It's not too often that we get to see Asian's competiting in 3 seperate would title bouts but that's exactly what this Saturday brings with 3 world title bouts spread across 3 countries. As well as the world title bouts there are also some other notable bouts taking place around the world.
The first fight involving an Asian is expected in Australia as Filipino Allan Tanada (11-2-3, 5) takes on fellow Filipino Michael Correa (3-5-3, 1). Although Correa is based in Australia and will be the "home" fighter here it's hard to see him defeating the very talented Tanada.
We expect the next show to take place will be in the Philippines as we get to the only major card held in Asia.
The main attraction here is the first defense of the WBO Minimumweight title by the unbeaten Merlito Sabillo (22-0, 11) who takes on Jorle Estrada (17-6, 6). This will be Sabillo's second successive bout against against a Colombian following his 8th round stoppage of Luis De la Rosa in March. We've previewed this bout in full here.
The card starts off with the two very promising youngsters. Firstly the debut of Vic Saludar (0-0) the former amateur standout and brother of the highly touted Froilan Saludar. Saludar will begin his professional campaign by taking on Juanito Hundante (1-1). Don't be surprised if Saludar makes a very impressive deubt.
The second of the promising yougster's is Albert Pagara (16-0, 11) who faces Thailand's hard hitter Phupha Por Nobnom (10-8-1, 9). This will be the second meeting between these two fighters with the first seeing Pagara easily despatching the Thai last year. This seems more about keeping Pagara busy than anything else.
The undercard also features the former world title challenger AJ Banal (28-2-1, 20) returns to the ring for the first time since last October, when he was stopped by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The 24 year old Banal will be facing the naturally bigger Mexican Abraham Gomez (18-7-1, 9) in a bout that could spell the end of Banal's career if he doesn't come out with a victory.
In the chief support bout the very highly regarded Arthur Villanueva (22-0, 12) takes on Mexican banger Arturo Badillo (21-4, 19). The 24 year old Villanueva will be hoping to add the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title to his ever growing collection of belts and knows that a victory here could move him to within a fight or two or a world title bout.
In Europe we have two Asian fighters in title fight action.
In Monaco the unbeaten Russian, Khabib Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8) looks to make the first defense of WBA Light Welterweight title as he takes on the experienced Frenchman Souleymane M'baye (40-4-1, 22). Although M'baye is close to home it's hard to imagine him beating Allakhverdiev who looks like one of the most over-looked fighters at 140lbs. We've previewed this fight in full here.
The other European based world title fight sees Japanese Super Middleweight Yuzo Kiyota (23-3-1, 21) attempt to claim the WBO Super Middleweight title from Robert Stieglitz (44-3, 25). A victory for Kiyota has been ruled out by most though if he can upset Stieglitz he would become Japan's first ever champion above Middleweight and their first ever WBO champion. As with the other world titles bouts we've previewed this contest in full here.
In Mexico the hard hitting Riyo Togo (10-4-1, 9) looks to repeat history as she takes on Mariana Juarez (36-7-3, 16) for the second time. When the women first met in April, Togo shocked "Barbie" Juarez by stopping her in 118 seconds to claim the WBC International female Super Flyweight title and this will be the first defense of that title by Togo. It's fair to say that if Togo wins again here she'll be in line for a world title fight.
Togo and Kiyota aren't the only Japanese fighters fighting on the road with former WBC Super Featherweight champion Takahiro Ao (23-3-1, 10) also fighting away from home.
Ao makes his US debut as he takes on the US based Chilean Hardy Paredes (16-11, 10). A loss here for Ao would really dent his hopes of returning to the top of the sport though with Paredes being little more than a journeyman there really shouldn't be an upset against the often over-looked Ao.
Although Friday's schedule was a bit thin it appears that things are a bit better on Saturday with a solid (though unspectacular) card at the Korakuen Hall as well as a deep card in Metro Manila, Philippines and numerous fighters fighting internationally.
The card in Japan features 7 bouts though it's only really the main event that has any sort of a "name" draw as former world title contender Ryo Akaho (19-1-2, 12) fights for the first time since losing to Yota Sato in December. Akaho is veing given what appears to be a confidence builder as he takes on Filipino journeyman Elmar Francisco (16-18-2, 4) who is without a victory in 5 bouts.
As well as Akaho, the card features former 2-time Japanese national champion Daisuke Nakagawa (20-3-2, 15) who faces Indonesian Elvin Marbun (14-10-2, 6). Like Akaho, it appears that Nakagawa is being given an easy bout to build his confidence as he looks for another notable fight.
The Nakagawa bout is one of 5 bouts on the card scheduled for 8 rounds with Junki Sasaki (11-1, 5) facing Ryosei Arai (11-3-1, 3) in probably the most well matched bout of the show. The 21 year old Sasaki is tipped. by some to be a future champion though will need to come through a tough test here.
The reaming 3 bouts for the 8 round distance lack any real drawing factor with Toru Shiba (14-7-1, 11) facing Yuto Shimizu (6-2-2, 1), Kenichi Ogata (5-4, 3) fighting Shunsuke Sato (7-14-2, 4) and Musashi Suzuki (8-1, 3) facing Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-2-3, 3).
