Gimhae, South Korea
The most notable show of the day comes from Korea, where the we get top Korean female fighter making a defense of one of her titles.
The aforementioned female fighter is Hee Jung Yuh (20-3, 10), who will be defending her WBF Intercontinental Female Super Flyweight title against Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-14, 1). Yuh is an interesting and skilled fighter, though she is well below elite level, and her only loss in the last 10 years has come to Naoko Fujioka. Despite only losing once in 10 years her competition, Fujioka aside, has been appalling. Saowaluk has lost her last 5, including 3 by stoppage. She's very much a fight who will travel to pick up a loss, and that seems to be the case again here as she returns to Korea for the fourth time in her career, still seeking her first win in the country.
There will also be a bout featuring Seung Ho Lee (4-0, 4). Lee will battle for the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title as he takes on Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-1, 4), who was last seen losing inside a round to Rivo Kundimang in Indonesia in November. We'll get a chance to compare Lee to Kundimang, but that's about the only thing this bout will actually do.
As well as the title action in Korea there will also be a small, yet noteworthy, card in Osaka featuring two bouts of interest.
In a bout that genuinely excites us we'll see the inform Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on the once touted Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3). Coming in to this Kenji has won his last 5 by stoppage, including big wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. That winning run has taken him from 5-3 to 10-3 and he's quickly climbing up the rankings towards a potential title fight. Iwai was tipped highly as a prospect from Hyogo but the youngster suffered back to back defeats in 2017 and he's yet to really recover from those set backs. He's notched a couple of wins over Thai's since suffering his defeats but this is a clear step up, and it feels like Morioka will be looking to see if he sinks or swims against someone as good as Kenji.
The other bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (7-2, 4) take on Tricky Kumagai (9-8, 6). The 25 year old Jogo was stopped in 4 rounds in the Rookie of the Year final and was also stopped last time out, by Yoshihiro Utsumi, suggesting that perhaps he's lacking in durability. Kumagai has also been stopped, in fact 4 of his 8 losses have been inside the distance, and he is 2-6 in his last 8, meaning he can ill afford another loss here. This isn't a massive fight for the Japanese domestic scene, but is massive for both fighters, who will have a long road to climb if they come up short here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small card, expected to be headlined by the unbeaten Marlon Paniamogan (8-0-1, 5) taking on Jimmy Borbon (7-6-4, 4). This is a less than great match up, but the card looks like it will feature a bunch of more recognisable names.
Listed for the show are Wilbert Berondo (12-3-2, 5), Juan Miguel Elorde (26-1, 14), Arvin Magramo (8-1-1, 5) and Delmar Pellio (5-0, 3). Sadly none of those fighters have had their opponents named at the time of writing.
Kazakh fans get the chance to end the year on a high with a number of their fighters in action on a special card promoted by the Astana Arlans and Qazaq Promotions. The show will be free to attend, but sadly the level of bouts is a bit of a mystery.
Whilst full details on this card haven't been announced we do know that is it will feature Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6), Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5), Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2), Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6) and Ruslan Myrsataev (5-0, 5), all of whom likely to be up against limited opponents in what we suspect will be little more than show case bouts.
The biggest card this coming Saturday for us is from Australia where Asian fighters will battle against a pair of unbeaten Australian brothers.
One of those Australian fighters is the promising Jason Moloney (16-0, 13), who goes up against former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (33-11-1, 14), with Moloney defending the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. For Moloney this is a series step up in class after wins against the likes of Marco Demecillo, Lolito Sonsona and Immanuel Naidjala. As for Kono this bout will his first major bout as a Bantamweight. Not only is the former world champion moving up in weight but he also come into the contest in poor form following 3 losses in his last 4, including a stoppage loss to Naoya Inoue and a technical decision defeat to Rex Tso. A win for Kono puts him immediately into the Bantamweight title mix whilst a win for Moloney moves him towards his first world title fight, a really good match up.
The other Australian on this card is Jason's brother Andrew Moloney (16-0, 10), who looks to make his third defense of the WBA Oceania Super Flyweight title as he takes on Filipino challenger Richard Claveras (18-3-2, 15). The defending champion showed his class earlier this year when dominating Rene Dacquel, and will be strongly favoured here against the naturally smaller Claveras. Moloney looks like a real talent, a fighter with great skill, speed and combinations, who could be up against far better opponents. As for Claveras he is best known for losing in a WBC Light Flyweight title fight to Pedro Guevara and is unlikely to fare well here against the more naturally gifted, and bigger, Moloney.
In Shanghai fans will get a relatively low key card under the auspices of the CPBA. Sadly the card is really poor and there's only really one bout of any note here.
That bout will see the once beaten Jian Wang (5-1, 1) battle against Ayati Sailike (6-6-2, 2). On paper this looks like a really big mismatch but current form makes things seem much more interesting. The 21 year old Wang made his debut in 2015 and lost his third bout, a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Bantamweight title. Since that loss he has rebuilt and claimed the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title last time out. As for Sailike he began his career 0-4-2 before going 6-2 in his last 8, and will feel confident coming in to this bout.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title triple header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.
The two bouts above have both been rescheduled from late April, whilst a third title bout will see Eranio Semillano (15-8-3, 5) battle against former Hinata Maruta foe Wilbert Berondo (12-2-2, 5) for the GAB Super Flyweight title. This will be Semillano's first defense of the title that he won last September and despite entering as the champion he also comes into the bout on the back of a loss, having been stopped inside a round by Kenya Yamashita last November. As for Berondo he is 2-2-2 in his last 6 and it's going to be interesting to see how he performs here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The only Asian card of the day comes from the Philippines.
