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.
Another Friday and another extremely busy day in the Asian boxing world with a major domestic card in Japan, two very notable shows in Thailand and two Asian's in title fights in Australia.
We'll start with the Thai action is split between Nakhon Sawan and Nakhon Ratchasima with two notable fights expected to take place in each venue with one of those shows (we think the Nakhon Ratchasima) to be televised on Thai Channel 3.
In the Nakhon Ratchasima card we expect to see former world title holder Tepparith Kokietgym (23-3, 13) in action, albeit against a yet to be named opponent, as he attempts to claim the WBC Asia Council Continental Bantamweight title.
As well as Tepparith we also expect to see a bout with Thai based Jqpanese fighter Tomoyuki Nishikawa (2-0, 1) taking on Russian Alexandr Masalov (0-0-1) in a battle for the interim WBC Asia Council Continental Light Middleweight title.
On the other Thai card we expect to see recent Bantamweight world title holder Pungluang Sor Singyu (44-2, 29) defending his WBO "international" Bantamweight title against Indonesian Zun Rindam (9-2-1, 4). On the same card, Pungluang's Thai compatriot Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (47-1, 30) attempts to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he also fights an Indonesian named Yon Armed (10-3-1, 6),
In Japan we get the a show dubbed "Dangan 83", a show that features 12 bouts, all of which are scheduled for 4 rounds. These bouts are split in to two, with the first 4 all being normal novice bouts, whilst the final 8 bouts are semi-finals for a Class C Tournament.
The opening bout on the Japanese show features two debutants who we believe are Tomofumi Hongo (0-0) and Tamaki Tetsuya (0-0), their bout will be swiftly followed by a battle between the unbeaten paring of Hiroyasu Shiga (1-0, 1) and Yoshiki Abe (2-0-1, 1) in what looks like a promising match up on paper.
In the third bout, which we expect will be an explosive encounter, the unbeaten Masayasu Nakamura (2-0, 2) fights Kota Shibayama (2-1-1, 2) before the final, none Class C tournament bout which will see Tomokazu Ueda (2-0) fighting Makoto Kawasaki (2-1-1, 1).
We've got to admit that none of those bouts are highly interesting to us in total honesty, though hopefully they will be better in the ring than they look on paper.
In the first of the tournament bouts the unbeaten Takamasa Kawahara (1-0) will battle Tatsuji Kakumoto (1-3) this is one of two Light Flyweight bouts in the tournament with the other seeing Shoji Ebisawa (2-1) battling Yuki Shiina (1-3). We expect that Kawahara and Ebisawa will be successful here and move on to the next round.
In a Flyweight bout we get a meeting of unbeaten fighters as Sonin Nihei (1-0) battles Shuhei Takahashi (2-0, 1) in what is the only bout at the weight. Incidentally we also only have a single Bantamweight bout as Yoshihiko Hashimoto (0-1) battles the debuting Ishii Ryu Makoto (0-0) (least we believe that to be his name).
At Featherweight we have two bouts with the first of those being Yuta Itagaki (1-1, 1) against the unbeaten Yuta Onishi (2-0, 2) in a bout that we favour Onishi in, whilst the second will see Kazuo Shimada (2-6, 1) fighting Tsuyoshi Naito (2-3-2, 1). We've got to be honest this second bout doesn't really do anything for us and it's very hard to be too excited about, no matter who comes out on on top.
The penultimate bout sees Super Featherweight action as Naoki Oura (2-1, 2) takes on Ryo Sugimoto (1-5) in a bout that we'd expect Oura to come out on top in. The final bout, at Light weight, thankfully allows the show to end on a high with unbeaten men colliding as Yoshihito Takahashi (2-0, 2) fights Shoma Koga (2-0, 2) in a bout we do not expect will let us down.
The final bouts involving Asian fighters both take place in Australia. The most notable of these bouts will see Filipino born Australian Jack Asis (29-18-4, 15) battling Japan's Hirohito Fukuhara (16-8-8, 8) in a battle for the vacant WBC Asia Council Continental Super Featherweight title. Although neither man has an outstanding record it's worth noting that Asis is on an 8 fight unbeaten run whilst Fukuhara hasn't been stopped since going 9 rounds with the hard hitting Shuhei Tsuchiya and also holds a notable stoppage over Filipino Roberto Gonzales. The winner of this bout will claim the vacant WBC Asia Council Continental Super Featherweight title.
The second bout in Australia sees Filipino Gabriel Altarejos (12-2-1, 4) being thrown to the wolves once again. Following back to back losses to Masaaki Serie and Hugo Fidel Cazares the 21 year old "Wonderboy" now faces the hard hitting Brayd Smith (6-0, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Silver Featherweight title. On paper this looks fine but Altarejos has never fought at Featherweight and probably should be at Bantamweight in all honesty.
After the action we've had over the past two weeks or so it's about time that things started to slow off a little and thats what we have this Friday.
The only notable card in Asia seems to be in Thailand as the always fun to watch Pungluang Sor Singyu (44-2, 29) defends his WBO International Bantamweight title. His opponent is yet to be named and we don't expect anyone of note to be in the other corner though it is always fun to see Pungluang in action.
