This coming Sunday we get quite a bit of action with a televised card from Thailand and two shows from Japan, where we are well and truly in Rookie of the Year season!
Blue Arena, Samut Prakan, Thailand
One complain we've long had about the Thai scene is that we don't see enough good all-Thai match ups, with the country often relying on having a local fighter battle a limited foreign visitor. Thankfully that's not been possible recently and we have had some interesting all-Thai bouts in recent months as a result. We potentially get two more here.
In the main event of the card we'll see Campee Phayom (20-4-2, 12) defending his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title against former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-8, 35). The 22 year old Campee is no world beater in the making, but he's a solid fringe regional level fighter who is getter and is starting to get some attention in Thailand. He needs to be stepped up and given developmental fights and that's sort of what we see this as. Aged 30 Pungluang is a little bit long in the tooth, but isn't a shot fighter in terms of his age, he is however a fighter fighting well above their best weight, and that will likely be the difference here. We suspect Pungluang will ask questions of the youngster, but lack the physical traits to be a danger to the developing Campee.
In a second all-Thai bout on this show the unbeaten Nattapong Jankaew (5-0, 3) will be defending his WBA Asia South Super Flyweight title against Samartlek Kokietgym (34-13-1, 12). For the 24 year old Nattapong this will be his first defense as he looks to build on an solid win earlier this year against John Kenan Villaflor. The champion is the younger, unbeaten and naturally bigger man, but Samarlek has significantly more experience and has faced the likes of Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi. We suspect Samartlek's experience will see him asking questions of Nattapon, but suffer a 5th straight loss here against a talented young who will be looking to launch himself towards bigger and better fights over the next few years.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
At the Holy Land of Japanese boxing we have an East Japan Rookie of the Year card. In total there are, 9 bouts set for this card.
From the bouts on this card the one that interests us the most is the Flyweight bout between Kei Fujita (1-0, 1) and Shugo Namura (2-0, 2). From the 3 combined bouts these two have had so far not one has gone beyond 2 rounds. We expect this to be a shoot out!
Another bout worthy of noting here will see 19 year old Aito Abe (1-0, 1) fight for the second time, as he takes on he 35 year old Kentaro Omori (2-2, 1). For Abe this bout will see him looking to build on his debut win in November whilst Omori will be returning to the ring more than 4 years after his last bout, was was a loss back in April 2016 to Satoshi Tanaka. Amazingly Omori's last win came in June 2015, at that point in time Abe was just 14!
Sun Rise Park Gym, Saga, Saga, Japan
Over in Saga we get a Western Japan Rookie of the year show, with just 4 bouts scheduled for this card.
The bout that stands out here will see 21 year old Featherweight hopeful Hikaru Fukunaga (4-1, 4) take on 36 year old southpaw Kohei Suzuki (1-0-1). Fukunaga competed in last year's Rookie of the Year, and was 1 win away from reaching the All Japan final, losing to the brilliant Jinki Maeda. Given his experience from last year, along with his power and aggression Fukunaga has got to be among the favourites for the tournament. As for Suzuki he impressed in August when he beat the more experienced Majisuka Kosaka and will feel the confidence of an unbeaten man who has twice gone the 4 round schedule. This could be a genuine highlight for fans at the Sun Rise Park Gym.
On the total opposite end of the spectrum we are interested in the match up between Yoshitada Shimogishi (0-1) and Ryoki Terada (0-3), who clash at 140lbs. With both men having lost all their bouts we have an interesting dynamic here with both know they can get off the mark. For Shimogishi this will be his first bout in more than 2 years, when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Sota Kohara. As for Terada he fought 3 times last year, and lost all 3 by decision. Whilst fights between win-less fighters aren't usually high quality they are usually entertaining and we see suspect that will be the case here.
The biggest card this coming Saturday is from Tokyo, and is the latest Dynamic Glove card set to be shown on tape delay. The card features a nice mixture of title fights and novices in what could be one a card of real interest.
The main event of the show is a rematch between Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) and Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6). These two fought earlier in the year, battling to a draw in a brilliant bout where the heavy handed Takesako had to dig deep to earn a draw against a determined and smart challenger. Kato will probably have felt like he let the win slip between his fingers in their first bout whilst Takesako may have over-looked his man and we should be assured another cracking bout here between men who are very well matched but have very contrasting styles. A full preview of this bout is available here Takesako and Kato go again for Japanese Middleweight crown!
