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.
As with the last few years this year is set to end with a spate of Japanese action. The first of two big shows to end 2017 is in Yokohama, where Ohashi and Fuji TV put on an interesting looking show.
The main event of this year closer will be the end in the latest chapter of Naoya Inoue's (14-0, 12) career, as he makes his 7th, and likely final, defense of the WBO Super Flyweight title. The talented Japanese fighter had been ruining out of willing opponents and will close 2017 with a bout against the inform Frenchman Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). On paper it looks good but the reality is that this is a huge step up in class and likely serves as a dummy run for the “Monster” before he moves up to Bantamweight in pursuit of a third divisional world title.
A second world title bout on this show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (11-0, 5) make his second defense, as he goes up against confident Panamanian visitor Gilberto Pedroza (18-3-2, 8), who fights in his first world title bout. The talented Ken Shiro has had a career defining year with wins over Ganigan Lopez and Pedro Guevara and closing out the year with a third win would, in fairness, put him on the fringes of the Fighter of the Year shortlist. As for Pedroza this is a huge opportunity to claim a world title and make a name for himself ahead of the near year.
A third title bout on this card will see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (4-0, 4) make his first defense as he looks to move towards a world title fight. The talented Japanese fighter, who came to international attention in 2012 when he claimed a Bronze medal at the London Olympics, will be up against Filipino challenger Eduardo Mancito (15-7-2, 9). The champion won the title in impressive fashion earlier this year, when he stopped Korean Sa Myung Noh and is expected to make an easy first defense here. Although limited Mancito is tough and is expected to get some rounds out Shimizu, who can prove whether his power is legitimate or not here.
In one of the leading support bouts Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) will take on 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15), in what looks likely to be a mismatch. The talented Takuma was supposed to fight for a world title a year ago, but an injury ruled him out and he now seems to be trying to get back to fully fitness and shake off any ring rust before moving back into the world title picture. Masuda is an exciting fighter, but with recent stoppage losses to Shohei Omori and Mark John Yap his limitations have been shown, and he's a fun but crude fighter who should be easily out boxed by Inoue.
A third Inoue on this card is the fast rising Koki Inoue (9-0, 8), who takes on Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (8-1-2, 3). The Korean enters the bout as the Korean Light Welterweight champion and an OPBF ranked fighter and it's clear that Inoue is chasing titles, with this bout potentially opening the door for an OPBF title fight in 2018. Inoue has been very impressive, very exciting and very aggressive since his debut however the Korean has never been stopped, looks to be tough and durable and will not have travelled to just roll over to Inoue.
Also on this card as Ohashi novices Katsuya Yasuda (1-0, 1) and Kazuki Nakajima (2-0, 2), who will both be in 6 rounders and will be looking to have big 2018's.
A second Asian show will take place in Kazakhstan where we get a number of interesting, though lower key bouts.
One of the key bouts from the show will see once beaten Kazakh hopeful Firuza Sharipova (7-1, 4) battle against Belgian fighter Djemilla Gontaruk (13-4-1, 2) in a bout for the WBC silver Female Super Featherweight title. The bout looks like a good one on paper, but coming in to this the Kazakh has won 7 in a row whilst Gonturak has lost against every notable opponent she has faced, including a loss last time out to Ramon Kuehne and her wins have been against very limited foes.
Another title bout on this card will see Aidyn Yelzhanov (4-0, 3) take on Sergey Dudinsky (4-1, 3) for a WBC regional title at Super Bantamweight. The 24 year old Yelzhanov has impressed so far,but has been fighting at a very liw level and will have to show something new to over-come the hungry Dudinsky, who has won his last two.
One other bout of note will be the home coming, of sorts, for Light Heavyweight prospect Ali Akhmedov (10-0, 7), who takes on Ismat Eynullayev (12-2, 8). Akhmedov has fought 5 of his last 6 outside of Kazakhstan, where he is incidentally 5-0 (5), and will be looking to put on a show here. Eynullayev, from Azerbaijan, has won his last 3 but will not be expected to put up much of a challenge against the home town hero.
In the Russian capital fan will be able to see Russian Uzbek Ulugbek Khakberdiev (4-0, 2) look to build on his solid 2017 as he takes on Ugandan puncher Med Sebyala (17-10-1, 14). The unbeaten Kazakh has gone under the radar this year, despite stopping Dmitry Sukhotsky in September and looks to end his year with a 5th straight win. The 37 year old Sebyala has lost 2 of his last 3, but does appear to be a legitimate puncher and could chin check the powerful Kazakh.
This coming Friday isn't a busy day, but there is a string of bouts worthy of note.
