This week we bring you an extra introducing! And in this extra Introducing article we take a look at promising Indonesian hopeful Ongen Saknosiwi (8-0, 7). Like many in this weekly feature he's not someone many will have spoken about, yet he is arguably the brightest hope in Indonesian boxing, and really helped set himself apart from other Indonesian prospects last year.
Born on Buru Island in the summer of 1994 Saknosiwi attempted to become a fighter when he was a teenager, before being spotted by Wan Sapulette, best known for winning a bronze medal at the 1983 SEA Games. Sapulette took Saknosiwi into his gym and began to develop the youngster's skills. The hope was for him to fight at the 2012 AIBA Youth World Championships in Armenia, but he failed to make it there, and actually failed to even make a mark at the domestic level.
Despite his talent Saknosiwi felt he couldn't assure his success as a boxer, so instead of turning professional he joined the Indonesian air force in 2014. It was there that he managed to develop his skills properly and in 2016 he would go on to win the Maluku Governor Cup, and compete at the Indonesian National Games.
With the Air Force behind him Saknosiwi finally began to look towards turning professional, and would turn professional just weeks after the 2016 Indonesian National Games. As a professional he linked up with Mahkota Promotion, and would debut in November 2016 with a win against fellow Indonesian debutant Imanuel Hutagalung.
In 2017 Saknosiwi managed to fight 3 times in the first 6 months of the year, stopping a trio of domestic opponents to build some momentum. Sadly however that momentum was slowed as he then spent almost 10 months out of the ring, before he returned for his 5th professional bout. Then there was yet more momentum lost with Saknosiwi taking more than a year out of the ring.
After turning professional in late 2016 Saknosiwi was only 5-0 (5) as we began 2019. It seemed like his career was going to be a bit of a waste. That was until 2019 kicked off, and he really made a mark.
To begin 2019 Saknosiwi claimed an Indonesian national title, stopping Jufry Kakahure in 3 rounds in April. In September Saknosiwi then made his international debut, travelling to Singapore to beat Nanthawat Maolichat for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Featherweight title, his first international title.
Having claimed his first two titles Saknosiwi then took a huge step up and took on Filipino veteran Marco Demecillo. This was a significant step up in class and was a major test for the Indonesian, who started fast, and bagged the rounds he needed to take a 12 round decision, passing another notable milestone. This was not just a step up but a stellar performance against an opponent who tested Saknosiwi's stamina and mental resolve. An excellent win for a man in just his 8th fight.
As we write this Saknosiwi is lined for his second bout on foreign soil, with a contest scheduled for February 22nd in Thailand. The bout is regarded as a stay busy bout for Saknosiwi, who we expect to be involved in at least 1 notable bout before the end of 2020.
Although November has been a rather bitty month, with a great start and a weak middle, there is plenty to be excited about in the last couple of weeks of the month, with a very interesting mix of fights coming through in what's left of the month.
Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) vs Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2) - Yamaguchi, Japan
In Yamaguchi on the 17th we'll see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Eruka Hiromoto defending her title for the first time, as she takes on the aggressive Sana Hazuki in a very interesting match up. The teenage champion looked less than spectacular in her title win, but is a very clear talent with a lot of potential and ambition, and her team have spoken about her challenging for a world title in 2020. Hazuki isn't a big name but she's a handful at this type of level, win or lose, and she could be the sort of fighter who makes Hiromoto pay for her lack of power.
Riku Kano (15-4-1, 8) Vs Tetsuya Mimura (8-1, 1) - Kobe, Japan
Former world title challenger Riku Kano looks to continue his career rebuild as he takes on the once beaten Tetsuya Mimura, a 2018 Rookie of the Year finalist. This should be a really interesting fight between two talented youngsters, and although it's unlikely to end early it is a really meaningful fight, and the winner will almost certainly see themselves in the mix for some form of regional title in 2020.
Daud Yordan (39-4-0-1, 27) Vs Michael Mokoena (15-4, 10) - Batu, Indonesia
It's hard to deny that we all love Daud Yordan, the Indian veteran has been flying the flag almost solo for Indonesian boxing the last few years. Here we see him look to claim the WBO Oriental Light Welterweight title as he takes on Tanzania's Michael Mokoena. We suspect Yordan will have to much for Mokoena, but the Indonesian has taken a lot of punishment during his long career and he could end up feeling the effects of that long career at any point.
Ongen Saknosiwi (7-0, 7) vs Marco Demecillo (24-8-1, 19) - Batu, Indonesia
Whilst Yordan has flown the flag solo for Indonesian boxing several prospecta have come and gone, including the likes of Iwan Zoda, Defry Palulu and most recently Jon Jon Jet. The latest rising Indonesian looking to make their mark is Ongen Saknosiwi, who takes a massive leap up in class here as he faces Filipino veteran Marco Demecillo. A win here will give Saknosiwi's career a monster boost and put him on the fast track, whilst a loss will see him become the latest Indonesian prospect to have his career derailed before it really got going.
Can Xu (17-2, 3) vs Manny Robles III (18-0, 8) - California, USA
One of the biggest bouts from the second half of November will see China's Can Xu defending his WBA Featherweight title against the unbeaten Manny Robles III. On paper this looks brilliant, and in the ring we expect it to be even better. Xu, despite his lack of power, is a very strong fighter who walks through hell fire and brimstone if he needs to. Robles is a more technically capable fighter, but often finds himself fighting the wrong fight and if he gets into a war with Xu we could have a legitimate contender for Fight of the Year on our hands. Xu's pressure will be key as will Robles' concentration, and we are expecting a very, very fan friendly bout here.
Zolani Tete (28-3, 21) v John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19) - West Midlands, United Kingdom
Another world title towards the end of the month will see South African fighter Zolani Tete return to face Filipino John Riel Casimero. Tete, who has been out of the ring for more than a year, enters the bout as the WBO Bantamweight champion whilst Casimero is the interim champion and will be looking to pick up another big win on the road. Coming in to this both men will be looking at a potential showdown with WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue, and will need to win here to keep that potential bout alive.
Zhilei Zhang (20-0, 16) Vs Sergey Kuzmin (15-1, 11) - Monte Carlo, Monaco
There is, of course, something about the Heavyweight division that intrigues us all and we'll actually have a rare bout with an Asian interest in the division at the end of November when unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhilei Zhang take on once beaten Russian Sergey Kuzmin. Both of these fighters were former amateur standouts, and although both are the wrong side of 30 this could still be a very significant bout, with the winner likely to find themselves in the world title mix. Sadly coming into this Zhang has been out of the ring for more than a year whilst Kuzmin was beaten last time out, with both of those facts taking some shine off what this contest could have been 6 months ago.
Andy Hiraoka (14-0, 9) v Rogelio Casarez (13-8, 5) - Nevada, USA
Unbeaten Ohashi gym prospect Andy Hiraoka makes his US debut at the end of the month as he takes on Rogelio Casarez in what looks like an easy introduction to the American boxing scene. Hiraoka, a Japanese-Ghanaian fighter, has trained over in the US in the past and is regarded highly in Japan, though this will be a very different test to anythign he's faced before. Casarez will be the under-dog but will come out looking to upset the unbeaten hopeful. A nice teast for Hiraoka's first bout on US soil.
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