It's nice for Japan to give us some days off from boxing late in the week but that doesn't boxing gives us a day off with multiple title fights and several shows across Asia.
The biggest show of the day is in the Philippines. It may not have a title fight on it but it does have a number of very interesting contests and is the lastest show put on by Manny Pacquiao's "MAG Pacman Boxing".
In the main event 2-time world title challenger Michael Farenas (36-4-4, 28) will be taking on Jesus Rios (26-4-1, 20). Having seen the difficulty that Farenas has given the likes of Yuriorkis Gamboa it's hard to bet against him stopping Rios over the 12 rounds.
The card has 4 chief support bouts, all scheduled for 10 rounds. One of these will see Richard Pumicpic (13-5-2, 4) taking on Luis Lugo (15-4-2, 11) in what looks like a very interesting bout. Although relatively unknown Pumicpic has held Yohei Tobe to a draw in Japan and beaten Ratchasak Kokietgym in Thailand and has the potential to go a long way, Lugo on the other hand won't have traveled to Mexico to just lose.
One of the other support bouts sees the tough Fernando Ocon (11-5, 3) taking on Jeffrey Cerna (14-8, 5). On paper this is a mismatch but it was just 18 months ago that Cerna took Arthur Villanueva to a split decision. Although unlikely he may well be about to turn in one such performance here.
Another of the 10 rounders will see current PABA interim Minimumweight champion Ronelle Ferreras (13-5-2, 5) fighting in a none title contest with fellow Filipino Roque Lauro (9-16-4, 2). This should not be much of a test for Ferreras but we may well see him given some sort of a rough ride at times.
Whilst some of those 10 rounders look interesting the most notable bout scheduled for 10 is that of Ernesto Saulong (13-0, 5). The unbeaten prospect has looked very promising at times though will be given a good test by Mike Espanosa (12-6, 7) who is stubborn and has a hurtful punch, at least on the Filipino domestic scene.
Saulong isn't the only unbeaten prospect in action with 3rd generation star Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (11-0, 11) returning to action for the 12th time. Penalosa Jr will be fighting against Mexico's Alem Robles (6-3-2, 2) in a scheduled 8 rounder. It's a shame Penalosa Jr isn't being stepped up yet but we do understand why they are taking the kids development slowly. Unfortunately in regards to this bout we think Dodie will swiftly take out Robles and learn nothing in the process.
The bulk of undercard are scheduled 6 rounders with Fighting Heno (1-0-3) taking on Jessie Caballes (2-9); Lester Abutan (3-1-1, 1) going up against Jhon Jhon Faminiano (1-9-2) and Junar Adante (1-0-1) fighting Valeriano Gabriel (2-3).
The rest of the undercard will see Eric Pansa (2-1-1) up against the unbeaten Robin Dingcong (0-0-1) and Henry Barton (1-0, 1) fighting debutant Mike Mirafuente (0-0). We believe both of these will be scheduled for 4 rounds.
In regards to the world stage the biggest fight of the day is in Thailand as former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (45-2, 30) defends his WBO international Bantamweight title. The Thai, currently ranked at #2 with the WBO, will be regarded as a huge favourite as he takes on Filipino Romnick Magos (9-2, 5) though will of course be risking his world ranking for the fight. For those wanting to watch this bout it will be televised live on Channel 7 in Thailand along with the rest of the, yet to be listed, card.
Russia see's title action with Murat Gassiev (13-0, 9) defending his WBC Youth Cruiserweight world title. Although his opponent has yet to be namedwe've got to admit we've been impressed by him so far and do expect a small step up here.
Down in Australia Filipino Roberto Oyan (20-40-5, 7) will be fighting Kye MacKenzie (5-0, 3) for the Australian Super Featherweight title. Although Onyan is from the Philippines originally this will be Oyan's 23rd successive bout in Australia and so it's hard to begrudge him an Australian national title fight, even if he is a big under-dog.
It's not often that the Philippines takes centre stage in the boxing world though that's exactly what happens this coming Saturday with 3 seperate cards across the country, two of which are highly interesting.
The most noteworthy of the three Filipino shows is expected to take place at the Makati Coliseum in Makati City. A show headlined by a WBO Light Flyweight world title fight between Filipino youngster John Riel Casimero (18-2, 10) and Mexican challenger Felipe Salguero (18-4-1, 13). This will be Casimero's first defense in his homeland though his third overall and we're really hoping that he gets a hero's weclome, though we do admit that he's in a very tough bout here.
