We really are closing in on Christmas, and even though we're a few days away we are set for one of the annual treats boxing calendar, the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. As well as the Rookie of the Year's there's a lot of other stuff going on, with a title bout, an eliminator and a host of prospects in action. This Sunday is big for Asian boxing!
Our attention is obvious focused on the All Japan Rookie of the Year final from Korakuen Hall, with G+ airing the show live, and in full. For fans who want to know what makes Japanese boxing special at the lower end this is it. This is the culmination of a tournament that covers the whole country and takes the better part of a year. To get to the final you need to have won your regional final, and you don't get this far by chance. You get here on merit alone, and as a result we get some amazing match ups.
We won't be going through all 12 bouts, but we have picked out favourite match ups from the line.
It's always great to see all-unbeaten fights in the final and at Minimumweight we have one such bout, as Katsuki Mori (5-0, 1) takes on Takumi Chono (5-0, 3). This is a brilliant fight, with both men being young, having very similar records and both proving themselves to get this far. Mori is a sensational pure boxer from the Ohashi gym and will be looking to show case his skills, but Chono is not a push over, and has looked strong and powerful through out. The winner of this will really be one to watch in 2020.
At Featherweight we expect to see fire-works as Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) and Jinki Maeda (3-0, 2) face off. It's been an emotional year for Kameda, the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, and only 2 weeks ago there was a a real chance he'd miss out on this bout due to the politics at the Kyoei gym. Now here the hard hitting 21 year old will be wanting to make the most of his opportunity. Maeda has quietly made his way to the final, blowing out his first two professional opponents before shutting out the then 4-0 Hikaru Fukunaga. We expect this one to be the standout bout of the day.
More fireworks are expected up at 140lbs where Kodai Honda (4-1, 3) and Yasutaka Fujita (5-0, 5) will face off. The 20 year old Honda lost on debut, more than a year ago, but has reeled off 4 wins since then, and he has stopped each of his last 3 opponents. Fujita on the other hand has been blitzing opponents and his 5 bouts have lasted just 10 rounds. Expect bombs to be thrown, and to be thrown early here!
Whilst the Rookie of the Year show is the biggest it's certainly not the only show of note, and at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center the Muto Gym will be show casing some of their brightest young talents, as well as a regional champion.
The main event of the show will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) defending his title against Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4). This will be Kobayashi's first defense since winning the title in May with a minor upset against Ben Mananquil, and he'll be looking to go into the new year with some real momentum behind following a bizarre decision loss to Keita Kurihara at the end of 2018. It's really hard to see what Go offers here, and it was only last year that Go was stopped by career Flyweight Masahiro Sakamoto, a stablemate of Kobayashi's at the time. Our full and in depth previous of this regional title bout can be read here Kobayashi defends against Go in Osaka!
In supporting bouts we'll see a trio of Muto gym prospects taking on Filipino foes. The most notable of the trio is Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1), who takes a huge step up to take on veteran Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17). This is a brilliant bit of match making from the Muto team, who know that Diale is on the slide, but still very live and has been in there with a who's who of the lower weights. A risky match up for their star prospect, but a win here will instantly launch him into the mix for regional titles. High risk and high reward for Mine here.
Another stellar prospect is Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2), who will be fighting as Deka-narudo Torio, who takes on hard hitting Pinoy Ken Jordan (8-1-2, 7). The 23 year old Kuwabata is tipped very highly by those in Japan and has been matched aggressively so far, with this being a pretty logical looking step. Jordan is unbeaten in over 2 years and recently claimed an ABF title, back in August. This is a bout between two youngsters each coming to win, and it should give us some very competitive action over 8 rounds.
The third prospect of note is Ryosuke Nishida (1-0, 1), who made his debut in Thailand back in October. Unlike his fellow hopefuls he won't be in an 8 rounder, but instead he'll be scheduled for 6 rounds against the tough Pablito Canada (7-17-4, 1), and will likely be taken the distance by Canada who has only been stopped twice in his 28 bout career.
A second Osaka, card, this time from the EDION Arena, will also be worthy of some attention.
The main event here is a Japanese Super Flyweight title eliminator, the final of the eliminators to take place this year, and will see former world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-3, 11) clash with Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) for the chance to fight Kenta Nakagawa in the new year. At 34 years old a loss will likely send Kudaka into retirement, ending an incredibly interesting and often exciting career, so we expect to see him being fired up for this. Matsuo is no world beater, but he is better than his record suggests and is hoping to secure a second Japanese Super Flyweight title fight, following a loss to Takayuki Okumoto earlier this year. Our in depth preview of this eliminator is available to read here Kudaka and Matsuo to clash in final Japanese eliminator of 2019!
