On Saturday nigth in Arlington, Texas, see Japanese veteran Japanese veteran Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] make his US debut, as he battles WBO Light Flyweight champion Elwin Soto (18-1, 12). The bout, which was only put together on a few weeks notice, is an interesting match up between a true veteran of the spot, who has been there and done that, and a rising star of the sport, who looks set to become a genuine stand out fighter, but is very much a work in progress.
Coming in to this bout it's one of the weekend's more interesting match ups as it really isn't as easy to predict as many bouts taking place over the coming weeks. Even if it does look obvious at first viewing.
Unsurprisngly Soto is the clear betting favourite. He's the man more well known in the West, he's the younger man, the natural Light Flyweight, the reigning champion and the bigger puncher. He's been priced at 1/12 to win, which does seem remarkably low given the fact he has not looked amazing in his two previously world title defenses. Takayama on the other hand is a huge 9/1 to spring the upset and claim another world title to add to his illustrious career. As for the draw, that's 25/1 to one, and would be the first for either man.
The Method of Victory is an interesting one here. Soto by TKO is the very, very clear favourite at 4/9, and if he manages that it would be the first time he's recorded a stoppage in a world title defense, something he failed to do against Edward Heno and Carlos Buitrago and it would only be Takayama's second stoppage loss. A decision win for Soto is priced at 12/5. A stoppage for Takayama is best priced at 20/1 the same price as a Takayama decision.
Interestingly, at least in the UK, a decision win covers a technical decision win, and Takayama has had 6 of those in his career including 3 in his last 5 bouts suggesting that another may be on the cards again here.
Given that Soto's a big puncher and Takayama is well known for his paper skin, and his bouts ending after head clashes, the bout is certainly not expected to go the distance. With that in mind it's little surprise to report that the price is 4/9 on not going 12 rounds and 9/4 on the bout going the championship schedule. For those looking for a bit more value here, the "Total Rounds" Market has been set at 7.5 rounds. The over is 5/6 and the under is at Evens.
Interestingly Skybet do offer "Either fighter by decision or technical decision" at 9/4, which is genuinely worth a sniff given that that this covers us going to the cards early, as well as going the distance. Something that's possible given Takayama's skin.
Related - Takayama gets a chance to become 2-weight champion! Faces hard hitting Soto
Later today we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22) attempt to make his 9th defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, 16), in what looks like a really good bout in on Showtime.
Despite looking like a good bout the match up is the latest IBF mandatory title fight, and in recent years they have become a bit of a joke, with the champions regularly defending without too many problems. In fact the whole "IBF mandatory challenger" thing is quickly becoming a poison chalice that no fighter should be wanting to hold.
Despite the recent history of mandatory challengers being easy for the champions we are really interested by the odds for this match up, with the champion being an almost unbackable favourite. The talented Ancajas is a 1/6 favourite to retain his title, and record his latest defense. The challenger on the other hand is best priced, at least in the UK, as a 13/2 under-dog, a tempting price by usual standards. The draw is 28/1.
Whilst Ancajas being the favourite is completely understandable, it is worth noting that this will be his first bout in well over a year, and ring rust could be a serious issue for him against a big, strong, powerful fighter like Rodriguez.
For those backing Ancajas they may find the "Method of Victory" market more appealing. Here we find Ancajas by stoppage at 4/6 and a decision for Ancajas at 9/4. Notably Ancajas is 8-0-1 (6) in world title fights and the odds of a stoppage do seem be playing on that history of his at world level. As for Rodriguez, he is 12/1 to get a stoppage and a huge 16/1 to win a decision over the talented Filipino.
Given the odds on an Ancajas stoppage it'll be little surprise to learn that this bout is not expected to go the distance. In fact the bout is 1/2 to finish early and 2/1 to go the scheduled 12 rounds.
Again, although we understand Ancajas being the favourite, we do wonder if he'll be looking to shake ring rust here and will maybe even struggle with his timing and pacing given such a long lay off. IF that's the case maybe there is some value for the smart bettor.
