Fighting returns to Yemen to kick off the new week with a promising looking 6 fight card.
As with many shows in Yemen this year it's headlined by KO machine Ali Raymi (14-0, 14). Raymi, fighting for the 11th time this year, will be facing his 15th straight unbeaten opponent as he goes in to the ring against Abdu Rafik (3-0). Like Raymi, Rafik is "older" for a minimumweight, in fact aged 47 we believe Rafik will be the first opponent older than Raymi, though the expected resut is of course a first round T/KO.
Abdu Rafik is one of 3 "Rafik's" on the card. Their is also a bout for the unbeaten 16 year old Hamza Rafik (1-0, 1) who faces Ali Salem (6-0, 1) and 14 year old Ali Rafik (1-0, 1) who faces Sharaf Montaser (3-0, 3).
The rest of the card fills out with unbeaten novices as Zid Givri (1-0) fights Ahmad Jumaai (1-0, 1), Muhamad Fikri (1-0, 1) faces Muhana Hajaji (1-0) and Ali Mahakri (1-0) battles American Felix Arno (1-0).
The Asian actions this week continues with a very interesting day of fights on Friday. We have action in Japan, with the second day of "Rookie of the East" semi-finals, a show in Thailand with title action, a genuinely interesting card in Kazakhstan, a show in Russia and of course Asian's fighting outside of Asia.
We'll start our look at the fights by beginning in Japan with the 12 bout card to find the finalists for the "Rookie of the East" competition.
The show opens with a bout at Minimumweight as Naoki Akagi (2-2-2, 1) battles Yoshinori Wakahara (4-3, 1). Compared with "the first semi final" in the division this is admittedly a let down, though of course the opening semi was, on paper, an outstanding match up.
The Light Flyweight division gives us a much more interesting contest as hard hitting 17 year old Ryuto Maekawa (5-0, 4) looks for just his second win in Japan, taking on the difficult to defeat Rei Ochiai (1-1-3). With 4 majority decisions on his record in his 5 bouts Ochiai keeps things competitive win, lose or draw and could give Maekawa a very hard time here.
In the Flyweight division Ryuto Oho (3-0, 2) tackles Katsunori Shimooki (3-2-1) before a Super Flyweight bout between the unbeaten Seiya Fujikita (4-0, 1) and Hiroto Kurosawa (5-1, 3).
The Bantamweight division sees Yuto Sasamori (5-3, 3) fighting Yukichi Hara (4-2, 1) in what looks like a decent bout on paper with Super Bantamweight action following on as Tatsuya Mukai (5-1-2, 1) fights Gaku Aikawa (2-0-1) in a potentially fantastic match up.
The Featherweight division gives us Naoto Moriya (4-0, 1) against Shingo Kusano (5-2-1, 3). Although Kusano's record is blotchy he has won his last 4 and could well prove to be a match for the unbeaten Moriya. Following the Featherweight contest fans will get to see unbeaten Super Featherweights collide as Ryosuke Suzuki (4-0) fights Yoshimichi Matsumoto (3-0, 2) in what genuinely looks like the fight of the card.
At Lightweight Akio Tomiyama (5-3, 4) looks to extend his 3 fight T/KO run as he battles fellow puncher Ryosuke Takami (2-0, 2) in what promises to be an explosive contest before Yuki Nagano (2-1, 2) battles Takuya Matsusaka (4-1, 4) at Light Welterweight in another potential shoot out.
The second to last bout on the show takes place at Welterweight as Nobuaki Sakae (2-2-1, 1) fights Kota Kakiuchi (2-4, 2) in a less than inspiring looking contest before a Middleweight bout between the Albanian born Altin Pepa (2-0, 2) and Agoura Masaru (3-1, 2).
In Thailand we expect a more notable name in action with Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (31-2, 19) expected to defend his WBC Youth World Light Flyweight title. Unfortunately we haven't got any further details on the card as of yet.
At the city of Astana in Kazakhstan we get a really interesting loking card. The highlight bout, for us, sees the very talented teenager Roman Zhailauov (9-0, 7) taking on compatriot Kanat Kartenbayev (10-5-2, 4) in what is a step up for Zhailauov. The bout sees Zhailauov defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title as well as attempting to claim the PABA "interim" Welterweight belt and the Kazakhstani Welterweight title. Although it's still very early days in the career of Zhailauov some are already talking about him being the next star of Kazakhstani boxing.
Whilst we're looking forward to the Zhailauov/Kartenbayev fight it's actually just one of a quadtrain of title bouts on the show with others including Farhad Ospanov (4-2, 2) fighting Zhandos Zhetpisbayev (6-6, 2) in a battle over the Kazakhstani Super Bantamweight title and Behzod Nabiev (21-5-1, 15) fighting Meirbek Sabirov (2-4, 1) for the WBC Asia Council Continental Light Welterweight title.
The remaining title bout is a genuinely exciting looking bout as Russian Maxim Maslov (11-1-1, 8) battles Uzbekistan's Elyor Gulomov (8-1-1, 7) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Cruiserweight title. Whilst neither man will ever go on to major world honours this should be very fun to watch as long as it lasts.
On the under-card we appear have a rescheduling of an earlier card and the bouts will feature Bakhtiyar Eyubov (3-0, 3), Murat Nurkasymov (0-0) and Kanat Abdrakhmanov (0-0) though none of these men currently have opponents listed.
In Russia there is a car in Podolsk. This show is expected to feature 4 bouts with Alexander Ivanov (3-0) fighting Ravil Mukhamadiyarov (10-50-2, 8), Gegam Mkrtchyan (1-0) battling Arkadiy Arutiunian (1-0) and action from both Mikhail Smirnov (5-0, 3) and Mikhail Sukiasyan (2-2), though these two men don't appear to have opponents as of yet.
Finally onto the international action which sees Australia again welcoming Asian fighters in to their rings. In New South Wales we expect to see Arnel Tinampay (21-15-1, 7), of the Philippines, fight the unbeaten Sam Ah-See (7-0-1, 6) and Indonesian Aswin Cabuy (14-42-3, 7) in action against Joel Camilleri (3-2, 2).
After originally getting this written we have since heard that Yemeni's Ali Raymi (12-0, 12), the man with 12 straight opening round victories, will be returning to action for the first time since July 14th. Raymi is expected to fight his 13th unbeaten opponent as he takes on Asam Dolbhante (4-0, 1)
The card, rumoured to feature a staggering 20 bouts, is thought to be have a bout between Yasin Abdulkhalik (7-0, 3) and Abdu Rafik (2-0) as the chief support.