This Saturday is a huge one for Asian fight fans with notable bouts taking place on 3 different continents.
New Jersey, USA
The biggest card for us is North America where we see a headlining bout between two established fighters and get a supporting card featuring major Central Asian prospects.
The card is headlined by Dmitry Bivol (14-0, 11)defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title against veteran Jean Pascal (33-5-1-1, 20). The talented Bivol has been busy this year with wins against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba and a win over Pascal would see him ending a good year with a big name on his record, albeit a faded force in Pascal. The 36 year old Pascal is well beyond his best, but was competitive with Eleider Alvarez last year and the hope will be for Bivol and Alvarez to face off in 2019. A prime Pascal would have given Bivol a real test, but he's now little more than a name. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Can Bivol over-come Pascal in one of the final HBO shows?
One of the prospects on this card is Uzbek sensation Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0, 3), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Akhmadaliev was a former amateur stand out will be up against American foe Isaac Zarate (16-3-3, 2) , who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run including wins over Carlos Carlson and Horacio Garcia. This is a good step up for the Uzbek, who's is set to have his fight televised on HBO, and hopefully bigger and better opportunities will come his way in 2019.
One of the other major prospects on this card is the debuting Israil Madrimov (0-0), who looks to instantly announce himself as one to watch, as he takes on Vladimir Hernandez (10-2, 6) in a 10 rounder, on debut. The highly regarded Madrimov is tipped to be a major success, and it seems clear that his team have big expectations for him, putting him in such a tough bout to begin his career. Hernandez might not be a major name but he's a very solid opponent for a debut, and has only lost a couple of close decisions, to Humberto Velazco Torres and Adrian Luna Flores. Not only has Hernandez been competitive with good opponents, but he has scored decent wins over Elco Garcia and Danny Valdivia. This is a serious debut.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (5-0, 4), who will be up against the very experienced Miguel Zamudio (41-11-1, 25). The unbeaten Giyasov has been very impressive this year, beating good opponents like Gabor Gorbics, Albert Mensah and Julio Laguna, defeating Laguna at Wembley on a massive international card. Zamudio is a 27 year old Mexican veteran, who debuted back in 2009 and has been ultra-active. Despite being active Zamudio has lost to the notable opponents he's faced, such as Jose Zepeda, Sharif Bogere and Will Tomlinson.
Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) was also scheduled to be on this card, though was pulled in the weeks leading up to the show, without a reason being given.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Another international card with notable action comes from Monaco, where we get a couple bouts involving Asian fighters.
A second unbeaten Chinese fighter on this card is Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) who goes up against popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). The bout will be Fanlong's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, a title he won in October 2017 when he defeated Ammanuel Danso. The Chinese fighter has looked good at times, but has been shown to have a less than amazing chin and although Buglioni is not a world beater, he does have respectable power. If Buglioni lands clean this could be a night to forget for Fanlong, who will be making his Euroipean debut.
Another Olympic medal winner on this card will be 2016 gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0, 2) of Kazakhstan. The 2016 Olympic champion will be battling against Nicaraguan Marcos Mojica (16-2-2, 12) and this is another good platform for Yeleussinov to shine on, as he did last time out, when he stopped Matt Doherty. If Yeleussinov can continue to develop his style he could become a star, but there is still a long way for him to go. Mojica is the under-dog, but is a live under-dog here.
We were also hoping to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) take on veteran Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25), but that bout was cancelled at late notice due to Zhilei having visa issues in the weeks running up to the fight.
Despite the notable action in the US and Monaco there is actually a stacked card in the Philippines, courtesy of ALA Promotions who are putting on a show with several WBO affiliated titles.
One of those title bouts will feature the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) making his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Mexican visitor Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6). The champion won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda and this should be a good defense against a fighter who has proven he can fight on the road. Lopez first came to our attention in 2016, when he upset Ryo Matsumoto, and despite a loss to Matsumoto in a rematch he has remained relevant, with a big win this past August against Antonio Tostado. We're expecting an interesting bout here.
Another title bout on this card will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) make his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Ghanaian puncher George Krampah (14-3, 12). On paper this looks dangerous for Pagara, but the visitor has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he lacks any win of note. This is a great chance for Pagara to make his first defense, and we suspect his aim will be on stopping Krampah in under 4 rounds, to try and beat the result Isaac Dogboe had against him.
