The most notable card of the day comes from Shanghai and is a really weak card, which has got all it's interest based on the main event alone, and if we're being honest we really hope this isn't the type of thing Chinese boxing will become when it develops more stars.
That main event will see WBO Flyweight champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2) making his first defense of the title as he takes on Japanese challenger Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7). We saw Shiming win the title last year, when he beat Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym in their second bout, and he will be favoured here against the relatively unknown Japanese challenger. However Shiming has been inactive since November, has seen a number of dates for a bout fall through this year and is now 36. Although Kimura is unknown outside of Asia he's a decent fighter on a 16 fight unbeaten run, which includes a notable regional title win over Masahiro Sakamoto, and he is 4-0 (3) outside of Japan, with a win in Hong Kong in his most recent outing.
A second Chinese show comes form Jinan and is a much less card, with little of real appeal.
On paper the best match up looks to be a 6 rounder between the unbeaten pairing of Aikeremujiang (4-0, 3) and Yongchao Sheng (2-0, 1). Aged 20 it appears that Aikeremujiang is a promising puncher but this could be a genuine test and the 24 year old Sheng won't be wanting to give up his unbeaten record.
The only other 6 rounder on this card will see highly experienced Filipino Richard Garcia (26-24-1, 7) take on the win-less Yangyang Wang (0-4-1) in a bout that could be competitive, but is unlikely to excite too many fans on paper.
As well as the action in China there will also be a show in Osaka, with a title bout headlining this card too.
That title bout will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (28-9-2, 17) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on veteran Atsushi Kakutani (19-5-1, 12), who gets his third shot as a national title. Coming in to the bout Hisada is on a sold run of 7-0 (6) including wins over Shun Kosaka, Hayato Yamaguchi and, most notably, Kenichi Horikawa. It's not a world class run, by any stretch, but it is a solid domestic run and one that has seen him really earn the title. Kakutani on the other hand looks like a man in last chance saloon, having been blown away by Ken Shiro 15 months ago. Aged 32 it's likely now or never for Kakutani, who is best known for dropping Adrian Hernandez in a WBC title fight almost 4 years ago. This should be a good fight and a really competitive one, but it's hard to see Hisada losing against this aged version of Kakutani.
In a supporting bout the once beaten Yuki Takahashi (8-1, 4) will take on the limited but heavy handed Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-9-1, 8), in a bout that could see the 22 year old Takahashi being given a chin checking.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia we get yet another title fight as Gideon Buthelezi (19-5, 4) defends his IBO Super Flyweight title against Filipino foe Ryan Rey Ponteras (20-11-1, 9) in what could be a much better bout than it looks on paper. On paper Buthelezi is the clear favourite, but the Filipino has placed the role of the up-setter in the past, and will be looking to do so again here, against the under-rated Buthelezi.
The biggest card of the weekend comes from Nevada where fight fans will get 4 world title bouts, all involving Asian fighters, in fact from the 4 bouts there are 5 Asian's in action.
The highest profile of the bouts sees multi-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38) battle against WBO Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10) in what will be Pacquiao's ring return after a short lived retirement. The Filipino sensation is the clear betting favourite but is close to 38 years old and will be the much smaller man in the ring. For Vargas the bout sees him facing his first legend and a win for the once beaten American will open huge doors, and legitimise his world title reign.
At Featherweight we see little known Japanese fighter Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19) take on WBO champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18), in what is Valdez's first defense. The Japanese fighter is a former OPBF champion but this is a massive step up in class for him and he hasn't really fought anyone of much renown in a while, with perhaps his best recent win being over prospect Kosuke Saka. Valdez is earmarked as a potential Mexican super star and with his style, power and skills he has the potential be one of the biggest things in boxing, and we think that will be shown here.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see Filipino champion Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24) defending his WBO title against the unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17), in what is likely to be the best bout on the card. Donaire will be making the second defense of his title and although there are question marks over what he has left in the tank this is a massive step up for the challenger. The bout should tell us how good Magdaleno is and just how much Donaire has left.
In an all Asian bout we'll see Chinese star Zou Shiming (8-1, 2) battle Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym (39-1-2, 24) in a second bout between the two men, with them now fighting for the WBO Flyweight title. These two have fought before, fighting in Macau where Shiming dominated Kwanpichit on route to a very wide decision, and we suspect we'll see the same again here, though he has has been relatively inactive whilst Kwanpichit has been stringing together low level stoppage wins in his homeland.
In Japan we get another live televised card courtesy of G+, who are showing a Gushiken card featuring several notable names.
