Belfast, United Kingdom
In regards to Asian fighters the biggest single fight is a Bantamweight unification contest, as Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18) takes on Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9) in Belfast. Coming in to that bout the heavy handed Zhakiyanov will be looking to defend the WBA title, however the Kazakh will be up against a real boxing talent in the form of the excellent Burnett. For both men this will not only be a unification world title bout, but also their first defense, making this a very tricky assignment for two men who only won their title's earlier this year. The Kazakh upset Rau'shee Warren for his title earlier this year, out hustling the American in a very competitive bout, whilst Burnett completely schooled fellow Brit Lee Haskins, despite one judge some how confusing the two fighters. This should be a really good bout,and could well crown the heir apparent for the Bantamweight division.
Whilst the biggest single fight, from an Asian perspective, takes place in Northern Ireland it's hard not to feel like a card from Tokyo is actually the more interesting show. Not only does it have a Japanese title fight, but it also has 4 Japanese title eliminators, and really does promise a fantastic value show.
The main event sees fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) battle against veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) for the Japanese Lightweight title, with both men competing for their first national titles. The unbeaten Yoshino has been touted since his debut, and really has looked like a champion in the making thanks to wins over Chaiyong Sithsaithong, Yoshitaka Kato and Kenta Onjo, and a win here is likely to see him begin a notable reign as a national champion, with not many domestic fighters looking up to the task of beating him. As for Matsushita the bout really is a must win, and he does come into the contest on the back of a huge win over a then unbeaten Yuichiro Kasuya. Sadly for Matsushita form has been an issue and his recent wins have all been razor thin decisions, which won't bode well against the talented Yoshino.
At Featherweight we see an elimination bout as Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) and Taiki Minamoto (13-5, 11) battle for the right to challenger for the national title next year. Of the two men Iwai is the more experienced and the more technically gifted fighter, but Minamoto certainly has the edge in power, and acquitted himself well in a 2015 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni. Coming into this Iwai will be the favourite, we suspect hat the bout will be incredibly competitive.
In a potential thriller at Welterweight we'll see the tough and hard working Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 4) take on the big punching Ryota Yada (14-4,12), in possibly the best bout of the card. Yun is coming in to this after a Japanese FOTY contender against Shusaku Fujinaka and he's unbeaten in 6, including a draw with former champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The heavy handed Yada has blown out his last 2 opponents, but has a lot of question marks lingering over him following last years stoppage loss to Jayar Inson, who moved up in weight and bullied him. We're expecting this one to be a little bit special, and can't see anything but an action bout.
Another potential action bout will be at Bantamweight and see veteran Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) take on the exciting Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5). The 31 year old Kikuchi lost 2 of his first 11, before rebuilding his career and has subsequently only been beaten by Shingo Wake, in an OPBF title fight, and the aforementioned Minamoto, with both of those losses coming at Super Bantamweight. On paper Suuki's record is less than great, but to date his losses have all come to very good fighters, with the first coming to Yusaku Kuga back in 2013, the second to Ryoichi Tamura in 2015 and the third coming to Jeffrey Francisco in the Philippines last year. All 3 of those losses were close and were losses which will aid the development of the 28 year southpaw.
Another eliminator will take place Flyweight, and sees the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) battle against the in-form and very under-rated Akinori Hoshino (14-7-1, 9). The heavy handed Nagamine began his career 10-0 before being beaten by the excellent Ken Shiro in 2015. Since that loss Nagamine has bounced back with 4 stoppages, including thrilling wins over Kenya Yamashita, Mako Matsuyama and Tetsuya Tomioka, which have all been all out wars. Around a year agoHoshino was 11-7-1 (8) and it looked like his career was going no where. Since then however he has moved down in weight and reeled off 3 big wins, including a stoppage of Kenya Yamashita and a decision over Shun Kosaka. We're expecting another good one here, though it's hard to see a win for Hoshino.
Gümligen bei Bern, Switzerland
There's yet more notable action featuring a Japanese fighter as Aniya Seki (31-3-2, 5) takes on Hungarian Kleopatra Tolnai (13-12-1, 4) in Seki's adopted homeland of Switzerland. The bout will see Seki defending her WBC Silver female Bantamweight title, for the second time, and in all fairness this be a simple defense against an opponent who has won just 1 of her last 5.
