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.
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)
Today sees 2 notable cards in Asia. One in Japan at the always popular Korakuen Hall which sees an OPBF title bout and one in the Philippines which features a WBC Youth Silver title meaning that both cards do hold some international importance.
In Japan the OPBF title bout we mentioned is the Light Welterweight belt currently held by South Korean Min-Wook Kim (9-1, 7). Kim will be hoping to make the 3rd defense of a title he won just less than a year ago as he takes on former Japanese champion Shinya Iwabuchi (21-3, 17). This bout, pitting two hard hitting fighters against each isn't really expected to see the final bell but it should promise fire works.
Although there is only one bout publicly listed at the Korakuen Hall, the bout does look genuinely fantastic and we do expect more than just the single one to actually be fought.
The Filipino card held at the "Muntinlupa Sports Complex" in Muntinlupa City is a much deeper card on paper even if the bouts aren't as meaningful. The main event here sees Filipino national champion (PBF) Richard Pumicpic (11-5-2, 4) making the first defense of his WBC Youth Silver Bantamweight title as he takes on Indonesian challenger Junior Bajawa (14-1, 7). Although on paper Bajawa's record is impressive we've got to favour the very under-rated Filipino who looks like he could be a dark horse for a world title down the line. Trust ue he's much better than his record indicates.
Amongst the more notable names on the Filipino card is former world title challenger Bernabe Concepcion (31-6-1, 17) who takes on journeyman Boido Simanjuntak (16-17-1, 5) ad Concepcion tries to work himself back into contention. Bernabe's younger brother Bobby Concepcion (10-3-1, 4) is also on the card as he faces Elbert Guardario (7-20-1, 2).
The Concepcion brothers make up 2 of the 4 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds on the card and they are joined by Daniel Ferreras (11-5-1, 4) who faces the experienced Marvin Tampus (27-17-2, 18) and Jeffrey Cerna (12-7, 5) who takes on Rogen Flores (12-19-4, 5).
Lower down the card is a chance for prospects Bebong Manalo (5-0, 3) and Nino Valenzuela (7-0, 2). Manalo will be facing Warren Mambuanag (5-2-2, 2) whilst Valenzuela goes up against the unbeaten Lester Abutan (2-0, 1).
The card also features the debut of Jon Jon Estrada and Juanito Hundante both in bouts that they have a good chance of winning. Estrada faces Mark Postrano (0-1) whilst Hundante goes up against JC Francisco (1-6) who won his last bout after losing his first 6. Despite Francisco's record he is much better than he raw numbers and could well have been 4-3 going in to this bout.
The only other bout on the card sees the perfect matching records of Jommel Mungkal and JR Florendo (both are 1-1) taking each other on. Florendo has twice faced JC Francisco (see above) and going in to this bout we genuinely have to say it's a 50-50 bout.