Another weekend begins in the boxing world and again we get a busy one with Asian fighters fighting both at home and around the world.
The most notable card in the Asian boxing world this weekend is a Teiken promotions card from Tokyo which features 7 bouts including 2 very notable ones.
In the main even of the Teiken card former linear and WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-2-1, 10) takes on Mexican veteran, and former world title challenger himself, Omar Soto (23-10-2, 15). The bout, scheduled for 10 rounds, will be Igarashi's first since losing his titles to Akira Yaegashi back in April and although he's stepping up to Super Flyweight it'd be a shock to see anything but a clear win for the former champion.
The co-feature of the card sees former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (27-3-2, 12) face Alejandro Hernandez (25-9-2, 14) as Shimoda loosk to put an unexpected draw to Roli Gasca earlier this year behidn him. Hernandez is a very capable fighter, despite his patchy record, and his most notable losses have come against excellent fighters such as Leo Santa Cruz, Omar Andres Narvaez and Carlos Tamara whilst he also has a draw to Marvin Sonsona.
In the final of arguably a triple header Yasutaka Ishimoto (22-6, 5) takes on the experienced Ignacio "Charly" Valenzuela (20-17-4, 9). Although Ishimoto isn't as much of a name as Shimoda and Igarashi he did send shockwaves through the boxing world earlier this year when he upset Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, he may well only be two or three wins away from a possible world title fight.
From the rest of the card the only really notable bout is one between Masanobu Nakazawa (12-1-1, 4) and Kazutaka Takakuwa (9-6, 2). Although on paper this looks like a clear victory for Nakazawa it does need to be noted that he's been fortunate in several of his recent contests.
The rest of the card sees Yuichi Yokoyama (11-2, 10) fighting Yasumasa Eguchi (6-8-2, 3), Heisuke Ono (2-2-2, 2) battling Hikaru Takaki (3-3, 3) and Yoshinobu Kakinaga (1-0) facing Katsuaki Kinoshita (0-2) in the show's opening bout.
As well as the Japanese card there is two shows in the Philippines, both of which feature some genuinely interesting match ups.
In Cebu, where there's a 7 fight show, we will see a main event between Vergilio Silvano (16-2-1, 10) and Jetly Purisima (17-12-4, 5) with the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title up for grabs. With the records of the two men it's easy to favour Silvano for the victory but Purisima has mixed at a much higher level and will be looking for his biggest win here, a victory that isn't totally out of his grasp.
In the chief support bout we expect to see a return to the ring for former WBO Super Flyweight champion Marvin Sonsona (16-1-1, 13). "Marvelous" Marvin has only fought twice in the last 3 years but at just 23 years old he can certainly get back to the top, well as long as he can sort out his issues out of the ring.
Although Sonsona's opponent is yet to be named we wouldn't expect anyone too tough for him here though hopefuly he'll show commitment to the sport, something that has clearly been lacking recently.
The rest of the card sadly lacks anything too interesting with the unbeaten Jhaleel Payao (5-0, 3) looking to extend his unbeaten record against Roel Garcia (5-10-2, 1). The only other bout worth noting from the undercard sees Jimboy Haya (2-0-1, 2) facing fellow unbeaten novice Jhon Kenan Villaflor (2-0-1, 1).
The remaining bouts on show are Jordan Catubay (4-1-1, 2) battling Junny Salogaol (4-4-4, 4), Jessie Suacasa (2-0, 1) facing Salatiel Amit (1-0, 1) and the debut of Cristian Amante (0-0) who fights Gary Rojo (1-5).
The second Filipino card, taking place in Metro Manila, is headlined by a WBC International Flyweight bout as Renan Trongco (13-4, 8) battles China's Wang Xin Hua (10-8-1). Hua, like many Chinese fighters, is tough and much better than his record indicates so don't expect to see him blown away by Trongco here.
Unfortunately the rest of the card here is weak. We expect the opening fight to be between debutant Ariel Benedict Escayo (0-0) and Arnold Garcia (0-1), before winless pair Jay-Ar Campana (0-1) and Kenjie Watanabe (0-1) meet in a "somebody's 0 has got to go" bout.
The first of the cards 6 round bouts is expected to be a rather mismatched bout between Just Bornilla (4-1, 1) and Edsil Jungco (0-4-4) before the second 6 round bout which pitches Warren Mambuanag (6-2-2, 3) and Roldan Aldea (3-1-1, 2) together.
The 8 round bouts on the show see Vergel Rivera (3-0-1) in action, albeit against an opponent that we aren't certain about, Lloyd Jardeliza (3-0-3, 2) facing Arjet Caballes (6-27-5, 3) and Cirilo Espino (18-12-3, 11) up against Jomar Borbon (3-14-2, 1).
In the chief support bout the hard hitting Gabriel Royo (8-7-2, 7) takes on the limited Samuel Apuya (7-15-1, 4).
The final Asian card takes place Kazakhstan. We expect Bakhtiyar Eyubov (3-0, 3) to headline the card which also features debutants Kanat Abdrakhmanov (0-0) and Murat Nurkasymov (0-0). Sadly all 3 men are down to face as yet named opponents.
On the international stage we expect Asian's to be in action in Australia, Denamrk and Germany.
The Australian card, in Bunbury, sees a trio of Asian with Filipino Allan Tanada (12-2-3, 5) fighting in the main event against Matt Garlett (11-1, 6). This bout will be for the WBC International Super Featherweight title and likely help move the winner to within a few fights of a possible world title bout.
The other other bouts in Australia see Thai's in action with Rachamongkol Sor Pleonchit (14-5, 6) battling former world title challenger Naoufel Ben Rabeh (36-3, 19) and Thongthai Rajanondh (16-14, 4) fighting the debuting Nathaniel May (0-0).
In Denmark the Lebanese born "Baby face" Ahmad Kaddour (26-2-1, 10) faces Aleksei Tsatiasvili (4-4, 2) and Uzbek born Artem Solomko (11-23-1, 4) faces the dangerous Oscar Ahlin (7-0, 7).
The final bout of note sees Rola El Halabi (12-1, 6), also originally from Lebanon, in action against the unbeaten Sopo Putkaradze (6-0-2, 1). This will be El Halabi's first defense of the WBF female Light Welterweight bout and we expect her to get a real hero's welcome to celebrate the turn around of her career after being shot 2 years ago by her step father
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)