Right now it seems like every weekend is a busy one in boxing and this weekend is no different with notable cards from Japan, the Philippines and Azerbaijan as well as a Kazakhstan fighter defending a world title in the US.
Of the shows we have, we'll begin with the Japanese show which is going to be at the Azalea Taisho Hall in Osaka. This show is going to predominantly feature female fighters with 5 of the 7 bouts on the card being female bouts, including the main event.
The begins with a female bout as Kitawaki Emi (2-4-1, 1) fights Misaki Hirooka (2-2). This bout has "distance fight" written on it if you ask us, though hopefully it will prove to be competitive.
Following the opening bout we then get the 2 male bouts back-to-back. The first will see Yuto Kawanaka (0-0) making his professional debut against Takahiro Morishita (0-2-1) before Seita Mochizuki (2-4) battles Tomonori Ota (1-1). We'll admit these male bouts are uninspiring but the card is really all about the women.
In the sole 6 round fight of the show we expect to see veteran Nao Ikeyama (12-3-1, 4) fighting against novice Mika Iwakawa (3-1-1, 1) before we move on to the 8 round bouts which will see Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (3-1-1, 2) fighting an unrecognised Thai opponent and Tamao Ozawa (5-1, 2) fighting Tanyakorn Sor Thammajak (0-3).
The main event here sees Mari Ando (10-6, 5) taking on Jasseth Noriega (16-2-1, 5) in a battle for the currently vacant WBC female Minimumweight title. The belt was vacated earlier this year by Naoko Fujioka who subsequently went up to Super Flyweight and claimed the WBC title at 115 lbs. We favour Ando here but do admit that the bout will not be easy for her.
Staying on the world title theme this weekend sees the return to the ring of Beibut Shumenov (13-1, 8) who looks to make the first defense of his WBA Light Heavyweight super title. Shumenov, who was recently upgraded to "super champion", will be fighting for the first time in 18 months as he takes on the unbeaten Tamas Kovacs (23-0, 14). On paper this is a good fight but in reality Kovacs should post no threat to Shumenov's title.
For those wanting to watch Shumenov v Kovacs it should be part of the Showtime telecast in the US.
In the Philippines we get 2 cards, as mentioned above. Of these the better show looks to be the one at the Agoncillo Complex which is co-promoted by Saved by the Bell Promotions and Brunsmick Boxing Promotions.
The headline of this card sees the unbeaten Jun Doliguez (17-0-2, 13), fresh off the back of his US debut, taking on Thailand's Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (12-3, 3). This looks, at least on paper, to be a chance for Doliguez to put on an eye catching performance more than anything else.
Doliguez isn't the only promising unbeaten fighter in action on this show as JR Magboo (12-0-2, 5) fights Danilo Pena (26-16-3, 11) and Val Falcunaya (8-0, 6) takes on the very testing Rey Perez (17-4, 3). Magboo should be favoured heavily against Pena but Falcunaya is in for a very tough test.
The other notable bouts on this show,all scheduled for 10 rounds, will see Roberto Gonzales (22-2, 13) taking on tough journeyman Jonel Alibio (16-17-4, 8), the hard hitting Al Rivera (7-1, 6) fighting against Ronald Postrano (7-17-2, 3), Benezer Alolod (12-5-4, 2) fighting Jayson Rotoni (13-12-1, 7), Gabriel Royo (9-7-2, 8) fighting against Desson Cag-ong (13-9, 7) and, finally, Jetro Pabustan (21-1-5, 6) battling against Michael Escobia (10-5-1, 2).
The card's only other bout will see JC Francisco (5-6-1, 1) fighting against Dexter Dimaculangan (3-3-3, 1) in a scheduled 8 round affair.
The second Filipino card, the lesser if you will, begins with a trio of 4 rounders as JK Elorde (1-0, 1) fights the debuting Rolly De Tomas (0-0), Charlie Gabriel (0-3) faces debutant Raymond Yalong (0-0) and Roderick Flores (1-0, 1) look to defeat another debutant in the form of CJ De Tomas (0-0).
