Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The final Japanese show of a relatively quiet January is this coming Friday as Yokohama Hikari put on a very small show at Korakuen Hall. This really is a tiny show, with just 5 bouts announced for it, including 3 over the 4 round distance. Despite its short nature the show should, however, be a pretty interesting one for fans who can make their way to Korakuen Hall.
The most interesting of the 3 rounds will see Joker Ryo (1-0) look to build on his entertaining debut as he takes on the somewhat chinny Tsuyoshi Kato (1-2). Despite not being the most skilled Ryo appeared to be an aggressive, fun, crude slugger on his debut in October and he looks like someone who could make for fun fights. Kato on the other hand has been stopped in both of his losses, including a 2018 loss to Jin Sasaki, but should have a real size advantage over the much smaller Ryo. Despite being an easy to overlook novice bout this could, genuinely, be a very fun one to watch.
In the first of the two 8 rounders on this show Kosuke Ando (8-2, 3) will take on the JBC ranked Shuri Hasebe (8-5, 2). Ando is best known for his 2019 campaign, which saw him reach the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, before losing a majority decision to Sho Omote. Since that loss he has fought just once, taking a decision last October against Hidetoshi Takane. For this bout he will be competing in his first 8 rounder. As for Hasebe he earned his Japanese ranking in 2019, with an upset win over Desierto Nagaike and is unbeaten in his last 2, however he didn't at all in 2020 and we do wonder how ring rust may affect him after 21 months out of the ring.
The main event of the card will see JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Naoto Mizutani (7-6-2, 2) look to build on a 3 fight unbeaten run, including wins over Joe Tanooka and Naoya Okamoto, as he takes on 22 year old puncher Seigo Hanamori (6-3, 4). The 31 year old Mizutani is in some of the best form of his career, but without a fight in 2020 the momentum he had been building has been lost and it's hard to know whether he can keep up the good results he was having in 2019. As for Hanamori he has won his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, by stoppage and shown solid power in recent performances. Despite his wins Hanamori has been fighting at a low level and this is very much a step up in class for him.
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Over in Mexico we'll see the excellent Eye of the Tiger Management put on their next card.
For us the most notable bout on this card will see outstanding Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (11-0, 10) take on Dutchman Stephen Danyo (17-3-3, 6) in a bout for 4 titles, including the NABF, WBA Continental and WBC Francophone titles. The talented Akhmedov has been highly impressive since making his professional debut in 2018, though did spend the entire of 2020 out of the ring. Danyo on the other hand is no world beater, but has proven himself to be a tough fighter and will be expected to take Akhmedov 10 rounds here in what should be a great chance for the Kazakh to shake some ring rust before tougher bouts later in the year.
Notably this will be Akhmedov's second professional bout outside of Canada, with the other being a 10 round decision in his native Kazakhstan in 2019. As for Danyo he is well travelled, but has lost his last 3 bouts outside of his homeland and that run is expected to continue here.
USC Soviet Wings, Moscow, Russia
There will be more Central Asian prospects in action over in Russia on a Patriot Boxing show.
The most notable of the Asian hopefuls here will be Rustam Tulaganov (3-0, 1), who will be looking to records his fourth professional win. Tulaganov will be up against 33 year old Colombian puncher Beibi Berrocal (17-7, 16), who looks like a threat on paper, but has been beaten in his last 4, including by the debuting Arthir Kyshenko. The talented Uzbek Light Heavyweight has had a stop start career since making his professional debut in 2017 though we really hope that 2021 is the year where he begins really build momentum in his career.
The other is Uzbek debutant Lazizbek Mullajonov (0-0), who was a standout amateur and will likely be one to watch over the next decade or so. He will be debuting in a Heavyweight 6 rounder, but his original opponent, Igor Vilchitsky (4-2, 1), appears to have been pulled from the show. Mullajonov was very highly regarded in the unpaid ranks and has signed with Patriot boxing who have the power to move him quickly, though may appreciate that he is a very young fighter and there is no need to rush him. Either way he is certainly going to be one to keep a very, very close eye on.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
We finish what "should" be the most meaningful bout of the day, but it's also one we wouldn't be surprised to see fall into the ether and not take place. That is a WBA "regular" Cruiserweight world title bout between defending champion Beibut Shumenov (18-2, 12) and the completely undeserving Raphael Murphy (14-1, 11). If this bout takes places it should be regarded as one of the least notable "world" title bouts in history, though with it being set for a Don King card it really wouldn't be a surprise if the bout didn't take place. Our preview of this one can be read here Shumenov, Murphy and the WBA cover "world title" in shame
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.
Seoul, South Korea
Arguably the most notable bout to feature an Asian comes from Seoul where Hyun Mi Choi (12-0-1, 4) [최현미] returns to the ring to defend her WBA female Super Featherweight title, and look to claim the WBF title, as she takes on South African challenger Unathi Myekeni (10-2-1, 4). This will be Choi's 13th world title bout and sees her return to the ring just a few weeks after defeating Diana Ayala.
