To end the wonderful month of September (a month in which our team has all been struck down with the flu!) there are two cards. One is a domestic show in the Philippines whilst the second is a much more interest card in Japan full of international action, including Filipinos.
With the Japanese card, dubbed "Fil-Japan Vol. III", it seems an obvious starting point for the day.
We expect the Japanese card to kick off with the debut of Middleweight Jermaine Adrian Pritchett (0-0) who faces southpaw Yuichi Sakuta (1-1), this bout is followed by Naoaki Kumagai (0-1) facing the card's second debutant Kenta Hirata (0-0). For those wondering Kumagai isn't the the woman made famous in the movie "Jackass", that's Naoko Kumagai, who we will admit we were confused by originally.
Talking about female fighters the third fight on the show is the first of 2 bouts featuring females as Japanese based Filipino Honey Mae Bermoy AKA Honey Katsumata (4-2, 4) battles Japan's unbeaten Saki Yamada (6-0-1, 2) in a fight that sees Yamada risking her high OPBF ranking agains a serious puncher.
The show's fourth bout sees another Japanese based Filipino in action as Jovylito Aligarbes, AKA Jovy Katsumata (8-2, 3) battles against the more experienced Monico Laurente (23-8, 5), who himself is from the Philippines. Of the two men involved here it's fair to say that Laurente has been in with the tougher competition including Tomoki Kameda, Pungluang Sor Singyu, Malcolm Tunacao and Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat though with Katsumata being the promoters fighter we may see an upset here.
In the show's fifth bout we get a really interesting contest as Yuki Chinen (13-1, 6), a recent Japanese national title challenger, battles Filipino veteran Ryan Bito (22-11-3, 8). Unfortunately with Bito losing 3 of his last 4, including a decision to the then unbeaten Yohei Tobe, this bout has lost some of it's shine though should still be a good test for Chinen who will be wanting to get back on to the winning trail.
The second female bout on the card sees the hugely popular Tomomi Takano (2-0, 1), a former model-turn-boxer, in action against a Filipino debutant. Although we're no certain we are lead to believe that Takano will be fighting a woman called Jiperin Derima (0-0). The Takano bout is seen as the chief support due to her immense popularity, which we've got to admit is an amazing accomplishment for such a novice, though her looks do admittedly get her a lot of attention.
The main event on this card is a simply excellen match up that pits the unbeaten Masayuki Ito (11-0-1, 3) with once beaten Filipino Jeffrey Arienza (9-1-1, 4) in a battle over the WBC Youth Lightweight title. Although Arienza was unexpectedly stopped last time out by Leonardo Doronio it's fair to say Ito probably doesn't have the same power as Doronio.
The Filipino card, held at the Siquijor Capital Square is expected to feature 6 bouts beginning with action kicking off with a 6 round affair between Bryan Samson (3-3, 1) and Darius Elorde (1-1, 1).
Following the opener we expect a trio of bouts scheduled for 8. The most notable of these 8 rounders sees the the promising Neil John Tabanao (4-0, 3) battling the much more experienced Elmar Francisco (16-19-2, 4) in a bout that really could test the 19 year Tabanao who has never been beyond 6. Tabanao is one of two prospects in these 8 round contests with 20 year old Joey Canoy (3-0, 2) fighting Jherald Tuyor (2-14, 1) in the other.
The only 8 rounder not featuring a prospect sees modern day "Cinderella Man" Gerpaul Valero (15-14-3, 10) looking for his 15th victory in 16 bouts as he takes on Jomar Ministerio (5-5-1, 2). This is, in all honesty, an easier fight than Valero's previous bout which saw him upsetting Sonny Boy Jaro back in August.
In co-main events, both scheduled for 10 rounds, we get more prospects in action as the unbeaten Ardie Boyosi (7-0-1, 4) battles Jessie Tuyor (6-11-4, 3) and Rajah Renoel Pael (11-0-1, 4) fights Raul Pusta Jr (8-2-2, 2). The Boyosi/Tuyor looks a relatively one sided one on paper theough the Pael/Pusta bout could well be the most competitive bout of the day.
What a day today promises to be for Filipino fans who not only have interest at home with 2 domestic cards but should also be looking to the west with 2 of their fighters fighting on foreign soil.
Of course the highest profile bout for an Asian today is Nonito Donaire (31-1, 20) who will be hoping to unify his WBO Super Bantamweight title with the WBA title currently held by Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8). Going in to this bout Donaire is the betting favourite and a victory would likely be his last at 122lbs with the clear intention being to move up to the Featherweight division sooner rather than later.
