A few days ago I looked at state of the Minimumweight division by looking at the champions, now we take a look at a handful of fighters who make up some of the more interesting contenders and ones to watch.
Vic Saludar (20-4, 11)
The hard hitting Vic Saludar is a former WBO world champion who will be looking to become a 2-time world champion in 2020. He lost the WBO title to Wilfredo Mendez in August 2019, in what was his second defense, though will be sniffing around another title fight. Although not the quickest Saludar is a good technical fighter, with very heavy hands, and he has proven his quality with wins against the likes of Ryuya Yamanaka, Masataka Taniguchi Lite Dante, the current OPBF champion.
Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4)
Rising Japanese superstud Ginjiro Shigeoka is expected to fight for a world title before the end of 2020 and comes into the year following an excellent win over Rey Loreto, becoming just the second man to stop the Filipino veteran. Shigeoka is quick, well schooled and heavy handed. Although he is lacking in experience as a professional he did have more than 50 amateur bouts and certainly knows his way around the ring. So far he has already proven his ability to box, brawl and bang and if he continues the way he's going he could end up have a very long reign at the top.
Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1)
Ginjiro Shigeoka's older brother Yudai Shigeoka looks to be just as promising as his sibling, in fact if we're being honest Yudai maybe the more promising of the two. Yudai looks to be the better the better pure boxer, the more defensively sound fighter and the one more willing to use his legs to get out of range, rather than fight in the trenches. He is, however, also regarded as the less physically imposing of the two. His debut was a show case, but his second win saw him take a decision over current OPBF champion Lito Dante in a non-title bout, and the odds are that he will be looking for titles himself in 2020.
Jing Xiang (17-4-2, 3)
Chinese boxing is riding a high following a sensational year for Can Xu, which saw Xu win and and defend the WBA Featherweight title. The next potential world champion for China is Jing Xiang, a skilled pure boxer from the same promotional team as Xu. Although not a big name Xiang has been banging on the door of a world title fight at 108lbs and 105lbs in recent years, dropping down in weight in 2019. With wins against Merlito Sabillo and Kompayak Porpramook he has created a buzz in Asia though still needs to face a top, prime, opponent to really make his mark and that could be a world title fight in 2020!
Hasanboy Dusmatov (1-0, 1)
One final interesting novice in the division, arguably the most interesting of the bunch, is Uzbek fighter Hasanboy Dusmatov. The 2016 Olympic champion is a sensational talent and should be fast tracked like the star in the making that he is. He debuted in 2019, after years of rumours and scored an easy win over a Mexican youngster. That win was little more than an introduction to the professional ranks for Dusmatov who already has his eyes on bigger and better things, including a potential world title fight in 2020 with WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart
Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6)
Whilst we have included fighters above who we think will be in the world title mix in 2020 we don't believe that will be the case for Kai Ishizawa, but he deserves a place on this section due to the fact that we want him to be on everyone's mind as we enter the new year. The 23 year old brawler is one of the most exciting fighters in the division, and although rather crude he is the type of fighter who puts bums on seats. Everything Ishizawa throws is with bad intention and he combines that with a high output. If you get the chance to see him fight in 2020 make sure you take it, as you'll not regret watching the exciting youngster from Kanagawa. He will likely be in the mix for a regional title at some point in 2020 and that's good enough for us!
The 3 bouts we want in 2020:
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Ginjiro Shigeoka
Knockout CP Freshmart Vs Jing Xiang
Wilfredo Mendez Vs Hasanboy Dusmantov
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.