In Russia fight fans will be able to see the very exciting Kyrgyzstan born Dmitry Bivol (6-0, 6) fight in his most significant bout to date, as he faces the unbeaten Dominican Felix Valera (13-0, 12) for the WBA “interim” Light Heavyweight title, a title that Valera will be defending for the first time. The bout is a step up in class for Bivol but, given how he's looked so far, he is likely to pass this test with flying colours.
In the US fans get the chance to see Kazakhstan's Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10) continue his career, as he faces Junior Anthony Wright (15-1-1, 12) for the WBA Cruiserweight title. Sadly due to how late this bout was put together we were unable to preview it, and we have been told that it won't be televised, though looks like a good one on paper.
There isn't much action this coming Saturday, but there is enough get the juices flowing.
The most notable bout of the night, for us at least, is the farcical WBA “interim” Cruiserweight title fight between Kazakh slugger Beibut Shumenov (15-2, 10) and American fighter-come-analyst BJ Flores (31-1-1, 20). The bout is a insult to the other top Cruiserweights and really shouldn't be a title fight, especially given how little the two men have really done at the weight. Sadly however it is the most significant bout of the night for Asian fight fans
Another bout of note, taking places in the US, sees American-Filipino Brian Viloria (35-4-0-2, 21) battling against the limited but experienced Omar Soto (23-11-2, 15). This should be little more than a formality for Viloria who should be fighting in a big bout by the end of the year. The talented and exciting former world champion is still in the mix at world level and a win here should see him rewarded with a really big match up.
The only actual card in Asia is in Thailand where the main event will see Japan's Cobra Suwa (15-11-2, 7) battle Indonesian Elly Pangaribuan (4-5-2, 1) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Welterweight title. On paper it's a mismatch and it should, really, be an easy win for Suwa who is significantly better than his record suggests, however the 35 year old Japanese fighter knows that a loss really could be the end for him.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South we have two bouts of note.
For us the most interesting will see Australian based Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes (14-5-1, 10) battles against Arnon Yuchaereon (0-9-1), an Australian based Thai. It's hard to see anything but a win for Reyes, and an easy one at that.
The other bout will see Pramool Boonpok (1-16-1) battle against Tommy Brown (28-6-1, 11) in a farcical mismatch. Whilst we won't pretend the other bout will be competitive this is just an ugly mismatch and one that leaves Spikes Boxing looking bad.
More action in Australia comes in Queensland as Apichat Koedchatturat (0-0)* battle against Australian foe Ben Kite (2-2-1, 1). It's hard to know what to expect here but at least it's not a huie mismatch, on paper at least.
Apichat Koedchatturat was originally listed as being Apichat Yuchareon.
The biggest names in action this Saturday are in the US though the day is, to be fair, one packed with fights all over the globe with numerous top names and some very promising bouts.
The most notable bout of the day for Asian fight fans is likely to be in Nevada where former Russian amateur standout Matt Korobov (24-0, 14) fights against popular Irish fighter Andy Lee (33-2, 23) in a contest for the WBO Middleweight title. The belt was given up by former champion Peter Quillin, who elected not to face Korobov in a mandatory title fight, and as a result we've got this compelling bout which is sure to send the winner into big fights whilst the loser could find themselves struggling to remain relevant in 2015.
On the same card former world title challenger Denis Shafikov (34-1-1, 19) will be fighting in a stay busy fight against the heavy handed Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-4-2, 21). On paper this looks like a great contest, in reality however Mendoza is unlikely to give Shafikov many problems and has gone 3-4-1 in his last 8 bouts, suggesting his power doesn't carry up when he steps up in class.
On a separate Nevada show we will see two more fighters of major interest in action, albeit on an untelevised portion of a card.
One of those men is former WBA Light Heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov (14-2, 9) who will be making his Cruiserweight debut as he battles against Bobby Thomas Jr (14-2-1, 9). For Shumenov this will be his first bout following the loss of his world title to Bernard Hopkins earlier this year. We're hoping to see a better version of Shumenov here than we did last time out however he has often failed to impress due to a lack of technical ability and this could be shown up markedly at the higher weight.
The other man is the always fun to watch Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-2-1, 21) who will be up against Oscar Godoy (13-3, 6) in what appears to be a straight forward win for the popular Japanese brawler. For Kamegai this will be his 5th bout in the US and we suspect that is he wins he will be back on American TV next year courtesy of his fan friendly style which would be very fun to watch against someone like Keith Thurman.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we see a rematch of one of the biggest shocks of the year as Rey Loreto (19-13, 11) battles against former IBF Minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi (24-3-0-1, 17). Earlier this year Loreto shocked the boxing world by knocking out Joyi in Monaco and will be hoping to repeat the feat here as he looks for the first defense of his IBO Light Flyweight title. This one could end up being the fight of the night though we suspect a focused Joyi will fight carefully and take a cautious decision over the dangerous and under-rated Filipino puncher.
