Crowne Plaza Hotel, Noida, India
This coming Friday is a rather quiet day for boxing in Asia, but there is still a single show of note taking place in India, where we see a regional title bout headline an other-wise poor looking show of novices.
That main event will see the once beaten Sagar Narwat (12-1-1, 5) battle against the limited Rahul Kumar (7-4-1, 5) in a bout for the lightly regarded WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental title at 154lbs. The title has been in circulation since 2011 but it's never really been one of any recognition with fighters like Michael Zerafa and Tim Tszyu being the most notable champions of the belt, and neither defending it against anyone of any real quality. Of the two men Narwat enters this as a clear favourite and should be too good for Kumar, however Kumar will come into this bout knowing it's a big opportunity to turn his career around.
Sadly all the other bouts on the show are novice bouts, with the pick of the bunch being a female 6 rounder between the promising Geeta Solanki (2-0, 1) and the limited Muskan Shrivastava (2-2), who has lost her last two bouts by wide decision.
Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
To kick off the month of September attention turns to Tokyo, and the Ota-City General Gymnasium for a very notable card, albeit a very short card with just 4 bouts on it. And a card that will no be open to the public, as it will held behind closed doors due to a high level of Covid19 cases in Japan, however the under-card will be streamed by Shisei gym and the main event will be shown on TBS.
The card in question will feature two all debutant bouts to open up the card before a brilliant looking all-Japanese chief support bout, as the skilled, but often frustrating, Yuichiro Kasuya (14-3-2, 4) battles the dangerous, but flawed, Aso Ishiwaki (8-4-1, 6). Of the two men Kasuya is the much more technically skilled and the more well schooled boxer, but he's often been negative in the ring, and lacks fight changing power, something that has often been a problem in his recent bouts, especially given he's moved up from Super Featherweight to Light Welterweight. Ishiwaki on the other hand is a rough around the edges fighter with nasty power, a huge will to win, and a physically imposing style, which he will look to use here against the naturally smaller man. This should be a very, very interesting support bout.
Whilst the chief support bout is an interesting one it pales in comparison to the main event, which will see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) defending his title against Francisco Rodriguez Jr (34-4-1, 24), in a rare bout between two men who unified titles 3 weight classes below the one where they are facing off themselves. Ioka has looked rejuvenated since his return to the sport, following a short lived retirement, and comes in to this on the back of an excellent win over Kosei Tanaka back in December. Sadly though Ioka also has the cloud hanging over his head of a drug testing issue that saw the JBC really getting embarrassed for the way they handled things, and it's something that could well be on his mind coming into this bout. As for Rodriguez this bout is a huge opportunity for him to prove that he's still one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, something he showed in 2014 when beat faced Katsunari Takayama. Sadly Rodriguez hasn't been as successful as Ioka since leaving the Minimumweight division and this will be his first real world level test since joining the division, though he is on a very nice winning run of 15 straight bouts dating back more than 5 years. Our full, in depth preview of this bout can be read here Ioka faces third straight mandatory as he battles Rodriguez!
The Hangar, Costa Mesa, California, USA
This coming Thursday we get a small slice of action in California as a once touted Kazakh pressure fighter takes on a man best known for going the distance with Ryota Murata, very early in Murata's career.
The match up in question will see Ali Akhmedov (16-1, 12) taking on Ricardo Adrian Luna Flores (23-8-1, 15). The exciting Akhmedov hasn't been seen in the ring since his 2020 loss to Carlos Gongora, in what was a genuinely brilliant fight and should have seen both men remain TV staples on DAZN. Sadly since that loss Akhmedov has lost so much career momentum that it's hard to imagine him getting back in to a main TV show any time soon. As for Luna Flores the Mexican is well known for facing Ryota Murata way back in 2014. Since then has had mixed results, but was notable taken out inside round by Bektemir Melikuziev in 2019. It's hard to see anythign but a win for Akhmedov, though hopefully he will get the chance to shake some ring rust here.
Boxing Centre Sapiyev, Karaganda, Kazakhstan
This coming Sunday attention turns to Kazakhstan for a small card, but one that does have some promising young talent on it.
The most well known of the fighters on the card is Dastan Saduuly (8-1, 8), who takes on the win-less Tumar Kuantay (0-4). Saduuly has been on the radar for years, but is, still, sadly being matched incredibly softly. In fact since his 2020 loss to Vildan Minasov he has faced objectively terrible opposition, with his 5 opponents since that loss lasting a combined 6 rounds. We can't imagine Kuantay being much different from Saduuly's other recent opponents, especially given he's been stopped in all 4 of his defeats, and has never gotten beyond round 2.
