This coming Saturday is a hectic day for fans of Asian fighters, with a host of shows through out Asia, some of which will show case some of the brightest prospects in Thailand and the Philippines. As well as the action in Asia there is also set to be some interesting action in Russia, which could end up stealing the day!
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
The best of the Asian action, at least on paper, comes from Thailand where we get two bright prospects taking on veterans in what should be very good tests for the youngsters.
One of the youngsters on this card is 17 year old sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5), who will be looking to record his second defense of the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, as he clashes with former multi-time world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-7, 41). The talented Phoobadin has been impressing for a while, and really shone last year, particularly in his title defence against Atchariya Wirojanasunobol, but there is a lot of work for him to do before thinking about world titles. The highly experienced Chonlatarn, best known for losing in world title bouts against Vasyl Lomachenkoand Chris John, is going to be a game opponent here, but we suspect the 36 year old will be under-sized and under-powered against the very promising teenage hopeful.
The second notable hopeful on this show will be Tanes Ongjunta (7-1, 4), who takes on Kompayak TC Muay Thai (61-11, 41), also known as Suriyan Satorn or Kompayak Porpramook. The talented Ongjunta was upset early last year, when he came undone against an inspired Adrian Lerasan, but since then he has reeled off 3 low key wins and is now taking a big step up, as he tried to give his career a kick start. The 38 year old Kompayak has lost 6of his last 8, but has, typically, been in the ring looking to score wins. We suspect Kompayak will be in there giving his all against Ongjunta, but will come up short, and potentially suffer a late stoppage against the talented Ongjunta.
As well as the action in the Philippines there will also be prospects in action over in the Philippines.
One of the exciting prospects on this card is the once beaten Peter Apolinar (13-1, 8), who looks to record a 9th successive win, as he takes on Juanito Paredes (8-6-1, 3). There talented 25 year old Apolinar has shown some real potential, but has faced far too many limited opponents to develop his skills properly and he really does need some step ups when the world returns to normality. Sadly Paredes looks like another limited foe for Apolinar, and another man he should easily defeat.
Another mismatch featuring a bright hopeful will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6) take on Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4). The unbeaten 25 year old Vicelles has won his last 9 in a row including solid wins over the likes of Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas but sadly this looks like a massive step backwards for him. Garde has lost his last 4, and 6 of his last 7 and it's unlikely he will pose anything of a test for Vicelles.
The exciting and hard hitting Tomjune Mangubat (12-2-1, 10) will be in action against the very limited Ryan Maano (5-10-2, 1). Although certainly not a big name Mangubat can be involved in some really great action fights, as we saw in his 2019 thriller against Jong Seon Kang. Sadly this looks very much like a tick over for the exciting 23 year old. Maano has scored 2 wins his last 11 and it's hard to imagine him picking up another one here.
The unbeaten Regie Suganob (5-0, 1) has slowly been developing his reputation in the sport and he looks to continue building as he takes on Paolo Sy (6-5-1, 3) here. The talented Suganob isn't being rushed, but this is a good step forward and will be the first time he's competed in an 8 rounder, which should force him to answer some new questions. Although Sy's record is under-whelming he did should some real toughness in his 2019 loss to Shokichi Iwata and we suspect he will serve as a bit of a test for Suganob here.
Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-4-1, 18) will fight for the first time since his 2019 loss to WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali. The talented Villanueva will be matched somewhat softly here, as he goes up against domestic foe Bryan Tamayo (6-1-2, 2). It's hard to see anything but a win for the skilled and experienced Villanueva, but there are question marks about the long lay off and his hunger after losing in several world title bouts. On the other hand this is a gigantic step up in class for Tamayo, who has never faced someone with more than 10 wins. Hard to see past a Villanueva win, though we do wonder about his long term future in the sport.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1), who returns to the ring after more than 2 years out of the ring. The talented Barriga was last out there losing a split decision to Carlos Licona in December 2018 in a bout for the IBF Minimumweight title, sadly he lost that bout by split decision and then took a lengthy break from the ring. His return looks to be a super easy one as he takes on Junuel Lacar (8-6-3, 6) in a 6 round Light Flyweight bout. As with several others on this show the focus seems to be on shaking some ring rust from the A-side and giving them some rounds whilst having plans for bigger things later in the year.
We stay in Asia for a show in Indonesia, which is a much lower quality show but does feature a decent main event.
That main event will see the once touted Patrick Liukhoto (11-2-2, 7) take on veteran Tommy Seran (28-18, 16). Liukhoto won his first 9 bouts in a row before going through a rough patch, where he went 0-2-1, and lost all the moment he was building. Since then he has gone 2-0-1 and is pretty much in "must win" territory. Seran on the other hand is a true stalwart but a man who has been consistently picking up losses in recent years, losing his last 6 and going 5-17 in the last 8 years. This should be a chance for Liukhoto to kick start his struggling career.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
We also get a number of Central Asian fighters in action in Russia on an RCC card in Ekaterinburg, in what is genuinely a solid and exciting card.