In Japan fans get a very disappointing show headlined by OPBF and Japanese ranked Super Featherweight contender Satoru Sugita (8-2-1, 5) who will be fighting Akira Shono (7-6-2, 4). Sugita is looking to build on his upset win over Ryota Kajiki in April and really should win here against a man who has won just 2 of his last 7 bouts.
The rest of this card is very weak we're afraid though it is a long under-card with 9 other bouts.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
In the Mindoro Occidental fans get a low level yet interesting card with a few notable contests.
For us the stand out bout is an 8 rounder between the unbeaten Jeffrey Galero (11-0, 5) and the once beaten Charles Canedo (7-1, 4). Galero is touted prospect who recently defeated Donny Mabao in what was his best victory to date and although Canedo was stopped last time out this does look like a good test for Canedo against a man who we suspect will be fighting for redemption.
Although we're excited about the Galero/Canedo fight it's not the main event, in fact it's not one of the 3 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds. Those include an an interesting contest between the heavy handed Jeson Umbal (7-2, 6) and the more experienced Jecker Buhawe (15-10-1, 10). This should be a good bout on the Filipino domestic scene even if those outside of the Philippines aren't likely to take much of an interest.
As well as the two bouts we've gone into some small details on this card is set to feature a further 5 contests.
Metro Manila, Philippines
On a second show in Philippines we appear to be in for a bit more action with 2 domestic title bouts.
One of those bouts comes at Light Flyweight where GAB champion Benezer Alolod (15-5-5, 5) battles against Renren Tesorio (13-5-3, 4). Alolod has been in fine form recently with 3 wins and a draw since he was stopped by Nkosinathi Joy. Of those wins all 3 have come by stoppage, including a 5th round victory over Jomar Fajardo, who recently gave Francisco Rodriguez Jr hell, and a 3rd round victory over Jerson Mancio, who is best known for losing to Naoya Inoue in an OPBF title bout. As for Tesorio it's fair to say he needs a win and is 2-4-1 in his last 7.
The other title bout sees GAB Welterweight champion Dan Nazareno Jr (20-12, 16) defending his belt against the limited Dennis Padua (9-9-2, 4). Nazareno is a heavy handed and solid fighter when he's on song but is one of those inconsistent types who can blow very cold We think even the worse Nazareno should be able over come Padua who has lost his last 7 straight and gone 1-8-1 in his last 10.
In Australia fans will see the experienced Chaiyong Sithsaithong (35-12-4, 25) in action though his opponent is currently unknown.
/This week end sees no notable action in Asia though sees as Asian fighter in the headline bout of the weekend as well as a handful of Asian fighters in action in much smaller bouts.
Washington, DC, USA
The key bout involving an Asian is, as mentioned above, the headline bout of the weekend as US based Kazakhstan Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9) attempts to unify his WBA Light Heavyweight "Super" title with the IBF belt held by ageless American boxing legend Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2-2, 32). The bout is clearly the biggest in Shumenov's career though for Hopkins it's again a case of a hungry young lion trying to retire the ageless master, something that he has seen opponents do for over a decade now.
The bout is a really big one for the awfully interesting Light Heavyweight division that not only features Hopkins and Shumenov but also the big punching pair of Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson. Of course we all know Stevenson signed with Showtime rather than took a future with Kovalev but it would seem likely that Stevenson will licking his lips at the winner of this one. Unfortunately for Kovalev he's now the man on the outside looking in though with his power, aggression and style he'll know fans will want to see him even if he's not got a unification option available.
Many view this as a complete mismatch with Hopkins widely viewed as too clever and too skilled though surprisingly, at the time of writing, the bookies only make Hopkins an 8/15 favourite suggesting money has been coming on Shumenov in the past few days.
As well as the big bout in the US some Asian fighters are active in Tanzanian of all places.
One of these bouts sees Thailand's Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (12-2, 7) in action against Tanzania's very own Francis Miyeyusho (37-10-2, 23). Sakkasem is a former PABA Super Bantamweight champion and whilst he's fighting on foreign for the first time it's not hard to favour him against the 34 year old Miyeyusho.
The other Asian involved on this card is once beaten Iranian Gavad Zohrehvand (13-1) who will be trying to bounce back following his 3rd round knockout loss to Ben McCulloch. Unfortunately for the Iranian he's in hard here as he battles Francis Cheka (30-8-1, 16). Cheka is a veteran who has been in with some very good fighters, such as Robert Stieglitz and Matthew Macklin and whilst he's not beaten the top opponents he should have more than enough in the locker to beat Zohrehvand here unfortunately.
(Photo courtesy of Rich Kane and www.ringtv.craveonline.com)