The chief support bout sees former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1, 7) back in the ring following his loss to Jaime Munguia in January. The tough and exciting Inoue proved he could go to war against Munguia and will be expected to easily over-come Thai visitor Patomsuk Pathompothong (38-10-1 24) on a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title. Inoue actually held this title back in late 2017 and will be looking to become a 2-time champion. On the other hand the 35 year old Thai has been stopped in his last 2 bouts in Japan, both at 140lbs, and it's hard to see him putting up any sort of a fight against the rough and ready Japanese warrior. We've previewed this bout here Inoue returns to Japan to battle for regional title!
An interesting support bout will see the once beaten Kenshin Oshima (5-1-1, 3) take on Filipino Wilbert Berondo (14-3-2, 6). Oshima didn't look great last time out, taking a win over youngster Ikuro Sadatsune in a very good bout in January, and will be hoping to shine here against Berondo. The Filipino on the other hand will be returning to Japan for the first time since he was stopped by Hinata Maruta back in 2016 in a WBC Youth title fight.
Another promising youngster on this card is the hard hitting Takuma Takahashi (3-0, 3), who battles against Sitthidet Banti (11-4, 5). With just 5 rounds to his name Takahashi is still very much a professional novice, but it's clear he can bang, even if his technique needs some work before he starts to hunt titles. Takahashi was a successful amateur but still needs to polish his style in the next year or two and this should be a good chance for him to do some polishing against a tough Thai foe. Banti, also known as Denchana Sakkreerin, is no world beater but he's yet to be stopped and comes in to this bout on the back of 2 wins, including a victory over Saddam Kietyongyuth. Our "Introducing" feature on Takahashi from earlier in the year can be read here Introducing... Takuma Takahashi
Also on this card will be the debut of Celes Kobayashi's latest signing Issei Ochiai (0-0). The talented youngster will be debuting against Thai foe Lerdchai Chaiyawed (1-2), who holds a notable 2018 win over Wittawas Basapean though was beaten last time out, in Japan, by Seita Ogido. There are big hopes for Ochiai and we expect to see whether those hopes are well founded or not here. Our "Introducing" feature on Ochiai can be read here Introducing... Issei Ochiai
Metro Manila, Philippines
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque City is set to host a title double header which features some really interesting match ups, mixing domestic talent with some international talent.
The best of the all-Filipino fights on this card will see Allan Vallespin (12-4, 9) take on Glenn Enterina (14-5-1, 9) in an excellent match up for the GAB Super Featherweight title. The under-rated Vallespin is coming in to this on the back of just 1 win in his last 3, though he has been matched hard against the likes of Denys Brinchyk, Musashi Mori and Yoshimitsu Kimura, but is 12-0 in his homeland. Similarly Enterina has suffered all of his losses on the road, and is 14-1-1 (9) at home, showing just how good he is on the domestic scene. Given how these men have fared on the Filipino scene this should be a very competitive contest.
The second title fight will see Filipino puncher Alvin Medura (8-4, 7) take on Japanese visitor Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-2, 14) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Medura has suffered his last 3 loses to Japanese foes, all on the road, but will feel confident that his power, which has netted him 5 wins int he first 2 rounds, will play a major factor against Nakagawa. Nakagawa on the other hand will be trying to put a few bad months behind him. He lost in a Japanese title fight back in January, to Ryoichi Tamura, and then fought to a draw last time out with Jin Miura. At his best Nakagawa is a tough, hard working fighter, but we do question his confidence coming into this one. If Nakagawa is half the fighter he was 12 months ago he takes a clear win here.
One other Filipino Vs Japan bout will see Crison Omayao (24-19-5, 8) face Daisuke Sugita (4-1, 3), in what looks like an abhorrent mis-match. The 26 year old Omayao has fought much of his career as a Minimumweight, and was actually the debut of opponent of Naoya Inoue back in 2012, so we really need to query why he's fighting at Super Bantamweight here against the technically limited but hard hitting Daisuke Sugita. For Sugita this looks like a really straight forward way to get back to winning ways following a very clear loss back in January to Reiya Abe. We'd be very shocked if this one went more than a few rounds and didn't end up with Omayao suffering his 10th stoppage loss
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second card from the Philippines is a much smaller one, but will feature two more title bouts.