Another youngster looking to build their reputation is Nurslan Sabirov (5-2, 1), who looks to bounce back from a recent loss to Altay Kylyshbay. The promising 19 year old Sabirov will be up against the win-less Rakhat Makhambetsailov (0-2). Although not a puncher Sabirov should be looking to score a stoppage here against Kylyshbay, who has been stopped in both of his professional losses.
A third youngster of note here is the debuting Sabirzhan Akkalykov (0-0), who won the World Youth Championships. The talented and fresh faced Akkalykov will be up against Shovkat Khalilov (7-4, 1), in what looks like a much, much more interesting bouts than the other two we've mentioned. Akkalykov might be the less experienced fighter here, but will also be the favourite going in and the man expected to really shine here.
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The main action involving Asian fighters, in fact the main action full stop, this weekend takes place on a Showtime card in Las Vegas, headlined by one of the sports few true super stars. The match up is not the one we were expecting just a few weeks ago, but is still a solid bout put on on short notice and not something we're going to be complaining about, whilst the card also features a man who has promised a lot over the years, but has failed, so far, to deliver on that promise.
The superstar in question is Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39) who was scheduled to take on Errol Spence Jr, before Spence was diagnosed with a detached retina. Instead of facing the unbeaten American star Pacquiao will instead face Cuban Yordenis Ugas (26-4, 12), in a bout for the WBA "Super" title at Welterweight. On paper this is a big downgrade, though we can't help but feel this might actually be a better fight, with the styles of the two men likely to gel well, and it's also great to see Ugas, who has really not had much luck with his career, landing on his feet for once. We expect the Filipino to begin to look his 42 years of age, but with Ugas being 35 himself he's no spring chicken, and this could end up allowing Pacquiao to just squeak by in a potentially thrilling match up. Our full, in depth preview of this one can be read here Pacquiao and Ugas clash for WBA crown!
The fighter who has promised so much is Mark Magsayo (22-0, 15), who burst onto the Filipino scene way back in 2013, when he was regarded as a Filipino super prospect. Sadly, more than 8 years on, Magsayo has still not shown what he can really do, and his signature win stands as a 2016 victory over Chris Avalos. Here he has a great chance to score a win of note as he battles against Julio Ceja (32-4-1, 28). The exciting Ceja, was once a very notable fighter and is a former WBC interim champion at 122lbs. Sadly however he's without a win since November 2017, he's not fought since November 2019 and he's also not a natural Featherweight. Ceja, at his best, would have been a great test for Magsayo, but all things considered it's hard to get too excited about this one.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (15-0, 14) look to score his biggest win to date as he takes on America Joey Dawejko (21-8-4, 12). It's fair to say that 2021 has been a frustrating year for Kossobutskiy, who has seen dates and events fall by the way side, including a planned UK debut, but it'll be good to see him back in the ring here, and Dawejko is no push over. In fact he could be a rare test for the big Kazakh who has been relatively under-tested thus far. Saying that we still strongly back Kossobutskiy to win, but he should be asked some questions here.
Conrad Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
We were expecting a big show this coming Friday in Dubai, though sadly the planned big show was made significantly smaller when the main event of the show was cancelled at short notice due to an injury suffered in training by one of the two fighters. Despite the huge loss at the top of the card, there are three bouts of note on their with Asian interest, still.
The main event is one of those bouts with Asian interest as unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Ali Baloyev (10-0, 7) takes on Rolly Lambert Fogoum (11-1-1, 10), who is based in Dubai and originally from Cameroon. The promising Baloyev seemed set for big things early in his career, but sadly he has never stepped up or kicked on with things, and on paper this is actually his toughest bout to date. Something that should be regarded as a genuine shame given how promising he seemed to be in his first few bouts. As for Fogoum his competition has also been poor, but there's never really been much fuss about him showing much promise. This is a strange one, in that both men have good looking records, but we really don't much at all about either man.
Another bout of note is an all-Thai fight, which will see Apichet Petchmanee (9-0, 2) defending his WBC regional Lightweight title against Phumiritdet Chonlathondamrongkun (7-0, 7). This is not just an all Thai bout, but also a bout between two unbeaten fighters. Apichet has long been touted as a potential star of Thai boxing, but in recent bouts he has looked very limited, and a lot of hype surrounding him has died off. Phumiritdet on the other hand is real unknown, but has scored all of his wins by stoppage, and that could be a problem given that Apichet has shown a questionable chin in the past.