Following the 4 rounders we move in to 8 round action as the unbeaten Jeffrey Francisco (7-0-1) takes on Junjie Lauza (4-9-1, 1) and fellow unbeaten fighter Giemel Magramo (7-0, 4) fights journeyman Roy Albaera (2-20-5).
The bulk of this card, as with the other Filipino card, is in the 10 rounders of which we have 4 of. These include a single title fight as Rene Patilano (9-1-2, 5) fights Jomar Fajardo (12-4-1, 5) for the vacant Philippines Luzon Professional Boxing Association (LuzProBA) Light Flyweight title.
In the most 1-sided of the 10 rounders we're expecting to see the highly experienced Dennis Laurente (45-5-5, 26) taking on Thailand's Khomkaew Sithsaithong (6-2, 5). We say this is the biggets mismatch but we don't expect the bouts between Jonathan Taconing (16-2-1, 13) and Namphol Sithsaithong (4-5, 4) or Juan Miguel Elorde (13-1, 5) and Ngaotawan Sithsaithong (10-11-1, 5) to be competitive either.
One of the most intriguing cards of the day takes place on the European-Asian border as we get action in Azerbaijan. This card, which features a very interesting double title fight between Welterweights Fariz Mamedov (14-1-1, 8) and the unbeaten Matthias Pelk (20-0, 11) is a bit of an odd one. For example this fight in particular will see the men fighting for the WBO European and the IBF East/West Europe titles, two titles that we don't really understand.
As well as the double title bout we also get a trio of Heavyweight bouts. The most interesting of these will see veteran Timo Hoffmann (40-9-2-1, 23) fighting against Steffen Kretschmann (16-2-0-1, 15) for the second time. The men, who first fought in 2012 saw their initial encounter called off in the 6th round due rain. We kid you not this is a rematch of a rain effected no contest.
The second most interesting Heavyweight contest will see Roman Golovashchenko (12-1, 10) fighting against Yakup Saglam (31-3, 28). Although Saglam has got an attractive record is very much a paper one and an upset would be far from a shock. The remaining Heavyweight clash is expected to see Elchin Ahmadov (0-0) make his debut against Janis Ginters (4-5, 4).
In the remaining bouts on the card the hard hitting Rashad Karimov (26-2, 23) will fight Miguel Velozo (16-1-2, 5) and Middleweight prospect Vusal Aliyev (12-0, 5) will fight Armand Cullhaj (15-3-3, 9).
For fans wanting to watch the Azerbaijan card we've been lead to believe that Eurosport will be televising portions of it including Hoffman/Kretschmann II.
The final bout of note will see the unbeaten Anton Novikov (27-0-0-1, 10) attempting to pick up a win a win in Puerto Rico as he battles Manuel Perez (20-9-1, 4). Perez has lost 2 of his last 4 and in all honesty Novikov should have the talent to make that 3 losses in 5 for the American.
Although Japanese boxing fans have already had 3 cards this week it's fair to say they all pale in significance compared to the fourth show of the week as we get the final of the "Strongest Korakuen" with 4 genuinely interesting contests, despite the fact we were, originally meant to have 5 bouts.
The show will begin in the Light Flyweight division, one of the most interesting divisions in Japan. The bout at 108lbs will see Toshimasa Ouchi (16-6-3, 4) in action against the more experienced Kenichi Horikawa (24-12-1, 4) in an excellent match up. Not only have both men made their way to the final of the tournament but both are highly ranked in both Japan and the OPBF with Ouchi being #2 Japanese and #8 OPBF whilst Horikawa is #3 Japanese and #11 OPBF. Genuienly fantastic opening bout.
After the brilliant opening bout we get a very interesting second bout as the once highly touted Yohei Tobe (6-1-1, 3) fights Yoshihito Ishizaki (8-5-1, 4). Although Ishizaki's record is less than impressive he has mixed in good company pushing both Yota Sato and Ryo Akaho very close in losing efforts and he may may well spring a surprise here. Saying that however this is the #1 and #5 in Japan meeting, so no result really is a surprise despite the vastly differing records.
