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).
Although boxrec currently don't list any action taking place through Asia today we do believe that a card will be shown on Thailand 7. Sadly we no other details about the card we've been left a bit in the dark regarding any actual action in Asia it's self.
Despite a seeming lack in action in Asia there are fights featuring Asians taking place on both sides of the globe.
In Australia Filipino born Rey Anton Olarte (17-22-8, 4) looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2010. The 30 year old "Antonio" faces the unbeaten Michael Zerafa (10-0, 5) in an intriguing bout.
Olarte is joined on the card by fellow Filipino fighter Michael Dan (3-3-1, 1) who faces Ben Capps (4-1-1, 1). Capps, on the back of a 2-fight series with Robert Heppell, doesn't look to be someone great and Dan could be a potential banana skin. And by Thai Saming Chopchai (0-1) who faces Jake Ellis (1-0).
The highest profile bout featuring an Asian fighter however is in the US as the talented IK Yang (12-0-0-1, 8) of China takes on Roger Rosa (5-2-1). Yang has the potential to really increase the interest in Chinese boxing with his fun to watch style which should also appeal to the US audience (in fact is style is more of an American style than one would expect). We're hoping that his bout will be shown (at least partly) on the ESPN "Friday Night Fights" card which is headlined by Andrey Klimov v John Molina.
The most notable action today takes place in the Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka with 2 scheduled 8 rounds currently listed on boxrec as well as the US debut of unbeaten Chinese fighter Yang Lian Hui (11-0-0-1, 7).
Starting with the Osaka card it's actually hard to get excited about either of the bouts. In one of those we have Lightweight Ryo Nakajima (17-5, 10) facing journeyman Kosuke Iwashita (13-14-2, 7). For this bout it's hard to really give Iwashita any sort of a chance especially considering he comes in on the back of 4 straight losses whilst Nakajima enters on a 10 fight winning streak. Whilst Iwashita has faced the better opponents, including Prawet Singwancha and Takehiro Shimada he struggled to win rounds against the high level opponents.
The other fight on the card is a little bit more interesting as Super Bantamweight puncher Kiron Omura (10-2, 8) faces Yuki Kobayashi (6-1, 4). Omura will have to go in to this bout as the favourite but the 23 year old southpaw has been stopped in the past (he was blasted out by Takahiro Yamamoto in 2009) and may still be there to be stopped, he is however on a 3 fight winning streak. The 21 year old Kobayashi is on a 2 fight winning run since being upset by Yuichi Arai in June of last year, though both of his wins since then have come against the limited Masanori Oshima.
At the moment of writing Yang Lian Hui (AKA Ik Yang) hasn't been announced though we'd expect to see him in with a journeyman style opponent as he looks to make a name for himself in the states. The 28 year old Chinese fighter who is currently residing in South Korea is one of the most entertaining fighters in the world with a very fan friendly style which has been compared to American Emanuel Augustus and we'd expect the US audience to take to him very quickly thanks to his charisma and style.
Yang is scheduled to fight on the untelevised portion of ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" though we've our fingers crossed that a few early stoppages will see his bout given some air time as he's a fighter who could be "made for TV".