Some days are big global boxing days, we saw one this past weekend with Froch/Groves fight falling on the same day as Hernandez/Alekseev and “The Clash In Cotai”, others however a big local boxing days. Days where the only notable action takes place in a small area of the world and is unlikely to break away from that area.
We have one of those “local days” this Friday where Asian fans will certainly be happier than their European and American counterparts due to several interesting contests that will light up both Thailand and Japan.
The obvious starting point for a look at Friday's action is in Thailand where we get the first world title fight of the weekend. The contest, which sees Koki Eto (14-2-1, 10) returning to Thailand to make the first defense of his WBA interim Flyweight, appears to be one which should have real interest in both Thailand and Japan. Eto, who defeated Kompayak Porpramook for the title earlier this year will be facing Kompayak's stable-mate Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (32-2, 19), AKA Yodmongkol CP Freshmart.
Although we're unsure what other bouts will be shown by Thai channel 7 we've got to admit we're really looking forward to this one which should be a real barn burner as long as it lasts. For the sake of to we hope he can put on a performance similar to the one he had against Porpramook, though with Yodmongkol being on a long winning run he'll be confident of scoring the upset here.
Over in Japan we have two shows. Of those the one that interests us the most is “Dangan 88” a show that really deserves some sort of television coverage though doesn't seem to have it.
This show, headlined by Tadashi Yuba (44-8-2, 33) rematching Yoshihisa Tonimura (16-8-4, 4) in Japanese Light Middleweight title bout, is one where a Tonimura will be seeking revenge for a razor thin loss whilst Yuba will be further seeking to enhance his legacy. Although unknown outside of Japan, Yuba is a domestic legend and the first ever 5-weight Japanese national champion. We'd be shocked if this was anything but hard fought, competitive and incredibly close through out.
Whilst Yuba/Tonimura II is the main event it is far from the only interesting contest in an excellent eight fight card.
The show begins with a 4 rounder as the debuting Shuta Igarashi (0-0) fights the win-less Kenji Suzuki (0-4). Following this opening contest we have a second successive 8 rounder as Shogo Endo (0-1) battles who we believe will be Makoto Kawasaki (3-1-1, 1).
Oddly straight after the two opening 4 rounders we immediately move in to the 8 round distance for a Minimumweight contest between Kazuhiro Nakamura (8-4, 3) and the once beaten youngster Hiroya Yamamoto (7-1, 3). This will be Yamamoto's first contest since being upset by Hayato Yamaguchi back in August and there will be serious interest to see how Yamamoto bounced back from his first loss.
The second 8 rounder on the show will see Dai Iwai (12-3-1, 5) taking on the highly ranked Michiya Sato (10-4-4, 6). Ranked by both the JBC and the OPBF Sato is risking a lot here against the capable Iwai who will be looking at this as his chance to move into a title fight of some sort.
Following the first two 8 rounders we suddenly drop back to the 4 round distance as singer-come-boxer Yuki Clay (0-0), of Kimaguren fame, makes his professional boxing debut. The singer will be facing fellow debutant Kubota Akinori (0-0) in what appears to be an intriguing contest, even if it is little more than a gimmick fight, much like Andrew Flintoff's was in the UK a while back.
After the 4 round interlude we get back to serious action as Yuki Ozawa (10-2, 2) battles the more experienced Koji Aoki (14-7-2, 5) in a potentially enjoyable bout that screams “distance fight” to us, despite the fact Aoki has been stopped in 5 of his 7 losses.
The penultimate contest on Dangan 88, and the chief support contest for the title fight, sees Noriyuki Ueno (15-11-5, 5) defending his OPBF and Japanese rankings as he battles Yosuke Kawano (7-2-1, 3). Despite Ueno's record he is a genuine threat at domestic title level, in fact when you consider Ueno started his career 2-6-1 and has since fought in 3 Japanese title fights and 1 OPBF title fight there is little doubt that there is talent there.
