Some days in boxing quiet, others are busy and on very rare occasions boxing is crazy. This Saturday is one of those crazy days with more action than you could shake a stick at, in fact there is more Asian action this Saturday than we can honestly believe.
We'll start with the biggest show of the day, “Pinoy Pride XXIII”, which as you may have guess will be in the Philippines.
Dubbed “Pinos Kontra Latinos” the show is mainly Filipinos fighting against Latinos and it's these fights that give us the shows two main events and the chief support bouts.
The main fight, for us, is the WBO Minimumweight title fight which will see Merlito Sabillo (23-0, 12) defending his title against unbeaten Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (27-0-0-1, 16). Buitrago, fighting in Asia for the first time, will be the third successive Latin American to fight Sabillo who has stopped both Luis De La Rosa and Jorle Estrada this year. With both men having unbeaten records and with a world title on the line this is one of those rare fights that does get the mouth water and really could be something very special inside the ring.
Sabillo isn't the only man defending his world on this Filipino show as his compatriot Donnie Nietes (31-1-4, 17) attempts to defend his WBO Light Flyweight title. Nietes, who looked very poor against Moises Fuentes last time out, has an easier assignment than Sabillo as he fights the somewhat shop worn Sammy Gutierrez (33-9-2, 23). At his best Gutierrez would have been a handful for Nietes but right now the Mexican challenger appears to merely be collecting one more pay day.
Alongside the two world title fights are two international fights as Filipinos again face Latinos. These bouts will see Jason Pagara (31-2, 19) defending his WBO International Light Welterweight title against the big hitting Vladimir Baez (19-1-2, 17) from the Dominican Republic and recent world title challenger Milan Melindo (29-1, 12) attempting to claim the WBO International Flyweight title as he takes on Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (29-2, 18). For Melindo his bout will be his first since losing in his world title fight to Juan Francisco Estrada and he may feel the mental effects of that loss here, despite putting up a very good effort.
In the most notable non-title bout of the show AJ Banal (29-2-1, 1) will be fighting Manuel Gonzalez Garcia (16-7-2, 5) over 10 rounds. This will be supported on the under-card by Jimrex Jaca fighting (38-6-3, 21) fighting Wellem Reyk (17-7-3, 5) of Indonesia.
The opening contests on this Filipino card will see Justo Bornilla (5-1-1) fighting Diover Mangaya-ay (1-2-1), Jerwin Dela Rosa (1-3) battling Marlon Arcilla (2-1) and Rolly Sumalpong (1-0) meeting fellow unbeaten Jeffrey Alejandre (1-0).
It's not just the Filipino card with world title action but also China as their first ever world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (21-4-1, 11) makes the second defense of his WBC Minimumweight title. Unfortunately this bout, which will be televised by CCTV 5, won't be Zhong in with a real challenger as Omari Kimweri was forced out of the bout due to passport issues. Instead Zhong will be facing Thailand's Lookrak Kiatmungmee (7-4, 4) who hasn't fought a professional boxing contest since 2011. Of course with this being Zhong's first defense in China it's hard to bee too angry about him having an easy one.
On the same show as Zhong's world title defense we expect five other bouts. These are likely to include Nampetch Or Liangprasert (1-0, 1) fighting the debuting Kang En (0-0), Chinese based Russian Andrey Kalyuzhnyy (3-1, 1) battling Angelov Vasil Kostadinov (0-0), Xian Wei Qian (2-1-1) up against Neeraj Goyat (0-2-2) and Xu Chun Yan (2-3) fighting Keanpetch Superchamps (5-5-1) in an all female bout. The only contest we're unsure about is that of Qu Peng (3-0-1, 2) who is apparently fighting an Indian opponent called Surender (0-0). We assume Surender isn't the fighter full name.
Although things are busy in China and in the Philippines things are insanely busy in Russia where we're lead to believe there will be an astonishing five different shows!
The most interesting of the Russian shows is at the Olympic Sports Complex in Grozny as SKV Boxing put on an eight fight show which involves two title fights and several interesting unbeaten fighters.
