The month of July hasn't been the best but it does seem like things are picking up with August looking like a really exciting month. Lets look at the Asian highlights for the next few weeks
Yu Kawaguchi Vs Takahiro Yamamoto II (OPBF)
The first title bout of a new month comes on August 2nd as we see a re-run of an incredibly competitive bout that took place back in April. In the first bout Yu Kawaguchi (23-6, 10) claimed a split decision over Takahiro Yamamoto (15-4, 12) to claim the OPBF Bantamweight title. There was very little in their first bout and we don't expect to see much between the men here. Notably this show will also feature the retirement ceremony of Nobuhiro Ishida, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Pungluang Sor Singyu Vs Ryo Akaho (WBO)
The first world title fight of the month comes on August 7th as Pungluang Sor Singyu (50-3, 34) attempts to become a 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion as he battles Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) for the vacant title. This promises to be a very tough bout for both men though it's also likely to be a very exciting and intriguing contest between a tough pressure fighter and a real slugger.
"Duel in Dubai 2"
Also on August 7th is a treat for Dubai based boxing fans as ALA take one of their brightest talents on the road in what is being dubbed "Duel in Dubai 2". The show isn't a huge one but it does feature the sensationally talented Albert Pagara (23-0, 16) fighting in the main event against Mexican foe Jesus Rios (31-7-1, 25) in a very good looking main event. A win here for Pagara is expected but it's a good step in the right direction as he moves towards a world title fight in the next year or two. Also on this card will be Jimrex Jaca (39-8-4, 22) and Jason Pagara (35-2, 22).
Akio Shibata Vs Yasuyuki Akiyama (OPBF/JP 160)
Unified Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (25-8-1, 11) defends his title in a re-arranged bout against Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). This bout was mean to take place way back in March though Akiyama suffered an injury which caused this bout to be cancelled first time around. It's hard to see anything but a successful defense for Shibata but Akiyama has been in good form recently.
Masayuki Ito Vs Dai Iwai (OPBF 130)
One of the most intriguing OPBF title fights this month comes on August 10th in a contest for the vacant 130lb title. The bout will see the once beaten Masayuki Ito (16-1-1, 7) take on the slightly more experienced Dai Iwai (17-3-1, 6) in what appears to be a really good looking bout. Ito is looking to bounce back from his first loss, a close decision to Rikki Naito, whilst Iwai is looking to score, by far, the biggest win of his career. A really good match up.
Vinvin Rufino Vs Ryo Takenaka (OPBF 126)
On the same August 10th show fans will see Filipino road warrior Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16) defending his OPBF Featherweight crown against Japan's Ryo Takenaka (12-3-1, 6). This, like the other bout on the same day, is a really intriguing contest and a must win for both men who know that another loss, at this stage in their careers, really would be a major problem.
Satoshi Hosono Vs Tatsuya Otsubo (JP 126)
The only stand alone Japanese title fight in August will see the heavy handed Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (27-2-1, 20) defending his title against the somewhat obscure Tatsuya Otsubo (8-6-1, 3). Hosono, in his second reign as the domestic champion, is looking for this 3rd successive defense and it's really hard to see how Otsubo would unseat him here, however the challenger has won his last 6 and is in great form.
Daiki Kaneko Vs Masao Nakamura (non-title)
The best non-title bout taking place in Asia in August takes place on August 21st and is a genuinely thrilling match up on paper between two fringe contenders each looking for a huge win. The bout matches the teak tough and freakishly strong Daiki Kaneko (21-4-3, 14) up against the thunderously hard hitting Masao Nakamura (19-3, 19). Coming in both have suffered recent losses but both will know a win here puts them immediately back into the Japanese and OPBF title mix.
