Wadong Gymnasium, Ansan, South Korea
The main card this coming Saturday comes from South Korea where we get an excellent card featuring a female world title fight, two minor regional title fights and several promising prospects.
The main event of the show will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) defending her title, for the first time, against mandatory challenger Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (4-0, 1) of Vietnam. This champion won the title in spectacular fashion, knocking out Ayaka Miyao, but has at 40 years old and with just 3 fights since the start of 2019 it's hard to know what she has left, especially given how hard her career has been and how many wars she has been involved in. At her best Tada was one of the elite female fighters in the lower weights, but those years are well past her by now. Nguyen made her debut in 2015, but only really started taking the sport seriously as a professional in 2019, scoring 3 wins before the pandemic pretty much paused her career in early 2020. She has been lined up for a world title fight for well over a year, but due to the pandemic was unable to face Ayaka Miyao or Tada for the belt, and has had to wait until now for this opportunity. That has left her out of the ring for over 18 months. A full preview of this bout can be read here Tada travels to defend against Nguyen
The more notable of two WBO Oriental title bouts will see the world ranked Olimjon Nazarov (25-5, 14) defending his regional title against once beaten Filipino challenger Michael Mendoza (11-1-2, 4). The 35 year old champion is knocking on the door of a WBO world title fight, however he is ancient for a Flyweight, at 35, and he lacks the profile which would help him get a shot at the top. Notably he has aged well and is currently riding a 12 fight winning run coming into this bout. Mendoza is a relative unknown outside of Asia, but he has shown plenty to like and looked very impressive in his 2019 win over Kento Yabusaki, which is the only other time he's fought outside of the Philippines. He will go in to this as the under-dog, but is the much younger man, and knows that he has nothing to lose and everything to win. Expect to see Mendoza using his speed and movement, and Nazarov looking to use power and experience.
A second WBO Oriental title fight will be held at Minimumweight and see Vietnam's Minh Phat Sam (7-3, 5) take on former world title challenger ArAr Andales (12-2, 4), from the Philippines. Of the two men Andales is the more well known, having given Knockout CP Freshmart a tough test in 2019, but he has struggled since than win and is only 2-1 since losing to Knockout more than 3 years ago. He's certainly a talent but his career has lost all momentum in recent years. Phat on the other hand is is a man who struggled early on in his career, but is 7-1 in his last 8, albeit against very low level competition. This bout is a chance for Phat to make a name for himself, but he will be a a very clear under-dog.
In other bouts on this card we'll see once beaten Uzbekistani prospect Abdurasul Ismoilov (8-1, 5) clash with Korean fighter Moo Hyun Kim (8-1, 4), in what looks like a fantastic 50-50 style bout whilst unbeaten Uzbekistani puncher Abdulazizbek Najmiddinov (7-0, 6) takes on Sung Hun Kim (1-4), in what should be an easy win for Najmiddinov
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the show in South Korea we also have an interesting card in the Philippines, headlined by an excellent regional title bout, and also featuring a strong of notable names on the under-cards.
The main event will see former world title challenger Giemel Magramo (24-2, 20) look to bounce back from his 2020 loss to Junto Nakatani as he takes on Jayr Raquinel (12-1-1, 9), in a bout for the vacant OPBF Flyweight title. The talented and heavy handed Magramo was made to look third rate against Nakatani and will be looking to avoid another loss here, though with a lot of inactivity and his confidence likely to be at a low point following that loss it's hard to know just what he'll be like here. Raquinel, a former OPBF Flyweight champion, is a man who has been easy to over-look, but is a very live fighter with solid power and no fear of fighting as the under-dog. Sadly Raquinel has fought just twice since the start of 2019, and is horribly inactive, but the 24 year old southpaw will know a win gets his career back on track. This could be a very, very exciting bout and is one of the best all-Filipino match ups of 2021. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Magramo and Raquinel battle for OPBF honours!