In the main event of the show we'll see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (10-0, 10) defending his title for the first time as he takes on Filipino challenger Felipe Cagubcob Jr (6-2-5, 2). The exciting Higa is one of the fastest rising prospects in world boxing today and is looking to build on quick victories over Romel Oliveros and Ardin Diale earlier this year. Cagubcob is looking to build on a career best win over Donny Mabao back in July and avenge Higa's wins over several Filipino fighters in recent years.
Originally one of the key support bout was supposed to see former OPBF and JBC title challenger Shingo Eto (17-5-1, 9) take on the fast rising Shuya Masaki (5-0, 2). Sadly Eto has been injured in the build up to the show and has been replaced by Thailand's Tienchai Yoongkaogym (2-6, 1), in what is a much less interesting bout. We are looking forward to seeing Masaki back in action but it's hard to deny that what we've been left with is a long way from what was originally announced.
There is still one Eto brother fighting on this card with former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Koki Eto (18-4-1, 13) taking on Jun Blazo (5-1-3, 5) in the chief support bout. The bout will be Eto's second since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras in a WBC Super Flyweight world title bout, and he'll be hoping for a much more fluent performance than he had in May against Michael Escobia, in a bout that was surprisingly competitive. Blazo is limited but has won his last 3 by stoppage and is the type of fighter we've see Eto over-look before.
Mox Power Promotions put on their next Chinese card with a low profile card in Zhengzhou. The show is low profile but features 5 bouts, all scheduled for 6 rounds, and all featuring at least one debutant.
On another lower profile show, this time in Australia, we'll see the win-less Maks Chylewski (0-2) take on tough Thai loser Pramool Boonpok (1-26-1),in what could potentially be an interesting bout, despite the obvious limitations of both fighters.
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 coming Saturday is a very busy day in Asian boxing circles with a lot of fighters in action, particularly in China.
The most notable the shows comes from Shanghai where fight fans will get the chance to see a number of big names in action.
The main event sees former world title challenger Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) fight for the first time since he lost to Amnat Ruenroeng last March. The Chinese fighter looks to be in tough against 21 year old Brazilian puncher Natan Santana Coutinho (12-0, 10) but the reality is that Coutinho is unlikely to pose many threats to the Chinese fighter, and as we know Brazilians have regularly had padded puncher's records with little in terms of real skill.
Shiming, a 2-time Olympic champion, isn't the only Olympic Gold medal winner on this card as Japan's Ryota Murata (8-0, 5) battles against Argentinian Gaston Alejandro Vega (24-10-1-1, 10). This should be a straight forward win for Murata but the Japanese Middleweight will need a good performance if he's to move closer to a world title fight later in the year. Unfortunately Murata failed to shine last year on his US debut, against Gunnar Jackson, and cannot afford another less than impressive performance here.
Other bouts on this card include a Super Middleweight bout between Zulpikar Maimaitiali (5-0-1, 3), one of the most exciting prospects in China, and Australian visitor Steve Moxon (5-2, 4) and a bout featuring former WBA "interim" Light Flyweight title challenger Ma Yi Ming (12-6, 7), who is fighting for the first time since he was blitzed by Randy Petalcorin.
Sadly however a bout at 140lbs between former world title challenger IK Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) and unbeaten Thai Chalermpol Singwancha (16-0, 12) has been cancelled following an injury in training suffered by Yang.
A second show in Shanghai, also promoted by Bob Arum, will see novices in action as part of the Fists of Fury cards, which are hoping to help develop more home grown talents.
One potential star in action is 21 year old puncher Alimu Wushouer (5-0, 5) who will be fighting against Jin Sheng Zhang (1-0-2). Wushouer, from Xinjiang, blew out 5 opponents last year in a combined 7 rounds and will be hoping to notch up another quick win as he faces an unbeaten 17 year old.
Another puncher putting his unbeaten record on the line is Abulimiti Tuersunniyazi (3-0, 3) who puts his perfect record on the line against Yangcheng Jin (0-1-2). This should be a 4th straight win for Tuersunniyazi who could be a real hidden gem.
Staying in China fight fans will get the chance to see Heavyweight puncher Zhang Junlong (11-0, 11) battle against Argentinian visitor Juan Pedro Guglielmetti (7-4, 5). Junlong may be the best of the Chinese Heavyweights, and wins over Jason Gavern and Shawn Cox, are pretty notable. Sadly though fighting solely in China and missing out on the Top Rank cards will be doing Junglong more harm than good and it's unlikely he'll get to have a genuinely big fight.
