February has been a worryingly quiet month for fans who follow Asian fighters. Thankfully however there is a real pick up in activity this coming Saturday with a host of Asian fighters in action all around the globe.
Bula Gym, General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The most meaningful bout of the day comes from the Philippines where we get world title action from General Santos City. The bout in question will see IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11) defending his title against Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11), with Taduran looking to record his second defense of the belt.The aggressive and heavy handed Taduran has impressed in several bouts, notably his loss to Wanheng Menayothin and his title win against Samuel Salva, however he has been out of the ring since a technical draw against Daniel Valladares just over a year ago. Cuarto on the other hand lacks a real win of note, though is a hungry 24 year old challenger looking to make his mark on the sport. Sadly Cuarto hasn't fought since late 2019 and is 2-1-1 in his last 4, but is very much a live under-dog and is technically more rounded than the champion. A full preview of this bout can be read here Taduran takes on Cuarto in All-Filipino world title fight!
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Although the biggest bout of the day is in the Philippines the most interesting card is actually in Kazakhstan where we get the chance to see a number of exciting prospects in action.
The most notable bout on this show will see fast rising Kazakh standout Kamshybek Kunkabayev (2-0, 2) battle in his first title fight, as he takes on the once beaten Steven Ward (13-1, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific Cruiserweight title. Kunkabayev was an amateur standout who has been hugely impressive since making his pro debut last year, and has notched two very solid wins in as many fights. In the opposite corner is Ward, a Northern Irish fighter who's record looks good, but under the surface his competition has been poor and his sole loss, an opening round TKO to Ricards Bolotniks, does not bode well for him here. On paper Ward is probably the first opponent who is coming to beat Kunkabayev, though we suspect he'll be taken out relative early on here. Our preview of this one can be read here Kunkabayev goes for gold as he battles Ward!
(Editor's note - Kunakabayev's opponent has been changed, he will now be facing Ukrainian fighter Server Emurlaiev (23-1, 8), unfortunately these articles are scheduled more than a week in advance, and the previews are written 2 to 3 weeks before a bout.)
In a much more interesting looking bout we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Nurtas Azhbenov (10-0, 4) take on once beaten Russian Evgeny Smirnov (13-1-3, 3). The 26 year old Azhbenov has shown some promise, but doesn't appear to be a star in the making, with a lack of power likely to be one of the things holding him back from the big time. He has also been matched relatively softly through his 10 bout career. Smirnov on the other hand has been matched harder, but has struggled and has gone 0-1-3 against unbeaten fighters. Smirnov is also win-less in his last 3, going 0-1-2 since late 2018. This one should be "interesting" but we suspect it will lack drama, as neither man is known for having much power.
Exciting youngster Talgat Shayken (3-0, 2) will be looking for his 4th professional win as he takes on Russian fighter Evgeny Pavko (18-3-1, 13). Although not the most talented or polished fighter out there Shayken is a very entertaining fighter, who comes to rumble, presses forward with a high intensity and really lets his shots fly when in range. He's a very fan friendly fighter who needs time to mature and develop, but should be on the radar for fans who follow the Central Asian scene. Pavko on the other hand is a very decent, well respected and experienced fighter who will be looking for a victory here, rather than rolling over and just losing. His 3 losses have all been struggles for the winners and we suspect Shayken will need to work hard for a victory here, though his natural size should be the difference here.
A potentially explosive bout will see once beaten Kazakh Abay Tolesh (6-1, 4) take on Russian Vasily Shtyk (2-2, 2). The talented Tolesh is looking to score his second win following a 2020 loss to Saparbay Aidarov and will be wanting to make a statement. Shtyk on the other hand is a limited but tough fighter who has heavy hands, as he showed last time out against Sergey Kozhukhar. We expect Shtyk to be a potential banana skin here for Tolesh.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
Staying in Asia we'll also get the first Thai show of 2021 as TL Promotions give us a card in Bangkok.
