After a busy Friday of Asian action it's great that we have an even busier Saturday. Whilst much of the Friday action was focused in Asia it's fair to say that Saturday's is much more global with action involving Asian's happening on at least 3 different continents.
In Japan we have a staggering 13 bout card with 12 of the contests being part of the Rookie of the West military tournament.
The first of these 13 contests sees unbeaten Minimumweight Takumi Sakae (5-0, 3) fighting against Kenta Shimizu (6-3-1, 3). Interestingly both of these men enter with 3 stoppages victories in their last 4 contests. This bout will be immediately followed by a Light Flyweight bout. Unfortunately we've struggled to track down the people involved in the Light Flyweigth contest.
At Flyweight Daisuke Uchiyama (2-3-1) will fight Yukiya Hanabusa (4-1-1), this will be followed by a Super Flyweight contest between Kenta Sugimoto (6-4-1) and Tomohiro Nagakari (3-1). We'll admit that we favour Hanabusa and Sugimoto in these two contests, though upsets in either fight wouldn't be a major shock.
In the Bantamweight division the unbeaten Masamichi Yoshida (5-0, 4) takes on fellow unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu (6-0, 2) in what is, on paper, one of the the genuine stand out contests. Following the Bantamweight contest we move up to the Super Bantamweight division where another unbeaten fighter, Bunta Mitaka (4-0-2), takes on Yosuke Higuchi (4-4, 2) (we believe).
We believe that at Featherweight Shinichi Taniguchi (3-2, 1) will be fighting the once beaten Shingo Kawamura (6-1, 2) whilst at Super Featherweight the hard hitting Shohei Fujimoto (7-2-3, 7) will be in action against an opponent that we can't currently identify.
At Lightweight Ryuji Ikeda (4-1-1, 1) will be fighting Japanese based Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (7-2-1, 4) in what appears to be a genuinely excellent match up. The Lightweight contest will be followed by a Light Welterweight contest between the unbeaten Mitsuyoshi Fujita (2-0) and the hard hitting Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (6-1, 5).
In the Welterweight division Shota Aikawa (4-2-1, 1) will be fighting the unbeaten Dai Taoka (6-0, 3) in an interesting contest before we get a Middleweight contest, unfortunately we can't recognise either of the Middleweight fighters.
The Japanese show finishes with a Lightweight between a Japanese fighter and a Thai opponent. Unfortunately we've struggled again to identify either man.
As well as the bumper Japanese card there is also some great internation action featuring Asian fighters.
In the US, as part of an excellent Top Rank card dubbed the "Triple Header", Filipino Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20) finally rematches Armenian puncher Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28). This bout, which comes some 6 years after Donaire stopped Darchinyan in the Ring Magazine 2007 Upset of the year, may not have a title on the line but promises to be something very special, especially when you consider that both men have a point to prove. Donaire wants to prove that his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux was just a bad night at the office whilst Darchinyan wants to prove his loss to Donaire was a fluke. We'll admit this is, for us, the highlight of the night.
Donaire isn't the only Asian in action in the US with Urmat Ryskeldiev (6-3, 5) of Kyrgyzstan fighting the unbeaten Patrick Day (5-0, 2) and former Japanese Light Middleweight champion Charlie Ota (23-1-1, 16) facing Mike Ruiz (17-7, 9). For Ota, who is originally from the US, this will just be his second contest stateside.
As well as the US action the international theme continues in the Ukraine as Uzbekistan's Ravshan Djabbarov (11-4-1, 5) fights Russian Umar Salamov (7-0, 6) in a contest for the vacant IBO Youth Light Heavyweight title.
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.