On the same card the once beaten Wang Kun (3-1, 1) will face experienced Filipino Cristian Abila (13-18-4, 4). Abila, who has been a professional for more than 6 years, has been racking up losses recently but can turn in solid performances, as he did last year against Nino Magboo, and is a threat to the rising Kun, who looks to build on a big win over Romeo Jakosalem last year.
A Korean show, sanctioned by the KBF, will feature a number of bouts, sadly though the specific details of the card are scarce with only confirmed bout being a 6 rounder featuring Mongolian youngster Joldasbyek Tagtyanal (0-0), a 20 year old from Ulaanbaatar. From what we under-stand he will be facing a local Korean fighter but sadly the specific details really are lacking here.
Outside of Asia, and in the US, fight fans get the chance to see the American debut of former OPBF Lightweight title challenger Ricky Sismundo (30-8-2, 13). The under-rated Japanese based Filipino is in a tough one as he takes on fringe contender Jose Felix Jr (32-1-1, 25). On paper the bout is a mismatch, with Felix being much hiugher regarded that Sismundo however the Filipino is far better than his record indicates and comes in on a 5 fight unbeaten run, including wins over Yoshitaka Kato, Akihiro Kondo and Shuhei Tsuchiya. This really could be a good one if Sismundo can handle the power of Felix early on.
Staying in North America fans will get the chance to see Filipino Leonardo Doronio (15-11-3, 10) battle against the charismatic Nery Saguilan (36-5-1, 13). The bout, for the WBC Latino Lightweight title, looks like a mismatch but the bout is a huge opportunity for Doronio who holds notable wins against the likes of Taiwo Ali, Al Rivera and Burning Ishii.
Fans in Kazakhstan also get some notable action.
Among the bouts in Almaty is the debut of former amateur stand out Ruslan Myrsatayev (0-0), who faces the win-less Valery Zamiralov (0-3). Myrsatayev made his name back in 2007 when he went to the World Amateur Championships, and continued to make a name for himself at the 2008 Olympics. Sadly, aged 30, this could be a case of waiting too long to go pro however he was impressive in WSB.
March 7th-Amnat Vs Zou in a showdown, with notable action from Ik Yang, Rex Tso, Hiroki Okada, Suyon Takayama and more!
The start of the year has been tediously slow at times however March is certainly seeing in ring action liven up, in a big way. The first real date to mark down on your calendar is March 7th which sees action across Asia with several big names a host of notable fights ranging from a world title bout to world title eliminators to national title bouts.
The biggest of the days show's comes from Macau where fans are treat to another of Bob Arum's foray's into the gambling capital of Asia. In many ways this is the most important of all the Macau shows and is, potentially, the biggest banana skin on the road to making the experiment a major long term success.
The tricky part of this card is the main event which will see Chinese megastar Zou Shiming (6-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line as he takes on IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5) in a brilliant match up. These two men are both unbeaten, both under-rated and were major amateur rivals. They are also men looking to claim a major scalp. For Shiming this a test that really could see him becoming a national hero or boxing's biggest villain, for Ruenroeng it's a chance to level the score with Shiming, who holds a 2-1 record over him from the amateur ranks. For Bob Arum this is a real test of his nerve. Shiming is talented and fast but this is a major step up for the double Olympic champion.
Shiming of course isn't the only Chinese born fighter on this show, nor is he the most exciting. One of the contenders for the tag of “most exciting” is the heavy handed Ik Yang (18-0-0-1, 13) who will be up against Thailand's experienced Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-2-1, 18) in an IBF Pan Pacific Light Welterweight title bout, which will also double as an IBF world title eliminator. Yang has been on a number of Top Rank shows and is known for his power and offensive style though his flawed defense may be a problem here against the talented Patomsuk, who gave world ranked Takayuki Hosokawa a very close bout back in late 2013. This could be very interesting.
Another rival to the tag of China's most exciting fighter is the very flawed but fun Rex Tso (15-0, 9) who battles Filipino Michael Enriquez (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBA International Super Flyweight title. Tso will go into this bout as the favourite and is viewed as being likely to get a fight with WBA world champion Kohei Kono if he comes through here. For Enriquez this is a major opportunity though he has lost both of his previous title fights.
