The Orient today has 2 notable cards. In Japan, at the Korakuen Hall there is a very interesting card with several promising youngsters, but before we talk about that we'll have a look at the slightly more exciting show in Davao City in the Philippines.
The main fight in Davao City sees Jether Oliva (18-1-1, 10) fighting Lester John Pronco (9-4, 6) apparently for the vacant Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Light Flyweight title. Oliva is fighting for just the second time since losing to Ulises Solis in IBF Light Flyweight title bout back in August 2011, but he is still widely regarded as a very promising fighter with world title potential and should take care of Pronco.
Up at Lightweight the very promising, and very young, Harmonito Dela Torre (8-0, 5) takes on Bonnie Makiling (4-3, 2) in what will be Dela Torre's first scheduled 10 round bout. Interestingly Makiling did go in to the 10th round in his most recent bout, a stoppage loss to Mark Andrew Acub back in March. This will be a great chance to see how Dela Torre stacks up against Acub.
The cards remaining two bouts are both around the Super Flyweight division with the experienced Fernando Lumacad (28-6-3, 12) taking on Renante Suacasa (5-7, 1) and the unbeaten Daryl Basadre (9-0-1, 6) fighting Ronerex Dalut (8-11-1, 2). The clever money says that Lumacad and Basadre both come out with victories.
Now on the to Korakuen Hall show which features 7 bouts with every man on the card ranked inside the Japanese top 10. (all rankings mentioned below are from the Japanese Boxing Commission)
The most noteworthy fighter on the show is the highly promising Rikki Naito (6-0, 4) (#7 ranked Super Featherweight) who some are talking up as a nailed on future world champion. The 21 year old southpaw takes on the much more experienced Tomohisa Tagawa (10-9-3, 3) who has won his last 3 and is currently ranked #3.
As well as Naito there is another fast rising prospect on the card in the form of Light Flyweight Hiroyuki Otsuka (6-0, 5) who will be looking for his biggest win as he takes on former national title contender Toshimasa Ouchi (15-6-3, 4). This is a huge match up domestically pitching the #3 (Ouchi) ranked fight in Japan against the #7 (Otsuka).
Amazingly the Otsuka/Ouchi bout might only be the second best fight in the division as Tetsuya Hisada (20-7, 10) takes on Kenichi Horikawa (23-12-1, 4). Hisada is ranked #4 in the division whilst Horikawa is ranked #8 though oddly Horikawa does hold a win over Okada from back in November 2011. A lot is riding on this bout and don't be shocked if the winner here faces the winner of the Otsuka/Ouchi bout.
In the Super Flyweight division Masamichi Nozaki (16-3-1, 6), ranked #4 by the JCB takes on the #10 ranked Yoshihito Ishizaki (7-5-1, 4). Although on paper Nozaki looks a clear favourite Ishizaki has faced more recognisable names in Yota Sato and Ryo Akaho and he pushed both of them very close. This could be one of those very tough fights for both men.
It's not just the Naito/Tagawa bout at Super Featherweight but also a bout between Keiichi Izumi (12-5, 4) and Ryota Kajiki (21-7, 14). Izumi is impressively ranked #2 thanks to a run of 3 victories whilst Kajiki,a former Japanese Super Featherweight title challenger, is ranked #4.
The final division that is being fought at is the Super Bantamweight division which features 2 bouts. The most notable of those sees the #2 ranked veteran Mikihito Seto (33-10-2, 17) facing the #9 Koji Aoki (14-6-2, 5). It's hard not to go with Seto here who has only been beaten in national titles bouts in the last 4 years. The other bout pits the #7 ranked Takafumi Nakajima (20-6-1, 8) against the #10 Hirofumi Maenosono (16-4-2, 6). With Nakajima having pushed Hidenori Otake incedibly close in a national title bout last year he will go with a lot of confidence against a man who has lost 2 of his last 3 and is 2 years removed from his most noteworthy victory (which came over Yuta Nagai).
The Sogo City Gym plays host to the first card of the new week with what looks to be a 3 fight show (though we do actually anticipate at least 2 more bouts).
In the 126lb Featherweight division Masayuki Wakimoto (20-5-1, 7) looks to rebuild following successive losses. Last time out Wakimoto was stopped by Filipino Mark Gil Melligen and in his previous bout to that he was out pointed by Hisashi Amagasa in a Japanese Featherweight title bout last year. Despite those losses Wakimoto should have more than enough to over-come Kohei Maruoka (6-4-1).
In an interesting bout Hirohito Fukuhara (15-8-8, 7) takes on Hiroto Takeshita (13-12-1, 9). Although Takeshita is a former Japanese title challenger he has not won a bout in over 3 years (losing his last 4) and in all honesty Fukuhara should manage a victory here as he attempts to force a domestic title fight with Daiki Kaneko (who defends his belt against Mitsuya Omura in August).
In the other clash that we have details of the unbeaten Futoshi Usami (10-0-1, 7) faces Thai novice Petchphaya Krudampgym (0-1) it'd be a massive shock if Usami struggles with a man who was stopped in 2 rounds in his only previous bout.
Of the 3 bouts it's hard to get too excited about any of them, but the Fukuhara/Takeshita bout at least appears as if it could be competitive.
For the second day running Asian boxing interests turn to the world stage more than anything else domestically.