In one of the major supporting bouts we'll see former world title challengers face off with Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) taking on Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16). Sultan failed to shine in his recent world title fight with Jerwin Ancajas, but he is a talented fighter and will be wanting to bounce back from that setback. A win over would certainly help him go into 2019 with some momentum. As for Diale his record has been patchy recently, though he has mixed with top quality fighters such as Daigo Higa, Moruti Mthlane and Andrew Selby. We suspect Sultan's youth will get him over the line here, but this could be more competitive than the records suggest.
Sultan isn't the only former world title challenger on this show as the once touted Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18) looks to rebuild his career after his loss earlier this year to Luis Nery. Villanueva will be up against countryman Carlo Demecillo (11-5, 5) who is less than 2 years removed from a brutal KO loss to Satoshi Shimizu. He is 5-1 (4) since that loss, but this is a big step back up in class and is certainly his toughest bout since the Shimizu bout. Hard to see anything but a win for Villanueva, but he will have to work for it.
Unbeaten prospect KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) takes a step up as he faces Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. Cataraja is widely regarded as one of the top Filipino prospects but hasn't yet had the opponents to really show what he's capable of. This is a good chance to Cataraja to prove what he can do and potentially convince his team to give him better match ups in the new year. Reyes is a live fighter, but his record doesn't have much quality on it, with his most notable bout being his loss to Ricardo Rafael Sandoval back in March. Reyes will travel to win, and should give Cataraja a good teat, but one that we expect Cataraja to pass.
Japanese prospect Go Hosaka (1-0, 1), who is signed with ALA Promotions, will be having his second professional bout. The talented former amateur stand out will be up against the hard hitting but limited Jason Tinampay (8-11-1, 7). Hosaka is a real talent and ALA may well have a future world champion on their hands here, if they manage his career properly. At this stage putting him in with Tinampay seems a good choice. Tinampay was once a dangerous fighter, but has gone 1-10-1 since a 7-1 start to his career.
We see yet more prospects in Canada, where two Kazakh hopefuls will be looking to extend their unbeaten records.
One of those prospects is the very talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (4-0, 4), who goes up against the experienced Jose Francisco Zuniga (14-11-2, 5). On paper this is a slight step up in class for Akhmedov, who has stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, but one he should manage without any issues. It's worth noting Zuniga has only been stopped once in his 11 losses, but we feel he will have to put in a real survival effort to hear the final bell here.
The other is prospects is 24 year old Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6), who a huge step up in class to battle Rocky Montoya (32-2, 22). Sabirov is tipped to be a star, like many of the Kazakh's currently based in Canada , and has looked very promising since his debut in June 2017. This is however a step up and Montoya has only been stopped once, by the under-rated David Lopez. Whilst Montoya is a test on paper it's hard to know how good he is given that, for the most part, his competition has been dreadful. We suspect Montoya's record will be exposed here by the talented Kazakh.
In less notable action we'll see Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-6, 5) look to build on a recent big win in China, over Youli Dong. The under-rated Filipino will be facing off with Australian Joel Camilleri (15-5-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Although relatively unknown Abdulhamid is a very good fighter and seems happy fighting on the road, despite bein 1-3 outside of the Philippines. Camilleri has won just 1 of his last 3 fights, and really lacks a good wins, but was competitive with Dwight Richie last time out, and is better than his record suggests. This looks like it could be a very interesting match up.
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 most notable action for us this coming Friday is from Iowa, where fans will be able to see a couple of notable Chinese hopefuls in action.
One of those Chinese fighters is Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (18-0, 14), who takes on Kazakh Born German Eugen Buchmueller (11-2, 8). The Chinese fighter has long been tipped as a real hopeful, but at the age of 35 it's time that he really starts to step up in class and chase a world ranking, rather than fight in stay busy fights like this. Zhilei has been a professional for close to 4 years but really is lacking in terms of notable results, which hasn't been helped by the fact he's been out of the ring for 10 months. The 37 year old Buchmueller has never been stopped but is 0-2 outside of Germany and it's hard to imagine him giving Zhilei any sort of a real test here.