Going further down the card fans will get the chance to see the explosively heavy handed Aston Palicte (16-1, 14), of the Philippines, take on one of his toughest tests as he goes up against Ismael Garnica (13-5-1-1, 5). Garnica is best known for losing a decision British fighter Paul Butler last year, other than that however there is very little of note on his record. Palicte on the other hand is a dynamite puncher who comes into this bout on the back of 5 successive opening round blow outs, including a very notable one against Gerpaul Valero.
Another Filipino in action here will be Raymond Sermona (17-4-5, 8) who will be hoping to record his 3rd successive win as he battles former “world” title challenger Jose Felix Jr (28-1-1, 23). Felix Jr's only loss came last year when he stepped up to fight Bryan Vasquez and was well beaten, despite two horribly close scorecards, and he'll be favoured to make light work of Sermona.
To open the show we're expecting to see some local talent in action. One of those locals will be the unbeaten Zhou Yun Fei (4-0, 1) who battles against Paul Valenzuela (2-1-1, 2) whilst the other will be Macau's Kuok Kun Ng (6-0, 2), who will be facing Thailand's Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-2, 3).
As well as the action in Macau there is also a show, with title action, in Japan where fans will get a couple of domestic title fights courtesy of Kadoebi.
One of those title bouts will see once beaten Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (21-1, 7) defending his belt against former foe Nobuyuki Shindo (16-2, 6) in what looks like to be a very competitive match up. Takayama has the title, the better looking record and a win over Shindo already on his record however he is a weak champion and a lot of bouts have been very close. Shindo has height and reach advantages though the question coming in is whether or not he will be able to make them count.
In the other title fight the unbeaten Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) will be up against former title contender Hayato Hokazono (18-4-1, 11). We like Okada though are unsure how far he can really go, though it is obviously early days in his career. Hokazono is best known for his losses to the monstrously hard hitting Keita Obara, aside from those losses there is little else to note about his record other than a win over Kazuyoshi Kumano way back in December 2010.
On the under-card there is little of note though a bout between Hisao Narita (8-1, 4) and Yusuke Konno (8-2, 3) does look likely to be very competitive over the scheduled 8 rounds. Another undercard bout that we'll mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Yukinori Hisanaga (16-5-2, 9) battle against Takuma Takahashi (6-4-1, 1).
In South Korea we get 3 bouts between Korean fighters and Japanese visitors as Watanabe send a trio of their stable over to Korea.
The most notable of the Japanese fighters is Sonin Nihei (5-1-1, 1) who came runner up in last years East Japan Rookie of the year. The talented 21 year old, who lost a split decision to Kenya Yamashita, will be taking on the debuting Tae Un Jung (0-0) who we know nothing about.
Another of the bouts will see unbeaten Korean Joo-Young Kwon (2-0) take on Keisuke Kanazawa (2-4, 1). On paper it's hard to go against the Korean though he has only faced debutants so far whilst Kanazawa holds a very surprising win over the much touted Koki Tyson Maebara from back in January 2013.
The remaining bout, and the most looking on paper, will see Shingo Yabu (4-4-2) battle against Chan-Hee Park (4-5-1). Yabu is 0-2-1 in his last 3, including a loss to Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine in the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Park on the other hand has lost his last 4 and hasn't notched a win since 2009, in fact he's not fought since October 2010. Interesting match up in some ways but neither guy is anything great.
(Image courtesy of http://www.sandscotaicentral.com)
We have two shows this Sunday, local time, in Asia with one of those boxing a huge, monster show with one of the biggest names in the sport.
The biggest show of the day for almost every boxing fan is in Macau where Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions returns for another huge show with some of the biggest names in Asian boxing and some genuinely compelling match ups.
The main event, as is often the case, is the main talking point as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38) risks his WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten American Chris Algieri (20-0, 8). For Pacquiao this will be the first defence of the title he regained when he defeated Timothy Bradley earleir this year, following a highly controversial loss to Bradley in 2012. As for Algieri this is a chance to continue an unlikely rise to stardom which is all the more shocking considering his lack of power. Pacquiao is of course one of the biggest names in world boxing and he is strongly favoured to retain his belt here though will need to over-come a notable size disadvantage to defeat the gutsy Algieri who really shocked many when he defeated Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year.
In a second world title bout fans will see Thailand's experienced Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33) attempt to claim the WBO Featherweight title from former amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1). Lomachenko will be defending the belt he won earlier this year when he defeated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr and we suspect the talented Ukrainian will just have too much of everything for the experienced but limited Thai, who is of course best known for his loss to Chris John in his only previous world title bout. On paper this looks like a very odd contest given the huge gulf in professional experience but in reality the gulf in in skills and not experience.