Although Ohio,of all places, may seem strange for the most significant bout with an an Asian interest that's exactly what will happen this coming Saturday as Kazakh Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18) challenges WBA “Super” and IBO Bantamweight champion Rau'shee Warren (14-1-0-1, 4). For the heavy handed Zhakiyanov this is a huge step up in class, and amazingly his US debut as he adds yet another stamp to his passport. The Kazakh has fought through much of the world, but is still a relative unknown in America, where few of his fights have been televised. Warren, a former 3-time US Olympian, is the most talented fighter that Zhakiyanov will have faced and will be seeking his first defense of the title. On paper this is puncher vs skillster and it could turn out to be a very intriguing contest.
Another show of Asian interest takes place in Singapore, where we see several notable fighters in action.
When it comes to fast rising prospects few are rising quite as quickly as 24 year old Uzbek Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (4-0, 4), who looks to over-come a former 2-weight world champion in just his 5th professional bout. Not only is Abdogofurov taking on a former world champion, but a highly experienced one as he battles 39 year old Thai Sirimongkol Singwancha (91-2, 57), in what will be a defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title by the Uzbek. The Thai veteran, who has claimed world titles at Bantamweight and Super Featherweight, is well past his best but will be hoping to make the most of his experience here.
Another promising Uzbek on this card is the unbeaten Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (9-0, 6), who looks for win #10 as he takes on the more-than-credible Ukrainian Viktor Plotnykov (34-4, 16). Although Abduqaxorov isn't quite as touted as his countryman he's in relatively tough here and Plotnykov is an upset minded fighter who can be a banana skin, as we saw when he beat the once touted Denton Vassell in the UK. Although Plotnykov can be a banana skin he has lost 2 of his last 4 and, at 39, is well beyond his best. If Abduqaxorov wins, as expected, he will return in a few weeks time to face Charles Manyuchi for the WBC Silver Welterweight title, he will however have to make sure not to over-look the Ukrainian here.
In an all Filipino bout we'll see the in form Jeson Umbal (12-5, 8) seek a 5th straight win as he takes on the struggling Roman Canto (12-8-3, 7). Coming in to this Umbal has scored notable wins over Luis Bedolla Orozco and Mark Anthony Geraldo and he will know if he keeps this run going he could find himself fighting for titles in the near future. As for Canto things have been tough recently, and he has fallen from 8-0 (3) to 12-8-3 with real struggles over the last 4 years or so. A win for Canto would boost his career massively here, but this will be a very tough one for the “Hitman”.
November 7th-Murata, Obara and Higa make it a day for Japanese bangers, Islam and Zhakiyanov add a Kazakh twist
This coming Saturday is an amazing day for Asian fight fans who will get the chance to see some of Japan's hardest hitters, two of which will be in action in the US!
The most notable of those two US debut's for Japanese fighters comes in Nevada where Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata (7-0, 5) risks his unbeaten record against Gunnar Jackson (22-6-3, 8). On paper this is a step up Murata however the bout is more about getting the US fans interested in him rather than really testing himself against world level opposition. A win for Murata would likely see him return to the US next year for a more notable bout, perhaps against a former champion or world title challenger.
We see another Japanese fighter make their US debut as the heavy handed, and genuinely fun to watch, Keita Obara (15-1, 14) takes on Nicaraguan warrior Walter Castillo (26-3, 19). For Obara this is a chance to prove himself internationally and move towards a potential world title fight, with this bout serving as an IBF eliminator, however Castillo is himself a man who knows that a win will change his career. We expect this one to be fun and full of heavy handed action but it will be a serious test for Obara.
On the same card we will also see Kazakhstan's 154lb contender Kanat Islam (19-0, 16) who battles 34 year old Alexis Camacho (21-5, 19) in what looks like a bout unlikely to go the distance. This will be Camacho's first bout in more than a year and he really hasn't beaten anyone close to Islam's level, in fact he's best known for a loss to Carlos Molina than anything else. Although it looks good on paper this really should be a mismatch.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
More fighters fighting away from home will land in Monte Carlo where we have two Asian fighters in action.
One of those fighters is Kazakh Bantamweight Zhanat Zhakiyanov (25-1, 18) who faces WBA interim champion Yonfrez Parejo (17-1-1, 8) in what looks like a very good match up on paper. Of the two men it's the defending champion who looks like the more accomplished boxer however the Kazakh challenger certainly has the edge in power and will be looking to knock out out foe. For “ZZ” this could be his first, and last, chance at a world title and it's clear that his training will have been stepped up for this opportunity, however it is still a tough ask.
