Amakusa Park Gym, Asakuchi, Okayama, Japan
This coming Sunday isn't set to be a big day in Asian boxing, but it should be an interesting day for fight fans in Okayama thanks to Kurashiki Moriyasu who puts on a show featuring a Japanese champion and interesting looking main support bout.
The champion in question is Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) who will be taking part in an 8 round non-title bout, as he takes on Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8) in a Super Flyweight bout. The hard hitting Akui won the Japanese title in 2019 and recorded his first defense last year. Sadly Covid19 restrictions have made it difficult for him to secure a second title defense, and rather than face an over matched challenger he's dipping his toes in a new weight classes, and potentially leaving the door open to becoming a 2-weight Japanese champion in the future.
Whilst the focus here will be on Akui it is worth noting that Nakamura is no push over. In fact the 24 year old from Mie Prefecture is a former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight who has lost just one of his last 5 bouts, and that was a frankly ridiculous match up against Super Bantamweight Ryo Akaho. Nakamura will know that if he wins here he will open the door to a potential title fight of his own at 115lbs and will come into this hungry to make a statement. He will, however, have to be wary about the explosive power of Akui. If he can avoid getting blown out early he might have the size and strength to test the naturally smaller man.
In a solid looking supporting bout we'll see Kenya Okada (5-2-1, 3) take on Sho Omote (8-2, 3) in a 6 rounder. The 25 year old Okada has struggled for momentum, and is 2-2-1 in his last 5, after winning his first 3 bouts. Sadly for him his record is rather padded and he's yet to beat a fighter with a winning record. Omote on the other hand has shown some real promise, and won Rookie of the Year in 2019, beating the then 7-1 Kosuke Ando in the All Japan final. Despite his Rookie of the Year triumph Omote did lose last time out, in a notable upset against Shota Asami in November. On paper it's fair to feel that Omote should be the big favourite, however Okada is the naturally bigger man, and he will be looking to use that advantage here against the talented, but small, Omote.
Alcantara, Cebu, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan we are also looking forward to a show from the Philippines promoted by ARQ promotions, set up by Jason and Eva Mari Arquisola. The show was originally planned for March but delayed due to the ongoing situation.
The full line up hasn't been confirmed at the time of writing, though the main event is known to feature highly skilled Filipino youngster April Jay Abne (5-0, 2) risking his unbeaten record against Royder Lloyd Borbon (6-9-1, 6). On paper this shouldn't be too much of a test for Abne, however having been out for well over a year we're just glad to see Abne back in the ring and restart his journey to through the sport. He really is one of the most talented Filipino fighters out there, and a true joy to watch.
Others on this card will include Ian Abne (1-0, 1), Christopher Caburog (1-0), and Maurino Agum (2-0, 1) in what looks likely to be a showcase of young novices.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Our attention turns to the TV5 studio this coming Sunday for an interesting card featuring an IBO world title bouts, and some good bouts pitting young hopefuls against each other, as the Ultimate Boxing Series (UBS) has it's finals.
The main event of the show will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-1, 7) take on Mexican visitor Maximino Flores (24-4-1-2, 17) for the IBO Flyweight title. The talented Penalosa has won 7 in a row, including 4 straight by T/KO, but this is a step up in class and looks like his toughest bout, by far. Flores on the other hand is a young veteran who has clashed with the likes of Milan Melindo, Martin Tecuapetla and Andrew Selby. Experience favours Flores, but he is 0-2 outside of Mexico.
The UBS Flyweight final will see 26 year old April Jay Abne (3-0, 1), who debuted this February, take on Ronel Sumalpong (8-1-1-1, 5), who has been a professional for more than 2 years. Both fighters have looked really promising through their UBS bouts, winning unanimous decisions in both of their bouts so far, but have shown a real lack of power, with neither man yet to score a stoppage. The winner here will be ear marked for something much bigger in the near future, and will likely have ESPN5 well and truly behind them.
The other UBS bout on this show will take place at Bantamweight and see unbeaten men collide. The match up will have Lienard Sarcon (6-0, 2) take on Aljum Pelesio (8-0, 5) in what looks like a mouth watering prospect vs prospect match. The 19 year old Sarcon won his quarter final bout with no issue, but struggled in his semi with Gary Tamayo. On the other other hand the 21 year old Pelesio has only really lost a single round in both of his bouts and he will likely be the slight favourite here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Filipino show, which is expected to be streamed on ESPN5, there is also a card from Vietnam, with some international title interest.
The main event of this card will see 33 year old Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (18-5, 11) take on 30 year old Filipino Ivan Soriano (20-2-1, 10) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title, which has recently been vacated by the excellent Giemel Magramo. The talented Soriano has rebuilt since losing to Wenfeng Ge last year with a couple of low key wins, and knows that a world title fight not be far off with a win here. Nazarov on the other hand has won 5 in a row, though his wins have typically been against a very low level of opposition and this would be his biggest win to date, if he managed to over-come Soriano.