In the third bout we get the 2-time title challenger, and former interim Super Bantamweight champion Mikihito Seto (34-10-2, 18) taking on recent title challenger Takafumi Nakajima (21-6-1, 8) a man many feel should be holding the title right now. Both men have come extremely close to being crowned the Japanese Super Bantamweight champion and the winner here will feel confident in claiming the title.
The fourth and final bout on the show takes place at Super Featherweight as the unbeaten Rikki Naito (7-0, 4) fights Keiichi Izumi (13-5, 4). For Izumi, the #2 ranked Japanese and #6 ranked OPBF fighter this is a chance to finally get a title fight, for the fast rising Naito however this is just the next step as he looks forward to bigger and better fights.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, there was supposed to be a fifth contest on this show. This was supposed to be between Sanosuke Sasaki (11-3, 5) and Yoshihisa Tonimura (16-8-4, 4) though it's now off. Instead Tonimura will get a second fight Tadashi Yuba in November, following a controversial victory for Yuba in February.
Outside of the Japanese card there is a card in the Philippines as Jaro Promotion International put on an 11 fight show in Ynares Plaza Gymnasium.
This Jaro card is expected to kick off with 5 bouts scheduled for 4 rounds. These will included 3 all debutant contests as Dino Bulahan (0-0) takes on Lorence Rosas (0-0), Rodney Ramirez (0-0) fights Michael Bravo (0-0) and Joel Tamano (0-0) battles Edward Toreon (0-0). The three all debutant contests are joined by two other 4 round contests as Niero Saldon (0-0) takes on novice Ernie Mino Jr (0-1) and Rolando Sadsad (0-1-1) fights Valeriano Gabriel (1-3). Unfortunately it's hard to get excited about any of these 5 contests.
As well as the 4 round bouts there is a couple of 6 rounders with Regan Delos Santos (2-1, 2) fighting fellow once beaten fight Menard Abila (3-1-1, 1) in one of the contests whilst journeymen collide in the other with Marvin DelaCruz (8-12-2, 5) fighting "career loser" Mabert Paulino (2-15).
In the sole 8 round bout Benjie Suganob (6-1-1, 2) looks for his fifth straight victory as he battled the some what fragile Marco Niones (3-9, 1) who has himself been stopped 7 times. This will be followed by a 10 rounder between Boy Dondee Pumar (9-5-3, 3) and Dino Lelis (10-10-2, 5).
The remaining bouts on the Filipino card are both regional title bouts as Lionel Legada (10-5-1, 5) faces Lionel Mark Duran (10-8-2, 4) in a battle for the vacant WBC Asia Council Continental Flyweight title. This will see LEgada looking for his second victory in five contests whilst Duran will be looking for his second win in seven bouts. The other title bout sees Jomar Fajardo (12-4-1, 5) looking to claim the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title as he fights Robel Villegas (9-7, 3), a man who was stopped last time out.
We get a third Asian card as we have action in Moskovsky, Russia with a 7 bout card.
This Russian card is mostly a card full of novices with only a single bout scheduled for more than 6 rounds.
In 4 round action we have 4 bouts, these include a sole female bout as debutants collide with Viktoriya Aleksandrova (0-0) fighting Nadezhda Khaenok (0-0) this is one of two all debutant bouts with Georgy Abramyan (0-0) fighting the fanastically named Ivan Ivanov (0-0).
The remaining 4 round bouts see Gor Arutyunyan (0-0), another debutant, battling Oleg Korobko (2-1-1) and the unbeaten Alexander Kubich (3-0, 1) fighting the winless Andrey Ishmukhametov (0-1).
As well as the 4 round contests we have a pair of 6 rounders with the unbeaten Igor Ivanov (6-0, 1) taking on the debuting Sherzod Abdurakhimov (0-0) in a Welterweight contest and novice Murad Dalkhaev (3-0, 2) fighting Ruslan Semenov (3-25-1, 2) in what appears to be the toughest test so far for Dalkhaev.