The chief support bout will be another bout as another member of the Magramo clan, this time Arvin Magramo (12-1-1, 8), takes on the once beaten Jerry Francisco (9-1, 2) for the lightly regarded WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title. The talented Magramo has bounced back well since suffering a split decision loss to Garen Diagan back in 2018, winning 4 bouts in a row to get his career back in track. Incidentally Francisco's only loss has also come to Diagan, losing a technical decision to Diagan in 2019. Since that loss Francisco has bounced back with two wins, but they have come at a very low level and he should, really enter this bout as the under-dog
Another man who came up short in a world title bout is Juan Miguel Elorde (28-2, 15) , who is best known for losing to Emanuel Navarrete in 2019. The once touted Elorde, who is Flash Elorde's grandson, will be fighting for the first time since losing to Navarrete and should be picking up a very, very easy win as he takes on Aroel Romasasa (11-9, 5). Although not world class, or even close to it, Elorde is a solid and decent fighter whilst Romasasa is man who has lost his last 8, hasn't win since 2010 and hasn't fought since 2016, and that's not likely to change here.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22), who fights for the first time since being stopped in 2019 by Kenshiro Teraji. The hard hitting 34 year old south paw is now likely past his best, but should still have far, far too much for 38 year old journeyman Albert Alcoy (15-28-8, 5), who is 1-14-3 in his last 18 bouts! Taconing is unlikely to get another world title fight, but he should get a win here.
Ghani Sports Football Club, Karachi, Pakistan
We're set to get a show from Pakistan, albeit at a much, much lower level, as Pakistani boxing continues its slow and gradual domestic development.
The proof of how lacking the Pakistani domestic scene currently is can be seen in the fact the card is set to feature a bout between Shahir Afridi (2-0-1) and Haroon Khan (1-3, 1), who clash for the national Middleweight title. Afridi, struggled to a win last time out and has never beaten anyone with a win to their name, whilst Khan's last fight was a loss at Welterweight. Fingers crossed the domestic scene improves as this sort of a "title fight" does little to help the Pakistani scene.
Also on the card will be the unbeaten Taimoor Khan (3-0, 2), a very rare Pakistani Heavyweight hopeful who is looking to step up into an 8 rounder for the first time and battle for the Pakistan national Heavyweight title. Sadly however no opponent has been named at the time of writing, suggesting that his opponent will not be a notable one, or a testing one. Again not a great way to crown a national champion.
This coming Saturday is an exciting and busy day with multiple shows featuring Asian fighters, in bouts of varying significance.
For us the main card of the day will be in Japan as Teiken put on a Dynamic Glove at Korakuen Hall. This G+ televised card will feature two title bouts and a number of interesting hopefuls.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) in the first of the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts. This should be a really explosive bout and both men can hurt, and be hurt. Coming in Nagano will be seeking his second defense of the title and has scored 7 stoppages in his last 8 bouts. For Obara the bout is a chance to claim a second Japanese title, and a chance to give his career a shot in the arm after some recent set backs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Champion Nagano faces Obara in Japanese title defense
The second title fight on this card will be a Japanese Youth Super Featherweight bout between Ryusei Ishii (8-5-1, 5) and Yamato Hata (9-1, 9), who face off for the vacant title. Of the two Ishii is the more experienced man, and has faced the better competition, but Hata is a rising puncher, and will enter this bout with momentum on his side, with 6 straight TKO wins. Ishii on the other hand has struggled with just 1 win in his last 4. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Hata takes on Ishii for Japanese Youth title
In an interesting match up between Japanese ranked fighter's we'll see JBC ranked Welterweight Junpei Tsujimoto (6-1-3, 4) move up to 154lbs to face ranked Middleweight Nath Nwachukwu (5-0-2, 2), who drops down 6 lbs. This is interesting to see both men changing weight for the bout, which will be scheduled for 6 rounds. Interestingly both of these men won the Rookie of the Year in 2018, and each have picked up 2 wins since then. Maybe not a big bout but an interesting one.
At 14olbs we see another Japanese ranked fighter, with the hard hitting Kenta Endo (5-0-1, 4), who also won the 2018 Rookie of the Year, taking on Shun Akaiwa (4-1-1, 2). Aged 35 Endo's potentially to is limited by his age, but he's a fun, exciting and hard hitting fighter. Someone who can make very TV friendly bouts. Akaiwa on the other hand is not someone we can recall watching but he's yet to be stopped and should make for an interesting opponent for Endo.
