Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The main show for us this coming Saturday is the latest in the long line of Dynamic glove cards from Korakuen Hall, and it's a real show case for the future of Japanese boxing thanks to Teiken. The card is headlined by a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, and is then packed with talented novices all looking to take big strides forward with their careers.
The main event will see 26 year old Japanese warrior Ryota Toyoshima (15-2-1, 9) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title against Filipino challenger Adam Diu Abdulhamid (17-10, 9). For the talented Toyoshima, who is enjoying the best run of his career, this will be his second defense of the title, and a chance for him to not just tighten his grip on the regional scene but also take a step towards a potential world title fight. This bout is very much one that he should look great in, but he can't over-looked Abdulhamid. The Filipino is an aggressive fighter, who will be in the ring looking to force the action and drag Toyoshima into a war, which could give us a genuinely excellent battle. The skills are with the champion, but the challenger does have heart and desire and could well play his part in a bit of an action packed war. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Asian Pacific champion Toyoshima battles Abdulhamid!
From the prospects on the card, the hardest matched is former amateur standout Gonte Lee (3-0-1, 1), who takes on Korean visitor Moo Hyun Kim (9-2, 5). Lee was tipped for huge things when he turned professional, but the pandemic has slowed his rise and he'll know that if he's going to deliver on the promise he showed as an amateur he's going to have to shine here. As for Kim he returns to Japan for his third bout in the country, where he currently holds a 2-0 record, but Lee is, by far, the most talented fighter and polished fighter he will have faced.
Another former amateur standing out looking to pick up a win against a foreign import is the wonderfully gifted Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) , who takes on Thai visitor Suphaphon Hanvichachay (3-0, 2), in what we are expecting will be an explosive, and short bout. Both men can punch, and only one of their 5 combined bouts has gone beyond 3 rounds. Don't blink when these two are in there together.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Junya Shimada (1-0, 1) battle Rechel Calo (3-0, 1). Shimada made his debut last year, and eked out a narrow win over Shigetoshi Kotari, and will be hoping to put in a more commanding effort here. As for Calo this is his first bout away from home and a huge step up, given Shimada's amateur exploits.
Other under-card bouts will include Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2), looking to bounce back from his loss, taking on Thailand's Kitidech Hirunsuk (9-2, 5), former Rookie of the year winner, Hiromasa Urakawa (7-1, 4) battling Thailand's Perapan Judkan (8-1, 7), in what could be a very explosive bout, and the debut of Hiroki Ogawa (0-0), who takes on unbeaten Thai novice Phongthep Bunchari (1-0, 1).
Spaceplus Bangkok RCA, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan, featuring notable hopefuls and prospects, we get the chance to see some top Thai hopefuls taking on some dangerous Filipino fighters in WBA Asia title fights.
The more notable the two major bouts will see Tanes Ongjunta (10-1, 5) look to make his third defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title as he takes on the very dangerous Jeny Boy Boca (14-7, 12). The talented Ongjunta has rebuilt well since being stopped in 2020, by Adrian Lerasan in a forgotten but thrilling 8 round war, and has scored 6 wins since then to get his career back on track. On paper Boca doesn't look like a test, but the visitor is dangerous, as he showed last time he was in Thailand, when he stopped Sarawut Thawornkham. Sadly though he has been inactive since a December 2020 loss to Muhammad Waseem
The other bout will see Yuttapong Tongdee (7-0, 4) battle Ryan Rey Ponteras (23-15-3, 12) with the two men trading blows for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Tongdee looks to be among the most talented of the emerging Thai hopefuls, but this is a genuine step up for him and we could see him being given a genuine chin check by Ponteras. As his best Ponteras was a tough, stubborn guy with solid power, and he showed that stubbornness late last year when he gave Seong Yeong Yang a tough test, however he was taken out in a round in 2019 by Seiya Tsutsumi, who has since gone on to win the Japanese Bantamweight crown and shown his potential. This should be a real work out for the unbeaten local fighter.
Staying in Asia, we also get a show in China, with a former world title challenger, who's fighting for only the second time since losing in a world title fight in 2019, and an unbeaten hopeful.