A third world title bout on this show will see the controversial Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9) defending his WBA Light Welterweight title against former Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23). Vargas always appears to get the rub of the green in close fights and we wouldn't be shocked if he did the same here however this will be his first bout outside of the US and DeMarco is as gutsy as they come, as seen memorably in his bouts with Edwin Valero and Jorge Linares. This could be the most competitive contest on the show even if there is no Asian involved in the bout.
Yet another 12 rounder on this show will pit unbeaten fighters together as China's former amateur sensation-turn professional hopeful Zou Shiming (5-0, 1) risks his perfect record against Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (27-0-2, 12). On paper this is one of the most compelling bouts on the show though we do suspect that Shiming will end up having a relatively easy time with his Thai opponent. Kwanpichit is world ranked by 3 of the big 4 organisations however we are in the "he's lucky to be unbeaten" camp having seen him narrowly escape an opening round defeat to Ben Mananquil in 2013 in a bout that could so easily have been stopped, and having narrowly taken a decision over the limited Jay-Ar Estremos earlier this year. Shiming might not be as good as advertised but he really should have more than enough to see off Kwanpichit who has feasted on smaller and less experienced men throughout his career so far. This is a must win for Shiming but if he loses then he isn't going to be good enough to ever win a world title.
On the under-card we have 4 bouts that we rather like the look of, for one reason or another. One of those will see the exciting Jerwin Ancajas (21-1-1, 13) take on the tough Fadhili Majiha (15-5-4, 7) in an 8 round bout. Ancajas impressed on his Macau debut s he blew away Inthanon Sithchamuang however he'll be expecting a much, much more competitive contest here with Majiha having proven his toughness in recent decison losses to Marlon Tapes and Pungluang Sor Singyu with the Punglunag bout being a surprisingly competitive one. In another under-card bout the always entertaining Rex Tso (14-0, 9) battles late fill in Espinos Sabu (11-2-1, 5) who has taken the fight on short notice after Kenta Okumura was forced to pull out with a hand injury. Tso is one of the sports more exciting fighters but unfortunately the popular Hong Kong fighter is somewhat limited and we suspect that he will find his level sooner rather than later. With that said, the tough Sabu is unlikely to be the one who does take the unbeaten record of Tso. It wouldn't be the biggest upset of the year if Sabu won but it would be somewhat a shock.
In 6 round action fans will see Chinese Light Heavyweight hopeful Qu Peng (6-0-1, 4) fight against Andrew Robinson (3-2, 2) in what looks like a step up for Peng. Also in another 6 rounder is the popular Kuok Kun Ng (5-0, 2) who faces fellow unbeaten Steve Attard (5-0-2, 2). We'll admit we like Ng, a lot, and view him as potentially the best of the emerging Chinese novices and if he's as good as we think he should come out on top here.
Their is only one show in Japan this Sunday as Hatanaka put on one of their “Soul Fighting” cards which will be shown, at some point, on CBC TV in Japan, which we've been informed is a regional channel so fans likely won't be able to find this one available for streams.
The main event here is a WBC Youth Bantamweight title bout as the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (12-0-3, 8) looks to make the third defense of his belt. Unfortunately for fans, and Tanaka, this defense looks like a mismatch as the promising Japanese youngster battles against Indonesian visitor Rendi Stone (3-2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge step backwards for Tanaka following recent wins over Vergel Nebran and John Bajawa. Whilst Stone does enter this bout on a trio of wins we do wonder several things about him, including what his complete record looks like as we have real doubts that he is “only” 3-2-1 (2) considering his career began back in 2006.
In the chief support bout Shota Hayashi (23-5-1, 15), the #7 ranked Japanese Featherweight, will be fighting against experienced but limited Indonesian fighter Jason Butar Butar (16-14-1, 12). Hayashi will enter this bout on a 9 fight unbeaten streak, including 4 successive stoppages, and will know that if he can continue running up wins he can move towards a title fight of some kind. Butar Butar may be a recognisable name for some fans who may remember his loss, in Macau, to Harmonito Dela Torre, and sadly for the Indonesian fighter he is better known for his losses than his wins and is 0-8-1 on the road.
In Yemen we see a collision of unbeaten fighters as Muhammad Harazi (4-0, 1) battles against Hasan Dhubaibi (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Yemeni Minimumweight Title. The title will be defended by the 16 year old Harazi who won the belt with a 12 round decision ove Ali Rafik in October and it would seem plausible that the winner here will be looking for a big domestic show down with Ali Raymi.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a busy one with 2 major cards featuring Asian fighters in world title bouts. It may not be the busiest day of the year but it is certainly one of the most interesting.
