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.
A new week kicks off with what could well be one of the best days in Japanese boxing this year. We have two separate cards in Tokyo with one at the Korakuen Hall and one in the Ota City Central Gym and both promise to provide plenty of action for fight fans.
Of the two shows it' obvious that the attention will be on the Ota City Gym card which features 5 fights for certain, including the two world title bouts, so we'll start there.
The first of the two world title fights sees the always fun to watch Akira Yaegashi (17-3, 9) in action as he looks for the first defence of his WBC Flyweight title. Yaegashi will be facing challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-5-1, 23) of Mexico in a bout we tend to see as a bit of a gimme for the talented and fun to watch Japanese action fighter. As is always the case Yaegashi will make sure to put on a show for the fans even if the bout does look like it's one sided.
The other world title fight, and the bout seen as the main even of the show, sees Shinsuke Yamanaka (18-0-2, 13), a man widely regarded as one of the premier Bantamweight on the planet, defending hs WBC Bantamweight title against Puerto Rican Jose Nieves (22-2-3, 11). We have this one down as a more competitive bout than the Flyweight title bout but it's very hard to bet against Yamanaka who really is a class fighter.
The chief support bout sees former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (32-4, 14) in action against experienced Mexican Genaro Camargo (42-15, 34). Hasegawa is still looking to rebuild his career after stoppage losses to Fernando Montiel and Jhonny Gonzalez though in recent fights he has looked gun-shy and it's possible that another loss could see the former Bantamweight great hanging them up. Worryingly for Hasegawa he has been stopped by two of the last three Mexican fighters he has fought.
The opening contest on the show will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Abe (1-0) facing the win less Yuichi Kitagawa (0-1-1) with this being followed by a contest between Masafumi Ando (1-2, 1) and Daiki Mori (0-4).
If time can be made we also expect to see the debut of Takekawa Hisashi (0-0) who is likely to fight Susumu Nakata (1-3-2, 1) if the card has a few early finishes. This bout is marked down as a reserve bout so we've got out fingers crossed.
Of course not all the title action is at the Ota Gym with a Japanese title fight headlining the 6 bout Korakuen Hall show.
In the main event the Japanese Light Middleweight title is up for grabs as the experienced Tadashi Yuba (43-8-2, 31) faces Yosuke Kirima (17-3-2, 12). For Kirima this is his second shot at the Light Middleweight title after losing to current Japanese Middleweight champion Daisuke Nakagawa 18 months ago. For Yuba however this bout has a chance to further enhance his legendary career which has already seen him claiming Japanese national titles in 4 divisions from Lightweight to Middleweight. A victory in this bout would see Yuba becoming the first 5-weight Japanese national champion.
As well as the main event there will be 3 very promising support bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. The first of which sees unbeaten Japanese Middleweight Shoma Fukumoto (2-0, 2) facing experienced Filipino Arnel Tinampay (20-15-1, 6). Tinampay is likely to be under-sized and under-powered here against one of Japan's better kept secrets, but Fukumoto should be given a few rounds against a man who has yet to be stopped in a 36 bout career.
The second of the 8 round contests sees the unbeaten Hiroya Yamamoto (7-0, 3), ranked #7 at Minimumweight, move up from the 6 round distance to take on former Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Hayato Yamaguchi (9-4-1), raked #8 at Light Flyweight. This is by far the toughest test for Yamamoto and should be a genuinely great fight. Well done to Yamamoto's team for putting him in such a risky contest.
Unfortunately the other support bout looks a little bit one sided as Shoji Kawase (30-5-5, 18) takes on Kazumasa Kobayashi (8-2-1, 5). Kawase, a former Japanese and OPBF title challenger has proven to be below title level but is still a very good fighter, as we found out earlier this year when he stopped Shuhei Tsuchiya and he should have more than enough for Kobayashi here.
In the cards only 6 round bout Hiroaki Teshigawara (6-1-1, 3) will face Kyosuke Sawada (0-1). This should be a better match up in the ring than it looks on paper though it's hard to pick against Teshigawara. This bout follows the shows opening bout which we expect will be a meeting of debutants between Ibuki Kitade (0-0) and Fumi Ijima (0-0).
We did think that Friday (yesterday) was somewhat quiet but looking at today we understand why with action featuring top fighters from Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.
Firstly lets start in Tokyo, Japan where we get to see one of the top Bantamweights on the planet in action aswell as several highly ranked Japanese domestic fighters.
In the most high profile bout, the once beaten Bantamweight Ryosuke Iwasa (14-1, 9) takes on Filipino Jecker Buhawe (14-8-1, 9) in what is likely to be little more than a stay busy fight for Iwasa. Ranked #2 by the WBC, #3 by the WBO and #15 by the IBF it's only a matter of time before Iwasa gets a world title fight though it could be that he's trying to avoid facing WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka, the only man to currently hold a victory over Iwasa.
On the same card as the Iwasa bout are 4 other contests. They notably include the #2 ranked Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Yu Kimura (11-2-1, 2) taking on Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-2-3, 3) the #9 ranked Minumumweight in what is certain to be a highly compelling 8 round contest.
Their will also be action for the #1 ranked Flyweight Tetsuma Hayashi (21-2-1, 7) who will continue his pursuit of the second Japanese title fight as he faces Marzon Cabilla (9-8-1, 4) of the Philippines.
Also in action will be #7 ranked Japanese Flyweight Kohei Kubo (15-3-1, 10) who also faces a Filipino. Kubo's opponent will be Romnick Magos (8-2, 4) best known for his stunning upset of the then 10-0 Aston Palicte in December 2012. This should be a victory for Kubo but Magos will be looking for his second big upset in successive bouts.
The remaning fight on the card sees Jun Hamana (7-1, 2) taking on Spice Matsushita (12-7, 2) who is 2-2 in his last 4 contests dating back over 2 years.
Down in Australia we get a big of an Asian invasion with 3 seperate Oriental fighters on the card.
The first of those in action is Arnel Tinampay (20-15-1, 6) of the Philippines who takes on the unbeaten prospect Rocky Jerkic (5-0, 3). Although Tinampay is the under-dog he is on a 2-fight winning streak away from home and Jerkic is entering after more than a year out of the ring.
Things look slightly easier for Indonesian Rasmanudin (17-3-2, 9) who takes on Jason Cooper (6-1-1, 3) in a bout for the IBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Whilst Cooper is at home in Australia it's fair to say that Rasmanudin is experienced on the road having fought in Japan and the Philippines, albeit losing all 3 including a bout to Ryosuke Iwasa.
Former world title challenger Daud Cino Yordan (30-3, 23) completes the attempted Asian take over of Australia as he attempts to claim the IBO Lightweight title. Yordan, stopped last time out by South African Simpiwe Vetyeka has skipped Super Featherweight for this bout but appears to have taken a notable step down in terms of his opponent as he takes on Argentinian Daniel Eduardo Brizuela (25-1-2-11, 8). The relatively unknown Brizuela has an attractive paper record but it's come at a very low level compared to the opponents that Yordan has faced and it's this gulf in class that make us heavily favour the popular Indonesian.
In South Africa the former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (20-5-2, 15) also looks to add an IBO title to his collection. Lopez, who lost in a world title tilt last year to Yota Sato, will be facing Thabo Sonjica (17-2, 12) for the Super Bantamweight IBO belt. Sonjica is genuinely a top fighter at 122lbs and will likely be the bigger man in the ring and the favourite heading in though "Stallone" has the power needed to score the upset. This could very easily be the fight of the weekend.