The most notable of the action in Asia this coming Saturday is at the Korakuen Hall as Japanese fans see a card featuring two former world title challengers
The main event of the card will see the powerful Daiki Kaneko (25-5-3, 17), best known for giving Takashi Uchiyama real fits in their 2013 contest, facing off with 36 year old veteran Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-14-5, 2). The bout should be a clear win for Kaneko, who is riding a 4 fight winning streak coming in to this, and although he has been in some real wars he should be far too good and powerful for Tojo. What will be telling however will be the result, with Tojo having never been stopped before in his 32 fight career.
The other former world title challenger in action is 41 year old Motoki Sasaki (42-10-1, 26), who faces the 24 year old Genki Ishikawa (8-1, 5). The once beaten Ishikawa will see this as his opportunity to score a career defining win, and boost his hopes for a domestic title fight, however Sasaki will be the favourite , and has won 3 bouts since ending his retirement from the sport. Sasaki might be an old man but he's a genuinely talented fighter at this level and will be seeing this bout as a chance to earn himself another Japanese title fight. This is a really interesting bout on the Japanese domestic scene.
In South Korea we'll see a KBF Rookie of the Year tournament show, with only the main event not being part of that Rookie tournament.
That aforementioned main event will see the talented Geun Sik Choi (4-0, 3) take on upset minded Filipino Arnel Tinampay (23-20-1, 9) in what looks like a really good test for Choi. On paper we know this looks like a mismatch but Tinamapay has scored so many upsets through his career that his record only tells half the story about his ability and he will be looking to score another shock on the road.
In regards to the actual Rookie bouts the most interesting on paper will see unbeaten men colliding with Tae Won Jung (2-0) battling Kook Min Moon (2-0, 1) in a Super Featherweight clash. Both of these men debuted on March 26th and scored their second win on April 16th, so have been active and neither will be wanting to let go of their small winning runs here.
After a small break in Japanese action we see things return this coming Friday with an interesting show in Hyogo.
The main event of the card will see two former world title challengers face off in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. The match up will see Japanese teenager Riku Kano (11-2-1, 6) battle against Filipino Jerry Tomogdan (22-8-4, 10). For the 19 year old Kano the bout will be his second since suffering a technical decision loss to Katsunari Takayama last August whilst Tomogdan will be looking to get his career back on track following following a 4-3-2 in his last 9 bouts. On paper Kano will be favoured, but this is certainly no foregone conclusion.
The chief support bout will also be a Japan Vs Philippines bout as the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Futa Akizuki (8-0, 7) takes a step up in class and takes on Vincent Bautista (5-6-4, 1). On paper this looks like a real mismatch but the 19 year old Akizuki hasn't yet faced a foe with much of a pulse and this is his stiffest test on paper. Although his record isn't great Bautista has been matched hard and has gone in with Petch Sor Chitpattana, Palangpol CP Freshmart and Masataka Taniguchi showing his level of competition. This really could be a great test for the unbeaten man.
In another supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Rikito Hattori (7-1, 2) take on Takayuki Teraji (7-12-1, 4) in what should be another bout that will be better than the records of the two men suggest. Teraji is very beatable but always puts up a good effort and could well be a potential banana skin for Hattori.
We also have Asian action in Russia with two Filipinos fighting in interesting bouts.
One of those bouts will see Russian based Tajik Shavkat Rakhimov (9-0, 7) battle with Filipino Jimmy Paypa (19-3-1, 7) in a 10 round contest. Rakhimov has picked up wins over other Filipinos, stopping both Jerry Castroverde and Rogelio Jun Doliguez, and should be favoured again here, especially given that Paypa was stopped inside a round by Shingo Wake in his most notable bout to date. Although Rakhimov should be favoured it's worth noting that Paypa has won his last 3, including wins over Bernabe Concepcion and Jerry Nardo.
The other bout with a Filipino will see the unbeaten Evgeny Chuprakov (17-0, 9) take on experienced Filipino Eden Sonsona (36-6-2, 13) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. The talented Sonsona hasn't lost in over 5 years, going 10-0-2 during that run, and has the experience against very good opponents to be a real banana skin for Chuprakov. Saying that however the Russian will be favoured given he is the naturally bigger fighter and has home advantage. Despite being the away fighter Sonsona won't be turning up to lose, and will instead be looking to replicate his huge 2015 upset over Adrian Estrella.
May 2nd-Russian action!
To continue the early action in May we see a show in Russia where we get two low level title fights featuring fighters from Central Asia.
One of those bouts will see Tajikistan's unbeaten hopeful Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (6-0, 3) battling against Uzbekistan's Feruzbek Yuldashev (10-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Youth Lightweight title. Coming in to this Yuldashev has been busy, fighting twice already this year including a 7th round stoppage loss to Rustam Nugaev, but he has mostly been up against limited foes. As for Yaqubov the 22 year old is slowly stepping up his level and impressed last time out in shutting out the experienced Yogli Herrera. It's fair to say that Yaqubov will be the favourite but this could be a decent test for the 22 year old Tajik.