The 4-weight world champion, known as "The Filipino Flash" may not be as liked as Manny Pacquiao but he's certainly a genuine pound-for-pound fighter and if he can defeat his Cuban opponent then he'll have to be regarded as Asian's premier boxer on any pound-for-pound list. Though of course Donaire will need to beat one of the most amazing amateurs of all time in Rigondeaux and that is of course not a forgone conclusion despite what some fans may suggest.
As well as Donaire's fight in the US Filipino fans should also be aware that Jaderes Padua (8-1-1, 5) also fights abroad as he faces former WBC Super Flyweight champion Tomas Rojas (39-14-1-1, 26) over in Rojas' native Mexico. For Padua this is not only a huge step up in class but will be the 22 year old's first fight outside of his homeland. A win for Padua would not only be a huge upset but also be massive news in the lower divisions.
A bit closer to home for Filipino fans are the 2 cards being held in their country, both in Metro Manila.
Arguably the less interesting of the 2 domestic cards is the one held at the "The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex" which features a scheduled 8 bouts.
Amongst the bouts on this card are 4 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds (Dado Cabintoy (10-3-2, 5) against Jovill Marayan (7-12-3, 3); hot prospect Giovanni Escaner (9-0, 5) against veteran Ryan Tampus (11-10, 8); the unbeaten Jeffrey Arienza (9-0-1, 4) against Leonardo Doronio (10-8-2, 6) and Rene Dacquel (8-0, 1) against Samuel Apuya (7-14-1, 4)).
From the 10 round bouts we're expecting wins from Cabintoy, Escaner, Arienza and Dacquel, though it's fair to say that we think Escaner is in the toughest bout.
In the 4 bouts not scheduled for 10 rounds we will see Andrian Camique (3-0-1, 2) look for his first win of the year as he faces southpaw Lowell Saguisa (7-11, 3) over 8 rounds in what could be a tough bout for Camique. In action over 6 is Cris Alfante (6-1, 1) who faces journeyman Dodoy Alapormina (1-21-1) in what should really be a mismatch despite how tough Alapormina is.
The card also features 2 bouts scheduled for 4 round with debutant Raymond Palusot (0-0) facing Vergel Rivera (0-0-1) and debuting pair JK Elorde (0-0) facing Roy Velarde (0-0) in a Featherweight bout.
The other card, held in Taguig City has 10 scheduled bouts ranging from 4 rounders to a championship bout. The 4 round bouts see 3 debutants in action as Honesto Luha (0-0), Raymond Palusot (0-0) and Ryan Medes (0-0) go up against Menard Avila (1-0), Jonathan Susada (0-0-1) and Jay-Ar Diama (0-0-1).
The card also sees 3 bouts scheduled for 8 as Michael Dasmarinas (10-1, 6) fights against Jerald Cortes (3-6-4, 2), Oliver Gregorio (7-1-1, 4) goes up against Dexter Dimaculangan (3-1-3, 1) and Rennel Flechero (8-3-1, 4) faces Gerry Pateno (3-4-2, 2). None of these bouts seem too interesting in all honesty with it hard to really pick an upset in any of them.
Thankfully he card picks up with it's 10 round bouts which may include 1 stinker but also includes an excellent match up. The stinker is Renren Tesorio (11-2-12, 4) against the very limited Joseph Deimos (2-13-2, 1) who has proven to be a survivor though isn't a fighter who should be able to test Tesorio. Former domestic (GAB) Super Flyweight champion Marvin Mabait (17-1-2, 11) looks to continue his rebuilding as he faces (17-7-1, 11) who comes into this bout following a stoppage loss in Japan to Tomoki Kameda.
The most promising of the 10 round bouts is the hard punching Anthony Marcial (19-1, 18) facing off against the PBF Super Featherweight champion Rene Bestudio (14-4-4, 4). This bout is genuinely exciting and with Macial proving to be a wrecking force could be over very quickly if "Rocky" gets his way.
In the championship bout 26 year old Jay Solmiano (16-2-1, 12) attempts to defend the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title against Indonesian (KTI/IBC) Lightweight champion Wellem Reyk (15-6-3, 4). Whilst Reyk is 0-3 outside of Indonesia he'll know that a win here could see him climbing into the WBO top 15, a major achievement, for Solmiano however he'll be looking to maintain his excellent #12 ranking.