The other fighter of note is WBC Super Bantamweight silver champion Qiu Xiao Jun (18-2, 8) who defends his title against light punching Frenchman Amor Belahdj Ali (14-3-1, 2). On paper this looks well matched though the Chinese fighter has certainly been in good form recently and although he's crude he is powerful and is more proven than the Frenchman, who doesn't have names like Jonathan Baat and Silvester Lopez on his record.
We were also hoping to see Japan's Yosuke Kirima on this card but it appears that that bout is now off.
Staying in Europe for a moment, we will also Indian star Vijender Singh (1-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he faces 33 year old Dean Gillen (2-0) in a 4 rounder.
The major show in Asia comes from the Korakuen Hall where we get two bouts of note, including the first defense of a WBC Youth crown.
That youth defense comes at Flyweight where the all action Daigo Higa (7-0, 7) looks to defend his title against the under-rated Renren Tesorio (15-6-3, 4). For Higa, who won his title in Thailand this year in a thriller with Kongfah CP Freshmart, this is a great home coming and if he wins it's likely that he will move onto a Japanese or OPBF title fight next year before a potential world title bvout in the near future. For Tesorio it's a chance to win his most notable title and to get a win in Japan, following last year's narrow defeat to Toshiyuki Igarashi.
The other bout of interest here sees former Higa foe Cris Alfante (11-5, 4) return to Japan to face unbeaten teenage Ryuto Maekawa (10-0, 6) in what looks likely to be a tough test for the unbeaten man. This is a bout where we suspect the records don't really tell us the full story and Alfante is certainly the more proven fighter, despite losing to Higa, Florante Condes, Kongfah and Knockout CP Freshmart. This really could be the show stealing bout and has the potential to be an “upset”.
The only other Asian show is in China here Top Rank and SECA put on the next of their novice shows. The show, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, is another in Top Rank's attempt to create a thriving boxing scene in the Chinese mainland. Sadly not of the bout really have much to talk about though it does seem like an idea with genuine potential.
The busy action continues on May 9th with a host of notable fighters in action with some very interesting match ups.
The most significant bout involving an Asian comes from Texas, where unbeaten Bantamweight Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) attempts to claim the WBA “regular” title and over-come Britain's hard working Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12). This bout was originally announced as a WBO-WBA unification bout but Kameda was forced to vacate by the WBO who refused to recognise the bout as a unification due to the WBA having multiple champions. Whilst the WBO's move has removed some lure of the bout we're still expecting the action inside the ring to be fantastic and we really can't wait for this.
On a different US show fans will have the chance to see Chinese Heavyweight giant Taishan Dong (3-0, 2) continue his development as he takes on American foe Karinn Davis (2-4, 2). Whilst Dong is heavily hyped in the US he is being matched softly and that's shown again here with Davis being a 40 year old who fought much of his career at Cruiserweight before making his Heavyweight debut earlier this year. Notably Dong will have a 1' height advantage here completely dwarfing Davis when the two get in to the ring.
Whilst the attention grabbing bouts, for many, are stateside we do still get plenty of notable action in Japan with the most notable of two shows coming from Kobe.
The Kobe show is a genuinely intriguing one which is headlined by the come-back of the popular Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15). Hasegawa, fighting for the first time since he was stopped by Kiko Martinez last year, will be taking on dangerous Mexican Horacio Garcia (29-0, 21) in what looks to be a really tough return to action. This is a really difficult bout for Hasegawa though he knows that if he scores a win he could well be back in the title mix by the end of the year. The stakes however are high and another stoppage loss could well be the end of his fantastic career.
As well as the interesting main event there was also some notable fighters on the under-card. The most notable of those fighters is the fast rising Shun Kubo (6-0, 4) who is world ranked at Super Bantamweight, by the WBC, and should really have an easy time in his upcoming bout with Masajiro Honda (6-5, 4). We like Kubo a lot and hope that we see him in a more notable bout next time out.
