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"
A new week kicks off with what could well be one of the best days in Japanese boxing this year. We have two separate cards in Tokyo with one at the Korakuen Hall and one in the Ota City Central Gym and both promise to provide plenty of action for fight fans.
Of the two shows it' obvious that the attention will be on the Ota City Gym card which features 5 fights for certain, including the two world title bouts, so we'll start there.
The first of the two world title fights sees the always fun to watch Akira Yaegashi (17-3, 9) in action as he looks for the first defence of his WBC Flyweight title. Yaegashi will be facing challenger Oscar Blanquet (32-5-1, 23) of Mexico in a bout we tend to see as a bit of a gimme for the talented and fun to watch Japanese action fighter. As is always the case Yaegashi will make sure to put on a show for the fans even if the bout does look like it's one sided.
The other world title fight, and the bout seen as the main even of the show, sees Shinsuke Yamanaka (18-0-2, 13), a man widely regarded as one of the premier Bantamweight on the planet, defending hs WBC Bantamweight title against Puerto Rican Jose Nieves (22-2-3, 11). We have this one down as a more competitive bout than the Flyweight title bout but it's very hard to bet against Yamanaka who really is a class fighter.
The chief support bout sees former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (32-4, 14) in action against experienced Mexican Genaro Camargo (42-15, 34). Hasegawa is still looking to rebuild his career after stoppage losses to Fernando Montiel and Jhonny Gonzalez though in recent fights he has looked gun-shy and it's possible that another loss could see the former Bantamweight great hanging them up. Worryingly for Hasegawa he has been stopped by two of the last three Mexican fighters he has fought.
The opening contest on the show will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Abe (1-0) facing the win less Yuichi Kitagawa (0-1-1) with this being followed by a contest between Masafumi Ando (1-2, 1) and Daiki Mori (0-4).
If time can be made we also expect to see the debut of Takekawa Hisashi (0-0) who is likely to fight Susumu Nakata (1-3-2, 1) if the card has a few early finishes. This bout is marked down as a reserve bout so we've got out fingers crossed.
Of course not all the title action is at the Ota Gym with a Japanese title fight headlining the 6 bout Korakuen Hall show.
In the main event the Japanese Light Middleweight title is up for grabs as the experienced Tadashi Yuba (43-8-2, 31) faces Yosuke Kirima (17-3-2, 12). For Kirima this is his second shot at the Light Middleweight title after losing to current Japanese Middleweight champion Daisuke Nakagawa 18 months ago. For Yuba however this bout has a chance to further enhance his legendary career which has already seen him claiming Japanese national titles in 4 divisions from Lightweight to Middleweight. A victory in this bout would see Yuba becoming the first 5-weight Japanese national champion.
As well as the main event there will be 3 very promising support bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. The first of which sees unbeaten Japanese Middleweight Shoma Fukumoto (2-0, 2) facing experienced Filipino Arnel Tinampay (20-15-1, 6). Tinampay is likely to be under-sized and under-powered here against one of Japan's better kept secrets, but Fukumoto should be given a few rounds against a man who has yet to be stopped in a 36 bout career.
The second of the 8 round contests sees the unbeaten Hiroya Yamamoto (7-0, 3), ranked #7 at Minimumweight, move up from the 6 round distance to take on former Japanese Light Flyweight title challenger Hayato Yamaguchi (9-4-1), raked #8 at Light Flyweight. This is by far the toughest test for Yamamoto and should be a genuinely great fight. Well done to Yamamoto's team for putting him in such a risky contest.
Unfortunately the other support bout looks a little bit one sided as Shoji Kawase (30-5-5, 18) takes on Kazumasa Kobayashi (8-2-1, 5). Kawase, a former Japanese and OPBF title challenger has proven to be below title level but is still a very good fighter, as we found out earlier this year when he stopped Shuhei Tsuchiya and he should have more than enough for Kobayashi here.
In the cards only 6 round bout Hiroaki Teshigawara (6-1-1, 3) will face Kyosuke Sawada (0-1). This should be a better match up in the ring than it looks on paper though it's hard to pick against Teshigawara. This bout follows the shows opening bout which we expect will be a meeting of debutants between Ibuki Kitade (0-0) and Fumi Ijima (0-0).