The former world title challenger is Wulan Tuolehazi (14-4-1, 7), who famously challenged Kosei Tanaka for the WBO Flyweight title on the final day of 2019 and was stopped by the KO Dream Boy. Since then Tuolehazi has scored a single win, in early 2020, and will be fighting for the first time in over 2 years here, as he takes on DianXing Zhu (6-1, 5). Zhu is a 25 year old with heavy hands but he is also a naturally smaller man than Tuolehazi, and is unlikely to have the power to get the respect of the veteran.
The other bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten 22 year old LeQuan Wang (6-0, 4) look to continue his winning streak as he takes on Zixiang Wang (4-2, 2), who's only losses have been by razor thin split decisions. The unbeaten Wang began his career in 2019 and has looked heavy handed through out his career, but has faced a string of very limited foes, with 4 wins against debutants and 5 wins against fighters without a win. As for Zixiang Wang he began his career in 2017 and has, overall, faced better opponents, but was beaten just 2 fights ago, and hasn't shown much in terms of power. For both men this is their most notable bout to date, and should provide a genuine chance to see if either man has what it takes to make a mark on the regional scene.
Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Over in the US we'll see hard hitting Uzbekistani hopeful Bektemir Melikuziev (9-1, 7) continue his rebuilding process as he takes on the experienced Sladan Janjanin (32-11, 24), from Bosnia And Herzegovina. The hard hitting Melikuziev will be looking for his third win since his shock 2021 loss to Gabe Rosado, and he shouldn't have any problems here. Janjanin is experience, and does have plenty of wins to his name, but his wins have come at a very, very low level and he has consistently lost when he has faced name fighters, including a 7th round TKO loss to Nathan Heaney last year and a 3rd round TKO loss in 2016 to Steven Butler.
The main focus for us this coming Friday is Uzbekistan, as Matchroom put on their second Uzbek card, and it's an interesting one with a great main event and several other bouts worthy of attention.
The main event is a world title eliminator at 154lbs as unbeaten, and highly touted, Uzebekistani fighter Israil Madrimov (7-0, 5) takes a huge step up in class and takes on the skilled and experienced French fighter Michel Soro (35-2-1, 24). Madrimov has been put on the fact track since turning professional in 2018 and despite some wobbles recently, notably in a tough one against Eric Walker last year, he has looked like a very special fighter. Albeit one that looks bored at times and looks like he is trying to entertain himself against lesser opponents. Soro on the other hand is a perennial contender who has one of the best resumes of any active fighter to have never won a legitimate world title. Aged 34 Soro won't get many, if any, more chances if he loses here and we suspect to see him put it all on the line here in what could be a really sensational 12 rounder. Sadly we're not sure either man would have the tools to dethrone WBA champion Jermell Charlo, but as a stand alone bout, this one is a very, very interesting one and the winner would, rightfully, deserve a shot at the champion.
In one of the main supporting bouts we'll see Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (11-0, 9) take on the tricky and awkward Cristian Rafael Coria (29-8-2, 13), in what should be a much tougher bout than it looks on paper. Giyasov, dubbed the "Wonder Boy", is a talented fighter but one who has shown some cracks during his professional career, and is certainly a work in progress. Saying that however he's talented, heavy handed, accurate and has the tools to go all the way to the top, in the future. We still feel he needs some seasoning, but he certainly has what's needed to be a champion. Coria on the other hand is a 39 year old journeyman who constantly looks for the upset, having given Hiroki Okada hell in 2018 and beaten Joel Diaz Jr in 2019. He was stopped last time out, by the awkward Alberto Puello, but he's tough and will be looking to make Giyasov pay for his numerous errors.
Another very notably fight in this card will be the return of Bektemir Melikuziev (7-1, 6), who looks to bounce back from his upset loss to Gabe Rosado. Interesting Melikuziev isn't being matched mega softly here, and instead of taking on a patsy after such a brutal KO loss he's up against the capable Sergei Ekimov (18-3, 9), who has never been stopped and pushed recent world title challenger Umar Salamov close in his most recent bout. This shouldn't be a problem for Melikuziev, but we suspect he will have to go rounds and this should serve him well given the loss to Rosado.