A genuinely notable bout on this card will see Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (28-6-3, 14) take on Takahiro Shigee (12-1-1, 10). This is Baat's first bout since he upset Kenta Onjo in March and if he wins again here he'll be on the verges of a title fight. For Shigee this will be his first bout of note since he was stopped in 8 rounds by Rodrigo Guerrero last July. Incidentally both men have been stopped by Guerrero.
Another really interesting match up on this card will see Tetsuya Hisada (21-9-2, 11) take on Shun Kosaka (9-1) in what should be a very competitive 8 round bout between decent but flawed fighters. Neither of these two are great but that should lead to a competitive match up and at the end of the day that's what we enjoy more than quick blow outs in mismatches.
A second Japanese card comes from Osaka where fans will get a female world title bout along with a number of relatively miss-able under-card bouts.
The main event will see WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (12-4-1, 6) defending her title against multi-time title challenger Masae Akitaya (9-5-2, 3). For Kuoki this will be the second defense of the title she won last May, with a decision over Mari Ando, and on paper it's a step down. However Akitaya is certainly not a push over and will come into this bout feeling like this could be her last chance. Don't be surprised if this one ends up being fantastic despite neither fighter being being near the elite.
As for the under-card there isn't really anything of note happening on it, despite 8 scheduled bouts supporting the main event.
There will also be title action in Korea where we're expecting a couple of low level title bouts,
The most “interesting” of those bouts is a WBA Asia Middleweight title bout between Eun Chang Lee (8-4, 4) and Thailand's John Ford (6-6-1, 5). Lee may be remembered by some for his Macau Bout with Brazilian Middleweight Esquiva Falcao and although he clearly lost that bout he did show his toughness and strength. Ford on the other hand was last seen being stopped by Shuhei Tsuchiya at Light Welterweight. Given the size difference between the two we have to assume this is going to be a horrible mismatch.
The other title bout is set to be for some PABA title, though we're unsure which actual belt it will be with the suspicion it'll be a female title bout at Super Featherweight.
As well as the two title bouts this show will feature 3 under-card bouts.
We get the chance to see an interest bout in Bulgaria as Kazakh Bantamweight banger Zhanat Zhakiyanov (24-1, 17) will be battling against the unbeaten Argentinian Hector Rolando Guzman (14-0, 9). This bout will be for the WBA International Bantamweight title and seems to suggest that Zhakiyanov may not be heading the WBC route after all, a smart move considering the champion is the sensational Shinsuke Yamanaka.
Wellington, New Zealand
In New Zealand fans will have the chance to see an “interim” WIBA Super Bantamweight title fight as Thailand's Anrey Onesongchaigym (7-1-1, 3) battles Gentiane Lupi (3-1-1, 1). This bout isn't likely to tell much about either fighter though should leave the loser well away from a notable fight.
Some days are insanely busy and today is one such day with more fights of note than almost any other day this year, and better yet they are spread all over the globe form the Philippines to the US, from Germany to Mexico. It really is a great day to look forward to.
New Jersey, USA
The most important bout for many fans this Saturday is in the US where destructive Russian Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23) attempts to unify his WBO Lightweight title with the WBA "super" and IBF titles currently held by Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32) in a bout that appears to have every boxing fans interested , even those that typically hate watching Hopkins. Kovalev, a destructive puncher, has been a on a real role recently wiping out decent contenders on a regular basis, often with out breaking sweat. Hopkins on the other hand has been the same old Hopkins we all know, lulling opponents to sleep en route to winning wide decisions. We suspect this bout could be over early if Kovalev hits as hard as we think, or could end up being a long and slow night if Hopkins can hypnotise Kovalev, like he has to many previous opponents. That's what makes this bout so interesting, who will manage to instill their natural game plan on the bout?
On the undercard we have another Russian, Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1), risking his unbeaten record against the limited Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1) in what should be a straight forward 6 round affair for Sirotkin.
Whilst the main event in New Jersey is undeniably the biggest bout of the day it's very easy to pick the biggest female bout of the day as unbeaten Japanese boxing queen Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) attempts to become the first Japanese female fighter to become a 3-weight world champion. Unfortunately for Fujioka she will be up against her toughest challenge yet, Germany's popular Susi Kentikian (33-2-0-1, 17), the current WBA female Flyweight champion. The bout is a tough one on paper and it's made even tougher by the fact Fujioka is on the road traveling to Germany for the bout against on of Europe's most popular female fighters.
