For us the biggest show this Saturday is in China where we get a China Vs Japan card featuring a number of bouts between fighters from those two countries. Not only is there the China Vs Japan theme, but also the return to the ring of a popular Japanese former world champion.
The former world champion is Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10), who despite being Japanese is hugely popular in China following his title win over Zou Shiming in 2017. Kimura was dethroned of the WBO Flyweight title in September, by Kosei Tanaka, but will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he takes on Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (60-10-2, 24) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Flyweight. Pigmy was once a solid fighter, and is a 2-time world title challenger, but is not a natural Flyweight, he's 37 and has been stopped 7 times in his career, with Kimura likely to make that 8.
One of the many China Vs Japan bouts will see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) take on Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) in a bout for some minor WBA Light Welterweight title. Originally the title was listed as the WBA "International" title, though their is now speculation that it will be for the WBA "Asia" title. Nasiyiwula is a talented fighter, but often comes across as a man with a bad attitude, and a real arrogance. He has impressed in the past, but didn't look good last time out, when he fought Ernesto Espana. Konno on the other hand has a poor looking record, but comes into this bout on the back of 3 good domestic wins, including an excellent victory over Vladimir Baez in December and will be full of confidence.
Another China Vs Japan bout, with a title on the line, will see world ranked Chinese fighter Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5) battle against highly regarded Japanese prospect Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) in a bout for the WBA International Flyweight title. Tuolehazi has impressed in recent years, turning around a 0-2 start to professional boxing to have a 10-3-1 record including a big win over Jayr Raquinel last year. Yamauchi has impressed us since his professional debut, and already has a couple of solid wins on his record, but this is a big step up for him. We suspect Yamauchi has the tools needed to over-come Tuolehazi, but he will need to answer serious questions here, and prove himself more than he has at any other point in his career. A full preview of this bout can be read here Yamauchi and Tuolehazi battle in mouth watering Flyweight clash
The China Vs Japan rivalry may be set to give us a very special bout as Fangyong Zhang (11-4-1, 3) and Ryuto Maekawa (11-1-1, 7) clash in a potential war. Neither of these are world beaters, but both are happy to let their hands go and be involved in a fight. Maekawa is best known for his insane bout with Rex Tso whilst Zhang is less well known he is certainly not a bad fighter to watch and should make for the perfect partner with Maekawa for a brilliant fight.
As well as the big card in China there will also be a big one in the US, in fact the US card in Pennsylvania is the biggest of the day in terms of general boxing. The card isn't just big in a wider boxing sense but also features several Asian fighters.
The most significant bout, in regards to Asian interest, will see the unbeaten Uzbek fighter Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) take on Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) in an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator. The talented Abdukakhorov will be making his US debut and begin a 3 fight deal with Top Rank with this fight, and will know that a win will open up major doors, though he is up against a serious puncher in Obara. For Obara, who has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, this is a must win but he has failed to win his biggest bouts and at the age of 32 he is likely on the slide. Our preview of this bout is available here Abdukakhorov and Obara battle for mandatory position
Once beaten American based Kazakh Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2) will take on Puerto Rican puncher Jose Lopez (11-1, 9) in an 8 round bout. The 28 year old Ualikhanov was beaten on debut, in 2016, when he was controversially DQ'd and since then has reeled off 4 wins, to rebuild his reputation. Lopez on the other hand was stopped last time out by journeyman Carlos Winson Velasquez and is may not find this bout to be the confidence builder he needs.
New South Wales, Australia
There will also be a show in Australia, featuring a couple of Filipino fighters.
The main event of this card will see WBSS participant Jason Moloney (17-1, 14) return to the ring for the first time since losing to IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. The talented, once beaten, Australian will be up against Filipino visitor Cris Paulino (19-3, 8) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. Given that all 3 of Paulino's losses have come by stoppage it's hard to imagine him lasting with the hard hitting Moloney, who will likely get to Paulino sooner or later.
Another Filipino on this card is Rey Juntilla (23-8-5, 14), who takes on Billel Dib (22-3, 10). The 29 year old Juntilla has lacked activity in recent years, with only 1 bout in the last 2 years, and although he has a good looking record he has lost against almost every noteworthy name he's faced. Dib is no world beater, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but he should pick up an easy win here.
In a bit of an oddity we'll see German based Moroccan Bilal Messoudi (6-4-1, 2) take on Chinese fighter Shayilanbieke Kadeerbieke (2-3-2, 1). Although Messoudi has lost 4 bouts he has mixed with decent fighters and is better than the numbers suggest. As for Kadeerbieke this will be his first bout outside of China, and we'll be honest and admit that is strange he's set to fight in Germany.
The most notable show for us is in California where we two notable Asian fighters in action. One is defending a world title whilst the the other is kicking off his career properly, after a very stop-start to his professional boxing career.
The world champion is Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20), who will be making his 6th defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title. Sadly for a man who has been a world champion for over 2 years Ancajas has had a disappointing reign, and it won't be helped here, as he takes on the little known Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-4, 7). The 22 year old Mexican challenger has never scored a win of note, fighting a draw in his most notable bouts. Ancajas should be mixing with the top Super Flyweight, who mostly seem to be wanting to fight each other, but instead is fighting third tier foes like this. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Ancajas returns to defend title against little known Mexican
Thankfully the other bout involving an Asian on this show is much more interesting, despite being less significant. That's because we'll finally see former Kazakh amateur star Janibek Alimkhanuly (2-0, 1) make his US debut, and take on the hard hitting Carlos Galvan (16-7-1, 15). The touted Alimkhanuly has had a very frustrating start to professional boxing, fighting once in 2016 and once in 2017, but now appears to have his mind set on becoming a full time professional. Galvan is no push over. Like many Colombian Galvan is a big puncher, but he also showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went the distance against Willie Monroe Jr. This is a great chance for Alimkhanuly to impress US audiences and to shine in front of new promoter Bob Arum.
