Some days in boxing quiet, others are busy and on very rare occasions boxing is crazy. This Saturday is one of those crazy days with more action than you could shake a stick at, in fact there is more Asian action this Saturday than we can honestly believe.
We'll start with the biggest show of the day, “Pinoy Pride XXIII”, which as you may have guess will be in the Philippines.
Dubbed “Pinos Kontra Latinos” the show is mainly Filipinos fighting against Latinos and it's these fights that give us the shows two main events and the chief support bouts.
The main fight, for us, is the WBO Minimumweight title fight which will see Merlito Sabillo (23-0, 12) defending his title against unbeaten Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (27-0-0-1, 16). Buitrago, fighting in Asia for the first time, will be the third successive Latin American to fight Sabillo who has stopped both Luis De La Rosa and Jorle Estrada this year. With both men having unbeaten records and with a world title on the line this is one of those rare fights that does get the mouth water and really could be something very special inside the ring.
Sabillo isn't the only man defending his world on this Filipino show as his compatriot Donnie Nietes (31-1-4, 17) attempts to defend his WBO Light Flyweight title. Nietes, who looked very poor against Moises Fuentes last time out, has an easier assignment than Sabillo as he fights the somewhat shop worn Sammy Gutierrez (33-9-2, 23). At his best Gutierrez would have been a handful for Nietes but right now the Mexican challenger appears to merely be collecting one more pay day.
Alongside the two world title fights are two international fights as Filipinos again face Latinos. These bouts will see Jason Pagara (31-2, 19) defending his WBO International Light Welterweight title against the big hitting Vladimir Baez (19-1-2, 17) from the Dominican Republic and recent world title challenger Milan Melindo (29-1, 12) attempting to claim the WBO International Flyweight title as he takes on Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (29-2, 18). For Melindo his bout will be his first since losing in his world title fight to Juan Francisco Estrada and he may feel the mental effects of that loss here, despite putting up a very good effort.
In the most notable non-title bout of the show AJ Banal (29-2-1, 1) will be fighting Manuel Gonzalez Garcia (16-7-2, 5) over 10 rounds. This will be supported on the under-card by Jimrex Jaca fighting (38-6-3, 21) fighting Wellem Reyk (17-7-3, 5) of Indonesia.
The opening contests on this Filipino card will see Justo Bornilla (5-1-1) fighting Diover Mangaya-ay (1-2-1), Jerwin Dela Rosa (1-3) battling Marlon Arcilla (2-1) and Rolly Sumalpong (1-0) meeting fellow unbeaten Jeffrey Alejandre (1-0).
It's not just the Filipino card with world title action but also China as their first ever world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (21-4-1, 11) makes the second defense of his WBC Minimumweight title. Unfortunately this bout, which will be televised by CCTV 5, won't be Zhong in with a real challenger as Omari Kimweri was forced out of the bout due to passport issues. Instead Zhong will be facing Thailand's Lookrak Kiatmungmee (7-4, 4) who hasn't fought a professional boxing contest since 2011. Of course with this being Zhong's first defense in China it's hard to bee too angry about him having an easy one.
On the same show as Zhong's world title defense we expect five other bouts. These are likely to include Nampetch Or Liangprasert (1-0, 1) fighting the debuting Kang En (0-0), Chinese based Russian Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (3-1, 1) battling Angelov Vasil Kostadinov (0-0), Xian Wei Qian (2-1-1) up against Neeraj Goyat (0-2-2) and Xu Chun Yan (2-3) fighting Keanpetch Superchamps (5-5-1) in an all female bout. The only contest we're unsure about is that of Qu Peng (3-0-1, 2) who is apparently fighting an Indian opponent called Surender (0-0). We assume Surender isn't the fighter full name.
Although things are busy in China and in the Philippines things are insanely busy in Russia where we're lead to believe there will be an astonishing five different shows!
The most interesting of the Russian shows is at the Olympic Sports Complex in Grozny as SKV Boxing put on an eight fight show which involves two title fights and several interesting unbeaten fighters.
As far as we are aware the main event will see Apti Ustarkhanov (3-1-1, 1) fighting Josef Obeslo (4-13-1, 2) for the GBU Light Heavyweight title. Despite us assuming that's the main event, the most interesting contest is probably the other world title bout on the show which will see the unbeaten Nikki Adler (10-0, 6) fighting for the female WBC Super Middleweight title as she faces Zane Brige (2-3-1, 1). Whilst this is a better contest it should be noted that Adler is already 2-0 against Brige.