A second very good female bout comes from Mexico as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (13-1-2, 3) attempts to regain the title and avenge her sole defeat. That however will see her needing to over-come Mexico's very own Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3) who claimed a controversial split decision in Japan over Tada last year. We suspect this could be a better bout that the Fujioka/Kentikian one though in our eyes the other is slightly more significant considering that Fujioka is attempting to carve her place in history. We'll admit with this being a rematch we're hoping for something a bit special.
On the same card in Mexico Ryuji Yokoyama (11-1-1, 3) will be looking for the biggest win of his career as he takes on the world class Jesus Silvestre (25-9, 21) in a very big test for the Japanese fighter.
Back in the US we see the next bout of the talented Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9) who attempts to build on his excellent victory over Robert Berridge last time out. This time Lepikhin will be battling big punching Brazilian Jackson Junior (15-1, 13), was was last in the US about 20 months ago being taken apart by Cuban Umberto Savigne. We suspect that Lepikhin will have a very easy night with the Brazilian who isn't as dangerous as his record would indicate.
In a third US bout fans will see Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (5-0, 5) take the next step on his way to a world title. Mekhontsev has had things all his own way so far but we wouldn't be shocked to see him struggle, at least a bit, with the extremely heavy handed Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6). Guerrero is limited but what he hits, he hurts. Guerrero comes in with 2 losses in his last 3 but he is insanely heavy handed and if Mekhontsev gets caught or gets reckless this could get very interesting.
A bit closer to "home" is a card in Australia that strikes us as interesting but not great with two bouts of note.
The main event here will see world ranked Bantamweight puncher Zhanat Zhakiyanov (23-1, 16) battle against Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-20-1, 6) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for the highly regarded Kazakh puncher. This will be Zhakiyanov's third bout of the year and will see him building on two stoppage wins, including an eye catching 1-punch KO over Karim Guerfi back in April and we'd be shocked if Lerio managed to take him the distance here.
The other bout will see the always entertaining Filipino slugger Romeo Jakosalem (15-8-1, 8) battle against the fast rising Cameron Hammond (10-0, 4) in what is likely to be a painful night for the Filipino. Jakosalem comes into this bout with 4 losses in his last 5, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Min Wook Kim back in May 2012, though did win last time out against Elmer Legaria and, if he's on form, he could make life difficult for Hammond. Odds are however Jakosalem isn't going to be close to his best unfortunately and will instead be dominated by the talented Australian.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Having just mentioned some Filipino's it makes sense to mention some more as we go to the first of two Filipino cards.
This one in Davao del Sur involved two interesting bouts with the co-feature being the better of the two, at least on paper. That bout will see the heavy handed but limited Drian Francisco (25-2-1, 20) battle against former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-4-3, 4). Having seen Apolinario struggle to survive against Koki Kameda last year we believe Francisco will stop him, though we do know that Francisco can be out boxed by a speedy fighter and that could prove to be an issue here.
The main event looks like a total mismatch as the talented Adones Cabalquinto (17-0, 10) continues to toil and waste away his career. The talented Filipino Light Welterweight will be battling against Thai visitor Pankorn Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title and we can't help but think he really should bite the bullet, take a risk and go for the OPBF title with a fight against Keita Obara, as was once arranged earlier this year.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other Filipino show comes from Metro Manila and is a much deeper card. Sadly due to just how busy the day is we're only going to talk about a few of the bouts on the card.
The main event will see the thunderously hard hitting Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) attempting to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against the limited but tough JC Francisco (6-8-3, 2). Francisco has won just 1 of his last 4 and we don't see it changing here but we do suspect that Claveras will be forced to work hard to get the win considering that Francisco has never been stopped so far.
A second interesting bout on here will see Ardin Diale (24-9-3, 11) attempt to defend his his GAB Flyweight title against the heavy handed Jenny Boy Buca (9-1, 9). Diale is better than his record suggests though we're unsure how good Buca is. If Buca has got skills as well as power he may manage to upset Diale who has had a very hard year considering his slugfest with Koki Eto was just 5 months and he has already had a very hard fight with Renerio Arizala since then. This is going to be a tough year for the Filipino who needs a win here to remain relevant.
In Russia we have yet more Filipino's in action with two Filipino's fighting in the Russian town of Klimovsk.