Related - Ancajas and Rodriguez face off... at last!
One of the most interesting match ups featuring an Asian fighter this coming weekend will see unbeaten Kazakh Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17) [Жанкош Тураров] take on Northern Irish fighter Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6) over in Dubai.
On paper this is one of the few genuinely compelling match ups from the weekend as a genuine test for the touted, but frustrating, Turarov. He has been on the scene for over a decade but, due to one issue or another, has never managed to deliver to his potential. And this bout may well be make or break for him.
Despite having been out of the ring since July 2019 Turarov is the clear betting favourite here, with the best price on him being 1/4. Interestingly McKenna has fought 3 times since Turarov's last fight, and he's proven to be a hungry fighter who comes into this with a point to prove. Despite that he's priced as a very, very attractive under-dog, at 4/1.
The draw is best priced at 22/1.
For those looking for more value on the outcome, a decision for Turarov is priced at evens whilst a stoppage for the Kazakh is 19/10. McKenna on the other hand is 5/1 to take home a decision and 12/1 to stop the Kazakh.
Interestingly the bout is 4/7 to go to the final bell and 13/8 to end early.
This weekend we get a lot of boxing, and we really do mean a lot of boxing. Sadly many of the bouts are looking like mismatches with the bookies, who have many of the bouts as foregone conclusions. Perhaps the most "conclusive" for the bookies is the Light Middleweight match up in Dubai between Kazakh prospects Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, 1) [Турсынбай Кулахмет] and 34 year old Venezuelan Heber Rondon (20-0, 13).
This weekend we will see a lot of 1/100 favourites in action, though one bookie prices Kulakhmet at a frankly offensive 1/500 to win here. Thankfully other bookies are a little bit more reasonable with one having the unbeaten Kazakh priced at 1/66. We did say "a little bit more reasonable". As for Rondon, the unbeaten Venezuelan is best priced at 20/1 to pick up the win, and put himself on the boxing map in a big way.
The draw, for those interested, is a huge 33/1.
Obviously with such clear odds on a Kulakhmet win the real focus here will be the "Method of victory" market. For those backing the Kazakh odds of 1/8 on him to score a stoppage should be a lot, lot, more tempting than the 1/66 for him to win. On the other hand for those believing in Rondon's toughness, rather than his skill, a decision for Kulakhment is 11/2.
For those picking the upset, Rondon is 25/1 to win by stoppage and a massive 100/1 to win a decision. In what would be one of the biggest betting shocks in recent memory.
Given how much he bookies are favouring a stoppage for Kulakhmet it's worth noting you can get 1/9 on the bout not going the distance. On the other side of that coin, the bout is 7/1 to see out the schedule and go to the final bell.
This coming weekend we'll see Filipino legend Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) return for his first bout since a December 31st 2018 win over Kazuto Ioka. The brilliant 4 weight world champion will be hoping for a triumphant return here as he takes on Colombian fighter Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16) for the WBO International Super Flyweight title, on a show promoted by MTK promotions over in Dubai.
Aged 38 and with more than 2 years out of the ring this return to action for Nietes is expected to answer a lot of questions about what "Ahas" has left in the tank. The bookies however see it as a mismatch, and make the Filipino a very clear favourite, best priced at 1/8. Carrillo on the other hand is a strangely attractive 6/1 to win. The draw is priced at 22/1.
For those looking for more value in their bets there is a "Method of victory" market available here. The favoured outcome with the bookies is a decision win for Nietes, which is priced at evens as we type this. A stoppage for Nietes is seen as the second most likely result, and is priced at 13/8.
For Carrillo backers a stoppage for the Colombian is a huge 10/1 whilst a decision for him is an even heftier 20/1.
The bout also has a "To go the distance" market available. This is among the most interesting here. The bout it 10/11 to go the scheduled distance ant 5/4 to finish within the distance. A really tough one to call given that Carrillo is tough and Nietes may well take a few rounds to shake some ring rust.
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