Action in the ring has been great recently and this coming weekend it's set to stay great with a host of notable bouts taking place all over the globe. As usual we'll focus on the Asian fighters, but we know there are a lot of other notable bouts taking on the same day.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we see a WBC Flyweight title fight. The bout, for the title vacated by Roman Gonzalez last year, will see unbeaten Thai Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-0, 28) take on in form Mexican Juan Hernandez Navarrete (33-2, 24) in a mouth watering bout. Nawaphon holds one of the longest unbeaten runs in the sport today, but his record lacks names of any real quality with his best wins coming against fighters like Mateo Handig, Donny Mabao and Rey Megrino. Despite the lack of competition the Thai has passed the eye test and matured into a vicious fighter at the regional level. This is however a huge step up for the unbeaten man. Although he has tasted defeat twice Hernandez has fought at the top and holds wins over the likes of Moises Fuentes, Denver Cuello – albeit controversially, Saul Juarez, Ramon Garcia Hirales, Jesus Silvestre and Omar Nino Romero, with his only loss in he last decade coming to Kazuto Ioka. This is a big test for both men, with Nawaphon facing his toughest foe and Hernandez facing the horrific conditions of Thailand, though his team has managed to get the bout in doors which could make a huge difference here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We'll also get a Japanese card this Saturday with G+ airing the card live in Japan.
In the main event of this show we'll see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-4, 18) make the first defense of his title as he takes on mandatory challenger Kazuhiro Nishitani (16-4-1, 8). Tsuchiya won the title last year, when he stopped Masashi Noguchi in 3 rounds, and will be hoping to have a distinguished reign as champion. The heavy handed champion has shown flaws in the past but is an exciting and heavy handed fighter who has proven his toughness and hunger in the past. Nishitani has never been stopped, and has proven his toughness, but has suffered notable losses to fighters less accomplished than Tsuchiya. This will be the challenger's second shot, following a December 2015 loss to Kota Tokunaga, but sadly he's been inactive with only one bout in the entire of 2016. Given Nishitani's toughness and Tsuchiya's power this could be a lot of fun!
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (14-0, 10) take on Filipino journeyman Rodel Wenceslao (11-13-1, 4). During a 2 year reign Okada defended the Japanese title 6 times, though looked rather poor in the final 2 defenses and it seems that he and his team and looking for more serious challenges this year. Despite looking for bigger bouts he begins his year against the limited Wenceslao, who has lost 11 of his last 15. Wenceslao has been matched hard, with losses to the likes of Keita Obara, Adones Cabalquinto and Adones Aguelo, ad we expect to see him come up short against Okada here too.
A little lower down the card we'll see Japanese ranked Takenori Ohashi (13-4-2, 8) up against Yutaka Motoyoshi (7-9, 5). Ohashi, a ranked Featherweight, will be hoping to get a title fight in the near future and can't afford a slip up here against Motoyoshi. Although he is a potential banana skin Motoyoshi has been stopped 5 times and will be expected to struggle with the power of Ohashi here.
In another under-card bout we'll see Shingo Koike (9-2, 5) take on Jin Miura (9-1, 1) in a very well matched and competitive looking contest. The 26 year old Koike has won his last 4 and seemed to have found some recent belief in his power. Miura on the other hand has won 3 in a row, following an opening round defeat to Reni Ichimura in the 2015 East Japan Rookie of the Year final. Both men will know they need to win here.
Also on this card will be the very promising Kazuki Saito (2-0, 2), who moves up in class to face Jimmy Borbon (5-4-3, 3) over 8 rounds. Saito has been very impressive so far, against limited Thai foes, but this will be a good test for the youngster who was a former amateur standout. Borbon has fought in Japan just once, where he suffered his only stoppage loss though that was against Takashi Miura, and will see this as a chance to prove himself in front of a Japanese audience.
Back on the road, in Mexico, we'll see IBF Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (16-3-1, 5) defending her title, for the 6th time, against the woman she originally beat for the belt, Alondra Garcia (16-3-1, 1). Although both fighters have very similar records Shibata has gone 7-0-1 (2) in her last 8 whilst Garcia has gone 5-2-1, including a draw with a debutant in late 2014.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we'll see even more title action as Australian Valentine Borg (13-2, 8) takes on Filipino puncher Junjesie Ibgos (11-1, 9) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Light Welterweight title. The once beaten Ibgosa will be making his international debut and although a clear under-dog he does look like he has the power to be a nightmare for Borg, who has been stopped twice. Borg is the more proven fighter but this is an interesting contest and the winner could open the door for bigger and better fights in the near future.