The main event here will see former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4, 6) take on the once beaten Arnon Yupang (6-1, 3). Despite now being 41 Amnat is proving to be a slippery and talented fighter, who is still putting in solid performances, as we saw last year against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Pungluang Sor Singyu. Aged 23 this is a big step up for Yupang, but also a great chance for him to put his name on the map. For Yupang the key is to outwork Amnat, but that is easier said than done.
On the under-card we're expecting to see the unbeaten Yuttapong Tongdee (5-0, 4), a wonderfully talented and highly promising Thai, take on Arthit Kaewbantid (3-1, 2). We regard Tongdee as on of the brightest hopefuls in Thailand but, and although this looks like an easy match up we're really just wanting to see Tongdee kept busy this year before bigger and better things in 2022.
London, United Kingdom
In London we'll see UK based Afghan fighter Quaise Khademi (8-0, 2) battle against Ijaz Ahmed (7-2) for the WBO European and the vacant IBF European Super Flyweight titles in a very good looking match up. For Khademi this will be his first defense of the WBO European title, which he won back in 2019, and will see him looking to build on a solid start to his professional career. As for Ahmed he'll be looking to bounce back from a close loss to Harvey Horn, at Flyweight. Khademi should have the edge in natural size and power, but Ahmed will not be there to suffer a second successive loss.
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida, USA
We also have action in the US as unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (22-0, 17) takes on Jerry Forrest (26-4, 20). The 37 year old Chinese fighter really has let his career slip away with father time and the promise he had following a successful amateur career is unlikely to ever be realised due to his age and relatively weak match making. Aged 32 Forrest is no push over, and despite having 4 losses is a live under-dog here, having pushed Jermaine Franklin and Carlos Takam close in recent bouts. Forrest is tough enough, experienced enough and good enough to test Zhang, and if Zhang is on the slide this may turn out to be a genuine banana skin for the big guy from China.
This coming Saturday is set to be a great day for Asian boxing, with notable action in Thailand, Japan, Russia and the US.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
For once we'll start in Thailand as WP Boxing give us one of their most interesting shows of 2020, and do so free on their YouTube and Facebook pages. The card isn't a monster card, but it does have two very interesting main bouts on it.
The highest profile bout on the card will see former world champions colliding for a regional title. In one corner will be former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-8, 36), who showed there was still something left in the tank with a recent upset win over Campee Phayom, whilst the other corner will host Amnat Ruenroeng (20-4, 6), himself a former IBF Flyweight champion. On paper it seems easy to favour the hard hitting, and naturally bigger, Pungluang, however Amnat showed he still have plenty to offer when he ran Srisaket Sor Rungvisai close a few months ago. This is a really intriguing match up and will be for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title.
A second WBC Asian Boxing Council title fight on this card will be at Flyweight, with rising youngster Thananchai Charunphak (10-1, 8) defending his title over battle worn veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (61-13-2, 25). We are huge fans of the 20 year old Thananchai, who has been very impressive in recent bouts and will be looking to secure a third notable win here. Sadly Pigmy Kokietgym is about 10 years beyond his prime, and about 7lbs north of his best weight. We suspect Pigmy will give it a go early on, before being broken down and stopped by Thananchai. Although a mismatch we can't recommend fans following Thananchai enough, this youngster is one of the best prospects in Thailand.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as as the action in Thailand we also get a pretty notable show at Korakuen Hall, sadly however this show won't be getting live TV coverage and instead will be televised a few days after the event takes place.
Originally the main event here was supposed to see Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) make a mandatory defense of his title as he takes on unbeaten youngster Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2), as part of the Champion Carnival. Sadly the bout was cancelled just over a week before the show due to Takesako suffering a training injury.