In an 8 round supporting bout Kenta Nomura (6-3, 3) will battle Ryo Suwa (11-2, 2), in a very interesting looking contest. Nomura is looking to bounce back from an August loss to Toshiki Shimomachi, in a Japanese Youth title fight, and although he's nothing special he does tend to make for good fights. Suwa on the other hand has won 4 of his last 5 and will see this as a chance to take a huge step towards a potential youth title fight of his own.
This show will also feature the debut of former amateur standout Kantaro Juri (0-0), who fought in the Asian and World Youth Championships back in 2014, who will be in a 6 rounder at a contracted 53KG's. Sadly his opponent here hasn't been confirmed, though we have been told it will be an Indonesian opponent.
As well as the Japanese action there is also a low level Indian card in Golaghat.
This card will be headlined by Sagar Narwat (9-1-1, 3) taking on Shiva (9-3, 3) in an 8 round bout. For Narwat this is a chance to get back to winning ways following October's loss to Troy O'Meley in Australia. As for Shiva he's now wheeled off 3 straight wins after he suffered a trio of losses on the road in 2017. Sadly this bout aside the card isn't really worth getting too excited about.
This coming Sunday we see two very notable cards in Asia, both of which are double headers, though both are at very different levels. The more notable is in China, though a Japanese card is certainly worth being aware of.
The Chinese card is expected to be a huge show in terms of local fan interest, with the new face of Chinese boxing headlining along side an incredibly popular foreign fighter, from nearby Japan.
The local star is current WBA "regular" Featherweight champion Can Xu (16-2, 2), who looks to make his first defense, as he takes on Japanese challenger Shun Kubo (13-1, 9), himself a former WBA Super Bantamweight champion.We saw Xu shock the boxing world earlier this year when he defeated Jesus M Rojas for the title in the US, announcing himself on the world stage in impressive and exciting fashion. As for Kubo this will be only his second fight since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman back in September 2017, and he comes in to the ring following surgery to his eyes and more than a year of inactivity. This should be a really, really entertaining and action packed bout, but one where the champion should be favoured. A full preview of this bout can be found here Will Xu be successful in first defense as he takes on Kubo?
The other world title bout on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17) take on former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (18-2-2, 11), who is dropping down 4lbs for this bout. Canizales has really made his name in Asia, despite being from Venezuela, with great performances against Ryoichi Taguchi, Reiya Konishi and Lu Bin. He has been very hard hitting, aggressive and exciting, and and will be looking to record his second defense. Kimura, who is huge in China following his win over Zou Shiming, will be looking to recapture world gold following his sensational 2018 loss to Kosei Tanaka but there are questions over how he will cope with dropping down to Light Flyweight. If Kimura can make weight safely we could be in for a true FOTY contender. An in depth preview of this bout is available here Canizales and Kimura battle for gold in China!
Another notable match up on this show will see world ranked Chinese Flyweight Wulan Tuolehazi (11-3-1, 5) taking on Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (35-13-4, 17). Tuolehazi will be looking to build on a very hotly contested win over Ryota Yamauchi from March, a bout that was much, much closer than the scores suggest and will be strongly favoured here. Diale is a veteran, but is well below world level and this should be a straight forward win for the Chinese local.
Another bout of note on this card will see Chinese youngster Shichao Gao (3-0-1, 1) take on former world title challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (23-1, 9). The 21 year old Gao looked fantastic in March, when he beat Koji Igarashi, and will know that a win here will give his career a massive boost. A win isn't however a foregone conclusion for the Chinese fighter, and Nop is no push over, with 6 wins in a row since his 2016 loss to Nehomar Cermeno back in 2016. This could be a very compelling contest and a real test for the naturally bigger local.
As well as the card in China we also get a pretty notable regional title double header in Osaka, featuring two WBO Asia Pacific title fights and a bout featuring a very promising local hopeful.
One of the WBO Asia Pacific title fights will take place at Flyweight title as former world title challenger, Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) takes on Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) in a bout that should be a lot more interesting than it looks. Sakamoto looked totally out classed when he faced Moruti Mthalane last year, and it was clear he isn't world class, but this regional title level is where he should find himself being really competitive. Sakashita is a solid Japanese domestic fighter, but we don't imagine him having the skills to really test Sakamoto, who looks to re-capture the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. A preview of this bout can be found here Sakamoto and Sakashita battle for regional title!
The other title bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4), defending his title against former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8). This looks like an easy win for Mananquil, who will be looking to make his first defense and build on February's big win over Tenta Kiyose, also in Japan. For Kobayashi this will be his first bout since since losing in December to Keita Kurihara, in a controversial and very entertaining clash. That bout with Kurihara saw Kobayashi show great resilience and a good boxing brain, and he is a lot better than his record suggests. He will however be the under-dog here. A preview of this bout is available here Manaquil looks to defend regional crown against Kobayashi!