On the same card fight fans will see Russian based Kyrgyzstan born hopeful Akzhol Sulaymanbek uulu (6-0, 4) take on Russian Denis Lashin (6-2, 2) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. The Kyrgyzstan fighter will be seeking his third win of the year, but this is a step up and will be his first title fight. It's worth noting that Lashin is also fighting in his first title bout, and on paper he should be the “designated loser” but he'll likely look to put up a real effort here in an attempt to win his first title.
The month of May is set to be hectic, with notable bouts spread through the coming weeks. The action for the month actually kicks off with a big show it's self, with a Japanese title fight, the return for a popular warrior and a debut of a Vietnamese hopeful.
The aforementioned title fight will see Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (15-8-1, 7) battle against interim champion Tomohiro Ebisu (17-4, 17) in what looks set to be a really thrilling bout. Nishida has been inactive since June last year, when he lost the OPBF title to Dwight Ritchie, due to an injury and it's hard to say whether he will still be feeling the ill effects of that injury. Ebisu on the other hand comes into this bout following a thrilling win in December over Makoto Fuchigami. On paper this should be Nishida's pressure against Ebisu's power, and could be a very special way to kick off the month.
In a supporting bout we'll see former Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Gakuya Furuhashi (18-8-1, 8) return to the ring following his 10th round stoppage loss to Yasutaka Ishimoto last year. The always fun to watch Furuhashi has won just 1 of his last 5 bouts, but should get back to winning ways here, as he takes on the limited and faltering Masajiro Honda (6-8, 4), who has lost his last 3 bouts. A loss here for Furuhashi will likely end his career, which would be a shame, but a win could instantly see him put just a few bouts from a third title fight.
Also on the card will be the debut of Nguyen Gok Hai (0-0) from Vietnam, continuing the working relationship between the Kawasaki Nitta gym and Vietnamese boxing. The debutant will be up against Mao Tameda (1-2-1). Although it's hard to know how good Hai is it's fair to say that he wouldn't be invited over to Japan unless Kawasaki Nitta were aware that he was worth having over. This could be a very interesting debut.
April 30th-Genki Hanai returns!
The end the month of April we get a small card in Gifu.
The main event of the card will see recent Japanese title challenger Genki Hanai (7-1, 5) look to get his career back on track as he faces the light hitting Kenta Matsui (7-6, 1). The talented Hanai, a former amateur stand out, has failed to shine since turning professional and was stopped last time out by Tatsuya Fukuhara. A loss to Fukuhara is nothing to be ashamed by, especially given that Fukuhara has gone on to win the WBO title and was a real revelation in 2016, but Hanai needs a big performance here to show there is still potential with him.
In an interesting looking Featherweight bout we'll see Shota Okuda (7-4, 2) take on Takashi Igarashi (9-3, 3) in what should a very competitive 8 rounder. Coming in to this bout Okuda has lost his last 2 but will feel that he's good enough to over-come the 21 year old Igarashi, who has won his last 2 but failed to really shine.
Another under-card bout will see the once beaten Ruito Saeki (4-1) take on the more experienced Takaaki Kanai (7-6, 3). For Saeki this will be his first bout since suffering a 5 round defeat to Bunta Okumoto in the West Japan Rookie of the Year final last year. As for Kanai he enteres this bout on the back of 3 straight losses.
The biggest Asian show this coming Saturday takes place in Cebu where ALA host their latest “Pinoy Pride” card.
The main event of the card will see former 2-weight champion Donnie Nietes (39-1-4, 22) take on Thai visitor Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (22-3, 15) in a bout for the vacant IBF Flyweight title, that was vacated by Johnriel Casimero. On paper it's hard to go against the Filipino veteran, who hasn't lost since a very controversial defeat back in 2004, but at 34 years old and fighting in his first title fight at Flyweight this could be a really good test to see what Nietes has left in the tank. As for Eaktawan this could be a huge chance to score a break out win and announce himself on the world stage.
In the lead support bout fans will see the touted Mark Magsayo (15-0, 11) take on Tanzania's Issa Nampepeche (24-7-4, 11). The unbeaten Magsayo is slowly working his way towards a world title fight and although this won't put him in the mix it does seem him go in there with a live opponent and he will have to make sure that he doesn't over-look the “Peche Boy”.
Another notable prospect in a supporting role is Jeo Santisima (12-2, 11), who puts a 10 fight T/KO run on the line against Indonesian visitor Master Suro (11-8-1, 2). The heavy handed Santisima looks like he could be one of the next big stars of the Philippines and at just 20 years old there is real excitement in regards to his future. Suro isn't anything great but he has proben to be tough through his career so far, with his only stoppage loss so far coming to recent OPBF title challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying with the Philippines there will also be a small show in Metro Manila.
The main event of thise card will see Danny Tampipi (7-6-2, 4) battle against experienced domestic foe Albert Alcoy (14-23-8, 4) in a bout for the "interim" Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Bantamweight title. It's not a great bout but it should be a competitive one, and could well be a fun one with both men fighting to claim some silverware.