Due to the main event bout being cancelled the headline bout here will see former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (16-1-1, 10) fight in what is supposed to be a tune up contest against the unbeaten Nath Nwachukwu (6-0-2, 3), who will likely see himself as a live under-dog. Inoue, best known for his 2019 bout with Jaime Munguia, will be seeking a 4th straight win and will be hoping to move into a second world level bout next year. Notably he won't be defending his WBO Asia Pacific title here, which he did defend back in January. The 23 year old Nwachukwu won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Middleweight in 2018 and has picked up 3 wins since then. Although he's the under-dog Nwachukwu will know a win here would genuinely change his career.
Another bout of note on this card will see flawed puncher Takuma Takahashi (5-0, 5) take on Kodai Kiyota (9-6-2, 9), in what could be a very explosive contest. Takahashi has looked very, very heavy handed, but he also showed some real vulnerability last time out, getting dropped and cut against Leonardo Doronio, and there are worries about his punch resistance. Kiyota is no world beater, and hasn't fought in over a decade, but he is heavy handed and could well have the power needed to take out Takahashi, if he lands clean.
Also on this card will be recent Japanese title challenger Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6), who takes on Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7), with Koshikawa looking to bounce back from a loss to Hironobu Matsunaga.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
The WP Boxing event isn't the only one we'll be getting for free on YouTube as RCC will also be giving us a show, this time from Russia, with several Central Asian fighters on it.
One of the bouts on this show will see once beaten Uzbek hopeful Ravshanbek Umurzakov (10-1, 7) take on really talented Ukrainian Zoravor Petrosian (9-0, 4), in a bout that was originally for September. Umurzakov was upset back in January by Esneiker Correa, in a genuine surprise, and has been out of the ring since then. Petrosian on the other hand is a 22 year old who turned professional in 2018 and has scored 3 wins this year, whilst looking very highly skilled. This should be a very, very interesting match up.
In a supporting bout baby faced Kazakh fighter Yerzhan Zalilov (11-2-1, 5) take on Russian fighter Evgenii Liashkov (6-1, 1). At one point Zalilov looks like a fighter with the potential to go places, but sadly 2 losses in is last 3 bouts have pretty much ended his hopes of reaching the top of the mountain. Liashkov is a light puncher who lost on but has reeled off 6 wins and comes into this with real momentum.
One more bout on this show will see Uzbek born Russian Dmitry Yun (4-0, 1) taking on Sherzodjon Abdurazzokov (1-0). Yun is a really skilled boxer-mover, who looks like a brilliant talented, with lovely speed, movement and accuracy. Sadly however his lack of power, and questionable durability, seem likely to hold him back, despite how fantastic he is to see in full flow. Aged 20 Abdurazzokov is an Uzbek youngster who made his debut in 2019, and will go into this as the under-dog.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
We will also Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (21-0, 16) in action, as he begins his relationship with Matchroom Sports. The 37 year Chinese fighter, who has been spoken about as a future opponent for Anthony Joshua, will be up against 38 year old American Devin Vargas (22-6, 9). Sadly for a man that Eddie Hearn wants to talk about big fights for, time is rapidly running out for Zhang, and it seems highly unlikely that he will ever manage to reach the heights some expected of him.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Our attention returns to Thailand this coming Saturday as we get the next WP Boxing event from the Workpoint Studios for one of the channels biggest ever fights.
The main event of the show will see two former world champions colliding in a bout that has been delayed several times due to the on going global situation, but is still very highly anticipated by fans who follow the Thai scene.
The match up in question will see former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41) battle against former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (20-3, 6) in what looks like a compelling match up. On paper it seems like it will be an easy win for the heavy handed and frighteningly strong Srisaket, but we all know that Amnat is a slippery and tricky customer who will be looking to make this a very awkward and messy bout. We can't see past a Srisaket win, though we do wonder what he has left in the tank after a number of wars with the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez. It's worth noting that if he wins here Srisaket is eyeing a major bout for later in the year, and that could be a rubber match with Estrada or a third fight with Gonzalez, so a lot is on the line for him and his career.