The other bout of note here will see rising prospect Tulio Kuwabata (2-0, 2) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5), in what is a huge step up in class for Kuwabata. Despite being a step up the 23 year old Japanese fighter will be strongly favoured and will know a win here is a huge step towards a a regional title bout. Apolinario was once a credible fringe world class contender but with a 6-13-1 (3) record in his last 20 it's clear he has lost his desire and will be expected to pick up another loss here.
One other Asian card set to take place this Sunday is in Mumbai, where Arif Khan promoted a rather low key affair. Although most of the bouts are scheduled for 6 rounds they are mostly between novices. The bout with the most experienced sees a combined 18 bouts between the men involved, with Rahukl Kumar (5-1-1, 4) taking on Shiva (8-3, 3) in a Welterweight bout.
Although it's good to see bouts in India, there's nothing to get too excited about here.
This Saturday is a huge one for Asian fight fans with notable bouts taking place on 3 different continents.
New Jersey, USA
The biggest card for us is North America where we see a headlining bout between two established fighters and get a supporting card featuring major Central Asian prospects.
The card is headlined by Dmitry Bivol (14-0, 11)defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title against veteran Jean Pascal (33-5-1-1, 20). The talented Bivol has been busy this year with wins against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba and a win over Pascal would see him ending a good year with a big name on his record, albeit a faded force in Pascal. The 36 year old Pascal is well beyond his best, but was competitive with Eleider Alvarez last year and the hope will be for Bivol and Alvarez to face off in 2019. A prime Pascal would have given Bivol a real test, but he's now little more than a name. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Can Bivol over-come Pascal in one of the final HBO shows?
One of the prospects on this card is Uzbek sensation Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0, 3), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Akhmadaliev was a former amateur stand out will be up against American foe Isaac Zarate (16-3-3, 2) , who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run including wins over Carlos Carlson and Horacio Garcia. This is a good step up for the Uzbek, who's is set to have his fight televised on HBO, and hopefully bigger and better opportunities will come his way in 2019.
One of the other major prospects on this card is the debuting Israil Madrimov (0-0), who looks to instantly announce himself as one to watch, as he takes on Vladimir Hernandez (10-2, 6) in a 10 rounder, on debut. The highly regarded Madrimov is tipped to be a major success, and it seems clear that his team have big expectations for him, putting him in such a tough bout to begin his career. Hernandez might not be a major name but he's a very solid opponent for a debut, and has only lost a couple of close decisions, to Humberto Velazco Torres and Adrian Luna Flores. Not only has Hernandez been competitive with good opponents, but he has scored decent wins over Elco Garcia and Danny Valdivia. This is a serious debut.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (5-0, 4), who will be up against the very experienced Miguel Zamudio (41-11-1, 25). The unbeaten Giyasov has been very impressive this year, beating good opponents like Gabor Gorbics, Albert Mensah and Julio Laguna, defeating Laguna at Wembley on a massive international card. Zamudio is a 27 year old Mexican veteran, who debuted back in 2009 and has been ultra-active. Despite being active Zamudio has lost to the notable opponents he's faced, such as Jose Zepeda, Sharif Bogere and Will Tomlinson.
Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) was also scheduled to be on this card, though was pulled in the weeks leading up to the show, without a reason being given.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Another international card with notable action comes from Monaco, where we get a couple bouts involving Asian fighters.
A second unbeaten Chinese fighter on this card is Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) who goes up against popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). The bout will be Fanlong's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, a title he won in October 2017 when he defeated Ammanuel Danso. The Chinese fighter has looked good at times, but has been shown to have a less than amazing chin and although Buglioni is not a world beater, he does have respectable power. If Buglioni lands clean this could be a night to forget for Fanlong, who will be making his Euroipean debut.
Another Olympic medal winner on this card will be 2016 gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0, 2) of Kazakhstan. The 2016 Olympic champion will be battling against Nicaraguan Marcos Mojica (16-2-2, 12) and this is another good platform for Yeleussinov to shine on, as he did last time out, when he stopped Matt Doherty. If Yeleussinov can continue to develop his style he could become a star, but there is still a long way for him to go. Mojica is the under-dog, but is a live under-dog here.
We were also hoping to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) take on veteran Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25), but that bout was cancelled at late notice due to Zhilei having visa issues in the weeks running up to the fight.
Despite the notable action in the US and Monaco there is actually a stacked card in the Philippines, courtesy of ALA Promotions who are putting on a show with several WBO affiliated titles.
One of those title bouts will feature the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) making his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Mexican visitor Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6). The champion won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda and this should be a good defense against a fighter who has proven he can fight on the road. Lopez first came to our attention in 2016, when he upset Ryo Matsumoto, and despite a loss to Matsumoto in a rematch he has remained relevant, with a big win this past August against Antonio Tostado. We're expecting an interesting bout here.