The most notable of the Central Asian hopefuls is unbeaten Tajik contender Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (16-0, 9), who looks to score his 17th win as he takes on fellow unbeaten Lunga Sitemela (13-0, 7). The bout will see Yaqubov looking to make his 4th defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title, which he won back in 2018, and a win here should move him another step towards a world title fight, potentially later this year or early next year. Sitemela is a South African hopeful who will be making his international debut, and fighting outside of his homeland for the first time. On paper Sitemela looks like a good test, but his competition so far has been under-whelming and this should be regarded as a massive step up in class for him.
In another good looking match up Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-1-1, 2) will take on Gaibatulla Gadzhialiev (7-2-1, 3). The Kyrgyzstan born, Russian based, Turgumbekov will be looking to bounce back from a 10th round TKO loss to Albert Batyrgaziev, which he suffered last August, but isn't being matched softly here and is instead in with a live opponent. Gadzhialiev begane his career in the US, way back in 2016, but has been fighting in Russia in recent years. Sadly for him he is 1-2-1 in his last 4, but the losses have all been close and there is a good argument he should have taken a win in his draw. This could end up being the hidden gem of the weekend, and should be a very hotly contested match up.
In a female match up Russian based Kazakh born Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (10-0, 3) will be up against Estrella Valverde (18-6-2-1, 3) for the WBC "interim" female Bantamweight title, a title that has no real right to exist given the WBC female Bantamweght title was defended just a few months ago. The unbeaten Zrazhevskaya has been matched softly, to say the least, and this is a big step up for her on paper, though it's one her team will be confident that she can make without too many issues. Valverde has lost in her 4 bouts outside of Mexico and we suspect she'll lose again here, but she is, by far, the most notable opponent for Zrazhevskaya so far.
The big focus this Saturday is in the Kazakh Capital of Nur-Sultan, where the country will be celebrating Capital City day. To celebrate the day MTK will be putting on a stacked card in the city with a world title fight main event, several interesting support bouts and a host of prospects.
The main event will see WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-3-1, 18). The talented French-Moroccan is a real talent, and he was one of the many top Bantamweights frozen out of the WBSS, but is getting on in age and won't remain the skilled boxer-puncher that he's looked for much longer. Despite being the older fighter Oubaali will be strongly favoured here against a challenger who has lost his 3 biggest bouts, and would need a career best performance to even come close against the Frenchman. Villanueva isn't a bad fighter, but his ability is more that of a gatekeeper than a true contender. A full preview of this bout is available here Villanueva takes on Oubaali for WBC Bantamweight crown
In the main supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Zhankosh Turarov (23-0, 16) take on Mauro Maximiliano Godoy (31-4-1, 16) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Light Welterweight title. The unbeaten Turarov returned to the ring in June after almost 21 months out of the ring, and took a really disappointing win over Richmond Djarbeng, who sat in his corner complaining of stomach cramps after the second round. Godoy should prove to be a good test for Turarov, but the Argentinian has lost 3 of his last 7 and may be on the slide from the fighter he once was. Still this is easily Turarov's best test on paper, so far.
Another notable supporting bout will see the unbeaten Viktor Kotochigov (9-0, 4) taking on Jairo Lopez (24-10, 16), who was once regarded as a fringe contender. On paper this is a step up for the unbeaten Kazakh but Lopez is 3-4 in his last 7 and has been stopped in 3 of those 4 losses. This should be easier than it looks on paper for Kotochigov.
This card will b stacked with other Kazakh prospects, as MTK go all out to put on a show for local fans with Kazakh talent. Among the prospects are Ali Baloyev (8-0, 7), Sultan Zaurbek (7-0, 5), Nurtas Azhbenov (5-0, 1), Abay Tolesh (2-0, 2) and Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (5-0, 4), who are in relatively easily here and won't face too much of a test as they continue to build their careers and move towards bigger bouts.
As well as the Kazakh show there is also a notable card in Tokyo thanks to Teiken. This card is a really interesting one, with a notable name in the main event, a really good chief support bout, and a host of notable prospects
The main event will see Kenichi Ogawa (23-1-0-1, 17) take on limited Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-5-1, 6) in what will be little more than a stay busy bout for Ogawa. Originally the Japanese puncher was scheduled to have an IBF world title eliminator eliminator with South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), but Fuzile failed to secure a visa in time for the bout leading to Medura, who is 0-4 in Japan, getting the bout. We don't see this going very long at all.
A much better Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) take on Al Toyogon (10-3-1, 6) in an excellent match up. The once beaten Masaki, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro, hasn't really shined as Teiken would have wished and this is a long way from a gimme. Masaki is talented, but really needs to get prove he can put on good performances, something we don't really see from him with any consistency. Toyogon on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Ryo Sagawa, and will be coming into this out with a point to prove. A very interesting bout contest.
One of the other main supporting bouts will be a Welterweight bout between Masaya Tamayama (12-1, 6) and Riku Nagahama (9-2-1, 4), with both men wanting to tak a big step towards a potential Japanese title fight in the near future. Nagahama is looking to secure a second win since his TKO loss last year to Yuki Nagano, who has since gone on to win the Japanese title, whilst Tamayama is looking for a 9th straight win, and a chance to take a huge step towards a big bout.