As far as we are aware the main event will see Apti Ustarkhanov (3-1-1, 1) fighting Josef Obeslo (4-13-1, 2) for the GBU Light Heavyweight title. Despite us assuming that's the main event, the most interesting contest is probably the other world title bout on the show which will see the unbeaten Nikki Adler (10-0, 6) fighting for the female WBC Super Middleweight title as she faces Zane Brige (2-3-1, 1). Whilst this is a better contest it should be noted that Adler is already 2-0 against Brige.
In regards to the prospects on the show we're very interesting in Movsur Yusupov (5-0, 3), who is scheduled in a 12 rounder against Vladimir Idranyi (4-13-2, 1), and Viskhan Murzabekov (6-0, 3), who will be up against Uladzislau Mahdanau (1-4, 1) in a 10 rounder. It's hard to tell what either of these unbeaten men have in terms of potential but the fact they are already being put in 10 and 12 rounders is an interesting thing to note considering their lack of experience.
On the under-card Arbi Madaev (1-0) will be fighting the win-less Oleksandr Pritula (0-1), Zubayr Suleymanov (0-1) will be hunting his first victory as he takes on the relative fragile Bogdan Bondarenko (1-6, 1), Heavyweight puncher Apti Davtaev (3-0, 3) will look to extend his stioppage run as he goes up against Frantisek Kynkal (2-2, 2) and probably most interestingly Ilyas Kelimatov (0-0) debuts in a 6 rounder against Anton Petukhov (0-1).
Whilst the debut of Kelimatov interests us we'd actually go as far as to say the most interesting debut takes place in Moscow as 2012 Olympian Uktamjon Rahmonov (0-0) debuts against Evgeny Klimov (2-0, 1). Rahmonov looked very good in the Olympics before running in to eventual Gold medal winner Roniel Iglesias and we'd say he has real potential to become a very special fighter.
It's of course not just Rahmonov in action in Moscow the though the show is full of debuts as Iliyor Sherali (0-0) takes on Sherzod Isakjonov (0-1), Igor Morozov (0-0) starts his career, Rasul Dibirov (0-0) fights Alexander Kubich (3-0, 1) and Islam Dumanov (0-0) takes on Egor Bakulin (2-0, 1).
The most exciting looking contest in Russia takes place in Lyubertsy as heavy handed Cruiserweights collide in a bout between Dmitry Kudryashov (11-0, 11) and Zack Mwekassa (14-3, 13). Between the two men they have a combined record of 25-3 (24) and have only been the distance twice in 28 contests. Don't be shocked if this is over in vicious fashion.
On the same show in Lyubertsy Evgeny Chuprakov (6-0, 2) will be fighting Alexey Shorokhov (5-6, 3) for the Russian Super Featherweight title. We believe Chuprakov should have more than enough in him to defeat Shorokhov though we'd like to see the unbeaten man pushed hard.
The rest of this card will see Maksym Ponomarev (8-1) fighting Alexey Kovalev (2-3, 1), Gasan Gasanov (6-2, 5) taking on Josef Krivka (4-3, 4), Arkadiy Arutyunyan (3-0) battling Gor Arutyunyan (0-1) and Romal Amanov (2-0) sharing the ring with Roman Ivanov (1-1, 1).
In Ekaterinburg we get a 3 fight show headlined by Dmitry Mikhaylenko (14-0, 5) fighting against Bogdan Protsyshyn (7-7, 2) in a 10 rounder.
The support bouts here are expected to see the unbeaten Vasily Lepikhin (14-0, 7) battling Alexey Varakin (28-18-3, 16) over 8 rounds and Andrei Isaeu (23-4, 7) fighting Suhrobjon Usmonov (4-11) over 6 rounds.
The final Russian card is in Pskov and features six contests. The main event here is expected to be Artur Akavov (8-1) up against Jeferson Luiz De Souza (12-1-1, 7) in a 10 rounder. Despite this being the main event we actually like the co-feature with Yuri Ramanau (22-3, 14) against Ravil Mukhamadiyarov (10-51-2, 8). Although a mismatch it could well open up a more meaningful contest for Ramanu who we've been long term admirers of despite how disappointing his career has become.