As well as the Macau show we are also looking forward to a Japanese show promoted by Japanese promotional power house Teiken promotions who are putting on a small, 8 bout, card though one that features several very interesting looking contests including 2 world title bouts.
Prior to the world title action fans will get the chance to see the world ranked Ryo Akaho (24-1-2, 16) battle against recent world title challenger Antonio Tostado Garcia (14-3, 6). Akaho isn't one of the sports most talented fighters but he is certainly entertaining and with his power we suspect he'll stop Garcia in the middle rounds of the bout, if not earlier.
The first of the two world title fights will see Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34) make the first defense of his WBC Flyweight title. Gonzalez, one of the sports most impressive fighters, will be battling against tough Filipino Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20) in what looks likely to be a very entertaining bout though one that Gonzalez has to be favoured in, especially considering the way he won the title back in September by stopping Akira Yaegashi.
The other world title bout on this show will see the heavy handed Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20) defending his WBC Super Featherweight title in a mandatory defence of his belt against heavy handed Mexican slugger Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19) in what could potentially be a FOTY contender. Miura is earning himself a reputation as a Mexcutioner after 3 successive wins over Mexican foes, including his thrilling win over Sergio Thompson, and he'll be hoping to extend that run as he takes on a fighter who is similar to him in terms mentality in the ring. Expect this one to be violent and highly exciting as long as it lasts.
The final world title bout involving an Asian fighter comes from the United Kingdom as former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) battles the unbeaten Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22) in a bout for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. When this bout was signed Otake was unranked by the WBA, though he is now ranked #9 rather mysteriously. Otake is seen as a huge under-dog and with good reason considering his best wins are against domestic opponents and with that in mind we'd be shocked to see win, though like the two title bouts in Japan this should be entertaining as long as it lasts due to the styles of the men involved.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
MacauThis coming Saturday is a ridiculously busy day in the boxing world though only one show really matters to many fans, "Champions of Gold". The card, otherwise known as "The Macau card" is the show that has been getting the column inches, forum discussions and most of the weeks attention.
The show, the 6th Top Rank promoted Macau show, doesn't look like the most interesting on paper but it does feature an interesting test and a trio of Olympic champions.
The most testing of the bouts on the show is that of the much maligned Zou Shiming (4-0, 1) who will be facing off against former world title challenger Luis De La Rosa (23-3-1, 12). De La Rosa is a huge step up in class for Shiming though we doubt Arum and his team have taken this bout without feeling very confident that Shiming will win. We assume part of their confidence is the fact De La Rosa is a significantly smaller fighter than Shiming and he has also been knocked out in 2 of his last 4 bouts, interestingly however De La Rosa did Raul Garcia real fits when they fought back in 2010 suggesting that he will come into this bout with the mentality of scoring a huge upset. This bout will be Shiming's first title bout, as he attempts to claim the WBO International Flyweight title, though the most interesting thing is that it could see him going 10 rounds for the first time in his career.
Another possible test could be seen in the fight between "The Macau Kid" Kuok Kun Ng (4-0, 2) and fellow unbeaten fighter Beau O'Brien (4-0-1, 1). We do like KK Ng and think he has real potential to be a shining light in Chinese boxing but O'Brien is no mug and has previously won a version of the New Zealand Light Middleweight title suggesting he could be a handful for the promising fighter from Macau.
Unfortunately not all the bouts are tests and one man who will be expected to score an easy win is the always exciting Rex Tso (13-0, 8) who will be fighting Indonesia's John Bajawa (12-6, 6). Bajawa has lost 4 of his last 5 including an opening round stoppage loss to Ryo Matsumoto less than 18 months ago. Tso is exciting and this bout is likely more about keeping his profile up and getting him a highlight reel KO more than anything else, especially considering the expectation is that he's going to be manoeuvred into a world title fight in his next 3 or 4 fights.
Another man not expect to struggle is Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0, 8) who will be defending his WBO and WBA "super" titles at Bantamweight. Sadly for Asian fans Rigondeaux will be battling against Thai veteran Sod Kokietgym (63-2-1, 28) who has been given no chance by anyone. The bookies make Rigondeaux an unbackable 1/100 favourite and it's hard to argue with them though hopefully a victory for the Cuban will lure him back to Macau for future fights with the likes of Shingo Wake.
