In the US this Saturday may be amongst the busiest days in the boxing year, in Asia however it's a quiet day with just 2 domestic cards and only a few fighters with Asian roots in action outside of "The East".
One of those domestic cards takes place in Japan at the Yodogawa Ward Community Center in Osaka thanks to Apollo Promotions.
The show opens with Fukunaga Tatsunori (3-2, 1) battling Shogo Takenaka (3-5, 1) in a 4 round bout, this is then followed by two more bouts scheduled for the short distance as Takashi Okura (1-1) fights Yukitaka Nishida (2-7-2, 1) and the debuting Tatsuya Terada (0-0) faces Tomonori Ota (2-3, 1). Of the trio of bouts over the 4 round distance it's fair to say that Terada/Ota is the most interesting bout with Terada making his debut against a man ending a 5 year sabbatical from the sport.
Following the trio of 4 round bouts we then get a duo of bouts scheduled for 6. These will see Tomohiro Iwasaki (3-4-2) fighting Fumio Yoshida (4-9, 1) and Sho Horii (6-4-1, 1) up against Yu Iwasaki (6-1, 2). We'll be honest we expect Iwasaki to over-come Horii in the second of those, but the first fight does look like a genuinely even match up with the possibility to go either way.
The first of the show's 8 round bouts sees Masato Morisaki (6-2-1, 3) up against Shun Ishibashi (7-14-1, 2) in what looks to be a mismatch, even more so when you consider that Ishibashi is winless in the last 5 years. Thankfully the second of the 8 round contests is an evenly matched bout as Yusaku Suzuki (8-10-2, 5) fights Takashi Nishimura (7-10-1, 1) in a match that we imagine will be close even if it's not the best in terms of quality.
In the show's closer we drop back down to a 6 rounder as Hiroyuki Ukawa (10-11-1, 8) and Takayuki Morimoto (4-6, 2) get it on with each other. Sadly for a main event this is weak, though in all honesty the entire card is pretty poor.
The other Asian card, and by far the more interesting one, is in the Molo Covered Gym in the Philippines. This show, consisting of 6 bouts, doesn't scream out "world level competition" but is much better overall.
In the Filipino main event we get the very promising Mark Andrew Acub (12-0, 9) battling the limited Giovani Rota (7-4, 4). Acub is seen as another of the promising young Filipino's and shouldn't struggle to get past Rota here.
The chief support bouts see Albert Villacampa (14-6-1, 3) taking on Ryan Bongcawil (7-6-5, 3) and Lito Dante (5-3-3, 2) fighting Rodante Suacasa (1-5-2, 1). It's hard to see anything but victories for Villacampa and Dante though with it being the Philippines upsets do happen on a regular basis.
On the undercard there are 3 more bouts with Brian Lobitania (5-0-2, 4) battling Ivor Lastrilla (6-2-1, 3), the highly touted Vic Saludar (1-0, 1) fighting Camilo Rey Seneres (0-5) and Elmo Traya (1-1, 1) faces John Rey Lorico (2-3).
In the UK the unbeaten Muheeb Fazeldin (2-0-1), originally from Yemen, gets a chance to correct the only blotch on his record as he rematches Leo D'Erlanger (3-0-2). The two men fought to a 4 round draw in June and it's fair to say that neither man will be wanting to let the same result occur for a second fight in a row.
There is also a much more meaningful bout in the UK as Qatar born Abdul Barry Awad (14-0, 7), AKA Kid Galahad, takes on fellow promising fighter James Dickens (16-0, 5) in a bout that British fans will get to see courtesy of Channel 5 in the UK.
In the US the Korean-Ameran Han sibling's are in action. In the more notable of the two bouts the fun to watch Abraham Han (19-1, 12) takes on Bernardo Guereca (17-19-1, 4) in what appears to be a confidence rebuilder for "Abie" after his recent loss to Glen Tapia. On the same card Abie's sister Jennifer Han (9-2-1, 1) is in action takings on novice Lesly Morales (3-2-1) what should be a perfect 1-2 for the Han family.
With 3 notable cards today it's fair to say that one certainly steals the show with 2 title bouts and a highly regarded contender all on the same card.
That card is the card, in the Korakuen Hall, sees OPBF Middleweight champion Makoto Fuchigami (20-7, 11) attempt to defend his belt against Japanese Light Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (20-7-1, 9). On paper this is a bout to be genuinely excited about with Fuchigamai, a former world title contender, certainly facing his toughest bout since being badly beaten by WBA Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Shibata may not have a great record but the only man to beat him in the last 5 years is the highly regarded Charlie Ota and this could well be a great clash.
The other title bout sees Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (24-4-1, 7) taking on former world title contender Motoki Sasaki (39-9-1, 24) not only for Kato's belt but also the vacant OPBF title. Sasaki certainly goes in to this bout with an experience edge and a the edge in terms of opponent level (having been in with Humberto Soto and Vyacheslav Senchenko) though at 37 he's a long way from his best. The 28 year old Kato, whilst unknown in the west has only been decisively beaten once and is making the 5th defense of his national title, it'd be a shock to see him beaten here.
The final bout on this card sees the very highly ranked Nihito Arakawa (23-2-1, 15) bouncing back from his 12 round loss to Daniel Estrada. Sadly Arakawa's opponent is Thai novice Pakphum Tor Pornchai (0-1) who will do little more than pad Arakawa's record.
The other two cards are both held in the Philippines are much less likely to get the attention of international fans, though the card in Benguet does have a title bout.
The main event in that card sees the highly regarded power puncher Rex Wao (6-0, 5) attempt to claim the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title as he faces Dandy Toei (9-4-3, 3). This bout really could help Wao make a name for himself, though of course he will need to score the best win of his career so far.
The same card also features Remuel Obidos (7-3-1, 2) against the experienced Arjet Caballes (6-26-5, 3) and bouts for the unbeaten trio of Jonel Espineli (0-0-1), Renato Palay (also 0-0-1) and Stephen Gelawa (4-0-1, 2). Though only Palay and Gelawa's opponents have been named with Gelawa facing Jestoni Pepito (7-10-2, 2) and Palay facing Jomar Tumbaga (0-4-1).
The other card in the Philippines, held in the Mandaue City Plaza Square may not have a title on it though it's arguable a better card overall. The main event sees Melvin Gumban (13-0, 6) facing off against Fernando Ocon (10-4, 2) as Gumban attempts to score his second win of the year.
This card features a further 6 bouts with Pedro Balaba (10-4, 5) fighting Aroel Romasasa (11-4, 5); Juren Labordo (8-0, 4) fighting Roel Garcia (5-9-1, 1); Rey Morales (7-0, 2) facing Renante Suacasa (4-7); Lito Dante (3-3-3, 1) fighting Rez Padrogane (2-1, 1); Brian Lobitania (4-0-1, 3) facing Rocky Alvarez (1-2, 1) and Ivor Lastrilla (4-2-1, 3) fighting against Takaoki Noma (0-2).
Whilst none of these bouts are of massive interest it's fair to sat that Labordo and Morales are genuinely promising young prospects that fans should be keeping an eye on.