A second bout of note on this card will see talented Thai hopeful Chainoi Worawut (10-0-1, 9) going up against Filipino visitor Jomar Fajardo (17-16-2, 9). The unbeaten Thai is regarded as one of the nation's brightest hopes and will be strongly favoured here to pick up his next win and continue his climb towards a world title fight. Although not a big name Fajardo on the other is possibly a name that is in the back of your mind if you follow the lower weights. That's because Fajardo twice went to war with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, and even held for the former unified Minimumweight champion to a draw in their first bout. Sadly we don't think Fajardo if going to have the size or tools to be competitive with Worawut here.
This coming Saturday is a strange day for Asian fight fans, with not a lot happening, but what is happening is really important. If you prefer quality over quantity than this is a stand out day, if you prefer quantity then you may just need to wait until Sunday, which will be very busy day for fans of Asian fighters.
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
The most notable bout to feature and Asian fighter comes from Belfast as Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24) takes on former 2-weight champion Carl Frampton (24-1, 14) in a real must win for both men. The bout, for the WBO “interim” Featherweight title will see the winner remain firmly in the mix at world level, but it will be very hard to see where the loser goes next.
Aged 35 Donaire is on the slide, but is almost certainly a future Hall of Famer having won world titles from Flyweight to Featherweight and beaten the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane, Hernan Marquez, Fernando Montiel, Omar Andres Narvaez, Toshiaki Nishioka, Jorge Arce and Simpiwe Vetyeka. A win over Frampton would be yet another big win for Donaire, but a big ask at this point in his career. Frampton is the younger fighter at 31 and although his only loss was a razor thin one to Leo Santa Cruz last year he has gone through some wars, and is a fighter who has, at times, looked to be feeling the toll of tough bouts with the likes of Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, Scott Quigg, two bouts with Leo Santa Cruz and Horacia Garcia. On paper Frampton has a lot more left than Donaire, but he really was given a scare by the tough but relatively limited Garcia last time out and it could well be that the hard fights have caught up with him.
Unfortunately for the winner of this they will be in line to face the fearsome Oscar Valdez, which is seemingly more of a punishment than a reward right now.
We get a rare high quality all-Thai bout in Bangkok as well, as former world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai (40-1, 32) takes on former world champion Amnat Ruenroeng (18-2, 6) in a very interesting match up. Fight fans may remember Nawaphon looking terrible in March 2017, when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Juan Hernandez Navarrete, and whilst that wasn't a great performance it does seem like some of that was down to the weight of the Thai who has now moved up to Super Flyweight. Between January 2014 and June 2015 Amnat was the IBF Flyweight champion, and had gone on a great run with wins against Rocky Fuentes, Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo, Zou Shiming and John Riel Casimero. That however was almost 3 years ago, and he has looked a faded fighter since then.
Amnat will have the trickery to really test Nawaphon, whilst Nawaphon will have the youth. The loser really will have no where to go, whilst the winner may find themselves thrown back into the fringes of the WBC world rankings, which would be a reward for winning the for claiming the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Flyweight title.
The one bout that stands out as a sore thumb will come from Australia as local fighter Sara George (2-4, 1) battles Australian based Thai Monthida Rattanachai (0-2) for the vacant Australia - Queensland State Female Flyweight title. There may be a title on the line here, but it's very hard to care about the bout given that Monthida has never scored a win and George hasn't fought in over 6 years!
This coming Tuesday isn't a big day for Asian fight fans, but there is some notable action in China, and a Heavyweight hopeful fighting in Belarus.
The card in China is the only Asian one of the day, and does look like it could have some interesting action.
The main event sees unbeaten local Wenfeng Ge (9-0, 6) take a huge step up in class to face former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (18-1, 6). The 37 year old Amnat has fought only once as a professional since losing the IBF title to Johnriel Casimero in May 2016, stopping an over-match Thai. The little known Ge has faced no one of note, but knows that a win here would put his name on the map, and potentially help open the door to the world rankings. A real must win for both men involved here.
