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.
Although much of the last week, aside from Monday, has been quiet in terms of Asian boxing it's fair to say that it's been a calm before a storm with Saturday being nothing short of a spectacular day for fight fans. Whilst we're obviously biased in favour of Asian boxing it's fair to say that no boxing fan has any right to be disappointed with today.
Just to show how varied today's action is, at least 1 Asian fighter is fighting in Europe, North America, South America, Oceania and of course Asia it's self!
For us the most promising bout takes place in Cancun, Mexico as WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (25-2-2, 19) takes on highly reegarded challenger Sergio Thompson (27-2, 25). It's not often a fight has “fireworks” written all over it but that's exactly what we have here with two big hitting fighters getting together in a bout that honestly has the feel of being something very memorable. If you action hard hitting this is really a bout you must catch.
On the undercard of the Thompson/Miura bout there will also be a contest involving Filipino-American Ana Julaton (12-3-1, 2). The former WBO female Super Bantamweight champion takes on Celina Salazar (4-1-2, 1) of America. Although Salazar has a decent looking record she has won just 1 of her last 4 and Julaton should probably go in to the bout as a small favourite.
Whilst the Miura/Thompson fight is the bout we're looking forward to the most we'll be honest and say it's run closely by the main event of "Red Mist" the WBO Light Heavyweight title contest between Britain's Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12) and Russian challenger Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19). Although Cleverly is the defending champion he is seen as the slight under-dog against the monstrously hard punching yet technically sound Russian who is expected by many to expose Cleverly's limitations at the world level.
Also on Clerverly/Kovalev card is British based Syrian Youssef Al Hamidi (12-56-3, 1) who will be facing the promising Craig Evans (9-0, 3)
Of course it's not just those two major cards with an Asian interest taking place outside of Asia but there's also major international bouts in the US featuring fighters from Asia.
One of those, possibly the most notable, is in Texas as Lightweight contender Denis Shafikov (32-0-1, 17) of Russia, makes his US debut and faces Santos Benavides (23-3-2, 17) in a promising 10 round bout.
It's not only the Lightweight bout in Texas that's worth our attention but also a trio of bouts in Utah. The most interesting of these sees the once beaten Bahodir Mamadjonov (13-1, 9) taking on Rynell Griffin (7-16-2, 2). Mamadjonov, of Uzbekistan, is a very strong fighter who impressed many last time out when he stopped the previously undefeated Cuban Angelo Santana and we're hoping that he'll manage to build up to a world title fight in the next 2 or 3 years as.
On the same card as the Mamadjonov fight we also expect to see Russian youngster Evgeny Chuprakov (5-0, 2) and Light Welterweight prospect Fedor Papazov (12-0, 8) though neither man appear to have an opponent at the moment.
Staying on international soil there is also action for Filipinos in Australia with journeymen Robert Oyan (20-39-5, 7) taking on the hotly tipped George Kambosos Jr (1-0, 1) and Aswin Cabuy (14-41-3, 7) faces Costa Katsounis (8-1, 5). Whilst we don't give Cabuy any chance we do feel that Oyan should be able to pose Kambosos some interesting questions in their bout.
Staying in Australia, though on a different card, Gretchen Abaniel (12-4, 3) will face Fahpratan Looksaikongdin (7-5), James Mokoginta (24-11-2, 12) will look to claim the Interim PABA Super Bantamweight title as he takes on Terry TJ Doheny (4-0, 3) and the experienced Jonathan Simamora (23-23-5, 8) looks for a major upset against Ben McCulloch (11-0, 8) for the PABA Super Middleweight tit;le.
Despite all the international action there is also action in Asia with 2 cards in the Philippines. Unfortunately details on both cards are scarce.
In Dipolog City the once beaten Marco Demecillo (18-1-1, 14) faces the unbeaten Giovanni Escaner (10-0, 6) in a battle for the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) Super Flyweight title. Although we don't know the rest of the card we'll admit that if we were around the area we'd be watching to catch this one live.
The other Filipino card takes place at Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur and so far we have details on just 2 contests from it as Powell Balaba (6-9-1, 3) takes on Thai visitor Panmongkol Ekarin (10-4, 5) and Bernard Alipan (3-4, 3) faces Jomar Ministerio (5-5-1, 2). It's fair to say that neither of these bouts will get many excited, especially with the fight that's taking places in Dipolog city.
Whilst we love boxing in Asia, it's always fun when we have Asian's fighting in international bouts. Today Asian fighters are literally fighting every where.
In New South Wales Filipino's collide with the once highly ranked Allan Tanada (11-2-2, 5) facing the Australian based Filipino born veteran Roberto Oyan (20-38-4, 7). Oyan seems to have spent the past few years merely making up the numbers and we'd expect the same here against a fighter looking to rebuild his career after suffering 2 losses in his last 3 bouts.
Staying in Australia, though in Queensland Thai pair Khomkeaw Sithsaithong (6-1, 5) and Khomsan Sithsaithong (0-0) are in action. Khomkaew faces the unbeaten Dennis Hogan (11-0-1, 4) in the shows main event whilst Khomsan takes on Jarrett Owen (2-1-1, 1).
Whilst Asian's fighting in Australia is rather "common" it's much less common to see them in Denmark. Surprisingly that's where Artem Solomko (11-22-1, 4), an Uzbek born Belorussian, is fighting this weekend. Solomko faces the highly touted Norwegian Simen Smaadal (5-0, 2)
In South Africa Filipino Edrin Dapudong (28-5, 16) looks to claim the IBO Super Flyweight title as he takes on current champion Gideon Buthelezi (13-3, 4). This bout is the second between the two men who fought last Novemeber with Dapudong bein very unfortunate not to claim the title. We're expecting a very close battle here.
In Britain the Pakistan born Faheem Khan (4-0-2) faces the once beaten Gareth Heard (4-1, 1) in what looks to be a very evenly matched bout.
Arguably the most important bout howeber takes place in Argentina as the highly regarded Chika Mizutani (14-3, 7) challenges WBC female Lightweight champion Erica Anabella Farias (16-0, 9). Mizutani is in hard here but she's certainly a live under-dog and has got the ability to at least test Farias, even if she is unlikely to defeat the Argentinian champion.