T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The big bout of the weekend comes from Nevada and is expected to see a storied rivalry come to an end, as Mexican star Saul Alvarez (57-2-2, 39) faces Kazakh nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin (42-1-1, 37) in their third bout. Coming in to this Golovkin is seen a man on the way out, and has failed to officially win either of the previous bouts with Canelo. Notably however those previous bouts have been at Middleweight whilst this bout will see Golovkin move up to Super Middleweight as he challenges Canelo for the unified Super Middleweight title. Canelo, who lost last time out to Dmitry Bivol at 175lbs, will be risking the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles at 168lbs in a bout that really is a huge match up for both men, and the division. Golovkin might be old, but he likely knows this is going to be one of, if not the, final bouts of his career and we expect to see him throw everything he has at Canelo, who can ill afford another poor performance after his loss to Bivol. Our preview of this bout can be read here Canelo Vs Golovkin III - The Trilogy
Golovkin isn't the only Kazakh on this card, as the once beaten Ali Akhmedov (18-1,14) looks to get his career back on track, as he takes on popular veteran Gabriel Rosado (26-15-1, 15) in a must win, for both men. The hard hitting and exciting Akhmedov seemed to be riding to the top when he was 16-0, but has struggled to rebuild since his December 2020 loss to Carlos Gongora, in what was a sensational fight for the IBO Super Middleweight title. As for Rosado, the 36 year old continues to be inconsistent, and has sadly failed to pick up a win since shocking Bektemir Melikuziev in 2021. He looked dreadful last time out, losing to Shane Mosley Jr, and will need a much, much better performance here.
Mielparque Hall, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
As well as the action Stateside we also get a notable show in Japan, with two title bouts. This card is expected to be explosive, and a genuinely interesting one thanks to former world champions Koki and Daiki Kameda.
The main event of the show promises fireworks as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) takes on hard hitting challenger Tsubasa Narai (8-1, 7), who gets the biggest fight of his career. For Saka the bout serves as his second defense of the Japanese title, which he won back in December 2019, but will see him looking to bounce back from a loss, having lost last December to Yoshimitsu Kimura in an OPBF Super Featherweight title bout. Saka will be favoured but he has long been unpredictable. As for Narai, the former Rookie of the Year winner was stopped last year by Kyonosuke Kameda, but has bounced back with an impressive win over Shinnosuke Hasegawa, back in April, and will be looking to build on that win here. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Saka faces Narai in potential fire fight!
In a supporting bout former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) will be facing off with Toshiya Yokogawa (12-12-3, 10). On paper this looks like an easy win for Tamura, but he hasn't looked great in recent fights and it seems like his hard career, filled with brutal wars, has caught up with him. He's not just lost a gear, but appears to have lost pretty much the entire transmission unit. As for Yokogawa, he's hard hitting, upset minded and will know this is a great chance for him to get a win over a former national champion. Yokogawa's career record does, notably, hide the fact he has gone 5-1-2 in his last 8, the best run of his career, and he will be full of confidence here.
One other bout on this show will be an OPBF female Minimumweight title fight, as the unbeaten Mizuki Chimoto (4-0, 1) faces limited Korean Hye Soo Park (6-8-3, 1), with Chimoto seeking her second defense, following he shock title win in June 2021 against current world champion Yuko Kuroki. Chimoto is one of the brightest hopes in female boxing and isn't expected to be tested at all by Park here. Park was beaten the last time she fought outside of Korea, and although she is unbeaten in her last 3, she has been fighting at a very, very low level since a 2019 loss to Tamao Ozawa. Our preview of this bout can be read here OPBF champion Chimoto faces Park
This coming Saturday is a very busy day for Asian fight fans with shows taking place through Asia. The day not only features bouts across the continent, but also across all sorts of levels, including a former world title challenger in one bout, and a range from domestic and regional level bouts, right through to show cases for prospects.
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The most notable single bout comes from Hyogo where we see former world champion Tomoki Kameda (38-3, 20) take on hard hitting Dominican William Encarnacion (19-3, 15) in an interesting 10 round Featherweight bout. Kameda is seeking his third straight win since a 2019 loss to Rey Vargas, and is taking a dangerous opponent here, whilst biding his time for another world title fight, but we don wonder whether he should really be at 126lbs given his lack of power and a physicality in his style Encarnacion is no world beater, and he has lost 3 of his last 4, but he's got power, and did give Adam Lopez a really close and solid test back in May. Kameda will be the favourite, but this is a live test for him.