Another title bout on this card will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) make his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Ghanaian puncher George Krampah (14-3, 12). On paper this looks dangerous for Pagara, but the visitor has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he lacks any win of note. This is a great chance for Pagara to make his first defense, and we suspect his aim will be on stopping Krampah in under 4 rounds, to try and beat the result Isaac Dogboe had against him.
In one of the major supporting bouts we'll see former world title challengers face off with Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) taking on Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16). Sultan failed to shine in his recent world title fight with Jerwin Ancajas, but he is a talented fighter and will be wanting to bounce back from that setback. A win over would certainly help him go into 2019 with some momentum. As for Diale his record has been patchy recently, though he has mixed with top quality fighters such as Daigo Higa, Moruti Mthlane and Andrew Selby. We suspect Sultan's youth will get him over the line here, but this could be more competitive than the records suggest.
Sultan isn't the only former world title challenger on this show as the once touted Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18) looks to rebuild his career after his loss earlier this year to Luis Nery. Villanueva will be up against countryman Carlo Demecillo (11-5, 5) who is less than 2 years removed from a brutal KO loss to Satoshi Shimizu. He is 5-1 (4) since that loss, but this is a big step back up in class and is certainly his toughest bout since the Shimizu bout. Hard to see anything but a win for Villanueva, but he will have to work for it.
Unbeaten prospect KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) takes a step up as he faces Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. Cataraja is widely regarded as one of the top Filipino prospects but hasn't yet had the opponents to really show what he's capable of. This is a good chance to Cataraja to prove what he can do and potentially convince his team to give him better match ups in the new year. Reyes is a live fighter, but his record doesn't have much quality on it, with his most notable bout being his loss to Ricardo Rafael Sandoval back in March. Reyes will travel to win, and should give Cataraja a good teat, but one that we expect Cataraja to pass.
Japanese prospect Go Hosaka (1-0, 1), who is signed with ALA Promotions, will be having his second professional bout. The talented former amateur stand out will be up against the hard hitting but limited Jason Tinampay (8-11-1, 7). Hosaka is a real talent and ALA may well have a future world champion on their hands here, if they manage his career properly. At this stage putting him in with Tinampay seems a good choice. Tinampay was once a dangerous fighter, but has gone 1-10-1 since a 7-1 start to his career.
We see yet more prospects in Canada, where two Kazakh hopefuls will be looking to extend their unbeaten records.
One of those prospects is the very talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (4-0, 4), who goes up against the experienced Jose Francisco Zuniga (14-11-2, 5). On paper this is a slight step up in class for Akhmedov, who has stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, but one he should manage without any issues. It's worth noting Zuniga has only been stopped once in his 11 losses, but we feel he will have to put in a real survival effort to hear the final bell here.
The other is prospects is 24 year old Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6), who a huge step up in class to battle Rocky Montoya (32-2, 22). Sabirov is tipped to be a star, like many of the Kazakh's currently based in Canada , and has looked very promising since his debut in June 2017. This is however a step up and Montoya has only been stopped once, by the under-rated David Lopez. Whilst Montoya is a test on paper it's hard to know how good he is given that, for the most part, his competition has been dreadful. We suspect Montoya's record will be exposed here by the talented Kazakh.
In less notable action we'll see Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-6, 5) look to build on a recent big win in China, over Youli Dong. The under-rated Filipino will be facing off with Australian Joel Camilleri (15-5-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Although relatively unknown Abdulhamid is a very good fighter and seems happy fighting on the road, despite bein 1-3 outside of the Philippines. Camilleri has won just 1 of his last 3 fights, and really lacks a good wins, but was competitive with Dwight Richie last time out, and is better than his record suggests. This looks like it could be a very interesting match up.
The most notable action takes place in Kazakhstan, as a former world champion returns to action and fans also get the chance to see a number of local prospects take their next towards stardom.
The main event of the bout will see former WBA Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 11) return to face the once beaten Hizni Altunkaya (30-1, 17) for a version of the WBA Cruiserweight title, one of 4 “world” titles the WBA has at the weight. The Kazakh hasn't fought in over 2 years, since beating Junior Anthony Wright for the WBA “regular” title, due to an eye injury but has shown a new hunger for this return at the age of 34. Altunkaya on the other hand has been active but is one of the biggest bottom feeders in the sport and is totally without a win of note. The German based Turk has lost his only bout of note, suffering a 5th round loss to Krzysztof Glowacki, and this is a significant step up from his other competition. If Shumenov is half the fighter he once was, he shouldn't struggle to come out on top here.
One of the most notable prospects is Bobirzhan Mominov (6-0, 5), who will be looking to make a mark on his first bout on Kazakh soil, as he takes on Georgian teenager Giorgi Bliadze (7-6, 2). The unbeaten Kazakh has fought in the US and in Argentina so far, and has looked good in his wins to date, but this should be a great chance for him to shine against the relatively limited Georgian fighter.