Of the remaining contests on the show only two are fully listed with Andrey Knyazev (9-0, 4) fighting Yuri Bihoutseu (6-5-2, 5) and Sergey Gorokhov (1-1, 1) battling Mikhail Ryzhonkin (2-3-1, 1).
The remaining contests in Pskov will see Gennady Martirosyan (23-3, 11) and Sherali Mamadaliev (17-2, 10) in action, though neither man yet has a named opponent.
Amazingly it seems like there are more Russians in action than any other nationality over the weekend as two are competing in Canada as well. For Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20) the weekend will be marked by his first WBO Light Heavyweight title defense as he fights Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17) in what could be a very short lived contest if Kovalev can get his wrecking balls in to action early on.
The other Russian in Canada is the very promising Artur Beterbiev (2-0, 2) who looks to extend his winning as he takes on Billy Bailey (12-17, 4). Bailey, despite having 17 losses has only been stopped twice, though Beterbiev does look like a genuinely destructive fighter and has the look of a future world champion.
The final bout which interests us will see Filipino-Canadian Marc Pagcaliwangan (6-0, 6) looking for his seventh straight stoppage as he takes on Octavio Hernandez (13-5, 6). This is by far the toughest contest in the career of Pagcaliwangan though the expectation is that the kid will become a massive star in the future so he should be able to pass this test with out any major worries.
The start of another weekend sees Asia once again the boxing limelight with fighters fighting around the world, and for the second Friday running, in a world title bout.
We'll start our look to Friday by looking at that aforementioned world title fight as China's Xiong Zhao Zhong (20-4-1, 11) makes the first defense of his WBC Minimumweight title. Zhong's opponent, the highly regarded Denver Cuello (33-4-6, 21) has finally his chance and this bout, in Dubai, should be an absolute cracker. We've previewed the bout in full here.
Also on the Dubai card is the unbeaten Iranian Mohammadali Bayat Farid (3-0, 3) who is facing a yet to be named opponent.
Of course the Zhong/Cuello fight isn't the only major fight of the day, in fact in Japan we have another title bout as former world champion Ryol Li Lee (19-3-2, 10) attempts to claim the OPBF Featherweigth title. Lee will be facing the little known Shogo Ishikawa (10-3, 1) who looks to be an undeserving fighter for the title. Interestingly this is the second time Lee has tried to claim the OPBF title in as many bouts after having been held to a draw last time out by Cirilo Espino (who Ishikawa actually beat).
The card in Japan features several other bouts with Masahiro Ishida (12-4-2, 6) taking on Yuki Iwasaki (10-3, 6) in a solid looking match up; Yoshihisa Hirayama (10-8-1, 4) facing Yuya Sugizaki (16-9-1, 6) and recent Japanese title challenger Michiya Sato (9-4-4, 6) fighting Hitoshi Ichiba (7-4-1, 3).
Staying in Asia, though going down to Thailand there will be a card televised on "Channel 7". We've got to admit that we're unsure on who will be fighting though we believe that Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (11-0, 8) will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title on the show against Amor Tino (14-13-3, 4). We also believe (though lack confirmation) that Morakot CP Freshmart (3-0, 2) will be on the card defending his WBC youth world Flyweight title.
Staying on the Thai theme, though to going to Australia, jouenyamn Superjames Singmanasak (3-12, 2) faces recent Commonwealth title challenger Corey McConnell (11-1-1). This will be McConnell's first bout since being beaten by Lee Selby in England earlier this year.
In the final bout of interest Kazakhstan's Zhanat Zhakiyanov (19-1, 12) fights for the first time since linking up with former 2-weight world champion Ricky Hatton. Zhakiyanov, who has already fought in Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Switzerland, England, Belarus and Hong Kong will fight in Northern Ireland as he takes on Michael Escobar (7-8, 3).