There also a number of other touted hopefuls on this card, such as 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (3-0, 3), who takes on tough Mexican journeyman Jose Rivas (18-12-4, 10). On paper this is a mismatch, but Rivas has only been stopped twice with the most recent of those coming to Jose Argumedo more than 6 years ago. He should extend Dusmatov a few rounds.
Likewise we expect to see Elnur Abduraimov (7-0, 6) have to work for a win over Filipino Jhon Gemino (22-12-1, 12), whilst former amateur standouts Ikboljon Kholdarov (1-0, 1) and Dilshodbek Ruzmetov (0-0) should both be taking home very easy wins as they they begin their professional journey's, and they are two men who have the potential to go very far, very fast.
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
In Canada we'll see the talented Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1-0-2, 14) look to bounce back from his thrilling loss to Subriel Matias, back in May. The exciting Canadian based Kazakh showed lots to like there against one of the true dangermen at 140lbs, and will be given a chance to get a confidence building win here as he takes on limited Mexican Juan Jose Martinez (28-10, 20). It's fair to say that Jukembayev isn't world class, but he's certainly someone who can mix with the top 10 type of fighters and hopefully after this bout we see him mixing at a good level again in the new year.
Vysotsky Sports Palace, Samara, Russia
Over in Russia we'll see a couple of low level bouts with Central Asian fighters in action, playing the B-sides.
On such bout will see 25 year old Russian hopeful Rokhman Akhmetkhanov (2-0, 2) look to continue his impressive start to live as a professional boxer as he takes on Alexandr Zhuravskiy (13-8-1, 11), of Kazakhstan. Akhmetkhanov made his debut in March, has just 3 rounds to his name, but already looks like a genuine handful at Middleweight or Super Middleweight, and has two solid wins to his name. At his best Zhuravskiy was a tough, durable, reliable test for fighters, though he is now looking a bit shot and past his best. We expect Akhmetkhanov to win, but if he scores another quick win here it's going to be very, very hard to get him rounds over the next year or two.
A similar match up to the one above will see Chingiz Natyrov (2-0, 2), another hard hitting Russian hopeful, take on veteran Rauf Aghayev (33-12, 15), from Afghanistan. The 29 year old Natyrov looked tremendous last year, when he picked up two wins in the space of a few weeks including a stoppage of Oleksandr Hryshchuk, but with more than a year out of the ring he'll be hoping to get some rounds in here and move on to bigger things in 2022. The 38 year old Aghayev has amazingly fought 8 times this year! Though has sadly been stopped in 3 of those, and would be shocked if he avoided another stoppage loss here against someone as good as Natyrov.
A third bout of interest to us on this card will see Russian based Kazakh Ilya Ochkin (6-2, 2) look to bounce back from his 2020 blow out loss to Magomed Kurbanov, as he takes on Azeri fighter Elvin Akhundzada (4-8, 2). Coming in to this Akhundzada has been stopped very early in his last 3, and has lost 8 in a row. We do not expect him to put up much of an effort, but it'll be good to see Ochkin back in the ring after a length break from action, and after such a loss last time out.
This coming Saturday isn't a big day for Asian action, but the little bit we do get is set to be something a little bit special as the US plays host to a Japan Vs Philippines world title bout, as we see the face of Japanese boxing show what he can do in front of a crowd in Las Vegas. We also get one of the most exciting prospects in world boxing take a massive step up in class as he begins to knock on the door of a world title fight.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The headline of the day, at least for us, will see Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) defending his WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight titles against IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20). The bout will be Inoue's first since beating Jason Moloney last August, and his second as a Top Rank fighter. Unlike that Moloney bout however this will be the first time he has fought in front of fans in Las Vegas, and the atmosphere is expected to be solid for the popular Japanese puncher. As for Dasmarinas, he is thought to be nothing more than a lamb to the slaughter, and a necessary hurdle for Inoue before unifications bouts late in the year and in 2022. The challenger has been out of the ring since October 2019, and is really lacking in terms of world class wins, though as we all know the IBF do order some rather poor mandatory defenses for their champions. On the other hand Dasmarinas has nothing to lose here, there is no real pressure on him, and the focus is purely on Inoue. With that in mind we might see a relaxed Dasmarinas and he could, given he's a tall southpaw, frustrate Inoue at times. Though a win for the challenger would be one of the biggest upsets in recent years. Our full in depth preview of this bout can be read here The Monster faces IBF mandatory Dasmarinas!