On the same card we'll also see Japanese ranked Light Middleweight Kohei Miyamoto (5-1-1, 5) battle against limited veteran Mao Tameda (3-12-2). The 25 year old Miyamoto has stopped his last 3 in the opening round, and will come into this with a lot of confidence that he has the power and aggression to shine here. As for Tameda he is experienced and tough, having only been stopped in 3 of his 12 losses, but has been struggling to pick up wins recently and is 1-4 in his last 5 going back to 2020. This should be a test of Miyamoto's stamina see what he's like when a fighter can take his punch, but he should still be favoured.
Uchinada Town Sogo Gym, Kahoku-gun, Ishikawa, Japan
A second Japanese card will take place in Ishikawa where we get the debut of a brilliantly named fighter, and a Japanese Youth title fight.
The Japanese Youth title bout on this card will see Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Hiroki Hanabusa (9-2-3, 3) defending his title against Toshiyuki Takahashi (7-4, 4), in what will be Hanabusa's first defense, since winning the title last November. The talented Hanabusa has lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come to very good fighters in the form of Toshiki Shimomachi and Katsuya Fukui, and they helped prepare him for his upset win last time out against Kyonosuke Kameda for the title. As for Takahashi he has won his last 4, though this is a very step up in class for him, and he will go in as the under-dog. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Youth champion Hanabusa defends against Takahashi
The wonderfully named fighter on this card is Megaton Marina (0-0), who will be facing fellow debutant Reona Fukuoka (0-0) in a 4 round female bout at Super Bantamweight. Not really much to add here, other than that Megaton is a brilliant name, especially if it turns out that she's a puncher!
The Grand Ho Tram Strip, Vung Tau, Vietnam
Over in Vietnam we get a a trio of minor title bouts thanks to Cocky Buffalo.
The main event of the card will see Uzebkistani veteran Olimjon Nazarov (27-5, 15) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Filipino challenger Bienvenido Ligas (14-2-2, 9). The 36 year old Nazarov has a messy looking record, with 5 losses, but is currently riding an impressive 14 fight winning streak, dating back more than 5 years, and is banging on the door of a world title fight. Ligas on the other hand is 24 year old who has shown a lot of potential, and could well be only a fight or two from a world title shot of his own, if he wins here. The Filipino youngster already holds win against the likes of Alphoe Dagayloan and Roland Jay Biendima, and a win here would be a step in the right direction for his career.
A second title bout will see local hopeful Hong Quan Dinh (8-1-1, 4) make his first defense of the IBF Asia Lightweight title as he takes on Filipino visitor Jules Victoriano (11-4, 8). Dinh won the title last time out, taking a 10 round decision over Delmar Pellio, and he'll be looking to not just retain his title but also score a 7th straight win, and potentially move towards an OPBF title fight later in the year. As for Victoriano, he's very much a glass cannon, with 8 stoppage wins and 4 stoppage losses from his 15 fights and will be hoping to use his power here, before Dinh cracks his chin.
A third title fight on this show will see the unbeaten Korean teenager Chan Ho Song (7-0, 3) defending his WBO Youth Light Welterweight title against Thai foe Bunchuai Phonsungnoen (4-1-1, 3). Song won the title in April, with a narrow win over Romer Pinili, and should be favoured here, but this is certainly not a gimme for a first defense. The 22 year old Bunchuai was stopped on his debut, in 4 rounds against Toshio Tarumi in Japan, but showed enough there to catch the eye, and has gone unbeaten in the 4 years following the defeat. This is a genuinely solid first defense for this level of title.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see rising star Carl Jammes Martin (19-0, 16) defending his WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title against Charles Tondo (12-5-2, 5). The hard hitting Martin won the title last time out, when he stopped Ronnie Baldonado in 11 rounds, and had to show some grit to pull himself off the canvas early on. As for Tondo, from Tanzania, he was recently beaten by rising British fighter Dennis McCann in a bout where he looked limited but tough, and that toughness will be tested again here.
Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Ona separate card in the Philippines we'll get a battle of unbeaten punchers, as Kenneth Llover (5-0, 4) takes on Ridick Tablanza (4-0, 4). On paper this looks like an excellent match up between two young men each looking to move their careers forward. Of the two men Llover is the more notable, having turned professional in 2020 and racking up two wins already this year. As for Tablanza he debuted in late 2018, and ran up 4 wins in a combined 6 rounds, but has now been out of the ring since December 2019, and it's hard to know what desire he has given that lengthy lay off.
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California, USA
In the US we'll see once beaten Kazakh hopeful Ali Akhmedov (18-1, 14) take on Mexican veteran Ricardo Adrian Luna (23-8-2, 15). The hard hitting and exciting Akhmedov has picked up 2 low key wins since his thrilling 2020 loss to Carlos Gongora, and is rebuilding his confidence against low key opponents. Luna is a big step up from Akhmedov's recent opponents, and he recently held Vyacheslav Shabranskyy to a shock draw, but he is a naturally smaller man who has really been more of a gym fighter in recent years, notable as a main sparring partner for Ryota Murata.
Quiet Cannon Country Club, Montebello, California, USA
The main action for us this coming Thursday is in the US where we see a once touted Kazakh return to action for the first time since suffering his first professional defeat. That Kazakh is Ali Akhmedov (16-1, 12), who lost in a barn burner to Carlos Gongora last year. The hard hitting an exciting Akhmedov will be up against Peruvian fighter David Zegarra (34-5, 21). Zegarra won his first 30 bouts but has looked dreadful in recent years, going 4-5 and being stopped 4 times in those 5 losses, At the age of 36 he's pretty much heading to boxing's scrap head. On paper Zegarra has a nice looking record, but in reality this is very much expected to be an easy comeback win for Akhmedov, who will be looking to get a confidence building W on his record after 9 months out of the ring.
Attention also turns to Russia for a small card in Barnaul, featuring a few low key Asian fighters.
One of those Asian fighters is Dastanbek Imankaziev (2-3, 1), from Kyrgyzstan, who takes on once beaten Russian Tikhon Netesov (6-1, 2). Imankaziev started his career with back to back to wins, but has now lost his last three, and been stopped in his last two, suggesting that maybe his future in the sport isn't too bright. Netesov on the other hand won his first 4 bouts before suffering a loss in late 2020. Since his loss he has racked up two simple wins and will be expecting a third here. Not only does Imankaziev come in out of form, but he's also the much smaller man and should have nothing to test Netesov with.
Another fight from Kyrgyzstan who will be in action on this show is Sardar Atakishiev (7-1, 5), who will be up against professional novice Abubakar Abkhalimov (1-0). Atakishiev won his first 7, against some very limited opponents, but was upset last time out when he lost in a surprising bout against Evgeny Smelov. He'll be looking to bounce back from that defeat. As for Abkhalimov, he won his professional debut, but that was in 2019, and it's going to be interesting to see what sort of ring rust he has coming into this bout. On paper Atakishiev should be favoured, but in fairness he has not proven himself, at all, in his 7 wins so far.
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.
This coming Friday is a busy day in the world of Asian boxing with Asian fighters in action in the US, Kazakhstan and the Philippines. The day is also a really interesting one with world title bouts, prospects and contenders all in action making it a real great day to sit down and watch some fights.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
The biggest show of the day for Asian fighters is in Florida, where Matchroom and DAZN put on one of their final shows of 2020. It's not a massive show, but it's certainly a noteworthy one.
The main event of the card will see Kazakh Middleweight great Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35) defending his IBF and IBO titles against unbeaten Polish challenger Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5). For Golovkin this will be his first defense of the titles since reclaiming them in October 2019, when he narrowly beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and we do wonder what the 38 year old Kazakh has left in the tank, especially given the 14 month break between fights. Sadly however it's unlikely that Szeremeta will ask him any real questions in what is a massive step up in class for the Polish man. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Golovkin returns against unbeaten Szeremeta
A second Kazakh on this show will be the unbeaten Ali Akhmedov (16-0, 12) who clashes with fellow unbeaten Carlos Gongora (18-0, 13) in a bout for the IBO Super Middleweight title. The exciting Akhmedov has been facing very poor competition so far, and this is, very clearly, a step up in class for him, and his team will know that a win puts him on the verge of a "real" world title fight. As for Gongora the Ecuadorian was a stellar amateur, competing in 2 Olympics and 3 World Amateur Championships, but at 31 this is his first real test. This is an excellent match up, and one that promises to be very, very interesting.
