This coming Saturday isn't the busiest day for Asian boxing, especially given some of the other big contests that we've had recently, but it is still a pretty notable one with a number of interesting contests involving prospects and a clash of former world title challengers.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The pick of the bouts, on paper, is the aforementioned clash of former world title challengers, as former 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (27-3-1, 22) takes on recent title challenger Vince Paras (13-1, 11), with Taconing defending the WBC International Light Flyweight title against his compatriot. At the age of 31 Taconing is likely on the back end of his career, though he is still a very dangerous, hard hitting, tough southpaw who is a nightmare for anyone at 108lbs. Paras on the other hand is just 19 and looking to immediately get back into the title mix following a recent loss in an IBF title fight against Hiroto Kyoguchi. This could end up being a very special and very brutal contest.
Staying in the Philippines we get 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.
In Ibaragi Japanese fight fans get a small yet notable card featuring a former Japanese title challenger in what looks to be a mismatch, and interesting 8 round under-card bout.
The former Japanese title challenger is Tatsuya Takahashi (28-8-5, 20), who pushed the then Japanese Bantamweight champion hard Kentaro Masuda incredible hard back in December 2014. Takahashi will be up against domestic journeyman Masahide Shinabe (8-16-2, 4) in what should be a straight forward win for Takahashi, however Takashi will be coming in to this having lost last time out, losing a decision to Ikuro Sadatsune in a bout he was expected to win.
The interesting under-card bout will see Naoto Fujimoto (9-9-1, 4) face off against Ryuta Wakamatsu (11-13-1, 8). This is a bout between two limited domestic fighters, but they often give us some of the best action, with both men believing they can win, and putting it on the line to claim a relatively rare victory. This could, in terms of action at least, over-shadow the main event.
London, United Kingdom
One other bout with an Asian interest takes place on the biggest card of the weekend and will see 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (4-0, 3) face off with unbeaten Nicaraguan Julio Laguna (14-0, 10) on the under-card of the huge Anthony Joshua Vs Alexander Povetkin fight. For both men this will give them a chance to shine in front of a huge audience, and on paper it's a very interesting match up. The reality however is that if Giyasov is as good as he has looked in recent bouts then he will really impress here and move a considerable way towards getting a huge fighter in 2019. This is a good test on paper, but one that Giyasov should pass with no issue.
Bang Phun, Thailand
In Thailand our attention turns to Workpoint who will be showcasing a small but notable card. The headline bout of which will see unbeaten 29 year old local Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (11-0, 9) take on Japanese visitor Taisho Ozawa (21-10-2, 13) for a WBC regional title at Light Welterweight. Atchariya has fought twice this year, winning and defending the WBC Asian Boxing Council title at 140lbs, and we expect him to come out on top here as well. Oazawa on the other hand will be fighting for the first time in 2018 and is without a win almost 6 years, a combination of inactivity and 3 straight losses.
There is also set to be a small card in China, which will be main event by a 6 round contest between Yu Che Li (3-1-2, 2) and Hongpeng Zhang (5-5-1, 2). Given that that's the main event it should be little surprise that this card isn't going to get much attention. Coming in both men are on a 3 fight unbeaten run, with both men being 2-0-1 (1) during that 3 fight run, but neither has faced anyone of real note.
This coming Sunday sees a number of shows taking place in Asia, though the reality is that much of the focus is on just one of those shows, as Watanabe gym put on world title double header. Despite that there is notable names on a second Japanese card and title action from Korea.
The obvious starting point for a look into the fights for the day begins with that Watanabe card, which will feature a trio of title bouts, including two at world level.
The most notable of the world title fights sees WBA “super”, IBF and Ring magazine Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-2-2, 12) defending his titles against talented South African challenger Hekkie Budler (31-3, 10). The defending champion has a really strong claim to being the best Light Flyweight on the planet, with notable wins against the likes of Alberto Rossel, Ryo Miyazaki and Milan Melindo, though will know that this will not be an easy assignment against a former WBA Minimumweight champion. At his best Taguchi is a nightmare to fight, he's tough, has great stamina, freakish size and fantastic work rate. Sadly however he is inconsistent and can look like his mind is else where. If Taguchi is anything but his best he could be very easily beaten by the “Hexecutioner”, who had a notable title reign at 105lbs and can be a genuinely awkward fighter with his speed, determinedness and high out put. Whilst Taguchi should be favoured, this is far from a foregone conclusion and should be a very enthralling 12 round war.