There isn't much action this coming Friday, but what there is features Thais fighting in Australia.
In the most notable of two bouts between Thai fighters and Australian's we'll see former world title challenger Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (13-8-1, 1) take on former world champion Susie Ramadan (25-2, 10). Coming in to this one Ploynapa has been stopped in 3 of her last 4, including an opening round stoppage loss to Momo Koseki last August. Although Ramadan isn't unbeatable she has all the advantages here, including size, skills, power and home advantage and if she loses it will be a huge surprise.
A second show featuring an Asian fighter will all fight fans will see local fighter Will Parsons (7-2, 2) take on Australian based Thai journeyman Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-12). The Thai doesn't tend to win many, but has shown the ability to test fighters, and could well have had a much better record than he does, with a number of very close defeats. It's easy to favour Parsons, but he will have to make sure he doesn't over-look Aphichat
This coming Thursday sees one of the biggest Asian cards of the year so far as we get a qoeld title fight, a Japanese title fight, a former world champion and former world title challenger all competing on the same card.
In the main event of this show we will see WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) look to record his 12th defense of the title. The heavy handed southpaw, widely regarded as the best Bantamweight on the planet, will be up against the in form Carlos Carlson (22-1, 13), who has won his last 22. Yamanaka has had a tough 18 months, with two bouts against Anselmo Moreno and a bout with Liborio Solis, but has come through those bouts and this is a much easier bout on paper than those were. Carlson is a real unknown, and will be stepping up massively, but seems confident of making his mark on the boxing world and a win here would certainly shake up the sport.
In a supporting bout we'll see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (20-1, 16) take on mandatory challenger Satoru Sugita (12-3-1, 7), in what will be a rematch between the two men who faced off last year. In their first bout Ogawa looked less than great, though had the power to see off Sugita in round 9, covering over the cracks off a less than great performance. Here Ogawa will be looking to shine and knows that another struggle will hard his chances of getting a world title fight. For Sugita revenge will be the aim and he will feel he has the skills to over-come Ogawa here.
On the under-card we'll see 2-weight world champion Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22) battle with Mexican foe Ruben Montoya (14-4-1, 9). This will be Viloria's first bout since his October 2015 loss to Roman Gonzalez and it's likely to be the start of Viloria's final run in the sport, with the 36 year old being relatively ancient for a Flyweight. Montoya has mixed with good competition, including Pedro Guevara and Paul Butler, but two losses to Samuel Gutierrez does leave question marks bout his ability.
Also on the under-card will be Ryosuke Iwasa (22-2, 14) who looks to keep busy with a bout againt Filipino Glenn Madura (8-1-1, 5). Iwasa will get a world title fight later this year, against IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni, but will have to get through this one without suffering any sort of cuts or damage to delay his world title shot. Although Madura doesn't have a great record he has won his last 8 and appears to be in solid form ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
March is set to be an amazingly busy month, and there is no delay as we kick off the month with a WBA Minimumweight title fight. That fight will see defending champion Knockout CP Freshmart (14-0, 6) battle against Japanese challenger Go Odaira (13-5-3, 1), with Odaira looking to secure a world title in his third world title shot. The unbeaten champion, who had a great 2016 with wins over Carlos Buitrago, Byron Rojas and Shin Ono will be looking to make his second defense of the title and solidify his standing as one of the elite Minimumweight. On paper this should be a straight forward win for Knockout who will likely be looking for bigger fish than Odaira later in the year.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the world title fight in Thailand there will also be a show in Seoul, courtesy of Boxing M.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Ji Soo Jung (3-0, 1) battle against Ma Roo Jung (6-4-1, 2) in the final of the Boxing M Welterweight competition. Interestingly these two men fought last December, with Ji Soo Jung taking a competitive 4 round decision over his foe, and he'll be looking to do the same again here in an attempt to extend his unbeaten record. The more experience Ma Roo Jung impressed last time out, when he destroyed Doo Hyup Kim, and will be looking to avenge his December defeat here.
In a supporting bout we'll see Joon Yong Lee (5-4-4, 3) take on Gyu Won Lee (4-1-1, 2) in a 6 rounder. Although this bout doesn't look remarkable on paper it is worth noting that Joon Yong Lee holds a draw with OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson, and in fact deserved a win over Tyson when the two men fought last year. Gyu Won Lee started his career 0-1-1 but has subsequently won 4 in a row to get his career on track.