In a female world title bout we'll see Korean Hyun Mi Choi (17-0-1, 4) make her international debut and look to make her latest defense of the WBA Super Featherweight title. The hope was that she would be in with some sort of name opponent or at very least a live foe for her US debut but instead she is matched with late call up Calista Silgado (19-11-3, 14), from Colombia. On paper Silgado looks like she can punch, but her record against opponents of some quality has shown she is limit. Thankfully she is tough, but this should be a straight forward defense for Choi, who deserves better from Matchroom. Our preview of this bout can be read here WBA champ Hyun Mi Choi makes US debut as she takes on Calista Silgado!
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan Tukeshov Promotions will be putting on an event with a staggering 22 bouts on it! Given boxrec currently list 132 bouts taking place anyone where on the globe on Friday it's amazing that a single show will have 22 of them! Of course we won't go through all of them, but there are 3 that have really got our interest.
The best of the bunch is a Cruiserweight bout between Kazakh amateur star Kamshybek Kunkabayev (1-0, 1), who has eyes on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and under-rated Ukrainian Serhiy Radchenko (7-6, 2). On paper a nothing bout, even for a 1-0 prospect, but this should actually be a legitimate test for Kunkabayev given that Radchenko has given the likes of Krzysztof Glowacki, Ruslan Fayfer, Adam Balski and Artur Szpilka real tests. We suspect the big man from Kazakhstan will be too good, but this is not the gimme it looks on paper.
Another potentially tough bout for an unbeaten Kazakh will see Sultan Zaurbek (9-0, 7) take on Vladyslav Melnyk (12-2, 7). Zaurbek has been needing a step up for a while, with MTK feeding him a lot of limited opponents early on and this is a much needed step up in class against a fighter who has proven himself and shown a desire to win. Zaurbek is very talented, but we don't yet know if he's very good. Melnyk is a 22 year old Ukrainian who will be coming in to this with belief and we suspect the hunger to test the Kazakh. Potentially a very compelling match up.
Another prospect worthy of real attention on this card is Talgat Shayken (2-0, 1), who will be up against Russian foe Maxim Churbanov (8-7-1-1). Shayken, who is now just 20 year's old, has got a lot of potential, but that potential needs work and he needs developing. The 34 year old Churbanov is well travelled and tends to be a good test for decent fights, asking questions of fighters like Michal Syrowtka. Shayken should win but bouts like this will help hone and develop his undeniable potential, so we've no issues with him being moved slowly.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
Over in the Philippines we get two shows thanks to Omega Sports who have split an event in two for Covid19 safety reasons.
The first of the two shows is Kumbati 6 and features two interesting prospects on it.
One of the prospects in question is unbeaten Light Flyweight Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6), who takes on veteran Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4) The talented Vicelles comes into this bout with wins against Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas and is very talented, however it's understandable that his team are just looking to keep him ticking over here. Garde was once a a decent opponent, capable of asking questions of good fighters, but he has now lost 6 of his last 7, and been stopped in 4 of those bouts. We see this being another loss for him.
The other notable prospect on Kumbati 6 is the twice beaten Tomjune Mangubat (11-2-1, 9), who returns to the ring for the first time since is 2019 epic with Jong Seon Kang, which is a bout everyone should get around to watching. In the opposite corner to Mangubat will be the limited Reymond Empic (7-5, 3), who is looking to avoid a third straight loss. On paper this isn't an awful bout for Mungubat, coming in off a loss himself, but Empic has lost 3 of his last 4 and is unlikely to be a serious test for Mungubat.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
The other show from Omega Sports will be Kumbati 7, and this looks a more stacked one, with prospects and a couple of world title level in action.
The best bout on this show will see the once beaten Christian Araneta (18-1, 14) take on Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8) in what should be a sensational battle. Araneta is looking to score his second win since a 2019 injury TKO loss to Daniel Valladares, and is very highly regarded. He is however also the smaller man and Biendima showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went toe-to-toe with Kento Hatanaka back in February. This should be a real test for Araneta.
