Japanese attention turns to Osaka this coming Friday where we get a domestic title fight and a couple of supporting bouts between Japanese and Korean fighters.
The Japanese title fight will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (32-9-2, 19) make his 5th defense as he takes on 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Akihiro Toya (8-4, 1). This looks like a stay busy defense for the 34 year old champion, who is on the verge of a world title fight, but any sort of slip up here could end those dreams. At 23 years old Toya is still maturing, but a loss earlier this year to Takumi Sakae doesn't bode well for him against someone as talented as Hisada. A full preview of this bout can be found here Hisada defends Japanese crown against youngster Toya!
One of the supporting bouts will see Japan's Yuki Takahashi (8-3, 4) battle against Korean rankled visitor Hwan Young Jo (5-5, 1). Takahashi has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and hasn't shown too much promise coming into this, but he will be favoured given he is the home fighter and has the better looking record. Jo on the other hand challenged for the Korean Super Featherweight title back in July, and will be looking to bounce back from a loss in that bout.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout will see the limited but hard hitting 23 year old Shota Asami (6-5, 4) battle against Hyun Joo Lee (2-0). Asami began his career 4-2 (4) but hasn't scored a stoppage in his last 5 bouts, whilst going 2-3. Lee is ranked by the KBF but his record doesn't seem to be complete on boxrec, with the KBF listing him as being 5-1-1 (4). If the KBF record is complete then we could be in for a fun fight between punchers, though how good he actually is, is unclear.
There's also a show in Thailand this coming Friday
The big talking point is that WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) will be on the card in a stay busy bout, taking on Indonesian foe Tyson Lahagu (2-9-1, 2). The contest is supposed to be a tune up for the Thai ahead of a potential world title defense at the end of the year, and will see him stretching his record 52-0 as he looks to further increase his unbeaten record.
Although Wanheng and his unbeaten record will get much of the attention it also seems like we'll see OPBF silver Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (24-1, 13) defending his title against talented Filipino Dexter Alimento (13-4, 9), in a very good looking bout. This has the potential to be very exciting and very fun, and we wouldn't be surprised to see Alimento push the local all the way.
We'll see US based Tajik prospect Anvar Yunusov (5-0, 2) look to continue his rise through the ranks as he takes on Joshua Davis (11-3, 5). The unbeaten man debuted last year, in a match up against the experienced Justin Savi, and has been matched well so far, but this should be regarded as his best test to date. Davis has lost his last 2 bouts but at 27 he will have ambition to get his career back on track and should make for a compelling opponent for the Yusunov, who was a 3-time Olympian.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
As well as the show in Japan there will also be a card in Malaysia.
One of the bouts on this card will see unbeaten local Adli Hafidz (3-0, 2) take on experienced Thai foe Yuttana Wongda (13-21, 9). The local fighter, aged 29, has been matched softly so far, and this should be considered as a step up in class, but a very manageable one. Yuttana has gone 2-10 in his last 12 bouts and we suspect he will come up short again here.
Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
Attention turns to Thailand this coming Wednesday as we see a fighter attempt to etch their name into history and another looking to move towards a second world title fight.
The fighter looking to etch their name in the history books is WBC Mnimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (50-0, 18), who will be looking to not only make his 10th defense of the WBC world title but also advance his record to 51-0. The unbeaten Thai veteran will be taking on Filipino challenger Pedro Taduran (12-1, 9), who takes a huge step up in class for his first world title bout. The champion has blown hot and cold in recent contests struggling with Melvin Jerusalem and Tatsuya Fukuhara but demolishing Leroy Estrada, but when he's on he is arguably the top fight at 105lbs, and certainly has a solid unbeaten run that, if he extends, goes ahead of Floyd Mayweather's “50-0”. As for the challenger, the 21 year old is riding a 6 fight winning streak, including a big win last time out against Jerry Tomogdan, himself a former Wanheng foe. The challenger will have confidence but this is a massive step up in class.