A second Kazakh will be on this show, albeit in a minor role. That will be Askhat Ualikhanov (3-1, 2) who will be stepping up in class to take on 27 year old American fighter Angel Hernandez(13-10-2 8 KOs).
We also get a really interesting Kazakh Vs Colombian match up in Florida as the unbeaten Mussa Tursyngaliyev (7-0, 6) takes foe Deivi Julio Bassa (20-5-0-1, 12) in a 10 round contest. The unbeaten Kazakh began his career on fire, winning his first 6 bouts in the space of 19 days. Since then however he's only fought once, stopping Luis Hinojosa. This is a big step up for Tursyngaliyev but the Colombian fighter has struggled in recent years, and has lost 3 of his last 4. A few years ago when Bassa lost his unbeaten record to Kenichi Ogawa, and since then he has really struggled. We expect that struggle to continue here.
In Asia the most interesting card is from China, where we get several title bouts with a number of notable names involved. We won't go through all the bouts, but we will look at 3 of them.
The most interesting is a China Vs Philippines contest, as Wulan Tuolehazi (8-3-1, 4) takes on OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel (10-0-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC silver Flyweight title. On paper this doesn't look brilliant, but Tuolehazi is much better than his record suggests with a 7 fight unbeaten run, with some good wins during that run, including a 4th round TKO over Kwanthai Sithmorseng. Talking about good runs Raquinel has notched two big wins this year over Keisuke Nakayama and Shun Kosaka to win and defense the OPBF title. This could be very competitive.
In a supporting bout at Lightweight Zhimin Wang (10-3, 3) will face off with Indonesian foe Hero Tito (27-13-2, 11) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. Again this doesn't look amazing but Wang isn't a push over, he's no world beater but on the Asian scene there are a lot of potential match ups for him to be involved in down the line. Tito is pretty much a regional journeyman if we're being honest but should take Wang the rounds in what could be an entertaining contest.
In a Heavyweight bout unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhilei Zhang (19-0, 15) will face off with American Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13) in what will be Zhang's first defense of the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. At the age of 35 Zhang can ill afford bouts at this level if he wants to move on to fighting for a world title. In theory this will help with his WBO ranking but little else. The 36 year old Hayenesworth does have power, and could be a risk if he can connect on Zhang, but has lost to the only notable name he's face, losing in 3 rounds to Bryant Jennings. We expect Zhang to win, but we don't really know why he's wasting his time with bouts against the likes of Haynesworth.
We are also getting a show from Japan, which doesn't look much on paper but is actually the second set of East Japan Rookie of the Year semi finals. The winners will face the winners from the bouts on Thursday. Given the fact there will be 10 bouts on this card we'll only take a snapshot and look at a few of the more interesting looking contests.
The Minimumweight bout here will see Masatora Okada (4-2, 2) face off with Shunsuke Isa (6-1, 1). Neither of these two are unbeaten but they do look well matched and we expect this to be 4 rounds of competitive action. Of the two men Okada is the older man, at 24, and is arguably the naturally trickier given he's a southpaw. However he has only won a single bout out of his last 3. Isa is 20 years old and has bounced back from his sole, to the 2017 East Japan Rookie of the Year, with a couple of decision wins. This could be very interesting and very competitive.
At Super Featherweight we see 21 year old's clash with Keita Hayashi (4-3, 3) facing off with Yusaku Sekishima (5-1, 3). Through his 7 fight career Hayashi has been a “stop or be stopped” fighter, with only 1 of his bouts going the distance. Whilst he can hit he can also be hurt. As for Sekishima he has been on a roll, and strung together 5 straight wins after a loss on debut. The form is certainly on Skeishima's side, but Hayashi's power could be the game changer.
At Welterweight the hard hitting Tetsuya Yoshimura (4-2-1, 3) will face off with the unbeaten Kojiro Nishikawa (3-0, 1). As with the aforementioned Hayashi we tend to see Yoshimura either stopping his foes, or scoring a stoppage, with only 2 of his 7 bouts going the distance. Saying that however it was his last 2 bouts that both went the schedule. At 30 years old Nishikawa will likely see the 2018 Rookie of the Year as the way to put himself on the map and will not be wanting to get this far for nothing.
East Jakarta, Indonesia
Another small show till take place in Indonesia, with Martin Daniel promoting the card.
The main event will see Andika Sabu (14-0, 7), also known as Andika D'Golden Boy, risk his unbeaten record against Melianus Mirin (9-5, 6). On paper this is a mismatch between the two Indonesian youngsters, but the realities is that Sabu isn't that proven and is actually the man stepping up in class here. Mirin has suffered his last couple of losses against talented Thai's and he certainly has the skills to give Sabu a test here.
On the under card Rivo Kundimang (5-0, 1) and Jufri Kakahure (1-0, 1) will be in action, as they both look at advance their career. Both will be facing local foes and looking to take a big step forward, towards bigger and better fights.
The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.