Sadly we don't expect to see Albert Pagara (32-1, 23) have any sort of issues at all when he takes on Virgil Puton (18-14-2, 9). Once up a time Puton was good regional level opponent, giving the likes of Shuya Masaki and Masayuki Ito questions to answer. Now a days however he looks about spent and has been stopped in 3 of his last 6. Pagara should be too quick, too powerful and far too good to go too many rounds here with the worn and weary Puton.
The once beaten Peter Apolinar (12-1, 8) looks to score his latest win as he goes up against the limited Danilo Tampipi (9-11-2, 5), who has been stopped in 3 of his last 4. Apolinar has won his last 7, including a very solid win over Jetro Pabustan in October, and shouldn't need to work too hard to pick up a win here.
One other man who should be picking up an easy win is the all action Carl Jammes Martin (15-0, 14), who fights for the first time since December 2019. The 21 year old sensation is one of the most fan friendly fighters in the Philippines and he should be looking at big bouts in the next year or two. Here however he's just looking to take over and shake some ring rust as he takes on Richard Rosales (14-13-2, 8), who has lost his last 4 and 7 of his last 8.
New York, USA
The biggest show this coming weekend comes from New York and features a trio of Central Asian fighters in notable bouts.
The biggest of those bouts will see Kazakh legend Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35) battle against Ukrainian foe Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10) for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. The hard hitting Golovkin is seen as being past his best, but is still favoured to pick up the win here against the technically well schooled Derevyanchenko. The title, which was vacated when Saul Alvarez's team failed to reach a deal with Derevyanchenko, will give the winner a bargaining chip for a unification bout next year, but will leave the loser in a really awful position. Our full preview of this fight can be read here Golovkin and Derevyanchenko clash for IBF crown!
The fast rising Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3), from Ukraine, will be fighting in his 4th professional bout as he takes on Alejandro Barrera (29-5,18). On paper this is another solid match up for Madrimov, but in reality it's a notable step backwards for the Uzbek who should be expected to score a very clear win. Barrera's record looks good on paper but he has lost 3 of his last 4, was stopped by Errol Spence in 2015 and only has 1 win in the last 3 years, he has also been fighting at Welterweight. The one thing Barrera does, perhaps, have going for him is that he's only been stopped once but inactivity, natural size disadvantage and poor form doesn't bode well against a fighter like Madrimov.
Kazakh Super Middleweight Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) is also on this card, where he will be taking on 33 year old American Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2-1, 9). The experienced Hernandez has mixed in good company, but losses to the likes of Caleb Plant, Jesse Hart and Ahmed Elbiali do show his limitations. Saying that Hernandez has been a banana skin through his career for prospects and will be a really good test for Akhmedov. The 24 year old Kazakh is climbing through the rankings well and this is a brilliant bit of match making for him. We expect Akhmedov to win, but we expect to see him needing to earn the victory.
Whilst New York has a big card there is also a really interesting one in Japan, where Tokyo plays host to the next Dynamic Glove show, though sadly it won't be aired live on G+ and is instead set for a tape delay broadcast.
The main event here sees Japanese youngster Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) take a huge step up in class as he takes on former world champion Milan Melindo (37-4, 13) in a really interesting 10 round contest. Nakatani has looked brilliant coming through the ranks, but has, for the most part, faced smaller opponents and limited opposition. Here we still see him up against a smaller foe, but an experience and skilled opponent with world class experience. Melindo will be going up in weight for this, and will feel he has the experience to deal with Nakatani. This is a really major bout on the regional scene, and we suspect that the winner here will end up fighting for a world title in 2020. A full preview of this fight can be read here Nakatani takes on former world title challenger Melindo!
On paper the chief support bout looks like a massive mismatch, with Korean visitor Kyung Min Kwon (7-5, 3) taking on 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (34-2-2, 22). On paper this should be an easy win for Akaho, who has the clear edge in power and experience however Kwon is the naturally bigger fighter and the younger man and will be in the ring looking to score an upset. Kwon enters the bout as the interim Korean champion and managed to last 8 rounds last year with Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF Featherweight title fight. Kwon is tough and could well frustrate Akaho, though we do expect Akaho to pick up the win.