Among the other fighters on this card is Aidos Yerbossynuly (7-0, 6), who has looked fun in his first 7 bouts. His opponent hasn't been named at the time of writing, but we don't imagine it will be anyone too testing.
As well as the show in Kazakhstan there is also a notable card in Tokyo, which will be broadcast on tape delay in the coming week. The card isn't a stacked one in terms of quality match ups, but it does feature a good main event and several notable names.
The main event will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (15-0, 11), who is now a world ranked fighter, taking on talented Filipino Dexter Alimento (13-3, 9). On paper this is a great match up, with Nakatani looking to build on a strong run of wins against the likes of Seigo Yuri Akui, Jeronil Borres and Mario Andrade and Alimento looking to give his own career a big boost. The Japanese fighter looks to be one of the countries fastest rising hopefuls and at just 20 the future is very bright for Nakatani. The 22 year old Alimento scored a huge win in January 2016, when he stopped Chanachai CP Freshmart, but has since gone 3-3, including a razor thin loss to Masataka Taniguchi, A move up to Flyweight isn't likely to help the Filipino, but we can't write him off give his energy and style, and he could be a real banana skin here.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout looks to be thoroughly one-sided, as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5), the 2015 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year, takes on Marzon Cabilla (16-16-1, 5). The talented Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run coming in to this but hasn't fought since December. The Filipino the other hand has been active, with two fighters already this year, and whilst he has won 7 of his last 8 he was stopped last time out, and has been stopped in 12 of his 16 defeats.
Also on this card fans will be able to see Yuichi Yokoyama (17-4, 15), Ryota Toyoshima (8-2-1, 6) and Masaya Tamayama (10-1, 5) all in action, with all 3 men taking on Thai visitors.
There's also two cards in the Philippines, one of which will take place in Bohel and be promoter by former world champion Gerry Penalosa.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (12-0, 8) make his ring return, after almost 2 years away from the ring, as he takes on Indonesian veteran Ricky Manufoe (27-34-3, 10). The talented Penalosa had looked like a promising talent early in his career but a few stumbles in his activity has slowed his progress and he's now been out of the ring since September 2016. Despite the inactivity the the Filipino will be strongly favoured against an opponent who has been racking up a lot of losses on the road in recent years.
A second Philippines Vs Indonesia bout will see Carlo Caesar Penalosa (11-1, 4) battle against Iwan Key (11-21-3, 1), in an equally mismatched contest. Penalosa was upset in February 2017, by Reymark Taday, but has since bounced back with 4 wins and will be expecting another easy one here. Key has scored 1 win in his last 11 and won't be expected to get a win on the road here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The bets of the Filipino bouts, on paper at least, comes from Metro Manila, as WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Flyweight champion Cris Alfante (14-6-1, 6) makes his second defense, battling against veteran Ardin Diale (33-12-4, 16). Alfante won the title in 20116, with a win over Rolio Golez, and made his first defense last September. He will go in as the champion, but as the under-dog with less experience than the battle hardened Diale, who is a proven fighter at the regional level and will be looking to bounce back from a 2017 loss to Moruti Mthalane.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The final Filipino show of the month is a card put on by United and although it's not the best card it does feature a number of notable names, both established fighters and rising novices.
The most established fighter on the card is former world title challenger Ardin Diale (32-11-4, 15), who looks to make the most of his experience as he faces southpaw foe Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-4-1, 4). It's hard to see Diale losing here, but he has had a long and hard career and recent bouts against the likes of Daigo Higa, Ryan Lumacad and Andrew Selby will have taken their toll on his body.
Another notable name on this show is once touted Joebert Alvarez (16-2-1, 7), who looked like a champion in the making against Juan Francisco Estrada. Alvarez will be up against domestic veteran Roque Lauro (13-21-5, 3), in what should be a mismatch in favour of the 27 year old Alvarez.
A third domestic show down will see Ivan Soriano (15-1-1, 7) take on Bimbo Nacionales (14-13-1, 3), in what will likely be a quick show case for Soriano. In his 28 fight career Nacionales has been stopped 12 times, and it's likely another stoppage loss will follow here.
As for newer faces we'll see Japanese 23 year old Masataka Taniguchi (6-1, 4) take on Benjie Bartolome (2-9-2) in what should should be a very straight forward win for the Watanabe gym fighter. Taniguchi was beaten last time out, narrowly losing to Reiya Konishi in a Japanese title fight, and will likely be in the Philippines with a statement to make. Taniguchi's stable mate Hironori Mishiro (1-0, 1) will also be on this card, with the 22 year old taking on Pablito Canada (6-11-3, 1) in what should be a straight forward win for the really exciting Mishiro, who looked great on debut back in March.
