A busy Saturday sees the Philippines taking centre stage in the the Asian boxing world with two notable cards.
In Muntinlupa City, and televised on NBN Channel 4, there is a 10 fight card, featuring an impressive 4 title bouts.
The show, of course, kicks off with none title action and features 6 non-title bouts. These are expected to start with the unbeaten Marlon Arcilla (2-0) battling Eric Pansa (1-1-1) and Fighting Heno (0-0-3) in action against Julius Bala (2-1) in what we expect to be 4 round bouts.
In 8 round action Eranio Semillano (6-5, 3) faces Bryan Vicera (11-6-3, 5) in what promises to be a solid under-card bout before we have a series of 10 round contests. In the non-title 10 round bouts Mike Espanosa (11-6, 7) fights the unbeaten Renren Pasignahin (5-0-1, 1), Virgil Puton (10-3, 4) battles Daniel Ferreras (12-6-2, 4) and Jaymart Toyco (12-4, 8) attempts to defeat journyeman Michael Rodriguez (13-36-1, 3).
The first of the title fights on the show is expected to be a contest for the vacant Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Super Featherweight title. This will be between the "Unpredictable" Ronald Pontillas (15-6-3, 7), a former OPBF champion, and former national Super Bantamweight champion Balweg Bangoyan (18-8, 7).
We expect the second title bout to be between Rene Dacquel (10-1, 3) and Angelito Merin (6-2-2, 1) with the winner getting the vacant WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Flyweight title, a belt previously held by Carlos Cuadras and Stephane Jamoye.
In the first of two 12 round title bouts we expect to see Jerson Luzarito (7-3-3, 3) fighting Ronelle Ferreras (12-5-2, 5) for the interim PABA Minimumweight title. This bout could put the winner in with a good chance of fighting for the WBA Minimumweight title in the next 12 months, especially considering the storng rumour that Ryo Miyazaki is set to vacate.
The last of the title fights sees former world title challenger Ardin Diale (21-8-3, 8) defending his Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) Flyweight title for the fourth time. Diale will be taking on Jeffrey Cerna (14-7, 5) who comes in to the bout after back-to-back victories on the domestic scene.
The card above is one of two in Meetro Manila with the other taking place in Mandaluyong City. This second card, a 6 fight show promoted by ALA, is a much lesser card.
The main event on the ALA show sees Rene Bestudio (15-5-4, 5) battling Jonel Alibio (16-16-4, 8) in a 10 round contest. When you compare this bout to the ones in Muntinlupa, it's fair to say that this show pales in comparison to the other one.
In the co-feature of the ALA show the hard hitting Jimmy Aducal (6-2-2, 5) fights Argie Toquero (4-3-1, 3) whilst the unbeaten Richard Claveras (3-0-2, 3) battles the once beaten Jesame Dela Cerna (4-1-3, 1). These bouts, both scheduled for 8, should be interesting though we doubt either will be great.
The resy of the card will see JC Francisco (3-6-1) battling Dexter Dimaculangan (3-2-3, 1), Philip Luis Cuerdo (0-0) fighting Roderick Naduma (0-2) and, in a contest between debutants Robin Dingcong (0-0) and Joel Lumangcag (0-0).
As well as the Filipino action there is also an Asian interest in both Australia and the UK.
In Australia the Thai trio of Dennapa Bigshotcamp (12-27, 4), Dechapon Suwunnalird (5-24, 1) and Komgrit Nanakorn (17-19, 7) are in action.
Of the three thai's it's Dennapa that has the hardest match up taking on the unbeaten Ozan Craddock (5-0, 4). Saying that however it's hard to imagine any of the Thai;s winnning with Dechapon taking on the promising Nathan Carroll (9-1-1, 3) and Komgrit fighting the hard hitting Balazs Varga (8-4, 7).
The action continues in the UK as Edmund Gerber (23-1, 14), originally of Kazakhstan, takes on former Heavyweight world title challenger Derrick Chisora (17-4, 11). With Gerber having looked incredibly poor in his most recent fights it would be far from a shock to see him stopped here by Chisora who is clearly looking for a second world title fight, or a shot at the Haye/Fury winner later this month.
Today seems a great day to be a Filipino boxing fan with domestic action and international action.
In Cebu City, ALA Promotions have got a very exciting 7 fight card headlined by the highly ranked Roli Gasca (19-4-1, 5) facing the hard hitting Jimmy Aducal (6-1-2, 5).
Gasca's career in recent fights has slowed significantly with 3 losses in his last 6 bouts though he is very talented and looking to prove himself once again. He'll need to get beyond Aducal who is a big hitter and has stopped his last 5 opponents whilst also claiming the PBF Super Flyweight title. We should have an excellent contest here between boxer and banger.
As well as the Gasca/Aducal bout there are 4 promising Filipino prospects with Mark Andrew Acub (11-0, 9) being the most notable of them. Acub faces the experienced Rene Bestudio (15-4-4, 5) in what looks like his toughest bout to date.
The other prospects on the Cebu City card are Arjan Canillas (8-0-2, 6) who faces Rodel Wenceslao (6-6-1, 1); John Vincent Moralde (5-0, 2) who fights Rolando Navarette Jr (2-1-1, 2) and Kim Galon (1-0, 1) who is up against Ryan Canillas (2-1-2, 1).
Also on the card are bouts between Engelbert Moralde (4-1, 3) and Junior Salvador (4-15-3) and Jojo Entor (23-10-7, 8) who faces Jamjam Ungon (0-3).
As well as the Cebu City card there is also a show in Metro Manila thanks to Elorde Promotions. This show in Metro Manila features 6 bouts with 5 unbeaten fighters on the show.
The most notable bout on the card sees Randy Braga (10-0, 2) facing the experienced Rex Olisa (9-19-1, 7). This will be Braga's first 10 round bout and could well help move him to within a fight or two of a national title bout.
In the card's other 10 rounder the once beaten Rene Patilano (8-1-2, 4) faces Geboi Mansalayao (8-14-4, 3). This is Patilano's first bout since suffering a technical draw with Randy Petalcorin in February.
In 6 round action the unbeaten Giemel Magramo (5-0, 3) faces Julius Bala (2-1) and Jay Loto (4-0) faces Benjie Bartolome (1-6-1). It would be a genuine shock here if either of the unbeaten men were beaten here. The reamining 2 bouts, both scheduled for 4 rounds, see John Ray Logatiman (1-0) fighting Richard Elma (0-1) and Jomel Diocos (2-0, 2) facing Arnold Garde (3-1-2, 1). Again it would be a surprise if the unbeaten fighters were defeated here.
In Mexico the Filipino youngster Jaderes Padua (8-2-1, 5) faces his second former world champion in successive bouts as he fights the hard hitting Mexican Fernando Montiel (49-4-2, 37). Montiel, a former Flyweight, Super Flyweight and Bantamweight champion hasn't looked the same since being stopped in 2 rounds by Nonito Donaire back in 2011, though he should still have too much for Padua who was stopped by Tomas Rojas back in April.
Also in Mexico Weng Haya (17-5, 9), yet another Filipino, faces the hard hitting Mexican prospect Miguel Berchelt (18-0, 15) who has looked very good in recent bouts. This looks like a hard nights work for Haya.
In the UK the tricky Syrian journeyman Youssef Al Hamidi (12-55-2, 1) faces Chris Goodwin (16-2-1). Goodwin was earlier scheduled to face Oisin Fagan so it appears that Hamidi has been a late replacement, despite this he has the ability to make things very tough for Goodwin.
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.