In regards to the prospects on the show we're very interesting in Movsur Yusupov (5-0, 3), who is scheduled in a 12 rounder against Vladimir Idranyi (4-13-2, 1), and Viskhan Murzabekov (6-0, 3), who will be up against Uladzislau Mahdanau (1-4, 1) in a 10 rounder. It's hard to tell what either of these unbeaten men have in terms of potential but the fact they are already being put in 10 and 12 rounders is an interesting thing to note considering their lack of experience.
On the under-card Arbi Madaev (1-0) will be fighting the win-less Oleksandr Pritula (0-1), Zubayr Suleymanov (0-1) will be hunting his first victory as he takes on the relative fragile Bogdan Bondarenko (1-6, 1), Heavyweight puncher Apti Davtaev (3-0, 3) will look to extend his stioppage run as he goes up against Frantisek Kynkal (2-2, 2) and probably most interestingly Ilyas Kelimatov (0-0) debuts in a 6 rounder against Anton Petukhov (0-1).
Whilst the debut of Kelimatov interests us we'd actually go as far as to say the most interesting debut takes place in Moscow as 2012 Olympian Uktamjon Rahmonov (0-0) debuts against Evgeny Klimov (2-0, 1). Rahmonov looked very good in the Olympics before running in to eventual Gold medal winner Roniel Iglesias and we'd say he has real potential to become a very special fighter.
It's of course not just Rahmonov in action in Moscow the though the show is full of debuts as Iliyor Sherali (0-0) takes on Sherzod Isakjonov (0-1), Igor Morozov (0-0) starts his career, Rasul Dibirov (0-0) fights Alexander Kubich (3-0, 1) and Islam Dumanov (0-0) takes on Egor Bakulin (2-0, 1).
The most exciting looking contest in Russia takes place in Lyubertsy as heavy handed Cruiserweights collide in a bout between Dmitry Kudryashov (11-0, 11) and Zack Mwekassa (14-3, 13). Between the two men they have a combined record of 25-3 (24) and have only been the distance twice in 28 contests. Don't be shocked if this is over in vicious fashion.
On the same show in Lyubertsy Evgeny Chuprakov (6-0, 2) will be fighting Alexey Shorokhov (5-6, 3) for the Russian Super Featherweight title. We believe Chuprakov should have more than enough in him to defeat Shorokhov though we'd like to see the unbeaten man pushed hard.
The rest of this card will see Maksym Ponomarev (8-1) fighting Alexey Kovalev (2-3, 1), Gasan Gasanov (6-2, 5) taking on Josef Krivka (4-3, 4), Arkadiy Arutyunyan (3-0) battling Gor Arutyunyan (0-1) and Romal Amanov (2-0) sharing the ring with Roman Ivanov (1-1, 1).
In Ekaterinburg we get a 3 fight show headlined by Dmitry Mikhaylenko (14-0, 5) fighting against Bogdan Protsyshyn (7-7, 2) in a 10 rounder.
The support bouts here are expected to see the unbeaten Vasily Lepikhin (14-0, 7) battling Alexey Varakin (28-18-3, 16) over 8 rounds and Andrei Isaeu (23-4, 7) fighting Suhrobjon Usmonov (4-11) over 6 rounds.
The final Russian card is in Pskov and features six contests. The main event here is expected to be Artur Akavov (8-1) up against Jeferson Luiz De Souza (12-1-1, 7) in a 10 rounder. Despite this being the main event we actually like the co-feature with Yuri Ramanau (22-3, 14) against Ravil Mukhamadiyarov (10-51-2, 8). Although a mismatch it could well open up a more meaningful contest for Ramanu who we've been long term admirers of despite how disappointing his career has become.
Of the remaining contests on the show only two are fully listed with Andrey Knyazev (9-0, 4) fighting Yuri Bihoutseu (6-5-2, 5) and Sergey Gorokhov (1-1, 1) battling Mikhail Ryzhonkin (2-3-1, 1).
The remaining contests in Pskov will see Gennady Martirosyan (23-3, 11) and Sherali Mamadaliev (17-2, 10) in action, though neither man yet has a named opponent.
Amazingly it seems like there are more Russians in action than any other nationality over the weekend as two are competing in Canada as well. For Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20) the weekend will be marked by his first WBO Light Heavyweight title defense as he fights Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17) in what could be a very short lived contest if Kovalev can get his wrecking balls in to action early on.
