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)