Carolina Rodriguez Vs Tenkai Tsunami (IBF Female 118)
The world level action is really lacking through August through on August 22nd we get a female world title bout. The contest in question sees Japanese road warrior Tenkai Tsunami (21-10, 10) going over to Chile to take on local hero Carolina Rodriguez (14-0, 1) in a bout for Rodriguez's IBF female Bantamweight title. This is a really tough ask for Tsunami, especially given Rodriguez's status as boxing royalty in Chile, but the challenger certainly shouldn't be written off given her experience and talent.
Nakatani Vs Murata (OPBF 135)
The final OPBF title fight of the month takes place on August 28th as Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (10-0, 5) makes the 4th defense of hit title. The lanky Ioka prospect will be looking to over-come the little known Kazuya Murata (11-4, 5) in what really looks a bit like a mismatch, however Nakatani was disappointed by his own performance last time out and will be looking to make a statement this time out.
(All images courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We'll pretend July was the greatest of months but we have had more than enough notable action over the last 4 weeks!
The month began with action in Thailand as the unbeaten Knockout CP Freshmart (11-0, 6) retained his WBA interim Minimumweight title with a 4th round TKO of the previously unbeaten Alexis Diaz (16-1, 10). Diaz was expected to put up a real fight against the Thai but was made to look second rate as he beaten by the defending champion. Following the win talk began of a contest between Knockout and Hekkie Budler.
On July 4th we turned our attention to Mexico where Filipino slugger Warlito Parrenas (24-6-1, 21) found himself feeling robbed as he was held to a very debatable draw against David Carmona (19-2-5, 8) in a bout for the WBO interim Super Flyweight title. It seemed like Parrenas did far more than enough to claim the win here but he failed to convince the judges that he deserved the win. A really unfortunate outcome, but one that still keeps him in the hunt for a potential show down with Naoya Inoue later this year.
We saw Japanese youngster Takuma Inoue (5-0, 1) claim his biggest win to date as he out pointed Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) and claimed the OPBF Super Flyweight title. This was Takuma's toughest bout to date but also his most impressive and it appeared he has now filled into a full blown Super Flyweight. For Geraldo it's a second successive loss but at 23 he has plenty of time to rebuild and we'd be shocked not to see him at this level again in the near future
On July 7th we had one of the months most interesting match ups as Donnie Nietes (36-1-4,21) took on Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-3-1, 11). The bout saw Nietes have some problems, especially early, but take a clear decision over the former unified Minimumweight champion. Nietes looks to be the standout Filipino fighter at the moment but at 33 he really is getting on for a lower fighter and although he looked youthful in the ring some are wondering how long he really has left.
On the same day fans saw WBA Heavyweight champion, well “regular” champion, Ruslan Chagaev (34-2-1, 21) retain his title with a very easy win again Francesco Pianeta (31-2-1, 17). Chagaev dropped Pianeta twice inside a round to retain his title.
July 12th saw talented Korean teenager Kyoo Hwan Hwang (2-0, 2) claim his first professional title, the South Korean Light Middleweight title, as he scored a 6th round KO against Chan Hee Park (5-6-1). Hwang, tipped by some as the future face of Korean boxing, showed some really notable skills but it was very clear that he needs a lot of work before stepping up in class.
We saw a new Japanese Flyweight champion being crowned on July 17th as Takuya Kogawa (24-4, 13) clearly out pointed the tough Hiroki Saito (9-5, 5). Kogawa, who previously held this title, is now looking at some excellent domestic show downs, including a potential rematch with Suguru Muranaka, or alternatively passing up the title to chase world honours. For Saito it seems clear that he will come again, though does need some more seasoning against lower level competition rather than continuing to be matched this hard.
On July 18th we unfortunately saw Ik Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) being given a schooling by talented Argentinian Cesar Rene Cuenca (48-0-0-2, 2) in a out for the IBF Light Welterweight title. Yang was attempting to become a the second Chinese world champion though came up very short in this bout, which really showed how good Cuenca was.
On the same card we saw Nonito Donaire (35-3, 23) destroy the completely out gunned Anthony Settoul (20-4, 8). Now it seems likely that Donaire will move towards a WBA title fight with Scott Quigg.