In the highest profile bout anywhere in the world this weekend, WBA Middlweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (26-0, 23) defends his title against Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20). The talented and heavy handed Kazakhstani fighter will be fighting in the US for the 3rd time and is heavily favoured against the British challenger but Macklin is still a very credible contender. This bout, in full has been previewed here.
In Mexico Kimika Miyoshi (8-5-1, 3) attempts to claim the IBF female Bantamweight title as she takes on Yazmin Rivas (27-7, 9). Despite her record Miyoshi is on the best run of her career with 5 straight wins, including a victory over Riyo Togo (who recent went to Mexico herselt and stopped Mariana Juarez) for the OPBF title. Whilst some may write the challenger off, she could well spring a major upset here.
On the same card in Mexico Toyoto Shiraishi (23-7-1, 11) faces Jose Salgado (31-2-1, 26) for the NABF Super Flyweight title. Salgado is currently taking an unbeaten run of 5 bouts to the ring following a split decision loss to Liborio Solis (who recently defeated Kohei Kono). Shiraishi on the other hand comes in to the bout 2-2 in his last 4 bouts with losses to Ryo Akaho and Teiru Kinoshita, both coming in title fights.
In Germany, Ali Mammadov (10-2, 2) of Azerbaijan looks to get back to winning ways following a decision loss to Nico Salzmann in March. Mammadov will be up against the hard hitting Akmal Sadullaev (5-1, 5). Sadullaev has been out of the ring for a little over a year following his sole defeat, a decision loss to Harun Akcabelen so Mammadov has every reason to fancy his chances.
The start of another weekend sees Asia once again the boxing limelight with fighters fighting around the world, and for the second Friday running, in a world title bout.
We'll start our look to Friday by looking at that aforementioned world title fight as China's Xiong Zhao Zhong (20-4-1, 11) makes the first defense of his WBC Minimumweight title. Zhong's opponent, the highly regarded Denver Cuello (33-4-6, 21) has finally his chance and this bout, in Dubai, should be an absolute cracker. We've previewed the bout in full here.
Also on the Dubai card is the unbeaten Iranian Mohammadali Bayat Farid (3-0, 3) who is facing a yet to be named opponent.
Of course the Zhong/Cuello fight isn't the only major fight of the day, in fact in Japan we have another title bout as former world champion Ryol Li Lee (19-3-2, 10) attempts to claim the OPBF Featherweigth title. Lee will be facing the little known Shogo Ishikawa (10-3, 1) who looks to be an undeserving fighter for the title. Interestingly this is the second time Lee has tried to claim the OPBF title in as many bouts after having been held to a draw last time out by Cirilo Espino (who Ishikawa actually beat).
The card in Japan features several other bouts with Masahiro Ishida (12-4-2, 6) taking on Yuki Iwasaki (10-3, 6) in a solid looking match up; Yoshihisa Hirayama (10-8-1, 4) facing Yuya Sugizaki (16-9-1, 6) and recent Japanese title challenger Michiya Sato (9-4-4, 6) fighting Hitoshi Ichiba (7-4-1, 3).
Staying in Asia, though going down to Thailand there will be a card televised on "Channel 7". We've got to admit that we're unsure on who will be fighting though we believe that Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (11-0, 8) will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title on the show against Amor Tino (14-13-3, 4). We also believe (though lack confirmation) that Morakot CP Freshmart (3-0, 2) will be on the card defending his WBC youth world Flyweight title.
Staying on the Thai theme, though to going to Australia, jouenyamn Superjames Singmanasak (3-12, 2) faces recent Commonwealth title challenger Corey McConnell (11-1-1). This will be McConnell's first bout since being beaten by Lee Selby in England earlier this year.
In the final bout of interest Kazakhstan's Zhanat Zhakiyanov (19-1, 12) fights for the first time since linking up with former 2-weight world champion Ricky Hatton. Zhakiyanov, who has already fought in Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Switzerland, England, Belarus and Hong Kong will fight in Northern Ireland as he takes on Michael Escobar (7-8, 3).
It's not often that we get notable bouts to talk about on a Tuesday but this week has several with action in both Japan and Thailand.
At the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo former Japanese Welterweight champion Koji Numata (20-6-1, 15) challenges OPBF Light Middleweight champion Charlie Ota (22-1-1, 15).
Ota, widely regarded as the stand out Asian fighter at 154lbs has seen several fights in the US (where he was born and raised) fall through in recent months so appears to have cut his losses and gone back to fighting almost solely in Japan. He is on an impressive 15 fight winning streak and that has included 7 OPBF title defenses. Numata on the other hand is a hard puncher but is just 5-4 in his last 9 bouts including 2 stoppages losses and it's hard to imagine him beating the talented Ota.
On the same card in Japan Mikiya Ishikawa (7-4, 1) takes on Kenta Motoki (6-6-1, 1). Going in to this Ishikawa has won his last 3 bouts whilst Motoki has lost his last 3, so with recent form it's hard to go against Ishikawa.
In Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand former WBC Super Flyweight champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (26-5-1, 10) defends his WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title for the first time. Suriyan will be facing the very limited Renz Llagas (6-4-1, 4) of the Philippines who is jumping up from Flyweight.
We'd expect to see more bouts on both cards by the time they actually come aroundthough even with out them, the name appeal of Ota and Suriyan should be enough to keep a number of fans interested.