The second Japanese show, courtesy of Shinsei, is scheduled to just have six contests though like the Dangan show it's a very promising looking card overall.
Despite being promising over-all the show starts with a weak 4 rounder as the win-less pairing of Daiki Haraguchi (0-6) and Daisuke Takeichi (0-1) face off. Thankfully this is the shows one bad fight fight.
The second contest on the show sees Shinsei making a very brave move as they put their unbeaten youngster Shun Kubo (2-0, 2) up against Filipino Monico Laurente (23-9, 5). Although Laurente has picked up a couple of losses in recent bouts and is much smaller than Kubo, he could prove to be very tricky still and make Kubo look bad. Kubo's natural size advantage should see him through to the victory but the experience difference between the two men could make it very interesting.
If we think Kubo is in hard then Thai visitor Mongkoldam Sithwarunee (1-2, 1) has it even tougher as he takes on the hard hitting Kota Fukuoka (14-3-2, 11). Fukuoka is certainly beatable but he has won his last 7 with 5 of those coming by stoppage, it'd be a surprise if he didn't add another to both of those figures here.
In the fourth contest of the card we get another of those interesting looking bouts with an unbeaten prospect as Shohei Omori (9-0, 5) faces Filipino veteran Albert Alcoy (14-16-7, 4). Although this looks a great test on paper it does seem like Omori is becoming a man and punching harder and this bout seems like a step backwards for him considering how he stopped Kiron Omura in 92 seconds back in July. We'd be pretty shocked if Omori doesn't record another stoppage here.
The penultimate bout on this show will see Ryotaro Kawabata (8-2, 3) in action. Although we're not certain on who he'll be up against we have heard that it's a Korean, likely to be Bum-Young Lee (8-6-2, 3), a former Korean Super Flyweight champion. Lee is a man that some Japanese fans will be familiar with due to his losses to Hirofumi Mukai and Takuya Kogawa and if it him fighting Kawabata it's fair to say that we expect the Korean to suffer his third loss to a Japanese fighter.
Like with Danagn 88 the main event here is another Japanese title fight. This time it's down at Bantamweight where Kohei Oba (34-2-1, 13) will be seeking the second defense of his title as he battles Yuji Hasegawa (8-2, 2). We'd expect that if Oba wins he'll be looking to get himself into a world title fight rather than keeping a hold of the national title any longer.
Unfortunately due to the strength of Japanese boxing at Bantamweight Oba is between a rock and a hard place. He could keep defending the belt, he could challenger the winner of Shiino/Iwasa to an OPBF title bout or he could try to fight one of the three Japanese world champions at the weight. Unfortunately we'd not back him against any of the world champions or the Shiino/Iwasa winner, though he's better than pretty anyone else domestically. In fact domestically Oba against Ryo Akaho is probably the most interesting contest out there for him.
Out side of the Asian countries the action continues with a few interesting contests.
In Queensland, Australia fans will get to see Thailand's Chaiyong Sithsaithong (31-11-3, 22) take on Josh King (15-3, 8) in a battle for the WBO Oriental Lightweight title. On the same show as that Filipino Michael Dan (3-6-1, 1) will be facing Ryan Heck (3-1-1) in a much lower level contest.
Staying in Australia, though down south in Victoria, Filipino Marlon Alta (12-3, 9) will be facing the unbeaten Zac Dunn (10-0, 9) in a battle over the WBC Youth World Super Middleweight title. Alta, who has been out of the ring since he was stopped by Makoto Fuchigami 13 months ago, will know that a win here could explode him back on to the scene, but he'll also know he's being brought in to lose to the Aussie banger.
A third bout in Australia sees Aswin Cabuy (14-44-3, 7) trying to end a 6 fight losing streak as he takes on Leroy Brown (15-5-1, 5) in New South Wales.
