This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for Asian boxing, but is an interesting one with a huge fight and several other bouts of note, as get a day to look forward to.
The most significant bout of the day takes place in the US as WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr (30-1, 18) defends his belt against unbeaten Mongolian challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9). Russell, who's reign has been among the worst in boxing, will be making his 5th defense of the title that he won way back in March 2015. Although a talented fighter he has completely wasted his prime years with a once a year schedule. Nyambayar on the other hand started his professional career with high activity, but has been a lot less active in recent years, following issues with his hands. The Mongolian, if he wins, will become only the second ever Mongolian world champion, but this is certainly not a gimme for a man looking to put his name in the history books. Although both have been inactive this is still a very interest match up and one we are really looking forward to. Our preview of this bout can be read here King Tug gets world title fight at last! But can he win?
San Jose, Costa Rica
Limited Filipino Carleans Rivas (8-6-4) will be getting a shot at the IBF female Minimumweight title, as she travels to Costa Rica to take on local star Yokasta Valle (19-2, 8). This looks like a really tough bout for Rivas who has struggled when she's stepped up in the past, and we expect her to struggle again here. Valle might not be a big name, but her title win last August against Joana Pastrana was impressive and we expect her to be far too much for Rivas here. This bout has been previewed here Rivas faces Valle in IBF title fight, but does she really have a chance?
La Union, Philippines
The most noteworthy or two Filipino cards will take place in La Union.
The main event here will see unbeaten American Rafael Marzan (12-0, 9) take on Jestoni Autida (12-11, 6). In reality this should be a straight forward win for the talented Marzan, who is fighting in a 4th different country in as many fights. The American has recently fought at home, in the US, as well as Mexico and Germany, and it's kinda cool to see a fighter getting experience around the globe. On the other hand Autida has lost 4 of his last 5, and we would be shocked to see him really testing Marzan.
In a support bout we are expecting to see OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8) fighting in a tune up bout against Sulis Barrera (4-7). There is some doubt about this contest taking place, given Dante is booked for a title defense in March, but in reality he should steam roll Barrera, who has won 2 of his last 9 bouts.
In a bout that could be rather entertaining the heavy handed, but limited Alvin Lagumbay (11-5-1, 10) will be up against Bryan Macamay (10-10-3, 6). Lagumbay, best known for his 2018 upset win against Keita Obara, is 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts, but should have far too much for the very limited Macamay.
Also on this card will be debuting Uzbek hopeful Abdulkhay Sharakhmatov (0-0), who kicks off his career with a bout against Benjie Ebido (0-2). The very talented Sharakhmatov, who has competed in the WSB and was a very good amateur, is expected to be fighting out of the UK in the future, having signed with Frank Warren, and has the talented and amateur experience to be moved quickly. This should be a very easy win for the 23 year old who is expected to go very, very far in his career.
A second Filipino show is pencilled in to take place in Cebu.
One of the bouts worthy of note here will see the unbeaten Bryan James Wild (4-0, 3) take on Margarito Moya (9-10, 3) in a 6 round contest. The 18 year old Wild made his debut in late 2018 and has looked promising but untested, and this will be a notable step up in class for him ahead of bigger and better fights in the coming years.
Another bout of note on this show will see former amateur standout Criztian Pitt Laurente (4-0, 3) face off with the experienced Romnick Magos (12-11, 7). Pitt is regarded as a top Filipino prospect and this should a straight forward win for him, but as with Wild it is a clear step up in competition from the opposition he has been facing previously.