The other Russian in Canada is the very promising Artur Beterbiev (2-0, 2) who looks to extend his winning as he takes on Billy Bailey (12-17, 4). Bailey, despite having 17 losses has only been stopped twice, though Beterbiev does look like a genuinely destructive fighter and has the look of a future world champion.
The final bout which interests us will see Filipino-Canadian Marc Pagcaliwangan (6-0, 6) looking for his seventh straight stoppage as he takes on Octavio Hernandez (13-5, 6). This is by far the toughest contest in the career of Pagcaliwangan though the expectation is that the kid will become a massive star in the future so he should be able to pass this test with out any major worries.
It's rare to have the attention of the whole boxing world pointed towards Asia but that's what we have on Saturday thanks to Bob Arum's "Top Rank Promotions" who bring the action over to Macau for the second time this year.
The show, dubbed "Fists of Gold II" is nothing short of spectacular the sort of action that needs to be brought over to the East more often.
The headline man is of course 2-time Olympic Gold medal winner Zou Shiming (1-0). The Chinese national hero, who made his debut back in April, returns to action as he takes on Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2) in a bout that is supposed to help Shiming get used to the 6 round distance.
Shiming isn't the only Chinese based fighter on the show with the unbeaten and highly popular Rex Tso (9-0, 6) of Hang Kong also on the card. Tso is being given a genuinely testing contest as he faces the experienced Rusalee Samor (20-4-2, 9) of Thailand. Samor may not be a former world champion but he has been the distance with popular Filipino Denver Cuello and could pose Tso some questions.
As well as the two Chinese based fighters there is also action for promising Filipino Dave Penalosa (6-0, 4) on the undercard as he takes on debuting Wisaruth Wor Khunkhiri (0-0). Wisaruth is actually one of three Thai's on the card with the others being Samor, see above, and the experienced Chaiyong Sithsaithong (31-10-3, 22) who takes on unbeaten Australian Paul Fleming (18-0, 13) in an 8 round contest.
Dave Penalosa is actually 1 of 3 Filipino's on the card with the highly regarded Genesis Servania (21-0, 8) taking on former world title challenger Konosuke Tomiyama (23-5-1, 8) and of course Milan Melindo (29-0, 12) challenging Juan Francisco Estrada (24-2, 18) for the WBO and WBA "super" titles at Flyweight. For many this is the stand out bout of the card and easily the one that has the potential to be a thriller.
The Estrada/Melindo bout isn't the only world title bout on the card however as "Russian Mexican" Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8) defends his IBF Featherweight title against Argentinian Mauricio Javier Munoz (26-3, 12). This will be Gradovich's first defense of the title which Munoz will be challenging for a world title for the second time in his career having previously been thwarted by Toshiaki Nishioka.
The Macau card also has a single featuring no Asian interest as America faces in Mexico in a Heavyweight tussles. American Joe Hanks (21-0, 14) puts his record on the line against fellow unbeaten Andy Ruiz Jr (19-0, 13). Whilst we're really looking forward to the title bouts this isn't far behind in our chart of excitement.
Rather amazingly attention will be turned to an Asian fighter later in the day as Japan's Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16) looks to claim the WBC interim Lightweight title in his American debut. Arakawa will need to over-come the destructive Omar Figueroa (21-0-1, 17) if he hopes to become just the fifth Japanese fighter to claim a world title in the USA. This bout, televised in the US on "Showtime" is part of the "Knockout Kings II" card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
In Mexico we have even more action of international note as Tenkai Tsunami (18-7, 7) battles Jessica Chavez (18-3-2, 4) for the WBC Silver female Light Flyweight title. This will be Tsunami's 4th successive bout in Mexico.
Of course not all the action is internationally notable and we also have two domestic cards in the Philippines.
The most notable of the Filipino cards is held at the Barangay San Dionisio Covered Court in Paranaque City as a 10 fight show is put on.
The card sees the WBC Youth Silver Bantamweight champion Richard Pumicpic (12-5-2, 4) taking on the experienced Richard Betos (20-6-1, 7) in arguably the match up of the card. Although Pumicpic's record is messy he's much better than the numbers suggest and is unfortunate not to have victories over both Allan Tanada and Yohei Tobe, we'd expect him to get the better of Betos here.
Amazingly Pumicpic/Betos is one of 6 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds with arguably the most "important" being the female bout between Jessebelle Pagaduan (5-0, 3) and Carleans Rivas (2-0, 3). This bout is for the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) female Minimumweight title, the only title bout on the card.