Casimero's world title defense is one of three title bouts scheduled on the show. The second most interesting, at least for us, is a WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Flyweight title bout between the criminally under-rated Mark Anthony Geraldo (28-4-3, 12) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (19-5, 10). This will be the first defense for Geraldo of a title he won 20 months ago and we'd be very shocked if he failed to retain the title here.
The third title bout sees Adones Cabalquinto (14-0, 8), the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) Light Welterweight champion, defending his title for the second time as he takes on RJ Ano-os (8-4-1, 2). This will be Cabalquinto's first contest since December 2012 though even with the ring rust he should have enough to over come the naturally smaller Ano-os.
Amazingly, despite the the three title fights, the big names continue in several other bouts. One of those sees former world title challenger Michael Farenas (35-4-4, 27) taking on Thai opponent Kosol Sor Vorapin (17-16-1, 11). This is a genuine mismatch with Sor Vorapin coming in on the back of 4 straight stoppage losses, though it's always nice to see Farenas in action.
Another notable name on this card is Froilan Saludar (17-0-1, 11), the hard hitting prospect that many have tipped for a world title. Like Farenas, Saludar will be facing a Thai opponent, in this case Tawanrung Eausampan (5-2, 2). Saludar is one of two major prospects on the card with former amateur standout Jack Tepora (7-0, 5) fighting Danilo Gabisay (4-1, 3).
For many shows that alone would all be more than enough it appears MP Promotions, the promotional company of Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao really wants to make a statement and the show includes another 6 contests. One of those 6 contests features one time "would be" world title challenger Jose Ocampo (17-6-1, 12) tackling Leonardo Doronio (11-8-2, 7) and the promising Jessie Cris Rosales (12-0-1, 5) facing domestic rival Jerry Nardo (17-3, 8).
The remaining 4 contests on this super show will see Jessie Espina (4-1, 3) battling Louie Arlos (8-2, 2), the hard hitting Anthony Marcial (19-2, 18) taking on Rodel Wenceslao (6-6-1, 1), Joneil Dapidran (0-0) debuting against Jonnie Villacrusis (0-1) and Rence Brian Magarce (0-0) also making his debut as he takes on Diomedes Semella (0-1).
One thing is for sure about the Makati Card. Mr Pacquiao has certainly layed down a marker to say that his promotional arm is out there as a real challenger to the more established promoters in the Philippines such as ALA Promotions.
Talking about ALA they have their own show in Cebu City. This card is a bit less complete than the MP Promotions show but does feature 2 very notable title bouts.
In a WBO International Super Flyweight title bout the unbeaten Arthur Villanueva (23-0, 13) will take on limited Mexican Edgar Martinez (16-7, 10) whilst in a WBO Inter-continental Super Bantamweight title bout Genesis Servania (22-0, 8) will fight former world title challenger Rafael Concepcion (18-6-1, 8).
Of the two titles bouts in Cebu City we've got to admit we're really looking forward to Servania versus Concepcion, especially considering the problems Concepcion gave Nonito Donaire last time he faced a Filipino. Villanueva is in easy but Servania could well be given a serious test for the second fight running.
The final Filipino card is in Paranaque City and promoted by Johnny Elorde Promotions. This show, the only Filipino show with no title fights doesn't have anywhere near the quality of the other two though looks like a somewhat interesting low level card.
The most notable bout on this show features the experienced Vinvin Rufino (33-15-3, 15) taking on Junard Postrano (7-3, 2) in what looks to be a bit of a mismatch. Rufino is not only by far the more experienced man but also enters the contest on a trio of victories whilst Postrano enters on back-to-back losses.
In the co-main feature the unbeaten Randy Braga (11-0, 2) takes on the experienced Richard Olisa (23-22-2, 12). This will be a serious test for Braga despite the apparent mismatch in terms of the fighters records.
Braga isn't the only unbeaten prospect on the card as the promising Giemel Magramo (6-0, 3) takes on journeyman Ricky Oyan (4-17-2, 2) and the light hitting Jay Loto (5-0) battles Dexter Dimaculanga (3-3-3, 1). These are both decent tests for the unbeaten men though tests they should pass.
