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.
Following on from Monday's excellent card in the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo again hosts the biggest card of the day and one of two in Japan.
At the Tokyo Big Sight the WBA Bantamweight world champion Koki Kameda (30-1, 17) makes the 7th defense of his title as takes on Filipino challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-2-3, 4). As with every fight Koki is involved in, this will get attention and although we veiw it as a bit of a mismatch (read our preview here) it will almost certainly leave us with something to talk about
The co-feature sees Japanese female fighter Etsuko Tada (12-0-2, 2) defending her WBA female Minimumweight title against the very highly regarded Anabel Ortiz (11-3, 2). We like this bout a lot on paper though ufortunately we have question marks about Ortiz who is coming in after a lay off around 11 monhts. At her best Ortiz would have been a handful of Tada but after the lay off we're not too sure.
As far as we are aware the show will feature 4 other bouts though unfortunately we only have details on two of them as Kuninobu Shimamura (15-2, 10) takes on Filipino RJ Ano-os (7-4-1, 2) and Junta Sekimoto (12-11-3, 5) faces Daisuke Morita (7-4-1, 2).
With Shimamura taking an impressive 8 fight winning streak into this bout it'd be a shock to see him suffering a defeat to a man who has lost his last 2, including a decision loss to Takashi Miura.
The other bout, Sekimoto/Morita actually looks oddly compelling. Sekimoto has won just 1 from his last 12 contests whilst Morita has won 5 of his last 9, albeit 3 of those victories were highly controversial. It's unlikely either man will ever be a name to remember though we wouldn't be shocked if this turned out to be a memorable contest.
The other Japanese card also takes place in Tokyo and although that actually is at the Korakuen Hall it's fair to say it's certainly the "B" show.
The card, put on by Katsumata Promotions is dubbed "Oriental Boxing Night" and features fighters from around the Orient. In fact the show only has one all-Japanese fight as Takahisa Nayuki (9-9, 1) takes on Kengo Ito (9-10, 6). Lets be honest, it's not a highly attractive match up, especially when you consider neither fighter is actually from Tokyo.
Of the 6 remaining bouts that we have details of they all some international flavour with 4 Thai's and 4 Filipino's as well as 4 Japanese fighters.
In female action Filipino Honey Mae Bermoy (3-2, 3) takes on Thailand's Phokaew Tor Chalermchai (0-1). This is one of two bouts that feature a Filipino taking on a Thai with Ryan Bito (21-11-3, 7) facing Keattisak Tor Chalermchai (2-2). From these two bouts it's hard to see anything but wins for both Filipino's.
Unfortunately, despite the international feel of the card it's hard to see Thailand picking up any wins as their other two fighters won't be favoured. In posibly the biggest mismatch Anuntachai Sor Por Lor Krungthep (5-3, 3) takes on Yuta Nagai (26-8-4, 17). Nagai is 1-1-4 in his last 6 though will be expected to do a real number on Anuntachai.
The one chance that Thailand does have of getting a result is that Suthep Sor Por Lor Krungthep (2-2) can upset Ryuta Wakamatsu (7-8, 5). This certainly isn't out of the question, especially when we consider that Wakamatsu has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 contests.
The remaining 2 contests both see Japanese fighters pitted against Filipino's and are arguably the most evenly matched bouts. At Bantamweight we get Yuki Nakai (6-3-2, 2) facing Jovylito Aligarbes (7-2, 2) and down at Flyweight Yuki Nasu (23-7, 16) takes on Rene Dacquel (9-1, 2).
Going in to the Dacquel/Nasu fight we do need to favour Nasu but Dacquel is unbeaten in 8 contests and Nasu has been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses. The Nakai/Aligarbes bout is very evenly matched on paper, though we de feal that Nakai might be the naturally bigger guy and will use this to his advantage.
If you're in Tokyo you can certainly get to see some fights today!
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.