In terms of the biggest name on the card there is no one who really challenges the oce highly touted Eden Sonsona (32-6, 10). Sonsona looks for his 7th successive victory as he takes on Daniel Ferreras (12-5-1, 4). Interestingly both men have lost in OPBF title bouts to former world champion Kohei Kono.
The remaining trio of 10 round contests see Jaymart Toyco (12-3, 8) facing Jeffrey Cerna (13-7, 5); Ronelle Ferreras (11-5-2, 4) facing former OPBF title holder Michael Landero (16-9-4, 5) and Virgil Puton (9-3, 3) faces the experienced Prell Tupaz (8-20-4, 1).
As well as the staggering 6 contests scheduled for 10 rounds the card several other bouts. These include bouts for the unbeaten pair of Reymon Dayham (3-0, 3) and Jhon Rey de Asis (3-0, 3) who will both be attempting to extend their stoppage runs. Dayham will be facing JC Francisco (2-6-1) whilst Asis will be fighting Rowel Rosia (3-2, 2), both of these contests are scheduled for 6 rounds if needed.
The show also features another 6 round contest between Bebong Manalo (5-1, 3) and Eljohn Evangelista (2-2) and a 4 rounder between debutant Iluminado Bismanos Jr (0-0) and Eric Pansa (0-1-1).
The second Filipino card, held at the Makati Cinema Square Boxing arena in Makati City sees a 7 fight show.
The main event on this card is a sole 10 round contest as Junard Postrano (7-3, 2) takes on Gabriel Royo (7-7-2, 6). We've got to admit that this doesn't look great for a main event, in fact the best fight on the show looks to be Lolito Sonsona (16-1-3, 6) versus Zoren Pama (3-7-2, 1). Although it looks a mismatch, it really just sums up the card.
The other bouts on the card see Jerron Talaman (2-4, 2) taking on Edsil Jungco (0-4-4); Joel Taduran (2-0) facing JR Florendo (2-1); Jayson Nicart (1-2, 1) fighting Junar Adante (0-0-1); Antonio Melencion (0-3-1) against Raymark Calumpad (0-5-1) and the debuting Darly Gamboa (0-0) fighting Fidel Cuyno (0-2). See, pretty hard to get excited about any of these, especially considering the other bouts on the same day.
Venetian Casino & Resort, Macao, Macao S.A.R., China
flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada SC Milan Melindo 12 (double world title)
featherweight Evgeny Gradovich SC Mauricio Javier Munoz 12 (World title)
super bantamweight Genesis Servania SC Konosuke Tomiyama 10
heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr SC Joe Hanks 10 (none Asian, BUT, on Asian soil)
super featherweight Paul Fleming SC Chaiyong Sithsaithong 8
flyweight Zou Shiming SC Jesus Ortega 6
super flyweight Rex Tso SC Rusalee Samor 6
super bantamweight Dave Penalosa SC Wisaruth Wor Khunkhiri 4
Barangay San Dionisio, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
featherweight Bernabe Concepcion SC Richard Betos 10
super flyweight Jaymart Toyco SC Jeffrey Cerna 10
minimumweight Ronelle Ferreras SC Michael Landero 10
super bantamweight Virgil Puton SC Prell Tupaz 10
super bantamweight Eden Sonsona SC Daniel Ferreras 10
featherweight Bebong Manalo SC Eljohn Evangelista 6
bantamweight Larry Abarra SC Zoren Pama 6
light flyweight Reymon Dayham SC JC Francisco 6
flyweight Jhon Rey de Asis SC Rowel Rosia 6
minimumweight Jessebelle Pagaduan SC Carleans Rivas 6x2
super flyweight Eric Pansa SC Allan Refuela 4
Makati Cinema Square Boxing Arena, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
super featherweight Gabriel Royo SC Junard Postrano 10
bantamweight Lolito Sonsona SC Zoren Pama 6
super featherweight Jerron Talaman SC Edsil Jungco 6
minimumweight Joel Taduran SC JR Florendo 6
featherweight Jayson Nicart SC Junar Adante 4
light flyweight Antonio Melencion SC Raymark Calumpad 4
flyweight Darly Gamboa SC Fidel Cuyno 4
Ahmed Samir SC Elvin Sanchez (USA)
lightweight Omar Figueroa SC Nihito Arakawa (int. world. title)