In recent weeks we've seen action pick up with a series of great bouts taking place last weekend. We expect to see that trend continue this weekend with a notable show in Japan.
The main event of the card is the first of the 2017 Champion Carnival bouts and sees Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-8, 8) defending his title against big punching Watanabe gym fighter Yusaku Kuga (13-2-1, 9), who is looking to avenge one of his defeats. These two fought back at the end of 2015 with Ishimoto just doing enough to take a decision over the younger and bigger punching Kuga, and claim the Japanese title. Kuga has since impressed and earned this rematch by stopping Jonathan Baat in 4 rounds. Ishimoto has impressed recently, and stopped Gakuya Furuhashi last time out, but at 35 one wonders how long he has left in the sport.
In the chief support bout we'll see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (11-0, 11) fight in a non-title fight with one beaten Filipino Diomel Diocos (10-1-3, 3), who was a late replacement for journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-12, 4). Although Higa will be strongly favoured against Diocos the bout should be a good warm up for Higa ahead of a potential world title fight later this year. Whilst Higa will be expected to steam roll Diocos this should still tell us a lot about both fighters, and their potential.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Teiken promoted Super Featherweight Masaru Sueyoshi (13-1, 8) take on the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Allan Vallespin (9-0, 8). Sueyoshi comes into this bout having won his last 10 bouts, with notable wins against Yuta Nagai, Shingo Eto and Kazuma Sanpei, but will be up against an unbeaten banger here. For Vallespin, the GAB champion at 130lbs, this will be his first taste of international action and potentially a chance to make a statement. Although it seems like he's a puncher this will be the first real test of Vallespin's power and a real acid test for the 22 year old Pinoy puncher.
In a possible shoot out we'll see 20 year old Yamato Hata (3-0, 3) battle against Takuya Hashimoto (5-5, 5). To date neither of these men has heard the final bell, with Hata having never been past round 3 and Hashimoto only going into the 4th round once. Hata will be favoured, given he's unbeaten, but he's up against a fellow puncher and this could be genuinely explosive.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see Filipino fighter Joey Canoy (12-2-1, 6) fighting for the IBO Light Flyweight title. The 23 year old Filipino will be in deep as he takes on former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (30-2, 9),who is looking to rebuild his career at 108lbs. The South African lost his Minimumweight crown last March to Byron Rojas and has since moved up in weight, scoring a big domestic win over Siyabonga Siyo, and will now be looking to become a 2-time IBO Light Flyweight champion, reclaiming a title he held from 2010-2011.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Japan's Hajime Nagai (14-7-2, 4) take on former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (20-4-1, 13). The bout is a massive step up in class for Nagai, but wins over Gakuya Furuhashi and Naoya Okamoto show he has got some ability. For Rodriguez the bout will be his first against a Japanese fighter since his incredible 2014 bout against Katsunari Takayama.
London, United Kingdom
In the UK we see Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (32-10-4, 15) battle against fast rising Welshman Andrew Selby (7-0, 5). The bout is a huge step up for Selby, in regards to his professional competition, but his amateur credentials speak for themselves and he will be heavily favoured here. Diale, who has been in with a who's who of boxing, is only 7 months removed from his 4th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa, but has fought twice since that loss and appears to have avoided lasting damage from that loss.
The big action of the day comes from Wenzhou in China where fight fans will get a genuinely notable card of international note. Not only does it feature 3 of China's most notable fighters but also a world title fight between a Thai and a Panamanian based Venezuelan.
That world title bout will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) take on unbeaten Thai challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-0, 5), aka Anurak Thisa, in an intriguing match up between ambitious youngster and veteran champion. The champion will be looking to record his first defense of the title he won in June, when he stopped Qiu Xiao Jun in the 12th round though at 36 he is ancient for a top level fighter. On the other hand the 25 year old Thai will be fighting outside of Thailand for the first time and will be taking a huge step up in class.
In a supporting title bout Can Xu (9-2) will be facing the unbeaten Ramiro Blanco (14-0-3, 7) in what looks like an intriguing match up. Blanco is an unbeaten Nicaraguan, fighting outside of home for the first time. Xu on the other hand is one of China's most promising young talents and despite lacking power he does look to be a diamond in the rough for Chinese boxing.
Another Chinese diamond in the rough is Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9), who fights for the first time since being stopped by Cermeno. Although very rudimentary Jun has scored a number of notable wins and will be looking to add another as he faces Filipino Robert Udtohan (23-1-3, 15) here. The Filipino has a pretty good looking record but this is actually a big step up for him and he'll be the clear under-dog against the solid hitting Jun.
