This week comes to an end in brilliant fashion with numerous notable fighters in action across the areas covered by the PABA and OPBF.
The most significant action of the day comes from Russia where we have several interesting bouts that range from a world class match up to a solid break through contest for a promising fighter just beginning to make a name for himself.
The promising fighter is the unbeaten 28 year old Light Heavyweight Sergey Ekimov (11-0, 5) who will be attempting to defend his CISBB Light Heavyweight title against the experienced Czech based Cuban Miguel Velozo (17-2-2, 5), who was very unfortunate in his last bout. This is a great test for Ekimov, easily his toughest so far, though one he should find a way to win if he's as good as some suggest.
A more notable bout comes at Cruiserweight where one-time world title challenger Rakhim Chakhkiev (19-1, 14) battles against former world champion Giacobbe Fragomeni (32-4-2, 13). Fragomeni is solid world level fighter and we suspect he could give Chakhkiev a really hard test here though an impressive win for the Russian may earn him a world title shot next year and with fellow Russian fighters Denis Lebedev and Grigory Drozd holding world titles that could give us an all-Russian world title bout.
The main event on this show will see former Heavyweight title holder Alexander Povetkin (27-1, 19) battle against the very under-rated Carlos Takam (30-1-1, 12) in a fight for the WBC Silver Heavyweight title. The winner here will be put near to the front of the queue for a WBC world title bout next year. They will be behind mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder though will view Wilder, and current champion Bermane Stiverne, as beatable opponents if they face either man next year. This is a tough one for Povetkin but it is winnable, especially in Russia where the officials will likely help him if needed.
As well as the show in Russia we also have an interesting card in Japan courtesy of Watanabe Gym.
The main event on this Russian show will see Hayato Kimura (21-7, 15) looking to bounce back from his loss last time out to Michael Dasmarinas as he takes on the limited and thoroughly unimpressive Kanae Onogi (6-6-1, 3). Kimura's record looks impressive but he's far from being an impressive fighter and has lost his last 3, in fact he has lost 3 of his last 5 and 5 of his last 10 suggesting that he's really nothing special, though he should be good enough here.
In the co-feature we'll get the chance to see the always fun to watch, and heavy handed, Rikiya Fukuhara (29-7-1, 21) who will be taking on the limited Thiendaeng Manoprungroj (1-4, 1). This should be an easy contest for Fukuhara who we suspect may be fighting to shake off some rust before a Japanese title fight next year against Satoshi Hosono in what promise to be an explosive encounter. Of course Fukuhara was supposed to be fighting Hosono earlier this year though had to pull out due to an injury, hopefully the injury will have full recovered by now and he'll be back to his best.
A third 8 round bout on this show will see former OPBF title challenger Ryuichi Funai (21-6, 14) battle against domestic journeyman Toshikuni Wake (8-13-3, 2) in what should be a straight forward win for Funai, even if we don't believe he's a great fighter himself. Wake has won 4 of his last 12 bouts and will likely suffer a stoppage here looking at who has beaten him in the past.
As well as the 3 bouts we've mentioned there will be another 6 contests on the show.
In Thailand we get to see former world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (46-3, 31) attempting to claim the WBO International Bantamweight title. Pungluang, fighting for the first time since he was stopped by Tomoki Kameda in July, will be fighting against Filipino Bryan Macamay (9-2-2, 5) in what should be a real mismatch in favour of the talented Thai.
On the under-card here we're expecting to see Anuntachai Sor Por Lor Krungthep (6-7, 4) battle against China's You-Jie Zeng (5-6, 5) in what could be a very explosive encounter.
In Australia we see another Asian in action as Indonesia's Ricky Manufoe (23-21-2, 10) battles against the debuting Andrew Maloney (0-0), a former amateur stand out who won a Commonwealth games gold medal. Despite having 46 bouts under his belt Manufoe really isn't likely to give Maloney any sort of a test given how good the Australian is.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
Whilst we know almost every boxing fan is looking forward to the action through out Saturday there is plenty going on on Friday to keep fans interested with former world champions, world class fighters and a genuinely great show in Russia.
Surat Thani, Thailand
The earliest action of the day is in Thailand where one time world champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (53-1-1, 19) defends his WBC International Super Flyweight title against Filipino challenger Noli Morales (10-4, 3), who has suffered all 4 of his losses so far in Thailand. This is the best opponent Morales has faced and that should sum up how we expect the contest to go.
The biggest show of the day is the one in Russia as we get a genuinely fantastic show with several world class fighters in action in some very interesting looking contests.
The main event is the pick of the bouts with former WBA Heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (26-1, 18) returning to the ring for the first time since his defeat at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko. Povetkin's opponent will be former WBC Heavyweight title challenger Manuel Charr (26-1, 15) and with both men looking to move back into a world title fight this is effective a title eliminator, despite only officially being a WBC international title fight. We'll be honest we're really looking forward to this one and expect it to be a very, very competitive bout between two top 20 Heavyweights each looking to earn their way to a major bout later in the year.
Whilst the Heavyweight clash is brilliant it's also supported by two world class fighters on the undercard. One of these is former WBC Cruiserweight title challenger Rakhim Chakhkiev (18-1, 14) who will be defending his WBC international Cruiserweight title for the first time as he battles former world title challenger Santander Silgado (25-1, 20). Silgado is somewhat known to Russian fans for his loss to Denis Lebedev back in 2012 and has gone 2-0 (2) since then against opponents with a combined record of 44-5-2 despite that he really shouldn't be a problem for Chakhkiev who is a vicious fighter.
The other world class fighter is Lightweight Eduard Troyanovsky (17-0, 14) who has had a disappointing few months due to an injury that has seen a WBA world title bout with Richar Abril fall through. Sadly Troyanovsky's disappointment won't be softened by his very weak opponent, Anton Bekish (5-10, 4), who is tough but has nothing at all to threaten the very talented Russian contender.
A fourth bout of note on this card will see Sergey Lipinets (1-0) return to the ring for his second professional bout. Lipinets, who debuted just a few short weeks ago, will be hoping to score his second win as he takes on the once beaten Serbian fighter Dzemil Cosovic (3-1-1) in a scheduled 6 round bout. We've heard very promising things about Lipinets and we hope he progresses as the Russian media are suggesting he could. If the media are right this youngster has the potential to be a real star.
In the US we get another Russian in action as Medzhid Bektemirov (13-0, 10) puts his unbeaten record on the line against a yet to be named foe.
Thanks, as always, go out to Pal for his information regarding the action in Thailand. With out him we'd be at a real loss in regards to the Thai boxing scene.
(Image courtesy of the 13th round)