Among the other supporting bouts we will see Japanese Super Flyweight prospect Hayate Kaji (12-0, 9) take on Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-18-2, 5), in what looks to be a chance for Kaji to take a huge step towards a Japanese title fight. It feels like Kaji has been on the verge of a break out fight for a while and whilst this isn't going to be it, it seems like a win and his next one will be his long awaited break out bout. For Orais questions should be asked why he's continuing to fight, rather than focus more on the training role he has at the Flare Yamagami gym.
Lower down on this card we'll see two more touted Japanese prospects both take big steps up in class against Filipino foes. One of those is the fantastic Mikito Nakano (2-0, 2), who takes on Arvin Yurong (12-2, 3) in a genuinely good test. Nakano looks like he has the ability to move through the rankings quickly, and could fight for a title as early as late 2020, and Yurong is a very under-rated young fighter who should force answers from Nakano.
The other is Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1), who's debut saw him look fantastic against an opponent who didn't want to be there. Here Lee takes on unbeaten Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (9-0-1, 5) in what should be a much, much better match up. Sadly not much is known about the visitor, so it's unclear what type of a test he will actually pose for the very talented Lee.
A smaller show takes place in the Phillipines where we see a few interesting Filipino fighters in action with a really good main event.
The main event will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (10-0-1, 5) take on the once touted Jesse Espinas (19-3, 11). The 23 year old Vicelles isn't well known but comes into this on the back of an excellent win over Robert Onggocan, and this is a logical step up in class. As for Espinas this is a slight step backwards, but is one that makes sense given he was beaten last time out in an OPBF title bout against Edward Heno. A very interesting match up, and rightfully the main event of the card.
In a good supporting bout Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5) and Prince Andrew Laurio (10-2-1, 7) will face off for the Philippines Visayas Professional Boxing Association Super Flyweight title. The 22 year old Remandiman has turned around a 2-4-1 start with 8 straight wins and has great momentum coming into this bout, as well as a good win last time out against Renz Rosia. Interestingly Lauio's career is going in the opposite direction, and he is 2-2-1 in his last 5, with stoppage losses in his last 2 bouts. His early potential appears to have been massively over-hyped and he is now really faltering.
One other bout of note here will see the one beaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-1-1, 9) take on Joffrey Garcia (6-10-4, 5), in what should be another straight forward win for Mangubat.
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.
This coming Saturday is set to be a huge day for Asian boxing, with a number of fighters taking place across a number of shows. This includes a big bout in Mexico, a pair of shows in China and a pretty notable card in the Philippines.
Nuevo León, Mexico
One of the Mexican fights takes place in Nuevo León and will see former IBF and WBO Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (27-4-1, 19) battle against former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) in a contest for the for Rodriguez's WBC Latino Silver Super Flyweight title. The Mexican is best remembered for his incredible 2014 bout with Katsunari Takayama but since then has gone 9-2-1 and moved up from Minimumweight to Super Flyweight, which doesn't appear to have suited him quite as well as the smaller divisions. Tobe was once one of the most touted prospects in Japan, and although he has failed to reach the expectations many had for him, this is a great chance to make a mark and put himself in the mix for a world title fight.
Of the actual shows in Asia the most notable is an ALA promoted card in Leyte.
The main event of the card will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (15-2, 13) take on Thai foe Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-5, 10) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The heavy handed Santisima has won his last 13 in a row, with 12 stoppage, and we expect to see him continue that run here. Despite that this isn't a foregone conclusion and Yodsingdaeng is a credible foe, with his only loss since 2015 coming in a decision to Juan Martin Elorde. This should be a good test for Santisima.
In the co-feature we'll see the touted Albert Pagara (29-1, 20) battle against Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-3-2, 14), with this bout being for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. Pagara has been rebuilding well since his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez, but on paper this bout is a step from his last 3 contests, all of which were pretty straight forward wins for the Filipino. Odoi, from Ghana, began his career by losing his first 2 bouts, and was 1-1-2 after 4 contests, but has rebuilt well with 19 wins from his following 21 bouts. Despite being a step up for Pagara from recent opponents we're not expecting the Filipino to come up short here, but he will be forced to work for his win.
In main supporting bouts we have two former world title challengers in action. One of those is Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7), who takes on fellow Filipino Philip Luis Cuerdo (10-4-1, 4) in what looks like an interesting match up. Jerusalem impressed in a narrow loss to Wanheng Menayothin, for the WBC Minimumweight title, but a loss to Joey Canoy last year does leave us wondering if he has the fire to prove himself. Cuerdo should be able to test Jerusalem here, but he been stopped in 2 of his last 3, and it would be a shock to see him pick up a victory over the former world title challenger.
The other former world title challenger on this card is Arthur Villanueva (31-3, 17), who has twice come up short when fighting for a world title. The technically well schooled Villanueva who has lost to McJoe Arroyo, Zolani Tete and Luis Nery, will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he take on domestic foe Renren Tesorio (16-12-3, 4).
Albert Pagara's older brother Jason Pagara (40-3-1, 25) is also on this card, and will be battling against Geisler Ap (12-10-1, 9). The 29 year old Pagara once promised so much but has disappointed in recent contests, including a draw with James Onyango and a loss last time out to Hiroki Okada. Despite those set backs it's hard to imagine Ap having much to test the Filipino.