In a solitary 4 round bout Kazuya Seki (3-3, 1) takes on the unbeaten teenager Gaku Aikawa (1-0). It's a well matched bout though with Aikawa having been out of the ring for around 11 months it's hard to really know what the 19 year old wants from the sport.
In the Philippines a stacked 12 bout card is scheduled. The headline bout sees Juan Purisima (10-3-1, 3) facing Renren Tesorio (11-2-3, 3) in a battle over the Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Flyweight title. This is a bout that is likely to go the distance and yet it's also likely to have drama with both men being well matched on paper.
It's fair to say that the main event is by far the best bout on the card, though with several unbeaten prospects also on the show the card does have plenty to be excited about. Of those prospects it's hard not to be excited about Menard Avial (2-0), Daryl Basadre (9-0-1, 6) and Renerio Arizala (5-0, 3) though all 3 are being matched against limited opponents here.
Sadly much of the card does appear, at least on paper to be mismatches with bouts like Michael Dasmarinas (11-1, 7) against Rolando Niones (4-12-1, 2), Andrian Camique (4-0-1, 2) against Sherwin McDo Lungay (7-22-2) and Jerry Nardo (16-2, 7) against Jonel Borbon (1-8-1, 1).
Despite the apparent mismatches on the card there are several well matched 4 rounders with Jay-Ar Diama (0-0-2) fighting Rodel Garde (0-4), Fidel Cuyno (0-1) facing Juanito Hundante (0-1), Rowel Rosia (2-2, 1) taking on Honesto Luha (0-1) and Roderick Naduma (0-1) taking on debutant Miko Sacro (0-0).
In international action Filipino youngster Gabriel Altarejos (12-1-1, 4) tries to score the biggest win of his career as he travels to Mexico to face former multi-weight world champion Hugo Fidel Cazares (38-7-2, 26). With the WBC International Silver Super Bantamweight title on the line a win would help put Altarejos on to the world stage, but he will be going in as a big under-dog against an excellent fighter.
Also in Mexico is Thai Rusalee Samor (20-4-2, 9) who faces David Sanchez (20-2-2, 15) in a bout for the interim WBC Silver Super Flyweight title. This looks to be an excellent contender on paper and could go either way, though Sanchez has to be the slight favour.
In the US Sri Lankan Nuwan Jayakody (1-0, 1) looks to score his second professional victory as he takes on Anthony Burgin (3-0, 1). This is awell matched bout and a win for Jayakody could help him put Sri Lanka on the boxing map.
Today sees 2 notable cards in Asia. One in Japan at the always popular Korakuen Hall which sees an OPBF title bout and one in the Philippines which features a WBC Youth Silver title meaning that both cards do hold some international importance.
In Japan the OPBF title bout we mentioned is the Light Welterweight belt currently held by South Korean Min-Wook Kim (9-1, 7). Kim will be hoping to make the 3rd defense of a title he won just less than a year ago as he takes on former Japanese champion Shinya Iwabuchi (21-3, 17). This bout, pitting two hard hitting fighters against each isn't really expected to see the final bell but it should promise fire works.
Although there is only one bout publicly listed at the Korakuen Hall, the bout does look genuinely fantastic and we do expect more than just the single one to actually be fought.
The Filipino card held at the "Muntinlupa Sports Complex" in Muntinlupa City is a much deeper card on paper even if the bouts aren't as meaningful. The main event here sees Filipino national champion (PBF) Richard Pumicpic (11-5-2, 4) making the first defense of his WBC Youth Silver Bantamweight title as he takes on Indonesian challenger Junior Bajawa (14-1, 7). Although on paper Bajawa's record is impressive we've got to favour the very under-rated Filipino who looks like he could be a dark horse for a world title down the line. Trust ue he's much better than his record indicates.
Amongst the more notable names on the Filipino card is former world title challenger Bernabe Concepcion (31-6-1, 17) who takes on journeyman Boido Simanjuntak (16-17-1, 5) ad Concepcion tries to work himself back into contention. Bernabe's younger brother Bobby Concepcion (10-3-1, 4) is also on the card as he faces Elbert Guardario (7-20-1, 2).
The Concepcion brothers make up 2 of the 4 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds on the card and they are joined by Daniel Ferreras (11-5-1, 4) who faces the experienced Marvin Tampus (27-17-2, 18) and Jeffrey Cerna (12-7, 5) who takes on Rogen Flores (12-19-4, 5).
Lower down the card is a chance for prospects Bebong Manalo (5-0, 3) and Nino Valenzuela (7-0, 2). Manalo will be facing Warren Mambuanag (5-2-2, 2) whilst Valenzuela goes up against the unbeaten Lester Abutan (2-0, 1).
The card also features the debut of Jon Jon Estrada and Juanito Hundante both in bouts that they have a good chance of winning. Estrada faces Mark Postrano (0-1) whilst Hundante goes up against JC Francisco (1-6) who won his last bout after losing his first 6. Despite Francisco's record he is much better than he raw numbers and could well have been 4-3 going in to this bout.
The only other bout on the card sees the perfect matching records of Jommel Mungkal and JR Florendo (both are 1-1) taking each other on. Florendo has twice faced JC Francisco (see above) and going in to this bout we genuinely have to say it's a 50-50 bout.