Whilst we're expecting the Taguchi Vs Melindo bout to go the distance the same cannot be said of the other title bout, which pits hard hitting IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (9-0, 7) against big hitting Filipino Vince Paras (13-0, 11). This bout looks less likely to be a long drawn out war of attrition and more of a shoot out, with both men believing in their power and aggression. From the footage available it does seem like Kyoguchi has got more weapons in his arsenal, and he has showed them against a higher level of competition. Although Kyoguchi will be favoured Paras can bang and looks like a dangerous fighter, so the champion will not want to take too many risks here. Given how the two men fight this has the potential to be something very special, but also potentially very short.
The third title bout will see WBOA Asia Pacific Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (31-6-1, 18) defending his title against Rimar Metuda (12-3, 7). It's been known that Arakawa is chasing another world title fight, and we suspect Metuda has been hand selected as an opponent to make Arakawa look good against. Metuda is tough and can bang, but with 3 losses in his last 5 he certainly come into this as the under-dog, and as the man taking a huge step up in class.
A second, much over-shadowed, Japanese card comes from Shizuoka
The main event of the card will see the fantastically promising Kento Hatanaka (5-0, 5) take on a Thai visitor over the 8 round distance in a Super Flyweight bout. The 19 year old Japanese youngster, who is already ranked by the JBC, shined last time out when he stopped Kenta Matsui and is expected to continue his rise here as he looks to move towards a title fight of some kind. Sadly little is known about the visiting Thai.
The heavy handed but some what fragile Daiki Ichikawa (10-4, 8) will be up against Indonesian Agus Kustiawan (18-7-2, 8) in the shows chief support bout. On paper this doesn't look amazing but it could prove to be a pretty interesting bout. Ichikawa has lost 2 of his last 3, and needs a win if he's to keep his once promising career alive. The visitor has never won outside of Indonesia, but could see this as a great chance to pick up a win on the road.
In a third bout of some note fans will see Yuta Horiike (13-6-3, 3) take on upset minded Filipino veteran Edison Berwela (16-37-8, 5), who looks to build on his big January win over touted Thai teenager Saenganan Sithsaithong. On paper this looks a bit like a mismatch but Berwela has shown a tendency to score the occasional shock win, beating Saenganan as well as Jetro Pabustan and Robert Udtohan, and could see this as a chance to take another unexpected scalp. Horiike will be favoured but can't make the same mistakes as others when it's come to facing Berwela.
Seoul, South Korea
In Korea fans will get a small but notable Boxing M card, headlined by a title fight and featuring a number of Rookie bouts.
The title bout will see Gi Won Shin (3-1-2) and Shin Yong Kim (3-3-1, 2) face off for the vacant Boxing M Korean Welterweight title. On paper this probably shouldn't be a title fight, given that neither has a solid record and neither has won any of their last 3 bouts, but the contest should be competitive and both will be very hungry to pick up the win.
Among the most interesting of the rookie bouts is a clash between Super Featherweights Dong Kwan Lee (5-1-2, 1) and Ro Joon Suh (5-0, 2), in what could be the bout of the show. Another bout that stands out is a Heavyweight clash between Korean based American Aaron Singleton (3-0, 1) and Sung Min Lee (3-1, 2). A third Rookie bout worthy of some attention will see Mu Soon Kwon (1-0) face off with Korean based Mongolian hopeful Batzorig Batjargal (2-0, 1) in a bout at Welterweight. All 3 of these bouts will be fought over the 6 round schedule.
This coming Saturday is set to be a huge one in the Philippines where a host of notable fighters will be in action across three different shows.
One of those Filipino shows is in Cebu and features a former world title challenger, a former world title contender and two really promising prospects.
The biggest name in action here is fringe contender Froilan Saludar (24-2-1, 15), who takes on Salatiel Amit (10-2-2, 7) in what should be a straight forward win for the once touted Saludar. Although Saludar isn't as highly regarded as he once was, with some picking him as a world champion in the making several years ago, he should still be far too good for Amit here.
Froilan's brother, Vic Saludar (14-2, 9), will continue to rebuild from his 2015 loss to Kosei Tanaka, in a WBO Minimumweight title bout, as he takes on the once beaten Toto Landero (8-1-2, 2). On paper this looks like it could be the bout of he day, and although Saludar will be favoured, given his destructive power, Landero is well schooled and won't be getting in the ring to suffer a second career defeat.
Another pretty good looking bout will see the unbeaten Vince Paras (10-0, 9) take on Jimboy Haya (10-3-2, 6). Again the puncher should be favoured, given he's unbeaten and on the rise, but Haya has never been stopped, and lasted 12 rounds with the aforementioned Vic Saludar last year, suggesting he can take a shot even if he was widely beaten but the former world title challenger.