The most notable Asian card of the day takes place at the Korakuen Hall and is headlined by a Japanese title eliminator.
That eliminator comes at 140lbs and will see Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (23-3-2, 21), aka “Destino Japan”, take on the in form Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-4, 4). Baez really impressed last time out, battering Daishi Nagata into submission in 5 rounds, and has scored 2 stoppage wins this year to get his career back on track following a loss to Teerachai Kratingdaenggym last year. Okamoto was stopped by Kazuya Murata back in December 2014 but has since gone 5-0 (1) and will be be fully aware that this is a great opportunity to secure a title fight in 2018.
In one of a number of notable supporting bouts we'll see the light punching Ryo Narizuka (8-7) take on Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Naoyuki Tsukada (8-3-4, 3). Without a stoppage to his name it's hard to see a win for Narizuka, here. As for Tsukada he's in good form, going 5-0-3 (1) in his last 8, but hasn't really beaten a fighter of any note during that run.
A bout between two Japanese ranked fighters will see Ganbare Shota (14-7-2, 2) take on Hikaru Ota (8-6, 4), with both men knowing a win will move them towards a potential Japanese title fight in 2018. At the time of writing Shota was ranked #13 and Ota #14 by the JBC at 112 lbs, and it's clear the winner should move to the top 10, whilst the loser will likely drop out of the top 15.
One other bout on this card will see the touted Koki Koshikawa (5-1, 3) v look for his second win of the year. The Celes Gym fighter was tipped for big things, but a loss in 2015 put the breaks on his career, and saw him take more than 24 months out. Here he will be expecting a straight forward win as he takes on Thai visitor Taengthong Sithsaithong (0-3).
There will also be notable Asian action in Texas, with a trio of Asian fighters fighting on the same card.
The most notable of those bouts will see exciting Filipino puncher Aston Palicte (23-2, 19) fight for the second time on US soil. The heavy handed Filipino fighter will be up against former 2-time world title challenger Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (32-6, 19), who has lost in world title bouts against both Kazuto Ioka and Jerwin Ancajas. Coming in to this bout Rodriguez has suffered back-to-back losses, and is almost a year removed from his last win, and is unlikely to pose and threat to Palicte.
Unbeaten 22 year old Kazakh Ali Akhmedov (9-0, 7) takes a notable step up on this card in the chief support bout, as he takes on fellow unbeaten fighter DeShon Webster (9-0, 6). The Kazakh has looked very destructive recently, and has stopped his last 3 fights to claim his first two titles. Those titles, the WBC Youth and NABF Light Heavyweight titles, will be on the line here. Aged 26 Webster really does seem to be the one taking the bigger step up in class here, but like Akhmedov he's unbeaten and will be full of confidence here going into the biggest bout of his career.
Another unbeaten Kazakh on this card is Iskander Kharsan (2-0, 2), who takes on fellow novice David Alfaro (1-0) in a 6 rounder. This looks like a good match up on paper, but it's hard to see past the 20 year old Kazakh, who does appear to have some confident backers in his camp.
Several Asian fighters will be fighting in Victoria.
The most notable bout, at least for us, will see Sylvia Scharper (7-1-2, 1) take on Thai Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (13-10-1, 1) in a bout for the WIBA Super Flyweight title. The Thai has lost her last 4, including a stoppage to Momo Koseki and had previously fought Eun Hye Lee for a WBO world title, again suffering a stoppage. Scharper is far from being a world class fighter, but should be far, far too good for the Thai.
Australian Capital Territory, Australia
A second Australia show will take place in Woden, and we'll see a number of Asian fighters in action, mostly they are there to pad a local's record, sadly. One of those likely to pick up another loss is Egy Rozten (5-17-2, 3), who will be up against the unbeaten Haithem Laamouz (11-0, 4). Rozten has lost his last 5, and will almost certainly suffer another defeat again here, potentially inside the distance.
There isn't much action this coming weekend, as we await next week's bumper weekend, but there is some Asian action, including a trio of Filipino's in Australia.
In one of the main bouts we'll see WBA Oceania Super Flyweight champion Andrew Moloney (13-0, 8) defending his title against Raymond Tabugon (20-7-1, 10), and also fighting for the OPBF Silver title. The talented Moloney won the title last year and will be looking to record his 4th defense of the title, and continue his success over Filipino's, including Renoel Pael, Jether Oliva and Markquil Salvana. Tabugon has fought on the road before, but has gone 1-4 outside of the Philippines, and is unlikely to come out on top here.