At Lightweight we will see Rey Labao (26-5, 17) attempting to claim the PABA title as he takes on the unbeaten Roman Andreev (15-0, 11), a man attempting to make the first defense of his title. Labao's record may not make him look like a killer but he's a very good fighter and his only loss in his last 8 bouts came against Yoshitaka Kato in an OPBF title fight. As for Andreev this is a tough defense but advantage will likely help him some what against a testing opponent though one who is perhaps less rounded and skilled than Andreev is.
The other bout comes at Bantamweight where Jason Canoy (21-4-2, 15) fights against Nikolay Potapov (12-0, 6) for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. This bout, like the other one, looks really interesting and although we again suspect the unbeaten is more skilled we cannot rule out the Filipino fighter who we suspect will go to Russia with an upset on his mind.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One final show scheduled to take place is in Thailand where we have one interesting bout and one other bout worth noting, albeit a total mismatch.
The interesting bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (28-7-1, 11) defending his belt against the once beaten Filipino hopeful Macrea Gandionco (10-1-1, 6). We suspect Petchbarngborn will be too big for the Filipino however it's a bout we're interested in and hope that Gandionco will be comfortable at the weight.
The other bout that interests us, despite it being a disgusting mismatch, will see Fonluang KKP (21-1-1, 9) take on journeyman Falazona Fidal (25-41-1, 8). This is an awful mismatch though it's nice to see Fonluang staying busy and this will be his 5th bout this year, a big change from 2012 in which he was completely inactive.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)
This coming Wednesday is one of the most significant mid-week days in boxing this year with several major bouts ranging from domestic title fights all the way up to a world title bout.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The most significant bout of the day will be in Thailand as the talented and unbeaten IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (13-0, 5) defends his belt against mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo (15-1, 13). This bout looks incredibly interesting as Arroyo has monstrous power, as shown in his win over Froilan Saludar, whilst Amnat is a slick and tricky boxer who will do his best to neutralise that power. As we saw against Kazuto Ioka the Thai is genuinely talented and is going to be the favourite going in though Arroyo's power is a real threat here. Fantastic bout and one we're really looking forward to.
On the undercard of this show we will get to see the world ranked the world ranked Mike Tawatchai (33-7-1, 21) fighting against Filipino journeyman Cristian Abila (11-13-3, 3). It's a shame Tawatchai isn't facing a better opponent though this will be his first fight in 7 months and it's a real shame that he's been so inactive recently.
A second undercard bout will see Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (24-3, 15) taking on Tatsuya Fukuhara (13-4-4, 4). Whilst Fahlan is well known for his upset win over Ryo Miyazaki he also has something in common with Fukuhara, both men have been beaten by Takuma Inoue. Sakkreerin has won one bout since his loss to Inoue though that win was at a very low level. Fukuhara however has fought twice since his loss, beating Prabpram Sithsaithong and scoring a 7 round technical draw with Akiyoshi Kanazawa.
Action in Japan comes from the Korakuen Hall as we get a much anticipated rematch between Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (9-1, 5) and former challenger Kotatsu Takehara (10-9-3, 4). When the two men met last year Fujimoto was fortunate to retain his title with a tight win though one that he did deserve. By the time of the final bell however the champion was exhausted and the challenger seemed to know that he could have won had he not started so slowly.
As well as the title fight we expect a trio of 8 rounders which are being given an extra little incentive. Dubbed "KO challenge bouts" the fighters will be trying to win bonuses for winning the bout inside the distance. The prizes are staggered so that if a fighter scores a quick they are rewarded with a bigger payment than if they score a late win.
The first of those KO challenge bout will see the Japanese ranked Daisuke Sakamoto (8-8-1, 4) battle against the light punching Shiro Saito (7-4-1, 2). Although the bout is a KO challenger contest we think the promoter may have been mischievous with this bout likely to go the distance considering neither guy is a big puncher and neither has looked that frail so far into their career.
Another KO challenger bout will feature recent Japanese Featherweight title challenger Yuki Ogata (19-1-1, 3) taking on Kentaro Yamada (8-4-1, 6). Ogata is the better boxer and proved his toughness by going into the 10th round last time out against the heavy handed Satoshi Hosono. Yamada might get stopped if Ogata really is driven by the incentive of the bonus though we'd not be shocked to see Ogata cruising to a clear decision win.