The rest of the card features mostly novices looking to establish themselves. These include Diomel Diocos (2-1, 2) who faces journeyamn Roy Albaera (2-20-4), a man who has been stopped 15 times in his 20 losses. The other two contests will see Jerome Montalban (1-0) fighting Junar Adante (0-1) and Roderick Flores (0-0) fighting Bhenyson Ricafranca (0-0) in an all debutant contest.
The one remaining Asian card takes place in Rostov-Na-Donu, Russia.
This Russian card is headlined by a GBU Cruiserweight title bout between KO sensation Dmitry Kudryashov (10-0, 10) and former world title challenger Shawn Cox (17-3, 16). This bout has "explosive" written all over though will almost certainly not last 3 rounds, in fact it'd not be a shock if it lasts less 1.
As well as the 12 round title bout there are two bouts scheduled for 10 rounds. These will see Movsur Yusupov (4-0, 3) fighting the tough Josef Obeslo (4-12-1, 2) in a male contest and the unbeaten Natalia Smirnova (6-0, 4) fighting Hana Horakova (3-9). It's hard to imagine either of the unbeaten fighters here taking their first defeat, though their true potential won't be shown here.
Several of the other fights on the show also feature promising unbeaten fighters. This includeds Viskhan Murzabekov (5-0, 2), who fights Dmitry Lavrinenko (2-7, 1), and Apti Davtaev (2-0, 2), who fights the experienced Vyacheslav Shcherbakov (3-15-1, 2). Whilst Lavrinenko might see out the distance it's be a genuine shock for Shcherbakov to do the same.
The card has 3 other contests as Aliklych Kanbolatov (4-2, 2) fights Leri Tedeev (1-0) in an 8 round contest, Gasan Gasanov (5-2, 4) battles Mikhail Smurygin (0-1) and, in an all debutant contest, Zubair Suleymanov (0-0) will share the ring with Vladyslav Yeremenko (0-0).
In a key international bout, which takes place in Toluca, Mexico, Japan's Yuki Murai (21-17-5, 7) takes on the hard hitting Rey Vargas (16-0, 15). Murai will be the third Asian fighter to go over to Japan to fight Vargas this year and it'd be a shock if Murai, who was taken out in a round by Ryosuke Iwasa, will fair any better than Seizo Kono or Juanito Rubillar.
With no major action scheduled in Asian today it may seem like a quite day for Asian boxing, the opposite however is true as Asian fighters fight around the globe once again as they attempt to prove that they can be road warriors.
Most notably for Asian fight fans is a card in Mexico which sees 4 scheduled bouts between Mexicans and Japanese fighters.
The most notable bout on that Japanese card sees former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (53-8, 45) taking on Akihiko Katagiri (12-6-1, 4). On paper this looks a very tough ask for Katagiri though with the Japanese fighter having never been stopped and Gonzalez showing signs of slowing down in recent fights the upset cannot be completely ruled out.
In a battle of bangers Akinori Kanai (25-7, 22) faces Dante Jardon (22-3, 18) in a bout that we're not expecting to go the distance. Both guys are hard hitters and aggressive and this should be ridiculously fun for as long as it lasts. With the WBC Continental Americas Super Featherweight title on the line (again we're not sure how these titles work as Kanai isn't from the Continental Americas) there is a notable reward up for grabs.
The biggest mismatch on the card sees Rey Vargas (13-0, 12) taking on Seizo Kono (13-4-1, 8). On paper Kono's record is solid enough but he could well be 1-6 in his last 7 bouts (instead of 4-3) and whilst he may take Vargas the distance we'd be shocked if he could score an upset.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card is in female action as former world title contender Riyo Togo (9-4-1, 8) takes on former WBC female Flyweight champion Mariana Juarez (36-6-3, 16). Juarez will of course be favoured but Togo has the ability, power and size to score the biggest victory of her career.
As well as the action in Mexico Asian's are also in action in the US and in Australia.
In the US the tough nosed Filipino Michael Farenas (34-4-4, 26) takes on Mexican veteran Gerardo Zayas (19-21-2-1, 11). Farenas has proven his toughness against both Takashi Uchiyama and Yuriorkis Gamboa and it'd be a massive shock if he lost to Zayas.
In Australia, Thai based Iranian Amir Hossein Ranjdar (11-18, 5) will be hoping to end a 4 fight losing streak as he faces the unbeaten Dean Mikelj (8-0, 6). Whilst it'd be nice for "Amir Bando" to upset the Mikelj applecart it's hard to imagine it happening.