Some days are massive in boxing and we often hear that. This Saturday is one such day as we have potentially one of the biggest shows in history and several other notable shows around Asia as well as Asian fighters in action around the world.
The most noteworthy action of the day happens in Macau as we get “The Clash in Cotai” a show that some are dubbing “the biggest...ever in Asia” and with good reason due to the expected viewership of the show and the anticipation of the main event. In fact the show as whole has the potential to touch almost every part of Asia in one way or another.
The headline bout sees Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38) returning to the ring for the first time since being knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez back in December 2012. Pacquiao, fighting in Asia for the first time since 2006, will be taking on the always fun to watch American Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23) in a bout that has “all action” written all over it. Unfortunately the fight is already being marred by the actions of both camps but it's certainly a fight that has piqued the interest of boxing fans around the world.
Whilst the Pacquiao/Rios bout is the head-liner it's not a world title fight, just a WBO international title fight, in fact rather staggeringly the only world title fight on the show sees Russian Evgeny Gradovich (17-0, 8) in action. The IBF Featherweight champion will be looking to make the second defence of his title as he takes on Australian Billy Dib (36-2-0-1, 21) for the second time. This promises to be just as heated as the main event.
Whilst the shows sole Heavyweight clash, Andy Ruiz Jr (20-0, 14) against Tor Hamer (21-2,14) doesn't feature an Asian is an interesting bout in a division that is not really one that has seen an Asian impact, despite the recent rise of Kyotaro Fujimoto in the local area.
With the show being in Macau it's fair to say we expect Chinese fighters on the card and that's exactly what we get. Not only do we have the promising IK Yang (13-0-0-1, 9) fighting Indonesian Hero Tito (7-2, 3) but also 2-time Olympic gold medal winner Zou Shiming (2-0) who battles the unbeaten Juan Tozcano (4-0, 1). Shiming may not be the future star Bob Arum was hoping for but he certainly helped Top Rank set off on this interesting Macau journey and Yang certainly looks like a fighter that can draw fans.
As well as Shiming and Yang there is a third Chinese native on the show, You-Jie Zeng (4-4, 4). Zeng however won't be the favoured fighter here as he faces Macau's very own Kuok Kun Ng (1-0).
Although Pacquiao and Shiming are big draws Top Rank have tried to squeeze even more on the card and have also included Hong Kong's Rex Tso (10-0, 6) who fights on his second successive Macau card. Tso will be hoping to have a more impressive performance this time out as he takes on limited Thai Susu Sithjadaeng (7-3, 2). In fact the two Thai's on the show appear to have been brought in to lose with the other being Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-1, 1) who takes on Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo (8-0, 6) in what is a genuine mismatch.
It's worth nothing that Pacquiao isn't the only Filipino on the show, in fact two of his countrymen are scheduled to be on the show. One of those, Harmonito Dela Torre (10-0, 5), is expected to win as he battles the limited but experienced Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (15-11-1, 11). The other, Dan Nazareno Jr (17-10, 13), is expected to lose as he battles once beaten Brit Liam Vaughan (8-1, 2).
In fact the only parts of the boxing community of Asia not represented are Japan, South Korea and some of the Western Asian countries. Not bad for one show.
Although no Japanese fighter is on the Macau show they aren't totally missing out as Japan has it's own show in the Sunpia Hall, Kochi.
The Japanese show begins with Takuya Sugiyama (1-1) in action against Go Mitaka (0-3) in a Super Flyweight contest. This bout is one of five scheduled for the 4 round distance and will be followed by a contest involving Kenjiro Shibata (0-1) against an opponent we've struggled to name.
In the shows third bout Kazuma Uemura (1-1) will be in action, though again we've struggled to track down the other fighter in the contest. The penultimate 4 rounder will see Takaaki Kitagawa (1-2) up against Koji Okubo (1-1-1), we believe.
The final of the 4 rounders will see Takuya Yamamoto (3-7, 2) facing Hiroshi Okano (1-9) who ends a 20 month break from the ring for this contest. Following this final 4 rounder we get two bouts scheduled for 6. Unfortunately we've struggled to find the names of those four men.
In the main event Shota Yamaguchi (10-1, 7) will be looking for his biggest win to date as he fights Filipino Raymond Sermona (15-3-5, 8) in what looks like an excellent 8 rounder.
It's not just Japan and Macau hosting shows, in fact we have a solid looking show in the Philippines as ALA promotions put on a show in Misamis Oriental.
This Filipino show is expected to open up with the debut of Junjie Codella (0-0) who is set to face Freddie Bisande (0-0-2). This is thought to be one of three bouts scheduled for 4 rounds alongside a contest between Junel Lacar (2-0-1) and Paulo Perono (2-1, 2) and one between Lito Dante (6-3-3, 3) and Jovel Romasasa (10-11, 4).
In, what we expect to be a 6 rounder, Albert Villacampa (15-6-1, 3) will be fighting Roger Echavez (7-10-1, 4) before we get the first really interesting bout as the hotly tipped prospect Vic Saludar (2-0, 2) faces Powell Balaba (7-9-1, 4). Although Balaba isn't seen as a great fighter he should prove to be a good test for Saludar who many are tipping as one of the new generation of Filipino stars. The main event here sees Jimmy Paypa (14-2, 4) fighting Jovill Marayan (8-14-3, 3) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Paypa.
