a risk and go for the OPBF title with a fight against Keita Obara, as was once arranged earlier this year.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other Filipino show comes from Metro Manila and is a much deeper card. Sadly due to just how busy the day is we're only going to talk about a few of the bouts on the card.
The main event will see the thunderously hard hitting Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) attempting to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against the limited but tough JC Francisco (6-8-3, 2). Francisco has won just 1 of his last 4 and we don't see it changing here but we do suspect that Claveras will be forced to work hard to get the win considering that Francisco has never been stopped so far.
A second interesting bout on here will see Ardin Diale (24-9-3, 11) attempt to defend his his GAB Flyweight title against the heavy handed Jenny Boy Buca (9-1, 9). Diale is better than his record suggests though we're unsure how good Buca is. If Buca has got skills as well as power he may manage to upset Diale who has had a very hard year considering his slugfest with Koki Eto was just 5 months and he has already had a very hard fight with Renerio Arizala since then. This is going to be a tough year for the Filipino who needs a win here to remain relevant.
In Russia we have yet more Filipino's in action with two Filipino's fighting in the Russian town of Klimovsk.
At Lightweight we will see Rey Labao (26-5, 17) attempting to claim the PABA title as he takes on the unbeaten Roman Andreev (15-0, 11), a man attempting to make the first defense of his title. Labao's record may not make him look like a killer but he's a very good fighter and his only loss in his last 8 bouts came against Yoshitaka Kato in an OPBF title fight. As for Andreev this is a tough defense but advantage will likely help him some what against a testing opponent though one who is perhaps less rounded and skilled than Andreev is.
The other bout comes at Bantamweight where Jason Canoy (21-4-2, 15) fights against Nikolay Potapov (12-0, 6) for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. This bout, like the other one, looks really interesting and although we again suspect the unbeaten is more skilled we cannot rule out the Filipino fighter who we suspect will go to Russia with an upset on his mind.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One final show scheduled to take place is in Thailand where we have one interesting bout and one other bout worth noting, albeit a total mismatch.
The interesting bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (28-7-1, 11) defending his belt against the once beaten Filipino hopeful Macrea Gandionco (10-1-1, 6). We suspect Petchbarngborn will be too big for the Filipino however it's a bout we're interested in and hope that Gandionco will be comfortable at the weight.
The other bout that interests us, despite it being a disgusting mismatch, will see Fonluang KKP (21-1-1, 9) take on journeyman Falazona Fidal (25-41-1, 8). This is an awful mismatch though it's nice to see Fonluang staying busy and this will be his 5th bout this year, a big change from 2012 in which he was completely inactive.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)