The other Chinese fighter is 30 year old Light Heavyweight hopeful Fanlong Meng (12-0, 7) who takes on the limited but hard hitting Chris Eppley (11-4, 10). The Chinese fighter has shown some promising, and can box or fight, but has shown suspect punch resistance, especially notable when he was twice dropped against Zura Mekereshvili. Given Eppley's power he could give Meng real problems if he connects. Saying that however Eppley has has been out of the ring for over a year and has been stopped in 3 of his 4 defeats.
New South Wales, Australia
As well as the two Chinese fighters in the US it's also worth nothing that Indonesian veteran Aswin Cabuy (19-69-4, 7) will be in action in his adopted homeland of Australia. The 92 bout veteran will be going up against the debuting Dylan Vadnjal (0-0). At the age of 43 Cabuy is really just continuing to be a servant to Australian boxing, but doesn't have much left to offer, with 11 straight losses coming into this one. For Vadnjal this should be a pretty straight forward win.
This coming Sunday is a pretty busy day of action Asia.
For us the most notable of the bouts will be in Osaka and feature a really interesting Japanese Super Featherweight bout, a step up in class for an unbeaten prospect and an interesting under-card bout.
The Super Featherweight bout pits two top 5 Japanese domestic fighters against each other, as the once beaten Ken Osato (12-1-1, 4) takes on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (13-4-1, 8) in a real step up for the 23 year old Osato and a must win for Sugita. The younger man has gone 8-0-1 since suffering an opening round KO loss back in September 2013, when he was still just a teenager. As for Sugita he has gone 2-2 in his last 4, though both of those loses came against the then Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, who will fight for a world title just hours before this bout takes place.
One man who we are glad to see taking a step in the right direction is Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0, 10), who impressed us early in his career but really faltered in terms of building a real name for himself recently, being matched against horribly inept opponents. Here we'll see the Ioka gym prospect take on domestic foe Kota Fujimoto (7-2, 2), and hopefully a win here for Hashizume will launch him towards bigger and better bouts in 2018. Fujimoto has lost 2 of his last 3, but will know that a win here will give his career a huge shot and push him towards potential title fights.
A third bout of note here will see the heavy handed Hibiki Jogo (6-1, 4) battle against the talented Yuki Hirashima (7-1-1, 1). Jogo's loss came last year, at the All Japan Rookie of the year, and since then he has racked up two wins and is really genuine puncher at the lower levels of the Japanese domestic scene. Hirashima suffered a blip last year, going 0-1-1 for the year, bus has racked up 3 wins in 2017 and will know that another here will see him go into 2018 as a man in good domestic form.
A second show in Japan will take place in Aichi and will see Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Takuya Mizuno (12-1-1, 11) make his first defense of the title, as he takes on fellow youngster Yuki Iriguchi (9-1-1, 4). Mizuno won the title last time out, with a split decision win over Ryota Ishida and the 22 year old puncher will be looking to get back to his destructive best here. As for the 20 year old Iriguchi this bout will see him looking to buil on a 4 fight winning run, which includes victories over touted amateur Kenshin Oshima and the then inform Ryohei Takahashi. Although an easy bout to over-look it really is a cracking contest on paper.
There is also set to be a pretty interesting card in China.
One of the best bouts on the card will see Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (18-0, 14) take on Belgian visitor Herve Hubeaux (28-2, 14) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. We'll admit we're unsure how Hubeaux qualifies for the title, but the reality is that he's been taken over to China to lose, and despite the good looking record on paper the 25 year old has shown nothing to worry Zhang. The Chinese fighter should really be seeing this as his chance to record an easy first defense of the title he won back in January. Interestingly coming into this bout Zhang is on a run of 5 opening round KO's.
A second title bout will see the once touted Zhimin Wang (9-2, 3) take on Filipino visitor Anthony Sabalde (12-6, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. The match up isn't as good looking on paper as the Heavyweight title clash, but the reality is that this bout should be much more interesting, and looks like a much more competitive contest. Both Wang and Sabalde are flawed and both will feel they take advantage of their foes weaknesses.