In a Heavyweight bout fans will see Zhang Zhilei (11-0, 7) take on the highly experienced Gogita Gorgiladze (32-13, 27) from Georgia. On paper this looks like a good step forward for Zhilei but the reality is that the visitor has a very padded record and shouldn't last long with “Big Bang”
In another China Vs Georgia bout we'll see the touted Fanlong Meng (8-0, 6) battle against Zura Mekereshvili (18-5, 14). The 28 year old Meng is tipped as a real hopeful and a win here should be his final one before moving into 10 rounders. Sadly Mekereshvili should prove to be too small to really test Meng.
Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
As well as the big show in China there is also a notable card in the Philippines where titles will be on the line.
The two main bouts on this card are both OPBF Silver title fights and both feature a former world title challenger against an unbeaten foe. One of those fights comes at 115lbs and sees former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-10-3, 15) battle Ryan Lumacad (11-0-1, 6). Coming in to this one the 44 fight Diale will be looking to show that his recent beating to Daigo Higa wasn't the start of the end. For Luamcad the bout is a potential break out opportunity and he'll be coming into this one with the belief of an unbeaten man looking for a career best win.
The other OPBF Silver title fight comes at Flyweight and sees former WBC Light Flyweight world title challenger Richard Claveras (15-2-2, 13) battle against Jeronil Borres (7-0-1, 5). Claveras is best known for losing to Pedro Guevara last year and since then has gone 3-1 (1). The 20 year old Borres is leaping up in class but will hope to have struck at the right time with Claveras showing flaws recently.
The key bout from Thailand will see Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (21-3, 14) defending his IBF regional title against Filipino puncher Jeny Boy Boca (12-3, 10) in what looks like a really intriguing match up and one not expected to see the final bell. Both of these guys can punch and both will be hoping to make the most of their power here.
Also in Thailand fight fans will see the unbeaten Downua Ruaviking (2-0, 1) battle against Thai based Cameroonian Afanwi Kingsly Shu (1-1). The Thai is tipped as a real hope and although this is a very low quality bout some are hyping him as a bright prospect already. This bout likely won't tell us much but hopefully a step up in 2017 will tell us something about the youngster.
This coming Saturday is a mouth watering weekend for hardcore fight fans who are in for treat if they can find some of the bouts on TV.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
The most meaningful bout featuring an Asian comes from Mexico where we see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (27-6, 17) defending his belt against Filipino slugger Jonathan Taconing (22-2-1, 18). For Lopez this is a baptism of fire for his first defense whilst Taconing finally gets his second shot at a world title. Potentially this is a FOTY contender and really could be something very special.
The bout in Mexico isn't the only only of note featuring an Asian and may actually have a serious contender for the fight of the weekend status featuring another two Asian's.
That other potential fire cracker will see OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) face off against fast rising Japanese star Daigo Higa (9-0, 9) in one of the bouts that we have been hoping to see all year. A couple of years ago Diale was in a FOTY contender with Higa's stablemate Koki Eto, losing in a crazy 8th round, and Higa will be looking for similar success here as he looks to continue his rise through the ranks. For Diale it's a chance to get some revenge of Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym and continue his reign, and work his way towards another potential world title fight.
On the under card of this Japanese card fight fans will see Junki Sasaki (15-3, 6) battle against Reiko Sugiyama (7-5-3, 5) in one of the very few supporting bouts of note.
Unfortunately a mouth watering match up between Ryuto Maekawa (11-0-1, 7) and Ryuto Oho (9-2-1, 2) has been cancelled following an injury to Maekawa, though we have been informed that the bout will be rescheduled.
On a second Japanese card fight fans will get the chance to see two notable names in action.
One of the notable names is former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (14-1, 5) who faces Argie Toquero (9-4-2, 7). This will be Naito's second bout since losing the Japanese title last year to Kenichi Ogawa and should be a straight forward win for the talented 24 year old, who will be fighting for the first time this year.
The other notable name on this show is former OPBF and Japanese Light Middleweight champion Charles Bellamy (25-3-1, 17), who faces Elfelos Vega (6-3, 4). This will be Bellamy's first bout this year and is likely to help kick start his career after some issues out of the ring. The talented Japanese based American should over-come Vega relatively easily, given that Vega has lost 2 of his last 3.
New South Wales, Australia
Back on the road there is also action in Australia with several Asian fighters.
One of those Asian's is Joebert de los Reyes (15-6-1, 10) who faces off against Darragh Foley (8-2, 6) for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. On paper this doesn't look anything special but the reality is that both men have something to gain here, and de los Reyes is looking to avenge a 2015 defeat to Foley, this really could be an intriguing bout.
Two other Asian fighters clash in a female bout as Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (16-8, 6) faces Thailand's Petcharas Superchamp (6-0, 1) for the GBU and WIBA Minimumweight titles. On paper Abaniel will be favoured given her edger in experience though the Thai will likely feel confident of continuing her unbeaten run.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The notable action this coming Saturday comes from he Philippines where this is a great show featuring a number of title bouts.