In Osaka fight fans will be able to get a little bit more world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Flyweight champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-1, 4) battle against Mexican challenger Monserrat Alarcon (8-3-2). The bout will be Yoshikawa's first defense of her title and on paper looks a really good one, though truthfully we're not too sure what Alarcon really brings to the table here and she could be a very tough foe for the 38 year old champion.
Also on this card will be a bout feature the promising Shingo Kawamura (13-3-1, 6), who takes on a Thai visitor, and an interesting looking bout will see Yu Konomura (7-4-2, 1) battle against Yuki Iriguchi (7-1-1, 4).
Another Japanese show will take place in Ishikawa, where we get a pretty interesting looking card.
The main event will see the unbeaten Genesis Servania (28-0, 11) battle against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-1-2, 5) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. The once touted Servania has seemingly wasted the last few years, but a win here will help put him back into the title mix with the WBO. For Lulu a win would be a potential career changer and put him in the mix for some notable fights later in the year.
In the co-feature Hurricane Futa (22-6-1, 13) will be battling against Ernie Sanchez (16-9-1, 7) in what should be a really fun to watch battle. Both guys are better than their records suggest, with both being tough, heavy handed and exciting fighters.
Western Cape, South Africa
The biggest bout to feature an Asian this coming Friday will see unbeaten Filipino Genisis Libranza (11-0, 8) battle with former IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (32-2, 21), in a bout for the IBO Flyweight crown. Coming in to this Mthalane will be looking to make his third defense of the title, a title that he won back in 2014 against Jether Oliva. Although the champion Mthalane hasn't fought since December 2015 and is 35 later this year. Aged 23 Libranza is a real unknown, but a win here would really boost his standing in the sport, and could well see him become one of the new faces at Flyweight. Although it doesn't look it on paper this really could be a very interesting bout.
In the US fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh novice Ashkat Ualikhanov (1-1, 1) battle against Antonio Sanchez (5-4-2, 3), in what looks like a well matched bout on paper.
This coming Thursday is a quiet day in Asian boxing, but there will be a low key show in China.
The main event of that card is set to be a WBO Oriental Flyweight title fight between former world title challenger Yi Ming Ma (13-6, 7), best known for being blitzed by Randy Petalcorin, and the unbeaten Ronnie Baldonado (8-0-1, 5). Of the two men Ma is the more well known, and the more proven, but at 36 the Chinese Southpaw is now living on borrowed time in regards to his career. The 21 year old Baldonado is stepping up in class here, but a win will certainly push his career forward and help move his career forward, despite the fact he's still in his boxing infancy.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
This coming Wednesday there will be a small profile show in the Philippines.
The main event of the card will be a 10 rounder that pits Jess Rhey Waminal (10-1-1, 6) against the highly experienced, and very streaky, Gerpaul Valero (21-18-4, 15). Coming in to this Waminal is on a nice run, having won his last 4 bouts, but they haven't come against fighters as heavy handed, or as experienced as Valero. On paper Valero is a journeyman, however since the start of 2011 he has gone 20-5-1 (15) and is certainly not as bad as his record suggests. This could be a very interesting match up.
In a supporting bout Lorenz Ladrada (4-0, 2) will risk his unbeaten record against Lenmar Presillas (2-4, 1). The 19 year old Ladrada will be looking to keep his run going, and he should manage that given that Presillas has lost his last 4 bouts in a row and is more than a year removed from his last win.
This coming Tuesday sees action return to the Korakuen Hall for what is a genuinely intriguing title double header, featuring two really nice looking bouts.
Technically the main event of the card is a Japanese Light Middleweight title fight, as Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-2, 13) takes on Takeshi Inoue (9-0-1, 4) for the currently vacant title. Originally Saito was supposed to fight Yuki Nonaka for the title, but Nonaka vacated and as a result this bout was made, which in fairness is a much more even looking bout. Saito is a genuine veteran of the sport, aged 38 and with almost 17 years of experience under his belt. Despite being a veteran Saito has never win “a big one” and will likely know that this will be his final title shot. For the exciting Inoue this is a big step up, but could well see him becoming a champion less than 3 years after his debut.
Talking about being fast tracked the other title bout will see Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) make the first defense of his OPBF Minimumweight title, as he takes on Jonathan Refugio (16-5-5,4). The ultra-fast rising Kyoguchi has been a professional for just over a year but has had a meteoric rise since debuting in April 2016 and has already claimed his first title, with others expected to follow before the end of 2017. Although Refugio is 23 years old he's already a bit of a veteran and has shared the ring with a string of notable names and should serve as a very legitimate first challenger for Kyoguchi.
On the under-card we'll see Noriyuki Ueno (18-14-5, 5) battle against a Thai visitor and veteran Ribo Takahata (12-7-1, 4) battle against recent Japanese Lightweight title challenger Yusuke Tsukada (8-6, 3), in what should be a very interesting card.