This coming Friday brings us some genuinely notable action from and involving Asian fighters. in fact not only is there cards in both Thailand and Japan but their is an Asian involved in a title fight in Mexico and an unbeaten Russian fighting in the US as well as a show in Yemen with their rising boxing star.
We'll start off by looking at the Thai card that we're aware of. This show, expected to be on Thai Channel 7 will see the the unbeaten Nop Kratingdaenggym (5-0, 1) attempt to claim the PABA interim Super Bantamweight title as he fights Indonesian Skak Max (6-12, 6). We expect other fights to be on this show though at the moment details are scarce.
In Japan have plenty more details of a show promoted by Kaneko promotions. We expect to see an all debutant match open the show with Iizuka Makoto (0-0) fighting Riki Hamada (0-0) before novices collide in a bout between Suguru Akimoto (0-1) and Masayoshi Abe (1-1).
The novices continue in action as Kazutaro Ueno (0-1), who we think is actually called Ichitaro Ueno, battles Sosuke Sakata (1-0) and the unbeaten Akihiro Yashiro (1-0-1) fights the debuting Wataru Yokoyama (0-0).
Following the 4 bouts with novices we then have some experienced fighters in action with Tsuyoshi Nishimura (3-5-1, 1) fighting in his 10th bout as he takes on 12 fight "veteran" Hidetoshi Ueki (3-8-1). Sure neither guy has a winning record but, at least on paper, they appear to be well matched.
It takes until the 6th bout on the show until we get fighters with winning records facing each other as Takahiro Fujii (4-2-1, 1) fights Takuma Nishida (5-4, 2) in another bout that looks competitive on paper. Unfortunately after back to back "competitive" fights we appear to have a bit of a mismatch as the experienced Keisuke Ota (7-6, 1) battles the hard hitting but inexperienced Junpei Sakagami (3-2-2, 3).
The show's 8th bout is a second all debutant contest as Imakura Kazuhide (0-0) fight Yukihiro Kaneko (0-0) in what is effectively the second to last fight on the show. The only "fight" after this is a contest between Ryuji Hirano (5-2-1) and Masashi Odaira (4-2-2, 2). Unfortunately the advertised headline bout between Akihiro Kondo and Masashi Noguchi has been called off at late noticed.
Despite the "main event" being called off fans do get the chance to see one more bit of action as former world title holder Tomonobu Shimizu laces up the gloves once more for an open sparring session with fellow Kaneko gym mate Hidenori Otake. This open sparring is seen as a farewell to Shimizu and with both men being gym mates we'd not expect anything too hard from either man.
In Sanaa, the Yemeni capital we get yet other show featuring KO sensation Ali Raymi (15-0, 15). Raymi, the almost cult like figure on boxing forums, will be going for win #16 as he takes on Husam Shargabi (3-0, 1).
On the same show as Raymi/Shargabi there will also be 3 other contests. The most interesting of those will see Omar Awdan (7-0, 3), almost certainly a future Raymi victim, fighting Bahr Slyman (2-2, 1).
The other two contests sees unbeaten men colliding as Muhana Hajaji (2-0) fights Hani Ansi (1-0) and Hamoody Jubran (1-0) taking on Abdu Achille (1-0).
The Thai bout isn't the only title bout as Australian action sees Indonesia's Marco Tuhumury (10-10-1, 3) attempt to claim the PABA Middleweight title at he takes on Jarrod Fletcher (16-1, 10) whilst on the same show Filipino Michael Dan (3-5-1, 1) battles the unbeaten Anthony Buttigieg (2-0). It's hard to see victories for either Tuhumury or Dan though we won't totally rule out Dan giving his opponent a tougher than expected test.
Over in the US the unbeaten Russian Ilshat Khusnulgatin (10-0, 5) looks to score his third victory on American soil as he takes on Arsenio Terrazas (9-5, 8). Unfortunately for the Russian he was given a real scare last time out with Nathan Bedwell dropping him twice before he pulled it out of the bag. This may be an even tougher bout for Khusnulgatin than the Bedwell bout was.
The action in the west isn't just limited to the US as Filipino Marvin Mabait (18-1-2, 12) travels to Mexico in an attempt to claim the WBO Inter-Continental Bantamweight title. Mabait will however need to get past Johnny Garcia (18-4-1, 9), something that is far from a "gimme"
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.