Also on this same show is Palangpol CP Freshmart (16-2, 9), who will be fighting for the third time this year. The former world title challenger, who dropped Kosei Tanaka, is 2-0 since losing his most notable bout to date and will be looking to step back up a level here before having a big fight near the end of 2018.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The main card this Wednesday comes from Thailand as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (49-0, 17) battles against mandatory challenger Leroy Estrada (16-2, 6). The bout will be Wanheng's 9th defense of the title, a title that he won back in 2014, and will also see him attempt to extend his unbeaten record to 50-0, a figure that would match Floyd Mayweather's record. The champion has shown some cracks recently, and looked less than great in defenses against Tatsuya Fukuhara and Melvin Jerusalem last year. At 32 years old the Thai is getting on for a Minimumweight but does look like there might be another few fights left in him. At 23 years old Estrada is a young gun striving for the top, and is coming into this bout on the back of 4 straight wins including one over Saul Juarez. Sadly for Estrada this is a huge step up in class for him, even from the likes of Juarez, and given his style it's hard to really see him making the most of Wanheng's flaws.
In a supporting bout fans will see Petchmanee Kokietgym (19-1, 11) battle against Melianus Mirin (9-4, 6) in a bout for OPBF "silver" Minimumweight title. For Petchmanee this will be his second bout since he lost to Xiong Zhao Zhong in a battle for the WBA “interim” world title. Questions however need to be asked as to how Mirin qualifies for this fight given his lack of notable wins, and recent loss to Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart.
We'll also get title action in the Philippines, as the once beaten Clyde Azarcon (12-1, 4) battles against Bonjun Loperez (10-8-1, 5) for the vacant PBF Minimumweight title. Azarcon suffered a loss in his second bout, but has since reeled off 11 straight wins and looked pretty good doing them. Despite his winning run Azarcon has got questions to answer, and he'll be looking to answer some of them here against the more experienced Loperez. The 24 year old Loperez has won 1 of his last 7, but has been matched hard against the likes of Christian Araneta, Lester Abutan, Rene Mark Cuarto and John Paul Bentoso. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but in reality it should be a very good test for Azarcon.
The biggest fight of the day, for the Asian scene at least, comes from Thailand and will see see a world title on the line, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (48-0,17) defends against former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7). The defending champion is getting very close to the magic 50-0, a record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and will be strongly favoured over Fukuhara here, with the Japanese challenger needing to create history to win. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very entertaining clash with two aggressive fighters facing off.
In Bohol we get a genuinely stacked card thanks to ALA who put on their next Pinoy Pride card.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten and highly regarded Mark Magsayo (17-0, 13) defending his WBO International Featherweight title against former Japanese champion Shota Hayashi (30-6-1, 16). The promising Magsayo is looking to move into world class in the near future and will see a bout against Hayashi as a good step forward following two quick blow outs earlier in the year. For Hayashi, who lost his Japanese title to Kosuke Saka back in April, the bout is a tough one for his international debut, but he will know the reward of winning is a world ranking.
The card is stacked with prospects. This includes Virgel Vitor (11-1, 7), Albert Pagara (28-1, 19), Jeo Santisima (14-2, 12) and former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-2, 7). Unfortunately all 4 of the promising fighters appear to be in huge mismatches as they look to stay busy going in to the new year.
Also on the card will be Roli Gasca (23-8-1, 7) and Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20), who like the aforementioned prospects are in easy against opponents they should have no trouble with.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card comes from Davao del Norte thanks to MB Boxing.
The main event of the card will see Filipino fighter Glenn Porras (30-6, 18) take on former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-22-2, 18) of Indonesia. The Filipino has lost 3 of his last 5 but is a talented fighter and should have no problem seeing off the visitor, who used to be a decent fighter, at best, but is now pretty much a regional journeyman who picks up far more losses than wins.
The talented and once touted Rosekie Cristobal (14-2, 10) will be looking to avoid a third loss in 5 bouts as he battles former OPBF Light Welterweight champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-15-1, 10). Jakosalem is almost 6 years removed from his career best win, and has only won 4 times since then. Cristobal has suffered 2 DQ losses in Mexico, and before those there was big hopes for him, so he'll be looking to bounce back and show what he's about here.
A third bout of some note sees the once beaten Michael Bravo (12-1, 5) battle against Lyster Jun Pronco (9-15-1, 6). The once beaten Bravo comes into this bout on a run of 7 straight wins, albeit against very limited opposition, whilst Pronco is win-less in his last 13, with 12 losses and a draw during that run. This bout is for the PBF Light Flyweight title, and we expect to see Bravo crowned the new champion.
Seoul, South Korea
We have an international show in Korea with some low key bouts.