As well as the fights in Asia, it's also worth noting the fights outside of Asia.
In Germany we get several interesting contests.
The main event on the Germany show sees Russian Cruiser Alexander Alekseev (24-2-1, 20) fighting for the IBF Cruiserweight title against world champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (27-1, 13). Although we think Hernandez has to be the favourite it's fair to say that Alekseev has the skills and ability to beat anyone in the the division. Unfortunately however Alekseev will need to make the absolute most of those skills if he's to win this one.
The same card will also see Denis Boytsov (33-0, 26) fighting Australian Alex Leapai (29-4-3, 24) for the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title. The strong rumour coming from Germany is that if Boytsov wins here he'll be granted the next shot at Wladimir Klitschko some time in early 2014. Also on this card is a contest between Light Heavyweights as Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky (20-2, 15) battles Eduard Gutknecht (25-2, 9). A win here should see Sukhotsky's name being thrown in to the mix for a world title fight in 2014, though beating Gutknecht is far from a given.
These will also see Jose Maxian (9-2, 7) will be in action in Mexico. The Filipino youngster will be hoping to claim the WBC FECARBOX Super Featherweight title though is genuinely up against it as he fights the destructive Adrian Estrella (14-0, 14).
With the week starting on a high with the action on Tuesday it feels a bit strange to need to wait until Friday for any sort of action, though that's what we've had to do this week. Thankfully after a couple of quiet days the action really does get immediately back under swing with decent cards in both Thailand and the Philippines.
We'll start by looking at the Thai card which will be televised by Thai Channel 7.
The main event in Thailand sees former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (28-5-1, 11) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title against Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (11-26-6, 2). This looks like a mismatch but Berwela does have the potential to give Suriyan a genuinely tough contest.
Although their is a former world title holder in the main event there is also a current world champion on the card with Suriyan's stablemate Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (20-3-1, 19), the current WBC Super Flyweight champion, fighting in a none title bout. Srisaket will, like Suriyan, be fighting a tough Filipino journeyman in the form of Roque Lauro (9-15-4, 2), a fighter who has been stopped just twice.
As was as Suriyan's sablemate being on the card, so to is his brother Nawaphon Por Chokchai (16-0, 11). Nawaphon will be facing the very limited Phalangchai Sithsaithong (0-1) in what appears to be little more than a record padding bout for the very promising Nawaphon.
The remaining bouts on the show see Yodchanchai Nakornloung Promotion (22-3, 17) taking on Phissanuthep Chaiyonggym (3-10-1, 2) and the unbeaten Kongfah Nakornluang (5-0, 2) taking on the debuting Manachai Sor Ratidech (0-0).
Over in the Philippines ARCI Boxing Promotion appear to put on an excellently deep card.
The show is expected to kick off with the debuting Jim Claude Manangquil (0-0) taking on Romnick Dejano (2-6, 1) and fellow debutant Daffy Dempo (0-0) battling Valeriano Gabriel (1-3) in the two bouts scheduled for 4 rounds.
The sole 6 round bout on the show sees Menard Abila (3-1, 1) takes on Mabert Paulino (2-15) before a series of 3 bouts scheduled over the 8 round distance,. These 8 round bouts will see Zoren Pama (4-7-3, 2) facing Raymond Empic (2-2, 1), JC Francisco (3-6-1) battling Sherwin McDo Lungay (7-23-2) and Renerio Arizala (6-0-1, 3) fighting Rey Morano (8-36-1, 1).
The reamining 6 bouts on the show are all scheduled for 10 rounds.
These first of the 10 rounders will see Renren Tesorio (11-3-3, 3) battling Ricky Oyan (4-17-2, 2), Rennel Flechero (9-4-1, 5) fighting Jeson Berwela (4-14, 2) and Felipe Cagubcob Jr (1-0-3) fighting Rowel Rosia (4-2, 2).
In a much more interesting contest former world title challenger Jether Oliva (18-1-2, 10) takes on Rissan Muelas (6-5, 4). This looks like a mismatch but Oliva did suffer an unexpected draw last time out to Lester John Pronco and will know that a lot is riding on this contest.
On paper the second most noteworthy contest sees the unbeaten Renren Pasignahin (5-0-1, 1) taking on the experienced Richard Garcia (24-16-1, 6). This is far from an easy assignment for Pasignahin though he'll be aware that a win will see him really moving up the domestic rankings and possibly moving into a national title fight.
Talking about national title fights the main event is actually one such fight as the very promising Harmonito Dela Torre (9-0, 5) fights for the vacant Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Super Featherweight title. Dela Torre, a fighter who does appear to be one of those hidden Filipino gems will be facing off against the much more experienced Richard Olisa (23-21-2, 12).
Although Olisa is 1-10 in his last 11 bouts those losses have generally come to solid fighters such as Roberto Gonzales, Bernabe Concepcion, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and Marlon Tapales, so he's certainly not a shot fighter just a very hard matched on.
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).