The Superfly series of shows has it's third chapter this coming Saturday, and despite not having the likes of Roman Gonzalez or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on the card the show promises a lot with several notable bouts. For us two of those stand out due to the fact they feature Asian boxers in very meaningful contests.
The most significant of those, in theory at least, will see Filipino's collide in the second all-Filipino world title fight of 2018. The bout will see veteran Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23) attempt to become a 4-weight champion as he takes on heavy handed countryman Aston Palicte (24-2, 20) for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title, the belt that Naoya Inoue vacated earlier this year. Nietes, who has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, has been one of the most over-looked Filipino fighters in recent years though impressed a wider audience when he defeated Juan Carlos Reveco earlier this year. Although less established Palicte is a dangerous fighter who, at 27, is reaching his physical prime, is going to have serious size and strength advantages over Nietes and is a very imposing Super Flyweight. Palicte can be out boxed but has the power and size to trouble almost any Super Flyweight and his only loss in the last 5 years was a very controversial one, that many felt he had deserved the win in. With his hunger and youth Palicte is going to be a very dangerous foe for Nietes.
Whilst the Nietes Vs Palicte is the bigger bout there may well be more intrigue in the other bout to feature an Asian fighter. That's because 3-weight champion Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) will be ending his retirement and making his US debut in a contender against McWilliams Arroyo (17-3, 14), for the WBC Silver Super Flyweight title. The talented Ioka hasn't fought in over a year, in part due to a falling out with his father and former promoter, and will be looking to immediately jump into the Super Flyweight mix here by taking on a fighter who has given problems to the likes of Roman Gonzalez and Amnat Ruenroeng. If Ioka has filled out his frame and is strong at 115lbs he'll be a fantastic new addition to the division, however at times he did look under-sized at Flyweight. For Arroyo this is a chance to build on his February upset win over Carlos Cuadras, and could move him to within touching distance of a WBC title shot. This is a genuinely intriguing match up and one we're very excited about.
One other bout of note on this card will see American based Filipino Bruno Escalante (17-3-1, 7) take on unbeaten Romanian Alexandru Marin (16-0, 11). We're expecting this to be a hotly contested 10 round bout, and the winner may not find themselves immediately in the mix but will only be a few bouts from a potential title fight.