One bout worthy of interest sees Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Japan's Kazuhiro Baba (6-5-2, 3). Lee is looking to extend a 3 fight winning run, which has seen him claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title, and despite being 34 is one of the more interesting fighters plying his trade in Korea right now. The visitor had the edge in age, given he's only 25, but he's the naturally smaller man, was recently stopped by Ryota Toyoshima and is fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
A second bout of note here will see Hyun Je Shin (7-6, 1) take on Filipino fighter Daniel Ferreras (13-9-2, 4). Shin is a former Korean Featherweight champion, having won the title last time out however that was more than 3 years ago and he has been inactive since winning the belt. Notably the Korean has fought as low as 112lbs before as well. Ferreras is also ending a break from the ring, which also began back in 2014 when he was stopped by Rey Vargas. Although Ferreras' record is lessthan great he has mixed in good company, with losses to Vargas and Kohei Kono.
New York, USA
There will also be US action with Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (4-0, 3) taking on fellow unbeaten Eric Moon (7-0, 6) in what looks like a great step up in class for the 24 year old Kazakh fighter. A win for Nursultanov will help push him towards bigger and better fights, potentially moving him into fights against “name” opponents in the very near future.
The biggest bout this coming Saturday, for fans of Asian boxing, comes from Thailand where WBC Minmumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (46-0, 17) hunts a 7th defense of the title as he takes on Australian based fighter Omari Kimweri (16-3, 6). Wanheng will be strongly favoured here but hasn't shone in recent bouts, even the stay busy fights have seen him put on less than great performances, and it does sometimes seem like he's on cruise control. A win here for Wanheng will take him to within touching distance of 50-0 but Kimweri will not have travelled to just lose.
As well as the big bout in Thailand there will also be a low profile card in Tokyo.
The main event of this card does look interesting as Japan's Daisuke Watanabe (5-2, 3) takes on big punching Filipino Jun Blazo (7-2-3, 6). We've been impressed by Watanabe so far, despite the fact he has a couple of losses, and his team are willing to continue pushing him hard and in risky bouts, and this is certainly a risky one. Blazo's power is genuine and he dropped Koki Eto in a previous visit to Tokyo, suggesting he could be a handful for Watanabe.
Another Japanese fighter facing a Filipino is Coach Hiroto (11-2-1, 3), who faces Glenn Medura (8-2-1, 5). Madura, like Blazo, is returning to Japan having faced someone much better known than themselves, losing to Ryosuke Iwasa, but will fancy his chances here against Hiroto, who has been out of the ring for close to 5 years.
Another bout on this card will see the promising Shuma Nakazato (5-0-1, 4) take on a Thai foe in what will be his first 6 rounder. Nakazato showed real promise in 2015 but was out of the ring since fighting to a draw with Teppei Kayanuma in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. This should be a straight forward comeback, but with nothing known about his Thai foe it could be a tougher than expected assignment for the 20 year old Okinawan.
Attention turns to Thailand this Wednesday for a show with a world title bout.
In that title bout we'll see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (43-0, 17) take on unbeaten Filipino Melvin Jerusalem (11-0, 7). For Wanheng this will be his 6th title defense in a little over 2 years and he will be hoping to build on a successful 2016, a year in which he defeated Go Odaira and Saul Juarez in title defenses. The little known Jerusalem will enter with little expectation but could end the fight by really shaking up the Minimumweight here, if he's as good as some in the Philippines are suggesting.
In the most significant bout of the day fight fans will see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (42-0, 17) defending his title against mandatory challenger Saul Juarez (23-4-1, 12) in what looks like a wonderfully competitive match up. The champion is one of the most under-rated fighters on the planet, with many slating him for his competition so far, but yet is one of the fighters who passes the eye test every time we see him. The talented Thai will be up against a genuinely talented Mexican who can fight, like most Mexican's, but can also box brilliantly and should prove to be the toughest test for Menayothin so far.
As well as the action in Thailand there will also be a show in Japan with the proceeds of the show going towards the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake.
In the main event of the show fans will see Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (14-1, 7) face off against Australian Adam Lovelock (11-5, 2) in what is supposed to be an easy win go Kyotaro before he begins to look for an OPBF title fight, possibly for the end of 2016. Lovelock may not have the worse of records but he has been inactive recently and we don't expect him to prove much of a test for the Japanese fighter.
In a supporting bout former world title challenger Motoki Sasaki (40-10-1, 25) will be up against Yuya Okazaki (11-8-2, 4). For Sasaki the bout sees him fighting for the time this year after he ended his first retirement, that last for close to 3 years, and the 40 year old veteran will know that a win here could put him in the mix for a potential Japanese title fight. For Okazaki, who challenged for the OPBF title last year against Keita Obara, the bout is a great chance to end a run of successive set backs.
