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)
We're sorry for the past week or so of no updates, we've been having issues that have been keeping us from updating the site recently. Thankfully those issues have been sorted and normal service will be resumed this week, starting with a preview of Tuesday's upcoming action.
Tuesday's action is shared across Hong Kong and Japan with two noteworthy cards that are sure to grab the attention of boxing fans.
In the Korakuen Hall there is a 6 bout card that features several promising young Japanese fighters. Arguably the biggest name on the card is Kenji Kubo (1-1) who is looking to bounce back from his stunning loss to Rey Megrino back in January. Kubo will be matched a little softer than he has been so far as he takes on Galih Susanto (6-2, 1) from Indonesia. Although this is supposedly an easier bout Susanto did give Denkaosan Kaovichit a tough bout earflier this year and is better than his record indicates.
If Kubo is the biggest name (due to his experience in other fields) then Hiroki Okada (5-0, 5) is the most promising. The unbeaten Okada is to take on the experienced Indonesian Heri Andriyanto (19-15-2, 10). Whilst on paper this is a mismatch Andriyanto did end the stoppage streak of Shuhei Tsuchiya just over a year ago. Aged 23 Okada is one of Japan's most exciting prospects but will need to pass this tough test before we can say too much more.
Other than Okada there is only 1 other unbeaten fighter on the card, Gosuke Seki (12-0-2, 2) who faces Kenta Takahashi (10-5-2, 3). This is a rematch of a bout from last year which saw next to nothing seperating the two men and the judges ruling it a draw.
The other 3 bouts on the card include Ryota Itoyama (9-4, 5) taking on Yuichi Ideta (13-7-1, 7) with Ideta trying to end a 5 fight winless streak, the very evenly matched Tonko Nakagawa (11-5, 4) and Yoshihiro Utsumi (10-4-1, 5) fighting in a Super Bantamweight bout and Masahito Igawa (10-7-1, 3) looking to return after over 2 years out as he takes on Masatoshi Nakamura (6-6, 3).
In Hong Kong local star Rex Tso (8-0, 5) fights his toughest bout to date as he takes on former world champion Wandee Singwancha (67-16-1, 18). Tso will be hoping to make the second defense of his WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title. Despite the huge gulf in experience he should have enough size advantage and youth to defeat his Thai opponent.
The Tso bout is just 1 of 3 titles bouts on the Hong Kong card with Thai Ekapol Yothinpanawet (13-1, 9) looking to claim the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title as he takes on Filipino Mike Tumbaga (12-18-2, 6) in the only bout for a vacant title.
Arguably the most significant title bout on the card is the WBC Atomweight title fight between the Japanese champion Momo Koseki (15-2-1, 3) and Eun-Young Huh (6-1-1). Kosecki is on a 13 fight unbeaten streak including 10 defenses of her title and will be looking to once again back up her claim of being the best Atomweight on the planet.
The card's only 6 round bout sees Japanese based Ugandan Festus Omondi (8-4, 6) taking on the experienced Edgar Gabejan (23-29-6, 7). This is a bit of a toss up though we would favour Gabejan due to his experience.
The remaining 3 bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounds sees 6 novices in action with just a solitary bout between them. The one man with a fight to his name is Chan Sin Man (1-0) who will be facing Alvin Cooney (0-0), the other two, all debutant bouts are Nibesh Ghale v Kuok Kun Ng and Oliver Prevost v Keng Fai Lam. The second of those bouts is the most interesting pitting the Hong Kong based Frenchman Prevost against Macao's Keng Fai Lam in a Heavyweight bout in a bout that has plenty of intrigue though can it deliver?