There are two other notable bouts on this card. One of those will see Jianzheng Wang (6-0, 4) take on former OPBF title challenger Kajornsak Sithsaithong (10-6, 10), in what we expect will be a mismatch, and the heavy handed Wuzhati Nuerlang (9-1, 8) taking on Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (17-5, 13), in what promises to be an explosive encounter.
In Pngasinan fight fans are in for a very low key card, with the main event being the only bout worthy of noting. That bout will see Alphoe Dagayloan (7-2-5, 3) take on Mateo Handig (13-15, 7), in what would have been an interesting fight had Handig not lost his last 10. Handig used to be pretty decent, but is only a shadow of the fighter he once was
In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already
In Hangzhou we'll see an interesting card featuring a trio of title bouts, across the weigh classes.
The lowest weight covered by those title fights is at Flyweight where local hopeful Jing Xiang (9-4-2, 1) will face the once beaten Joy Joy Formentera (8-1, 4) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title. On paper this looks like an interesting bout, and will see Xiang looking to turn the interim title into the full version of the belt. Formentera is the visitor but is unbeaten in almost 4 years and is a very live under-dog.
At Heavyweight we'll see American based Romanian Razvan Cojanu (15-2, 8) battle unbeaten German based Kazakh born fighter Alexander Frank (11-0, 9) in a battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title, essentially guaranteeing a second successive European holder of this title, a strange thing given what the title was set up for.
Another Asia Pacific title fight comes at Lightweight where the unbeaten Xiang Xiang Sun (8-0, 6) takes on Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (15-5, 12) in a very interesting looking match up. Sun, who we believe has an incomplete boxrec record, is one of China's more over-looked hopefuls and should he win here he could be in the fringes of the WBO rankings. Whilst this looks interesting Tabthong has gone 2-4 in his last 6.
Also in China will be a card that sees Li Quan Lin (7-1-1, 2) battle Filipino Ernie Sanchez (15-8-1, 6) in a bout for the IBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title. The bout doesn't look competitive on paper but Sanchez is a live opponent, and not the journeyman his record suggests, whilst Lin is still pretty unproven, despite this being his first defense of the IBO regional title.
In Victoria we'll see two Indonesian fighters sharing the ring with the Australian Balla brothers.
Up against the once beaten Ibrahim Balla (9-1, 6) will be the experienced Agus Kustiawan (17-5-1, 7), who is fighting for the 6th time this year. Kustiawan has gone 0-1 outside of Indonesia but has been success in recent bouts winning 4 of his last 6. Balla was stopped last time out, losing to Neil John Tabanao back in June, and will be looking to return with a win here.
The other Balla is the unbeaten Qamil Balla (9-0-1, 3) who faces Musa Letding (11-5-4, 6), who was previously down to face Takuya Watanabe in Japan earlier this year. Letding is 0-3 outside of Indonesia but is a live dog here and is tough enough to give solid fighters a tough time, with his only stoppage loss coming years ago to Hurricane Futa. Balla will be favoured but should be tested.
There will also be action in Thailand with two notable Japanese fighters.
One of those is Cobra Suwa (18-11-2, 10), who will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title against former foe Ratchasi Sithsaithong (6-3, 5) whilst the other will be Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-13-2, 3), who hasn't yet had his opponent named.
In the US fight fans will see 2008 Olympic medal winner Zhang Zhilei (12-0, 8) battle the highly experienced Galen Brown (44-35-1, 25). Browne, fighting for the 81st time, will be looking to secure a career best win whilst Zhilei will be looking to extend his unbeaten record and take a small step towards bigger and better fights.
The big action of the day comes from Wenzhou in China where fight fans will get a genuinely notable card of international note. Not only does it feature 3 of China's most notable fighters but also a world title fight between a Thai and a Panamanian based Venezuelan.
That world title bout will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) take on unbeaten Thai challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-0, 5), aka Anurak Thisa, in an intriguing match up between ambitious youngster and veteran champion. The champion will be looking to record his first defense of the title he won in June, when he stopped Qiu Xiao Jun in the 12th round though at 36 he is ancient for a top level fighter. On the other hand the 25 year old Thai will be fighting outside of Thailand for the first time and will be taking a huge step up in class.