Yet another apparent mismatch comes in a Lightweight contest between the very exciting Ik Yang (15-0-0-1, 10) of China and Thailand's limited Rachamongkol Sor Pleonchit (14-8, 6). Yang is a fighter who has a very American style and is great fun to watch so this is likely about getting him another eye catching win against a fighter who simply isn't fit to get in the ring with him. Rahamongkol has won just 1 of his last 7 and been stopped 6 times in his 22 bouts, we expect that to become 7 times in 23. For those interested in seeing what Yang is about before this fight we have a number of his fights in our video section, including his Macau debut against Elly Ray.
On paper another interesting bout will see Russia's Egor Mekhontsev (3-0, 3) fighting against Filipino Mike Mirafuente (2-0, 2). Sadly this contest is only interesting on paper and Mekhontsev is a very special fighter who will likely beat Mirafuente with out even breaking sweat. Hopefully next time out Mekhontsev will face a much better opponent because he has all the tools to be fast tracked to a world title.
As well as the bout involving Asian's the show will also feature an international bout of note as Mexico's unbeaten contender Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez (28-0, 22) battles against Australian Junior Talipeau (20-2-1, 7) in a bout that looks great on paper though is unlikely to be more than a simple win for "Zurdo" Sanchez who we rate very highly.
One more bout on the card will see the popular Brian Viloria (33-4-0-2, 19) returning to Macau for the first time since he lost his world crown to Juan Francisco Estrada last year. This time around Viloria is being matched easily as he takes on Jose Alfredo Zuniga (11-5-1, 5), a man who has gone the distance with both Alberto Rossel and Oswaldo Novoa in recent contests. Viloria is, of course, a bigger fighter than both Rossel and Novoa and will be expected to do a job on Zuniga here.
Wonju, South Korea
In a bit of an oddity in South Koreans fans will get the chance to see Japan's Takuya Watanabe (20-5-1, 8) fight against Thailand's Yodpichai Sithsaithong (10-11, 4) in a bout for the IBF Asia Featherweight title. From what we understand the JBC won't recognise the belt but won't be punishing Watanabe for taking the fight with the knowledge that the title does help a fighter get an IBF ranking and move them towards a world title fight.
The interesting Watanabe will be fighting in Korea for a second successive bout following his bloody battle with Jaesung Lee. If you've not managed to see that bout before we advise you give it a watch, though we do need to warn you that it's probably the bloodiest bout of the year so far and all the claret seemed to come from Watanabe.
Western Australia, Australia
Western Australia plays host to three Asians this weekend though none of them will be expected to come away with a win.
In the main event Indonesian journeyman Roy Tua Manihuruk (15-10-2, 11) will be looking to become the inaugural WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight champion as he battles the unbeaten Clint Hosking (9-0, 2). Unfortunately for Manihuruk he is 0-3 in Australia and has sadly lost 4 of his last 6 bouts, including a stoppage loss to the always fun to watch Ji-Hoon Kim. With Hosking taking an unbeaten record into the ring here it's hard to expect anything other than his 10th victory.
Another bout on this card, we expect the opening bout on the show, Thailand's Baikon Lokromklao (1-3) will be in action against the win-less Jacob McBride (0-1). Although McBride hasn't won a fight he's being matched Baikon for a reason and with that in mind it's hard to to imagine anything but a victory for McBride, a win we expect will come by stoppage.
Another Thai on this show is female fighter Keanpetch Superchamps (6-8-1). Kaenpetch, who recently challenger WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi, will be expected to suffer her third straigth stoppage loss as she fights Erin McGowan (15-2, 8) in a clear mismatch.
Another fighter fighting on the round this weekend is Seiichi Okada (18-4, 11) who travels to Mexico to fight Nery Saguilan (29-4-1, 10) in an intriguing contest. Okada is a former Japanese Super Featherweight champion who has been in the ring with Takashi Miura and Daiki Kaneko amongst others though he is a fighter many feel is on the back end of his career. If Okada can upset Saguilan then he could effectively earn himself another big fight however Saguilan himself is in need of a big win after losing 3 of his previous 8 contests. As both men know they need a win we expect this to be a contest that sees them both putting it all on the line and leading to a very exciting contest.
(Image courtesy of Top Rank)
It's not rare in boxing to have action all over the place but one show gets all the headlines. That's the case this weekend as we get one massive blockbuster of a show that has been stealing the headlines for weeks and been by far the most anticipated show of the year so far. Whilst that, admittedly, isn't saying much considering how slow the year has been, this is still a huge and really notable show and there is no real shame in ignoring most other shows to pay attention to just the one.