Amazingly there is one other Asian involved in a title fight, though rather peculiarly it's in Ecuador as Chinese born Kazakhstani fighter Kanat Islam (14-0, 12) battles Colombia's Emilio Julio Julio (28-11-2, 20) for what we assume will be the WBA Fedelatin Light Middleweight title. Islam is one of those fighters who seems very interesting, though is unfortunately very well hidden from the wider boxing public. Thankfully if he wins here he's expected to be on an American card in December.
It's rare to have the attention of the whole boxing world pointed towards Asia but that's what we have on Saturday thanks to Bob Arum's "Top Rank Promotions" who bring the action over to Macau for the second time this year.
The show, dubbed "Fists of Gold II" is nothing short of spectacular the sort of action that needs to be brought over to the East more often.
The headline man is of course 2-time Olympic Gold medal winner Zou Shiming (1-0). The Chinese national hero, who made his debut back in April, returns to action as he takes on Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2) in a bout that is supposed to help Shiming get used to the 6 round distance.
Shiming isn't the only Chinese based fighter on the show with the unbeaten and highly popular Rex Tso (9-0, 6) of Hang Kong also on the card. Tso is being given a genuinely testing contest as he faces the experienced Rusalee Samor (20-4-2, 9) of Thailand. Samor may not be a former world champion but he has been the distance with popular Filipino Denver Cuello and could pose Tso some questions.
As well as the two Chinese based fighters there is also action for promising Filipino Dave Penalosa (6-0, 4) on the undercard as he takes on debuting Wisaruth Wor Khunkhiri (0-0). Wisaruth is actually one of three Thai's on the card with the others being Samor, see above, and the experienced Chaiyong Sithsaithong (31-10-3, 22) who takes on unbeaten Australian Paul Fleming (18-0, 13) in an 8 round contest.
Dave Penalosa is actually 1 of 3 Filipino's on the card with the highly regarded Genesis Servania (21-0, 8) taking on former world title challenger Konosuke Tomiyama (23-5-1, 8) and of course Milan Melindo (29-0, 12) challenging Juan Francisco Estrada (24-2, 18) for the WBO and WBA "super" titles at Flyweight. For many this is the stand out bout of the card and easily the one that has the potential to be a thriller.
The Estrada/Melindo bout isn't the only world title bout on the card however as "Russian Mexican" Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8) defends his IBF Featherweight title against Argentinian Mauricio Javier Munoz (26-3, 12). This will be Gradovich's first defense of the title which Munoz will be challenging for a world title for the second time in his career having previously been thwarted by Toshiaki Nishioka.
The Macau card also has a single featuring no Asian interest as America faces in Mexico in a Heavyweight tussles. American Joe Hanks (21-0, 14) puts his record on the line against fellow unbeaten Andy Ruiz Jr (19-0, 13). Whilst we're really looking forward to the title bouts this isn't far behind in our chart of excitement.
Rather amazingly attention will be turned to an Asian fighter later in the day as Japan's Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16) looks to claim the WBC interim Lightweight title in his American debut. Arakawa will need to over-come the destructive Omar Figueroa (21-0-1, 17) if he hopes to become just the fifth Japanese fighter to claim a world title in the USA. This bout, televised in the US on "Showtime" is part of the "Knockout Kings II" card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
In Mexico we have even more action of international note as Tenkai Tsunami (18-7, 7) battles Jessica Chavez (18-3-2, 4) for the WBC Silver female Light Flyweight title. This will be Tsunami's 4th successive bout in Mexico.
Of course not all the action is internationally notable and we also have two domestic cards in the Philippines.
The most notable of the Filipino cards is held at the Barangay San Dionisio Covered Court in Paranaque City as a 10 fight show is put on.
The card sees the WBC Youth Silver Bantamweight champion Richard Pumicpic (12-5-2, 4) taking on the experienced Richard Betos (20-6-1, 7) in arguably the match up of the card. Although Pumicpic's record is messy he's much better than the numbers suggest and is unfortunate not to have victories over both Allan Tanada and Yohei Tobe, we'd expect him to get the better of Betos here.