The most significant bout of the card will see former 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (22-3-1, 18) look to bounce back from his recent loss to Ganigan Lopez, as he takes on the heavy handed Salatiel Amit (9-1-2, 7) for the vacant WBC International Light Flyweight title. Taconing is a bull in the ring and it's hard to see him losing here to Amit, however the 24 year old Amit will know that a win will put him in the mix for a world ranking and may well meet fire with fire, potentially leading to a war.
Recent Kosei Tanaka victim Rene Patilano (15-2-2, 7) also returns to the ring following a loss, with the twice beaten Patilano taking on domestic journeyman JC Francisco (6-13-5, 2) in a key supporting bout. Patilano was made to look poor against Tanaka but this bout should be an easy win for the former world ranked Light Flyweight. Francisco is win-less in 10 bouts and is unlikely to change that here.
Another fighter looking to bounce back from a loss is Wilbert Berondo (10-1, 4), last seen being stopped by the sensational Hinata Maruta. The once beaten Berondo will be facing off with Robin Dingcong (3-3-2, 1) in what looks like an easy return to the ring for Berondo, who was made to look very poor against Maruta, though it does seem like Maruta will make very good fighters look average in the years to come.
The most significant bout, at least in terms of the world title scene, comes form the US where Japan's Ryosuke Iwasa (22-2, 14) battles the unbeaten Luis Rosa (22-0-0-2, 10) in an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator. The winner of this will be particularly interested in the December 30th bout between Jonathan Guzman and Yukionori Oguni, and may well find themselves facing the winner of that bout next year. It's a major test for both and is a really good match up, worthy of it's eliminator status.
Staying in the US there are several Asian fighters in action on the Nevada card, headlined by Sergey Kovalev's bout with Andre Ward.
One of those bouts will be a battle of unbeaten men as American based Uzbek Botirsher Obidov (6-0-1, 2) risks his record against Russian puncher Bakhram Murtazaliev (6-0, 4). This is a notable step up for both men and should prove to be a great test for both fighters, who have got a lot of questions to answer still.
The other Asian is debuting Kazakh Meirim Nursultanov (0-0), who looks to make his first mark on professional boxing as he takes on the limited Henry Beckford (4-5,1) in a 4 rounder.
There is also notable action in Australia where unbeaten local Luke Jackson (12-0, 5) takes on Filipino visitor Silvester Lopez (27-11-2, 19). Coming into this Lopez is on a bit of a run having won his last 3, but has been inconsistent in the last few years going 8-8-1 in his last 17 bouts. A former world title challenger Lopez was one a threat at 115lbs but is now fighting well above his best weight and should be too small to really test Jackson, but may have the power to hurt the local favourite.
In less significant bouts in Australia we'll see Brent Dames (3-2) battle against Australian based Thai Paitoon Jaikom (5-22, 2) and the unbeaten Kayne Clarke (1-0, 1) take on Arnon Yuchareon (1-15-2, 1) in two less than great match ups.
This coming Sunday sees Japanese attention turn to Osaka with the Sumiyoshi Ward Center playing host to two different shows, one after the other. The first is a Morioka card whilst the second is a Mutoh card.
To us the most interesting bout from the first show will see fast rising Japanese teenager Hinata Maruta (2-0, 1) go for his first professional title, as he faces unbeaten Filipino Wilbert Berondo (10-0, 4) for the WBC Youth Bantamweight title. The bout is, on paper, a huge step up for Berondo but the pressure will be on Maruta, who is tipped by many to be one of the next stars of Japanese boxing. Unfortunately very little is known about Berondo with even our Filipino friends admitting they know very little about him and the footage available shows a raw slugger.
Another interesting bout on this card will see Japanese based Korean fighter Teiru Atsumi (10-1, 4) battle Filipino visitor Dennis Tubieron (19-7-2, 8). Tubieron has been picking up losses recently, including a loss earlier this year to Ryosuke Iwasa. Atsumi is relatively unknown but impressed last time out when he stopped the touted Sho Nakazawa and some are suggesting he is one of the top two Korean prospects still in Asia, along with Ye Joon Kim. If he can add Tubieron to his record Atsumi really will be riding a high into the end of the year, and may well see his team try secure him a title fight in the near future.
On the second card we have another title bout, but one that perhaps doesn't quite have the same excitement as the Maruta/Berondo bout.
This time it's the case of OPBF Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-10-4, 9) facing off against multi-time title challenger Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-1, 13). For Hosokawa this will be his first defense, following his career defining victory late last year against Dennis Laurente to claim the Oriental title. For Hosokawa a good performance here may help open the door to a world title fight, with the Japanese fighter very highly ranked by the IBF, however Saito enters this bout knowing this will be his last chance at winning a world title.
In a supporting bout fans will see former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (12-4-2, 2) battle against Ryotaro Kawabata (11-2-1, 5) in what is a really good, well matched contest. The bout sees two well matched men facing off in a bout that neither can really afford to lose. For Mukai the bout is his second since losing to Shohei Omori in a Japanese title fight whilst Kawabata looks to extend a 4 fight unbeaten run.
In a small step up the unbeaten Masahiro Sakamoto (7-0, 4) will be up against Il Che (7-11-5, 1). Che has lost his last 3, and only, has a single win in his last 8 but has proven to be a good test for prospects and gave Genki Hania Hanai a good run out back in March, we suspect the same will be the case here.
One fight we're not expecting to go the distance will see Japanese Middleweight puncher Koki Tyson (10-2-1, 10) face Korean Joon Yong Lee (5-4-3, 3). This will be Lee's second bout in Japan, following a loss in May to Ryosuke Maruki and although he went the distance, in a competitive bout with Maruki, we don't see him being able to take Tyson's power here.