In an 8 round bout at Middleweight fans will see teenager Fei Hu Wang (4-1, 2) take on 36 year old Georgian visitor Badri Kereselidze (7-2, 2). The 19 year old Wang was beaten earlier this year by the promising Aleksei Podkolzin but will feel like he's better than he has shown, and will favour himself against a man who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3.
In a 6 rounder we'll see the debut of Jiajia Li (0-0), who takes on unbeaten Thai Atchariya Tor Chantaroj (8-0, 5). The Chinese fighter appears to be having a baptism of fire here against a very good Thai who holds wins against the likes of Ratchasi Sithsaithong, Heri Andriyanto and Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus. This looks interesting on paper, and if Li wins it is actually a very impressive debut.
In Belarus fans will be able to see Kazakh Heavyweight novice Zhan Kosobutskiy (1-0, 1) take on a yet to be named foe, in a bout expected to be fought over 4 rounds.
The most significant bout, at least from an Asian perspective, this coming Saturday will see Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33) take on Japanese warrior Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24) in a bout for the WBO Light Middleweight title. For Cotto the bout will be a return to the ring after almost 2 years out of the ring, and he will be looking to prove there is still something left in the tank. For Kamegai the bout will be his first world title bout and could put the icing on the cake in regards to his career, which has been an incredibly fun one to following a lot of wars and exciting brawls.
Uthai Thani, Thailand
Another notable name will be in action in Thailand, on a less than exciting card.
The notable fighter is Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5), with the former IBF Flyweight champion taking on the limited Petchthongchai Singmanasak (6-12, 2). This will be Amnat's first professional boxing contest since he lost the world title 15 months ago, and at the age of 37 it's hard to know what he has left, however his foe is very limited and should pose no real threat.
In another mismatch we'll see the promising Atchariya Virotesunobon (7-0, 4) take on Birdy Tor Buamas (0-6-1) in what should be a very straight forward win for Atchariya.
In China fans will see the fast rising Pui Yu Lim (4-0, 4) take on highly experienced Indonesian fighter Alexander Bajawa (41-4-4, 14) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Heavyweight title. Lim is a heavy handed southpaw who looks like a fighter who is on a very fast track through the ranks, and he shouldn't struggle here, but it's hard to know just how good he is. As for Bajawa he's been stopped in his last two and his record is certainly a padded one.
In Kazakhstan we have a card with a number of title bouts.
One of those title bouts will see see Firuza Sharipova (6-1, 4) take on the battle hardened Milena Koleva (9-9-1, 3) in a contest for the WIBA Lightweight title. Sharipova suffered a loss on her debut but has gone 6-0 since then, however the level of her competition has been dire. Koleva has been fighting stiff competitive through her career and her last two bouts saw her suffer decision losses to Svetlana Kulakova and Katie Taylor. This could be much more competitive than the records may suggest.
Another title bout on this card will see Russian fighter Apti Ustarkhanov (15-2-3, 5) taking on Georgian Soso Abuladze (11-6-1, 8) for the IBO Inter Continental Super Middleweight title, and in another title bout we'll see Russian Aslambek Idigov (11-0, 4) fighting for the IBO Youth Super Middleweight title.
There will also be a small card in the Philippines.
On of the major bouts here will be a 10 rounder between Jerome Clavite (8-4-2, 4) and the out of form Roque Lauro (13-22-5, 3). Coming in to this Clavite has won 3 of his last 4, and at 21 has shown some promise to make a mark on the domestic scene going forward. That 3-1 run might not be amazing but it's likely to be extend as he takes on a low on confidence Lauro, who has lost his last 6. As his best Lauro was a potential banana skin, fighting to a draw with Edward Heno and scoring wins over the likes of Ryuya Yamanaka, Ronelle Ferreras and Young Gil Bae, but he appears to have slipped significantly as a fighter in recent contests.