Amazingly Pumicpic/Betos is one of 6 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds with arguably the most "important" being the female bout between Jessebelle Pagaduan (5-0, 3) and Carleans Rivas (2-0, 3). This bout is for the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) female Minimumweight title, the only title bout on the card.
In terms of the biggest name on the card there is no one who really challenges the oce highly touted Eden Sonsona (32-6, 10). Sonsona looks for his 7th successive victory as he takes on Daniel Ferreras (12-5-1, 4). Interestingly both men have lost in OPBF title bouts to former world champion Kohei Kono.
The remaining trio of 10 round contests see Jaymart Toyco (12-3, 8) facing Jeffrey Cerna (13-7, 5); Ronelle Ferreras (11-5-2, 4) facing former OPBF title holder Michael Landero (16-9-4, 5) and Virgil Puton (9-3, 3) faces the experienced Prell Tupaz (8-20-4, 1).
As well as the staggering 6 contests scheduled for 10 rounds the card several other bouts. These include bouts for the unbeaten pair of Reymon Dayham (3-0, 3) and Jhon Rey de Asis (3-0, 3) who will both be attempting to extend their stoppage runs. Dayham will be facing JC Francisco (2-6-1) whilst Asis will be fighting Rowel Rosia (3-2, 2), both of these contests are scheduled for 6 rounds if needed.
The show also features another 6 round contest between Bebong Manalo (5-1, 3) and Eljohn Evangelista (2-2) and a 4 rounder between debutant Iluminado Bismanos Jr (0-0) and Eric Pansa (0-1-1).
The second Filipino card, held at the Makati Cinema Square Boxing arena in Makati City sees a 7 fight show.
The main event on this card is a sole 10 round contest as Junard Postrano (7-3, 2) takes on Gabriel Royo (7-7-2, 6). We've got to admit that this doesn't look great for a main event, in fact the best fight on the show looks to be Lolito Sonsona (16-1-3, 6) versus Zoren Pama (3-7-2, 1). Although it looks a mismatch, it really just sums up the card.
The other bouts on the card see Jerron Talaman (2-4, 2) taking on Edsil Jungco (0-4-4); Joel Taduran (2-0) facing JR Florendo (2-1); Jayson Nicart (1-2, 1) fighting Junar Adante (0-0-1); Antonio Melencion (0-3-1) against Raymark Calumpad (0-5-1) and the debuting Darly Gamboa (0-0) fighting Fidel Cuyno (0-2). See, pretty hard to get excited about any of these, especially considering the other bouts on the same day.
Venetian Casino & Resort, Macao, Macao S.A.R., China
flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada SC Milan Melindo 12 (double world title)
featherweight Evgeny Gradovich SC Mauricio Javier Munoz 12 (World title)
super bantamweight Genesis Servania SC Konosuke Tomiyama 10
heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr SC Joe Hanks 10 (none Asian, BUT, on Asian soil)
super featherweight Paul Fleming SC Chaiyong Sithsaithong 8
flyweight Zou Shiming SC Jesus Ortega 6
super flyweight Rex Tso SC Rusalee Samor 6
super bantamweight Dave Penalosa SC Wisaruth Wor Khunkhiri 4
Barangay San Dionisio, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
featherweight Bernabe Concepcion SC Richard Betos 10
super flyweight Jaymart Toyco SC Jeffrey Cerna 10
minimumweight Ronelle Ferreras SC Michael Landero 10
super bantamweight Virgil Puton SC Prell Tupaz 10
super bantamweight Eden Sonsona SC Daniel Ferreras 10
featherweight Bebong Manalo SC Eljohn Evangelista 6
bantamweight Larry Abarra SC Zoren Pama 6
light flyweight Reymon Dayham SC JC Francisco 6
flyweight Jhon Rey de Asis SC Rowel Rosia 6
minimumweight Jessebelle Pagaduan SC Carleans Rivas 6x2
super flyweight Eric Pansa SC Allan Refuela 4
Makati Cinema Square Boxing Arena, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
super featherweight Gabriel Royo SC Junard Postrano 10
bantamweight Lolito Sonsona SC Zoren Pama 6
super featherweight Jerron Talaman SC Edsil Jungco 6
minimumweight Joel Taduran SC JR Florendo 6
featherweight Jayson Nicart SC Junar Adante 4
light flyweight Antonio Melencion SC Raymark Calumpad 4
flyweight Darly Gamboa SC Fidel Cuyno 4
Ahmed Samir SC Elvin Sanchez (USA)
lightweight Omar Figueroa SC Nihito Arakawa (int. world. title)
Whilst it's fair to say that tomorrow (May 4th) will see every boxing fan watching major bouts from Europe (Wladimir Klitschko v Francesco Pianeta) and America (Floyd Mayweather Jr v Robert Guerrero and Abner Mares v Daniel Ponce De Leon) today is about fights in Asia.