Unfortunately the night ended in disappointment for Filipino fans as Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) was controversially beaten by McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8). The Filipino seemed to do enough to rack up the rounds but the judges all disagreed, giving Arroyo a very wide technical decision when the bout was stopped in round 10.
The same card also saw the US debut of Korean slugger Min Wook Kim (13-1, 10), who easily took care of Luis Alberto Pelayo (11-6, 7). Kim will hopefully return to the US later this year for a more notable bout.
On July 20th we saw the much touted Sho Nakazawa (7-0, 4) take a huge step up in class as he defeated former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (25-10-2, 18). Nakazawa was dropped early in the bout but managed to regroup and clearly out boxed Lopez who proved that whilst he isn't the most skilled he is still very dangerous.
On the same day we also saw South Korean hopeful Ye Joon Kim (12-1-2, 6) retain his IBF regional title as he stopped Yoshihiro Utsumi (12-7-3, 7) in 7 rounds. Kim, the face of the KBF, is one of Korea's most talented youngster and this performance showed that he does have real promise but really needs to be given more progressive tests.
We saw a new star emerge on July 24th as Daigo Higa (7-0, 7) went to Thailand and surprisingly picked up a 7th round KO win against Kongfah CP Freshmart (14-1, 8). The bout was one of the best of the month and lived up the high expectations that we had for the contest. The hope is now that Higa will be defending his belt in Autumn before possibly being matched with a world class foe next year.
Kazakh fighter Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10) became a 2-weight world champion on July 25th as he claimed the WBA “interim” Cruiserweight title with a clear win over American fighter-come-analyst BJ Flores (31-2-1, 20). Flores showed good power early but Shumenov showed a completely revised style that saw him moving more than he had in the past. It was that movement that allowed Shumenov to claim the win with Flores later complaining about the Kazakh not standing still.
The month ended, in terms of major action, with Thai teenager Stamp Kiatniwat (14-0, 6) claiming the WBA interim Flyweight title with a majority decision win over Gregorio Lebron (13-3, 11) on July 29th. The win has seen Stamp receive some international attention but domestically he's really boosted his popularity and it seems that the 17 year old is being pushed as the new face of Thai boxing.
We'll be honest the month of June wasn't the most exciting of months to follow Asian boxing but it does seem like July promises a lot, and hopefully will deliver on that promise.
Knockout CP Freshmart Vs Alexis Diaz
The month kicks off with a WBA interim title fight in Thailand as the home favourite Knockout CP Freshmart (10-0, 5) battles against unbeaten Venezuelan Alexis Diaz (16-0, 10). On paper this might only be an “interim” title fight but it's still a mouth watering match up between highly regarded and unbeaten fighters. The winner becomes the top contender for Hekkie Budler in what would be another very attractive match up.
Warlito Parrenas Vs David Carmona
We get a second “interim” world title bout in a matter of a few days as Filipino slugger Warlito Parrenas (24-6, 21) takes on Mexico's David Carmona (19-2-4, 8) in a contest for the WBO interim Super Flyweight title. On paper it looks like a well matched bout between a vicious puncher and a decent boxer and styles should give us a very good contest. The winner of this one will be the mandatory to the sensation Naoya Inoue, and a sizeable payday in Japan,
Takuma Inoue Vs Mark Anthony Geraldo
On July 6th we get the chance to see Japanese super prospect Takuma Inoue (4-0, 1) fight in his first title bout as he battles experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-5-3, 14) in a bout for the OPBF Super Flyweight title. Takuma, the younger brother of the sensational Naoya Inoue, is hoping to claim a world title in his 6th professional bout will need to win here first in what is a genuinely excellent match up.