Another 6 rounder will see Bum Kyoo Lee (2-1) face off with O Gon Kwon (4-1-1, 4) in an interesting match up. Lee impressed in his first two bouts before suffering a razor thin loss to Doo Hyup Kim in January. As for Kwon he was beaten on his debut in February 2016 but has since gone 4-0-1 and appears to be a solid puncher, with 4 stoppages already at this sort of level
To end February Dangan give us a nice looking card with a title double header and several fighters of note on the under-card.
One of the title bouts will see Yuta Matsuo (12-2-1, 6) and Masayuki Kuroda (25-7-3, 15) battle for the “interim” Japanese Flyweight title. The two men, who are facing off whilst Flyweight champion Takuiya Kogawa recovers from an ear injury, will be guaranteed a shot at the full title later in the year if they win here. Of the two men Kuroda is the more well known, he's a former Japanese Light Flyweight champion and has fought for a WBA Flyweight world title in the past, he is however a fighter who has struggled recently, with a 4-4-3 record in his last 11 dating back 5 years. Matsuo on the other hand is getting his first title fight, though has beaten solid fighters like Yota Hori and Ryuto Oho so far in his career, and fought to a very narrow loss against Ardin Diale. This should be a very competitive and fun to watch contest.
The other title bout sees Watanabe's fast rising Hiroto Kyoguchi (5-0, 5) take on Filipino veteran Armando dela Cruz (25-14-3, 11) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title, recently vacated by Ryuya Yamanaka. The bout seems to suggest that Watanabe are going to be pushing hard for Kyoguchi to get a world title fight this year, and although this fight was put together on about a month's notice it's hard to see the unbeaten youngster coming up short against the veteran.
The main under-card bout looks like a genuine treat as the under-rated Reiya Abe (13-2, 7) takes on the once beaten Joe Noynay (12-1-1, 4). Although relatively unknown outside of Japan Abe has been impressing fans in Tokyo recently with notable wins over Ryo Hino, Hikaru Marugame, Shingo Kusano and Tsuyoshi Tameda, showing poise, skills and power. Noynay, also known as Joe Misako, will be looking to score his first win outside of the Philippines and although he has got a good looking record this is a big step up for him here.
Another of the under-card bouts will feature the debuting Kaiki Yuba (0-0) making his debut, as he takes on Thai visitor Petchmahalert Eminent Air (0-4). Yuba is the son of the popular Tadashi Yuba, a 5-weight Japanese national champion and is expected to have a strong career going forward. His interest hasn't recieved massive attention but it is clear that those in Japan are hoping that he can have a similar level of popularity to his father.
This coming Sunday we see action all across Asia in one of the busiest days of the year so far.
The main action for the day comes from Kumamoto in Japan, where fight fans get the chance to see a local star attempt to open the doors to some major fights.
That local star is the unheralded Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) who faces Mexican Moises Calleros (25-6-1, 14) in a bout for the WBO Interim Minimumweight title, with the winner set to get a fight at regular champion Katsunari Takayama later in the year. Fukuhara has come a long way since suffering a defeat to the the debuting Takuma Inoue in 2013 and has gone 6-0-3 with wins over Takumi Sake and Genki Hanai to earn this shot, as well as draws with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Shin Ono. Although Fukuhara is one of Japan's hidden gems he will be stepping up here to face a Mexican who is riding high following a win over Mario Rodriguez. Interesting Calleros has fought as high as 120 recently and will be fighting at 105lbs for the first time in over 7 years, so he's likely to be bigger and stronger that Fukuhara. Notably the Mexican has suffered a few poor losses and will be fighting outside of his homeland for the first time.
On the under-card we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Light Welterweight Ryusei Yoshida (29-8, 15) take on limited Thai Lekker Bangkok 2007 (0-3), in what should be an easy win for Yoshida. The Thai visit or has been stopped in all3 of his previous bouts, including loss last June to then debuting Kazuki Saito.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In Cotabato del Sur we'll get a notable Filipino card.
One of those title bouts will see Lolito Sonsona (20-1-4, 9) face off with Renren Tesorio (15-9-3, 4) in a bout for the WBF Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Coming in to this Sonsona is on a 7 fight unbeaten streak, including a notable win over Bobby Concepcion. Whilst Sonsona has been in form the same cannot be said of his foe, with Tesorio having lost his last 3, including a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa.