The final KO challenger bout is a rematch between Kenji Kubo (4-2-1, 2) and Kota Sato (9-5-2, 4). The two men fought to an 8 round draw in January in a very competitive contest though neither will be hoping to hear the final bell this time around considering the KO bonus on offer.
Prior to the KO challenge bouts fans will see former OPBF title challenger Yuki Nasu (23-8, 16) battle against Filipino visitor Jonathan Ligas (8-5-1, 1). Nasu is coming in to this bout on the back of back-to-back defeats, including one against Rocky Fuentes in an OPBF title bout, though has fought at a much higher level than Ligas, who has won his last 4 at a very low level.
Another of note takes place in Belarus as Kazahkstan's heavy hitting Zhanat Zhakiyanov (22-1, 15) takes on unbeaten Georgian Gagi Edisherashvili (7-0, 6) for the vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Bantamweight title. Zhakiyanov was last seen knocking out Karim Guerfi with a thunderous shot back in April and we'd expect something similar here though we don't know a great deal about the Georgian.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)
It's rare that we get no Asian cards but this Saturday is one such day, thankfully however we do have a number of notable Asian fighters in around the world in some very, very good looking fights with some real significance.
With no cards of note taking place in Asia the most significant card for us, by a long way, is the Zanfer Promociones card in Sonora which features two notable fights involving Asian fighters.
The bigger of those two bouts will see Filipino Richie Mepranum (27-3-1, 6) challenge unified Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18). Estrada is the reigning the WBO and WBA "super" champion at Flyweight and will be the big, big favourite against the Filipino but Mepranum has fought at this type of level before having already faced Denkaosan Kaovichit, Julio Cesar Miranda and Hernan "Tyson" Marquez, in fact Mepranum is 1-1 with "Tyson" Marquez.
Interestingly for Estrada this will be his second successive defence against a Filipino having beaten Milan Melindo last time out in a very competitive bout in Macau.
Having just mentioned Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (36-4, 26) it's worth noting that he will be in the second fighting involving an Asian as he battles former Bantamweight title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-3-3, 4), who was bested by Koki Kameda last year. Apolinario is, like Mepranum, also a Filipino.
The fact Apolinario was hurt and dropped by Koki doesn't bode well for him here and it's going to be hard to see him lasting the distance with Marquez who is a fearsome and hard punching machine. Though we wish him the best of look in what we view as the toughest bout of his career so far.
Mexico City, Mexico
A second card in Mexico that features Asian fighters will take place in Mexico City. Although not yet listed on boxrec the card does look like an interesting one.
For us the more significant of the bouts here features OPBF female Bantamweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (20-9, 9) who faces former adversary, and one of the elite female fighters on the planet, Jessica Chavez (19-3-3, 4). Tsunami lost a decision to Chavez last year and although the scorecards were wider than they should have been the right fighter did win. Interestingly Chavez, who is unbeaten in 3 years, could only manage a draw last time out whilst Tsunami looked revitalised in stopping Honey Katsumata in 7 rounds.
The other bout is sadly a mismatch as Filipino Ranel Suco (15-7-2, 6), last seen in a ring over a year ago, takes on the world class Julio Ceja (26-1, 24). Ceja has said he wants to fight Shinsuke Yamanaka and that would be a fight we'd be interested in, sadly this is little more than a stay busy affair for the powerful Mexican puncher.
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom fans will get the chance to see the Ricky Hatton trained Kazakh Bantamweight Zhanat Zhakiyanov (21-1, 14) attempt to claim the European title as he battles Frenchman Karim Guerfi (20-2, 5). Guerfi, who beat recent world title challenger Stephane Jamoye for the title, is a tricky and difficult customer who moves well, is tough and very tricky and could well upset the Zhakiyanov apple cart.
We've got to admit we're not 100% sure how a Kazakh qualifies to fight for the European title but it is what it is is we're afraid and a win here for the Zhakiyanov will put him into the world rankings.
In Germany, where the biggest card of the day in terms of world boxing, will be held fans will get the chance to see heavy handed Russian prospect Roman Belaev (13-0, 10). We really like the look of Belaev and he had a great work out last time out going 12 rounds with Dean Byrne. This time around Belaev is limited to just 6 rounds as he takes on the tough but light hitting Fouad El Massoudi (9-3, 1) in what should be a very easy assignment for the Russian puncher.
(Image courtesy of Zanfer and Notifight)