The card is also set to see the debut of former Japanese stand out Go Hosaka (0-0), who will battle Holly Quinones (3-9-1, 1) in a “special attraction” bout. The 21 year old Hosaka signed with ALA not too long back and is tipped for big things. Despite this being his debut it's hard to imagine Hosaka losing to a fighter like Quinones, who has been stopped in 7 of his 9 losses.
On one Chinese show fight fans will see IBF female Minimumweight Zongju Cai (10-1, 1) battle against Mexico's Ana Victoria Polo (7-2, 1) for the IBO Female Minimumweight title. The Chinese fighter is looking to become a double champion, though from what is being reported won't be risking her IBF title here. Despite not risking her own title Cai will be strongly fancied here, and she is a genuine talent who is quickly become the face of female boxing in China. Aged 36 Polo is a fighter who has fought just once in the last 18 months and is unlikely to have the speed or skills match the local favourite.
The other title bout in China will see former world title contender Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) battle against the once beaten Petch Kokietgym (32-1, 5) in a contest for the OPBF “silver” Super Bantamweight title. The Chinese fighter hasn't fought since December 2016, when he suffered his second loss to Nehomar Cermeno, but will be favoured here against the very limited Petch. On paper the Thai looks a good fighter but his competition has been horrific so far and it's hard to image he has anything to test Jun with, even if Jun is rusty. Interestingly the winner of this will move towards a potential show down with Hidenori Otake.
This coming Saturday is a pretty stacked day of action with a pair of world title fights, a regional title fight, a pair of Japanese title eliminators and a non-title bout featuring a controversial world champion.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The first of the world title fights will see WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (11-0, 9) defending the title he was recently handed, following Badou Jack's decision to avoid Bivol who has seen his “interim” title being upgraded. The talented Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter will be up against Trent Broadhurst (20-1, 12) in what looks likely to be little more than a showcase defense. The destructive Bivol looks like one of the best young fighters in the sport, with text books skills, an impressive engine, a fantastic in-ring mentality and very heavy hands. On paper Broadhurst looks like a good opponent, and has won his last 13 bouts, but is unlikely to be able to live with the work rate and power of Bivol, who will be expected to stop the challenger with few problems.
New York, USA
The other title fight will see unbeaten Kazakh born Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10) take on Japan's Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Terence Crawford. Of the two men it's Lipinets who has been the more impressive, with 4 stoppages in a row including wins over Leonardo Zappavigna and Levan Ghvamichava. The Kazakh, much like the previously mentioned Bivol, is an exciting and heavy handed fighter with an aggressive mentality. As for Kondo he's a tough fighter, as most Japanese fighters are, with a good engine and good form, having won his last 8 including stoppages over Patomsuk Pathompothong, Jeffrey Arienza and Yuya Okazaki.. Given the toughness of Kondo and the aggression of Lipinets it's hard not to get excited about this bout, despite the fact that Lipinets will be the very clear betting favourite.
Whilst the biggest fighters aren't in Japan we are really excited about a Japanese card from the Korakuen Hall.
The main event will see Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9) defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles against Randall Rayment (8-3, 3). The Japanese boxer-mover became the first Japanese fighter to unify the Japanese, WBO AP. And OPBF titles and will be determined to continue that reign as he slowly moves towards a potential world title fight, though has seen such a contest with Joseph Parker recently falling through. Rayment is a real unknown but he has won his last 6 and is coming in with a bit of momentum, though has never gone beyond 6 rounds and is stepping up massively.
In a Japanese Super Bantamweight Japanese title eliminator we'll see Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) battle former champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9), with the #1and #2 facing off for a shot at the title in 2018. The 28 year old Nakagawa has gone 11-0-1 (6) since a 2012 loss to Breilor Teran back in 2012 and whilst his competition hasn't been great he does hold notable wins over Yosuke Fujihara, Monico Laurente and Yuta Saito. Ishimoto on the other hand is a real fan favourite who has engaged in some thrilling contests at the top of the domestic scene with the likes of Yukinori Oguni, Gakuya Fukuhara, Yusaku Kuga, Shingo Wake and Yota Sato, among others. Aged 36 Ishimoto has seen better days, but is certainly coming in to this one as a hungry and determined fighter wanting another title run.
An even better title eliminator takes place at Middleweight, as the once beaten Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) takes on the thrilling Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6). Fukumoto burst on to the pro scene in 2012, blowing out Dondon Lapuz in 130 seconds, but would lose his third bout to the dangerous Arnel Tinampay. Since then he has reeled off 9 straight wins to right the ship and now looks like a much improved fighter who came undone against Tinampay. As for Takesako he was a genuine amateur star before making his professional debut in 2015. As a professional he has been destructive with all 6 of his wins coming in a combined 12 rounds and he looks like the type of fighter who will enter the ring with every intent of continuing that stoppage run here.
In one of two notable under-card bouts we'll see the exciting Akinori Watanabe (34-6, 29) take on Filipino journeyman Dennis Padua (11-12-2, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for Watanabe, who is looking for a second straight win after losing two in a row. The other under-card bout of note will see former amateur stand out Kazuki Saito (3-0, 3) battle against heavy handed Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (8-1, 7). The talented Saito has the skills to go a long way, but does have question marks over him, especially given that he was dropped by Jimmy Borbon last time out. Lagumbay is stepping up massively, but is clearly a puncher and will be looking to stop Saito and propel himself towards an OPBF title fight.