A much better looking bout sees the under-rated Ben Mananquil (12-1-2, 3) take on Glenn Porras (29-5, 17) for the WBF International Bantamweight title. Mananquil is one of the hidden jewels of the Filipino boxing scene. His only loss was a controversial one in China it Jing Xiang and he was also controversially denied a win against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym. Porras on the other hand Porras has been relatively inactive with just a 1-1 record in the last 4 years, he was however once a touted fighter and did show a lot of potential early on. This could be a very interesting match up.
In a WBF International Super Featherweight title bout we'll see the in form Eden Sonsona (35-6-2, 12) take on Jovany Rota (9-9, 6). Sonsona is 9-0-2 in his last 11, including a massive win in 2015 over Adrian Estrella, and although he fought only once last year he will be full of confidence coming into this bout. Rota on the other hand is a bit of a domestic journeyman and shouldn't provide much of a test for Sonsona.
Arguably the best of the bouts is an IBF Youth Super Flyweight title bout between the super talented Jade Bornea (6-0, 4) and once beaten puncher Raul Yu (9-1-2, 8). Bornea was an amateur standout, and holds a notable amateur win over Kosei Tanaka, but is stepping up as a professional here and Yu is certainly his biggest test since his pro debut in October 2014. Yu is a series puncher and although he has suffered a loss, a decision loss in February 2015, he is a dangerman who will be looking to make a point here. Coming into this Yu is unbeaten in 6 and will looking to claim his first professional title.
Also on this card will be world class Light Flyweight Randy Petalcorin (25-2-1, 18), who fights in a stay busy fight against compatriot Mark Anthony Florida (9-6, 7) in what should be an easy win for Petalcorin, who will have bigger fish to fry.
On a second card in the Philippines we'll see a less exciting series of fights.
In the main event we'll see the once beaten Pedro Taduran (9-1, 7) take on Jerome Clavite (6-3-2, 2). The 20 year old Taduran, nicknamed “Rattle Snake”, is a good puncher at domestic level but did suffer a loss 10 months ago to Joel Lino. Since that loss he has bounced back with 3 wins an will be looking to keep that run going here. Whilst Taduran is back to winning ways it's hard to really know where Clavite's career is going. He has won just once in his last 5, but has been matched against some very decent domestic competition and should be seen as a step up for Taduran in what could be a very good match up for both men.
In an under-card bout from this show fans will see Rex Tito (5-7-2, 2) battle Marlon Arcilla (8-5, 1) in a bout between limited guys. Tito will be returning to the ring following a break of more than 4 years. Prior to his sabbatical he had gone 0-7-1 in his previous 8, with set backs to the likes of Jerwin Ancajas and Giovnni Escaner. As for Arcilla,he has lost his last 3, though has been matched hard with bouts against Ryosyuke Iwasa and Reymart Gaballo. He should be strongly favoured here but a hungry Tito could make life tricky for the 22 year old Arcilla.
Gimhae City, South Korea
We're also set for some title action in South Korea courtesy of a KBA show.
The main event of the show will see former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-6-1, 21) battle against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamas (7-8, 6) (7-8, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title. The bout will be Bae's first since his 4th round TKO loss last year to Rex Tso, 15 months ago, and see him entering on a 2-2 record in the last 24 months. Although talented at this level Bae's future, at the age of 37, looks to be very limited. On paper Chatchai has been in good form, winning 6 of his last 7, but his competition during that run has been awful with only Kevin Jake Cararaja being of any note, and he stopped Chatchai in 4 rounds last year.
The co-feature will see Hee Jung Yuh (17-3, 8) take on novice Nongkiat Saithonggym (1-1) in about for the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Super Flyweight title. As with the other bout it's hard to see the local losing here with Yuh being a very solid fighter, even if that wasn't evident in her wide decision loss last year to Naoko Fujioka. The Thai, who possibly has an incomplete record, is best known for a 2011 stoppage loss to Yuko Kuroki and we don't imagine she'll see the distance here.
Amazingly there will also be action in China, though the show is relatively weak over-all.
The most notable of the bouts on the show will see the light hitting Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (8-0-1, 1) battle against Thai visitor Petchwanchai Sor Visetkit (14-9, 6). On paper the Thai looks like he has a fighting chance here but he has lst his last 3 bouts, all by stoppage in a combined 7 rounds, and is almost 3 years removed from a win. Although the unbeaten Nihemaituola isn't a puncher it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him win here.
In another bout of some interest Maimaitijiang Nuermaimaiti (3-0-1, 3) will risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Hongfeng Li (4-0, 1) in what looks likely to be a power vs skill match up with genuine intrigue.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines this coming Saturday fight fans will see a number of title bouts on an interesting looking show.