In the show's main event the unbeaten Arif Magomedov (6-0, 4) will take on the experienced Marat Khuzeev (20-6-1, 8) in a battle for the Russian Middleweight title. Although unbeaten Magomedov is unlikely to go much further than a Russian title however a victory here may help him move up to the next level.
Ourside of Asia we get two very interesting contests. In Germany, the Lebanese born Syrian Manuel Charr (24-1, 14), who is now based in Germany, battles Kazakhstan born Russian Denis Bakhtov (36-8, 24) in a bout with numerous title one the line.
The other international contest is the biggest contest in world boxing this weekend as Ruslan Provodnikov (25-2, 15), the "Siberian Rocky", looks to claim the interim WBO Light Welterweight as he takes on American Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23). This fight promises to be something very special with a FOTY type of bout being widely expected and we'd be very shocked by anything but a war in the ring.
Whilst it's fair to say that tomorrow (May 4th) will see every boxing fan watching major bouts from Europe (Wladimir Klitschko v Francesco Pianeta) and America (Floyd Mayweather Jr v Robert Guerrero and Abner Mares v Daniel Ponce De Leon) today is about fights in Asia.
Not only do we see a Japanese fighter attempting to make history but we also see 2 former world champions in action as they attempts to make their way back to the top in what promises to be an excellent day of fights in Thailand.
The highlight appears to be in Si Sa Ket with a card headlined by WBC Super Flyweight champion Yota Sato (26-2-1, 12) defending his belt against the thunderously powerful Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (18-3-1, 17). This bout will not only be the 3rd defense of the title by Sato but also holds an historic value, is Sato wins he'll be the first ever defending world champion to win a title defense in Thailand. This bout, in full, has been previewed here.
On the same card as the Sato bout there is also action from former champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (20-5-1, 10) the man that Sato beat for the title last year. Suriyan will be expected to score his 6th victory since his loss to Sato when he steps in to the ring against Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (11-26-6, 2), who will be fighting for the second time in around a week (after having lost a split decision to Robert Udtuhan).
The card will also see the unbeaten Nawaphon Por Chokchai (13-0, 10), the younger brother of Suriyan, in action. Nawaphon will be facing Michael Rodriguez (13-36-1, 3) in what appears to be an easy victory. Also on the card are Chaiyong Sithsaithong (29-10-3, 21) who will face Jen Yu Jia (2-4-1, 1) and Yodchanchai Nakornloung Promotion (19-3-0-1, 16) who looks to bounce back after being stopped by Nabuo Nashiro a few weeks ago, he'll be facing debutant Pansak Sor Ratidech (0-0).
Also in Thailand we see the return to the ring of former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-2, 28) who looks for his first victory since losing his title to Paulus Ambunda back in March. Sor Singyu will be facing Filipino Fredirex Rodriguez (11-2-1, 8) for the WBO International Bantamweight title. With Sor Singyu being as good as he is we'd expect him to come out victorious here and perhaps try and force a rematch with Ambunda (and lets be honest, like anyone would dislike that!)
As well as the bouts in Thailand, there is also a low profile card in the Philippines. The main bout here is in the Light Flyweight division as Jomar Fajardo (11-4-1, 5) takes on durable journeyman Ruther del Castillo (8-18-8, 2). The other bouts on the card, feature 3 unbeaten men as Renren Pasignahin (4-0-1, 1), Ian Ligutan (4-0-1, 2) and Lloyd Jardeliza (3-0-2, 2) are in action. Sadly only Pasignahin's opponent is known and he'll be fighting Menard Zaragosa (5-11, 3)
Outside of Asia, Australia again hosts action with Thai pair Kiatchai Singwancha (32-9, 21) and Sapapetch Sor Sakaorat (29-11, 19) both in action. Although both men have solid records they have been brought to Australia as "opponents" for two Aussie fighters who are expected to score relatively easy but yet notable victories. Fingers crossed that the plan backfires!