Some days are massive in boxing and we often hear that. This Saturday is one such day as we have potentially one of the biggest shows in history and several other notable shows around Asia as well as Asian fighters in action around the world.
The most noteworthy action of the day happens in Macau as we get “The Clash in Cotai” a show that some are dubbing “the biggest...ever in Asia” and with good reason due to the expected viewership of the show and the anticipation of the main event. In fact the show as whole has the potential to touch almost every part of Asia in one way or another.
The headline bout sees Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38) returning to the ring for the first time since being knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez back in December 2012. Pacquiao, fighting in Asia for the first time since 2006, will be taking on the always fun to watch American Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23) in a bout that has “all action” written all over it. Unfortunately the fight is already being marred by the actions of both camps but it's certainly a fight that has piqued the interest of boxing fans around the world.
Whilst the Pacquiao/Rios bout is the head-liner it's not a world title fight, just a WBO international title fight, in fact rather staggeringly the only world title fight on the show sees Russian Evgeny Gradovich (17-0, 8) in action. The IBF Featherweight champion will be looking to make the second defence of his title as he takes on Australian Billy Dib (36-2-0-1, 21) for the second time. This promises to be just as heated as the main event.
Whilst the shows sole Heavyweight clash, Andy Ruiz Jr (20-0, 14) against Tor Hamer (21-2,14) doesn't feature an Asian is an interesting bout in a division that is not really one that has seen an Asian impact, despite the recent rise of Kyotaro Fujimoto in the local area.
With the show being in Macau it's fair to say we expect Chinese fighters on the card and that's exactly what we get. Not only do we have the promising IK Yang (13-0-0-1, 9) fighting Indonesian Hero Tito (7-2, 3) but also 2-time Olympic gold medal winner Zou Shiming (2-0) who battles the unbeaten Juan Tozcano (4-0, 1). Shiming may not be the future star Bob Arum was hoping for but he certainly helped Top Rank set off on this interesting Macau journey and Yang certainly looks like a fighter that can draw fans.
As well as Shiming and Yang there is a third Chinese native on the show, You-Jie Zeng (4-4, 4). Zeng however won't be the favoured fighter here as he faces Macau's very own Kuok Kun Ng (1-0).
Although Pacquiao and Shiming are big draws Top Rank have tried to squeeze even more on the card and have also included Hong Kong's Rex Tso (10-0, 6) who fights on his second successive Macau card. Tso will be hoping to have a more impressive performance this time out as he takes on limited Thai Susu Sithjadaeng (7-3, 2). In fact the two Thai's on the show appear to have been brought in to lose with the other being Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-1, 1) who takes on Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo (8-0, 6) in what is a genuine mismatch.
It's worth nothing that Pacquiao isn't the only Filipino on the show, in fact two of his countrymen are scheduled to be on the show. One of those, Harmonito Dela Torre (10-0, 5), is expected to win as he battles the limited but experienced Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (15-11-1, 11). The other, Dan Nazareno Jr (17-10, 13), is expected to lose as he battles once beaten Brit Liam Vaughan (8-1, 2).
In fact the only parts of the boxing community of Asia not represented are Japan, South Korea and some of the Western Asian countries. Not bad for one show.
Although no Japanese fighter is on the Macau show they aren't totally missing out as Japan has it's own show in the Sunpia Hall, Kochi.
The Japanese show begins with Takuya Sugiyama (1-1) in action against Go Mitaka (0-3) in a Super Flyweight contest. This bout is one of five scheduled for the 4 round distance and will be followed by a contest involving Kenjiro Shibata (0-1) against an opponent we've struggled to name.
In the shows third bout Kazuma Uemura (1-1) will be in action, though again we've struggled to track down the other fighter in the contest. The penultimate 4 rounder will see Takaaki Kitagawa (1-2) up against Koji Okubo (1-1-1), we believe.
The final of the 4 rounders will see Takuya Yamamoto (3-7, 2) facing Hiroshi Okano (1-9) who ends a 20 month break from the ring for this contest. Following this final 4 rounder we get two bouts scheduled for 6. Unfortunately we've struggled to find the names of those four men.
In the main event Shota Yamaguchi (10-1, 7) will be looking for his biggest win to date as he fights Filipino Raymond Sermona (15-3-5, 8) in what looks like an excellent 8 rounder.
It's not just Japan and Macau hosting shows, in fact we have a solid looking show in the Philippines as ALA promotions put on a show in Misamis Oriental.
This Filipino show is expected to open up with the debut of Junjie Codella (0-0) who is set to face Freddie Bisande (0-0-2). This is thought to be one of three bouts scheduled for 4 rounds alongside a contest between Junel Lacar (2-0-1) and Paulo Perono (2-1, 2) and one between Lito Dante (6-3-3, 3) and Jovel Romasasa (10-11, 4).
In, what we expect to be a 6 rounder, Albert Villacampa (15-6-1, 3) will be fighting Roger Echavez (7-10-1, 4) before we get the first really interesting bout as the hotly tipped prospect Vic Saludar (2-0, 2) faces Powell Balaba (7-9-1, 4). Although Balaba isn't seen as a great fighter he should prove to be a good test for Saludar who many are tipping as one of the new generation of Filipino stars. The main event here sees Jimmy Paypa (14-2, 4) fighting Jovill Marayan (8-14-3, 3) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Paypa.
As well as the fights in Asia, it's also worth noting the fights outside of Asia.
In Germany we get several interesting contests.
The main event on the Germany show sees Russian Cruiser Alexander Alekseev (24-2-1, 20) fighting for the IBF Cruiserweight title against world champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (27-1, 13). Although we think Hernandez has to be the favourite it's fair to say that Alekseev has the skills and ability to beat anyone in the the division. Unfortunately however Alekseev will need to make the absolute most of those skills if he's to win this one.
The same card will also see Denis Boytsov (33-0, 26) fighting Australian Alex Leapai (29-4-3, 24) for the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title. The strong rumour coming from Germany is that if Boytsov wins here he'll be granted the next shot at Wladimir Klitschko some time in early 2014. Also on this card is a contest between Light Heavyweights as Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky (20-2, 15) battles Eduard Gutknecht (25-2, 9). A win here should see Sukhotsky's name being thrown in to the mix for a world title fight in 2014, though beating Gutknecht is far from a given.
These will also see Jose Maxian (9-2, 7) will be in action in Mexico. The Filipino youngster will be hoping to claim the WBC FECARBOX Super Featherweight title though is genuinely up against it as he fights the destructive Adrian Estrella (14-0, 14).
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)