Another unbeaten on this card is Robert Paradero (13-0, 8), who faces veteran Fabio Marfa (25-33-4, 12). Marfa began his career back in the mid 1990's and began as a promising teenager, going 9 bouts unbeaten before suffering his first defeat, sadly he's gone 0-12 in the last 9 years or so, and is unlikely to pose any real test for Paradero.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another notable Filipino card takes place in Cotabato del Sur and will again feature some notable names in action.
One of the most notable name on the card is the fast rising Romero Duno (13-1, 12), who looks to follow up on his career best win over Christian Gonzalez back in March. The once beaten Duno will be hotly tipped to score a 5th straight win as he takes on puncher Jason Tinampay (8-4-1, 7). This could be a shoot out, given that Tinampay's only chance seems to be a puncher's one, but it's still hard to doubt anything but a Duno win.
In one of the other notable bouts we'll see big punching hopeful Aston Palicte (22-2, 18) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-8-3, 4) in a bout that really should be a stepping stone for the much fancied Palicte. The twice beaten man, who was very controversially beaten in Mexico not too long ago, should be too strong and too powerful for Apolinario, who doesn't have the power to get the respect of a fighter like Palicte.
Malaysian Muhamad Farkhan (3-0, 3) will be in the remaining headline bout, as he takes a huge step up to take on Marlon Alta (12-7, 9). The talented Farkhan has looked promising and has 11 rounds under his belt, but this is a big step up in class against a Filipino who can punch, and is an experienced professional. Although Alta's record isn't great he has mixed in good company, facing the likes of Makoto Fuchigami, and Peng Qu, and should ask questions of Farkhan.
This card also features the debut of two touted youngsters. One of those is Dave Apolinario (0-0), who is viewed as a real prospect following success in the amateurs, and he will be up against Prince Canonero (0-3) and the other is Mark Antonio (0-0), who will be facing fellow debutant Rusty Padua (0-0).
A smaller show in the Philippines comes from Cavite and really lacks attention grabbing name action.
In one of the bigger bouts Alphoe Dagayloan (5-2-4, 2) will face limited veteran Ryan Tampus (11-18, 8) whilst another leading bout will feature Jerome Clavite (7-4-2, 3) taking on Mark Anthony Florida (9-7, 7). With all the other action in the Philippines it is, admittedly, hard to card much about this show.
Staying in Asia there will also be a show in China, where we'll see a number of notable of bouts. One of those will see former world title challenger Angky Angkotta (28-14-1, 14) battle against Chinese southpaw Yong Cai Liu (4-4-3, 3) in an interesting looking 6 rounder. On paper Angkotta will be favoured, but it's been a while since he last scored a win and Liu will be looking for his biggest win to date.
The best bout,on paper at least, will see Zhong Liu (8-0, 2) battle against Sen Chen (8-0, 2) in a perfectly balanced bout. Liu is a 25 year old Southpaw, and will be the slightly more experienced with 5 rounds more than 24 year old Chen, but the bout really is a toss up on paper.
Gauteng, South Africa
We get some really good looking bouts in South Africa as Filipino warriors continue to show their grit on the road.
The main event is an IBF Minimumweight title fight, which will see Simphiwe Khonco (17-5, 7) battle Lito Dante (13-7-4, 7) in a battle of the under-rated. Of the two men Khonco is likely the more well known, having lost in a thrilling WBA title bout to Hekkie Budler in 2015 before defeating Nkosinathi Joyi last time out. Dante however shouldn't be over-looked and could be a genuine banana skin for the local here.
In an even more mouth watering match up we'll see the Jayar Inson (13-0, 9) take on Thulani Mbenge (10-0, 10) in a battle of unbeaten punchers. Inson caught our eye last year, when he stopped Ryota Yada in Osaka and announced himself as a genuine prospect, but he's in tough here against a local puncher who has been taking out foes quickly, with only one bout going beyond 4 rounds for Mbenge. This could be a very exciting shoot out.
In Russia we'll see Uzbek novice Ulugbek Xakberdiyev (2-0, 1) take on Russian based Argentinian veteran Oscar Roberto Medina (27-14-2-1, 9). Although Xakberdiyev has only fought 7 rounds so far we already know that top Uzbek fighters don't wait around and we don't expect to see the 24 year old to actually struggle here, given that Medina has lost 5 of his last 6 and is now a 35 year old who has had than 230 professional rounds under his belt.