The third bout of note for us will see unbeaten Indian fighter Faizan Anwar (7-0, 4) take on Filipino veteran Ricky Sismundo (35-15-3, 17). The unbeaten Anwar is taking a huge step up in class here, especially given the competition he has faced so far, however Sismundo is not the fighter he once was, and he has lost his last 4, and is almost 3 years removed from his last win, with 2 recent losses coming by stoppage. Anwar is not only the younger, fresher fighter, but also the naturally bigger fighter and should be seen as the huge favourite, but this is easily the toughest match up of his career so far.
Airport Hilton, Miami, Florida, USA
As well as the action in Dubai we'll also be expecting to see Filipinos in action in the US .
One of the Filipino fighters in question is the heavy handed Romero Duno (22-2, 17), who is set to take on the limited Ramon Elizer Esperanza (22-19-1, 11). This will be Duno's second bout since he was beaten by Ryan Garcia, and this really should be little more than a formality for Duno, who is levels above Esperanza.
Another Filipino set to be on this show is Mike Plania (25-1, 12), who takes on the very poor Jonathan Lecona Ramos (18-31-5, 6). Sadly Plania is one of those fighters has really not been able to build on a big win. His win over Joshua Greer Jr in 2020 is almost forgotten, and although he's world ranked this is the type of fight he's now getting, whilst Greer just got a big fight on ESPN last weekend. Fingers crossed Plania will get big fights in the near future, but this bout should serve as little more than a tick over for "Magic Mike".
We get more action in the west as two notable Japanese fighters take to a ring in Mexico for bouts as A-Sign boxing take their show on the road and go international.
The more notable of the two Japanese fighters on this show is Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (18-1, 11), who takes on the very limited Gustavo Garibay (16-14-2, 8). The talented Matsunaga has proven himself as a fantastic fighter in Japan, the hope is that, in the next year or two, he will land a big fight in the US and this bout should help him prepare for a big US bout by allowing him experience of fighting in a very different environment than he's used to in Japan.
The other Japanese fighter on this card is more well known to Mexican fans, and that's because Shoki Sakai (25-12-2, 13), first made his name in Mexico before later fighting in the US and Japan. Sakai, who last fought in Mexico back in 2016, will be up against Dario Ferman (18-9, 15), a 37 year old who's heavy handed, but has been stopped in 8 of his 9 losses and should be seen as a bit of a glass cannon.
Camp Lawig Brgy, Lumbo, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
In the Philippines this coming Sunday Marban Promotions will be putting on a small, but notable, show.
The most notable bout on the card will see unbeaten hopeful Roslan Eco (4-0, 3) look to return to the ring after a lengthy break from action, due to the pandemic. The hard hitting Light Flyweight hopeful will be expected to maintain his unbeaten record as he takes on Jay R Tulinan (4-3, 2) in an 8 rounder.
In a supporting bout the unbeaten James Pagaling (3-0, 2) will take on Ruel Julian (2-2), who has been stopped in both of his losses and will likely be taken out again here in a 6 rounder at Bantamweight. Another 6 rounder will be at Flyweight Eldin Guinahon (3-0, 3) takes on Ramil Yacapin (2-3, 2), in what could end up being a pretty explosive match up given neither man has ever won a decision!
Dignity Health Sports Park , Carson, California, USA
The big fight this coming Saturday comes from Carson California, and it's a biggie as WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21) takes on Cuban veteran Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1-0-1, 13) in a really interesting match up that could decide the who faces Naoya Inoue in 2022. Coming in Casimero has been brash in his insults towards the Japanese monster, but left himself open to criticism regarding drug testing for this bout, which saw Nonito Donaire pull out of a scheduled clash with his fellow Filipino. Rigondeaux right now needs to win to remain relevant in the sport, and being the wrong side of 40 a loss is almost certainly the end of his career. Saying that however Casimero could well be seen as being to order for the Cuban, with Casimero being open, overly aggressive, wild and there to be countered, something that should play into Ridondeaux's hands. Regardless of who wins here, this should be explosive and one of the most entertaining Rigondeaux fights, which admittedly isn't saying much. Our full preview of this one can be read here WBO champion Casimero takes on Rigondeaux
MTI National Headquarters, Bangalore, India
There is also a really low key show in India, with a number of very low profile bouts on the show. One of the few worthy of note is a contest between the wonderfully named Harsh Purohit (0-3) and the unbeaten Rohit (1-0), who face off in a 6 rounder at 154lbs. The 27 year old Purohit has been stopped in all 3 of his professional bouts, with the most recent coming more than 2 years ago, whilst Rohit fought his only pro bout last year, picking up a decision win.