Don Haskins Center, in El Paso, Texas, USA
As well as the world title fight in Las Vegas there will also be some notable action in Texas, as hard hitting Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) faces his most notable opponent to date, veteran Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14). It's fair to say that 2021 has been a frustrating year for Melikuziev, who had seen a fight with Sergey Kovalev fall through and was then banned by AIBA for historic drug issues, but that will likely only fire him up here. Rosado, at his best, is a very good gate keeper, and he was unlucky not to get the win against Danny Jacobs recently, and he won't be wanting to roll over against the "Bek Bully". Melikuziev on the other hand will know that a stoppage win here will put him right on the verge of a world title fight.
We expect to see Rosado trying to show the "novice" some veteran tricks, but in the end Melikuziev.s power, strength, body punching, and amateur fundamentals should be enough to see him take home the W and get in the position to call out world champions.
It's not often we're going to get the chance to talk about world title action this month, but thankfully this Saturday is one of those rare chances, as we get a really interesting day. Not only do we have a solid looking Filipino card, but also a show in California featuring a world title bout and a very highly regarded Uzbek hopeful.
Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA
The most notable of the shows will be taking place in California on a Golden Boy Promotions show.
The world title fight will see IBF Super Featherweight champion Joseph Diaz (31-1, 15) defending his title against mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12), from Tajikistan. For Diaz this will be the first defense of the title he won last year, when he fought through a nasty cut to pound out a win against Tevin Farmer, in what was a stellar performance by Diaz. In the opposite corner will be the technically limited, but strong and heavy handed Rakhimov, who has been owed at the title since 2019, when he stopped Azinga Fuzile in South Africa. Although Rakhimov is flawed he does have a fun, exciting style and can make for very fan friendly bouts, much like Diaz. With that in mind we could end up with a genuine instant classic here as two aggressive guys clash in a very meaningful mean event on DAZN. Our full, in depth, preview of this one can be read here Rakhimov takes on Diaz in IBF title fight
We're also expecting two very talented and promising Uzbek's to be in action on this show.
One of those Uzbek fighters is Super Middleweight contender Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5), who was originally supposed to fight at the end of January before Sergey Kovalev failed a drug test. Sadly his opponent for this show hasn't yet been announced.
The other is Lightweight hopeful Elnur Abduraimov (6-0, 6) who will be taking on Colombian veteran Deivi Julio (21-9-0-1, 13), who is now 39 years old. The Colombian veteran was once regarded as a world ranked contender, but he has now lost 7 of his last 9 bouts and it's clear he is not the fighter he once was.
The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Staying in the US Top Rank will be putting on their own show in Las Vegas. The main event here will be a WBO Light Heavyweight title fight, which will pit heavy handed American Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 21) against Russian veteran Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26). This should be a really interesting match up and will pit Smith's power agains the skills, movement size and experience of Vlasov. Interestingly the loser of this is unlikely to get another chance, given both are the wrong side of 30, so it could be well be regarded as a must win, for both me. An indepth preview of this one thanks to George Delis can be read here Vlasov and Smith clash for WBO title!
2nd Floor, Mega Mart Burgos Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines
As well as the US action there is also a pretty interesting show in the Philippines. It's not a stacked card, but it is certainly an interesting one with plenty of promising talent.