As well as the WBO International title fight we do expect at least 1 other bout on the card, though we're unsure on who else will be on the show.
In Australia we expect to see experienced Thai Thongthai Rajanondh (16-13, 4) taking on Austrealian novice Luke Jackson (1-0, 1). Although the experience edge is certainly with the Thai here we tend to favour "Action" Jackson to claim his second victory.
With recent victories for both Kompayak Porpramook and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai boxing in Thailand seems to be on the mend after a nightmare like 2012. Today will see two more men who will be looking to recapture titles after being deposed of their championship status in recent bouts.
The most recent Thai to lose a world title is former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-2, 28). Sor Singyu, who lost the title Paulus Ambunda back in March, returns to the ring for the first time as he takes on Fredirex Rodriguez (11-2-1, 8) in a bout for the WBO International Bantamweight title. It's hard to see Sor Singyu losing this one and we'd expect him to work his way back to a world title bout sooner rather than later.
On a different card we see former WBA Super Flyweight champion Tepparith Kokietgym (22-3, 13) looking to score his second successive victory since losing to Kohei Kono at the end of 2012. Tepparith will be facing Jecker Buhawe (14-7-1, 9) in a bout for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title.
On the same show as Tepparith's bout there are also fights for stablemates Petch Kokietgym (17-1, 3) and Ratchasak Kokietgym (15-2-1, 7). Petch will be looking for his 11th successive victory as he takes on the experienced Elmar Francisco (16-18-2, 4), it's fair to say that Petch will be expected to come out on top here.
For Ratchasak things are even more simple as he takes on Pisanuthep Sithsaithong (0-0) a fighter who is making his professional debut and will not be expected to be too much of a problem.
At the moment there is only 1 other bout confirmed for the card as Padjai Yongyuthgym (15-1-2, 10) takes on Randy Megrino (12-14-2, 7).
In Australia Thai hopes lie with Superjames Singmanasak (3-11, 2) who will need to score the biggest victory of his career if he's to upset the unbeaten Australian Mark Schleibs (2-0, 2). Whilst Schleibs is inexperienced Singmanasak has yet to record any wins of note and we can't see him scoring the upset here.
Whilst it's fair to say that tomorrow (May 4th) will see every boxing fan watching major bouts from Europe (Wladimir Klitschko v Francesco Pianeta) and America (Floyd Mayweather Jr v Robert Guerrero and Abner Mares v Daniel Ponce De Leon) today is about fights in Asia.
Not only do we see a Japanese fighter attempting to make history but we also see 2 former world champions in action as they attempts to make their way back to the top in what promises to be an excellent day of fights in Thailand.
The highlight appears to be in Si Sa Ket with a card headlined by WBC Super Flyweight champion Yota Sato (26-2-1, 12) defending his belt against the thunderously powerful Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (18-3-1, 17). This bout will not only be the 3rd defense of the title by Sato but also holds an historic value, is Sato wins he'll be the first ever defending world champion to win a title defense in Thailand. This bout, in full, has been previewed here.
On the same card as the Sato bout there is also action from former champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (20-5-1, 10) the man that Sato beat for the title last year. Suriyan will be expected to score his 6th victory since his loss to Sato when he steps in to the ring against Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (11-26-6, 2), who will be fighting for the second time in around a week (after having lost a split decision to Robert Udtuhan).
The card will also see the unbeaten Nawaphon Por Chokchai (13-0, 10), the younger brother of Suriyan, in action. Nawaphon will be facing Michael Rodriguez (13-36-1, 3) in what appears to be an easy victory. Also on the card are Chaiyong Sithsaithong (29-10-3, 21) who will face Jen Yu Jia (2-4-1, 1) and Yodchanchai Nakornloung Promotion (19-3-0-1, 16) who looks to bounce back after being stopped by Nabuo Nashiro a few weeks ago, he'll be facing debutant Pansak Sor Ratidech (0-0).
Also in Thailand we see the return to the ring of former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-2, 28) who looks for his first victory since losing his title to Paulus Ambunda back in March. Sor Singyu will be facing Filipino Fredirex Rodriguez (11-2-1, 8) for the WBO International Bantamweight title. With Sor Singyu being as good as he is we'd expect him to come out victorious here and perhaps try and force a rematch with Ambunda (and lets be honest, like anyone would dislike that!)
As well as the bouts in Thailand, there is also a low profile card in the Philippines. The main bout here is in the Light Flyweight division as Jomar Fajardo (11-4-1, 5) takes on durable journeyman Ruther del Castillo (8-18-8, 2). The other bouts on the card, feature 3 unbeaten men as Renren Pasignahin (4-0-1, 1), Ian Ligutan (4-0-1, 2) and Lloyd Jardeliza (3-0-2, 2) are in action. Sadly only Pasignahin's opponent is known and he'll be fighting Menard Zaragosa (5-11, 3)
Outside of Asia, Australia again hosts action with Thai pair Kiatchai Singwancha (32-9, 21) and Sapapetch Sor Sakaorat (29-11, 19) both in action. Although both men have solid records they have been brought to Australia as "opponents" for two Aussie fighters who are expected to score relatively easy but yet notable victories. Fingers crossed that the plan backfires!