Further down the card we see two notable Japanese prospects taking on Indonesian novices. One of those prospects is Kenshi Noda (1-0, 1), who is expected to pick up a quick win against Thomas Tope Hurek (2-4-1, 1) in a Light Flyweight bout, whilst the other is Super Flyweight Hiroto Yahsiro (1-0, 1), who takes takes on Abdul Rauf (1-2). Expect these to be little more than showcase wins for the local prospects.
Nuevo León, Mexico
Whilst the biggest show is the one in Japan the biggest single bout is actually in Mexico where IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2, 11) defends his belt against talented Mexican challenger Daniel Valladares (22-1, 13). Taduran won his title in a brilliant little war with Samuel Salva last September and at 23 is still just getting stronger. It is however always a big ask to pick up a win on the road in Mexico. Valladares on the other hand had an under-rated 2019 where he scored 4 wins including stoppages over Filipino fighters Melito Sabillo and Christian Araneta. This could be a very, very exciting match up! Our preview of this bout is available here Taduran defends IBF title against Valladares in Mexico!
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in Asia we get an interesting double header in Metro Manbila, where we see two Filipino title fights.
One of those will see Roldan Aldea (14-8-1, 8) defending his title as he takes on veteran Monico Laurente (30-16, 7) in a Lightweight clash. Although not a star Aldea has proven to be a rugged and durable fighter who is better than his record suggests, and his upset KO win last year over Mikhail Alexeev shows he can bang, when he lands clean. At 34 years old Laurente is certainly coming to the end of his career, and he will be the under-dog here, but will be a live under-dog. We expect this to be an interesting match up, even if it's the less intriguing of the two title bouts on the show.
The other title bout on this card will be a Flyweight bout as the under-rated Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-5, 5) takes on Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-2, 7). Although not well known outside of Asia Dagayloan has built a reputation for himself as a horror to face off with, he's aggressive, tough, strong and not an easy man to look good against. Penalosa on the other hand is a third generation fighter from the Penalosa family and is looking to bounce back from a loss last time out to Maximino Flores. This could be the hidden gem of the weekend.
There is also a card in India, where we get some low key action on a card in Mumbai.
One of the more notable bouts here will see Rahul Kumar (6-3-1, 4) take on novice Rakesh Bawa (0-1), in a bout scheduled for 8 rounds. It's hard to see Bawa winning, but the reality is that Kumar is no world beater himself and has lost 3 of his last 6 coming into this.
An even bugger mismatch will see the once beaten Sagar Narwat (9-1-1, 3) take on Harish Harish (0-0) in a 4 round bout. Narwat was beaten back in October, by Troy O'Meley, but this should be an easy comeback win for the 25 year old from Faridabad
In Uzbekistan we'll see a number of promising novices in action, in what will be a card where fighters will get a chance to show case their skills. At the moment none of the promising fighters on the card have had their opponents name, but we're expecting to see Dostonbek Turdiev (7-0, 3), Abdulazizbek Najmiddinov (4-0, 4), Jasurbek Latipov (0-0) and Obidjon Tokhirov (0-0) all in action. From those involved it's Latipov, who was a brilliant amateur, that stands out as the most interesting of those on the card and the one with the biggest upside.
There are more Uzbeks in action in Russia where a trio of Uzbeks will be looking to make their mark.
Thge most notable bout here will see Rustam Tulaganov (2-0, 1) take on the much more experienced Norbert Dabrowski (23-8-2, 10). The talented Tulaganov is expected to have a huge 2020 after having had a stop-start career so far, and a win here would be a massive statement for him. The 31 year old Dabrowski, from Poland, is talented, experienced and a big step up for Tulaganov, however the Uzbek will be regarded as the favourite here.
Another of the Uzbek's on this show is Odiljon Aslonov (1-0, 1) who will be up against South African foe Snamiso Ntuli (4-3, 2) in a 6 round bout whilst the third is the debuting Ulugbek Mubinov (0-0), who takes on the 30 year old Srdan Govedarica (7-8, 6). These bouts are less interesting than Tulaganov's but we're expecting dominant and impressive wins for the Uzbek pair.