Baja California, Mexico
One other bout of note sees unbeaten, and controversial, WBC Bantamweight champion Luis Nery (24-0, 18) fight in a non-title bout against Filipino Arthur Villanueva (31-2, 17). The Mexican, who failed a drugs test for his bout against Shinsuke Yamanaka but appears to have seen the WBC turn a blind eye to his failed drug's test and haven't yet stripped him. The Filipino has lost in his two most notable bouts, and we can't help but feel he'll come up short again here, potentially suffering his first stoppage loss in the process.
It seems that we're getting some great fights week after week at the moment, and this coming weekend looks set to deliver something special with a number of noteworthy bouts.
The biggest bout of the weekend, by far, and one of the biggest bouts this year will see Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33) defending his WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO titles against Mexican icon Saul Alvarez (49-1-1, 34). For the mainstream sports fan the bout might not have the appeal of the recent Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor bout but for a boxing fan this is a bigger bout and it will see two of the biggest names in the sport collide in a really interesting match up. Will the biggest name in Mexican over-come the most destructive Middleweight of his generation, or will the Kazakh hero defeat the face of Mexican boxing.
It's not just in American that we get a world title fight, as we also get one in the Philippines, and this is another really well matched one which headlines a stacked card.
That world title bout will see IBF Light Flyweight champion Milan Melindo (36-2, 13) defending his title against former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10). The Filipino took the title earlier this year with a surprising first round win over Akira Yaegashi, setting a divisional record in the process, and will be looking to build on a fantastic little run which also includes a win over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. For Budler the bout sees him looking to become a 2-weight champion and score a third straight victory since his upset loss to Byron Rojas back in March 2016. This could be the fight of the weekend.
Talking about possible fights of the weekend it's hard not to think that John Riel Casimero (24-3, 15) against Jonas Sultan (13-3, 9) has the potential to be something special. Casimero, a former world champion at both Light Flyweight and Flyweight is seeking a world title fight at Super Flyweight and finds himself in there with a fighter who has slowly been building a reputation as one to watch. Whilst Casimero is a proven world level fighter, with wins against the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte and Amnat Ruenroeng, it's hard not to be impressed by Sultan, who has run up recent stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu, Makazole Tete and Sonny Boy Jaro. This has the potential to be a very good fight.
Whilst the bouts mentioned above are all about fighters looking to kick on and go to better places it should be noted that this card also features a bout where neither man can afford another set back. That bout will see former world title challengers Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16) and Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8) face off in a must win. Villanueva was last seen suffering a horribly one-sided loss to Zolani Tete in the UK, where Villanueva looked completely out of his depth, whilst Mepranum has been stopped in his last 2. Notably Villanueva is the naturally bigger man, and should win with out problems, but his performances in big bouts has left much to be desired so far.
One man looking to eventually get a big bout is Jason Pagara (40-2, 25), though he will need to over-come James Onyango (23-11-1, 19) if he's to get a shot at a world title. He's ranked #3 in the world by the WBO, and could be in the running for a shot very soon, but can't afford any slip ups here.
One man still looking to carve out his early career is Kevin Jake Cataraja (6-0, 5), who takes a small step up against Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-5-1, 4). The young Cataraja is regarded by those in the Philippines as one of the country's best prospects but will need to prove that against better foes than Ugbaniel. The more experienced man has lost his last 3 by stoppage, in a combined 4 rounds, and although he was once seen as a prospect it does seem like his career as a hopeful is now over.
We get another notable bout in Ukraine, as the unknown Uzbek Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (14-0, 9) takes on former world champion Viktor Postol (28-1, 12). For Postol the bout serves as his comeback contest following his wide decision loss to Terence Crawford back in July 2016 whilst the contests serves as a huge opportunity for Najimidinov to make a name for himself and score a career defining best win.
On a lower level we'll see two Thai's fighting in Australia.
One of those will see Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2) take on the unbeaten Matthew Triffett (3-0, 1) whilst the other will see Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-16-1) take on Lachlan Higgins (1-0, 1). It's clear these bouts won't get much attention given the other action for the day, but they will make up some under-card in Tasmania.
The most notable bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend sees former-2 weight world champion Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) make his long anticipated move up to Flyweight where he will kick off his campaign with a fighter against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (52-9, 30). The bout isn't a major test, given Viloria's recent performances at world level, but is is a solid introduction to the weight for Nietes, who will be looking to become a 3-weight champion in the near future.
In a supporting bout on the same card former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (29-1, 15) will face Juan Jimenez (22-10, 15) in a rematch. These two men fought earlier this year with Villanueva controversially winning the bout, and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, with a head-butt KO. Coming into this one Jimenez will be seeking revenge whilst Villanueva will be looking to win this one cleanly.