In an excellent looking match up for the GAB Flyweight title we'll see the once beaten Bienvenido Ligas (12-1-1, 9) take on the criminally under-rated Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-6-1, 5), in a much better match up than the records suggest. Ligas has bounced back well following a technical draw and a loss in 2018 to Joseph Ambo, and has won his last 6, with 5 of those wins coming by stoppage. Dagayloan on the other hand has continually proven to be better than his record suggests and is 10-1-2 in his last 13, with his loss being a very close one in Japan to Ryota Yamauchi. A preview of this one by Troy Parslow can be read here Proving Ground: Ben Ligas steps up to Alphoe Dagayloan
In another interesting match up we'll see the unbeaten Charly Suarez (4-0, 4), who was a very highly regarded amateur before he turned professional, take on the hard hitting Jon Jon Estrada (11-7-1, 10). At the age of 32 Suarez really is in "now or never" territory, and if he doesn't get a move on this year there's a good chance he fails to ever come close to a world title fight. As for Estrada he's a flawed fighter, but a very serious puncher and a relatively tough guy who has only been stopped twice in his 7 losses, including in his 2013 debut. This should be a test for Suarez, but a test he passes without too many issues.
Another once beaten fighter on this show is Ranelio Quizo (7-1, 1) who takes on Prince Andrew Laurio (10-3-1, 7) in a very good looking match up. The 22 year old Quizo was beaten last February by the under-rated John Mark Tihuk, and will be looking to bounce back from that defeat after more than a year out of the ring. As for Laurio, who is also 22, his career is in some trouble after 3 successive KO losses, and he needs a win here. Interesting Laurio will be fighting for the first time since July 2019 and although his form has been poor he certainly has the power here, with Quizo being a non-puncher. This might not look like an amazing bout, but it's an interesting one, with a glass cannon taking on a non-puncher.
A third fight involving a once beaten fighter will see Lorenz Ladrada (7-1-1, 2) take on Remon Basas (5-4, 4). On paper it is very, very easy to see this as a complete and utter mismatch, however it's not as simple as it looks. In his 9 fight career Ladrada has struggled with the 6 round distance, and had several very close decisions over inexperienced and limited opponents. He could easily have more than just the single loss to his name. Basas on the other hand is a solid puncher, with a decent chin, who has faced better opponents. This is much more competitive than it looks on paper.
Also on this card is unbeaten novice Ali Canega (2-0, 2) who risks his unbeaten record against Glenn Bismanos (6-1-3, 4), yet another fighter with a single defeat to his name. For Canega this will be his first bout against an opponent with a win and his first 6 rounder. It is also expected to be the first time he goes beyond 2 rounds. As for Bismanos he is unbeaten in his last 8, after a loss to John Lawrence Ordonio back in 2016, and has fought at a much higher level than Canega. This could be another very good bout, and it's good to see two fighters with good records risking them against each other, something we rarely see in the Philippines.
This coming Friday is set to be an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans, with cards of note taking place in Japan, Thailand, Russia and Tanzania. The days also has a nice mix of rising youngsters looking to make their way in the sport, a veteran looking for his 98th professional win, and several contenders also in action.
Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA
We'll start not in Asia but in the US, where rising Uzbek sensation Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0, 4) will be defending his WBA Continental America's Super Middleweight title against Mexican challenger Alan Campa (17-5, 11). This, in reality, should be little more than a stay busy bout for the talented Uzbek, who looks set to become a star in the coming years. Sadly the "Bully" hasn't been as active as we'd have liked, though given how 2020 has been we are glad we're going to see him get a run out here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
One of the many cards comes from Korakuen Hall, and will be made available on demand on Boxing Raise. The card has several good looking bouts on it, and several others worthy of note.
the best of the bouts on this one will see rising Japanese Lightweight Shu Utsuki (6-0, 5) look for win #7 as he takes on Takayuki Sakai (9-2-2, 6). The heavy handed Utsuki had a great 2019, scoring 4 stoppages, but has been out of the ring since October 2019, and has lost much of the momentum he had. As for Sakai he's no push over, and scored a notable 2018 win over Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, but has gone 1-1 since then. We expect Utsuki to come out on top here, but it should be a very, very fun bout.
Another unbeaten man on this card will be Ryo Nakai (1-0-1, 1), who looks for his second professional win as he takes on Mirai Naito (8-1, 3). Nakai turned professional last year with some solid amateur credentials but was held to a draw in a tough debut, before picking up his first win in November. He has the amateur background but Naito has the blood line, with his father, Cassius Naito, and brother, Rikki Naito, both being notable fighters. Naito also has the edge in professional experience and has notched 3 wins since his solitary loss. We expect this one to be the hidden gem of the show.
