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).
Although Friday's schedule was a bit thin it appears that things are a bit better on Saturday with a solid (though unspectacular) card at the Korakuen Hall as well as a deep card in Metro Manila, Philippines and numerous fighters fighting internationally.
The card in Japan features 7 bouts though it's only really the main event that has any sort of a "name" draw as former world title contender Ryo Akaho (19-1-2, 12) fights for the first time since losing to Yota Sato in December. Akaho is veing given what appears to be a confidence builder as he takes on Filipino journeyman Elmar Francisco (16-18-2, 4) who is without a victory in 5 bouts.
As well as Akaho, the card features former 2-time Japanese national champion Daisuke Nakagawa (20-3-2, 15) who faces Indonesian Elvin Marbun (14-10-2, 6). Like Akaho, it appears that Nakagawa is being given an easy bout to build his confidence as he looks for another notable fight.
The Nakagawa bout is one of 5 bouts on the card scheduled for 8 rounds with Junki Sasaki (11-1, 5) facing Ryosei Arai (11-3-1, 3) in probably the most well matched bout of the show. The 21 year old Sasaki is tipped. by some to be a future champion though will need to come through a tough test here.
The reaming 3 bouts for the 8 round distance lack any real drawing factor with Toru Shiba (14-7-1, 11) facing Yuto Shimizu (6-2-2, 1), Kenichi Ogata (5-4, 3) fighting Shunsuke Sato (7-14-2, 4) and Musashi Suzuki (8-1, 3) facing Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-2-3, 3).
In a solitary 4 round bout Kazuya Seki (3-3, 1) takes on the unbeaten teenager Gaku Aikawa (1-0). It's a well matched bout though with Aikawa having been out of the ring for around 11 months it's hard to really know what the 19 year old wants from the sport.
In the Philippines a stacked 12 bout card is scheduled. The headline bout sees Juan Purisima (10-3-1, 3) facing Renren Tesorio (11-2-3, 3) in a battle over the Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Flyweight title. This is a bout that is likely to go the distance and yet it's also likely to have drama with both men being well matched on paper.
It's fair to say that the main event is by far the best bout on the card, though with several unbeaten prospects also on the show the card does have plenty to be excited about. Of those prospects it's hard not to be excited about Menard Avial (2-0), Daryl Basadre (9-0-1, 6) and Renerio Arizala (5-0, 3) though all 3 are being matched against limited opponents here.
Sadly much of the card does appear, at least on paper to be mismatches with bouts like Michael Dasmarinas (11-1, 7) against Rolando Niones (4-12-1, 2), Andrian Camique (4-0-1, 2) against Sherwin McDo Lungay (7-22-2) and Jerry Nardo (16-2, 7) against Jonel Borbon (1-8-1, 1).
Despite the apparent mismatches on the card there are several well matched 4 rounders with Jay-Ar Diama (0-0-2) fighting Rodel Garde (0-4), Fidel Cuyno (0-1) facing Juanito Hundante (0-1), Rowel Rosia (2-2, 1) taking on Honesto Luha (0-1) and Roderick Naduma (0-1) taking on debutant Miko Sacro (0-0).
In international action Filipino youngster Gabriel Altarejos (12-1-1, 4) tries to score the biggest win of his career as he travels to Mexico to face former multi-weight world champion Hugo Fidel Cazares (38-7-2, 26). With the WBC International Silver Super Bantamweight title on the line a win would help put Altarejos on to the world stage, but he will be going in as a big under-dog against an excellent fighter.
Also in Mexico is Thai Rusalee Samor (20-4-2, 9) who faces David Sanchez (20-2-2, 15) in a bout for the interim WBC Silver Super Flyweight title. This looks to be an excellent contender on paper and could go either way, though Sanchez has to be the slight favour.
In the US Sri Lankan Nuwan Jayakody (1-0, 1) looks to score his second professional victory as he takes on Anthony Burgin (3-0, 1). This is awell matched bout and a win for Jayakody could help him put Sri Lanka on the boxing map.