A really good looking support bout will see Filipino Robin Langres (10-3, 4) take on under-rated Japanese local Ikuro Sadatsune (9-4-3, 3) in what has the potential to be a thriller. The 23 year old Langres is making his international debut here, and comes into the bout on the back of his second win against Jomar Fajardo, but he was beaten last year by Jason Buenaobra. Sadatsune has lost twice already this year, though both of those bouts were razor thin and against against well regarded fighters Kenshin Oshima and Sho Ishida. This could be a very hotly contest and exciting back and forth battle. For those interested in learning more about Sadatsune he was recently covered in a recent "Introducing" article Introducing... Ikuro Sadatsune
Also on this card is the debuting, but very highly touted, Shigetoshi Kotari (0-0) who kicks off his professional career against Lasben Sinaba (3-2, 3), from Indonesia. As an amateur Kotari fought over 70 professional bouts and has already impressed in sparring since turning professional. He's expected to show case his skills here, but Sinaba has been stopped in both of his losses and we see him being taken out again here and it may only be a short showcase for the Japanese debutant.
Going back to the US we'll see Kazakh heavyweight Izim Izbaki (2-0, 1) take on the win-less Troy Albring (0-2). The 24 year old Izbaki is worth making a note of, as he rises through the ranks, but this is little more than a fight to help him adapt to professional boxing. Albring has been blown in the opening round of both his previous fights and we're expecting the same to happen again here.
Also in the US will be Chinese Light heavyweight Fanlong Meng (15-0, 9), who faces Gilberto Rubio (9-8, 6), in a stay busy fight whilst he awaits his shot at the IBF Light Heavyweight title.
New York, USA
The big show this coming Saturday comes from New York and will feature a pair of Kazakh fighters, one being the biggest name in Kazakh boxing, and the other being a youngster looking to become a contender.
The main man on the card is former Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34), who takes on unbeaten Canadian Steve Rolls (19-0, 10). This will be Golovkin's first bout since losing to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez late last year, and it's a huge step down in opponent from what Golovkin has been facing in recent years. Rolls, although unbeaten, has done little to suggest he can survive with Golovkin and really doesn't bring much at all to this bout. We understand Golovkin having an easy return, after almost 9 months out, but this bout really doesn't appeal to us at all.
Another Kazakh on this card is the unbeaten Ali Akhmedov (14-0, 10), a rising Super Middleweight. The 23 year old Akhmedov will be up against the limited, but entertaining, Abraham Han (26-4-1, 16). Han hasn't fought in over a year, but has proven to be a decent opponent, with good performances against fighters like Sergio Mora, Fernando Guerrero and J'Leon Love. On paper this is a big step up for Akhemedov, but one he should manage without too many problems.
A third Kazakh fighter on this show is Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1-1, 12), who will go up against the touted Brian Ceballo (8-0, 4), in what looks like a really tough one for Eyubov. The Kazakh man once looked like an emerging force, winning his first 10 by stoppage, but since then his career has really faltered, and he's lucky to still be unbeaten. Ceballo on the other hand is a fast rising prospect and will be expected to win here, in a step up bout, but a seemingly safe step up bout.
Another Asian fighter on this card is the hugely impressive Uzbek contender Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2), who takes a step up on class to take on Mexican gate keeper Norberto Gonzalez (23-12, 13), in what is likely to be Madrimov's toughest bout to date. The Uzbek has hardly put a foot wrong in the pros so far, and a win over the durable Gonzalez, especially this early in his career, would be another major statement. Whilst Gonzalez is certainly not the fighter he once was he is no bum, and should be able to ask some questions of the Uzbek.
In Queensland we'll see the once beaten Korean In Duck Seo (11-1-2, 6) take on the unbeaten Tysinn Best (10-0, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. Coming in to this Seo has just scored his biggest win to date, out pointing Heuk San Lee, and is much better than his loss to Eldorbek Sayodiv suggests. Best on the other hand is stepping up here, and whilst he has home advantage this should be his toughest bout to date, by far.
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter this coming Sunday comes from Maryland, as former world champions collide! The bout will see Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17) take on Kazakh-Russian Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10), in what should be a tremendous bout. Both of these men need a win if they are to remain in the world title mix, and both will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss, with Lipinets losing to Mikey Garcia and Peterson losing to Errol Spence Jr. Their styles should make for a fun fight and this is a really good quality match up between world class fighters.
