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.
Although much of the last week, aside from Monday, has been quiet in terms of Asian boxing it's fair to say that it's been a calm before a storm with Saturday being nothing short of a spectacular day for fight fans. Whilst we're obviously biased in favour of Asian boxing it's fair to say that no boxing fan has any right to be disappointed with today.
Just to show how varied today's action is, at least 1 Asian fighter is fighting in Europe, North America, South America, Oceania and of course Asia it's self!
For us the most promising bout takes place in Cancun, Mexico as WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (25-2-2, 19) takes on highly reegarded challenger Sergio Thompson (27-2, 25). It's not often a fight has “fireworks” written all over it but that's exactly what we have here with two big hitting fighters getting together in a bout that honestly has the feel of being something very memorable. If you action hard hitting this is really a bout you must catch.
On the undercard of the Thompson/Miura bout there will also be a contest involving Filipino-American Ana Julaton (12-3-1, 2). The former WBO female Super Bantamweight champion takes on Celina Salazar (4-1-2, 1) of America. Although Salazar has a decent looking record she has won just 1 of her last 4 and Julaton should probably go in to the bout as a small favourite.
Whilst the Miura/Thompson fight is the bout we're looking forward to the most we'll be honest and say it's run closely by the main event of "Red Mist" the WBO Light Heavyweight title contest between Britain's Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12) and Russian challenger Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19). Although Cleverly is the defending champion he is seen as the slight under-dog against the monstrously hard punching yet technically sound Russian who is expected by many to expose Cleverly's limitations at the world level.
Also on Clerverly/Kovalev card is British based Syrian Youssef Al Hamidi (12-56-3, 1) who will be facing the promising Craig Evans (9-0, 3)
Of course it's not just those two major cards with an Asian interest taking place outside of Asia but there's also major international bouts in the US featuring fighters from Asia.
One of those, possibly the most notable, is in Texas as Lightweight contender Denis Shafikov (32-0-1, 17) of Russia, makes his US debut and faces Santos Benavides (23-3-2, 17) in a promising 10 round bout.
It's not only the Lightweight bout in Texas that's worth our attention but also a trio of bouts in Utah. The most interesting of these sees the once beaten Bahodir Mamadjonov (13-1, 9) taking on Rynell Griffin (7-16-2, 2). Mamadjonov, of Uzbekistan, is a very strong fighter who impressed many last time out when he stopped the previously undefeated Cuban Angelo Santana and we're hoping that he'll manage to build up to a world title fight in the next 2 or 3 years as.
On the same card as the Mamadjonov fight we also expect to see Russian youngster Evgeny Chuprakov (5-0, 2) and Light Welterweight prospect Fedor Papazov (12-0, 8) though neither man appear to have an opponent at the moment.
Staying on international soil there is also action for Filipinos in Australia with journeymen Robert Oyan (20-39-5, 7) taking on the hotly tipped George Kambosos Jr (1-0, 1) and Aswin Cabuy (14-41-3, 7) faces Costa Katsounis (8-1, 5). Whilst we don't give Cabuy any chance we do feel that Oyan should be able to pose Kambosos some interesting questions in their bout.
Staying in Australia, though on a different card, Gretchen Abaniel (12-4, 3) will face Fahpratan Looksaikongdin (7-5), James Mokoginta (24-11-2, 12) will look to claim the Interim PABA Super Bantamweight title as he takes on Terry TJ Doheny (4-0, 3) and the experienced Jonathan Simamora (23-23-5, 8) looks for a major upset against Ben McCulloch (11-0, 8) for the PABA Super Middleweight tit;le.
Despite all the international action there is also action in Asia with 2 cards in the Philippines. Unfortunately details on both cards are scarce.
In Dipolog City the once beaten Marco Demecillo (18-1-1, 14) faces the unbeaten Giovanni Escaner (10-0, 6) in a battle for the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) Super Flyweight title. Although we don't know the rest of the card we'll admit that if we were around the area we'd be watching to catch this one live.
The other Filipino card takes place at Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur and so far we have details on just 2 contests from it as Powell Balaba (6-9-1, 3) takes on Thai visitor Panmongkol Ekarin (10-4, 5) and Bernard Alipan (3-4, 3) faces Jomar Ministerio (5-5-1, 2). It's fair to say that neither of these bouts will get many excited, especially with the fight that's taking places in Dipolog city.