In the co-feature Andrew's brother Jason Moloney (13-0, 11) will be defending his WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title against Lolito Sonsona (21-1-4, 9) in what looks like a more competitive bout. Moloney, like his brother, will be the favourite for what will be his 5th defense of the title. Like his brother we've seen Jason defeat a string of Filipino's, but this does look like a step up in class. Sonsona is unbeaten in his last 8, with his only loss being a decision to the talented Ardin Diale. This could genuinely be a very good test for both men
A third bout of note between an Aussie and a Filipino will see the once beaten Ibrahim Balla (11-1, 7) take on former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (28-13-2, 19). Balla comes into this having won his last 2 since suffering a stoppage loss last year to Neil John Tabanao and it's fair to say that the heavy handed Lopez will be looking to repeat Tabanao's success. Lopez has been inconsistent in recent years, but can be a handful on his day and won't have travelled to suffer a 14th loss.
We also get some title action in the US as Kazakh Ali Akhmedov (7-0, 5) takes on fellow unbeaten Curtis Hill Jr (10-0, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Heavyweight title. It's always good to see unbeaten fighters face off against each other early in their career and it's hard to complain about this fight. The 22 year old Kazakh has proven to be dangerous early, with 5 stoppages in the openign round, but has also proven his stamina over 8 rounds. Hill on the other hand is less proven and this will be a sizeable step up for him.
For the second day running we'll get low key action in Jinan, with a trio of 6 rounders.
One of those is an all teenage bout which will see the unbeaten Jiancong Bao (2-0) battle Guangxiong Li (4-1-1). On paper this is a solid contest, though the lack of power, on behalf of both fighters, does make it unlikely that we'll see a stoppage. Whilst it's probably going the distance it could still be a very fun bout.
Another teenager looking to extend his unbeaten record is Alimujiang Abulaiti (1-0, 1), who takes on a really stiff test against Jianzheng Wang (5-0, 3) in a Cruiserweight bout. This one really does look like a tough test for the teenager, but he may well have the skills, and power needed to over-come his 30 year old foe.
Another notable unbeaten is Jianjing Wang (5-0-1, 3) who will be taking on fellow Middleweight southpaw Ju Xiang Huang (6-4-2, 5) in a second bout between the two men, who fought to a draw in 2016. In their first bout the judges all scored it 38-38, but this time around both men will be looking to close the show, or at least take a clear victory.
In Mexico we'll see a local former world champion take on a little known, yet unbeaten, Filipino hopeful. The former champion is monstrous punching veteran Jhonny Gonzalez (63-10, 53), who has won titles at Bantamweight and Featherweight, who battles 25 year old Pinoy Jessie Cris Rosales (21-0-1, 9). For Gonalez the bout is supposed to be another step towards a Super Featherweight title fight, potentially facing off with Miguel Berchelt, whilst Rosales will be looking to make a name for himself and claim the biggest win of his career.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be a small card featuring a few hopefuls taking on domestic journeymen.
The most interesting of those fighters is 20 year old puncher Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8), who takes on the limited Rey Ramos (7-8-2, 3) in a 10 rounder. It should be noted that Ramos has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, but did beat Landy Cris Leon last time out and is the naturally bigger man, having fought at much higher weights than Ramos.
Arguably the biggest names in regards to the prospects is former amateur stand out Mark Anthony Barriga (5-0, 1) who takes on Joel Taduran (8-6-1, 2). Although a proven quality in the amateur ranks Barriga hasn't yet shone as a professional and his lack of power could be a serious issue going forward, but he did stop his last opponent, and may well be finding his footing as a professional fighter.
Another of the hopefuls is the once beaten, but heavy handed, Joepher Montano (7-1-2, 6) who takes on veteran Gabriel Royo (10-17-3, 8). Royo once showed some promise but that promise is now long forgotten and he's gone 1-10-1 in his last 12 bouts, and it's clear that he's there to merely make up the numbers against Montano.
The final prospect of note for us is teenager Daniel Lim (4-0, 2), who takes a small step up in class to face off with Jerry Salivio (1-5, 1). Give he's 17 there is no problem with Lim fighting at this level for now, but we're looking forward to seeing him step up in the near future.
North Carolina, USA
We'll also get the chance to see two promising central European fighters fighting in the US.
One of those is Kazakh Light Heavyweight Ali Akhmedov (6-0, 4), who faces 40 year old veteran Brad Austin (12-25, 9). It's hard to see this being anything more than an easy night for the 22 year old unbeaten man, but it's hopefully more about getting him used to the US than really trying to develop his fighting style. He's promising, but will need more serious tests in the near future.
On the same card Tajik fighter Mekhrubon Sanginov (3-0, 2) will be in action making his debut. The 21 year old Middleweight has fought got an active passport with this being the 4th country for him to fight in in the space of 10 months. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named.