A third notable Filipino in action in the US is the touted prospect Mark Magsayo (14-0, 11), who risks his unbeaten record against Ruben Garcia (17-2-1, 7). The talented Magsayo won the WBO International Featherweight title last time out, beating Chris Avalos in a slugfest, and will be hoping to defend the belt here against Garcia. If he comes out on top then ALA might see fit to step up Magsayo and move him towards a title fight in the next 12 months or so.
The day is a busy on in Japan with 4 shows across the country. The most notable of which is a Dangan card in Tokyo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) face off against Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3) in what will be Arakawa's first defense of the title. The teak tough champion won the belt earlier this year, ending the reign of Kota Tokunaga, and looks like he's making a simple first defense before potentially facing Shuhei Tsuchiya.
It's worth noting that Shuhei Tsuchiya (20-4, 17) will be in one of the main supporting bout on this card as he takes on Filipino visitor Rex Olisa (11-29-1, 8). The bout is expected to be a mismatch with the bout serving almost entirely to help build for a bout between Tsuchiya and Arakawa in 2017.
Another Japanese title bout will be held in Aichi as Shota Hayashi (27-5-1, 17) trades blows with veteran Noriyuki Ueno (18-13-5, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, which was recently vacated by Satoshi Hosono. Coming in Hayashi will clearly be the favourite however Ueno is under-rated, knows this will almost certainly be his only chance and comes in riding a huge high after a massive upset win against Yuki Ogata last time out.
In the chief support bout Yushi Tanaka (17-1-3,11) will be facing a poor Thai opponent in what will be Tanaka's second bout since losing in a Japanese title bout against Kentaro Masuda this past March. It's hard to see Tanaka losing here but he'll be forced to step up his competition in the near future if he wants another crack at silverware.
Fans in Ibaragi get a less interesting card though one headlined by the insanely tough Tatsuya Takahashi (24-6-4, 17), who faces Thai visitor Parkin Phakdeepin (1-7) in a 10 rounder. The bout, for all intents, is a mismatch but we find it impossible not to love Takahashi who has been in numerous thrillers. Although a mismatch Takahashi should make this fun.
Another low profile card comes from Oita where the main event will see Yuta Sasaki (8-8-1, 1) face off against Hyuma Fujioka (7-4-1). The bout is another less than great match up, however this one should at least be competitive with both men looking to prove they are the better fight.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Filipino fans also get some action, the most notable of which features the very talented and under-rated Michael Dasmarinas (24-2, 16) facing off with Michael Escobia (11-12-1, 3). On paper this looks like a real mismatch however Escobia is much better than his record suggests and he has given fighters like Masaaki Serie and Koki Eto really competitive bouts, with the Eto bout coming earlier this year. Dasmarinas should win but this is no gimme.
A second Filipino show is set to take place in Rizal where we get several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) face off against Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. The bout isn't the greatest one but should be a very competitive one and both men will be coming in to this one seeking a title victory. On paper it's easy to favour Suminguit, who has won his last 8, but he will be tested here in what should a relatively competitive bout.
On this card in supporting bouts are the Elorde brothers. Juan Martin Elorde (20-1-1, 8) will face off against Indonesian veteran Boido Simanjuntak (23-40-2, 9) whilst Juan Miguel Elorde (21-1, 11) will face Junior Bajawa (14-9, 7). It's hard to see either of the brothers losing here, though we do hope they will both step up a level in the near future, as neither should be tested by their inferior foes here.
Staying in Asia there is also action in Kazakhstan where we get several bouts of note.
The most interesting bout will see unbeaten puncher Issa Akberbayev (17-0-0-1, 12) face off against fellow puncher Maik Kurzweil (17-6, 17) in a bout we don't imagine will go the distance. Although neither is near “world class” they are fighting for the GBC title and will put it on the line to hold the belt.
In an under-card bout the once beaten Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (17-1, 12) will face the highly experienced Gary Abajyan (33-27-1, 17). This will be Bektemirov's second bout since suffering a split decision loss last year to Alexander Brand. It's hard to see Abajyan holding his own here, but Bektermirov is usually fun to watch.
In another under-card bout the unbeaten Berikbay Nurymbetov (2-0) will be facing the much more experienced Valentyn Kuts (22-5-0-1, 8). Kuts has failed to win any of his last 5 bouts and we suspect that losing run will continue here against a man who is obviously backed by a very confident team.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see the much unfancied Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-12-2, 3) battle against former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (61-10, 51) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It's hard not to favour the much more experienced Gonzalez here in what looks like a mismatch against the visitor.
Back in California, though not on the same show as the three Filipino's, fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (5-0, 3) face off with fellow unbeaten Martez Jackson (3-0-2, 2). The bout looks relatively even on paper but we suspect the Kazakh will be too good and too powerful for the unbeaten American.
Hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (4-0-0-2, 4) will be looking to continue his reign of terror as he battles Leandro Mendes Pinto (19-9-2, 9) in a notable step up. The Kazakh destroyer has looked promising so far and should look good here, but notably Pinto has been around the clock and could teach the youngster a few new tricks. Although Pinto has avoided regular stoppages it's hard to imagine him being big enough or tough enough to last long with Jukembayev
Negros Occidental, Philippines
The key show for fans of Asian fighters is in Negros Occidental where ALA will be putting on their next “Pinoy Pride” card.