One of those title bouts will feature the limited but hard hitting Prabhjot Singh (7-4-1, 7) taking on Edsil Jungco (3-12-7), with the two fighters battling for the PBF Middleweight title. Singh has lost his last 4, dating back over 2 years, and it's really hard to know what he has left to offer. Jungco on the other hand, the expect of the draw with 7 of them from 22 bouts, has notched 2 wins in his last 4 and will have some confidence coming into this bout after 1 win in his first 18.
The other title bout on this card is between Alie Laurel (15-4-1,10) and Lloyd Jardeliza (8-9-4, 6), who battle for the LuzProBA Featherweight title. The 27 year old Laurel is very much an under-rated fighter, but sadly had his career put on ice for almost 3 years following a draw with Joe Noynay in 2016, a draw that now looks incredibly good. This will be his second bout since that bout with Noynay. JArdeliza on the other hand is best known for being stopped in 5 rounds by Shun Kubo in an OPBF title bout, back in 2015, and since then he has struggled to make any impact in the sport, going 1-6-1 since then. Jardeliza needs a win here, but is very unlikely to get it against the talented Laurel.
Once beaten former world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (11-1-1, 5) will be seeking her 5th straight win as she takes on limited domestic foe Charimae Salvador (4-2, 1). The talented Pagaduan has suffered both of her career set backs in Japan in world title bouts but will be looking to secure a third world title bout in the coming years. Interesting both of Salvador's set backs have also come in Japan but at a much lower level, including a loss to novice teenager Eruka Hiromoto last November. There's a gulf in class between these two, and it's hard to imagine anything but a clear win for Pagaduan.
Staying in Asia there will also be a card that will be headlined by Campee Phayom (16-4-1, 10) taking on China's Lunjun Zhao (6-1) in a contest for a WBO Youth title at Super Featherweight. This is the least significant of the Asian cards for the day, but is still a chance to see two youngsters in action for a minor title.
As well as all the action in Asia we'll also see Japanese veteran Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-14-3, 4) make his US debut, as he takes on the unbeaten Michael Norato (7-0, 2). The Japanese fighter, who will be fighting in his 38th pro bout, will be fighting for the first time in a little over 2 years, with his last bout being a TKO2 loss Kenichi Ogawa. Although now aged 35 Yamamoto is looking to continue his career Stateside, though will be a big under-dog against the 26 year old Norato. The unbeaten American is technically set for his toughest fight, but this merely looks like a natural step up for him, and Norato should pick up a straight forward win.
This Friday is set to be a busy day in China with two shows, including a very notable card put together by Zovi boxing and Sampson boxing, in association with the WBA.
The more notable of the two Chinese cards is set to be held in the Chinese capital of Beijing and feature two world title fights.
For Chinese fans the biggest bout of the day sees fast rising Chinese fighter Qiu Xiao Jun (20-2, 9) battle for the WBA Super Bantamweight title as he takes on former world champion Nehomar Cermeno (23-5-1, 13). A win for Jun would see him becoming just the second Chinese man to become a world champion, though China has had several female world champions however Cermeno is a talented and tricky fighter, albeit one past his sell by date.
The Jun vs Cermeno bout isn't the only world title bout for the day was WBA Super Featherweight champion Javier Fortuna (29-0-1-1, 21) brings international attention to China as he faces Jason Sosa (18-1-4, 14). For Fortuna the bout is a chance to move towards a clash with “Super” champion Jezreel Corrales and a chance to extend his unbeaten record, and possibly impress by stopping a man who recently went the distance with Nicholas Walters. For Sosa the bout will be his first would title fight and could see him claiming a major title.
On the under-card we get another two title fights. One of those will see Xu Can (8-2) face Corey McConnell (15-1-1, 2) in a bout for two regional WBA titles at 130lbs whilst another will see Alesia Graf (27-5, 12) battle against Noemi Bosques (10-6-2, 2) in a bout for a WBA International female title.
On a second Chinese show in Nanning fight fans will see several more title bouts.
On paper the most interesting of those will see English Heavyweight slugger Ian Lewison (11-2-1, 7) battle against unbeaten Chinese fighter Zhi Yu Wu (7-0, 1) for the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title. The bout sees Lewis fighting in Asia for the first time, despite the travel he should over-come Wu, who is fighting for just the third time in more than 4 years.