In a supporting title bout Can Xu (9-2) will be facing the unbeaten Ramiro Blanco (14-0-3, 7) in what looks like an intriguing match up. Blanco is an unbeaten Nicaraguan, fighting outside of home for the first time. Xu on the other hand is one of China's most promising young talents and despite lacking power he does look to be a diamond in the rough for Chinese boxing.
Another Chinese diamond in the rough is Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9), who fights for the first time since being stopped by Cermeno. Although very rudimentary Jun has scored a number of notable wins and will be looking to add another as he faces Filipino Robert Udtohan (23-1-3, 15) here. The Filipino has a pretty good looking record but this is actually a big step up for him and he'll be the clear under-dog against the solid hitting Jun.
In a Heavyweight bout fans will see Zhang Zhilei (11-0, 7) take on the highly experienced Gogita Gorgiladze (32-13, 27) from Georgia. On paper this looks like a good step forward for Zhilei but the reality is that the visitor has a very padded record and shouldn't last long with “Big Bang”
In another China Vs Georgia bout we'll see the touted Fanlong Meng (8-0, 6) battle against Zura Mekereshvili (18-5, 14). The 28 year old Meng is tipped as a real hopeful and a win here should be his final one before moving into 10 rounders. Sadly Mekereshvili should prove to be too small to really test Meng.
Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
As well as the big show in China there is also a notable card in the Philippines where titles will be on the line.
The two main bouts on this card are both OPBF Silver title fights and both feature a former world title challenger against an unbeaten foe. One of those fights comes at 115lbs and sees former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-10-3, 15) battle Ryan Lumacad (11-0-1, 6). Coming in to this one the 44 fight Diale will be looking to show that his recent beating to Daigo Higa wasn't the start of the end. For Luamcad the bout is a potential break out opportunity and he'll be coming into this one with the belief of an unbeaten man looking for a career best win.
The other OPBF Silver title fight comes at Flyweight and sees former WBC Light Flyweight world title challenger Richard Claveras (15-2-2, 13) battle against Jeronil Borres (7-0-1, 5). Claveras is best known for losing to Pedro Guevara last year and since then has gone 3-1 (1). The 20 year old Borres is leaping up in class but will hope to have struck at the right time with Claveras showing flaws recently.
The key bout from Thailand will see Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (21-3, 14) defending his IBF regional title against Filipino puncher Jeny Boy Boca (12-3, 10) in what looks like a really intriguing match up and one not expected to see the final bell. Both of these guys can punch and both will be hoping to make the most of their power here.
Also in Thailand fight fans will see the unbeaten Downua Ruaviking (2-0, 1) battle against Thai based Cameroonian Afanwi Kingsly Shu (1-1). The Thai is tipped as a real hope and although this is a very low quality bout some are hyping him as a bright prospect already. This bout likely won't tell us much but hopefully a step up in 2017 will tell us something about the youngster.
New York, USA
The highest profile Asian in action is former world title challenger Zou Shiming (7-1, 2) who makes his US debut in a fight against Hungarian teenager Jozsef Ajtai (15-2, 10). For Shiming the bout is a chance to show his skills in a new country and possibly help move towards another world title fight. It should be noted that Ajtai lost to Szilvester Kanalas, who was dominated by Iwan Zoda earlier this year.
In Massachusetts fans will get the chance to see two talented and promising Chinese fighters.
One of those is unbeaten Light Welterweight Wang Zhimin (6-0, 3) who will battle against Matt Doherty (4-2-1, 2) in an 8 rounder. The bout will be Wang's first 8 rounder, but frustratingly it seems like he's not stepping up his opposition and is instead being matched too softly for someone who was a very good amateur.
The other is Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (9-0, 6) who looks to move to 10-0. The former Olympian will be facing off against American veteran Jamal Woods (8-26-6, 8).
In California fight fans will see unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Madiyar Ashkeyev (2-0, 1) battle against Hector Mercado (2-6) in a 6 rounder
In Australia fight fans will get the chance to see several Asian fighters, with the most notable of those being once beaten Filipino Neil John Tabanao (12-1, 8), who will be up against the unbeaten Irabahim Balla (9-0, 6) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title. For Tabanao the bout will be his second bout since his razor thin decision loss to Randy Braga and although he'll be the under-dog he should see this as a chance to really make a name for himself.