Staying in the US there's also a couple of unbeaten Kazakh prospects in action in California.
One of those is Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10), who will be dropping down to Super Middleweight to face off with Mike Guy (9-3-1, 5). The unbeaten Akhmedov wasn't as active as we'd have hoped in 2018 but with his first bout of 2019 taking place this early he could end up having a really big year this year. Guy is a solid enough opponent, who has done 8 rounds with Tyron Zeuge and came close to doing the same with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, show he's durable. This might be a very tough test for Akhmedov but is also a chance for him to make a statement.
On the same card will be Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8), who will be fighting his second bout of the year and looks likely to have a huge year. He fought 4 times in 2018 and although his competition hasn't been the best he is making noise as one to watch. At 25 years old he has time to really build his record and reputation before moving onto big fights. He will be up against Puerto Rican fighter Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9).
Staying with Kazakh's there is also set to be a show in Almaty featuring a couple more notable Kazakh fighters.
In one of the main bouts Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) will take on tough Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1, 6) in a bout for minor titles from the WBO, WBA and WBC. This could end up being one of the low key bouts of the weekend and is a very real threat to Yerbossynuly's unbeaten record. The Kazakh has shown promise but has been down in a couple of his fights whilst Ndafoluma has managed to show toughness and skills on the road, upsetting British fighter Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017. This is a potential banana skin for the unbeaten Kazakh.
On the same card Nursultan Zhangabayev (6-0, 4) is scheduled to make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title. His opponent will be 25 year old Venezuelan fighter Ivan Matute (28-1, 23), who has a really good looking record, but there is no real quality on there. The unbeaten Zhangabayev won the belt last December, when he took a decision over tough Filipino Arnel Tinampay, and was given a real test, so we're hoping for another test here.
Also on this show will be 21 year old Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0, 7) who will be fighting for a WBC Asia title. The talented Kazakh will be up against John Ruba (17-5-1, 9), who shouldn't really be much of a match for Akhmedov, who will be expected to move to 8-0 (8) without too many problems.
The under-card is also set to feature a number of prospects, including Dastan Saduuly (2-0, 2), Iskander Kharsan (5-0, 4) and Ulugbek Khakberdiev (5-0, 3).
As well as all the Kazakh's in action there is actually set to be a couple of Japanese shows on the same day. The more notable of those takes place in Hyogo and is a Shinsei promoted card.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing, as Shun Kosaka (15-5, 4) takes on Shunji Nagata (12-17-2, 4) in an 8 round bout at a contracted 51.5KG's. The winner of this could end up finding themselves in a Japanese title bout later this year. Coming in Kosaka has lost his last 2, being stopped in an OPBF title fight by Jayr Raquinel and being out pointed by Junto Nakatani, but remains #2 ranked by the JBC at Flyweight. Nagata on the other hand has struggled for consistent results, with 6 losses in his last 8, but has shown the ability score an upset on his day and is better than his record suggests.
World ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (19-4-1, 11) will be taking on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-4-1, 6), in what looks like a straight forward bout for Nishitani. Medura has lost 3 of his last 5, losing all 3 of them in Japan by stoppage. Although Nishitani isn't anything special he has won his last 4 by stoppage and is a former Japanese national champion, so should have little problem picking up the win here.
Talented and highly touted prospect Yuki Yamauchi (2-0, 1) will seek his third win as he takes on unbeaten Filipino Claudevan Sese (7-0-3, 1). This looks like a good step forward for Yamauchi, who will be in his first 8 rounder just 8 months after his debut. For Sese this will be his international debut, and a big step up in class, though he has never tasted defeat and has gone 8 rounds twice during his career.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) take on Reymond Empic (6-2, 2), in what looks like a pretty even match up. Takemoto left his mark last year, when he took the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, and he looked to hit much harder than his record indicates in his final win over Hikari Mineta. Empic should prove to be an interesting assignment for Takemoto, but one that Takemoto will be confident of passing.
It's also worth noting that this show will feature the retirement ceremony of Eita Kikuchi (21-6-4, 8), who challenged for both the OPBF Super Bantamweight and Japanese Bantamweight title during his 31 fight career that began back in 2005.
As well as the Shinsei card there will also be a Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Fukuoka. Among the bouts on this card is an interesting bout between Ryusuke Ushihara (4-1-1, 1) and Yutaka Asakura (3-1-1, 2), which looks really competitive on paper.
