This coming Friday isn't a day that many fight fans will have marked on their calendars but there really is a lot of action.
In Thailand fans get a spectacular card combining boxing and Muay Thai. As we don't cover MT we've only really got 3 bouts to make note of.
In the main event, at least in terms of the boxing, fans will see the promising Saenganan Sithsaithong (10-0, 6) take on Filipino visitor Danilo Gabisay (6-3, 4). Gabisay really needs a win of note here having gone 2-3 in his last 5, though he did score a TKO over Angelito Merin last time out. Saenganan is listed as a 15 year old on boxrec and whilst we're unsure on his age he does seem to be a really promising young fighter with genuine potential. That potential should be on show here.
Another bout between a Thai and a Filipino will see the experienced Thai Chaiyong Sithsaithong (36-14-4, 26) battle against limited Filipino foe Nathan Bolcio (12-7-2, 4). Bolcio has been stopped in his last 4 bouts out side of the Philippines and we suspect he could be stopped again here, though he did notably go 10 rounds with Tomoki Kameda back in 2011. Chaiyong has however lost his last 2 bouts and now needs a win.
A third bout will see China's Jen Yu Jia (1-8-2) fight a local Thai foe, though one who's name we're unsure about having been given the name “Sant Sithsaithong”, who we can't find on boxrec.com. Jia isn't great but he is tough enough to test some prospects and if “Sant” isn't up to much he could be slipping on the banana skin here.
Although the show in Thailand is interesting we're actually more interesting in a show from China which bouts 4 title bouts and features several fighters that we have a genuine interest in.
The main event will be an all Filipino affair as Alie Laurel (13-3, 9) battles against once beaten Ernesto Saulong (17-1-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC International Bantamweight title. This will be a rematch of Laurel's third loss, a split decision to Saulong, and will allow Laurel to continue his fine form which has seen him stop his last 3 foes, including Tiger Tor Buamas and Nobuhisa Coronita Doi. Saulong has also won his last 3 bouts though was stopped, in 3 rounds, by Rey Megrino last May. This is really interesting as a match up and one of the ones we're really excited about.
Another bout we're really excited about will see the world ranked Xiang Jing (8-3-2, 1) battle against Macrea Gandionco (10-2-2, 6) in a bout for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council and WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight titles. Coming into this bout Gandionco is 0-2-1 in his last 3, having been stopped in both of those defeats. Jing on the other hand is 1-0-2 having claimed a controversial win last time out against the very talented Ben Mananquil. This could be a good test of the Chinese fighter, though we suspect he'll come out on top.
A Featherweight title bout will see Xian Wei Qian (7-4-1, 1) battle against the unbeaten Junar Adante (5-0-1, 2) on a bout for a pair of WBC regional titles. A potential fringe world ranking could be up for grabs for the winner here , despite how unproven the two men are, and so we'd expect them to put it all on the line in an attempt to claim the two titles.
Yet another notable title fight will see Cai Zongju (4-1, 1) battle against Angor Onesongchaigym (7-2, 4) for a pair of WBC female titles. Fair to say most western fans won't be interested in this one but the winner could find themselves in the running for a potential shot at a WBC female world title later in the year.
In Australia there are a trio of bouts worth noting, including a particularly interesting female bout with a potential Atomweight world title challenger.
That female bout will see Filipino fighter Jujeath Nagaowa (12-14-1, 8) attempt to slow down the fast rise of talented Australian Louisa Hawton (4-0, 2). Hawton's team have made it clear that they are chasing world title bouts later in the year and this is an excellent step up for her, though Nagaowa isn't a push over.
Another bout here will see Thai veteran Sapapetch Sor Sakaorat (31-17, 20) battle against Australian fighter Steven Wills (17-2-2, 9) whilst Filipino fighter Lloyd Jardeliza (6-1-3, 5) takes on Nathaniel May (10-1, 5), in what appears to be a very tough ask for the Pinoy puncher.
We return to action after having had a short break for Christmas and the return is certainly an interesting one with notable action in both Japan and China.
In the first post-Christmas show in Japan we see a genuinely recognisable name in action in what is a relatively small show.
The most notable man in action is former WBA interim Light Middleweight champion Nobuhiro Ishida (26-10-2, 10) who continues his Heavyweight project as he takes on fellow Japanese Heavyweight Kotatsu Takehara (10-10-3, 4) in what is, for all intents a Japanese Heavyweight title eliminator. Both men have lost to Japanese champion Kyotaro Fujimoto but both would presumably like another fight with him, he is after all the only money in the division domestically. We know Ishida went to Heavyweight in pursuit of the Japanese title but he does need to win here to keep that dream alive.
In the co-feature on this card fans will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Kazuki Hashimoto (9-4, 5) fighting against Yoichi Oguma (15-6, 3). For Hashimoto this will be his first bout since February as he looks for a third successive win following a trio of losses. The 34 year old Oguma has been inactive even longer, in fact the southpaw has been inactive since last December, where he was stopped by Mike Tawatchai in Thailand. The loser here really will need to give a serious thought to retirement.
Although the show in Japan features the well known Nobuhiro Ishida we've got to admit we're more excited by the other show of the day which comes from China and features a trio of title fights.
The most interesting of the 3 bouts is a compelling rematch for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The bout will see China's very own Xiang Jing (7-3-2, 1) battle against unbeaten Filipino Ben Mananquil (10-0-2, 2). The men fought to a split decision draw earlier this year and we've got to admit this is a rematch we really like the look of. Although somewhat unknown we do like Mananquil a lot and feel he his first draw was very unfair in a bout that he should have had an opening round TKO over Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym. Jing however held his own with Mananquil last time out and this is by far the most well matched bout of the day.
Another rematch on this card will see Xian Wei Qian (5-4-1) defending his WBA Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title against Thailand's Thewa Onesongchaigym (5-1, 1). These two met back in August with Qian beating Thewa to become the first Chinese fighter to win a title in Thailand, he'll now be hoping to defend that belt for the first time.
Amazingly the third title bout will also be a rematch as Thailand's heavy handed Kajornsak Sithsaithong (7-3, 7) battles against Russia's Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (5-1, 3) in a bout for the IBF Youth Super Middleweight title. In their first bout the Russian stopped Kajomsak in just 32 seconds and he'll be hoping to do the same here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)