Not only do we see a Japanese fighter attempting to make history but we also see 2 former world champions in action as they attempts to make their way back to the top in what promises to be an excellent day of fights in Thailand.
The highlight appears to be in Si Sa Ket with a card headlined by WBC Super Flyweight champion Yota Sato (26-2-1, 12) defending his belt against the thunderously powerful Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (18-3-1, 17). This bout will not only be the 3rd defense of the title by Sato but also holds an historic value, is Sato wins he'll be the first ever defending world champion to win a title defense in Thailand. This bout, in full, has been previewed here.
On the same card as the Sato bout there is also action from former champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (20-5-1, 10) the man that Sato beat for the title last year. Suriyan will be expected to score his 6th victory since his loss to Sato when he steps in to the ring against Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (11-26-6, 2), who will be fighting for the second time in around a week (after having lost a split decision to Robert Udtuhan).
The card will also see the unbeaten Nawaphon Por Chokchai (13-0, 10), the younger brother of Suriyan, in action. Nawaphon will be facing Michael Rodriguez (13-36-1, 3) in what appears to be an easy victory. Also on the card are Chaiyong Sithsaithong (29-10-3, 21) who will face Jen Yu Jia (2-4-1, 1) and Yodchanchai Nakornloung Promotion (19-3-0-1, 16) who looks to bounce back after being stopped by Nabuo Nashiro a few weeks ago, he'll be facing debutant Pansak Sor Ratidech (0-0).
Also in Thailand we see the return to the ring of former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-2, 28) who looks for his first victory since losing his title to Paulus Ambunda back in March. Sor Singyu will be facing Filipino Fredirex Rodriguez (11-2-1, 8) for the WBO International Bantamweight title. With Sor Singyu being as good as he is we'd expect him to come out victorious here and perhaps try and force a rematch with Ambunda (and lets be honest, like anyone would dislike that!)
As well as the bouts in Thailand, there is also a low profile card in the Philippines. The main bout here is in the Light Flyweight division as Jomar Fajardo (11-4-1, 5) takes on durable journeyman Ruther del Castillo (8-18-8, 2). The other bouts on the card, feature 3 unbeaten men as Renren Pasignahin (4-0-1, 1), Ian Ligutan (4-0-1, 2) and Lloyd Jardeliza (3-0-2, 2) are in action. Sadly only Pasignahin's opponent is known and he'll be fighting Menard Zaragosa (5-11, 3)
Outside of Asia, Australia again hosts action with Thai pair Kiatchai Singwancha (32-9, 21) and Sapapetch Sor Sakaorat (29-11, 19) both in action. Although both men have solid records they have been brought to Australia as "opponents" for two Aussie fighters who are expected to score relatively easy but yet notable victories. Fingers crossed that the plan backfires!