In another interesting looking bout on this card we'll see Alphoe Dagayloan (6-2-4-1, 2) take on the once touted Renerio Arizala (13-7-1, 5). Arizala began his career 11-0-1, but has slipped significantly since then going 2-7-1 and finds himself really struggling to get his career back on track, with a 5 fight losing streak coming in to this. Dagayloan is nothing special but coming into this both fighters will believe they can come out on top and pick up a win.
In Australia we'll see former OPBF Middleweight champion Dwight Ritchie (15-1-0-4, 2) look to record his second win since losing the title to Koki Tyson last November. He'll be widely expected to score a win here as he takes on Thai journeyman Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2), who has never been stopped in 39 bouts, but doesn't tend to pick up many victories as he takes the role of a fighter intent on getting his opponents some rounds.
In Azerbaijan we'll be getting a low key card, with one of the most notable fighters on it being Rauf Aghayev (21-6, 9), who is facing off with a yet to be named foe in a 4 rounder. Aghayev has won his last 4, all this year, and is keeping up his high level of activity whilst looking to go 5-0 for the year so far.
Another fighter of some note on this card is 27 year old Light Heavyweight hopeful Malik Mammadzade (11-0, 6), who will be in an 8 rounder. The unbeaten man has shown some promise, and has picked up international experience in Germany and Georgia, but is a long way from attention on the wider scene. IF he keeps racking up the wins, which he has 3 of already this year, he will however work his way towards a title fight of some kind. Sadly Mammadzade hasn't yet had his opponent for the bout announced.
This coming Friday isn't the busy of days, but it is a pretty notable day with a handful of name fighters in action.
The better of the Asian shows is from Laguna and features a former world champion, a youth champion and several other fighters of note.
The bigger name on the card is 37 year old former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5), who ends his professional retirement to take on Dado Cabintoy (15-7-2, 8) in a bit of a peculiar bout. Amnat had hung up his gloves last year, following his unsuccessful campaign at the Rio Olympics but appears to be making a comeback here. Cabintoy looks like a safe opponent for Amnat, especially with the Filipino having lost his last 3, but it's hard to imagine the comeback being a good one from the Thai.
Another notable bout near the top of this card will see former OPBF champion Al Rivera (17-3, 15) battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (15-12-3, 3). Rivera was controversially beaten last time out in Russia, and sadly for Raha we suspect he's going to be on to a hiding here against a massively heavy handed monster.
In an IBF Youth Flyweight title fight we'll see Robert Onggocan (8-1, 4), who won the title with an upset win over Iwan Zoda in Indonesia, defending his belt against the heavy handed Marjun Pantilgan (14-4, 11). This is a really tough first defense,on paper at least, for Onggocan and a successful defense would solid, a stoppage would be hugely impressive for the champion.
Other fighters on this card include Ernesto Saulong (20-2-1, 8), Venson Delopere (5-1-3, 2) and Alvin Lagumbay (7-1, 6) who should all pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes.
As well as the show in Laguna there will also be a card in Tokyo, albeit a less interesting one that the Filipino one.
The main event will see Takashi Inagaki (18-15-2, 8) face off with a Thai foe in an 8 round whilst the chief support bout will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Cobra Suwa (18-12-2, 10) face a Thai. Sadly with the top two bouts both being decent Japanese fighters taking on Thai imports that card won't excite fans outside of Japan and it's a show that will struggle to get any wider attention.
Mid week action isn't that rare in the East but this week we do get a relatively special treat with a brilliant looking show in China.
The main event of the card is the much anticipated rematch between IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5) and former Light Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (21-3, 13). The two meet for a second time after their first bout became a farcical contest full of wrestling, holding and rule bending from Ruenroeng, who seemed to be allowed to do what he wanted from inept referee Larry Doggett. This could be a defining fight for both men, a win for either does open up some very interesting bouts for later in the year.