In a female bout the unbeaten Sayo Segawa (1-0, 1) will be up against Natsuki Tarui (3-6-2). The talented Segawa ran up over 30 wins in the amateurs and placed 3rd in an All Japan amateur tournament before turning professional last year and looking good on her debut. Sadly she's been out of the ring for a year as we enter this bout and her career has clearly stalled before it's even got going. Tarui on the other hand is a 29 year old domestic level fighter who isn't expected to go far, but should serve as a good opponent to help Segawa shake some ring rust and get back up to speed.
Rangsit International Stadium, Rangsit, Thailand
Over in Thailand we get a small show featuring two notable names, and a promising youngster. Sadly however it's hard to get invested in this show.
The main event will see the young, and somewhat unproven, Kittithat Ungsrivongs (16-1, 9) fight for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. Sadly his opponent is the win-less Omar El Ouers (0-1-1). Kittithat, also known as Wanchana Menayothin is only 21, so it's harsh to complain too much about an easy bout, but he's been a professional for almost 4 years now and is still fighting very limited opposite. Notably El Ouers did fight to a draw last time out with Kongfah CP Freshmart, but Kongfah is very much a Super Flyweight, and El Ouers success there is unlike to carry up to 130lbs.
Talking about Kongfah CP Freshmart (33-1-1, 16) he will also be on the card, along with Petch Sor Chitpattana (57-1, 42). Sadly however neither man has had their opponent made clear at the time of writing. Given how Petpiya fights go, and how these two have been matched previously, we don't really expect anything exciting for either man.
PTA Hall, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania
On the subject of Thai's it's worth noting that former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (97-4, 62) is also scheduled for action, albeit in Tanzania, where he is set to face local fighter Twaha Kassimu Rubaha (15-6-1, 8) for the WBC Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title. Despite once being a brilliant fighter Sirimongkol is now a 43 year old, former blown up Bantamweight with over 100 bouts to his name and is not the fighter he once was. Although Rubaha is moving up in weight for this bout he is the naturally bigger man, and the much younger man, and we think those advantages will take him to victory here.
USC Soviet Wings, Moscow, Russia
In Moscow we have some fighters from Central Asia in action.
The most notable of the Central Asian fighters in action here is Kazakh female fighter Firuza Sharipova (11-1, 6), who has often received a lot of media attention but appears to be under-the-radar for this fighter, likely due to the backlash her last bout had. The frustrating Kazakh will be up against Serbian fighter Sara Marjanovic (7-7, 3), who's record is very padded thanks to 5 successive wins against very low level opposition. This should be an easy win for Sharipova,
Another central Asian fighter on this show is 26 year old Kyrgyzstan fighter Turat Osmonov (3-0, 3), who looks for his next win as he takes on the win-less Mutrib Karambakhshov (0-3), a Russian based Tajik. Really is hard to get too excited about this one, though we have liked what we have seen of Osmonov and hopefully he will be stepped up in his next fight or two.
This coming Friday we see the return of boxing onto Channel 7 in Thailand, but sadly we won't see Bektemir Melikuziev in action.
Rangsit International Stadium, Thailand
We see action continue to get back to normal in Thailand as we get, we believe, the first televised outdoor card since boxing returned to the country. The event will be on Channel 7 and like many Thai cards features names in total squash matches.
In the main event Petch Sor Chitpattana (55-1, 40) will defend his regional WBC title against Tongthep Taeyawong (5-2-1, 4). This really should be little more than a work out for the talented Petch, who needs much, much tougher opponents for us to really see what he's made of. Competition like this will not help him develop the skills he needs to become a champion, as we saw when he suffered his sole defeat to Takuma Inoue.
In the the chief support bout Petchmanee Kokietgym (32-1, 21), also known as Panya Pradabsri, will be in action against a Brazilian opponent, that we're lead to believe is Dionatha Santos Tobias (0-2). On paper this should be little more than a work out for the talented Thai who should, really, be facing tougher opposition to help prepare for a second world title bout. The Thai based Brazilian has faced stiff competition so far, but has come up short in both of his bouts since turning professional.