This Friday isn't a big day for Asian fighters, but there are some bouts of interesting taking place.
Tacoma, Washington, USA
Unbeaten Uzbekistani Ravshan Makhamadjonov (12-0, 8) looks to make his US debut this Friday, though sadly his opponent has yet to be confirmed for the bout. The exciting 22 year old Light Middleweight is the WBC Youth Champion at 154lbs, and has been carving out his career in Uzbekistan and Russia so far, so it is great to see him making an appearance in the US, but with no opponent named it's hard to feel like he's going to be tested here, which is a shame. Makhamadjonov is certainly promising but his competition has, on the whole, left much to be desired, and we suspect that'll be the cas again here.
Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Florida, USA
Staying in the US we'll see the debut of US based Uzbekistani hopeful Otabek Kholmatov (0-0), who was a solid amateur and shined in the 2016 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, where he picked up a bronze medal after losing to Hayato Tsutsumi. Although not one of the top Uzbek amateurs, Kholmatov is certainly going to be one to watch. Sadly however his opponent for this bout has yet to be announced, which is a real shame as it would suggest the opponent is going to be a very late notice foe.
Hotel Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
On a card in Dubai we'll see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Bekman Soylybayev (12-0, 4) taking on fellow unbeaten Ramiro Cesena (13-0-1, 11), from Mexico. For Soylybayev this will be his first bout in almost 4 years, but before his lengthy lay off, he was on the verge of some interesting fighters, having won and defending a WBC minor title at 130lbs and scored a notable win over tough veteran German Meraz. Sadly though with so long out of the ring it's hard to know what he has in the tank. Cesena on the other hand has score 4 wins since the start of 2020, including 3 by stoppage, and he has all the momentum coming in to this. This could be a very, very painful night for the Soylybayev if he has any ring rust coming into this.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Thursday we get the next Diamond Glove show from Korakuen Hall, and it's an interesting one with 3 bouts worthy of note on the show.
The first of the three bouts will be the debut of former amateur standout Ryusei Baba (0-0), who takes on Kenya Okada (5-3-1, 3) in a tough looking debut bout. The talented Baba went 45-26 in the unpaid ranks, winning national and international titles and is regarded as someone to really keep an eye on over the next 7 or 8 years. He might not be the mega prospect, like Naoya Inoue or Kazuto Ioka were, but there is a lot of expectation on his shoulders and many are tipping him to be moved aggressively, potentially towards a world title fight. Although no world beater Okada is no push over, and he's been unlucky in two of his recent losses, and he will be coming into this one knowing that a win would put him on the map, even with losses in previous two bouts. This should be a genuine test for Baba.
In the chief support bout we'll see former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) look to bounce back from his loss to Hinata Maruta as he takes on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4), in a really compelling match up. On paper this looks like an easy win for Sagawa, who is a genuine talent and a really intelligent boxer, however it's worth noting that he did suffered his first loss when he faced Kosaka in 2017. Since that 2017 bout Sagawa has gone 9-1, won a Japanese title and a WBO Asia Pacific title, and really built himself on the back of that loss, whilst Kosaka is 2-4 and really needs a win to remain relevant on the Japanese domestic scene.
The main event will see Lightweight triple crown winner Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) defending his Japanese title as he takes on second generation fighter Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7), who will be competing in his first title bout. Yoshino is probably the best Lightweight in Japan right now, though there is argument he deserves to be behind Masayoshi Nakatani, and is a fighter who can genuinely do it all in the ring. He can box, he can fight and he can certainly punch. He'll enter as the big favourite, and as a fighter who is eyeing up bigger and better things in the near future, including potential world title eliminators. He will however have to make sure he doesn't over-look Nakazato. The challenger is stepping up big time here, but is young, hungry, sharp, under-rated and coming in to this with no expectations on his shoulders. Although we strongly favour the champion heading in to this, we wouldn't be surprised to see a very good performance from the hungry challenger. Our in depth preview of this cone can be read here Yoshino looks to defend Japanese title as he takes on Nakazato