In the main event fans will see long reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) face off against former 2-time champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23). Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, defeated Garcia's twin brother, Ramon Garcia Hirales, back in 2011 and will be hoping to record a win over Raul too. For Raul it's a chance to become a 3-time champion and avenge one of his brother's losses.
The most interesting of the supporting bouts sees former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) face off against the chinny Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight. Despite being for an Asia Pacific title Jimenez is a Mexican so we're not sure how he qualifies for this title, however with 8 stoppage losses to his name it's hard to see him winning here.
In one of the other main supporting bouts former world title challenger Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) will be facing Maximino Flores (19-2, 13), who appears to have been a late fill in for Javier Mendoza. This bout will be an IBF Light Flyweight eliminator and the winner could find themselves taking a big step towards a world title fight later in the year.
In another supporting bout the promising Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) will be up against Thai visitor Wanchai Nianghansa (5-7, 4). We have been impressed by Cataraja so far and expect this will be another straight forward win for the Filipino sensation, who is widely regarded by those in Filipino boxing circles as a future champion.
In Japan fans get a small card but one with an interesting main event and a notable return to the ring for a recent Japanese title challenger.
The interesting main event sees former world champion Kosei Tanaka (6-0, 3) move up to Light Flyweight where he will face world ranked Filipino foe Rene Patilano (15-1-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 rounder. For Tanaka the bout is a chance to make a mark at a new weight class, and shake the shackles of the 105lb weight class that he claimed to be struggling massively with. As for Patilano the bout will serve as a huge chance to make a mark on the sport and boost his opportunity to get a world title fight of his own later in the year.
The aforementioned former Japanese title challenger is Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10), who faces Yuta Sasaki (8-7-1, 1), in what is Tanaka's first bout since losing in that Japanese title bout to Kentaro Masuda. This should be an easy win for Tanaka but their may be lingering effects from his stoppage loss to Masuda.
Two other men looking to bounce back from a loss on this card will be Shogo Yamaguchi (9-1-1, 4), and Genki Maeda (2-1, 1), who face each other in an interesting looking Lightweight bout. Yamaguchi was beaten last time out by Akihiro Kondo, in a bout that saw Yamaguchi look like a promising fighter despite losing, whilst Maeda was stopped by Yoshimichi Matsumoto in a less impressive performance. This could be a very good one, or it could see Maeda made to look like a novice.
Their will also be action in Uzbekistan
In the main event hard hitting Russian Heavyweight hopeful Apti Davtaev (11-0-1, 11) will be facing Kazakh journeyman Talgat Dosanov (13-14-1, 6) in what looks like a total mismatch in favour of the heavy handed Russian hopeful.
A much more interesting bout will see Uzbek fighter Bahrom Payozov (23-5, 15) face Russian novice Alexander Kotov (3-0, 1). Kotov debuted in December and this is a huge step up in class for him, however a win here is somewhat expected. For Payozov, who has lost 3 of his last 5, the bout is a bit of a must win.
New South Wales, Australia
Once again we see Asian fighters travelling to Australia, this time however we have one genuinely competitive bout as Romnakit Boontree (8-0, 5) facing off against the once beaten Richard Smith (8-1, 3). The unbeaten Thai has shown genuine promise through his first 8 bouts and whilst this is a step up he does look like the sort of fighter who could go a long way, if he can win here in his first bout outside of Thailand.
Other Asian's on this card are Indonesian fighters Abbas Makki (1-4), who faces Michael Upton (4-1-1) and Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2), who faces Rocky Jerkic (14-0, 11), in bouts that are both likely to be won by the local favourites.
The biggest card of the day is a special card courtesy of WOWOW who will be showing the card as part of a free day for the channel. The card featured a couple of big main events in what could potentially feature one of the most exciting bouts of the year.
In one of the main events fans will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (3-0-1, 26) battle against all-action warrior Koki Eto (17-3-1, 13) in a bout that could potentially be a FOTY contender. Eto, who is as fun to watch as any other fighter out there, is going to be the under-dog against the unbeaten champion but he's naturally the taller man and has shown his ability to make a fight of any bout. Cuadras will go into this one as the favourite but will have to expect the unexpected from the challenger in what could be an all-out war.
The other co-main bout will see Yu Kimura (17-2-1, 3) attempt to claim an unlikely world title as he faces WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (26-1-1, 17) in a very tough bout for the challenger. Kimura is a former Japanese champion looking to climb the proverbial global summit but it's hard to see how he beats the talented Guevara, who actually returns to Japan for the first time since winning his title there, last December.
Sadly apart from the two main bouts, this show is relatively slim on the under-card.
A second Japanese card comes from Kagoshima where fans will get the chance to see Naoya Haruguchi (7-6, 2) face off against Takayuki Teraji (6-8-1, 3) in a Light Flyweight bout. The fight, scheduled for 8 rounds, is the highlight of another wise forgettable card featuring 7 undercard bouts, all set for 4 rounds.
The most exciting of several Filipino shows is a card from ALA which will feature several very notable names, including some world class fighters and one of the most promising prospects that the country has seen in recent years.