The most well matched bout on this card comes at 108lbs where former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-1-2, 12) defends his WBC International title against Jonathan Refugio (14-4-4, 3). Whilst Claveras was taken out inside a round in his world title shot this is a bout he should win and probably the sort of bout that he needed before getting a world title fight. Refugio has mixed with good company, including Knockout CP Freshmart and Wanheng Menayothin, but has lost in his most notable bouts and we suspect that will happen again here.
Another notable title fight will see OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (30-9-3, 15) defending his title, for the first time, against clear under-dog Jonathan Francisco (8-4-1, 2). We're unsure how Francisco has earned this shot, and we can't see him winning, though in many ways Diale deserves an easy fight to record his first defense of the title he won in December.
A third title fight, and another that looks likely to be one-sided, sees the under-rated Michael Enriquez (11-4-1, 7) facing veteran Donny Mabao (21-24-3, 4) for the GAB Flyweight title. The under-rated Enriquez has lost 2 of his last 3 but one of those was a razor thin loss to Rex Tso, in Macau. Mabao on the other hand is with out a win since a 2012 upset over former world champion Florante Condes, he has since gone 0-4-2. Mabao was better than his record, but is looking like a fighter who is done, despite only being 27 years old.
There are two other title fights on this card however we prefer to ignore those and instead mention a much more intriguing match up as Rene Dacquel (15-6-1, 5) battles Mateo Handig (13-10, 7) in a really solid looking bout. Of the two men Dacquel seems to be the one with more to give but recent loses to Takuma Inoue and Jonas Sultan have killed the momentum he had from a win last April over Melvin Gumban. Whilst Dacquel's ecent form hasn't been great Handig has lost his last 5, including 3 by stoppage, since a 2012 win over Katsunari Takayama.
In Mexico we'll see two Filipino's facing off against Mexican brothers on a card from Sinaloa.
The most notable of the bouts will see former world title challenger Jether Oliva (23-4-2, 11) battle against former WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (26-2-1, 17). For Guevara this is his first bout since losing the world title to Yu Kimura last November and he will be favoured to return to winning ways, however Oliva is no push over and will be returning to Mexico with revenge in mind following a loss last year to Luis Nery, where Nery's team messed Oliva about in regards to weight.
The other bout will see Edward Mansito (13-3-2, 7) face former world title challenger Alberto Guevara (23-2, 9). Coming in to this one Guevara is on a 5 fight winning run, including a victory over Oscar Blanquet, since losing in 2013 to Shinsuke Yamanaka.
We get a number of intriguing bouts on December second, with two really interesting bouts in the Philippines as well as some JBC ranked fighters in action in Japan.
Metro Manila, Philippines
One of those interesting Filipino bouts sees former world title challengers collide as former WBC Light Flyweight challenger Richard Claveras (13-1-2, 12) takes on former WBC Minimumweight title challenger Jerry Tomogdan (18-6-3, 9). The two men, who both failed in world title bouts earlier this year, will be trading blows for the WBC international Light Flyweight title in what sould be a genuinely competitive and meaningful bout, though one where the naturally bigger Claveras should be favoured.
The other bout of note is an OPBF Flyweight title bout which will see the experienced Ardin Diale (29-9-3, 15) battle against countryman Renoel Pael (19-1-1, 9) for the title recently vacated by Koki Eto, who famously won the belt by stopping Diale in a thriller last year. The bout is a huge step up in class for Pael though it is, potentially, a coming out party for him considering that his most notable bout is a controversial loss in Thailand to Noknoi Sitthiprasert. For Diale this is a chance to claim an OPBF title and continue a solid winning streak, which has included some good wins against Renerio Arizala, Jenny Boy Boca and Yuta Matsuo. This could another great bout with Diale.
As well as the bouts in the Philippines Japanese fans also get a notable card.
In the main event fans will Tsukasa Saito (20-3, 15), a Japanese ranked Lightweight, battle against Thai visitor Thangthong Sithsaithong (0-0). On paper this is a mismatch, especially given that Saito is a former WBC Youth champion, however Saito has been stopped in his last 2 losses, both in his last 6 fights, and maybe be up against someone with more experience than we're aware of.
Another Japanese ranked fighter on this card is Super Bantamweight fighter Yosuke Fujihara (15-3, 4), who risks his ranking against the inform Naoaki Kumagai (7-2, 4). Coming in to this one Fujihara has lost 3 of his last 6, including 2 of his last 3 bouts, though has mixed at a decent level and holds wins over Teppei Kikui, Kenji Kubo and Yukinori Hisanaga. On the other hand Kumagai has won 5 of his last 6 and looked to be a man who is very confident. This could be a banana skin for Fujihara.