Hong Kong S.A.R., China
For once it's Hong Kong that gets our attention for a notable show, one of the first notable ones there since Rex Tso decided that he would be aiming not for a world title but for Olympic success in 2020. That card isn't hugely stacked, but has the biggest current hopes from Hong Kong, Macau and Nepal as well as a mouth watering clash between unbeaten fighters from Japan and China.
The Hong Kong hopeful is the once beaten Raymond Poon KaiChing (7-1, 4), who looks to inherit the hopes that one hung on the shoulders of Rex Tso. Although not as talented or as exciting as Tso the 23 year old KaiChing is talented and will be looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title, and claim the WBO Youth title. The man in the opposite corner to the local favourite will be China's Xiang Li (6-2-1, 2), who has lost 2 of his last 4 but will come into this bout as a live under-dog, an a man with a point to prove.
Macao's big hope on this card is the very talented and exciting 22 year old Lap Cheong Cheong (5-0, 4), who is a Flyweight with a lot of upside. Cheong Cheong has impressed when we've managed to see him and he's stopped his last 4, in fact he's now got 3 straight pening round wins. In the opposite corner to the Macau prospect is Indonesian visitor Muhammad Wahid (4-1, 1). This looks like it will be Cheong Cheong's toughest bout to date, and Wahid showed he was a pretty decent lower level fighter last time out, when he gave Bin Zhou a pretty competitive bout in China.
Hong Kong based Nepalese fighter Nibesh Ghale (4-1, 3) seeks his 5th straight win, when he takes on Shogo Yamamoto (4-3, 1). The once beaten Ghale lost on debut, to Kuok Kun Ng back in 2013, and since then has reeled off some wins at a low level. Interestingly Yamamoto saw his own 4 fight winning run come to an end last November, when Yamamoto was stopped in 5 rounds by George Tachibana. This could be a lot more interesting than the records of the fighters suggest.
The best match up on the card will see unbeaten Japanese hopeful Ren Sasaki (8-0, 5), who won the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year at Featherweight, take on China's Ge An Ma (6-0-0-1, 1). The Japanese fighter, 24, has impressed and has won not only the Rookie of the Year but also a B class tournament, doing that in 2018. The Chinese fighter on the other hand comes into this bout on the back of a career best win over Diarh Gabutan. This looks like a fantastic match up on paper and something we're really looking forward to.
As well as the card in Hong Kong there will also be a Rookie card in Okayama. This card is scheduled to feature 8 bouts, all 4 rounders, and we're not expecting anything too notable to happen. On paper the show is a pretty forgettable one, though we wouldn't be surprised by some fun action across the card, albeit at a very low level.
The first major show of the new year takes place in China this coming Saturday, and it really is a great show with several bouts of note, in what will see 4 different title bouts taking place.
The main event is a fantastic match up between unbeaten Chinese Flyweight Wenfeng Ge (11-0, 6) and once beaten Filipino Giemel Magramo (22-1, 18), who will be fighting for the WBO International Flyweight title, with Ge making his first defense of the tite. So far Ge has scored notable wins over Amnat Ruenroeng and Ivan Soriano, and looked solid, but at the age of 31 will know he can't afford a loss. Magramo on the other hand looks like a star in the making, and his sole defeat was a razor thin one in Korea to Muhammad Waseem. Since his loss Magramo has reeled off 5 stoppage wins and looks to be a fighter intent on making a statement. This really could be a brilliant way to break in the new year. A preview of this fantastic clash can be read here -Ge and Magramo look to begin year with mouth watering match up!
Another fantastic match up will see Chinese Light Flyweight Jing Xiang (15-4-2, 3) take on Thai veteran Kompayak Porpramook (59-6, 40) for the WBC silver Light Flyweight. The 28 year old Chinese fighter will be making his first defense of the title, which he last September when he defeated Merlito Sabillo, and he'll be looking to record an 8th straight win. Porpramook, best known for his wars with Adrian Hernandez and Koki Eto, is now 36, but showed he was still a capable fighter last year, when he defeated Pongsaklek Sithdabnij in the first of two bouts. The winner of this will be in the world title mix, but it's hard to see where the loser goes. A preview of this bout can be read here - Chinese novice Jing Xiang takes on Thai veteran Satorn
China's Jian Wang (7-1, 2) will be looking for his 6th straight win as he takes on Korean visitor Sung Young Yang (6-2-4, 3) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. The Chinese fighter looks to be in good form on paper, but his competition during his winning run has been poor, and his only real win of note came back in November 2015, when he beat the then debuting Wulan Tuolehazi. Yang is a 22 year old Korean fighter who has won his last 4, and is unbeaten in his last 6, though like Wang he's untested and a win here would be the biggest of his career,
The other title bout on this card pits unbeaten men against each other, as local hopeful Xiang Li (3-0, 2) faces off with Filipino Ryan James Racaza (10-0, 6) in a contest for the WBO Oriental Youth Lightweight title. The local novice debuted back in November 2016 but hasn't been particularly active in a pro ring, avoiding the ring through 2017 and only fighting once on 2018. Despite the inactivity Li is regarded highly as a prospect and a win here would be huge proof of his ability. Racaza isn't one of the more well known prospects in the Philippines but the 22 year old southpaw has scarcely lost a round since his debut and has already stopped both Jayar Estremos and Junar Adante. Racaza looks like one to watch, and a win here, on his international debut, would be a potential statement of intent. Although neither man in this bout is well known, this is a very interesting match up.
In the Philippines we'll see the unbeaten Roy Nagulman (6-0-1, 4) battle against experienced journeyman Albert Alcoy (15-27-8, 5), in what should serve as little more than a record padding win for Nagulman, who is just 17 and really shouldn't be rushed. The 35 year old Alcoy has been stopped 16 times, and has just 1 win since the start of 2013, despite that he is actually a step up for Nagulman.