Sadly we've not had the full bout sheet for this card, though it seems like AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22) will be facing Emilio Norfat (25-6, 19) in one of the main bouts. This should be an easy win for “Bazooka” but the Tanzanian visitor will be looking to score an upset and won't travel with the intention of just making up the numbers.
Others scheduled for this card include Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (1-0, 1) who is expected to be in a 6 rounder as well as former world title challengers Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2, 20), Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) and Milan Melindo (32-2, 12). Sadly we've not been given the opponents for any of those 4 men.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show will see former OPBF title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) attempt to end a 2 fight losing streak as he takes on the unbeaten Jelbirt Gomera (10-0, 6) in an interesting 10 round bout. For Geraldo this is the first bout since he lost a clear decision to Takuma Inoue, for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, whilst the relatively unproven Gomera will be stepping up massively. It's a good match in many ways but one that seems designed to get Geraldo back on the winning track.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another notable Filipino fighter in action is the talented, and under-rated Randy Braga (16-1-1, 3) who will be up against yet another “yet to be named” opponent.
Another show in the Philippines will be headlined by the promising Arnel Baconaje (3-0, 3) who will face another of the un-named opponents that seem to be scheduled for action this coming weekend.
In South Africa fans will be able to see under-rated Filipino Renz Rosia (12-3, 6) battle against former IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane (31-2, 20) in a bout for the IBO Flyweight title. The bout is a very tough ask for Rosia though he did show his ability earlier this year when he pushed Makazole Tete all the way in a controversial loss, and with a recent win over Renan Trongco there is a great chance that Rosia could score a career defining upset against the talented but inactive Mthalane.
Boy, what a busy Saturday we have ahead of us!
The main Asian show this Saturday comes from Macau where Top Rank are putting on solid card with an excellent main event and fights involving several fighters on the verge of a world title fight.
The main event of the show will see Chinese slugger Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) go for his first world title as he battles Argentina's Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF Light Welterweight title. On paper this isn't a “world class” title bout but it's an interesting one all the same between unbeaten fighters with very different styles and mentalities in the ring.
In a supporting bout, scheduled for 10 rounds, we'll see multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (34-4, 22) battle against Frenchman Anthony Settoul (20-3, 8) in what should be a mismatch in favour of the talented Filipino. For Donaire this is his second bout since being stopped by Nicholas Walters and it's likely to be a tune up contest before a potential world title fight with Englishman Scott Quigg, in a bout that is said to be pencilled in for later in the year.
Another supporting bout will see Indonesian veteran Roy Mukhlis (27-4-3, 21) take on Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19) in a 10 round bout at 137lbs. Mukhlis is a late replacement for Mickey Bey, who vacated the IBF Lightweight title rather than fight Shafikov, and will come into this bout as a massive under-dog. There is however little to lose for Indonesian who may get himself a world title opportunity if he was to upset the touted Russian.
One other supporting bout of note here will see Hong Kong's exciting Rex Tso (16-0, 8) taking on limit Thai Khunkiri Wor Wisaruth (21-11-1, 14) in what is really a stay busy fight for Tso, who is looking to get a world title bout later in the year. Tso should see off his limited Thai foe inside the distance, especially considering that Khunkiri has already been stopped 6 times, but we need to admit that Tso continues to blow hot and cold and may under-perform again here.
In the US we get a Super Flyweight world title bout as unbeaten Filipino Arthur Villanueva (27-0, 14) takes on talented Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo (16-0, 8) in a bout for the IBF title, which was recently vacated by Zolani Tete. The bout is a brilliant one on paper between two talented and unbeaten boxer-punchers who are each seeking to be recognised on the world stage. It's fair to say the winner here won't be recognised as a truly elite level fighter in the division, but they will throw their name into the hate for big fights against the likes of Naoya Inoue or Carlos Cuadras.
Also in Texas fans will get the chance to see the US debut of Korean slugger Min Wook Kim (12-1, 9). Kim, a former OPBF 140lb champion, will be battling 31 year old Mexican southpaw Sergio Rivera (27-15-2, 17) in what should be a straight forward win for the Korean star. Although boxing in Korea is quiet at the moment Kim is a shining light and an exciting win against Rivera could help the Korean become a staple in the US where his talent and style will be appreciated.
On another US card we'll see the debut of American based Kazakh Shynggyskhan Tazhibay (0-0) who takes on the win-less Jasey Montalvo (0-5). This should be an easy win for the 23 year debutant though it's only the first step of his career and we know bigger and better bouts will come in the future.
Pocheon, South Korea
In South Korea fans will get a small show of novices with 6 novice bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounds. There really isn't any big names in action here, a given considering how poor Korean boxing is at the moment, though we are interested in a heavyweight bout between Sang Ho Kim (1-0, 1) and Choong Yul Lee (0-0) and a Super Featherweight contest between Jin Jun (1-0, 1) and Sung Il Lim (1-0, 1), in what is the only bout between fighters with a record bout each.
Sawang Calero, Philippines
In the Philippines fight fans get a very small show that is likely to go under the radar.
The main event here will see Eduard Penerio (16-2, 11) take on the tough but limited JR Salvador (5-2-3). On paper this is a huge mismatch however Salvador has only been stopped once in his career, and that came more than 4 years ago.