Yuzo Kiyota Vs Kajornsak Sithsaithong
OPBF Super Middleweight champion Yuzo Kiyota (27-4-1, 25) looks the make the next defense of his title as he takes on Thai challenger Kajornsak Sithsaithong (7-5, 7) in what looks to be a hugely disappointing match up on paper. Although Kiyota isn't a world class fighter, despite some world rankings, he isn't a bad fighter by any means and to fight Kajornsak merely shows how few viable contenders there are in the division. Kajornsak enters the bout on two losses and it'd be amazing for it not to become 3 in a row.
Donnie Nietes Vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr
WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) looks to continue his long reign as he takes on the highly capable, former unified Minimumweight champion, Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11) in a mouth watering bout. The contest is a mandatory defense for Nietes and looks to be one of his toughest on paper as he goes up against a fantastic young Mexican. It does need noting however that Rodriguez didn't look good in his last 2 bouts, both against Filipino Jomar Fajardo, and he'll need to do much better here than he did in either of those bouts.
Ruslan Chagaev Vs Francesco Pianeta
A rare Heavyweight bout of note sees WBA “regular” champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20), from Uzbekistan, defending his title against German based Italian born fighter Francesco Pianeta (31-1-1, 17). On paper this looks really matched, and in fact on paper it looks like a fantastic match up, in reality however Pianeta hasn't scored a win of note in quite some time whilst Chagaev appears to be less than half the fighter he once was. It should be competitive but we're not holding our breath on this being a fun one.
Takuya Kogawa Vs Hiroki Saito
The vacant Japanese Lightweight title is up for grabs in what looks like like a sure fire FOTY contender. The bout will see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (23-4, 13) attempt to reclaim a title he once held as he goes up against the tough and rugged Hiroki Saito (9-4, 5). On paper we confess this one doesn't look great, in reality however we have very high hopes for the action with both men being aggressive, tough and enjoying a tear up. This really is one of the best bouts we've seen made this year and we're jealous of those who are going to be in attendance for it.
Naoko Shibata Vs Esmeralda Moreno
Japan's Naoko Shibata (14-3, 4) goes on the road, travelling to Mexico, to defend her IBF female Light Flyweight title against experienced Mexican Esmeralda Moreno (30-7-1, 10) in a mouth watering match up between two world class fighters. Originally this bout was scheduled for late June though got pushed back just days before Shibata was set to fly over to Mexico. The fight is a brilliant on paper and we really don't think many female bouts will be better than this.
Ik Yang Vs Cesar Rene Cuenca
Chinese boxing is on the up and that's seen again in the next of the Macau cards as Chinese slugger Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) takes on tricky Argentinian Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title. The title, which was stripped from Lamont Peterson earlier this year, is up for grabs and could see the second Chinese champion being crowned. Strangely a win for Cuenca would see him picking a world title in his 50th fight!
On the same card as Yang Vs Cuenca fans will see an interesting card featuring the likes of Rex Tso (16-0, 9) and Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (34-3, 22), both of whom are against over-matched foes.
Arthur Villanueva Vs McJoe Arroyo
Another all-unbeaten title fight takes place in the US as Filipino fighter Arthur Villanueva (27-0, 14) takes on McJoe Arroyo (16-0, 8) for the vacant IBF Super Flyweight title. This is a really intriguing match up between two talented fighters who are each looking for a break out win, a win that would take them from contender to champion. The title, which was vacated by Zolani Tete earlier this year, is almost certainly going to put the winner in the mix for some big fights and this is really a fantastically matched contest.
Stamp Kiatniwat Vs Gregorio Lebron
The final bout of note for us will see unbeaten Thai Stamp Kiatniwat (13-0, 6) take on Dominican puncher Gregorio Lebron (13-2, 11) for the WBA “interim” Flyweight title. The bout will see the 17 year old Stamp attempt to move on to the next level, though it's hard to be sure how good Lebron is given that his competition so far has been poor, in fact Stamp's win over Kwanthai Sithmorseng is far better than anything on Lebron's ledger. This bout, for those interested, will be on Thai channel 3.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).