Another likely mismatch on this card will see Kittithat Ungsrivongs (15-1, 8) take on Omar El Ouers (0-1). Kittithat, also known as Wanchana Menayothin, is only 21, but he has been a professional since 2016 and he's still fighting at the same level as he was back then. We feel he needs to step it up and get developmental fights, rather than padding his record in bouts like this. He's had 6 confidence building wins since his 2018 loss to Que Xu and doesn't need any more.
Also originally scheduled for this show was Noknoi Sitthiprasert (72-5, 44) but the 33 year old was pulled from the event earlier this month.
On the subject of things being pulled, a scheduled event on DAZN, which was was supposed to feature Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0, 4) taking on Alan Campa (17-5, 11), was cancelled. Sadly that whole show was pulled just over a week before the event, after the promoters failed to secure a replacement opponent for Javier Fortuna, after Jorge Linares was forced to pull out of the event.
Kadoebi are perhaps not one of the real big name promoters in the eyes of many but the Japanese stable consistently put on interesting shows in Tokyo, and this Friday they put on another at Korakuen Hall.
In the main event will be former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11). The experienced Saludar won the title last year, when he stopped the touted Tsubasa Murachi and he returns to Japan for this fight against the heavy handed Fukunaga, who is crude but dangerous. A win here will push Saludar one step closer to a second world title bout. Whilst Fukunaga may have home advantage he is very much the under-dog, but is the naturally bigger man. Our preview of this bout can be read here Saludar returns to Japan to defend regional title against hard hitting Fukunaga!
World ranked Japanese Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4), who is bizarrely highly ranked by the WBA, will look to build on his 2019 Alphoe Dagayloan as he takes on MJ Bo (8-3-2, 4). It's fair to say that 2019 was a frustrating year for the talent Yamauchi, who lost a hotly contest decision to Wulan Tuolehazi in March, beat Dagayloan in August then missed out on a Japanese title eliminator due to injuries suffered against Dagayloan. We expect him out there to impress here. As for Bo the Filipino will be returning to Japan just 5 months after being stopped by Yuta Nakayama, and it's hard to imagine anything but another loss here for the Filipino visitor. We expect Yamauchi to go to the ring with the intention of making a real statement.
Foor us the real pick of the gems on this show is a potentially explosive bout between Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2). Although on paper this might just look like a typical novice bout the reality is that both of these men were solid amateurs, and both are regarded highly by those in Japan. Nakajima is regarded very highly and racked up more than 50 wins in the amateurs whilst Kawabata fought for a Japanese youth title in just his third bout. We expect explosive action here in what is our "One to watch" for this week.
Over in the US we'll see fast rising Uzbek hopeful Bektemir Melikuziev (4-0, 3) take on his most notable opponent to date, as he battles former world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban (25-5-1, 16). The bout will be "Bek Bully's" 5th in just over 8 months, and it's clear he and his team have got their eye on the fast track to the top. After going 10 rounds with Vaughn Alexander in December we know the Uzbek can box, as well as bang. Periban is a long way removed from the fighter lost a razor thin decision to Sakio Bika and fought to a draw with Badou Jack, back in 2013, but is still a solid name and someone who could ask questions of Melikuziev. Whilst Melikuziev is expected to win, the real question will be how, and if stops Periban early it would be a genuine statement from the 23 year old.
Big punching Uzbek destroyer Bektemir Melikuziev (3-0, 3) steps up again this coming Friday when he battles against experienced American foe Vaughn Alexander (15-3, 9). This is a very good step forward for Melikuziev, who only made his debut in June, and it's a good statement from his team that they intend to be fighting tougher and tougher bouts. The contest will be for a regional WBA bauble, and the intention is for the Uzbek to begin to crash into the rankings. Alexander isn't a world class name but the 34 year old is rugged, gave Janibek Alimkhanuly some resistance last year and upset Money Powell IV back in August. This shouldn't be a walk over, but we suspect Melikuziev will make it look like one.