In another bout from this card Saranyaphong Theinthong (0-5) will seek her first win as she faces debutant Marina Ramirez (0-0) in a 4 rounder.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico fans will see Filipino warrior Warren Mambuanag (10-5-2, 3) face off against the unbeaten Eduardo Hernandez (18-0-3, 14) in a bout for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight title. For the 22 year old Filipino the bout is a chance to claim a title and continue a 4 fight winning run, however he will b the under-dog and it's clear that the bout has been made to allow Hernandez a title victory.
In China we see a second day of action as Top Rank and SECA put on a low level show at the Star Space. The hope here is to continue the development of Chinese boxing and although there is no notable names in action the hope is that the sport will become big in the country over the coming years.
This weekend is a big one for fight fans, and it's fair to say Saturday is a huge day with some huge fights.
Potentially the fight of the year takes place in the US, and yet the bout is only a supporting bout as the all-action Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22) defends his WBC Super Featherweight title against Francisco Vargas (22-0-1, 16) on the under-card of the Miguel Cotto/Saul Alvarez card. Miura, who is an all southpaw with a vicious left hand whilst Vargas is a more refined pressure fighter. When the two get in the ring we are guaranteed action, excitement and a war. For fans who haven't see Miura he's a treat to watch, for those who have we don't need to build this fight up, it really does have all the ingredients to be a very special contest.
On the same card we will see two other Asian fighters in action. One of those is Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22) who is in his highest profile bout to date, as he takes on Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10). This will be Rigondeaux's first bout since his New Year's Eve battle with Hisashi Amagasa in Japan and since then he has lost his titles and sat on the shelf. For Francisco this is his second bout since being shocked, in a round, by Jason Canoy, who fights on Sunday against the debuting Hinata Maruta.
The other Asian is Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (5-0, 3) who faces the once beaten Donnie Palmer (6-1-1, 6). This is a step up for Zhilei though unfortunately at 32 years old he really will need to step much quicker if he's going to have any notable success in the pro ranks.
In France our attention turns to Thailand's Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (13-6-1, 1) who faces France's very own Anne Sophie Da Costa (19-2, 8) in a bout for the WBF female Light Flyweight title. It's a really tough ask for Ploynapa, who was recently seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Eun Hye Lee in a bout for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. Da Costa won her first 18 bouts but has gone 1-2 in her last 3 fights, including a shock loss to Sandy Coget last time suggesting that she is, at 33, coming to the end of her career.
Gapyeong, South Korea
The next stage in the KBC's attempts to create a champion is this weekend as they continue to try and develop the next star of Korean boxing. The bouts, on the whole, are 4 rounders though the main bout is a 6 round bout.
That 6 rounder will see Sang Hoo Kil (3-2-2) fight against Jae Man Kim (2-1, 1) in what looks like an even matched bout, but not one that will set the pulses racing, then again we don't expect these shows to really excite fans
In regards to the 4 rounders, the pick of the bouts, on paper, will see Jae Pil Huh (1-0) fight fellow unbeaten Han Jong Yuh (1-0, 1). This bout is the only 4 rounder where both men have some professional experience and should be significantly better than the other bouts, though of course it's always hard to predict when it comes to novices.
New Jersey, USA
In New Jersey fans will get the chance to see two promising Chinese fighters who are set to continue their US based careers.
The more experienced of the two men is Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (4-0, 2) who steps into his first 6 rounder. The former amateur stand out will be up against the very limited Dennis Benson (2-6-1, 1). At 32 years old it's really time that Zhilei kicked on though unfortunately his career looks likely to become a frustrating waste of ability.
Also in a 6 round is Zhilei's compatriot Wang Zhimin (3-0, 1) who takes on the win-less Richard Baker (0-1-1). This should be another foregone conclusion for the talented Zhimin but at 29 years old we'd hope he begins to move on in the very near future.
New Mexico, USA
In the US fans will also be able to see Uzbek fighter Rahman Mustafa Yusubov (11-21, 9) fight against Elco Garcia (28-9, 13) in what should be another loss for Yusubov who really is little more than a journeyman.