The biggest show, for us, on Thursday will take place at the Korakuen Hall and feature a trio of title bouts.
The headlining bout will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (20-2, 7) defending his title for the second time, as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Daishi Nagata (11-1-1, 5), in his first title bout. Naito won the title in January, when he stopped Jeffrey Arienza, and only just managed to retain the belt in May, when he narrowly defeated Jheritz Chavez in what was a very fortunate win that saw the Japanese fighter having a torrid final few rounds. Coming in to this Nagata is riding a 3 fight winning run, but was dominated in April 2017 when Vladimir Baez walked through him and stopped him in 7 rounds. That bout showed that Nagata wasn't the toughest, but he is skilled and this could be a lot more competitive than many suspect. Neither is much of a puncher but both are highly skilled and this should make for a really good contest. A preview of this bout can be read here Naito takes on Nagata in next OPBF title defense!
The co-main event of this card is an OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight, as the exciting Hiroaki Teshigawara (17-2-2, 10) takes on the inform Glenn Suminguit (21-3, 11) of the Philippines. The hard hitting always fun to watch Teshigawara is currently riding a 5 fight winning run, including wins over Keita Kurihara, Jason Canoy and Teiru Kinoshita, but this bout will see him moving up in weight, following his impressive run at Bantamweight. Suminguit on the other hand is 9-1in his last 10, with notable wins of his own over the likes of Lloyd Jardeliza, Renoel Pael and Alvin Bais. The Filipino will be the under-dog here, but will not be in Tokyo to make up the numbers and really could give Teshigawara fits in an action packed contest. - A full preview of this bout can be read here - Teshigawa hunts OPBF title as he faces Suminguit!
A third title bout on this card will see the unbeaten Ryuto Owan (5-0, 3) take on fellow youngster Tetsu Araki (11-1-1, 2) in a bout for the JBC Youth Bantamweight title. The 20 year old Owan was a stand out amateur at the youth level before making his professional debut last year. Since debuting he has shined and scored notable wins already over both Alvin Medura and Jun Blazo, leading to some in Japan getting very excited about him. Coming in to this Araki has won his last 7, since a split decision loss to Tenta Kiyose in September 2015. Araki isn't as highly regarded as Owan, but he does have the edge in experience and at 23 he should be just a tough more physically mature.
As well as the exciting card in Tokyo there is also a notable card in China with a couple of title fights.
One of those title fights will see the unbeaten Mingcun Chen (4-0, 4) face off with Clint Alderton (8-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBF international Light Heavyweight title. The unbeaten Chinese fighter made his debut last November and has never gone between 2 rounds thanks to his power. This is however a huge step up in class for the 20 year old. Alderton is himself a solid puncher, but is 1-1-1 (1) in his last 3 and whilst he can bank there are question marks about his heart and his overall ability.
The other title bout will see the unbeaten Ziqiang Huo (7-0-1) taking on the limited Gregory Bell (4-3, 1) in a bout for the WBC Australasian Welterweight title. Aged 29 Huo is in his physical prime, but really lacks power and is without a stoppage through his 8 fight career. Bell on the other hand has shown a little bit of power, but the reality is that he's proven his ability either and we suspect that this could have messy distance bout written all over it.
In the US Kazakh prospect Ali Akhmedov (12-0, 9) will essentially be fighting in a stay busy bout, as he faces off against the limited Jovany Javier Gomez (17-14, 11). Gomez is a blown up Light Welterweight and shouldn't pose any threat at all to the excellent Akhmedov, who deserves a much better opponents than Gomez.
There isn't much action of note this coming Wednesday but there is a bout of interest to us in California, as unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Ali Akhmedov (11-0, 8) takes on Jorge Escalante (9-1-1, 6) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds. The unbeaten 23 year old shone last year, going 6-0 (4) but has been inactive through out this year, which has sadly killed his momentum and explains why he is going from 10 rounders down to 6 rounders. On paper Escalante has a decent looking record, but has fought very low quality opponents, and was defeated last time out by IsaiasOrtega, who entered the contest with a 1-2 record. This bout is clearly for Akhmedov to shake some ring rust, but it is a shame that his career has slowed so much after a fantastic 2017.