In the chief support bout fans will see former world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (26-6-1, 14) face off against Jose Antonio Jimenez (16-5-1, 7) in an IBF world title eliminator at 105lbs. The winner will take a huge step towards getting a world title fight with Jose Argumedo later in the year however it is really a must win for Zhong who has looked like a man coming to the the end in recent bouts.
The main event isn't the only title bout on the card as China's Cai Zong Ju (7-1, 1) faces former world champion Samson Tor Buamas (37-3, 19) in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental female Minimumweight title. This is a big step up for Ju but she has impressed and will know that a win here will put her in the mix for a world title fight in the near future.
Another bout of note on this card sees the unbeaten Fanlong Meng (6-0, 4) battle Australian Rob Powdrill (6-2, 1) in what is a notable step up for the former Chinese amateur star.
In the Philippines fans get a small, and relatively forgettable, show, in Tarlac.
The main event of the card will see veterans colliding as Cristian Abila (14-19-4, 5) faces off against Prell Tupaz (8-30-5, 1) in a bout for the LuzProBA Featherweight title. We won't try and build this up to be anything special, however it should be noted that the bout has seemingly been re-arranged a number of times in recent weeks.
New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia there are also a couple of Indonesian fighters travelling to Australia.
One of those will be the experienced, but limited, Roy Tua Manihuruk (18-15-2, 14) who will be up against novice professional Ben Savva (2-1), with Savva looking for a third straight win. The other will be Marco Tuhumury (10-12-2, 3), who is expected to be little more than fodder for the unbeaten Ahmed Dib (18-0, 9).
A new week is upon us and we have plenty of action to kick things off on Monday!
Hua Hin, Thailand
The biggest match up of the day comes from Thailand where we get televised world title action, as well a fight featuring a 2-time Olympic medal winner, a former world title contender and a genuinely promising prospect.
The main event of the card will see IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (16-0, 5) defending his title against unheralded Japanese challenger Myung Ho Lee (19-4-1, 6), who is looking to claim a world title in his first bout at world level. Amnat, who won the title in early 2014, has already defended the title 4 times, with the most recent being his foul filled wrestling match with Johnriel Casimero, it's thought that a win against Lee will open the door for a potentially unification bout with WBC champion Roman Gonzalez in 2016. For Lee there's nothing to lose, it'd be surprisingly if he won and he probably knows it.
The two-time Olympic medal winner on this card is Manus Boonjumnong (2-0) who looked to continue his career as he faces a third successive Indonesian fighter, Jonatan Simamora (23-26-5, 8). Despite the huge gulf in experience we suspect that the skills of Manus will be too much for the visitor, who's only recent win came against the man Manus beat on his debut. It's worth noting that Simamora hasn't won outside of Indonesia and hasn't fought in more than a year coming into this bout.
The former world title challenger in action here is Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (28-4-1, 15), who looks to continue his pursuit of a second world title fight as he takes on Indonesian fighter Boy Tanto (9-17, 1). The 22 year old Thai is a genuinely talented fighter who we suspect will get another world title shot in 2016 or 2017 and we can't imagine this bout will be anything more than a warm up for him against an opponent who has never really impressed and has lost 3 of his last 4.
A really promising prospect on this card Atchariya Tor Chantaroj (6-0, 3), who looks to continue his impressive start to professional boxing as he faces experienced Filipino loser Richard Olisa (23-29-2, 12). If Atchariya is as good as he's looked this should be a mismatch, especially given that Olisa has lost his last 12, though the Filipino's experience may see him asking some questions of the Thai.
One other bout on this card will see Mike Tawatchai (36-8-1, 21) defending the IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title against Galih Susanto (10-5-1, 1) Although Susanto will not be favoured to win, we wouldn't be surprised to see him ask some questions of Tawatchai and go the distance with him, given that the visitor has never been stopped and actually took Bantamweight contender Marlon Tapales the 10 round distance last year.
In Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall, Japanese fans will get a Misako promoted card that really lacks much in terms of appeal. The only really notable bout is the 8 round main event which will see the promising Daishi Nagata (4-0-1, 2) risk his unbeaten record and OPBF ranking against the more experienced Yoshiyuki Suzuki (5-8-5, 1). Although less experienced Nagata is the more gifted fighter, the bigger puncher and in fact the more proven which should help see him to a win here.
The lull in action comes to a notable end this Saturday with major fights across Asia.
The most significant bout for us comes form Thailand where we get a mouth watering IBF Flyweight title bout between one of the most explosive lighter weight fighters and one of the trickiest. The bout will see unbeaten champion Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5) defending his title for the 4th time as he takes on exciting Filipino Johnriel Casimero (21-2, 13). This is one of the best match ups this year though the big question is whether or not Casimero can solve the puzzle set by the tricky Thai. If Casimero is to win he will likely need a KO, though he does have the power to score one. If Amnat can control the pace of the bout and the range he'll like continue his run of notching impressive victory, despite not managing to really set the world alight with his style.
Whilst the main event is great there are other interesting bouts of note on the under-card. One of which is debut of 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Manus Boonjumnong (0-0) who debuts in a Middleweight bout against Indonesian journeyman Jamed Jalarante (23-18-1, 11). Aged 34 we don't expect Manus to become the star that her perhaps could have been, but this should still prove to be an interesting match up.
A big name on this under-card is exciting Filipino Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 23), who battles Boy Tanto (9-16, 1). This is a stay busy fight for Cuello who is expected to to get a world title eliminator in the fall and a possible world title bout in December, against Thailand's very own Wanheng Menayothin.
Also on the card are two Kiatkreerin prospects, Atchariya Virotesunobon (3-0, 1) and Denchana Chanadejgym (1-0). Atchariya will be up against will be up against Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus (16-8-1, 8) in what is a good step up for the young unbeaten fighter
Jeollanam-do, South Korea
On a KBC sanctioned show, fans will see some international action.
In the main event fans will see Eun Hye Lee (7-0, 2) battling against Thai visitor Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (12-5-1, 1) in a contest for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. The bout is as low key of a “world” title bout that we've seen this year yet a win for Lee will further strengthen the standing of female boxing in South Korea. Interestingly this will be Ploynapa's 4th bout in Korea, where she currently has a 0-3 record with all 3 losses coming in title bouts.
This show was originally scheduled for a date back in May though Lee suffered an injury which forced it to be pushed back a month.
Also on this show will be a Korean Middleweight title bout and some form of regional title bout, though unfortunately we're unsure which title.
A second south Korean show will also be headlined by a female title bout as Ji Hyun Park (21-2, 6) defends her IFBA and WIBA titles at 102lbs against Filipino fighter Gretchen Abaniel (15-7, 6). This show, sanctioned by the KBA, is listed on boxrec as being unsanctioned and is likely to be the only bout that the records website will list though we have been assured other contests will take place on the card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Manila fans will see Japanese puncher Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian fighter Eddy Comaro (32-12-5, 13). It's hard to see Aoki losing here, though at 36 another loss will be the end for him.
In Australia Asian fighters “make up the numbers” in a number of bouts.
One of those bouts will see Australian based Filipino Jack Asis (33-18-5, 18) in action against Indonesian journeyman Hero Tito (9-6-1, 3). Tito, best known for his loss to Ik Yang in Macau, really shouldn't have anything to trouble Asis who has been in inspired form over the last 4 years with a 12-0-1 run. A run that we expect will continue here.
Another of the bouts will see China's Xu Chan (5-2) take on the unbeaten Kris George (7-0, 5) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. Unfortunate for Chan we really cannot give him much of a chance here.
Another Chinese fighter here is southpaw Wang Xinghua (11-11-1) who battles against Will Young (4-4, 2) in an interestingly matched 8 round affair. Young will be the favourite but neither guy is great and as a result we could get a very competitive match up here.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)