Another good looking title bout on this card sees unbeaten Chinese local Xiang Xiang Sun (7-0, 5) battle once beaten Thai youngster Campee Phayom (9-1, 7) for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Light Welterweight crown. Phayom was beaten last time out, losing a decision to Li Quan Lin in Hong Kong but will be coming in to this one with that experience behind him, whilst Sun is stepping up slightly here.
Another title bout will see Xiang Jing (8-4-2, 1) faces Filipino foe Joel Taduran (7-3-1, 1) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title. Whilst the records may not suggest anything special here we are expecting a competitive match up between two fighters looking to prove themselves.
As well as the Chinese action there is also a show in Japan which is headlined by former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (25-2-3, 12) facing off against South American visitor Hernan Cortez (9-8-3, 2). It's hard to see anything but a win for Otake here
Outside of Asia fans will be able to see Filipino fighter Cris Alfante (11-5-1, 4) battle the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (7-0, 4) in what looks like a very tall ask for the 24 year old Filipino, who has won just 1 of his last 6 bouts.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
This weekend sees our attention to to Hong Kong where a number of notable names are in action on a card that will see several fighters looking to take a notable step forward.
The star of the card for local fans will be Hong Kong's very own Rex Tso (18-0, 11), who looks to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-5-1, 21). On paper it's hard to see Bae win, especially given the way Wanheng Menayothin stopped him, but he's a step up in many ways from some of Tso's opponents, and will be looking to upset the local star. Given the styles of the two men this will almost certainly be very fun to watch, but we think natural size advantage will be the difference between these two.
Tso isn't the only notable fighter on this card, nor is he the only fighter looking to move towards a world title. Another man in a similar position is Japan's Ryota Murata (9-0, 6), who looks to secure his 10th win as he battles once beaten Brazilian fighter Felipe Santos Pedroso (13-1, 11). A win is expected from Murata but he'll be hoping to avoid any sort of injury as there is serious talk about him fighting in July in the US on a major card, possibly in a world title eliminator.
Another promising fighter, though one way lower down in his career, is Macau's promising Kuok Kun Ng (8-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Thailand's Weerachit Kitee (7-8-2, 7). It's hard to see Ng losing given what we have seen of him in the past, though we're hoping to see him show signs of development as he has shown some genuine potential.
In an interestingly matched bout Li Quan Lin (6-1-1, 2) will face the unbeaten Thai Campee Phayom (9-0, 7). Both of these men are teens, both are essentially stepping up, though Lin did face Terdsak Kokietgym on his debut back in 2012, and both will know that winning this will push their career forward. This really could be the best bout of the card.
As well as the card in Hong Kong there will also be a show in Kazakhstan.
In the main event the unbeaten Bekman Soylybayev (8-0, 3), who will be making his Kazakhstan debut, will be facing the more experienced Nikoloz Kokashvili (17-3-1, 7), for the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. So far Soylybayev has made his career in Ukraine and the US but should be more than capable to pick up a win here. Interestingly Kokashvili, a Georgian fighter, has lost his sole fight outside of his home land, being stopped by Vladimir Tikhonov in Estonia earlier this year.
In a supporting bout the once touted Roman Zhailauov (15-2, 9) will be facing Nikoloz Gviniashvili (15-5-3, 11), in an 8 rounder. The bout sees the 21 year old Zhailauov returning to Kazakhstan for the first time in 2 years, and will be looking to bounce back following back-to-back defeats in South Africa.
In a 6 rounder fans will be able to see Heavyweight hopeful Ruslan Myrsatayev (1-0, 1) face off against Farruh Madaminov (1-4-1, 1) On his debut Myrsatayev scored an opening round win, and will hopefully be stepping up shortly, something that really is needed given he's in his 30's already.
Another notable bout on this card will see the promising Ali Akhmedov (0-0) make his debut. The 20 year old Akhmedov will be up against Siarhei Krapshyla (4-12-2, 3) and we've been told Akhmedov has a lot of potential and could well be another Kazakh to watch out for.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the wonderfully named Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (3-0, 2) face debutant Ahmet Kayretli (0-0). This should see the Maryland based Kazakh pick up a 4th straight win.