The show in question is the massive "Ring of Gold" show in Macau's amazing Venetian Resort. The resort, which is one of the biggest buildings on the planet looks good with out boxing though this Saturday it will look even better with 3-Olympic champions, 3 title bouts, 2 former world champions, one world title and 9 different countries being represented! This is what global boxing is all about!
The card kicks off with a Super Flyweight contest scheduled for 8 rounds. This bout sees Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) fighting against Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11) in what we expect to be a relatively straight forward victory for Ancajas. Although he has lost one and drawn one Ancajas is a real talent and the draw, a technical draw, came very early in his career whilst his loss was a narrow one to the very under-rated Mark Anthony Geraldo. He's a very solid and improving fighter who will title aspirations.
Following the cards opener we expect to see Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) fighting against Indonesia's Yakobus Heluka (7-5, 3) in a 6 round bout at Super Featherweight. We do like Dela Torre a lot, though wonder what the point of this bout is and whether Heluka is even fit to fight having recently been stopped in Japan. By "recently" we mean less than 4 weeks ago and we don't think Heluka could possibly have recovered in that time.
We're expecting at least one of those two to end early and if it does we could see the "swing bout" moved up to being the show's third bout. The swing contest is between Macao's very own Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) and Indonesian Rocky Alap Alap (5-10). Although neither has a stoppage to their name we wouldn't be shocked if Ng did stop Alap Alap inside the scheduled 4 rounds. In fact we'd be more shocked if Alap Alap was dwarfed in the ring by a much bigger fighter.
The reason we're expect the swing bout to be so early is because the next scheduled bout is Ryota Murata's (2-0, 2) contest which has got a set aside time slot to appease Fuji TV. The bout, which will start at around 7PM local time, sees Murata fighting against former world title challenger Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23) in what looks like a good step up for Murata. Unfortunately the bout isn't likely to be as testing as it looks as Nascimento is 40 years old and several years past his best though it's still a positive step up from the Japanese Olympic champion.
After Murata's bout we get the show's first title bout as Hong Kong's insanely popular Rex Tso (11-0, 7) battles Japan's Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3). On the line here is Tso's WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title and the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title as well as Tso's recent WBO world ranking. At lost at stake forTso but the expectation is that he will easily cope with Matsuyama.
Following the first title fight we're then scheduled to go to the second title bout which see's former world champions colliding in the best looking contest on the show. This bout sees former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) fighting Filipino power puncher Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14), himself a former WBO Super Flyweight champion. The winner of this bout will likely be moved to within a fight or two of a world title bout, though will immediately claim the WBO International Featherweight title and a big boost to any possible WBO rankings that they have.
The Shimoda/Sonsona bout is followed by the second Olympic champion on the show as Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) faces unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). On paper this is an interesting bout between unbeaten fighters but in reality it's hard to see anything but an impressive victory for the talented and much more experienced Russian who was a former standout amateur and multi-medal winning fighter in the unpaid ranks.
Mekhontsev's contest merely gives us a break between title fights before his fellow Russian Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18) attempts to claim his biggest victory as a professional. Shafikov, fighting in his first world title fight will be hoping to dethrone talented and rangy Mexican Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) of the IBF Lightweight in what promises to be an incredibly interesting and tough contest. Interesting since this bout was first listed on the sports books the odds have closed remarkably and there are many smelling a possible upset here.
The main event, scheduled to take place at 10PM local time, is to be local star Zou Shiming (3-0) fighting Thai teenager Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). On paper this looks like a huge leap of faith from Shiming's side but when you consider Japanese youngster Ryuji Hara stopped Yokthong in 2 rounds it's fair to assume that Shiming's team have just been very cynical with their match making. Oddly one of our writers has gone against the tide and confidently predicted Yokthong to win, be the rest of us aren't buying it.
As we said when we started this, the Macau card is the big, but it's not the only one with one also taking place in the very pleasantly named Peoples Park in Baguio City. The card, expected to feature 6 contests has just one of note and that's the bout featuring Rex Wao (7-0, 6) who will be attempting to extend his unbeaten record as he fights Gerry Pateno (4-5-2, 2). Wao has stopped his last 5 and some in the Philippines are very excited by him. Hopefully another win here, in style, will see him given more notable opportunities in the near future.
Outside of Asia we're also expecting to see Tajikistan's Azamat Umarzade (0-1) in action. Umarzade, who has been inactive since losing on debut back in 2010 is being matched with Joey Ruelas (6-0-1, 3) in what is one of the most pointless matches we can ever remember mentioning on this site.