The main event of the card will see the touted Randy Braga (19-2-1, 5) take on journeyman Landy Cris Leon (10-14-4, 4). Braga will be looking to defend his GAB Featherweight title for the second time and will be hoping to bounce back from a 2016 loss to OPBF champion Ryo Takenaka, who beat Braga by 12 round decision in October. For Leon the bout sees him returning to the ring following a loss of his own, an 8 round decision loss to Sho Nakazawa. It's hard to imagine Braga losing here, but will want to rebuild his confidence given the wide loss to Takenaka.
In other title bouts we'll see Juan Miguel Elorde (22-1, 11) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title,for the second time, and his brother and Juan Martin Elorde (21-1-1, 8) defending his WBO Oriental Lightweight title. Sadly at the time of writing neither of the Elorde's have had their opponents announced, and it's likely that both will be facing soft touches.
One bout that has been fully announced will see Wilbert Berondo (10-2, 4) take on veteran Albert Alcoy (14-23-7, 4). Although a mismatch on paper Berondo has lost his last two bouts, including a 6th round KO loss to the sensational Hinata Maruta in a bout for a WBC Youth title. Alcoy comes into this bout on an 11 fight win-less streak but has upset the likes of Roli Gasca and Renan Trongco in the past, suggesting he can be a banana skin with enough notice.
As well as the show in the Philippines there will also be a card in China. This show is pretty easy to over-look but the main event is worth noting as it will see Peng Qu (11-1-1, 7) battle against Sajjad Mehrabi (14-1-2, 1). Peng has shown some genuine promise in the past and will be looking to build on his growing reputation here whist Iranian Mehrabi will be looking to bounce back from his sole defeat, a 2016 loss to Thomas Mashali in a bout for a UBO title.
It's a relatively quiet week this one, but there is some notable action and on Thursday we'll see Kyrgyzstan born Russian Dmitry Bivol (8-0, 6) defending his WBA “interim” Light Heavyweight title, with a bout against Robert Berridge (29-5-1, 21). Bivol is one of the many rising fighters from Central Asia and should be strongly favoured to extend his unbeaten run here. Although Berridge is a decent fighter he has found his level and shouldn't have too much to bother the heavy handed and very talented Bivol.
There isn't much action on February 22nd but what there is, at least in regards to the Asian scene, will be aired on Channel 32 in Thailand and will be a Kiatkreerin show featuring two IBF regional title bouts.
The most interesting of those bouts will see the unbeaten Downua Ruawaiking (5-0, 3) take on Japanese ranked Yuta Maruoka (12-3, 6) in what looks like a clear step up for the unbeaten Thai. Although Maruoka is no world beater he's proven to be a solid fighter on the Japanese scene, and is coming in to this bout on the back of 3 straight wins.
Also on the card will be an IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title fight which will see Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (15-6, 10) battle an Indonesian foe. Sadly at the time of writing we haven't been given the name of the Indonesian fighter.
We get the first of two Boxingraise shows on February 19th, albeit one that will be aired on delay, as Dangan put on “Pioneer of Fight Vol 2”
The main event of the show is a very interesting match up as the heavy handed Akinori Hoshino (12-7-1, 9) takes on the once touted Shun Kosaka (13-2, 3). Aged 28 Hoshino comes into this following an excellent 7th round TKO win over Kenya Yamanashita, and although his record is patchy he has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Gakuya Furuhashi, Tatsuya Takahashi, Ryuichi Funai and Yusuke Suzuki. Although his record isn't great Hoshino is a real threat at domestic level. As for Kosaka he'll be hunting a 5th straight and prove that he's back on his way up following losses in 2014, to Yamashita, and in 2015, to Tetsuya Hisada
In a female bout we'll see the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (4-0, 2) take on the once beaten Miyo Yoshida (5-1). The 28 year old Wakasa will be stepping into 6 rounders for the first time, and this bout follows a tough win last year against Thai visitor Dokmaipaa Kietpompetch. Yoshida made her debut more than 2 years ago and had a busy 2016, in which she went 4-1, and she will be looking to score her best win here. Both fighters are obviously fighting for a solid win and it wouldn't be a shock to see both women fight their heart out here.
In another supporting bout we'll see Junto Nakatani (9-0, 7) battle against Thai visitor Mingkwan Sithjirachai (0-1), who was stopped in a round on debut last year. The 19 year old Nakatani will be fighting for the first time since winning the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at Flyweight and will be looking to make a splash in 2017.