In another of the supporting bouts fans will see former Japanese and OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (17-1-1, 6) battle against JP Macadumpis (11-6-1, 5) in what looks like a stay busy for the talented Oguni. It's thought that after this bout Oguni will begin the chase for a world title bout, and his team may try to lure Jonathan Guzman back over to Japan later in the year.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
This coming month is a packed one with title fights and notable contests taking place all over the place. The first of those notable title bouts takes place on March 3rd in Thailand as unbeaten WBC Minimumweight king Wanheng Menayothin (40-0, 15) defends his title against Japanese challenger Go Odaira (12-4-3, 1). The champion, seeking his 4th defense of the title, is one of the most under-rated fighters on the planet and should be favoured here though Odaira does have the style to cause some problems for the champion, who has yet to face a real challenge since winning the title in late 2014.
Sadly we're unsure who will be featured on the under-card of this show, however with the broadcast, on Channel 7 set to be for 3 hours, between 14:00 local time and 17:00 local time it's clear that there will be other fights on this show, with the likelihood being that some notable fighters will be in action.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
November 24th-Wanheng defends title against Korean banger, Igarashi, Iwasa and Ota in action in Japan
The attention of the boxing world turns to Thailand today where we see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (39-0, 14) defending his title for the 3rd time. The unbeaten Thai, who will have to face a mandatory challenger in 2016, will be up against Korean slugger Young Kil Bae (26-4-1, 21) who looks to claim Korea's first world title in the better part of a decade. Wanheng appears to be a huge favourite given his record, ability and style however Bae certainly comes in to this bout in good form with 17 straight T/KO wins and will be hoping to extend that run in what will be a career defining bout.
On the same day we also get the chance to see the first of two Teiken shows to close the month. This one features a number of notable names, including a former world champion and two former Japanese and OPBF champions.
That world champion is former WBC Flyweight kingpin Toshiyuki Igarashi (21-2-1, 11) who looks to continue his ascent to a Super Flyweight title shot as he takes on Jonathan Francisco (8-3, 2). The bout is a mismatch in favour of Igarashi though it's clear his team are hoping to get him a title fight in 2016 and want to just keep him ticking over rather than really put him through an actual test.
One of the former OPBF/JBC champions is Ryosuke Iwasa (19-2, 12) who faces Marlon Arcilla (8-2, 1) in what will be Iwasa's first bout since his TKO loss, in an IBF interim title bout, to Lee Haskins in the UK. Iwasa was made to look very basic by Haskins and will likely have had his confidence hit by the loss so this is nothing more than a confidence builder for Iwasa who will likely face tougher foes in 2016 as he looks to climb back up the rankings.
The other former OPBF/JBC champion in action is Charlie Ota (24-3-1, 16) who fights for the first time since a close loss to Yuki Nonaka last December. The popular “Charlie” will be facing unbeaten Filipino Stephen Gelawa (6-0-1, 4) in what looks to be an easy win for Ota, who has lost his last two. This is a drop down in “level” for Ota but given his inactivity we don't begrudge him an easy comeback fight.
The month of June may have only just began but we're already in to major bouts and to kick off June we get a WBC Minimumweight world title contest.
The bout at hand will see reigning champion Wanheng Menayothin (37-0, 12) making the second defense of his title as he takes on Filipino foe Jerry Tomogdan (17-5-3, 9) in what appears to be a huge mismatch in favour of the defending champion.
Wanheng, who won his title last year by stopping Oswaldo Novoa, was originally scheduled to be facing Korean puncher Young Kil Bae who was forced out of the bout with an injury suffered in training. That left the promoter of the bout scrambling for an opponent with the WBC allowing Tomogdan to be the replacement, despite the fact the Filipino was ranked well outside of the top 15. For Wanheng this is supposed to be an easy defense of his title before a mandatory later in the year, possibly against Denver Cuello. As for Tomogdan this is a huge opportunity, but one that we suspect has come too soon given his lack of quality opposition thus far.
A second title bout on this show will see WBC youth Minimumweight champion Chanachai CP Freshmart (3-0, 2) defending his belt against Filipino Lester Abutan (7-2-3, 4). Abutan's team do sound confident of over-coming the Thai novice, but Chanachai has been impressive so far in his career and we'd be shocked if Abutan really tested him here.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)